Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.

"In May, 2008, Dick Cheney caused an uproar when he told ABC News' Martha Raddatz that public opposition to the war in Iraq was, in essence, irrelevant:
RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
RADDATZ:  So? You don’t care what the American people think?
CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

Today, New York Times Editorial Page -- which has become one of the most vehement supporters of the war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) -- echoed Cheney's sentiment when demanding that European leaders escalate their commitments to the war despite overwhelming and growing opposition among their citizenry:

'Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, have repeatedly stated that their countries have a stake in the future of Afghanistan and the future of NATO.  But both are wary of pushing their voters too far, too fast. (Both have essentially postponed their decisions on further troop contributions until late next month.) Democratically elected leaders cannot ignore public skepticism, but they should not surrender to it when they know better.""

-->The NY Times stressing the Pentagon point of view over the opinions of Americans? At any escalation of war, the Grey Lady always takes off her gloves and leads the cheer for more US military aggression.

"In what passes for corporate journalism in American, this concept has taken the form of, 'If we don't report on it, it didn't happen.'

That certainly was the case for the emergency protest organized by a coalition of anti-war organizations under the banner, which saw over 1000 people gather on short notice in the bitter cold on Lafayette Park opposite the White House to protest President Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Not a word about this impromptu protest, which included many people who had supported the election of President Obama only a year ago, appeared in the New York Times. Nor did the Washington Post bother to mention the protest in its own back yard, not even in its Metro section pages. The other arguably national newspaper, USA Today, likewise blacked out news of the protest."

-->The NY Times, not given to cover protest rallies (unless they occur in Iran), is playing another of its usual wartime roles, that of omitting any mention of the US peace movement. News fashioned by the Pentagon.

"The more difficult question to answer is many liberals found the speech (in Oslow) so inspiring and agreeable?  Is that what liberals were hoping for when they elected Obama:  someone who would march right into Oslo and proudly announce to the world that we have a unilateral right to wage war when we want and to sing the virtues of war as a key instrument for peace?...

Yesterday's speech and the odd, extremely bipartisan reaction to it underscored one of the real dangers of the Obama presidency:  taking what had been ideas previously discredited as Republican or right-wing dogma and transforming them into bipartisan consensus.  It's not just Republicans but Democrats that are now vested in -- and eager to justify -- the virtues of war, claims of Grave Danger posed by Islamic radicals and the need to use massive military force to combat them, indefinite detention, military commissions, extreme secrecy, full-scale immunity for government lawbreaking, and so many other doctrines once purportedly despised by Democrats but now defended by them because their leader has embraced them.

That's exactly the process that led former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith to giddily explain that Obama has actually done more to legitimize Bush/Cheney 'counter-terrorism' policies than Bush and Cheney themselves -- because he made them bipartisan..."

-->The NY Times always assumes there is a basic difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to committing war crimes. Our newspaper of record would never explore the similarities between the Bush and Obama doctrines on preemptive war.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.

"White House Wants Torture Suit against Yoo Dismissed. The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose 'the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military's detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict,' Justice Department lawyers said Thursday in arguments to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco."

-->Is our current President covering up war crimes of the past, or is he making sure he can get away with them himself. The NY Times doesn't pose this interesting question because it didn't cover the story.


Common Dreams:
President Barack Obama recently called Rep. John Conyers Jr. to express his frustrations with the Judiciary Committee chairman's criticism.

In an interview with The Hill, Conyers said his opinions of Obama's policies on healthcare reform and the war in Afghanistan have not sat well with the president. According to the lawmaker, the president picked up the phone several weeks ago to find out why Conyers was 'demeaning" him.'

Obama's decision to challenge Conyers highlights a sensitivity to criticism the president has taken on the left. Conyers's critical remarks, many of which have been reported on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post, appear to have irritated the president, known for his calm demeanor."

-->The NY Times does not like to run stories of Obama selling out to corporate interests on the war and on healthcare. It didn't report this story. Nor has it devoted much coverage to Obama's loss of progressive support. Our newspaper of record only does stories that support the myth of two opposing parties.


Common Dreams:
"Over 1,000 delegates from 42 countries have signed up to participate in the December 31 Gaza Freedom March that will mark the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion and call for an end to the siege that has brought 1.5 million people to the edge of disaster.

Organizers cut off registration on November 30 to give the Egyptian officials enough time to clear the group for entry into Gaza, but also because the numbers were becoming unwieldy. 'No one has ever taken a group this size into Gaza,' said coordinator Ann Wright, whose skills as a retired U.S. army colonel are coming in handy organizing the logistics for such a massive group.

Since the registration closed on November 30, organizers have been besieged every day with people begging to be added to the list. 'I have to turn down 15-20 people every day,' said Emily Siegel. 'It has been an insane few weeks, with emails pouring in from people all over the world who want to join. I feel terrible turning them away but we started out thinking we would take 300 people and now we have over 1,000.'"

-->So far, the NY Times has not touched this story of 1,000 Americans going to Gaza to break the Israeli siege. The NY Times does its best to protect Israel when it commits war crimes in the Middle East.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.

"The fiscal year 2010 Federal government budget included $130 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or somewhat more than $10 billion per month. The White House estimates that it will cost one billion dollars per year to deploy an additional 1,000 troops to Afghanistan...

It also does not address the six hundred pound gorilla in the room, which is the legacy issue that comes from fighting a war with borrowed money.  As the Obama White House is so deep in the red that even George W. Bush appears in hindsight to have been a model of frugality, it should be assumed that Obama’s 'war of necessity' will not be fully funded by Congress.  That means either borrowing from the Asians or just printing the money while watching the dollar slide down the toilet. It has to be assumed that the US Treasury will do a bit of both."
-Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and a fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance.

-->Stark financial warnings about the cost of American empire are rarely covered by the NY Times. 


"WASHINGTON - The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), organizations that receive funding from the U.S. State Department, are planning on sending delegations to observe the November 29 elections in Honduras, according to a statement issued by Republican Senator Richard Lugar.

The IRI is a group that has supported the ouster of democratically elected presidents in Haiti and Venezuela in recent years. Both groups are apparently planning to assist with observation of the elections, despite the fact that the electoral process will be effectively controlled by thousands of military troops and police officers - the same forces who have committed innumerable human rights violations, including killings, rapes, beatings and thousands of detentions, since the June 28 coup d'etat.

'I am surprised to see NDI joining the International Republican Institute in its efforts to legitimize another coup,' Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said. 'NDI has generally been less willing to support coups and anti-democratic regimes than has its Republican counterpart.'"

-->The NY Times does not like to report on the National Endowment for Democracy, a state funded NGO that has often been used as a CIA front. Moreover, the NY Times coverage of the Honduran military coup doesn't even attempt to separate Pentagon propaganda from actual news. All the news that's fit for empire.


Common Dreams:
"NEW YORK - With the health care debate preoccupying the mainstream media, it has gone virtually unreported that the Barack Obama administration is quietly supporting renewal of provisions of the George W. Bush-era USA Patriot Act that civil libertarians say infringe on basic freedoms. And it is reportedly doing so over the objections of some prominent Democrats.

When a panicky Congress passed the act 45 days after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, three contentious parts of the law were scheduled to expire at the end of next month, and opponents of these sections have been pushing Congress to substitute new provisions with substantially strengthened civil liberties protections.

But with the apparent approval of the Obama White House and a number of Republicans – and over the objections of liberal Senate Democrats including Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Dick Durbin of Illinois – the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to extend the three provisions with only minor changes.

Those provisions would leave unaltered the power of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to seize records and to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail in the course of counterterrorism investigations."

-->Maybe there are so many sellouts by the Obama administration that the further erosion of civil liberties is not worth reporting on. The NY Times thought so anyway; it didn't cover this story.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


Guardian UK
"America's leading human rights organization has accused Israel and its supporters of an 'organized campaign' of false allegations and misinformation, including "extremely personal attacks" on its staff, in an attempt to discredit the group over its reports of war crimes in Gaza.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) ties the campaign – which has included accusations that the group's reports on the Jewish state are written by 'anti-Israel ideologues' and that it has sought funds from Saudi Arabia – to a statement by a senior official in the Israeli prime minister's office in June pledging to 'dedicate time and manpower to combating' human rights organizations...'

Iain Levine, HRW's program director, said that while the organization had long attracted criticism, in recent months there had been significant attempts to intimidate and discredit it.

'I really hesitate to use words like conspiracy, but there is a feeling that there is an organized campaign, and we're seeing from different places what would appear to be co-ordinated attacks ... We are having to spend a lot of time repudiating the lies, the falsehoods, the misinformation.'

Spearheading some of the criticism is NGO Monitor in Jerusalem, an Israeli group funded by wealthy US donors which includes (Elie) Wiesel on its advisory board. It has accused HRW staff of having a 'political agenda' to attack Israel."

-->The NY Times, didn't cover this possible conspiracy against America's leading human rights organization. Our newspaper of record is more interested in protecting Zionist lobby.


Guardian UK:
"A United Nations special investigator who was blocked from visiting the US by the Bush administration has accused the American government of pouring billions of dollars into rescuing banks and big business while treating as 'invisible' a deepening homeless crisis.

Raquel Rolnik, the UN special rapporteur for the right to adequate housing, who has just completed a seven-city tour of America, said it was shameful that a country as wealthy as the US was not spending more money on lifting its citizens out of homelessness and substandard, overcrowded housing.

'The housing crisis is invisible for many in the US,' she said. 'I learned through this visit that real affordable housing and poverty is something that hasn't been dealt with as an issue. Even if we talk about the financial crisis and government stepping in in order to promote economic recovery, there is no such help for the homeless.'

She added: 'I think those who are suffering the most in this whole situation are the very poor, the low-income population. The burden is disproportionately on them and it's of course disproportionately on African-Americans, on Latinos and immigrant communities, and on Native Americans.'"

-->The NY Times reported on her visit to the US, but somehow managed to omit what Ms. Rolnik had to say about greedy banks and the homeless. The NY Times doesn't report on shame when it comes to the wealthy elite.


The Onion:
"KABUL, AFGHANISTAN— According to sources at the Pentagon, American quagmire-building efforts continued apace in Afghanistan this week, as the geographically rugged, politically unstable region remained ungovernable, death tolls continued to rise, and the grim military campaign persisted as hopelessly as ever.

In fact, many government officials now believe that the United States and its allies could be as little as six months away from their ultimate goal: the total quagmirification of Afghanistan.

'We've spent a lot of time and money fostering the turmoil and despair necessary to make this a sustaining quagmire, and we're not going to stop now,' President Barack Obama said in a national address Monday night. 'It won't be easy, but with enough tactical errors on the ground, shortsighted political strategies, and continued ignorance of our vast cultural differences, we could have a horrific, full-fledged quagmire by 2012.'"

-->The NY Times would never bring itself to admit the insanity of US empire building. So factual news comes through comedy rather than through the mainstream media.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


BBC World Service:
"Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new BBC poll has found widespread dissatisfaction with free-market capitalism.

In the global poll for the BBC World Service, only 11% of those questioned across 27 countries said that it was working well.  Most thought regulation and reform of the capitalist system were necessary...

More than 29,000 people in 27 countries were questioned. In only two countries, the United States and Pakistan, did more than one in five people feel that capitalism works well as it stands.

Almost a quarter - 23% of those who responded - feel it is fatally flawed. That is the view of 43% in France, 38% in Mexico and 35% in Brazil.

And there is very strong support around the world for governments to distribute wealth more evenly. That is backed by majorities in 22 of the 27 countries..."

-->Needless to say, the NY Times was not interested in a poll that questioned world capitalism or favored a more equitable distribution of wealth.


"Hezbollah is rapidly rearming in preparation for a new conflict with Israel, fearing that Benjamin Netanyahu's government will attack Lebanon again prior to any assault on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Last week, Israeli commandos seized a ship in the Mediterranean loaded with almost 400 tonnes of rockets and small arms – which Israel claimed was being sent from Iran to its Hezbollah allies. In dramatic further evidence of growing tensions, the Observer has learned that Hezbollah fighters have been busy reinforcing fixed defence positions north of the Litani river.
Having lost many of its bunkers in the south, Hezbollah is preparing a new strategy to defend villages there."

-->The NY Times does its best to hide Israeli war crimes. Indications of another Israeli assault against Lebanon never made it into print.


CNN World:
"The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution endorsing a U.N. report calling for both Israel and Palestine to carry out independent investigations of possible war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip during last winter's conflict...

It calls on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to report to the General Assembly within three months 'with a view to considering further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs and bodies, including the Security Council.'

Passage was expected, given the widespread support for the Palestinians and the strong criticism of Israel that resonated in the speeches by 45 nations during the two-day debate. The resolution, brought forward by approximately 20 Arab League members, passed by a vote of 114-18 by the 192-member body."

-->The NY Times covered the Goldstone report in the UN General Assembly. It gave one sentence to the Palestinian Ambassador, three paragraphs to the Israeli Ambassador, and two paragraphs to the official US position condemning the UN action.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.



"International negotiators lost one of the key elements to a successful deal on global warming today after Democratic leaders in the US Congress ruled out passing a climate change law before 2010. In the latest obstacle on the road to the UN summit in Copenhagen next month, Senate leaders ordered a five-week pause to review the costs of the legislation.

The delay, which would push a Senate vote on a climate change bill into next year, frustrates a last-minute push by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to get America to commit itself at home to cut greenhouse gas emissions before the Copenhagen meeting. World leaders – and US officials – have repeatedly said US legislation is crucial to a deal on global warming.

Merkel used a historic address to a joint session of Congress today to urge America to act on climate change, stating that success at Copenhagen rested on the willingness of all countries to accept binding reductions in carbon emissions."

-->Congress and the president failing the world on climate change? The story was on the NY Times Blog, but didn't make it into print.


"The US House of Representatives has rejected as 'irredeemably biased' the findings of a UN-sponsored report which says Israel committed war crimes during its military assault on the Gaza Strip.

The house on Tuesday voted 344 to 36 in favour of a non-binding resolution calling on Barack Obama, the US president, to maintain his opposition to the report, which was written by a panel led by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge.

The report accused Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group, which has de facto control of Gaza, of war crimes during the 22-day conflict in December and January.

But most of its criticism was directed towards Israel's conduct during the offensive, in which human rights organisations say about 1,400 Palestinians - many of them women and children - were killed."

-->This is, of course, the dirty business the US Congress covering up Israeli war crimes. Our own John Hall was one of the co-sponsors of the resolution. Shameful really. By hiding Israeli's massacre of civilian populations, the US government insures that these crimes will continue. The NY Times would rather not report on all this, continuing its policy of aiding and abetting Israeli murder in Gaza.


Poughkeepsie Journal

"RHINEBECK - With an election looming, a talk on the electoral process appears to have turned political in a Rhinebeck High School class.

Students said Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner, D-Clinton, tried to persuade them to vote for him during a talk he gave to their economics class..."

-->We usually do national and international stories. But this local one is so bad that we are going to make an exception. This story came out days before the county election. The student names were fed to the newspaper by the Republican Party. There was no attempt to question other students, or to gather any information that would have revealed: most students thought the presentation was excellent, a number of Republican officials had done similar presentations this fall, Joel Tyner was a Rhinebeck graduate who has made over ten presentations at the school, the teacher had invited him to speak at a Participation in Government class.

This is just swift boating journalism Poughkeepsie style. In the process, both the local Republicans and the Poughkeepsie Journal have proven themselves to be much less than Dutchess County deserves. And Joel Tyner won anyway!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


Huffington Post
"Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama's Support...
President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan 'triggered' into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the 'Audacity of Hope' has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage."

-->According to the NY Times story: "Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, told President Obama on Thursday that he would try to press for a government-run insurance program." No word of Obama's undermining of the public option, or his sellout to the insurance companies.


Common Dreams
"KABUL, Afghanistan - Flipping a switch on one of Afghanistan's long-awaited electrical power plants in August, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry urged Afghans to think of U.S. taxpayers' support when they turn their lights on at night.

President Hamid Karzai opened the first 35MW block of a 100 MW diesel power plant in Kabul August 5, 2009, significantly expanding power to the capital and surrounding area. Only about 6 percent of Afghans are estimated to have electricity, and in his appearance with President Hamid Karzai east of Kabul, Eikenberry hailed the project as part of the country's emergence out of the 'darkness' of oppression and isolation.

To some U.S. experts, however, the project is the latest example of exaggerated political expectations and wasted American taxpayers' dollars in the effort to rebuild Afghanistan.

Plagued by delays and rising costs, the project reveals how the U.S. government continues to ignore the hard lessons of Iraq, critics say, where contractors received billions of dollars with little oversight and inspectors have found rampant waste, fraud and abuse."

-->The NY Times has no stomach for reporting waste, fraud and abuse by government contractors operating in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. Our newspaper of record would prefer to keep its readers in "darkness" when it comes to billions in Pentagon waste.

"What kind of a public debate can we have on the most vital issues of the day in the United States? A lot depends on the media, which determines how these issues are framed for most people.

Take the war in Afghanistan, which has been subject to major debate here lately, as Barack Obama has to decide whether to take the advice of his commanding officer in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, and send tens of thousands more troops there, or heed public opinion, which actually favors an end to the war. This month, one of America's most important and most-watched TV news programmes, NBC's Meet the Press, took up the issue. The lineup:

Retired General Barry McCaffrey, former army general...(who has) earned at least $500,000 from his work for Veritas Capital, a private equity firm in New York that has grown into a defence industry powerhouse by buying contractors whose profits soared from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.' McCaffrey has appeared on NBC more than 1000 times since 11 September 2001.

Retired General Richard Myers, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under George Bush. He is currently on the board of directors of Northrop Grumman Corporation...

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, a pro-war spokesperson that is one of the most regular guests on the Sunday talkshows.

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, was apparently intended to represent the 'other side' of the debate. Here is what he said: 'Clearly we should keep the number of forces that we have. No one's talking about removing forces.'"

-->Even when a majority of citizens are in favor of something like withdrawing from Afghanistan, the media is there to support the opinion of the elite. A huge majority of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on corporations. When is the last time you read or listened to that opinion in the corporate media?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


Common Dreams:

"Hillary Clinton Gives 'Shameless Pitch' for Crooked Corporation...

On a recent visit to Moscow, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was there to deliver a 'shameless pitch' to the start-up Russian airline Rosavia to sign a major contract with Boeing to purchase a new fleet of aircraft from the US aerospace giant...

Since 1995, Boeing has paid $1.5 billion in fines to settle more than 30 instances of misconduct, according to the non-partisan Project on Government Oversight. According to POGO, these include multiple violations of the Arms Export Control Act, including selling defense technology to Russia and China showing 'blatant disregard' for State Department directives...

Other misconduct by Boeing, according to POGO, includes 'unauthorized possession of defense information,' gender discrimination, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the False Claims Act and anti-trust laws, water pollution in California, contaminating thousands of homes in Colorado with radioactive waste from the Department of Energy's Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, radioactive and toxic contamination near Los Angeles, over-billing and illegal hiring of government officials."

-->The NY Times didn't report on Clinton's meeting in Moscow, much less expose Boeing Corp. for the corporate criminal it is.


Associated Press:

"A scientist who allegedly tried to sell classified secrets to Israel had worked on the U.S. government's Star Wars missile shield program, and the Justice Department declared Tuesday that he had tried to share some of the nation's most guarded secrets.

Arrested in an FBI sting operation, Stewart David Nozette was jailed without bond and accused in a criminal complaint of two counts of attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information.

Had he succeeded in passing classified information, Nozette would have done grave damage to the nation's security because the information he possesses includes ''some of our most guarded secrets,' assistant U.S. attorney Anthony Asuncion said in court. He did not elaborate."

-->The NY Times did not print this story about an Israeli spy who had worked on the Star Wars missile shield. But our newspaper of record is really doing a good job covering the ballon boy hoax. Thank god stories like that are given full importance.


Fire Dog Lake

"Corporate Supremacy and the Rape of a Human Girl...The rape case of Jamie Leigh Jones was just a logical step forward in the long-standing Republican effort to lock Americans out of the nation's courthouses, an effort undertaken on behalf of corporate supremacy. A woman is gang-raped by her fellow employees at government contractor KBR. The company says her contract prohibits her from seeking justice in court.

Thirty Republican U.S. senators voted to safeguard corporations from lawsuits in rape cases. You read that right the first time. The amendment they voted against, by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, would withhold government contracts from corporations that block employees from going to court when raped or sexually assaulted on the job.

The case - and the vote - stirred a little outrage, but not enough. Jones, of Houston, was drugged and gang raped while working in Baghdad for KBR/Halliburton. She was locked in a shipping container by the company and warned to keep quiet. She didn't keep quiet. Franken and Senate Democrats took up her cause."

-->The NY Times is completely disinterested in corporate crime, even when Congress attempts to shield businesses from charges of rape. The NY Times didn't bother to inform readers of this story.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


The Guardian in UK

Last week, we did a story from the The Guardian in UK: "America's healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama...Principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ (have) worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits."

-->At the end of the story, we criticized the NY Times for not cover ing this huge lobbying effort. Last Sunday's NY Times (Oct. 11) attempts to set the record straight. A headline story blames "lobbyists" for the failure to save on healthcare costs in proposed legislation. Lobbyists for whom? Why union lobbyists fighting a tax on existing healthcare benefits, of course, and physicians fighting against further cuts in Medicare benefits. What other lobbyists are there? Not covered, of course, are the insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms that have spent $380M in recent months to defeat universal healthcare. The NY Times has a long history of protecting corporate interests at the expense of the rest of us.


BBC News

"What happened to global warming? This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise. So what on Earth is going on?"

-->The real question is what on earth is going on with the reporting about global warming? The BBC trusts their "Climate correspondent," Paul Hudson, to do an accurate job in evaluating whether global warming exists. Of course, he is really just their weatherman with no more than a bachelor's degree in science. Why pick someone so unqualified? Z Magazine (Sept. 09) describes it best:

"A 2004 study published in Science magazine showed that "of 928 articles

published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, none were in doubt as to the existence or cause of global warming. During the same period, of 636 articles in the four most popular US daily newspapers (the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and Wall St. Journal), 53 percent expressed doubt as to the existence and/or primary cause of global warming."



In referring to the Goldstone Report on the invasion of Gaza, WAMC/NPR always describes it as being "critical of both sides" for committing war crimes. This week, in reporting Israel's objected to the Goldstone Report, this was stated again.

-->Only the US media would characterize the Goldstone Report as being equally critical of both sides. In fact, The Goldstone Report is much more critical of Israel's mass killing of Palestinian civilians, intentional destruction of civilian infrastructure, and longstanding economic blockade of Gaza. Israeli media, although Israel refused any cooperation with the Goldstone investigation, states the report to be much more critical of Israeli crimes against humanity. NPR more censured than the Israeli media when it comes to reporting on the Gaza invasion? Of course it is. American media in general, starting with the NY Times, is often thinly veiled Zionist propaganda. Goldstone's conclusions are reserved for an op-ed piece. Reading Israeli media, especially Haaretz, is a lesson in freedom of the press.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.



"A videotape is behind the decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to delay the vote on a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes during its offensive on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian news agency has reported.

Quoting what it called reliable sources, Shahab news agency said on Tuesday that PA representatives at a meeting in Washington had initially rejected Israel's request not to endorse the report and were determined to stick to this position.

But, the agency added, Brigadier Eli Avraham played a videotape showing a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister.

The meeting was also attended by Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister.

The video reportedly showed Abbas trying to convince Barak to continue the war on Gaza, while Barak looked hesitant..."

-->The NY Times has not printed this explosive story of Palestinian betrayal. Abbas, of course, is a US puppet and therefore protected by propaganda media conglomerates like the NY Times.

UPDATE: Although this story is alive and well on the Internet, it seems to have been withdrawn by Aljazeera and is no longer on its website. The BBC refers to this story, but with a warning that the report is from "a news agency based in Hamas-controlled Gaza."


The Nation

"In the wake of the Congressional witch hunt against the community organization ACORN, initiated by Republican minority leader John Boehner and supported by all but seventy-five Democrats in the House and ten in the Senate (Independent Bernie Sanders also voted no), a small number of Democratic lawmakers are pushing back. Last week, in response to the Defund ACORN Act, which seeks to prohibit federal funds to the community group, Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced an ACORN act of her own. It is titled the 'Against Corporations Organizing to Rip-off the Nation Act of 2009...'

McCollum's legislation takes aim at massive healthcare corporations. 'It's time Congress get serious about taxpayer funding of corporate cheats, crooks and criminals,' says McCollum. 'Last month Congress took action to defund a nonprofit serving poor Americans but failed to act against the corporate crooks that are actually guilty of felonies--including defrauding taxpayers. Why are companies that break the law as a business strategy allowed to receive taxpayer funds?

McCollum's bill singles out Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc., a subsidiary of Pfizer. Last month Pfizer agreed to pay a $2.3 billion settlement, which the Justice Department calls 'the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice.' The settlement stemmed from Pfizer's 'illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products,' where the company marketed dosages that had not been approved by the FDA."

-->The NY Times is never interested in public fraud when it comes to large US corporations. That's because The NY Times' Board of Directors is full of the rich, white men running these giant firms.


The Guardian in UK

"Six lobbyists for every member of Congress as healthcare industry heaps cash on politicians to water down legislation.

America's healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama. The campaign against the president has been waged in part through substantial donations to key politicians.

Supporters of radical reform of healthcare say legislation emerging from the US Senate reflects the financial power of vested interests ‑ principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ that have worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits.

The industry and interest groups have spent $380m in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress. The largest contribution, totaling close to $1.5m, has gone to the chairman of the senate committee drafting the new law."

-->Readers of The NY Times will be spared the pain of a Congress that has sold out to the healthcare industry. In the midst of our nation's crippled healthcare reform effort, The NY Times has not run one story in the last month on the $380M spent on buying Congressional influence.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


The Huffington Post
"Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately -- but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency....

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who's Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors."

-->Leave it to the NY Times to defend the nation's fraudulent defense contractors by not printing this story.


Information Clearing House
"Does anyone remember all the lies that they were told by President Bush and the “mainstream media” about the grave threat to America from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? These lies were repeated endlessly in the print and TV media despite the reports from the weapons inspectors, who had been sent to Iraq, that no such weapons existed.

The weapons inspectors did an honest job in Iraq and told the truth, but the mainstream media did not emphasize their findings. Instead, the media served as a Ministry of Propaganda, beating the war drums for the US government.

Now the whole process is repeating itself. This time the target is Iran.

As there is no real case against Iran, Obama took a script from Bush’s playbook and fabricated one."

-->Suddenly the question on NPR is "can we stop Iran's nuclear weapons programs." Just two months ago it was "is Iran developing nuclear weapons?" We can see the shift in all the mainstream media as it starts to sell the Pentagon's war aims. The NY Times is back to publishing photos of "secret" facilities. The first casualty of war is truth in our nation's media.


The Guardian in UK
"Israel received an uncomfortable reminder of international anger over the Gaza war today when lawyers representing 16 Palestinians asked a London court to issue an arrest warrant for its defence minister, Ehud Barak, who is visiting Britain...

Lawyers from Irvine Thanvi Natas and Imran Khan & Partners said they believed the warrant that the international criminal court issued in May last year for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, offered a precedent. Bashir is accused of committing war crimes in Darfur...

The accusations were based, in part, on a UN investigation conducted by the former South African judge Richard Goldstone. It concluded this month that Israel had committed war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians and firing white phosphorus shells..."

-->The AP story as shown on the NY Times webpage omits any mention of the Goldstone investigation. The print version of the NY Times leaves this story out altogether. Israeli war crimes are a subject that our newspaper of record takes great pains to avoid covering.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


Z Magazine:
"According to the Pew center, public trust in the media is now at its lowest point in the last twenty years, with just 29 percent of Americans seeing news outlets as generally "getting the facts straight" in reporting, and only 18 percent feeling that reporters "deal fairly with all sides" of important political, economic, and social issues. These findings are no revelation considering the longstanding marginalization of progressive-left views in the mass media. What is encouraging, however, is that the general public is finally recognizing this reality in encouraging numbers...

My own study of the New York Times' reporting on Iraq in the run-up to the 2003 invasion, for example, found that 75 percent of news stories only stressed that Iraq possessed WMD and was a threat to the U.S., whereas just 10 percent of stories challenged that claim. This massive imbalance is stark evidence of distorted, propagandistic coverage."

-->The NY Times did report the Pew Research Center study, but left out this perfect example of media propaganda, the newspaper's own coverage of pre-invasion Iraq.


"(LONDON) - Trade unions in the United Kingdom are taking a stand against Israeli aggression in the Middle East, by calling for a boycott of goods that originate from the illegal settlements.

Israel continues to build these settlements, generally large apartment buildings, on Palestinian Territory. It is a maddening situation for the people of Palestine who have already been reduced to small parcels of land, heavily guarded by the watchful guns of the Israeli Defense Forces.

While Jewish people always have lived in this part of the world, most of the land in question belonged to the Palestinians prior to the formation of Israel in 1947 and 1948. In most cases it was taken away forcefully, and that exact behavior from Israel steams along in high gear today."

-->A growing world boycott of Israeli products produced in the occupied territories? This story didn't appear in the NY Times.


The Boston Globe:
"WASHINGTON - The Sensor Fuzed Weapon is a marvel of military technology, says its maker, Textron Defense Systems. An advanced "cluster bomb,'' it is designed to spray 40 individual projectiles of molten copper, destroying enemy tanks across a 30-acre swath of battlefield.

But the bomb - which is made at a Textron facility in the Boston suburb of Wilmington - violates terms of a landmark international treaty limiting cluster bombs to 10 bomblets or less. The pending treaty, signed by 98 nations last year in Oslo, has been sought for decades by human rights groups, which say that cluster bombs kill indiscriminately and leave behind duds that kill or maim unsuspecting civilians.

Now Textron, with the support of the Pentagon and the State Department, is mounting a campaign to derail the cluster-bomb treaty and write a new set of rules under the United Nations that would make it easier to sell its weapon around the world."

-->Textron and the Pentagon destroying the cluster-bomb treaty? You won't know about it if you limit yourself to reading the NY Times.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


Guardian UK:
"UN presses for prosecutions in damning report of Hamas and Israel conduct...

The inquiry looks not only at the war but at the months before and after the conflict and accuses Israel of many violations of international law. It says Israel may be guilty of the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, in its policies towards the Palestinian people.

It said the international criminal court has jurisdiction to investigate and that individuals responsible for violating the laws of war should face prosecution. Each country that has ratified the Geneva conventions had a duty to search for and prosecute those responsible."

-->Although the NY Times had a version of this story, several key aspects were left out. No mention of the UN pressing for "prosecutions." No mention of Israel being guilty of any "crime against humanity," or the crime of "persecution." The NY Times continues in its role of covering up the full extent of Israel's war crimes in the Middle East.


San Francisco Chronicle:
"Tristan Anderson to Sue for Injury in Israel Protest.

The case of Tristan Anderson, who remains hospitalized with brain damage and a fractured skull six months after he was injured, may test Israel's efforts to shield itself from lawsuits for harm it causes during wartime, said attorney Michael Sfard...

The Ministry of Defense, Sfard said in an e-mail message, 'is trying to apply the (act of war) doctrine to every (case of) damage caused in the occupied Palestinian territories by Israeli forces.'

Anderson was struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired from about 65 yards away by a border police officer, according to some fellow demonstrators. He had brain surgery at Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv and is no longer in critical condition, but is blind in his right eye, friends say."

-->The NY Times did not cover the filing of a personal injury suit by Tristan Anderson, despite the fact that he is a US citizen.


Guardian UK:
"Europe has clashed with the US Obama administration over climate change in a potentially damaging split that comes ahead of crucial political negotiations on a new global deal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The Guardian understands that key differences have emerged between the US and Europe over the structure of a new worldwide treaty on global warming. Sources on the European side say the US approach could undermine the new treaty and weaken the world's ability to cut carbon emissions.

The treaty will be negotiated in December at a UN meeting in Copenhagen and is widely billed as the last chance to save the planet from a temperature rise of 2C or higher, which the EU considers dangerous."

-->But to the NY Times readers, all is well in the "pro-environment" administration of Barack Obama. The NY Times even quotes John Kerry claiming that the "United States will not remain on the sidelines and will lead efforts to achieve a strong agreement in Copenhagen."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"Israel will in the next few days approve construction of some 500 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank before a possible settlement freeze demanded by Washington, a defence ministry official said on Sunday.

'Approval will be given in the next few days for 450 to 500 housing units and the Americans know that,' said the official, declining to be named. The defence ministry oversees approval of new constructions in West Bank settlements.
An aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disclosed this week the Israeli leader's intention to authorise the new projects before weighing a moratorium on new building permits...

'The prime minister will decide in the coming days on the building of hundreds of additional housing units in order to solve existing problems in various settlements,' Katz told Israel Radio. Some 2,500 housing units are currently being built in West Bank settlements and Israeli officials said their construction would continue."

-->Although the NY Times carried this Reuters story on its website, the article didn't make it into print. Such stories painting Israel as grabbing more land from the Palestinians rarely see the light of day.


"Eight years into the US-led war in Afghanistan, two reports have raised fresh questions about the effectiveness of the US involvement in the country.
One report, released on Tuesday by the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight (POGO), contains allegations of wide-ranging misconduct by private US security contractors guarding the US embassy in Kabul.

Another study by the research arm of the US congress has said the US military is relying on record levels of private contractors, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of Pentagon staffers deployed in Afghanistan.

In addition the report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says only 15 per cent of those deployed are US citizens, raising both security and credibility questions for the US mission."

-->The NY Times story concentrated on specific allegations of misconduct rather than on the nation's reliance on private contractors or the low number of US citizens deployed to Afghanistan.


"The last British resident being held in Guantánamo Bay has been tortured and prevented from seeing his lawyer in a breach of international law, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

Shaker Aamer, who has been held in solitary confinement since January 2005, was assaulted in July by military guards dressed in riot gear who also cut off his clothes using "rough shears" and left him naked and shivering, according to a witness statement from another detainee.

Aamer's lawyers claim the US authorities tried to cover up the alleged attacks which they say took place over a two-day period when Aamer had been due to meet his US lawyer Brent Mickum. His legal team in the UK has asked the foreign secretary, David Miliband, to intervene."

-->Still torturing in Guantanamo Bay? You wouldn't know that troubling fact if you depended on the NY Times for your world news.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"Two newly-obtained documents show how American diplomats during the Bush administration worked tenaciously to incorporate what is commonly known as the Nuremberg Defense into a new international convention addressing enforced disappearances.

The rejection of the notion that government agents could avoid liability for crimes by arguing that they were simply following orders had been a bedrock principle of the American government ever since shortly after the end of World War II, when that defense was employed during the Nuremberg war-crimes trials.

But the new documents, obtained by the ACLU through Freedom of Information Act litigation, show how State Department officials tried to establish what they called "the good soldier defense" -- in this case, the right of government agents charged with seizing and holding people in violation of international law to claim as a defense that they acted in good faith based on representations as to the legality of the conduct they were undertaking."

-->A Nazi defense for US war crimes? Outrageous as this story was, it wasn't considered news by the NY Times.


"When Arne Duncan stepped down as the head of the Chicago Public Schools to become the secretary of education in January, the school district he left behind had little to brag about. While Duncan served as its chief executive officer, CPS received mostly average or below average rankings in "The Nation's Report Card," a Department of Education assessment of the country's largest urban school districts. Its high school graduation rates lingered at around 50 percent, well short of the national average of 70 percent. And since 2004, CPS has failed as a district to meet No Child Left Behind's "adequate yearly progress" standards. In one area, however, Chicago's schools stood out: In large part to Duncan's efforts, they were—and remain—the most militarized in America...

Duncan oversaw the controversial move to bring full-fledged military academies to the Windy City. The district's first, the Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville, opened in 1999, and three more followed during Duncan's tenure. Today, Chicago has six military high schools run by a branch of the armed services. Six smaller military academies share buildings with existing high schools. Nearly three dozen JROTC programs exist in regular high schools, where students attend a daily JROTC class and wear uniforms to school one day a week. And at the middle school level, there is a JROTC program for sixth, seventh- and eighth-graders."

-->Pentagon running our public schools? The NY Times, like much of the mainstream media has made little of his work in militarizing schools. To the NY Times, he played basketball with Obama, and is working for “real and meaningful change” in the public schools.


"White House officials are increasingly worried liberal, anti-war Democrats will demand a premature end to the Afghanistan war before President Barack Obama can show signs of progress in the eight-year conflict, according to senior administration sources.

These fears, which the officials have discussed on the condition of anonymity over the past few weeks, are rising fast after U.S. casualties hit record levels in July and August...

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told POLITICO: 'We have to show the American people that all this effort, all these resources, all these lives are making a difference.'"

-->Since the NY Times is part of these Pentagon's propaganda efforts, our newspaper of record would certainly not carry a story like this. And it didn't.

UPDATE: The NY Times covered this story on Sept. 3, but failed to include the Pentagon press secretary's statement.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


"As more journalists seek permission to accompany U.S. forces engaged in escalating military operations in Afghanistan, many of them could be screened by a controversial Washington-based public relations firm contracted by the Pentagon to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light.

U.S. public affairs officials in Afghanistan acknowledged to Stars and Stripes that any reporter seeking to embed with U.S. forces is subject to a background profile by The Rendon Group, which gained notoriety in the run-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq for its work helping to create the Iraqi National Congress. That opposition group, reportedly funded by the CIA, furnished much of the false information about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion.

Rendon examines individual reporters' recent work and determines whether the coverage was "positive," "negative" or "neutral" compared to mission objectives, according to Rendon officials. It conducts similar analysis of general reporting trends about the war for the military and has been contracted for such work since 2005, according to the company."

-->The Associated Press covered this story, but it was mostly Pentagon denials. The NY Times did not print the story at all, having passed a Pentagon screening long ago. All the news that the Pentagon sees fit to print.


"The lobbyists have, as they did with the obscene bailouts for banks and investment firms, hijacked legislation in order to fleece the citizen. The five largest private health insurers and their trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, spent more than $6 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2009. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug maker, spent more than $9 million during the last quarter of 2008 and the first three months of this year. The Washington Post reported that up to 30 members of Congress from both parties who hold key committee memberships have major investments in health care companies totaling between $11 million and $27 million. President Barack Obama’s director of health care policy, who will not discuss single-payer as an option, has served on the boards of several health care corporations.

Obama and the congressional leadership have shut out advocates of single-payer. The press, including papers such as The New York Times, treats single-payer as a fringe movement. The television networks rarely mention it. And yet between 45 and 60 percent of doctors favor single-payer. Between 40 and 62 percent of the American people, including 80 percent of registered Democrats, want universal, single-payer not-for-profit health care for all Americans. The ability of the corporations to discredit and silence voices that represent at least half of the population is another sad testament to the power of our corporate state..." -Chris Hedges

-->The NY Times has spent little time discussing this disgusting sellout to the health insurance industry. The newspaper sold out to corporate interests long ago.


"The conventional wisdom, however, has been that the Democrats are suffering from some sort of political Icarus syndrome. They are flying too high and too soon, and the public disapproval will send them crashing back to earth.

The problem with that rationale, at least in our numbers this week, is that it doesn't match with the data.

Across the board, the drops among Obama and the Democratic Party have come not from the loyal opposition, nor have they come from dismayed Independents.

They have come from Democrats...

Anyone who thinks the protracted arguments over health care aren't frustrating the Democratic base need look no further. A ten-point dip in net favorability, in a single week, is a pretty solid statement."

-->The NY Times writes about Obama's falling poll numbers: "extensive political research, which show that confidence in Mr. Obama’s leadership has fallen throughout the summer largely because of the health care debate." No mention of the fact that it is all Democrats deserting the ship because of his move to the right on this issue and many others.