Thursday, June 30, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation. 

Despite its claims to want to unify voters ahead of November's election, the Democratic party appears to be pushing for an agenda that critics say ignores basic progressive policies, 'staying true' to their Corporate donors above all else.

During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC's platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded."

-->Already the Wall Street war monger, Hillary Clinton, is backing out of any of her "progressive" stands. She stands for one thing, Neoliberal cash. That's the same thing that The NYT stands for, which didn't cover her most recent betrayal of working people. 


Common Dreams:
"The 'compromise' food-labeling bill announced Thursday by leaders of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee is nothing less than a 'rollback of democracy at the behest of the world's largest agribusiness and biotech corporations,' said Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter. 

The legislation in question would create the first mandatory, nationwide labeling standard for food products containing genetically modified organisms that are commonly referred to as GMOs.

Unlike Vermont's GMO-labeling law, which would require items to be clearly marked 'produced with genetic engineering,' the compromise bill would allow food companies to use a text label, a symbol, or electronic 'QR codes' accessed by smartphone—a system 'that will send shoppers on a wild scavenger hunt to figure out what GMOs might be in their food,' wrote Jo Miles of Food & Water Watch on Friday."

-->No coverage of this by The NYT, which only carried an on-line version of the story from AP. Even that story was biased, terming the compromise bill as "more lenient than Vermont's law." More lenient on whom? Certainly not consumers who will spend a lot more time trying to figure out which foods to avoid. 


"The Way To The Spring: Life And Death In Palestine By Joe Donahue. Over the past three years, American writer Ben Ehrenreich has been traveling to and living in the West Bank, staying with Palestinian families in its largest cities and its smallest villages. Eventually Ehrenreich moved to Ramallah, and started writing what would become his new book: 'The Way To The Spring: Life and Death in Palestine.'

Ehrenreich was moved by the injustices that he witnessed, and by the general silence about them in most U.S. media. As well informed as he was on the Arab-Israeli conflict, he nonetheless was consistently shocked by what he saw, and by how little the vast majority of people in the U.S. (and even in Israel, just few miles away) understood about the lived realities of the occupation. He felt strongly that he wanted to write to break through those silences.

In cities and small villages alike, men and women, young and old, shared their lives with Ehrenreich and made their own case for resistance and resilience in the face of life under occupation. The Way to the Spring makes clear that conditions on the ground are changing--and getting worse."

-->There was a real breakthrough for NPR this past week. Joe Donahue's interview with Ben Ehrenreich was free from any belittling, doubting, and explaining away. Joe asked straightforward questions about Palestinian suffering and Ben answered them eloquently and convincingly. So this is what real reporting on Israel is like! Truth without Zionist propaganda.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The NYT:
"SAN FRANCISCO — Brian Chesky, chief executive of Airbnb, made a vow this month to root out bigotry from his business.

His online room-sharing company has recently been grappling with claims of discrimination, with several Airbnb users sharing stories on social media about how they were supposedly denied a booking because of their race. The issue came into the open in December, when a working paper by Harvard University researchers found it was harder for guests with African-American-sounding names to rent rooms through the site. 

'This is a huge issue for us,' Mr. Chesky said at a company event in San Francisco in early June. 'We will be revisiting the design of our site from end to end to see how we can create a more inclusive platform.' "

-->The issue of racism was huge for The NYT as well, which printed a very detailed article about Airbnb's often discriminatory policies. Of course, the biggest example of Airbnb's bigotry is the company's insistence on renting apartments in West Bank settlements built on stolen land to Jewish clients only. No Palestinians need apply, even though the housing is on the very land illegal confiscated from them. Our newspaper of record always puts preserving Israel's good image above honest reporting; there was no mention of settlement Airbnb rentals.


"The Washington Post reported on Tuesday (6/14/16) that Russian intelligence had hacked the DNC servers to steal opposition research on Donald Trump: 'Russian Government Hackers Penetrated DNC, Stole Opposition Research on Trump.' 

While the Post story by Ellen Nakashima was sourced to 'committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach'—i.e., CrowdStrike, the security firm hired by the DNC—that attribution dropped out of the headline, presenting Russian government culpability as an unquestioned fact. This framing was echoed by dozens of media outlets who picked up on the story and uncritically presented Russian guilt in their headlines without qualification ...

Then something strange happened. Wednesday afternoon, a person or persons using the name “Gufficer 2.0” (referencing a hacker who infamously got into the Bush family emails) published online what appears to be detailed information derived from the hack. ... 

As NATO and Russian tensions build to Cold War levels, wouldn’t it be prudent for editors, at the very least, to throw in an 'allegedly' or two? Instead, what we have is lockstep condemnation from a press eager to demonize the Russian menace. Just because those in power are preparing for a 'new Cold War' doesn’t mean the media need to play along."

-->FAIR nails the mainstream media again for poor journalism and pro Pentagon bias. 


The Guardian UK:
"CIA medical personnel acknowledged that placing detainees in small boxes barely large enough to fit their bodies inside was not 'particularly effective', but they still provided guidance permitting interrogators to continue using the so-called 'confinement boxes' for hours on end.

Sensitive agency documents, declassified on Tuesday, provide a new level of detail on the intimate involvement of its medical staff during its post-9/11 torture program. Officials assigned to the Office of Medical Staff (OMS) provided precise specifications for enforcing sleep deprivation, limiting the caloric intake of detainees’ food, and the proper positions for waterboarding, as outlined in a 2004 document providing 'guidelines on medical and psychological support' for torture.

In the event that a detainee stopped eating and drinking inside the agency’s unacknowledged prisons overseas, known as 'black sites', OMS advised that the preferred method to forcibly hydrate a detainee was rectally – a procedure that human-rights advocates have equated to sexual assault."

-->The NYT didn't print anything about the mindless torture, anal rape and murder that were unleashed on innocent captives by the CIA. Why not let the American public know what was done in their name? War criminals given a free pass, by our governments and our media.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Germany: Thousands Surround US Air Base to Protest the Use of Drones. ... Organizers said that 5 to 7 thousand people took part in the chain near the Ramstein Air Base, the principal US Air Force facility in Europe, on a rainy Saturday.

Activists, calling for the base to be closed, described their protest as the biggest ever action against the US base, insisting that public support against the drone issue was growing.

Green MP Tabea Rössner warned that US drone attacks were radicalizing people in the Middle East, while peace activist Reiner Braun said, 'The chain is not complete but it is a sign! Ramstein needs to be shut down.' "

-->Yes, The NYT carried a web version of this Reuters International story. That's so Americans don't find out how unpopular our worldwide drone war really is. Only the news that favors the empire is deemed fit to print.


The Guardian UK:
"Revealed: how Associated Press cooperated with the Nazis. The Associated Press news agency entered a formal cooperation with the Hitler regime in the 1930s, supplying American newspapers with material directly produced and selected by the Nazi propaganda ministry, archive material unearthed by a German historian has revealed. ...

Associated Press ... was the only western news agency able to stay open in Hitler’s Germany, continuing to operate until the US entered the war in 1941. It thus found itself in the presumably profitable situation of being the prime channel for news reports and pictures out of the totalitarian state.

In an article published in academic journal Studies in Contemporary History , historian Harriet Scharnberg shows that AP was only able to retain its access by entering into a mutually beneficial two-way cooperation with the Nazi regime. ...

The New York-based agency ceded control of its output by signing up to the so-called Schriftleitergesetz (editor’s law), promising not to publish any material 'calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home'.
This law required AP to hire reporters who also worked for the Nazi party’s propaganda division. One of the four photographers employed by the Associated Press in the 1930s, Franz Roth, was a member of the SS paramilitary unit’s propaganda division, whose photographs were personally chosen by Hitler."

-->The NYT did a short story in March about Scharnberg's claims that Nazi propaganda flooded the US media in the 1930's. But why didn't the newspaper print all the confirmation of this terrible story that has just come to light? Perhaps this proof would lead readers to question what present day deals have been made with human rights abusing states around the world. What deals, for example, with Israel?


WGXC Wave Farm :
"February marked 20 years since then-President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which deregulated several media industries, and has led to fewer media choices for consumers. ... A study from the Federal Communications Commission in 2006 called 'Review of the Radio Industry' found that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 led to a drastic decline in the number of radio station owners as the actual number of commercial stations in the United States increased. ...

A Future of Music study in 2002 found that, 'Since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Clear Channel (now called iHeartMedia) has grown from 40 stations to 1,240 stations — 30 times more than congressional regulation previously allowed.' 

And that study also found four parent companies control two-thirds of the nation’s radio news format listeners with, Viacom and Disney’s ABC Radio, also control major television networks. Since 1996, joint operating agreements have halved the number of television news organizations in most markets. So while there may be more media choices 20 years after the Telecommunications Act passed, in many formats, those 'choices' are controlled by just a handful of companies. Common Cause has said, 'In many ways, the Telecom Act failed to serve the public and did not deliver on its promise of more competition, more diversity, lower prices, more jobs and a booming economy.... Instead, the public got more media concentration, less diversity, and higher prices.' "

-->These findings did not find their way into The NYT, itself a product of corporate media control. Our supposed newspaper of record failed to carry this story. Maybe it would have contrasted too much with its overwhelming support of Hillary.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

"Defense lawyers: the FBI made us use a copy-shop that made secret copies for the government. Attorneys for Dr Salo Schapiro, on trial in Miami for Medicare fraud, says that the FBI and the US Attorney have engaged in a decade-long conspiracy to improperly gain access to confidential defense documents, in a scheme that used a crooked Ft Lauderdale copy shop that slipped CDs containing scanned confidential defense documents that had been entrusted to it to the FBI and the DA.
The US government has admitted that it obtained the CDs from the copy-shop, but says that they never asked for them and weren't aware that the material on them was confidential defense material.

The documents, which had been turned over through the discovery process, were stored in an FBI facility. The defense says that the FBI required them to use the implicated copy-shop to make copies for their own use. They allege that the copy shop then improperly provided the FBI with information about which documents had been pulled for use in the case."

-->Is this happening all over the country? CD's of confidential defense documents given to the FBI? The NYT didn't cover this story.


"WASHINGTON — Global investments in the manufacture of cluster bombs and related munitions rose over the past year, despite the existence of an international convention against the use or production of these weapons. More than half of the institutions involved in those investments are based in the United States.

From 2011 to 2014, an estimated 151 financial institutions invested at least $27 billion in companies that produce weapons considered by rights groups to be prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into effect in 2010. This new estimate, from PAX, a Dutch watchdog group, constitutes a $3 billion increase from just last year. ...

These involve some of the biggest names in global finance, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and others. JPMorgan’s investment is pegged at more than $670 billion, while Bank of America’s is nearly $380 billion."

-->A Wall Street boom in financing cluster bomb manufactures. Our newspaper of record didn't think this story of US financial firms investing in war crimes was worthy of printing.  


Common Dreams:
"In what supporters described as 'a victory for accountability for corporate crimes,' a U.S. judge ruled in favor of allowing Colombians to sue former Chiquita Brand International executives for the company's funding of a paramilitary group that murdered plaintiffs' family members.
'Chiquita poured $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004 into the outlawed far-right paramilitary group AUC,' observed TeleSur, 'which operated as a death squad in Colombia.'

The ruling from Judge Kenneth Marra of the Southern District of Florida stated that 'profits took priority over basic human welfare in the banana company executives' decision to finance the illegal death squads, despite knowing that this would advance the paramilitaries' murderous campaign,' as the human rights and conservation group EarthRights International (ERI) wrote on Thursday when it announced the judgment."

-->Do large US corporations fund their own death squads? Hard to believe, especially if you read the the NYT for your information. I didn't print this story.

Wed, June 2, 2016

Democracy Now:
"From U.S. Ally to Convicted War Criminal: Inside Chad's Hissène Habré's Close Ties to Reagan Admin. As the former U.S.-backed dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison, we examine Habré’s close role with the United States. Hissène Habré is a former U.S. ally who has been described as 'Africa’s Pinochet.' He came to power with the help of the Reagan administration in 1982. The U.S. provided Habré with millions of dollars in annual military aid and trained his secret police, known as the DDS. ...

And all this time, of course, you know, although many of Habré’s crimes were not really revealed until after the prison—after he fell and the prison doors swung open, Amnesty International, as their representative testified at the trial, wrote 25 mini reports about crimes under Hissène Habré. Habré was aware, of course, of these crimes, but the world was aware that these crimes were going on. The United States, even as it supported Hissène Habré at the time, was aware that these crimes were taking place."

-->The NYT had to cover this story of an African dictator who murdered 40,000 of his own people. But our newspaper of record only give one sentence to the empire that brought him to power, trained his assassins and supplied his weaponry. No wonder Americans don't know about the carnage of US foreign policy in the developing world.


"In long obit for Hedy Epstein, ‘NYT’ buries Palestinian solidarity. The great Hedy Epstein has died and the New York Times has all but covered up her most significant moral achievement.

The Times has a 24-paragraph obituary for Hedy Epstein, the activist who was an inspiration to many on our site, who died in St. Louis at 91 on May 26. This is how they characterize her: 'Ms. Epstein, a Holocaust survivor who spoke widely about the persecution of the Jews in Germany, and who spent most of her adult life working for a broad range of social justice movements.'

The fact that Hedy Epstein was outspoken for Palestinian rights doesn’t come till the very end of the story, after Vietnam, Cambodia, Black Lives Matter, fair housing, Kristallnacht, the kindertransport, and other causes and events. ... We venture to say that were it not for her channeling her energies into Palestine, Hedy Epstein would not warrant 24 paragraphs in death in the New York Times. Obituaries often describe exemplary lives, and the reason Hedy Epstein’s was so exemplary is that she experienced the tremendous historical trauma that was the basis for Israel’s creation by world powers in 1948 and yet turned against the idea of a Jewish state. That’s what makes Hedy Epstein so special."

-->There was some disagreement on the Mondoweiss site about the NYT article. The picture on the article was from the Gaza Freedom March, but the caption only said "A protest in Cairo in 2009" rather than anything about the Palestinians. 


Democracy Now:
"Speaking at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Obama offered no apology for the bombings but called for a world without nuclear weapons. 'Among those nations like my own that own nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them,' Obama said. Despite his call for an end to nuclear weapons, the United States has been quietly upgrading its nuclear arsenal to create smaller, more precise nuclear bombs as part of a massive effort that will cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. ... 

Despite President Obama’s call for an end to nuclear weapons, a new study by the Federation of American Scientists has determined the Obama administration has reduced the nuclear stockpile at a far slower rate than any of his three immediate predecessors, including George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush. ..."

-->The US media ate up Obama's wonderful rhetoric about peace one day, while avoiding the details of his role in accelerating the nuclear arms race. No word, of course, from Hiroshima survivors like Setsuko Thurlow, who was also interviewed by Democracy Now. ""We Learned to Step over the Dead" -Setsuko Thurlow