Friday: Below the Fold
Hunter Biden indicted, November jobs numbers hold steady, Gutless Gavin cancels tree-lighting ceremony, and more.
Hunter Biden indicted in California: Who knew hookers and blow could be so costly? Nine new tax charges, three of them felonies, have been brought against Hunter Biden in California, where he’s been living large and where he allegedly engaged in a four-year scheme to evade at least $1.4 million in federal taxes for the tax years 2016 through 2019. According to the indictment, “Rather than pay his taxes, the defendant spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle,” including “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature.” Consider: Hunter Biden allegedly took out some $1.6 million in ATM withdrawals and spent $683,000 on “payments to various women,” $397,000 on clothing and accessories, $237,000 on health, beauty, and pharmacy products, and $188,000 on adult entertainment. So much for the tax bailout Hunter got from big-shot Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris, a sum the New York Post says amounted to more than $2 million. What are the odds that Pops ultimately pardons his wastrel son? Pretty good, we’d say, but Biden-buddy prosecutor David Weiss can’t be trusted. Recall that Weiss’s original sweetheart plea deal for Hunter blew up in his face when IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler came forward. Also consider that this indictment actually helps Hunter because it allows him to plead the Fifth instead of being forced to testify before Republican James Comer’s House Oversight Committee. In that respect, the indictment also helps shield his dad from exposure. Republicans, of course, should be careful what they wish for, as the first son’s legal troubles might force the eminently beatable Joe Biden not to run in 2024.
November jobs numbers hold steady as job openings tumble: In November, 199,000 non-farm jobs were added, slightly besting the expected 190,000. November also showed an increase to October’s 150,000 gains. Headline unemployment came in at 3.7%, below the anticipated 3.9%. Monthly wages also rose by 0.4%, better than the estimated 0.3%. The hot jobs market appears to be cooling off, however, as the number of job openings in October fell unexpectedly by 6.6% to 8.7 million openings, the lowest level in over two years.
$132 billion and counting: Joe Biden is Santa Claus — at least that’s what he wants voters to think. That’s why, regardless of the time of year, his administration so far has approved $132 billion in student loan debt cancellation, including another $4.8 billion announced this week. This taxpayer-funded giveaway — from people who did not take out legitimate loans to people who did — was struck down by the Supreme Court last summer. Biden waited a couple of weeks before enacting a workaround. House Republicans on Thursday passed a bill to stop him. It won’t go anywhere in the Senate, and Biden would veto if it did, but the point has been made. Biden now says, “I won’t back down from using every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams.” It’s not the government’s job to steal from some people in order to give to others, but the injustice of it all is that Republicans fighting against Biden’s lawlessness are the ones who will be labeled the Grinch.
UPenn president costs school a $100M donation: Stone Ridge Asset Management founder and CEO Ross Stevens, an alum of the University of Pennsylvania, has expressed his disgust with UPenn President Liz Magill for her failure to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitic speech. Following Magill’s testimony before the House on Tuesday in which she refused to agree that calls for Jewish genocide violated the school’s code of conduct against bullying and harassment, Stevens withdrew a $100 million donation to his alma mater. His action comes on the heels of Pennsylvania Democrat Governor Josh Shapiro publicly blasting Magill’s comments as “absolutely shameful” because “it should not be hard to condemn genocide.” Following Shapiro’s comments, UPenn’s board of trustees held an “emergency meeting” on Thursday. Given Shapiro’s comments and Stevens pulling funding, it will come as no surprise if Magill suddenly decides to spend more time with her family. Furthermore, on Thursday the House Education and Workforce Committee announced it will investigate Harvard, MIT, and UPenn over their apparent failures to address rampant anti-Semitism on their campuses.
Foreign governments are getting your push notifications: If you think those visual alerts and audible dings that regularly show up on your cellphone are your own business and no one else’s, you might want to think again. Foreign governments are requesting these notifications from Google and Apple, and these two Big Tech firms have until now been forbidden from communicating that reality to their customers. In a letter to corrupt Attorney General Merrick Garland, Oregon Democrat Senator Ron Wyden urged the DOJ “to permit Apple and Google to inform their customers and the general public about demands for smartphone app notification records.” As Reuters reports: “Apple said that Wyden’s letter gave them the opening they needed to share more details with the public about how governments monitored push notifications. ‘In this case, the federal government prohibited us from sharing any information,’ the company said in a statement. ‘Now that this method has become public we are updating our transparency reporting to detail these kinds of requests.’” Better late than never, we suppose, but why on earth was our government allowing foreign governments to spy on American citizens without their knowledge?
Anti-gun NY runs out Remington: America’s oldest firearms manufacturer Remington Arms will be closing up shop in the Empire State. New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik was unequivocal in assigning blame: “It is because of New York Democrats’ unconstitutional gun grab policies that the oldest gun manufacturer in the country has been run out of the state.” She’s not wrong. There’s also the lawsuit raised by the families of the Sandy Hook mass murder victims against Remington, seeking to hold the firearm manufacturer culpable. After filing bankruptcy twice, Remington settled the lawsuit for $73 million. And with anti-Second Amendment hostility growing in New York, Remington’s solution for survival was to move out and expand its manufacturing facilities in Georgia, a state that still embraces the Second Amendment.
Gutless Gavin cancels tree-lighting ceremony: ‘Tis the season to be cowardly — at least in California, where Governor Gavin Newsom just canceled Sacramento’s 92nd annual tree-lighting ceremony due to fears of being scolded by pro-Hamas rabble. “Governor Newsom decided to cancel the tree-lighting ceremony rather than face the public that is enraged by his shameful silence on the genocide in Gaza,” said Yassar Dahbour of the Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights. In fairness to Newsom, he’s not canceling the traditional Christmas ceremony entirely; he’s just holding this particular tree-lighting event virtually, like he did with California’s schools when he kowtowed to the teachers unions during COVID. “As the governor that kept kids on Zoom school for longer than any other state in the nation, we shouldn’t really be surprised that he wanted to move this to a virtual tree lighting ceremony,” mocked California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson. We should note, though, that California isn’t alone in cowing to the pro-Hamas hordes. Similar protests have also disrupted tree-lighting ceremonies in the other gutless and increasingly Godless blue enclaves of New York, Massachusetts, and Michigan.
California budget bust: Thanks to hundreds of thousands having left and many continuing to flee the Golden State over the last few years, California’s government is now staring at a growing budget crisis as it faces a record $68 billion budget deficit. “Severe revenue decline” is the cause — or, to put it another way, there are fewer people in the state paying taxes. According to IRS data, California lost $18 billion in tax revenue in 2020, and it lost $29 billion the following year. And in tax-heavy California, that revenue loss has helped cause the budget deficit to balloon from $14.3 billion in June to over $54 billion. California’s deficit problem has grown so big that the Democrats who run the state may have to do what is anathema to Democrats — cut government spending. The state’s Legislative Analysis Office (LAO) recommends both spending some of the state’s $24 billion in cash reserves and also spending less on schools and community colleges.
Biden strategically delays a menthol cigarette ban: Never let it be said that Joe Biden put public health before political considerations. Recall, for example, that his Food and Drug Administration announced its intention to ban menthol cigarettes way back in April 2021. Strange, though: The ban never went into effect. Why not? Because menthol cigarettes are enjoyed disproportionally by blacks, and Democrats are afraid that such a ban might anger blacks enough to keep them from dutifully voting for Democrats. As America’s best newspaper, the UK Daily Mail, reports: “The Biden administration is punting on a final rule for a ban on menthol cigarettes, amid political pushback and warnings the move could anger black voters who have been drifting away from the president in polling. The administration is expected to announce the rule will be finalized in March. That would be another delay, after an expected August rollout got put off until January.” March, eh? What are the odds that the ban gets kicked down the road once again, to some date just after Tuesday, November 5?
Compromise defense bill removes restriction on military travel for abortion (PJ Media) | Defense bill includes “anti-woke” bans on spending for military drag shows, critical race theory (New York Post)
House Republicans file Biden impeachment inquiry resolution, setting up vote for next week (Washington Examiner)
Three reasons Republicans could lose their House majority before 2024 (Washington Examiner)
South Carolina hopes Disney divestment sparks wave of states to combat woke agenda (Washington Times)
“Only the beginning”: Lawsuits from detransitioners are on the rise (Washington Stand)
Dem school board president sworn in on sexually explicit books (Washington Stand)
California retailers without “gender neutral” section for kids face fines up to $500 under new state law (Daily Wire)
70% of VW workers in Tennessee have not signed UAW representation cards (National Review)
Humor: Study finds over three million accidents per year caused by driver trying to retrieve Chick-fil-A waffle fry lost in seat crack (Babylon Bee)
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- Executive Summary