The Golden Rule and the Hunter Biden Scandal: Three Questions Raised by the FBI Leak

Below is my column in the Hill on the noticeably narrow scope of charges referenced in the recent FBI leak from the Delaware investigation. The leak raises a number of intriguing questions in its wake.

Here is the column:

President Biden’s hot mic moment during a visit to hurricane-stricken Florida — in which he muttered that “No one f–ks with a Biden” — left many people confused. His Sopranos-like warning might not deter developing hurricanes but it has succeeded for years in Washington as a kind of “Biden Golden Rule.” Neither prosecutors nor the press have seemed interested in pursuing allegations of criminal or corrupt practices by some members of the Biden family.

Now, after years of investigation, reports indicate that FBI agents are convinced ample evidence exists to charge the president’s son Hunter Biden on gun- and tax-related charges. Those charges (and a possible plea) may be the best-case scenario for the Bidens — and many others in Washington. Indeed, the reported narrow scope of a possible indictment is strikingly similar to what I previously described as the ideal “controlled demolition” of the Hunter Biden scandal.

Three questions immediately arise from this Justice Department leak, and the concern is that all three may be answered by the Biden Golden Rule:

For the Bidens, justice delayed is justice

The first question is why, in an investigation that began in 2018, the Justice Department only now believes it could charge over false statements on a gun registration form and on tax evasion. Both crimes were well established years ago.

The gun charge is based on the fact that Hunter Biden reportedly answered “no” to a standard question about whether he was an “unlawful user of, or addicted to” a narcotic drug or any other controlled substance. He wrote a book detailing his raging drug and alcohol addictions during this period (ironically, even as his father called for stricter enforcement of gun laws).

The FBI has long had the gun registration form, the book and other self-incriminating statements, not to mention President Biden’s repeated references to his son being an addict.

Hunter Biden also apparently did not pay taxes on millions garnered from his foreign business dealings or alleged influence-peddling schemes, and a Hollywood lawyer reportedly paid off as much as $2 million in delinquent taxes on his behalf recently. The FBI has had Hunter Biden’s infamous abandoned laptop since 2019, detailing payments from foreign sources and gifts or benefits, including a diamond.

Yet the long investigation has worked to the advantage of the Bidens as well as the Democrats in pushing any indictment beyond 2020 and, most likely, after the 2022 midterm elections. Indeed, Hunter Biden’s lawyer insisted after the leak of possible charges that prosecutors “should not be pressured, rushed, or criticized” to act.

It is often said that “justice delayed is justice denied” — but in politics, justice delayed is simply justice.

Is this all there is?

A second question concerns what were not referenced as likely charges against Hunter Biden.

For years, some of us have said an obvious, overwhelming argument existed to appoint a special counsel in this case. Yet Attorney General Merrick Garland has refused to do so.

Hunter Biden’s laptop reportedly contained detailed emails about business deals spanning the globe and millions of dollars from foreign sources, including some tied to foreign intelligence operatives. Some of his accounts reportedly were used to pay some of the bills for President Biden.

Even if the Justice Department is set to decline charges linked to foreign money transfers or influence-peddling, there is the obvious omission of charges under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). The Justice Department has used FARA aggressively in past prosecutions such as that of Trump associate Paul Manafort.

The omission of a charge under FARA would be glaring and troubling in light of those past prosecutions. And with the refusal to appoint a special counsel, that omission would likely avoid a public airing of any influence-peddling allegations tied to the Biden family.

A telling leak

The third question is why this leak occurred in the first place. Hunter Biden’s lawyer is justified in objecting to this leak and noting that it likely would constitute a federal crime. So why would sources at the FBI take the risk of a leak at this time?

Much like the Supreme Court leaking of the Dobbs decision, this one appears intended to trigger a response. The most obvious motivation would be to lock in the Justice Department if agents feared the department’s leaders might be resisting or delaying any charges.

It could also be an effort to alert the public about the narrow scope of charges being discussed with Hunter Biden’s defense team as a possible plea deal. There may also be concern that a plea deal might be reached before any Republican takeover of the House of Representatives. GOP leaders have pledged to investigate the influence-peddling allegations, but a plea could be used to say the matter is now considered closed by the Justice Department.

The focus on the gun charge is likely to highlight the absence of charges related to the reported foreign payments and alleged influence peddling. While the standard registration form warns of a potential 10-year sentence for false statements, it is rare to see significant prison time emerge from such cases. Indeed, prosecutors often choose not to charge on such violations. As a first-time offender, Hunter Biden could avoid prison entirely or plead to a short period of incarceration.

For those concerned about alleged influence-peddling, such a charge may seem like arresting a bank robber solely for double-parking his getaway car. While the reported charges could result collectively in a few years in jail, the absence of far more serious charges is likely to raise questions about the scope of the investigation.

The videos and emails reportedly uncovered on Hunter Biden’s laptop show a wide array of alleged criminal acts — a target-rich environment for any prosecutor. Indeed, it would take an amazing marksman to hit the gun charge and a few tax violations while missing other potential crimes. While any eventual indictment might contain other charges, the leak (if accurate) suggests a strikingly narrow focus as a basis for a possible plea.

The U.S. attorney in charge of this investigation, David C. Weiss, is a respected prosecutor. Even so, many Americans may wonder why Hunter Biden’s case suddenly was downgraded from a Category 5 hurricane to a tropical storm.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

197 thoughts on “The Golden Rule and the Hunter Biden Scandal: Three Questions Raised by the FBI Leak”

  1. John, and anyone looking to vote for a third party. I got this in my **spam** folder.

    SPOILER ALERT! Marc Victor, Libertarian Spoiler for the 2022 Arizona U.S. Senate Race
    It was wordy, but broadened our previous discussion.

    Ron Paul is a good example of a realistic libertarian. He ran as a Republican … Much can be said for his son Rand Paul

    In reality, when an isolated libertarian has been elected, they generally are not very effective. One can think of Justin Amash of Michigan or even the strange one-time governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura.

    Teddy Roosevelt helped elect the tyrannical Woodrow Wilson.

    Ross Perot … elected Bill Clinton

    Scott Walker pointed to his state specifically as a place where Jorgensen’s vote tallies exceeded the margin between Biden and Trump.

    “Votes cast for Jorgensen in Georgia and Pennsylvania also exceeded the margins between Biden and Trump on Friday night, and her vote tally in Arizona was also within striking distance.”

    I am not claiming validity or accuracy for any of the statements. I don’t know the site. It was spam in my email box, but I found it interesting.

    “n the real world, there are no perfect choices but only tradeoffs, as the great Thomas Sowell has often opined”

    https://thepricklypear.org/marc-victor-the-libertarian-spoiler-for-the-2022-arizona-u-s-senate-race/

    1. Not only don’t I care, but you and republicans should think about that.

      If libertarians are actually costing republicans elections – GREAT.
      If you want libertarian votes – Earn them.

      I do not need perfection – but I need more than the lessor evil.
      Ventura was an excellent governor. Amash was a very good representative.

      I have narrow issues with each of them, But both were on Net good.
      Ron Paul was an asset in the house.
      Rand Paul is excellent in the senate.
      Mike Lee is libertarianish.
      h311 even Cruz is essentially a far right libertarian.

      Other Libertarieans have not worked out so well.
      Why would you expect differently ?

      Mostly I am very happy with the shifts within the political parties.
      Democrats have always been the party of big government, but they are actively taking from the GOP the policies and positions that are the most anti-libertarian. That is Why Tulsi is leaving the democratic party.

      If democrats want Neo-cons back – please take them.
      If they want big business and special interests – fine.
      If they wish to ceded the working class and minorities to republicans – great.

      The current reorientation of the political parties and their values is welcome to me.

      Republicans are not libertarians. But they are more libertarian than in 2000.

      1. “Ron Paul was an asset in the house.
        Rand Paul is excellent in the senate.
        Mike Lee is libertarianish.”

        John, all three have been assets. Thank goodness they were in the legislature. They, along with others, like Cruz, Jordan, and Nunes, have been pushing the legislature to act positively. Jo Jorgensen didn’t do much but strip candidates away from Trump. What did Jo Jorgensen accomplish compared to Lee and Paul that keep the fire burning while holding up our rear? We need more of these fellows in Congress. I’m not against forcing Republicans or Democrats to do the right things by not voting for them, but I am not suicidal. It will take years to recover from this last presidential election if we can ever regain the ground lost. We need to break the leftist stronghold, and the Presidency acts as a brake with more power than any Congressman or group of Congressmen.

        Think of entropy. Essentially political systems function under a type of entropy as well. America was the exception to other states requiring large amounts of energy to keep us where we were. Republicans and Democrats who believe in the Constitution and individual rights need to start populating lower offices building from the ground up. That is what the left did, causing their army to be teachers and other jobs whose influence on individuals is direct and strong.

        1. The Tea Party was a minority of the GOP in 2010. It gained power by doing exactly what Jo Jo did.
          I have no problem with that.

          If you want me vote – earn it.
          And not by being the lessor of two evils.

          1. The Tea Party had a much greater effect than Jo Jorgensen and succeeded in getting people into Congress while helping libertarian candidates. They did not split the Presidential ticket.

            I am impressed with libertarians that make it into Congress, but I am not impressed with the libertarian party.

        2. You keep making the same argument.
          There is nothing wrong with the argument.
          But it has not persuaded me. Nor those who voted for Jo Jo or Johnson.

          Democrats have long claimed that Nader cost Gore the election in 2000 – and arguably he did.
          But Gore did not persuade Nader voters to vote for him.

          There is no right to anyone’s vote.

          We are not obligated to vote at all.

          Nor contra those on the left is it a violation of the law or constitution for wither party to persuade us not to vote.

          Obama won the rust belt in 2012 specifically by “supressing” Votes for Romney.
          He did not win those votes, but he persuaded possibly 2.5M rust belt voters to stay home.
          In 2016 Trump persuaded them to vote and won the election.

          1. .”You keep making the same argument.”

            It is a good argument and not intended to persuade everyone. I think you are wrong, and history is on my side, though I am sure you will argue against my belief. Your problem is that I base my belief on reality and pragmatism, so I am sure you will find an adequate counter. It just won’t meet present or historical needs.

            “There is no right to anyone’s vote.“

            That is true, but sometimes it is prudent to go for a partial win rather than a complete win.

            I did not feel the same way about Bush v. Gore. The stakes weren’t as high.

  2. They left out high treason, a crime for which the government used to execute people, i.e. Julius Rosenberg.

  3. An FBI analyst on Tuesday in federal court told Special Counsel John Durham the agency offered former British spy Christopher Steele “up to $1 million” to corroborate evidence in his now-discredited dossier that was central to a federal investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign._JTN

      1. Like we used to say at work…

        “Arrested for First Degree Rape, plea bargains to a traffic violation: ‘Failure to Secure Load’.”

  4. Tony Bobulinski was first interviewed on television by Tucker Carlson over a year ago. I’m not a lawyer, but a lot of what he described sounded criminal. And it wasn’t just Hunter, The Big Guy himself was implicated.

    When recently interviewed by Carlson again, Bobulinski said he talked to the FBI for several hours outlining what he heard and saw. And after that, they never followed up.

    How can the FBI/DOJ have a complete investigation without details from an eye witness?

    If it was Trump’s family, anybody seriously think it would have gone that way?

    1. It’s like everything else they do, a one sided obvious fudge for demonrats and against republicans.
      Anything against the narrative is suppressed and ignored.
      They are too busy spinning their crime sprees against political opponents to care about how anything looks.
      They feel their power is unquestionable, and they aren’t wrong about that.

  5. Author failed to explain what he means by the phrase justice delayed is justice.

    Author did not mention the alleged incriminating videos with minors on his laptop.

  6. Just to clear up a few things most are getting wrong with the 4473-it is not ‘registration”(yet thank goodness) it is a form that must be used to purchase a gun at any dealer in the USA. Question 21 e must be answered “no” if he was able to get the gun-the dealer cannot transfer if that one or everyone of the others except one,in section 21 is answered yes. If you lie on that 4473 its a felony-10 years in prison and 250K fine.

    1. But what’s a lie? Question 21 has a through k subs. Most all objectively verifiable. . “a” the strawman question ….can only be proved by a third party…from the strwman. the only two remaining “subjective” questions is legal presence in usa….which can be proved by legal documents so it isn’t even subjective. The only question on the form that is really subjective ( not provable already by govt records) is: ….are you a user or addicted to illegal drugs? If there is no record that one is a “user” (vs used in the past) what’s to say a person is a “user”….. The day they filled out the form? And how long are addictions? This is the only subjective question on the form…..and it requires an attorney to determine what a “user” is….is. If even an attorney can! And what “addicted” really means. And if it ever ends. I hope Hunter is indicted….so we all can explore this insufficient form! But what we can’t have….is a second amendment that says ” shall not be infringed” …..and then try to infringe it after the fact…Because the applicant….sober to the seller….maybe lied…..a very big maybe. Please define user? Please define addicted? Don’t make liars out a people for their own interpretations!

  7. Meanwhile a pro-life Christian father of 11 is facing 10 years in prison for singing religious hymns in an abortion office hallway

    1. Its one thing to be an “enemy “ of the state , and another to be part of the states apparatus. And here we the two tiered justice system in all its apparatchik hlory.

  8. It’s been quite some time since Kevlar has been mentioned in the same sentence with the name Hunter Biden. I can’t imagine what it will be like for Hunter if he is not held accountable fully for his actions since his father became Vice President in 2009…..but I think it’s fair to say that most of us ordinary citizens don’t live our daily lives in fear of having 100’s of thousands if not millions of people really, really angry with us, some of whom are ready, willing and able to act on that anger; people who have tolerated the charade of leaving Hunter’s plight up to ‘the Justice System,’ and who have the mindset of taking justice into their own hands.
    I don’t know any people like that, but I’d be willing to lay down a bet that they do exist.

  9. “ It is often said that “justice delayed is justice denied” — but in politics, justice delayed is simply justice.”

    No truer statement could be made about those in power.

  10. The resources being used to go after Hunter Biden are an abysmal waste of time & money. There cannot be anyone that doesn’t understand that regardless of the charges brought – no matter how overwhelming the truth – President Biden will pardon Hunter, and the Democrats will support his actions. Hunter (AND Joe) will walk away with many millions of dollars obtained by “pay to play”.

    1. Caucasian political privilege, is a beautiful thing, as long as the privileged are democrats. What a country 😥

  11. The new golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. The lower charges with the gun, tax fraud and drugs could have been handled quickly. We are witnessing the two tier justice (injustice) system in action. Slow walk….slow walk…slow walk then a slap on the wrist.

    Regarding the legacy media, I think it is time they have their hearing and vision tested. Perhaps the citizens of this nation could crowd fund and provide them with Seeing Eye dogs.

    This debacle would be hilarious to watch if it weren’t so serious and dangerous. The consequences of the deep corruption in our government from “The Big Guy” on down is rampant.

    I have two words to say, “Where is Jackie?”
    Wait a minute…I meant three words, “Where’s Jackie?”

    1. A) It’s Liz Cheney. Hooked on phonics is cool and everything — but sometimes it leaves you hanging.
      B) Tulsi is a TV talking head at this point. She won’t shift an electorate.

      1. Tulsi is a TV talking head at this point. She won’t shift an electorate.

        She had a large Republican following, and by her performance in the Primaries, more influence on Democrats than Harris. She is more influential that Cheney, who will be hated and ridiculed by Democrats starting November 8th, 2022.

        1. I do not know what Tulsi is up to. But she is up to something. She has some kind of political aspirations.
          I have been following her for years.
          She has always been a fairly libertarian democrat.
          But since the 2020 election she has clearly been burning bridges with the left and positioning herself for something.
          I can not see her getting elected in Hawaii to anything as a republican or independent.

          She did an excellent job hosting Tucker Carlson. She did a good job at CPAC
          She has made a number of appearances and statements that are compelling.
          I have expected that she was leaving the democratic party for some time.

          Her substack article leaving the democratic party reads like a resume to be Trump’s 2024 vice president.

          In the past I have thought she was waiting for the woke backlash in the democratic party to come in and take the lead over the ashes of the far lefts democratic party destruction.
          But more recent statements are increasingly not resolvable with being a moderate democrat.

          I think she has staked out a position that would make her politically acceptable to a huge majority of americans.
          Democrats and republicans. But there is no chance of any role within the current democratic party.
          I do not see her trying to join or form a 3rd party. She could probably easily win the libertarian party nomination in 2024.
          But that will not get her elected to anything.

          My guess is this is an overture seeking a national republican position.

          In 2020 I would have called her a centrist democrat, but to the left of say Niki Hallie.
          But her resignation from the democratic party is incredibly MAGA.
          And she has been actively trying to cast herself as a MAGA conservative in the past year.

          I do not think she has said anything directly about Trump. Though her Tucker segment was an aggressive attack on the political weaponization of the FBI in the aftermath of the MAL raid.
          She does not appear to be trying to appeal directly to Trump.
          But she is absolutely appealing to Trump voters.

          1. I’ve been thinking along those lines as well. Agree with you that she has an agenda, but she also has guts. Imagine her standing with Kamala at the border of North Korea. Instead of inane sophistry we would have had some commentary.

    2. Just finished reading her ‘Why I’m leaving the Democratic Party’ statement.
      I am on her email list.
      She is spot on.
      I hope she runs as an Independent in 2024. I would vote for her.

      1. Upstate, I hope she doesn’t. As an independent Tulsi splits the vote and helps ease America into another four years of He1l. It’s tough. I like the way Tulsi thinks though I am not sure of all her policies. I would have to hear a lot more. I’m glad she exists because of the light she brings into politics. There are a lot of good politicians out there that bring light. Nikki Haley is another woman who brings such light along with important governing experience.

        We both can name many others, but what is of maximum importance? Getting rid of today’s leftist He1l, or giving up a vote to support one’s favorite candidate?

          1. Haley supports the second amendment, which can be interpreted as: to level the playing field when criminals confront a woman who has no other satisfactory method of defense. She can call the police and wait for them to take the report as to how she was raped, robbed or killed, but she can’t level the playing field without a gun that criminals have no problem getting ahold of.

            The left has opened the jails and the borders to criminals while defunding the police. What is your answer to the question. how do I protect myself?

          2. Hunter falls on the short sword to save “The Big Guy.” Typical of the corrupt DOJ/FBI.

            BTW, Tulsi isn’t on any ballots now. A “thank you,” not snark, is in order for her blistering renunciation of the Democrat Party elite.

        1. Tulsi is campaigning for SOMETHING and has been for a while.
          She is very actively bring herself to public attention – though she is being very careful to control the image that she presents.

          Normally I would say she is preparing for a Senate Bid – but read her leaving the democratic party manifesto.
          That is NOT positioning herself for a senate Seat in Hawaii.
          And she very clearly continues to identify with Hawaii.

          All I can think is that this is her resume for Trump’s 2024 VP candidate.

          Regardless, read her “Leaving the democratic party”

          She is NOT positioning herself as an independent or third party.
          I have no doubt she could get a libertarian presidential nomination.
          Though she is self positioning as a conservative libertarian.

          Regardless,

          She is after something.
          She is seeking a national spotlight.
          And she has chosen a personal public platform that is very MAGA republican.

          You can probably find her sit in for Carlson on Youtube – I would highly recommend watching.
          I would also suggest a recent Will Cain interview of Carlson – specifically because Carlson and Gabbard are very much insync .
          Gabbard is probably closer to Carlson than Trump or DeSantis. Though Gabbard is absent Carlson’s annoying laugh – similar to, but not as bad as Harris’s

          1. John, I find her appealing but some of the things she supports are bad. Check her views on:
            Climate change
            Fossil fuels
            fracking ban
            The Paris Accords.
            Higher education free tuition
            Photo ID surpasses the vote
            Medicare for all: tax the rich5% to pay for it.
            Raise the minimum wage

            I believe she is trustworthy, but promoting such ideas is not libertarian.

            1. I did not say I supported her.
              Only that something is clearly going on.

              With respect to what she actually beleives – much of what is in here current “manifesto” was not in here 2020 presidential campaign

              Lets find out which of those positions she still holds, and how strongly.

              By far her “big” issue is the Reagan/Trump “walk softly, but carry a big stick”
              She is ex-military and current military reserve.
              She is huge on not sending US troops into places that are not clearly in our interests.
              I do not know if she would provide Ukraine support. But she certainly would not be poking the bear.

              It is an open question whether she would opt for the warmist climate agenda if that weakened national and global security.

              I do not support Trump on every issue. but I can live with him because he is right enough.

              1. OK, but this comment confused me: “I have no doubt she could get a libertarian presidential nomination.”

                With her policies, how would she get a libertarian presidential nomination?

                Our security has a direct relationship with our ability to produce energy.

                The Off Fossil Fuel Act was her bill. She would legislate no fossil fuel for electricity by 2050.
                She is against fracking.

                She wanted Trump to get back into Obama’s Iran nuclear deal even though she was skeptical about it. She did not recognize that Trump was making things safer. But her views on US military action are pointed in the right direction. She supported Trump on N. Korea.

                She is young and perhaps didn’t fully develop her ideology. She would have entered Congress at age 32

                I found her very refreshing as I find Nikki Haley, but I think Haley is more worldly, but she is 50.

                1. Libertarian party nomination – not conservative party.
                  Tulsi is now 41.

                  I like Halley.

                  I have differences with both – on different issues.

                  Halley near certainly has higher offices in her future.
                  But she is NOT at this moment going to the same effort that Gabbard is to create a clear public persona and to attract attention.

                  I am not clear what Gabbard’s intentions are – but I am certain she has some.

                  Further Halley is in a long game.
                  Gabbard is either behaving like she is after something SOON, or she is starting the long game really early and working really hard at it.

                  Again I do not KNOW anything – but one possibility is that she is looking to be Trump’s running mate.
                  She is leaving the democratic party, she voted Present on impeachment. she is incredibly MAGA now.
                  Trump picked Pence to solidify the evangelical conservative base. He does not need that now.
                  Picking Gabbard would expand his reach into the center. She will not offend his MAGA base.
                  She has been actively courting that particular base for over a year.
                  Aside from lots of public remarks, she spoke at CPAC and she hosted Tucker Carlson – quite Well.
                  She played right to Carlson’s audience.

                  At one Point I thought she might be angling for a Tucker Carlson like show of her own.
                  CNN is pretending to appeal to the right, she would be an excellent addition.
                  But she did not need to leave the democratic party to do that.
                  She did not need to leave the democratic party to get a job at Fox if she wanted.

                  She needs to do that if she is looking to run for office as an independent, or a republican.
                  Those are the only reasons for a high profile divorce.
                  There is nothing in here “resignation” that has not been in her public comments – aside from putting it all together and than saying I am leaving.

                  Anyway this is all speculation.

                  Yes, I would like to find out where she is now on many of the issues you cited.

                  I also looked back at her many years ago, her “platform” was schitzophrenic then.
                  She held local office in Hawaii, she was fairly pro-business, but she was still democrat on issues that I could not support.

                  In the past 2 years she has been swinging right.

                  Her takedown of Kamala in the democratic debates was epic. She pretty much force Harris out of the race.
                  She was the most conservative high profile democrat in the 2020 primary – but she was still quite far from this manifesto.

                  Regardless, she is very deliberate about her image – everything, Dress, how she talks, what she says. how she says it.
                  She does not have the easy playful manner of Trump. She does not share his Alinskite conduct. She does not initiate conflict.
                  But she is a knife fighter. Clinton went after her and she fought back with force, care and control.

                  I suspect that Halley is also in the running for the GOP VP slot in 2024 – whether the candidate is Trump or DeSantis.
                  Halley had some conflicts with Trump – but they have worked it out.

                  Too many people think Trump is stupid. He makes enemies, when he needs to, and when it is advantageous he makes up with them. I doubt Cruz is best friends. But they are not sabotaging each other.

                  At the same time Trump has taken out every republican that impeached him.
                  The Cheney takedown was particularly brutal. Next week I expect the “Why I am no longer a Republican” speech from Cheney.

                  Except Cheney has no future in the GOP and I doubt she has a future in the Democratic party either.
                  They will welcome her, but they will sideline her.

                  Cheney’s holy war with Trump burned her as a very powerful republican with a future. That is gone. Ash.
                  But that is NOT the norm for Trump. Halley and Cruz are the norm.

                  1. “Libertarian party nomination – not conservative party.”

                    What is libertarian about Medicare for all?

                    “She is leaving the democratic party, she voted Present on impeachment. she is incredibly MAGA now.”

                    I don’t trust people who change their stripes until it is proven. She has many leftist policies and has been at the spearhead of some. I brought up her age because that does permit change.

                    ” I doubt Cruz is best friends. But they are not sabotaging each other.”

                    On a personal level, I don’t think Trump has close friends.

                    1. Very little Gabbard said yesterday was new for her. She has been increasingly saying all of that since 2020.

                      Gabbard appears to be a rational person. I presume that what she speaks most boldly about now are her priorities

                      As an example – do you think she would sacrifice national security for green energy ?

                      I doubt it, but I am sure we will get to hear an answer from her.

                      One of the problems with the Green stuff is that it does not survive contact with reality.
                      The same is true of M4A

                      Some time ago Vermont elected a governor on the explicit promise of universal healthcare.
                      He tried for several years and then had to publicly admit – there was no possible way to make it work.
                      It would cost too much – not a little too much but astronomically too much.

                    2. “do you think she would sacrifice national security for green energy ?”

                      Not intentionally, but as I said before, she got into Congress at age 32. She may be evolving away from leftism burned by it, but we have to wait and see. She needs time. Presently, she is far from acceptable. Think of the mindset of Medicare for all (AKA no healthcare for anyone.) If she evolves and can prove it, I will put her in the category of Nikki Haley.

                  1. That was not my question, but elsewhere it could have been.

                    It is not uncommon for libertarians to split the vote. Sometimes third-party candidates can turn the election over to the opposition. Libertarians might say they do not like certain things about Trump and are unwilling to compromise their values and vote for him. That splits the vote. Yet, to get a candidate on their ticket, they will compromise. That is a hypocritical action.

                    This is the point I brought up to Upstate and others. The decision when voting is to move the country in the right direction, not to get 100% of what one wants or place shallow objections.

                    1. When libertarians do not vote libertarian they TEND to vote 60:40 republican.
                      I say Tend because there have been instances they vote democrat.
                      The green party takes votes from the democrats.
                      The extent to which the Libertarian party harms republicans is very small.

                      Further, you keep trying to make this argument. Maybe it works on some people.
                      It is not for me. I am voting my conscience, and rarely the lessor evil.

                      I would note the Tea Party did a variation of the same thing.
                      “Give us candidates we can vote for or we will not vote, or we will primary you”
                      The Tea Party cost the GOP several elections until the GOP grasped they had to make peace with them.

                      I am in the same place – If republicans – or democrats and I have voted for democrats, want my vote,
                      they must give me candidates that I can live with. I am not after perfection, But I am rarely going to consider voting for a republican (or democrat) who is at best the lessor evil.

                      You can keep up the “wasted vote” argument all you want – I am not listening.
                      In 2020 every single republican presidential vote was wasted.

                      This is one of the reasons that you must have election structure and rules and you must rigidly follow them,
                      Because expecting the courts to flip a close election is a fools errand.

                      Courts must fix election problems BEFORE the election. Persuading judges to invalidate 1M votes because maybe 1000 are fraudulent, even though failing to do so invalidates 999,999 is a fools errand.

                      My vote is more valuable the closer the election gets.
                      So if you want it – persuade me. And not with wasted vote arguments.
                      Half of all votes are wasted in most elections.

                    2. “The extent to which the Libertarian party harms republicans is very small.”

                      As you have pointed out, very small numbers led to Biden’s electoral win.

                      “Further, you keep trying to make this argument. Maybe it works on some people.”

                      Some people are better than none.

                      “The Tea Party cost the GOP several elections until the GOP grasped they had to make peace with them.”

                      The Tea Party had weight and was attacking smaller fish, which is where the weaker ones should prowl. In water you might want to fight with a shark, but you will be more successful with a trout.

                      “I am not after perfection”

                      Trump is not perfect, but Trump is better than Biden, and Biden types could end your freedom. This senile old man has already compromised a lot of your freedoms in 2 years.

                      ” persuade me. And not with wasted vote arguments.”

                      Did you not recognize how bad Biden would and could be? Did you not recognize that Trump was a decent President or in your terms, the best of the twentieth century?

                      What didn’t you know when you “wasted” your vote? One can say that you didn’t think it would count. Statistically, that is true, The next Presidential election counts just like 2020. It tells one whether or not this republic will stand or substantially change for the worse.

                    3. “As you have pointed out, very small numbers led to Biden’s electoral win.”

                      Secure the election, and earn those votes.

                      No candidate is entitled to a vote.
                      Th way to get better candidates is to deny the lessor of two evils your vote.

                      Both parties are highly incentivized to appeal to their base today – that is not necescarity the majority of voters, or even the majority of the party.
                      It is often the most extreme voters without whom they can not win or even operate.
                      These are also the people who knock on doors.
                      For democrats this base has moved far left. It is not the core of democrats. But it is a block they can not win without.
                      For Republicans this has become what was called the tea party some time ago.

                      Regardless, they control the platform.

                      If you want my vote – you are going to have to address some of what I want.

                    4. “No candidate is entitled to a vote.”

                      I agree, but that is not what I am suggesting. Sometimes a candidate or party is so bad one is “forced” to suck it in and vote for someone they don’t like.

                      I believe in denying the lesser two where the stakes aren’t so high. Right now, I will vote solid Republican no matter what, even if I like the Democrat. The Democrat Party, as it exists today, needs to be destroyed. As a former registered Democrat, I didn’t always feel that way.

                    5. Honestly I do not think anyone grasped how bad Biden could be. For most of his political career Biden has been a moderate democrat.
                      BTW Biden’s DNC victory was much like the Clinton Sanders 2016 fight.

                      Democrat powers that be realized fairly early that none of their candidates could win – that for the most part they were too far left.
                      Biden’s campaign was revived because as poor a candidate as he was, he was the only serious candidate that could appeal to the center of the country.

                      The entire democratic campaign was simultaneously telling the left – that he was with them – as left wing radical, which they did not beleive.
                      While trying to wink, wink nod nod to the rest of the country that he WAS NOT that left wing radical.

                      I told Republicans RIGHT HERE in early 2021 not to count dreams of a red wave in 2022 before they were hatched. Biden was elected with the wind at his back. He could do almost nothing and appear to have saved the country.

                      We are in a huge mess right now specifically because with few exceptions he, his handlers, whoever is actually running the show embraced and implimented the far left agenda.

                      What surprises me today is the incredible amount of failure it is taking for people to grasp how wrong the left is – about everything.

                      Covid alone should shift the entire country 20pts away from big government.

                      We are actually seeing large swings away from trust in institutions and big government.
                      but we are increasingly closer to an antifa – burn everything to the ground moment, than a libertarian small government moment.

                    6. “Honestly I do not think anyone grasped how bad Biden could be.”

                      I’m sorry, but I think it was crystal clear that we faced a potential nightmare. Nothing is guaranteed.

                      We knew his mental status, which meant that others would gain silent power. We knew he was a crook for his entire life, as was his family. That tells us about the people he hangs around with and relies on. We thought he might, in part, act as Obama’s third term, and we should have recognized the politics of Obama, though Obama was careful and hid many of his actions. We knew the fourth branch of government no longer existed, and we saw the Democrats in action during Trump’s administration. That means there would be no brakes for the freight train heading toward, ready to hit us.

                      Yes, we had all the signs we needed to tell us this was bad if we were lucky. Unfortunately, it is a lot worse.

                    7. ““Honestly I do not think anyone grasped how bad Biden could be.”
                      I’m sorry, but I think it was crystal clear that we faced a potential nightmare. Nothing is guaranteed.”
                      Nope. I expected that Biden would throw bones to the left, but otherwise govern slightly to the right of Obama.
                      I also expected that of Clinton – but we did not get to test that.
                      Alot – probably a majority of people – including a majority of biden voters expected that too.
                      Had he done that the country would be in good shape, Trump would be a forgotten memory, and the GOP would be facing steep headwinds for years.

                      “We knew his mental status, which meant that others would gain silent power.”
                      Yes, but the expectation was not that he would be a puppet of the far left.

                      Depite the idiocy we see from Pelosi and Schumer, or the Tech Billionaries that fund the democrats. The real power in the democratic party is NOT far left wing nuts. The leaders of the democratic party – and those who bank them want ONE thing – POWER.
                      I have no doubt that Pelosi and Schumer would push Trump policies if that would get them power.
                      The big democratic corportate institutions in the country are NOT far left, and their ties to democrats are about POWER, not policy.

                      Democrats – especially post Tea Party have a huge advantage with Corporations – because big corporations do not want free markets.
                      But they do want no bid contracts, and all kinds of other profitable favors from government.
                      This is one of the huge reasons that Government should have no power beyond those in the constitution.

                      Gabbard right now is parroting Dwight Eisenhauer on the Military industiral complex.
                      Unfortunately it is unavoidable that Government will buy weapons.
                      Regardless, Gabbard is correctly pointing out that the defense industry is profiting hand over fist from the Ukraine war.
                      There are even some good things for the US coming out of it. US weapons systems improve significantly when we use our inventory.
                      Whatever we use – we replace. We dropped lots of old iron bombs in GW I. We replaced them with smarter weapons.
                      Whatever we give to Ukraine will get used up and replaced with better.
                      Eastern Europe is given Ukraine Soviet weapons Tanks, fighters, SS300’s and the US is replacing those with modern US weapons
                      Much of NATO is getting a big weapons upgrade. The Swedes, Brtis, Germans are sending older weapons and will replace them with newer ones. Russia gets screwed, But western arm manufacturere see TWO paydays – one for the weapons delivered and another for the weapons replaced. And these countries will inevitably get better weapons to replace the old ones.

                      But enormous amounts of money are involved, and the defense industry is getting rich.

                      Other private areas are not exactly the same.

                      You and I rant about the stupidity of green energy – but myriads of companies get rich from government green energy measures.
                      Some of the largest providers of green energy in the world are the same companies that sell us fossil fuels.

                      In atleast some instance they do not give a crap what they are selling – just how much they can profit.

                      Do you think Twitter wants bought by Musk ? They would far prefer to be converted into a public utility and have competition prohibited.

                      One of the disasters of the Obama era was that it significantly increased the parasitic relationship between big business and the federal government. Why is all the money going to democrats – because Trump ended that and Biden brought it back.
                      None of that has anything directly to do with the far left – except that Big Business does not mostly care what it sells.

                      Disney, Netflix, Amazon will be happy to sell us all woke garbage – if either we will buy it, or government will force them to make it so we must buy it.

                      In free markets suppliers must produce what buyers demand – and what we get is dependent on what WE want.
                      In less free markets we get what whoever controls the market wants.
                      The more government is involved the more big business will give to politicians that will push government to shape what is produced to favor them.

                      The recent nuclear armagedon remarks from Biden came at a Biden fund raiser hosted by Rupert Murdock’s son.
                      So the owners of Fox are raising money for Biden. Nor should this be surprising.

                      “We knew he was a crook for his entire life, as was his family. That tells us about the people he hangs around with and relies on.”
                      Correct – but that does not lead to the far left stupidity he is pushing.

                      “We thought he might, in part, act as Obama’s third term, and we should have recognized the politics of Obama, though Obama was careful and hid many of his actions.”

                      Obama was a poor president – he was not an absolute disaster. Many of us expected to return to the lackluster growth of the Obama era.
                      I expected as you say – Obama’s 3rd term. That is not what we got.

                      “Yes, we had all the signs we needed to tell us this was bad if we were lucky. Unfortunately, it is a lot worse.”
                      We had enough information to expect Obama III. We got far worse.

                      Oddly that may turn out to be good.
                      While the demographic shift of minorities to the GOP was inevitable – Trump accelerated it, and Biden has accelerated it further.

                      The good news in all this is that working class people know they are getting screwed.
                      They are moving rapidly to the GOP and absent complete stupidity by Republicans – they are NOT moving back.

                    8. .”Nope. I expected that Biden would throw bones to the left, but otherwise govern slightly to the right of Obama.”

                      I believed the odds were that we would get a worse President than Obama and was afraid that the puzzle would break into pieces. Of course, I recognize that no one can predict the future. Unfortunately, I was right. I had no such belief if H. Clinton became President. The wild factor was that Joe Biden would be a puppet, manipulated by the unknown.

                      “Had he done that the country would be in good shape”

                      That was not going to be. The public permitted itself to be manipulated and has been relatively quiet. Before the election, the media set its dangerous path. Our legislators on both sides, for the most part, are frightened and self-serving.

                      “Yes, but the expectation was not that he would be a puppet of the far left.”

                      Why not? The media has been a puppet of the left or, at times, leading the left. The weaponization of our government started long before. All we needed was a puppet that lost control. There was a reason for Biden to be in the basement.

                      “and those who bank them want ONE thing – POWER.”

                      That type of power is dangerous and should have alerted you earlier since it leads to authoritarian governments. We already saw the crazies in our government along with the anti-America hatred.

                      Power and free markets aren’t friends like some might assume. Power can corrupt the Constitution, and it has.

                      “Gabbard right now is parroting Dwight Eisenhauer on the Military industiral complex.”

                      That she sounds good in one area doesn’t make her good everywhere. I support most of what she says about military involvement.

                      “Do you think Twitter wants bought by Musk ? They would far prefer to be converted into a public utility and have competition prohibited.”

                      I don’t know what Twitter wants because Twitter is not a person. Various leaders that run Twitter want different things. Many would hate being a utility because they want their dogma to prevail.

                      The end of your response states a few things that should have alerted you, the problems with Biden were likely more dangerous than you thought.

                      “I expected as you say – Obama’s 3rd term. That is not what we got.

                      I expected the second term of Obama’s to tear at the fabric holding our Constitutional Republic together. The third term would fulfill fantasies limited by the sanity of the leader in control. We have a demented leader who, for his entire life, involved himself in lawless activities used to changing positions to satisfy his immediate needs. Who do you think he is capable of being closer to, a criminal or a righteous man? With who does your local criminal hang around? Are they the same people you would choose to be close to?

                      “We had enough information to expect Obama III. We got far worse.”

                      You are wrong. We had more than enough information to recognize that such information should make us expect worse.

                      Right now, I have a dispute with my wife. If Harris replaces Biden after the midterms, what happens? My wife thinks things will be worse. I disagree with her. Harris will replace a puppet and place an ignorant person at the head of our government. She will be easier to criticize and legislators will be better able to deal with her. Biden was the Democrat choice. Harris was a failure.

                      “The good news in all this is that working class people know they are getting screwed.”

                      History provides me with little comfort. The movement to the GOP is good, but the GOP is passive and frequently self-serving, with short periods of interest. Unless we are lucky, as the interest of the GOP wanes, America continues to slide into an authoritarian nation dictated by leaders where the Constitution doesn’t prevail.

                      Our first hope was that Obama would lose his second term. Our backup was Trump, but he lost his second term due to criminality and apathy.

                      (In today’s world, splitting votes is not helpful. We have a two-party system evolving into one. To do that requires not voting for Democrats, no matter how good the candidate might be, fighting against the Republicans that permitted this, and voting against them in the primaries.)

                    9. The best you can say is that the nation was swayed by the media, so we all got confused. If you haven’t noted, but since I am on this blog I am always indicating that things are a lot worse than people think. I mentioned the Democrat Party provided no brakes, but I focused on the Republican Party and how ineffective so many were. That meant we were in even more jeopardy. I do not know if we will return to the freedoms we had before.

                      You talk about libertarianism. I’m talking about the direction of the nation believing there is a point were one might not return from. When Obama weaponized the IRS I thought we might not recover. Trump got in and the Supreme Court changed radically. i thought we had a chance.The fact that the American people have lived with such lawlessness demonstrates to me that the battle is likely lost.

                    10. “The best you can say is that the nation was swayed by the media, so we all got confused.”
                      That only works so long. I am surprised at how long it has lasted, but it will end.
                      The press must solve its problems or die.

                      ” If you haven’t noted, but since I am on this blog I am always indicating that things are a lot worse than people think. I mentioned the Democrat Party provided no brakes, but I focused on the Republican Party and how ineffective so many were. That meant we were in even more jeopardy. I do not know if we will return to the freedoms we had before.
                      You talk about libertarianism. I’m talking about the direction of the nation believing there is a point were one might not return from. When Obama weaponized the IRS I thought we might not recover. Trump got in and the Supreme Court changed radically. i thought we had a chance.The fact that the American people have lived with such lawlessness demonstrates to me that the battle is likely lost.”

                      I have a tendency toward doom and gloom too. I think things are going to hell.
                      But that will end. The question is how will we go when that occurs.
                      The left will fail – that is inevitable. The question is do we get a Stalin or Hitler or some tamer actual authoritarian – which is common when we move to far towards anarchy. Or do we get a shift away from big government and more individual free.

                      It is my beleif that many factors – including covid are powerfully undermining top down credibility. That leads to more minimal government.

                      But we will see.

                    11. Your prediction is wrong for the same reason your evaluation of Biden was wrong. Your responses indicate that you believe the free-market place is a solution to political difficulties. That is wrong because human nature doesn’t permit that to occur.

                      “But that will end. ”

                      I will tell you what a lot of Jews said pre-WW2 in Germany. ‘We are loyal Germans. That will never happen.”

                    12. Government and politics are not the same.

                      The free market works outside of government.
                      Outside of government if you can constraint the initiation of violence – which requires some kind of govenrment, everything else will be taken care of by the market. Perfectly ? No, but better than anything else we have.

                      Government is highly problematic.
                      Public choice theory will tell you why the very same aspects of human nature that are on net directed towards good in free markets move towards bad inside of govenrment.

                      “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
                      James Madison Federalist 51

                      The Jews in Germany were not victims of the people, they were victims of the government.
                      Nazi Germany was not a free market,
                      “everything inside the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”
                      Benito Mussolini

                      Absolutely government can warp the people inside of it, and outside and get outcomes like the Holocaust.
                      But you can not get them where real free markets exist.

                      The US is still sufficiently far from Mussolini’s ideal that the press, Social Media, etc. will fix themselves on their own – or more actuartely back away from the abyss.

                      I would note that even the USSR ultimately collapsed – and it did so from the inside. Leftism does not work.

                      There is no question this woke nonsense fails and ends. There is a question of how long it will take.

                    13. “The free market works outside of government.”

                      That is not a new or novel concept. I think we agreed on that idea; decades ago.

                      Government is best which governs least. Human nature is unpredictable. The two ideas placed close together never fit neatly into a single package; that is your problem.

                      “The Jews in Germany were not victims of the people, they were victims of the government.”

                      They were victims of the people and the government.

                      “I would note that even the USSR ultimately collapsed – and it did so from the inside. Leftism does not work.”

                      Presently the US appears to be in a mode working toward collapse and is a Constitutional Republic.

                    14. We talk about a red wave which nauseates me because we don’t need a red wave that does nothing. We need committed people willing to rock the boat, willing to be outspoken, and willing to get into the dirt if necessary. I do not see that.

                    15. I will be quite happy with a red wave that does nothing. We can do better, but that is good enough.

                      My ultimate goal is to shrink government and then have it do nothing.

                    16. A red wave alone is not good enough, as proven by the predicament we are in today. The only hope is educating our young so that they recognize the difference between freedom and slavery.

                    17. People can be taught through education, Or they will be taught by life.

                      Leftism is inherently self destructive.
                      As I said before there is no question that the left fails.
                      The issue is how fast, and how bad things are for the rest of us as we wait for that failure.

                    18. “People can be taught through education, Or they will be taught by life.”

                      Some people never learn, and like roaches never completely disappear.

                    19. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If
                      angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal con‐
                      trols on government would be necessary. In framing a gov‐
                      ernment which is to be administered by men over men, the
                      great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the govern‐
                      ment to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it
                      to control itself. A dependence on the people is no doubt the
                      primary control on the government; but experience has
                      taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”
                      James Madison Federalist 51

                      This is why we have a constitution and courts.

                    20. Libertarians did not compromise to get Barr, Barr changes his positions.

                    21. The information was in the wikipedia page I sent.

                      Regardless, I was paying attention to Barr at the time. He very sincerly changed.
                      He did so over several years. He actually lead the opposition to bills that he was the lead sponsor of and that bear his name.

                    22. I can’t say for sure because it isn’t worth the time, but I doubt Barr substantially changed. He has been DC connected forever and people don’t change too much after they age.

                      When we talk about throwing away a vote…

                      “Barr sought the Republican Partynomination for U.S. Senate in 1992, but lost the primary election to Paul Coverdell.[22] The primary was very close, with Barr losing by fewer than 1,600 votes in a runoff election.[22]Subsequently, Coverdell came in behind incumbent Senator Wyche Fowler in the general election, ***** but the 3% showing by a Libertarian candidate ***** (Jim Hudson) forced a runoff, which Coverdell won

                    23. I do not think Barr changed radically as a person.
                      But I think small changes resulted in huge changes in what policies he supported and opposed.
                      That happens to many people.

                      I do not know where Gabbard is on climate right now. But I do know that just realizing there is no climate catastrophie coming could alter just about every single item in the list of problem views.

                      Alternately just grasping “the fatal conceipt” – which observations of Covid can easily bring to light for any thinking person would change every policy that is problematic. Understanding that almost all top down government management of people fails.

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