Thursday, December 29, 2016

Common Dreams:
"The U.S. government has quietly started to ask foreign travelers to hand over their social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a program that aims to spot potential terrorist threats but which civil liberties advocates have long opposed as a threat to privacy. ...

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security first proposed the idea in June, when it was met with opposition and criticism from rights groups, consumer advocates, and other entities, including the Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google, and Twitter. ... But it appears the Obama administration ignored their warnings about the threat to privacy and free expression and finalized the program anyway.

'There are very few rules about how that information is being collected, maintained [and] disseminated to other agencies, and there are no guidelines about limiting the government’s use of that information,' Michael W. Macleod-Ball, chief of staff for the ACLU's Washington office, told Politico's Tony Romm." 

-- >Government now snooping into social media? The story never happened in the NYT which rarely covers assaults on civil liberties.


Common Dreams:
"Sen. Bernie Sanders has made it known that Donald Trump should not go unchallenged by his congressional colleagues as troubling comments by the President-elect about nuclear weapons this week sparked alarm across the United States and the world.

Following an initial out-of-the-blue tweet Thursday saying the U.S. should 'expand' its nuclear arsenal followed by 'clarifying' remarks Friday to MSNBC in which Trump said, 'Let it be an arms race,' Sanders responded: 'It's a miracle a nuclear weapon hasn't been used in war since 1945. Congress can't allow the Tweeter in Chief to start a nuclear arms race.' " 

-- >Although the NYT also criticized Trump's threats about nuclear weapons, our newspaper of record omitted the one voice that has the most credibility in the Democratic Party, that of Bernie Sanders. The NYT can't acknowledge the Sanders revolution simply because it would go against the wishes of the billionaires.


Common Dreams:
"In the final hours before the Christmas holiday weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law—and buried within the $619 billion military budget (pdf) is a controversial provision that establishes a national anti-propaganda center that critics warn could be dangerous for press freedoms.

The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, introduced by Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, establishes the Global Engagement Center under the State Department which coordinates efforts to 'recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests.'

Further, the law authorizes grants to non-governmental agencies to help 'collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda' directed at the U.S. and its allies, as well as 'counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability" of the U.S. and allied nations.' " 

-- >This bad news about a new government propaganda center never made it into the NYT. Alternative views are rarely encouraged by our newspaper of record, so why alarm its readers?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Sanders Calls for Investigation of Big Pharma Drug Pushers Over Shocking New Report. Drug-pushing, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies should be 'investigated and prosecuted,' declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in response to revelations that out-of-state drug wholesalers have been pouring highly-addictive and lethal opioids into rural West Virginia towns, reaping profits while countless suffer.

Reporter Eric Eyre with the Charleston Gazette-Mail published a two-part investigative series this weekend exposing what looks like the Big Pharma behemoths profiting off the state's overdose epidemic. According to 'previously confidential drug shipping sales records sent by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office,' and obtained by the Gazette-Mail, 'drug wholesalers showered the state with 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills' over a six-year period. At the same time, '1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two painkillers.' "

-- >Big Pharma is a top player in the nation's drug addiction problems. Bernie says it, but the NYT can't bring itself to cover this story so close it its corporate ties.


Guardian UK:
"You report that the government is going to adopt a 'new definition' of antisemitism in order to prevent an 'over-sweeping condemnation of Israel'. The new definition has nothing to do with opposing antisemitism, it is merely designed to silence public debate on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Antisemitic incidents comprise about 2% of all hate crime. Why then the concentration on antisemitism and not on Islamophobia, which is far more widespread? The suspicion must be that the real concern is not with antisemitism but with Britain’s support for Israel.

Israel claims to be 'the only democracy in the Middle East.' Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation are governed by a wholly different set of laws than Jewish settlers. This makes Israel the world’s only apartheid state and thus deserving of strong condemnation and the target of boycott, divestment and sanctions. We agree that it is antisemitic to associate Jews with the actions of the Israeli state. Unfortunately this is precisely what the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition will achieve through perpetuating the stereotype that all Jews support the Israeli state.

The IHRA will strengthen not weaken antisemitism. There is a very simple definition of antisemitism from Oxford University’s Brian Klug. Antisemitism is 'a form of hostility towards Jews as Jews.' The IHRA definition smuggles in anti-Zionism, in the guise of antisemitism, as a means of protecting the Israeli state and thus western foreign policy." 

-- >Straight talk from the Guardian UK on new laws are being introduced to alter the meaning of antiSemitism in England. Why can't our newspaper of record, the NYT, offer a similar debate about the "New McCarthyism" being introduced by our own Congress?


"For decades, Vietnam veterans have suspected that the defoliant harmed their children. But the VA hasn’t studied its own data for clues. A new ProPublica analysis has found that the odds of having a child born with birth defects were more than a third higher for veterans exposed to Agent Orange than for those who weren’t. ...

For decades, the Department of Veterans Affairs has collected — and ignored — reams of information that could have helped answer that question, an investigation by ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot has found. ...But the birth defect data had never received scrutiny by the VA or anyone else until this year, when ProPublica, working with The Virginian-Pilot, obtained it after submitting a detailed plan describing how it would be used and agreeing to protect patients’ identities. ...

Vietnam vets and their advocates believe a brutal calculation may lie at the heart of why their claims have gone unexamined. Caring for and compensating veterans themselves already costs tens of billions of dollars a year. If a link to their children is proven, it could add billions more." 

-- >Always protective of the Pentagon's foreign wars, the NYT did not cover this story. What tales of sorrow and loss does the use of depleted uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan hold for our current war veterans? You won't be reading that question in the NYT.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Daily Mail UK:
"A former Icelandic minister has claimed that the FBI attempted to frame Julian Assange during a mission to Iceland. 

Ögmundur Jonasson, who currently serves as a member of the Icelandic Parliament, said US authorities told him in June 2011 that hackers were trying to destroy software systems in the country. The authorities said there was an 'imminent attack' on Iceland's government databases and that the FBI would send agents to investigate...

Jonasson said it was only when a 'planeload' of FBI agents arrived in August that he realized the true reason for their visit. The former minister claims the FBI was seeking Iceland's 'cooperation in what I understood as an operation set up to frame Julian Assange and WikiLeaks'. Jonasson said he immediately told the FBI agents to leave the country."  

-- >There is plenty of news in the US about Russia hacking the US election, but none about the CIA attempting to frame Julian Assange. The framing was subsequently done in Sweden.


Guardian UK:
"The US military in Afghanistan is increasingly trying to control public information about the war, resulting in strained relations with western organisations offering different versions of events to official military accounts, the Guardian has learned.

In a recent incident, the most senior US commander in Afghanistan, Gen John W Nicholson, considered banning or restricting the UN’s access to a military base in Kabul, according to informed sources in both organisations. The dispute followed a UN report in late September claiming that a US drone had killed 15 civilians. Washington insists it only killed members of Islamic State.

UN and US military officials declined to speak to the Guardian, but various sources confirmed that working relations were 'a nightmare', as a UN staff member put it."

-- >This story did not appear in the NYT. American war crimes and attempts to cover them up are never judged to be "fit to print" by our newspaper of record.


Guardian UK:
"Pipeline rupture spews oil into creek 150 miles from Standing Rock.

Electronic monitoring equipment failed to detect a pipeline rupture that spewed more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek, according to the pipeline’s operator, about 150 miles from the site of the Standing Rock protests. The potential for a pipeline leak that might taint drinking water is at the core of the months-long standoff at the Dakota Access pipeline, where thousands of people have been protesting against its construction. That pipeline would cross the Missouri river.

It’s not yet clear why the monitoring equipment didn’t detect the leak, Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for Casper, Wyoming-based True Cos, which operates the Belle Fourche pipeline, said."

-- >Always protective of big oil pipelines, the NYT did not run this story.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Over 1,000 U.S. military veterans are planning to 'deploy' to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and peacefully support the water protectors' fight against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

'We are calling for our fellow veterans to assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Dec 4-7 and defend the water protectors from assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security,' the organizers wrote on the group's GoFundMe page.

'Come to Standing Rock Indian Reservation and hold the line with Wes Clark Jr., Michael Wood Jr., [Hawaii Democratic Rep.] Tulsi Gabbard, and hundreds of other veterans in support of the Sioux nation against the DAPL pipeline,' reads the description of the action on Facebook."

-->The NYT and the major media is silent on the increasing resistance to this oil pipeline on Native American lands.

UPDATE: The NYT is finally covering this story.


The Intercept:
"Denver-based journalist, was shot in the abdomen last Sunday by a rubber bullet as he reported from North Dakota on a clash between demonstrators and police that would end with 26 protesters sent to hospitals and 300 requiring other medical treatment. One woman was severely injured and underwent emergency surgery on her arm after officers unleashed 'less than lethal' weapons, including rubber bullets, icy cold water, and, reportedly, concussion grenades on the crowd. Police were reacting to an attempt by Dakota Access pipeline opponents to tow away burned vehicles that officers had secured in place to act as a highway blockade, preventing access to pipeline construction sites down the road. The rubber bullet that hit Boyle tore right through his press pass, leaving a jagged hole through the words “Unicorn Riot,” his news organization’s name. ...

The arrests of journalists and filmmakers covering the front lines of the Dakota Access pipeline fight highlight the limits of press protections and the central role of police, prosecutor, and court discretion in deciding whether or not members of the press should face legal consequences when covering protests. The arrests and violent crowd suppression tactics also reflect the refusal of police to discriminate between peaceful protesters, aggressive agitators, and journalists."

-->We are nearing the end of real news reporting in the empire. In the future, journalists will be treated like protesters: shot and beaten by our national security state.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Democracy Now:
"In North Dakota, more than 100 Native Americans and allies fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline have been injured by police, who attacked them with rubber bullets, tear gas, mace canisters and water cannons in freezing temperatures Sunday night. The attack was on a bridge near the main Oceti Sakowin resistance camp. It began after the water protectors attempted to clear access to the public bridge, which has been blocked by authorities using military equipment chained to concrete barriers. Medics on scene say multiple people were shot by rubber bullets.

'My name is Leland Brenholt. I’m a medic here at Oceti Sakowin. And we have seen at least four gunshot wounds, three of them I know of to the face and head. Rubber bullets. Right now we’re trying to keep people warm. We’re trying to get them decontaminated, and treating all kinds of different wounds. People have been hit with canisters in the chest or the leg and that sort of thing.'

Water protectors say the police also fired rubber bullets at journalists, shot down drones being used to document the attack and fired flares which ignited grass fires. Legal observers with the National Lawyers Guild said multiple people temporarily lost consciousness after being shot. Witnesses say one elder also went into cardiac arrest and was revived on scene by medics."

-- >The NYT is silent on this vicious attack on Native Americans resisting the Dakota Access pipeline. Is this the beginning of Trump's fascist state? Readers of the NYT won't be asking this question because they won't know.


"[Author Daniel Golden] My book exposed a grubby secret of American higher education: that the rich buy their under-achieving children’s way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations. It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. At the time, Harvard accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of twenty.)

I also quoted administrators at Jared’s high school, who described him as a less than stellar student and expressed dismay at Harvard’s decision.

'There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,' a former official at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, told me. 'His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.' " 

-- >The boy who went to Harvard because of his father's bribe is now going to run the US executive branch at the age of 35. The NYT avoided telling its readers how Jared got into Harvard. Why remind common people how the billionaires game the system?


"Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said on Monday there were preliminary grounds to believe U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan and at secret detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004.

In a report, prosecutors said there was a 'reasonable basis to believe' that U.S. forces had tortured prisoners in Afghanistan and at Central Intelligence Agency detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004. 'Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture,' the prosecutors' office, wrote. It added that CIA officials appeared to have tortured another 27 detainees.

The prosecutors' office, headed by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, said it would decide imminently whether to pursue a full investigation.

The results of a full investigation could potentially lead to charges being brought against individuals and the issuing of an arrest warrant." 

-- >In a "see no evil" response, the NYT avoided this story completely. The empire's newspaper doesn't do stories on US torture abroad.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Water protectors battling the Dakota Access Pipeline are taking their increasingly urgent fight directly to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, making a final push for the Obama administration to reject the pipeline's permit before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

Trump has invested in the pipeline company and denies climate change, promising to reinvigorate the coal, oil, and gas industries and strip away environmental regulations. On Tuesday, supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will demonstrate and march at Army Corps offices across the country, along with over 200 solidarity actions planned around the world.

'[T]he election last Tuesday made this Tuesday's demonstrations in support of Standing Rock even more important," wrote environmentalist Bill McKibben. 
'We'll be gathering in nearly 200 cities worldwide to demand that the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Obama Administration, do their jobs and reject the Dakota Access Pipeline's final permit.' "

-->The NYT is predictably silent on the growing resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. A search of the last seven days shows that of the ten stories on the pipeline that appeared on the NYT website, none had made it into print. All the stories were from AP and Reuters. Our newspaper of record doesn't like to encourage popular resistance against oil companies. 


"The TPP probably would not have substantially contributed, at least directly, to further depressing wages. We already have trade deals with six of the 11 countries in the pact, and have extensive trade relations with the others. Rather, the TPP was about putting in place a business-friendly structure of regulation. It also increased patent and copyright protection, with the goal of increasing the profits of the pharmaceutical, software and entertainment industries. In other words, the TPP was about further extending a pattern of trade aimed at redistributing income upward.

It is important to understand that this is not some natural process of globalization. We deliberately placed our manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. The predicted and actual effect of this policy is to lower their wages. ...

In addition, making patents and copyrights longer and stronger, both here and around the world, redistributes income from the bulk of the population to those in a position to profit from these protections. This is the story of the Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, which has a list price of $84,000. The free market price is a couple hundred dollars. We will pay more than $430 billion this year for drugs that would sell for 10–20 percent of this amount in a free market.

There was nothing natural about the upward redistribution we have seen over the last four decades; it was deliberate policy. And the TPP was a symbol of this policy. It was a trade pact that was crafted by and for major business interests."

-->Straight talk about the role of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) in reducing wages while increasing corporate profit. The mainstream media and the NYT are incapable of presenting this relatively simple story to the American public. 


Huffington Post:
"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would have beaten Donald Trump by a historic margin if he had been the Democratic nominee, according to a private pre-election poll provided to The Huffington Post.

The national survey of more than 1,600 registered voters, conducted by Gravis Marketing two days before the general election, found that Sanders would have received 56 percent of the vote while Trump would have won 44 percent. ...

The last election result that decisive was Ronald Reagan’s victory over Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984.

Crucially, independent voters, who made up nearly one-third of the general election voters this year, favored Sanders over Trump, 55 percent to 45 percent, the poll found. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, lost independents 48 percent to 42 percent, according to exit polls."

-->In a followup analysis of the election, the NYT headlined a story, "Hillary Clinton’s Expectations, and Her Ultimate Campaign Missteps." Missing in the exhaustive review of the election was the fact that Bernie would have beaten Trump by 12 percentage points. The NYT just has never gotten it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Common Dreams:
"OSLO - President Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union and recipient of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize, has appealed to world leaders to reduce the dangerous tensions, which today threaten to plunge human civilization and the biosphere into an all-destroying nuclear war. ...

Later the same day, in Iceland, President Gorbachev said: 'The worst thing that has happened in recent years is the collapse of trust in relations between major powers, The window to a nuclear weapon-free world…is being shut and sealed right before our eyes.'

The environmental consequences of a massive exchange of nuclear weapons have been treated in a number of studies by meteorologists and other experts from both East and West. They predict that a large-scale use of nuclear weapons would result in fire storms with very high winds and high temperatures, which would burn a large proportion of the wild land fuels in the affected nations. The resulting smoke and dust would block out sunlight for a period of many months, at first only in the northern hemisphere but later also in the southern hemisphere. Temperatures in many places would fall far below freezing, and much of the earths plant life would be killed. Animals and humans would then die of starvation." 

-->The NYT isn't interested enough in the end of the world to even do a story on Gorbachev's warnings. Too busy demonizing Putin and getting the American people fired up for that last big one. Hillary's New Cold War might really be "that's all, folks."


"New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for giving 'voice to the voiceless' on international social justice issues, wrote an op-ed in yesterday’s Times (10/30/16) arguing for increased government action on poverty. His calls for heightened attention to economic deprivation, though, were buried in a larger message that was familiar to longtime Kristof-watchers: that the poor aren’t actually poor because they lack enough money, but because of their own moral failings. ...

To drive home his point, Kristof explicitly argued that this surfeit of entertainment options despite the lack of bare necessities was a sign of how America’s poor are trapped in a 'cycle of poverty' that leaves them constitutionally incapable of adopting the behaviors that would enable them to live better lives. ...

None of this is new terrain for Kristof, who previously wrote (5/23/10) of African poverty that 'if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children’s prospects would be transformed,' and insisted (12/9/12) that poor families in Appalachia were pulling their kids out of literacy programs to earn disability benefits."

-->Kristof is, of course, the voice of liberal white America, unwilling to give more than lip service to the suffering of the poor. Anything to avoid that horror of horrors, having to share the nation's wealth and opportunities in a fairer way.


Common Dreams:
"Police arrested 141 people in North Dakota on Thursday, moving in with pepper spray and armored tanks on Native American water protectors and other activists who for months have waged resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Tara Houska, an Ojibwe attorney and director of the rights group Honor the Earth, told Democracy Now! on Friday that the raid was an act of 'all-out war...waged on Indigenous protectors.'

Houska, who was reportedly shot in the face with a beanbag round during the onslaught, also said in a separate statement released by a coalition of Indigenous groups on Friday, 'Yesterday was a shameful moment in American history. Law enforcement is supposed to serve and protect the people, not corporate interests. Police enacted violence on people who were armed only with prayer.' "

-->Contrast this to the armed takeover of government lands by white militia that lasted for six weeks. The FBI and federal authorities allowed the militia members to drive in and out every day to get their mail and pick up more beer. If you are armed and white, you get off free. If you are indigenous and unarmed, the feds send in the Seventh Calvary. The NYT take on all this can be summed up by its recent article entitled "The View From Two Sides of the Front Lines at Standing Rock."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Telecommunications giant AT&T is spying on Americans for profit and helped law enforcement agencies investigate everything from the so-called war on drugs to Medicaid fraud—all at taxpayers' expense, according to new reporting by The Daily Beast. The program, known as Project Hemisphere, allowed state and local agencies to conduct warrantless searches of trillions of call records and other cellular data ...

Evan Greer, campaign director at the digital rights group Fight for the Future, said Tuesday, 'The for-profit spying program that these documents detail is more terrifying than the illegal [National Security Agency] surveillance programs that Edward Snowden exposed. Far beyond the NSA and FBI, these tools are accessible to a wide range of law enforcement officers including local police, without a warrant, as long as they pay up.' ...

Greer added: 'Customers trusted AT&T with some of their most private information, and the company turned around and literally built a product to sell that information to as many government agencies and police departments as they could. Not only did they fail to have any safeguards to prevent unauthorized use of the data, they actually required law enforcement to keep the program secret and dig up or fabricate other evidence, to hide the fact that they'd received information from AT&T.' "

-->The mainstream media is not covering this story of a communications giant profiting from selling all our calling data to the government. No doubt the NYT is working on how to spin this latest insight into our scary national security state. 

UPDATE: The NYT did cover this story on Oct 26.


The Guardian UK:
"As they go to the polls in a historic presidential election, more than six in 10 Americans say neither major political party represents their views any longer, a survey has found. Dissatisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans has risen sharply since 1990, when less than half held that neither reflected their opinions, according to research by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). ...

Both Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican standard bearer Trump continue to suffer historically low favourability ratings, with less than half of the public viewing each candidate positively (41% v 33%). ...

The discontent with parties and candidates extends to the electoral process itself, which Trump claims is rigged against him. Less than half the public (43%) say they have a great deal of confidence that their vote will be counted accurately, while 38% have some confidence and 17% have hardly any confidence."

-->Major media does not like to remind voters how little confidence the electorate has in the political system. That's because the media is part of the corrupted, corporate owned, two party fraud.  


Common Dreams:
"A prominent Honduran leader of a rural land rights movement was killed on Monday night in what supporters claim was an assassination organized by wealthy landowners. Jose Angel Flores, president of the Unified Campesinos Movement of the Aguan Valley, or MUCA, had been under police protection since March, teleSUR reported, after the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights ordered the Honduran state to protect him from death threats in 2014. ...

About 150 other activists have been killed so far in the region, the local campesinos organizations told teleSUR. The battle between landowners and peasant farmers has led to so much bloodshed that people describe Bajo Aguan, where MUCA operates, as 'killing fields.' ...

And the U.S. continues to funnel millions of dollars in military funding to the Honduran government, despite the targeted assassinations and other human rights abuses."

-->The NYT did not cover this latest murder, and even the Associated Press story omitted the real reason behind the Honduran killing fields, the coup that overthrew the country's last democratically elected president. Of course, the coup was the work of a particularly warlike Secretary of State at the time, Hillary Clinton. What major media would touch that?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Common Dreams:
"NAACP's Call for Charter School Moratorium Invites Corporate Criticism. ...Despite pressure from corporate media and education reformers, the nation's largest civil rights organization voted on Saturday to approve a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion at least until issues of non-transparency and inequity are meaningfully addressed. ...

Before and after the vote, major American newspapers including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal came out against the resolution—as did a slew of corporate education reform organizations. ...

What do the drafters of the NAACP resolution understand that these editorial boards do not? They know that the charter industry was the creation of some of the wealthiest billionaires in America, from the Walton family heirs of the Walmart fortune, to Microsoft's Bill Gates [who have] pumped billions into creating a new privatized school system where those running schools can profit and evade government oversight."

-- >The NYT is sticking up for the billionaires as usual, just like our pay to play Governor Cuomo. Our guest next week, George Joseph, will talk about the nine billionaires who are out to destroy public education.


Huffington Post:
"Nation’s Largest Seniors Group Is Using Conservative Scare Tactics On Social Security. AARP is promoting alarmism about the program and giving awards to Republican lawmakers who want to cut it. ...

The 'Take A Stand' initiative rankled progressive retirement security advocates virtually from the moment it started, because it focused on getting politicians to propose any detailed plan ― and didn’t distinguish between reform proposals that would cut benefits and those that would not.

The new television ad has only heightened liberal concerns. Critics of AARP’s approach say that the influential seniors group, which has 37 million members across the country and incredible influence in Washington, is making Social Security’s financial challenges seem much more dire than they really are. In doing so, the group is playing right into the crisis framing favored by conservatives, who want benefit cuts to seem inevitable."

-- >The AARP has long been doing the dirty work of the insurance companies that fund the organization. Why can't our mainstream media point out AARP's obvious sell out of both our nation's seniors and middle class workers?


Common Dreams:
"As Flint Suffers, Big Pharma Slammed for Lead Poison Drug Price Hike of 2,700%. Drug company Valeant described as 'poster child for pharmaceutical greed.'

Outrage is growing this week amid revelations that the pharmaceutical company Valeant raised the price for its critical lead-poisoning treatment by more than 2,700 percent in a single year. ...

'This is a drug that has long been a standard of care, and until recently it was widely accessible at an affordable price,' Dr. Michael Kosnett, an associate clinical professor, told STAT. He also contacted the U.S. Congress. 'There's no justification for the astronomical price increases by Valeant, which limit availability of the drug to children with life-threatening lead poisoning.' " 

-- >Let's face it, billionaire speculators should not be allowed to destroy public education or our children's access to affordable drugs. Seems so clear to us, but the NYT didn't bother printing this story.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Intercept:
"A secret FBI study found that anger over U.S. military operations abroad was the most commonly cited motivation for individuals involved in cases of 'homegrown' terrorism. The report also identified no coherent pattern to 'radicalization,' concluding that it remained near impossible to predict future violent acts.

The study, reviewed by The Intercept, was conducted in 2012 by a unit in the FBI’s counterterrorism division and surveyed intelligence analysts and FBI special agents across the United States who were responsible for nearly 200 cases, both open and closed, involving 'homegrown violent extremists.' The survey responses reinforced the FBI’s conclusion that such individuals 'frequently believe the U.S. military is committing atrocities in Muslim countries, thereby justifying their violent aspirations.'

Online relationships and exposure to English-language militant propaganda and 'ideologues' like Anwar al-Awlaki are also cited as 'key factors' driving extremism. But grievances over U.S. military action ranked far above any other factor ..." 

-- >US wars abroad cause terrorism at home, maybe just like what motivated the 9/11 attackers. Readers of the NYT are spared this juicy fact about the Empire; the newspaper didn't carry this story.


Common Dreams:
"New Documents Show US Knew Helping Saudis in Yemen Could Be War Crime. Officials doubted Saudi military could target Houthi militants without hurting civilians or destroying infrastructure, Reuters reports.

As the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia comes under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the Gulf nation's weekend bombing campaign in Yemen, a Reuters exclusive published Monday reveals that the Obama administration approved a $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings that it could implicate the U.S. in war crimes. ...

American officials were actually well aware that airstrikes in Yemen were killing scores of civilians."

-- >The US media doesn't print stories that involve war crimes committed by the United States. Whenever we commit war crimes, they are always "mistakes." Why print a story that shows our government knew all along what the Saudis were doing?


"Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reportedly wanted to drone Wikileaks founder Julian Assange when she was secretary of state.

According to True Pundit, Clinton and the state department were under pressure to silence Assange and Wikileaks in the months before the whistleblowing site released a massive dump of 250,000 diplomatic cables from 1966 up to 2010, dubbed CableGate.

'Can’t we just drone this guy?' Clinton asked, according to unidentified state department sources. ... True Pundit reports the people in the room with Clinton on November 23, 2010 laughed at her comment, until it became clear that the then-secretary of state was serious. Clinton was reportedly fuming and referred to Assange as a 'soft target.' " 

-- Clinton's advocating drone murder is worse than anything Trump had to say about groping women. But the US media didn't let the American public hear about her comments.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Mazin Qumsiyeh:
"Shimon Peres, a war criminal with blood of thousands on his hands died and he was eulogized by the Western imperial powers (US and British governments had the highest level delegations) but also by representatives from four "Arab" governments. ...

Peres was born as Shimon Perski in Vishniva, Poland (now Belarus). He and his parents came as colonizers under the Zionist banner to Palestine in 1934 and he joined the underground Israeli forces, the Haganah, and served as a chief of its manpower division in the 1940s. He is the architect of Israel’s nuclear program.

Appointed in 1953 as director general of the ministry of defense, he immediately started exploring the nuclear development. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Israel developed its nuclear program primarily with the help of France while maintaining the Peres doctrine of “ambiguity.” The US and Britain and other countries looked the other way. He was responsible for ethnic cleansing and numerous massacres (including the infamous attack on a UN compound in Qana killing scores of civilians taking shelter there. He was given (with Rabin and Arafat) the Nobel Peace Prize for their infamous Oslo accords that transformed the PLO from a liberation movement to a subcontractor of the occupation. Nobel committee members signed a letter later regretting their decision as Peres continued his career of crimes." 

-- >It's so refreshing to read the truth about war criminals, especially after the glorified obituary offered by the NYT. This is from the newsletter of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, author of “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment.”


The Guardian UK:
"Legal papers filed by the New York police department reveal that the department sent its own undercover officers to protests led by Black Lives Matter after the death of Eric Garner. The NYPD documents also show that it collected multimedia records about the protests. The NYPD disclosed its undercover operations in response to a group of New York attorneys requesting records under the state freedom of information law. ...

'The fear and disarming effect caused by undercovers being assigned to what were and continue to be extraordinarily peaceful protests is disturbing,' said MJ Williams, one of the attorneys involved in the records request. 'To the extent that it would influence individuals not to participate and get individuals to censor what they say because of a fear of undercovers – that’s a basis for a first amendment violation.'

She added: 'As someone who was present at the protests, it’s disturbing to know the NYPD may have a file on me, ready to be used or to prevent me from getting a job simply because I’ve been active in some political capacity. That’s potentially a fourth amendment violation for unlawful seizure, but on the other hand, we’ve seen law enforcement agencies have all sorts of justifications for data collection for public safety that the courts have allowed.' ” 

-- >The police are still at it, sending undercover agents into peaceful protests by Black Lives matter to try to intimidate and harass activists. But readers will have to go to a British newspaper to learn what New York City cops are doing. The NYT did not cover this story.


Common Dreams:
"Fake News & False Flags: How the Pentagon Paid a British PR firm $500 Million for Top Secret Iraq Propaganda. The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda programme in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.

Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.

The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking US military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside."

-- >How many ways can the Pentagon waste billions on a futile and endless war in the Middle East? Don't ask readers of the NYT this question. Our newspaper of record did not cover the story.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Times Warp:
"Billions in Taxpayer Money to Israel: How the NYT Hides Unsavory Facts from View. Thanks to American taxpayers, Israel has been receiving $3.1 billion in direct military aid each year, and under a new agreement signed this week that amount is set to rise to $3.8 annually. This is a hefty package and major news, but The New York Times has been oddly reticent about it, running a story on page 6 of the print edition and without fanfare online.

This is not a new phenomenon at the Times. Over the past year, as the United States and Israel have negotiated a new 10-year memorandum of understanding concerning military aid, readers have seen few references to the topic, and even with the signing of a new agreement this week, the newspaper maintains its minimalist approach.
The article by Peter Baker and Julie Hirschfeld Davis gives few details of the deal, instead proving a great deal of space to the state of U.S.-Israeli relations. ...

In addition, donations sent by Jewish and Christian groups to support settlements are tax-exempt. So every dollar donated to support the colonization of Palestinian land means the loss of at least 20 cents that should go into the U.S. treasury."

-->Hiding the truth about Israel has always been a priority at the NYT. Often the newspaper is little more than a propaganda vehicle for Israeli apartheid. 


Common Dreams:
"Backing up the Standing Rock Sioux and its allies, a United Nations expert has called on the United States to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Echoing pipeline opponents' concerns, the statement from the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, cited the pipeline's threats to drinking water and sacred sites. She also admonished the U.S. for failing to protect protesters' rights and failing to properly consult with communities affected by the fossil fuel infrastructure.

'The tribe was denied access to information and excluded from consultations at the planning stage of the project, and environmental assessments failed to disclose the presence and proximity of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation,' Tauli-Corpuz stated Thursday—just two days after Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II urged the UN Human Rights Council to help the tribe stop the pipeline. ...

Responding to the crackdown on pipeline protesters, she said, 'The U.S. authorities should fully protect and facilitate the right to freedom of peaceful assembly of indigenous peoples, which plays a key role in empowering their ability to claim other rights.' " 

-->No word yet from the US media, including the NYT. The elite business class wants this pipeline, and our media usually falls in line by omitting stories like this.


The Electronic Intifada:
"Editors at two of the most widely read Palestinian online publications have had their Facebook accounts disabled. Administrators for the Facebook pages of Quds, which has more than five million 'likes,' and Shehab News Agency, which has more than six million, found they could not access their accounts on Friday.

Ezz al-Din al-Akhras, a supervisor at Quds, told The Electronic Intifada that at around 2pm, three of the publication’s editors found their accounts disabled. The same thing has happened to five editors at Shehab News Agency, a news editor for that publication told The Electronic Intifada. ...

Both believe that the suspensions are directly related to an agreement between Facebook and the Israeli government to collaborate in monitoring what Israel claims is 'incitement' by Palestinians. 'The joint Facebook-Israel censorship efforts, needless to say, will be directed at Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians who oppose Israeli occupation,' The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote of the agreement earlier this month."

-->How long will readers of the NYT wait for this story to be printed? Sadly, the NYT doesn't cover free speech issues that involve Palestinians.