Friday, May 03, 2019

Consistently Accommodating


To be fair, perhaps to bend over backwards, Joe Biden may be merely an accommodationist.

As nominee for re-election as vice-president, Biden maintained "Dick Cheney has been the most dangerous Vice President probably in American History." In 2015, explaining that he and his wife were hosted by Vice President Cheney and his wife at the official residence after the 2008 presidential election, Biden stated "first of all, I like Dick Cheney for real. I get on with him. I think he is a decent man."





In the 1995 Senate debate over the Republican Balanced Budget Amendment after its passage in the House, the Delawarean maintained "When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans' benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government."

Then Biden joined 13 other Democrats (out of 47) and all but one of the chamber's 53 Republicans in voting for this monstrosity, which fell one vote short of passage.

Biden never has acknowledged this serious error in judgement and as recently as last December (as he was seriously contemplating becoming a presidential candidate) he contended that Social Security "still needs adjustments"- shorthand for reduction in benefits.

Perhaps Biden simply has always wanted to align his views with President Obama- who was thwarted by Tea Party Republicans in his effort to cut the program as part of the Grand Bargain- centrists, hedge fund managers, and Beltway pundits who have advocated curbing benefits in a misleading effort to reduce the budget deficit.

If so, though, it's a disturbing tendency, arguably character trait, which has continued even to this past Wednesday, when the former vice-president

dismissed the notion that the United States should be worried about China as a geopolitical competitor, prompting criticism from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as well as some Republicans who argued that Biden is underestimating the world’s second-largest economy.

The argument is one Biden has frequently made in speeches throughout the years, but it is drawing increased attention due to his status as the apparent front-runner among Democrats running for president.

At a campaign stop in Iowa City, Biden pointed to his years serving as vice president and as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, telling the crowd that there’s not a “single solitary” world leader who would trade the problems the United States faces for those confronting China.

“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” said Biden, who last week announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

He argued that Beijing has its hands full dealing with its own domestic and regional problems, such as tensions in the South China Sea — which Biden called the “China Sea” — and the “mountains ... in the west.” It was not clear to what mountains or issue Biden was referring.

“They can’t figure out how they’re going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system,” Biden said of China. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”





"They're not competition for us" is so inaccurate that it could count as a lie.  Oppression of the Turkic-speaking, ethnic Ulghurs in Xinjiang province has been going on for decades.  Moreover

In the past few years, China has conducted a sweeping campaign to suppress Uighur identity and restrict the practice of Islam. As many as 1 million Uighurs and members of other minority groups — mostly Muslim ones — are being held without charges in brutal internment camps, according to the United Nations. It is just the latest episode in a decades-long history of tension between Uighurs and the staunchly secular, Han Chinese-dominated government in Beijing....

After months of denying the camps existed, China switched last year to justifying them. Beijing insists it is merely providing job training and “de-extremism education” in a region that is poor and steeped in fundamentalism. “As a result of the vocational education and training, the social environment of Xinjiang has seen notable changes, with a healthy atmosphere on the rise and improper practices declining,” said Shohrat Zakir, the de facto No. 2 official in Xinjiang, in October.

Surely we can believe that official because, as former vice president Biden assures us, "they're not bad folks, folks." However, the BBC has reported "Former prisoners told us of physical as well as psychological torture in the camps. Entire families had disappeared, and we were told detainees were tortured physically and mentally. We also saw evidence of almost a complete surveillance state in Xinjiang."

The former Vice President characterizes this gang in Beijing as "not bad" and admittedly, neither the West nor theIslamic world has shown much interest, the latter bunch demonstrating that it's not only Jews it wants to see disappeared.

It's not only the now-infamous ambivalence about school desegregation in the mid-1970s;, the notorious (among Democrats) 1994 crime bill; caving to GOP senators by paving the way to make Clarence Thomas an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court; authorization in 2002 of the Iraq War for President GW Bush, and unapologetically siding with credit card companies against consumers in the 2005 bankruptcy bill. Biden praised Dick Cheney in 2015; diplomatically suggested slicing Social Security in 2018; defended "500 billionaires" last month; whitewashed the mainland Chinese on May 1, 2018.  Whether of accommodation or otherwise, there is a pattern here, and as Joe Biden himself would put it, "it's not pretty, folks."




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