Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Common Dreams:

"Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday that the U.S. Senate must swiftly respond to the right-wing Supreme Court's 'outrageous and reactionary' decision to overturn Roe v. Wade by eliminating the legislative filibuster and codifying abortion rights into federal law.

'Six Supreme Court justices, including some who in their nomination hearings called the case 'important precedent,' today did exactly what the American people did not want and overturned Roe v. Wade,' Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement. 'This decision cannot be allowed to stand.'

'If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe,' the senator added, referring to the Senate GOP's elimination of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017, a move that paved the way for three of the right-wing justices who voted to end the constitutional right to abortion."

-->Bernie's words hardly ever make it into the mainstream media. He is right, of course. But the corporate controlled Democratic Party and the mainstream media want to use the issue in the next election. Why try to fix it now? 


Common Dreams:

"An unidentified male motorist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa intentionally rammed into several women on Friday night as abortion rights defenders peacefully protested the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. ...

The driver of a Ford truck maneuvered around multiple cars at a red light and drove through the tail end of a group of demonstrators who were crossing a street downtown, running over one woman's ankle and sending her to the hospital, witnesses told HuffPost. 'He tried to murder them,' said Lyz Lenz, a local journalist and witness to the attack. 'These women see him coming and a bunch of people put their hands out to stop him. And he just keeps going.' ...

Although the Cedar Rapids police reportedly interviewed the driver Friday night, no arrests were made. Iowa is one of three states that have enacted laws shielding motorists who run over protestors from liability under certain circumstances."

-->Yes, it comes to this in a fascist state. The police aiding vigilantes committing violence against demonstrators. With its head in the sand like always, the NYT didn't cover this story.


Common Dreams:

"Noam Chomsky told us that it 'should be clear that the (Russian) invasion of Ukraine has no (moral) justification.' He compared it to the US invasion of Iraq, seeing it as an example of 'supreme international crime.' With this moral question settled, Chomsky believes that the main 'background' of this war, a factor that is missing in mainstream media coverage, is 'NATO expansion.'

'This is not just my opinion,' said Chomsky, 'it is the opinion of every high-level US official in the diplomatic services who has any familiarity with Russia and Eastern Europe. This goes back to George Kennan and, in the 1990s, Reagan's ambassador Jack Matlock, including the current director of the CIA; in fact, just everybody who knows anything has been warning Washington that it is reckless and provocative to ignore Russia's very clear and explicit red lines. That goes way before (Vladimir) Putin, it has nothing to do with him; (Mikhail) Gorbachev, all said the same thing. Ukraine and Georgia cannot join NATO, this is the geostrategic heartland of Russia.' ...

'Starting in 2014, after the Maidan uprising, the United States began openly, not secretly, moving to integrate Ukraine into the NATO military command, sending heavy armaments and joining military exercises, military training and it was not a secret. They boasted about it,' Chomsky said."

-->Do you see why the NYT doesn't print much that Chomsky says? In three short paragraphs he exposes the US empire and its decades of militarization and aggression. Read some Chomsky to save yourself from NPR and the New York Times. If the war in Ukraine brings the end of human civilization, then NATO expansion will be the fuse.   

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

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,s 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. ...

Masafar Yatta, in the south of Hebron, is home to 20 Palestinian communities, which have been living and herding their livestock in the area [for] generations. 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."

-->British and US companies supplying the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. How many Americans are aware of that? The information is simply not there in the mainstream media.


The Conversation (academic rigor, journalistic flair)

" 'The Assange case is the story of a man who is being persecuted and abused for exposing the dirty secrets of the powerful, including war crimes, torture and corruption. 

It is a story of deliberate judicial arbitrariness in Western democracies that are otherwise keen to present themselves as exemplary in the area of human rights.It is the story of wilful collusion by intelligence services behind the back of national parliaments and the general public.

It is a story of manipulated and manipulative reporting in the mainstream media for the purpose of deliberately isolating, demonizing, and destroying a particular individual. It is the story of a man who has been scapegoated by all of us for our own societal failures to address government corruption and state-sanctioned crimes.' ...

That is one of the findings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, whose investigation of the case against Assange has been laid out in forensic detail in [his recent book] 'The Trial of Julian Assange.' "

-->The order has come down from the top. Only personal stories will be printed about Julian Assange. Nothing about the war crimes that he has exposed. That's how the empire's propaganda machine works. 


Activist Radio Point of View:

One might say that the Israel Lobby isn't much worse than some of the biggest of corporate advocacy groups. Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Banks, and the weapons makers spend millions on campaign contributions and flood DC with their lobbyists. Is Israel doing anything different?

Well, most lobby groups don't spend a lot of time spying on the American people. Certainly not to the extent the Israeli Lobby does, using its huge collection of personal data to destroy the job prospects of college students and professors. In fact the lobby goes beyond that to infiltrate American human rights organizations, even using the Israeli spyware company NSO to trace their communications and locations. Pro-Israel reporters have infiltrated our major media, like Isabel Kershner for the New York Times, whose son served in the Israeli Army and husband works for an Israeli propaganda group (the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv). 

The Israel Lobby has a close relationship with groups that fan Islamophobia in US campuses and communities. The Clarion Fund distributed copies of the racist film "Obsession" to millions of people in the same year it was awarded $18 million from the Donors Capital Fund, a group that links conservative causes to overseas funders operating in Israel. Jewish Voice For Peace has recently identified at least seven major foundations involved in creating and funding anti-Muslim sentiment in the US. 

The Israeli Lobby is, in fact, much more destructive to our democracy than corporate advocacy groups. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Don't Extradite Assange:

"3 Important new developments in cases involving the US government spying on Assange and his lawyers. There have been important updates in the cases involving the spying on Julian Assange and his lawyers. 

1. Spanish Court summons former US Secretary of State and CIA director Mike Pompeo to explain CIA plot to assassinate Julian Assange. 

2. UK admits violation of Article 8 & Article 10 (confidential journalistic material) of the European Convention of Human Rights. In 2016, Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson took legal action against the UK Government with help from Privacy International over illegal surveillance & information sharing with the US Government for her work for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

3. In a separate case, El Pais reports that The British authorities have obstructing an investigation into US spying on Julian Assange's defence. Spain's High Court has issued an order requesting UK assistance to depose British lawyers spied on at the embassy, some of whom are acting for Assange in the US extradition, but British authorities are obstructing the request for lawyers' testimony. Proving that the US secret services learned about Assange's defence strategy by spying on his lawyers could annul the extradition request."

-->Still no reporting on Julian Assange, except for Democracy Now and a few other left publications. The blackout of Assange shows just how controlled the major media really is when it comes to hiding the war crimes of the empire.


Economic Policy Institute:

"The reasons for escalating inflation are hotly debated, but some theories gaining traction have not been grounded in the data. EPI research sets the record straight on the causes of inflation—and how policymakers can best restrain it. Below, we debunk 5 top inflation myths.

Myth #1: Workers’ wage growth is driving inflation. Nominal wage growth—while faster relative to the recent past—has lagged far behind inflation, meaning that labor costs have been dampening, not amplifying, inflationary pressures all along.

Myth #2: Corporate profits are not contributing to inflation. In fact, fatter corporate profit margins have driven over half of the increase in prices in the nonfinancial corporate sector between the second quarter of 2020 and the end of 2021. This is not normal. From 1979 to 2019, profits only contributed about 11% to price growth. Ignoring the role of profits makes inflation analyses a lot weaker.

-->The top two myths are the most damaging. By not printing this information, most US citizens will end up blaming inflation on wage growth and not on corporate profits. The corporate controlled press keeps us in the dark. The NYT ran a story entitled: "Rising Wages Could Complicate America’s Inflation Cool-Down." Even our newspaper of record is blaming rising wages instead of excess corporate profits.


Common Dreams:

"I’ve just finished going through the more than 60 presidential statements, documents and communiques about the war in Ukraine that the White House has released and posted on its website since Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in early March. They all share with that speech one stunning characteristic—the complete absence of any mention of nuclear weapons or nuclear war dangers. Yet we’re now living in a time when those dangers are the worst they’ve been since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

You might think that the risks of global nuclear annihilation would merit at least a few of the more than 25,000 words officially released on Biden’s behalf during the 100 days since his dramatic speech to a joint session of Congress. But an evasive pattern began from the outset. While devoting much of that speech to the Ukraine conflict, Biden said nothing at all about the heightened risks that it might trigger the use of nuclear weapons.

A leader interested in informing the American people rather than infantilizing them would have something to say about the need to prevent nuclear war at a time of escalating tensions between the world’s two nuclear superpowers."

-->Why must Norman Solomon have to point out this omission in Biden's pro war rhetoric? Don't the major newspapers have political analysts? Maybe this story gets in the way of our media's rush towards war with Russia.

Thursday, June 09, 2022

 Highland Current:

"Since the first anniversary of 1969’s Stonewall riots, through President Clinton’s 1999 White House declaration, the month of June has long been considered National Pride Month, acknowledging our country’s vast and dynamic LGBTQIA+ communities, and honoring the important leaders and organizers who fought for the establishment and advancement of equality nationwide.

This June, Cold Spring and Philipstown will continue that tradition by celebrating our queer neighbors, workers and visitors through the month-long display of Progress Pride flags at Town Hall, Village Hall, McConville Park and the bandstand.

Four local businesses have generously donated the flags at no cost to the village or town: Amanda Amadei of Amadei Yoga, designer Charles Burleigh, Anthony Lise of Lise Law & Mediation and Michael Siebert of Houlihan Lawrence.

We would like to thank the town and village boards for their continued commitment to make sure everyone feels welcome in Cold Spring and Philipstown. Our hope is that the flags remain in use for years to come.

Sean Conway, Cold Spring

Teddy Nagel, Garrison

-->Pride month is about flags, of course, but it is also about grassroots support of human rights in communities all across America. The revolution for gay rights has happened in our country, and our media should talk more about how local towns, villages and businesses can stand up for the basic rights of all its citizens. 


Common Dreams:

"Canada could be a clean electricity powerhouse by 2035—without building more large hydro dams or relying on expensive and sometimes unproven and dangerous technologies like nuclear or fossil gas with carbon capture and storage.

New David Suzuki Foundation modelling research—the first of its kind in Canada—finds we could affordably and quickly shift from fossil fuels to reliable 100 per cent emissions-free electricity using mainly wind and solar, existing hydro, energy efficiency, batteries and other energy storage technologies and grid improvements, including connecting grids between provinces. The transition would help Canada achieve its global climate commitments, create tens of thousands of new jobs and meet the growing demand for electricity.

Not only is this possible, the study notes that the underlying analysis was cautious: 'The modelling did not consider a range of additional technologies and approaches, such as demand response, distributed renewables and emerging storage technologies that are likely to lead to increased efficiencies and further reductions in costs when moving to a zero-emissions electricity system.' "

-->Wouldn't it be encouraging to have such news appear in the US media? But the NYT, along with so much of our corporate controlled press, decided not to print this story. Too damaging to Big Oil? Or the desperate nuclear energy industry?



"If a Palestinian-American wants to travel to the occupied West Bank to visit their family, they will soon need to apply to the Israeli government for advanced permission, reveal the personal information of the relatives they plan on visiting, along with data of any land they own or stand to inherit in the territory. And even then, they could still be denied entry for 'any relevant considerations,' as so deemed by Israeli authorities. 

These are just some of the invasive restrictions that Palestinians who hold foreign passports would be subjected to according to a new ordinance published by the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli government agency responsible for enforcing Israeli policy in the occupied territory. ...

'It’s all part of the apartheid system. What we are seeing is representative of how Israel applies its apartheid laws to Palestinians everywhere, both in the occupied territory and abroad. Israel targets Palestinians simply for being Palestinians' [said Ahmed Abofoul, a lawyer with Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq]”

-->Specifics of Israeli Apartheid are often left out of our media. Why didn't the NYT cover this story?

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

The Intercept: 
"Last May, in an assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, Israel deployed hundreds of bombs, missiles, and shells, killing over 240 Palestinians and wounding more than 1,900 others. More than half of the dead were civilians, according to the Israeli think tank Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, despite Israeli claims that it only targets combatants from Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups.

At the end of the 11-day assault, tens of thousands of Gazans were displaced from damaged homes, already struggling in a region with a 50 percent unemployment rate, toxic water, and crumbling infrastructure. Thousands of housing units, hundreds of schools, and 19 health care facilities were damaged.

Compounding the devastating toll on Palestinian civilians, weapons made and funded by the U.S. were used to destroy American humanitarian projects and businesses, documents and reporting reviewed by The Intercept show. The destruction reached multiple hospitals and water treatment facilities supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development; dozens of schools operated by the State Department-funded United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA; and a Coca-Cola plant built by a U.S. citizen.

-->The truth about Gaza is hard to avoid, unless you are a reader of the NYT, which didn't cover this story.


Common Dreams:
" 'Medicare is under threat today from the constant efforts of private insurance companies and for-profit investors who want to privatize it and turn it into yet another shameful opportunity to make money,' said Rep. Pramila Jayapal. ...

At issue is Direct Contracting, which is set to be renamed ACO REACH—an acronym for Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health—in 2023. As the campaign to protect traditional Medicare explains, the Direct Contracting scheme 'invites profit-seeking middlemen to manage care for seniors and people with disabilities, allowing companies to keep up to 40% of what they don't spend on care as overhead and profit.' ...

These profit-maximizing third parties have plans to completely take over Medicare by the end of the decade, but progressives are gearing up to fight back, as detailed during Monday's Protect Medicare event, organized by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and titled 'Turning Up the Heat on Direct Contracting and REACH.' "

-->This battle to save Medicare is not covered in our "newspaper of record," the NYT. The paper has always sided with Wall Street, which is drooling over the possibility of making billion dollar profits by denying seniors healthcare. 


9 to 5 Mac:
"DuckDuckGo caught giving Microsoft permission for trackers despite strong privacy reputation. DuckDuckGo is known for its privacy-first commitment to users on iOS, Android, browsers, and soon with its own Mac app. Now, a report puts in check the company’s privacy focus due to a search agreement with Microsoft that let the Redmond company continue tracking users on the browser.

As reported by Bleeping Computer, security researcher Zach Edwards posted on Twitter that 'while DuckDuckGo blocks Google and Facebook trackers, it allowed Microsoft trackers to continue running.' The company explains that 'this issue is occurring on browsers and only pertains to non-DuckDuckGo websites.'

Tests showed that the browser allowed trackers related to Bing and LinkedIn domains while blocking all other trackers. Edwards’ thread got the attention of DuckDuckGO CEO Gabriel Weinberg, [who] said the browser intentionally allows Microsoft trackers third-party sites due to a search syndication agreement with Redmond.

-->So searches on DuckDuckGo aren't completely anonymous. You would think this story would be interesting for the NYT. But the NYT seldom does stories about big tech and privacy. Why antagonize their corporate dominated board of directors?