White House Prods Companies on Chips Information Request

WASHINGTON—The White House pressed automakers, chip companies and others on Thursday to provide information on the ongoing semiconductor crisis that has forced cuts to U.S. auto production, and to take the lead in helping solve it.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who along with Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, met on Thursday with semiconductor industry participants, told Reuters that strong action was needed. “It’s time to get more aggressive,” she said. “The situation is not getting better; in some ways it is getting worse.”

Participants in Thursday’s meeting, which followed meetings in April and May, included Detroit’s Big Three automakers, plus Apple, Daimler, BMW, GlobalFoundries, Micron, Microsoft, Samsung, TSMC, Intel, and Ampere Computing.

The White House said the administration “reaffirmed that industry needs to be in the lead in resolving the supply chain bottlenecks that are occurring due to the global chip shortage.”

Raimondo said a voluntary request on Thursday for information within 45 days on the chips crisis would boost supply chain transparency and “get more granular into the bottlenecks and then ultimately predict challenges before they happen.”

She warned that if companies did not answer the voluntary request “then we have other tools in our tool box that require them to give us data. I hope we don’t get there. But if we have to we will.”

Automakers from General Motors Co. to Toyota Motor Corp. to Chrysler parent Stellantis NV have slashed output and sales forecasts due to scarce chip supplies, made worse by a COVID-19 resurgence in key Asian semiconductor production hubs.

Stellantis Chief Executive Carlos Tavares, who participated in the White House virtual meeting, said the automaker will cooperate with the information request, but added in a statement that “broad participation from the entire semiconductor supply chain will be critical for these efforts to be successful.”

TSMC said in a statement after the meeting that the company was supporting and working with all stakeholders to overcome the shortages, and that the it had taken “unprecedented actions to address this challenge”.

“We are confident that our capacity expansion plan including the advanced 5nm semiconductor fab in Phoenix, Arizona—one of the largest foreign direct investments in U.S. history—will enable us to support the industry in driving long-term stability in semiconductor supplies,” it said.

TSMC has pledged to spend $100 billion over the next three years to expand chip capacity amid the global shortage.

Some attendees told Reuters privately they were concerned the transparency measures could require disclosing pricing information that many companies regard as corporate secrets.

Raimondo also delivered the message to the companies privately that the government would mandate information sharing if necessary.

The White House also said several U.S. agencies would manage a new early alert system “to proactively manage potential semiconductor supply chain disruptions linked to public health developments in key trading partners.”

Participants were concerned about how to disclose such information while still complying with reporting requirements of publicly traded companies, a participant said.

By David Shepardson, Stephen Nellis, and Alexandra Alper


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EPA Dismisses Oversight Request On Appointee’s Chinese Ties

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stonewalling Republican lawmakers on a request for documents and communications between Deputy Administrator for Science Policy Dr. Chris Frey and his prior Chinese employer.

Frey, a Trump critic and former employee of the agency under both the Obama and the Trump administration before he was fired in 2018, captured attention on Capitol Hill when he returned to the EPA in a senior-level position without quitting his job at a Hong Kong university. Frey’s resume also includes prior work for the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department.

“Instead of resigning his position with [Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)], he is only taking a leave of absence, indicating Dr. Frey intents to return to work for HKUST after his service in the Biden administration,” wrote a group of five House Republicans in a September letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “At a time when the Biden administration is pushing for costly climate change ‘solutions’ that benefit China, it raises questions about why a senior EPA official has such strong ties to China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”

The GOP lawmakers on the House Subcommittee on Environment gave the administrator a Sept. 21 deadline to respond. A spokesman in New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell’s office confirmed to The Federalist Thursday the agency has so far dismissed the request with no response.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced Frey’s nomination to serve as assistant administrator of the Office of Research and Development, seven months after his return to the EPA in February. The office has not had a Senate-confirmed chief in nearly a decade.

“The Biden administration has always shown little regard for America’s energy independence and national security,” Herrell told The Federalist. “Staffing the highest levels of the EPA with individuals closely tied to China continues these twin failures.”

The government watchdog Protect the Public Trust (PPT) was the first group to unearth Frey’s May 11 ethics recusal statement through a Freedom of Information Act request with the findings made public in August. EPA leadership, the group wrote, permitted Frey to maintain an affiliation with HKUST in an unpaid status “despite the Department of Justice’s determination that such relationships are akin to working for a foreign government.”

“It’s generally expected that political appointees completely break ties with private entities and foreign governments in order to serve the American public,” said PPT Director Michael Chamberlain, characterizing the university as “an arm of the Chinese government.”

While Hong Kong operated for decades as a semi-autonomous region distanced from Beijing, Chinese leaders have stripped the territory of much of its independence with an aggressive crackdown since 2019.

Larry Behrens, the communications director for the energy non-profit Power the Future, said lawmakers had all the more incentive to raise questions about Chinese influence within the nation’s pre-eminent environmental agency as the Biden administration’s energy agenda focuses on ramping up production of fossil fuels abroad while suppressing it at home.

“These leaders are doing the right thing by asking important questions because we deserve to know if there is suspicious influence impacting public officials,” Behrens told The Federalist. “There is no doubt many of the policies put forth by the Biden administration, and decisions by the EPA in particular, appear to promote foreign energy industries at the expense of our workers here at home.”

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Capitol Police Request National Guard Troops for September 18 Rally

Members of the National Guard patrol near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 19, 2021. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Capitol Police have requested a military presence in Washington, D.C., ahead of Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally in support of people who were charged with crimes related to the Capitol riot.

The department told Reuters it had asked the Department of Defense “for the ability to receive National Guard support should the need arise on September 18.”

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday that the department has “received a request from the Capitol Police for some assistance for this weekend’s scheduled protest.”

He said Pentagon officials are considering the request, and “if it can be validated and supported, we’ll do that.”

Asked how many personnel the Capitol Police requested, Kirby said only that “it is not an exorbitant ask.”

“It’s not of a particularly large size or major capability,” he said. “I think it’s really more in the form of some manpower support.”

The request comes as law enforcement works to being overwhelmed by demonstrators, s was the case when a pro-Trump mob rioted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Capitol Police had not requested backup from the National Guard on January 6 until after the Capitol had been breached.

Roughly 700 people are expected to attend the rally, according to a prediction by an official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Law-enforcement officials are reportedly preparing for potential unrest at the demonstration as violent rhetoric surrounding the rally has spread online, according to an internal Capitol Police memo obtained by CNN. Capitol Police and law enforcement are preparing for some of the demonstrators to be armed, a source reportedly told the Associated Press.

Officials are preparing for the rally by taking additional security measures around the Capitol. The U.S. Capitol Police board has approved the department’s request to reinstall temporary fencing around the Capitol a day or two before the event.

If “everything goes well,” it will come down “very soon after,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told reporters on Monday. The department has also issued an emergency declaration to allow the force to deputize outside law enforcement as “special” Capitol Police officers during the rally.

The Metropolitan Police Department is monitoring and assessing event planning and will increase its presence around Washington, D.C., The Hill reported.

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Chinese president Xi snubbed Biden’s request for summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping snubbed President Biden’s request last week for an in-person summit to smooth over relations that were soured by Chinese human rights abuses and secrecy about the origins of COVID-19, according to a new report.

Biden told Xi on Thursday during a 90-minute call that he wanted to have the meeting to achieve better relations, but Xi “did not take him up on the offer and instead insisted Washington adopt a less strident tone towards Beijing,” Financial Times reports.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday declined to say at her daily press briefing if Biden pressed Xi during the call for Chinese transparency on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic after the US intelligence community last month found it was “plausible” that the virus leaked from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected President Biden’s offer for a summit.
(Li Xueren/Xinhua via AP, File

The snub was reported the same day as shocking details were published from a book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, who wrote that the highest-ranking US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, made secret calls to his Chinese counterpart in the final months of the Trump administration.

“If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise,” Milley allegedly told Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army on Oct. 30, which critics called a stunning move that undermines civilian control of the US military.

US-China relations were tense for much of the Trump administration — even before the COVID-19 pandemic — as then-President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods in an effort to force trade reforms.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley
Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley reportedly made secret calls to his Chinese counterpart in the final months of the Trump administration.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The Trump administration last year sanctioned Chinese officials for eliminating Hong Kong’s political autonomy and for the mass-detention of Uyghur Muslims.

Trump also withdrew from the World Health Organization, saying it credulously accepted false Chinese data about the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, allowing the virus to spread. This year, Biden rejoined the WHO without insisting on reforms.

Trump claimed during the presidential campaign last year that China would “own” the US if Biden won, in part because of his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China.

A hooded suspect is accompanied by a police officer to search evidence at office in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021.
US-China relations have been strained by Chinese human rights abuses and secrecy about the origins of COVID-19.
AP Photo/Vincent Yu

The first son reportedly still owns 10 percent of an investment fund controlled by Chinese state-owned entities. The fund was formed 12 days after Hunter Biden joined his father aboard Air Force Two for a December 2013 trip to Beijing.

A 2017 email recovered from a hard drive formerly belonging to Hunter Biden described a 10 percent set-aside for “the big guy” as part of a prospective deal involving a Chinese energy company. That deal did not materialize, but former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski identified the elder Biden as the “big guy.”

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Lahey Hospital Denies Deathly Ill Woman’s Request for Life-Saving Treatment Prescribed by Frontline Doctors

Lahey Hospital Denies Deathly Ill Woman’s Request for Life-Saving Treatment Prescribed by Frontline Doctors – Protest Planned for Today

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Bader Family Foundation sues U.S. Commission on Civil Rights over public records request

A lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for allegedly violating public records laws to protect former Chair Catherine Lhamon, who is President Biden‘s pick for a top civil rights post in his administration.

The Baden Family Foundation, a conservative-leaning nonprofit focused on civil rights, filed the lawsuit after the commission in August rejected a Freedom of Information Act request filed in February for the outgoing emails of Ms. Lhamon and another USCCR official from the last six months of 2020.

The lawsuit comes after the USCCR ignored several statutory deadlines for providing the records, according to the suit.

The commission’s refusal to turn over public records reflects what has increasingly become the default position of many government officials and agencies, according to attorney Hans Bader and other watchdog groups that must routinely turn to the courts to enforce compliance.

“They try to redact everything and delay the administrative process, then you have to jump through the hoops of administrative appeals and then you have to sue,” Mr. Bader said. “The government’s incentive is to stretch it out as much as possible and assert privileges.”

One appointed USCCR commissioner, who spoke to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity, said the staff has not informed the board about the decision to reject the public records request or the lawsuit.

“You’d think they would inform the commissioners about a lawsuit and we wouldn’t have to read about it in The Washington Times,” the commissioner said. “This pushes the outer limits of what is typical but the staff thinks they are the commissioners and this is just another example of that.”

Ms. Lahmon’s nomination to head the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, a position she also held in the Obama administration, has stalled in the Senate over Republican concerns about the actions she took the last time she held the job. At that time, her “informal” guidance caused most colleges to strip protections from accused students.

“We believe her talking with outside lobbying groups and other individuals outside the federal government would be of enormous public interest in showing how policy is being crafted,” said Mr. Bader, who represents the Baden Foundation.

The USCCR declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The foundation requested outgoing emails from Ms. Lhamon and Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, a former commission executive the Biden administration has since appointed to a civil rights position in the Department of Homeland Security. The foundation tailored its request to the last six months of 2020 at the commission’s request, and the FOIA did not seek internal emails.

“All kinds of conflicts of interest may come up in the outgoing emails to people outside the commission, which would not be covered by deliberative FOIA protections,” Mr. Bader said. “Obviously, that would be of interest to the public.”

While in the Obama administration’s education department, Ms. Lhamon sent a “Dear Colleague” letter in 2011 to all colleges and universities that receive federal funds. The letter encouraged schools to adopt far less stringent standards of guilt in sexual misconduct cases and carried the implication federal funding could be threatened if schools did not comply.

Consequently, many public and private universities went with a “more likely than not” standard as opposed to “clear and convincing” evidence, a formulation that stacks the deck and led to widespread administrative chicanery against accused students, according to reports by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and other watchdog groups.

Ms. Lhamon’s nomination has been interpreted as a signal the Biden administration will seek to strip the new regulations former President Trump’s Education Department passed through legal channels last year. Those regulations were designed to restore constitutional protections to accused students in campus proceedings, according to supporters.

Battles over Title IX have recently broken out on other fronts where Ms. Lhamon would be expected to define policy if she were confirmed. Last week, 20 states led by Tennessee sued the Department of Education over its June expansion of groups that could be discriminated against under Title IX to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

The National Association of Scholars, a conservative higher education group, supported the lawsuit, calling the Biden administration’s new definitions “a wholesale transformation of the law pulled out of thin air.”

On the FOIA lawsuit, federal agencies are required to respond within 20 working days of receiving a records request, a clock that began in the foundation’s request on Feb. 1, according to the lawsuit.

The USCCR did not respond at all until March 26, well past the statutory deadline, when it asked the foundation to tailor its request. After the foundation did so, the commission then first rejected the request on April 26, claiming “the request fails to describe the information sought.”

Mr. Bader said that reasoning is specious on its face, given the increasingly specific descriptions the foundation provided to its FOIA requests.

Taking a FOIA request all the way to court is a measure not available to much of the public, which also explains why increasingly government actors do their utmost to shield records from public oversight, said Tom Fitton, the executive director of Judicial Watch.

“Their default position is to ignore a FOIA request,” Mr. Fitton said, noting Judicial Watch has been forced to file “literally hundreds of lawsuits” to enforce compliance with federal public records laws.

Agencies don’t take transparency seriously,” he said. “The vesting state of the bureaucracy is secrecy and you have to sue to get the time of day.”

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White House Announces Biden Will Defy Request from 9/11 Victim’s Family

President Joe Biden will mark the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America by visiting the three sites where the strikes occurred, the White House announced on Saturday, effectively ignoring the warning from a son of a 9/11 victim that Biden stay away from any ground zero memorials.

Nic Haros Jr. — whose mother Frances, 76, died at the World Trade Center — made the comments, including referring to Biden as “killer-in-chief,” Monday on “Fox & Friends,” largely in response to Biden’s botched withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan that saw 13 American service members killed in a terrorist bombing at the airport in Kabul.

Biden came under further negative scrutiny for appearing to check his watch several times during the dignified transfer of the fallen service members at a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

The comments by Haros echoed those made last month by family members of 9/11 victims who asked Biden not to attend any memorial events unless he declassified documents related to the attacks.

Many victims’ families are seeking the records in hopes of implicating the Saudi Arabian government in the 9/11 attacks. Fifteen of the 19 attackers were Saudi citizens.


The Special Plan the Taliban Has for September 11th

On Friday, Biden ordered the Department of Justice to review documents from the FBI’s investigation into the attacks in preparation for declassification and release, pledging his administration “will continue to engage respectfully with members of this community.”

The order requires Attorney General Merrick Garland to make the declassified documents related to the FBI probe public over the next six months.

The six-month timeline did not sit well with Haros, who reiterated his call for all such documents to be declassified by Sept. 11.

“I am demanding that President Biden dare not show his face at ground zero on 9/11. It is now holy ground, and I really don’t think he has a place there,” Haros said.

Should Biden stay away from the 9/11 memorial sites?

He referenced last month’s hurried and haphazard exit from Afghanistan that left Americans and allies stranded in-country, speculating that the U.S. military’s retreat would end up as “Afghan war 2.0.”

“It’s shameful for him, I think, to use the dead bodies as a political prop for his so-called victory lap. He is insensitive, and he shows no compassion to the families,” Haros said.

Saturday’s upcoming anniversary comes less than two weeks after the end of the U.S. military’s nearly two-decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan weeks after the 9/11 attacks to deny the nation as a base of operations to the al-Qaida terrorists who carried out the attacks and the Taliban government that sheltered them.

Biden has faced intense criticism for the chaotic evacuation of U.S. and allied forces from Afghanistan during the final two weeks of August, essentially gifting the nation back to the Taliban on the eve of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.


College Football Fans Recreate Stirring 9/11 Tribute from 2001

Nevertheless, plans call for Biden and first lady Jill Biden to visit New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as part of ceremonies commemorating the deadliest-ever terrorist attacks on the continental United States, according to The Washington Post.

On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 hijackers crashed passenger planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, where United Flight 93 was forced down by passengers and crew members attempting to regain control of the plane.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks.

Brett Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University, has written for newspapers, public policy organizations, a major humanitarian institution and a software company. Brett lives in Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle.

Brett Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University, has written for newspapers, public policy organizations, a major humanitarian institution and a software company. Brett lives in Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle.

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Texas “Heartbeat” Law Takes Effect; Abortions After 6 Weeks ARE NOW ILLEGAL After SCOTUS Ignores Emergency Request to Block Law

BREAKING: Texas “Heartbeat” Law Takes Effect; Abortions After 6 Weeks ARE NOW ILLEGAL After SCOTUS Ignores Emergency Request to Block Law

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McCarthy threatens companies that comply with January 6 committee’s request for phone records

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is threatened to use the power of a future GOP majority in the chamber to punish companies that comply with the now-Democrat-controlled January 6 panel.

“A Republican majority will not forget,” said McCarthy said Tuesday.

The California Republican highlighted efforts by Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, California, and panel Chairman Bennie, Mississippi, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for “attempts to strong-arm private companies to turn over individuals’ private data.”

The so-called “select” panel, which has subpoena powers, is moving toward obtaining phone records by requesting that a number of telecommunications giants save records related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach.

“We’ve asked companies not to destroy records that may help answer questions for the American people. The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation,” said a committee spokesperson.

The select committee has not publicly identified any specific targets of the data probe but has indicated that congressional lawmakers are among potential targets. The Democrat-led and appointed committee are attempting to glimpse a more complete picture of the communications that took place Jan. 6 between then-President Donald Trump and members of Congress.

“If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States. If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law,” McCarthy said.

Schiff responded to McCarthy’s words by saying, “He’s scared. And I think his boss is scared,” referring to former President Trump. “They don’t want the country to know exactly what they were involved in.”

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Ivermectin and Coronavirus: Ohio Judge Orders Hospital to Honor COVID Patient’s Request

(Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

An Ohio judge has ordered a local hospital to treat a coronavirus patient with the drug ivermectin, despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to use the drug against COVID-19.

Common Pleas Judge Gregory Howard of Butler County ordered West Chester Hospital to treat patient Jeffrey Smith with ivermectin on August 23, following a petition by the patient’s wife Julie, the Ohio Capital Journal reported. The order forces the hospital to administer 30 mg of ivermectin per day to Smith, who tested positive for coronavirus in mid-July and was sedated and put on a ventilator on August 1.

The order is one of several across the U.S. compelling doctors to use ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients who requested it, despite a lack of evidence that the drug is effective for treatment.

Ivermectin was initially developed as a deworming drug for farm animals, while a version for humans was developed in recent years to treat head lice and other parasitic diseases. However, poison control centers across the U.S. have seen an uptick in calls from people taking the livestock version of ivermectin in an attempt to treat coronavirus.

“Clinical trials and observational studies to evaluate the use of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19 in humans have yielded insufficient evidence for the” National Institutes of Health “to recommend its use,” the CDC states on its website.

The “FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans….Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses),” the FDA states in a warning against using the drug, adding “Never use medications intended for animals on yourself.”

The Together Trial, a study for potential coronavirus therapeutics including ivermectin, had its study of ivermectin stopped by a data safety review board because the drug performed no better than a placebo.

“The data safety person said, ‘This is now futile and you’re offering no benefit to patients involved in the trial,’” Dr. Edward Mills, a professor at McMaster University and head of the ivermectin trial, told the New York Times.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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