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Friday, December 14, 2018


Headlines for Dec. 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) for Dec. 14, 2018

George Bush Was George Bailey: It Was a Wonderful Life

George Bailey changed the lives of all the people around him for the good. Without him, Bedford Falls would have become the nightmarish Potterville. George Bush? Not so much. His legacy included a gruesome death for the Iraqis who died on the Highway of Death, as well as for the AIDS patients who died due to Bush's indifference. And the Panamanians who houses were leveled by Bush's bombs.

*William Blum, U.S. Policy Critic Cited by bin Laden, Dies at 85
An attempt to smear him by associating him with bin Laden. FAIR had the best response with an article entitled “William Blum, US Policy Critic Derided by NYT, Dies at 85” (https://fair.org/home/william-blum-us-policy-critic-derided-by-nyt-dies-at-85/ )
And what is the substance of the NYT headline? Bin Laden said Blum’s Rogue State would be “useful for you to read.” And Blum's problem, per the NYT, is that he "did not disavow the recommendation or express regret that bin Laden, the orchestrator of those attacks, shared his disdain for" US foreign policy.
Also an interesting reminder from FAIR - it was Blum who discovered the first interview given by Zbigniew Brzinski, in French to a French newspaper, in which he talked about the “Afghan trap” by which the US funded bin Laden and other Islamists in order to lure Russian troops into Afghanistan.
NYT: “He also reiterated his unpopular, but not unique, position that American intervention abroad had been breeding enemies and inviting terrorism.” Unpopular with whom? The US ruling class?
Here are two paragraphs from the "Update" to the 2nd edition of Rogue State, written on Sept. 19, 2001, just days after the 9/11 attacks:

It's precise Blum's rejection of the "they hate us for our freedoms" narrative, and his insistence on placing the ultimate blame on U.S. foreign policy, that earned him the enmity of the American ruling class (and possibly one reason why bin Laden recommended people should read his book).
Headline from 25 years ago this week (Dec. 6, 1993): Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace
Yes, you would be correct in remembering that that "anti-Soviet warrior" was none other than Osama bin Laden. Anti-Soviet (or now anti-Russian) attitudes never go out of style in the U.S. ruling class.

The “spy” headlines, the two top headlines on Google News right now:
What you need to know about accused Russian spy Maria Butina’s plea deal
Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina pleads guilty to engaging in conspiracy against US
Both refer to her as an "accused" or "alleged" "Russian spy", which is simply false (if we don't include media allegations, that is). And CNN's claim she was engaged in a "conspiracy against the US" is inflammatory (& nonsense). She was trying to improve Russian-US relations, which all recent US Presidents have seen as a good thing!

But then there are the “Russia” headlines:
Guilty Plea Expected in Case alleging Russia attempting to influence NRA
Mercury News (from the WaPo) Dec. 11
Russian Maria Butina pleads guilty in case to forge Kremlin bond with U.S. conservatives
Maria Butina set to plead guilty to conspiring to act as agent of Kremlin, documents show
Maria Butina Pleads Guilty to Role in a Russian Effort to Influence Conservatives
All of these stories conflate “a Russian” with “Russia” or “the Kremlin”.  Butina’s mentor Torshin, routinely described ominously as a “Russian government official”, was the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and a fellow gun “enthusiast” like Butina, something which is at odds with the position of the Kremlin. Torshin is routinely describe as a “senior Russian politician”. This is like describing Richard H. Clarida as a “senior American politician”. Who, you ask? He’s the Deputy Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. There is NO evidence Butina and Torshin were acting on behalf of “Russia” or of “the Kremlin” in their actions. Their funding came from a private billionaire, not the government. Indeed, the only reference to anyone in the Kremlin is a claim that Torshin told her, in response to her post-election note about creating a dialog with Trump’s advisors, is that he didn’t think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would “go for it”.

Agents of doubt - How a powerful Russian propaganda machine chips away at Western notions of truth
The article goes over many supposedly false theories about what happened to the Skripals that were disseminated by various Russian media outlets. Fair enough. But it neglects to mention the false theories that were disseminated by the UK itself - it was the car vents. It was the food. They were sprayed on the bench where they sat. No it was the door knob. And it neglects, in its more than 4000 words, to note that the British still don't have enough actual evidence to have charged anyone in the crime. In other words, we still don't really know with any level of certainty what exactly happened. Yes, there is strong evidence pointing to the two Russians. But, as noted, evidently not strong enough to actually charge them with anything. So the fact that the article treats that theory as absolutely proven fact also qualifies as propaganda.

Russian bomber touches down on America's doorstep
It's 1300 miles from Miami to Caracas, the distance from Miami to Boston. If you drive from Texas, Venezuela is the EIGHTH country you come to; there are NINE countries you'll pass by if you fly from Miami. But sure, America's "doorstep". Even closer than “America’s backyard”!
Best line coming out of this event? The Russian MoD responded to Pompeo’s criticism of Russian bombers visiting Venezuela, saying: “That’s rich coming from a country half of whose military budget could feed all of Africa”.

*New Congresswoman Will Pay Her Interns $15 An Hour. Is That A Big Deal?
You’re damn right it is! Not only is she only the 4th member of Congress to do so, but she’s responsible for bringing it to national attention and opening up the possibility of a Congressional internship to people of all economic strata.

Why are the ‘yellow vests’ still protesting in France? His name is Macron.
Considering that there are now protests going on in Belgium and the Netherlands, this seems doubtful.

Graham: Saudis would 'be 'speaking Farsi in about a week' without US support against Iran
Lunacy knows no limits.

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