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Ashley vs. Ivanka: Choose Your Role Model

By Shlomo Maital

  biden

Ashley Biden & Father Joe

   President Trump recently tweeted his recommendation, that people buy his daughter Ivanka’s upscale fashion designs, after retail chain Nordstrom took her clothes off its shelves. (“They don’t sell,” Nordstrom claimed).

   Another famous politician has a designer-daughter – former Vice President Joe Biden and his social worker daughter Ashley.   Her story, and product, are a bit different.

   According to Elle Magazine: “Ashley’s new ethically produced, American-made clothing company, is a project any dad would be proud to get behind. It kicks off with a range of supersoft organic cotton hoodies on sale for just a few weeks, starting February 8, in partnership with the flash-sale behemoth Gilt: The entirety of the proceeds from the debut collection will be channeled to programs that work to alleviate poverty through education, training, and job placement.

     “Ashley, 35, who is also the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice, a nonprofit that serves children and adults impacted by the criminal justice system, had toyed with the potential nature and mission of Livelihood for years. One thing that never wavered was the idea of the hoodie. This is partly because Ashley herself—who has a stealth charisma and a fondness for phrases like “heavens to Betsy”—describes herself as a “jeans-and-T-shirt kinda gal.” It’s also because she appreciates the symbolism of an item long connected to American laborers and more recently to Black Lives Matter. “Livelihood is specifically about income inequality,” she says. “And racial inequality and income inequality are directly related.”

     “By the time her parents moved into the VP’s mansion in 2009, Ashley—who did her undergrad at Tulane, then earned a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania—had a job serving kids in the foster-care system. It was disorienting, to put it mildly, to travel from a juvenile detention center to, say, Air Force 2. What did become increasingly clear was how little privileged Americans understood about life below the poverty line, where 13.5 percent of the U.S. resides. “I’d hear about five siblings sharing one burger,” she says. “How does a kid do homework when there’s no desk or lamp? One of the biggest things I’ve seen in my work is that a lot of social ills directly result from poverty.”

   Does it take a privileged daughter of the U.S. Vice-President, to explain to us how little we the privileged understand about the life and hardships of the one in seven who live in poverty? And will we opt for the role model of Ivanka Trump, who sells to the wealthy, or Ashley Biden, who works for the poor, and has done so for her whole career?

If You Thought Washington Is Dysfunctional – Wait ‘til You Read Gates!

By Shlomo   Maital   

           Gates

 I prefer to write blogs about books I’ve read.  And it’s super-easy today to acquire any book – it takes 30 seconds to download an Amazon e-book.  But today I want to write about a book I haven’t yet read, but will soon – based on a review.  Because the content is so terribly disturbing.    America is still the leader of the Free World – and it is rudderless, incompetent, cynical, according to the consummate insider Robert Gates, former Defense Secretary.

    Gates’ book is called Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.  Gates served for many years in the CIA, headed the CIA for two years, then was Defense Secretary under both Bush and Obama (December 18, 2006 – July 1, 2011).  In reviewing his book, national security expert Thomas E. Ricks calls it “probably one of the best Washington memoirs ever.”  Ricks doubts Gates can ever again hold a Federal govt. job, or even want to. 

     Here are a few juicy tidbits:  “VP Joe Biden is a ‘comical motormouth’…who “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades”.  Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel: “hell on wheels…a whirling dervish with attention-deficit disorder”.  Tom Donilon (Obama’s 2nd national security advisor): “suspicious and distrustful of the uniformed military leadership”;   Congress:  “truly ugly”…parochial, self-interested, rude and bullying. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader: “small-time hack who phones Gates to lobby for Defense Dept. funding for research on irritable bowel syndrome”.  (didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, Gates says).  Senator Nancy Pelosi, “said she wasn’t interested” when Gates tried to state the facts on the ground in Iraq.  Senator Patty Murray, Washington, “read from prepared notes…no one had bothered to remove the Boeing letterhead from her talking points”.  On Afghanistan and Obama: “the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand (Afghan Pres.) Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his.”  The Obama White House:  “still stuck in campaign mode a year into the presidency”. 

   And this is just a start. 

    I guess most of us knew or suspected all this.  But it is still disturbing to read it.  No wonder “cold-blooded killers” (Gates’ description) like Russia’s Putin and Syria’s Assad are eating Obama for lunch daily. 

 

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
February 2017
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