Joe and Hunter Biden Selling U.S. Natural Gas and Drilling Assets to China

Rep. Comer recently obtained new documents that show Hunter and Joe Biden were working to sell American natural gas and drilling assets to Communist China.Rep. James Comer (R-KY) went on with John Solomon from Just the News on RAV on Thursday.

The Biden regime has banned energy for Americans. But plenty for their paymasters

Treason as policy.

From the Committee on  Oversight and Reform:

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) today is pressing Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for information about the Biden family selling American natural gas to China in 2017 and Joe Biden’s involvement. Documents and communications obtained by Committee Republicans reveal Joe Biden was involved in the arrangement as a business partner, had office space, and may have benefitted financially from his family’s transaction selling American energy to a Chinese business closely affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party. Ranking Member Comer is calling on Secretary Yellen to provide all suspicious activity reports for the Biden family’s transactions with Chinese entities.

“Documents obtained by Committee Republicans show that the Biden family received millions of dollars from a Chinese business closely affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, and therefore the Chinese government, to ship American natural gas to China. According to additional information provided by a whistleblower, Joe Biden was involved with this arrangement as a business partner, and documents reveal he even had office space to work on the deal. This comes to light at a time when the cost of natural gas is at a 14-year high and Americans struggle to pay their energy bills. The President has not only misled the American public about his past foreign business transactions, but he also failed to disclose that he played a critical role in arranging a business deal to sell American natural resources to the Chinese while planning to run for President,” wrote Ranking Member Comer. “We are concerned that the President may have compromised national security in his dealings with the country most adverse to U.S. interests—China.”

Under the Biden Administration, the Treasury Department changed its policy for releasing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)—a tool provided in the Bank Secrecy Act—to Congress. According to media reports, Hunter Biden and other Biden family members have racked up at least 150 SARs related to their foreign business deals. On May 25, 2022, Ranking Member Comer wrote to Secretary Yellen requesting all SARs generated for Hunter Biden and other Biden associates and family members’ financial transactions. He reiterated his request on July 6, 2022. In the Treasury Department’s September 2, 2022, letter to Committee Republicans, Treasury stated that SARs may be provided “upon a written request stating the particular information desired, the criminal, tax or regulatory purpose for which the information is sought, and the official need for the information.”

“Multiple whistleblowers have confirmed to Committee Republicans that from 2017 to 2021, the Biden family made promises to business associates that: (1) Joe Biden would run for President in 2020 and, (2) those who worked with the Bidens in 2017 onward would reap the rewards in a future Biden Administration. As America now struggles in an energy crisis, it is critical to understand why the Biden family was selling American energy reserves to the Chinese, if that is affecting President Biden’s decision making today, and why President Biden has never disclosed his relationship with the Chinese to the American public,” continued Ranking Member Comer. “If President Biden has worked to enrich not only himself but his family by promising, in exchange for millions of dollars, access or policy influence in a future Biden Administration, Congress and the American people are entitled to that information. Particularly since the Biden family promised business partners similar access to a future Biden Administration in other business deals, all while President Biden continues to deny any knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business dealings.”

The letter to Secretary Yellen and associated documents can be found here.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Economic Freedom Plummets in the U.S. During Biden Rule, New Ranking Shows

Economic freedom in the U.S. drops to its lowest point in four decades.

The Democrats hate you and wish to destroy every good thing, every joy this fine country had to offer. The daily social fabric of our lives is disintegrating at whiplash-inducing speed.

Get out and vote in November. We must overwhelm the tallies to thwart these election fraud criminals.

Economic freedom in the US has declined significantly, new ranking shows

By: Eric Cervone, The Blaze, September 18, 2022:

The United States is significantly less free economically than it was a year ago, according to the Canada-based think tank Fraser Institute.

Each year, the Fraser Institute releases a report entitled “Economic Freedom of the World,” a ranking of countries around the world by economic freedom. This year’s ranking uses data from 2020 to order countries from most free to least free. The ranking is calculated using numerous factors, including size of government, respect for property rights, freedom to trade, monetary policy, and regulation.

“When you talk about economic freedom, you’re talking about people being free to trade with others, compete in markets, and keep what they earn,” said Florida State University economics professor James Gwartney, who co-authored the report. “Economic freedom is about people being free to mold and shape their own lives.”

The United States slots in at 7th place, down one spot from last year. But the U.S.’s score dropped more significantly, down from 8.25 to 7.97 on the index’s 10-point scale. The reason why America lost only one spot in the rankings is because economic freedom around the world fell in 2020, according to the Fraser Institute. The report shows that the average economic freedom rating fell to 6.84 in 2020, down from 7.00 in 2019, “erasing about a decade’s worth of improvement in economic freedom in the world,” the report states. However, average economic freedom is still up compared to 2000.

Keep reading….

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Fearing Fed, Stocks Tumble And Major Investor Slashes Expectations

All three major U.S. stock indices fell Friday morning as investors worried that the Federal Reserve’s ongoing campaign of aggressive interest rate hikes would weaken the economy.

With Friday poised to be the fourth day in a row of slumping stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial average fell by 1.36%, the S&P 500 by 1.7% and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 2%, according to CNBC. Investors’ fears followed a late Thursday announcement by Goldman Sachs analysts, who slashed their year-end expectations for the S&P 500 by 16%, according to Reuters.

“Based on our client discussions, a majority of equity investors have adopted the view that a hard landing scenario is inevitable and their focus is on the timing, magnitude and duration of a potential recession and investment strategies for that outlook,” David Kostin, an analyst at Goldman, wrote in the note, according to Reuters.

This follows a Goldman Sachs note released earlier this week, which warned that the Fed was unlikely to relent from its pace of interest rate hikes, even in the event of a so-called “soft landing” where inflation is managed without inducing a recession. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has been clear that the agency will continue rate hikes until inflation is brought under control, and is well on its way to the Fed’s target of 2% annually.

Goldman’s earlier note predicted that the Fed would continue raising rates at least through the end of the year, with a 0.75% interest rate hike in November and a 0.5% interest rate hike in December. Central banks around the world, even some that previously had negative interest rates, have been aggressively pursuing rate hikes as inflation hammers economies worldwide, according to The Wall Street Journal.

AUTHOR

JOHN HUGH DEMASTRI

Contributor.

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EDITORS  NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

New Poll Delivers Some Alarming News For Democrats

Voters overwhelmingly trust Republicans to manage the economy, a new poll ahead of this year’s midterm elections suggests, while

Roughly 52% of voters said that they trust Republicans to manage the economy, compared to 38% for Democrats, while only 1% of respondents said they agreed with the proposals of both parties to manage it, according to a poll conducted by the Times and Siena College, which measured the relative strength of both parties in advance of the election scheduled on Nov. 8. The economy has been the most important issue to voters heading into the polls; in a July edition of the same NYT/Siena poll, 20% called it the “most important problem facing the country today,” while roughly 76% said that it would be “extremely important” to them as they vote.

Democrats have sought to focus their campaign narrative on social issues such as abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturning by the Supreme Court, as well as gun regulations following mass shootings across the country over the summer.

However, efforts to place social issues at the forefront of voters’ minds do not appear to be working. The NYT/Sienna poll revealed that voters consider economic issues more important to their voting decision than social issues, by an 18-point margin.

The polls come at a time of bad economic news for the Biden administration before November’s election. The White House recently released an economic blueprint listing its various accomplishments, with President Joe Biden holding a series of events to highlight the “Inflation Reduction Act,” a massive spending package that his administration had proposed to the Democratic-controlled Congress.

The Consumer Price Index, an aggregate measure of inflation, increased by 0.1% from July to August, though tempered by reductions in the price of gasoline even as food costs rose, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The news poorly affected stock markets over the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by 1,600 points beginning Monday, closing for the week at 30,841.05 points.

There was some good news for Democrats, who currently control Congress and the White House. Between July and September, the number of voters who believe the country is “heading on the right track” increased modestly, from 27% to 50% for Democrats, and 9% to 27% for independents; however, 53% expressed disapproval of Biden’s performance in office.

The poll surveyed 1,399 registered voters nationwide from Sept. 6 to 14, 2022, its margin of sampling error was +/- 3.6 percentage points.

The White House and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had not responded to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

AUTHOR

ARJUN SINGH

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

NOT IN MY BACKYARD: ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Martha’s Vineyard, Chicago, D.C. Total Hypocrites

What total HYPOCRITES and liars the socialist lefty NIMBYies with their Sanctuary Cities are – take a look at this sign by the Martha’s Vineyard community which is now saying the 50 illegals flown to them by Gov DeSantis is a “humanitarian crises”; they don’t have shower and other facilities for them; whah whah whah! What total BS – what about the 4 Million illegals who have invaded across our open Southern Borders thanks to the policies of Obama 3 administration.

This invasion is happening just since Biden occupied the White House!

POTUS Trump had stopped this flow to a trickle using existing immigration laws which the lawless Democrats now totally ignore.

How many of these illegals are were terrorists, rapists, violent gang members, drug pushers, human traffickers, disease carriers, and/or an overall huge burden on our national economy and a threat to our national sovereignty? Answer – all of them!

Keep sending them to Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois, Washington D.C. and every other Democrat Sanctuary city please.

Illegal Aliens Released Into the U.S. Under Biden Will Cost American Taxpayers an Additional $20.4 Billion Annually

by 

According to a new cost analysis by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), providing for the needs of illegal aliens who entered the country under President Biden adds an additional $20.4 billion annual burden on American taxpayers. This figure is in addition to the well over $140 billion a year cost burden taxpayers are already bearing to provide benefits and services for the longer-term illegal alien population.

The Biden administration has willingly released approximately 1.3 million illegal aliens into the country’s interior after removals and Title 42 expulsions are accounted for. Add to this figure approximately 1 million “gotaways” according to FAIR’s sources within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and it can be safely estimated that approximately 2.3 million illegal aliens successfully entered the country’s interior after President Biden took office.

Based on the most recent comprehensive cost study, FAIR conservatively estimates that each illegal alien costs American taxpayers $9,232 per year.

“Even in an age in which trillion dollar spending packages are considered modest, the additional $20.4 billion the Biden Border Crisis has heaped onto the backs of American taxpayers is still staggering,” noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “$20.4 billion could address some very important needs of the American public, instead of covering the costs of the surge of illegal migration triggered by this administration’s policies.”

The $20.4 billion that taxpayers will spend this year, on just the illegal aliens who have entered the country in the last year and half, could cover the cost of:

  • Providing every homeless veteran in America $50,000 per year for a decade. This would effectively end veteran homelessness.
  • Giving every family in America earning $50k or less a grocery voucher of roughly $410.
  • Providing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to more than 7 million additional needy families.
  • Funding and expanding the entire National School Lunch Program.
  • Hiring more than 315,000 police officers to combat rising crime across the country.
  • Hiring of 330,000 new teachers, which would easily end the long-standing teacher shortage in America.
  • Construction of nearly the entire Southern Border Wall (which could prevent millions more illegal aliens from entering).

“According to another new report, 35 percent of U.S. families with a full-time worker struggle to meet their basic needs. These are the people President Biden pledged to champion. Instead, he is choosing to divert an additional $20.4 billion away from their needs, in order to fund a radical open borders agenda with no end in sight,” concluded Stein.

AUTHOR

Ron Kovach

©Royal A. Brown III. All rights reserved.

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Biden Immigration Polices Impose Crushing Burden on Already-Strained Schools

$78 Billion Annual Cost for Limited-English Proficient Students Revealed in New Report by FAIR


Washington, D.C. — A new report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds that one in ten students in our nation’s public schools are considered Limited English Proficient (LEP), requiring an annual expenditure of $78 billion to provide remedial English language instruction. Moreover, the surge of illegal migration instigated by Biden administration policies – including an unprecedented number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) – is outpacing the nation’s education system’s ability to hire enough teachers qualified to meet the needs of LEP kids.

It’s also worth noting that due to an approximately two year delay in releasing official enrollment and detailed cost data in most states and school districts, the figures in this report are accurate as of the 2020 school year, and do not include education costs incurred by the millions of illegal aliens who have entered the country since President Biden took office. Because of this, the true cost today is almost certainly at least several billion dollars more than the estimates detailed in this report.

“By almost every metric, America’s education system is already failing our kids whose critical skills lag behind those of almost every one of our global competitors,” noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “Meanwhile, schools all across the country are being burdened with a surge of new non-English-speaking kids by Biden administration policies that virtually assure admission to UACs and anyone who enters illegally in the company of a minor.”

The report, The Elephant in the Classroom: Mass Immigration Imposing Colossal Cost and Challenges on Public Education, finds that there are currently only 370,000 teachers qualified to deal with the educational needs of LEP students, and that an additional 76,000 instructors will be needed over the next five years just to keep pace with the consequences of the Biden administration’s open border policies. Worse yet – for the children themselves and the future of our nation – only about 4 percent of LEP students are proficient in math by the time they complete 12th grade, and only about 3 percent are English proficient by the time they complete high school.

“As a nation, we are failing to adequately educate the next generation of workers and taxpayers – even those for whom English is their native tongue. At the same time, our immigration policies are adding millions of LEP students, whose academic prospects are even more abysmal. Under the Biden administration, our failing educational system is being asked to cope with our failed immigration policies, which is a recipe for disaster,” concluded Stein.

Among the key findings of The Elephant in the Classroom: Mass Immigration Imposing Colossal Cost and Challenges on Public Education:

  • 5.1 million students in American public schools were classified as LEP in 2020. That figure represents about 10 percent of all K-12 enrollment.
  • The additional cost to American taxpayer to educate LEP students is $78 billion a year, an increase of $18.8 billion just since 2016. This estimate does not include additional costs, like free or subsidized meals that they may qualify for.
  • All but 9 states now have more than 10,000 students designated as LEP, and 26 states have more than 50,000 LEP students. California and Texas now exceed 1 million LEP students.
  • The large influx of new illegal LEP students under the Biden administration amounts to an unfunded federal mandate on state and local governments. As a result of a narrow 1982 Supreme Court decision, all K-12 students must be provided a taxpayer-funded public education.

The full report, The Elephant in the Classroom: Mass Immigration Imposing Colossal Cost and Challenges on Public Education, can be found here.

Biden Regime Tells Underpaid U.S. Troops Struggling To Feed Their Families To Apply for Welfare While Giving Ukraine’s Military Billions

By their fruits you shall know them, and so we know the Democrats are the enemy of the people.

Pentagon to Troops: If We’re Not Paying You Enough to Feed Yourselves, Apply for Welfare

By Casey Harper, Western Journal, September 9, 2022:

The U.S. army is recommending soldiers apply for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, to help cover their rising costs from inflation.

The U.S. Army cites the higher prices on a range of goods because of inflation in its recently released official guidance.

“With inflation affecting everything from gas prices to groceries to rent, some Soldiers and their families are finding it harder to get by on the budgets they’ve set and used before,” the guidance written by Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston reads.
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“Soldiers of all ranks can seek guidance, assistance, and advice through the Army’s Financial Readiness Program.”

The guidance points soldiers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and links them to the federal welfare program’s website.
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“SNAP is a U.S. government program that provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families via an electronic benefits transfer card that can be used like a debit card to purchase eligible food in authorized retail food stores. Service members and their families may be eligible,” the Army guidance reads.

“To determine qualification, visit the SNAP website or call the SNAP information line at 800-221-5689.”
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Food insecurity for troops is not a new problem, but the recent surge in inflation has put service members in an even tougher situation.

“Based on the Pentagon’s own data, 24% of enlisted personnel are food insecure,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute.

“While food stamps are a Band-Aid, they’re also an admission that basic pay for enlisted troops and their families is too low — further exacerbated by unyielding inflation causing paychecks to shrink more.”

Federal inflation data released in August shows that food prices have risen at the fastest rate since the 1970s.

“The food index increased 10.9 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1979,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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“The food at home index rose 13.1 percent over the last 12 months, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending March 1979,” BLS said. “The index for other food at home rose 15.8 percent and the index for cereals and bakery products increased 15.0 percent over the year.

“The remaining major grocery store food groups posted increases ranging from 9.3 percent (fruits and vegetables) to 14.9 percent (dairy and related products).”

AUTHOR

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Key Inflation Indicator Remains Sky-High In Another Worrying Sign For Businesses

The prices faced by producers rose by 8.7% year-on-year in August as inflation continues to challenge businesses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

While down from the near-record highs of 11.3% in June, the current price increases were over 4 times the typical rates — between 1 and 3% annually — seen in 2019 and 2020according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures the prices suppliers charge businesses and other customers. These elevated rates mirror Tuesday’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), which pegged inflation at 8.3%, according to the BLS.

A significant component of the decrease was accounted for by a 5.2% decline in energy costs, according to the BLS. Mirroring July’s results, the index for foods and all goods less food and energy rose by 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

The index for all products other than foods, energy and trade services rose by 5.6% year-over-year,  less than the 5.8% posted in July, according to the BLS. The price for unprocessed goods was still incredibly elevated, at 36.1%, more than July’s value of 30.4%, as a spike in the price of natural gas kept prices up.

The Biden administration has been taking a victory lap on economic conditions, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claiming the economy had undergone one of the fastest recoveries in modern history. President Joe Biden claimed that the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act had helped to combat inflation “at the kitchen table,” in a Tuesday speech at the White House.

Simultaneously, the BLS’ monthly CPI report placed inflation at 8.3%, and found that food prices had increased 13.5% annually. Rent and electricity were also up, 6.7% and 15.8% respectively.

Increased rent prices have put pressure on families in particular, with the average cost of a single family rental home up about 13.4% this year, according to CNBC. At a median cost of $2,495 per month, families who might otherwise save to purchase a house are being priced out of home ownership, CNBC reported.

Gas prices also remained incredibly elevated, despite having fallen 12.2% month-on-month, and were still up 25.6% compared to the same time last year, the BLS reported.

AUTHOR

JOHN HUGH DEMASTRI

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Food Prices Hit 40-Year High, Keep Breaking Records Every Month

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Unsealed Depositions of Former Obama IRS Officials Lerner and Paz Detail Knowledge of Tea Party Targeting

Washington, D.C. – Judicial Watch announced today that it received previously sealed court documents, including depositions of IRS officials Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Holly Paz, her top aide and former IRS director of Office of Rulings and Agreements, which show that they knew most Tea Party organizations were legally entitled to tax-exempt status in the run up to the Obama reelection in 2012.

The release comes in the December 2017 amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) filed by Judicial Watch in NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al. v. The Internal Revenue Service, et al. (No. 1:13-cv-00341). Judicial Watch argued that the documents sought may shed light on government misconduct, and the shielding of internal government deliberations does not serve the public’s interest.

Lerner’s and Paz’s depositions were sealed by Judge Barrett in April 2017, after Lerner’s and Paz’s lawyers claimed the two officials were receiving threats. The court finally ordered the unsealing of the depositions four years after plaintiffs requested the depositions be unsealed and only after plaintiffs filed for a writ of mandamus to force action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (In December 2017, Judicial Watch submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of plaintiffs’ request that the depositions should be unsealed.)

The sworn depositions were given in 2017 by Lerner and Paz. In the newly unsealed deposition transcripts, the two IRS officials repeatedly have memory lapses and regularly plead ignorance of the fundamental matters in question.

The unsealed Lerner and Paz deposition transcripts reveal through sworn testimony the bureaucratic tangle created by the Obama IRS to single out, delay and deny the processing of conservative, especially Tea Party non-profit groups’ applications for tax-exempt status and to disclose their donors’ names. At the same time, Paz admits under questioning that she knew from the beginning there was not sufficient legal basis to deny most of the targeted groups tax exempt status:

Q: [T]he organizations had filed applications representing …what they were organized for and what they have done and also their intended activities, and you thought that … for the majority of those applications that that would warrant the recognition of exemption?

[ *** ]

The Witness [Paz]: My recollection is that at the time, my thinking was that the majority of the (c)(4) applications, while they may have indicated some amount of political activity, that we would not have enough basis to make a determination that that would be their primary activity and deny them exempt status.

Q: And, therefore, they would receive an approval or recognition of exemption?

A: Correct.

The records also include an unsealed court filing by NorCal Tea Party Patriots that provides a detailed description of the ordinary process by which the IRS determines whether to grant an organization tax exempt status and how the process under Lerner deviated from that norm after the IRS brought Tea Party groups under special scrutiny following the Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision. (The Citizens United decision held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political campaigns by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.)

The NorCal Tea Party Patriots filing details:

Lerner expressed strong feelings about the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FECdecision. In a June 1, 2012, email exchange with [redacted], Lerner wrote that “Citizens Unitedis by far the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.” Later in the same email exchange, Lerner expanded on her views of Citizens United:

We are witnessing the end of “America.” There has always been the struggle between the capitalistic ideals and the humanistic ideals. Religion has usually tempered the selfishness of capitalism, but the rabid, hellfire piece of religion has hijacked the game and in the end, we will all lose out. It’s all tied together— money can buy the Congress and the Presidency, so in turn, money packs the SCt. and the court backs the money—the “old boys” still win.”

Lerner sought to reverse the impact of Citizens United. In a June 11, 2012, email exchange with Robert Stern [former chair of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws] about Stern’s report discussing states’ responses to Citizens United, Lerner wrote:

I like it! Very easy to find specific information, as well as get the big picture— you done good! Now, if you can only fix the darn law!”

[ *** ]

In a February 13, 2012, email exchange among Lerner and various of her subordinates about [proposed] federal legislation that would require tax-exempt organizations to disclose their donors, Lerner wrote: “Wouldn’t that be great? And I won’t hold my breath.”

The NorCal Tea Party Patriots filing also describes Lerner’s targeting Tea Party groups after Citizens’ United:

Lerner began to worry that applicants for exemption would rely on Citizens United to challenge the IRS’s regulations on political activities by (c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations.

Lerner particularly worried that Tea Party groups would seek to challenge IRS regulations. In an email exchange concerning the February 1, 2011, SCR [Sensitive Case Report], Lerner told Paz and others: “Tea Party Matter very dangerous…This could be the vehicle to go to court on the issue of whether Citizen’s United [sic] overturning the ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rules. Counsel and Judy Kindell need to be in on this one please needs to be in this. Cincy should probably NOT have these cases—Holly please see what exactly they have please.’

Later in that exchange, Lerner directed her subordinates to find a reason other than political activity to deny the Tea Party applicants exemption under § 501(c)(3) to prevent them from challenging the exemption rules based on Citizens United:

Thanks—even if we go with a 4 on the Tea Party cases, they may want to argue they should be 3s, so it would be great if we can get there without saying the only reason they don’t get a 3 is political activity.

“These new transcripts expose new details and the cover-up of how the Obama IRS intentionally suppressed the Tea Party movement during the 2012 presidential campaign,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents show how the Obama administration easily used the IRS to suppress an entire political movement threatening his reelection. The Obama IRS abuse is the epitome of election interference.  Given this largely unchecked abuse by the IRS, the Biden administration’s massive new expansion of the IRS should concern all Americans.”

Lois Lerner retired with full federal benefits in September 2013.

The original NorCal Tea Party Patriots lawsuit in which Lerner and Paz gave depositions was a class-action lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of the Treasury and named individual officials claiming that:

Elements within the Executive Branch of the federal government, including Defendants, brought the vast powers, incomprehensible complexity, and crushing bureaucracy of the IRS to bear on groups of citizens whose only wrongdoing was their presumed dissent from the policies or ideology of the Administration. In other words, these citizens were targeted based upon their political viewpoints.

The lawsuit was settled in 2017 when the Justice Department awarded the plaintiffs over $3.5 million for “attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, and incentive awards.” In settling the case, the DOJ admitted the IRS abused its power and the criteria it used to screen applications for 501(c) status was inappropriate. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated:

The IRS’ use of these criteria as a basis for heightened scrutiny was wrong and should never have occurred. It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions. Any entitlement to tax exemption should be based on the activities of the organization and whether they fulfill requirements of the law, not the policy positions adopted by members or the name chosen to reflect those views.

Despite these admissions of wrongdoing, the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.

Judicial Watch uncovered troves of documents about the Obama IRS scandal (see, for example, here and here). Judicial Watch filed at least nine Freedom of Information Act lawsuits about the IRS scandal, and much of what is known about the scandal resulted from Judicial Watch litigation and investigations.

Here is a partial summary of Judicial Watch disclosures:

  • In September 2014, a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.”
  • In April 2015, Judicial Watch released court ordered IRS documents that included an email from Lerner asking that a program be set up to “put together some training points to help them [IRS staffers] understand the potential pitfalls” of revealing too much information to Congress.  The documents also contain a Lerner email from 2013 in which she says she is willing to take the blame on some aspects of the scandal.  She also indicates that she “understands why the IRS criteria” leading to the targeting of Tea Party and other opponents of the President Obama “might raise questions.”
  • In July 2015, records showed the IRS scandal also included the Justice Department and FBI as well. According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch under court order, in an October 2010 meeting, Lerner, Justice Department officials and the FBI planned for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity. As part of that effort, the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare groups as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department …”
  • Also in July 2015, Judicial Watch released Obama IRS documents confirming that the agency used donor lists of tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits.  The documents also show IRS officials specifically highlighted how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may come under “high scrutiny” from the IRS.
  • In July 2016, Judicial Watch through a federal court order in one of its FOIA lawsuits (Judicial Watch v Department of Justice (No. 1:14-cv-01239)) obtained FBI “302” documents, which contain detailed narratives of FBI agent investigations, revealing that top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew that the agency was specifically targeting “Tea Party” and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public.

The FBI 302 documents also confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report that said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference.  The documents reveal that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response, where she admits:

They [IRS staff] used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.

  • In November 2016, after the IRS  refused to acknowledge its targeting of conservative groups, Judicial Watch forced the release of IRS records revealing the agency used “inappropriate political labels” to screen the tax-exempt applications of conservative organizations. IRS agents were targeting organizations requesting tax-exempt status based on “guilt by association” and “party affiliation.” Judicial Watch brought to light that the IRS was going to require 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations to restrict their alleged political activities in exchange for “expedited consideration” of their tax-exempt applications. FBI “302” documents uncovered by Judicial Watch also reveal that IRS officials stated that the agency was targeting conservative groups because of their ideology and political affiliation in the summer of 2011.
  • Judicial Watch also separately uncovered in its lawsuit Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559) that Lerner was under significant pressure from both Democrats in Congress and the Obama Justice Department and FBI to prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting. In discussing pressure from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to prosecute these “political groups,” Lerner admitted, “it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
  • In March 2017, Judicial Watch obtained IRS documents through its FOIA lawsuit Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220) that contain admissions by IRS officials that the agency used “inappropriate political labels” to screen the tax-exempt applications of conservative organizations.  Other records uncovered reveal that the IRS was going to require 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations to restrict their alleged political activities in exchange for “expedited consideration” of their tax-exempt applications.
  • In June 2018, Judicial Watch obtained internal IRS documents through one of its FOIA lawsuits (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)) revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.” Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

In response to Judicial Watch’s litigation, the IRS initially claimed that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing. Later, IRS officials conceded that the “missing” emails were on IRS back-up systems.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Public Schools Are Spending Money Like Crazy, Despite Sharp Enrollment Declines

This pattern of spending is unsustainable. These schools are bleeding money.


The public education system has been failing students for years. From misappropriating funds to providing inadequate lessons and passing illiterate students; public schools are losing support. Despite this they continue receiving extensive budgets which do not properly represent enrollment rates, attendance numbers, or staffing issues.

While it is true that 2020 was an extremely difficult year for these taxpayer-funded institutions, those who blame the Covid-19 pandemic are using it as a scapegoat. Before the extensive government pandemic response, the nation was experiencing a teacher shortage and a political takeover of public schools — the likes of which had never been experienced — which has only increased during the political battle over public health issues.

Since 2013 conflicts between teachers and school boards have been reported. This specifically hindered interest in the teaching profession.

In 2015 student interest in the teaching profession dropped by 5 percent in just a year and has continued to decline. Although arguments over teacher pay have been brought to the forefront of the situation, elementary and secondary school teachers made an average of over $63,000 during the 2019-2020 school year, and since then districts have increased pay and added massive bonuses to attract educators back to the profession, inflating budgets, yet still the teacher shortage remains.

New students entering the teaching profession continues to decline as teachers unions and school boards not only battle themselves, but parents as well. Instead of listening to the communities they serve, these powerful organizations are pushing their own political ideologies in the classroom. Educational focus has shifted from teaching core classes like math, science, and history, to identity-based practices which promote critical race theory (CRT) and gender theory.

The National School Board Association itself has fought to persuade schools to adopt CRT and the 1619 project. These race-focused lessons have yet to produce successful results. Because of this, families have disputed replacing sound lessons with untested classroom theories. When expressing their concerns at school board meetings these parents were silenced, and even publicly smeared as “domestic terrorists.”

In addition, during the pandemic various school boards and teachers unions fought to keep children isolated and masked long after it was deemed safe for them to return to in-person learning. Yet, educators still wished to receive full pay as students suffered from widespread learning loss and achievement gaps. It was even discovered that the American Federation of Teachers influenced CDC reopening guidelines, indicating that their power held sway over school health policies, arguably even more than factual public health data.

Parents quickly recognized the harmful effects of lockdowns and long-term masking. Schools which remained locked down longer saw the sharpest enrollment declines. These are, coincidentally, in highly progressive areas where CRT and other identity based lessons have been adopted by teachers and districts.

In 2019 math was deemed a “racist” subject in the state of Washington. By 2021, 70% of students in the area were failing math and more than half failed English. In nearby Oregon, reading and writing requirements have been removed to offer more “equitable” education experiences, and even test taking was deemed “racist” by the National Education Association.

In addition, the Biden Administration is leading the Department of Education to bring race to the forefront of American education on a national level. Instead of allowing states to choose what is best for their populations, government grants are now being awarded based on the implementation of identity-based education practices.

Public school officials have been quick to blame the pandemic for increasing student failures, but teaching equity over performance has yet to lead students to academic excellenceLearning loss is plaguing students across the nation, and instead of utilizing COVID relief money to ensure that students achievement gaps are filled in before Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSR) expire, progressive states have allocated masses of these taxpayer dollars for identity based lessons.

Taxpayer funded ESSR money was swiftly approved and distributed with little to no oversight during the pandemic. Because of this, less than half of public schools have used COVID relief money to update HVAC units and reduce viral illness transmissions. Instead, districts in New York, California, Illinois, and Minnesota openly spent their pandemic dollars on political endeavors.

The California Department of Education received $15.1 billion in ESSR funding. Instead of focusing all of these taxpayer dollars on public health concerns the state funneled portions of this money into “implicit bias training,” “ethnic studies,” and “LGBTQ+ cultural competency.”

Similarly, New York gained $9 billion in emergency funding. This money was not primarily focused on keeping students healthy or improving classroom air quality but, “anti-racism,” “anti-bias,” “socio-emotional learning,” and “diversity, equity, inclusion,” lessons.

Illinois has also utilized masses of pandemic-relief money to institute equity plans with a specific focus on “anti-racism.” Minnesota took their $1.15 billion in ESSR funds and decided to use a portion of this massive payout for “culturally responsive” training and addressing “gender bias,” with a focus on gender affirmation.

COVID relief funds have been abused and directed to non-pandemic related educational services. All the while, students continue to fail at record rates and leave the public education system entirely.

Public schools are funded by local, state, and federal taxes. Funding is determined by varying factors which usually include student performance, enrollment rates, and attendance. Yet despite experiencing drops in all of these criteria, somehow states are still increasing budgets.

California — which has lost 2.6% of public school students since the start of the pandemic — has approved the largest education budget in the state’s history. This massive increase comes as California’s largest public school district has experienced a 40% chronic absenteeism rate. This reflects a national trend.

A third of Chicago schools are at least half empty, but that didn’t stop the Chicago Board of Education from increasing their 2022 budget from what was approved in 2021. In Washington DC, public school reading and math proficiency has dropped, and enrollment has stagnated, but the mayor proposed a 5.9% budget increase.

PennsylvaniaMinnesota, and other states have all continued spending more despite serving fewer students. These public schools are bleeding money and costing taxpayers billions in debt that will eventually have to be repaid.

Public schools received record amounts of funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, school boards and teachers unions have allowed politics to dominate their policies and teaching practices. As a result, student success rates have suffered, and families are walking away from the system while lawmakers are passing budget increases that only further tax communities.

This pattern of spending is unsustainable. These schools are bleeding money. There is currently no end in sight as districts continue this trend into the 2022-2023 school year and beyond.

AUTHOR

Jessica Marie Baumgartner

Jessica is an education news reporter, homeschooling mother of 4, and author of “Homeschooling on a Budget,” whose work has been featured by: “The Epoch Times,” “The Federalist,” “The New American,” “The American Spectator,” “American Thinker,” “St. Louis Post Dispatch,” and many more.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Americans Spent More on Taxes in 2021 Than on Food, Clothing and Health Care Combined

Obscene and wrong. It’s why there was an American revolution and why we were founded as a nation.

Worse still, this legal plunder is funding our ruin and the destruction of our most basic freedoms.

Americans Spent More on Taxes in 2021 Than on Food, Clothing and Health Care Combined

By Terence P. Jeffrey | CNS News | September 9, 2022 |

(CNSNews.com) – According to newly released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans in 2021 once again spent more on average on taxes than they did on food, clothing and health care combined.

During 2021, according to Table R-1 in the BLS’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, American “consumer units” spent an average of $15,495.28 on food, clothing and health care combined, while paying an average of $16,729.73 in total taxes to federal, state and local governments.

“A consumer unit,” the BLS says in the glossary for its Consumer Expenditure Survey, “comprises either (1) all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption or other legal arrangements; (2) persons living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in a permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independence; or (3) two or more person living together who use their income to make joint expenditure decisions.”

On average in 2021, American consumer units spent $8,289.28 on food; $1,754.39 on clothing (apparel and apparel-related services); and $5,451.61 on health care.

That equaled a combined $15,495.28.

At that same time, American consumer units were paying an average $16,729.73 in net total taxes.

These included $8,561.46 in federal income taxes; $5,565.45 in Social Security taxes; $2,564.14 in state and local income taxes; $2,475.18 in property taxes; $105.21 in other taxes—minus an average of $2,541.71 in stimulus payments received back from the government.

Read the rest….

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

U.S. Funded Study: Physics is Racist

“A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation funded a 22-page “study” that used Critical Race Theory to argue that physics was racist, in part because it rewards students for getting the right answer and uses whiteboards.” — Luke Rosiak, Daily Wire


US Funded Study Claims Physics is Racist Because Students Are Rewarded for Being Correct

By  Luke Rosiak •  •  DailyWire.com

A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation funded a 22-page “study” that used Critical Race Theory to argue that physics was racist, in part because it rewards students for getting the right answer and uses whiteboards.

The paper was funded through National Science Foundation Grant No. 1760761, which gave $500,000 to Seattle Pacific University for “understanding centrality and marginalization in undergraduate physics teaching and learning.”

“Critical Race Theory names that racism and white supremacy are endemic to all aspects of U.S. society, from employment to schooling to the law,” the paper reads. “We see the outcomes of this in, for example, differential incarceration rates, rates of infection and death in the era of COVID, and police brutality. We also see the outcomes of this in physics.”

In exchange for the hefty government funding, two scholars — a “chronically ill and disabled, physics-Ph.D.-holding, thin wealthy white woman” and a black man — watched videos of four science lessons, and spoke to two students and the teacher over Zoom.

[ … ]

Ironically, while the paper’s only finding of “whiteness” in a classroom was a Middle Eastern student supposedly oppressing his peers by helping them, it is the researchers themselves who seem to have the white person take up most of the space, with the white researcher conducting the Zoom interviews, referring to herself in the first-person in the text, and placing her name first.

Anticipating the rebuttal that cherry-picking a single exchange in one class lesson and turning it into a far-reaching metaphor is not rigorous research, the federally funded academics simply say anyone who said so would be “engaging in bad faith argumentation.”

Justifying how a Middle Eastern male working hard, getting the right answer, and helping his peers represents a negative trait called “whiteness” that is allegedly everywhere, they reason that “whiteness is pervasive, insidious, and complex.”

Yet they also could not describe it. “Part of the difficulty in characterizing whiteness lies with its having no genuine content,” the paper says.

Read more.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Van Jones: Biden Wants Election to Be about Trump, Not Inflation

Monday on CNN’s Situation Room, CNN Political Commentator Van Jones stated that President Biden wants the election “to be a choice between Trump and himself” but that he needs to tell people, “I’m not just going to write you off” if you don’t vote Democrat.

Jones said, “I think he’s trying to do something that’s difficult. He wants this election, frankly, to be a choice between Trump and himself, and not just a referendum on inflation, etc. So, that’s a part of the political strategy here.”

To be clear, what Biden wants is to divert attention from his catastrophic presidency and demonize Trump and the Right as domestic terrorists, fascists, and threats to democracy. His “strategy” is fear-mongering and the politics of personal destruction.

Jones continued, giving the mentally decrepit and hateful Biden far more credit than he deserves: “What Joe Biden should be saying [to the GOP] is, ‘Guys, I’m not even asking you guys to become Democrats. I want you to become Republicans again. I want you to actually be true to your best values. You are the party of Lincoln. You are the party of Jack Kemp. I want to work with you, be your best self. I’ll fix my party. I’ve got nuts in my party, but you’ve got to be better in your own party.’ That kind of conversation from Joe Biden, I think would shock a lot of people. I think the idea that you only talk to people if you can convince them to vote for you, and if they won’t vote with you, you don’t care about them, that’s not us. That’s some new, weird stuff in America. It works on Twitter. It doesn’t work when you’re trying to run a country.”

Jones is right when he says that painting half the country as the enemy is no way to run a country. But that’s the Democrat way.


Van Jones

128 Known Connections

Jones says he became politically radicalized in the aftermath of the April 1992 Los Angeles riots which erupted shortly after four L.A. police officers who had beaten the now-infamous Rodney King were exonerated in court. “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th,” says Jones, “and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist.”

In early May 1992, after the L.A. riots had ended, Jones was dispatched by LCCR executive director Eva Patterson to serve as a legal monitor at a nonviolent protest (against the Rodney King verdicts) in San Francisco. Local police, fearful that the event would devolve into violence, stopped the proceedings and arrested many of the participants, including all the legal monitors. Jones spent a short time in jail, and all charges against him were subsequently dropped. Recalling his brief incarceration, Jones says: “I met all these young radical people of color. I mean really radical: communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’ I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary.”

To learn more about Van Jones, click here.

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Here’s How Much The Federal Government Has Spent Studying Impact Of Sex Change Meds We’re Already Giving Kids

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent at least $17,576,200 since 2008 researching the impact of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, NIH records show, drugs that are already widely administered to children who identity as transgender.

Researchers used NIH funds to study the impact these medications have on bone density and strength, reproduction, immunity, cardiometabolism and mental health, along with several other issues. Most of these grants were issued after 2017 as interest in the subject grew, although some date back as early as 2008.

Although researchers are still learning about the long-term effects of these drugs and whether they actually help reduce depression and suicide rates for youths, they are already widely administered to children who identify as transgender; the Gender Identity Development Service at Tavistock in the U.K., the largest pediatric gender clinic in the world, has referred about 1,000 patients to endocrinologists to be assessed for puberty blockers, a spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The NIH gave the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles more than $7.7 million in grants for a project studying the impact of puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones on children as young as 8, according to various documents reviewed by the DCNF.

The study aims to determine whether early medical interventions for youths reduce the health issues that disproportionately impact transgender people, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide. Researchers observed 391 patients aged 8 to 20 at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Benioff Children’s Hospital; 90 went on puberty blockers and 301 went on cross-sex hormones, researchers reported.

“Ultimately, we aim to understand if early medical intervention reduces the health disparities well known to disproportionately affect transgender individuals across their lifespan,” researchers wrote. “The lack of data supporting medical interventions for transgender youth, combined with a shortage of providers knowledgeable of the complex psychosocial risk factors facing these young people, contributes to a health disparity and public health crisis of considerable magnitude.”

An activist who goes by Billboard Chris drew attention to the NIH grants online, highlighting the young age of some of the participants in this taxpayer-funded study.

Researchers in this observational study have been collecting data on existing models of care for trans-identified youths for about a decade in response to an Institute of Medicine report calling for further research on the subject, according to the study. The NIH contributed $7,748,467 to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in several separate grants for this project since 2015, according to the NIH website.

When undergoing medical sex change procedures beginning at an early age, children are administered puberty-blocking drugs then eventually put on cross-sex hormones such as testosterone or estrogen. The FDA has warned of a possible link between puberty-blocking drugs and serious symptoms like vision loss, and researchers in this study note the link between the drug and diminished bone density.

The drugs that are used to halt healthy puberty for transgender children have an official on-label purpose of delaying precocious puberty in young children, and they have also been used to chemically castrate sex offenders. Marci Bowers, a famous transgender surgeon, has publicly admitted that “every single child who was truly blocked at Tanner stage 2 [around 9 to 11 years old] has never experienced orgasm.”

Activists and medical professionals justify the administration of these drugs to children by claiming that, without them, transgender youths will commit suicide. Researchers have said that receiving these treatments in youth can reduce the risk of suicide and depression in numerous methodologically flawed studies which failed to control for confounding variables, failed to find causality and in some cases were funded by transgender activists groups and pharmaceutical companies that produce the drugs themselves, according to multiple DCNF investigations.

The DCNF calculated the sums of grants the NIH gave for projects specifically examining the effects of medications administered as part of the gender transition process; its funding of transgender-related research generally is far more expansive.

The NIH, the project’s contacts and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

AUTHOR

LAUREL DUGGAN

Social issues and cultural reporter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Hawaii is No. 1 In the World – In Tourist Taxes

Last month, the website money.co.uk published an article giving our Honolulu a claim to international fame (or infamy).  It listed the city as having the highest tourist tax of any city in the world.  It noted our 10.25% transient accommodations tax, to which is added 3% county TAT.  “That’s already a hefty tax anywhere in the world,” the article says, “but when consider that the average room in Honolulu costs £321 ($390), that equates to £42.53 ($51.70) a night.”

The runner-up, according to the article, was San Francisco, which charges a 14% transient occupancy tax.  Its average room night was a bit less pricey at $212 per night, leading to a tax bite of $29.61 per night.

Meaning that, even with the article’s numbers, Honolulu is 75% higher in taxes than the second most tourist-taxed city in the world.

But that doesn’t show an accurate picture.  The article seems to have screwed up.

You see, they forgot to include the GET, which appears on hotel folios on top of the 13.25% TAT.  So, our tax is actually higher.  Quite a bit higher.

Indeed, if 4.712% is added in, our tax toll rises to 17.962%, or $70.05 a night (£57.62 for those keeping score in British pounds sterling).  This astronomical total is almost double the levy in San Francisco and almost six times that in the priciest destination in a non-U.S. country, namely Amsterdam in the Netherlands, which was scored at 11.31 euros (£9.73 or $11.82) a night.

But wait!  There’s more.

The article also compares countries charging flat rate tourist taxes, such as departure taxes charged at the airport.  Mexico is currently the winner at 224 Mexican pesos ($11.12 with currencies being converted at the rate in effect on June 30, 2020).  The next few countries, Thailand at 300 baht ($8.53), Belgium at 7.50 euros ($7.87), and Japan at 1000 yen ($7.33), all impose departure taxes at less than $10.

Conservation groups in Hawaii have been pushing for enactment of a Hawaii “visitor green fee,” which would work much like these departure taxes.  They, as well as one University of Hawaii economist, have noted that some island destinations such as Palau and the Galapagos Islands levy a $100 visitor green fee, and have urged Hawaii to adopt such a fee.  In the 2021 legislature, two bills (HB 805 and SB 666) would have imposed a visitor fee of $40.

If we actually imposed such a fee, it would vault us to the top of this list as well, and by a wide margin.  (Apparently Palau and the Galapagos didn’t make the list of the 100 most visited cities according to Euromonitor International, which the rankings were based on, and thus weren’t included.)

Fortunately, as we have noted before, such fees would violate the U.S. Constitution and thus cannot be charged by any individual State or county.  So, we shouldn’t be spending more time and energy trying to make our state and cities even more of an international outlier when it comes to tourist taxes and fees.

For those of us who think tourists are bad news and should stay the heck away from Hawaii Nei, these taxes are probably going to accomplish what you want.  Tourists are going to think twice, or more, before shelling out for an experience in Hawaiian paradise.  We have seen the economic result of tourists staying home en masse, because this is what happened during the pandemic.  The pain of workforce layoffs and business closures continues to this day.  Is that the future you want?  Is that the future we want?

We need to stop winning international contests like this.

AUTHOR

Tom Yamachika

President Tax Foundation Hawaii

RELATED ARTICLE: Honolulu: Highest Tourist Taxes on Earth