06/11/21

Half of Pandemic Unemployment Money Stolen, Just $400 Billion

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

At least 30% of unemployment claims are fraudulent. 70% of the money has left our shores… oh, don’t worry… the Biden administration has set aside $2 billion to stop this. What?

Beware of increased unemployment fraud due to identity theft

Axios:

Criminals may have stolen as much as half of the unemployment benefits the U.S. has been pumping out over the past year, some experts say.

Why it matters: Unemployment fraud during the pandemic could easily reach $400 billion, according to some estimates, and the bulk of the money likely ended in the hands of foreign crime syndicates — making this not just theft, but a matter of national security.

Catch up quick: When the pandemic hit, states weren’t prepared for the unprecedented wave of unemployment claims they were about to face.

  • They all knew fraud was inevitable but decided getting the money out to people who desperately needed it was more important than laboriously making sure all of them were genuine.

By the numbers: Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me, a service that tries to prevent this kind of fraud, tells Axios that America has lost more than $400 billion to fraudulent claims. As much as 50% of all unemployment monies might have been stolen, he says.

  • Haywood Talcove, the CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, estimates that at least 70% of the money stolen by impostors ultimately left the country, much of it ending up in the hands of criminal syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere.
  • “These groups are definitely backed by the state,” Talcove tells Axios.
  • Much of the rest of the money was stolen by street gangs domestically, who have made up a greater share of the fraudsters in recent months.

Continue reading

04/25/21

Trapper’s Quote Of The Week

By: Trapper Pettit

Norm Franz said, “Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentleman, barter is the money of peasants, and debt is the money of slaves.” With Social Security, and pension funds owning most of America’s debt through its citizen’s retirement money, confidence is high that this isn’t going to end well for the average slave. It never does.

04/9/21

Biden and Democrats are Draining Northern Triangle Countries of Labor

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

President Bukele told Tucker Carlson: “the best thing for both of is to keep our people here’.

Few may remember when FNC show host Tucker Carlson visited el Salvador to interview President Nayib Bukele. President Bukele validated a condition this author has talked about often, labor. With migrants leaving these countries to find a better economic/working environment, employment and economic stability can never be achieved in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador.

He is right.

Sure these countries are suffering for many reasons causing their respective citizens to seek new lives elsewhere, but draining the population over enticements given by the Biden administration has long-term devastating consequences. The better policy would be for the Biden administration to have meaningful conversations with US corporations to move their manufacturing operation from China to Latin America, in our own hemisphere and help stabilize these countries, stop illegal immigration and punish China for all the offenses, deadly and economically.

The numbers are getting worse for both sides. In a feeble attempt to go the diplomatic route on the causes of the migrant crisis, the Biden administration dispatched an envoy to El Salvador for discussions. Well, that did not go well as President Bukele has refused the meeting, and rightly so.

The Hill has reported:

The president of El Salvador reportedly refused to meet with a senior diplomat from the U.S. this week, while demanding the Biden administration cease criticizing his government.

The Associated Press reported that President Nayib Bukele declined a meeting with Ricardo Zuniga, the U.S.’s envoy to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the so-called “Northern Triangle.”

Bukele also reportedly said that he would not meet with any U.S. diplomats until the Biden administration ceases its criticism of his government, following a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday referring to the separation of powers in El Salvador’s constitutional government as “eroded.”

The Salvadoran president was also denied a meeting with President Biden after traveling to Washington unannounced a few weeks ago.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

“[W]e enjoy … strong relations with El Salvador and its people, and we’ll continue to work closely with our Salvadoran partners to address the challenges in the region. And that includes, as we’ve been talking about, irregular migration. It includes corruption and impunity, it includes governance challenges. It includes respect for human rights, economic opportunity, and security,” Price said on Wednesday at a press briefing.

Bukele has also lashed out at U.S. Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) over her frequent criticism of his government and other Central American governments.

In part from the AP: Specifically, the two said Bukele was angered by State Department spokesman Ned Price’s comments Monday that the U.S. looks forward to Bukele restoring a “strong separation of powers where they’ve been eroded and demonstrate his government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Price’s comments followed a spat between Bukele and one of his fiercest U.S. critics, Rep. Norma Torres, a Democrat who co-chairs the Central America caucus in Congress.

In a series of Tweets last week, Torres accused Bukele of behaving like a “narcissistic dictator” indifferent to the plight of Central American migrants who undertake great risks to reach the U.S.

She attached a photograph that was widely circulated in 2019 showing the bodies of a Salvadoran migrant and his daughter laying lifeless in the Rio Grande on the Texas border.

“Send me a pair of glasses so I may see the suffering of your people through your eyes,” wrote Torres, who came to the U.S. as a child from Guatemala.

Bukele pointed out that he wasn’t even in office at the time of the deaths, which came during a previous surge in Central American migration under the Trump administration. He urged Salvadoran and other immigrants living in Torres’ Southern California district to vote her out of office.

“She doesn’t work for you, but to keep our countries underdeveloped,” he wrote.

U.S. policy in El Salvador has focused on promoting economic prosperity, improving security, and strengthening governance under the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America. Congress has appropriated nearly$2.6 billion for the strategy since FY2016, at least$410million of which has been allocated to El Salvador. The Trump Administration has requested $445 million for the strategy in FY2020, including at least $45.7 million for El Salvador, and an unspecified amount allocated for the country under the Central American Regional Security Initiative(CARSI). Future U.S. engagement in El Salvador is uncertain, however, as the Administration announced in March 2019 that it intended to end foreign assistance programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras due to continued unauthorized U.S.–bound migration. In June 2019, the Administration identified FY2017 and FY2018 bilateral and regional funds subject to withholding or reprogramming. It is unclear how funds appropriated for FY2019 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019(P.L. 116–6)and FY2020funds may be affected. Bilateral relations also have been tested by shifts in U.S. immigration policies, including the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the temporary protected status (TPS) designation that has shielded up to250,000 Salvadorans from removal since 2001.A House-passed bill, H.R. 6, would allow certain TPS designees to apply for permanent resident status., would allow certain TPS designees to apply for permanent resident status. More country details here.

02/19/21

U.S. Investment Funds Fuel China’s Economy to Our Peril

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

In part from the WSJ:

Shock waves rippled through the investment world when China halted the initial public offering of Ant, which would have been the world’s biggest. The decision was signed off by President Xi Jinping after controlling shareholder Jack Ma infuriated government leaders by criticizing government financial regulation in an October speech, The Wall Street Journal reported.

For the past several years, the retirement savings of America’s police, firefighters and teachers have increasingly found their way to private companies in China such as Ant. Anxious to meet ambitious return targets in a low-yield world, large North American pension funds have committed growing sums to both global private-equity managers active in China and managers local to China, according to pension officials and their advisers and investment reports.

This has contributed to a larger boom in Chinese deal making for U.S. institutional investors. Private-equity-backed deals of $300 million or more in China involving exclusively U.S.-based investment managers totaled nearly $13 billion between 2010 and 2019, according to Preqin data. Deal activity peaked in 2018 at $3.78 billion. For investors and investment managers world-wide in 2020, private-equity investment in internet and technology in China was $52 billion, according to consulting firm Bain & Co.

Outlook 2021: How to invest in China's equity market ...

To put a finer point on the matter:

China overtook the U.S. as the world’s top destination for new foreign direct investment last year, as the Covid-19 pandemic amplifies an eastward shift in the center of gravity of the global economy.

New investments by overseas businesses into the U.S., which for decades held the No. 1 spot, fell 49% in 2020, according to U.N. figures released Sunday, as the country struggled to curb the spread of the new coronavirus and economic output slumped.

China, long ranked No. 2, saw direct investments by foreign companies climb 4%, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said. Beijing used strict lockdowns to largely contain Covid-19 after the disease first emerged in a central Chinese city, and China’s gross domestic product grew even as most other major economies contracted last year.

The 2020 investment numbers underline China’s move toward the center of a global economy long dominated by the U.S.—a shift accelerated during the pandemic as China has cemented its position as the world’s factory floor and expanded its share of global trade.

While China attracted more new inflows last year, the total stock of foreign investment in the U.S. remains much larger, reflecting the decades it has spent as the most attractive location for foreign businesses looking to expand outside their home markets.

Foreign investment in the U.S. peaked in 2016 at $472 billion, when foreign investment in China was $134 billion. Since then, investment in China has continued to rise, while in the U.S. it has fallen each year since 2017.

The Trump administration encouraged American companies to leave China and re-establish operations in the U.S. It also put Chinese investors on notice that acquisitions in the U.S. would face new scrutiny on national security grounds—cooling Chinese interest in American deal making.

In 2020, the Washington Post reported:

The federal retirement fund is about to invest in China. Some former U.S. military leaders object.

National security adviser Gen. James Jones watches as President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak hold a joint press availability in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2009.

National security adviser Gen. James Jones watches as President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak hold a joint press availability in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2009. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Eric Yoder

The retirement savings program for federal and military personnel is preparing to more than double the number of countries represented in its investment fund that tracks international stock markets.

One of the countries to be added is China — and that’s a problem for some people.

Eight former senior military leaders have issued an open letter seeking to prevent the change, which is set to take effect in the second half of this year. The letter has rekindled a controversy that has flared several times since the Thrift Savings Plan first committed to broadening its international stock fund, called the I Fund.

The result, the letter said, will be that a portion of money in the fund will be invested in Chinese companies including “weapons manufacturers, U.S.-sanctioned entities and other malevolent enterprises of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“It is especially intolerable to those of us who have proudly served the Nation in uniform that our retirement investments will help its enemies threaten our comrades-in-arms and the country we love,” said the letter, whose signers include two former White House national security advisers, retired Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones and retired Navy Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter.

The letter was released in coordination with the Committee on the Present Danger: China, which defines its mission as “to educate and inform American citizens and policymakers about the existential threats presented from the Peoples Republic of China under the misrule of the Chinese Communist Party.” The group, a successor to similarly named Cold War-era organizations, was reconstituted last year by Stephen K. Bannon, former chief strategist to President Trump, and others who hold hawkish views on China.

The letter was meant to draw the attention of current military leaders, Trump, Congress and TSP investors, said Frank Gaffney Jr., vice chairman of the group, in a phone interview.

12/27/20

Trapper’s Quote Of The Week

By: Trapper Pettit

What will be at the end of the current massive debt cycle we find ourselves in? The simple answer is Technocracy, or better put, Corporate Communism. Remember this one fact; the ‘Great Reset’ will be the ‘Greatest Regret’ of all time.

12/25/20

$900 Billion is an Outrage, Voters, Where are you?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

This almost 6000-page bill is an outrage and exactly where is every American on this? Members of Congress got less than 5 hours to read the bill and staffers as well as media scoured it for the ridiculous highlights as noted below.

It is not a complete list but here is a sampling.

Congress seals agreement on $900 billion COVID relief bill | KOKH

Beyond the pale:

  • the establishment of two new Smithsonian museums
  • $2 billion for Space Force
  • A “three-martini lunch” tax deduction for business meals.
  • $35 billion for clean energy research and development
  • We have: coronavirus relief bill released Monday includes $250 million in investment aid for the Palestinians and for encouraging Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in a provision titled the “Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020.”The act would create the “People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund,” run by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to “provide funding for projects to help build the foundation for peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians and for a sustainable two-state solution.”

$169,739,000 to Vietnam, including $19 million to remediate dioxins (page 1476).

Unspecified funds to “continue support for not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Kabul, Afghanistan that are accessible to both women and men in a coeducational environment” (page 1477).

$198,323,000 to Bangladesh, including $23.5 million to support Burmese refugees and $23.3 million for “democracy programs” (page 1485).

$130,265,000 to Nepal for “development and democracy programs” (page 1485).

Pakistan: $15 million for “democracy programs” and $10 million for “gender programs” (page 1486).

Sri Lanka: Up to $15 million “for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter,” which is a type of patrol boat (page 1489).

$505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to “address key factors that contribute to the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491).

$461,375,000 to Colombia for programs related to counternarcotics and human rights (pages 1494-1496).

$74.8 million to the “Caribbean Basin Security Initiative” (page 1498).

$33 million “for democracy programs for Venezuela” (page 1498).

Unspecified amount to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago “for assistance for communities in countries supporting or otherwise impacted by refugees from Venezuela” (page 1499).

$132,025,000 “for assistance for Georgia” (page 1499).

$453 million “for assistance for Ukraine” (page 1500). source

Spending bill: Massive omnibus would touch many lives

Unemployment insurance ($120 billion). Revives supplemental federal pandemic unemployment benefits but at $300 per week — through March 14 — instead of the $600 per week benefit that expired in July. Extends special pandemic benefits for “gig” workers and extends the maximum period for state-paid jobless benefits to 50 weeks.

Direct payments ($166 billion). Provides $600 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 per year and couples making $150,000 per year — with payments phased out for higher incomes —- with $600 additional payments per dependent child.

Paycheck Protection Program ($284 billion). Revives the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to qualified businesses. Especially hard-hit businesses that received PPP grants would be eligible for a second round. Ensures that PPP subsidies are not taxed.

Vaccines, testing, health providers ($69 billion). Delivers more than $30 billion for procurement of vaccines and treatments, distribution funds for states, and a strategic stockpile. Adds $22 billion for testing, tracing, and mitigation, $9 billion for health care providers, and $4.5 billion for mental health.

Schools and universities ($82 billion). Delivers $54 billion to public K-12 schools affected by the pandemic and $23 billion for colleges and universities; $4 billion would be awarded to a Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund; nearly $1 billion for Native American schools.

Rental assistance. ($25 billion) Provides money for a first-ever federal rental assistance program; funds to be distributed by state and local governments to help people who have fallen behind on their rent and may be facing eviction.

Food/farm aid ($26 billion) Increases stamp benefits by 15% for six months and provides funding to food banks, Meals on Wheels, and other food aid. Provides an equal amount ($13 billion) in aid to farmers and ranchers.

Child Care ($10 billion). Provides $10 billion to the Child Care Development Block Grant to help families with child care costs and help providers cover increased operating costs.

Postal Service ($10 billion). Forgives a $10 billion loan to the Postal Service provided in earlier relief legislation.

Tax extenders: Extends a variety of expiring tax breaks, including lower excise taxes of craft brewers and distillers. Renewable energy sources would see tax breaks extended, as would motorsport facilities, and people making charitable contributions. Business meals would be 100% deductible through 2022.

Water projects: Includes an almost 400-page water resources bill that targets $10 billion for 46 Army Corps of Engineers flood control, environmental, and coastal protection projects. source

Unemployment benefits: Two expiring CARES Act programs, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which made benefits available to the self-employed and gig economy workers, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provided additional weeks of benefits, were extended for 11 weeks, averting a fiscal crisis for millions of Americans.

That timeline will set another key deadline to stop the programs from expiring in early March. In addition, Congress will add $300 to all weekly unemployment benefits, half the amount that supplemented benefits from April through July. Workers who rely on multiple jobs and have lost income will also be eligible for a weekly $100 boost as well.

Support for small businesses: The popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided distressed small businesses with forgivable loans to keep them afloat and leave employees on the books, was re-upped with $284 billion in funds.

Businesses that already received a PPP loan will be eligible to get a second one under the new terms. Some of the PPP funds will be set aside for the smallest businesses and community-based lenders.

The deal provides $9 billion in emergency Treasury capital investments for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions, financial institutions that largely cater to minorities, as well as an additional $3 billion for CDFIs through a Treasury fund. It also provides $20 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans grants for smaller businesses.

Housing assistance: The bill extends the eviction moratorium that is set to expire at the end of the year through the end of January.

The legislation includes $25 billion for rental assistance to families facing eviction. It’s the same amount proposed by a compromise $908 billion relief proposal introduced by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in early December. Eligible renters would be able to receive assistance with rent and utility payments, and bills that have accumulated since the start of the pandemic, by applying with entities that state and local grantees chose to administer the program.

Additionally, the bill includes an enhancement of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to increase the supply for affordable housing construction.

Education: The bill includes several provisions relating to elementary, secondary, and higher education. It would provide $82 billion of funds for schools and colleges to help them reopen classrooms and prevent virus transmission.

It also includes an expansion of Pell Grants. A summary from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the expansion would allow 500,000 people to become new recipients of the grants and 1.5 million students to get the maximum benefit.

Testing: The agreement includes $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines, $8 billion for vaccine distribution, $20 billion for states to conduct testing, and $20 billion in extra federal relief for health care providers.

Nutrition Assistance: The deal directs $13 billion to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), and to child nutrition benefits, the same amount set by the Problem Solvers Caucus earlier this month to pay for a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits.

The SNAP language does not expand eligibility for the program and requires the secretary of Agriculture to provide reports on participation rates and unspent funding balances.

Transportation: Negotiators provided $45 billion for transportation, including $16 billion for another round of support for airlines, airline employees and contractors, $14 billion for transit systems, $10 billion for highways, $2 billion for intercity buses, $2 billion for airports and $1 billion for Amtrak.  source

Entertainment Venues

The bill has $15 billion for independent movie theaters, live entertainment venues, and cultural institutions.

11/18/20

“The Reset” – How One Canadian Activist is Fighting Tyranny

By: Cliff Kincaid | America’s Survival

As Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau advocates a global “reset” to replace capitalism, Tanya Gaw of Action4Canada talks with Cliff Kincaid about people fighting back against China virus lockdowns, masks, unreliable PCR tests, and other matters. A one-world socialist agenda is being pushed by the UN, Gates, Soros, the Rockefellers, and Pope Francis. Gaw discusses President Trump’s handling of the virus and why a Covid 19 vaccine should be resisted by everybody. Go to www.action4canada.com

11/15/20

Democrats Get Something Right – Investigating $300 Million Spent On Defective And Missing F-35 Parts

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

The F-35 Lightning II is truly an amazing achievement in military aircraft design and next-general military capabilities. It is arguably the world’s most dominant multi-role fighter. Its detection range, geolocation, threat identification, and system response capabilities allow the jet to precisely zero in on and destroy the most advanced threats in the world. That includes Russia’s latest SA-20 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. It is promoted as the greatest tactical fighter ever produced. But that title comes with a stunning price tag.

The cost for an F-35 is estimated to be more than $100 million per plane. Adding in development, operations, and maintenance costs, the F-35 fighter initiative is estimated to run well over $1 trillion during its lifetime. Part of that cost is also due to sophisticated hacking operations that have driven up the price tag. This estimate is tens of billions more than the previous projections and the price tag just keeps going ever higher. That does not include the $300 million for missing or defective parts over the last five years. This has raised eyebrows in Congress and surprisingly those looking into this poor use of taxpayer funding are Democrats. The Pentagon also wants answers.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the New York Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has gotten wind of all this. She sent a letter to Lockheed Martin demanding thousands of documents related to the spare parts program.

“The military is spending tens of millions of dollars a year to overcome unresolved issues with the system Lockheed Martin built and maintains to track spare parts for the F-35,” the letter stated. “These problems must be resolved quickly as they create a significant administrative burden for military maintenance personnel.”

The other three lawmakers that signed the letter were Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), chair of the Subcommittee on National Security; Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA); and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

The letter purports that one military commander told a Congressional delegation that the spare part issues are “pervasive” and a “massive manpower suck.”

While our military deserves the very best in everything we can provide them, with the debt the U.S. is running in all quarters these days, no budget for any item should be open-ended. That’s why an audit of spending concerning the F-35, its parts, and its suppliers should be conducted. A lot of numbers here simply do not add up.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, headed by Republicans, is asking in-depth questions on the spending related to the initiative. Senators want answers regarding the DOD’s plan to spend $17.9 billion to further upgrade the three F-35 variants. Also at issue are questions of funding, parts from Turkey, buying F-35 materials in bulk, and how much money Lockheed is reimbursing the DOD for spare parts that could not be installed.

The cost of an F-35 has reduced 15.3% from previous price estimates through Lockheed Martin. However, their engines have only reduced in cost by 3%. Pratt and Whitney, the manufacturer of the engines, says there will be no further price reductions since Congress killed funding for the F-35 alternative engine contract in 2011, leaving them as a sole-source supplier with no incentive to reduce its profits. Congress and the Pentagon’s audit agency also want answers and solutions for this cost discrepancy.

The F-35 has also been plagued by technical problems, although they have been reportedly cut in half. They were decreased from 13 to seven over the past year. But those problems are costly as well not only dollar-wise but in manpower and combat readiness.

The Pentagon’s five-year budget plan for the F-35 falls short by as much as $10 billion. A number of experts now believe that the complex fighter jet may be too costly to operate and maintain. The Defense Department’s blueprint for the next five fiscal years calls for requesting $78 billion for research and development, jet procurement, operations and maintenance, and military construction dedicated to the F-35 built by Lockheed Martin Corp. But the cost analysis unit estimates $88 billion will be needed.

The Democrats are also not pleased that the Trump administration has formally informed the United States Congress of its intention to sell dozens of F-35 advanced fighter jets and other military hardware to the United Arab Emirates. Israel has signed off on the deal as well. So, while the cost of producing the aircraft is monstrous and ongoing, it would seem that the U.S. will recoup at least some of that spending. The question is whether it is wise to sell military aircraft to the UAE or not. They are ostensibly an ally, but things are very fluid in the Middle East. Nurturing allies over there is in our best interests, however.

The F-35’s spending is clearly a boondoggle that needs further investigation, foresight, and consideration — and all options must be on the table to protect taxpayer funding. But Democrats shouldn’t pretend, as they often do, that even the worst military spending is responsible for our massive deficits in the last two decades. That honor belongs to social spending.

While Democrats seem to believe that military spending is the U.S.’ major debt contributor these days, that simply is not the case. Their reasoning is purely political and not based on factual data. Social Security and Medicare are the real villains in our debt saga.

Our military budget is very large and in many instances managed poorly and handled inefficiently. War-related increases in defense spending have been a significant factor in America’s increasing deficits since the turn of the century.

But it should be noted that the Department of Defense’s budget is shrinking as a percentage of the federal budget. It is currently 14 percent of the budget. That is smaller than expenditures for Social Security and the federal healthcare system. Both of those social endeavors will take up larger portions of the federal budget.

Regardless of our military budget, the spending on the F-35 needs to be looked into. We should have the best military equipment in the world but we should also adhere to Trump’s “Art of the Deal” and not just throw money away without questioning where it is going, what it is being used for, and can a better deal be had.