Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Virginia federal judge rules in favor of Trump's travel ban-LA Times, 3/24/17

3/24/17, "Virginia federal judge rules in favor of Trump's travel ban," LA Times, Jaweed Kaleem 

 "Unlike federal judges before him, a judge in Virginia on Friday ruled in favor of President Trump’s revised travel ban in a case brought by Muslims who said the president’s executive order illegally discriminated against their religion by restricting travel from six majority-Muslim countries. 

U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga of the Eastern District Court of Virginia in Alexandria wrote that the plaintiffs, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other Muslim community leaders from across the country, probably would not prevail in their suit.

Trenga said the travel ban likely “falls within the bounds” of Trump’s authority as president, and he rejected a request to halt the order. 

Trenga’s ruling doesn’t have an immediate effect on the ban, which was put on hold by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland last week. But it gives ammunition to government lawyers arguing for the ban across several U.S. courts where cases against it are pending. 

The Hawaii and Maryland rulings agreed with arguments that the travel ban violated the Constitution by discriminating against Muslims. The judges cited statements by Trump and his campaign associates about restricting Muslim travel to the U.S. as evidence of their intent to single out followers of Islam.

Trenga’s opinion gave less weight to Trump’s statements. It more strictly looked at how the travel ban is worded in light of presidential power over immigration and national security. 

The judge highlighted the changes made to narrow the scope of the travel ban after an initial version of the order was struck down by federal courts in January and February. Changes in the new version included omitting Iraq from the list of countries whose travelers would be blocked and removing preferential treatment of refugees who were religious minorities.

The Department of Justice, which is defending the Trump administration in court, hailed Trenga’s move.

“The Department of Justice is pleased with the ruling,” department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement. “As the Court correctly explains, the president’s executive order falls well within his authority to safeguard the nation’s security.”

The original travel ban, signed Jan. 27, was halted by federal district courts and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The new ban, signed March 6 and scheduled to go into effect March 16, was modified in an attempt to pass court muster.

The Maryland ruling stopped the revised executive order’s 90-day ban on travel into the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The Hawaii ruling went a step further by also blocking a 120-day pause on refugee resettlement from any country. It also blocked the government’s attempt to cap refugee resettlement and the compiling of a series of government studies and reports on how refugees and foreign visitors to the U.S. are vetted.

Those rulings, as well as the one Friday in Virginia, are not final but temporary decisions on the travel ban as the cases over its constitutionality proceed.

The Department of Justice has appealed the Maryland decision to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals but has not appealed in the Hawaii case.

Trump has said he wants to take arguments over the travel ban to the Supreme Court."


..........................................

3/24/17, "Virginia court gives Trump his first win on updated travel ban," aol.com, Grant Suneson

"After two federal courts stalled his renewed attempt at a travel ban, President Trump finally has a judge on his side.

Judge Anthony Trenga of Virginia ruled in favor of Trump's plan. The order bars refugees from entering America for 120 days and blocks all people from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days.

Judges in Maryland and Hawaii wrote that Trump's order didn't seem to be in response to any specific threat. They also noted that since Trump called for a Muslim ban while campaigning, his order violated freedom of religion.

But Trenga said only the order itself should be up for review by the courts — not the president's past comments. And since the president does have authority to halt immigration, he ruled Trump's order should go into effect.

This doesn't overturn the previous rulings that froze the executive order. But it does give the Trump administration support in the lower courts and bolsters its case if the travel ban goes to the Supreme Court."


.........

 


Friday, March 24, 2017

Putin meets with France presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in Moscow. Le Pen said Russia and France should work together to save the world from globalism and Islamic fundamentalism-BBC

3/24/17, "France's Marine Le Pen urges end to Russia sanctions," BBC 

"Russian president Vladimir Putin has met France's far-right [sic] presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in Moscow, saying she represents a "fast-growing element" of European politics.

Mr Putin defended the meeting - a coup for Ms Le Pen - saying that he was not seeking to influence France's election.

Ms Le Pen has garnered widespread support at home but her extreme views have deterred most foreign leaders.

Russia was accused of meddling in the US election in support of Donald Trump.

"Of course I know that the election campaign in France is actively developing," said Mr Putin. 

"We do not want to influence events in any way, but we reserve the right to talk to representatives of all the country's political forces," he added.

Ms Le Pen, the leader of France's National Front (FN) party, called during her visit to Moscow for the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia, arguing that they were "counterproductive".

When Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, the US and EU imposed travel bans and asset freezes on individuals and companies linked to Russia's ruling elite.

"I believe that barring parliamentarians from speaking to each other, working together is an infringement of democratic rights," Interfax quoted Ms Le Pen.

Speaking at Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, she vowed to push for the so-called "blacklists" of targeted individuals to be abolished.

Ms Le Pen has previously stated her approval of Russia's annexation of of Crimea.

She also said that Russia and France should work together to save the world from globalism and Islamic fundamentalism."

----------------

"Moscow likes what Le Pen has to say: By Steven Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow"

"Moscow likes what Marine Le Pen has to say. It likes her call for EU sanctions imposed on Russia to be scrapped. It likes her claim that "Crimea has always been Russian" and that "there was no Russian invasion of Crimea". It likes her commitment to forge a strong partnership with Moscow. Which explains why the Kremlin leader took the decision to meet her in Moscow.

It's rare for Vladimir Putin to receive a presidential candidate from abroad. I asked President Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov whether any Russian banks or financial institutions intend to provide financing for Ms Le Pen's campaign. "I don't have that information," he replied. 

Coverage of her in the Russian state media has been favourable. There is little doubt Russia would be happy to deal with a President Le Pen.

However, today, the French far-right presidential candidate was less than happy to deal with the media. Journalists crowded into the lower house of parliament, the Duma, for a le Pen press briefing. She never showed up. 

FN Treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just has said Ms Le Pen's visit is not a cash-raising exercise, though party members have said they are seeking millions to fund the presidential and later the parliamentary election campaigns, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Recent opinion polls in France put Ms Le Pen neck-and-neck in the first round with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, with Mr Macron slated to win the run-off."




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Rush Limbaugh: Politicians calling themselves "conservative" haven't been willing to endure the assaults that come with action. Enter Trump, and now we've got action. This is what it looks like. It's always going to be ugly and upsetting-Feb. 24, 2017

Rush Limbaugh: Politicians calling themselves "conservative" haven't been willing to endure the assaults that come with action. "So enter Trump into all of this, and now we've got action."

 "You’ve got to win the election and then you have to implement the agenda and whatever it takes. And you have to withstand all of the assaults that are going to come your way in the process. And this has been something that many on the right, the Republican Party…They haven't wanted to endure the assaults....So they’ve been pragmatists or compromisers."

 2/24/17, "What Is Conservatism in the Age of Trump?" RushLimbaugh.com

"Many people who thought that they were the modern-day leaders of conservatism, in fact found themselves in a new category called Never Trumpers. They were the group of people that thought no matter what, Trump should not win....

And many of those people are still there. And they are still active in what I call the academic or intellectual side of conservatism....

But I don't think it's had a leader in a long time. I don’t think there’s any one person that can tell you what it is and have other conservatives agree with it....Conservatism, largely, became an academic exercise. It became a movement that wasn’t really fraught with much action. It was a lot of philosophizing....You’ve got to win the election and then you have to implement the agenda and whatever it takes. And you have to withstand all of the assaults that are going to come your way in the process. And this has been something that many on the right, the Republican Party… They haven’t wanted to endure the assaults....So they’ve been pragmatists or compromisers.... 

So enter Trump into all of this, and now we've got action. We have action. Whether by design or by accident where Trump is concerned, we have action against the left, and this is what it looks like. And it’s always going to be ugly and it’s always going to be upsetting — and it’s not going to get better.... 

Much of the alleged intellectual heft of conservatism ended up being Never Trumpers or Never Trump, and they still may be Never Trump. But Dr. Larry Arnn, who is the president of Hillsdale College — and you’ve heard me sing his praises on numerous occasions on this program...Dr. Arnn addressed CPAC yesterday morning. His speech was titled, “The Roots of Conservatism,” and he posed two fundamental questions to the CPACers....What is conservatism and what are we conserving? Now, here’s, to me, unbridled truth. 

Whether you claim to be politically conservative or not, we are in a mess that has been made by wanton liberalism — liberalism which has not been opposed much, and certainly not at all in the last eight years. It’s gotten its lip service. But the actual warrior aspect of conservatism? That’s what everybody’s wondering: “Where is that? Where is the warrior-conservative movement?” Yeah, we know we’ve got a lot of brainiacs that sit up there and they think and they write and they publish and all. But where are the warriors?...  

The ‘crisis’ facing American conservatives today, Dr. Arnn proposed, is a crushing administrative state that unconstitutionally combines the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government into one unaccountable body. ‘In those agencies there is no separation of powers,’ Arnn warned. Administrative agencies, run by unelected bureaucrats, operate outside of the bounds imposed upon the government by the U.S. Constitution. And every year these governing bodies create regulations with the force of law that strangle the economy and threaten individual liberty.

With all the consternation on the right about whether President Trump is a conservative or not, Dr. Arnn reminded [the CPAC] audience of one simple fact: The president campaigned vigorously on cutting back regulations and limiting the unconstitutional administrative state. If the president succeeds in rolling back the administrative state, in restoring the proper function of constitutional government by limiting regulations, ‘I think that guy is a conservative,’ Dr. Arnn said, and let me tell you something: Dr. Larry Arnn is every bit the intellectual conservative that any of the others who are known as intellectual conservatives are.... 

Well, this mess that we are in — whether you claim to be politically conservative or not — the fact is that the solutions...will be conservative....And that means that as Trump solves problems, they’re going to be considered to be conservative solutions."... 


Rush Limbaugh: Related Link:
 
Hillsdale Collegian: Arnn Calls Trump a Conservative at CPAC Speech
 
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Laura Ingraham on governing as a "conservative:"The next governing coalition that calls itself conservative will have to reflect the views of the pro-Trump voters," she said.".

7/16/2016, "Donald Trump Forces G.O.P. to Choose Between Insularity and Outreach," NY Times, Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin
   
"Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio host supportive of Mr. Trump, said the party’s future base would have to be made up of “working-class nationalists,” who have been drawn to Mr. Trump and reject the Bush-era policies around immigration and trade.

The next governing coalition that calls itself conservative will have to reflect the views of the pro-Trump voters," she said."...(8 parags. from end)

 
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Added on ObamaCare from Codevilla:

"Obamacare has existed strictly at the sufferance of the (GOP) House leadership since that majority took office in January 2011": Angelo Codevilla:

9/17/2013, "The Obama-Boehner Project," Angelo M. Codevilla, libertylawsite.org

"The Republican Party owes its majority in the House of Representatives – and John Boehner his speakership thereof – to the American people’s dislike of Obamacare. Because the US Constitution is explicit that the US government may expend only funds appropriated by Congress, Obamacare has existed strictly at the sufferance of the House leadership since that majority took office in January 2011. But John Boehner and his chosen band have thwarted the majority of Republican congressmen’s desire to use the constitutional power they have to refuse to appropriate money for Obamacare. In this, Boehner and co. have worked in bipartisan coordination with the ruling class, including the media, including Fox News....

The ruling class’ foolishness and insincerity, its willingness to insult the American people’s intelligence, are no joke. But we can take comfort in its transparent ineptitude."


..................

Added: The Republican Party doesn't exist: Codevilla


"So long as the Uniparty exists, mere voters will have no way of affecting what the government does."

12/15/2013, "Breaking The UniParty," Angelo Codevilla, libertylawsite.org


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.

Trump approval remains at 50% among registered voters nationwide, 90% among his voters, in latest Morning Consult Politico online poll, March 16-19, 2017, 1927 registered voters

Morning Consult is apparently unable to bear the pain of reporting continuing positive Trump approval numbers which have remained at around 50 percent [90% among Trump voters] since his inauguration with the exception of week 2 which dropped a few points (see chart below), so creates a "Trump Scandals" narrative for March 16-19 positive poll results. With a "scandals" narrative, busy readers would have to be predisposed to exerting extra effort to find anything not worthy of ridicule. The notion of a positive Trump number may be written off as irrational, a joke, just people with no teeth. Morning Consult Politico poll dates March 16-19, 2017, 1927 nationwide registered voters.

3/23/17, "Trump Scandals Make His Voters Like Him More," Morning Consult, Meghan McCarthy

"On the whole, these scandals don’t seem to be pulling down Trump's overall approval numbers. He has hovered around 50 percent [and 90% among Trump voters] after dropping a few points after the first executive order on immigration. [That "executive order on immigration" was approved by 55% of registered voters, tied for #1 most popular of Trump executive orders to that point, the other most popular being revoking federal funding for sanctuary cities, see chart below]. It’s also important to note that for about a 20 percent of voters, these scandals didn’t change their opinion either way."

page 12 of 276: "Table Q172: 

"Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President?"

Among registered voters: 50% approve:

"Strongly approve 26%
Somewhat approve 24%"

Among Donald Trump voters: 90% approve:

"Strongly approve 52%
Somewhat approve 38%"

(continuing, Morning Consult): "The media-as-enemy tweet in particular was a hit with Trump voters, with 48 percent saying it gave them a more favorable view of the president. That is nine points higher than any other event we tested....

The national, online survey polled 1,927 registered voters from March 16-19. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Crosstabs are available here."
















("Meghan is a Cofounder and Chief Content Officer of Morning Consult.")
.......
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Added: Approval of Trump Exec. orders, chart from 2/18/17, "Trump’s Approval Rating Slides Despite Support for Travel Ban," Morning Consult, Cameron Easley






















........

Link to chart below:

3/15/17, "Poll: Trump Approval, Voter Optimism on the Rise," Morning Consult, Eli Yokley














Above chart: Trump approval rating from inauguration through March 9-13, 2017, nationwide Morning Consult/Politico online poll.



=================

Comment: The person who wrote the top 3/23/17 Morning Consult article begins every day filled with hatred and gets paid for it.

.................
https://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/170308_crosstabs_Politico_v3_AG-2-1.pdf
 

 



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Republican House Speakers love saying it: 'Obamacare is the law of the land': GOP House Speaker John Boehner, Nov. 8, 2012. 'Obamacare is the law of the land.' GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, March 24, 2017-Politico (Laura Ingraham: “The next governing coalition that calls itself conservative will have to reflect the views of the pro-Trump voters," NY Times, 7/16/2016)

Since Nov. 2010 the Republican Party has owed its majority in the House of Representatives to the American people’s dislike of Obamacare. This hasn't even made the GOP blink. They couldn't care less. They're much happier in the minority. They desperately want voters to leave them alone

11/8/2012, "John Boehner: ‘Obamacare is the law of the land’," Politico, David Nather















Above, AP. Below, Reuters similar 5/2/2011 photo with link:














"Le président de la Chambre des représentants, le républicain John Boehner, a chaleureusement accueilli Barack Obama lors d'un dîner à la Maison-Blanche lundi. Photo: Reuters"  
 
"House Speaker John Boehner made it official Thursday: Obamacare isn’t going anywhere. In an interview with ABC News, Boehner seemed to suggest the election ended any efforts to wipe out the whole law. When “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer asked if there would be any more votes to repeal the law, Boehner said  



  

 
................. 

3/24/2017, "Ryan: 'Obamacare is the law of the land' for foreseeable future," Politico, Madeline Conway  

"Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that “Obamacare is the law of the land” and will remain so “for the foreseeable future.”

“I don't know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land,” Ryan told reporters shortly after House Republicans canceled a planned afternoon vote on their alternative to Barack Obama’s 2010 health care reform law."...
 
.......................

Save the rap about "conservatives" in the Koch Brothers wing of the GOP, the "Freedom Caucus." (The US Chamber of Commerce has the other GOP wing. No "wing" exists for Republican voters).

3/23/17, "Report: President Trump Forces House Vote Tomorrow on ObamaCare Repeal and Replacement," tcth, sundance 

"Perfect. President Trump, through OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, has demanded the House of Representatives vote tomorrow on the current bill for ObamaCare Repeal and Replacement. 

This directly calls out the UniParty structure of Washington DC.

The time for endless political talk in circles is over....The Koch Brothers wing (House Freedom Caucus), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wing (Ryan/GOPe), will have to vote to support the Health and Human Services construct of Tom Price, or kill it by voting against it."...
..................... 

Save the rap about Koch Brothers "conservatives" in the Freedom Caucus:

3/23/17, "Healthcare Vote? – Remember, It Wasn’t Republicans That Elected President Trump," tcth, sundance

"“Freedom Caucus” UniParty members would do well to remember it wasn't just Republicans who voted to put President Trump into office, it was also Democrats and Independents."...


---------------------

Laura Ingraham on governing as a "conservative:"The next governing coalition that calls itself conservative will have to reflect the views of the pro-Trump voters," she said.".

7/16/2016, "Donald Trump Forces G.O.P. to Choose Between Insularity and Outreach," NY Times, Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin
   
"Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio host supportive of Mr. Trump, said the party’s future base would have to be made up of “working-class nationalists,” who have been drawn to Mr. Trump and reject the Bush-era policies around immigration and trade.

The next governing coalition that calls itself conservative will have to reflect the views of the pro-Trump voters," she said."...(8 parags. from end)

.......................
...................

Speaker Boehner was a de facto democrat and was supported by that party which left Republican voters with no party:

Democrats vow to protect Republican House Speaker Boehner from "conservative" coup, considering him their puppet in a one-party leftist dictatorship: 

3/16/2015, "Speaker Boehner: Democrat Dissenter," American Thinker, Lester Jackson

"On March 3 (2015)...John Boehner predictably went back on his word, betraying conservatives on a signature campaign promise: to rein in President Obama’s unconstitutional and lawless actions in support of lawlessness. 

This was Boehner’s final surrender, ceding the last vestige of the immense power of the purse that a majority of voters sent Republicans to Washington to exercise....He removed any lingering doubt that he is the Democrat-preferred Obama-Pelosi House Speaker. 

A headline in The Hill, said it all: “Dems vow to protect Boehner from conservative coup. 


Democrats now consider Boehner to be their puppet in a one-party leftist dictatorship ruling against a conservative country. So it was no surprise that, when conservatives protested this latest Boehner betrayal, Democrats rallied to reciprocate the vast aid and comfort he had given them."...

.....................

"Obamacare has existed strictly at the sufferance of the (GOP) House leadership since that majority took office in January 2011": Angelo Codevilla:

9/17/2013, "The Obama-Boehner Project," Angelo M. Codevilla, libertylawsite.org

"The Republican Party owes its majority in the House of Representatives – and John Boehner his speakership thereof – to the American people’s dislike of Obamacare. Because the US Constitution is explicit that the US government may expend only funds appropriated by Congress, Obamacare has existed strictly at the sufferance of the House leadership since that majority took office in January 2011. But John Boehner and his chosen band have thwarted the majority of Republican congressmen’s desire to use the constitutional power they have to refuse to appropriate money for Obamacare. In this, Boehner and co. have worked in bipartisan coordination with the ruling class, including the media, including Fox News....

The ruling class’ foolishness and insincerity, its willingness to insult the American people’s intelligence, are no joke. But we can take comfort in its transparent ineptitude."



..................

"So long as the Uniparty exists, mere voters will have no way of affecting what the government does."

12/15/2013, "Breaking The UniParty," Angelo Codevilla, libertylawsite.org


.......................

Rush Limbaugh: Politicians calling themselves "conservative" haven't been willing to withstand the assaults that come with action. "So enter Trump into all of this, and now we've got action."

"You’ve got to win the election and then you have to implement the agenda and whatever it takes. And you have to withstand all of the assaults that are going to come your way in the process. And this has been something that many on the right, the Republican Party…They haven’t wanted to endure the assaults....So they’ve been pragmatists or compromisers." Limbaugh

2/24/17, "What Is Conservatism in the Age of Trump?" RushLimbaugh.com 

"Many people who thought that they were the modern-day leaders of conservatism, in fact found themselves in a new category called Never Trumpers. They were the group of people that thought no matter what, Trump should not win....
 
And many of those people are still there. And they are still active in what I call the academic or intellectual side of conservatism.... 

But I don't think it's had a leader in a long time. I don’t think there’s any one person that can tell you what it is and have other conservatives agree with it....Conservatism, largely, became an academic exercise. It became a movement that wasn’t really fraught with much action. It was a lot of philosophizing....You’ve got to win the election and then you have to implement the agenda and whatever it takes. And you have to withstand all of the assaults that are going to come your way in the process. And this has been something that many on the right, the Republican Party… They haven’t wanted to endure the assaults....So they’ve been pragmatists or compromisers.... 

So enter Trump into all of this, and now we've got action. We have action. Whether by design or by accident where Trump is concerned, we have action against the left, and this is what it looks like. And it’s always going to be ugly and it’s always going to be upsetting — and it’s not going to get better.... 

Much of the alleged intellectual heft of conservatism ended up being Never Trumpers or Never Trump, and they still may be Never Trump. But Dr. Larry Arnn, who is the president of Hillsdale College — and you’ve heard me sing his praises on numerous occasions on this program...Dr. Arnn addressed CPAC yesterday morning. His speech was titled, “The Roots of Conservatism,” and he posed two fundamental questions to the CPACers....What is conservatism and what are we conserving? Now, here’s, to me, unbridled truth. 

Whether you claim to be politically conservative or not, we are in a mess that has been made by wanton liberalism — liberalism which has not been opposed much, and certainly not at all in the last eight years. It’s gotten its lip service. But the actual warrior aspect of conservatism? That’s what everybody’s wondering: “Where is that? Where is the warrior-conservative movement?” Yeah, we know we’ve got a lot of brainiacs that sit up there and they think and they write and they publish and all. But where are the warriors?...

The ‘crisis’ facing American conservatives today, Dr. Arnn proposed, is a crushing administrative state that unconstitutionally combines the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government into one unaccountable body. ‘In those agencies there is no separation of powers,’ Arnn warned. Administrative agencies, run by unelected bureaucrats, operate outside of the bounds imposed upon the government by the U.S. Constitution. And every year these governing bodies create regulations with the force of law that strangle the economy and threaten individual liberty. 

With all the consternation on the right about whether President Trump is a conservative or not, Dr. Arnn reminded [the CPAC] audience of one simple fact: The president campaigned vigorously on cutting back regulations and limiting the unconstitutional administrative state. If the president succeeds in rolling back the administrative state, in restoring the proper function of constitutional government by limiting regulations, ‘I think that guy is a conservative,’ Dr. Arnn said, and let me tell you something: Dr. Larry Arnn is every bit the intellectual conservative that any of the others who are known as intellectual conservatives are.... 

Well, this mess that we are in — whether you claim to be politically conservative or not — the fact is that the solutions...will be conservative....And that means that as Trump solves problems, they’re going to be considered to be conservative solutions."...

Rush Limbaugh: Related Link:

Widely publicized Crowdstrike claims about 'Russian hacking' in Ukraine were denied in January by Ukraine Ministry of Defense. Ukraine 'hacking' that didn't happen was basis for claim that Russia 'hacked' DNC emails using same Russian software used against Ukraine. Media not interested in Ukraine's denial or problems in inciting war with Russia-VOA News, 3/23/17. (The American people remain alone against the entire Endless War political class and its media)

"Ukraine’s denial did not get the same attention as CrowdStrike’s report."...In January 2017, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense stated that Crowdstrike's claims of Ukraine combat losses and Russian hacking never happened. (scroll down for VOA article) 

In March 2017, military analyst, International Institute for Strategic Studies, told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used its data to claim Russian hacking against Ukraine and disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report.

Crowdstrike profiteer gets quiet, cancels March 15, 2017 interview:

"CrowdStrike declined to answer VOA’s written questions about the Ukraine report, and Alperovitch canceled a March 15 interview on the topic."

.................... 

FBI forced to rely on Crowdstrike for information about alleged Russia access to DNC emails:

1/10/17, "Comey: DNC denied FBI's requests for access to [allegedly] hacked servers," The Hill, Katie Bo Williams
 

"The bureau made "multiple requests at different levels,” according to Comey, but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a “highly respected private company” would get access and share what it found with investigators. 

“We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible,” Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request.... 

The DNC told BuzzFeed in a statement published last week [Jan. 2017] that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached. 

But a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization the following day.

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” the official said. 

This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.” 

CrowdStrike, the private security firm in question, has published extensive forensic analysis backing up its assessment that the threat groups that infiltrated the DNC were associated with Russian intelligence." 

FYI for The Hill: "Threat groups" aren't people despite portrayals by Crowdstrike and yourselves. "Threat groups" are merely a set of software and related network infrastructure: 

"A common misconception of “threat group” is that it refers to a group of people. It doesn’t. Here’s how ESET [link goes to general site] describes SEDNIT, one of the names for the threat group known as APT28, Fancy Bear, etc. This definition is found on p.12 of part two “En Route with Sednit: Observing the Comings and Goings”:
"As security researchers, what we call “the Sednit group” is merely a set of software and the related network infrastructure, which we can hardly correlate with any specific organization."

Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!... 

It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will."... 

12/30/2016, "FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort," Jeffrey Carr 
..............

Not mentioned by The Hill, above: The average teenager could've accessed DNC emails:

7/27/2016, "Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings Before Theft," Bloomberg, Michael Riley  

Professionals hired by the DNC in late 2015 advised them their system was completely vulnerable, gave them a list of dozens of items to fix, such as an out of date firewall. But the DNC did nothing, thus allowing malware to remain on its site for nearly a year.

This negligence left the DNC open to lawsuits: "Customers and shareholders could have cause to sue if an organization knowingly disregards such warnings."  

..................

VOA article about Crowdstrike:

Crowdstrike's "Russia did it" report is disavowed by the two main sources it used as "proof" that a "Russian hacking group" interfered with the Ukraine military and caused deaths in Ukraine. CrowdStrike co-founder Dmiti Alperovitch had trumpeted its Ukraine report as more evidence of Russian election tampering. Alperovitch has said that variants of the same software were used in both [alleged] hacks."

3/23/17, "Think Tank: Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data," VOANews.com, Oleksiy Kuzmenko and Pete Cobus, Washington. "This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Ukrainian Service." 


"An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election.

The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists. 

But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.

A CrowdStrike spokesperson told VOA that it stands by its findings, which, they say, "have been confirmed by others in the cybersecurity community.”

The challenges to CrowdStrike’s credibility are significant because the firm was the first to link last year’s [alleged] hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors, and because CrowdStrike co-founder Dmiti Alperovitch has trumpeted its Ukraine report as more evidence of Russian election tampering.

Alperovitch has said that variants of the same software were used in both [alleged] hacks.

While questions about CrowdStrike’s findings don’t disprove allegations of Russian involvement, they do add to skepticism voiced by some cybersecurity experts and commentators about the quality of their technical evidence.

The Russian government has denied covert involvement in the election, but U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hacks were meant to discredit Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump’s campaign. An FBI and Homeland Security report also blamed Russian intelligence services.

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that his agency has an ongoing investigation into the [alleged] hacks of Democratic campaign computers and into contacts between Russian operatives and Trump campaign associates. The White House says there was no collusion with Russia, and other U.S. officials have said they’ve found no proof.

Signature malware

VOA News first reported in December that sources close to the Ukraine military and the artillery app’s creator questioned CrowdStrike’s finding that a Russian-linked group it named “Fancy Bear” had hacked the app. CrowdStrike said it found a variant of the same “X-Agent” malware used to attack the Democrats.

CrowdStrike said the hack allowed Ukraine’s enemies to locate its artillery units. As proof of its effectiveness, the report referenced publicly reported data in which IISS had sharply reduced its estimates of Ukrainian artillery assets. IISS, based in London, publishes a highly regarded, annual reference called “The Military Balance” that estimates the strength of world armed forces.

“Between July and August 2014, Russian-backed forces launched some of the most-decisive attacks against Ukrainian forces, resulting in significant loss of life, weaponry and territory,” CrowdStrike wrote in its report, explaining that the hack compromised an app used to aim Soviet-era D-30 howitzers.

“Ukrainian artillery forces have lost over 50% of their weapons in the two years of conflict and over 80% of D-30 howitzers, the highest percentage of loss of any other artillery pieces in Ukraine’s arsenal,” the report said, crediting a Russian blogger who had cited figures from IISS.

The report prompted skepticism in Ukraine.

Yaroslav Sherstyuk, maker of the Ukrainian military app in question, called the company’s report “delusional
in a Facebook post. CrowdStrike never contacted him before or after its report was published, he told VOA.

Pavlo Narozhnyy, a technical adviser to Ukraine’s military, told VOA that while it was theoretically possible the howitzer app could have been compromised, any infection would have been spotted. “I personally know hundreds of gunmen in the war zone,” Narozhnyy told VOA in December. “None of them told me of D-30 losses caused by hacking or any other reason.”

VOA first contacted IISS in February to verify the alleged artillery losses. Officials there initially were unaware of the CrowdStrike assertions. After investigating, they determined that CrowdStrike misinterpreted their data and hadn’t reached out beforehand for comment or clarification.

In a statement to VOA, the institute flatly rejected the assertion of artillery combat losses.

The CrowdStrike report uses our data, but the inferences and analysis drawn from that data belong solely to the report's authors,” the IISS said. “The inference they make that reductions in Ukrainian D-30 artillery holdings between 2013 and 2016 were primarily the result of combat losses is not a conclusion that we have ever suggested ourselves, nor one we believe to be accurate.”

One of the IISS researchers who produced the data said that while the think tank had dramatically lowered its estimates of Ukrainian artillery assets and howitzers in 2013, it did so as part of a “reassessment” and reallocation of units to airborne forces.

"No, we have never attributed this reduction to combat losses," the IISS researcher said, explaining that most of the reallocation occurred prior to the two-year period that CrowdStrike cites in its report.

“The vast majority of the reduction actually occurs...before Crimea/Donbass,” he added, referring to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

‘Evidence flimsy'

In early January, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense issued a statement saying artillery losses from the ongoing fighting with separatists are “several times smaller than the number reported by [CrowdStrike] and are not associated with the specified cause” of Russian hacking.

But Ukraine’s denial did not get the same attention as CrowdStrike’s report. Its release was widely covered by news media reports as further evidence of Russian hacking in the U.S. election.

In interviews, [Crowdstrike's] Alperovitch helped foster that impression by connecting the Ukraine and Democratic campaign hacks, which CrowdStrike said involved the same Russian-linked hacking group
—Fancy Bear—and versions of X-Agent malware the group was known to use.

“The fact that they would be tracking and helping the Russian military kill Ukrainian army personnel in eastern Ukraine and also intervening in the U.S. election is quite chilling,” Alperovitch said in a December 22 story by The Washington Post.

The same day, Alperovitch told the PBS NewsHour: “And when you think about, well, who would be interested in targeting Ukraine artillerymen in eastern Ukraine? Who has interest in hacking the Democratic Party? [The] Russia government comes to mind, but specifically, [it's the] Russian military that would have operational [control] over forces in the Ukraine and would target these artillerymen.”

Alperovitch, a Russian expatriate and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council policy research center in Washington, co-founded CrowdStrike in 2011. The firm has employed two former FBI heavyweights: Shawn Henry, who oversaw global cyber investigations at the agency, and Steven Chabinsky, who was the agency's top cyber lawyer and served on a White House cybersecurity commission. Chabinsky left CrowdStrike last year.

CrowdStrike declined to answer VOA’s written questions about the Ukraine report, and Alperovitch canceled a March 15 interview on the topic. In a December statement to VOA’s Ukrainian Service, spokeswoman Ilina Dimitrova defended the company’s conclusions.

“It is indisputable that the [Ukraine artillery] app has been hacked by Fancy Bear malware,” Dimitrova wrote. “We have published the indicators to it, and they have been confirmed by others in the cybersecurity community.”

In its report last June attributing the [alleged] Democratic hacks, CrowdStrike said it was long familiar with the methods used by Fancy Bear and another group with ties to Russian intelligence nicknamed Cozy Bear. Soon after, U.S. cybersecurity firms Fidelis and Mandiant endorsed CrowdStrike’s conclusions.

The FBI and Homeland Security report reached the same conclusion about the two groups.

Still, some cybersecurity experts are skeptical that the election and purported Ukraine hacks are connected. Among them is Jeffrey Carr, a cyberwarfare consultant who has lectured at the U.S. Army War College, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other government agencies.

In a January post on LinkedIn, Carr called CrowdStrike’s evidence in the Ukraine “flimsy.” He told VOA in an interview that CrowdStrike mistakenly assumed that the X-Agent malware employed in the hacks was a reliable fingerprint for Russian actors.

We now know that’s false,” he said, “and that the source code has been obtained by others outside of Russia.""

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Additional source: Crowdstrike's false information harmed Ukraine:
 
1/13/17, "Crowdstrike Needs To Address The Harm It Caused Ukraine," Jeffrey Carr 

"Crowdstrike’s Danger Close intelligence report is an analytic failure of epic proportions, but more importantly, it has harmed the morale of the people of Ukraine as well as cast doubt in the minds of the Ukrainian soldiers who relied upon the app."...
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Comment: What a surprise: Crowdstrike's Dmitri Alperovitch turns out to be a deeply embedded Beltway swamp dweller, a "senior fellow at the Atlantic Council policy research center in Washington." A parasite. Good job by his parents.

Beltway parasite Dmitri at 2012 Reuters 'summit'

 









 image via VOA


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Added: FBI/DHS "report" issued in late Dec. 2016 in which Crowdstrike misidentifies "threat groups":

12/30/2016, "FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort," Jeffrey Carr

"The FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report (JAR) “Grizzly Steppe” was released yesterday as part of the White House’s response to alleged Russian government interference in the 2016 election process. It adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, the email accounts of Democratic party officials, or for delivering the content of those hacks to Wikileaks. 


It merely listed every threat group ever reported on by a commercial cybersecurity company that is suspected of being Russian-made and lumped them under the heading of Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) without providing any supporting evidence that such a connection exists. 

A common misconception of “threat group” is that refers to a group of people. It doesn’t. Here’s how ESET [link now goes to general site] describes SEDNIT, one of the names for the threat group known as APT28, Fancy Bear, etc. This definition is found on p.12 of part two “En Route with Sednit: Observing the Comings and Goings”:

"As security researchers, what we call “the Sednit group” is merely a set of software and the related network infrastructure, which we can hardly correlate with any specific organization." 

Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!... 

It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will. 

Where’s the Evidence? 

If the White House had unclassified evidence that tied officials in the Russian government to the DNC attack, they would have presented it by now. The fact that they didn’t means either that the evidence doesn’t exist or that it is classified. 

If it’s classified, an independent commission should review it because this entire assignment of blame against the Russian government is looking more and more like a domestic political operation run by the White House that relied heavily on questionable intelligence generated by a for-profit cybersecurity firm with a vested interest in selling “attribution-as-a-service”."

 





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