How To Navigate The Media Spin

The Epoch Times posted an article yesterday about the report of the Justice Department Inspector General. The report found that the FBI failed to document facts correctly in 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications that were reviewed. A rational person would take that as an indication that all was not well at the FBI and that Americans were being unlawfully surveilled. However, the mainstream media did not necessarily see it that way.

Eli Lake posted the following comments at Bloomberg News:

In the twisted politics of the Trump Era, some of bureau’s defenders might actually view this report as good news: It shows that the investigation of the Trump campaign was not necessarily politically motivated. The bureau made the same kinds of mistakes with suspects who were not connected to the Trump campaign.

That’s hardly reassuring — and the malpractice that the report uncovers is a much larger problem than the FBI and its defenders may wish to admit. So far, the response to Horowitz’s December report has been a series of administrative reforms, such as a requirement that FBI field offices preserve their “Woods files” and a mandate for new FISA training for FBI lawyers and agents. That’s all well and good. But one need not go back to the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover to see that the bureau has been careless in its monitoring of U.S. citizens.

The Woods procedures were issued in 2001 after Congress obtained a memo from the FBI’s counterterrorism division detailing surveillance abuse in the late 1990s. One target’s cell phone remained tapped after he gave it up and the number was reassigned to a different person. Another FBI field office videotaped a meeting, despite a clear prohibition on that technique in its FISA warrant. In 2003, an interim report from the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that the 2001 memo showed “the FBI was experiencing more systemic problems related to the implementation of FISA orders” than a problem with the surveillance law itself.

Very little has changed in the intervening 17 years. That’s why it’s foolish to expect new and better procedures will work this time. A better approach would be an aggressive policy to prosecute FBI agents and lawyers who submit falsehoods to the surveillance court. The best way to prevent future violations is to severely punish those who commit them in the present.

Scott Johnson posted an article today at Power Line Blog that included the following quote (follow the link to the article for the audio of the answer to the question):

The New York Times is illustrative of “the twisted politics of the Trump era.” Daniel Chaitin covers the Times angle in his Examiner article “‘Biased and out of control’: Devin Nunes rips New York Times reporting on FISA memo.” Chaitin reports on Rep. Devin Nunes’s interview with Larry O’Connor:

Radio host Larry O’Connor read a passage from the [Times’s] report [on the Horowitz memo] to Nunes during the Examining Politics podcast on Tuesday. It said DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report “helps the FBI politically because it undercuts the narrative among President Trump and his supporters that the bureau cut corners to surveil the adviser, Carter Page, as part of a politically motivated conspiracy.”

“So, the good news for the FBI is that they trampled on people’s rights all over the place, not just people who worked with Donald Trump’s campaign,” O’Connor said. “Is that the takeaway we should have here congressman?”

I agree with Eli Lake–severe punishment for those guilty of illegal spying on American citizens is the only way to prevent future abuse by the FBI.

 

In The Long Run, This Would Not Have Mattered, But It Was Still Irresponsible

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the shortage of N95 protective respirator masks. Some of the media have stated that President Obama chose not to replenish the stockpile of these masks after the 2009 H1N1 virus epidemic. That is true, but there is more to the story. At this point I would like to note that the masks have a shelf life of five years–even if President Obama had replenished the stockpile, in order for the stockpile to be any good it would have had to have been replenished again in 2014 and 2019. The responsibility for the shortage of these masks rests of both the Obama and Trump administrations. However, I think that the blame actually rests on the bureaucrats running the CDC and other health agencies inside the government.

The article notes:

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, drew down about 100 million N95 protective respirator masks.

Afterward, an H1N1 task force recommended that the Obama administration replace the masks in the national stockpile, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News.

“If the Obama administration didn’t respond to a request for additional masks, and if they did not communicate that need to the incoming [Trump] administration, that would certainly make the present situation more difficult,” Amy Anderson, a registered nurse and co-founder of the Global Nurse Consultants Alliance, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

…The Los Angeles Times reported March 20 that the U.S. government ignored warnings in 2009, making no reference to Obama’s being president at the time. 

The CDC, under the George W. Bush administration, published a “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza” in 2005. In that case, the government heeded the agency’s advice to stockpile medical supplies. 

…The International Safety Equipment Association and the federal H1N1 task force recommended replacing the N95 masks after the response to the swine flu drew down 100 million masks from the federal stockpile, the paper reported.

However, association President Charles Johnson told the Times: “Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown.”

The problem with a medical emergency is that you generally don’t see it coming. Blaming any administration for current supply problems is not helpful. Finding a solution to those problems is helpful. It would be nice if the mainstream media would attempt to unite us rather than divide us. The reporting during the Wuhan Flu epidemic has been horrendous and very unhelpful.

The Search For Truth

If you are trying to find real news, I suggest that you explore One America News and NewsMax. The mainstream media has forgotten how to tell the truth. The Washington Examiner posted an article today titled, “Four major journalistic errors in just 10 hours.”

The article reports:

1. The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, for example, tweeted the following falsehood at around 5:30 p.m. Monday evening: “Republican voter registration in NH is down roughly 20k voters from 2016 to now. It’s a reminder that Trump’s increased GOP popularity is in part because in some places, the GOP registration rolls have shrunk.”

This is not only false, but it has been debunked several times. At some point, repeating the lie becomes a choice.

2. “When I ask people if they’re voting for Donald Trump, I hear about their 401(k)s a lot,” she (MSNBC’s Katy Tur) said during a live broadcast from New Hampshire, “but there are those out there who don’t have a 401(k), and there are those out there who this economy is not really working for them.”

Tur added, “They might have a job, but it’s not a job that pays their bills. They can get a car, but it’s a loan that will take 30 years.”

I have no idea what she is talking about. I don’t think even she knows. (What else is new?) Car loans can take anywhere between 12 and 84 months to pay off. Who are these people agreeing to 30-year car loans? (Follow up question: Are they looking to finance a new car? No reason.)

3. Earlier that morning, CNN’s Cristina Alesci warned viewers to be wary of recently surfaced audio of 2020 Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg proudly promoting the stop-and-frisk policies he championed as mayor of New York City. After all, the CNN reporter claimed, as we don’t have the full audio of the former mayor’s remarks, we don’t have the full context. But this is not true. The full audio of Bloomberg’s comments has been available online since 2015.

“So, here’s the thing, important context here,” she said. “We don’t have the full tape.”

Alesci, who, by the way, is an alumna of the Bloomberg News empire, continued, “So, this is obviously snippets that have been released, the podcaster and the writer that released this sound is clearly a Bernie supporter, if you look at his twitter feed, he’s very anti-Bloomberg. He’s promoting a hashtag ‘#BloombergIsARacist.'”

A simple Google search brings up the full audio, which was posted shortly after Bloomberg delivered his address in 2015 at the Aspen Institute. Also, all that stuff about the alleged political affiliations of the person who posted the audio online Monday evening is irrelevant to the content of the surging 2020 candidate’s past remarks.

4. Lastly, and relatedly, there is NBC News’s Heidi Przybyla. She shared a conspiracy theory at around 7:30 a.m. alleging that the Kremlin is responsible for making the hashtag “#BloombergIsRacist” a top-trending news topic on social media. The hashtag, which is definitely organic, cropped up Tuesday morning following the release of the Bloomberg audio. Przybyla later deleted her tweet promoting the conspiracy theory, which she had not even bothered to double-check before sharing with her 145,000 Twitter followers.

All of that misinformation occurred within a 10-hour span. If you are depending on those sources for accurate information, you might want to reconsider.

Good News From The Medical Sector

Bloomberg News is reporting today that a blood test that may be able to detect breast cancer up to five years before symptoms develop could be available by 2025 if development is fully funded, U.K. researchers said. This is wonderful news. Breast cancer can be cured if it is detected early.

The emedicinehealth website includes the following chart:

The article at Bloomberg News reports:

“A blood test for early breast cancer detection would be cost effective, which would be of particular value in low and middle income countries,” Daniyah Alfattani, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham said in a statement. “It would also be an easier screening method to implement compared to current methods, such as mammography.”

About 2.1 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, according to the World Health Organization. It killed an estimated 627,000 women last year, accounting for 15% of all cancer deaths among women.

…“We need to develop and further validate this test,” Alfattani said. “However, these results are encouraging and indicate that it’s possible to detect a signal for early breast cancer. Once we have improved the accuracy of the test, then it opens the possibility of using a simple blood test to improve early detection of the disease.”

The research was presented at the U.K. National Cancer Research Institute cancer conference in Glasgow.

Wow. Wonderful news.

The Sad Story Behind Electric Cars

As the production of electric cars increases, the demand for cobalt for those cars increases. On Monday, Bloomberg News posted an article on some of the mines that supply that cobalt.

The article reports:

The appetite for electric cars is driving a boom in small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some mines have been found to be dangerous and employ child labor.

 Production from so-called artisanal mines probably rose by at least half last year, according to the estimates of officials at three of the biggest international suppliers of the metal, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak on the matter. State-owned miner Gecamines estimates artisanal output accounted for as much as a quarter of the country’s total production in 2017.

That’s a concern for carmakers from Volkswagen AG to Tesla Inc., who are seeking to secure long-term supplies of the battery ingredient but don’t want to be enmeshed in a scandal about unethical mining practices. Tech giants including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. endured bad publicity after a 2016 Amnesty International report said children were being sent down some Congolese mines to dig for cobalt destined for their gadgets. Pit and tunnel collapses killed dozens of workers in 2015, the advocacy group said.

The article also notes that as much as $2.5 billion of cobalt a year is being smuggled across the border into Zambia.

I am sure there are safer ways to mine cobalt. The fact that children are being used in these mines in this dangerous work is horrendous. I realize that the culture of the countries involved may allow for children to do this work, but this is one situation where the United Nations might be useful. There are organizations within the United Nations that are supposed to protect children–they need to at least make a statement on the use of children to mine cobalt.

The idea of electric cars is intriguing; however, we need to look at the cost of creating this technology.