Be sure to follow me on Twitter @leftiblog

Friday, January 25, 2019


Headlines for Jan. 25, 2019

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 time slot.
Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for Jan. 25, 2019

*Outraged Maduro Cuts Ties with U.S. After Opposition Leader Declares Himself Venezuela’s President
What a dishonest headline. The reason Maduro cut ties wasn't Guaidó, it was Trump's *recognition* of Guaidó as the "President" of Venezuela. Once again, the NYT evidently heard criticism (and likely not from just me), because the current headline now reads “After U.S. Backs Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s Leader, Maduro Cuts Ties”.

*Cuba Out of Venezuela
Friends of democracy need to target Havana’s control in Caracas.
With flagrant U.S. intervention ongoing in Venezuela, the WSJ thinks *Cuban* intervention is the problem. “Cuba is the imperial power in Caracas” says the WSJ. Also “Russia certainly wouldn’t mind a Syrian-style civil war in Venezuela that spread more chaos in the Americas and more opportunity to undermine democratic governments.” Absolutely delusional.

*D.N.C. Says It Was Targeted Again by Russian Hackers After ’18 Election
11th paragraph: “FireEye said that although Cozy Bear was the likeliest culprit, the firm could not firmly establish who was responsible for the 2018 campaign against the D.N.C. and other targets. CrowdStrike, another cybersecurity firm, also noted an uptick in hacking activity in November, but it could not say definitively that Cozy Bear was to blame.”

*Israel strikes Iranian targets in Damascus after missile fired at Golan Heights
*Israel Confirms Attacks on Iranian Targets in Syria
*Israel makes rare admission of striking Iranian forces in Syria
You can only "confirm" something or "admit" something if it's true. Both of these headlines should read "Israel CLAIMS to have struck Iranian forces in Syria"
"The strikes, which hit targets including a training camp, munitions storage depots and a site at the Damascus International Airport and were reported by Russia to have killed at least four Syrian servicemen, came after a day of escalation in Syria on Sunday." Strange that they hit "Iranian" targets and the only people reported killed were Syrians. Also note how the "Reported by Russia" is implicitly linked to the previous statements, as if it were Russia, and not Israel, which claimed the targets included a training camp, a munitions storage depot, and "a site" (whatever that means) at Damascus Airport.

A series of headlines from just the WaPo about the “Trump ordered Cohen to lie” story:
Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about Moscow project, report says
Trump reportedly told Michael Cohen to lie. His own attorney general pick testified that's a crime.
Why the BuzzFeed Trump-Cohen story could be the most damning to date
Five big takeaways from the stunning report that Trump told Cohen to lie

The BuzzFeed story about Trump telling Cohen to lie was front page material in the print NYT yesterday. Mueller’s denial is on p. 11.

Reports of damning Mueller findings prompt people to consider possibility of 'President Pelosi'
Huh? The "damning Mueller findings" (which, by the way, were denied by Mueller) about Trump ordering Cohen to lie have nothing to do with Vice-President Pence. So how exactly are they supposed to result in the impeachment not just of Trump but of Pence as well? The “people” in the headline, by the way, refers to random people on Twitter.

*FBI in shutdown: 'We can't pay informants’
At last, something to like about the shutdown: “FBI agents complained Monday that the month-old US government shutdown is preventing them from paying informants, buying drugs undercover in narcotics busts, and even renewing their own security clearances.”

Three hard-left women is a recipe for Democratic disaster in 2020
Hard-left, LOL. By the way the three are Harris, Gillibrand, and Warren; they don’t even mention Gabbard.

U.S. military leaders 'embarrassed' by Trump's Syria plan, Kurdish commander says
Wouldn't you want to talk to the actual alleged U.S. military leaders who are allegedly embarrassed, rather than taking the word of someone with an obvious vested interest in keeping U.S. troops there? Who should be embarrassed is NBC News.

Why Infants May Be More Likely to Die in America Than Cuba
There’s no “may be” about it. From the article: “The infant mortality rate in Cuba is only 4.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. In the United States, it’s 5.9. In other words, an American infant is, by official statistics, almost 50 percent more likely to die than a Cuban infant. That means that 7,500 American kids die each year because we don’t have as good an infant mortality rate as Cuba.”

Friday, January 18, 2019


Headlines for Jan. 18, 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 time slot.

Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for Jan. 18, 2019

*North Korea’s Less-Known Military Threat: Biological Weapons
An utterly scurrilous, evidence-free article filled with speculation. DPRK has a biotech program (just like the U.S., Cuba, and dozens of other countries). It’s called “science”. Article even admits “Today, the North might well have no bioweapons at all” but then ominously adds “just research, prototypes, human testing, and the ability to rush into industrial production.” None of which is backed by actual evidence. It even admits “United States intelligence officials have not publicly endorsed those findings.” “Findings” which are not findings at all, just speculation. And, not coincidentally given the presence of John Bolton in the Administration (and potential upcoming ROC-DPRK and DPRK-USA summits), identical to the biological weapon charge hurled at Cuba during the Bush Administration, which was equally unfounded. He also accused the DPRK of the same thing at the same time.
And, just as in Cuba, where it was the U.S. that used biological weapons like dengue fever, there is also credible evidence that the U.S. used biological weapons against the DPRK during the Korean War:

*Facebook Identifies Russia-Linked Misinformation Campaign
Despite the use of the word "misinformation" in the headline & "disinformation" in the first sentence (and the term “Fake News” in my local paper, the Mercury News), there is not ONE example of any incorrect or even misleading information that was posted. Indeed, the only reference to content is "some presented negative views toward NATO and the treatment of ethnic Russians in Baltic countries." "Negative views toward NATO" are *opinions*, not mis- or disinformation. And in an irony alert, this: "Ben Nimmo, a research fellow at the Atlantic Council…said FB's decision to block Sputnik-linked accounts was significant because of the agency’s direct ties to the Kremlin." Not mentioned? The Atlantic Council’s ties to NATO! And, by the way, why are Russians not permitted to share their opinion of NATO as much as Americans, British, French, Italians, or anyone else?

*Jailed model who claimed she has dirt on Russian oligarch speaks out
Anastasia Vashukevich "spoke out" to say she can't wait to be released and is looking forward to a free life. Which provides a convenient excuse for CBS to rehash all the claims that she had dirt on Deripaska talking about Russian interference, without the slightest shred of credibility.
*Model who claimed U.S.-Russian collusion tape held in Moscow on prostitution charges
Just a way of keeping the word "collusion" in the headlines and in people's minds; when you get to the 4th paragraph, you read: "No evidence has emerged of the tape that Vashukevich claimed showed contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians."

*Kamala Harris Is Hard to Define Politically. Maybe That’s the Point.
Really? She’s an utterly typical centrist Democrat, a more likeable version of Hillary Clinton.

*Pompeo Presses Saudi leader on War, Murder, and Rights Abuses
Says who? The original article contained not a word to support the use of the headline. But by the next day, the headline was changed to “Pompeo Says He Pressed Saudi Leader on War and Rights Abuses” and the first sentence of the article repeats that claim.

What if the Obstruction Was the Collusion? On the New York Times’s Latest Bombshell
This literally makes no sense. Why would you collude with Russia to obstruct an investigation into something that didn’t happen? And what did Russia do to aid the obstruction anyway?

*Iran nuclear weapons: How many nuclear weapons does Tehran have?
"Iran considers its space programme “a matter of national pride”, although an exact number of nuclear weapons is not known." Actually, it is known. It's a very small number. Zero.

As Maduro clashes with opposition, Washington engages in ‘careful little dance’ with Venezuela
The “careful little dance” consists entirely of not cutting off diplomatic relations. Outside of that it’s a full-on regime change effort.

The 1 giant question Donald Trump still hasn't answered on Russia
What is the "1 giant question"? Not "are you a Russian agent", but "why did you keep your meeting with Putin secret?" Does CNN's Chris Cillizza really think that if Trump spoke openly with Putin about how he was committing treason that Tillerson, who was at that meeting and is clearly no fan of Trump, wouldn't have talked?

*Rand Paul Heading To Canada, Land Of Universal Health Care, For Surgery
A widely reported attempt at a “gotcha” for the opponent of Obamacare, but totally misleading. The hospital he’s going to is a private hospital, world-renowned for hernia surgery and he’s paying out of pocket (an option most Americans and Canadians can’t even consider due to cost). So the implication that Paul’s action is somehow an endorsement of a single-payer system or any kind of socialized medicine is just nonsense.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Headlines for Jan. 11, 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 time slot.

‘No different from my original statements’: Trump denies changes to Syria exit plan
Stop putting Trump's lies in the headline without rebuttal!!! Proper headline: "'No different from my original statements': Trump lies about changes to Syria exit plan"
Not until the 5th paragraph do we read: “Both his comments and Trump’s conflict with officials’ initial statements following the president’s unexpected Dec. 19 announcement that all troops would come home in short order.”
[Article revised: now in the 3rd paragraph: Last month, Trump declared the Islamic State defeated in Syria and said troops would be “coming back now.”]

‘I been eatin like a boss’: Federal prisoners served steak by unpaid guards during shutdown
For the first 12 hours online, this article was accompanied by a picture of a high-end restaurant steak on fine china! Aside from the absurd portrayal of prisoners living high off the hog, the story buries the real lede — unpaid guards having to take second jobs just to be able to afford gas money to get to their first job! And, get ready — “prisoners in Minnesota got chicken wings on New Year’s Day.” Whoa, chicken wings! What do they normally get, gizzards? Needless to say, no mention of the paltry amounts spent per prisoner per day on food in federal prisons, which would upset the story line. Also worth noting: the quote in the headline comes from an email allegedly sent by an inmate, read by prison guards and forwarded to their union President who made it public by revealing it to a reporter, a gross violation of the prisoner’s privacy.

Paul Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian associate, according to court filing
Mueller Thinks Paul Manafort Shared Trump Polling Data With Russian Operative
Trump’s Campaign Manager Gave Polling Data to Russian Agent (by Jonathan Chait)
"Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence agent."
Kilimnik was a translator for the Soviet Army *more than 30 years ago*. There is ZERO EVIDENCE he is a "Russian intelligence agent". Maybe he is, but there is no publicly known information which would suggest that. And, by the way, the MI/WI polling data Manafort allegedly shared with Kilimnik to allegedly share with Derepaska to allegedly share with Putin? It couldn’t have been very effective, because the IRA spent less than $3000 on ads targeted on MI and WI, and almost all of that was spent during the primary season, and none of it mentioned Trump! [https://www.burr.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Chairman's%20SFR.pdf]
This is exactly what collusion looks like

Headline you didn’t expect to see in the WaPo:
That sophisticated, specific Russian 2016 voter targeting effort doesn’t seem to exist
The WaPo finally discussing what was in the Burr report (see link above) from Nov. *2017* — the idea that the IRA campaign was aimed at the election, much less at electing Trump, is a joke, totally unsupported by the data. Using actual data (imagine that!) to prove there was no targeting effort aimed at electing Trump. “The black bars indicate campaigns that ran in October 2016 or in the first eight days of November; that is, until Election Day. You’ll notice that two of the states where the most ads ran were Texas and New York — neither of which was considered close in the final weeks of the campaign. States that Trump won narrowly — specifically Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — saw very few campaigns and, per our count, were seen by fewer than 1,000 people in the last five weeks before the election.”

Could a Chinese-made Metro car spy on us? Many experts say yes.
Oy vey.
“The warnings sound like the plot of a Hollywood spy thriller: The Chinese hide malware in a Metro rail car’s security camera system that allows surveillance of Pentagon or White House officials as they ride the Blue Line — sending images back to Beijing. Or sensors on the train secretly record the officials’ conversations. Or a flaw in the software that controls the train — inserted during the manufacturing process — allows it to be hacked by foreign agents or terrorists to cause a crash.”
“China’s attack on our rail system is insidious and ingenious,” retired Army Brig. Gen. John Adams wrote. By “attack” he means their desire to sell products they make. By the way, any government official who is discussing sensitive information while riding the Metro should be fired for gross stupidity in the first place. Also by the way, I don’t know if these new train cars have WiFi available for passengers, but if they do, that would be a lot more of concern then the security cameras or “hidden sensors”, and it would apply to a a lot more than just hypothetical Chinese spying.

Veselnitskaya, Russian in Trump Tower Meeting, Is Charged in Case That Shows Kremlin Ties
Not just "ties", but "close ties" according to the article. The Kremlin? She talked with a Russian prosecutor. That's hardly the same as "the Kremlin", much less "close ties".

Trump administration officials admit mistakes while trying to tie terrorism to southern border
Those were not "mistakes", they were intentional lies to mislead the public. Why give them the cover of pretending they were "mistakes"?

Rashida Tlaib’s Expletive-Laden Cry to Impeach Trump Upends Democrats’ Talking Points
Since when does one expletive become “expletive-laden”? And the whole framing is ridiculous anyway; various Democrats (not the leadership) have been talking about impeachment since practically Day 1 of Trump’s Presidency; Brad Sherman has filed articles of impeachment. How did Tlaib’s comment “upend Democrat talking points”?

Friday, January 04, 2019


Headlines for Jan. 4, 2019

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 time slot.
Worst, Most Misleading & Funniest Headlines for Jan. 4, 2019

*A rare moment of praise to start the show for this headline: “Trump falsely claims Mexico is paying for wall, demands taxpayer money for wall ahead of meeting with Democrats”
"His comments, many of which were inaccurate or exaggerated"
"He said, for example, that there were between 30 million and 35 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, roughly three times as many as most experts believe."
"He wrote that Mexico would be paying for the wall along the U.S. border under the parameters of a trade deal he has tentatively inked with Mexico and Canada. This is not true."

But on the other hand…
*Trump’s bizarre history lesson on the Soviet Union, Russia and Afghanistan
Trump said “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.” which threw the establishment into apoplexy. But here’s part of the WaPo fact-check: “There was ultimately a problem with extremism in Afghanistan, but it developed largely after the USSR left, and the mujahideen groups that sprang up to fight the Soviets devolved into the Taliban.” In fact the mujahedin “sprang up” to overthrow the socialist PDPA government, not to fight the Russians, and the fact that the US was arming the mujahedin *before* Soviet troops were sent to Afghanistan, precisely to lure them into a quagmire? No mention. This is not disputed history. It’s acknowledged fact — Carter & Brezinski’s “Afghan Trap”.

*A Day, a Life: When a Medic Was Killed in Gaza, Was It an Accident?
Subhead: “When an Israeli soldier killed Rouzan al-Najjar, Palestinians called her an innocent martyr and Israel portrayed her as a threat. The truth is more complicated.
“An investigation by The New York Times found that Ms. Najjar, and what happened on the evening of June 1, were far more complicated than either narrative allowed.”
Really? Doesn’t sound that complicated: “The bullet that killed her, The Times found, was fired by an Israeli sniper into a crowd that included white-coated medics in plain view. A detailed reconstruction, stitched together from hundreds of crowd-sourced videos and photographs, shows that neither the medics nor anyone around them posed any apparent threat of violence to Israeli personnel. Though Israel later admitted her killing was unintentional, the shooting appears to have been reckless at best, and possibly a war crime, for which no one has yet been punished.”
And by the way, Israeli snipers never just randomly fire “into a crowd”. Their targets are deliberately chosen. And their aim is assured by the best weapons American money can buy.
Headline should have read: “When a medic was killed in Gaza, it was no accident.”

*What a loan to Le Pen tells us about Russian foreign influence campaigns
The answer is: nothing. A colleague of Le Pen talked to a friend in the Russian Duma who arranged a loan (for her party, not for her personally) from a Russian bank (which later went bankrupt and was taken to court by the Russian government, so presumably not actually a bank in the favor of the government). Reporter: “What kind of conversations that member of the Russian Parliament had with Putin, or not, or with the Kremlin, or not, we don’t actually know.” Then he says: “This member of the Russian Parliament used one of these Russian banks…to offer money to Marine Le Pen’s party following that direction from the government that was ‘Let’s find ways to support far-right parties.”

U.S. intel sources say retired Marine held in Moscow is no spy
I have no idea if he is or isn’t a spy. But the *last* group I’d believe on the subject are “U.S. intel sources”.

*Socialism Rising: Dems take House pushing massive government expansion, as party lurches left
If only.

War is complicated. Decisions about it can’t be made in 280 characters.
An op-ed in the WaPo. It’s author? Patti Davis. Her qualifications? Daughter of Ronald Reagan.

Gatwick drone sightings may have been of police equipment, chief constable admits
The story keeps getting funnier and funnier. First they said there might not have been a drone at all, now they say it might have been a police drone!

Ukraine Makes Birthday of Nazi Collaborator a National Holiday and Bans Book Critical of Anti-Semitic Leader
This development was covered in the Russian press and the Israeli press, but, aside from this Newsweek article, not a word in the American media.

Arms Sales to Saudis Leave American Fingerprints on Yemen’s Carnage
On the one hand, ok, fingerprints do often identify the murderer. But “fingerprints” just sounds so dainty, and, as the article itself makes clear, are *way* more extensive than just arms sales. You don’t need fingerprints when you have video of the murder!
“American mechanics service the jet and carry out repairs on the ground. American technicians upgrade the targeting software and other classified technology, which Saudis are not allowed to touch. The pilot has likely been trained by the United States Air Force. And at a flight operations room in the capital, Riyadh, Saudi commanders sit near American military officials who provide intelligence and tactical advice, mainly aimed at stopping the Saudis from killing Yemeni civilians.”

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.
Nonsense. Yes, there are bot farms boosting views on YouTube, or giving people like Roy Moore fake Russian followers on Twitter. But the idea that "a lot" of "the Internet" is fake is nonsense. 99% of people spend 99% percent of their time interacting with real websites doing real things, including buying things, interacting with their friends, watching videos, playing games, reading news (almost all of it real), and everything else that happens on the Internet.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com High Class Blogs: News and Media