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Friday, February 22, 2019


Headlines for Feb. 22, 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 Feb. 22, 2019

*Threatening U.S., Putin Promises Russians Both Missiles and Butter
“doubling down on threats against the United States.”
*President Vladimir Putin Threatens To Retaliate If U.S. Deploys New Missiles In Europe
https://news.google.com/articles/CCAiC0tRWWpyQzhQMmdrmAEB?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen (Time magazine video)
*Proper headline: Putin warns new weapons will point toward U.S. if missiles are deployed in Europe
“Threatening” is a word often used when a leader of a foreign country, be it Russia as in this case, or Iran or the DPRK etc, says they will take appropriate action IF the U.S. does something. “Promises” or “warns” are the right word. And “retaliation”, the word used by Time, is even worse than “threatening”. “Take comparable action” would be the right description, but obviously, so much less scary.

Today’s #FakeNewsByOmission story — the media blackout of Tulsi Gabbard's campaign
 *It’s Foreign Policy That Distinguishes Bernie This Time
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/foreign-policy-distinguishes-bernie-sanders-2020/583279/ (Peter Beinart)
“Sanders arguably talks about foreign policy more than any other declared candidate does. Over the past two years, Sanders has given two speeches outlining a broad foreign-policy vision.” Wow, two speeches in two years! Not a single mention of Tulsi Gabbard, who makes foreign policy, and in particular opposition to regime change wars like Syria, Libya, and Venezuela, the centerpiece of every speech she gives. Sanders, by the way, has yet to tweet a single time about Venezuela, and the one statement he put out spent more time slamming Maduro than opposing US intervention, and fails to oppose U.S. sanctions.

Left over from last week but still relevant, the media blackout of Tulsi Gabbard
*‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail
Mentions Warren, Gillibrand, Harris & Klobuchar. But not Gabbard, making the headline more than a bit ironic. Coincidence that the only candidate opposed to U.S. regime change wars, and most notably the ongoing coup attempt in Venezuela, is the one omitted? Hardly.
*2020 may be historic for women in more ways than one
Klobuchar, Warren, Harris, Gillibrand all featured, describing their reaction to the SOTU and something about them. Gabbard, who was also watching (and even live-tweeting) the SOTU, makes it as an afterthought in 14th paragraph; other than her name, the article says nothing about her, unlike the others.

*Twitter Revises Data on Russian Trolls and Social-media company says 228 accounts were ‘misidentified’
Changes invalidate key points of previous Bloomberg article
Twitter removed 228 accounts from the Russian IRA dataset because the social-media company now believes these accounts were operated by a different trolling network located in Venezuela.

*‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates
A coordinated barrage of social media attacks suggests the involvement of foreign state actors.
“Not all of the activity is organized. Much of it appears to be organic, a reflection of the politically polarizing nature of some of the candidates.” “Researchers and others interviewed for this story say they cannot conclusively point to the actors behind the coordinated activity. It’s unclear if they are rogue hackers, political activists or, as some contend, foreign state actors such as Russia.”

National Security Expert Warns There's 'A Chance That Vladimir Putin Is Controlling' Trump's White House
National security expert Samantha Vinograd (former member of Obama’s National Security Council and now a National Security Analyst at CNN) has warned that there is “still a chance that Vladimir Putin is controlling” President Donald Trump’s White House. Of course there is no mention of Ukraine, the INF, or any of a myriad of other reasons that demonstrate conclusively that Trump isn’t acting in the interest of Russia.
Also last night on Anderson Cooper, Andrew McCabe, asked if he still think it’s possible that Trump is a Russian asset, says I think it’s possible.

A Staggering Exodus: Millions of Venezuelans Are Leaving the Country, on Foot
No doubt many have left, as did millions of Iraqis when the U.S. invaded that country, and Syrians (who are now returning) when the U.S. fomented a war in that country. And millions of Colombians have fled that country for Venezuela. But "are leaving" is quite misleading; the article says three million have left "in recent years". And who says so? "Researchers". They're not even identified as anonymous "researchers from X University" or something. Just "researchers". The article makes the preposterous claim that "the vast majority come through these treacherous roads in Colombia: a 125-mile journey over a 12,000-foot pass here in the Andes Mountains." If that's so I'll eat my hat.

U.S. Masses Aid Along Venezuelan Border As Some Humanitarian Groups Warn Of Risks
"Some" humanitarian groups aren't warning against the US plan to deliver aid to Venezuela in opposition to its governments wishes; ALL of them are — "the ICRC, UN agencies & other relief organizations" in the words of the very same article! Not one humanitarian group is cited as supporting the US plan. Perhaps that's because, as the article admits, "U.S. officials acknowledge that positioning the aid on the border is, in part, designed to provoke." Of course that "in part" is a euphemism; it means "entirely".

*Venezuela’s Ex-Spy Chief Rejects Maduro, Accusing Leader’s Inner Circle of Corruption
He hasn't been the intelligence chief since 2012, and he's wanted in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges. This couldn't have anything to do with his hoping the U.S. drops the charges, could it?

Venezuela's Opposition Ambassador Takes Control of Embassy in Costa Rica
9 people (bizarrely described as "Venezuela's Opposition Ambassador", based on what we have no idea, presumably self-appointed just like Guaidó) took over the Venezuelan Embassy and got national coverage. On the same day, tens or hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans rallied in support of the government on the Angostura Bridge in the state of Bolivar and went completely unnoticed by the corporate media.

Friday, February 15, 2019


Headlines for Feb. 15, 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 Feb. 15, 2019

*U.S. Sanctions Are Aimed at Venezuela’s Oil. Its Citizens May Suffer First.
There’s no “may” about it, and it’s a present reality, not a future possibility, because sanctions, especially financial sanctions, have been in place long before new sanctions on oil. But most importantly, the first half of the headline is a lie. Sanctions are always aimed to make ordinary people suffer, so that they’ll force their government out. The mechanism may be oil (although it’s actually mostly financial), but the aim is to make people suffer.
For a reminder of what sanctions really are, you only need to read this State Department document from 1960, describing their plan for Cuba: https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v06/d499 An excerpt: "every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba…to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government." This is exactly the same in Venezuela today, just as in the DPRK, Iran, still in Cuba, and in many other countries now and through the years.

As Venezuela’s opposition mounts another day of protest, Maduro’s inner circle remains intact
As with other coverage of Venezuela, what’s missing is the role of the masses. Headline could read, “Maduro’s mass support remains intact”. WaPo does mention “smaller” rally of government supporters, but not until 12th paragraph. Mercury News version only included the first 8 paragraphs, though, so no mention there at all. And still no mention in any corporate media of the massive anti-intervention petition campaign underway.
*Robert Reich: America Is a Socialist Country for the Rich
America is a kleptocracy for the rich, not a "socialist country". Reich's conclusion rests on this ridiculous basis: "In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing." So, based on this absurd definition of socialism provided by "the conservative mind", Reich concludes that banks and others getting huge tax breaks are the beneficiaries of "socialism". Unbelievable.

The corporate whiteout of the campaign of Tulsi Gabbard, the latest example of #FakeNewsByOmission. No major outlet (NYT, WaPo, others) had a major article (or any article) about Gabbard’s announcement, which featured a powerful speech containing, among other things, a powerful antiwar message. NYT carried a Reuters article online (don’t know if it appeared in the print edition); WaPo had nothing. CNN had a graphic that featured 12 candidates, many of them unannounced. Missing: Gabbard. An accident that she happens to be the one candidate vocally opposing U.S. regime change efforts in Syria and Venezuela? Hardly. Some more examples.

‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail
Mentions Warren, Gillibrand, Harris & Klobuchar. But not Gabbard, making the headline more than a bit ironic.
2020 may be historic for women in more ways than one
Klobuchar, Warren, Harris, Gillibrand all featured, describing their reaction to the SOTU and something about them. Gabbard, who was also watching the SOTU (I assume!), makes it as an afterthought in 14th paragraph; other than her name, the article says nothing about her, unlike the others.
Democrats’ 2020 Choice: Do They Want a Fighter or a Healer?
Mentions Booker, Harris, Warren, Gillibrand, as well as unannounced candidates Biden, Brown, O'Rourke, Sanders & Bloomberg. But not Gabbard.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is officially running for president in 2020, joining a crowded and diverse field of Democratic candidates vying for the nomination.
Mentions Warren, Gillibrand, Harris, and Booker, as well as possible candidates Brown and Sanders. But not Gabbard.

*Crystal Meth Is North Korea’s Trendiest Lunar New Year’s Gift
Is it? How do we know? Because “several anonymous sources” told the U.S. government (in the form of Radio Free Asia) so, claims which even the NYT admits “could not be independently verified”. But that didn’t prevent them from running the definitive claim as their headline!

Inside Paul Manafort's 2016 meeting with a Russian operative
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFAj-gQoxCA  (Washington Post video)
Description says Konstantin Kilimnik is a "Russian political operative". He is Russian, and he is a "political operative" (as well as an employee of Manafort). But describing him as a "Russian operative" makes him sound like something very different. Media frequently describe him as "tied to Russian intelligence". However there is NO publicly known information that supports that description.

Students go wild at school as Denver teachers strike over pay
They were dancing in the hallways. OMG. The real story which should have been the headline: "Many of the students who left for the day joined their picketing teachers, according to Pence. “We all support the teachers,” Pence said. “They deserve better pay for what they put up with."

U.S. cyber force credited with helping stop Russia from undermining midterms
“one [senator] suggesting it was largely due to U.S. Cyber Command that the Russians failed to affect the 2018 vote.” Delusional. There’s zero evidence Russia had any interest in the midterms whatsoever, or that the “cyber force” actually did anything. Who exactly were they trying to get elected? “Last week the Justice and Homeland Security departments reported there was no evidence that any foreign government had “a material impact” on the election or campaign infrastructure.” There’s also evidence (that we’re told about at least) that they even tried to do so!

*New York Returns 25,000 Jobs to Amazon
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/amazon-new-york.html [NYT editorial]
Um no, no they didn’t. Amazon held out the promise of 25,000 jobs in 20 years. How many of those would have materialized is anyone’s guess, but chances are (based on past examples of such promises) it would have been less, even substantially less.

Friday, February 08, 2019


Headlines for Feb. 8, 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 Feb. 8, 2019

*Who’s Afraid of Socialism?
The new Democratic agenda sure looks like government control over the means of production.


[WSJ editorial] The means of production? Really? The article talks about the Green New Deal, as if, for example, the plan’s proposal to replace all cars with electric cars by 2030 isn’t going to mean a massive increase of private business, i.e., GM & Tesla & Ford etc producing millions of new cars. They talk of Medicare for All as if insurance companies, which the government would replace in some versions of M4A, are the “means of production”. The weirdest line, and the only one actually about a takeover of the means of production, is this: “Ms. Warren’s plan to set up a government-owned generic drug maker that would inevitably put private companies out of business because its cost of capital would be zero.” Apparently the WSJ doesn’t understand the meaning of the word capital since they believe this mythical company could manufacture drugs without factories or machines; presumably they’ll just have workers mixing up drugs with mortars and pestles like an old-time apothecary.. Nor do they seem to understand the value of patent protection; it’s the drugs that are under patent protection, not the ones now with generic competition, that make the most profits for the drug companies.

*Venezuelans Opposed to Maduro Pour Into Streets for Day of Protests
Chavista rally finally makes it into the article…in the 32nd paragraph! Some interesting lines: “The turnout was far smaller than that of the opposition, experts said.” Experts? “Francisco Rodríguez, an economist at Torino Capital, said the firm had estimated turnout at over 800,000 people. [for the pro-coup rally]” I wasn’t aware financial firms had expertise in crowd estimates. One picture has a caption: “Thousands attended what appeared to be a counter-rally to Mr. Guaidó‘s to show their support for Mr. Maduro.” Picture shows a sign reading “Yankee Go Home!”
*Venezuela’s Opposition Stages Massive Protests
Chavista rally makes it into the 16th paragraph, described as “smaller” but with no estimate of crowd size.
By the way: A Fox News report from a reporter in Caracas talked about “dueling protests” in Venezuela on Saturday and referred to “tens of thousands” on both sides. So an honest reporter on the spot certainly had access to accurate information. It's just that some media outlets choose not to report it.

*Venezuela’s Crisis Spreads Beyond Its Borders
The citizens of Venezuela have become pawns in a global power game. They need a peaceful and rapid resolution to the crisis.
Nonsense. What’s happening is a struggle between US imperialism and the popular will of the people of Venezuela. NYT wants to bring in Russia just to enlist the Russophobes in this cause. It wasn’t Russia or China or Turkey who brought Chávez and then Maduro to power, it was the Venezuelan people. And, the NYT’s claim that only “the army and die-hard leftists” are still standing with Maduro is belied by the hundreds of thousands who have come out in the streets in support of the government. If only the NYT had reported on those demonstrations, maybe the editorial board would know about them.

*Cuban, Hezbollah and Iranian cells drawn to embattled Venezuela: Mike Pompeo
Sheer insanity (admittedly on the part of Pompeo, not the headline writer). “Hezbollah has active cells.” “The Cubans invaded Venezuela. The Cubans have been controlling the security apparatus, protecting Maduro and destroying the way of life for the Venezuelan people for an awfully long time.” Destroying the way of life? Cuban doctors have restored the sight of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans! (just to name one positive contribution of Cuba in Venezuela) Incidentally Iran is only in the headline because Hezbollah=Iran in the minds of the media & US government; he doesn’t even allege Iran is directly involved.

Venezuela crisis sees US humanitarian aid at border as Nicolas Maduro under mounting pressure from Juan Guaido
No, they are under mounting pressure from imperialism (especially US imperialism); they are under no pressure from Juan Guaidó, whose forces have not yet seized a single government building or media outlet (well, they don't have to do the latter, since the right-wing controls many of them in this supposedly "dictatorial" country).

UN rejects Venezuela’s Guaido, will only cooperate with recognized government of Maduro
Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens
Two prime example of #FakeNewsByOmission. Both stories, both significant, have received ZERO coverage in U.S. corporate media as far as I can find. The name “Alfred de Zayas”, the UN rapporteur in question, has literally never appeared in either the NY Times or Washington Post.
Who represents Venezuela? U.N., international lenders stuck in limbo
Reuters is the only news agency to talk about the U.N., and they get it wrong. The U.N. Is not “stuck in limbo”. The U.N. recognizes and deals with the Maduro government, full stop.

Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard
RT & Sputnik, which are no more “propaganda” than NBC (or CNN or the NYT or WaPo etc) dared to run positive articles about Gabbard. The real scandal is the underreporting of Gabbard by the corporate media. She announced for President on Saturday and gave a strong speech, speaking out against regime change, against neocons and neolibs who demand permanent war. The next day both the NYT and WaPo (and other corporate outlets) had stories on Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and not a word about Gabbard’s announcement speech. Sunday night ABC had a brief roundup of Democratic announcements; they gave equal time to a clip from Gabbard’s speech (not centering on her antiwar message) and a clip from Pete Buttigieg (who? He’s the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana!).
But the biggest scandal of all isn’t the claim that RT & Sputnik are daring to report on Gabbard. It’s the claim of a “Russian bot” social media campaign. Or rather, the “stirrings of a possible campaign of support.” And who says so? “Analysts at New Knowledge.” And who is “New Knowledge”? The company that just got caught by the New York Times fabricating Russian troll accounts on behalf of the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to manufacture false accusations that the Kremlin was interfering in that election. The company whose CEO had his account closed by FB because of this fraud!

Russia’s Playbook for Social Media Disinformation Has Gone Global
NYT says “Russia created a playbook for spreading disinformation on social media. Now the rest of the world is following it” but then notes that most disinformation related to voter suppression, like tweeting “incorrect dates for the election or that falsely claimed that ICE was patrolling polling stations,” which has been a staple of US dirty tricks since before Russia existed. Just because it’s now being done by FB and not phone calls or flyers doesn’t make it “Russia’s playbook”. “Twitter said on Thursday that countries including Bangladesh and Venezuela had been using social media to disseminate government talking points.” No, they banned accounts “based in Venezuela suspected of attempting to “influence domestic audiences””, in other words, Venezuelans who support the government and wanted to share their views; the claim that this was a “state-backed influence campaign” was made by Twitter but was made utterly without proof; there is no evidence that “Venezuela” (i.e., the government) had anything to do with these accounts. And, just a reminder, “The campaigns tied to various governments — as well as privately held accounts in the United States — followed a pattern similar to Russian disinformation efforts before and after the 2016 presidential election. Millions of people were targeted by content designed to widen political and social divisions among Americans.” That is, you and I are mimicking “Russian disinformation efforts” by saying anything that will “widen political or social divisions among Americans.” God forbid.

Sweden's first new conscripts prepare to repel Russian invaders
WTF? When I saw the headline, I thought maybe it referred to an “invasion” of beatles or some other insects from Russia? No, they’re talking about a *real* invasion.

Twitter suspends anti-Kamala Harris accounts suspected of being trolls
One of the 2 accounts in question has been reliably verified, by people including well-known reporter Matt Taibbi, to be a real person. What does it mean to call him a “troll”? The only activity identified is posting factual information about Harris; how does that make you a “troll”?

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