Monday, April 20, 2020

Truest statement of the week

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020, has been accused by a former staffer of sexually assaulting her. Tara Reade alleges the incident occurred in 1993 when Biden was a senator from Delaware. There were no witnesses, Reade never filed a complaint and the statute of limitations for such an offense, if it occurred, has long since expired.
Reade told Newsweek that she went public with her claims in late March, according to the magazine, “to ensure that ‘powerful men’ are held to account.”
The reluctance of the New York Times and the Washington Post to report Reade’s allegations—neither covered the story until a few days ago—reveals, first of all, their rank hypocrisy.
[. . .]
In an interview published by the Times April 13, its executive editor Dean Baquet resorted to sophistry to explain the newspaper’s tardy coverage of the Biden-Reade story. Baquet asserted that “what The New York Times could offer and should try to offer was the reporting to help people understand what to make of a fairly serious allegation against a guy who had been a vice president of the United States and was knocking on the door of being his party’s nominee.”
In other words, Biden deserved special treatment, as he received from the editors even after the April 12 piece was published. One of the latter’s sentences originally read, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” As amended, the sentence simply read, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.”
Asked about the deletion, Baquet referred to pressure from the former vice president’s forces, indicating that “the [Biden] campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.”

-- David Walsh, "When it comes to Joe Biden, New York Times abandons 'Believe women'" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

 It’s clear to any fair-minded person looking at this, that more investigation is warranted. 
If Joe Biden is being wrongly accused, a thorough investigation may exonerate him, or at least provide more information that will allow primary voters and convention delegates to make a more informed decision about their party’s nominee. The Democratic National Committee should call for it. This would send strong signal that the Democratic Party takes allegations of sexual assault seriously.

-- Jud Lounsbury, "DNC Needs to Take Biden Sexual Assault Allegation Seriously" (THE PROGRESSIVE).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Early Monday morning. 

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Take a moment to note the late Malak Hayder al-Zubiedi

Saturday night, THE COMMON ILLS noted that Malak Hayder al-Zubiedi died on Saturday. 

Her story should have been widely reported.  No US outlet bothered to do so.

We'll note coverage at THE COMMON ILLS from last week.

Sunday, April 12th:

And it takes place around the world.  Note this Tweet:

In Iraq,this girl has been burned,the psychological stress experienced by women are great and many,Domestic violence,killing in the name of customs and traditions,early marriage,absence of a law for holding men accountable,no law to limit childbearing,etc.

The photos are said to be of Malak Hayder al-Zubiedi

Another Tweet:

Men have to be punished by the law but IRAQ don't have one, all we do is being killed here. Women's in this world are without rights. We live as if we are useless just to satisfy MEN. Hope she's alright now and the girls in same situation too don't give up!! #ملاك_حيدر_الزبيدي

Sara Bassam Tweets:

We the women of Iraq demanding the women rights organizations and women rights activists to help #Malak to get the justice after she has been burned and abused by her husband who has been savagely torturing her-Tribes and laws will protect the abuser man’s side

From Monday's "Iraq snapshot:"

Starting in Iraq, Awrah al-Alawi maintains that an arrest warrant has been issued for members of the family that Malak Hayder al-Zubiedi married into.
لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله ، الله ينتقم منهم بنت مواليد 2000 يحرقونها علشان العادات و التقاليد الي ما تمد بالدِّين بأي صلة
( تخلف ) #ملاك_حيدر_الزبيدي
Malak Hayder al-Zubiedi is a 19-year-old woman who was burned -- by her husband? -- and who was not allowed to see her own family for over eight months.  
AL ARABY reports that the burning of Malak became news when her sister posted on FACEBOOK Saturday about what happened.

Smraa Smraa
on Saturday
وين الغياره وين اهل الرحم وين اماره ازبيد هاي شعره شاربكم هذا السوو بالطفلة وفوكاهاا يهدده تقبلون هيج خلي يجي يشوف بنت زبيد بعد ماتفنن بتعذيبه حركها ابن العقيد حميد المياحي
Image may contain: ‎text that says '‎منشور Safa هاي البنية الي موجودة هسة بالطابق السادس خطية والله ذاك اليوم بخفارتي الليل كله تصيح من الألم وما خليت مسكن ما انطيتهيا وما فاد مع الأسف والله بنية بعمر الورد أعجبني رد 10 مصطفى الخفاجي الله يشافيه 7س أعجبني ابو احمد العيساوي الله يشافيه بحق الحسين حسبي الله ونعم الوكيل أعجبني رد س‎'‎
Image may contain: one or more people and closeup
Image may contain: one or more people
Image may contain: one or more people and closeup



Prior to the FACEBOOK post, authorities were saying she had burned herself.  Now, two brothers of her husband have been arrested while authorities insist that they are trying to locate her husband but he is on the run.  Luay al Yassiry, the Governor of Najaf, states that a special team of investigators have been tasked with the case.

If we don't publicize this, in one way or another we're actively promoting a culture of silence. Women in Iraq are still fighting for their simplest rights amid a patriarchal society that always favors and lawfully justifies the actions of these criminals.

From Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot:"

Turning to Iraq and the topic of Malak Hayder al-Zubiedi.  Two English language outlets in the Middle East covered the story yesterday afternoon.  Linah Alsaafin (ALJAZEERA) notes:

The alleged burning and abuse of a young Iraqi woman at the hands of her husband and his family has caused outrage on social media, with activists and commentators calling for laws to protect women from domestic violence.
Videos circulated of Malak Haider al-Zubaidi, 20, bedridden in a hospital in the holy city of Najaf and screaming in pain, her face swollen from burns and her entire body bandaged.
Al-Mayahli, a police officer, wrote on his Facebook page that al-Zubeidi has a mental illness and had set herself on fire.
"She burned herself with petrol and accused me and my family," he wrote. "There are sponsored accounts that are posting these lies just to slander my family."
Activists reacted with scorn to his words, and some shared an unverified statement from his family, saying that as sons of an important colonel in the army, the law cannot touch them.

Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) adds:

Campaigners have been pressuring the government since 2011 to pass a draft law to prevent violence against women and to change the penal code, Iraqi women’s rights activist Suhaila Al Assam told The National.

“A parliamentary session was held on it a few years ago but parliamentarians have blocked its passing as they say it goes against Islamic beliefs,” Ms Al Assam said.
She said what had happened to Ms Al Zubaidi was a crime against women and the perpetrators must be held accountable.
“This is due to negligence from the government,” Ms Al Assam said.
She said politicians should show responsibility by passing laws to protect women from domestic abuse.
Measures to control the spread of the coronavirus also have a devastating impact on Iraqi families, Ms Al Assam said.
“Iraq’s deteriorating economic situation along with the current lockdown has meant that many people are out of jobs, without money and are sitting at home,” she said.
But this “should not lead to men conducting criminal acts such as killing or raping their wives”.

Ms Al Assam said the Iraqi Women’s Association, of which she is a member, would persist in its battle to ensure that victims received justice.

Riham Darwish (ALBAWABA) notes, "Concerns have risen worldwide regarding a spike in domestic violent attacks against women in several countries, where the outbreak of COVID-19 has hindered police ability to protect vulnerable members of the society."

MEDIA: The blame pie has many slices -- does it have enough to go around?

We attended a party.  There were a ton of drinks and snacks -- a plethora in fact.  But on the desert table sat only a single pie.  A very large pie, yes, but only one pie, a blame pie, and we feared there weren't enough slices for the occasion.  And that was before Friday's THE NEWSHOUR (PBS).


Surveying the room, we saw people like Joan Walsh (well, 'people'), Michelle Goldberg, Baby Jessica Valenti, Amanda Marcotte, etc -- and we knew we were definitely slumming.  And that was before we saw former child actor Alyssa Milano acting as hostess -- you know, the way Joan Crawford, when her career was on the skids, took $4,000 for hosting the opening of Las Vegas hotel.

Topic number one among all present: Tara Reade who has told her story to Katie Halper , Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, and  Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, among others. Tara Reade worked for then-Senator Joe Biden in the early 90s.  Second most discussed topic?  Joan's recent award.  Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) made the announcement on Friday, "The Nation’s Joan Walsh is this week’s winner of the Susan Estrich Award for Feminists Defending Sexual Predators. (New winners every week, until the election.)"  It's an especially proud moment for Joan whose career has never amounted to much.  Back to Tara.

 AMY GOODMAN: Can you give us the circumstances, how you ended up — what was the day, how you ended up alone with Joe Biden? Explain what happened that day.

TARA READE: I was approached by my supervisor. She handed me a gym bag and said, “Hurry, Joe wants this, so get it to him. He’ll meet you down towards the Capitol.” And I went down the stairs, and I don’t remember exactly where I was, because there’s connections between the Russell Building and all of that and the corridors, but we were in a semi-private location. It wasn’t a room. It wasn’t, you know, the Russell Office Building — I mean, in his office. It was down in the corridors. And I handed him the gym bag.
And then he — it was one, as I described, fluid moment. He was talking to me, and he said some things that I don’t recall. And I was up against the wall. And he — I remember the coldness of the wall. And I remember his hands underneath my blouse and underneath my skirt, and his fingers penetrating me as he was trying to kiss me and I was pulling away. And he pulled back, and he said, “Come on, man. I heard you liked me.” But he was angry. It was like a tight voice. And he tended to smile when he was angry. And he isn’t like the Uncle Joe like everybody talks about now. He was younger. He was my dad’s age at that time and very strong. And he looked insulted and angry. And I remember feeling like I had done something wrong when he said that statement. And then I was standing there when he said — he was still near me. He said — pointed his finger and said, “You’re nothing to me. You’re nothing.” And he walked away.

It's a tragic story.  Is it true?

That's the conversation America should be having.  But far too many people have prevented that conversation from taking place.

At the top of the list?

Joe Biden himself.

Isn't it cute the way he's shy all the sudden?  Joe who can talk about Corn Pop and leg hairs and children jumping in his lap, all the sudden Joe doesn't have anything to say.  Tara made her charge at the end of March.  We're now in the middle of April and Joe still hasn't said a word.

B-b-b-but his campaign has issued statements!

Sorry but Tara didn't accuse his campaign of assault.

She accused Joe.  Joe's silence reminds us of Bill Clinton's silence.  Juanita Broaddrick accused Bill of rape (we believe her).  He was president at the time.  He never said a word.  He hid behind a spokesperson.  All these years later, two decades later, Bill has never acknowledged the accusation.  Joe also appears to believe the topic's beneath him.

Saturday, Women's March Tweeted:

Women are looking for leadership. If
wants to be a candidate that women can support, he needs to address the allegations about his behavior and clarify his policy on sexual assault, harassment, and consent.

Exactly.  But the corporate media has worked overtime to ensure that doesn't happen.  One way they do this is by including his campaign's statement.  They need to stop.  Every report needs to note that Tara has made her statement publicly while Joe has offered nothing on camera for weeks.  He's hiding behind his campaign.  He gets away with that because (a) the media refuses to ask him about the alleged rape and (b) they refuse to note, in report after report, that he has not himself responded.

In a he-said/she-said, one of the few things the people have is being able to see each side responds -- that's one way we can determine for ourselves who is telling the truth.

Joe knows that.  The media knows that.  The refusal to force him to go on record with a response is starting to reek of cover up.

Not everyone has been working for Joe.

There are people who have covered this story.  College newspapers around the country, for example, have covered the story.  This includes Jace King (THE JOURNAL), Greg Piper (THE COLLEGE FIX), Kamille Houston (THE DAILY PENNSYLVANIAN), Liam O'Sullivan (INDIANA DAILY STUDENT)THE COLLEGIAN, and Gabriella Aponte (DAILY FREE PRESS).  They deserve credit for taking the story seriously and for covering it when the corporate media had imposed a blackout.

In addition, independent media and local media has covered the story.  Ryan Grim (THE INTERCEPT) covered the story first.  Others have covered it as well including Anna North (VOX), RELEVANT, POLITICAL MISFITS, David Walsh (WSWS), Paul Street (COUNTERPUNCH), Robby Soave (REASON), Nolan Finley (DETROIT NEWS)Media Research Center,   Debra Heine (AMERICAN GREATNESS), Britni de la Cretaz (REFINARY 29), Akshay Pai (MEAWW), Anthony Zenkus (COMMON DREAMS)Ana Kasparian (WEEKENDS WITH ANA KASPARIAN AND MICHAEL BROOKS), Mark Hemingway (REAL CLEAR POLITICS), Carl Beijer, Emily Larsen (WASHINGTON EXAMINER), Scott Morefiled (THE DAILY CALLER), Dan MacLaughlin (THE NATIONAL REVIEW)Nathan J. Robinson (CURRENT AFFAIRS), RING OF FIREJeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH), Matthew Stevenson (COUNTERPUNCH), Laurie Dobson (COUNTERPUNCH), Andrew Levine (COUNTERPUNCH) and  Marie Solis (VICE).

A lot of people have done a lot of work.

But we noted that one of the problems is Joe Biden and another problem is the corporate media.  A third problem, let's be honest, is the independent media.  FAIR is supposed to be a media watchdog, right?  And they produce a weekly radio show, COUNTERSPIN, which airs on stations across the country.

FAIR's entire output on the issue?  A 2019 column by Naomi LaChance was published on April 8, 2019 (click here for the column at COMMON DREAMS the following day).  One year ago.  Naomi's column took on THE VIEW, THE ATLANTIC and how they were ignoring women's stories about Joe's inappropriate touching and sniffing.

A year later, when Tara makes her accusation of assault, FAIR's silent.  There's no column, for example, about how THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST and AP were ignoring the story -- all three outlets would publish reports or 'reports' on Easter Sunday.  No column on how CNN, MSNBC, CBS EVENING NEWS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS and ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT were all ignoring the story.  Nor any piece on how NPR and PBS were also ignoring it.

We give Naomi credit for her article a year ago and we give her credit for making this point:

Some of those given space in corporate media to defend Biden have taken it upon themselves to do so on their children’s behalf. The Washington Post (3/31/19) asked Sen. Chris Coons (D.-Delaware) to speak for his daughter Maggie about a 2015 incident in which Biden was filmed kissing the then-13-year-old’s forehead and whispering in her ear.
“She did not think of it as anything,” Coons said. “All three of my kids have known Joe their whole lives.”
Although it seems journalistically irresponsible—not to mention paternalistic—to assume that Coons would accurately represent his daughter’s opinion, it’s clear from the video, where Maggie grimaces and moves away from Biden, that she isn’t having a good time.

This is a complex story -- the accusation against Biden, Biden's non-response and the refusal of corporate media to cover the story for weeks.  FAIR stands for what again?  "Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting."  It's a media watchdog, that's how it bills itself.  So with this complex story to tell, Naomi certainly might have expected that others at FAIR would make an attempt to cover it as well.  And she couldn't be faulted if she had believed that FAIR's radio program COUNTERSPIN would cover it.
For those unfamiliar with COUNTERSPIN, it usually has two or three segments.  The first segment is a look at recent press coverage.  The second -- or second and third -- segment would be an interview with someone regarding a news story or issue.

Janine Jackson is now the solo host of COUNTERSPIN.  In fact, she's also the producer, as FAIR notes:

CounterSpin is FAIR’s weekly radio show, produced and hosted by Janine Jackson. It’s heard on more than 135 noncommercial stations across the United States and Canada. CounterSpin provides a critical examination of the major stories every week, and exposes what corporate media might have missed in their own coverage. CounterSpin highlights censored stories and exposes biased and inaccurate coverage, while examining the power of corporate influence and sexism, racism and homophobia in the news.

Let's remember that #MeToo and the Times Up Legal Defense Fund are also part of the story.  Anita Dunn, part of Joe Biden's current campaign and a defender of Harvey Weinstein, is part of Times Up.  Another person who is part of Times Up would be Tina Tchen -- someone most noted in recent months for her connection to Jussie Smollett's hoax but who is also the CEO of Times Up, a huge bundler in 2008 for candidate Barack Obama, she was the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement when Joe Biden was Vice President, she went on to become an Assistant to President Barack Obama, and was the Chief of Staff for Michelle Obama.  So, yeah, Tina's connected to Joe as well.  And Times Up, when Tara began telling them her story in January, they never disclosed Anita or Tina's involvement.  They would eventually insist that they couldn't assist her because it would harm their tax status.  That was a lie, let's be honest.

Since Tara Reade went public March 24th with Ryan Grim's story, Janine Jackson has hosted and produced four episodes of the weekly COUNTERSPIN.  Somehow she's never managed to mention Tara.  She hasn't noted the accusation or the press' inability to cover the accusation.  She hasn't noted Times Up's conflict of interest.  She hasn't noted the attacks on Tara.  

Did FAIR forget that it's a media critic and that it's role is to shine a light?

Or was is just Janine Jackson who forgot?

THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST slimed Tara when they finally reported on her.  And, as Dean Baquet (NYT's executive editor) would admit, they edited out a partial sentence in their original report after Joe Biden's campaign objected to the sentence.

This was the original passage in THE NEW YORK TIMES:

No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade's allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.

It was altered, when the Biden campaign complained, to:

No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade's allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.

 COUNTERSPIN should have called that edit out.  In fact, FAIR should have as well.  But despite publishing constantly, FAIR never managed to call out the paper.

This does huge harm.  We know from our past interactions with NPR's ombudspersons, journalist organizations pay attention to FAIR.  (They also pay attention to our critiques, which is how we hear from them in the first place.)  

Four weekly episodes and COUNTERSPIN couldn't and wouldn't address it.

Which is how we arrive at PBS finally covering the allegation on Friday.  And who did they interview?

Primary sources are supposed to be what journalism goes for.  But they didn't interview Tara about it and they didn't interview Joe about it.

Who did they go with?  Get ready to laugh, they went with Lisa Lerer -- co-author of THE NEW YORK TIMES' hit piece on Tara.

 Amna Nawaz was particularly stupid.  She offered a denial of rape from . . . Kate Beginfield.

Huh?  When was Kate accused of assault or rape?  On, never.  Amna failed to note that Joe himself has refused to speak on the record about that.

Sounding bored, Lisa Lerer wanted you to know that Tara NOW (that's how she emphasized it) is claiming assault.  She didn't, Lisa wanted you to know, make that accusation originally.

Where was the expert on assault and rape who could have explained that a survivor doesn't have to tell every detail from the start to be telling the truth?

There was no one to defend Tara and it was hilarious that THE NEWSHOUR wanted you to hear Tara "in her own words" by playing this clip:

It happened at once. And that's what's so hard about telling this story.  Like, he's talking to me and his hands are everywhere. And everything's happening at once very quickly. This happened, like, in under two minutes.

Do you get the problem with that?  PBS is supposedly offering a news program.  That's what they played from Tara.  It doesn't describe the alleged assault.  Nor did Professional Liar Lisa Lerer bother to describe the assault.  Let's go back to DEMOCRACY NOW! to remind readers of how Tara's describes the assault:

I was approached by my supervisor. She handed me a gym bag and said, “Hurry, Joe wants this, so get it to him. He’ll meet you down towards the Capitol.” And I went down the stairs, and I don’t remember exactly where I was, because there’s connections between the Russell Building and all of that and the corridors, but we were in a semi-private location. It wasn’t a room. It wasn’t, you know, the Russell Office Building — I mean, in his office. It was down in the corridors. And I handed him the gym bag.
And then he — it was one, as I described, fluid moment. He was talking to me, and he said some things that I don’t recall. And I was up against the wall. And he — I remember the coldness of the wall. And I remember his hands underneath my blouse and underneath my skirt, and his fingers penetrating me as he was trying to kiss me and I was pulling away. And he pulled back, and he said, “Come on, man. I heard you liked me.” But he was angry. It was like a tight voice. And he tended to smile when he was angry. And he isn’t like the Uncle Joe like everybody talks about now. He was younger. He was my dad’s age at that time and very strong. And he looked insulted and angry. And I remember feeling like I had done something wrong when he said that statement. And then I was standing there when he said — he was still near me. He said — pointed his finger and said, “You’re nothing to me. You’re nothing.” And he walked away.

Sure was nice of PBS to clean up the story, right?  Sure was nice to Joe Biden, that is.  To victims of assault?  Not very nice at all.

Lisa Lerer got away with declaring on air,  "Because there's no real pattern for Joe Biden's in terms of sexual assault. Right now, this is the only allegation against him."

There's no real pattern?

 The whoring never ends.  It was incumbent on Amna Nawaz to note the previous complaints against Joe and it was incumbent upon Amna to note that Lisa co-authored this sentence "The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable." and that the sentence was altered after the original publication to remove "beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable."

We'd also add that it was incumbent upon Amna to note who did the first broadcast interview with Tara about the assault -- Katie Halper.  It's called giving credit where it's due.  It's also true that Lisa took a swipe at Katie on air when she declared,  "As a result, she ended up talking to a woman who had a podcast on Rolling Stone who's a well-known supporter of Bernie Sanders, and first telling her story of sexual assault on that podcast."  Lisa never named Katie.  Passive-aggressive brought to you by the generous donations of DuPont and viewers like you.

And, by the way, it wasn't a podcast for ROLLING STONE.  Katie co-hosts ROLLING STONE's  USEFUL IDIOTS.  This was broadcast on THE KATIE HALPER SHOW which broadcasts on radio station WBAI (most Wednesdays from 4:00 PM EST to 5:00 PM -- not this Wednesday when they're doing Earth Day programming).  Even basic facts elude Lisa and her outlet THE NEW YORK TIMES. 

The whole thing's become a sick joke.

And, yes, Joe Biden is responsible and, yes, the corporate media is responsible.  They should be grabbing up slices of that blame pie.  So should the non-feminists like Amanda Marcotte, Joan Walsh, Baby Jessica Valenti and Michelle Goldberg.  But so should people like Janine Jackson, people who have ignored this story for weeks and weeks.  Sadly, there's just not enough slices of that single pie to go to everyone who's earned a slice.


We've been covering the Tara Reade story repeatedly -- both here and at THE COMMON ILLS.  We will no doubt return to it.  We did seek out a comment from FAIR but they never responded.  We may return to the topic of FAIR and COUNTERSPIN in a more specific piece at a later date.

That disappointing Ellen DeGeneres


It seems like Ellen DeGeneres is a disappointment in every way these days.

She compared being holed up in her mansion to being in jail.  Meanwhile, people actually in jail and prisons don't have her amenities or the safety that she's living with.

She hired a non-union crew to do the corona episodes of her unneeded and non-essential talk show.  She also refused to keep her workers in the loop.

All of this comes after her defense of noted homophobe Kevin Hart and her embrace of War Criminal Bully Boy Bush.

Some people grapple with this and can't understand it.  Remember how brave she was, they insist, in 1997!!!!

The same events that she's been lying about in recent years?  (See Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The lies of Ellen DeGeneres are out in full force in her NETFLIX special.")

People need to grow the hell up.  For example, there was a recent rush to insist no one criticize John Lewis.  Don't do it, hissed a few.

Why the hell not?

In the sixties, he did some stuff to applaud, yes.

But we're not living in the 1960s.  We're living in today.  And whether it's whoring the American people out to Turbo Tax or the late Bruce Dixon's wondering "Is It Time To Revoke John Lewis' Lifetime Civil Rights Hero Pass?," is it time to grow the hell up and grasp that one moment in time does not define a lifetime nor does it create a 'get out of jail' card that can be used over and over.


Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Self-Appointed Queen Has Spoken."

The really big question

are they scared of him

That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Are They Scared Of Joe Biden?"

The media has done interviews with Joe Biden since Tara Reade went public with her accusation that he raped her.  But they've ignored it.

Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper . . .  So many have done interviews with Joe since the March 24th accusation.  But they've all avoided asking him about the accusation.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders have been asked by the press about the accusation.  But so far, they've all refused to ask Joe himself.

When does that change?

And who will be the brave soul who finally puts the question to Joe?

Music video of the week

Sam Smith and Demi Lovato's "I'm Ready."


As far back as a 2006 roundtable, we've been praising Bob Dylan's album KNOCKED OUT LOADED.  Last month, we noted that we loved the album again in "Murder Most Foul."

People are surprised by that.  And that surprised us.

Until we realized it's easier to learn today that the album got lousy reviews than it is to actually hear it.  Most of the tracks are not even on YOUTUBE, for example.

Here are two that are on YOUTUBE and two that we love.

"Drifting Too Far From Shore."

"Brownsville Girl."

Maybe others can take the time to give KNOCKED OUT LOADED a fresh listen?

Debunking The Criticisms of Joe Biden Accuser Tara Reade

Current Affairs Editor Nathan J. Robinson examines the response to the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden and makes the case for why Tara Reade's account is credible. Read Nathan's piece on Tara Reade's allegation here:

Our favorite media screw-ups: Believe Biden over believe women, Katie Halper responds to critics

Krystal and Saagar look back at the media's biggest flops this week, including Amanda Marcotte on Pod Save America; special guest Katie Halper from the Katie Halper podcast responds to The Nation's Joan Walsh biased reports on Tara Reade. About Rising:  Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen. It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.  Follow Rising on social media: Website: Hill.TV Facebook: Instagram: @HillTVLive Twitter: @HillTVLive Follow Saagar Enjeti & Krystal Ball on social media: Twitter: @esaagar and @krystalball Instagram: @esaagar and @krystalmball

Music audio of the week

The title track to Fiona Apple's new album.  Kat reviewed the album here.

Ava and C.I. write to FAIR

In anticipation of their media piece this edition, Ava and C.I. e-mailed the following to FAIR on Friday:
 To: Fri, Apr 17 at 12:09 PM

Good morning,

This is a dictated e-mail.

We will be covering FAIR's silence -- especially COUNTERSPIN's silence -- on Tara Reade for THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW.

Background, we spent our early years online at THIRD and at THE COMMON ILLS constantly praising COUNTERSPIN and FAIR.

That became harder to do as we absorbed your lessons and applied them to you. We wrote, for example, in 2006 about how you called out PBS' THE NEWSHOUR for the inequality in the gender of their guests but that when we looked at COUNTERSPIN's own guest list it was pretty sad.

We also called out your silence on sexism in 2008 -- one sentence, as we noted.

Now we're going to ask why COUNTERSPIN and FAIR -- media 'watchdogs' -- are ignoring the way Tara Reade is covered or the way she is ignored by the media.

Like Time's Up do you feel that your tax status means you can't cover Tara?

If not, what is the reason why you've avoided any critique of the media's long silence on Tara Reade until after Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race, then rushing to all (AP, NYT, WASHINGTON POST) publish on Easter Sunday or what about the non-stop attacks on Tara the media's found time for as opposed to the way other women who step forward claiming to be raped and/or assaulted are treated.

We would love to applaud you.  We would love to be able to do that.

For years, for example, we loved Steve's work -- until the nonsense about the LA TIMES columnist Joyce Harber destroying Jean Seberg. Seberg was destroyed by NEWSWEEK and that is not a side issue or a minor detail. Joyce ran a blind item, as we've noted many times, which could have been about Jean or Jane Fonda or any number of women. NEWSWEEK -- which Romain Gary sued -- printed Jean's name with the rumor and lied that they had spoken to Jean. That's never been addressed. It came out of France which, wake up, says it was more than a FBI plot against Jean -- the CIA participated which would explain how NEWSWEEK was involved. Other than that, we've enjoyed Steve's work. We loved Peter Hart when he was with FAIR.

If you have any comment you would like included, it will be included in full.

We don't expect perfection, we just expect you to live up to the same standards you grade others on.

Thank you,

Ava and C.I.


Extremists Use Pandemic to Terrorize Abortion Clinics

Feminist Majority Foundation - Equality around the world
Dear Common Ills,
Disgusting. Frightening. Sickening.
These are just a few of the words describing the repulsive actions of anti-abortion extremists at clinics across the nation.
AND NOW…in the midst of the pandemic they’ve resorted to the despicable tactic of fake coughing on women patients entering the clinics.
THAT’S WHY I’m rushing you this emergency request for help. I’m happy to report we are more than halfway to our goal of $31,500 to protect these abortion clinics under siege. In fact, we have already raised $18,300. We can do it.
I’m depending on you to chip in and do you to do your part to meet this emergency goal.
duVergne Gaines, Director of our National Clinic Access Project, reports that anti-abortion extremists have ramped up their tactics in the key cities of Milwaukee, Detroit, Jacksonville, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro.
MAKING MATTERS WORSE…anti-abortion extremists are unleashing the unthinkable: In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic some of these zealots are doubling down by confronting patients and staff in close physical proximity, crowding and touching them—harassing and threatening to expose them to COVID-19.They must be stopped.
That is why I’m asking you to make a tax-deductible donation for whatever you can to our EMERGENCY PROTECTION FUND. Today, if at all possible. Funds are urgently needed for security and other essential protection from these anti-abortion extremists.
Here are the most urgent needs for immediate and additional security and support at some of these threatened clinics:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Affiliated Medical Services clinic has faced extreme harassment for years. One of the largest providers in the state, the clinic suspended their volunteer clinic escort program following the governor’s stay-at-home orders, and has requested assistance with hiring security guards throughout the week for the next 6-8 weeks. An extremist associated with the Army of God harassed employees while standing just inches from the main clinic door. We are awaiting a final estimate for security guards, but based on past experience:
We estimate costs will run between $7,000-$8,000.
Indianapolis, Indiana. Clinic for Women, which serves patients from throughout Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, has had to hire security and additional staff to help manage and screen patients in order to ensure the safety of clinic staff and patients. The clinic also needed to find protective masks for non-medical staff, so last week, we reached out to a volunteer collective in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is sewing masks and arranged the production and shipment to this important provider.
The Clinic for Women estimates additional costs will run $5,500.
North Carolina. A Woman’s Choice Clinics in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro have requested help feeding staff who are on extended work schedules. These clinics are under siege by virulent demonstrators who continue to urge hundreds of their followers to target clinics. Recently, police arrested protesters on two different days for violating state emergency orders and laws. 
Jacksonville, Florida. A Woman’s Choice Clinic in Jacksonville has also requested help with feeding staff who are working additional shifts.
The North Carolina and Florida emergency request combined totals $8,800.
Westland, Michigan. Northland Family Planning, a clinic in the Detroit suburb of Westland, is facing aggressive protesters. Members of this group of protestors were cited by police, but already these zealots have filed a lawsuit challenging these citations. With the escorts ceasing operations following the governor’s stay-at-home orders, the clinic is requesting emergency funds to pay for additional security guards.
Northland Family Planning needs $4,500 to cover additional security costs.
Huntsville, Alabama. Alabama Women's Center continues to have disruptive protesters target their patients and clinic. This critical facility has had to hire additional staff to help screen and direct patients and secure thier entrance. In addition, this courageous clinic itself is fighting to stay open and provide abortion care while complying with new terrible restrictions set forth by the state. This clinic needs our help.
The Alabama Women's Center needs $4,700.
These urgent requests are not the only ones – they are just the beginning. We’re over halfway to our goal of raising $31,500 to meet this emergency. We can’t let these clinics down. We can do it.
Everything you give is tax deductible and will go directly to these vital clinics for security and emergency protection. We are doing everything we can to help these clinics stay open and keep abortion accessible. Please let me know we can count on you.

For Women's Lives,

Eleanor Smeal
President, Feminist Majority Foundation

P.S. Please make a tax-deductible donation for whatever amount you can. Clinics need your help!

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