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Friday, December 21, 2018


Headlines for Dec. 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) for Dec. 21, 2018

*Uber driver, 27, 'who tried to attack police with a Samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace' tells court he became angry after watching TV channel Russia Today
It wasn’t RT that made him angry, it was the US/UK/Saudi war on Yemen, in particular a double-tap strike on a wedding. So the implication of the headline is that RT should simply not report the news.

Russians sought to recruit 'assets' through social media, Senate told
In one instance, through its page "Army of Jesus," which was targeting Christians, the group offered "free counseling to people with sexual addiction," New Knowledge found. The phony counseling service could have created an opportunity to blackmail or manipulate individuals who availed of it, the report notes  "Recruiting an asset by exploiting a personal vulnerability -- usually a secret that would inspire shame or cause personal or financial harm if exposed -- is a timeless espionage practice," it says. New Knowledge says that it is not known whether anyone took up the offer of counseling. The “sexual addiction” was masturbation, and I’m pretty sure you can’t be blackmailed because you masturbate too much. And also, recruiting random “assets” who work as truck drivers, or doctors, or construction workers, or lawyers, is an absurd idea. You recruit assets who work for the government or in sensitive industries, not random people over the internet.

*A look at US involvement in Syria’s civil war
The irony of referring to "Syria's civil war" on the same day we're talking about withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria seems lost on them. Not to mention the entire article makes it look as if the entire U.S. involvement is limited to fighting ISIS, with nary a mention of the U.S. arming and funding of rebel groups fighting the government.

The Real Story of the Flynn Hearing
by Michael Ledeen, not an admirable character. That being said, how can you write an article entitled "the real story", mention the judge's talk of "treason", and not mention "Turkey" in the story? A Dana Milbank column in the WaPo, though lacking an enticing headline, commits exactly the same sin, mentioning “foreign agent” twice but “Turkey” not at all.

*More than 1.4 billion pounds of cheese are reportedly stuck in warehouses — and millennials' refusal to eat American cheese is part of the problem
Yes, millennials, just  like a lot of older people, have now realized that there is better-tasting and healthier cheese than American cheese. But really this is a multilevel “this is capitalism” story. On the one hand, competition and a lack of central planning result in the oversupply of a commodity, in this case, American cheese. On the other, a story about a country where people go hungry while food sits in warehouses.

Mueller Probe Cost $25 Million So Far, Report Says. It’s Pulled in $48 Million From Tax Cheats
The implication of course is that has anything to do with Mueller's *Trump-Russia collusion* investigation, when in fact it has *nothing* to do with that. The government could have been (and should have been) investigating tax cheats (like Cohen and Manafort) any time.

U.S. official says Washington reviewing North Korea travel ban
Misleading. The US is considering allowing Americans to travel to the DPRK with humanitarian aid. Nothing to indicate they are reviewing the actual travel ban which prevents ordinary Americans from simply visiting the DPRK.

*Homelessness Rises Slightly Despite Strong Economy, Federal Report Finds
Here in Silicon Valley (and undoubtedly in many other places), the headline should read “because of a strong economy”, not “despite” it. The irrationality of capitalism.

Glee in Russia Over Trump’s Foreign Policy Largess
Withdrawing from countries that you illegally invaded, occupied, and bombed, is now "largess"

"Donald's Right": Putin Welcomes U.S. Withdrawal From Syria
The NYT's way of informing their readers they should not support the withdrawal, although Putin's agreement with Trump was basically about his statement that ISIS has been defeated in Syria. The Times disingenuously includes the claim that "analysts estimate it still commands a force of 15,000 fighters", but that is the combined total for Iraq and Syria; Syria is supposedly substantially less, more like 2000.
But thankfully, this article resulted in this rare (virtually non-existent) admission (even if coming from Putin) in the NYT: "Mr. Putin reiterated the Kremlin position that American forces have no legal right to be in Syria, in that they were neither invited by Damascus, as the Russian forces were, nor authorized by the United Nations Security Council." Of course it's not the "Kremlin position", it's the position of international law.

How a National Security Investigation of Huawei Set Off an International Incident
There is, in fact, no evidence that there has ever been a serious "national security investigation" of Huawei, because there is absolutely no evidence on which to base such an investigation. But the Times makes up the following excuses:
"Former federal prosecutors said pursuing Ms. Meng, 46, for alleged bank fraud proved to be a better line of attack than trying to build a case on national security grounds." That's because THEY HAD NO CASE.
"Criminally charging Huawei or its executives for espionage or other security crimes was not likely to be simple. Former federal prosecutors said doing so often risked exposing the sources of confidential information."
Always a convenient excuse to claim you've got evidence but can't tell anyone about it.

Rubio Received $1.5M In Campaign Donations From Russian Oligarch-Linked Firm
The man in question, Len Blavatnik, was born in Ukraine, moved to the US in the late 70s, and holds dual U.S.-U.K. citizenship. But he’s still a “Russian oligarch” when you want to advance Russiagate theories. Note this is from “The Intellectualist”, not the NYT or WaPo or some other widely read source. But in this age of social media, that doesn’t matter; a story like this can just as easily show up in your social media feed via one of your friends (as it did me) as one from a more well-known source.

Why is the Chinese government trying to buy a music school In New Jersey?
Fox News story: https://video.foxnews.com/v/5981697712001/?#sp=show-clips
First of all, the company trying to buy the Westminster Choir College is not "the Chinese government". It is a company whose part owner (16-32%) is the Haidan District Committee; Haidan is one district of many in one city in China, Beijing (population 3.2M out of 1.9B in China, so 0.16% of China's population.
FOX: "It's a top American college that critics say is being targeted by China". "Could eventually shut it down or change its mission". "Beijing would have a direct foothold in American academia".
"I don't think it's a coincidence that the government of China is focussing its attention on this tiny music school in one of the most sensitive centers for intelligence and defense research in the world". "Focussing its attention"? This is a $56M deal!!! Chicken feed!
"FBI has warned that China could be expanding on US campuses for its own national interests".
Reality: "board and administration reached out to hundreds of conservatories, colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, to see if they would be interested in buying Westminster." The Chinese company was the only taker.
“We’re going to see that their academic freedom will now be subject to control by government bureaucrats in Beijing.”
As the NPR story points out, Western classical music is now huge in China.

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