Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Common Dreams:
" 'It's a simple question,' the reporter asked. 'Are they under occupation?' Yesterday in a shocking exchange at the State Department, the spokesman for Biden’s foreign policy team refused to describe Palestinians in Jenin and other areas of the West Bank as living under military occupation by Israel.

In the wake of an Israeli military raid that killed ten Palestinians in Jenin, Vedant Patel of the State Department was repeatedly asked if they were occupied, and evaded the question. ...

So Secretary of State Antony Blinken is about to fly out to meet with Israeli leaders, and the Biden administration appears to be adopting Trump’s reflexively pro-Israel policies in yet another area. In addition to not reversing the formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and accepting the recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, Biden is now emulating Trump’s acceptance of the occupation (as in Trump’s declaration that the settlements are not illegal)."

-->The US State Department is completely in bed with the occupation and annexation of Palestine land. The NYT never printed this story, because it too supports Apartheid Israel no matter how brutal and racist it gets.


Common Dreams:
"I awoke on December 13th to news about what could be the most significant scientific breakthrough since the Food and Drug Administration authorized the first Covid vaccine for emergency use two years ago. This time, however, the achievement had nothing to do with that ongoing public health crisis. Instead, as the New York Times and CNN alerted me that morning, at stake was a new technology that could potentially solve the worst dilemma humanity faces: climate change and the desperate overheating of our planet. ...

'This is such a wonderful example of a possibility realized, a scientific milestone achieved, and a road ahead to the possibilities for clean energy,' exclaimed White House science adviser Arati Prabhakar. ...

'The reality is that fusion energy will not be viable at scale anytime within the next decade, a time frame over which carbon emissions must be reduced by 50% to avoid catastrophic warming of more than 1.5°C,' says climate expert Michael Mann, a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania. 'That task will only be achievable through the scaling up of existing clean energy — renewable sources such as wind and solar — along with energy storage capability and efficiency and conservation measures.' ”

-->Another quick fix that isn't. How our major media loves hyping technology as our savior from a burned up planet. But like the promise of nuclear energy, it is mostly smoke and mirrors.


In These Times:
"What the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party Has Planned Next. Rather than taking a back seat, progressives are using their expanded ranks to flex their muscle in Congress—and transform the Democratic Party. ...

While Republicans now control the U.S. House, which stifles prospects for any major Democratic legislation over the next two years, progressives are not slowing their efforts to transform U.S. politics. Both in Congress and through internal Democratic Party decision-making, progressives are building on lessons learned during the first years of the Biden administration to grow their power. This effort includes using their expanding congressional ranks to push progressive policy and when necessary challenge Democratic Party leadership, build progressive majorities in state level parties and change internal rules to ban dark money in primaries.

The most dramatic changes in progressive party reform over the past year can be seen in the growth of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). After the November 2022 midterms, the caucus now claims an all-time high of 103 members, nearly half of all House Democrats."

-->The NYT and much of mainstream media try to avoid stories that involve the progressive revolt against the corporate controlled Democrats. Bernie Sanders type reforms are sometimes mocked, but mostly just avoided by the corporate controlled major media. What progressive revolution?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Common Dreams:
"Russian lawmaker Vyacheslav Volodin threatened nuclear war as NATO members debate whether to send more tanks to Ukraine.

Should the West continue to ship arms to Ukraine, Moscow will retaliate with 'more powerful weapons,' a top Russian government official and close ally of President Vladimir Putin said Sunday, referring to the use of nuclear missiles.

'Deliveries of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime will lead to a global catastrophe,' Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the State Duma, Russia's lower house, said in a statement shared on the Telegram messaging app. 'If Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons,' said Volodin."

-->How to stop worrying and love the bomb: Read the NYT, which didn't refer to this story at all. Maybe the end of the world isn't really fit to print.


"Within Latin America, Nicaragua is among the countries that has best managed to reduce its poverty rate. In 2007, Nicaragua’s poverty rate was at 48.3%. After the transition to a Sandinista government, this percentage has been steadily reduced and currently is at 24.9%.

I think the key was the arrival of the FSLN government, which proposed a national strategy to fight against poverty and for human development and to overcome the whole neo-liberal model which had left us a country practically in bankruptcy. Since 2007, the country has been moving forward because there is a national development strategy that includes economic development with social rights, and economic growth with equitable distribution of wealth. 
This means that a series of rights that were violated during the neo-liberal period have been restored: free health care, free education, access to housing. More than 125,000 families, for example, have had their housing problems solved during these last ten years. More than half a million property titles have been given out."

-->No US media will cover anything positive about Nicaragua. That's just the way it is. You have to go outside the US to read a different story. I don't know what that says about Nicaragua, but what it says about our supposedly free press is worse than damning.

Common Dreams:
"Huge Win for Organic Farmers as USDA Files Long-Sought Rule to Prevent Fraud.
One advocate said the rule change 'will help tighten the national organic system to ensure organic integrity and better protect American organic farmers and confidence in the organic seal.' ...

The Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) amendments to the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP)—a federal regulatory program that enforces national standards for organically produced agricultural products—is meant to 'strengthen oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic agricultural products' in the United States, according to a federal memo published Wednesday.

'Organic farmers have consistently ranked National Organic Program enforcement and stopping import fraud as a top priority,' Kate Mendenhall, executive director of the Organic Farmers Association and an Iowa organic farmer, said in a statement."

-->No mention of this in the NYT, which has always had a soft spot for both toxic agricultural chemicals, and corporate fraud.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Common Dreams:
"A group of corporate Democrats led by Rep. Jared Golden of Maine sent a letter Wednesday defending the out-of-control U.S. military budget and expressing concerns about looming attempts by House Republicans to cut it, even as several GOP lawmakers insisted the Pentagon would be safe from their coming austerity spree.

In their letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Golden, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), and other members of the right-wing Blue Dog Coalition celebrated the bipartisan vote last month to add $45 billion to the latest military budget proposed by President Joe Biden, claiming the extra money is necessary for 'the procurement of additional naval ships at a time in which China has developed the world's largest navy' and for 'strengthening the defense industrial base.' ...

The White House, too, weighed in on the side of maintaining the current military budget this week, calling any push for cuts 'senseless and out of line with our national security needs.'

-->Corporate Democrats, as well as our corporate president, are defending the obscenely large military budget. The very budget that means so much less money spent on education, housing, and other social programs. With Democrats like that, who needs the wacko Republicans? Too bad the NYT didn't think this story worth reporting. The sickness of empire has infiltrated both of our major parties, as well as our news media.


Geopolitical Economy:
"A poll found that Nicaragua is the top country in the world where citizens feel at peace. The United States and Western media outlets have long demonized Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and its President Daniel Ortega, sponsoring violent coup attempts against him and imposing illegal unilateral sanctions aimed at hurting the Central American nation’s economy.

But studies show that the Sandinista Front is very popular among the Nicaraguan people, who enjoy a high quality of life compared to their neighbors. ... Despite the fact that numerous polls like these show that Nicaraguans feel very safe, the US State Department has since 2018 issued an annual travel advisory, discouraging tourists to visit the country. ...

Washington claims the Central American nation is dangerous, suffers from supposed 'arbitrary enforcement of laws', and has 'limited healthcare ability'. [But] Nicaragua’s Sandinista government created a system of free universal healthcare for everyone. The United States, on the other hand, has one of the most expensive and inefficient healthcare systems on Earth, and medical expenses are the cause of two-thirds of US household bankruptcies."

-->In the "land of the free" we can't really read about the strengths of Nicaragua. Our government has been trying to overthrow the Sandinista Revolution for the last 40 years. As a result, you just won't find stories like this in our Pentagon controlled press.


Common Dreams:
"The fascist attack on Brazil's main government complex was 'directly aided' by major social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Telegram, the global watchdog group SumOfUs said Monday as the country's authorities continued their cleanup efforts, investigation, and arrests of suspects involved in the anti-democratic assault.

The insurrection, carried out by supporters of far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro, 'can come as no surprise to social media executives, who were warned time and again that their platforms, tools, and algorithms were directly aiding a violent uprising in Brazil,' said Flora Rebello Arduini, campaign director at SumOfUs, a nonprofit that has been monitoring the proliferation of election lies on social media in the South American country.

Referencing the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol, which was also abetted by social media giants, Arduini added that 'we've now seen this happen in two of the world's major democracies—if governments fail to respond, more will inevitably pay the price.' "

-->I see this story in our leftist media, but not in the NYT. I think that major corporations are just making too much money promoting fascist attacks for the NYT to risk reporting on them. In a front page story on Monday, Jan 16, the NYT covers every aspect of the riots in Brazil. Every aspect except for the role of Facebook, TikTok, and Telegram.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Guardian UK:

"Leading civil rights organisations have condemned Harvard Kennedy School’s denial of a position to the former head of Human Rights Watch over the organisation’s criticism of Israel.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the refusal of a fellowship to Kenneth Roth 'profoundly troubling'. PEN America, which advocates for freedom of expression, said the move raises serious questions about one of the US’s leading schools of government. Roth also received backing from other human rights activists.

But the Kennedy School found support from organisations that have been highly critical of Roth and HRW, particularly over the group’s report two years ago that accused Israel of practising a form of race-based apartheid in the Palestinian occupied territories. ...

Roth told the Guardian that Harvard’s move was a reflection of 'how utterly afraid the Kennedy School has become of any criticism of Israel' under pressure from donors and influential supporters within the school of Israel’s rightwing government."

-->This is a sickening story of how the moral stench of Zionism has permeated the halls of America's most prestigious university. Equally troubling is the fact that America's most influential newspaper, The NYT, didn't cover the story.


Common Dreams:

"Despite acknowledging 'tremendous' public pressure to impose a ban on bump stocks, a firearm attachment used in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, a federal appeals court on Friday rejected a 2019 Trump administration rule barring people from owning the instruments.

In a 13-3 ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the ban violated the Administrative Procedure Act and that the U.S. Congress must act to ban bump stocks rather than the executive branch. 

The majority, made up mostly of judges appointed by Republican presidents, said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) at the U.S. Department of Justice wrongly interpreted a law banning machine guns when they extended that ban to bump stocks in 2019, two years after a gunman killed 60 people and injured hundreds of others in a shooting at a concert in Las Vegas."

-->Another shameful story about the failure of our nation to control assault weapons. Why didn't the NYT cover this story either? Perhaps our "newspaper of record" cares about America's image abroad almost as much as it cares about Israel's.


The New York Times:

"CARACAS, Venezuela — The opposition legislature in Venezuela voted on Friday to terminate its interim government, ending the leadership of Juan Guaidó, who for years had served as the face of resistance to the country’s authoritarian government.

The vote was a blow to the United States, which had steadfastly backed Mr. Guaidó. It was the second and final vote this month to determine the fate of the interim government, whose influence has waned in recent years as President Nicolás Maduro has held onto power, Mr. Guaidó failed to cement his popular support and the opposition fractured."

-->This is a sad little story about a US backed coupe in Venezuela that didn't work. Sure, the NYT is still spewing anti-Venezuelan propaganda. According to the newspaper, "socialist ideals [have] gutted the country’s democratic institutions and left much of the populace impoverished." No mention of the devastating US blockade or the Pentagon's funding of Guaidó's attempts to overturn the election of President Maduro. And let's not forget the pages of wildly favorable coverage that Quaido got in the NYT when he proclaimed himself president.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Common Dreams:
"The legal team of human rights attorney Steven Donziger is challenging what he describes as the U.S. Department of Justice's 'disastrous decision to side with Chevron and back private corporate prosecutions.' ... In 2011, a Donziger-led legal team representing more than 30,000 farmworkers and Indigenous people harmed by over three decades of oil drilling in Ecuador won an $18 billion judgment against Chevron for deliberately dumping more than 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater and other hazardous pollutants in the delicate Amazonian ecosystem—an act that caused a 'rainforest Chernobyl.' ...

Although the historic ruling against Chevron was upheld by the Ecuadorian Supreme Court, the oil giant moved its operations out of the country to avoid paying for cleanup, alleged that the $9.5 billion settlement had been fraudulently obtained, and launched what six House Democrats described last year as an 'unjust legal assault' on Donziger. In July 2019, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York, a former corporate lawyer with investments in Chevron, held Donziger in contempt of court for refusing to turn over his computer and cellphone, a move that would have disclosed privileged client information. Soon after, Donziger began his 'completely unjust' 993-day detention on a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum sentence of six months.
Donziger has received support from United Nations human rights experts and nearly 70 Nobel Prize Laureates, including 1997 peace prize recipient Jody Williams, who argued in May 2021 that Donziger's house arrest and the criminal contempt case against him was a 'gross miscarriage of justice' meant to dissuade others from challenging corporations' human rights violations and ecological crimes."

-->The message to lawyers is don't mess with Big Oil, or our corrupt criminal justice system will throw you into jail. The fact that the US Dept. of Justice is now on Chevron's side is a complete sellout of the environmental movement. But you won't read this story in the NYT, which has been selling out to Big Oil for decades.


"A human rights attorney raised alarm Monday over the expansion plans of Toka, an Israeli cyber firm that sells hacking technologies capable of finding, accessing, and manipulating security and smart camera footage.

Co-founded by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) cyber chief Yaron Rosen, Toka 'sells technologies that allow clients to locate security cameras or even webcams within a given perimeter, hack into them, watch their live feed, and even alter it—and past recordings,' Haaretz reported, citing internal documents it obtained and reviewed with a technical expert.

The company, whose activities are overseen by the Israeli Defense Ministry, 'was set up in 2018 and has offices in Tel Aviv and Washington,' Haaretz reported. 'It works solely with state clients in government, intelligence bodies, and law enforcement agencies, almost exclusively—but not just—in the West. According to the internal documents, as of 2021, the company had contracts with Israel valued at $6 million, and had also planned an 'expansion of existing deployment' in Israel."

-->Toka, an Israeli cyber firm, sells video altering technology to governments around the world. What does that say about our freedom of speech rights? Governments can now change video footage to falsely convict anyone they want to. But the NYT didn't cover this story, maybe because it makes apartheid Israel look too bad.


The Guardian UK:
"A suggestion by one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s incoming ministers that Israeli doctors should be allowed to refuse treatment to LGBTQ patients on religious grounds has heightened fears that the new government poses an unprecedented threat to gay rights. The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, has weighed in to condemn the growing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, saying: 'The racist pronouncements of recent days against the LGBTQ community and other sectors of the public make me extremely worried and concerned.' ...

In a radio interview on Sunday, the incoming national missions minister, Orit Strook, of the Religious Zionist party, was widely understood as implying that Israeli doctors would be able to refuse treatment to LGBTQ patients. ... Strook specified that a doctor could refuse care to a patient if doing so violates his religious beliefs 'as long as there are enough other doctors who can give this service'. ...

Alon Shachar, executive director of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, said: 'The changes the new government seeks to lead are liable to bring us to a situation in which LGBTQ people return to living in a reality of fear, violence and racism.' "

-->Much of the mainstream media including the NYT did not cover this story. These attacks on LJBTQ rights are deplorable. But so is the US media, which protects Israel's good name by hiding stories like this.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Intercept:
"Twitter executives have claimed for years that the company makes concerted efforts to detect and thwart government-backed covert propaganda campaigns on its platform.

Behind the scenes, however, the social networking giant provided direct approval and internal protection to the U.S. military’s network of social media accounts and online personas, whitelisting a batch of accounts at the request of the government. The Pentagon has used this network, which includes U.S. government-generated news portals and memes, in an effort to shape opinion in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, and beyond.

The accounts in question started out openly affiliated with the U.S. government. But then the Pentagon appeared to shift tactics and began concealing its affiliation with some of these accounts — a move toward the type of intentional platform manipulation that Twitter has publicly opposed. Though Twitter executives maintained awareness of the accounts, they did not shut them down, but let them remain active for years. Some remain active."

-->Twitter lending itself to Pentagon propaganda in various countries. Was Twitter ever neutral when it came to promoting the interest of  the empire in the rest of the world? Too bad the NYT didn't think this story was newsworthy. It may be because the NYT is promoting the Pentagon itself.


Common Dreams:
"Progressive advocacy groups and economic analysts on Tuesday denounced retirement savings-related tax changes embedded in Congress' end-of-year $1.7 trillion spending package, characterizing the pending reforms taken directly from the SECURE 2.0 Act as a 'giveaway to the rich.'

According to Patriotic Millionaires, a group of wealthy tax fairness champions, the must-pass omnibus bill includes 'some minor provisions to help low-income earners save for retirement, but the vast majority are designed to allow high earners to avoid paying more taxes.'

Morris Pearl, the group's chair and a former managing director at BlackRock, said: 'I'm tired of tax cuts for the rich being sold as help for the poor. The retirement changes in the omnibus package overwhelmingly benefit wealthy people like me while doing almost nothing for the people who truly struggle to save for retirement. This bill does not make it easier for workers to save for retirement, it just makes it easier for high-income earners to shelter more of their earnings from taxes.' "

-->Readers can find this criticism of the bill on various financial publicans. But not in the NYT, the real gateway to the rest of the US media. The report is just too damning of the two party, corporate dominated political system.


Common Dreams:
"News Sites Took Nearly $1 Million From Consultant Pushing Power Companies' Agenda: Report. One climate writer said the new expose, published by NPR and Floodlight, 'pulls back the curtain on yet another insidious corporate strategy to erode the core tenets of democracy for profit.'

Alabama Power and Florida Power & Light hired a political consulting firm that paid six news websites in the two states nearly a million dollars as they attacked officials seeking to hold the polluting utilities accountable, an investigation revealed Monday.

NPR's David Folkenflik, along with Mario Ariza and Miranda Green of Floodlight, found that the power companies hired consulting company Matrix LLC, which, along with clients and associated entities, paid six sites--Yellowhammer News, Alabama Political Reporter, Alabama Today, The Capitolist, Florida Politics, and Sunshine State News--at least $900,000 collectively between 2013 and 2020.

According to the report, 'Matrix sought to ensure much coverage was secretly driven by the priorities of its clients. Payments flowed as the utilities in Florida and Alabama fought efforts to incorporate more clean energy in electric grids--a fight they are still waging.' "

-->Companies polluting the environment are paying off our major media. Why isn't this big news?  The NYT didn't cover the story, showing its readership whose influence matters the most.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Apple Insider:
"According to a recent complaint by the Communications Workers of America, Apple illegally created a work group driven by managers to try to stop union organizing efforts.

In a filing on December 16 with the US National Labor Relations Board, the Communications Workers of America accused Apple of 'soliciting employees to join an employer-created / employer-dominated labor organization as a means of stifling union activities.' This kind of action is forbidden under US federal labor law. ...

The CWA also accused Apple of holding mandatory anti-union meetings, something the company has been accused of before. During the sessions, store management reportedly claimed that Apple would be legally barred from negotiating on specific topics if workers unionized, which is false."

-->The wealthiest company in the world is trying to cheat its workers and break their unions? Is there no shame in our neoliberal world? No shame in the NYT for sure; the paper didn't cover this story. Whenever it can, the NYT lets major corporations off the hook.

Friends of Sabeel North America (A Christian Voice for Palestine):
"As the nature of the Israeli apartheid regime becomes more and more apparent to the outside world and the rightward shift in Israel becomes harsher and more indefensible, false charges of antisemitism have increased. Such charges are made in order to smear and intimidate those who criticize Israeli policy as well as silence advocates for Palestinian rights, particularly on campuses.

One of the tools increasingly used in such smear campaigns consists of recent efforts to urge various institutions and organizations to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism. The IHRA definition (as if any definition was needed for the vile phenomenon of antisemitism) provides 11 examples of 'antisemitism,' a whole seven of which relate specifically to Zionism and the state of Israel. The effect is the total [conflation] of antisemitism with anti-Zionism and efforts to oppose Israeli apartheid.

Precisely because Israel openly endeavors to promote Jewish rights at the expense of the rights of non-Jews, those who would challenge Israel have always faced the danger of being smeared and falsely accused of anti-Jewish antisemitism. The IHRA definition strategically attempts to formally institutionalize this confusion between anti-Zionism (opposition to the bigoted policies of a modern state) and antisemitism (the vile hatred of our Jewish sisters and brothers). ..."

-->This is such an important debate, and really involves the shutting down of freedom of speech when it comes to Israel's crimes. It is hard to conceptualize how such a story gets ignored by our media, including the NYT.


The Wire (Indian News and Opinion):
"On December 13, the US Department of Energy announced that the National Ignition Facility had reached a 'milestone': the achievement of 'ignition' in nuclear fusion earlier in the month. While the step has been described as a milestone in clean energy, generating electricity commercially or at an industrial scale through fusion is likely unattainable in any realistic sense – at least within the lifetimes of most readers of this article.

The main utility that the facility offers nuclear weapons designers and planners is by providing a greater understanding of the underlying science and modernizing these weapons. ... Over the last decade or so, there have been many similar announcements featuring breathless language about breakthroughs, milestones, and advances. These statements have come with unfailing regularity from NIF (for example, in 2013) and the larger set of laboratories and commercial firms pursuing the idea of nuclear fusion. ...

These incredibly high costs [$65 million in France] also explain why such announcements are made in the first place: without the excitement created by these hyped-up statements, it would be impossible to get funded for the decades it takes to plan and build these facilities."

-->The NYT is certainly into this hype, with glowing predictions of a future of carbon free energy. It is only at the end of a NYT article entitled "Scientists Achieve Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough" that readers are warned that these scientific miracles might take at least five or six decades to arrive.