Wednesday, September 06, 2023

The New York Times:
"Decades After Dictatorship, Chile Mounts Search for Hundreds Who Vanished. President Gabriel Boric authorized a new national search plan ahead of the 50th anniversary of the coup that toppled the government and led to the disappearance and killing of thousands."

-->Well, it was more than thousands killed. It was more like tens of thousands. But that is a mild omission compared to the rest the the NYT article. What was omitted? Well, the fact that the coup was planned and paid for by the CIA. In fact, Kissinger and Nixon spent millions trying to bankrupt Chile its new president, Salvador Alleinde. Worst than that, the US assassinated a Chilean general who supported the president. And as the murders went on, the US press covered it all up, 17 years of brutal dictatorship.

Now I can see covering up the coup. The US likes to preach democracy, of course, but seldom follows its own propaganda. But 17 years covering up Pinochet's crimes? Even praising the military regime? Does US propaganda have no end?

Apparently not, since an article in our sorry "newspaper of record" can't even mention this US involvement in overthrowing the elected president of Chile, destroying its democratic traditions, and hiding its murders of up to 30,000 civilians. Read the NYT article again, so you can get a sense of how our media covers up US war crimes in the rest of the world. And I hope you escaped Scott Simon on NPR this weekend. His bloviating about Chile was particularly revolting, given the fact that he completely omitted any US involvement in the war crimes.


Common Dreams:
"The Biden administration will, for the first time, send controversial armor-piercing munitions containing depleted uranium to Ukraine, according to Reuters. The munition can be fired from US Abrams tanks, which are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks. ...

This follows an earlier decision by the Biden administration to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine despite concerns over the dangers such weapons pose to civilians. If the US deploys depleted uranium shells to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to retaliate with DU rounds—which are linked to birth defects, miscarriages, and cancer...

The use of depleted uranium munitions has been fiercely debated, with opponents like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons saying there are dangerous health risks from ingesting or inhaling depleted uranium dust, including cancers and birth defects."

-->The NYT covers Ukraine endlessly. But no mention of this dangerous US escalation. The Pentagon calls the shots when it comes to the NYT reporting on our endless wars.


"When wildfires tore across Maui on August 9, devastating the Hawaiian island gem, media covered the disaster extensively. Broadcast news featured dramatic photographs that showed the horrors of the island’s destruction, with online videos shared everywhere from the Weather Channel to Inside Edition. Reporting carried testimonial descriptions like 'war zone' and 'apocalyptic.'...

Most of the corporate press focused on the island’s sensational visual destruction, official responses, body counts and destroyed structures. Meanwhile, news reports largely confused or denied the climate crisis’s contribution to the fire, and ignored the connections between fossil fuel use, increased CO2 levels and planetary heating. ...

More, the Times asserted 'It’s difficult to directly attribute any single hurricane to climate change'—as though there are some weather events that are affected by the climate, and others that are not. This is the discredited language of climate denial and doubt, pushed for decades by Exxon and other mega-fossil fuel corporations. Why include it, when the next sentence acknowledges that bigger storms result from increasing temperatures?"

-->The nation's media have simply learned to stop worrying and love fossil fuels as well as global warming.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Jacobin:
"Everyone from the virulently antisemitic Republican Rudy Giuliani, to independent Michael Bloomberg and Democrat Bill de Blasio have traveled to Israel during their tenures as mayor. Given New York’s large Jewish population, the incessant work of the Israel lobby to tie together Jewish identity and the Zionist project, and the massive investments of the Zionist lobby in election campaigns and lobbying, taking any position other than salivating support for Israel could be a career-ending move.

In 2022 alone, the Israel lobby spent nearly $44 million nationally in political contributions, the majority of which went to Democratic Party candidates. In fact, according to OpenSecrets, a majority of national pro-Israel money has gone to Democratic Party candidates in every single presidential election or midterm since 1990, the year the site’s tracking begins. Recently, the Israel lobby has invested millions in Democratic congressional primaries to defeat progressives critical of the status quo in Israel, from successfully defeating Ohio’s Nina Turner to nearly defeating Summer Lee in Pennsylvania. ...

The Israel lobby’s influence on New York politics and politicians is like its national influence but on steroids. Brooklyn-based representative Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic House minority leader and likely future speaker of the House, once described Jerusalem as 'the sixth borough,' which makes sense when you consider that the number-one donor to his 2022 reelection campaign was the PAC Pro-Israel America."

-->The NYT covered Mayor Adams' trip to Israel in the usual way, shallow homage with a hint of skepticism. Here is a quote that says it all:

"Mr. Adams may have been thousands of miles away from home, but was still very much himself: high energy, highly quotable, spiritual, ideologically to the right of many Democrats in his party, wary of the press, fond of police drone demonstrations and foremost a foodie."


Guardian UK:
"Two more US Department of State documents relating to Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’état in Chile have been declassified, revealing how President Richard Nixon was briefed on the impending military takeover. ...

During his bloody rule, 40,175 people were recorded as victims of executions, torture or political imprisonment, or were 'disappeared'. ...

A US state department press release said on Friday that the declassification of the president’s daily briefings 'demonstrates our enduring commitment to the US-Chile partnership and is consistent with our joint efforts to promote democracy and human rights in our own countries and around the world'.

As neither daily briefing poses any obvious threat to US national security, it is unclear why they were kept classified almost entirely for nearly 50 years."

-->It is also unclear why the NYT would just ignore this story. In fact, most of the US media refused to cover this release of information. Could it be that the US was complicit in the coup, and that the empire's newspapers almost always fall into line?  


Common Dreams:
"Researchers in Pennsylvania published a series of studies late Tuesday showing that children who live near fracking operations are roughly five to seven times more likely to develop lymphoma than kids whose homes are at least five miles away from drilling sites.

Released by the University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the studies also found a 'strong link' between fracked gas development and 'severe exacerbations, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for asthma in people living within 10 miles of one or more wells' producing gas.

While the studies weren't designed to establish a causal connection between fracking and cancer or asthma, they add to the large and growing body of literature indicating that oil and gas operations pose a significant threat to public health."

-->The NYT has always loved expensive energy sources, especially when those companies are backed by Wall Street money. The dangers of nuclear energy or fracking get little or no coverage, no matter how many children get sacrificed. Our major newspaper didn't cover this story.

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Geopolitical Economy:
"The new president of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Traoré, has vowed to fight imperialism and neocolonialism, invoking his country’s past revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara and quoting Che Guevara. The West African nation has also formed close diplomatic ties with the revolutionary governments in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran, as well as with NATO’s arch-rival Russia.

In January 2022, a group of nationalist military officers in Burkina Faso toppled the president, Roch Kaboré, a wealthy banker who had fostered close ties with the country’s former colonizer, France, where he was educated.

The military officers declared a government run by what they call the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), led by a new president, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. They pledged to seek true independence from French hegemony, condemning the neocolonial policies and economic, political, and military control that Paris still exercises over Francophone West Africa."

-->To the NYT, all this anti-imperialist militancy is nothing more than "Another Coup As Usual," which is the title of its recent article on the crisis in Niger. Although the NYT admits that "Thousands of American and French troops are stationed in Niger," the newspaper never makes the connection between foreign troops and the will of the people to control their own countries.


"Barack Obama Is a Climate Hypocrite. In refusing to acknowledge his past climate denial and promotion of oil interests, Obama is relying on liberals forgetting his actual environmental record. Worse, he’s telling other Democratic leaders that lip service can stand in for action. ...

Against this backdrop, former president Barack Obama and his top White House strategist David Axelrod have been publicly lamenting climate inaction and warning of the imperative to fight climate change — pretending that they are powerless bystanders who played no part in creating the escalating crisis.
In fact, the opposite is true: when they were in a position to limit future damage from climate change, they chose not to prioritize climate policy and instead expanded fossil fuel production — all while Obama and Democrats were rewarded with a gusher of campaign cash from the oil and gas industry."

-->The NYT doesn't do hypocrisy when it comes to Barack Obama. Our newspaper of record will always value slick words over climate action. And most liberals will take the bait, hook, line and sinker.


Common Dreams:
"Entire House Democratic Leadership Backs Anti-Choice Cuellar in 2024 Run. With well over a year before the 2024 election, and as a pro-choice immigration rights attorney is reportedly weighing a primary run, all four of the top Democratic leaders in the U.S. House on Thursday announced their support for anti-abortion rights Rep. Henry Cuellar in his reelection bid.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Minority Whip Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.), and Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) all announced their endorsements of the right-wing Democrat, who has represented Texas' 28th district since 2005.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) also voiced their support for Cuellar, who in addition to being the only anti-abortion rights Democrat in the House, has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association indicating his anti-gun control views."

-->This story certainly shows the disinterest of the Democratic Party leadership in a woman's right to choose. No wonder abortion rights has taken such a beating. Like so many issues, it has been sacrificed to corporate interests. No mention of the sellout in the NYT.

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Common Dreams:
" 'My fellow Americans, we are facing a climate emergency. This summer, we have seen record-shattering heat waves sweep across our nation... If we do not act urgently to curb fossil fuel pollution, these deadly heat waves will only grow worse in frequency and severity.'

That was how Fossil Free Media director Jamie Henn suggested U.S. President Joe Biden address the public on Thursday as he announced new measures to address the record-breaking heat that spread across the country from the Southwest to the Midwest and Northeast, placing more than half the U.S. population under heat advisories.

The climate campaigner was among those urging the president to make a clear connection between the extreme heat—which was expected to push temperatures to 105°F in Minneapolis and 107° in New York as Phoenix saw its 27th consecutive day with a heat index of at least 110°—and the climate crisis. Instead, Biden did not utter the words 'fossil fuels,' 'oil,' or 'gas' throughout his remarks, despite the fact that World Weather Attribution reported this week that the extreme heat seen in the U.S. and other countries would have been 'virtually impossible' without the climate crisis and continued fossil fuel extraction."

-->So much for our do nothing president. He get the climate crisis, but is simply a corrupt, pro corporate stooge. But why does the NYT never mention these Biden omissions in its extensive coverage of his speech?


The Guardian UK:
"A witness to the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X has come forward to claim that a comment he overheard as police were restraining assassin Thomas Hagan outside the Audubon Ball room proved to him that the New York police department and FBI knew beforehand that there would be an attempt on the civil rights activist’s life.
Mustafa Hassan said he heard an officer ask of Hagan, 'Is he one of us?'

'From my vantage point this was an attempt by police to assist in him getting away,' Hassan said on Tuesday in a statement to reporters, read mere feet away from where Malcolm X was gunned down in New York City’s Audubon Ballroom.

Appearing alongside the civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Hassan asserted that he prevented Hagan from being taken away by reaching out and grabbing the assassin by the collar.

Hassan, formerly known as Richard Melwin Jones, delivered a vivid description of his recollection of the day that the leader of the Organization of Afro-American Unity was assassinated."

-->OK, this is just hearsay from over 50 years ago. But why didn't the NYT even mention the possibility that Malcolm X was murdered by government assassins, like Fred Hampton would be three years later. In fact, the 1960s saw an overwhelming number of Black leaders being murdered. And then there was COINTELPRO, the secret FBI attack on Black activism that was exposed by the Church Committee. We need a no holds barred investigation of these government murders, not a liberal cover up by our newspaper of record.


Common Dreams:
"Over 40 international and local civil society groups on Wednesday called for accountability for all perpetrators of war crimes during the nearly nine-year civil war and U.S.-backed Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, as well as reconciliation, redress, and reparations for victims of the conflict that's claimed nearly 400,000 lives and upended millions more. ...

HRW and other groups have documented human rights crimes committed by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni government forces, as well as the Houthi rebels they're fighting and the U.S. forces conducting raids and airstrikes in the so-called War on Terror.

According to United Nations humanitarian officials, nearly 400,000 people have died during the Yemeni war, and a Saudi-led blockade has exacerbated starvation and disease in the country of 30 million people—more than 23 million of whom required assistance in 2022."

-->The NYT doesn't do war crimes committed by US allies. Perhaps that is one reason for the fact that most American citizens don't even know how involved the US is in butchering the Yemeni people. The NYT is the empire's most reliable propaganda tool.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Guardian UK:
"The state official in charge of Oklahoma’s schools is facing calls for impeachment, after he said teachers should tell students that the Tulsa race massacre was not racially motivated.

In a public forum on Thursday, Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction, said teachers could cover the 1921 massacre, in which white Tulsans murdered an estimated 300 Black people, but teachers should not 'say that the skin color determined it'.

Walters is a pro-Trump Republican who was elected to oversee Oklahoma education in November. He has consistently indulged in rightwing talking points including 'woke ideology' and has said critical race theory should not be taught in classrooms. Republicans have frequently conflated banning critical race theory with banning any discussion of racial history in classrooms."

-->Here we have another shameful example of our country's perpetual racism and of its unwillingness to consider the history of Blacks in America. Is the story just too painful for our own media to report on? Let's see if the NYT gets around to printing this sickening story.


Guardian UK:
"An Oklahoma judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking reparations for the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, dashing an effort to obtain some measure of legal justice for elderly survivors.  The judge, Caroline Wall, on Friday dismissed with prejudice the lawsuit which attempted to force the city and others to make recompense for the destruction of Greenwood, a once-thriving Black district.

The case involved three survivors of the attack, all now over 100 years old and who sued in 2020, in the hope of seeing what their attorney called 'justice in their lifetime'. ... The Tulsa race massacre suit said the actions of the white mob that killed hundreds of Black residents and destroyed what had been the most prosperous Black business district in the US continue to affect the city today.

It contended that Tulsa’s long history of racial division and tension stemmed from the massacre, during which a mob descended on a 35-block area, looting, killing and burning. Thousands were left homeless, living in a hastily constructed camp.
The city and insurance companies never compensated victims and the massacre ultimately resulted in racial and economic disparities that still exist today, the lawsuit argued."

-->Let's see if our mainstream media can hide this disgraceful story. So far it has. What about the NYT, which so far lets the Guardian report on America's homegrown racism.


Accountable US:
"WASHINGTON, DC – A new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US found nearly 60% of incumbent U.S. representatives filed extensions in 2023 for their 2022 financial disclosure, the majority of which––54.5%––were Republicans. Accountable.US.’ review of the House Committee on Ethics’ financial disclosure database also found that among the 257 representatives that filed extensions, 80.9% asked for the maximum 90-day extension. ...

Members of Congress were required to file their annual financial disclosure reports by May 15th, 2023 under the Ethics in Government Act and STOCK Act to help identify and regulate possible corrupt conflicts of interest or instances when an 'official uses his position of influence to enhance his personal financial interests.'

Their failure to do so has fueled criticism that the 'toothless' STOCK Act does not go far enough, and elevated concerns about how many members of Congress were able to beat the S&P 500 in 2021 and 2022 amid 'the worst market since 2008.' While at least six bipartisan House bills have been introduced this Congress to restrict stock trading, the MAGA House Majority has not acted on any of the bills even as public pressure continues to mount. A 2022 poll found over 7 in 10 likely voters believed members of Congress should not participate in the stock market while in office."

-->The utter corruption of our Congress does not really make it into the US media. I would call this censorship of how our neoliberal system works. The system works great for the rich and powerful. For you, ignorance is the only way to be happy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

"As Venezuela Mends Ties With Latin Neighbors, Western Media Turn Up the Propaganda. Venezuela’s Maduro government has slowly and steadily regained its diplomatic standing in recent years, overcoming US endeavors to turn the country into a pariah state as part of its regime-change efforts.

Nevertheless, Washington remains hell-bent on ousting the democratically elected Venezuelan authorities, and has kept its deadly sanctions program virtually intact. And Western media, which have cheered coup attempts at every step of the way (, 6/13/22, 5/2/22, 6/4/21, 4/15/20, 1/22/20), remain committed to endorsing US policies to the bitter end.

This commitment was on full display recently when President Nicolás Maduro was hosted by Brazilian President Lula da Silva, in a major blow against the campaign to isolate Venezuela. Lula added insult to injury by condemning what he called the 'narrative' of authoritarianism and lack of democracy that had been built around Venezuela to justify sanctions and regime change.' "

-->FAIR demonstrates how in bed the mainstream media is when it comes to socialist governments in other countries. For Cuba and Venezuela, the NYT is all Cold War propaganda, all of the time.


Common Dreams:
"The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation 'failed to fulfill their mission' by dismissing or downplaying ominous intelligence in the weeks and days leading up to the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to a Senate investigation published Tuesday.

The report—entitled Planned in Plain Sight: A Review of the Intelligence Failures in Advance of January 6, 2021—was published by Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee and calls the Capitol attack 'an unprecedented effort to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election and our nation's long history of peaceful transitions of power' that 'followed months of repeated and false claims by former President Donald Trump, his lawyers, and certain elected officials, that the presidential election was stolen.'

'What was shocking is that this attack was essentially planned in plain sight in social media. Yet it seemed as if our intelligence agencies completely dropped the ball.' "

-->Only Fox News seems to have covered this story. Why no NYT coverage? Perhaps this story makes the US look too bad. Our newspaper of record often plays the role of avoiding bad news for the empire. The story itself shows a distinct lack of legitimacy for several governmental agencies.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Common Dreams:
"Public health groups are suing the US Environmental Protection Agency over the reapproval of two toxic herbicides made with an active ingredient in Agent Orange, a chemical weapon deployed by the US to destroy vegetation in the Vietnam war, and which caused huge health problems among soldiers and Vietnamese residents.

The federal suit alleges the EPA’s science shows the human health risks and harm to endangered species associated with widely spreading the chemical on US cropland, but the agency failed to properly calculate those risks during the reapproval process. The herbicide is also prone to damaging non-GMO crops or vegetation on neighboring fields. ...

The chemical 2,4-D, is used in Enlist One and Enlist Duo, which are applied to fields with corn, soybeans and cotton genetically engineered to resist the herbicides. It is considered a likely carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and, among other human health effects, is linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, birth defects and respiratory problems."

-->The NYT always gives the big chemical companies the benefit of the doubt, and true to form, the newspaper left this story out.


Common Dreams:
"With the US besieged by a rightwing culture war campaign that aims to strip away rights from LGBTQ+ people and others, blame tends to be focused on Republican politicians and conservative media figures.

But lurking behind efforts to roll back abortion rights, to demonize trans people, and to peel back the protections afforded to gay and queer Americans is a shadowy, well-funded rightwing legal organization, experts say.

Since it was formed in 1994, Alliance Defending Freedom has been at the center of a nationwide effort to limit the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people, all in the name of Christianity. The Southern Poverty Law Center has termed it an 'anti-LGBTQ hate group' that has extended its tentacles into nearly every area of the culture wars."

-->The NYT quoted the Alliance Defending Freedom group in an article about transgender people, but surprisingly left out any reference to the group's funding or record of engendering hate.


Common Dreams:
"Billionaire-Funded Group Attacking Direct Democracy Across US. The Foundation for Government Accountability, which aims to make ballot initiatives harder to pass, is being bankrolled by Illinois billionaire Richard Uihlein.

When Ohio voters go to the polls in August for a special election to decide on the threshold needed to pass a constitutional referendum, they will be voting on whether to weaken direct democracy in their own state—but the push to do so is coming in large part from a Florida-based right-wing group whose biggest donor is Illinois billionaire Richard Uihlein.

As The Guardian reported Thursday, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) originally focused its efforts on influencing state policy but in recent months has testified, issued legal memos, and posted on social media about proposals in a number of states to raise the threshold needed to amend state constitutions by referendum."

-->Why doesn't our mainstream media, including the NYT, report on Billionaires trying to tear down our democratic rights? Is it because the interests of the very rich always come out on top when it comes to reporting the news?

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Common Dreams:
"'People & Planet Won!': Swiss Vote to Tax Corporations, Reach Net-Zero by 2050. By wide margins, Swiss voters on Sunday approved a global minimum corporate tax and a law mandating carbon neutrality in the alpine nation by midcentury.

SwissInfoReports 1.8 million voters in Switzerland—78.5% of the electorate—approved a constitutional amendment raising taxes on multinational corporations with more than $750 million in annual profits to the 15% minimum agreed upon in 2021 by around 140 nations, led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) bloc. Switzerland will become the first country to implement the tax. ...

Meanwhile, the Climate and Innovation Act was adopted as 59.1% of the electorate, or nearly 1.4 million people, voted to commit the country to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To accomplish this, the government will rely more upon incentives than bans, offering financial assistance for people transitioning to climate-friendly energy sources."

-->Why did the NYT decline to cover this amazing transition to taxing large corporations and saving the environment? Perhaps because these victories would put pressure on corporations that pay no taxes in the US, and on the environmentally  damaging policies of Big Oil. Our newspaper of record is always on the corporate side, so it doesn't want Americans to know how easy such dramatic changes might be to achieve.


+972 Magazine:
"Queer Israeli youth taking a stand against pinkwashing. At Pride marches across the country, activists are drawing the ire of police and fellow protesters for decrying the hypocrisy of the government and military.

Amid the sea of revelers, rainbow flags, and commercial floats that made up last week’s Pride march in Tel Aviv, one sight stood out: a group of activists who had brought a model tank, with its turret swapped out for a 1.5-meter-long phallus painted military green. Although police did not allow the 'tank' to enter the official parade, many of the marchers eagerly rushed to have their picture taken with it on the sidelines. 

In addition to symbolizing the domineering and near-lustful violence of the Israeli military, the tank was intended to levy a second, more biting critique: the LGBTQ community’s 'desire to integrate into the violent body of the military,' according to Einat Gerlitz, an activist who spent 87 days in jail for draft refusal, and who took part in the tank protest. 'The most painful thing is to see LGBTQ people, who have personally experienced exclusion and discrimination, then inflict the same violence on others. It’s sad that the state has succeeded in making many think that integrating into the Zionist enterprise is the way to integrate into society.' ”

-->There was no coverage of this interesting story in our mainstream media. The NYT decided that the story was not fit to print. We have to go to this Israeli publication to even find out what pinkwashing means.


Common Dreams:
"UN Chief Warns Fossil Fuels 'Incompatible With Human Survival. ... Countries are far off track in meeting climate promises and commitments. I see a lack of ambition. A lack of trust. A lack of support. A lack of cooperation. And an abundance of problems around clarity and credibility,' he said.

'The climate agenda is being undermined. At a time when we should be accelerating action, there is backtracking. At a time when we should be filling gaps, those gaps are growing. ... Meanwhile, the human rights of climate activists are being trampled. The most vulnerable are suffering the most,' Guterres continued, noting that current policies put the world on track for a 2.8°C temperature rise by the end of the century, nearly double the 2015 Paris climate agreement's more ambitious 1.5°C goal. Hitting the higher number, he said, 'spells catastrophe.'

'Yet the collective response remains pitiful. We are hurtling towards disaster, eyes wide open—with far too many willing [to bet it] all on wishful thinking, unproven technologies, and silver bullet solutions,' he declared. 'It's time to wake up and step up. It's time to rebuild trust based on climate justice. It's time to accelerate the just transition to a green economy.' "

-->The pitiful NYT didn't cover these words of warning from the UN Chief. Our corporate controlled media is a big part of our problem. Few other news outlets in the US did much better. Must it come down to profits over human survival?

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Common Dreams:
"Civil society groups in Israel and Palestine face serious human rights violations by Israeli authorities seeking to perpetuate an illegal occupation and apartheid regime, according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The report—authored by the Independent International Commission Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory—examines 'attacks, restrictions, and harassment of civil society actors by all duty bearers,' including the Israeli government and occupation forces, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Hamas in Gaza.

'We concluded that all duty bearers are engaged in limiting the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful association,' U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement. 'We were particularly alarmed by the situation of Palestinian human rights defenders, who are routinely subject to a range of punitive measures as part of the occupation regime.' "

-->From the NYT on down, our mainstream media didn't report this story. The Israel Lobby controls a lot of what we read and watch, and this is just one small example.


Common Dreams:
"Two separate reports published Thursday reach similar conclusions about the United States' sprawling and ever-growing military budget: It is not making the country or the world any safer, it is far too amenable to corporate lobbying, and it is drawing funding away from healthcare, clean energy, education, and other critical public goods.

The new reports from the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Brown University's Costs of War Project come after President Joe Biden and House Republican leaders agreed to a military budget topline of $886 billion for fiscal year 2024—a level that war hawks in both parties are already working to increase.

William Hartung, a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute, notes in his analysis that $886 billion for the military is 'a sum far higher in real terms than the peaks of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the height of the Cold War.'
'These enormous sums are being marshaled in support of a flawed National Defense Strategy that attempts to go everywhere and do everything, from winning a war with Russia or China, to intervening in Iran or North Korea, to continuing to fight a global war on terror that involves military activities in at least 85 countries,' Hartung writes. 'Sticking to the current strategy is not only economically wasteful, but will also make America and the world less safe.' "

-->Horrendous waste at the Pentagon, and an effort to make the world less safe in this nuclear age, are stories that have been rejected by the NYT. The weapons makers seem to be as good as the Israel Lobby in repressing stories inimical to their carefully crafted images.


The Guardian UK:
"Outrage as anti-LGBTQ+ protest at California school board turns violent. Democratic politicians across California condemned a volatile anti-gay protest outside a suburban Los Angeles school board meeting on Tuesday, as the school board heard public comment on whether to officially designate June as LGBTQ+ Pride month.

Footage from a local television station showed crowds of people shoving, kicking and throwing punches outside a school district building in Glendale, California.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic congressman who represents Glendale, shared video of the melee, condemning the 'continued acts of violence and hate towards our LGBTQ community' as 'horrific.'

'We will not apologize for celebrating the strength and the diversity of our LGBTQ community,' he wrote on Twitter.

-->Why do we have to go to a UK publication to read a story about the fascist attack on LGBTQ rights activists in California? Media that did carry the news, omitted the fascist, out of state thugs who were beating and kicking people on the ground. And were was the NYT?

"The FBI has reopened an investigation involving Australian journalist Julian Assange, according to front-page reporting from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The news that the FBI is taking fresh investigative steps came as a surprise to Assange’s legal team, given that the U.S. filed charges against the WikiLeaks founder more than three years ago and is involved in an ongoing extradition process from a maximum security prison in the United Kingdom so that he can stand trial in the United States. ...

The Morning Herald reporting also comes amid heightened hopes in Australia that a resolution to the case, which has raised serious press freedom issues in the U.S. and abroad, was near at hand. The country’s ruling party has spoken in defense of Assange, as has the nation’s opposition party leader. In early May, a cross-party delegation of influential Australian lawmakers met with the U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, urging that a deal be struck to return Assange to Australia before U.S.-Australian relations were harmed further by the prosecution."

-->This is big news for supporters of Julian Assange and freedom of the press. Too bad that the NYT didn't print this story. Neither did many other US news outlets. The US media is so dominated by the Pentagon, that it doesn't dare stand up for Assange's rights.


Defense of Children - Palestine:
"Israeli authorities' systematic denial of fair trial rights to Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank and prosecuted in Israeli military courts constitutes arbitrary detention, Defense for Children International - Palestine said in a report released today.

The report, 'Arbitrary by Default: Palestinian children in the Israeli military court system,' details and examines the systemic denial of fair trial rights inherent in Israeli forces’ practice of arrest, detention, interrogation, and prosecution of Palestinian children in the Israeli military courts.

'Even a superficial review of the detention and prosecution of Palestinian children in the Israeli military court system suggests severe risks of arbitrary deprivation of liberty,' said Khaled Quzmar, General Director at DCIP. 'A full view, through the experience of Palestinian child detainees, exposes an inherently unjust system of control where arbitrary detention is the default practice.' ”

-->The human rights of Palestinian children has never been a big topic for the NYT. True to form, it didn't publish this story either.


Common Dreams:
"Internal documents published Friday by The Guardian and The New Lede shed new light on how multinational chemical giant Syngenta worked to conceal the link between its popular pesticide paraquat and Parkinson's disease.

According to the internal documents, Syngenta sought to 'create an international scientific consensus against the hypothesis that paraquat is a risk factor for Parkinson's disease,' in part by launching what company officials called a 'SWAT team' to counter research that could threaten the corporation's 'freedom to sell' the pesticide.

'It looks like the paraquat maker has adopted nearly every strategy we outlined in our book about bending science,' Thomas McGarity, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency legal adviser and co-author of the 2008 book Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research, told The Guardian."

-->Chemical companies can do no wrong, when it comes to reporting by the NYT. The newspaper skipped right over this story.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Common Dreams:
"US Sold Weapons to Roughly 60% of World's Authoritarian Nations in 2022: Analysis of these findings fly in the face of Biden's preferred framing of international politics as a 'battle between democracies and autocracies,' says the author of a new report. ... But his administration approved weapons sales to nearly three-fifths of the world's authoritarian countries in 2022.

That's according to a new analysis conducted by Security Policy Reform Institute co-founder Stephen Semler and published Thursday in The Intercept. The U.S. has been the world's largest arms dealer since the end of the Cold War. Data released in March showed that the U.S. accounted for 40% of global weapons exports from 2018 to 2022."

-->The story is striking, since it shows the hypocrisy of the US weapons industry when it comes to supporting dictatorships. But readers of the NYT won't be bothered too much; our newspaper of record left this story out.


Common Dreams:
"Drawings by Guantánamo 'Forever Prisoner' Abu Zubaydah Expose Details of US Torture. ... 'Despite the efforts of the federal government, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, to conceal evidence of the actual operation of the 'enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) deployed on detainees in dark sites and at Guantánamo, a steady drumbeat of disclosures has provided an unparalleled view into this disgraceful episode in the nation's history,' the report states. ...

'Everybody agrees, they tortured the wrong guy; they went ahead anyway so they could get permission to torture other people,' Denbeaux told The Guardian, which on Thursday posted the report along with an article by Ed Pilkington on Zubaydah's experience. ...  

Zubaydah was subjected to the interrupted drowning technique known as 'waterboarding' 83 times; rape under the pretext of 'rectal feeding'; shackling in excruciating 'stress positions'; sleep, sensory, and food deprivation; confinement in small boxes; exposure to extreme temperatures and loud music; death threats; beatings and being slammed into walls; sexual and religious humiliation; and other abuses,"

-->Few US newspapers covered this story. The NYT did, but distorted the reasons why he was being tortured, and omitted the anal rape. Hey, it's "all the news that's fit to print" at America's premier newspaper.


"Florida governor Ron DeSantis has been putting huge sums of state retirement money into underperforming private equity firms that have donated to his campaign efforts.

Florida governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis has been crusading against 'woke' investments for allegedly threatening his state employees’ retirement funds. But the most imminent threat to Florida public employees’ retirement dollars appears to be the massive state pension investments that have gone to some of the Republican Party’s Wall Street donors under DeSantis’s watch.

Despite a federal anti-corruption rule designed to prevent donors from receiving pension investments, private equity executives have donated millions to political groups supporting DeSantis, all while the governor oversaw the transfer of more than $1 billion of Florida public employees’ retirement dollars into these donors’ high-fee, high-risk 'alternative investments.' Our review found that had the state pension fund instead been invested in a simple, low-cost index fund, compared to its present mix of holdings, teachers, police officers, and other state employees would have about $10 billion more in their retirement funds."

-->We all know that DeSantis is a complete scum. So why not run this story in the NYT? Is it because there are more issues being discussed than how corrupt DeSantis is. Yes, the NYT may have overlooked this story because it threatens to expose how Wall Street cheats retirement investors. Now that's the story that our newspaper of record may have hesitated to print.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Democracy Now: Danial Ellsberg interview
"They realized that they had these terrific secrets that had to be kept secret from the American public because they were so criminal and dangerous — namely, that they were threatening North Vietnam with nuclear weapons, the same way that the criminal threats that are being made against Ukraine right now by Vladimir Putin. Nixon was making those threats through the Russian ambassador, Dobrynin, and then directly at that time. And that had to be kept secret from the American people at that time, because the American democracy would not have stood for that. So they had to shut me up.

And the problem then was to find out whether I had documents that could document, prove, what I was saying, because people were very reluctant to believe that a president could lie to that degree or could be so criminal to that degree and reckless, unless they had documents to prove it, which I didn’t have and really never did convince the public on this point. So I failed, in a way, in my name — my major project, which was to convince the public that a lying campaign, an imperial campaign against Vietnam, that had been carried on by four previous presidents, was being carried on by a fifth. I said it, but no one believed it. They didn’t want to believe that the president was lying to them, just as they had allowed themselves to be misled by Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Kennedy, Kennedy and Johnson.

-->How many criminal acts are committed that never see the light of day. The Nixon tapes actually talk about the possible use of nuclear weapons on Vietnam, so to some extent that accusation has been verified. But the larger truths remain, that the American People are always kept in the dark by the US media.

Ellsberg goes on to reveal Nixon's plot to engage China in a nuclear war. How many Americans know about that? Talking about Ukraine, Ellsberg points to a secret negotiations between Putin and Zelensky in 2022. The tentative peace plan was rejected by the US and the UK. Read the interview for an enlightened perspective on how our country is lying to us, just like it did during the Vietnam War.

"The Proud Boys’ Conviction Is Big News. Their Role as FBI Informants, Not So Much.
Almost none of the reports about Thursday’s conviction of four Proud Boys members mentioned the fact that the far-right group was riddled with FBI informants. But this kind of law enforcement collusion with the far right is a profound threat to democracy.

The news that four members of the far-right organization the Proud Boys were just convicted for seditious conspiracy, including their former leader Enrique Tarrio, has made the rounds this week. But if you only tuned in to the proceedings a few days ago to read about the verdict, there’s something you almost certainly haven’t heard: that both Tarrio and as many as eight other Proud Boys were secretly FBI informants, in part helping law enforcement to target Black Lives Matter protesters and other left-wing activists.

That’s because, after a non-exhaustive survey of reports covering the verdict, I discovered that only two news outlets, the Associated Press (AP) and the Washington Post, mentioned that government informants were present within the Proud Boys’ ranks, even though this fact was among the most shocking revelations that came out in the course of the trial."

-->The FBI is usually given a pass by our media, no matter what they do. This is just one example. Arrest of Chairman Yeshitela, and the African People's Socialist Party is another. The group has been accused of "spreading Russian Propaganda." Why isn't that newsworthy?


Common Dreams:
"Texas GOP's Top Anti-Groomer Crusader Resigns Over Sexual Misconduct With Teenage Aide. The lawmaker was facing an expulsion hearing after an internal investigation found he had furnished a 19-year-old staffer with alcohol and later tried to intimidate her into silence about what transpired and their relationship.

Republican State Rep. Bryan Slaton of Texas resigned his seat Monday in order to avoid a public expulsion hearing after an investigation determined one of the party's loudest voices promoting the baseless threat of "groomers" in the LGBTQ+ community had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 19-year-old member of his staff that included furnishing her with alcohol. ...

The Tribune detailed how the committee's investigative report also 'alleged that after Slaton and the woman had unprotected sex in the early hours of April 1, Slaton drove her home, and she later went to a drugstore to purchase Plan B medication to prevent a pregnancy. Slaton, a staunch abortion opponent, later tried to intimidate the woman and her friends into not speaking about the incident, the report said.' "

-->Each month, Fantasy Land Media will publish The George Orwell Doublespeak Award. Rep Slaton will be in the running this month for sure. In the meantime, why didn't the NYT publish this story?


Common Dreams:
"A newly published assessment from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that three of the most commonly used neonicotinoid insecticides threaten the continued existence of more than 200 endangered plant and animal species.

'The EPA's analysis shows we've got a five-alarm fire on our hands, and there's now no question that neonicotinoids play an outsized role in our heartbreaking extinction crisis,' Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), said Friday in a statement.

'The EPA has to use the authority it has to take fast action to ban these pesticides,' said Burd, 'so future generations don't live in a world without bees and butterflies and the plants that depend on them.' "

-->The NYT never covers stories about insecticides. I wonder if they have a board member who is also on Monsanto's board of directors. Not that the story got much play in the rest of our media. Bloomberg's story sides with the chemical companies, with an article entitled: "EU Sugar Crop at Risk After Ruling Against Pesticide Exemptions."

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

The Guardian UK:
"The US must move beyond piecemeal reform and slogan-making and tackle the ongoing scourge of police brutality and law enforcement’s discrimination against Black people, a United Nations mission has concluded at the end of a historic two-week tour of the country.

UN experts completed their first official visit to the US as part of a system of global inquiries set up by the human rights council after the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020. As they ended their tour on Friday in Washington DC, the experts called for a nationwide commitment to address discrimination suffered by Black Americans in their daily dealings with the law.

'In the US, racial inequity dates back to the very creation of this country and there’ll be no quick fixes,' said Dr Tracie Keesee, one of two independent UN experts who conducted the visit. 'To this day, racial discrimination permeates through encounters with law enforcement – from first contact, arrest, detention, sentencing and disenfranchisement.' ”

-->True to form, the country so in need of reforming its racist criminal justice system decides that this story is not worth printing. No US media covered the UN mission's report.


Common Dreams:
"Brazil's President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva has called for freedom for Julian Assange and denounced the lack of concerted efforts to free the journalist. Lula spoke to a group of reporters in London Saturday while in town to attend the coronation of King Charles III. Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has spent four years in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison while fighting extradition to the United States.

'It is an embarrassment that a journalist who denounced trickery by one state against another is arrested, condemned to die in jail and we do nothing to free him. It’s a crazy thing,' Lula told reporters. 'We talk about freedom of expression; the guy is in prison because he denounced wrongdoing. And the press doesn’t do anything in defense of this journalist. I can’t understand it.' ”

-->It isn't that hard to understand, really. Our media is owned by a few huge companies, and rarely strays from the Pentagon point of view. You can call it a free press, but you would be wrong. The news coverage of Assange is one of the more striking examples of how controlled our national media is.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

The Progressive:
"The U.S. corporate media’s first response to the leaking of secret documents about the war in Ukraine was to throw some mud in the water, declare 'nothing to see here,' and cover it as a depoliticized crime story about a twenty-one-year-old Air National Guard member who published secret documents to impress his friends. President Joe Biden dismissed the leaks as revealing nothing of 'great consequence.'

What these documents reveal, however, is that the war is going worse for Ukraine than our political leaders have admitted to us. It’s going badly for Russia, too, meaning that neither side is likely to break the stalemate this year and we’ll likely see 'a protracted war beyond 2023,' as one of the documents says.

The publication of these assessments should lead to renewed calls for our government to level with the public about what it realistically hopes to achieve by prolonging the bloodshed, and why it continues to reject the resumption of the promising peace negotiations it blocked in April 2022.

We believe that blocking those talks was a dreadful mistake—the Biden Administration capitulated to the warmongering, since-disgraced U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and current U.S. policy is compounding that mistake at the cost of tens of thousands more Ukrainian lives and the destruction of even more swaths of their country."

-->As if on cue, the NYT issued a "News Analysis" that turned the secret documents into a call for more US weaponry. "Pentagon Leaks: New Twists in a Familiar Plot. Some in Ukraine even welcomed the disclosures as confirming what they have been saying for months — that its forces desperately need more weapons and munitions."

That's a little bit like calling the famous "Pentagon Papers" leak a compelling reason to drop more Agent Orange on Vietnam. The truth is that the US can't win, not that we should spend billions more on a hopeless war. A war, by the way, that could spread all over the globe and end in a nuclear conflict.

But the NYT is committed to this larger war, and intent on spreading as much Cold War Propaganda as possible. I hear liberals talking about how Ukraine is a battle for freedom and democracy. There is a battle, no doubt, but it is right here at home, where the elites and their favorite newspaper have decided it's time for World War III.

As Mark Antony urges his followers in Julius Caesar: "Cry havoc, let slip the dogs of war." 


Democracy Now!
"[While] the United States sometimes talks about a rule-based order, the fact of the matter is that the U.S. grand strategy, if we can use that term of the grand strategists of the U.S. state — see our grand strategy in the United States as being dominance. And I often refer to an article that I think is very clear, succinct and revealing by a former colleague of mine at Harvard University, Robert Blackwill, an esteemed ambassador of the United States, who wrote in 2015 — and I’ll quote from the article — “Since its founding, the United States has consistently pursued a grand strategy focused on acquiring and maintaining preeminent power over various rivals, first on the North American continent, then in the Western Hemisphere, and finally globally.”

Well, China doesn’t want the United States to be the preeminent power. It wants to live alongside the United States. Blackwill, writing in 2015, said China’s rise is a threat to U.S. preeminence. And he laid out a series of steps that the Biden administration actually is following almost step by step. What Blackwill laid out already back in 2015 is that the United States should create, quote, 'new preferential trading arrangements among U.S. friends and allies to increase their mutual gains through instruments that consciously exclude China.' There should be 'a technology-control regime' to block China’s strategic capabilities, a build-up of, quote, 'power-political capacities of U.S. friends and allies on China’s periphery' and strengthened U.S. military forces along the Asian rimland despite any Chinese opposition. This has become the Biden foreign policy. China knows it. China really is pushing back." - Jeffrey Sachs

-->These two stories really go together. One is about war against Russia, and the other is about war against China. But like Hitler's decision to invade Russia in the Second World War, I think US current foreign policy is all about racism, and the underestimation of one's potential enemies.

Hitler and his generals thought they were going to war against an inferior people and culture. They thought that Russia would fall by the end of the summer, giving up its vast oil reserves to the Third Reich. But the first villages that the Nazi tanks rolled into, fought to the death. Within a month, it was clear that Germany's attack on Russia, Operation Barbarossa, was a fight to the death.

Attacking China and Russia is also a fight to the death, the death of all three countries. Given the nuclear weaponry that these countries have, it could be the end of human life on earth. So you think that can't happen, mainly because you don't know what to do about it. The two war parties that run our country aren't listening, hoping that all their pro war propaganda will win over the American people. Resist US imperialism before it is too late.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

WUSF Public Media:
"Four Americans affiliated with a Black empowerment and political organization have been charged along with three Russians with conspiring to covertly sow discord in U.S. society, spread Russian propaganda and interfere illegally in U.S. elections, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday. ...

The four Americans are all part of the African People's Socialist Party and Uhuru Movement, which has locations in St. Petersburg, Florida, and St. Louis. Among those charged is Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the U.S.-based organization — which was raided by the FBI last summer when Ionov was originally charged.

'Russia's foreign intelligence service allegedly weaponized our First Amendment rights, freedoms Russia denies to its own citizens — to divide Americans and interfere in elections in the United States,' said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division."

-->The distinct lack of coverage of this story in the mainstream media is indicative of how perilous our First Amendment rights really are. The US arrests people advocating against American war crimes in Africa, and then blames it on the Russians? The tortured logic of imperialism.


Internationalist 360"
"At present, it has become customary to speak of NATO’s expansion 'towards Eastern Europe', which, while effective, is a reductionist concept. The truth is that since the end of the bipolar world, the United States, believing itself to be the master of the world, has used NATO to expand throughout the planet. Proof of this is the signing of the AUKUS Treaty (Australia, United Kingdom and United States), the creation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) formed by Australia, India, Japan and the United States and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) as instruments of NATO’s military expansion in Asia and Oceania.

The same is happening in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the United States is initiating an aggressive expansion plan throughout all latitudes and longitudes of the region. The following three installments will provide data to confirm the above assertion.

At the end of last year, the United States had installed 12 military bases in Panama, 12 in Puerto Rico, 9 in Colombia, 8 in Peru, 3 in Honduras, 2 in Paraguay, as well as installations of this type in Aruba, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Cuba (Guantanamo), and Peru among other countries, at the same time that it is orienting its search for the total coverage of the land and maritime surface of the region."

-->Make way for the empire in Latin America! These plans can be seen south of our boarder, in Africa, in the Middle East and in Asia. It looks like a buildup to a world war, but not to the US public, that never gets to read these stories.


The Jerusalem Post:
"A top defense official sought United States support to bolster IDF forces as a security expert on Thursday predicted that Israel might have to strike Iran within the year to halt its nuclear program.

'We held important meetings to promote significant projects focused on force buildup in the face of emerging security challenges – first and foremost, the Iranian nuclear program,' Defense Ministry Director-General Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Eyal Zamir said.

He spoke after a meeting with US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl in Washington, which took place as Israel remains in danger of an immediate war on one or all of three borders – Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria – after rockets were launched during the last week against Israel from all three fronts."

-->New wars in the Middle East! You probably didn't read this story in the national media, because it just wan't there.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The Intercept:
"Benjamin Ferencz died last week at the age of 103. Ferencz was the last surviving member of the team of prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, which led to the convictions of many top Nazi officials and since been understood as the exemplar of justice for war crimes ...

These facts appear in his obituaries. What’s missing from all of them in major outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, and the Associated Press — is Ferencz’s belief that top members of the George W. Bush administration, including Bush himself, should have been tried for war crimes for the Iraq War.

This is not obscure, difficult-to-obtain information. In 2002, the Times published a letter to the editor from Ferencz stating that 'a preemptive military strike [on Iraq] not authorized by the Security Council would clearly violate the UN Charter that legally binds all nations.' In December 2003, Ferencz said in an interview, 'The invasion by the U.S. of Iraq, I think, would also qualify under the Nuremberg principles as a violation of international law.' "

-->All the major media in the US, covering up US war crimes. Snip, snip, the story doesn't exist. Empires seldom have free media, and the NYT would never print that a US president is guilty of war crimes.


The Guardian UK:
"Harvard University will rename its graduate school of arts and sciences after the billionaire hedge fund executive and Republican mega-donor Kenneth Griffin, the institution announced on Tuesday, after a new $300m contribution brought Griffin’s total support of his alma mater to more than half a billion dollars.

Griffin, 54, is the founder and chief executive of Citadel, a $59bn hedge fund, and Citadel Securities, which trades securities. He is the 35th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $34.9bn, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index. ... Griffin is also a major political donor and one of the most prominent backers of the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, whom he has urged to run for president in 2024. ...

Griffin’s close association with DeSantis is another potential reputational issue for Harvard. The Florida governor has staked out extreme positions on education and LGBTQ+ rights, including by signing the so-called “don’t say gay” bill that restricts Florida teachers from discussing topics related to sexuality and gender identity and banning the state’s public high schools from teaching a new advanced placement course in African American studies. This year, DeSantis unveiled a legislative proposal to remake Florida’s public colleges and universities that included banning critical race theory – an academic theory developed by Black scholars at Harvard Law School – and diversity and inclusion programs and drastically reducing the protections afforded by academic tenure."

-->Amazing what half a billion can buy you. But Harvard, like most neoliberal colleges are non-profit in name only. They sell their reputation for cash, and pay their top administrators million of dollars. The NYT didn't print this story, but did include an opinion piece that is so vapid and vague that I couldn't get through it. The NYT often uses opinion pieces to cover up for news that gets left out.


"Jerusalem – Nothing about the attack or what happened since surprised Miran Krikorian. The Armenian owner of Taboon and Wine Bar in the Old City of Jerusalem was not surprised to receive a call the night of January 26 that a mob of Israeli settlers was attacking his bar in the Christian Quarter and shouting 'Death to Arabs … Death to Christians.' ...

Hostility by fundamentalist Jews towards Jerusalem’s Christian community is not new, and it is not just Armenian Christians who suffer from it. Priests of all denominations describe being spat at for years. Since 2005, Christian celebrations around Holy Week, particularly Holy Fire Saturday, have brought military barricades and harsh treatment from soldiers and settlers alike, with the number of worshippers allowed inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre drastically limited, from as many as 11,000 historically during the Holy Fire ceremony to now 1,800 since last year, with authorities citing safety concerns.

But since Israel’s new government – the most right wing and religious in its history – came to power, incidents against Christians in Jerusalem have reportedly become more violent and common. At the beginning of the year, 30 Christian graves at the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery were desecrated. In the Armenian Quarter, vandals spray-painted 'Death to Arabs, Christians and Armenians,' on the walls."

-->The NYT predictably did not cover this story, although the BBC and Christian Science Monitor did. Fascism and racism in the Holy Land is just off limits for American readers.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Common Dreams:
"AOC Calls Biden Reversal on Protections for Trans Athletes a 'Disgrace.'
'[There is] Absolutely no reason for the Biden administration to do this,' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 'It is indefensible and embarrassing.'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday was among the progressives denouncing the Biden administration's newly proposed rules for transgender student athletes, which critics said would open the door to discrimination at all age levels despite the U.S. Department of Education's statement that 'categorically' banning trans athletes from teams that align with their gender identity would be illegal under the rule. ...

'To put it mildly, this is extraordinarily disappointing and a total reversal from a position the Biden administration has taken since Day One,' said Slate journalist Mark Joseph Stern.

-->A real sellout by our president. How can he run on LGBTQ issues after this betrayal of trust? The NYT has an answer for that; just write up this sellout as a victory of trans rights. The NYT's article begins with: "Officials were working on a plan to protect transgender athletes since the day the president was sworn in. In recent months, they raced to issue protections as states moved to revoke them." What sellout?


Common Dreams:
" 'Break Up Big Ag,' Says Sanders After Egg Giant Posts 718% Profit Increase
Sanders joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Katie Porter, and others in questioning Cal-Maine Foods' claim that an avian flu outbreak is to blame for soaring egg prices. ...

'While working families paid record prices for eggs, Cal-Maine raked over 700% more in profits—without reporting a single case of avian flu,' Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted on Thursday. 'We need to crack down on corporate price gouging to provide Americans with relief at the grocery store.'

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who is running for U.S. Senate, wrote on Twitter last week that 'corporate greed is driving inflation. 'We need more competition to drive down prices,' she added. 'In the meantime, I'm demanding answers from Cal-Maine directly.'  In February, Warren and Porter wrote letters to the heads of the five biggest U.S. egg producers expressing their concern over the 'massive spike' in prices and 'the extent to which egg producers may be using fears about avian flu and supply shocks as a cover to pad their own profits at the expense of American families.' "

-->The price of eggs doesn't concern readers of the NYT, at least the wealthy group that advertisers care about. The NYT's article on egg prices begins with "Why Eggs Cost So Much: Inflation, avian flu and war."


United Nations:
"The Bureau of the United Nations General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People condemns the raid by Israeli Forces inside the Aqsa Mosque Compound/Al-Haram al-Sharif on 4 April, which resulted in hundreds of Palestinian worshippers beaten, injured and detained while also causing damage to the building of Al-Qibli mosque. This violence is particularly egregious during a time of heightened religious sensitivity with the observance of Ramadan, Passover and Easter.

Israel’s illegal policies and practices have continued to entrench its illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territory it has occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, with the Gaza Strip additionally severely isolated under a nearly 16-year blockade. Since the start of 2023, Israel has increased its military operations inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, resulting in the killing of at least 95 Palestinians, including 17 children. The Bureau calls for accountability for all of these violations.

The Bureau reiterates its calls for respect of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israel must comply with its international legal obligations, including in accordance with United Nations resolutions. The Bureau also reiterates its calls for respect of the historical status quo of the Holy Sites, respect for the sanctity of all places of worship, and for a halt of provocations by Israeli forces and incitement by extremist Israeli settlers in and around them. Furthermore, the Bureau calls for respect the freedom of all worshippers to access the religious sites in accordance with established parameters."

-->Major US media stayed away from this story. Al Jazeera covered it, as did the Middle East Monitor and even Haaretz in Israel. But the NYT? They are giving Israel the benefit of the doubt, as usual.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Common Dreams:
"Ahead of Chicago Runoff, New Ad Spotlights 'Trail of Destruction' Left by Paul Vallas. ... In each city, he opened charter schools, promoted military schools, and expanded standardized testing and zero-tolerance disciplinary policies. He also ran school districts in Haiti and Chile between 2010 and 2012...

Under Vallas' tenure, Philadelphia underwent what was then the largest privatization of a public school system anywhere in the country. He opened 15 new charter schools over the protests of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, who called for a moratorium on new charters in 2006.

In New Orleans, [reporter Jim Daley] continued, Vallas 'immediately set to work opening more charter schools. ... New Orleans is now the only city in America with a school district that is entirely made up of charters, something Vallas also took credit for."

-->To read this story in the New York Times is pretty fascinating. Here, Vallas is described a pioneer who "Who Took on Hard-to-Fix Schools." His reputation according to the NYT is "as the educational emergency responder of the 1990s and 2000s, someone sought out for the most challenging jobs." Strangely, his progressive opponent, Brandon Johnson, is not mentioned on the front page at all. The NYT has always distorted their election coverage to favor neoliberal privatization.


Common Dreams:
"Environmental attorney Steven Donziger was joined by a number of U.S. Supreme Court observers on Monday in denouncing a decision by seven of the nine justices, who refused to consider Donziger's case regarding the appointment of three special prosecutors after he was charged with criminal contempt of court. ...

Donziger sued Chevron in the 1990s on behalf of a group of Ecaudorian people who argued Chevron had polluted their community, and helped them win $9.5 billion in the class action lawsuit.

'The three liberal Supreme Court justices decided to let Donziger's absurd contempt conviction stand,' said journalist Alex Shultz of the San Francisco Chronicle. Donziger was jailed for six months—including 136 days under house arrest at the end of his sentence in addition to 800 days under house arrest while he awaited trial—after being charged with contempt of court in 2021 for refusing to turn over his electronic devices to Chevron lawyers in a case filed by the company."

-->The NYT didn't cover this story. Maybe because it is so shameful that an environmental lawyer would end up paying such a high price for suing Chevron. Big Oil gets away with poisoning the Ecuadorian people, while the lawyer suing the corporation gets jail time.


The Guardian UK:
"In a new documentary, film-maker Julia Bacha explores the rise of laws punishing Israel boycotts and the ramifications they might have in the future ... And not just in Arkansas. More than 30 states have passed similar laws to punish boycotts of Israel in support of Palestinian rights, inspired by the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa. There’s even federal legislation in the works that would make it a criminal offense to boycott Israel.

Bacha, who has made a number of documentaries about Palestinian and Israeli life, said she turned her lens on the US to understand the sudden proliferation of laws to protect a single foreign country from a form of political protest with a long tradition in America. Boycotts extend back to the Boston tea party, and were found by the US supreme court to be a protected form of free speech four decades ago. ...

As Bacha shows in the film, laws to protect Israel provided the template for legislation to curb boycotts of companies over the climate crisis, gun control, factory farming and others issues. 'Since the start of this year, there’s been 30 new bills that have been introduced. They are listing all kinds of industries, not just guns and oil, but also causes. There are bills so you can’t boycott a company that doesn’t offer comprehensive reproductive care. You can’t boycott a company based on their equity shortcomings. You can’t boycott a company if you think they’re transphobic,' said Bacha."

-->The NYT is missing in action on this new film, and about laws against boycotting Israel. You would think that that our foremost newspaper would inform its readers about laws against boycotting. But the NYT is in bed with the Israel Lobby, and its journalism  suffers because of it.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Democracy Now!
"As mass protests rock Israel against the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his plan to overhaul Israel’s judiciary, we turn now to look at how Netanyahu secretly tried to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. That’s the focus of a new cover story in The Nation headlined 'The Candidate and the Spy.' Longtime, award-winning investigative journalist James Bamford reveals Netanyahu dispatched a secret Israeli agent to the United States in the spring of 2016 to meet with advisers to Trump and offer to share secret intelligence with the campaign against Hillary Clinton. ...

James Bamford writes, quote, 'While the American media and political system fixated on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his armies of cyber warriors, trolls, and bots, what was completely missed in the Russiagate investigation of 2016 was the Israeli connection. No details of it were ever revealed in the heavily redacted Mueller Report' or in the Senate Intelligence Committee report. ...

[The collusion] went on for months and months and involved providing the Trump campaign with secret access to the information that the Russians were picking up from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC. In other words, the Israelis, they have a very, very sophisticated eavesdropping organization, Unit 8200. It’s their equivalent of the NSA. And they were eavesdropping on the Russians and eavesdropping on WikiGate ... and Julian Assange."

-->So the Israelis were heavily involved in throwing the 2016 election to Donald Trump. It wasn't the Russians at all, but our very own apartheid ally in the Middle East. So why didn't the NYT or our mainstream media jump all over this story? Most likely, the powerful Israel Lobby wouldn't let this story out.


Common Dreams:
"A pair of polls published Friday revealed that the rising cost of living is causing financial strain for most Americans—especially people with lower incomes—and that pessimism about the state and future of the country's economy is pervasive and spreading. 

A Wall Street Journal/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 80% of 1,019 respondents said the nation's economy is in 'poor' or 'not so good' condition. Asked about the future of the economy, 47% of those polled said they believe it will be worse in a year, while just 15% said they think it improve. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said the economy will be in about the same shape a year from now. 

The pessimistic economic outlook can be summed up in one survey question: Asked if they felt confident that life for their children's generation 'will be better than it has been for us,' only 21% of respondents answered affirmatively. The Hill noted that 42% of people who took a similar survey in 2001 said they didn't think their children would enjoy better lives than theirs. Today, that figure has soared to 78%."

-->We have seen stories like this before in the NYT. But this story is more dramatic, showing the weaknesses of Biden's efforts to court working people. If Trump becomes our next president, this will be why. The Democrats have backed away from any redistribution of wealth in a society of Billionaires and paupers.


Common Dreams:
"Two days after President Joe Biden's administration rejected a petition asking federal regulators to use their authority to lower the astronomical price of a lifesaving prostate cancer drug developed entirely with public funds, petitioners on Thursday filed an administrative appeal. ...

Although [the cancer drug] Xtandi owes its existence to U.S. taxpayers, who bankrolled 100% of its development, an annual supply of the drug costs $189,900 in the United States—three to six times more than its list price in other wealthy nations.

In late 2021, prostate cancer patients Robert Sachs, Clare Love, and Eric Sawyer petitioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to exercise its 'march-in rights' against Xtandi. Under the Bayh-Dole Act, the federal government can reclaim and redistribute patents for inventions created with public funding—enabling generic competitors to produce cheaper versions—when 'action is necessary to alleviate health or safety needs' or when an invention's benefits are not being made 'available to the public on reasonable terms.' "

-->Why no NYT coverage? Well, this story is all about Biden and the ill gotten profits by the US pharmaceutical companies. It's a perfect example of how Biden and the Democratic Party betray working class people.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Common Dreams:
"20 Years After the Invasion of Iraq, Will the Media's Complicity Be Flushed Down the Memory Hole? As we mark the anniversary of the murderous U.S. invasion of Iraq, it's imperative to reclaim the memory of this war not only from the Bush administration officials who waged it, but also from the corporate media system that helped sell it.

As mainstream U.S. media outlets pause to remember the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it's clear that there's a lot they hope we'll forget—first and foremost, the media's own active complicity in whipping up public support for the war.

But the more you dig into mainstream news coverage from that period, as our documentary team did last week when we put together this five-minute montage from our 2007 film War Made Easy, the harder it is to forget how flagrantly news networks across the broadcast and cable landscape uncritically spread the Bush administration's propaganda and actively excluded dissenting voices.

The numbers don't lie. A 2003 report by the media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) found that in the two weeks leading up to the invasion, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and the PBS Newshour featured a total of 267 American experts, analysts, and commentators on camera to supposedly help make sense of the march to war. Of these 267 guests, an astounding 75% were current or former government or military officials, and a grand total of one expressed any skepticism."

-->Flushed down the memory hole. Our current media is too busy selling the war in Ukraine to spend much time thinking about all our government's lies and deceptions used to support the invasion of Iraq twenty years ago.  


Common Dreams:
"For First Time, US Democratic Voters Sympathize More With Palestinians Than Israelis: Poll. In a sign of a major shift in U.S. public perception that's largely generational, U.S. Democrats favor Palestinians by an 11-point margin. A decade ago, the gap was 36% in favor of Israelis. 

Gallup poll results revealed Thursday that while, for the first time, more U.S. Democratic voters now sympathize with Palestinians than with Israelis, left-leaning respondents also 'want solutions that respect Israel's needs as well.'

According to the survey of 1,008 U.S. adults, 49% of Democrats said they sympathize more with Palestinians, while 38% favored Israelis and 13% chose neither side or said they sympathize equally with both. A decade ago, 55% of Democrats sympathized more with Israelis, while only 19% said they had more sympathy for Palestinians."

-->You can read about this poll in The Times of Israel, but not in our own NYT. Very few American news outlets covered this story. American citizen, Rachel Corrie, was killed 20 years ago (March 16, 2003) by an Israeli bulldozer. Perhaps this 23 year old human rights activist did not die in vain.


"U.S. petrochemicals giant Dow Inc and the Singapore government said they were transforming old sneakers into playgrounds and running tracks. Reuters put that promise to the test by planting hidden trackers inside 11 pairs of donated shoes. Most got exported instead. ...

Five months earlier, in July 2022, Reuters had given the shoes to a recycling program spearheaded by the Singapore government and U.S. petrochemicals giant Dow Inc. In media releases and a promotional video posted online, that effort promised to harvest the rubberized soles and midsoles of donated shoes, then grind down the material for use in building new playgrounds and running tracks in Singapore. ...

Instead, nearly all the tagged shoes ended up in the hands of Yok Impex Pte Ltd, a Singaporean second-hand goods exporter, according to the trackers and that exporter’s logistics manager. ... The findings come as environmental groups say chemical companies like Dow are making exaggerated or false claims about recycling in order to burnish their green credentials, and to undermine proposed regulations to rein in the soaring production of plastics used in single-use packaging and fast fashion."

-->What a wonderful little story about Dow Chemical lying to us, and trying to greenwash their world polluting plastics business. The Wall Street Journal was all over this story, that is before it was proven to be a fraud. And as it turns out, Dow has been lying about a number of its recycling programs, mostly either burning or burying what was supposed to be recycled. Very few in the US media covered Dow's greenwashing deceptions. I wonder why?

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

"Major US Outlets Found Hersh’s Nord Stream Scoop Too Hot to Handle. Scores of hits from publications across the globe pop up from an internet search for veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh’s claim that the US destroyed Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipeline.

But what is most striking about the page after page of results from Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo in the weeks following the February 8 posting of Hersh’s story isn’t what is there, but what is not to be found:

 The Times of London (2/8/23) reported Hersh’s story hours after he posted it on his Substack account, but nothing in The New York Times. Britain’s Reuters News Agency [reported] at least ten stories (2/8/23, 2/9/23, 2/12/2, 2/15/23, among others), the Associated Press not one. Not a word broadcast by the major US broadcast networks—NBC, ABC, CBS— or the publicly funded broadcasters PBS and NPR. No news stories on the nation’s major cable outlets, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News."

-->Sometimes stories like this just make sense. The US had everything to gain by blowing up the pipeline. And the blackout in the US media about this story, makes this US war crime appear even more likely. The NYT finally did print an extensive story on just who could have attacked the pipeline. But Seymour Hersh's reporting was relegated to two sentences, and buried in the middle of the article.


Common Dreams:
"South African lawmakers voted Tuesday to downgrade the country's embassy in Israel in response to its apartheid, illegal occupation, and other crimes against Palestinians—a move welcomed by human rights advocates around the world.

The resolution to downgrade the status of South Africa's embassy in Ramat Gan, just east of Tel Aviv, to a liaison office was introduced by the center-left National Freedom Party (NFP), which hailed the measure's passage as 'a historic moment for our country and a demonstration of our unwavering commitment to justice, human rights, and freedom.'
Holding just two seats in the Parliament, the NFP secured the resolution's passage with the support of parties including the dominant African National Congress (ANC), Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement, African Independent Congress, Al-Jama-ah, and Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania."

-->US media, including the NYT, didn't cover this story. The pro-Israel propaganda is just too strong in the US. Of course, a number of Israeli publications carried the story, including The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel.


Rolling Stone:
"Vandoliers Play Tennessee Concert in Dresses to Protest State’s New Drag Bill.
'What is happening in Tennessee is a blatant attack on a marginalized class,' says Josh Fleming, singer for the Texas country-punk band.

Texas country-punk band Vandoliers are standing in solidarity with drag performers and the LGBTQ+ community. On Thursday night, the group performed their set at the Shed in Maryville, Tennessee, with all six of its members wearing dresses in protest of the state’s newly enacted law on public drag performance. ...

Suffice it to say, the heavily tattooed, impressively hairy group may not be making a Drag Race runway debut anytime soon (or maybe they will, who knows!), but the image of them in their show wear suggests they came ready to party and kick a little homophobic ass."

-->As the clouds of homophobia gather in the heartland of America, let's not forget that protest and ridicule are potent weapons, especially in the arts. I would expect our media to pay more attention than it has.