Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Common Dreams:

"Report Warns US Militarized Response to Russia Could Provoke Nuclear War. While Ukrainian forces continue to make advances against Russian invaders nearly seven months into the war, an expert at Brown University warned Thursday that the United States boosting military spending in response to Russia could lead to a nuclear confrontation.

Visiting professor Lyle Goldstein authored a report—titled Threat Inflation, Russian Military Weakness, and the Resulting Nuclear Paradox: Implications of the War in Ukraine for U.S. Military Spending—for the Costs of War Project at Brown's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

'Russian aggression in Ukraine requires an international response. However, it does not justify increased U.S. military budgets, which could ultimately escalate tensions with Russia and once again lead us down a dangerous path,' said Costs of War Project co-director Stephanie Savell in a statement."

-->It seems like our major media is really pushing us to this nuclear showdown. NPR and the NYT run endless anti Russian stories, omitting completely the crying need to slow the conflict down and negotiate.


Common Dreams:

"Anti-War Voices Warn US Bill on Taiwan Will Make War Much More Likely. 

A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill to dramatically boost American military support for Taiwan, a move that prompted warnings from both China and anti-war voices in the United States that such a policy increases the likelihood of armed conflict. ...

The bill comes during a period of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing and follows U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 's (D-Calif.) provacative trip to Taiwan last month, a visit the Chinese government answered by suspending climate and military cooperation with the United States and forging closer ties with Russia. ...

China vigorously protested the proposed legislation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said during a Wednesday press conference in Beijing that 'if the bill continues to be deliberated, pushed forward, or even signed into law, it will greatly shake the political foundation of China-U.S. relations and cause extremely serious consequences to... peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.' "

-->The prospects of a nuclear war with Russia and China are here, although our media can't take time to comprehend this existential danger to all life on earth. In fact, the NYT and NPR seem to be rallying public hate towards both countries. Alan Chartock, that self proclaimed long time friend of Pete Seeger, is almost blind with righteous anger. 



"Both the US and British governments supported the rise of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. ... The US Department of Justice was a crucial partner in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation, which resulted in the prosecution and jailing of Brazil’s left-leaning former president Luiz Inácio 'Lula' da Silva. The politically motivated legal campaign against Lula served to prevent his participation in the 2018 presidential election, in what Gaspard Estrada calls 'the biggest judicial scandal in Brazilian history.'

Because of this history, and because Brazil is a hard country to explain concisely, I was weary to learn that the British and US state-affiliated media outlets BBC and PBS had co-released a documentary about Jair Bolsonaro only a few weeks before this year’s Brazilian presidential election (10/2–30/22). It didn’t fail to disappoint. ...

The fact that US and British state-affiliated media outlets would promote misleading narratives less than a month before the most complicated Brazilian presidential election in modern history is another sad example of the long tradition of Western media facilitating imperialist meddling in Latin American elections."

-->This is a big story, and worth reading about. It is about the BBC, PBS, and Fox news siding with Bolsonaro. PBS's documentary about Brazil is the most fascinating example of US propaganda. It ends with a pep talk for imperialism by Steve Bannon. It doesn't get much better than that in the empire. 

Monday, September 12, 2022


"Community organizers and their supporters are celebrating that after years of local resistance, South Louisiana Methanol won’t complete a stalled $2.2 billion petrochemical complex in a region known as 'Cancer Alley.' In a statement Friday, the environmental law organization Earthjustice and groups it has represented in challenges to the project — RISE St. James, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Healthy Gulf, and the Sierra Club — highlighted a letter to the company from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ).

As the letter details, the LDEQ in July notified South Louisiana Methanol (SLM) that its application to modify permits for the complex in St. James Parish would be withdrawn from review unless the company provided the department with necessary information by August 19.

'No response from SLM was received. Accordingly, LDEQ hereby withdraws the aforementioned application from review,' the letter states, adding that new authorization would be required to start or resume construction."

-->This is a real victory against corporate polluters that have targeted Black communities. Cancer Alley is a relic of Jim Crow. Too bad the NYT didn't cover this important story. 



Stanford Internet Observatory:

"Stanford Internet Observatory collaborated with Graphika to analyze a large network of accounts removed from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in our latest report. This information operation likely originated in the United States and targeted a range of countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. ...

Our joint investigation found an interconnected web of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and five other social media platforms that used deceptive tactics to promote pro-Western narratives in the Middle East and Central Asia. The platforms’ datasets appear to cover a series of covert campaigns over a period of almost five years rather than one homogeneous operation. 

These campaigns consistently advanced narratives promoting the interests of the United States and its allies while opposing countries including Russia, China, and Iran. The accounts heavily criticized Russia in particular for the deaths of innocent civilians and other atrocities its soldiers committed in pursuit of the Kremlin’s 'imperial ambitions' following its invasion of Ukraine in February this year."

-->Congratulations to the NYT and Washington Post for covering this story. At least the empire's "fake news" gets exposed in some US media. What about NPR, that bastion of anti-Russian propaganda? No mention of this story on Public Radio.


Democracy Now:

"Leaders of the African People’s Socialist Party say the FBI carried out a violent raid on its properties with flash grenades and drones early Friday morning in Missouri and Florida. The pan-Africanist group has been a longtime advocate for reparations for slavery and a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy. ...

'And then we heard this loud racket outside, this noise from loudspeakers demanding that the residents of this property should come out with our hands up and nothing in our hands. And as this was being said, loud flashbang grenades were exploding all around the house and, I was later to learn, in the back stairwell of the house. So, I asked her [his wife] to allow me to leave first, and to get on the phone to call people to let them know that we were being raided. And she tried but was unable to do it because they had jammed our phones. ...'

They had already knocked out the windows in the house, in my house. They had knocked some doors loose from the hinges. They had come to the back stairwell, as I mentioned. They used flashbang grenades in the rear of my house, plaster all over everything. ... So, clearly, you know, we’ve been targeted. They stole cellphones. They stole laptops. They stole iPads. They stole something like 40 years of archives that we have in that building in St. Petersburg, Florida, of the history of our movement, of our party and the struggle there in St. Petersburg. And they also detained — they went to the residence of Akilé Anai, who is a young woman who oversees most of our communications work. And they told her a lie that someone was breaking into her car, to draw her outside of the house.' -Omali Yeshitela

-->Omali Yeshitela has been on Activist Radio twice in the last couple of years. But why wasn't this political raid covered in the NYT? This stuff is right out of the Jim Crow days of COINTLPRO. Shame on the NYT for keeping this political raid on a Black activist community secret. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

 Common Dreams:

"Citing violations of its Fair Workweek Law, New York City sued Starbucks on Friday, accusing the company of illegally firing a barista for his union organizing activities.

New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga said the agency filed a case at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). The suit alleges that Starbucks violated 'just cause' protections of the city's 2017 Fair Workweek Law when the Seattle-based company unlawfully terminated Austin Locke, a Workers United organizer, on July 5—less than a month after crew members at the Astoria Starbucks where he worked voted to join a union. ...

Common Dreams reported Wednesday that Starbucks' union-busting CEO, Howard Schultz, got nearly a billion dollars richer during the Covid-19 pandemic, even as many of his baristas—who earn an average of around $17 an hour—struggle to survive."

-->Always lukewarm when it comes to labor activism, the NYT skipped this story of corporate wrongdoing and union triumph. 



The Intercept:

"PATRICK RYAN, A congressional candidate from New York, is leaning on his experience as a small business entrepreneur to establish his readiness for office, but he has curiously failed to mention the business he used to work in: domestic surveillance.

Seven years ago, Ryan, then working at a firm called Berico Technologies, compiled a plan to create a real-time surveillance operation of left-wing groups and labor unions, hoping business lobbyists would pay top dollar to monitor and disrupt the actions of activist groups across the country. At one point, the proposal included the idea to spy on the families of high-profile Democratic activists and plant fake documents with labor unions in a bid to discredit them.

The pitch, a joint venture with a now-defunct company called HBGary Federal and the Peter Thiel-backed company Palantir Technologies, however, crumbled in 2011 after it was exposed in a series of news reports. 

Years later, Ryan pivoted to a startup called Dataminr, a data analytics company that provided social media monitoring solutions for law enforcement clients. Dataminr, which received financial support from the CIA’s venture capital arm, produced real-time updates about activists for law enforcement. For example, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of California and reported by The Intercept for the first time, Dataminr helped track social media posts relating to Black Lives Matter."

-->The Democrats seem to be unable to nominate anyone without ties to Wall Street (Antonio Delgado) or the Military Industrial Complex (Pat Ryan). Don't bother looking for this news in the mainstream media.


Barbara Ehrenreich died quite recently. Her books and articles told a truth about our flawed system, that working people don't earn enough to lead satisfying lives. And that billionaires at the very top are to blame. She was a crusader for justice; let's honor her courage and ingenuity for revealing our neoliberal system for what it is.

“The idea is not that we will win in our own lifetimes and that’s the measure of us,” she told The New Yorker, “but that we will die trying.”