Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The New York Times:
"Haiti’s Lost Billions. In exchange, France recognized Haiti’s independence. At home, Charles X was portrayed as the true liberator of the Haitian people. But a different history is written in ledgers and banking statements. They reveal a debt so large, and so lasting, that it would help cement Haiti’s path to poverty and underdevelopment."

-->The story from the Empire's major newspaper is groundbreaking. Yes, there was a much smaller opinion peace in 2021 entitled "We Owe Haiti a Debt We Can’t Repay." But even that did not cover the last several decades of US colonial rule. At least the current story mentions Aristide, although that part is relegated to a few paragraphs at the end. 

What's missing is the fact that the US took over from the French, allowing US businesses to take advantage of slave labor. No mention of the Clintons, who honeymooned in Haiti, formed a close relationship to Baby Doc, and profited themselves from the US colonial rule imposed on the island.

No, the mainstream media has no stomach for what US military aggression has done to Haiti over the last several decades. That is the story that runs counter to the image of US noble intentions in the rest of the world. No matter how many countries we occupy and exploit, our media is always there to help us feel better about it. Here is what the NYT should have started their story about Haiti with:

"Unless you’re buck naked as you read this, chances are that you’re wearing at least one garment manufactured in the Haitian apparel factories of Port-au-Prince, Caracol, and Ouanaminthe. Those Hanes or Fruit-of-the-Loom briefs in your dresser drawer, the classic Levi’s denim jacket hanging in your closet, or that cheapo, trendy, puff-sleeved H&M frock you hope to add to your Spring wardrobe—all of them were likely made by men and women in Haiti earning the barest of minimum wages. In exchange for an eight-hour work day, around 57,000 Haitian garment workers have been earning almost three cents less per hour than the average incarcerated worker in the US makes, which is only 63 cents per hour."  


Common Dreams:

"Analysis: 26 US Billionaires Paid Average Tax Rate of Just 4.8% in Recent Years. 'When you include their untaxed wealth growth in the calculation, many billionaires pay almost nothing,' said Frank Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness. When their astronomical wealth gains are taken into account, dozens of the top billionaires in the United States paid an average federal tax rate of just 4.8% from 2013 to 2018—a significantly lower rate than the nation's average taxpayer.

Under current U.S. law, unrealized capital gains from stocks and other assets are not taxed, allowing billionaires such as Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to accumulate massive fortunes tax-free. And even when assets are sold and gains are 'realized,' the long-term capital gains tax rate is significantly lower than the top marginal tax rate of 37%. ...

'Teachers, plumbers, firefighters, and other working Americans can already pay higher tax rates than billionaires—and that's just counting the small part of billionaire income that is now taxed,. When you include their untaxed wealth growth in the calculation, many billionaires pay almost nothing.' "

-->Why hide this story about billionaires not paying taxes? No major media covered this story. I think it's because US media is owned by the billionaire class; why would they want you to know how distorted our tax system is? 


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.

-->The hidden role of Israeli linked super PACs in promoting right wing candidates. The NYT article focused on Bernie Sanders, insinuating that he has a personal dispute with AIPAC.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Weapons 4 Ukraine (& Military Industrial Complex).

-->This video has you laughing until you cry. This video is about how the weapons lobbyists repeat their message endlessly on news programs, both in Britain and the US. Such sympathy for the the suffering in Ukraine! So intent on squeezing the last billion out of our national budgets for the weapons makers. Here is an "expert" tied to Rathion. Enjoy the video!


Common Dreams:

"During a rally in support of U.S. House candidate Summer Lee on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders called out super PACs bankrolled by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and billionaire donors for spending big to crush progressives in Pennsylvania and elsewhere across the country, efforts that the Vermont senator decried as 'pathetic' and corrosive to democracy.

'If they are successful, they will carry this into November,' Sanders warned at the event in Pittsburgh, which was held days before the May 17 Democratic primary in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. 'They have billions of dollars at their disposal.'

'We need a strong progressive like Summer in the Congress,' Sanders added. 'But honestly it is even more important that we tell these billionaires that we will not allow them to buy elections and control this democracy.' "

--Bernie Sanders exposing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for corrupting the democratic process with their billions. Haaretz covered the story in Israel, but the NYT won't touch it. Another indication of how pervasive AIPAC's influence is in US politics. 


Common Dreams:

"A group of international progressives on Friday released a declaration demanding an urgent withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, a global end to 'rampant militarism,' and the forging of a collaborative movement to ensure lasting peace and a planet safe from climate catastrophe.

The Athens Declaration was unveiled at a press conference in the Greek capital by Turkish author Ece Temelkuran; British Member of Parliament and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; and former Greek finance minister and leader of the MeRA25 party Yanis Varoufakis. The three are all Progressive International council members.

'Our purpose here,' said Corbyn, 'is to bring about.. a voice for peace. With these thoughts in mind, we call upon democrats across the world to join forces in a New Non-Aligned Movement. In this context, we view non-aligned, democratic and sovereign nations working together as the route to lasting peace and a world that can avert climate catastrophe and bequeath to the next generation a decent chance at creating the conditions for globally shared prosperity.' "

-->Politico covered this story, but not the NYT. One would never know, reading our "newspaper of record" that there was a strong push in non aliened nations for an end to the US/Russian Cold War. The US media seems stuck in the war mentality.



"With Abortion Rights Under Attack, Nancy Pelosi Is Siding With an Antiabortion Democrat. Even in the wake of news that Roe v. Wade may be overturned, the Democratic leadership is backing right-wing Texas representative Henry Cuellar against his primary opponent, Jessica Cisneros, a Berniecrat who favors abortion rights. ...

Pelosi is not alone in this madness. No matter how much of a liability Cuellar becomes, establishment Democrats seem determined to stick with him. House majority whip Jim Clyburn, too, travelled to South Texas’s Twenty-Eighth Congressional District to appear at a rally for Cuellar the day after the news about the Supreme Court leaked to Politico, and dismissed the idea that Democrats should not support an abortion opponent right now as 'pretty sophomoric.' ...

But with the Right spoiling for a civil war to maintain traditional gender hierarchies — and making alarming progress — these are not ordinary times, and supporting an antiabortion Congressional candidate against a progressive challenger is tone-deaf and politically suicidal for the Democrats this year."

-->The top Democrats use abortion rights in the same way they use the peace movement. Sounds good on the campaign trail, but elected they return to the right wing, corporate fold. Getting rid of Pelosi and Jim Clyburn should be the Democrats' first priority. The NYT didn't cover Pelosi's duplicity. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Common Dreams: 
"US Double Standard on Display in Tepid Response to Israel's Theft of Palestinian Land. Washington is attempting to reshape the entire world so as to get Putin back out of Ukraine, and we see exactly what it looks like when an illegal occupation is genuinely unacceptable to the White House.

The Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department, Jalina Porter, on Friday condemned the Israeli government’s announcement that it would build 4,000 further housing units in the Palestinian West Bank, i.e., it would steal land owned by Palestinian families and bring in squatters from Israel to squat on that land.

The full lack of seriousness in the US government on this issue is obvious if we compare the steps Mr. Biden has taken to deal with the illegal Russian occupation of portions of Ukraine."

-->How rarely does our media ever point out this obvious double standard towards the illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing we witness in Palestine. Our major media likes to keep Israel's war crimes out of our attention, so that we can concentrate on reviving the new Cold War. 


Public Citizen:

"WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp, announced their quarterly profits. At a moment when consumers face historically high prices at the pump, Exxon doubled its profits to $5.5 billion. Chevron quadrupled its profits to $6.3 billion as compared to the same quarter in 2021.

In early April, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth, and BailoutWatch reported that oil and gas companies have authorized spending a combined $45 billion for purchasing and retiring their own stock, directly enriching insiders and other shareholders.

In response to the windfall profits, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement: 'With prices rising at the pump, Exxon, Chevron and Big Oil profits are soaring so high they don’t know what to do with all the money, so they are going to waste it on stock buybacks.'

'Consumers should not get punched in the face so that Big Oil can stuff its overflowing coffers. ... There’s a straightforward solution to windfall profits: a windfall profits tax. Congress should act immediately to adopt a windfall profits tax, as proposed by Sens. Whitehouse, Sanders and others, with the tax revenues returned directly to consumers. This shouldn’t be controversial and it shouldn’t be delayed.' "

-->Any discussion of a windfall profits tax at our "newspaper of record"? Nope. That bastion of pro corporate thought didn't even raise the question for its readers.


Common Dreams:

"Investigation Shows Hundreds of US Cops Being Trained by Far-Right Extremists. Hundreds of cops across the United States have been taught by individuals who espouse far-right extremist views, according to a new investigation that was published Friday to sound the alarm on a burgeoning and unregulated private training industry.

Reuters identified five law enforcement trainers who have been hired by police and sheriffs' departments nationwide despite their support for right-wing militia groups, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters; the QAnon conspiracy, which baselessly claims that Democrats and Hollywood stars belong to a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals; and former President Donald Trump's 'Big Lie' that the 2020 election was stolen.

Some use bigoted instructional materials that promote racism, misogyny, and transphobia, and many endorse the constitutional sheriff philosophy, which maintains that county sheriffs should refuse to uphold any law they find unconstitutional."

-->This Reuters story wasn't carried by the major media in the US. Perhaps newspapers like the NYT, with close ties to Wall Street, don't want more scrutiny of the police. As long as establishment money is protected, why worry about what happens to protesters?

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Common Dreams:
"Sometimes one decision speaks volumes. And so it was when the Congressional Progressive Caucus—with 98 members in the House—recently chose to have its PAC endorse a corporate 'moderate' against the strong progressive candidate Nina Turner. In the process, the Progressive Caucus underscored its loyalty to establishment Democrats while damaging its credibility among progressives nationwide.

The endorsement of Congresswoman Shontel Brown against Turner in their upcoming May 3 rematch came just five months after Brown took office following last year's special election in a Cleveland area district. In last August's Democratic primary, Brown defeated Turner with the help of funding from big corporate, Republican and hawkishly pro-Israel donors—as well as support from Republicans who voted for Brown in Ohio's open primary. (Brown's two most notable national endorsers were Hillary Clinton and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).

Brown is such an establishment politician that she didn't just join the Progressive Caucus—she also quickly joined the rival New Democrat Coalition, an alliance of the most corporate Democrats in the House. By siding with Brown against Turner, the Progressive Caucus appears to be operating like much of official Washington does—as an incumbent protection racket."

-->What a shame that establishment (read corporate funded) Democrats will end up destroying any hope of defeating the Republicans this fall. Oh, but didn't those Democrats pony up for tens of billions for Ukraine? Nothing for working people, everything for the ridiculously rich weapons makers. That's what the Democrats are offering?


Economic Policy Institute:

"The inflation spike of 2021 and 2022 has presented real policy challenges. In order to better understand this policy debate, it is imperative to look at prices and how they are being affected.

The price of just about everything in the U.S. economy can be broken down into the three main components of cost. These include labor costs, nonlabor inputs, and the “mark-up” of profits over the first two components. Good data on these separate cost components exist for the nonfinancial corporate (NFC) sector—those companies that produce goods and services—of the economy, which makes up roughly 75% of the entire private sector.

Since the trough of the COVID-19 recession in the second quarter of 2020, overall prices in the NFC sector have risen at an annualized rate of 6.1%—a pronounced acceleration over the 1.8% price growth that characterized the pre-pandemic business cycle of 2007–2019. Strikingly, over half of this increase (53.9%) can be attributed to fatter profit margins, with labor costs contributing less than 8% of this increase. This is not normal. From 1979 to 2019, profits only contributed about 11% to price growth and labor costs over 60%

-->An interesting study showing that corporate profits are driving the inflation. But the story didn't get picked up by that most corporate of all newspapers, the NYT. 


Global Times:

"In the run-up to the current conflict in Ukraine, the US and its allies insisted on the 'principle' that sovereign countries had the right to freely join any military alliances they chose, and their neighbors would not have veto power over that. As it very quickly turned out, that was not a principle at all, just something they made up to suit the circumstances at the moment. This was just demonstrated beyond all doubt by the US and its allies - Australia in this instance - in the case of the Solomon Islands.

Whereas Ukraine is literally right on the border with Russia, the Solomons are an island chain some 1,800 kilometers northeast of Australia. Yet the reaction from Canberra and Washington to the government in Honiara contemplating a security pact with China was far more hysterical than anything coming out of the Kremlin regarding Kiev - up until February 24, anyway.

According to documents leaked by the Australian intelligence, Beijing would be able to send police and even troops to the island nation 'to assist in maintaining social order,' while Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy warships could dock in the local ports - something Canberra fears would lead to China building a permanent military base there."

-->Readers will have to go to a Chinese publication to expose the gross hypocrisy of the US and Australia when it comes to the Solomon Islands. The US has 800 military bases all over the world. China can't have one in the tiny Solomon Islands? The US is even hinting at military action against the Solomons. Isn't that just like Russia invading Ukraine? One has to stop thinking to be a patriot of the American Empire!