AIM Editor on Daily Ledger About Fake News

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media Editor Roger Aronoff recently appeared on The Daily Ledger on the One America News Network to discuss how the mainstream media are attempting to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency.

The media, along with Democrats, have concocted the story that Russians influenced the election. “So then it became the Russians, the Russians did it,” said Aronoff. “Does anybody believe that if Hillary had won the election, Obama would have expelled 35 Russian diplomats and put these sanctions on? No, of course he wouldn’t have.”

Trump continues to criticize the media for their bias. He recently referred to a Thomas Jefferson quote that “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” Along with Trump’s tweets, this has caused the establishment media to claim that Trump is attacking the institution of the free press.

“He is not attacking the institution of the free press, which we all cherish,” said Aronoff. “What he’s pointing out is what we at Accuracy in Media have been pointing out since the 1960s, and that is the liberal, left-wing bias in the so-called mainstream media.”

The Washington Post, in particular, has continued its relentless attacks on President Trump. “You can see it virtually every day reading The Washington Post,” said Aronoff. “It’s quite amazing. I’m still looking for the first story that could be labeled pro-Trump. I’m not even looking for pro-Trump, but just something neutral.”

However, Trump is in part to blame for his use of “imprecise language,” said Aronoff. “So, he [Trump] said ‘last night in Sweden,’ when …what happened last night was that he had seen a story on Tucker Carlson’s show on another network, on Fox News. And what he was referring to was the fact that there is a large crime problem, these no-go zones in Sweden and other places now where police don’t want to go. Many policemen are retiring early because they don’t want to deal with what they’re forced to deal with now. And that’s what Trump was talking about.”

Yet the media harped on the issue for days and called the President a liar.

“The whole idea is to delegitimize Trump and his election, and to make it seem like the only way he won is because his buddies, the Russians, gave it to him,” said Aronoff. “Preposterous.”

You can watch the entire interview here:


Investigate and Prosecute the Press

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

The House Intelligence Committee has released the “Scope of Investigation” for its inquiry into the alleged Russian active measures campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. election. One item on the agenda is, “What possible leaks of classified information took place related to the Intelligence Community Assessment of these matters?” That is an easy one.

One of the answers lies with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who “broke” the story regarding illegal surveillance of Trump national security adviser Michael T. Flynn. Ignatius received illegal leaks of classified communications involving Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States. The claim we see so often in the media that Flynn was too cozy with Russia is a smokescreen. The purpose of the leaks, which likely came from the CIA and perhaps other agencies, was to stop Flynn before he could take action to reform the U.S. intelligence community. That’s obvious when you consider that Ignatius is an admitted mouthpiece for the CIA and has a reputation for doing what the agency demands of him.

The owner of the paper he works for, Jeff Bezos, does business with the CIA.

Since it’s doubtful that Ignatius will volunteer his testimony and reveal his sources, a subpoena will be necessary. He can then be prosecuted if, as expected, he conceals the names of those who used him as a conduit for illegal leaks of classified information. It is clear that he has inside information about the “alternative government,” as attorney Larry Klayman calls this network of secret operatives, or the “Deep State,” as others call it. These are the “anonymous sources” who manipulate the press, reveal national security information, and threaten the foundations of our constitutional republic. They are the real traitors, not the officials who had innocent conversations with Russians.

Does House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) have the guts to get to the bottom of this subversion of our democratic system? Like President Trump, he says he is concerned about illegal leaks. It’s time for him to take action. Otherwise, the illegal leakers will keep picking off our elected officials and those they appoint, using secret information they twist and distort for partisan political purposes.

Gregg Jarrett, a Fox News anchor and former defense attorney, should understand this. But he has weighed in on this topic and seems to conclude that Ignatius is above the law.

He says, “Whoever conveyed the information contained therein to The Washington Post committed a felony. The Post reporter, David Ignatius, who published the classified material may also be prosecuted, but he should not be” (emphasis added).

Here’s where Jarrett makes a mistake that plays into the hands of an irresponsible press.

Jarrett says, “The law draws little distinction between the leakers and the recipient who publishes the classified information. Assuming the leakers will not reveal themselves, the government may feel it has no choice but to prosecute the only person whose name is known. That is, the reporter.” However, he goes on, “This would be a mistake. While the statute itself clearly criminalizes the publishing of classified material, the First Amendment should and must render that portion of the law unconstitutional as it applies to a journalist.”

That’s his opinion. The appropriate statute, 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37, section 798, on the “Disclosure of classified information,” authorizes prosecution of those who leak, and those who publish the leaks. The relevant sections “do not exempt any class of professionals, including reporters, from their reach,” as one Justice Department official has testified.

Jarrett argues for a press exception, saying, “The Framers well knew that a free press is a cherished cornerstone in any democracy. It is the only real way to hold government officials accountable for their actions.”

In this case, however, Ignatius may stand in the way of holding the government accountable because he is protecting the identities of illegal leakers.

Jarrett himself notes the highly classified nature of the information that was disclosed. “The collection of signals transmitted from communications systems as ‘signals intelligence’ is known by the acronym SIGINT,” he points out. “The National Security Agency collects and analyzes the information. But any of the 16 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community may have gained access to the Flynn-Kislyak conversations. Many of them likely did, given Ignatius’s reference to ‘multiple agencies’ as his sources.”

Rather than exercise his First Amendment rights, Ignatius may be protecting a conspiracy of government officials whose motive is to destroy those members of the Trump administration who they oppose. By protecting these people, Ignatius is not holding government accountable; he is protecting a criminal enterprise.

The conservative journalist Kenneth R. Timmerman has it exactly right. He says, “The rogue weasels have struck. Terrified that Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn would tear them out root and branch, they connived and colluded, anonymously of course, to leak highly-sensitive intelligence information to destroy Flynn before he could destroy them.”

He is referring to how Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had plans to reform the U.S. intelligence community and purge traitors from the intelligence community.

Timmerman authored Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender, which documented the existence of a network of current and former government officials, many from the CIA, working to undermine U.S. foreign policy and benefit America’s enemies.

In the Flynn case, he figures the leakers were senior career officials who could be counted on to leak sensitive information that would embarrass or confuse President Trump. His column, published on February 14, concluded, “It’s time for the Attorney General to launch a thorough investigation to unmask the leakers, before the damage gets worse.”

It did get worse, with another leak targeting Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Once again, The Washington Post was the chosen vessel for the leakers.

In his column about the war on the Trump administration from within the intelligence community and the Justice Department, Timmerman wrote, “When domestic enemies rear their head and seek to undermine the president and his lawful orders, that’s called sedition.”

If these “domestic enemies” are free to use members of the media for their own purposes, then democracy has become a terrible joke. Seditious or espionage activities have to be exposed.

As the House Intelligence Committee moves forward, members should consider the relevance of another statute, 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115. It deals with “Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities.”

The First Amendment is not a license to subvert the government elected by the people. Members of the press must be held accountable for their crimes.

The American people are counting on Rep. Nunes to take proper action. The fate of the Trump administration may depend on whether he does his job, and does it quickly.

  • Call his office at 202-225-4121. Tell him we know that Ignatius was the admitted recipient of these illegal leaks and that he should be held accountable. There is no time to waste.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.


The Secret Wealth Of The World’s Richest Oil Billionaires

A policy of nationalizing chunks of an economy inevitably creates oligarchs who skim profits off the country’s natural resources.

As such, you won’t be surprised to learn that the largest energy companies in the world are owned and operated by governments, and they include: Saudi Aramco, Russian Gazprom, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), National Iranian Oil Co., Petroleos de Venezuela, Brazil’s Petrobras and Malaysia’s Petronas. How they’re run varies wildly—as does where their wealth goes.

While we’ve all been inundated with the massive amount of press on the scandals engulfing Brazil’s Petrobras, there are a few that stand out for creating and maintaining some of the world’s most interesting and colorful political leaders, who have grown their wealth through holdings in state-run oil and gas in some cases, and through more direct means in other cases.

Four state-run oil wealth stories stand out in today’s world: Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Angola and Brunei.

Vladimir Putin, Russia

Estimates of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth only comes in ranges because most of his wealth is hidden through offshore companies or under clandestine financial devices.

The lower end of the range sits at US$40 billion – a 2007 figure based on research by mid-level Kremlin advisor Stanislav Belkovsky, which he later said had grown to US$70 billion. At this level, Putin already stands among Forbes’ Top 10 rankings of the world’s richest billionaires, though the magazine commented in 2015 that it could not verify enough of his assets to put him on the list.

Earlier this week, the International Business Times said Putin’s fortune could be as much as $200 billion.

The majority of Putin’s wealth comes from his stakes in the oil sector. He is said to own 37 percent of Surgutneftegaz, 4.5 percent of Gazprom.

“At least $40 billion,” Belkovsy told the Guardian in 2007. “Maximum we cannot know. I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about.”

Putin’s trophies of wealth are far from subtle. His $1 billion palace on the Black Sea features “a magnificent columned façade reminiscent of the country palaces Russian tsars built in the 18th century,” according to the BBC, which also procured evidence that a secret slush fund had been created by a group of oligarchs to build the estate for Putin, personally.

It’s definitely not a lifestyle one can afford on a declared annual salary of around US$140,000.

In a 2012 dossier, Former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov (later murdered) claimed that the Russian president owns a total of 20 palaces, four yachts and 58 aircraft.

“In a country where 20 million people can barely make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a brazen and cynical challenge to society from a high-handed potentate,” he said, according to the Telegraph.

But according to Putin himself, his wealth is not measured in money. In Steven Lee Myers’ book The New Tsar, Putin is quoted as saying: “I am the wealthiest man not just in Europe but in the whole world: I collect emotions.”

“I am wealthy in that the people of Russia have twice entrusted me with the leadership of a great nation such as Russia. I believe that is my greatest wealth.”


In 2003, Ilham Aliyev became the newly elected president of Azerbaijan. Thirteen years later, his name appeared in the Panama Papers – a massive leak of financial documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which revealed the shady financial dealings of some of the world’s most powerful political figures.

Months before the October 2003 presidential elections in Azerbaijan, Fazil Mammadov, Azerbaijan’s tax minister, began paperwork to form AtaHolding – a company that has become one of the nation’s largest conglomerates. It holds interests in telecommunications, construction, mining, and oil and gas for a total value of $490 million, according to the last filings in 2014.

A second entity – this time a foundation – called UF Universe holds more assets, but Panamanian laws regarding the confidentiality of foundations are strict, which makes uncovering dollar amounts difficult.

Aliyev’s two daughters and wife also have links to offshore companies managed by Mossack Fonsenca. Incidentally, Aliyev just named his wife Vice-President of Azerbaijan.

How much is the First Oil Family worth these days? No one really knows, but enough to make it onto this list.


Kazakh President-for-life Nursultan Nazarbayev was also named in the Panama Papers as a tax haven owner. He had two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, which he used to operate a bank account with an unknown amount of funds, and a luxury yacht.

The revelations were particularly loaded with hypocrisy because of Nazarbayev’s push to encourage his country’s wealthy to repatriate funds from abroad in order to make them taxable.

“We’ve raised many rich people: billionaires, millionaires,” he said, when oil prices tanked in 2014 and the government began using sovereign wealth funds to fund operations. “They are showing off; (their) pictures in Forbes… They look good, with makeup, well-groomed, well-dressed. But it is Kazakhstan that enabled you to earn all this money… Bring the money here. We’ll forgive you.”


Things here may be about to change, because President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has said he plans to step down after decades in power, and won’t be running in August’s presidential elections, but still plans to control the ruling party. Here, wealth is all about Sonangol, which has been marred in controversy since the president last year named his daughter as the head of the state-run oil company.

Angola has massive oil wealth, yet the bulk of the country’s 22 million people live in poverty, and critics say he’s mismanaged the country’s oil wealth and created an elite that largely consists of his massively rich family. But this scheme is being hit hard by the fall in oil prices that began in mid-2014, and the people are no longer complacent in their poverty.

The president’s daughter, worth an estimated US$3.4 billion before she took over the state-run oil company, has been described by Forbes as Africa’s richest woman.


And here’s one that’s probably not even on your radar, but it will be—sooner rather than later.

Vast reserves of oil and natural gas have made Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei one of the richest leaders in the world. The Sultan is believed to be worth US$40 billion at the low end, and while ‘his’ holdings officially belong to Brunei, in reality they belong to the royal family.

Brunei is the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia, and pumps out, on average, 180,000 barrels per day. The royal family has controlled everything to do with oil and gas since the 1970s, and the line here between royal family assets and national assets is exceedingly blurry.

Vulnerable or Not?

The thing about these political oil leaders is that they’re not really vulnerable—yet. It would take an event such as that which brought down Gaddafi (said to secretly be worth US$200 billion) in Libya to change this.

In Brunei, things may be about to change, and the Sultan may find his wealth considerably downsized. Oil production is down 40 percent since 2006, and what’s left has lost a great deal of value due to low oil prices. Nearly 96 percent of Brunei’s exports are oil, gas and related products—that tops even Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. Brunei could run out of oil in just over 20 years, but then again, the Sultan is said to have massive real estate holdings to tide him over.

Angola’s president is stepping down and the oil price crisis has hit him hard, but he’ll still control the ruling party and a new president will defer to him (and his daughter).

In Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev is president for life. In Azerbaijan, the family elite is as strong as ever and will continue to be so through any means necessary. In Russia, sanctions simply haven’t worked because they are designed to target those around Putin, and Putin appears to have designed it so they are always vulnerable to him first and foremost.

As Russian businessman and former Putin friend Sergei Pugachev notes to the Guardian, and as reported by U.S. News and World Report: “Everything that belongs to the territory of the Russian Federation Putin considers to be his. Everything – Gazprom, Rosneft, private companies. Any attempt to calculate it won’t succeed. … He’s the richest person in the world until he leaves power.”

Link to original article: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Secret-Wealth-Of-The-Worlds-Richest-Oil-Billionaires.html

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com



By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Consumer comfort rose to an almost 10-year high in the final week of February on increased optimism about the economy and more favorable views about personal finances and the buying climate according to Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. The index rose to the highest level since March 2007.

The gauge has increased in four of the past five weeks. Its gauge of “economic views” is also at the highest level since March 2007.

Perhaps most significant is the gauge measuring the sentiment of full time workers. The gauge is at the highest level in 16 years.

The accepted reason for this surge is the election of Trump and his plans for a smaller government, plans to reduce taxes and regulations, all of which to spur growth.

Wow! I must write this is not a one off survey, but is consistent with those since the election and the inauguration. To make the obvious observation, these consistent surveys do not correlate to the approval surveys.

Several weeks ago, I opined the political environment will become even more vitriolic. Unfortunately, this has come to pass. Will society begin to view Washington as only noise? The answer is dependent upon the economy.

President Obama was “well liked” and had modest approval levels. President Trump has neither, but if these “animal spirits” are being released as the sentiment surveys are perhaps suggesting, he might be viewed as Pattonesque, the abrasive WWII general who was instrumental in the victory of Germany.

General Patton was not well liked by the establishment, was constantly reprimanded, but accomplished a mission that few had the qualities to accomplish. His men loved him, but no one else.

Commenting about yesterday’s market activity, averages were modestly lower. Will the averages reverse their strong gains since the election because of monetary policy concerns? Fed funds futures are now suggesting a 88% probability of a change in interest rates at its March meeting up from about 40% at the end of last week.

The odds jumped following several Fed officials who echoed a more hawkish view. Moreover, last week’s jobless claims fell to the lowest level since March 1973. This week’s decline was the largest of the year indicating that employers are keeping dismissals at a minimum as demand remains steady.

Last night, the foreign markets were down. London was down 0.17%, Paris up 0.67% and Frankfurt down 0.02%. China was down 0.36%, Japan down 0.49% and Hang Sang down 0.74%.

The Dow should open flat. Yellen speaks today in Chicago about the economic outlook. The 10-year is off 6/32 to yield 2.50%.


Trump’s Speech Exposes the Sickness of the Democrat Party

By: Lloyd Marcus

While piddling around in my work shop, I heard this sound bite on the radio of Trump talking about his upcoming speech to congress that evening.

President Trump said, “All I can do is speak from the heart and say what I want to do.” http://bit.ly/2ltFIyz I thought, “Wow, what a concept.” Involved as an activist in the business of politics since 2008, I can tell you that Trump has been a laughing stock in the political arena ever since he announced he was running for the presidency.

Look at this clown. He doesn’t behavior like a politician. He doesn’t even know how to speak like a professional politician. No, Trump is just a guy who does not talk down to us and does not ramble on and on with a bunch of intellectual sounding crap. In the black hood where I come from, we called it jive. Obama was a masterful jive talker.

Folks, I relate to Trump because I do not know how to sound smart the way liberals do while advocating insane, evil and ungodly nonsense. My dad is a preacher. My late mom was a domestic worker. They taught all five of their kids to trust God, be responsible, hard work and always try to do the right thing. Thus, I do not know how to sound like a politician. My instincts are to look people in the eye, speak from the heart and tell the truth.

Trump’s down to earth, straight talk nature is exactly why 60 something million Americans have bonded with him. Meanwhile, political snobs and fake news media still do not get it. The political establishment, Obama’s army of domestic terrorists http://bit.ly/2m8JeRU and fake news media will continue using their standard tried and true tactics to destroy Trump. They will fail.

Watching Trump address Congress http://bit.ly/2mdWaXn, it struck me, “Oh my gosh, every common sense thing Trump says he intends to do beneficial to America is vehemently opposed by the democrats.” What on earth has happened to my dad’s Democrat Party? My fellow Americans, our greatest threat is not ISIS. It is the Democrat Party.

Here are just a few Trump putting America first promises that have enraged democrats, launching a scorched earth policy to stop him.

A new national pride is sweeping across our nation.” Democrat controlled public schools have been teaching our kids that patriotism is racist. http://bit.ly/2mFeyFG http://bit.ly/2lcUf5t

All the nations of the world—friend or foe—will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free.” Remember Obama touring the world apologizing for our greatness? http://bit.ly/2mtljxE

We’ve financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit—and so many other places throughout our land.” As an American who happens to be black, it baffled me for years why black democrats seemed content with cities they control like Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit becoming hellholes of black poverty and black on black crime. http://bit.ly/2mtv7rq Then, it dawned on me. Democrat blacks are not black. They are first and foremost liberals who seek power via government control and dependency.

We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross—and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate.” Democrats believe America is too white. They want open borders to attract future democrat voters of color.

Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve.” The Democrat Party leadership are old hippies, flower children who hate our military and guns.

We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a 5 year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials –- and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.” Folks, taking the power away from the DC cartel and giving it back to We the People as our Founders intended has Trump atop the excrement list of both political parties.

We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Democrats hate this. Who do we think we are?

…my Administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration enforcement and border security. By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed –- but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders.” Folks, democrats say screw the law, screw jobs and screw national security. They want as many unskilled government dependent illegals flooding across our borders as possible. Obama spent a whopping $113 billion, $1,117 each, settling illegals into our country, priming them to become democrat voters. http://fxn.ws/1PNTdzU

We’ve heard much about Trump’s narcissism. Call me crazy because I don’t see that when I watch and hear him speak. I see a man aware and humbled by the job placed upon his shoulders, committed to getting it done; committed to keeping his campaign promises; committed to making America great again.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Author: “Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America.”
Singer/Songwriter and Conservative Activist
[email protected]


Weekly Featured Profile – Brad Crowder

New Zeal

Brad Crowder

Brad Crowder is a leader of the Austin Socialist Collective, the Austin, Texas branch of Socialist Alternative, an organization “dedicated to the advancement of socialist, independent working-class politics.”

In September 2008, as the Republican Party kicked off its national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, a pair of activists from Midland, Texas traveled to the city.

St. Paul was their first large-scale protest, “and when they arrived they were taken aback: Rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, tumbling tear-gas canisters—to McKay and Crowder, it seemed like an all-out war on democracy. They wanted to fight back, even going so far as to mix up a batch of Molotov cocktails.”

Just before dawn on the day of Sarah Palin’s big coming out speech, a SWAT team working with federal agents raided their crash pad, seized the Molotovs and arrested McKay, alleging that he intended to torch a parking lot full of police cars.

After taking a plea bargain, Crowder was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

(Brad Crowder|more…)