Olympic Award

Poor choice of words… The Athletes’ Commission of the Russian Olympic Committee said various bans placed on their participation in international sporting events amount to “ethnic discrimination” and create an opportunity “for those who call for simply lynching Russian athletes.”

What about Russia’s murdering and maiming of Ukrainian civilians?

The International Olympic Committee said it issued its ban with “a heavy heart” and noted the impact of the war on Ukrainian sports and athletes, who now cannot compete in sporting events, far outweighs the damage done to athletes from Russia and Belarus.

The IOC also took a direct shot at Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, who had a very cozy relationship with the IOC for pulling off the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

It withdrew Putin’s golden Olympic Order award, but it’s unlikely that IOC chief Thomas Bach will try to snatch the trophy from Vlad’s bookshelf.

Good choice of words… DirecTV on March 1 dropped Russia Today, the propaganda arm of Russia’s government.

“We are accelerating this year’s contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately,” said a spokesperson for DirectTV.

European Commission president Ursula Von de Leyen was a tad more direct in explaining why the EU is canning RT and Sputnik channels.

She said: “We are suspending the licenses of the Kremlin's propaganda machine. The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, and all of their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin's war and to divide our Union.”

Well put, Ursula.

What war? Human Rights Watch reports that Russia’s state media and communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, has threatened to fine or block 10 independent media outlets unless they delete “false information” about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

That false information includes reports that Russia’s military is bombing civilian targets and referring to the conflict as “an attack,” “invasion” or “declaration of war.”

Roskomnadzor wants the slaughter in Ukraine to be called a “special operation” in support of the Lugansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic. Those are the regions that Russia carved out of eastern Ukraine.

Roskomnadzor must use George Orwell’s “1984” as its regulatory guide.

SUNY strikes out Chinese propaganda… The State University of New York quietly closed the last Confucius Institute, which is funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, that it once hosted on campuses throughout the state.

The December shutdown at the University of Albany followed 2021 closures at Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, University of Buffalo and Nassau Community College.

The Albany Times Union reported Feb. 27 that UAlbany’s continued operation of the Confucius Institute threatened federal research dollars.

New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik introduced the “End College Chinese Communist Partnerships Act” in 2021 that would block taxpayer funds to schools that have partnerships with the Confucius Institute or Chinese government.

There once were about 120 Confucius Institutes in the US. There are now 23 of them, though the University of Akron, Bryant University and Alabama A&M plan to shut their facilities by the end of the year.

They will be hardly missed.

Lobbying disclosure thrown for a loop in the Empire State. The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics took down its online lobbying disclosure system after it was the “target of a deliberate malicious cyberattack” on Feb. 25.

JCOPE says it has no information about who may have launched the attack and whether there was a breach of the system.

The Office of New York State’s Attorney General, state police and the Department of Consumer Protection are investigating the matter.

“Our first and highest priority is the safety and integrity of the data entrusted to the Commission by the regulated community,” said JCOPE executive director Sanford Berland.

JCOPE is working with its partners in the information technology sector and law enforcement to identify the scope of the attack to ensure the incident response is comprehensive, he said.

The Commission promises to notify lobbyists in the event that it finds that their data was compromised.

JCOPE was established in 2011 to restore public trust in government by ensuring compliance with New York’s ethics laws.

The cyberattack undermines some of that public trust.