• Politics
    Refinery29

    Joe Biden Faces Sexual Assault Allegations From A Former Staffer

    Update, March 28, 2020: Joe Biden’s campaign has denied Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation. In a statement on Friday his campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said, “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.” This article was originally published on March 26, 2020.Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing a new sexual assault allegation, from a woman named Tara Reade, who says she has been trying to share her story since 1993 when it allegedly happened. Reade’s allegation comes in the midst of Biden’s surging presidential campaign and is consistent with other stories women have shared about their discomfort with the way Biden has touched them.Reade was a staff assistant for Joe Biden in 1993, when she claims he digitally raped her. She told part of her story in 2019, when Lucy Flores wrote in The Cut about the inappropriate way Biden smelled her hair and kissed the top of her head. At the time, several other women came forward to say that Biden had touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable, including Reade, who said that Biden used to put his hands on her shoulders and run his fingers up and down her neck. Now, she has detailed what she says is the entirety of her experience with Biden on The Katie Halper Show.According to Reade, Biden pressed her up against a wall and digitally penetrated her without her consent. “It happened all at once, and then… his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” she says. She also remembers him asking “do you want to go somewhere else?” and then, when she had pulled away, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.” Reade says that “everything shattered” in that moment and his claim that he thought she liked him made her feel like she had “done this” somehow. “I looked up to him, he was my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes,” she says. “I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one.”Following her accusations against Biden, reports from Ryan Grim at The Intercept detailed all the ways Reade was stonewalled in telling her story — including from Time’s Up, the high-profile organization founded to help survivors tell their stories in the midst of the MeToo movement, which is housed within the National Women’s Law Center. According to Grim’s reporting, Reade asked for help from the organization in January of this year, but she was told they could not help her because it would jeopardize their non-profit status due to the fact that he was a presidential candidate. “As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Women’s Law Center is restricted in how it can spend its funds, including restrictions that pertain to candidates running for election,” NWLC spokesperson, Maria Patrick, told The Intercept. It was also revealed in the same story that “the public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign.”Reade’s accusation has opened up discourse on social media about why the mainstream media is ignoring the story. “I don’t understand why the extremely serious sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden are not getting significant attention outside of left media,” tweeted Vox Senior Correspondent Zack Beauchamp. This is a story that @ReadeAlexandra has been trying to tell since it happened in 1993. It’s a story about sexual assault, retaliation and silencing. meToo https://t.co/yHz3iFi9a5 — Katie Halper (@kthalps) March 25, 2020There were no witnesses to Reade’s assault, but she told The Intercept that she’d spoken to a close friend, as well as her brother, at the time of the alleged assault, and both have confirmed this with The Intercept. Reade said Thursday morning on Rising on Hill TV Live that she’s waited so long to speak publicly about what happened because she was afraid of retaliation, and also because back then she “didn’t have the framework” to understand what had happened to her.If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Related Content:Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?All The Celebrities Endorsing Joe Biden In 2020A Comprehensive History Of MeTooJoe Biden: "I Would Pick A Woman As VP"

  • Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Jared Kushner, Slumlord Millionaire, Can’t Evict the Virus

    In 2016, at the tender age of 35, Jared Kushner discovered America.Traveling with his father-in-law Donald Trump as he campaigned for president, Kushner had the eye-opening opportunity “to really see the country,” as he later recounted to CNN’s Van Jones.On this foray into the unexplored expanse between the coasts, Kushner was surprised by what he observed. “There were a lot of issues that I thought about being in New York… but when I’d go out to the country, I’d hear opinions that were differing from what a lot of the people in New York thought were the right prescriptions for them.”Don’t Worry, America, Jared Kushner Is Going to Save You From COVID-19Presumably, Kushner has become better acquainted since then with the experiences of Americans who dwell outside of his lifelong realm of mansions, penthouses, and boardrooms. We should all hope that is the case because Kushner now has enormous influence over the vital “prescriptions” that shape many facets of our lives, including a leading role in combating the coronavirus crisis. As Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale recently told Time, other than the President, “Nobody has more influence in the White House than Jared. Nobody has more influence outside the White House than Jared.”Unfortunately, for so many of Kushner’s tenants in his former occupation as a Manhattan-based real estate mogul, his awakening to the struggles of regular Americans came too late. In fact, as we show in Slumlord Millionaire, the episode we directed about Kushner for the Netflix documentary series Dirty Money, Kushner was not just oblivious to the struggles of his tenants—he was the perpetrator of them.In New York City, the Kushner playbook was to buy buildings with rent-stabilized tenants and then to harass them systematically with maddening construction until they moved out. Then Kushner Companies, the family real estate firm of which Kushner was CEO from 2008 until January 2017, flipped the buildings to market rate and sold them for a significant profit.In the vicinity of Baltimore, a city President Trump disparaged last September as a “rodent-infested mess”, the Kushner model was even more insidious. In Maryland, Kushner Companies owns and manages thousands of low- and middle-income rental units over more than a dozen housing complexes, which investigative reporter Alec MacGillis collectively dubbed “Kushnerville” in a 2017 exposé. Unlike in New York City, there wasn’t an economic incentive to push out Kushnerville’s tenants. Instead, Kushner Companies maximized profits by spending minimally on the units’ upkeep, while gouging the tenants with a slew of fees, many of them dubious, on top of their rent.It wasn’t just the residents of Kushnerville who were subject to these predatory practices; it was the former tenants of the complexes too. When Kushner Companies bought these buildings, they went into the files of the previous owners looking for money to collect. One of these former tenants was Kamiia Warren, a single mother of three, who was working as a home health aide while also attending school.Kushner Companies relentlessly pursued Warren for $3,014.08 for breaking her lease with the former owners. However, Warren didn’t owe the money. She had received permission to move out early, but years after vacating the property she no longer had the paperwork to prove it and didn’t know how to defend herself in a court system Kushner Companies expertly weaponized against her. Her Kafkaesque ordeal resulted in a legal judgment against her of nearly $5,000. To collect, three days before Christmas Kushner Companies began garnishing her paychecks. Then it zeroed out the $900 in her bank account, leaving her destitute.As if that weren’t heartless enough, Kushner Companies requested that the court approve a body attachment for Warren. A body attachment is a civil arrest warrant that enables the local sheriff to incarcerate debtors, essentially for the crime of being poor. Kushner Companies was not alone in employing this draconian tactic, but it employed it far more aggressively than any other real estate firm in the state.Fortunately, MacGillis’s article resulted in Warren getting pro bono representation, and once she had legal counsel in her corner Kushner Companies immediately caved and eliminated her debt. Why had Kushner Companies been so harsh in its dealings with vulnerable people like Kamiia? Kushner’s CFO told MacGillis the firm had a “fiduciary obligation” to its partners to maximize revenue. While this explanation may be morally bankrupt, it is perfectly in line with how most businesses operate, which is exactly the concern Americans should have in evaluating Kushner’s approach to policymaking.Concerns about conflicts of interest between Kushner’s opaque network of financial interests and the policies he is driving from the West Wing have abounded since the outset of the Trump administration. The coronavirus crisis has brought this dynamic into particularly sharp focus. They first flared up over Oscar, a health insurance company co-founded by Joshua Kushner, Jared’s brother. On March 13, the day Trump finally seemed to acknowledge the severity of the pandemic by declaring it a national emergency, Oscar, which was formerly jointly owned by Jared and Joshua, launched a web portal to provide a number of coronavirus-related services. Though there is no evidence that Oscar is profiting from the administration’s approach, the synchronicity of the timing, along with the fact that a graphic displayed at Trump’s Rose Garden press conference resembled one in Oscar’s media release announcing its portal, prompted questions about inappropriate coordination.Then, on Monday, Crain’s New York reported that the paralysis of commerce caused by the pandemic may force Kushner Companies’ Times Square retail space into default. The next day President Trump tamped down the medical community’s insistence on social distancing in favor of restarting the economy on an arbitrary, accelerated timeline. Kushner, who initially advised the president that the media was exaggerating the threat of the virus, is serving as a liaison between the administration and business leaders, a number of whom have agitated for a hasty return to the workplace. Trump has clearly been receptive to their lobbying at a time when his own family business, The Trump Organization, is struggling financially, with six of his seven top revenue-generating hospitality businesses shuttered. In crafting policy is Kushner calculating the benefit to himself and his family, or is he putting the health and welfare of the American people above all other considerations?Kamiia Warren certainly has her doubts. As she says in our film, “I’m very nervous that Jared Kushner is someone that is making decisions for our country. I firsthand know how he conducts business.”DiMauro and Pehme co-directed and produced Slumlord Millionaire, the episode about Jared Kushner in Netflix’s documentary series Dirty Money.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • Lifestyle
    HuffPost Canada

    Why Not Wearing A Bra During Self-Isolation Is The Best

    Keep those chest prisons in your dresser drawer where they belong!

  • Business
    Bloomberg

    The Workers Who Supply the World’s Food Are Starting to Get Sick

    (Bloomberg) -- Poultry giant Sanderson Farms Inc. on Monday reported the first case of a worker at a major U.S. meat producer testing positive for coronavirus. The employee and six more from the McComb, Mississippi, plant were sent home to self-quarantine, with pay, but operations continued as normal.A few days later Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s biggest pork producer, confirmed a positive case at its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, facility. On Friday, beef producers in Canada and Argentina shuttered plants after virus cases.In all likelihood, the number of cases will keep going up at meat plants, farms, warehouses and packaging factories across the globe.The infections speak to a growing threat to the world’s food supplies. Massive operations where workers pick berries together, cut meat side-by-side on a production line or load warehouse trucks in sometimes close proximity risk slowing down. Some facilities may have to shutter for cleaning and worker quarantines. Produce could end up rotting in fields if there aren’t enough healthy workers.“If we can’t flatten the curve, then that is going to affect farmers and farm laborers -- and then we have to make choices about which crops we harvest and which ones we don’t,” said Al Stehly, who operates a farm-management business in California’s North San Diego County, growing about 250 acres of citrus crops, 250 acres of organic avocados and 60 acres of wine grapes. “We hope no one gets sick. But I would expect some of us are going to get the virus.”To be clear, the food from a plant where infection pops up doesn’t pose health concerns because by all accounts Covid-19 isn’t a food-borne illness. Supplies from a farm or a production plant with a confirmed case can still be sent out for distribution.And it’s important to note that so far there’s been no major interruptions to food supplies. Inventories are still ample, and major bottlenecks have not yet developed in the supply chains, which tend to react quickly to changing situations.Meat Giant JBS Steps Up Output to Satisfy Retail Demand JumpStill, there is a risk to continued production. When a worker gets sick, the employee and every person they’ve come into contact with has to be quarantined. That could mean limited impact in some cases, like at the Sanderson factory, where the infected individual’s work was contained to one small processing table. But the more employee mingling there is, the bigger the threat to production.“One of our beef plants feeds 22 million people per day, so it’s vital that these plants stay open,” Dave MacLennan, chief executive officer of Cargill Inc., the world’s largest agricultural commodities trader, said in a recent Bloomberg Television interview.At many meat-processing plants, workers are “essentially elbow to elbow,” said Thomas Hesse, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 401, the largest private sector union in Western Canada that represents 32,000 members, mostly in food processing and retailing. Though employees are usually wearing protective gear, the risk of contagion is difficult to completely eliminate.“There’s underlying tension, there’s fear and there’s anxiety,” Hesse said, calling on employers to act more diligently to keep workers safe, including by increasing the space between work stations.Moves like that would likely hamper output though. It’s a tricky balance for producers who are prioritizing worker safety but also trying to meet the huge surge in demand that the virus has unleashed. Grocery store shelves across the world are running empty as consumers load their pantries in anticipation of long lockdown periods.Just about every major agricultural and food producer is stepping up its sanitary procedures to keep workers from getting infected. Companies are enforcing hand washing, spraying down plants and break rooms and wiping down door knobs. Workers are covered in head-to-toe protective gear, shifts are staggered and lunch breaks are taken alone.In Sabah, the state that churns out about a quarter of Malaysia’s palm oil, the local government ordered plantations and factories in three districts to shut after some workers tested positive for Covid-19. To avoid further disruption, the country’s industry is in a desperate bid to “starve the virus,” disinfecting tractors, providing workers with antibacterial body soap and distributing face masks to employees and their families, said Joseph Tek, CEO of palm-oil producer IJM Plantations Bhd.It’s hard to say if all that will be enough. Given the real possibility of an illness-driven labor crunch, some companies are stepping up hiring now to prepare.Steve Cahillane, CEO of Kellogg Co., said bringing in additional workers is part of the company’s “mitigation plans,” without specifying how many employees have been added.“We’re going to see some creative solutions where folks that are being laid off are going to be able to find new opportunities that continue to support the essential critical infrastructure,” said Mary Coppola of the United Fresh Produce Association. Many food companies will be trying to aggressively hire, including in distribution centers and in retail stores, she said.But it may not be that easy to lure people into the field. For all their import, these are not glamorous jobs.Think of the back-breaking work of tomato pickers, the dangerous conditions at slaughter houses and what many would consider the unpalatable environment of large livestock-feed operations. The wages are often low, benefits meager and contributions hidden from the public eye: How many social-media posts have you seen bursting with appreciation for the grain-export inspectors?Now they’re putting their health at risk by keeping food flowing. Not surprisingly, there’s been some backlash. Unions in South America have threatened to strike over safety concerns. And some poultry workers in the U.S. recently walked off the job.Threat of Sick Workers at U.S. Meat Plants Forces Policy ChangesFood companies are ramping up efforts to make sure employees feel appreciated. Cargill, Maple Leaf Foods Inc., Campbell Soup Co., Mondelez International Inc., Kraft Heinz Co. and Hormel Foods Corp. are among those paying bonuses or premiums to workers.In some places, more unusual solutions are being deployed.Dairy producers in Vermont recently put out a call through social media, asking for volunteers to come milk cows if farmers start falling ill. A day later, more than 80 relief milkers had signed on as standbys.“It started when we got a couple of calls from dairy farmers who were super worried they might get sick and wouldn’t be able to milk their cows, and that would be it -- they’d lose their farms,” said Kim Mercer of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, which posted the online plea. “We now have people everywhere all across the state who are ready to go.”(Updates second paragraph with beef-plant closures.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.S.
    Associated Press

    Coronavirus cases hit 2 largest US cities differently

    Los Angeles recorded its first case of coronavirus five weeks before New York City, yet it's New York that is now the U.S. epicenter of the disease. Public health officials are keeping a wary eye and warning that LA could end up being as hard hit as New York in coming weeks, in part because a planned increase in testing may uncover a dramatic surge in cases. Testing in Los Angeles County is expected to increase from 500 per day to 5,000 by the end of the week.

  • Business
    MarketWatch

    I’m retired and claim Social Security — do I still get the $1,200 stimulus check?

    Many Americans are expecting a check from the federal government within the next month, as part of a stimulus package intended to provide the country financial relief as COVID-19 stresses physical and financial health around the world. Retirees and those who claim Social Security are a part of that group, though they may face some complications, experts said. Overall, the package is pretty straightforward surrounding the rebate checks: Americans who make no more than $75,000 will receive $1,200, and double that if they are married and making $150,000 or less.