Matt Taibbi on the nefarious, acquisitive Bidens

October 21, 2021 • 9:15 am

This book, by Ben Schreckinger, a young but accomplished journalist who wrote about the Bidens for Politico (see here, for instance), came out on September 21. I haven’t read it, but the publicity says it gives the lowdown on the Biden family—and not in a flattering way.  (click on screenshot to go to Amazon site). This post is about an article Matt Taibbi wrote, summarizing the book, which implicates the whole family in pay-for-access-to-Joe schemes.

Taibbi’s take is summarized in a long post on his Substack site (click below, though you’ll have to be a subscriber). In essence, Taibbi’s account is mostly a description of Hunter Biden and his doings, and it’s not flattering. Hunter is painted repeatedly as a cocaine-addicted, money-grubbing, unethical hack, who tried to cobble together numerous deals and organizations from which people could buy access to Biden when he was Vice-President. As I say, I haven’t read it and can’t vouch for its accuracy, but Schreckinger does.

I am not that interested in Hunter Biden, who will have to bear the consequences of his own actions. What interests me is the involvement of his father Joe, whom I’ve always considered uncorruptable and spotless. Taibbi claims (or at least implies) otherwise. After all, the man is our President, and so if he’s had shady dealings in the past, we’ll want to know. I don’t know how you can read the whole piece if you don’t subscribe, but you can read the book, or make judicious inquiries about Taibbi’s piece.

I’ll just give a few quotes (indented) that bear on Uncle Joe.

Taibbi claims that As he says, Schreckinger doesn’t seem to have a political agenda, but is trying to give a current view of history, which may well look even worse in the future.

Most of Taibbi’s article centers not just on Hunter Biden’s search for “access money” from donors, but his own spectacularly messed-up life. As Taibbi says, “he’s not just a wreck, but a wreck with spectacularly bad luck.” There are drugs, guns, failed attempts at rehab, and, of course the fabled laptop with emails.  So here are a few quotes from Taibbi (and there are only a few) dealing with Joe Biden.

According to literary convention, the gun must go off by the final chapter of The Bidens, and it does. As Schreckinger goes on to detail, the Hunter story isn’t an irrelevant subplot, either, but central to an important and deeply disturbing question America should be asking about who Joe Biden is.

Schreckinger does an excellent job using the old show-don’t-tell method of revealing through the Biden tale the bipartisan nature of corruption and favoritism in America.

Yes, and it sure looks as if Hunter Biden was corrupt. But what about his dad?

More from Hunter and James:

Schreckinger quotes a former chief compliance officer for the firm, which had been sold to the Bidens by James Park, who naturally is the son of a former bigwig in the Unification Church of billionaire Sun Myung Moon. The officer recounts a day in 2006 when Jim and Hunter Biden showed up and began beating their chests about the future:

Jim had a plan. “Don’t worry about investors,” he told the executive that day. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.” In case the chief compliance officer did not get the picture, Jim painted it more vividly for him: “We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company.”

But wait, the not-yet-smoking gun has appeared:

They, too, were hit by the Biden Curse, an inerrant phenomenon that uses a gravity-like force to pull would-be Biden partners into federal custody.

The thing about this kind of business, however, is that it’s highly portable, and following the trail of the various efforts to open a cash register in front of Joe Biden’s political career is where Schreckinger does his best work. The Bidens earned early press mainly for a few passages about the Hunter Biden laptop story, but for my money its biggest score comes at the outset of a chapter called “The Bidens Go Global,” describing a scene involving another attempted family enterprise, a hedge fund called “Paradigm Global Advisors.”

According to Schreckinger interpreted through Taibbi (I have to say that Taibbi’s semi-sarcastic, almost gonzo-like account is quite readable), Biden was in Los Angeles to give a speech about his cancer initiative, and the night before met with Hunt, Joe’s brother Jim and a shady businessman.  Here’s what Taibbi says, quoting Schrekinger:

Hunter at one point was trying to make payments on a $1.6 million home and fighting one of the most ravenous addictions in the history of crack while his father was Vice President, which admittedly can’t be easy. (Again, Schreckinger manages to tell Hunter Biden’s story in way that’s remorseless while also eliciting a curious sympathy). Where it gets weird is the question of how all of this intersects with Joe Biden. In a key section of the book, Schreckinger details the flirtation between the Bidens and a Chinese businessman named Ye Jianming and his CEFC oil conglomerate. Joe Biden is in Los Angeles to give a speech about his cancer initiative to the Milken conference, the creation of sort-of-rehabilitated Mike Milken:

The night before his appearance, Joe met with Hunter, Jim, and Tony Bobulinski, another partner in [a] planned LNG venture, according to Bobulinksi, who said that in the course of their conversation, Joe showed familiarity with his relatives’ business plans…

On May 13, another partner in the venture emailed Hunter, Bobulinski, and a fourth partner, outlining their plans for compensation. The partner wrote of “a provisional agreement that the equity will be distributed as follows.” The breakdown indicated that “H” and the three other partners would get 20 percent each, along with 10 for “Jim” and, finally, “10 held by H for the big guy?”

The “Big Guy” is Joe Biden, who, with his apparent knowledge, was going to get 10% of the access money (this comes from a verified email from Hunter’s infamous laptop ).  The media dismissed these stories as Russian disinformation, but have now accepted that the emails are real. To his credit, Schreckinger admits he doesn’t have all the goods on Joe Biden, but things don’t look kosher, either:

Schreckinger doesn’t try to punch above his evidence, and concedes in multiple places that he hasn’t produced smoking-gun evidence tying “the big guy” to Hunter’s myriad cash flows. However, he’s also sensitive enough to the weird rhythms of the Biden family to grasp that the overall circumstantial picture is damning.

In particular, Biden’s insistence that “I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses,” is simply not believable after reading this book, not just because there is witness and documentary evidence directly contradicting him, but because the family does appear to be just as close as it claims. The fact that Biden participated, and continues to participate, in a shameless scheme to deflect attention and squelch inquiry by characterizing these true stories as Russian disinformation adds to the pile of evidence against him.

At minimum, Jim and Hunter Biden spent years setting up companies to be receptacles of “747s filled with cash” (a quote from people around the world they believed would be anxious to invest in the Biden name. The possibilities from there for Joe Biden range from merely dishonest acceptance of his family’s influence-peddling to things far worse. In a normal media environment, there would be dozens of journalists lining up to build on Schreckinger’s good start, to try to flesh out the part of this story that’s still lost in fog. However, there’s a cost of writing this sort of book now that comes in the form of not being invited to the usual Manhattan green-room publicity tour, and being frozen out of other opportunities. Will other reporters be willing to pay it?

Is it possible that there were donors lined up, and Biden knew about them? (These kind of donations are of course illegal.)

At the end, Taibbi interviews Schreckinger and asks him about the cash-filled 747 trope:

Matt Taibbi: How long did the book take to write, and what were you trying to accomplish?

Ben Schreckinger: As I put in the Author’s Note, this is not the end of the Biden story. This is not the Robert Caro treatment of Lyndon Baines Johnson. A lot of these episodes are ambiguous, there’s conflicting evidence. I’m expecting our understanding of a lot of these episodes, especially the more recent ones having to do with Hunter Biden to continue to evolve. That’s definitely a tricky and a treacherous thing to be doing, trying to write a book-length treatment of something as events are still unfolding. I wanted it to come out in a timely way, and I think that it has.

MT: The “747s full of cash” line is amazing. What was going through your head during that interview?

Ben Schreckinger: In the process of reporting out the Paradigm episode for the first time, for that first Politico story, one of the first people I was able to reach was an executive, the former chief compliance officer of the firm who’s cited at length. He said, “You know, yeah, Jimmy Biden showed up on the first day and said, ‘Don’t worry about investments. We got people around the world who want to put money behind Joe Biden.’” Joe Biden was then the ranking member on Senate Foreign Relations and the idea was, well, if you’re a deep-pocketed foreign interest, you can’t give money legally to a Joe Biden Senate or presidential campaign, but you could invest in this firm.

By all appearances, that didn’t end up working out. They don’t seem to actually succeed in landing these sorts of investments, but that was striking. To not have a deep understanding of the family’s business dealings and for one of the first people you reach to be an executive who says, “Oh yeah, this is what happened. This is what Jimmy Biden said on the first day.” It was like, wow.

Is this a tempest in a teapot, an innuendo against Joe Biden without reality? Or was he aware of the deals being cut on his behalf?  Schreckinger certainly thinks that, and I suppose time will tell. Certainly Biden’s son and brother appear complicit and crooked, and will likely face the music, especially with those confirmed emails.

As for Uncle Joe, we’ll just have to wait and see. For sure I’m not implying that Joe Biden is an influence-peddler. (Remember, after voting for Sanders in the primary I backed Biden all the way, and have been a fan since). But Taibbi and Schreckinger are implying that, and it shouldn’t be ignored.


41 thoughts on “Matt Taibbi on the nefarious, acquisitive Bidens

  1. The only comment I would have at the moment is – Biden would likely not be where he is today without Trump. And that is something far worse. Kind of shows where American politics has come. His poor showing so far with the “big plan” is some of Biden’s average performance. His reluctance to go after the filibuster may be the downfall of us all.

  2. “Is this a tempest in a teapot, an innuendo against Joe Biden without reality? Or was he aware of the deals being cut on his behalf?”

    Yet Trump’s many well-documented crimes and corruption goes on with nary a shrug from the DOJ. Unless Trump is held accountable, why should anyone care about the rule of law (for anyone)?

    1. I hope you’re right but I have my doubts. Trump has years of dodging such things and dragging out the proceedings. Meanwhile, Congress can’t even get Steve Bannon to testify or punish him for not appearing.

    2. I believe you are right. He has already had to go in for one deposition and there are more to come. At the end of the day he should certainly be indicted for leading the insurrection. They will get nothing out of Bannon as he will happily go to prison for 6 mos. to a year.

    3. Merrick Garland’s a fair and temperate guy, and he’s bending over backwards not to appear vindictive in retaliation for the screw-job Republicans gave him on his SCOTUS nomination.

      Still, I’m not convinced Trump is out of the woods with Main Justice just yet. AG Garland is playing his cards close to the vest and would want to have all his ducks in a row before signing off on any prosecution. He’d want to have the goods on Trump sufficient to convince any fair and reasonable person (which, of course, excludes most of the GOP) that the government is proceeding judiciously. (I note in this regard that earlier this week the FBI raided the Washington, DC, home owned by Putin’s “favorite oligarch,” Oleg Deripaska, who was up to his eyeballs in Paul Manafort’s business, including while Manafort was running Trump’s 2016 campaign.)

      We shall see.

    4. Trump may be indicted, but convicting him will take the extraordinary good luck of finding a jury that does not have a Trump supporter on the panel. The prospect of a unanimous verdict of guilt, instead of one resulting in a hung jury due to one or more Trump supporters on the panel, is unlikely.

  3. I can’t imagine that Joe Biden has committed even a fraction of the crimes that Trump has committed. Considering the country appears to be sliding toward civil war and/or autocracy, we have bigger fish to fry. So far, everything points to a simple explanation. Hunter Biden is a complete mess and that’s bound to dirty his father to some extent.

    1. I don’t think that Trump’s level of criminality is a relevant benchmark. How can we criticize Trumps’ abuses and excuse Biden’s???? On a Hunter Biden post here a long time ago I commented that the double standard of the media was sickeningly on display in its treatment of the Hunter Biden story. Joe Biden’s responses back then were not credible. The media has lost all credibility for its lack of investigation of Biden.

      Trump disgusts me and I am glad Biden won. But I will not give him a pass just because he is “our guy”. That attitude leads directly to third-world-style government in which no one reacts anymore to stories of corruption. Once that happens, there is no going back..

      1. The problem with the Hunter Biden story was that it was so clearly politically motivated. Trump had been going after everything named “Biden” for quite a long time, almost always without basis. As with the COVID-was-born-in-a-virus-lab story, the story gets ignored because one side is so transparently trying to use it to dirty the other side. Any truth hidden inside gets lost.

        While both sides may commit real crimes and go after the other side using politically motivated investigations, there are huge differences. I would take Hunter Biden’s laptop any day over what happened on January 6th. The former is a hint of pay for access that has yet to be proven to have happened and certainly has not been shown to effect any governmental decisions whereas the latter was an attempt to derail a fair election. And no one is saying not to investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop. Didn’t the Republicans have a go at it a while back and come up empty? I have a hard time believing this wouldn’t have been uncovered by Trump and friends if there was really anything there.

        1. “The problem with the Hunter Biden story was that it was so clearly politically motivated.”
          Yes, but the initial reporting about the laptop was TRUE, in spite of multiple self-censorings and diversions by the mainstream press to keep it out of the limelight in the weeks before the election.

          “I would take Hunter Biden’s laptop any day over what happened on January 6th”
          So would I. But the laptop revelations are still deeply disturbing and we should not let them slide, if it turns out that Pres. Biden was involved,.

          “…no one is saying not to investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop.”
          People on our side were indeed trying to derail and squelch the Hunter Biden investigations and stories, with some degree of success, in the lead-up to the election.

          1. “People on our side were indeed trying to derail and squelch the Hunter Biden story”

            Sure but I was talking about investigations. Presumably this new book about Biden is the result of lots of investigations but it sounds like there’s still no smoking gun. There might be some bad actions by Hunter Biden and those should be gone after first. If they lead to signs of bad actions by Joe Biden, then they have to be investigated next.

            It’s the use of Hunter Biden stories solely to dirty Joe Biden that I object to. Same with those about the Chinese virus lab that don’t include any real evidence. Politicians have always used the press to their advantage but there must be limits to how far that can be taken.

        2. The rule you seem to adhere to is one of self-serving goals justifying means: if it‘s bad for you (or your tribe), it’s okay that journalists bury evidence, and then later also aren’t hurrying to look into it, once novelty wore off.

          Further, this attitude implies that people cannot be trusted with (accurate) imformation, but someone must carefully curate what the masses can hear, lest they vote “against their interests”.

          I hasten to add that I don’t know if you really believe this, but your statements sound a lot like it.

          To me, the unwillingness of media to follow the Hunter Biden leak is striking evidence that US big media is just rotten to the core, with no redeeming value whatsoever. Since the US is already not really a democracy, and not really a developed nation, it’s acceptable that the big media houses are adequate, too. I’m not a US national, so I’m just glad I am not dependent from them.

          1. It’s not media’s job to investigate Hunter Biden, no matter how much Biden’s enemies may wish it to happen. If an investigative reporter looked into it, and I suspect many did, it is quite possible that they found nothing worth reporting. As I’ve said, if there’s something worth looking at then let the investigations begin.

            What media corruption are you talking about? I think you are imagining things like a conspiracy theorist.

            1. They buried it, including social media platforms like Twitter (Mr. Dorsey would say in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that mistakes were made when they banned even the NYPost). That‘s a fact, not a conspiracy theory.

              1. It’s a conspiracy theory because there are no facts. You seem to want the controversy itself to become the news. If Republicans say “Hunter Biden is dirty and, therefore, so is his father”, that’s enough for you to demand the media cover it. This is exactly what the Republicans had in mind.

                Trump is doing the same with his Big Lie. He suggests without basis that the election was rigged, which riles up his voters, and then the GOP politicians tell the media that they need to address the voters’ concerns. In other words, the controversy alone demands that the media cover it. This is how the GOP turn nothing into something. They take something that could be true, that many people want to be true, and make it into an issue that must be covered by media. Same with the Hunter Biden story. Even the book that this post mentions doesn’t appear to nail much down. By all means, anyone interested should investigate but no stories should be published until something substantial is found.

              2. I don’t know what you mean by “there are no facts”. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey really did answer in a hearing as I reported, and the NYPost really was banned, and “liberal” journalists really moved quickly to defuse the laptop as “kompromitat” from Russians, or as “disinformation” from their blue checkmark accounts. Had they properly looked into it, they’d have to run a news story and show how they arrive at the conclusion that it was all disinformation.

                Next, the second interpretation of “there are no facts”. There is apparently enough material that Ben Schreckinger wrote that book—the very topic of this post. That’s enough, together with “general public interest” to report about it.

                The picture altogether suggests a deep corruption of US media, which now is essentially a dual-state media system. When Blue is in charge, Blue media writes the propaganda the state wants disseminated, and Blue Tribe cheers it on. When Red is in charge, same thing, with reversed roles.

              3. “Next, the second interpretation of “there are no facts”. There is apparently enough material that Ben Schreckinger wrote that book—the very topic of this post.”

                There’s a book therefore what is in the book is true.
                I guess I have to convert to Christianity now. And become a Muslim.
                Then I’ll order a copy of “9/11: The Big Lie” by Thierry Meyssan.

              4. The assertion of facts, whether as a book or by saying it, is independent of the facts themselves. They may or may not be true. By drawing the comparison to conspiracy theories or the Bible, you decided that the assertions made against the Bidens are not only baseless, but that it was right to outright ban them. That’s unusual for Jerry’s readers who are typically thoughtful people, not authoritarian party drones.

                Journalism has reporters, who witness something and commit it to record, and investigative journalists who also sleuth and find out, and everything in between. The threshold is — as I wrote, but you quotemined —- high public interest with a promising lead, and that was met in this case. That is a fact, unless you doubt that Biden is important in any way, or that allegations of unseeming entanglements are not worth looking into. In a functional democracy, and with a high public interest, such as — say — presidential candidates, there is a strong motivation to look into interesting information and report on findings. One other “fact” in this context was whether censorship took place. Well, that happened, too.

                I don’t care about the book or Joe Biden specifically. In the end, it doesn’t matter. All American politicians are legally owned by one special interest or another. But it is a massive failure of the journalists in the US to not follow a lead with highest public interest out of naked partisan, and authoritarian interests. That’s the part that is a massive embarassment. Can’t take your media seriously anymore.

              5. My impression as well. Recently, our host wrote a post about shady dealings by Obama (e.g. with the Big Pharma to keep drug prices high), and several readers commented, “Not buying it”. I fear that nothing can be done when you present facts, and the other side chooses to ignore or deny them.

  4. I have never been much of a Joe Biden fan. Prior to Obama, his claim to public fame was mainly his family suffering, which he played politically for everything it was worth. Afterwards, his son Hunter’s 2014 appointment to the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, owned by a Ukrainian oligarch with legal difficulties, made it look like someone was selling a direct line to the top of the US government. Hunter, so it is reported, was getting (perhaps earning) on the order of $50,000 a month. With that thought, what has become of Trump’s spawn?

  5. “This turns out to be a home rehab job with all the respectability of the Dr. Sonderborg’s Bay City dopehouse in Farewell[,] My

    Every detective story needs a MacGuffin and (if I can mash-up Hammett’s Sam Spade with Chandler’s Philip Marlowe) I guess Hunter’s laptop serves the purpose of the eponymous statue in The Maltese Falcon.

    Taibbi is one of those writers who really can make me laugh out loud.

  6. Damn, Taibbi’s summary of Schreckinger’s book makes it sound like Jerry Stahl’s dope memoir Permanent Midnight meets Allen Drury’s political thriller Advise and Consent.

  7. The sad thing, whatever you think about Biden, is that most of this stuff was in the public record prior to Nov. 2020, and rather than do any serious vetting of a presidential candidate, the press pretended it was “Russian disinformation” even though the stuff about Hunter and Burisma can be sourced to AP stories from years ago.

    1. But what does it amount to really? What’s the worst case scenario in these investigations? Hunter Biden got a job for which he was unqualified and he sold access to his father. Did parties get access to Joe Biden and did anything come of their meetings? After Trump and fans have had years to look into this, have they really come up with anything? Seems the most they can do is put a little stink on Joe. Considering the battles that are now ranging over so many important issues, that’s virtually nothing.

      If the GOP wins Congress in 2022, perhaps they can try to impeach Joe Biden over these things. If they do, we can say goodbye to our country.

  8. I understand that Biden has released all of his tax returns for many years. Does the book look at those to see if there is any evidence that Joe ever profited from his families’ deals? Or does the book imply he got money off the books or that it is held by Hunter or others for his benefit?

  9. The breakdown indicated that “H” and the three other partners would get 20 percent each, along with 10 for “Jim” and, finally, “10 held by H for the big guy?”

    Schreckinger’s book appears to raise many troubling allegations about the family Biden, especially regarding the son and Joe’s brothers. But I wouldn’t put too much stock in the above-quoted passage meaning that ill-gotten money was actually going to make its way into Joe Biden’s pocket.

    It’s a common scam in white-collar crime cases for one of the coconspirators to glom onto an extra cut of the take by claiming it’s going to someone more powerful, especially when the person making the claim has the most direct access to that more powerful person. (It also happens in mob cases, though the repercussions for falsely claiming that you’re kicking up to the boss, and then failing to do so, tend to be much more dire in organized-crime cases — I’m talking bodies-floating-in-the-East-River or stuffed-into-a-trunk-of-a-car-at-LaGuardia more dire.)

  10. I have a couple of observations, as I have been following this issue for years.

    “It’s a common scam in white-collar crime cases for one of the coconspirators to glom onto an extra cut of the take by claiming it’s going to someone more powerful, especially when the person making the claim has the most direct access to that more powerful person.”
    There are multiple instances of Biden family members, even when communicating amongst themselves, where they mention or complain about how big a cut Joe is getting.

    “I understand that Biden has released all of his tax returns for many years.”
    Nobody could reasonably expect a crooked politician to itemize and label graft as what it is. The smart ones have charities that they can park payments in, then use when needed. Or, family members of the crook can get high paying no-show jobs, or lucrative contracts. Book advances are also a good method. stock tips.

    Trump keeps coming up in the comments. But the Biden parade of corruption has been going on for more than 40 years. The joke used to be about referring to him as “Biden (D-MBNA)” .

    Hunter is “not just a wreck, but a wreck with spectacularly bad luck.”
    I see it differently. Despite all his failings, he always fails upwards. When he messes up one amazing opportunity, he is always able to step into another dream job, funded by someone who Joe is in position to use his influence to help. Just like the other members of the Biden family, he needs no qualifications or background experience in the field their new high paying job requires.
    Joe and Hunter share bank accounts. One of Hunter’s partners at Rosemont Seneca apparently does Joe’s taxes and also has access to their shared accounts.

    Also, it is not just Hunter. Joe’s whole family has managed to fall into a series of amazing opportunities, and always in a hemisphere where Joe has had influence.

    “Joe, whom I’ve always considered uncorruptable and spotless.”
    Plagiarism, if nothing else. Decades of it. Also, the family of the man who Joe repeatedly claimed killed his family while drunk probably have some thoughts. We watched him speak last night, and he told some oft-repeated lies, which are easily disproven, but don’t really do anyone harm.
    Like ”When I was 17, I participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses”
    or “I remember spending time at the, you know, uh, going to, uh, the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” or that he “used to drive an 18-wheeler.” or that “he hit a ball 358 feet at his second congressional baseball game while hosting the LA Dodgers at the White House” When he struck out. Usually, people who casually and constantly lie about little things that do not matter will also lie about important things.

    But I do not imagine anything will come of any of this, even if clear and irrefutable proof is released. At best, it might show that their are several tiers of justice in the US, that there is a club, and you and I are not in it.

    1. There are multiple instances of Biden family members, even when communicating amongst themselves, where they mention or complain about how big a cut Joe is getting.

      Do you have a reliable-source citation for this contention? It appears to go well beyond what is alleged in Schreckinger’s book.

      1. “I hope you all can do what I did, and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years and it has been tough. It’s really hard but don’t worry, unlike Pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary.”
        Hunter to Naomi Biden (2019). Boston Herald, 10/15/20

        That is the easiest direct quote to find. What someone ought to do is make a searchable database of everything. I guess such a thing exists, but it is not public.
        I suppose part of the problem is that the people who have access to all the documents either want to keep them hidden, or want to release them piecemeal, for political advantage.

        I know there are more similar quotes, but they are not easy to locate. I suppose “half your salary” and “10% for the big guy” counts as multiple, but I should have the citations at hand before making such a claim.

        “An honest public servant can’t become rich in politics.” Harry Truman, 1954

        1. Such a statement should be corroborated and, if true, an investigation of Hunter Biden should follow. Such an investigation should not be the subject of extensive media coverage until it shows some real facts. Comments made by family members to each other aren’t reason to convict someone, otherwise we’d probably all go to jail. For all I know, there was follow-up and nothing was found, sufficient to prosecute anyway.

          1. If I was corrupt, and as powerful as those who govern us, I might put roadblocks in front of any such investigations. Obviously, appointing those loyal to me to top positions in the DOJ would be in order.
            It would not look good to appoint my son’s lawyer to such a position, but I might get away with appointing his law partner to head the DOJ Criminal Investigation Dept.

            In a fair world, such things would be fairly investigated and reported on, within the normal bounds of individual privacy and decorum. When such practices are publicized, other similar cases would likely be exposed. There are a lot of career public servants living in lush, gated compounds.
            But we don’t, I think, live in a fair world. We never have. Enough power and money can make most problems just go away. That does not even take into consideration that political leaders also have ideological followers, who don’t need to be threatened or paid to act.
            If history is any guide, it is part of a cycle. The inequity becomes intolerable to the average person, and something must be done. I will try my best to remain an optimist, and believe that the excesses and abuses of the system can be corrected peacefully.


    I listened to this show where Ben lays out his case. It is not persuasive to me, in that many times it amounts to ‘if this is what I think it looks like it would be bad’.

    I agree Ben but the word ‘if’ is doing a lot of work there don’t you think?

    The actual amount of hard evidence he has reminds me of the Hillary Clinton book funded by Steve Bannon and serialised in the liberal press rather than on Fox news specifically to hurt Clinton’s eventual candidacy.

    It did the job required of it, which was to spread smoke and claim there was a fire. But it wasn’t a shattering work of investigative reporting, it was a load of rumours and innuendo which were markedly lacking in evidence.

    It’s no surprise Taibbi believes it. He has no problem believing anything which hurts the Democratic Party, while remaining completely silent about anything similar done by the right. Double standards and a complete lack of credulity when it suits him are his hallmark.

    I could be convinced that there is something to this, but this book (and Taibbi’s utterly predictable take on it) do not even come close to the standard required.

  12. What interests me is the involvement of his father Joe, whom I’ve always considered uncorruptable and spotless.

    Good PR perhaps? I have a jaundiced view of senior politicians in general (all colours/parties/ideologies) that a prolonged social environment of power, adulation, striking compromises, receiving and bestowing favours, inevitably affects the politicians’ brain processes. Some more than others perhaps, but all of them. The American Presidency in particular appears to require mega donations… these must come with at least an implicit quid pro quo.

    From an article on Politico by Andrew Yang:

    Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, has been studying the influence of power on individuals. He puts people in positions of power relative to each other in different settings. He has consistently found that power, over time, makes one more impulsive, more reckless and less able to see things from others’ points of view. It also leads one to be rude, more likely to cheat on one’s spouse, less attentive to other people, and less interested in the experiences of others.

    So Joe Biden may be better or worse than previous Presidents, but unaffected by politics? I suspect not.

  13. Late to the game, but

    “…that Joe Biden is an influence-peddler. ……Taibbi and Schreckinger are implying that, and it shouldn’t be ignored.”

    I see nothing written here which makes it more reasonable to not ignore that, nothing which, were Drumpf to “imply that”, would impel anyone to not ignore him.

    Drumpf would have a different motive, Taibbi seems okay to my less than ideal knowledge in that respect, but writers have the motivation of desiring readers, don’t they? Gossip attracts eyeballs.

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