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.