Global Scrutiny of Huawei Increases Amid Privacy and National Security Concerns | Pacific Standard


No Chinese company is fully independent of its government, which reserves the right to require companies to assist with intelligence gathering.

Huawei is even more closely tied to the government than many Chinese firms: Its founder, Ren Zhengfei, is a former technologist in the People’s Liberation Army. As his company grew, so did international concerns about whether Huawei equipment could be used to spy on companies and governments around the world.

Source: Global Scrutiny of Huawei Increases Amid Privacy and National Security Concerns – Pacific Standard

Why Weak Competition Can Increase Inequality In Europe | Social Europe

.. a deeper look into economies around the world uncovers a striking phenomenon: some firms are unscathed by the productivity misery. They constitute a frontier segment of firms that manage to achieve remarkably high productivity growth and show no sign of slowing down.

In fact, OECD research finds that the gap between these elite firms and the rest is widening. In services, the top 5 percent of firms – the frontier – increased productivity by more than 40 percent between 2001 and 2013, whereas the remaining 95 percent managed about 10 percent.

Novel research suggests that this trend can also drive income inequality: employees in the top firms are likely to benefit from stronger wage growth than those working for the average firm – a mechanism that some now refer to as “rent-sharing.”

Source: Why Weak Competition Can Increase Inequality In Europe • Social Europe

Trump reaches to shore up base on border wall | TheHill

Hardliners in Trump’s orbit, as well as commentators who are usually supportive of the president, had been vigorously critical when it looked as if he would sign a funding bill that did not include the $5 billion he had sought to advance the building of a southern border wall.

Trump was stung by the criticism and incandescent about the possibility he could begin losing the support of voters who have stuck by him through the many travails of his presidency.

Source: The Memo: Trump reaches to shore up base on border wall | TheHill

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Shutdown showdown shifts back to the Senate | FCW


If, as expected, the Senate does not support the House bill on Friday, then either the House and President Donald Trump have to cave at the eleventh hour, or else there will be a partial government shutdown at midnight.

The sudden lurch by the House to pass wall funding came about after leaders from both chambers had agreed in principle to punt the government funding decisions into next year.

The House voted 217-185 to support the wall funding, with eight Republicans voting no.

Source: Shutdown showdown shifts back to the Senate — FCW

The New Money Rules for Democrats | US News


Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont would seek to raise gobs of money early, with designs on amassing north of $275 million for a primary campaign.

For a significantly lesser known Midwest mayor, like 36-year-old Pete Buttigieg, a haul of just a few million dollars in a quarter would be notable.

As a fleet of potential Democratic presidential candidates calculate how much money they can – and will need to – raise for a prospective 2020 run, they’re also confronting a new reality that where their money comes from could factor almost as greatly as how much they collect.

Source: The New Money Rules for Democrats | The Run | US News

Trump’s Syria pullout: A quick assessment


The logic behind the continued deployment of the 2,000 or so U.S. troops in Syria was always a bit fuzzy.

The administration could point to the Islamic State, Iran, or other foes or explain that the troops helped ensure the survival of America’s Kurdish ally, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who proved perhaps the best fighters against the Islamic State.

Yet there was no articulated plan for the troops, and it was always unclear how this small number of troops would decisively shift the region’s military balance. Indeed, if a determined adversary decided to take U.S. forces on, they would be highly vulnerable.

Source: Trump’s Syria pullout: A quick assessment

U.S. House passes funds for Trump wall; government shutdown looms | Reuters


Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday added $5 billion to a government spending bill to help President Donald Trump make good on a pledge to build a border wall, a move that made a partial federal government shutdown more likely this weekend.

The Senate is highly unlikely to pass the legislation, which funds agencies responsible for federal law enforcement activities, airport security screenings, space exploration and farm programs, by a midnight deadline on Friday.

Source: U.S. House passes funds for Trump wall; government shutdown looms | Reuters

Robert Reich: “No Collusion” Makes Perfect Sense if Trump Thinks All Deals are Private Transactions

.. even if Trump intended that the payments aid his presidential bid, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he knew they were wrong.

Trump might have reasoned that a deal is a deal: The women got hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for agreeing not to talk about his affairs with them. So where’s the harm?

After two years of Trump we may have overlooked the essence of his insanity: His brain sees only private interests transacting. It doesn’t comprehend the public interest.

Private transactions can’t be wrong or immoral because, by definition, they require that every party to them be satisfied. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a deal.

Viewed this way, everything else falls into place.

For example, absent a public interest, there can’t be conflicts of interest.

Source: Robert Reich: “No Collusion” Makes Perfect Sense if Trump Thinks All Deals are Private Transactions | Opinion

US charges Chinese government-linked hackers accused of a decade-long global cyber campaign | Vox


In an indictment unsealed Thursday, the Justice Department charged Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong — two Chinese nationals associated with the Chinese government — with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

The hackers waged their cyber campaign for more than a decade, starting in 2006, according to prosecutors, and stole secrets from businesses and governments around the globe, including more than 45 technology companies and US government agencies, such as the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.

Prosecutors also allege that the hackers stole “confidential data” from the US Navy, including information on more than 100,000 personnel.

Source: US charges Chinese government-linked hackers accused of a decade-long global cyber campaign – Vox

Trump charitable foundation: how many more bad charities are there? | Vox


This outcome, to be clear, is a very good thing.

As Fahrenthold discovered, the Trump Foundation often operated as a slush fund for the Trump family and Trump’s businesses. It bought Trump an autographed Tim Tebow helmet, a portrait of himself, and money for various lawsuit settlements.

But I am skeptical that Underwood is right that there is one set of rules for everyone.

The truth of the matter is that the investigation into the Trump Foundation was unusual. There are some 86,000 foundations in the United States, with total assets of around $890 billion. And the vast majority of them never face this kind of scrutiny.

Source: Trump charitable foundation: how many more bad charities are there? – Vox