Thursday, March 19, 2015

Guardian UK:
"The United Nations’ top investigator on the use of torture has accused Washington of dragging its feet over his requested visits to prisons and refusing to give him access to inmates at Guantánamo.

Juan Méndez said he had been waiting for more than two years for the United States to provide him access to a range of state and federal prisons, where he wants to probe the use of solitary confinement. ...

According to Méndez, 'it is not rare' for prisoners in the United States to spend 25-30 years in solitary confinement, locked up in a cell with no human contact for 22-23 hours a day. ... According to the ACLU, more than 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement in the United States on any given day.

Méndez said he was particularly concerned about the use of solitary confinement for underage offenders. Solitary confinement for children 'should never happen, even for a single day', he said, pointing out that the punishment, widely considered cruel even for adults, was 'particularly harmful for children because of their state of development and their special needs'.

-->The NY Times buried this story on-line, and the report from Reuters even left out the part about the solitary confinement of children in the US Gulag. 


"Israeli Politician Changed Her Mind On Palestinian Conflict," an interview of an Israeli politician by By Steve Inskeep March 13.

This Israeli politician did more than change her mind about the Palestinians. She became an overt racist with statements like all Palestinians are terrorists. There are certainly racists in the world. The despicable part of Steve Inskeep's interview is that he politely accepts all the racist stereotypes she has to offer. Would he have been so well behaved if the interviewee were Palestinian and claiming that all Jews were murderers? Or a Nazi skinhead claiming that the Holocaust never happened? Or a KKK member saying that all African Americans were street criminals? 

Steve Inskeep is in touch with what racism is fashionable in American society. The notion that all Muslims are terrorists has become an acceptable point of view on NPR. In that way, our mainstream media feeds racial hatreds. Shame on such journalism. Expressions of racial hatred should never be treated as acceptable opinion.


Common Dreams:
"The yawning racial wealth gap in the United States is no accident, but rather, driven by unjust public policy decisions—from the re-segregation of education to the redlining of home ownership to poverty wages, according to a new analysis by Brandeis University and the public policy organization Demos.

Inequalities are vast, note the researchers. For example, Census data shows that, in 2011, median white households in the U.S. held $111,146 in wealth, compared to a mere $7,113 for Black homes and $8,348 for Latino ones.
These disparities emerge from historical choices on the political and policy levels, the researchers note.

'The racial wealth gap is large because we instituted it in public policy historically and continue to make public policies that exacerbate the problems,' said report coauthor Catherine Ruetschlin, a senior policy analyst at Demos, in a press statement. Therefore, it is vital 'to find new opportunities to address the way that we’re constantly perpetuating this disparity between black, white and Latino families,' Ruetschlin continued.

Researchers offer a series of solutions aimed at reversing these trends, from equalizing home ownership to racially integrating schools at all levels. In addition, the study calls for a significant boost to the minimum wage, as well as 'making it easier for workers to form and join unions.'

-->The NY Times, owned and operated by the rich elite, didn't want to spread these anti-Wall Street solutions around. Our newspaper of record didn't print the story.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

“Two days ago Israel’s foreign minister called for beheading Arab citizens of Israel who are ‘against us.’ Haaretz did the story yesterday. So did Newsweek. Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that Arab citizens who are not loyal to the state of Israel should have their heads ‘chopped off with an axe.’

The minister, leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and an outspoken critic of Israel’s Arab population, made the controversial remarks on Sunday in a speech to an election rally held in the western Israeli city of Herzliya …

‘Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe,’ the ultra-nationalist politician said. The incitement resulted in a call to behead Haneen Zoabi, the outspoken Palestinian member of Knesset …"

—>The NY Times has carried many gruesome stories about Muslim beheadings, but so far has refused to print this. The NYT did carry a Reuters story on-line, under the misleading title of “Lieberman Says Israel Should Execute Arabs Who Carry Out Deadly Attacks.” 


“Today The New York Times printed a long article at the top of its national section stating that the ugly prejudice of anti-Semitism has returned to the United States, on college campuses. …

‘The session… has served to spotlight what appears to be a surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country, often a byproduct of animosity toward the policies of Israel.’

Let’s repeat that phrase: ‘what appears to be a surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country.’ That’s a very large claim, and the piece offers no evidence for ‘a surge.’ None. If there really is ‘a surge’ of Jew-hating bigotry, why isn’t the Times sending its army of correspondents out nationwide to track down this awful trend?

The Times does not cite any other example of alleged hostility against Jews besides the UCLA case. …”

—>The NYT is echoing the right wing Zionist view that all criticisms of Israel are antiSemitic. We deserve more from our newspaper of record.


Guardian UK:
“Top Afghan officials have presided over murders, abduction, and other abuses with the tacit backing of their government and its western allies, Human Rights Watch says in a new report.

A grim account of deaths, robbery, rapes and extrajudicial killings, 'Today We Shall All Die,' details a culture of impunity that the rights group says flourished after the fall of the Taliban, driven by the desire for immediate control of security at almost any price.

'The rise of abusive political and criminal networks was not inevitable,' the report said. 'Short-term concerns for maintaining a bulwark against the Taliban have undermined aspirations for long-term good governance and respect for human rights in Afghanistan.' "

—>The NYT put this story by Reuters on-line rather than in print, and the story itself consisted mostly of denials by Afghan officials.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Helen Caldicott Foundation:
“The Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction. Russia and the U.S. possess 94% of the 16,400 nuclear weapons in the global nuclear arsenal. The U.S. maintains its first strike winnable nuclear war policy, and both countries have raised their nuclear arsenals to a higher state of alert because of the situation in the Ukraine. Furthermore it has just been announced that the administration has plans to replace every nuclear warhead and their delivery systems via ship, submarine, missile and plane, at a cost of one trillion dollars over the next thirty years. This symposium to be held by The Helen Caldicott Foundation will address the following issues:

. What are the human and technological factors that could precipitate a nuclear war between Russia and the U.S., how many times have we come close to nuclear war and how long will our luck hold? . What are the ongoing technological and financial developments relevant to the nuclear weapons arsenals of the US and Russia? . What problems are associated with lateral proliferation of nuclear weapons via strenuous corporate marketing of nuclear technology? . What are the medical and environmental consequences of either a small or large scale nuclear war? . What are the underlying philosophical, political, and ideological dynamics that have brought life on earth to the brink of extinction?”

—>This symposium was held last week at the New York Academy of Medicine. Amazing that the insanity of nuclear war isn’t discussed in our media. As we inch closer to the brink, our major news sources cheer on the US war machine.


Common Dreams:
“Gaza Rebuild Effort Could Take 100 Years: Oxfam. Despair and destruction continue to envelop the blockaded Gaza strip, where the rebuilding of vital structures could take up to a century, Oxfam International has warned.

The organization's statement comes six months after a ceasefire agreement ended Israel's 50-day assault on Gaza, which left over 2,100 Palestinians dead, decimated thousands of structures, and weakened already damaged infrastructure systems.

Oxfam is one of 30 international aid agencies that operate in Gaza, including the Norwegian Refugee Council and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), to issue a joint statement Thursday expressing alarm at the slow pace of reconstruction and worsening living conditions for Gaza's residents.”

—>The NYT put this report on-line where it would get much less coverage. Why not print this story of immense suffering and impending genocide? Maybe because protecting Israel has always trumped reporting the truth for our newspaper of record. 


Common Dreams:
“Corporate-Friendly Democrats Mobilize to Drag Party Rightward. So called 'centrist' Democrats are attempting to distance themselves from progressive voices like Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Afraid ‘a sharp turn to the left could prove disastrous in the 2016 elections,’ factions within the Democratic Party more closely aligned with Wall Street and other corporate interests than with the progressive left are ‘gathering their forces to fight back against the Elizabeth Warren wing of their party,’ The Hill reported Monday.

Framed as a fight between so-called ‘centrists’ of the party and more progressive voices, exemplified by Sen. Warren (D-Mass.), journalist Kevin Cirilli describes how leaders of three corporate-friendly groups—the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), the New Democrat Network (NDN), and Third Way—are moving to steer the Democratic agenda away from issues like income inequality, the student debt crisis, and corporate tax breaks.”

—>The NYT didn’t report this major battle within the Democratic Party. Why call attention to the fact that both parties serve the same corporate masters? The same corporate elite that controls most of our media.