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.