C.I.: We're doing another roundtable and it wasn't planned but the Biden campaign really ticked me off so Ava and I called around and invited everyone to attend. Participating in our roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jess, Ava, and me, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. We'll be covering Joe Biden, the allegations of assault against him, Bernie Sanders, coronavirus and much more. You're reading a rush transcript. Mike, let's start with you. Tell us about Tara Reade.
Mike: Sure. First, to reply to four e-mails I got today, no, it's not the actress Tara Reid. Tara Reade is a different person. Among other things, she worked for Joe Biden's office in the 90s when he was a US Senator. He is currently running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. This week, Tara Reade became an issue for Joe when Ryan Grimm reported on her allegations for THE INTERCEPT and noted that TimesUp! refused to help her. He then discussed that on THE HILL's RISING with Krystal Ball. Katie Halper interviewed Tara about her story. Those late to the party can refer to my "Tara Reade was assaulted by Joe Biden" and "Joe Biden assaulted Tara Reade" and C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot." Anna North (VOX) explains, "Reade says Biden sexually assaulted her, pushing her against a wall and
penetrating her with his fingers. When she pulled away, she says, he
said he thought she 'liked' him." The corporate media has been reluctant to cover the issue all week. Tossing to Ann.
Ann: Thank you. On Friday, with no real pressure from the media -- CNN, CBS, NBC, TIME, NEWSWEEK, THE NEW YORK TIMES, etc. -- none of them were covering it -- the Biden campaign finally 'responds' and now -- only now -- NEWSWEEK finds the story.
Biden's campaign team has categorically denied the allegations, which
Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield
"Women have a right to tell their story, and
reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims,"
Bedingfield said. "We encourage them to do so, because these accusations
Marianne Baker, who served as executive assistant to
then-Senator Biden from 1982 to 2000, also rejected the assertions,
saying that in the nearly 20 years she worked with Biden, she had never
witnessed, heard or received reports of inappropriate conduct.
Ann (Con't): C.I.?
C.I.: And that's what really pissed me off and made me call for a roundtable. Marianne Baker? No one should take that woman seriously, she spent her whole career carrying a torch for Joe and everyone made fun of her for that. But set that aside for a moment. Tara Reade has made a very significant accusation. It needs a response. Where's Joe? Don't give me 'his campaign responded for him.' Not when his buddy Glenn Kessler 'fact checks' for THE WASHINGTON POST by repeatedly allowing conflicting statements from Joe and the campaign to be smoothed over and called 'truth' as long as either the campaign or Joe was correct. Joe says the sun is purple, the campaign says orange and Glenn rushes in with "True! Because a week later the campaign said . . ." Joe is the candidate and we don't need a statement of "We" from the campaign, we need a statement from him. Why is he so scared to issue a statement in his name? The campaign is happy to issue a statement from Marianne Baker. Who the hell cares what that motivated by self-interest piece of trash has to say? She has every reason to lie. It was her job to protect the workers. Tara telling the truth means that Marianne didn't do her damn job. You don't take a statement from trash like Marianne. Her self-interest is showing. Were she an impartial person, she wouldn't be providing a statement to the campaign. This wasn't even the campaign steering the press privately to a friendly source. Again, if Tara's telling the truth, this reflects on Marianne who clearly was not doing her job which was to ensure that the office was a safe environment for all. She should not be seen as impartial or even as honest broker at this point. And I'm so tired of women stabbing other women in the back. When a charge of harassment or rape emerges, let it be sorted out. To immediately respond with this sort of nonsense? You're trying to stack the deck and people should not respect you for that. There is no reason in the world for Marianne or any woman to weigh in right now. The charge is not even a week old and it has not been investigated by the media. More to the point, Joe has not made himself available to speak to the press so we don't need to hear from anyone -- certainly not horny Marianne who always wanted Joe to herself. Ann?
Ann: When you called me about doing a roundtable, I was on the fence and then you told me about Marianne's statement and I wasn't on the fence. I did not want to do a four a.m. roundtable -- which is when this started and when you thought it would probably have to for everyone to participate. But then you told me about Marianne's statement and that pissed me off. As most of the people reading this know if they know my site, I am a rape survivor. I did take my rapist to court. I did win. But when the court date was set, a few women tried to smear me, women who knew my rapist. I wasn't telling the truth, he would never do a such thing, nonsense like that. If someone wants to offer an opinion -- anyone -- after we've had this issue before us and it has been seriously investigated by the press, fine. A woman or a man comes forward to say that they were assaulted or raped. You don't have to believe them. But take a moment to let a serious dialogue on the issue emerge. Don't try to put your finger on the scales, don't try to spin the events. Wait at least long enough for the accused to make a statement all by themselves. Not through a campaign and certainly not via a "We" statement. Tara made a serious allegation. Is it true? I don't know. But I know it's a serious allegation and we should take it seriously. We may all include that she's lying or that she's confused. We may also end up concluding that she's telling the truth. At this point, she had the courage to speak. Joe Biden has refused to speak. Until he does, I don't need to hear from his surrogates. It's insulting to any person who has come forward to make a charge. We need to hear from Joe Biden and only Joe Biden. Efforts at anything else make me distrust Joe and lean towards Tara.
Marcia: I would agree. The campaign is spinning and they issue a "We" statement on behalf of the campaign and then a personal statement from Marianne Baker but no personal statement from Joe Biden? Why is Joe unable to make a statement? Why is he unable to speak to the press about this? Someone who's innocent should be able to. They should be able to deny the charge -- all by themselves. That Joe has not done that, as Ann was noting, makes me suspect of his actions.
Kat: I want to drop in the interview Krystal Ball has done with Tara Reade for THE HILL.
Ava: Done. We're also going to include Krystal's take on the corporate media's response of silence to Tara Reade's accusations.
Stan: I'm sorry, if someone accuses me of assault, I don't need to struggle for words or time to respond. That Joe does makes him suspect to me. Wally?
Wally: I'm with you on that, Stan. If you're innocent, why is it difficult for you to make your own statement? It is suspect.
Betty: This Marianne Baker, why the hell are we supposed to believe her to begin with? What has she ever done that makes her someone we should trust?
C.I.: Nothing. She's not done a damn thing to earn anyone's trust. Her time 'supervising' and "duties with respect to human resources"? Don't make me laugh. This occurs when he's paying women significantly less than men. She took her job seriously? No, she didn't. If she wants to issue a statement, that statement needs to be, "I'm sorry that I allowed Joe to pay women 67 cents for every dollar a man made." And that was in a 'good' year for women working for Joe, it dipped much lower in some years. So if Marianne Baker wants to speak of hour she ensured HR practices were followed and blah, blah, blah, she needs to accept that she's a liar and the world knows she's a liar. She's already allowed -- in her 18 years working for Joe -- women to be discriminated in pay.
Betty: That is not a minor issue. I had no help from my ex-husband, not even child support. I had three kids. I had to work, it pisses me off that Joe Biden or anyone is paying men more for the same job.
Ann: No one can afford to toss away money and let's also note the other issue, the insult being made when you do not have equal pay for equal work and the way you destroy and undermine a person's own self-confidence by doing that.
C.I.: Using the most favorable figure for Joe -- when he was paying women 67 cents for the dollar -- that means, if Betty worked for him, that she would take home $686.40 less in a year. That would have meant that, in three years, she would have made $2059.20 less than her male co-worker working for Joe.
Betty: I mean, we're talking dentist bills, rent, school clothes, that would have been money my kids and I could have used. And, let me leave my area of need for a moment. It doesn't matter if the woman was Marcia who has no kids. Being paid less than your co-worker because of gender? That's outrageous and offensive.
Isaiah: If I can just toss this out, we're talking averages. I bring that up because I'm willing to bet Marianne Baker ensured that she herself was paid well. So she probably skews the average as a result and other women were paid far less well.
Rebecca: I'd agree that's very likely.
Marcia: Agreed and co-signed.
Elaine: I find it very telling that when Joe's accused by a woman, Marianne The Liar Baker wants to step in with a statement insisting nothing happened. But when a news outlet documents the serious and troubling discrimination in pay, she has nothing to say. I'm tired of people like that . . . person. I'll keep it clean. I'm tired of liars like Marianne. She wants to flaunt her supervision expertise and her concern over human resources to shut down Tara but we already know she has no expertise or real concern over human resources because we're talking something as basic as pay -- you don't have to do an investigation, you don't have to speak to people, you just look at the numbers and there the discrimination is. But that mattered not one bit to her. So she just needs to shut the hell up and stop pretending that's she has any area of expertise to offer or that any of us take her seriously.
Stan: I guess, if confronted on that difference in pay, Marianne Baker would insist, "Those were different times." Equally true, on office place harassment, those were different times as well. She failed on one, she likely failed on all. She has no standing and should shut her damn mouth. No one needs her, no one wants her, shut the hell up.
Rebecca: But if Joe couldn't hide behind Marianne's skirt, whose skirt would he hide behind? I'm so sick of men who hide behind women when accused of assault or harassment and I am so sick of these women who provide cover for these men.
Ruth: And we should note that Ms. Reade is talking about assault and we have had other women already speak out about Mr. Biden making them uncomfortable: Lucy Flores, Amy Lappos, DJ Hill, Caitlyn Caruso, Ally Coll, Sofie Karasek and Vail Kohnert-Yount.
Rebecca: Good point. And this allegation from Tara Reade -- who worked for him -- needs to be explored and assessed and, yes, Joe's pattern is an issue. We need to figure out what is going on.
Cedric: Well no one needs to wonder for too long a Krassentein wife on Twitter explained that an expose on Tara was forthcoming.
Wally: I forget, who is the wife in that couple? Brian or Ed?
Cedric: Brian Krassentein, of course.
Wally: Oh, right. No one believes those two brothers are married to anyone except maybe each other. And the 'wife' account really comes off like a way for the brothers to fake a person and get around the ban Twitter imposed on them because they're con artists.
Cedric: Time's up, game's over. Time for Joe to address the allegation. The con artists are rushing to smear Tara. That includes Howard Dean. So many of us were once taken in by him.
Elaine: I was. I supported his 2004 run. C.I. didn't. She knew he was a fake ass even then. He is a political operative and a liar. In 2008, he refused to call out the sexism aimed at Hillary Clinton, refused to even admit it was taking place or, after she had ended her campaign, that it had. He's a liar and he's disgusting. Cute the way, though, he enriched his own brother -- crooked, crony capitalism at its worst.
Trina: We've all been fooled before. You can't live very long without a politician fooling you at least once.
Cedric: I've been fooled many times, sadly. I think being a Democrat requires that I get fooled many times, I think it's written into the bylaws or something.
Mike: The bulk are liars and they proved it this week. Americans need a minimum of $2,000 a month from the government during this pandemic. Minimum. The same Congress that's giving billions to business refuses to address the needs of the American people.
Kat: David Sirota Tweeted, "For $2 trillion, you could give $500 billion to frontline health care facilities and then cut a $10,000 check to every single worker in America. Please try to explain to me how this wouldn't be better than giving much of the emergency stimulus money to corporations."
Marcia: And excuse me but corporations are supposed to produce something that sales. So give the people the money and they'll buy what they want and the markets will determine how the corporations do. People need money to ease the worries and the fears. All the Congress did was enrich the corporations yet again.
Trina: They betrayed the people.
Jess: I would like to ask a rhetorical question: How did we get to this point when one of the two potential nominees for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination is accused of assault?
Ava: A very good point. And it has been worse before -- there was a time, 2016, when we had a nominee who was under criminal investigation so the FBI refused to use that term -- as though they conduct civil court investigations?
Jess: And they have worked overtime, the leaders of the DNC, to ensure that Bernie Sanders does not get the nomination. While recent weeks have only raised more questions about Joe Biden -- including is he senile? -- recent weeks have demonstrated just how right Bernie is -- for this moment, for this time -- and I say that as a member of the Green Party.
Isaiah: I would agree with that. The current pandemic makes it clear that we need Medicare For All. As Trina has always said, it is a need not a want. It is what the country needs. The coronavirus pandemic has made that clear. Currently, people are living in fear. Some have already lost their jobs and fear losing their insurance. Some are stressed every day as they wonder if they'll have a job next week and whether they'll have insurance. If we had Medicare For All, no one would suffer from stress about whether or not they have insurance. If we had Medicare For All, no one would have to fear economic wipeout if they get the coronavirus.
Rebecca: Right and, as C.I. has repeatedly pointed out, why is Bernie the only leader nationally who is talking about the "economic anxiety" that so many Americans are facing. That is the correct term but does Joe Biden even want to acknowledge it? No. The stress from the economic anxiety could be easily avoided by Medicare For All and one other issue that'll I'll bring up when we're done talking about Medicare For All.
Trina: With the pandemic, America is only as healthy as its least insured. Medicare For All would provide insurance for all and lift up our rate of health. We spend so much money on so-called defense of the country -- that money goes to bombs and other weapons. If we really want to defend our country, we need Medicare For All to ensure a strong baseline of health for every American.
Isaiah: It really is that simple.
Ruth: Senator Bernie Sanders Tweeted, "People today are dying, knowing they're sick, but they're not going to the hospital because they can't afford the bill that they'll be picking up. That is an international disgrace. We need to make health care a right."
Trina: We really do. And this really is simple. It really is. But some want to lie and keep us from having what we need. I will not forget what went down in 2019 and this year. I will not forget the various whores that started out for Medicare For All -- or gave lip service -- only to then walk away and attack those who supported it -- that's Tiny Pete Buttigieg, that's Tulsi Fake Ass Gabbard, that's so many. I hold trash like Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar responsible. So many of us have fought for Medicare For All and we have gotten so close this year but corporate media and corporate candidates have lied and whored to try to hold us back.
Cedric: The nonsense cries of "How are you going to pay for it!" No one asked that about the defense industry, the ongoing wars, only when it's something that the American people need does that question even pop up.
Wally: Heather Gautney Tweeted, "No Dem/Rep should ever get away with saying to Bernie Sanders 'how are you going to pay for it?' w/regard to Medicare For All or his other programs. Our people are now paying dearly for decades of cuts to the safety net. We must change course and think big." She's a senior policy advisor to Bernie's campaign.
Betty: I agree with that. The safety net has been cut and gutted and no president has made an attempt to strengthen in. Bernie wants to do that and that is apparently threatening to corporate America. We should not forget that. This crisis was the perfect time to strengthen the safety net but instead Congress is sending our money -- our tax dollars -- to corporations with a token, one-time payment of $1,200 for some Americans.
Mike: Nor should we forget, getting to Jess' point earlier, the way Barack Obama pulled the strings from behind the curtain, calling Tiny Pete, Amy Klobuchar and others to get them to drop out right before Super Tuesday to clear the field for Joe. Barack's a bastard.
Cedric: Linguistically correct since his mother was not married to his father. His drunk of a father came to this country with a wife already back in Africa. We don't recognize multiple marriages in this country and bigamy is a crime. Stanley the Ford Foundation whore was never married to Barack's father. So, yes, he is a bastard. And, yes, he needs to be called out for the work he put in trying to destroy Bernie's chances to get the nomination. He is disgusting and his legacy is one of corruption and violence. The Nobel Peace Prize committee revealed themselves to be a fraud by giving him a prize he hadn't earned and would not go on to earn. He and his manly wife need to find another way to entertain because this is one African-American male who is not going to applaud Barack for his okey-dokes.
Kat: I think his ability to fool the people grows less and less each day. But a large number of hopium addicts fell for St. Barack and many have still not faced reality. They need that fix, they're addicts.
Betty: I hear the faux 'resistance' attack Donald Trump supporters and insist that they are fools to still believe him. Uh, same with Barack supporters. He was going to close Guantanamo, he wasn't going to reauthorize the Patriot Act, he was going to get US troops out of Iraq -- I'm confused, which promise did he keep? When was he ever, as he promised to be, on a picket line? When did he, as he promised to, end veterans homelessness?
Stan: Barack did nothing to help the American people and it should never be forgotten. He oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from working people to the rich so the corporate media will lie for him so it is up to We The People to ensure that the truth about Barack is told and told frequently.
Ruth: That Mr. Obama and the corporate media worked so hard to try to destroy Bernie Sanders is the story of 2020 and probably the most important story of an election ever. He spoke to the people and was supported by the people and that was a threat to the corporations so smear campaigns and lies were used to destroy him -- in full view of the American people. It was the equivalent of an assassination.
Jess: I agree Ruth. They've been using the media to assassinate for some time now. And they did it to destroy Bernie.
C.I.: Ann and Jess are both Greens. Did either or both of you want to weigh in on any Green issues?
Jess: I'll go first! Ann wrote "I don't support Joe and I don't support Dario" this week noting she was switching from support of Dario Hunter to Howie Hawkins for the Green Party's presidential nomination. She noted that Dario is doing nothing. I like his views too but if he's not trying to campaign, he's useless. If he got the nomination, then what? Howie is going to campaign. I understand her switch and I want to note that I'm now for Howie as well.
Ann: I'm not able to be a hypocrite. I don't see how others are. Kat and Betty were talking about the addiction some people have to a politician -- be it Barack or Donald -- and I'm not that way. You're there to serve me, if you're not, you don't have my support. Howie is busting his butt to get the word out on his campaign. Dario doesn't really care. He's made that obvious. I've called Hidin' Biden out for his failure to show leadership during this pandemic, I have to call Dario out as well. Otherwise? I'm a hypocrite. I kept waiting for him to get serious and he didn't. So I'm done with Dario.
Jess: And I agree because all he's got to campaign on right now is social media and he has no presence on social media. His campaign is too inept to even manage one daily Tweet.
Ann: Not even one daily Tweet Monday through Friday. It' pathetic.
Mike: I'd like to note, speaking of people having a social media presence, Bernie did another livestream yesterday.
Kat: And let me toss out that there is a new podcast of HEAR THE BERN.
Ava: Okay, good points and we're wrapping up. Our main points are? Tara Reade needs to be listened to. Believed? That happens after we listen -- we determine whether or not we believe her. But her allegations have to get a public airing. We can't just dismiss them. Juanita Broaddrick did not get a fair hearing in the 90s and we still are grappling with how to make up for that. Tara Reade could be a liar. That's very much a possibility. However, she may be telling the truth and this issue needs to be aired publicly and aired completely. Joe Biden needs to speak to this issue and stop hiding behind campaign staff. We don't need to hear from Marianne Baker or any other person in that office that enabled gender discrimination -- they're already suspect as a result of that. Bernie Sanders was right to call for Medicare For All. Bernie continues to provide leadership throughout this pandemic. He's still in the race and we need him to be.