Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1896
We’re in a communication vacuum. or maybe that should read: two separate vacuums. Even townhalls are not townhalls anymore. Everyone’s a liar, and everyone’s a winner.
$10 million a year. And then some.
• Hunter Biden Tried To Cash In Big On Behalf Of Family With Chinese Firm (NYP)
Hunter Biden pursued lucrative deals involving China’s largest private energy company — including one that he said would be “interesting for me and my family,” emails obtained by The Post show. One email sent to Biden on May 13, 2017, with the subject line “Expectations,” included details of “remuneration packages” for six people involved in an unspecified business venture. Biden was identified as “Chair / Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC,” an apparent reference to the former Shanghai-based conglomerate CEFC China Energy Co. His pay was pegged at “850” and the email also noted that “Hunter has some office expectations he will elaborate.”
In addition, the email outlined a “provisional agreement” under which 80 percent of the “equity,” or shares in the new company, would be split equally among four people whose initials correspond to the sender and three recipients, with “H” apparently referring to Biden. The deal also listed “10 Jim” and “10 held by H for the big guy?” Neither Jim nor the “big guy” was identified further. The email’s author, James Gilliar of the international consulting firm J2cR, also noted, “I am happy to raise any detail with Zang if there is [sic] shortfalls ?” “Zang” is an apparent reference to Zang Jian Jun, the former executive director of CEFC China. The email is contained in a trove of data that the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware said was recovered from a MacBook Pro laptop that was dropped off in April 2019 and never retrieved.
They did. And nothing happened.
• House GOP Asks If FBI Had Hunter Biden Laptop During Trump Impeachment (Fox)
House Republicans are calling on the FBI to reveal whether it was in possession of a laptop that reportedly contained emails by Hunter Biden during the impeachment of President Trump — and claiming the agency committed a “gross error in judgement” if it did not inform the White House. “If the FBI was, in fact, in possession of this evidence and failed to alert the White House to its existence that would have given even more weight to the president’s legal defense, this was a gross error in judgement and a severe violation of trust,” the letter says. The letter was signed by 19 House Republicans, including Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz.; and Jody Hice, R-Ga.
The letter was written after the New York Post published emails suggesting that Hunter Biden introduced his father to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015 — one year before his father allegedly pressured the country’s government to fire a prosecutor who had launched an investigation into the company. The Post reported that the FBI was in possession of the laptop on which the emails were found in December 2019 — right in the middle of the impeachment of President Trump over remarks he made to the Ukrainian president about Biden’s conduct in the country.
[..] “A large portion of the president’s legal defense case revolved around strong evidence that former Vice President Biden’s son Hunter was peddling his influence to his father to land lucrative jobs overseas that he might not have otherwise been qualified for,” the letter says. The lawmakers ask whether the FBI was in possession of the laptop and drive as documented in the Post, whether it took steps to authenticate the drive and the data, and if anyone at the FBI briefed officials at the Department of Justice or White House after December.
A Burisma PR firm was listening in on the call. WTF?
• Obama Conference Call Leaked To Burisma: Biden Emails (NYP)
The Obama administration let a Democratic p.r. company that worked for Ukrainian energy firm Burisma take part in a conference call about an upcoming visit to Ukraine by then-Vice President Joe Biden, emails obtained by The Post show. An associate at Blue Star Strategies then emailed a memo with minutes of the conference call hosted by the White House to a top Burisma executive, Vadym Pozharskyi, as well as to Joe Biden’s son Hunter and Hunter’s business partner, Devon Archer, both of whom sat on Burisma’s board. The trip, in December 2015, turned out to be the one during which Biden later bragged about forcing Ukrainian officials to fire a state prosecutor who was investigating Burisma by threatening to withhold a $1 billion US loan guarantee.
The memo, sent shortly after the Dec. 2, 2015, call, also “outlined the trip’s agenda and addressed several questions regarding US policy toward Ukraine.” Blue Star has said it began working for Burisma and contacting Ukrainian officials on its behalf in November 2015, and an email shows that on Nov. 18, 2015, Pozharskyi sent the Blue Star contract to Hunter Biden, Archer and Eric Schwerin, president of the Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm. Hunter Biden and Archer were among RSP’s founders, along with former Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz, Reuters has reported. “Could you kindly have BS countersign it and forward back to me?” Pozharskyi wrote. “I am kindly asking you to schedule either a conf call or advise us as to the foreseen action plan for November-December 2015, and if anything has been already done by BS, could kindly you ask them to share with us this information?”
Didn’t you just deny this yesterday?
• Biden Campaign: VP May Have Had ‘Informal’ Meeting With Burisma Exec (DW)
The campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden admitted that it’s possible that Biden may have met with an executive for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, during his time as vice president when his son was a board member of the company. The Biden campaign released a statement condemning reporting from the New York Post that revealed an email alleging that Biden’s son Hunter brokered a meeting between his father and Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Burisma’s board. The campaign ruled out any official meetings between Pozharskyi and the former vice president but could not say that the two never met.
“We have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Politico. “Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.” Despite the strong condemnation, Bates could not say for certain that Vice President Biden and Pozharskyi did not meet in an informal setting, however.
They always had the power. And now they’re using it. But when Twitter suspended the Trump campaign and blocked the House Judiciary, that may have been a step too far.
• Twitter, Facebook Protecting Biden After Execs Join Transition Team (ZH)
As if anyone needed more evidence of Silicon Valley’s overt political bias – just weeks before Twitter and Facebook nuked Biden corruption revelations from their platforms with the intensity of a thousand suns, executives from both companies joined the Biden transition team. [..] Perhaps the selective enforcement of content which is politically harmful to Democrats can be explained by recent hires by the Biden transition team. According to Breitbart, Twitter Public Policy Director Carlos Monje left the social media giant to join Biden’s transition team in September. He will reportedly serve as co-chair of Biden’s infrastructure policy committee, and helped organize a fundraiser for the former VP this week, according to an invitation from Politico.
Monje has worked in the world of presidential transition politics in the past, previously serving as the director of agency review on the team that prepared for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s administration, which failed to take flight. Monje also worked on the Obama administration team’s 2008 national security working group according to his LinkedIn profile. Monje also acted as deputy policy director during Obama’s first run for office and subsequently served as a senior policy advisor and special assistant to the president on the Domestic Policy Council. Monje’s final years in the administration were spent in the Transporation Department before he departed for Twitter. -Breitbart
Meanwhile in October, Biden’s transition team hired Facebook executive Jessica Hertz to its general counsel to deal with ‘ethics’ issues. Notably, Facebook was the first platform to ban the Post article – with former Democrat staffer and Facebook communications team member Andy Stone tweeting that the company would be ‘reducing its distribution.’
“Evidence shows that on The Walking Dead’s rallies, there are more people from the Biden bus and reporters than flesh-and-blood Dem voters. ”
• POTUS Punk vs. Dem Dementia (Escobar)
All manner of polls are circulating like whirling dervishes. Most highlight myriad Dem paths to victory and an inexorable Highway to Hell for Trump. A poll by The Economist gives Joe “Walking Dead” Biden a whopping 91% chance – remember Hillary in 2016? – of winning the Electoral College. A Dem-fueled consensus is emerging that Trump – relentlessly depicted as a deranged, lunatic proto-fascist who’s bad for business worldwide – will dispute results in any Republican-led state which he may narrowly lose, as in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Yet on the campaign trail, it’s a completely different story. Evidence shows that on The Walking Dead’s rallies, there are more people from the Biden bus and reporters than flesh-and-blood Dem voters.
The Biden-Harris campaign, demonstrating its matchless P.R. skills, spins these rallies as campaign secrets. Team Trump’s long-shot strategy seems to have been unveiled by the President himself: “We are going to be counting ballots for the next two years (…) We have the advantage if we go back to Congress. I think it’s 26 to 22 or something because it’s counted one vote per state.” That was a reference to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution: if state electors can’t agree on a president, the decision goes to the House. And then each of the 50 states gets one vote. So picture small GOP-controlled states such as Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming (each with one Republican in the House) having the same weight as California (52 members in the House, 45 of them Democrats.)
Advantage Trump: as it stands, it’s indeed 26 to 22, with two – Pennsylvania and Michigan – basically tied. Internal GOP polls show that while the Biden-Harris campaign is not knocking on any doors, Trump volunteers have actually swarmed no less than 20 million homes in swing states. Combine it with a new Gallup Poll showing that 56% of Americans state they are better off now under Trump than four years ago under Obama/Biden. Call it the return of “It’s the economy, stupid.” The Trafalgar Group – which correctly called the 2106 election – bets that Trump narrowly wins the Electoral College with 275 votes.
JPMorgan’s top quant Marko Kolanovic has exhaustively mapped changes in voter registration to dismiss virtually every poll showing a Dem sweep. This implies that Trump may well end up winning the Holy Trinity: Pennsylvania (20 votes), Florida (29 votes) and North Carolina (15 votes). And to top it off, something more exotic than a black hole eating a star has happened in this October Surprise-laden week: CNN decided to practice real journalism and eviscerated Nancy Pelosi on camera. That may be quite a bad omen for President-in-Waiting Kamala Harris, who very few remember was forged as the heir to the Obama-Pelosi axis in a secret meeting in the Hamptons way back in the summer of 2017.
@Jack is expected on Capitol Hill next week.
• Facebook, Twitter Cross Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor (IC)
In sum, the two Silicon Valley giants, with little explanation, united to prevent the sharing and dissemination of this article. As Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce put it, “Facebook limiting distribution is a bit like if a company that owned newspaper delivery trucks decided not to drive because it didn’t like a story. Does a truck company edit the newspaper? It does now, apparently.” That the first amendment right of free speech is inapplicable to these questions goes without saying. That constitutional guarantee restricts the actions of governments, not private corporations such as Facebook and Twitter. But glibly pointing this out does not come close to resolving this controversy. That actions by gigantic corporations are constitutional does not mean that they are benign.
State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats. Would anyone encounter difficultly understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.
To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful. In June, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law launched an investigation into the consolidated power of Facebook and three other companies — Google, Amazon and Apple — and just last week issued a sweeping report which, as Ars Technica explained, found: “Facebook outright “has monopoly power in the market for social networking,” and that power is “firmly entrenched and unlikely to be eroded by competitive pressure” from anyone at all due to “high entry barriers—including strong network effects, high switching costs, and Facebook’s significant data advantage—that discourage direct competition by other firms to offer new products and services.”
Bit too many screenshots would be needed. See the original.
• Weissmann Made Rosenstein Take Ownership of Michael Flynn Targeting (sundance)
On June 3, 2020, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss his role in how Main Justice was operating while Andrew Weissmann’s special counsel was in charge. What he said in that hearing never quite made sense until yesterday. Those who closely followed the arc of the Weissmann/Mueller investigation; and those who joined us in following that investigation; already knew the SCO was in complete control from May 2017 to April 2019. Everything taking place inside the DOJ in the two years of the Mueller/Weissmann probe was completely and unequivocally controlled by the Weissmann team. Few journalists have ever grasped the ramifications of that control.
That control included every release and non-release of information during their two year tenure. However, Rosenstein’s tone when questioned about the scope memos he authorized during the special counsel time-frame was very odd in that June hearing. Rosenstein had a very guilty conscience and it was on full display as he attempted to justify his action. You see, there was always a missing scope memo from October 20, 2017, that no-one in the DOJ ever discussed. The nature of the scope memo was mentioned by Weissmann and Mueller in part of their Russia report; but until yesterday it was hidden. Here is the only mention of the October 20, 2017, scope memo prior to yesterday:
As you can see above the special counsel’s office used that October 20th scope memo to expand their investigative authorities. Specifically the second redacted name is very important because this specific memo authorized Andrew Weissmann to target Michael Flynn Jr as pressure to coerce a guilty plea from Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn a month later. During his apologetic senate testimony Rosenstein told congress he never questioned the authority of the special counsel team and never once questioned their “investigative process“, those are his words. Additionally, Rosenstein testified he signed all the scope memos because he felt it was his “responsibility” to facilitate the SCO needs regardless of what they requested; and every request was considered an “investigative process” by him.
Yesterday the mysteriously avoided October 20, 2017, scope memo was finally released to Catherine Herridge from the Senate Homeland Security Committee (Chairman Ron Johnson). Within the scope memo we can now see exactly what reference point Rosenstein was carrying during his June testimony. The scope memo was written by the special counsel’s office and the last page shows the motive and intent of Weissmann’s crew. Notice the tone and direction of the memo as that aspect also conveys a message; and do not overlook the specific phrase “jointly undertaken activity.” That approach was used by the SCO to target Flynn Jr.:
“The gains Gilead experienced in the stock market during the pandemic have all but dissipated.”
• Antiviral Drug Remdesivir Proves Ineffective In Treating COVID19 – WHO (F.)
The antiviral drug remdesivir had little or no effect in treating patients hospitalized with Covid-19, according to a study that has not yet been peer reviewed, but was coordinated by the World Health Organization and released on Thursday, casting doubt on one of the few promising treatments for the coronavirus. Deeming it “the world’s largest randomized control trial on Covid-19 therapeutics,” the six-month long study of four drugs—remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon—proved “unpromising.” “The main outcomes of mortality, initiation of ventilation and hospitalization duration were not clearly reduced by any study drug,” the study reads. Over 11,000 adults across 30 countries and 405 hospitals were studied to come to these results.
Regimens involving the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine have already been proven ineffective, but remdesivir appeared to be one of the few therapies to prove effective in combating Covid-19 symptoms. The WHO’s results come just a week after a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that found remdesivir shortened the time of recovery for adults hospitalized with Covid-19. President Trump, who contracted Covid-19 and spent time at Walter Reed hospital upon suffering from symptoms, was administered remdesivir as part of his treatment. Remdesivir is the only specific drug with an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. [..] The gains Gilead experienced in the stock market during the pandemic have all but dissipated. Its price rose as much as 29% since the start of the year before falling 3% below its position in January.
Contradictory messages are lethal for an organization like the WHO.
• WHO Europe Director Says Governments Should Stop Enforcing Lockdowns (PJW)
The World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge says governments should stop enforcing lockdowns, unless as a “last resort,” because the impact on other areas of health and mental well-being is more damaging. In an interview with Euro News, Kluge cautioned against the imposition of more lockdowns unless they are “absolutely necessary.” “He says damage to other health areas, mental health, domestic violence, schools and cancer treatment is too great,” tweeted reporter Darren McCaffrey. Kluge’s warning matches that of the WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, Dr David Nabarro, who recently told the Spectator in an interview that world leaders should stop imposing lockdowns as a reflex reaction because they are making “poor people an awful lot poorer.”
It also resonates with numerous other experts who have desperately tried to warn governments that lockdowns will end up killing more people than the virus itself, but have been largely ignored. Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller, recently warned that COVID-19 lockdowns will result in “one of the biggest” hunger and poverty crises in history. “We expect an additional 400,000 deaths from malaria and HIV this year on the African continent alone,” Muller said, adding that “half a million more will die from tuberculosis.” Muller’s comments arrived months after a leaked study from inside the German Ministry of the Interior revealed that the impact of the country’s lockdown could end up killing more people than the coronavirus due to victims of other serious illnesses not receiving treatment.
Another study found that lockdowns will conservatively “destroy at least seven times more years of human life” than they save. Professor Richard Sullivan also warned that there will be more excess cancer deaths in the UK than total coronavirus deaths due to people’s access to screenings and treatment being restricted as a result of the lockdown. His comments were echoed by Peter Nilsson, a Swedish professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at Lund University, who said, “It’s so important to understand that the deaths of COVID-19 will be far less than the deaths caused by societal lockdown when the economy is ruined.” According to Professor Karol Sikora, an NHS consultant oncologist, there could be 50,000 excess deaths from cancer as a result of routine screenings being suspended during the lockdown in the UK.
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Laura Wolk. Powerful.
WATCH: Laura Wolk, the first blind women to serve as a law clerk on the U.S. Supreme Court, delivers testimony supporting Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Court. #SCOTUS #SCOTUShearing pic.twitter.com/AqoJL0gBl2
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 15, 2020
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