Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Beware the real Political Threat from Within

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by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

The future of military and eventually police is to replace the boots on the ground with robots. Duke Robotics has come out now with drones that carry machine-guns. This video shows really the future of war and eventually they will use terrorism as an excuse to use them domestically.

Historically, the shape a country’s Armed Forces takes has traditionally reflected first and foremost the external threats that a nation faces. In a democratic republic, the army’s main goal use to be to protect society. We were told that a republic will only commit to such an international obligation on behalf of its own well-being and security. Therefore, in only these type of situations, would an army take on such obligations requiring the use of military force.

The second factor influencing the shape of the a nation’s army was its social role. Most importantly, the army evolved post-Depression acting as a social boon to everyone who serves in it. Because of the abuse of the soldier post-World War I which they used current troops to chase out the veterans from Washington who were demanding their promised Bonus, when World War II came, the politicians had lied and abused the soldiers from World War I, they had to introduce the GI Bill and turn it into a Social Boon that became something beneficial to a specific person with careers and education. When under the Obama Administration, the VA scandal erupted showing that again politicians were cutting costs and vets were denied medical care, that aspect of the army began to fail in this function and the Armed Forces can lose its effectiveness.

Historically, armed forces can become a threat to society when they become the manipulation tool of the political power machine. In every single war since the Spanish American War of the 19th century, the army has been lied to in order to exert political power always justified as defending the nation. This has just never been true.

Our troops have died far too often for politicians rather than for the country. In World War I, the Germans took an advertisement out in New York warning people not to travel on the Lusitania because the government was using a passenger ship as cover to covertly send arms to Europe.

In World War II, FDR knew that the Japanese were declaring war and turned them away. They new they were headed to Pearl Harbor and took the big ships out and sacrificed others to get the country into the war.

Vietnam, the official story was that the North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against a U.S. destroyer on “routine patrol” in the Tonkin Gulf.  President Johnson knew we were never attacked and even said:  “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.” Johnson delivered perhaps the most outrageous and deceitful speech on August 4th, 1964, that was hailed by the New York Times, and set in motion the death of over 50,000 American boys for political power – not to defend the nation from a threat.

Of course we have the great lie about Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction that never existed. Here we have North Korea actually in possession of such weapons and there is no invasion. Why? Iraq had the oil for Dick Cheney and his Halliburton buddies to benefit from – North Korea has nothing.

Read More @ ArmstrongEconomics.com

Unbelievable! Government to Retry Bundy Ranch Defendants a Third Time!

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by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

These tyrants just can’t let it go.  They can’t make their case to the jury to find these men guilty so they are going to try them a third time and push other defendants’ court date back further into the future!

After the jury acquitted two defendants in the Bundy Ranch case of all charges against them, they were deadlocked on two others, O. Scott Drexler and Eric Parker, both of Idaho.

Still, they were released from prison on Tuesday evening, but discovered on Wednesday that the government, who could not make their case to the jury, want to try them again.

“Surprised? No. Disappointed? Yes,” said Parker’s lawyer, Jess Marchese. “It’s clear at this point the prosecution is taking this personally now.”

 Marchese said Acting Nevada U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre twice called Parker a coward during a court hearing Wednesday.

Marchese said it was unprofessional and unnecessary. “This is a business,” he said. “And there’s no need for emotion in a business.”

It’s actually pretty cowardly what Mr. Myhre has been involved in, in attempts to bring in situation and conduct that occurred well after Bundy Ranch against defendants to make his case, as well as being just fine with holding defendants up to five years without worrying about violating their right to a speedy trial.

Consider that Mr. Myhre is the same man who would not include the men found guilty in the first trial in the retrial for the charges they were not found guilty on because of time and expenses, but he will not let these men go to save money and time and actually give the other men their day in court in a timely manner.

AZ Central reports:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas confirmed Wednesday it will go back to court for the third time in an attempt to convict two men accused of taking up arms against  federal agents.

Less than 24 hours earlier, a jury had acquitted two standoff defendants and dismissed the most serious charges against two others. Now federal prosecutors say they will retry the men next month on outstanding weapons and assault charges.

The move pushes back the trials for 11 other defendants in the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff, including Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who have spent 18 months in prison while awaiting their court date.

Parker and Drexler face one count each of assaulting a federal officer and carrying a firearm in the commission of a crime. Parker faces two additional counts of using a firearm to threaten a federal officer.

Nevermind that the keeping and bearing of arms is a right protected under the Second Amendment.

Nevermind that the position of the men and their weapons was a defensive position in the face of hundreds of armed, tactically trained federal agents and snipers with their weapons targeting innocent Americans who were simply engaged in protesting the lawless actions of the Bureau of Land Management.

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com

Has Trump Entered the NEOCON Zone?

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by Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show:

It is America’s longest war. It is America’s most unproductive war. The war has accomplished three objectives, none of which helps preserve national security:

  1. The war makes the military industrial complex a lot of money. These are the very forces that are trying unseat Trump.
  2. The war has allowed the US military to protect the drug war lords. This clearly supports the CIA’s drug enterprise which has been in place since the Golden Triangle drug trafficking in Southeast Asia and it was one of the major reasons why the United States fought in Vietnam. This is another case of history repeating itself.
  3. The war protects the future Central Asian pipeline so the oil companies (ie Rockefeller interests), will make a lot of money.

None of these reasons further the national interests of the United States. The war wastes our resources and throws away young American lives in the name of greedy corporate profits.

Broken Campaign Promises

President Donald Trump laid out his military strategy, which represented the 180 degree opposite of what he promised the American people.

Trump is now in support of the war in Afghanistan and said so in his Monday night speech to the nation, saying in his first presidential prime time address that he will not withdraw troops from the region, despite years of advocating for such action.

Trump did not say how many troops he’ll send to Afghanistan, nor did he offer a time-frame for when the troops would leave, vowing not to “talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities,” which he called “counterproductive.”  Trump just handed the military industrial complex a blank check for an endless war and a bottomless pit of American cash.

Afghanistan Is About Aiding and Abetting Terrorism

How many articles have I written with EXTENSIVE documentation which exposes the Obama/Clinton/McCain support for ISIS? Trump hinted at the Clinton connections during the campaign and how he’s joining them? There are a lot of happy drug lords in Afghanistan today.

Trump relied on his physics principles as he justified his actions by saying that pulling out of Afghanistan would “create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda, and this would instantly fill, just as happened before Sept. 11.” What a pathetically weak explanation. Perhaps the President should right the wrongs of John McCain and Hillary Clinton who helped jump start the origin of ISIS and break the ties of financial and military support for these terrorist organizations. Perhaps Trump should rid DHS of the Muslim Brotherhood personnel that have penetrated the power structure of DHS as a whole. Perhaps Trump’s DOJ should fully prosecute HSBC bank for laundering terrorist/cartel blood money.

Money for Infrastructure

During the Presidential campaign, Trump promised to end these wars of occupation. He further promised to divert this wasted blood money in these wars, to rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. Now, that campaign promise has been shattered in the name of the Neocons supporting drug empires and the profit motives of the military industrial complex.

Meanwhile, our nation continues to fall apart as our roads crumble, many bridges are near collapse and our airports are a joke.

Why the Flip-Flop?

Last night’s speech contained a clear message to North Korea as it communicated “if we go to war with you, it will not involve conventional troops”. The United States cannot maintain a two front war. If the US goes to war with North Korea, it will be nuclear.

Read More @ TheCommonSenseShow.com

Fitch Threatens US with Downgrade

by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

Did it forget how the US government hounded Standard & Poor’s?

Bitter irony! Just yesterday, I had a conversation with Bill Tilles, and we agreed on all three points. This morning, we’re already proven wrong on one of them:

  1. A government shutdown as Congress fails to pass spending levels for fiscal 2018? Yes, it could happen.
  2. A failure to raise the debt ceiling, thus pushing the US government into default, or “selective default?” Very unlikely. Lawmakers are political animals that use charades and posturing to accomplish their goals, but they’re not stupid (we hope).
  3. A threat by US ratings agencies to slash the US credit rating due to the debt-ceiling charade and the consequences of a “selective default?” No way, we agreed. Ratings agencies learned their lesson from how the US government hounded Standard & Poor’s after its 2011 downgrade of the US.

A new day, and we’re already wrong. Standard & Poor’s may have learned its lesson. But Fitch Ratings hasn’t – though its language this morning was a lot kinder and gentler (emphasis added).

If the debt limit is not raised in a timely manner prior to the so-called “x date,” Fitch would review the US sovereign rating, with potentially negative implications. We have previously said that prioritizing debt service payments over other obligations if the limit is not raised – if legally and technically feasible – may not be compatible with ‘AAA’ status.

In the most recent letter to Congress, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the US would run out of money by the end of September. This can likely be stretched into October. Just this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell swore there was “zero chance” that “we won’t raise the debt ceiling.”

But Fitch adds that Congressional posturing alone could cause a downgrade – the same reason S&P downgraded the US during the debt ceiling fight in 2011. Fitch:

Brinkmanship over the debt limit could ultimately have rating consequences, as failure to raise it would jeopardize the Treasury’s ability to meet debt service and other obligations.

The next Congressional session begins on 5 September, with only 12 congressional working days before month-end. We believe there is strong political will to ensure that Treasury securities are honored in full and on time….

So if push comes to shove, debt payments would be prioritized, and the US wouldn’t default on its bonds, Fitch “believes.” But defaulting on other obligations also has consequences:

In Fitch’s view, the economic impact of stopping other spending to prioritize debt repayment, and potential damage to investor confidence in the full faith and credit of the US, which enables its ‘AAA’ rating to tolerate such high public debt, would be negative for US sovereign creditworthiness.

And even if the debt ceiling is raised in time, or suspended, “considerable uncertainty remains around the short-term fiscal and borrowing outlook,” Fitch said. So more clouds hanging over the US credit rating.

Back in September 2013, as the US was starting to run out of money while Congress was brilliantly posturing, Standard & Poor’s, which had already downgraded the US to AA+ in 2011, warned that without a debt-ceiling hike before the out-of-money date in October, it would cut the US to “selective default.”

A “selective default” indicates that the issuer “had failed to meet one or more of its outstanding debt obligations,” it said. The US might continue to make interest payments on its bonds, but might not pay other obligations. And typically, a selective default ends up knocking credit ratings to “between CCC and B,” it said. In other words, S&P had threatened to cut the US credit rating to junk.

Fitch wisely didn’t used the term “selective default.” It refers to “prioritization” and “prioritizing” debt payments, while not paying other obligations – so the same type of “selective default” S&P had been warning about.

But Fitch used the same term that S&P had used to lambaste the political posturing around the debt ceiling: “Brinkmanship.”

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

Freedom or something nefarious? Members of Congress want to make Bitcoin equivalent legal tender to the Dollar

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by Kenneth Schortgen, The Daily Economist:

The biggest attribute of cryptocurrencies is their de-centralization from government and central banks.  And of course at the top of the mountain in digital currency land is without a doubt Bitcoin.

So with this being said, what if some members of Congress suddenly claimed that they had ‘seen the light’, and want to pass legislation to protect Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from government intrusion, and make it legal tender on par with the U.S. dollar?

Would you jump for joy in seeing this as a victory, or would you be extremely cautious knowing that the government does nothing without ensuring it benefits itself?

Based on a reliable source, at least one Republican senator and two Republican congressmen are working on the draft legislation. 

The legislators, however, have requested that should not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue and the complexity of the proposed solution.
A source close to the effort told TheDC, 

“the center piece of the plan is to mainstream digital currency so it can be treated just like the American dollar. 

First, there is a new entity that is considering issuing a brand new digital currency that is compliant with anti-money laundering laws unlike any other in circulation.” 

Although cash has some of the same problems being used to pay for illegal activities, the perception that digital currencies are being used for illegal activities is seen as the primary roadblock to wholesale acceptance by the American public. 

The source told TheDC the new model is going to follow federal laws that prevent money laundering. This is a break through and could lead to the use of digital currencies replacing the dollar for many transactions.  The legislation is expected to be introduced in early September. 

The source asked the members of Congress involved in drafting the bill not be identified yet, explaining, “this is a very complicated issue and staff are working through some issues that have in the past stopped alternative currencies from being launched.” 

They continued that: 

“…the law needs to be changed to protect digital currencies from federal government harassment to make sure that a complaint currency can be backed by value, the currency cannot be treated like a security or investment, and that transfers are protected against taxation. 

The bottom line is that Congress needs to remove all the obstacles to a vibrant digital currency that has voluntarily taken the initiative to keep the bad guys from using it.” – Zerohedge

Read More @ TheDailyEconomist.com

Alt-Left Protesters Show up to Phoenix Rally Armed With AR-15’s and Bullet Proof Vests (PHOTOS)

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by Christina Laila, The Gateway Pundit:

President Trump is holding a rally in Phoenix, Arizona Tuesday evening and Trump supporters are already lined up at the convention center chanting, “Build the Wall!”.

Members of the left-wing John Brown Gun Club Phoenix Chapter showed up to the Phoenix rally Tuesday evening armed with AR-15’s and bullet proof vests. They claim they are in Phoenix to protect protesters from white supremacists.

Open carry is legal in Arizona.

Read More @ TheGatewayPundit.com

MUST WATCH: TRUMP EXPOSES ANTIFA & CNN’s ENDLESS LIES

from #SeekingTheTruth:

“THEY SHOW UP IN THE HELMETS AND BLACK MASKS! ANTIFA!” President Trump speaks at Phoenix Rally Mocking Antifa and the Mainstream media.

“Full-Fledged Housing Crisis” in Silicon Valley, Insider View

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by John McNellis, Wolf Street:

As long as local officials strangle housing starts, the mirage of affordability will be pushed further toward the distant horizon.

A full-fledged housing crisis has gripped California” — New York Times.

Yes, our housing crisis is so critical those envious bastards at The Times are proclaiming it on their front page. So critical that a local politician here is more likely to come out against world peace than affordable housing. But she’s about as likely to vote for pro-housing laws as the USA is to unilaterally reduce its nuclear stockpile.

At the 30,000 foot level — it’s pretty in the clouds — a few politicians in Sacramento are trying to pass state-wide bills to force cities to allow more residential development. Not with champagne success.

It’s less pretty in the trenches, particularly if one focuses on Silicon Valley. Ground zero for the housing shortage, the city of Palo Alto is–not coincidentally–the reigning monarch of the Lucky Location club. Thanks to the happenstance of being Stanford University’s picture frame, the town has been the spawning grounds for almost every great tech company ever.

Zillow says $200,400 is the median house price in America today. Zillow multiplies that number by 12.96 to come up with Palo Alto’s median price of $2,598,200. And even that whoa number is misleading. According to the brokerage firm of Alain Pinel, a lot in North Palo Alto–the cool part of town–goes for around $2.5 million all by itself, that is, $2.5 million before you build your dream house on it.

Is this news to anyone in Palo Alto? No. In the town’s most famous resignation letter, Kate Downing quit the Planning Commission a year ago, saying she and her husband, both well-paid professionals, could simply not afford to live there.

“After many years of trying to make it work in Palo Alto, my husband and I cannot see a way to stay in Palo Alto and raise a family here.” Ms. Downing pleaded with the city to make affordable housing its top priority. “If things keep going as they are…a once thriving city will turn into a hollowed out museum.”

To no one’s surprise, things have kept going just as they were since her departure. Zillow says housing prices are up 2.54{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} and city permits have been issued for only 3 multi-family projects in the last twelve months, totaling 15 units. For a town of 67,000, 15 new units is a rounding error. Why focus on multi-family projects? Because if dirt costs $2.5 million a lot, new single family residences will never be affordable. Period.

The town’s only hope is apartments and condominiums. And while a slim majority of the city council favors affordable housing, no property has been rezoned in the last year to grant it greater density, the only possible way housing might become more affordable.

Density is like heaven: Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die; everyone loves the benefits of density–the cafes, the walkability and cultural opportunities–but no one wants to pay its price: occasional traffic, noise, and congestion.

Despite the city’s talk of encouraging housing, the street reality is different. I have a friend* who is building one of the three projects mentioned above. Because his land–a small, unused parking lot downtown–was already zoned residential and his project only two units, no public hearings or meetings of any kind were required. All he had to do was prepare conceptual drawings, get them approved by the planning department, then prepare construction drawings, have those approved by the building department and start construction. In a town that wants development, you can get this done in 6 months. In Houston, maybe half that time.

*OK, I’m not going to lie to you–it’s me.

In Palo Alto, this approval process knee-walked for 18 months. The cost? The city charged a total of $210,481 in fees and exactions before it would issue the building permit. $210,481 for a pair of apartments. If this friend had paid that average $2.5 million for his property, his carrying cost for the extra year of processing would be $250,000, meaning his city costs alone for the duplex totaled $460,000.

Put another way, before ever turning a shovel in the ground, before counting the land, architecture, engineering, banking and construction costs, his units were already $30,000 more expensive than a median-value house almost anywhere else in the country.

Did it have to be this way? No. The truth is that since Ms. Downing’s sad departure, the city has made housing less affordable than ever. Of the $210,000 in city fees, $120,000 of it was attributable to a newly enacted “Parkland Dedication” fee, an exaction that went into effect only two months ago.

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

Idaho state Rep. Bryan Zollinger: ‘Plausible’ that Charlottesville violence was a setup

by Jessica Chasmar, The Washington Times:

An Idaho state representative says it’s “plausible” that the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month was orchestrated to make President Trump look like a racist.

State Rep. Bryan Zollinger, a Republican, on Thursday shared an article on Facebook by American Thinker, titled, “Charlottesville and Its Aftermath: What if It Was a Setup?”

The article suggests, without evidence, that former President Barack Obama, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, and billionaire investor George Soros could somehow be connected in planning and orchestrating the clashes in Charlottesville, which turned deadly on Aug. 12 after a reported Nazi sympathizer purposely rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19 others.

“The ridiculous campaign by virtually every media outlet, every Democrat and far too many squishy Republicans to label Trump some kind of racist and Nazi sympathizer is beginning to have the stink of an orchestrated smear,” Patricia McCarthy wrote. “The conflagration in Charlottesville is beginning to feel like a set-up, perhaps weeks or months in the planning.”

Mr. Zollinger, in a follow-up comment on his post, said the conspiracy theory could be true.

“I’m not saying it is true, but I am suggesting that it is completely plausible,” he said, adding that “many of the protesters were Soros-funded.”

Mr. Zollinger said he appreciated that there’s “someone out there asking people to think for themselves and use some logic and reason rather than spout what the media, also known as the communications branch of the Democratic Party, is selling.”

Mr. Zollinger told the Post Register in an interview that while he thinks the claims in the American Thinker article are “probably wrong,” they’re still “plausible.”

“In hindsight, maybe it was a mistake to post it,” he said. “I didn’t mean for it to ruffle any feathers.”

His post remained active on his Facebook page as of Monday afternoon.

Read More @ WashingtonTimes.com

Former U.S. Attorney On Awan Indictment: “There Is Something Very Strange Going On Here”

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from Zero Hedge:

We’ve written frequently over the past couple of months about the litany of unanswered questions surrounding the mysterious case of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (DWS) IT staffers.  Why did DWS seemingly threaten the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for holding equipment that was confiscated as part of an ongoing legal investigation?  Why did DWS keep Awan on her taxpayer funded payroll all the way up until the day he was arrested by the FBI at Dulles airport while trying to flee the country to Pakistan?  What, if anything, does the Awan family know about the DNC hacks that may have caused DWS to act in this way?

Now, Andrew McCarthy III, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who led the prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, says there is “something very strange” about the recent indictment filed against Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi in the District of Columbia.

In a National Review article, McCarthy points out that it’s not what’s in the indictment that is necessarily surprising but rather what is seemingly intentionally omitted.  For instance, McCarthy points out that “the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention” that Imran was apprehended while in the process of fleeing the country, a fact that would seem to be the best evidence available to prove the fraud charges.

 

Let’s say you’re a prosecutor in Washington. You are investigating a husband and wife, naturalized Americans, who you believe have scammed a federal credit union out of nearly $300,000. You catch them in several false statements about their qualifications for a credit line and their intended use of the money. The strongest part of your case, though, involves the schemers’ transferring the loot to their native Pakistan.

So . . . what’s the best evidence you could possibly have, the slam-dunk proof that their goal was to steal the money and never look back? That’s easy: One after the other, the wife and husband pulled up stakes and tried to high-tail it to Pakistan after they’d wired the funds there — the wife successfully fleeing, the husband nabbed as he was about to board his flight.

Well, here’s a peculiar thing about the Justice Department’s indictment of Imran Awan and Hina Alvi, the alleged fraudster couple who doubled as IT wizzes for Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other congressional Democrats: There’s not a word in it about flight to Pakistan. The indictment undertakes to describe in detail four counts of bank-fraud conspiracy, false statements on credit applications, and unlawful monetary transactions, yet leaves out the most damning evidence of guilt.

In fact, the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention it.

Why would prosecutors leave that out of their indictment? Why give Awan’s defense a basis to claim that, since the indictment does not allege anything about flight to Pakistan, the court should bar any mention of it during the trial? In fact, quite apart from the manifest case-related reasons to plead instances of flight, a competent prosecutor would have included them in the indictment simply to underscore that Awan is a flight risk who should have onerous bail conditions or even be detained pretrial.

 

Then there is the case of Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi.  When she fled the country back in March she was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents with over $12,000 cash in her luggage, technically a crime by itself if not properly disclosed, but was allowed by the FBI to leave the country despite having been under investigation for months. 

We must also ask, again: Why did the FBI allow Alvi to flee? Before she boarded her March 5 flight to Qatar (en route to Pakistan), agents briefly detained her. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had already searched her baggage and found $12,400 in cash. As I have pointed out, it is a felony to move more than $10,000 in U.S. currency out of the country unless one completes the required government report (see sections 5316 and 5322 of Title 31, U.S. Code). There was no indication that she did so in the complaint affidavit submitted to the court when Awan was arrested last month (see FBI complaint affidavit, pages 8–9).

 

By the time Alvi fled, the Awans had been under investigation by various federal agencies for at least three months. The FBI was sufficiently attuned to the Awans’ criminality that its agents went to the trouble of chasing Alvi to the airport. If she didn’t fill out the required form, she should have been arrested for the currency violation. Is it possible that, rather than arresting her, federal agents instructed her to complete the form on the spot? One would hope not, but even in such an unlikely event, Alvi would undoubtedly have made false statements about the provenance of the cash. That would also have been a felony, providing more grounds for her arrest. Why let her go, especially when, as its agent told the court in the aforementioned affidavit, the FBI “does not believe that ALVI has any intention to return to the United States”?

And then there is just the continued secrecy surrounding the case.  Why did the U.S. Attorney’s office decide against filing a press release in a case that has garnered significant national attention?  Why was the case filed in a district where DWS’s brother has been an assistant U.S. attorney for many years? 

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com