Wednesday 21st of February 2024

nothing to see in a country of people raised on big bird, marvel comics and the simpsons...

clean biden...

Joe Biden is the most cosseted presidential candidate in memory.

He has run a minimalist campaign that has avoided the press as much as possible, while the press hasn’t been braying for more access and answers, but eager to avoid anything that could be discomfiting to the campaign.

Never before have the media been so openly fearful of asking or reporting something that might hurt a presidential candidate. What are supposed to be the animating values of our adversarial press — informing the public, getting answers, holding the powerful to account — have all been subordinated to the protection racket that is coverage of Joe Biden.

Even the lowest common denominator of news — simply being interesting — has been tossed aside. Boring and uneventful is the new newsworthy. This presumably isn’t how they teach it in journalism school, but no one has had trouble adjusting.

The tendency reached a new level in the media’s handling of New York Post reports on e-mails obtained from a laptop that Hunter Biden reportedly left off at a Delaware repair shop.

Here was a story with enough mysteries and plotlines to keep a couple of newsrooms busy. Are the e-mails, putting Hunter Biden’s sleazy overseas business dealings in a more sinister light, legitimate? Did Hunter really take the laptop to the shop and forget about it? And, more important, what do the e-mails say about what Joe Biden knows or should have known about Hunter’s work that depended so heavily on proximity to the vice president?

Instead, the press has been ­uninterested at best and hostile at worst. It’s the opposite of a feeding frenzy. The media have deployed their bomb-disposal unit for fear that a potentially explosive story might detonate.

What Biden has to say about the e-mails is inherently of interest. Yet he wasn’t asked about it at his ABC News town hall last week. Never mind that his response would have made headlines afterward and the clip would have been shown in every TV segment about the debate.

Subsequently, CBS reporter Bo Erickson betrayed his profession by asking Biden his response to The Post story on a tarmac. He got slammed by Biden: “I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask.

No one rallied to Erickson’s ­defense. Instead, respectable figures on the center-left shamed Erickson for having asked a politician an unwelcome question — which the day before yesterday would have been considered Journalism 101.

Much of the press has pronounced the Post story debunked without doing any work to debunk it and believes as a matter of faith that it is Russian disinformation. Rather, the focus has been reporting on how The Post reported the story, as the press works to discredit ­media outlets that don’t toe the correct political line — you know, just like Woodward and Bernstein did it during Watergate.

This tendency toward “anti-reporting” has long characterized Biden coverage. The New York Times took 19 days to cover Tara Reade’s sexual-assault allegation against him, not wanting to burden its readers with information about a newsworthy charge too quickly.

The media has dutifully pushed back against the idea that Biden wants to ban fracking, even though Biden himself has said at times that he wants to ban fracking. Any Biden misstep is quickly explained away. The press doesn’t seem to mind that the campaign is prone to declare “lids” — or the end of the candidate’s public day — early and often.

Why would the press want more access to a candidate it isn’t covering so much as carefully shielding from scrutiny with the finish line of Nov. 3 in sight?

Usually, the media love candidates who make good copy, who provide drama and color. In its ­hatred and fear of President Trump, though, reporters have thrown in their lot with the dull and meandering Biden, bringing to the effort all the complacency and pointed incuriosity they can muster.


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A photograph has emerged showing former Vice President Joe Biden posing with oligarch Kenes Rakishev of Kazakhstan, who once reportedly explored business with Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

The photo (above), first published last year at an anti-corruption website called the Kazhakhstani Initiative on Asset Recovery (KIAR), purports to show Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, together with Kazakhstan’s former prime minister, Karim Massimov, at far right.


Gus: It has always been the goal of the US administration to do "deals" (mercantile and political) with former Soviet states, in order to take them away from Russia's influence (the cause). After the USSR demise, the US has been working hard to take Ukraine, Belarus and a few others. The "deals" are made in the spirit of capitalism and a lot of free cash incentives (which are bribes). As well these deals involve a lot of undercover operations (CIA, etc) aligned with favourable media coverage. Hunter Biden was given the task to participate and redeem himself (from his drug addict days) by being a "privateer" working for the cause in Ukraine, other former Soviet states and China. 


Some of the deals Hunter was involved in were corrupt, but the cause is the ultimate prize. Some of the deals involve going to war against recalcitrants (Gaddafi, Assad, etc) by paying cash and supplying weapons to hard core rebels (Al Qaeda, Daesh, etc) via various means. These deals were designed to bash Iran (and Shia Iraq), to help the cause of the Saudis — the US great friends and the most repressive kingdom on on the planet. GL.

foreign foreign policies...

The Trump campaign is formally protesting the topics for the second and final debate between the president and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

“The topics announced by moderator Kristen Welker (Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership) are serious and worthy of discussion,” campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates Monday (which he called the “BDC,” Biden Debate Commission). 

“But only a few of them touch on foreign policy,” Stepien wrote. “We understand Joe Biden is desperate to avoid conversation about his foreign policy record. … We recall that Joe Biden’s former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, maintains that Biden has been ‘wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past forty years.’” Gates, a Republican, offered the scathing assessment in his 2014 memoir, “Duty,” but has not specifically waded into the 2020 election, where Biden has transformed from weak front-runner for the Democratic nomination to potentially mortal threat to Trump’s administration. 

The third debate is traditionally focused on foreign policy— which is the core of Stepien’s complaint. Others noted the apparent, complete absence of another topic: the economy, especially striking during a year of financial whirlwind, and amidst Congress’ continued failure to agree on a new round of stimulus. It is now unlikely a formal package is passed before Election Day.

The commission shuffled the deck on the last debate after the previous debate, slated for last week, was scratched because of President Trump’s positive COVID-19 result and squabbling between the campaigns on the ground rules for an interaction in light of the diagnosis. The campaigns assented to separate town halls with each candidate in lieu of debating.


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Not that Trump foreign policy is that great either, but he didn't declare war on anyone, except "economic sanctions" here and there — and dumped a few bombs on Assad's chemical depots that did not have any chlorine gas in it, but showed the strength of Syria's defences. Same with Iran. 

Meanwhile the aim of the US foreign policy in general, for both "candidates" is to demonise Russia and China. And the US media loves it. The majority of the US media supports Biden. Good or bad, we shall see...




the son of the father...



Remembering Hunter’s First Big Scandal



Long before Burisma, there was Paradigm Global—a fund of funds with more than its fair share of malpractice. Its CEO: Hunter Biden.



Well, it came a little later than most people expected, but Hunter Biden’s colorful resume has turned into a campaign issue after all. The New York Post‘s bombshell report last week—evidence that Hunter, as was long suspected, had capitalized on access to his VP father while serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company—is likely to hurt Quid Pro Joe’s campaign in these final, crucial stages. What’s more, major online platforms’ blatant attempts to censor that reporting are sure to spark backlash among voters next month.

When they’re not openly running interference by blocking links to sourced exposés, powerful media and cultural institutions rely on simple spin to aid the Biden campaign. The prodigal son’s misdeeds—from influence-peddling to crack-smoking to paternity disputes—are cast as youthful indiscretions. What this generous bit of gaslighting invites us to forget is that Hunter Biden is not some twenty-something screwup just trying to find his way—Hunter Biden is 50 years old, with a long, established track record of ethical violations stretching back over much of that half-century. Burisma is just one episode in a protracted saga of apparent corruption and cover-ups. Let’s look back on the beginnings of the pattern.

In the last years of the last millennium a 26-year-old Hunter Biden, fresh out of Yale Law and the son of a 24-year-incumbent U.S. senator, got a gig as deputy campaign manager for his dad’s reelection bid, and also took a cushy job at a bank holding company that happened to be one of his father’s biggest campaign funders. After less than three years there—in which he managed to become the company’s executive vice president—Hunter headed to the U.S. Department of Commerce for the last 3 years of the Clinton administration, hired on the orders of Commerce Secretary William Daley (who happened to have worked on Joe’s first presidential campaign). As Clinton was about to leave office, Hunter left government and turned to lobbying—becoming, as Brian Anderson observed here at TAC, “an expert in copyright enforcement, Ukrainian geopolitics, and other complex policy issues at precisely the same moment that his father began to oversee them in government.” (He was hired on to a skyrocketing startup firm by cofounder William Oldaker—another Biden ’88 adviser.)

In 2006, it was time for Hunter to get out of lobbying. (The fact that Joe once again had his eyes set on the White House may well have influenced this decision.) Joe’s younger brother, James stepped in to help. James has been more successful and more audacious even than Hunter in cashing in on family ties. In one incident, James joined construction giant HillStone International as executive vice president 3 weeks before the firm snagged a $1.5 billion contract to rebuild houses in war-torn Iraq while Joe was in the White House helping wage the war. (James had no previous experience in the construction business.) He was, in many ways, the perfect mentor for Hunter.

Given the Biden family’s humble, middle-class character—so proudly touted on the campaign trail—the obvious career move was to buy a hedge fund. James brokered the deal, and by year’s end he, Hunter, and a third partner named Anthony Lotito had bought Paradigm Global Advisors, a fund of funds. Hunter was installed as CEO. The deal was reported on extensively in 2009 by finance blogger John Hempton, who had noticed some oddities and discrepancies in a number of documents related to PGA. That’s a bit of an understatement: virtually every aspect of the fund, and of the process by which it came into the Bidens’ possession, raises serious concerns.

For one thing, Hunter and James seem to have done no due diligence regarding their business partner, or the lawyer he brought on board. It became apparent that Lotito was scamming them—which James readily admitted in a sworn affidavit in the spring of 2007—as was the lawyer, John Fasciana. The affidavit is almost comical in its professed naivety. For instance:

Lotito failed to inform Hunter or me that Fasicana: (1) had been convicted in federal court of participating in a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars and to launder that money through his attorney trust account; (2) had exhausted all his appeals; and (3) was merely awaiting sentencing for his crimes.

Had we known of Fasciana’s conviction and prior criminal conduct, we would not have retained Fasciana for any purpose. We also would not have formed LLB [the holding company the three partners used to buy PGA], and would not have engaged in any further business dealings with Lotito.

Nor were the personnel problems limited to the Bidens’ business partners. At the fund itself, founder James Park, JD, PhD, who was primarily responsible for the fund’s management, was known to have a serious substance abuse problem and to have been an absentee manager for several years. (Dr. Park has now left the hedge fund game, and wears a number of different hats, including that age-old magnet for the virtuous and good: college admissions consultant.)

It’s hard to believe that any of these things would have been very difficult to find out. One would think that, say, making sure your lawyer is not a convicted felon awaiting sentencing would be the absolute bare minimum required of due diligence in acquiring a hedge fund comprising $1.5 billion in assets. Ditto on the drug-addicted deadbeat boss.

Well, there’s another of the problems with PGA. As it turns out, Hunter and James weren’t acquiring a hedge fund comprising $1.5 billion in assets—it was actually somewhere between $200-300 million. This raises a host of other issues. As Hempton has pointed out, for instance, there is no way PGA in 2006 could have supported its professed 28 employees, on three continents, with the meager revenue from these investments—probably netting less than $3 million annually when all was said and done. Whether any fraud was perpetrated on the clients before or during the Bidens’ tenure is unclear. What is certain is that James and Hunter made a massive, easily avoidable mistake.

The concerns only multiply from there. Hempton also uncovered troubling ties between PGA and Ponta Negra, a suspicious hedge fund (i.e. Ponzi scheme) whose manager later pled guilty to fraud charges. Among the things shared by PGA and Ponta Negra are, at the very least: an address, a phone number, and a marketer. The Bidens have maintained that Ponta Negra were merely subtenants, introduced through the shared marketer (who also has “a history of marketing what [Hempton] politely deems ‘scuzzy product'”). Nor is Ponta Negra the only Ponzi scheme in PGA’s orbit: after the Biden acquisition, PGA was reported by The Wall Street Journal to have collaborated on a fund with notorious fraudster Allen Stanford.

Hunter didn’t last long as CEO, likely due to a rude awakening on what he had gotten himself into, but he and James maintained ownership of PGA at least as late as 2009. Exactly how Hunter managed to extricate himself from the PGA imbroglio (and land on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest energy companies) is not entirely clear. We do know how he defrayed the debt accrued in the process: with a small loan of a million dollars, leveraged against his house. If that seems like a generous sum, it may have something to do with the fact that Washington First Bank, which provided the note, was cofounded by one William Oldaker.

In the most generous possible reading of the situation, Hunter and James Biden—after years of capitalizing on their connection to Joe—fell for a massive scam, losing well over a million dollars in the process. That they managed to get out of hot water at all may well have been owed to their last name also. This assumes, again, the rather charitable concession that neither of them ever misrepresented the state of affairs at PGA, and that neither of them had any knowledge at all of the myriad shady dealings of multiple associates. Concede all that, and this is still a massive problem.

Assuming the Paradigm Global debacle is exactly what it looks like—the media’s habitual blind eye leaves us relying on an incomplete picture—then the biggest story of the Biden family hustle may not be their simple willingness to cash in on the name (this has been common knowledge for years) but just how easily and summarily certain Bidens can be taken for chumps. This would be, to say the least, a concerning background for the son and brother of a potential president of the United States—two men who will be sure to cash in on that position if it comes about (or at least to try).

The next time the Bidens get taken in, the stakes are likely to be much, much higher.



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See also:   biden's sacrifice...



not part of some Russian disinformation campaign...

The Department of Justice agrees with spy chief John Ratcliffe’s assessment that emails published by The Post from a laptop owned by Hunter Biden are not part of a Russian disinformation campaign, a report said.

Sources told Fox News that the FBI is also indeed in possession of the Hunter Biden laptop that the emails were copied from.

The first story The Post published about Hunter’s emails included a photo of a Delaware federal subpoena that show both the computer and its hard drive were seized by the FBI in December, after a computer repairman said he alerted federal authorities to their existence.

On Monday, Ratcliffe, the Director of National Intelligence, said the emails were “not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”

“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said.

“Let me be clear: The intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that. And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff, or any member of Congress,” he said.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had claimed the emails were part of a smear orchestrated by Moscow.

Ratcliffe blasted Schiff for the allegations.

“It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence,” Ratcliffe said. “Unfortunately, it is Adam Schiff who said the intelligence community believes the Hunter Biden laptop and emails on it are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.”


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"if the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money"...


the art of deception...

the father, the son and the holy cow...

Pedersen’s question was the last in the interview — and a Biden aide could be heard offscreen in the video, attempting to stop the interview before she asks it: “Adrienne, that’s all the time we have, I’m so sorry.”

She persisted anyway:

Pedersen: Wisconsin’s Republican Senator Ron Johnson, put out a statement on Homeland Security letterhead saying Hunter Biden, together with other Biden family members, profited off the Biden name. Is there any legitimacy to Senator Johnson’s claims?

Biden: None whatsoever. This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchman. It’s the last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family. Even the man who served with him on that committee, the former nominee for the Republican Party, said there’s no basis to this, and you know, and all and the vast majority [sic] of the intelligence people have come out and said there’s no basis at all. Ron should be ashamed of himself.


The “former nominee” — Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), whose name Biden has forgotten before — criticized Johnson’s probe in September, but was not reacting to the recent revelations about Hunter Biden’s emails. (One of Romney’s former advisers sits on Burisma’s board.)

As for the “vast majority of the intelligence people,” over 50 former intelligence officials, led by Obama-era figures James Clapper and John Brennan, released a letter Tuesday claiming that the emails looked like they could be “Russian disinformation.”

Clapper and Brennan — who were leading figures in pushing the Russia collusion hoax against President Donald Trump — admitted that they “do not have evidence” of Russian involvement.

They did not say “there’s no basis at all” for the allegations; rather, they admitted that the emails could indeed be “genuine.”



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"the big guy"...

Wait until Scranton hears about this.

One of Joe Biden’s ways of contrasting himself with President Trump has been to declare the election a battle of Park Avenue values vs. Scranton, Pa., values.

Now we learn that Biden has secretly been playing footsie with China.

The statement Wednesday night asserting that the former vice president was a willing and eager participant in a family scheme to make millions of dollars by partnering with a shady Chinese Communist firm is a singular event in a presidential race already overflowing with drama and intrigue.

The dynamite assertion, believable because it aligns with earlier information we know to be true, came in a statement by Tony Bobulinski, who describes himself as a former partner of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and Joe’s brother Jim in the China scheme. Bobulinski unloads his bill of accusations in blunt but precise language and detail.

He confirms that he was one of the recipients of the May 13, 2017, e-mail published by The Post eight days ago. That e-mail, from another partner in the group, laid out cash and equity positions and mysteriously included a 10 percent set-aside for “the big guy.”

Sources have said the “big guy” was Joe Biden. In a matter-of-fact manner, Bobulinski states that the “e-mail is genuine” and that the former vice president and the man leading in the 2020 race is indeed “the big guy.”

That claim alone rips out the heart of nearly everything Joe Biden has ever said about Hunter’s many businesses and Joe’s knowledge of them. His repeated insistence that the two never spoke of the son’s global sources of money didn’t pass the laugh test.

After all, they traveled together to China on Air Force Two, where Hunter landed a $1.5 billion commitment from a government-controlled Chinese bank. Then there was Hunter’s $83,000-a-month gig on the board of a Ukrainian energy company — despite his lack of experience in Ukraine or knowledge of energy.

It was no coincidence that the vice president was the Obama administration’s point man in both countries. Wherever Joe went, Hunter went along, not to do good, but to do well. Very well.

There were similarly lucrative deals in Russia, Romania and ­Kazakhstan — that we know of.


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"if the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money"...


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"we, jounos of the wapo, want uncle joe..."

It’s not the media’s job to cover for Joe Biden. Yet the New York Times and its ilk have fallen over themselves to call the damaging leaks “Russian disinformation,” while also awkwardly publishing the FBI’s denial of the claim.

As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden geared up to debate on Thursday night, the cable TV commentariat wondered how Trump would bring up the “laptop from hell.” Recovered from a Delaware repair shop last year and handed to Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, the laptop – which allegedly belonged to Joe’s son, Hunter – contained a tranche of emails that implicated the Biden family in numerous foreign graft schemes, all while Joe was in the White House.

Before the debate kicked off, the New York Times quoted the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as saying: “No concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation,” and the FBI as seconding this claim.

Now that even @NYTimes is stating: "no concrete evidence has emerged that the [Hunter Biden] laptop contains Russian disinformation," I trust our media luminaries will ignore that and keep asserting it anyway. Don't let nerdy questions of evidence ruin the fun and intrigue! 

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 23, 2020


For the Times, it was a dramatic turnaround. Just days earlier, before the FBI and DNI could weigh in, a headline in the nation’s paper of record read, “Is the Trump campaign colluding with Russia again?” 

Quoting only a Senate Democrat, the Times alleged that Giuliani had been cultivated as an “asset” by the Kremlin, and “any information proffered by Rudy Giuliani is likely compromised.” The Washington Post sang from the same hymn sheet, using the usual anonymous “former officials” to tie Giuliani to Russia. Even before the media settled on Russia as the culprit, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called the scandal “made up” and a “hokey story,” while NBC’s Hallie Jackson described it as “dubious” and “questionably sourced.”

MSNBC’s @JoeNBC laughs off the NY Post expose on Hunter Biden selling access to his father as obviously "made up" and “one of the stupidest October surprises I have ever seen...”

— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) October 15, 2020


As the Times and Post rang the Russia alarm last week, neither the FBI nor DNI had commented on the laptop. DNI John Ratcliffe would do so on Monday, and the FBI followed suit a day later. In fact, as these articles hit the presses, the only people who had fingered Russia for the stunt were a collection of Biden’s aides and advisors, who gave no evidence to support their claims. The Biden campaign itself didn’t embrace the Russia excuse until several days later.

It’s one thing to cover a candidate sympathetically. It’s another to work as his preemptive press corps. Joe Biden is supposed to deny and deflect attention from damaging information. He’s a politician, after all – it’s his job. The press is supposed to do the exact opposite.

This isn’t the Pyongyang Post we’re talking about. This is the New York Times, the shelves of which groan under the weight of the Pulitzer Prizes it’s collected over the years. But the dogged pursuit of truth has evidently fallen by the wayside when there’s a “Russian asset” to evict from the White House. Besides, the Times is too busy these days discussing the racial connotations of wearing a mustache.

At least these outlets formed an opinion on the story, however hackish and partisan. National Public Radio on Thursday flat out refused to cover it at all, calling it “pure distraction” and a “non-story.” For this taxpayer-funded outlet, lurid allegations of Chinese grift and Ukrainian influence-peddling are clearly less important than write-ups about TikTok stars drinking juice.

With less than two weeks to go until election day, this is where we are: the mainstream media has either ignored the Hunter Biden story, or called it “Russian disinformation,” despite the fact there is literally zero evidence for this claim.

Outside the media, the only people who have written the story off as a Russian ruse are Biden, his spokespeople, and irredeemable Russiagaters such as Adam Schiff. However, after three years of non-stop Russia-related hysterics from the California congressman, any journalist treating Schiff as a trustworthy source needs to be relegated to covering Little League games.

The newspapers didn’t even take their marching orders from Team Joe. They beat him to it.

Over the past four years, the mainstream media hasn’t missed an opportunity to hammer Trump for his failings, both real and imagined. But if Biden wins next month’s election, how can the public ever expect fairness from journalists who clearly see themselves as mouthpieces for Uncle Joe?


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See also:  racking brain cell after brain cell...