Thursday, April 19, 2018

Common Dreams:
"As foreign policy experts denounced the missile strikes ordered by President Donald Trump Friday night, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley further troubled critics on Saturday when she warned that the U.S. is prepared to attack the war-torn country again. ...

Haley's declaration was denounced by some of her counterparts at the UN, with Bolivian ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz expressing hope that international law would 'prevail.'...

Holding up the U.N. charter, which allows the use of military force for members only when necessary for self-defense or with the approval of the Security Council, Soliz concluded, 'And we also know that they have nothing but scorn for international law, but we have this.' "

-->The US media doesn't do international law, or include references the UN Charter in its enthusiastic war coverage. A brief look at our nation's media reveals that the term "war crime" just isn't applied to America's unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.

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The Washington Post:
Headline: "Trump was right to strike Syria. But the mission is far from accomplished."

-->When our media gets into a war frenzy, factual information is not needed. The media assumes that the chemical weapon came from Syria, despite the lack of evidence, and the obvious reluctance of Assad to do the very thing that would bring in Western Imperialists. His war is won; why would he risk using chemical weapons?

Also this attack on Syria is a "war of aggression" the most serious of the war crimes since it leads to all the others. "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." -Nuremberg Trial Proceedings

Syria threatening the US? Why isn't this attack on Syria described as what it is: a "war of Aggression" with the flimsiest of excuses? Maybe the empire doesn't really need legal justifications anymore. 

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Common Dreams:
"While President Donald Trump's address to the nation suggested that he and his counterparts in France and the United Kingdom launched airstrikes out of concern for Syrian civilians, a number of critics pointed out that the leaders have shown little compassion for those same innocent people as nations have debated taking in Syrian refugees in recent months.

Under Trump, the number of Syrian refugees who have been granted asylum and resettled by the U.S. has plummeted,  dropping from more than 12,000 in 2016 to half that number last year. Less than 100 of the war-torn nation's 5.5 million refugees are expected to be allowed into the U.S. by the end of the current fiscal year in September."
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/14/trump-and-may-claim-concern-syrian-civilians-critics-slam-leaders-anti-refugee

-->We bomb Syria out of "concern" for the poor civilians, yet keep almost all Syrian refugees out of our country. The gross hypocrisy of the empire! Why can't our mainstream media question our supposedly good intentions? Too busy cheering our military airstrikes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Intercept:
"IF THE CONCEPT of intervention is driven by universal human rights, why is it — from the people who identify themselves as liberal interventionists — why do we never hear a peep, a word, about intervening to protect the Palestinians?

That was the question I put to the French philosopher, author, and champion of liberal (or humanitarian) interventionism, Bernard-Henri Lévy, on my Al Jazeera English interview show 'Head to Head' in 2013. ...

I couldn’t help but be reminded of my exchange with the man known as 'BHL' this past weekend, as I watched horrific images of unarmed Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border being shot in the back by the 'democratic army' of Israel. How many 'moral questions' did those Israeli snipers ask themselves, I wondered, before they gunned down Gazan refugees for daring to demand a return to their homes inside the Green Line?"

-->Oh yes, the failures of "liberals" who cannot see war crimes when they are committed by Israel. Where is Nicolas Kristof of the NYT? His latest is "Hearts melt seeing the wildlife in the Dzanga Sangha rain forest. But is it wrong to focus on animal welfare when humans are suffering?" Progressive accept for Palestine.

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The New York Times:
"Bernie Sanders Courts Black Voters Anew. But an Obama Reference Stings."

-->The NYT finally covers Bernie Sanders, but only to list his supposed weaknesses. Compare this to the extensive reporting about Russia's interference in the presidential election, a favorite theme of the neoliberal Democrats. That is why the elite's "newspaper of record" does nothing to remind readers that there is a fight within the Democratic Party, and that voters prefer Bernie's progressive ideas over those of the neoliberal, corporate backed wing of the party.

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The Guardian:
"British scientists at the Porton Down defence research laboratory have not established that the nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was made in Russia, it has emerged. ...

The UK government moved quickly to make it clear that the prime minister, Theresa May, had always been clear the assessment from Porton Down was 'only one part of the intelligence picture'. ...

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Britain will have to apologize to Russia for its 'mad accusations' that 'have no foundation whatsoever.' "

-->Second thoughts about the poisoning haven't made it to the NYT. Ever willing to play the Pentagon mouthpiece in blaming Russia, the NYT didn't bother printing this story.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

DW (Deutsche Welle):
"The EU has followed the UN and called for a probe into the deaths of 15 Palestinian protesters in Gaza. The EU's Federica Mogherini said a continuation of 'peace talks towards a two-state solution' is needed. ...

'The EU mourns the loss of life … The use of live ammunition should, in particular, be part of an independent and transparent investigation,' Mogherini said in a statement. 'While Israel has the right to protect its borders, the use of force must be proportionate at all times,' she continued. ...

The EU's call for an investigation echoed UN chief Antonio Guterres who also called for an 'independent and transparent investigation' on Saturday."

-->Most Western media covered this story, but led with the headlines like "Israel rejects UN and EU calls for inquiry into Gaza bloodshed." Always the emphasis on Israeli denial. The NYT, however, didn't cover this story at all. Isabel Kershner covers Gaza for our "newspaper of record," with typical headlines like, "Gaza shootings prevented a 'blood bath' say Israel military." Kershner is married to Hirsh Goodman who works for the National Security Studies, an Israeli public relations institute that promotes a positive image of Israel in international media. Conflict of interest anyone?
https://fair.org/extra/new-conflict-of-interest-at-nyt-jerusalem-bureau/

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Common Dreams:
"In its first analysis of how the GOP tax plan will affect Americans' personal income taxes alone, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC) this week underscored what experts and most of the public already knew: that the Republican tax law will pour tens of thousands of extra dollars into pockets of the wealthy few while providing mere crumbs for the poor.

Specifically, according to TPC's new report, the top one percent of earners will receive an average annual tax cut of around $33,000 just from individual tax changes under the GOP law. The poorest Americans, by contrast, will see an average break of about $40 per year. ...

TPC's analysis of the Republican tax plan—which President Donald Trump signed into law last December—comes as profitable companies continue their stock buyback binge while most Americans report seeing very few if any changes in their paychecks."

-->The NYT did not report this triumph of the oligarchs over working people. The oligarchs know this news already, but don't enjoy seeing it in print. All the news that fits the oligarchy. 

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Mondoweiss:
"The simple truth about John Bolton’s appointment to national security adviser is that the Republicans need Sheldon Adelson’s money in order to be competitive in the coming midterms, and John Bolton is a tool of Sheldon Adelson.

The appointment of course is a complete reversal of Donald Trump’s declaration during the campaign that the Iraq war – which Bolton pushed and still thinks is a great idea – was the biggest mistake ever, and he was against it from jump.

But Adelson was Trump’s biggest donor during the 2016 campaign, and Trump needs Sheldon Adelson’s money to keep Congress from flipping and cutting his throat."

-->Oh, those simple truths, the connections between big money in politics and the strength of the Israel Lobby. The Israel Lobby buys and sells government officials as easily as the major corporate lobbies do. Maybe easier. No mention of this story in the favorite newspaper of the Israel Lobby, the NYT.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Guardian UK:
"If a Muslim man planted bombs in predominately white neighborhoods before blowing himself up, you could bet that the White House and various media outlets would label him a terrorist and draw some connection between his religion and his violent acts. But the case of the Austin bomber reveals an enduring double standard: white Christian terrorists continue to get a free pass.

According to a Buzzfeed report, 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt – the one responsible for the recent bombings in Austin – was part of conservative survivalist circles. An acquaintance of Conditt confirmed he was involved in a group called Righteous Invasion of Truth, 'a Bible study and outdoors group for homeschooled kids, created and named by the kids and their families that included monthly activities such as archery [and] gun skills ...'

Racial and religious privilege intersect in how Conditt is being perceived. Because he is white, his acts are reduced to a personal problem even though white American men have consistently posed a bigger domestic terrorist threat than Muslim foreigners who get treated as systemic threat. Since Conditt is a Christian, his faith is considered coincidental in spite of the fact that conservative survivalist circles explicitly pursue a racialized, apocalyptic social project."

-->Some US media questioned why Conditt was not labeled a terrorist, including the NYT. But most of these stories left out details of his life that point to a white Christian terrorist mindset. 

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Aljazeera:
"United Nations officials condemned the continued arbitrary detention of Palestinian children by Israel saying the practice has become 'systematic and widely spread'.

A series of UN reports presented at the Human Rights Council shows how the living conditions of Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza have dramatically worsened over the past year, and how children are bearing the brunt of the Israeli occupation, said Kate Gilmore, the UN deputy high commissioner for human rights.

'The past year saw hundreds of Palestinian children detained by Israel, some without charge under administrative detention. ... The impact of the conflict on the lives of children is entirely unacceptable. In this year alone, six children have been shot and killed in the context of protests.' "

-->The NYT, ever eager to hide Israel's war crimes, carried a story about Turkey objecting to the UN report about its state of emergency. Palestinian suffering is not deemed "fit to print," as usual.

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Common Dreams:
"Buried in the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill that the U.S. House passed Thursday is a piece of legislation that digital privacy advocates warn 'expands American and foreign law enforcement's ability to target and access people's data across international borders.'

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data or CLOUD Act (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943) would add an official provision for U.S. law enforcement to access 'the contents of a wire or electronic communication and any record or other information' for people all across the globe, regardless of where they live and what that nation's privacy laws dictate. It would also create a 'backdoor' into Americans' data, enabling the U.S. government to bypass its citizens' Fourth Amendment rights to access and even use their data.

Despite having no formal debate on the legislation and a flurry of urgent warnings early in the week about its attack on digital privacy rights and civil liberties, federal lawmakers revealed on Wednesday that their $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill (pdf) would include the CLOUD Act."

-->New invasions of privacy by the federal government? The NYT responded in its typical way, running an article entitled, "Don’t Let Criminals Hide Their Data Overseas." The "Gray Lady" is always there to support the national security state.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Guardian UK:
"Watch live as Senator Bernie Sanders hosts a town hall on inequality in America. Sanders has said: 'The issue of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time, yet it gets very little coverage from the corporate media.' To discuss inequality, he has convened a town hall in Washington DC with Senator Elizabeth Warren, film-maker Michael Moore, economist Darrick Hamilton and other experts.

'How often do network newscasts report on the 40 million Americans living in poverty, or that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major nation on earth? How often does the media discuss the reality that our society today is more unequal than at any time since the 1920s with the top 0.1% now owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%? How often have you heard the media report the stories of millions of people who today are working longer hours for lower wages than was the case some 40 years ago?' "

-->The NYT, the oligarchy's favorite news source, didn't cover this story. 

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Telesur:
"Facebook has been working with Israeli Government officials to suppress Palestinian voices in the social media sphere according to a report published on Saturday in The Intercept. The partnership between the social media giant and officials in Tel Aviv has resulted in the censorship, removal or blocking of content deemed critical of the Israelis with these posting being branded as incitement.

The observations, which were made in an article by journalist Glenn Greenwald, come in light of a dramatic uptick in Israeli military repression toward Palestinian civilians. ... Facebook's virtually unlimited acquiescence with Israeli requests to remove content, has been described as a 'censorship rampage' by Greenwald and have been carried out since Tel Aviv began blaming alleged, 'online incitement' for unrest and resistance that overwhelmingly resulted in violence against Palestinian civilians. ...

Following the arrangement, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked – who has posted racist remarks about Palestinian 'little snakes' (children) and 'African infiltrators' (migrants) – bragged that the social media giant was honoring 95 percent out of 158 requests to remove Palestinian content. In Greenwald's words, Facebook's collaboration with Tel Aviv gave the Israelis 'virtually unfettered control over a key communications forum of Palestinians.' "

-->No mention of this story in the most effective propaganda arm of apartheid Israel, the NYT.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Aljazeera:
"The Israeli parliament has passed a law that allows the minister of interior to revoke the residency rights of any Palestinian in Jerusalem on grounds of a 'breach of loyalty' to Israel. ...

Under the new measure, Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, leader of the ultra-Orthodox political party Shas, will be able to strip the residency documents of any Palestinian whom he deems a threat. Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), described the law as "an extremely racist piece of legislation. 

'By unethically stripping the residency of Palestinians from Jerusalem and depriving the rights of those Palestinians to remain in their own city, the Israeli government is acting in defiance of international law and is violating international human rights and humanitarian laws,' said Ashrawi."

-->The ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem is about the same as the ethnic cleansing of the entire West Bank. No mainstream US media reported this, including the NYT. No wonder Americans don't know about Israeli war crimes.

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Common Dreams:
"Citing a raging humanitarian crisis as well as constitutional law, more than three dozen legal scholars, human rights advocates, and former officials urged  the U.S. Senate on Thursday to back a proposal that would end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen.

Yale Law School professor Bruce Ackerman, Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams and Tawakkol Karman, and former U.S. ambassador Stephen Seche were among the experts who sent a letter to every senator asking them to support a resolution proposed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to remove U.S. forces from the conflict in Yemen, as no military action there has been authorized by Congress.
'We strongly encourage you and your Senate colleagues to co-sponsor and vote for S.J. Res 54, which defends the constitutional linchpin of Congress's sole authority to declare war and promises to help end what aid groups consider the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,' the letter stated."

-->The NYT didn't think this story was worth printing. Our "newspaper of record" has a hard time coming out against US military action, even though the bombing of Yemen is approaching a genocide. 

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The Guardian UK:
"Nearly half of US arms exports over the past five years have gone to the war-stricken Middle East, with Saudi Arabia consolidating its place as the world’s second biggest importer, a report has shown.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday that global transfer of major weapons systems between 2013 and 2017 rose by 10% compared with the five-year period before that, in a continuation of an upward trend that began two decades ago. 

The US, which is the world’s biggest exporter, increased its sales between those two periods by 25%. It supplied arms to as many as 98 states worldwide, accounting for more than a third of global exports."

-->Oh how sweet those wars in the Middle East are to US weapons makers. Billions are being made on the backs of homeless families and starving children. A virtual heaven on earth for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Bechtel, Textron to name the top six US firms. Why spoil the gravy train by reporting this story? The NYT, notoriously in bed with these weapons makers, didn't print this study. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

972 Mag:
"Christian leaders announced that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the holiest sites in all of Christianity, will be closed indefinitely to protest a Knesset bill that will allow the government to seize church land, as well as a plan to tax church property.

In a statement released Sunday, the heads of the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian churches, the bodies responsible for governing the Holy Sepulcher and other Christian holy sites, denounced what they are calling 'a systematic' and 'offensive' campaign 'against the Churches and Christian community in the Holy Land, in flagrant violation of the existing Status Quo.' "

-->The NYT doesn't carry too many stories critical of Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank. It omitted this one too.

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Common Dreams:
"The non-partisan RAND Corporation's sweeping new analysis on gun policy in the U.S. reveals that gun violence would be reduced with stricter laws restricting access to firearms—but also stresses that efforts to complete research on the issue have often been stymied by a lack of resources, due to a funding freeze that was pushed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) decades ago.

Despite the lack of research to draw from, RAND's findings did point to the conclusion that laws to prevent children from accessing firearms can decrease suicides and unintentional injuries or deaths and that universal background checks would lead to a drop in suicides and violent crimes. Concealed-carry and stand-your-ground laws—both backed by the NRA—were also found to increase violent crimes. ...

The RAND Corporation points to a 1996 measure passed by Congress, known as the Dickey Amendment, which slashed $2.6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) budget shortly after the agency published a study on the risks associated with having a gun in the home."

-->Amazing that the funds for studying gun violence were slashed by the NRA. Not amazing to readers of the NYT because the story wasn't carried. 

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Common Dreams:
"Pushback on the left to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee continued on Friday with a trio of groups launching a campaign directed at DCCC chairman Ben Ray Luján demanding the political committee 'stop undermining progressive values.'

'Right now,' said Heidi Hess, co-director of CREDO Action, 'the DCCC's advice to candidates and its failure to fully embrace candidates of color is standing in the way of progress. That's why we're demanding that the DCCC immediately stop its shortsighted and unhelpful attacks on progressive values.' ...

'Their consultant-driven strategy seems to prefer milquetoast candidates who they believe can appeal to moderate Republicans over progressive candidates of color. This is what systemic racism looks like,'  Waleed Shahid, a spokesman for Justice Democrats."

-->The NYT did not report this story, probably because our "newspaper of record" prefers corporate Democrats to real progressives. It likes the Dems just the way they are.