Thursday, November 13, 2014

Common Dreams:
“A group called Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, however, says the pension-cutting Plan of Adjustment is anything but fair. ‘Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ approval of the Plan of Adjustment is not in the best interests of Detroiters. The plan, submitted by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, supported by Mayor Duggan and Gov. Snyder, protects banks, gives away public resources, and has no method to revitalize the city.’

Orr, Snyder and Duggan ‘refuse to acknowledge that the wealth of the surrounding region has been won on the backs of the working people of Detroit. Now their so-called Plan of Adjustment will benefit the same small minority of wealthy people and major financial institutions. The rich will become richer, while the people of Detroit are forced to sacrifice their homes, pensions, healthcare, and city services,’ the statement adds.

The main problems with the plan, the group explains in a separate statement, ‘come down to refusing to recognize the value of working people in general and the needs of black working families in particular. … No other creditors sacrificed like Detroit workers and residents. No bank officer or employee, no shareholder or CEO had to sacrifice healthcare or money saved over decades because of the Plan of Adjustment,’ said William Davis of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association."

—>The nation’s media prefers a narrative that overlooks the costs borne by working class families. The NYT didn’t report this criticism. 


RTE News Ireland:
“In a new report, Amnesty details eight instances in which Israeli forces attacked homes in Gaza ‘without warning’, killing ‘at least 104 civilians including 62 children’. …

Amnesty said: ‘The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families.’ It added that while possible military targets were identified in some cases, ‘the devastation to civilian lives was clearly disproportionate’.

The report charged that when it appeared to have failed to identify ‘any possible military target’ in a Gaza residential building, Israel may have ‘directly and deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects, which would constitute war crimes. … The report exposes a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.’ ”

—>The NYT did cover this story, but the article, written by Jodi Rudoren, spends most of its time presenting Israeli criticisms of the report. For example, the report is attacked for devoting almost all its 49 pages to Palestinians suffering. What about the Hamas rocket attacks that killed 6 Israelis?   


“Two recent developments that I have found both annoying and dangerous are the deletion of replacement-rate information from the annual Social Security Trustees Report and the coordinated campaign in the press arguing that the elderly have plenty of money. Hence, I was delighted to see a chart in the most recent edition of the OECD’s Pensions at a Glance that addresses both issues.

The chart below shows, for each country’s mandatory retirement system, the gross replacement rate—benefits as a percent of pre-retirement earnings—for single individuals earning the average wage. Comparable data are provided for 34 OECD countries, which include all the usual suspects, and 8 other major economies—Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. …

Thus, the OECD chart adds two very helpful data points to the current controversy. First, by comparing U.S. replacement rates to those of other countries—using a consistent methodology—it shows that the U.S. provides some of the lowest benefits in the developed world. Hence, the elderly in the U.S. don’t have plenty of money. Second, the chart affirms the methodology used by the Social Security actuaries and demolishes the argument that such information should be deleted from the trustees report.”

—>The US media is eager to get on with the privatization of Social Security. The fact that benefits are some of the lowest in the developed world must remain a secret. The deletion of such information from the SS Trustees Report was not covered by the NYT.
Common Dreams:
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday roundly condemned the United States embargo on Cuba for the 23rd consecutive year, calling for it to be lifted. 

The nonbinding vote passed 188-2, with only the U.S. and Israel voting against it. As in the 2013 vote, Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained. While General Assembly resolutions cannot be enforced, the annual vote—which first passed in 1992—gives Cuba an opportunity to call for negotiations with the U.S. …

During the vote, several countries—including Iran, Bolivia, Mexico, and India—praised Cuba for its recent efforts in fighting the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The island nation sent more than 600 doctors to Sierra Leone and the surrounding region, actions that the World Health Organization said were some of the ‘most important’ contributions by a single country.

—>Every year, our newspaper of record either ignores this important vote, or buries it so few readers ever become aware of the US isolation when it comes to Cuba. 188 countries condemning the illegal US embargo, and only 2 supporting it, the US and Israel. This year, the NYT hid the story on its “Editor’s Blog.”


New York Times:
Our vote for the best whitewashing of Israeli apartheid in the last week. Sunday’s Arts and Leisure Section featured an article entitled ‘Turning Heads in Tel Aviv,’ which featured Shamel Pitts, a black, gay dancer who loves Israel so much he wants to ‘bring my life in Israel to my family and friends in Brooklyn.’

Israel, he claims, makes him feel more comfortable than New York in ‘learning what turns me on, how I like to move, what I believe in.’

Anything he doesn’t love about his new home? A lot of the article is about those terrible rocket attacks, and how he had to leave practice to spend a half hour in a bomb shelter. ‘It was all very extreme,’ the only downside to a truly wonderful place.

No mention of the racist and murderous treatment of the Palestinians, 5.5 million people denied their basic rights based on religion. No acknowledgement of the 500 children slaughtered by US supplied weaponry in Gaza while he was practicing his dance routines.  

—>The NYT even uses its arts section to promote Israel as friendly to gays and people of color. Maybe ask the Bedouins, if you don’t believe what the rest of the world is saying about apartheid Israel.


Common Dreams:
“Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai announced Wednesday that she is donating $50,000 to rebuild schools in Gaza. The amount represents the full proceeds of the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, sometimes called the "Children's Nobel," which the 17-year-old education activist was awarded in Sweden on Wednesday. …

‘I am donating these funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which is performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances,’ she said.
‘The needs are overwhelming—more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future,’ she added.

‘This funding will help rebuild the 83 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long,’ she said.”

—>The NYT cited a brief Associated Press notice regarding Malala’s gift to Gaza, but did not cover the story. Omitted from the AP story were Malala’s description of the terrible needs of the Palestinian children.