Hunter's Laptop

Smedley said:

drummerboy said:

Smedley said:

drummerboy said:

Smedley said:

Relatedly, this in WaPo today: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/06/if-clarence-thomas-has-recuse-himself-what-about-joe-biden/

He makes a good argument IMO.

Yeah yeah I know, Thiessen is the worst, he's a hack, etc. I've heard it all before, so if that's all you have, no need to repeat. 

Instead, try stripping away your preconceived notions about the author and engage the words on their merit (or lack thereof).

ETC Author is Thiessen, not Will, but same principle applies.

the opening paragraph is just about the stupidest thing I've ever read. couldn't read further.

THAT's the open-minded drummerboy that we all know and love. 

sorry, but if you can't tell his analogy is crazy stupid from his opening, I can't help you.

That's your trademark bailout line. Old and tired. 

yeah, I'm bailing out because you know how I hate to argue about stuff.


Smedley said:

Relatedly, this in WaPo today: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/06/if-clarence-thomas-has-recuse-himself-what-about-joe-biden/

He makes a good argument IMO.

Yeah yeah I know, Thiessen is the worst, he's a hack, etc. I've heard it all before, so if that's all you have, no need to repeat. 

Instead, try stripping away your preconceived notions about the author and engage the words on their merit (or lack thereof).

ETC Author is Thiessen, not Will, but same principle applies.

This Op-Ed is so stupid, the only shock is that it wasn't written by Chuck Todd.


drummerboy said:

Smedley said:

nohero said:

Smedley said:

Relatedly, this in WaPo today: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/06/if-clarence-thomas-has-recuse-himself-what-about-joe-biden/

He makes a good argument IMO.

Yeah yeah I know, George Will is the worst, he's long past his shelf life, etc. I've heard it all before, so if that's all you have, no need to repeat. 

Instead, try stripping away your preconceived notions about the author and engage the words on their merit (or lack thereof).

Two thoughts:

1. The author isn't George Will

2. Clarence Thomas is a judge. Judges recuse from cases. Joe Biden is a President. President's don't "recuse" from their jobs.

Yes that is addressed. The column is not seriously suggesting Biden will or should recuse himself from stuff. It's pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of wigging out over Ginni Thomas while at the same time believing the business dealings of Biden family members isn't worth a thimbleful of concern.  

there is no inherent hypocrisy because the two situations are not even fecking remotely comparable.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, but one of the worst problem that conservative thinkers have is making analogies. They are horrible at it, and this is a perfect example.

It's notable that you just piss on the op-ed, without any substantive engagement of the words or the argument made. So let's try again. What issue do you have with these two paragraphs (which is the heart of the argument)?

>>>"The Post recently confirmed the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s emails which show that a Chinese energy conglomerate linked to the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter and his uncle James Biden (Joe Biden’s brother) for energy projects that “never came to fruition.” And we already knew that while then-Vice President Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy in the Obama-Biden administration, his son was receiving as much as $50,000 a month from a Ukrainian energy company by banking on his father’s name.

That seems to be a far more serious conflict of interest than Virginia “Ginni” Thomas sending a bunch of text messages to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spouting conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Her texts were extreme, but essentially harmless. She does not sit on the Supreme Court or hold any position of public authority. She was a private citizen expressing her personal political views. Her husband is not responsible for his wife’s personal views or political activism. If her text messages require him to recuse himself, how much more so does Hunter Biden’s earning millions of dollars from China and Ukraine require Joe Biden to recuse himself??<<

Please explain specifically how/why Thiessen is so egregiously off-base. Don't just say it sucks, wave it off and move on. That doesn't count as engagement. 


ridski said:

Smedley said:

Relatedly, this in WaPo today: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/06/if-clarence-thomas-has-recuse-himself-what-about-joe-biden/

He makes a good argument IMO.

Yeah yeah I know, Thiessen is the worst, he's a hack, etc. I've heard it all before, so if that's all you have, no need to repeat. 

Instead, try stripping away your preconceived notions about the author and engage the words on their merit (or lack thereof).

ETC Author is Thiessen, not Will, but same principle applies.

This Op-Ed is so stupid, the only shock is that it wasn't written by Chuck Todd.

Yuks aside, both you and nohero are welcome to respond, with some actual substance, to my 3:05 post. I won't hold my breath though. 


jesus - what is Biden supposed to recuse himself from?

the whole premise is stupid.

And Thomas is ruling on cases that directly - directly - have to do with what Ginni was involved with. And I don't know, but dismissing texts to the Chief of Staff urging him to overthrow an election seems a little more serious than "essentially harmless". Harmless because they failed? Good argument.

The case for Thomas recusing himself is brain dead simple. The case for Biden recusing himself is just brain dead.


Smedley said:

nohero said:

Smedley said:

Relatedly, this in WaPo today: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/06/if-clarence-thomas-has-recuse-himself-what-about-joe-biden/

He makes a good argument IMO.

Yeah yeah I know, George Will is the worst, he's long past his shelf life, etc. I've heard it all before, so if that's all you have, no need to repeat. 

Instead, try stripping away your preconceived notions about the author and engage the words on their merit (or lack thereof).

Two thoughts:

1. The author isn't George Will

2. Clarence Thomas is a judge. Judges recuse from cases. Joe Biden is a President. President's don't "recuse" from their jobs.

Yes that is addressed. The column is not seriously suggesting Biden will or should recuse himself from stuff. It's pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of wigging out over Ginni Thomas while at the same time believing the business dealings of Biden family members isn't worth a thimbleful of concern.  

It’s not “inherent hypocrisy” because -


nohero said:

Clarence Thomas is a judge. Judges recuse from cases. Joe Biden is a President. President's don't "recuse" from their jobs.


Smedley said:

ml1 said:


Smedley said:

Slicing the baloney pretty thin there.

A reasonable person who reads "There's nothing in the emails" reads: nothing exists in the emails. 

"Nothing's come out as of now (but it's possible something might come out later)" is your personal translation. Perhaps DB meant to say that or would amend to say that, but it's not what he said. 

you may call it "baloney" but if this was a jury trial, no evidence at this time woulds mean a not guilty verdict.

and while you have not expressed "certainty" there's evidence of wrongdoing in the emails, you haven't to my knowledge acknowledged that to date, nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong. 

Well the lack of evidence to date is assumed and a given. if there were evidence, it would be dominating the news cycle, and depending on what the evidence was, the talk would be of resignation or impeachment or whatever.  

But to make you happy, here goes:

I, Smedley, acknowledge that nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong.

I also acknowledge it rained this morning.  

given that this discussion has been about right wingers hyping the "laptop from hell" without there being any evidence in the emails, it would have saved a lot of arguing if you had just agreed with the rest of us from the beginning.  By arguing, you gave the impression that you really think there's evidence of Joe Biden's corruption that's just waiting to be found on that hard drive.



ml1 said:

Smedley said:

ml1 said:


Smedley said:

Slicing the baloney pretty thin there.

A reasonable person who reads "There's nothing in the emails" reads: nothing exists in the emails. 

"Nothing's come out as of now (but it's possible something might come out later)" is your personal translation. Perhaps DB meant to say that or would amend to say that, but it's not what he said. 

you may call it "baloney" but if this was a jury trial, no evidence at this time woulds mean a not guilty verdict.

and while you have not expressed "certainty" there's evidence of wrongdoing in the emails, you haven't to my knowledge acknowledged that to date, nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong. 

Well the lack of evidence to date is assumed and a given. if there were evidence, it would be dominating the news cycle, and depending on what the evidence was, the talk would be of resignation or impeachment or whatever.  

But to make you happy, here goes:

I, Smedley, acknowledge that nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong.

I also acknowledge it rained this morning.  

given that this discussion has been about right wingers hyping the "laptop from hell" without there being any evidence in the emails, it would have saved a lot of arguing if you had just agreed with the rest of us from the beginning.  By arguing, you gave the impression that you really think there's evidence of Joe Biden's corruption that's just waiting to be found on that hard drive.

That might have been your impression, but as per usual your impression seems to be formed by stuff I didn't say rather than what I did say. It's usually better to go off people's actual words.  

What I've pushed back against is Db's "there's nothing in the emails" assertion, which is the mirror image of the right wing's "he's guilty as sin".  Pushing back on that does not mean that I "really think there's evidence of Joe Biden's corruption".


nohero said:

Smedley said:

nohero said:

Smedley said:

Relatedly, this in WaPo today: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/06/if-clarence-thomas-has-recuse-himself-what-about-joe-biden/

He makes a good argument IMO.

Yeah yeah I know, George Will is the worst, he's long past his shelf life, etc. I've heard it all before, so if that's all you have, no need to repeat. 

Instead, try stripping away your preconceived notions about the author and engage the words on their merit (or lack thereof).

Two thoughts:

1. The author isn't George Will

2. Clarence Thomas is a judge. Judges recuse from cases. Joe Biden is a President. President's don't "recuse" from their jobs.

Yes that is addressed. The column is not seriously suggesting Biden will or should recuse himself from stuff. It's pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of wigging out over Ginni Thomas while at the same time believing the business dealings of Biden family members isn't worth a thimbleful of concern.  

It’s not “inherent hypocrisy” because -


Very low-value response.


drummerboy said:

the opening paragraph is just about the stupidest thing I've ever read. couldn't read further.

The remaining paragraphs were just as stupid.  You made a smart choice.


Smedley said:

ml1 said:

Smedley said:

ml1 said:


Smedley said:

Slicing the baloney pretty thin there.

A reasonable person who reads "There's nothing in the emails" reads: nothing exists in the emails. 

"Nothing's come out as of now (but it's possible something might come out later)" is your personal translation. Perhaps DB meant to say that or would amend to say that, but it's not what he said. 

you may call it "baloney" but if this was a jury trial, no evidence at this time woulds mean a not guilty verdict.

and while you have not expressed "certainty" there's evidence of wrongdoing in the emails, you haven't to my knowledge acknowledged that to date, nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong. 

Well the lack of evidence to date is assumed and a given. if there were evidence, it would be dominating the news cycle, and depending on what the evidence was, the talk would be of resignation or impeachment or whatever.  

But to make you happy, here goes:

I, Smedley, acknowledge that nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong.

I also acknowledge it rained this morning.  

given that this discussion has been about right wingers hyping the "laptop from hell" without there being any evidence in the emails, it would have saved a lot of arguing if you had just agreed with the rest of us from the beginning.  By arguing, you gave the impression that you really think there's evidence of Joe Biden's corruption that's just waiting to be found on that hard drive.

That might have been your impression, but as per usual your impression seems to be formed by stuff I didn't say rather than what I did say. It's usually better to go off people's actual words.  

What I've pushed back against is Db's "there's nothing in the emails" assertion, which is the mirror image of the right wing's "he's guilty as sin".  Pushing back on that does not mean that I "really think there's evidence of Joe Biden's corruption".

it depends on what the meaning of "is" is.


I have to say - it is a pretty dumb analogy - I couldn't get much further then the initial paragraph either.

You can't compare one specific event with anything relating to 2 countries. It's way too broad of a generalization. He could of at least provided a specific case study.

It is apparent that Clarence didn't want his Wife's texts to go public. Is Joe interfering in the Hunter investigation? 


Smedley said:

ml1 said:

Smedley said:

ml1 said:


Smedley said:

Slicing the baloney pretty thin there.

A reasonable person who reads "There's nothing in the emails" reads: nothing exists in the emails. 

"Nothing's come out as of now (but it's possible something might come out later)" is your personal translation. Perhaps DB meant to say that or would amend to say that, but it's not what he said. 

you may call it "baloney" but if this was a jury trial, no evidence at this time woulds mean a not guilty verdict.

and while you have not expressed "certainty" there's evidence of wrongdoing in the emails, you haven't to my knowledge acknowledged that to date, nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong. 

Well the lack of evidence to date is assumed and a given. if there were evidence, it would be dominating the news cycle, and depending on what the evidence was, the talk would be of resignation or impeachment or whatever.  

But to make you happy, here goes:

I, Smedley, acknowledge that nothing has in fact been exposed that provides evidence of Joe Biden doing anything wrong.

I also acknowledge it rained this morning.  

given that this discussion has been about right wingers hyping the "laptop from hell" without there being any evidence in the emails, it would have saved a lot of arguing if you had just agreed with the rest of us from the beginning.  By arguing, you gave the impression that you really think there's evidence of Joe Biden's corruption that's just waiting to be found on that hard drive.

That might have been your impression, but as per usual your impression seems to be formed by stuff I didn't say rather than what I did say. It's usually better to go off people's actual words.  

What I've pushed back against is Db's "there's nothing in the emails" assertion, which is the mirror image of the right wing's "he's guilty as sin".  Pushing back on that does not mean that I "really think there's evidence of Joe Biden's corruption".

those statements are not  "mirror images."  The orientation any person should take when accusations of wrongdoing are made is that it's nothing until there is evidence of something.  


Smedley said:

Very low-value response.

It's not sexy, just accurate, to-the-point. and all your question deserves.


Smedley said:

Yuks aside, both you and nohero are welcome to respond, with some actual substance, to my 3:05 post. I won't hold my breath though. 

Sure, I'll bite. Which part of that Thiessen piece do you think was smart?


I will note that the most people's threshold for proof is orders of magnitudes higher that when it came to the conspiracy theories around Trump and Putin.




ridski said:

Smedley said:

Yuks aside, both you and nohero are welcome to respond, with some actual substance, to my 3:05 post. I won't hold my breath though. 

Sure, I'll bite. Which part of that Thiessen piece do you think was smart?

The part that said Biden family business dealings are at least as much of a conflict of interest for President Biden as Ginni Thomas' texts are for Justice Thomas. 

And the part that the left is up in arms about Thomas but Jimmy-crack-corn-and-I-Don't-care about Biden.


Smedley said:

ridski said:

Sure, I'll bite. Which part of that Thiessen piece do you think was smart?

The part that said Biden family business dealings are at least as much of a conflict of interest for President Biden as Ginni Thomas' texts are for Justice Thomas. 

That's not smart.  The texts show that Ginni Thomas was involved in communications which are part of a proceeding before Clarence Thomas as a judge.  The "appearance of impropriety" standard for recusal would have a judge recuse if a spouse is "a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party" or "known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding" or "likely to be a material witness in the proceeding".

 In other words, it's not merely because Ginni Thomas knows, or even has worked with, people who are involved in the case.


Citation for the quotes in prior post.

Code of Conduct for United States Judges | United States Courts (uscourts.gov)

[Edited to add] Discussions of whether particular rules can be applied to the Supreme Court are beside the point, imho.


Thomas's conflict of interest - he is judging cases about an event that his wife was involved with and may have been an influential player in, and let's face it, probably talked to him about. (not proven, but please)


Biden's conflict of interest is... what? He has to make geo-political decisions that would involve China, and his son was involved with a Chinese business? Was his son involved with any U.S. businesses? Conflict of interest there too? His wife works for schools. Conflict of interest there re education policy?

What decisions would Joe Biden be involved with re China that make it a conflict of interest?  Hell, not even Thiessen can come up with one.

Hacktacular.



I would like to thank smedley for providing this afternoon's entertainment.  grin


terp said:

I will note that the most people's threshold for proof is orders of magnitudes higher that when it came to the conspiracy theories around Trump and Putin.




drummerboy said:

Biden's conflict of interest is... what? 

This is Ethics 101-level stuff, so I find your cluelessness really hard to believe. I would like to say "I can't help you," but I'll respond for the record and for posterity.

The conflict of interest was that Biden had direct family members self-dealing, making millions off the family name, in foreign countries when Biden was VP. There was a conflict of interest , or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, as to whether Biden would act in the best interests of his oath of office, or whether he would act in the best interest of his family members' bank accounts.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/10/12/hunter-biden-corruption-515583“Even though this administration isn’t corrupt on the same level as the previous administration, which seemed to embrace the corruption,” said Kathleen Clark, a law professor and government ethics expert at Washington University in St. Louis, “the public has reason to be concerned.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hunter-biden-republican-probe-business-dealings-james-biden-chuck-grassley/Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, criticized Hunter and James Bidens' Chinese business dealings.

"I think Hunter and James Biden should not have entered into those relationships, full stop," Weissman said. "To the extent those occurred while Joe Biden was the vice president, there's a worry that they hope to get something direct from the Obama administration."

Weissman added that even after Biden was vice president, there should still have been concern about the potential for "investing in these family members to get future benefits in the possibility … that Joe Biden would become president later on."<<<

I'm sure your response will be ol' Joe is squeaky clean, everybody's hunky-dory, nothing to see here, move along folks, go blue team. But the conflicts of interest are clear as a bell.  


Believe it or not, it is possible to believe (1) Trump's ethics were deplorable and way worse than Biden's, (2) the right is jumping to conclusions about the laptop and the ongoing probe, AND (3) there are legitimate questions and concerns about Biden's ethics WRT the self-dealing of his family members. 

I realize though, that accepting #3 probably gets you booted off the blue team, so that one's tough to sign on to. 


Smedley said:

drummerboy said:

Biden's conflict of interest is... what? 

This is Ethics 101-level stuff, so I find your cluelessness really hard to believe. I would like to say "I can't help you," but I'll respond for the record and for posterity.

The conflict of interest was that Biden had direct family members self-dealing, making millions off the family name, in foreign countries when Biden was VP. There was a conflict of interest , or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, as to whether Biden would act in the best interests of his oath of office, or whether he would act in the best interest of his family members' bank accounts.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/10/12/hunter-biden-corruption-515583“Even though this administration isn’t corrupt on the same level as the previous administration, which seemed to embrace the corruption,” said Kathleen Clark, a law professor and government ethics expert at Washington University in St. Louis, “the public has reason to be concerned.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hunter-biden-republican-probe-business-dealings-james-biden-chuck-grassley/Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, criticized Hunter and James Bidens' Chinese business dealings.

"I think Hunter and James Biden should not have entered into those relationships, full stop," Weissman said. "To the extent those occurred while Joe Biden was the vice president, there's a worry that they hope to get something direct from the Obama administration."

Weissman added that even after Biden was vice president, there should still have been concern about the potential for "investing in these family members to get future benefits in the possibility … that Joe Biden would become president later on."<<<

I'm sure your response will be ol' Joe is squeaky clean, everybody's hunky-dory, nothing to see here, move along folks, go blue team. But the conflicts of interest are clear as a bell.  

none of what you describe is an actual conflict of interest. it's just descriptions of dodgy behavior by Hunter.

what could Biden as President do that could possibly be helpful to Hunter's China related investments? If you can't answer that question, then you've got nothing.

And as far as I can tell from this wapo article, Hunter does not even have a current relationship with China. If that's true, the notion of a conflict of interest is even more ludicrous.

There's a reason that Thiessen didn't actually name something that Biden should recuse himself from.


The issue as I see it is that there was absolutely nothing VP Biden could have done to stop his brother and son from trading on the family name in other countries. Was he supposed to resign as VP?

And to this point there is no evidence he ever acted on behalf of either James or Hunter. 

There's a sleaze factor to all of this. But on the part of James and Hunter. And at this point no evidence that Joe involved himself in it. 


drummerboy said:

Smedley said:

drummerboy said:

Biden's conflict of interest is... what? 

This is Ethics 101-level stuff, so I find your cluelessness really hard to believe. I would like to say "I can't help you," but I'll respond for the record and for posterity.

The conflict of interest was that Biden had direct family members self-dealing, making millions off the family name, in foreign countries when Biden was VP. There was a conflict of interest , or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, as to whether Biden would act in the best interests of his oath of office, or whether he would act in the best interest of his family members' bank accounts.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/10/12/hunter-biden-corruption-515583“Even though this administration isn’t corrupt on the same level as the previous administration, which seemed to embrace the corruption,” said Kathleen Clark, a law professor and government ethics expert at Washington University in St. Louis, “the public has reason to be concerned.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hunter-biden-republican-probe-business-dealings-james-biden-chuck-grassley/Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, criticized Hunter and James Bidens' Chinese business dealings.

"I think Hunter and James Biden should not have entered into those relationships, full stop," Weissman said. "To the extent those occurred while Joe Biden was the vice president, there's a worry that they hope to get something direct from the Obama administration."

Weissman added that even after Biden was vice president, there should still have been concern about the potential for "investing in these family members to get future benefits in the possibility … that Joe Biden would become president later on."<<<

I'm sure your response will be ol' Joe is squeaky clean, everybody's hunky-dory, nothing to see here, move along folks, go blue team. But the conflicts of interest are clear as a bell.  

none of what you describe is an actual conflict of interest. it's just descriptions of dodgy behavior by Hunter.

what could Biden as President do that could possibly be helpful to Hunter's China related investments? If you can't answer that question, then you've got nothing.

And as far as I can tell from this wapo article, Hunter does not even have a current relationship with China. If that's true, the notion of a conflict of interest is even more ludicrous.

There's a reason that Thiessen didn't actually name something that Biden should recuse himself from.

If you can't understand how Hunter and James Biden's foreign business dealings didn't present a conflict of interest to VP Biden, then I truly can't help you.

Obviously you don't understand ethics in this context. It is well-known that just the appearance of a conflict of interest is the same as a conflict of interest. Look it up. And whoever has even the appearance of a conflict of interest should do something to stop it, or at least disclose it fully. It seems questionable, at best, whether Joe did either.


ml1 said:

The issue as I see it is that there was absolutely nothing VP Biden could have done to stop his brother and son from trading on the family name in other countries. Was he supposed to resign as VP?

And to this point there is no evidence he ever acted on behalf of either James or Hunter. 

There's a sleaze factor to all of this. But on the part of James and Hunter. And at this point no evidence that Joe involved himself in it. 

So, "not me, them! (Joe points at his son and brother, who look down sheepishly)"?

That's good enough? Shouldn't you expect more from the Vice President of the United States, whose administration (then and now) prided itself on having the highest ethical standards?


Smedley said:

 Obviously you don't understand ethics in this context. It is well-known that just the appearance of a conflict of interest is the same as a conflict of interest. Look it up. And whoever has even the appearance of a conflict of interest should do something to stop it, or at least disclose it fully. It seems questionable, at best, whether Joe did either. 

I’m pretty sure everyone knows. 


In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.