More than 99 percent of the thousands of IRS employees investigated for violating federal tax laws in the last five years avoided termination and continued enforcing other Americans’ tax collections, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.
The IRS fired only 74 of 9,176 workers investigated for tax noncompliance from October 2011 to September 2016. Another 280 were allowed to retire or resign as a result of those misconduct investigations, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Inspector General (IG).
Noncompliance cases — which may involve underreporting income, underpaying taxes or failing to file returns — most commonly resulted in some form of verbal or written reprimand or counseling, according to the 10 semi-annual IG reports analyzed. The IRS employed about 85,000 people at 500 offices across the country in 2016.
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (HOGR) Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz and the panel’s Ranking Minority Member Rep. Elijah Cummings did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comment. Chaffetz is a Utah Republican, while Cummings is a Maryland Democrat.
Members of Congress have criticized the IRS in the past for failing to fire employees who intentionally evade taxes. The IG in 2015 found the IRS fired only 39 percent of 1,580 employees who willfully falsified information on their taxes over a 10-year period, although federal law requires termination of such employees. The IRS commissioner has authority to reduce penalties in those cases. (RELATED: IRS Paid Executives To Live In Luxurious DC Hotels)
Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and one of the IRS’s staunchest critics in recent years, said “[IRS Commissioner] John Koskinen has failed to clean up the Internal Revenue Service following the IRS targeting of conservatives, and this is another example of his failed leadership. The sad irony of IRS employees failing to follow the laws they themselves are in charge of enforcing is yet another reason why we need new management at the IRS, and why we need to reform the tax code entirely.”
Those were the only violations the IRS proved were willful, while the numbers TheDCNF analyzed included willful and all other employee violations, intentional or otherwise.
But the IRS’s number of terminations hasn’t increased, and the number of overall cases hasn’t decreased, since that scathing report, in which the IRS promised to take willful violations more seriously. (RELATED: IRS Employees Fuel Democratic Candidates, Causes)
The IRS only terminated six people between April 2016 and September 2016, the most recently available data, of the 861 investigated for tax violations. An additional 28 employees under investigation resigned or retired in that same six-month period.
Compare that with a similar time frame included in the IG’s 2015 report — October 2012 through March 2013. That six-month period produced a comparable number of investigations, 878, and a similar number of removals, seven. An additional 30 people retired or resigned in that same period.
IRS spokesman Matthew Leas declined to address why the IRS hasn’t increased its number of firings or decreased its number of cases, blaming a complicated tax system.
“The IRS holds its employees to extremely high standards,” Leas told TheDCNF. “The vast majority of IRS employees, nearly 99 percent, file and pay their taxes timely—one of the highest tax compliance rates across government agencies and higher than general taxpayer population estimates.”
The general public’s compliance rate is 92 percent.
“It’s also important to remember that not everyone hired at the IRS is a tax expert; some work in non-tax specific occupations ranging from IT programmers, administrative professionals to human capital specialists,” Leas added. “Many of these employee issues reflect the complexity of the tax law.”
But minor, unintentional mistakes don’t explain the hundreds of resignations and retirements.Don't forget to Like The Washington Sentinel on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our friends at The Republican Legion.
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Kroger Fires Elderly Workers For Refusing To Wear ‘Pro-Gay’ Apron
72-year-old Brenda Lawson and 57-year-old Trudy Rickerd say they were fired last April from a Kroger store in Conway, Arkansas for not wanting to wear aprons displaying a rainbow symbol.
“I have a sincerely held religious belief that I cannot wear a symbol that promotes or endorses something that is in violation of my religious faith,” Rickerd told management in a signed hand-written letter May 1, 2019, according to the lawsuit. “I respect others who have a different opinion and am happy to work alongside others who desire to wear the symbol. I am happy to buy another apron to ensure there is no financial hardship on Kroger.”
Companies should stay out of politics and should never force employees to go along with policies that go against their religious beliefs.
Kroger is being accused of violating federal law for allegedly firing two employees who refused to wear a rainbow emblem, which they believe contradicts their religious beliefs.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the supermarket in a lawsuit filed Monday of terminating the women after they asked for a religious accommodation so that they didn’t have to display the rainbow.
The lawsuit claims that a Kroger store in Conway, Ark., implemented a new dress code in April 2019 that “required all employees to wear a new apron with a new logo, a rainbow heart embroidered on the top left portion of the bib.”
The rainbow flag has long been a symbol of the LGBT community.
Both of the defendants in the case, 57-year-old Trudy Rickert and 72-year-old Brenda Lawson, believe “in the literal interpretation of the Bible” and hold “a sincerely held religious belief that homosexuality is a sin.”
Because of these beliefs, the defendants made multiple oral and written requests to management to wear another apron. More
There is a question as to whether the “rainbow” was really a gay pride rainbow or not:
Bless their snowflake hearts. It’s not even a rainbow. 🙄 https://t.co/aSFy7R6LpG
— ryan ♂🏳️🌈 living in donnie’s dark shadows. (@uttzey) September 16, 2020
Two supposedly Christian Alabama women are suing Kroger Corp. for being forced to wear an apron with a heart on it, saying it’s gay and homosexuality is a sin. The @USEEOC is championing their suit.
A 5-minute search shows it is a “promise” campaign, not LGBT. Misguided Hate. pic.twitter.com/7OPy6ZYe41
— Michael Aaron (@MAaronSLC) September 16, 2020
It will be interesting to see what is revealed during discovery when the plaintiffs’ attorney demands all documentation regarding the corporate decision to use this logo and deposes anyone involved in that decision. That should reveal if this is in support of LGBT or not.
DeAnna Lorraine: Stop Supporting Companies That Hate You, Here Are Some Alternatives
Left-wing extremism has become commonplace in corporate America. It is almost impossible to avoid supporting these toxic ideas when shopping in your everyday life.
But to help you shop as responsibly as possible, I am showcasing some companies that haven’t caved to the far-left mob.
There are the ones that most patriotic Americans are aware of, like My Pillow and Goya who have directly stated support for President Donald Trump in a loud fashion. My Pillow in particular has shown how a company should respond to the insanity of the left, with their founder Mike Lindell loudly supporting President Donald Trump, and continuing to air ads on Tucker Carlson Tonight in the face of left-wing boycotts.
Both Goya and My Pillow are proof that patriotism is profitable, with their support of Trump resulting in big sales for their companies.
I LOVE @GoyaFoods!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020
So if you are ever in need of pillows, or some good Spanish food products (Goya beans are fantastic), you know exactly where to go.
When it comes to media, things become tricky. While much of Fox News has turned on President Donald Trump, they at least are known to air real news with hosts like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, who aren’t afraid to stand up against the mob.
But when you want real news all the time, One America News Network (OANN) is the real deal. It is highly recommended, and a refreshing change of pace. I am also hosting a show with Infowars, titled Election 2020 Countdown/Taking Back America leading into the November election, which can be watched here.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
When it comes to print media, you can of course count on us here at The Washington Sentinel, but there are other great sources one can rely on, like Breitbart News, the New York Post, the Gateway Pundit, and up-and-coming networks that have grown out of the Trump-era like The National Pulse, Big League Politics, and American Greatness.
And when it comes to entertainment, things get even harder for consumers. While Hollywood, and most of the major sports leagues have gone all-out for radical groups like Black Lives Matter, patriots at least have the UFC and WWE, which have not caved.
Eating out is another place that is difficult not to support the left. The best solution to this is to eat at local family-owned businesses, but when in a crunch, In-N-Out has long been a great fast-food choice for those who have one nearby.
For those times when you need a little bit of caffeine to get going, there are some great choices. At the store, Red Bull is proven to be the best choice. Red Bull CEO recently fired a number of top executives after they tried to bring wokeness to their company in response to his refusal to support Black Lives Matter.
If you prefer making coffee at home, there are companies like Covfefe and Black Rifle Coffee who also refuse to give into the left.
For the times you aren’t in the mood for caffeine, and instead want a drink or two, the best beers for patriots come from Coors and Yuengling, which both have supported President Trump.
A big problem with companies today is the use of illegal immigrant labor. Tyson foods was one of the first to stop this problem in its tracks, partnering with ICE in 2011 to ensure they were only hiring American citizens through E-Verify. ULine similarly avoids the hiring of illegal immigrants to produce their shipping supplies, and their founders have been vocal Trump supporters, similarly to the founders of companies like Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs.
Perhaps the most difficult place for conservatives is Big Tech companies. Google, Facebook, and Twitter not only censor conservatives, they are known to steal your data, and to work to appease regressive world regimes like in China.
Thankfully, there are alternatives. For those wanting to ditch Twitter, Parler is the growing go-to place where voices are not censored. Gab.com has also been around for years, and proven to be a safe place for those wanting to speak freely.
If you truly want to use a search engine without being tracked, or facing results that have been skewed to support the left, Yippy.com is the best, hands down. They present the results in a completely unbiased way, and never track you. The way they are set up, it isn’t even possible for them to do so if they wanted.
I would be remiss not to mention places to pick up pro-Trump, and conservative gear. There are many companies hopping onto the trend of creating pro-Trump merchandise just to make a buck. Republican Legion is by far the most trusted site to buy conservative merchandise. Many of their profits are used to support conservative causes, and their prices are unbeatable.
And while this is a good list to go on. There is one company that many Christians and pro-Trump Americans support, despite them being nothing more than a snake in the grass.
Chick-fil-A was founded as a Christian company, and stayed under that mission until shortly after the passing of their founder S. Truett Cathy. Since then, they have stopped giving money to Christian organizations, and instead have given to left-wing hate groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, who use their massive coffers to attack Christian organizations.
Congress Wants to Know Why Amazon Excluded Conservatives from Its Charity Program
Members of the House want Jeff Bezos to explain why Amazon systematically banned conservatives from using its “AmazonSmile” charity program.
Members of the House want Jeff Bezos to explain why Amazon systematically banned conservatives from using its “AmazonSmile” charity program.
“The exclusion of these conservative groups from Amazon’s heavily-trafficked digital platform leads to less exposure for these groups and fewer opportunities for donations,” reads a letter by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, according to Fox Business Network.
AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to a participating group’s designated charitable organization with no added costs or fees. But conservative organizations were routinely denied access to the program, which raised $100 million in 2018 for charities that took part.
Amazon apparently relied on the biased and corrupt Southern Poverty Law Center to determine who would qualify for the high-profile charity program. Naturally, the SPLC amazingly ruled that conservatives didn’t “qualify” to join the program.
Using Southern Poverty Law Center to decide who may benefit from AmazonSmile “discriminates against conservative views,” the letter added.
“Amazon’s reliance on the SPLC as a barometer to determine the eligibility of charitable organizations on AmazonSmile serves to discriminate against conservative views,” the letter reads.
“Amazon’s reliance on the SPLC as a barometer to determine the eligibility of charitable organizations on AmazonSmile serves to discriminate against conservative views,” it continued.
While Amazon customers can use the AmazonSmile program to donate a portion of each purchase to left-leaning organizations like Planned Parenthood, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Center for American Progress (and to be fair, to many right-leaning organizations, too), Amazon has decided to single out a few well-known conservative organizations like FRC and ADF from receiving part of the tens of millions of dollars the program raises each year from customers.
The congressional query was also signed by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and 13 other House Republicans.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.
Macy’s May Abandon Chicago For Good After Democrat Leadership FAILED To Stop Looting TWICE!
Macy’s won’t be the only business to flee Chicago, taking all their jobs along with them.
Macy’s, which started business in Chicago as Marshall Field’s, is now thinking of leaving its Water Tower Place location on Michigan Avenue.
The Macy’s store suffered extensive damage in recent looting. The store was also severely damaged back in May.
Macy’s might leave Water Tower Place in Chicago but not because of the recent unrest and looting that saw stock at the retail giant’s North Michigan Avenue store pilfered earlier this week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
“Macy’s, as you know, has been struggling as a company all across the country for quite some time,” Lightfoot said Friday during a press conference. “My understanding is that Macy’s notified the property owners at Water Tower back in February that they probably were not going to renew their lease.”
Macy’s anchors the Water Tower Place mall on Michigan Avenue and was among countless stores targeted early Monday when hundreds of people showed up downtown and began breaking into businesses and stealing. More
First of all, why is this statement even coming from Lightfoot? Second, who else is totally surprised that she is completely denying the fact that it could possibly be even partially due to the increase in looting? 🙄 https://t.co/2zuMU7HYRv
— Jen (@IlliniJen) August 15, 2020
People fled the metropolitan areas in the 50s and 60s and filled the suburbs. Major retailers moved into the suburban malls. We’re witnessing the second mass exodus from cities. If you own property in the city, sell now and get out. Your home values are going to plummet.
I don’t know how the politicians and mayor in Chicago thought businesses would want to stay there. I’m sure they can’t even get insured at this point. How awful.
— Liana M (@Lianar05) August 14, 2020
Saw someone saying last night that they’re renaming the Miracle Mile to “Looters Lane.”
— 🔥🧀🔥 Fromage d’Flambé (@flamingcheeze) August 14, 2020
Still brought in more holiday shoppers, excitement to area. But who needs tourists when you can have antifa shoppers
— Toby 2shoes (@2shoetoby) August 14, 2020
And so it begins. Macy’s won’t be the only store (or Corporation) to move out of Chicago, taking all the jobs with them.
— KenGriffeyJr HOF Player/Person (@CostaRicanSurf) August 14, 2020
AG Barr Warns America About What Communist China Is Trying To Do
Attorney General Barr requested American businesses to wake up quickly to the threat that is the Chinese Communist Party, warning that China “thinks in terms of decades and centuries, while we tend to focus on the next quarter’s earning report.”
“I’m privileged to speak here today about what may prove to be the most important issue for our nation and the world in the 21st century,” Barr began. “And that is the United States’ response … to the global ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Barr warned that the CCP sought to “overthrow the rule-based international system and to make the world safe for dictatorship.”
“The General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, who has centralized power to a degree not seen since the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, now speaks openly of China moving closer to the center stage, building a socialism that is superior to capitalism, and replacing the American dream with the Chinese solution,” Barr continued. “China is no longer hiding its strength, nor biding its time. From the perspective of its communist rulers, China’s time has arrived. The People’s Republic of China is now engaged in an economic Blitzkrieg, an aggressive orchestrated whole of government, indeed whole of society, campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent technological superpower.”
Barr continued by listing off numerous industries that China seeks to totally dominate in order to control the world, including everything from monopolizing rare earth materials to dominating 5G infrastructure to being the global leader in AI.
Will Americans ever realize what is really happening?
FULL TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA REV:
Thank you very much, Andrew, for your kind introduction. And I’d like to say that I really appreciate the work that Andrew and Matt, our US Attorneys for the Eastern and Western District of Michigan are doing here for the people of Michigan, and all the law enforcement community from Michigan that is here today. We really appreciate your work. And as Andrew said, after my remarks, they’re going to put on a presentation on the China initiative, which I think you’d find very interesting. So if you have the time, I urge you to stay for that. And I’d like to thank the leadership and staff of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, especially Elaine Didier, for hosting this event. And I also thank the Ford Presidential Foundation and its Executive Director, Joe Calvaruso.
Even under normal circumstances it’s hard to put together an event like this, but in the current circumstances, it’s especially challenging and I really appreciate it. And I really appreciate all of you who’ve come. I know many have come from around the state and I appreciate the effort that was made to be here for these remarks. I was last in Grand Rapids, maybe 30 years ago, John. John Smietanka, from here, was one of my principal deputies when I was Deputy Attorney General and stayed on while I was Attorney General. He was the US Attorney here in the Western district. So John, it’s great to see you here.
I feel a special bond to the Ford administration. So it’s appropriate to be here today for these remarks. Because I started out in the CIA in 1973 and then President Ford took office. And because of what was going on at the Agency, I had the privilege of working closely with many of the superb people that he brought into government. Many of whom I had the opportunity to work with over the years; several of whom were my mentors. One of the people I met was the Attorney General at that time, Ed Levi, who President Ford had made Attorney General and his portrait is up in my conference room, and his grandson, Will Levi, is my chief of staff. So as I say, I feel especially close to the Ford administration. If I wasn’t a political appointee in that administration, many of the political appointees I’ve worked with over the years were really cut their teeth during the Ford administration.
I’m privileged to speak here today about what may prove to be the most important issue for our nation and the world in the 21st century. And that is the United States response in the global ambitions, to the global ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP rules with an iron fist over one of the great ancient civilizations of the world. It seeks to leverage the immense power, productivity, and ingenuity of the Chinese people to overthrow the rule-based international system and to make the world safe for dictatorship. How the United States responds to this challenge will have historic implications and will determine whether the United States and its liberal democratic allies will continue to shape their own destiny, or whether the CCP and its autocratic tributaries will control the future.
Since the 1890s, at least, the United States has been the technological leader of the world. And from that prowess has come our prosperity, the opportunity for generations of Americans, and our security. It’s because of that, that we were able to play such a pivotal role in world history by turning back the threat of fascism and the threat of communism. What’s at stake these days is whether we can maintain that leadership position and that technological leadership. Are we going to be the generation that has allowed that to be stolen, which is really stealing the future of our children and our grandchildren?
Several weeks ago, the National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brian, spoke about the CCP’s ideology and global ambitions. He declared and I agree that the days of American pacivity and naivety regarding the People’s Republic of China are over. And last week, the FBI director, Chris Wray, described how the CCP pursues its ambitions through the nefarious and even illegal conduct, including industrial espionage, theft, extortion, cyber attacks, and malign influence activities. In the coming days, you will hear from Secretary Mike Pompeo, who will sum up what is at stake for the United States and the free world.
Now, Chris Wray told me that shortly after his speech last week, one of the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party pronounced that his speech was particularly disgusting. I told him that I was going to aim today to be despicable. But I’ll settle for especially disgusting. But no matter how the Chinese seek to characterize it, I do hope that my speech and Mike Pompeo’s speech will encourage the American people to reevaluate their relationship with China so long as it continues to be ruled by the Chinese Communist Party.
It is fitting that we’re here today at the Ford Presidential Museum. Gerald Ford served in the highest echelons of the government at the dawn of America’s re-engagement with China, which began obviously with President Nixon in 1972. And three years later in 1975, President Ford visited China for a summit with PRC leaders, including Mao Zedong. At the time, it was unthinkable that China would emerge after the Cold War as a near peer competitor of the United States. And even then, there were signs of China’s immense latent power. In the joint report of their visit to China in 1972, House Majority Leader, Hale Boggs, and then Minority Leader, Gerald Ford, wrote, “If she manages to achieve as she aspires, China in the next half century can emerge as a self-sufficient power of a billion people. This last impression of the reality of China’s colossal potential is perhaps the most vivid of our journey. As our small party traveled through that boundless land, this sense of a giant stirring, a dragon waking gave us much to ponder.”
It is now nearly 50 years later, and the prescient ponderings of these two congressmen have come to pass. Deng Xiaoping, whose economic reform launched China’s remarkable rise, had a famous motto, “Hide your strength, bide your time.” That is precisely what China has done. China’s economy has quietly grown from about 2% of the world’s GDP in 1980, to nearly 20% today. And by some estimates based on purchasing power parity, the Chinese economy is already larger than ours.
The General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, who has centralized power to a degree not seen since the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, now speaks openly of China moving closer to the center stage, building a socialism that is superior to capitalism, and replacing the American dream with the Chinese solution. China is no longer hiding its strength nor biding its time. From the perspective of its communist rulers, China’s time has arrived. The People’s Republic of China is now engaged in an economic Blitzkrieg, an aggressive, orchestrated whole of government, indeed, whole of society campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent technological superpower. A centerpiece of … poses a real threat to US technological leadership. Despite World Trade Organization rules, prohibiting quotas for domestic output, “Made in China 2025” sets targets for domestic market share sometimes as high as 70% in core components and basic materials for industries such as robotics and telecommunications.
It is clear that the PRC seeks not merely to join the ranks of other advanced industrial economies, but to replace them altogether. “Made in China 2025” is the latest iteration of the PRC’s state-led mercantilist economic model. For American companies in the global marketplace, free and fair competition with China has long been a fantasy. To tilt the playing field to its advantage, China’s communist government has perfected a wide array of predatory and often unlawful tactics, currency manipulation, tariffs, quotas, state led strategic investment and acquisition, theft, and forced transfer of intellectual property, state subsidies, dumping, cyber attacks, and industrial espionage. About 80% of all federal economic espionage prosecutions allege conduct undertaken for the benefit of the Chinese state. And about 60% of all trade secret theft cases have been connected to China.
The PRC also seeks to dominate key trade routes and infrastructure in Eurasia, Africa, and the Pacific. In the South China Sea for example, through which about one third of the world’s maritime trade passes, the PRC has asserted expansive, and historically dubious claims to nearly the entire waterway, flouted the rulings of international courts, built artificial islands and placed military outposts on them, and harassed its neighbors, ships, and fishing boats. Another ambitious project to spread its power and influence is the PRC’s Belt and Road’s infrastructure initiative. Although billed as foreign aid, in fact, these investments appeared designed to serve the PRC’s strategic interests and domestic economic needs.
For example, the PRC has been criticized for loading poor countries up with debt, refusing to renegotiate terms, and then taking control of the infrastructure itself, as it did with with the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota in 2017. This is little more than a form of modern day colonialism. Just as consequential, however, are the PRC’s plans to dominate the world’s digital infrastructure through its digital Silk Road Initiative.
I have previously spoken at length about the grave risks of allowing the world’s most powerful dictatorship to build the next generation of global telecommunications networks known as 5G. Perhaps less widely known are the PRC’s efforts to surpass the United States in other cutting-edge fields like artificial intelligence. Through innovations, such as machine learning and big data, artificial intelligence allows machines to mimic human functions, such as recognizing faces, interpreting spoken words, driving vehicles and playing games of skill, much like chess or even the more complex Chinese game of go.
In 2017, Beijing unveiled its next generation artificial intelligence plan, a blueprint for leading the world in AI by 2030, whichever nation emerges as the global leader in AI will be best positioned to unlock not only its considerable economic potential, but a range of military applications such as the use of computer vision to gather intelligence. The PRC’s drive for technological supremacy is complemented by its plan to monopolize rare earth materials, which play a vital role in industries such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, medical devices, and military hardware.
According to the Congressional Research Service, from the 1960s to the 1980s, the United States led the world in rare earth production. Since then, production has shifted almost entirely to China, in large part due to the lower labor costs and lighter economic and environmental regulation. The United States is now dangerously dependent on the PRC for these essential materials. Overall, China is America’s top supplier, accounting for about 80% of our imports. The risk of dependence are real.
In 2010, for example, Beijing cut exports of rare earth materials to Japan after an incident involving the disputed islands in the East China Sea. The PRC could do the same to us. As China’s progress in these critical sectors illustrates, the PRC’s predatory economic policies are succeeding. For a hundred years, America was the world’s largest manufacturer, allowing us to serve as the world’s arsenal of democracy. China overtook the United States in manufacturing output in 2010. The PRC is now the world’s arsenal of dictatorship.
How did China accomplish all this? No one should underestimate the ingenuity and industry of the Chinese people. At the same time, no one should doubt that America made China’s meteoric rise possible. China has reaped enormous benefits from the free flow of American aid and trade. In 1980, Congress granted the PRC “most favored nation“ trading status. In the 1990s, American companies strongly supported the PRC’s accession to the World Trade Organization and the permanent normalization of trade relations. Today US-China trade totals about 700 billion.
Last year, Newsweek ran a cover story titled, “How America’s Biggest Companies Made China Great Again.” The article details how China’s communist leaders lured American business with the promise of market access, and then, having profited from American investment and know-how, turned increasingly hostile. The PRC used tariffs and quotas to pressure American companies to give up their technology and form joint ventures with Chinese companies. Regulators then discriminated against American firms using tactics like holding up permits. Yet few companies, even Fortune 500 giants, have been willing to bring formal trade complaints for fear of angering Beijing.
Just as American companies have become dependent on Chinese markets, the United States as a whole now relies on the PRC for many vital goods and services. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on that dependency. For example, China is the world’s largest producer of certain protective equipment, such as face masks and medical gowns. In March, as the pandemic spread around the world, the PRC hoarded the masks for itself, blocking producers, including American companies, from exporting them to other countries that needed.
It then attempted to exploit the shortage for propaganda purposes, shipping limited quantities of often defective equipment and then requiring foreign leaders to publicly thank Beijing for these shipments. China’s dominance of the world’s markets for medical goods goes beyond masks and gowns. It has become the United States’ largest supplier of medical devices, while at the same time discriminating against American medical companies in China. China’s government has targeted foreign firms for greater regulatory scrutiny, instructed Chinese hospitals to buy products made in China, and pressured American firms to build factories in China where their intellectual property is more vulnerable to theft.
As one expert has observed, American medical device manufacturers are effectively creating their own competitors. America also depends on Chinese supply, Chinese supply chains, in other vital sectors, especially pharmaceuticals. America remains the global leader in drug discovery, but China is now the world’s largest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients known as APIs. As one Defense Health Agency official noted, “Should China decide to limit or restrict the delivery of APIs on the United States, it could result in severe shortages of pharmaceuticals for both domestic and military uses.” To achieve dominance in pharmaceuticals, China’s rulers went to the same playbook that they’ve used the gut other American industries.
In 2008, the PRC designated pharmaceutical production as a high value added industry and boosted Chinese companies with subsidies and export tax rebates. Meanwhile, the PRC has systematically preyed on American companies. American firms’ well known obstacles in the Chinese health market include drug approval delays, unfair pricing limitations, IP theft, and counterfeiting. Chinese nationals working as employees at pharma companies have been caught stealing trade secrets, both in America and in China.
And the CCP has long engaged in cyber espionage and hacking of US academic medical centers and health care companies. In fact, PRC-linked hackers have targeted American universities and firms in a bid to steal the IP related to coronavirus treatments and vaccines, sometimes disrupting the work of our researchers. Having been caught covering up the coronavirus outbreak, Beijing is desperate for a public relations coup, and may hope that it will be able to claim credit for any medical breakthroughs. As all of these examples should make clear, the ultimate ambition of China’s rulers isn’t to trade with the United States, it is to raid the United States.
If you were an American business leader, appeasing the PRC may bring short-term rewards, but in the end, the PRC’s goal is to replace you. As a US Chamber of Commerce report put it, the belief by foreign companies that large financial investments and sharing of expertise and significant technology transfers would lead to an ever opening China market is being replaced by boardroom banter that win-win in China means China wins twice. Although Americans hoped that trade and investment would liberalize China’s political system, the fundamental character of the regime has never changed.
As its ruthless crackdown of Hong Kong demonstrates once again, China is no closer to democracy today than it was in 1989 when tanks confronted pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square. It remains an authoritarian one-party state in which the Chinese Communist Party wields absolute power unchecked by popular elections, the rule of law, or an independent judiciary. The CCP surveils its own people and assigns them social credit scores, employs an army of government censors, tortures dissidents, and persecutes religious and ethnic minorities, including a million Uighurs detained in indoctrination and labor camps.
If what happened in China stayed in China, that would be bad enough. But instead of America’s changing China, China is leveraging its economic power to change America. As this administration’s China strategy recognizes, the CCP’s campaign to compel ideological conformity does not stop at China’s borders. Rather, the CCP seeks to extend its influence around the world, including on American soil. All too often, for the sake of short term profits, American companies have succumbed to that influence even at the expense of freedom and openness in the United States.
Sadly, examples of American business bowing to China or legion. Take Hollywood. Hollywood’s actors, producers, and directors pride themselves on celebrating freedom and the human spirit. And every year at the Academy Awards, Americans are lectured about how this country falls short of Hollywood’s ideals of social justice, but Hollywood now regularly censors its own movies to appease the Chinese Communist Party, the world’s most powerful violator of human rights. This censorship infects not only the versions of movies that are released in China, but also many that are shown in the United States theaters to American audiences.
For example, the hit movie “World War Z” depicts a zombie apocalypse caused by a virus. The original version of the film reportedly contained a scene with characters speculating that the virus may have originated in China, but the studio, Paramount Pictures, reportedly told producers to delete the reference to China in the hope of landing a Chinese distribution deal. The deal never materialized. In the Marvel Studios blockbuster, “Doctor Strange,” filmmakers changed the nationality of the major character known as the ancient one, a Tibetan monk in the comic book, changed it from Tibetan to Celtic.
When challenged about this, a screenwriter explained that if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people, or as the Chinese government might say, we’re not going to show your movie because you decided to get political. These are just two examples of the many Hollywood films that have been altered one way or another to please the CCP. National security advisor O’Brien offered even more examples in his remarks. But many more scripts never see the light of day because writers and producers know not to test the limits.
Chinese government sensors don’t need to say a word because Hollywood is doing their work for them. This is a massive propaganda coup for the Chinese Communist Party. The story of the film industry’s submission to the CCP is a familiar one. In the past two decades, China has emerged as the world’s largest box office. The CCP has long tightly controlled access to that lucrative market, both through quotas on American films imposed in violation of China’s WTO obligations and a strict censorship regime. Increasingly, Hollywood also relies on Chinese money for financing.
In 2018, films with Chinese investors accounted for 20% of the US box office ticket sales, compared to only 3% five years earlier. But in the long run, as with other Chinese industries, the PRC may be less interested in cooperating with Hollywood than in co-opting Hollywood and eventually replacing it with its own homegrown movie productions. To accomplish this, the CCP has been following its usual modus operandi. By imposing a quota on American films, the CCP pressures Hollywood studios to form joint ventures with Chinese companies who then gain US technology and knowhow.
As one Chinese film executive recently put it, everything we learned we learned from Hollywood. Notably, in 2019, eight of the 10 top grossing films in China were produced in China. Hollywood is far from alone in kowtowing to the PRC. America’s big tech companies have also allowed themselves to become pawns of Chinese influence. In the year 2000 when the United States normalized trade relations with China, President Clinton hailed the new century as one in which liberty will be spread by cell phone and cable modem. Instead, over the course of the next decade, American companies such as Cisco helped the Chinese communist build the great firewall of China, the world’s most sophisticated system for internet surveillance and censorship.
Over the years, corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple have shown themselves all too willing to collaborate with the CCP. For example, Apple recently removed the news app Quartz from its app store in China after the Chinese government complained about the coverage of Hong Kong democracy protests. Apple also removed the apps for virtual private networks, which had allowed users to circumvent the great firewall and eliminated pro-democracy songs from the Chinese music store. Meanwhile, the company announced that it would be transferring some of its iCloud data to servers in China, despite concerns that the move would give the Communist Party easier access to emails, text messages, and other user information stored in the iCloud. Recently, we were able to get into two cell phones used by the Al Qaeda terrorist who shot eight Americans at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. And during the gunfight with him, he stopped, disengaged, put his cell phones down and tried to destroy them, shooting a bullet into one of his two cell phones. And we thought that suggested that there might be very important information about terrorist activities in those cell phones. And for four and a half months, we tried to get in without any help at all from Apple. Apple failed to give us any help getting into those cell phones.
We were ultimately able to get in through a fluke that we will not be able to reproduce in the future where we found communications with Al Qaeda operatives in the Middle East up to the day before the attack. Do you think when Apple sells phones in China, that Apple phones in China are impervious to penetration by Chinese authorities? They wouldn’t be sold if they were impervious to Chinese authorities. And what we’ve asked for is when we have a warrant from a court, that we should be able to get into those cell phones. That’s the double standard that has been emerging among American tech companies.
The CCP has long used public threats of retaliation and barred market access to exert influence. More recently, however, the CCP has also stepped up behind the scenes efforts to cultivate and coerce American business executives to further its political objectives, efforts that are all the more pernicious because they are largely hidden from public view. As China’s government loses credibility around the world, the justice department has seen more and more PRC officials and their proxies reaching out to corporate leaders and inveighing them to favor policies and actions favored by the Chinese Communist Party. Their objective varies, but their pitch is generally the same. The businessperson has economic interest in China, and there is a suggestion that things will go better or worse for them, depending on their response to PRC’s request. Privately pressuring and courting American corporate leaders to promote policies, or US politicians, presents a significant threat. Because hiding behind American voices allows the Chinese government to elevate its influence campaigns and put a friendly face on its pro regime policies. The legislator or the policy maker who hears from these American businessmen is properly more sympathetic to that constituent than to a foreigner.
And by masking its participation in our political process, the PRC avoids accountability for its influence efforts and the public outcry that might result if its lobbying were exposed. America’s corporate leaders might not think of themselves as lobbyists. You might think, for example, that cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship is just part of Guangxi, a system of influential social networking necessary to do business in the PRC. But you should be alert to how you might be used and how your efforts on behalf of a foreign company or government could implicate the Foreign Agents Registration Act. FARA does not prohibit any speech or conduct, but it does require those who are acting as agents of foreign principals to publicly disclose that relationship and their political or other similar activities by registering with the Justice Department, allowing the audience to take into account the origin of the speech when evaluating credibility.
By focusing on American business leaders, I don’t mean to suggest that they’re the only targets of Chinese influence operations, but they are principle targets today of Chinese influence operations in the United States.
The Chinese Communist Party also seeks to infiltrate, censor, or co-opt American academic and research institutions. For example, dozens of American universities host Chinese government-funded Confucian Institutes, which have been accused of pressuring host universities to silence discussion or cancel events on topics considered controversial by Beijing. Universities must stand up for each other, refuse to let the CCP dictate research efforts or suppress diverse voices, support colleagues and students who wish to speak their minds, and consider whether any sacrifice of academic integrity or freedom is worth the price of appeasing the CCP’s demands.
In a globalized world, American corporations and universities alike may view themselves as global citizens, rather than as American institutions. But they should remember that what allowed them to succeed in the first place was the American free enterprise system, the rule of law, and the security afforded by America’s economic, technological, and military strength. Globalization does not always point in the direction of greater freedom. A world marching to the beat of the communist Chinese drum will not be a hospitable one for institutions that depend on free markets, free trade, or the free exchange of ideas.
There was a time when American companies understood this, and they saw themselves as American and proudly defended American values. In World War II, for example, the iconic American company Disney made dozens of public information films for the government, including training videos, to educate American sailors on navigation tactics. During the war, over 90% of Disney’s employees were devoted to the production of training and public information films. To boost the morale of America’s troops, Disney also designed insignia that appeared on planes, trucks, flight jackets, and other military equipment used by American and allied forces. I suspect Walt Disney would be disheartened to see how the company he founded deals with foreign dictatorships today. When Disney produced “Kundun,” the 1997 film about the PRC’s oppression of the Dalai Lama, the CCP objected to the project and pressured Disney to abandon it. Ultimately, Disney decided that it couldn’t let a foreign power dictate whether it would distribute a movie in the United States. But that moment of courage wouldn’t last. After the CCP banned all Disney films in China, the company lobbied hard to regain access and the CEO apologized for “Kundun,” calling it a stupid mistake. Disney then began courting the PRC to open a 5.5 billion theme park in Shanghai. As part of that deal, Disney agreed to give the Chinese government officials role in its management. Of the park’s full-time employees, 300 are active members of the Communist Party, and they reportedly display hammer and sickle insignia on their desks and attend party lectures at the facility during business hours. Like other American companies, Disney may eventually learn the hard way the cost of compromising its principles.
Soon after Disney opened its park in Shanghai, a Chinese-owned theme park popped up a couple of hundred miles away featuring characters that, according to news reports, looked suspiciously like Snow White and other Disney trademarks. American companies must understand the stakes. The Chinese Communist Party thinks in terms of decades and centuries, while we tend to focus on the next quarter’s earning report. But if Disney and other American corporations continue to bow to Beijing, they risk undermining both their own future competitiveness and prosperity, as well as the classical liberal order that has allowed them to thrive. During the Cold War, Lewis Powell, later Justice Powell, sent an important memorandum to the US Chamber of Commerce.
He noted that the free enterprise system was under unprecedented attack and urged American companies to do more to preserve it. “The time has come,” he said. “Indeed, it is long overdue for the wisdom, ingenuity, and resources of American business to be marshaled against those who would destroy it.” So [true] today. The American people are more attuned than ever to the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses, not only to our way of life, but to our very lives and livelihoods, and they will increasingly call out corporate appeasement. If individual companies are afraid to take a stand, there is strength in numbers. As Justice Powell wrote, “Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period years in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.”
Despite years of acquiescence in communist authorities in China, America’s tech companies may finally be finding their courage through collective action. Following the recent imposition of the PRC’s draconian national security law in Hong Kong, many big tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zoom, and LinkedIn reportedly announced that they would temporarily suspend compliance with government requests for user data. True to form, communist officials have threatened imprisonment for noncompliant company employees. We will see if these companies hold firm, and how long they hold firm. We hope they do.
If they stand together, they will provide a worthy example for other American companies in resisting the Chinese Communist Party’s corrupt and dictatorial rule. The CCP has launched an orchestrated campaign across all of its many tentacles in Chinese government and society to exploit the openness of our institutions in order to destroy them. To secure a world of freedom and prosperity for our children and our grandchildren, the free world will need its own version of a whole of society approach in which the public and private sectors maintain their separation, but work together collaboratively to resist domination and to win the contest for the commanding heights of the global economy. America has done that before, and if we rekindle our love and devotion of our country and each other, I am confident that we, the American people, the American government, and American business together can do it again. Our freedom depends on it. Thank you very much.
Seattle Business Owner Announces Move to Texas so His Employees Can Live Free
A businessman has announced that he is moving his billion-dollar company away from the West Coast and down to Texas.
A businessman has announced that he is moving his billion-dollar company away from the West Coast and down to Texas because the coast stands firmly against the business sector not to mention stifles freedoms of all sorts.
Peter Rex, the founder and CEO of Rex Teams, a tech, investment and real-estate firm, was once based in San Francisco. Then, when California became inhospitable, Rex moved his company to Seattle. But that also proved a mistake.
Now Rex says that he is moving his company to Austin, Texas, because his is done with the West Coast.
“We tried San Francisco. We tried the Seattle area. Both were wonderful in their own ways, especially in natural beauty and personal friendships. But both have become hostile to the principles and policies that enable people to live abundantly in the broadest sense,” Rex wrote in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal.
After noting that he is headed to Texas, Rex added “By the end of the year, I hope to move dozens of employees to the Lone Star State and to be ready to hire hundreds more.”
“While uprooting a big part of a billion-dollar company isn’t easy, the decision to move to Texas wasn’t hard. Our staff and their families will be able to flourish to a much greater extent,” he said.
Rex admitted that there is a large pool of possible employees in the tech industry in Seattle and San Francisco. The the bad outweighs the good.
“But the best places to be in tech have now become some of the worst places to raise a family, practice a faith, or even think freely. This hurts my team and the business,” he lamented.
Rex then made a most obvious statement.
“These areas are culturally diverse but increasingly monolithic in terms of ideology,” he wrote. That seems to be stating the obvious, doesn’t it?
Rex concluded by noting that the Seattle CHOP zone and the violent riots that wracked the city was about his final straw.
“The mood in the area was that this experiment in anarchy was acceptable and even praiseworthy. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan even issued a statement commending the ‘First Amendment activities’ of the occupiers,” he wrote.
That wasn’t the only problem. He went on to note that the West Coast was hostile to religion, bad for families, impossibly expensive for home ownership, hostile to freedom of speech and freedom to chose one’s own politics, and seriously inimical to businesses.
Rex concluded saying:
That’s why we’re leaving the West Coast and heading to Texas. When it comes to talent, we’re confident we can attract the best without finding the same homogeneity of views. When it comes to housing, families making $100,000 to $200,000 a year can afford a good-size place. The policy environment in Texas encourages risk-taking and rewards workers. When it comes to schools, there are plenty of great options that don’t confuse indoctrination with education. And on matters of faith and morals, religious belief doesn’t make you a social outcast. In Texas, the quintessential American ideals of family, faith and freedom still reign supreme.
Will it be tough to make this move? You bet. But heading to Texas is the right thing to do for my team and their families, and their outpouring of support has been telling. They want to be in a place where they can live to the fullest extent. And I’m convinced that the sooner they are, the stronger the company will be.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.
Black Business Owner Sobs as His Business is Burned to the Ground by Minneapolis Rioters
A black business owner and firefighter was left sobbing when the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter rioters burned his small business.
A black business owner and former firefighter was left sobbing when the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter rioters burned the small business that he worked himself to the bone to create.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do, I worked so hard to get here, so hard,” businessman Kb Balla told the media.
— kreeche (@FatherKee) May 29, 2020
A GoFundMe page was set up to help Balla and his wife, Twyana, recoup their disheartening loss.
“Scores Sports Bar was set for a grand opening this spring but when COVID-19 hit that was put on pause,” the page tells visitors. “Now, just as Scores was gearing up to welcome customers with updated guidelines from the governor, George Floyd was murdered, and everything changed overnight.”
“Scores Sports Bar was LOOTED, VANDALIZED and DESTROYED 5/27/2020. This black-owned business is left trying to pick up the pieces amidst mourning with the community,” the page laments.
“About the Bar Owners: Kb Balla & his wife Twyana are active members of their community,” the page reports. “KB is a Firefighter on the Brooklyn Center Fire Department and Twyana was a member of the Sounds of Blackness. They have a four beautiful children, and the toll of this entire situation is heavy. KB has been a community entrepreneur for decades and coaches and contributes to the community in which they live.”
This is the foolishness of these rioters.
There ARE NOT “freedom fighters. ” These ATE NOT “protesters for their rights.” These are lawless rioters.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.
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