Tag: Biden

Biden Son-In-Law Advises Campaign on Pandemic Response while Investing in COVID Startups

Joe Biden’s son-in-law Howard Krein is an informal adviser to the Democratic presidential candidate on the response to the coronavirus pandemic, while simultaneously investing in health-care startups to address the pandemic, Politico reported on Tuesday.

Krein’s venture capital business, StartUp Health, announced in April that it would invest in ten medical startup companies that craft solutions to issues posed by the pandemic. At the same time, Krein was among several individuals speaking with the Biden campaign regarding its health policy.

The initiative by StartUp Health was dubbed the “Pandemic Response Health Moonshot,” language that echoes Biden’s own “Cancer Moonshot” project from his last year in the Obama administration.

Krein’s position raises questions about a possible conflict of interest for the Biden campaign. A campaign official confirmed to Politico that Krein was an informal adviser who has participated in calls with the candidate on pandemic response.

“I have little doubt that the relationship to Joe Biden, particularly if he becomes president, would attract the interest of some investors,” Avik Roy, founder of investment firm Roy Healthcare Research, told Politico. Roy is a former adviser to Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Mitt Romney (R., Utah).

The news follows a series of disclosures detailing that Biden’s son Hunter pursued while his father was serving as vice president. According to a Senate Intelligence Committee report released in September, “Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from foreign sources as a result of business relationships that he built during the period when his father was vice president of the United States and after.”

In particular, Hunter Biden and his business partner Devon Archer engaged in monetary transactions with Ye Jianming, a Chinese businessman with connections in the Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army. Archer was convicted of defrauding a Native American tribe in 2018, and has a sentencing hearing scheduled for this coming January.

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Questions raised about conflicts of interest around Biden son-in-law

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMcConnell challenger dodges court packing question ‘Hamilton’ cast to reunite for Biden fundraiser Trump relishes return to large rallies following COVID-19 diagnosis MORE’s son-in-law, Howard Krein, has continued his work at an investment firm overseeing health care solutions to COVID-19 while also advising the Biden campaign on the pandemic, sparking potential conflict-of-interest concerns, according to Politico

In March, StartUp Health, where Krein serves as chief medical officer, announced a new initiative to invest in entrepreneurs with various “solutions for mitigating, managing, or treating coronavirus or future pandemics.”

A month later, StartUp Health announced it would be investing $1 million across 10 different startups with potential public health solutions to the coronavirus. 

This came around the same time that Bloomberg and The New York Times both reported Krein among those taking part in daily Biden campaign briefing calls on health policy. 

As noted by Politico on Tuesday, Krein’s involvement in funding for specific coronavirus-centered projects could present a conflict of interest for Biden should he win the presidency in November. 

Politico hypothesized that the U.S. government could spend billions of dollars on nationwide coronavirus responses in 2021, with tens of billions of dollars already spent on COVID-19 testing and vaccine research. 

Since its founding in 2011, StartUp Health had close ties with the Obama administration, which described Krein at the time as a White House adviser, according to Politico. 

Krein reportedly began dating Biden’s daughter, Ashley, in 2010, with the two officially marrying in 2012. 

When contacted by The Hill, a Biden official said that Krein does not serve as a formal adviser to the campaign, although he has occasionally provides his perspective as a health care official working to combat COVID-19 on the front lines. 

However, Avik Roy, founder of investment firm Roy Healthcare Research and a former adviser to the presidential campaigns of Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Barrett hearings take center stage | Trump returns to campaign trail Biden: Faith shouldn’t be a subject in Barrett confirmation fight Nebraska district could prove pivotal for Biden in November MORE (R-Utah) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump Jr. returning to campaign trail after quarantining EXCLUSIVE: Intelligence chief briefed lawmakers of foreign influence threats to Congress Trump Jr., UFC star launch anti-socialism bus tour through South Florida MORE (R-Fla.), told Politico that he had “little doubt” that Krein’s close relationship with Biden, “particularly if he becomes president, would attract the interest of some investors.”

Laura Huang, a professor at Harvard Business School who studies investment processes, told Politico that even a public perception of bias could send a certain message to investors. 

“Sometimes, the perception is all you need. Signaling is very important for startups and investors alike, and one signal is high-profile individuals who can help provide access,” she said. 

Krein’s connection with Biden had been reported earlier this year by conservative commentator and Breitbart News contributor Peter Schweizer in his book “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of

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Pence Accuses Biden of Being a ‘Cheerleader for Communist China’ Throughout His Career in Government

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Amid COVID-19 spike in ultra-Orthodox areas, Jewish history may explain reluctance of some to restrictions

A spike in coronavirus cases in several Orthodox Jewish areas of New York has prompted state and city authorities to impose new localized restrictions aimed at halting the spread.On Oct. 5, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that nearly 100 public schools and 200 private schools in 20 ZIP codes – many of which have a large ultra-Orthodox population and have seen increased rates of positive test results of COVID-19 – would end in-person classes “temporarily.”The move has sparked animosity among some Orthodox Jews, who claim that they are being unfairly singled out. It comes amid warnings from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio of further action to prevent the spread and follows earlier instances, including the breaking up a funeral for an Orthodox Jewish rabbi by police in Brooklyn on April 28.Similar tensions have played out in Israel, where recent plans to implement a system to identify coronavirus hot spots met resistance from some ultra-Orthodox leaders, who suggested it was unfair to place restrictions on their communities while many secular Israelis have been gathering regularly to demonstrate against the government. Rather than loosen restrictions on the ultra-Orthodox community, the government tightened restrictions on demonstrations, resulting in additional tension between secular and ultra-Orthodox Israelis.Most prominent rabbis around the world have supported government regulations intended to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means closing places of study and worship. But some observant Jewish communities in the United States and Israel have been reluctant to adopt social distancing. Outsiders are often outraged when religious communities defy policies meant to protect the general public. As an anthropologist who studies religion, politics, identity and conflict in Israel and Palestine, my research helps explain why some strictly observant Jewish communities disobey public health guidelines – and it’s more complicated than simply flouting the rules. Who are Haredi Jews?Ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, Jewish communities are a diverse population, with varying spiritual and cultural practices. But they all follow Halacha, loosely translated as Jewish law. As such, many do not share the same information sources that others take for granted. In accordance with the rulings of their rabbis, internet access, television broadcasts and certain cellphone functions are generally limited in strictly observant Jewish communities. Maintaining their closeness to God by distancing themselves from the secular world prevented many Haredim from seeing news reports of the virus spreading worldwide in February and March. Some Haredi leaders maintained that gathering to pray and study remained paramount. Studying the Hebrew scriptures, or Torah, is a commandment and a duty in Judaism. Haredi men generally gather to pray three times daily. Students at yeshivas, or Jewish seminaries, may spend 18 hours a day studying together. More than a way of life, prayer and study are believed to be the means for protecting life itself. According to Jewish sages, “One who engages in Torah study also protects the entire world.” Indeed, “without Torah the

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Did Biden Call Trump Supporters the ‘Dregs of Society’?

In October 2020, with just four weeks to go until Election Day, the reelection campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump posted a short video clip on Twitter saying it showed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden calling Trump supporters the “dregs of society.”

The tweet, posted on Oct. 6 by @TrumpWarRoom, contained the following text: “Joe Biden called Trump supporters the ‘dregs of society.’ The idea that Biden is a unifier is a joke.” In the accompanying eight-second clip, Biden says:

“They’re a small percentage of the American people. Virulent people. Some of them the dregs of society.”

However, the Trump campaign’s presentation of Biden’s remarks was deeply misleading. Viewed in proper context, it’s clear that the former U.S. vice president was not referring to Trump supporters as a whole, but rather what he called “the forces of intolerance” throughout the world and in the United States, in particular the Ku Klux Klan and the “alt-right.”

In the 2016 election, the Trump campaign capitalized on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s infamous claim that “half” of Trump’s supporters constituted a “basket of deplorables.” The false attack on Biden — both in September 2018, when he made the remarks, and again in 2020 — appeared to be an attempt to create a similar narrative around Biden, who has pitched himself to voters as a moderate and unifying candidate. 

Analysis

The short clip posted by the Trump campaign was taken from a much longer speech that Biden gave on Sept. 15, 2018, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Biden was speaking at an annual dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ rights non-profit.

In order to provide the full context for Biden’s “dregs of society” remark, the following is a transcript of the relevant section of his speech, and the moments leading up to it, with especially relevant remarks highlighted in bold. The section of the speech in question can be watched in full below:

… Thanks to you, our children, my grandchildren will grow up in a world that’s far more just, open-minded and humane. But our work is not yet done, by any stretch of the imagination. The stakes are much too high. As I said, we’re faced with an administration, and some of its most ardent right-wing supporters from the Ku Klux Klan — the head of the Ku Klux Klan has endorsed [Trump] — and the alt-right, who are trying to undo all the progress you have made, and the little that Barack [Obama] and I have made with you. 

Today, we still don’t have a federal law that explicitly protects LGBTQ [people] from being fired or evicted or denied service at a restaurant. In 28 states, you can still be fired for being gay. In 30 states, you can be

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Joe Biden: ‘We can have both’ law and order and racial justice

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden aimed to walk fine line between calling for racial justice and enforcing law and order in the nation Tuesday.

After months of protests and rioting across the country, Mr. Biden pushed back at criticism he was soft in his support for law enforcement, arguing that it was a false choice.

“The country has been riled by incidents of excessive police force, heartbreaking cases of racial injustice, and lives needlessly and senselessly lost. By peaceful protesters giving voice to calls for justice. By examples of violence and looting and burning that cannot be tolerated,” he said in a speech delivered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

“I believe in law and order. I’ve never supported the defunding the police but I also believe that justice is real,” he added. “I cannot believe we have to choose between law and order racial justice in America. We can have both. This is a nation strong enough.”

The former vice president said America needs to look into the roots of systemic racism honestly while ensuring the streets are safe for families and businesses.

He also explicitly denounced white supremacist groups, saying Americans should want law enforcement to do their jobs and not “vigilantes.”

President Trump’s campaign has touted the administration’s tough response to unrest that broke out over the summer in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, both unarmed black people, in incidents with police.

At the same time, they’ve aimed to paint Mr. Biden as a radical leftist intent on defunding police departments and allowing riots to run rampant.

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Joe Biden says he’ll push new abortion rights law if Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said Monday he would work to pass legislation codifying the right to obtain an abortion if the Supreme Court takes action to undermine Roe v. Wade, the 1973 high court ruling that recognized abortion rights.

At a Miami, Florida town hall held by NBC, a female participant asked Mr. Biden how he would respond if the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade because she was fearful of President Trump appointing Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court.

“Considering the new Supreme Court nomination of [Judge] Amy Coney Barrett, what are your plans to protect women’s reproductive rights in the U.S.?” the female questioner asked.

“Number one, we don’t know exactly what she will do, although the expectation is that she may very well move to over, overview, overrule Roe,” Mr. Biden answered. “The only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.”

Mr. Biden has been reluctant to criticize Judge Barrett by name on the campaign trail. At the first presidential debate opposite President Trump last month, Mr. Biden said he was “not opposed” to Judge Barrett personally and added, “She seems like a very fine person.”

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Barrett’s nomination are scheduled to begin next Monday, Oct. 12, at 9 a.m.

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Joe Biden Says if Amy Coney Barrett Overturns Roe v. Wade, He’ll Make It ‘The Law of the Land’

Former Vice President Joe Biden has said he’ll move to protect abortion rights if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, the historic decision that protected a woman’s right to have an abortion.



a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Wearing a face mask to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden waves to journalists as he enters The Queen performance venue October 03, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden is participating in a live video 'town hall' campaign event. Biden has said he will preserve abortion rights.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Wearing a face mask to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden waves to journalists as he enters The Queen performance venue October 03, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden is participating in a live video ‘town hall’ campaign event. Biden has said he will preserve abortion rights.

The Democratic presidential nominee told an NBC News town hall in Miami on Monday that if the historic ruling on abortion is overturned, his “only response to that is pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.”

Who Is Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s Supreme Court Pick To Replace Late Justice RBG?

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It was not immediately clear how Biden would achieve this aim. If the Supreme Court finds there is no right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution, any law granting one would be challenged.

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has raised concerns that a conservative majority could reverse the 1973 ruling.

Coney Barrett is popular among anti-abortion groups and critics fear she will deliver the necessary vote to overturn the landmark ruling.

In 2006, Coney Barrett added her name to a newspaper ad calling for Roe v. Wade to be reversed. The two-page ad was taken out by the St Joseph County Right to Life group in South Bend. Indiana.

Barrett and her husband signed the ad, which said life begins at “fertilization,” while she was a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. It resurfaced following President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate her to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.

“It’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v Wade and restore law that protects the lives of unborn children,” the ad said.

“As Judge Barrett said on the day she was nominated, ‘A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold,'” a White House spokesperson told The Guardian at the time.

During the NBC News town hall, Biden also said he was “not surprised” that Trump caught COVID-19 and appeared to criticize the president’s attitude to safety measures like mask-wearing.

“Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying ‘masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter,’ I think, is responsible for what happens to them,” Biden said.

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In ad blasting Biden for 1994 crime bill, Trump undermines law and order case

A new Trump campaign commercial makes an engaging pitch for support from black Americans, but it repeats an attack against opponent Joe Biden that is flagrantly inaccurate and egregiously hypocritical.



a group of people walking on a city street


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The ad begins with an attractive black couple saying President Trump’s tenure has been beneficial for their business. So far, so good. The ad pivots, though, to an attack on the 1994 crime bill that Biden helped negotiate while chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The claims in the ad are just plain false.

“Joe Biden wrote the crime bill,” it says. (No, he didn’t, but he did help oversee its legislative progress.) “Hundreds of thousands of black Americans were put in jail for minor offenses.” As those words cross the screen, the wife in the ad says that “the one thing Joe Biden has done in 47 years in Washington, D.C., has made it difficult for black people.”

Every element of that portion of the commercial is wrong. It makes the common but mistaken assumption that the 1994 bill cracked down hard on low-level drug-possession offenses and the like, and that blacks disproportionately suffered.

“The 1994 Crime Bill did not and is not driving so-called ‘mass incarceration,’” said Sean Kennedy, a visiting fellow specializing in criminal justice issues at the conservative Maryland Public Policy Institute. “Most of that law’s provisions applied to violent and sexual offenses at the federal level and did not impact federal drug offenses or state law … More than 99.9% of drug-related offenders are sentenced for trafficking [significant drug dealing], not possession, and a quarter of them are foreigners running drug operations or smuggling narcotics.”

The statistics overwhelmingly bear that out. Yes, federal incarceration has grown from 83,000 in 1995 to 182,000 today, but the vast bulk of the increase in federal incarceration has come for either weapons offenses, immigration-related crimes, white-collar crimes, sex crimes, or trafficking. In fact, of those 182,000 federal inmates today, a grand total of 247, barely more than a tenth of a single percent, are there for mere possession of illegal narcotics.

As for the advertisement’s claim about black Americans being particularly harmed by the 1994 bill, that’s just not true. While blacks still make up a significantly greater share of the prison population than of the U.S. population as a whole, the percentage of black inmates to total inmates has dropped substantially in the past 25 years. The percentage of white prisoners has increased, and that of Hispanics has jumped significantly. And, to whatever extent federal law even indirectly affects state imprisonment practices, the trend of combined federal and state imprisonment of blacks is downward as well. I don’t have the following particular statistic from 1995 to 2000, but since the turn of the century, the imprisonment rate among black women has dropped 47% and that among black men has fallen by 22%.

Again, the reason these results don’t match the ad’s claims is that the bill itself wasn’t even remotely aimed at

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Biden Couldn’t Name Support From a Single Law Enforcement Group

After months of rioting, looting, and unrest in streets across America, President Trump has positioned himself as the law and order candidate. Only recently did Democrats start caring and speaking up about violent protests, which happened after seeing the issue materialize in polling. Throughout this time, Trump has brought in endorsements from countless law enforcement groups and a number of Democratic groups. But Joe Biden, who once expressed support for redirecting police funding but now says he’s totally against defunding police, couldn’t name any support he had.

Chris Wallace: (37:23)
 I do want to talk about this issue of law and order though. And in the joint recommendation that came from the Biden-Bernie Sanders task force, you talked about quote re-imagining policing. First of all, what does re-imagining policing mean and do you support? If I might finish the question, what does re-imagining policing mean and do you support the Black Lives Matter call for community control of policing?

Vice President Joe Biden: (37:54)
 Look, what I support are the police having the opportunity to deal with the problems they face and I’m totally opposed to defunding the police offices. As a matter of fact police, local police, the only one defunding in his budget calls for a $400 million cut in local law enforcement assistance. They need more assistance. They need when they show up for a 9-11 call to have someone with them as a psychologist or psychiatrist to keep them from having to use force and be able to talk people down. We have to have community policing like we had before where the officers get to know the people in the communities. That’s when crime went down, it didn’t go up. It went down. And so we have to be…

President Donald J. Trump: (38:35)
 That’s not what they are talking about this. That’s not what it is about. He’s talking about defunding the police.

Vice President Joe Biden: (38:39)
 That is not true.

President Donald J. Trump: (38:40)
 He doesn’t have any law support. He has no law enforcement.

Vice President Joe Biden: (38:45)
 That’s not true.

President Donald J. Trump: (38:45)
 He has almost nothing. Oh, really, who do you have name one group that supports you name one group that came out and supported you. Go ahead. Think we have time.

Vice President Joe Biden: (38:54)
 We don’t have time to do anything.

President Donald J. Trump: (38:55)
 No, no think right now. Name one law enforcement group that came out in support of you.

(Transcript via Rev.com)

Of course, moderator Christ Wallace then changed the subject: “Now, gentleman. I think I’m going to tell I’m going to take back the moderator’s role. … And I want to get to another subject…”

While Biden supporters are pointing to a list of current and former law enforcement officials who support the former VP, everyone listed

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How Biden can beat Trump in the era of tribal politic

Snapshot taken by the author from the online video of the debate

First presidential debate

Source: Snapshot taken by the author from the online video of the debate

Everybody could agree about the first presidential debate for 2020 election: it was different, and it was exhausting. And everybody knew the cause was the dynamics Trump creates in his interactions with others. In this piece which was written before the first debate, I have discussed how human instinctual behaviors that subtly affect politics, overlap with the politics of these days, and are in play in these debates. 

Fear, Anger, and Tribal Politics

I have previously written about how politicians manipulate our most primitive tribal instincts to their advantage. Humans are inherently tribal with strong affinity to their perceived affiliated group. This is not only visible in nationalism, racism, and religious prejudice, but also in more adaptive forms such as devotion to a sports team, or cultural and religious affiliations. Like it or not, it is very hard to convince someone to change their religious or political affiliation, switch from one cable news to another, or change the football team they root for. 

Tribalism can be intensified during times of fear and uncertainty, perceived, induced, or real. This is an evolutionary advantage that strengthens group cohesion and within group trust to help fend off threat whether it is another tribe, predators, or a natural disaster. Fear is a fundamental, deeply wired response, evolved over millions of years to assure our best chance of survival. Fear is fast, and it functions separately from the slower logical and objective brain. That is because we cannot wait for an intellectual analysis of an approaching predator, we should just run or fight fast. Fear often presents in the form of anger: both prepare us mentally and physically to escape or fight the threat. 

Trump’s genius of manipulating the tribal instincts: Bully alpha

Republican primaries in 2016 were a shock to many: someone with minimal understanding of the simplest issues of value in domestic and foreign policy, slaughtered those with tens of years of political experience and deep knowledge of the issues one after another. His messages were extremely simple and not longer than highly exaggerated, short uneducated sentences about the immigrants, a wall, economy, and foreign policy. He even brought that perspective to addressing his opponents (Lock her up, little Marco, low energy Jeb). Some related his success to the base’s anger at the “establishment”, and some to being a popular TV character. There is also an evolutionary perspective: Trump acted as an “alpha” who used fear and anger very skillfully: he banked on terrifying people of a variety of doomsday scenarios, and then presented himself as the alpha they needed to save them.

Being a lifelong veteran in bullying and humiliation of others, Trump is capable of utilizing human deepest primitive reactions to his advantage: he triggers fear (Mexicans are coming for you), anger (they have taken things away from you), and tribalism. His MO is “us” vs. “them”, whether them is the Mexicans, the Chinese, the

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