No Pardon for Hunter, Joe Biden Says - The Friday AM Quickie 6/7/24

The global cricket community is abuzz about Team USA's victory over Pakistan in Texas. It's a real curveball, er, a googly! I think. - Corey

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Hunter Biden: Meh. What About 'Gold Bar' Bob?

Mainstream news organizations are forever engaged in a misguided quest to "balance" their coverage of deranged felon Donald Trump with negative stories about Democrats. Hence the headlines from Hunter Biden's ongoing trial on charges that he lied about his drug use on a gun purchase application have gotten top billing this week. News editors and producers are hoping head off Republican criticism that their coverage of Trump's unprecedented crime spree is somehow unfair or excessive by pointing to their coverage of the Biden family's incomparable misfortune.

My problem as a journalist with the Hunter Biden coverage is that it has no bearing whatsoever on the lives of ordinary Americans. It's salacious, sure. But beyond that it's boring and irrelevant. It's also inconsequential (except to the extent that Republicans like talking about it, and, of course, to the Biden family). So a rich and powerful person's kid developed an addiction and led a messy life? It certainly wouldn't be the first time. And who really cares? It isn't the president smoking crack. Nor is Biden abusing his position to secure special treatment for his offspring: He even said yesterday that he won't pardon Hunter if convicted. Hunter Biden hasn't been put in charge of the Democratic National Committee. He isn't running for office and probably never will. And despite tremendous effort and expense, Republicans have utterly failed to produce any evidence that he spearheaded some complex international corruption scheme (presumably while sleeping in cars during the throes of his addiction); indeed, the star witness in that GOP conspiracy theory was charged with lying to the FBI.

If journalists toeing the line of neutrality want to hype an actually important story that makes Democrats look terrible, there's another criminal trial underway that actually warrants attention. I'm talking of course about the federal bribery case against the powerful New Jersey Sen. 'Gold Bar' Bob Menendez. Yesterday former state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, also a Democrat, testified that Menendez pressured him to "kill" an open criminal case at the behest of a benefactor, trucking and insurance executive Jose Uribe. "Whoa, that was gross," Grewal recalled one of his aides saying after a meeting in Newark with Menendez in 2019, just two years after the senator first beat corruption charges thanks to a mistrial.

You know what else is gross? The fact that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ducked a reporter's question this week about whether he'd endorse the new Democratic nominee for Senate in New Jersey, Rep. Andy Kim. Despite the damning evidence of his corruption already introduced at trial, Menendez is seeking reelection as an independent. It's like the Henry Cuellar situation all over again. What does it say about Democratic leadership that they hesitate to endorse their own party's nominee for fear of offending a crooked power broker? And what does it say about the American press that one individual's unfortunate disease of addiction is seen as a bigger deal than the culture of corruption? Nothing good.

Elections Watch: Pennsylvania Republicans Boo Jan. 6 Cops

  • 20 Percent Fewer Young Black Voters Say They're Likely to Vote This Year as Compared to 2020 "Black voters are a key constituency in several swing states but are particularly critical in Pennsylvania," which is "considered by many to be a must-win" for President Joe Biden to secure reelection. via the Washington Post.
  • New York Ballot Access Challenge to RFK Jr. Says He Actually Lives in California The Kennedy campaign insists a house he has rented from a friend in Katonah, NY, that is currently undergoing foreclosure proceedings, is the independent presidential candidate's true place of residence, not the house he bought a decade ago with his wife in Malibu, California. via the New York Times.
  • Convicted Felon Talks Up Vance, Burgum, and Rubio as VP Picks The Trump campaign has requested unspecified "paperwork" from potential vice presidential candidates including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, JD Vance of Ohio, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Tim Scott of South Carolina; in addition to Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York and Byron Donalds of Florida; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum; and former cabinet official Ben Carson. via the Washington Post.
  • Early Exit Polls from EU Elections Show Close Contest Between Neo-Fascists and Social Democrat-Green Alliance "The message of European radical right is very similar to the message of Donald Trump," one Dutch political scientist observes. "And the rhetoric is very, very similar — nativist, exclusionary, authoritarian." via the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

Samsung Workers Launch Historic Strike

Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones and "dominates the South Korean economy," as the New York Times reports, so this is a big deal: 28,000 union members representing one-fifth of the company's workforce staged their first-ever strike today. Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union vice preseident Lee Hyun Kuk tells the Times that "multiple rounds of negotiations over wage increases and bonuses had broken down" and that workers are ready to extend the one-day strike in the future if the company doesn't cut them a favorable deal. Samsung has a reputation for union-busting and its founder, Lee Byung-chul, vowed to keep them out of the company "until I have dirt over my eyes." (He died in 1987.) Times have changed, obviously, and this year's union rallies have boasted K-pop singers. Meanwhile on TikTok, an advocacy group called Gen-Z for Change (formerly TikTok for Biden) is demanding that the US National Labor Relations Board force Amazon to negotitate with the Amazon Labor Union; per the Washington Post, Amazon's recent court filings argue, as lawyers for Elon Musk's Space X recently did, that the NLRB itself is unconstitutional.


  • Israel Used US-Made Bomb in Strike on UN School in Gaza UNRWA says more than 170 buildings it uses, most of them schools being used as shelters, have been hit in military strikes since Oct. 7, killing more than 450 people and injuring nearly 1,500. via the Washington Post and the Associated Press.
  • Rishi Sunak Skips Out on D-Day Commemoration to Record TV Interview Defending His Debate Performance President Joe Biden addressed more than two dozen other heads of state at the 80th anniversary ceremony; "You're our hero," 99-year-old American veteran Melvin Hurwitz told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a moment broadcast on large screens at the Omaha Beach gathering. via the Guardian and the New York Times.
  • Judge Orders Steve Bannon to Report to Prison By July 1, and Tells His Lawyer to Stop Yelling The four-month sentence is for the grotesque Trump adviser's contempt of Congress in defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 Committee; he will also go on trial later this year for stealing money from racist suckers in with a scam "We Build the Wall" GoFundMe campaign. via NBC News.
  • Alex Jones Will Liquidate His Personal Assets, and Likely Lose Infowars, to Pay Sandy Hook Families "In 'emergency broadcasts' of Infowars over the weekend, Jones expressed fears that the show and the company will be shut down, claiming a supposed plot by the federal government and crying seemingly forced tears at times." via CNN and the Austin-American Statesman.



That's how many of the 9 bills introduced in the Michigan legislature to reform the multibillion-dollar bottled water industry, which extracts groundwater at virtually no cost and sells it at a huge markup, that have passed under Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who campaigned against industry abuses. According to ProPublica, industry lobbyists succeeded in killing all those bills in both Democratic- and Republican-controlled legislatures.


6/7: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma speak with Heather Digby Parton, contributing writer at and proprietor of the blog Hullabaloo, to round up the week in news. Then, they're joined by writer & activist Peter McIndoe, to discuss his recent book Birds Aren't Real: The True Story of Mass Avian Murder and the Largest Surveillance Campaign in US History, co-authored with Connor Gaydos.


Jewish US Army Major Resigns Over Biden's Gaza Policy

That's 13-year US Army veteran Maj. Harrison Mann.

Trump's Son Uses Racism to Cope With Dad's Felony Convictions

I know he's identified in the clip but I can't tell Eric and Don Jr. apart anymore.


"The attorney general of my state has the audacity to refer to what is holy ground as a 'stash house.' I'm asking you, is that what you see?"

-- Ruben Garcia, the 75-year-old founder of the Annunciation House shelter network in El Paso, Texas, speaking to the Washington Post about Republican state Attorney General Ken Paxton's attempt to shut the Catholic nonprofit organization down. Paxton's investigators call his shelters, which have been in operation for nearly 50 years, "stash houses" that violate a 2015 state law making it a crime "to 'encourage or induce' someone to enter the country illegally by 'concealing, harboring, or shielding' them from detection."

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