Thursday, April 23, 2020

You can't bully me into voting for a rapist, sorry

Nina Turner really breaks it down in this video.

I like Nina.

I don't like people trying to tell me how to vote.

Joe Biden's a rapist.  I believe Tara Reade.  

You go vote for the rapist if you want.  I'm not going to.  You may think you have forever to get it right with God.  I don't think so though.  And I'm not going to dishonor the soul I was given by endorsing a rapist.  

Like Tracey Chapman sings:

All you folks think you own my life
But you never made any sacrifice
Demons they are on my trail
I'm standing at the crossroads of the hell
I look to the left I look to the right
There're hands that grab me on every side
Mmh, mmh
Mmh, mmh
All you folks think I got my price
At which I'll sell all that is mine
You think money rules when all else fails
Go sell your soul and keep your shell
I'm trying to protect what I keep inside
All the reasons why I live my life

I'm not living my life to celebrate a rapist.  Norman Solomon is.  But he's got a price.  I don't.  I can't be bought.  As someone whose ancestors were enslaved, the last thing I would ever do is auction myself off and shame on any White man who thinks he's going to make me sell myself.

So somebody tell that idiot Norman Solomon and Noam Chomsky and the other bossy White people who think they can bully me into voting for a rapist:

All you folks think you run my life
Say I should be willing to compromise
I say all you demons go back to hell
I'll save my soul, save myself
Norman and Noam, go back to hell.

Oh, and Noam, get honest about your work recruiting for the CIA before you die.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS): 
Thursday, April 23, 2020.  Struggling Joe Biden continues to attempt to avoid the rape allegations Tara Reade has lodged against him while Iraq remains in chaos.

Weeks ago, Tara Reade came forward to detail an alleged assault by Joe Biden.  The media?  "See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they run" -- as the song goes.  Mary Sanchez (TRIBUNE SYNDICATE) observes:

Biden holds up his work crafting and supporting the Violence Against Women Act as his defense — as if someone who introduced and guided such groundbreaking legislation can’t also be an abuser.
Fortunately, women know better.
They know that Biden wouldn’t be the first man that women trusted in a professional sense, as someone who had guided and aided their careers and aspirations, only to be exposed later for salacious behavior.
Most must also concede this: Reade’s account strikes chords of believability. Sadly, it does so because so many women have endured similar circumstances.
The assault to your body and dignity happens quickly. The victim is caught off-guard, in a compromising situation that she walked into unaware, a fact that will be used to shift responsibility back on her later. The man, when rebuffed, first choses to blame the woman. According to Reade’s account, after being rejected, Biden reportedly said in the moment, “‘Come on, man, I heard you liked me.'” The narrative lends itself to the typical development of sexual harassment and abuse of power.
In her initial podcast interview with Katie Halper, Reade’s convincing. She describes being young, thrilled to be in such circles of power, planning on a career in politics.
For some in many circles, that is all women should need to hear. They’re expecting women, as a collective, to stand firmly with Biden’s accuser, or turn in any feminist cred for not agreeing that women should be believed as a starting point.

#BelieveWomen is a baseline, a starting point because so often women still are not believed. It doesn’t mean that every story can’t also be scrutinized, that it isn’t necessary to also expect, or at least try to obtain corroborating evidence. But this lack of scrutiny appears to be what Biden opponents appear to be counting on as a means to a political end.

If you missed Katie Halper's interview with Tara back in March, Katie's now put the interview up on YOUTUBE:

The corporate media has refused to ask Joe Biden to speak to this allegation.  He comes onto their programs and stumbles around on other topics and they never get a comment from him.  Bill Clinton was accused of rape two decades ago by Juanita Broaddrick.  He had a spokesperson blah blah some words.  Bill never commented then or since.  Joe appears to think that's the standard when accused of assault.  So does the media.  The accusations against Joe come not as he's in the twilight of his second term as president.  The accusations arrive as Joe is seeking to become president.  As Kennedy Bennett (YALE DAILY NEWS) observes, "The recent sexual assault allegations from Tara Reade add onto preexisting hesitations many voters express about Biden."  Biden's response appears to be: Vote for me without asking any questions.  REASON's Cathy Young notes at THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, "Biden isn’t the only one with a hypocrisy problem. Feminist pundits such as Salon writer Amanda Marcotte and New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, usually found in the “Believe women” camp, are now doubters who treat Reade’s allegation mainly as an inconvenience. Actress/activist Alyssa Milano, who used to tweet about the importance of supporting women’s #MeToo stories, now backs Biden and says believing women shouldn’t come at the expense of fairness to men. Major media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post waited a long time to report on Reade’s allegation and subjected it to much more skeptical scrutiny than the accusations against Kavanaugh."  And John Krull (TRIBUNE STAR) lays it out, "This will come as a shock to the most ideologically blinded fanatics on the left and right, but right and wrong aren’t partisan issues."

Senator Bernie Sanders has been asked by the media about Tara Reade's accusation against Joe Biden as has Senator Amy Klobuchar.   But the corporate media just can't seem to ask Joe Biden about it.  Is it that difficult a question to ask?

Below, Emma Green (THE ATLANTIC) interviews Briahna Joy Gray, the journalist who was the press secretary for candidate Bernie Sanders' campaign:

Green: But we're moving into general-election season now, right?

Gray: But we’re not! The Democratic Party would like us to believe that’s the case, and they behaved that way even before Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race. But we are, in fact, still in a Democratic-primary season. Biden is only the presumptive nominee.
We’re expected to be giving parades for policy positions that are more conservative than were offered up four years ago? We are living the status quo. At a certain point, voters are tired of having people—excuse the expression—piss on their leg and tell them that it’s raining.
And there’s all kinds of whispers and rumors about whether or not something might happen at the convention, which might mean Joe Biden isn’t even the nominee.

Green: Are you talking about the Tara Reade allegations?

Gray: There’s a lot of reasons why Democrats might want to substitute a different person for Joe Biden as the nominee. The Tara Reade allegation has been handled abysmally by the press. If anyone looks at this closely, then they will see reason for concern.

Oh my goodness.  Is Emma Green okay?  Did they have to call paramedics?  I mean, read the above, she managed to do an interview where she asked about Tara Reade.  Anderson Cooper has spoken to Joe how many times and he still can't ask him about Tara Reade's accusation.

A lot of people are being silent and it sends a lousy message to survivors.  Holly Otterbein and Marc Caputo (POLITICO) offer:

“The disgusting behavior that Christine Blasey Ford had to deal with from the right is the disgusting behavior that Tara Reade is having to deal with from many on the left,” said Sarah Ann Masse, one of the numerous women who accused Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. “Survivors in the world watch this, and those who have not come forward publicly, those who have not shared it with their family or gone to the police or sought out mental health support, they see this and it silences them.”
Reade’s allegations against Biden, [. . .], have even led to scrutiny of the TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund, which was founded in 2018 to help victims of sexual harassment and assault. The group said it helped connect Reade to attorneys, but determined it could not fund a lawyer or public relations for her because Biden is a candidate for federal office and it believed its nonprofit status could therefore be threatened. 
“It really bothers me,” said former actress Louisette Geiss, another woman who accused Weinstein of harassment, of its decision not to help Reade financially. “What we're saying here in the #MeToo movement is that's it, time's up, if you will. You cannot engage in this behavior anymore no matter who you are — Trump, Biden, Harvey.”

Howard Lisnoff (COUNTERPUNCH) notes the hypocrisy of politicians who have endorsed Joe:

Tara Reade’s allegations seem believable. She reported the incident to others following the incident and later, and she has suffered trauma in ways that are commonly reflected in this kind of assault.
Even a casual observer has to weigh in on the insensitivity involved in endorsing someone like Biden when this most serious of allegations was made. A few days following Bernie Sanders grand capitulation, Elizabeth Warren followed suit, saying she would accept the office of vice president if asked by Biden. Left sufficiently reeling from these pronouncements of falling into line with neoliberalism, one wonders if anything political is sacred to these people? Certainly, integrity is not one of those scared values!

When will those on the political left learn that electoral politics in the US is a zero-sum “game?” The liberal Vice President, Henry Wallace, was dropped from the Democratic ticket in 1944, as he was getting too close for comfort to the serious corridors of power. Lyndon Johnson blindsided the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the Democratic Convention in 1964. Hubert Humphrey dragged the Democratic Party to certain defeat in 1968, as he refused to take a bold stand against the Vietnam War and break with Lyndon Johnson. In 1972, antiwar progressive George McGovern won the Democratic Party nomination, and because of his defeat those with the levers of power in the Democratic Party vowed that another liberal candidate would get nowhere near the presidency. The latter became obvious through the neoliberal Clinton’s nomination by the Democrats in 2016 and her loss at the polls. The Democrats would rather lose electorally and continue as lapdogs of the power elite.

The only thing worse than endorsing Biden?  A woman becoming his running mate.  Earlier this week, we noted a woman writing about Joe assaulting her.  That didn't surprise me.  A New York outlet is weighing going forward with another woman.  By the time summer rolls around, Tara may not be the only woman publicly accusing Joe of assault.  Imagine how Senator Amy Klobuchar or Kamala Harris will look -- or any other woman but especially those two 'tough on crime' women -- if they're the running mate and you've got six or eight women publicly accusing Joe of assault.  I believe that's called "career suicide."  You don't overcome that.  You don't get to show up in 2024 and say, "Look America, trust my judgment.  Sure, four years ago, I was on the ticket with a man accused of rape by multiple women, but trust my judgment this time.  In four years, I've learned, I've really, really learned."

At THE GW HATCHET, Victoria Freire explains:

I refuse to vote for Biden because he has consistently favored the wealthy elite over the working class. At a time in which radical policy changes are the only way to prevent climate catastrophe and mass deaths from COVID-19, Biden’s platform instead includes a want to not “demonize” the wealthy and have “no one’s standard of living change,” as he told rich donors at a fundraiser last June. When he attempts to glorify former President Barack Obama’s years in office, he notably neglects those who suffered the most as a result of the administration’s mass deportations, record civilian drone strikes and infamous Wall Street bailout. These policies have most directly affected low-income communities of color, communities Biden has not been particularly sensitive to. Biden has idealized his work with segregationists as work of “civility,” opposed integrated busing and worried such desegregation policies would cause his children to grow up “in a racial jungle.” He also authored the 1994 crime bill, which led to mass incarceration of disproportionately black and brown Americans. Just a few months ago, Biden gave a speech in Iowa claiming “poor kids are just as bright as white kids.” We have always known Biden was a racist, but Democrats only care about racial oppression when it’s their opponents who perpetrate it.
Just as horrifying is Biden’s longtime pattern of sexual harassment, and now, Biden has an allegation of sexual assault. Regardless of who you decide to vote for, I implore you to listen to Tara Reade’s story. Any Democrat who dismisses these allegations as uncredible or illegitimate is a hypocrite. I believe Reade, just as I believed Christine Blasey Ford and E. Jean Carroll. And as much as Democrats want me to, I do not believe in voting for the “lesser” of two rapists.
We must not forget that Biden voted for the Iraq war, voted for NAFTA, has consistently supported corporate bailouts and opposes Medicare for All amid a pandemic (one that he has been largely absent from).

The Iraq War.  Yes, Joe voted for the Iraq War.  Every presidential cycle since the start of the Iraq War (2003) has seen the Democratic Party run at least one supporter of the Iraq War on the national ticket -- in 2004, they ran two.  They just don't seem to learn, do they?  This is considered the worst fiasco (the proper term is "crime') when it comes to foreign policy in the 21st century.  And, of course, Joe did more than just vote for it.  He attacked those opposed to it.  He repeatedly attempted to split Iraq up into three different governments -- he only gave that up in February of 2008.  As Vice President, he took part in tossing out the votes of the Iraqi people in 2010 when they said no to a second term for thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Joe sold not only the legal contract that overturned the votes (The Erbil Agreement), he also went to Iraq to explain to leaders why they had to support Nouri for a second term.  As he babbled away, it all had something to do with Ireland.  (Emma Sky does a perfect recap of that moment and how absurd it was and how stupid Joe came off to the Iraqi leaders.)  He did a lot including dismissing ISIS early on.  Joe's been no friend to the Iraqi people although he has managed to do his part to ensure that the war never ended.

It goes on today.

At The Atlantic Council, Abbas Kadhim offers:

The protests that started in October 2019 ushered in a new political era in Iraq. For the first time in the post-2003 process of democratic transition, a government was forced to resign due to popular pressure.
The resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet forced the Iraqi political leadership to face contentious constitutional and procedural questions about government formation. Iraq’s constitution contains many ambiguities about the prime minister selection process even under usual circumstances (i.e. following a regularly scheduled election). The challenging situation was exacerbated by a reckless combination of both politicizing the interpretation of the constitution and circumventing it entirely.
Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi prophetically advised his opponents to agree on his successor before he submitted his resignation, for he knew that the Iraqi political framework would not function in the vacuum that would result from his absence. His fears were well-justified. The chaos that ensued following his resignation nearly paralyzed Iraq’s leadership, as they struggled to deal with mass gatherings of angry protesters with a broad list of demands, a dangerous escalation of the US-Iran conflict that played out on Iraqi soil over recent months, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
After exceeding the constitutionally mandated deadline to choose a new prime minister and transparently exhausting all the loopholes to buy time to create a political consensus, President Barham Salih designated Mohamed Tawfik Allawi to form a government. Despite the selection, objections from various powerful political blocs ground the process to a halt. The Council of Representatives failed to reach a quorum twice and Allawi’s cabinet was not put up for a vote. Salih, then, designated Council of Representatives Member Adnan Alzurfi to form a cabinet, but Alzurfi’s candidacy caused deep cleavages within the Shia political blocs and he was forced to withdraw his nomination before a confirmation session could be scheduled.

Salih, next, designated a third candidate, National Intelligence Chief Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to form a cabinet. Al-Kadhimi was supported by a Shia consensus and, absent any major disputes over the negotiations of “who gets what,” he will be confirmed as Iraq’s new prime minister. But this will only be the beginning of the formidable challenges Al-Kadhimi will face. 

Not only did Joe Biden support the war, he supported every decision that led to the current shambles Iraq is in.  He can't stop telling America that "Barack put me in charge of Iraq."  Yes, Joe, he did.  And how does that speak to your qualifications?

Iraq is a failed state.

And ISIS remains active in Iraq.  Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reports:

Eighty-two Iraqi civilians were killed and 120 injured between January 1 and April 15 as a result of the conflict between the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the ministry of defense acknowledged on Tuesday evening.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and coalition withdrawal from several bases across the country, the ISF has conducted 1,060 operations and killed 135 targets since January 1, defense ministry spokesman Yehia Rasool said in a series of tweets.

According to these latest figures, operations took place in every Iraqi province aside from those in the Kurdistan Region over the first 15 weeks of 2020, to clear bomb factories, arms caches, and secret tunnels used by the jihadists, Rasool said.

At least 88 ISF soldiers were killed and 174 wounded during these operations.

The following sites updated: