U.S. House passes bill that would lead to a TikTok ban if Chinese owner doesn’t sell

The U.S. House of Representatives on March 13 passed a bill that would lead to a nationwide ban of the popular video app TikTok if its China-based owner doesn’t sell, as lawmakers acted on concerns that the company’s current ownership structure is a national security threat.

The bill, passed by a vote of 352-65, now goes to the Senate, where its prospects are unclear.

TikTok, which has more than 150 million American users, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

The lawmakers contend that ByteDance is beholden to the Chinese government, which could demand access to the data of TikTok’s consumers in the U.S. any time it wants. The worry stems from a set of Chinese national security laws that compel organizations to assist with intelligence gathering.

Also Read | TikTok is laying off dozens of workers as the tech industry continues to shed jobs in the new year

“We have given TikTok a clear choice,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. “Separate from your parent company ByteDance, which is beholden to the CCP (the Chinese Communist Party), and remain operational in the United States, or side with the CCP and face the consequences. The choice is TikTok’s.”

Only the first step

The U.S. House of Representatives passage is only the first step. The Senate would also need to pass the measure for it to become law, and lawmakers in that chamber indicated it would undergo a thorough review. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he’ll have to consult with relevant committee chairs to determine the bill’s path.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said if Congress passes the measure, he will sign it.

The House vote is poised to open a new front in the long-running feud between lawmakers and the tech industry. Members of Congress have long been critical of tech platforms and their expansive influence, often clashing with executives over industry practices. But by targeting TikTok, lawmakers are singling out a platform popular with millions of people, many of whom skew younger, just months before an election.

Opposition to the bill was also bipartisan. Some Republicans said the U.S. should warn consumers if there are data privacy and propaganda concerns, while some Democrats voiced concerns about the impact a ban would have on its millions of users in the U.S., many of which are entrepreneurs and business owners.

“The answer to authoritarianism is not more authoritarianism,” said Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. “The answer to CCP-style propaganda is not CCP-style oppression. Let us slow down before we blunder down this very steep and slippery slope.”

National security implications

Ahead of the House vote, a top national security official in the Biden administration held a closed-door briefing with lawmakers to discuss TikTok and the national security implications. Lawmakers are balancing those security concerns against a desire not to limit free speech online.

“What we’ve tried to do here is be very thoughtful and deliberate about the need to force a divestiture of TikTok without granting any authority to the executive branch to regulate content or go after any American company,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher, the bill’s author, as he emerged from the briefing.

TikTok has long denied that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese government. The company has said it has never shared U.S. user data with Chinese authorities and won’t do so if it is asked. To date, the U.S. government also has not provided any evidence that shows TikTok shared such information with Chinese authorities. The platform has about 170 million users in the U.S.

The security briefing seemed to change few minds, instead solidifying the views of both sides.

“We have a national security obligation to prevent America’s most strategic adversary from being so involved in our lives,” said Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y.

But Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., said no information has been shared with him that convinces him TikTok is a national security threat. “My opinion, leaving that briefing, has not changed at all,” he said.

“This idea that we’re going to ban, essentially, entrepreneurs, small business owners, the main way how young people actually communicate with each other is to me insane,” Garcia said.

“Not a single thing that we heard in today’s classified briefing was unique to TikTok. It was things that happen on every single social media platform,” said Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif.

Republican leaders have moved quickly to bring up the bill after its introduction last week. A House committee approved the legislation unanimously, on a 50-vote, even after their offices were inundated with calls from TikTok users demanding they drop the effort. Some offices even shut off their phones because of the onslaught.

Lawmakers in both parties are anxious to confront China on a range of issues. The House formed a special committee to focus on China-related issues. And Schumer directed committee chairs to begin working with Republicans on a bipartisan China competition bill.

Senators are expressing an openness to the bill but suggested they don’t want to rush ahead.

“It is not for me a redeeming quality that you’re moving very fast in technology because the history shows you make a lot of mistakes,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

In pushing ahead with the legislation, House Republicans are also creating rare daylight between themselves and former President Donald Trump as he seeks another term in the White House.

Trump has voiced opposition to the effort. He said Monday that he still believes TikTok poses a national security risk but is opposed to banning the hugely popular app because doing so would help its rival, Facebook, which he continues to lambast over his 2020 election loss.

As president, Trump attempted to ban TikTok through an executive order that called “the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China)” a threat to “the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.” The courts, however, blocked the action after TikTok sued, arguing such actions would violate free speech and due process rights.

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#House #passes #bill #lead #TikTok #ban #Chinese #owner #doesnt #sell

France’s fast-fashion ‘kill bill’: Green move or penalty for the poor?

In a bid to combat the “fast-fashion” and “ultra-fast-fashion” brands that have taken France by storm, a young lawmaker from the conservative Les Républicains party has proposed slapping an extra €5 on every fast-fashion purchase in the name of the environment and the French textile industry. But criticism of the bill has been fierce, especially on social media, where some have slammed the draft bill as unfair, saying it will only serve to punish the poor.  

“So gorgeous, so classy!,” 31-year-old conservative lawmaker Antoine Vermorel-Marques exclaims as he films himself pulling out a pair of shoes from a box purportedly ordered from the hugely popular Chinese fast-fashion online giant Shein. “Treated with phthalate, a substance which is an endocrine disruptor that can make us sterile,” he adds as an ironic kicker.

In the parody-like video posted on TikTok in mid-February, Vermorel-Marques unpacks and shows off his great “hauls” in much the same way many of the platform’s fashion and beauty influencers do to promote new products they have purchased or been “gifted” by the brand.

But Vermorel-Marques’s video is hardly meant to promote Shein’s products. It is intended to accompany his draft of a fast-fashion “kill bill” he recently proposed to the National Assembly.

@antoinevermorel42 🛑 Les vêtements à 2€ qui arrivent en avion, contiennent des substances nocives pour la santé et finissent sur les plages en Afrique, c’est non ! Je dépose à l’Assemblée nationale une proposition de loi pour instaurer un bonus-malus afin de pénaliser les marques et pour encourager les démarches plus vertueuses ♻️ #shein#sheinhaul#ecologie#fastfashion#stopshein#pourtoi#fyp @lookbookaly @menezangel_ @loufitlove @lila_drila @cilia.ghass @tifanywallemacq @veronika_cln @lia__toutcourt @iamm_mae.e@IAMM_MAE.E ♬ son original – antoinevermorel

The bill is expected to be debated in the lower house of parliament in the next few months and was drafted to support France’s ailing textile industry which has been hard hit by the country’s growing fast fashion consumption. The bill calls for a €5 penalty for any fast-fashion purchase.

Fast fashion, or the high-speed, low-cost production of the latest trends, has grown so strong in France in recent years that it is threatening the future of many traditional and domestic fashion manufacturers. The average price tag for a piece of Shein clothing is estimated at just €7. Oxfam France describes fast fashion as “disposable”, warning on its website that it has “disastrous social and environmental consequences”.

Although a host of brands fall under the fast-fashion category, Vermorel-Marques is particularly targeting the “ultra-fast-fashion” online retailer Shein. The China-founded but Singapore-based company is estimated to add between 6,000 and 11,000 new offerings to its catalogue every single day. The brand has frequently come under fire for the environmental and social consequences of its throw-away business model, and according to Vermorel-Marques, for “destroying France’s textile industry”.

But it did not take long for the draft bill to whip up a storm, with some likening the €5 penalty to yet another tax primarily penalising the poor as well as restricting their access to affordable and trendy clothes.

‘Another step towards injustice’

Shein, and peers like Temu and Boohoo, have found an appreciative audience among consumers who rarely have to spend more than €10 to fill their wardrobes with the latest trending skirts, tops, trousers or accessories.

“In France, there’s a gap between our convictions, the awareness that we need to make an effort, and acceptance of the measures to combat these issues,” said Cécile Désaunay, director of studies at Futuribles, a consultancy firm that analyses transformative societal, lifestyle and consumption trends.

Désaunay said that this €5 penalty is particularly sensitive “because it touches on what is considered the freedom to consume”.

However, she emphasised that the law is not just meant to punish but also to reward, and would work as a bonus-penalty system that would make sustainable fashion more accessible to everyone.

In an interview with the quarterly narrative journalism publication Usbek&Rica, Vermorel-Marques explained how the system is meant to work: While a fast-fashion shopper would be slapped with a €5 penalty for every purchase, a person buying an environmentally friendly and domestically-produced piece of clothing would instead receive a €5 bonus.

“What is key here is that it’s not another tax,” he said. “We’re not here to take money from you. We’re just saying: ‘If you pollute, you pay. And if you don’t pollute, you win’. It’s a win-win for both the consumer and the planet.”

A supporter of the bill took to the social media platform X to expand on the lawmaker’s argument:

“This isn’t a ‘tax’. Shein, Ali[Express], etc. are already taxed, but what we’re talking about here is a penalty punishing those who participate in fast fashion, and by extension, in the exploitation of people and the increase in waste.”

A worker makes clothes at a garment factory that supplies fast fashion e-commerce company Shein in Guangzhou, China, on July 18, 2022. © Jade Gao, AFP

Désaunay noted it was not the first time the bonus-penalty system has been used to draw up new legislation to encourage more responsible and sustainable consumption behaviour, pointing to, among other things, the bonus offered to French car buyers who opt for less-polluting vehicles, and Sweden’s initiative to reduce the value-added tax on used item repairs.

Although Désaunay said she completely understands peoples’ need to dress themselves, many, and especially younger shoppers, now over-consume thanks to low-cost brands like Shein.

‘I’m poor, but I have values’

“Before, the norm was to have fewer clothes, but that lasted longer. We paid more for them, but we made them last,” Désaunay explained. “Today, we’ve moved away from that mentality. We have clothes that are not as strong, that don’t last as long, and we’re getting used to always having more of them because they cost less.”

On social media, the draft bill has divided users. “Fast fashion for some, the only way to dress for others,” one user wrote, while another stated: “I’m poor, but I have values, I don’t order from these sites! You can be poor and have values!”

Désaunay said that many get trapped in the mindset “that in order to dress cheaply, you have to buy clothes ‘Made in China’, as if there are no other alternatives”. One sustainable alternative, she noted, is simply to turn to second-hand shopping.

“The challenge for the textile industry is that charities and other recycling centres are bursting at the seams with [used] clothes,” she said. “Given the amount of clothes already on this planet, we could still dress humanity for another 100 years even if we stopped making them.”

But despite the many positives related to second-hand shopping, Désaunay said it is still often frowned upon “and even rejected by the poorest in society”, due to the stigma attached to wearing “hand-me-downs”.

According to a report by shopping application Joko, Shein had a 13 percent French market share in value terms at the end of 2023, making it France’s second-favourite online fashion brand. The No. 1 spot, however, was claimed by Vinted, a rapidly growing second-hand clothing platform.

“The fast-fashion mentality is coming to an end,” Désaunay said.

Although the proposed bill has not even been debated yet, she said it will serve as a “pretext to rethink the value of the items we buy”: “If it’s not expensive, it’s because there’s a trade-off. In this case, an environmental trade-off.”  

The fast fashion industry has regularly been shamed for how its business model damages the environment (the cheap and toxic chemical pollutants used in the dyes, as well as the consumption of water and fossil fuels), negatively impacts climate change (CO2 emissions) and how it exploits human rights (forced labour). In a recent report, the French chapter of the environmental grassroots network Friends of the Earth (FoE) estimated that Shein alone produces some 1 million garments per day, which corresponds to between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

But, the group pointed out, brick-and-mortar fast-fashion retailers such as Zara, H&M, Primark and Uniqlo are hardly better. “[What they] don’t do in terms of quantity of new offerings, they make up for in quantity produced, as well disrespect of human rights,” FoE said, noting that these brands have all been accused of either profiting from, or having profited from, forced labour by China’s Uighur population.

In 2022, Shein recorded roughly $23 billion in sales, according to the Wall Street Journal. For 2023, its sales are estimated at nearly $32 billion.

This article was adapted from the original in French.

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How a wave of disinformation is endangering Rohingya refugees in Indonesia

Dozens of photos and videos that have been either “doctored” or taken out of context so as to negatively portray Rohingya refugees have been circulating on Indonesian social media. This wave of disinformation has become so intense that the United Nations is worried about the refugees’ safety – even in Aceh province, which has, historically, been considered very welcoming. Our Observer, an Indonesian journalist who specialises in fact-checking for a publication called Mafindo, has been looking at the rise in online hate speech and fake news targeting the Rohingya.

Hundreds of protesters forced a group of Rohingya refugees to leave their temporary shelter in a parking lot in Banda Aceh, the capital of the Indonesian province of Aceh, on December 27, 2023. Videos show the protesters chanting slogans like “get them out” and threatening the frightened refugees, among them women and children. 

This footage, which was widely circulated both on social media and by media outlets, has shocked the Rohingya community and its advocates. Each year, many Rohingya arrive in makeshift boats on the beaches of this province in the far northern part of Indonesia. Up until now, they were welcomed by locals. 

The Rohingya, a Muslim minority from Myanmar, have long faced persecution in their country, but more than 700,000 of them fled when the Myanmar military began a violent campaign of repression in August 2017. Many of them now live as refugees in Bangladesh, often in dire circumstances. Many Rohingya have been attempting to flee the terrible situations in both Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat. 

Many of these boats are bound for Malaysia. However, few reach their target destination, whether due to poor weather conditions, overcrowding or badly equipped boats.  

Many of the boats end up coming ashore in the Indonesian region of Aceh. More than 1,600 landed there in 2023, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

However, in recent months, it seems like the Rohingyas are no longer welcome in Aceh. A group of locals rejected a boat filled with more than 250 refugees back in November 2023, forcing them back to sea and, since then, there have been other cases of the same kind of response. There have also been other reports of locals physically and verbally threatening refugees. Locals have also accused workers with the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of being part of a human trafficking network. 

The spike in anti-Rohinyga actions is occurring alongside a rise in online hate speech and disinformation about Rohingya on social media in Indonesia. 

The number of photos and videos taken out of context to feed into a negative narrative about Rohingya refugees has exploded on Instagram and TikTok in recent months.

For example, a video that claims to show Rohingya refugees burning down a warehouse has gone viral on TikTok. We did a reverse image search on the footage (click here to find out how) to figure out when this footage first appeared online. Turns out, it actually shows a fire that took place back in 2020 in Cimahi, a town in the Indonesian province of West Java.

This is a screengrab of a video posted on TikTok. The caption, in Indonesian, says, “Rohingyas burned down this warehouse in Aceh because they weren’t given food.” © FRANCE 24 Observers

Another video, which has garnered more than 11 million views on TikTok since December, shows an enormous boat filled with passengers. The caption on the video reads: “Rohingyas are once again being transported from Bangladesh to Indonesia.” In reality, the footage shows a boat that carries out internal voyages within Bangladesh. You can see the name of the boat in the footage and, from there, we were able to find out its itinerary. It turns out that some of the footage of this boat was taken from a Bangladeshi YouTube channel.

This is a screengrab of a video published on TikTok that claims to show a boat filled with Rohingya refugees who have left Bangladesh bound for Indonesia.
This is a screengrab of a video published on TikTok that claims to show a boat filled with Rohingya refugees who have left Bangladesh bound for Indonesia. © FRANCE 24 Observers

‘Fake information linked to hate speech targets people’s emotions’ 

The Indonesian platform Mafindo investigated these two videos and uncovered their origins. Aribowo Sasmito, a journalist with Mafindo, says that there has been a sharp rise in fake information about the Rohingyas online in recent months :

Everything began with a series of TikTok videos that were made to look like they were from the UNHCR. It became so intense that the UNHCR had to speak out to say that these weren’t their videos.

In this thread posted on X, the United Nations in Indonesia warned social media users about fake information about the Rohingya published by accounts pretending to be the UNHCR. These fake accounts claimed, for example, that the UNHCR in Bangladesh gave special passes to Rohingya.


There are also more and more videos on Instagram and TikTok that paint the Rohingyas as ungrateful. 

The problem with these videos is that people allow themselves to be influenced without verifying them, especially anything that reaffirms the narrative that the Rohingya are bad.


There are common themes that emerge in these fake news items. One portrays Rohingyas as ungrateful for the help offered by Indonesians. Another common narrative is that they are all part of a human trafficking network. Another is that they are “fake” Muslims.


Because most Indonesians are very religious, faith is one of the main themes exploited by disinformation and hate speech. 

It is very difficult to dismantle fake information based on hate speech, because it targets people’s emotions. The easiest way to spread disinformation in a religious and family-orientated society like Indonesia is to integrate religion and racism into it.


Some posts compare the Rohingya refugees arriving in Indonesia with the situation in Israel and Gaza – but, in these posts, the Rohingya are portrayed as spoiling the land belonging to Indonesians. 

A fake UNHCR account, for example, seemed to claim that it was going to give the Rohingya an “empty island”. Another fake news item that is supposed to show boats filled with Rohingya refugees is captioned: “The situation in Israel is happening again here.” In actuality, however, the boats shown are Chinese fishing boats.

This is a screengrab of a video posted on TikTok that claims to show boats filled with Rohingya heading towards Indonesia. “Protect our seas from illegal Rohingya refugees,” reads the text.
This is a screengrab of a video posted on TikTok that claims to show boats filled with Rohingya heading towards Indonesia. “Protect our seas from illegal Rohingya refugees,” reads the text. © FRANCE 24 Observers

Some local NGOs are actually starting to believe this negative discourse about the Rohingya. Some of their members believe the narrative that the refugees are ungrateful and badly behaved.  

One reason for the increasingly negative view of the Rohingya in Aceh is an incident that took place in 2021 – three fishermen were imprisoned after they helped 99 Rohingya refugees trapped on a sinking boat. They were sentenced to five years in prison on human trafficking charges. There remains a sense of in injustice in Aceh and sometimes the Rohingya are blamed for this. 

In this impoverished region, the image of the refugees being “ungrateful” has spread quickly, explains journalist Sasmito :


The few isolated cases where a Rohingya refugee has been badly behaved end up being applied to the whole population. When people already have an aversion to another group, then they can be easily incited to share false information that reaffirms their beliefs.

There are also external factions that feed into this narrative, like when Indonesian president Joko Widodo said [in December 2023] that the number of Rohingya in the country had increased because of human trafficking.


In early January, a video clip that was shared more than 200,000 times made it look like the Indonesian president wanted to deport the Rohingya. But in the full speech, which was obtained by fact-checking outlet AFP factuel, Widodo doesn’t talk about deportation. He says that he wants to end human trafficking and that he is committed to providing temporary aid to the Rohingya “while prioritizing the interests of the local community”. 

‘The Rohingya have become scapegoats’  

The anti-Rohingya sentiment is also growing amid a backdrop of heightened nationalism and patriotism, with elections having been held on February 14. Chris Lewa, the president of the Arakan Project, an association dedicated to Rohingya rights, has kept a close eye on the evolution of this anti-Rohingya discourse online: 


When the first boat was prevented from landing [in November], the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement underscoring that Indonesia didn’t sign the 1951 Refugee Convention, which meant that they were under no international obligation to receive the Rohingya. His words have often been cited in anti-Rohingya discourse. 

However, the country does need to respect national laws [Editor’s note: which require the country to accept refugees, including a presidential decree from 2016].

Against the backdrop of presidential elections, the Rohingya have become scapegoats. 

[Faced with the rising tensions] the government said that they want to work with the UNHCR and the IOM but, in this climate, it hasn’t changed anything. Locals keep displacing the Rohingya and some of the Indonesian members of my association don’t want to go into the camps anymore. Some have even faced physical threat. It isn’t like that everywhere though, thankfully, and some villagers are still showing their support to the Rohingya refugees. 


Some journalists and analysts are speaking about what looks like a coordinated “campaign” of disinformation, but have, so far, been unable to determine who might be behind this. 

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Checks & Imbalances: Vivek Ramaswamy’s Driving Obsession

Today we take a close look at Vivek Ramaswamy’s business career – and what it tells us about his political ambitions.

This Surprising Obsession Drives Vivek Ramaswamy And His Presidential Campaign

On what feels like the hottest morning amid the hottest August in recorded history, Vivek Ramaswamy sits coolly on a plush leather couch in his campaign bus, chomping on an apple and brimming with self-belief, reports John Hyatt. Thirty-six hours earlier, the 38-year-old political neophyte was the breakout star in the first Republican presidential debate of the 2024 primary season. “My gut instinct is that I’m going to be the nominee, that I’m going to win the general election in a landslide,” he says, before positing why that could be: “I think I am closer to Trump in 2015 than Trump today is to Trump in 2015. You only get to be the outsider once.”

That’s among the more truthful things he’s in the habit of saying. Eight years ago, Donald Trump turned every American political assumption upside down. He ran for president as a businessman without any political experience, any realistic platform or any repercussions from scandals that would have blown out pretty much every politician, ever. Instead, he was grievance personified, which, combined with uncanny messaging instincts, enabled him to pull an inside straight and punch his ticket to the White House.

MORE FROM FORBESThis Surprising Obsession Drives Vivek Ramaswamy And His Presidential Campaign

Tracking Trump

How Trump, Master Of Avoiding Paper Trails, Finally Got Caught With One

Donald Trump has all kinds of tricks to avoid paper trails. He refuses to use email. He ditches cell phones. He’s famous for tearing documents to shreds, reports Dan Alexander. And when asked about something nefarious, like the inflated net worth statements he sent to lenders over the years, he feigns ignorance, even to authorities: “I didn’t get involved in it very much.”

But it’s hard to both convince lenders that you stand by documents and to persuade prosecutors that you had little to do with those same documents. That explains how Trump landed in his current predicament, accused by New York State of engaging in a years-long fraud by telling banks and insurers he had more money than he actually did. Judge Arthur Engoron sided with prosecutors Tuesday, ruling before the trial had even started that Trump was personally liable for fraud.

MORE FROM FORBESHow Trump, Master Of Avoiding Paper Trails, Finally Got Caught With One

Did Judge Kill The Trump Organization? What Fraud Ruling Means For Ex-President’s Business

A New York judge ordered the dissolution of businesses owned by former President Donald Trump and his associates in a ruling Tuesday that found the ex-president and his company committed fraud—a decision that could have a devastating impact on Trump’s company and its operations in New York, though the full scope of the order still remains to be seen, reports Alison Durkee.

MORE FROM FORBESDid Judge Kill The Trump Organization? What Fraud Ruling Means For Ex-President’s Business

By The Numbers

$17.5 billion

The estimated value of Rupert Murdoch and family’s fortune.


The amount of campaign donations Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) plans to return to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), “in envelopes stuffed with $100 bills,” after the latter was indicted.

At least eight

The number of investigations, criminal cases and lawsuits involving Rudy Guiliani.

From The News Desk

How TikTok Has Exposed Celebrities And Politicians’ Closest Personal Contacts

Beyonce. Ed Sheeran. Charli D’Amelio. The Bidens. Members of Congress. Abortion activists.

They’re just a handful of the high-profile celebrities and public figures whose closest contacts could be searched and scrutinized by nearly any TikTok or ByteDance employee around the world this year with few restrictions, according to people familiar with one of the company’s social graph tools and a trove of internal images, videos, audio and communications related to it that were obtained by Forbes, reports Alexandra S. Levine.

MORE FROM FORBESHow TikTok Has Exposed Celebrities And Politicians’ Closest Personal Contacts

Sen. Robert Menendez Pleads Not Guilty To Bribery Charges

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) pleaded not guilty to three felony counts Wednesday after being indicted for allegedly taking bribes from several New Jersey businessmen, marking Menendez’s second set of criminal charges—as the senator maintains his innocence in the case and refuses to leave Congress, reports Alison Durkee.

MORE FROM FORBESSen. Robert Menendez Pleads Not Guilty To Bribery Charges

Here’s How Much 2024 Presidential Candidate Larry Elder Is Worth

Larry Elder pitches his presidential campaign as an act of personal sacrifice, reports Monica Hunter-Hart. “I’m not flush like some of the other candidates, so this is a big financial hit for me,” says the California media icon, who Forbes estimates is worth $4 million. “I gave up my nationally syndicated column. I gave up my radio show. I gave up my TV show.”

MORE FROM FORBESHere’s How Much 2024 Presidential Candidate Larry Elder Is Worth

Bernie Sanders Has Hauled In $2.5 Million In Book Payments Since 2011

Sen. Bernie Sanders earned $2.5 million from book advances and royalties from 2011 through 2022, according to his annual financial disclosures. During that period, political committees for the Vermont independent bought $843,000 worth of books from his publishers.

MORE FROM FORBESBernie Sanders Has Hauled In $2.5 Million In Book Payments Since 2011


Vivek Ramaswamy named his biotech company Roivant Sciences. What does “Roi” stand for?

a. Radiating overconfidence internally

b. Return on investment

c. Riding on Iowa

d. Rupture of integrity

Check if you got it right here.

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#Checks #Imbalances #Vivek #Ramaswamys #Driving #Obsession

Checks & Imbalances: Mar-A-Lago Sought 380 Foreign Workers, Jim Jordan’s Got $100,000

Today we look at Mar-a-Lago’s staffing whilst Donald Trump had access to America’s secrets.

Mar-A-Lago Sought 380 Foreign Workers During Time Trump Had Access To Classified Documents

Mar-a-Lago looked to employ 380 short-term foreign workers from 2017 to 2022, when Trump had access to classified documents, initially as president and ultimately as a former official living at the club.

Trump pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 37 charges stemming from his retention of government documents, including 102 the FBI allegedly found when they raided Mar-a-Lago in August 2022. According to the indictment, Trump stored classified documents in the ballroom, a bathroom, his bedroom, a storage room and his office. It’s unclear who exactly could get inside those areas, but it would stand to reason that some Mar-a-Lago staff could access them.

Mar-a-Lago relies on foreign nationals to work as servers, cooks and housekeepers. In 2016, the club sought 65 foreign workers. The figure has increased every year since, with the exception of 2020, when the club shut down in the early days of the pandemic and furloughed more than 150 employees. Last winter, Mar-a-Lago sought out 91 foreign workers, according to records filed with the Department of Labor.

The requirements listed on the job orders do not seem particularly strict. For example, the qualifications to be a housekeeper during the 2021 to 2022 season included three months of verifiable housekeeping experience and a drug and background check. The position also required the ability to communicate in English, maintain flexible hours and move 25 pounds. It paid $11.70 an hour.

U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services’ guidelines allow U.S. employers to hire short-term, non-permanent foreign workers if “there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available to do the temporary work.” Foreign nationals from 87 countries are eligible to apply for these jobs via the federal government’s H-2B visa program. Businesses must petition the Department of Labor for permission to hire these workers, listing the number of vacancies they are looking to fill.

If Mar-a-Lago’s reliance on foreign workers seems at odds with Trump’s immigration policy, it’s not. While his White House tried to prevent employers from relying on foreign workers, it targeted permanent employees—not the temporary ones Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties hire.

Representatives of the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment.

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Loose Change

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) earned more than $100,000 in 2022 for his memoir, “Do What You Said You Would Do,” according to a disclosure he filed Wednesday with the House clerk’s office. The payment was first reported by Cleveland.com.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) offers signed copies of Jordan’s book in exchange for a donation of $35 or more. The NRCC reported paying $30,000 in 2022 to Jordan’s publisher, Post Hill Press, a conservative outlet.

“Jordan for Congress did not buy copies of ‘Do What You Said You Would Do,’ but certainly understands why other entities might want to use it as a fundraising tool,” said Kevin Eichinger, a spokesperson for the campaign.

Representatives of the NRCC did not respond to inquiries.


The Michigan Republican Party failed to report $2 million in expenditures and $160,000 in receipts in its original March 2023 report, according to a letter the Federal Election Committee (FEC) sent the state party earlier in June. The Michigan GOP has until July 6 to explain its original oversight. A spokesperson for the committee did not respond to a request for comment.

In response to previous inquiries from the FEC about discrepancies between other original and amended filings, the committee said “any change in activity is a result of an audit conducted by the previous compliance staff” and that the committee is using a new compliance firm.

Did TikTok’s CEO Commit Perjury?

Alexandra Levine, a senior writer at Forbes, joins “Forbes Newsroom” to give updates on the rift between the U.S. government and TikTok.

Continuing Irresolutions

Updates on Checks & Imbalances’ previous reporting

Former Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that his second book will be published in November.

Pence’s political action committee bought $91,000 worth of his literary debut last year. It peaked at No. 2 on the New York Times’ best-seller list and remained ranked for six weeks.


Kari Lake’s debut single, “81 Million Votes, My Ass,” held the top spot on the iTunes Music chart for two days this week. That list measures paid downloads, as opposed to streams, the more popular method to listen to music.

Tracking Trump

Forbes continues to update “Tracking Trump: All The Criminal Cases, Lawsuits And Investigations Involving The Former President.”


“Hours after becoming the first former U.S. president to be charged with a federal crime Tuesday, Donald Trump laid out his defense against the 37-count indictment accusing him of mishandling sensitive government information and obstructing the investigation into his conduct—but his speech included legally fraught arguments and misleading comparisons of his political adversaries’ own legal woes,” reports Sara Dorn.


Trump’s campaign said it raised $6.6 million after news broke of his federal indictment. At least one fundraiser that contributed to that total was held at his Bedminster, N.J. golf course this week, meaning he may have raised some funds for his private business.

Across Forbes


Which of the following is not a false or misleading remark Donald Trump made after his latest indictment?

A. President Joe Biden had him arrested on “fake and fabricated charges”

B. The Bill Clinton “sock drawer” case exonerates Trump

C. The only person with the power to arrest him in the case is the Palm Beach County sheriff

D. The Espionage Act doesn’t apply

Check if you got it right here.

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Dad and daughter duo post ‘dad advice’ for young adults on TikTok | CNN

Sign up for CNN’s Adulthood, But Better newsletter series. Our seven-part guide has tips to help you make more informed decisions around personal finance, career, wellness and personal connections.


In his offline life, Bo Petterson is a dad to his six adult children. But online, he is a father figure to millions.

With the TikTok account @DadAdviceFromBo, one man from Leavenworth, Washington, has shared tips and tricks on navigating adulthood with 2.6 million followers around the world.

Petterson has advice on so many things, including how to change a tire, mow a lawn, patch a hole in drywall, avoid debt and build up credit, and he even offers his perspectives on mental health.

Petterson produces several videos a week, each a maintenance hack or bit of mental health advice that he has gathered from life experiences. But he doesn’t do it alone — his adult daughter, Emily Petterson, is the one behind the camera.

“I think young people feel like we have to do everything ourselves or know everything already. We tend to get overwhelmed by things we haven’t learned,” Emily Petterson said via email. “My Dad does a great job of teaching things concisely but also showing people that whatever is weighing on you is probably an easier solution than you think. You just need someone to light the way.”

Many who follow the account affectionately call Bo Petterson “Dad” in their comments expressing gratitude for his weekly advice.

“Emily, thank you for sharing your dad with us. Bo, thank you for being our dad,” one user commented under a video introducing Emily.

“From someone who lost their dad when she was 5 and a beginning homeowner, I really appreciate your videos! Thank you TikTok Dad,” another posted on a video on spring-cleaning.

Signing off his videos with “Love, Dad,” Petterson’s goal is to help young people feel confident as they find their footing in the world.

“My perspective is that learning to take care of the spaces you occupy, whether it’s your home, car or even your own body, is directly tied to mental well-being,” Petterson said via email. “Too often I find that young people are overwhelmed by adulthood, and I think they just need someone to sit with them and encourage them to take it one thing at a time.”

One of his top-viewed TikToks is his “one simple rule” for backing up a trailer — keep one hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and turn in the direction you want the trailer to go.

To keep a lawn in top shape, Petterson suggested mowing in a different direction each time, so the grass doesn’t start to lean one way. One user commented, “My dad died in November, and I’ve been wanting so badly to ask him how to get the lines in my lawn.”

When you’re unsure if it is time to change your tires, Petterson has a nifty trick using a quarter to check the tire thread. “Put the quarter down, and if you can see the top of Washington’s head, you need new tread. Rotating your tires consistently will help the tread wear more evenly,” he said.


In the mental health space, Petterson consistently reminds his viewers not to get caught up in overthinking about tomorrow’s problems. His positive outlook on life began when he was in his 20s and had to spend the night in his truck after getting two flat tires in the middle of a lightning storm.

“If you think of everything as a lesson, life’s toughest moments are a little less difficult,” Petterson said. “Worry is interest paid on problems yet to happen. If there is nothing you can do about tomorrow’s problems, don’t spend a moment thinking about them or you live the problem twice.”

That attitude helped him a lot when Emily was 18. She had a traumatic brain injury from a soccer game that left her feeling physically and mentally unwell. Her therapist encouraged her to try to do regular things that would distract her from the pain.

“I started taking photos of the quilts my mom makes and posting them to Instagram. My Dad saw that I was up and out of bed, so he built me an entire quilt stand to hang them from to make photographing easier,” Emily Petterson said via email. “That’s when I thought, ‘I should also be sharing how special he is.’ I had no idea it would go anywhere or be helpful to anyone.”

She began recording her dad giving “Dad Advice” to the camera, and those videos were originally meant for her and her siblings. A few days later, she discovered that one of the videos had reached over a million views on TikTok.

Now, the duo continues to record videos inspired by household maintenance that Bo Petterson is already going to do or topics that their followers request. Petterson said he enjoys being able to give back by teaching what he knows how to do.

“I’m just a Dad, not an expert in everything,” Petterson said. “Emily is the reason I started making these videos and the reason I continue to make them. Although I realize now that many others are benefiting from these advice videos, it’s still just Emily and I filming the content and having a few laughs along the way. I will make videos as long as she asks me to.”

As well as his videos do, Petterson said he felt as if he should have taught his own six kids how to repair more things around the house when they were growing up. While parents may agree it is easier to handle repairs themselves, he said it is important to teach children to maintain a house or a car to set them up for success in life.

“One day, as they grow and fly the nest, you will realize they still need you just about as much as they did growing up, just in different ways,” he said. “Forgive yourself for the mistakes and try to be a phone call away as they become parents themselves.”

Both Petterson and his daughter continue to express gratitude for those that have shown support for Emily in her journey to recovery. “Every person who has experienced sickness or deep suffering knows what it feels like to lay in a hospital and wish for a miracle, and this has been my miracle. I am living my miracle because of his videos and the community that supports him,” Emily Petterson said.

“A friend said once, ‘If you’re an adult, you’ve already spent the most amount of time with your parents that you ever will,’ and I feel really lucky that I get to spend so much time with him now.”

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A-Hole Trump Coup Lawyer Sick Of Gross Youngs Voting, What If We Just Made That Totally Impossible?

Cleta Mitchell is one of those old assface white conservative lawyers who turns up like a slug languishing underneath a railroad tie pretty much anytime Republicans are caught doing fascism. Pick up the railroad tie, oh there she is!

The project to overthrow the American government in 2020 and reinstall Donald Trump because white fascists can’t handle the fact that all normal people hate their fucking guts and never want them to have power again? There she is!

Trying to help with the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the will of the actual people in Georgia? There she is! She was literally on Trump’s perfect phone call, where he said to “find” him 11,780 votes. (She had to leave her law firm after that one.)


Ginni Thomas Just A Sweet Christian Lady Who Never Tried To Steal An Election At All, Wait WHAT Texts?

Trump Lawyers F*ck Around And Find Out In Georgia

Trump Makes Conveniently Timed Donation To Mark Meadows’s Employer

Training MAGA idiots to keep a keen (white) eye on the polls to make sure nothing nefarious goes on? There she is! “I don’t care what anybody says. You can tell me I’m ‘the Big Lie.’ Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Actual quote.

But her slug railroad tie action goes way back. Here are a couple of deep cuts, courtesy of JoeMyGod: Back in the days of the Teabaggers, she did some work for the National Organization for Marriage — those viciously bigoted garbage humans — in Minnesota. She’s such a vicious bigot, or at least used to be — maybe she’s woke now! LMAO — that in 2011, she led a campaign to get a gay Republican group called GOProud kicked out of CPAC. Of course, her first husband was gay. So that’s interesting.

But yeah, she’s been around. Her Wikipedia’s got a good rundown of all her slug railroad tie appearances, should you be interested. But back to the present!

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Mitchell gave quite the presentation to an RNC donors retreat in Nashville on what Republicans have got to do to start winning elections again, specifically in 2024. Is it to learn to govern in ways normal people actually support? No, not that. Is it to do things that might make life better for people who are NOT old white racists who are going to die within the next few years? LOL shut up.

A top Republican legal strategist told a roomful of GOP donors over the weekend that conservatives must band together to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters.

Haha of course. These goddamn kids are trying to make decisions about what kind of country they want to live in, and they haven’t even asked Christian fascists’ permission!

Her presentation was called “A Level Playing Field for 2024,” because we guess she decided to go with that old white Republican strategy where they name things the exact opposite of what they are.

Journalist Lauren Windsor taped some of Mitchell’s presentation, and boy howdy:

“What are these college campus locations?” she asked, according to the audio. “What is this young people effort that they do? They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed.”

LOL, old white asshole can’t stop herself from adding completely baseless digs about the youngs being lazy. She was talking to old white assholes after all.

The Post says her presentation was really mad about campus voting in Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Virginia and Georgia, noting that all five states “are home to enormous public universities with large in-state student populations.” Guess how all those states voted in the 2020 election? (Also, weirdly, her presentation said Alaska is one of the eight states that’s going to decide 2024. Something interesting happening up there we should know about? HMMMMM!)

THERE SHE ISN’T! Welcome To Congress, New Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola!

She really wants more “oversight” in Fulton County, Georgia — Republicans always want to do “oversight” in Atlanta, wonder why! — and she doesn’t like that Culinary Workers Union in Nevada and how it organizes ordinary culinary workers to vote for the people they’d like to represent them.

And she’s mad some states will let 17-year-olds register ahead of time if they are going to be 18 on Election Day. (We’re reminded of Kellyanne Conway’s recent freakout that TikTok might have a bad influence on all the Youngs, by peer pressuring them to vote.)

GROOMING! Kellyanne Conway Worried TikTok Influencers Might Groom Kids To Do Dirty Stuff, Like Voting

She hates early voting too, obviously:

“Forty-five days!” she said in a reference to Virginia’s early voting period. “Do you know how hard it is to have observers be able to watch for that long a period?”

We imagine it is indeed very difficult to get enough drooling MAGA grunts to stare menacingly at Black people at the polls to sustain a 45-day effort. Thoughts and prayers.

But yes, it is terrible, the tyranny of making voting easy for eligible young citizens, even those who don’t vote the way white Republican social conservatives would prefer. It’s like they don’t even respect their white fascist elders! (Exactly.) It’s like they don’t even think old Republican garbage has ever contributed anything of value to American society! (Correct.)

Mitchell told her RNC audience that her organization, the Election Integrity Network, “is NOT about winning campaigns,” according to the text of the presentation. But the slidesgave little other rationale for why campus or mail voting should be curtailed. At another point in the presentation, she said the nation’s electoral systems must be saved “for any candidate other than a leftist to have a chance to WIN in 2024.”

“The Left has manipulated the electoral systems to favor one side … theirs,” she wrote in the presentation. “Our constitutional republic’s survival is at stake.”

One-hundred percent projection, but whatever, motherfucker, cry more.

And definitely, keep doing this shit. Keep trying to make it harder for people to vote. That’s the Republican ticket. Piss off the youngs even more.

It’s so pathetic, though, because this just reconfirms what everybody knows, namely that Republicans really don’t have anything to sell that any good and patriotic American wants to buy. Everybody hates their shitty ideas. Everybody thinks they’re fucking weirdos, crying about how the green M&M isn’t fuckable anymore while they shoot guns at Bud Light because it was nice to a transgender person.

FUCKING WEIRDOS! Here’s Tucker Declaring Flawless Victory Over M&Ms That Stole All His Boners, Good Morning

Is This The Right Amount To Get Mad At Beer?

So they have to give presentations in Nashville hotels about how it’s unfair letting young people vote by mail or on their college campus. As if there aren’t mailboxes and polling places all over old balls white Republican neighborhoods in the exurbs.

Keep fuckin’ around, y’all, and ye shall keep finding out.

Here’s a fun Mehdi Hasan video about what a piece of shit Cleta Mitchell is:


The end.

[Washington Post]

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And once that doesn’t exist, I’m also giving things a go at the Mastodon (@[email protected]) and at Post!

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NPR bids farewell to Twitter, but not without flushing their credibility down the toilet some more

Last week, Twitter slapped a “state-affiliated media” label (and later a “government-funded media” label) on NPR’s Twitter page, and it was perfect. Not just because it was accurate, but also because it pissed off NPR. And we’re always here for that.

Well, fast-forward to today, and NPR is so pissed off that they’ve decided to take their ball and go home. Or at least leave Twitter:

More from NPR:

Twitter then revised its label on NPR’s account to “government-funded media.” The news organization says that is inaccurate and misleading, given that NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. It receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yet by going silent on Twitter, NPR’s chief executive says the network is protecting its credibility and its ability to produce journalism without “a shadow of negativity.”

Even if Twitter were to drop the designation altogether, Lansing says the network will not immediately return to the platform.

“At this point I have lost my faith in the decision-making at Twitter,” he says. “I would need some time to understand whether Twitter can be trusted again.” Lansing says individual NPR journalists and staffers can decide for themselves whether to continue using Twitter.

In an email to staff explaining the decision, Lansing wrote, “It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”

NPR has editorial independence or standards? Since when?

Well, NPR is not editorially independent, so … we’re not seeing the issue here.

Truth hurts, NPR.

If NPR doesn’t want to be labeled as government-funded media, then they can just stop accepting government (i.e. taxpayer) funding. Seems pretty simple.

Or, you know, they could just keep lying about who they are:

That first sentence in NPR’s tweet contains multiple lies. “Consequential”? Nope, not really. “Independent”? Not even remotely. “In service to the public”? Puh-leeeze.

It doesn’t. Which just goes to show you how weak — or, rather, nonexistent — NPR’s credibility actually is.

As does this:

NPR is leaving Twitter but totally fine with the CCP, which just so happens to be a huge fan of … state-affiliated media. How ‘about that?


Absolutely insane, and also absolutely shameful:

Twitter doesn’t deserve the privilege of being a home for NPR’s credibility, but TikTok does? Yeah, we’re done here.

And conveniently, NPR is not intellectually honest. Not about journalism, and not about themselves.



NPR CEO’s statement on Twitter ‘state-affiliated media’ label only further solidifies NPR’s hackery

NPR TV critic says Chief Twit Elon Musk could have just spent five minutes listening to their content

Looks like NPR’s getting passive-aggressive after Twitter labeled them ‘state-affiliated media’


Editor’s Note: Do you enjoy Twitchy’s conservative reporting taking on the radical left and woke media? Support our work so that we can continue to bring you the truth.  Join Twitchy VIP and use the promo code SAVEAMERICA to get 40% off your VIP membership!

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Micron Probe May Hurt China’s Efforts To Attract Foreign Investment

Beijing today wound down its latest large-scale military exercises in the waters around Taiwan but overall tension between the U.S. and China remains high. China’s moves followed a high-profile meeting last week between U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in Los Angeles criticized by mainland leaders that claim sovereignty over self-governing Taiwan.

On the commercial front, the semiconductor industry remains an elevated point of stress. Beijing earlier this month announced a cybersecurity review of U.S. chipmaker Micron aimed, it said, at protecting the country’s information infrastructure and national security. The probe comes at a time when China has been seeking to boost foreign investment to accelerate its economic recovery from “zero-Covid” policies that slowed growth.

What’s next for U.S.-China ties and also for the CHIPS Act, the U.S. law enacted last year aimed at reversing the declining American share of global semiconductor production?

To learn more, I spoke on Saturday in the Philadelphia area with Terry Cooke, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a think tank focused on U.S. national security and foreign policy. Cooke, a former career U.S. senior foreign commercial service officer with postings in Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo and Berlin, currently leads ReGen250, a non-profit that focuses on U.S.-China green energy collaboration as well as environmental regeneration initiatives in the tri-state Greater Philadelphia region.

Cooke believes China’s move against Micron will have “a chilling effect for potential foreign investors — definitely on the U.S. business community” at a time when it is trying to win new foreign investments following the end of “zero-Covid” policies at the end of last year that had harmed economic growth. Beijing high-profile efforts to pressure Taiwan militarily may also be counterproductive if Taipei successful builds itself up as “an important force” in a larger, more influential network of democracies. Edited excerpts follow.

Flannery: What do you make of the military exercises around Taiwan this month?

Cooke: There are two ways of looking it. One is that going into the Tsai-McCarthy meeting, the decision had already been made (in Beijing) that this is the new normal, that whenever there is an uncomfortably high-level contact between the U.S. government and the Taiwanese government, we (the Chinese government) are just going to keep demonstrating our ability to militarily squeeze Taiwan through maneuvers of this sort.

There is, however, another way of thinking about it: the way the McCarthy-Tsai meeting was conducted may, in fact, have been the determinant of the maneuvers. Beijing may have been in a wait-and-see mode. They of course issued their standard and predictable verbal denunciations in advance of Tsai’s transit stops.

I think they were waiting to see how low-key the meeting in L.A. with McCarthy would prove to be. The entry through New York was very low-key. The State Department utterances for most of the trip also kept things low-key. And there was ample precedent for this given Tsai’s previous six transit visits to the U.S. so the State Department position was that there was no reason for Beijing to make an issue out of it.

But the optics of McCarthy meeting – with all the diplomatic trappings of a government-to-government meeting save for flags set up on the table – made it look very much like an official meeting. And I don’t think that went over well in Beijing. That could have triggered the decision to trot out the military.

Flannery: So what’s next?

Cooke: Just as the U.S. is maybe on its back foot with the new realities in the Middle East, I think China may be on its back foot in terms of the game of diplomatic recognition when it comes to Taiwan. Yes, Taiwan just lost Honduras on the eve of Tsai’s U.S. trip. Now, Taiwan is down from 14 to 13 countries that it has diplomatic recognition with.

But I think there’s really a more important game in town now than adding up the number of formal diplomatic allies. This new game in town probably started around February 2020 with the Biden administration moving into the White House. To many people’s and particularly Beijing’s surprise, Biden kept Trump’s tough China policy. He also introduced into his speeches and policies a clear and consistent autocracy-vs-democracy contrast.

Within the context of this U.S.-led “reframing” of the global picture, Taiwan now has the opportunity to reposition itself within the team democracy global network of supporters in a way that it’s not strictly about formal recognition and UN membership. It’s about being recognized, and in some ways, held up as an important force in this network of democracies.

Flannery: How will Taiwan’s presidential elections next year affect these three-way ties?

Cooke: From the U.S. governmental standpoint, the outcome – whether it is a victory for Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party or the opposition KMT party – will change hardly at all. This is because the U.S. government’s official position – whether it involves the outcome of an election in Taiwan or changes to the cross-strait status quo initiated by China – is that what the 24 million people of Taiwan choose for themselves is what the U.S. government will support. I don’t think our basic diplomatic posture and our support for Taiwan would change unless there was some evidence — which I would not expect at all — of some malfeasance happening with the election.

Flannery: What do you make of China’s probe into Micron?

Cooke: We can dissect it into several elements. One is a desire for reciprocity and being seen on an equal plane. And so with Biden’s CHIPS Act, and the singling out of TikTok and a lot of different Chinese companies in U.S. security investigations, it’s to be expected that there is going to be some reciprocal action that China is going to want to take to be seen as for purposes of a peer power demanding reciprocity.

That diplomatic posturing is understandable but it does have a chilling effect for potential foreign investors — definitely on the U.S. business community. Close allies in Europe and elsewhere notice it, and it doesn’t help China’s post-pandemic effort to show a welcoming face to foreign investment.

I think there is also a third element of it that is interesting: perhaps as another data-point showing a lack of coordination in Chinese policy and messaging that we see from time to time. And we’re living in a world where nobody is a paragon and the U.S. has its own challenges with coordinating its message. But in China, as we saw recently with ‘wolf-diplomacy’ and the balloon incident, people lower in the governmental hierarchy vie to please their superiors, and end up getting out in front of the intended policy and in front of what would be an optimal coordinated policy for China. And I’m wondering personally whether Micron might be an instance of that.

Flannery: Speaking about both semiconductors and Taiwan, does the U.S. rely on Taiwan too much for chips?

Cooke: It’s actually in almost everyone’s interest at this point to have a greater degree of global diversification. It’s outright dangerous to have close to 90% of production of the most advanced semiconductors taking place only 90 miles away from the Chinese mainland.

Flannery: Does the CHIPS Act go far enough in striking a new balance?

Cooke: Before the CHIPS Act, TSMC was already taking steps (to diversify from Taiwan). There are currently moves afoot in Germany for automotive chip production — not the most advanced chips in the world — but also with Japan for consumer electronics and with Arizona for an advanced generation of chips. (See related post here.) For the foreseeable future, production of ultra-advanced chips will stay in Taiwan. But I think a lot of production capacity for quite advanced chips is being pushed out of Taiwan to these other global nodes.

The CHIPS Act is to my mind pretty fascinating. As a response to China’s Made-In-China-2025 ambitions and its military upgrading, it’s a bulls-eye in my view. But, as a policy undertaking in the U.S. domestic context, it is something of a potential third rail in the sense that just as a country, we’ve never been comfortable or particularly skilled at industrial policy. And it is clearly industrial policy.

Interestingly, I think there is enough bipartisan support right now that the industrial policy-political debate on Capitol Hill is not the traditional debate of “no industrial policy” versus, let’s say, the Clinton era’s “auto industrial policy for Japan.” Nobody at this point seems to be openly challenging the need for an industrial policy response to China’s advantaged technology challenge.

So the debate currently is one about “clean” industrial policy versus industrial policy with a lot of social agenda items folded into it, like childcare support for workers. (Either way) it is important as a signal to the market about us government resolve.

Flannery: Is it enough? And if it’s not enough, what’s the next step?

Cooke: If in version one, the sum had been significantly higher than $52 billion, it would have been almost setting itself up for failure, because there are so many things that can go wrong in operationalizing and implementing something like this.

By analogy in the military sphere, we have put in a very robust sanctions regime against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. But it was kind of uncharted territory. There’s been a lot of analysis about what’s been working and what hasn’t been working. We’re groping our way forward and want to keep some powder dry.

The CHIPS Act is similar in the commercial sphere — kind of uncharted territory. One of the things it is going for is that Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is an astute leader of the process. In the current political environment, any sign of dropping the ball would be pounced on. What is actually more important than the amount of money is the fact that it has happened in an initial iteration. There can be subsequent iterations, but it’s important to operationalize the first iteration as well as possible and to learn from that process to inform a potential second iteration.

Flannery: There is controversy about social goals being attached to it.

Cooke: The Act was passed by Congress last year, and it went into a kind of holding period where no one knew what the process was going to be for a company to apply. When the guidelines were only recently announced, it became clear that there was quite a lot of conditionality put to the ability of a company to apply. One set of conditions has to do with an applicant limiting its China business for a 10-year period. Another quite different set has to do with an awarded company providing childcare for its employees.

I think the criticism about these conditions is a fairly predictable output from the Washington DC political meat grinder. Because these are tax-payer dollars, the back-and-forth is highly political. Placing limitations on future China business for awardees makes sense to the average American voter. However, those limitations raise serious concerns for the CEO of a sizable company that doesn’t want to decouple from the China market, but does want to accessing CHIPS Act support. On the separate issue of childcare, this requirement is meant as an incentive to help overcome the problem of a shortage of chip production workers in the U.S but it obviously becomes a red meat talking point for politicians who position themselves as anit-woke in U.S. culture wars skirmishing.

This goes back to what we were talking about before with Micron. China is currently unable to respond in a meaningfully reciprocal way when the U.S. does things like put Chinese billionaires onto an entities list. They just don’t have a global finance tool that is anywhere near as sharp and strong as is found in the U.S. Treasury toolkit. For the U.S., putting companies on an entities list works— it catches the attention of targeted individuals and there is an important and broad public messaging dimension to it as well. Of course, to make sanctions really bite, there’s a lot of operationalization that needs to happen, but frequently doesn’t happen.

What I personally believe is: China’s main effort now is to try to knock the dollar off its post-World War II throne. Others have tried and failed and it will be a hard thing for China to pull off. But I believe that’s this the main thrust of their effort and the primary aim of a long-term, patient strategy.

See related posts:

More Than Half Of Americans Lack Confidence In Biden Ability To Deal Effectively With China — Pew Research

U.S. Businesses Look To De-Risk, Not Decouple, Their China Ties

U.S.-China Collaboration Could Cut Development Time, Cost For New Cancer Treatments

TSMC Will Triple Arizona Investment To $40 Billion, Among Largest Foreign Outlays

Taiwan’s Biggest Silicon Wafer Maker Eyes U.S. Solar Industry Investment


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No way does CNN tech journo believe his own BS about how ‘TikTok ban rhetoric’ is inherently racist

So, do you guys remember way back in the early days of the COVID pandemic when Democratic politicians tried to show us how tolerant and progressive and un-racist they are by encouraging people to pretend that the virus didn’t originate in China? Remember when the best way to show solidarity with the Asian American community was to hang out in large groups at Chinese restaurants? Remember how if you chose to bury your head in the sand, it meant that you were tolerant, and if you didn’t, it meant that you were racist?

Well, we’ve moved on somewhat from those days, but don’t for a second think that liberals won’t still find anti-Asian bigotry where it doesn’t exist in order to score political points. And that brings us to CNN tech reporter Brian Fung, who wants to make sure that we know that opposition to TikTok is ultimately rooted in racism against Asians, or at least has fanned the flames of racism against Asians:

Fung writes:

That rhetoric surged again this week as a hostile House committee grilled TikTok CEO Shou Chew for more than five hours on Thursday about the app’s ties to China through its parent company, ByteDance. After lawmakers repeatedly accused Chew, who is Singaporean, of working for the Chinese government and tried to associate him with the Chinese Communist Party, Vanessa Pappas, a top TikTok executive, condemned the hearing as “rooted in xenophobia.”

A top TikTok executive framed questioning of Shou Zi Chew as xenophobic? Oh, well, then it must be xenophobic. Because clearly a top TikTok executive would have no ulterior motives in accusing opponents of TikTok of racism.


But even in discussing the Chinese government’s real, demonstrated risks to US security, the way that some Americans describe those dangers is counterproductive, needlessly provocative and historically inaccurate, said Rep. Andy Kim, a New Jersey Democrat and a member of the House select committee. Even the name “Chinese Communist Party” can itself prime listeners to adopt a Cold War mentality — a framework whose analytical value is dubious, Kim argued.

“A lot of my colleagues, especially on the select committee, use rhetoric like, ‘This is a new Cold War,’” said Kim. “First of all, it’s not true: The Soviet Union was a very different competitor than China. And it’s framed in a very zero-sum way … It’s very much being talked about as if their entire way of life is incompatible with ours and cannot coexist with ours, and that heightens the tension.”

Referring to the Chinese Communist Party as the “Chinese Communist Party” is offensive? OK, yeah. These are not serious people we’re dealing with. So naturally these are the people CNN is focused on.

Oh yeah. Brian apparently doesn’t want to be bothered with responses to his stupid tweet and stupid article:


We have to conclude that Brian doesn’t expect anyone to take him seriously as a journalist.

How can anyone actually believe that?

All of it. All of it is contrived narrative.

Stop making sense, Sean!

Sure sounds like it. Is it racist to point that out, CNN?

Is there anti-Asian bigotry in this country? Absolutely. Look no further than what’s happening to qualified, high-achieving Asian and Asian American students who are being rejected for admission by elite colleges in favor of lesser qualified applicants. Look no further than the uptick in violent attacks on Asians in places like New York and California. And weirdly, outlets like CNN don’t seem to be nearly as concerned about that (unless they can twist it against conservatives somehow, of course).

So spare us your outrage, Brian Fung. Spare us your outrage, CNN.

When you’re regurgitating CCP talking points, you’ve already lost.



WaPo tech journo asserts with zero evidence that there’s ‘zero evidence’ TikTok is a ChiCom spy tool


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