08/13/20

Warnings of Ransomware Affecting Elections

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

According to an intelligence report issued by the Department of Homeland Security, one of the top 2020 election security concerns is ransomware. A report entitled “Cybercriminals and Criminal Hackers Capable of Disrupting Election Infrastructure,” echos concerns CISA head Chris Krebs articulated at the Black Hat security conference in early August.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have issued advisories to local governments, including recommendations for preventing attacks.

“From the standpoint of confidence in the system, I think it is much easier to disrupt a network and prevent it from operating than it is to change votes,” Adam Hickey, a Justice Department deputy assistant attorney general, said in an interview.

US officials state that election interference will not be tolerated. They are proactively working with social media companies, among other groups, to help safeguard the elections.

In addition, the US Department of State’s “Rewards for Justice” program is offering a 10M to anyone who can provide information about foreign interference. The Department of State has reached out to targeted individuals in Iran soliciting information.

US officials are interested in identifying individuals who aim to disrupt campaigns, meddle with election infrastructure, and who pose threats to election officials. This is the third major “Rewards for Justice” initiative this year. More here.

***

“We’re seeing state and local entities targeted with ransomware on a near-daily basis,” said Geoff Hale, a top election security official with Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Steps taken to improve the security of voter registration systems after the 2016 election could help governments fend off election-related ransomware attacks. They’ve also acted to ensure they can recover quickly in the event of an attack.

Colorado, for example, stores redundant versions of its voter registration data at two separate secure locations so officials can easily shift operations. Backups are regular so the system can be quickly rebuilt if needed.

Even so, ransomware is an added concern for local election officials already confronting staffing and budget constraints while preparing for a shift from in-person voting to absentee balloting because of the pandemic.

In West Virginia, state officials are more concerned about the cyber threat confronting its 55 county election offices than a direct attack on the statewide voter registration system. One click from a county employee falling victim to a spearphishing attack could grant a hacker access to the county network and eventually to election systems.

“I’m more worried that those people who are working extra hours and working more days, the temporary staff that may be brought in to help process the paperwork, that all this may create a certain malaise or fatigue when they are using tools like email,” said David Tackett, chief information officer for the secretary of state.

In states that rely heavily on in-person voting and use electronic systems to check in voters, a well-timed attack, particularly during early voting, could prevent officials from immediately verifying a voter’s eligibility, making paper backups critical.

For states conducting elections entirely by mail, including Colorado, an attack near Election Day may have little effect on voting because ballots are sent early to all voters, with few votes cast in-person. But it could disrupt vote-tallying, forcing officials to process ballots by hand.

In many states, local officials will face an influx of new ballot requests. That means they’ll need constant access to voter data as they handle these requests. An attack could cause major disruptions.

Hickey said he was unaware of ransomware attacks directly targeting election infrastructure. But local election offices are often connected to larger county networks and not properly insulated or protected.

A criminal targeting a county or state “may not even know what parts of the network they got into,” Hickey said. But as the malware creeps along and spreads, “what gets bricked is the entire network — and that includes but is not limited to election infrastructure.”

Even if election infrastructure isn’t directly targeted, there would likely be immediate assumptions it was, said Ron Bushar of the FireEye cybersecurity company.

A February advisory issued by the FBI and obtained by The Associated Press recommends local governments separate election-related systems from county and state systems to ensure they aren’t affected in an unrelated attack.

08/13/20

Protests in Beirut Over Possible Stolen Millions?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

238 people injured in Beirut protests » Breaking News ...

It is beginning to sound like some oligarch corruption out of Ukraine but read on.

Salameh became Governor of Lebanon’s central bank, on August 1, 1993. He was subsequently reappointed for four consecutive terms in 1999, 2005, 2011 and 2017. Salameh chairs the BDL Central Council, the Higher Banking Commission, the AML/CFT Special Investigation Commission, and the Capital Markets Authority.

He is a member of the board of governors at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and at the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).

Le Commerce du Levant magazine économique libanais ...

In 2012, Salameh chaired the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in Tokyo. So he is well connected and maybe a Middle East swamper,,, but could something else be revealed?

***

(Reuters) – Offshore companies linked to Lebanon’s central bank governor own assets worth nearly $100 million, a media group said in a report, as his role in Lebanon’s economic turmoil is under intense scrutiny.

The companies tied to Riad Salameh invested in real estate in Britain, Germany, and Belgium over the past decade according to a report by a collective of European news outlets called the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a nonprofit media organization, and its Lebanese partner, Daraj.com.

The report by the Sarajevo-based OCCRP does not allege any wrongdoing by Salameh and Reuters has not reviewed any of the documents on which the report is based.

Responding to the report, Salameh told Reuters he had declared during a TV interview in April his net worth prior to becoming a governor in 1993 and it was $23 million dollars.

“I have shown the supporting documents as proof. This to eliminate doubts on the origin of my net worth and that it was prior to holding office,” he said.

He said he had previously stated that he asked professionals and trustees to manage his net worth. “The origin of my net worth is clear, this is the important matter,” he said.

Salameh, previously seen as a guarantor of financial stability in the country, has become a focus of anger for street protesters since Lebanon’s financial system collapsed earlier this year under the weight of one of the world’s biggest public debt burdens.

The report into his personal wealth comes at a sensitive time as Lebanon grapples with the aftermath of an enormous chemical explosion that devastated the capital Beirut, fuelling public anger with the country’s leadership.

The OCCRP report also comes after central bank accounts seen by Reuters last month revealed that Lebanon’s central bank governor inflated the institution’s assets by over $6 billion in 2018, showing the extent of financial engineering used to help prop up the Lebanese economy.

The governor told Reuters last month that the central bank accounting was in line with policies approved by the board.

A Lebanese judge last month ordered a protective freeze on some assets held by the governor after ruling in favor of a complaint that he had allegedly undermined the financial standing of the state.

By the end of 2018, Salameh’s assets were worth more than $94 million, the report said, citing balance sheets of Luxembourg companies controlled by the governor.

Salameh said his declaration on his net worth demonstrated he was not trying to escape public scrutiny and was the proof he has “nothing to hide.” (Reporting by Davide Barbuscia and Laila Bassam; Editing by Tom Perry and Jon Boyle)

08/13/20

Lawsuit Alleges Violations of Media Matters and Hillary in 2016

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer:

Media Matters raked in as much as $2 million in coronavirus relief loans as the left-wing blog slammed the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, according to federal records released on Monday.

Records show that Media Matters, the progressive activist group founded by Clinton loyalist David Brock in 2004, received between $1 million and $2 million from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. The loan represents a significant portion of the group’s annual income, which was listed as $11 million in 2017, according to tax records. Media Matters is bankrolled by the Democracy Alliance, one of the largest progressive donor groups in the country. The deep-pocketed philanthropy network has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to liberal groups since it was founded in 2005—and pledged to distribute $100 million in 2020 alone. More here.

*** David Brock it appears needed (needs) the funds to fight off one of many lawsuits and not for keeping his employees on the payroll.

How David Brock Built an Empire to Put Hillary in the ...

RCI:

David Brock, the onetime anti-Clinton journalist turned Hillary Clinton ally and aggressive promoter of Democratic media narratives in recent decades faces legal actions and disclosures portraying his organizations as working so closely with the Clinton campaign in 2016 that they broke the law.

The conservative Patriots Foundation alleges in a lawsuit being filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that an improperly porous relationship among four Brock-founded organizations amounted to illegal coordination with the Clinton campaign in violation of Federal Election Commission regulations. The best known of the four groups is Media Matters for America, which highlights what it calls media bias from the right. The other three are the American Bridge 21st Century PAC; the American Bridge 21st Century Foundation; and the Correct the Record PAC.

“American Bridge 21st Century PAC claimed that it was independent of the Clinton campaign so that it could make independent expenditures,” the Patriots Foundation said in a statement provided to RealClearInvestigations. “American Bridge is run by the same people who run Media Matters and Correct the Record, however, which we know coordinated with the Clinton campaign.

“They all work from the same offices,” the statement continued, “Brock was paid by all of them, American Bridge and Correct the Record shared at least 6 employees, and Correct the Record made in-kind contributions to American Bridge PAC. American Bridge’s supposedly independent activity was just as coordinated as Media Matters’ and Correct the Record’s activity – meaning that American Bridge’s [expenditures] were really excessive and illegal contributions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

Representatives for the organizations did not respond to requests for comment (Correct the Record is now inactive).  Nor did Brock himself or the Clinton campaign.

This past April, the Patriots Foundation filed an FEC complaint against Brock’s organizations. Since the agency hasn’t acted on it within a requisite 120 days, the Patriots Foundation is now suing the FEC as allowed under campaign finance laws. The Patriots Foundation also filed complaints with the IRS last spring regarding Media Matters and the American Bridge Foundation, but there is no legal remedy to force the IRS’s hand in court as with the FEC.

The tactics of Media Matters are generally acknowledged as politically aggressive in a way many see at odds with the organization’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status, which stipulates nonpartisanship. In 2008, The New York Times described Media Matters as a “nonprofit, highly partisan research organization.” The Patriots Foundation alleges that in 2016 Media Matters ceased merely appearing to be partisan — it acted openly as an arm of the Hillary Clinton campaign. A December 2016 report in the liberal-leaning magazine the New Republic, highlighted by the group, substantiates this assessment:

The organization [Media Matters] had long ceased to be a mere watchdog, having positioned itself at the center of a group of public relations and advocacy outfits whose mission was to help put Clinton in the White House. … In our numerous conversations with past Media Matters staff, there was a consensus that in the lead-up to Clinton’s announcement of her candidacy in 2015, the organization’s priority shifted away from the mission stated on its website — “comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation” — and towards running defense for Clinton. The former staffers we spoke to largely felt that this damaged Media Matters’ credibility and hurt the work it did in other areas. “The closer we got to the 2016 election the less it became about actually debunking conservative misinformation and more it became about just defending Hillary Clinton from every blogger in their mother’s basement,” one former staffer told us. This was, moreover, a repeat of what Media Matters did in 2008 when there was a rift between staffers and management over the favoring of Clinton in her race against then-Senator Barack Obama.

Media Matters staffers recounted internal fights over the group’s devotion to Clinton. Employees were ordered to critique NPR’s Terry Gross for asking Clinton some questions about why it took her so long to support same-sex marriage.

But the staff reportedly felt Gross’ questions were fair, and according to the New Republic, “nearly everyone we spoke to who worked there at the time felt that a similar article would not have been written about a different politician.” Media Matters’ research director, Jeremy Holden ended up writing the story because other staffers were unwilling to put their name on it. Holden did not respond to a request for comment.

Media Matters employees were also reportedly frustrated by the organization’s obsession with defending Clinton at the expense of other liberal causes. “Former staffers pointed out several stories that fell within Media Matters’ ambit that should have been better covered. … On the site, there are 1,468 posts tagged with ‘Hillary Clinton’ as opposed to just 26 tagged ‘Bernie Sanders,’” according to the New Republic.

In addition to media reports, internal communications at the Clinton campaign further reveal that it was treating Media Matters as a campaign surrogate and coordinating with the group.

Internal communications at the Clinton campaign released by WikiLeaks reveal that the Brock groups Media Matters (MMFA) and Correct the Record (CTR) were treated as campaign surrogates.

WikiLeaks

campaign strategy memo released by WikiLeaks notes that the Clinton campaign reported using the Brock group to “muddy the waters” when it came to issues where Clinton was vulnerable by “working with MMFA to highlight examples of when the press won’t cover the same issues with Republicans.” Another email released by WikiLeaks has Clinton’s press secretary, Nick Merrill, planning to push back on a Vanity Fair story about Clinton campaign vice-chair Huma Abedin, which hadn’t been published yet, saying, “We have MMFA, CtR, and core surrogates lined up, which we can expand on tomorrow.” Media Matters published a piece criticizing the Vanity Fair story the following day.

“CtR” in Merrill’s email refers to the Correct the Record PAC. The PAC has been dormant since the 2016 election cycle, but “coordinat[ed] directly with Clinton’s campaign,” Politico reported. The CTR PAC even took money directly from the Clinton campaign – during the 2016 election cycle CTR took in $8.5 million in donations, including a donation of $275,615 in 2015 from Hillary for America. From its inception, the PAC skirted rules that prevent such entities and campaigns from directly coordinating with campaigns by claiming all its activities were covered by an FEC exemption regarding public communications.

“Correct the Record believes it can avoid the coordination ban by relying on a 2006 Federal Election Commission regulation that declared that content posted online for free, such as blogs, is off-limits from regulation,” notes a 2015 Washington Post report. “The ‘Internet exemption’ said that such free postings do not constitute campaign expenditures, allowing independent groups to consult with candidates about the content they post on their sites.” The Patriots Foundation FEC complaint strongly disputes that the operations of the CTR PAC were defensible under this interpretation, noting that the PAC spent money on polling and other activities that don’t constitute communications.

Organizationally, there also appears to have been not much separation between CTR and Brock’s other PAC, American Bridge. “During the 2016 election, Brock claimed that AB PAC remained independent of both the Clinton campaign and CTR PAC so that it could make independent expenditures in support of Clinton,” notes the Patriots Foundation FEC complaint. “However, he continued to collect a salary from both PACs, and disclosure reports show that the committees shared at least seven overlapping staff members at various times during 2016. Moreover, AB PAC reported making in-kind disbursements to CTR PAC in 2016.” (In addition to getting paid by both PACs, Brock drew a salary of $278,566 from Media Matters as well, 2017 tax records show.

Overall, the American Bridge Foundation was the largest donor to the AB PAC in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles. As a 501(c)4 nonprofit, the AB Foundation is not required to disclose its own donors. Other notable donors to the AB PAC include George Soros, who gave AB PAC $2 million between 2015 and 2016. Some of America’s biggest unions – the SEIU, AFL-CIO, NEA, AFT, and AFSCME – all made six-figure donations in the 2016 election cycle. And Win McCormack, the owner, and publisher of the New Republic, gave $100,000 to the AB PAC five months before his publication ran the story on Media Matters’ troubles.

Not the First Time

The Patriots Foundation alleges that the legally required separation between the groups did not exist. The two organizations shared staff, office space, and equipment, but the AB Foundation stated in IRS filings the “two entities have entered into a cost-sharing agreement to allocate shared overhead costs so that neither entity is financially supporting the activities of the other.”

But other audited financial statements from the AB Foundation note they did “not have a formal agreement relating to the allocation of expenses between the two entities” and “allocations were made based on management and budget estimates.” Those estimates varied wildly. The AB Foundation gave the PAC some $2.9 million “for salary, rent, and expenses” in 2015; $720,000 in 2016; $4.5 million in 2017; and $3.3 million in 2018. In many of those years, the AB Foundation also claimed to owe AB PAC more than it paid, also by varying amounts.

This is not the first time one of Brock’s organizations has been challenged for running afoul of FEC regulations. Last year, the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint regarding the Correct the Record PAC’s claim that it could coordinate with the Clinton campaign under the public Internet communications exemption. FEC attorneys agreed with the Campaign Legal Center but the FEC, which has been understaffed during the Trump administration, only had four of six members on the commission. The complaint was dismissed when the two GOP commissioners sided with the CTR PAC, leaving the commission deadlocked. The Campaign Legal Center is still litigating the matter.

The Patriots Foundation complaint is different in that it addresses the coordination across all of the Brock organizations, as well as the allegations American Bridge PAC inaccurately reported the operational costs it shares with the American Bridge Foundation.

The Patriots Foundation told RealClearInvestigations it is not seeking remedies from the FEC beyond what was outlined in its original complaint. That complaint asks the FEC to “elicit an admission of the violations from each of the respondents, conduct a robust investigation to determine the scope of the alleged violations, bar respondents from continuing violative activities, and collect civil penalties in amounts commensurate with the gravity of these serious ongoing violations.”

The IRS action filed by the Patriots Foundation seeks to revoke the tax-exempt status of Media Matters and the AB PAC, and calls for both to be compelled to pay applicable taxes while improperly operating as tax-exempt, plus applicable financial penalties, while referring both to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

08/13/20

Biden Picks Willie Brown’s Mistress #HEALSUPHARRIS Showing Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

By: Daniel John Sobieski

So Joe Biden has picked the runt of the litter, an also-ran loser in the Democratic primaries who never won a primary, barely escaped sitting at the kiddies table, whom the voters didn’t think was qualified to be president yet whom Biden wanted to be a heartbeat away. Or maybe his puppet masters, the voices in his earpiece, and the voices in his head picked her from a list loaded with more baggage than an airport carousel.

As it is Biden picked a running mate that labeled him a racist opponent of school busing who cavorted and collaborated with segregationist Democrat colleagues in the Senate where Biden supported legislation leading to the incarceration of young black males. Of course, Harris did her part in incarcerating young black males with a vengeance while she was the state attorney in San Francisco and an attorney general of California.

Kamala Harris also believes Joe Biden is a sexual predator, saying we should believe his accusers, even staffer Tara Reade, who has credibly accused him of sexual assault. Reade certainly brings more evidence to the table than Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser whom Harris viciously attacked in one of the most unhinged attempts at character assassination we have ever seen.

Aside from the fact that Harris all but accused Joe Biden of being a racist for his past willingness to work with segregationists to oppose busing, Harris is also on record saying that she believes the women who accused the former vice president of inappropriate touching. As The Hill reported:

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that she believes women who say they felt uncomfortable after receiving unwanted touching from former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I believe them and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” Harris said during a presidential campaign event in Nevada in April 2019 before Biden had officially entered the race.

As PJ Media reports:

And then there’s Tara Reade, in 2019, she said that Biden used to touch her inappropriately while she was a staffer in his Senate office in 1993. “He used to put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck,” Reade said. “I would just kind of freeze and wait for him to stop doing that.” She later expanded on those allegations, claiming in March 2020 that Biden sexually assaulted her by pushing her up against the wall, kissing her and sliding his hand up her shirt and up her skirt. Reade says attempted to file a claim, but Biden was ultimately protected by loyalists on his staff. The credibility of her claims was boosted by the release of a clip of the Larry King Live show during which her mother called in anonymously asking the panel for advice on how to handle a situation with her daughter and a prominent U.S. senator. Kamala Harris may have believed Tara Reade before Joe Biden jumped in the race, but when Biden was the frontrunner and then presumptive nominee, she ignored Reade’s sexual assault allegations when they resurfaced in 2020.

All Trump  has to do is take clips from their debate exchanges and attacks on Biden from Kamala’s interviews and append the tag line, “I’m Donald J. Trump and I approve her message.”

For a time it looked like Harris wasn’t even on the shortlist, consistently failing to make the top tier in the Democratic presidential primary debates, after being ignored in either another Biden brain cramp or in a deliberate snub in which he called former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun the only African-American woman to serve in the Senate, and after a heated attack from Harris during a debate regarding Biden’s record on school busing:

The debate-stage skirmish was one of the seminal moments of the Democratic primary. Harris, who is Black, said Biden made “very hurtful” comments about his past work with segregationist senators before she slammed his opposition to busing as schools began to integrate.

“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”

At the time, Biden called her comments “a mischaracterization of my position.”

Biden’s pick of Harris fulfills his identity-politics decision to pick a “woman of color” although Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the fake Cherokee Indian, could have qualified. Harris is glib, if not articulate, a stark contrast to a Biden who can’t complete a sentence or a thought or remember where he is. It comes as Biden steadily slips among minority voters.:

More great news for the Trump campaign.  Blacks and Minority voters are at record highs for President Trump.

Rasmussen Reports released their latest polling of likely black voters of President Trump’s job approval is now over 40%.

If Trump gets just 20% of the African-American vote it is curtains for the Democrats and a landslide for Trump.  Biden’s patronizing of African-Americans is typified by his arguably racist and demeaning remark that if blacks do not vote for him they are not in fact black.

For eight years Obama-Biden did nothing while Kamala Harris, as a former California state attorney general and San Francisco district attorney, did measurable harm to the community she claims to be a leader of:

She is counting on strong support from African Americans. But many black voters are wary of her 27 years as a prosecutor enforcing laws that sent African Americans to prison….

Still, her home state’s high rate of incarcerating people of color goes a long way in explaining the trouble she has had selling her candidacy to black voters nationwide. In California and many other states, racial disparities in imprisonment have intensified resentments of what many see as deeply ingrained discrimination in America’s criminal justice system….

But the prisons remain emblematic of chronic racial inequities in the justice system. African Americans make up less than 6% of California’s population but 29% of its inmates, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Latinos are 39% of the population but 43% of the inmates.

Tucker Carlson of Fox News calls Kamala Harris a corrupt and dangerous fraud who sees laws and powers only as means to punish her enemies, pursue her agenda, and get elected. She seems particularly fond of skirting the law herself as she pushes her agenda in with a ruthlessness that would make any despot blush. As Carlson noted:

Carlson, who called Biden’s vice-presidential pick the “most consequential” choice in U.S. history, disputed Sen. Kamala Harris’s authenticity on her progressive positions, saying the “front-runner” only stands by issues she knows will get her ahead in the polls. He cited the California Democrat’s low polling numbers at the time that she ended her own bid for the presidency and dropped out of the Democratic primary race.

“The wrap on Harris in exit polls is that she’s a fraud,” Carlson said. “She doesn’t really believe in anything, she’ll say whatever it takes. Of course, that is also Harris’s primary strength.”

Carlson also brought up an incident in which anti-abortion activist David Daleiden filed a lawsuit against Harris, alleging she and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra conspired with Planned Parenthood to terminate an investigation he was conducting into the fetal-tissue business. Daleiden accused Harris and Becerra of violating his First Amendment rights and abusing the state’s two-party recording law to silence “disfavored speech.”

“I think what we can conclude from this episode is that Kamala Harris, or any politician willing to use law enforcement to stop journalism she doesn’t like, probably doesn’t care too much about civil liberties or equality under the law, and indeed, she doesn’t,” Carlson said.

Kamala Harris, like Biden, supports Planned Parenthood’s crimes against the unborn and takes money and endorsements from the abortion industry. One remembers her bitter and vitriolic participation in the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, her resorting to lies, falsehoods, and innuendo in an attempt to get what she wanted. Biden is dangerous, only because he will let others control him and run the show. Harris is worse. She will know what she’s doing and will do it with astounding relish and ruthlessness.

The well-rehearsed attack on Joe Biden that nearly derailed his candidacy during the clown-car Democratic presidential debates by Sen. Kamala Harris should have come as no surprise to those who have watched her rise to political prominence. Never mind its relevance or accuracy. For Harris, the ends have always justified the means.

We saw during the confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh that Kamala Harris is an ambitious politician with a chain-saw-prosecutorial style designed to bludgeon her targets with attacks and arguments that are more bluster than brilliant. She revealed herself to be a political opportunist who, as Sen. Cory Booker’s “Spartacus moment” fizzled, knew an “Elmer Gantry moment” when she saw one. As Jonathan S. Tobin noted in National Review:

She first earned notoriety in the Senate last year by demonstrating open incivility bordering on bullying when she interrogated Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the national-intelligence chiefs. Bullying witnesses and cutting them off before they have a chance to answer is her modus operandi during hearings….

The same qualities were on display during her questioning of Kavanaugh. But while, like the other Democrats, she never succeeding in outsmarting the judge, she was the only one to momentarily flummox him by bringing up the Mueller investigation.

She started with an impossibly general and specious query about whether he had ever discussed the Mueller probe with “anyone.”… by asserting, even by implication, that Kavanaugh might somehow be part of the Russia-collusion discussion, Harris gave liberal Democrats exactly the kind of red meat they crave.

Along with her snide and disrespectful prosecutorial tone, that made her the winner of the first day of the Kavanaugh primary.

But Harris did more than badger, mislead, and imply in her attempt to slander Kavanaugh. Harris circulated a deceptively edited video designed to further her narrative that far from being an originalist that would apply the law fairly to any case, including those involving abortion, Kavanaugh was an active participant in the campaign to repeal Roe V. Wade. As Ashe Schow noted in the Daily Wire:

Harris’ Twitter account put out a clip that appeared to show Kavanaugh referring to birth control blanketly as “abortion-inducing drugs.”

This is clearly deceptive, as it’s obvious this was not the beginning of one of Kavanaugh’s answers. Kavanaugh’s full sentence, which would have only required one or two extra seconds had Harris’ team started at the beginning, made it clear he was summarizing what a party in a Supreme Court case said.

Kavanaugh said, “In that case, they said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to.” (Emphasis added.)

Harris was willing to falsify evidence to slander Kavanaugh and push the false narrative that Kavanaugh was just another pro-lifer waging a war on women. As she tweeted:

Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control. He was nominated for the purpose of taking away a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions. Make no mistake – this is about punishing women.

Make no mistake – her abuse of Kavanaugh and Biden was about advancing the career of Kamala Harris.  Ironically, she owes her advancement to her association with former Democratic Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown. As the Washington Examiner noted:

Kamala Harris’ first significant political role was an appointment by her powerful then-boyfriend Willie Brown, three decades her senior, to a California medical board that has been criticized as a landing spot for patronage jobs and kickbacks.

Then 30, Harris was dating 60-year-old Willie Brown, at the time the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, when he placed her on the California Medical Assistance Commission in 1994. The position paid over $70,000 per year, $120,700 in current money, and Harris served on the board until 1998. 

The medical commission met twice a month, and Harris, a United States senator for California since 2017 and now a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, missed about 20% of the meetings each year, according to commission records obtained by the Washington Examiner.

Harris, now 54, and Brown, now 85, started dating in the spring of 1994, showing up arm-in-arm at numerous high-profile functions, including Brown’s lavish parties and celebrity galas. He has been separated but not divorced from his wife Blanche Vitero since the 1980s and has maintained a string of girlfriends over the years.

Hey, politics makes strange bedfellows. Can we count her as a hardcore feminist then? Conservative  Twitter icon James Wood hs dubbed her #HeelsUpHarris, Kamala Harris is a dangerous and malevolent political opportunist who doesn’t belong in the same zip code as the White House – and the Lincoln Bedroom.

* Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

08/13/20

Instinctive Reaction – Rationalizing Criminal Behavior

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

Having been around on this spinning planet for quite some time, I thought I’d heard most of the excuses for bad behavior.  But; there’s a prosecutor in the Portland area who added a new twist, a dangerous precedent in rationalizing criminal behavior.

It was difficult believing what my eyes were reading in a PJ Media article explaining that most of the individuals arrested for rioting in Portland would not be charged or their charges dropped due to their Instinctive Reaction to extreme circumstances caused by…the police.

“Multnomah DA Mike Schmidt says some of the actions of protestors represent “the instinctive reaction of people who have been gassed repeatedly, who have been struck with kinetic projectile weapons, and who have seen other protestors arrested in ways they deeply disapprove of”…

Well, there you have it; when you are involved with a riotous group and don’t want to leave when the police tell you that you’re violating the law it’s now permissible to set dumpsters on fire, burn the American Flag, spit on anyone wearing a MAGA hat or throw rocks at those attempting to enforce the law because it’s only an Instinctive Reaction.

My head is still spinning after reading what a District Attorney has claimed is reason enough to drop charges against those arrested in the Portland riots.

The Rule of Law is being tossed in the garbage along with common sense.

Let’s take this “Instinctive Reaction” for a test spin, see what it can do; kind of like taking a new sports car out of the showroom prior to purchasing one…

Consider if you will…There’s a line of police officers standing in front of an unruly mob burning American flags, aiming high powered lasers at them in an attempt to blind them while at the same time tossing flaming bottles of incendiary liquids at them.  Is that a fair picture of what’s been going on in Portland?

Instead of ordering the rioters to leave or be arrested, some of the officers “deeply disapprove” of how these individuals are behaving based on societal norms.  Using the DA’s own words, these police officers “deeply disapprove” of the assaults being waged against them and draw their weapons in defense of life and property.  A hail of bullets takes out several rioters and the rest leave with their tails tucked between their legs.

According to the rationalization of “Instinctive Reaction”, the police officers shouldn’t be charged with any criminal act since they had been subjected to hours of harassment and minor physical assaults which culminated in their “deep disapproval” of the situation.

I remember the first time I watched the movie, The Blues Brothers, where the NAZI Party was holding a protest, shouting and rebuking those who didn’t agree with their cause.  It was a welcome sight to see the Blues Brothers drive their car through over the bridge forcing these NAZI protesters to jump into the water in order to keep from being run over.  I suppose the Blues Brothers “deeply disapproved”, as did most of those watching the movie as folks were laughing and slapping their knees in agreement.

I don’t think America is ready for the application of criminal law that would turn America into a lawless chaotic third world country, a country devoid of the Rule of Law.  Perhaps Portland’s citizenry will figure out that “Instinctive Reaction” is just another excuse for not upholding the laws of the land, they’ll replace their District Attorney with someone who actually intends to do their job.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.


08/13/20

ACLU Calls for Dissolving DHS

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Any of these organizations calling for a restoration of law and order yet? Biden or Harris? Nah, but read on…

Primer:

A judge in Portland, Ore., is proposing that the uniforms of federal agents responding to long-running protests and unrest in that city be emblazoned with easily visible numbers so officers can be easily identified if they commit abuses.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon aired the suggestion Friday in connection with a lawsuit he’s overseeing that accuses city police and federal law enforcement officers of unjustified use of force against journalists and legal observers monitoring the protests, which have centered in recent weeks on the main federal courthouse in Portland.

“I do think it might be appropriate to require any federal law enforcement officer who steps out of the federal courthouse building to wear a unique identifying code,” Simon said during a 90-minute teleconference with lawyers involved in the case. “I’m taking this very, very seriously.”

The judge said he was considering ordering that federal agents — including scores of officers the Trump administration dispatched to the city from across the country — to wear numbers about 8 inches high that would make it easier to assess whether some officers are violating a temporary restraining order the court issued last week.

Simon said he was thinking of something like the jerseys professional sports players wear, minus the names, which he said would expose law enforcement officers to the threat of doxing by the public.

The judge’s restraining order bars law enforcement from targeting journalists or legal observers and also gives those categories of individuals the right to remain in areas even if authorities require the general public to disperse because of riot-like conditions. More here.

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https://s.abcnews.com/images/US/portland-protest-officer-rt-jt-200718_1595087284472_hpMain_16x9_992.jpg

Note police on the uniforms.

So, we now have judges that condemn the actions of law enforcement while the judges never seem to ask questions of Soros DA’s not prosecuting the militants in these cities. And the ACLU is for the most part taking the same position without consideration to all the work and departments within DHS.

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https://pyxis.nymag.com/v1/imgs/103/7d8/36268f7317b3d89f028b34d88ac4725d66-portland-troops.1x.rsocial.w1200.jpg

Note here he has identifiers.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday called for the dissolution of the Department of Homeland Security, calling it a “fail[ed] experiment” that has become a “badge of shame” under President Trump.

“Nearly 20 years of abuse, waste, and corruption demonstrate the failure of the DHS experiment. Many knew DHS to be an ineffective superagency, but President Trump has converted DHS into our government’s most notable badge of shame,” the organization said in a series of tweets Monday.

“Dismantling DHS, breaking it apart into various federal agencies, and shrinking its federal budget will allow for more effective oversight, accountability, and public transparency,” it added.

The organization linked to a USA Today op-ed by executive director Anthony Romero that specifically cites the “unlawful and shocking” deployment of DHS personnel to Portland, Ore.

In the op-ed, Romero noted several former DHS and national security officials who have expressed dismay at the recent trajectory of the department.

Former Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff have both criticized the Portland deployment, while former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke has called for DHS to be dismantled.

In addition, Romero wrote that DHS is an “ineffective superagency” made up of 22 different agencies with contradictory mandates.

“Dismantling DHS, breaking it apart into various federal agencies, and shrinking its allocation of federal dollars will allow for more effective oversight, accountability, and public transparency,” he wrote.

DHS was set up by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The idea at the time was to increase the importance of homeland security by unifying various parts of the government under one umbrella.

But criticism of DHS has increased over the years, and particularly over the last few months amid reports of federal police in unmarked vans detaining people in Portland.

“The spun-off agencies will have clearer missions and more limited functions,” Romero wrote. “A behemoth of a federal agency too easily hides its problems and failings. Congressional oversight can be more readily divided among various congressional committees. Smaller agencies with clearer mandates will make Cabinet-level jobs more attractive to top-notch professionals.”

The ACLU in July sued DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service over the Portland deployment. Plaintiffs in the case include the Portland Mercury as well as several journalists and legal observers who claim agents assaulted them.

08/13/20

Seizure of Three Terror Finance Cyber-Enabled Campaigns

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The Justice Department today announced the dismantling of three terrorist financing cyber-enabled campaigns, involving the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).  This coordinated operation is detailed in three forfeiture complaints and a criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Columbia.  These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency in the terrorism context.

These three terror finance campaigns all relied on sophisticated cyber-tools, including the solicitation of cryptocurrency donations from around the world.  The action demonstrates how different terrorist groups have similarly adapted their terror finance activities to the cyber age.  Each group used cryptocurrency and social media to garner attention and raise funds for their terror campaigns.  Pursuant to judicially-authorized warrants, U.S. authorities seized millions of dollars, over 300 cryptocurrency accounts, four websites, and four Facebook pages all related to the criminal enterprise.

Funds successfully forfeited with a connection to a state sponsor of terrorism may in whole or in part be directed to the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund (http://www.usvsst.com/) after the conclusion of the case.

“It should not surprise anyone that our enemies use modern technology, social media platforms and cryptocurrency to facilitate their evil and violent agendas,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.   “The Department of Justice will employ all available resources to protect the lives and safety of the American public from terrorist groups.  We will prosecute their money laundering, terrorist financing and violent illegal activities wherever we find them.  And, as announced today, we will seize the funds and the instrumentalities that provide a lifeline for their operations whenever possible.  I want to thank the investigators from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the prosecutors from the D.C. United States Attorney’s Office and National Security Division for their hard and innovative work in attacking the networks that allow these terrorists to recruit for and fund their dangerous actions.”

“Terrorist networks have adapted to technology, conducting complex financial transactions in the digital world, including through cryptocurrencies. IRS-CI special agents in the DC cybercrimes unit work diligently to unravel these financial networks,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.  “Today’s actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to holding malign actors accountable for their crimes.”

“The Department of Homeland Security was born after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and, nearly 20 years later, we remain steadfast in executing our critical mission to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf.  “Today’s announcement detailing these enforcement actions targeting foreign terrorist organizations is yet another example of the Department’s commitment to our mission. After launching investigations that identified suspected online payments being funneled to and in support of terrorist networks, Homeland Security Investigations skillfully leveraged their cyber, financial, and trade investigative expertise to disrupt and dismantle cyber-criminal networks that sought to fund acts of terrorism against the United States and our allies.  Together with our federal law enforcement partners, the Department will utilize every resource available to ensure that our Homeland is and remains secure.”

“These important cases reflect the resolve of the D.C. United States Attorney’s Office to target and dismantle these sophisticated cyber-terrorism and money laundering actors across the globe,” stated Acting United States Attorney Michael R. Sherwin.  “While these individuals believe they operate anonymously in the digital space, we have the skill and resolve to find, fix and prosecute these actors under the full extent of the law.”

“IRS-CI’s ability to trace funds used by terrorist groups to their source and dismantle these radical group’s communication and financial networks directly prevents them from wreaking havoc throughout the world,” said Don Fort, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “Today the world is a safer place.”

“As the primary law enforcement agency charged with defeating terrorism, the FBI will continue to combat illicit terrorist financing regardless of platform or method employed by our adversaries,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “As demonstrated by this recent operation, the FBI remains committed to cutting off the financial lifeblood of these organizations that seek to harm Americans at home and abroad.”

“Homeland Security Investigations continues to demonstrate their investigative expertise with these enforcement actions,” said ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Matthew T. Albence.  “Together with law enforcement partners, HSI has utilized their unique authorities to bring to justice those cyber-criminal networks who would do us harm.”

Al-Qassam Brigades Campaign

The first action involves the al-Qassam Brigades and its online cryptocurrency fundraising efforts.  In the beginning of 2019, the al-Qassam Brigades posted a call on its social media page for bitcoin donations to fund its campaign of terror.  The al-Qassam Brigades then moved this request to its official websites, alqassam.net, alqassam.ps, and qassam.ps.

The al-Qassam Brigades boasted that bitcoin donations were untraceable and would be used for violent causes.  Their websites offered video instruction on how to anonymously make donations, in part by using unique bitcoin addresses generated for each individual donor.

However, such donations were not anonymous.  Working together, IRS, HSI, and FBI agents tracked and seized all 150 cryptocurrency accounts that laundered funds to and from the al-Qassam Brigades’ accounts.  Simultaneously, law enforcement executed criminal search warrants relating to United States-based subjects who donated to the terrorist campaign.

With judicial authorization, law enforcement seized the infrastructure of the al-Qassam Brigades websites and subsequently covertly operated alqassam.net.   During that covert operation, the website received funds from persons seeking to provide material support to the terrorist organization, however, they instead donated the funds bitcoin wallets controlled by the United States.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia also unsealed criminal charges for two Turkish individuals, Mehmet Akti and Hüsamettin Karataş, who acted as related money launderers while operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Al-Qaeda Campaign

The second cyber-enabled terror finance campaign involves a scheme by al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, largely based out of Syria.  As the forfeiture complaint details, these terrorist organizations operated a bitcoin money laundering network using Telegram channels and other social media platforms to solicit cryptocurrency donations to further their terrorist goals.  In some instances, they purported to act as charities when, in fact, they were openly and explicitly soliciting funds for violent terrorist attacks.  For example, one post from a charity sought donations to equip terrorists in Syria with weapons:

Undercover HSI agents communicated with the administrator of Reminder for Syria, a related charity that was seeking to finance terrorism via bitcoin donations.  The administrator stated that he hoped for the destruction of the United States, discussed the price for funding surface-to air missles, and warned about possible criminal consequences from carrying out a jihad in the United States.

Posts from another Syrian charity similarly explicitly referenced weapons and extremist activities:

Al-Qaeda and the affiliated terrorist groups together created these posts and used complicated obfuscation techniques, uncovered by law enforcement, to layer their transactions so to conceal their actions.  Today’s complaint seeks forfeiture of the 155 virtual currency assets tied to this terrorist campaign.

ISIS Campaign

The final complaint combines the Department’s initiatives of combatting COVID-19 related fraud with combatting terrorism financing.  The complaint highlights a scheme by Murat Cakar, an ISIS facilitator who is responsible for managing select ISIS hacking operations, to sell fake personal protective equipment via FaceMaskCenter.com (displayed below)

The website claimed to sell FDA approved N95 respirator masks, when in fact the items were not FDA approved.  Site administrators claimed to have near unlimited supplies of the masks, in spite of such items being officially-designated as scarce.  The site administrators offered to sell these items to customers across the globe, including a customer in the United States who sought to purchase N95 masks and other protective equipment for hospitals, nursing homes, and fire departments.

The unsealed forfeiture complaint seized Cakar’s website as well as four related Facebook pages used to facilitate the scheme.  With this third action, the United States has averted the further victimization of those seeking COVID-19 protective gear, and disrupted the continued funding of ISIS.

The claims made in these three complaints are only allegations and do not constitute a determination of liability.  The burden to prove forfeitability in a civil forfeiture proceeding is upon the government.  Further, charges contained in criminal complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit (Washington, D.C.), HSI’s Philadelphia Office, and FBI’s Washington D.C., New York, and Los Angeles field offices are investigating the case. Assistant U.S Attorneys Jessi Camille Brooks and Zia M. Faruqui, and National Security Division Trial Attorneys Danielle Rosborough and Alexandra Hughes are litigating the case, with assistance from Paralegal Specialists Brian Rickers and Bria Cunningham, and Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick.  Additional assistance has been provided by Chainalysis and Excygent.