02/11/20

Huawei Snooping via Backdoor on US Telecom Network

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

For ten years…

U.S. officials say Huawei Technologies Co. can covertly access mobile-phone networks around the world through “back doors” designed for use by law enforcement, as Washington tries to persuade allies to exclude the Chinese company from their networks.

Chinese tech giant Huawei can reportedly access the networks it helped build that are being used by mobile phones around the world. It’s been using backdoors intended for law enforcement for over a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing US officials. The details were disclosed to the UK and Germany at the end of 2019 after the US had noticed access since 2009 across 4G equipment, according to the report.

The backdoors were inserted for law enforcement use into carrier equipment like base stations, antennas, and switching gear, the Journal said, with US officials reportedly alleging they were designed to be accessible by Huawei.

“We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world,” Robert O’Brien, national security adviser, reportedly said.

The White House and Huawei didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but the tech giant rejected the claims according to the Journal.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved Huawei for 5G last month with some conditions: The British restrictions are to exclude Huawei from building core parts of the UK’s 5G networks, have Huawei’s market share capped at 35% and exclude Huawei from sensitive geographic locations. The European Union allowed higher-risk vendors for 5G with similar restrictions at the end of January.

Huawei’s 5G approval there came despite the US urging the UK to ban the Chinese telecommunications giant.

Huawei was blacklisted in May when it was added to the United States’ “entity list” (PDF). In addition, US President Donald Trump at the same time signed an executive order essentially banning the company in light of national security concerns that Huawei had close ties with the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied that charge.

*** Huawei faces further investigation into Chinese 'spying ...

Huawei disputed the latest allegations, as it has done in the past, saying it “has never and will never do anything that would compromise or endanger the security of networks and data of its clients.” Huawei also said that the United States made its latest accusations “without providing any kind of concrete evidence.”

“No Huawei employee is allowed to access the network without an explicit approval from the network operator,” a Huawei official said, according to the Journal.

The US government has been moving to reduce the amount of Huawei and ZTE equipment in telecom networks. The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously in November to ban Huawei and ZTE gear in projects paid for by the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF). FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said at the time that Huawei and ZTE “have close ties to China’s Communist government and military apparatus” and “are subject to Chinese laws broadly obligating them to cooperate with any request from the country’s intelligence services and to keep those requests secret.”

The ban is expected to hit small carriers the hardest, as Huawei has appealed to small network operators by selling low-cost gear. By contrast, big telcos like AT&T “have long steered clear of Huawei,” a March 2018 Wall Street Journal report said.

02/11/20

Meet the Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

It would be ironic if the report itself came in $1 billion over budget and five years behind schedule.

(Really? Behind schedule and over budget and it has to be $1 billion? Your thoughts?) It is a start however introduced by 2 Republicans, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI8) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

What is a billion dollars? | Sam Diacont

Context

A number of taxpayer-funded projects are taking significantly longer or costing significantly more than originally projected. Prominent examples include everything from the current 2020 Census to NASA space missions, plutonium cleanup sites to New York City subway construction.

What the bill does

The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act would require an annual public report detailing all federal projects that are running at least $1 billion over budget or at least five years behind schedule.

(That would likely include President Trump’s proposed border wall, for which U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week increased its original cost estimate up to $11 billion.)

The report would be compiled by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It would feature such components as both the original and current estimated costs of the projects, and supposed explanations justifying the increased expenses or late arrivals.

The Senate version was introduced last February 26 as bill number S. 565, by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). The House version was introduced a month later last March 27 as bill number H.R. 1917, by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI8).

What supporters say

Supporters argue the legislation allows for better management of misused and mishandled money allocated funded by American taxpayers.

“There are far too many taxpayer-funded projects that are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule,” Sen. Ernst said in a press release. The bill “will require the disclosure of the cost and timeline of these federal projects, bringing overdue accountability and transparency to the process, which will allow us to identify problems before they become a bottomless pit of taxpayer dollars.”

“Mismanagement of multibillion-dollar government projects should not be treated like business as usual,” Rep. Gallagher said in a separate press release. “It’s our job in Congress to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, and this bill provides much-needed transparency of large-scale projects so we can get to the bottom of a problem before it becomes a bottomless pit of money.”

GovTrack Insider was unable to locate any explicit statements of opposition.

Odds of passage

The Senate version has attracted five cosponsors: four Republicans and one Democrat. It passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on November 6th and now goes for a potential vote by the full chamber.

The House version has attracted 12 cosponsors: eight Republicans and four Democrats. It awaits a potential vote in either the House Budget or Oversight and Reform Committee.

02/10/20

DOJ to Sanction/Sue Sanctuary Counties/States

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

State of New Jersey lawsuit

Kings County, Washington lawsuit

FNC: Charging that so-called “sanctuary” cities that protect illegal immigrants are jeopardizing domestic security, Attorney General Bill Barr announced a slew of additional sanctions that he called a “significant escalation” against left-wing local and state governments that obstruct the “lawful functioning of our nation’s immigration system.”

Barr announces sweeping new sanctions, 'significant ...

Speaking at the National Sheriff’s Association 2020 Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Barr said the Justice Department would immediately file multiple lawsuits against sanctuary jurisdictions for unconstitutionally interfering with federal immigration enforcement, and implement unprecedented national reviews of left-wing sanctuary governments and prosecutors.

“The department is filing a complaint against the State of New Jersey seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against its laws that forbid state and local law enforcement from sharing vital information about criminal aliens with DHS,” Barr said.

That was a reference to New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2018-6, which the DOJ says illegally bars officials from sharing the immigration status and release dates of individuals in custody. It also requires New Jersey law enforcement to “promptly notify a detained individual, in writing and in a language the individual can understand” if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) files an immigration detainer request for the individual.

“We are filing a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against King County, Washington, for the policy … that forbids DHS from deporting aliens from the United States using King County International Airport,” Barr continued.

That lawsuit targets King County Executive Order PFC-7-1-EO, which the DOJ said has dramatically increased operating costs for ICE as detainees have had to be transported to Yakima, Washington. The executive order unconstitutionally conflicts with the federal Airline Deregulation Act, which “prohibits localities such as King County from enacting or enforcing laws or regulations that relate to prices, routes, or services of air carriers,” the DOJ said.

“Further, we are reviewing the practices, policies, and laws of other jurisdictions across the country.  This includes assessing whether jurisdictions are complying with our criminal laws, in particular the criminal statute that prohibits the harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States,” Barr added, noting that the DOJ would support DHS with “federal subpoenas to access information about criminal aliens in the custody of uncooperative jurisdictions.”

And, Barr said, “we are meticulously reviewing the actions of certain district attorneys who have adopted policies of charging foreign nationals with lesser offenses for the express purpose of avoiding the federal immigration consequences of those nationals’ criminal conduct.  In pursuing their personal ambitions and misguided notions of equal justice, these district attorneys are systematically violating the rule of law and may even be unlawfully discriminating against American citizens.”

Prosecutors in New York and California have changed their policies so that prosecutors explicitly consider so-called “collateral consequences,” including deportation, before pursuing certain charges.

Sanctuary cities, Barr said, are defined as those with policies that allow “criminal aliens to escape” federal law enforcement — and some jurisdictions are becoming “more aggressive” in undermining immigration authorities, with some local politicians develop “schemes” to circumvent immigration officials.

In 2018, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf blew the whistle on an imminent raid by federal immigration authorities, tweeting out a warning to illegal immigrants in advance and helping them hide.

“The express purpose of these policies is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for crimes,” Barr said, noting that the Constitution empowers the federal government to enforce immigration laws, even as it entrusted the police power to the states. “This is neither lawful nor sensible.”

“In November, ICE filed a detainer for an alien who was arrested for assaulting his own father,” Barr said. “The local police in New York City that had the alien in custody ignored the detainer.  So the alien was released onto the streets, and last month, he allegedly raped and killed 92-year-old Maria Fuertes, affectionately known as ‘abuelita,’ a fixture of her Queens neighborhood.”

Additionally, In October 2017, DHS “identified a convicted criminal alien with four prior removals at a city jail in Washington State,” Barr continued. “DHS filed a detainer.  Subsequently, the alien fought with jail staff and was taken to a local medical center for treatment.  But after receiving treatment, local officials released the alien in violation of the detainer.  In January 2018, the alien was arrested and booked for murdering and dismembering his cousin.”

READ BARR’S FULL REMARKS HERE

“The Founding Fathers carefully divided responsibility and power between the federal government and the state governments,” Barr said. The ‘Supremacy Clause’ in Article VI of the Constitution provides that the ‘Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof… shall be the supreme law of the land.’”

He added: “This Clause is a vital part of our constitutional order.  Enforcing a country’s immigration laws is an essential function of the national government.  And no national government can enforce those laws properly if state and local governments are getting in the way.  While federal law does not require that ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ actively assist with federal immigration enforcement, it does prohibit them from interfering with our enforcement efforts.”

Barr emphasized that there is no way to determine how many “criminal aliens” are in the U.S., in part because of “local policies,” although recent estimates under the Obama administration put the number as high as 2 million.

“Assuming that estimate was accurate, the numbers are likely even higher today despite the Trump Administration’s consistent and concerted efforts to find and deport this criminal population,” Barr said.

It is the “rule of law that is fundamental to ensuring both freedom and security,” Barr asserted, saying law enforcement officers are increasingly under fire in “heinous” attacks that “come against the backdrop of cynicism and disrespect for law enforcement.”

Barr touted the DOJ’s lawsuit against California and other states over their sanctuary policies. The suit over California involves the law prohibiting the federal government from conducting operations in its own affiliated private immigration facilities and detention centers.

The law, Barr said, was a “blatant attempt by the State to prohibit DHS from detaining aliens, and to interfere with the ability of the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service to manage federal detainees and prisoners.”

“The department sued the State of California to enjoin numerous state laws that attempted to frustrate federal immigration enforcement,” Barr said. “We prevailed on several of our claims in the lower courts, and we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant our request to review the remaining issues and side with us against California’s obstructionist policies.”

He concluded, “Today is a significant escalation in the federal government’s efforts to confront the resistance of ‘sanctuary cities.’  But by no means do the efforts outlined above signify the culmination of our fight to ensure the rule of law, to defend the Constitution, and to keep Americans safe.  We will consider taking action against any jurisdiction that, or any politician who, unlawfully obstructs the federal enforcement of immigration law.”

Barr’s new sanctions come as the Trump administration has already announced other initiatives targeting illegal immigration in the wake of the president’s State of the Union address last week.

Last week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf exclusively told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that DHS was immediately suspending enrollment in Global Entry and several other Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) for all New York state residents — a dramatic move in response to the liberal state’s recently enacted sanctuary “Green Light Law.”

Barr slammed the law in his speech Monday, calling it “unlawful.”

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations Todd Owen later told Fox News that up to 800,000 New Yorkers could be affected by the rule change within the next five years. Owen said people with pending Global Entry applications would be refunded, and that those with active applications would not be affected until their renewal date.

Illegal immigrants rushed to New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) in large numbers after the “Green Light Law,” which allowed them to obtain driver’s licenses or learner’s permits regardless of their immigration status, took effect last December. The law also permitted applicants to use foreign documents, including passports, to be submitted in order to obtain licenses.

In a letter to top New York state officials obtained exclusively by Fox News, Wolf noted that the New York law prohibited DMV agencies across the state from sharing criminal records with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE.

“In New York alone, last year ICE arrested 149 child predators, identified or rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrested 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids,” Wolf wrote to New York officials. “In the vast majority of these cases, ICE relied on New York DMV records to fulfill its mission.”

The “Green Light Law,” Wolf went on, “compromises CBP’s ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements.”

“This Act and the corresponding lack of security cooperation from the New York DMV requires DHS to take immediate action to ensure DHS’ s efforts to protect the Homeland are not compromised,” he said.

02/10/20

4 Members of the Chinese Military Hacked Equifax

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

(AP) — Four members of the Chinese military have been charged with breaking into the networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency and stealing the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, the Justice Department said Monday, blaming Beijing for one of the largest hacks in history to target consumer data.

The 2017 breach affected more than 145 million people, with the hackers successfully stealing names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers and other personal information stored in the company’s databases.

4 Chinese military members charged in Equifax case

The four — members of the People’s Liberation Army, an arm of the Chinese military — are also accused of stealing the company’s trade secrets, including database designs, law enforcement officials said.

The accused hackers exploited a software vulnerability to gain access to Equifax’s computers, obtaining log-in credentials that they used to navigate databases and review records. The indictment also details efforts the hackers took to cover their tracks, including wiping log files on a daily basis and routing traffic through dozens of servers in nearly 20 countries.

“The scale of the theft was staggering,” Attorney General William Barr said Monday. “This theft not only caused significant financial damage to Equifax, but invaded the privacy of many millions of Americans, and imposed substantial costs and burdens on them as they have had to take measures to protect against identity theft.”

Equifax, headquartered in Atlanta, maintains a massive repository of consumer information that it sells to businesses looking to verify identities or assess creditworthiness. All told, the indictment says, the company holds information on hundreds of millions of Americans in the U.S. and abroad.

The case is the latest Justice Department accusation against Chinese hackers suspected of breaching networks of American corporations. It comes as the Trump administration has warned against what it sees as the growing political and economic influence of China, and efforts by Beijing to collect data on Americans and steal scientific research and innovation.

The administration has also been pressing allies not to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to be part of their 5G wireless networks due to concerns that the equipment could be used to collect data and for surveillance.

The accused hackers are based in China and none is in custody. But U.S. officials nonetheless view criminal charges like the ones brought in this case as a powerful deterrent to foreign hackers and a warning to other countries that American law enforcement has the capability to pinpoint individual culprits behind hacks.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy did not immediately return an email seeking comment Monday.

The case resembles a 2014 indictment from the Obama administration Justice Department that accused five members of the PLA of hacking into major American corporations to steal their trade secrets. U.S. authorities also suspect China in the massive 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management and of intrusions into the Marriott hotel chain and Anthem health insurance company.

“This kind of attack on American industry is of a piece with other Chinese illegal acquisitions of sensitive personal data,” Barr said of Monday’s announcement, adding that “for years we have witnessed China’s voracious appetite for the personal data of Americans.”

The criminal charges — which include conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit economic espionage — were filed in federal court in Atlanta.

Equifax last year reached a $700 million settlement over the data breach, with the bulk of the funds intended for consumers affected by it.

Equifax didn’t notice the intruders targeting its databases for more than six weeks. Hackers exploited a known security vulnerability that Equifax hadn’t fixed.

Once inside the network, officials said, the hackers spent weeks conducting reconnaissance. They stole login credentials and ultimately downloaded and extracted data from Equifax to computers outside the United States.

The indictment says the hackers obtained names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers for about 145 million American victims, along with credit card numbers and other personal information for about 200,000.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, a server hosting Equifax’s online dispute portal was running software with a known weak spot. The hackers jumped through the opening to reach databases containing consumers’ personal information.

Equifax officials told GAO the company made many mistakes, including having an outdated list of computer systems administrators. When the company circulated a notice to install a patch for the software vulnerability, the employees responsible for installing the patch never got it.

Equifax’s $700 million settlement with the U.S. government gives affected consumers free credit-monitoring and identity-restoration services, plus money for their time or reimbursement for certain services. However, because so many people made claims, officials said some consumers would get far less than the eligible amounts because of caps in the settlement pool.

02/10/20

The Pro Act, Really Nancy?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

BIG LABOR PAYOFF? For sure… protect, organize and negotiate…  blah, blah, blah.

UAW’s website/Steeleworkers/AFLCIO and more promoting the passage and it did in the House….

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is at it again and Democratic presidential hopefuls former Vice President Joe Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren are all with her.

Last week, the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed a bill designed solely to empower the Democrats’ Big Labor allies. While the bill has little chance of becoming law with Republicans in control of the Senate, the deceptively named Protecting the Right to Organize Act (“PRO Act”) is a dire warning of what Democrats would do should they ever return to power.

Voters should pay close attention to its provisions. Despite severely negative economic consequences, Democrats would eviscerate both the rights of employers to oppose unionization and of workers to decline union membership through the PRO Act – effectively turning the right to unionize into compulsory unionization.
There is no doubt that the PRO Act represents Democratic Party orthodoxy. It passed the House in a 224-194 vote (mostly along party lines). The Bill’s Senate version has 40 co-sponsors, none of whom are Republicans.

Presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill. Joe Biden’s website states that, as president, he would “sign the PRO Act into law.” Pete Buttigieg’s website states that he “strongly supports” the PRO Act.

While couched as workers’ rights legislation, the PRO Act is a tacit acknowledgment that the Democrats’ Big Labor allies have a serious problem: workers just aren’t very interested in what the unions have to offer. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) began reporting the data in 1983, union membership stood at 20.1 percent of US employees. That percentage has steadily declined ever since and, in 2019, dropped to 10.3 percent.

Dwindling union membership means declining revenue and political influence. So, the Democrats, who depend on union endorsements and union dues to support their political campaigns, are advocating policies that essentially eliminate the option of going non-union.

Perhaps most tellingly, the PRO Act would eliminate Right-to-Work laws nationwide, an important means for workers to hold their unions accountable and a critical protection for workers who do not want to financially support a political organization with which they disagree. As a result, the PRO Act would force workers in the 27 states that currently have right to work laws into unions, compelling them to pay union dues, despite their desire to remain independent.
The bill would also eliminate the right to a secret ballot in union elections, forcing workers to vote in front of union organizers and colleagues via “card check,” a system that both sides of the aisle have condemned. It would also infringe on workers’ rights to privacy, requiring employers to hand over employees’ personal information, including home addresses, emails, phone numbers, and work shifts, to union organizers, needlessly exposing those employees to harassment and intimidation.
One of the bill’s worst provisions would broaden the “joint employer” standard to include potentially any business that contracts with another, including franchisees, suppliers, vendors, or subcontractors. Joint employers are equally liable for each other’s employment violations, and this increased risk will force big companies to stop franchising or contracting with smaller companies to avoid expanded liability.

The Obama administration tried to force through the same standard, but its efforts met bipartisan opposition in Congress, and the Trump administration rightfully abandoned the effort.

Nonetheless, unions and their paid-for politicians are trying to force through the standard to give unions access to larger and supposedly “joint” workforces rather than requiring them to organize these smaller independent businesses one by one.

Similar to California’s AB5 legislation, which is set to wreak economic havoc in California’s economy, the PRO Act would steal American’s right to work independently by making it nearly impossible for workers to qualify as independent contractors – workers without a traditional employer. These workers are critical for the “sharing economy,” an industry composed of app-based technology companies like Uber and Lyft that connect independent workers with consumers.

This new economy is flourishing because it fills a gap in currently available services. Rather than supporting this new industry that provides additional income and flexibility to workers who choose to participate, Democrats want to stop it in its tracks. Why? Because – and only because — unions can’t organize independent workers.

The center-right American Action Forum’s economic analysis of the PRO Act’s potential impact on the economy is reason alone to abandon it. AAF found that the PRO Act’s joint employer provision could annually lead to $33.3 billion in lost output for the franchise business sector alone. The bill’s independent contractor provision is expected to add up to $12.1 billion in annual costs for employers and implicate 8.5 percent of GDP. And these are the costs of only two of the bill’s dozen provisions.

Despite the negative economic consequences, should Democrats return to power in the upcoming election, their socialist goal of compulsory unionization would soon supplant the rights of employers to oppose unions and of workers to reject them.

As the PRO Act demonstrates, Democrats will readily eviscerate those rights and slow our economy if doing so can but grow Big Labor’s coffers and political influence.

The upcoming election is increasingly a choice between economic freedom and prosperity or government compulsion and stagnation.

02/10/20

Another Assassination in France by Russia?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Throat slit and dozens of stab wounds. This happened a week ago… great job media. No suspects yet? No worries, French investigators say this may be politically motivated… really?

Imran Aliev is dead. Caucasian Knot | Imran Aliev's acquaintances report ...

The murder of an unidentified man at the Hôtel Coq Hardi near Lille train station was first reported on 30 January by La Voix du Nord, a local newspaper. According to the paper, the body of the man was found in his room by the cleaning staff after he failed to check out of his room. The body bore multiple stab wounds to the neck by a knife, the suspected murder weapon. It was also found in the room.

Faits Divers : Toute l'actualité des faits divers sur Le ...

Chechens living in exile who have fought or spoken out against Kadyrov – the ruthless Chechen leader appointed by Vladimir Putin – have often been targeted for assassination. Last year, a former Chechen rebel commander was shot twice in the head in a targeted killing in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten. The suspected assassin is Russian.

Imran Aliev, who settled in Belgium after leaving Chechnya, was described as an eccentric and divisive figure who often published YouTube videos critical of the Chechen government under the pseudonym Mansur Stariy, or Old Mansur. He had also sparked conflicts by targeting natives of Ingushetia and Dagestan, regions that neighbour Chechnya, in profanity-laced tirades that had earned threats on his life.

Those who knew Aliev expressed surprise that he had been targeted because he was seen as a marginal figure suffering from debilitating health issues.

“He was murdered especially cruelly,” wrote Musa Taipov, a Chechen opposition journalist based in Strasbourg who said he was in regular contact with Aliev. In a Facebook post, Taipov described Aliev as a “difficult but honest” acquaintance who was managing a difficult illness with painkillers and would sometimes issue “not entirely proper declarations.”

“Some people, they offended. For others, they were ‘funny’,” Taipov wrote. He sometimes urged Aliev to delete the YouTube videos, Taipov said, and “most of the time he agreed.”

Police have not publicly identified any suspects in the case. A lawyer who knew Aliev told the Caucasian Knot website that the blogger had received a visitor from Chechnya several days before his death. The man had asked for Aliev’s help with a health condition and the two traveled from Belgium to Lille together, where Aliev was last seen alive. The man then disappeared. Minkail Malizaev, a Chechen blogger who left Grozny under pressure and now lives in Germany, also claimed in an online post that the man visiting Aliev had also sought a meeting with him.

Thousands of refugees and emigres from Chechnya live in Europe. Many fled the two wars that devastated the region from the 1990s, while others escaped the brutal crackdown against dissent under Kadyrov, who has headed the region since 2007 and runs it as a near-fiefdom. Aliev had political asylum in Belgium, the lawyer said.

‘We can find you anywhere’: the Chechen death squads stalking Europe

The trail of assassinations of prominent Chechens in Europe and the Middle East stretches back more than a decade, and includes former rebel commanders and government critics. Increasingly, the attacks have targeted people who posed no real political danger to Kadyrov, but merely took to Instagram or YouTube accounts to voice their dissatisfaction with Chechnya’s leaders in Grozny.

“I have no doubt that [Aliev] was on a list of people who have been sentenced to death,” said Tumso Abdurakhmanov, a video blogger living in Europe who has received threats from allies of Kadyrov for his criticism on YouTube of Chechnya’s government.

Abdurakhmanov claimed that before Aliev’s murder, he had received information that a hitman from Chechnya had been dispatched to western Europe, and shared the details of the man’s itinerary with German police. Abdurakhmanov said he initially believed that the hitman was targeting him. He declined to reveal the source of that information. More here from The Guardian.

02/10/20

Trump Submitted His Budget

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The President officially submitted his budget proposal to Congress today, with a first-ever section on curbing waste, fraud, duplication, and abuse in the federal government.

Trump To Again Propose Slashing Foreign Aid In Budget | 88 ... 

Senator Schumer is already whining.

The budget calls for eliminating the following programs entirely:

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Education and Research Centers
  • Department of the Interior’s Highlands Conservation Act Grants
  • National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures Grants
  • National Endowment for the Arts Endowment for the Humanities
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (including AmeriCorps)

The administration also identified several categories of government spending in desperate need of additional government oversight, including travel, employee conferences or workshops, subscriptions, marketing, entertainment, office refreshments and end-of-year “Use It or Lose It” spending. The chapter cites expenditures by 67 federal agencies from December 30-31, 2018 which totaled $97 billion and included more than $15 million worth of fine china, lobster, alcohol, recreational, musical, and workout equipment.

Yes, it’s budget day on Capitol Hill as we all return to semi-normalcy after spending the last four months consumed with impeachment. Both the House and Senate have hearings this week to discuss the president’s budget.

President Trump is proposing to balance the federal budget within 15 years, “shrink” the federal government and extend food stamp work requirements to Medicaid and housing programs in a $4.8 trillion spending plan being released Monday.

The plan would reduce spending by $4.4 trillion equally from discretionary and mandatory programs such as Medicare over the next decade.

The plan also includes $2 billion for the border wall, with officials saying the administration is approaching 80% of the money needed to finish the wall.

The president’s budget for fiscal 2021 would cut foreign aid by 21% and reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by 26% while targeting the Education Department for smaller cuts.

Among the agencies receiving spending increases would be the Department of Homeland Security (up 3%), the Defense Department (up 0.3% to $740.5 billion), NASA (up 12%) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (up 13%).

The Commerce Department budget would be cut by 37%. Officials largely attribute that reduction to completion of the census. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is slated for a cut of 15% in a proposal that includes $2.8 billion for homelessness assistance grants.

Spending for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be cut 9%, and $4.3 billion would be targeted for battling infectious diseases.

Overall, nondefense spending would be cut 5% to $590 billion, below the level the White House and congressional Democrats agreed to in the current two-year budget deal.

Mr. Trump also proposes to make permanent the tax cuts of 2017. Senior administration officials who gave a preview to The Washington Times and other news outlets said the election-year proposal is aimed partly at the perception that Mr. Trump hasn’t tried to curtail federal spending, with annual deficits rising to more than $1 trillion in his first term.

“We’re trying to make the case that the president cares about spending and has cared about spending,” a senior administration official said. “He’s been doing this since his very first budget. This is now the fourth budget. Many of these [spending] reforms have been in each and every one of them. We do need Congress. Congress has not been there.”

The plan also provides a stark contrast with leading Democratic presidential candidates’ campaign priorities, such as “Medicare-for-All” and free college tuition, which would likely require significant tax increases.

“We’re going to have a national election that will hopefully decide that Congress is going to be on the side of the American people along with other taxpayers who balance their family budgets,” the senior official said. “We’re making the argument that deficit reduction is really important.”

The plan to reach a balanced budget relies on an optimistic economic forecast of 3% annual growth, significantly faster than the 2.3% rate in 2019.

Officials said about half of the proposed savings over a decade would come from reforms or from eliminating programs deemed wasteful in entitlements such as Medicaid and Social Security. They said benefits won’t be affected and that the savings would come from cutting waste and from other savings such as lowering prescription drug prices under Medicare ($130 billion).

Savings of $292 billion would come from reforming Medicaid and other safety net programs, for example by eliminating improper payments to people who have died. Spending on Medicare and Medicaid would still increase.

“The president is proposing more mandatory savings and reforms than any other president in history,” an official said. “He does protect Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries in those programs; he totally meets that commitment.”

The president tweeted on Saturday, “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget. Only the Democrats will destroy them by destroying our Country’s greatest ever Economy!”

In the past two years, Congress has provided only $2.65 billion for the border wall out of the $18 billion the administration said it needed. Mr. Trump declared a state of emergency in February 2019 to move money from military construction projects and counternarcotics programs to get more money. The administration has shifted $6.7 billion from those programs and plans to divert another $7.2 billion this year.

“We are in a pretty good place with regard to the main, most critical features of the wall being fully resourced as of right now,” a senior official said. “We will ask for another $2 billion just to keep the work going. We’re approaching 80% of the wall that will eventually be built being fully resourced.”

The proposal would save taxpayers $300 billion over 10 years by expanding the 20-hour-per-week work requirement for food stamp recipients to Medicaid and housing programs, plus expanding it in the food stamp program, officials said.

The administration said in a statement that part of the spending plan involves “shrinking the federal government to its proper size” by calling for overall reductions of about 2%.

Deficits have risen each year under Mr. Trump, who came into office criticizing former President Barack Obama for failing to get government borrowing under control and pledging that he would balance the budget himself in eight years.

When Mr. Obama left office, the annual deficit was down to about $585 billion after three consecutive $1 trillion deficits at the start of his presidency.

After Mr. Trump took office, the deficit rose to $665 billion in fiscal 2017. It climbed to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, which was 3.8% of gross domestic product. In 2019, it rose to $984 billion, or 4.6% of GDP.

The trend continued in the wrong direction in the first three months of fiscal 2020 as the deficit widened to $356.6 billion and was on pace to exceed $1 trillion by the end of the year.

The fiscal 2021 budget proposal would trim the deficit to $966 billion next year and eliminate annual deficits by 2035, a senior administration official said.

Mr. Trump threatened to veto a massive spending bill in March 2018 that he said included unnecessary extras added by Democrats. He said he acquiesced because the measure was vital to rebuilding the military, but he warned that he wouldn’t tolerate such wastefulness going forward.

“I will never sign a bill like this again,” Mr. Trump said.

He fought with Democrats into a government shutdown in late 2018 over funding for the border wall. In August, Mr. Trump struck a sweeping two-year spending deal with Democrats that lifted the nation’s borrowing limit through July 2021, raised spending by more than $320 billion and put off the next potential fight over spending until after the November elections.

That deal is projected to add nearly $2 trillion in debt over the next decade.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat whose troops have teamed up with Mr. Trump to increase deficit levels, said the president has no credibility on fiscal responsibility. They point to the 2017 tax cuts that passed with no Democratic votes.

“During the eight years of President Obama’s presidency, he reduced the deficit by $1 trillion,” Mrs. Pelosi said last week. “Instead, this administration … increased the national debt by $2 trillion.”

02/7/20

Two Covert Socialists Run for Congress in Georgia

By: Trevor Loudon | The Epoch Times

Nabilah Islam (L) and Michael Owens are seen in an endorsement material by Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America (MADSA) (Screenshot)

Two covert socialists are running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia.

Both are active in the Democratic Party but have sought the endorsement and support of the several-hundred-strong Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America (MADSA). However, neither is willing to publicly identify themselves to the voters as a “democratic socialist.”

7th District

Nabilah Islam is running for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, located just to the north of Atlanta. The good people of North Central Georgia could soon be represented by a militant socialist in the mold of New York’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Several local news outlets and even the Washington Post have described Islam as “Atlanta’s AOC.” There’s one important difference, however. Possibly because Georgia is generally more conservative than AOC’s New York, Islam is not prepared to be quite as open about her socialism.

In February 2019, Republican Rep. Rob Woodall, who was first elected in 2010, announced he would not seek re-election in 2020. This has led to a crowded primary in which eight Republicans and seven Democrats, including 2018 candidate Carolyn Bourdeaux, have entered the race for the open seat.

Bourdeaux was supported in 2018 by gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ New Georgia Project. She lost to Woodall by less than 400 votes, so ordinarily, she would be considered the frontrunner for this year’s Democratic nomination. However, Islam’s solid Democratic Party record and DSA backing combined with Muslim support could well see her win the May 19 primary. If that happens, the DSA and Muslim groups will likely pour in lots of out-of-state money and support to help her flip the very marginal “minority/majority” 7th District to the Democratic column.

A Georgia State University marketing graduate, Islam has an impressive record in Georgia Democratic Party politics. According to her 2016 Young Democrats of Atlanta bio:

“Nabilah ‘Billie’ Islam has deep political roots in Georgia where she has helped candidates up and down the ballot in multiple capacities. Billie is a Georgia native and currently serves as the Southern States Finance Associate for Hillary Clinton’s presidential Campaign, she has been on the campaign since May 2015 coordinating finance events for 7 states. During her time on the Finance Team for Jason Carter’s gubernatorial bid in 2014 Billie helped raise more than 10 million dollars in nine months.

“Billie’s first paid position on a campaign was in 2013 when she served as Campaign Coordinator for the successful city-wide campaign to elect Andre Dickens to the Atlanta City Council. It was in this position that she learned what it meant to be an underdog candidate and how much elbow grease it takes to win.

“Billie is a Democracy for America-trained operative, a graduate of VIP United Way and a graduate of the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute. She has also served on the Board of the Red Clay Democrats. Committed to advancing Democratic causes in her home town, in 2013 she re-charted the Gwinnett County Young Democrats and served as President.”

Islam is running on a platform of socialized health care (Medicare for All), the Green New Deal, “economic justice,” and illegal immigrant amnesty. She has been endorsed by former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason Carter, far-left California Congressman Ro Khanna, and the equally radical Occupy Democrats.

Despite this leftist support, Islam is not willing to publicly come clean as a “democratic socialist.”

In her Metro Atlanta DSA (MADSA) endorsement questionnaire, Islam was asked:

“If elected will you publicly identify yourself as a Democratic Socialist and MADSA member?”

Islam’s brief reply:

“MADSA member yes. Dem socialist no.”

So while Congresswoman Islam might be willing to admit her DSA membership, if pressed, it appears unlikely she’ll be as upfront about her “democratic socialism” as Ocasio Cortez or Michigan’s Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

13th District

MADSA is also endorsing Michael A. Owens for Georgia’s 13th Congressional District, which is located in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.

A former Cobb County Democratic Party chairman, Owens, a Marine Corps veteran, unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Democrat David Scott in 2014. Scott is generally regarded as a moderate Democrat. Whoever wins the Democratic Party primary in this heavily Democratic district will almost certainly be elected to Congress.

Owens is even less willing than Islam to publicly adopt the “democratic socialist” label.

When MADSA questioned him if he would publicly identify as a MADSA member and as a “Democratic Socialist,” Owens simply replied “no.” MADSA endorsed him anyway.

As the Republican Party struggles to take back the House in 2020 and the Democrats put major resources into flipping Southern states, Georgia’s 7th may become a very hotly contested and widely watched race.

Owens will have a harder job in the 13th to defeat moderate Democrat Scott — but with enough DSA support, it could be done.

If both Republicans and moderate Democrats are bold enough to expose Islam and Owens’ covert socialism, they might just save their seats.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.

02/7/20

Saying No to Black History Month

By: Lloyd Marcus

Here we are again, folks. February, another Black History Month. Progressives expect my fellow blacks and me to happily celebrate our month. I will not.

BHM is nothing more than a political weapon for Democrats/progressives to spread racial hate and further their lie that America is the greatest source of evil on the planet.

Most American blacks do not realize that many original civil rights black freedom fighters who stood beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr sold their souls to the dark side after Dr. King died. They joined the white Democrat/progressive movement, metaphorically receiving 30 pieces of silver. The agenda of the dark side is anti-Christian and anti-American.

Black civil rights activists like Jesse Jackson abandoned Dr. King’s divinely inspired mission for blacks to be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Instead, the post-MLK black civil rights movement became all about skin-color, exploiting it in every way. Suddenly, Jesse Jackson and other racism-pimps became rich by claiming every problem plaguing blacks in America is the result of racism. Terrified corporations paid off Jackson and other race-hustlers to shut up and back off.

Remember when Jesse Jackson tried to extort Major League baseball? Jackson claimed MLB was racist because not enough blacks attended games. Scratching my head, I do not understand how MLB is at fault. I don’t know if Jackson got paid or not.

Democrats gave Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other black traitors seats of power at their table. Their job was to keep convincing blacks that they will always be victims of rabidly racist America. Therefore, blacks’ only hope is to keep voting for Democrats to push back against America’s mission to terminate them. Sadly, blacks are terminating themselves by insanely supporting Democrat/progressives’ support of Planned Parenthood. 

Folks, Democrat/progressives’ lie about America is extremely evil and destructive, generating racial-hate and violence. America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to pursue their dreams!

Cities controlled by Democrats for the past 40 years are a mess; record-breaking black on black homicides, failing schools, high black incarceration, and high fatherless black households. And yet, anyone black or white who suggests solutions to empower blacks to fix their problems is immediately attacked by Democrats/progressives. These compassionate Americans are branded either Uncle Toms or racists.

Democrats/progressives want blacks totally dependent and thus enslaved to the government. Black empowerment and liberation is not their goal. Their goal is to transform America into the progressives’ utopia. This is why Democrats/progressives seek to destroy patriotic self-reliant black role models who achieved outstanding success via hard work, education and making right choices; Justice Clarence Thomas and GOP presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson and Herman Cain, to name a few.

Every Black History Month progressives beat us over the head with their insidious evil lie that America is still a hellhole of racism. They ignore the huge elephant in the room that white America bypassed the normal vetting process to gift the first black president two terms.

Progressives love multimillionaire black celebs and billionaire Oprah who absurdly claim blacks are enduring the same discrimination they suffered in the 1950s. These useful-idiot hatemongers have many blacks believing Democrats’ crazy lie that the 63 million who elected Trump are white supremacists.

A college professor black buddy teaches at two Maryland colleges, one predominantly white and the other predominantly black. He worked his way through college and grad school, enjoying a successful career in advertising before becoming a professor.

In almost a whisper, he said, “I have noticed that my white students don’t mind working for what they want. My black students view themselves as entitled and believe everything should be given to them.”

Tragically, my buddy’s black students are infected with poisoned mindsets caused by time spent at an indoctrination camp disguised as an institution of higher learning. Black students are taught they are victims of racist white America. Therefore, they are entitled. “MAGA” cap wearers and Republicans dare not set foot on their campus.

My younger brother Jerry is an extremely fearless and outspoken Christian and black conservative Republican. He routinely verbally spars with members of his all-black Baltimore Trump-hating church. He always leaves his opponents speechless because their arguments are rooted in emotion and Democrat/fake news media lies. Jerry’s arguments are rooted in love, truth, and facts.

Having a little fun, Jerry sent me this text:

“Good morning. I changed my mind. I’m voting for the democrats. My debts paid, free checks, don’t have to work, I can legally smoke weed, and no responsibility. Plus, knowing the dems, there’s probably more benefits to come. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Thank God that Jerry understands that the Democratic Party has become a hateful mob of scam artists. No, I will not be celebrating Democrats/progressives’ Black History/America Sucks Month.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth
http://LloydMarcus.com