Hunter Biden saga personifies ruling class power and conceit – Josh Hammer

Hunter Biden

Josh HammerThe divide tearing America asunder is increasingly not, per se, that between Republican and Democrat. It is not that between conservative and liberal, and it is certainly not that between white or nonwhite, straight or gay, immigrant or native, or so forth. Rather, the divide in America is that between the ruling class and those non-elitist Americans that the ruling class deigns to treat as subjects to be ruled with an iron fist. – Josh Hammer

On the precipice of the 2020 presidential election, the American ruling class pulled off every stunt imaginable for its preferred candidate, Joe Biden. Presidential debate moderators deliberately refused to delve into the realm of foreign policy, an area in which Uncle Joe has been wrong on every major issue for four decades. Media elites dutifully praised the Supreme Court’s unwise failure to intervene and clarify that state legislatures, not governors or state courts, retain sole power over changing election law. The most anodyne of questioning about the unprecedented proliferation of inherently destabilising mail-in balloting was roundly denounced as “voter suppression.” In major cities, Antifa street thugs effectively held hostage public safety unless Biden won.

But of all the ways in which the ruling class’s various levers worked in tandem to pave the way for Biden, none was more galling than Big Tech’s weeks-long censorship of the New York Post’s bombshell reporting on prodigal son Hunter Biden‘s unsavory exploits overseas. On consecutive days in mid-October, the Post published stories about how Hunter leveraged his father’s lofty perch to unjustly enrich himself in Ukraine and China, respectively.

Facebook promptly blacklisted the story. Twitter nearly banned access to the story in toto and had the chutzpah to lock out the Post—the nation’s oldest continually operating daily newspaper, which was founded by Alexander Hamilton—from its own account for over two weeks. Outside Silicon Valley, media lackeys carrying water for the Biden campaign unanimously decried the Post’s reporting as “Russian disinformation.”

But now, as we approach the Electoral College’s presumptive formalisation of an impending Biden presidency, Hunter confirmed in an official statement that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is investigating him for possible tax fraud and money laundering violations involving unseemly foreign business dealings. It appears that China, America’s arch geopolitical foe in which Hunter has had extensive private equity dealings, features front and center in the Feds’ investigation. Who would’ve thunk?

As one Twitter wit asked: “Where does the New York Post go to get its apology?”

Every single journalist and Democratic propagandist who rushed to dismiss the Post’s reporting as “Russian disinformation” now has egg on his face. And Facebook and Twitter, censorious industrialists who manipulate their monopolistic control over the 21st century’s online town square to bolster “enlightened” liberal narratology and suppress conservative speech, have been revealed for all to be what red-blooded Americans already knew they were: levers of the ruling class.

The divide tearing this nation asunder is increasingly not, per se, that between Republican and Democrat. It is not that between conservative and liberal, and it is certainly not that between white or nonwhite, straight or gay, immigrant or native, or so forth. Rather, the divide in America in the year 2020 is that between the ruling class and those non-elitist Americans that the ruling class deigns to treat as subjects to be ruled with an iron fist.

The American ruling class is multitudinous. It is both public and private, both deep state and “woke” corporate boardroom, both Hollywood and Wall Street. Entrance to the ruling class is circumscribed by its gate-keeping credentialing institutions—namely, the academy—and membership is closely monitored for uniformity of political ideology. The full “woke” catechism must be imbibed like mother’s milk, and the pursuit of Truth must be subordinated to the ever-evolving demands of the Narrative.

If the academy is the ruling class’s gatekeeper and the deep state its preferred mode of heavy-handed governance, then Big Tech is its most trustworthy private-sector appendage. The goliaths of Big Tech are entrusted with self-regulating our contemporary instrumentalities of political speech, and empowered with blocking rogue miscreants if they step too far out of line. Big Tech is the ruling class’s means by which to control the acceptability, or lack thereof, of speech itself. Truth is not a relevant criterion in that calculus—but fidelity to the tenets of sacramental progressivism, and the Democratic Party itself, certainly is.

Fortuitously, the Federal Trade Commission and 46 state attorneys general recently launched an antitrust probe to break up Facebook. Prominent private practice attorneys have also filed a similar suit. But the ruling class’s corruption and rot will continue to fester unless adequately challenged by conscientious citizens tired of being treated as second-class subjects, rather than free citizens. – Newsweek, 11 December 2020

Josh Hammer is Newsweek opinion editor, a syndicated columnist and a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation.

Joe Biden

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  1. Hunter Biden News Should Shame Dismissive Media Outlets – Mark Hemingway – Real Clear Politics – December 14, 2020

    Hunter Biden announced Wednesday he is under federal investigation for his financial dealings in foreign countries, including China. While the news sent shock-waves through Washington, D.C., it shouldn’t have been surprising. The announcement confirms many of the allegations of corruption that were levelled against Hunter Biden in the months leading up to the November elections – allegations the media steadfastly refused to cover.

    The nation’s largest social media companies went further: They made the shocking decision to actively censor the New York Post’s eye-opening scoop revealing evidence of Joe Biden’s son’s influence peddling that was recovered from an abandoned laptop. Twitter locked the newspaper out of its own account for weeks. Facebook prevented the Post’s story from being widely distributed, even though neither Joe Biden nor his campaign disputed the authenticity of the documents published by the paper.

    In retrospect, not only do the documents appear to be authentic, but a Daily Beast report Thursday notes evidence that the Hunter Biden investigation was hiding in plain sight. One of the FBI documents from the laptop published by the Post “included a case number that had the code associated with an ongoing federal money laundering investigation in Delaware, according to several law enforcement officials who reviewed the document. Another document — one with a grand jury subpoena number — appeared to show the initials of two assistant U.S. attorneys linked to the Wilmington, Delaware, office.” Hunter Biden claims he only learned of the investigation this past week, but these documents suggest otherwise.

    Even a cursory inquiry by the New York Post’s competitors would have confirmed that Biden was under federal investigation. One journalist did behave like a reporter. In late October, Sinclair Broadcast Group correspondent James Rosen reported that Hunter Biden was under active investigation and a Justice Department official confirmed his scoop. Almost without exception, America’s press corps refused to follow up on Rosen’s revelation — or even report it.

    It’s bad enough that the allegations were ignored, but the media response to the story was far worse. Without making any meaningful attempts to independently verify any of the details, they immediately asserted that Hunter Biden’s laptop was part of a “Russian disinformation” campaign.

    Natasha Bertrand, a Politico reporter known among Trump supporters for her credulous reporting on the Steele dossier, wrote a piece headlined “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” The New York Times reported, “Trump Said to Be Warned That Giuliani Was Conveying Russian Disinformation” and, further, that Trump “shrugged off” the warning about his aide, who was involved in bringing the laptop story to light.

    Both stories appeared on Oct. 15, the day after the Post’s bombshell report. In the broader media, the default explanation for the laptop became – once again – a Vladimir Putin-backed conspiracy. By contrast, the idea that an erratic Hunter Biden, who once left a crack pipe and his dead brother’s state attorney general badge in a rental car, forgot to pick up his laptop at a computer repair shop a short distance from his house was deemed far-fetched.

    Even setting aside the charges specifically connected to the laptop, what was known about Hunter’s foreign dealings was damning enough that the media should have demanded Joe and Hunter answer a slew of pointed questions. Instead, there was only one puffy, televised ABC News interview with Hunter Biden that also aired, probably not coincidentally, on Oct. 15, perfectly timed to rebut the Post.

    When asked about his controversial job serving on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, Biden’s response to ABC vacillated between self-serving and dishonest. “There’s been a lot of misinformation about me. … Bottom line is that I know that I was completely qualified to be on the board to head up the corporate governance and transparency committee on the board,” he said.

    The assertion, absurd on its face, went largely unchallenged by ABC. Biden didn’t speak the language of the country where Burisma is headquartered, had no experience in the oil and gas sector, and had never served on the board of a for-profit company. Moreover, getting paid a million dollars a year to serve on a corporate board is unheard of. Corporate watchdogs have noted that his post was rife with conflicts that would have violated federal securities law if Burisma was a U.S. company. He got the job weeks after it was announced his father was overseeing America’s Ukraine policy from the White House.

    Instead, Hunter was allowed by ABC to present himself as the victim. “I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake,” Biden told the credulous network. “So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”

    ABC also whiffed on the China question. Biden told ABC News he hadn’t personally profited from a $1.5 billion deal with Chinese interests brokered by his investment firm, an implausible denial for which he presented no evidence. ABC did not ask him about an email in the New York Post report purportedly showing that Ye Jianming, chairman of the CEFC China Energy Co. conglomerate, was paying Hunter Biden $10 million for “introductions alone.”

    A recent Senate report reviewed by Fox News seems to confirm these troubling allegations. “Hunter Biden had business associations with Ye Jianming, Gongwen Dong and other Chinese nationals linked to the Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army,” the report says. “Those associations resulted in millions of dollars in cash flow.”

    Nor did ABC News ask Hunter Biden about receiving a 2.8 carat diamond worth $80,000 that a shadowy Chinese tycoon delivered to his hotel room. Neither Joe nor Hunter were asked about this during the campaign, even though Hunter admitted to taking the diamond in the pages of the New Yorker magazine last year. This suspicious gift is now reportedly part of the FBI probe.

    In fairness, some scepticism of an October surprise being foisted on the public by a right-leaning tabloid and Rudy Giuliani, who’s no stranger to getting out over his skis in defense of Trump, would have been warranted.

    But some media figures so quickly descended into condescending arrogance that some apologies appear in order, given what we now know. The managing editor of taxpayer-funded NPR declared it a “waste of time” to report on the Hunter Biden allegations. The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum assured us, “Those who live outside the Fox News bubble and intend to remain there do not, of course, need to learn any of this stuff [about Hunter Biden].”

    However, many of the key allegations in the New York Post report weren’t just about Hunter. They raised questions about whether Joe Biden was a participant in his son’s foreign wheeling and dealing. Nonetheless, Applebaum’s Atlantic colleague David Frum went even further. “The people on the far right and far left that publicized the obviously bogus [New York Post] story were not dupes. They were accomplices. The story could not have been more fake if it had been wearing dollar-store spectacles and attached plastic mustache,” he wrote.

    Unfortunately for Frum, the question of who was acting as an “accomplice” is now a bigger issue than ever. “According to Biden campaign metrics, online chatter about the Hunter Biden story during the election’s last week was greater than it was around Hillary’s emails during last month of ’16,” observed the Daily Beast’s Sam Stein last month. “The difference: it never spilled over into mainstream outlets.”

    Given that Biden’s Electoral College victory was even narrower than Trump’s in 2016 – about 40,000 votes spread across three narrowly won states – Stein’s observation that the media suppression of the Hunter Biden story may have helped Joe Biden win now looks like a troubling indictment. A chilling media precedent has been set to not just discredit, but actively censor legitimate reporting on political corruption weeks before an election.

    > Mark Hemingway is a writer in Alexandria, Va.

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