Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Ukrainian Gold Rush

Jonathan Turley, a liberal law professor at George Washington University, but one of those strange liberals who has a thing about rule of law and the constitution, has an interesting article at The Hill--He who must not be named: How Hunter Biden became a conversation-stopper. As the title indicates, he's concerned with the refusal of the liberal media to acknowledge that maybe--just maybe--there could be some problems with the way that the Bidens, father and son, enriched themselves during the vice-presidency of Joe Biden. It's a fun read, if you get off on liberal hypocrisy.

However, within that story there are a few paragraphs that graphically illustrate why Ukraine is a bit of a third rail in US politics these days--a bi-partisan third rail, but one that Trump insisted on grasping. The dirty secret is that both Democrats and Republicans have enriched themselves in the corruption rife environment of Ukraine:

Ukraine is widely considered one of the more corrupt places on Earth, where paying the children and spouses of powerful people is routine. Indeed, it is quite common in this country, too — and I’ve criticized that practice for more than 30 years in Republican and Democratic administrations alike. 
Yet Ukraine was a virtual gold rush for Washington’s elite. Paul Manafort made millions working for Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s corrupt former president. Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig and his law firm tapped into Yanukovych, too. Tony Podesta, Democratic powerbroker and brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman, were implicated in Ukraine dealings. 
Hunter Biden’s quest for Ukrainian gold took him to one of Yanukovych’s most controversial and corrupt associates, Mykola Zlochevsky, who leveraged his post as minister of ecology and natural resources to build a fortune. Before fleeing Ukraine, Zlochevsky paid Hunter Biden and several other Americans to be directors of his energy company, Burisma Holdings. Hunter Biden had no experience in the field — but he did have a notable connection to the vice president, who publicly has bragged about making clear to the Ukrainians that he alone controlled U.S. aid to the country.

You can be sure that there are many more Americans of both parties who joined the Ukrainian gold rush. And when you understand that you'll understand why Washington hates and fears Donald Trump.

And Matthew Continetti weighs in on the same theme--We Are All Ukrainians: How wealth and cronyism transformed American democracy--and best of all he works that theme directly into Impeachment Theater:

In a sense it is fitting that a former province of the Soviet Union beset by corruption, cronyism, and war has become the crux of Democratic efforts to impeach Donald Trump. This beleaguered country is not only a crossroads between West and East, Europe and Eurasia, NATO and Russia. It is also a field from which America's bipartisan elite has reaped considerable bounties in contracts and directorships, in consulting and lobbying. What has been happening in Ukraine for decades is emblematic of the self-dealing and self-seeking that has exhausted voting publics and inspired populists across the world. Unexpectedly, Trump's relation to Ukraine threatens the viability of the movements it helped create. 
... It takes the willing suspension of disbelief to argue that politics had nothing to do with the appointment of the son of the vice president to the well-compensated board of an oil and gas giant two months after he was kicked out of the U.S. Navy for cocaine abuse. 
And it requires unblinking partisanship to deny that both Republicans and Democrats, from Paul Manafort to Greg Craig, from BGR Group to the defunct Podesta Group, have profited from connections to Ukraine's various governments and officials. "If you want me to leave the U.S. on Monday 6/16 and return on Friday 6/20," Democrat Tad Devine wrote Republican Rick Gates in reference to a Ukraine job in 2014, "that would be 5 days at $10G/day for $50,000.00. You would need to make the travel arrangements, and transfer the $50G before the trip." That's top dollar for someone who once consulted a socialist. 
For decades, the economies that emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Empire have been playgrounds for American political professionals to deploy their tricks of the trade, their skills at campaign management and public relations, in lucrative arrangements. Perhaps we should have expected these politicos might return home with pieces of post-Soviet political culture in their carry-ons: love of intrigue, of information operations conducted in digital and social media, of conspiracy theories, of national populism and of socialism, of high-dollar payouts made against the backdrop of gray-zone conflict between authoritarian and democratic states. The vocabulary of American politics has appropriated Russian terminology: maskirovka and kompromat, nomenklatura and czar. 
This influence is manifest in the conduct of impeachment so far. Anonymous whistleblowers from within the intelligence services trigger investigations of the president. The speaker of the House announces an impeachment inquiry but does not call the roll. The quasi-official status of the investigation allows the Democratic majority to minimize Republican involvement. Hearings are secret. Selective leaks to media drive the impeachment narrative and consolidate partisan support for the president's removal. To speak of narratives rather than evidence is to acknowledge our postmodern condition, where interpretations are more powerful than facts.


  1. I'm responding to some comments in the "Andrew McCabe is an Idiot" entry.

    I watched all two hours and seven minutes of the President' speech in Minneapolis. There I saw real Americans who know what is going on. These are countrymen who go to work, pay their mortgage and taxes, go to church and raise their families. A good many of them own guns.

    These are reasons that I have a lot of hope that we're going to safely get through this crisis. We are not yet at a point where people are afraid to stand up for what they believe.

    We were sure getting to that point. Political correctness was strangling our ability to speak out without fear of reprisal.

    But there are reasons to be hopeful. We have a courageous president who is not afraid. We are seeing the thugs become desperate. We have an independent media. Don't laugh. I am not talking about ABC, CBS, NBC, the NY Times and the Washington Post.

    I am talking about Meaning in History, Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, FOX, The Federalist, The Epoch Times, Conservative Treehouse, Powerline, American Greatness, American Thinker, American Spectator, Town Hall, the Gateway Pundit, PJ Media and others. Plus we have conservatives on Twitter and Facebook.

    There's a lot of reason to be hopeful. We must stand up for our rights, speak out and vote.

  2. Does anything that Barack Obama could fill a stadium where people waited for hours to hear the President speak? How about Clinton? How about Romney? Schiff, Nadler, Pelosi?

    How about Mueller, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, Weissmann, Stelter, Maddow, Matthews, Scarborough?

    I think that the answer is pretty obvious. And people aren't as dumb as you think. At least woke conservatives aren't.

    1. Wasn't there some event a few months ago that Obama fronted for the Dems that fell totally flat in terms of attendance? Plus, he's old hat for today's woke radicals, whereas conservative values don't change.