Gaza Medic Murder Investigation: STL Stands Against Israeli Crimes

As in agreement with our far-leftist brothers, Sparking The Left supports the persecuted Palestinians in their battle against the occupying and murderous state of Israel. The reasons are too many to begin with here, but the below video investigation by the New York Times into a medic’s shooting death at the Gaza/Israeli border, should be a start. We profess our support for the Palestinian people, whether in Gaza, the West Bank, or those living as refugees outside of those borders. Israel is running an apartheid regime and has established a ghetto in the Gaza Strip.

As you watch this story, be aware that it has gone completely uncovered by the mainstream media outside of the Video Investigation Team at the NYT. Why?  For any sense of empathy towards any citizen of Gaza is too far left off the spectrum of acceptable dialogue to be engaged in by most corporate media.

Stand With Us!!!

Americans Should be Envious: “Why Infants May Be More Likely to Die in America Than Cuba”

A great op-Ed by Nick Kristoff at the NYT explaining how, though lacking in first rate medical technology, the infant mortality rates are actually lower in Cuba. We could take away many good practices from the Socialist, island nation so close to our shores.

“Pelosi and Democratic Leaders Condemn Omar Statements as Anti-Semitic”: How Criticism is Quashed

Any time someone expresses any criticism of Israel’s criminal actions towards the Palestinians, they are labeled as anti-Semite.

This is how AIPAC wants to keep it, too.

“‘It’s Cold as Hell’: Inside a Brooklyn Jail’s Weeklong Collapse”: Treated Worse Than Animals

Pet owners who would treat their dogs or cats like this would be jailed for animal cruelty.

Tell me, will there be charges?

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

Bsl2796IIAAGC-CI was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico.

He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, an undocumented youth organization, outside a shelter for recently released Central American migrants. But Vargas had one problem: How to get out of McAllen without being discovered to be undocumented himself?

Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who won the award at the Washington Post and was the producer of the CNN documentary “Documented.” He also founded the activist group “Define American” whose mission statement puts forth,

Define American is a media and culture campaign using the power of story to transcend politics and shift conversation around immigration, identity, and citizenship in America.

Vargas was an unaccompanied minor sent to America from the Philipines without a proper visa and yet has remained in the U.S. to this day. But he has not been reclusive or quiet about his story for he announced his undocumented status in an article in The New York Times Magazine in 2011. But his openness about his situation, which I am not chiding him for, has also come back to haunt him.

Vargas was detained Tuesday morning at a Border Patrol checkpoint trying to board a flight to Houston. Above is a pic of Vargas, in handcuffs, sent by a spokesman to the NYT, with Vargas being detained by Border Patrol officials.

In his Politico piece (linked above) Vargas was adamant that he did not realize the conundrum he was in until it was brought up to him by a fellow activist. So he used his pen in the piece to voice not just his plight but that of millions of undocumented persons living in the United States.

Please visit both United We Dream and the Define American websites. I am sure they will both form an action campaign for Jose Vargas’ release.


Why Against Birth Control?

RFDreligiousfreedom3-sfSpanWhen reading that Hobby Lobby and other like-in-cause corporations won their Supreme Court challenge to forgo covering birth control for their employees due to religious objections, I wondered why are they so against birth control? Then when I was doing further reading in the NYT I found two great pieces in which the first poses, and then the second answers.

First, I found this quote in the Room For Debate op-ed feature of the NYT with a short piece by “Douglas Laycock, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Virginia. He wrote an amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby case on behalf of a coalition of groups led by the Christian Legal Society.” He writes:

Making Hobby Lobby pay for contraception methods that might also cause abortions… [My italics]

So I thought I found my answer to why Hobby Lobby and their legal cohorts fought the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for forcing them to cover women’s birth control: It’s tantamount to abortion.

But then I found a piece in The Upshot section of the NYT by that put this claim to rest. He writes that…

The owners of Hobby Lobby told the Court that they were willing to cover some forms of contraception but believed that the so-called morning-after pills and two kinds of IUDs can cause what they believe to be a type of abortion, by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall or causing an already implanted egg to fail to thrive.

As colleagues have noted, the scientific consensus is against this idea…Even without contraception, fertilized eggs often fail to implant naturally.

Carroll goes on to explain, with linked citations to medical journal articles, that neither IUD’s nor morning-after (Plan-B) pills cause abortions under this definition. He states:

Moreover, the fact that both of these forms of contraception can fail, and allow pregnancies to occur, provides evidence that if a fertilization occurs, it can move on to implant and grow.

So Carroll’s answer to my question proves one thing: the owners/founders of Hobby Lobby and their fellow plaintiffs are misinformed. In the Carroll piece, he goes into how IUD’s work stating that not much is known about their form and explicit function, hence a probable load of PR against them. These corporation owners need to step away from religious, right-wing, Pro-Life propaganda and get informed by the science.



Critical Bergdahl Comrades Republican Agents

Afghanistan Captured SoldierI am still in a dizzy regarding my reaction to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity and all the accusations and critical shots being taken at the White House, Bergdahl’s Father, and Bergdahl himself in it’s wake. So I’m awaiting the facts before making any bold decisions in the form of a post. But I will say that the politics being played around this event by the Right is striking.


Let’s first look at the accusations against Bergdahl through quotes from a NYT article from June 2nd:

The furious search for Sergeant Bergdahl, his critics say, led to the deaths of at least two soldiers and possibly six others in the area.


Pentagon officials say those charges are unsubstantiated and are not supported by a review of a database of casualties in the Afghan war.

A second former senior military officer, who also was briefed on the Bergdahl investigation, said there was no direct evidence that diversion of surveillance aircraft or troops to search for Sergeant Bergdahl encouraged the Taliban attacks, or left other American troops vulnerable. “This was a dangerous region in Afghanistan in the middle of the ‘fighting season,’ ” the officer said in an email, adding that although the search “could have created some opportunities for the enemy,” it is “difficult to establish a direct cause and effect.”


A review of the database of casualties in the Afghan war suggests that Sergeant Bergdahl’s critics appear to be blaming him for every American soldier killed in Paktika Province in the four-month period that followed his disappearance.

Now, I am not calling anyone a liar and I’m sure that these men in uniform believe what they believe, but the most troubling Republican antic is this:

Two of Bergdahl’s former comrades – Joshua Cornelison and Cody Full – gave interviews to the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and the Daily Mail suggesting the soldier had endangered the lives of fellow soldiers by voluntarily leaving his base.

They pair also spoke to the New York Times, which disclosed the interviews had been “arranged by Republican strategists”….

The series of interviews was facilitated by Capitol Media Parters, a PR firm owned by Richard Grennell, Mitt Romney’s former foreign policy spokesman.

This was from The Guardian yesterday. 






The Case Against Blackwater and How They’re Getting Away With It

SUB-JP-BLACKWATER-1-master675In 2007, according to an article in today’s NYT, operatives of Blackwater Worldwide (a company providing civilian contractors employed by the U.S. government during the Iraq War) perpetrated a mass shooting of Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square, killing 17. The article recounts some of the details of the massacre.

If you look at the facts that the NYT reports, you can see that the State Department conducted a cover-up of these murders whether if they are implicated in the court proceedings or not.

But the main gist of the story is the bumbling of the case against the involved contractors. It’s just amazing how wrong things have gone when such an important precedent could have been made, namely, if you are not officially a member of the U.S. military, but you are employed to act as one, you cannot act with impunity.

Read Here.

Are The Poor Better Off?

POOR-master675Another great article in the NYT that was written by Annie Lowrey explains that though many poor families have more material wealth in terms of TV’s, smartphones, and an Internet connection compared to past times, they are becoming worse off in terms of economic inequality.

She explains that the reason for this “material abundance” for the lower SES population is due to the falling prices of goods as a result of global economics. But when it comes to expenses critical to moving out of poverty such as education costs, healthcare, and minimum wage jobs, their outlook is bleak.

Read Here.


Job Reports May Often Be Misjudged

02-jobs-image-master675-v4A great article in the NYT’s “Upshot” section with cool graphs reports that the monthly job numbers, and other economic indicators from the government and elsewhere, may be misleading due to “statistical noise”, i.e., uncontrolled for margins of error, bad sampling, etc.

An important read when you think of how these indicators affect Wall Street, your employer’s decisions at work, or when to buy a house.

Read Here.