Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Common Dreams:
"After what critics called 'a hollow charade of a trial' and 'theater of the absurd,' an Israeli court Thursday convicted Palestinian poet and photographer Dareen Tatour, 36, of 'incitement to violence' and 'support of a terror organization' for publishing her poetry on social media."

Let us read the poem that is sending her to prison, in the Middle East's "only democracy."

Resist, my people, resist them.
In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows
And carried the soul in my palm
For an Arab Palestine.
I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”
Never lower my flags
Until I evict them from my land.
I cast them aside for a coming time.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the settler’s robbery
And follow the caravan of martyrs.
Shred the disgraceful constitution
Which imposed degradation and humiliation
And deterred us from restoring justice.
They burned blameless children;
As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,
Killed her in broad daylight.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
Pay no mind to his agents among us
Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.
Do not fear doubtful tongues;
The truth in your heart is stronger,
As long as you resist in a land
That has lived through raids and victory.
So Ali called from his grave:
Resist, my rebellious people.
Write me as prose on the agarwood;
My remains have you as a response.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist, my people, resist them.

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Common Dreams:
"The public comment period is now open on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's just unveiled proposal for food labeling of products using GMOs—a plan that would have labels without the words 'genetically modified' or 'genetically engineered,' but instead adorned with cheerful images.

According to Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, the proposal represents 'a gift to industry from our now Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who authored the legislation to squash the Vermont GMO labeling law and mandatory labels.'

The proposal follows President Barack Obama's 2016 signature on an industry-approved bill—dubbed the DARK Act—that required national labeling standard rules, and which critics blasted for having loopholes and lacking a mandate for adequate GMO labels."

-->Yes, both parties have sold out to Monsanto and GMO's. The NYT completes the betrayal; it didn't cover this story.

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Common Dreams:
"After Amazon stocks soared last week—making founder Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, $12 billion richer—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted that the company paid no federal income tax last year, which was confirmed by independent analysis on Thursday, and comes as Amazon is trying to kill a proposed tax that aims to end Seattle's homelessness crisis. ...

'He's right,' PolitiFact declared. 'We've taken a look at a series of exaggerated claims about Amazon in the past. But in this case, Sanders is on the money.'

With no public tax return and no cooperation from Amazon, fact-checkers dug into the company's annual filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They found, based on a February 2018 filing, 'that not only would the company not be paying anything in 2017 federal income taxes, but it would be getting a $137 million tax refund.' "


-->The NYT reported Amazon's despicable attempts to kill a local tax for the homeless in Seattle, but left out one little detail. Yes, the fact that Amazon paid no taxes last year, and would be getting a $137 million from the IRS. When it comes to corporate robbery, the NYT always sticks to the little details.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Common Dreams:
"Amid the handwringing of many in the corporate media over comedian Michelle Wolf's monologue at the White House Correspondents' Association over the weekend, few took notice of reports that the Justice Department took a step away from protecting journalists on Sunday, deleting language in its policy manual regarding press freedom ...

In the new update, a section titled 'Need for Free Press and Public Trial' was removed. The deleted passage had stressed the need to maintain 'the constitutional requirements of a free press and public trials as well as the right of the people in a constitutional democracy to have access to information about the conduct of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and courts, consistent with the individual rights of the accused.' "

-->The loss of press freedom didn't interest our "newspaper of record." The NYT didn't print this story.

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Common Dreams:
"After a video of the arrest of two African-American men sitting in Starbucks without buying anything went viral, Starbucks scheduled anti-racism training. But their inclusion of the Anti-Defamation League in the training provoked another outcry and Starbucks capitulated. ...

Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, said ... 'You can’t be a piece of an anti-bias training when you openly support a racist, oppressive, and brutal colonization of Palestine.'

Linda Sarsour, also co-chair of the Women’s March, wrote on Facebook that ADL is 'an anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian organization that peddles Islamophobia and attacks America’s prominent Muslim orgs and activists and supports/sponsors US law enforcement agents to travel and get trained by Israeli military.' "

-->The major media, led by the NYT, avoided this story of how the racist ADL was thrown out of the Starbucks retraining plan. Always protecting the Zionist lobby and its Islamophobia campaigns. 

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Common Dreams:
"Faced with mounting scientific evidence that bee-poisoning neonicotinoids, or neonics, could cause an 'ecological armageddon,' European regulators on Friday approved a 'groundbreaking" and "historic' ban on the widely-used class of pesticides—an announcement met with immediate applause by campaigners.

'The E.U.'s groundbreaking ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides is a huge win for pollinators, people, and the planet,' responded Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth (FOE). ...

'The E.U.'s wisdom highlights the Trump EPA's folly,' noted [Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity]. 'Although U.S. beekeepers reported catastrophic losses again this winter, and just this past week the EPA closed a comment period on another suite of damning neonicotinoid risk assessments, rather than banning these dangerous pesticides, the agency is actually considering increasing the use of neonics across another 165 million acres.' "

-->Always eager to take Monsanto's side, the NYT didn't cover this story.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Common Dreams:
"Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sparked a league-wide protest that has spanned two seasons since he first kneeled down before a game to protest racial violence and police killings in 2016, was awarded Amnesty International's highest honor on Saturday.

Presented at a ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Saturday, the secretary general of the human rights group Salil Shetty said Kaepernick earned its Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018 for his 'refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination.'

'Just like the Ambassadors of Conscience before him, Shetty added, 'Colin Kaepernick chooses to speak out and inspire others despite the professional and personal risks. When high profile people choose to take a stand for human rights, it emboldens many others in their struggles against injustice. Kaepernick’s commitment is all the more remarkable because of the alarming levels of vitriol it has attracted from those in power.' "

-->Much of our media, including the NYT, refused to print this story. Corporate controlled news reporting never favors popular resistance.

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Common Dreams:
"As President Trump threatens to rip up the nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran and other major powers, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javar Zarif said on Sunday that the United States has 'never abandoned the idea of regime change' for his country and the only major difference now is that the Trump administration has just become 'more explicit about stating it.' ...

With a clear reference to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other Gulf monarchies, Zarif continued by saying the U.S. is 'used to dictators in our region who rely on them. As President Trump said, [those regimes] cannot live without U.S. support for two weeks. That's the type of regime that they're used to and that is why they so readily talk about regime change. They have not been able to impact the decision of the Iranian people over the last 40 years even at times when the Iranian revolution was very new.' "

-->The NYT, propagandist for the Pentagon's war talk against Iran, only carries opinions pieces on supposed human rights "outrages" in Tehran. Our "newspaper of record" would never print Javar Zarif's words. It is a much too honest assessment of US imperialist policies.

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FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)
"[The US] media have engaged in extraordinary mental gymnastics to describe the Israeli military’s deliberate killing of Palestinian protesters in the Great Return March, framing long-distance sniper shootings as 'clashes' in order to misleadingly 'give the reader the impression of two equal warring sides.'

Equally torturous are the linguistic contortions news outlets have performed to avoid stating the simple fact that Israel is shooting hundreds of demonstrators with live ammunition (Electronic Intifada, 4/6/18), killing 30 (Reuters, 4/9/18) and injuring close to 2,000. An Associated Press headline (4/6/18) said, 'Palestinian Protesters Burn Tires, Sending Smoke Billowing at Gaza/Israel Border; Israeli Troops Fire Back Sporadically.' That’s a logical impossibility: Israeli forces cannot 'fire back' at people who aren’t firing at them. The sentence rests on the absurd assumption that burning tires is the same as shooting people."

-->Almost all news reported in the US about Gaza is fake. The NYT employs journalists with strong ties to Israel, who are often duel citizens, to distort the coverage. Free our nation's media from Zionist apologists! 

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.