Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden wants Facebook to crack down on President Trump, but Facebook has refused and pledged to protect all political speech, including comments it deems indefensible.
Mr. Biden’s campaign published on Thursday an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying the social media giant has taken “no meaningful action” to combat misinformation and disinformation on its platform. Mr. Biden’s campaign argued Facebook is letting Mr. Trump spread fear and misinformation that could “compromise the means of holding power to account.”
“After foreign operatives and rightwing trolls used Facebook to hack the 2016 election, Facebook vowed ‘never again’ and promised to take action. But with fewer than 5 months until the 2020 election, Facebook seems to be on a crash course to let the same mistakes happen again,” the Biden campaign’s website reads. “Tens of millions of Americans rely on Facebook as a news source. But the company continues to amplify misinformation and lets candidates pay to target and confuse voters with lies.”
Facebook responded with a statement saying it would follow the laws and rules in the run-up to the November election. The company spotlighted efforts by both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump to influence the company’s content moderation, before noting that it would follow the rules set out by U.S. election officials.
“Just as they have done with broadcast networks — where the U.S. government prohibits rejecting politicians’ campaign ads — the people’s elected representatives should set the rules, and we will follow them,” Facebook said in a statement. “There is an election coming in November and we will protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it.”
Facebook has recently taken other steps to explicitly distance itself from contentious content decisions surrounding political speech. Facebook created an oversight board with responsibility for content enforcement and governance across the social media company’s platforms. Facebook set up the board as a limited liability company separate from Facebook with a $130 million trust established by the company.
Facebook has already announced the first 20 members of the board, but Facebook oversight board co-chair Michael McConnell previously told The Washington Times that the board may not be operational before the end of 2020.
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Joe Biden’s claim about attending historically Black Delaware State refuted by university
Joseph R. Biden declared last year on the campaign trail that he began his academic career at Delaware State University, a historically Black college, a claim that the school refutes. Carlos Holmes, director of news service for Delaware State, said that Mr. Biden was never a student, although he has made appearances twice on campus…
Joseph R. Biden declared last year on the campaign trail that he began his academic career at Delaware State University, a historically Black college, a claim that the school refutes.
Carlos Holmes, director of news service for Delaware State, said that Mr. Biden was never a student, although he has made appearances twice on campus for commencement speeches at the public university in Dover, one of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“Vice President Biden did not attend DSU,” said Mr. Holmes in a Thursday email. “However he was the Commencement keynote speaker in 2003 and , and during the former he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree.”
Mr. Biden made the claim ahead of the South Carolina Democratic primary during a town hall held Oct. 26, 2019, at historic Wilson High School in Florence, which was founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Bureau for Black children seeking an education.
“I got started out of an HBCU, Delaware State — now, I don’t want to hear anything negative about Delaware State,” Mr. Biden told the audience, drawing laughter, as shown on video. “They’re my folks.”
Mr. Biden, who went on to win the South Carolina primary on his way to the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has been long accused of making up the DSU connection, but the university’s denial appears to erase any doubt.
The Washington Times has reached out to the Biden campaign for comment.
Mr. Biden’s 2007 memoir, “Promises to Keep,” proceeds from his years at Archmere Academy, a private Catholic school in Clayton, Delaware, to his enrollment as a freshman at the University of Delaware without mentioning Delaware State.
Biden claims he “got started out of an HBCU, Delaware State” when he did not attend the universitypic.twitter.com/LnBOS1wQlT
— Tommy Pigott (@TCPigott) October 26, 2019
The former vice president has been caught numerous times embellishing his biography, including statements that he was the first in his family to attend college and that his relatives worked as coal miners, both of which he later admitted were false.
Mr. Biden has also been accused of exaggerating his record on civil-rights activism, such as his assertions about participating in marches. During his first presidential run in 1987, for example, he declared that he “marched with tens of thousands,” a claim that has been largely discounted.
The 2010 biography “Joe Biden” by veteran political reporter Jules Witcover described him as someone who was sympathetic to the movement but “was taking no visible part in either the local racial unrest or the war protest.”
“It was not until his exposure to black contemporaries as a lifeguard, he said, that he finally began to understand, and then he saw his best engagement as a lawyer, not a marcher,” the book said.
Earlier this month, the Biden campaign named DSU President Tony Allen, who previously worked as a speechwriter in Mr. Biden’s Senate office, to the Biden transition team advisory council.
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Hunter Biden’s network of wealthy, corrupt foreigners stretched from Moscow to Beijing
The Senate Republican report this week on Hunter Biden shows he amassed a network of shady foreign clients who pumped millions of dollars into his bank accounts — all while his dad, Joseph R. Biden, served as vice president. The report traced the bank transfers based on U.S. government reports that “show potential criminal activity”…
The Senate Republican report this week on Hunter Biden shows he amassed a network of shady foreign clients who pumped millions of dollars into his bank accounts — all while his dad, Joseph R. Biden, served as vice president.
The report traced the bank transfers based on U.S. government reports that “show potential criminal activity” by Mr. Biden, other family members, and business partners. The report’s phrasing is a sure indicator that Hunter Biden and his associates showed up by name in confidential Suspicious Activity Reports (SARS) issued by the Treasury Department.
In one instance, after Hunter Biden transferred nearly $2 million to his uncle––the money ultimately connected to Chinese businessmen––the bank inquired about the large amount. It then closed the account when the Bidens were not forthcoming, the Senate report said.
Hunter Biden’s financial sources: a Russian oligarch; a Ukraine oligarch; a Kazakhstan holding company and Chinese businessmen tied to the Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Meanwhile, Hunter Biden, who has fought drug addiction, sent thousands of dollars to Russian and Ukraine women tied to human trafficking and prostitution, the report said.
The findings prompted the report’s authors, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, to state,
“In particular, these documents show that Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from foreign sources as a result of business relationships that he built during the period when his father was vice president of the United States and after. These foreign nationals have questionable backgrounds that have been identified as being consistent with a range of criminal activities, including but not limited to organized prostitution and/or human trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and embezzlement.”
The two senators bluntly stated that Biden the son “cashed in on Joe Biden’s vice presidency.” The vice president is the Democratic presidential nominee challenging President Trump.
Here are Mr. Biden’s major sources of big money, according to the senate report.
The Ukraine energy firm Burisma Holdings and its oligarch boss, Mykola Zlochevsky.
The State Department views Mr. Zlochevsky as one of the most corrupt men in Ukraine. He paid a $25 million bribe to the public prosecutor investigating his alleged money laundering, the Senate report said.
In April 2014, Vice President Biden became the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. His mission: convince the former Soviet state to tamp down rampant corruption.
The next month, Hunter Biden showed up on Burisma’s board of directors. He joined his business partner Devon Archer.
In the ensuing years, Burisma paid the two over $4 million. From May 2014, to February 2016, 48 wire transfers totalling $3.4 million went to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a shell company run by Mr. Archer in partnership with a Chinese investment fund.
In 2014-15, Rosemont sent $700,000 to Hunter Biden. After Mr. Archer was arrested for alleged financial fraud in 2016, Burisma directly sent $752,000 to Mr. Biden’s law firm.
Russia’s only women billionaire, Elena Baturina, wired Mr. Biden $3.5 million for consulting services in February 2014, the same month Russian troops invaded Ukraine’s Crimea. She sent another $241,000 in 2015.
Ms. Baturina is the widow of a corrupt Moscow mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. She became an oligarch thanks to her husband’s administration funneling huge contracts to her plastics company, Intake.
As an oligarch, Ms. Baturina would have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. She wired the money to Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC, co-founded by Hunter Biden.
Another Biden firm was Rosemont Seneca Partners, which included Mr. Archer and Christopher Heinz, stepson to former Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat.
Treasury reported these bank transfers, the Senate report said, “because of Baturina’s reported criminal activity.”
On the day in 2014 that Vice President Biden addressed the Ukraine parliament as the new Obama administration point man, Novatus Holding, a private company in Singapore, used a Latvian bank to wire $142,300 to Rosemont Seneca Bohai. The transaction report said “for Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC for a car.”
The sole shareholder of Novatus is Kenges Rakishev who has ties to Kazakhstan’s power elite. He sent the money to Hunter Biden’s partner at a time when the country was debating whether to approve of Russian’s invasion of Crimea that February.
Mr. Biden gleaned millions of dollars from China.
“Hunter Biden has extensive connections to Chinese businesses and Chinese foreign nationals that are linked to the Communist government,” the Senate report said. “Those contacts bore financial fruit when his father was vice president and after he left office.”
“During 2010-2011, as a representative of Rosemont Seneca, Hunter Biden networked with representatives from Chinese state-owned enterprises and representatives of the Boston-based Thornton Group,” the report said
Constant figures in Mr. Biden financial forays in China are Ye Jianming, who ran an energy fund worth $33 billion, and an associate, Gongwen Dong. Both men were close to the ruling Communist Party, which planted layers of party members throughout the fund’s holdings.
Mr. Biden and Mr. Archer in 2012 formed Bohai Harvest Shanghai Equity Investment Fund Management Co. (Called BHR). The company is today mostly owned by Chinese entities.
In December 2013, Biden the son flew with his dad on Air Force Two to Beijing. After the trip, China approved BHR’s business license.
In 2016, Mr. Biden and Mr. Gongwen, who executes transactions for companies controlled by Mr. Ye, opened a line of credit for their New York business Hudson West III LLC. Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s brother, James, and wife, Sara used credit cards from that bank.
“The Bidens subsequently used the credit cards to purchase $101,291.46 worth of extravagant items, including airline tickets and multiple items at Apple Inc. stores pharmacies, hotels and restaurants,” the Senate report says. “The cards were collateralized by transferring $99,000 from a Hudson West III account to a separate account, where the funds were held until the cards were closed.”
The Treasury Department tagged the transactions as “potential criminal active.”
In 2017, Mr. Ye’s China Energy Co. sent $100,000 to Hunter Biden’s law firm. This too was flagged by Treasury as potentially criminal. Another Ye firm, CEFC Infrastructure Investment, wired $5 million to Hudson West III. Hudson then sent $4.7 million to Mr. Biden’s law firm as consulting fees.
The next year, another $1 million came from Hudson to Mr. Biden
Mr. Biden was also sending money to uncle James and his Lion Hall Group. Hunter’s law firm, Owasco, sent 20 wires totaling $1.3 million. This too was flagged by Treasury as criminal.
When the bank inquired with Sara Biden about the large transfers, she said the payments were for consulting. She refused to supply backup information. The bank then closed the account.
Mr. Gongwen owned other Hudson West entities that handled huge transfers, some as high as $113 million
In November 2017, Mr. Ye’s associate, Patrick Ho, was arrested by U.S. authorities for money laundering and conspiracy. Mr. Ye was detained the next year in China.
The Senate report says Hunter Biden “sent thousands of dollars to individuals who have either: 1) been involved in transactions consistent with possible human trafficking; 2) an association with the adult entertainment industry; or 3) potential association with prostitution.”
The report continues: “Some recipients of those funds are Ukrainian and Russian citizens. The records note that it is a documented fact that Hunter Biden has sent funds to nonresident alien women in the United States who are citizens of Russia and Ukraine and who have subsequently wired funds they have received from Hunter Biden to individuals located in Russia and Ukraine. The [Treasury] records also note that some of these transactions are linked to what ‘appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.’”
Andrew Bates, former vice president Joe Biden’s spokesman, responded to the report:
“As the coronavirus death toll climbs and Wisconsinites struggle with joblessness, Ron Johnson has wasted months diverting the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee away from any oversight of the catastrophically botched federal response to the pandemic, a threat Sen. Johnson has dismissed by saying that ‘death is an unavoidable part of life.’ Why?
“To subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars — an attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory that hinges on Sen. Johnson himself being corrupt and that the Senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit to bail out Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.”
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Joe Biden’s expansive economic plans may be too optimistic, experts say
Joseph R. Biden on Thursday released a new analysis to make the case that he would plow trillions of dollars in new tax revenues back into America’s middle class while President Trump’s economic policies exacerbate wealth inequality. The Biden campaign said people who earn less than $400,000 per year won’t see their taxes go up…
Joseph R. Biden on Thursday released a new analysis to make the case that he would plow trillions of dollars in new tax revenues back into America’s middle class while President Trump’s economic policies exacerbate wealth inequality.
The Biden campaign said people who earn less than $400,000 per year won’t see their taxes go up at all under his plan and that the middle class will benefit from several new tax credits, such as an expansion of the child tax credit for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I really do view this campaign as a campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue,” Mr. Biden said at a CNN town hall Thursday evening. “All that Trump can see from Park Avenue is Wall Street.”
The Biden campaign pointed to the 2017 GOP tax cuts, which lowered taxes for most Americans, to argue that the benefits were disproportionately skewed toward the wealthy.
Virtually all of the benefits from Mr. Trump’s new push to cut capital gains taxes would flow to the top 1% of earners, according to the Biden analysis.
Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, took exception with the Biden campaign’s contention that Mr. Trump’s agenda “rewards wealth over work.”
“New census data showed remarkable jumps in income under Trump in 2019 for the moderate-income workers Biden cares about,” Mr. Edwards said. “Median household income soared 6.8% in 2019, with particularly strong growth for black and Hispanic households.”
Mr. Biden’s major economic plans would increase spending by $5.4 trillion over the next decade, according to an analysis this week from the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model.
The new spending includes $1.9 trillion on education, $1.6 trillion on health care, and $1.6 trillion on infrastructure and development.
The model projected that Mr. Biden’s plans would eventually decrease the federal debt by 6.1% and boost GDP by 0.8% by 2050.
Some liberals say Mr. Biden needs to think bigger, given the scope of the coronavirus pandemic and pressing issues like climate change.
“Frankly, I think we could go even farther,” said Morris Pearl, who chairs the left-leaning group Patriotic Millionaires. “I think we’re seeing a tiny number of people at the top … doing extremely well and I think we’re seeing, frankly, millions and millions of people in our country not doing well at all.”
Penn Wharton said households with an adjusted gross income of $400,000 per year or less wouldn’t see their taxes increase directly under Mr. Biden’s plan, but that they could be hit with lower wages or investment returns from corporate tax increases.
Mr. Biden wants to increase the top individual tax rate back up to 39.6%, from 37%, and increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
Mr. Edwards said the Penn Wharton model is too optimistic, particularly when it comes to how much Mr. Biden’s infrastructure proposals would juice the economy.
“The health crisis has set incomes back this year, but the economy should come roaring back when COVID-19 is conquered as long politicians focus on restraining taxes, cutting spending and paring back regulations,” he said. “I fear a Biden administration will do the opposite and sink the economy again.”
The spending proposals from Mr. Biden are more expansive than what past Democratic nominees like Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama laid out in their campaigns, said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a fiscal watchdog group.
“Clearly, however you score it, Biden is proposing a much more robust role for the federal government in investment and in the safety net,” Mr. Bixby said. “The lid has come off on the spending side and the bipartisan consensus that existed around the fact that deficits matter is no longer in place.”
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