Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Intercept:
"Twitter executives have claimed for years that the company makes concerted efforts to detect and thwart government-backed covert propaganda campaigns on its platform.

Behind the scenes, however, the social networking giant provided direct approval and internal protection to the U.S. military’s network of social media accounts and online personas, whitelisting a batch of accounts at the request of the government. The Pentagon has used this network, which includes U.S. government-generated news portals and memes, in an effort to shape opinion in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, and beyond.

The accounts in question started out openly affiliated with the U.S. government. But then the Pentagon appeared to shift tactics and began concealing its affiliation with some of these accounts — a move toward the type of intentional platform manipulation that Twitter has publicly opposed. Though Twitter executives maintained awareness of the accounts, they did not shut them down, but let them remain active for years. Some remain active."

-->Twitter lending itself to Pentagon propaganda in various countries. Was Twitter ever neutral when it came to promoting the interest of  the empire in the rest of the world? Too bad the NYT didn't think this story was newsworthy. It may be because the NYT is promoting the Pentagon itself.


Common Dreams:
"Progressive advocacy groups and economic analysts on Tuesday denounced retirement savings-related tax changes embedded in Congress' end-of-year $1.7 trillion spending package, characterizing the pending reforms taken directly from the SECURE 2.0 Act as a 'giveaway to the rich.'

According to Patriotic Millionaires, a group of wealthy tax fairness champions, the must-pass omnibus bill includes 'some minor provisions to help low-income earners save for retirement, but the vast majority are designed to allow high earners to avoid paying more taxes.'

Morris Pearl, the group's chair and a former managing director at BlackRock, said: 'I'm tired of tax cuts for the rich being sold as help for the poor. The retirement changes in the omnibus package overwhelmingly benefit wealthy people like me while doing almost nothing for the people who truly struggle to save for retirement. This bill does not make it easier for workers to save for retirement, it just makes it easier for high-income earners to shelter more of their earnings from taxes.' "

-->Readers can find this criticism of the bill on various financial publicans. But not in the NYT, the real gateway to the rest of the US media. The report is just too damning of the two party, corporate dominated political system.


Common Dreams:
"News Sites Took Nearly $1 Million From Consultant Pushing Power Companies' Agenda: Report. One climate writer said the new expose, published by NPR and Floodlight, 'pulls back the curtain on yet another insidious corporate strategy to erode the core tenets of democracy for profit.'

Alabama Power and Florida Power & Light hired a political consulting firm that paid six news websites in the two states nearly a million dollars as they attacked officials seeking to hold the polluting utilities accountable, an investigation revealed Monday.

NPR's David Folkenflik, along with Mario Ariza and Miranda Green of Floodlight, found that the power companies hired consulting company Matrix LLC, which, along with clients and associated entities, paid six sites--Yellowhammer News, Alabama Political Reporter, Alabama Today, The Capitolist, Florida Politics, and Sunshine State News--at least $900,000 collectively between 2013 and 2020.

According to the report, 'Matrix sought to ensure much coverage was secretly driven by the priorities of its clients. Payments flowed as the utilities in Florida and Alabama fought efforts to incorporate more clean energy in electric grids--a fight they are still waging.' "

-->Companies polluting the environment are paying off our major media. Why isn't this big news?  The NYT didn't cover the story, showing its readership whose influence matters the most.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Apple Insider:
"According to a recent complaint by the Communications Workers of America, Apple illegally created a work group driven by managers to try to stop union organizing efforts.

In a filing on December 16 with the US National Labor Relations Board, the Communications Workers of America accused Apple of 'soliciting employees to join an employer-created / employer-dominated labor organization as a means of stifling union activities.' This kind of action is forbidden under US federal labor law. ...

The CWA also accused Apple of holding mandatory anti-union meetings, something the company has been accused of before. During the sessions, store management reportedly claimed that Apple would be legally barred from negotiating on specific topics if workers unionized, which is false."

-->The wealthiest company in the world is trying to cheat its workers and break their unions? Is there no shame in our neoliberal world? No shame in the NYT for sure; the paper didn't cover this story. Whenever it can, the NYT lets major corporations off the hook.

Friends of Sabeel North America (A Christian Voice for Palestine):
"As the nature of the Israeli apartheid regime becomes more and more apparent to the outside world and the rightward shift in Israel becomes harsher and more indefensible, false charges of antisemitism have increased. Such charges are made in order to smear and intimidate those who criticize Israeli policy as well as silence advocates for Palestinian rights, particularly on campuses.

One of the tools increasingly used in such smear campaigns consists of recent efforts to urge various institutions and organizations to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism. The IHRA definition (as if any definition was needed for the vile phenomenon of antisemitism) provides 11 examples of 'antisemitism,' a whole seven of which relate specifically to Zionism and the state of Israel. The effect is the total [conflation] of antisemitism with anti-Zionism and efforts to oppose Israeli apartheid.

Precisely because Israel openly endeavors to promote Jewish rights at the expense of the rights of non-Jews, those who would challenge Israel have always faced the danger of being smeared and falsely accused of anti-Jewish antisemitism. The IHRA definition strategically attempts to formally institutionalize this confusion between anti-Zionism (opposition to the bigoted policies of a modern state) and antisemitism (the vile hatred of our Jewish sisters and brothers). ..."

-->This is such an important debate, and really involves the shutting down of freedom of speech when it comes to Israel's crimes. It is hard to conceptualize how such a story gets ignored by our media, including the NYT.


The Wire (Indian News and Opinion):
"On December 13, the US Department of Energy announced that the National Ignition Facility had reached a 'milestone': the achievement of 'ignition' in nuclear fusion earlier in the month. While the step has been described as a milestone in clean energy, generating electricity commercially or at an industrial scale through fusion is likely unattainable in any realistic sense – at least within the lifetimes of most readers of this article.

The main utility that the facility offers nuclear weapons designers and planners is by providing a greater understanding of the underlying science and modernizing these weapons. ... Over the last decade or so, there have been many similar announcements featuring breathless language about breakthroughs, milestones, and advances. These statements have come with unfailing regularity from NIF (for example, in 2013) and the larger set of laboratories and commercial firms pursuing the idea of nuclear fusion. ...

These incredibly high costs [$65 million in France] also explain why such announcements are made in the first place: without the excitement created by these hyped-up statements, it would be impossible to get funded for the decades it takes to plan and build these facilities."

-->The NYT is certainly into this hype, with glowing predictions of a future of carbon free energy. It is only at the end of a NYT article entitled "Scientists Achieve Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough" that readers are warned that these scientific miracles might take at least five or six decades to arrive.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Black Agenda Report:  
"US Tax Dollars at Work: Neocolonial Dictatorship, Paramilitary and Police Terror in Haiti Today. The call for 'law and order' and strengthening police in Haiti is as dangerous as talk of any occupation. The police force is connected with Haitian oligarchs and their political puppets and is yet another tool for denying the people their sovereign and human rights.

On October 7th, in the face of massive and ever-growing demonstrations all across Haiti demanding the uprooting of the right-wing Haitian Tét Kale Party (PHTK) dictatorship, Prime Minister Ariel Henry exploited the fiction of a war between his regime and 'gangs' to call  for the intervention of foreign troops to expand the colonial occupation of Haiti. ... Within days, the Biden Administration proceeded to draft  a UN Security Council resolution calling for the expanded deployment of foreign troops in Haiti....

The Biden Administration argues that such foreign intervention is a 'humanitarian' necessity given the weakness of the Hatian police force to effectively deal with the 'gangs,' more accurately described as highly weaponized paramilitaries indispensable to maintenance of the PHTK regime and the US/UN occupation of Haiti. The Biden Administration calls for both strengthening this police force, through enhanced US aid and training, alongside the deployment of foreign troops to Haiti in order to allegedly restore 'law and order' and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Haiti. This argument reproduces the racist stereotype that the Haitian people are incapable of governing themselves, that they will devolve into 'gangs' without proper supervision by a foreign-funded and trained police force buttressed by foreign occupation troops."

-->Whenever our media is completely supportive of an armed invasion of another country, we know that US imperialism is alive and well. Haiti has suffered from US interventions for two hundred years. No wonder that the island is the Clinton's favorite place to visit. 



"A crucial function of a free press is to present perspectives that critically examine government actions. In major articles from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal discussing the escalation of the war in Ukraine, however, such perspectives have been hard to come by—even as the stakes have reached as high as nuclear war.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated the war by announcing a mobilization of up to 300,000 extra troops (CNBC, 9/21/22) and threatened to use 'all the means at our disposal' to ensure 'the territorial integrity of our motherland' (CNBC, 9/23/22). A month later, a letter endorsed by 30 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was sent to the White House (and quickly retracted), urging a 'proactive diplomatic push' to reach a ceasefire in the war.

Both of these major incidents could have been an opportunity for the media to ask important questions about US policy in Ukraine, which is—according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (Wall Street Journal, 4/25/22)—to 'weaken' Russia. Instead, elite newspapers continue to offer a very narrow range of expert opinion on a US strategy that favors endless war."

-->Why does our major media continually favor war over negotiations with Russia? Is it the defense industry that owns part of our media? Is it the billionaires that favor US militarism? Can't we the people have anything but Pentagon propaganda?


Common Dreams:

"Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Tuesday dared U.S. prosecutors to come after him like they have Julian Assange by revealing in a BBC News interview that the WikiLeaks publisher sent him a backup of leaked materials from former military analyst Chelsea Manning.

'Let me tell you a secret. I had possession of all the Chelsea Manning information before it came out in the press,' Ellsberg said to BBC's Stephen Sackur in the on-camera interview. 'I've never said that publicly.'

Assange had sent him the materials—which include evidence of U.S. war crimes—in case 'they caught him and they got everything,' the 91-year-old explained. 'He could rely on me to find some way to get it out.'

Australian-born Assange is currently detained in London and fighting in British and European courts against his extradition to the United States, where he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted under Espionage Act charges."

-->A fascinating story about Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers. Why didn't our major media cover this revelation? Why didn't the NYT? 

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Common Dreams:
"Hakeem Jeffries ... Though he has stayed relatively quiet about his policy views during his decade in Congress, his election will likely draw blowback from progressive activists given his role in founding Team Blue PAC, an election fund aimed at blocking progressive primary challenges of centrist Democrats. ...

When it comes to Ukraine, the lawmaker has called on President Joe Biden to emphasize that 'this is really a battle between democracy and autocracy, between freedom and repressive government.' ... He has even expressed sympathy for the idea of establishing a NATO-enforced no-fly zone in Ukraine, arguing in March that such a move wasn’t 'off the table' despite the fact that it would likely involve direct combat between U.S. and Russian forces.' ...

Notably, Jeffries supported the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a measure that would criminalize efforts to boycott Israeli goods in protest of Tel Aviv’s treatment of Palestinians, which critics say violates the First Amendment. In his most recent election, he received more than $270,000 in donations from hawkish pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC."

-->The NYT story about Jeffries is substantially different. Like most of the US mainstream media, Jeffries' history of blocking progressive Democratic candidates, supporting NATO and war with Russia, and selling himself to the pro Israel gravy train, is all conveniently left out. To the NYT, Jeffries will be "a far different leader from Speaker Nancy Pelosi." It is all about preserving the two party myth.


The Intercept:
"Several prominent antifascist organizers and journalists have had their accounts suspended in the past week, after right-wing operatives appealed directly to Musk to ban them and far-right internet trolls flooded Twitter’s complaints system with false reports about terms of service violations.

As the Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin noted on Twitter, the suspended users include Chad Loder, an antifascist researcher whose open-source investigation of the U.S. Capitol riot led to the identification and arrest of a masked Proud Boy who attacked police officers. The account of video journalist Vishal Pratap Singh, who reports on far-right protests in Southern California, has also been suspended. ...

As the investigative journalist Steven Monacelli reported last week, two days after a gunman killed five people and injured 25 others in a mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Twitter suspended the account of the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club, an antifascist group in Texas that provides armed security for LGBTQ+ gatherings."

-->It's a big story, that Twitter is now encouraging racists of the far right, while taking down the accounts of progressives and antifascist groups. Why wouldn't the NYT cover this story? Well, our "newspaper of record" has never acknowledged our country's drift to fascism. Too many of our right wing billionaires would be upset at stories like that.


The Guardian UK:
"The former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has struck a coalition deal with a far-right leader known for his homophobic rhetoric and disparaging remarks about non-Orthodox Jews, a sign of the prospective government’s hardline makeup.
Netanyahu’s Likud party announced on Sunday that the agreement named Avi Maoz, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Noam party, as a deputy minister, whose portfolio includes an office bolstering Jewish identity among Israelis. ...

Maoz, a Jewish fundamentalist and West Bank settler, is an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ+ rights and women serving in the military, and has voiced opposition to Arabs teaching Jewish students in Israeli schools. He has denied the legitimacy of non-Orthodox Judaism, including the Reform and Conservative movements, which are marginal in Israel but dominant in the US and have long provided the country with financial and diplomatic support.

Maoz said in a statement that the deal with Likud was the 'first step in returning the soul to the country'. "

-->The NYT and most of our mainstream media left Maoz and his homophobic views out of their reporting. Zionist sympathies have erased any impulse to warn the American public about Israel's dangerous, anti-LGBTQ leadership. Even the Times of Israel reported it correctly: "Far-right Knesset Member Avi Maoz, who is known for strident anti-LGBT views, said he will see to it that the Pride Parade in Jerusalem is abolished, calling the annual event “a promiscuous parade of abomination." Too bad the NYT can't be as honest in its reporting.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Media Matters:
"Fox News significantly decreased its volume of violent crime coverage in the week of the midterms, down 63% from the week prior.

The network averaged 141 weekday violent crime segments per week from Labor Day through the Friday before the election; in the week of the midterms, Fox aired 71 weekday violent crime segments — a decrease of 50% compared to the prior average.

Fox was open in its strategy of using violent crime as a political cudgel against Democrats throughout the midterms. Driven in part by Fox host Tucker Carlson's calls for Republicans to run on the issue, the network engaged in a monthslong campaign to tie Democrats and the Biden administration to violent crime, often by highlighting specific incidents in 'Democratic cities' and blaming progressive criminal justice reform for individual violent crimes."

-->The Washington Post covered this story, but not the NYT. In fact, this story didn't get much play in the media. Maybe that's because it shows the blatant manipulation of the news for political gain.


The Guardian UK:
"Some of the best-known corporations in the US, including AT&T, Boeing, Delta Air Lines and the Home Depot, collectively poured more than $8m into supporting election deniers running for US House and Senate seats in this month’s midterm elections.

A study by the non-partisan government watchdog organization Accountable.US, based on the latest filings to the Federal Election Commission, reveals the extent to which big corporations were prepared to back Republican nominees despite their open peddling of false claims undermining confidence in democracy. Though many were ultimately unsuccessful in their election bids, the candidates included several prominent advocates of Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him.

At the top of the list of 20 corporations backing election deniers through their political action committees (Pacs) is a familiar name in the world of rightwing agitating – Koch Industries. According to the Accountable.US review, the Koch energy conglomerate spent $771,000 through its Pac on Republican candidates with a track record of casting doubt on elections."

-->The NYT did print an opinion piece called: "Who Is Financing Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ Caucus? Corporations You Know." But why didn't this warrant being a news item? And why wasn't it picked up by our mainstream media?


Common Dreams:
" 'Guinea Pig Nation: How the NRC's new licensing rules could turn communities into test beds for risky, experimental nuclear plants,' is what physicist Dr. Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety with the Union of Concerned Scientists, titled his presentation last week.

The talk was about how the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is involved in a major change of its 'rules' and 'guidance' to reduce government regulations for what the nuclear industry calls 'advanced' nuclear power plants.

Already, Lyman said, at a 'Night with the Experts' online session organized by the Nuclear Energy Information Service, the NRC has moved to allow nuclear power plants to be built in thickly populated areas. This 'change in policy' was approved in a vote by NRC commissioners in July.

-->I don't see this story in the NYT, or in the rest of the mainstream media either. Corporate money is behind this reevaluation of nuclear energy. And because we are also victimized by the corporate controlled media, most Americans don't know about this renewed threat to our nation's air and water resources.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Common Dreams:

"The New York Times and a New Climate Denialism. ... The headline of the interactive New York Times opinion piece [Yes, Greenland's Ice Is Melting] by conservative columnist Bret Stephens is placed over an image of Greenland’s melting ice cap crashing into the slushy meltwater below. With one more scroll, the word 'But…' appears over the ice, which resembles a melting snowplowed slush pile in a parking lot.

From just a glance at the headline, it was clear where this article was going. The 6,000-word piece went on to chronicle Stephens' trip to Greenland as a self-proclaimed global warming 'agnostic.' There, the dramatic effects of climate change 'changed [his] mind' about the problem, but reinforced his 'belief that markets, not government, provide the cure.'

Stephens' point of view represents a new climate denialism: No longer can any rational person claim that climate change isn’t happening at an accelerated rate due to human causes, or that it’s not causing harm. Instead they argue, like Stephens, that the swift, decisive action scientists say is necessary is 'magical thinking,' that genuine existential fear is 'alarmist,' that most humans will be able to adapt to climate disaster."

-->The NYT doesn't mind talking about climate disaster, as long as the solution doesn't threaten the profits of huge, multinational companies. But isn't it the major corporations that have led us to this incipient disaster? Could our newspaper of record really believe that Big Oil will save us?



"ACTION ALERT: NYT Invents Left Extremists to Make ‘Moderation’ the Midterm Winner. Of the many lessons to be learned from this year’s midterms, in which Democrats defied historical trends to largely hold off a GOP wave, the New York Times‘ Jonathan Weisman and Katie Glueck  (11/14/22) singled out corporate media’s recurring favorite: Moderation won. ,,,

But in true Timesian fashion, Weisman and Glueck argued that it’s both extremes that voters rejected. 'On the Right and Left, People Voted to Reject Extremists in Midterms,' announced the headline to their piece in the print edition. ...

While most would accept that [some GOP candidates had] extremist positions, the reporters matched them on the left with mere labels ('from the liberal wing of their party,' an 'ardent progressive') and not a single policy position, statement or action. Apparently if you call a politician 'progressive' at the Times, it’s meant to be understood that they’re extreme, with no further explanation required."

-->The NYT is the establishment's filter to keep progressive ideas out of the mainstream. However elections turn out, the NYT will see the results as repudiating leftist candidates. And when progressive candidates get too popular, why they just leave them out altogether. Like the Bernie blackout of the last several years. 


Common Dreams:

"Huge Methane Leak in Pennsylvania Sparks Fresh Call for Fracking Ban. A leak that erupted at a methane storage facility in western Pennsylvania on November 6 spewed massive amounts of the highly potent greenhouse gas for a week and a half, reigniting demands on Friday to better regulate and eventually euthanize the fracking industry as part of a crucial transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Thursday morning, before venting was stopped: 'A natural gas storage well in Cambria County has been leaking gas for 10 days, blanketing the mountains in Jackson Township with a roar like a jet engine and its valleys with an odor of hydrocarbons.' ...

So-called 'natural' gas is primarily made up of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps roughly 80 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere and is responsible for almost half of the 1.2°C increase in average surface temperatures since the Industrial Revolution. ... 

Despite the clear case for moving more quickly toward green energy, President Joe Biden has yet to use his executive authority to cancel nearly two dozen fracked gas export projects that are set to unleash pollution equivalent to roughly 400 new coal-fired power plants."

-->Our major media, including the NYT ignored this story. Always a big fan of catastrophic energy sources, the newspaper has always had a preference for nuclear energy and fracked gas. That's were the big money is, of course. And as long as the NYT protects such dangerous energy solutions, we will continue to get hotter, colder, wetter and dryer. The dust bowl of the 1930 was nothing compared to the migrations that are to follow. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022


"Sunday, November 6, saw the latest municipal elections in Nicaragua, with mayors and councilors elected for every city hall in the country, from the smallest to the largest (the capital, Managua). In the last general election, a year ago, 66% of voters took part. This time, not surprisingly, the percentage was smaller (57%), but still very respectable in international terms. Neighboring Costa Rica’s last local elections brought only a 25% turnout. Across the U.S., only 15 to 27% of eligible voters cast a ballot in their last local election. In the UK, turnout is usually about 30%, and only in Scotland have a few small districts seen turnout exceed 57%. ...

Of course, this is not how the election was seen by Daniel Ortega’s international opponents. Brian A. Nichols, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said in advance that 'Nicaraguans will once again be denied the right to freely & fairly choose their municipal leaders. As long as opposition leaders remain unjustly imprisoned or in exile, and their parties banned, there is no choice for the Nicaraguan people in yet another sham election.' Unsurprisingly, he ignored the crimes committed by so-called 'opposition leaders', for which they had been tried and convicted. None of those 'leaders' had ever run in local elections, nor were they members of registered political parties. ...

Once again, Nicaragua’s democratic achievement proves to be the 'threat of a good example' to Western countries where, in what are claimed to be superior democracies, a far smaller proportion of the electorate can be bothered to vote."

-->There is no contrary opinion in the US media about Nicaragua. Does that ring any alarm bells? Not about Daniel Ortega, but about the uniformity of our news? Described more accurately, our news about Nicaragua is little more than Pentagon propaganda. And what about the overwhelming UN vote condemning the US embargo of Cuba? No coverage at all.


Common Dreams:

"Ballot Initiatives Targeting Inequality Won Big on Election Day. Voters nationwide—in blue states and red alike—approved hiking taxes on the wealthy, raising wages, helping build union power for workers.

Americans are sick and tired of seeing CEO pay and billionaire wealth in the stratosphere while working families are struggling with soaring costs. This election day, voters in several states used direct democracy to do something about it. They voted to hike taxes on the wealthy, raise wages and build union power, help ordinary people afford basic necessities, and tackle the problem of big money in politics. 

Massachusetts Hikes Taxes on the Rich. Sixth time’s a charm. Massachusetts fair tax advocates had tried and failed five times since 1962 to undo the regressive flat income tax rate embedded in their state constitution. This time they were victorious. By a 52-48 margin, voters approved an income surtax of 4 percent on annual individual income above $1 million, with revenue going mostly towards public education and transportation."

-->I don't see this story about ballot initiatives targeting inequality in our major media. Yet these initiatives will change people's lives, while reversing the massive division between the rich and poor in the US. Capitalist newspapers don't talk about taxing the rich.



"AIPAC spent over $4 million trying to stop Summer Lee, but she’s headed to congress. After failing to oust her in the primaries, AIPAC fell to Summer Lee in the PA-12 general election as well. 'They are losing a generational battle here,' says Justice Democrats' Waleed Shahid. ...

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) spent millions attempting to stop Lee from reaching the House. The group’s United Democracy Project (UDP) super PAC spent $2.7 million trying to defeat Lee during her primary by backing former GOP staffer Steve Irwin. Their efforts were nearly successful, as Lee ended up prevailing by less than a point.

UDP spent about $80,000 on mailers and nearly $1 million on ads attacking Lee during the general election, marking the first time the organization had directly spent on a general election race between a Democrat and a Republican. Ironically AIPAC’s primary ads attacked Lee for being a bad Democrat while they backed the Republican candidate during the general election."

-->A quick review of our mainstream media shows that this story gets left out of all publications except the most progressive. The story, however, is compelling; it is about a young Black women taking on the might of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and winning. Maybe it is just too damning, the Israel Lobby trying to defeat a progressive Black woman. It is too bad that our mainstream media can't be as brave as Summer Lee. Even Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, covered this story.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

+972 (Israeli newsletter): 

"Even Israel’s European allies aren’t buying its attacks on NGOs. On July 12, nine European governments declared that they had rejected Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society groups as “terrorist organizations.” The announcement is a major victory for the organizations themselves, political activists, and the Palestinian communities they serve.

Following the declaration by Defense Minister Benny Gantz outlawing the six NGOs last October, the European donor countries opened their own investigations to look into Israel’s allegations. Nearly nine months later, they concluded that “no substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy” toward the organizations, and as such, they would continue to fund and collaborate with the groups. ...

A close look at the NGOs targeted by Israel shows that they were not chosen by chance. Addameer, for example, provides legal advice and representation to Palestinian political prisoners; Al-Haq has filed submissions to the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding alleged Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity; the Union of Agricultural Work Committees helps farmers survive attempts to expel them from Area C of the West Bank; Defense For Children International-Palestine documents and conducts U.S. advocacy on Israel’s systematic arrests and abuses of children."

-->This story was posted in July of 2022. Most US media has remained silent on the issue since then, preferring to let the attack on the six human rights organizations disappear from view. 


Stop The Wall:

"On June 1, 2022 dozens of Israeli soldiers and JCB,  Volvo and Caterpillar  bulldozers raided the villages Al-Fakheet and Al-Markez and demolished seven residential tents and animal shacks, leaving families, along with their herds homeless. This is the second time these families lost their homes in less than a month. On May 11, 2022, the Israeli occupation, Volvo and JCB bulldozers  ... razed 19 homes and animal shacks to the ground. Insisting on [keeping] their land, the owners of the destroyed homes rebuilt them again; some of which were among the seven demolished homes yesterday. ...

Classified as a firing zone, the expulsion of the eight communities would be a culmination of decades-long apartheid and settler colonial practices in the area. The forcible expulsion of these communities paves the way for Israel to annex Masafer Yatta and further consolidate its illegal settlement enterprise.  Land confiscation, including through the pretext of ‘military needs’ has been highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the OPT in his latest  as one of the salient features of Israeli apartheid. Villages in Masafer Yatta, such as Um Al-Khair have been highlight as a case study, in Amnesty International’s groundbreaking report on Israeli apartheid. ...

JCB, the world’s third largest construction company is not only used to destroy Palestinian homes. The company’s exported equipment to Israel is also used to construct illegal settlements, settlement industrial zones and apartheid infrastructure in the occupied West Bank and Syrian Golan Heights. JCB machines were involved in the construction of the Apartheid Wall on stolen Palestinian Land. According to Who Profits, the British-based company’s track and wheel excavators and wheel loaders were documented during the construction of the wall near the Palestinian villages of Al-Walaja, Anata and Beit Jala."

-->This story was printed in June of 2022, and revealed how complicit British and US companies are in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Since that time, the story just hasn't been picked up by European or American news media. That's why the Israeli ethnic cleansing goes relatively slowly, 10 families here and 15 families there. Its a gradual elimination of the Palestinian people, their homes and their culture, aided in part by our media which refuses to follow stories like these. 


The Intercept:

"A REPUBLICAN-BACKED super PAC on Tuesday fell short in its bid to intervene in a Democratic primary against Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee, a 34-year-old Black woman and rising star in the party, who fended off a tsunami of outside money to best anti-union attorney Steve Irwin. The spending, from a GOP-backed super PAC linked to AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — left Irwin behind by less than 1,000 votes. ...

Another super PAC in Oregon, funded by a cryptocurrency fortune and organized around the project of pandemic prevention, Protect Our Future, spent some $10 million to boost Carrick Flynn, while the super PAC linked to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority PAC, also dropped a million dollars into the race. It backfired, and local Democrats as well as national progressives — including the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC and the Working Families Party — rallied behind state Rep. Andrea Salinas, who appears poised for a victory. ...

In North Carolina, the super PACs had better luck, spending $7 million against former state Sen. Erica Smith and Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam. The spending came from AIPAC, Democratic Majority for Israel, and Mainstream Democrats, the super PAC organized and funded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman."

-->This story back in May of 2022, exposes the hidden role of Israeli linked super PACs in promoting right wing candidates in the US. Other mainstream media have not followed this story since. I think it is a big deal how the Israel Lobby spends millions trying to get rid of progressive Democratic candidates. In fact, this spending reveals a much larger story that needs to be investigated and reported. The Israel Lobby is a hard right organization which spews Islamophobic ideas of racial superiority. It belongs in the category of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, dangerous enemies of democracy. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Intercept:

"A People-Powered Insurgency Threatened to Reshape the Democratic Party. Then Came AIPAC and Its Allied Super PAC, Democratic Majority for Israel. ...

Two groups — Democratic Majority For Israel, or DMFI, and Mainstream Democrats PAC — began spending millions pummeling [progressive candidates] on the airwaves. The two were effectively the same organization, operating out of the same office and employing the same consultants, though Mainstream Democrats claims a broader mission. ...

While DMFI is ostensibly organized around the politics of Israel, in practice, it has become a weapon wielded by the party’s centrist faction against its progressive wing. In fact, DMFI, Mainstream Democrats PAC, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have spent so much money that the question of Israel-Palestine now dominates Democratic primaries."

--> Yes, the Israel Lobby is busy destroying the chances of progressive Democrats, in primaries and in general elections. The lobby will pour cash into any campaign, as long as it is pro Israel. Why is such a foreign lobby group allowed to bribe and threaten US candidates? Why isn't it registered as a Foreign Agent? And why doesn't the NYT cover this story at all?


The Intercept:

"IF THE U.S. moves forward with a U.N.-proposed plan to send armed forces into Haiti, the Biden administration’s former envoy to Haiti warned, the result will be a predictable catastrophe. ...

[Former Ambassador Ron Foote] said Biden’s increasingly interventionist posture toward Haiti, which was evident even last year, was behind his decision to resign. 'The deportations were the straw that broke the camel’s back,' Foote said. 'But the major reason I resigned is because I saw U.S policy moving in exactly this direction, toward intervention, which is, as Einstein said — and I’ll paraphrase — trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity. And in Haiti, each time the international community has intervened without Haitian and popular support, the situation is stabilized temporarily, and then it becomes much worse over time.'

An armed intervention would likely produce a short period of calm, he said, but would fall apart sooner or later. 'It’s almost unfathomable that all Haitians are calling for a different solution, yet the U.S and the U.N and international [institutions] are blindly stumbling through with Ariel Henry,' he said."

-->We don't get to read too much about the US and Haiti, so most people are unaware of the imperialist roles of the French and the Americans. Most of our media just advocates sending in the troops again. The NYT did better this time, with a perceptive opinion piece by Lydia Polgreen.


The Guardian UK:

"Secret files suggest chemical giant feared weedkiller’s link to Parkinson’s disease. For decades, Swiss chemical giant Syngenta has manufactured and marketed a widely used weed-killing chemical called paraquat, and for much of that time the company has been dealing with external concerns that long-term exposure to the chemical may be a cause of the incurable brain ailment known as Parkinson’s disease. ...

But a cache of internal corporate documents dating back to the 1950s reviewed by the Guardian suggests that the public narrative put forward by Syngenta and the corporate entities that preceded it has at times contradicted the company’s own research and knowledge.

And though the documents reviewed do not show that Syngenta’s scientists and executives accepted and believed that paraquat can cause Parkinson’s, they do show a corporate focus on strategies to protect product sales, refute external scientific research and influence regulators."

-->Same old story. The chemical companies hiding evidence and trying to refute scientific research. As long as these companies can make a profit, they will sell anything. Like weed killers and opioids that ruin tens of thousands of lives. The NYT didn't cover the discovery of these secret files. The newspaper almost always puts corporate interests above reporting news. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Common Dreams:

"Protests in 40+ US Cities Demand Deescalation as Poll Shows Surging Fear of Nuclear War. 'Anyone paying attention should be worried about the rising dangers of nuclear war, but what we really need is action,' said one organizer.

As new polling showed this week that Americans' fear of nuclear war has steadily grown since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, anti-nuclear campaigners on Friday called on federal lawmakers to take action to mitigate those fears and ensure the U.S. is doing all it can to deescalate tensions with other nuclear powers.

Anti-war groups including Peace Action and RootsAction organized picket lines at the offices of U.S. senators and representatives in more than 40 cities across 20 states, calling on lawmakers to push for a ceasefire in Ukraine, the revival of anti-nuclear treaties the U.S. has exited in recent years, and other legislative actions to prevent nuclear catastrophe."

-->The US media is full of antiwar protesters, but all stories are about Russia. The NYT has more than a dozen reports about Russian soldiers deserting, protesting and leaving Russia. What about the movement to stop US warmongering? When will that pass the test of stories "fit to print." The US media is waist deep in pro-war propaganda. 


Common Dreams:

"Corporate media outlets are mostly ignoring a Republican ploy to use the debt ceiling fight to gut Social Security and Medicare if the GOP regains control of Congress—a plot that one leading watchdog on Friday called 'perhaps the single most consequential story" of the midterm elections.'

'Social Security and Medicare are on the ballot next month,' said Media Matters for America senior fellow Matt Gertz. 'If the American public doesn't know that, it's in part because the press isn't telling them.'

Common Dreams reported earlier this week that Social Security and Medicare defenders are warning that the popular programs—which each serve tens of millions of older Americans—face 'grave danger' in the event Republicans retake control of Congress in January. The warning came after four House Republicans hoping to chair the lower chamber's budget committee told Bloomberg Government that 'Social Security and Medicare eligibility changes, spending caps, and safety-net work requirements are among the top priorities' if the GOP is back in charge."

-->Our media is corporate owned. Privatizing Social Security and vets benefits have long been on corporate wish lists. So you, the consumer of news stories, never get to hear about it. 


Common Dreams:

"On Sunday, October 9, The New York Times published an article entitled 'An American in Ukraine Finds the War He’s Been Searching For.' It could just as easily be entitled 'The Media Finds the War It’s Been Searching For.' It is, sadly, a story of the corrupting influence war and profits have on everything, including the press, that very institution which is to keep a constant check on our government, particularly in affairs of war.

The article depicts the exploits of a 59-year-old American soldier, retired after 30 years of combat experience, working in the battlegrounds of Ukraine with his own start-up military training company called the Mozart Group, a 'saucy response to a Russian mercenary outfit' called the Wagner Group.

The language throughout the article is fawning, unquestioning, repeatedly glamorizing the soldier and his war. It’s Pentagon propaganda. The only question the journalist really raises is whether the soldier and his company can make a difference in helping the Ukrainians."

-->Do the media outlets in the US know something that we the people do not? Have the Pentagon and their weapons making corporations already decided to go to war? Decided to risk a nuclear conflagration for some New Cold War objectives? What's happened to the Democratic Party, itching to arm Taiwan?