Biden Boomlet Is Strictly Insider Game For Now

 

As pundits try to rev up excitement over a potential Biden presidential campaign, most in the public should save time by focusing on more pressing matters.

Joe BidenVice President Joe Biden is an establishment corporate Democrat whose entry into the 2016 would not appreciably change much except to provide Democrats an alternative for Hillary Clinton in case her campaign implodes. Barring some as-yet unknown crisis in health, however, her track record suggests she would never withdraw until the end of the primary season no matter what is thrown at her.

Moreover, campaign pundits typically over-praise a candidate pondering a race and then lower the boom soon after entry with harshly negative reporting.

Biden has provided through the decades plenty of cause for criticism. So, he knows better than most that a third run for the presidency is likely to bring out the skeletons, including viciously unfair treatments in the past.

Biden, for example, has been deeply involved in foreign policy decisions that have created vast tactical, strategic and moral reverses, with a few exceptions. In a White House photo Aug. 30, 2013, for example, Biden sits at the president's far right on one of their many high-level meetings in the Situation Room regarding the U.S.-led attempt to overthrow Syria's government. Barack Obama and National Security Staff 8-31-13Almost never reported is that U.S. smuggling of arms and fighters from Benhazi in Libya to Syria — with CIA and State Department assistance — was part of the hidden history of that region.

Clinton has also help lead this decision-making. One of its tenets is that that United States leaders have the right to order bombings and government overthrow almost anywhere in the world so long as humanitarian or democratic reasons are cited.

There is little room for distinction between Clinton and Biden regarding the carnage. One exception is that Clinton left the Obama administration in January 2013 before many of the worst results of the Bush-Obama foreign policy became so obvious in terms of costs to the United States and the world. As Democratic front runner, however, has borne the full brunt of partisan attacks over the deaths of four U.S. personnel in Benghazi and claims she violated State Department rules by using a private email server.

The pattern of recent expensive, illegal and inhuman foreign policy horrors includes the U.S.-led war against Libya and the ongoing carnage in Syria, the Ukraine, and Yemen. Particularly shameful has been the war profiteering by Biden's son Hunter in the Ukraine. The younger Biden was appointed as a director in a major energy company following the U.S.-led coup against Ukraine's government in February 2014.

State Department personnel were caught on tape plotting the coup and a role for the vice president in February 2014. So, Hunter Biden's  appointment and that of a former top fund-raiser for current Secretary of State John Kerry convey the appearance of a payoff to American leaders to help support the coup government with U.S. taxpayer dollars.

On the pirated tape of coup planners, the speakers included U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Victoria Nuland (shown in an official photo). She is a prominent neo-con holdover from the Bush administration. Her arrogant language described Biden as if he were a mere Victoria Nulandstooge for the neo-cons controlling U.S. policy. Details: U.S. diplomat apologizes for profane remarks on E.U. in leaked phone call.

More generally, this editor's take is based on politics watching beginning with coverage in Chicago of the iconic 1968 Democratic National Convention. Like next year's election, the 1968 campaign was for an election with no incumbent running. In 1968, incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson resigned in March because of opposition to his Vietnam War policies. New York Senator and presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated under still-mysterious circumstances in June on the same evening he won the California Democratic primary.

Our more recent research has included attendance at Clinton's last two major events during her 2008 presidential campaign, at the Mayflower Hotel and National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Each event involved her concessions to Obama in June when the numbers simply did not stack up for her continuance. However, her loyalists did make a dramatic but essentially hopeless effort later in the summer to fight the Obama steam-roller by securing the seating of her delegates from Florida and Michigan at the Democratic National Convention.

The chapter "Joseph Biden: When the Smiling Stops" in our book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters. surveyed the strengths and weaknesses of a career that makes Biden the longest serving federally elected office holder in the nation, aside from Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). Here is an except. "Over the course of his career, Biden had held important chairmanships in the Senate, but faltered on several major issues. Politics in America, a reference book for Washington insiders, provides this thumbnail description:"

The son of a Scranton, PA, automobile dealer, Biden overcame a childhood stutter and often speaks with charming self-deprecation. But what has made him a compelling political figure are the tragedies and dramas of his private life. As a 29-year-old county councilman, Biden in 1972 summoned the brashness to challenge Republican Sen. J. Caleb Boggs in a campaign run by his sister. Running on a dovish Vietnam platform and accusing the incumbent of being a do-nothing, Biden won by 3,162 votes.

From that, Biden gradually morphed (as has Clinton) into an apologist for wars of aggression and corporate power, hidden with enough populist rhetoric to create a distinction from Republicans.

He has often shown similar patterns in domestic affairs. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the controversial Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas, Biden succumbed to the pressure of Republicans and the artful public relations campaign of the lobbyist group Citizens United. Biden left Thomas critic Anita Hill without supporting witnesses, and failed even to draw on the insights of his former counsel, Lillian McEwen, who had had a five-year romantic relationship with Thomas. McEwen, a former federal prosecutor and administration law judge, described the situation in her impressive 2011 memoir DC Unmasked and Undressed. Now retired, she is shown in a photo illustrating the book, which described the coming of age for an African-American woman in a city highly segregated during her youth.Lillian McEwen Regarding Thomas, she said he was highly attractive in the first years of their relationship but she broke it off when she realized his ambitions were unhealthy.

Thomas went on to pay back his benefactors by casting the deciding vote in the 5-4 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision in 2010 that has helped corrupt federal elections by removing most restrictions on corporate donations to political action committees.

Meanwhile, Biden as a senator fought consumer advocate and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren over her contention that credit card companies were oppressing consumers with high interest rates and fees. Biden's home state of Delaware serves as the headquarters of many credit card and other companies because of its business-friendly laws.

Drawing from that history, we advise our readers that there is little reason for anyone but interested parties and political junkies to spend much time speculating over whether Biden will enter the campaign.

A Boston Globe column Aug. 24 by Tim Molloy typified that kind of pro-Biden speculation, which fills the August doldrums and doubtless energizes those with a vested interest in the outcome. These include Biden patrons and staffers who have enabled the candidate through the years and who doubtless want to continue their own influence.

In The Case for Biden-Warren ‘16, Molloy cited National Review columnist John Fund's trial balloon "that a Biden-Warren ticket could be Democrats’ Plan B if Hillary Clinton loses her place as the party’s frontrunner." Fund's logic, according to Molloy:

Biden, 72, might run for only one term. (He cites Carl Bernstein.) A single term for Biden could leave the path to the 2020 nomination clear for Warren. “If Biden made her his vice-presidential choice, as Yale’s Professor [Paul] Kahn and others have suggested, she might be a virtual lock for the Democratic nomination,” Fund writes. Fund notes that the Massachusetts senator has stayed neutral on the 2016 race, telling Boston’s WBZ she doesn’t think anyone has been “anointed” as the Democrats’ candidate.

Of course, Fund notes, Biden and Warren might be separated by actual positions on issues, particularly a 2005 Biden vote that was seen as friendly to credit-card companies. Warren is one of the Senate’s most vocal critics of the financial sector. Is Fund serious about them aligning? Or is his column just an attempt by a conservative-leaning journalist to weaken Clinton by encouraging dissent among Democrats?

Here are a few of the real-world problems if Democrats follow Fund's logic. As context, he's a Republican political operative with a long history of dirty tricks and innuendos against Democrats.

Roger Stone Hillary Clinton "War on Women" CoverThe first problem is that if Warren joined in effect a "Stop Hillary" and "Stop Bernie" alliance against the two main current candidates, Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, she would quickly lose luster in Democratic circles as a reformer even if she and Biden were successful in winning the nominations.
Whatever problems Clinton and Sanders face, they retain a core loyalty among women and minorities for Clinton and progressives for Sanders.
 
Second, Biden is not likely to win the nomination as a late entrant even if Clinton's popularity continues to sink and scandal allegations escalate relating to her emails, her Secretary of State decisions, and the rest of her life. She has been through it all before and the 2008 campaign against Obama is just one of many indications.
 
As a former Golden Gloves boxer, I compare her to Muhammad Ali's little-recognized ability to take a punch, not just deliver them. Ali outlasted such knockout artists as George Foreman, Sonny Liston, and Joe Frazier by absorbing their best shots. Clinton may not have all the stamina of her Whitewater, 2008 campaign, and globe-trotting Secretary of State days, but it's rarely wise to bet that a proven contender will quit early.
 
She might be defeated (more likely by Sanders than Biden) but she would not stop campaign without an as-yet unforeseen health crisis.
 
A Biden candidacy would heavily overlap her corporate and centrist base his entry even support of Warren. Thus, his candidacy would likely split the centrists and create a better opportunity for Sanders.
 
Clinton and Sanders are also vulnerable based on their track records. Clinton has been targeted for nearly three years over her role in the Sept. 11, 2012, deaths in Libya of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel. The attacks have increased following disclosure that she used a private email account, like several of her predecessors, instead of a standard government-run account.
 
The Justice Integrity Project will participate in a one-day conference on the topic Sept. 14. Judicial Watch's Leadership Summit on Washington Corruption and the Transparency Crisis will be at Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and is open to the public. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton promises, "Blockbuster panel discussions that will draw on the insights of key public figures that already include Fox News analyst Andy McCarthy, conservative Congressman Rep. Louie Gohmert,"
 
Additionally, The Clintons' War on Women is scheduled for released Oct. 13 by Roger Stone and Robert Morrow. We have been apprised of some of the contents, and can safely predict that they are extremely hard-hitting.  
 
All that said, there is little difference with Clinton in terms of record or views.
 
In sum, the point of this article is not to advance any of the candidates compared to others, only to point out that the popularity of the candidates is highly dependent on selective news coverage that hides, at least temporarily, important parts of the candidates' track records. Part of that is just typical pack journalism. But to the extent coverage is orchestrated by the political hit artists that infest the city the suppressed information constitutes leverage for influence peddling.
 
Secrets are coin of the realm. But we shall continue to expose each candidate's track record here and in the forthcoming book, Presidential Puppetry 2016: The Candidate Charade Continues.
 
The conventional media love to portray the personalities of candidates, setting up contrasts if not feuds in the style of World Wrestling Federation rivalries. That's entertaining for some, but a time waster for most at this point.
 
All of the candidates have strengths and weaknesses, as suggested by a recent sample of coverage below. Common sense says they should be evaluated — and indeed exposed for their shortcomings. But it should be by common standards, not puffery for some and partisan witch-hunting for others.
 
 
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Selected Related News Coverage

Biden Boomlet

President Obama, Joe Biden, May 6, 2015President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk in the Oval Office before their weekly lunch, May 6, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Washington Post, The case for Joe Biden to run in 2016, Ruth Marcus, Aug. 28, 2015. Could Joe Biden be the man for this season? The vice president has been running for president since Hillary Clinton was first lady of Arkansas. His first campaign, in 1988, fizzled over allegations of plagiarism. His second, in 2008, limped to a humiliating close with Biden winning less than 1 percent of voters in the Iowa caucuses. He received most attention for unwise comments about Indian Americans (“You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts [in Delaware] unless you have a slight Indian accent”) and Barack Obama (“articulate and bright and clean.”) But there is an argument that 2016 could be Biden’s year — a moment that will reward, even celebrate, his loose-lipped authenticity and his from-the-gut middle-class politics.

Washington Post, Friends of Beau Biden urging vice president to make 2016 bid, Paul Kane, Aug. 27, 2015. The Democrat is deciding if he has the “emotional fuel” for a third bid. Friends and supporters of the late Beau Biden are emerging as a key force behind efforts to help his father, Vice President Biden, become president. Many of them were classmates at the University of Pennsylvania or Syracuse University’s law school, where Beau Biden met several dozen rising stars. Some from Penn in particular vividly recall meeting then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), both at the Ivy League school and when he hosted his son’s friends at their home just 25 miles from the Philadelphia campus.

Boston Globe, The Case for Biden-Warren ‘16, Tim Molloy, Aug. 24, 2015. Was Joe Biden’s meeting with Elizabeth Warren this weekend just a meeting? Or the start of something more? National Review Elizabeth Warrencolumnist John Fund makes the case that a Biden-Warren ticket could be Democrats’ Plan B if Hillary Clinton loses her place as the party’s frontrunner. His logic: Biden, 72, might run for only one term. (He cites Carl Bernstein.) A single term for Biden could leave the path to the 2020 nomination clear for Warren. “If Biden made her his vice-presidential choice, as Yale’s Professor [Paul] Kahn and others have suggested, she might be a virtual lock for the Democratic nomination,” Fund writes. Fund notes that the Massachusetts senator (shown in photo) has stayed neutral on the 2016 race, telling Boston’s WBZ she doesn’t think anyone has been “anointed” as the Democrats’ candidate. Of course, Fund notes, Biden and Warren might be separated by actual positions on issues, particularly a 2005 Biden vote that was seen as friendly to credit-card companies. Warren is one of the Senate’s most vocal critics of the financial sector. Is Fund serious about them aligning? Or is his column just an attempt by a conservative-leaning journalist to weaken Clinton by encouraging dissent among Democrats?

Washington Post, Biden’s son discharged from Navy after positive cocaine test, Katie Zezima and Missy Ryan, Oct. 16, 2014. Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday. A lawyer and former lobbyist, Biden applied for a commission into the reserve as a public affairs officer at age 42. Last May, Hunter BidenPolitico reported, Hunter Biden named to Ukraine gas board. Reporter Lucy McCalmont wrote that he would join Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, Burisma Holdings. Biden, shown in a file photo, said the company will help strengthen Ukraine’s economy. See also, Reuters via Washington Post, Biden’s son discharged from Navy reserve after positive drug test, Staff report, Oct. 17, 2014. Vice President Biden’s son Hunter was discharged from the Navy reserve earlier this year, reportedly after testing positive for cocaine. worked as a part-time ensign in a public affairs unit.

Boston Globe, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren have a frosty past, Annie Linskey, Aug. 26, 2015. As Joe Biden mulls a presidential run, he’s aiming his legendary charm squarely at Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. For it to work, he must overcome an awkward history between the two. A look at the public record shows that clashes between the pair began more than a decade ago. The fraught relationship has improved in recent years, but their past would complicate a potential alliance should he decide to run for president — and, as some have speculated, ask her to join him on a ticket. 
Biden was an early opponent of Warren as she cut her teeth in national politics, and he became one of the first in a long list of Democrats to be called out by her for not sufficiently supporting the pro-middle class policies that she has made a reputation promoting. There’s the lengthy letter she penned in 2002 to The New York Times. In the missive she accused him of taking a position that made it harder for women to overcome debt and suggested a reason why: His home state is a place “where many banks and credit-card issuers are incorporated,” she wrote. Three years later they were still at it, continuing to debate on consumer debt, with Biden accusing her in 2005 of making a “mildly demagogic” argument as a witness before his Judiciary committee.New York Times, Biden’s Role in ’90s Crime Law Could Hurt Potential Bid, Nicholas Fandos, Aug. 21, 2015. A bipartisan coalition of activists and lawmakers is trying to undo the era of mass incarceration they say the 1994 crime bill helped create.

Joe Biden official portraitWashington Post, As Biden weighs a 2016 campaign, does he want to be the anti-Clinton? Dan Balz, Aug. 15, 2015. By many accounts, Vice President Biden has spent his vacation week mulling whether to run for president — again. The decision will test head and heart and involve no small amount of emotion. Tracking the story of is-he-or-isn’t-he-going-to-run is akin to chasing smoke, even to those who are loyal friends. Few people beyond his family are privy to his real thinking. Some Democrats say his advisers are making calls. Everyone looks for evidence of active pursuit of a campaign. Friends say they don’t yet sense a real campaign-in-the-making, and they doubt there ever will be. But they hedge.

Biden 'Bummers'

As Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chairman

Institute for Public Accuracy, Biden: What Kind of Foreign Policy “Experience”? Stephen Zunes, Aug. 23, 2008. Zunes is a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus. He said today: “One of Obama’s strongest distinctions from [2008 GOP nominee John] McCain was his wisdom and courage in opposing the invasion of Iraq. By choosing Biden, however, who was as big a backer of the war as the Republican nominee, Obama is now saying that this doesn’t really matter, thereby negating one of his biggest advantages. Biden’s ‘experience’ is that of a militarist whose contempt for international law has been apparent in hard-line positions on Iraq and other critical foreign policy issues.”

On July 29, 2002, when Biden was about to chair hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Institute for Public Accuracy quoted Scott Ritter, who had been a chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq, on a news release: “Sen. Joe Biden is running a sham hearing. It is clear that Biden and most of the Congressional leadership have pre-ordained a conclusion that seeks to remove Saddam Hussein from power regardless of the facts, and are using these hearings to provide political cover for a massive military attack on Iraq. These hearings have nothing to do with an objective search for the truth, but rather seek to line up like-minded witnesses who will buttress this pre-determined result." In fact, Biden had been in favor of attacking Iraq unilaterally for years: “The only way, the only way we’re going to get rid of Saddam Hussein is we’re going to end up having to start it alone — start it alone — and it’s going to require guys like you [Ritter] in uniform to be back on foot in the desert taking this son of a — the — taking Saddam down.” After Ritter articulated concerns about the Clinton administration’s Iraq policies, Biden told Ritter it was “above your pay grade.” (Sept. 3, 1998)

Biden As Rubber Stamp in U.S.-Ukraine Coup

Victoria NulandGeoffrey PyatttWashington Post, U.S. diplomat apologizes for profane remarks on E.U. in leaked phone call, Anne Gearan, Feb. 6, 2014. Victoria Nuland dismissively referred to slow-moving European efforts to address the crisis in Ukraine. The top U.S. diplomat for Europe apologized Thursday for comments about the European Union that were — to put it lightly — undiplomatic. “F--- the E.U.,” Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, left, said in a private telephone call to U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, right, that was intercepted and leaked online. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki acknowledged that the recording was authentic and said Nuland had apologized to E.U. officials. But U.S. officials were also quick to point the finger at Russia, which has bristled at U.S. involvement in Ukraine.

Washington Post, A quick guide to the people in the call on Ukraine, Terri Rupar, Feb. 6, 2014. Who Victoria Nuland is discussing in her phone call about the situation in Ukraine. In the call, Nuland, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and State Department spokeswoman, was dismissively referring to slow-moving European efforts to address political paralysis and a looming fiscal crisis in Ukraine. But it was the blunt nature of her remarks, rather than U.S. diplomatic calculations, that seemed exceptional. Nuland also assessed the political skills of Ukrainian opposition figures with unusual candor and, along with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, debated strategy for their cause, laying bare a deep degree of U.S. involvement in affairs that Washington officially says are Ukraine’s to resolve.

Victor YanukovychWashington Post, Political order overturned in Ukraine; President Yanukovych leaves Kiev, denies he has resigned, archrival is freed, William Booth and Will Englund, Feb. 22, 2013. In a day of fast-moving events that changed the political landscape of Ukraine and brought joy to protesters who had defied the government, the Ukrainian parliament voted Saturday evening to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovych from office, saying he was guilty of gross human rights violations and dereliction of duty.  Yulia Tymoshenko 2008 Wikipedia

Just a few hours after parliament voted to oust the president, his arch political enemy, Yulia Tymoshenko, shown in a 2008 photo and a key figure in Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, was freed from prison. Tymoshenko, a former two-term prime minister, was sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted in 2011 of abuse of power and embezzlement over her role in a deal to purchase natural gas from Russia. Her supporters and many Western countries said her trial and conviction were politically motivated. The president is shown in a formal portrait via Creative Commons.

Washington Post, U.N. Security Council unites to approve Syria resolution, Karen DeYoung, Feb. 22, 2014. The measure demands that the Syrian regime halt attacks on civilians and allow full humanitarian access.

Washington Post, At least 25 killed as Ukraine protests explode into chaos, Will Englund, Feb. 18, 2014. The European Union calls for an emergency session after the crisis in Kiev takes a violent turn, injuring more than 240 people. Deadly clashes between protesters and police in Kiev on Tuesday led to a fire-lit nighttime assault by Interior Ministry troops on the main protest encampment at Independence Square, in what may be a dramatic and irreversible turn in Ukraine’s months-long political crisis. The 28-nation European Union on Wednesday called a meeting of foreign ministers to decide on its response, including possible sanctions, the Associated Press reported. Sanctions could include travel bans targeting the Ukrainian leadership and asset freezes. After weeks of relative calm, trucks and tents burned, molotov cocktails smashed against police shields and banners illuminated by the flames whipped in the strong breeze. At least 25 people were reported killed and 240 injured in the latest flare-up of protests that began last fall after President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a trade deal with Europe and turned to Russia for financial help. For background, see speech by Victoria Nuland at the US-Ukraine Foundation on Dec. 13, 2013 where she describes how the United States has spent $5 billion on the Ukraine in recent years to help it achieve "its European aspirations."

Washington Post, ‘Unacceptable’ ... Germans upset by U.S. diplomat’s gaffe, Anthony Faiola, Feb. 7, 2014. Victoria Nuland State Department File PhotoReacting to a not-so-diplomatic remark on the E.U., Chancellor Merkel defends the efforts of its foreign policy chief. Germans were already smarting from revelations that U.S. intelligence listened in on the phone conversations of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Then came Nulandgate. On Thursday, a video was posted on YouTube in which Victoria Nuland, above, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, disparagingly dismissed European Union efforts to mediate the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine by bluntly saying, “F--- the E.U.”

Of Two Minds, Ukraine: A Deep State Analysis, Charles Hugh Smith, Feb. 27, 2014. It doesn't take any special insight into the situation in Ukraine to conclude that no one narrative illuminates all the dynamics. Various contesting Grand Narratives have emerged in the media-neofascist coup, rampant corruption, east versus west, to name a few. But these only describe a few of the regional fault lines and complexities. At my request, correspondent A.C. offered a preliminary Deep State analysis of the situation. A.C.'s perspective is informed by decades of experience in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic region. I recently discussed the Deep State in The Dollar and the Deep State, and offered this definition by Mike Lofgren [a former high-level GOP congressional aide with 28 years experience on military and budget issues]: The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. Let's start with the obvious Deep State agenda in Ukraine: energy. Nations with a strategic "vital interest" in the region's energy mix include Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Germany (and the rest of the European Union, which currently depends on natural gas piped through Ukraine from Russia), Romania and (of course) the United States, which maintains a strategic interest in every square meter of the planet (including the seas and ice caps). It's not much of a stretch to say that Russia's fiscal health and geopolitical influence are based on hydrocarbons--specifically gas and oil delivered to other nations for cash and/or political favors.

Family War Profiteering and Scandal

Hunter BidenPolitico, Hunter Biden named to Ukraine gas board, Lucy McCalmont, May 13, 2014. Hunter Biden, the younger son of Vice President Joe Biden, will be joining Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, the company announced in a statement. “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals,” Alan Apter, Burisma Holdings’ chairman of the board of directors, said in a statement, which was reported by The Moscow Times on Tuesday. Biden, shown in a file photo, said the company will help strengthen Ukraine’s economy. "Burisma’s track record of innovations and industry leadership in the field of natural gas means that it can be a strong driver of a strong economy in Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement.

Washington Post, Biden’s son discharged from Navy after positive cocaine test, Katie Zezima and Missy Ryan, Oct. 16, 2014. Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday. A lawyer and former lobbyist, Biden applied for a commission into the reserve as a public affairs officer at age 42.

CNN, Hunter Biden denies link to Ashley Madison, Tal Kopan, Aug. 25, 2015. The son of Vice President Joe Biden denied Tuesday that he had an account on Ashley Madison, despite an email address discovered on the hacked cheating website that matches one he used. The lawyer and business executive said in a statement that he did not create the account that appears on the site. "I am certain that the account in question is not mine," Biden said in a statement provided to CNN. "This account was clearly set up by someone else without my knowledge and I first learned about the account in question from the media." The existence of the account was first reported Monday by Breitbart News, which found the account information in searching through the huge trove of data on the site's users that was dumped online by hackers earlier this month. The conservative website reported that the account was registered to a Robert Biden in Washington, D.C., though the date of birth is off by 10 years. Biden's full name is Robert Hunter Biden. The account was from an "attached male" who was apparently seeking "anything goes." It was created in 2014.

 

Hillary Clinton Scandal Allegations & Popularity

Washington Post, How Huma Abedin operated at the center of the Clinton universe, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Aug. 27, 2015. New documents show the longtime Hillary Clinton aide juggling multiple jobs during her State Department stint.

Washington Post, Trump attacks longtime Clinton aide; Clinton’s camp fights back on Twitter, Anne Gearan, Aug. 28, 2015. Republican front-runner Donald Trump attacked longtime Hillary Rodham Clinton aide Huma Abedin on Friday, crudely joking about how Abedin's husband, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, was caught in a sexting scandal, and suggesting Abedin "can't see straight" for marrying the now disgraced Democrat. In rambling remarks in Norwood, Mass., on Friday evening, Trump referred to Clinton's political problems stemming from her use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state. Clinton "has a lot of problems," including that much information went through Abedin, Trump said.

Judicial Watch, Leadership Summit on Washington Corruption and the Transparency Crisis, Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president. Sept. 14, Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. Blockbuster panel discussions that will draw on the insights of key public figures that already include Fox News analyst Andy McCarthy, conservative Congressman Rep. Louie Gohmert, former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova, author and National Review editor John Fund. We plan to cover the whole mess here in Washington – from the Obama IRS attack on conservatives and churchgoers, Hillary Clinton corruption scandals (emails and cash), our deadly illegal immigration crisis and efforts to stop the Left from stealing our elections. The event site is a short walk to the U.S. Capitol, Union Station, U.S. Supreme Court, and the National Mall. But you may be too busy to sightsee!  Our panel discussions will fill Monday’s schedule, plus there is a luncheon featuring a special keynote speaker.  I hope you will be able to participate in this important Judicial Watch public education event.  The registration price is a modest $75.00 per person.  We have reserved a block of rooms at the Hyatt Regency for a special Judicial Watch Summit rate.

The Hill, Hillary vs. Media Malpractice, Brent Budowsky, Aug. 20, 2015. The political coverage of the 2016 campaign has reached epic levels of sloppiness and Hillary Clinton official photoshallowness, at a moment when public opinion toward major media has reached catastrophically low levels of trust, according to surveys from Gallup. According to the latest survey of institutional trust from Gallup, in June television news ranked near the bottom of public confidence in all American institutions, approaching the low levels of trust of the almost universally distrusted Congress. Newspapers barely ranked higher. Another Gallup survey in September 2014 was headlined “trust in mass media returns to all-time low.” When I charge media malpractice in the 2016 campaign I am in the good company of huge numbers of voters. The Clinton email issue involves a mistake but not a scandal. It involves a judgment call but emphatically not a crime by Hillary Clinton — a charge that is the biggest lie in American politics today. When The New York Times ran a front-page story that falsely suggested Clinton was being criminally investigated — a false charge that remains negligently legitimized by many media organizations today — at least the Times ultimately ran a correction of that sterling example of media malpractice. Regarding the emails themselves, based on all public evidence, Clinton did not send one classified email and did not receive one classified email. Anyone who has handled classified information, which I did during my days working for Democratic leaders in Congress, knows that classified information is clearly marked and labeled “confidential,” “secret,” or “top secret,” or whatever level of classification is justified.

Washington Post, The Hillary Clinton e-mail ‘scandal’ that isn’t, David Ignatius, Aug. 27, 2015. Does Hillary Clinton have a serious legal problem because she may have transmitted classified information on her private e-mail server? After talking with a half-dozen knowledgeable lawyers, I think this “scandal” is overstated. Using the server was a self-inflicted wound by Clinton, but it’s not something a prosecutor would take to court. “It’s common” that people end up using unclassified systems to transmit classified information, said Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel who’s now a partner at Arnold & Porter, where he often represents defendants suspected of misusing classified information.

Daily Howler, The nature of State Department email! Bob Somerby, Aug. 27, 2015.  Watching mid-afternoon CNN, we just saw Brooke Baldwin hyping a “bombshell report.” In a brand-new Quinnipiac poll, Biden performs a few points better than Clinton against the leading Republicans! In August of the year before, with Biden not even in the race, that’s a bombshell in much the same way that Baldwin is Pliny the Elder reborn. Our “journalists” routinely say it — they say they have a professional bias in favor of creating a lively race. Perhaps that explains why the corps is fluffing Biden. Perhaps it’s Clinton hatred. Whatever it is, it isn’t journalistic. This brings us back to the press corps’ ongoing obsession with the Clinton email non-probe. We say non-probe for a reason.

By now, any news org — in theory, that includes CNN — could have catalogued the issues involved in the email matter. As far as we know, there are two major claims: First claim: Clinton put national security at risk by using a non-secure email account. Also, Clinton stymied FOIA requests by maintaining her own server. By now, CNN, or anyone else, could have created a coherent account of the various charges, crazy and otherwise, being made against Clinton. No one has done so because our imitation, Potemkin “news orgs” simply don’t function that way.  That isn’t what our “news orgs” do. Instead, they spend two years obsessing over meaningless polls while gossiping about a wide assortment of silly distractions.

'HRC" Hillary Rodham Clinton CoverWashington Post, Book World: ‘HRC,’ inside Clinton’s State Dept. and the political machine, Liza Mundy, Feb. 6, 2014. Deeply reported and ably written by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, the book [HRC, shown at left] is a step-by-step recounting of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, but it’s also a revealing window into the le Carré-like layers of intrigue that develop when a celebrity politician who is married to another celebrity politician loses to yet another celebrity politician, and goes on to serve the politician who defeated her. Loyalty: such a rich and complex word. It emerges as a theme through the book. In this way, the book tells a number of stories. It is the story of Hillary Clinton’s foray into global diplomacy as well as management of a vast bureaucracy; and of her resurrection from the setback and mistakes of 2008.

AP via US News, Associated Press sues over access to records involving FBI's dissemination of fake news story, Michael Biesecker, Aug. 27, 2015. The AP sued the U.S. Department of Justice Thursday over the FBI's failure to provide public records related to the creation of a fake news story used to plant surveillance software on a suspect's computer. AP joined with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to file the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. At issue is a 2014 Freedom of Information request seeking documents related to the FBI's decision to send a web link to the fake article to a 15-year-old boy suspected of making bomb threats to a high school near Olympia, Washington. The link enabled the FBI to infect the suspect's computer with software that revealed its location and Internet address. AP strongly objected to the ruse, which was uncovered last year in documents obtained through a separate FOIA request made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

 

Sniping at Sanders

Sam Husseini.com, Lousy Food, Small Servings -- Sanders Foreign Policy: Backing Saudi Intervention, Aug. 27, 2015. There's an old joke about two elderly men at a Catskill resort. One complains: "The food here is horrible." The other vigorously agrees: "Yeah, I know -- and the portions are so damn small!" Several writers have noted Bernie Sanders' scant comments about foreign policy -- small portions. But another problem is the little that he has articulated in terms of foreign policy -- the foreign policy issue that he's been most passionate about really -- is extremely regressive and incredibly dangerous. That issue is the role of Saudi Arabia. Sanders has actually pushed for the repressive regime to engage in more intervention in the Mideast. In discussing ISIS, Sanders invariably has talked about Saudi Arabia as the solution rather than a large part of the problem. It's couched in language that seems somewhat critical, but the upshot is we need more Saudi influence and intervention in the region. In effect, more and bigger proxy wars, which have already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands in Syria and could even further rip apart Iraq, Libya and other countries.

CBS News, Hillary Clinton: Monica Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon,"  Rebecca Kaplan, Feb. 10, 2014. An archive of correspondence, diary entries, memos and notes from conversations kept by one of Hillary Clinton’s closest friends portray her as “a strong, ambitious and ruthless Democratic operative,” according to a conservative website that went through the documents. The papers offer a look at Hillary Clinton’s mindset through some of the most difficult parts of her husband’s presidency, including the Monica Lewinsky scandal. According to the friend, Diane Blair -- a political science professor whose papers were donated to the University of Arkansas Special Collections library – Hillary Clinton, right, credited Bill Clinton with trying to break away from Lewinsky, whom she called a “narcissistic loony toon.” She also said Hillary Clinton said a series of personal tragedies like the death of friend Vince Foster, her father and Bill’s mother took a toll on their marriage, as did the “ugly forces” that attacked them, according to the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on the documents. “They adopted strategy, public strategy, of acting as tho it didn’t bother them; had to. [Hillary] didn’t realize toll it was taking on him,” Blair wrote. “She thinks she was not smart enough, not sensitive enough, not free enough of her own concerns and struggles to realize the price he was paying.”

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Bush Family, from left, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Jeb Bush

Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

Washington Post, The story behind the Trump-Bush feud, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Aug. 27, 2015. Trump's remarks on his fellow candidate are the latest manifestation of decades of discord between the mogul and Bushes. Donald Trump spent a day in January 2014 hobnobbing with politicians at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. But as they tapped putts on the manicured greens, something else was on Trump’s mind: Jeb Bush. “He was trashing Jeb and, quite honestly, I don’t think he’s ever held Jeb in high regard,” said Crisafulli, a Bush supporter who said he was “uncomfortable” with the conversation and defended the former Florida governor to Trump. Trump’s jeering that day was a harbinger of the taunts and derision that the 2016 GOP front-runner has directed at Bush on the campaign trail this summer. The feud between the two leading Republicans, which has escalated in recent days, is shaping up as a defining dynamic at this early stage of the race. And considering Trump’s dominant status in polls and Bush’s fundraising dominance, the tensions between the two are likely to be a factor for weeks or months to come as each candidate attempts to topple the other on his way to the nomination. The 2016 campaign is only the latest manifestation of decades of discord between Trump and the Bush family. Since the gilded 1980s, when Trump and George H.W. Bush rose as forces in their respective spheres, the relationship between Trump and the Bushes has been a melodrama — veering between displays of public affection and acerbic insults.

OpEdNews, Insouciance Rules The West, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in a file photo), Aug. 19, 2015. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was assistant Treasury secretary during the Reagan administration and later associate editor at the Wall Street Journal.  Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency until his retirement in August 2014, has confirmed that the Obama regime Paul Craig Robertsdisregarded his advice and made a willful decision to support the jihadists who now comprise ISIS. Here we have an American government so insouciant, and with nothing but tunnel vision, empowering the various elements that comprise Washington's excuse for the "war on terror" and the destruction of several countries. Just as the idiot Europeans produce their own refugee problems, the idiot Americans produce their own terrorist problems. It is mindless. And there is no end to it.

In American politics, interest groups are more powerful than the elected politicians. Look around you. The federal agencies created to oversea the well-being of the national forests, public lands, air and water are staffed with the executives of the very polluting and clear-cutting industries that the agencies are supposed to be regulating. Without a strong movement behind him, from whose ranks a president can staff an administration committed to major changes, the president is in effect a captive of the private interests who finance political campaigns. Reagan is the only president of our time who had even a semblance of a movement behind him, and the "Reaganites" in his administration were counter-balanced by the Bush Establishment Republicans.

Huffington Post, Turkey Pays Former CIA Director and Lobbyists to Misrepresent Attacks on Kurds and ISIS, Harut Sassounian, Aug. 19, 2015. Thousands of articles have been published worldwide in recent weeks exposing Turkey's strategic trickery — using the pretext of fighting ISIS to carry out a genocidal bombing campaign against the Kurds who have courageously countered ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The Wall Porter Goss official CIA photoStreet Journal reported on August 12 that a senior US military official accused Turkey of deceiving the American government by allowing its use of Incirlik airbase to attack ISIS, as a cover for President Erdogan's war on Kurdish fighters (PKK) in northern Iraq. So far, Turkey has carried out 300 air strikes against the PKK, and only three against ISIS! Erdogan's intent in punishing the Kurds is to gain the sympathy of Turkish voters in the next parliamentary elections, enabling his party to win an outright majority and establish an autocratic presidential theocracy.

To conceal its deception and mislead the American public, within days of starting its war on the Kurds, Ankara hired Squire Patton Boggs for $32,000 a month, as a subcontractor to the powerful lobbying firm, the Gephardt Group. Among the U.S. lobbyists for Turkey, perhaps the most questionable is Porter Goss (shown in an official photo as CIA Director from 2004 to 2006), who has agreed to sell his soul and possibly U.S. national secrets for a fistful of Turkish Liras.