Thursday, December 31, 2020

 The Jerusalem Post:

"Trump last week in the wake of his loss in the presidential election to Joe Biden purged senior staff at the departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security and named loyalist to the jobs. Among the new hires was [Douglas] Macgregor, who is advising the new acting defense secretary, Christopher Hill.

CNN's File uncovered interviews in which Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran who appears frequently on Fox News and other conservative media, says 'pro-Israel' donors and the pro-Israel lobby are behind efforts to drive the United States into war.

Last year in an interview with a Florida talk show, Macgregor explained what was behind what he said was a push to war with Iran. 'We're dragged in because of our close relationship with Israel.' he said. 'You have to look at the people that donate to those individuals [John Bolton, Michael Pompeo, Sen Lindsey Graham]' "

-->The NYT has covered Douglas Macgregor several times recently, but this story was never even hinted at. The NYT protects the Israel lobby and doesn't want rich, Zionist war hawks exposed to the American people. 


Common Dreams:

"Top UN Anti-Torture Official Urges Trump to Send Message of 'Justice, Truth, and Humanity' by Pardoning Julian Assange. 'WikiLeaks fights secrecy and corruption throughout the world and, therefore, acts in the public interest both of the American people and of humanity as a whole.'

Echoing calls from global grassroots campaigners, the top United Nations anti-torture official on Tuesday asked President Donald Trump to pardon jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is languishing in London's notorious Belmarsh prison as he awaits his fate regarding possible extradition to the United States to stand trial for what critics say are unwarranted espionage charges. 

In a letter to the outgoing American president, Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, noted that 'Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for the past 10 years,' a 'high price to pay for the courage to publish true information about government misconduct throughout the world.' "

-->The NYT, dedicated as it is to the neoliberal world order, did not run this story. In this way, our "newspaper of record" protects the empire's elites from from the harsh light of truth. 


Common Dreams:

"President-elect Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he has selected longtime adviser and notorious deficit hawk Bruce Reed to serve as deputy chief of staff, alarming progressives who have warned for weeks that the Democratic operative's record of commitment to austerity and support for Social Security cuts should disqualify him for any role in the White House.

Originally considered a leading contender to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before Biden selected Neera Tanden for that role, Reed is one of the architects of former President Bill Clinton's disastrous 'welfare reform' as well as the 1994 crime bill, which Biden helped craft.

More recently, Reed served as executive Director of the Bowles-Simpson commission, an Obama administration initiative that in 2010 recommended slashing Social Security benefits and raising the program's retirement age. Reed was the lead author of the commission's report, 'The Moment of Truth.' "

-->The mainstream media, including the NYT, has given about two sentences to Bruce Reed's neoliberal background, and especially his leading role under Obama in trying to destroy Social Security. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

 The Guardian UK:

"Spyware sold by an Israeli private intelligence firm was allegedly used to hack the phones of dozens of Al Jazeera journalists in an unprecedented cyber-attack that is likely to have been ordered by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to leading researchers.

In a stunning new report, researchers at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto said they discovered what appears to be a major espionage campaign against one of the world’s leading media organisations, which is based in Qatar and has long been a thorn in the side of many of the region’s autocratic regimes.

The report, written by some of the world’s top digital surveillance researchers, also raises troubling new questions about the apparent vulnerability of the Apple iPhone, which has sought to promote a reputation for security and commitment to privacy."

-->The NYT is all over stories about Russian hacking. But here we have a story about Israel's hacking into a major news organization and its reporters. The difference? The Russian hacking has no substantive proof, while the Israeli hacking is verified by a Lab at the University of Toronto. The NYT prefers printing unsubstantiated stories, and didn't even cover the Israeli hacking. 


Common Dreams:

"A new report from a leading progressive advocacy group reveals a majority of Americans regardless of partisan affiliation don't want President-elect Joe Biden to appoint corporate executives, consultants, or lobbyists to his Cabinet and administration.

While preparing its report—entitled Americans Want a Progressive Biden Administration (pdf)—Demand Progress surveyed 1,075 likely voters chosen from a representative sample of Americans based on age, gender, race, education, and voting history.

'As the Biden administration takes shape, the Beltway insider consensus is that the path to achieving bipartisanship runs through installing corporate-friendly officials in key posts,' said David Segal, the progressive Rhode Island politician who in 2010 founded Demand Progress. 'But our polling shows ... the D.C. insiders are dead wrong. People across party lines want an administration that is run by people who care about the public interest—not by corporate executives, lobbyists, and consultants.' "

-->The NYT, "newspaper of record," for the corporate lobbyists, didn't print this story. Why remind people of how unpopular a corporate controlled Biden cabinet would be?


Common Dreams:

"Study of 50 Years of Tax Cuts For Rich Confirms 'Trickle Down' Theory Is an Absolute Sham. Neoliberal gospel says that cutting taxes on the wealthy will eventually benefit everyone by boosting economic growth and reducing unemployment, but a new analysis of fiscal policies in 18 countries over the last 50 years reveals that progressive critics of 'trickle down' theory have been right all along: supply-side economics fuels inequality, and the real beneficiaries of the right-wing approach to taxation are the super-rich.

The Economic Consequences of Major Tax Cuts for the Rich (pdf), a working paper published this month by the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics and written by LSE's David Hope and Julian Limberg of King's College London, examines data from nearly 20 OECD countries, including the U.K. and the U.S., and finds that the past five decades have been characterized by 'falling taxes on the rich in the advanced economies,' with 'major tax cuts... particularly clustered in the late 1980s.'

But, according to Hope and Limberg, the vast majority of the populations in those countries have little to show for it, as the benefits of slashing taxes on the wealthy are concentrated among a handful of super-rich individuals—not widely shared across society in the form of improved job creation or prosperity, as 'trickle down' theorists alleged would happen."

-->Bloomberg News and CBS covered this story, but not the NYT, the newspaper that seldom questions the neoliberal agenda. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Common Dreams:

"The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released a report examining the costs associated with universal healthcare proposals that are based on Medicare's fee-for-service program and found that implementing a single-payer health insurance program in the United States would not only guarantee coverage for every person in the country but would also reduce overall healthcare spending nationwide.

In the words of researcher Matt Bruenig—founder and president of the progressive think tank People's Policy Project who called the CBO's working paper (pdf) on the topic 'more exhaustive than any other recent study on the subject'—the new analysis shows that administrative costs under a single-payer healthcare system 'will be lower than what even the most rabid Medicare for All supporters have traditionally claimed.' ...

Bruenig explained that the CBO option that most closely resembles current Medicare for All proposals is the one based on low payment rates and low cost sharing, which would generate $650 billion in savings in 2030."

-->What a stunning waste of money the current for profit healthcare system really is. And how cruel and unnecessary our current denial of medical care for millions of poor people in our country. The NYT avoids studies like this that question corporate profits. It didn't print this story that directly challenges the NYT's damaging criticisms of Elizabeth Warren. 


Common Dreams:

"The WikiLeaks founder's 'prolonged solitary confinement in a high security prison is neither necessary nor proportionate,' said United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer.

The United Nations' top official on torture Tuesday called for British authorities to release or place under house arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing the risk of Covid-19 infection in London's notorious Belmarsh Prison and condemning a decade of 'arbitrary deprivation of liberty' that has 'severely violated' the jailed journalist's human rights. ...

Assange's legal team has repeatedly called for his release, citing pre-existing health conditions—including heart problems and respiratory infections—that place the 49-year-old journalist and publisher at elevated risk for potentially deadly Covid-19 complications."

-->What did the NYT say about the violation of Assange's human rights? Nothing at all. Our "newspaper of record" prefers running stories about Assange's supposedly disagreeable personal traits. 



"Joe Biden doesn’t become president for a month and a half, but already sections of the corporate media are calling on him to use US power to dominate the world.

Typically these calls are couched in benign-sounding euphemisms. For instance, CNBC (11/21/20) ran an article headlined, 'How Biden Can Restore US Global Leadership After Trump’s Retreat From International Institutions,' which of course presumes that America ought to be planetary chief, despite the vast majority of those who live on Earth not being consulted.

Fred Kaplan of Slate (11/12/20) asserted that Biden’s 'main goal is to restore American leadership in a world that’s keen to follow it.' The evidence suggests the opposite, as polling in countries closely allied with the United States like the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Australia finds majorities—strong ones, in many cases—have a negative view of America. That doesn’t matter, though, because the point of Kaplan’s assertion is to provide an ideological smokescreen: The world wants 'American leadership,' goes the lie, so the American population should support their government’s overseas adventures."

-->How transparent the empire's propaganda is, once you know what to look for. Read the article to understand the different ways that American exceptionalism is sold to the US public. All this to ensure that the Military Industrial Complex will thrive under Biden's administration. War is all about money, lies and compliant journalists. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

 Common Dreams:

"After a series of news reports that have alarmed civil liberties advocates and progressive lawmakers, the ACLU sued on Wednesday to find out how and why federal agencies are buying access to bulk databases of Americans' cell phone location information and effectively bypassing the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement.

'We're suing to bring some much-needed transparency to these disturbing practices,' Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, explains in a blog post about the new lawsuit. 'Transparency is the first step to accountability.' ...

In response to Motherboard's revelation, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress—tweeted that 'the military industrial complex and the surveillance state have always had a cozy relationship with tech. Buying bulk data in order to profile Muslims is par for the course for them—and is absolutely sickening. It should be illegal!' "

-->The NYT simply protects the military industrial complex by not printing stories like this. And when it comes to protecting journalists like Julian Assange, our "newspaper of record" is even more craven. 


Common Dreams:

"A week after Michael Flynn secured a full pardon from President Donald Trump, the ex-national security adviser is under fire for sharing a call for his former boss to 'immediately declare a limited form of martial law, and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections, for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a national re-vote.'

Trump, who continues to baselessly claim that his loss to President-elect Joe Biden was the result of a 'rigged election' and file lawsuits challenging the results, pardoned Flynn last week—even though Flynn, who was a senior adviser to Trump's first presidential campaign before briefly joining his administration, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Flynn took to Twitter late Tuesday to share a press release from the Ohio nonprofit We The People Convention (WTPC), which bought a full-page ad in the Washington Times urging Trump to invoke martial law to hold a new election 'when the legislators, courts and/or Congress fail to do their duty under the 12th Amendment' of the Constitution, which details the procedure for electing the president and vice president."

-->Here is a direct call for overthrowing the US government and establishing a military dictatorship. Here we have a former lieutenant general and former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency buying full page ads to promote the military takeover of our democracy. No word from the NYT. Its readers will be the last to know about any fascist coup in the US.


The Guardian:

"Authorities in Sicily have asked Cuba’s government to send about 60 healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, to the region as hospitals in the Italian island struggle with a shortage of medical personnel during the second coronavirus wave.

The request was filed this week to the Italian embassy in Cuba and refers to intensive care specialists, nurses, anaesthetists, resuscitators, virologists and pneumologists, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported.

Between March and April this year, Cuban medical teams landed in some of Italy’s worst-hit regions, including Lombardy and Piedmont, to replace overworked Italian professionals. Other medical brigades have fanned out across the world to fight Covid-19 in 20 other countries, from South Africa to Suriname."

-->Would the NYT ever report this story? No, In fact. The empire's propaganda newspaper never decides that favorable new about Cuba is "fit to print."

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Public Citizen:
"Amazon is price gouging customers on a wide range of essential goods – jacking up prices on face masks, toilet paper and antibacterial soap by up to 1,000% – as shown in a Public Citizen report released today. The report documents a pattern of outrageous price increases for products listed as 'sold by Amazon' as well as those sold by third parties.

'Amazon has fundamentally misled the public, law enforcement and policymakers about price increases during the pandemic,' said Alex Harman, competition policy advocate for Public Citizen and author of the report. 'Amazon has publicly blamed third-party sellers for price increases while continuing to raise prices on its own products and allowing those sellers to increase their prices. The facts demonstrate the need for a federal price gouging law and for Amazon to implement major reforms to its pricing and product listing practices.'

This report details 15 essential products that have been sold by Amazon during the COVID-19 pandemic with markups over the recent price on or other national retailers ranging from 76% to more than 1,000%, and 10 additional essential products sold on Amazon by third-party sellers during the same period with markups ranging from 225% to 941%."

-->The NYT did run an article back in March about price gauging, but there was little said about Amazon or the possible legislation being proposed. 


Common Dreams:

"Illustrating the intensifying inequality that has defined life in the United States for the past four decades—spotlighted throughout the coronavirus crisis—the total amount of wealth gained by the nation's 650 billionaires since March surged past $1 trillion amid Tuesday's record-breaking day on Wall Street, which coincided with reports that 26 million Americans are experiencing hunger. 

'During the pandemic that has taken everything from millions, U.S. billionaires have now collectively gained over $1 trillion,' the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a progressive think tank, said Wednesday. 

'The increases in billionaire wealth continue to defy gravity in the real economy where millions have lost their jobs, health, and livelihoods,' said Chuck Collins, a scholar of inequality at IPS who has been tracking the evolution of billionaire wealth throughout the coronavirus crisis, in a statement on Wednesday."

-->The NYT didn't even cover this article from the Institute for Policy Studies. Our "newspaper of record" is mostly written to please the oligarchy.



The Brookings Institute:

"Prior to Election Day, Brookings Metro asked if working-class white voters in struggling Midwestern swing state communities would decide the winner of the presidential race, as they did in 2016.

As a recent Brookings Metro piece on the election noted, Biden’s base resides in more populous, educated, and prosperous communities that are home to the lion’s share of today’s economic action. This pattern certainly held in Michigan and Wisconsin, where Biden won in the most prosperous cities and their suburbs, while Trump held on to the states’ rural areas.

As in 2016, Trump also won numerous struggling older industrial city-regions, which used to be Democratic, blue-collar strongholds. Meanwhile, Biden carried a number of older industrial communities that had turned an economic corner—some that were once squarely Republican."

-->The NYT ignored this report and its class analysis. Yes, poverty and the huge gap between the ultra rich and the poor both lead to right wing, Trump voters. And if Biden gives us another four years of neoliberalism, we will be back to looking at a possible fascist takeover of our country.