Thursday, April 30, 2015

"The finance committees of the House and Senate have approved amendments to a trade bill that equate boycotts of West Bank settlement products with boycotts of Israel, strengthening efforts by the Israeli right to silence opponents of West Bank settlements.

Both committees approved the amendments unanimously. Each committee then approved its version of the trade bill on a split vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats divided for and against.

The nearly identical amendments require U.S. trade negotiators to 'discourage politically motivated actions' by foreign countries and international organizations that aim to 'penalize or otherwise limit' commercial relations with Israel or 'persons doing business in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel.'

The Senate Finance Committee took its action on Wednesday evening and the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday evening."

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story of our freedom of speech being imperiled by the TPP trade bill. Why does our newspaper of record have to hide this from its readers? The pro-corporate, pro-Israel agenda almost always trumps American citizens' right to know.  


"Top Hollywood bosses enjoy a strong relationship with the Israeli government and various pro-Israel lobbying groups across the United States, according to a cache of Sony internal emails leaked to Wikileaks and published for the first time last week.

The emails reveal a dinner between Sony executives and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the presenter of American Idol chiding actress Natalie Portman aggressively for her views on Israel; meetings between top entertainment chiefs and the Israeli consulate-general; close ties between Sony’s Co-Chairperson and various pro-Israel lobbying groups; and film chiefs planning, in detail, a new documentary about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, about which the emails also reflect rising concern. ...

Those working on the anti-Semitism documentary also discussed who should present the film. One producer said that the project would need 'a really good director who on the face of it doesn’t seem completely biased, so that we can show something that gets the message across without making it seem like propaganda.' "

-->Sony involved in pro-Israel propaganda? Readers of The NYT will never know. Hollywood has produced well over 100 films on the Holocaust, over three times the number of films it produced on America's 250 years of slavery. If the "message" is the importance of human rights for all, then movies about both subjects would be more than welcome. But are these movies being infused with pro-Israel propaganda as well?


Common Dreams:
"Contradicting arguments typically used to advance so-called Right to Work legislation, new research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that wages and benefits are actually lower in states with such anti-worker laws on the books.

The paper, released as part of EPI's Raising America's Pay project, finds that the negative impact of Right to Work (RTW) laws—which undercut unions by allowing workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay dues—translates to $1,558 less a year in earnings for a typical full-time worker.

Wages in RTW states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for individual demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as state macroeconomic indicators, according to EPI senior economist Elise Gould and research assistant Will Kimball. In a news release, Gould put it starkly: 'It's abundantly clear that Right to Work laws are negatively correlated with workers' wages.' "

-->The NYT didn't report this story, even in its on-line blogs. Never print a pro-union story is part of its corporate agenda.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Guardian UK:
"Californians facing the prospect of endless drought, mandated cuts in water use and the browning of their summer lawns are mounting a revolt against the bottled water industry, following revelations that Nestlé and other big companies are taking advantage of poor government oversight to deplete mountain streams and watersheds at vast profit.

An online petition urging an immediate end to Nestle’s water bottling operations in the state has gathered more than 150,000 signatures, in the wake of an investigation by the San Bernardino Desert Sun that showed the company is taking water from some of California’s driest areas on permits that expired as long as 27 years ago.

Last month a protest at a Nestlé Waters North America bottling plant in Sacramento, the state capital, forced a one-day closure as protesters brandishing symbolic plastic torches and pitchforks blocked the entrances. The revelations have agencies from the California State Water Resources Control Board to the US Forest Service scrambling to justify a regulatory framework that is poorly policed and imposes almost no requirements on the big water companies to declare how much water they are taking."

-->The NY Times covered this story in one sentence in an article written for its on-line Opinions page. 


Common Dreams:
"With Elizabeth Warren fans and other progressives' less-than-ardent view of Hillary Clinton as Democratic frontrunner for President, nobody's ready to cut her any slack, least of all Bernie Sanders. Citing America's 'grotesque level of income and wealth inequality.' he said Wednesday he seriously questions if Clinton is 'prepared to take on the billionaire class,' adding, 'It's not what she says, it's what she does.' 

Newly published - and stunningly revealing - records of the top 20 contributors for both Senators bear him out. Clinton's money comes solely from Wall Street and other fat cats, with Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan at the top of the heap; Sanders' money comes solely from unions, except for two teachers' groups and the American Association for Justice. From one wry observer, 'If you want to think she's a populist, be my guest.' 

Sanders says he'll decide by the end of April whether he can mount a credible campaign to run. If not, and Hillary's the candidate, he says our 'only hope (is) a very strong grassroots movement that says 'enough is enough'...The country belongs to all of us, and not just the billionaire class.' "

-->Mainstream media never really gets at this level of truth. It is too busy propping up a political system that is neither democratic nor just. The NYT didn't bother reporting this research into the top 20 contributors to both of their campaigns. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"West Bank - It is becoming increasingly risky to cover clashes and protests between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank as the number of journalists injured, in what appears to be deliberate targeting by Israeli security forces, continues to rise.

During the last 12 months, Israel's Foreign Press Association (FPA) has issued numerous protests at the manhandling, harassment and shooting of both members of the foreign media and Palestinian journalists.

'The Foreign Press calls on the Israeli border police (a paramilitary unit) to put an immediate end to a wave of attacks on journalists. In just over a week, border police officers have carried out at least four attacks on journalists working for international media organizations, injuring reporters and damaging expensive equipment. These attacks all appear to have been unprovoked,' was one of many statements released by the FPA last year."

-->The NY Times did not cover this story. Hiding the abuses of apartheid Israel is more important to our newspaper of record than exposing attacks on journalists.


Common Dreams:
"A new investigative look at the ties between big business interests in Colombia, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her family's charitable foundation are raising troubling questions about the role that corporate trade deals and big oil may have played in softening the powerful Democrat's position on human rights in the South American country.

During her time heading the State Department, presumptive 2016 presidential nominee Clinton stayed silent on reports of violence and threats against labor activists in Colombia, even as her family's 'global philanthropic empire' was developing—and benefiting from—private business ties with a major oil corporation accused of worker-intimidation in the country, according to new reporting published Thursday by 'International Business Times.'

In addition, the IBT investigation shows that after millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation, Clinton reversed her position on a U.S.-Colombia trade pact she had previously opposed on the grounds that it was bad for labor rights."

-->Mainstream media is trying to dust off an old product, Hillary, the Lesser of Two Evils. Most US media, including the NYT didn't cover this story of oil money flowing to the Clinton slush fund.


Common Dreams:
"Researchers in Pennsylvania have discovered that the prevalence of radon, a radioactive and carcinogenic gas, in people's homes and commercial buildings that are nearer to fracking sites has increased dramatically in the state since the unconventional and controversial gas drilling practice began in the state just over a decade ago.

Both odorless and tasteless, radon is a naturally-occurring gas released from bedrock minerals beneath the ground and is found in millions of homes across the country. However, in a study published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists compared the results of state-wide radon testing in Pennsylvania to find a significant correlation between unusually high levels of the deadly gas in some buildings (mostly residential homes) and the proliferation of fracking in certain areas of the state.

'By drilling 7,000 holes in the ground, the fracking industry may have changed the geology and created new pathways for radon to rise to the surface.' (said) Joan A. Casey, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health."

-->The NYT treats the oil industry as gently as it treats Israel. It didn't cover this story of fracking and radon gas.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Common Dreams:
"In a determination that could have far-reaching implications for the agro-chemical giants like Dow Chemical and Monsanto, the research arm of the World Health Organization has declared that glyphosate—the key ingredient of widely-used herbicides such as Roundup—should now be categorized as a 'probable carcinogen' for humans.

In a report published on Friday in The Lancet Oncology medical journal, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), based in France, announced its findings after a meeting of 17 oncology experts from 11 countries met to review the available scientific research exploring the connection between glyphosate, as well as several organophosphate insecticides, and various human cancers.

According to IARC, glyphosate is used in more than 750 different herbicide products and its use has been detected in the air during spraying, in water and in food. The panel of experts concluded that 'limited evidence' exists to show the herbicide can cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma in humans and additional 'convincing evidence' that it can cause other forms of cancer in both rats and mice. ..."

-->The NY Times covered this story in its usual way, by diminishing the findings as based on "that same mouse study," while printing numerous denials by Monsanto. Our newspaper of record followed up by an op-ed peace by Monsanto entitled, "A View From Monsanto on Herbicide Safety." An opinion peace entitled "Stop Making Us Guinea Pigs," while better, still insisted that "more research must be done."


Common Dreams:
"Exclusive: Upset by Warren, U.S. Banks Debate Halting Some Campaign Donations.

What could she possibly be doing right? According to exlusive reporting by Reuters on Friday, big Wall Street banks are so upset with Elizabeth Warren’s call to 'un-rig' the economy and proposals for stronger financial regulations that discussions are underway about withholding campaign contributions to Senate Democrats as a form of 'symbolic' protest against the freshman senator from Massachusetts.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, representatives of some of the nation's largest banks—including Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America—have actively considered putting pressure on the Democratic establishment by making a coordinated threat to withhold campaign contributions unless the populist rhetoric coming from Sen. Warren and her colleague from Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown, is toned down."

-->The story can be read as a Reuters report on-line, but didn't make it into The NYT print edition. Big banks blackmailing the Democratic Party not newsworthy? 


Green Shadow Cabinet:
"Over fourteen hundred international election experts gathered data last year and pronounced the United States last in election integrity among long-standing democracies. On a 100-point scale, the U.S. received an integrity rating of 69.3 percent -- one notch ahead of the narco-drug state Colombia at 69.1 percent and just behind the nearly-narco-drug state of Mexico at 69.8 percent, neither country with a long-standing democracy.

'The November 2014 Congressional elections got poor grades because experts were concerned about the electoral laws, voter registration, the process of drawing district boundaries, as well as regulation of campaign finances,' according to the Electoral Integrity Project report.

The experts particularly found U.S. voting registration problematic. So let me summarize that for you. We have 50 different state election laws -- some quite fair, others authoritarian in nature. With the elimination of the Voter's Rights Act of 1965, Republicans have declared open season on Black, Latino, elderly and young voters. Over 90 percent of the U.S. House districts are rigged to be non-competitive. Corporations can secretly launder money into political campaigns. 

And our Supreme Court has declared corporations are people and spending money is free speech."

-->Our mainstream media avoids comparing our electoral process to other democracies. In that way, our media serves as propaganda for the state, always hiding deficiencies in our electoral system.