Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.

"During August recess this year, 81 members of Congress went on a junket to Israel funded by the Israel lobby group AIPAC (well, funded by the American Israel Education Fund, but they are really one and the same) to " learn first-hand about one of our closest friends and allies." While the representatives insist they got a balanced view, their itinerary belies that claim: 95% of their time was spent hearing the Israeli government point of view, with only one token meeting with Palestinian reps.

CODEPINK has filed a complaint with the Congressional Ethics Committee stating that these trips—and the upcoming ones scheduled for December–violate the Congressional prohibition on traveling with a lobby group. We feel these Potemkin voyages are part of AIPAC’s grand plan to control and monopolize Congress, which is not just unethical, but dangerous. Their bias reinforces a disastrous U.S. policy of unconditional support for Israel that obstructs peace and runs counter to our national interests."

-->The NY Times would never run a story about an ethics complaint against AIPAC. In fact, our newspaper of record consistently slants stories to favor Israel and its powerful US lobby.


The NY Times:
"When members of the loose protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street began a march from the financial district to Union Square on Saturday, the participants seemed relatively harmless, even as they were breaking the law by marching in the street without a permit.

But to the New York Police Department, the protesters represented something else: a visible example of lawlessness akin to that which had resulted in destruction and violence at other anticapitalist demonstrations, like the Group of 20 economic summit meeting in London in 2009 and the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999...

So even as the members of Occupy Wall Street seem unorganized and, at times, uninformed, their continued presence creates a vexing problem for the Police Department.

-->"Vexing problems" for the NY Police is how The NY Times characterizes the beatings and pepper spraying that have been used on Wall Street demonstrators over the last week. This, of course, follows days of absolute silence in our nation's media about a protest many times the size of any Tea Party rally. The NY Times regularly put Tea Party protests on the front page.


The Telegraph:
"Protesters hit with pepper spray by NYPD officer.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters have been marching on and occupying parts of Lower Manhattan's financial district since the 17th of this month. The group are trying to bring attention to the behaviour of banks and financial institutions and what protesters say is their role in creating the problems the US economy is facing now.

Generally the protests have been peaceful but a video posted on YouTube from Saturday's event appears to show a uniformed NYPD officer calmly approaching a small group of penned in female protesters and dousing them with pepper spray before walking away.

The women immediately begin screaming and holding their faces.
Some activist websites have now named this man and are calling on supporters to email the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg to demand he face charges."

-->Wouldn't it be amazing if The NY Times could present exactly what had happened, and why the protesters were marching? But our newspaper of record is run by Wall Street interests and often sacrifices the people's right to know what is happening in their own city.

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


Daily Mail/UK:
"UK Unions Plot a Winter of Discontent as They Ballot More Than a Million Workers for Biggest General Strike Since 1926.

Millions of workers including police, firefighters, health workers, teachers and prison officers could strike over bitter pension row Unions describe potential walk-out as 'unprecedented' in scale and 'the biggest fight of our lives' Unison says they will be 'vilified' for striking but urges members to 'stay strong'...

Mr Prentis accused the Government of an 'unprecedented' attack on workers with its 'audacious and devious' pension reforms.
Mr Prentis said that exhaustive talks had not worked for the unions: 'We've been patient, we've co-operated, but there comes a time when we say enough is enough because, if we don't, they'll be back for more.' "

-->The corporate championing NY Times doesn't do many articles about labor unrest. Readers of The NY Times are routinely kept in the dark about the strength and persistence of the the labor movement worldwide. Stories like this one might fire up America's working people to resist the destruction of their wages, pensions and standard of living.


The Independent/UK:
"America's homeless crisis washes up in Obama's birthplace. Some live in tents, others in cars – but Hawaii would rather their extreme poor lived on the mainland. Guy Adams reports from Honolulu on a crackdown the US doesn't want the world to see.

Beverly Paracuelles wakes up each morning to a view of palm trees, golden sands, and azure tropical seas. She spends her days wandering along the world-famous beaches of Oahu's northern shore. But don't go telling her that life must be a dream.

Home for the 54-year-old former nursing assistant is neither one of the ocean-view mansions, nor the $600-a-night hotel rooms which dot Hawaii's most populated island. Instead, it's a battered Toyota van. Inside, in an area that measures six by eight feet, she must eat, sleep, and store all of her worldly goods..".

-->The NY Times generally avoids the brutal ramifications of the class war being waged against working people in America. Since its pages are full of advertisements geared towards the winners of this class war, the very rich, The NY Times prefers pictures and stories of Honolulu's sunny beaches and spectacular views.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


The NY Times Book Review:
Eric Ormsby reviews a new book about Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer, whose king had visions of "spearheading a holy war to topple Islam, recover Jerusalem from the 'the infidels' and establish himself as the 'King of Jerusalem.'"

Ormsby writes that, "Da Gama shared these dreams, but like his hard-bitten crew, rouges, or criminals to a man, he coveted the fabled riches of the East..."

In all, Ormsby describes the Western contact with the Muslim world as a "dismal record of greed, savagery and fanaticism, especially - but not exclusively -on the part of European explorers."

But such admissions of Western greed and savagery are reserved for 1497. He concludes his review with a tribute to enlightened Western morals. "Nevertheless, the real clash today is not between Christianity and Islam, nor between opposing civilizations, but between our own resolutely secular and consumerist culture and a rigid and absolutist mindset outraged by the prosperity Western 'infidels' enjoy."

-->The Muslim world doesn't hate us because we are stealing their oil and making the Middle East a living hell. They hate us because we can go to McDonald's and buy a Big Mac. Even in the Book Review, The NY Times must uphold the ridiculous lies of the American empire.


"The ACLU decided to use the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack to comprehensively survey the severe erosion of civil liberties justified in the name of that event, an erosion that -- as it documents -- continues unabated, indeed often in accelerated form, under the Obama administration. The group today is issuing a report entitled A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11; that title is intended to underscore the irony that political leaders who prance around as courageous warriors against Terrorism in fact rely on one primary weapon -- fear-mongering: the absence of courage -- to vest the government with ever-more power and the citizenry with ever-fewer rights.

Domestically, the 'War on Terror' has been, and continues to be, a war on basic political liberties more than it is anything else. The particulars identified in this new ACLU report will not be even remotely new to any readers here, but given the organization's status among progressives as the preeminent rights-defending group in the country, and given the bird's-eye-view the report takes of these issues, it is well worth highlighting some of its key findings."

-->The NY Times has been uninterested in the looking at America's "War on Terror" in this way. Ever supportive of the empire, our newspaper of record didn't even print the ACLU's ten year report.


The Guardian:
"SNS, a prominent business-funded think tank, issued a report last Wednesday that sharply reversed its normal pro-market stance. The entry of private operators into state-funded education, it argued, had increased segregation and may not have improved educational standards at all.

'The empirical evidence showing that competition is good is not really credible, because they can't distinguish between grade inflation and real gains,' Dr Jonas Vlachos, who wrote the report on education, told the Observer.

The report had a huge impact. It was a top story on Swedish television, and was hotly debated the next day in the newspapers. How the debate plays out will be watched carefully by education experts in the UK, where 24 free (private) schools, built on the Swedish model, opened this year."

-->This report on Swedish education was not picked up by The NY Times. Why is the story important? Because the destruction of public education and the handing over of schools to private corporations is worldwide. The NY Times and NPR, ever eager to please their corporate sponsors, have been big supporters of corporate or "charter" schools here in the US. Studies that cast doubt on the wisdom of privatizing public schools is routinely ignored.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


"Shock video of UN soldiers apparently raping a Haitian teenager raises questions about why these 'peacekeepers' are there at all

The video is profoundly disturbing. It shows four men, identified as Uruguayan troops from the UN mission in Haiti (Minustah), seemingly in the act of raping an 18-year-old Haitian youth. Two have the victim pinned down on a mattress, with his hands twisted high up his back so that he cannot move. Perhaps the most unnerving part of the video is the constant chorus of laughter from the alleged perpetrators; to them, apparently, it's just a drunken party."

-->The NY Times avoids stories about the occupation of Haiti and the desperate living conditions of the population. Keeping the workers of Haiti in abject poverty benefits too many large US corporations.


"Secret Libyan files claim MI6 and the CIA aided human rights violations. Intelligence helped Gaddafi regime track and apprehend dissidents, according to files seized from Tripoli offices.

Files found in Tripoli offices claim MI6 and the CIA were complicit in human rights violations by the Gaddafi regime. British and US intelligence agencies built up close links with Muammar Gaddafi and handed over detailed information to assist his regime, according to secret files found in Libyan government offices.

The documents claim that MI6 supplied its counterparts in Libya with details on exiled opponents living in the UK, and chart how the CIA abducted several suspected militants before handing them over to Tripoli."

-->If the US is in Libya to protect the Libyan people, why was the CIA handing over information on dissidents to Gaddafi? The NY Times, ever eager to promote the official Pentagon version of events, did not cover this story.


Huffinton Post:
"The (Center for American Progress) report, 'Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,' demonstrates that a small group of self-proclaimed experts, Frank Gaffney, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Steve Emerson, backed by a host of foundations and donors, many of which also fund the (Israeli) lobby, have put Islamophobia on the map.

To put it simply, without these 'experts,' their donors, and Fox News (their media mouthpiece) you would never have heard that a Muslim community center (the 'Ground Zero Mosque') was being constructed in New York City. And the center certainly would not have become a major news story. Nor would Republican (and even a few Democratic) candidates for president, Congress, and even village councils be called upon to condemn Islam and 'Sharia Law' or face being labeled a supporter of terrorism. Nor would Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum have made hatred of American Muslims such an integral part of their campaigns...

But it's also very dangerous, as the Norway slaughter attests. The strangest thing about the killings is that they happened in Norway. Reading this report, you have to wonder why it hasn't happened here. Yet."

-->When it comes to hate mongering from the Israeli Lobby, the NY Times is nowhere in sight. It didn't cover this report.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


"We may never know for sure, but there is a growing consensus that a natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing is linked to earthquakes. For example, Arkansas has experienced a swarm of earthquakes in the aftermath of hydraulic fracturing (also called “fracking”) for natural gas. Other regions of the country where fracking is taking place, Texas, West Virginia, and New York, have also witnessed a series of quakes in the vicinity of these drilling sites.

In the process of fracking, water and toxic fluid is injected deep underground at high pressure into rocks in order to actually create micro-earthquakes. These mini-quakes, in turn, release the gas trapped deep in the rock, allowing it to bubble to the surface.

The United States Geological Survey thinks the earthquake swarms that follow are caused less by the fracking itself than by the reinjection of wastewater from fracking, blasted under high pressure into the ground. The wastewater can act as a lubricant, while also providing pressure that can lead to a quake."

-->The NY Times has not explored fracking and the resulting propensity for earthquakes in areas that have been drilled. But then again, The NY Times has defended nuclear energy for decades, primarily because large business interests are behind it.


Common Dreams:
"US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that he will introduce legislation when Congress reconvenes to strengthen and preserve Social Security.

Since it was signed into law 76 years ago this month, Social Security has kept millions of senior citizens, widows, orphans, and the disabled out of poverty. To keep Social Security strong for another 75 years, Sanders’ legislation would apply the same payroll tax already paid by more than nine out of 10 Americans to those with incomes over $250,000 a year.
Joined at a press conference by leaders of Vermont seniors organizations, Sanders also cautioned that Social Security may be in jeopardy as a powerful new congressional 'super committee' looks for ways to cut deficits by $1.5 trillion over the next decade."

-->There is no more dishonest debate in America than the one over Social Security. The NY Times did not cover this simple solution introduced by Bernie Sanders. Tax the wealthy a little more for Social Security and the supposed problem with the program disappears.


Pro Publica:
"With housing prices dropping sharply, and foreclosure filings against more than 1 million properties in the first half of this year, the Obama administration is scrambling for ways to help homeowners.

One place they won't be looking: An estimated $30 billion from the bailout that was slated to help homeowners but is likely to remain unspent.

Of the $45.6 billion in Trouble Asset Relief Program funds meant to aid homeowners, the most recent numbers available show that only about $2 billion has actually gone out the door.

The low number reflects how little the government's home loan modification and other programs have actually helped homeowners deal with the foreclosure crisis."

-->When it came down to helping Wall Street or Main Street, Bush and Obama were on the same page. The NY Times did not cover this story that clearly demonstrates how both major parties work against the interests of the middle class.