Thursday, May 07, 2020

Sam Smith's upcoming album

I agree with Kat's "The chickens who won't release music right now" from last night.  Sam Smith (and others) should have released planned albums.  Sam was supposed to release TO DIE FOR and now the album's been pushed back to who knows when and the title will be changed.

This is a mistake.  Fiona Apple has released an acclaimed album and that could be the same for Sam.

I love "To Die For."

This is an amazing song.  He sings it perfectly.  But I was listening today at lunch to it and the lyrics are just so amazing.  Sam co-wrote the song and this indicates that the album is a huge artistic breakthrough for him.

I look for you
Every day
Every night
I close my eyes
From the fear
From the light
As I wander down the avenue so confused
Guess I'll try and force a smile

Pink lemonade sipping on a Sunday
Couples holding hands on a runway
They're all posing in a picture frame whilst my world's crashing down
Solo shadow on a sidewalk
Just want somebody to die for
Sunshine living on a perfect day whilst my world's crashing down
I just want somebody to die for

If this is typical of what else is on the album, Sam needs to release it immediately.  What is a huge step right now might not come across as such in a month or two when everyone's ready to release the albums that they've been holding back.

I'd be much more concerned that a strong album would get buried in an avalanche of releases.  Sam's album could be amazing and, if it is, it needs to stand out.  It could get serious critical attention if it came out right now.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, May 7, 2020.  Iraq has a new prime minister while the United States still has its Joe Biden problem.

"I believe Tara Reade, yes I do," Lucy Flores told PLANET AMERICA (Australia's ABC).  Tara has stated Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993.  And the mainstream media has largely ignored the story.  Kelly McBride weighed in with her conclusions on why NPR waited forever to cover the story.  The media's reluctance to cover it has allowed some like hypocrite Alyssa Milano to argue that the claims must not be true because the press isn't covering them and it allowed the attacker -- and his attack squad -- to set the terms of the conversation.  Why?  The people who set the terms of the conversation are people who experts in the topic.  Twitter is full of Tucker Carlson's applying 'standards' that are not standards.  As we noted yesterday,  it was C-SPAN that brought on RAINN's (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) vice president Heather Drevna.

Heather Drevna: What I can say is we shouldn't dismiss someone's allegations of assault merely because their story has changed or what they have told audiences has differed at times.  You need to take into account her explanation for why the details she described last year don't all match what she's alleging now, why the complaint might not match what she's alleging now.  You also need to take into account that she told some friends and family members at the time of the alleged assault.  It's not unusual for a survivor to take years to process the trauma that they have experienced and just because they've not come forward publicly immediately after events may have occurred doesn't mean that they did not happen. 

C-SPAN, not CNN.  Not CBS.  Not PBS.  Not NPR.  Not . . .

Survivors are being smeared by idiots who know nothing about the topic.

Reade’s case is made stronger than Ford’s by the existence of corroborating witnesses. Her mother called into a television show hosted by Larry King in 1993 to say her daughter had problems with a prominent senator. Reade’s brother as well as a former neighbour named Lynda LaCasse, a committed Democrat and Biden supporter, recall having been told about the assault not long after it happened. Given these facts, it would be hypocritical for those who condemned the judge to maintain their support for the senator, a fact that Fox News and right-wing media are likely to highlight incessantly in the six months leading up to the presidential election.

Biden is a thoroughly mediocre candidate. He underperformed in previous runs for president, has articulated no vision for change, seems unable to open his mouth without making a gaffe, and looks aged and unsteady. His closest competitor in the primaries, Bernie Sanders, a year older at 78 and recovering from a heart attack, came across as a bundle of energy in comparison. Democrats turned to Biden because he was well-known and well-liked, a safe pair of hands, their best bet against the existential threat represented by Donald Trump. Those hands now look far from safe.

If you offered America nothing but "I'm electable" and then it really becomes obvious that maybe you're not, what do you have to offer?  Not much.  Chris Kahn (INDEPENDENT) explains:

Democratic hopeful Joe Biden's advantage over US President Donald Trump in popular support has eroded in recent weeks.
Mr Biden seems to be paying a heavy price for a lack of visibility with voters during the pandemic, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The opinion poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that 43pc of registered voters said they would support Mr Biden in the November 3 presidential election, while 41pc said they would back Mr Trump.
Mr Biden led by six percentage points in a similar poll last week and by eight points in a poll that ran from April 15-21.

Democrat Rebecca Parsons is running for the US House of Representatives in Washington's sixth district.  She Tweets:

#JoeBiden must withdraw. #TaraReade's allegation is part of a pattern of behavior. 7 other women have accused Biden of inappropriate touching. He's on video invading the space of women and girls. We MUST defeat Trump. We do that by defending our moral standards. #BidenDropOut

Rebecca Parsons is not alone.  Holly Otterbien (POLITICO) reports:

Jess Scarane is campaigning for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat with a striking message for a Delaware Democrat: She believes his accuser, Tara Reade.
Scarane, who said she is a victim of sexual assault, tweeted in March that when she listened to Reade talk about her claims, “the assault I experienced as a teen at my first job came rushing back. She was telling my story, too. Almost word for word.” She has called on Chris Coons, the incumbent she is trying to oust and a top Biden ally, to support an investigation.
“I debated sending the tweet that I first did, probably for hours,” she told POLITICO. “Because I was not only exposing my own story, but I think there’s still a lot of fear and potential ramifications by just saying this deserves to be taken seriously.” 
Scarane is one of more than a half-dozen progressive House and Senate challengers — almost all of them millennials — who have said publicly that they believe Reade’s claim that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she worked as his Senate aide or otherwise spoke out in support of her. Though most are long-shot candidates with limited resources, their remarks could stoke division at a time when Biden is trying to unite the party’s warring factions. Their stance also risks exposing a rift between some younger and older Democrats as Biden works to strengthen his position as the Democratic nominee.

There is another strand, however, those who pretend to support survivors until one of their own are accused.  This craven group then falls silent.  Ingrid Jaques (DETROIT NEWS) reports:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer once wrote, “Sexual harassment is not a partisan issue and is unacceptable no matter who does it.”
That comment, from a November 2017 tweet before Whitmer became governor, has since been deleted from her personal Twitter account. 

And so has the sentiment behind it, apparently. 
While Whitmer has had no problem calling out sexual harassment and assault when a Republican’s reputation was at stake, she isn't concerned when the alleged bad behavior is exhibited by Joe Biden, who is eyeing Whitmer as a contender for his running mate. 

Gretch The Wretch is damaging her own political career.  Violet Ikonomova (DEADLINE DETROIT) notes:

  Whitmer’s statements are consistent with a set of talking points circulated by the Biden campaign to surrogates, which incorrectly cite an inconclusive New York Times investigation as proof “this incident did not happen.”
Survivors and advocates have taken issue with Whitmer’s response, calling it a politically convenient rush to judgment that undercuts the #metoo movement. The case is not closed, they argue, noting that media outlets continue to uncover more information and documents that could shed light on what happened have not been made public.
“I think to see any person who comes forward diminished is a disservice to every single victim who’s still holding onto their story and future victims who should be able to tell their story,” said Huff, who says she was raped more than a decade ago but never named her assailant because he was well-respected and she feared no one would believe her. “When people ask why victims don’t come forward, Whitmer’s response is why.”
It’s a sharp contrast from the way in which Whitmer was received seven years ago when, during a speech on the floor of the state Senate, she shared that she’d been raped as a college student. Whitmer’s goal at the time was to “put a face” on the people who would be affected by a controversial bill to ban private insurance plans from covering abortion. She didn’t succeed in changing any votes, but she has said her words did encourage more women to come forward with their own stories.
Whitmer has since become somewhat of a local face for the #metoo movement, speaking out on sexual harassment at the state Capitol and quickly ousting a former campaign manager who’d been accused of “inappropriate behavior” with former co-workers. Last year, she concluded her speech at a campus sex assault symposium at Eastern Michigan University with this message for survivors: “I see you, I hear you, I believe you … I carry you in my heart every day, and I’ll never stop fighting for you.”
Huff and two other survivors with whom Deadline Detroit spoke said they felt Whitmer should have stayed silent or called for a more robust investigation before shooting down Reade’s claim.

“For her to just say I don’t believe her, that’s a slap in the face to women in general,” said Nicole Reid, 35, of Port Huron. “Would she have believed me? Would we have believed her? Would she have wanted someone to believe her?”

People are calling out Gretch The Wretch's inconsistencies.  And while she refuses to believe Tara Reade, it should be pointed out that there are many who are noting that her own story remains very short on details.  The doubt she's raising about Tara?  It's creating doubts about her own claim -- a claim she used to rise to fame and political prominence.  You reap what you sow.

Turning to Iraq, THE WEEK notes:

Early Thursday, Iraq's Parliament selected Mustafa al-Kadhimi to serve as the country's new prime minister. Iraqi officials have said the 53-year-old former intelligence chief is acceptable to both the United States and Iran, The New York Times reports. Iraq has been without a prime minister since late last year, when Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned amid anti-government protests; he has been leading a caretaker government. Kadhimi has already met with protesters, taking a different approach from the previous government, which at times used the military against demonstrators. In addition to social unrest, Kadhimi will also have to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which has locked down Iraq, as well as historically low oil and gas revenues.

Iraq has been searching for a new prime minister for six months now.  The most recent prime minister had been forced out back in November but remained in the post in a 'care taking' role. Mustafa is the third person to be named prime minister-designate during this period.  Ahmed Rasheed and John Davison (REUTERS) note, "Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s intelligence chief and a former journalist, will head the new government. He will begin his term without a full Cabinet, however, after several ministerial candidates were rejected."  What they fail to note?

For starters, to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister, the Iraqi Constitution calls for only one thing: the creation of a cabinet.  Not a partial one.  The Cabinet requirement is supposed to show that the designate can govern.  The ability to form the Cabinet demonstrates that the designate can work with Iraq's various political blocs.

Thus far, the Constitution has not been followed.  That's one of the many reasons that Iraq does not progress -- the government is repeatedly headed by someone who can't even form a Cabinet that gets Parliament approval.

At this point, there are 22 ministers in the Cabinet -- 22 positions.  This number can -- and often does -- change.  How many positions was Mustafa able to fill?  15.

The following sites updated:


Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Who will make Joe Biden answer the tough questions?

Erik Wemple wants someone to "make him do it" -- make Joe answer tough questions ("It is his job to answer tough questions").

I'm not sure who that's aimed at.  I assume the media.  They are the ones who have babied Joe. 

Joe's a rapist.  I'm not a hypocrite so there's no "but I'll vote for him" after that sentence.

Joe's a rapist.  Period.

I am appalled by women self-identifying as feminist and then saying that they're going to vote for Joe even though they belive Tara.  That's outrageous.  You're victimizing the survivor with that crap.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, May 6, 2020.  C-SPAN provides the perspective the news industry ignores -- just like they ignore the seventh death of a US service member in Iraq this year.

RAINN is the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.  C-SPAN's WASHINGTON JOURNAL is apparently the only one that can actually do news.  Heather Drevna is the vice president of RAINN.

Heather Drevna: What I can say is we shouldn't dismiss someone's allegations of assault merely because their story has changed or what they have told audiences has differed at times.  You need to take into account her explanation for why the details she described last year don't all match what she's alleging now, why the complaint might not match what she's alleging now.  You also need to take into account that she told some friends and family members at the time of the alleged assault.  It's not unusual for a survivor to take years to process the trauma that they have experienced and just because they've not come forward publicly immediately after events may have occurred doesn't mean that they did not happen. 

MSNBC trash who helped sell the illegal Iraq War and who tried to prevent marriage equality presented herself as an expert and tried to shame Tara Reade.  Tara is the woman who has come forward to accuse Joe Biden of assault.

As Rebecca noted ("bob somerby is extra creepy") trash is gearing up their attacks on Tara.  Bob Somerby is not anyone who needs to weigh in.  Though he fancies himself a psychologist, the reality is that he's not.  The reality is that he was part of the squad attacking 'bimbos' to protect Bill Clinton.  The reality is that he has smeared and attacked every woman who came forward to discuss assault or harassment or even consensual sex with/by Bill Clinton.  He's a sexist and that's just reality.  As we've long noted, Thomas Friedman or any other man can lie or whatever and it's a slap on the wrist but Bob goes on a tear -- like a man who beats a woman -- when he's going after Katharine Q. Seeley or any other woman.  He rips Maureen Dowd apart without even knowing her work, for example.  At one point, he was slamming her for not criticizing Condi Rice (this was when Barack was president) when, in fact, Maureen had repeatedly called out Rice.  He also has creepy friends including the one who tried to stalk Rebecca.

He and others are being exposed as the true idiots that they are.  They look like the ridiculous women in COMING HOME who don't want to hear Jane Fonda's Sally talk about what the wounded veterans need.  They think they're informed and caring but they're really just ignorant and harmful.

They know nothing about assault and they just know how to attack.

Martin Tolchin is the perfect example.  He wrote a letter to THE NEW YORK TIMES insisting he didn't care and it didn't matter and he just wants to see Joe Biden's coronation.  Tolchin's letter shouldn't have been published but because the man is a journalist, it got printed.

Alex Salvi Tweets:

Martin Tolchin—a man the NYT says is a Politico co-founder—says he doesn’t want an investigation into Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Biden because it could hurt his candidacy. Politico denies he is a co-founder, but he is listed as “helping launch” the outlet.

Martin is 91 years old.  He was born in September 20, 1928.  He is your typical Biden supporter.  Elderly.  Grew up when racism, homophobia and sexism were the norm.  An old idiot who honestly should grasp that the world has moved on.  Are we at all surprised that a man who has benefited from the privilege of his race and his gender and his perceived sexuality would be set in his ways and see as a threat any move towards equality?  No.  We're not at all surprised.

As Lyta Gold (CURRENT AFFAIRS) concludes:

When a woman accuses a powerful man of sexual assault or harassment, most people will choose to defend the man. It’s easier, and it’s safer politically, especially if the man is perceived to be a member of the “team.” It’s amazing how many women are willing to be handmaidens of patriarchy, and it’s amazing how many women are even willing to do that while calling themselves feminists, and even heading ostensibly feminist organizations! But words have meanings; events are things that occurred. No truth is incontrovertible but plenty are damned likely. And if, like former prosecutor Michael J. Stern, you don’t have anything sensitive or intelligent or constructive to say about a rape inquiry, you could try just shutting the f**k up.

Last Friday, Joe went on MSNBC and declared the papers were at the National Archives and that he would not allow anyone to go through his personal papers at the University of Delaware.  Joe was lying.  (Misdirecting, as Kat noted.)  As Marcia pointed out, somehow Joe's lie is 'proof' against Tara according to sexist trash like John Aravosis.   No, it doesn't make sense.  R, Cort Kirkwood (NEW AMERICAN) notes:

Biden suggested opening his files in last week’s official denial of Reade’s sex-assault allegation.
After almost a month of dithering, Biden finally published a statement at, most of which told readers that he — like diamonds — is a girl’s best friend.
After writing that Reade’s claims “aren’t true” and that the assault “never happened,” Biden offered this idea:
There is a clear, critical part of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills.
There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be — the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.
Biden said likewise when he sat for an interview with Mika Brzezinski on Friday.
But Biden was wrong, the National Archives told ABC News: “Any records of Senate personnel complaints from 1993 would have remained under the control of the Senate. Accordingly, inquiries related to these records should be directed to the Senate.”
That sent Biden to Julie Adams, secretary of the Senate, to request “assistance in determining whether 27 years ago a staff member in my United States Senate office filed a complaint alleging sexual harassment.”
Not gonna happen.
Yesterday, Adams explained why: The “Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information” because the law forbids it.
The Secretary’s Office was advised by Senate Legal Counsel that disclosing the existence of such specific records would amount to a prohibited disclosure under the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991. Furthermore, we are not aware of any exceptions in law authorizing our office to disclose any such records that do exist, if any, even to original participants in a matter.
Believing that Biden, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was ignorant of the law on those two points is tough.

That aside, given that he and the University of Delaware have said records stored there are closed for the foreseeable future, voters can’t find out before Election Day whom to believe.

Farron Cousins (RING OF FIRE) takes on Joe's nonsense below.

At TEEN VOGUE, Jaclyn Freidman points out:

Whenever a woman dares to speak up about sexual violence, especially when the man who hurt her is powerful or beloved, this bad-faith “we can’t believe ALL women” backlash washes over us. We hear so much support for women and recognition of the abuse we endure when it’s conceptual, like all the people who say they support the #MeToo movement. When those same people are faced with a specific woman with a story to tell about a man they admire, that support evaporates fast, replaced with a lot of legalistic talk. But the court of public opinion isn’t an actual court. Personally believing a woman doesn’t violate a man’s rights. No one is due a presumption of innocence when it comes to what we individually believe, and if they are, why aren’t women ever afforded that presumption? Why are we always searching for reasons a man can’t possibly have harmed anyone, and reasons the woman in question is lying? Why not the other way around?

Nathaniel Cline (LOUDOUN TIMES) reports:

Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.-10th) says the sexual assault allegation against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should be investigated.
Wexton, who endorsed Biden in March, said “women deserve to be heard and taken seriously” when they come forward about sexual assault.
[. . .]
“The standard by which we address any allegations should never be dependent on who is involved or their political affiliation,” Wexton said in a prepared statement provided to the Times-Mirror. “These claims should be investigated and thoroughly reviewed, especially when a candidate for elected office is involved.”

In other news, Sgt. Christopher Wesley Curry.  Why haven't the media reported on him.  Or on the six other US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of this year?  Matthew Cox (MILITARY.COM) reports:

Curry joined 3rd Battalion's Charlie Company in April 2019, and his technical expertise was an asset to the unit, Lt. Col. Jimmy Howell, 3-21 Infantry commander, said in the release.

"Sgt. Curry's incessant optimism was the hallmark of his personality, and often provided respite for others during times of stress," Howell said. "His honesty, light heartedness, and wit will always be remembered by his brothers in arms. His loss is being felt immensely by Charlie Company, 3-21 Infantry, and the 1/25th SBCT. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to one of our own."


Sgt. Christopher Wesley Curry, a 23-year-old soldier from Terre Haute, Ind., died Monday in a noncombat related incident in Irbil, Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

The following sites updated:

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Joe Biden's real history

Susan Matthews (SLATE) notes Joe Biden's MSNBC denial that he assaulted Tara Reade:

But there’s a difference between forceful and convincing. When it comes to the nominee for president, you want someone who can go beyond saying “I didn’t do this” multiple times, to face the most unfavorable of the evidence and give a believable account of what it means. Ideally, you might even want someone who could speak cogently and intelligently about the complications and difficulties of where we currently are in #MeToo, even someone who could provide a path forward for where we ought to go next.
That, obviously, is not Joe Biden. It’s worthwhile to dig into the talking points he was using to form the argument for his innocence, because it shows just how far Joe Biden is from being that person.
The bulk of his argument is a matter of misdirection, or category error: Joe Biden couldn’t have done this, because he is an advocate of women. The proof is found in how he’s behaved in public during a particular stretch of time, whose dates were established by Joe Biden. He started doing this kind of pro-women work “over 25 years ago,” the statement notes repeatedly—an oddly chosen time frame for a 77-year-old whose political career began nearly 50 years ago. But starting in 1994, when the Violence Against Women Act was passed, is much easier for Biden than starting in, say, 1991, when he bungled the Anita Hill hearings. 
   And, more relevantly, the 25-year window does not reach back to 1993, when Biden’s then-interns recall Tara Reade being abruptly removed from her duties as their supervisor, and when Reade’s mother phoned in to Larry King Live to say her daughter had been mistreated by a prominent senator. People may have strong reasons to want to believe Biden’s flat declaration that “it didn’t happen,” but if Biden didn’t reach his fingers up her skirt, what did happen then?

This non-engagement is what feels patently bizarre about Biden’s response: It creates the sense that he is about 10 feet away from everything that is actually happening. My colleague Lili Loofbourow has been writing about this peculiar quality of Biden’s, the way in which he just kind of seems above it all, by virtue of not really being all there, maybe, or possibly because his entire political project is aimed at reassuring us that there is some good version of America that it is possible to go back to. It becomes extraordinarily depressing, in this context, that Biden cannot seem to muster a response to these allegations that feels connected, at all, to the record of 1993 or to a path forward in 2020. He seems squarely focused on his history in between those dates—not on what there is still to do on creating a better world when it comes to sexual harassment or assault, or on how he has possibly failed us in the past in this regard, and what his reckoning with it has meant to him. 

I don't believe Joe for a moment.  I also don't feel compelled in the least to trust him since he's lied his entire life. 

Equally true, I don't vote for rapists. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, May 5, 2020.  The Iraq War continues with the death of another US service member, the attacks on Tara Reade continue.

At THE NATION this morning, Kate Manne weighs in on the allegations against Joe Biden:

One evening in the mid-nineties, Lynda LaCasse was smoking a cigarette on the front stoop of her apartment in Morro Bay, Calif., when she was joined by her neighbor and friend Tara Reade. It was an emotional conversation, encompassing custody battles and violence. According to LaCasse, Reade disclosed an incident that occurred when Reade worked for then-Senator Joe Biden in 1993: After she brought him his gym bag, he backed her up against a wall, kissed her neck and hair, put his hand under her clothes, and penetrated her digitally. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.” Reade had wept at the memory; LaCasse urged her to file a police report.

On April 27, Business Insider published this account, corroborating Reade’s prior testimony. LaCasse made it plausible, moreover, that she has no axe to grind: She is a longtime Democrat, with a history of anti-Trump posts on social media, together with recent praise for Biden as well as Bernie Sanders. She even said she still plans to vote for Biden. She also believes her friend Tara Reade should be heard; she believes her, period. “I have to support her just because that’s what happened,” said LaCasse, who added that she came forward without Reade having asked her to: “We need to stand up and tell the truth.”
Such evidence supplements several other accounts that corroborate elements of Reade’s story—from her brother, two anonymous friends, a former colleague, and footage from Reade’s late mother, who called into Larry King Live a few months after the alleged incident in 1993 to seek advice on behalf of her daughter.
Given this strong evidence, why are many people still refusing to believe Tara Reade? Among the primary reasons: an unwillingness to believe that Biden is “the type” and sheer political inconvenience. 
We know, alas, that Biden is the type. He has sniffed and kissed the hair of the politician Lucy Flores. Six other women have testified to his touching and kissing them in ways that made them uncomfortable. We also have relevant footage. This is a man with a demonstrated history of handsiness—and a man who so does not understand boundaries that he made jokes last year about having permission to hug and touch people onstage after being confronted about his problem. 

The attacks against Tara Reade have intensified.  Human trash like Ken Olin whip up rage (wonder how that's going to effect THIS IS US in the ratings) via Twitter, they smear Tara and think they can get away with it.  It's no surprise that she walked away from the planned interview with Chris Wallace after the threats against her intensified.  People like Ken Olin better be taking responsibility for yelling "Fire!" right now.  They know what they're doing, they're trying to destroy her.

They think if they destroy her, it will be on to November with Joe.  If they can keep her off the airwaves of CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC, no one will hear her and Joe is protected.  The hate they are aiming at Tara is a testament to just how strong her story actually is and just how very scared they are.

Since she came forward, the real leaders among the press have been student journalists writing in university publications.  Long before THE NEW YORK TIMES and others discovered the story on Easter Sunday, college papers were already discussing and debating the story.  Today, Max Teszler (THE DARTMOUTH) offers:

Nobody should ever have to endure the violence that Reade alleges, and nobody wants the presidential nominee of their party to have committed assault. But the truth must sometimes be inconvenient, difficult and painful.
While these details do not guarantee Reade’s allegations are true, I do believe the growing number of corroborations have proven Reade’s claims to be more likely true than not. I hoped my fellow Democrats would similarly evaluate the evidence and acknowledge that there is a non-trivial chance Biden committed assault.
Instead, many liberals on social media have employed truly despicable tactics to not only discredit Reade’s story, but to slander her personally. These range from questions of why she did not come forward earlier to  suggestions of her being in cahoots with Russia and Vladimir Putin stemming from a number of pro-Putin blog posts made by Reade. Reade’s political alignment aside, the argument of Russian conspiracy seems far-fetched and would require a wide net of U.S. citizens to be working on Russia’s behalf, including Reade’s brother, former neighbors and former colleague. 

Reade’s doubters have also accused her of changing her story and have suggested that the timing of her accusations -- just as the presidential race has narrowed to Biden versus Donald Trump -- is suspicious. But the ways Reade has “changed” her account are entirely consistent with a person slowly becoming ready to tell her full story. In 2019 -- along with eight other women -- Reade accused Biden of uncomfortable touching that didn’t rise to the level of assault. This has led to speculation that her more serious allegations are made-up, concocted to derail Biden at the last minute. But critically, at the time that she made her initial allegations -- in April 2019 -- she acknowledged, “I did not even tell the whole story.”

The Ken Olins don't grasp what's taking place.  They are too out of touch.  They have no idea of how others see this story, of the hypocrisy that is offending so many.  They don't realize just how much damage that does to Joe Biden and will continue to do to Joe.

Wagatwe Wanjuki Tweets:

Many men use the rape scandal du jour to show how they'd handle their own victims coming forward. I notice the men who are particularly vicious and vindictive when they speak about Tara, you know she's a placeholder for the victims they want to remain silent.

Equally true, at some point Joe Biden has to pick his running mate.  Once he does, he loses many of his fighters.  It's amazing how Kamala Harris hasn't been asked to call out her supporters.  Yes, it's a small group, we saw that with the primaries.  But they are devoted.  They ignore Kamala's actual record and they insist she must be Vice President.  So they attack Tara daily.  If Joe doesn't pick Kamala, he loses her social media orgy.

It's funny to watch all the women vying for the post lie and pretend Joe has no history that would ever raise an eyebrow.  Didn't he physically assault a girlfriend in the 90s?  Wasn't she in charge of one of the biggest organizations for women?  These are not new rumors.  We've noted this story going back to 2006.

If Joe doesn't drop out and isn't dumped, can you imagine the lifetime of damage to whichever idiot is stupid enough to join his ticket and declare herself anti-woman in the process.

If Elizabeth Warren thought her false claim to be Native American turned out to be a nightmare, imagine what it would be like being joined at the hip for all of history with Joe Biden.

US House Rep Ayanna Pressley writes at MEDIUM:

I’m here for an uncomfortable conversation. Not because it’s convenient. Not because it’s strategic. Because it’s necessary. I am a survivor. I am an elected official. I am not new to watching survivors bare their souls, and I am not new to being offered false choices in politics.
For generations, survivors and advocates have fought to shine a light on harassment and abuse. We have shown up, we have marched, we have told our stories. For those involved in the struggle for survivors’ justice, most of the work doesn’t take place in public, it is late night phone calls when trauma wraps us in a chokehold, it is tearful conversations whispered in confidence. It is the slow and steady work of helping each other heal and rebuild.
But when the experience does play out in public — as it has with Joe Biden and Tara Reade — we are called to examine an urgent and visceral question: what does an authentic path towards healing and justice look like for survivors in America?
I speak from personal experience when I say the path often isn’t linear; for many, taking even the first step takes years. What I know to be true in this moment is that we do not have a public model of how to get this right.
When deep personal trauma is viewed through the skewed kaleidoscope of public opinion — pundits, commentators, twitter bots — it is difficult to articulate what getting to the other side looks like. How can healing occur when wounds are reopened daily, and how can justice be served when our legal system is broken and our culture deeply flawed?
Our assumptions and our starting points for these conversations have to change, and the allegations against Joe Biden are no exception. Listening to the stories of those who step forward is the baseline. We say “believe survivors” because, for nearly all of history, the experiences of survivors have been dismissed and derided by a society steeped in misogyny and hatred. We advocate that we begin with assumptions of credibility and move to due process and reconciliation.
We are in the throes of an election of the greatest consequence — one that will determine if core rights and tenets of democracy survive in this nation. The stakes cannot be overstated. But I have no patience for any person who tells me that is a reason to lower my voice. I reject the false choice that my party and our nominee can’t address the allegations at hand and defeat the occupant of the White House.

Lucy Flores was the first woman to publicly call out Joe Biden for his inappropriate behavior.  She spoke with SLATE's Mary Harris:

Mary Harris: In the weeks since Tara Reid came out with her new allegations against Joe Biden. Lucy Flores has gotten back in touch with her looking to offer support. Lucy knows better than anyone how vulnerable and accuser can feel. I’m wondering what your conversations with Tara Reid have been like.

Lucy Flores: I’ve only spoken to her once since she came out with her full story. And it the entire conversation was more about moral support. And, you know, giving her whatever feedback I could in terms of the way in which people are going to come for her, the various things that she needed to do to protect herself. I think it was more a lot more practical advice and also just moral support and letting her know that that I was thinking about her and that I obviously empathize with everything she’s going through.

Mary Harris: What’s your number one piece of practical advice?

Lucy Flores: My number one piece of practical advice to her was that she just really needed to take it day by day and to focus on herself and her truth and her. Why her? Why, yes. Why did you decide to speak out? Tell me more about that. Well, that’s for me. That’s what kept me grounded when I was experiencing so much harassment after I spoke about my interactions was that I had to always focus on why did I decide to do this? And we talked about those reasons.

Mary Harris: I mean, I’m curious, why did you decide to tell your story? I’m not sure that I know that. Like what what what your decision process was.

Lucy Flores: The primary reason was because I began to see photos emerge of him interacting that way with other women. And there were stories that were written and there was even a vignette that was done by Jon Stewart and, you know, making fun of creepy.
Jon Stewart: Uncle Joe Biden left his hands on Stephanie Carter’s shoulders for an estimated 20 expected.
Jon Stewart: You seem tense. Is it the stress of me groping you for 28 straight seconds?

Lucy Flores: And so I had to just constantly be reminded that he was acting this way, that he was making women feel uncomfortable and everyone was just laughing about it. It was not being treated seriously. And I knew from personal experience what that felt like. And it was wrong.

Mary Harris: For Lucy, telling her own story was a way of shifting the way the rest of us saw what happened to her, not as an incident that was laughably awkward, but as an incident where she was actually harmed. And that gives her empathy for Tara Reid, who seems to be seeing what happened in her own life through new eyes.  

Turning to Iraq where another US service member has died.  Howard Altman (MILITARY TIMES) reports:

A service member with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve died in a non-combat related incident in Erbil, Iraq, May 4.
 The cause of death remains under investigation, but COVID-19 is not suspected, officials said in a media release.

It is CJTF-OIR policy to defer casualty identification to the relevant national authorities after the next of kin have been notified.
The service member is the seventh to die this year supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight against ISIS and the second to die in a non-combat incident in Erbil.

Shelly Kittleson (AL-MONITOR) observes:

The first of several Islamic State (IS) attacks in Iraq started just before suhoor on May 2, the pre-dawn meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan prior to fasting, and lasted several hours, Salahuddin council member Subhan Jiyad told Al-Monitor via WhatsApp later in the day.
Most of those killed were Sunni locals from the Albu Issa tribe, according to another source who sent a list of the names of those “martyred.”
This first of several attacks in the area over a 24-hour period happened in Mukashifa, a town northwest of Samarra along the main road linking Baghdad and Tikrit. Samarra is a Sunni-majority city in central Iraq known for its Al-Askari Shrine, or Golden Dome Mosque, a place of pilgrimage for Shiite Muslims. The town is also the birthplace of former IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Six members of the local Popular Mobilization Units [PMU] were killed in the attack on a checkpoint,” council member Jiyad added. “Then, when reinforcements were sent in, three more were killed by an improvised explosive device [IED] set by IS.”
Another pre-dawn attack happened in Tal al-Dhahab in the Yathrib district southeast of Samarra.
The two attacks killed a total of 11 PMU fighters, Al-Monitor was told by a fighter previously deployed to the area with Saraya al-Salam that maintains an extensive network of contacts in the area.
The Yathrib district is in Salahuddin but borders on Diyala province, which has seen an uptick in attacks in recent months and which stretches from north and east of the capital to the Iranian border.
Capt. Isser Ali Rabea al-Azzawi, a border forces officer, had been assassinated in his home in Yathrib on April 30, also reportedly by IS.

The following sites updated: