Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones takes a knee on tv with his team, 9/25/17. But it's OK, the team wants you to know they took a knee on tv for a few seconds BEFORE anthem began, then stood and retreated to the sideline as anthem started, allowing Cowboys "to make a team statement-albeit not during the anthem itself"

9/25/17, Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner, takes a knee with team
"Cowboys owner Jerry Jones takes knee with team during National Anthem." You Tube (Final, Cowboys 28, Cardinals 17)

"The Cowboys opted for a display of team unity across the entire organization. With Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones front and center, the full Jones Family joined the Cowboys’ coaching staff and players in linking arms down the length of the field.

In the moments before the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the full organization briefly dropped to one knee together. After several seconds, they stood and retreated to the sideline for the national anthem....The decision allowed the Cowboys to make a team statement on the issue – albeit not during the anthem itself."

Added: A statement "on the issue?" What is "the issue?"  Per CBS Sports, 8/22/17: "(Cleveland Browns) Tight end Seth DeVale, who became the first white player to kneel during the anthem, explained just why he felt the need to do so. "The United States is the greatest country in the world," DeValve said....."The issue is that it doesn't provide equal opportunity to everybody. And I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's things in this country that still need to change."

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In August 22, 2017 article below, Jerry Jones felt strongly that players shouldn't kneel or sit during the anthem. On 9/25/17 (above), Jones proudly took a knee on television with his team, but it's ok, we're told, because he made sure the knee ceremony ("team statement") (to allegedly draw attention to alleged lack of "equal opportunity" for blacks in the US) ended right before before the anthem began.

8/22/17, "Jerry Jones feels 'so strongly' that players should stand for the national anthem," CBSSports.com, Jared Dubin

"Jones does not want any Cowboys sitting or kneeling during the anthem."

"As national anthem protests have become more and more prevalent around the NFL during the 2017 preseason, some teams and their executives have also been forced to be more open with their specific thoughts on the issue. 

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn't want there to be any confusion regarding his thoughts on the matter. He does not support players sitting or kneeling or doing anything but standing for the national anthem.

"I just feel so strongly that the act of recognizing the flag is a salute to our country and all of the people that have sacrificed so that we can have the liberties we have," Jones said Tuesday during his appearance with Shan and RJ Tuesday on CBS Sports Radio's 105.3 The Fan. "I feel very strongly that everyone should save that moment for the recognition of the flag in a positive way, so I like the way the Cowboys do it."

The Cowboys have not had any players demonstrate during the playing of the anthem, either last year or during the 2017 preseason. At least, there is not currently any public knowledge of it happening. 

But while Jones is almost certainly not the only owner, executive, or player in the league that feels this way, there has been a recent trend of players, coaches, and executives at least showing some measure of support for players' decisions to express themselves during the anthem in whatever way they see fit -- even if those people lending support wouldn't necessarily choose to express themselves in that way. 

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat on the bench for the anthem. While his coach, Jack Del Rio, noted that he'd continue to stand himself, he made sure to also state that he supports Lynch's choice to express himself by sitting. (This is a change from last season, when Del Rio did not support players protesting during the anthem.) Prior to the Raiders' next game, quarterback Derek Carr wrapped his arm around Khalil Mack to show his support. 

Michael Bennett took a seat in Seattle and Justin Britt put his arm around Bennett's shoulder, so Seahawks Pete Carroll had to give his thoughts on the issue. Like Del Rio, Carroll said he thinks everyone should stand, but that he supports Bennett and thinks Bennett has a great heart. Carroll also spoke at length to our Jason La Canfora about Bennett's bona fides as a person and as someone that helps a lot of people with his off-field work. 

Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist in the air in Philadelphia, so Eagles teammate Chris Long wrapped his arm around his teammate's shoulder and spoke about both his support for Jenkins' message and his disgust with the recent violent white supremacist rally in his native Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Upwards of 10 Browns players knealt in a circle Monday night prior to their preseason game against the Giants. The team issued a statement clarifying that the organization has a "profound respect for our country's National Anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad. We feel it's important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition." 

However, the final sentence of the statement acknowledged the players' right to freedom of expression, though it stopped short of expressly supporting the way they chose to exercise that freedom.

"At the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country including the freedom of personal expression," the team said. 

(Cleveland Browns) Tight end Seth DeVale, who became the first white player to kneel during the anthem, explained just why he felt the need to do so. "The United States is the greatest country in the world," DeValve said. "It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn't provide equal opportunity to everybody. And I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's things in this country that still need to change."

Jerry Jones is just as entitled to his opinion on the matter as any of these aforementioned players and coaches, but it will be interesting to watch his response if one of the Cowboys' players or coaches elects to kneel or sit during the anthem in the future. Just because it has not happened yet, doesn't mean it never will."



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NFL chief Goodell visits city of Philadelphia to explore its criminal justice system in response to request from NFL player. August letter from 4 players asks NFL to declare November month of Unity for teams to engage with players in social activism-ESPN, 9/21/17

Thurs., 9/21/17, "NFL players seeking month dedicated to social activism," ESPN

"A group of four players sent the NFL a memo in August requesting league support and asking for a month to be dedicated to social activism, not long after commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly had talked to several players regarding their game-day activism efforts.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Torrey Smith, and former Arizona Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin co-authored a 2,740-word document intended to push the NFL to honor activism in an effort "similarly to what the league already implements for breast cancer awareness, honoring military, etc."

The letter was obtained by Yahoo! Sports and originally published Wednesday night.

"We would like November to serve as a month of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market," the memo states.

The letter was prepared shortly after Goodell spoke with several players who had protested on game day before the regular season kicked off, the Yahoo! report stated, citing two sources.

"For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community," the letter stated.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement on Goodell's visit to Philadelphia, where he and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie accepted an invitation by Jenkins to take a closer look at the city's justice system.

"Commissioner Goodell has been talking with players for some time about social justice issues and how to recognize the progress and the important work of our players in their communities across the country," McCarthy said in the statement.

"Malcolm invited the commissioner to Philadelphia a couple weeks ago to see and share in what they've been doing to impact criminal justice reform. Joined by Mr. Lurie, the Commissioner spent the day along with Malcolm and others meeting with community leaders and representatives of law enforcement. The commissioner is grateful to our players both for sharing their experiences and for all the important work they are doing in the community."

The meeting in Philadelphia occurred after the memo was sent to Goodell by the four players.

Bennett, Jenkins, Smith and Boldin either didn't return requests for comment to Yahoo! or declined to discuss the memo, citing an agreement to keep talks private, according to the website.

The league declined to comment on the memo to Yahoo! Sports but told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Thursday that "We are continuing to work directly with the players. These are private conversations."

Boldin retired in late August, two weeks after signing a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. He said in a statement that he felt "drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority. My life's purpose is bigger than football."

Earlier this month, the NFL affirmed it had no plans to investigate Bennett's behavior during an August incident in which he was detained and handcuffed by police in Las Vegas.

The league was responding to a letter Goodell had received from the president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the union that represents police officers in that city. In the letter, the union alleged that Bennett made false accusations against Las Vegas police and asked the league to "conduct an investigation, and take appropriate action."

Bennett, who accused the Las Vegas police of unfairly targeting him and pointing a gun at his head, sat on the bench during the national anthem for a Seahawks preseason game on Aug. 13 and said at the time, "I can't stand right now. I'm not going to be standing until I see the equality and freedom.""




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Sunday, September 24, 2017

German establishment 'stunned' that so many Germans voted against further participation in their own genocide. Alternative for Germany (AfD) becomes first party of its kind to enter parliament in more than 50 yrs. Merkel bloc sinks to 32.9% of vote-Reuters

9/23/17, "Merkel hangs on to power but bleeds support to surging far right," Reuters, Paul Carrel, Maria Sheahan, Berlin

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office on Sunday but Europe’s most powerful leader will have to govern with a far less stable coalition in a fractured parliament after her conservatives haemorrhaged support to a surging far right


The AfD won 13.0 percent of the vote - more than expected and one of many shocks on a night of drama that saw Merkel’s conservatives get their worst result since 1949, and her main Social Democrat (SPD) rivals their worst since 1933. 

Describing the far right’s success as a test for Germans, Merkel insisted she had a mandate to govern - a formidable challenge as she has little choice but to cobble together a three-way coalition with a pro-business group and the Greens. 

“Of course we had hoped for a slightly better result,” a humbled Merkel said after her conservative bloc slumped to 32.9 percent of the vote - down from 41.5 percent at the last election in 2013. 

But she added: “We are the strongest party, we have the mandate to build the next government - and there cannot be a coalition government built against us.” 

The euro EUR=E4 slipped around 0.4 percent in early Asian trading as it became clear the results would make forming a coalition tricky for Merkel. 

Coalition building could take months as Merkel’s only straightforward path to a majority in parliament would be a three-way tie-up with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens - an arrangement untested at national level."




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Trump got highest share of black vote for a Republican in 30 years-Powerline, Steven Hayward

"Trump—he got the highest GOP share of the black vote in 30 years."

9/23/17, "Civil War on the Left, Part 47: Obama, Please Go Away!" Powerline, Steven Hayward

"We know that black turnout in the last election [2016] was down from 2012, when black turnout was actually higher than white turnout....Maybe the fact that Obama was no longer on the ballot-and Hillary was-might explain why some black voters stayed home (or voted for Trump—he got the highest GOP share of the black vote in 30 years).

Or maybe blacks are tired of Democrats in general, and Obama in particular. Obama is currently making plans for his presidential library and community action center to be located on the south side of Chicago. The mostly black neighborhood where it is planned to be built isn’t happy about it, and not buying Obama’s happy talk about how it will bring prosperity to the neighborhood.

From the Chicago Tribune: 

Obama’s promises for presidential center may not be enough this time for African-Americans by Dahleen Glanton

"...A nasty fight over a community benefits agreement with the Obama Foundation has exposed an unexpected rift between the former president and some of the South Side residents who helped lift him to prominence. 

Not everyone on the South Side, it seems, thinks Obama did enough for black folks during his eight years as president. And as he prepares to build a presidential center that will pay tribute to his legacy, some South Siders are calling him out for what they consider broken promises.

Obama consistently has asked residents to trust that he will do right by them. The presidential center, he insists, will provide a wealth of opportunities specifically designed to meet the needs of Chicagoans who have long been overlooked. But this time, according to one activist, there will be no “Amen, kiss the ring.”"...

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Comment: For the record, the above Powerline author, Steven Hayward, isn't a Trump fan boy. Hayward was one of National Review's famous 22 "Conservatives Against Trump," in its Jan. 21, 2016 issue. 

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Added: Despite what the GOP E wants you to believe, white votes matter too. In 2012, more white voters chose Obama over Romney (a GOP E dream candidate, ie, guaranteed-to-lose) in 5 crucial swing states: Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Wisconsin:

"Romney lost the white vote to Obama in five crucial swing states: Maine (42 percent of the white vote), Minnesota (47 percent), New Hampshire (48 percent), Iowa (48 percent) and Wisconsin (49 percent).

3/30/2016, "Ann Coulter: It’s Only Trump," Breitbart, Ann Coulter 

"The only question for Republicans is: Which candidate can win states that Mitt Romney lost?

Start with the fact that, before any vote is cast on Election Day, the Democrats have already won between 90 and 98 percent of the black vote and 60 to 75 percent of the Hispanic and Asian vote. Unless Republicans run the table on the white vote, they lose.

If there’s still hope, it lies with Trump and only Trump. Donald Trump will do better with black and Hispanic voters than any other Republican. But it’s with white voters that he really opens up the electoral map.

A Republican Party that wasn’t intent on committing suicide would know that. But Stuart Stevens, the guy who lost a winnable presidential election in 2012, says it’s impossible for Republicans to get one more white vote and the media are trying to convince the GOP that he’s right.

Stevens says Romney tapped out every last white voter and still lost, so he says Republicans are looking for “the Lost Tribes of the Amazon” hoping to win more white votes: “In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 56 percent of white voters and won a landslide victory of 44 states. In 2012, Mitt Romney won 59 percent of whites and lost with 24 states.”

Apparently, no one’s told Stevens about the 50-state Electoral College. The national white vote is irrelevant. Presidential elections are won by winning states. (Only someone who got his ass kicked running an eminently electable candidate might not know this.)
 
Excluding third parties and breaking it down to a two-man race, Mitt Romney won 88 percent of the white vote in Mississippi, but only 40 percent of the white vote in Massachusetts. What sense does it make to talk about his national percentage of the white vote with disparities like that?

Romney lost the white vote to Obama in five crucial swing states: Maine (42 percent of the white vote), Minnesota (47 percent), New Hampshire (48 percent), Iowa (48 percent) and Wisconsin (49 percent). He only narrowly beat Obama’s white vote in other important swing states — Illinois (51 percent), Colorado (52 percent), Michigan (53 percent), Ohio (54 percent) and Pennsylvania (54 percent).

Increasing the white vote in these states gives Trump any number of paths to victory.

If Trump wins only the same states as Romney, but adds Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois — where Romney’s white vote was below his national average — Trump wins with 280 electoral votes. (Romney wasn’t an ideal candidate in the industrial Midwest.)

Trump could lose any one of those states and make up for it by winning Minnesota and Wisconsin — where Romney actually lost the white vote. Or he could lose two of those states but add victories in places outside the Rust Belt, where Romney’s white vote was also below average, such as Colorado, Iowa, Maine and New Hampshire. (In 1992, Ross Perot came in second in Maine, beating George Bush.)

I haven’t even mentioned Florida, where Trump recently trounced Stuart Stevens’ dream candidate, Marco Rubio, a sitting senator — and a Cuban! — in a 20-point rout. Republican primary voters outnumbered Democratic primary voters in that election by more than half a million votes.

If Trump wins Florida, he needs to win only two or three of the 10 states where Romney either lost the white vote outright or won a smaller percentage of it than he did nationally.

Stevens’ analysis assumes that there will be no new voters — and, again, there isn’t a mammal on the North American landmass who knows less about winning presidential elections than Stuart Stevens.

It’s as if we’re only allowed to divvy up the pile of voters from 2012. Unless you voted in 2012, you can’t vote in 2016! Use it or lose it, buddy.

That’s not how it works.

Trump is saying he’ll bring in lots of new people, as he has throughout the primaries. In the Florida GOP primary, for example, Trump got nearly half a million more votes than Romney did in 2012 — and about half a million new people voted. Trump may be wrong, but it’s insane to say that it’s impossible for him to bring out new voters.

What’s impossible is for any Republican candidate, other than Trump, to win a single state Romney lost. Ted Cruz’s corny speaking style is creepy to anyone who doesn’t already agree with everything he says. He’s the less likable, more hard-edged version of Romney. Every other Republican is, one way or another, a less attractive version of Romney.

Maybe 50 years of Third World immigration means it’s too late, and even Trump can’t win. But it’s an absolute certainty that any other Republican will lose."




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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Why the hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin? WaPo, #1 booster of US taxpayer funded war with Russia, says Putin doesn't have 'bedrock' US values, favors 'spheres of influence.' But many US presidents have accomodated 'spheres of influence'-Pat Buchanan...(The Deep State's #1 enemy is the American people, not Russia. They figure WWIII will shut us up for awhile. They certainly wouldn't allow us to elect a president-notice their quick nullification of 2016 election and votes of 63 million Americans)

"It seems that the American deep state is so frenzied in this way that its inhabitants can no longer see straight: they are ready to risk despoiling not just the "recalcitrant" abroad but America herself. And the way they are going about trying to “have her,” may well ruin the deep state too, as collateral damage."
 
July 14, 2017, "Russia Baiters and Putin Haters," Pat Buchanan

"Is Russia and enemy of the United States?" NBC’s Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, “Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug.”

To Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr., entertained an offer from the Russians for dirt on Clinton could be considered “treason.”

Treason is giving aid and comfort to an enemy in a time of war.

Are we really at war with Russia? Is Russia really our enemy?

Why Russia is a Hostile Power” is the title of today’s [7/14/17] editorial in The Washington Post that seeks to explain why Middle America should embrace the Russophobia of our capital city:
Vladimir Putin adheres to a set of values that are antithetical to bedrock American values. He favors spheres of influence over self-determination; corruption over transparency; and repression over democracy.
Yet, accommodating a sphere of influence for a great power is exactly what FDR and Churchill did with Stalin, and every president from Truman to George H. W. Bush did with the Soviet Union.

When East Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Poles rose up against Communist regimes, no U.S. president intervened. For those nations were on the other side of the Yalta line agreed to in 1945. 

Bush I and James Baker even accused Ukrainians of “suicidal nationalism” for contemplating independence from Russia.

When did support for spheres of influence become un-American?

As for supporting “corruption over transparency,” ex-Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned in disgust as governor of Odessa in November, accusing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, our man in Kiev, of supporting corruption.

As for favoring “repression over democracy,” would that not apply to our NATO ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, and our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte? Were U.S. Cold War allies like the Shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile all Jeffersonian Democrats? Have we forgotten our recent history?

The Post brought up the death in prison of lawyer-activist Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Under the Magnitsky Act of 2012, Congress voted sanctions on Russia’s elites.

Yet China’s lone Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in prison for championing democracy, died Thursday of liver cancer, with police in his hospital room. Communist dictator Xi Jinping, who makes Putin look like Justin Trudeau, would not let the dying man go.

Will Magnitsky Act sanctions be slammed on China? Don’t bet on it. Too much trade. Congress will do what comes naturally — kowtow. Yet our heroic Senate voted 98-2 to slam new sanctions on Russia.

What are the roots of this hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin, whom a Fox analyst called “as bad as Hitler”?

During the Cold War, every president sought detente with a USSR that was arguably the most blood-soaked regime of the century.

When the Cold War ended in December 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved into 15 nations. Moscow had given up her empire, a third of her territory, and half the population of the USSR. Marxist-Leninist ideology was dead. An epochal change had taken place.

Yet hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin seem to exceed anything some of us remember from the worst days of the Cold War.

Putin’s Russia is called imperialist, though Estonia, next door, which Russia could swallow in one gulp, has been free for 25 years.

Russia invaded Georgia. Well, yes, after Georgia invaded the seceded province of South Ossetia and killed Russian peacekeepers.

Russia has taken back Crimea from Ukraine. True, but only after a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev replaced the elected pro-Russian regime.

Russia has intervened to back Bashar Assad in Syria. Yes, but only after our insurgent allies collaborated with al-Qaida and ISIS to bring him down. Is Russia not allowed to support an ally, recognized by the U.N., which provides its only naval base on the Med?

Russia has meddled in our election. And we have meddled in the affairs of half a dozen nations with “color-coded revolutions.” The cry of “regime change!” may daily be heard in the U.S. Capitol.

Putin is not Pope Francis. But he is not Stalin; he is not Hitler; he is not Mao; and Russia today is not the USSR. Putin is an autocrat cut from the same bolt of cloth as the Romanov czars.

His cooperation is crucial to the peace of the world, the freedom of the Baltic States, an end to the Syrian civil war, tranquility in the Persian Gulf, and solving the North Korean crisis
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While our tectonic plates may rub against one another, we are natural allies. The Russia of Tolstoy, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn and the Orthodox Church belongs with the West.

If America stumbles into a war with Russia that all our Cold War presidents avoided, the Russia baiters and Putin haters will be put in same circle of hell by history as the idiot war hawks of 1914 and the three blind men of Versailles in 1919."
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Added: Excerpts from two Alastair Crooke articles: The frenzied American deep state in its zeal for control may take the US down before it can get to enemies abroad:

"It seems that the American deep state is so frenzied in this way that its inhabitants can no longer see straight: they are ready to risk despoiling not just the "recalcitrant" abroad but America herself....Trump "now has been rendered “helpless”: in respect to détente with Russia...spitefully, by his own party, working with the Democrats, to empty Trump's constitutional prerogatives in policy--and to seize them for Congress."...

8/26/17, "How the Deep State Ties Down Trump," Alastair Crooke, Consortium News

"President Trump has had his foreign policy hands and feet tied by the Russia (and Iran) Sanctions Act. He now has been rendered “helpless”: in respect to détente with Russia — gulliverized, spitefully, by his own party, working with the Democrats, to empty Trump's constitutional prerogatives in policy--and to seize them for Congress....

It seems that the American deep state is so frenzied in this way that its inhabitants can no longer see straight: they are ready to risk despoiling not just the "recalcitrant" abroad but America herself. And the way they are going about trying to “have her,” may well ruin the deep state too, as collateral damage.

The Russia Sanctions Act may have been conceived both to paralyze President Trump, and to validate the “Putin-stole-the-Election” narrative, but it precisely removes any chance of Messrs Mattis, McMaster, Kelly and Tillerson to succeed with seizing America as world proconsul.

Russia, China and Iran, now linked by again being threatened by sanctions, are now firmly embedded into a strategic coalition – and they are determined to resist."...     


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Second article:

"America’s ability to pursue or even to have a foreign policy is non-existent in the face of its internal civil war."..."Executive powers have been transferred to Congress:" 

8/6/17, "Playing Politics with the World’s Future," Alastair Crooke, Consortium News

"Finally...the U.S. Congress has produced a piece of legislation. And it passed with quasi-unanimous, bi-partisan support. Only its substance is not so much a deep reflection on the foreign policy interests of America, but rather, the desire to hurt, and incapacitate the U.S. President in any future dealings with Russia. (And never mind the worrying impulse towards conflict with Russia this entails, or its collateral damage on others).

The aim has been to see President Trump hog-tied, and “tarred and feathered” for his “risky behavior” on Russia. This aim simply has overpowered any other considerations--such as likelihood that the outside world will conclude that America’s ability to pursue or even to have a foreign policy is non-existent in the face of its internal civil war.  It is a key juncture. For an overwhelming majority of Democratic and Republican Senators and Congressmen, bringing down “The Donald” is all--and the devil take the consequences for America, in the world....

The U.S. President had little option but to sign the legislation, but that does not mean that diplomacy is completely blocked. As expected, he issued a Signing Statement (see here), in which, while accepting the mandate of Congress, Trump took issue with the new Congressional encroachments into his prerogatives (Article Two of the Constitution) in terms of foreign policy, and he reserved the right to decide on how the Congressional mandate might be implemented (i.e. in respect to the quadrilateral negotiations over Ukraine)....


As indicated earlier, Trump’s Republican base (unlike support from the Republican establishment) is not eroding, but rather is becoming angered and resentful. The more the MSM and the East Coast élites attack the deplorables’ “alt” news and websites – the greater the pushback, it seems....  

The point here is that the Republican [voters'] support for Trump’s desire for détente with Russia has not eroded one jot, whereas the “concern” of the Independents and even among Democrats is eroding somewhat."...




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Dandy Don Meredith in Monday Night Football booth sings: "Turn out the lights, the party's over"



 

"Monday Night Football - Don Meredith's weekly solo once the outcome was clear."

Don Meredith, April 10, 1938-Dec. 5, 2010



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Steve McIntyre on Guccifer 2.0 and "Russian" Metadata: The “Russian metadata” (“breadcrumbs”) are worthless for attribution, let alone attribution at “high confidence”-9/23/17...Nor do they exemplify "suberb tradecraft" as CrowdStrike gushed

"When a document is opened in Word for no purpose other than to change the default language to Russian and change the user name to Феликс Эдмундович, I would not jump to the conclusion that they had done so accidentally....To the extent that exposure by mistake is being relied on for attribution of Guccifer 2 to Russian intelligence services, it is worthless as evidence and an embarrassment to the security firms and intel community who promulgate it."...(from "Conclusion")

9/23/17, "Guccifer 2 and “Russian” Metadata," Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit

"The DHS-FBI intel assessment of the DNC hack concluded with “high confidence” that Guccifer 2 was a Russian operations, but provided (literally) zero evidence in support of their attribution. Ever since Guccifer 2’s surprise appearance on June 15, 2016 (one day after Crowdstrike’s announcement of the DNC hack by “Russia”), there has been a widespread consensus that Guccifer 2 was a Russian deception operation, with only a few skeptics (e.g. Jeffrey Carr questioning evidence but not necessarily conclusion; Adam Carter challenging attribution).

Perhaps the most prevalent argument in attribution has been the presence of “Russian” metadata in documents included in Guccifer 2’s original post – the theory being that the “Russian” metadata was left by mistake. I’ve looked at lots of metadata both in connection with Climategate and more recently in connection with the DNC hack, and, in my opinion, the chances of this metadata being left by mistake is zero. Precisely what it means is a big puzzle though.

Reliance on “Russian Metadata” in Attribution 

Lest anyone believe that it is wildly improbable that US attribution is based on anything as flimsy as such metadata, I’ll provide a series of excerpts from leading articles. In making this selection, I’ve tried to find relatively authoritative articles. I’m unaware of any dissenting articles in mainstream media.

Motherboard, June 16 url 

"However, considering a long trail of breadcrumbs pointing back to Russia left by the hacker, as well as other circumstantial evidence, it appears more likely that Guccifer 2.0 is nothing but a disinformation or deception campaign by Russian state-sponsored hackers to cover up their own hack—and a hasty and sloppy one at that…it’s “more likely than not” that the whole operation, including the Guccifer 2.0 part, was orchestrated by Russian spies, according to Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert…The leaked documents contain metadata indicating they’ve been opened and processes on multiple virtual machines, as the independent cybersecurity researcher known as Pwn All The Things pointed out on Twitter on Wednesday. Some of these machines had different configurations, including one with the Cyrillic language setting and the username of “Iron Felix,” referencing Felix Dzerzhinsky, the first head of the Soviet intelligence services." 

Vocativ, June 16 url 

"But there’s something funny about those Word files. While most are listed as originally written by Warren Flood, the name of a political strategist for the Democratic party, all five are listed as being most recently revised by someone named “Феликс Эдмундович,” an apparent pseudonym and reference to early Soviet hero Felix Dzerzhinsky. Other firms agreed that it was possible, if not likely, that Guccifer 2.0 was created by the same Russian state-sponsored actors originally described in the hack." 

Arstechnica, June 16 url 

"We still don’t know who he is or whether he works for the Russian government, but one thing is for sure: Guccifer 2.0—the nom de guerre of the person claiming he hacked the Democratic National Committee and published hundreds of pages that appeared to prove it—left behind fingerprints implicating a Russian-speaking person with a nostalgia for the country’s lost Soviet era.  

Exhibit A in the case is this document created and later edited in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word format. Metadata left inside the file shows it was last edited by someone using the computer name “Феликс Эдмундович.” That means the computer was configured to use the Russian language and that it was connected to a Russian-language keyboard. More intriguing still, “Феликс Эдмундович” is the colloquial name that translates to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police. (The metadata also shows that the purported DNC strategy memo was originally created by someone named Warren Flood, which happens to be the name of a LinkedIn user claiming to provide strategy and data analytics services to Democratic candidates.) 

Exhibit B is this opposition research document on Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Exhibit B is also written in Word. Several of the Web links in it are broken and contain the error message “Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.” But in a PDF-formatted copy of the same document published by Gawker a few hours before Guccifer 2.0’s post went live, the error messages with roughly the same meaning appear in Russian. 

The most likely explanation is that the Russian error messages are an artifact left behind when the leaker converted the Word document into a PDF. That kind of conversion would be expected if the leaker’s PC was set up to use Russian. 

All three pieces of evidence were teased out of the documents and noted on Twitter by an independent security researcher who goes by the handle PwnAllTheThings." .. 

CSO Online, June 23 url 

"Metadata found within the leaked DNC documents included snippets of Russian." 

Threat Connect, June 29 url 

"Although the proof is not conclusive, we assess Guccifer 2.0 most likely is a Russian denial and deception (D and D) effort that has been cast to sow doubt about the prevailing narrative of Russian perfidy. 

There are signals that appear purposefully left behind to make a compelling case for a non-state Russian or Eastern European actor operating independently, such as cyrillic references to Felix Dzerzhinsky." 

Rid, Motherboad Vice, July 25 

"The evidence linking the Guccifer 2.0 account to the same Russian operators is not as solid, yet deception operation—a GRU false flag, in technical jargon—is still highly likely….The metadata in the leaked documents are perhaps most revealing: one dumped document was modified using Russian language settings, by a user named “Феликс Эдмундович,” a code name referring to the founder of the Soviet Secret Police, the Cheka, memorialised in a 15-ton iron statue in front of the old KGB headquarters during Soviet times. The original intruders made other errors: one leaked document included hyperlink error messages in Cyrillic, the result of editing the file on a computer with Russian language settings. After this mistake became public, the intruders removed the Cyrillic information from the metadata in the next dump and carefully used made-up user names from different world regions, thereby confirming they had made a mistake in the first round." 

NYT, Dec 13, 2016 url 

"Cyberresearchers found other clues pointing to Russia. Microsoft Word documents posted by Guccifer 2.0 had been edited by someone calling himself, in Russian, Felix Edmundovich — an obvious nom de guerre honoring the founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Bad links in the texts were marked by warnings in Russian, generated by what was clearly a Russian-language version of Word." 

Washington Post July 2017  url 

"The accidental inclusion of Russian-language metadata in some of the leaked files, as well as some error messages that were printed in Russian. In later releases of the same files, those messages were removed." 

Guccifer 2’s June 15 Cut-and-Paste 

Adam Carter (g-2.space) has been the leading critic of the above theory. I’ve relied on his ideas in the following exposition, but my approach is also heavily influenced by my Climategate experience. 

First of all, the metadata in controversy is not the file metadata  which one sees in directory listings, but internal Word metadata (e.g. author, default language). If you simply upload a Word document to a public location, you don’t change its internal Word metadata. There are dozens of such examples both in Climategate and even in the Guccifer 2 cf.7z and ngpvan.7z dossiers. 

In Guccifer 2’s first drop (June 15), Word metadata was changed in four documents (1.doc, 2.doc, 3.doc and 5.doc). In the first three documents, G2 successively cut-and-pasted the contents of three documents (Donald Trump Report, Dec. 19, 2015; 2016 GOP Presidential Candidates, May 26, 2015; HRC Election Plans, May 26, 2015) into a single (older) document template (perhaps emptied document), which had originated with Warren Flood, a former employee of Joe Biden, and which had been modified prior to insertion of the fresh contents. G2 set the user name for the Word session as Феликс Эдмундович, Felix Edmundovich [Dzershinski, the first Cheka director.] The default language of the Warren Flood template had been modified to Russian. The document itself is in RTF (readily readable in Notepad using techniques described by Carter at g-2). Originals of the three documents later traced by Jimmysllama to Podesta emails 30498, 55782, 3405. 

For all three documents, the very first line of the RTF sets default language to Russian (lang1049):



 
Later in the RTF, Felix Edmundovich in Cyrillic is introduced through the following line:


 
A fourth Word document in the June 15 dump (Promises and Proposals – National Security and Foreign Policy, Sep 4, 2008) was opened and saved by user “user” without corresponding changes to metadata.
 
The fifth Word document in the June 15 dump (National Security Transition Planning, undated) originates from the 2008 Obama transition. It does not use the Warren Flood template. User Феликс Эдмундович changed the default language to Russian and saved.

These operations all took place in a single half-hour in the early afternoon of June 15. The Warren Flood template was “created” at 13:38 with the first three documents saved by Феликс Эдмундович at 14:08, 14:11 and 14:12 respectively. The fifth document was created by jbs836 at 14:13 and saved by Феликс Эдмундович at 14:13.

None of these operations were required in order to upload the documents – indeed, they required additional, otherwise pointless work. The only changes to the documents were the setting of the default language to Russian and setting of the username to Феликс Эдмундович. When these metadata were (quickly) discovered, the discoverers proclaimed that these metadata had been exposed to them by “mistake” – a wardrobe malfunction, so to speak.

Pwnallthings 

Within a few hours, Matt Tait (blogging as @pwnallthings) noticed the “Russian” metadata in the G2 documents, pronouncing it as a laughable “Russian opsec fail” by the very same Russians to whom Crowdstrike had attributed “superb” “tradecraft
:
 

The other “smoking gun” was the appearance of Cyrillic characters in the version of the Trump oppo research published by Gawker as a pdf – occurring in converting the Word document to pdf (with Russian default language).
 


Follow-up Guccifer 2 Posts

When the Феликс Эдмундович alias was “discovered”, Guccifer 2 reacted by posting up 8 documents on June 17 with username Ernesto Che [Guevara], 10 documents on June 30 with username Chen Du and 4 documents on July 6 with username Nguyen Van Thang, after which he didn’t bother with such artifices. 

In an “interview” on June 21, Guccifer 2 said that these usernames were a form of “watermark” [translated from Romanian fikigranul"]

Adam Carter 

At his webpage, Adam Carter has eloquently ridiculed the idea that Guccifer2’s “Russian” metadata was left by “mistake”. Whereas Jeffrey Carter has stated that there is nothing in Guccifer 2’s conduct that is inconsistent with him being an unaffiliated hacker, Carter has argued that Guccifer 2 is a false flag operation carried out by Crowdstrike on behalf of the DNC (rather than a false flag operation carried out by the Russians.) 

Conclusion 

If I encountered a document which had been most recently modified by a user using the pseudonym “J. Edgar Hoover”, I would not jump to the conclusion that the document originated with U.S. counter-intelligence or police. If anything, I would presume the opposite – that the username was satirical. 

When a document is opened in Word for no purpose other than to change the default language to Russian and change the user name to Феликс Эдмундович, I would not jump to the conclusion that they had done so accidentally or attribute the subsequent exposure of “Russian” metadata to a sort of wardrobe malfunction. I would presume the opposite: that whatever I saw was being shown to me intentionally. 

To the extent that exposure by mistake is being relied on for attribution of Guccifer 2 to Russian intelligence services, it is worthless as evidence and an embarrassment to the security firms and intel community who promulgate it. 

Could one picture a circumstance in which an insouciant Russian intelligent service intentionally signed their own name to the Guccifer 2 hack? Why would they want to stick a finger in the US eye so ostentatiously? 

Can one picture a circumstance in which a hacker (US or eastern European) might want to misdirect towards Russia? Hackers don’t want to be caught and put in jail. Anything that they say has to be taken with one or more grains of salt. Guccifer 2 has no obligation to say things that would help him get caught. If the US intel community is convinced that “Russia” hacked the DNC, they aren’t going to look for hackers in the US Eastern time zone. At the time, there was no “Russia, Russia” hysteria and little reason for G2 to think that a little misdirection could cascade into an international incident. Or the explanation may be something else entirely. 

The bottom line is that the “Russian metadata” (“breadcrumbs”) are worthless for attribution, let alone attribution at “high confidence”.  I’ll survey other lines of G2 attribution separately, but they are, if anything, even worse."










 
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I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.