Tag Archives: Joe Biden

MORNING NOTES: DEMOCRATS SIGNALING A RETURN TO AUSTERITY POLICIES

Under the general category of : We Told You.

Joe Biden’s campaign is telling the American people through an advisor and long-time friend of Joe Biden, former Sen. Ted Kaufman, that the Biden administration will not stand up for regular working Americans with economic policy.  “When we get in, the pantry is going to be bare,” said Kaufman speaking to reporters during the Democratic convention.

Kaufman is leading Biden’s transition team.  “When you see what Trump’s done to the deficits…all the deficits that he built with the incredible tax cuts.  We’re going to be limited.” 

So the Biden campaign is already laying the groundwork for backing off most of his campaigns economic promises.  Earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported that the Biden campaign had “rolled out a $35 trillion economic program….(that) promises to invest in clean energy and caregiving, buy more made-in-America goods, and start narrowing the country’s racial wealth gaps.”

At the same time, Biden was speaking to his donors and saying that despite his pubic campaign promises, he would not be pushing new legislation to change corporate behavior.  This was not covered by MSNBC, or NPR. 

And, after the Kaufman announcement to Wall Street Journal reporters, almost nobody noticed what David Sirota called important signaling that the Biden administration may back off “the entire agenda it is campaigning on.” 

For the Democratic Party to return to an austerity model in this economic context is unconscionable.  The outlines of this
“destructive and insane” policy are presented by economist Dean Baker.

Even more disturbing is the lack of coverage of the story, and the lack of outcry from the left.  Sirota notes that the lack of push-back from the left may well indicate that the left coalition has decided to repeat 2009 and just defer to the anticipated democratic president. 

Notes:

Sirota, David (8/20/20  ) “Team Biden…” Too Much Information.

Baker, Dean (8/20/20) CEPR.net

Latin America, the “Democratic” Party and Never-Trumpsters

elliott

There are three important stories in the news within the past week relating to Latin America.

First, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams U.S. Special Representative for Iran.  For those of us who have been interested in Latin America for decades, Elliott Abrams is a criminal who is widely despised.  He should be in jail.  If there was anything like a justice system for high level corporate, political and white collar criminals, he would be.

As Common Dreams (8/6/20 ) has noted, “Abrams is one of the architects of right-wing “regime change.”  He “has made a career of lying and committing criminal acts that have led to the death and suffering of innocent people from Guatemala to Iraq.”  “He embraces militarism, covers up for gross human rights abuses, and has a history of supporting authoritarian regimes.”

As if this wasn’t enough, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 as part of the Iran-Contra affair.  He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush.  Abrams admitted that he had willfully withheld information from congress in 1986 when he testified about the “secret Contra supply network and his role in soliciting a $10 million contribution for anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua” (the Contras).

See “CODEPINK Denounces Elliott Abrams’…”  common Dreams.  August 6, 2020

The second story is about the release of a report detailing a State Department plan for regime change in Nicaragua intended to oust popularly elected members of the Sandinistas.

Ben Norton reports in The Grayzone that:

  • This newly released document outlines plans for USAID to oversee a regime-change plan to oust Nicaragua’s elected leftist government.
  • USAID (also widely despised in Latin America), is planning to establish a “market economy” in Nicaragua and purge the Sandinistas.
  • The socialist government in Nicaragua is democratically elected.
  • USAID, as always, functions here as a “regime-change” vehicle that “uses the pretense of humanitarian aid to advance Washington’s aggressive foreign-policy interests.”
  • The document presents this as a plan for “Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” This is a euphemism for removing the leftist Sandinistas.
  • The report doesn’t even pretend to be anything but a hardline neoconservative document. It refers to the “Ortega regime”  and makes it clear that the intent is to install a “neoliberal administration that will privatize the economy and…purge all institutions of any trace of the leftist Sandinista movement.”

The third, and related story, is that Joe Biden has recruited Anna Navarro to help him mobilize the Hispanic vote.  The Democrats are opening positions of power within the party to a variety of never-Trump Republicans who have no goals or interests in common with publicly stated Democratic positions.

As Ban Norton (3/1/20) points out in his article published on The Gray Zone, Navarro has become “something of a celebrity among the anti-Trump republicans…”  She has also become a welcome anti-Trump Republican voice among the corporate media.  She is, for example, a frequent commentator on CNN and “The View.”

As Norton points out, “corporate media networks give Navarro a massive platform to attack progressives like Bernie Sanders and rebrand her neoconservative politics before impressionable liberal viewers who despise Trump, Navarro’s professional background has faced little scrutiny.”

Navarro, however, “lobbied for El Salvador’s corruption-drenched right-wing government.”   “Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) documents reviewed by The Grayzone reveal that Ana Navarro and her Republican lobbyist husband, Al Cárdenas, have worked with some of the most corrupt right-wing governments in recent Latin American history, including leaders who have overseen egregious human rights abuses and been convicted for serious criminal offenses.”

“Navarro hails from a wealthy family in Nicaragua, and still today she remains a staunch supporter of the Contras, far-right death squads that the CIA armed and trained in the 1980s in a regime-change war targeting the country’s socialist Sandinista government. The Contras waged a relentless terrorist campaign, massacring and torturing civilians in hopes of destabilizing the country. And Navarro has celebrated them as freedom fighters.

Navarro, now calls herself a “strategist” has branded herself a “moderate.”

None of this bodes well for Nicaragua or Latin America.  And, it only reinforces the argument that Joe Biden, the corporate Democrats and the corporate media are turning the Democratic Party into Republican-light.  It gives us even less reason to stay with the party.

Saturday Morning Articles

anna navarro 1

SATURDAY MORNING ARTICLE RUN DOWN

 

USAID plans for coup in Nicaragua

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/08/04/usaid-document-nicaragua-coup/

 

Biden is putting us in bed with the likes of Anna Navarro

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/01/contras-cnn-ana-navarro-lobbying-corruption/

 

Trump puts Criminal Elliott Abrams Representative in Iran

https://news.yahoo.com/u-iran-envoy-brian-hook-173327817.html

 

Victims in Epstein Case Get Second Attempt

https://news.yahoo.com/epstein-victims-second-chance-justice-181228243.html

 

Don MaGahn

https://www.newsweek.com/other-donald-behind-donald-trump-457514

What Happened to the Democratic Party

For those of you interested in why some of us are so reluctant to jump on the Joe Biden bandwagon, please take the time to listen to this podcast.

http://pitchforkeconomics.com/episode/how-neoliberalism-captured-democrats-with-james-kwak/

Head-on conflict with the self-interest of concentrated private capital

joe biden

The corporate media is a complete waste of time.  They failed us in 2016 and they are spectacularly failing us now.  We must turn to other news sources.  These are excerpts from The Nation Magazine.

Grey, Rohan, Nation Manazine, April 20/27 2020).

Biden indicated that as president, he would veto Medicare for All legislation because of concern over the price tag.  “Biden has been a deficit hawk his entire career.  As a Senator, he broke with his party to support a Repubican-sponsored balanced budget amendment, and as vice president he spearheaded efforts to achieve a bipartisan deficit reduction deal that included cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

“In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama administration allowed millions to lose their homes in order to “foam the runways” for the banking system, while the Republicans cynically weaponized deficit and debt hysteria in order to deny the Democrats the political credit of a more successful recovery.”

“…much of the suffering attributable to this pandemic will not come from people directly contracting the virus, but from our collective failure to provide adequate care and support to the elderly, the physically vulnerable, the poor, and people in less fortunate countries during their hour of need. The virus itself may be a novel twist, but the broader story is regrettably all too familiar.”

Biden, in the debates, “…acknowledged that upon entering office in 2009, he and President Obama were informed by the Department of Defense that climate change was the single greatest threat to American national security—a point Sanders has been making for years. However, when the moderators pointed out that his climate plan was $14 trillion less than Bernie’s, he retreated into defensive bluster and nostalgic promises to restore the 2016 Paris Agreement. Gone was the sense of existential urgency and ambition that had animated his earlier remarks about the coronavirus.

“…whatever it takes means embracing the inevitability of a head-on conflict with the self-interest of concentrated private capital. A few months ago, it would have sounded extreme to propose placing Amazon, Walmart, Netflix, Uber, and American Airlines under public ownership. But today the socially contingent nature of these corporate behemoths—from their financial engine, to their workforce, to the goods and services they provide—has been laid bare. If luxury perfume companies like Christian Dior and Givenchy can be repurposed to make hand sanitizer to save lives, surely we can consider the same for the companies responsible for essential basic staples such as food, ventilators, and toilet paper. We want clean hands. But we also want bread, roses, and the means to wipe our asses.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden says we owe Anita Hill a lot. Well we owe Joe Biden more. We owe him a swift boot in the ass.

clarence

Last night, in a CNN townhall, Joe Biden once again gave a response to a question about the Clarence Thomas hearings that was untruthful, evasive, and incoherent.

I sat in front of my television and played it back over and over again to make sure I got every word right.

I’m going to post the entire quote just so you can see how deceitful and incoherent it is.

““I opposed Clarence Thomas (unintelligible) beginning.  I believed Anita Hill from the beginning. And I tried to control the questions under the laws that exist for the Senate.  And I was unable to do it.  Just like the last hearing…they were unable to control, keep people from being able to ask questions.  What I did was I made a commitment; I made a commitment never again would the Judiciary Committee only have men on that committee.  So, I went out and I campaigned for two people, Carol Mosley Brawn, an African American senator from the state of Illinois and Diane Feinstein…on the condition that if they won they would join the committee….I kept that commitment.

And secondly I made another commitment, that I was going to get the Violence Against Women Act passed which…I wrote myself, the Violence Against Woman Act.  Number three, I’ve spoken with Anita Hill and I apologized for not being able to protect her more.  I’m trying to think, and I raised the question for example, I raised the question, should we in fact have those hearings in camera….when, because you’re gonna always be subject to being vilified no matter who comes and says he said she said this happened, and so here’s the deal….and she said, and I think she’s right, she said No, it’s better not to do that.

We should have it in the open, so we gotta find a way to change the rules as to what can be asked, but in a hearing….it’s impossible to say you can’t ask the question…I won’t go into more detail…I wish I could have protected her more.  I publicly apologized, apologized then and I was able to…we owe her…a lot…because what she did by coming forward, she gave me the ability to pass the violence against women act.  We owe her a great deal of credit.”

Now, to take it apart.

Biden first starts with an irrelevancy.

“I opposed Clarence Thomas (unintelligible) beginning.  I believed Anita Hill from the beginning.”

Then, he continues:

“And I tried to control the questions under the laws that exist for the Senate.  And I was unable to do it.”

What questions is he talking about?  What questions would he have controlled?  What questions were determined “under the laws that exist for the Senate.”  How would questions have changed the outcome of the hearing?

“Just like the last hearing…they were unable to control, keep people from being able to ask questions.”

What hearing is he talking about?  I assume he’s talking about the Kavanuagh hearing.  Well, again, the problem in the Kavanaugh hearing was not “controlling” the questions.  The problem was in adequately investigating the claims.

The allegations were not investigated, and like in the Clarence Thomas hearing, women who could have corroborated the testimony of Blasey Ford were not called.

Democrat Chris Coons did his usual holier-than-thou “bipartisan” deal with Jeff Flake and provided cover for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh.  They arranged an “investigation” that didn’t investigate.  The FBI investigation was severely curtailed, so severely curtailed they didn’t even interview some of the women who claimed to have been abused by Kavanaugh.

This is a common tactic in Washington.  If there’s a problem, if people like Susan Collins are whining that they are going to look bad if they vote to put a rapist on the Supreme Court, legislators like Chris Coons help arrange for a sham investigation.  This looks “bipartisan.”  And, the bipartisanship is presented as if it were a end unto itself.

The “bipartisanship” looks reasonable, but it is just a way of placating opposition.  The “investigation” finds nothing, but it’s not intended to find anything.  And, then, people like Collins can say, see we had an investigation there’s nothing there.  In the Clarence Thomas hearing it was having the hearing itself.  We had a hearing, it was pubic, you can’t keep people from asking questions, we did what we could.

Then, comes an incoherent irrelevant distraction.

“What I did was I made a commitment; I made a commitment never again would the Judiciary Committee only have men on that committee.  So, I went out and I campaigned for two people, Carol Moseley Braun, an African American senator from the state of Illinois and Diane Feinstein…on the condition that if they won they would join the committee….I kept that commitment.”

So, Biden’s arguing that having women on the Clarence Thomas Judiciary Committee would have changed everything.  It might have changed some things, but there were women on the Judiciary Committee when the Kavanaugh hearings took place.  And, the main problem was not that there were no women on the committee.  It was that Joe Biden refused to call the other women who could have corroborated Anita Hill. So, once again, a distraction, an evasion, essentially a lie. And, why does it absolve Joe Biden for what he did in the Clarence Thomas hearing that he later, after getting the backlash, went out and supported some women for Congress?

Biden goes on:

“And secondly I made another commitment, that I was going to get the Violence Against Women Act passed which…I wrote myself, the Violence Against Woman Act.”

Again, what does this have to do with his behavior and actions during the Clarence Thomas hearings?

Biden continues:

Number three, I’ve spoken with Anita Hill and I apologized for not being able to protect her more.  I’m trying to think, and I raised the question for example, I raised the question, should we in fact have those hearings in camera….when, because you’re gonna always be subject to being vilified no matter who comes and says he said she said this happened, and so here’s the deal….and she said, and I think she’s right, she said no, it’s better not to do that.”

He says “I apologized.”  What more can I do?  Well, as I find myself repeatedly pointing out these days (Chris Matthews, MSNBC) there are things you can’t apologize for.  Michael Bloomberg evidently thinks that it’s sufficient that he apologized for ruining thousands of lives with Stop and Frisk.  And, he, like Biden, is irritated that somehow people don’t think that’s enough.  It’s like they are saying: Jeeeeze, I apologized, what more do you want?  You’re just harassing me.

There are things you can’t apologize for.

Then, after some incoherent faffing around, Biden actually BLAMES ANITA HILL for how the hearing came out.  He says that he offered to do the hearing in private and she said no.  So, she was to blame because she wanted a public hearing, not some kind of behind-closed-doors dirty little boys backroom session.  Again, Joe Biden refused to call the corroborating women for their testimony.  That has nothing to do with whether the hearing was public or private.

Biden continues (yes, I know but it will be over soon).

“We should have it in the open, so we gotta find a way to change the rules as to what can be asked…”

Changing what could be asked is not the issue, the failure, the refusal to include the testimony of the corroborating witnesses is the problem.  Distraction, obfuscation, evasion.

“but in a hearing….it’s impossible to say you can’t ask the question…”

Nobody ever suggested changing the rules so that people couldn’t ask certain questions although judges makes this determination in trials every day.  There are questions that are relevant to the issue at hand and questions that aren’t, questions that are designed to inflame and prejudice.  But, that is again not the issue.  The issue is how Biden chose to act when he had power.  He chose to bury the truth, to subject Anita Hill and the rest of us to that humiliating process without providing the witnesses who could have supported her.

O.K.  Here he goes again.

“I won’t go into more detail…I wish I could have protected her more.

Yes, I am sure Joe Biden doesn’t want to go into more detail because the details are damning.  Read Jane Mayer’s book about the Clarence Thomas hearings.

And, the “I wish I could have protected her more,” is just my favorite.  How much more paternalistic, patriarchal and sexist can you be?  Anita Hill didn’t ask for protection.  She didn’t need protection at the hearing.  She needed protection and support to oppose the blatantly sexist, aggressive, abusive and coercive nature of Clarence Thomas’ weirdo sick toxic male behavior.  She didn’t get it and the rest of us didn’t get it.  Clarence Thomas got a seat on the Supreme Court.  Joe Biden is largely responsible for that fact, and he paved the way for Brett Kavanaugh to take his seat beside Thomas.

“…I publicly apologized, apologized then and I was able to…we owe her…a lot…because what she did by coming forward, she gave me the ability to pass the violence against women act.  We owe her a great deal of credit.

Here, Biden finishes up by trying to placate us, and portraying himself (as he always does) as Mr. Nice Guy.  He says we owe Anita Hill a lot.

Perhaps so, but, we owe Joe Biden a lot more.  We owe it to him to get him out of public life along with the rest of the men who have openly, brazenly flouted their power over women and used that power to the detriment of all of us.  We owe it to ourselves to stop people like Joe Biden lying and covering up their abusive behavior.

Get them out.  Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Coons, Bret Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas.  The list goes on.

Joe Biden is Full of it: The Clarence Thomas Hearings

I am still watching the Biden town hall on CNN, but I just want people to hear the bullshit answer Biden just gave to a woman in the audience.  She made the statement that times had changed since the Clarence Thomas hearings, and asked Biden how he had changed and how he would answer people who were still unsatisfied with how he handled the hearing.

I just want you to read the answer he gave.

  • “I opposed Clarence Thomas (unintelligible) beginning. I believed Anita Hill from the beginning. And I tried to control the questions under the laws that exist for the Senate.  And I was unable to do it.  Just like the last hearing…they were unable to control, keep people from being able to ask questions.  What I did was I made a commitment; I made a commitment never again would the Judiciary Committee only have men on that committee.  So, I went out and I campaigned for two people, Carol Mosley Brawn, an African American senator from the state of Illinois and Diane Feinstein…on the condition that if they won they would join the committee….I kept that commitment.  And secondly I made another commitment, that I was going to get the Violence Against Women Act passed which…I wrote myself, the Violence Against Woman Act.  Number three, I’ve spoken with Anita Hill and I apologized for not being able to protect her more.  I’m trying to think, and I raised the question for example, I raised the question, should we in fact have those hearings in camera….when, because you’re gonna always be subject to being vilified no matter who comes and says he said she said this happened, and so here’s the deal….and she said, and I think she’s right, she said No, it’s better not to do that.  We should have it in the open, so we gotta find a way to change the rules as to what can be asked, but in a hearing….it’s impossible to say you can’t ask the question…I won’t go into more detail…I wish I could have protected her more.  I publicly apologized, apologized then and I was able to…we owe her…a lot…because what she did by coming forward, she gave me the ability to pass the violence against women act.  We owe her a great deal of credit.”