Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Telecommunications giant AT&T is spying on Americans for profit and helped law enforcement agencies investigate everything from the so-called war on drugs to Medicaid fraud—all at taxpayers' expense, according to new reporting by The Daily Beast. The program, known as Project Hemisphere, allowed state and local agencies to conduct warrantless searches of trillions of call records and other cellular data ...

Evan Greer, campaign director at the digital rights group Fight for the Future, said Tuesday, 'The for-profit spying program that these documents detail is more terrifying than the illegal [National Security Agency] surveillance programs that Edward Snowden exposed. Far beyond the NSA and FBI, these tools are accessible to a wide range of law enforcement officers including local police, without a warrant, as long as they pay up.' ...

Greer added: 'Customers trusted AT&T with some of their most private information, and the company turned around and literally built a product to sell that information to as many government agencies and police departments as they could. Not only did they fail to have any safeguards to prevent unauthorized use of the data, they actually required law enforcement to keep the program secret and dig up or fabricate other evidence, to hide the fact that they'd received information from AT&T.' "

-->The mainstream media is not covering this story of a communications giant profiting from selling all our calling data to the government. No doubt the NYT is working on how to spin this latest insight into our scary national security state. 

UPDATE: The NYT did cover this story on Oct 26.


The Guardian UK:
"As they go to the polls in a historic presidential election, more than six in 10 Americans say neither major political party represents their views any longer, a survey has found. Dissatisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans has risen sharply since 1990, when less than half held that neither reflected their opinions, according to research by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). ...

Both Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican standard bearer Trump continue to suffer historically low favourability ratings, with less than half of the public viewing each candidate positively (41% v 33%). ...

The discontent with parties and candidates extends to the electoral process itself, which Trump claims is rigged against him. Less than half the public (43%) say they have a great deal of confidence that their vote will be counted accurately, while 38% have some confidence and 17% have hardly any confidence."

-->Major media does not like to remind voters how little confidence the electorate has in the political system. That's because the media is part of the corrupted, corporate owned, two party fraud.  


Common Dreams:
"A prominent Honduran leader of a rural land rights movement was killed on Monday night in what supporters claim was an assassination organized by wealthy landowners. Jose Angel Flores, president of the Unified Campesinos Movement of the Aguan Valley, or MUCA, had been under police protection since March, teleSUR reported, after the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights ordered the Honduran state to protect him from death threats in 2014. ...

About 150 other activists have been killed so far in the region, the local campesinos organizations told teleSUR. The battle between landowners and peasant farmers has led to so much bloodshed that people describe Bajo Aguan, where MUCA operates, as 'killing fields.' ...

And the U.S. continues to funnel millions of dollars in military funding to the Honduran government, despite the targeted assassinations and other human rights abuses."

-->The NYT did not cover this latest murder, and even the Associated Press story omitted the real reason behind the Honduran killing fields, the coup that overthrew the country's last democratically elected president. Of course, the coup was the work of a particularly warlike Secretary of State at the time, Hillary Clinton. What major media would touch that?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Common Dreams:
"NAACP's Call for Charter School Moratorium Invites Corporate Criticism. ...Despite pressure from corporate media and education reformers, the nation's largest civil rights organization voted on Saturday to approve a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion at least until issues of non-transparency and inequity are meaningfully addressed. ...

Before and after the vote, major American newspapers including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal came out against the resolution—as did a slew of corporate education reform organizations. ...

What do the drafters of the NAACP resolution understand that these editorial boards do not? They know that the charter industry was the creation of some of the wealthiest billionaires in America, from the Walton family heirs of the Walmart fortune, to Microsoft's Bill Gates [who have] pumped billions into creating a new privatized school system where those running schools can profit and evade government oversight."

-- >The NYT is sticking up for the billionaires as usual, just like our pay to play Governor Cuomo. Our guest next week, George Joseph, will talk about the nine billionaires who are out to destroy public education.


Huffington Post:
"Nation’s Largest Seniors Group Is Using Conservative Scare Tactics On Social Security. AARP is promoting alarmism about the program and giving awards to Republican lawmakers who want to cut it. ...

The 'Take A Stand' initiative rankled progressive retirement security advocates virtually from the moment it started, because it focused on getting politicians to propose any detailed plan ― and didn’t distinguish between reform proposals that would cut benefits and those that would not.

The new television ad has only heightened liberal concerns. Critics of AARP’s approach say that the influential seniors group, which has 37 million members across the country and incredible influence in Washington, is making Social Security’s financial challenges seem much more dire than they really are. In doing so, the group is playing right into the crisis framing favored by conservatives, who want benefit cuts to seem inevitable."

-- >The AARP has long been doing the dirty work of the insurance companies that fund the organization. Why can't our mainstream media point out AARP's obvious sell out of both our nation's seniors and middle class workers?


Common Dreams:
"As Flint Suffers, Big Pharma Slammed for Lead Poison Drug Price Hike of 2,700%. Drug company Valeant described as 'poster child for pharmaceutical greed.'

Outrage is growing this week amid revelations that the pharmaceutical company Valeant raised the price for its critical lead-poisoning treatment by more than 2,700 percent in a single year. ...

'This is a drug that has long been a standard of care, and until recently it was widely accessible at an affordable price,' Dr. Michael Kosnett, an associate clinical professor, told STAT. He also contacted the U.S. Congress. 'There's no justification for the astronomical price increases by Valeant, which limit availability of the drug to children with life-threatening lead poisoning.' " 

-- >Let's face it, billionaire speculators should not be allowed to destroy public education or our children's access to affordable drugs. Seems so clear to us, but the NYT didn't bother printing this story.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Intercept:
"A secret FBI study found that anger over U.S. military operations abroad was the most commonly cited motivation for individuals involved in cases of 'homegrown' terrorism. The report also identified no coherent pattern to 'radicalization,' concluding that it remained near impossible to predict future violent acts.

The study, reviewed by The Intercept, was conducted in 2012 by a unit in the FBI’s counterterrorism division and surveyed intelligence analysts and FBI special agents across the United States who were responsible for nearly 200 cases, both open and closed, involving 'homegrown violent extremists.' The survey responses reinforced the FBI’s conclusion that such individuals 'frequently believe the U.S. military is committing atrocities in Muslim countries, thereby justifying their violent aspirations.'

Online relationships and exposure to English-language militant propaganda and 'ideologues' like Anwar al-Awlaki are also cited as 'key factors' driving extremism. But grievances over U.S. military action ranked far above any other factor ..." 

-- >US wars abroad cause terrorism at home, maybe just like what motivated the 9/11 attackers. Readers of the NYT are spared this juicy fact about the Empire; the newspaper didn't carry this story.


Common Dreams:
"New Documents Show US Knew Helping Saudis in Yemen Could Be War Crime. Officials doubted Saudi military could target Houthi militants without hurting civilians or destroying infrastructure, Reuters reports.

As the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia comes under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the Gulf nation's weekend bombing campaign in Yemen, a Reuters exclusive published Monday reveals that the Obama administration approved a $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings that it could implicate the U.S. in war crimes. ...

American officials were actually well aware that airstrikes in Yemen were killing scores of civilians."

-- >The US media doesn't print stories that involve war crimes committed by the United States. Whenever we commit war crimes, they are always "mistakes." Why print a story that shows our government knew all along what the Saudis were doing?


"Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reportedly wanted to drone Wikileaks founder Julian Assange when she was secretary of state.

According to True Pundit, Clinton and the state department were under pressure to silence Assange and Wikileaks in the months before the whistleblowing site released a massive dump of 250,000 diplomatic cables from 1966 up to 2010, dubbed CableGate.

'Can’t we just drone this guy?' Clinton asked, according to unidentified state department sources. ... True Pundit reports the people in the room with Clinton on November 23, 2010 laughed at her comment, until it became clear that the then-secretary of state was serious. Clinton was reportedly fuming and referred to Assange as a 'soft target.' " 

-- Clinton's advocating drone murder is worse than anything Trump had to say about groping women. But the US media didn't let the American public hear about her comments.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Mazin Qumsiyeh:
"Shimon Peres, a war criminal with blood of thousands on his hands died and he was eulogized by the Western imperial powers (US and British governments had the highest level delegations) but also by representatives from four "Arab" governments. ...

Peres was born as Shimon Perski in Vishniva, Poland (now Belarus). He and his parents came as colonizers under the Zionist banner to Palestine in 1934 and he joined the underground Israeli forces, the Haganah, and served as a chief of its manpower division in the 1940s. He is the architect of Israel’s nuclear program.

Appointed in 1953 as director general of the ministry of defense, he immediately started exploring the nuclear development. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Israel developed its nuclear program primarily with the help of France while maintaining the Peres doctrine of “ambiguity.” The US and Britain and other countries looked the other way. He was responsible for ethnic cleansing and numerous massacres (including the infamous attack on a UN compound in Qana killing scores of civilians taking shelter there. He was given (with Rabin and Arafat) the Nobel Peace Prize for their infamous Oslo accords that transformed the PLO from a liberation movement to a subcontractor of the occupation. Nobel committee members signed a letter later regretting their decision as Peres continued his career of crimes." 

-- >It's so refreshing to read the truth about war criminals, especially after the glorified obituary offered by the NYT. This is from the newsletter of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, author of “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment.”


The Guardian UK:
"Legal papers filed by the New York police department reveal that the department sent its own undercover officers to protests led by Black Lives Matter after the death of Eric Garner. The NYPD documents also show that it collected multimedia records about the protests. The NYPD disclosed its undercover operations in response to a group of New York attorneys requesting records under the state freedom of information law. ...

'The fear and disarming effect caused by undercovers being assigned to what were and continue to be extraordinarily peaceful protests is disturbing,' said MJ Williams, one of the attorneys involved in the records request. 'To the extent that it would influence individuals not to participate and get individuals to censor what they say because of a fear of undercovers – that’s a basis for a first amendment violation.'

She added: 'As someone who was present at the protests, it’s disturbing to know the NYPD may have a file on me, ready to be used or to prevent me from getting a job simply because I’ve been active in some political capacity. That’s potentially a fourth amendment violation for unlawful seizure, but on the other hand, we’ve seen law enforcement agencies have all sorts of justifications for data collection for public safety that the courts have allowed.' ” 

-- >The police are still at it, sending undercover agents into peaceful protests by Black Lives matter to try to intimidate and harass activists. But readers will have to go to a British newspaper to learn what New York City cops are doing. The NYT did not cover this story.


Common Dreams:
"Fake News & False Flags: How the Pentagon Paid a British PR firm $500 Million for Top Secret Iraq Propaganda. The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda programme in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.

Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.

The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking US military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside."

-- >How many ways can the Pentagon waste billions on a futile and endless war in the Middle East? Don't ask readers of the NYT this question. Our newspaper of record did not cover the story.