10/14/15

Putin’s Paid and Unpaid Liars

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The Dutch Safety Board has issued a report indicating that a Russian BUK missile destroyed Malaysian flight MH17, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine. The only question is whether the missile was fired by Russian troops or terrorists under Russian control. In any case, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered an invasion of eastern Ukraine, has blood on his hands.

The Dutch took the lead because most of the dead were from the Netherlands.

The results were not surprising, since circumstantial evidence already pointed to the Russians as the culprits. Russia refused to cooperate with the investigation (led by the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia and Belgium) and vetoed a U.N. tribunal established to try those responsible.

At the time of the mass murder, Kremlin-financed Russia Today (RT) television tried to obscure the truth about Russian terrorists bringing down the Malaysian plane, even though the facts known at the time implicated the terrorists in eastern Ukraine in the mass murder of nearly 300 people.

RT is carried by such giant media companies as Comcast. But in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the channel is not carried with disclaimers identifying the material as foreign propaganda. President Obama’s Justice Department is refusing to enforce the law.

As part of the disinformation campaign to divert attention away from Moscow’s bloody hands, RT released a “documentary” entitled “MH-17: the untold story,” claiming that a BUK missile did not hit the MH-17 plane. Instead, it was suggested that the plane went down because of cannon fire from a Ukrainian jet.

The lies were too much to take for Sara Firth, who had worked at Russia Today for five years. She told The Guardian that the channel’s coverage suggesting Ukraine was to blame for the crash was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” She quit, saying, “It was the most shockingly obvious misinformation and it got to the point where I couldn’t defend it anymore.”

A variation of the Putin propaganda held that Ukraine downed the plane, thinking Putin was on it. Hence, it was an assassination attempt. We noted at the time, “This bizarre piece of disinformation surfaced on RT…[and] was linked to by the popular Drudge Report, used by many conservatives as their homepage, and then picked up by the Alex Jones’ Infowars.com site, a reliable outlet for pro-Russian propaganda.”

We reported in 2010 that RT has been eager to publicize Alex Jones and his various anti-American conspiracies because “they divert attention from the increasingly totalitarian nature of the Russian regime and the military threat that Russia still poses to American interests.” Jones was a regular guest on the RT propaganda channel, and defended Moscow’s invasion of its former Soviet republic of Georgia in 2008.

Matt Drudge, who made his name by posting the story about the stained dress, implicating President Bill Clinton in adultery, is considered a major player in the conservative media but has been living as a virtual hermit and rarely makes public appearances. However, he recently gave an interview to Jones and his Infowars.com show. Drudge, who didn’t allow his face to be seen, raised rumors about Hillary Clinton’s sex life and talked at length about the control of the flow of information, wondering if his website would be shut down. He was concerned that copyright laws could close down his popular site because he links to the work of others. “I had a Supreme Court Justice tell me it’s over for me,” said Drudge. “They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law, you’re out of there. They’re going to make it so you can’t even use headlines.”

In one interesting foreign policy exchange in the conversation that lasted about 45 minutes, Jones wondered if Putin was looking good in the Middle East, by claiming to target Islamic terrorists. This time, Drudge didn’t take the bait, and he moved on to other topics. Tina Trent, a commentator who has written about the impact of the Drudge Report, says it appears that Drudge is “dialing back” on his use of pro-Putin material supplied by Jones and other sources like Russia Today. “Maybe he’s travelled the world a bit and understands more about totalitarianism now,” she said.

Picking up the slack, another player in the Putin disinformation network is Don Hank, who claims to be a Christian conservative activist and runs a website. He distributed material claiming that the name of the Oregon killer had been included on a list of 87,000 “known/suspected” Islamic terrorists that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) had “refused last month to accept from Russia.”

Hank told his followers that Putin “was concerned enough about you and me to take time out of his busy day to warn us of a real and present danger!” But the U.S. government, he said, wanted us to die and ignored the warning.

The source of the information was said to be the Russian secret police, the FSB, making the whole thing suspect to begin with. However, the embedded link was to a different story on the FSB website that had nothing to do with the Oregon massacre.

Hank, who lives in Panama, said that the story had appeared in a “filthy rag” known as the European Union Times, and that he should have known better.

When the Dutch Safety Board pointed fingers at a Russian missile for the destruction of MH 17, Hank was up to his old tricks, telling his email list that the government of Ukraine brought down the plane, not the Russian terrorists. His source for this claim was the Moscow-funded RT channel.

The use of dubious sources like RT is what threatens the credibility and viability of legitimate websites that are truly independent and offering real facts and information.

10/14/15

How the “Bern” Burned the Vets

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Will CNN use Tuesday’s Democratic Party presidential debate to challenge Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on his atrocious handling of the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal?

Hillary Clinton has big problems that include blood on her hands over Benghazi, a Russia “reset” that has resulted in Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East, and the mishandling of national security information through a private server.

By contrast, Sanders has been portrayed as a Washington outsider, even though his political career spans 25 years as a member of Congress, first as a U.S. representative and now as a senator. He is a socialist but a “democratic” socialist, whatever that may mean.

Sanders portrays himself as a friend of veterans who tends to their needs but opposes the wars that leave them needing medical help and treatment.

The problem for Sanders is that his pitiful performance as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee has come under serious scrutiny by CNN and other media for defending the VA bureaucrats and putting their interests above the veterans they are supposed to serve.

An observer might conclude that Sanders’ preference for big government programs and government-run health care had blinded him to flaws in the VA system.

The Washington Free Beacon noted that his performance got so bizarre at one point that, as the scandals were coming to light, the socialist Sanders tried to divert attention away from the flaws in the bureaucratic system and proceeded to accuse the Koch brothers of launching “a concerted effort to undermine the VA” and discredit government programs.

Sanders said the Koch brothers were picking on these “large, governmental institutions” because  they “want to radically change the nature of society, and either make major cuts in all of these institutions, or maybe do away with them entirely.”

John McClaughry of Vermont’s Ethan Allen Institute commented, “Bernie Sanders has become totally demented about the Satanic Koch brothers, to the point that he thinks they are responsible for anything that goes wrong anywhere. This man needs professional treatment.”

But Sanders has his supporters in the press. In the face of these crazy remarks, one of the senator’s most prominent media defenders wrote, “From the moment the long-gathering [VA] scandal broke into public view in April 2014, it took Congress less than four months to produce a new law—a split second by Capitol Hill standards.” Columnist Jill Lawrence noted that Sanders, who had become chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee in 2013, had worked with Republicans to craft a bill designed to fix the serious problems.

“It speaks volumes in particular about Sanders, who pushes for a single-payer government health system in every speech, that the law introduced a private-care option for veterans,” she wrote.

It actually speaks volumes about the failures of socialized medicine. At that point, after playing down the serious nature of the scandal, Sanders was forced to recognize that the government-run VA health care system could only be saved by giving patients a private health care option. He came to this “realization” because House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) had pressed for letting veterans seek health care outside the VA system.

A poll from Concerned Veterans for America that was reported by Military Times showed that about 88 percent of respondents wanted to increase health care choices for VA patients, including access to private care physicians.

The Sanders campaign website ignores the senator’s failure in this important area, proclaiming, “As the former Chairman and a current member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, one of Sen. Sanders’ highest priorities in Congress has been ensuring that our veterans receive the care and benefits they have earned.” It goes on, “Amid reports of unacceptable wait times at many VA medical facilities last year, Sen. Sanders spearheaded a bipartisan effort to pass the most comprehensive veterans’ legislation in decades. The landmark Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act increases accountability within the VA and ensures that all veterans have access to timely health care.”

Notice the failure to mention that “timely health care” now includes access to private medical care. That was an initiative from Republicans.

Running for president as an avowed socialist, Sanders now promises “Medicare for All” rather than “VA Health Care for All” on a national basis. It’s a clever reformulation that ignores what Sanders did not do to get to the root of the VA health care scandal, and whether he has learned any lessons from those failures.

As noted by Bruce Parker of the Vermont Watchdog, an independent journalist group associated with the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, Sanders had made a “series of puzzling public statements” when the scandal broke that appeared to defend the government hospital bureaucracy. Sanders went on C-SPAN and CNN and urged the media “to remain neutral over claims that 40 U.S. veterans died at the Phoenix VA while waiting to receive care.” Sanders said, “The allegation is not that the delay in care caused that; only that that is what is now being investigated.”

As pressure grew on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign or be fired, Sanders defended him, saying, “The truth is that the V.A. is a huge institution. It does a whole lot of very important work. In many ways Shinseki has done a very good job.”

Sanders explained that Shinseki “has done a good job” but has been weak in terms of “communicating with the Congress or certainly with the American people and the media.”

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was quoted as saying that Sanders had been “ineffective” as head of the Senate panel. He said, “It seems to have to do with his worldview. He seems to think that any kind of demand for accountability or criticism of the VA is an attack to dismantle the entire system. Nobody is saying that. We’re saying if you want VA to be supported, then make VA work.”

During an appearance on MSNBC in May of 2014, Rieckhoff said that Sanders had “basically been an apologist for the VA over the past few weeks.”

CNN Host Chris Cuomo interviewed Sanders, telling him “…you sound like a lawyer defending the hospital, as opposed to a senator trying to make sure the right thing is done.”

To its credit, CNN, which is sponsoring Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, has done some excellent reporting on the scandal. The CNN Investigations unit reported on September 3 that a VA inspector general report found that 307,000 veterans may have died awaiting health care.

“Access to health care is a human right,” says Sanders. But his work as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee doesn’t back up the campaign rhetoric.

10/14/15

Our Weasel Of The Week Nominees! – 10/14/15

The Watcher’s Council

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It’s time once again for the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations, where we pick our choices to compete for the award of the famed Golden Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations!

Here are this week’s nominees…


Walking Dumb Blond Joke And DNC Head Debbie Wasserman Schultz!

The Noisy Room: My nomination this week is Debbie Wasserman Schultz… again. Not only did the deflecting ditz of the DNC say that Republicans want to deport all immigrants, they want to kick all women out of the country too. I kid you not. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also dodged questions on Sunday about whether Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ description of himself as a “socialist” would hurt the Democratic Party. She just flat out wouldn’t answer Dana Bash on CNN. This time it wasn’t so much a deflection as an outright refusal to address the question. “He is a self-identified socialist,” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Wasserman Schultz, a representative from Florida. “If he is your party’s nominee, would that social label hurt the Democratic Party’s chances of winning the White House in 2016?” The Debster replied, “This election is going to be decided on what the voters believe is the best choice in their candidate for president who is going to help ensure that their lives can get better. I believe that any one of those candidates is in dramatic contrast to any of the Republican circus performer candidates that are on the other side.” You betcha Debbie! You have your choice of Marxists, communists and socialists for the Democrats.

Wasserman Schultz declared that whoever was the Democratic nominee, they would be president. But she wouldn’t mention Sanders by name. Translation: over our dead bodies will Bernie ascend. I still think it will be Biden and Warren on the election stage for these Marxists. As for wanting to kick all women out of the country, once again, America wants to know if Debbie has been taking some really good drugs or if her curls are too tight. This woman is supposed to be a leader. She’s not. She’s a propagandist – a talking head who never commits to anything. She has the spine of a jellyfish. In other words, she’s your typical Progressive Democrat. Kick all women out… that’s a good one, Debbie. Really. You missed your calling as a clown.


Barack Obama’s ‘Spiritual Mentor,’ Anti-Semite And America Hater Jeremiah Wright!

Bookworm Room: I think this week’s weasel award should go to Jeremiah Wright, for his jeremiad claiming that Jesus was a Palestinian and his announcement that Jews are “Europeans” who “took” the Palestinians’ country. He also called Israel, the only democratic, pluralist society in the Middle East, an “apartheid” society. The man is a vile combination of historic ignorance and antisemitic bile. What makes his advanced weasel-ness so awful is the knowledge that our president was steeped in this stew of stupidity and hate for twenty years.

Understanding Wright’s malignant, uninformed mindset means understanding fully president Obama’s relentless hatred towards Netanyahu and the entire nation of Israel. To the extent Obama has some minimal fealty to Jesus, this fealty is built upon the historically inaccurate premise that Jesus was a Palestinian who, like the Palestinians of today, is being persecuted by colonialist Jews. Never mind that Arabs didn’t come to the Holy Land for some 600 years after Jesus’s death. When you’ve worshiped at Wright’s profane altar long enough, facts are no longer stubborn things that cannot be ignored; they are irritating insects that can easily be swatted away.

The Independent Sentinel: I’m going with Obama’s pastor of 20 years Rev. Wright for his performance at the Farrakhan rally.

It’s not really a surprise to see what Obama’s pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright sound like an anti-Semite because that’s what he is but he also showed how Marxist he really is during the Farrakhan Million Man March Saturday. Capitalism, he said, is one head on a three-headed demon.

Without mentioning Jews, he said Israel is occupying their country, urging boycott, divestment and sanctions, while accusing Israel of being an Apartheid nation.

He strongly urged blacks to stand with Palestinians against Israel and compared the rioting communist youth in Ferguson with the Palestinians.

Wright condemned the wall that Israel is building in an attempt to protect themselves.

His speech wasn’t only on Palestinian justice, he put his Marxism out for all to see. Using MLK Jr’s term, “three-headed demon”, Wright redefined the demon differently as “racism,” “militarism,” and “CAPITALISM.”

To promote his Palestinian case, he said, “Please remember, Jesus was a Palestinian,” Wright said. These people won’t even admit Jesus was a Jew.

He was Palestinian? I wonder if that is what the crazy president thinks.

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The Angry Left’s Racist Poster Boy Chauncey DeVega

Nice Deb: I nominate Chauncey DeVega, a black radical, and a contributing writer for Salon and Alternet. He wrote a long article at Salon vigorously defending the use of the word “coon” to describe conservative blacks like Dr. Ben Carson because they are not down for the struggle. It’s a grotesque, despicable article that I wouldn’t recommend for anyone.

On Twitter he called Dr. Carson a “black face GOP political minstrel.”

And said “@AllenWest, Herman Cain, @RealBenCarson, Clarence Thomas, Juan Williams etc. are“political blackface performers.”

People like Chauncey DeVega live to sow seeds of racial resentment and discord, and label blacks who reject their toxic racialist narrative as “Uncle Toms”, “coons” and “minstrels.” The Chauncey DeVegas of the world are why there is still a huge black underclass in this country.

He deserves at the very least a nomination for Weasel of the Week for his hard work tearing down successful, accomplished blacks who should be lifted up as role models.

Well, there it is. What a despicable group of Weasels… ANY OF THEM COULD WIN! Check back Thursday to see which Weasel walks off with the statuette of shame!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum.

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted onFriday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

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