This article also appears on the Website of the Jewish News Service (JNS) and is reprinted with the permission of its author.
(December 27, 2020 / JNS) “A significant portion of the public does not believe that the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election was fairly conducted. … Once again, four justices on this court cannot be bothered with addressing what the statutes require to assure that absentee ballots are lawfully cast.” — Patience D. Roggensack, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Dec. 14, 2020
“ … [A] majority of this court unconstitutionally converts the … Elections Commission’s mere advice into governing ‘law,’ thereby supplanting the actual election laws enacted by the people’s elected representatives in the legislature and defying the will of [the state’s] citizens. When the state’s highest court refuses to uphold the law and stands by while an unelected body of six commissioners rewrites it, our system of representative government is subverted.” — Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley, Dec. 14, 2020
“Investigators have been examining multiple financial issues, including whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China. … Some of those transactions involved people who the FBI believe sparked counterintelligence concerns, a common issue when dealing with Chinese business … .” — CNN, Dec. 10, 2020
The November 2020 elections were an extraordinary event in which the bizarre, even the outlandish, became an integral part of the everyday humdrum routine.
The implausible and even more implausible?
This is not a politically partisan observation for it is valid no matter which side of the Democrat/GOP political divide one might happen to be on. After all, it is difficult to know what is more implausibly far-fetched:
(a) that, as the Republicans claim, there was pervasive electoral fraud on a scale so massive that it determined — indeed, inverted — the outcome of the ballot; or (b) that, as the Democrats claim, as a lackluster and lackadaisical candidate, perceptibly frail and aging, Joe Biden genuinely managed to amass the highest number of votes ever in a presidential election, surpassing former U.S. President Barack Obama’s previous 2008 record by almost 12 million votes.
Making this latter scenario even more difficult to accept at face value is that Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., was hardly an electrifying vote-getter, having being forced to drop out quite early on in her own party’s primaries for its choice of a presidential candidate.
Indeed, Biden’s choice of Harris as his prospective vice president was, in itself, more than a little incongruous, as she had viciously excoriated him during the primaries for his record on race relations, complicity with segregationists and sexual impropriety, adamantly proclaiming that she believed the women who had complained about his unwanted sexual advances.
'Many Doubt the Fairness of November Elections.'
Indeed, in light of his anemic, largely "no-show" election campaign, in which he studiously avoided articulating his position on a number of crucial issues, Biden’s apparent electoral achievement is even more bewildering. Indeed, referring to the Biden campaign, one media outlet observed dourly, "There is no surge of feeling, zero passion. … Instead, the closest thing to enthusiasm … among voters is resigned, faint praise. 'He’s a decent man' … but you can’t move the needle of history with flaccid decency."
Another noted: "Biden’s performance [in exceeding Obama’s 2008 record] is incredible considering the voter enthusiasm, especially among young people, that his former boss had … ."
Accordingly, the sentiment expressed by the chief justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, Patience D. Roggensack, was hardly surprising when she warned," A significant portion of the public does not believe that the Nov. 3 presidential election was fairly conducted."
These words were part of Roggensack’s dissenting opinion in a hearing on several challenges by U.S. President Donald Trump to Wisconsin’s election results.
Although the motion was rejected by a 4 to 3 vote, at least one of the majority justices is on public record as being vehemently inimical to Trump, and the decision was severely criticized by the dissenting minority as being judicially unsound.
Thus, Justice Annette Ziegler, wrote, "The majority seems to create a new bright-line rule that the candidates and voters are without recourse and without any notice should the court decide to later conjure up an artificial deadline concluding that it prefers that something would have been done earlier. … That has never been the law, and it should not be today."
Abdicating Constitutional Duty
Disapprovingly, she chastised, "It is a game of 'gotcha.' I respectfully dissent, because I would decide the issues presented and declare what the law is."
Accusing the majority of "abdication of its constitutional duty," she lamented:
"Unfortunately, our court’s adoption of laches as a means to avoid judicial decision-making has become a pattern of conduct. A majority of this court decided not to address the issues in this case when originally presented to us. … In concluding that it is again paralyzed from engaging in pertinent legal analysis, our court, unfortunately, provides no answer or even any analysis of the relevant statutes, in the most important election … of our time."
Ziegler was at pains to underline, "To be clear, I am not interested in a particular outcome. I am interested in the court fulfilling its constitutional responsibility."
Expressing grave concern over the majority’s indecision, Ziegler chided, "While sometimes it may be difficult to undertake analysis of hot-button legal issues—as a good number of people will be upset no matter what this court does — it is our constitutional duty. We cannot hide from our obligation under the guise of laches."
Accordingly, she concluded that "the rule of law and equity demand that we answer these questions for not only this election, but for elections to come."
Indeed, given the relative proximity of the court hearing to the actual ballot process, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that in order to comply with the majority conditions for the motion to be heard on its merits, the Trump legal team would have had to submit its case against the alleged infractions before those infractions were committed.
Covering Corruption or Not?
The apparent judicial reluctance to deal with allegations of widespread fraud leads us to another manifestation of partisan reticence, that of the mainstream media in their pre-election coverage of news highly pertinent to the voters’ decision at the ballot box — which seems to have drastically subsided in the wake of the elections.
Arguably, this was best capsulated in the Dec. 10 headline in an established Tennessee daily, "Uninterested Before the Election, National Media Now Find the Hunter Biden Story Worth Mentioning."
The ensuing editorial shrewdly observed, "Too late to help the voting public form an objective opinion about their presidential choice, the national media has suddenly decided that the Chinese business dealings of Hunter Biden are worth mentioning."
It continued: "We have long believed — and said — that the younger Biden’s business dealings, and his father’s major or minor role in them, was at least a disqualifying criterion for the elder Biden’s presidential election. It is clear, after all, that the younger Biden would not have been involved with various businesses in the Ukraine and China over the last decade had his father not been vice president at the time."
Indeed, it is clear.
In a grave reproach of the mainstream media, it asserted, "National media outlets knew before last month’s election that federal prosecutors had opened a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings with China, but they did not pursue the story."
In a stinging rebuke, it charged. "They also refused to further investigate the New York Post pre-election story about e-mails allegedly contained on the younger Biden’s laptop pointing to shady dealings between Joe Biden and Ukraine. . . . In truth, they withheld critical information from readers and viewers so that Biden might beat President Donald Trump, the man they l[o]ve to hate."
'Too Disgusting to Repeat'
For example, leaked recordings exposed CNN’s president and political director blocking coverage of the New York Post’s explosive exposé on Hunter Biden's shady business dealings overseas.
Thus, on Oct. 14, political director David Chalian was heard on a conference call, instructing, "Obviously, we’re not going with the New York Post story right now on Hunter Biden."
Just two days later (Oct. 16), CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, informed his staff, "I don’t think that we should be repeating unsubstantiated smears just because the right-wing media suggests that we should."
On Oct. 22, in a televised discussion, CNN anchor Jeff Tapper told his colleague, Bakari Sellers, that " … the right-wing is going crazy with all sorts of allegations about Biden and his family. Too disgusting to even repeat here."
The Media Research Center (MRC) conducted a review spanning the period Oct. 14-22 of ABC, CBS, NBC’s evening and morning shows and their Sunday roundtable programs, as well as ABC’s and NBC’s townhall events with Biden and Trump.
According to MRC, "Out of a total of 73.5hours of news programming, there were less than 17minutes (16 minutes, 42 seconds) spent on the latest scandals involving Joe Biden’s son."
To be precise, the media watchdog found that ABC devoted zero (!) seconds to the reported Hunter Biden scandals, NBC just six minutes, nine seconds, while CBS led the broadcast networks with a "still-measly 10 minutes and 33 seconds."
All-Pervasive 'Russian Disinformation'
Moreover, even when the Biden story was mentioned, it was, by and large, denigrated as "Russian disinformation" (see for example here and here).
On Oct. 19, Politico.com published a report, dramatically headlined "Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say."
It commenced with the following unequivocal pronouncement, "More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of e-mails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son 'has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.'"
However, in the letter itself, the "former intel officials," who — unsurprisingly — included the ardently pro-Biden and fervently anti-Trump John Brennan (former CIA director), and James Clapper (former director of National Intelligence), seem to be far less unequivocally clear-cut and strident. Indeed, they were at pains to insert a paragraph, clearly formulated to protect their professional "rear-ends": "We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post … are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement. … [However], there are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement."
This, of course, leaves the reader to puzzle over the question: If the "former intel officials" had no clue whether or not the e-mails were, in fact, authentic or the product of "Russian involvement," how could they possibly make the determination that they were—and why would they lend they names and reputations to create a politically partisan impression, which, by their own admission, they could not substantiate?
Or were they counting on the assumption that few ever read beyond the headlines and the opening paragraph?
An Abrupt Change of Heart
With the election over, there seems to have been a perceptible shift in the media attitude towards the allegations of malfeasance in the Biden family’s overseas business activities.
For example, CNN anchor Tapper seems to have undergone an abrupt change of heart as to the gravity of these allegations, having, prior to the election — as we have seen —dismissed them in the strongest possible terms.
However, several weeks after the presidential election, with Biden preparing to become the 46th president, Tapper apparently had few qualms in raising the subject publicly and the Biden family’s business ties began to be gradually emerging as fair game to him (see here).
A similar shift in journalistic sentiment was evident in other media outlets.
Take, for example, the Los Angeles Times. As early as March 6, it ran an editorial, "The GOP’s Senate Investigation into Hunter Biden Is a Charade — and They Know It," proclaiming that the entire probe into the Biden’s far-flung business dealings was little more than flimsily disguised political shenanigans.
However, soon after the elections, this changed markedly.
On Dec. 9, LAT ran a report headlined: "Hunter Biden Tax Inquiry Examining Chinese Business Dealings."
It disclosed that "the Justice Department’s investigation scrutinizing Hunter Biden’s taxes has been examining some of his Chinese business dealings, among other financial transactions."
The report continued: "… The investigation was launched in 2018, a year before his father, Joe Biden, announced his candidacy for president" —i.e., months before the LAT editorial board dismissed GOP claims regarding the existence of such a probe as "a charade."
Indeed, a little over a month after the polls had closed, it conceded that "the younger Biden has a history of business dealings in a number of countries, and the revelation of a federal investigation puts a renewed spotlight on the questions about his financial dealings that dogged his father’s successful White House campaign."
Three days later (Dec. 12), LAT again raised the subject in a piece, "Hunter Biden Subpoena seeks Information on Burisma, Other Entities," stating that a "subpoena seeking documents from Hunter Biden asked for information related to more than two dozen entities, including the Ukraine gas company Burisma … ." Significantly, it added, "The breadth of the subpoena, issued Tuesday, underscores the wide lens prosecutors are taking as they examine the younger Biden’s finances and international business ventures."
The Harbinger of Far-Reaching Political Change?
This post-election metamorphosis of media mood could also herald the onset of a far-reaching political shift within the Democratic Party.
After all, in contrast to the accusations against Trump of colluding with Russia and conniving with Ukraine, based largely on third-party hearsay and innuendo, the evidence accumulating against the Biden family seems far more solid and compelling, including firsthand witness accounts and emails whose authenticity have yet to be denied.
As coverage on the alleged Biden scandal continues — and certainly if it turns out that Biden has been untruthful over his complicity in his family’s questionable business operations — his continued incumbency is likely to be increasingly challenged until it is no longer tenable, and he is compelled to transfer power to Harris.
Of course, there will be those who discount this possibility as being beyond the bounds of probability.
However, they would do well to bear in mind that the overwhelming preponderance of the ideo-political energy in the party comes from the more radical left-wing, which has already proven that it can assert its will on the party apparatus in the past.
Recently, rumblings for changes in leadership within the party have begun, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. calling for a structural change in the party and for the old guard to be replaced with younger legislators to promote the radical policies she advocates.
Indeed, she has even called explicitly for the replacement of the party’s congressional leadership of both Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in the U.S. Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. House.
Will Frailty and Mendacity Ensconce Kamala Harris as President?
The contour lines of an approaching scenario in which Biden, exposed as both frail and mendacious, is forced to step down and concede the presidency to Harris are gradually coming into focus.
With an ever-more critical press and an ever-more radical intra-party opposition, we may well be on the cusp of a new American (or rather un-American) revolution — a revolution in which a cardboard-cutout president is driven from office by people imbued with a political credo, forged by figures and ideas not only different from, but entirely contrary to, those that made America America.
It is indeed a scenario that risks transforming America into a de-Americanized post-America — an unrecognizable shadow of its former self.
That will be the terrible price the American electorate has inflicted on itself for submitting to the fit of puerile and petulant pique that molded its choice this November.
Martin Sherman is the founder & executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies and served for seven years in operational capacities in Israel's intelligence community. Sherman lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He holds several university degrees — B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance) and PhD in political science/international relations. He was the first academic director of the internationally renowned Herzliya Conference and has authored two books as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He was born in South Africa and has lived in Israel since 1971. Read Martin Sherman's Reports — More Here.
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