Blessings on you and your family, and from all the Huckabee staff!
Today's newsletter includes:
- Democrats and Russians; Google and "fact"-checkers
- Ukraine: Kherson falls to the Russian Army as civilian casualties rise
- Ukraine MP disappointed by Biden speech
- And more...
DAILY BIBLE VERSE
Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
If you have a favorite Bible Verse you want to see in one of our newsletters, please email [email protected]
Democrats and Russians; Google and "fact"-checkers
When Russia invaded Ukraine, the Biden administration sanctioned a number of Russian investment funds, and one of those snared in that net happens to have close ties with the Democratic National Committee.
According to filings made in 2014 in compliance with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), located in Moscow, has had as its American representative the former DNC managing trustee John Raffaelli. The document tells us that as part of providing “government relations consulting services,” Raffaelli and his Washington DC company Capital Counsel were essentially working as their lobbyists. As reported by Natalie Winters in The National Pulse, their task was to “educate and explain” to American officials RDIF’s “role and relationship with United States partners and investors.”
They were also to be the liaison between RDIF and the U.S. Treasury Department. On the FARA document, RDIF is described as “government of a foreign country.” Raffaelli’s company was paid a monthly retainer of $45,000.
Whatever efforts Raffaelli took with the Secretary of the Treasury on their behalf apparently did not carry over to 2022 and the bizarre actions of Vladimir Putin, and the RDIF was still one of the Russian wealth funds to be hit with “full blocking sanctions" last week. The Treasury Department noted that the fund is run by “a known Putin ally” and said that Putin “and his inner circle of cronies have long relied on RDIF and [CEO] Dmitriev to raise funds abroad, including in the United States.” Jen Psaki described it as “a state-owned financial entity that functions as a sovereign wealth fund, which is supposed to attract capital into the Russian economy in high-growth sectors.”
So, you might wonder, what is the big deal about this? Isn’t this just business as usual in the world of global finance, with this being one of those funds that had to be frozen as part of some broadly-imposed sanctions?
Well, sure, except for one thing: it might interest Hillary Clinton, since she’s so intent on finding ties between Republicans and Russia Russia Russia, that this liaison between a Russian financial institution run by a known Putin ally and the United States Treasury is a big-time Democrat who has given a total of over $500,000 to Democrat campaigns, including HERS.
According to his professional bio, he also worked for the Bill Clinton campaign in 1992, the 1996 Clinton-Gore finance committee, and was vice chair of the national finance committee for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Will this stop Hillary from haranguing about Republicans and Russia? Of course not.
In related news, while reading what The National Pulse had to say about this, we found an interesting podcast, “Culture of a Conservative” by their Raheem Kassam, that essentially asks “How did we get here?” He says the dynamics that led to the current chaos surrounding Ukraine have always been at play, but that the one thing that’s different now is the depth of incompetency of our leaders and those who run our institutions –- the “Western regime.” He specifically includes “the Jen Psakis of the world.”
“I wouldn’t trust these people to run me a bath,” he says. “Let alone run counter-operations against a former KGB officer.”
A Brit himself (mother from India), he says he’s warned America not to end up like Britain with their inept leaders, but sadly observes that we now have. “The biggest problem with this right now,” he says, “is you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube.” He says he warned the EU in 2013-2014 not to make moves to include Ukraine in NATO and to bring them into “the European sphere of influence.” But they did anyway, and now act mystified about why Putin is “so upset about this.” Kassam says it’s been brewing for a decade, maybe a little longer.
“There aren’t any good guys in this,” he says. Least of all Putin, I would add. No matter what push there might have been to “westernize” Ukraine, Putin has absolutely no justification for the evil he is doing in ravaging that country, and if he thinks he has, then maybe he truly has gone around the bend.
Kassam blames “fake news” for “getting us into a war.” Since we try like the dickens to get accurate news out there to you and find ourselves blocked at almost every turn by Big Tech –- notably Google, and the so-called “fact”-checkers who are really just checking opinion –- we found another recent item of his fascinating, about a Google-funded fact-check team working out of a small town in Bangladesh.
Kassam found out about this when something he'd posted to Instagram was “fact”-checked by ‘The Healthy Indian Project’ (THIP) and found to contain “false information.” He decided to find out what he could about the group. And we’ll toss a red flag of our own –- two can play at this game, Google –- and advise you that THIP is a member of the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which apparently operates mostly through a grant from...(drum roll, please)...Google.
We’ve talked about the Poynter Institute and the International Fact-Checking Network before. They are anything but nonpartisan.
The post Kassam had shared was about COVID. The details of it don’t matter to my point, but if you’d like to know more, and why this ‘Healthy Indian Project’ had no business making such a determination, here’s the full article on Substack:
Kassam is still trying to find out if the person who supposedly “fact”-checked his post, Dr. Shikha Shiromani, is even real. He describes the listing of their so-called “Editorial Team” as “a slipshod webpage with half names, missing images and biographies for just four people.” The executive editor is someone called simply “Nishant,” and he seems to be very light in the experience department, though he’s described as “a seasoned journalist with over 18 years of experience.”
It turns out that none on this so-called editorial team are credible reporters, and they’re not subject matter experts, either, on the topics checked by THIP: healthcare, COVID-19, current affairs and politics. Yet they’re checking American politics from an obscure location in what appears from a picture of the neighborhood to be an Indian slum on on the other side of the globe. Kassam found out that the Google News Initiative has a $1 million fund that it distributes through YouTube to 22 different programs around the world. THIP is one.
Another bizarre finding is that in their Editorial Policy, they state that they do not change the ratings of articles even if the facts change. They might add an update, but the bad rating will remain and continue to skew search engine results. Kassam points out that if Google is funding a group that follows this policy, it’s undermining the integrity of its own search engine.
So, why would Google give money to a handful of people (if they’re even real) in a run-down village in India to censor news and social media posts? It’s a mystery, although the fact that they do this does help explain the mystifying “fact”-checks we see and have been subjected to.
Ukraine: Kherson falls to the Russian Army as civilian casualties rise
Please continue to pray for the people of Ukraine. Since we can’t cover breaking news in the newsletter, here again is the link to Fox News’ continually updated Ukrainian news bulletins:
As of this writing on Thursday morning, it’s reported that Russia has taken control of the key city of Kherson, and the Black Sea port city of Odessa may come under attack next.
Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow is ready for peace talks but will press its efforts to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure and demand provisions that Ukraine never again represent a military threat to Russia. Because you never know when Ukraine’s leader might send a bunch of troops and tanks across the border to attack Russia, and who would want to live next to a madman like that?
Lavrov also expressed regrets for civilian casualties, claiming that the Russian military is using only precision weapons against military targets. While they might have killed some civilians, he said that “any military action is fraught with casualties, and not just among the military but also civilians.”
Especially when you roll into a country and start shelling military installations like apartment buildings, kindergartens, orphanages and Holocaust memorials, as President Zelensky spoke of in a speech that’s being described as the greatest speech of our time.
As for that dismissive “some civilians” description, the UN Human Rights Office estimates that 227 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 525 injured so far. But they also admit that those numbers are a “vast undercount.”
Ukraine MP disappointed by Biden speech
One person who was not impressed with President Biden’s vows of helping Ukraine during the State of the Union Address was Ukrainian Parliament Member Oleksandra Ustinova. She told NBC that the speech was a “total disappointment.”
She pointed out that after the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine possessed the world’s third-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. But in 1994, they signed the Budapest Memorandum, agreeing to turn over those nuclear weapons to Russia to be dismantled in exchange for a commitment from the US, Britain and Russia not to attack Ukraine. She said the world promised to protect Ukraine if it gave up its nuclear weapons, and now they’re just watching Ukrainians being executed.
As Nick Arama notes in the Redstate article, that agreement doesn’t mean we’re obligated to send troops. But having convinced them to give up their nuclear defenses (then-Senator Barack Obama was instrumental in doing that), it would seem that we owe them more than to continue buying Russian oil and financing Putin’s massacre of them.
Tucker Carlson also has some questions about Biden’s policy for dealing with Russia, and wonders if anyone has thought this through. He also does a little SOTU fact-checking.
Is a California civil court filing a preview of what is to come from the House January 6 Committee?
The New York Times reports that the House January 6th Committee issued a court filing in a California civil court that may indicate how it would try to implicate former President Trump and some of his associates in criminal violations. These might include obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people by their “repeated lies” about the election being stolen.
The filing doesn’t contain any previously-unknown information, but it could indicate that the Committee may hope to convince Merrick Garland’s DOJ to file criminal charges before a new Republican majority shuts down this clearly illegitimate committee (its founding legislation requires that it include Republicans chosen by the House Minority Leader, but Pelosi rejected them and installed two anti-Trump Republicans instead.) Or maybe they’re just trying to tar Trump enough to keep him from running again. Either way, so far, the DOJ has given no signals that it intends to file criminal charges against Trump.
I’m curious: if claims that an election was stolen and attempts to prevent Electors from voting or the voting being certified are now felonies, when are we going to indict all the Democrat politicians and Hollywood celebrities who not only spent four years repeating the lies that Russia rigged the 2016 election and Trump was an illegitimate President, but who also lobbied Electors to ignore their duty and vote for Hillary instead (remember those cringe-worthy YouTube videos?), and who actually tried to stop Congress from certifying the vote? Sounds like the DOJ had better start stockpiling subpoena forms.
Fact-checking Biden’s speech
We criticize partisan “fact-checkers” a lot, and rightly so. But I almost feel sorry for the self-proclaimed fact checkers who had to cover President Biden’s State of the Union Address. That was a solid hour of outright hooey, and correcting it all is like asking someone to clean up San Francisco with a whisk broom.
Here are a few outlets that made a game try and at least hit most of the low points, from Biden’s oft-repeated lie that gun makers are the only industry you're not allowed to sue (actually, that would be vaccine makers) to his various false claims about taxes and the economy, to his magnum opus of horse hockey, his claim that his “Build Back Better” boondoggle wouldn’t add a penny to the deficit.
I Just Wanted to Say:
Thank you for reading my newsletter. Now that you are finished, leave me a comment. I read them!