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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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