Please, Lord, Let This Be the Last of Hunter

Just take your deal and go away.

Please, Lord, Let This Be the Last of Hunter
And those beautiful things cost a lot of Burisma money.

Now, kids, this is going to be a bit of a hopscotch, but hopefully worthwhile as we'll go from, yes, Hunter, to Ted (R-Cancun), some etymological history and just a couple of things that stick in my craw as I watch the news.

But, since it is the current subject of Fox angertainment, let's talk Hunter. I wrote about this guy a little over a year ago, read it here, and frankly my opinion of him hasn't changed in the slightest. He is a man, born to every advantage, though with some troubled early years of family trauma, given the death of his mother and sister, but had every chance to rise above as his brother did. And don't we all hate being compared to our siblings?

"Oh, you mean Mr. Perfect? Lawyer, soldier, Attorney General?"

Now, having an accomplished sib is a cross many of us have borne and simply moved on with our lives. But Hunter seems to have taken it as his cue to trod another path, one that had a warning sign reading "Monstrous F**k-up's Ahead!"

If you want all the details, read my earlier piece, but let's skip to the chase and his penance for a life that is an ode to bad planning. Oh, there was money and blow and hookers and all that, but on balance, if you look up family disappointment in the dictionary, you'll see a photo of Hunter with a soiled dove in some dingy hotel room.

So, as I explained in my last piece on the silly Joe Biden "Affair" Hunter's sweetheart deal with Burisma Holdings in Ukraine, ended due to the policy of his dad's administration, and his deals in China came to an end as well. All his life he made money peddling his family name, no doubt with the assumption being, the name meant influence. It didn't and when the IRS caught wind that he hadn't paid taxes on about $3-million in income, the piper had to be paid.

Hunter seems to have taken it as his cue to trod another path, one that had a warning sign reading "Monstrous F**k-up's Ahead!"

He had also, along the way, bought a pistol and lied on the 4473 form you fill out when you buy a gun, swearing you aren't a felon, mentally ill, a drug addict, etc. Being a Texan, I've bought a few guns in my life, and once asked a friend at a gun shop, "Does anyone ever answer yes to any of these questions?" He told me that, surprisingly, they had. He had to stifle laughter when telling them they would not be leaving his store armed.

Now, these are the two items he has been charged with, and I agree, a reasonable case could be made that you could add a couple more like failure to register as a foreign agent, or romping with hookers and Peruvian marching powder, but that is the decision of a prosecutor, one that in this case is a Republican appointee who took the case during the Trump administration.

As to the "sweetheart deal" Hunter got on the tax charges. Forbes magazine said this...

Typically, failure to pay does not result in jail time. It's considered a misdemeanor and usually results in fines of up to $25,000, though prison time of up to a year can be tacked on if the situation warrants.
According to the court documents, the tax liability was related to combined income of $3 million for those two years—$1.5 million per year. In 2021, Biden claimed to have paid the IRS what he owed. However, paying the liability after the due date (in this case, April 17, 2018, for the 2017 tax year and April 15, 2019, for the 2018 tax year) doesn't mean a crime was not committed.
A misdemeanor failure to pay can be escalated to a felony in some cases. According to the Department of Justice manual, those involve individuals who fail to file tax returns or pay a tax “but who also commit acts of evasion or obstruction.” In that case, the charges would be brought as felonies under sections 7201 or 7212(a). That’s not the case here—likely because Biden paid the tax due and was cooperating with authorities.

So, 'fess up, pay the bill and cooperate, and the odds are you won't go to jail either. Well, and get a crackerjack lawyer. As to the gun charge, lying on the purchase form is rarely prosecuted. KERA TV in Dallas researched the records and found...

In 2017, there were over 8.6 million 4473 applications filed to purchase a gun, the report said. About 112,000 applications were rejected. The ATF investigated 12,710 of those cases, while just 12 were prosecuted. That means of all the investigations, only .09 percent were taken to court.
“If you're that sort of nefarious person, there’s really not a penalty,” said Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense.

A lot of that is simply a matter of manpower. The ATF doesn't have the people to follow up, and local police simply don't have the time. If your argument, like Hunter's, is that you didn't think your history fit the categories, it will be classified as an honest mistake. I know, with this guy, that is an oxymoron, but the fact remains it isn't generally prosecuted.

But the charge is now that there is a two-tiered system of justice, one for the prominent and one for the rest of us. The answer to that is, of course, yes. Now, why a Republican-appointed prosecutor, U.S. Attorney David Weiss, was given the case by the Bill Barr Justice Department, and then chose these charges over other possibilities, is indeed puzzling. Some IRS investigators have said in Congress that they thought the whole affair was stymied by Justice, but the early part was certainly not given that it was, well, Bill Barr.

A very pudgy wet finger in the wind. 

But did Mr. Weiss ignore the last name of his investigatory subject? Oh, come on. But as I said in my earlier piece, having the last name of Biden, Trump, Kennedy or any other accomplished family is a time-honored ticket to the executive suite. Tucker Carlson wrote Hunter a thank you note for helping get his kid into Georgetown, for heaven's sake.

"Thanks buddy. Now can you get me back on Fox?" 

Now, it's time for the "Whataboutism Alert."

For example, many, mainly on Fox, are talking about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a legitimate challenger for the Democratic nomination. Why? Look at the name, does it ring a bell? His conspiracy theories would be instantly disqualifying for anyone not named RFK Jr. He is honestly, a nut who has sullied the name of his famous and historic forebears.

Honestly, I'd vote for Marianne Williamson first. 

Did you know that Malia Obama is going to make her directorial debut? I know, she just graduated from Harvard (?) in 2021. But according to Variety...

Malia works as a staff writer on the Amazon Prime series Swarm, which premiered on March 17, 2023. The show is the latest project from Atlanta creator and star Donald Glover and his co-creator Janine Nabers.
Donald gushed over Malia's talent, telling Vanity Fair in March 2022, “She’s just like, an amazingly talented person. She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.” The multihyphenate added, “I feel like she's just somebody who's gonna have really good things coming soon. Her writing style is great.
Donald later revealed in an April 4, 2023, interview with GQ that he has continued to mentor Malia following her work on Swarm. He said that she has her sights set on becoming a filmmaker and director and is working on a short film with his new production company, Gilga.

May I say modestly, my daughter is also " amazingly talented person. She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.” But my talented daughter is doing regional theater in Washington State, so, apparently, the name Gray, doesn't carry the same cachet.

In addition to hookers, Hunter shared his bed with Chinese companies, according to his laptop. But to be fair...

The Chinese government granted a total of 41 trademarks to companies linked to Ivanka Trump by April of 2019—and the trademarks she applied for after her father became president got approved about 40% faster than those she requested before Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election.
"We're getting out while the getting's good."

And of course, her husband's work on Middle East peace has borne fruit. No not actual peace, you idiot, but this from Rolling Stone...

JARED KUSHNER AND Steve Mnuchin traveled through the Middle East in the weeks before Trump left office, ostensibly to raise money for the Abraham Fund, which was supposed to fund various development initiatives in the region. The New York Times reported on Monday, however, that the fund was essentially a shell, that it dissolved after the former president left office, and that Kushner and Mnuchin’s own firms went on to land hundreds of millions of dollars from the nations they visited while working in the White House.
Kushner has since pitched investing in his firm, Affinity Partners, as a way to uphold the Abraham Accords, the 2020 peace agreement between the U.S., Israel, and the UAE that inspired the creation of the Abraham Fund, according to the Times.
The report comes a month after the Times reported that Affinity Partners received $2 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund six months after Trump left office. The fund’s advisers thought Kushner was too sketchy to warrant such a large investment, but they were overruled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Times noted on Monday that Mnuchin received $1 billion from Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund, plus $500 million from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar.

No, none of this excuses Hunter, nor is it meant to. Quite frankly, I find him a fairly useless remora who is sucking up oxygen we all could use. But as Fitzgerald said in "The Great Gatsby," the rich are different from you and me. Or as my father used to say, "Oh, grow up." By the way, and in the spirit of Hunter's famous text, Hemingway is sitting right next to me in this room as I write this, so you better read it or I promise you, he'll be angry and we won't forget that you didn't. I don't have the WhatsApp app so I just stuck it in here, but you have been warned.

Seriously, there are no-doubt lots of shady things Hunter could have been charged with, but shady isn't necessarily illegal. Sitting on the Burisma board wasn't illegal. Doing business with Chinese companies isn't illegal or the shelves at WalMart would be empty, along with Ivanka's fashion displays. Hookers? Tough to prove, and even if you could, it's not a prison offense. Coke? Statute of limitations is two years. Oh, Hunter did all of that and probably more, but if you are Mr. Weiss, you have to make a case. Possible charges of money laundering or not registering as a foreign agent have been floated, but IRS investigators don't have to present to a Grand Jury. The prosecutor does and with a case he thinks he can win. Taxes and lying on a gun form is what you have and they rarely result in prison time.

So, again, Hunter Biden is an embarrassment. Joe no doubt is gritting his brilliant caps when he says, "I'm proud of my son." He is today's Billy Carter, but sleazier. But he is just that. If there is more involving dad, as I said last week, I'd love to see it. If not, let the campaign begin.

You may not think Bud Light is a crucial national issue, but I beg to differ. 

Moving on now; if you are worried that your elected representatives are, I don't know, maybe wasting their time and your money, I got a press release the other day from US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Cancun). The Tedster had his staff blow off any research on Ukraine, the budget, or any other mundane issue and research the Bud Light promotion with a trans "influencer", and how I hate that term, named Dylan Mulvaney. Now, I think the misguided, though extremely limited, exercise in broadening their market has proven to be imprudent, Budweiser has certainly paid a price for this experiment.

But that's not enough for our Ted. He had his staff do some research and actually published a press release with data from online sources that Dylan Mulvaney, whoever the hell this guy is, has an audience that skews younger than the age limit Instagram requires for advertising for alcohol. Although I feel certain Anheuser-Busch will not make this mistake again, I'm glad to have the info Ted felt was crucial to helping hurt an American company. By the way, the sales slump has allowed a Mexican company, Modelo, to supplant Bud Light as the top selling US brand. Too bad he wasn't around to damage Coca-Cola over "New Coke." Now, he can get back to studying the best fares from KAYAK.

Thanks, Ted.

Now, to pet peeves. Sometime back, Republicans started calling the Democratic party the "Democrat" Party. Why? Because it was a perceived slight, and they think you're stupid. According to NPR, they didn't want people to think that only the Democrats were in favor of democracy. Was that how you saw it? Well, they are glad to disabuse you of that little fantasy.

From the NPR story...

"Why Republicans asked for years, should we allow the Democrats to get away with the adjective 'democratic'?" wrote New York Times language maven William Safire in 1984. "As a result, partisan Republicans, especially those who had been head of the Republican National Committee, called the opposition 'the Democrat party.'"

Surely a "language maven" like Safire, whom I've met, interviewed and was a very genial fellow, knows that Democratic is an adjective and Democrat is a noun?

Wikipedia says...

The Democratic Party evolved from the Jeffersonian Republican or Democratic-Republican Party organized by Jefferson and Madison in opposition to the Federalist Party.[54] The Democratic-Republican Party favored republicanism; a weak federal government; states' rights; agrarian interests (especially Southern planters); and strict adherence to the Constitution.

So both names had a common beginning. But, frankly, it is simply dumb. If Senator Schumer starts calling the Republican Party the "Republic" Party lest you think only Republicans really believe in the American Republic, you have my permission to give him a Bronx cheer as well. It's silly and though it's been done by the likes of Newt Gingrich and others, it's time to call each party what they are actually named. Perhaps the folks doing this think you are actually the dumb ones.

And I also propose to stop calling it democracy and simply go with Covfefe.

More pet peeves?

If I hear the word 'weaponize" used one more time, I will weaponize an actual weapon and am not responsible for what happens next.

Next, there is a real effort to demonize a movement in industry, academia, and even the military toward what is termed DEI - diversity, equity, and inclusion. When exactly did these qualities become negative? I'd really like an explanation from someone about why a diverse workforce, military unit, or student body treated equitably and feeling welcome is a bad thing. Please, I'll wait.

Finally the war on "woke." Just stop. It has gone from a term that originated in the black community to encourage folks to be aware, up to date, in the know about issues that are of importance to an ignorant catch-all for anything deemed liberal. Or simply anything you don't like. So, I'm begging now. Just, for the love of all that's holy, stop.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.