Nearly eight months after President Donald J. Trump signed his executive order “Buy American and Hire American,” an expert on certifying whether goods are made in the United States shared with Big League Politics the challenges in certification and enforcing Trump’s intentions.
A source familiar with how the White House drafted the executive order told Big League Politics: “There are zero teeth in it, you know? Let’s of fanfare, lots of publicity, back-slapping and hand-shaking with Trump–and now, it is getting resisted, like as if it meant nothing.”
According to the president’s directive, all agencies were supposed to have turned into both the Department of Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget how they plan to comply. These plans are to include, searchable databases of certified vendors, storage arrangements for the documents and simplifications of their internal procurement procedures.
Reiser said Trump’s executive order was the president’s attempt to bring federal procurement back in synch with the law.
The Buy American Act of 1933 was signed by President Herbert Hoover the day before he handed over the White House to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Act was championed by Rep. Joseph W. Byrne, (D.-Tenn.), then the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and later Speaker of the House.
Byrne’s idea was that given support by the Hearst newspapers and by Hoover’s Commissioner of Customs Francis F.A. Eble, who would go on to start the Buy American Club.
“The law says that the U.S. government has to show preferential treatment to U.S. manufacturers,” Reiser said. “It is so the government has to buy from its own.”
Reiser said that from the 1970s, the federal government has been providing waivers to the 1933 law. “In the 1980s and 1990s, it has picked up big-time.”
When the president signed Executive Order 13788, the White House was optimistic.
A senior administration official speaking on background on Easter Monday, the day before the executive order was signed in the headquarters of the tool company Snap-On in Kenosha, Wisconsin, said the executive order would correct the abuse of the Buy American Act waiver process.
“Okay, so the culture immediately changes across the agencies. We have a lax enforcement, lax monitoring, lax compliance,” the official said.
“We are moving forward with a muscular new policy that we’re announcing tomorrow,” the official said. “We’re going to take a much closer look at all of those waivers.”
The administration official said the old culture of easy waivers would end.
“There are going to be fewer waivers that are going to be granted even as we’re evaluating the waiver process,” the official said.”
“We are adding, for example, this new standard for looking at the bid by taking into account the role of dumped and injuriously subsidized content that might give a low bidder an unfair advantage relative to domestic-sourced content,” the official said.
Reiser said that this confidence was misplaced and the executive order is being ignored, he said.
“My sources, the people I speak to every day, they tell me they are not doing anything with it,” he said. “They have no waivers available, but there is no enforcement—there is zero enforcement on the Buy American Act.”
At least in the past, companies would apply for the waivers, so at least there was a public record of who was doing what, not anymore, he said.
“Now, we are just getting lip-service from the administration,” he said.
“There are 750,000 prime contractors to the United States government and there are millions of small guys—and these guys don’t see any enforcement and they don’t think the administration is serious,” he said.
Waivers are supposed to be granted only if domestic U.S. sources cannot meet more than 50 percent of the U.S. demand or if the cost of the American product is deemed by the government contracting officer as exorbitant.
Reiser said over the years, Congress has cut out special deals by making some products completely exempt from the Buy American Act. “For instance, swords—that was a special deal for a sword company in London.”
Other exempt items are: eye piece glass for microscopes, lavender oil, bulk natural menthol, canned Mandarin oranges, metallic gold thread, crude opium, cobra venom, fine linen for an altar and olive oil, he said. “I don’t understand the olive oil—go to California, the olive oil there is the best in the world.”
Reiser said another twist is that Democrats support the Buy American Act, while the Trump administration is full of globalists, who are opposed to the Buy American Act, an example of this was the visit paid to Certified by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) and other leading Democratic lawmakers.
The certification business started in 2008, he said. It was a reaction to his experiences at a magazine called “Made in the U.S.A., and over and over again, he would find out that people would lie to him about having their goods made in the United States.
“We started certifying people who we were putting in the magazine and we wanted to talk about U.S. manufacturing and we realized we’d become a Third World country if we didn’t produce and manufacture our own products in the United States,” he said.
“We were proved correct, as we see the middle-class going down, down, down, because the middle-class is the manufacturing stronghold,” he said.
It is not just the blue-collar jobs, he said. It is also the middle-management and first-line supervisor white collar jobs, too.
Reiser said it is folly to accept that America can have a service-based economy and at the same time have engineering jobs.
“Engineers work really close to the line, when it comes to manufacturing,” he said.
The countries, who are taking away our manufacturing jobs, are not going to be satisfied with the lower-end engineer jobs, they want the high-end, design-build engineers, so that their manufacturing sector is vertically integrated, he said.
Reiser said it is unconscionable that industries created in the United States go are completely overseas. “We don’t make an LED in the United States, we don’t make a cellphone in the United States.”
Many companies recognize the value of having the “Made in the U.S.A.” label, not just companies looking to do business with the federal government, but to get certified a company has to pay for a full audit of its complete supply chain, he said.
Reiser said part of the audit is to catch shortcuts that some companies use with foreign-made components,” he said. “Another thing people don’t know is that ‘Made in America’ is not the same as ‘Made in the U.S.A,’ because of free trade agreements, like NAFTA, Canada and Mexico are treated as ‘America, but they are obviously not in the U.S.A.”
After the initial audit, Reiser’s team follows up quarterly in order to make sure the certification is current, he said.
Note: Big League Politics reached out to administration offices, including the Department of Commerce and the White House for comment. Despite back-and-forth communications, the administration did not respond before publication.
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VIDEO: C.J. Pearson Opens Up About His Suspension From Twitter, First Day Of Internship
Conservative commentator C.J. Pearson opens up about his suspension from Twitter and the first day of his business internship. Big League Politics spoke with the rising Republican who is actually putting his time where his mouth is: and he learns the first rule of business.
Watch Today’s Episode of Howley Reports with C.J. Pearson
Why Is George Soros Buying Up The New York Times?
According to recent filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), billionaire globalist George Soros, through his investment firm, Soros Fund Management LLC, has purchased over $3 million-worth of stock holdings in the New York Times.
This purchase is the first that the liberal financier has made since 2007, when Soros bought $470,000 worth of shares in the newspaper. This recent investment includes purchasing 126,400 shares valued at $3,046,000. Soros’s purchase was for Class A stock holdings which are publicly traded-as opposed to its Class B stock, which are privately held.
The May 15th filing can be viewed here: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1029160/000114036118023894/xslForm13F_X01/form13fInfoTable.xml
Vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, Dan Gainor, found that in 2011, Soros pushed a minimum of $48 million into media ventures that included “journalism schools, investigative journalism and even industry organizations” over the course of just eight years. “Soros has long had influence or given direct funding to a wide range of journalism operations from NPR to ProPublica,” Gainor said. “This is still a big step to be buying a $3 million stake in the top liberal outlet in America.”
The controversial billionaire’s influence in mainstream media doesn’t stop there. The Hungarian-American self proclaimed “philanthropist” has ties to over 30 mainstream news outlets – including the Associated Press, Washington Post, NBC and ABC. Soros’s Open Society Institute is reported to have funded seven different investigative reporting projects including the Columbia University’s School of Journalism-receiving $600,000 from Soros, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity and the New Orleans’ ‘The Lens’. Soros also funds the Committee to Protect Journalists, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
His fascination with controlling the media is something that the billionaire has always shown interest in, but now as one of the world’s richest men, he’s able to fulfill his dreams all while using it to unapologetically, and openly attack the right.
In author and New York Times veteran, Michael T. Kaufman’s book entitled “Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire,” Soros has been intrigued by media since he was a young child with early interests into the field including “history or journalism or some form of writing.” He also had his own newspaper in his native Hungary, ‘The Lupa News’, which he served as “editor-in-chief and publisher”.
With all the billions of dollars that Soros has invested into trying to shape American politics and media, he is being forced to acknowledge his limits of influence.
Soros recently told The Washington Post that he was blindsided by President Donald Trump’s election. “Apparently, I was living in my own bubble.” He went on to explain why he thought Hillary Clinton lost the election, saying, “She was too much like a schoolmarm,” and that she was always “talking down to people…instead of listening to them.”
You can be sure of one thing, this is not the last we’ve heard from Soros who plans to reshape the public opinion through mainstream media publications and financially back a candidate in 2020 who shares his globalist agenda.
“The bigger the danger, the bigger the threat, the more I feel engaged to confront it,” added Soros. “So in that sense, yes, I redouble my efforts.”
Judicial Watch president, Tom Fitton said in a recent statement, Soros is a businessman and “shouldn’t be receiving taxpayer support to advance his radical left agenda to undermine freedom here at home and abroad.”
Amazon Feeds Facial Recognition To Law Enforcement, Congress Wants Answers
Congress and civil rights groups demand answers from Jeff Bezos no later than June 20th regarding Amazon’s new facial recognition software, Rekognition, which allows consumers to search millions of images in a matter of seconds. With rates lower than the cost of a value meal at your local fast food joint, this service is fast, affordable, and available to anyone signed up with Amazon Web Services.
The multi billion dollar company’s facial recognition software, named Rekogniton, works by using Amazon’s cloud computing network AWS (Amazon Web Services). The software compares images provided by the customer to an already existing database of images also provided by the same customer. In addition to identifying humans, Rekognition can be used to search for inanimate objects like cars, text, and furniture.
Congress has raised concerns about Amazon Rekognition and some have written a letter to Jeff Bezos demanding to know how the software is being used by law enforcement agencies. In the letter dated May 25, 2018, Bezos is asked to provide information concerning bias and error rates and wants to make sure Rekognition is not being used to “facilitate systems that disproportionately impact people based on protected characteristics in potential violation of federal civil laws.” The letter asks Bezos to respond no later than June 20th, 2018.
Read the letter in its entirety:
The ever growing market for facial recognition software and other image-scanning technology emboldens many privacy concerns. The possibility of having your photo taken without your knowledge or consent by cameras at traffic stops, individuals taking photos with their smartphone in a public venue, security cameras at different businesses and the like, leaves individuals vulnerable-especially when these images are loaded into a database that can scan and recognize you without your knowledge.
According to a blog from 2017 on Amazon’s website, they claim the software can “accurately capture demographics and analyze sentiments for all faces in group photos, crowded events, and public places such as airports and department stores.”
The ACLU obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act that state Rekognition can identify up to 100 people in a crowd in databases of tens of millions of photos. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent May 22, 34 groups said people should be “free to walk down the street without being watched by the government. Facial recognition in American communities threatens this freedom.”
Full document: https://www.aclunc.org/docs/20180522_ARD.pdf#page=8
These civil rights groups are most concerned with Rekognition’s use amongst law enforcement agencies. Nicole Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties Director for the ACLU in Northern California stated, “Once powerful surveillance systems like these are built and deployed, the harm can’t be undone. We’re talking about a technology that will supercharge surveillance in our communities.”
The Jeff Bezos owned behemoth of a business has all but given away these new facial recognition tools to law enforcement agencies including the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, outside of Portland Oregon.
Orlando police chief, John Mina initially claimed the software was only being used at their headquarters, but later admitted at a news conference that three of the city’s downtown IRIS cameras were equipped with the software, and insisted that Rekognition being ran on these public cameras was still only able to track the seven officers that volunteered to test the system.
Matt Cagle, ACLU attorney said in a statement: “After misleading the people of Orlando, the Orlando Police Department has finally confirmed that it is indeed using Amazon’s face surveillance technology on public cameras. Now, it’s up to Amazon. Will it stop selling dangerous technology to the government?”
Amazon is not the only business selling facial recognition software, with both Google and Facebook having their own facial recognition services. Revealed by Forbes in April, one of the largest surveillance providers in the world, Israel-based Verint runs a large database of Facebook photos for facial recognition.
How much is this service? Between $6 and $12 a month. Yes, you read that right. $6 to $12 a month-which has always been a part of Amazon’s normal business model: start dirt cheap and the customers will come flooding in. Basically, you only pay for the number of images or minutes of video that you analyze–there are no upfront commitments or minimum fees applicable.
According to the document obtained by the ACLU, the Orlando Police Department only paid $30.99 for processing of 30,989 images. If you sign up to be part of the AWS Free Tier, you’re able to analyze 1,000 minutes of video for free each month for the first year.
Businesses and police agencies aren’t the only ones who have access to Amazon Rekognition, the average consumer can set up an account and use the software for just pennies on the dollar. Under the FAQs page on Amazon’s AWS website it gives a detailed description of how to sign up and get started using the software right away.
One last important note that should raise major concerns, as stated on Amazon’s AWS FAQ page: as long as you’re compliant with Amazon’s Rekognition Service Terms and have provided them with required verifiable parental consent under COPPA (Children’s Privacy Protection Act), you may use Amazon Rekognition in connection with websites, programs, or other applications that are directed or targeted, in whole or in part, to children age 13. Not only are adults vulnerable to the software, but images of children under 13 can also be scanned into the database.
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