Tuesday Afternoon ReadsPosted: April 2, 2019
The 2020 presidential primaries are nearly a year away, and I’m already sick and tired of the whole ugly mess. There are four well-qualified women running for the Democratic nomination, and the media is largely ignoring them in favor of two white men in their late 70s, and two young white men whose qualifications are negligible. And have you heard that 77-year-old Mike Bloomberg is still thinking about running?
I have already decided that I am going to vote for woman in the primary (assuming they haven’t been driven out of the race by Super Tuesday). Right now I like Kamala Harris, but I’m softening toward Elizabeth Warren.
I’m really troubled by the way the women candidates have been largely ignored in the media coverage. The media bros seem to adore Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, and the man of the moment Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg’s claim to fame is being mayor of South Bend, Indiana. O’Rourke served in the House for three two-year terms. How is either of these men qualified to be President of the United States?
Last night Kamala Harris’s campaign announced that she had raised $12 million. Check out these reactions from media bros:
Please note that Ryan Lizza was fired from The New Yorker for sexual misconduct.
Sam Stein (The Daily Beast) and Jonathan Allen (NBC News) tweeted similar claims.
And then there’s the other old guy, Joe Biden. Young people don’t seem to know his history. They just know him as Vice President under Barack Obama. But if he runs, it’s going to be a real mess. In fact it already is getting really ugly. This is from a longer thread on Biden.
Everyone but the youngsters is surely aware that Biden has already tried to run for president twice and failed, that he’s a gaffe machine, and that he often behaves in a creepy way with women. Is it really worth taking a chance on him, especially since he’s 76 years old? But here’s something I hadn’t heard about until recently.
Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.
In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.
“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.
But why did Biden want the prosecutor fired? More from the article:
But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.
U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.
The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.
Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
From The New York Times in 2015: Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch, by James Risen.
When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled to Kiev , Ukraine, on Sunday for a series of meetings with the country’s leaders, one of the issues on his agenda was to encourage a more aggressive fight against Ukraine’s rampant corruption and stronger efforts to rein in the power of its oligarchs.
But the credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.
Hunter Biden, 45, a former Washington lobbyist, joined the Burisma board in April 2014. That month, as part of an investigation into money laundering, British officials froze London bank accounts containing $23 million that allegedly belonged to Mr. Zlochevsky.
Read the rest at the NYT. Tell me this wouldn’t be an issue if Biden runs.
I’ll leave you with links to a few more articles on Biden’s baggage.
Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times: The Wrong Time for Joe Biden. He’s not a sexual predator, but he is out of touch.
Molly Roberts at The Washington Post: It doesn’t matter what Joe Biden meant to do.
Maureen Callahan at The New York Post: ‘Gropey Uncle’ Joe Biden has always been creepy and should stay out of 2020 race.
Rebecca Traister at The Cut: Joe Biden Isn’t the Answer.
Katherine Miller at Buzzfeed: Everyone Already Knows How They Feel About Joe Biden Touching Women.
And it’s not just women that Joe touches inappropriately. Check out the expression on that guy’s face.
I want to call attention to this important piece by Irin Carmon at New York Magazine about how The Washington Post backed off an investigation of sexual harassment and assault at 60 Minutes: What Was the Washington Post Afraid Of?
The afternoon of March 7, 2018, was go time, or so we believed. Inside a glass huddle room at the Washington Post, its walls covered with headlines from journalistic coups of the past, we began dialing numbers on a speakerphone and pressing send on carefully drafted, bullet-pointed emails. For nearly four months, investigative reporter Amy Brittain and I, then a freelancer, had been working on a follow-up to our November front-page story about sexual-harassment allegations against Charlie Rose. In the wake of our story, Rose had been fired from his gigs as a CBS This Morning anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent, and his PBS show had been canceled.
This new article had 27 additional allegations against Rose and three instances in which CBS management had been warned about him, but it went further. Our editor, Peter Wallsten, had encouraged us to ask who had known about Rose’s conduct and protected him, and whether he’d been enabled by a culture — assuming we had the reporting to back it up, of course. Answering that question had led to the then–60 Minutes boss and former network chairman Jeff Fager, who had repeatedly championed Rose at the network. That was awkward because 60 Minutes had been the Post’s partner for a just-wrapped yearlong investigation of the roots of the opioid crisis.
The Post had nonetheless kept both Amy and me on the story and, to ensure the integrity of the process, reassigned us to editors on the national desk who had never worked with Fager. So the isolation of the huddle room wasn’t just to bar distraction. It was a firewall — between us and the reporters and editors who’d just spent months in the trenches with the very men we had found ourselves investigating.
By that day in March, our draft had passed muster with layers of editors all the way up to the Post’s legendary executive editor Marty Baron and his deputy, Cameron Barr, as well as the paper’s lawyers. Now it was time for Amy and me to find out what Fager and other CBS brass had to say about the fruits of our reporting.
The material about Fager was never published by the Post, but Ronan Farrow later wrote about the allegations at the New Yorker and Fager was fired. It’s a long article, but please read the whole thing it if you have time.
The White House is ramping up attacks on Puerto Rico. Check out this video:
The Washington Post: White House spokesman twice calls Puerto Rico ‘that country’ in TV interview.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley twice referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” during a television appearance Tuesday in which he defended a series of tweets by President Trump lashing out at leaders of the U.S. territory.
In two bursts of tweets — one late Monday night and another Tuesday morning — Trump complained about the amount of federal relief money going to the island and called its politicians “incompetent or corrupt.”
He also claimed that Puerto Rico “got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane,” a figure that actually reflects a high-end, long-term estimate for recovery costs. Only a fraction of that has so far been budgeted, and even less has been spent.
As he pressed to defend Trump’s contentions, Gidley sought to make the case that the leaders of the territory, whose residents are U.S. citizens, have mishandled the aid they’ve received thus far.
“With all they’ve done in that country, they’ve had a systematic mismanagement of the goods and services we’ve sent to them,” Gidley said. “You’ve seen food just rotting in the ports. Their governor has done a horrible job. He’s trying to make political hay in a political year, and he’s trying to find someone to take the blame off of his for not having a grid and not having a good system in that country at all.”
Talk about blaming the victim!
I have a few more links to share, but I’m going to end now and get this posted. I’ll post more in the comment thread. I’m sorry this is so late! What stories are you following today?