Joe Biden

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Joe Biden


Joe (Joseph) Biden (born November 20, 1942) is the current Vice President of the United States of America, elected on the ticket with Barack Obama in November 2008. He was a United States Senator from Delaware from January 3, 1973 until his resignation on January 15, 2009, following his election to the Vice Presidency.

Early Life

Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. (1915–2002) and Catherine Eugenia Finnegan (1917–2010). He is the oldest of four sibblings in an Irish Catholic family.

Education

Biden attended the Archmere Academy in Claymont. He attended the University of Delaware in Newark, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and political science in 1965. He went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968.

Family

On August 27, 1966, while studying at Syracuse University, Biden married Neilia Hunter. The couple had three children, Beau (born 1969), Robert (born 1970) and Naomi (born 1971). On Dec. 18, 1972, a few weeks after his successful bid for the Delaware seat in the U.S. Senate, Biden's wife and one-year-old Naomi were killed in an automobile accident in Delaware.

On June 17, 1977, Biden married Jill Jacobs. They have one daughter, Ashley (born 1981).

The Bidens are Roman Catholics and regularly attend Mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware.

Political career

After graduating from law school, he returned to Delaware to work as an attorney before quickly turning to politics, serving on the New Castle county council from 1970 to 1972. Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 at the age of 29, becoming the fifth youngest senator in history. He went on to win reelection six times and became Delaware's longest-serving senator. In addition to his role as U.S. senator, Biden also served as an adjunct professor at the Wilmington, Del., branch of the Widener University School of Law in 1991.

As a senator, Biden focused on foreign relations, criminal justice, and drug policy. He served on the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, twice as its chair (2001–03; 2007–09), and on the Committee on the Judiciary, serving as its chair from 1987 to 1995. He was particularly outspoken on issues related to the Kosovo conflict of the late '90s, urging U.S. action against Serbian forces to protect Kosovars against an offensive by Serbian Pres. Slobodan Miloševi. On the Iraq War, Biden proposed a partition plan as a way to maintain a united, peaceful Iraq. Biden also was a member of the International Narcotics Control Caucus and was the lead senator in writing the law that established the office of “drug czar,” a position that oversees the national drug-control policy.[1]

Soviet trip

In 1979, on one of his first trips to the Soviet Union, Biden listened to an argument from his Soviet counterpart, and replied, “Where I come from, we have a saying: You can’t shit a shitter.” Bill Bradley, then a fellow-senator on the delegation, later asked the American interpreter how he had translated Biden’s comment into Russian. “Not literally,” the interpreter said.[2]

Attitude to Soviet dissidents

Vadim Zagladin, was deputy chief of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee’s International Department until 1987 and then Mikhail Gorbachev’s advisor until 1991. Zagladin was both envoy and spy, charged with gathering secrets, spreading disinformation, and advancing Soviet influence.

Zagladin’s wrote this of his dealings with Senators Joe Biden, and Richard Lugar in 1979?

Unofficially, [Senator Joseph] Biden and [Senator Richard] Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for “human rights.” . . . In other words, the collocutors directly admitted that what is happening is a kind of a show, that they absolutely do not care for the fate of most so-called dissidents.[3]

1988 backers

Bob Burkett was a key fund-raiser for the anticipated 1988 presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Biden's (D-Del.). Carl Rheuban. The lowest-of-profiles. Beverly Hills financier. Philanthropic. Chairman of State of Israel Bonds Organization and a backer of Sen. Joe Biden .[4]

UN booster

Writing in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Oct 1993, John Isaacs, executive director of Council for a Livable World, Bulletin contributing editor said "Not that there aren't UN boosters in Congress, including such senators as Indiana Republican Richard Lugar, and Democrats Joe Biden of Delaware, David Boren of Oklahoma, Paul Simon of Illinois.

On July 14 Biden, Boren, Simon and Pell introduced a bill calling on the United States to to designate specific forces for peacekeeping under Article 43 of the UN Charter. A companion measure was introduced in the House by New Jersey Democrat Robert Toricelli.

Socialist ties

Joe Biden has ties to the US and international socialist movements.

Employed Jared Bernstein

Given "the critical nature of the economic challenges facing America", Vice President-elect Joe Biden, December 2008 announced the creation of a new position in the Office of the Vice President: Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor to the Vice President. The Vice President-elect has selected nationally-prominent economist Jared Bernstein for the post.

"Jared Bernstein is an acclaimed economist, and a proven, passionate advocate for raising the incomes of middle class families. His expertise and background in a wide range of domestic and international economic policies will be an invaluable asset to the Obama-Biden Administration,” said Vice President-elect Joe Biden. "It’s an honor to have him on my team and I look forward to his advice and counsel."[5]

PES connection

The Party of European Socialists dialogue with the US Democrats and the Transatlantic partnership "was a priority over the last years" (written in 2009).

Delegations, meetings and exchanges of information were held on a regular basis.

PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen attended Inauguration Day, on 20 January 2009 in Washington D.C., with the Oaths of Office to President-elect Barack Obama and to Vice President-elect Joe Biden.[6]

Progressive Governance Summit

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Chile. April 2009, to attend a summit of leaders from Latin America and Europe.

Biden flew to Chile early Friday and went to the resort city of Vina del Mar, where the Progressive Governance Summit would take place on Saturday.

Biden's three-day visit included bilateral talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and other visiting leaders.

Also attending the summit were British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Brazilan President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez.[7]

Rudy deLeon, senior vice president for national security programs at the Center for American Progress, also attended.[8]

Alo there were Simon Rosenberg, (New Democratic Network), James Purnell (UK secretary of state for work and pensions), Francesco Rutelli, Mona Sahlin (Sweden) is leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party), Nick Rowley (Kinesis), Robert Reich, Frans Timmermans (Netherlands) is Dutch minister for European affairs and member of parliament for the LaborParty).

PES visit

From 21-25 June 2010, a high level Party of European Socialists delegation headed by Poul Nyrup Rasmussen travelled to Canada for the International Trade Union Confederation Congress in Vancouver and the G20 summit. The delegation presented the PES “A Progressive way out of the Crisis” strategy, which aims to impose strict financial regulation and fostered support for a global financial transactions tax (FTT) of 0.05%.

In Vancouver, Mr. Rasmussen met with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Director General of the IMF, Pascal Lamy Director General of the WTO, Helen Clark of the UNDP and Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. He also met with NDP Member of Parliament Peter Julian, to discuss the FTT and with the President of the Canadian Labour Congress Ken Georgetti.

During the four day visit to North America, PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen also gave a speech to the Socialist International Council in New York on 21 June 2010 and met with members of the US Congress in Washington.

Mr. Rasmussen held comprehensive and very promising meetings for future cooperation, with US Congressman Peter DeFazio and with Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist of US Vice President Joe Biden. [9]

Meeting Skip Roberts

Joe Biden, Skip Roberts, 2011, 06, 29

In June 2011, Biden was photographed with regular Democratic Socialists of America delegate to the Socialist International, Skip Roberts.

Backing Bachelet

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March 2014, amidst a cheering crowd of 5,000 people at the presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, Michelle Bachelet, 62, got sworn in as the president. Meanwhile United States vice president Joe Biden, and presidents and leaders of Latin America looked on.

President Bachelet, a socialist, is the first female president of Chile, but this is her second term as president. Bachelet was also president from 2006-2010. During her time off after 2010, however, Bachelet was not sitting on her hands. By September of the same year, she became the Under-Secretary General and Executive Director for UN Women.

Bachelet's political campaign that got her elected was similar to that of President Barack Obama's, The Washington Times noted. Bachelet's focused much of her attention on the income gap between the rich and the poor, as well as education reform.

Bachelet's "New Majority" coalition also helped get her elected. The New Majority is in fact a programmatic and political agreement among Left parties, and the Center parties such as socialist parties, communist parties, Christian Democratic parties (the biggest party group among them); and Social Democratic parties such as Party for Democracy. More movements that helped Bachelet get elected include the street activists and former student leaders.

Both Obama and Biden openly supported Bachelet's election. The White House released a fact sheet on their website solidifying the United States and Chile's relationship. The White House emphasizes the "long-standing" alliance and close ties that both countries have had. [10]

Bachelet inauguration

Beatriz Manz (left) with Vice President Joe Biden (right)

Beatriz Manz was honored with an invitation to the inauguration of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, in March 2014.

In addition to rubbing elbows with Chile’s elite, she met Vice President Joe Biden. Manz told of this exchange:

I said, “I am Beatriz Manz from Berkeley.” Biden said “Oh, you must be a radical” I responded: “Of course I am a radical!”[11]

NDI connection

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The National Democratic Institute (NDI) announced today that Vice President Joe Biden will headline its annual Democracy Award Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.

The theme of this year’s dinner is “From Protest to Politics: Honoring Ukraine’s New Democrats.” Three young Ukrainian activists -- Hanna Hopko, Serhiy Leshchenko and Oleksandr Solontay -- will receive the Democracy Award at the dinner.

Vice President Biden, who received NDI’s Democracy Award in 2004 when he was a member of the U.S. Senate, will deliver the keynote address.

Each of the honorees had achieved prominence in their respective fields before the political situation in Ukraine prompted them to take part in the demonstrations that led to the fall of the country’s autocratic government earlier this year. They have now transitioned to the political arena. Two of them -- Hopko and Leshchenko -- were elected to parliament on political party lists on Oct. 26.

The dinner will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1120 22nd St., NW, Washington, DC. It will begin at 7 p.m. and will be preceded by a reception at 5:30. More information about the dinner may be found here.

“These honorees represent a new generation of Ukrainian leaders,” said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, NDI’s chairman, who will also make remarks at the dinner. “Their commitment and dedication to Ukraine’s democratic future can serve as an inspiration to those who struggle around the world to build democracy in their own countries.”

Hopko, who has a Ph.D. in social communications, helped to launch the “Reanimation Package of Reforms,” an innovative effort to promote democratic legislation. She was recently named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers of 2014. Leshchenko is an investigative journalist and deputy editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, and Oleksandr Solontay is a political analyst at Kyiv’s Institute of Political Education.

The Euromaidan protests erupted in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, last November over widespread corruption, abuse of power by government officials and the refusal of President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an association agreement with the European Union. The movement led to the collapse of the Yanukovych administration. Ukrainians went to the polls in May to elect a new president and voted in a new parliament last month, despite Russian occupation of Crimea and a Russian-backed separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine.[12]

Council for a Livable World

Joe Biden has a long term relationship with the Council for a Livable World.

Early support

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Joe Biden in his successful Senate run as candidate for Delaware.[13]

Council for a Livable World has a history of helping to elect new candidates who can make a difference in the Senate, such as a little-known state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama and a 29-year old Joe Biden in his first statewide contest.[14]

Council for a Livable World, 50th Anniversary

On June 6, 2012, Council for a Livable World, along with its sister organizations Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their founding by Leo Szilard in 1962.

An evening celebration was held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Congressman Barney Frank acted as the Master of Ceremonies and, in the process, received a lifetime achievement award from former Rep. Tom Downey, a member of the Council’s Board of Directors. The Robert F. Drinan Peace and Human Award was presented to former Representative and PeacePAC Chairman David Bonior and the late Edith Wilkie, a longtime advocate and leader for peace and justice.

Videos were shown in which Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren celebrated the organization’s 50 years although they were not able to attend in person.[15]

CLW and Joe Biden: The Early Years

According to Sonia Sloan;

I’d like to share with you the role that the Council for a Livable World played in the election of Joe Biden to the United States Senate in 1972.

I had Co-Chaired the Eugene McCarthy campaign in Delaware in 1968. In 1970, a young man named Joe Biden decided to run for a seat on the New Castle County Council. I worked on that campaign and Joe Biden won – in a year that the Democrats did not do well at all. In fact, Joe’s Council seat was the highest office we won throughout the State that year.
Our Democratic State Chairman appointed the Democratic Renewal Commission to try and find out what happened and why the Party had done so poorly in that election. Former Governor Elbert Carvel was the Chairman of the Commission and I was the Secretary and members of the Commission included the newly elected Council member, Joe Biden, and other prominent Democrats. We spent nine months traveling up and down the State, talking to Democrats in all the cities and little towns, finding out about their concerns and what they wanted and expected from the candidates and their leaders.
I learned during those many months how bright, intelligent, and committed Joe Biden was – and how he cared so deeply about the people of this State.
One evening, when the Commission’s work was done, Joe asked me to meet with him. He told me he wanted to run for the United States Senate against the incumbent Cale Boggs. Boggs had been Governor, Congressman and then Senator. I remember telling Joe “ you’re crazy – nobody wants to run against him – it is an uphill battle”. Joe’s reply was “I am going to do it- will you help me?” And of course I said yes.
Shortly after Joe started his campaign, I got a call from a gentleman at the Council for a Livable World. I assumed that he called me because of the McCarthy campaign and my involvement as a Vice President of the National New Democratic Coalition. He told me this young candidate for the U.S. Senate had come to the Council for a contribution for his campaign . I was asked if I knew Joe Biden and what I thought of him. I was, of course, delighted to be able to say that I knew him well and to give Joe a ringing endorsement. As a result, the Council gave Joe Biden his first major endorsement and campaign contribution.

Joe and I have talked about this over the years and I thought the Council for a Livable World might like to know that an important role it played in helping to start Joe on his political career – culminating today in his nomination for Vice President on the Democratic ticket.[16]

Albert Gore, Sr. connection

When Joe Biden started running for a Senate seat in 1972, few people thought the young man from Delaware had a chance.

But a well-placed Tennessee couple tagged him early as an up-and-comer.

“I was 29 years old, running for the United States Senate against a guy with an 81 percent favorable rating, a year where Richard Nixon won my state by over 65 percent of the vote, and I was an Irish Catholic in a state that (had) never elected one,” Biden told Tennessee Democrats in a speech 2010, recounting a story that got scant media attention at the time.

Biden pulled off a stunning, 3,162-vote upset with a mix of youthful vigor, skillful campaigning, energized volunteers and smart advertising — fueled by tens of thousands of dollars that a prominent Tennessee couple raised for his campaign.

His candidacy caught the eye of former Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore, Sr., who was working with a Washington, D.C.-based arms control group called the Council for a Livable World, and his wife, Pauline.

Though the numbers look quaint by today’s seven- and eight-figure standards for Senate campaigns, the Gores raised a substantial $89,000, Biden said at the Tennessee Democratic Party’s Jackson Day dinner in 2010. That was nearly one-third of the $287,000 he brought in overall.

Ted Kaufman, who volunteered for Biden’s campaign, said the Gores’ support was critical. Kaufman later served as Biden’s chief of staff for 19 years and briefly succeeded him in the Senate in 2009 and 2010, after President Barack Obama took office with Biden as his deputy.

Boggs, the incumbent senator 40 years ago, was “one of the most popular and beloved figures in Delaware history,” Kaufman said in a phone interview. No one on the national political scene thought Biden, who “was 29 years old and looked 29 years old,” had a chance until Albert Gore, Sr., who had lost a re-election bid in 1970, sent out a letter to the Council for a Livable World’s supporters, urging them to “take a hard look at the Delaware race,” Kaufman recalled.

“It gave (Biden) credibility in Washington,” he said. “It also attracted people to come and help on the race.”

Gore “thought he could win. Clearly he endorsed Biden’s views, but the key thing that came out of it was telling people he had a chance to win. That was what made it so special.”

On June 21, 1971, The Nashville Banner reported that Gore, six months removed from the Senate, would become the Washington chairman of the Council for a Livable World, which advocates for decreasing the threat of nuclear weapons. Founded in 1962, the council also works to help like-minded candidates win Senate and House seats.

Gore “expects to spend much time in the next 18 months traveling across the country in behalf of 1972 Senate candidates for which the council is raising campaign money,” the Banner reported in a short story.

Nashville civil rights attorney George Barrett, who practiced law with both Albert and Pauline Gore in the early 1970s, said the couple saw in Biden “a progressive, bright, hard-working young man.”

“Albert was very perceptive politically, and Pauline even more so,” Barrett said.

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Sasser, a Tennessee Democrat who joined Biden in the Senate in 1976, said Albert Gore saw a familiar spark in the Delaware candidate.

“Sen. Gore developed a real attachment to Biden, because he said Biden reminded him very much of himself when he was a young man trying to get started in electoral politics and coming up through the ranks,” Sasser said from Washington. “He said Biden was very self-assured, a little brash.”

The Obama campaign said Biden was unavailable for an interview. But he spent almost three minutes talking about the impact of the Gores, who are both deceased, during his 2010 speech in Nashville. He called himself “a product of Al Gore Sr.”

“Here’s the deal: I was desperately trying to raise money,” the vice president said. “I got a call from a woman named Pauline Gore. Would I come down to Washington and meet with (her) and Senator Gore and some … concerned scientists who wanted to talk about the spread of nuclear weapons? It was an outfit called the Council for a Livable World.

“So I showed up in Sen. Gore’s apartment in the Methodist House, which was catercorner from the Supreme Court. That’s when I first met young Al Gore. I sat there, and it basically was an interview. I didn’t realize it. Sen. Gore, who had left the Senate two years earlier, said, ‘I’m going to help you.’ ”

Sasser said the money the Gores raised for Biden typically came through “small contributions, $100, $200, just from people concerned about the nuclear arms race back in those days and trying to do something about it.”

In the Banner story that announced his plans to work with the Council for a Livable World, Gore was quoted as saying: “Senators ought not to be elected with the support of a few large contributors and special interest groups but with the help of a broadly based citizenry of moderate means.”

When Labor Day 1972 arrived, Biden looked like as much of a long shot as ever. Polls showed his support flagging at about 19 percent, Kaufman said.

But Biden was already “a world-class retail candidate,” Kaufman recalled, and he ran on “a new Democratic platform — environment, tough on crime, balanced budgets, tax reform.”

A Washington Post story in 2007 about Biden’s long-serving inner circle, including Kaufman, said the candidate “spent all day meeting voters” in 1972 and left “virtually everything else” to his sister, Valerie, who ran his campaign.

When the votes were counted that November, Biden had sent Boggs home from Washington, just as Republican Bill Brock had done to Gore two years earlier. In the coming weeks, Biden would turn 30, making him old enough to serve in the Senate; lose his wife and 1-year-old daughter in a car crash, a tragedy that almost caused him to give up the seat he had just won; and be sworn in at the hospital bedside of his two young sons, who were critically injured in the accident.

John Isaacs, executive director of the Council for a Livable World, was not yet with the organization 40 years ago. But he said finding and getting behind Biden “was one of our great coups.” Biden has always remembered the group’s support, Isaacs said, and its website includes a video of the vice president talking about the council’s help.

“When you support a politician in his first race, especially an unknown local candidate like Joe Biden, they remember it forever,” Isaacs said.

At the Jackson Day dinner in 2010, Biden made it clear that his fond memories of his first Senate campaign don’t stop with the council.

“So if you want to blame anybody for my being a United States senator elected seven times and a vice president,” he said, “it’s all the fault of former Sen. Gore.”[17]

Grossman influence

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The Council for a Livable World's John Isaacs wrote in Jerome Grossman's eulogy;

” Now, as an aside, we have a dictum at Council for a Livable World. If we support a candidate in his or her first major political contest, he or she will always remember who was with them at the beginning. That has been true with such political figures – (he says modestly) – as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden. Or former Maine Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. They remember who was with them when they launched their political careers. And that's why it was so nice to see a tweet from Vice President Biden after Jerry's death: "He was a good friend who worked tirelessly to advance U.S. security through nuclear arms control.” [18]

Anti anti-Soviet

Throughout the 1980s, Biden opposed President Ronald Reagan's proactive means of dealing with the Soviet Union. Biden instead favored détente -- which, in practice, meant Western subsidies that would have enabled the moribund USSR to remain solvent much longer than it ultimately did. He also opposed Reagan’s effort to fund the Contras, an anti-Communist rebel group in Nicaragua.[19]

Anti-Defense

In 2008, Pete Wehner wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

"Throughout his career, Mr. Biden has consistently opposed modernization of our strategic nuclear forces. He was a fierce opponent of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Mr. Biden voted against funding SDI, saying [as noted above], 'The president’s continued adherence to [SDI] constitutes one of the most reckless and irresponsible acts in the history of modern statecraft.' Mr. Biden has remained a consistent critic of missile defense and even opposed the U.S. dropping out of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty after the collapse of the Soviet Union (which was the co-signatory to the ABM Treaty) and the end of the Cold War."[20]

Security advisors

Biden's national-security adviser, Antony J. Blinken, and two other aides are also directors in the National Security Council, while a number of former Biden aides occupy important posts in the N.S.C. Thomas Donilon, deputy national-security adviser and coordinator of policy across agencies, has been a close friend of Biden’s since the 1980s; Donilon’s brother, Michael Donilon, is a senior adviser to Biden, and Donilon’s wife, Catherine Russell, was Biden’s former administrative assistant and is now chief of staff to Biden’s wife, Jill. [21]

Higher office

Biden pursued the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination but withdrew after it was revealed that parts of his campaign stump speech had been plagiarized from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock without appropriate attribution. His 2008 presidential campaign never gained momentum, and he withdrew from the race after placing fifth in the Iowa Democratic caucus in January of that year.

After Barack Obama amassed enough delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden emerged as a front-runner to be Obama's vice presidential running mate. On August 23 Obama officially announced his selection of Biden as the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee, and on August 27 Obama and Biden secured the Democratic Party's nomination. On November 4 the Obama-Biden ticket defeated John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, and Biden also easily won reelection to his U.S. Senate seat. He resigned from the Senate post shortly before taking the oath of office as vice president on Jan. 20, 2009.[22]

J Street

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The national JStreet group, aims to “redefine what it means to be pro-Israel” and marshal American support for a two-state solution, said J Street Director of Media and Communications Jessica Rosenblum. The organization says the details of the negotiation should be worked out between Israel and Palestine, but Rosenblum said the organization believes a two-state agreement would likely create a border between the two states mostly based on land divisions before the 1967 Six-Day War.

At the October 2013 conference, titled “Our Time to Lead,” students attended panels and lectures with experts, non-governmental organization advocates and Israeli, Palestinian and American officials, including Israel’s Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni and Vice President Joe Biden. The event attracted 3,000 participants, mostly Jewish-Americans, with about 900 students from across the country.[23]

Make Progress National Summit 2014

Generation Progress' Make Progress National Summit 2014 included speakers such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Filmmaker Andrew Rossi, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sec. of Labor Thomas Perez Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, Sen. Chris Murphy, Executive Director of Generation Progress Anne Johnson, President of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden, Policy Director at Generation Progress Sarah Audelo, Rep. Patrick J. Murphy, Former NFL player Donte Stallworth, Representative of House District 74 (TX) Mary Gonzalez, Mayor of Ithaca, NY Svante Myrick, Economic Policy Analyst Sarah Ayres, Educational Advocate Natalia Abrams, Executive Director of National Guestworker Alliance Saket Soni, Executive Director of the Energy Action Coalition Maura Cowley, Young Elected Officials Policy & Programs Director Dawn Huckelbridge, Filmmaker Tara Kutz, Student activist Ronnie Mosley, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren, Iraq War Veteran Tony Woods, Newtown High School graduate Sarah Clements.[24]

Iran ties

In 2008, Sen. Barack Obama and his newly-picked running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, were firmly united one one issue: the need to forge closer ties to the government of Iran.

Kaveh Mohseni, a spokesman for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, calls Biden "a great friend of the mullahs." He notes that Bidens election campaigns "have been financed by Islamic charities of the Iranian regime based in California and by the Silicon Iran network," a loosely-knit group of wealthy Iranian-American businessmen and women seeking to end the U.S. trade embargo on Iran. "In exchange, the senator does his best to aid the mullahs," Mohseni argues.

Biden was one of 16 U.S. senators who voted against a bill that would add Iran’s Revolutionary Guards corps to the State Department's list of international terrorist organizations, because of its involvement in murdering U.S. troops in Iraq. Rather than sanction those in power in Tehran, Biden and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel argued that the United States should offer Tehran a greater role in Iraq's domestic affairs.

At a March 2002 conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the American-Iranian Council (AIC), Biden made the case for closer U.S. ties to the government of Iran. "I believe than an improved relationship with Iran is in the naked self-interest of the United States of America," Biden said. At that same meeting, top Bush administration official Zalmay Khalilzad – today, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations –poured cold water on Biden's hopes. "We had hoped that after the 11 September attacks, the Iranian regime would end its support for terrorists", Khaliazad said. "But Iran did not stop its support for terror. Indeed, the hard-line elements of the Iranian regime facilitated the movement of Al-Qa'eda terrorists escaping from Afghanistan" and sheltered them in Iran. Biden offered to sponsor a meeting of Iranian and American parliamentarians in Washington - or any place else, if the Iranians had problems coming to the United States. No one in Iran ever took up his offer.

Several Congressional Democrats attempted to travel to Tehran December 2007, to meet with Iranian parliamentarians, but were denied visas by the Iranian regime.

Biden's decision to address the American-Iranian Council and other pro-Tehran groups has angered many Iranian-Americans. "Biden has been too cozy with the supporters of the Iranian regime, which is anti-American, anti-Iranian, and has a horrendous human rights record," said Sardar Haddad, an Iranian pro-democracy activist based in Texas.

The American-Iranian Council was founded by Hoosang Amirahmadi, a Rutgers University professor of urban studies who tried to run for president of the Islamic Republic in 2005. Funded in part by oil giant CONOCO, which hoped to secure lucrative oil contracts, AIC has lobbied consistently to get U.S. trade sanctions on Iran eliminated. In a recent interview with the popular Persian-language netzine, Tabnak, run by the former head of the Revolutionary Guards, Amirahmadi complained that he wasn’t getting enough credit for lobbying Washington. "This is because the Iranians, instead of empowering the lobby supporting them, undermine it," he said. Biden"s ties to the pro-Iranian regime lobby are not a haphazard affair, but a matter of conviction.

Biden told Boston Globe columnist H.D.S. Greenway in 2005 that the United States should address Iran’s "emotional needs" and conclude a "nonaggression pact" with the Tehran regime. "Senator Joseph Biden said that even if Iran was a full democracy like India, it would want nuclear capability, like India. What the world needed to address was Iran's emotional needs, he said, with a nonaggression pact," Greenway wrote.

Biden hasn't shied from asking wealthy Iranian-Americans with known sympathies for the Tehran regime for campaign cash. When Iranian-American pro-democracy activists learned that Biden planned to attend a fundraiser organized on his behalf by an Iranian Muslim charity in California, they phoned his U.S. Senate office to warn him about the group's pro-Tehran sympathies. But the Delaware Democrat swept aside their concerns and attended the Feb. 19, 2002, event at the California home of Dr. Sadegh Namazi-Khah, which brought in an estimated $30,000 for his U.S. Senate re-election campaign. Several people who attended the fundraiser said that Biden delivered a sweeping condemning of President Bush's recent State of the Union speech, which identified the Iranian regime as part of an "axis of Evil." "He really impressed us by his grasp of world affairs," sid Namazi-khah. "He encouraged us to make our views known and to get more involved in American politics." Biden also impressed many of those present with his friendly attitude toward Iran. The senator said that "Iran always wanted to be an ally of the United States and to have good relations with the U.S.," said Housang Dadgostar, a prominent lawyer who wrote Biden's campaign a $1,000 check. "As Iranian-Americans, we don't want anything to happen to the Iranian government or to the Iranian people as a result of this war on terrorism," said Mohsen Movaghar, a Los Angeles businessman who also attended the event and contributed $1,000 to Biden. Both men belonged to the 70-member board of directors of Namazi-khah's Iranian Muslim Association of North America (IMAN), which hosted the event. Namazi-Khah and other IMAN board members said that the idea for the fundraiser came from Biden, who apparently learned about the group after attending an earlier event sponsored by the AIC.

Both Namazi-Khah and Movaghar also belong to the Board of the American-Iranian Council, the Washington, DC-based lobbying group pressing for an end to U.S. sanctions on Iran. So does Japeh Youssefi, who traveled from Scotsdale, Ariz., with his wife to attend the 2002 fundraiser in California. Between the two of them, the Youssefi's gave $4,000 to Biden's U.S. Senate campaign, the legal limit at the time. "Mr. Youssefi has earned the reputation of being a vocal supporter of Iran-US rapprochement and détente," a biographer on the AIC Web site reads. "In March of 2000 he created FAIRPAC — the Foundation for American Iranian Rapprochement, a political advocacy council — as a means of informing and educating interested persons everywhere of the benefits of improved U.S.-IRAN relations," according to the bio.

Another key Biden contributor is Hassan Nemazee, a New York money-manager who chaired Hillary Clinton’s finance committee, personally raising over $500,000 for her campaign. Nemazee also has served on the board of the American-Iranian Council, and more recently set up the Iranian-American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) along with a group of Silicon Valley billionaires, many of whom have close ties to the Iranian regime. Because of the controversy Nemazee and IAPAC members have generated within the Iranian-American community, the PAC’s Web site includes a bald disclaimer of any ties to Tehran. "IAPAC has no relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran . . . and is not focused on U.S. policy towards Iran, establishing ties with or legitimizing the government of Iran," [25]

Iran lobby

According to Daniel Greenfield, writing on Iran's influence in the Democratic Party;

The real victory had come long before when two of their biggest politicians, Joe Biden and John Kerry, had moved into prime positions in the administration. Not only Iran America Political Action Committee, but key Iran Lobby figures had been major donors to both men.
That list includes Housang Amirahmadi, the founder of the American Iranian Council, who had spoken of a campaign to “conquer Obama’s heart and mind” and had described himself as “the Iranian lobby in the United States.” It includes the Iranian Muslim Association of North America (IMAN) board members who had fundraised for Biden. And it includes the aforementioned Hassan Nemazee.
A member of Iran’s opposition had accused Biden’s campaigns of being “financed by Islamic charities of the Iranian regime based in California and by the Silicon Iran network.” Biden’s affinity for the terrorist regime in Tehran was so extreme that after 9/11 he had suggested, “Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran”.
Questions about donations from the Iran Lobby had haunted John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Back then Kerry had been accused of supporting an agreement favorable to Iran. The parameters of that controversial proposal however were less generous than the one that Obama and Kerry are trying to sell now.
The hypothetical debates over the influence of the Iran Lobby have come to a very real conclusion.

Both of Obama’s secretaries of state were involved in Iran Lobby cash controversies, as was his vice president and his former secretary of defense. Barack Obama was also the beneficiary of sizable donations from the Iran Lobby. Akbar Ghahary, the former co-founder of IAPAC, had donated and raised some $50,000 for Obama.[26]

Ukraine connection

In 2014, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was appointed to the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, a privately-owned natural gas company operating in the Ukraine since the year 2002. Burisma Holdings has become a considerable player within the Ukrainian natural gas and oil industry, with licences covering the Dnieper-Donets, Carpathian and Azov-Kuban basins. The production capability has reached over 10,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD) which has left the company with considerable reserves.[27]

White House Summit on Worker Voice

At the White House Summit on Worker Voice October 2015 President Barack Obama declared: "If you're not at the table, you are on the menu."

He was quoting Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of many top union leaders attending the day-long session. Also participating were organizers of low wage workers, researchers, academics, several business leaders, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Al Franken, D.-Minn., and Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, Gregory Meeks, D.-N.Y., and Frederica Wilson, D.-Fla.

Obama acknowledged that workers' rights have been weakened by anti-union laws and policies, but throughout the Summit he repeated his opinion that the main culprit has been "the combination of globalization and automation" that allows corporations "to do more with less." He said what's needed is a "refashioning" of the "social compact so that workers are able to be rewarded properly for the labor that they put in."

Obama suggested that employees and employers work together to create a new "culture" on the job that allows workers to have a voice.

He agreed with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Summit moderator, who said that "there are many different kinds of worker voice."

Nevertheless, Summit participants responded with sustained applause when Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice, said "the strongest form of workers' voice is having a union on the job."

Vice President Biden agreed.

"It's a simple proposition," he said. "With the ability to sit on the other side of the table with employers and collectively bargain, you have some power. At the end of day, that's how progress is made."

Biden continued: "Business has declared war on labor's house. Everything has been done to undermine workers being represented by people sitting across from employers. The deal used to be that the more workers produced, the higher their wages got."

But that's changed, said the Vice President. "Between 2003 and 20013 corporate American made $4.6 trillion dollars. They used 54 percent of this to buy back their own stock and 37 percent to pay dividends. That leaves 9 percent to pay for everything else, including workers' wages and training. This happened because collective bargaining has been undermined."

Biden said, "There's a great resurgence taking place in the American economy, but we can't keep the average American out of benefitting. That's why we need more protection for workers' rights."

Robert Hathorn, who works at the Nissan automobile plant in Canton, Miss., gave first hand testimony that his rights, and those of many other Nissan employees, are being trampled. He said he joined the effort to win collective bargaining representation by organizing a UAW local at the plant.

The company will not allow him to do this. Although Hathorn does the same work as many others at the plant, management has classified him as a "temporary" employee, an "independent contractor," with virtually no rights under current law. He was fired for engaging in union activities, but was able to win his job back.

The last person to speak from the audience during the "conversation" segment was Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland, an organization that advocates for and provides services to newly arrived immigrant workers.

Torres said "Having a voice comes from having power. With a voice, we can share the wealth."

President Obama closed the Summit on Worker Voice by saying, "I see this as the beginning of the conversation, not the end."

Fast food worker Terrence Wise also spoke.[28]

Joe Biden said that the most effective tools for fighting economic inequality are strong unions and collective bargaining.[29]

Vietnam connection

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden lauded the future promise of U.S.-Vietnam relations earlier July 8 2015 after participating in the first ever meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong as both countries celebrate the 20th anniversary of the normalization of ties.

Biden, who called for an end to the Vietnam War when he was first elected as a senator in 1972, said it was remarkable that he was standing with the general secretary celebrating the 20th anniversary “with nothing but promise on the horizon” for bilateral ties. For all the progress that had been achieved thus far, he said that both Obama and himself viewed this as just the beginning of a relationship.

“As remarkable as the past two decades have been, I believe, and more importantly, the president believes, that our relationship is just getting started,” Biden said in lunch remarks in honor of Trong.

Earlier, before their White House meeting, Obama had said that his interaction with Trong had provided a good opportunity for both sides to lay out the future vision for their comprehensive partnership which they signed back in 2013.

Looking ahead, the main goal for both sides in 2015, Biden said, should be to focus on strengthening their economic relationship. This includes working to ensure the full implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a twelve-member, U.S.-led free trade agreement.

“There’s more work to do. But after five years of negotiations, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to achieve this goal in the coming weeks,” Biden said.

Beyond this, Biden said cooperation between the two nations will continue to grow in diverse areas including defense, maritime security, civil nuclear programs, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, climate change, sustainable development and clean energy in the Mekong region. Both countries would also continue to work together in the Asia-Pacific as the U.S. rebalances to a region where they have several converging interests, including regional peace and stability and the prosperity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).[30]

Will not run, but will fight on

Vice President Joe Biden said October 21, 2015 that he will not enter the Democratic Party's presidential primary race, but that he would stay in the fight to move "the arc of this nation toward justice." Biden announced his decision in the White House Rose garden flanked by his wife, Jill Biden, and President Barack Obama.

Along with announcing that he wasn't going to run, Biden said:

"I believe this ...

"We cannot sustain the current levels of inequality that exist in this country.

"The huge sums of unlimited and often secret money pouring into our politics is a fundamental threat to our democracy. The middle class will never have a fighting chance in this country as long as just several hundred families, the wealthiest families, control the process.

"We need to keep [fighting for] the rights of the LGBT community, immigration reform, equal pay for women and ... rooting out institutional racism.

"We need to commit to 16 years of free public education for all our children."[31]

References

  1. Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.( 1942 – ) bio
  2. The New Yorker, JULY 28, 2014 ISSUE The Biden Agenda Reckoning with Ukraine and Iraq, and keeping an eye on 2016.BY EVAN OSNOS
  3. City Journal, Claire Berlinski A Hidden History of Evil Why doesn’t anyone care about the unread Soviet archives? Spring 2010
  4. [http://articles.latimes.com/1987-02-20/news/vw-2942_1_power-people/2 LA Times, Power People and the Causes They Champion February 20, 1987|MARYLOUISE OATES]
  5. Office of president elect, Vice President-elect Biden announces Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor
  6. The PES in action 2007-2009, Activity Report of the Party of European Socialists Adopted by the 8th PES Congress 8th PES Congress, Prague, December 2009
  7. The World Post, Biden Visits Chile For Progressive Governance Summit, Posted: 04/27/2009 5:12 am EDT
  8. Youtube, rudy deleon progressive governance conference chile 2009, Uploaded on Mar 27, 2009
  9. PES Delegation attends ITUC World Congress in Vancouver
  10. Latin Post, Michelle Bachelet 2014 Inauguration: Chile President Wins Second Term With Support of Barack Obama and Joe Biden By Chaka Phillips Mar 15, 2014
  11. Press Blog,Beatriz Manz Rubs Elbows with Joe Biden in Chile April 2, 2014
  12. NDI VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN TO DELIVER REMARKS TO NDI AWARD DINNER; UKRAINIAN ACTIVISTS TO BE HONORED
  13. CLW website: Who We've Helped Elect
  14. CLW bio, accessed July 2008
  15. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation website. Council for a Livable World 50th Anniversary Celebration
  16. CLW Joe Biden, The early Years
  17. ]http://archive.tennessean.com/article/20120906/NEWS02/309060041/Sen-Albert-Gore-Sr-wife-were-key-Joe-Biden-s-start The Tennessean, Sen. Albert Gore Sr. and wife were key to Joe Biden's start Sep. 6, 2012 ]
  18. http://relentlessliberal.blogspot.com/2013/12/jerome-grossman-eulogy.html Relentless Liberal, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2013 Jerome Grossman] Eulogy
  19. [http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printindividualProfile.asp?indid=2342 DTNW Joe Biden[
  20. DTNW Joe Biden
  21. Magazine After Cheney By JAMES TRAUBNOV. 24, 2009
  22. Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.( 1942 – ) bio
  23. The Brown Daily Herald, Students redefine ‘pro-Israel’ stance at J Street Conference in D.C.By Abigail Savitch-Lew Staff Writer Monday, October 7, 2013
  24. Progress National Summit 2014
  25. [http://www.newsmax.com/KenTimmerman/biden-iran/2010/02/02/id/348731/NewsMax, | Ken Timmerman Biden's Ties to Pro-Iran Groups Questioned Tuesday, 26 Aug 2008]
  26. Frontpage magazine, Traitor Senators Took Money from Iran Lobby, Back Iran Nukes August 25, 2015 Daniel Greenfield
  27. http://www.thewestwire.com/joe-biden-son-ukraine-gas-company/
  28. PW Workers take seats at the table at White House summit by: Larry Rubin October 13 2015
  29. [http://peoplesworld.org/biden-not-running-for-president-but-vows-to-fight-for-justice/PW Biden not running for president, but vows to fight for justice by: Larry Rubin October 22 2015]
  30. [http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/biden-lauds-future-promise-of-us-vietnam-ties-amid-historic-visit/ The Diplomat, US Lauds Future Promise of Vietnam Ties amid Historic Visit By Prashanth Parameswaran July 08, 2015]
  31. Biden not running for president, but vows to fight for justiceby: Larry Rubin October 22 2015