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.