Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


Huffington Post
"Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama's Support...
President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan 'triggered' into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the 'Audacity of Hope' has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage."

-->According to the NY Times story: "Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, told President Obama on Thursday that he would try to press for a government-run insurance program." No word of Obama's undermining of the public option, or his sellout to the insurance companies.


Common Dreams
"KABUL, Afghanistan - Flipping a switch on one of Afghanistan's long-awaited electrical power plants in August, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry urged Afghans to think of U.S. taxpayers' support when they turn their lights on at night.

President Hamid Karzai opened the first 35MW block of a 100 MW diesel power plant in Kabul August 5, 2009, significantly expanding power to the capital and surrounding area. Only about 6 percent of Afghans are estimated to have electricity, and in his appearance with President Hamid Karzai east of Kabul, Eikenberry hailed the project as part of the country's emergence out of the 'darkness' of oppression and isolation.

To some U.S. experts, however, the project is the latest example of exaggerated political expectations and wasted American taxpayers' dollars in the effort to rebuild Afghanistan.

Plagued by delays and rising costs, the project reveals how the U.S. government continues to ignore the hard lessons of Iraq, critics say, where contractors received billions of dollars with little oversight and inspectors have found rampant waste, fraud and abuse."

-->The NY Times has no stomach for reporting waste, fraud and abuse by government contractors operating in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. Our newspaper of record would prefer to keep its readers in "darkness" when it comes to billions in Pentagon waste.

"What kind of a public debate can we have on the most vital issues of the day in the United States? A lot depends on the media, which determines how these issues are framed for most people.

Take the war in Afghanistan, which has been subject to major debate here lately, as Barack Obama has to decide whether to take the advice of his commanding officer in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, and send tens of thousands more troops there, or heed public opinion, which actually favors an end to the war. This month, one of America's most important and most-watched TV news programmes, NBC's Meet the Press, took up the issue. The lineup:

Retired General Barry McCaffrey, former army general...(who has) earned at least $500,000 from his work for Veritas Capital, a private equity firm in New York that has grown into a defence industry powerhouse by buying contractors whose profits soared from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.' McCaffrey has appeared on NBC more than 1000 times since 11 September 2001.

Retired General Richard Myers, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under George Bush. He is currently on the board of directors of Northrop Grumman Corporation...

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, a pro-war spokesperson that is one of the most regular guests on the Sunday talkshows.

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, was apparently intended to represent the 'other side' of the debate. Here is what he said: 'Clearly we should keep the number of forces that we have. No one's talking about removing forces.'"

-->Even when a majority of citizens are in favor of something like withdrawing from Afghanistan, the media is there to support the opinion of the elite. A huge majority of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on corporations. When is the last time you read or listened to that opinion in the corporate media?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


Common Dreams:

"Hillary Clinton Gives 'Shameless Pitch' for Crooked Corporation...

On a recent visit to Moscow, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was there to deliver a 'shameless pitch' to the start-up Russian airline Rosavia to sign a major contract with Boeing to purchase a new fleet of aircraft from the US aerospace giant...

Since 1995, Boeing has paid $1.5 billion in fines to settle more than 30 instances of misconduct, according to the non-partisan Project on Government Oversight. According to POGO, these include multiple violations of the Arms Export Control Act, including selling defense technology to Russia and China showing 'blatant disregard' for State Department directives...

Other misconduct by Boeing, according to POGO, includes 'unauthorized possession of defense information,' gender discrimination, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the False Claims Act and anti-trust laws, water pollution in California, contaminating thousands of homes in Colorado with radioactive waste from the Department of Energy's Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, radioactive and toxic contamination near Los Angeles, over-billing and illegal hiring of government officials."

-->The NY Times didn't report on Clinton's meeting in Moscow, much less expose Boeing Corp. for the corporate criminal it is.


Associated Press:

"A scientist who allegedly tried to sell classified secrets to Israel had worked on the U.S. government's Star Wars missile shield program, and the Justice Department declared Tuesday that he had tried to share some of the nation's most guarded secrets.

Arrested in an FBI sting operation, Stewart David Nozette was jailed without bond and accused in a criminal complaint of two counts of attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information.

Had he succeeded in passing classified information, Nozette would have done grave damage to the nation's security because the information he possesses includes ''some of our most guarded secrets,' assistant U.S. attorney Anthony Asuncion said in court. He did not elaborate."

-->The NY Times did not print this story about an Israeli spy who had worked on the Star Wars missile shield. But our newspaper of record is really doing a good job covering the ballon boy hoax. Thank god stories like that are given full importance.


Fire Dog Lake

"Corporate Supremacy and the Rape of a Human Girl...The rape case of Jamie Leigh Jones was just a logical step forward in the long-standing Republican effort to lock Americans out of the nation's courthouses, an effort undertaken on behalf of corporate supremacy. A woman is gang-raped by her fellow employees at government contractor KBR. The company says her contract prohibits her from seeking justice in court.

Thirty Republican U.S. senators voted to safeguard corporations from lawsuits in rape cases. You read that right the first time. The amendment they voted against, by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, would withhold government contracts from corporations that block employees from going to court when raped or sexually assaulted on the job.

The case - and the vote - stirred a little outrage, but not enough. Jones, of Houston, was drugged and gang raped while working in Baghdad for KBR/Halliburton. She was locked in a shipping container by the company and warned to keep quiet. She didn't keep quiet. Franken and Senate Democrats took up her cause."

-->The NY Times is completely disinterested in corporate crime, even when Congress attempts to shield businesses from charges of rape. The NY Times didn't bother to inform readers of this story.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


The Guardian in UK

Last week, we did a story from the The Guardian in UK: "America's healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama...Principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ (have) worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits."

-->At the end of the story, we criticized the NY Times for not cover ing this huge lobbying effort. Last Sunday's NY Times (Oct. 11) attempts to set the record straight. A headline story blames "lobbyists" for the failure to save on healthcare costs in proposed legislation. Lobbyists for whom? Why union lobbyists fighting a tax on existing healthcare benefits, of course, and physicians fighting against further cuts in Medicare benefits. What other lobbyists are there? Not covered, of course, are the insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms that have spent $380M in recent months to defeat universal healthcare. The NY Times has a long history of protecting corporate interests at the expense of the rest of us.


BBC News

"What happened to global warming? This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise. So what on Earth is going on?"

-->The real question is what on earth is going on with the reporting about global warming? The BBC trusts their "Climate correspondent," Paul Hudson, to do an accurate job in evaluating whether global warming exists. Of course, he is really just their weatherman with no more than a bachelor's degree in science. Why pick someone so unqualified? Z Magazine (Sept. 09) describes it best:

"A 2004 study published in Science magazine showed that "of 928 articles

published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, none were in doubt as to the existence or cause of global warming. During the same period, of 636 articles in the four most popular US daily newspapers (the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and Wall St. Journal), 53 percent expressed doubt as to the existence and/or primary cause of global warming."



In referring to the Goldstone Report on the invasion of Gaza, WAMC/NPR always describes it as being "critical of both sides" for committing war crimes. This week, in reporting Israel's objected to the Goldstone Report, this was stated again.

-->Only the US media would characterize the Goldstone Report as being equally critical of both sides. In fact, The Goldstone Report is much more critical of Israel's mass killing of Palestinian civilians, intentional destruction of civilian infrastructure, and longstanding economic blockade of Gaza. Israeli media, although Israel refused any cooperation with the Goldstone investigation, states the report to be much more critical of Israeli crimes against humanity. NPR more censured than the Israeli media when it comes to reporting on the Gaza invasion? Of course it is. American media in general, starting with the NY Times, is often thinly veiled Zionist propaganda. Goldstone's conclusions are reserved for an op-ed piece. Reading Israeli media, especially Haaretz, is a lesson in freedom of the press.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.



"A videotape is behind the decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to delay the vote on a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes during its offensive on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian news agency has reported.

Quoting what it called reliable sources, Shahab news agency said on Tuesday that PA representatives at a meeting in Washington had initially rejected Israel's request not to endorse the report and were determined to stick to this position.

But, the agency added, Brigadier Eli Avraham played a videotape showing a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister.

The meeting was also attended by Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister.

The video reportedly showed Abbas trying to convince Barak to continue the war on Gaza, while Barak looked hesitant..."

-->The NY Times has not printed this explosive story of Palestinian betrayal. Abbas, of course, is a US puppet and therefore protected by propaganda media conglomerates like the NY Times.

UPDATE: Although this story is alive and well on the Internet, it seems to have been withdrawn by Aljazeera and is no longer on its website. The BBC refers to this story, but with a warning that the report is from "a news agency based in Hamas-controlled Gaza."


The Nation

"In the wake of the Congressional witch hunt against the community organization ACORN, initiated by Republican minority leader John Boehner and supported by all but seventy-five Democrats in the House and ten in the Senate (Independent Bernie Sanders also voted no), a small number of Democratic lawmakers are pushing back. Last week, in response to the Defund ACORN Act, which seeks to prohibit federal funds to the community group, Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced an ACORN act of her own. It is titled the 'Against Corporations Organizing to Rip-off the Nation Act of 2009...'

McCollum's legislation takes aim at massive healthcare corporations. 'It's time Congress get serious about taxpayer funding of corporate cheats, crooks and criminals,' says McCollum. 'Last month Congress took action to defund a nonprofit serving poor Americans but failed to act against the corporate crooks that are actually guilty of felonies--including defrauding taxpayers. Why are companies that break the law as a business strategy allowed to receive taxpayer funds?

McCollum's bill singles out Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc., a subsidiary of Pfizer. Last month Pfizer agreed to pay a $2.3 billion settlement, which the Justice Department calls 'the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice.' The settlement stemmed from Pfizer's 'illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products,' where the company marketed dosages that had not been approved by the FDA."

-->The NY Times is never interested in public fraud when it comes to large US corporations. That's because The NY Times' Board of Directors is full of the rich, white men running these giant firms.


The Guardian in UK

"Six lobbyists for every member of Congress as healthcare industry heaps cash on politicians to water down legislation.

America's healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama. The campaign against the president has been waged in part through substantial donations to key politicians.

Supporters of radical reform of healthcare say legislation emerging from the US Senate reflects the financial power of vested interests ‑ principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ that have worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits.

The industry and interest groups have spent $380m in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress. The largest contribution, totaling close to $1.5m, has gone to the chairman of the senate committee drafting the new law."

-->Readers of The NY Times will be spared the pain of a Congress that has sold out to the healthcare industry. In the midst of our nation's crippled healthcare reform effort, The NY Times has not run one story in the last month on the $380M spent on buying Congressional influence.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fantasyland Media:

News fashioned by the people in charge, the corporations and your government. Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine.


The Huffington Post
"Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately -- but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency....

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who's Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors."

-->Leave it to the NY Times to defend the nation's fraudulent defense contractors by not printing this story.


Information Clearing House
"Does anyone remember all the lies that they were told by President Bush and the “mainstream media” about the grave threat to America from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? These lies were repeated endlessly in the print and TV media despite the reports from the weapons inspectors, who had been sent to Iraq, that no such weapons existed.

The weapons inspectors did an honest job in Iraq and told the truth, but the mainstream media did not emphasize their findings. Instead, the media served as a Ministry of Propaganda, beating the war drums for the US government.

Now the whole process is repeating itself. This time the target is Iran.

As there is no real case against Iran, Obama took a script from Bush’s playbook and fabricated one."

-->Suddenly the question on NPR is "can we stop Iran's nuclear weapons programs." Just two months ago it was "is Iran developing nuclear weapons?" We can see the shift in all the mainstream media as it starts to sell the Pentagon's war aims. The NY Times is back to publishing photos of "secret" facilities. The first casualty of war is truth in our nation's media.


The Guardian in UK
"Israel received an uncomfortable reminder of international anger over the Gaza war today when lawyers representing 16 Palestinians asked a London court to issue an arrest warrant for its defence minister, Ehud Barak, who is visiting Britain...

Lawyers from Irvine Thanvi Natas and Imran Khan & Partners said they believed the warrant that the international criminal court issued in May last year for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, offered a precedent. Bashir is accused of committing war crimes in Darfur...

The accusations were based, in part, on a UN investigation conducted by the former South African judge Richard Goldstone. It concluded this month that Israel had committed war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians and firing white phosphorus shells..."

-->The AP story as shown on the NY Times webpage omits any mention of the Goldstone investigation. The print version of the NY Times leaves this story out altogether. Israeli war crimes are a subject that our newspaper of record takes great pains to avoid covering.