President Biden’s Authoritarian, Unconstitutional, and Un-American Vaccine Mandate

10 Sep

House Republicans were quick to condemn President Biden’s forced vaccine mandate that will impact over 100 million Americans. 

Make no mistake: Biden’s forced vaccine mandate is an unconstitutional, unlawful, and authoritarian power grab that has become a hallmark of Biden’s failed Presidency.

REACTION TO BIDEN’S AUTHORITARIAN VACCINE MANDATE:

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Ongoing Conflict and Human Rights Abuses in Northern Ethiopia

10 Sep

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States remains gravely concerned by ongoing conflict in multiple regions of Ethiopia.  Reports of continued human rights abuses and atrocities by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, the Eritrean Defense Forces, Amhara regional and irregular forces, the TPLF and other armed groups, including the reported attack on civilians in one village in Amhara region this week, are deeply disturbing.  We condemn all such abuses against civilians in the strongest possible terms and call on all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

We agree with the UN Secretary-General and African Union leaders: there is no military solution to the conflict in northern Ethiopia, and a durable political solution must be found.  We urge the Ethiopian government and TPLF to enter at once into negotiations without preconditions toward a sustainable ceasefire.

The mounting reports of human rights abuses underscore the urgency of independent and credible international investigations.  It is essential that the Ethiopian government and all other parties to the conflict provide and facilitate the access necessary for such investigations.  We look forward to an update from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the forty-eighth session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Tigray and to the release of the joint investigation report of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the earliest possible opportunity.  We also urge full cooperation with the Commission of Inquiry of the AU Commission on Human and People’s Rights.  Establishing transparent, independent mechanisms to hold those responsible for human rights abuses to account is critical to political reconciliation and peace in Ethiopia.

Travel of Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Sung Kim to Tokyo

10 Sep

Office of the Spokesperson

U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Ambassador Sung Kim will travel to Tokyo, Japan from September 13–15, 2021.  Special Representative Kim will join a trilateral meeting with Japanese Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Funakoshi Takehiro and Republic of Korea (ROK) Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk.  Special Representative Kim will also meet with other senior Japanese officials to discuss cooperation on a broad range of issues, including the U.S. commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

Special Representative Kim’s travel to Tokyo for trilateral and bilateral meetings underscores ongoing U.S. coordination with and commitment to our allies on DPRK issues.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Ceremony to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks

10 Sep

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

Dean Acheson Auditorium

AMBASSADOR JENKINS: Good morning. Welcome to State Department staff (inaudible), our diplomatic and foreign policy community, both those here in person and those participating virtually. I want to especially acknowledge the presence of our active duty and reserve personnel: veterans, members of Veterans-at-State Affinity Group, of which I serve as the leadership liaison, and members of the Mosaic, the department’s employee affinity group who are employees identifying as Muslim and those interested in Muslim cultures.

Today, we come together to honor the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. We join families all over the world that lost their loved ones in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It is a day that many of us will never forget, one of those powerful historic moments where you know exactly where you were and what you were doing the moment you learned of the attacks.

It is equally important to recognize how much the world has changed the moment American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower on that clear Tuesday morning. Not only did it mobilize the will of America; it galvanized people and nations around the world toward the common goal of denying terrorism a safe haven.

Before returning to the Department of State in 2009, I served both in the U.S. Air Force and Naval Reserve for 22 years and as counsel on the 9/11 Commission. It was both my duty and responsibility as an American and a New York native to be able to join others on the commission, to tell the story of 9/11 as best we could, and of those we honor today who lost their lives or those who continue to suffer the impact of these heinous attacks on their everyday existence.

Before beginning our program, I would first like to ask that we stand and take a moment of silence in remembrance of all those who lost their lives and their loved ones still in mourning.

(A moment of silence was observed.)

AMBASSADOR JENKINS: Thank you. I hope that the voices we hear this morning will convey the many ways in which members of our community have been impacted by the 9/11 attacks on a personal level. On this day, like every year, we stand strong, we stand united. You will now hear several personal reflections, first from Deputy Assistant Secretary Chris Gu from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, followed by Ms. Chaiszar Turner, the president of Veterans at State, Ambassador Matthew Klimow who was serving in the Pentagon on 9/11, and finally, our own Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

(Program continues.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good morning, everyone. And thank you all so much for being here today. It is an honor to join today’s speakers to mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. I have to say to both the ambassador, to you, Chris, thank you for your powerfully evocative remarks. I think in different ways both of you brought us back to that day, brought us back to what so many of us were feeling, and brought us back to the remarkable spirit that actually joined us and united us in ways that I think we can find inspiration in for every day going forward.

We come together first and foremost to honor the people we lost on that horrific day, nearly 3,000 men, women, children in New York, in Arlington, in Shanksville. For their loved ones, the pain from the loss began on 9/11; they’ve felt it every day since. Some members of our community lost family and friends that day; our hearts go out to all of you.

Every one of those losses sent ripples that radiated outward. The stories of those who died were told around the world – restaurant workers on breakfast shifts, kids flying to Disneyland, firefighters, and police officers who, as we all know, ran into the building after the planes hit. People from more than 90 countries lost their lives that day – every one of them someone’s child, someone’s parents, someone’s sibling, someone’s friend.

Chris Gu’s account is so vivid and painful. For many of us – even if we weren’t in New York or Virginia that day, even if we were on the other side of the world – it felt somehow deeply personal. And I think it still does.

For those of you who were working at the State Department, the memories are just as vivid. Some of you were in the building that day. You evacuated and saw the smoke rising from the Pentagon. For a while, people thought that there could be a car bomb nearby, and DS agents made sure that everyone got out.

You showed up for work the next morning, as we heard, not yet fully knowing what had happened or what would be required of you in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, but ready to do whatever your country asked of you.

Around the world, we saw people come forward to show their extraordinary solidarity and empathy. They congregated outside our embassies, consulates – praying, singing, crying. They left handwritten notes, flowers, candles, drawings, mementos.

Outside our embassy in Sydney, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service left a helmet that their firefighters had signed for American first responders. And it read: “To all stations: Come home safe.”

In Ethiopia, so many people left flowers at the base of the embassy’s flagpole that that pile of flowers rose a third of the way up the flagpole.

Amid the hundreds of letters and signs left outside Embassy Berlin was a handwritten note that read: “Kennedy said, ‘I am a Berliner.’ We say, ‘We are Americans.’”

As we saw that day, our allies’ and partners’ commitment to us, and ours to them, is a sacred bond that goes much deeper than relationships between governments. It’s a bond our peoples have built over many generations.

9/11 was, to understate, one of the darkest days in our history – but out of it also came these demonstrations of profound humanity, compassion, strength, and courage.

Above all, it showed our remarkable resilience.

It showed our capacity to defend the pluralism that has long been one of our country’s greatest strengths, including by embracing our Muslim American brothers and sisters. It showed the risks that so many are willing to take to save the lives of complete strangers. So today, we remember all that, and more.

We’ve also come together today because – maybe more than any other event in our lifetimes – 9/11 shaped the trajectory of our country and how we engage in the world. It motivated an entire generation to pursue lives of service. Some became journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders. Others volunteered for the military; hundreds of thousands went on to serve in Afghanistan. 2,641 service members gave their lives in that conflict, including 13 men and women who were killed in a terrorist attack a few weeks ago as we brought that war to an end. More than 20,000 of those service members were injured, many with invisible wounds. We’re humbled by the sacrifices that they made. And we know that, for veterans in particular – as I know Chaiszar Turner was going to tell us – this anniversary will be an especially emotional one, inspiring both pride but also pain.

September 11th also inspired a generation of people to join this institution, the State Department. Those new officers walked into this building, I think, having some sense of how hard the work would be, how much we were up against, how vital it was that they succeed. But, of course, a full appreciation for all of that came with time, came with experience, came with engagement -but from day one, they threw themselves into the challenges with total commitment.

Looking around this department today, we can see how the attacks changed us and changed our diplomacy. Thousands of diplomats served in Afghanistan and Iraq – and elsewhere in support of the war against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. Thousands more served in new bureaus and roles that didn’t exist before the attacks, like counterterrorism, conflict and stabilization. Virtually every part of the department was mobilized in some way to play a role in preventing another 9/11 – critical work that many of us continue to this day. Cherished members of our Foreign Service gave their lives to these efforts. Today, we honor them as well.

Part of our job, part of our responsibility as diplomats is to perpetually reflect on how we engage with the rest of the world and to ask some very basic questions: Are we making our nation safer, more secure? Are we advancing our interests? Are we living up to our values? Are we focusing too much on some threats, and not enough on others? Are we missing opportunities?

We were asking those questions then. We have a responsibility to continue asking them now – to more effectively tackle the challenges that we face today, to try and see around the corner to the crises and challenges of tomorrow, to make sure we’re doing all we can to deliver for our fellow citizens.

Whether you were part of the team that was there when the attacks occurred, whether you joined because of those attacks, or whether you came here for some other reason altogether, what we all have in common is that, deep down, we feel a calling: to try to do right by our fellow Americans, to try to make their lives just a little bit more secure, a little bit more prosperous, a little healthier, with a little more opportunity. And we want to engage the world in a way that makes their lives, and our lives, and the world better. Wherever we serve, whatever the challenge or crisis, we’ve chosen diplomacy as our tool to make that world a little bit better.

You have to be 20 years old to register for the Foreign Service Officer Test. So, what does that mean? It means that, starting tomorrow, the first volunteers born after 9/11 will start the process of becoming Foreign Service officers. I can’t wait to welcome them to this community. They will help make the State Department even stronger, more diverse, and more ready to take on the challenges of our time.

In hearing from Foreign Service officers and civil servants who were serving September 11th, one thing they often talk about is how – no matter how wrenching and terrifying those first moments and first days felt – they appreciated that they were in a place to do something about it. And it goes back to what Chris was saying. At first, I think so many of us had a feeling of helplessness, but then – then that instinct that brings us together really clicked in, and we realized we could do something. And those of us in this community did do something. They appreciated, we appreciated, that we were in a place to do something about it. We had jobs, they had jobs where they could help their fellow citizens and their country, in ways both immediate and lasting. That’s an extraordinary privilege. And it’s one that all of us in this department have right now as well.

So, on this day of all days, we remember that privilege – and the responsibility as well as the opportunity that comes with it.

Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

AMBASSADOR JENKINS: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your words. Thank you for our other speakers, and to Chaiszar Turner, who wasn’t able to speak, we also thank you for your service. And we also thank those individuals – our embassies overseas who are also commemorating this day. I also want to thank all of you for coming, and – coming together today in service and remembrance. As we all return to work, let us hold the spirit of this day in our hearts and honor the memory of the fallen in our words and in our actions.

That concludes our program. Thank you for your time and attention on this solemn day.

IN THE STATES: President Biden’s Leadership Helping Americans Get Back on Track

10 Sep
This week, President Biden’s strong leadership was on full display as he outlined a robust plan to build on the progress we’ve already made to combat the virus, stop the spread of Delta, and increase vaccinations. The plan reflects the Administration’s whole-of-government approach and unwavering commitment to defeat the virus at home and abroad. What’s more, thanks to President Biden’s economic plans, jobless claims fell again this week to a new pandemic low, an ongoing trend that shows the economy is rebounding. It’s no wonder that 7 in 10 Americans support President Biden’s economic plans.

Earlier this week, President Biden toured the communities in New York and New Jersey that were damaged by Hurricane Ida. While he was there, he argued that we must take action now and make his Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal a reality so that our nation’s infrastructure is more resilient to future storms. State parties echoed the need to pass the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, pointing out that it’s a win for the economy, and for working people. 

While every top Republican committee, including the RNC, has refused to clarify their position on the wildly unpopular and extreme Texas anti-abortion law, the DNC, along with Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the DSCC, and the DCCC made it clear that reproductive health care is on the ballot in 2022. As DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said, “Every Republican lawmaker will have to answer for this unprecedented assault on the constitutional right to privacy.”

ELECTION ALERT: With just a few days until the Republican recall in California, a new poll shows that a majority of California voters oppose recalling Governor Newsom, thanks to motivated Democrats. While the momentum is on our side, Democrats aren’t taking anything for granted — President Biden will be in Long Beach on Monday, Vice President Harris urged Californians to vote NO on the Republican recall at a rally in the Bay Area this week, and DNC Chair Harrison was an early endorser of the “Stop the Republican Recall” effort and has been working hard to make sure the Newsom campaign has the support it needs to be successful.

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Don’t Buy Republicans’ Spin: Vaccine Requirements Are Wildly Popular

10 Sep

Republican leaders have consistently put politics ahead of people’s lives. And now that President Biden has announced several steps to vaccinate the American people and put us on the path out of this pandemic, Republicans are once again brazenly siding with COVID and attempting to prolong the pandemic. The reality is, the majority of the American people are ready for life to return to normal and support vaccine requirements to get there. 

As Republicans rail against yesterday’s announcement, they’ve made it clear: their focus is on putting their own political interests first, no matter the cost.

The American people overwhelmingly support vaccine requirements: 

Axios: “Vaccine mandates are popular”

  • “Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they’d support federal, state or local governments requiring everyone to get a coronavirus vaccine, according to a new survey conducted by The COVID States Project.”

Forbes: “Most Americans Now Want Vaccine Mandates For Planes, Hotels And Restaurants, Per Gallup”

Associated Press: “School mask, vaccine mandates supported in US: AP-NORC poll”

As vaccine requirements gain momentum, Republicans continue to try to stand in the way of protecting their constituents and ending this pandemic: 

NBC News: “Republicans are deeply divided over vaccinations. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has cut ads to encourage people to get shots, and most top GOP officials have been vaccinated. But Republican-led state governments in Texas and Florida have banned vaccination and mask mandates.”

Slate: “Republicans Lose Their Minds Over Biden’s Employer Vaccine Mandate”

Axios: “Top Republicans are calling for a public uprising to protest President Biden’s broad vaccine mandates, eight months after more than 500 people stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to overturn the election.”

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Key Inflation Indicator Hits A New Record High

10 Sep

President Biden and House Democrats’ out-of-control spending has caused a key inflation index to hit a new record high. The producer price index (PPI) climbed at the fastest annual pace on record for the fifth consecutive month in August.

BIDEN’S ECONOMIC CRISIS BY THE NUMBERS:

  • Inflation is taxation, and it has gone up every month of Joe Biden’s presidency.
    • PPI jumped 8.3% year over year, according to the Labor Department in August, a new record high.
    • This is the largest jump since 12-month data was first calculated in November 2010.
  • The record high PPI numbers come just a week after the August jobs report fell well short of economists’ expectations.
    • The U.S. economy added only 235,000 jobs in August compared to an expected 720,000.
    • CNN called the August report a “big disappointment” while CNBC said it was “terrible news” for the American economy.
    • This is the weakest jobs report of Joe Biden’s presidency.
    • 8.4 MILLION Americans remained unemployed in August.
    • There are 10.5 million job openings.
    • The number of unfilled job openings has remained far above the 48-year historical average of 22%.
    • The black unemployment rate jumped from 8.2% to 8.8% in August.

It’s simple: Inflation is a tax on every American, and it has gone up every month of Joe Biden’s presidency. What are Biden and House Democrats doing to gain control of our skyrocketing inflation that is caused by their out-of-control spending?

They are ramming through Biden’s reckless $3.5 TRILLION tax and spending spree that will kill American jobs, increase taxes on Americans, and increase inflation even more.

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ICYMI: NJ.Com: Democratic committee earmarks $400K for Murphy re-election, legislative campaigns

10 Sep

**ICYMI**

Key Point: “The funding, the most the national party has ever spent during a New Jersey gubernatorial election, will be earmarked in part for voter turnout efforts, especially for voters of color who tend to vote Democratic when they go to the polls, according to the committee. Exit polls in 2020 showed 86% of Blacks and 72% of Hispanics in the state supported Joe Biden over Donald Trump.”

NJ.ComDemocratic committee earmarks $400K for Murphy re-election, legislative campaigns
By Jonathan D. Salant
Sept. 10, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy and other legislators are getting $400,000 worth of assistance from the Democratic National Committee.

That’s how much the party is pouring into the state’s elections this fall, including for governor and state Legislature. New Jersey and Virginia are the only states electing governors and legislators this fall, and those races often are considered bellwethers for subsequent midterm elections the following year.

“The DNC is committed to making sure New Jersey Democrats have the resources they need to once again win up and down the ticket in November,” party chair Jaime Harrison said. “Our historic investments will engage with and turn out every eligible voter who cares about seeing working families thrive, no matter what New Jersey neighborhood they live in or language they speak.”

The funding, the most the national party has ever spent during a New Jersey gubernatorial election, will be earmarked in part for voter turnout efforts, especially for voters of color who tend to vote Democratic when they go to the polls, according to the committee. Exit polls in 2020 showed 86% of Blacks and 72% of Hispanics in the state supported Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

“This significant investment will support ongoing efforts to strengthen voter protections and mobilize turnout within our communities of color this fall,” Murphy said.

[…]

(MORE)

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Why Won’t the RNC and Top Republicans Comment on Texas’ Attacks on Women’s Health Care?

10 Sep

Last week, the Supreme Court okayed another attack on Roe v. Wade, further undermining a woman’s right to choose. As the Republican National Committee refuses to comment on this latest attack, DNC spokesperson Adonna Biel issued the following statement:

The Republican Party loves to talk about individual freedom, but they’ve declared war on a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decision. Republicans have succeeded in eliminating protections under Roe v. Wade after decades of attacks, but now the Republican Party is incredibly silent because they know that it’s wildly unpopular. This attack on abortion rights presents the greatest threat to Roe v. Wade in decades, and every single Republican will have to answer for this assault on reproductive rights spearheaded by their party.”

As a reminder: Every top Republican committee has refused to clarify their position on the wildly unpopular Texas law.

USA Today: “Major Republicans and conservative organizations haven’t been proactive in voicing support for the bill since it went into effect, or have shunned whether they back the law.

“The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm for Senate Republicans, did not post about the new Texas law on Twitter in the days following, but posted more than 20 times on Afghanistan. The organization did not post a public statement.

“The Republican Governor’s Association has not made any statement either in the past week, but it has retweeted Abbott’s messages about immigration, election security and business and infrastructure investments.  

“Similarly, the National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises money for House Republicans, did not post about the Texas law on social media, and no public statement was found. 

“USA TODAY reached out to the Republican party’s campaign arms for comment or direction to public statements and was told none were available.”

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DNC Announces Historic Investment to Activate Voters of Color Ahead of New Jersey’s Elections

10 Sep
Initial investment includes over $400,000 to get out the early vote and reach multi-lingual voters

Today, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced historic plans to invest over $400,000 in New Jersey in support of Democrats up and down the ballot ahead of November’s elections. 

Today’s investment is the biggest-ever that the DNC has made in an off-year New Jersey Coordinated Campaign. This investment will support the New Jersey Democrats’ efforts to reach and turn out New Jersey’s voters of color ahead of the elections, particularly among the state’s rapidly growing AAPI community. 

In addition to ensuring that New Jersey Democrats have the resources they need to win, this program will also allow DNC resources to help pilot key programming ahead of the 2022 midterms.

“The DNC is committed to making sure New Jersey Democrats have the resources they need to once again win up and down the ticket in November,” said DNC Chair Jaime Harrison. “Our historic investments will engage with and turn out every eligible voter who cares about seeing working families thrive, no matter what New Jersey neighborhood they live in or language they speak. From increasing organizing volunteer capacity to protecting the right to vote and engaging new voters, the DNC is meeting the moment and fighting to ensure that out-of-touch New Jersey Republicans stay on the defensive in Trenton.” 

“The DNC understands that we are a stronger, fairer, and more representative New Jersey when every eligible voter can participate in our democracy,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This significant investment will support ongoing efforts to strengthen voter protections and mobilize turnout within our communities of color this fall.”

Additional details on the DNC’s investment include:

  • Multi-Lingual Outreach: The DNC will expand robust voter education programming for voters of color across New Jersey, including multi-lingual outreach to mobilize NJ’s growing Spanish-speaking and AAPI populations.
  • Distributed Organizing Capacity: The DNC will mobilize the thousands of national volunteers who took part in the 2020 election to support the New Jersey Coordinated Campaign through volunteer recruitment, voter education, and early vote turnout — the first general election in New Jersey with early voting, thanks to the efforts of Governor Murphy.
  • IWillVote Assets for Voter Protection: The DNC will lead a robust voter protection effort to expand access to early vote and protect the vote, including polling place lookup tools, access to a national hotline and voter protection team database for monitoring and incident tracking, and national political engagement to raise awareness among partner groups to get involved.

This investment comes on top of the initial $20 million investment that Chair Harrison has already announced the DNC will make before the general election in 2022. It’s also in addition to a historic four-year agreement to provide $23 million to state parties as part of the DNC’s 2022 midterm strategy.

Earlier this year, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the DNC will invest another $25 million to expand its “I Will Vote” initiative to address and overcome efforts across the country to make voting more difficult and burdensome.

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