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.  

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Data For Progress:
"In recent years, fossil fuel combustion has been responsible for approximately 73 percent of the U.S.’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 89 percent of the world’s emissions. While taxpayers have been forced to pick up the tab for the climate crisis, fossil fuel companies have continued to prosper. In 2021, leading fossil fuel companies made $205 billion in profits, of which their executives pocketed $394 million.

It’s no mistake that fossil fuel companies have continued to make major financial gains through the climate crisis; fossil fuel industry executives, knowingly, have long misled the public about their impact on it and used their profits to manipulate climate research. Many of the nation’s most prominent universities, including Harvard, MIT, and George Washington, are awash with fossil fuel funding.

New research conducted by Data for Progress confirms this, finding hundreds of millions of dollars donated from key fossil fuel companies to fund climate research at many of these academic institutions. Climate activists, allies, academics, and universities can cut the dangerous tie between academia and the fossil fuel industry via policies that crack down on fossil fuel funding. In the third edition of our Accountable Allies project, Data for Progress empowers advocates with tools and information to hold companies accountable for exploiting the credibility of academic institutions."

-->The NYT covered this story back in August 2022, but it was limited to Fossil Fuel Money at Cambridge University in the UK. No mention of US colleges like Harvard in sucking up this fossil fuel cash.


"U.S.-based human rights group loses fundraising platform over association with Palestinian NGO. The Alliance for Global Justice's had its online fundraising platform shut down after complaints from a Zionist lawfare group. Is Israel's war on human rights groups coming to the U.S.?

The group Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ) announced that its ability to fundraise has been impeded over its connection to a Palestinian NGO. AfGJ serves as a fiscal sponsor for nearly 150 non-profit organizations across the United States, including some that work in Palestine. One of those groups is Samidoun, which has established an international support network for Palestinian prisoners. In February 2021 the Israeli government added Samidoun to its “terror list” over its alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Samidoun has repeatedly denied the allegations and vowed to continue their work amid mounting political challenges. 'Almost every organization, movement and even individual activist that stands for Palestinian freedom is targeted by the Israeli occupation and its leading war criminals for harassment, threats and attempts to mobilize state power to suppress an anti-colonial, anti-racist movement for justice and liberation,' said the group at the time. 'We are proud to stand with all of those who face such smear campaigns and repressive attacks — by intensifying our work and coming together to confront Israeli apartheid, occupation, war crimes and colonization, and organizing for the liberation of Palestine.' ”

-->No word in the NYT of this Israeli censorship of US human rights groups. Shame on the NYT for aiding and abetting apartheid Israel by not reporting this attack on human rights funding.  


Common Dreams:
"'$2.5 Trillion Theft': Study Shows Richest 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From Bottom 90% in Recent Decades...

New research published Monday found that the top 1% of U.S. income earners have taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90% over the past several decades, and that the median worker salary would be around twice as high today as it was in 1945 if pay had kept pace with economic output over that period.

The study's authors, Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation, examined income distribution and economic growth in the United States from 1945 to the present. The researchers found stark differences between income distribution from 1945 to 1974 and 1975 to 2018."

-->This well documented example of class war is shocking to read about. But thanks to the influence of the very richest, not many reading the mainstream media will ever learn about it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

"Under current railroad attendance policies, many workers must be either at work or available to work within ninety minutes upward of 90 percent of all hours of the day and night, whether awake or asleep. Taking time off results in 'points' getting deducted, which can result in termination. Not only does this make it difficult to see a doctor, but it makes any life outside of work virtually impossible. Soccer games, birthdays, weddings, funerals, holidays, and hobbies remain out of reach for most railworkers.

The policies even make something as basic as getting enough sleep a challenge, since workers can be summoned at any hour of the day and night. The predictable result is endemic fatigue among railworkers, with many reporting falling asleep at the switch. Given the toxic and flammable materials that trains carry, the danger to workers and the public is dire. ...

And here lies a deeper implication of Biden’s imposed deal. By flagrantly trampling railworkers’ collective bargaining rights, the self-described 'most pro-union president ever' is engaging in another variant of the norm-violating attacks on democracy for which he and other Democrats often criticize their Republican counterparts."

-->This article was written in mid-December, well before the toxic rail catastrophe that just happened. If a small, leftist publication can get it so right, where was the major media on this story? The NYT was sitting with President Biden, twiddling its thumbs on domestic labor and environmental issues while preparing the nation for war with Russia and China.


The New York Times:
"The 27-nation European Union was built over decades with the core idea of extending peace across the continent. The notion that economic exchanges, trade and interdependence were the best guarantees against war lay deep in the postwar European psyche, even in dealings with an increasingly hostile Moscow.

That Mr. Putin’s Russia had become aggressive, imperialist, revanchist and brutal — as well as impervious to European peace politics — was almost impossible to digest in Paris or Berlin, even after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. An increasingly militaristic Russia might swim, quack and look like a duck, but that did not mean it was one."

-->The NYT may swim, quack and look like a US propaganda machine, but is it one? Articles like this unfortunately show the intentions of Biden's foreign policy: preparing the American people for war. That should make us all fearful for our children and for all life on earth. And our newspaper of record? An unabashed proponent of US wars abroad, as it has always been.


"A crucial function of a free press is to present perspectives that critically examine government actions. In major articles from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal discussing the escalation of the war in Ukraine, however, such perspectives have been hard to come by—even as the stakes have reached as high as nuclear war.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated the war by announcing a mobilization of up to 300,000 extra troops (CNBC, 9/21/22) and threatened to use 'all the means at our disposal' to ensure 'the territorial integrity of our motherland' (CNBC, 9/23/22). A month later, a letter endorsed by 30 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was sent to the White House (and quickly retracted), urging a 'proactive diplomatic push' to reach a ceasefire in the war.

Both of these major incidents could have been an opportunity for the media to ask important questions about US policy in Ukraine, which is—according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (Wall Street Journal, 4/25/22)—to 'weaken' Russia. Instead, elite newspapers continue to offer a very narrow range of expert opinion on a US strategy that favors endless war."

-->FAIR does a nice job exposing the constant parade of pro-war "military analysts" that appear in our major media. It is times like these that cry out for a real news reporting system not dominated by the empire and its toadies. We have seen it all before; each run-up to our nation's decades of wars abroad gets this type of crude propaganda. We must demand more from our media, as well as from our leaders who are addicted to invasions and occupations.