At THE NATION this morning, Kate Manne weighs in on the allegations against Joe Biden:
One evening in the mid-nineties, Lynda LaCasse was smoking a cigarette on the front stoop of her apartment in Morro Bay, Calif., when she was joined by her neighbor and friend Tara Reade. It was an emotional conversation, encompassing custody battles and violence. According to LaCasse, Reade disclosed an incident that occurred when Reade worked for then-Senator Joe Biden in 1993: After she brought him his gym bag, he backed her up against a wall, kissed her neck and hair, put his hand under her clothes, and penetrated her digitally. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.” Reade had wept at the memory; LaCasse urged her to file a police report.
On April 27, Business Insider published this account, corroborating Reade’s prior testimony. LaCasse made it plausible, moreover, that she has no axe to grind: She is a longtime Democrat, with a history of anti-Trump posts on social media, together with recent praise for Biden as well as Bernie Sanders. She even said she still plans to vote for Biden. She also believes her friend Tara Reade should be heard; she believes her, period. “I have to support her just because that’s what happened,” said LaCasse, who added that she came forward without Reade having asked her to: “We need to stand up and tell the truth.”
Such evidence supplements several other accounts that corroborate elements of Reade’s story—from her brother, two anonymous friends, a former colleague, and footage from Reade’s late mother, who called into Larry King Live a few months after the alleged incident in 1993 to seek advice on behalf of her daughter.
Given this strong evidence, why are many people still refusing to believe Tara Reade? Among the primary reasons: an unwillingness to believe that Biden is “the type” and sheer political inconvenience.
We know, alas, that Biden is the type. He has sniffed and kissed the hair of the politician Lucy Flores. Six other women have testified to his touching and kissing them in ways that made them uncomfortable. We also have relevant footage. This is a man with a demonstrated history of handsiness—and a man who so does not understand boundaries that he made jokes last year about having permission to hug and touch people onstage after being confronted about his problem.
The attacks against Tara Reade have intensified. Human trash like Ken Olin whip up rage (wonder how that's going to effect THIS IS US in the ratings) via Twitter, they smear Tara and think they can get away with it. It's no surprise that she walked away from the planned interview with Chris Wallace after the threats against her intensified. People like Ken Olin better be taking responsibility for yelling "Fire!" right now. They know what they're doing, they're trying to destroy her.
They think if they destroy her, it will be on to November with Joe. If they can keep her off the airwaves of CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC, no one will hear her and Joe is protected. The hate they are aiming at Tara is a testament to just how strong her story actually is and just how very scared they are.
Since she came forward, the real leaders among the press have been student journalists writing in university publications. Long before THE NEW YORK TIMES and others discovered the story on Easter Sunday, college papers were already discussing and debating the story. Today, Max Teszler (THE DARTMOUTH) offers:
Nobody should ever have to endure the violence that Reade alleges, and nobody wants the presidential nominee of their party to have committed assault. But the truth must sometimes be inconvenient, difficult and painful.
While these details do not guarantee Reade’s allegations are true, I do believe the growing number of corroborations have proven Reade’s claims to be more likely true than not. I hoped my fellow Democrats would similarly evaluate the evidence and acknowledge that there is a non-trivial chance Biden committed assault.
Instead, many liberals on social media have employed truly despicable tactics to not only discredit Reade’s story, but to slander her personally. These range from questions of why she did not come forward earlier to suggestions of her being in cahoots with Russia and Vladimir Putin stemming from a number of pro-Putin blog posts made by Reade. Reade’s political alignment aside, the argument of Russian conspiracy seems far-fetched and would require a wide net of U.S. citizens to be working on Russia’s behalf, including Reade’s brother, former neighbors and former colleague.
Reade’s doubters have also accused her of changing her story and have suggested that the timing of her accusations -- just as the presidential race has narrowed to Biden versus Donald Trump -- is suspicious. But the ways Reade has “changed” her account are entirely consistent with a person slowly becoming ready to tell her full story. In 2019 -- along with eight other women -- Reade accused Biden of uncomfortable touching that didn’t rise to the level of assault. This has led to speculation that her more serious allegations are made-up, concocted to derail Biden at the last minute. But critically, at the time that she made her initial allegations -- in April 2019 -- she acknowledged, “I did not even tell the whole story.”
The Ken Olins don't grasp what's taking place. They are too out of touch. They have no idea of how others see this story, of the hypocrisy that is offending so many. They don't realize just how much damage that does to Joe Biden and will continue to do to Joe.
Wagatwe Wanjuki Tweets:
Many men use the rape scandal du jour to show how they'd handle their own victims coming forward. I notice the men who are particularly vicious and vindictive when they speak about Tara, you know she's a placeholder for the victims they want to remain silent.
Equally true, at some point Joe Biden has to pick his running mate. Once he does, he loses many of his fighters. It's amazing how Kamala Harris hasn't been asked to call out her supporters. Yes, it's a small group, we saw that with the primaries. But they are devoted. They ignore Kamala's actual record and they insist she must be Vice President. So they attack Tara daily. If Joe doesn't pick Kamala, he loses her social media orgy.
It's funny to watch all the women vying for the post lie and pretend Joe has no history that would ever raise an eyebrow. Didn't he physically assault a girlfriend in the 90s? Wasn't she in charge of one of the biggest organizations for women? These are not new rumors. We've noted this story going back to 2006.
If Joe doesn't drop out and isn't dumped, can you imagine the lifetime of damage to whichever idiot is stupid enough to join his ticket and declare herself anti-woman in the process.
If Elizabeth Warren thought her false claim to be Native American turned out to be a nightmare, imagine what it would be like being joined at the hip for all of history with Joe Biden.
US House Rep Ayanna Pressley writes at MEDIUM:
I’m here for an uncomfortable conversation. Not because it’s convenient. Not because it’s strategic. Because it’s necessary. I am a survivor. I am an elected official. I am not new to watching survivors bare their souls, and I am not new to being offered false choices in politics.
For generations, survivors and advocates have fought to shine a light on harassment and abuse. We have shown up, we have marched, we have told our stories. For those involved in the struggle for survivors’ justice, most of the work doesn’t take place in public, it is late night phone calls when trauma wraps us in a chokehold, it is tearful conversations whispered in confidence. It is the slow and steady work of helping each other heal and rebuild.
But when the experience does play out in public — as it has with Joe Biden and Tara Reade — we are called to examine an urgent and visceral question: what does an authentic path towards healing and justice look like for survivors in America?
I speak from personal experience when I say the path often isn’t linear; for many, taking even the first step takes years. What I know to be true in this moment is that we do not have a public model of how to get this right.
When deep personal trauma is viewed through the skewed kaleidoscope of public opinion — pundits, commentators, twitter bots — it is difficult to articulate what getting to the other side looks like. How can healing occur when wounds are reopened daily, and how can justice be served when our legal system is broken and our culture deeply flawed?
Our assumptions and our starting points for these conversations have to change, and the allegations against Joe Biden are no exception. Listening to the stories of those who step forward is the baseline. We say “believe survivors” because, for nearly all of history, the experiences of survivors have been dismissed and derided by a society steeped in misogyny and hatred. We advocate that we begin with assumptions of credibility and move to due process and reconciliation.
We are in the throes of an election of the greatest consequence — one that will determine if core rights and tenets of democracy survive in this nation. The stakes cannot be overstated. But I have no patience for any person who tells me that is a reason to lower my voice. I reject the false choice that my party and our nominee can’t address the allegations at hand and defeat the occupant of the White House.
Lucy Flores was the first woman to publicly call out Joe Biden for his inappropriate behavior. She spoke with SLATE's Mary Harris:
Mary Harris: In the weeks since Tara Reid came out with her new allegations against Joe Biden. Lucy Flores has gotten back in touch with her looking to offer support. Lucy knows better than anyone how vulnerable and accuser can feel. I’m wondering what your conversations with Tara Reid have been like.
Lucy Flores: I’ve only spoken to her once since she came out with her full story. And it the entire conversation was more about moral support. And, you know, giving her whatever feedback I could in terms of the way in which people are going to come for her, the various things that she needed to do to protect herself. I think it was more a lot more practical advice and also just moral support and letting her know that that I was thinking about her and that I obviously empathize with everything she’s going through.
Mary Harris: What’s your number one piece of practical advice?
Lucy Flores: My number one piece of practical advice to her was that she just really needed to take it day by day and to focus on herself and her truth and her. Why her? Why, yes. Why did you decide to speak out? Tell me more about that. Well, that’s for me. That’s what kept me grounded when I was experiencing so much harassment after I spoke about my interactions was that I had to always focus on why did I decide to do this? And we talked about those reasons.
Mary Harris: I mean, I’m curious, why did you decide to tell your story? I’m not sure that I know that. Like what what what your decision process was.
Lucy Flores: The primary reason was because I began to see photos emerge of him interacting that way with other women. And there were stories that were written and there was even a vignette that was done by Jon Stewart and, you know, making fun of creepy.
Jon Stewart: Uncle Joe Biden left his hands on Stephanie Carter’s shoulders for an estimated 20 expected.
Jon Stewart: You seem tense. Is it the stress of me groping you for 28 straight seconds?
Lucy Flores: And so I had to just constantly be reminded that he was acting this way, that he was making women feel uncomfortable and everyone was just laughing about it. It was not being treated seriously. And I knew from personal experience what that felt like. And it was wrong.
Mary Harris: For Lucy, telling her own story was a way of shifting the way the rest of us saw what happened to her, not as an incident that was laughably awkward, but as an incident where she was actually harmed. And that gives her empathy for Tara Reid, who seems to be seeing what happened in her own life through new eyes.
Turning to Iraq where another US service member has died. Howard Altman (MILITARY TIMES) reports:
A service member with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve died in a non-combat related incident in Erbil, Iraq, May 4.
The cause of death remains under investigation, but COVID-19 is not suspected, officials said in a media release.
It is CJTF-OIR policy to defer casualty identification to the relevant national authorities after the next of kin have been notified.The service member is the seventh to die this year supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight against ISIS and the second to die in a non-combat incident in Erbil.
Shelly Kittleson (AL-MONITOR) observes:
The first of several Islamic State (IS) attacks in Iraq started just before suhoor on May 2, the pre-dawn meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan prior to fasting, and lasted several hours, Salahuddin council member Subhan Jiyad told Al-Monitor via WhatsApp later in the day.
Most of those killed were Sunni locals from the Albu Issa tribe, according to another source who sent a list of the names of those “martyred.”
This first of several attacks in the area over a 24-hour period happened in Mukashifa, a town northwest of Samarra along the main road linking Baghdad and Tikrit. Samarra is a Sunni-majority city in central Iraq known for its Al-Askari Shrine, or Golden Dome Mosque, a place of pilgrimage for Shiite Muslims. The town is also the birthplace of former IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Six members of the local Popular Mobilization Units [PMU] were killed in the attack on a checkpoint,” council member Jiyad added. “Then, when reinforcements were sent in, three more were killed by an improvised explosive device [IED] set by IS.”
Another pre-dawn attack happened in Tal al-Dhahab in the Yathrib district southeast of Samarra.
The following sites updated: