Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Common Dreams:
" 'Shameful': Biden Admin Withdraws Human Rights Nomination Over Israel Apartheid Comments.

Human rights advocates are warning that the Biden administration's decision to withdraw its nomination of law professor James Cavallaro to serve on a human rights commission could be the latest incident that chills free speech regarding violent Israeli policies in Palestine, as Cavallaro said he was shut out of the position due to his condemnation of Israel's apartheid regime. ...

Cavallaro, the founder and executive director of the University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) at Wesleyan University, said he responded to the State Department's news by noting that mainstream human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Israeli organization B'Tselem have all stated that Israel's illegal settlements, restriction of Palestinians' movement, and other policies amount to apartheid. The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Palestine also said last year that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is apartheid."

-->Well, there is more shame to go around, because the NYT didn't print any part of this important story. Neither did any major media in the US. Only Democracy Now and Mondoweiss informed its readers of Biden's nomination withdrawal. There is the shame of a US president being controlled by the Israel Lobby. There is the shame of that same Lobby having so much control over our national news. The big story, of course, is the unlimited power of the Israel Lobby to cover up the suffering and oppression of 5 million Palestinians in the Holy Land.


"Two basic facts stand out, with or without the new revelations from Hersh’s source. The first is Pres. Biden’s stark declaration on February 7 last year that, 'If Russia invades . . . there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it… I promise you that we will be able to do it.' The second is the fact that on September 26 the two Nord Stream pipelines were indeed blown up, in an operation that investigators from nearby Sweden and Denmark later concluded had been conducted by agents of a state actor, un-named. ...

The decision makers in the U.S. corporate media, the think-tanks (except Quincy!), and both branches of government all have a more or less clear idea of which government it was that undertook the Nord Stream operation. But they don’t want to mention or discuss this in public… Because, well, undertaking an act like like that was a violation of international law and a blatant act of aggression against Russia, Germany, and a number of other gas-receiving states. Discussing this too publicly would therefore (a) make the United States look like even more of a rogue nation than it was before, and (b) portray the United States as much more deeply a party to the war against Russia than it has until now claimed to be."

-->How our national media loves a balloon story. All spectacle with nothing actually inside. But for journalists told to drop the story of the US blowing up the Nord Steam pipeline, the balloons are a godsend. For readers, it is but another sad confirmation that all our news is crafted at the Pentagon. Or as Jeffrey St. Clair at CounterPunch  wrote: "Still the lack of any follow-up reporting from the New York Times or Washington Post, to either confirm and discredit Hersh’s story, is one of the more shameful episodes in a dismal couple of decades for American journalism."


The Lever:
"A looming Supreme Court decision could end up making it easier for the railroad giant whose train derailed in Ohio this month to block lawsuits, including from victims of the disaster.

In the case against Norfolk Southern, the Biden administration is siding with the railroad in its conflict with a cancer-stricken former rail worker. A high court ruling for Norfolk Southern could create a national precedent limiting where workers and consumers can bring cases against corporations.

The lawsuit in question, filed initially in a Pennsylvania county court in 2017, deals with a state law that permits plaintiffs to file suit against any corporation registered to do business there, even if the actions that gave rise to the case occurred elsewhere.

In its fight against the lawsuit, Norfolk Southern is asking the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court ruling, overturn Pennsylvania’s law, and restrict where corporations can be sued, upending centuries of precedent.

-->There has been good coverage of the Norfolk Southern rail disaster. But the Biden complicity with the railroads is another topic that never made it into our media. His Department of Justice is supporting Norfolk Southern side.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The Independent UK
"White House denies journalist’s claims it blew up Russian gas pipeline. ... Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh had reported last Friday that the blasts last September were carried out on orders given by president Joe Biden.

The White House National Council said on Friday the claims were 'utterly false and complete fiction' while the CIA and state department were also critical. ... While the US agrees with the judgement of NATO, Sweden and Denmark that the explosions were a deliberate 'act of sabotage', nobody has claimed responsibility, with the Kremlin blaming the West. ...

Seymour Hersh has a long career as an investigative reporter. In 1969, he exposed the massacre of South Vietnamese villagers by US troops in the hamlet of My Lai and his syndicated report was credited with helping end the Vietnam War. ... Then in May 2015, the London Review of Books published an article quoting Pakistani and US sources as saying those governments lied about details of the raid that killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan. Both governments denied Mr Hersh's allegations that Pakistan had been holding bin Laden prisoner and knew about the raid in advance."

-->Notice how even this article begins with a denial of Hersh's story. There was no news outlet that was going to run this story before the denials came. And even after the denials, very few US media outlets printed or reported on these accusations. The NYT certainly didn't. The US empire certainly has control over the nation's media, and this story is troubling sign that war propaganda is on the rise.


Common Dreams:
"Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau on Wednesday announced her city is cutting ties with Israel and ending its symbolic 25-year-old 'twin cities' relationship with Tel Aviv over the Israeli government's violent anti-Palestinian policies. Colau said at a press conference that the city council came to its decision in response to campaigning by more than 100 rights groups and 4,000 residents, who urged her to cut ties with Israel.

In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leftist mayor said her constituents called on her to 'condemn the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, support Palestinian and Israeli organizations working for peace, and break off the twinning agreement between Barcelona and Tel Aviv.' ...

The letter and Colau's announcement to the press come two weeks after an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank killed at least nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman."

-->The NYT didn't cover this story of a major city in Europe cutting ties with Israel. Although our "newspaper of record" has printed more stories about Palestine recently, the NYT is still covering up for apartheid.


"Ukraine slams Roger Waters over UN Security Council speech. The Pink Floyd star argued that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was provoked during an address to diplomats in New York.

But the 79-year-old – who has previously praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and criticised the West for supplying Ukraine with arms – then implied that Kyiv and its allies were partly to blame for the conflict as well. 'The Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked. So I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms,' Waters told diplomats in New York City via video link, without referring to any specific individuals, groups or countries.

'The only sensible course of action today is to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine,' he added."

-->Like the previous story, we only learn about Roger Waters' address to the UN through US denials, something the NYT specializes in. This time, however, the newspaper left this story out completely, as did most of the US media. War censorship always comes before an actual war. In fact, we may see US and Russian troops eventually killing each other. I wonder if the NYT will still be around to cover it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

The Intercept:
"The death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police officers last month once again ignited outrage over the violent, militarized nature of U.S. law enforcement and placed scrutiny on police departments’ bloated budgets.

Among the objections to policing that are being revived are criticisms of a controversial series of trainings and exchange programs for U.S. police in Israel. Scores of American law enforcement leaders have attended the programs, where they learned from Israeli police and security forces known for systemically abusing the human rights of Palestinians. ...

'We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that what takes place during US-Israel police exchanges does nothing to keep our communities safe,” Eran Efrati, director of campaigns and partnerships for the progressive group Jewish Voice for Peace. 'But the exchanges refine and enhance the militarization rooted in American policing with Israeli tactics and technology of occupation and apartheid that are being tested on Palestinians on a daily basis.' "

-->No mention of this training in the NYT, or anywhere else in our mainstream media. Why leave out this dubious training of our police forces? The NYT goes out of its way again to protect apartheid Israel.


Common Dreams:
"Nevada Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer said Friday that progressives won't stop working to stem the flow of untraceable cash into national primary contests after the DNC Resolutions Committee blocked a vote on her proposed dark money ban for the second time. ...

'Our party and our country need strong Democratic candidates willing to speak truth to power, but when their messages can be drowned out in a flood of untraceable expenditures, many candidates are questioning why they should even run,' Whitmer said. 'Restoring faith in our democracy has never been more urgent, and that all-important work should start in our own primary elections.' ...

Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden, have repeatedly railed against the scourge of dark money, decried its corrupting influence, and pledged to rein it in—only to balk at pressure for substantive action. ... According to an August 2022 study by the Wesleyan Media Project, nearly 70% of pro-Democratic Senate ads up to that point in last year's election cycle were funded by groups that don't disclose any of their donors."

-->Democratic Party waffling when it comes to dark money. We have seen it all before. But we don't see the story in the NYT, which can't bring itself to trace where all this dark money comes from.


Common Dreams:
"Ahead of the Democratic National Committee's annual Winter Meeting in Philadelphia, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday called on the party to end super PAC spending in primary races, saying the Democrats should take the event as an opportunity to show their commitment to protecting democracy.
Twelve years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Vermont Independent senator wrote, the last election cycle illustrated how the 'disastrous' decision is 'undermining American democracy,' as super PACs spent roughly $1.3 billion on campaigning—including more than $460 million spent by Democratic groups.

Millions of dollars were spent by billionaires 'against progressive candidates in competitive primaries,' Sanders wrote, with super PACs funding 'outrageous and dishonest attack ads.'

Notably, a super PAC created by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) spent millions of dollars in competitive races in North Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania last year, running attack ads against progressives who are critical of the United States' support for Israel's violent anti-Palestinian policies."

-->Of course, the NYT didn't cover this story. The paper is weak on covering billion dollar donors and dark money. And of course, it is almost always weak on covering the Israel Lobby.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Common Dreams:
" 'It's a simple question,' the reporter asked. 'Are they under occupation?' Yesterday in a shocking exchange at the State Department, the spokesman for Biden’s foreign policy team refused to describe Palestinians in Jenin and other areas of the West Bank as living under military occupation by Israel.

In the wake of an Israeli military raid that killed ten Palestinians in Jenin, Vedant Patel of the State Department was repeatedly asked if they were occupied, and evaded the question. ...

So Secretary of State Antony Blinken is about to fly out to meet with Israeli leaders, and the Biden administration appears to be adopting Trump’s reflexively pro-Israel policies in yet another area. In addition to not reversing the formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and accepting the recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, Biden is now emulating Trump’s acceptance of the occupation (as in Trump’s declaration that the settlements are not illegal)."

-->The US State Department is completely in bed with the occupation and annexation of Palestine land. The NYT never printed this story, because it too supports Apartheid Israel no matter how brutal and racist it gets.


Common Dreams:
"I awoke on December 13th to news about what could be the most significant scientific breakthrough since the Food and Drug Administration authorized the first Covid vaccine for emergency use two years ago. This time, however, the achievement had nothing to do with that ongoing public health crisis. Instead, as the New York Times and CNN alerted me that morning, at stake was a new technology that could potentially solve the worst dilemma humanity faces: climate change and the desperate overheating of our planet. ...

'This is such a wonderful example of a possibility realized, a scientific milestone achieved, and a road ahead to the possibilities for clean energy,' exclaimed White House science adviser Arati Prabhakar. ...

'The reality is that fusion energy will not be viable at scale anytime within the next decade, a time frame over which carbon emissions must be reduced by 50% to avoid catastrophic warming of more than 1.5°C,' says climate expert Michael Mann, a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania. 'That task will only be achievable through the scaling up of existing clean energy — renewable sources such as wind and solar — along with energy storage capability and efficiency and conservation measures.' ”

-->Another quick fix that isn't. How our major media loves hyping technology as our savior from a burned up planet. But like the promise of nuclear energy, it is mostly smoke and mirrors.


In These Times:
"What the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party Has Planned Next. Rather than taking a back seat, progressives are using their expanded ranks to flex their muscle in Congress—and transform the Democratic Party. ...

While Republicans now control the U.S. House, which stifles prospects for any major Democratic legislation over the next two years, progressives are not slowing their efforts to transform U.S. politics. Both in Congress and through internal Democratic Party decision-making, progressives are building on lessons learned during the first years of the Biden administration to grow their power. This effort includes using their expanding congressional ranks to push progressive policy and when necessary challenge Democratic Party leadership, build progressive majorities in state level parties and change internal rules to ban dark money in primaries.

The most dramatic changes in progressive party reform over the past year can be seen in the growth of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). After the November 2022 midterms, the caucus now claims an all-time high of 103 members, nearly half of all House Democrats."

-->The NYT and much of mainstream media try to avoid stories that involve the progressive revolt against the corporate controlled Democrats. Bernie Sanders type reforms are sometimes mocked, but mostly just avoided by the corporate controlled major media. What progressive revolution?