Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 31 Oct 2020
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

Dollar

Biden pledges funding transparency, yet seemingly cheats on own vows as many of his campaign donors are kept secret

TrumpBiden
© Chill Report
US President Donald Trump • Former VP Joe Biden
As the sums received by Biden's campaign have grown, his interactions with big donors have become more opaque, an NYT report shows, as part of a broader trend to 'out' the candidate's non-commitment to his 'transparency' vows.

In May 2019, one week after launching his third presidential bid, Biden's campaign vowed it would allow media access to all his fundraising events, saying it was reflective of his "longstanding commitment to transparency."

The news was reported by Politico with some fanfare. The outlet explained it came in response to Democratic voters' "increasing discomfort with the role of big-money donors in politics," and allegations that Biden was "too cozy with corporate donors."

Target

Lebanon: Hariri again tasked with forming new government

Hariri
© AFP
Former Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri
One year after being turfed out of office by mass popular protests, Saad Hariri has been tasked with forming a Lebanese government for a fourth time.

Hariri ran as the sole candidate during consultations between MPs and President Michel Aoun, and was able to gain 65 votes out a possible 120, despite opposition from some key political parties.

The Future Movement leader is now tasked with forming a reformist government that will win the support of the international community and help salvage Lebanon's moribund economy.

In a brief statement to the press, the former prime minister promised his next government would be made up of "non-partisan experts" that would prioritize implementing necessary economic reforms to revitalize the country and reconstruction following the Beirut port explosion.

"I will get to forming a government quickly," Hariri said. "Because time is running out and this opportunity for our beloved country is the only one left."

Attention

Biden will create court reform commission, options go 'well beyond' court packing!

Biden
© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
"It will look like this, folks..."
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced in a video clip released Thursday morning that he will create a national commission tasked with reforming the court system.

Biden's statement comes as he has repeatedly refused to say whether he supports far-left efforts to add judges to the Supreme Court in order to tilt the balance of power of America's judicial system toward the Democratic Party. Biden told CBS News:
"If elected, what I will do is I'll put together a national commission of bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative. And I will ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it's getting out of whack, the way in which it's being handled. And it's not about court packing. There's a number of other things that our constitutional scholars have debated and I'd look to see what recommendations that commission might make."

Comment: See also:


Star of David

Israel operated a secret embassy in Bahrain for over a decade before 2020 Peace Accord

Manama
© AFP/Marwan Naamani
Capital of Bahrain, Manama
Israel has actually been operating a secret diplomatic office in Bahrain for more than a decade before the two nations penned a peace deal that normalized relations last month, according to a new Axios report.

Axios has revealed that since 2009, a front company called The Center for International Development has provided a secret window into Manama and enabled hundreds of Israeli business deals, the brainchild of then-Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and then-Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. However, according to the outlet, the center changed its name somewhere along the way, and the new name is classified.

According to the outlet, the facility was staffed exclusively by Israeli diplomats with dual citizenship, many of whom went on to other posts in the Israeli Foreign Ministry once they left "employment" in Bahrain. They all had elaborate backstories that included fake work histories on CV hosting and networking site LinkedIn.

Axios notes only a small group of Bahraini officials knew about the facility's existence, but were constantly afraid of the news getting out.

Arrow Down

By backing censorship of Hunter Biden story, mainstream media only hurt their own cause

trump supporter
© Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Trump supporter holds photo of Hunter Biden before campaign event.
Erie, Pennsylvania • October 20, 2020
On a recent BBC show, CNN's Brian Stelter and Axios' Sara Fischer defended the social media suppression of the New York Post's Hunter Biden story. It's not a clever tactic in a hyperpartisan world where no one believes each other.

To say that the New York Post story on Hunter Biden's emails was big news would be an understatement. The same can be said about social media outlets clamping down on the story, seemingly trying to bury it as soon as possible. In the aftermath, there have been odd defenses of the methods used to try and squash the bombshell.

On a BBC panel called The Media Show, Stelter and Fischer explained why they thought censoring the article about Joe Biden's son was okay. In familiar terms, Stelter tried to dismiss the story as "old news" and accused "the right" of massive disinformation.

Fischer praised the "defensive systems" that were used to suppress the story. She went on to claim that Hunter Biden's emails were "hacked," even though there is no evidence that such a thing happened.

If a lack of consideration for freedom of the press is a defensive system, it's not a healthy system at all.

Comment: To answer the author, MSM does apply consistent logic when it is glued to a particular scenario and outcome. In service to this sacred cow, consistency is the key, false as that may be.


Putin

President Putin's 2020 Valdai Club speech articulates his vision of populist statism

putin valdai 2020
© kremlin.ru
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the plenary session of the 17th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club via a video conference on Oct. 22, 2020.
President Putin's keynote speech at the Valdai Club's 17th annual meeting devoted a significant amount of time to articulating his vision of what can be described as "Populist Statism", or the emerging hybrid model of a strong state system driven by civil society, which represents an exciting new governance model that's perfectly suited for helping Russia adapt to the "Age of Complexity".

A Significant Speech

The Valdai International Discussion Club is globally regarded as one of Russia's top think tanks alongside the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), and it's become a tradition for President Putin to speak at its annual meeting. This year was no different, except that the Russian leader addressed his audience via videoconference instead of in person like he usually does, but his speech was still equally insightful in revealing how the person who many regard as the planet's most powerful man views the current state of the world. It's for that reason why readers are strongly encouraged to read his speech in full on the official Kremlin website, but for those who don't have the time, then the author's analysis of what he regards as its important points should hopefully suffice.

Mr. Potato

Bad strategy: Biden says election choice should hinge on the 'character' of the candidates

trump biden second debate
© REUTERS / Jim Bourg / Pool
Trump and Biden in the second presidential debate, October 22, 2020
Trump scored a decisive win in the final debate, as Biden, although lobbed softballs, teetered. The former VP rested his case on "character," despite recent exposures of a global influence-peddling scheme undertaken in his name.

In the second and last 2020 presidential debate, held at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, Joe Biden and President Donald Trump answered questions about fighting Covid-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership. As skewed as most topics were toward Democratic wheelhouses, Trump managed to do well in nearly all of the segments, securing what can only be seen as a victory, especially considering the odds against him.

Amid growing allegations about Biden's involvement in an international graft scheme fronted by his son Hunter Biden, Trump nevertheless had long odds in a debate moderated by Kristen Welker, an ardent Democrat. Trump not only faced a political opponent, he also faced the narratives of a mainstream media that has been an unabashed accomplice intent on destroying his presidency for the last four years, and is now hell-bent on foiling his re-election bid. In the end, Trump managed to pull a rabbit out of his hat by posting a solid performance and shaking Biden with the allegations of corruption, while holding his own or outright winning on most topics.

Comment: The evening was a litany of stumbles by Biden:

'Kids in cages'
Democratic nominee Joe Biden was put on his heels after attacking President Donald Trump's immigration policies, forced to acknowledge that former president Barack Obama's detention of children at the border was a "mistake."

"They used to say I built the cages. They had a picture in a certain newspaper... of these horrible cages. They used to say: 'Look at these cages, President Trump built them,'" he said, adding: "Then it was determined they were built in 2014 - that was him," pointing at Biden across the stage.
He had eight years to do what he said he was going to do. We got rid of catch-and-release, we got rid of a lot of horrible things that they put in and that they lived with... He did nothing except build cages to keep children in.
Mask wearing
Biden has floated the idea of a national mask mandate multiple times, though he's also said he isn't sure if the president has the authority to enact such an order. At Thursday's debate, moderator Kristen Welker did not follow up after Biden's "mask" comment about any potential mandates.

Lockdowns
Joe Biden's plans for fighting Covid-19 became a jumbled mess in his final debate face-off with Donald Trump, as he first pledged to stop the virus without a national lockdown, then reiterated that he won't rule out a shutdown.

Trump vowed to avoid any future shutdowns on a national basis, saying businesses and schools need to be kept open. "We have to open our country," he said. "We're not going to have a country. You can't keep this country closed. This is a massive country with a massive economy. You can't do this. People are losing their jobs. People are committing suicide."

Trump added: "The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself, and that's what's happening. And [Biden's] going to close down the country."
On being called out on Biden's record on criminal justice reforms
President Trump took a jab at his electoral challenger during the Thursday debate, asking, "Why didn't you get [criminal justice reform] done? ... You know why, Joe? Because you're all talk and no action."

Biden was quick to defend the former Democratic administration's supposed inaction on the issue, saying he and former president Barack Obama's "had a Republican Congress," which hindered any reform.


Online users were understandably giddy to point out such an obvious falsehood, and called Biden a liar.
And in his most glorious gaffe, Biden directly contradicted himself regard a policy statement that is on the record multiple times:
Biden has faced a lot of scrutiny when it comes to his views on the oil industry. He denied once again at Thursday's debate that he has ever said he is for banning fracking, despite multiple videos of him during the primaries saying just that. Edited clips of those moments were tweeted out by the president on Thursday night.





Attention

Biden business partner confirms email, Joe Biden's push to make millions from China

Hunter Biden
© Getty Images
Hunter Biden
Wait until Scranton hears about this.

One of Joe Biden's ways of contrasting himself with President Trump has been to declare the election a battle of Park Avenue values vs. Scranton, Pa., values.

Now we learn that Biden has secretly been playing footsie with China.

The statement Wednesday night asserting that the former vice president was a willing and eager participant in a family scheme to make millions of dollars by partnering with a shady Chinese Communist firm is a singular event in a presidential race already overflowing with drama and intrigue.

The dynamite assertion, believable because it aligns with earlier information we know to be true, came in a statement by Tony Bobulinski, who describes himself as a former partner of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and Joe's brother Jim in the China scheme. Bobulinski unloads his bill of accusations in blunt but precise language and detail.

He confirms that he was one of the recipients of the May 13, 2017, email published by The Post eight days ago. That email, from another partner in the group, laid out cash and equity positions and mysteriously included a 10 percent set-aside for "the big guy."

Sources have said the "big guy" was Joe Biden. In a matter-of-fact manner, Bobulinski states that the "email is genuine" and that the former vice president and the man leading in the 2020 race is indeed "the big guy."


Comment: One of the emails Bobulinski shared, sent May 20, 2017, shows James Gillar, who originally approached him about the China deal, warning Bobulinski not to mention Joe Biden's involvement:
"Don't mention Joe being involved, it's only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid," a screenshot of the message from Gilliar read.

Bobulinski said Gilliar and fellow partner Rob Walker were "paranoid about keeping Joe Biden's involvement secret."
Here's the press conference he held yesterday:


Breitbart has more quotes from the laptop from hell showing Hunter's associates viewed his direct 'pipeline' to the Obama-Biden administration as 'currency.'

Meanwhile, secret service travel records confirm the trips mention in Hunter's emails:
In one email reported by the Post, sent from Hunter Biden to his business partner Devon Archer dated Apr. 13, 2014, Hunter refers to a trip to Houston slated for "tmrw." Secret Service records released by Johnson and Grassley corroborate details of the trip with a travel entry from Hunter Biden for Apr. 13, 2014 to Apr. 14, 2014 to Houston.

In another email published by the Post, senior Burisma adviser Vadim Pozharski allegedly wrote on May 12, 2014 of a trip to Como Lake. Secret Service records reported a travel entry for Hunter Biden to Lake Como, Italy just more than a month earlier dated Apr. 3 to Apr. 6.

"Other reports indicate that, in May 2014, Mr. Biden and Mr. Archer may have been in Doha, Qatar," the senators wrote. "USSS records contain a travel entry for Hunter Biden to Doha, Qatar on May 11, 2014 - May 14, 2014."
But no worries. When in deep, just blame Russia:





Mr. Potato

Rudy Giuliani denies he did anything wrong in new 'Borat' movie, UPDATE: Twitter selectively ignores own 'revenge porn' rules in promoting the fake story

Rudolph rudy W. Giuliani
© Al Drago for The New York Times
Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, at the White House last month. He has recently been involved in pushing corruption accusations against Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son.
President Trump's personal lawyer has become caught up in Sacha Baron Cohen's new "Borat" satire after he was shown with an actress in an edited scene.

President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has become caught up in Sacha Baron Cohen's new "Borat" satire, shown in an edited scene following an actress impersonating a reporter into a bedroom and at one point reclining on the bed and putting his hands in his pants in what he later said was an attempt to adjust his clothing.

Still photos and descriptions of the scene from Mr. Cohen's new "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," which will be released on Friday, were posted on social media early Wednesday after The Guardian reported that the movie contained "a compromising scene" featuring Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.

Comment: Mother Jones's Ben Dreyfuss seems to back up Guliani's version. From Daily Caller:
...

Mother Jones's Ben Dreyfuss tweeted that Giuliani's reach into his pants was not sexual, but that the lawyer meant to tuck his shirt in after it had been loosened.

"I have now seen the scene with Rudy Giuliani," Dreyfuss tweeted. "He does not have his hands down his pants in a sexual way. He is tucking his shirt back in after she unticks it removing his mic."


Giuliani originally reported the incident to the New York police in July, saying that "this guy comes running in, wearing what I would say was a pink transgender outfit," according to The New York Post.

"This person comes in yelling or screaming, and I thought this must be a scam or a shakedown, so I reported it to the police. He then ran away," he said.

...
UPDATE: This from RT:
Conservatives accuse Twitter of selectively ignoring own policies on REVENGE PORN, misleading content in Borat prank on Giuliani
22 Oct, 2020 01:29

Conservatives blasted Twitter for ignoring and even promoting what they called a misleading revenge-porn attack on Rudy Giuliani after censoring reporting on alleged influence-peddling by Joe Biden's family.

At issue was a picture posted on Twitter on Wednesday showing Giuliani laying back on a bed with his hand reaching inside his pants while a woman stands nearby. The image was taken from the new 'Borat' sequel, in which Giuliani, a personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, believed himself to be doing an interview on the Covid-19 pandemic with a female Russian reporter. After the interview, Giuliani and the woman go to a bedroom at her suggestion.

As it turned out, Giuliani was being pranked and filmed with hidden cameras. The scene in the movie reportedly ends when the Borat character, played by actor Sacha Baron Cohen, runs into the bedroom and says, "She's 15, she's too old for you."

...

There's no indication that Giuliani, 76, believed the fictional Russian reporter to be underage. And the former New York mayor said on Wednesday that the scene was a "complete fabrication," as he was tucking his shirt in after removing a microphone and behaved appropriately with the young woman. He called the police to report the incident at the time it happened, in July.

...


But the scene was portrayed as scandalous by media outlets and supporters of Biden, the Democrat presidential candidate. For instance, an article in The Guardian said Giuliani was seen "reaching into his trousers and apparently touching his genitals." Other media outlets, such as the Washington Post, NBC News, The Hill and Huffington Post, also put a similar spin on the story.

Critics, however, alleged bias by the media, which was seemingly eager to interpret a still shot from the yet-to-be-released 'Borat' movie after largely casting a blind eye to reports in the past week on a trove of emails found on a hard drive of a laptop allegedly belonging to Biden's son, Hunter.

The hard drive was reportedly given to Giuliani, as well as the FBI, by a Delaware repair-shop owner after Hunter allegedly failed to pay for repairs to his laptop and never returned to retrieve the computer.

The emails reveal questionable business dealings between the Bidens and a Ukrainian energy firm, and indicated that the former VP's son wanted to enrich his family through his Chinese connections.



Journalist Robby Soave suggested that based on the reasoning Twitter gave for blocking the Biden stories, it also should have banned the Giuliani-Borat tweets because the material "contains personal information obtained in an underhanded way and without Giuliani's permission."


Conservative author Mike Cernovich said the 'Borat' scene would qualify as "revenge porn" against Giuliani under New York law, as well as under Twitter's guidelines banning such content. Twitter allowed thousands of accounts to share the photo and portray it misleadingly, he said, adding that "the bias isn't subtle." In fact, Twitter not only allowed the Giuliani posts to proliferate after censoring the New York Post's Hunter Biden stories; it even promoted the topic with its own trending link as part of an effort "to make high-quality information around the 2020 US elections more accessible."



The press was so eager for Giuliani-incriminating news on Wednesday that a hoax suggesting that the former mayor had been duped by a college student pretending to be Ivanka Trump was apparently believed and tweeted out by such media figures as MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and Politico editor David Freedlander. The student, Nick Roberts, pretended to trick Giuliani in a satirical exchange of fake text messages.





Cell Phone

US federal judge says Trump's tweet calling to release Russiagate docs with 'no redactions' was NOT official order amid FOIA suits

Donald Trump signs bill
© Reuters / Jonathan Ernst
FILE PHOTO: President Donald Trump signs a bill in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, DC.
A US judge has ruled that a tweet sent by President Donald Trump earlier this month did not constitute an order to declassify material linked to the Russiagate probe, as CNN and Buzzfeed press for the docs in ongoing lawsuits.

US District Judge Reggie Walton said on Wednesday that, while the tweet appeared to order the release of new material free of any redactions, a clarification from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows qualified as a reversal of the move. The judge was also critical of the administration for a lack of clarity on the question.

"It is unfortunate that we are in this situation because, obviously, when there's ever a reference to declassification of classified information those words spoken should be artfully spoken, so there's no ambiguity as to what the intent was," Walton said during Wednesday's remote hearing, adding that "obviously, that's not what occurred here."

Comment: The personnel acting very slowly are helping to keep the myth of Russiagate alive while ensuring the truth is as contained as possible. Is this intentional and part of some directive from some group or individual who are acting against Trump, or is there a more mundane reason that this information that would help Trump and hurt Biden is not being shared with the people if in fact Trump did declassify the documents?