Thursday, September 27, 2018

Common Dreams:
"Ten years after the behavior of over-leveraged and fraudulent banks created a global financial disaster that resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in losses; a multi-trillion bailout using public money; and millions of people losing their homes to foreclosure, but saw not one high-level financial executive go to jail, a man in Florida has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes from a local convenience store.

According to the Associated Press, 'Robert Spellman, 48, received the lengthy sentence after a jury in Pensacola convicted him of burglary and grand theft last month.' 

As the Pensacola News Journal reports:
'He went into the Circle K in the 200 block of West Cervantes Street and took 10 cartons of cigarettes from a locked manager's office in the stock room. He was found nearby, matched a description of the suspect, was wearing the same clothing and had the cigarettes, according to the State Attorney's Office. ...' "

-->Sometimes the most egregious examples of our dysfunctional criminal justice system comes down to stories like this. Black man gets 20 years; white, rich men rob millions without penalty. The NYT was not interested and didn't cover it. 


Electronic Intifada:
"The Trump administration’s top civil rights enforcer at the US Department of Education wanted students who did nothing but hold a noisy protest in support of Palestinian rights to be criminally prosecuted.

Kenneth Marcus was captured on camera during a September 2016 meeting with an undercover reporter working on Al Jazeera’s explosive documentary about the US Israel lobby ....

The above video obtained by The Electronic Intifada is the latest excerpt to leak from the documentary. It shows Marcus speaking to the undercover reporter.
At the time, Marcus was director of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, an Israel lobby group unaffiliated with Brandeis University. The Brandeis Center specializes in lawfare – the use of legal proceedings to harass and silence Israel’s critics."

-->A truly disturbing story of how the government and a top university work together to deny freedom of expression on campus. The NYT covered part of this story, but omitted Brandeis University or any mention of the Al Jazeera’s censored documentary. 


Common Dreams:
"With wealthy corporations, state legislatures, and the federal government finding new ways to challenge Americans' right to protest, several nonprofit groups have banded together to fight back on behalf of those facing legal jeopardy for peacefully blocking pipelines or using civil disobedience to resist other fossil projects and destructive policies.

The 'Protect the Protest' initiative was established this month by 20 non-profit groups—including the ACLU, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), and Amnesty International—in response to lawsuits commonly filed by large companies against protesters with the goal of taking advantage of the power imbalance and exhausting activists' resources, forcing them to end their actions against the corporations.

In addition to the broader goal of 'defending dissent,' the coalition will put a focus on advising demonstrators and groups on how to avoid and handle that legal tactic known as a 'strategic lawsuit against public participation,' or SLAPP."

-->The US mainstream media doesn't care much about student free speech rights on campuses. In fact, quite the opposite. This story didn't make it into the NYT or any other media outlets.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Common Dreams:
"When Facebook selected the right-wing, Iraq War-boosting magazine The Weekly Standard as an official fact-checking partner last year as part of its effort to combat 'misinformation,' progressives warned that the conservative publication would use its power to suppress accurate articles published by center-left and left-wing outlets. That's precisely what happened.

After ThinkProgress published an article by Ian Millhiser last week arguing that Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh's comments during his Senate confirmation hearings combined with a speech he gave in 2017 eliminates 'any doubt' that the judge opposes the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, the Weekly Standard deemed the article 'false'—a designation that, given Facebook's rules and the platform's enormous power, cuts off 80 percent of the piece's future traffic and penalizes other pages that dare to post the article.

-->Facebook hired a right wing publication to censor progressive pages? Hard to believe unless you depend on the NYT for your news. It didn't cover this story. 


Black Agenda Report:
"Israeli operatives and their US lobbyists sprang into action when the Movement for Black Lives came out in support of the boycott Israel movement.
'Israeli’s boasted that they were taking decisive measures to drive a wedge between established black community leadership and the new generation gravitating towards Black Lives Matter.'

Exclusive footage from the censored Al Jazeera documentary, 'The Lobby – USA,' shows Israeli government officials taking credit for attacks on Black Lives Matter and reveals an Israel lobbyist explaining how his organization shut down a BLM fundraiser. ...

Previously unreleased footage from Al Jazeera’s censored investigative documentary, 'The Lobby -- USA,' shows Israeli diplomats complaining about the Black Lives Matter 'problem' and boasting about their cultivation of established black civil rights activists as pro-Israel proxies."

-->Yes, the Israel Lobby is busy attacking Black Lives Matter, siding with the racist state in America to shut them down. There was no coverage of this story in the NYT, always eager to whitewash the Israeli Lobby's racism. 


"Trump Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh was subject to a wringer of testy Senate confirmation hearings last week. The current DC Circuit Court judge has come under fire from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee for his stances against the landmark pro-abortion decision Roe v. Wade, affirmative action and programs for Native Hawaiians, as well as his support for torture.

But some Democrats have also said that Kavanaugh lied under oath in both current and past hearings, and groups like Free Speech for People, Demand Justice, MoveOn and NARAL Pro-Choice America have all advocated perjury probes against him. However, these serious allegations of perjury have received sparse coverage from establishment media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and NPR. ...

Whether the perjury allegations against Kavanaugh turn out to have legal basis or not, such accusations against a Supreme Court nominee deserve at least one article with a thorough examination of the issue in establishment media sources like the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and NPR.  This is especially true when the nominee threatens to shift the ideological balance of the court for decades."

-->Maybe the mainstream media is not so interested in stopping a rightward ideological shift in the Supreme Court. What is good for business is good for them.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

"Up till now, the news reporting in the Times on the anti-semitism charges against the British Labour Party had been fair and the opinion pieces noxious, but now the news reporting is lining up with the noxious folk. Yesterday’s article datelined London, says that Jeremy Corbyn’s 'anti-Semitism crisis' is 'largely of his own making' ...

For that is the central issue in the Western debate: The instant Palestinians start getting support from someone who might have real power, the anti-Semite accusation is wheeled out, everyone remembers Who The Real Victims Are, and Palestinians are shoved under the bus.

That is the whole point of these charges. The discourse of anti-semitism is currently the central issue in the Western world for anyone who favors Palestinian rights, and I just wish people would start constantly and consistently pointing to the elephant in the room, which is that these fake anti-Semitism charges are not innocent. They are racist against Palestinians."

-->This refreshing opinion about the use of antisemitism charges to defeat progressive candidates in the US and England can't be read in our mainstream media. Are Zionists simply shills for the corporate elite, who certainly don't want these candidates to win elections?


Asia Times:
"Hanoi is demanding compensation from US manufacturers of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, as a last resort to help families still suffering traumatic birth defects almost 50 years after the end of the Vietnam war. ...

From 1961 to 1971, the US dropped more than 75 million liters of Agent Orange and other herbicides over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in what was then called Operation Ranch Hand, in a scorched-earth policy to strip the terrain of foliage and food supplies in an effort to defeat the Viet Cong. ...

[N]ew generations of the Vietnamese population continue to suffer from prolonged effects of the poison through the food supply as well as deformed children from genetic mutations passed on by their parents. The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) says more than 4.8 million people were exposed to the herbicide and 3 million of them suffered deadly diseases."

-->The NYT, ever the apologist for the empire's war crimes, didn't print this story.


Common Dreams:
"With the premiere of his latest documentary film, 'Fahrenheit 11/9,' receiving a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore issued a plea to audiences to come away from the movie with an understanding that simply removing President Donald Trump from office won't do away with the circumstances which led to him being there.

'Donald J. Trump did not just fall from the sky,' wrote Moore in a statement on his website. 'His rise to the presidency was not an aberration and should not have come as a shock.' ...

The film examines some of the undercurrents of American culture which Moore has explored in his previous films: the unchecked corporate greed which has led to the decimation of whole communities and the 2008 financial meltdown, the subject of his films 'Roger and Me' and 'Capitalism: A Love Story'; the immense power of private interest groups like the NRA and for-profit health insurance companies, as he explored in 'Bowling for Columbine' and 'Sicko.' "

-->Lucky for the corrupt, corporate political system we are all burdened with, our newspaper of record didn't report Moore's new film.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Black Agenda Report:
"From 1992 till weeks before his death John McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, a US government funded organization that interferes in the political processes of scores of other countries, training rebel groups to overthrow inconvenient elected governments, like that of John Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and many others. McCain and the IRI were prominent backers of neo-nazi politicians and armed militia groups in Ukraine who are now part of that country’s army and civilian government. ...

During his 32 years in the US Senate, the real John McCain was a consistent warmonger , advocating US military intervention in Africa, South America, Korea, and almost everywhere. He sang 'bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran' before a veterans group, and called demonstrators against Henry Kissinger 'despicable scum.' The record of his public calls for coups, invasions, blockades, bombings and assassinations to advance US military and economic domination of the planet is far too long to list.

All this explains why corporate media are lifting up their whitewashed and manufactured version of John McCain. He’s one of their own, a genuine war criminal and loyal servant of capital. Lifting him up, creating and embellishing his heroic story lifts up and legitimizes the rule of the rich."

-->Finally, an honest assessment of John McCain. The mainstream media just can't resist pleasing the Pentagon and the weapons makers by portraying McCain as an American hero. Disgusting, isn't it?


Common Dreams:
"Progressives Disgusted as Democrats Fold at Brett Kavanaugh Hearing. As more than 30 people were dragged away in handcuffs on Tuesday for protesting during the confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, critics of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded a comparable show of courage and called on those lawmakers—who failed to win a delay of the proceedings—to simply end their participation and walk out. ...

But those hopes were largely dashed when it became increasingly clear that the Democrats were not prepared for what would happen if Grassley refused to heed their calls, as he predictably did. The acquiescence was led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who ended the series of objections by delivering her prepared opening statement. ...

But critics held that continuing with the hearing at all was a betrayal of constituents who are counting on Democratic senators to serve their interests—as Republicans went to extreme lengths to block President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, from even having a confirmation hearing in 2016 in order to serve their party's interests.

-->More disgust at the Democratic leadership that can't stop selling out to right wing, corporate America. Mainstream media didn't dwell on Feinstein's cowardice. And with a net worth of $94 million, what does she care anyway?


Common Dreams:
"After the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition issued a statement on Saturday calling its deadly bombing of a Yemeni school bus 'unjustified' and claiming it was the result of mere 'mistakes,' human rights groups and progressive lawmakers ramped up calls for the U.S. to immediately halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has been viciously bombing Yemen for years.

'We must end U.S. support for this disastrous war in Yemen,' Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declared on Twitter Saturday evening. 'It is also long past time that we begin to take a very hard look at our relationship with Saudi Arabia.'

-->The NYT has finally gotten around to condemning the Saudi bombing in an opinion piece by the Editorial Board. But the news it presents to the public still whitewashes Saudi Arabia, with stories entitled "Saudi-Led Coalition Condemns U.N. Rights Report on Yemen." Contrast this to the AP headline: "Rights Group: Strike on Bus in Yemen Is Apparent War Crime."