The Publisher of the Steele Dossier, Ben Smith, Reports that the Hunter Biden Laptop Was Just a Political Dirty Trick

The recent Igor Danchenko indictment and overly credulous reporting on it have created a big new push for former BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith to reflect on his role in the dissemination of the Steele dossier.

In a Sunday column on mis- and disinformation, however, he makes no mention of it.

Instead, his column questions the inclusion of the Hunter Biden laptop story in a media executive seminar on, “help[ing] newsroom leaders fight misinformation and media manipulation.” Smith claims that treatment of the laptop story is, in fact, proof that the term “media manipulation” means  “any attempt to shape news coverage by people whose politics you dislike.”

A couple of them, though, told me they were puzzled by the reading package for the first session.

It consisted of a Harvard case study, which a participant shared with me, examining the coverage of Hunter Biden’s lost laptop in the final days of the 2020 campaign. The story had been pushed by aides and allies of then-President Donald J. Trump who tried to persuade journalists that the hard drive’s contents would reveal the corruption of the father.

The news media’s handling of that narrative provides “an instructive case study on the power of social media and news organizations to mitigate media manipulation campaigns,” according to the Shorenstein Center summary.

The Hunter Biden laptop saga sure is instructive about something. As you may recall, panicked Trump allies frantically dumped its contents onto the internet and into reporters’ inboxes, a trove that apparently included embarrassing images and emails purportedly from the candidate’s son showing that he had tried to trade on the family name. The big social media platforms, primed for a repeat of the WikiLeaks 2016 election shenanigans, reacted forcefully: Twitter blocked links to a New York Post story that tied Joe Biden to the emails without strong evidence (though Twitter quickly reversed that decision) and Facebook limited the spread of the Post story under its own “misinformation” policy.

But as it now appears, the story about the laptop was an old-fashioned, politically motivated dirty tricks campaign, and describing it with the word “misinformation” doesn’t add much to our understanding of what happened. While some of the emails purportedly on the laptop have since been called genuine by at least one recipient, the younger Mr. Biden has said he doesn’t know if the laptop in question was his.

And the “media manipulation campaign” was a threadbare, 11th-hour effort to produce a late-campaign scandal, an attempt at an October Surprise that has been part of nearly every presidential campaign I’ve covered.

The Wall Street Journal, as I reported at the time, looked hard at the story. Unable to prove that Joe Biden had tried, as vice president, to change U.S. policy to enrich a family member, The Journal refused to tell it the way the Trump aides wanted, leaving that spin to the right-wing tabloids. What remained was a murky situation that is hard to call “misinformation,” even if some journalists and academics like the clarity of that label. The Journal’s role was, in fact, a pretty standard journalistic exercise, a blend of fact-finding and the sort of news judgment that has fallen a bit out of favor as journalists have found themselves chasing social media.

While some academics use the term carefully, “misinformation” in the case of the lost laptop was more or less synonymous with “material passed along by Trump aides.” And in that context, the phrase “media manipulation” refers to any attempt to shape news coverage by people whose politics you dislike.

Unless Smith considers the two details he cites — some researchers have confirmed that some of the emails are authentic, yet Hunter Biden doesn’t claim to know whether the laptop in question was his — to be proof one way or another that this was a “politically motivated dirty tricks campaign,” he cites no evidence for his conclusion.

Smith doesn’t mention any of the reasons why there was and remains good reason to suspect the laptop — the provenance of which even Glenn Greenwald once proclaimed to be “bizarre at best” — was more than that. From the time President Trump first started extorting an investigation into the Bidens from Ukraine through at least January 2020, Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU was found hacking Burisma, the company with which Hunter had a sketchy consulting relationship that was the initial hook for the laptop stories. Rudy Giuliani not only played a central role in the brokering of the laptop story, but reportedly had been sitting on a copy of the files for some time. Rudy, of course, had played a key role in Trump’s attempt to extort news of a Biden investigation and even during the impeachment inquiry, in spite of warnings from the intelligence community, traveled to Ukraine to meet with Andrii Derkach, who was subsequently sanctioned as a Russian agent. According to Ben Smith’s employer, Derkach’s efforts to deal “misleading information” to Rudy as part of a 2020 election operation are under investigation by EDNY; a parallel investigation into Rudy for serving as an unregistered agent of Ukrainian interests in events that were part of the impeachment inquiry remains ongoing at SDNY. An intelligence report related to the second story hung on the laptop, regarding Hunter’s ties to China, was disclosed to have been attributed to an intelligence analyst whose identity was entirely fabricated, down to his artificially generated face. And the IC’s report on efforts to interfere in the 2020 election includes one conclusion that sounds suspiciously similar to the efforts that led to the laptop story.

A key element of Moscow’s strategy this election cycle was its use of people linked to Russian intelligence to launder influence narratives–including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden–through US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, some of whom were close to former President Trump and his administration.

If the Hunter Biden laptop story was just a political dirty trick, then it was one that exactly paralleled well-substantiated efforts involving Russian intelligence agents.

We now know, thanks to the investigation into Project Veritas, that the “sister” media package right wing propaganda outlets were pitching, the dissemination of a diary from Hunter’s half-sister in the very same weeks leading up to the election, similarly features a sketchy origin story that — SDNY has shown probable cause to believe — actually serves to hide the theft of the underlying diary. While SDNY has not yet charged anyone much less proven the case, it claims that the story about how reporters came to obtain such a juicy campaign prop was, itself, misinformation hiding theft. That’s another detail that Smith doesn’t mention in his piece.

Even if the similarities between Smith’s “old-fashioned, politically motivated dirty tricks campaign” and the acknowledged interference attempt by Russian agents are mere coinkydink, it nevertheless is the case that the Hunter Biden laptop package was an attempt at media manipulation, part of the reason it was presented to the seminar.

That’s because — again, as even Glenn Greenwald acknowledged — the presumptively authentic emails offered as the dangle in the laptop package provided, “no proof that Biden followed through on any of Hunter’s promises to Burisma.” By offering “authentic” emails and derogatory pictures just before the election, right wing operatives attempted to make a story that had long been reported (and key parts of it debunked by experts testifying under oath as part of the first impeachment) go viral just before the election not by offering any proof of the key allegations, but by waving something “authentic” around that could substitute for real proof.

It briefly worked, too, as high profile journalists disseminated the most inflammatory details in the story — effectively delivering the announcement of a criminal investigation pertaining to Ukraine that Trump demanded from Volodymyr Zelenskyy — and only after that started identifying really problematic parts of the story.

This entire episode was an effort to disseminate something “authentic” that nevertheless lacked proof of the underlying allegations as a way to lead people to believe those allegations. Classic media manipulation, and it nearly succeeded.

And Ben Smith, the man who published a dossier full of unproven allegations that — Republicans in Congress now believe — injected Russian disinformation into what otherwise might have been just an “old-fashioned, politically motivated dirty tricks campaign,” a dossier that (like Hunter Biden’s laptop) long stood as the proxy understanding for a criminal investigation into dramatically different facts, dismisses the possibility that it was disinformation blithely, presenting no real evidence for or against.

It is undoubtedly the case that there remain real questions about the Hunter Biden laptop package, questions that may get renewed attention given the new focus on the Ashley Biden diary package. Maybe one day, Ben Smith will be able to state, as fact, that it was just an, “old-fashioned, politically motivated dirty tricks campaign;” or maybe EDNY will uncover the real provenance of those “authentic” files all packaged up and handed to a guy who made no secret of his willingness to accept and disseminate Russian disinformation.

But at a time when he is actively refusing to reflect on his own actions in disseminating an “old-fashioned, politically motivated dirty tricks campaign” that seems to have been exploited as an easy vehicle for hostile disinformation, Ben Smith might want to be a little more cautious about assuming those lines are so easy to distinguish.

44 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    I’ve harped on this for a while, in that the courtier press loves the Cokie Roberts Rule because of the clickbait revenue. While Ben Smith is a biased source willing to amp up the Steele Dossier misinformation, we can deduce that this judgement (well after GG, but still) shows that the GQP is not stopping in spite of their pious demands to let bygones be bygones about J6 and other peccadillos.

    It does strike me however that the sixty or so cases brought by the Trump campaign had much of the same kind of flavor, in that there was a lot of noise and smoke about suspicious underhanded dealings that could only be explained that way, voter fraud, etc., but when it came time to actually put those claims in a court filing where you have to sign that it’s true and correct, there was nothing to see. Likewise, in the dozens of cases where judges specifically asked about whether voter fraud was claimed the Trump campaign backed down. It’s a pattern that has continued with the MAGA minion suits but there is a reason for it. This:

    This is in addition to the Dominion suits ongoing against Lindell and Giuliani, et al.

  2. jaango1 says:

    The obvious storyline is as bogus is bogus does. Today’s politics haven’t changed much during these past many years and yet the academics that haven’t addressed this ‘laptop’ story as being insignificant especially when you take a gander of the “chicano story” (62 million citizens) that will last far into the future and which will be addressed in the terms of a context that “I won’t steal, lie or cheat.”

    The Cabal of the Republican-Oriented Racists in Arizona for Its Two Big Lies…And While We Wait for the Third Big Lie to Arrive…

    El Trumpudo [our smarmy association of the former president for his lack of brain power despite his ever-present loud voice] has jabbered away at his “woke” for the continued tout that his re-election was stolen from him by the new president, and now President Biden. Thus, Arizona was his downfall by losing by the scheming-tonic that was for the Unassailable Fact that 10,457 votes cost him this re-election. Consequently, his first Big Lie created a life of its own on the political right.

    And the Second Lie was that the future wall-mounted “trophy” for Republicans, writ large, would be the America’s Indigenous Flag held in the hot hands of a Chicano Military Vet. Yet, this second Big Lie never came to fruition, despite their extended political efforts, and to be the notion that “dead military vets” voted, and in large measure. Consequently, the exemplar for the agreed upon behavior that Arizona’s “audit” would be conducted by a reputable organization with a history for such audits, was to be the contemplated ‘norm’. But it was not to be, given that the Republican-oriented leader (and her cabal) at the state legislature and this affected cabal had a change of mind and opted instead for a less reputable and amateur-oriented stroke of politics residing within and among the Cyber Ninjas.

    And with our unbated breath in-check due to our self-restraint, the arriving Third Lie from Arizona’s Republicans, will soon surface due to the pending demographics of our state’s confluence among our nation’s Progressives.

  3. Saul Tannenbaum says:

    Ben Smith still owns (at least) stock options in Buzzfeed. Because of that, he is restricted, by the Times, from writing about Buzzfeed in anything more than the most minimal way.

    This is, of course, a real problem for a media columnist, especially when he writes a story where his conduct as editor of Buzzfeed is relevant. He really needs to unload his financial interests in Buzzfeed, and needs to be painfully clear when he writes about – or, as in this case, significantly omits mention of – Buzzfeed.

  4. bacchys says:

    None of these journalists understand Information Operations. They don’t know what they’re looking at. It feels like misinformation to them, so it gets labeled that way.

    Even accepting the contents of the purported laptop as genuine, however, there’s essentially no wrongdoing (other than illegal drug use likely past the statute of limitations for prosecution). Trading on one’s name may be unethical or immoral for the children of powerful politicians, but it’s also so normal as to be banal. Burisma hired Biden and a raft of Western figures, including a former President of Poland, during a period they were trying to slide out from the taint of their pro-Russian founder, who was in exile along with the rest of the Yanukovich regime.

    For some reason, the IO planners behind all this think Hunter Biden is still a hook which can damage his father. They’re now pushing a China mine deal in Congo which involved a Hunter business, BHR Partners. Only he’s just an unpaid member of the board of BHR Partners, and far from being the decision-maker.

    • Rugger9 says:

      If only the same sort of outrage by the courtier press can be directed at the Trump spawn who demonstrated their corruption and brainless incompetence repeatedly. The latest is Jared’s playing footsie with the Saudis again, likely intending to bail DJT out of his big bill coming next year on his debt, but what will be the price Jared (and DJT) must pay? Some very unsavory possibilities come to mind.

      Hunter’s activities would be relevant if he were a “senior White House advisor” like Jared and Ivanka were but he’s not. He’s got all of the pull of Billy Carter or Eric trying to explain nuclear power.

    • Leoghann says:

      Surely the “next big thing” for the purveyors of Trumpster Information Operations is the circus Steve Bannon is already building around his contempt of congress indictment. And I’m equally sure that a few hungry reporters in the MSM will jump on his espoused outrage and hurt feelings.

      And BTW, I doubt the authorities in Ukraine care enough about the videos of Hunter’s illegal drug use to extradite him.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The courtier press needs a horse race and so bothsidesism became paramount to bang down the Ds and prop up the GQP (the latter also due to the GQP working the refs). In addition, the RWNM is the only broadcast option in much of the country (especially red states) and Sinclair Media (one of the worst) uses its leverage to the hilt with must-run segments starring Boris Epshteyn in full rant mode.

      That’s what made Chuckles’ pushback on the GQP politician so remarkable because he doesn’t usually do that (and then he didn’t follow up). It was a question about why the state couldn’t mandate vaccines but could mandate against abortion because freedom or something.

    • Silly but True says:

      It’s win-win for media: make money on views from misinformation, then make money on views about how the misinformation was misinformed.

      They just eternally hope that readers don’t ever realize the con game of the first step of the con.

      • Stephen Calhoun says:

        I’m confident the main stream media and the jumbo social media platforms would be able to adjust and align with a post-democracy/post-constitutional order should it be brought about.

  5. Theodora30 says:

    A major purveyor of the Biden Ukraine claims was Steve Bannon and his partner at the Government Accountability Institute, Peter Schweitzer. Just as he had done with the smears of the Clinton Foundation in his book “Clinton Cash” Schweitzer smears Biden with innuendo and outright falsehoods in his book “Secret Empires”. Schweitzer’s pal Jon Solomon then wrote extensively about this pseudo-scandal. As it did with the claims about the Clinton Foundation The NY Times then repeated the claims while burying the evidence against them way down in their article.

  6. Golden Boy says:

    From the start of this Hunter flap I didn’t pay attention because it was only carried by extreme right wing propaganda outlets. But out of curiosity, yesterday I read a few of the yellow journalism NYP Hunter Biden smears. The entire thread of the narratives was presumptive and highly partisan. The information was unsourced, yet presented as factual. Many dangling innuendos indirectly pointing to the current Administration were left as worrisome speculations.

    Unfortunately, our world is full of those who prefer anarchy over order, lies instead of truth, and alignment with amoral aggrandizers, grifters, the deplorable and disaffected.

    As almost everyone knows by now, the Hunter Biden smear campaign is designed to appeal to ignorant, gullible, and angry members of the Trump Cult, and to draw a reaction from their target.

    I knew there was a reason why nobody was paying attention to this. Today I found it.
    This report has provided how the smear campaign was set up, and how the players covered up their complicity, and explained away their roles.

    The sleazy Post continues to flog their false narrative and is shoulder-to-shoulder with Fox News as the main propaganda organs of the Insurrectionist Media, aka Anti-American journalism.

    • Rayne says:

      You might want to ensure that every time you refer to the “Post” that you call them the New York Post or NYPost to prevent confusion with The Washington Post or WaPo.

      Also important to note that NYPost is owned by the Murdoch family’s holding company, News Corp., same as Fox News.

      • rip says:

        “Murdoch/Libertarian Times”. Much like “Moon/Unification Times’ (Wash. Times). Seems there may be a common thread between these oligarchs.

        • Rayne says:

          Really need to have a debate in Congress about media ownership. Unfortunately we’re stuck with Murdoch thanks to News Corp’s holding company structure, but concentration is problematic.

          • Rugger9 says:

            That went by the board with the Communications Act signed by Clinton which among other things lifted the restrictions on market share in a given media zone. With the onset of the Internet I do not see as clear a path to fix this, but restoring the broadcast (including cable) constraints in media markets can’t hurt.

            • Rayne says:

              I disagree. If social media is media, we can see the damage concentration has done through platforms like Facebook after its acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram. We need a NEW Communications Act which looks at hyperconsolidation of media across multiple platforms as threats to democracy and the greater public interest.

              • Rugger9 says:

                Indeed, but how do you propose to make one size fit all cases to ensure equal protection of the laws? If there is hair-splitting it needs to have a state interest. This is a good idea but I fear the solution will be too complicated and subject to gaming the system that results.

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, no, it will rattle nothing whatsoever. There are a lot of people, including right here, that have advocated this forever. Unfortunately, there has never been a real appetite for this from either party. Here is one from early 2010. Excellent IG’s, like Glen Fine, have been begging Congress for this forever. The BoGlo editorial means nothing.

          • Eureka says:

            I think it’s the MA peeps more on the nut about that one, but who knows. You want apoplecty, look no further than carpetbagger Dr. Oz, R-“Pennsylvania (NJ)”, looking to take Toomey’s Senate seat (I already hear the box of nails rattling in prep to seal the coffin in dems chances to flip that seat). PA hasn’t had two dem senators since Arlen changed his mind for a minute there — while he was in office, and unseated in the next election, so that doesn’t even really count — and while all things are possible, this sounds like a Trump-2016-(viz. media recognition) but-instead-horseshoe campaign ’bout to unroll.

            Per Inquirer reporting, Oz has voted in the last two elections registered from a home owned by his mother-in-law in Philly metro. So the hints have been there. Just a couple of weeks ago or so there was a non-denial denial or ‘no comment’ or such about the Senate race; news today suggest an impending announcement.

            Another item in the list (and I have a long one) of What Oprah, corporatist-aided force amplifier for New Age disinformation (agents), Hath Sown.

              • Eureka says:

                Funny thing was a pollster called earlier — blown off but I wondered what they’d be fishing for. Think now (per who it was) that it was related to this.

                There’s no one in it now who beats him on name-rec, and his “positionless” (those are both scarequotes for his bullshit and suggesting metaphor) stance, experience playing a mirror to social issues/desires, and Fox-friendliness tell me his appearance on a ballot would be much worse than, say, a Ye spoiler or a Williamson Overton-mover.

                But it’s early dayz, the shitshow can get uglier than Dr. Roboto.

                • Leoghann says:

                  Matthew McConaughey announced on Sunday that he was not entering the Texas governor’s race, so it’s time for Dr. Oz. Apparently the US has developed a need for at least one Hollywood politician at all times.

                  • Eureka says:

                    The funny (as in ha-ha democracy’s dying) thing about that one is that I’d ‘heard’ about his run, then the about-face, because twitter was relentlessly pushing each as a curated topics. Alright, alright, alright!

            • Eureka says:

              Almost made this distinction yesterday, but our fav (old white guy, as he says) Rep. Bill Pascrell set the dagger: Oz is from North Jersey, which makes this a lot worse. He might’ve avoided some carpetbagger dust were he akshually even from South Jersey [N NJ = NY; S NJ = PHL (or DE); Central Jersey gets its own identity] [I didn’t make these rules.]. Also thanks in advance to Acyn and Rupar for clipping this for us tonight.

              Let the woo-poo begin:

              Bill Pascrell, Jr.: “I want to congratulate my North Jersey constituent Dr. Oz on his run for US Senate in Pennsylvania. I’m sure this fully genuine candidacy will capture the hearts of Pennsylvanians.”
              2:54 PM · Nov 30, 2021


              Jonathan Tamari: “UPDATED: Dr. Oz is expected to join the PA Senate race TONIGHT. Hannity teased a “huge announcement” from Oz this evening. [Inky link]”

            • Eureka says:

              A few items in follow-up. Absent a wholly different media and public approach than to Trump and Trumpism, even an unsuccessful candidacy will warp our discourse and relationships for the worse.

              • If you listen to his 11/30/21 announcement video*, centered on the pandemic, you’ll be sick. His bland aspersions are worse in totality than the “appetizing” “2-3%” mortality trade-off to reopen schools **mid-April 2020** clip from Fox. [Also, how fucking dumb (sensu dead wrong as an estimator of consequences) is this guy. Thin, reductionist soup makes the (likely underestimated) numbers of dead go down, but what of the florid process?] [Also, too, all the folks who can’t get their legit meds to this day would like a word for the genre of inefficacious off-label peddling and resultant maga-hoarding]. I think it’s because it causes one to imagine life going even darker than Trump et al. managed, from the lips of an accredited physician surgeon.

              • One positive: the Susquehanna Valley (Lancaster) station which airs his program is suspending it out of fairness to other candidates. Others should follow suit.


              • Reporters et al. should also call him by his first-last given name, rather than his familiar tv-titular honorific — I don’t recall other congressional (-candidate) “Drs.” being addressed as such.

              • Oz is a dual Turkish citizen, having served in Turkey’s army; also photographed with Erdogan. Competitors (and others) are focused (for now) on his intra-US carpetbagging (as it turns out, my “positionless” metaphor is multiply apt as he generally can’t be arsed to mention “Pennsylvania” — which should tell you his aims/ methods). But what will Boebert do should they share an elevator?

              More (including the part where Scott Atlas was one of the 2015 signatories disputing Oz’s appt @ Columbia, over the woo):

              Dr. Oz is running for Senate in Pennsylvania, jolting a critical campaign

              • Eureka says:

                On Turkey/Flynn partners (and more): It’s tough to evaluate some aspects of this thread (the significance/pertinence of these relationships today) without a lot more info, but folks/things Stewartson mentions are known in the evolved –> current Q/disinfo/woo-worlds:

                Jim Stewartson, Antifascist, #RIPQ 🇺🇸🏴‍☠️: “Dr. Oz is a problem. He should not have a television show much less be in the Senate. Mehmet Oz is a grifter and a long-time foreign influence op, along with his sister Seval who is connected to Mike Flynn through Flynn’s former partners Nasser Kazeminy and Bijan Kian. [screenshot of Oz re Cambridge Analytica; QRT re possible PA Senate candidacy; thread]”
                10:00 PM · Nov 9, 2021

                Some more (see replies) here:

                Jim Stewartson, Antifascist, #RIPQ 🇺🇸🏴‍☠️: “This guy cannot become a Senator Pennsylvania. Call him #DrOp”
                4:23 PM · Nov 30, 2021

                Aside, since Flynn is raised here: As previously documented in comments, several months ago Flynn had endorsed a (?formerly) Q/fraudit-circle-friendly candidate who’s now in competition with Oz for the GOP nom.


                What Is Michael Flynn’s Long Game? | The New Republic
                Is the man who wanted Donald Trump to declare martial law prepping for some American Armageddon? Or is he doing something more subtle that the press is missing entirely?
                Matt Farwell/November 29, 2021

  7. Bay State Librul says:

    Analytics be damned
    Can’t analyze hockey… too many loose pucks.
    Marchand gets three games for “slew footing” the enemy. The pest fired up the team by tripping
    a unsuspecting Vancouver Canuck. The Red Wings now favored for tomorrow’s Garden blowout

  8. DAT says:

    FWIW, I would replace just with only in your title of this piece. “Just” gestures to justice. Mr. Smith’s article does not do justice to this story. “Only” more clearly denotes his minimizing the Russian provenance of this story, as well as his ignoring your larger point, that he again refuses to grapple with the implications of his (at best) incomplete coverage of the Steele dossier for his journalism, much less the implications of this failure for journalism writ large. (Or implications for American democracy…)

  9. paulpfixion says:

    “as even Glenn Greenwald acknowledged” made my day. Lately, the best way to waste time has been to read Jeet Heer and David Neiwert dunk on gg. Knowing that he had to read this article because he was mentioned in it will make me smile all day.

  10. James Barry says:

    The Steele dossier was never presented as anything but unverified raw intelligence. There is a big difference between that and claiming the bona fides of “Hunter’s laptop”. All critiques I have read of the dossier lack comprehensive refutation, and my understanding is that much of it was found to be true – although comprehensive confirmation is also lacking. The larger picture is that it was an alarming narrative of collusion – so alarming that Steele by-passed contract hierarchy to ensure that U.S. intelligence agencies were aware that something was going on between the Trump campaign and Russia. None of that is a picture of misinformation, but is certainly one of national security. As we now know, the intelligence community was aware of theTrump/Russia connection but it was decided not to inform the public. The New York Times deliberately printed misdirection on October 31, 2016 (“FBI sees no clear link to Russia”) while putting “Hillary’s emails” front and center. Unlike our favorite journalists, Steele did his best and it is wrong to dump on him.

    • mospeck says:

      Yea, abs. agree, SD is just misunderstood raw intel improperly leaked to the West for nefarious purposes. But then it’s the Russians, hence it’s to be expected. Meanwhile, there’s no news on Navalny. king of the world mastermind vlad is using the Pentel hi-polymer eraser on the man. Just take a look at his new Newsmax magazine released! cover photo of vlad the great with his champagne glass on pause and his shiny black hundred kilobuck watch. It’s hard sitting here just waiting for Navalny to fall out of a 5th story window.
      Also it’s hard to be an old man in the modern world which seems to be changing in previously unimaginable ways. Can remember right around turning sentient back circa 1970 fourteen years old on the big yellow Catholic school bus. Mitch our good old driver would put on the AM radio and I didn’t get it then on the way in, but I get it now on the way out.

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