Bank Investigator Flagged ‘Unusual’ Chinese Payments behind $40k Check to Biden, Raised Possibility of Influence Peddling

A bank money-laundering investigator expressed serious concerns about a transfer of funds from China that ultimately trickled down to President Biden in the form of a $40,000 check from his brother, James Biden, according to an email obtained by the House Oversight Committee.

Biden received a $40,000 personal check from an account shared by his brother, James Biden, and sister-in-law, Sara Biden, in September 2017 — money that was marked as a “loan repayment.” The alleged repayment was sent after funds were filtered from Northern International Capital, a Chinese company affiliated with the Chinese energy firm CEFC, through several accounts related to Hunter Biden and eventually down to the personal account shared by James and Sara Biden.

Northern International Capital sent $5 million to Hudson West III, a joint venture established by Hunter Biden and CEFC associate Gongwen Dong on August 8.

On the same day, Hudson West III then sent $400,000 to Owasco, P.C., an entity owned and controlled by Hunter Biden. Six days later, Hunter Biden wired $150,000 to Lion Hall Group, a company owned by James and Sara Biden. Sara Biden withdrew $50,000 in cash from Lion Hall Group on August 28 and then deposited the funds into her and her husband’s personal checking account later that day. 

On September 3, 2017, Sara Biden wrote a check to Joe Biden for $40,000.

An unidentified bank investigator sent an email on June 26, 2018 to colleagues raising concerns about money sent from Hudson West III to Owasco P.C. The email said the $5 million in funds sent from Northern International Capital to Hudson West III were primarily used to fund 16 wire transfers totaling more than $2.9 million to Owasco PC. The wires were labeled as management fees and reimbursements.

“We find it unusual that approximately 58 percent of the funds were transferred to the law firm in a few months and the frequency of payments appear erratic,” the investigator wrote in the email, which the committee shared with National Review.

The investigator said Hudson West III “does not currently have any investment projects at this time, which raises further concerns as millions in fees are being paid but does not appear to have any services rendered by Owasco PC.”

The email also points to news at the time that indicated China had been targeting children of politicians and purchasing political influence through “sweetheart deals.”

“Specifically, Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion dollar deal with the Chinese-State to establish a private-equity firm in which they manage the funds over time and make huge fees,” the email said. 

“The management company’s purpose is to invest in companies that benefit Chinese government,” it adds. “Thus, the activity on the account appears unusual with no current business purpose and along with the recent negative news … may require re-evaluation of [redacted] relationship with the customer.” 

House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer reacted to the letter in a statement on Wednesday.

“Long before our investigation into President Biden’s corruption, a bank money laundering investigator raised the exact concerns that we raised publicly about the Biden family business: ‘payments appear erratic,’ ‘does not appear to have any services rendered,’ ‘no current business purpose,’ and ‘China target[s] children of politicians and purchase of political influence through ‘sweetheart deals.’ Those are the words of a bank investigator who was just doing his job,” he said.

“The bank investigator was so concerned about Hunter Biden’s financial transactions with the Chinese company, he wanted to re-evaluate the bank’s relationship with the customer,” Comer added.

Comer goes on to say President Biden “knew about, participated in, and benefited from his family’s shady China dealings.”

“Joe Biden showed up to his son’s CEFC meetings and benefited from the money wired from China” he said. “The White House and their Corporate Media allies’ efforts to excuse and coverup this blatant corruption is appalling to the American people. House Republicans will continue to unearth the facts and provide the accountability the American people deserve.”

The Bidens began working with CEFC, a Chinese energy company linked to the CCP, when Joe Biden was vice president. Hunter Biden sent a WhatsApp message to CEFC associate Raymond Zhao on July 30, 2017, demanding a $10 million payment.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. I am very concerned that the Chairman has either changed his mind and broken our deal without telling me or that he is unaware of the promises and assurances that have been made have not been kept,” the message read.

“And Z if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the Chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction,” he added.

The next day, Hunter Biden asked to reshape the partnership to exclude James Gilliar, Rob Walker, and Tony Bobulinski, leaving CEFC working only with James Biden.

“CEFC is willing to cooperate with the family,” Zhao replied.

Walker told the FBI that Biden appeared at a CEFC meeting in Washington, D.C. with Hunter Biden. Walker acknowledged that the younger Biden had his father attend in order to increase the chances of getting a deal to work out.

Former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer previously testified that then–vice president Biden joined at least 20 phone calls and/or in-person meetings with Hunter’s foreign business associates during their time working together. He explained that access to the vice president served as the selling point of the Biden “brand” that allowed him and Hunter several lucrative financial opportunities, including joining the board of Burisma.

At the time, Burisma’s founder and CEO Mykola Zlochevsky was being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, whom the elder Biden later bragged about having fired.

Click here to read the full article in the National Review

Build the Wall! …Around San Francisco for Asian-Pacific Economic Summit

‘These Democrats are essentially locking the dignitaries up to keep them from discovering just how bad and dangerous the town is – and they say that border fencing doesn’t work’

This surely must be from the “you can’t make this stuff up” department: San Francisco is building walls around the area where the the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit is going in – for security.

“The sidewalks in the APEC zone, including sticky and urine-perfumed Van Ness Avenue, have been silver polished on the Eve of APEC,” Sebastian, a San Francisco resident and friend to the Globe told us. “Walking along Van Ness Ave today was like walking along twice-a-day-mobbed Orchard Road in Singapore.”

Oh the injustice of the walls… how inhumane… walls are ineffective… the wall is bigoted… the wall is creating an humanitarian crisis… the wall is destroying ecosystems… the wall is unethical…

We’ve watched all of the insincere hand wringing and heard all of the reasons walls don’t work – until Democrats need a wall to keep the riff-raff out.

Sebastian takes photos daily of his city – this is what it usually looks like:

The City of San Francisco even posted rules for residents on its website: Prepare for APEC if you live in a security zone.

“They are essentially locking the dignitaries up to keep them from discovering just how bad and dangerous the town is. And these are the Democrats who say that border fencing doesn’t work,” he said. “The same leftists that claim that fences and walls do not work and are inhumane are the same leftists that live behind fences and walls.”

“Now these same leftists are erecting fencing and walls to keep law abiding people out of an area; but somehow don’t claim that these fences and walls don’t work or are inhumane.”

Fences have been installed around the Fairmont Hotel where President Joe Biden will stay during APEC.

“My Democrat and Republican friends who live in the Brocklebank Apartments featured in the movie Vertigo and my late SF Chronicle columnist, Herb Caen lived which is next to the Fairmont Hotel, are upset about the fencing as they have to go through security checks from Nov.14-18,” Sebastian said. “They weren’t informed about the ‘walls’ ahead of time.”

Preparation for APEC is hardly being executed with military precision if residents were not prepared in advance.

The San Francisco Standard reports the logistical details:

Where exactly is the main security perimeter for the event, and how long will it be in place? 

The main venue is the Moscone Center in the South of Market neighborhood.

From 10 p.m. Nov. 14 to Nov. 18, local traffic into the security perimeter—for those who live or work in the area bounded by Second, Market, Fifth and Harrison streets—will be allowed only through specific paths after a security sweep and inspection.

Pedestrians and bicycles not heading into the security perimeter will be routed around the area. Vehicles that do not need to enter the perimeter for residential or business purposes will not be allowed in.

Most vehicles traveling south from Nob Hill and Chinatown will be rerouted to either Mason Street to the west or Bush Street to First Street to the east. Drivers traveling south of Market Street from the Embarcadero will be pushed north at Fremont Street or south at First Street to avoid the security zone. Southwest of the perimeter, vehicles will be routed onto Sixth Street for north-south travel and Harrison Street for east-west travel.

Be wary of driving and parking in San Francisco: “On-street parking will be barred within all security zones. Emergency no parking signs will go up around the city. Vehicles that are parked in violation of emergency no parking signs will be ticketed and towed.” Parking garages will also be closed.

So San Francisco has essentially locked down the city for APEC – businesses and residents can just shut up.

San Francisco officials have even announced the Muni transit system will be blowing past “exclusion zones:”

ATTN: Muni is no longer able to serve stops in exclusion zones. Muni service is passing blocked stops. For safety, riders should not stand in the street as Muni buses will not stop. Conditions are changing rapidly due to street impacts.

They’ve even arranged to shut down some freeway access:

On the Bay Bridge, the rightmost lane of I-80 westbound and the leftmost lane of I-80 eastbound will shut down from Nov. 14 at 5 a.m.

The I-80 eastbound off-ramp at Fourth Street will be closed from Nov. 15 to Nov. 17 from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The last eastbound San Francisco exit before the Bay Bridge will be at Seventh Street instead of Fourth Street. The I-80 westbound off-ramp at Fifth Street will be closed from Nov. 15 to Nov. 17 from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Drivers planning to get on the eastbound freeway near the Moscone Center should use the Eight Street on-ramp. Drivers planning to get off the freeway should use the Fremont Street off-ramp.

Additionally, the northbound U.S. 101 Dana Bowers Vista Point off-ramp north of the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18.

Next week may be a good time to take a vacation – out of California.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

U.S. Media Blocked from California Gov. Gavin Newsom Meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping

BEIJING — California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday during his first full day in the capital city during a weeklong trip to China. 

Chinese officials physically blocked American media members from attending the meeting while allowing Chinese reporters inside.  The 45-minute meeting took place in the Great Hall of the People, a palatial building with a massive entry hall adorned with yellow curtains and a red carpet that Newsom and his delegation traversed on their way to the meeting.  

Newsom addressed reporters who had traveled to China to cover his visit after the meeting, and said he and Xi discussed climate issues, as well as fentanyl, the opioid fueling overdose deaths in San Francisco and across the United States. 

California’s fentanyl crisis has roots in China, where chemicals used to make the synthetic opioid are manufactured. The Biden administration has pressed Xi to crack down on the export of those chemicals. Newsom said he didn’t secure any new commitments from Xi on the issue, but described their conversation about fentanyl as “remarkably positive.” 

“We talked about precursor chemicals, we talked about the importance of the issue and how it’s become a leading cause of death in the United States,” Newsom said. 

Nicholas Burns, the U.S. ambassador to China who was also in the meeting, said Newsom spoke about his personal experience with the issue as an elected leader from San Francisco, where fentanyl has hit particularly hard. 

Newsom said San Francisco came up multiple times in the meeting, and that Xi began the conversation by reminiscing about his memories of the Golden Gate Bridge from his previous trips to California. 

Newsom said he did not speak about human rights with Xi, but did bring up several human rights issues during meetings earlier in the day with China’s vice president and foreign minister. During his meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Newsom said he discussed California resident David Lin, who the United States government says is wrongfully imprisoned in China. Newsom also said he discussed the war in Gaza and issues related to Tibet and Taiwan.  

Newsom and Xi’s meeting comes ahead of next month’s Asia-Pacific summit in San Francisco, where President Joe Biden has said he may meet with his Chinese counterpart. 

After his meeting with Xi, Newsom said his “biggest fear” with China is that the United States and China become isolated from each other. On his trip, he has stressed the importance of having an open dialog with China. 

Newsom had received widespread criticism for his plans to focus his China trip on climate issues and to largely sidestep human rights. 

Maya Wang, associate director in the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, urged Newsom to call out Chinese leaders for their crackdown on free speech, including imprisonment of people who criticize the government, and its persecution of Uyghur Muslims. 

Click here to read that e full article in SF Chronicle

After Israel Visit, Newsom Heads to China for Climate Talks. But Can He Avoid Global Conflicts?

HONG KONG —  Gov. Gavin Newsom comforted a mother whose son was kidnapped by Hamas, and visited a hospital where Israelis were recovering from injuries from the Oct. 7 attacks. He met with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and saw videos of beheadings.

That was how Newsom described his one-day visit to Israel before arriving in Hong Kong to kick off a weeklong trip through China focused on climate change.

“We went to show solidarity and support, to gain a deeper understanding and ultimately, to meet with these families, particularly connected to California, and notably the hostages, to see what we can do,” Newsom said during a brief conversation with reporters Monday in Hong Kong.

The voyage marks a sudden leap into foreign affairs for the Democratic governor who insists he is not angling to run for president. It comes at an especially fraught time, with Israel and Hamas engaged in a war that appears poised to escalate and U.S.-China relations growing increasingly tense. While the international exposure could help burnish Newsom’s resume if he ever does run for president, he also faces political risks by stepping into global conflicts that are outside a governor’s authority.

On Israel, Newsom has largely followed President Biden’s strong pro-Israel stance, visiting Tel Aviv days after Biden’s visit and echoing his outrage at the Hamas attacks that killed about 1,400 Israelis, took about 200 Israeli civilians hostage and prompted Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes that have pummeled the Gaza Strip for two weeks. The bombardment has killed more than 5,000 Palestinians, according the Hamas-led Health Authority in Gaza.

Though polls show Americans broadly support Israel in the war with Hamas, opinion is more divided among several Democratic constituencies, including young voters, progressives and people of color. Newsom did not attempt to visit Gaza on his brief trip to Israel, citing the logistical challenges involved. He said California is sending medical aid to Gaza to help establish field hospitals, including wheelchairs, IVs, defibrillators and 50 beds.

“We are working with an aid organization to get that into Gaza, separately and above from the aid we are providing for Israel,” Newsom said.

Asked if he called for a cease-fire during his meetings with Israeli authorities, Newsom demurred, saying, “I have a limited scope.”

In China, Newsom aims to keep his visit focused on areas where California and China can cooperate to fight climate change. His itinerary is filled with events meant to promote electric vehicles, offshore wind energy and other clean technologies. He’s scheduled to sign five compacts with regional governments, tour manufacturing sites and visit a wetlands preserve. In fostering climate-friendly partnerships with local officials, Newsom hopes to steer clear of a slew of international flashpoints.

That could prove difficult.

Tensions between the U.S. and China that have been rising for years may be further strained by the Israel-Hamas war. China and Russia announced last week that they intend to work together on creating an alliance that could attempt to counter U.S. support for Israel. While the U.S. and Europe consider Hamas a terrorist group, Beijing describes it as a “resistance movement.”

“China and Russia have the same position on the Palestine question, and China is ready to maintain communication and coordination with Russia to promote de-escalation of the situation,” China’s special envoy to the Middle East said on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, a new report from the Pentagon says China is building up its nuclear weapons arsenal at a faster pace than previously projected and is likely studying Russia’s war in Ukraine to get a sense of how a conflict over self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, could play out.

“China is… very belligerent, aggressive, expansive and cannot be ignored. And Gavin Newsom has to be mindful,” said Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society.

“I think it’s actually a good thing for a governor to try to keep some doors open to China. But you cannot go in just naively believing that you’re going to ignore which way the wind is blowing on global politics.”

The geopolitical tensions are also playing out in California, where an Orange County family is asking Newsom and the U.S. government to help free David Lin, a Christian pastor held since 2006 whom the U.S. State Department considers wrongfully detained by China following his work for Christian churches.

Lin’s daughter, Alice, said she hopes Newsom and other American officials will discuss the plight of wrongfully detained Americans. She urged the governor to raise the issue of her father’s imprisonment as well as that of Kai Li, a Long Island resident sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage charges, and Mark Swidan, a Texas businessman detained for over a decade.

“Any officials who are meeting with Chinese counterparts should raise the names of our loved ones at every opportunity,” Alice Lin said in an interview with The Times.

She said her father is a man of “incredible faith” and doesn’t like to talk much about his health with his family during the brief phone calls they’re allowed. But she knows he’s getting frail. She said he’s lost six teeth recently, which she pins on malnutrition.

“The last time we saw him, he was already very, very thin,” she said.

That was roughly 13 years ago. She said when her father was first imprisoned, she and her brother would take turns visiting him every year. But after flying to Beijing in 2010, she said her visit was arbitrarily canceled. Nobody would tell her why.

She hasn’t seen him since.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) has been working to secure Lin’s release, said her spokesperson Peter Opitz. The congresswoman “supports Gov. Newsom doing what he can to bring David home to his family,” Opitz said.

Human rights activists are concerned that California’s work to collaborate with China on environmental issues brushes aside China’s human rights abuses of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, a region rich in lithium and other minerals essential to developing batteries for electric vehicles. A United Nations report says China’s treatment of Uyghurs “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity” and the United States has banned imports from the Xinjiang region due to concerns of forced labor.

Yet a Washington Post investigation last month found that Tesla is among many electric vehicle makers that have suppliers with connections in Xinjiang. Newsom is scheduled to visit a massive Tesla factory in Shanghai later this week.

Maya Wang, Asia associate director of Human Rights Watch, criticized Newsom’s plans to focus on environmental issues in China while leaving thorny human rights issues to federal authorities.

“This framing that it’s either climate or human rights is dangerous, counterproductive, and also inconsistent with his own policies in California,” Wang said in an interview with The Times.

“It’s disappointing, and we expect better and we hope to see better.”

Newsom’s trip is paid for by the California State Protocol Foundation, which is supported by donors. Public disclosures show that he has given more than $3 million to the protocol foundation from his inaugural committees since 2019.

His first official meeting of the China trip was Monday at the University of Hong Kong, where he spoke to a lecture hall full of students and faculty about California’s work to fight climate change by transitioning to the use of clean energy.

“This is the greatest economic opportunity of our lifetime,” Newsom said.

As he walked through the campus, Newsom passed a sign hanging above a large empty bulletin board: “Democracy Wall” it said in English and Chinese. The board was once covered with students’ political posters, according to several media reports, but they were removed during the massive protests that swept Hong Kong in 2019 as China’s communist government clamped down on pro-democracy activists.

The university has faced criticism for working to squelch dissenting views by students engaged in activism against China. The massive pro-democracy demonstrations eventually ended with the exile or arrest of more than 100 activists, the shuttering of independent media outlets, and the dissolution of pro-democracy labor unions.

Newsom did not mention Hong Kong’s democracy movement during his public remarks at the university. His aides said the campus was chosen as the governor’s first stop because it is a premier research university akin to UC Berkeley.

The uprising in Hong Kong marks yet another big change from the last time a California governor visited China. Though Newsom is the third consecutive California governor to travel to China in search of climate-friendly partnerships with businesses and local governments, the U.S. relationship with China is “radically different” now compared with when former Gov. Jerry Brown visited in 2013 and 2017, said Schell of the Asia Society.

China has a tendency to use “well-meaning earnest interactions” by American officials to advance its own agenda, Schell said, which could be damaging to Newsom.

“Gov. Newsom is going to have to be extremely careful that what he does in the world of climate change, energy and these kinds of actually very constructive places where we do need to interact with China, don’t run at cross purposes with Washington,” Schell said.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is traveling to China to talk climate change

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom will try to reinforce his state’s role as a global leader on climate change as he begins a weeklong visit to China on Monday, a trip that presents both political risk and opportunity for crucial international collaboration.

Newsom’s tour begins with a discussion in Hong Kong before he continues on to Beijing, Shanghai and the provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu. He’ll visit the first Chinese city to deploy an all-electric bus fleet, tour an offshore wind facility and see a wetlands preserve. He’ll sign agreements with leaders of Chinese provinces to set mutual commitments on a host of climate goals. California has already signed dozens of such agreements with subnational governments.

Newsom’s agenda also includes conversations on “strengthening cultural ties and combating xenophobia,” and he will visit a school with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

His trip to China follows a brief visit to Israel.

Governors of California, which has an economy larger than most countries, have a long history of climate collaboration with China. Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger also traveled there to swap knowledge on reducing air pollution and emissions, and since leaving office, Brown has launched the California-China Climate Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.

However, Newsom’s trip comes at a very different political moment, with rising tensions between the United States and China over trade, human rights, the future of Taiwan and international conflicts. It follows a recent visit to Beijing by a congressional delegation led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who sought a sharper condemnation of Hamas by the Chinese government.

Climate remains one area where collaboration is seen as both possible and necessary. Both countries appear to have fully re-engaged in the run-up to the next U.N. climate change conference, which opens Nov. 30 in Dubai.

China suspended climate and other talks with the U.S. in August 2022 to show its anger over a visit by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resume climate talks three months later at a meeting with President Joe Biden in Indonesia.

John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, held in-person meetings in Beijing in July, and he and Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua have held regular video calls since then, Xie told a forum in Beijing last month.

David Victor, a professor and co-director of the Deep Decarbonization Initiative at the University of California, San Diego, said state-level dialogue is an important avenue for progress given the complicated politics of the U.S.-China relationship. Animosity between the two countries has led to less travel and fewer joint research projects.

“The states really are where anything substantive is going to happen,” Victor said, while at the national level, “there’s no political constituency for opening the door and having a deeper relationship.”

The Newsom administration has been in close contact with the White House and Kerry ahead of the governor’s trip, said Lauren Sanchez, the governor’s senior climate adviser. The White House did not comment on Newsom’s trip.

Brown, the former governor, said political tensions don’t change the fact that greenhouse gases are still being emitted at an alarming rate.

“Cooperation is the absolute requirement. And at this time, I would say California has been pushing the federal government in the direction of more dialogue with China,” Brown said. “It has a very important long-term effect.”

California has passed some of the world’s most aggressive vehicle emissions rules, and Newsom has moved to ban the sale of most new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035. The state has a mandate to be carbon neutral by 2045, meaning it will remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as it emits. California is already dealing with drought and wildfires made worse by climate change.

Still, the state is responsible for less than 1% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, meaning its efforts can go only so far without global partnerships, Sanchez said. In 2020, China was responsible for more than 30% of global carbon dioxide emissions, compared with the U.S. at 13.5%.

“It’s going to be very difficult to tackle the climate crisis just here in California,” Sanchez said. “Climate change is a global issue, it requires global partnerships.”

California has shared its expertise on air pollution regulations, carbon pricing programs and conservation, Sanchez said.

China, meanwhile, is now more advanced at electrifying the transportation fleet and deploying offshore wind — it has more gigawatts of offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined, Sanchez said. The Biden administration recently held an auction for five offshore wind lease areas along the U.S. West Coast.

Newsom’s second term ends in January 2026, and he cannot seek re-election. He has repeatedly denied an interest in running for president, but he has sought to boost his national profile by campaigning for Democrats in Republican-led states and even agreeing to debate GOP presidential hopeful and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in late November.

The international trip stands to bolster Newsom’s political and policy credentials beyond his state. However, opponents will likely be on the lookout for any signs of coziness between him and China’s communist government that could be used against him in the future.

California Republicans said Newsom shouldn’t be visiting China at a time of tensions over international conflicts and the suppression of free speech. Instead he should focus on problems at home like poverty and crime, Republican state Assembly Leader James Gallagher said in a statement.

“Newsom shouldn’t be playing make-believe diplomat while ignoring the challenges facing our state,” he said.

But climate experts said California has a significant role to play in advancing global climate policy.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Critics Blast Newsom’s China Trip as Publicity Stunt, to ‘Burnish International Experience’

‘This trip proves that Newsom doesn’t care about technology espionage, human rights

The Governor’s office released Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Chinese trip itenerary on Wednesday, showing that Newsom will take a climate-focused tour of the Country less than a month before the APEC Conference in San Francisco .

According to a press release by the Governor’s office, the seven-day trip will include stops in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the province of Jiangsu. Newsom’s tour will begin in Hong Kong, where he is set to give a speech at Hong Kong University over combatting climate change and the economy. Following a quick stop in Guangdong where he will meet with local leaders over electric vehicles and electric public transit, Newsom will go to Beijing. There, he will be joined by his wife and will meet meet with several high-level national and local officials on the climate crisis and clean energy, tour the Great Wall, meet with U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, and meet with leaders of five Chinese provinces.

After Beijing, Newsom will go south to Jiangsu, where he will visit an off-shore wind farm and a wetlands preserve before leaving for Shanghai via a high speed train. Finally, at his last shop in Shanghai, Newsom will tour the Shanghai Tesla gigafactory. In addition, Newsom is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at every stop besides Hong Kong with both national and local officials over climate issues.

“California and China hold the keys to solving the climate crisis,” said Newsom on his trip Wednesday. “As two of the world’s largest economies, our partnership is essential to delivering climate action for our communities and beyond.

“Our decades-long work together proves what we can accomplish together – cleaning the air, accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, protecting people from extreme weather and conserving lands and oceans.”

Newsom’s office added that “The trip is wholly focused on climate, and we are obviously a state, so I think we look to our federal partners on federal issues.

“A lot of what China has done in the EV space is actually borne out of California’s innovation on ZEV mandates from the ‘90s. But clearly, they have kind of jumped ahead in terms of adoption of electric vehicles both by individuals as well as the government.”

While Newsom has pushed California heavily towards clean energy and electric cars as Governor, such as signing laws that will have California use 100% green energy by 2045 and only sell zero emissions vehicles statewide by 2035, his trip to China has been called out by many as little more than a publicity stunt. Others, including many supporters, have also said that the trip ignores China’s many human rights issues and that the trip will include many places that have recently been a part of trade conflicts between the U.S. and China.

“This trip proves that Newsom doesn’t care about technology espionage, human rights issues, and so many other issues near and dear to Californians. Republican or Democrat, there is something that you will not like about this trip,” explained James Francis, an East Asian economic analyst, to the Globe. “China really is growing leaps and bounds over electric cars and clean energy. They are focusing heavily on that, and Newsom wants to work closely with them and follow where they have gone on the same path. That’s why the focus is heavily on clean energy and the environment. Getting closer with them there would help California reach his goals faster.”

“But he could have easily chosen another country to work closer with who has advanced as much, like maybe an ally like Japan or South Korea. But no, he is choosing China and is really showing it. Granted, California has had close deals and MOUs with China in the past through the past few Governors and Senator Dianne Feinstein. But things are a bit more dicey with China than they were 10 or 20 years ago, especially with the Taiwan situation becoming more relevant. And he just moved forward.”

“Proving he can work cordially with an economic rival to the United States and get deals done with them? That’s bona fide international experience, something which Newsom has been sorely lacking of which lately. For, say, a run for higher office, that sort of thing looks good and quells fears that he doesn’t have the needed international experience.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Janet Yellen awkwardly bows to CCP official during Beijing trip: ‘Optics the Chinese love’

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made an unusual gesture Saturday when she bowed to a Chinese official during her visit in Beijing.

Footage shows Yellen approaching Vice Premier He Lifeng — her Chinese counterpart — and bowing multiple times while enthusiastically shaking his hand.

Former White House staffer Bradley Blakeman, who served during President George W. Bush’s administration, told the New York Post that the gesture was unseemly.

“Never, ever, ever…an American official does not bow. It looks like she’s been summoned to the principal’s office, and that’s exactly the optics the Chinese love,” Blakeman said.

Some Twitter users shared the same sentiment, calling the bow embarrassing for the United States.

“She did not realize bowing as an American official was a breach of protocol,” author Max Murray wrote on Twitter. “They don’t reciprocate. He even backs away to give her more space to kowtow.”

“Yellen’s flubs in China are not going to help the US stock market come Monday morning. Come home Janet!” “Taxifornia” author James V. Lacy wrote on Twitter.

During their meeting, He implied that the U.S. was an irrational actor towards China.

“We wish the US side would take a rational and practical attitude, meet with the Chinese side half-way, make joint efforts with China in maintaining the consensus reached between the two state leaders in their meeting in Bali, and put the positive remarks into actions, so as to stabilize and improve the China-US relations,” He said.

Yellen gently pushed back, defending the United States’ actions to defend national security.

“The United States will take targeted actions to protect our national security,” Yellen said. “While we may disagree on these actions, we should not allow that disagreement to lead to misunderstandings, particularly those stemming from the lack of communication, which can unnecessarily worsen our bilateral economic and financial relationship.”

Click here to read the full article in FoxNews

How China’s Debt, Slowing Economy and One-Child Policy Will Increase California Emissions

Nothing will move the world and California emissions negatively or positively more than China. Though China’s economy is 12 percent smaller than previously believed according to the Brookings Institution their research backed up longstanding suspicion that Beijing hasn’t been keeping accurate, publicly reported economic statistics. The study also found “real growth has been overstated by 2 percentage points annually for years.” What likely occurs is China builds the cheapest and most abundant, scalable, efficient and flexible energy they have: COAL. China and the United States (US) “emit more than 40 percent of the world’s carbon.” With continued friction over the trade war this doesn’t bode well for California meeting ambitious emission, environmental and climate goals.

The biggest troubles ahead for China, world economies and energy are that China has mounting debt problems. Trillions of dollars in debt has run up for years to gain a debt-fueled prosperity of buildings, infrastructure and exports, which has caused environmental degradation. China’s historically slowing economy has Chinese President Xi clamping down, and these economic problems will further Chinese use of cheaper coal, nuclear and natural gas as their main sources of energy moving forward. This massive scale of borrowing and debt is a looming reason China will increase global emissions: they need cheap energy and electricity to service debt and grow their economy. California will catch rising Chinese emissions in the global jet stream no matter the measures we take for cleaner air and lower emissions.

Other additional woes for China that will directly or indirectly counter the China narrative of being the leader in solar and wind power along with electric vehicles (EV) are: “Wage growth has cooled, surveys show the Chinese manufacturing sector have begun shedding jobs, imports are down, hurting other major exporting economies,” but other issues are more troubling for energy and China’s future. China’s true energy nature is revealed in its “rapidly aging population and a falling birth rate.”

Since China enacted their one-child policy and terminated over 300 million Chinese pregnancies this has decimated their productivity, child replacement rate, and will be a leading reason why they will continue using the dirtiest, cheapest forms of energy. The US has also devastated many parts of their economy – particularly, African-Americans – over using abortion as population and birth control measures. This has deep implications for how energy is extracted, imported, exported, used and the overall wellness for a nation lacking children. Nations that heavily abort their children like the US, Russia and China are usually more combative with neighboring countries and either invade them (think US in Iraq or Russia in Crimea) or take over entire regions (China in the South China Sea) in a quest for resources and workers for their unproductive economies. These could be major reasons why global emissions have begun rising again. Dirtier air is a source of unproductive societies caused by global abortion rates remaining steady; over 42 million abortions took place in 2018.

Beijing has also been globally combative since the Obama administration attempted diplomacy and an open-hand of friendship to China, but was rejected. What you have now is President’ Trump’s US-led trade war and the Europeans confronting China over destructive trade, military, technical and illegal intelligence surveillance coupled with corporate theft that benefits Chinese state-run firms. European diplomats are openly excoriating China’s unsavory advances in the South China Sea and its economic gains that seek to do away with liberal, economic openness and cooperation at Europe’s expense. The Europeans said about the Belt and Road Infrastructure Project Initiative:

“Europe’s Belt and Road sceptics charge that it is opaque, strategically aggressive and can impose crippling debts on recipient states – all allegations that China denies.”

The Europeans though are their own worse enemy with “Eurosceptic remainers,” before, after and during the Brexit debacle. China will exploit this geopolitical weakness to their advantage and their energy usage will become a dirtier commodity under Beijing’s leadership. China is currently building hundreds of new coal-fired power plants throughout their provinces and cities.

Literally, China cannot afford to lose one bit of economic and social productivity and their aging population is what is causing their economy to begin grinding to a halt. The same problems of an aging population over rampant abortion-use are happening in the US, Russia, the entire European Union (EU) and Japan. This isn’t a Chinese phenomenon. What then occurs are other nations reliant on Chinese imports, their economies also slow, and renewable energy, transitioning to a carbon-free or low-carbon society and widespread adoption of electric vehicles all pause going into affect? The Chinese clean energy transition – even in the form of expansive use of natural gas – will fade in importance to debt and economy woes. China’s one-child policy that advanced their aging process decades ahead of time will take energy into a direction none of us can even quantify or imagine.

President Xi’s model for China, moreover doesn’t augur well for efficient Chinese energy usage since Xi made himself dictator-for-life leading to oppression within China, and environmental degradation will continue under his rule. Even US policymakers who hate President Trump are now tired of China’s overbearing style on the world stage. A possible takeover of Taiwan, a global trade war and Chinese pride on full display means more fossil fuels and higher emissions since militaries run on oil, natural gas, refined petroleum, aviation fuel and nuclear power – renewable energy in the form of wind turbines and solar panels – will always take a back seat when a country’s national security and foreign policy are on the line. Each of these geopolitical phenomenon means dirtier air and rising emissions for California – no matter the laws we pass – supposedly combating global warming/climate change (GWCC).

Add the takeover of the South China Sea, expanded influence in Asia, and it is not surprising China has increased their use of coal to fuel militarized activities. With China’s debt position wracking nerves globally it is not a far off to postulate the world will become dirtier through increased coal use over its “debt woes,” instead of using cleaner natural gas. Finding technological breakthroughs that are needed for renewable energy and energy battery storage systems to become scalable, reliable, affordable and flexible will not be at the forefront of Chinese forward-thinking. This system Xi ruminates over and contemplates has been tried before with disastrous results because it:

“Has a record of suboptimal performance that features despotic governance, long stagnation of economy, suffocation of science and technology, retardation of spiritual pursuits, irrational allocation of resources (oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewable energy), great depreciation of human dignity and life, low and declining living standards for the masses, and mass death and destruction periodically and frequently.”

Is this the new normal for China or a return to Mao’s destructive big-red-time-machine? No one actually knows, but it likely results in overwhelming use of fossil fuels and higher emissions in Asia, California, and globally.

Countries will always choose their own self-interest rightly understood over energy policies and outcomes that don’t produce abundant, reliable, affordable, scalable and flexible energy results. California should pay attention to the societal, geopolitical rumblings coming from the second largest economy in the world.

Californians Are Dedicated To Recycling, But It May Not Be Accomplishing Much

RecyclingFrom a young age, Californians are told that it is their civic duty, perhaps even moral duty, to recycle. Starting in elementary school, I remember that posters with green recycling arrows would line the halls, reminding you to do your part. But what does it really mean to recycle? Most people feel like their job is done when they’ve put their cardboard boxes or soda bottles in the blue recycle bin. Fill it up and you’ve helped save the environment!

But it’s not that simple. The basic idea behind recycling is that there is inherent value in some of the things you want to throw away and that it can be converted into a material that can be reused — plastic bottles can be turned into other kinds of plastic goods. But do you know what happens to recyclables after you throw them into your blue bin?

For the last few decades, we’ve been selling our recyclable materials to China. But as the country has developed, they don’t want these materials anymore. Sorting through our waste is not a glamorous job, and a growing Chinese middle class means it’s harder to find people willing to manually sort through trash.

The other issue is that much of the material we send them is contaminated. In January, China put a ban on materials that were greater than half a percent contaminated. It’s simply too costly for them to clean and convert anything with a higher rate of contamination into new material.

Right now, the average contamination rate of our recyclable materials is 25 percent. “It’s amazing what people put in recycling bins,” Mark Oldfield public affairs director at CalRecycle, said in the Los Angeles Times. “Dirty diapers. Broken crockery. Old garden hoses. Some of the worst offenders are old batteries.”

Of course many Californians probably think that they know better than to put dirty diapers in the recycling bin. But what about pizza boxes, plastic bags, or dirty jars and cans? All of those things are considered contaminated materials and cannot be recycled. Just because you want something to be recyclable doesn’t mean it is.

Brent Bell, Vice President of Recycling Operations for Waste Management, a waste and environmental service provider, recently wrote on the company’s website, “contamination significantly increases the cost to process recyclables.” Trying to get from 25 percent to a virtually zero percent contamination rate would cost a significant amount of money, investing hours of manpower to manually sort through each individual piece of trash. The cost of getting down to that half a percent contamination rate would likely be higher than the price China is willing to pay for it.

So if China isn’t going to take our recyclable materials, what are we going to do with them?

One option is just to switch to the next developing country that would be willing to buy the material, such as Indonesia. But in another 30 years, we’re likely to find ourselves in the same position that we’re in today. Once a country develops, they often decide they don’t want to process recyclables anymore. They simply don’t want to see “Third World” trashing sorting in their country anymore.

Are we really accomplishing any of the goals we hoped to achieve through recycling? Most people feel like recycling is good for the environment, and think that the process of diverting trash away from landfills is inherently better than the alternative. But when you actually track where your plastic bottles and cardboard boxes go, it’s not making much of a difference at all.

Contaminated materials still need to be sifted through and separated. If they’re too impure to reuse, it gets thrown out. So, many items get dumped in a landfill in the U.S. or shipped to another country to get thrown into their landfill.

If the material is clean enough to be recycled, what’s the environmental cost of the factories processing it? What are the working conditions like for the people in these factories? What resources need to be used to get old recyclable materials to factories in China or Indonesia, and what’s the environmental impact of shipping new plastic products back to the U.S.?

We need to be thinking about a long-term solution for what can be done about with this waste. One option is a waste to energy (WTE) program. WTE, which is the process of burning trash in order to create energy, is relatively clean and used in many places throughout the world, such as Sweden. But this option hasn’t gained much traction in the United States. One of the big problems is that not a lot of people want to live next to a WTE incinerator. This is partly because many people still believe that incinerating trash is bad for the environment, which is not a totally unfounded idea. Burning trash can be bad for the environment and release pollutants into the air, but WTE incinerators are far more advanced than a simple open fire in someone’s backyard.

Oddly enough, some of the big opponents to WTE are environmentalists who prefer recycling, composting, or simply just generate less waste. For them, incinerating trash is just not good enough. These two factors make WTE incinerators politically infeasible.

But there are some practical everyday solutions. We need to quit practicing wishful recycling and stop throwing things like pizza boxes and other contaminated materials into the recycling bin. In fact, recycling shouldn’t even be looked at as the best choice for dealing with waste. As the common phrase goes: reduce, reuse, recycle—in that order. Glass jars can be reused as drinking glasses. You can turn old clothes and fabrics into cleaning rags. We can all be a little more mindful when it comes to the waste we generate and stop putting blind faith into the inefficient model of shipping waste overseas, only for it to be dumped in another landfill, this time, one thousands of miles away.

Adriana Vazquez is a Bay Area resident and Young Voices Advocate. She has been published in Washington Examiner, San Francisco Examiner, and the East Bay Times. Follow her on Twitter at @VazquezAdriana.

Dianne Feinstein was an easy mark for China’s spy

Dianne FeinsteinAs vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been investigating allegations of President Trump’s “collusion” with Russia.

But now we learn Feinstein may be the one compromised by a foreign power.

Turns out that Communist China had a spy in her office. A 20-year employee of Feinstein’s, the agent had been reporting back to China’s Ministry of State Security for well over a decade before he was caught in 2013, according to the FBI.

A Chinese-American who doubled as both an office staffer and Feinstein’s personal driver, the agent reportedly was handled by officials based out of the People’s Republic of China’s consulate in San Francisco, which Feinstein helped set up when she was mayor of that city. He even attended consulate functions for the senator. …

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