Friday, March 31, 2017

Deep Oligarchy

The deep state surveillance behind Russia-gate.

Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy - and further befogged by politics - it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic surveillance of senior U.S. government officials and, in turn, passed that information onto President Trump. 

This news presents Trump with an unwelcome but unavoidable choice: confront those who have kept him in the dark about such rogue activities or live fearfully in their shadow. (The latter was the path chosen by President Obama. Will Trump choose the road less traveled?) 

What President Trump decides will largely determine the freedom of action he enjoys as president on many key security and other issues. But even more so, his choice may decide whether there is a future for this constitutional republic. Either he can acquiesce to or fight against a Deep State of intelligence officials who have a myriad of ways to spy on politicians (and other citizens) and thus amass derogatory material that can be easily transformed into blackmail. 

This crisis (yes, "crisis" is an overused word, but in this highly unusual set of circumstances we believe it is appropriate) came to light mostly by accident after President Trump tweeted on March 4 that his team in New York City's Trump Towers had been "wiretapped" by President Obama. 

Trump reportedly was relying on media reports regarding how conversations of aides, including his ill-starred National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, had been intercepted. Trump's tweet led to a fresh offensive by Democrats and the mainstream press to disparage Trump's "ridiculous" claims. 

However, this concern about the dragnets that U.S. intelligence (or its foreign partners) can deploy to pick up communications by Trump's advisers and then "unmask" the names before leaking them to the news media was also highlighted at the Nunes-led House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, where Nunes appealed for anyone who had related knowledge to come forward with it. 

That apparently happened on the evening of March 21 when Nunes received a call while riding with a staffer. After the call, Nunes switched to another car and went to a secure room at the Old Executive Office Building, next to the White House, where he was shown highly classified information apparently about how the intelligence community picked up communications by Trump's aides. 

The next day, Nunes went to the White House to brief President Trump, who later said he felt "somewhat vindicated" by what Nunes had told him. 

The 'Wiretap' Red Herring 

But the corporate U.S. news media continued to heckle Trump over his use of the word "wiretap" and cite the insistence of FBI Director James Comey and other intelligence officials that President Obama had not issued a wiretap order aimed at Trump. 

As those paying rudimentary attention to modern methods of surveillance know, "wiretapping" is passĂ©. But Trump's use of the word allowed FBI and Department of Justice officials and their counterparts at the National Security Agency to swear on a stack of bibles that the FBI, DOJ, and NSA have been unable to uncover any evidence within their particular institutions of such "wiretapping." 

At the House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers firmly denied that their agencies had wiretapped Trump Towers on the orders of President Obama. 

So, were Trump and his associates "wiretapped?" Of course not. Wiretapping went out of vogue decades ago, having been rendered obsolete by leaps in surveillance technology. 

The real question is: Were Trump and his associates surveilled? Wake up, America. Was no one paying attention to the disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 when he exposed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as a liar for denying that the NSA engaged in bulk collection of communications inside the United States. 

The reality is that EVERYONE, including the President, is surveilled. The technology enabling bulk collection would have made the late demented FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's mouth water. 

Allegations about the intelligence community's abuse of its powers also did not begin with Snowden. For instance, several years earlier, former NSA worker and whistleblower Russell Tice warned about these "special access programs," citing first-hand knowledge, but his claims were brushed aside as coming from a disgruntled employee with psychological problems. His disclosures were soon forgotten. 

Intelligence Community's Payback

However, earlier this year, there was a stark reminder of how much fear these surveillance capacities have struck in the hearts of senior U.S. government officials. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that President Trump was "being really dumb" to take on the intelligence community, since "They have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

Maddow shied away from asking the logical follow-up: "Senator Schumer, are you actually saying that Trump should be afraid of the CIA?" Perhaps she didn't want to venture down a path that would raise more troubling questions about the surveillance of the Trump team than on their alleged contacts with the Russians.

Similarly, the U.S. corporate media is now focused on Nunes's alleged failure to follow protocol by not sharing his information first with Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats promptly demanded that Nunes recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

On Tuesday morning, reporters for CNN and other news outlets peppered Nunes with similar demands as he walked down a corridor on Capitol Hill, prompting him to suggest that they should be more concerned about what he had learned than the procedures followed.

That's probably true because to quote Jack Nicholson's character in "A Few Good Men" in a slightly different context, the mainstream media "cannot handle the truth" - even if it's a no-brainer.

At his evening meeting on March 21 at the Old Executive Office Building, Nunes was likely informed that all telephones, emails, etc. - including his own and Trump's - are being monitored by what the Soviets used to call "the organs of state security."

By sharing that information with Trump the next day - rather than consulting with Schiff - Nunes may have sought to avoid the risk that Schiff or someone else would come up with a bureaucratic reason to keep the President in the dark.

A savvy politician, Nunes knew there would be high political cost in doing what he did. Inevitably, he would be called partisan; there would be more appeals to remove him from chairing the committee; and the character assassination of him already well under way - in The Washington Post, for example - might move him to the top of the unpopularity chart, displacing even bĂȘte noire Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But this episode was not the first time Nunes has shown some spine in the face of what the Establishment wants ignored. In a move setting this congressman apart from all his colleagues, Nunes had the courage to host an award ceremony for one of his constituents, retired sailor and member of the USS Liberty crew, Terry Halbardier.

On June 8, 1967, by repairing an antennae and thus enabling the USS Liberty to issue an SOS, Halbardier prevented Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats from sinking that Navy intelligence ship and ensuring that there would be no survivors to describe how the Israeli "allies" had strafed and bombed the ship. Still, 34 American seamen died and 171 were wounded.

At the time of the award ceremony in 2009, Nunes said, "The government has kept this quiet I think for too long, and I felt as my constituent, he [Halbardier] needed to get recognized for the services he made to his country." (Ray McGovern took part in the ceremony in Nunes's Visalia, California office.)

Now, we suspect that much more may be learned about the special compartmented surveillance program targeted against top U.S. national leaders if Rep. Nunes doesn't back down and if Trump doesn't choose the road most traveled - acquiescence to America's Deep State actors.

Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years and conducted one-on-one briefings of the President's Daily Brief under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985.

Bill Binney was former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA and co-founder of NSA's SIGINT Automation Research Center before he retired after 9/11.

Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

Chuck Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon who was famous for the “Spinney Report,” which criticized the Pentagon’s wasteful pursuit of costly and complex weapons systems.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Commit to the Fight , BurnThe Boats

Commit to the Fight , ... BurnThe Boats !
Health care bill’s failure: Just part of the ‘Art of the Deal’
Trump, Doesn’t Retreat,..He Strategically withdraws.
Repeal and replace Paul Ryan... !!
Next..... We Call for another vote on a pure repeal… then to Replace…

Congress must act.  This is the plan .

1) Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.

2) Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state.

By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.

3) As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.

4)Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate. These accounts would become part of the estate of the individual and could be passed on to heirs without fear of any death penalty. These plans should be particularly attractive to young people who are healthy and can afford high-deductible insurance plans.

These funds can be used by any member of a family without penalty. The flexibility and security provided by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.

5) Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals. Individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.

6) Block-grant Medicaid to the states. Nearly every state already offers benefits beyond what is required in the current Medicaid structure. The state governments know their people best and can manage the administration of Medicaid far better without federal overhead.

States will have the incentives to seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse to preserve our precious resources.

7) Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products. Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service.

Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.

8) Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress allow individuals the same exemptions?
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God Bless America God Bless You #TrumpsArmy

Health care bill's failure: Just part of the 'Art of the Deal'

President Donald Trump faces three irreconcilable factions:
the GOP establishment, conservatives, and Democrats.

He must bring them together — to "deliver the goods,"

a key rule in 
The Art of the Deal. But first he must show them "the downside" — and convince them they will fail on their own.

The House Freedom Caucus  Endorse Rand Paul’s Obamacare Replacement Bill 
"I think we are united on repeal. We're not so much united on the replacement part."

Senator Rand Paul explained why he thought the American Health Care Act wasn't a success.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The “shot heard round the world”

      First Revolutionary Battle at Lexington and Concord

In April 1775, when British troops are sent to confiscate colonial weapons, they run into an untrained and angry militia. This ragtag army defeats 700 British soldiers and the surprise victory bolsters their confidence for the war ahead.

On the night of April 18, 1775, hundreds of British troops set off from Boston toward Concord, Massachusetts, in order to seize weapons and ammunition stockpiled there by American colonists. 

Early the next morning, the British reached Lexington, where approximately 70 minutemen had gathered on the village green. Someone suddenly fired a shot—it’s uncertain which side...

and a melee ensued. 

 When the brief clash ended, eight Americans lay dead and at least an equal amount were injured, while one redcoat was wounded. The British continued on to nearby Concord, where that same day they encountered armed resistance from a group of patriots at the town’s North Bridge.

 Gunfire was exchanged, leaving two colonists and three redcoats dead. Afterward, the British retreated back to Boston, skirmishing with colonial militiamen along the way and suffering a number of casualties; the Revolutionary War had begun. The incident at the North Bridge later was memorialized by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his ..

1837 poem “Concord Hymn,” whose opening stanza is:

 “By the rude bridge that arched the flood/Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled / Here once the embattled farmers stood / And fired the shot heard round the world.”

Emerson penned “Concord Hymn” for the dedication of a battle monument at the site of the North Bridge. At the dedication ceremony on July 4, 1837, a group of townspeople sang the poem’s 16 lines to the tune of a traditional hymn called “Old Hundredth.” 

Emerson, a Boston native born in 1803, spent portions of his childhood in Concord (where his grandfather, a minister, had witnessed the 1775 battle at the North Bridge from his nearby home) and moved there permanently in 1834. 

He went on to become one of the country’s leading intellectuals and lived in Concord until his death in 1882.


     Interesting Facts On April 19th of 1775 

approximately seven hundred redcoats arrived at Lexington where they were met by around seventy seven armed colonists on the town green. What exactly happened, that led to shots being fired, is unclear. 

Greatly outnumbered the colonist were about to disperse when a shot was fired. 

Who fired the first shot is not known. This resulted in several volleys being fired leaving 8 colonists dead and several wounded; only one British soldier was wounded.

After this relatively small skirmish the colonist retreated and the British headed out for Concord unaware that most of the arms they were looking for had already been moved to a safer place by the colonist.

Upon reaching Concord the Redcoats searched the town finding very few arms. They burned what few arms they did find.

The colonist (militiamen), who at this point numbered about five hundred, exchanged fire with the British at Concords North Bridge eventually forcing the British to retreat.

The British march back to Boston which covered approximately 18 miles (29 kilometers) turned into a retreat as more-and-more militiamen (perhaps as many as 3,500) joined the conflict.

 Shooting at the British soldiers from behind trees and rocks and whatever cover they could find they inflicted significant damage on the troops.The British troops, with the help of reinforcements, eventually made it back to the safety of Boston.

The day after the battles thousands of militiamen surrounded Boston and the American Revolution had begun.

A Side note.: I Was there, in April 1975 Reinacting this Historic Battle..
For that moment...I Stepped back in Time.. I Will never forget..

"Rhode Island Militia" (RIM 1774 Kentish Guard")
This is the Kentish Guard (RIM)I Was a Younger Man then, ..1970's.
I Served on Fire Squad / We were an "elite State militia".

 I'm the 3rd Back Row.. Served 10 Years..

The Guards were also present at the formation of the Continental Army during the Siege of Boston in 1775, where General Washington noticed how exceedingly well the Kentish Guards were trained, equipped, and disciplined.

Thirty-five members of the Guards were subsequently to serve as officers in the Continental Army, foremost among them Major General Nathanael Greene, the "Savior of the South" who, by the end of the war, was second only to Washington.