While Establishment Erupts Over Anti-Corruption Expert Pointing Out Biden’s Troubling Record, Progressives Say: Look at the Troubling Record

Jerri-Lynn here. I’m posting this to remind readers that while Trump may have, shall we say, pushed the envelope on corruption, Biden has long had his own special problems. Now, some of this behavior is not necessarily illegal – just standard operating procedure in Washington. I’m reminded of  Michael Kinsley’s quip:  “I have a saying: the scandal isn’t what’s illegal, the scandal is what’s legal.”

We all know Democratic insiders are pushing the Biden candidacy, hard. This post makes  the case for saying No to Joe. The Democrats cannot once again hand Trump the corruption issue again, to pound their candidate on what should be his great vulnerability.

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

After establishment Democrats exploded over a column making the argument that former Vice President Joe Biden is too corrupt to credibly present voters an alternative to President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, progressives presented more evidence from Biden’s past that make the case against his candidacy.

A column Monday by Zephyr Teachout, a professor of law at Fordham University and supporter of the Democratic presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), set off a firestorm for asserting Biden has a “corruption problem” and that his past makes the former vice president a “weak candidate” compared to others in the primary field.

“Here’s the thing,” wrote Teachout, “nominating a candidate like Biden will make it far more difficult to defeat Trump.”

Teachout detailed three major areas of concern: Biden’s prioritization of the financial industry over working Americans, his ties to the healthcare industry, and his connections to the fossil fuel industry. The potential for Trump to use Biden’s record against him in a general election, said Teachout, should not be underestimated.

“Corrupt politicians always use whataboutism,” Teachout wrote. “With Biden, we are basically handing Trump a whataboutism playbook.”

Cenk Uygur, the Young Turks host running for Congress in California’s 25th district, said on Twitter that the argument against Biden for corruption was an easy one to make.

“Of course Biden is corrupt,” said Uygur. “He takes millions in campaign contributions and votes with his donors. It’s obvious.”

Establishment Democrats and members of the media cried foul over the piece, calling it an attack and placing the blame for it at Sanders’ feet.

The Hill‘s Krystal Ball replied by noting the double standard in which it is off the table for Sanders and his team to mark legitimate distinctions between the senator and other candidates while his rivals are allowed to levy unfounded attacks against him.

“So the Sanders campaign isn’t allowed to point things out that are objectively true, while other campaigns are celebrated for nasty invented smears,” Ball tweeted of an attack on the campaign from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. “Got it.”

Jon Schwarz, a writer for The Intercept, opined that Krugman’s distaste for the attacks was based in his support for Biden and not in a real interest in keeping the primary fair.

“Note Krugman doesn’t say anything here is false, and is not denying Biden is corrupt,” said Schwarz. “Krugman surely knows Biden is corrupt (although in the standard Washington way, not the insane lurid Trump way). Krugman just objects to anyone mentioning these facts.”

Sanders, for his part, disavowed Teachout’s article and claimed not to believe Biden is corrupt in an interview with CBS News.

“Thanks for acknowledging this, Bernie,” Biden tweeted in response. “These kinds of attacks have no place in this primary. Let’s all keep our focus on making Donald Trump a one-term president.”

Giving Biden the ability to pivot away from discussing that history and calling for ignoring it altogether, said Intercept journalist Mehdi Hasan, is a problem.

“It is political malpractice that none of his rivals have brought up Biden’s sponsorship of the infamous bankruptcy bill on behalf of the credit card industry in Delaware at a single TV debate so far,” Hasan said, “which allows Biden to then put out tweets like this.”

Journalist Sam Adler-Bell agreed and noted the possibility of the GOP taking advantage of a gaping hole in Biden’s credibility with voters.

“Biden is corrupt and the Sanders campaign is justified in saying so,” said Adler-Bell. “Just on electability grounds, Biden’s record is a huge opening for Trump (also corrupt).”

As a number of progressives pointed out, Biden’s history at the very least hints at corruption and nepotism of the kind described by Teachout and used by Republicans to defend Trump from impeachment over withholding aid to Ukraine until the country’s leaders announced an investigation into Biden’s son Hunter’s employment by gas company Burisma.

With the politics of impeachment looming and Biden’s documented history of promoting the interests of corporate donors clear to anyone willing to look, the time to air out the current national frontrunner’s record is now, said Current Affairs editor Nathan J. Robinson.

“If we don’t point out the truth, we risk getting stuck with a corrupt candidate that Trump will crush,” Robinson said.

Teachout, in her column Monday, called on Democrats to choose a different path.

“We still have time to break with this culture of corruption,” wrote Teachout. “We don’t have to choose Biden’s way, which would give Trump a perfect foil.”

“We have a rare opportunity to end a larger culture of corruption and we should take it,” she added. “We will regret it if we don’t.”

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91 comments

  1. Procopius

    Biden may not be on the take himself. I haven’t looked up what he’s been doing since January 21, 2017, but I gather after a lifetime of receiving very modest rewards he’s “earned” several million dollars. His real corruption problem is not limited to Hunter’s many dubious activities since 2009. The rest of the family has been doing things which may not be illegal. Remember Obama pointing out that “a lot of what [the banksters] did wasn’t illegal.” I think if Biden is the candidate we’ll be hearing a lot about these activities.

    Reply
      1. Wisdom Seeker

        Please don’t use the word “earned” in that context.

        Biden has received, collected, gathered, called in.

        P.S. Tempted to suggest “amassed” but that fails because modern credit is intangible until spent.

        Reply
  2. Off The Street

    Why aren’t people more upset about the rampant and expensive corruption by Biden and so many of his colleagues? They are on the take while so many among their constituencies are dying from opioids, homeless, you name it, and those constituents would have their lives meaningfully improved with a tiny fraction of the loot they receive! Lies by so many in the political class might finally get exposed to the general population, and then people will see that DC is filled with like, er, Avenatti. :(

    Reply
    1. Trent

      And so we go, on with our lives
      We know the truth, but prefer lies
      Lies are simple, simple is bliss
      Why go against tradition when we can
      Admit defeat, live in decline
      Be the victim of our own design
      The status quo, built on suspect
      Why would anyone stick out their neck?

      Fellow members of
      Club “We’ve Got Ours”
      I’d like to introduce you to our host
      He’s got his, and I’ve got mine
      Meet the decline

      Reply
    2. rusti

      Something that the War Nerd always muses about is that it seems almost impossible to get people riled up over the horrendously wasteful F-35 program, or more recently the Afghanistan papers haven’t made much of a splash. Maybe wastefully allocating hundreds of billions of dollars is a bi-partisan activity and the MSM conditions people to care about partisan things, or maybe people’s eyes just glaze over when they see gigantic numbers and have a tough time putting them in context.

      Intuitively I agree with you, there should be a lot of potential to rally a huge number of people behind this cause, Kelley Vlahos at the American Conservative and Zephyr Teachout are probably in firm agreement on this.

      Reply
      1. d

        Oddly enough, all war spending expensive,including during WW2,where we spent more a few time than what the GDP was. Not that I suppose we would complain, since the alternative is having to German or Japanese, and forget our freedom. But considering the DOD budget today, isn’t multiples of GDP. Course the time to war getting started is a lot shorter now (that war really started 1931..but we joined in it really really late)

        Reply
    3. d

      I could point out that all are corrupt, we just don’t know what it was. So the choice which corruption do you want? Trumps or Biden? So far it seems like there is no limit of any sort with Trump

      Reply
  3. John Beech

    Vice President Biden is an unacceptable character to me because I am a creator. E.g. I create products and content with computer tools like SolidWorks, Photoshop, and Illustrator, and a word processor for writing (words and code), as well as use cameras to shoot video, and take photos. Plus I make things using my two hands in metal with lathe and mill, and in wood with saw and hammer. And it’s original work ‘thunk’ up by dint of my own gray cells.

    As a consequence, I have just as dim a view of content-thieves as of ordinary thieves who steal something physical. I perhaps despise the former even more for being so morally bankrupt they will appropriate the work of others with neither consent of, nor credit to, the creator. Anyway, during the 1988 presidential campaign, one of the candidates for the nomination, Joe Biden, was drummed out of the contest when it surfaced he had plagiarized the work of others.

    I honestly thought we’d seen the last of him until Senator Obama plucked him out of relative obscurity. Why is beyond me but he obviously filled a need for the ticket. No matter, I didn’t vote for them – neither time (and if I’m being honest, I rather like Obama).

    Finally, with respect to the charge regarding his ‘helping’ his kids make their way in the world, e.g. Hunter (and all the rest), any father will do this and thus, I am rather more forgiving in this regard. BUT, I won’t vote for Joe Biden – no matter what – because once a thief, always a thief.

    Same holds for Warren, once a liar always a liar.

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      You too? I’ve spent my life in creative/craftsmanship pursuits, albeit without the digital enhancement. One thing that working with your hands forces you to do, is to be absolutely honest. For example, A bar of steel won’t lie if you drilled a hole in the wrong spot. Your piece of furniture won’t lie if its crap and falls apart. Your painting won’t lie if it looks like crap for some reason. Anything less than full honesty is repugnant to me.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Count me as another member of the NC creative/craftsmanship club. And don’t get me started on content thieves. Just don’t. They’re the bane of my writing and photographic existence.

        Reply
    2. John Wright

      re:Finally, with respect to the charge regarding his ‘helping’ his kids make their way in the world, e.g. Hunter (and all the rest), any father will do this and thus, I am rather more forgiving in this regard.

      There is “helping” as in calling a friend and asking them to consider employing your kid for a job that they are qualified for.

      See progressive economist Brad DeLong pleading for a job for his son at a Democratic think tank Center for American Progress

      https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/26521

      But Biden’s help consisted in allowing his kid to take a very high paid job in a foreign nation that may have wanted to curry favor with the US government, in an industry in which Hunter Biden had no experience, WHILE Joe Biden was in a position to influence USA-Ukrainian policy .

      Even if Joe Biden had not been directly involved in the job placement, the Ukrainian gas company apparently thought the Hunter Biden appointment was a worthwhile investment, making it appear that Joe Biden’s “helpful” reputation is internationally known.

      Maybe my experience is jaundiced by a story, I was told, from an electronics company I worked for.

      The story was that one of the founder’s sons was placed in an entry level summer job within the company, but the son proceeded to “throw his weight around” and come and go when he wanted.

      As I was told, the kid’s supervisor called the company founder’s secretary and mentioned that “Tell him I had to fire his son”.

      The firing stuck.

      Biden should have advised his son to resign from the Burisma board.

      But maybe Biden was unconcerned about his reputation at the time because he was not planning to run for President.

      Reply
      1. d

        You know I would be more concerned, if Biden had called the company pushing for them to hire his son, and if he hadn’t pushed to have the corrupt prosecutor fired, like so many others did. Now maybe he did the first, but nobody that could know says that (course they won’t, since that could back fire badly),but the is common news

        Reply
    3. d

      So exactly what did he do that impacted you? Doesn’t sound like you are in the oil business, and you definitely sound an upstanding business person, so what did he do?

      Reply
  4. templar555510

    So, if anyone was in any doubt before, now Krugman has made it plain that he is just another apparatchik of the Dem Establishment . He and his fellow travellers are so transparently undemocratic. But they can’t help themselves this time around ; they have to poke their heads above the parapets of their ivory towers and spout their drool . ‘ If only that wretched Trump hadn’t gatecrashed our party everything would be fine ‘ they say, ‘ so I have to tell it like it is – for me and my pals that is and how horrible it will be for me and my pals if a Bernie were to get elected and our cosy club were to be disrupted ‘ . Res ipsa loquitur .

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      i used to admire krugman for speaking truth about the iraq war, but it turned out he was only upset by republican warmongering.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Pretty sure Mr. Krugman had some help in getting his mind “right”.
        When sensible-enough people start talking nonsense..

        Reply
  5. Steve

    All Trump would have to do is run an ad using Samantha Bee’s “Creepy Uncle Joe” and then a follow up on how Biden is very responsible for the current student loan disaster and Biden would be done.

    Reply
    1. d

      Well maybe so, but then there are those adds that write themselves, like putting children, very you g ones in cages, putting them on trial, without help(for some reason they put up much of fight,cause they can’t talk),course then there was that huge tax cut.,. For companies and 1%, and tax increase for the rest of us, course there was also that black mailing a foreign company to help his re-election , or asking Russia or China. For help with it too. Course there is that worshiping Putin thing. We could go on ….but we don’t have year to list all of them

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    Nasty hit at that jerk Paul Krugman by Kristol Ball. She should really get together with Caitlin Johnstone – it would be fun. There should be stories galore of all the downright evil acts that Biden has done but the MSM always seems to back off. Probably because the owners of the MSM told their editors to lay off good old Joe. But good old Joe himself is not beyond threatening the media telling these stories such as when he recently warned them not to spread ‘debunked’ claims about his activities in Ukraine – or else!

    https://www.rt.com/usa/478746-biden-warns-media-ukraine/

    And we all know what stories Joe is talking about that have been debunked. Stories like this one-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXA–dj2-CY

    Reply
  7. Dalepues

    “Sanders, for his part, disavowed Teachout’s article…”

    I don’t know what to say about this except that I wish Sen Sanders could have found a way to acknowledge Teachout’s work against corruption and still been able to steer clear of directly attacking Biden.

    Reply
      1. KLG

        Ah, yes. Leo Durocher. (mis)-Managed the 1969 Chicago Cubs (from a 50-year-old baseball memory: Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, Ken Holtzman, Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert) to perhaps the greatest September collapse in MLB history.

        Come to think of it, did Durocher ever win a title as manager?

        Pick your battles, team! We are not even in the first inning yet.

        Reply
        1. Andrew Thomas

          Did Leo the Lip ever win a championship as manager? Sadly, yes. Three pennants, in 1941, 1951 and 1954, and the World Series in ‘54. In the case of 1951, there’s a really contemporary connection. It came to light later- much later- that the Giants were operating a sign-stealing operation at their home field of the Polo Grounds. Did Bobby Thomson know what was coming when he homered to win the game? I don’t think we’ll ever know for certain. However, the Dodgers manager leaving his obviously arm-weary starter, the great and sadly underrated Don Newcombe, in the game until the Giants had a chance to win had something major to do with the outcome as well. Nice guys need not finish last. But if they’re stupid, too? No chance.

          Reply
        2. somecallmetim

          Leo was dissed for overusing his pitchers in the regular season, leaving not enough gas in the tank for the playoffs.

          Reply
        3. Big Tap

          As a Phillies fan the greatest collapse in September in baseball history occurred in 1964. The Phillies with 12 games remaining blew a 6 1/2 game lead.

          Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        We are talking about the Democrat party here so Casey Stengel may be more appropriate –

        “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

        Reply
        1. KLG

          Bernie caucuses with the Democrat Party by necessity, but he is not of the Democrat Party. Sometimes the world as it exists as messy. But yes, Bernie can play this game!

          And regarding AT’s reply above, I am embarrassed to have forgotten that Leo the Lip was manager of the 1954 Giants, who destroyed the Indians in 4 straight after Cleveland won 111 games in a 154-game season. Long live Willie Mays! But 1954 was before my time…

          Reply
    1. d

      I wish he would just state the facts of history, instead of disavowing his supporters. Bernie learned nothing from 2016, obviously. If he thinks this playing nice is going to repayed, he is sorely mistaken. I think Bernie wants to be liked more than he wants to win, tbh.

      Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        i think his judgement is clouded by personal relationships with the people he works with, and his sweet and forgiving nature. it’s a positive in many respects, but in politics not so much.

        Reply
        1. Anarcissie

          I think you’re both wrong. Sanders is using a soft-force technique with which students of (some) martial arts are pretty familiar; the basic idea is to use the opponent’s strength against him, let him fight with himself. You all seem to think that a lot of hard language and loud talk will set the Establishment back. It won’t; it’s their métier. They also have weight and numbers on their side. The only way forward for Sanders is to sidestep their efforts. He really does seem to be different; and the only way we’re ever going to see anything different that doesn’t happen by accident is to be different.

          Reply
          1. Jeff W

            Sanders is using a soft-force technique with which students of (some) martial arts are pretty familiar; the basic idea is to use the opponent’s strength against him, let him fight with himself.…The only way forward for Sanders is to sidestep their efforts.

            That’s exactly how I see it.

            It fits in with a sort of game theory, too: Sanders avoids the negative, if undeserved, consequences of labeling Joe Biden “corrupt,” even in the inarguable systemic Washington sense—and loses next to nothing from his supporters who, while wishing he were more forthcoming, will still vote for him, even if they don’t fully agree with his strategy. As I said in an earlier comment on today’s Links, discretion is the better part of valor.

            Reply
      2. Oh

        If Bernie’s campaign folks had been thinking on their feet they could’ve found a way to link Biden’s corruption with usary rates, student loans, etc. that banks imposed on people with Biden’s help. Bernie’s apologizing to Biden was a big mistake.

        Reply
    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Me too. It feels way too close to him being tired of hearing about “her damn emails.” I totally understand direct attacks aren’t his speed, but the change he advocates will never happen if we pretend the Democrats haven’t been active participants in getting us to this point.

      Reply
    3. Patricia

      I think, given that he is now in impeachment process which have underlying implications for Biden, he had little choice. To get embroiled in that particular political fiasco would be unwise, and there’d of course be full-out attack. Keep to the points re Biden, re SS/Medicare reduction plans, tightening bankruptcy policies, etc—worthwhile things on which to be attacked, at this time.

      But I hope that he called up Zephyr and apologized because she is lovely and quite correct.

      Reply
    4. urblintz

      Has this changed your mind about voting for him? I will assume not and point out that it’s those of us who solidly support Bernie who are most inclined to see this as weakness and right now he needs to focus on the undecideds and those not firmly committed to another candidate. I think playing nice is an appropriate strategy and I believe it’s also genuine Bernie, so – win/win. Besides, he has not abandoned the points against Biden on SS. and I think they’ve made and will continue to make a difference.

      Reply
      1. WJ

        The general consensus seems to be that Bernie Sanders will win current Biden supporters and undecideds by being civil and restrained. But in my view it’s just as likely that he would do better by blowing up the whole charade, a la Trump in the 2016 Republican Primary but with the advantage that Sanders could do so on the basis of principle and an established record. Outsiders don’t win by being collegial to insiders. They win by saying what everybody subconsciously thinks but is afraid to state outright. The insiders are corrupt phonies and there’s no reason to think that any of them will enact policies designed to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

        Reply
    5. Anthony G Stegman

      Sanders is a Grade A wimp. That is a major fault of his. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite what she and her supporters did to him. He will never win the nomination. Politics is a dirty business. Sanders needs to get down and dirty (at least sometimes). Don’t pull punches Bernie!!

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        The man’s word is worth something, He kept it, regardless of how distasteful it is to do so. I am positive many posters here would have been shouting about it far and wide if he had broken his word, saying “See? He can’t be trusted, vote for Clinton!” And then he would have been politically finished and thrown out on the trash heap of history.

        Reply
  8. Carolinian

    So perhaps the real issue is Bernie saying Biden is not corrupt. If you are vying to be the most powerful person in the world then you have to show at least a bit of willingness to act that way. Admittedly he’s in a no win position given the hostility of the press. But I suspect one key to Trump’s unlikely election is his willingness to tell the press to go hang.

    Reply
      1. pjay

        Warren tells blatant lies to smear Bernie. Biden tells blatant lies denying what published evidence (including his own past statements!) show to be true and accusing the *Sanders campaign* of lying. And Bernie *apologizes*! The media instantly praises him for this — NOT!. This is insane!

        Yes, there were ways that Bernie could have remained “civil” without *actually denying* the obvious truths stated by Teachout, Stoller, and others (Tom Brocaw, anyone?). Just as he didn’t have to go *all in* for the Russiagate narrative — over and over again — to avoid directly challenging Clinton’s obvious lying and corruption. But he did, and continues to do so.

        “Every time I think I couldn’t be more gobsmacked and depressed…” I keep saying this, and keep being unpleasantly surprised.

        Reply
      2. Grant

        I don’t think it is him being nice, or disagreeing with what Teachout said. No one really thinks Bernie doesn’t believe Biden is corrupt. He has said as much time and time again. The situation is complex and Bernie seems to be doing what Warren did not do in her ridiculous attacks against him. She put herself directly in the middle of those attacks, instead of having someone in her campaign or a supporter do what Teachout did (and that isn’t a good comparison, because Teachout said things that were entirely true and Warren’s attack is absurd). Teachout wrote the article (I don’t know if she coordinated with the campaign, but likely did) and Nina Turner wrote about Biden’s record regarding black people to an important paper in South Carolina. The media hasn’t focused on the substance of Turner’s article either, now have they? Just as devastating. What Bernie did, however, was give a clunky response and his campaign didn’t do the best job of coordination on messaging. Having said that, they could easily turn the tables by simply asking the media to focus on the substance of what Teachout said. If what she said is factually incorrect, point it where she was incorrect. If what she said was true, then the debate should be about what she is pointing out. If I were Bernie’s campaign, I would confront journalists about focusing on a word instead of the horrible record of Biden. I would push to focus on the substance of the Teachout article, which is what the media is ignoring for obvious reasons. Call it corruption or something else, but what Biden has done cannot be defended. So, make them defend it. Focusing on the word itself makes it so that this entire debate is on the terrain of those that want to avoid the actual substance of Teachout’s article.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          “Bernie had Teachout do this”

          I should have rephrased that. I have no evidence his campaign had her do this. But, I also think it is fair to say that his campaign agrees with what she said and likely knew she was writing the article. Similar to the Nina Turner article, I think he is a lot more strategic in his critiques than a political amateur like Warren.

          Reply
      3. Arizona Slim

        Bernie is the United States Senator for the great state of Vermont. And, if you haven’t been there, Vermont is a state where good manners are highly valued.

        To illustrate this point, here’s a story from the Arizona Slim File:

        About a decade ago, I was visiting my aunt, who lived in a small town in Vermont. Aunt Jean had to go to a meeting, and it wasn’t the sort of meeting I also could attend.

        So, Jean had a brilliant idea: “Slim, would you like to go to our local library?”

        I sure did.

        While I was at the library, a local woman stomped in and unleashed a tirade. Seems that some driver had struck her car in the parking lot. Even worse, said driver left without leaving a note on her car.

        Well, Angry Local Lady’s summation of that anonymous car striker went like this:

        “He’s NOT a Vermonter!”

        Reply
  9. shinola

    This snip from Jon Schwarz quoted in the article gets right to the heart of the matter:

    “..Biden is corrupt (although in the standard Washington way, not the insane lurid Trump way).”

    Reply
  10. pjay

    It sounds like the much-discussed forthcoming “documentary” on Hillary Clinton demonstrates how grateful Clinton and her minions are for Bernie (1) refusing to acknowledge the contents of “the damn e-mails”; (2) campaigning for Hillary after she won the nomination “fair and square”; and (3) using his cachet of credibility among progressives to push the Russiagate narrative full on.

    I’m sure Joe will be just as grateful.

    Reply
  11. Peter

    To add to the Biden File:
    https://johnsolomonreports.com/latvian-government-says-it-flagged-suspicious-hunter-biden-payments-in-2016/

    The Latvian correspondence adds to a growing body of evidence that questions and investigations of Burisma were swirling in early 2016 just before Joe Biden used his authority as vice president to force the firing of Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in March 2016 by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid.

    and there might be a lot more to investigate:
    https://johnsolomonreports.com/a-dozen-document-troves-that-could-change-the-ukraine-scandal-if-trump-released-them/

    There are still wide swaths of documentation kept under wraps inside government agencies like the State Department that could substantially alter the public’s understanding of what has happened in the U.S.-Ukraine relationships now at the heart of the impeachment probe.

    As House Democrats mull whether to pursue impeachment articles and the GOP-led Senate braces for a possible trial, here are 12 tranches of government documents that could benefit the public if President Trump ordered them released, and the questions these memos might answer.

    And some not so true statements by Biden:

    https://johnsolomonreports.com/joe-bidens-conspiracy-theory-memo-to-u-s-media-doesnt-match-the-facts/

    Fact: Ukraine law enforcement reopened the Burisma investigation in early 2019, well before President Trump mentioned the matter to Ukraine’s new president Vlodymyr Zelensky.

    This may be the single biggest under-reported fact in the impeachment scandal: four months before Trump and Zelensky had their infamous phone call, Ukraine law enforcement officials officially reopened their investigation into Burisma and its founder.

    The effort began independent of Trump or his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s legal work. In fact, it was NABU – the very agency Joe Biden and the Obama administration helped start – that recommended in February 2019 to reopen the probe.

    Joe Salomon did some real journalistic work here

    Reply
  12. Left in Wisconsin

    To everyone pained that Bernie refuses to play hardball, maybe new CNN poll will make you feel better. I’m no expert on campaigning but perhaps he actually knows what he is doing.

    Reply
    1. chuckster

      “Joe Biden is a friend of mine. No, I do NOT believe he is corrupt.”

      Bernie Sanders
      January 21, 2020

      Bernie needs better friends.

      Reply
  13. TheCatSaid

    Wasn’t Burisma under investigation before Trump was even a candidate? Didn’t the phone call mention Burisma (brought up by the Ukraine president)? No one mentioned Hunter Biden on the phone call AFAIK. Doesn’t Burisma have a horrible track record re: corruption–not just about who it chooses as board members? Shouldn’t Burisma be investigated?

    Why wasn’t funding completely withheld from Burisma? Should we be funding corrupt businesses?

    Re: Biden, should being a presidential candidate mean immunity from investigation?

    This was a bad topic for Dems to focus on if they want to appear to take the moral high ground.

    Reply
  14. rps

    The donkey in the room isn’t Teachout’s Biden Family Corruption Inc article. The donkey in the room is Bernie once again prostrating himself before the DNC like supporting Hillary 2016 after the DNC sunk him.

    Loyalty some would say is an admirable trait and a two-way street. According to The Hill, Clinton recently unloaded on Sanders in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that ran on Tuesday, accusing him of fostering a movement that is abusive toward women.

    “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton said. “He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

    Ya know there’s a saying; “fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Bernie either proudly wears his “kick me” sign due to his blind DNC allegiance or he’s their pied piper warmup act promising hopey changey thingys. Either way, he’s a proven mulligan career apologist.

    Bernie ain’t got no muscle. No hustle. No backbone, hanging and trippin’ on them DNC coattails.

    Reply
    1. flora

      I think Sanders wants to keep the focus on M4A, increasing the minimum wage, ended student debt servitude, protecting the safety nets, and ending corporate and billionaire welfare, and climate change, instead of giving the MSM an opening to dogpile over ‘look what Bernie said about Warren Biden!”
      And that would be the only MSM story , bet on it.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth

        That’s my take also. The media is just waiting to pounce on Bernie for anything he says about Biden or Warren. It would blow up and become headlines – and take the focus off his campaign messaging. I think he’s wise to to keep his powder dry.

        Reply
      2. Jeff W

        Exactly.

        And the Sanders campaign this week wants to focus on Biden’s lousy record on Social Security—which, given Biden’s relative, if inexplicable, strength with older voters, is a crucial case to make—rather than on some ultimately meaningless media dogpile focusing on what Sanders said (as opposed to whether Biden is actually corrupt or not).

        Reply
    2. Grant

      “Bernie ain’t got no muscle. No hustle. No backbone, hanging and trippin’ on them DNC coattails.”

      I find this to be utterly ridiculous. He is openly challenging the most powerful interests in society. Among those running, he alone. I would bet he has done it a thousands more than everyone else running combined. Bernie is stuck in the same rotten system, and has to operate in the same rotten party, as do AOC and others I personally respect. He, like most posting here, has had to make choices in this rotten system that he probably doesn’t like, as have I. Most times I have voted, I have voted for a crappy candidate who I know will make things worse. I vote defensively so things aren’t even worse than the candidate I supported. I have crappy choices and so does Bernie. But he is also running for office, and cannot say things in public and as part of his campaign that we can say online here. Are liberals overly sensitive to claims of corruption? Yes. Is that frustrating? Yes. Are some of them otherwise that are open to Bernie? Yes. So, he has a calculus you don’t as a person on a blog. I don’t think he worded things perfectly, but I also think that the Teachout article is out there for everyone to read. And it is utterly devastating. What is devastating is Biden’s record. Is his record horrible because of corruption or ideology, or both? In the end, it doesn’t matter to me. If he supports a healthcare system that kills me, will my wife and kids really care if he did so because of corruption or his ideology? It is the policies he has supported, their impacts, that ultimately matter. He cannot defend his policy, but he can make an issue (with the help of the media) of the word corruption.

      Reply
      1. Dirk77

        Interesting. I think Obama/Clinton types, self-serving or brain dead as they are, won’t be reading the Teachout article anyways. So the audience is everyone else. Which is most people. And most people may or may not care that Bernie apologized, but are now aware of the article. So another plug for it. Teachout putting Biden’s dependency corruption on the same level of bad as quid pro quo is very important. So it’s a win in my mind.

        Reply
    3. TheCatSaid

      I came to the conclusion in 2016 that Bernie’s support for Clinton was already “baked in” to his standing as a candidate in the first place. School play. He knew he wasn’t going to be the final Dem candidate, that was agreed in advance.

      I learned years later that Bernie personally & at least 2 others among his top campaign staff were provided with extensive official documentary evidence of Clinton/Clinton Foundation wrongdoing, (It had to do with whistleblowing wrongdoing by a major arms supplier IIRC.) He didn’t use it. He was never serious about doing anything that would jeopardize Clinton’s expected win.

      So I don’t take him seriously now. It feels like a script playing out. I don’t know what the ending is, but it doesn’t have anything to do with democracy.

      Reply
      1. Seamus Padraig

        Of course Bernie’s gonna tell you to vote for Biden next fall! Didn’t he endorse the woman who defrauded him in the primaries back in 2016? Bernie knows his job: sheepdog.

        Reply
    4. Oh

      I happen to agree that he should not be cowtieing to the Democrats, especially Hillary or Biden. IEven though Bernie’s a genuinely nice guy (unlike Obama), too many progressives are making excuses for his missteps just like they kept supporting Obama until he fooled them. Even now many Blacks refuse to believe that he let them down. They watched him drink bottled water in a glass pretending that it was water that was being supplied to Flint.

      Reply
  15. lincoln

    I agree that Biden’s proximity to corruption definitely makes him a problematic candidate. It goes way beyond what’s been hinted at in Ukraine.

    According to Politico, just before Joe Biden assumed a 2006 chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee his brother James was quoted as telling investors “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden….We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company”

    And in the NY Post: “James (Joe Biden’s brother) would go on to snag a job as executive vice president of a construction company in 2010, despite having virtually no experience in the field. And only a few months into his tenure, the company would win one of its biggest contracts in its history, a $1.5 billion deal to build affordable homes in Iraq. By pure happenstance, Joe was also the Obama administration’s point man in Iraq at the time. Funny how these things work out.”

    And also in the NY Post: “Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden and Finnegan arrived to a red carpet and a delegation of Chinese officials. Greeted by Chinese children carrying flowers, the delegation was then whisked to a meeting with Vice President Li Yuanchao and talks with President Xi Jinping. Hunter and Finnegan Biden joined the vice president for tea with US Ambassador Gary Locke at the Liu Xian Guan Teahouse in the Dongcheng District in Beijing. Where Hunter Biden spent the rest of his time on the trip remains largely a mystery. There are actually more reports of his daughter Finnegan’s activities than his. What was not reported was the deal that Hunter was securing. Rosemont Seneca Partners had been negotiating an exclusive deal with Chinese officials, which they signed approximately 10 days after Hunter visited China with his father. The most powerful financial institution in China, the government’s Bank of China, was setting up a joint venture with Rosemont Seneca.”

    And finally in Jacobin: “Whether it’s Biden’s son, Hunter, being hired as a lobbyist for a Delaware credit card company whose favored legislation Biden was voting for; Biden’s brother mysteriously getting hired by a mid-size construction firm shortly before it received a $1.5 billion government contract; or Hunter, again, joining the board of a corruption-tainted Ukrainian gas producer while Biden spearheaded US policy on Ukraine. That last issue is likely a ticking time bomb, with Ukrainian officials recently disclosing to the Hill that Biden leaned on the country’s government to fire its top prosecutor just as he was set to investigate the gas company, including interviewing Biden’s son.”

    Reply
  16. Ping

    I’m demoralized that many people considered thoughtful and intelligent do not do even the basic fact checking of voting records, usually satisfied with superficial identity handles such as thrilled to vote for Hillary in 2016 because she’s a woman vs Bernie.

    I’m considered a heretic when I pointed out Hillary’s militarism, support of awful trade deals, the Clinton Foundation basically a cynical global pay to play operation while sec of state– siphoning off funds for legitimate public purposes and her husband is mixed up Jeffrey Epstein for Gods sake…..just to name a few points. And no wonder the Democrats lost power selling out the commons….

    Here in Arizona I was recently obliged to point out Democrat Senator Kristin Sinema, is a changeling. Most likely a Koch creation, ALEC is very active in our state legislature…… Just like Repub military butch McSally who ran the first time in Arizona with a tight perm railing against social security with extremist gun toting Jessie Kelley following suit with the Sarah Palin adds featuring bulls-eye targets on various political opponents. Then our Democratic senator Gabrielle Giffords along with bystanders and children were shot that immediately shut down that approach.

    McSally was resurrected with a softer makeover, no more tight perm and ambiguous positions. Kristin Sinema is likely a trojan horse with her voting record.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Ping, I remember McSally from her butch era. She’s done a real 180, let me tell you.

      If you’re ever down Tucson way, howzabout we have an NC meetup? Because I agree 100% with what you just said.

      PS: Others are more than welcome to join this meetup.

      Reply
      1. Ping

        Hi Slim, Yes, as a fellow Tucsonan, I’ve often read your comments with interest. I’d look forward to a NC meetup and often wished I could rendezvous with some of the meetups featuring the illustrians like Michael Hudson. I was out of town for the last one scheduled (was it Dos Hermanos on 4th?)

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          I hosted two NC meetups and was too unwell to host the third.

          And while they don’t take reservations, Ermanos (on 4th Avenue) can certainly host us on a walk-in basis.

          Paging Yves and Lambert, another Tucson NC meetup is in the works!

          Reply
    2. Ping

      I digressed in commenting about public laxity checking voting records….so simple to do.

      I had to turn off Morning Joe this morning due to nausea after Joe Biden was invited to opine about his late son.
      For crying out loud!! He has been playing that sympathy card adnauseum, along with his wife’s fatality for decades.
      As though losing a loved one is unique??? How does he have the gall to whine about that when his militarism has caused such harm to soldiers and their families, trauma, limbs blown off, only to return to struggles accessing health care and public services…

      Reply
    3. flora

      The Clinton name is forever linked with the despised NAFTA trade deal of the 90’s, which did so much to gut US manufacturing in the US swing states. Carrying the NAFTA baggage would be hard enough to overcome, but she and O made the very stupid – that’s the only word I have for it – stupid mistake to reinsert new terrible trade deals TPP and TPIP into the 2016 campaign, both coming out initially for the deals. Hills backed away when she finally saw support for the deals was a loser but O pushed ahead on trade talks. T explicitly ran against those trade deals, and he won 3 important swing states.

      But sure, they didn’t vote for her because she’s a woman. right.

      From McClatchy:

      And there’s general agreement that at the outset of the 2020 contest, three historically Democratic-leaning midwestern states President Donald Trump flipped in 2016 — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — along with the perennial battleground of Florida will be at the core of the fight.

      https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/campaigns/article222917745.html

      Reply
      1. Ping

        It’s remarkable that the public does not remember or did not experience the days before the trade agreements that gutted everything important for society.

        Before NAFTA, middle class jobs afforded one parent to support a family and one parent to focus on raising kids and with a middle class job, one could manage a starter home without crushing debt. There was a reasonable expectation you could work up the ladder and not be discarded at the first opportunity for a cheaper international replacement. It didn’t cost a fortune to be educated or get medical treatment….

        Our skilled public relations institution psyche-ops (birthed by Bernays, Freud etc) have successfully misdirected and fractured frustration and anger enabled by a poor public education system that has created an easily manipulated ignorant population no longer “citizens” but merely “consumers” where our job evidently is not to be engaged and informed, but just to buy cheap sh** from China.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth

          I remember in one of the debates (the first one, I think) Biden said he’d resurrect the TPP. Somehow it seems to have slipped any mention or discussion. Never Biden.

          Reply
  17. Oregoncharles

    “We will regret it if we don’t.”
    All the way to the bank.
    You’re asking the Dems to break a lot of VIP ricebowls. Good luck with that.

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      Said VIP’s have been breaking everyone else’s ricebowls since Jimmy Carter. Sanders is merely pointing out this fact.

      Reply

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