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.