Can Hunter Biden Be Both Right and Wrong, Both Innocent and Guilty? Yes He Can.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

The story that started the latest round of madness

If you’re confused by the welter of reports around the Hunter Biden-purloined laptop story, don’t be embarrassed. The reporting is not just confusing, but confusingly told. Even if we divide the story into its two major parts — what the Post printed; what Facebook and Twitter did about it — and analyze them separately, things don’t become more clear. Large sections of each side’s version of each side of the story overlap in confusing and unremarked-on ways.

In brief, here’s what happened as Matt Taibbi describes it:

The “blockbuster” had a controversial provenance. A computer repair shop in Delaware reportedly came to possess a laptop belonging to the younger Biden. According to the Post, it contained a treasure trove of Republican oppo, including videos of the younger Biden smoking crack and having sex, and emails from a Ukrainian businessman pleading with Hunter to use connections to help the corrupt energy firm Burisma escape a shakedown.

Later, the Burisma exec appeared to thank the younger Biden for an introduction to his father. The Post strongly suggested that these emails, in conjunction with the well-known tale of Joe Biden demanding the ouster of then-General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin, represented a misuse of influence.

Soon after the story was published, we were hit with a stunner: two major tech platforms, Twitter and Facebook, took third-world style steps to limit the distribution of the story. Facebook announced that it was slowing the article’s spread on its news feed via a tweet from Andy Stone, a Facebook employee whose previous jobs included handling communications for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer […].

That presents the two major pieces: the story in the Post, and the censorship of the story by two social media giants. Most non-right-wing writers, worried about appearing to attack Joe Biden in the run-up to the Most Important Election Ever (and who knows, maybe it is), have focused either on the censorship side of the story, or attributed the Post-published elements — the laptop and what it purports to contain — to Russian interference. (No one in the Biden camp has declared the released emails to be false, for what that’s worth.)

But even focusing alone on the censorship side of the story produces confusion. Is what Facebook and Twitter did actual censorship, a traditionally bad thing in the liberal world? Or were they instead refusing to comply with “Russian interference in our election,” something called an act of war not too long ago, thus giving their silence resistance-hero status? Even liberal opinion is divided on that one.

(Phil Ochs has a now-famous song about “liberals” in the 1960s. Listen again, but instead of his opening line — “I cried when they shot Medgar Evers” — substitute, “I cried when they published her emails.”)

The Underlying Story

But let’s look at the story itself, again through Matt Taibbi’s eyes. (Part of this comes from the piece linked above and part comes from a longer, subscriber-only version of the same piece.)

As Taibbi points out, of those outlets that did cover the underlying story — the supposedly stolen laptop, the supposedly copied drive, the photos and emails it supposedly contained — mostly reported only on its electoral effect and not on the truth or falsity of its allegations.

Even those who did report on the relations between the Bidens and Burisma did so in a binary, an on-off yes-or-no, way:

  • Did Burisma use Hunter to “bribe” Joe Biden, the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine? Yes or no?
  • Did Joe Biden try to get the Ukrainian investigator fired to help his son escape investigation? Yes or no?

The actual tale may be much more complex and interesting. Here’s how Taibbi, who, we must remember, spent many years in Russia and “knows their ways,” seems to have pieced it together.

After a long description (well worth reading) of various machinations by Burisma’s founder, a corrupt, former public official named Mykola Zlochevsky and a benefactor during the regime of ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, Taibbi writes this:

To recap: an oligarch [Zlochevsky] whose company’s wealth was tied to embezzlement and graft was booted from power via revolution in February, 2014, causing his company’s assets to come under fire, both in Ukraine and abroad. With Zlochevsky’s former protector Viktor Yanukovich having fled Ukraine back to Russia, Burisma scrambled to shore up a new power base. Within six weeks of the revolution, the firm brought big names onto its board, including former Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, Biden, and Devon Archer, pal to Hunter and the college roommate of Christopher Heinz, stepson to John Kerry. They would later add former CIA counter-terrorism chief Cofer Black. […]

Essentially, a mob enterprise gearing up to defend itself against international lawsuits and seizure orders hired as decorative cover an ex-president of Poland, the son of a sitting U.S. Vice President, and a close family friend and business partner of the son of the American Secretary of State — not exactly subtle, and far beyond nepotism.

The truth of these events, then, is more nuanced — less binary if not less damning — than the black-and-white lens we are offered to view them through:

The Burisma board deals were a protection scheme, funded with stolen money and designed to scare off commercial rivals and would-be regulators alike. Archer and Hunter Biden, even if they never did a minute of work for Burisma, were being paid to provide a criminal enterprise with the appearance of American protection. Similarly, if Joe Biden never actually intervened on behalf of Burisma, Hunter’s presence on Burisma’s board made it possible for anyone to argue that he was.

At best, Biden and Archer were put on Burisma’s board to provide Zlochevsky and Burisma protection against their enemies in the new, unfriendly-to-Zlochevsky Ukrainian government. Whether Biden and Archer knew this or not — and how could they not know? what could this free money otherwise be for? — it corrupted them both to take those jobs.

The Corruption That Shows the Corruption

For them to benefit from these gifts and yet be widely defended for taking them, is one more instance, as anyone with eyes must know, of institutional corruption at its core. Accepting these board positions goes “beyond nepotism,” in Taibbi’s phrase, to complicity with all the corruption abroad we supposedly abhor — and which we use as a reason to overthrow unfriendly governments. Yet this kind of corruption can never be prosecuted here, because our own corrupt institution — the present American state — has legalized and legitimized it.

For example, here’s Matt Yglesias, a Hunter Biden critic, making the Establishment case for Biden’s relationship with Burisma: “The worst you can say about any of this, however, was that Hunter’s position on the board was a standing conflict of interest that should have been avoided. There’s no evidence that Joe did anything wrong, specifically.”

That’s not the worst you can say. Hunter Biden can be — and likely was — both innocent and guilty simultaneously. He didn’t have to be “taking a bribe for Joe” or “just benefiting when he can” to be complicit in, and a beneficiary of, everything that’s wrong with the stinking Ukrainian state. That’s an overlap of ideas our modern media, and our Trump-obsessed, #BackToBrunch liberal minds, can’t seem to fathom.

I can’t wait to see what happens after Biden takes the White House. No one will be going back to brunch.

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    1. Synoia

      Are the “former intelligence” officials potentially professional sources of disinformation?

      One gets the impression that US intelligence agencies do much more than listen and analyze; some appear very active in creating a narrative and making events happen.

  1. Aumua

    Is it ok if I just don’t care about any of this? In the same way I didn’t care about the Russiagate stuff, this doesn’t fire my imagination or make me feel outraged or anything at all really. I mean it’s elites doing the sometimes shady things they do, especially involving wayward relatives and backroom dealings. And then we have political attacks that uncover rumors or parts of these dealings and try to make it out to be the absolute bombshell that must destroy the opponent’s chance of ever being elected (or staying in office). Color me unsurprised about any of it I guess. Even after reading the article I still don’t connect with the story at all, and I still have no idea who I am voting for, if either of these wonderful choices.

    1. Procopius

      Aumua: I actually don’t care if it’s not OK for me not to care about any of this, and I don’t care that you don’t care, either, so I hope that’s OK. This is a pretty good summary of the situation — it doesn’t really matter if Biden didn’t do anything (although, frankly, I think that him getting the prosecutor fired was flaky as hell, even if lots of people approved of it at the time). As Taibbi points out, his presence on the board was the corrupt point.

    2. James P.

      I agree with Aumua. The story of HB’s dealings in Ukraine has no bearing on this election for me. I know who I will be voting for and why. It has absolutely nothing to do with HB.

      1. campbeln

        We were supposed to be a nation of laws. The fact that this “has no bearing on this election for me” is a harbinger of very bad things for the medium to long term of this country of ours if you ask me.

        We are lost.

    3. Carolinian

      We should care because the people who run this country including the press are lying to us and expecting us to believe it and even now threatening to punish us (all that banning and cancelling) if we don’t believe it. The above article is quite right that the Hunter scandal is corruption in plain sight and therefore the scandal is that nobody seemed very interested in stopping it or even objecting and the Dems even impeached Trump on the basis of “how dare he investigate.”

      Corruption and authoritarianism go hand in hand and we should definitely worry as “the land of the free” turns into some kind of banana republic.

      1. Jack

        Agree that it is corruption in plain sight. They are all crooks as far as I am concerned. Some of the Dems are not so corrupt to my mind, like AOC, Bernie, Lieu, Grayson, Khanna, and some of the House candidates this year. However, Trump was impeached not because “how dare he investigate” but because he insisted on withholding funds from Ukraine that had been duly authorized by Congress. In other words extortion.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Except he didn’t withhold them for long (if at all), Ukraine got the funds the US coup sponsoring warmongers wanted them to have, it’s unclear that anyone in Ukraine itself was even aware of a delay, and Trump never got an investigation.

          I read the supposedly smoking gun transcript and didn’t see much there. If that was extortion on Trump’s part, it was extortion of the bumbling and inept kind, like most everything Trump does, not the clear cut extortion Biden is on video bragging about and that everyone in DC is pretending didn’t actually happen.

          Don’t mean to come across as disagreeing with you, because I essentially don’t. But the impeachment charade over a BS phone call between two clowns really sticks in my craw. There are plenty of legit things they could have impeached Trump for, and that wasn’t one of them.

        2. Carolinian

          Since there was never any chance that Trump would really be impeached you could argue that the entire farce was an effort to keep the lid on Ukrainian corruption and in particular the corruption of the Dems’ chosen vehicle for bringing Trump down. What they said it was about and what it was really about are two different things.

          More generally keeping the lid on could be a big reason for anti Trump hysteria within the establishment. When Obama said–paraphrasing–“don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*ck things up” he may have meant that Joe’s clumsy and obvious family corruption makes him as much of an unguided missile as Trump. Emails that say “H” will hold “the Big Guy’s” share until after he was out of office are more blatant than the Obama/Hillary way which is to get paid large sums after stepping down for speeches to the people they were once regulating or making foreign policy towards. In reality it may be much the same thing, legal or not.

          And check this out

          1996-1998: MBNA Corp.
          Fresh out of college, credit-card giant MBNA put him [Hunter] on its payroll as “senior vice president” earning more than $100,000 a year, plus an undisclosed signing bonus. Delaware-based MBNA at the time was Biden’s largest donor and lobbying the Delaware senator for bankruptcy reforms that would make it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy and write off credit-card debt.

          Did the family obsessed Biden sponsor the bankruptcy bill in part to get a plum position for his son? Appearances in this case as in all the others are certainly not good.

          1. A Soule

            well (and I admit I didn’t watch the video)– I think the question is of Quantity. The greed and corruption in the Trump administration is just breathtaking. The endless rolling-back of environmental and worker protections, the cruelty, racism, the complete hypocrisy — Biden was not my first or second choice, but I feel like in voting for him I’m jumping off a train that’s out of control running downhill — it’s not a perfect solution, but better than the alternative.

            1. Dirk77

              I was curious about their means of funding their election campaigns. I know about Sanders and AOC, but wondered if the rest also have a rule allowing only small individual contributions. Grayson may be self funded, but that’s still no large donations from others.

      2. Felix_47

        I found the part about the 10% to be big guy or the 50% to the big guy to be interesting. It may be that Joe did not know he would be president at the time so he was looking out for his future and he is vain and greedy so it would be a high cost future. The way this works (I know because I have seen it many times) is that the big guy gets his cut as a verbal promise from the close associate, often a relative or child, who then pays the taxes often at a lower tax rate or in the case of a non compete clause takes the ownership. Then some years later the money or ownership is delivered when the coast is clear.

    4. montanamaven

      What Taibbi, Tucker, Glen Greenwald are pointing out is that stealing people’s stuff is what the U.S. has always called “foreign policy”. It is a real investigative journalist job to dig into a story and find out who is stealing what from whom and for what reason. That is so when TPTB decide we are going to invade a country, we the people clearly know why. It is so that we the people say then can say “Hell no we won’t go”. “Our sons and daughters are not going to die and now more likely get their legs blown off and their heads blasted so your sons and daughters can party hardy.” Saving lives is why all of us should care and I applaud these journalists for giving a flying family blog.

    5. Pelham

      I see your point as far as Ukraine and Burisma are concerned. But the Bidens have also struck multi-million-dollar personal deals with a major Chinese entity directly linked to the communist government.

      In light of the massive 20-year-plus sellout to China (including transfers of taxpayer-funded US technology and, of course, millions of jobs) by our corporate and government elites, one is led to believe that this betrayal will quietly continue under a Biden/Harris administration, with little or no coverage from mainstream media. Meanwhile, China’s shipments of fentanyl and its components to the US market will continue as well, accelerating our now famous deaths of despair.

      1. Aumua

        Oh yeah Communists, how could I forget about them? The real scandal is how Joe isn’t hard enough on the godless Communist government of China, with them sending over their deadly dope and viruses to undermine the red-blooded Capitalism of the U.S.A.

        1. Dirk77

          You are missing the point. The Ukraine is a clown car compared to China. They are ambitious and competent – which aren’t bad qualities necessarily. But if you consider yourself a politician who cares at all about the citizen’s of one’s own country, then you don’t play anything but hard ball with a nation like that – because that’s all they’ll play with you.

          1. tegnost

            I guarantee you joe biden does not care about me.
            And when they play hardball with joe biden they’re going to win.

    6. John Wright

      Certainly it is OK that you don’t care about any of this.

      However, you may be indirectly confirming that some politically connected may have achieved, for them, a very useful position, that of having apparent lucrative conflict of interests overlooked in the future.

      Perhaps there are many such deals, but involving people who are far more sophisticated in covering their tracks than HB?

      I remember the conflict of interest classes I had to attend when working at a corporation. The short guidance was “Would you be concerned to see your actions printed in the newspaper”?

      Apparently the Bidens (and the rest of the names on the Burisma board) were not too concerned about possible later discovery.

      In my opinion, normalizing this type of behavior will only encourage more of the same.

      But then, I still have a problem with HRC’s email server (and deletion of 30K email messages before handing over paper copies of the remainder)

      1. Aumua

        Lets just say I care about the issues more, and the candidate’s positions on them, and the concrete material benefits to myself and others that they will potentially bring (or not), than I do about their kids’ behavior or their involvement in those dealings.

        And it goes without saying that both of their positions on issues and helping people are terrible, not that we get to hear anything about THAT on the news, 3 weeks before the election. God forbid.

    7. flora

      It’s interesting the FBI had the infamous laptop all through the House Impeachment hearings and never revealed to Congress or T any of the information it contained that was pertinent to the charges. Odd.

    8. anon in so cal

      What’s left out of most accounts of the Hunter Biden scandal is the precursors to Hunter Biden’s looting:

      The 2014 Obama Biden Nuland putsch in Ukraine that ousted its democratically-elected president.

      The late great Stephen F. Cohen discussed Biden’s role in that coup as did the late great Robert Parry.

      Interesting that Biden is considering John Kasich for his Cabinet.

      Kasich is a Syria regime change advocate.

      “John Kasich calls for no-fly zone, ground troops in Syria”

  2. rob

    how is this story any different than everything else , in the reality of the last one hundred years and counting? This is just modern juxtaposition on standard benefits of being close to powerful people.
    the american establishment and the british establishment and all others all operate via cronyism/nepotism..fraternalism…etc.
    Conspiracy theory ,meat and potatoes are people who are in circles of powerful people, having relationships with each other.
    The people on the inside of these relationships seem to feel that their good fortune is self made, and these connections are natural by products of, “being in the game”… whereas ;from the outside is LOOKS like a standard definition of the word corruption.
    And hell, all of us on the outside KNOW it is. But we have not assumed the rose coloured glasses, vis a vis… money/ lifestyle to begin to “see that it is not”.
    Whether it is the “chittlin’ gang”, or the council on foreign relations…
    these groups that exist which elevate their members into these fraternity like organizations where their status is elevated by their proximity to those with the current and past levers of power, so that they will also be finding they are groomed like those with the future levers of power to see the world in certain ways. And those ways…. seem to think that those who lead are entitled to the perks. And those they have control over… aren’t.

    and before that, it was almost a crime for the connected to not abuse their position. It was expected of them , by their peers.

    1. Pelham

      So it’s all par for the course. Agreed. It should also be par for the course that once such practices are uncovered, their perpetrators are prosecuted and imprisoned for life.

      Now, how do we make that happen?

  3. Oliver Budde

    Unmentioned here is the fact that Devon Archer is the nephew of the notorious organized crime boss/mob hitman James “Whitey” Bulger. Which could mean nothing, or mean something.

  4. voteforno6

    It was a mistake for Facebook and Twitter to try to censor this – that gave the story more legs than it deserves, I think. My impression is that the only people who really care about this are Trumpsters. It has been amusing to see them pretend to care about corrupt politicians and their grifter children.

    1. Pelham

      Oh, no doubt. The Trumps are bad, bad people, and hypocritical to boot.

      But the sole selling point for the Senator from MBNA is that he’s a squeaky-clean average Joe. Except he isn’t and, in fact, is probably a good deal worse than Trump when it comes to decades of slimy self dealing in government office.

      1. voteforno6

        Respectfully, I disagree with that. I think the primary selling point for Biden, for many voters, is that he’s not Donald Trump.

        1. Dirk77

          I agree. You quiz people who say it’s about his policies, but almost always when you get down to the root you find it’s really about how they can’t stand him personally. Imagine if a charming populist ran for president.

  5. John A

    “If you’re confused by the welter of reports around the Hunter Biden-purloined laptop story, don’t be embarrassed.”

    The laptop was not purloined. The perhaps addled, perhaps careless Hunter failed to either pay the repair bill or arrange for it to be collected. After 90 days, ownership passed to the repair shop. No theft involved whatsoever. The author of this article makes out HB was an innocent victim of a crime on the very first line. Not so.
    If HB had paid the bill and collected the laptop, and the store owner had then distributed a copy, that would have been theft. To keep talking about a ‘stolen’ laptop is to throw up a cloud of dust to fog the issue.

    1. Tobin Paz

      According to Larry Johnson who knows the owner of the repair shop, John Paul Mac Isaac attempted to contact Hunter Biden for four months and received no response. In August 2019 Mr. Isaac decided to contact the Albuquerque FBI office and was ignored.

      A couple of months later two FBI agents from the Wilmington office visited the repair shop. Mr. Isaac offered to give them the hard drive but they declined. Two weeks later he was given a subpoena and eventually handed over the laptop to the FBI and never heard from them again.

      Mr. Issac later offered Rudy Giuliani’s office a copy of the hard drive which was shared with the New York Post. The laptop was the property of the repair shop under Delaware law.

      What is consistently left out of the story is that the Obama administration overthrew the legitimate government of Ukraine and put Neo-Nazis in power under the watch of Viceroy Biden.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        What is consistently left out of the story is that the Obama administration overthrew the legitimate government of Ukraine and put Neo-Nazis in power under the watch of Viceroy Biden.

        Thank you. That can’t be pointed out enough – the elephant in the room that no one seems to care about. The US media just accepts it as a given that overthrowing a foreign government was a perfectly legitimate thing to do. Whether it’s Ukraine, Bolivia, Venezuela, you name it, nobody even questions it. In fact the entire DC establishment gave Juan Guy Doe, president of Venezuela on Trump’s say so alone, a standing O at the SOTU, even the Democrats who supposedly despise every action Trump has ever taken.

        Here’s hoping the rest of the world simply refuses to accept whichever clown gets elected in November and they each pick their own US president to deal with. What’s good for the goose…

      2. GF

        I think there is some kind of legal precedent where the content of hard drives remains the property of the original owner. Something to do with intellectual property rights. (I’m not a lawyer so if there is a knowledgeable one in the NC readership, maybe they could weigh in.)

        Also, when was the copy of the hard drive made? Was it before the 90 day Delaware law allowed the transfer of ownership of the physical laptop? If so, then the computer repairman could be prosecuted for theft of intellectual property, no. However, I think the Bidens will not want to draw more attention to themselves by going after the repairman.

        1. Carolinian

          Hunter (if it was Hunter) apparently signed an agreement saying that after 90 days he would forfeit his property if he didn’t pick it up. Meanwhile in the course of saving the hard drive the shop owner says he spotted what appeared to be illegal activity (pictures etc). That would probably supersede your intellectual property. He did take it to the FBI and then gave to Giuliani’s lawyer when the FBI appeared to do nothing. So maybe he is also a whistleblower.

          Safe to say the NY Post has lawyers out the wazoo.

          1. Aumua

            While I agree that smoking crack and having sex is not a very wholesome activity for a young man, is it really illegal?

            Ok I guess it is, but the real question is: should it be?

            1. Carolinian

              –Hunter is now 50 years old, not a young man.

              –And story out tonight says that Giuliani has turned over material from the hard drive to Delaware State Police because one of the emails with his dad has Hunter talking about sexting with a 14 year old girl and there are apparently pictures of underage girls or a girl on the hard drive. This in other words would be the potentially illegal material that disturbed the shop owner.

              You can certainly call the way all this is being orchestrated by Giuliani (and Bannon?) sleazy politics but nobody among the Bidens or the FBI, which has had the material for some time, have called the emails inauthentic. The big media may ignore but the buzz on the web is out there.

        2. John A

          Also, when was the copy of the hard drive made?

          The repair person would probably have had to take the hard drive out of the laptop and then copy the contents to a different drive. That is how data are recovered in such cases. The copying would have been done pretty much straightaway.
          Something else that is interesting about Hunter’s lifestyle is that he took in 3 laptops for repair, of which at least one of the others was beyond repair, apparently. Shades of Oscar Wilde and Lady Bracknell spring to mind “To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.’ What would she have said about ruining three laptops all in one go?

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Bravo! Lady Bracknell might not have approved of a +1 . . . but I hope you can accept this one.

        3. FatManCometh

          I think the repair shop owner can return the IP (which is not the disk drive). Has Hunter asked for it?

    1. DW Bartoo

      In the words of a (now sainted) Constitutional Scholar, “It may not be ethical, it may not be moral, however, it is legal.”

      (And its practitioners, as assessed by the Top Cop, “Too BIG to jail …”)

      Little people might recognize “it” as simply being “Bu$ine$$ a$ u$ual.”

  6. Roquentin

    I have to admit, the degree to which most of the mainstream media outlets are carrying water for the Biden campaign seems novel to me. Maybe this is what it’s like to get older, but I can remember during the Bush years how they bashed Fox News for being partisan trash (which it most certainly was) and portrayed themselves as defenders of traditional objective journalism. All that is gone, they basically wear their party affiliation on a big flashing neon sign. Twitter and FB are quickly heading in that direction too, which is no surprise because that’s the direction the billionaires in Silicon Valley tend to go politically. It just doesn’t stop being funny to me about how not even a decade ago, you couldn’t stop hearing lots of sanctimonious lectures about journalism as the fourth estate, yet another independent check and balance on power.

    All that talk just up and vanished into thin air circa 2016. No one is even pretending we’re getting anything other than the equivalent of a party newspaper anymore. The Hunter Biden scandal (information which I generally believe, for what it’s worth) will fade with time, but the degree to which the media moves in lockstep with political leaders will be a much more lasting problem. It doesn’t bode well for the future. Even now, getting good information is becoming difficult. It will soon be difficult to almost impossible to try and get decent news and information.

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      I’m in full agreement. Two election cycles in a row in which the establishment decides, over massive public resistance, to run a hopelessly compromised candidate when a number of others with infinitely less baggage could have been given the nod. (Klobuchar is colorless but she’s no sniffing cocaine off a stripper’s secondary sex characteristics in a luxury swimming pool (improbably anyway).
      The idea that any of these people are exemplars of anything other than decline is long dead. The people who pushed an old man in his dotage into humiliating himself with a presidential run have no problem at all hanging his son out to dry. Though as with Clinton, no legal action of any kind will ever follow.
      And no the laptop was not ‘stolen’. Apparently there was more than one.
      It seems like the entire thing is being stage-managed.

      1. Pelham

        Good point about the possibility of picking cleaner so-called moderate candidates. So why did the party settle on Biden? It could be as simple as name recognition, I suppose. But the conspiracy theorist in me would like to think otherwise.

        My theorist says it probably has something to do with the Bidens’ close and dear connections with the Chinese leadership, with which they’ve done millions of dollars of self-dealing. After the minor hiccups imposed by the Trump administration in this country’s steady sellout to China, elites want to quietly resume smooth and highly lucrative (for them) relations with Beijing as quickly as possible and — as a wonderful (for them) byproduct — accelerate the deaths of despair rapidly eliminating that pesky and deplorable voting population occupying flyover country. In that, incidentally, they’re getting a nice little assist from the Wuhan virus.

      2. time2wakeupnow

        Kamala Harris was, and still is, the DNC Establishments “preferred” presidential choice.

        I believe that she was the first one to throw her hat into the Dems three ring primary circus, but failed to successfully connect with voters and was only polling around 2% in her home state of California. When Tulsi Gabberd essentially knocked her out of the running on one of the early debates the DINO PTB had to scramble for another corporate…candidate – hence the Obama orchestrated “weekend of the long knives” before the Super Tuesday primaries – where Biden was selected as the official DINO’s “placeholder”.

        However, Obama and his DNC corporate cronies weren’t giving up their anointment of Harris as their original choice, so she got effectively ‘back doored’ into the top spot, with ol’ Joe playing the Bush II cosmetic presidential front, and Kamala left to mostly running the real show…..and the killer is: she never had to win, or even run in a single primary contest. Pretty sweet road and easy to the POTUS if you ask me..

  7. Bill Smith

    It will be interesting if they can show that at least some of the emails are DKIM’d (Domain Keys Identified Mail).

  8. Noone from Nowheresville

    I was under the impression that the US, with active agreement / perhaps assistance by Europe, organized the Ukraine coup. Why do we assume that these power moves were ONLY the decisions of foreigners trying to protect their own assets?

    I really could give a sh$t about the tribute being paid. Yes, I see it as tribute not bribes.Because that’s how I think they think of it. It’s also very very shiny. Look here. Yes, over here. Big two-fer plus right before the election. Just the second act that started with the Impeachment show. I wonder if this is a 3 or 4 act play?

    Rather than the money, what does Burisma control? Have access to? How does it impact Russia? Europe? long-term US or global elite goals? If we drill down past the public faces, where and how deep does the rabbit hole go? Or perhaps this is just simple greed? Then why organize the coup in the first place?

    It makes me wonder what the lie is behind the truth? and truth behind the lie?

    As far as Facebook & Twitter are concerned, that’s rather another “shiny” to get wrapped up with, isn’t it?

  9. The Historian

    Best coverage of this story I’ve seen so far. Kudos, Jerri-Lynn!

    The Intercept also has a story about another son trading on his father’s name.

    When we are ready to get serious about corruption, then these stories will be of interest to me. But right now, it appears that they are just partisan attacks for one purpose only – and it is NOT to do anything about corruption in this country. It seems odd to me that there are people who are willing to go after Hunter Biden when we have a President who should have been impeached, NOT for Ukrainegate, but on the emoluments clause – but I guess that struck a little too close to home for the Democrats.

    As for MSM media blocking these stories, I am of two minds. One, if a story is important, then it should never be blocked. But two, does the MSM have to cover every partisan mudraking event that the opposing parties want to put out?

    In any event, the Hunter Biden story had no influence on who I voted for. I don’t think either of the parties is composed of good people looking our for our welfare.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thomas Neuburger deserves the credit. I only crossposted this; he wrote it. I agree his coverage is excellent. His byline is buried a bit and comes before the image of the cover of the NY Post.

    2. Hank Linderman

      This: “…that they are just partisan attacks for one purpose only – and it is NOT to do anything about corruption in this country.”


    3. Felix_47

      A lot of people are deciding both are corrupt and are voting on “decency.” But what is decent about the crime bill, shutting down Anita Hill and putting Clarence Thomas on the bench, voting for and arm twisting the senate to invade Iraq despite fabricated intel and denying knowing anything about Tara Reade despite many contemporaneous reports. I guess it boils down to whether a consensual relationship with Stormy Daniels and the Playmate of the Year is more offensive or the Tara Reade episode which Biden denies ever happening…..despite the obvious certainty that something happened. The Washington Post and the Times are getting a lot like Pravda was in the 1950s. Both Russia and the US lost the cold war in different ways but both lost.

  10. Gc54

    This tempest is spilling a tiny cup of weak tea. Meanwhile the Russiagate samovar of sedition is steaming away. Will it boil before Jan 20? Or while a new admin douse the fire?

    If DT exits, I hope he pardons Assange and Snowden on the way out, and leaves Sidney Powell to crush Russiagaters in the court of law.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      If DT exits, I hope he pardons Assange and Snowden on the way out

      0% chance of that. DT can always be 100% relied upon *not* to do anything we might hope he will. Don’t even hope, it will only lead to inevitable disappointment.

  11. Steven Greenberg

    I wish sources like Taibi and Naked Capitalism would become partners with a subscription service like “Scroll” so that we wouldn’t have to subscribe to hundreds of sources just to be able to read them no matter how frequently or infrequently we want to read them. Requiring individual subscriptions undermines the great innovation of being able to read many sources on the internet. What a waste of a potentially world changing technology.

    1. Yves Smith

      You don’t have to subscribe to NC to read it, so I don’t understand your issue.

      And no way I am giving content to a platform. Barry Ritholtz blew up when someone proposed that to him. I lose pageviews, which drives us even lower in various algos, and hurts our attractiveness as an ad buy.

      And how do I know I’m getting what is due on my ad cut? The incentives to cheat are massive, which means it probably happens, since no way can publishers afford to sue. The amounts at issue would be too small relative to the legal costs.

  12. The Rev Kev

    It has been blatantly obvious that the main stream media has been siding with the Democrats this year so no surprises there. But what was surprising was Facebook and Twitter’s attempt to totally censor this story from the internet. So what if Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and all the rest of them have been working towards a censored internet but this breaking story forced their hand and so they had to go in early? Maybe this event has given us a preview of what Silicon Valley is going to do when it comes to reporting the news by next year. So if a scandal is not reported on the internet – did it happen?

  13. Fazal Majid

    What’s clear is that Hunter Biden, unlike his brother Beau, is an incompetent and corrupt wastrel trying to coast on his father’s name, like Mark Thatcher or Jean-Christophe Mitterrand in their day. Whether Joe Biden had any part in that is open to question. Many politicians have embarrassing relatives they can’t control, that in itself doesn’t imply much.

    As for Viktor Shokin, it seems he was also corrupt as can be, and it’s not obvious firing him and replacing him with a less corrupt one (a big if in Ukraine) would necessarily make Burisma’s life easier:

    1. John Wright

      Re:”Whether Joe Biden had any part in that is open to question. Many politicians have embarrassing relatives they can’t control”

      A powerful politician can tell their relatives that they will not tolerate certain behavior..

      I know of far less powerful parents that have disowned/disinherited children they could not control.

      Joe Biden could have distanced himself from Hunter’s actions as Jimmy Carter did from his brother Billy.


      “On August 4, 1980, President Jimmy Carter wrote: “I am deeply concerned that Billy has received funds from Libya and that he may be under obligation to Libya. These facts will govern my relationship with Billy as long as I am president. Billy has had no influence on U.S. policy or actions concerning Libya in the past, and he will have no influence in the future.”

      So Joe Biden is expected to be the “leader of the free world” but can’t lead his own son to good behavior.

      Maybe because JB sees this behavior as acceptable?

  14. Steve Ruis

    But Mom! Everyone is doing it!

    This is the justification for corruption, immoral bribes, etc. that occurs consistently within all of our various governments. That the plutocrats have corrupted the system to make it all legal is part of the “system” they have set up to run the country “for us” (aka in place of us).

  15. steelhead23

    Want to know what really bugs me about this story? It coming out now. Why couldn’t this story have come out during the primaries? It is likely true that when it comes to helping our kids, we may bend the rules, or look the other way. I don’t think Hunter’s acceptance of employment at Burisma is a game-changer. What makes Joe Biden complicit here is his effort to thwart the investigation of Burisma. He did so as a favor for his son. Sound familiar? In my view, Joe Biden is maybe a half-step better than Trump, but I will not be voting for him. I’m so sick of the lesser of evils.

    1. Ashburn

      But is is more than just Hunter’s acceptance of employment at Burisma. It is the pattern of his acceptance of employment as a board member at MBNA, as a board member of Amtrak, and his sweetheart dealings with the Chinese. This is how the ruling class perpetuates itself. And the MSM’s clumsy attempts at narrative control by blaming Russia (Again!) makes it comical in very tragic sense.

  16. bruce

    The Hunter Biden thing is an annoying distraction which was no factor in my voting decision (Oregon ballot mailed in wee hours this morning). We have slightly more pressing issues like, oh, the fate of the planet. Nobody over here gives a rat’s ass whether he’s guilty or innocent, and I for one am sick and tired of stories about him to the point where I don’t usually click, but this is Naked Cap and I was intrigued by the Schroedingeresque posing. We’ll never know the truth anyway, the torrent of lies has increased in volume in recent years, doubtless assisted by social media, and when I don’t know whom I can trust, I end up trusting no one. Finally, I am unpersuaded by the posing itself; he isn’t guilty and innocent at the same time, it’s one or the other. Perhaps it would help to distinguish between a crime and a sin. Hanging around the corridors of power where money rains down from the ceiling and holding out your open pockets sounds like the sin of greed, which is something I’m personally familiar with. Crimes are specifically defined in our codes, there are essential elements, the prosecutor has to tick all the boxes to convict, and it’s a long process to get there. Things that are not crimes: being a treacherous greedy bastard, lust, envy, gluttony, etc. Astonishing vulgarity, stupidity, mendacity, immaturity and instability (all wrapped up in one guy). Using undisclosed conventions at bridge tournaments.

    Not even the famous cat is dead and alive at the same time. It’s a tool for understanding wave functions, not a literal description of an undead cat in a box. Quantum states of that size and complexity, and their associated wave functions that describe them, collapse instantaneously due to a phenomenon known as decoherence, which is also one good word to describe the HB thing.

  17. vegasmike

    There was a long profile of Hunter Biden in the New Yorker magazine in July 2019 issue. Hunter is stone cold crack head. He even used to score drugs at a Los Angeles homeless encampment. He crashed his car twice in the same night and wasn’t sure if he was having hallucanations or an owl crashed into his front window. Joe like many parents is covering for his son and may himself believe Hunter is some kind of international businessman. Parents of drunks and junkies often delude themselves about their prodigal children. But Joe should have never taken Hunter on Air Force Two to China. He was given expensive jewels by a local shyster. He claimed he lost the jewels. Who knows. There’s a certain pathetic quality to the Hunter -Joe relationship. Still plan to vote for Joe. But I think liberal supporters should realize how toxic this father-son relationship can be

  18. Roy G

    I’ve long believed Hunter Biden was/is into some crooked sh*t, however, this shaggy dog dog laptop story is just waaay too wooly to pass the smell test. Imo, this is more like Twitter and Facebook refusing to post a story from the National Enquirer.

  19. Matthew G. Saroff

    What I find dispositive is that a number of reporters assigned the story at the Post withheld their bylines on the story.

    This doesn’t mean that the Russians are behind this, it sounds like Rove or a protege, not the GRU, but that the story was simply not ready at the time of publication.

    1. Yves Smith

      “Withheld their bylines”? Evidence, please.

      Emma Jo Morris, the lead writer, was quickly touted on Twitter:

      And it’s not as if this story needed more than one reporter, although it did have two. Once you have the hard disk, there’s not much more to do than go though it and focus on the bits of interest. This isn’t like a big ProPublica or WSJ original reporting exercise of constructing a big novel data set and crunching it, which can easily take 4+ people. And it’s not as if newsrooms are so flush these days that they can afford to overstaff stories.

  20. timotheus

    I’m so old I remember Rathergate and the alleged memos about Bush Jr’s feckless military career, which affaire occurred just about at a similar point in the 2000 campaign. Of course, when you’re rich and powerful, evidence is always dubious, and myriad experts will pore endlessly over it and emit ambiguous signals. No one ever argued that Bush’s military career had been (to that point) brilliant, but he soon got an opportunity to put on a flight jacket and parade around. To this day, we don’t know if Bush had ever got punished. But we did.

  21. VietnamVet

    This is why the billionaires and their managers manipulated the Kiev Coup to overthrow the elected government. It provided jobs for the kids, they got a cut of the spoils, plus destabilized Russia with the promise of even greater rewards. China is much more difficult. They controlled the Wuhan coronavirus and their economy has rebounded. China is now allied with Russia and Iran. The Western Empire fell but it hasn’t been reported yet. Hunter Biden’s cracked laptop is the October’s squeal to Anthony Weiner’s sexting laptop. But corporate media is trying to deep six it.

    2016 was bad, but it is clear that 2020 is a contest between two candidates who are equally venal, incompetent, and solely out for themselves and their offspring; not the American people.

  22. The Rev Kev

    Good news everybody. Wikipedia has come out and said-

    ‘He and his father have been the subjects of debunked right-wing conspiracy theories pushed by Donald Trump and his allies concerning Biden business dealings and anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.[1]’

    So now it is official – it’s all malarky! That [1] leads to eight different sources “debunking” this story by the way so it is good to know that Silicon Valley has our back.

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