Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"The record low viewership of Saturday's Democratic debate has voters, particularly Bernie Sanders supporters, once again castigating the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for what many believe is a blatant attempt to shield establishment candidate Hillary Clinton and, in turn, relinquish important political ground to the Republican candidates. ...

Given that Saturday's are known for having the lowest weekly TV ratings—particularly among people 18-35 years old, a key Democratic voting bloc—the DNC is facing renewed criticism for its debate schedule, which critics say is a clear attempt to protect the Democratic frontrunner. ...

What's more, the next two debates are also scheduled for potentially low-viewership weekends: the Saturday night before Christmas, and the Sunday night of the Martin Luther King Day weekend, during the National Football League playoffs.

-->The NYT leaves it to a newspaper in the UK to cover this story of how the DNC is manipulating the debates to favor the Wall Street favorite, Hillary Clinton, and in the process losing voter interest in the Democratic Party. 


Common Dreams:
"[International Committee of the Red Cross] Decries 'Deliberate' Attacks on Hospitals in Yemen. Nearly 100 healthcare facilities in war-torn country have been hit since March, aid group says. Hospitals and clinics in Yemen have faced continuing, "deliberate" attacks, an appalling trend that "disrespects the neutrality of health facilities" in war, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday.

Nearly 100 hospitals throughout Yemen have been attacked since March, the ICRC said, with the most recent airstrike hitting a clinic on Sunday in the southern city of Taiz—one the country's most populous regions, which has been under heavy fire for months. The shelling of Al-Thawra hospital in the south came just weeks after a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic was hit in Haydan, in the north. ...

Amnesty International in October demanded an independent investigation of the bombing in Haydan, which it said could amount to a war crime. Further, the humanitarian aid group noted that while Saudi Arabia is leading the coalition, the U.S. is among the nations arming the coalition."

-->Could military attacks on hospitals become standard policy in countries being armed and supported by the US? Like torture, the violation of international law is becoming the rule in the expansion of the American Empire. The NYT didn't cover this story. 


Common Dreams:
"Adding to the chorus of voices sounding alarm on the impacts of the pending TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that there were 'some very serious concerns' regarding the 12-nation pact. 

Speaking to a conference in Geneva, Margaret Chan mentioned concern 'about interference by powerful economic operators,' and said, 'I have been hearing some serious concerns that the TransPacific Partnership, the biggest trade agreement ever, may adversely affect the market for generics and biosimilars and increase the cost of medicines.'

Repeating a comment she made in 2014, Chan asked, 'If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all?' "

-->The NYT is for trade deals like the TPP, and didn't print this story. Our newspaper of record often leaves out news that doesn't favor the interests of Big Pharma.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guardian UK:
"Who would have known many of those smiling soldiers on the football stadium scoreboard, the ones home from war, were for sale? The stadium announcers never said this as they demanded fans stand and applaud the waving men on the screen. Somehow they forget to mention that the defense department has sold these soldiers’ names and stories and plights for the fiction that this tender moment came without a check written to the home team. ...

According to the report, taxpayers spent close to $7m on patriotic displays at professional and college sporting events over the last four years. This included the unfurling of a gigantic flag held by service members at an Atlanta Falcons game, the re-enlistment ceremony for 10 soldiers at Seattle’s Century Link Field and the recognition of Air Force officers at a Los Angeles Galaxy soccer game. In fact the report lists 74 pages of examples where military branches (mostly the National Guard) paid more than 50 sports teams for patriotic acts that were disguised as benevolent contributions by the teams themselves."

-->Oh yes, the rich hypocrisy of selling the empire's killing machine to young males, looking for patriotic glory. Of course, The NYT did not print this story, but preferred to bury it in the on-line edition. The Washington Post, however, did print it.


Common Dreams:
"The Environmental Protection Agency concluded in June that there was 'no convincing evidence' that glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. and the world, is an endocrine disruptor.

On the face of it, this was great news, given that some 300 million pounds of the chemical were used on U.S. crops in 2012, the most recent year measured, and endocrine disruption has been linked to a range of serious health effects, including cancer, infertility, and diabetes. Monsanto, which sells glyphosate under the name Roundup, certainly felt good about it. 'I was happy to see that the safety profile of one of our products was upheld by an independent regulatory agency,' wrote Steve Levine on Monsanto’s blog.

But the EPA’s exoneration — which means that the agency will not require additional tests of the chemical’s effects on the hormonal system — is undercut by the fact that the decision was based almost entirely on pesticide industry studies. Only five independently funded studies were considered in the review of whether glyphosate interferes with the endocrine system. Twenty-seven out of 32 studies that looked at glyphosate’s effect on hormones and were cited in the June review — most of which are not publicly available and were obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request — were either conducted or funded by industry. Most of the studies were sponsored by Monsanto ..."

-->Oh yes, here we have the EPA making decisions almost exclusively based on Monsanto's warped scientific studies! Could it get any better? Yes, our newspaper of record didn't print the story.


The New York Times:
The NYT carried a story on Sat, Nov 7 entitled "Enforcing Silence About Indonesia's Bloody Past," that describes how the security apparatus suppresses any mention of the killing spree it engaged in under the dictatorship of Suharto. In the mid sixties, over half a million people were killed after the overthrow of Indonesia's founder and first president, Sukarno.

But The NYT does its own "enforcing" of silence when it comes to some key issues. Left out of this story is the fact that the CIA was involved in overthrowing the president and putting in the dictator, Sukarno. Not only that, the CIA supplied "extensive lists of communist to Indonesian death squads," which resulted in massacres that "rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century." As it turns out, the US embassy's only worry during the mass murders was that not enough people were being included.

-->So we have the lovely irony of The NYT reporting on the "enforced silence" in Indonesia on the slaughter of half a million, while omitting the key roles of the US Embassy and the CIA. America has its own way of keeping the truth hidden from its citizens. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Common Dreams:
"In a startling and sinister escalation, Israeli troops stormed the West Bank's Aida refugee camp this week with tear gas blasting and a truck loudspeaker blaring a deadly, evidently unprecedented message to residents: 'People of Aida Refugee Camp, we are the Occupation army,' it proclaimed in Arabic. 'Throw stones and we will hit you with gas until you all die - the youth, the children, the old people...You will all die. We will not leave any of you alive.' The IDF forces raided the camp near Bethlehem in the Occupied Territories, the site of many earlier confrontations, after Palestinian youths had allegedly thrown stones at the Apartheid Wall bordering the camp. As the Israeli trucks rolled into camp randomly shooting tear gas and brazenly promising genocide, they were filmed by Yazan Ikhlayel, 17, on his iPhone from a community center above them. The Israelis went on to announce they had arrested 'one of your own' - Qassan Abu Aker, 25 - adding, 'We will slaughter and kill him while you watch if you do not stop throwing stones. Go home, or we will gas you until you die.'

Never mind the eerie echoes of the Holocaust here; such threats, said one human rights official, 'merely add words to the deed.' In fact, Israeli forces have long undertaken their promised project: Friday, an eight-month-old baby was one of three Palestinians killed by tear gas - which is often U.S.-made - and last week two others died from inhaling gas during clashes."

-->Our own US media always protects the American public from the vicious, apartheid occupation of the Palestinian people. What if Americans knew how Palestinians were treated by Israel? I like to think that we would rise up and demand an end to US support for this brutal and racist state. 


Common Dreams:
"EU Parliament Votes for Dropped Charges, Asylum Protection for Snowden
Resolution passed by European Parliament Thursday calls on member states to prevent whistleblower's extradition, rendition. ...

While the resolution is not binding, Wolfgang Kaleck, Snowden's lawyer in Berlin, told the Daily Dot in an email, 'It is an overdue step and we urge the member States to act now to implement the resolution.'

U.S.-based digital rights group Fight for the Future welcomed the news as well. Evan Greer, the organization's campaign director, said, 'We hope that this resolution leads to a binding agreement in the EU that allows Edward Snowden to move to whichever EU country he wants, and we hope he gets an epic party thrown in his honor when he arrives.' 

'The battle over mass government surveillance is a decisive moment in the history of humanity, and it’s hard to think of anyone who has done more than Edward Snowden to educate the public about the grave risks that runaway spying programs pose to our basic human rights, the future of the Internet, and freedom of expression,' he added."

-->The NY Times wouldn't dare cross the national security state to carry this story. The "reasonable" opinion in the US is that Snowden broke the law and must come back for punishment. All expressions to the contrary, even by the European Union, just aren't reported in the major media. 


Common Dreams:
"A top scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a whistleblower complaint Wednesday that accuses the agency of harassment and retaliation for his work showing harmful effects on monarch butterflies from a class of widely used insecticides know as neonicotinoids, or neonics.

The department reportedly imposed a 14-day suspension on Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, a senior research entomologist at the USDA, for publishing an unapproved report manuscript in a science journal on the 'non-target effects' of a widely used neonic strain and for travel violations ahead of a presentation on the results to a scientific panel. ...

Neonics have long been linked to dramatic population losses for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, which environmental experts say threatens food security. ... The case also 'raises questions about whether USDA is suppressing other research adverse to the interests of the agrichemical industry,' said Gary Ruskin, co-director of consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know. 'Is this an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern? What else is USDA hiding about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides?' "

-->Readers of the NYT won't have to worry about the US Dept. of Agriculture selling out to the agrochemical industry. Our newspaper of record sold out long ago, and didn't even report this story.