Dog, The Money Hunter...Well, OK, Dope and Sex, Too
It's going to be an issue in any upcoming Presidential campaign, whether we like it or not. So, Roger Gray weighs in on the Hunter Biden laptop and is shocked, shocked to find a famous kid is trading on the family fame. What in the name of Javanka is going on here?
Let's just lay this out on the record. Hunter Biden is a slimy little guy. OK, that's not entirely fair. He's a slimy little Yale-educated lawyer. No, not really complete. He's a slimy little Yale-educated lawyer family name dropper.
There, that's more like it. Now, for the fairness part of this piece. His childhood was fairly traumatic. He and his brother Beau were traveling in a car with his mother and sister in 1972 when Mom and his sister were killed in a crash. He and Beau were seriously injured and Hunter sustained head injuries, so...
Not drawing conclusions here, but just mentioning. Now, this is no excuse for his life, which makes Charlie Sheen look like Pat Boone, since his brother also went to an Ivy League law school, was an Army Reserve officer who served in a war zone, and was elected Attorney General of Delaware. Don't you hate high achieving brothers? I know mine do.
Then Beau died tragically of a brain tumor and Hunter is the only sibling left. So, what do you do? Well, mostly, he kept failing up. Executive VP of a bank holding company, the Department of Commerce under President Clinton, Board of Directors of AMTRAK under George W. and then a lobbyist. The word is he and his dad had a deal. I don't tell you who I represent, and you don't ask.
So far, so good, right? When Dad was running with Barack Obama in 2008, it was time to divest, he declared. Here's what Wikipedia says from that point on...
"Biden is a capital investments professional with an interest in funding early-stage natural resource extraction and technology companies. In 2006, Biden and his uncle James Biden purchased international hedge fund Paradigm Global Advisors; Hunter was interim CEO of the fund for five years, until 2011. In September 2008, Biden launched a consultancy company named Seneca Global Advisors that offered to help companies expand into foreign markets. Biden, Devon Archer and Christopher Heinz founded the investment and advisory firm Rosemont Seneca Partners in 2009. He also co-founded venture capital firm Eudora Global. He held the position of counsel in the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in 2014. Biden was on the board of directors of World Food Program USA, a 501(c)(3) charity based in Washington, D.C. that supports the work of the UN World Food Program from 2011 to 2017; he served as board chairman from 2011 to 2015."
So, the natural question occurs to anyone with the brains God gave small dinner salads. If his last name weren't Biden, would any of that have happened? Are you nuts? Of course not. If Ivanka Trump were not named Ivanka Trump, would she have a clothing line? She'd be an attractive blond girl in Brooklyn with a slightly larger nose, weaker chin and, uh, well, you know.
If your name is Kennedy, Trump, Bush, Bentsen, Gates or any other bold-faced member of the nomenklatura in this country, you have a leg up. Hell, you have a life up. And apparently, Hunter was willing to tuck that ball under his arm and run for daylight.
So far, OK. Who of us wouldn't have invoked our dad's name to gain some stock options, eh? But, Hunter was, well, making a name elsewhere at the time. In 2013, Hunter decided to emulate Beau, and at the age of 43, enlisted in the Naval Reserve. He got an age waiver and the Navy looked the other way about an earlier drug conviction and he was immediately commissioned an officer. But, Dad's pride only lasted a month. Seriously, one month. A cocaine incident resulted in him being quietly discharged. The quiet part, again, no doubt, due to being a guy named Biden. Well, OK, I'm sure he's charming, but let's face it, it's the Biden deal.
Best we can tell, the drug stuff continued, but not enough to interfere with our hero joining the board of a shady energy company in Ukraine named Burisma Holdings, the largest private oil and gas extracting company in the country, controlled by founder Mykola Zlochevskiy, who had served as a Cabinet minister under former pro-Russian Presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yanukovych. More about the latter in a minute.
Meanwhile, and with our guy, there is always a meanwhile, when Beau died in 2015, Hunter waited all of a year to start dating his widow, Hallie. The problem with this was he was married to Kathleen Biden, soon to become the former wife. Did I gloss over dating his dead brother's widow? Let me reiterate, he dated his late brother's widow a year after the funeral. Now, I had a friend date a girl I broke up with in college, but I don't think that compares. Did I mention the out-of-wedlock child with an exotic dancer? OK, all right, the boy got around.
But, his slimeball bonafides being established, let's get to the meat. And to be frank, the meat gets a little complicated. Hunter was involved with Burisma in Ukraine at a time when the President of that country was not the t-shirted George Washington we know now. It was a guy named Viktor Yanukovych, who had Vladimir Putin's number on his speed dial. It was a pro-Russian, incredibly corrupt regime.
While this is happening, that Easter Island statue in a dark suit, Vladimir Putin, invaded and took Crimea and then Russian and pro-Russian forces invade the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and took control, starting a war that continues today and has killed more than 13,000 people. And that was before the current invasion.
So, the Ukrainians said enough and voted in Petro Poroshenko as President after he promised a pro-western foreign policy.
The US, meanwhile, had worked with the British government to seize the assets of the Burisma El Jefe. And, as Ryan Goodman wrote for the website Just Security,
"George Kent, who was then-senior anti-corruption coordinator in the State Department’s European Bureau and was in Ukraine temporarily as acting deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, met with a deputy of Prosecutor General Yarema, according to his closed congressional testimony. Kent, who had long pushed Ukrainian prosecutors for investigations into Zlochevskiy (The head of Burisma), “scolded” the deputy prosecutor for having “shut the criminal case” that had been the basis for a U.K. court freezing Zlochevskiy’s assets, demanding, “Who took the bribe and how much was it?” Kent asked. Kent’s effort was coordinated with the Justice Department."
Hunter's dad was sent by President Obama, with the urging of the European Union and out in the open for all to see, to tell the Ukrainian puppet to fish or cut bait. Fire the state prosecutor, who resembled something out of Erin Brokovich, and clean up the country's act or the money train comes to a halt just outside the beltway. He did, a real prosecutor was hired and the aid continued.
Many saw this, and when Hunter's business dealings were revealed, came the A-HA! Dad was getting the president of the country to call off the watchdogs to protect the kid. The only problem with that scenario was the watchdog had been bribed with a big juicy steak to look the other way. And telling the equally shady Prez to hire an honest one who'll shut down these crooks is not the way to keep the boy out of trouble.
As the President would say, here's the deal. Hunter was either greedy or stoned or both, but knowing all that was swirling around Burisma, news reports that mentioned his involvement, the optics of his father being the point man in helping clean up the literal Chernobyl of corruption in the country with the real Chernobyl, he still stayed on until 2019. The investigation of the company ultimately is ended, and our boy Hunter was cleared of any wrongdoing, in Ukraine at least.
I left out Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's conviction for Ukrainian lobbying, Lev Parnas and 45's own Deputy Dawg, Rudy Giuliani prowling Kiev to sniff out any hint of corruption. Nah, who are we kidding? He got more action from Sacha Baron Cohen than in Ukraine.
That brings us almost up to date. As the 2020 election approached, President Trump was told that the President of Ukraine, by now Volodymyr Zelenskyy, might have some dirt on Hunter, well in truth, who didn't, and might be induced to share it. Thus the "perfect phone call," which was anything but, then the impeachment and the rest of the story. Yes, of course it was blackmail for crying out loud, threatening to hold up military assistance, and it was impeachable. But, you know, politics.
Oh, and did I mention that Hunter was also doing lucrative business in China? Well, of course he was. So all of this tangled business and personal mess was laid before a grand jury in Delaware, who are still meeting, but then there was the infamous laptop. Now, in his autobiography, Hunter is forthright about his use of drugs, and how else would you explain leaving a laptop computer with business emails and salacious photos at a repair shop, coincidentally owned by a staunch Republican? Initially dismissed as a red herring, it appears that much of the contents are indeed real.
Hunter was investigated for tax evasion, and he anted up the required levies. The grand jury investigation continues though, and our boy's extensive contracts and contacts throughout the world bring up possible failure to register as a foreign lobbyist, you know, like Manafort.
So, you may wonder, why am I going to all this trouble? Because there will no doubt be attempts to tie all this to Joe Biden. OK, the President has made a good bit of money since leaving the Vice-Presidency, mostly from speaking fees and book deals. And unlike some we could name, his tax return has been made public for last year and several years before that...
And, you may ask, why has he not condemned his son for his dubious business connections? Because it's his only living child and we all have a blind spot when it comes to our progeny.
So, Hunter's personal life will not be part of a Lifetime Channel movie anytime soon. And profiting off his family name seems to be par for the course in political families. For example, the Kushners made an estimated $640 million while serving in the White House. Some came from the Hotel President Trump bought just down the street, and which foreign dignitaries and party officials were encouraged to use. This from the Quixotically named Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington...
"One major factor in their outside profits came from Ivanka Trump’s ownership stake in the Trump Hotel in DC, just blocks from the White House and the locus of influence-peddling in the Trump administration. Before business slowed down due to the pandemic, the couple paid a combined 23 visits to the hotel. All told, Ivanka made more than $13 million from the hotel since 2017, dropping from about $4 million a year between 2017 and 2019 to about $1.5 million last year, at least in part due to the pandemic. On top of the drop in revenue, there’s an unexplained drop in the value of her ownership. Having previously claimed it to be worth between $5 million and $25 million, in her final disclosure she listed it as only worth $100,000 to $250,000. She did not report selling any of her ownership share in the hotel."
Before you charge me with whataboutism, the point here is that political scions trade on the family name on a regular basis, even if they ostensibly work in the White House. One of Hunter's partners was the son of the late Sen. John Heinz, and step-son of former Secretary of State John Kerry. Neil Bush and the S&L scandal, the "Champagne Squadron" at Ellington Air force Base during Viet Nam and on and on.
Whether it's getting into an Ivy League school, avoiding a war, getting a leg up in elective politics or opening doors for you in business, it's done and in some cases, like this one, it stinks. It would help, of course, if Hunter's antics only involved money or combat like the ones mentioned above. But, add in a personal life that makes Bill Clinton look like a Baptist preacher, well, if that preacher is Jimmy Swaggart, and it has to be increasingly hard for dad to keep saying "I'm proud of my son."
Will that blind eye toward his boy cost him in 2024? Could well, along with many other legitimate issues the country is facing. The question voters will face is where to go next.
And let's add this into the mix. We now have the former President publically asking, wait for it, Vladimir Putin for help digging up dirt on Hunter. And, if he can take a break from wiping out thousands of Ukrainians, he might just do it. But how in the world did Trump think this public request was, in any universe that values sanity, a good idea? Really? I mean, that went so well the first time. And the reaction from his fellow Republicans? Crickets are deafening by comparison.
There's a meme floating around that I think sums it up for me. What if we all promise to be real good and skip the next election?