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Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Headlines for Oct. 12, 2018

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.
Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted 11 minutes.
Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines (WMMFH) -- Oct. 12, 2018


Susan Collins Consents
A strong contender for most disgusting headline of the year. A rape joke? Are you kidding me?

Care About Palestinian Refugees? This Is Why You Should Back the U.S. Cutting Millions in Aid to Them
A close second for most disgusting headline of the year (which seems to have now been changed, perhaps in response to complaints?). The only mention of the right of return is this “The camps fuel unrealistic hopes of return to places of origin. They preserve the status quo, and therefore maintain the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock.” Yes, that’s why there has been no progress on the “peace process”.

*‘We bombed you to save you’ – NATO head Stoltenberg speaks about 1999 bombings on visit to Serbia
Can’t fault the headline; it’s the story that’s disgusting.
The classic "destroying the village in order to save it" language. Probably won't be seeing this headline in the WaPo or NYT. Many hundreds to thousands of Serbians were killed in the bombing; including 16 killed when Radio Television Serbia was bombed.

*Michelle Obama: George W. Bush is 'my partner in crime' and 'I love him to death'
A sad but true commentary on the state of politics and the ruling class in America. Quoting Twitter user Sarah Abdallah: “Considering Bush destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq while Michelle Obama’s husband destroyed Syria, Libya and gave Saudi Arabia the go-ahead to commit genocide in Yemen, “partner in crime” is actually the perfect phrase.”


U.S. Opens Probe into Alleged Chinese Mattress Dumping
Domestic manufacturers say Chinese products have been sold at roughly 259% to 1,732% below normal value. So a $1000 mattress is being sold for $55? Seems unlikely.


*The end of the Saudi Whisperer
Subhead: Tom Friedman bet big on Mohammed bin Salman and lost. What can we learn from that?
It is true that Tom Friedman has been the single biggest person talking about “reform” in Saudi Arabia. But he is far from alone among American journalists or politicians. For example, Adam Johnson at FAIR documented “David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime” in an article last year (https://fair.org/home/david-ignatius-15-years-of-running-spin-for-saudi-regime/)
Friedman’s defense (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/opinion/jamal-khashoggi-missing-saudi-journalist.html ): “our job is to help curb his bad impulses and nurture his good ones.”

Rand Paul’s Wife Says She Keeps Loaded Gun By Her Bed Out Of Fear Of Liberal Attacks
She thinks that liberals will start breaking into her home based on the fact that Trump administration people are being heckled in restaurants in Washington, DC. Classic projection.

Friday, October 05, 2018


Headlines for Oct. 5, 2018

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.
Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted 11 minutes.
Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines (WMMFH) -- Oct. 5, 2018


The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies
Denials in 10th paragraph.
Bloomberg’s report of Amazon’s denial: “It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental.”
The actual Amazon denial: “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, this is untrue. At no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems. Nor have we engaged in an investigation with the government.”

China inserted surveillance microchip in servers used by Amazon and Apple, report says
In the Mercury News version of the article, Apple and Amazon denials come in the 16th paragraph. In the Post, we now read: “Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional reporting on the views of U.S. officials about the Bloomberg Businessweek report. One official who previously had conveyed confidence in the report later expressed uncertainty. The story also includes additional denials from Apple and Amazon.” In the article, we now read: “Several U.S. officials contacted by The Washington Post said they were uncertain about the accuracy of the Bloomberg Businessweek report. One U.S. official who said Thursday morning that the thrust of the article was true later expressed uncertainty about that conclusion.”


*A lot of the criticism of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' actually came from Russian trolls and bots, new study finds
Subhead even goes from “a lot” to “Much of the "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" backlash came from Russian trolls — not fans — according to a new study.”
As this propagated through the media, it became simple fact, e.g.,
*Why The Russian Trolling Of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Proved So Successful
In a word, no. Even the author really doesn’t say that: “I have discovered political agitation for right-wing values using The Last Jedi as a placeholder for left-wing positions. Furthermore, it appears that political activists have used bots and sock puppet accounts to troll left-wing fans, and there is even evidence that Russian influence operators have inserted themselves into the debate to exploit and exacerbate the conflict, thereby securing more media attention to the conflict, which again helps spread the perception that America is divided and in chaos.”

He studied 206 Twitter accounts which tweeted negatively (basically racist and misogynist content) about The Last Jedi; 16 (a whopping 8%) of them "appear to be Russian trolls, or at least possess several of the Russian troll characteristics presented above"; those characteristics include "Russian trolls usually target “very specific world events” and “political threads”" and "prefer the Twitter web client over the mobile client". "They predominantly report their location (if at all) to be in the U.S., Germany and Russia"

Indicative of the “scholarship”, he found this tweet suspicious and likely “Russian” because it was short and had misspellings “So, now explain why Mark Hamil didn't like Luje in TLJ?”. Apparently he has never looked at a keyboard! [amusingly, while I was writing this I typed lijely instead of likely!)

Notes: “Star Wars movies, books, video games, tv shows and comics have consistently attempted to convey left-leaning values. For years, the franchise’s creator, George Lucas, has explained the series’ impetus as partially being a comment on the Vietnam war, which ended just as Lucas started work on the first Star Wars film. The evil, oppressive, technologically and economically superior Empire represented the United States, while the far less advanced, but resilient South Vietnamese [sic] forces and their unlikely victory inspired the “good guys” in the Rebel Alliance.”
Link to paper: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328006677_Weaponizing_the_haters_The_Last_Jedi_and_the_strategic_politicization_of_pop_culture_through_social_media_manipulation


*College students say they can't send in their absentee ballots because they don't know where to buy stamps
Funny not funny. But here’s the funniest (but actually serious) part: “The US Postal Service also has a policy that it mails absentee ballots, whether or not they contain postage. Instead of returning the ballot to sender, they charge the local election board.” But the absentee ballot (at least in California) doesn't bother to tell you this.

'We fell in love:' Trump swoons over letters from North Korea's Kim
What can you say?

China reveals its new party line: We're trying to save the world from the US
If only they were talking about imperialism and not just economic trade wars.
China hit out against the U.S. in a 71-page paper, accusing President Donald Trump's administration of "trade bullyism practices" that have become "the greatest source of uncertainty and risk for the recovery of the global economy."

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle visit namesake county of Sussex
Highlighting the absurdity of the concept of “royalty” and royal titles — the “Duke” and “Duchess” of Sussex visit Sussex…for the first time! Imagine “the King of Sweden visits Sweden for the first time”, etc.

*Kavanaugh writes op-ed arguing he is an 'independent, impartial judge' after emotional testimony
Uh huh.

*Drunk birds are causing havoc in a Minnesota town. Police say they’ll sober up soon.
A member of our local Audubon Society  is quoted in this article!
An early frost meant that berries had fermented earlier than usual, he explained, and Cedar Waxwings were eating them and getting drunk.
The Gilbert Minnesota Police Department issued a press release filled with fake news, telling residents to call if they saw:
• Heckle and Jeckle being boisterous or playing practical jokes. #FakeNews — H&J are Magpies, not Cedar Waxwings!
• Woodstock pushing Snoopy off the doghouse for no apparent reason. #FakeNews - Woodstock is a small yellow bird, possibly a Yellow Warbler, and definitely not a Cedar Waxwing!
• The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic. Again, #FakeNews — not a Cedar Waxwing.

Friday, September 28, 2018


Headlines for Sept. 28, 2018

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.
Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted 11 minutes.
Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines (WMMFH) -- Sept. 28, 2018

*Trump at the U.N.: Undiplomatic? This Time, Aides Fear the Opposite
Not as much a disgusting headline as a description of a disgusting reality.
“For Mr. Trump’s advisers, the biggest risk at the United Nations General Assembly this year is the reverse of what it was last year: not that he will be dangerously undiplomatic, but that he will be overly enthusiastic about engagement with wily adversaries.” Bizarrely, they were (allegedly) worried not just that he'd be too nice to North Korea, but to Iran as well. As if.

Trump accuses China of election 'meddling' against him
Of course, no evidence or even concrete claims backed up this accusation.
"In an interview last month, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China are all potentially planning to meddle in US elections." "Potentially planning". That pretty much applies to anything, anywhere, anytime. Not doing something. Not even planning to do something. Just maybe planning to do something. By the way, can we assume North Korea is potentially planning to meddle on BEHALF of Trump, while Iran and China are planning to meddle against him? And since Trump isn't up for re-election, and is in total control of the tariff policies which are the claimed motivation for Chinese meddling, what difference will the midterms make?


GRU colonel Chepiga revealed as Skripal suspect's 'real identity'
"Alleged", not "revealed". Here's what appears to be the total evidence: "Bellingcat obtained extracts from the passport file of [Russian Colonel] Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga. A picture of Mr Chepiga from 2003 appears to look like a younger version of the man who used the identity Ruslan Bushirov." And although the headline says he is a *GRU* Colonel, we are simply told "Col Chepiga was a soldier who served in Chechnya and was awarded the highest state award" which doesn't have anything to do with the GRU.

'We got really lucky': how novichok suspects' identities were revealed
In one day, the story goes from claim to established fact

In Russia’s Far East, villagers recognize a Skripal poisoning suspect
“It’s true, he’s our guy,” said Alla (who hadn’t seen him in ten years)
Irina Ivanova, another Berezovka resident, said in a message to The Post over Russia’s VKontakte social network that Boshirov looked “very similar” to Chepiga.
Alexey, a 37-year-old resident of Berezovka who works in the construction industry, told The Post that the man who called himself Boshirov resembled his former schoolmate Chepiga. But Hours after the interview, Alexey wrote to The Post to say he had changed his mind and no longer believed that Chepiga and Boshirov were the same person. “This isn’t proven by anyone or by anything,” Alexey wrote. “It’s just a resemblance of photographs.”
So three people, one says he's the guy, one says "very similar" and the third said "resembled" and then said it proves nothing.

Trump: 'I could be persuaded' to change mind on Kavanaugh after hearing
Media presented this claim as if he was open to listening to the actual testimony, but everything Trump has said suggests that nothing of the sort is going to happen. If Trump is "persuaded", it will only be because it becomes evident that Kavanaugh isn't going to be confirmed, not based on anything he learns from the hearing.

Trump metal tariffs snatched away $1 billion in profits, CEO says
Ford sources a majority of its steel and aluminum from the US — 95 percent of Ford's steel and 98 percent of Ford's aluminum comes from domestic sources. But extra costs don't come from imported steel and aluminum alone. As its competition gets slapped with tariffs (25 percent on steel, 10 percent on aluminum), US producers have raised their prices to increase profits while still being cheaper than foreign imports.


*Donald Trump Says China Respects Him Because Of His 'Very, Very Large Brain'
LOL. But also, no surprise, misleading, sort of. Trump didn’t say this, despite what the headline says. He was quoting someone else (from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-27/trump-identifies-the-leading-authority-on-china-who-is-he, not from the Newsweek article): "From what I hear, if you look at Mr. Pillsbury, the leading authority on China ... he was saying that China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very, very large brain.” But actually, Trump was misquoting, which means he actually was quoting himself when he talked about his "very, very large brain". The real quote: “The leadership in Beijing considers Trump superior to the last “five or six” presidents, Pillsbury told Tucker Carlson on Fox News in August. Trump, he said, is “so smart,” he’s “playing three-dimensional chess.””

Trump to Emphasize ‘Sovereignty’ in U.N. Visit, Haley Says
I just love when the US talks about respecting sovereignty. Some of Trump’s remarks:
"The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship."...unless you live in Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, or many other places.
"Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination."...or old forms, like U.S. military intervention or economic warfare in the form of sanctions or blockades.

*Nikki Haley: United Nations Laughter Not A Diss But A Sign Of Respect For Trump’s ‘Honesty’
Yup. Sure.

*Trump Didn’t Have A Meeting Scheduled With Trudeau — But He Canceled It Anyway

Venice Tourists Could Be Fined €500 For Sitting Down
Visitors to Venice could be fined up to €500 (£440) for sitting in undesignated spots, after the mayor suggested a new ban as part of wider efforts to crack down on undesirable tourist behaviour.
Visitors are instructed not to swim in canals, make picnic stops out of public areas, pause too long on bridges, drop litter, ride or wheel bikes, stand or lie on benches, busk or make art without a permit, attach “love locks” to monuments and bridges, climb on trees, buildings and monuments, get changed in public, feed birds or sightsee topless or in swimwear. Making too much noise, whether at night or during siesta time (1-3pm), is also forbidden. The consequence of flouting the rules is a hefty fine of up to €450.
Best part: this is part of Venice’s #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Headlines for Sept. 21, 2018

Click here to listen to this week's segment on Loud & Clear Radio.
Headlines with an * are the ones we managed to fit in in our allotted 11 minutes.

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines (WMMFH) -- Sept. 21, 2018


*No, Trump Doesn't Have an 'Anti-Palestinian Agenda'
No, and the Pope isn’t Catholic. This is written by someone described as “a policy adviser and fellow at America First Policies, a nonprofit organization supporting policy initiatives that will put America first”. His thesis: “The administration isn’t playing sides -- it’s recognizing hard truths.” and “Tough love may just lead to a grand bargain.”

How Israel Undermined Washington and Stalled the Dream of Palestinian Statehood
As if there is the slightest evidence the US was ever serious about Palestinian statehood – not 40 years ago when Camp David accords were signed, and not today. This article just attempts to shift the blame to Sadat, as if he were the senior partner and Carter the junior partner in the negotiations.

*South Korea forges ahead with charm offensive to Kim regime even as U.S. outreach stumbles
It’s just the height of cynicism to call what’s going on a “charm offensive”. It’s called “diplomacy” trying to bring about better relations.
*North and South Korea just signed a major agreement. It may be bad news for Trump.
"The North Korean leader has basically offered to give up very little while expecting America to concede more before anything happens." "North Korea is still expecting Washington to make the first move"

Venezuela's Maduro Enjoys Salt Bae’s Steaks And Cigars While His Country Starves, Drawing Social Media Backlash
5.8 million Americans had "very low food security in 2017" per the USDA. More than half a million people are homeless. No articles being run about Trump who tweets from a gold-plated toilet or any other politician who all eat the finest food with great regularity. And if course no mention that Venezuelan opposition has burned warehouses of food. Or of the US sanctions. And the “social media backlash”? The only thing cited are tweets from Marco Rubio, and journalists from the Financial Times and Telemundo.


Syrian regime accidentally shoots down Russian military plane
A totally unequivocal headline, despite clearly conflicting stories about what happened. CNN only needs one source, "a US official with knowledge of the incident".


*Texas school board votes to delete Hillary Clinton from history curriculum
I’d like to forget about Hillary Clinton, but I’m afraid that’s not possible. I’m going to guess they’ve already deleted evolution. Not sure about that, but Helen Keller was also eliminated.

Something has gone wrong when my son's 10-year-old best friend is an avowed Communist
Or not :-) [The article is about young kids becoming political/activists in general because of growing up in polarized times, not specifically about Communist kids]

Michael Avenatti furious over ‘CREEPY PORN LAWYER’ chyron on Fox News
He objects to that description. Imagine!
First, the chyron read: “CREEPY PORN LAWYER TOYING WITH 2020 RUN.”

*Trump Told Spanish Minister a Sahara Wall Could Stop Migrants

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