Phil Shiver


The Biden campaign called yet another press “lid” Wednesday morning following a bombshell report showing that former Vice President Joe Biden may have lied about meeting with an executive from Ukraine energy firm, Burisma Holdings, in 2015.

The New York Post reported early Wednesday about a newly obtained “smoking gun” email that appeared to show that Hunter Biden brokered a meeting in April 2015 between his father and and Burisma’s “No. 3 exec,” Vadym Pozharskyi. Biden has repeatedly denied ever discussing his son’s “overseas business dealings.”

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the e-mail from Pozharskyi to Hunter Biden reads.

The revelation, which calls into question Biden’s honesty regarding his son’s past lucrative position on the Burisma board, is certainly a subject of interest to the media.

Feeling the heat, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates hit back at the report in a statement, saying, “We have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”

But a prepared statement from the campaign is not quite the same as a candidate responding to reporter’s questions. Unfortunately, at least for the remainder of the day, press will be unable to get a direct response from Biden himself on the matter.

Daily Mail reporter Nikki Schwab posted part of a press release on Twitter late Wednesday morning, showing that while the Biden campaign had called a lid, the candidate would still be participating in a fundraiser later in the day.

“The Biden campaign has called a lid. Later this afternoon, Biden will participate in a virtual fundraiser. Your pooler will send a report at its conclusion,” the release said. “At 7 p.m., Biden is delivering pre-taped remarks to American Muslims at the Muslims Making Change: National Honors event. Those remarks are open press.”

It should be noted that calling early press lids — arcane signals that mean a candidate is done campaigning for the day and won’t be speaking to reporters — have become a common practice for the 77-year-old Democratic nominee during this year’s election.

The gaffe-prone candidate has generally relied on a low-profile, under-the-radar campaign and has fielded far fewer questions from reporters than his opponent, President Trump.

So while the action of calling a lid is not unusual for Biden, the timing of Wednesday’s lid is what some are finding suspicious.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Biden calls press ‘lid’ — won’t speak to reporters — following bombshell report about alleged meeting with Burisma executive

Netflix chief executive Ted Sarandos defended controversial film “Cuties” recently, after a Texas grand jury indicted the streaming giant for running the project, which features the experiences of four 11-year-old girls involved in a French “sensual dance” troop.

While speaking at the virtual Mipcom market on Monday, Sarandos called the film “misunderstood” and said “it’s a little surprising in 2020 America that we’re having a discussion about censoring storytelling,” Deadline reported.

“It’s a film that is very misunderstood with some audiences, uniquely within the United States,” Sarandos added. “The film speaks for itself. It’s a very personal coming of age film, it’s the director’s story and the film has obviously played very well at Sundance without any of this controversy and played in theaters throughout Europe without any of this controversy.”

The award-winning French film — rated TV-MA (for mature audiences only) in the United States — attracted immediate criticism for its overt sexualization of young children upon its debut on Netflix. Outraged viewers rushed to sign a petition called “Cancel Netflix Subscription,” and the hashtag #CancelNetflix soon began trending on social media.

Shortly after, a Texas grand jury indicted Netflix on charges that the streamer “knowingly promote[d] visual material which depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age at the time the visual material was created, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

Throughout the controversy, Netflix has adamantly stood by its decision to stream the film, only offering an apology for using “inappropriate artwork” to promote the project in late August.

In a statement to TheBlaze, a Netflix spokesperson essentially argued that by streaming a film about the sexualization of young children, the company was working to combat the sexualization of young children.

“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie,” the spokesperson said.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Netflix CEO defends ‘Cuties’ film after grand jury indictment: ‘It’s surprising’ that we’re ‘censoring storytelling’

Facebook announced strict new guidelines Wednesday prohibiting advertisements on the platform that in any way seek to “delegitimize” an election by stoking distrust in various voting methods, including mail-in voting.

What are the details?

“Last week we said we’d prohibit ads that make premature declarations of victory. We also won’t allow ads with content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of an election,” Facebook’s director of product management, Rob Leathern, said in a tweet.

He added that the new policy will ban ads that call “a method of voting inherently fraudulent” or use “corrupt isolated incidents of voter fraud to delegitimize the result of an election.”

Facebook published the complete guidelines for its new policy in a blog post Wednesday. In the post, the company said that it is “taking preventive steps to protect the integrity of the upcoming US 2020 elections.”

The complete guidelines ban claiming that lawful methods of voting, such as vote by mail, or tabulation of votes received after the day of the election are “inherently fraudulent.” The policy also bans claiming that voter fraud is “widespread.”

Here are a few examples of what will be banned under the new guidance, in Facebook’s words:

  • Ads that delegitimize any lawful method or process of voting or voting tabulation (including in-person voting on paper or on machines, absentee voting, vote by mail, and lawful collection of ballots) as illegal, inherently fraudulent or corrupt, or will result in a fraudulent or corrupt election administration or outcome.
  • Ads that delegitimize an election and/or result as fraudulent or corrupt because the result can’t be determined on the final day of voting and/or before ballots received after the final day of voting are lawfully counted.
  • Ads that claim voter fraud (such as voter impersonation, duplicate voting, or non-eligible individuals voting) is widespread and/or alters the outcome of elections and/or results in a fraudulent or corrupt election.
    The changes will apply to ads across all Facebook and Instagram pages and are effective immediately.

Why does it matter?
For now, it appears that the guidance will affect only paid content on the platform. But it’s not inconceivable to think that eventually the policy could morph to include posts about potential voter fraud from news organizations.

This is particularly concerning because there have, in fact, been isolated reports of voter fraud in America in recent months.

In June, four New Jersey men were charged in a voter fraud scheme. Then in September, the Justice Department opened an investigation after seven military ballots cast for President Trump were found discarded. Also in September, it was reported that at least 1,400 Virginia voters who had requested absentee ballots received duplicates in the mail.

President Trump has been particularly outspoken about the risk of voter fraud in the upcoming election, especially if a national vote-by-mail operation is launched due to coronavirus health concerns. He once again brought up the risks during the first presidential debate Tuesday night.

But he is not the only one highlighting the concerns. Attorney General William Barr likened mail-in voting to “playing with fire” in a recent interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Facebook bans ads that mention voter fraud or in any way stoke distrust in the upcoming election

Disney has announced that it will lay off 28,000 employees in the United States across its Parks, Experiences, and Products unit as a result of the coronavirus-related closures and limited-capacity operations.

What are the details?
Josh D’Amaro, chair of Disney Parks, made the announcement Wednesday in a memo to employees obtained by CNBC in which he said the company has been “forced to reduce the size of our team.

“As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy,” D’Amaro wrote in the memo. “For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.”

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic,” he continued.

In a statement, D’Amaro noted that two-thirds of the laid-off employees were part-time workers. He declined to break down the layoffs by individual park locations.

CNN previously reported that Disney’s profit plunged 91% in the first three months of 2020 after the coronavirus outbreak caused the company to close all of its theme parks in March.

According to CNBC, Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products unit accounts for 37% of the company’s revenue, which totals $69.6 billion.

Specific blame for California
D’Amaro seemed to place special blame on California for the company’s losses, as the state’s pandemic policies have not allowed Disneyland or California Adventure in Anaheim to open in any capacity since March. The majority of Disney’s profit comes from its U.S. operations.

All of Disney’s other parks in Florida, Paris, Japan, Shanghai, and Hong Kong have been able to reopen at limited capacity since the start of the pandemic.

D’Amaro made note of this Wednesday, saying the company’s coronavirus woes have been “exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

Disney has been unsuccessfully urging California officials to relax restrictions so that employees can return to work.

In a media update last week, D’Amaro said: “To our California government officials, particularly at the state level, I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors. Help us reopen. We need guidelines that are fair and equitable to better understand our future and chart a path towards reopening. The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be to the Orange County and Anaheim communities.”

The media update reportedly showcased Disney’s updated safety measures — including sanitizing stations, mask requirements, and cashless pay — that have been effectively implemented at its other parks.

“We’re ready and, more importantly, it’s time,” D’Amaro added.

But the go-ahead from California never came.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Disney to lay off 28,000 workers, citing COVID slowdown and California’s ‘unwillingness’ to lift restrictions

Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, holds a stake in a Chinese surveillance company sanctioned by the U.S. for its alleged involvement in the country’s systematic repression of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday.

The news raises further questions about the Biden family’s controversial business dealings in China and casts doubt on Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s ability to stand up to China on the world stage should he be elected president.

In the report, the Free Beacon noted:

Bohai Harvest RST Shanghai Equity, an investment firm that Hunter Biden owns a stake in, initially invested in Megvii, a sanctioned Chinese tech company that specializes in facial recognition software, in 2017, according to the company’s website. The firm holds a nearly 2 percent stake in Megvii through two holding companies, according to a prospectus filed by Megvii as part of its application for a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange last year.

Megvii, known for its core product, Face++, was added to a the U.S. Commerce Department blacklist last year for “human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.”

Hunter Biden’s investment in the company was confirmed as part of a new bombshell documentary on BlazeTV, titled “Riding the Dragon: Uncovering the Bidens’ Chinese Secrets.” The documentary unveils largely unreported details about Hunter Biden’s business ventures in China — which even benefitted the Chinese military — while his father, then the vice president, led U.S. policy efforts in the country.

The film highlights a 2019 report by journalist Lee Fang at The Intercept that details Hunter Biden’s lucrative investment in the company through his private equity firm, Bohai Harvest.

He’s still profiting

The Free Beacon notes that though Biden has since stepped down from the board of the firm, “he still owns a 10 percent stake in the investment firm through his U.S.-based limited liability company Skaneateles LLC, according to corporate records from China’s official company database.”

While Biden has no legal obligation to divest from Megvii, the fact that he may be aiding the persecution of minorities in China by funding technology sanctioned for human-rights abuses is a cause for concern — especially as his father campaigns for president.

“Riding the Dragon” is available for viewing to subscribers on and will also be released to the general public in eight 10-minute “Chapters” on the BlazeTV YouTube channel throughout the week. Those who subscribe to BlazeTV’s YouTube channel and click on the notification bell will receive notifications when each chapter is released.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Report: Hunter Biden still profiting off stake in Chinese surveillance company sanctioned for alleged involvement in Uighur persecution

GOP Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) closed out the first night of the Republican National Convention Monday night with a rousing and hopeful speech about how, in America, anyone has the opportunity to succeed if they work hard and how his family went from “cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”

The speech drew high praise from many for its fresh reminder of the promise of the American dream.

But unfortunately, in what is becoming a regular occurrence when Scott speaks, countless users online also flooded Twitter with racist smears and “Uncle Tom” attacks against the black senator.

Here is just a small portion:

One elected Democratic official, Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.), even liked a tweet that said Scott “might as well be white” given what his message is.

And then there were many more:

Sadly, these types of attacks against Scott are nothing new.

Earlier this year, Scott called out the racists on Twitter for heaving racial slurs at him after he was tapped to lead the Republican police reform legislation effort following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in late May.

In the hours after the announcement was made that he would lead the effort, Twitter users had allegedly referred to Scott as “token,” “boy,” and argued that he was “being used.” He would later show some of the hate-filled messages to GOP colleagues at a private lunch.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Twitter flooded with racist smears, ‘Uncle Tom’ attacks after Sen. Tim Scott delivers RNC speech

That’s more than double what he spent in 2016. Liberal billionaire George Soros has donated more than $50 million to various Democratic campaigns and political action committees during the 2020 election cycle, breaking his previous record by tens of millions, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

What are the details?

The whopping sum of money more than doubles Soros’ previous record high of $22 million, which came in 2016 — and there are still more than three months to go until this year’s Election Day.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that Soros has poured the majority of the money into Democratic coffers through his Democracy PAC, which he created last year.

FEC filings show that last quarter, the Democracy PAC logged nearly $17 million in disbursements, bringing its total disbursements this election cycle to $48 million. The Free Beacon reported that Soros has personally doled out another $4 million to Democratic campaigns and committees without going through the PAC, making Soros’ total donations approximately $52 million.

The outlet noted that Soros’ huge donations fly in the face of what several of his benefactors, including former Vice President Joe Biden, have to say about big money in politics.

On his website, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee says “we could improve our politics overnight if we flushed big money from the system and had public financing of our election,” and “democracy works best when a big bank account or a large donor list are not prerequisites for office.”

His website also promises that, as president, Biden “will reform our campaign finance system so that it amplifies the voices of the public, not the powerful — particularly the voices of working Americans.”

Anything else?

Earlier this year, while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Soros said that the “fate of the world” is at stake in the 2020 election.

During the speech, he said President Trump “is a con man and a narcissist, who wants the world to revolve around him.” He also said Trump is an “authoritarian” who is “willing to sacrifice the national interests for his personal interests.”

The Free Beacon reported that “some of [Soros’s] largest donations went to the Nancy Pelosi-linked House Majority PAC ($2 million), Chuck Schumer-tied Senate Majority PAC ($1.5 million), Planned Parenthood Votes ($625,000), and the dark money group Sixteen Thirty Fund ($1 million).”

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: George Soros has poured $50 million into 2020 elections, breaking his previous record by tens of millions with months to go

CNN anchor Don Lemon suggested putting former President Barack Obama “front and center” on Mount Rushmore as a way of solving the controversy around monuments in America and around racism in general.

Lemon made the suggestion Tuesday night on CNN during a wide-ranging discussion with fellow network anchor Chris Cuomo about race relations in America and the recent left-wing movement to remove or vandalize monuments and statues of prominent Americans.

What are the details?

The conversation started with Cuomo and Lemon reacting to news that a California couple was charged with a hate crime for painting over a city of Martinez-approved “Black Lives Matter” mural.

Lemon attempted to characterize the “right wing [media] machine” messaging that drove the couple to paint over the mural, saying, “They kick in with ‘Democratic cities are in chaos right now — is this what you want from Joe Biden? And they’re gonna take your country away and they’re taking down the statues. Crime is rising as they defund police.'”

“And the people who you saw there … fall for it,” Lemon added. “They fall for it. That’s why they do things like what they did.”

“They want to paint over signs and they think it’s ‘our country.’ ‘This is the country that we built,'” he continued. “Even though a rich diversity of people helped to build this country, and many of us — meaning our ancestors — for free, did not get paid for it, could not get an education, could not build wealth, are not on statues, Confederate or otherwise, are not on Mount Rushmore.”

Here’s the money quote: “I think, listen … if they are going to put someone on Mount Rushmore, considering the history of this country, the first black president should be front and center.”

Anything else?

At that point Cuomo chimed in, saying, “Add to Mount Rushmore. I think that’s first of all, it’s a more salable idea than the idea of taking away Founding Fathers.”

Lemon then continued his argument: “So what’s wrong with all of us together thinking or reshaping our country so that more people rethinking our country in the way we think and where our priorities are so that this country … it belongs to everyone.”

“Nothing is wrong with it,” Cuomo bluntly stated.

Lemon said: “Maybe some of the people up there on Mount Rushmore, who knows? … The name shouldn’t be Mount Rushmore if you talk to Native Americans. They say it is stolen land. It was only Mount Rushmore 40 years before they started to carve presidents’ faces in it. No one got any money for that.”

“You’re totally right. The premise is where we’re gonna have to work towards, which is if we all decide. It’s about consensus and collective consciousness,” Cuomo concluded.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Don Lemon wants to solve racism by putting Barack Obama ‘front and center’ on Mount Rushmore

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