Tuesday 8 October 2019

Hunter Biden's money - is this a scandal or propaganda?

I have a journalist friend who bombards me with stuff about the Ukrainian affair, making out that Trump is blameless and Biden very much to blame. I don't find time to read it all or even most of it, but I have done a little internet research myself. 

As far as I can make out, Mr Trump should not have spoken to Ukrainian President Mr Zelensky in the way he did, asking for an investigation into Joe Biden's activities when Ukraine depends on US aid and support. Still, I don't see that this justifies impeachment. After all, the Department of Justice said the President committed no crime.

On the other hand, impeachment is a purely political matter, not a legal process, so Democrats can disagree with me. 

Mr. Obama ordered the killing of an American citizen abroad without being impeached or his action being questioned in court. Compare what happened with Donald Trump's misnamed 'Muslim ban'. 

What seems to me as important as the telephone call to Mr Zelensky is that  U.S. banking data show Joe Biden's son, Hunter’s American company received monthly payments of usually more than $166,000 from the Ukrainian oil company Burisma, owned by a shady oligarch, on whose board he sat, from spring 2014 till the autumn of 2015, a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine. 

Hunter Biden was put there because the owner wanted to buy influence but that doesn't mean he did buy it. Many have given huge sums to the Clinton Foundation hoping to get something back but that does not mean they did. 

A person I knew at the top in Big Tobacco in America told me Obama "takes the money and does nothing for it". 

Vice President Biden boasted openly about getting prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired by Ukraine and this is said to be because he was ineffective about dealing with corruption, not because he was investigating Burisma. The prosecutors' office where he worked say that Mr Shokin had nothing to do with investigating the Biden family, but he has contradicted this. 

The media say that Mr Shokin was clearly lying and the EU wanted him to go, as well as the US. 

I actually see no reason to think Joe Biden is corrupt, but it is a gift to Donald Trump and to the man in the street it looks terrible. 

Jane Meyer in the New Yorker this weekend said:
'By May, the mainstream media, including the Times, had picked up on the story about Biden and Ukraine. Although the Times’ piece ran under a headline pointing out that that the scandal was being “promoted by Trump and Allies,” and, midway, noted that there was no evidence of criminality, critics attacked the paper for reprising the Uranium One playbook. “It’s precisely what we saw in the last election,” Yochai Benkler, a professor at Harvard Law School and the co-author of the recent book “Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics,” told me. Benkler argues that when a publication with the Times’ credibility pays any attention to a fringe conspiracy theory, it “provides enormous validation” just by covering the story. “I don’t fault the Times for doing a story,” he said. “But it’s not like the nineteen-sixties anymore, when there were just three TV networks. You live in a country where a large part of the population is susceptible to propaganda. There’s a new editorial responsibility to be much more careful and not bury the denial.”'
Professor Benkler has his axes to grind - he describes himself as very much the product of a socialist Zionist family. 

Everyone has axes to grind. I do. You do. 

The truth is that the mainstream media are also producing propaganda, of course.  

One example: journalists said that stories about Hillary's poor health were baseless until she collapsed. Fortunately someone caught her doing so and recorded it on a telephone, which is how we found out that Breitbart, etc., might be on to something.

It cuts both ways - there is probably much more to be written about the business dealings of Ivanka Trump and her husband than about Hunter Biden.

The real estate company Cadre, owned by Jared Kushner, his brother and a friend, has received $90 million in investments from Saudi Arabia and a "Goldman Sachs entity" in the Cayman Islands since his father-in-law became President.

Middle Eastern money enabled the family to get out of the $1.4 billion debt that they owed on the mortgage for 666 Fifth Avenue, a property that was worth much less and which Jared had unwisely bought. 

The Qataris had no idea that the President's son-in-law was involved when they paid a high price for the property.

Ukraine is a a mysterious, spy-ridden, corrupt place where many conspiracies are hatched and developed and the truth about Ukraine's relations with the USA since Viktor Yanukovych's government fell will not be known soon.

People who believe in theories that lose Democrats votes are called conspiracy theorists, but some conspiracies do happen. For example, a bipartisan mixture of people in the FBI (and MI6, I think) did try to find a way to prevent Donald Trump becoming President and after he won to eject him from the White House. This isn't even a theory but a fact.

During Watergate no-one believed the official spokesman and everyone believed the anonymous source. That's something that hasn't changed. 

Talking of which, was Watergate a coup by the CIA too? I imagine it was, actually.


  1. Still Mr Obama did act constitutionally when he asked Congress ti decide whether the US should bomb Syria after the Syrian governemnt allegedly used chemical weapons, weak though this made him and the USA look. Politics and law are enmeshed.

  2. It is not for the Speaker and her adjutants to decree that there is an inquiry. If the inquiry is to be legitimate, the House as a whole must decide to conduct it.

    The House... has never voted to conduct an inquiry into whether President Trump should be impeached. Consequently, there is no House impeachment inquiry. There is a partisan exhibition of synchronized dyspepsia.

    Members of the House are the representatives of the sovereign — the People. In November 2020, the People are scheduled to vote on whether Donald Trump should keep his job. If Democrats, who control the House, truly believe the president has committed impeachable offenses and is so unfit for his duties that we can’t wait just 13 months for the sovereign to render that verdict, then they should vote to conduct an impeachment inquiry. If they are afraid to vote on it, then they shouldn’t be doing it.

    If the House Won’t Vote, Impeachment Inquiry Is Just a Democratic Stunt
    October 5, 2019