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Dem Hypocrisy and the Megadonor Scandal
Kurt Bardella and Sam Bankman-Fried are legitimate scumbags.
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Imagine, if you will, what the reaction would have been like if someone other than a liberal pundit like Kurt Bardella — who looks exactly like the sort of dude capable of convincing himself he’s a badass because he does the New York Times crossword puzzle in pen — had made the grossly misogynistic comment in the clip above. Think of the MSNBC hysterics that would be featured on the network around the clock if a conservative pundit had said such a thing about a Democratic representative—like, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Self-declared feminist Joy Ann Reid, that spaz of unflagging industry above whom an atmosphere of bullshit hangs like a cloud cap on a mountain, would need to be sedated.
But of course our dear friend Bardella here is a stalwart male #ally, so no worries:
Time and again, when it comes down to it, the Left flouts the very civil standards demanded of the Right. The entire gamut of -isms is treated as the unique province of conservatives, while liberals are never held to account for their own transgressions.
Rules for thee but not for me. It’s hypocritical in the extreme, yes, but also reeks of the same smug condescension that’s come to define their political discourse, which is often teeming with such insincere, tactical moralizing that it renders engagement an exercise in futility.
What Bardella said should have been condemned by those of all political stripes. It wasn’t, though, because his target was a Republican. As such, the demeaning, sexist, and borderline creepy comment invoked praise and tee-heeing from the Left.
What they pretend is compassion for “marginalized identity groups” is really little more than calculated, weaponized sanctimony, the point of which is to condition the broader public into adopting norms and behaviors that comport with the overarching neoliberal agenda.
The lack of parity between what’s expected of those on Team Blue versus those on Team Red matters. The cultural hegemony that the Left enjoys, wherein moralizing scolds command the heights of academia, entertainment, media, Big Tech, Wall Street, advertising, public health, and the permanent state — all solid assets of Democrats — means that there’s a steep price imposed on those who run afoul of liberal pieties but don’t enjoy the protections reserved for those on Team Blue.
Consider, for example, what a death knell it is to be branded a racist today. Even if it’s for making the most innocent, innocuous comment, there are people out there of the progressive persuasion who love nothing so much as making an example out of someone, always on the lookout for new scalps, reveling in the schadenfreude like a bunch of sociopaths. They’ll come up with the least charitable interpretation of your remarks, attribute them to the most odious motives imaginable, and demand repentance.
If the case picks up traction on social media, profound professional consequences and social ostracization are all but guaranteed. This is because the Left claims that the wrongs inflicted upon the oppressed outweigh all other moral concerns, and such is their righteousness that they’re justified in using authoritarian tactics to “correct” transgressors. Isolated cases are then magnified into sweeping narratives used to claim conservatives in general are racist, sexist, misogynistic, etc.
The Dem Megadonor Scandal
This week, during a White House press briefing, Bloomberg reporter, C-SPAN darling, and Democratic shill Jenny Leonard asked Biden about Elon Musk, who now owns Twitter, beloved censorship toy of the Left.
“Do you think Elon Musk is a threat to U.S. national security?” she asked, adding, with appalling disingenuousness, “should the U.S. — and with the tools you have — investigate his joint acquisition of Twitter with foreign governments, which include the Saudis?”
As Matt Taibbi pointed out, the reason this was so extraordinarily disingenuousness is because Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has long been one of Twitter’s largest shareholders, having invested $300 million back in 2011. If this is an issue now, then why wasn’t it an issue before? Riddle me that, Jenny, you pitiful amanuensis.
Biden seemed to welcome the question, answering that the issue was “worthy of being looked at,” but “that’s all I’ll say.”
When National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was asked to specify what exactly the threat was, he said he would defer to a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a Treasury sub-department that does routine checks on infrastructural purchases to determine their effect on National Security. Recall, however, that Bloomberg ran a story a few weeks ago suggesting officials in the “intelligence community” were “weighing what tools, if any” could be used to prevent Musk from buying Twitter, including a CFIUS review, which would not be routine.
We have a grand jury system to specifically protect people who haven’t been charged under the law from having to live under public suspicion. Mind you, even if Musk were under indictment for something, the president shouldn’t be commenting on it anyway. Yet, here he is musing with a shill about someone’s “threat” status during a press briefing.
Let’s pause here a moment and note that Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, which continues to make an absolute mockery of NASA, Boeing, Blue Origin, and every other rocket competitor, has been awarded multiple contracts by the Pentagon to make satellites that can track missiles, supply the U.S. Space Force with new rockets, and deliver weapons anywhere in the world at 7,500 mph, among other things. Musk is not a threat to national security; if anything, he’s an asset.1
But he’s been treated as a threat since the day he announced his intent to buy Twitter because the social media company has long been unabashedly an activist extension of progressive orthodoxies thanks in large part to its CEO/employees—the vast majority of whom were promptly fired within hours of Musk’s first day as new owner.
The Left continues to lose its collective mind over Twitter because of the unfiltered access to a credulous audience the platform will provide their political adversaries now that there’s been a changing of the guard and they can’t censor conservative voices anymore. It’s the assumed influence that so rankles them, not the proliferation of “hate speech.”
What makes this even more outrageous is that while the Biden administration has been harassing and threatening Musk and his companies, one of the worst scams in modern finance history was being perpetuated under their nose by a regular White House/Capital Hill visitor and one of the largest Democratic donors, second to only George Soros.
This dude, Sam Bankman-Fried, is the scion of tenured Stanford Law Professors2 and ex-CEO of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which previously had $16 billion in customer assets, and was valued at $32 billion in its most recent investor funding round in September.
In addition to donating $26,000 to Democratic Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, whom I shall forever despise for not giving me a congressional nomination to West Point (shout-out to the venerable Carl Levin), Bankman-Fried has been a key funder of the Protect Our Future PAC, which primarily works to elect Democrats, bankrolling the group to the tune of $27 million this election cycle. He also gave $6 million to the House Majority PAC and was the second-largest individual donor to Biden’s 2020 campaign, donating over $5 million. All told, the crypto billionaire and two of his deputies at FTX poured nearly $69 million into Democratic coffers for the 2022 midterm elections, and had already pledged to spend up to $1 billion on the presidential election in 2024 to keep Democrats in the White House.
By all accounts, this guy was playing a dangerous game right from the get-go. In 2017, Bankman-Fried created FTX, a platform that offered investors easy access to buying, selling, and stashing cryptocurrencies. The second arm of his crypto empire, a quantitative trading firm focused on digital assets called Alameda Research (which his girlfriend apparently runs), served as an offshore exchange allowing crypto investors to place risky bets not allowed in the United States.
Over the past few years, Bankman-Fried has been accruing political clout by throwing money around Capital Hill, trying to sell Washington on an advantageous regulatory framework—this, while he dodged U.S. oversight from his corporate headquarters in the Bahamas.
As crypto’s self-appointed ambassador to Washington, Bankman-Fried became known for his aggressive lobbying. This didn’t sit well with many people in the crypto community, who viewed his overtures to Washington and his hobnobbing with politicians as a betrayal of crypto’s founding mission. There were consequences. It put a target on his back.
On November 2nd, CoinDesk, a cryptocurrency news website, published Alameda’s leaked balance-sheet, exposing the proprietary firm’s incestuous relationship with FTX. It emerged that FTX had lent $10 billion of the $16 billion in crypto-assets customers had entrusted with it to Alameda, which allegedly used the money to cover its dicey investments. This revelation resulted in the value of “FTT,” the crypto token issued by FTX, plummeting.
Then, on Sunday, Bankman-Fried’s rival, Changpeng Zhao, chief executive of another crypto exchange called Binance, basically crushed his soul. Zhao announced he was selling off his investment in FTX: $580 million in FTT that had been perilously holding up Bankman-Fried’s debts. “We are not against anyone,” Zhao wrote on Twitter. “But we won’t support people who lobby against other industry players behind their backs.”
When Zhao popped smoke, other FTX customers, having watched the value of FTT tokens drop precipitously, officially freaked out and rushed to withdraw their funds, inundating the exchange with $6 billion in requests that couldn’t be met. A bank run commenced. Zhao then offered to ride to the rescue, only to back out after a look at FTX’s books, allegedly because Bankman-Fried was using FTX customer deposits to cover Alameda Research's sketchy investments.
“This is two crypto exchange founders doing economic warfare, and one clearly won and one clearly lost,” said David Hoffman, the co-owner of Bankless, a podcast and newsletter in the crypto space.
Bloomberg, which called the FTX collapse “one of history’s greatest-ever destructions of wealth,” estimates that Bankman-Fried’s personal wealth has been wiped out; his net worth had been nearly $16 billion at the start of last week, and is believed to have maxed out at $26 billion in March. Just a few months ago, he was touted as crypto’s Warren Buffett; now he’s drawing comparisons to notorious Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes.
It’s hard to overstate how significant this fall from grace was. This was someone who was a mainstay in Democratic policy circles, and he spent massively to market FTX as a solid, trustworthy investment platform. The company paid $135 million for the naming rights to the Miami Heat arena and signed a deal with the MLB to affix its logo to umpires’ uniforms. It even recruited Tom Brady and his wife Gisele Bündchen as spokespeople and aired a Super Bowl ad featuring comedian Larry David.
What happened here seems fairly obvious from an economics standpoint: Leverage, risky bets, sketchy collateral—the same trifecta that has defined financial scandals of old. But it seems like kind of a big deal that this dude orchestrated a scam, funneled $40 million in scammed money to Democrats, and then bolted on people who’re all but certain to lose whatever funds they had on FTX.
This wasn’t some random donor signing a few $5,000 checks to Democrats. Sam Bankman-Fried gave a ton of money. He was at the highest possible rung of national giving. They’re supposed to vet people like him extremely carefully.
Every article about this fiasco should have as a headline some form of “Top Biden Donor Escapes Authorities After Stealing Hundreds of Millions of Dollars,” but of course that hasn’t been the case at all. And my gut tells me nothing will come of this because of who he was giving money to—the same reason his dealings weren’t under more scrutiny in the first place.
Others amazing tidbits worth mentioning:
FTX’s top “regulatory officer” once served as an attorney for a company that was embroiled in a notorious online poker cheating scandal more than a decade ago — and was caught on tape allegedly aiding the perpetrators of the fraud, according to reports.
American attorney and insolvency professional John Ray, who helped manage the aftermath of some of the largest corporate failures in history, including the implosion of the energy trading firm Enron after an accounting fraud scandal in 2001, has said that the corporate dysfunction at FTX is the worst he has ever seen.
Bankman-Fried gave $18.2M to early covid researchers who cast doubt on Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine (treatment that could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives), paving the way for vaccine Emergency Use Authorization.
FTX employees would file expense claims through chat messages, and random managers would approve the claims by responding with emojis.
Bankman-Fried's ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, who was in charge of running Alameda, said in a March Tumblr post that crypto is “mostly scams and memes when you get down to it.”
Bankman-Fried admitted in a weird late-night interview via Twitter messaging with Vox's Kelsey Piper that his “ethics stuff” was “mostly a front” and a "dumb game we woke westerners play where we say all the right shibboleths and so everyone likes us.”
Alright, here’s where we get into somewhat conspiratorial territory. Make of this what you will. It was revealed that FTX had partnered with Ukraine to process donations to their war effort within days of Biden pledging billions to the country. As part of that partnership, Ukraine invested in FTX as funds funneled to the invaded nation, and then FTX made massive donations to Democrats. In other words, a criminal, money-laundering conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. There’s a story here.
SpaceX has also saved $40 billion in taxpayer money, according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson, because it has revolutionized the rocket industry.