Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Alex Johnson for GA GOP Chair

I was the first candidate to say it, beating the other chairman candidates by years

The Georgia GOP is in bad financial shape. We must fix our broken fundraising and financial system. We must stop believing lies from the political industry that money will magically return to the party as long as their hand-chosen candidate is elected. Doubt this is a lie?  Then simply ask yourself, "Do I give to organizations because of the person in charge, or because I know my hard earned money will be put to good use?"  As your Georgia Republican State Party Chairman, I will put your money to good use by leading our party to again become a brand people are proud of.

Money is raised through proper branding. Donations are only made when those donating believe there exists a strong organizational structure to put their money to efficient use.  We will not increase donations if we elect a Chairman who sat by for years and did nothing while we went broke. That is why I am running.  We must have an open and transparent bid process for both political consulting contracts and major vendor services.  We must end the practice of awarding such contracts based on personal connections.  We must stop being complacent in our own financial demise. To sustain adequate fundraising, we must:

1. Require competitive bids and better utilize volunteers to ensure faith in our stewardship of donated funds. This must be done IMMEDIATELY.

2. Raise money for SPECIFIC projects, such as voter registration, voter education, social media, mailers, and statewide training.  Donors want to know exactly how their money will be used to become comfortable donating more often and in larger sums.

3. Host no fewer than 10 fundraisers throughout the state every single year.  These smaller fundraisers should be coordinated with both district and county parties, helping boost their prestige, brand, and bank account as well.  These smaller fundraisers should be affordable for all who would like to attend, not just those with big bank accounts.  We must stop leaving money on the table by ignoring our legions of smaller donors and areas outside of Atlanta.

4. Reconnect With Large Donors - personal calls to large donors is key, and I will continue to connect with both existing and new large donors.  Merely maintaining our existing donors will not keep Georgia RED.  We must substantially increase large donations by selling a substantially improved brand.  Large donors have privately told me they are waiting for credibility to return to our State Party before opening their checkbooks, specifically asking for the exact credibility that I offer. Making claims to raise money is expected during convention season. Delivering requires a new plan, and I have that plan.

My name is Alex Johnson and I ask for your vote for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.


Delegates to the GA GOP State Convention in Augusta on June 3, 2017 need to vote for Alex Johnson.  Alex ran for this office in 2013 and got 40% of the vote.  Alex ran again in 2015 and got 45% of the vote.  Alex is running again in 2017 and should be elected.  Alex knows that the GA GOP needs to be a “bottom-up” organization that supports voter issues over special interest issues.

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

UK Harbored Terrorists

British man who launched Isil suicide attack was Guantanamo Bay detainee awarded £1m compensation Bomber named by the group as Abu Zakariya al-Britani, by Gordon Rayner 5/22/17, Universal News

A British Islamic State fighter who carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq this week is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was paid £1 million compensation by the government. Jamal al-Harith, a Muslim convert born Ronald Fiddler who detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base near Mosul, was released from the US detention camp in 2004 and successfully claimed compensation after saying British agents knew or were complicit in his mistreatment. He was freed following intense lobbying by Tony Blair’s Labour government.

Al-Harith, who used the nom de guerre Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, entered Syria via Turkey in 2014 to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, leading to questions at the time about the monitoring of terrorist suspects.

It also raised the possibility that compensation money paid by British taxpayers had been handed on by him to Isil. Earlier this week Isil released an image of him sitting inside the bomb car grinning broadly, with wires and what may be a detonation button in the background.

A statement released by the terrorist group said: “The martyrdom-seeking brother Abu Zakariya al-Britani - may Allah accept him - detonated his explosives-laden vehicle on a headquarters of the Rafidhi army and its militias in Tal Kisum village, southwest of Mosul.”“Rafidha” is a derogatory term for Shiite Muslims, who Isil considers to be heretics. His brother, Leon Jameson, told The Times Al-Harith had “wasted his life”.

He added: "I didn’t think he’d ever do anything wrong but, if he’s joining extremists, then, you know ... I’m not ashamed of him, I never will be. But it’s his own decision. I can only just give him advice if he needs any.”

The 5 main British jihadis who have died fighting for Islamic State The 53-year-old said his brother had been a keen sportsman in his youth, playing football, basketball and table-tennis and winning a trophy for karate when he was a teenager. He later converted to Islam after meeting Muslim friends at a sixth form college. “All I know is one day he brought a Quran home,” Mr Jameson told the newspaper. “We were supportive of it, yeah,we didn’t see anything wrong with it at the time and the trouble only started later, seems like he’s been dragged into it."

The 50-year-old, originally from Manchester, was arrested by US forces in Pakistan in 2001 as a suspected Taliban sympathiser, before being sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2002. At the time of his release, the then home secretary David Blunkett said: “No-one who is returned...will actually be a threat to the security of the British people.” Earlier this week Isil named him as the man who had blown himself up in the car bombing at the Iraqi army base, and released a picture of him.

Al-Harith’s wife Shukee Begum travelled to Syria with their five children to try to persuade her husband to return to the UK, but failed and was taken hostage before eventually managing to escape.

Al-Harith, the son of Jamaican immigrants, converted to Islam in the 1990s and worked as a web designer before he travelled to the Pakistani city of Quetta in 2001 for what he claimed was a religious holiday.

He has insisted he tried to enter Iran when the US invaded neighbouring Afghanistan, but was captured and imprisoned by the Taliban on suspicion of being a UK spy.
When US special forces found him in a Taliban jail, they assessed him as a “high threat to the US” who was “probably involved in a former terrorist attack against the US”.

Al-Harith’s prisoner file from Guantanamo Bay, published online by WikiLeaks, refers to him travelling to Sudan in 1992 with “Abu Bakr, a well-known al-Qaeda operative”.
After his return to the UK - where he was released without charge - he joined three other former prisoners known as the Tipton Three in a failed attempt to sue Donald Rumsfeld, the then US Defense Secretary.

His legal action against the British government was more successful, resulting in a payment of up to £1 million in return for which he agreed not to talk about his ordeal.
Al-Harith profile still live on old Cage website

Cage, the controversial human rights group, still features a profile of al-Harith on a part of its old website, Cageprisoners. It reads: Born Ronald Fiddler on November 20, 1966, to devout, churchgoing Jamaican parents, al Harith converted to Islam in his 20s after reading Malcom X's biography. He has two sisters, Maxine and Sharon.

His family say he is a gentle, quiet man who rarely spoke of his faith unless asked, and after four years learning Arabic and teaching English at Khartoum University in Sudan, he seemed happy enough to return home where he started to study nursing. At this time, he also established a computer business. He later moved back to Manchester, where he worked as an administrator in a Muslim school.

He travelled from the UK to Pakistan at the end of September 2001, retracing a journey he had made to Iran in 1993. He paid a lorry driver to take him from northern Pakistan to Iran as part of a backpacking trip, but they were stopped near the Afghan border by Taliban soldiers who saw his British passport and jailed him, in October, fearing he was a spy. He had been away from home only three weeks when he was captured.

As the operation to mop up al Qaida forces went on into the spring of 2001, he was captured by US forces while being held in Kandahar Jail. He was interrogated by the CIA in Afghanistan before being taken to Guantanamo. 

He was released from Guantanamo and returned to the UK on 9th March 2004. After a few hours of questioning he was released without charge and reunited with his family. Jamal was the first of the British detainees to speak publicly about his ordeal. He married in late 2004 and has three children (aged 3,5, and 8) from a previous marriage. MPs attack 'scandalous' decision to award al-Harith £1 million

Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP reportedly said: "This is a scandalous situation. So much for Tony Blair’s assurances that this extremist did not pose a security threat. "He clearly was a risk to Britain and our security all along. It adds insult to injury that he was given £1million in compensation because of Blair’s flawed judgement that he was an innocent."

John Pugh, a Lib Dem MP, said: "This raises serious questions about the reassurances Labour gave us that this man posed no danger.  "It is a kick in the teeth that he was given a fortune in taxpayers’ money after claiming he was innocent only to flee to Islamic State and pose a risk to the UK.

"The Home Office needs to explain how he was able to leave the country so easily despite his background mixing with those at the very top of Islamic terrorism." Britons fighting with jihadis in Middle East As many as 850 people regarded as a national security concern have travelled to fight with jihadis in the Middle East.

Just under half are thought to have returned to Britain while 15 per cent are believed to have been killed. The Foreign Office states: The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria, and against all travel to large parts of Iraq. As all UK consular services are suspended in Syria and greatly limited in Iraq, it is extremely difficult to confirm the whereabouts and status of British nationals in these areas. The other 4 key British jihadis known to have died fighting for Isil

1. Mohammed Emwazi / Jihadi John Emwazi was reported killed in a November 2015 air strike, with US forces saying they were "reasonably certain" he was dead. Isil later released what appeared to be an obituary to the fighter, who it called Abu Muharib al-Muhajir. It featured a smiling picture of the militant, who appeared unmasked looking towards the ground. Emwazi shocked the world when he appeared in a video in August 2014 in which he condemned the West and appeared to behead US journalist James Foley. He emerged again in a number of other videos released by Isil, including those in which American reporter Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning were murdered. Kuwait-born Emwazi attended Quintin Kynaston Community Academy in north London and was described by his former head teacher as a "hard-working aspirational young man".He went on to gain a degree in information systems with business management from the University of Westminster.

2. Reyaad Khan
Khan was 20 when he appeared in an Isil propaganda video titled, There Is No Life Without Jihad, in June last year together with two other Britons urging Westerners to join the war. The man, from Cardiff, is thought to have travelled to fight in Syria late in 2013. His Facebook page revealed that he was a Chelsea FC fan who enjoyed playing computer games FIFA 12 and Call Of Duty. After appearing in the video with a Kalashnikov assault rifle against his shoulder his mother said she believed he had been "brainwashed" into joining Isil. In a direct appeal to her son, the woman, who asked to remain unnamed, sobbed as she said: "Reyaad, please come back home. I'm dying for you. You're my only son." Before leaving for Syria, Khan attended Cardiff's Al-Manar Centre (ACT) together with Nasser Muthana, who was also filmed for the Isil recruitment video. The mosque denied the pair had been taught extremist views there and blamed the internet as an "alarming source for radicalisation". David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, said Khan had been killed on August 21 2015 when he was targeted by an RAF remotely piloted aircraft while travelling in a vehicle in Raqqah, Syria.

3. Ruhul Amin
Amin, 26, featured alongside Khan and Muthana in the 13-minute Isil recruitment video under the name Brother Abu Bara al Hindi. Wearing sunglasses and a white headscarf, he could be heard saying: "Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you've got, the big car, the family you have? "Are you willing to sacrifice this, for the sake of Allah? If you do Allah will give you back 700 times more." Also known as Abdul Raqib Amin, he was born in Bangladesh and grew up in Aberdeen before reportedly moving with his family to Leicester. In July 2014 he boasted on ITV's Good Morning Britain that he had been "involved in a few combats" in Syria. Explaining the moment he left Britain, he said: "I left the house with the intention of not to go back. I'm going to stay and fight until the (caliphate) is established, or I die." A leading member of Aberdeen's Muslim community, who did not want to be identified, said he was not someone who "stood out in any particular way". He was killed in the same airstrike as Khan.

4. Junaid Hussain
Computer hacker Hussain was described as a key Isil operative before he was killed by a US drone strike on August 24 2016. The 21-year-old, from Birmingham, was said to have been number three on the Pentagon's "kill list" of Isil targets. It is believed that he fled Britain to travel to Syria in 2013, and in June last year he was linked to a plot to attack an Armed Forces Day parade in south London. The plan to explode a pressure cooker bomb - killing soldiers and bystanders on the route - was reportedly foiled after Hussain unwittingly recruited an undercover investigator from The Sun to carry it out. In June 2012, aged 18, Hussain was jailed for six months after he admitted making prank calls to a counter-terror hotline and publishing former prime minister Tony Blair's address book. He was a member of TeaMpOisoN (TeamPoison), a group which claimed responsibility for more than 1,400 offences where personal and private information has been illegally extracted from victims in the UK and around the world. Hussain was reportedly married to a Muslim convert named as Sally Jones, a mother-of-two from Kent who once was a member of an all-girl punk rock group.

Ending Refugee Program

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP is expected to sign an executive order on immigration that will be a radical departure from decades of U.S. policy on refugees, all but ending an era in which the United States was a haven for people fleeing war and oppression.

A leaked copy of the draft order indicates that Trump will halt all refugee resettlement to the United States for the next four months, while indefinitely banning the resettlement of Syrians. The proposal will also halt immigration entirely for 30 days from a list of Muslim-majority countries.

The order comes at a time of rising anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States, as well as an international refugee crisis that the United Nations says is the largest since World War II. Millions of refugees are fleeing countries like Iraq and Syria — where the United States has ongoing military operations. While the U.S. has resettled tens of thousands of people from these countries over the past decade, that slightly-ajar door now appears to be slamming shut.

Trump has argued that new restrictions on refugees and immigrants are required to combat the threat of terrorism in the United States. But his proposal is a drastic change for U.S. policy. Since 1975 the United States has accepted over 3 million refugees, including many from war-torn countries, thanks in large part to legislation like the 1980 Refugee Act. Even under Republican administrations like that of Ronald Reagan, the United States maintained relatively generous immigration and refugee policies.

During Reagan’s presidency, the United States welcomed hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees fleeing war and oppression. “Our nation is a nation of immigrants,” Reagan said in a 1981 speech. “More than any other country, our strength comes from our own immigrant heritage and our capacity to welcome those from other lands. No free and prosperous nation can by itself accommodate all those who seek a better life or flee persecution. We must share this responsibility with other countries.”

In what appears to be a recognition of the drastic changes at hand, the National Association of Evangelicals issued a statement today calling on Trump to continue accepting refugees fleeing wars in the Middle East. “News reports that the Trump administration plans to make severe cuts to the admission of refugees based on their religion or national origin are alarming,” the NAE said. “We call on President Trump to declare his support for the continuation of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which is critical at a time when the world faces a significant refugee crisis.”

There is little indication that Trump plans to heed these calls. In addition to his public reiteration today of a promise to build a southern border wall and ramp up deportations, there have been a number of reports in the past several days of individuals from Muslim-majority countries, including students, having their visas abruptly cancelled while abroad.

“Under Trump’s direction, the Department of Homeland Security and State Department will likely work together to create a list of countries from which visitors should be banned,” says Matthew La Corte an immigration policy analyst at Niskanen Center, a public policy think tank. “We also expect this list to grow over time and be larger than the initial list of countries that has been reported in the media.” The text of the executive order indicates that visas would be blocked for individuals visiting the United States from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, all countries with Muslim-majority populations.

Trump made a campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the United States, and the draft text of the executive order calls for the U.S. to ban “those who would place violent religious edicts over American law.”

Trump Can Ban Refugees

Can Trump Ban Refugees to the US? By Victoria Macch, 11/17/16

As a candidate, President-elect Donald Trump expressed interest in turning away refugees, specifically those from Syria. He said he would ban Muslim immigrants in general, a talking point that remains on his campaign website. And in November, he advocated limiting immigration from "terror-prone regions.” But could President Trump immediately stop refugees from coming to the U.S.? The short answer: yes.

"Day One, he can change things," says Jeremy Mayer, associate professor of politics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. With about nine weeks to go before the 45th president is sworn into office, his plan regarding refugees remains unclear. But it is within the purview of the U.S. president to decide which groups of refugees – who by definition are fleeing persecution in their home countries – will make the cut. And he won’t need congressional support.

"He can’t remove [the Refugee Act of 1980] from the books, but he can certainly reduce the numbers and reduce the numbers from certain regions," says Kevin Appleby, senior director of International Migration Policy at the Center for Migration Studies in New York.

Could that mean no refugees would be allowed in after the inauguration on January 20? "Technically, yeah," says Appleby. "He has a lot of power in terms of who comes in and the number of people who come in."

About 14,500 Syrians were approved for resettlement and have moved to the U.S. since last October. The U.N. human rights agency, UNHCR, estimates nearly 1.2 million refugees are in need of permanent resettlement because they cannot return to their home countries, with Syrians accounting for 40 percent of that worldwide total.

Where rhetoric meets policy
The U.S. has a decades-long history of resettling refugees. Without support from Congress, a president cannot change the law at the heart of the refugee program. But according to that law, the president has broad, unilateral power over how many refugees are admitted, and where they come from. Before the beginning of each fiscal year, the president establishes how many refugees will be allowed into the U.S.

President Barack Obama raised that figure – the so-called admissions ceiling – from 70,000 to 85,000 in fiscal year 2016, largely to accommodate an increase in Syrian refugees. The number of those fleeing civil war and Islamic State militants in the country has continued to multiply. The Obama administration raised the ceiling to 110,000 for the current fiscal year, which extends through next September.

Trump could use his executive powers to maintain that level, reduce it, pause the program, or restrict refugees from certain countries. Experts say he could also create a work-around to effectively ban Muslims. For example, he could order that only certain persecuted groups – say, Christians in Syria or Iraq – be considered for admission, while excluding Muslims from that protected category, though they may have fled the same dangers.

Long pro-refugee tradition
Experts and researchers on refugee policy maintain the U.S. program is respected internationally. The country permanently resettles more refugees through the UNHCR system than any other. "If the U.S. pulls back, it would be a humanitarian disaster. Other nations won’t necessarily step up to fill the breach," says Appleby.

"What we know is that throughout the history of the U.S., refugees and immigrants have been welcomed by presidents of both parties, during war and peace," says Stacie Blake, spokeswoman for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. "During this global refugee crisis of unprecedented proportion, it is no time to shrink from this leadership."

Trump said on the campaign trail that the refugee vetting process is nonexistent, an allegation that the current government and nonprofit organizations working with refugees have repeatedly disputed.

"I share the questions as to how the rhetoric [from Trump] will be interpreted in the realm of policy and practice. We don’t know," says Westy Egmont, director of the Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College. Egmont sees a campaign cycle in which conservative candidates seized on discussions about Islamic State and other acts of violence, and "perhaps misassociated it with refugees, and fed a confusion in the popular mind."

Refugee admissions came to a halt once before after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But within two years, under new procedures, arrivals began again and hovered around 60,000 to 70,000 throughout much of the last decade. Despite political backlash against refugees last year, Egmont remains optimistic about the future of the program.

"Most people just do not have opportunity to know refugees personally enough, to know the years they’ve suffered in miserable living environments," he adds. "I believe the long arc of history is just, and the United States will continue to both welcome newcomers and to right any wrong that might be taken in any short term initiative."

From October 1 to November 16, 14,568 refugees have arrived in the U.S., according to State Department data. Democratic Republic of Congo is the top country of origin, with nearly 3,500 individuals, followed by Somalia, Syria and Iraq, each of which had roughly 2,000 refugees admitted to the U.S.

Only in 2015 did the U.S. significantly answer the appeal by UNHCR to increase Syrian refugee admissions, focusing additional personnel on Jordan to process more applications.
The Obama administration says there will be no similar last-minute effort to increase refugee arrivals to the U.S. ahead of possible cuts to the program. "We have no plans to accelerate the refugee admissions process," a State Department spokesperson said in an email this week.

Trump Ends UN Agenda 21 in US

Trump's climate change shift is really about killing the international order, by Amanda Erickson, 5/23/17, Washington Post 

President Donald Trump has done what he promised: kneecapping America's efforts to fight climate change. In a sweeping executive order Tuesday, the president rolled back rules limiting carbon emissions and regulating fossil fuel producers.

Trump explained this dramatic shift in economic terms, saying he wants to put coal miners back to work and make manufacturing cheaper.

Trump's policy reflects a deeper truth. Climate change denial is not incidental to a nationalist, populist agenda. It's central to it. And that's not a coincidence.

As candidate and president, Trump has explicitly suggested that fighting climate change is at odds with national priorities. It's an attitude shared by many of his most fervent supporters, and it has a long history.

Nationalism is about protecting one's borders. Opposing Agenda 21 is just a way of saying other countries don't have a say.

Though most people don't know what Agenda 21 is, this argument that fighting climate change is antithetical to American interests has seeped into mainstream Republican thinking. In 2012, Newt Gingrich promised to "explicitly repudiate" the plan if elected president.

Trump Budget Proposal

President Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget, May 23, 2017.  By Roberta Rampton, REUTERS

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump wants lawmakers to cut $3.6 trillion in government spending over the next decade, taking aim in an austere budget unveiled on Tuesday at healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor while boosting the military.

The biggest savings would come from cuts to the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor made as part of a Republican healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives.

Trump wants lawmakers to cut more than $800 billion from Medicaid, and more than $192 billion from food stamps over a decade. He seeks to balance the budget by the end of the decade, according to the plan.

The budget is based on forecasts for economic growth of 3 percent a year by the end of Trump's first term.

There is some new spending in Trump's plan for fiscal year 2018, which starts in October. The Pentagon would get a spending hike, and there would be a $1.6 billion down payment to begin building a wall along the border with Mexico, which was a central promise of Trump's presidential campaign.

Trump's proposal foresees selling half of the U.S. emergency oil stockpile, created in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo caused fears of price spikes.

Republicans are under pressure to deliver on promised tax cuts, the cornerstone of the Trump administration's pro-business economic agenda, which would cut the business tax rate to 15 percent and reduce the number of personal tax brackets.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget office director, said the plan is the first one in a long time to pay attention to taxpayers.
“Yes, you have to have compassion for folks who are receiving the federal funds, but also you have to have compassion for the folks who are paying it,” he told reporters.

Republican leaders in the House said lawmakers would be able to find common ground with the budget plan.

What Information Should Be Classified

Classified information was required to protect military secrets. This information included frequencies of electronic signals used in weapons systems and troop movement plans during wars. This type of classification is the easiest to defend.

The Intelligence agencies have classified the names of their agents classified to protect their identities and the methods they use and the plans they have.

This type of classification is harder to defend, because nations are sovereign. It is more defensible with nations that are hostile.

We do expect these agencies to keep track of the terrorists and criminal aliens we have and will be removing them permanently.

It also appears that politicians classify information that isn’t related to military or intelligence secrets and this is not defensible.

That’s why US citizens are not outraged by Wikileaks or whistle-blowers. They know that these sources may be tainted, but they actually see them as ensuring transparency.

This poses a problem for the military, the intelligence agencies, the politicians, the “beltway hawks” and the legislators, except some Constitutionalists, who want to protect citizen privacy rights.

US citizens do understand that industrial secrets are the property of the patent-holders and they generally support property rights.

US citizens do not trust government and that’s a good thing. We’ve heard a lot of goofy things from government and we’ve seen the disasters that have occurred from the “unintended consequences” of their actions. We suspect wide-spread systemic corruption is the reason for our distrust.

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

Medicaid & Food Stamp Cuts

Trump budget to cut Medicaid, food stamps, put 'taxpayer first,' officials say, by Samuel Chamberlain, 5/22/17 Fox News

President Trump is calling for major cuts to Medicaid and food stamps -- alongside increases for national and border security -- as part of what administration officials call a "taxpayer-first budget" set to be released Tuesday.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney drew up the blueprint, which he said would balance the budget by 2027.  "This is the first time that an administration has written a budget through the perspective of the people paying the taxes," Mulvaney told reporters Monday night. 

The White House plan leaves Social Security and Medicare untouched, but calls for $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid and a $193 billion reduction in food stamps over the next ten years. 

"We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of people on those programs. We're going to measure compassion by how many people we can get off those programs," said Mulvaney, who added that there would be a work requirement for some Americans to continue receiving food stamps. 

"If you're on food stamps and you're able-bodied, then we need you to go to work," Mulvaney said.

The budget blueprint also provides $2.6 billion for border security, including $1.6 billion for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, one of Trump's cornerstone campaign promises. The remaining $1 billion will be used to bolster exiting border defenses by hiring new agents and upgrading equipment used to track illegal crossings.

Mulvaney will present the budget to lawmakers on Tuesday and testify before House and Senate committees later this week. The fleshed-out proposal follows up on a partial release in March that targeted the budgets of domestic agencies and foreign aid for cuts averaging 10 percent.

Fox News' Kristin Fisher and Fox Business Network's Adam Shapiro contributed to this report.

Pensions Crash in California

California Cover Up, Pension loan would cover up wealth transfers to employees. By David Crane, 5/19/17

California proposes to issue a pension obligation bond to finance extra contributions to the state pension fund, CalPERS. It would also cover up wealth transfers from citizens to state employees. Here’s how it works:

When pension promises are made by the state to its employees, both the state and employees incur costs (“Normal Costs”) in the form of contributions to CalPERS with the hope that the sum of contributions and investment earnings will be sufficient to fund the promised pension payments. If investments earn at the rate CalPERS used when setting the Normal Cost, everything works out. But if investments earn at a lower rate, deficits (“Unfunded Liabilities”) arise.

In contrast to joint sharing of Normal Cost, employees don’t share in the cost of Unfunded Liabilities. 100% of that cost falls on citizens, whose services get crowded out and taxes get raised to pay off the liabilities.

As the astute reader will infer, employees profit from the highest possible investment return assumption being used by CalPERS to set Normal Costs. The higher that rate, the lower the Normal Cost, which is their only cost. But the higher that rate, the greater the likelihood of Unfunded Liabilities.

Because public employees control CalPERS, investment return assumption rates have been set at levels virtually guaranteeing the creation of Unfunded Liabilities. That transfers wealth from citizens to employees. The transfer has been huge: citizens are already on the hook for $60 billion of Unfunded Liabilities for state employee pensions accruing interest at 7.5% per year and more transfers are occurring every day CalPERS continues setting Normal Costs unfairly low.

Now, Jerry Brown proposes to borrow from a citizen-funded restricted fund to boost pension contributions. The loan would be of a variable rate nature that, based on current yield curves, is expected to cost 3–4% but is not capped. The proposed source of repayment for the loan is a taxpayer-funded account established by Proposition 2 to accelerate payments on certain state debts but that’s just a fig leaf since state debts eligible for acceleration dwarf the size of the Proposition 2 fund. No investment return is guaranteed and citizens have all the risk. Employees take no risk and will collect their pensions regardless of the outcome.

If enacted, Brown’s proposal would set a terrible precedent. With $70 billion in restricted funds and more coming in from a recently boosted gas tax, what’s to stop more such loans? Every public-employee-controlled pension fund would learn the same trick and be rewarded for transferring wealth from citizens to employees by setting Normal Costs unfairly low. Also, who would enforce payback of the loan? In which state official’s political interest would it be to press for repayment? There is good reason to believe repayment would be deferred or ignored.

Brown should withdraw his proposal. He has a reputation as a straight shooter but there is nothing straightforward about this Rube Goldberg scheme. If not withdrawn, the legislature should assign its evaluation to an independent source not staffed by public employees or affiliated with or compensated by public employees, who have an obvious conflict of interest.

Politicians keep looking for an easy way to address pensions but that path was closed a decade ago when the state chose not to lower investment return assumptions to reasonable levels and boost Normal Cost contributions. It was easy then but because Unfunded Liabilities compound at high rates, the balances due now are huge and growing. The only paths that seriously move the needle are boosted taxes, reduced services, or reduced future pension benefits for current employees and retirees. The first two paths have already been trod with three tax increases since 2009 and reduced shares of the budget for universities, courts, parks and social services. The third path has not even been approached. Current employees and retirees benefitted from keeping Normal Cost unfairly low. It’s time for them to share in the pain being suffered by citizens.

David Crane Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

US Labor Participation Rate

The labor force participation rate is stuck at 63%. That means that 37% of our working-age US citizens are unemployed.  The total number of unemployed is 95 million. Of the 95 million, some are spouses raising children, some are disabled and some are discouraged workers who cannot find jobs.

The number of US citizens with jobs is 153,156,000.  Our population is 325 million. The difference is 171.844,000.

The US ranks 11th in workforce participation and ranks 11th in economic freedom.

The average US household income is also stuck in the $50,000 range.

We need to restrict immigration to allow these citizens to get jobs and we are sure that we can move this forward by returning manufacturing and other higher paying jobs to the US.

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

Tricky Statistics

You may have heard about the statistician who drowned in a lake with the mean depth of 3 feet.  Statistics don’t always give you the data you need.  The statistician found that part of the lake that was a lot more than 3 feet deep. 

I always preferred weighted averages to determine the “market rate” of a job, but I also knew that I should look at the high and low salaries in a survey to determine if they are not really accurate.

Healthcare statistics are tricky because they don’t explain the difference between causation and correlation, when they don’t know the causation. They simply state the correlation as if it was the causation. Cancer is the poster-disease for this dilemma.  Nobody know what cancer is, so they claim that lots of things cause cancer, because there is a correlation. This is like declaring that Evolution is a fact, when it is really just a Theory that only works with viruses that mutate.

Polls with limited numbers are not worth doing.  Polls that are clearly worded, well-advertised and stay up for months are better indicators of how voters really feel.

The unemployment rate is at 4.4%, but was watered down by the federal government to hide the number of “discouraged workers”.  We see immigrants filling jobs our high school students used to have.  We see college grads unable to find salaried jobs after they graduate. The workforce participation rate indicates that 37% of working-age US citizens don’t have jobs.

The inflation rate is manipulated to support the government’s need for a low interest rate, because of their $20 trillion debt. Our excessive immigration policies have kept wages down.

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader