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Old 2019-04-07, 20:12   #111
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Fake News After Mueller | Raul Ilargi, The Automatic Earth
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Allow me to start with a question: Has anyone seen any of the main newspapers and networks who went after Donald Trump for 3 years accusing him of colluding with “the Russians”, apologize to either Trump, or to their readers and viewers, for spreading all that fake news now that Robert Mueller said none of that stuff was real, that they all just made it up?

I’ve seen only one such apology, albeit a very good and thorough one, from Sharyl Attkisson for The Hill. But one is a very meager harvest of course. With over 500,000 articles on collusion published on the topic, as Axios said -leading to 245 million social media ‘interactions’, shouldn’t there be more apologies, if only so people can hold on to their faith in US media for a while longer?
[…]
What we can learn from it is that we can no longer trust the media we once had confidence in. Those days are gone and they won’t be back. They’ve been lying for a long time for their 30 pieces of silver, and once your credibility is gone, it’s gone for good.

That, by the way, is why we need Julian Assange so much, because we know he doesn’t lie. But of course that little fact has also already been buried in a big pile of fake news.

Orwell would be delighted.
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Old 2019-04-26, 20:42   #112
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o Current Affairs offers a Matt-Taibbi-esque skewering of a certain well-known NYT pundit:

Exclusive: Six Upcoming Thomas L. Friedman Columns | Current Affairs

o And speaking of Taibbi himself:

Russiagate was journalist QAnon: The Mueller report reveals: three years of news coverage was insane conspiracy theory.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2019-04-26 at 20:47
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Old 2019-05-12, 22:03   #113
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Media Amplify Iran War Propaganda - Play Up Intelligence Lies | Moon of Alabama

Featuring the usual prominent assortment of beltway upwards-failers, including this one:
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The CIA's Iran operations are run by Mike D'Andrea, also known as the CIA's undertaker for his prominent role in so called 'signature strikes' and the CIA's torture program. He played a role in enabling the 9/11 incident:

He was one of the agency's officials who failed to keep track of Nawaf Al-Hamzi, one of the 9/11 hijackers, after he entered the United States. As The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer wrote in her book The Dark Side, the CIA knew Al-Hamzi was in the United States. An FBI officer named Doug Miller who was attached to the agency's Osama bin Laden–tracking unit typed up a memo about Hamzi, hoping to share the tip with the FBI so they could locate the suspected terrorist. “But his boss, a CIA desk officer in the Bin Laden unit of the Counterterrorist Center who is identified by the 9/11 commission only as ‘Mike’ told Miller to hold off on sending the memo,” Mayer wrote. “After the second try, Miller dropped the matter.” Three hours after “Mike” gave that order, he inexplicably told his CIA superiors that the tip had, in fact, been passed to the FBI. “The CIA assumed from then on that it was,” adds Mayer. “But it wasn’t.”
If these incestuous career insider twits spent 10% as much effort on actually following the real security threats as they do promoting the made-up-from-whole-cloth ones ... and speaking of making sh*t up:
Quote:
The NYT also publishes a crude op-ed by Ariana Tabatabai, a so called 'political scientist' residing in a Pentagon stink tank:

Mr. Rouhani is sending Europe a clear signal: If Iran doesn’t get any benefits from its participation in the agreement, neither will Europe. That’s why he announced Iran will hold on to its excess enriched uranium and heavy water — both of which could potentially be used in building nuclear weapons — rather than sell them to other countries, as is required by the agreement. He is also giving the Europeans 60 days to take steps to help Iran’s economy, which has been crippled by the American sanctions. If he doesn’t get those things, he says, his country will take additional steps that violate the deal and eventually pull out altogether.

Iran announced that it will hold its 'excess' enriched Uranium and heavy water BECAUSE THE U.S. NOW SANCTIONS ANY EXPORT OF THESE PRODUCTS, not because Rouhani wants to 'send a signal'.

Nicholas Wadhams @nwadhams - 17:41 utc - 3 May 2019

The U.S. is revoking two sets of waivers that allowed Iran to ship excess heavy water to Oman and swap enriched uranium in exchange for yellowcake.

Nowhere are these specific sanctions mention in the 'expert' op-ed, nor are these mentions in the NYT's original reporting on Iran's recent steps. The NYT and other media systematically avoid to mention that these sanctions caused Iran's steps but then go on to construe and assign 'motives' to Iran for which have they have neither evidence nor a logical factual basis.
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Old 2019-05-22, 19:08   #114
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Spotted on the web this week: "Who here thinks that the Washington Post’s motto – ‘Democracy dies in Darkness’ – is actually a mission statement?"

o New York Times’ Rehires Judith Miller To Cover Escalating Iran Tensions The Onion -- The problem The Onion has is that all too often these days, reality is even more Onion-esque than deliberate satire. Consider:

o U.S. working on options to pressure Cuba and Russia out of Venezuela | McClatchy. From the article:

“We want every country that’s interfering in Venezuela to cease doing that,” Pompeo said in a joint press conference.


o The Liberal Embrace of War | Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
Quote:
The American commercial news landscape, in schism on domestic issues, is in lockstep here. Every article is seen from one angle: Venezuelans under the heel of a dictator who caused the crisis, with the only hope a “humanitarian” intervention by the United States.

There is no other perspective. Media watchdog FAIR just released results of a study of three months of American opinion pieces. Out of 76 editorials in the New York Times, Washington Post, the “big three Sunday morning talk shows” or PBS News Hour, zero came out against the removal of Maduro. They wrote:

“Corporate news coverage of Venezuela can only be described as a full-scale marketing campaign for regime change.”
...
The pattern in American interventions has been the same for ages. We are for self-determination everywhere, until such self-determination clashes with a commercial or security objective.

A common triggering event for American-backed overthrows is a leader trying to nationalize the country’s resources. This is why we ended up replacing democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadeq with the Shah in Iran, for instance.

Disrupting trade is also a frequent theme in these ploys, with a late-Fifties coup attempt in Indonesia or our various Cuban embargoes key examples. The plan often involves stimulating economic and political unrest in target nations as a precursor for American intervention.

We inevitably end up propping up dictators of our own, and the too-frequent pattern now — vividly demonstrated in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan — is puppet states collapsing and giving way to power vacuums and cycles of sectarian violence. Thanks, America!

Opposing such policies used to be a central goal of American liberalism. No more. Since 2016, it’s been stunning to watch the purging and/or conversion of what used to be antiwar voices, to the point where Orwellian flip-flops are now routine.

Earlier this month, onetime fierce Iraq war opponent Rachel Maddow went on TV to embrace John Bolton in a diatribe about how the poor National Security Adviser has been thwarted by Trump in efforts to topple Maduro.

“Regardless of what you thought about John Bolton before this, his career, his track record,” Maddow said. “Just think about John Bolton as a human being.”

The telecast was surreal. It was like watching Dick Cheney sing “Give Peace a Chance.”

Bolton stood out as a bomb-humping nut even among the Bush-era functionaries who pushed us into Iraq. He’s the living embodiment of “benevolent hegemony,” an imperial plan first articulated in the nineties by neoconservatives like Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan.

It involves forcefully overturning any regime that resisted us, to spread the wonders of the American way to, as Norman Podhoretz once put it, “as many others as have the will and the ability to enjoy them.”
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Old 2019-06-27, 20:17   #115
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Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens | Moon of Alabama

Puts the latest 'oopsie' by the MSM in the context of a larger pattern, including the infamous Ahmadinejad "wipe Israel off the map" 'mistranslation'.
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Old 2019-06-28, 04:12   #116
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Default NYT Presents Social Security Cuts as ‘Solution’ to Problem of Social Security Cuts

https://fair.org/home/nyt-presents-s...security-cuts/
The solution to any Social Security shortfall is to remove the regressive cap on payment into the fund. "For earnings in 2019, this base is $132,900.*" Without that cutoff, with people of greater affluence paying the same percentage as lesser folk, it would be possible to expand the benefits for those who really need them. This would be at the expense of those who make limited contributions, but draw full benefits.
* https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/cbb.html
Quote:
It’s hard to improve on economist and FAIR contributor Dean Baker’s observation that corporate media’s calls for cuts to programs for the elderly under the neutral-sounding guise of “reform” are about as predictable as the sunrise. As illustrated by the New York Times’ alarmist 1,581 word report (6/12/19) by Jeff Sommer, headlined “Social Security Is Facing Its First Real Shortfall in Decades,” another favorite media euphemism for cuts to Social Security is “solution.”

And not just any “solution”; it has to be “bipartisan,” too, in order to beat back the caricature of crazy leftists intent on bankrupting the country with their fiscal irresponsibility, even though there is no evidence that bipartisanship in itself produces better legislation (FAIR.org, 2/3/09).
Quote:
Sounding the alarm of a “slow-moving crisis,” the Times warned readers that the most successful anti-poverty program in the United States is going to start drawing on its $2.9 trillion trust fund next year—for the first time since 1982—in order to keep paying out full benefits until 2034 or 2035. If nothing is done, the Times projects that benefits after that point would be cut by an average of 20 percent, and up to 25 percent in later years, because of the “long-known basic math problem” of insufficient numbers of younger people to replace the thousands of Baby Boomers retiring each day. (Actually, Social Security’s long-term problems have relatively little to do with the Baby Boom, most of whom will be dead by 2040.)

The Times declared the need for a “political solution,” and suggested that the “bipartisan effort” by Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill in the 1980s—which it framed it as something that was “needed” to overcome a similar “crisis” in their time, after Reagan’s budget director’s proposal for immediate cuts to retiree benefits backfired—“gives some clues for a possible solution today.”

In case readers don’t get the hint that bipartisan cuts to Social Security are necessary, the report ended with quotes from John Cogan—described as “a professor of public policy at Stanford,” not as a senior fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institute—talking about how impending benefit cuts will make a bipartisan compromise “possible,” and a former Social Security trustee claiming that we “undoubtedly” need a “combination of increased taxes and reduced benefits,” because otherwise the “eventual solution will be much more painful.”
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Old 2019-06-28, 12:26   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kladner View Post
https://fair.org/home/nyt-presents-s...security-cuts/
The solution to any Social Security shortfall is to remove the regressive cap on payment into the fund. "For earnings in 2019, this base is $132,900.*" Without that cutoff, with people of greater affluence paying the same percentage as lesser folk, it would be possible to expand the benefits for those who really need them. This would be at the expense of those who make limited contributions, but draw full benefits.
* https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/cbb.html
I have vague recollection that, back in the day, a guy named Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out that Congress had been raiding the Social Security trust fund to get money for other programs. If memory serves, reducing the payroll tax and shrinking the trust fund, thereby making it a less tempting target for theft, were part of the resulting reforms.
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Old 2019-06-28, 20:10   #118
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SS accounting is a widely-misunderstood matter, even for our esteemed lawmakers. SS may only invest its surplus in a special kind of USgov security, which bears interest ("where does the money for said interest come from" leads one down another rabbit hole) at rate based on a fixed formula, which IIRC factors in the current rate of public-debt instruments issued by the Treasury. These special kinds of securities are listed on the UST site as "intragovernmental holdings". The key is that they are *debt* instruments, i.e. by law they must be recycled into public-debt issuance. IOW, the "raiding of the trust fund" is built into the system, since it's not as if SS could invest its surpluses in, say, the stock or public bond markets. If the trust fund begins to run short in terms of meeting ongoing payouts, Treasury must redeem a portion of the intragovernmental holdings by issuing public debt in the required amount. Thus, the trust fund can only theoretically run out of money if Treasury is unable to find buyers for their public debt issuance. Which will never happen because the US, as a sovereign issuer of its own fiat currency, can create as much of the latter out of thin air as it derires, via the Federal Reserve. (The popular trillion-dollar Platinum coin hypothetical is a way of making this point.)

Of course there are downsides to having a huge pool of money which must be converted into public debt issuance - mainly the resulting enablement of lack of budgetary restraint - which was e.g. Moynihan's point. But the solution is not to starve the trust fund. Since retiring boomers are going to lead to a fund drawdown (and concomitant increase in public debt issuance) anyway, the trust fund getting too huge is not the issue. Rather, one wants current payouts and payins to remain more or less matched, so instead of reducing the former, boost the latter by removing the giveaway-to-the-rich income cap.
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Old 2019-08-18, 19:29   #119
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The Campaign Press: Members of the 10 Percent, Reporting for the One Percent | Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
Quote:
Bernie Sanders Monday gave a speech in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He took shots at the press, mentioning coverage of his campaign against Amazon:

I talk about (Amazon’s taxes) all of the time… And then I wonder why The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why.

Employees of the Post were put out by Sanders’s comments. They insisted they hold no ill will against him for regularly bashing the man who writes their checks as one of earth’s most obnoxious plutocrats, and moreover that Sanders is wrong to make the media a “boogeyman” the way he’s turned “billionaires and corporations” into boogeymen. This “doesn’t add up,” noted the Post, going so far as to put the term “corporate media” in quotation marks, as if it were a mythical creature.

Perhaps the negativity toward Sanders isn’t over Amazon. After all, Sanders gets similar treatment from the New York Times, CNN, the Atlantic and other outlets. Still, the Post’s Bernie fixation stands out. The paper humorously once wrote 16 negative pieces about Sanders in the space of 16 hours (e.g. “Clinton Is Running for President. Sanders Is Doing Something Else,” “Bernie Sanders Pledges the US Won’t Be No. 1 in Incarceration. He’ll Need to Release Lots of Criminals,”etc).

The Post in 2017 asked readers how Democrats would “cope” with the Kremlin backing Bernie Sanders with “dirty tricks” in 2020. In April of this year it described the Sanders campaign as a Russian plot to help elect Donald Trump. They’ve run multiple stories about his “$575,000 lake house,” ripping his “socialist hankering” for real estate. “From each according to his ability,” the paper quipped, “to each according to his need for lakefront property…

Apart from being described as a faux-Leninist Russian stooge who wants to elect Trump and mass-release dangerous criminals, what does Sanders have to complain about?

After Bernie’s Wolfeboro speech, other media outlets let out a group howl. CNN called his attack “ridiculous” and “no different from what Trump does.” CBS said Bernie “echoes Trump” in going after the media.

The news media is now loathed in the same way banks, tobacco companies, and health insurance companies are, and it refuses to understand this. Mistakes like WMDs are a problem, but the media’s biggest issue is exactly its bubble-ness, and clubby inability to respond to criticism in any way except to denounce it as misinformation and error. Equating all criticism of media with Trumpism is pouring gasoline on the fire.

The public is not stupid. It sees that companies like CNN and NBC are billion-dollar properties, pushing shows anchored by big-city millionaires. A Vanderbilt like Anderson Cooper or a half-wit legacy pledge like Chris Cuomo shoveling coal for Comcast, Amazon, AT&T, or Rupert Murdoch is the standard setup.
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Old 2019-08-19, 00:38   #120
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Default MSNBC's Ridiculous War on Bernie Sanders -By Katie Halper, Jacobin

https://readersupportednews.org/opin...bernie-sanders
This outlines all sorts of clever distortions (lies).

Quote:
When MSNBC legal analyst Mimi Rocah said that Bernie Sanders “made [her] skin crawl,” though she “can’t even identify for you what exactly it is,” she was just expressing more overtly the anti-Sanders bias that pervades the network.

The hostility is so entrenched, in fact, it seems to have corrupted MSNBC’s mathematical reasoning and created a new system of arithmetic. The cable news network has repeatedly made on-air and online mistakes about Sanders’s polling and other numbers — always to his detriment, and never with any official correction.


Here are some new rules MSNBC seems to follow when it comes to math and Bernie Sanders.
Quote:
49 < 48
Result: Sanders goes from second to “fourth” place.
MSNBC made a handy graphic for a poll on July 7 that showed 2020 matchups against Trump among Democratic voters. The list was in descending order of candidates’ polling numbers — except for Bernie Sanders, whose name is placed under Warren’s and Harris’s, though he polls higher than both of them. (If the list is ordered by the margin between the candidate and Trump, Sanders would be in third place, behind Harris.)
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Old 2019-08-29, 23:51   #121
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The Washington Post’s Latest Fact Check of Bernie Sanders Is Really Something | Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone: On the statistic Sanders quotes that there are “about 530,000 medical bankruptcies annually”:
Quote:
To review: the Post fact checker, going straight to the source, a Harvard lecturer, found that Sanders’ was sticking to close to the facts, and if anything understating the problem.

So why didn’t the Post give Bernie a coveted “Geppetto Checkmark” for truthfulness. (Yes, it’s really called this — you can’t make this shit up.) Who knows?!?

The author spends the rest of the 1,600 word piece splitting hairs and then tying them into knots. He takes it upon himself to not simply fact check Sanders, but the medical journal that Sanders relied on. And it turns out that, if you dig down far enough, you can uncover a minor-league academic beef about bankruptcy statistics, with professors arguing about the extent to which one can say the contributing factor of medical debt is actually what “caused” the bankruptcy.

Despite his pageant of pedantry, the fact checker doesn’t get to the bottom of anything. He doesn’t prove that one side in this ivory tower debate is in fact right, while the other is actually wrong. More important, he doesn’t offer any evidence that Sanders was aware of this teapot tempest or that he in any way set out to deceive voters. Instead author proudly presents the unholy tangle he, himself, created to conclude: “The omissions and twists are significant enough to merit Three Pinocchios for Sanders.”

The process by which the Post fact checker transmogrified a basically true statement into a ruling of “mostly false” is a case study in the uselessness of the political fact-check as it is often practiced.
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