|God, guns, and freedom|
|Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner|
|Persons of interest|
“”This is America's day. This is democracy's day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, a cause of democracy. The people – the will of the people – has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We've learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and, at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed. So now on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol's very foundations, we come together as one nation under God – indivisible – to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.
|—Joe Biden's inagural address.|
Joseph Robinette "Big Fucking Deal" Biden, Jr. (also known as Amtrak Joe and Dark Brandon) (1942–) is the forty-sixth President of the United States, a title which is much less likely to make people laugh compared to his predecessor. He has been called gaffe-prone by his critics and has even admitted that he deserves the recognition as such. Much to the amazement of his rivals, Democrats don't seem to mind that much. However, since the advent of President Trump, who has made more than thirty thousand false statements, it's not hard to see why voters couldn't care less. He is an American politician from the Democratic Party who served as a senator from Delaware and then vice president and important negotiator for Barack Obama. He retired from politics for a while after his son Joseph "Beau" Biden III died from brain cancer in 2015, but he reemerged from the ground like a zombie during the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. He began as the front-runner but almost managed to fuck it up for himself by fumbling debates and losing early elections. Still, he regained his footing thanks to winning significantly in the South and then other establishment candidates withdrawing from the race to back him against Bernie Sanders. Ultimately, Joe Biden benefited from his name-recognition in connection to former President Obama as well as Sanders' tendency to overestimate his reach outside of the progressive core base. However, there was definite voter suppression from the Republican party involved in a lot of cases.[note 1]
During the campaign for the 2020 U.S. presidential election against incumbent Donald Trump, Biden and his team generally focused on targeting centrist swing voters while pushing back against more progressive policies. Biden also generally limited large-scale campaign events, both due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as his contentment to just sit on his consistently higher poll numbers and wait out the race.[note 2] Biden won a clear majority of electoral votes thanks to reclaiming the Rust Belt states Trump flipped in 2016, but unlike Trump, his victory did not translate into down-ballot victories for other Democrats. Biden became the president-elect of the United States official, having received all 306 of his pledged Electoral College votes with no faithless electors. Trump still refused to concede and apparently still hopes to lodge legal and procedural challenges against him. Much of Trump's legal team said "fuck you" and left, and the only vocal member of his legal team was Rudy fucking Giuliani. Ultimately, Biden's mandate would be secured for good when Bunker Boy staged a self-coup (and failed), which Biden promptly condemned with the strongest possible terms. Biden certainly is not perfect, ranging about "okay" in political terms, but considering how dogshyte Trumpie is, it's no wonder people accept "okay" as sufficient.
Fun fact: Biden is now the best President from Pennsylvania despite minimal time in office, purely because his competition is James Buchanan—and it's impossible to top that trainwreck.[note 3] Already, Biden's first day did more for the country than Buchanan's entire four years. *Gasp*
Joe Biden's political career has been built up by two rather stunning successes, preceded by remarkable incompetence, embarrassing gaffes, and failures.
1972 run for Senate
In 1972, Biden pulled off an astonishing victory against an incumbent politician at age 29 while having to use relatively limited resources. J. Caleb Boggs was considered a popular incumbent, and the Delaware Democratic Party picked their most unknown politician (he was only a member of the New Castle County Council) to serve as the sacrificial lamb against Boggs in the election. Since the Dems had no real hope of winning, they gave him almost no money and no manpower. Biden instead relied on friends and family members to deliver platform pamphlets by hand, which was only possible in a small state like Delaware.
Biden won the race very narrowly, due to offering himself as the candidate of the modern era while attacking Boggs as a crusty, out-of-touch old man. He presented Boggs's continuous civil rights support and past poll tax opposition as out-of-touch in an ad, appealing to Delaware's then-status as a de facto segregated society:
“”To Cale Boggs an unfair tax was the 1948 poll tax. To Joe Biden an unfair tax is the 1972 income tax.
Biden also campaigned against the Vietnam War and criticized Boggs for failing to pressure the rather corrupt and unpopular president Richard Nixon into ending it. Biden defeated Boggs by a little over 3,000 votes.
Unfortunately, his victory was marred by tragedy when his wife Neilia Hunter and infant daughter Naomi perished in a car accident a little over a month after the election while out to buy a Christmas tree. Biden's sons Beau and Hunter survived, albeit with serious injuries.
In the Senate
In the Senate, Joe shaped much of his political image around his family and especially public transportation. With his wife and daughter dead after the accident in 1972, Biden took the train daily from Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington and then back again to be home with his two young sons. It was a nice gesture, but it also served Biden's political career by establishing him as an "everyman". In his first term as senator, Biden said that he was angry and had trouble focusing due to his personal tragedy. However, Biden also met English teacher and divorcee, Jill Jacobs, during this time and eventually married her in 1977.
As a frequent rider on Amtrak, it should come as no surprise that Biden is a fan of rail as a mode of transportation, and he has consequently been called "railfan in chief" and "Amtrak Joe" among other things. The Obama administration's ambitious high-speed rail plan unveiled in 2009 is believed to be mostly thanks to his influence. When a train derailed on the Northeast Corridor, a visibly shaken Biden told the media that he had been on the same route numerous times and that more investments in Amtrak are needed now more than ever. The Republicans, of course, voted to cut Amtrak funding on the very same day.
“”Every time Richard Nixon, when he was running in 1972, would say, 'Law and order,' the Democratic match or response was, 'Law and order with justice' — whatever that meant. And I would say, 'Lock the SOBs up.'
|—Joe Biden in 1993.|
“”The truth is, every major crime bill since 1976 that’s come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill, has had the name of the Democratic senator from the State of Delaware: Joe Biden.
|—Joe Biden, speech to the Senate in 1994.|
One of the worst aspects of his political career was one common to Democrats of the era, as they tried to shake off their perception of being "soft on crime" by pushing for mass incarceration. Biden was a ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee by the 1980s, and he used that position to push for a harsher War on Drugs and harsher prison sentencing. He was such a hardass that freaking Ronald Reagan actually vetoed a Biden-written bill that called for more funding to build lots more prisons. Biden also cooperated heavily with Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond to jail more people.
Crime legislation written, sponsored, or campaigned for by Biden include:
- The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which established mandatory minimum sentencing rules for drug-related offenses. It also greatly expanded powers of civil asset forfeiture.
- The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which further strengthened prison sentences for drug possession. It also imposed harsher penalties for crack than for powder cocaine, leading to greater racial disparities in prison populations.
- The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Biden's most infamous crime legislation, imposed tougher sentencing across the board and escalated mass incarceration with devastating impact on black communities.
However, amid rising crack addiction and violent crime of the era, the 1994 and other crime bills really weren't too controversial at the time, even among African-Americans. However, today, the bill's impacts are more fully understood, and Biden faced tough criticism for the law during the 2020 campaign season. Biden eventually stated that he thinks the bill was a mistake. However, he blames much of it on implementation rather than his actions.
No busing Joe
Biden has boasted about his relationship with segregationist senator Strom Thurmond (which is not actually bad for those who still believe bipartisanship was once right or is still possible, but is terrible if you care about racism in the USA and would rather not see someone who filibustered the civil rights act treated like a "friend"). Furthermore, Biden supported legislation that would have prevented federal courts from ordering public school busing, something his future veep Kamala Harris called him out for in the 2020 presidential debates. He has also in the past advocated for segregation, saying it was "good for black people."
No homo Joe
Biden's record on LGBT issues during his time as a senator also drew some harsh criticism during his later political career. For instance, Biden voted for the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prohibited openly gay individuals from serving in the US military. The policy also allowed the military to investigate service members if there was "credible" evidence that the individual was gay or lesbian. As vice president, he supported its 2010 repeal.
Biden also voted for the 1992 "Defense of Marriage Act", although he previously opposed denying same-sex couples benefits. DOMA was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case. Biden has since apparently changed his mind and now supports LGBT rights, with him expressing support for same-sex marriage as early as 2012.
As the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden played a vital role in scuttling the wingnut Reagan nominee for the Supreme Court, Robert Bork. Biden's treatment of Bork drew heavy criticism for attacking Bork like a prosecutor to criticize Bork's original-intent judicial philosophy. This was an early sign that Supreme Court nominations would start getting more politically fraught and angry.
The hearing also took place during Biden's infamous failed 1988 presidential run.
1988 run for president
“”I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do.
|—Angry Joe Biden after being asked about his law school grades.|
Biden's campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1988 was an embarrassment, and it collapsed after just three months. Biden once again played himself as a youth candidate, and he also tried to play up his everyman reputation. That last part killed his campaign. Biden gave a speech referencing his family's old traditional jobs as coal workers in Pennsylvania. Still, his speech very blatantly plagiarized the very similar words of British politician Neil Kinnock. The press jumped on him and questioned his character. Then it got even worse when an old law school paper emerged, which Biden had improperly cited sources and was thus an inadvertent act of plagiarism. This type of "gotcha journalism" had been the rule until the period of the Trump Presidency. Biden then made some misleading statements about his academic successes and, most egregiously, falsely claimed that he had marched with the Civil Rights Movement.
Back to the Senate
No testimony Joe
“”"Have I forgiven Joe Biden? I'm ready to move on, but I am also ready to hold Joe Biden accountable. Accountability means acknowledging your role in a problem and the harm it's caused. Acknowledging that you have culpability.
|—Anita Hill, 2019.|
In 1991, Biden played an unfortunate role as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in managing the confirmation of Clarence Thomas. As chair, Biden became aware that university law professor Anita Hill had accused Thomas of sexual harassment. During the committee's questioning of Hill, Biden turned the proceedings into a farce. He refused to allow testimony from people who would have corroborated Hill's account, and he allowed his 14 white male colleagues to demonize and bully Hill. Biden also showed that he was more sympathetic to Thomas during his questions, and he allowed Thomas to testify twice while only allowing Hill to testify once.
However, Biden did vote against Thomas' confirmation, but apparently based on legal differences rather than Hill's account. Biden eventually apologized to Hill in 2019, but she says his apology left her unsatisfied and that he had set the stage for Brett Kavanaugh.
Foreign policy Joe
Biden was a longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the '90s and early 2000s. Biden voted against the Gulf War in 1991 and disliked the other Middle Eastern coalition members because they saddled the US with most of the effort. During the Clinton years, though, Biden supported US intervention in the Yugoslav Wars, and he still considers that support a point of pride.
Biden's role in the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq War was where things got terrible. In 2002, Biden ran the Senate Foreign Relations hearing on Iraq's alleged WMD stockpile and made it clear that he wanted the committee to support deposing Saddam Hussein regardless of the facts. He even allowed the egregious lies that Saddam would have nuclear weapons "sometime this decade" and that Iraqis would "welcome the United States as liberators" to go unchallenged. Biden then voted in support of the 2003 invasion, although he later admitted that vote to be a mistake. In 2006 he announced that he wanted to do an imperialist-style carve-up of Iraq into three ethnostates based on the premise that the Iraqis couldn't handle living in the same country. On the plus side, he voted against the 2007 troop surge. Not too much war.
Biden's later claims that he opposed the war from the beginning are blatantly false.
2008 run for president
“”You've got the first sort of mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook man.
|—Joe Biden referring to Barack Obama in 2007.|
“”In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans — moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking.
|—Biden on Indian-Americans.|
Biden's second failed attempt at the White House was a miserable failure but less so than in 1988. One of his worst moments in the race came from the above quote about Barack Obama, which implicitly insulted African-Americans with faint praise for Obama. The comment was, like many others Biden would make, racially insensitive. Biden focused on his superior foreign policy experience compared to the other candidates, although much of that foreign policy experience was not good.
The worst part was that Biden failed to attract name recognition, and by this point, he was seen as an old man concerned with old issues. He struggled to fundraise or attract people to his rallies. Most of his failure can be attributed to the fact that Biden was overshadowed by the much more famous Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In the Iowa Caucus, Biden received less than 1% of the state's support.
Vice President Joe
Luckily for Biden, Barack Obama reached over to pluck him out of political obscurity. Obama and Biden served as senators together on the Foreign Relations Committee. The two men initially didn't like each other since Biden resented Obama's fame, and Obama saw Biden as patronizing. They only warmed up to each other on the 2008 primary campaign trail, as Obama liked Biden's appeals to the working class.
Obama ultimately picked Joe Biden as his running mate, partly because of their personal rapport but mostly because Biden would reassure voters who were worried about Obama's relative lack of government experience. Biden at this time was in support for abortion rights, and his role in the national race caused him to conflict with Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania. Obama and Biden won the 2008 election in a landslide.
Biden's toughest job as VP was learning how to be deferential to Barack Obama, but he did prove loyal. From the outset, he was the primary architect of the Obama policy towards Iraq. Obama and other administration members described Biden as the "devil's advocate" who would force them to defend their positions and decisions.
In May of 2012, right in the middle of the re-election campaign, Biden misspoke (or maybe not), saying that "I am absolutely comfortable with gay marriage." This gaffe forced Obama to have to actually address the gay marriage issue head-on. The President said he had evolved and now accepted gay marriage. This was one of several turning points in the campaign, so thank him for that. (There's some not-entirely-unfounded speculation that Biden's "gaffe" was a trial balloon for a planned announcement by the President: if the media didn't make too much of a fuss about Biden's statement, or made a fuss in a positive direction, it was safe for the Prez to, um, come out.)
2020 run for president
Biden's 2020 presidential campaign began on 25th April 2019 after he announced his candidacy for 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.
As a former Vice President, Biden joined the race with high name recognition. While leading the national polls, he did not win the early Democratic contests of Iowa or New Hampshire. Then came the South Carolina Democratic primary, which resulted in a landslide victory for Joe Biden. This gave a new life to the campaign, and in March, he was endorsed by ten of his opponents. On Super Tuesday (March 3rd), Biden got enough delegates to pull ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders. After Joe Biden's victory and the path to nomination become clear, Sanders suspended his presidential campaign on 8th April. Bernie endorsed Biden 5 days later. In June, Biden passed the threshold of 1991 delegates required to become the Democratic presidential nominee.
On 11 August, Biden announced that Senator Kamala Harris would be his running mate.
The DNC officially nominated Joe Biden for President and Kamala Harris for Vice-President on August 18 and 19.
- Biden came out in favor of a public option for covering health insurance and outlawing the non-compete clause.
- Biden called for increasing funding for hospitals in rural areas and communities.
- Embracing the Green New Deal framework, his campaign launched a $1.7 trillion climate plan. If implemented, the plan outlines the US's goal to reach 100% clean energy and net-zero emissions by the year 2050.
- The campaign also promised to rally world leaders to meet the threat of climate change.
- Biden's platform included support for universal pre-kindergarten education.
- In October 2019, Biden released an education plan which included two years of guaranteed free community college and easing student loans.
- Another part of Biden's education plan included four years of free public colleges and universities for families that make less than $125,000 per year.
- On 4th November 2019, Biden released a plan calling for $1.3 trillion investments in infrastructure. This included housing, roads, pipelines, bridges, highways, rails, electric vehicles, broadband, and schools.
- Biden believes that no one should be in jail for cannabis use. He came out in favor of decriminalizing the recreational use of cannabis, but not legalizing it.
- While delivering a keynote speech in early June 2019, Biden said that one of his administration's top priorities would be to pass the "Equality Act".
- Biden's plan for immigration included enabling a pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants, expansion of work visas, and reversal of Donald Trump's deportation policies.
“”Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.
Biden has long been characterized by his tendency to commit rhetorical irregularities commonly known as gaffes, or expressions remarkable for their very oddness. See Joe Biden Gaffes for charming selections of ridiculous statements. For those interested in considering a possible relation of speech disfluency to Biden's occasional real problem expressing himself, look here
You did it, Joe!
After time and time again of trying and coming out of retirement, Biden finally got his dream, and received the majority of Electoral college votes required to win the presidency. Third time's the charm! While he has had a certainly less than smooth transition process, it didn't plague him nearly as much as his predecessors, given just how colossal an asshole Donald Trump is, and the fact the latter was constantly on the run around with lawsuits, screaming, and finally, a failed coup which ultimately gave Biden a solid mandate instead. Ironic, instead of bringing down his opponent, he just brought him up.
Biden has already done solid work undoing Trump's odious policies, and instigating basic competence lost from the White House for four years straight. Of course, though, this is Joe Biden, so not everything is, and will be, perfect.[note 4] He's pretty controversial with the general public, though-his approval rating has been unfavorable since August 2021. At first this seemed like a side effect of leaving Afghanistan, but with his disapproval rating hovering in the early 50s for months on end its clear that people have broader issues with him.
Good one Joe
Healing the damage ASAP
On his first day, President Biden issued multiple executive orders and actions reversing some of Trump's policies, the bare minimum of what people expected of him:
- Ending the Muslim travel ban
- Halting all further construction of the border wall
- Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement (which will take 30 days to complete)
- Starting to include non-citizens in the U.S. Census again
- Reengaging with the World Health Organization
- Extending eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to help low-income households through the pandemic
- Extending the pause on student loan debt through September 2021
- Ending Keystone XL's pipeline permit
- Calling on Congress to start giving citizenship to DREAMERs again
- Revoking oil and gas development at national wildlife monuments via reversing over a hundred actions by Trump that were harmful to the environment
- Reversing Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military (thus restoring an Obama era policy)
- Strengthening anti-discrimination protections for federal workers and the LGBT community
- Instituting a 100-day mask mandate for federal workers
- Stopping Trump's anti-civil rights 1776 Commission (designed to counter "liberal" education in schools)
- Beginning to restructuring the government to be better coordinated in its response to COVID-19.
- Attempting to identify and reunite children from families that were separated by Trump.
On January 21st, Biden issued 10 more executive orders geared towards responding to the pandemic, namely by directing agencies to "use the Defense Production Act to compel companies to make supplies needed to combat the pandemic." That could include "protective equipment like masks as well as supplies needed for COVID-19 tests and to administer vaccines."
American Rescue Plan of 2021
While definitely not perfect (as outlined further down in this article), Biden's American Rescue Plan, a 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus bill, contained several provisions designed to help the American worker in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Signed into law on the one-year anniversary of COVID being declared a pandemic (March 11), it gives $1,400 dollars in stimulus checks (albeit less than the 2000 promised by Biden on the campaign trail), a 300 dollar weekly supplement for the unemployed (albeit less than the 400 dollar supplement originally proposed), $350 billion to help state, local, and tribal governments, extending a 15% increase in food stamp benefits to September 2021, making student loan forgiveness tax-free (if Biden decides to forgive student loan debt at all), tax hikes on wealthy corporations and individuals (netting 60 billion in revenue), 50 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for vaccine distribution and assistance, $47.8 billion on COVID-19 testing, mitigation, and transmission prevention, including diagnosis, tracing, and monitoring, 1.3 million previously uninsured Americans gaining health insurance coverage, and many other provisions geared towards helping lower and middle income Americans.
Ending American support to the Saudis in Yemen(!!)
Perhaps Biden's best accomplishment in office so far is ending all support for the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen. This may be the twilight for much better to come from the USA, and a fork off from Obama, AND a possible end in sight for US/ally entrenchment in Middle Eastern operations, after a possible gradual decline in operation over the course of a few years.[note 5] This is rather impressive when you consider that Biden loudly campaigned for the Iraq War during his Senate tenure,[note 6] and has, as President, decided to shake himself up now and begin doing the right thing. Good on you, Joe.
Addressing white supremacy in the military
Lloyd Austin, a Raytheon executive who became the first black Defense Secretary, announced a "stand down" memo to address white supremacy in the United States Armed Forces. Right wing extremism has become an increasingly dangerous problem, as many military servicemen ended up supporting Trump's insane xenophobia and outright fascistic rhetoric.
Marty Walsh, former Mayor of Boston, partially defunded the police by divesting 12 billion dollars, less than three percent of police overtime spending. A longtime supporter of unions, collective bargaining, and raising the minimum wage, was nominated by Biden for Labor Secretary, and if confirmed, Walsh would be the first union member to lead the Labor Department in nearly half a century.
Tim Wu, a longtime critic of Silicon Valley and Big Tech, wrote a book in 2018 called "The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age," advocating for breaking up such mega corporations as Amazon and Facebook under anti-trust laws, to reinvigorate competition on the internet and dismantle monopoly control. Tim Wu is the man who coined the phrase "net neutrality," which means internet service providers should not force their customers to pay for faster internet speed. Anti-competitive practices were found to be conducted by Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple, and anti-trust legislation actually has fairly robust bipartisan support, as even several libertarian-leaning Republicans support anti-trust bills. Biden chose Tim Wu to be a member of his National Economic Council, now not only serving as an adviser but also as a partner in devising technology and competition policy at the White House.
Biden issued an executive order on July 2021 calling for the FTC and FCC to scrutinize big tech companies far more, specifically including a mandate to require "greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms, with particular attention to the acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by ‘free’ products, and the effect on user privacy.” Via the FTC, the Biden administration "plans a push to place more rules on surveillance and data collection," which will affect "many of the largest tech companies in the world." Citing "excessive consolidation" as a threat to consumers, Biden's order aimed at "increasing competition in all sectors of the American economy," including banking and consumer finance. Biden signaled to regulatory agencies that oversee the banking industry, including the Department of Justice, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of Comptroller of the Currency, that they should "revitalize their oversight of bank mergers" in an effort to "promote fair competition" and remain "consistent with traditional antitrust laws." His order also signaled the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau to exercise its rule-making capabilities to "increase portability of consumer financial data in accordance with Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act."
Restoring Net neutrality
A year after Ajit Pai revoked net neutrality protections, California passed its own law strengthening net neutrality in defiance of the federal government. Internet service providers, predictably, sued California for the law, and the Trump administration also sued California over the law to make sure net neutrality could not even be enforced in a state, because states' rights clearly do not matter to the Trump administration. The Biden administration dropped its lawsuit against California, a sign that it intends to restore net neutrality. Sure enough, when Biden beat Trump in 2020, Ajit Pai, in keeping with FCC tradition, resigned not only as chair of the FCC, but also resigned as a member of the FCC, leaving a vacancy in need of filling. Biden, in another positive sign, appointed Jessica Rosenworcel, a longtime supporter of net neutrality who called Pai's repeal "crazy," as acting chair of the FCC. Rosenworcel's promotion, which itself is only on a temporary basis, still means the FCC is deadlocked, so when Biden picks Pai's replacement, he will either make Pai's successor as chair (since Rosenworcel is only acting chair), or he will make Rosenworcel's promotion permanent.
On October 2021, after nine months, Biden officially named Jessica Rosenworcel as the permanent FCC chair, with former FCC staffer Gigi Sohn, longtime advocate for an open and affordable internet, filling Ajit Pai's vacant seat. The third liberal is Geoffrey Starks, who opposed Pai's repeal of net neutrality, and Sohn's appointment gives pro-net neutrality voices a 3-2 advantage over the two Republicans on the FCC. But the nine month delay, critics fear, might make the FCC take longer to restore the net neutrality rules before the 2022 midterms.
Right to repair
In July 2021, Biden signed an executive order calling US agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to implement 72 policies, including restoring net neutrality, increasing scrutiny on tech giants, and codifying "right to repair" laws. One of his proposals included asking the FTC to crack down on “unfair anti-competitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items, such as the restrictions imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment.” There are tech companies that “impose restrictions on self and third-party repairs, making repairs more costly and time-consuming, such as by restricting the distribution of parts, diagnostics, and repair tools.” Biden's executive order aims to stop that, as part of his anti-monopoly efforts.
Recognizing the Armenian Genocide
On April 2021, Biden became the first US president to recognize the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during the World War I. Turkey, a NATO member and once a strong American ally in the region, didn't like it for obvious reasons. This is not a state position, but just Biden's personal opinion. Not bad at all Joe, but it could be even better!
Attorney General Merrick Garland banned federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, reversing years of Justice Department policy. This protects journalists' privacy and First Amendment rights; Biden himself said seizing their property is "just wrong." Garland did allow for exceptions, such as investigations involving kidnappings and crimes against children, if the reporters are suspected of working for agents of a foreign power or terrorist organizations, if they are under investigation for unrelated activities or if they obtained their information through criminal methods like breaking and entering. This is in stark contrast to Trump seizing phone and email records from reporters for the Washington Post, CNN, and the New York Times who were investigating Russiagate.
The pandemic threw a lot of people out of a job as companies laid off workers to try to maintain solvency. Trump had put an eviction moratorium, but only temporarily, and it fell on Biden to either let it expire or extend it. Cori Bush, a progressive Democrat in the House, led a protest on the streets of Capitol Hill, even sleeping in the Capitol when other Congressmen went on vacation. The eviction moratorium ended, with Biden claiming he couldn't extend it. But once Cori Bush made her move, putting on a face on the intense pressure from activists, Biden reversed course and reinstated the eviction moratorium for 90 percent of renters, which pissed off landlords and their lobbyists, who all but called Biden a sellout, a liar, and a traitor to his class.
Ending the War in Afghanistan
|—President Joe Biden defending his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan|
After 20 years of endless fighting, Biden followed through on a promise to end the Afghanistan War, withdrawing thousands of U.S. soldiers from their bases in the Middle Eastern desert country, which pissed off huge swaths of the media, military, and establishment. The withdrawal itself was not the best, however, with Biden taking personal responsibility for the chaos of the pullout, but he consistently defended his decision to end a war that, even as Vice President, he said was a pointless endeavor in nation-building and a waste of life. Many of his generals wanted to stay in Afghanistan to try to keep the government in Kabul stable and prevent the Taliban from re-conquering the country after twenty years, but Biden saw no use in doing the same thing that his predecessors did. Biden even used Trump's own deadline of withdrawal (initially May 2021 but Biden delayed it to September 2021) as justification, plainly saying he had to choose between doing what Trump claimed he would do or recommitting soldiers to Afghanistan yet again, and he chose to pull out instead of recommit. He threatened to bombard the Taliban if they bring any harm to any American during the withdrawal to try to mitigate the chaos. Despite media sensationalizing, not a single American died in the evacuation until August 26th, when a suicide bomber detonated himself at Kabul Airport. Subsequent gunfire in the chaos killed at least 162 Afghan civilians who were trying to evacuate the country, and 13 service members. ISIS-K, which has fought the Taliban before, claimed responsibility. The Pentagon responded by launching an airstrike against a vehicle they claimed to be carrying ISIS-K members. At least 10 were killed, seven of them children. Outcry forced the Pentagon to admit that their information had been wrong and that the people killed were civilians. The Pentagon also acknowledged that some of the deaths in the Kabul Airport bombing were caused by the U.S. military. More of the same.
Protecting Texan women who seek abortion
Attorney General Merrick Garland, with Biden's backing, vowed to provide support to abortion clinics that are "under attack" in the state and to "protect those seeking and providing reproductive health services," as both Garland and Biden publicly criticized Greg Abbott's bill which bans abortions for Texas women from six weeks and up, effectively banning abortion for 80 to 90 percent of all women in Texas. The Supreme Court, on a five to four decision, upheld Texas abortion ban, which also financially incentivizes private citizens to rat out anyone who does have an abortion. Garland's current idea is to use federal enforcement to protect an abortion clinic or other reproductive health centers from being under attack. Biden, himself Catholic, called Abbott's law "almost un-American" and tantamount to a "vigilante system" due to the $10,000 bounties given to private citizens who rat out abortion seekers. But critics have noted, without filibuster reform, a legislative answer to abortion rights and voting rights is impossible.
Restoring National Monuments
President Biden restored environmental protections on Friday to three national monuments and their vast expanse of vital ecosystems and sacred Indigenous spaces, reversing cuts made by Donald Trump. Biden issued presidential proclamations that increased the boundaries of Bears Ears to 1.36m acres, while restoring the Grand Staircase-Escalante to 1.87m acres – both spanning large swaths of southern Utah. He also reinstated protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine, about 130 miles off the coast of New England, and extended limits on commercial fishing. This was in response to Trump slashing scope and protections for Bears Ears (85% reduced), Grand Staircase-Escalant (50% reduced), and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine (which endangered over 1000 species) which left them all vulnerable to "mining and other commercial activities." Biden's reversal of Trump's policies were supported by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a Native American who personally recommended Biden to restore the monuments to their previous size a year before Biden won and chose her for his cabinet.
Biden announced his Interior Department under Deb Haaland will unveil plans to develop large, grid-transforming offshore wind farms along much of the U.S. coastline. The proposed areas include "almost the entire East Coast from Maine down to the Carolinas, the Gulf of Mexico, and coastline along Oregon and California." The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a branch of the DOI, said the new projects could create nearly 80,000 jobs.
Drone strikes at all-time low
While Biden has conducted strikes against specific targets, he has largely stopped approving drone strikes, which significantly reduced the threat and risk of civilian deaths. This is a sharp change in executive policy, as his two immediate predecessors both increased drone strikes after Bush began them, with Trump breaking records in drone strikes and civilian deaths. Biden has largely been downright dove-ish, especially after ending the war in Afghanistan.
This began in March 2021, Biden limited the use of drones in areas not specifically designated for war and restricted field commanders from making independent decisions on strikes outside of conventional battlefield zones. That means the military and the CIA "must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects," furthering that "poorly governed places where there are scant American ground troops" are the only places acceptable to launch drone strikes. This is a change from Trump, unsurprisingly, who killed more civilians with drones than Obama on account of letting the military and CIA no longer seek White House approval or permission. Biden's deputy national security advisor, Jonathan Finer, co-wrote a privately circulated memo titled “Ending the Forever Wars," including drone strikes.
By December 2021, Biden has "almost totally halted" drone strikes and airstrikes in general, partly because Biden is personally reluctant to authorize drone strikes after several civilian deaths early in his presidency. Drone strikes are now at an all-time low, and many critics argue that Biden has "almost ended" the drone war by the end of his first year.
Banning surprise medical bills
A "surprise" medical bill means an insurance company may arbitrarily bill you for healthcare costs for basically any reason at any time. This happens when hospitals, insurance providers, and different in-care and out-of-care networks foot the bill of their negotiations onto the hands of consumers instead. Passed in late 2020, after multiple delays from lobbyists, the No Surprises Act bans most "surprise billing," which means you are no longer going to receive a surprise out-of-network healthcare bill if patients seek emergency care, when they receive any care at an in-network healthcare facility, if you are transported by an airplane or helicopter, or when they schedule treatment from hospitals outside their providers' networks. But the ban does not apply when you use ground ambulance transportation. This means you may still get a surprise bill from ambulances and non-emergency services such as addiction treatment centers, birthing centers, clinics, hospice, nursing homes, or urgent-care centers that aren't licensed to provide emergency care. While the bill was passed by Congress and signed by Trump, it only takes effect on January 1st, 2022, allowing Biden to implement the law in full.
Surprise medical bills can number in the millions each year. Two in three adults say they worry about unexpected charges, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 1 in 5 emergency room visits and up to 1 in 6 in-network hospitalizations include at least one surprise out-of-network bill, again according to Kaiser. Patients can be hit with more than $1,200, on average, for anesthesiologists' services, $2,600 for surgical assistants and $750 for childbirth-related care, according to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services. "No one should have to worry about going bankrupt after falling ill or seeking critical care," said Xavier Becerra, Biden's Health and Human Services Secretary.
Bad one Joe
Biden planned for schools to open within his first 100 Days, which would be in May. Opening the economy during a pandemic is exactly what made Trump's response so problematic. We will have to wait and see what happens, as today many health experts believe that schools may open with the proper protocols in place. He also re-interpreted his pledge to give 2000 dollar stimulus checks to citizens; it is now 1400 dollar checks on top of the 600 last done by Trump which adds to 2000. Many voters especially in Georgia feel betrayed because Biden promised $2,000 checks would "Go Out the Door" if the Democrats retook the senate.
Feeling pressure from conservative Senate Democrats, Biden agreed to the demands of Joe Manchin and Jeanne Shaheen, and decided to lower the eligibility of those who could get COVID relief stimulus checks, which means if the covid relief bill passes with these changes, less Americans would get money from Biden than they did with Trump, with one analysis finding as many as 12 million fewer adults and 5 million fewer children will get relief checks from Biden than under Trump.
Shady immigration policy
A crowd of over a hundred protesters marched along Portland, calling to abolish ICE while chanting "Fuck Joe Biden." Federal officers were deployed and unleashed teargas against the protesters. This happened mere hours after Biden's inauguration. He implemented a deportation moratorium but has not spoken about the kids in cages under Trump. Unfortunately, Biden reopened a migrant facility built specifically to detain children in Texas. That same facility was so infamous, it was closed under Trump after public pressure. Around 700 unaccompanied minors will be in this detention facility, thereby continuing a version of Trump's kids-in-cages policy. In late February, barely a month after becoming president, Biden seriously thought to reopen another migrant facility for children, this time in Florida, in spite of reports of sexual abuse, negligent hiring practices, overcrowding, and human-rights violations. Within this for-profit detention center in Homestead, children described "crying themselves to sleep at night, worrying they would never be released." After much public backlash, Biden decided against reopening the Homstead facility, but still opened up other shelters and currently holds 4200 minors in places they were never meant to be held in, with several more shelters and a military base being considered for detaining children.
While it so far isn't as heinous as things were under Obama and especially Trump, these actions leave a rightfully bitter taste in the mouth in the context of general ethics and those who just want to move away from Trump.[note 7]
He also went back on his promise to halt all deportations, which severely pissed off the ACLU. ICE and Border Patrol already deported over 26, 000 people in just under a month, including "thousands of Black immigrants to countries including Cameroon, Haiti and Jamaica." That's right: he spent February, Black History Month, deporting tens of thousands of black people from the country.
Back in the Trump years, the Muslim Ban had also denied visas to diversity applicants who applied for them. With the Muslim Ban revoked come 2021, you'd think Biden would then grant visas to those same Arab residents and other such diversity applicants. But you'd be wrong. The ACLU reported that Biden will not issue those visas after all. Instead, the applicants have to reapply again, with an even higher fee than the first one they had already paid for. Biden is not even considering waiving the fee. Dammit, Joe!
What's worse is that Homeland Security still has many Trump supporters and anti migrant demagogues who've made it their life's work to destroy non-whites by every measure. Border Patrol and its local union are working to sabotage the Biden administration by ignoring the White House and continuing to treat immigrants and refugees as if Trump was still in charge.
Abandoning a minimum wage increase
At a time when the Senate refuses to abolish the filibuster, the best way to get bills passed without needing a supermajority (60 votes) to bypass the filibuster is through "budget reconciliation," which is only done through a simple majority (or even plurality if things get really hectic). The Senate has something called a parliamentarian, which is an un-elected bureaucrat who knows the ins and outs of all Senate rules, procedures, traditions, and protocols, and they give their advice to the Senate on such matters as budget reconciliation. The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, said a minimum wage increase cannot go through reconciliation. The Vice President, as head of the Senate, can simply choose to ignore the parliamentarian and push it through reconciliation anyway. Various Democrats plus Bernie Sanders do not agree with the parliamentarian's findings, but Biden, despite saying he remains committed to raising the minimum wage, privately told governors he does not believe 15 dollar minimum wage increase is likely, and he has effectively given up truly doing anything about it. This in spite of how Kamala Harris, as presiding officer of the Senate, can overrule the Parliamentarian at any time.
Student loan debt crisis
At a town hall, when the topic of student loan debt came up, Biden was asked by a student if he was going to cancel $50,000 worth of student loan debt. Biden said, point blank, that he will not do so. Biden's reasoning for it was that he didn't want rich kids to get their debt forgiven, and he thought thinking Congress has more jurisdiction than he does, which is quite simply wrong on its face. Only 0.3% of federal student borrowers attended Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale or Penn, the ones cited by Biden as motivating his thoughts against sweeping debt relief, plus the wealthy students that are overrepresented at elite schools like Harvard, Yale, and Penn have minimal student debt because they're wealthy. Furthermore, Biden never explained why he thought he had the power to forgive $10,000 but not $50,000.
In fact, he does have authority to cancel student debt with the power of the pen, because the Higher Education Act explicitly and directly allows the Education Secretary broad authority to wipe out loans, as does a separate 2003 law that provides the Education Department with more discretion over student loans during declared emergencies thereby requiring them to be forgiven. The President, through the Education Secretary under these two laws, can simply cancel all student loan debt through executive order. Biden is simply lying when he says he doesn't have that authority and that it falls under Congress. The Trump administration authored a memo claiming the Education Department does not have authority to wipe out student loan debt without Congressional approval, which is, once again, a lie, and moreover, written by a Trump political appointee, which is not binding on the agency and could be reversed by the Biden administration. An Education Department spokesperson on Wednesday "declined to say whether the Trump administration’s memo remained in force at the agency or whether it would be rescinded."
Students weren't exactly happy that he was only considering forgiving $10,000 per borrower, as 10,000 was only a drop in the bucket compared to what many students actually have to owe. Even state attorneys general were calling for him to forgive $50,000 dollars per student, and these state attorneys general include the ones from Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Biden then announced in August 2022 that he would forgive up to $20,000 of student loan debt under the HEROES Act (up to $10,000 for borrowers who had never received Pell Grants, and up to $20,000 for borrowers who had) for households making less than $250,000. While most voters recognized this as a blatant attempt to win over youth voters for a midterm election Democrats were widely expected to lose, and other advocates criticized the low numbers, borrowers were largely grateful for a little relief. Republicans of course could not stand by as the government attempted to help people and not corporations, so they sued to block the forgiveness. While the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court (that had already done things like revoke the federal right to abortion, bring back teacher-led prayers in schools, and allow merchants to publicly discriminate against LGBT Americans) mulled it over, Biden showed remarkably poor political instincts by negotiating away his right to extend the student loan payment pause past August 2023 during debt ceiling negotiations. Predictably, the Court blocked Biden's program, leaving borrowers in the lurch.
Biden then finally announced that the Department of Education would begin work on a forgiveness program under the Higher Education Act that would be unveiled in summer of 2024, though he made no comment on the scope of forgiveness. He also announced the Saving on A Valuable Education (SAVE) plan, a modification of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan, which cut the minimum payment to 5% of an undergraduate borrower's discretionary income and kept interest from growing if payments were made on time while promising that borrowers would not be held in default if they missed their payments for a year. Borrowers with an annual income of less than $36,000 would have $0 in monthly payments. It's not horrible, but after not having to pay loans for over three years, borrowers are pretty pissed about having to pay loans again while prices remain high, housing remains unaffordable, and businesses and business owners received near-total forgiveness for PPP loans, including several anti-loan forgiveness politicians.
In November 2023, Biden's Department of Education released a draft of its proposed loan forgiveness plan. This plan is much narrower, likely because of the Supreme Court's hostility to his original plan, covering borrowers with federal student loan balances that exceed the original borrowed amount, borrowers with loans that entered into repayment 25 years ago or more, borrowers with loans for career training programs that led to "unreasonable debt loads or provided insufficient earnings," and borrowers who are eligible for forgiveness under other repayment plans but have not applied for it. Unfortunately, because of the Courts, barring a big win for Biden and the Democrats in 2024, widespread student loan forgiveness is probably out of reach for Biden.
Cracking down on Marijuana
Dozens of young White House staffers were suspended, reassigned, or asked to resign for past use of marijuana. This even includes those who smoked pot in states that already legalized it. Biden's administration even explicitly lied to multiple staffers saying marijuana use was okay, only to then crack down on all staffers who smoked pot anyway. The ex-staffers described how "the policies were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained.” As the federal government still criminalizes marijuana, use of marijuana is part of the executive's security clearance background check, and it has affected even Obama officials, such as former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes and deputy chief of staff for operations Alyssa Mastromonaco.
Fighting the press
The White House under Biden, as stated by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, pledged transparency, honesty, and accountability, but less than two weeks into Biden's presidency, White House press office staffers were trying to get reporters to give advance notice on which questions they plan to ask at briefings. The White House also released a plan to charge reporters hundreds of dollars apiece for Coronavirus tests per day. In effect, this would privatize press briefings, as only those who can afford 170 dollar tests per day would come in, and most simply would not be able to, and thus would not go. This would reduce the amount of press presence and therefore press questions for Press Secretary Jen Psaki to answer, or so the right wing media would have us believe. The reality is that only the representatives of established media corporations even get close to the briefing room and that's a fact.
National security posts
Several of Biden's nominees for the Cabinet were not necessarily the best. Many of his choices seemed to be "prioritizing familiarity and political expediency over experience and deliberation." For instance, Susan Rice, Obama's National Security Advisor, considered a leading candidate for Secretary of State, was instead chosen to be Director of the United States Domestic Policy Council. It is worth mentioning that due to her association with the Obama administration, it was unlikely that she'd have an easy Senate confirmation, but a foreign policy expert heading domestic policy makes no sense on its face. Biden could've just as easily named her a Special Advisor on Foreign Policy, a White House position that would not require confirmation. Xavier Becerra, the Attorney General of California who fought President Trump tooth and nail, would have been a prime pick for Attorney General, but instead, Biden chooses Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, when he lacks "front-line experience as an executive or administrator running public health programs, managing patient care or controlling the spread of disease." Denis McDonough, a former Chief of Staff under Obama, was nominated to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but he himself is not a veteran, and the pick reportedly "rankled" war veterans "who expected one of their own to lead the agency." Representative James Clyburn, then House Majority Whip, the #3 Democrat in the House, who endorsed Biden over Sanders in South Carolina, complained about how only one black person was heading any of the departments of State, Justice, Defense, and Treasury, four of the most important and powerful agencies in the Cabinet. Marcia Fudge, who Clyburn and the Congressional Black Caucus had lobbied Biden to select to lead Agriculture, and who publicly disapproved of how the departments of Labor and HUD are typically given to black Americans, was asked by Biden to be Secretary of... Housing and Urban Development.
Alejandro Mayorkas, a
European-American white Cuban American whose family fled Cuba from Castro, was chosen to be the first Hispanic American Secretary of Homeland Security. Mayorkas, unlike Becerra or Rice, definitely has the right credentials for the job, as he was Obama's Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. Mayorkas helped spearhead the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States (the "Cuban Thaw") under Obama, and had broad authority when it came to the government’s response to hurricanes, immigration crises, and disease outbreaks. But therein lies the problem. Obama's DHS was responsible for "increasing deportation procedures" and "ramping up the privatization of the migrant-prison industrial complex." Biden clearly hasn't learned enough to realize that "picking a DHS official from the Obama era — with its unprecedented escalation of deportations of 3 million people — is a mistake," not least of which because a large segment of Latino voters who turned out for Biden, the candidate "who promised to reverse Trump’s anti-immigration assault," will feel alienated when yet an apparatchik who was a deputy in the same administration who helped build the cages is chosen to outright lead that same agency.
Avril Haines, the first female Director of National Intelligence, is unambiguously one of his worst picks on par with anything Trump chose. She does have the experience and expertise for the job, and on competence alone, is an undeniably good pick, but so was Gina Haspel (Trump's pick) for CIA Director, and just like Haspel, Haines' record as intelligence official is so controversial, she could very well qualify for war crimes. As a former deputy national security advisor and deputy CIA director, Haines was directly involved in Obama's drone program. She would often be summoned to personally determine whether a target would be killed by a drone strike. These drone strikes were linked to hundreds of civilian deaths, and Obama often faced pressure over dubious legal justifications and overall lack of transparency surrounding the strikes. In fact, just like Haspel, Haines was also personally responsible for covering up evidence of torture, such as redacting the Senate Intelligence Committee's intel report, allowing CIA agents to illegally hack the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee to thwart its investigation, and refusing to punish CIA personnel for spying on the Senate during their torture investigation. She even personally recommended Gina Haspel, who destroyed evidence of torture, presided over an actual black site, and ran the Enhanced interrogation program, and thefore was directly implicated in torture, to be CIA Director under Trump. After the Obama administration, Haines even became a consultant for Palantir, a Trump-supporting data firm, which itself is an organization that has been funded by the CIA. A whistleblower by the name of John Kiriakou also directly implicated Haines as the one most responsible for ordering dorne strikes "that killed not only suspected terrorists but entire families, including children, who died as collateral damage."
Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture
Biden's choice for Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, was the first Native American ever chosen to be Cabinet Secretary, and she would be in charge of upholding treaties with Native American tribes. It is a genuinely good choice, even with her checkered history on advocating for Black Native Americans, but it was not Biden's first choice. Biden administration officials were shit-talking Haaland anonymously by calling her "unqualified" and saying her support for the Green New Deal "unacceptable." Eventually he chose Haaland, but he first tapped New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for the job, which she then declined both because her first choice was to be Secretary of Health and Human Services and because she wanted to focus on leading New Mexico through the pandemic and her new role as chair of the Democratic Governors Assocation. Lujan Grisham, who was New Mexico's Health Secretary before running for Congress and ultimately becoming governor, would've been a geniunely good pick for HHS, but her turning down the role she was offered pissed off the Biden transition team, and only then did Biden choose Haaland.
Marcia Fudge, who wanted to run the Department of Agriculture, had the backing of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (largely credited with saving Biden's campaign by endorsing him before South Carolina), which makes perfect sense given Fudge’s experience on hunger and nutrition-related issues on the House Agriculture Committee. But instead, Biden chose Tom Vilsack, who was already Agriculture Secretary under Obama (and a very controversial one at that), even though Vilsack himself did not want the job again, and only accepted it because Biden personally insisted. Beyond his deep ties to agriculture monopolies, Vilsack favored "large-scale, corporate farming at the expense of family farms," and after his first stint as Agriculture Secretary, Vilsack became lobbyist for the Dairy Export Industry, "raking in more than $1 million in his first year, at a time when prospects for dairy farmers were so bleak that some received a suicide prevention hotline number along with their dairy checks." Black farmers and civil rights activists were also "seething" over the choice, because Vilsack's Agriculture Department intentionally distorted data, fabricated evidence, and outright lied about its record to try to cover up decades-long discrimination against black farmers and women by the Agriculture Department, including under Vilsack, all while claiming his tenure was a "new era of civil rights" for the department. Finally, and perhaps most infamously, Vilsack fired Shirley Sherrod after Breitbart made a deceptively edited video to make Sherrod seem like she was being racist to a white farmer, when in fact she was actually trying to help the white farmer. Vilsack, without seeing the unedited video or reading her address’ full text, demanded her resignation. When it was revealed the clip was heavily edited and used to smear Sherrod, Vilsack offered to reinstate her, but she declined, having lost any trust at all in Vilsack, Obama, and the Agriculture Department.
Secretary of Defense
Another example of Biden focusing on familiarity can be seen in who he chose to be Defense Secretary. Michele Flournoy, who worked in the Pentagon for Bill Clinton and Obama, was seen as the obvious choice, but instead Biden chose Lloyd Austin, who became friends with Beau Biden before Beau died of cancer in 2015. Austin, while the first black Defense Secretary, has deep ties to defense contractors, namely being on the board of Raytheon, which manufactures many of the bombs used by Saudi Arabia against Yemen. Austin faced a litany of conflicts of interests comparable to his predecessor, Mark Esper under Trump, who was Raytheon's chief lobbyist. Austin signed an ethics agreement recusing himself from all matters relating to Raytheon, but with an exemption that can be used by the Biden administration at any time if their ethics officers "determined that the government’s interest in Austin’s participation outweighed a perception he may not be impartial."
After departing Attorney General Bill Barr basically used the Department of Justice as Trump's personal law firm, many were excited to see who Biden would use to clean up Barr's corruption. Notable contenders for the post were former acting AG Sally Yates, who became a liberal darling after refusing to enforce Trump's first Muslim Ban, former Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, who made his reputation as the federal prosecutor who successfully prosecuted the people behind the bombing of a Black church in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Era, and less excitingly, Merrick Garland, a judge from the DC Circuit Court, considered the second highest court in the U.S., after the Supreme Court. Garland's name is best known for never receiving a hearing when Obama attempted to place him on the Supreme Court after Scalia's death. Garland was, of course, supposed to be a reasonable pick so Republicans would confirm him to a lifetime seat that would give liberal appointees their first real majority on the court since the late 60s/early 70s and make it that much harder for the right to outlaw abortion and restrict civil rights through the courts. Obviously, this did not happen, and Garland continued his post within the federal courts. Most progressives were dismayed by the outlook of a Garland-led DOJ, especially as it meant that only one of the four most powerful Cabinet departments would be led by a racial minority after Biden specifically promised an administration that looked like America, but most Democrats kind of came around after the storming of the Capitol after realizing that in his career as a federal prosecutor, he successfully prosecuted the Oklahoma City bomber and recognized the danger of white nationalist terrorism. Liberals and progressives were much more encouraged to hear that Biden would nominate Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke as Associate AG and Director of the Civil Rights Division, respectively. Gupta, who led the Civil Rights Division under Obama, led the lawsuit against North Carolina for HB-1, a trans bathroom bill which required trans people to use the bathroom that coincided with their assigned gender, and not the gender they presented as or identified as. Clarke led the Civil Rights Division of the New York DOJ, and represented American University's first black woman student body president in her lawsuit against white supremacists.
So far as Attorney General, Garland has appealed a federal judge's order to release the full, un-redacted Mueller Report. That same judge castigated Barr for lying to the courts and deceiving the American people about the report's contents. This was enough to drive some liberals whose devotion for Biden mirrored the devotion Republicans had for Trump up a wall, but then Garland requested that the Justice Department be substituted for Trump as the defendant in E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit. E. Jean Carroll had accused Trump of raping her in the mid 1990s. Trump responded by calling her a liar, and she ended up suing. In the waning days of the Trump Administration, the DOJ under Barr requested that the suit be moved to federal court and that the DOJ replace Trump's personal lawyers. Rather than withdraw this request so that taxpayers wouldn't have to fund Trump's personal misconduct, Garland instead doubled down, disappointing those who hoped Biden's campaign on restoring America's soul meant something instead of empty platitudes. Garland's decision was so unpopular that Biden publicly distanced himself from it. To his credit, Garland did install Jack Smith as a special prosecutor to investigate Trump's handling of classified documents after leaving the White House and his role in January 6th, but this was after an overall reluctance to initially investigate Trump, choosing instead to focus on the rioters who entered the Capitol Building. It was only after the Jan. 6th Select Committee's public hearings that Garland was finally motivated enough to go after Trump. Special Counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump in both cases, but the timing of the indictments means that Trump may be re-elected before a verdict is reached and be able to pardon himself.
Pro-Wall Street consultants
WestExec Advisors is a consulting firm founded in 2017 designed specifically to advocate for major corporate interests, and throughout the Trump administration, WestExec Advisors represented major corporations and monopolies like Facebook, Uber, Boeing, AT&T, McKinsey and Company, Microsoft, LinkedIn, SoftBank, Gilead Sciences, and Royal Bank of Canada, among others. Biden's transition team installed several WestExec Advisors in senior roles as influential as director of national intelligence and secretary of state: WestExec co-founder Tony Blinken as Secretary of State; WestExec senior advisor Jen Psaki as Press Secretary; Facebook, Microsoft, and JP Morgan Chase consultant Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence; WestExec principal David S. Cohen as Deputy Director of the CIA; Boeing consultant and WestExec principal Lisa Monaco as Deputy Attorney General; CrowdStrike consultant Chris Inglis as national cyber director; WestExec senior advisor Ely Ratner for Assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs; WestExec senior advisor Elizabeth Rosenberg as Counselor for the deputy treasury secretary; WestExec principal Matt Olsen for Assistant attorney general; senior advisor Barbara Leaf as Senior Director for the Middle East and National Security Council; WestExec senior advisor Julianne Smith as White House senior advisor to secretary of state; WestExec senior adssociate Gabrielle Chefitz as special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for policy; WestExec senior advisor Michael Camilleri as White House senior advisor to USAID administrator; and WestExec senior advisor Colin Thomas-Jensen for National Security Director.
Biden promised to waive patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is one such an agency with the authority to wave patents for vaccines. USPTO issues patents and trademarks, and its director advises the president, the Commerce Department, the U.S. trade representative, and the Justice Department on IP matters and litigation. It is hugely important for intellectual property and copyright issues. Problem is, USPTO has been a haven in recent decades for corporate influence, "advocating for more patents and longer exclusivity periods." But Biden's first choice as a nominee is Marcus Delgado, a Cox Enterprises employee, who defended copyright for telecommunications monopolies for twenty years straight. Cox Enterprises, meanwhile, has come under fire for environmental degradation and labor abuses, and was investigated for illegally placing limits on health benefits for its retirees. Part of the blame for this lays at the feet of Delaware Senator Chris Coons, who said he was "granted the power to make the USPTO choice in exchange for staying in the Senate." Senator Coons, a close ally of Biden, is a longtime supporter of "maximalist IP rights," dating back to his own time as "in-house counsel for W.L. Gore," a company his stepfather founded that "owns thousands of patents, both on its signature Gore-Tex fabric and on numerous medical devices." Coons top two picks were corporate lawyer Ellisen Turner, who represented pharma companies, and Jannie Lau, general counsel for patent troll InterDigital, who had even worse pro-copyright records than Delgado. If Delgado becomes Director of USPTO, then it would marginalize U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai, who had been advocating for Biden to wave patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines so more people could survive the pandemic.
A deeply questionable choice was Seth Harris, Obama's former deputy labor secretary, who was the Biden campaign’s top adviser on labor issues and a member of the Labor Department transition team. He gained infamy for authoring a 2015 paper that would later heavily influence California Prop 22, a ballot measure "bankrolled by gig companies" that "designated their workers as contractors rather than employees," while "providing them a limited set of alternative benefits." It is one of the most anti-labor propositions passed in a state in modern memory, as it reduces needed benefits and wages to Uber employees because they are now "contractors" instead of full-time employees. Biden chose Seth Harris to be deputy assistant to the president for labor and the economy, which means he will "coordinate the White House’s relationship with labor groups and efforts on workers’ rights." Biden had considered Seth Harris for Labor Secretary before choosing Boston mayor Marty Walsh instead, yet still put Harris as a major labor adviser and policy coordinator after Prop 22 was passed with Harris' support.
What the hell was he thinking?
Several of Biden's nominees hail from BlackRock, an investment management company with deep ties to Wall Street. Brian Deese, former BlackRock investment executive, was set to head Biden's National Economic Council, effectively serving as his top economic advisor. Wally Adeyemo, a former chief of staff to BlackRock chief executive and longtime Democrat Larry Fink, was tapped by Biden to serve as deputy secretary at the Treasury Department. Michael Pyle, BlackRock's global chief investment strategist who had worked in the Obama administration before joining the firm, is going to be chief economic advisor to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Michael Pyle is not an economist. All three have deep ties to Wall Street, which thrived under Trump as his administration found ways to exempt companies like BlackRock from regulatory scrutiny. Moreover, BlackRock is the world’s largest shareholder in fossil fuels, managing over $87 billion worth of shares in oil and gas companies, and they are not eager for a Green New Deal by any stretch of the imagination. For Biden to choose several BlackRock types, who themselves have deep ties to the Obama administration and other mainstream Democrats, is to wave a giant sign that says the 46th President plans to govern for Wall Street, just as Clinton and Obama had done in the past.
Another inexcusably bad choice was Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former Chief of Staff and disgraced Mayor of Chicago, who received nationwide backlash for covering up the death of 17 year old Laquan McDonald while in police custody. Before ultimately giving the role to Pete Buttigeg, Biden was considering nominating Emanuel for Transportation Secretary. One of the most unpopular mayors of his time, Emanuel received international condemnation for presiding over a black site prison where police regularly abused detainees, especially black prisoners, in a scandal that caused Amnesty International to demand for a thorough investigation. Mayor Emanuel was accused of forcing black Chicago residents to undergo "strategic gentrification," which means he imposed policies that were specifically meant to make the city "whiter and wealthier," forcing hundreds of thousands of black residents to leave the city over the course of his eight years. Mayor Emanuel also issued mass closing of hospitals in black-dominated areas of Chicago, thereby cutting access to adequate coverage for mental health, especially, among many other issues plaguing marginalized communities in Chicago. Emanuel's outright neoliberalism, including his elimination of the Department of Environment, prioritization of private industries, price hiking water and sewer fees, cutting public education, closing of predominantly black schools, and indifference if not outright hostility to the black community, all contributed to Emanuel's massive unpopularity, such that he was forced to decline from running for a third term. And yet, despite all that, Biden is seriously considering nominating Rahm Emanuel for a spot in his administration, namely some kind of ambassadorship role. This incredibly tone-deaf insistence on giving a role to Rahm Emanuel has outraged Chicago, progressives, even liberals who balked when Emanuel, as Chief of Staff, kept trying to discourage Obama from passing the ACA. Progressives, and really, anybody with a brain are "livid" that Biden would "even give his name an airing, accusing Emanuel of exacerbating the city’s entrenched, acute inequalities and, most dramatically, botching the handling of Black teenager Laquan McDonald’s killing by a white police officer in 2014."
But perhaps his most controversial pick was the head of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden, who was chosen to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget. A longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton, and a one-time candidate for Chief of Staff had Hillary won, Tanden was once caught advocating for paying off America's deficit by suggesting Libya "should pay us back" because "they have a lot of oil," a strikingly similar view of foreign policy as Donald Trump. CAP published ThinkProgress, a news site once published by CAP that was also a unit of the Writers Guild of America East. As soon as ThinkProgress secured its first collective bargaining agreement, which made it harder for Tanden to fire workers at ThinkProgress, Tanden responded by shutting ThinkProgress down, laying off union staffers, and decided not to relaunch or reopen the site, merely to archive its contents instead. This was blatant union busting on the part of Neera Tanden. As head of the Center for American Progress, Tanden had muzzled CAP's staffers and writers whenever they criticized lobbying firm AIPAC (which opposed the nuclear deal with Iran) and Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu, while also supporting fairly intense militarism and refusing to disclose its top donors.
Tanden, prolific on Twitter, gained infamy for her inflammatory tweets, toxic behavior, and hatred of Bernie Sanders, who himself, as Budget Committee Chairman, directly called her out for her "vile" comments about Sanders and his supporters. He also "demanded details about the donations the Center for American Progress received from corporations under her leadership" and a "promise that it would not influence her work in the Biden administration." Tanden also called for cutting Social Security in 2010, something that Biden himself also supported as Vice President, but Obama abandoned the plan after Sanders led the fight against it. Tanden, not one to give up, went further and advocated for cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Predictably, she also does not support Medicare For All or a $15 minimum wage, and many within the progressive sphere felt Biden's choice was a slap in the face to the left wing. Despite all this, Biden refused to withdraw her nomination and insisted he will find the votes to confirm her even after Joe Manchin said he would not vote for her. On March 2nd, after weeks of controversy, the White House finally withdrew Tanden's nomination at her request. This all came after Manchin, Romney, and Susan Collins all refused to support her.
Military adventurism without his own approval
American generals conducted multiple strikes on Somalia without Biden's approval. Al Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, was operating in Somali land, and reportedly attacking an American-trained Somali group called the Danab. There were no Americans in the area. No American soldiers were even near the Danab when Al Shabaab attacked them. But US General Stephen Townsend conducted the drone strike on Al Shabaab with approval from the Somali government, without consulting the White House. Taking military action without even telling the Commander In Chief is an unconstitutional act of military adventurism. Senator Tim Kaine criticized General Townsend for the move, saying "collective self-defense" makes no sense as a justification "when there is no direct threat to the U.S., its armed forces, or citizens," the former Clinton running mate said.
Biden has not accepted Iran's offer to return to the nuclear deal made under Obama despite efforts by President Rouhani's government to reach out to the Biden administration. Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, was deputy national security advisor and deputy secretary of state under Obama. Blinken is rather hawkish, indicating that he would support keeping sanctions on Iran despite the Biden administration’s goal of rejoining the Iran nuclear deal. Biden and Blinken, in an incredibly arrogant display, demanded that Iran must abide by the deal and stop enriching uranium before sanctions are lifted, when the reason Iran began enriching uranium again was in response to Trump reneging on the deal and imposing new sanctions. By not removing the Trump sanctions, Biden and Blinken are jeopardizing the nuclear deal with Iran, which would only serve the interests of Iranian and Israeli hardliners. By the end of February, Biden undertook military strikes against Iranian-backed militias in Syria, his first ever military action as president. This was done mainly to send an aggressive message against Iran, which Syria, the latter's ally, condemned as an illegal action.
Taking cues from the Trump administration, Biden formally recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela's leader instead of Nicolas Maduro, despite Guaido's lack of popularity and his allegedly launching a coup attempt. Biden has ruled out any talks with Maduro, calling the latter a dictator and calling for free and fair elections. This was a bizarre explosion of hawkishness from Biden, as Trump received backlash precisely for recognizing Guaido instead of Maduro.
Protecting the Saudi crown prince
A day after a report officially implicating Mohammad bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Biden explicitly declined to sanction the Saudi crown prince despite pledging to penalize the Saudi royals for the murder. The Treasury Department under Secretary Janet Yellen released a list of Saudis who may be sanctioned but MBS was not listed.
Allegations of inappropriate physical contact and sexual assault
“”I'm a tactile politician.
|—Joe Biden, March 2019|
“”Not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately.
|—Joe Biden, March 2019|
There are several videos and pictures of Biden engaging in what commentators consider to be inappropriate proximity to women and children, including kissing and or touching. Biden described himself as a "tactile politician", admitting this behavior caused trouble in the past.
In March 2019, Lucy Flores, former Nevada assemblywoman, accused Biden of having kissed her without her consent at a 2014 campaign rally in Las Vegas. Flores wrote that Biden walked up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed the back of her head, in "an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners – and I felt powerless to do anything about it." Few days later, three additional women came forward with allegations of inappropriate conduct. Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide, accused Biden of having crossed a decency line when he touched her in a non-sexual but inappropriate way by holding her head to rub noses with her at a political fundraiser in Greenwich in 2009. Another woman said that Biden ran his hand from her shoulder down her back, and the other said that he placed his hand on her thigh. By April 2019, a total of seven women accused Biden of inappropriately touching them.
Tara Reade had accused Biden of making inappropriate physical contact with her in 1993 when she worked in the then-senator's office from December 1992 to August 1993. Reade has given many interviews about this incident, including multiple interviews with The Washington Post. Lucy Flores' story of Biden's inappropriate touching inspired Read to initially allege that Biden had inappropriately touched her, which was published in her hometown newspaper, The Union, on April 3, 2019. In that article, Reade's accusation at that time was:
“”He used to put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck,” Reade said. “I would just kind of freeze and wait for him to stop doing that.
This was similar to what other women have accused Biden of doing, and it was reported that Reade did not consider that behavior sexualization.
Reade told The Union that she left her job with the Senator because she refused to serve drinks at a fundraiser and because she felt sidelined because of that. In a 2019 interview with The Washington Post, Reade laid blame for her leaving Senator's office for "bullying" by the Senator's staff rather than by Biden himself:
“”This is what I want to emphasize: It’s not him. It’s the people around him who keep covering for him… For instance, he should have known what was happening to me… Looking back now, that’s my criticism. Maybe he could have been a little more in touch with his own staff.
By her differing accounts, Reade either left voluntarily because she felt sidelined, or she was forced out by Ted Kaufman, Biden's chief of staff.
As recently as 2017, Reade tweeted positively about Biden. But starting in January 2020, Reade began publicly supporting Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, and called Biden "a misogynist pred". In March 2020, Reade gave an interview with Katie Halper, a Bernie supporter, in which she changed her story that Biden had sexually assaulted her in the Senate. In a subsequent interview with The Washington Post, Reade could not remember where in the Capitol she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Biden. Reade’s younger brother, Collin Moulton, confirmed Reade's initial story of inappropriate touching but then revised his story to conform to Reade's revised story.
Biden's presidential campaign has called this sexual assault allegation false:
“”He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.
Marianne Baker, who was one of Reade's supervisors, also denied Reade's claim of having made a formal complaint of the assault:
“”In all my years working for Sen. Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone. I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager. These clearly false allegations are in complete contradiction to both the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades.
Two of Reade's other supervisors, Dennis Toner and Ted Kaufman, also flatly denied that the complaint was made, and both stated that they would have remembered it if such a complaint had been made.
Reade had told The Washington Post that she had confided in her mother, who died in 1993, regarding the allegations. Subsequently, Reade told The Intercept that her mother had made a phone call to Larry King Live some time in 1993 which referenced her daughter's experience at The Capitol. The Intercept was able to find a recording of the radio conversation, the complete transcript of which is:
King: San Luis Obispo, California, hello.
Caller: Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.
King: In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?
Caller: That’s true.
Assuming that the anonymous caller was Reade's mother, one does not know what exactly the issue was that her mother was referring to. Was it the inappropriate touching that Reade had initially alleged, was it her difficulties with the Senator's office staff, or was it the sexual assault that she is currently alleging? Ms. Reade has taken up residence in Russia as of late May 2023. She has claimed her move was motivated by her desire to avoid imprisonment and being murdered. The story in the Russian propaganda mill, Sputnik International begins with the headline: "Biden Accuser Tara Reade: My Two Choices in US Were to Walk Into Cage or be Killed." Believe what you will.
"Believe all women"
“”"What we are witnessing is another instance of the right decrying what it imagines the American women’s movement to be."
Concomitant with Reade's 2020 accusation against Biden, the phrase "Believe all women" began cropping up. It is noteworthy because the phrase "Believe women" (without the 'all') began in 2016 with Harvey Weinstein's downfall and rose to prominence with the #MeToo hashtag that began in 2017.
“”"Believe women" was a reminder, not an absolute rule; the beginning of a process, not an end. It was flexible enough to apply to various contexts: Believe women … enough to seriously investigate their claims. Believe women … when they tell you about pervasive indignities — catcalling, leering — that happen to them and their friends when you’re not around.
|—Monica Hesse (ellipses hers)|
"Believe all women" is a phrase that is generally used to taunt Democrats by the right-wing, who seek to make a straw man argument against concerns over sexual abuse and sexual harassment of women, using the original "Believe women" slogan that originated with the #MeToo movement. In this specific case (utilized by the usual right-wing suspects such as Glenn Beck, Megyn Kelly, and Fox news anchor Martha MacCallum) the flawed argument concerns the assertion that they're not going to believe this woman, Tara Reade, so Democrats are hypocrites. The problem with the phrase "Believe all women" is that it is inherently contradictory (or paradoxical): it's not unrealistic that two women could have contradictory opinions about something, and so it would be irrational to believe both of them. The phrase "Believe all women" is, in fact, used as a straw man and a gaslighting technique — an intentional misrepresentation of "Believe women" to try to trip up people who might want to give Biden the benefit of the doubt. It is used just like "All Lives Matter." was used to misrepresent "Black Lives Matter."
Biden's support of women's rights is broad and consistent. Even feminist men, like Biden, can be tone-deaf, and that is how Biden appeared when questioning Anita Hill regarding her accusations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings. In 1994, Biden authored and strong-armed the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (as part of a larger bill, Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, also known as the 1994 Crime Bill, the Clinton Crime Bill, or the Biden Crime Law) which among other things, aids women in cases of domestic assault and for the first time, provided a way for victims of rape or domestic assault to find redress in civil courts if the State or District prosecutor choose not to try a case.
Despite personally following his Catholic faith in the belief that life begins at conception, Biden is firmly pro-choice. In the 2012 Vice-Presidential debates, he stated his own view (and challenged all lawmakers):
With regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position … life begins at conception. … But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christian and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others.
I do not believe that we have a right to tell women, that they can’t control their body. It is a decision between them and their doctor. I am not going to interfere with that.
- Barack Obama: The man who chose him to be Vice President.
- Donald Trump: His 2020 election opponent and the only reason Biden even became president.
- Dick Cheney: Joe Biden's predecessor as VP.
- Al Gore: Cheney's predecessor and the other most recent Vice President to win the popular vote as a presidential candidate.
- Mike Pence: Biden's successor as VP.
- Kamala Harris: Biden's running mate in 2020 and Pence's successor.
- Robert Hunter Biden: His son, and the subject of numerous conspiracy theories involving Biden.
- Fun:List of Joe Biden gaffes
- Fun:Socialism with Biden characteristics
- The Onion's coverage of Joe. (Of course he responded back.)
- Exploring the Origins of the Legend of Joe Biden, TPM
- Joe Biden on Twitter
- Joe Biden on Facebook
- Joe Biden's 2020 campaign website
- Biden is known to have issues with young voters, who overwhelmingly favor Bernie Sanders. Related to this, Republicans have been actively suppressing votes on college campuses, resulting in an effective lower turnout for Bernie Sanders and an increased turnout for Biden.
- As any good lawyer can tell you, the first rule of being an attorney is that when you're winning, be quiet.
- Hehe, get it? Because Amtrak Joe likes traveling between Delaware and Washington by train? Badum-tssh!
- Please note this is an ongoing, and frequently updated list. Things may be added/removed as new information is presented.
- To be specific, the US now only wish to focus on terrorist groups that could threaten the USA. So, not perfect. But it serves a hopefully glimmer of hope that, drip by drip, the US will stop unnecessarily using aggression in foreign policy.
- Point is, regardless of the context, which is of much more positive intention than the Trump administration, just saying "kids in cages" is enough to make you realize it just doesn't seem fucking right at all.
- Full speech here
- Joe Biden: 'This is a big fucking deal'. The Guardian.
- ‘Tsunami of untruths’: Trump has made 20,000 false or misleading claims – report. The Guardian
- Joe Biden isn’t just a gaffe machine. He’s the Lamborghini of gaffes by Dana Milbank (August 27, 2019 at 7:52 PM) The Washington Post.
- Joe Biden Speech: Vice President Misuses The Word Literally, HuffPo
- In 'fiscal cliff' deal, Joe Biden upstages President Obama, Christian Science Monitor
- Joe Biden won't run for president. CNN.
- Joe Biden's Long And Rocky Road To The Democratic Nomination, NPR.
- Bernie Sanders drops out of the 2020 race, clearing Joe Biden's path to the Democratic nomination
- Biden's 'seize the center' campaign strategy may just deliver him the White House. Business Insider.
- Team Biden's new strategy: Run out the clock. The Hill.
- Joe Biden bullish but down-ballot races deliver disappointment for Democrats. The Guardian.
- There Wasn’t That Much Split-Ticket Voting In 2020. FiveThirtyEight.
- All 538 electors have voted, formalizing Biden's 306-232 win. Here's how the electoral vote works. CBS News.
- Most respectable lawyers have quit Trump’s lawsuits. The ones who haven’t are getting desperate and dangerous. The Independent
- Biden: Capitol attack 'one of the darkest days' in US history. CNN
- Father’s Tough Life an Inspiration for Biden. New York Times.
- Biden's Road to Senate Took Tragic Turn. NPR.
- When Joe Biden Was the Candidate of the Young. Slate.
- See the Wikipedia article on 1972 United States Senate election in Delaware.
- See the Wikipedia article on Neilia Hunter.
- Amtrak rider-in-chief Biden embarks on Rust Belt train tour. Associated Press.
- On Becoming Joe Biden. NPR.
- Bidens met, forged life together after tragedy. Orlando Sentinel.
- Jeremy Diamond and Eric Bradner, "House committee passes bill that cuts Amtrak funding after crash", CNN.
- ‘Lock the S.O.B.s Up’: Joe Biden and the Era of Mass Incarceration. New York Times.
- Joe Biden Pushed Ronald Reagan to Ramp Up Incarceration. The Intercept.
- Joe Biden on Crime and Mass Incarceration. New York Times.
- Joe Biden’s long record supporting the war on drugs and mass incarceration, explained. Vox.
- More evidence that harsh mandatory minimums for drug offenses don't work. Vox.
- The Crime-Bill Debate Shows How Short Americans’ Memories Are. The Atlantic.
- 'Things have changed': can Biden overcome the racist legacy of the crime bill he backed? The Guardian.
- "Biden eulogy for Strom Thurmond shows political opponents don't have to be enemies"
- Joe Biden's busing problem
- Biden's record on race explained
- Biden's LGBTQ record draws scrutiny at Iowa presidential forum. Reuters.
- See the Wikipedia article on Don't ask, don't tell.
- Joe Biden, the father of 'Borking'. The Hill.
- Did Joe Biden Drop Out of the ’88 Presidential Race After Admitting to Plagiarism? Snopes.
- For Joe Biden, 1987 Brought Triumph In The Wake Of Political Setback.NPR.
- Biden Admits Plagiarism in School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'. New York Times.
- Biden’s First Run for President Was a Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate. New York Times.
- Anita Hill says she's 'ready to hold Joe Biden accountable' for role in 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings. CNN.
- What Joe Biden’s (Non-)Apology to Anita Hill Reveals About Him. The Intercept.
- Joe Biden Expresses Regret to Anita Hill, but She Says ‘I’m Sorry’ Is Not Enough. New York Times.
- Joe Biden's History of Making the Wrong Call. The Atlantic.
- Joe Biden Woos America’s Bosnian, Albanian Voters Before Polls. Balkan Insight.
- Joe Biden championed the Iraq war. Will that come back to haunt him now? The Guardian.
- Fact check: Biden again dishonestly suggests he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. CNN.
- Biden's description of Obama draws scrutiny. CNN.
- See the Wikipedia article on Joe Biden 2008 presidential campaign § Indian-Americans.
- See the Wikipedia article on 2008 Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses.
- Heilemann, John; Halperin, Mark (2010). Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-173363-5. p.28
- Obama Chooses Biden as Running Mate. New York Times.
- Biden’s Bishop Will not Permit Him, Even if Elected VP, to Speak at Catholic Schools. Catholic Exchange.
- 'The skunk at the family picnic'. Politico.
- Baker, Peter (April 28, 2019). "Biden and Obama's 'Odd Couple' Relationship Aged Into Family Ties". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
- Biden, McConnell and the making of a deal. Politico.
- Biden 'absolutely comfortable' with gay marriage, Reuters
- Obama: Biden “probably got a little bit over his skis” on the issue, Washington Post.
- Joe Biden Says ‘Poor Kids’ Are Just as Bright as ‘White Kids’. The New York Times.
- How unpopular is Joe Biden?
- One year In, Biden Has The Second-Lowest Approval Rating Of Any President
- "Biden repeals Trump-era ban on transgender military service," JACQUELINE FELDSCHER and LARA SELIGMAN, Politico
- "Biden to rejoin Paris climate agreement, revoke Trump ‘Muslim ban’ in first executive orders," Thomas Franck, CBSNews
- "Biden signs executive actions on COVID, climate change, immigration and more," Bo Erickson, CBSNews
- "Biden announces efforts to reunite migrant families separated by Trump administration," Kevin Sieff, Washington Post
- "Biden signs immigration executive orders and establishes task force to reunite separated families," Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
- "Here are the 10 executive orders Biden's signing to combat the Covid pandemic," Will Feuer, CNBC
- Biden announces end to US support for Saudi-led offensive in Yemen. The Guardian
- Yemen war: Joe Biden ends support for operations in foreign policy reset. BBC
- "Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Signs Military 'Stand Down' Memo To Address Extremism," Jason Slotkin, NPR
- "Despite Strong Criticism Of Police Spending, Boston City Council Passes Budget," Quincy Walters, WBUR News
- "Marty Walsh’s Story Gives Him an Edge in Biden Labor Messaging," Ian Kullgren, Bloomberg Law
- "Big Tech critic Tim Wu joins Biden administration to work on competition policy," Lauren Feiner, CNBC
- "Biden signs executive order targeting right to repair, ISPs, net neutrality, and more," Richard Lawler and Adi Robertson, TheVerge
- "President Biden Signs Executive Order Revitalizing Regulatory Oversight of Banks and Encouraging New Consumer-Friendly Portability Rules," Womble Bond Dickinson
- "To undo Trump’s net neutrality policy, the Biden admin drops a lawsuit," Kimberly Adams, MarketPlace
- "President Biden's FCC appointment is a big step toward net neutrality's return," Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet
- "Biden’s plan to make your internet cheaper and better is one step closer," Sara Morrison, Recode and Vox
- "President Joe Biden’s latest executive order is a huge win for right to repair," Catie Keck, TheVerge
- "Biden's executive order takes on right-to-repair. It could make fixing your smartphone easier," Clare Duffy, CNN
- "Biden's right-to-repair order is good news for people who always break their phones," Jason Cipriani, CNET
- "Joe Biden Wants You to Be Able to Fix Your Own Damn iPhones," Wired
- Biden says Armenian mass killing was genocide
- "Garland bars prosecutors from seizing reporters’ records," Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
- "Slap in the face’: Lobbyists fume at Biden eviction reversal," Katy O'Donnell, Politico
- "Why Biden was so set on withdrawing from Afghanistan," Andrew Prokop, Vox
- "Debating Exit From Afghanistan, Biden Rejects Generals' Views," New York Times
- "Justice Department to protect women seeking an abortion in Texas," Hamza Shaban, Washington Post
- "Biden Administration Strikes Back Against Texas Abortion Ban," Eric Lutz, Vanity Fair
- "Biden restores beloved national monuments, reversing Trump cuts," The Guardian
- White House Announces Plans For Massive Expansion Of Offshore Wind Farms, Nick Visser, Huffington Post
- Data evidence
- "Why U.S. Drone Strikes Are at an All-Time Low," Michael Hirsh, Foreign Policy
- "Starting Jan. 1, emergency rooms can't surprise you with unexpected bills—here's how to protect yourself," Mike Winters, CNBC
- "Patients won't have to fear as many surprise medical bills come January," Tami Luhby, CNN
- "A Betrayal’: Georgia Voters Enraged After Democrats Promise of ‘$2000 Checks’ Becomes $1400 Under Biden Stimulus Plan," Colin Kalmbacher, Mediaite
- "Madness': In Cave to Right-Wing Dems, Biden Agrees to Further Limit Eligibility for Direct Payments," Jake Johnson, Common Dreams
- Twitter thread with corresponding videos
- "Biden administration prepares to open overflow facility for migrant children," Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
- "First migrant facility for children opens under Biden," Silvia Foster-Frau, Washington Post
- "Advocates Denounce Biden Plan to Reopen Homestead Migrant Children's Facility," Alexi C. Cardona, Miami New Times
- "Biden opposes reopening controversial child migrant shelter," Stef W. Kight and Hans Nichols, Axios
- https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/aclu-response-dhs-memo-enforcement-and-removals "ACLU Response to DHS Memo on Enforcement and Removals"
- Twitter thread showing ACLU's response
- "Immigrant Youth Take Action Outside of ICE Building Demanding President Biden Immediately Stop ALL Deportations," Anabel Mendoza, United We Dream
- ACLU Statement on Biden's Refusal to Address Diversity Visas. ACLU, 9 March 2021.
- "Border Patrol agents are ‘working to sabotage the Biden administration’, according to insiders," Andrew Feinberg, Independent
- "Biden privately tells governors: Minimum wage hike likely isn’t happening," Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadekago, Politico
- "Minimum-wage increase imperiled in covid relief bill by Senate official’s ruling," Erica Werner, Washington Post
- "$15 minimum wage not allowed in Biden's Covid relief bill, Senate official says," Jacob Pramuk, CNBC
- "How Biden got it wrong about Penn, the Ivies, student debt, and America’s college problem," Will Bunch, Inquirer
- "Biden balks at taking executive action to cancel student loan debt," Michael Stratford, Politico
- "Students lament Biden refusal to cancel $50,000 in student debt," Jessica Dickler and Carmen Reinicke, CNBC
- "State attorneys general call for President Biden to forgive $50,000 in student loan debt," Carmen Reinicke, CNBC
- "Biden White House Sandbags Staffers, Sidelines Dozens for Pot Use," Scott Bixby, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Adam Rawnsley, Daily Beast
- "Biden's press office asked journalists to send questions in advance, drawing mixed reactions from reporters," Ashley Collman, Business Insider
- "White House and press are at odds over plan to charge reporters for coronavirus testing," Paul Farhi, Washington Post
- "Biden Is Finding New and Inexplicable Ways to Screw Up His Cabinet Picks," Matt Ford, New Republic
- "In Becerra, an HHS Nominee With Political Skill But No Front-Line Health Experience," Rachana Pradhan, Angela Hart, Julie Rovner, and Jenny Gold, KNH
- "How Biden’s team botched his Cabinet debuts," Natasha Korecki and Megan Cassella, Politico
- Housing and Urban Development, which was Ben Carson's domain under Trump
- "Biden to tap Marcia Fudge to lead housing agency," Katy O'Donnell, Tyler Page, and Megan Cassella, Politico
- "Biden picks Alejandro Mayorkas, a son of Jewish Cuban refugees, to lead the Department of Homeland Security," Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post
- "Alejandro Mayorkas isn’t the fix-all pick Biden thinks he is," Mike Amezcua, The Independent
- "Biden Intelligence Lead Pick Played Key Role in Obama Drone Strike Program," Julian E. Barnes, New York Times
- "The Proxy War Over a Top Biden Adviser," Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast
- "Gina Haspel, Trump’s Pick to Lead the CIA, ‘Ran the Interrogation Program,’ Former CIA Lawyer Wrote," Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast
- "CIA Whistleblower: Biden Intel Pick Avril Haines Approved Obama Drone Strike Kill List, Hid Torture," Democracy Now
- "Biden's pick for intelligence chief, Avril Haines, is tainted by drones and torture," Medea Benjamin and Marcy Winograd, Salon
- "Biden's pick for US spy chief played a central role in Obama's secretive drone war that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths," John Haltiwanger, Business Insider
- "Farmers Reject Biden’s Pro-Corporate Rural Advisers," David Dayen, American Prospect
- "Tom Vilsack’s Cozy Relationship With Big Ag Makes Him A Non-Starter at USDA," Krissy Kasserman and Amanda Claire Starbuck, Food and Water Watch
- "How USDA distorted data to conceal decades of discrimination against Black farmers," Nathan Rosenberg and Bryce Wilson Stucki, The Counter
- "Black farmers, civil rights advocates seething over Vilsack pick," Helena Bottemiller Evich, Ximena Bustillo, and Liz Crampton, Politico
- "Shirley Sherrod Is Why Tom Vilsack As Agriculture Secretary Is A ‘Slap In The Face To Black Americans," Bruce C.T. Wright, NewsOne
- "Biden Defense Secretary Nominee Lloyd Austin Comes Under Fire for Industry Connections," Nick Turse and Alex Emmons, The Intercept
- "Biden’s Choice for Pentagon Faces Questions on Ties to Contractors," Eric Lipton, Kenneth P. Vogel, and Michael LaForgia, New York Times
- "Biden Defense Pick to Get Up to $1.7 Million From Raytheon Role," Anthony Capaccio and Bill Allison, Bloomberg
- "Meet the Consulting Firm That’s Staffing the Biden Administration," Johnathan Guyer and Ryan Grim, Prospect
- "Biden Will Nominate Industry Ally for Patent Office," Amelia Pollard and David Dayen, Prospect
- "Biden Adds Former Obama Labor Official Harris to White House," Jennifer Epstein, Bloomberg
- "Joe Biden’s BlackRock Cabinet Picks Show the President-Elect Is Ready and Eager to Serve the Rich," Meagan Day, Jacobin
- "Another BlackRock Veteran Will Join the Biden Administration," David Dayen, Prospect.
- "Here are 9 fascinating facts to know about BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager popping up in the Biden administration," Rebecca Ungarino, Business Insider
- [https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/02/blackrock-biden/?outputType=amp "Two Biden aides will recuse on BlackRock issues as past ties pose questions," Yeganeh Torbati, Washington Post]
- "Joe Biden weighs Rahm Emanuel for transportation secretary," Aamer Madhani and Zeke Miller, APNews
- "Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary," Hans Nichols, Axios
- "Chicago’s “Black Site” Police Scandal Is Primed to Explode Again," Brandon E. Patterson, Mother Jones
- "Amnesty International USA Calls on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Investigate Chicago “Black Site”," Amanda Simon, AmnestyUSA
- "The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden black site," Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian
- "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel Accused Of Forcing Black Residents Out Through 'Strategic Gentrification," Rachaell Davis, Essence
- "Before the schools, Mayor Emanuel closed the clinics," Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader
- "The Definitive Guide for Cable Hosts, Bookers, and Editors to the Fraud and Failure That Was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel," Curtis Black, The Intercept
- "Biden eyes Rahm Emanuel for ambassadorship," Josh Lederman and Carol E. Lee, NBCNews
- "Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff, expected to resign," Chris McGreal, The Guardian
- "Talk of Rahm Emanuel in Biden cabinet outrages his Chicago critics," Gloria Oladipo, The Guardian
- "Donald Trump's Libya policy is strikingly similar to one of Hillary's top surrogates," Ben Norton, Salon
- "Amid Scrutiny of Tweets, Tanden’s Role in Killing a Union Website Should Not Be Forgotten," Ari Paul, Fair
- "Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism," Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
- "Neera Tanden, Biden’s Budget Nominee, Faces Challenge to Confirmation," Emily Cochrane, New York Times
- "Joe Biden’s Neera Tanden Pick Is Even Worse Than You Thought," Walker Bragman, Jacobin
- "Bernieworld seethes over Tanden as OMB nominee," Holly Otterbein, Politico
- "Tanden's OMB confirmation on brink of collapse after two GOP senators say they won't support her nomination," Chandelis Duster, CNN
- "White House pulls Tanden nomination," Phil Mattingly and Kate Sullivan, CNN
- "Welcome to Joe Biden's Somalia war," Alexander Ward, Politico
- "US not ready to budge on Iran nuclear deal position: Official," Al Jazeera
- "Blinken confirmed as secretary of State," Nahal Toosi, Politico
- "Biden says Iran must return to negotiating table before U.S. lifts sanctions," Amanda Macias, CNBC
- "Hawks in Iran and Israel agree: Biden’s bid to salvage nuclear deal must not succeed," Simon Tisdall, The Guardian
- "Biden takes first military action with Syria strike on Iran-backed militias," BBC
- "US carries out air strikes in Syria targeting Iranian backed militias," Barbara Starr, Oren Liebermann and Nicole Gaouette, CNN
- See the Wikipedia article on 2019 Venezuelan uprising attempt.
- "Biden will recognize Guaido as Venezuela's leader, top diplomat says," Reuters
- "U.S. reaffirms support for Venezuela's Guaido, sees no talks with Maduro," Matt Spetalnick
- "Biden balks at sanctions on Saudi Crown Prince after release of report on killing of Jamal Khashoggi," Alex Emmons, The Intercept
- "Biden doesn't penalize crown prince despite promise to punish senior Saudi leaders," Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, Vivian Salama and Kylie Atwood, CNN
- "Biden responds to allegation of unwanted touching, kissing: ‘Not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately’". Washington Post. March 2019.
- "Joe Biden 2020 Is A Terrible Idea In A Post-Weinstein America". HuffingtonPost. November, 2017.
- "Lucy Flores isn’t alone. Joe Biden’s got a long history of touching women inappropriately". Vox. March 2019.
- "America Shouldn't Tolerate 'Biden Being Biden'". Time. February, 2015.
- "Nevada Democrat accuses Joe Biden of touching and kissing her without consent at 2014 event". Los Angeles Times. March 29, 2019.
- "Ex-Nevada Assemblywoman Says Joe Biden Inappropriately Kissed Her". HuffingtonPost. March, 2019.
- "Lucy Flores Still Wants An Apology From Joe Biden". HuffingtonPost. April, 2019.
- "Connecticut woman says then-Vice President Joe Biden touched her inappropriately at a Greenwich fundraiser in 2009". Hartford Courant. April, 2019.
- "Two more women accuse Biden of inappropriate touching". TheHill. April, 2019.
- "Biden’s Tactile Politics Threaten His Return in the #MeToo Era". New York Times. April, 2019.
- "All the Women Who Have Spoken Out Against Joe Biden". New York (magazine). April, 2019.
- Sexual assault allegation by former Biden Senate aide emerges in campaign, draws denial by Beth Reinhard, Elise Viebeck, Matt Viser & Alice Crites (April 12, 2020, at 8:20 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Nevada County woman says Joe Biden inappropriately touched her while working in his U.S. Senate office by Alan Riquelmy (April 3, 2019) The Union.
- Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden: Ms. Reade, a former Senate aide, has accused Mr. Biden of assaulting her in 1993 and says she told others about it. A Biden spokeswoman said the allegation is false, and former Senate office staff members do not recall such an incident. by Lisa Lerer & Sydney Ember (Published April 12, 2020; Updated May 8, 2020) The New York Times.
- Tara Reade, Joe Biden's accuser, finally tells her full story (excerpt) (March 26, 2020) SoundCloud.
- Time’s Up Said It Could Not Fund a #MeToo Allegation Against Joe Biden, Citing Its Nonprofit Status and His Presidential Run by Ryan Grim (March 24, 2020, 12:58 p.m.) The Intercept.
- New Evidence Supporting Credibility of Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden Emerges by Ryan Grim (April 24, 2020, 11:39 a.m.) The Intercept.
- "‘Believe All Women’ Is a Right-Wing Trap" by Susan Faludi, New York Times, 2020 May 18
- 'Believe Women' was a slogan. 'Believe All Women' is a straw man. by Monica Hesse (May 12, 2020, at 3:00 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- The Standard We Should Have With Tara Reade's Case Against Joe Biden by Glenn Beck (May 7 at 5:10 PM) Facebook (archived from May 14, 2020).
- The MK Interview: Tara Reade by Megyn Kelly (May 8, 2020) YouTube.
- MacCallum knocks Pelosi over response to Biden allegations: 'Drives a stake into the heart' of #MeToo by Yael Halon (May 6, 2020) Fox News.
- Re-watching Joe Biden’s disastrous Anita Hill hearing: A sexual harassment inquisition by Michael S. Rosenwald (November 26 at 12:11 PM) The Washington Post.
- The Violence Against Women Act Was Signed 25 Years Ago. Here's How the Law Changed American Culture. TIME
- Biden: ‘Life Begins at Conception…But…I’m Not Going to Interfere With' Abortion. CNSNews