This is not even physically possible: Yahoo News fictional headline

Yahoo News goes full on stupid with this fiction news headline, which links, in turn to a news report having nothing to do with the headline. Remember, they have layers and layers of fact checkers. The fictional news just never ends, does it?

This headline has been live for at least 4+ hours without correction. Unfortunately, on today’s online and social media world, the headline is the message that sticks. Most people only read headlines, unfortunately.

This works as propaganda by using the primary method of “fear” and the secondary method of “appeal to authority” because “Study:” says something. This sort of nonsensical headline is often shared on social media – and may gradually become a “fact” as it spreads widely and for a long enough duration.

Every photo of yourself appearing on Facebook is used to create a biometric database

He posted photos of himself and friends, tagging the images with names.

But what Licata, now 34, didn’t know was that every time he was tagged, Facebook stored his digitized face in its growing database.


Facebook is working on advanced recognition technology that would put names to faces even if they are obscured and identify people by their clothing and posture. Facebook has filed patents for technology allowing Facebook to tailor ads based on users’ facial expressions.

Saving face: Facebook wants access without limits-
Social network giant lobbies to prevent state limits on facial recognition

Basically, FB is using multiple photos of you, posted by yourself or by friends, in conjunction with artificially intelligent learning algorithms, so that FB can automatically detect your presence in photos or video feeds, anywhere they have access to the media. Each time you are “tagged” in a photo by someone else (let alone tagging yourself), Facebook uses the photo to record additional biometric details about you.

FB could sell this data base as a service to retail stores, who would now have access to the Facebook dossier that they keep on each of us. FB has the technology to identify each of as we walk in public, visit events or activities, or to track us through out all of our daily activities.

Similarly, about half of all Americans now have their likeness stored in law enforcement databases (even people never charged with a crime, let alone convicted).

Facebook is a totalitarian regime. Their goal is to be able to recognize the entire population of the earth.


Posting online photos could cause you to lose property insurance

Posting updates about your holiday on social media could leave you vulnerable to being burgled – and even worse, your insurer may not pay out if your things are stolen.

Source: How ‘Insta-bragging’ could soon invalidate your insurance

Data from ADT, the alarm and security systems provider, revealed that 78pc of burglars use Facebook and Twitter to target potential properties.

This is why I post any “on vacation” photos to restricted social media only (“friends” on FB or email, only). All other photos, such as to Flickr, are posted after I have returned from the trip.

Posting online photos can have propaganda effects in that many use such photos to bolster their image among their friends or peer group.

News media creates entirely fictional cause for couple’s suicide deaths

Here is how the story appeared:

A New York couple upset over their rising health care costs jumped to their deaths this week, leaving a note that they could no longer pay to treat their medical issues.


The suicide took place in New York City’s Murray Hill neighborhood early on Friday, the New York Post reported. The couple was both in their 50s, the report noted, and they were found dead after having jumped from a building between Park and Madison avenues in an upscale part of the city.

This story was distributed nationwide. It is also an outright lie.

Two days later the NY Post story has been completely rewritten. (Somehow the archive of the earlier story has been changed to the revised story, below.) But here is a screen capture of their FB page, which they have not updated:

Clicking on the FB page link, however, goes to the newly revised version of the story.

The NY Post now writes (having erased their previous story versions):

A law enforcement source at the scene told The Post that authorities at first believed that the couple struggled with health care costs. But an NYPD spokesman said later that there was no mention of medical-cost struggles in the notes.

The health care costs meme was bogus, a figment of someone’s imagination and the media fell for it because it met their narrative that the ACA is wonderful, has no problems, and attempts to change it would cause people to die.This was nothing more than a lame attempt by the NY Post to propagandize the news.

The bogus version of the story – suicides due to health care costs – was picked up and disseminated nationwide. A day later, the local news has corrected the story but the nationally distributed fictional news story will live on forever.

UPDATE: BET posts a fake correction, loaded with political overtones, falsely attributing the source of “health costs” to a Twitter user and destroying BET’s credibility on any subject forever. Unbelievable. The news media has killed itself and it was not due to health care costs.

And of course, the bogus version was then widely shared on social media, with each share presenting its own propaganda spin – as in this small sampling:

Why on earth does anyone believe a single word from the media? Why? Since the paper cited a police source for this, why believe the word of a police officer anymore either? We are now surrounded by propaganda and propagandists 24 x 7 to the point that absolutely nothing can be trusted anymore. Nothing at all.

Charts that do not mean what you think they mean

A popular meme in media and social media is commentary about income distribution. The typical chart distributes the population into fifths or quintiles, like the chart shown here.

The popular interpretation of this chart is to find your income level at left and conclude you are stuck in that quintile forever – and your prospects for advancement are non-existent.

Did you know this interpretation is wrong?

Most people do not stay in the same quintile. People look at this chart, figure out where they are, and incorrectly assume they stay there forever – but the reality is that the people in the n-th quintile in 1990 are not the same group in 2000 or 2010!

Most begin their working life in the bottom or second quintile and over the course of their work life, rise to the 4th or 5th quintile. At retirement, their income (from investments, savings, pensions, government programs) causes them to fall downwards by one or two quintiles.  On the other hand, many people will fall into the 5th quintile – even the highest few percent of income – the day they sell their fully paid for home whose price has risen due to inflation (or technically, due to the Fed’s devaluation of the dollar).

The logical fallacy is to see this chart and assume that everyone stays in the same position over time.

A valid interpretation is that the 5th quintile sees rising incomes while others do not, but we go on to make the logical fallacy assumption that this is the same group of people, year over year.This is part of our brain’s ability to quickly jump to conclusions (Kahneman’s System 1 style thinking), which are often wrong!

The logical fallacy is to assume that only those in the 5th quintile today receive the rising income benefit – when in reality, many people will move up and down between the quintiles, over time.

Fact checking USA Today’s ACA news report

Some major players, such as Anthem, plan to no longer offer coverage in many places next year in part because of uncertainty about federal policy. But Centene, another insurer, is expanding its coverage areas.

So its not really a problem?


In two more years, there will be no Individual Market Health Insurers in the United States! Draw the trend line yourself!

For 2018, about 55% of counties have zero to two insurers. Dozens of counties, including almost the entire state of Nevada have zero insurance companies now. The ACA requires all individuals to buy insurance but it did not require that insurance companies actually sell insurance. By law, residents in areas without any available insurance must pay the “shared responsibility tax penalty” fee for not having insurance that is not available to them. Seriously.

USA Today spins the loss of insurance companies as “not a problem” and merely a pesky detail that, well, is not a problem. This is an example of media propaganda.

Source: Obamacare repeal is dead for now. What could that mean for you?

USA Today goes on with the following meme which is not the root cause problem, as they imply it is:

The pool of people using the exchanges has been sicker and older than anticipated, which leads to higher premiums and fewer insurance companies willing to participate. One reason there aren’t more younger, healthier people buying insurance on the exchange is because of one of the ACA’s most popular provision: the requirement that insurers let young adults stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. The Obama administration also allowed people to keep their pre-ACA plans longer than originally anticipated, which kept some healthier people from moving to the marketplace. And insurers complain that the ACA’s penalties for not having coverage are too lenient, and that it’s too easy for people to enroll only when they anticipate needing care.

All of the above statements are true – but the “young, healthy” people components line is a fake argument adopted as fact by the fiction news media.This is called an “error of omission”. It is not lying, it is just leaving out important details.

It is true that fewer “young, healthy” people signed up for ACA plans than were forecast by the original models. But that is not the reason “the pool of people using the exchanges has been sicker and older than anticipated”.

The reason was by DESIGN: By specific design of the ACA, very large numbers of very sick people were dumped into the small individual market risk pool. Their costs are now shared exclusively with other members of the small individual risk pool, causing all individual market insurance premiums to sky rocket.

No one wants to admit that the ACA contains this fatal design defect. Fatal? Yes. 2017 has fewer ACA enrollees than 2016. (In fact, 2017 has less than half the number of enrollees that were forecast for 2017.) As premiums sky rocketed, fewer people  enrolled, resulting in the risk pool becoming more sick and more expensive. This is the “death spiral”.

Why did this happen?

High Risk and Pre-Existing Condition Patients

  • Prior to the ACA, 35 states ran their own high risk insurance pools for people with very expensive health conditions. Post ACA, all but one of these state pools was merged into the ACA individual market. Literally, a large group of sick and expensive patients was dumped into the individual market risk pool. (New Mexico has not forced their high risk patients into the ACA individual market for fears that it will cause insurance premiums to sky rocket for everyone else.)
  • How expensive are these patients? While these high risk patients made up just 2% of all the individual market, the average of the top half of claims in 2012 was $225,000 per person. The only people who pay for these highly expensive patients are the members of the individual market risk pool.
  • Pre-ACA, an estimated 25% of the uninsured had pre-existing conditions. A primary purpose of the ACA was that pre-existing condition exclusions would go away. By definition, a pre-existing condition is a higher risk patient having higher costs. Where did these people end up? They and their high costs were dumped into the individual market risk pool.

The ACA turned the individual market into a bigger high risk, high cost insurance pool with average premium hikes of more than 100% from 2014 to 2017 (according to the US Department of Health and Human Services) with 3 states seeing hikes of more than 200%.

Thus, the ACA dumped a large group of very expensive patients into the individual market risk pool. Who pays for these high costs? As of 2017, ONLY THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE INDIVIDUAL RISK POOL. There are not enough young people to offset these costs and young people pay far less in premiums than those over age 43. Thus, the “young and healthy” meme is largely bogus. Reporters support the ACA and do not want their readers to know the ACA contains serious defects. Therefore, they wave their hands and blame a lack of young people enrolled.

About half of those in the pool get government subsidies that hide all rate increases (taxpayers pick up the tab). The other half have to absorb all of the costs of covering these high risk patients, hence 100% to 200% price hikes in 3 years. (The actual number of unsubsidized is far greater than half – a subject for another post.)

(Full details and references are here.)

If Democrats and Republicans want to improve the marketplaces, what could they do?

Besides ending the dispute over the cost-sharing subsidies, lawmakers could also continue one of the other industry supports which was only supposed to be temporary. That program essentially subsidies the cost of the sickest customers, which would reduce premiums. Experts have proposed many other changes including expanding premium subsidies, giving insurers incentives to sell plans in counties that would otherwise lack coverage, and making families eligible for premium subsides if plans offered by an employer aren’t affordable.

Good God. The only way to make the ACA work is to subsidize insurance companies and subsidize more people? That is the definition of a failed market and a failed government program.

These problems are solvable without mass subsidies. To learn more, read my paper.

Unfortunately, since 2009, there have been close to zero complete and honest news reports about the ACA, which contributes greatly to why we are now in this mess of tens of millions either not having insurance or not being able to afford health insurance. (About 10 million unsubsidized individual market consumers, 6.5 million paying the “shared responsibility tax penalty” and 21.5  million who are still uninsured and not paying the tax penalty – that’s 38 million people. But that’s a trifling little number that we don’t need to worry about says USA Today! CNBC published the same nonsense this past week – hinting this was a “planted” PR story. I will address that story another day.)

USA Today has so many errors and logical fallacies going on that they have morphed into a fiction news service. Is their fiction writing due to propaganda or simply incompetence? We have no idea.

Sadly, no one gives a shit except for the tens of millions who have been screwed. And which the media intentionally ignore.

Move to ban anonymous online comments

Los Angeles Times:

That’s why I’m increasingly thinking that our best solution to keeping trolls at bay may be a requirement by social-media sites that all members use their real names when posting comments.

Source: To thwart the trolls, social-media sites should require users’ real names – LA Times

The reporter further states that all social media users should be required to provide a credit card account in order to sign up, to insure that real names are used. Note that comments on social media – and media online forums too – are a form of propaganda. In some cases, the comments being posted are part of a coordinated propaganda campaign. Propaganda does not merely emanate from those who own the printing presses and broadcast licenses – propaganda can be produced and distributed by everyone today using social media and online comments too.

Snopes rips the media for fake news stories

An in-depth analysis of the false allegations and misleading claims made against the 45th President since his inauguration.

Source: The Lies of Donald Trump’s Critics, and How They Shape His Many Personas

Read it, please.

I am not a fan of President Trump, did not support him and I am not involved with either the Democrat or Republican parties. I have watched with disbelief, however, as the full power of propaganda messaging has been brought to play by “professional journalists”. There are many, many, many negative things that can be reported accurately and get the point across – but as Snopes documents, reporters have crossed a line into fantasy writing, as if it is their intent to interfere with democracy itself. I have not previously written about this specific topic – propaganda versus Trump – because the topic is overwhelming in scope.

Thankfully, Snopes does an excellent job addressing the absurd levels to which propaganda messaging has become the default position and concludes:

It has to be acknowledged that since January, many of Trump’s opponents, and even lukewarm supporters, have found considerable fault with his policies and behavior, based on accurate facts. There have been many occasions when Trump himself, undistorted and unfiltered, contributed mightily to the four personas we have outlined.


[but regarding poorly produced news stories] these sorts of massive exaggerations and gross distortions are even more corrosive and destructive than fake news about diarrhea on the golf course, because they bear some distant relationship with the truth.

Which is precisely how the best propaganda operates – it has at least some link to truth, but bends and distorts that truth to motivate the target to adopt and agenda or take action.

Years ago, I observed the use and power of propaganda to persuade others to adopt someone’s agenda. That led to much study on the subject and to the creation of this blog and Facebook page.

Politics is a minefield of propaganda messaging not only from politicians but also from their fanatical devotees on social media plus their friends in the mainstream media whose bad reporting is shared on social media as confirmation of allegations.

In the linked post, Snopes eviscerates the credibility of professional media (and some of the professional fake news web sites, especially those on social media) due to the media’s having morphed into a full time propaganda operation. In the future (which could be next week), when the Media screams “Wolf!”, few people will believe them anymore.

Remember, there are many, many issues regarding Trump that can be reported accurately and are quite negative for Trump or his policies. There is plenty to bash by just sticking to facts and policies. But the media, as Snopes documents, has become a giant propaganda messaging operation. Discerning truth from such overwhelming propaganda firepower is difficult.

We worry about allegations of foreign nations interfering in our elections but ignore media actually doing so through lies, distortions and inaccurate reporting.

Social media fake propaganda poster

This is a photograph of an animal crossing bridge in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. This bridge has nothing to do with the Netherlands.

The photo was stolen from Joel Sartore, a professional photographer for the National Geographic Society, Geo, Smithsonian and others, and the photo is featured on his own page:

Why do people create these garbage posters? And why do people share them? Why do people then add supportive comments to these posts?

And why are people so stupid as to think the Netherlands looks like this mountainous terrain?