Saturday, August 26, 2023

A Tale of Two Parties - Lawrence Kadish


by Lawrence Kadish

The tale of two political parties will have much to answer for as historians far in the future study its legacy.


(Image source: iStock)

Among his opening words of Charles Dickens' classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, he captures the enormous decisions, challenges, and choices that face people, institutions, and nations:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

Those choices can lead either to chaos or triumph.

While much has been said about the recent Republican presidential debate, our nation's most important focus would probably be better spent on the policies of the representatives currently running the United States of America. Many of these politicians and officials have created a tale of two profoundly different parties -- in their policies, values and their vision for the country. What once was a party that might leave a voter disagreeing with certain issues, at least one could respect its core principles.

No more.

What once was the party of FDR, Truman, and Kennedy appears to be in the throes of being torn apart by those whose agenda seeks to make government -- not the voters -- ever more rich, more centralized, and more intrusive in our daily lives. They have increased the national debt, which now tops out at more than $32 trillion -- more than the 2022 GDP of only $25 trillion. With interest on the debt of more than $1 trillion annually, it is capable of crushing America as no foreign nation ever could.

Long gone from the US pantheon of leaders are the great statesmen above. They have been replaced by politicians who have been accused of racist antisemitism (here , here and here), of being "compromised" by China ( here and here), and even of endangering "national security." The mental decline of America's current leaders (here and here) is painfully on view every day to world leaders in Communist China, Iran, Russia and North Korea, who have made no secret of their wish replace America, which they seem to view as the only obstacle between them and global supremacy.

Nor is the current administration even remotely attracting "the best and brightest" of a generation that once rallied to JFK. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has presided over a fiscal policy that is being slammed. Then there are, according to reports, allegations of "perceived corruption" at the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, and IRS with a budget of $80 billion in new funding to hire 87,000 new agents -- with 4,600 guns and five million rounds of ammunition (!) -- and a Department of Transportation that has allowed the FAA to become so understaffed that there is now an epidemic of near-misses being reported by airline pilots.

The tale of two political parties will have much to answer for as historians far in the future study its legacy. They will be deeply puzzled as to how a once wise and seasoned leadership, that included giants such as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, allowed its party to become hijacked. Now, sadly, it is a party that embraces policies that invite aggression (here, here and here), such open contempt for Americans that it refers to parents who attend school board meetings as "domestic terrorists" and Catholics who prefer a mass in Latin as "domestic extremists."

Sadly, Dickens might well observe that this tale of two parties has left our country with no happy ending -- it really did become a "winter of despair."

Lawrence Kadish serves on the Board of Governors of Gatestone Institute.


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Former top Ukraine prosecutor comes out swinging against Joe and Hunter Biden: Exclusive interview - Thomas Catenacci , Thomas Phippen


by Thomas Catenacci , Thomas Phippen

'I have no doubt that there were illegal activities engaged in by Burisma,' Shokin tells Fox News


In an exclusive interview with Fox News, former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin detailed the involvement he believed President Biden, the then-vice president, played in his firing and how it involved Hunter Biden's business dealings.

During the interview with Fox News' Brian Kilmeade, Shokin said he was ousted in 2016 because he was investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company where Hunter Biden served on the board. Shokin also claimed that Joe and Hunter Biden accepted bribes in the case, and that the then-vice president ultimately hurt America's reputation and created the groundwork for Russia to invade Ukraine.

"I have said repeatedly in my previous interviews that Poroshenko fired me at the insistence of the then Vice President Biden because I was investigating Burisma," Shokin told Fox News in the interview which aired Saturday evening.

"You understood me correctly, this is how it was," he added after a follow-up question from Kilmeade about Biden's involvement. "There were no complaints whatsoever and no problems with how I was performing at my job. But because pressure was repeatedly put on [then-Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko, that is what ended up in him firing me."



Shokin did not provide additional evidence of his claim that the Bidens accepted bribes or elaborate on the allegation. 

In March 2016, Poroshenko ousted Shokin, who was appointed one year earlier, after facing pressure from the U.S. government. The international community, led by the U.S. and then-Vice President Biden who led U.S.-Ukraine policy, believed Shokin was allowing corruption to fester in the nation's government and his own office.

In December 2015, Biden traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, where he demanded Poroshenko root out corruption and fire Shokin, threatening to withhold a key U.S. aid package. During a speech delivered with the country's leaders present, Biden said the Office of the General Prosecutor "desperately needs reform" and warned about the dangers posed by corruption in the government.

Biden urged Ukrainian president to fire Shokin

A year after leaving the White House, Biden recounted his closed-door conversations with Poroshenko during the 2015 trip. He explained how he told Ukrainian officials the U.S. would withhold up to $1 billion in aid money earmarked for their country if Shokin remained in his position.


"I said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to – we’re not going to give you the billion dollars.’ They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said –.' I said, ‘Call him,’" Biden recounted during a January 2018 event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations. "I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the $1 billion.’"

"I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here,'" Biden continued. "I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."


Republican lawmakers and Shokin himself, however, have pointed to Shokin's investigation of Burisma and its owner Mykola Zlochevsky at the time of his ouster. In February 2016, one month before Shokin was fired, his office filed a legal petition to seize Zlochevsky's property, including four homes, two pieces of property and a Rolls-Royce sports car, the Kyiv Post reported at the time.

The investigation took place while Hunter Biden served on Burisma's board of directors. Hunter joined the firm in 2014 and departed in 2019 after his term on its board expired. 

In a statement to Fox News, the White House pointed to indications that Shokin was fired because he had been too soft on corruption. 

"For years, these false claims have been debunked, and no matter how much air time Fox gives them, they will remain false," White House spokesperson Ian Sams told Fox News. "Fox is giving a platform for these lies to a former Ukrainian prosecutor general whose office his own deputy called ‘a hotbed of corruption,’ drawing demands for reform not only from then-Vice President Biden but also from U.S. diplomats, international partners, and Republican senators like Ron Johnson."


The White House also stated Shokin's office had not been investigating Burisma or Hunter at the time of his ouster in March 2016, and it pointed to three reports published within weeks of each other in 2019 by The Washington Post, Associated Press and New York Times stating Shokin's office wasn't investigating Burisma.

Shokin: Burisma merited ‘special attention’

"The reason I oversaw the Burisma case was because I was the prosecutor general. Burisma was an ordinary case. There wasn't anything particularly different about it," Shokin told Fox News.

"The reason that I was handling it was because it deserved a special mention," Shokin continued. "It was on a list of cases to merit special attention because Hunter Biden was involved with Burisma and of course, his father, the vice president, Biden at the time oversaw Ukraine affairs for the White House. This is why."

Viktor Shokin

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin holds a press conference on Nov. 2, 2015, months before he was ousted over allegations of corruption. (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)

He added that he had "no doubt" Burisma was engaged in illegal activities and stated it would take him "half a day" to explain them all. Among the allegations, he said Burisma illegally produced, sold and utilized natural gas supplies.

"I have no doubt that there were illegal activities engaged in by Burisma," Shokin said. "As a matter of fact, the criminal case had been started before me." 

"It continued to expand and Zlochevsky, who at the time held the post of minister and was the founder and CEO of Burisma, started bringing in people who could provide protection for him," he said. "Hunter Biden was among them and the corruption network expanded as a result. So, yes, to answer your question, there was no doubt in my mind that Burisma was engaged in illegal activities."


Hunter Biden ‘called D.C.’

Echoing Shokin's claim that Hunter Biden was hired solely to protect Burisma by leveraging his father's role in the White House, Hunter's former business partner Devon Archer, who also served on Burisma's board, confirmed in a closed-door interview in July that company leaders turned to Hunter for help amid pressure from Shokin's office and other entities. 

Archer said Hunter "called D.C." to help get Shokin fired.

"When Burisma’s owner was facing pressure from the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the company for corruption, Archer testified that Burisma executives asked Hunter to ‘call D.C.’ after a Burisma board meeting in Dubai," House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said after Archer's testimony.

James Comer, Hunter Biden split

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said he believes Hunter Biden leveraged his father's position as vice president to help Burisma. (Mandel NGAN/AFP, Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital recently reported that, on Nov. 2, 2015, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharski emailed Hunter Biden, Archer and fellow Hunter associate Eric Schwerin about a "revised proposal, contract and initial invoice for Burisma Holdings," from lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies. Hunter reportedly connected Burisma with Blue Star Strategies to help the energy firm fight corruption charges levied against Zlochevsky, the company's owner.

Pozharski emphasized in his email that the "ultimate purpose" of the agreement with Blue Star Strategies was to shut down "any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine," referring to Zlochevsky, who also went by Nikolay. 

"The scope of work should also include organization of a visit of a number of widely recognized and influential current and/or former US policy-makers to Ukraine in November aiming to conduct meetings with and bring positive signal/message and support on Nikolay's issue to the Ukrainian top officials above with the ultimate purpose to close down for any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine," Pozharskyi continued.

Biden made the infamous December 2015 trip to Ukraine a month after the Pozharski email and would host a holiday party at his residence days after he returned that included Hunter and multiple Burisma-linked associates.

Shokin accuses Bidens of taking bribes

Shokin added in the interview Saturday that if he had been allowed to continue his investigation, he would have uncovered a scheme involving the Bidens and Archer. He also said he believed both Joe and Hunter Biden took bribes in the case.


"Had I continued to oversee the Burisma investigation, we would have found the facts about the corrupt activities that they were engaging in," Shokin said. "That included both Hunter Biden and Devon Archer and others."

"I do not want to deal in unproven facts, but my firm personal conviction is that, yes, this was the case. They were being bribed," the former prosecutor general added. "And the fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal, my firing isn't that alone A case of corruption?"

Archer and Hunter split image

Hunter's former business partner Devon Archer, who also served on Burisma's board, testified in a closed-door House Oversight Committee hearing in July that, amid pressure from Shokin's office and other entities investigating Burisma, company leaders turned to Hunter for help. Archer said Hunter "called D.C." to help get Shokin fired. (Fox News)

After Shokin's ouster, The New York Times reported that Shokin had been criticized in Ukraine for not prosecuting officials, businessmen and lawmakers for corruption while Viktor Yanukovych was president. The U.S. government and International Monetary Fund had believed in 2016 that Shokin wasn't doing enough to fight corruption, which ran rampant throughout Ukraine.

Both former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Bridget Brink testified during a Senate hearing in 2020 that Shokin's decision not to pursue a Burisma investigation or root out corruption elsewhere were reasons for his firing.


Biden and Zlochevski

Hunter Biden, left, and Mykola Zlochevsky, right (Getty Images)

"It was our conclusion by then that, in fact, the dismissal of Prosecutor Shokin would be counter to Burisma’s interests, because not only was he not pursuing the Burisma case, he was responsible for protecting those who had helped get the case dismissed," Nuland said.

However, Shokin pushed back when asked about the media reports and claims made about his alleged corruption, saying there hasn't ever been an example given. He added he doesn't have enough money to sue news outlets for defamation.

"I would appreciate if any of these highly respectable publications could come up with a single instance or a single example of my personal corruption or any offense whatsoever allegedly committed by me," Shokin told Fox News. "Since I was fired, nobody, including Joe Biden, has cited or mentioned or provided any examples of my corruption or any offense allegedly committed by me."


"I would gladly [sue for defamation]," Shokin continued. "But suing somebody costs money and I simply don't have the money to do that because I am a retiree and my monthly pension constitutes the equivalent of $800."

And Shokin concluded saying that Biden has harmed America's reputation abroad through his actions in Ukraine.


"There is no doubt that his actions have damaged the US reputation in Ukraine. It is public knowledge," he said. "Everybody knows that it was because of Joe Biden's actions that Russia was able to claim Crimea without firing a single shot, which of course eventually led to a full scale war that is currently under way."

Shokin did not elaborate on how Biden's actions contributed to Russia's rapid takeover of Crimea in 2014. According to reports about the White House's response to the invasion, Biden urged then-President Obama to send lethal assistance to Ukraine, but was overruled. The White House noted that Shokin took office after Russia seized Crimea.

Shokin told Fox that his book addresses the role Biden has played in Ukraine in his book.

"But, yes, the damage has been done. Definitely," Shokin concluded. "I have long been concerned about my personal safety and security. I've already died technically, twice as I was poisoned with Mercury."


Thomas Catenacci , Thomas Phippen


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Corruption fighter slams Biden for saying Hunter did ‘nothing wrong’, says it promotes son’s ‘business model' - Gabriel Hays


by Gabriel Hays

'He should state, as other Democrats have, that not even his son is above the law,' author Sarah Chayes wrote of President Biden



A new piece from The Atlantic slammed both Hunter Biden for his foreign business dealings and his father President Joe Biden for acting like Hunter did nothing wrong. The article claimed both Bidens have been sanitizing and reinforcing a corrupt scheme.

Author Sarah Chayes published the piece Wednesday arguing that though there’s "no evidence" then-Vice President Joe Biden did anything illegal to serve his son’s overseas business interests, his denial of his son’s wrongdoing essentially served to support the behavior.

Chayes stated that one of the few ways President Biden can stop looking like someone laundering his son’s corruption is to stop saying Hunter did "nothing wrong" and admit that he isn’t above the law.



A piece in The Atlantic slammed President Joe Biden for covering for his sons corrupt business dealings. (Getty Images)

The author began her article with the observation that because of the appointment of a special counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Hunter Biden probe, "Democrats will be fielding uncomfortable questions throughout the 2024 presidential campaign."

She advised, "They would do well to think before they speak. Asked one such question in a television interview in May, President Biden insisted, ‘My son’s done nothing wrong.’"

"But is that true?" Chayes asked, adding, "It now seems quite likely that Hunter Biden has violated one or more U.S. laws. And that’s not all the wrong he has done. There is a difference between what is technically illegal and what is wrong."

The author continued with an explanation of how the breadth of corruption on Hunter’s part stretches beyond what is technically illegal and how Joe Biden’s blind eye towards it may not have been illegal either, but served the corruption. 

Chayes noted she spent a "decade" in Afghanistan observing corruption in the country’s government, an experience she claimed, "makes plain to me what was wrong about the Bidens’ behavior, even if it wasn’t illegal."

She wrote, "There is absolutely no evidence that Joe Biden, as vice president, changed any aspect of U.S. foreign policy to benefit Burisma or any of its principals. But Hunter Biden’s position on that board of directors served to undermine the very U.S. anti-corruption policy his father was promoting."


Hunter Biden Air Force One

The Atlantic's Sarah Chayes urged Biden to stop claiming his son "did nothing wrong." (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

The author quoted the head of the U.S. embassy’s anti-corruption effort in Kyiv, Ukraine, George Kent, who once said, "Hunter’s presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine, b/c Ukrainians heard one message from us then saw another set of behavior, with the family association with a known corrupt figure."

She slammed Biden supporting his son’s behavior, adding, "Biden was supposed to be different. Yet his unconditional public support for everything his son has done serves to sanitize and reinforce a business model that provides image-laundering services for foreign kleptocrats and monetizes access to power—or the appearance of such access."

"For a president and a political party whose brand stresses integrity, that’s a self-inflicted wound," she added.

Chayes also urged the president to stop claiming his son’s innocence and curb his "business model." "As tenderly as a father may love his struggling son, the president can do better than parrot the "nothing wrong" chorus. When controversy over Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma erupted during the 2020 presidential campaign, I expressed the hope that his father would use his moral and potential future executive authority to curb that business model. He still can."

She then concluded, "He should state, as other Democrats have, that not even his son is above the law. He should never again participate in an occasion that Hunter might use to impress his business associates. And he should push for legislation that would close some of the loopholes that Supreme Court decisions have blown in U.S. anti-corruption laws."

Gabriel Hays


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The Great China-American Abyss - Victor Davis Hanson


by Victor Davis Hanson

What if we treated China in the same way it treats us?


Imagine if the United States treated China in the same way it does us?

What if American companies simply ignored Chinese copyrights and patents, and stole Chinese ideas, inventions, and intellectual property, as they pleased and with impunity?

What if the American government targeted Chinese industries by dumping competing American export products at below the cost of production—to bankrupt Chinese competitors and corner their markets?

What would the communist Chinese government do if a huge American spy balloon lazily traversed continental China—sending back to the United States photographic surveillance of Chinese military bases and installations?

How would China react to American stonewalling any explanation, much less refusing to apologize for such an American attack on Chinese sovereignty?

Envision a U.S. high-security virology lab in the Midwest, run by the Pentagon, allowing the escape of an engineered, gain-of-function deadly virus.

Instead of enlisting world cooperation to stop the spread of the virus, the American government would lie that it sprung up from a local bat or wild possum.

Washington would then make all its relevant military scientists disappear who were assigned to the lab, while ordering a complete media blackout.

America would forbid Chinese scientists from contacting their American counterparts involved in the lab, despite the deaths of more than 1 million Chinese from the American-manufactured disease.

And what if during the first days of the pandemic Washington had quietly prevented all foreign travel to the United States, while keeping open one-way direct flights from America to major Chinese cities?

How would Beijing respond if American biotech company warehouses were discovered in rural China with unsecured vials of deadly viruses and pathogens?

Would China be angered that it was never notified by an American company that it had left abandoned COVID and HIV viruses and malaria parasites in its facilities—along with rotting genetically engineered dead rats littering the floors with hundreds more lab animals abandoned in laboratory cages?

What would Chairman Xi Jinping have done if American-made fentanyl was shipped in massive quantities to nearby Tibet on the Chinese border? And what if it would be deliberately repackaged there as deceptive recreational drugs and smuggled into China, where it annually killed 100,000 Chinese youth, year after year?

What if 10,000 Americans this year illegally crossed the Indian border into China and disappeared into its interior?

What if an allied Asian nation—such as South Korea, Japan, or Taiwan—went nuclear. And what if, in North-Korean style, it serially blustered to send one of its nuclear missiles into the major cities of China?

What if almost monthly China discovered an American military operative teaching incognito at a major Chinese university or among the ranks of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army?

Would China object if an American femme fatale agent was sleeping with a high-ranking Chinese official of the Chinese communist politburo?

Or what if one of the chauffeurs of its top ranking Chinese officials was a nearly two-decade-long American agent?

What would be the Chinese reaction if there were 350,000 American students attending schools all over the Chinese nation, with perhaps 3,000–4,000 of them actively engaged in national security espionage on behalf of the United States?

These “what-ifs” could be expanded endlessly. But they reflect well enough the great asymmetry in the bizarre Chinese-American relationship.

Obviously, China would not tolerate America treating it as it does the Americans.

Why then does the imbalance continue?

Do naïve Americans believe that the more China is indulged, the more it will respond in kind to American magnanimity?

Does the United States believe that the more China is exposed to our supposedly radically democratic and free culture, the sooner it will become a good democratic citizen of the global community?

Are we afraid of China, because it has four times our population, and believes its economy and military will overtake ours in a decade?

Are we terrified that its Chinese government is completely amoral, utterly ruthless, and capable of anything?

Or are our political, cultural, and corporate elites so compromised by their lucrative Chinese investments and joint ventures, that they prioritize profits over their own country’s national security and self-interest?

And did the Biden family—including President Joe Biden himself—in the past receive millions of dollars from Chinese energy and investment interests?

Did Hunter Biden’s quid pro quo decade of grifting result in millions in Chinese money filling the Biden family coffers—all in exchange for the current Biden and past Obama administrations going soft on Chinese aggression?

No one seems able to explain the otherwise inexplicable.

But one way to get along with China, and to regain its respect is to deal with it exactly the way it deals with the United States.

Anything less, and America will continually be treated with even more Chinese contempt—and eventually extreme violence.

Victor Davis Hanson


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From Tolerance to Tyranny: Feeding the Gender Beast - Teresa R. Manning


by Teresa R. Manning

Obergefell v. Hodges upended DOMA