Those Pesky Hunter Biden Emails

Joe and Hunter Biden in 2010

W.J. Astore

In trying to cover the Hunter Biden email story with his usual zest, honesty, and outspokenness, Glenn Greenwald ran afoul of the bosses at The Intercept and issued his resignation. Matt Taibbi covers Greenwald’s resignation here, and Greenwald himself has posted the article that got him into trouble here. At her own site, Caitlin Johnstone cites Greenwald’s resignation as exposing the rot in mainstream media outlets. As Johnstone puts it:

I don’t know that the Hunter Biden October surprise shows anything more scandalous than you’d expect for any major US presidential nominee. I do know that the uniform conspiracy of silence and obfuscation from the mass media about it is uniquely scandalous and says bad things about the future of journalism in western news media.

The Bidens have yet to deny the authenticity of these emails. Even so, the mainstream media, joined by digital powerhouses like Facebook and Twitter, have worked to minimize the story. In some cases, not just minimize but to misdirect, as in suggesting the emails are part of a Russian disinformation campaign in favor of Trump, even though there’s no evidence of this.

As one Washington Post article bizarrely put it: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.” [emphasis added]

Come again? Obviously no Vulcans work at the Post, since there’s a complete lack of logic in that statement.

I think what’s going on here is obvious. For the mainstream media, it’s payback time for Donald Trump. Trump has described journalists as “the enemy of the people,” and don’t think that scarily intimidating statement has been forgotten by the press. Also, there is a modicum of guilt within the media, I think, for their role in facilitating Trump’s rise in 2015-16. They never took him seriously in the sense of believing he could win, but they did love all the high ratings (and money!) he generated.

Readers here know that I reject both Trump and Biden as viable presidential candidates. Trump is a narcissist, a liar, and an incompetent leader; Biden is a fading bureaucrat who’s thoroughly compromised by his business, industry, and banking ties. Arguably, Biden is the lesser of two evils, but that certainly shouldn’t mean that the media should protect him from Hunter’s sad record of influence-peddling in the Biden name.

More so than most people, I imagine, journalists are tired of Trump. They want things to go back to “normal.” But censorship in the cause of normalcy is too high a price to pay, especially for the lesser of two evils.

35 thoughts on “Those Pesky Hunter Biden Emails

    1. I won’t get into the details, but Biden pere is implicated in these emails in the sense of profiting, or potentially profiting, from various deals that Biden fils tried to pull together.

      In the big scheme of Washington corruption, it’s probably small potatoes. The much bigger story is censorship on the behalf of Biden, at least in the sense of ignoring or reframing the story.

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      1. I saw the 2 pieces of “evidence” the NYPost provided in the original expose and examining them very closely, I deduced they were FAKE.

        The only ones promoting this alleged scandal is Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, Trump supporters and they cannot be Trusted to be neutral. The Trump campaign considers this their October Surprise designed to smear a political opponent we know Giuliani was looking for dirt to bring up for over a year. It’s suspect to say the least.

        Even FOX NEWS published this header, ‘Ex-Hunter Biden associate’s records don’t show proof of Biden business relationship amid unanswered questions
        Tony Bobulinski had claimed the former VP was involved in discussions about his son’s dealings overseas”

        This attempt to destroy Biden with unproven allegations is mild compared to this Republican History of an October Surprise just before the Election.

        In 1980, Republicans, in their lust for Power, went to the Iranians, offering them weapons to fight the brutal 8 year War Saddam started in 1980, to nip the 1979 Iranian Revolution in the bud.
        The US financially supported Saddam when he was their guy in that War.

        There was only 1 condition the Republicans demanded of the Iranians. They had to hold on to the American Hostages until AFTER the 1980 Election, so President Carter negotiating for their release, doesn’t get an October Surprise that would give him a boost just before the Election.

        That’s the dictionary definition of TREASON, compared to the loose ways the word is thrown around TODAY.

        The Republican Congress covered it up, and the Republican President pardoned all those involved in the Iran-Contra scandal of 1980 convicted only of minor crimes in the TREASON.

        Most people below 30 would not be familiar with the Republican-US History.

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  1. Hard to judge how effective are these narrative campaigns are with the general public. I’d like to believe that we’re too sophisticated as consumers of news and media to be taken in by such transparent attempts at thought control. However, the information environment has gotten so polluted that sorting truth from fiction, signal from noise, or value from trash has become quite difficult, especially for those only half paying attention. Johnstone has been hammering at the need for a great awakening (not in the religious sense), but the Orwellian Ministry of Truth appears to have the upper hand at present.

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  2. As you pointed out, the mainstream media had a large role in providing Trump with billions of free advertising in 2016. I think that if Biden is elected and the Dems take the Senate, the Republicans will return to their favored position – that of being the angry minority, which guarantees large donor contributions.

    In that case, they will hammer the Biden administration for the corruption of Hunter and the role of Joe in the various scandals (real or otherwise). The mainstream media will breathlessly cover all of it for ratings and advertising dollars. (Alternately, if Trump is reelected, Hunter will disappear down the memory hole of DC corruption.)

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  3. My response to all this requires big-assed disclaimers: 1.) I never look at The Intercept; 2.) I don’t follow Glenn Greenwald, though I understand he “leans left” and I’ve read the occasional article (re: Snowden and Assange, perhaps?); 3.) I have nothing against Caitlin Johnstone, I just don’t follow her stuff either.
    That said, I started reading the article (draft) that Greenwald says was rejected. In just the first few paragraphs I found language that may have justified the rejection, it being the eve of a rather important election. To wit: a.) “…emails PURPORTEDLY written to and from Hunter” [and I remind the reader that I can’t use bold or italicized fonts on this website, so all upper case letters represent my emphasis]; b.) [unnamed] “…individuals…have confirmed the contents’ authenticity”; c.) “Bubolinski…confirm[s] the authenticity of MANY of the emails” [but not all, it seems]; d.) “Luntz…APPEARED to confirm…”
    I also note that 1.) the NY Post is an extremely rightwing publication; and 2.) that The Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch and also very rightwing, seems reluctant to jump on this Biden corruption bandwagon [Does this reflect the claim in some MSM that Wall Street bigshots actually prefer Biden, for the sake of policy stability? Perhaps.]; 3.) furthermore, Congressional Republicans already held one set of hearings to try to take Biden down re: this Ukraine situation, and apparently got nowhere. So, what was Greenwald’s motivation with this piece? Was he blowing a whistle loudly, trying to alert “the left” (liberals?) to the fact that the Bidens aren’t squeaky-clean? Hell, Glenn, you should be reading “Bracing Views” regularly! We’ve been discussing Joe’s shortcomings for ages now. Finally, I dare say the corruption of the Biden clan thoroughly pales compared to that of the Trumps. The incumbent continues to violate the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution on a daily basis.

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    1. Fair points, Greg. My guess is the emails are probably real (else the Bidens would deny them), and they certainly show Hunter at his conniving worst, though his father’s role or participation is vague. Basically, there’s not a lot to see here — which is why the media should report fairly and move on. But they didn’t.

      That’s the real issue: the media’s failure to cover the story, allowing Joe Biden to skate with the shortest of responses, i.e. it’s just a smear.

      Nothing here would change my vote, that’s for sure.

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      1. Your reply is very reasonable, Bill A. And I was about to post a bit of an addendum to my first comments, so here goes: The bawling and whining by the far right that social media (“Liberal! Liberal!”) are censoring them is almost beyond being worthy of consideration. For God’s sake, people, what media outlets have been ever so willing to spread the DISINFORMATION so rampant these days if not social media?!? The relatively recent attempts at “labeling” dubious statements, e.g. those coming from the Trump campaign, have been woefully inadequate and not mounted with consistency.

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      2. The Righteous Prophet Samuel some 3000 years ago, was the Spiritual-Political Leader for the People of God before there were kings in Israel.

        When he got older, Samuel appointed his Sons to be Judges in Israel, but they were not like their father. They were corrupt and took bribes selling Influence according to the Bible.
        God did not charge their sins against Samuel, but the Children still pay for the Sins of the Fathers unto Generations.

        Selling Influence has been the Name of the Power Game since before Christ. Republicans and Democrats do it.
        Retired Admirals and Generals are appointed Directors on the Boards of the biggest Military Production Contractors, selling their Influence with their Military Brotherhood Peers, still making the buying decisions at the Pentagon.

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        1. Very true, the “antiquity” of human corruptibility. The sins of the past few generations against the planet’s environment are certainly going to be visited upon their/our daughters and sons.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. “Arguably, Biden is the lesser of two evils . . .”

    Translation: Since, apparently, we have only the “choice” of evils offered to us by a transnational corporate oligarchy, let us not choose evil acting openly and brazenly in its own name (Republican Donald-McConnell). Let us, instead, choose evil acting covertly under a virtuously-signaled assumed name (Democrat Joe-Harris/Schumer). This false dichotomy assumes that the evil we refuse to recognize as such endangers democracy less than the evil we can clearly see in operation. Jimmy Dore disagrees:

    “It wasn’t Jill Stein that prevented Democrats from having any balls. The Democratic party leadership is a disgrace. The only power they wield is forwarding the Republican Wall Street agenda without appearing to be the authors. Yet they will continue to fundraise off their supreme court failure. That’s the real game here. Democrats approve these judges because Wall Street approves them. And they get the added bonus that progressive legislation will be almost impossible unless the Court is expanded. The political theater is endless.”

    The “lesser of two evils” dialectic fails because (1) evil comes in many more than two varieties, (2) an evil with two faces still counts as the same evil, and (3) political theater reliably produces as much or more evil than easily recognized ugly reality, which explains why the plutocratic corporate-militarist oligarchy expends vast resources buying up “governments” and ruthlessly enforcing mythological media narratives (see Glenn Greenwald’s resignation from The Intercept as the inevitable example of Mono-Think Thought-Policing).

    To somewhat rephrase the anti-war socialist Eugene V. Debs: “You can vote for what you want and not get it, or you can vote for what you don’t want and get it.”

    Personally, I voted for Tulsi Gabbard and did not get her as POTUS. So I see no reason to vote for what I don’t want: “Joe Trump,” knowing in advance that I will get him regardless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your translation is not mine, Mike. I rejected both major party candidates and voted for the people I want to see as president and VP. Call it the Gabbard/Sanders ticket, a balance of youth and experience, two people with principles.

      More than a few readers think I wasted my vote — but I vote for people I believe in, not for people I don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. From my favorite Twitter feed:

    “Michael Tracey @mtracey
    Final day of early voting here in Augusta, GA. Asked a few people who they think’s going to win the election in Georgia. All said something to the effect of, “Hopefully not Trump.” As usual, few bother to mention Biden… even if they’ve just got done voting for him!”

    The Corona-Virus and collapsed economy — not confirmed judicial appointments, tax cuts for the rich, bloated Pentagram budgets, and endless wars that he can’t end — may defeat Donald Trump’s bid for reelection. Who gets the job of POTUS in that event doesn’t seem to matter very much to millions of Americans.

    Meanwhile, standing by the side of the road (raising money) waiting hopefully for Trump to to put them back in power (so they can do even more of what the Republicans want done) we see Joe-Harris, or whomever.

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  6. Connections in politics in America go back to at least Boss Tweed in NYC. Growing up in Chicago during the regime of Daley the Elder the idea of patronage, nepotism and pay to play was S.O.P.

    The watch words seemed to be, you are protected to a degree – Do not get too Greedy – If you are caught remember the code of silence. Sometimes even the high level politicians are rounded up: Big Jim Thompson was appointed by President Nixon to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. As a federal prosecutor in the early 1970s, he obtained a conviction against former Governor Otto Kerner, Jr., for his use of improper influence on behalf of the racetrack industry.

    Kerner was the start of of a few Illinois governors to spend some time in prison.

    Paul Powell was Illinois Secretary of State from 1965 until his death in 1970, after which he was discovered to have been corrupt and became known for his saying “There’s only one thing worse than a defeated politician, and that’s a broke one.” Powell died on October 10, 1970. Although Powell’s government salary was never more than $30,000 a year, shoe boxes, briefcases and strongboxes with over $750,000 in cash were found in his hotel suite residence at the St. Nicholas Hotel in Springfield, Illinois within days of his death. A federal investigation determined that Powell had acquired much of his wealth through illegal cash bribes, which he received for giving noncompetitive state contracts to political associates.

    Now a days you would not need shoe boxes to stash the cash, you can have it sent through a variety of ghost companies to some safe off shore account.

    The fact that Hunter Biden is the son of Joe Biden could be seen as “contact” or an “in” in some circles.
    When I hear or read the name Hunter Biden, I think of the old song – Fortunate Son.

    Joe Biden may have some plausible denial concerning Hunter trading on the family name to invoke – think of it as a nonjudicial form of taking the 5th.

    There is a line somewhere. When do connections and the rewards they bring become corruption?

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    1. Hunter seems like the black sheep of the family. Got involved with drugs, dismissed from the military, then used his father’s name (or allowed himself to be used, which is basically the same) to earn anywhere from $50K to $83K a month “working” for the Ukrainian firm, Burisma. He appears to have urged his dad to intervene in Ukrainian politics to aid Burisma, but how much Joe Biden did, and his exact motives, are murky, which, I’m sure, is by design.

      If Joe Biden crossed the line, he did so perhaps to help his son. Poor judgment, but in a way it makes him more human.

      I’m against Joe Biden (and Donald Trump) for his policies, not Hunter’s murky emails.

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      1. As knowledgable contributors to this discussion forum know, Vice President Joe Biden — along with Secretary of State Clinton’s undersecretary Victoria Nuland together with Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham — ran President Obama’s policy of overthrowing Ukraine’s elected President Victor Yanukovich and replacing him with an unapologetic neo-Nazi mob fronted by “the Chocolate Oligarch” Petro Poroshenko. Among his many other corrupt (if not criminal) involvements, Vice President Biden publicly boasted at a US think-tank gathering that he had personally threatened President Poroshenko with cutting off a billion dollars in “aid” if Poroshenko did not fire — within a matter of hours — the state prosecutor looking into the corrupt “energy” company Burisma Holdings on whose board of directors, Joe Biden’s unaccomplished son Hunter sat for the a hefty “salary” mentioned above. You know, <b extortion.

        So, with these facts already widely known, why would anyone seek to censor emails that “only” involve a few hundred hundred thousand — or even a million — dollars when US/Ukrainian political business dealings typically involve billions? Inquiring minds will reason that if Hunter Biden could profit so sleazily as only a Vice President’s son, how much more grandly might he profit — and Ukrainians suffer — as the son of a sitting President? And since no one has disputed the authenticity of the emails in question, why shouldn’t any American — who has every right to know — insist on reading these documents so that he or she might add their contents to the fund of information they have about a political candidate who wants their vote? Whatever happened to Thomas Jefferson’s insistence on an “informed electorate” as necessary precondition for a functioning democracy?

        Many people — including notably partisan Democrats — understandably abhor President Donald Trump for his unapologetic nepotism and self-dealing (which somehow never rose to the level of impeachment). But resorting to open censorship of evidence that the Democratic party’s own nominee has also indulged in unapologetic nepotism amounts to just more of the shameless hypocrisy that infests both right-wing factions of the Corporate Oligarchy’s bought-and-paid-for duopoly.

        Finally, since I consider emotionally loaded value judgments about “greater” or “lesser” degrees of “evil” practically meaningless when ordered to “take one or the other” of two imperial warmongers as US President, I will once again reply, as Gandalf said to Saruman (who held him captive in the Tower of Orthanc): “Well, the choices are, it seems, to submit to Sauron or to yourself. I will take neither. Have you others to offer?” So before I ever vote again in a meaningless American presidential election, I’ll insist on another offer.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, Mike, I’m just fed up with being lied to. Meanwhile, the only input they want from me is my money. So you lie to me and take my money? Remind me again why I should vote for you?

          I just want someone who doesn’t lie constantly and wants something more from me than money. Is that too much to ask in America? Probably so.

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    2. Interesting! The “faithful servant of the people” with his modest official salary. I guess he needed a hotel suite just to store the bribe money! This practice is very, very widespread of course. About the only thing that’s changed since, say, the 1930s, is that now computers can connect the dots to trace money flows–this doesn’t prevent the handoff of cash, but surveillance video also comes in handy. When do “connections” cross the line into corruption? Make me People’s Prosecutor and I’ll draw it thusly: The moment a single dollar is handed to an elected official in exchange for the least favor, the line has been crossed. Hunter Biden’s shenanigans in Ukraine tempt one to shout “nepotism!,” but there’s a problem: he wasn’t appointed to some official position by Dad, it was private business activity. Certainly shady, though.

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  7. Glad to see you cover this topic, Mr. Astore. Reaching out through a billion bits of internet data to give you a big virtual double-pat bro-hug. As Merrill says in the movie ‘Signs’: “There are some things I can take, and a couple things I can’t.” For me, one of them is censorship. The tool of choice these days for the treacherous!

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    1. It’s sounds so absurd. Hunter’s laptop is water damaged. He brings it to be repaired and forgets all about it. (Despite everything that’s on it.) It becomes the property of the store owner and somehow it gets to Rudy Giuliani.

      It’s such a dumb move by Hunter that it almost must be true. But who knows?

      With all his money from Burisma, couldn’t he have bought about 1000 replacement laptops?

      Our politics is like something out of a very bad novel. “It was a dark and stormy night — and Hunter’s laptop got drenched.” The first line of my 1st novel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Um, News Flash, Mr. Astore: As an author seeking publication some day, free of charge I pass this tip on to you. It is universally advised that starting a book with “It was a dark and stormy night…” is a deal-killer. You’re welcome! Actually, I hadn’t even heard the tale of how Hunter’s emails purportedly were uncovered. It DOES sound like the plot of a pretty lousy espionage “thriller”! If Trump manages to steal this election blatantly, THAT will be an even worse movie!!

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        1. Greg: I first came across “It was a dark and stormy night” in the old Peanuts cartoons of Charles Schulz. He had Snoopy begin books that way as an “in” joke … I read these as a kid in the 1970s.

          It’s a tired old beginning — but there are such things as dark and stormy nights! Perhaps this Tuesday night? Let us hope not, but then there’s this: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/01/donald-trump-us-election-final-campaign-sprint

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          1. Yes, the “Peanuts” usage may actually have been what made the phrase so well known. Another very famous opening line (first phrases, at least) is “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” In the current Autumn of Our Pandemic Discontent, it won’t take much to brighten things up a little bit. A defeat of Trump at the polling place is all we can hope for. We know that Joe Biden taking the oath of office for “the big job” does not usher in a New Age of Enlightenment. But we need to evict the one who tries to extinguish any candle we light!

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          2. There’s a Peanuts strip in which Linus, I think, quotes the Biblical passage that’s it’s better to light one candle than it is to curse the darkness.

            The last panel shows Lucy, lacking a candle, shouting something like, “Curse you, stupid darkness!” Trump has a lot of Lucy in him. Vain, bossy, always confident she knows it all, and never letting poor Charlie Brown kick that darn football.

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          3. In a Trump as Lucy van Pelt analogy, it’s the US of A that falls on its ass after he pulls the football away at last second! “The Greatest Nation Ever!” brought to its knees by a tiny virus. An honest bungling by authorities at the highest level could be somewhat forgiven, but “leadership” that intentionally encourages people to gather in crowds, not wear masks, etc., etc.? He’s got to go!!

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          4. I wonder what the opening line of Bram Stoker’s famous vampire novel (written in late Victorian times) is? I’ll find out one of these days, as I have promised myself I’ll get around to reading the source for so many movies. Just tonight I listened to F.F. Coppola’s audio commentary on his own version and was surprised to hear that it, such over-the-top spectacle, was pretty faithful to the original! Also, he said Winona Ryder was really the instigator of the project, having brought the screenplay to Francis personally. He said he made his vampire epic and, quite reluctantly, “Godfather III”–dissed by most critics–simply ‘cuz he needed the money! Perish the thought that such a dirty little matter should bring a legendary director back to the sound stages “against his will”!

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          5. “Dracula” begins with an installment of Jonathan Harker’s journal. No memorable opening line, just some comments about his day, which began with a train trip from Munich to Vienna.

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          6. Yes, Coppola said the novel is largely an assemblage, kind of a scrapbook, of “clippings,” diary excerpts, etc. I’ve already incorporated that technique, spontaneously as it were, in the two novels I have underway. Bram Stoker is just one of the historical figures who will appear in one of said novels. He was Irish in origin, which earns him bonus points from me.

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    1. Amidst all the Biden-bashing, I wish to make some observations on Mr. Stephen Bannon. I was able to stream the Errol Morris interview with him, “American Dharma.” The project was completed in 2018, so isn’t fully up to date on the Trump presidency, but this was after Bannon was booted from Trump’s official inner circle of advisers. Mr. Bannon is a very sharp fellow, no question, and a brilliant exploiter of social media, though I did catch him in one slip of the tongue: he said “fuselage” when he needed “fusillade.” But perhaps that’s because, among several fictional movies he discusses with the interviewer, is “12 O’Clock High”! The first thing to note is that Bannon has his own definition of dharma, which he ties to doing one’s duty. Dharma is, in fact, the accumulated wisdom and teachings of Gautama Buddha and his early disciples, and is most compactly translated as Truth. Bannon seems sincere about his role as a destroyer, but when he scoffs at any suggestion that he helped Trump build a campaign based on racism, he can’t be taken seriously. (He says it with a straight face, of course, which is a skill all great liars employ.) He says the “alt-right” would be nothing without the “liberal media” building them up, showering attention on them. If the film was totally updated, what would he say about the armed extremists who seem now to be Trump’s most pumped-up supporters? I suspect he’d say Trump had nothing to do with that–despite Trump’s repeated expressions of support for them. But Bannon’s most fundamental assertion, and apparent honest belief, is that if income inequality in this society isn’t addressed, with the next big financial crisis there’s going to be a revolution! A revolution, imagine that! At this time, it is my view, the only threat of a real uprising would be by precisely the rightwing extremists who have become a very public face for Trumpism. (“The left,” make a revolution in USA? Ha!) Bannon helped put Trump’s first campaign on the path of phony populism, presenting the illusion that The Donald was going to “drain the swamp.” I suppose his hardcore base actually still swallows this BS bait, but Trump certainly hasn’t delivered the goods. So, is Bannon trying to warn the Establishment that there is an actual threat of revolution here, or is he simply trying to fan the flames for a revolution that would, in reality, trash our “democracy” rather than bring relief to the “lower” classes? That is not clarified in the documentary, which may be the fault of the interviewer and/or the editing of the film. Oh, one more disparaging observation: Bannon likens “the deplorables” to the bedraggled French infantry troops accused of mutiny in the World War I Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, “Paths of Glory.” This is totally off the mark. Those soldiers were largely in the trenches via conscription, or because they fell for the old “patriotism” game. They were encouraged by their own leadership to despise “the Hun, the Bosch,” i.e. Kaiser Wilhelm’s troops, who waited on the far side of No Man’s Land. But some of these very soldiers would come to see thru the lies of the nationalism foisted on them, and in the first Christmas of that war would famously fraternize with “the enemy,” to the horror of their commanders. This situation is a very far cry from Trump’s fomenting of hatred against migrants, Muslims and their fellow travelers in the category of “the other.” Those troops in WW I had far more class consciousness than today’s American working class.

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        1. Yes, precisely! That feeling of betrayal is very, very justified. But the absence of class consciousness, of real understanding of how this society works and to whose benefit, is what leaves “the deplorables” as prey to Fascist demagogues like Trump. The latter, with help from the likes of Bannon and Miller, “plays them like a Stradivarius,” to borrow an old phrase.

          Liked by 2 people

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