"One of the main reasons we were elected in Washington, DC, was to drain the swamp. And I think the American people have a right to know if the...president of the United States or his family profited from his position "
- VP Mike Pence
(lightly edited to reflect reality)
Given that Trump built his career by propagating the Birther Movement , it is not surprising that he is willing to end it by planting a flag on the hill of another disproven conspiracy theory. Drunk on a diet of Fox News' propaganda, the grumpy old man in the Oval Office has become fixated on the allegation that Joe Biden used his position as Vice President of the United States to push for the removal of Ukraine's Prosecutor General in order to end an investigation of a company to which his son was financially tied. Unable to get American law enforcement to play along, Trump attempted to "persuade" the Ukranianians to investigate the matter (again). The return for their cooperation was continued military assistance.
Like most successful conspiracy theories, the lies about the former Vice-President are grounded in a sliver of truth. Biden did, in fact, "tell Ukrainian leaders they had to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin to get $1 billion in U.S. aid." However, this was not done to force the end of a specific investigation, which "was not [even] being actively pursued at the time in question. " Instead "he was pursuing the Obama administration's policy " that sought to end corruption in the besieged country. This policy was supported by the European Union, the World Bank, the Ukranian parliament and Republican Senators .
While Hunter Biden did not benefit from the removal of the Ukranian prosecutor, he was profiting handsomely by having a father who was a heartbeat away from the presidency. "It's not unusual for the children of successful politicians to trade on their family's famous name and connections to get ahead in life " and the younger Biden is a perfect example. His first job out of law school was for MBNA, an issuer of credit cards that was "a big contributor to Biden's campaigns " and benefited from Joe Biden's bill that limited bankruptcy protection for consumers. Despite having "no apparent qualifications for the job, except that his father was the vice president and involved in the Obama administration's Ukraine policy ", Hunter was paid $50,000 per monthto serve on the board of the Ukranian natural gas company now at the center of the scandal that could lead to Trump's impeachment.
As Trump pretends to drain the swamp, his own children have become much more adept at the legal form of corruption practiced by Hunter Biden. While working alongside her husband inside her father's White House, Ivanka Trump has received multiple trademark approvals from the Chinese government, including several just "a week before President Trump announced that he wanted to lift the ban on the Chinese company ZTE, for violating US sanctions". Her husband's family business "received a massive cash infusion from Qatar ." While Trump promised that the business run by his sons would not engage in any foreign real estate deals while he was his office, "Eric and Don Jr. have sold more than $100 million of the family's real estate since the January 2017 inauguration ." The Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. earned the family $41 million last year, much of it paid for with foreign funds. There is also the possibility that their properties have become a way to launder bribes as there are claims "that a foreign government and a trade group booked a 'large quantity of rooms but used only a fraction of them.' "
As the bank accounts of these politicians and their families continue to grow, "today's real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. " In Trump's America income inequality has hit the highest level ever recorded and Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia all saw inequality spike in 2018 compared to 2017. "The unemployment rate for blacks is still 83 percent higher than the rate for whites."
Is it any wonder that Americans have lost faith in either major party to bring equality to our economic system?
Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a "strong supporter of public schools." His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.