Friday, April 05, 2019

Be gone, Biden

So this week, Joe Biden does his video where he pretends he's going to change but leaves out any apology.  Some of us who pointed that out were considered 'rude,' clearly the video was an apology, right? No, it was not.  If you doubt it, Brett Samuels (THE HILL) reports:

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that he's not sorry for his past actions that some women have said made them uncomfortable, but that he's sorry he didn't understand more at the time.
“The fact of the matter is I made it clear that if I made anyone feel [uncomfortable], I feel badly about that. It was never my intention. Ever," Biden said.
Asked again if he was sorry, Biden did not apologize for his actions.

Why are we even considering Joe anymore?  He's not worth it.  He's got too much baggage.  He's an awful politician.  Gloria Steinam can whore all she wants but Joe is not a feminist hero.  He has worked overtime to curtail access to abortion throughout his career.  As a White woman who doesn't consider the needs of others, Gloria may not grasp it but when abortion rights are curtailed, it impacts women with financial hardships and women with access issues.  This burden will fall heavier on women of color and with special needs.  Joe's actions have hurt women and let's not all rush to whore like Gloria Steinem.  I really wish that woman had shut her mouth long ago.  All she did was weaken feminism and enforce victim feminism.  Real women, the Redstockings for example, fought.  Gloria basically curled into a fetal position basically and whined.   She didn't advance anything as a 'leader' but she did oversee the tamping down of the movement.  She really needs to vanish.

Max Berger (GUARDIAN) rightly argues Joe is the wrong person to be the 2020 candidate:

This week, at least five women have come forward to accuse Joe Biden of inappropriately touching them in public spaces. (The first was Lucy Flores in a heartfelt article in New York magazine.) In response, Biden put out a two-minute video that didn’t include an apology. Instead, his team put out a “bat signal” to Democratic elites and allies to come forward and defend him. At a moment when working-class women of color are finally getting space in mainstream politics to speak their truth, the Democratic party should be realigning to put their concerns front and center. Throughout his career, Biden has done the opposite.
In 2020, many Democrats are looking for an electable candidate who can defeat Trump. But electability isn’t about moderation; it’s about motivation. The election will not be decided by “swing voters” who are unsure about whether they should vote for Trump or a Democrat. It will be decided by “marginal voters” – people who will vote for Democrats if they’re motivated to vote at all. Democrats need to choose a nominee who gives young people, single women, and people of color a reason to show up. It would be hard for Democrats to find a presidential candidate that’s more out of touch with these voters than Biden.
Biden has a lot to apologize for beyond the way he’s treated women. He’s been wrong about almost every major issue over the past 40 years. Instead of apologizing for the ways he’s harmed people over the course of his career, his re-entry into presidential politics has shown how little he’s learned.
In an era of #MeToo, there is no reason for Democrats to choose an old white man who does not understand boundaries and has not apologized to the women he has hurt as our presidential nominee. Since entering the race, he adopted the passive voice to offer a non-apology for the way Anita Hill was treated by the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where we served as chairman. He said: “She faced a committee that didn’t fully understand what the hell this was all about. To this day, I regret I couldn’t give her the kind of hearing she deserved. I wish I could have done something.”

Friday’s Biden is classic Biden — an act-from-the-gut guy who says what he feels and racks up the gaffes in the process. As my colleague Aaron Blake pointed out, Biden didn’t even apologize Wednesday in the video he released. He framed himself as the victim of changing social norms.
But he did play to his strengths in that video: He reminded people he’s folksy, he’s real, he’s not a politician. It won over some advocates, such as former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, an influencer in the Democratic Party and a potential presidential candidate herself. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also backed Biden.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
The video, though, was a rehearsed moment. The real test was how Biden would act later, when “the setting is not as controlled,” as progressive activist Rebecca Katz told Politico. That test came Friday. And Biden failed it.

It’s a microcosm of why Biden has struggled in the past to run for president, and he is going to have trouble putting this controversy behind him as he launches another bid. Biden seems to think he’s the best person for the jobbecause he is who he is. He has no intention of changing that.

Be gone, Biden, we will have no more of thee.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, April 5, 2019.  The conversation will happen -- no matter who tries to throw up roadblocks (yes, Gloria, we mean you).  This moment of reckoning has been a long time coming and Joe's paternalism on women isn't that different (or oppressive) from his paternalism on Iraq.

Once spent time talking 2 Joe Biden In His Office.I asked Point- ed Questions. As Time Passed I Found Him Forthright,Kind,& Smart. At Meetings End He Walked Me 2 The🚪&Gave Me A HUG.I Was Fine With It,But That,Was”MY”Experience.HE MUST COMMIT 2 B”AWARE,& CARE”ABOUT WOMENS SPACE”

Cher is an independent actor with her own agency.  She will speak her truth.  Gloria Steinem -- a woman who nudged Betty Friedan out of leadership because Betty was "too old" at 50 and "too out of touch" -- is no independent actor -- as she's spent a lifetime demonstrating.  A lifetime?  She's 85.  And what's she done this week for women?  Damn little as usual.  From the ASSOCIATED PRESS:

Gloria Steinem also had understanding words for Biden, saying in an email to The Associated Press that "I think women are more than smart enough to know that a) Joe Biden is who he is and hugs everybody, b) this was minor compared to most sexual harassment." But the feminist leader immediately added: "We all need to get to a place where bodies are private property and not to be touched without permission."

That is pathetic.  She's not a leader of the women's movement.  Whether, like Betty Friedan, you see her as a tool of the CIA -- Wait, let's back up.   Gloria defending the CIA and her time in it in the clip below . . .

She's lucky the internet didn't exist when Redstockings raised their questions about her in the early seventies or she would not have had a career.  Lucky for her that her friends -- alleged feminists -- used gender stereotypes to smear Kathie Sarachild.  Redstockings included Ellen Willis and -- if you're asking who -- you may be a MS. magazine reader because they ignored Ellen's passing and Ellen's history -- she was a very important writer.  Speak out against the ditzy queen Gloria and that's it for you.

Was Gloria an intentional menace to the women's movement?  Who knows?  But you can read Germaine Greer's "McGovern, the big tease" (Harper's October 1972) and Veronica Geng's "Requiem for the women's movement" (Harper's November 1976) and discover how Gloria worked to dismantle support for abortion rights.  Maybe it's just that she's such a weak ass compromiser herself that explains why she's been inept and embarrassing.

She's 85-years-old and young people -- women and men -- are trying to have a discussion about abuse of power and Gloria rushes in to insist that Joe's actions are "minor" and that "Biden is who he is and hugs everybody."

Did the CIA use Gloria to weaken the women's movement?  We can debate that forever and a day [and you can read "Why Gloria Steinem's CIA past still matters (Ava and C.I.)]" but Gloria did weaken the women's movement.  And no feminist should be sleeping with Henry Kissinger which Gloria did during the Nixon days.  Gloria doesn't call out the CIA and she doesn't call out War Criminal Kissinger.  Even with the new fake hair covering some of her bald spots, Gloria's still an embarrassment (and a plastic surgery addict)  (are we still pretending all these years of cosmetic surgery were for your upper eyelids interfering with your ability to wear contacts, dear?).  And she should have stepped aside long ago.

The country doesn't need a weak ass, self-appointed leader.  Gloria's aged out of any importance and her final chapter is public embarrassment (such as her public hissy fit in 2016 when THE NEW YORK TIMES noted "Gloria Steinem started her career as a CIA operative . . .").

Joe Biden's actions are being seriously looked at -- finally.  And Gloria rushes in -- as fast as an 85-year-old can rush in -- to insist that boys will be boys.

That's how the bitch is going out?  She's gotta die soon and, sadly, that's the only thing that will remove her from the leadership post no feminist voted her into.  Boys bill be boys.  Biden does it to everyone.

She's not helping young women.  Is that really a surprise though?  It was 2016, right, when she was slamming young women as being too stupid to vote their own interests, or have we forgotten that as well?

Gloria is destructive and should not be seen as a feminist leader.

Cher, who wants just to be Cher, not to be anyone's leader, will shoot from the hip and that's why, often, some White feminists of a certain type get angry with Cher.

Right now is a reckoning and Cher chose to stand with those who are calling for change while Gloria chose to minimize what 'Uncle Joe' did.

Here's Rebecca Traister on PBS' THE NEWSHOUR this week on the topic of Joe Biden:

  • Rebecca Traister:
    Well, I do think that especially the final part about acknowledging that norms are changing and that he's engaged in this conversation is what he needed to say, but he did need to say it five days ago, and really 20 years ago, 10 years ago, two years ago.
    He's billed himself of late as somebody who's very interested in these issues. He's involved with It's On Us, talking about issues around changing norms around gender and power. And yet he was very slow to respond with what he needed to say.
    And what he doesn't address in this statement is the degree to which norms are also changing around the role — the paternalism of that kind of touching is also reflected in his policy record. He's been in power for 40 years in the Senate — or 30 years in the Senate and then as vice president.
    And he has also had a sort of paternalistic role in his positions on abortion, reproductive health, his role as the head of the Judiciary in the Anita Hill hearings. He's had — he needs to address a lot about what has shifted in our politics and norms and our ideas about gender and power.
Let's note one more section where Rebecca spoke:

Well, again, I would emphasize, listen to the people who are telling you. They're describing the experiences of feeling like their boundaries are being violated.
But also look to the power imbalances, because so much of what enables behavior is not just harassment and not — this is obviously — when we're talking about Biden, we're not talking about any kind of violent assault — but what enables sexism, the sort of diminishment, you know, in another category, racism.
It's unequal power distribution. And when you look at politics, when you look at businesses, what you see is a lot of power that's been in the hands of men, and for a long time in the hands of white men. And part of the criticism here isn't just about saying individual people did something bad.
It's actually a critique of the way that the system has distributed power unequally, and that some people have been in a position to have access to women's bodies or to make the rules, to make the norms around their preferences and their ideas.
And as some of the people who have had less power are gaining a voice and saying, actually, that hasn't — that makes me uncomfortable, I feel like I have been denied an equal share of this power, I have been being denied respect and a hearing, I think that's a bigger critique that we're talking about, is saying, let's change some of the structural dynamics that have put so much power into the hands of certain kinds of people for so long in so many realms.

I know Joe and we were going to have to cover this topic for that reason alone (this site doesn't exist to protect my faves).  But as I have noted throughout the week, this is a conversation that is much larger at the campuses we've been speaking on.  The students see this as a very serious issue and they see it as an abuse of power.  This is not minor and I'm very glad for those who have shared with me this week because I'd hate to sound as idiotic and out of touch as Gloria Steinem does.

This conversation needs to take place. And Cher gets it even if 'sainted' Gloria doesn't.  As Molly Roberts observed this week (WASHINGTON POST via PRESS HERALD):

Joe Biden has been able to go his whole life just being Joe Biden, and not worrying too much about how other people react to that. Sure, that has led to a few gaffes, but otherwise his authenticity has been a selling point. As long as he means well, the consensus has been, all is well. That’s a radical luxury. It’s certainly one women are rarely able to afford. And it’s why Biden’s incessant touching, while public for years, has until now been little more than a punch line.

Joe supported the Iraq War as a US senator.  As vice president, he oversaw US operations in Iraq.  Barack Obama appointed him to that role.  He brought the same paternalistic approach to Iraq that he did to women.  And it hurt Iraq.  Joe does not know best.

As we witness the final moments of the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria, we in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have been welcoming back Yezidis, who by some miracle survived the genocide and escaped the terror group’s last wretched days in Baghouz, Syria. For the people of the region, the liberation of the last territory held by this perverse death cult is a welcomed milestone.

But this is not really an end, just the beginning of the next phase of our war against terrorism. If we are to win the post-caliphate peace in Iraq, we will need the full diplomatic and military support of the United States and its partners.

et's again note the August 2015 broadcast of Kevin Sylvester's THIS SUNDAY EDITION (CBC) which featured Emma Sky discussing Iraq:

Emma Sky: And that [2010] national election was a very closely contested election. Iraqis of all persuasions and stripes went out to participate in that election.  They'd become convinced that politics was the way forward, that they could achieve what they wanted through politics and not violence.  To people who had previously been insurgents, people who'd not voted before turned out in large numbers to vote in that election.  And during that election, the incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki, lost by 2 seats.  And the bloc that won was a bloc called Iraqiya led by Ayad Allawi which campaigned on "NO" to sectarianism, really trying to move beyond this horrible sectarian fighting -- an Iraq for Iraqis and no sectarianism.  And that message had attracted most of the Sunnis, a lot of the secular Shia and minority groups as well.

Kevin Sylvester:  People who felt they'd been shut out during Maliki's regime basically -- or his governance.

Emma Sky:  Yes, people that felt, you know, that they wanted to be part of the country called Iraq not -- they wanted to be this, they wanted Iraq to be the focus and not sect or ethnicity to be the focus.  And Maliki refused to accept the results.  He just said, "It is not right."  He wanted a recount.  He tried to use de-Ba'athification to eliminate or disqualify some Iraqiya members and take away the votes that they had gained.  And he just sat in his seat and sat in his seat.  And it became a real sort of internal disagreement within the US system about what to do?  So my boss, Gen [Ray] Odierno, was adamant that the US should uphold the Constitutional process, protect the political process, allow the winning group to have first go at trying to form the government for thirty days.  And he didn't think Allawi would be able to do it with himself as prime minister but he thought if you start the process they could reach agreement between Allawi and Maliki or a third candidate might appear who could become the new prime minister. So that was his recommendation.

Kevin Sylvester:   Well he even calls [US Vice President Joe] Biden -- Biden seems to suggest that that's what the administration will support and then they do a complete switch around.  What happened?

Emma Sky:  Well the ambassador at the time was a guy who hadn't got experience of the region, he was new in Iraq and didn't really want to be there.  He didn't have the same feel for the country as the general who'd been there for year after year after year.

Kevin Sylvester:  Chris Hill.

Emma Sky:  And he had, for him, you know 'Iraq needs a Shia strongman. Maliki's our man.  Maliki's our friend.  Maliki will give us a follow on security agreement to keep troops in country.'  So it looks as if Biden's listening to these two recommendations and that at the end Biden went along with the Ambassador's recommendation.  And the problem -- well a number of problems -- but nobody wanted Maliki.  People were very fearful that he was becoming a dictator, that he was sectarian, that he was divisive. And the elites had tried to remove him through votes of no confidence in previous years and the US had stepped in each time and said, "Look, this is not the time, do it through a national election."  So they had a national election, Maliki lost and they were really convinced they'd be able to get rid of him.  So when Biden made clear that the US position was to keep Maliki as prime minister, this caused a huge upset with Iraqiya.  They began to fear that America was plotting with Iran in secret agreement.  So they moved further and further and further away from being able to reach a compromise with Maliki.  And no matter how much pressure the Americans put on Iraqiya, they weren't going to agree to Maliki as prime minister and provided this opening to Iran because Iran's influence was way low at this stage because America -- America was credited with ending the civil war through the 'surge.'  But Iran sensed an opportunity and the Iranians pressured Moqtada al-Sadr -- and they pressured him and pressured him.  And he hated Maliki but they put so much pressure on to agree to a second Maliki term and the price for that was all American troops out of the country by the end of 2011.  So during this period, Americans got outplayed by Iran and Maliki moved very much over to the Iranian camp because they'd guaranteed his second term.

Kevin Sylvester:  Should-should the Obama administration been paying more attention?  Should they have -- You know, you talk about Chris Hill, the ambassador you mentioned, seemed more -- at one point, you describe him being more interested in putting green lawn turf down on the Embassy in order to play la crosse or something.  This is a guy you definitely paint as not having his head in Iraq.  How much of what has happened since then is at the fault of the Obama administration?  Hillary Clinton who put Chris Hill in place? [For the record, Barack Obama nominated Chris Hill for the post -- and the Senate confirmed it -- not Hillary.]  How much of what happens -- has happened since -- is at their feet?

Emma Sky:  Well, you know, I think they have to take some responsibility for this because of this mistake made in 2010.  And Hillary Clinton wasn't very much involved in Iraq.  She did appoint the ambassador but she wasn't involved in Iraq because President Obama had designated Biden to be his point-man on Iraq and Biden really didn't have the instinct for Iraq. He very much believed in ancient hatreds, it's in your blood, you just grow up hating each other and you think if there was anybody who would have actually understood Iraq it would have been Obama himself.  You know, he understands identity more than many people.  He understands multiple identities and how identities can change.  He understands the potential of people to change. So he's got quite a different world view from somebody like Joe Biden who's always, you know, "My grandfather was Irish and hated the British.  That's how things are."  So it is unfortunate that when the American public had enough of this war, they wanted to end the war.  For me, it wasn't so much about the troops leaving, it was the politics -- the poisonous politics.  And keeping Maliki in power when his poisonous politics were already evident was, for me, the huge mistake the Obama administration made. Because what Maliki did in his second term was to go after his rivals.  He was determined he was never going to lose an election again.  So he accused leading Sunni politicians of terrorism and pushed them out of the political process.  He reneged on his promises that he'd made to the tribal leaders who had fought against al Qaeda in Iraq during the surge. [She's referring to Sahwa, also known as Sons of Iraq and Daughters of Iraq and as Awakenings.]  He didn't pay them.  He subverted the judiciary.  And just ended up causing these mass Sunni protests that created the environment that the Islamic State could rear its ugly head and say, "Hey!"  And sadly -- and tragically, many Sunnis thought, "Maybe the Islamic State is better than Maliki."  And you've got to be pretty bad for people to think the Islamic State's better. 

Emma Sky is the author of THE UNRAVELING: HIGH HOPES AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN IRAQ.  Joe has a lot to answer for if he wants to run for president.
On that run, our own Rebecca observed at her site:
there is 1 and only 1 reason that joe biden should run for the democratic party's presidential nomination ...

so, during a democratic presidential debate, we could see a woman slap the s**t out of him onstage.

would it be tulsi?  elizabeth?  kirsten? amy? marianne? kamala?

whomever it would be, it would be a tv moment.

you know joe won't be able to keep his hands off them.  in the middle of answering a question about deficit spending, he'll probably be wandering over to 1 of them.

i hope it's kirsten only because i bet she'd punch.  i don't think she'd slap.  i bet she'd punch right in the face and knock him out.

and after that?  the presidency is hers - you knock out the former v.p., i think they have to give you the white house.

go, kirsten!!!!

Survivors of campus sexual assault have shown extraordinary bravery by sharing their stories, demanding change, and leading a national movement to end this scourge at our colleges and universities. We should honor their bravery with action.
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