Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:01 am

Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Administration
by Glenn Greenwald
Nov 15, 2020

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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:37 am

Why Was It So Effing Close?
by Ralph Nader Radio Hour
November 7, 2020

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR EP 348 TRANSCRIPT

Steve Skrovan: It's the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.

[Music] Stand up, stand up, you've been sitting way too long.

Steve Skrovan: Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. My name is Steve Skrovan along with my co-host David Feldman. Hello, David. Have you been getting any sleep the last few days?

David Feldman: No, this Wallace Beery marathon on Turner Classic Movies has kept me up all night.

Steve Skrovan: [chuckle] Well, I guess we have our own ways of coping. And we also have the man of the hour
Ralph Nader. Hello, Ralph.

Ralph Nader: Hello, everybody.

Steve Skrovan: As we record this program on Thursday morning, November 5th, the results of the presidential election remain uncertain. But what is certain is that this election has been closer than many of us expected. Donald Trump won more total votes that any Republican nominee in history, something I'm sure he will be trumpeting for a long time. Despite everything this president has stood for and done, how could that possibly be? How come the Democratic Party could not landslide this obvious authoritarian malignant narcissist? What does this say about what American voters really care about? Is Trump's brand of nationalism here to stay? Why is there such a huge urban/rural divide? What does this say about how we even vote in this country? How come the United States of America that bills itself as a paragon of democracy, is such a creaky Rube Goldberg machine of a voting system? These are all things we've talked about one way or another on the show before, but today we've invited the executive editor of The American Prospect [Magazine], David Dayen, to help us sort through it all.

In the second half of the show, we will be joined by criminal defense attorney and co-owner of the [newly independent] Chicago Reader, Leonard Goodman. We will get his take on the election, but also expand the discussion to include the recent confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Mr. Goodman wrote a piece in the Chicago Reader last week called "The real reason Democrats didn't stop the Barrett confirmation." He's got a very provocative take on that so you don't want to miss that.

In between, we will as always take some time to check in with our corporate crime reporter Russell Mokhiber, but first, let's work our way through the depression and anxiety that has been the 2020 presidential election. David?

David Feldman: David Dayen is the executive editor of The American Prospect, an independent political magazine, that aims to advance liberal and progressive goals through reporting, analysis and debate. His work has appeared in the Intercept, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post and more. On his previous appearance on the show we discussed his book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud. David Dayen’s most recent book is entitled Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power, which was released in July. Welcome back to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, David Dayen.

David Dayen: Thanks very much for having me.

Ralph Nader: Thank you, David. Let's ask a double question here. At this time about Thursday noon, we know that the Democrats, who outspent the Republicans by a couple billion dollars in ads and all the rest of it, almost blew the presidency. But it looks like Joe Biden is gonna win. But it looks like they didn't take control back of the Senate from Mitch McConnell, the tyrant of the Senate, Republican control. So let's start with the Senate. Why do you think the Democrats didn't recover the Senate when twice the number of Republicans were up for reelection in the Senate than the Democrats?

David Dayen: Well, clearly the trend that we saw in the Senate results were that the senators handpicked by Chuck Schumer, all these democratic candidates all over the country who had hundreds of millions, I believe a billion dollars between all of the top Senate candidates, they all either underperformed or performed right at the level of Joe Biden. And of course the states they were trying to contest were all states, you know, mostly states won by Donald Trump. The one state that bucked that trend was Maine where Susan Collins way outperformed Donald Trump on the ticket. And Sara Gideon, the Democratic candidate, ran about 17 points behind Joe Biden. So this was a weak crop of candidates who had a lot of money and didn't do a whole lot with it. If you can find one actual policy that any of them ran on, I'll give you a cookie, because I certainly couldn't find any.

Ralph Nader: I think that was a flaw that they thought if they had enough TV ads, more than the Republicans, they'd win, but policy precedes message. Policy, agenda proceeds what you're going to advertise. And all they could do is focus on COVID-19 -- properly -- and how Trump has bungled it and downplayed it, and health care and Obamacare. It's like they couldn't get themselves to address 30 million workers who are making less today, adjusted for inflation, than they made in 1968 because of stagnant wages and a frozen federal minimum wage at $7.25, and a whole host of other things. They even gave him a pass on being a savage sexual predator to being that and renew that negligent or criminal behavior by Trump. I mean, it isn't that they don't know these things. They know they could have had a compact the way Gingrich did, a compact for America, where it addressed people where they live, work, and raise their families. It isn't that they don't know this. What's with this Democratic National Committee Chuck Schumer picking candidates that were designed to lose?

David Dayen: I mean, I think the way that Chuck Schumer looks at Senate recruitment is he picks the candidates who will give him the least amount of hassle if they’re part of his caucus. He picks candidates who will do what he says if they get elected. And that's the main criteria for who he ends up picking. And he is picking them. I mean, he unilaterally decides in these states. He jumps into the Senate primaries, he seeds them with tons of money from his donors and his personal networks, and it is almost impossible once Chuck Schumer chooses a Senate candidate to actually see someone beat them. And that seems to be the main criteria. I mean, if these candidates talked about COVID and health care, that would at least be something. I didn't really even see that. I mean, it was sort of milquetoast talk about bipartisanship and working together to solve problems, and things like that. It's just sort of ineffable rhetoric, and some of that comes from the top. I mean, Joe Biden didn't run a very policy focused campaign, right? So that filters down to the candidate.


Ralph Nader: But it's so obvious, David. I mean, let's take specifics here, Amy McGrath ran on being a fighter pilot in Iraq, the criminal war in Iraq, and being a mother of three, okay. Schumer picked her. She lost the congressional race in Kentucky two years ago when she should’ve won. She raised, I don't know, maybe $60, $70 million staggering for a small state like Kentucky, and she refused to be advised on anything. Her campaign was like a closed-door operation. Even the Democratic National Committee, people told me they couldn't get through to her. And she didn't raise the minimum wage. She was given all kinds of opportunities to broaden the attack on this crook McConnell, the worst tyrant the Senate has probably ever seen, totally in the pockets of Wall Street and the Koch brothers. And she lost big.

Same with Jaime Harrison. He raised almost a hundred million dollars. And he was asked, "Would you oppose Judge Kavanaugh and Judge Barrett for the Supreme Court?" And he wouldn't answer it. So he ran a milquetoast campaign and tried to be very conciliatory. He never went after Lindsey Graham the way a progressive candidate would, and he lost big in South Carolina.

So here we go again. It looks like Clinton's Democratic Party with Joe Biden at the helm. But what is he going to get done if the great Grim Reaper -- as Mitch McConnell calls himself; he calls himself "The Guardian of Gridlock", those are his exact words -- is in charge of the Senate?

David Dayen: Well, you're asking two different questions there. Number one, I completely agree with you about McGrath and Harrison. I mean, Jaime Harrison was a tobacco lobbyist who became the head of the South Carolina Democratic Party. And his main credentials for that were being able to raise a bunch of money from corporate interests. And he ends up losing by a bigger margin than Biden does in that state.

Amy McGrath, as you mentioned, her credentials were kind of thin. She almost lost the primary to a progressive Black candidate named Charles Booker, despite outspending him by about 35 to one. She had no shot at any point in the general election. She lost by 21 points in the state that Biden lost by 27. So it was the devotion of resources, and this was mostly by liberals who hate McConnell, who hate Graham. They were duped essentially into thinking there was a chance from these two candidates, when there probably wasn't ever one in these very conservative states. And they just lit money on fire and the consultants got very rich off of this doomed set of campaigns.

Ralph Nader: When you mentioned consultants, that’s a very good opportunity for investigative reporting. These political media consultants have a conflict of interest. They make more money from their corporate clients during the year than their political clients and then they want that 15% cut of all the television ad revenue. So that takes money away from the ground game, right? What was the problem with the ground game for the Democrats? They seem to have been . . .

David Dayen: You're exactly right about that. They thrive on television ads rather than organizing on the ground. And there was very little organizing on the ground. Joe Biden famously said that he didn't want any door-to-door campaigning because of the COVID-19 crisis, which at some level is understandable, but there are safe ways to do it. There was only one union that was out there knocking on doors throughout the fall and that was Unite Here, which is the hotel workers’ union, largely unemployed hotel workers. And the states that they concentrated on were Nevada, Arizona, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. And those are the three most consequential states that look like they are likely to go to Joe Biden and give him the presidency. That shows the power of organizing, and yet the consultant class thinks you just throw a bunch of money at TV and that's all you need to do.

Ralph Nader: You see, they don’t learn from their own history. That’s why they lost in 2016. They didn't have a ground game. They didn't have an organizing game. Hillary was very smug and complacent, and spent all the money on TV saying Trump was unfit to be president. There was no bread and butter agenda, no answering to especially white male blue-collar workers, what does a Democrat win mean to them. She downplayed the minimum wage issue.

David Dayen: And I'll tell you what, Ralph, I have a piece actually this week. When you look at the bread and butter issues that were on ballots across the country, they all did extremely well. The minimum wage, $15 an hour minimum wage, was on the ballot in Florida, and it needed 60%, and it got over that threshold. This is the 23rd straight minimum wage increase ballot measure that has passed all across the country, including in very conservative states like South Dakota and Alaska. And so the minimum wage increase gets 60% in Florida, and Joe Biden gets, I don't know, 47%, 48%. So if you actually look at, divorced from candidates, the issues that passed all around the country, and there were more than just minimum wage: there was a tax increase on the rich for education in Arizona; there was a paid family and medical leave system put in place in Colorado and on and on. And I did a piece at prospect.org about it. The issues, when people are going to get something tangible out of it, people are on board with that. It's when it filters down and the candidates just decide not to foreground those issues that they run into problems.


Ralph Nader: Well, let's ask some hard questions here. Why didn't the AFL-CIO call out months ago this terrible losing strategy by Chuck Schumer and the DNC, Democratic National Committee? What about the national citizen groups? Why did they give these Democrats a pass? Why doesn’t Common Cause, and Public Citizen, and People for the American Way, publicly say, "You Democrats are on the road to disaster. You should be landsliding these corrupt, cruel, vicious Wall Street indentured Republicans." How would you answer that?

David Dayen: It's a tough question. I think what some would say is that they followed the polls, and the polling industry obviously had a terrible night, and is not really to be trusted, and should not really be seen as the end-all and be-all of this. You might want to look to the issues and believe in your principles, and believe that the people will follow them rather than thinking, okay, well, it looks like we have a two-point lead in this district or whatever, and work from there. The House was worse than the Senate. I mean, the House is going to lose seats. At least the Senate, there's a pick-up of at least one seat for the Democrat. Democrats are going to lose seats in the House when they thought they were going to have a 15-seat gain. And they have not beaten a Republican incumbent anywhere across the country so far. There's a little time to go. and that might change. but it's quite incredible. I would say the House [is a] disaster, and they didn't really run on a whole lot of policy either. That was almost worse than the situation in the Senate.

Ralph Nader: Total defensive strategy by Nancy Pelosi. All her materials and mailings were “help us defend Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare.” Well, I mean, how about an offensive strategy? How about raising wages in the US? How about -- they even passed a $15 in the House and they didn't ballyhoo it enough. I think there's a corruption here. I think there's a corporate Democrat corruption here. They know what they could do to win, and they're not willing to alienate their donors and their patrons.

David Dayen: Yeah, it could be. I mean, there was one interesting moment in the final debate where Joe Biden, who endorsed a $15 an hour minimum wage, but significantly downplayed it as you said, talked about it. He was asked a question about it, and he defended the minimum wage increase. And the number one Google search term during that debate was wages. So it was almost like it was the first time that any individual in the country had heard about this debate, and had heard from Joe Biden that he was in favor of increasing the minimum wage. So I thought that was a very telling moment.

Ralph Nader: Well, the corporate Democrats who ran this campaign shoved aside the millions of voters who voted for Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. They never even mentioned Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. It was like, "Oh, no, that's a socialist taint." They didn't even know how to answer this absurd thing that the Democrats were socialists. I mean, there are a 100 ways they could have answered that starting with, "Oh, you mean the [U.S.] Post Office? Public schools? Public drinking water? Municipal systems? Do you mean the Tennessee Valley Authority? Do you mean the publicly owned electric utility in Jacksonville, Florida, In and on and on. They played defense, and they paid the price. Imagine this corrupt Donald had Joe Biden on the debates on the defensive falsely alleging he took money from the Russians and he was corrupt when he [Trump] is the most corrupt president in American history!


David Dayen: Right. Yeah, I mean, what we did end up with is extremely high turnout, and a renewed turnout in some of the places where Hillary had the press turnout, particularly in cities like Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee. And that's really why those states shifted, or appear to have shifted, toward Biden, and why he's going to be president.

Ralph Nader: And there was other assistance though, David. You may not be aware that there was a civic drive led by Eugene Jarecki, and professional athletes to open up 70 arenas, college arenas, sports arenas, and professional arenas.

David Dayen: Yeah, absolutely right. And in addition to that, the organizing on the ground by people like Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis and Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, and places like that, also played a role, as well as the union canvassing that I was talking about. So when liberals actually made the effort to ask people for their vote, they responded, and they did vote.

And now we have Biden, with likely a Republican Senate, and everyone is despairing that nothing can get done. The truth is that Donald Trump passed almost no legislation throughout the course of his presidency and yet was very transformative on a number of issues throughout the country using the powers of the executive branch and congressional laws that have already been passed. So Biden needs to think about this with the same kind of ambition, and use the executive branch and the authorities already under his control to make progress.

At The Prospect, we did last year, a series of things that could be advanced without legislation; it's called "The Day One Agenda". And we're going to be tracking this, and pushing this, because there's an expansive agenda that you can take care of as president without needing Mitch McConnell to sign off on it. And it's vital, again, to show tangible results for the public. And that's the way that they end up rewarding you with their vote.


Ralph Nader: Give the website for Day One Agenda.

David Dayen: Absolutely. It's prospect.org/day-one-agenda. And we're going to be doing a lot of stuff with it. We're going to try to raise the profile of it, and make sure that everybody knows that Joe Biden has options: that under presidential authority you can cancel student debt. It can happen. Under presidential authority, you can seize drug patents, and make sure that prescription drugs are delivered affordably. You can do a whole host of things in the banking sector, including making sure that there's a public option for banking at the Post Office. You can renew the antitrust laws, and make sure that large corporations aren't screwing over the American people. There is a host of actions that can be taken at the executive level without Mitch McConnell mattering at all and they need to be done.

Ralph Nader: Well, there's another parallel move that Biden has to take immediately: he has to roll back and repeal all the bad stuff in the executive branch: the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]; the OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration, NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration], auto safety, that Trump installed, often illegally, with his henchmen and his corrupt nominees. I think there needs to be a task force to focus on that, because Obama, when he ran, didn't do much rollback of Bush. It was like I wrote column called The Bush-Obama Regime. And you really got to get on top of that, and make a whole list. He rolled back 100 environmental regulations and standards. He rolled back 50 workplace health and safety standards in the wrong direction.


David Dayen: Ralph, you should be the head of that committee, that task force. You, more than anyone, knows that executive power matters in the administrative state. It's very powerful and very important to people's lives. And what they do, burrowed inside those agencies, really, really matters.

Ralph Nader: By the way, what do you think of this strategy to regain control from Mitch McConnell in the Senate? Let's say it's 51-49 in favor of McConnell. And Biden, who has already said he wants some Republicans in his cabinet, offers two cabinet posts to two Republican senators who come from states with Democratic governors.

David Dayen: Yep, let's do it. Pat Toomey, you can be the ambassador to any country you want in the world. And Pennsylvania's Governor, Tom Wolf, will decide to pick your replacement. There are a couple instances like that: Wisconsin and some others. So yeah, I'm all for it.

Ralph Nader: Do you think that Biden is tough enough, or do you think he is going to just bloviate about “I can work across the aisle with Mitch McConnell because I knew Mitch McConnell.” He's dreaming if he thinks that.

David Dayen: Yes. I mean, I think his orientation is probably towards that, because he's a creature of the Senate, and a creature of reaching compromises. He was kind of the designated compromiser with McConnell during the Obama administration. When there were negotiations to be had between the White House and the Senate, Biden would be dispatched over to the Senate to negotiate with McConnell. So that might be his disposition. However, I think it's incumbent on "We the People" to make very clear that the reason that Joe Biden got elected was not to do deals with Mitch McConnell. It was to make improvements for the American people. And he has the authority to do that, and McConnell is not necessarily a check on that authority, and he needs to do it. So it's going to take a grassroots movement like it always does to make change in America.


Ralph Nader: Yeah, but let's look at reality, David. There was a grassroots movement: it's called the Bernie Sanders campaign. It was amplified and extended by Elizabeth Warren, and they lost. They lost inside the Democratic Party, and we're back to the Clinton version of the corporate Democrats run by Joe Biden. So this is a huge setback for progressives in the Democratic Party. A huge setback, and not enough is being made of that. This is just a reinstatement of the Clinton Democratic Party.

David Dayen: Well, I don't think we should sugarcoat it, and I think you're right to say that. I'd also say that in times of crisis, ordinary people sometimes are positioned to do extraordinary things. During the New Deal, as you know, Franklin Roosevelt ran on balancing the budget. He got into office, and saw the nature of the problem, and realized he needed to do some bold experimentation.

I always look to the story of The Glass-Steagall Act. So that was the most progressive banking reform that we saw in 50 years. And who was Glass? Well, Glass was Carter Glass. He was the senator, head of the banking committee at one point, and he was a total right-wing Democrat. He came from a southern state, Virginia. He was a right-wing stooge for banking interests. I mean, he was a mouthpiece for the banking industry at that time. And the only reason that his name is on Glass-Steagall that he passed, the reform that separated commercial and investment banking, is because the public wanted something much, much more invasive. They wanted the end of the private banking system entirely. And so the compromise became the separation of investment and commercial banking. And so, you know, we have Carter Glass, this right-wing bank stooge, whose name is on the most progressive reform of the last century in terms of the banking system. So it can be done!

Ralph Nader: That's not going to happen with Mitch McConnell. The Democrats have to have a strategy to take back the Senate with the two offers for cabinet secretaries for the Republicans.

David Dayen: We're moving forward in 2022 and taking the Senate at that time. And I just think results matter, and policy matters. So you're going to have to find a way to get some results done if you're going to win the trust of the American people. Because I think what the election results showed is that the people don't trust Democrats. They didn't like Donald Trump. They didn't think he was presidential enough, and they were willing to vote against him. But they didn't trust Democrats with power. That's not what the election results show.


Ralph Nader: Look at the corporate Democrats. The main difference is they'll protect, to some degree, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare. On military foreign policy, they're like the Republicans. They're empire oriented. They violate the Constitution. They start new wars without declaration of war, just like Libya was provoked. The Libyan war was provoked by Hillary Clinton. The Congress didn't appropriate and authorize any money for that war that is now spreading violence in the whole area of Africa. So how about Wall Street? Well, you know, Joe Biden is a creature of Wall Street. He comes from corporate Delaware. We call him "Delaware Joe." I know a lot of Democrats are breathing the sigh of relief that this tyrant is toppled in the White House, and that the Senate is closer. But let's face it, the whole progressive energy over the last four years has been shelved by the corporate Democrats. Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, Indivisible, all these and other efforts, which were not exactly collaborated with by the AFL-CIO. Rich Trumka has some explanation to make to the American people, along with Senator Chuck Schumer. But how is this progressive movement, which was quite significant with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and others around the country like Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar, and AOC, going to come back?

David Dayen: Well, I do think that what you saw in the House was that most of the candidates who lost were corporate Democrats. Most of the incumbents who lost. And the Squad, the AOC-style Democrats, will add to their ranks with people like Mondaire Jones, and Jamaal Bowman, and Marie Newman in Illinois. So the progressive end is getting bigger incrementally. This is a long-stage process, right? And the corporate Democrats are shrinking. So there's a greater degree of Democrats who are of the progressive tilt within the House of Representatives. And that's going, I feel, to continue. We're going to see more challenges to incumbents from the left, just like we saw this year. And many of those were successful. We're going to see a stronger and more engaged progressive campaign infrastructure, those groups that you mentioned like Justice Democrats. And it's going to continue to be successful. Will it be successful in time to stop the climate crisis? I don't know. Will it be successful in time to stop the robbing of the American people by Wall Street and Silicon Valley? I don't know. But I think it's moving in a trajectory that's at least better than it was.

Ralph Nader: Do you think, David Dayen -- we're talking with David Dayen, Editor of The American Prospect Magazine. Do you think, David, that you don't have a sufficient David Dayen sense of urgency here? We're not talking about gradualism. Look at climate disruption. Look at the increased impoverishment of America. Look at the diminution of the labor movement. I watch the House very carefully, and Nancy Pelosi knew how to control the Squad, the AOC. She would even scoff at them. You got to be a progressive editor that develops a case to challenge Nancy Pelosi for the speakership.

David Dayen: Oh, we have a piece out today that calls for exactly that. So my eyes are extremely wide open. I believe her style of leadership has utterly failed. You look at two races in the country. In Illinois, Cheri Bustos, who was the head of the campaign arm, the DCCC, she ends up almost losing her own race, had to put a million dollars to save herself in the last week of the campaign. Then you go to California and look at Katie Porter, also from a swing district. She ends up getting into Congress, getting things done, conducting meaningful oversight, changing policy, and she had no challenge, no problem in a purple district winning reelection. And so you just look at those two, and this is repeated across the country. When you actually are standing up and trying to protect the American people, the people will respond. And I think that Pelosi's style of leadership has failed, and she needs, because she had to cut a deal to get two more terms as speaker, she needs the support of two-thirds of her caucus in order to move forward as speaker in the next Congress. And that means that the Progressive Caucus, which is large, it's over a 100 members, it's more than one-third of the total caucus. They could deny Pelosi the speakership, and say we don't believe in your style of leadership. And I think that the Progressive Caucus needs to stand up and say that the time for incrementalism, the time for not talking about policy, has ended and we need new leadership.


Ralph Nader: I hope you can foment some of this, because you know you don’t want to end up with Congressman Steny Hoyer becoming speaker. There's got to be a leader of the rebellion coming forward, or leaders.

David Dayen: They need to settle on somebody. Maybe it's Pramila Jayapal who's the head of the Progressive Caucus. You know, who knows who it is? I think who the centrists and the corporate Democrats are looking toward is Hakeem Jeffries, who is number three or four in the House leadership. And he's a young Black man from the New York City area, but has shown certainly some corporate Democrat predilections over the course of his career. That's going to be the battle, and it's an important battle for the future of the House Democratic Caucus, and the future of the Democratic Party.

Ralph Nader: Well, we're almost out of time. We want to have Steve and David weigh in here. Before we do, give the website for Day One Agenda again.

David Dayen: You got it. So if you go to prospect.org, our Day One Agenda coverage will probably be right up there at the top. But the actual URL that gets you to the links to all of our stories about what the next president can do without having to pass new legislation, so that’s at prospect.org/day-one, O-N-E, dash agenda.

Ralph Nader: Steve?

Steve Skrovan: Yeah. Both David and Ralph, I'm in show business, and I’m gonna try to put this in show business terms what you’ve just talked about. And tell me if I'm on the right track here. It seems like Democrats run elections like they're casting a movie. And they start by picking the stars, but they have no script, no story. And when I say no story, I don't mean, you know, "I'm from Scranton; my dad worked in a mill." I'm talking about policy. And they can't seem to understand why they get a bunch of people on the premiere, and then they don’t understand why they get bad reviews, and bad word of mouth. Was that a pretty good analogy?

David Dayen: Yeah, you're saying that Democrats are producing Ishtar.

Steve Skrovan: Yeah. [laughter] Well, they're concentrating on character, and that I'm a good guy, and I'm a better guy than this person. And we're finding out that people don’t really care about that. They want a good story; they want a good policy.

David Dayen: Yeah, it's amazing. If you ever . . . the difference is very clear when you look at a presidential debate moderated by a member of the media, and then they do a town hall debate where the questions come from people. And the debate moderated by the media has a lot of this stuff about character, and politics, and things like that. Every single question when you go to a town hall debate is about policy. It's about what are you going to do to help my family. What are you going to do about this issue, or that issue? It's very clear that the American people are interested in what government can do to improve their lot.

Ralph Nader: Well, the question I have is as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren now in the Senate, are they going to speak up about the failures of the Chuck Schumer type of strategy? And do you think you can get The Prospect to get an interview with either one of them? Or are they going to just get along by going along, and be only two votes in the Senate?

David Dayen: [chuckle] Well, you’ve now given me an assignment, so I'd better get to it. So I think that them, along with people like Sherrod Brown and Tammy Baldwin, and some of the other more progressive members of the Senate, have a lot of soul searching to do. And think about whether they want power, and the best way that they believe to get it, and whether Chuck Schumer is setting them on that path or not.

Ralph Nader: Any possibility of a progressive senator’s challenge to Chuck Schumer as the leader of the party in the Senate?

David Dayen: I mean, the problem you run into is that virtually every member of the Senate, Democrats, has been handpicked by Chuck Schumer, and owes Chuck Schumer a favor on this or that for getting elected. And that even includes people like Elizabeth Warren, who got a lot of money from Schumer on her first run for Senate. Sherrod Brown has gotten a lot of support from Schumer and the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. So it's going to be difficult, but I think if they straight-up look at the facts, it becomes clear. And one thing I would add is that Chuck Schumer is up for reelection in 2022. And New York is very rapidly shifting to the left. And there are a lot of ambitious progressive Democrats in New York City, and in New York State, who would be all too happy to challenge Chuck Schumer from the left and force him to have a much better agenda in 2022.

Ralph Nader: And they have a good issue. Chuck Schumer is the Democratic pillar of Wall Street. He never goes for an expanded capital gains. He supports Wall Street loopholes. He supports big Wall Street banks. And that's who is going to rule the Senate if the Senate gets switched to the Democrats? I mean, how many more decades will we have to wait for these corporate Democrats to be replaced by a groundswell of movement, once and for all, that spells the words progressive all over the Senate? There's not enough urgency by the progressive leaders in this country, and the labor unions. They get along by going along. I don't see light at the end of the tunnel.

David Dayen: Well, look, I mean, Nancy Pelosi has been running essentially a one-woman Congress since the pandemic hit. I mean, she has been unilaterally negotiating with the White House, and with Mitch McConnell, on any kind of economic relief for the American people because of the coronavirus crisis. I mean, there literally is no role being played by virtually any other member of the House of Representatives other than Nancy Pelosi. And shockingly, we haven't heard many progressive Democrats speak out about that. They haven't voted against bills. Other than AOC, they haven't voted against any of this legislation that Pelosi shoves in their hands and says, "Go pass this." So we do need more urgency, and we need more courage to speak up.

Ralph Nader: Imagine, Pelosi, and many in the House leadership, didn't even make hay after they passed in May the relief bill: $600 a week, $1250 support for schools, support for healthcare facilities, the Post Office. They never slammed that against McConnell, even in Kentucky with Amy McGrath, to say, "Why are you blocking Kentucky workers, and workers all over the country in need, from getting another extension of $600 a week? This is a party that doesn't want to win progressively; they want to win corporately. And they almost devastated the country by letting this tyrant win again a second term. David?

David Dayen: Yes, I don't have a lot to add to that. I mean, you've been pounding this drum for many, many years, and this is the fact of life. And how many times do we have to see people who talk about the issues? Issues themselves win across the country. And those who hang back talk about character, talk about bipartisanship and working together. How many times do you see those people end up failing? We need to learn from the evidence. Democrats like to say that they believe in the science, and they believe in the evidence, but the evidence is staring them in the face, that they need to alter their trajectory as a party.


Ralph Nader: The Republicans give the Democrats 12 arrows for their quiver, as I've said, and they use about three. I think Joe Biden, when he declares victory, he should thank Donald Trump. Donald Trump gave it to him. David Feldman, any call?

David Feldman: Yes, any movement in the state houses? And how that will reflect on the census?

David Dayen: No, there wasn't. And this is the most under-the-radar issue coming out of the election. This was a redistricting year. This is a census year. And the results of this election sets the legislature that will draw the district maps both in Congress and in the state legislatures for the next 10 years. And Democrats thought going in that they were going to be able to flip some chambers, and get some more say in that process, so there wouldn't be any level of gerrymandering in many states. And they just weren't able to do it. Right now, they have flipped zero legislatures! And there's a strong likelihood that they won't get any of them, or maybe a token one or two here and there. So this is a major problem, because we're going to see the same kind of gerrymandering, where the politicians pick the voters rather than the voters picking the politicians. And that's going to entrench Republican dominance in several states moving on through the next decade.

Ralph Nader: And that is a big part of the failure of the election 2020. I mean, as you say, this has a long tail in favor of the Republicans who control so many of these state legislatures. It's time for a new broad-based political party.
Time's up for the Democratic Party. We're out of time. David Dayen, Executive Editor of The [American] Prospect Magazine and someone who gets to the core of the issues of distribution of power and wealth in our society. Thank you, David.


David Dayen: Thank you, Ralph.

Steve Skrovan: We have been speaking with the executive editor of The American Prospect, David Dayen. We will link to his work at ralphnaderradiohour.com. Let's take a short break. When we return, we're going to continue sorting through the election, and discuss the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett with the Chicago Reader's Leonard Goodman. But first let's check in with our corporate crime reporter, Russell Mokhiber.

Russell Mokhiber: From the National Press Building in Washington, D.C., this is your Corporate Crime Reporter Morning Minute for Friday, November 6, 2020. I'm Russell Mokhiber.

An intubated coronavirus patient was declining rapidly when doctors decided to airlift her to a hospital with better critical care resources. The patient was flown by helicopter from one Philadelphia hospital to another 20 miles away. She spent six weeks at the new hospital and survived. When she came home, a letter arrived: The air ambulance company said she owed $52,112 for the trip. Last year, Congress abandoned its attempt to prevent surprise bills like this one, and coronavirus patients are now paying the price. Bills submitted to the New York Times show that patients often face surprise charges from out-of-network doctors, ambulances, and medical labs they did not pick or even realize were involved in their care. That’s according to a report from Sarah Kliff in the New York Times. For the Corporate Crime Reporter, I'm Russell Mokhiber.

Steve Skrovan: Thank you, Russell. Welcome back to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. I'm Steve Skrovan along with David Feldman and Ralph. The Democrats claimed to oppose Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court. But their resistance seemed a bit halfhearted. Why was that? Our next guest has a pretty good idea. David?

David Feldman: Leonard Goodman is a Chicago criminal defense attorney, and a co-owner of the Chicago Reader. As an attorney, Mr. Goodman has built a successful practice representing many defendants who would otherwise not receive fair representation. He represents 15% to 30% of his clients pro-bono. Mr. Goodman also writes regularly for the Chicago Reader, including a recent piece entitled "The real reason Democrats didn’t stop the Barrett confirmation". Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Leonard Goodman.

Leonard Goodman: Hi, David. Hi, Ralph. Hi, Steve. Nice to be with you.

Ralph Nader: Thank you, Leonard. Well, what is the real reason why the Democrats didn't go all out against Judge Barrett?

Leonard Goodman: The donors clearly were fine with having a Justice Barrett. You know, we supposedly live in a representative democracy, but it’s pretty clear we have two corporate parties, and they are both playing to their donors, and trying to enact policies that will satisfy the donors. And I think this has been proven again and again with studies that the will of ordinary people has almost zero impact on most issues over policy. The donors control. And Amy Coney Barrett, in her short time as a judge on the 7th Circuit, has proven herself to be a corporate-friendly judge. Just less than a month before she was nominated she had ruled in favor of tech companies that wanted to prevent gig workers from access to the courts, when the tech companies cheat them out of overtime wages. And she has proven to be a reliable asset for corporations. She's a member of the Federalist Society, so the donors clearly were perfectly content with having a Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the court.

Ralph Nader: What could the Democrats in the Senate have done, beyond what they did do, given that they don't control the Senate, and it's under the iron hand of Mitch McConnell?

Leonard Goodman: Well, that's certainly a fair point, and a good question. One thing they could have done is, people are desperate out there, Ralph, as you know better than anyone. In the midst of a pandemic, they could have taken Trump up on his offer for a two trillion dollar stimulus bill, and put the pressure on Mitch McConnell in the Senate, and demanded hearings on that. People are desperate for relief. We have a wave of addictions that’s going to start soon. It's a really desperate situation for many Americans. And the Democrats certainly could have gone that route, and made that an issue, which would have made it much more difficult to spend the last week before the election ramming through a justice to the Supreme Court. Certainly there's other techniques that could have been used, parliamentary techniques, which I'm not an expert on, but I certainly do believe that if they had wanted to stop her, and if the donors didn't like her, they could have stopped her.

Ralph Nader: It did seem that they accepted it right from the beginning. They had a resignation attitude right from the beginning, the Democrats, where at the end of this election, the Democrats, as we've discussed earlier, almost put the country in a disaster and had Trump reelected. They lost Senate seats they should’ve won, so the Republicans control the Senate, at least for the time being. And they didn't switch any state legislatures, so there’s going to be more redistricting in favor of the Republicans, and not to mention the mess with the census. What's your view of why they failed so miserably when they had so many arguments/arrows in their quiver, [so] to say, that they didn't use?


Leonard Goodman: Well, I just heard an exit poll, I think it was a Fox News exit poll, that more than 70% of Americans, not just Democrats, but all Americans, favor Medicare for All or a single-payer healthcare system, especially in the middle of a pandemic. And yet that position is not even considered for either party, because both parties are taking positions that will keep their donor base happy. I don't think it's about winning. Certainly if the Democrats had wanted to win, Joe Biden could have come out strongly for a single-payer Medicare. He could have come out for ending wars. He could have come out for putting people back to work like FDR did.

The other interesting thing is that they lost ground with Blacks and Hispanics over the last four years, which is somewhat shocking when you consider Donald Trump, you know, overtly racist, xenophobic president for four years. And how did the Democrats lose ground? There was simply no attempt to take positions that would appeal to progressives, that would appeal to working people, that would appeal to unions. It simply courted the donors. And it's not a strategy designed to win. It's a strategy designed to keep the donor base happy. And you talk about it really in a lot of ways this is a good situation for Biden to be able to have a built-in excuse, because if the Senate is still in the control of the Republicans, they can satisfy the donors, and tell the workers that we really would love to help you, but we're blocked in the Senate.


Ralph Nader: Seemed like their primary goal, Leonard, was [to] outraise the Republicans, and they did that. Almost double more money was raised by the Democrats. But they had no message other than COVID and Obamacare to speak of. And so policy precedes message, and that's why all of the ads failed for Amy McGrath in Kentucky against McConnell, and Jaime Harrison against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. They plastered the state with nonstop ads that had almost no impact, and they lost miserably because they didn't run on an agenda that met the needs of people where they live, work, and raise their families, regardless of what political labels these people put on themselves.

Leonard Goodman: Correct. With an issue-free election, and McGrath, if you recall, she was up against what appeared to be a true progressive. I think his name was Booker. And we were told we can't nominate, the Democrats can't nominate Booker; he's too far to the left. We need Amy McGrath, a conservative. But really, Amy McGrath was a darling of the donors, and you see what happened. She went down in flames.


Steve Skrovan: Just before you go, I have a quick question. Obviously Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Democratic leadership, the DNC, Tom Perez, they're afraid of alienating big donors. We saw that in the Democratic primary also. Did they have a point? If they alienated their big donors, would that be political suicide? Would that be unilaterally disarming? Would those big donors flock to the other side? That seems to be the big scary monster there. Is there a case to be made for that?

Leonard Goodman: Well, sure they would. They would flock to the other side. But what Bernie Sanders proved, really Barack Obama in his initial run, although he then turned to corporate donors, but you know, you can raise a lot of money through small donations, and not be beholden to corporate interests. It is possible, and Bernie Sanders has proven that. It's just harder. It's a lot easier to just call up a bundler and say, "I'm here for you; you need to be here for me. I come from a corporate family; I see this from the inside how it works." And that's a lot easier than actually having a populist message, and going to all the communitie,s and raising small-dollar donations, and getting people excited. How many people were excited about Joe Biden? I don't know anyone. I think a lot of people were excited about seeing Trump go, but I don't know anyone who was excited about Joe Biden.

Ralph Nader: And you know, Leonard, it's easier than ever now for these campaigns to raise big money on the internet in small donations. I mean, Bernie in 2016 raised over $200 million—unprecedented! And it's only getting easier as more and more people see themselves as small donors.

Leonard Goodman: That’s right. That’s absolutely right. There's really no excuse except -- and I do firmly believe that once people sell out, and this is something I sort of -- that once people sell out, it's hard to reverse that. Once you compromise yourself, and this is something I remember Ralph talking about in 1999 when I went to hear him at a rally. I think it was at UIC Chicago when you were running for president. As you know, if you start to compromise, especially as a young person, it becomes a habit in your life. You need to take a stand. And if you think I'm the best candidate then you should vote for me. And I thought that was really profound, and it's something I'll never forget, because once you start to compromise your principle -- that doesn't mean you can't compromise when you're in office and make deals. But once you compromise and vote for somebody -- Joe Biden shares none of my values. He's pro war; he's pro Wall Street; he's against Medicare for All. Now, I understand the calculus of getting Trump out, and I would like to see Trump gone as well. But it's hard to ask people to go out and take the day off work, and vote for somebody that shares none of their values. So what I'm saying is you're correct, Ralph, people can raise money by getting people excited rather than just getting the donors excited.

Ralph Nader: The best way to win the election . . .

Leonard Goodman: This maybe takes a little more risk, but it can be done.

Ralph Nader: Yeah, the best way to win the election is to stand with the people in very concrete authentic ways. And [then] they don't have to worry. Senator Proxmire never had to raise any money from Wisconsin, but he campaigned all over Wisconsin running. He is a runner, and he'd take jobs for a day or two behind a restaurant. He would take jobs, for example, working in a restaurant, and working with sanitation workers. And he would spend four to five hundred dollars in his Senate race, mainly for postage to send back unsolicited donations. Senator William Proxmire. Because they saw him he's being for the people.

Steve Skrovan: Yeah, it can be done.

Ralph Nader: Well, we're out of time. We've been talking with Leonard Goodman, who is a criminal defense lawyer. He has taken some great cases in the Chicago area in the federal courts, and he is reviving the Chicago Reader, which has a great tradition, into a nonprofit, so they could be a model for the rest of the country. Thank you very much, Leonard.

Leonard Goodman: It's an honor, Ralph. Great to talk to you.

Steve Skrovan: We have been speaking with the co-owner of the Chicago Reader, and criminal defense attorney Leonard Goodman. We will link to his recent article at ralphnaderradiohour.com. Okay, let's do some listener questions. This one comes from a long-time listener who actually usually comments on our web page just about every week with a lot of very thoughtful comments. So David, why don’t you read that question?

David Feldman: Al-Afdal Shahanshah writes "For the longest time I've been under the impression that Ralph's old book, Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, was just a work of satire, but I guess I was wrong. Ralph is advocating for full-on class collaborationism here. Capitalists aren’t going to make their system stable and caring out of the goodness of their hearts. For every patriotic millionaire, there is a more ruthless member of the ruling class that can out-compete the meeker millionaire and more effectively exploit their workers’ labor, obtain more surplus for themselves than the meeker millionaire, and more effectively control society. They are only too compelled to engage in their antisocial behavior by the system of market competition. When is Ralph going to give up on this fantasy of widespread nobility among the ruling class? Is Ralph just hoping for one of these especially enlightened members of the ruling class to seize power, defeat the rest of their peers, and become one of Plato's imaginary philosopher kings? It strikes me as a very medieval attitude.

Ralph Nader: Watch out for the fallacy of stereotyping all wealthy people and listen to the lessons of history. The “abolition movement” was supported by a very small handful of wealthy people in addition to a lot of on-the-ground advocates and people like Frederick Douglass. The “women's right to vote movement” received funds to keep it going and pay its expenses at a very critical time also in the early twentieth century by wealthy people--some wealthy women in Philadelphia, others in Boston and New York. The “second-stage civil rights movement” received seed money in the early years of the late 1950s by the Curry Family in Virginia and the Stern Family in New Orleans. Do you think that these people didn't help? Do you think they shouldn't be asked for help? Do you realize if we had just one out of hundreds of billionaires [that] one enlightened billionaire can fund the development of Congress Watchdog groups all over the country? Organizers have to be paid for a living. Expenses have to be paid on the ground. It takes money. So if you have wealthy people, and they're a very tiny percentage I agree with you, who are willing to do the right thing without any strings attached, why not?

David Feldman: Do they tend to mostly concern themselves with social issues as opposed to labor issues, class issues?

Ralph Nader: [It’s] a whole variety. Some of them give to charities, hunger in America; that's fine. But there are some that are very strategic and they want to shift power from the few to the many. Some of them came from working-class backgrounds; they hit it big in some startup company, and they still retain their values.
David Feldman: Is it inherited wealth?

Ralph Nader: Some of it is like Chuck Collins who led the fight with wealthy Bill Gates Sr., that's Bill Gates's father who is a lawyer in Seattle, and he blocked the almost certain repeal of the estate tax on wealthy people that was about to go through Congress and be signed by George W. Bush. That's a bad thing?

Steve Skrovan: All right, very good. I want to thank both our guests again, David Dayen and Leonard Goodman. For those of you listening on the radio, that's our show. For you podcast listeners, stay tuned for some bonus material we call "The Wrap Up." A transcript of this show will appear on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour website soon after the episode is posted.

David Feldman: Subscribe to us on our Ralph Nader Radio Hour YouTube channel. And for Ralph's weekly column, it's free, go to nader.org. For more from Russell Mokhiber, go to corporatecrimereporter.com.

Steve Skrovan: For a copy of The Day the Rats Vetoed Congress, go to ratsreformcongress.org and also check out Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lawbreaking and Lies Betray All, co-written with Mark Green. We will link to those also.

David Feldman: The producers of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour are Jimmy Lee Wirt and Matthew Marran. Our executive producer is Alan Minsky. Our theme music "Stand up, Rise Up" was written and performed by Kemp Harris. Our proofreader is Elisabeth Solomon. Our intern is Michaela Squier. Join us next week on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour when we welcome saxophonist and composer Paul Winter, a pioneer of world music and earth music.

Thank you, Ralph.

Ralph Nader: Thank you, everybody, and it's going to be a great program with Paul. He went into the ocean depths to pioneer how whales communicate with one another. It's really spectacular.

[Music]

Don't let them fool you
You have the power in your hand
I'm only trying to school you
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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:36 am

Glenn Greenwald: Nothing Trump Did Compares to the 'Moral Evil' of Bush's and Obama's Wars
by ReasonTV
November 25, 2020

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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:42 am

Glenn Greenwald on Useful Idiots, Interview Only
by Rolling Stone
Sep 19, 2020

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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:10 am

My Resignation From The Intercept: The same trends of repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity plaguing the national press generally have engulfed the media outlet I co-founded, culminating in censorship of my own articles.
by Glenn Greenwald
Oct 29, 2020

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Today I sent my intention to resign from The Intercept, the news outlet I co-founded in 2013 with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, as well as from its parent company First Look Media.

The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.

The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.

I had no objection to their disagreement with my views of what this Biden evidence shows: as a last-ditch attempt to avoid being censored, I encouraged them to air their disagreements with me by writing their own articles that critique my perspectives and letting readers decide who is right, the way any confident and healthy media outlet would. But modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash it. So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.

The censored article will be published on this page shortly (it is now published here, and the emails with Intercept editors showing the censorship are here). My letter of intent to resign, which I sent this morning to First Look Media’s President Michael Bloom, is published below.

As of now, I will be publishing my journalism here on Substack, where numerous other journalists, including my good friend, the great intrepid reporter Matt Taibbi, have come in order to practice journalism free of the increasingly repressive climate that is engulfing national mainstream media outlets across the country.

This was not an easy choice: I am voluntarily sacrificing the support of a large institution and guaranteed salary in exchange for nothing other than a belief that there are enough people who believe in the virtues of independent journalism and the need for free discourse who will be willing to support my work by subscribing.


Like anyone with young children, a family and numerous obligations, I do this with some trepidation, but also with the conviction that there is no other choice. I could not sleep at night knowing that I allowed any institution to censor what I want to say and believe — least of all a media outlet I co-founded with the explicit goal of ensuring this never happens to other journalists, let alone to me, let alone because I have written an article critical of a powerful Democratic politician vehemently supported by the editors in the imminent national election.

But the pathologies, illiberalism, and repressive mentality that led to the bizarre spectacle of my being censored by my own media outlet are ones that are by no means unique to The Intercept. These are the viruses that have contaminated virtually every mainstream center-left political organization, academic institution, and newsroom. I began writing about politics fifteen years ago with the goal of combatting media propaganda and repression, and — regardless of the risks involved — simply cannot accept any situation, no matter how secure or lucrative, that forces me to submit my journalism and right of free expression to its suffocating constraints and dogmatic dictates.

From the time I began writing about politics in 2005, journalistic freedom and editorial independence have been sacrosanct to me. Fifteen years ago, I created a blog on the free Blogspot software when I was still working as a lawyer: not with any hopes or plans of starting a new career as a journalist, but just as a citizen concerned about what I was seeing with the War on Terror and civil liberties, and wanting to express what I believed needed to be heard. It was a labor of love, based in an ethos of cause and conviction, dependent upon a guarantee of complete editorial freedom.

It thrived because the readership I built knew that, even when they disagreed with particular views I was expressing, I was a free and independent voice, unwedded to any faction, controlled by nobody, endeavoring to be as honest as possible about what I was seeing, and always curious about the wisdom of seeing things differently. The title I chose for that blog, “Unclaimed Territory,” reflected that spirit of liberation from captivity to any fixed political or intellectual dogma or institutional constraints.

When Salon offered me a job as a columnist in 2007, and then again when the Guardian did the same in 2012, I accepted their offers on the condition that I would have the right, except in narrowly defined situations (such as articles that could create legal liability for the news outlet), to publish my articles and columns directly to the internet without censorship, advanced editorial interference, or any other intervention permitted or approval needed. Both outlets revamped their publication system to accommodate this condition, and over the many years I worked with them, they always honored those commitments.

When I left the Guardian at the height of the Snowden reporting in 2013 in order to create a new media outlet, I did not do so, needless to say, in order to impose upon myself more constraints and restrictions on my journalistic independence. The exact opposite was true: the intended core innovation of The Intercept, above all else, was to create a new media outlets where all talented, responsible journalists would enjoy the same right of editorial freedom I had always insisted upon for myself. As I told former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller in a 2013 exchange we had in The New York Times about my critiques of mainstream journalism and the idea behind The Intercept: “editors should be there to empower and enable strong, highly factual, aggressive adversarial journalism, not to serve as roadblocks to neuter or suppress the journalism.”

When the three of us as co-founders made the decision early on that we would not attempt to manage the day-to-day operations of the new outlet, so that we could instead focus on our journalism, we negotiated the right of approval for senior editors and, especially the editor-in-chief. The central responsibility of the person holding that title was to implement, in close consultation with us, the unique journalistic vision and journalistic values on which we founded this new media outlet.


Chief among those values was editorial freedom, the protection of a journalist’s right to speak in an honest voice, and the airing rather than suppression of dissent from mainstream orthodoxies and even collegial disagreements with one another. That would be accomplished, above all else, by ensuring that journalists, once they fulfilled the first duty of factual accuracy and journalistic ethics, would be not just permitted but encouraged to express political and ideological views that deviated from mainstream orthodoxy and those of their own editors; to express themselves in their own voice of passion and conviction rather stuffed into the corporatized, contrived tone of artificial objectivity, above-it-all omnipotence; and to be completely free of anyone else’s dogmatic beliefs or ideological agenda — including those of the three co-founders.

The current iteration of The Intercept is completely unrecognizable when compared to that original vision. Rather than offering a venue for airing dissent, marginalized voices and unheard perspectives, it is rapidly becoming just another media outlet with mandated ideological and partisan loyalties, a rigid and narrow range of permitted viewpoints (ranging from establishment liberalism to soft leftism, but always anchored in ultimate support for the Democratic Party), a deep fear of offending hegemonic cultural liberalism and center-left Twitter luminaries, and an overarching need to secure the approval and admiration of the very mainstream media outlets we created The Intercept to oppose, critique and subvert.

As a result, it is a rare event indeed when a radical freelance voice unwelcome in mainstream precincts is published in The Intercept. Outside reporters or writers with no claim to mainstream acceptability — exactly the people we set out to amplify — have almost no chance of being published. It is even rarer for The Intercept to publish content that would not fit very comfortably in at least a dozen or more center-left publications of similar size which pre-dated its founding, from Mother Jones to Vox and even MSNBC.

Courage is required to step out of line, to question and poke at those pieties most sacred in one’s own milieu, but fear of alienating the guardians of liberal orthodoxy, especially on Twitter, is the predominant attribute of The Intercept’s New-York based editorial leadership team. As a result, The Intercept has all but abandoned its core mission of challenging and poking at, rather than appeasing and comforting, the institutions and guardians most powerful in its cultural and political circles.

Making all of this worse, The Intercept — while gradually excluding the co-founders from any role in its editorial mission or direction, and making one choice after the next to which I vocally objected as a betrayal of our core mission — continued publicly to trade on my name in order to raise funds for journalism it knew I did not support. It purposely allowed the perception to fester that I was the person responsible for its journalistic mistakes in order to ensure that blame for those mistakes was heaped on me rather than the editors who were consolidating control and were responsible for them.

The most egregious, but by no means only, example of exploiting my name to evade responsibility was the Reality Winner debacle. As The New York Times recently reported, that was a story in which I had no involvement whatsoever. While based in Brazil, I was never asked to work on the documents which Winner sent to our New York newsroom with no request that any specific journalist work on them. I did not even learn of the existence of that document until very shortly prior to its publication. The person who oversaw, edited and controlled that story was Betsy Reed, which was how it should be given the magnitude and complexity of that reporting and her position as editor-in-chief.

It was Intercept editors who pressured the story’s reporters to quickly send those documents for authentication to the government — because they was eager to prove to mainstream media outlets and prominent liberals that The Intercept was willing to get on board the Russiagate train. They wanted to counter-act the perception, created by my articles expressing skepticism about the central claims of that scandal, that The Intercept had stepped out of line on a story of high importance to U.S. liberalism and even the left. That craving — to secure the approval of the very mainstream media outlets we set out to counteract — was the root cause for the speed and recklessness with which that document from Winner was handled.

But The Intercept, to this very day, has refused to provide any public accounting of what happened in the Reality Winner story: to explain who the editors were who made mistakes and why any of it happened. As the New York Times article makes clear, that refusal persists to this very day notwithstanding vocal demands from myself, Scahill, Laura Poitras and others that The Intercept
, as an institution that demands transparency from others, has the obligation to provide it for itself.

The reason for this silence and this cover-up is obvious: accounting to the public about what happened with the Reality Winner story would reveal who the actual editors are who are responsible for that deeply embarrassing newsroom failure, and that would negate their ability to continue to hide behind me and let the public continue to assume that I was the person at fault for a reporting process from which I was completely excluded from the start. That is just one example illustrating the frustrating dilemma of having a newsroom exploit my name, work and credibility when it is convenient to do so, while increasingly denying me any opportunity to influence its journalistic mission and editorial direction, all while pursuing an editorial mission completely anathema to what I believe.

Despite all of this, I did not want to leave The Intercept. As it deteriorated and abandoned its original mission, I reasoned to myself — perhaps rationalized — that as long as The Intercept at least continued to provide me the resources to personally do the journalism I believe in, and never to interfere in or impede my editorial freedom, I could swallow everything else.

But the brute censorship this week of my article — about the Hunter Biden materials and Joe Biden’s conduct regarding Ukraine and China, as well my critique of the media’s rank-closing attempt, in a deeply unholy union with Silicon Valley and the “intelligence community,” to suppress its revelations — eroded the last justification I could cling to for staying. It meant that not only does this media outlet not provide the editorial freedom to other journalists, as I had so hopefully envisioned seven years ago, but now no longer even provides it to me. In the days heading into a presidential election, I am somehow silenced from expressing any views that random editors in New York find disagreeable, and now somehow have to conform my writing and reporting to cater to their partisan desires and eagerness to elect specific candidates.

To say that such censorship is a red line for me, a situation I would never accept no matter the cost, is an understatement. It is astonishing to me, but also a reflection of our current discourse and illiberal media environment, that I have been silenced about Joe Biden by my own media outlet.

Numerous other episodes were also contributing causes to my decision to leave: the Reality Winner cover-up; the decision to hang Lee Fang out to dry and even force him to apologize when a colleague tried to destroy his reputation by publicly, baselessly and repeatedly branding him a racist; its refusal to report on the daily proceedings of the Assange extradition hearing because the freelance reporter doing an outstanding job was politically distasteful; its utter lack of editorial standards when it comes to viewpoints or reporting that flatter the beliefs of its liberal base (The Intercept published some of the most credulous and false affirmations of maximalist Russiagate madness, and, horrifyingly, took the lead in falsely branding the Hunter Biden archive as “Russian disinformation” by mindlessly and uncritically citing — of all things — a letter by former CIA officials that contained this baseless insinuation).

I know it sounds banal to say, but — even with all of these frustrations and failures — I am leaving, and writing this, with genuine sadness, not fury. That news outlet is something I and numerous close friends and colleagues poured an enormous amount of our time, energy, passion and love into building.

The Intercept has done great work. Its editorial leaders and First Look’s managers steadfastly supported the difficult and dangerous reporting I did last year with my brave young colleagues at The Intercept Brasil to expose corruption at the highest levels of the Bolsonaro government, and stood behind us as we endured threats of death and imprisonment.

It continues to employ some of my closest friends, outstanding journalists whose work — when it overcomes editorial resistance — produces nothing but the highest admiration from me: Jeremy Scahill, Lee Fang, Murtaza Hussain, Naomi Klein, Ryan Grim and others. And I have no personal animus for anyone there, nor any desire to hurt it as an institution. Betsy Reed is an exceptionally smart editor and a very good human being with whom I developed a close and valuable friendship. And Pierre Omidyar, the original funder and publisher of First Look, always honored his personal commitment never to interfere in our editorial process even when I was publishing articles directly at odds with his strongly held views and even when I was attacking other institutions he was funding. I’m not leaving out of vengeance or personal conflict but out of conviction and cause.

And none of the critiques I have voiced about The Intercept are unique to it. To the contrary: these are the raging battles over free expression and the right of dissent raging within every major cultural, political and journalistic institution. That’s the crisis that journalism, and more broadly values of liberalism, faces. Our discourse is becoming increasingly intolerant of dissenting views, and our culture is demanding more and more submission to prevailing orthodoxies imposed by self-anointed monopolists of Truth and Righteousness, backed up by armies of online enforcement mobs.

And nothing is crippled by that trend more severely than journalism, which, above all else, requires the ability of journalists to offend and anger power centers, question or reject sacred pieties, unearth facts that reflect negatively even on (especially on) the most beloved and powerful figures, and highlight corruption no matter where it is found and regardless of who is benefited or injured by its exposure.

Prior to the extraordinary experience of being censored this week by my own news outlet, I had already been exploring the possibility of creating a new media outlet. I have spent a couple of months in active discussions with some of the most interesting, independent and vibrant journalists, writers and commentators across the political spectrum about the feasibility of securing financing for a new outlet that would be designed to combat these trends. The first two paragraphs of our working document reads as follows:

American media is gripped in a polarized culture war that is forcing journalism to conform to tribal, groupthink narratives that are often divorced from the truth and cater to perspectives that are not reflective of the broader public but instead a minority of hyper-partisan elites. The need to conform to highly restrictive, artificial cultural narratives and partisan identities has created a repressive and illiberal environment in which vast swaths of news and reporting either do not happen or are presented through the most skewed and reality-detached lens.

With nearly all major media institutions captured to some degree by this dynamic, a deep need exists for media that is untethered and free to transgress the boundaries of this polarized culture war and address a demand from a public that is starved for media that doesn’t play for a side but instead pursues lines of reporting, thought, and inquiry wherever they lead, without fear of violating cultural pieties or elite orthodoxies.


I have definitely not relinquished hope that this ambitious project can be accomplished. And I theoretically could have stayed at The Intercept until then, guaranteeing a stable and secure income for my family by swallowing the dictates of my new censors.

But I would be deeply ashamed if I did that, and believe I would be betraying my own principles and convictions that I urge others to follow. So in the meantime, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of numerous other writers and journalists who have been expelled from increasingly repressive journalistic precincts for various forms of heresy and dissent and who have sought refuge here.

I hope to exploit the freedom this new platform offers not only to continue to publish the independent and hard-hitting investigative journalism and candid analysis and opinion writing that my readers have come to expect, but also to develop a podcast, and continue the YouTube program, “System Update,” I launched earlier this year in partnership with The Intercept.

To do that, to make this viable, I will need your support: people who are able to subscribe and sign up for the newsletter attached to this platform will enable my work to thrive and still be heard, perhaps even more so than before. I began my journalism career by depending on my readers’ willingness to support independent journalism which they believe is necessary to sustain. It is somewhat daunting at this point in my life, but also very exciting, to return to that model where one answers only to the public a journalist should be serving.

* * * * * * * *

LETTER OF INTENT TO RESIGN

-------- Forwarded Message --------

Subject: Resignation
Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:20:54 -0300
From: Glenn Greenwald <xxxxxxxx@theintercept.com>
To: Michael Bloom <xxxxxxxxx@firstlook.media>, Betsy Reed <xxxxxxx@theintercept.com>

Michael -

I am writing to advise you that I have decided that I will be resigning from First Look Media (FLM) and The Intercept.

The precipitating (but by no means only) cause is that The Intercept is attempting to censor my articles in violation of both my contract and fundamental principles of editorial freedom. The latest and perhaps most egregious example is an opinion column I wrote this week which, five days before the presidential election, is critical of Joe Biden, the candidate who happens to be vigorously supported by all of the Intercept editors in New York who are imposing the censorship and refusing to publish the article unless I agree to remove all of the sections critical of the candidate they want to win. All of that violates the right in my contract with FLM to publish articles without editorial interference except in very narrow circumstances that plainly do not apply here.

Worse, The Intercept editors in New York, not content to censor publication of my article at the Intercept, are also demanding that I not exercise my separate contractual right with FLM regarding articles I have written but which FLM does not want to publish itself. Under my contract, I have the right to publish any articles FLM rejects with another publication. But Intercept editors in New York are demanding I not only accept their censorship of my article at The Intercept, but also refrain from publishing it with any other journalistic outlet, and are using thinly disguised lawyer-crafted threats to coerce me not to do so (proclaiming it would be “detrimental” to The Intercept if I published it elsewhere).

I have been extremely disenchanted and saddened by the editorial direction of The Intercept under its New York leadership for quite some time. The publication we founded without those editors back in 2014 now bears absolutely no resemblance to what we set out to build -- not in content, structure, editorial mission or purpose. I have grown embarrassed to have my name used as a fund-raising tool to support what it is doing and for editors to use me as a shield to hide behind to avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes (including, but not only, with the Reality Winner debacle, for which I was publicly blamed despite having no role in it, while the editors who actually were responsible for those mistakes stood by silently, allowing me to be blamed for their errors and then covering-up any public accounting of what happened, knowing that such transparency would expose their own culpability).


But all this time, as things worsened, I reasoned that as long as The Intercept remained a place where my own right of journalistic independence was not being infringed, I could live with all of its other flaws. But now, not even that minimal but foundational right is being honored for my own journalism, suppressed by an increasingly authoritarian, fear-driven, repressive editorial team in New York bent on imposing their own ideological and partisan preferences on all writers while ensuring that nothing is published at The Intercept that contradicts their own narrow, homogenous ideological and partisan views: exactly what The Intercept, more than any other goal, was created to prevent.

I have asked my lawyer to get in touch with FLM to discuss how best to terminate my contract. Thank you -

Glenn Greenwald
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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:56 am

The Real Scandal: U.S. Media Uses Falsehoods to Defend Joe Biden From Hunter's Emails
Article on Joe and Hunter Biden Censored By The Intercept: An attempt to assess the importance of the known evidence, and a critique of media lies to protect their favored candidate, could not be published at The Intercept

by Glenn Greenwald
Oct 29, 2020

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


I am posting here the most recent draft of my article about Joe and Hunter Biden — the last one seen by Intercept editors before telling me that they refuse to publish it absent major structural changes involving the removal of all sections critical of Joe Biden, leaving only a narrow article critiquing media outlets. I will also, in a separate post, publish all communications I had with Intercept editors surrounding this article so you can see the censorship in action and, given the Intercept’s denials, decide for yourselves (this is the kind of transparency responsible journalists provide, and which the Intercept refuses to this day to provide regarding their conduct in the Reality Winner story). This draft obviously would have gone through one more round of proof-reading and editing by me — to shorten it, fix typos, etc — but it’s important for the integrity of the claims to publish the draft in unchanged form that Intercept editors last saw, and announced that they would not “edit” but completely gut as a condition to publication:

TITLE: THE REAL SCANDAL: U.S. MEDIA USES FALSEHOODS TO DEFEND JOE BIDEN FROM HUNTER’S EMAILS

Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter Biden's laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden's work in Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the Biden family's pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these stories.

One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions -- the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election -- journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.

After the Post’s first article, both that newspaper and other news outlets have published numerous other emails and texts purportedly written to and from Hunter reflecting his efforts to induce his father to take actions as Vice President beneficial to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, on whose board of directors Hunter sat for a monthly payment of $50,000, as well as proposals for lucrative business deals in China that traded on his influence with his father.

Individuals included in some of the email chains have confirmed the contents' authenticity. One of Hunter’s former business partners, Tony Bubolinski, has stepped forward on the record to confirm the authenticity of many of the emails and to insist that Hunter along with Joe Biden's brother Jim were planning on including the former Vice President in at least one deal in China. And GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who appeared in one of the published email chains, appeared to confirm the authenticity as well, though he refused to answer follow-up questions about it.

Thus far, no proof has been offered by Bubolinski that Biden ever consummated his participation in any of those discussed deals. The Wall Street Journal says that it found no corporate records reflecting that a deal was finalized and that "text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture."

But nobody claimed that any such deals had been consummated -- so the conclusion that one had not been does not negate the story.
Moreover, some texts and emails whose authenticity has not been disputed state that Hunter was adamant that any discussions about the involvement of the Vice President be held only verbally and never put in writing.

Beyond that, the Journal's columnist Kimberly Strassel reviewed a stash of documents and "found correspondence corroborates and expands on emails recently published by the New York Post," including ones where Hunter was insisting that it was his connection to his father that was the greatest asset sought by the Chinese conglomerate with whom they were negotiating. The New York Times on Sunday reached a similar conclusion: while no documents prove that such a deal was consummated, "records produced by Mr. Bobulinski show that in 2017, Hunter Biden and James Biden were involved in negotiations about a joint venture with a Chinese energy and finance company called CEFC China Energy," and "make clear that Hunter Biden saw the family name as a valuable asset, angrily citing his 'family’s brand' as a reason he is valuable to the proposed venture."

These documents also demonstrate, reported the Times, "that the countries that Hunter Biden, James Biden and their associates planned to target for deals overlapped with nations where Joe Biden had previously been involved as vice president." Strassel noted that "a May 2017 'expectations' document shows Hunter receiving 20% of the equity in the venture and holding another 10% for 'the big guy'—who Mr. Bobulinski attests is Joe Biden." And the independent journalist Matt Taibbi published an article on Sunday with ample documentation suggesting that Biden's attempt to replace a Ukranian prosecutor in 2015 benefited Burisma.

All of these new materials, the authenticity of which has never been disputed by Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign, raise important questions about whether the former Vice President and current front-running presidential candidate was aware of efforts by his son to peddle influence with the Vice President for profit, and also whether the Vice President ever took actions in his official capacity with the intention, at least in part, of benefitting his son's business associates. But in the two weeks since the Post published its initial story, a union of the nation's most powerful entities, including its news media, have taken extraordinary steps to obscure and bury these questions rather than try to provide answers to them.

The initial documents, claimed the New York Post, were obtained when the laptops containing them were left at a Delaware repair shop with water damage and never picked up, allowing the owner to access its contents and then turn them over to both the FBI and a lawyer for Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani. The repair store owner confirmed this narrative in interviews with news outlets and then (under penalty of prosecution) to a Senate Committee; he also provided the receipt purportedly signed by Hunter. Neither Hunter nor the Biden campaign has denied these claims.

Publication of that initial New York Post story provoked a highly unusual censorship campaign by Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, through a long-time former Democratic Party operative, vowed to suppress the story pending its “fact-check,” one that has as of yet produced no public conclusions. And while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for Twitter’s handling of the censorship and reversed the policy that led to the blocking of all links the story, the New York Post, the nation’s fourth-largest newspaper, continues to be locked out of its Twitter account, unable to post as the election approaches, for almost two weeks.

After that initial censorship burst from Silicon Valley, whose workforce and oligarchs have donated almost entirely to the Biden campaign, it was the nation's media outlets and former CIA and other intelligence officials who took the lead in constructing reasons why the story should be dismissed, or at least treated with scorn. As usual for the Trump era, the theme that took center stage to accomplish this goal was an unsubstantiated claim about the Kremlin responsibility for the story.

Numerous news outlets, including the Intercept, quickly cited a public letter signed by former CIA officials and other agents of the security state claiming that the documents have the “classic trademarks" of a “Russian disinformation” plot. But, as media outlets and even intelligence agencies are now slowly admitting, no evidence has ever been presented to corroborate this assertion. On Friday, the New York Times reported that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation” and the paper said even the FBI has “acknowledged that it had not found any Russian disinformation on the laptop.”


The Washington Post on Sunday published an op-ed -- by Thomas Rid, one of those centrists establishmentarian professors whom media outlets routinely use to provide the facade of expert approval for deranged conspiracy theories -- that contained this extraordinary proclamation: "We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren't."

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A close look at the evidence shows that neither Biden nor Trump have the facts on their side for now. Take a step back, and the Russian interference of 2016 holds valuable lessons on what to do and what not to do in 2020: We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation -- even if they probably aren't.

Even the letter from the former intelligence officials cited by The Intercept and other outlets to insinuate that this was all part of some “Russian disinformation” scheme explicitly admitted that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” though many media outlets omitted that crucial acknowledgement when citing the letter in order to disparage the story as a Kremlin plot:

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We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement -- just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a signficant role in this case.
If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.


Despite this complete lack of evidence, the Biden campaign adopted this phrase used by intelligence officials and media outlets as its mantra for why the materials should not be discussed and why they would not answer basic questions about them. “I think we need to be very, very clear that what he's doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation," said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield about the possibility that Trump would raise the Biden emails at Thursday night’s debate. Biden’s senior advisor Symone Sanders similarly warned on MSNBC: “if the president decides to amplify these latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that is Russian disinformation."

The few mainstream journalists who tried merely to discuss these materials have been vilified. For the crime of simply noting it on Twitter that first day, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had her name trend all morning along with the derogatory nickname “MAGA Haberman.” CBS News’ Bo Erickson was widely attacked even by his some in the media simply for asking Biden what his response to the story was. And Biden himself refused to answer, accusing Erickson of spreading a "smear."


That it is irresponsible and even unethical to mention these documents became a pervasive view in mainstream journalism. The NPR Public Editor, in an amazing statement representative of much of the prevailing media mentality, explicitly justified NPR’s refusal to cover the story on the ground that “we do not want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories . . . [or] waste the readers’ and listeners’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

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To justify her own show’s failure to cover the story, 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl resorted to an entirely different justification. “It can’t be verified,” the CBS reporter claimed when confronted by President Trump in an interview about her program’s failure to cover the Hunter Biden documents. When Trump insisted there were multiple ways to verify the materials on the laptop, Stahl simply repeated the same phrase: “it can’t be verified.”

After the final presidential debate on Thursday night, a CNN panel mocked the story as too complex and obscure for anyone to follow -- a self-fulfilling prophecy given that, as the network's media reporter Brian Stelter noted with pride, the story has barely been mentioned either on CNN or MSNBC. As the New York Times noted on Friday: "most viewers of CNN and MSNBC would not have heard much about the unconfirmed Hunter Biden emails.... CNN’s mentions of “Hunter” peaked at 20 seconds and MSNBC’s at 24 seconds one day last week."

On Sunday, CNN's Christiane Amanpour barely pretended to be interested in any journalism surrounding the story, scoffing during an interview at requests from the RNC's Elizabeth Harrington to cover the story and verify the documents by telling her: "We're not going to do your work for you." Watch how the U.S.'s most mainstream journalists are openly announcing their refusal to even consider what these documents might reflect about the Democratic front-runner:



These journalists are desperate not to know. As Taibbi wrote on Sunday about this tawdry press spectacle: "The least curious people in the country right now appear to be the credentialed news media, a situation normally unique to tinpot authoritarian societies."

All of those excuses and pretexts — emanating largely from a national media that is all but explicit in their eagerness for Biden to win — served for the first week or more after the Post story to create a cone of silence around this story and, to this very day, a protective shield for Biden. As a result, the front-running presidential candidate knows that he does not have to answer even the most basic questions about these documents because most of the national press has already signaled that they will not press him to do so; to the contrary, they will concoct defenses on his behalf to avoid discussing it.

The relevant questions for Biden raised by this new reporting are as glaring as they are important. Yet Biden has had to answer very few of them yet because he has not been asked and, when he has, media outlets have justified his refusal to answer rather than demand that he do so. We submitted nine questions to his campaign about these documents that the public has the absolute right to know, including:

• whether he claims any the emails or texts are fabricated (and, if so, which specific ones);
• whether he knows if Hunter did indeed drop off laptops at the Delaware repair store;
whether Hunter ever asked him to meet with Burisma executives or whether he in fact did so;
• whether Biden ever knew about business proposals in Ukraine or China being pursued by his son and brother in which Biden was a proposed participant and,
how Biden could justify expending so much energy as Vice President demanding that the Ukrainian General Prosecutor be fired, and why the replacement — Yuriy Lutsenko, someone who had no experience in law; was a crony of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko; and himself had a history of corruption allegations — was acceptable if Biden’s goal really was to fight corruption in Ukraine rather than benefit Burisma or control Ukrainian internal affairs for some other objective.

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Though the Biden campaign indicated that they would respond to the Intercept’s questions, they have not done so. A statement they released to other outlets contains no answers to any of these questions except to claim that Biden “has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any business overseas.”

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To date, even as the Biden campaign echoes the baseless claims of media outlets that anyone discussing this story is “amplifying Russian disinformation,” neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign have even said whether they claim the emails and other documents -- which they and the press continue to label "Russian disinformation" -- are forgeries or whether they are authentic.

The Biden campaign clearly believes it has no need to answer any of these questions by virtue of a panoply of media excuses offered on its behalf that collapse upon the most minimal scrutiny:

First, the claim that the material is of suspect authenticity or cannot be verified -- the excuse used on behalf of Biden by Leslie Stahl and Christiane Amanpour, among others -- is blatantly false for numerous reasons. As someone who has reported similar large archives in partnership with numerous media outlets around the world (including the Snowden archive in 2014 and the Intercept’s Brazil Archive over the last year showing corruption by high-level Bolsonaro officials), and who also covered the reporting of similar archives by other outlets (the Panama Papers, the WikiLeaks war logs of 2010 and DNC/Podesta emails of 2016), it is clear to me that the trove of documents from Hunter Biden’s emails has been verified in ways quite similar to those.

With an archive of this size, one can never independently authenticate every word in every last document unless the subject of the reporting voluntarily confirms it in advance, which they rarely do. What has been done with similar archives is journalists obtain enough verification to create high levels of journalistic confidence in the materials. Some of the materials provided by the source can be independently confirmed, proving genuine access by the source to a hard drive, a telephone, or a database. Other parties in email chains can confirm the authenticity of the email or text conversations in which they participated. One investigates non-public facts contained in the documents to determine that they conform to what the documents reflect. Technology specialists can examine the materials to ensure no signs of forgeries are detected.

This is the process that enabled the largest and most established media outlets around the world to report similar large archives obtained without authorization. In those other cases, no media outlet was able to verify every word of every document prior to publication. There was no way to prove the negative that the source or someone else had not altered or forged some of the material. That level of verification is both unattainable and unnecessary. What is needed is substantial evidence to create high confidence in the authentication process.

The Hunter Biden documents have at least as much verification as those other archives that were widely reported. There are sources in the email chains who have verified that the published emails are accurate. The archive contains private photos and videos of Hunter whose authenticity is not in doubt. A former business partner of Hunter has stated, unequivocally and on the record, that not only are the emails authentic but they describe events accurately, including proposed participation by the former Vice President in at least one deal Hunter and Jim Biden were pursuing in China. And, most importantly of all, neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign has even suggested, let alone claimed, that a single email or text is fake.

Why is the failure of the Bidens to claim that these emails are forged so significant? Because when journalists report on a massive archive, they know that the most important event in the reporting's authentication process comes when the subjects of the reporting have an opportunity to deny that the materials are genuine. Of course that is what someone would do if major media outlets were preparing to publish, or in fact were publishing, fabricated or forged materials in their names; they would say so in order to sow doubt about the materials if not kill the credibility of the reporting.

The silence of the Bidens may not be dispositive on the question of the material’s authenticity, but when added to the mountain of other authentication evidence, it is quite convincing: at least equal to the authentication evidence in other reporting on similarly large archives.

Second, the oft-repeated claim from news outlets and CIA operatives that the published emails and texts were “Russian disinformation” was, from the start, obviously baseless and reckless. No evidence — literally none — has been presented to suggest involvement by any Russians in the dissemination of these materials, let alone that it was part of some official plot by Moscow. As always, anything is possible — when one does not know for certain what the provenance of materials is, nothing can be ruled out — but in journalism, evidence is required before news outlets can validly start blaming some foreign government for the release of information. And none has ever been presented. Yet the claim that this was "Russian disinformation" was published in countless news outlets, television broadcasts, and the social media accounts of journalists, typically by pointing to the evidence-free claims of ex-CIA officials.

Worse is the “disinformation” part of the media’s equation. How can these materials constitute “disinformation” if they are authentic emails and texts actually sent to and from Hunter Biden? The ease with which news outlets that are supposed to be skeptical of evidence-free pronouncements by the intelligence community instead printed their assertions about "Russian disinformation" is alarming in the extreme. But they did it because they instinctively wanted to find a reason to justify ignoring the contents of these emails, so claiming that Russia was behind it, and that the materials were "disinformation," became their placeholder until they could figure out what else they should say to justify ignoring these documents.

Third, the media rush to exonerate Biden on the question of whether he engaged in corruption vis-a-vis Ukraine and Burisma rested on what are, at best, factually dubious defenses of the former Vice President. Much of this controversy centers on Biden's aggressive efforts while Vice President in late 2015 to force the Ukrainian government to fire its Chief Prosecutor, Viktor Shokhin, and replace him with someone acceptable to the U.S., which turned out to be Yuriy Lutsenko. These events are undisputed by virtue of a video of Biden boasting in front of an audience of how he flew to Kiev and forced the Ukrainians to fire Shokhin, upon pain of losing $1 billion in aid.



But two towering questions have long been prompted by these events, and the recently published emails make them more urgent than ever: 1) was the firing of the Ukrainian General Prosecutor such a high priority for Biden as Vice President of the U.S. because of his son's highly lucrative role on the board of Burisma, and 2) if that was not the motive, why was it so important for Biden to dictate who the chief prosecutor of Ukraine was?

The standard answer to the question about Biden's motive -- offered both by Biden and his media defenders -- is that he, along with the IMF and EU, wanted Shokhin fired because the U.S. and its allies were eager to clean up Ukraine, and they viewed Shokhin as insufficiently vigilant in fighting corruption.

“Biden’s brief was to sweet-talk and jawbone Poroshenko into making reforms that Ukraine’s Western benefactors wanted to see as,” wrote the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler in what the Post calls a “fact-check.” Kessler also endorsed the key defense of Biden: that the firing of Shokhin was bad for Burisma, not good for it. “The United States viewed [Shokhin] as ineffective and beholden to Poroshenko and Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchs. In particular, Shokin had failed to pursue an investigation of the founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky,” Kessler claims.

But that claim does not even pass the laugh test. The U.S. and its European allies are not opposed to corruption by their puppet regimes. They are allies with the most corrupt regimes on the planet, from Riyadh to Cairo, and always have been. Since when does the U.S. devote itself to ensuring good government in the nations it is trying to control? If anything, allowing corruption to flourish has been a key tool in enabling the U.S. to exert power in other countries and to open up their markets to U.S. companies.

Beyond that, if increasing prosecutorial independence and strengthening anti-corruption vigilance were really Biden's goal in working to demand the firing of the Ukrainian chief prosecutor, why would the successor to Shokhin, Yuriy Lutsenko, possibly be acceptable? Lutsenko, after all, had "no legal background as general prosecutor," was principally known only as a lackey of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was forced in 2009 to "resign as interior minister after being detained by police at Frankfurt airport for being drunk and disorderly," and "was subsequently jailed for embezzlement and abuse of office, though his defenders said the sentence was politically motivated."


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Reuters: Ukraine appoints Poroshenko ally with no legal experience as top prosecutor

Is it remotely convincing to you that Biden would have accepted someone like Lutsenko if his motive really were to fortify anti-corruption prosecutions in Ukraine? Yet that's exactly what Biden did: he personally told Poroshenko that Lutsenko was an acceptable alternative and promptly released the $1 billion after his appointment was announced. Whatever Biden's motive was in using his power as U.S. Vice President to change the prosecutor in Ukraine, his acceptance of someone like Lutsenko strongly suggests that combatting Ukrainian corruption was not it.

As for the other claim on which Biden and his media allies have heavily relied — that firing Shokhin was not a favor for Burisma because Shokhin was not pursuing any investigations against Burisma — the evidence does not justify that assertion.

It is true that no evidence, including these new emails, constitute proof that Biden's motive in demanding Shokhin's termination was to benefit Burisma. But nothing demonstrates that Shokhin was impeding investigations into Burisma. Indeed, the New York Times in 2019 published one of the most comprehensive investigations to date of the claims made in defense of Biden when it comes to Ukraine and the firing of this prosecutor, and, while noting that "no evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal," this is what its reporters concluded about Shokhin and Burisma:

[Biden's] pressure campaign eventually worked. The prosecutor general, long a target of criticism from other Western nations and international lenders, was voted out months later by the Ukrainian Parliament.

Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr. Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.


The Times added: "Mr. Shokhin’s office had oversight of investigations into [Burisma's billionaire founder] Zlochevsky and his businesses, including Burisma." By contrast, they said, Lutsenko, the replacement approved by Vice President Biden, "initially continued investigating Mr. Zlochevsky and Burisma, but cleared him of all charges within 10 months of taking office."

So whether or not it was Biden's intention to confer benefits on Burisma by demanding Shokhin's firing, it ended up quite favorable for Burisma given that the utterly inexperienced Lutesenko "cleared [Burisma's founder] of all charges within 10 months of taking office."


The new comprehensive report from journalist Taibbi on Sunday also strongly supports the view that there were clear antagonisms between Shokhin and Burisma, such that firing the Ukrainian prosecutor would have been beneficial for Burisma. Taibbi, who reported for many years while based in Russia and remains very well-sourced in the region, detailed:

For all the negative press about Shokhin, there’s no doubt that there were multiple active cases involving Zlochevsky/Burisma during his short tenure. This was even once admitted by American reporters, before it became taboo to describe such cases untethered to words like “dormant.” Here’s how Ken Vogel at the New York Times put it in May of 2019:

"When Mr. Shokhin became prosecutor general in February 2015, he inherited several investigations into the company and Mr. Zlochevsky, including for suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering. Mr. Shokin also opened an investigation into the granting of lucrative gas licenses to companies owned by Mr. Zlochevsky when he was the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources."


Ukrainian officials I reached this week confirmed that multiple cases were active during that time.

“There were different numbers, but from 7 to 14,” says Serhii Horbatiuk, former head of the special investigations department for the Prosecutor General’s Office, when asked how many Burisma cases there were.

“There may have been two to three episodes combined, and some have already been closed, so I don't know the exact amount." But, Horbatiuk insists, there were many cases, most of them technically started under Yarema, but at least active under Shokin.

The numbers quoted by Horbatiuk gibe with those offered by more recent General Prosecutor Rulsan Ryaboshapka, who last year said there were at one time or another “13 or 14” cases in existence involving Burisma or Zlochevsky.


Taibbi reviews real-time reporting in both Ukraine and the U.S. to document several other pending investigations against Burisma and Zlochevsky that was overseen by the prosecutor whose firing Biden demanded. He notes that Shokhin himself has repeatedly said he was pursuing several investigations against Zlochevsky at the time Biden demanded his firing. In sum, Taibbi concludes, "one can’t say there’s no evidence of active Burisma cases even during the last days of Shokin, who says that it was the February, 2016 seizure order [against Zlochevsky's assets] that got him fired."

And, Taibbi notes, "the story looks even odder when one wonders why the United States would exercise so much foreign policy muscle to get Shokin fired, only to allow in a replacement — Yuri Lutsenko — who by all accounts was a spectacularly bigger failure in the battle against corruption in general, and Zlochevsky in particular." In sum: "it’s unquestionable that the cases against Burisma were all closed by Shokin’s successor, chosen in consultation with Joe Biden, whose son remained on the board of said company for three more years, earning upwards of $50,000 per month."

The publicly known facts, augmented by the recent emails, texts and on-the-record accounts, suggest serious sleaze by Joe Biden’s son Hunter in trying to peddle his influence with the Vice President for profit. But they also raise real questions about whether Joe Biden knew about and even himself engaged in a form of legalized corruption. Specifically, these newly revealed information suggest Biden was using his power to benefit his son’s business Ukrainian associates, and allowing his name to be traded on while Vice President for his son and brother to pursue business opportunities in China. These are questions which a minimally healthy press would want answered, not buried — regardless of how many similar or worse scandals the Trump family has.

But the real scandal that has been proven is not the former Vice President’s misconduct but that of his supporters and allies in the U.S. media. As Taibbi’s headline put it: “With the Hunter Biden Exposé, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than the Actual Story.”

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With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than the Actual Story: Unprecedented efforts to squelch information about a New York Post story may prove to be more dangerous corruption than whatever Hunter Biden did with a crooked Ukrainian energy company, by Matt Taibbi

The reality is the U.S. press has been planning for this moment for four years — cooking up justifications for refusing to report on newsworthy material that might help Donald Trump get re-elected. One major factor is the undeniable truth that journalists with national outlets based in New York, Washington and West Coast cities overwhelmingly not just favor Joe Biden but are desperate to see Donald Trump defeated.

It takes an enormous amount of gullibility to believe that any humans are capable of separating such an intense partisan preference from their journalistic judgment. Many barely even bother to pretend: critiques of Joe Biden are often attacked first not by Biden campaign operatives but by political reporters at national news outlets who make little secret of their eagerness to help Biden win.

But much of this has to do with the fallout from the 2016 election. During that campaign, news outlets, including The Intercept, did their jobs as journalists by reporting on the contents of newsworthy, authentic documents: namely, the emails published by WikiLeaks from the John Podesta and DNC inboxes which, among other things, revealed corruption so severe that it forced the resignation of the top five officials of the DNC. That the materials were hacked, and that intelligence agencies were suggesting Russia was responsible, [do] not negate the newsworthiness of the documents, which is why media outlets across the country repeatedly reported on their contents.

Nonetheless, journalists have spent four years being attacked as Trump enablers in their overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal cultural circles: the cities in which they live are overwhelmingly Democratic, and their demographic — large-city, college-educated professionals — has vanishingly little Trump support. A New York Times survey of campaign data from Monday tells just a part of this story of cultural insularity and homogeneity:

Joe Biden has outraised President Trump on the strength of some of the wealthiest and most educated ZIP codes in the United States, running up the fund-raising score in cities and suburbs so resoundingly that he collected more money than Mr. Trump on all but two days in the last two months....It is not just that much of Mr. Biden’s strongest support comes overwhelmingly from the two coasts, which it does.... [U]nder Mr. Trump, Republicans have hemorrhaged support from white voters with college degrees. In ZIP codes with a median household income of at least $100,000, Mr. Biden smashed Mr. Trump in fund-raising, $486 million to only $167 million — accounting for almost his entire financial edge....One Upper West Side ZIP code — 10024 — accounted for more than $8 million for Mr. Biden, and New York City in total delivered $85.6 million for him — more than he raised in every state other than California....

The median household in the United States was $68,703 in 2019. In ZIP codes above that level, Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump by $389.1 million. Below that level, Mr. Trump was actually ahead by $53.4 million.


Wanting to avoid a repeat of feeling scorn and shunning in their own extremely pro-Democratic, anti-Trump circles, national media outlets have spent four years inventing standards for election-year reporting on hacked materials that never previously existed and that are utterly anathema to the core journalistic function. The Washington Post's Executive Editor Marty Baron, for instance, issued a memo full of cautions about how Post reporters should, or should not, discuss hacked materials even if their authenticity is not in doubt.

That a media outlet should even consider refraining from reporting on materials they know to be authentic and in the public interest because of questions about their provenance is the opposite of how journalism has been practiced. In the days before the 2016 election, for instance, the New York Times received by mail one year of Donald Trump's tax returns and -- despite having no idea who sent it to them or how that person obtained it: was it stolen or hacked by a foreign power? -- the Times reported on its contents.

When asked by NPR why they would report on documents when they do not know the source let alone the source's motives in providing them, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow compellingly explained what had always been the core principle of journalism: namely, a journalist only cares about two questions -- (1) are documents authentic and (2) are they in the public interest? -- but does not care about what motives a source has in providing the documents or how they were obtained when deciding whether to reporting them:

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Michael Barbaro
@mikiebarb
Why NYT's David Barstow does not care who leaked us Trump's tax return, or what the motivation was. Listen:

The Journalist Who Broke Open Trump’s Taxes On Why He Doesn’t Care Who The Source Is
David Barstow, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-author of the bombshell New York Times investigation of Donald J. Trump’s taxes, was asked whether he cared who had anonymously m

October 4th 2016


The U.S. media often laments that people have lost faith in its pronouncements, that they are increasingly viewed as untrustworthy and that many people view Fake News sites are more reliable than established news outlets. They are good at complaining about this, but very bad at asking whether any of their own conduct is responsible for it.

A media outlet that renounces its core function -- pursuing answers to relevant questions about powerful people -- is one that deserves to lose the public's faith and confidence. And that is exactly what the U.S. media, with some exceptions, attempted to do with this story: they took the lead not in investigating these documents but in concocting excuses for why they should be ignored.


As my colleague Lee Fang put it on Sunday: "The partisan double standards in the media are mind boggling this year, and much of the supposedly left independent media is just as cowardly and conformist as the mainstream corporate media. Everyone is reading the room and acting out of fear." Discussing his story from Sunday, Taibbi summed up the most important point this way: "The whole point is that the press loses its way when it cares more about who benefits from information than whether it's true."
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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:10 am

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad
by Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge
New York Post
October 14, 2020

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.

The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads.

An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.

The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer.

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Hunter Biden email

The computer was dropped off at a repair shop in Biden’s home state of Delaware in April 2019, according to the store’s owner.

Other material extracted from the computer includes a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who’s admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images.

The customer who brought in the water-damaged MacBook Pro for repair never paid for the service or retrieved it or a hard drive on which its contents were stored, according to the shop owner, who said he tried repeatedly to contact the client.

The shop owner couldn’t positively identify the customer as Hunter Biden, but said the laptop bore a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation, named after Hunter’s late brother and former Delaware attorney general.

Photos of a Delaware federal subpoena given to The Post show that both the computer and hard drive were seized by the FBI in December, after the shop’s owner says he alerted the feds to their existence.

HUNTER BIDEN DOCUMENTS

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A federal subpoena showing the computer and hard drive were seized by the FBI

But before turning over the gear, the shop owner says, he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.

Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told The Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September and Giuliani provided The Post with a copy of it on Sunday.

Less than eight months after Pozharskyi thanked Hunter Biden for the introduction to his dad, the then-vice president admittedly pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk into getting rid of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin by threatening to withhold a $1 billion US loan guarantee during a December 2015 trip to Kiev.

“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden infamously bragged to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.

“Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

Shokin has said that at the time of his firing, in March 2016, he’d made “specific plans” to investigate Burisma that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

Joe Biden has insisted that the US wanted Shokin removed over corruption concerns, which were shared by the European Union.

Meanwhile, an email dated May 12, 2014 — shortly after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board — shows Pozharskyi attempting to get him to use his political leverage to help the company.

The message had the subject line “urgent issue” and was also sent to Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, who also sat on the Burisma board at the time.

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Pozharskyi said that “the representatives of new authorities in power tend to quite aggressively approach N. Z. unofficially with the aim to obtain cash from him.”

N.Z. isn’t identified in the email but appears to be a reference to Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky, whose first name is a Ukrainian version of “Nicholas.”

When the alleged shakedown failed, “they proceeded with concrete actions” in the form of “one or more pretrial proceedings,” Pozharskyi wrote.

“We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc .to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions,” he added.

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Vadym Pozharskyi and Hunter Biden
Yalta European Strategy / Getty Images


Hunter Biden responded by saying he was with Archer in Doha, Qatar, and asked for more information about “the formal (if any) accusations being made against Burisma.”

“Who is ultimately behind these attacks on the company? Who in the current interim government could put an end to such attacks?” he added.

The exchange came the same day that Burisma announced it had expanded its board of directors by adding Hunter Biden, who was put in charge of its “legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations,” according to a news release that’s since been scrubbed from Burisma’s website.

Hunter Biden actually joined the board in April 2014, according to multiple reports.

His lawyer said last year that Hunter was “not a member of the management team,” adding, “At no time was Hunter in charge of the company’s legal affairs.”

About four months after Hunter Biden’s correspondence with Pozharskyi, Archer forwarded Hunter Biden an email chain with the subject line “tax raise impact on Burisma production,” which included Pozharskyi saying that the Ukrainian cabinet had submitted new tax legislation to the country’s parliament.

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Photos from Hunter Biden's hard drive

“If enacted, this law would kill the entire private gas production sector in the bud,” Pozharskyi wrote.

In the Sept. 24, 2014, email, Pozharskyi also said he was “going to share this information with the US embassy here in Kyiv, as well as the office of Mr Amos Hochstein in the States.”

At the time, Hochstein was the State Department’s newly appointed special envoy and coordinator for international energy ­affairs.

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Devon Archer
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image


In December 2017, the Naftogaz Group, Ukraine’s state-owned energy company, announced that Hochstein had joined the company as an independent director, but on Monday he announced his ­resignation.

“The company has been forced to spend endless amounts of time combating political pressure and efforts by oligarchs to enrich themselves through questionable transactions,” Hochstein wrote in an op-ed published by the Kyiv Post.

In addition to denying that’s he’s spoken to Hunter Biden about his overseas business dealings, Joe Biden has repeatedly denied any conflict of interest or wrongdoing by either of them involving ­Burisma.

Last February, he got testy during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show when co-host Savannah Guthrie questioned whether it was “wrong for [Hunter] to take that position, knowing that it was really because that company wanted access to you.”

“Well, that’s not true. You’re saying things you do not know what you’re talking about,” the elder Biden responded.

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Photos from Hunter Biden's hard drive

Last December, Joe Biden also lashed out during a Democratic primary town hall event in Iowa, where a man accused him of sending Hunter to Ukraine “to get a job and work for a gas company, he had no experience with gas or nothing, in order to get access to . . . the president.”

“You’re a damn liar, man. That’s not true and no one has ever said that,” Biden fumed.

Biden then continued berating the man as he stepped forward, called the man “fat” and challenged him to “do push-ups together, man.”

The FBI referred questions about its seizure of the laptop and hard drive to the Delaware US Attorney’s Office, where a spokesperson said, “My office can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”

Hunter Biden’s lawyer refused to comment on the specifics but instead attacked Giuliani.

“He has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence,” the lawyer, George R. Mesires, said of Giuliani.

Pozharskyi and the Joe Biden campaign did not return requests for comment. Hochstein could not be reached.

Additional reporting by Ebony Bowden
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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:33 am

Inside the life of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s scandal-plagued son
by Emily Jacobs
New York Post
October 14, 2020 | 5:34pm

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter has been back in the news since his father announced his 2020 run last year.

Hunter Biden made headlines again on Oct. 14 when The Post exclusively reported on emails between him and Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board at Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings.

The emails reveal the possibility of a previously unreported meeting between the elder Biden and an official from Burisma, any involvement with which the Democratic presidential nominee has adamantly denied without going into detail.

Here’s what we know about Hunter Biden before he found himself swept up in yet another scandal.

Early life

Born on Feb. 4, 1970, Robert Hunter Biden and his older brother Beau’s lives were rocked when their mother, Neilia Biden, and sister, Naomi, were killed in a car accident in December 1972.

Just one month later, Hunter and Beau found themselves surrounded by reporters as their father was sworn in as the youngest-ever member of the US Senate.

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Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Hunter Biden, Beau Biden, Joe Biden Sr.

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Hunter Biden (center) with his father, Jill Biden and brother Beau at a campaign event in 1988. AP Photo/Sen. Biden's office

The two boys continued growing up in Wilmington, Del., with their widowed father commuting back and forth each day by train to be with them at night.

The Biden brothers encouraged their father to date in the years after their mother’s passing, and he eventually did, meeting Dr. Jill Jacobs, who later became his wife and took his name.

They had a daughter, Ashley, born in 1981.

Love life

Hunter Biden met and married Kathleen Buhle in 1993. The two divorced in 2017 after a 22-year marriage that produced three daughters. In divorce papers, Kathleen accused her ex of blowing family funds on drugs and prostitutes.

The same year as the split — as was first reported by Page Six — Hunter began dating his widowed sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, who had lost her husband, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015.

The two began dating while he was recovering from a crack binge, which he explained in a New Yorker interview last July took place while grieving his brother’s death.


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Hunter and Kathleen Biden
Ron Sachs - CNP


Hunter had been kicked out of his marital home with then-estranged wife Kathleen over his failure to stay sober, and began spending most nights at Hallie’s house “sharing a very specific grief” over Beau.

The former vice president did not initially know of the relationship, and found out after being reached for comment by Page Six.

After being made aware, the VP and second lady offered their blessing of the relationship in a statement.

“We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness. They have mine and Jill’s full and complete support and we are happy for them,” the two said at the time.

Hunter and Hallie released a similar statement at the same time, which read, “Hallie and I are incredibly lucky to have found the love and support we have for each other in such a difficult time, and that’s been obvious to the people who love us most. We’ve been so lucky to have family and friends who have supported us every step of the way.”

They dated for about two years before splitting in early 2019.

In late 2019, Hunter entered a court battle over unpaid child support for a baby he fathered with ex-stripper Lunden Alexis Roberts.

Roberts filed a suit against Hunter in November after he denied being the father of their child, born in August 2018, and subsequently declined to pay child support.


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The New York Post cover featuring Biden and Lunden Alexis Roberts.

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Hunter Biden and Melissa Cohen
TheImageDirect.com


In January 2020, an Arkansas judge ruled that Biden was the “biological and legal father” of the baby, noting that a DNA test had showed “with near scientific certainty” that Hunter was the parent.

The two reached an out-of-court settlement in which Biden agreed to retroactively pay child support going back to November 2018.

Hunter has since gotten remarried to a South African woman named Melissa Cohen, whom he wed just 10 days after meeting her. They welcomed their first child, a boy, in April of this year.


Drug problems

Hunter Biden has long suffered from drug problems, and it even ended his brief attempt at a military career in his 40s. He was discharged from the Navy Reserve in February 2014 after he tested positive for cocaine.

He was serving as an ensign after being given two waivers, one for his age and one for his drug use as a younger man.

“It was the honor of my life to serve in the US Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge,” he said after news of his discharge broke.

When President Trump brought the incident up at last month’s debate, Joe Biden defended his son.

“My son, like a lot of people at home, had a drug problem,” he said. “He’s overtaking it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”


Hunter discussed his drug use during his New Yorker interview last year, in which he admitted to almost having a brush with law enforcement after damaging a rental car in Arizona in 2016.

After the car was replaced by Hertz, the rental car company, a rental officer found a crack pipe in the car along with a white powder residue.


Police were called, but there was no evidence that Hunter had used the pipe, so narcotics charges weren’t pursued, the magazine reported.

The younger Biden’s drug problems date back far further than 2016, however.

Hunter was arrested in 1988 for drug possession, something he admitted to in a 2006 disclosure form after being nominated to serve on the Amtrak Reform Board.

“I was cited for possession of a controlled substance in Stone Harbor, NJ. There was a pre-trial intervention and the record was expunged,” he admitted.

In November 2019, Page Six exclusively reported that the former vice president’s son was suspected of smoking crack inside a Washington, DC, strip club where he dropped “thousands of dollars” during multiple visits.

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Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

Hunter Biden suspected of smoking crack in DC strip club’s VIP room
by Joe Marino, Elizabeth Rosner and Bruce Golding
pagesix.com
November 26, 2019 | 8:31pm

Hunter Biden was suspected of smoking crack inside a strip club where he dropped “thousands of dollars” during multiple visits — at the same time he held a seat on the board of a controversial Ukrainian natural gas company, The Post has learned.

The incident, which took place at Archibald’s Gentlemen’s Club in Washington, DC, late last year, represents the most recent alleged drug use by Biden, 49, who has acknowledged six stints in rehab for alcoholism and addiction that included a crack binge in 2016.

Workers at Archibald’s, located about three blocks north of the White House, said Biden was a regular there
, with two bartenders and a security worker all instantly recognizing his photo and one worker identifying him by name.

Security worker Ranko Petrovic said Biden — the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner to challenge President Trump next year — would routinely hole up in a VIP room and drink during his visits.

Although Petrovic said the club “had no issue with him,” former Archibald’s managing partner James Ritter said one occasion in late 2018 was marred by a “suspicion of drug use.”

“There was a smell of burning Styrofoam in the VIP room. We told him nothing illegal can go on here,” Ritter said.

“We didn’t see anything illegal. After he was spoken to, the smell stopped.”

“VIP employees suspected it was crack,” he added.

Hunter spent “thousands and thousands of dollars in the Archibald’s VIP rooms,” and paid his bills with “credit cards that didn’t have his name on it.”

The club generally required customers to use credit cards that matched official IDs, but “Hunter was a bit of an exception,” Ritter said.

“Whenever he was in town he came in for two days in a row, disappeared and come back a month later,” Ritter said.


Archibald’s current owner, Dan Harris, didn’t return an email seeking comment.

At the time of the incident, Hunter was a board member of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, which reportedly paid him as much as $50,000 a month.

That job lies at the heart of the ongoing impeachment inquiry against Trump, with Democrats alleging that the president withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in a bid to force an investigation into corruption allegations against Hunter and his dad.

Trump has denied any quid pro quo.

Hunter joined the Burisma board in April 2014 but declined the company’s offer to serve another term in May due to the controversy surrounding his membership, according to a July 1 profile by the New Yorker.

In an interview with ABC News last month, Hunter denied a suggestion that he wasn’t qualified because he “didn’t have any extensive knowledge about natural gas or Ukraine.”

“No, but I think I had as much knowledge as anybody else who was on the board — if not more,” he said.


Hunter — who’s currently embroiled in a paternity scandal with an Arkansas woman, Lunden Alexis Roberts — also conceded that being the son of the then-vice president “of course” played a role in his selection.

Hunter has never detailed the extent of the work he did for Burisma, although the New Yorker report said he attended board meetings and energy forums in Europe “once or twice a year.”

The magazine’s 11,000-word-plus profile was based on a series of warts-and-all interviews in which Hunter detailed a fall 2016 drug binge in Los Angeles, where he repeatedly bought crack at a homeless encampment while going without sleep for several days.

On Oct. 28, 2016, he checked into rehab at the Grace Grove Lifestyle Center in Sedona, Ariz., but left after only a week and headed to the nearby Mii Amo resort spa.

Hunter was joined there by former sister-in-law Hallie Biden — widow of his older brother, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in May 2015 — and they launched an affair that lasted about a year, according to the New Yorker.

Hunter — whose first wife, Kathleen, obtained a divorce from him amid his relationship with Hallie — remarried in May following a six-day romance with Melissa Cohen, 33.


In his ABC interview last month, Hunter said he’d “done estimable things and things I regret,” but was now in “probably the best place I’ve ever been in my life.”

His personal lawyer and spokesman, George Mesires, didn’t return requests for comment.


The incident, which took place at Archibald’s Gentlemen’s Club late last year, represents the most recent alleged drug use by Biden, who has acknowledged six stints in rehab for alcoholism and addiction.

Security worker Ranko Petrovic said Biden would routinely hole up in a VIP room and drink during his visits.

Although Petrovic said the club “had no issue with him,” former Archibald’s managing partner James Ritter said one occasion in late 2018 was marred by a “suspicion of drug use.”

He checked into rehab at the Grace Grove Lifestyle Center in Sedona, Ariz., in October 2016, but left after one week and headed to the nearby Mii Amo resort spa.

It was there that Hunter and Hallie launched their affair, he told the New Yorker.

Page Six has also spotted Biden on multiple occasions at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club NYC in Hell’s Kitchen. He was seen on each occasion with a woman who was not a dancer at the club. The two spent thousands each night on pricey booze and were joined by several strippers.

Strippers allegedly used sex toy on Hunter Biden at NYC’s Hustler Club
by Elizabeth Rosner
November 27, 2019 | 7:15pm

Hunter Biden spent several thousand dollars at a Manhattan strip club during a pair of visits — including one that sent a staffer scrambling to buy a sex toy so strippers could use it on him, sources told The Post on Wednesday.

Biden — who’s been dogged by a series of strip-club allegations uncovered by The Post this week — was accompanied by a woman both times he went to Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club NYC in Hell’s Kitchen about a year ago, the sources said.

On each occasion, he and his companion holed up in a private room, where they ordered bottles of pricey booze and were joined by several strippers, sources said.

During one particularly wild night, workers suspected Biden — son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary race to challenge President Donald Trump — was high, and he was warned that drugs weren’t allowed on the premises, sources said.

That same night, a worker had to be sent out to purchase a dildo so the gals could use it on Hunter, sources said.


It’s unclear if the club didn’t have a similar device on hand or if he insisted on a brand-new one fresh out of the package.

Despite the lurid allegations, Hunter was described as an almost-ideal customer.

“He was a pretty nice guy,” one source said.

“He was pretty friendly and a pretty good tipper.”

Hunter’s personal lawyer and spokesman, George Mesires, didn’t return messages seeking comment late Wednesday afternoon.


At one point, a stripper was scrambling to buy a sex toy so others could use it on him.

Ukraine

Hunter did not become a mainstay in the news until his role with Burisma during his father’s tenure as vice president became a primary focus of the Ukraine scandal surrounding Trump, an issue that led to the president’s eventual impeachment trial along party lines in the House and acquittal by the Senate.

During the hearings and subsequent trial, Democrats accused Trump of offering a quid pro quo by requesting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation into the Bidens while Trump was withholding nearly $400 million in aid to the country.


Republicans, meanwhile, argued that allegations against the Bidens were damning enough to merit the president asking for a probe, regardless of Joe’s candidacy for president.

Hunter has been accused of profiting off his father’s vice presidential status by earning tens of thousands of dollars per month to sit on a board for a corrupt company in an industry in which he had no prior experience.

At the time, the elder Biden led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.


Hunter’s role with Burisma raised red flags for some in the Obama administration’s State Department, which a recent Senate Homeland Security Committee report found were raised to Biden and those in his orbit.

The 87-page report published late last month noted that two American officials — George Kent, former acting deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Kiev, and senior State Department official Amos Hochstein — “raised concerns” to Biden’s staff and directly to Biden, respectively.

“Despite the efforts of these individuals, their concerns appear to have fallen on deaf ears,” the report says.

“Moreover, this investigation has illustrated the extent to which officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board of a company owned by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch.”

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Joe and Hunter Biden
AP


Joe Biden said last year of Hunter, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” including his reported $83,000 monthly pay on Burisma’s board.

Both he and Hunter have denied any wrongdoing with respect to Ukraine, and spokespeople for Joe Biden’s campaign have repeatedly slammed the Senate probe as biased and political.

That Senate report also found that in 2014, the younger Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the richest woman in Russia and the widow of Yury Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow.


“Baturina became Russia’s only female billionaire when her plastics company, Inteko, received a series of Moscow municipal contracts while her husband was mayor,” it said in providing background on the businesswoman.

The report described her involvement with Biden as “a financial relationship,” but declined to delve deeper into why the wire transfer was made.
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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:43 am

Instagram is Using False “Fact-Checking” to Protect Joe Biden’s Crime Record From Criticisms: The Facebook-owned platform’s denunciation of a well-established view of Biden shows the dangers of internet censorship and the fraudulent use of “fact-checking.”
by Glenn Greenwald
Dec 17, 2020

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A long-standing and vehement criticism of Joe Biden is that legislation he championed as a Senator in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly his crime bill of 1994, contributed to the mass incarceration of Americans generally and African-Americans specifically.

Among the many on the left and libertarian right who have voiced this criticism (along with President Trump) is then-Senator Kamala Harris, who said during the 2020 Democratic primary race that Biden’s “crime bill -- that 1994 crime bill -- it did contribute to mass incarceration in our country.” When Hillary Clinton was running for President in 2015, Bill Clinton, who as president signed Biden’s bill into law, told the NAACP: “I signed a bill that made the problem worse. And I want to admit it.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told Biden during a 2019 presidential debate: “There are people right now in prison for life for drug offenses because you stood up and used that tough-on-crime phony rhetoric that got a lot of people elected but destroyed communities like mine.” Booker then said in an interview with The Huffington Post that that Biden’s “crime bill was shameful, what it did to black and brown communities like mine [and] low-income communities from Appalachia to rural Iowa,” also denouncing it for “overwhelmingly putting people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses that members of Congress and the Senate admit to breaking now.”

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NBC News, May 15, 2019

In 2016, author and scholar Michele Alexander argued that Hillary did not deserve the votes of black people due to her and her husband’s support for numerous bills, including Biden’s 1994 crime bill, that led to the mass incarceration of African-Americans. Harvard’s Cornel West said in 2019: “When [Biden] says [the 1994 crime bill] didn't contribute to mass incarceration, I tell him he has to get off his symbolic crack pipe."

While that debate over the damage done by Biden’s crime bill has long raged in Democratic Party politics and the criminal justice reform movement, it is now barred from being aired on the Facebook-owned social media giant Instagram, or at least is formally denounced as disinformation. With Joe Biden about to enter the White House — one that will exercise significant influence in determining Silicon Valley’s interests, will be filled with tech executives, and was made possible in large part by Silicon Valley’s largesse poured into the Biden/Harris campaign — Instagram has arrogated unto itself the power to declare these well-established criticisms of Biden and his crime bill to be “False” and having “no basis in fact.”

As first noted on Monday by former Sanders campaign organizer Ben Mora, Instagram publicly denounced as “False” a post on Sunday by the left-wing artist and frequent Biden critic Brad Troemel, who has more than 107,000 followers on that platform. Troemel’s post said nothing more than what Biden’s chosen running mate, Kamala Harris, has herself said, as well as numerous mainstream media outlets and countless criminal justice reform advocates have long maintained.

Troemel posted a 1994 photo of a smiling, mullet-sporting Biden standing next to then-President Bill Clinton. The photo contained this caption: “Find someone that looks at you the way Biden looked at Clinton after signed Biden’s crime bill into law. Bringing mass incarceration to black Americans.” This was the same photo and caption which an anonymous Trump supporter under the name “realtina40” first posted back in June.

Shortly after Troemel posted this on Sunday, Instagram appended a note in red letters, with a warning sign that read: “Learn why fact-checkers have indicated that this is false.” That was followed by a note plastered over Troemel’s original post with the title: “False,” and which claimed “independent fact-checkers say this information has no basis in fact.” The same thing was done by Instagram to “realtina40” original June post.

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Fact-checking label applied by Facebook-owned Instagram to Brad Troemel’s criticisms of Biden’s 1994 crime bill

This is not the first time Troemel has been censored by Instagram for posting criticisms of Biden. In response to questions, he told me he first earned the “false” label when posting a meme in April which he had created that mocked Biden’s campaign messaging. Instagram’s retaliation happened after the Biden campaign loudly complained about Troemel’s satirical ad. Biden campaign operatives falsely blamed the Trump campaign for having created it, and then induced Twitter to censor it.

As Troemel told me: “Here you can see Dems using the Russia-tinged cover of disinformation as a way to discredit any and all criticism of Biden found on social media.” When Troemel re-posted that meme last month with the clear notation that it was satirical, Instagram began “shadow banning” him: severely limiting the reach of his posts. It was those events — all involving Troemel’s criticisms of Biden from the left — that caused Instagram to heavily scrutinize his postings, culminating in its blurring of his latest post with a “False” label that contained these well-documented criticisms of Biden’s crime bill.

The only thing that is demonstrably “false” here is Instagram’s Biden-shielding assertion that there is a “fact-checking” consensus that this criticism of Biden’s 1994 crime bill is false. It is true that one media outlet, USA Today, fact-checked the identical claim posted back in June by the anonymous Instagram user and concluded that “our research finds that while the crime bill did increase the prison population in states, it did not bring about a mass incarceration relative to earlier years.” But that article so concluded even while admitting that Biden’s “crime bill did increase the prison population in states” and “any increase in the overall prison population would automatically translate into a larger number of Black inmates.” The article’s own premises thus bolster, not refute, the claim at issue.

But numerous other media outlets and fact-checking organizations — far more than just one — concluded the opposite: namely, that there is at least a reasonable and substantial basis for these claims about Biden’s bill:

• PolitiFact rated as only “Half True” Biden’s claim that the 1994 crime bill “did not generate mass incarceration,” noting the bill provided funds to states on the condition that they force prisoners to serve longer sentences and that it bolstered the tough-on-crime climate that led to higher incarceration rates in the states (that was the same point Bill Clinton made to the NAACP: “the federal law set a trend…. [W]e had a lot people who were locked up, who were minor actors, for way too long”);

• The Washington Post’s designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler assigned two Pinocchios to Biden’s insistence that his crime bill “did not generate mass incarceration,” noting that “the bill encouraged states to build more prisons — with more money coming to them if they increased penalties.” Kessler cited a Brennan Center report that “the 1994 Crime Bill is justly criticized for encouraging states to build and fill new prisons.”

The Post added: “There are many factors that contributed to the United States having such a high incarceration rate, but few dispute the crime bill was a contributor. Bill Clinton has acknowledged this.” The paper’s “two Pinocchio” rating means Biden’s denial contains “significant omissions and/or exaggerations….Similar to ‘half true’”);

• CNN purported to fact-check the same claims from Biden and found that Biden’s denial “misses the broader impact that federal policy can have on the way that states incarcerate, including the influence of federal money,” concluding that the view that the 1994 crime bill was a significant factor in mass incarceration was, at the very least, debatable.

• The fact-check from NBC News flatly stated that “though the bill was not the root cause of ‘mass incarceration,’ it was ‘the most high-profile legislation to increase the number of people behind bars,’ according to a Brennan Center analysis in 2016.”

• Fact-checking Sen. Booker’s accusations against Biden, The Atlantic said: “it is true that the bill—which extended the death penalty to 60 new crimes, stiffened sentences, offered states strong financial incentives for building new prisons, and banned a range of assault weapons—helped lead to the wave of mass incarceration that’s resulted in the United States accounting for 25 percent of the world’s prison population.” It added that “a 2016 analysis by the Brennan Center concluded that the 1994 bill contributed both to the subsequent decline in crime and to the doubling of the rate of imprisonment from 1994 to 2009.”

• The New York Times’ fact-check of Biden’s denial rated it “Exaggerated,” quoting a criminologist to say that Biden’s bill “encouraged [states] to mass incarcerate further.”

• Regarding Biden’s denial that his 1994 crime bill “led to more prison sentences, more prison cells, and more aggressive policing — especially hurting Black and brown Americans,” Vox pronounced: “The truth, it turns out, is somewhere in the middle,” noting that “the law imposed tougher prison sentences at the federal level and encouraged states to do the same” and also ensured “an escalation of the War on Drugs.”

One could spend literally all day listing media outlets, criminal justice experts, and politicians from both parties who have insisted that Biden’s 1994 crime bill was a significant factor in mass incarceration generally and of African-Americans specifically, or that the assertion is at least reasonably debatable and grounded in empirical facts — exactly what Instagram has decided is out of bounds to state. It is axiomatically true, or at the very least logically reasonable, that if Biden’s crime bill led to more mass incarceration — and few doubt that it did — then the bill, in the words of the denounced Instagram post, “brought mass incarceration to black Americans.”

On Monday, The New York Post sought comment from Facebook about Instagram’s “False” label. The tech giant, in the words of that paper, said “that Instagram won’t end its censorship unless USA Today changes its assessment.” Yet the Post — long an advocate for tough-on-crime legislation — itself echoed virtually every other media outlet by noting that “whether Biden’s law contributed to mass incarceration is a matter of debate.”

Indeed, from what I can tell, USA Today is the only prominent media outlet of all the ones which fact-checked this issue to conclude that the claim about Biden’s bill is “false.” The overwhelming consensus of fact-checkers and experts is that the 1994 crime bill at the very least contributed to mass incarceration generally and of African-Americans specifically, and that the magnitude of that role is debatable.

But Instagram has closed this debate, at least on its platform. They have announced that the claims about Biden’s 1994 crime bill as expressed by not only Brad Troemel — but also Kamala Harris, Bill Clinton, Cory Booker, Cornel West, the Brennan Center and countless others — has been proven false.

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NJ.com, Aug. 1, 2019

This episode demonstrates two crucial facts. The first is that what is so often passed off as quasi-scientific, opinion-free “fact-checking” are instead extremely tendentious, subjective and highly debatable opinions. That’s how Instagram can cherry-pick the conclusions of USA Today and treat it as if it is Gospel even though numerous other outlets, mainstream politicians in Biden’s own party, and criminal justice experts reached a radically different conclusion. “Fact-checking” in theory has journalistic value, but it is often nothing more than a branding tactic for media outlets to disguise their highly subjective pronouncements as unchallengeable Truth.

The second, more important point is that Silicon Valley giants lack any competency to determine the truth or falsity of political claims even when they act with the best of motives. Who at Instagram decided to rely on the USA Today claims while ignoring all the conflicting conclusions from other outlets and experts, and who decided how to apply that conclusion to the post at issue? And why did USA Today randomly decide to subject an anti-Biden meme about his crime bill from the account of a relatively obscure, anonymous Trump supporter but ignore similar statements coming from Senators Harris and Booker and Bill Clinton, thus handing Instagram an excuse to label any similar views as “False” and without “any basis”? Why are tech companies trying officiate political debates this way?

Recall that the censorship of Twitter and Facebook of The New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop was based at least in part on the claim that the documents were the by-product of hacking and “Russian disinformation” — claims that have “no basis in fact.” As Matt Taibbi put it last week when warning of the dangers of YouTube’s decision to ban from its platform any questioning of the legitimacy of the 2020 election while still allowing similar questioning of the 2016 election: “There’s no such thing as a technocratic approach to truth. There are official truths, but those are political rather than scientific determinations, and therefore almost always wrong on some level.”

Moreover, the assumption that tech giants are acting with the best of intentions is completely unwarranted. Like every faction, these companies are awash with bias, partisanship, ideological dogma and self-interest. They overwhelmingly donated to the Democratic Party and the Biden campaign. Their executives are residing in virtually every sector of the Biden/Harris transition. Currying favor with the Biden administration — by, say, soft-censoring or discrediting harmful critiques of the President-elect — serves their corporate interests in multiple ways. And their overwhelmingly establishment-liberal employees are increasingly insistent that views they dislike should be censored off their platforms.

This is why it has been so dangerous, so misguided, to acquiesce to a campaign that is being led by corporate media outlets to insist that these tech giants abandon a belief in a free internet and instead censor more aggressively. That a person will now be declared by Facebook’s properties to be a disseminator of disinformation for voicing long-standing and well-documented criticisms of Joe Biden’s crime record is yet another bleak glimpse of a future in which unseen tech overlords police our discourse by unilaterally arbitrating truth and falsity, decree what are permissible and impermissible ideas, and rigidly setting the boundaries of acceptable debate.
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Re: Three Dangers of Biden/Harris Admin, by Glenn Greenwald

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:08 am

Noam Chomsky on Trump, Biden, the climate emergency, Palestine and capitalism
by Owen Jones
Dec 14, 2020

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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