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." http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/11/24/veterans-plan-deployment-join-water-protectors-battle-against-dapl

-->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." https://theintercept.com/2016/11/27/arrests-of-journalists-at-standing-rock-test-the-boundaries-of-the-first-amendment/

-->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." https://www.democracynow.org/2016/11/21/headlines/standing_rock_100_injured_after_police_attack_with_water_cannons_rubber_bullets_mace

-- >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."