Hello! You’ve Been Referred Here Because You’re Wrong About Twitter And Hunter Biden’s Laptop

from the just-helping-you-out-here dept

Hello! Someone has referred you to this post because you’ve said something quite wrong about Twitter and how it handled something to do with Hunter Biden’s laptop. If you’re new here, you may not know that I’ve written a similar post for people who are wrong about Section 230. If you’re being wrong about Twitter and the Hunter Biden laptop, there’s a decent chance that you’re also wrong about Section 230, so you might want to read that too! Also, these posts are using a format blatantly swiped from lawyer Ken “Popehat” White, who wrote one about the 1st Amendment. Honestly, you should probably read that one too, because there’s some overlap.

Now, to be clear, I’ve explained many times before, in other posts, why people who freaked out about how Twitter handled the Hunter Biden laptop story are getting confused, but it’s usually been a bit buried. I had already started a version of this post last week, since people keep bringing up Twitter and the laptop, but then on Friday, Elon (sorta) helped me out by giving a bunch of documents to reporter Matt Taibbi.

So, let’s review some basics before we respond to the various wrong statements people have been making. Since 2016, there have been concerns raised about how foreign nation states might seek to interfere with elections, often via the release of hacked or faked materials. It’s no secret that websites have been warned to be on the lookout for such content in the leadup to the election — not with demands to suppress it, but just to consider how to handle it.

Partly in response to that, social media companies put in place various policies on how they were going to handle such material. Facebook set up a policy to limit certain content from trending in its algorithm until it had been reviewed by fact-checkers. Twitter put in place a “hacked materials” policy, which forbade the sharing of leaked or hacked materials. There were — clearly! — some potential issues with that policy. In fact, in September of 2020 (a month before the NY Post story) we highlighted the problems of this very policy, including somewhat presciently noting the fear that it would be used to block the sharing of content in the public interest and could be used against journalistic organizations (indeed, that case study highlights how the policy was enforced to ban DDOSecrets for leaking police chat logs).

The morning the NY Post story came out there was a lot of concern about the validity of the story. Other news organizations, including Fox News, had refused to touch it. NY Post reporters refused to put their name on it. There were other oddities, including the provenance of the hard drive data, which apparently had been in Rudy Giuliani’s hands for months. There were concerns about how the data was presented (specifically how the emails were converted into images and PDFs, losing their header info and metadata).

The fact that, much later on, many elements of the laptops history and provenance were confirmed as legitimate (with some open questions) is important, but does not change the simple fact that the morning the NY Post story came out, it was extremely unclear (in either direction) except to extreme partisans in both camps.

Based on that, both Twitter and Facebook reacted somewhat quickly. Twitter implemented its hacked materials policy in exactly the manner that we had warned might happen a month earlier: blocking the sharing of the NY Post link. Facebook implemented other protocols, “reducing its distribution” until it had gone through a fact check. Facebook didn’t ban the sharing of the link (like Twitter did), but rather limited the ability for it to “trend” and get recommended by the algorithm until fact checkers had reviewed it.

To be clear, the decision by Twitter to do this was, in our estimation, pretty stupid. It was exactly what we had warned about just a month earlier regarding this exact policy. But this is the nature of trust & safety. People need to make very rapid decisions with very incomplete information. That’s why I’ve argued ever since then that while the policy was stupid, it was no giant scandal that it happened, and given everything, it was not a stretch to understand how it played out.

Also, importantly, the very next day Twitter realized it fucked up, admitted so publicly, and changed the hacked materials policy saying that it would no longer block links to news sources based on this policy (though it might add a label to such stories). The next month, Jack Dorsey, in testifying before Congress, was pretty transparent about how all of this went down.

All of this seemed pretty typical for any kind of trust & safety operation. As I’ve explained for years, mistakes in content moderation (especially at scale) are inevitable. And, often, the biggest reason for those mistakes is the lack of context. That was certainly true here.

Yet, for some reason, the story has persisted for years now that Twitter did something nefarious, engaging in election interference that was possibly at the behest of “the deep state” or the Biden campaign. For years, as I’ve reported on this, I’ve noted that there was literally zero evidence to back any of that up. So, my ears certainly perked up last Friday when Elon Musk said that he was about to reveal “what really happened with the Hunter Biden story suppression.”

Certainly, if there was evidence of something nefarious behind closed doors, that would be important and worth covering. If it was true that through discussions I’ve had with dozens of Twitter employees over the past few years every single one of them lied about what happened, well, that would also be useful for me to know.

And then Taibbi revealed… basically nothing of interest. He revealed a few internal communications that… simply confirmed everything that was already public in statements made by Twitter, Jack Dorsey’s Congressional testimony, and in declarations made as part of a Federal Elections Commission investigation into Twitter’s actions. There were general concerns about foreign state influence campaigns, including “hack and leak” in the lead up to the election, and there were questions about the provenance of this particular data, so Twitter made a quick (cautious) judgment call and implemented a (bad) policy. Then it admitted it fucked up and changed things a day later. That’s… basically it.

And, yet, the story has persisted over and over and over again. Incredibly, even after the details of Taibbi’s Twitter thread revealed nothing new, many people started pretending that it had revealed something major, with even Elon Musk insisting that this was proof of some massive 1st Amendment violation:

Elon Musk tweet stating: "If this isn’t a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment, what is?"

Now, apparently more files are going to be published, so something may change, but so far it’s been a whole lot of utter nonsense. But when I say that both here on Techdirt and on Twitter, I keep seeing a few very, very wrong arguments being made. So, let’s get to the debunking:

1. If you said Twitter’s decision to block links to the NY Post was election interference…

You’re wrong. Very much so. First off, there was, in fact, a complaint to the FEC about this very point, and the FEC investigated and found no election interference at all. It didn’t even find evidence of it being an “in-kind” contribution. It found no evidence that Twitter engaged in politically motivated decision making, but rather handled this in a non-partisan manner consistent with its business objectives:

Twitter acknowledges that, following the October 2020 publication of the New York Post articles at issue, Twitter blocked users from sharing links to the articles. But Twitter states that this was because its Site Integrity Team assessed that the New York Post articles likely contained hacked and personal information, the sharing of which violated both Twitter’s Distribution of Hacked Materials and Private Information Policies. Twitter points out that although sharing links to the articles was blocked, users were still permitted to otherwise discuss the content of the New York Post articles because doing so did not directly involve spreading any hacked or personal information. Based on the information available to Twitter at the time, these actions appear to reflect Twitter’s stated commercial purpose of removing misinformation and other abusive content from its platform, not a purpose of influencing an election

All of this is actually confirmed by the Twitter Files from Taibbi/Musk, even as both seem to pretend otherwise. Taibbi revealed some internal emails in which various employees (going increasingly up the chain) discussed how to handle the story. Not once does anyone in what Taibbi revealed suggest anything even remotely politically motivated. There was legitimate concern internally about whether or not it was correct to block the NY Post story, which makes sense, because they were (correctly) concerned about making a decision that went too far. I mean, honestly, the discussion is not only without political motive, but shows that the trust & safety apparatus at Twitter was concerned with getting this correct, including employees questioning whether or not these were legitimately “hacked materials” and questioning whether other news stories on the hard drive should get the same treatment.

Twitter employees discuss whether it's appropriate to block the NY Post story based on the Hacked Materials policy.

There are more discussions of this nature, with people questioning whether or not the material was really “hacked” and initially deciding on taking the more cautious approach until they knew more. Twitter’s Yoel Roth notes that “this is an emerging situation where the facts remain unclear. Given the SEVERE risks here and lessons of 2016, we’re erring on the side of including a warning and preventing this content from being amplified.”

More debate among Twitter employees about how to handle the content, but saying that "this is an emerging situation where the facts remain unclear" and "given the severe risks here and the lessons of 2016, we're erring on the side of including a warning and preventing this content from being amplified."

Again, exactly as has been noted, given the lack of clarity Twitter reasonably decided to pump the brakes until more was known. There was some useful back-and-forth among employees — the kind that happens in any company regarding major trust & safety decisions, in which Twitter’s then VP of comms questioned whether or not this was the right decision. This shows a productive discussion — not anything along the lines of pushing for any sort of politically motivated outcome.

A message from Twitter's comms VP Brandon Borrman stating "can we truthfully claim that this is a part of the policy."

And then deputy General Counsel Jim Baker (more on him later, trust me…) chimes in to again highlight exactly what everyone has been saying: that this is a rapidly evolving situation, and it makes sense to be cautious until more is known. Baker’s message is important:

I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked. At this stage, however, it is reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted. There are some facts that indicate that the materials may have been hacked, while there are others indicating that the computer was either abandoned and/or the owner consented to allow the repair shop to access it for at least some purposes. We simply need more information.

Again, all of this is… exactly what everyone has said ever since the day after it happened. This was an emerging story. The provenance was unclear. There were some sketchy things about it, and so Twitter enacted the policy because they just weren’t sure and didn’t have enough info yet. It turned out to be a bad call, but in content moderation, you’re going to make some bad calls.

What is missing entirely is any evidence that politics entered this discussion at all. Not even once.

2. But Twitter’s decision to “suppress” the story was a big deal and may have swung the election to Biden!

I’m sorry, but there remains no evidence to support that silly claim either. First off, Twitter’s decision actually seemed to get the story a hell of a lot more attention. Again, as noted above, Twitter did nothing to stop discussion of the story. It only blocked links to one story in the NY Post, and only for that one day. And the very fact that Twitter did this (and Facebook took other action) caused a bit of a Streisand Effect (hey!) which got the underlying story a lot more attention because of the decisions by those two companies.

The reality, though, is that the story just wasn’t that big of a deal for voters. Hunter Biden wasn’t the candidate. His father was. Everyone already pretty much knew that Hunter is a bit of a fuckup and clearly personally profiting off of the situation, but there was no actual big story in the revelations (I mean, yeah, there are still some people who insist there are, but they’re the same people who misunderstood the things we’re debunking here today). And, if we’re going to talk about kids of Presidents profiting off of their last name, well, there’s a pretty long list to go down….

But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at the evidence. As reporter Philip Bump recently noted, there’s actual evidence in Google search trends that Twitter and Facebook’s decision really did generate a lot more interest in the story. It was well after both companies took action that searches on Google for Hunter Biden shot upward:

Chart showing Google Trends for searches on "Hunter Biden" the day the NY Post story dropped, showing a big increase hours after FB and Twitter limited the story.

Also, soon after, Twitter reversed its policy, and there was widespread discussion of the laptop in the next three weeks leading up to the election. The brief blip in time in which Twitter and Facebook limited the story seemed to have only fueled much more interest in it, rather than “suppressing” it.

Indeed, another document in the “Twitter Files” highlights how a Democratic member of the House, Ro Khanna, actually reached out to Twitter to point this out and to question Twitter’s decision (if this was really a big Democratic conspiracy, you’d think he’d be supportive of the move, rather than critical of it, but the reverse was true.) Rep. Khanna’s email to Twitter noted:

I say this as a total Biden partisan and convinced he didn’t do anything wrong. But the story has now become more about censorship than relatively innocuous emails and it’s become a bigger deal than it would have been.

So again, the evidence actually suggests that the story wasn’t suppressed at all. It got more attention. It didn’t swing the election, because most people didn’t find the story particularly revealing.

3. The government pressured Twitter/Facebook to block this story, and that’s a huge 1st Amendment violation / treason / crime of the century / etc.

Yeah, so, that’s just not true. I’ve spent years calling out government pressure on speech, from Democrats (and more Democrats) to Republicans (and more Republicans). So I’m pretty focused on watching when the government goes over the line — and quick to call it out. And there remains no evidence at all of that happening here. At all. Taibbi admits this flat out:

Matt Taibbi tweet noting "there's no evidence - that I've seen - of any government involvement in the laptop story."

Incredibly, I keep seeing people on Twitter claim that Taibbi said the exact opposite. And you have people like Glenn Greenwald who insist that Taibbi only meant “foreign” governments here, despite all the evidence to the contrary. If he had found evidence that there was US government pressure here… why didn’t he post it? The answer: because it almost certainly does not exist.

Some people point to Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance over the summer on Joe Rogan’s podcast as “proof” that the FBI directed both companies to suppress the story, but that’s not at all what Zuckerberg said if you listened to his actual comments. Zuckerberg admits that they make mistakes, and that it feels terrible when they do. He goes into a pretty detailed explanation of some of how trust & safety works in determining whether or not a user is authentic. Then Rogan asks about the laptop story, and Zuckerberg says:

So, basically, the background here, is the FBI basically came to us, some folks on our team, and were like “just so you know, you should be on high alert, we thought there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election, we have it on notice, basically, that there’s about to be some kind of dump that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant.”

This does not say that the FBI came to Facebook and said “suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story.” It was just a general warning that the FBI had intelligence that there might be some foreign influence operations, and to “be vigilant.”

This is nearly identical to what Twitter’s then head of “site integrity,” Yoel Roth, noted in his declaration in the FEC case discussed above:

“[F]ederal law enforcement agencies communicated that they expected ‘hack-and-leak operations’ by state actors might occur in the period shortly before the 2020 presidential election . . . . I also learned in these meetings that there were rumors that a hack-and-leak operation would involve Hunter Biden.”

Basically the FBI is saying, in general, they have some intelligence that this kind of attack may happen, so be careful. It did not say to censor the info. It didn’t involve any threats. It wasn’t specifically about the laptop story.

And, in fact, as of earlier this week, we now have the FBI’s version of these events as well! That’s because of the somewhat silly lawsuit that Missouri and Louisiana filed against the Biden administration over Twitter’s decision to block the NY Post story. Just this week, Missouri released the deposition of FBI agent, Elvis Chan, who is often found at the center of conspiracy theories regarding “government censorship.”

And Chan tells basically the same story with a few slight differences, mostly in terms of framing. Specifically, Chan says that he never told the companies to “expect” a hack and leak attack, but rather to be aware of the possibility, slightly contradicting Roth’s declaration:

Yeah, I don’t know what Mr. Roth meant or meant, but what I’m letting you know is that from my recollection — I don’t believe we would have worded it so strongly to say that we expected there to be hacks. I would have worded it to say that there was the potential for hacks, and I believe that is how anyone from our side would have framed the comment.

And the reason I believe that is because I and the FBI, for that matter the U.S. intelligence community, was not aware of any successful hacks against political organizations or political campaigns.

You don’t think that intelligence officials described it in the way that Mr. Roth does here in this sentence in the affidavit?

Yeah, I would not have — I do not believe that the intelligence community would have expected it. I said that they would have been concerned about the potential for it.

In the deposition, Chan repeats (many, many times) that he wouldn’t have used the language saying such an effort would be “expected” but that it was something to look out for.

He also doesn’t recall Hunter Biden’s name even coming up, though he does say they warned them to be on the lookout for discussions on “hot button” issues, and notes that the companies themselves would often ask about certain scenarios:

So from my recollection, the social media companies, who include Twitter, would regularly ask us, “Hey, what kind of content do you think the nation state actors, the Russians would post,” and then they would provide examples. Like, “Would it be X” or “Would it be Y” or “Would it be Z.” And then we — I and then the other FBI officials would say, “We believe that the Russians will take advantage of any hot-button issue.” And we — I do not remember us specifically saying “Hunter Biden” in any meeting with Twitter.

Later on he says:

Yeah, in my estimation, we never discussed Hunter Biden specifically with Twitter. And so the way I read that is that there are hack-and-leak operations, and then at the time — at the time I believe he flagged one of the potential current events that were happening ahead of the elections.

You believe that he, Yoel Roth, flagged Hunter Biden in one of these meetings?

No. I believe — I don’t believe he flagged it during one of the meetings. I just think that — so I don’t know. I cannot read his mind, but my assessment is because I don’t remember discussing Hunter Biden at any of the meetings with Twitter, that we didn’t discuss it.

So this would have been something that he would have just thought of as a hot-button issue on his own that happened in October.

He goes into great detail about meeting with tons of companies, but notes that mostly he’d talk to them about cybersecurity threats, not disinformation. He talks a bit about Russian disinformation campaigns, highlighting the well known Internet Research Agency, which specialized in pushing divisive messaging on US social media platforms. However, he basically confirms that he never discussed the laptop with anyone at any of these companies, and the deposition makes it pretty clear that if anyone at the FBI would have done so, it either would have been Chan himself or done with Chan’s knowledge.

As for the NY Post story, and the laptop itself, he notes he found out about it through the media, just like everyone else. And then he says that he didn’t talk with anyone at Twitter or Facebook about it, despite being their main contact on these kinds of issues.

Q. It’s your testimony that those news articles are the first time that you became aware that — you became aware of Hunter Biden’s laptop in any connection?

Yes. I don’t remember if it was a New York Post article or if it was another media outlet, but it was on multiple media outlets, and I can’t remember which article I read.

And before that day, October 14th, 2020, were you aware — were you aware of Hunter Biden — had anyone ever mentioned Hunter Biden’s laptop to you?

No.

[….]

Do you know if anyone at Twitter reached out to anyone at the FBI to check or verify anything about the Hunter Biden story?

I am not aware of any communications between Yoel Roth and the FBI about this topic.

Are you aware of any communications between anyone at Twitter and anyone in the federal government about the decision to suppress content relating to the Hunter Biden laptop story once the story had broken?

I am not aware of Mr. Roth’s discussions with any other federal agency. As I mentioned, I am not aware of any discussions with any FBI employees about this topic as well. But I only know who I know. So I don’t — he may have had these conversations, but I was not aware of it.

You mentioned Mr. Roth. How about anyone else at Twitter, did anyone else at Twitter reach out, to your knowledge, to anyone else in the federal government?

So I can only answer for the FBI. To my knowledge, I am not aware of any Twitter employee reaching out to any FBI employee regarding this topic.

/ How about Facebook, other than that meeting you referred to where an analyst asked the FBI to comment on the Hunter Biden investigation, are you aware of any communications between anyone at Facebook and anyone at the FBI related to the Hunter Biden laptop story?

No.

How about any other social media platform?

No.

How about Apple or Microsoft?

No.

Basically, the exact same story emerges no matter how you look at it. The FBI, along with CISA, would have various meetings with internet companies mainly to warn them about cybersecurity (i.e., hacking) threats, but also generally mentioned the possibility of hack and leak attempts with a general warning to be on the lookout for such things, and that they may touch on “hot button” social and news topics. Nowhere is there any indication of pressure or attempts to tell the companies what to do, or how they should handle it. Just straight up information sharing.

When you look at all three statements — Zuckerberg’s, Roth’s, and Chan’s — basically the same not-very-interesting story emerges. The US government had some general meetings that happen with lots of big companies to warn them about various potential cybersecurity threats, and the issue of hack-and-leak campaigns as a general possibility came up with no real specifics and no warnings.

And no one communicated with the companies directly about the NY Post story.

Given all that, I honestly don’t see how there’s any reasonable concern here. There’s certainly no clear 1st Amendment concern. There appears to be zero in the way of government involvement or pressure. There’s no coercion or even implied threats. There’s literally nothing at all (no matter how Missouri’s Attorney General completely misrepresents it).

Indeed, the only thing revealed so far that might be concerning regarding the 1st Amendment is that Taibbi claimed that the Trump administration allegedly made demands of Twitter.

Taibbi tweet saying: "Both parties had access to these tools. For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored."

If the Trump administration actually had sent requests to “remove” tweets (as Taibbi claims in an earlier tweet) that would most likely be a 1st Amendment issue. However, Taibbi reveals no such requests, which is really quite remarkable. It is also possible that Taibbi is overselling these claims, because this is a part of a discussion that we’ll get to in the next section, regarding Twitter’s flagging tools, which anyone (including you or me) can use to flag content for Twitter to review to see if it violates the company’s terms of service. While there are certainly some concerns about the government’s use of such tools, unless there’s some sort of threat or coercion, and as long as Twitter is free to judge the content for itself and determine how to handle it under its own terms, there’s probably no 1st Amendment issue.

Indeed, some people have highlighted the fact that the government gets “special treatment” in having its flags reviewed. But, from people I’ve spoken to, that actually goes against the “1st Amendment violation!” argument, because many social media companies set up special systems for government agents not to enable “moar censorship!” but because they know they have to be extra vigilant in reviewing those requests so as not to take down content mistakenly based on a government request.

So, sorry, so far there appears to be no government intrusion, and certainly no 1st Amendment violation.

4. The Biden campaign / Democrats demanded Twitter censor the NY Post! And that’s a 1st Amendment violation / treason / the crime of the century / etc.

So, again, the only way that there’s a 1st Amendment violation is if the government issued the demand. And in October of 2020, the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee… were not the government. The 1st Amendment does not restrict their ability, as private citizens (even while campaigning for public office) to flag content for Twitter to review against its policies. Hilariously, Elon Musk seems kinda confused about how time works. That tweet that we screenshotted about about the “1st Amendment” violation is in response to an internal email that Taibbi revealed about what Taibbi (misleadingly) says are “requests from connected actors to delete tweets” followed by a screenshot of Twitter employees listing out some tweets saying “more to review from the Biden team” and someone responding “handled these.”

There was then the next tweet which was a similar set of two tweets sent over from the Democratic National Committee (as compared to the Biden campaign in the first one). This includes a tweet from the actor James Woods, which the Twitter team calls special attention to for being “high profile.”

Taibbi tweets described in the paragraph before this image.

Except, as a few enterprising folks discovered when looking up those tweets listed, they were… basically Hunter Biden nude images that were found on the laptop hard drive, which clearly violated Twitter’s terms of service (and likely violated multiple state laws regarding the sharing of nonconsensual nude images). This includes the James Woods tweet, which included a fake Biden campaign ad that showed a naked picture of Hunter Biden lying on a bed with his (only slightly blurred) penis quite visible. I’m not going to share a link to the image.

A good investigative reporter might have looked up what was in those tweets before posting a conspiratorial post implying that these were attempts by the campaign to remove the NY Post story or some other important information. But Taibbi did not. Nor has he commented on it since.

On top of that, while Taibbi claims that these were “requests to delete,” as the Twitter email quite clearly says, these are for Twitter to “review.” In other words, these were flagged for Twitter to review if they violate Twitter’s policies as the naked images clearly do.

So, there’s clearly no 1st Amendment concern here because, despite Musk’s understanding of the space-time continuum, the Biden administration was not in the White House in October of 2020. Second, even if we’re concerned about political campaigns asking for content to be deleted, flagging content for companies to review to see if they violate policies is not (in any way) the same as demanding it be deleted. Anyone can flag content. And then the company reviews it and makes a determination.

Even more importantly, nothing revealed so far suggests that the campaign had anything to say to Twitter regarding the NY Post story or any story regarding the laptop. Literally the only concerns raised were about the naked pictures.

Finally, as noted above, the only other Democrat mentioned so far in the Twitter files is Rep. Ro Khanna who told Twitter it was wrong to stop the links to the NY Post article, and urged them to rescind the decision in the name of free speech. That does not sounds like the Democrats secretly pressuring the company to block the story. It kinda sounds like the exact opposite.

So despite what everyone keeps yelling on Twitter (including Elon Musk) this still doesn’t appear to be evidence of “censorship” or even “suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.” It’s just focused on the nonconsensual sharing of Hunter’s naked images.

As a side note, Woods has now said he’s going to sue over this, though for the life of me I have no idea what sort of claim he thinks he has, or how it’s going to go over in court when he claims his rights were violated when he was unable to share Hunter’s dick pic.

5. But Jim Baker! He worked for the FBI! And he was in charge of the Twitter files! Clearly he’s covering up stuff!

Here we are ripping from the stupidity headlines. This one came out just last night as Taibbi added a “supplement” to the Twitter files, again seemingly confused about how basically anything works. According to Taibbi in a very unclear and awkwardly worded thread, he and Bari Weiss (another opinion columnist who Musk has decided to share the files with) were having some sort of “complication” in accessing the files. Taibbi claims that Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel, Jim Baker, was reviewing the files, and somehow this was as problem (he does not explain why or how, though there’s a lot of conjecture).

Baker is, in fact, the former General Counsel at the FBI. It made news when he was hired.

Baker was subject to a bunch of conspiracy theory stuff a few years ago regarding the FBI and some of the sillier theories regarding the Trump campaign, including the Steele Dossier and the even sillier “Alfa Bank” story (which had always been silly and lots of people, including us, had mocked when it came out).

But despite all that, there’s really little evidence that Baker has done anything particularly noteworthy here. The stuff about his actions while at the FBI is totally overblown partisan hackery. People talk about the so-called “criminal investigation” he faced for his work looking into Russian interference in the 2020 election, but that appears to be something mostly cooked up by extreme Trumpists in the House and appears to have gone nowhere. And, yes, he was a witness at the Michael Sussman trial, which was sorta connected to the Alfa Bank stuff, but his testimony supported John Durham, not Michael Sussman, in that he claimed that Sussman made a false statement to him, which the entire case hinged on (and, for what it’s worth, the trial ended in acquittal).

In other words, almost all of the FBI-related accusations against Baker are entirely “guilt by association” type claims, with nothing at all legitimate to back them up.

As for Twitter, we already highlighted Baker’s email that Taibbi revealed, which shows a normal, thoughtful, cautious discussion of a normal trust & safety debate, with nothing even remotely political.

The latest claims from Taibbi and Weiss also don’t make much sense. Elon Musk has told his company to hand over a bunch of internal documents to reporters. Any corporate lawyer would naturally do a fairly standard document review before doing so to make sure that they’re not handing over any private information or something else that might create legal issues for Musk. And since a large chunk of the legal team has left the company, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the task ended up on Baker’s desk.

Now, you can argue (as Taibbi and others now imply) that there’s some massive conflict of interest here, but, uh… that’s not at all clear, and not really how conflict of interest works. And, again, there’s little indication that Baker had a major role here at all, beyond being one of many who weighed in on this matter (and did so in a perfectly reasonable manner).

Honestly, Baker not reviewing the documents first would have potentially put him in legal jeopardy for not doing the very basic function of his job in making sure the company he worked for didn’t put itself in serious legal jeopardy by revealing things that might create huge liabilities for Musk and the company.

Either way, late Tuesday, Musk announced that Baker had “exited” from the company, and when asked by a random Twitter user if he had been “asked to explain himself first” Musk claimed that Baker’s “explanation was… unconvincing.”

Musk tweets as described in the paragraph above

And perhaps there’s something more here that will be revealed by Weiss now that the shackles have been removed. But, based on what’s been stated so far, a perfectly plausible explanation is that Musk confronted Baker wanting to know why he was holding back the files and what his role was in “suppressing” the NY Post story. And Baker told him, truthfully, that his role was exactly as was revealed in the email (giving his general thoughts on the proper approach to handling the story) and that he was reviewing documents because that’s his job, and Musk got mad and fired him.

Somewhat incredibly, Musk also seemed to imply he only learned of Baker’s involvement on Sunday.

Some people are claiming that Musk is saying he only discovered that Baker worked for him on Sunday, which is possible but seems unlikely. Conspiracy theorists had pointed out Baker’s role at the company to Musk as far back as April. A more charitable explanation is that Musk only discovered that Baker was handling the document review on Sunday. And I guess that’s plausible but, again, really only reflects extremely poorly on Musk.

If he’s going to reveal internal documents to reporters, especially ones that Musk himself keeps claiming implicate him in potential criminal liability (yes, it happened before his time, but Musk purchased the liabilities of the company as well), it’s not just perfectly normal, but kinda necessary to have lawyers do some document review. Again, as a more charitable explanation, perhaps Musk just wanted a different lawyer to do the review, and my only answer there is maybe he shouldn’t have gotten rid of so many lawyers from the legal team. Might have helped.

So, look, there could be a possible issue here, but given how much has been totally misrepresented throughout this whole process, without any actual evidence to support the “Jim Baker mastermind” theory, it’s difficult to take it even remotely seriously when there’s a perfectly normal, non-nefarious explanation to how all of this went down.

The absence of evidence is not evidence that there’s a coverup. It might just be evidence that you’re prone to believing in unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, though.

6. Still, all this proved that Twitter is “illegally” biased towards Democrats!

Taibbi made a big deal out of the fact that Twitter employees overwhelmingly donated to Democrats in their political contributions, which is not exactly new or surprising. Musk commented on this as well, suggesting sarcastically it was proof of bias at Twitter, but left out that among the companies in the chart he was commenting on… was also Tesla, where over 90% of employee donations went to Democrats.

But, more importantly, it’s not surprising in the least. Employees of many companies lean left. Executives (who donate way more money) tend to lean right. I mean, you can look at a similar chart of executive donations that shows they overwhelmingly go to Republicans. Neither is illegal, or even a problem. It’s just reality.

And companies making editorial decisions are… in fact… allowed to have bias in their political viewpoints. I would bet that if you looked at donations by employees at the NY Post or Fox News, they would generally favor Republicans. Indeed, imagine what would happen if someone took over Fox News and suddenly started revealing (1) communications between Fox News execs and Republican politicians and campaigns and (2) internal editorial meeting notes regarding what to promote. Don’t you think it would be way more biased than what the Twitter files revealed?

Here’s the important point on that: Fox News’ clear bias is not illegal either. And, indeed, if Democrats in Congress held hearings on “Fox News’ bias” and demanded that its top executives appear and explain their editorial decision making in promoting GOP talking points, people should be outraged over the clear intimidation factor, which would obviously be problematic from a 1st Amendment angle. Yet I don’t expect people to get all that worked up about the same thing happening to Twitter, even though it’s actually the same issue.

Companies are allowed to be biased. But the amazing thing revealed in the Twitter files is just how little evidence there is that any bias was a part of the debate on how to handle this stuff. Everything appeared to be about perfectly reasonable business decisions.

And… that’s it. I fear that this story is going to live on for years and years and years. And the narrative full of nonsense is already taking shape. However, I like to work off of actual facts and evidence, rather than fever dreams and misinterpretations. And I hope that you’ll read this and start doing the same.

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Comments on “Hello! You’ve Been Referred Here Because You’re Wrong About Twitter And Hunter Biden’s Laptop”

Twitter + Musk = 40 years in the desert

I read every word. All I got was butt ache sitting.

But I have the T-Shirt (on wallbox mount)Thanks Mr Mike.

— fairuse

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206 Comments
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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Speaking of safety measures…

I am preëmptively yoinking myself out of this article’s comments section⁠—partly for my own mental health, but mostly because I know I’d clog this one up with a lot of long-ass comments if I didn’t. 🤣

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Jonny 5 says:

Re:

The fact NY Post writers, NY POST, refused to put their name on the story ended this nonsense for anyone with even a hint of having critical thinking skills.

The problem, as always, is that we’re dealing with a lot of people who don’t clear that low bar.

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Anonymous Coward says:

A terrific essay, which will never be read by the target audience because it’s longer that a tweet…..

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Grant G (user link) says:

Correct you are

Very good read Mr. Masnick….You confirmed what I wrote on Dec/3rd/2022

I wrote on Dec 3rd, after Elon’s Twitter file release the exact same thing…

“Elon Musk refused to release any Twitter data about search requests….Because, there were millions of searches on Twitter for Biden Hunters laptop, pre 2020 election..Elon didn’t bother mentioning that in M Taibbi boring thread.

Despite the suppression it was being searched out in Twitter bigtime..

In other words…The Hunter Biden laptop suppression story, actually amplified the Hunter Biden laptop story……And that, in a nutshell is that, Rudy Giuliani talked about and claimed to have Hunter’s laptop from February 2020…7 months before Rudy colludy decided to spread the fakery around, Rudy dropped it as an October surprise…Why did Rudy wait until October/2020 when he had possession since February/2020? That answer is simple..if Rudy had made the fakery available in February it would been long since debunked before election season heated up..Bottom line..

Anybody searching on Twitter for Hunter Biden laptop story, or Hunter dick pics, if they found nothing on Hunter, and that’s a big if, there was plenty on Hunter and the bogus laptop on..

Fox News ran pre 2020 election stories on Hunter Biden and the laptop, as well as the NY Post…OAN was all over it, Newsmax, Bannon, Alex Jones and all the usual rightwing propagandists were all over it, Rudy, Trump, surrogates….Hunter Hunter Hunter…..”

https://powellriverpersuader.blogspot.com/2022/12/elon-musk-exposed-himself-as-partisan.html

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Anonymous Coward says:

But...

Hunter Biden’s laptop! What about Hunter Biden’s laptop? And, for that matter, Hunter Biden’s laptop.

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JSpitzen (profile) says:

Evidence

To summarize the heart of Mike’s argument, there is no evidence of anything nefarious. BUT, consider, how muddled is this whole topic. Surely one would expect at least some evidence of almost anything (the age of the universe, the death of God, etc.). Thus the flaw in Mike’s argument that there is no evidence: the absence of any evidence that might implicate nefarious activities is, intrinsically, evidence of nefarious activities.one would expect to exist is, itself, evidence of nefarious activities. Q.E.D. (By the way, this entire comment is intended as humor.)

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Evidence

Mike says no evidence then goes onto cite evidence. A sworn deceleration to the FEC is evidence. Mike then misrepresented the FEC’s ruling. The FEC specifically referenced Roth’s communications with the FBI as the chief the primary reason they did not consider it an in-kind contribution.

“but what is relevant here is that Twitter’s contemporaneous assessment that these materials were hacked, based on warnings from federal intelligence agencies, was done in accordance with its existing content policies, which were adopted for commercial reasons.”

Mike leaves this little party out and acts like Roth’s statement didn’t mean much. Mike is lying by omission.

As is often the case the MBA and his misfits have a hard time understanding the difference between evidence, proof, and standards of proof.

TaboToka (profile) says:

Needs some wordsmything

The fact that, much later on, many elements of the laptops history and provenance were confirmed as legitimate (with some open questions) is important, but does not change the simple fact that the morning the NY Post story came out, it was extremely unclear (in either direction) except to extreme partisans in both camps.

Let’s clear this up:

Many elements of the laptop’s history and provenance were confirmed as legitimate. The Oct 2020 NY Post’s story on the laptop was extremely unclear, leading to much confusion. Some open questions have yet to be addressed.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Why would he need to? It’s not as though he’ll do anything different from what he always does: double down.

The real kicker is the constant, insistent claim that “hiding” the laptop story is what caused the Trump loss in 2020… despite the Trump government being in charge at the time.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The real kicker is the constant, insistent claim that “hiding” the laptop story is what caused the Trump loss in 2020… despite the Trump government being in charge at the time.

Trump and his cultists seem to be psychologically incapable of admitting that he lost because once again millions more people wanted someone other than him in office and this time the EC wasn’t enough to save him, leaving them scrambling to find any reason why he might have ‘lost’ other than ‘because he was and is a terrible person/choice for president’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There’s also one of his responses to the FBI raid on Mar-a-lago that maybe they were there looking for the holy grail of Hilary Clinton’s emails, like it’s some kind of rock solid defense. Trump is lucky that his fanbase is too slow to realize that the best possible interpretation of that statement is Trump being in possession of Hilary’s emails and sitting on them for four years, despite his campaign promise to bring her to justice. He got put into power by a group of chumps who don’t even realized that they paid for their efforts, money, and lives for a big fat nothingburger.

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anon says:

really?

Unless you have access to all of Twitter’s internal communications, there is no way to very that what you claimed (in large boldfaced letters) is true or is not true, and I’d bet my left arm that you don’t have that access.
As for twitter, I only use it twice a year to harangue people that continue to think that Microsoft can do no wrong.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Tell me you didn’t read the article without telling me you didn’t read the article.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Oh He Does

Oh he does. Mike has been sucking Vijaya Gadde’s strapon here for a long time. He knew about all the dirty shit Twitter and the rest of BigTech was up to and has been running interference for a long time. How do you think Mike knew where to go to find the page 130, appendix E, subsection Z1 to where the crap the DHS CISA was up to. Mike was in my opinion in on it the whole time. DHS was going to be using ‘information non-profits’ to launder government propaganda. What is the COPIA institute again?

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Anonymous Coward says:

This adds to Republican paranoia as Republican believe that any loss, opposition or failure to agree with them, or explanation of why their conspiracy theories are wrong, is all part of a conspiracy against them.

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Anathema Device (profile) says:

So in conclusion....

Musk’s temperate and informed commentary on these events and his assured handling of the revelations clearly indicate that he is a safe pair of hands who can be trusted to treat further Russian interference in your elections with the utmost care and discretion, with no favour shown to either side.

[I just threw up a little in my mouth]

SG says:

Two thoughts

This is an amazing analysis — thank you. I have two thoughts about the whole situation.

First, I’m always struck by the massive difference in effort between saying something incorrect and proving that it is incorrect.

Second, I think a lot of this current stir is just tactics on Musk’s part. He needs to keep everyone’s attention on Twitter, otherwise his whole plan might fail.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re:

Second, I think a lot of this current stir is just tactics on Musk’s part. He needs to keep everyone’s attention on Twitter, otherwise his whole plan might fail.

… he has a plan?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, not sure what that is yet. He seems to be courting controversy to pump up the overall engagement figures, but since that seems to be driving away advertisers and relatively few people are falling for the $8/month nonsense, who knows?

…and that’s just scratching the surface. Unless Richard Pryor is going to pop up soon congratulating him on the new remake of Brewster’s Millions, I’m not sure what the plan might be. It doesn’t seem to be having a long-term viable business model that relates to what he bought.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

There’s an old saying, along the lines of if you want to be a millionaire the easiest way is to start with a billion?

Musk deserves some credit for being a spoiled rich kid who for a brief moment in time chose to pump his wealth into things that benefitted humanity long term. But, as he’s switching his focus from electric cars and space travel to being a teenaged edgelord on social media, and by doing so devaluing the stocks of companies that now face external competition, he usefulness might be at an end.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I heard according to Forbes’s “real-time billionaires” tracking, Musk is no longer the richest person in the world, falling behind Bernard Arnault the CEO of LVMH, parent brand of Louis Vuitton and Hennessy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

He still has to make those interest paymemts, and he’s got even less of an idea on how to do so.

And no, exposure does NOT pay the bills.

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Now, you can argue (as Taibbi and others now imply) that there’s some massive conflict of interest here

they imply conflict of interest, while remaining blind to their own conflicts of interest.

Rather than reveal all of the facts, they cute and paste bits to keep the implications afloat.

James Woods posted a picture of Hunter Biden’s dick & it got taken down. Somehow this is violating his rights & not him just proving what sort of shit person he is who violated the rules of the platform.

Leaving off the content “targeted” removes context & lets the insane play.

I do enjoy the sheer number of people claiming that Biden doing this while in office is the biggest crime ever…
The election hadn’t happened yet, we wasn’t elected yet, but by all means do not let reality & facts get in the way of cheering on a man who keeps having to pay women, who aren’t his wife, that have been exposed to his penis and the small clan of illegitimate children he is building to rule over you in the future.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'Look at the evidence!' 'It says you're wrong' 'You're reading it wrong!'

I’m reminded of the nurgle cultists that showed up in a few comment sections and would post links only to have those links disprove their assertions.

For all the data dumped here reading it just seems to disprove the ‘this was a conspiracy to swing the election’ claim in multiple ways to the point that those supporting the conspiracy theory have to outright lie about what’s being said like ‘questioning’ whether ‘there wasn’t any government interference’ really means ‘there wasn’t any government interference’.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Weekly Meetings

Roth is having weekly meetings with the FBI, DNI, DHS and there are no communications about those meetings at all? We then find out that the former FBI general counsel was “vetting” all communications before they were sent to Tiabi without Musks knowledge or approval. Musk now says communications where hidden and deleted.

How stupid are you? The dog didn’t bark. If there was nothing nefarious going on there would be plenty of communications about those meetings.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Tell you what. We’ll wait for the outcome of the meetings revolving around a person who wasn’t in government, and for the result of the ongoing indictments against people who are known to have stolen classified documents, leveraged their position to get $2 billion from the Saudis, and so on and see ho comes out cleaner.

I somehow doubt the people who asked for revenge porn to be removed from public are going to come worse off.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Which is worse stealing classified documents or a conspiracy between government and big business to deny the rights of freedom of the press and freedom of speech?

You are a fucking monster.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Because the theft of said secret documents could be assumed to be done at the behest of a foreign power at worst?

Trump’s fucking cosyed up to PUTIN and was trying to get XI to cut him a better deal, yanno…

But hey, you’re okay with high treason if the Republicans do it!

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Koby (profile) says:

Referrals Ended Like 3 Days Ago

The fact that, much later on, many elements of the laptops history and provenance were confirmed as legitimate (with some open questions) is important, but does not change the simple fact that the morning the NY Post story came out, it was extremely unclear (in either direction) except to extreme partisans in both camps.

The FBI had been notified about the laptop months earlier. Rudy Giuliani was handing out copies of the laptop in October 2020, and media organizations could have verified the laptop promptly. The Daily Caller was able to do so by October 29th. The Washington Post admitted to receiving a copy in June of 2021, and still sat on the story until March 30, 2022.

Nearly the entire establishment media cabal could have confirmed the story sooner, but chose not to do so.

To be clear, the decision by Twitter to do this was, in our estimation, pretty stupid.

Incorrect. It was very BIASED. We know that when anti-Trump information was leaked, it was reported nearly immediately, with nearly no scrutiny. There was never any concern about the anonymous sources, or if it was foreign disinformation, or if the material was “hacked”.

The Twitter Files have confirmed that version 1.0 of the site was very biased to one side, was engaging in the suppression of truthful information, and that there is collusion between social media, the FBI, and politicians where they engage in back-room soft influence campaigns to steer the news and deceive the American public.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Here this should help bro

Do you need to talk to someone?

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. You can also reach Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

You can also call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. Trained crisis workers will listen to you and direct you to the resources you need.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Interesting that you and the other commenter couldn’t come up with anything to refute Koby points, just ad hominem attacks. When TDS hit this site it hit it HARD.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Koby’s so-called “points” have been refuted over and over and OVER, and he just keeps regurgitating them. You would know this if you weren’t just showing up to troll.

And because you ARE a troll, you’re probably incapable of seeing the irony of (incorrectly) accusing people of ad hominem attacks while simultaneous tossing out your little “TDS” nugget.

So it goes…

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

I came much after because this absolutly fucking moron was talking about how social media could never be a common carrier because its not 100% like telecom. As if that fucking matters. It was clear that this moron Mike Masnick and the people on this blog had never worked in a real industry in their entire lives. As a licensed PE I’m under the governance of the state Engineering, Architecture, and Land Survey board. I’m further from and Land Surveyor that BigTech is from telecom but operate under the same fundamental regulations as a land surveyor.

It’s obvious to anyone with a real fucking job that Mike is full of shit. His bullshit only makes sense to unemployed loser like Stephen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

And its absolutely clear that you do not understand the consequences of making social media a common carrier, as that would result in only the worse people using it. It is much more a club, and like any club there are a few people who are banned because they drive other customers away by being disagreeably arsehole, and in social media terms that include ‘politely’ and continuously telling people they wrong

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Did you ever think that you are the worst people.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” ~ C.S. Lewis

You are the worst kind of people. You are the exact monsters C.S. Lewis was warning about. I could care less if someone on Twitter calls me a fag. People like you and Stephan, and Mike are complete monsters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6

People like you and Stephan, and Mike are complete monsters.

Yet you are the one that always acts like fucking asshole and wishes rape to anybody who disagrees with you.

You also are the one who constantly throws out the ad-homs to people who disagree with you.

You are also the one who constantly loses your temper and has to start be-rating everybody for pointing out how stupid you are.

You are also the one who constantly threatens violence to people who disagree with you.

You are also the one who constantly acts like a child who is trying to prove how tough and smart you are.

You are also the one who constantly acts like a fucking asshole and are the perfect example of why moderation of your ilk is a good thing.

Not to mention what a fucking idiot you are who doesn’t even know the difference between a public house and public housing…

Oh, and you still think the Texas AG will use “must carry” laws to force DirecTV to carry OAN.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

“I came much after because this absolutly fucking moron was talking about how social media could never be a common carrier because its not 100% like telecom.”

Because it literally can’t. You need another service to access it.

“As if that fucking matters.”

Yep.

“I’m further from and Land Surveyor that BigTech is from telecom but operate under the same fundamental regulations as a land surveyor”

Grammar isn’t your strong point, but neither are facts. Why do other countries manage what you claim is impossible? …and achieved it by reducing government owenrship?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Conspiracy theories are fun. What’s weird is that a person who genuinely thinks what you claim would return constantly for humiliation.

You’re lying, but even if you weren’t you’re still a moron.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“Rudy Giuliani was handing out copies of the laptop in October 2020, and media organizations could have verified the laptop promptly.”

In case anyone’s confused, this is part of the evidence that Koby is an idiot. Receiving a claimed copy of the supposed laptop with such a fantastic and unlikely story behind it being in the hand of the lawyer of the guy who would stand to gain the most from it would be suspect at the best of times. But, you’re have to be an amazingly bad journalist to take that copy on face value without verification of where it came from, and without a forensic chain of evidence behind it.

Rudy handing out copies should be met with the same credence as him booking the Four Seasons – a fun escapade, but not to be taken seriously.

Rocky says:

Re: Re:

But, you’re have to be an amazingly bad journalist to take that copy on face value without verification of where it came from, and without a forensic chain of evidence behind it.

Considering that even Fox passed on the story when offered says a lot how sketchy the whole thing appeared to be.

ryan says:

Re: liar

the fbi reached out to twitter. not the other way around.! good try with your language manipulation .lol. your either ignorant or a paid mouth piece.! either way i will pray for you.

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JEFFREY LEVINE says:

How "factoids" become facts

I’m late in joining this “Hunter Biden Laptop” story, and frankly, it holds little interest for me. What does interest me is seeing the process of “belief formation” actively underway. The problem with factual evidence-based beliefs is that they don’t come with an embossed label reading “CERTIFIED FACT”. Rather, determining what constitutes a fact takes a lot of hard work; and the more complex a topic is, the more difficult and convoluted the process becomes. But ultimately, “veracity” (perhaps a better term than “fact”, since the latter is so widely misunderstood) is based on an amalgamation of three criteria: 1) The quantity of relevant evidence available, 2) The quality of that evidence, and 3) The coherency of the available evidence.

What you have done in this lengthy summary of relevant information is to contribute in all three respects, but especially in supporting the coherency of the relevant evidence. And those of us who are committed to fact-based reasoning are very grateful for your efforts…. because it takes a great deal of time.

The problem you (we) face is that at the same time that a coherent evidence-based narrative is emerging, there is a quasi-coherent rationalization narrative emerging built around the specific goal of implicating Hunter Biden and the “Biden Crime Syndicate”. New (or old) evidence is weighed primarily according to whether it conforms to and supports this goal. It is immensely simpler task to create a quasi-coherent rationalization narrative than a genuinely coherent rational narrative…. because you already “know” what their conclusion will be (implicating the “Biden Crime Syndicate”). It is literally the worst prescription for cognitive biases of every kind.

Seeing this process play out is maddening. I’ve seen it occur over the issue of Anthropogenic Global Warming, the efficacy of Covid vaccines, the 2020 election results, and many other issues. Citing facts is essentially useless, as the “conclusion” of the rationalization narrative is already presumed– not on the basis of unbiased evidence, but on a web of logical fallacies.

It is the challenge of our times to find some way to counteract this phenomenon. This is no small task, as bias is literally a “built-in” feature of human cognition. It’s quite apparent that when the characteristics of belief-formation were being selected for amongst our ancestral forebears, tribal loyalty, and fealty to tribal beliefs, was a far more valuable trait than the capacity for rational reasoning and adherence to rules of logic. Just consider that any capacity for logical evidence-based reasoning was of no value if the tribe could not maintain its cohesion. It’s amazing that our rather dubiously named species, “Homo sapiens”, developed ANY capacity for rational evidence-based reasoning at all… and yet, here we are!

Sorry, this got a bit long winded. All I mainly intended to say was, “Thanks!”.
Jeffrey Levine,
The Objective Reality Project

Darkness Of Course (profile) says:

The big loser in this is Elon's rep, again

The $54/share idiot needs to rethink his decision making skills.

Elon cannot comprehend: Congress shall make no law …

Maybe these might help:

Kongres sal geen wet maak nie …
Die regering sal geen wet maak nie …

David Longfellow says:

In summary...

When confronted that they had done something wrong, the people in question, upon investigating themselves, found no wrong doing. And, they were unequivocally supported by others who were complicit with their actions.
Yeah, I understand.

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Anonymous Coward says:

You talking about that spineless wimp Biden or Elon?

Because the only thing Biden (or the Dems, in any case) did wrong was to let the fucking Republicans go so far as to stage a failed insurrection. At least in recent memory.

Elon remains convinced he’s done nothing wrong, as do the white supremacists in power and their moneyed backers.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“Because the only thing Biden (or the Dems, in any case) did wrong was to let the fucking Republicans go so far as to stage a failed insurrection”

I do love this crap lol. No matter who’s in charge of the government, it’s all the Democrats’ fault.

Jan 6th was to stop Biden gaining power, yet you claim it’s his fault people opposed him. Pathetic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Uh…

I’m just saying the Dems were so spineless they simply let Trump do as he wished instead of, I dunno, taking a principled stand? It’s got nothing to do with hating the Dems.

That was in response to that snide comment by David Longfellow, btw.

Anathema Device (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“they simply let Trump do as he wished instead of, I dunno, taking a principled stand”

And that would have stopped him how, exactly? Plenty of Dems protested what Trump got up to, and it did no good at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Which is still better than, well what most of the Dem leadership and politicians were doing.

I’ll at least give you Ron Wyden trying to suss out bad Bills, though.

I’m just really fucking disappointed with the DNC as an outsider.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

“Which is still better than, well what most of the Dem leadership and politicians were doing.”

The party not in power? Who have consistently won the popular vote but don’t get a real majority, or even lose the election because the system assigns power elsewhere?

I agree there’s problems, but blaming the incoming administration for the actions that the outgoing administration did to try and stop them from taking the reins is a bit silly.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I’m just saying the Dems were so spineless they simply let Trump do as he wished instead of, I dunno, taking a principled stand?”

What, specifically, could they have done to stop Jan 6th?

I could agree that it should have been stopped, but I can’t think of anything in the power of that party at the time that wasn’t more in the power of the non-Trump cultists that remained in the other party.

There seems to be a trend that instead of blaming the Rs for what they did, people blame the Ds for not stopping them from doing those things. I’d rather the people who did the things be held accountable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

There seems to be a trend that instead of blaming the Rs for what they did, people blame the Ds for not stopping them from doing those things.

That is a Republican tactic, being used to turn their failed insurrection into an attack on the democrats.

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Benjamin Jay Barber says:

Mike Shills Against Freedom

Mike says loudly:

THERE IS NOTHING NEFARIOUS HERE

Then goes on a several page screed explaining:

Why it it totally ok for twitter, to decide what ideas people are allowed to see, while claiming to be the “free speech wing”.

Why its totally OK for them to make up that the materials were somehow “hacked” (but that claim didn’t come from the government)

Why its okay to discuss in the company, trying to prevent someone from becoming president, because its not a campaign donation.

Remember:

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

It is interesting what people come up with when they’ve been instructed to ignore the parts of the issue that instantly prove them wrong.

Especially when they start quoting what they think 1984 meant, especially about a site that no matter how obsessed with it you were, it’s never been the most used social network site, let alone a mouthpiece for the US government (which was under Trump control in the period whined about).

Anonymous Coward says:

Why its okay to discuss in the company, trying to prevent someone from becoming president,

What shouldn’t people discuss politics, and what power they have to try and get their desired result?

Marcus Baker says:

Appreciate the concise article. The bad news, the people that needs to read this will not get past the first sentence. It would need to be in a series of memes for these people to comprehend.

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Matthew Bennett says:

Bro, you’re gaslighting

One of the main lawyers driving the Russia gate hoax (which was very obviously a hoax to the FBI at the time) was also instrumental in suppressing the Hunter laptop story (which was obviously plausible and largely confirmed, at the time).

“Nothing to see here, folks!”

There was clearly government directives to take down content, making it a first amendment violation.

“You don’t know how the first amendment works!”

“Censorship is free speech! My Gadde said!”

You are not qualified to talk about twitter nor Musk. You’re either a deluded partisan or are just really bad at law and logic. Delete your account.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“which was obviously plausible”

If you think that “son of politician travelled to the other side of the country to get a laptop fixed in a random store whose owner is too blind to confirm who he was, forgot about it, the store owner happened to look at the laptop then eventually contracted Rudy Giuliani, who happened to release the story just before Trump’s election, for no malicious reason” is plausible… well you might be dumb enough to fall for this.

“You are not qualified to talk about twitter nor Musk”

Isn’t his qualification the First Amendment?

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Joe Biden says:

Re: Re:

Keep drinking the Koolaid. And you can’t put anything past Hunter Biden. I’m just sick and tired of all the bullshit political games. Joe Biden is a joke and if he really wanted to unite this country he would make some kind of effort to do so. The situation the country is in proves my point that Bitch ass Biden could care less about any American no matter which side of the political seesaw you fall on.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

This one’s also revealing:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/8/6/17656996/trump-republican-party-russia-rather-democrat-ohio

People would rather join with the geopolitical enemies of the Cold War than accept that a party in the American republican democracy is valid. That’s not something the head of that party can overcome naturally. Best to ignore them, improve the lives of the whole American people (including them), and accept that there’s some people too far gone to be swayed as voters.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“And you can’t put anything past Hunter Biden.”

Hunter Biden, the guy who hasn’t held any political position and about whom the worst accusation is that he dealt with personal problems with hookers and blow?

Sure. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything related to government, though.

“Joe Biden is a joke and if he really wanted to unite this country he would make some kind of effort to do so”

Unlikely. There’s a concerted effort to have people oppose him because he has a certain letter after his name on a voting sheet, or because he wants to do (random thing he’s never indicated he’s even thinking about). The country can’t be united if a big proportion of it believe that a Democrat can never be a valid president.

“Bitch ass Biden could care less”

So, he cares? I bet you’re too dumb to understand what you just said, though.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The irony in this diatribe?

The Republicans are the one colluding with Russia. And Trump would collude with China too if he could get away with it.

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Matthew M Bennett says:

Re: Re:

He had receipts. It was, as practical matter, just too much information to falsify. Oh, and the FBI had been given copies of the drives a year prior. You’re either ignorant or lying, bro. It was an obviously true story and they killed it for pure electioneering reasons.

Also super dumb: “Isn’t his qualification the First Amendment?”

He’s ALLOWED to say it. But he definitely isn’t QUALIFIED. Nor are you, apparently.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

And verifying the contents of the drive, or whether the drive was tampered, takes quite a while to do so.

Oh, and you ARE supposed to keep fucking quiet on that sort of thing, because, on going investigation and all that.

So, according to you, you would want to jeopardize an ongoing investigation AND let criminals escape because you want to “own the libs”?

Hey, you know what they say about every confession…

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Matthew M Bennett says:

Re: Re: Re:2

No, no it doesn’t actually. Nor is it a reasonable position to say “the platform hasn’t verified this, so we’re going to ban it as if it were child porn”.

That is not the approach taken to….anything, really. Because it’s not reasonable. But it was this time. And it was due to political bias. That’s absolutely undeniable.

If you claim otherwise you are definitely a far-partisan and are either very impressionable or lying.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3

No, no it doesn’t actually. Nor is it a reasonable position to say “the platform hasn’t verified this, so we’re going to ban it as if it were child porn”.

How to spot a bad debater, they use strawmen. Seems someone didn’t read the Twitter messages Taibbi posted.

That is not the approach taken to….anything, really. Because it’s not reasonable. But it was this time. And it was due to political bias. That’s absolutely undeniable.

Make claims with no evidence. Seems someone didn’t read the Twitter messages Taibbi posted x2.

If you claim otherwise you are definitely a far-partisan and are either very impressionable or lying.

I claim otherwise, because I have actually read the messages Taibbi posted – which you evidently haven’t since everything you have written so far is pure bullshit and lies. Seems someone didn’t read the Twitter messages Taibbi posted x3.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

“But it was this time. And it was due to political bias. That’s absolutely undeniable.”

Huh. We must be reading different stories. The ones I read say that a non-government source asked Twitter to take down revenge porn, and that after some internal wrangling they took it down as they would have done with any non-political figure (which, as a reminder, Hunter Biden is, since he’s not in politics by any means other than who his father is).

The whole story is silly, but nothing is sillier than those pretending that this has any relevance to politics. If there was anything on the laptop other than “rich kid liked hookers and blow” that related to politics directly, we’d not have heard the end of it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

The whole story is silly, but nothing is sillier than those pretending that this has any relevance to politics. If there was anything on the laptop other than “rich kid liked hookers and blow” that related to politics directly, we’d not have heard the end of it.

Which makes it all the funnier when people claim that it’s ‘suppression’ was election-changing and explains why the focus is always on the laptop and the story about it and never on what’s claimed to be on it.

It’s amazing how much some people will twist themselves into knots to avoid admitting that their Dear Leader lost not due to some convoluted scheme but because for the second time in a row millions more people chose the ‘Not Trump’ option on the ballots and the EC wasn’t enough to save him the second time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

I will ask my question again and you WILL answer it, asshole.

So, according to you, you would want to jeopardize an ongoing investigation AND let criminals escape because you want to “own the libs”?

Roger A. Grimes says:

Rudy had the hard drive

Let’s not forget that early on during the NY Post’s story’s release, Rudy Giuliani had a complete copy of Hunter Biden’s hard drive and when asked by the media to provide a copy so they could assess it independently to back up the claims in the story, Rudy refused for weeks, adding to the inability for the press to easily verify the underlying claim. Rudy’s hesitancy to provide a copy of the hard drive created doubts, especially since Rudy has years of making unsupported and later disproven claims. Whether creating doubts was intentional or not to sow confusion years later can be debated. What’s clear is there isn’t much there there on the hard drive beyond what we already know or Rudy and Trump would have been crowing about it non-stop for years.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re:

The timeline that requires the least unreasonable assumptions is that Russia stole data and hardware from the Ukrainian company, doctored the data like they did with the stolen DNC emails, then the known Kremlin agent Rudy has an established history of meetings with gave it to him, which Rudy, unable to control himself, announced as his “bombshell” while he was still,abroad and before he was introduced to the computer shop stooge.
We also have at least one “witness” who early on claimed the emails were legit recanting and admitting he was bribed to say that.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Wow

Wow you are such a fucking moron. CBS, WP, NYT everyone has verified the laptop is real and you are still passing off this conspiracy theory that its a Russian forgery.

Just go fucking yourself you fuckign moron.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Just go fucking yourself you fuckign[sic] moron.

Look who’s talking!!

You don’t even know the difference between a public house and public housing….

You have no fucking clue of how trespass laws work…

You still think that the Texas AG can use “must carry” laws to force DirecTV to carry OAN…

And to top if off, you can even figure out how threaded comment sections work…

(Also, you can’t even spell fucking properly!!

So please tell me, who’s the fucking moron?

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not surprised you’re deliberately lying about what those sources said, as you have deliberately lied about every claimed source you have ever offered in your entire posting history.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:

Wow you are such a fucking moron. CBS, WP, NYT everyone has verified the laptop is real and you are still passing off this conspiracy theory that its a Russian forgery.

You have been on the stupid train for so long you don’t understand what you read anymore.

Here’s a hint: At the time…

If you want another one, you have to ask like a good little idiot.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Irony, look it up

This article is self-refuting. If you don’t see the irony in trying to prove that a major story isn’t really important, but needing to write a multi-thousand word essay to do so, you need to check your objectivity. Every argument in this essay is riddled with special pleading.

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Joe Biden says:

Site Integrity Team assessed that the New York Post articles likely contained hacked and personal information, the sharing of which violated both Twitter’s Distribution of Hacked Materials and Private Information Policies. So “LIKELY CONTAINED” means it’s ok to violate twitter’s policies. Twitter made an assumption about the Hunter Biden laptop and well you know the old adage about assuming. Now twitter has made an ASS out of itself. It’s ok I’m really not surprised. They will be held accountable by my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when judgment day comes. All I can do it pray for the lost souls and may they repent for their evil ways. May God have mercy on y’all’s souls.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re:

“LIKELY CONTAINED”

Likely is 51%. Twitter never concluded it likely contained hacked. They concluded that there was no evidence what so ever it was hacked materials. The engaged in appeal to possibility, which is also very common on this fucking blog full of morons.

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Matthew M Bennett says:

I love how your groupies flag anything disagreeing.

It’s still censorship if it’s censorship by proxy.

(before some moron brings it up, it doesn’t have to be done by the government or violate the 1st Amendment to be censorship)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

And while you’re technically not violating the First Amendment by hurling abuse at us, we’re also not abusing the First Amendment by flagging your posts.

If you want to verbally abuse people, please, pay for a prostitute that specializes in that, assuming they would want to accept your services, shithead.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You are abusing the feature and if Mike had on ounce of integrity he would start punishing users you for repeatedly abusing the feature. But Mike has no integrity. Mike will do absolutely anything for a buck like write this post.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are the last person to be talking about integrity!

Anybody who thinks rape is funny and wishes it upon somebody else…

HAS ZERO INTEGRITY!

Also, me clicking on the “Flag as Spam” button is me exercising my 1st amendment right to not have to view your posts!

Fucking asshole.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I would have ignored you too

Poor sad little crybabby. I’m sorry your parents didn’t give you enough attention but this isn’t the place to get it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Mike will do absolutely anything for a buck like write this post.”

Not true, but even if it was… by your own standard, he generates controversy thus clicks, thus revenue.

So, your constant moronic posts here result in engagement, thus clicks that generate revenue.

So, by your own standard you are very profitable!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If I continued to hurl the death threats you deserve, you lying white shitbag, I’d be abusing my right to free expression and would get slapped accordingly.

If I started a mass flagging campaign against the more noticeable, non-“conservative” regulars, then yes, I’d be abusing the moderation features available to me.

And no, I consider ripping out all of Google’s tracking code and dealing with WordPress as an action that has more ethical integrity that you entire white existence, Chozen.

And for the people still reading, Chozen is likely not Latino, not an engineer of ANY kind, or bisexual. His ancestors MAY have migrated from South America in the 1930s, but it’s hard to know if he’s telling the truth about his origins. After all, he hasn’t bothered to understand anything on this site, let alone the issues that would affect him if what he says about himself is true…

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Matthew M Bennett says:

Re: Re:

….I didn’t say it was a 1A violation, in fact I said precisely the opposite. It is censorship, tho, and frankly juvenile.

I’m going to insult you because you’re a moron, and ironically kinda hateful (why are you bringing prostitutes into this?) K, thx.

I think you kinda illustrated my point, to be honest.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“It is censorship, tho, and frankly juvenile.”

So? Any community has the right to censor its own group, and if you don’t like it there’s literally thousands of other communities that will play the way you wish.

“Censorship” here is mild compared to the many right-leaning groups that will block you, delete your entire comment history and even attempt to doxx you if you speak out of turn. But, so long as they aren’t backed by the government they have the right to that too. I just don’t see many “liberals” whining when that happens. It’s usually a post about “look at these thin-skinned morons”, then moving on.

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Anonymous Coward says:

“The guy who makes spaceships and electric cars doesn’t know how time works” according to some blowhard with a website that hasn’t been updated since 2006.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Saxon Walker says:

This is the problem with bringing in someone, fire-hosing them with (doubtless cherry picked) info, and expecting a quality journalistic work product. AS soon as I saw Taibbi say “the last 96 hours”, I rolled my eyes. I’ve done consulting off and on for 30 years. It’s impossible to get any meaningful understanding of company processes that fast. The first few days of any project are getting the “official” version. Until you push and dig, you’re just repeating the company line.

This was a PR job from Musk.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Viewpoint-Based Censorship

https://twitter.com/bariweiss/status/1601007575633305600

More from Bari Weiss on Twitter’s viewpoint-based censorship based on the files she has received. I would dispute with her take that this was secret – it has been obvious that Twitter was censoring opinions that went against woke ideology. It does not take collusion with the government or hidden cabals for such censorship to flourish. When everyone working on the team, from Yoel Roth on down, is woke, they’re going to censor anti-woke opinions unless there are policies and procedures in place to stop them. That’s where the Hunter Biden laptop story is instructive. The woke team at Twitter didn’t need to be told to downplay the story. Such action would be their own instinctive response to something they would feel threatened “their side” of the political debate.

Woke ideologues are been using “safety” as an excuse for censoring viewpoints they don’t like everywhere they have captured power – city government, social media, universities, woke capitalist companies. There’s no organization driving this censorship, just masses of woke employees in positions where they are able to censor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

We get it, Hyman.

You are a white supremacist and you want to commit murder to pretty much everyone in this comment section who AREN’T white and bigoted like you.

You already approve of high treason done by your political leaders, as long as it means the undesirables get fucking gassed.

Explaining how fucked that damn hard drive is would be worthless, since we’ve already explained WHY that fucking hard drive would be inadmissible evidence in not only a court of law, but also as evidence in ANY criminal investigation.

And you’re not here to debate, either.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Wow

Tried to post my copy of Mikes response of if Dish Network owned the spectrum and Mike has filtered it. What a fucking piece of shit Mike is. First he deletes it. Now he filters any mention of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Tell me Chozen,

How’s that campaign of yours going that will inform the Texas AG that he can use “must carry” laws to force DirecTV to carry OAN?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Man, you know the quality of shilling has absolutely gone downhill when the Trump/Musk stans make out_of_the_blue look well-adjusted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I still hold the idea that out_of_the_blue managed to catch COVID, or finally put two and two together to make fish before injecting himself with ivermectin and bleach. Considering what happened over the last two years there’s no way he would’ve kept his trap shut.

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LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Line item

Election interference:

It may not be criminal election interference, but it was interference nonetheless. After weeks of direct contact from the DNC/Democrat leaders targeting specific posts that were removed, not labelled, at the request of the party, this story’s link was blocked. Because of that. Many people have reported they did not see the story. A large minority number of those polled/asked, said it would have influenced their choice for the election.

Hacked materials.
The possession was clearly laid out. Based on all evidence at the time no person competent in law or technology would have labelled the materials “hacked”.

Reach.
The story was ignored by left leaning and far left media for a period of time. Others made false claims about the material. CNN spend weeks pretending, and lying, that it was Russian fraud.
Without reach to the very people most likely to change their opinion, the reach of the facts of the story was suppressed.

Last name children.
There is a fairly large difference between banking on a person’s family and positions… and outright selling access. The laptop heavily implies criminal behaviour with the Vice President’s knowledge, and support.

FBI.
““Basically the FBI is saying, in general, they have some intelligence that this kind of attack may happen, so be careful.”

Hacked materials are perfectly legal to print. And discuss. This was proven and held up since the atomic files in the 40s and 50s and upgrade most famously with the Pentagon Papers. The company had no legitimate reason to suppress the story, or any story, for any reason beyond personal choices in politics.

Nude.

“basically Hunter Biden nude images”

Except, no. They were not nude images. They were a clear parody meme that contained no nudity. Unless some actual nude post, which is now suppressed, was made…? But media in this country, both sides, has a tendency to call non-nude images nude.

Biased.
Twitter is clearly biased, and has a proven track record as such. The question on legality of such bias, likely they were legal in all their actions. Only the most extreme (and mentally challenged) believe some illegal conspiracy occurred. Those mouths have continually damaged the real issues to be looked at here: a large powerful company made choices in actions that had notable and recordable effects on the election.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

How do you define election interference? As anybody who does not support your chosen party arguing against their position and propaganda?

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Election interference = making up desperate narratives about candidate Biden’s son

Not election interference: not supporting Republicans’ election interference attempts by hosting their disinformation

Projection = accusing Democrats of election interference

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You’re still have anti-trump blinders on.

There’s growing evidence Joe Biden took or shared money in exchange for meetings as vice president.
How long are you going to pretend this is about Hunter. Or Trump.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

How long are you going to pretend this is about Hunter. Or Trump.

Maybe if you didn’t keep going back to the laptop as if it meant anything, people might have taken you seriously?

There’s growing evidence Joe Biden took or shared money in exchange for meetings as vice president.

So why didn’t you start citing that evidence, instead of constantly going back to “but his laptop!” and “but her emails!” over and over?

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

The laptop has evidence currently being investigated about sold access to the vice president by his son. It’s not a trump or Hunter issue, it’s a Joe Biden issue.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

“The laptop has evidence currently being investigated about sold access to the vice president by his son.”

I’m still awaiting that evidence. The issues raised recently seem to have been more about Musk not knowing how the staff he fired worked, and how a campaign that wasn’t in power at the time requested the removal of revenge porn against a non-government actor.

If there’s actual evidence that’s verifiable and not from Rudy “I held a garden centre press conference next to a sex shop but believe me the copy I claim to have is totally legit and ignore the hair dye” Giuliani, I’m all ears. But, I suspect if there was evidence we wouldn’t have been hearing about vampires and werewolves in the senate races or magical data dumps from supposedly former crackheads.

The thing with people who have actual evidence is – they present to the relevant court, they don’t make press conferences outside a courtroom then reverse tack when lying has real consequences.

If that laptop has evidence of real corruption and collusion in Biden’s term in office, I’ll be happy to examine it. I just don’t think it matches with the knowledge we have or real corruption in the Trump’s administration, even if it passes the most basic sniff test that other accusations have failed.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

It also appears the only people bringing up the Clinton mishandling of classified documents today are Democrats.it’s been weeks of not months since I brought up her just-shy-of-criminal activity.

At least trump had security and semi-controlled access to the locations of what may, or may not, be officially classified documents at his resort. Clinton had a wide open easy to access software stack.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

“It also appears the only people bringing up the Clinton mishandling of classified documents today are Democrats.it’s been weeks of not months since I brought up her just-shy-of-criminal activity.”

Yeah, well, it’s hard for people to move on when people recognised that her mishandling of the email server was dumb but was not explicitly illegal or in violation of any applicable procedures at the time was a problem, but someone who did way more obviously bad things got a pass. People can excuse the mass deletions of Bush emails or the fact that some Bush staff had documents stored on 3rd party private servers such as AOL in violation of norms, or that Trump used Twitter to conduct government business before talking to related staff. But, don’t ask them to pretend that Hillary’s buttery males are the worst thing that happened.

“Clinton had a wide open easy to access software stack.”

There’s never been any evidence that the server was hacked, you have to be kidding if you think she had any direct control over the actual software used, and the protocols still mean there’s multiple sources for evidence of misappropriation.

“At least trump had security and semi-controlled access to the locations of what may, or may not, be officially classified documents at his resort”

Even assuming that his desk and the basement accessible to random staff was secured despite video evidence, what about the random storage container they were found at?

If Clinton or Biden were found to have large dumps of physical documents at their homes, in places where Saudis and Russians were known to visit, then their kids got $2 billion in loans shortly after, we’d never hear the end of it – and rightly so. But, instead we’ve gearing for Benghazi 2.0 where a small perceived problem with one side is used to overturn actual corruption by those who are actually doing it.

I’m hopeful that the massive levels of evidence against Trump and his cronies, the use of a Hague war crimes prosecutor and the general knowledge of wrongdoing against the most impeached president in history bear some more fruit. I can’t hold my breath given the massive corruption foreign and domestic in the US government, but I can hope.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

You have yet to show Trump committing a crime. Selling access to the second highest office is criminal.
Nothing so far shows Trump criminal action as president.
The closest anyone has is he-said-she-said on documents. Forgetting that a president can wave his finger and declare to an empty room declassified and they are forever more declassified by said president.

GK was not a member of the federal chain of office at the time of the creation of his investment agreements. Nor does his company sell or provide direct access to members of the government in exchange for payments.
Though not yet prosecuted, it appears from the evidence Hunter collected money, in exchange for arrangements. Then passed on a percentage directly to the vice president, his father.

Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

“I’m hopeful that the massive levels of evidence against Trump and his cronies, the use of a Hague war crimes prosecutor and the general knowledge of wrongdoing against the most impeached president in history bear some more fruit. I can’t hold my breath given the massive corruption foreign and domestic in the US government, but I can hope.”

You are batshit crazy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Lording over streamers with daddy issues is all you’ll ever have, Chozen.

But please continue simping for a guy backed by angry incels who hate the idea that men marrying men is legal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Please, ma’am, do tell us about these illegal donations and meetings.

Because political donations are legal in America.

Unless you really want to say that “only Republicans can receive political donations”.

Just a reminder, you continued defense of Trump and the white supremacists will not save you, your body, your rights or your life. You WILL be next on the firing line for being you.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

What illegal donations. I have no clue what you’re talking about. All I see regarding then vice president was corrupt sale of access to the vice president by his son, to foreign powers with the intent of gaining foreign influence.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

You keep saying things like evidence, illegal, corrupt, etc. What I don’t see is proof.

I will simply ask two things – evidence that such things happened, and evidence that it’s more odious and more of violation of the law than the things we already know about Trump.

Difficulty: if you’re going to try nepotism while being a Trump supporter, that’s a hell of a high bar.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

evidence that such things happened

Trading access for cash is a criminal misuse of office.

evidence that it’s more odious and more of violation of the law than the things we already know about Trump.

What, aside from retention of documents that may or may not be classified, law did President Trump break?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Trading access for cash is a criminal misuse of office.

You mean lobbying? Political donations?

Be exceedingly specific. The aforementioned is legal, albeit ethically sketchy.

If you have an actual, evidenced-backed claim that isn’t “Hunter Biden is an idiot trust-fund fucker”, I’d like to see that evidence.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

You mean lobbying? Political donations?

Neither of which go directly into the pocket of the politician.
We’re talking about handing cash over to me “big guy” Joe Biden directly.

It’s far more grounds for impeachment than not telling people to stop.

How long are you intending on ignoring the facts because you don’t like the other guy?

Randy says:

Re: Re: Re:8

You guys are all about the accusations, but never have any evidence or proof. You’re just full of hot air. I don’t know how ya’ll can live in fantasy land for so long. Trump is a crook, we know from his business. It’s been proven in a court of law! The game is up. You’re on the wrong side and looking desperate.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

I’ll skip the “you guys” ‘not me’ crap. You’re clearly an a or b type. Either ignoring that there are more than two parties. Or so self righteous to believe only your beliefs matter.

Myself, I look at history. And causation rates.
Nobody has yet pointed out anything that trump did as president that was actually against the law.
That lest we forget opinion list?
Is filled with a whole lot of conjecture and “my feelings”. Not actual damage.
The vast majority of the complaints against him are things he didn’t do.

99% of the ‘bad orange man’ crap is wah my bum.

Here’s the problem I have: what did he do that hurt you?
Why is it so many of the posters here can’t answer that? You deflect the question into this group or that. And always what he didn’t do. Not what he did.
Feel free to answer. Once one of you do, we can then discuss that issue.

The only thing anyone has come up with so far was the document stash.
A) the (former) president says they were declassified while he was in office. There is no evidence to the contrary.
B) over the time from his exit to the barely legal ease,
Multiple offers were made to multiple agencies to review them
C) most, that is nearly all, we’re in secured and locked locations. Protected by private security and property employ

But there is good in this. Revenge reviews are showing the system, not an individual, is flawed.
Now there are congressional reviews of the situation.
Finally, in all the post-Nixon time, we may actually get some methods put to ink.

Much like Biden’s stupidity on the oil pipeline and the border have created hearings!

Sometimes a politician, at any level, needs to be forced to face what they say. The consequence of action and inaction!

Document classification systems need a paper trail

Those who claimed open flow at the border was good, were forced to face their sanctuary policy head in. How fast they changed their stance when the people were actually there. Hey, they said. come, be welcomed. Here we ignore the law.

The list of post trump stupidity is fact. Why is it so hard to show trump issues?
Show actual evidence of trump as president breaking the law? Or, easier, where he did something that directly hurt you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

You’re still have anti-trump blinders on.

Quiz:

Who was president at the time and who encouraged his followers to attack the capitol building so that he could remain president after he lost the election?

A. DJ Trump
B. Hunter Biden

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Assuming you mean at the time of the release of the laptop contents?
Trump was president

And there has been zero, absolutely zero, evidence presented anywhere by anyone that shows President trump encouraging any attack on the capital.

You can pretend all you want. You can invent imaginary meanings not stated. But the simple fact is Trump never encouraged anyone to attack the capital. Ever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4

You can invent imaginary meanings not stated. But the simple fact is Trump never encouraged anyone to attack the capital. Ever.

And what about all the people who admitted in court that their illegal activities on Jan 6 were a direct result of what Trump was Tweeting and encouraging them to do?

Just because you didn’t see him as inciting violence doesn’t mean the close to a 1000 people arrested and pleading guilty for their activities on Jan 6 didn’t seem them the same way.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Wow, you’re gullible. Do you know how many of those who stated they were “inspired”, an often repeated word here, by Trump received deferred or no sentence?

Let’s not ignore all the people who can’t afford to fight bogus charges. Less than 50 people have been confirmed on camera as breaking any law.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

“There’s growing evidence”

Where? I’ve heard growing evidence that the supposedly first amendment violating requests to block tweets were dick pics. Where is the evidence that the former vice president, a private citizen at the time, violated a law?

Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

“I’ve heard growing evidence that the supposedly first amendment violating requests to block tweets were dick pics.”

Yeah funny how the media is silent then repeats the same story. Its almost like they are waiting for someone to give them a narrative.

George Brookman says:

Re: Re: Re:3 liars like you need to be lined up and shot

Trump trash are lyong psyxhos that emdamfger all pur lives, amd therefore deserve nothing but a slow painful death by torture

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Projection?
Only the most extreme haters of Trump are incapable of separating claimed votes for or against.
Because despite the moral and culture crusade dependence on the lest we forget list, very little of Trump administration actions were qualifiable as actually bad. 1 in a hundred?

Projecting?
How’s that far left term so many her like… not zero. That’s it. You’re right, there’s no evidence of voting machine hacks.
There IS evidence of other issues of major concern to anyone who believes in fairness regardless of result.

Fact, and proven on video, multiple post office receptions date stamped ballots received after midnight as being from the day before.
Fact, many thousands of ballots never made it to the counting table. This is far more an issue than backdating! Verified facts; ballots left in parking lots. Ballots found in dumpsters.
Ballots found in ditches along side roads. Ballots stolen from drop boxes. Intentional damage to drop boxes.

Two big ones, undeniably!
Fact, multiple states violated the constitutional regulations on voting. Multiple states made changes in 2020 at the executive (Governor) level without legislative process.

Fact, multiple states moved, or closed polling locations: without legislation, and with no prior notice to the public.
No state was as bad as Illinois who closed over 30% of polling locations. And moved nearly as many.
Democrats talk of the poor, the elderly…? Many tens of thousands were unable to vote on election day. Because of criminal state actions.
Arriving via limited travel ability to find a polling station closed. Finding combined location lines lasting many hours with no accommodation for the disabled and elderly.

Stolen? No. Not as a whole. But: not zero! Many 10s of thousands of people were unable to vote on election day because of illegal state actions.

George Brookmam says:

FASCIST TRAITORS LIKE TRUMP NEED TO DIE

HE TRIED TOJRDERVINNOCENTS IN THE STREEETS AND INSTALL A DIXTATORSHIP! THATS WHAT TRUMPS CRIMES ARE, AND ITS WHY HE AND ALL HIS SUPPORTERS MUST BE EXECUTED FOR EVERYONE ELSE’s SAFETY!

Please become smarter says:

+35 XP You found a new echo chamber!

You live in cities, you took the vaccine, you believe the corporate press, you think Trump said, “they’re rapists, they’re murderers,” you still believe in russiagate, you will sterilize your children with puberty blockers, your smart friends won’t talk politics with you, your children will hate you for letting them be brainwashed by their public schools, you will die alone in a nursing home, you will wonder why the world suddenly stopped making sense as the cult-like beliefs you hold dear are exposed as psy-ops designed to subvert best practices and destroy society, you will wake up to the fact that the far-left cult is crumbling around you, your precious lies have been exposed, you are already in the minority, you have lost, soon, you will find that all of your echo chambers will have rational, informed voices like mine, and the only echo chamber you will have left is the inside of your empty head.

Iwanttruth says:

I don't know man...

That Zuckerberg stuff rubs me wrong.
Being vigilant in that situation would logically harbor a trigger finger focused on deleting rather than promoting. If someone in power comes to you warning you of potential illegal activities, and tells you to stay vigilant, the instinct is to scrub anything potentially matching the warning.
Plus, depending on how long before the election Zuckerberg had the meeting, the “expecting info” they had could be interpreted as the laptop. If the meeting took place in September, well, nothing much happened in regards to foreign interaction in the media that month. Same goes for August.
This all hinges on the date for me. If it was earlier, I’d be willing to believe Matt. If it’s later, that’s fishy.
And I have a feeling that meeting took place a month or two before October 2020…

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Rob7729 says:

Crazy that these days gaslighting is considered journalism? You start out by telling me I’m wrong, I’m crazy, then that I need to accept YOUR version of reality or I’m a joke. This article shows how desperate you are to impose your narrative on the public, and ridicule those who disagree. Pathetic. You’re not a journalist, but a gaslighter.

Mutant77 says:

What about?

Your investigation is very interesting, but what about the main thing?

What is the content on Hunter Biden Laptop and is there any connection with government issues?

For me it’s not important to blame Musk he has no responsibility and he is not voted by the people, but the politicians and the public official have. And the job of journalism is to look if they do their job right.

Randy says:

Re:

I enjoyed the thread and I’m all about spreading the love! But wtf are we going to do about all these conspiracy theorists? Facts don’t matter to them. We have to find a counter to that.

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