On Wednesday June 5, Joe Biden supported the Hyde amendment to Roe v Wade (as he had done for the previous forty years). On Thursday June 6, he claimed that he now opposes it. Why?

The Hyde amendment was passed very soon after Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that abortion is a constitutional right. However, the amendment prevents federal funds from being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. In effect it penalizes low income women (and given the ongoing racist history of America, predominately women of color). In effect, the Hyde amendment was a racist amendment that restricted the abortion rights benefits of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade ruling to (relatively affluent) white women.

On Wednesday June 5 (the day before Biden’s 180 degree reversal on Hyde) Chris Cuomo interviewed a Biden surrogate. Biden’s campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond, vaguely replying to questions about Biden’s views on abortion, Roe v Wade and the Hyde amendment said - look at Biden’s record. Next day Biden espoused a view which denounced his record of decades past.

At the California Democratic Convention (CADEM) of early June 2019, John Delaney was booed for more than a minute due to his claim that Medicare for all is neither good policy or good politics. (Unsurprisingly Joe Biden did not even attend the convention - one can only imagine how his lies, plagiarism and vague Republican slurred sound-bite speech would have been received.)

John Delaney is a corporate stooge, in bed with the health insurance companies. His claim that Medicare for all would throw 150 million people off their health insurance is a disgracefully disingenuous scare tactic since it would do the opposite of what he claims. Delaney’s lie is that losing private health insurance under Medicare for all means losing access to health care. On the contrary, people would have better health care and have more flexibility to keep the doctor they like rather than be subject to arbitrary employer changes to health insurance plans. On top of that, everyone would have free point of service access to heath-care, eliminating the sort of health-care bankruptcy situation that many Americans are in today.

On Twitter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez firmly rejected John Delaney’s proposals about health-care, in light of the sort of claims he makes described above. Despite that, John Delaney replied that he would be willing to debate AOC about the issue of health-care, claiming that Twitter was not the appropriate venue.

(The following is a draft excerpt from the introduction to a forthcoming book. Amongst other things, the excerpt touches on Thomas Jefferson’s philosophical influences in drafting the Declaration of Independence, the notion of a human right and why Jefferson would vote for Bernie rather than Biden.)

Drafters of the Declaration Of Independence and the U. S. Constitution were strongly influenced by philosophers of the European enlightenment in the 18th century. As is well known, Thomas Jefferson, the main architect of the Declaration Of Independence was particularly influenced by the English enlightenment philosopher John Locke and the latter’s notion of a natural right (in contrast to the alleged divinely granted right of the king to arbitrarily take away life liberty or property).

An apparent equivalence has recently emerged in pieces disseminated by the main stream media in America, purporting to characterize the views of Trump/traditional Republican voters and Obama/Biden Democratic voters:

Gov taking away your guns (i.e. serious anti-NRA gun control legislation) = Gov taking away your private health insurance (Medicare for all)

Fox is typically against the former and CNN is typically against the latter but each network (both part of the same corporate duopoly) suggests in its propaganda that you shouldn’t be forced by government to relinquish a freedom. The so called ‘freedom’ in each case happens to be massively profitable to private corporations - gun manufacturers and the for-profit health care industry respectively. Needless suffering and death (from gun violence and inadequate health insurance) ensues as a result of these government policies.

Why only in America? No other major industrialized country suffers these sorts of problems.

Contrary to the corporate media propagandists, the freedom to kill is not equivalent (and is of much less worth than) the freedom to have one’s life saved.

A day before Good Friday 2019, Joe Biden officially announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. Two days after Easter Sunday, on April 30, a new poll was heralded on CNN - good tidings of great joy! Joe Biden is polling way ahead of the Democratic field and is even double digits ahead of Bernie Sanders.

This quite bizarre change in polling for Biden i.e. from the day before Good Friday to two days after Easter Sunday was explained by CNN as Biden’s getting a bump just for formally announcing. This explanation by CNN doesn’t make any sense since on the same day that Biden announced, according to CNN’s own web-site Bernie was the Democratic front-runner. How could such a profound change take place over the course of a weekend?

Following months of speculation (and free pre-President Trump-like publicity) in the main stream media about if / when Joe Biden would formally announce his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, Biden finally announced the day before Easter Friday 2019. The first thing Biden did was to hold a meeting with Comcast executives (Comcast owns CNN). The following Monday (April 22) speaking to Teamsters Temple #249, 4701 Butler St., Lawrenceville, Joe then held a rally with Firefighters in Pittsburgh PA (having earlier being endorsed on live TV on CNN by Harold Schaitberger, the IAFF's General President). At the rally, Biden described the current zeitgeist using the terminology of Immanuel Kant i.e. that workers are unfairly being ‘used as a means to an end’ and were not being treated as ‘an end in themselves’.

This was very odd language coming from Joe Biden, as any politically aware undergraduate moral philosophy student would know. Joe was forced to drop out from his first (1988) run for President due to (inter alia) having been exposed as plagiarizing part of a speech by (socialist) Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock (U.K.). So why is he now taking the liberty of borrowing from an 18th century German philosopher, in his speech about ends in themselves etc. to a firefighter’s union? Not only does such talk risk re-opening old plagiarism wounds, it is just wildly out of keeping with Biden’s political record - the opposite of Kant’s in philosophical terms.

Bernie was asked about the issue of reparations for contemporary African American ancestors of slavery, in his CNN town hall in April 2019. The media got some mileage out of criticizing Bernie on this issue on tv shortly afterwards. Regarding Sanders’ response, CNN op ed contributor LZ Granderson noted that Bernie did not mention the word ‘reparations’. Why not? The overall tenor of Granderson’s opinion piece is that the term ‘reparations’ is unclear (just as Bernie had alluded to on live TV) so Bernie’s response was completely justified. However, the political hit and run happened in real time on CNN and is not to be remedied by an obscure op ed which virtually nobody who watched the town hall will ever see.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/05/opinions/reparations-democratic-candidates-2020-granderson/index.html

Furthermore Granderson’s op ed (on CNN’s web-site) is a subtle smear on Bernie, masquerading as a compliment.

Disclaimer: The following is culled from a broad-ranging text written for students taking the general education requirement course in Moral Philosophy at Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia PA USA, circa 2006. Following a university wide ‘curriculum review’ shortly thereafter, the Catholic Jesuit university in question substantially revised the amount and content of required undergraduate courses in Philosophy, effectively ‘dumbing down’ the subject. Many philosophy lecturers at Saint Joe’s at the time voiced their opposition to this proposed change in the curriculum, as it applied to the Department of Philosophy.

The following was written prior to a period when wealthy contributors to Saint Joseph’s began to pay for the construction of new buildings at the university. During this time, the millionaires in question didn’t think of embellishing the name of Saint Joe’s by improving the lot of the majority of professors teaching there living in near poverty. Around 70% of the country’s university professors are adjuncts with no health benefits and an income (if they are lucky) of around a third of that of full time salaried professors.

This was a time when there was a push for Saint Joe’s to become the foremost catholic university in the region: there were massive ads in 30th street station in Philadelphia, ads on buses, on local TV etc. Saint Joseph’s is/was perhaps best known for its business school, whose students notoriously were not academically inclined.

Monday April 29:

Joe Biden did his first rally since officially announcing his candidacy the previous Thursday. Speaking at a local Labour union in Pittsburgh PA (I.e. teamsters local 409, having earlier been endorsed by the International Association Of Firefighters), he was portrayed by the main stream media as the presumptive democratic nominee. (The online video of his speech is not widely anonymously available e.g. on YouTube - rather one has to sign up for JW player to watch his ‘for the worker’ speech online. Red flag).

The MSM focused on his Twitter spat with Trump that day, claiming that Biden had gotten under Trump’s skin regarding blue-collar working people, inferring that Biden was the Democratic candidate Trump feared most. Shades of 2016 were apparent, when the media gifted the presidency to Trump by arrogantly ignoring the progressive voice in America.

During the course of his speech, Biden incorporated a somewhat scripted sounding claim indirectly referencing a well-known idea in moral philosophy, originally espoused by Immanuel Kant (a corollary of his ‘categorical imperative’). Biden suggested that American employers in general had been guilty of treating employees as a means to an end, not as an end in themselves. Their value and dignity as human beings was not being respected: they were being used.

Even setting aside his plagiarization (lies) in his first presidential campaign, this was a very odd claim for Biden to make, despite his attempt (in concert with the corporate media) to portray himself as a friend of the worker. Biden voted for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) in which American companies out-sourced their labor, taking jobs away from Americans and giving them to people in other countries. (Bernie voted against NAFTA.) Biden’s vote was one that favored the interests of American corporations, not working Americans.

Undergraduate students who have taken introductory philosophy courses may have heard of David Hume's problem of induction, which concerns our rational justification for believing that future causes will have the same effects as past causes. Hume’s argument is usually described as being a problem for the rationality of science - one has no rational justification for believing that the sun will rise tomorrow, or more generally that the laws of physics will continue to apply in the future. I argue here that Hume’s argument has application in the context of political science; in particular, with respect to the importance of political polls in primary and general elections.

On Thursday April 25, Joe Biden finally stopped Biden’ his time and officially announced his 2020 Presidential run. This, his third campaign, was launched with a Clintonesque YouTube video which included no policy ideas whatsoever. Instead he decided to rail against Trump’s failure to denounce neo-Nazis at a ‘Unite The Right’ rally in Charlottesville August 12, 2017 (in which one of the peaceful protestors was killed and 28 injured). Trump infamously claimed in response that there were ‘very fine people’ on both sides (neo-Nazis on one side, anti-fascist peaceful protestors on the other).

In May 2019, Senator Bernie Sanders (supported by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez) introduced a piece of legislation to Congress called the ‘Loan Shark Prevention Act’. The primary purpose of the legislation is to fight against modern day usury in which poor people who have desperate financial needs are charged extortionate interest rates on loans from credit card companies (the interest rates of ‘pay-day loan’ companies advocated by disgraced ex- DNC chair and 2016 pro-Hillary liar Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are significantly worse).

Joe Biden (a.k.a. Joe ‘Hillary’ 2.0) is a well-known defender of credit card companies. In April 2019 Elizabeth Warren, when asked about Biden’s announcing his run for the Democratic nomination said:

“Our disagreement is a matter of public record. At a time when the biggest financial institutions in this country were trying to put the squeeze on millions of hardworking families who are in bankruptcy because of medical problems, job losses, divorce and death in the family, there was nobody to stand up for them . . I got in that fight because they just didn’t have anyone and Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies.”

Regarding credit card companies, Bernie, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren are in agreement.

On Tuesday April 23rd, 2019, CNN on at least four occasions focused their propaganda lens on Bernie Sanders’ view about whether incarcerated felons in general should be allowed to vote whilst still incarcerated. Sanders’ view was given in response to a question during his CNN town hall event of the previous night (the third of five consecutive town halls featuring Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg respectively).

Notably, the question at issue for Bernie was rhetorically phrased i.e. should the Boston marathon bombers have the right to vote whilst incarcerated? The tendentious suggestion underlying the question is that if one thinks all citizens, even bad people, have the right to vote, then one supports the Boston Marathon bombers and murder. This is an obviously fallacious inference since one can consistently reject murder but support universal suffrage.

Despite this obvious fallacy, this question for Bernie was apparently conceived by a student at Harvard University. It strains credulity to think that students at Harvard are so uninformed about basic logical fallacies: the naive are then forced to face the possibility that perhaps the questioner may have been politically motivated to ask a tendentious question (to make Bernie look bad to the viewing public).

One may remember the pressure put on Senator Bernie Sanders to drop out of the 2016 race for the democratic nomination. Appeals for Senator Sanders to concede defeat by the main stream corporate media were universally couched (explicitly or implicitly) in terms of such concession being a moral requirement. That Bernie should support Hillary (and urge his supporters to do the same) has been described as ‘the right thing to do’ and necessary in order to defeat Donald Trump in a general election. To this end, invisible olive branches were extended by Hillary to Bernie’s supporters. At the time, CNN and MSNBC blamed those supporters for not being able to see the invisible, in order to explain their lack of enthusiasm to fall in line behind Hillary.

Unfortunately for her, many of Bernie’s supporters at the time regarded the idea of supporting Hillary Clinton as anathema (especially given the fact that the DNC had not repudiated the bogus declaration by NBC and AP of Hillary being the presumptive nominee on Monday June 6, the day before the California primary; nothing short of voter suppression), and what we now know about how the primaries were rigged against Bernie since before their start.

The state of play, April 2019: 19 candidates have officially declared their candidacy for the Democrat nominee for President 2020. A similar number of Republican candidates vied for the GOP nominee in 2016, as if this number of candidates in either party is normal. It isn’t. What’s going on?

Whilst the main stream media portray this amount of choice as good for democracy, the opposite is true. Most of these candidates (Dem or GOP) are there to subvert genuine democracy as far as citizens being able to vote for genuine alternatives is concerned. Since third party candidates were barred from being on a televised debate stage, there is only a corporate duopoly available to vote for. Dem or GOP, there’s not much difference as far as foreign war and domestic economic policy is concerned.

What both main parties (the corporate duopoly) are scared of is the progressive movement and people like Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and most of all Bernie Sanders.

(The following is excerpted from a draft of a forthcoming book)

As previously stated in the introduction Jefferson amended Locke’s phrase ‘life, liberty and property’ (from the latter’s 2nd Treatise on Government) to the phrase ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in the former’s list of what he regarded as self-evidently inalienable rights with which all men have been endowed by their creator (though Jefferson was a deist, not a theist). This was in contrast to the notion that an English king had a divinely granted indirect moral authority to take away the right of life liberty or property (mainly property, i.e. that of the wealthy drafters of the constitution, drafted after Shay’s Rebellion which acted as somewhat of a catalyst). Despite this, the contemporary American Christian religious view is that although one has been endowed by one’s creator with certain inalienable rights, the creator (unlike the king) DOES have the moral authority to capriciously take those rights away.

So for Jefferson, a non-existent theistic God has the authority to take away your property, but not the King of England: i.e. you can consistently reject the King of England (in the war of independence) but accept God. This sounds like a political scam of the sort that Donald Trump would be proud of. Most uneducated people at the time were religious, who (unlike Jefferson) thought that the King of England and God were equally real.

However, set aside Jefferson’s pro-revolutionary war con for a moment. Suppose he was wrong about denying the existence of a traditional theistic God in the Christian or Muslim sense. A deeper question regarding the relationship between authority and morality arises - does what is morally right or good depend on authority? Can ANY authority be the source of moral rights (and morality in general)?

Why are there so many democrat candidates for their party’s presidential candidate for 2020? The obvious answer is that this helps the main stream media (MSM) to continue the DNC’s long-standing policy of thwarting any genuinely progressive candidate from gaining the nomination. With so many of these candidates spuriously claiming to be progressive by paying lip service to Bernie’s 2016 agenda (not to mention Jill Stein’s Green New Deal idea in 2016 which no-one in MSM gives her credit for) the MSM can build up these corporate non-progressives to make it seem to you that they are a younger more electable Bernie. This serves to dilute the progressive message and vote (leaving the MSM to then push for a corporate candidate e.g. Joe ‘Biden his time’ Biden like they did Trump in 2016).