Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Last Call For Biden, His...Emails?

The disinformation machine is working overtime against Joe Biden with three weeks to go, and Team Trump think they've won with with the fishiest story this side of a Russian trawler.

A newly discovered laptop, the FBI, a trove of emails, October, a presidential election—it sounds familiar. Especially when you add in a Russian disinformation campaign. On Wednesday, the New York Post released what it hailed as a bombshell: an unidentified computer repair store owner in Delaware had come to possess a laptop that contained Hunter Biden emails (and purportedly a sex tape), the hard drive and computer was seized by the FBI, the store owner at some point passed a copy of the hard drive to Rudy Giuliani, and one of the emails suggested that Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, may have in 2015 introduced a Burisma official to his dad, Vice President Joe Biden. The story depicts this as a big scandal, and Guiliani tweeted, “Much more to come.”

But the key point of the article was predicated on false information that Giuliani has been spreading for a long time—and that appears to be linked to a Russian disinformation operation that the Post neglected to note in its article. That is, the Post piece, based on an unproven smear, is in sync with Moscow’s ongoing effort to influence the 2020 election to help President Donald Trump retain power. (The FBI and other parts of the US intelligence community have stated that Vladimir Putin is once again attacking the US political system to boost Trump.) And this story presents a challenge to the American media: how to report on an orchestrated campaign to affect the election that relies on disinformation, salacious and sensational material, and the revival of allegations that have already been debunked.

The bad faith animating the Post story is demonstrated by its open embrace—in the first sentence—of a demonstrably false narrative and by its failure to report Giuliani’s association with a Russian intelligence agent who the Department of Treasury has accused of interfering in the 2020 election.

The article begins: “Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.” The claim that Biden forced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor to protect Burisma has been the centerpiece of Giuliani’s long-running, Fox-hyped effort (on behalf of his client Donald Trump) to dig up dirt on Biden in the former Soviet republic.

Biden in 2016 did push for the firing of this prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, but there is no indication this was done to assist Burisma. In fact, there is a boatload of evidence that Shokin was canned because of his own corruption. There was no active investigation of Burisma at the time of his dismissal. (The absence of such a probe was even cited at the time as one sign of Shokin’s malfeasance) And as has been widely documented, Biden’s demand that Shokin be dumped was part of an international effort to pressure Ukraine’s government to clean itself up in order to receive financial assistance. (Several Republican senators also called for Shokin’s removal.) Yet Trump and others have falsely claimed that Biden nefariously bounced Shokin to cover up supposed Burisma misdeeds.

The Post repeating this baseless accusation is an act of propaganda—and the foundation for the article. The email the tabloid touts as big news suggests that in 2015 Hunter introduced a Burisma board member to his dad. The newspaper implies that this was somehow connected to Biden urging Shokin’s dismissal the following year. If there was nothing untoward about Biden pressing the Ukrainian government to replace Shokin, there certainly isn’t anything necessarily scandalous about Biden having met with the board member. Moreover, the 2015 email to Hunter—which simply says, “thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father”—discloses nothing about any conversation the board member might have had with the vice president. It’s not even confirmed that this meeting occurred. (The Biden campaign issued a statement saying it had reviewed Joe Biden’s schedule and no such meeting “ever took place.”)

The Post provides no information connecting this email exchange and the Shokin case. But Rupert Murdoch’s paper is using this one email to revive the Ukrainian scandal that Giuliani has been trying to gin up for over a year. (This crusade included trying to raise $10 million to make a documentary that would be released before the election.) And don’t forget that it was Giuliani and Trump’s search for Ukrainian dirt that led to Trump’s impeachment.
In other words, the Burisma story is stupidly obvious in the disinformation department, and it has been for months. Both Twitter and Facebook are blocking the story as what it is: disinformation. Conservatives are howling and calling for the Trump regime to take immediate, permanent action against social media companies.

In other words, we're at the point where the media decides whether or not to run with the fake Biden story. They failed this test four years ago with Hillary Clinton.

Will they fail it again?

Trump Goes Viral, Con't

The Trump regime is now embracing a no-vaccine, "herd immunity" approach as the government's preferred solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, a solution that will almost certainly lead to hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of deaths, you know, solution...if you will.

The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine.

Many experts say “herd immunity” — the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it — is still very far off. Leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that about 85 to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the coronavirus.

On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give their names, cited an October 4 petition entitled The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states, adding, “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

The declaration has more than 9,000 signatories from all over the world, its website says, though most of the names are not public. The document grew out of a meeting hosted by the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian-leaning research organization.

Its lead authors include Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at Stanford University, academic home of Dr. Scott Atlas, President Trump’s science adviser. Dr. Atlas has also espoused herd immunity.

The declaration’s architects include Sunetra Gupta and Gabriela Gomes, two scientists who have proposed that societies may achieve herd immunity when 10 to 20 percent of their populations have been infected with the virus, a position most epidemiologists disagree with.

Last month, at the request of The New York Times, three epidemiological teams calculated the percentage of the country that is infected. What they found runs strongly counter to the theory being promoted in influential circles that the United States has either already achieved herd immunity or is close to doing so, and that the pandemic is all but over. That conclusion would imply that businesses, schools and restaurants could safely reopen, and that masks and other distancing measures could be abandoned.

“The idea that herd immunity will happen at 10 or 20 percent is just nonsense,” said Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which produced the epidemic model frequently cited during White House news briefings as the epidemic hit hard in the spring.
The regime has finally found "scientific" justification for genocide, and I have to say I'm really surprised that it took so long to reach this conclusion. The larger problem of course is that the White House is simply going to do nothing, if not actively punish states that enter a second lockdown phase, and Trump will have at least the next three months in order to do it.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise and we're frankly looking at a catastrophe in the weeks ahead, and Trump will do everything to make sure a whole lot of people don't get the resources they need to survive it.

Trump will be in a position to take bloody vengeance against America for voting him out. Of course, he was going to kill a lot of us anyway, so.

Lowering The Barr, Con't

Bill Barr may be the most corrupt Attorney General in modern American history, but he's not omnipotent, and not everything always goes his way, even when trying to unload a reason to indict former Obama officials weeks before the election.
The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter.

The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who left the department last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Trump at a moment when he is particularly upset at the Justice Department. The department has so far declined to release the results of Bash’s work, though people familiar with his findings say they would likely disappoint conservatives who have tried to paint the “unmasking” of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.

The president in recent days has pressed federal law enforcement to move against his political adversaries and complained that a different prosecutor tapped by Barr to investigate the FBI’s 2016 investigation of his campaign will not be issuing any public findings before the election.

Legal analysts feared Bash’s review was yet another attempt by Trump’s Justice Department to target political opponents of the president. Even if it ultimately produced no results of consequence, legal analysts said, it allowed Trump and other conservatives to say Obama-era officials were under scrutiny, as long as the case stayed active.

The department — both under Barr and Trump’s previous attorney general, Jeff Sessions — has repeatedly turned to U.S. Attorneys across the country to investigate matters of Republican concern, distressing current and former Justice Department officials, who fear department leaders are repeatedly caving to Trump’s pressure to benefit his allies and target those he perceives as political enemies.

Kerri Kupec, the Justice Department’s top spokeswoman, had first revealed Bash’s review in May, after Republican senators made public a declassified list of U.S. officials, including former vice president Joe Biden, who made requests that would ultimately reveal the name of Trump adviser Michael Flynn in intelligence documents in late 2016 and early 2017.
This was their big, well, Trump card: FORMER OBAMA INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS INDICTED, BIDEN UNDER INVESTIGATION DAYS BEFORE ELECTION only that's not happening because John Bash didn't play ball and when he was told to, he left the Justice Department rather than see his work abused by Barr.

The fact that the Justice Department is still sitting on the report makes it very clear there's nothing there to use in the final days of the election campaign. Don't be fooled.
Related Posts with Thumbnails