Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Vox:
"French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new gas tax earlier this year that will increase the price of fuel by about 30 cents per gallon and will continue to rise over the next few years. ...

But Macron, a former investment banker, isn’t using the tax to support or expand social welfare benefits — quite the opposite, in fact. It’s part of his broader plan to reform the French economy to make it more pro-business.
He’s been cutting spending to popular, longstanding social welfare programs and has been scaling back labor protections. For instance, he’s made it easier for companies to hire and fire employees and fought unions to end subsidies for certain sectors. ...

So, to recap, the protesters are mostly working-class folks who are angry at what they see as an out-of-touch elitist president whose policies favor the wealthy and corporations at the expense of working-class French people."

-->But a recent front page headline in the NYT tells a different story. "French Protests Reveal Clash: Heathy Climate vs. Lower Tax." Gone are the cuts in social programs and labor rights. Gone is Macron's favoring the rich and corporations over the working class. Our "newspaper of record" is blind to the working class and chooses to reframe issues to protect the corporate elite.   

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Common Dreams:
"One of the best parts of Ocasio-Cortez's arrival in D.C. as a new leader is that she notices, and is revolted by, the corrupt, corporatist rituals that are so embedded in D.C. culture that most politicians and journalists barely notice them. ...

Pulling back the curtain on the ostensibly 'bipartisan' orientation for newly elected members of Congress at Harvard's Kennedy School in Boston, Reps.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) informed the public through live social media updates on Thursday that—contrary to the ideologically neutral advertising—the private conference featured a heavy dose of speeches by corporate CEOs and completely shut out organized labor and members of the progressive community.

'Our 'bipartisan' congressional orientation is co-hosted by a corporate lobbyist group,' Ocasio-Cortez noted, likely referring to the Koch-funded American Enterprise Institute, which is co-sponsoring the event. 'Other members have quietly expressed to me their concern that this wasn't told to us in advance. Lobbyists are here. Goldman Sachs is here. Where's labor? Activists? Frontline community leaders?' "

-->Where indeed is the NYT? Corporate influence oozing from the seams of Congress, yet the NYT decided not to carry this story. 

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The Guardian UK:
"She sings. She sparkles. And she’s made by women paid just 1p [about 1.3 cents] for each doll that shimmers off shop shelves. This Christmas, tens of thousands of children the world over will excitedly tear the wrapping paper off an Ariel doll – Disney’s Little Mermaid – secure in the knowledge that it was made for them by Santa’s happy elves at the north pole.

The reality would come as a cruel surprise. For elves, read Chinese factory workers. For the north pole, read the city of Heyuan. And for happy, read miserable – from illegally long working hours and exhaustion to wages too low to support a family.

An investigation published on Thursday by rights groups Solidar Suisse and China Labor Watch, in partnership with the Guardian, found evidence of excessive and illegal overtime, basic pay rates as low as 85p [a little over a dollar] an hour, no holiday or sick pay and high levels of exhaustion among the largely female workforce making Disney toys and products for other international toy companies including Mattel’s Fisher Price brand."

-->The NYT and most of the US media rarely carries stories about Disney and Fisher Price abusing workers in foreign countries. Hey, it's not befitting the holiday spirit of unfettered greed.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Common Dreams:
"'A Staggeringly Bad Idea: Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda. ...

Nearly three-quarters of the American public and a historic number of Democratic lawmakers support Medicare for All, but the House Democratic leadership is considering using its newly won majority to impose a rule that would 'recklessly betray' the grassroots forces that put them in power by making single-payer and other progressive priorities impossible to enact. ...

According to a list of Democratic proposals obtained by the Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—who is currently fighting back against efforts to prevent her from becoming House Speaker—is pushing for a rule that would 'require a three-fifths supermajority to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning 80 percent of taxpayers.' "

-->A Pelosi knife in the back for Medicare for All. The Insurance industry pays most of Pelosi's bills, and it is payback time. Readers of the NYT were not informed of her backroom betrayal. 

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As the nation's media play its fulsome praises of George H Bush, I thought that Activist Radio should step in with our favorite story of this great patriot. He was a serial fondler of young women, especially at photo ops when he could get in real close. He always told the same joke as he was groping, that his favorite magician was “David Cop-a-Feel.”

The Intercept:
"He ran a racist election campaign. The name of Willie Horton should forever be associated with Bush’s 1988 presidential bid ... He made a dishonest case for war. Thirteen years before George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to justify his invasion and occupation of Iraq, his father made his own set of false claims to justify the aerial bombardment of that same country ... He committed war crimes. Under Bush Sr., the U.S. dropped a whopping 88,500 tons of bombs on Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, many of which resulted in horrific civilian casualties ... He refused to cooperate with a special counsel. The Iran-Contra affair, in which the United States traded missiles for Americans hostages in Iran, and used the proceeds of those arms sales to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua ... He escalated the racist war on drugs."

-->Why praise a racist, CIA spook who never did anything in office beside bombing helpless countries in the Middle East and Central America? It is the propaganda of empire; all our elected leaders are made into heroes. It goes with the big lie of America's benevolent foreign policy.

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Common Dreams:
"CNN has parted ways with contributor Marc Lamont Hill after a speech the college professor made on Israel and Palestine at the United Nations. A CNN spokesperson confirmed Hill was no longer under contract. The network did not give a reason, but the move came amid objections to Hill’s speech by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other groups.

Hill, a professor of media studies at Temple University in Philadelphia who had been a recurring political commentator on CNN, defended his speech in social media posts, saying he did not support antisemitism or violence against Jewish people and had fought against this.

Speaking on Wednesday, he called for countries to boycott and divest from Israel in a speech given for the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."

-->The NYT took the easy way out when it came to this story of censorship at one of our top news media networks. The firing of Hill was carried on the NYT webpage as an AP story, but didn't make it into print.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

FAIR:
"NPR Infomercial for Its Sponsor Amazon Omits Labor and Environmental Criticisms. It would be good if a radio station, ostensibly set up to serve the public, could mention these inconvenient realities.

There are dozens of reports detailing how Amazon’s shipping policies negatively effects both the environment and workers, but one wouldn’t have any idea either was a concern after  listening to NPR’s sexed-up report (Morning Edition, 11/21/18), 'Optimized Prime: How AI and Anticipation Power Amazon’s 1-Hour Deliveries.'

The report, detailing the 'Artificial Intelligence' behind Amazon’s delivery systems, relies entirely on interviews with Amazon flacks. The only people NPR speaks to are Brad Porter, the head of robotics for Amazon operations; Jenny Freshwater, director of software development; and Amazon VP Cem Sibay. No outside parties were sought for comment, let alone anyone remotely adversarial, such as labor organizers or environmental activists."

-->Yes, that old Morning Edition, always ready to celebrate the corporate vision of America.

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Common Dreams:
"Big Pharma's Worst Nightmare': Experts Champion Sanders-Khanna Bill That Could Lower Drug Costs by More Than 40%.

Decrying America's shameful status as the only industrialized nation on Earth that lets pharmaceutical giants hike drug prices without restraint, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on Tuesday unveiled legislation that would crack down on Big Pharma's government-granted monopolies by requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve far cheaper generic competition if companies refuse to bring drug prices into line with international standards.

'No other country allows pharmaceutical companies to charge any price they want for any reason they want. Somebody in America today can walk into a pharmacy and find out that the medicine they have been using for years can double, triple, or quadruple literally overnight. That needs to change,' Sanders declared in a statement. 'The greed of the prescription drug industry is literally killing Americans and it has got to stop.' "

-->The NYT decided not to print this story of Big Pharma's greed and Bernie's bill that would lower costs. It just doesn't fit the corporate view of America.

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Common Dreams:
"After years of empty promises and demands from frustrated members of Congress, the Pentagon finally conducted its first-ever comprehensive audit—and unsurprisingly failed it, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan revealed Thursday.

Although a 1990 federal law requires all U.S. government agencies to conduct annual financial audits, the Pentagon put it off until launching this one last December. Critics of the United States' astronomical military spending said the findings were precisely why lawmakers and the public have demanded Defense Department audits for decades.

'This is exactly why we must AuditThePentagon,' tweeted Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). 'The unchecked waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon is an insult to the American people.' "

-->The NYT often avoids having to print stories like this by putting a Reuters version on the NYT webpage. That is what our newspaper of record did this time too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):
"Three cheers for the moderates. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin (11/7/18) had some familiar-sounding advice for Democrats based on the results of the midterm elections. ... 'Move to the right' is always corporate media’s advice for Democrats—win or lose. But did the 2018 midterms really demonstrate the virtues of moderation?

Well, the worst news for Democrats on Tuesday was the loss of three Senate seats held by incumbent Dems: North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill. As it happens, these are the Democrats who vote second-, third- and fifth-most often in line with Donald Trump’s preferences.

Heitkamp ran an ad bragging that she 'voted over half the time with President Trump.' A Donnelly spot featured Trump saying, 'Sen. Donnelly, thank you very much.'  A McCaskill ad declared that she was 'not one of those crazy Democrats.' They sound pretty 'moderate,' right? Yet they not only lost, they lost big—by 11-, 7- and 6-point margins, respectively."

-->Our mainstream media is always pushing the Democratic Party to the right, so that the corporations will be happy. It turns out that corporate sponsored Democratic candidates don't win elections. When will Hillary come back and save us from the Socialists?

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Common Dreams:
"Israel Denounced for 'Cowardly' Attack After Late-Night Raid and Bombing of Gaza Kills 7 Palestinians. Just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted—despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary—that he wants to 'avoid' military conflict with the Palestinians, a unit of Israeli soldiers flagrantly violated a ceasefire agreement Sunday night by invading the occupied Gaza Strip and killing at least seven Palestinians before fleeing under the cover of airstrikes.

Six more Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were later killed after a firefight, which prompted the Israeli unit to call in airstrikes for cover to escape. One Palestinian witness said Gaza was slammed with as many as 40 airstrikes in less than an hour as the Israeli team fled the besieged Gaza Strip, which is in the midst of a severe humanitarian crisis due to decades of brutal Israeli occupation.

'Imagine if Palestinians crossed into Israel and killed [seven] Israelis, all hell would break loose but Palestinians are expected to just accept this,' Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, wrote on Twitter."

-->NBCNews is a good example of how our mainstream media obfuscates which side started the attack. Its headline reads: "Hamas threatens to step up attacks as Israel-Gaza border ignites." The NYT headline states "Israelis and Militants Trade Fire" and describes the Israeli assassinations as a "botched intelligence mission."

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Common Dreams:
"As conservative pundits and self-interested corporate Democrats predictably attempted to spin this week's midterm election results as a win for so-called moderates and proof that the Democratic Party should tack to the center, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dismissed this 'absurd line' in an interview on Thursday and called the incoming crop of newly elected House members 'the most progressive freshman class in the modern history of the United States.'

'Many of these folks are not just women, not just people of color, who campaigned on Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks, campaigned on making public colleges and universities tuition-free, on undoing Trump's tax breaks for billionaires,' Sanders told Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi in response to one Washington Post columnist's claim that Sanders-style progressives 'scare' voters.

'I think the Washington Post is going to be very surprised at who shows up on the first day of Congress and gets sworn in,' Sanders said. 'The political establishment notwithstanding, the future belongs to progressives.' "

-->The NYT, proving that it is stuck in the rut of corporate sponsored Democratic hacks, didn't even carry this story. Our newspaper of record never prints anything positive about Bernie, or the progressive movement either for that matter.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Common Dreams:
"The United States once again displayed its near total outlier status on Thursday after the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a symbolic resolution denouncing the 58-year U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Following the trend of how the 193-member body voted over the previous 27 years on the resolution, 189 nations voted (pdf) in favor of the 'Necessity of ending the economic, commercial, and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba' resolution, while just two—the United States and uber ally Israel—voted against it."

-->The NYT doesn't like to portray the US as an outlier when it comes to imposing an economic blockade against Cuba. Israel is doing the same thing to Gaza, so the two countries stand alone against the world. Not a message that the NYT chose to print for its readers. 

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Common Dreams:
"At the tail end of a year full of egregious data mining scandals and privacy violations by corporate giants like Facebook, Google, and Equifax—behavior that went virtually unpunished in the United States—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would dramatically strengthen internet privacy protections and hit executives who violate the rules with up to 20 years in prison.

'Today's economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information—everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy, and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation's database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it's used and how it's shared,'  Wyden said in a statement.

'It's time for some sunshine on this shadowy network of information sharing,' the Oregon senator added."

-->Sadly, the NYT kept this bit of sunshine off its pages. It didn't print this story. 

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Common Dreams and The Guardian UK:
"While some of the most famous ultra-rich Americans—such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and the Koch Brothers—have very public profiles and readily disclose where they stand ideologically or on key issues, new research reveals that a cabal of the U.S. billionaires largely operates in the shadows as they use their vast wealth and influence to maintain their status and undermine democracy.

In a piece published by the Guardian on Wednesday, Northwestern University professors Benjamin I. Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew J. Lacombe lay out the findings of their 'exhaustive, web-based study of everything that the 100 wealthiest U.S. billionaires have said or done, over a 10-year period, concerning several major issues of public policy.'

The trio of researchers found that 'both as individuals and as contributors to Koch-type consortia, most U.S. billionaires have given large amounts money—and many have engaged in intense activity—to advance unpopular, inequality-exacerbating, highly conservative economic policies.' "

-->To the NYT, stories like this are just class warfare, and our newspaper of record did not print this story. All the news that fits the billionaire class. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Guardian UK:
"In a move celebrated by experts and activists who continue to raise alarm about the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance—fueled in part by rampant overuse of medicines in agriculture—the European Parliament on Thursday approved new rules for antibiotic use on healthy farm animals.

'This is a hugely important breakthrough for human and animal health and is by far the more serious attempt that Europe has ever made to achieve responsible antibiotic use in farming,' declared Cóilín Nunan, campaign manager of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, a coalition of EU-based medical, health, agricultural, environmental, consumer, and animal welfare groups. ...

MEP Molly Scott Cato, of the U.K., pointed out that the legislation could have broader positive impacts, explaining to the Guardian that it 'will also challenge the factory farming model where animal suffer appalling conditions and are packed together in unhealthy conditions,' because 'without the routine use of antibiotics, farmers will need to adopt better farming practices.' "

-->The pharmaceutical and Big Ag companies depend on the NYT to keep stories like this hidden. This important breakthrough wasn't covered. 

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The Guardian UK:
"Mike Africa Sr has become the second member of the Philadelphia-based group of black radicals known as the Move 9 to be released from prison, more than 40 years after they were arrested for the death of a police officer in one of the most dramatic shootouts of the black liberation era. ...

Mike Africa Sr’s release marks a big step in the struggle of black militants who are still behind bars decades after they were arrested for police killings and other violent acts in the late 1960s and 1970s. ...

Eighteen individuals, including two Move women, Janine Phillips Africa and Janet Hollaway Africa, remain in prison. Many of them insist they are innocent of the charges brought against them. In the case of the Move 9, they were convicted collectively of the death of a police officer, James Ramp, in the 1978 siege of their group home in Philadelphia even though only one shot killed him. Debbie Africa was eight months pregnant at the time."

-->Black liberation activists were framed, and some are still in prison 40 years later. The NYT conveniently spares their readers the shame of such travesties of justice. It didn't print this story.

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Common Dreams:
"During a year in which so much of the world faced deep poverty, the corrosive effects of austerity, and extreme weather caused by the worsening human-caused climate crisis—from devastating hurricanes to deadly wildfires and floods—one class of individuals raked in more money in 2017 than any other year in recorded history: the world's billionaires.

According to the Swiss bank UBS's fifth annual billionaires report published on Friday, billionaires across the globe increased their wealth by $1.4 trillion last year—an astonishing 20 percent—bringing their combined wealth to $8.9 trillion. 'The past 30 years have seen far greater wealth creation than the Gilded Age,' the UBS report notes. ...

Meanwhile, according to a June report by U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston, 18.5 million Americans live in extreme poverty and '5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty.' "

-->OK, the NYT has done articles about the disparity of wealth in the US. But our newspaper of record prefers not to rub their wealthy readers' noses in it too much. It didn't cover this story.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The NYT:
"Israeli Forces Kill 7 Palestinians in Gaza Boarder Clashes." reads the NYT headline. But was it a "boarder clash," or Israeli snipers shooting unarmed protesters? Who to ask? 

The NYT reporter, Isabel Kershner, quotes seven Israeli sources for the article, and one from Hamas. Nice balance of reporting from our newspaper of record. Kershner herself has some interesting opinions as well. She blames the Palestinian Authority for the economic sanctions on Gaza, not the Israeli state. And she blames Hamas for thwarting a UN cease-fire by flying "incendiary balloons."

This is sickening reporting by one of the most blatant defenders of Israel on the NYT staff. With deep ties to the Israeli military, Kershner can be counted on to take the Israeli side no matter what the atrocity committed against the Palestinians. The question remains, how is it that the NYT allows itself to be a vehicle of apartheid Israel's propaganda?

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Common Dreams:
"With progressives still mobilized and angrier than ever following Judge Brett Kavanaugh's successful confirmation to the Supreme Court amid credible sexual assault allegations, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) provided further cause for fury—and added to already deafening calls for new leadership in the Democratic Party—by cutting a deal behind closed doors with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) late Thursday to fast-track 15 more of Trump's right-wing judges to lifetime federal court positions.

'Make no mistake, today was yet another step in the GOP's takeover of our courts, stacking the deck against women and families at every level. Immediately following Kavanaugh's confirmation and all of the energy and despair around it, this deal is especially painful,' NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.

'Through this deal,' Hogue continued, 'Democrats allowed Mitch McConnell and Republicans in Congress to fast track 15 more of Donald Trump's nominees, including David Porter and Mark Norris, whose biased views and extreme anti-choice records indicate they will shape our country in Donald Trump's brutal image for decades to come.' "

-->Sellouts by establishment Democrats aren't often reported on the pages of the NYT. It didn't cover this story because the NTY has been selling out to corporate interests for a long time.

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Common Dreams:
"Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) joined with Senate Republicans on Thursday to confirm Jeffrey Bossert Clark—a climate-denying former attorney for the fossil fuel industry—to lead the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

'Clark's blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us,' warned Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook. 'The guy who defended the company that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is not likely to aggressively go after corporate environmental outlaws.'

The new assistant attorney general's nomination has been stalled for more than a year due to concerns about his history as a lawyer. Clark has represented B.P. in lawsuits that stemmed from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in suits attacking the U.S. government's authority to craft regulations that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions."

-->A sad state of affairs for this country's climate. The polluters have been put in charge. No mention of this in the NYT, long in bed with the nation's oil industry.