Wednesday, April 28, 2021


"One year ago, as both the Trump administration in the US and the Johnson government in the UK responded fitfully to the growing pandemic, the international media were looking for whipping boys: other countries whose response to the virus was even worse. ...

The media’s feeding frenzy on the Sandinista government began with the BBC. Last April, BBC World (4/4/20) claimed that President Daniel Ortega’s government had taken 'no measures at all' in the face of the virus threat. It invented a media trope: Ortega’s 'long absence' from public view. (He’d not appeared in person or on TV for three weeks, something not at all unusual.)

Two days later, the New York Times (4/6/20) was asking, 'Where Is Daniel Ortega?,' adding that his government had been 'widely criticized for its cavalier approach,' and that the public 'is deeply dubious about government claims.' ...

In September, I wrote in Popular Resistance (9/22/20) that it can only be a matter of time before Nicaragua’s effective response to the pandemic is recognized by the corporate media, especially as it is in such contrast to the experience of most other Latin American countries, and of course that of the US and the UK."

-->Surprise! The establishment media in the US and UK reported that Nicaragua was causing endless suffering by ignoring the pandemic. Yet Nicaragua has done the best in containing the virus in all of Central America. From the BBC to the NYT, propaganda against socialist leaders matters more than truth. 


The Intercept:

"IN A YEAR marked by a coronavirus pandemic that has killed millions, CVS Health financed a wave of political advocacy against measures to control health care costs and increase access.

The health care giant, which owns Aetna health insurance and operates thousands of pharmacies and walk-in clinics around the country, provided $5 million to the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, or PAHCF.

The seven-figure donation from CVS is the largest known contribution to PAHCF, which was formed in 2018 to lobby and advocate against proposals such as Medicare for All, the public option, and similar reforms that have gained growing support in recent years. PAHCF is a 501(c)(4) and is not required to disclose donor information.

Last year, PAHCF swamped voters in Democratic primary states such as South Carolina with ads urging voters to oppose Medicare for All. In states considering the public option, the group hired local lobbyists and aired advertisements designed to discourage state legislators from voting for the plan. And just before the general election, the group again aired ads attacking the public option."

-->It is outrageous how the private healthcare industry tries to destroy universal healthcare. But why doesn't our media including the NYT report such efforts to undermine healthcare reform? Because the NYT is part of the problem of corporate domination of our healthcare system. 


The Guardian UK:

"Republicans in Florida have stepped up their assault on what they call 'Marxist professors and students' in the state’s public universities and colleges with a bill that encourages the reporting of lecturers perceived to be stifling 'viewpoint diversity' on campus.

The bill, currently awaiting the signature of the Florida governor and Donald Trump ally Ron DeSantis, will allow students to make recordings of lectures without their professors’ consent, and present them as evidence of political bias.

It requires all 40 of Florida’s state-funded institutions of postsecondary education to conduct an annual survey of faculty and students to establish how well intellectual freedoms are protected on campus; and to 'shield' students from efforts to limit their 'access to, or observation of, ideas and opinions that they may find uncomfortable, unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.' ”

-->Opening the doors for white supremacists on campus? Providing a way for the state to intimidate and control what is taught in colleges? Why wouldn't the NYT print this story? Because our "newspaper of record" rarely defends freedom of speech on the nation's campuses.  

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Guardian UK:

"When the world shut down last year, there was one big beneficiary: the planet. With travel ground to a halt, emissions fell 10% in 2020. But we haven’t kept up the momentum – as economies reopen, carbon emissions are expected surpass pre-pandemic levels in the coming months, unless countries take urgent action. We are in an emergency. California is on the brink of drought, prompting fears of a new wave of devastating megafires later this year. Rising temperatures could soon make the planet’s tropical regions unlivable for humans. ...

Two years ago, the Guardian announced it was changing the language it uses to talk about the environment, eschewing terms like 'climate change' for the more appropriately urgent 'climate emergency'. Today, we are joined by others in the news industry, organizations that recognize that a global catastrophe is already here, and that without immediate action, it will get unimaginably worse.

These organizations are part of Covering Climate Now, an initiative founded in 2019 by Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation, with the Guardian as the lead partner, to address the urgent need for stronger climate coverage."

-->It seems like most of our corporate controlled media likes it the old way. Flowers and balloons for Earth Day, but little of the urgent need for stronger news coverage. 


Black Alliance for Peace:

"Members of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) criticized U.S. President Joe Biden's announcement Wednesday that he would pull troops from Afghanistan on September 11, 2021, thereby violating a key component of a peace agreement negotiated by the previous administration.

A September 11 withdrawal—landing on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack—reinforces the false impression that the Taliban government had something to do with the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

BAP is concerned the attempt to move the date of U.S. withdrawal past the agreed-upon May 1 deadline will give hardliners in the Biden-Harris administration the opportunity to create the conditions for continued U.S. occupation of Afghanistan by baiting the Taliban into renewed attacks. ... BAP has detailed how powerful forces within the administration and among the foreign policy elite are trying to find ways to keep a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to support broader geostrategic objectives, primarily countering Chinese influence."

-->The US media including the NYT have little incentive to look beneath the surface of Biden's military plans. The few media outlets left in the US are all corporate controlled, and they rarely criticize US warmongering or the boated Pentagon budget. 


Common Dreams:

"In the wake of President Joe Biden's announcement that he plans to withdraw all regular U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by this year's anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, experts at the Costs of War Project on Friday released an update on what nearly two decades of war has cost in both dollars and human lives.

An estimated 241,000 people have died as a direct result of the war, and the United States has spent $2.26 trillion on military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan since the 2001 U.S. invasion, according to the project, housed at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and Boston University's Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.

'These horrific numbers are testament to the costs of war, first to the Afghan people, and then to the soldiers and people of the United States,' said project co-director and Brown University professor Catherine Lutz in a statement. 'Ending the war as soon as possible is the only rational and humane thing to do.'

-->Take a look at NPR's coverage of Nicaragua and Venezuela recently if you need more proof that our mainstream media is busy drumming up support for new US military adventures. Yet coverage of US controlled Honduras or Haiti is nowhere to be found. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Common Dreams:
"Civil rights and free speech advocates on Friday decried the advancement in the Florida Senate of a controversial bill that the ACLU says 'aims to silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians for exercising their First Amendment right to protest.'

The appropriations committee of the GOP-controlled Florida Senate voted Friday to approve House Bill 1 (pdf), which was first proposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last September in the wake of Black Lives Matter and other racial justice protests that followed the police killing of unarmed Black people...

H.B. 1 would send people to prison for up to 15 years for pulling down a Confederate flag or other shrines to white supremacy. It would subject any person present at any gathering that became violent through no fault of their own to felony charges, potentially leading up to five years in prison and the loss of their voting rights, even if the individual did not engage in any violent and disorderly conduct, among other provisions. It would also protect violent counter-protesters from civil liability for injuring or killing a protester with their vehicle."

-->This legal assault on freedom of speech did not interest the NYT, which represents business interests and caters to a well healed and white readership. Let's see if the newspaper eventually covers this story.


The Intercept:

"A billionaire funded website with ties to the far right is trying to 'cancel' university professors. Campus Reform and its publisher, the Leadership Institute, are siccing armies of trolls on professors across the country. ...

Campus Reform is published by the Leadership Institute, a nonprofit that has trained conservative activists for four decades through the generous funding of billionaire donors like the Koch family. The institute reported more than $16 million in revenue in 2018 alone. Over the last several years, Campus Reform has targeted hundreds of college professors ... leading to online harassment campaigns, doxxing, threats of violence, and calls on universities to fire their faculty. 

Professors featured in Campus Reform stories have felt isolated and confused as they came under attack, often over public statements they made but sometimes over things they said in class or even academic research they published. Campus Reform stories have regularly been picked up by a host of established conservative outlets, from Breitbart to Fox News, amplifying outrage and unleashing abuse in a manner that observers of the site note mirrors how far-right extremists attack their targets online."

-->More attacks on freedom of expression. This time an orchestrated attack on  the nation's professors and teachers. Where is our "newspaper of record" in reporting this assault? Like the previous story, the NYT doesn't give much coverage to the rights of protesters or leftist intellectuals. 


Veterans For Peace:

"Veterans For Peace is outraged that President Biden’s budget released this week INCREASES Pentagon spending. This is unacceptable. It is far past time for the U.S. budget to reduce a over-inflated Pentagon spending. This budget does not reflect the overwhelming majority of public opinion that supports re-prioritizing military spending towards programs that benefit regular people and their families.

In the post-9/11 years alone, the United States has spent $6.4 trillion dollars on war fighting and the maintenance of a needless and ill-advised overseas presence.  Considering that the Pentagon has returned $80 billion that it could not spend in recent years and could not pass its first two financial audits, a reduction seems like a reasonable proposition, to say the least.

As military veterans from WWII to the current era of conflicts, who have trained for, and in many cases, fought in U.S. wars, we know that endless wars, failed weapons and the Pentagon’s corporate handouts do nothing to make us safe."

-->Yes, the NYT did print an opinion piece April 7 entitled: "Let’s Cut Our Ridiculous Defense Budge." But we need reporting that demonstrates the extent of US militarism in the world, and the terrible costs of the US Empire. 


"One year ago, as both the Trump administration in the US and the Johnson government in the UK responded fitfully to the growing pandemic, the international media were looking for whipping boys: other countries whose response to the virus was even worse.

There were some cases of obvious neglect—Brazil was and is a prime example (, 4/12/20). But the press also turned on Nicaragua, repeating allegations from local opposition groups that the Sandinista government was in denial about the dangers, and that the country was poised on the edge of disaster.

When, as the death toll in other countries grew alarmingly, Nicaragua 'flattened the curve' of virus cases more quickly than its neighbors, its apparent success was ignored. Despite the importance of identifying how poorer countries can contain the virus effectively, measures used by Nicaragua remain uninvestigated by the international media. Why did this come about?"

-->Read this report from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting if you want to know just how distorted the Western media is about Nicaragua. The article by John Perry, who was on Activist Radio last month, simply destroys the Guardian, the BBC, and the NYT when it comes to reporting about Nicaragua's quite astounding success in controlling COVID. It's death rate is lower than all its surrounding countries. But the mainstream media in the UK and US print little more than propaganda when it comes to the next targets for military interventions. As an example of this biased reporting, read: 


Common Dreams:

"Since 2015, AT&T, Comcast, UnitedHealth Group, Walmart, and other big businesses have donated a combined $50 million to state Republican lawmakers who are currently supporting voter suppression bills across the United States—generous political spending at odds with recent corporate efforts to rebrand as defenders of voting rights.

A new report (pdf) released Monday morning by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen found that during the 2020 election cycle alone, U.S. corporations donated $22 million to Republican architects of voter suppression bills that are advancing through state legislatures nationwide.

'AT&T [since 2015] has given the most, $811,000,' Public Citizen found, citing data from The National Institute on Money in Politics. 'AT&T is followed by Altria/Philip Morris, Comcast, UnitedHealth Group, Walmart, State Farm, and Pfizer. Household names that fell just out of the top 25 list... include Nationwide ($182,000), Merck ($180,000), CVS ($174,000), John Deere ($159,000), and Caterpillar ($157,000).' "

-->Why wouldn't the NYT print this story about how corporations have funded these state laws to limit voting? Well, the NYT always comes down in favor of the nations largest corporations. If you don't know this already, you haven't been reading Fantasyland Media!


Common Dreams:

"Rashida Tlaib Hails Shift in House Dems' Views on Palestinian Human Rights.

'Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have 12 members of Congress refer to Israeli occupation as colonialism, so I have no doubt that the needle on Palestinian human rights is moving.'

Referring to a recent letter in which a dozen House Democrats called on the Biden administration to oppose Israeli 'settler colonialism' in Palestine, Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Friday said that support is growing like never before in Congress for Palestinian human rights.

Haaretz reports the Michigan Democrat's remarks came during a webinar hosted by American Muslims for Palestine and the Jewish anti-occupation IfNotNow Movement, during which she condemned Israel's 'apartheid system' —including 'medical apartheid' during the coronavirus pandemic—while sounding hopeful about the erosion of the reflexively pro-Israel stance that has long characterized Congress."

-->This story didn't make it into the NYT either. If there is one thing that the NYT defends more than major corporations, it is Israel's apartheid occupation of the Holy Land. 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Common Dreams:
"Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced two new pieces of legislation, including a bill to restore the corporate tax rate to its pre-Trump levels.  The second bill, the "For the 99.5 Percent Act," is a reform of the federal estate tax, our nation’s only levy on the inherited wealth of multi-millionaires and billionaires.

This estate tax reform is important for several reasons.  It institutes a graduated rate structure, so that the wealthiest billionaires pay at a higher rate.  Under current law, a rich person with $25 million will pay the same estate tax rate as an oligarch with $25 billion. Sanders proposes a 65 percent top tax rate on estates over $1 billion, a restoration of the highest rate that existed between 1942 and 1976.

This will greatly slow the build-up of inherited wealth dynasties, especially if combined with an annual wealth tax, along the lines introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal."

-->The NYT, owned by the very rich and run by wealthy elite corporate board members, is distinctly disinterested in taxing the wealthy. It didn't cover this story, although if the legislation gathers momentum, the NYT will have to.


Common Dreams:

"Nearly 3 out of 4 voters in New York would prefer taxes on the rich and corporations over new budget austerity that would see vital public services and programs slashed, according to a poll released Friday.

The survey, conducted by Data for Progress, a left-leaning polling and analysis group, found that while the recently passed  'American Rescue Plan'—which provided far-reaching and direct federal assistance and aid to individuals, local communities, and social programs—is one of the most popular pieces of legislation among the U.S. public in 'modern memory,' New Yorkers on a state level 'recognize that in this time of need, the wealthy should pay more in taxes and the state should support those who need help the most.'

Overall, the poll showed that 73% percent of New Yorkers would like to patch the state's projected revenue shortfall in the state by taxing the rich—not further austerity measures like cutting public services, especially during the ongoing pandemic. Along ideological lines, the poll showed that 66% of Republicans, 64% of Independents, and 81% of Democrats 'favor a wealth tax over cuts to health care, education, and other public services.' "

-->One would expect the NYT to cover this story, especially since if involves NY state. But the NYT, including much of the major media, is reluctant to spread the word about how popular taxing the very rich actually is with the general public. US media is owned by the rich, who hide the fact that no  progressive legislation gets past in the Oligarchy. 


Common Dreams:

"A coalition of more than 25 groups representing a range of political perspectives sent a letter Wednesday to key congressional committees with specific suggestions for slashing the Pentagon's budget by roughly $80 billion—savings that progressives say could be redirected from war to address pressing human needs.

'Well-researched analysis from experts across the ideological spectrum show[s] that the Pentagon can dramatically reduce its spending, meet today's national security challenges, and continue supporting our troops and their families,' the letter (pdf) reads. 'As a coalition of organizations representing diverse political views, we share a common goal of reducing wasteful spending at the Pentagon.'

The letter identifies several ways that military spending could be slashed. Specific opportunities mentioned include eliminating the Space Force created under former President Donald Trump; reducing—rather than expanding—the nation's nuclear arsenal; and canceling the purchase of additional F-35 fighter jets, a weapons program the coalition called 'the most expensive in the Pentagon's history while also having over 850 design flaws that haven't been resolved.' "

-->The NYT didn't think this story worth printing, although it has called the F-35 jet a "boondoggle ... we are stuck with" in the past.