Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guardian UK:
“A network of Republican lawmakers and their rightwing corporate funders are battling behind closed doors to block minimum wage increases in cities across the US, in a step-by-step counter-attack that could cut back the incomes of millions of Americans despite an economic upswing.

According to strategic details obtained by the Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – along with its localised sister organization, ACCE – is trying to prevent elected city representatives from raising the minimum wage to levels above those set by their states. The group has launched an aggressive dual-track mission that combines legislation and litigation in what Alec calls a ‘new battleground over worker compensation.’

… With an increasingly national and political focus on the inequality chasm between the so-called “1%” and a middle class that continues to struggle against wage stagnation, individual US cities have been forcing the pace of change by setting their own progressive standards. …

Alec’s response, Sullivan went on to explain at the meeting, is to frame and then lobby for model legislation in state assemblies across the country. She said that so far 12 states, most recently Oklahoma, have submitted anti-increase legislation based on the rightwing lobbyists’ language.”

—>The NYT doesn’t like to cover the class wars being waged by the 1%. It didn’t print this story. 


Common Dreams:
“Persecuted New York Times journalist James Risen accused U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of being the ‘nation's top censorship officer’ in a searing rebuke to comments made by Holder on Tuesday that the way his department handled the case of the now-imprisoned CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling should exemplify ‘how the Justice Department can proceed.’

Holder made the comments at the National Press Club on Tuesday when answering a question about the DOJ's crackdown on leaks and whistleblowers. After years of doggedly pursuing Risen's testimony against Sterling, the DOJ finally dropped their case after Risen vowed he would go to jail rather than reveal his source. The prize-winning journalist has previously described the Obama administration as ‘the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.’ "

—>Strange that The NYT did print this story of Risen’s comments on Obama’s war against press freedom, especially since Risen was one of its reporters. The only mention of the story was in the Public Editor’s Journal, an on-line feature. 


Common Dreams:
“Fossil fuel corporations and a Canadian trade agency that has promoted the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline have donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, which is jointly run by Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea. Climate campaigners say that the payments raise concerns about industry influence on Hillary Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate who has so far remained mum on her position on the tar sands pipeline, despite a call from 30 environmental organizations—issued over a year ago—urging her to take a stand against it. …

According to a voluntary disclosure from the Foundation, in 2014 the not-for-profit received between $250,000 and $500,000 from Canada's Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development department, which has pressed for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

This Canadian agency is not the only donor aligned with big oil. Numerous fossil fuel giants sent direct payments to the foundation in 2014, including Exxon Mobil Corp., which donated up to $5 million, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., BP, ConocoPhillips Co., Chesapeake Energy Corp., Citgo Petroleum Co”

—>The NY Times has questioned the Clinton slush fund, but for taking donations from foreign countries. Why no mention of Big Oil’s massive payments to this foundation?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Common Dreams:
“New Analysis Shatters Narrative of Charter School Success … Public schools are outperforming charter schools in Minnesota, in some cases ‘dramatically,’ according to a new analysis by the state's Star-Tribune newspaper. In addition, many charter schools fail to adequately support minority students, close examination of the data revealed.

Journalist Kim McGuire looked at 128 of the state's 157 charter schools and found ‘that the gulf between the academic success of its white and minority students widened at nearly two-thirds of those schools last year.’ Slightly more than half of charter schools students were proficient in reading, dramatically worse than traditional public schools, where 72 percent were proficient.

Between 2011 and 2014, McGuire reported, 20 charter schools failed to meet the state’s expectations for academic growth each year, ‘signaling that some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable students had stagnated academically.’ “

—>The NYT avoids printing anything that questions charter schools. As usual, our newspaper of record is in bed with the billionaires funding the assault on our nation’s public schools. 


Common Dreams:
“Israeli Home Strikes Claimed More Than 800 Palestinian Lives. … 
At least 844 Palestinians were killed as a result of airstrikes on homes during Israel's summer attack on Gaza, an Associated Press exclusive analysis has revealed. The review published Friday found that 508 of the dead—just over 60 percent—were children, women, and older men, all presumed to be civilians. ‘Hamas says it did not use women as fighters in the war, and an Israel-based research group tracking militants among the dead said it has no evidence women participated in combat,’ AP notes.

Among the additional findings:
Children younger than 16 made up one-third of the total: 280 killed, including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 5.
In 83 strikes, three or more members of one family died.“ 

… The results of the AP count, which looked at 247 airstrikes on homes, come on the heels of similar findings released at the end of January by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.”

—>The NYT did not write an article about this AP analysis, although it did include the AP story on-line. That is the way The NYT diminishes the impact of such stories about Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. 


Common Dreams:
“Doctors Worldwide Blast TPP's 'Chilling Effect' on Health, Climate Protections.
While U.S. corporations have been involved in negotiations, 'health agencies have been forced to rely on leaks,' physicians point out in letter to be published Saturday

An international coalition of doctors representing seven Pacific Rim countries is demanding the public release of draft trade agreements currently being negotiated in secret between world governments.

The corporate-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the equally troubling Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), ‘threaten the ability of governments worldwide to provide affordable health care and to put in place health and environmental laws that protect public health and mitigate health inequity,’ reads a letter signed by 27 health leaders, to be published Saturday in the international health journal ‘The Lancet.’ ”

—>Massive, secret trade deals like the TPP benefit the wealthy elite in America, the segment of society that the NYT represents. It didn’t print this story.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Z Magazine, Feb 2015:
“In his three recent columns that deal with Russia, Putin and the threat of war, (Krugman) cannot escape the mainstream party line, which is followed by the NYT editors and journalists. ... He argued that wars are almost always not worth the cost, but he failed to note that, while the society as a whole may suffer losses, particular groups like the very large and powerful military-industrial complex may do exceedingly well. ... No military-industrial complex here nor vested interests in war; no pro-Israel lobby. ...

Krugman's analysis of the Ukraine crisis and Putin's an and the US role there is dishonest and incompetent party line propaganda. He calls the takeover of Crimea "Russian adventurism." Again the word usage is instructive - for his own country's Iraq was a "war of choice," not adventurism. He also ignores he adventurism of US involvement in the regime change in Ukraine that removed the elected president ... and the threatening encirclement of Russia and placement of missile-launchers within miles of the Russian borders.

It is interesting to note how Krugman tries to exonerate and even vindicate Obama ... He ignores the fact that Obama continued the Iraq war for years, escalated the Afghan war, greatly enlarged drone assassination attacks in half a dozen different countries, and carried out a war against Libya. While trying to distance Obama from the neo-cons, he ignores the fact that the State Department's Victoria Nuland, who had been on the scene in engineering the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, is a neo-con, and his team of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Hillary Clinton are de facto neo-cons and warmongers.”
-Edward Herman, Feb 2015, page 11 (will be posted on the Web in Mar)


Public News Serice:
“Nearly a half million tons of solid fracking waste form Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York landfills, according to a new report that calls upon the Cuomo administration to take emergency action. Liz Moran, water and natural resources associate with Environmental Advocates of New York, authored the report ‘License to Dump,’ which relies on Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection records to document what she called a major toxic and radioactive threat to New Yorkers. 

‘Pennsylvania reporting showed that 460,000 tons of solid fracking waste and 23,000 liquid barrels of fracking waste have gone to New York State landfills,’ she said. ‘Fracking wastes are notoriously toxic.’ Moran said New York currently has no system in place to track the potentially toxic and radioactive waste that has been dumped at seven New York landfills since at least 2010. Her organization is calling on the state Department of Environmental Conservation to issue an emergency rule to classify waste from fracking operations as ‘hazardous.’ “ 

—>The NYT did not report this story, and has underreported most environmental disasters associated with fracking. 


Z Magazine, Feb 2015:
" 'The Interview' got its shot by blowing the head off No. 1 US evil enemy Kim Jong-un, but it wasn't Rogen's creativity that came up with that plot twist. It came from the CIA. 

Though the Los Angeles Times reported that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg claimed it was their idea to have Kim Jon-un as the target, an email from Sony's senior vice president Mairsa Liston, published in the Daily beast, indicated that it came from Sony through the intelligence agency. ‘They mentioned that is was a Sony executive that told them to not use a fictitious name, but to go with Kim Jon-un.’ wrote Liston. ...

Don't forget that it was Sony that also brought us 'Zero Dark Thirty,' a film collaboration with the CIA. The torture report shared the news cycle with the Sony hacking story and it should come as no surprise that CIA Director Jon Brennan gave the same specious defense for torture woven into the plot of ZD30 - that torture led to information ‘useful’ to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden."

—>The CIA manipulating the plot lines in our nation’s movies? The story wasn’t newsworthy according to the NYT.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Boingboing Blog:
“After a protracted battle with the Bureau, artist and journalist Molly Crabapple (previously) has gotten them to admit that they're keeping a whopping file on her, which they will release to her lawyers at the rate of 750 (heavily redacted) pages/month for the next ten months.

UPDATE: Molly Crabapple writes, ‘Quick correction- I initially mistweeted that they'll give me 750 pages a month. They'll actually review 750 pages a month, give me what they feel like, and when I get them all, we can sue if I think they're holding out too much.’ “

—>Molly did the amazing video "How Ferguson showed us the truth about police." For that, our national security state goes crazy! See for yourself if her ideas are that dangerous: 


Reader Supported News:
“Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a "propagandist," an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.”

—>The NYT, predictably, did not carry this interesting story. Too many CIA operatives on the payroll to let this get by.


“The United States looks set to succeed in watering down a proposal for tougher legal standards aimed at boosting global nuclear safety, according to senior diplomats.

Diplomatic wrangling will come to a head at a 77-nation meeting in Vienna next month that threatens to expose divisions over required safety standards and the cost of meeting them, four years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Switzerland has put forward a proposal to amend the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), arguing stricter standards could help avoid a repeat of Fukushima, where an earthquake and tsunami sparked triple nuclear meltdowns, forced more than 160,000 people to flee nearby towns and contaminated water, food and air.”

—>GE, one of the biggest producers of nuclear power plants, seems to have The NYT in its pocket. This insanity never made it onto the pages of our newspaper of record.