by Phil Erwin
The long-anticipated “October Surprise” has finally dropped. Every election year, there’s some major news story that suddenly roils the political landscape like an earthquake, toppling political structures, blowing up strategies, exploding the polling and embarrassing the pollsters.
This year’s Surprise took the form of e-mails potentially proving that not only was Hunter Biden profiting immensely from trading on the name of his V.P. father Joe, but that Joe’s oft-repeated vow that he knew nothing about his son’s business activities overseas is clearly false – that Joe has known the truth about Hunter’s activities all along.
Which means Joe Biden was at least a tacit participant in probable political corruption – in multiple instances of what is termed “pay for play,” the selling of political influence – and is quite comfortable lying to you about it!
First, let me point out the obvious: Anyone who actually believed that glad-hander Joe could have Hunter along with him on Air Force 2 for numerous overseas trips – and never once talk with Hunter about what he was doing for bucks? Let’s just say, I have a couple of bridges in the Sahara that I can let you have cheap…
But that’s the line Joe’s been feeding us for months. And so of course that’s the “truth” championed by the “Lamestream” Media for this entire election season:
“Joe says he didn’t know! So… Y’know… ‘Nuff said!”
“Joe Hears no Evil! Joe Sees no Evil! Joe Speaks no Evil!”
“Joe knows nuhhh-TING!!” [A bit of homage to TV’s Hogan’s Heroes]
OK. So, here’s this e-mail from the Ukraine, dripping with gratitude to Hunter for having arranged a meeting with Joe to talk about… things in the Ukraine. Like, maybe, Is there some way Joe could help out with this pesky prosecutor who’s been sniffing around Burisma?
(The letter came from Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, the energy company paying Hunter $83k a month to “sit” on the Board. To do… what? Maybe, just to introduce Joe. Who, by the way, later bragged on video about using $1.2 Billion in U.S. taxpayer funds to “convince” the Ukraine to fire said prosecutor.)
Well, maybe we shouldn’t be too hard on Ole Joe. He says he never met anybody, never talked with anybody about anything, doesn’t know anything… Maybe he really doesn’t remember!
Maybe he can’t.
After all, it’s pretty evident that his train has left the station, and he forgot to board it.
Just not to a candidate for President of the United States.
But whether or not Joe remembers, the evidence seems pretty clear, pretty irrefutable: Hunter Biden was indeed engaged in enriching himself on his father’s political coattails, which may or may not have been illegal, but sure looks ill-advised, immoral and corrupt. And the notion that Pappa Joe didn’t know… Impossible.
Truth is, the Ukraine is just one of the places Hunter was trading on Papa’s name. He’s apparently had business dealings with at least one Russian oligarch (Elena Baturina, the widow of a previous mayor of Moscow, paid $3.5 million to Hunter for… something). Then there’s the $1 Billion or more a Chinese-Communist bigwig ponied up to fund Hunter’s new investment firm. No question, Hunter’s a pretty well-funded guy, given that he’s got a not-honorable Navy discharge (for drug use), and not much in the way of obvious talents (other than the ability to live the High Life on OPM – Other People’s Money.)
And Hunter was just one of several members of Family Biden making their bones on what might best be characterized as “political grift.” Joe’s sister Valerie – originally a schoolteacher – became at various times campaign manager and executive of a communications firm paid by Joe’s campaigns. Joe’s brother Frank was involved in development projects in Central America and the Caribbean, including major housing developments, a casino, a golf course, and a solar energy facility. It’s not clear that Frank had any prior experience with such ventures, but the financing included loans backed by U.S. taxpayers. Joe’s brother James got himself included in some pretty sweet construction contracts in Iraq and elsewhere – although he had no prior experience in construction.
And Hunter had no prior experience in either the oil & gas industry (which Burisma paid him to “do” in the Ukraine) or running an investment firm (which Chinese Communists bet Really Big Bucks that he could manage to learn. Somehow.)
Seems like prior experience ain’t what counts when you’re a “player” on the global grift gameboard.
There was a movie some years back that offered a gritty view of what the world of grift is like. The Grifters benefited from fine performances by Angelica Houston, John Cusack and Annette Benning, and a script that had more than one twisty-turney moment. If you want to know what kind of person it takes to live a life predicated on greed, self-absorption and steely-eyed lying as a staple of personal interactions, you might give this film a look-see. You’ll find yourself wondering whether you should root for the characters to win, lose or die.
Then ask yourself just how much you should believe when you hear that Ole Joe is a “really nice guy!”
What is interesting about the grift portrayed in that film is that there is criminal activity, but the victims are also the perpetrators. They’re swindling each other; no “innocent” people are harmed.
But when grift happens on the international stage, you can bet there are millions of innocents who are affected, though they likely will remain unaware. The costs can be massive, but the damage is spread over millions, so who notices? It’s kind of like insurance in reverse: You pays yer taxes so that the grifters can steal it.
And besides: The damage may not take the form of “only” money. Maybe regulations are passed – or removed; maybe legislation is signed – or vetoed. Maybe FEMA is given orders to move material here, as opposed to there.
Or maybe an Obama-Biden Administration chooses to overlook rampant Chinese corporate and political spy operations – as opposed to a Trump Administration that shuts down a Chinese embassy in Texas and deports Chinese spies.
A report by two Senate committees on the impacts of corrupt activities on U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine found that Hunter’s activities “prevented the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine”, and that attempts by officials to raise alarms “fell on deaf ears.”
Political influence-peddling has the potential of being the worst form of grift, because it can influence everyone, in more than one country, for years, with no one being the wiser.
Like ghostly spirits, government grifters can sneak around the pillars of political power, sucking the energies from a government, feeding their own powers and purses while diminishing the government’s ability to respond to the will of the People. And like ghosts, the costs of grift can hang around for a long, long time.
When Trump was elected, the Left screamed about the “emoluments clause” – their way of claiming that Trump only wanted the Presidency for personal monetary gain. Democrats insist that Trump is feeding his own coffers – although they never once have explained how he is doing this; what evidence they have to show it.
The reality, which they still conveniently ignore, is that the Trump family has deliberately given up many investments and activities, which has cost them millions in lost revenue and opportunity. Trump himself donates his entire salary to various governmental functions.
Trump works 18-hour days, seven days a week, and gives back his salary. Does that sound like a grifter?
Joe Biden and family, on the other hand, have been in and around government for five decades, and their net worth seems always on an upward trajectory.
Has Joe Biden actually accomplished anything in government that justifies his family getting rich?
If I were a debate moderator, that might be the first question I would ask.
Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He would like to support some Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies (and is highly suspicious of Statistics.) That pretty much eliminates supporting most Democrats, and a bunch of Republicans to boot.