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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 2, 2014 / 4 Tammuz, 5774

Exclusive: Inside the VA's Spin-'N-Stonewall Machine

By Michelle Malkin




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is very concerned.

No, the communications specialists in the agency are not concerned with veterans in need. They're not concerned with citizens and public officials requesting public information. They're not concerned with journalists seeking the truth.

What these entrenched government employees care most about, above all else, is the business of spin and stonewalling.

The VA mouthpieces are preoccupied with covering their ample bureaucratic backsides, withholding data, monitoring critics, fending off watchdogs and running constant interference for their corrupt, negligent agency.

In a string of internal email documents I obtained from last fall, several VA press staffers spent seven months dragging their feet on a Freedom of Information Act request filed in March 2013 by disabled vet and attorney Benjamin Krause. He and other vets wanted to know how exactly the VA's communications budget was being spent on public relations campaigns, advertisements, online publications and contracts.

VA spokesman Mark Ballesteros warned his colleagues in an October 2013 email that he had read Krause's veterans advocacy website, DisabledVeterans.org. As I reported last week, Krause's investigative site exposed and explained the VA's red-flag system for dissatisfied veterans and also blew the whistle on Federal Protective Service officers harassing sick veterans protesting shoddy care in San Diego.

Ballesteros wrote that Krause's website "appears to have a distinct anti-VA tone." He advised the VA's taxpayer-funded public affairs specialists: "We should proceed cautiously with this one."

What exactly did that mean? Ultimately, the office supplied data in response to Krause's request — but not before Ballesteros imposed what appears to be a selective, pre-FOIA release policy based on viewpoint discrimination. "Let's ensure the material is socialized before we provide it to the organization," Ballesteros told his colleagues.

As Krause explained it to me, the VA "is using systems that allow it to track the influence of Congress and negative reporting" across traditional and social media. Color-coded weekly and monthly "media analysis briefs" cheer on the VA's spin-control penetration on Twitter and Facebook. Bar charts, maps and ratings track congressional critics and activists. Last fall, the office kept paranoid tallies of pro and con statements on the ever-growing backlog of VA cases. Last fall's media analysis reports obsessed over "mitigating" widespread criticism — from social media to "Fox and Friends" to "The Daily Show" — of VA bonuses and shoddy care.

It was in the course of probing those monitoring efforts that Krause discovered that "the VA Public Affairs thinks my website is 'anti-VA' instead of 'pro-Veteran' and is using viewpoint-centric censoring within its FOIA office," he told me.

It certainly may not be the first time.



House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, whose statements are tracked by the VA propaganda machine, also has run into the stone wall. As of last week, the VA was sitting on nearly 100 separate requests for information from the House panel. Sixty-eight of those requests have been pending for more than 60 days. There are three outstanding requests from 2012.

When I called attention to the internal VA documents involving Krause's FOIA request, Miller told me in a statement:

"These emails are troubling, but they are not at all surprising. Stonewalling Congress, the press and the public has become a way of life at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where entrenched bureaucrats play semantic games in an attempt to mislead. Examples of this strategy are everywhere, whether it's VA's habit of pointing to non-disciplinary actions such as employee retirements and transfers, or bureaucratic slaps on the wrist such as temporary written warnings in a disingenuous attempt to create the illusion of accountability, or the department's repeated refusals to answer questions from Congress and the press, as documented on our committee's Trials in Transparency and VA Honesty Project web pages."

Miller added: "As VA's despicable delays in care crisis made painfully clear, the department's extreme secrecy has resulted in deadly consequences. And it's well past time for department leaders at all levels to understand that taxpayer-funded organizations such as VA have a responsibility to provide information to Congress and the public rather than stonewalling them."

Whether ordinary taxpayer or congressional investigator, truth-seekers are apparently treated the same by the VA spin patrol: as nuisances and threats to their power and comfort.

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