Thursday, April 30, 2015

Portside:
"The finance committees of the House and Senate have approved amendments to a trade bill that equate boycotts of West Bank settlement products with boycotts of Israel, strengthening efforts by the Israeli right to silence opponents of West Bank settlements.

Both committees approved the amendments unanimously. Each committee then approved its version of the trade bill on a split vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats divided for and against.

The nearly identical amendments require U.S. trade negotiators to 'discourage politically motivated actions' by foreign countries and international organizations that aim to 'penalize or otherwise limit' commercial relations with Israel or 'persons doing business in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel.'

The Senate Finance Committee took its action on Wednesday evening and the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday evening."

-->The NY Times didn't cover this story of our freedom of speech being imperiled by the TPP trade bill. Why does our newspaper of record have to hide this from its readers? The pro-corporate, pro-Israel agenda almost always trumps American citizens' right to know.  

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Mondoweiss:
"Top Hollywood bosses enjoy a strong relationship with the Israeli government and various pro-Israel lobbying groups across the United States, according to a cache of Sony internal emails leaked to Wikileaks and published for the first time last week.

The emails reveal a dinner between Sony executives and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the presenter of American Idol chiding actress Natalie Portman aggressively for her views on Israel; meetings between top entertainment chiefs and the Israeli consulate-general; close ties between Sony’s Co-Chairperson and various pro-Israel lobbying groups; and film chiefs planning, in detail, a new documentary about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, about which the emails also reflect rising concern. ...

Those working on the anti-Semitism documentary also discussed who should present the film. One producer said that the project would need 'a really good director who on the face of it doesn’t seem completely biased, so that we can show something that gets the message across without making it seem like propaganda.' "

-->Sony involved in pro-Israel propaganda? Readers of The NYT will never know. Hollywood has produced well over 100 films on the Holocaust, over three times the number of films it produced on America's 250 years of slavery. If the "message" is the importance of human rights for all, then movies about both subjects would be more than welcome. But are these movies being infused with pro-Israel propaganda as well?

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Common Dreams:
"Contradicting arguments typically used to advance so-called Right to Work legislation, new research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that wages and benefits are actually lower in states with such anti-worker laws on the books.

The paper, released as part of EPI's Raising America's Pay project, finds that the negative impact of Right to Work (RTW) laws—which undercut unions by allowing workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay dues—translates to $1,558 less a year in earnings for a typical full-time worker.

Wages in RTW states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for individual demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as state macroeconomic indicators, according to EPI senior economist Elise Gould and research assistant Will Kimball. In a news release, Gould put it starkly: 'It's abundantly clear that Right to Work laws are negatively correlated with workers' wages.' "

-->The NYT didn't report this story, even in its on-line blogs. Never print a pro-union story is part of its corporate agenda.

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