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Opening Arguments

Not so special

Another case of stolen valor:

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald falsely claimed that he served in a military special forces unit, he admitted to the Huffington Post.

When a homeless veteran told McDonald in a conversation captured by CBS that he had served in special forces, the head of the VA replied that he had, too. The conversation aired during a CBS News story chronicling how the agency is working to house homeless veterans.

"I have no excuse,” McDonald told The Huffington Post. “I was not in special forces.” 

He added that he “reacted spontaneously” and “wrongly [with] no intent in any way to describe my record as any different than it is."

McDonald, who was confirmed in July of 2014, served in the 82nd Airborne Division and completed his Army Ranger training, earning the coveted Ranger tab. Although he completed that training, he never actually served in a special forces unit.

Special forces units are considered one of the most elite assignments in the military and include the Army Rangers, Green Berets and Navy SEALS.

I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, his lie was not exactly a whopper. He did serve in the 82nd Airborne -- and those guys are not exactly pansies -- and he did complete Ranger training, so he was qualified to be in a special forces unit, even if he never was. And it seemed to be just a remark in passing to a homeless vet he met on the street.

On the other hand, what if this turns out to be part of a pattern of lying? This is the guy, after all, whom we're supposed to trust to fix a system full of sleazeball bureaucrats who jerk vets around over their health care then lie about it. Boy, if you want to talk about whoppers . . .


Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:05pm

Just curious, in light of this post concerning mistruths's and the paper's coverage about the Brian Williams thing a few week back, why nothing on Bill O'Reilly?  O'Reilly claimed to be in the Faukland islands in a war zone in harm's way while working for CBS. He said quote “I've reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands.” and this  "Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.”.  All comments from reporters that were there with O'Reilly disputes his claim.  In fact, CBS stated that the Argentinian Junta would not allow any reporters in the combat zone.  O'Reilly, along with all other reporters, covered the conflict from Buenos Aires 1200 miles from the Fauklands.

O'Reilly was caught in a flat out lie and how does Fox react?  They circle the wagons around lyin Bill and launch an aggressive defense to the end while Bill O goes into attack dog mode threatening a NY Times reporter, telling him there would "be repurcussions"  if he felt the reporter's coverage was inappropriate  telling the reporter quote " I'm coming at you with everything I have, you can take that as a threat."  Note how different NBC and Fox handled the same situation.  Williams was suspended without pay while Bill O is supported unequivically.  Right wing media is quick to jump on the "mainstream liberal media" like NBC but narry a word concerning Fox. Fair and balanced?

On a different subject, why nothing on Wei-Hock-Soon, the aerospace engineer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics that Fox News and all the climate change deniers run out as proof that climate change is a hoax.  Seems Dr. Soon failed to disclose $1.2 million dollars he recieved from the fossal fuel industry including Southern Co. ($409,000), $274,000 from the nation's main oil and gas lobby, the Americam Petroleum Institute,  ExxonMobil ($335,000),  $230,000 from the Charles H Koch Foundation and$324,000 from anonymous donations via DonorsTrust, a fund set up to funnel money  from the Koch brothers and other conservative funders to groups that promote climate science denial like the Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity. Wouldn't think he was being paid to say what he does would you?

And lastly,why no coverage or comment on the Idaho Republican state represenative Vito Barbiari.  This the ignoramus that, , while in the process of approving a bill that will prevent doctors from prescribing abortifacients via telemedicine, because what could possibly be a more pressing issue? was given an anatomy lesson after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.  Dr. Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill when Barbieri asked the question. Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina. Is this the level of intelligence elected in Idaho to make decisions that effect millions of lives?

Are these things not reported because they show conservatives in a bad light and don't match the ideology? Just askin'.