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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

Friday, September 14, 2018


Headlines for Sept. 14, 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. 14, 2018


This week’s “Fake News By Omission”:
YouTube shuts down pro-Syrian government channels
A real, easily-verifiable story carried by NO “mainstream” news outlets
Contrast to:
U.S. Says Syria Plans Gas Attack in Rebel Stronghold
A completely unverifiable story which appeared in all major media, based on “new intelligence”, “officials said”. The very definition of propaganda (and also of stenography).

*Another hurricane is about to batter our coast. Trump is complicit.
We hate Trump probably a lot more than the WaPo editorial board, but really? Trump is a climate change denier and doing his best to undo regulations, but I’m pretty sure that between Jan. 2017 and now there is no action he or Al Gore himself could have taken or not taken that would have changed the severity of Hurricane Florence. This is just a manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS).

*Opioid billionaire granted patent for addiction treatment
Capitalism in one headline. “Richard Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, the company behind the notorious painkiller OxyContin, was granted a patent earlier this year for a reformulation of a drug used to wean addicts off opioids.”

Government erred in claiming accused Russian spy Maria Butina offered to trade sex for political access
Butina is charged with being an unregistered foreign agent, not a “spy”.

As U.S.-backed forces renew Yemen offensive, U.N. warns of ‘incalculable human cost’
Probably the first time that “US-backed” has been used in a headline to describe the Saudi/US offensive in Yemen.


*Iran Develops a $5 Billion Weapon to Fight Sanctions
The “weapon”? An investment fund that is buying things around the world, like a bankrupt French pharmaceutical company.

Hurricane Florence raises questions about link between climate change, severe storms
From the headline you would think this was a climate change denial story. It isn’t. The person interviewed says quite clearly “It is clear that the most extreme rainfall events have increased in frequency, and this is consistent with our understanding of how global warming will change the weather”, before adding that “there's no evidence that climate change is making hurricanes more frequent” (because there isn’t enough data).

*Facebook’s idea of ‘fact-checking’: Censoring ThinkProgress because conservative site told them to
The Weekly Standard, one of FB's new "fact-checkers", claims that ThinkProgress' headline "Brett Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week and almost no one noticed", is "false" because he never "said" that. ThinkProgress's piece argues that two different things he said, one at the confirmation hearing and another in 2017, taken together clearly suggest that he would.
There are serious consequences for publishing an article that one of Facebook’s third-party fact checkers decrees to be false.
As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently wrote in the Washington Post, “we demote posts rated as false, which means they lose 80 percent of future traffic.”
When an article is labeled false under Facebook’s third-party fact-checking system, groups that share that article on Facebook receives a notification informing them that the article received a “False Rating” and that “pages and websites” that share that piece “will see their overall distribution and their ability to monetize and advertise removed.”

US F-22 fighter jets intercept Russian bombers near Alaska
How close? Well, somewhere between 12 miles (U.S. territorial waters) and 200 miles (the US Air Defense Identification Zone). Also known as “international air space”, i.e., a place where Russian planes are flying perfectly legally. If it was 200 miles, the Russian planes could have literally been over Russian territory (though I'm sure they weren't).


NOT A NEW STORY, UNFORTUNATELY, JUST ONE THAT RESURFACED ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Trump gets 2 scoops of ice cream, everyone else gets 1
Hard-hitting investigative reporting from CNN (kidding, it's actually an article about an interview he did in Time. Interestingly enough, in Time’s own 2500-word article summarizing the interview, the subject of ice cream does not appear; it appears in a separate “Inside the White House” article that resulted from Trump giving 3 Time reporters a tour of the White House and a 4-course dinner).

An interesting display of how media can see the same news in two different ways, from the front page of Google News:

Friday, September 07, 2018


Headlines for Sept. 7, 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. 7, 2018


*U.S. Accuses North Korea of Plot to Hurt Economy as Spy Is Charged in Sony Hack
The US is openly trying to (to put it mildly) hurt the economy not just of the DPRK, but of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria, and probably others I'm forgetting. But some guy allegedly hacking Sony is going to be charged with a crime. And of course the fact that they are suddenly resurrecting this 4-year-old case is no accident.
Interesting, the NYT did mention this: “The complaint described only one side of the yearslong cyberconflict between North Korea and the United States. It made no mention of the American-led attacks on North Korea’s missile program, ordered by President Barack Obama months before the Sony attack. And it omitted the source of some of the weapons in the WannaCry attack, which were leaked or stolen from the National Security Agency, though the United States has not publicly conceded that.”

*Nadal survives Russian threat to advance at U.S. Open
Russiagate expands to the sports world. Shades of our very first segment back in February, when we observed a sportswriter referring to teenage female Russian skaters as “the Russian bear baring its teeth”!

*Ex-adviser to Trump says he told Mueller that candidate liked idea of Putin meeting
OMG. The horror. A candidate for President who thinks meeting with foreign leaders is appropriate. [Ex-adviser is Papadopolous]

*The Kremlin Wants Information. To Get It, Agents Show Up With Flowers.
More shocking news — state forces (like the CIA and FBI) try to recruit informants. In other news, a dog bit a man today.

Russian misinformation about 'imminent' White Helmets chemical attack could spell start of Idlib siege
"Speculation is increasing that Syrian government forces could be preparing to a chemical attack to “soften up” rebel defences in Idlib and break the spirit of the local population ahead of a major assault, which is expected imminently."
So Russian claims of a possible false flag chemical attack are "misinformation", while US/UK claims of a possible Syrian chemical attack are just "information".


*Trump suggests protesting should be illegal
70 people were arrested. So apparently it is illegal. Delegitimization and confining of protest has been going on long before Trump!


*Scientists and doctors zap theory that microwave weapon injured Cuba diplomats
*The State Department and the Flying Pig Theory
If you want to explain why pigs fly, first you have to see one flying.
*Cuban scientist rejects microwaves as source of mysterious acoustic attacks on diplomats
"First, it was sonic weapons, now microwave. What's next, kryptonite?"

‘The sleeper cells have awoken’: Trump and aides shaken by ‘resistance’ op-ed
LOL. Also insulting to actual sleeper cells and actual resistance fighters.

Trump Tweets Like 'Messages From Alternative Universe,' China Says
Anyone want to disagree?

Nike’s Moral Arc Bends Toward Sneakers
A cynical business decision? Interestingly, the WSJ agrees with the left

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