Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Intercept:
"The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The documents, released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Operations Coordination, indicate that the department frequently collects information, including location data, on Black Lives Matter activities from public social media accounts, including on Facebook, Twitter, and Vine, even for events expected to be peaceful. The reports confirm social media surveillance of the protest movement and ostensibly related events in the cities of Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York. ...

The tracking of domestic protest groups and peaceful gatherings raises questions over whether DHS is chilling the exercise of First Amendment rights, and over whether the department, created in large part to combat terrorism, has allowed its mission to creep beyond the bounds of useful security activities as its annual budget has grown beyond $60 billion."

-->Homeland Security monitoring peaceful protests? Threats to First Amendment rights? The NYT didn't cover this story.


The NYT:
"Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight."

-->The NYT printed a long article about the terror and suffering of Christian groups in the Middle East. One 60 year and particularly grievous example is purposefully left out, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Christians by apartheid Israel. 

The article is a Pentagon wish list of "bad guys" in the Middle East that the US is gearing up to attack. Emotional articles like this are needed to fire up American citizens for another war, this time against ISIS. Never content to cover up the truth, our newspaper of record often indulges in this type of blatant warmongering. In fact, the Pentagon probably paid for the article. 


Common Dreams:
"In addition to Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is turning to lobbyists for the two biggest private prison companies in the country, Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, to raise money for her 2016 presidential candidacy.

Lee Fang of The Intercept made the discovery after examining Clinton's list of lobbyists who are bundlers for her presidential bid, released last week. Bundlers are people who raise money for campaigns by organizing and collecting contributions from other donors. ...

'The future of both criminal justice reform and immigration are critical for private prison firms,' notes Fang. 'The Geo Group, in a disclosure statement for its investors, notes that its business could be adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws.' "

-->Will Hillary be the agent of change for our racist criminal justice system? Not when she is collecting boatloads of cash from the private prison lobby. The NYT didn't print this story of how corporations pay their way into sleazy politicians' hearts. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Common Dreams:
"With several key promises of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act still unfulfilled, 'Americans cannot be comforted that Wall Street will not wreak havoc again,' according to a new report from the watchdog group Public Citizen.

'Five years after President Barack Obama signed this legislation, Dodd-Frank remains largely incomplete,' said Bartlett Naylor, Public Citizen’s financial policy advocate and author of the report, Dodd-Frank is Five: And Still Not Allowed Out of the House (pdf), published Tuesday.

'Major portions of the law have yet to be codified into specific rules,' Naylor explained. 'Many enforcement dates are set well into the future, and certain rules are not yet being implemented and enforced to the fullest extent of the law.' "

-->The failure of this administration to enforce Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms threatens all of us with another catastrophic meltdown of our economy. But the robber barons in the banking industry like it that way, and so does The NYT, which didn't print this story.


Guardian UK:
"EU foreign ministers have called on Israel to halt plans for the 'forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing' in the West Bank village of Khirbet Susiya amid growing concerns that it may be knocked down in the coming days.

In a statement, the European foreign ministers echoed a warning delivered by the US government over the fate of the community of 350 in the south Hebron Hills. Last week, John Kirby, a US State Department spokesman, warned that any demolition or evictions would be 'harmful and provocative'. He said: 'We’re closely following developments and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village.' ...

The case of Khirbet Susiya, which has been fighting a 20-year-long battle for survival, has become an international cause celebre, not least because of the financial support from European countries – including the UK – to the villagers."

-->The last time The NYT covered the story of Khirbet Susiya was in 2008. Most news critical of Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is simply left out of our newspaper of record.


Common Dreams:
"Affirming what environmentalists have long charged, a new study finds that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may be polluting the air, water, and wildlife in California—and scientists say state leaders are not doing enough to protect residents from the toxic side effects of the controversial drilling practice.

The California Council on Science and Technology on Thursday released its long-awaited final assessment on well stimulation in the state, which found that a lack of adequate testing and data have made it nearly impossible for regulatory agencies to understand what effects fracking has on the environment. The council is an independent body that advises the state government.

'The toxicity and biodegradability of more than half the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing remains uninvestigated, unmeasured, and unknown. Basic information about how these chemicals would move through the environment does not exist,' the report states. 'We lack information to determine if these chemicals would present a threat to human health or the environment if released to groundwater or other environmental media.' "

-->The NYT omitted this story about fracking and threats to the environment. Like stories about Israel's apartheid, The NYT often avoids bad news about the fracking industry. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

"After the Senate joined the House of Representatives in granting President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade agreements, National Public Radio aired one report on the legislative action that paves the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other corporate-friendly international deals. The report, by correspondent Yuki Noguchi, had three sources:

Business Roundtable president John Engler, 'president of the Business Roundtable, which represents more than 200 member companies who took to Capitol Hill armed with data.' National Retail Federation vice president Jonathan Gold. National Association of Manufacturers vice president Linda Dempsey, who says the 1993 US/Mexico/Canada trade agreement 'NAFTA has actually made US manufacturing overall much stronger and much more competitive.' "

-->NPR didn't bother presenting any experts besides the ones who lobbied for fast-track. The US media, including NPR, reports what corporate America wants us to hear about trade deals. NPR, like Obama himself, is bought and paid for by billionaire corporate interests. FAIR reports that "Fully three out of every four trustees of the top NPR affiliates belong to the corporate elite."


Common Dreams:
"TISA Exposed: 'Holy Grail' of Leaks Reveals Detailed Plot for Corporate Takeover. Days ahead of another round of secret international negotiations, WikiLeaks on Wednesday released what it described as 'a modern journalistic holy grail: the secret Core Text for the largest trade deal in history.' ...

'There is deep irony whenever governments make commitments to transparency in contemporary pro-corporate treaties that are negotiated under conditions of extraordinary secrecy,' the WikiLeaks analysis reads. ...

Referencing the Trade Promotion Authority bill signed by President Barack Obama on Monday—which will allow Obama to ram the TISA, TPP, and TTIP through Congress with minimal input from lawmakers—[Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America] added: 'Today's leaks...reveal once again how dangerous Fast Track authority is when it comes to protecting citizen rights vs. corporate rights. This TISA text again favors privatization over public services, limits governmental action on issues ranging from safety to the environment using trade as a smokescreen to limit citizen rights... TISA is as big a blow to our rights and freedom as the Trans Pacific Partnership and in both cases our governments secrecy is the key enabler.' "

-->US news reporting has been an unfortunate accomplice in this secret process. We see that WikiLeaks is infinitely more trustworthy than most of our national media.


Common Dreams:
"After failing to criminally prosecute any of the financial firms responsible for the market collapse in 2008, former Attorney General Eric Holder is returning to Covington & Burling, a corporate law firm known for serving Wall Street clients.
The move completes one of the more troubling trips through the revolving door for a cabinet secretary. Holder worked at Covington from 2001 right up to being sworn in as attorney general in Feburary 2009. And Covington literally kept an office empty for him, awaiting his return.

The Covington & Burling client list has included four of the largest banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Lobbying records show that Wells Fargo is still a client of Covington. Covington recently represented Citigroup over a civil lawsuit relating to the bank’s role in Libor manipulation. ...

The Department of Justice under Holder not only failed to pursue criminal prosecutions of the banks responsible for the mortage meltdown, but in fact de-prioritized investigations of mortgage fraud, making it the 'lowest-ranked criminal threat,' according to an inspector general report."

-->The NYT decided to cover Holder's return a little differently: "His Justice Department wrested huge fines from banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Citigroup." Nothing about his failure to prosecute the criminal behavior of the big banks. In fact, no mention of any "revolving door."

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Common Dreams:
"Remember that recent blog post you read about the popularity of genetically modified foods? Or the economics expert on the news who questioned if paying the price of organic food was 'worth it'? According to a new report, these views were very likely the product of a public relations blitz by Big Food and Big Ag firms, that are actively working to spread misinformation about the safety of industrial agriculture practices and discredit the value of organic food in the face of growing popular demand.

At the same time the sale of organic products has skyrocketed—jumping to more than $35 billion in 2013—the country's largest food and chemical companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to combat this trend. In 2013, Monsanto alone spent $95 million on marketing.

'Rather than respond to changing market demands by shifting the way they do business, many large food and agrochemical companies are using tobacco-style PR tactics to mislead the public and attack the organic food industry to try to win back skeptical consumers' states environmental watchdog Friends of the Earth in a new study published on Tuesday."

-->The NYT is one of the biggest supporters of iMonsanto. Our newspaper of record didn't print this story.


Times Warp:
"Now, with the seizure of a Swedish boat in international waters, The New York Times can no longer ignore Flotilla III, the latest attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. ...

Times readers learned nothing of the Marianne and her three companion vessels as the international organizers of the flotilla announced their plans and gathered crews throughout the spring. Even when one of the boats was sabotaged last week or when a Palestinian member of the Knesset announced that he was joining the group, none of these events appeared in the Times. ...

Moreover, [NYT reporter] Hadid’s piece gives precedence to Israeli spin, allowing official excuses for the brutal siege of Gaza to stand as fact. Thus, she writes that Israel maintains a naval blockade of the strip 'because militants have tried to smuggle in weapons and attack Israel by sea.'

United Nations investigations have provided very different takes on these two issues: A 2010 fact-finding mission, for instance, declared that Israel has imposed the blockade (by land and sea) out of 'a desire to punish the people of the Gaza Strip for having elected Hamas. The combination of this motive and the effect of the restrictions on the Gaza Strip leave no doubt that Israel’s actions amount to collective punishment as defined by international law.' "

-->Times Warp is new blog that focuses on The NYT's misleading articles about Israel/Palestine. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of such articles to expose. 


The NYT:
Eager to portray the passage of "Fast Track" as a victory for working people, The NYT White House correspondent Peter Baker describes its passage as holding "special meaning for a president eager to change the world. It [is] a way to leave behind a positive legacy abroad, one that could be measured, [Obama] hope[s], by the number of lives improved rather than [as with his military actions in the Middle East] by the number of bodies left behind.”

-->Now if Peter Baker and The NYT were honest, "Fast Track" and the TPP would have been covered like it was in Counterpunch. "The real thrust and significance of the TPP is about strengthening corporations’ ability to protect and extend their intellectual property rights (drug patents, movie rights, and the like) and to guarantee that they will be compensated by governments for any profits they might lose from having to meet decent public labor and environmental (and other) standards, something certain to discourage the enactment and enforce of such standards." -Paul Street