This whole Deflate Gate silliness has fascinated us this week – even I’m getting a kick out of it, mostly because the tweets just write themselves. It’s almost too easy, yes? Ah, but while we were trumping one another with our cracks about Tom Brady and footballs and broken rules, real life was marching on, even if things are happening we’ve not yet been made aware of. As we get ready to kick the weekend into high gear, here are a few of the really important stories that are breaking and that serve as, first, proof that mainstream media is picking and choosing what it collectively feels it needs to report , and more importantly, these stories have long reaching repercussions for all of us – even Tom Brady.
Sheldon Silver Arrested
Ever heard of Sheldon Silver? If you rely on Fox, CNN, ABC and CBS, you may not have. Silver is the longtime Speaker of the New York State Assembly. The 70 year old was arrested this week on a multitude of charges and guess who the federal prosecutor is? That’s right – none other than Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District. The one man who serves as a threat to Jamie Dimon and other big bankers. The one who the press simultaneously loves and hates. The one who’s a glorious smartass, makes no apologies and just fearless enough to call it as he sees it. He is the one federal prosecutor who could care less which political party is affected by his aggressive legal tactics because they know that he knows where the proverbial bodies are hidden. Worse, they know he’s on a mission to uncover them all. They’re just hoping to be out of the line of fire, politically speaking, when he begins his search in their respective back yards.
So what’s going on with Silver? He was arrested on Thursday and is being accused of federal corruption, mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion. The fact that he kept his position during five gubernatorial administrations speaks volumes about how big this case can potentially grow.
Bharara’s complaint details accusations of Silver “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.” It also says probable cause exists that support Silver receiving millions of dollars masked as attorney referral fees, though Silver did no work for the money.
Federal prosecutors seized approximately $3.8 million from Silver on Thursday.
As you can see, mainstream media is not pursuing this. In the top search engine results, there is no Fox News or CNN or MSNBC. It’s too politically dangerous for any of the bigger outlets, despite the long reaching implications of how it will play out.
Is This Why Obama is Bowing to Iran?
The big brouhaha this week, in terms of how the Obama Administration has embarrassed us yet again, is the rudeness the president displayed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As everyone knows, Speaker John Boehner extended an invitation to PM Netanyahu earlier this week to speak before Congress. The top of the agenda is the current Iran soon-to-be-huge crisis. O & Co., including Senator Diane Feinstein, immediately began crying “foul”.
Then we learn that just this week, the Obama administration wrote a check for $490 million in cash assets to Iran, bringing the total to $11.9 billion paid to the Islamic Republic by June. This comes from the State Department. This payment marks the third in a series of checks we’ve written JUST IN ONE MONTH.
Iran is the benefactor of $4.9 billion of what the State Department says are “unfrozen cash assets”, otherwise known as your tax dollars, through 10 separate payments. The rest of this total will be paid out by June, as mentioned.
And why are we shelling out massive amounts of money to Iran? Take a look:
Iran received $4.2 billion in under a 2013 interim agreement with the U.S. and then given another $2.8 billion by the Obama administration last year in a bid to keep Iran committed to nuclear talks. By the way, Iran’s not wavered, yet the money is still coming.
There are absolutely no strings attached, which is unfortunate considering the Pentagon estimates Iran has spent between $100 and $200 million EVERY year funding Hezbollah.
If you’re wondering, Iran has not slowed down its efforts of creating plutonium track, which provides it with a “second path” to a nuclear bomb. Further, Iran President Hassan Rouhani announced three days before this latest payment that his country has begun constructing two new light water nuclear reactors. The U.S. State Department says, “No problem. That’s not a deal breaker”.
In this instance, Fox News did report on this story, but no CNBC, CBS, or the others:
But you know there’s more to it. The U.S. pressured Russia to not provide assistance to Iran, only to turn around and pay out these millions of dollars to, of course, help Iran. So what does Russia do? We’re about to see firsthand, but it’s announcing it will, after all, fulfill the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems that the U.S. convinced it not to do.
Sort of puts the Netanyahu visit into a different perspective, yes? If I were anyone in the Obama Administration, I wouldn’t want to face him either.
Huge Sell Off of Shale Assets
Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm just sold a whopping $3 billion in his shale assets. He’s going through an ugly divorce, but let’s face it, he knows when he’s whooped. Oil continues its free fall and the news that Kinder Morgan announced it would be buying shale assets from Hiland Partners (owned by Hamm), for many, it was just proof of what so many have suspected all along: shale is too expensive and not likely going to be the cure-all for the OPEC-U.S. standoff.
So why would Kinder take such a risk? Maybe to pay its dividends for the next few years? Maybe it opens the door for more viable areas such as North Dakota? Hiland only employees 430 people, and even though it says it will retain “almost all” of those employees, that’s one breaking news story it can avoid, unlike some of the other news this week of companies laying off thousands in the oil sector.
Meanwhile, when news broke, Kinder stock rose by 17 cents, but fell by $1 in later trading.
Before you kick off your weekend, there’s one more recently-lit fire that needs to be on everyone’s radar. Andrew Lack, who was just named head honcho over the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, announced it was placing RT, once known as Russia Today, on a “challenge list”, right along with ISIS and Boko Haram. Yes, seriously. The U.S. just did that. In an interview with…wait for it…mainstream media, specifically The New York Times, Lack explained it this way:
“We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram,” he said. “But I firmly believe that this agency has a role to play in facing those challenges.”
RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan is demanding to know why this media outlet is in the same category as global terrorists:
“We are extremely outraged that the new head of the BBG mentions RT in the same breath as world’s number one terrorist army. We see this as an international scandal and demand an explanation.”
Here’s an idea. Check out RT’s track record, including its massive list of awards – AMERICAN awards it boasts. Even the State Department is scratching its head over the “equation of RT with ISIS”.
Nothing surprises me anymore.