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Criminal Organization Celebrates Record Profits

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The federal government collected $1,476,218,000,000 in the first half of fiscal year 2016. 

 reports: Inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues hit a record $1.48 trillion for the first half of fiscal year 2016, but the federal government still ran a $461 billion deficit during that time, according to the latest monthly Treasury Department statement.

Treasury receipts include tax revenue from individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, social insurance and retirement taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and other miscellaneous items.

In the first half of fiscal 2016, which included the months of October, November, December, January, February, and March, the amount of taxes collected by the federal government outpaced the first half of all previous fiscal years, even after adjusting for inflation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Global Panic Update: Government Reveals Details About Energy Grid Hacks

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Hackers have stolen sensitive information from American energy companies — and have planted malware in the energy grid with the intent to turn off the lights in the future.

Jose Pagliery reports: They even managed to infect at least three energy companies with Cryptolocker ransomware, a particularly nasty computer virus that locks digital files and demands a ransom payment.

Newly released documents from the Department of Homeland Security are finally shedding some light on what exactlyAPPROVED-non-stop-panichackers are doing when they sneak into the American electrical grid.

The DHS intelligence assessment — originally dated January 27, 2016 — was published by Public Intelligence, a research project that shares secretive documents to educate people.

Some of the attacks described in the report are potentially serious.

Aggressive foreign government hackers broke into American companies 17 times between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, according to DHS. In two cases they snuck into U.S. petroleum organizations, and hackers are “suspected of exfiltrating data” from one of them.

It’s rare, but highly sophisticated foreign government hackers have gotten inside the energy grid, DHS said. They hack “primarily to conduct cyber espionage … to conduct a damaging or disruptive attack in the event of hostilities with the United States,” DHS stated in a recent internal “intelligence assessment.”

[Read the full story here, at CNNMoney]

That sounds alarming, but DHS is throwing cold water on any present worries. The agency concluded that damaging cyberattacks against the American energy sector is “possible but not likely.”

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That calm demeanor doesn’t sit well with some cybersecurity experts. Ryan Duff is a researcher and former member of U.S. Cyber Command, the American military’s hacking unit. He warned that once a hacker gets into a computer — even if physical damage hasn’t been caused yet — the potential is there.

“While I agree with the DHS assessment overall, it’s still pretty frightening,” he said. “The fact is that the ability to cause destruction exists. Their assessment that attack is unlikely is based on political realities instead of technical realities. Attack is way more than technically possible.”

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DHS prefers to label these cyber incidents as “espionage or some other activity,” rather than “cyberattacks.” To date, there have been “no damaging or destructive attacks against the U.S. energy sector,” DHS said.

“The majority of malicious activity occurring against the U.S. energy sector is low-level cybercrime that is … not meant to be destructive,” DHS analysts wrote.

Kyle Wilhoit, who investigates these types of hacks for Trend Micro (TMICF), said criminal hackers sometimes gain access to sensitive machinery by mistake.

“Most of the attacks that we’ve witnessed against this sector are in fact criminal in nature,” he told CNNMoney. “In some cases we even see criminals not realizing the importance of some of the machines [they gained access to.]”

The agency cautions against media using the term cyber “attack,” although it’s own 2013 advisory refers to cyber “attack” 56 times. Read the rest of this entry »


Proceeding as Planned: Deportations Under Obama Plummet During Second Term

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The new figures show a dramatic four-year decline in the number of deportations carried out by the Obama administration, from more than 409,000 in 2012 to just 235,000 in fiscal 2015.

For the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. who otherwise stay out of trouble, the chances of being deported are less than 1 percent, according to new figures released by the Department of Homeland Security.

“It’s a way to reduce your immigration enforcement without going through the legislative process of changing the law. It’s a way of doing a pseudo-amnesty without legislatively doing an amnesty.”

— Claude Arnold, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in charge of Southern California

The new figures show a dramatic four-year decline in the number of deportations carried out by the Obama administration, from more than 409,000 in 2012 to just 235,000 in fiscal 2015.

The numbers represent the fewest deportations since 2006.

“You have the resources to do it, those resources should be dedicated to not just removing criminal aliens but anyone else. The fact is, someone doesn’t want those laws enforced and it’s plain to see.”

— Claude Arnold, who spent 27 years at ICE

During President Obama’s first term, some Latino groups branded him the “deporter in chief” – yet other critics of the administration’s enforcement approach say the second-term figures show he’s anything but, as his executive actions and other policies take effect.

“It’s a way to reduce your immigration enforcement without going through the legislative process of changing the law,” said Claude Arnold, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in charge of Southern California, referring to those policies. “It’s a way of doing a pseudo-amnesty without legislatively doing an amnesty.”

Arnold stressed that deportation numbers are down in two key categories: criminals and interior enforcement.

On the first, Obama has emphasized throughout his two terms that he is focused on deporting “criminal aliens.” Yet the new numbers show criminal alien deportations declined 27 percent from last year, from 86,923 to 63,127 in 2015. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jeff Sessions Explains Why ‘Voters Are in Open Rebellion’

In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., voiced his concern about the $1.1 trillion government spending bill that lawmakers will vote on this week. Sessions cited these issues as most problematic: fully funding President Barack Obama’s refugee resettlement program, sanctuary cities, and the resettlement of illegal alien youths and their families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. He also criticized tax credits for illegal immigrants and quadrupling H-2B foreign worker visas.

Source: dailysignal.com


Now Comes the Super-Shocker: 59% Back Trump On Mandatory Deportation of Illegals

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Politicians who ignore this sea change in attitudes on immigration do so at their own peril.

Immigration: When Donald Trump proposed mandatory deportation of illegal aliens, pundits and politicians on both sides of the political aisle were appalled. But on this issue it looks like Trump has the public on his side.

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[For an insightful analysis of this, see Victor Davis Hanson‘s How Illegal Immigration Finally Turned Off the Public]

The fire from the right was almost as fierce as that from the left. “It’s not conservative and it’s not realistic and it does not embrace American values,” said Jeb Bush.

Sen. Lindsey Graham called it “absolute gibberish.”

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer called the idea “crackpot” and “morally obscene.”

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

“What’s surprising is that 59% of the overall public does as well. Mandatory deportation gets majority support in all age groups except 18-24, every income group, among both women and men, at every level of educational achievement, and in rural, urban and suburban regions.”

But the prize for overheated rhetoric goes to Hillary Clinton, who said Trump wants to “literally pull people out of their homes and their workplaces, round them up, put them, I don’t know, in buses, boxcars, in order to take them across our border.”

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“More interesting still is the fact that 64% of independents and 55% of moderates support deportation. Even among Hispanics, the poll found 40% backed mandatory deportation.”

So what do these folks say about the fact that the majority of Americans back Trump on this?

[Read the full text here, at Investors.com]

The latest IBD/TIPP Poll asked 913 adults coast to coast if they “support or oppose mandatory deportation of illegal immigrants in the U.S.” Not surprisingly, 87% of Trump supporters back the proposal. Read the rest of this entry »


Neutralized by Legal Setbacks, Obama Administration Appears to Stop Work on its Illegal Illegal Immigration Program

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Jerry Markon reports: A series of legal setbacks have halted the government’s intensive preparations to move forward with President Obama’s executive actions shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, even as community organizations continue a rapid push to get ready for the programs, according to U.S. officials and immigrant advocacy groups.

“After Texas and 25 other states sued the administration, calling the moves unconstitutional, a federal judge in Texas in February put them on hold until the case is resolved. A federal appeals court recently upheld that injunction, with legal observers now saying the court fight could last until late in Obama’s term.”

Since a federal judge first blocked the new programs in February, the Department of Homeland Security has suspended plans to hire up to 3,100 new employees, most of whom would be
housed in an 11-story building the government has leased for $7.8 million a year in Arlington, Va. That President Barack Obama looks at his supporters after speaking at the Organizing for Action dinner in Washington, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)building, in the Crystal City area, is now sittig mostly unused, DHS employees say.

“The legal battle highlights the explosive nature of the immigration debate, which has emerged as an early issue in the 2016 presidential race even as immigration legislation remains stalled in Congress.”

Yet inside and outside the Beltway, community groups are mobilizing, educating immigrants and training volunteers to help them apply for relief, even though it remains unclear whether the program will ever begin. Most recently, a foundation headed by billionaire George Soros, undaunted by the court rulings, pledged at least $8 million to that effort.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

“We’re full speed ahead,” said Josh Hoyt, executive director of the Chicago-based National Partnership for New Americans, a coalition of pro-immigrant groups that have held more than 700 information sessions on the new programs and trained more than 2,000 volunteers to aid immigrants in applying for them.

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Obama announced in November that up to 5 million illegal immigrants would be eligible to be shielded from deportation — including undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents — as long as they met certain criteria. One of the signature initiatives of his presidency, the plan also expands a 2012 program that has deferred the deportations of more than 600,000 immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and has granted most of them work permits.

“The fate of Obama’s executive action benefiting immigrant parents, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, will resonate into the next administration.”

But after Texas and 25 other states sued the administration, calling the moves unconstitutional, a federal judge in Texas in February put them on hold until the case is resolved. A federal appeals court recently upheld that injunction, with legal observers now saying the court fight could last until late in Obama’s term. The 2012 program remains unaffected.

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“As soon as Obama took his actions on Nov. 20, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ‘immediately began efforts to implement those initiatives,’ said Marsha Catron, a DHS spokeswoman. The next day, the agency leased a 280,000-square-foot building on Crystal Drive in Crystal City to house DAPA employees, according to DHS documents sent to Congress.”

The legal battle highlights the explosive nature of the immigration debate, which has emerged as an early issue in the 2016 presidential race even as immigration legislation remains stalled in Congress. The fate of Obama’s executive action benefiting immigrant parents, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, will resonate into the next administration. Most Republican presidential candidates have pledged to overturn Obama’s immigration actions, while leading Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has strongly endorsed them.

“The building came fully furnished but required about $26 million in start-up costs, including $2.7 million for workstation and desktop equipment, documents show.”

As soon as Obama took his actions on Nov. 20, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “immediately began efforts to implement those initiatives,’’ said Marsha Catron, a DHS spokeswoman. The next day, the agency leased a 280,000-square-foot building on Crystal Drive in Crystal City to house DAPA employees, according to DHS documents sent to Congress.

Bankrolled: Tax filings revealed that Soros pumped millions into groups that bussed protesters to Ferguson, Missouri, from around the country and co-ordinated campaigns to keep it in the media

George Soros

“Most recently, a foundation headed by billionaire George Soros, undaunted by the court rulings, pledged at least $8 million to that effort.”

The building came fully furnished but required about $26 million in start-up costs, including $2.7 million for workstation and desktop equipment, documents show. Those costs were to be funded with fees collected from immigrants who had applied for other government programs, and DHS says DAPA would have no impact on any existing programs. Read the rest of this entry »


Survey Reveals: U.S. Schools Expelled 8,000 Chinese Students for Poor Grades, Cheating

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The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme

Liyan Qi reports: As tens of thousands of Chinese students prepare to study in the U.S., they might reflect on the experience of some of those who went before them. According to an estimate by a U.S. education company, some 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities last year alone – and the main reasons were poor grades and cheating.

“This is an issue not just about students in the U.S., but about the entire higher-education system in China.” 

The estimate by WholeRen Education, a U.S. company that caters to Chinese students, was based on official U.S. data and a survey of 1,657 students expelled from American universities last year. More than 80% of these students were expelled because of poor academic performance or dishonesty, the company said.

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“Chinese students used to be considered top-notch but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat.”

— Chen Hang, chief development officer at WholeRen

The company surveyed students about their U.S. study experience a year earlier but didn’t make any estimate for expulsions.

The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme.

[Read the full text here at WSJ]

Stacked up against the huge numbers of Chinese students who go to American universities every year, the failure rate isn’t so bad, WholeRen said, though it does suggest a change in the once-shining image of students from China. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama Promises Illegals: Obamacare Sign Up Info Wont Be Used for Deportation

In a joint town hall with Telemundo and Univision, President Obama made a pledge that his administration will not use Obamacare sign up data to deport illegal aliens:

“Will we hear from you a pledge, a personal promise, that the information provided in the registration process will not be used for deportation purposes in this country?”

“Absolutely,” Obama said, putting his hand down for emphasis.

Read the rest of this entry »