Thailand National Day

2 Dec

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

spokesOn behalf of the United States of America, I congratulate the Kingdom of Thailand as it celebrates Thai National Day.

This past year, the United States and Thailand have strengthened our partnership and alliance. Thailand successfully hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and we held our first-ever Strategic and Defense Dialogue.  Our cooperation was far reaching, from energy and sustainability to regional security.  As we enter the 190th anniversary of our diplomatic relationship, the United States is committed to deepening the economic, security, health, and people-to-people ties that exist between our two countries.  In the coming year, as we work together to advance our cooperation through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the implementation of the U.S.-Thai Communiqué on Strategic Alliance and Partnership, we welcome Thailand’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

Congratulations to all the people of Thailand on this important day.  We are honored to have you as a friend, partner, and ally.  I wish you a peaceful and prosperous year ahead.

International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) Sydney Plenary

2 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

The International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) will hold its end of year plenary meeting on December 5–9 in Sydney, Australia.  Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ambassador Bonnie D. Jenkins will join counterparts from Partner states to discuss the continuing work of the Partnership’s Phase III.  The meeting will feature participants from more than 25 countries and the European Union, including those both with and without nuclear weapons, working together to address the complex challenges associated with nuclear disarmament verification.

During the Sydney plenary meeting, Task Groups will review work done to date in Phase III and set out a work plan for 2023.  The Partnership expects to publish a series of papers that summarize their work thus far.

The United States will host the first meeting of the IPNDV in April 2023, which will continue the Partnership’s focus on practical activities such as exercises and technical demonstrations.

For further information, please visit the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance’s (AVC) website https://www.state.gov/bureaus-offices/under-secretary-for-arms-control-and-international-security-affairs/bureau-of-arms-control-verification-and-compliance/. Join the conversation on Twitter at #IPNDV and visit https://www.ipndv.org/ for more information on the Partnership.

Bidenflation is the Grinch Who Stole Christmas

2 Dec

Whether it’s the Christmas tree or the gifts under it, inflation is stealing Americans’ Christmas cheer this year. Over 70% of Christmas tree growers plan to raise prices this year as much as 15% in order to afford rising production costs. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers could pay more for less as they are expected to spend up to 8% more this year on holiday goods because of rising costs. Now, small businesses are bracing for declining sales as Americans plan to cut back.

BIDEN’S ECONOMIC CRISIS BY THE NUMBERS:

  • Inflation is a tax on ALL Americans.
  • As of October, prices rose at an annual rate of 7.7%, up 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the SAME increase as in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Families across the country are still paying more for just about everything:
    • Food at home is UP 12.4%
    • Energy is UP 17.6%
    • Fuel oil is UP 68.5%
    • Motor fuel is UP 18.1%
    • Gasoline is UP 17.5%
    • Energy services are UP 15.6%
    • Electricity is UP 14.1%
    • Utility (piped) gas service is UP 20.0%
    • Public transportation is UP 28.1%
    • Air fares are UP 42.9%
    • Flour is UP 24.6%
    • Chicken is UP 14.5%
    • Eggs are UP 43.0%
    • Milk is UP 14.5%
    • Potatoes are UP 15.2%
    • Canned fruit and vegetables are UP 18.7%
    • Roasted coffee is UP 15.6%
    • Butter is UP 26.7%
    • Food at employee sites and schools is UP 95.2%
    • Health insurance is UP 20.6%
  • Real wages have decreased under Biden 10 out of the 12 months in the last year.
    • Real average hourly earnings decreased 2.8%, seasonally adjusted, from October 2021 to October 2022.
    • Real wages have fallen every month since Joe Biden and Democrats passed their wasteful $1.9 trillion “stimulus.”
  • The shelter index continued to increase in October, rising 0.8%, the largest monthly increase in that index since August 1990.
  • The skyrocketing cost of goods and services will cost the average American household over $700 a month, which adds up to over $8,000 a year.
  • According to a recent survey, about half of Americans will cut back on holiday shopping this year due to rising costs as shoppers will spend up to 8% more on the same goods as this year on holiday shopping across the board compared to last Christmas.
    • Over 70% of Christmas tree growers plan to raise prices this year up to 15% to afford rising production costs.

MAKE NO MISTAKE: Bidenflation is Americans’ unwelcome guest this holiday season. House Republicans will rein in Joe Biden’s reckless spending in the new majority to fight our inflation crisis.

The post Bidenflation is the Grinch Who Stole Christmas appeared first on www.gop.gov.

President Biden’s Letter to the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee on the Presidential Nominating Process

2 Dec

Today, President Joe Biden sent a letter to the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee as it prepares to meet tomorrow to consider changes to the Democratic Party’s nominating calendar. In the letter, the president laid out the principles he believes should guide the process of consideration.

“Just like my Administration, the Democratic Party has worked hard to reflect the diversity of America – but our nominating process does not. For fifty years, the first month of our presidential nominating process has been a treasured part of our democratic process, but it is time to update the process for the 21st century. I am committed to working with the DNC to get this done,” wrote President Biden.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below:

December 1, 2022 
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR. 

Dear Rules and Bylaws Committee: 

I would like to commend you for the hard work you have put in over the course of the last two years. As I shared with your co-chairs, Jim Roosevelt, Jr. and Minyon Moore, earlier in the week, and as you gather to consider changes to the Democratic Party’s nominating calendar, I want to be clear about the principles I believe we as a party should allow to guide our process: 

1) We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window. As I said in February 2020, you cannot be the Democratic nominee and win a general election unless you have overwhelming support from voters of color – and that includes Black, Brown and Asian American & Pacific Islander voters. You should not be the Democratic nominee and win a general election unless you show working class Americans that you will fight for them and their families. 

For decades, Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process. We rely on these voters in elections but have not recognized their importance in our nominating calendar. It is time to stop taking these voters for granted, and time to give them a louder and earlier voice in the process. 

Too often over the past fifty years, candidates have dropped out or had their candidacies marginalized by the press and pundits because of poor performances in small states early in the process before voters of color cast a vote. As I said then, 99.9% of Black voters had not had the chance to vote at that point, and 99.8% of Latino voters had not had the opportunity. That is unacceptable in 2024 and it must change. 

2) Our party should no longer allow caucuses as part of our nominating process. We are a party dedicated to ensuring participation by all voters and for removing barriers to political participation. Caucuses – requiring voters to choose in public, to spend significant amounts of time to caucus, disadvantaging hourly workers and anyone who does not have the flexibility to go to a set location at a set time – are inherently anti-participatory. It should be our party’s goal to rid the nominating process of restrictive, anti-worker caucuses. 

3) Our early states must reflect the overall diversity of our party and our nation – economically, geographically, demographically. This means more diverse states earlier in the process and more diversity in the overall mix of early states. Working class families are the backbone of our economy. Union households must be represented in greater numbers than before. We need to include voters from many backgrounds, not to ratify the choice of the earliest states, but as full stakeholders in making the choice. 

4) There should continue to be strong representation from urban, suburban, and rural America, and from each region of the country, and states that prioritize making voting easier in both primary and general elections should represent their regions. 

5) The Rules and Bylaws Committee should review the calendar every four years, to ensure that it continues to reflect the values and diversity of our party and our country. 

I got into politics because of civil rights and the possibility to change our imperfect union into something better. I have made no secret of my conviction that diversity is a critical element for the Democratic Party to win elections AND to govern effectively. My commitment when I ran for president was that my Administration would look like America, and it does. My Administration has the most diverse Cabinet in history and the most diverse group of presidential appointees in history. My nominee to the Supreme Court was the first Black woman – and most qualified candidate – to ever be nominated. 

Just like my Administration, the Democratic Party has worked hard to reflect the diversity of America – but our nominating process does not. For fifty years, the first month of our presidential nominating process has been a treasured part of our democratic process, but it is time to update the process for the 21st century. I am committed to working with the DNC to get this done. 

Sincerely,
Joe Biden

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34th Commemoration of World AIDS Day

2 Dec

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

World AIDS Day reminds us that HIV/AIDS continues to pose a threat to global health and global health security. With 650,000 people having lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses last year, the United States government remains committed to working with our global partners to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The data released today by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) indicates that we are making steady progress to address the gaps that continue to put people at risk, particularly the most vulnerable populations. Over the nearly 20 years since the program began, PEPFAR has saved 25 million lives. PEPFAR’s success is the result of close to two decades of bipartisan support across presidential administrations and from the U.S. Congress. That unwavering support is evidenced by the more than $100 billion investment in the global fight to end HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR. We will continue our commitment to sustained support of these efforts to help reach the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

PEPFAR also relies on partnership. Since inception, the program has built global partnerships with multilateral and public-private organizations, communities, governments and the private sector. Together, we have taken the bold action required to protect and advance global HIV/AIDS gains and we will continue our focus on these targeted efforts in the midst of the needs to address other health crises around the world. Since 2020, our effort has included supporting COVID-19 responses in PEPFAR countries by leveraging the robust public health and clinical platforms established by PEPFAR.

This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV.” It emphasizes accountability and action and affirms the Administration’s dedication to ending HIV/AIDS, domestically and abroad, through an approach that centers on fighting inequities, advancing equality, and rallying the world to end HIV as a global health threat by 2030.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of PEPFAR, guided by the PEPFAR five-year strategy released today, the United States government will continue to support the global HIV/AIDS response with great determination and in close collaboration with our partners, who share our commitment to saving lives and ending this pandemic.

Assistant Secretary Medina’s Travel to Boston

2 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina will travel to Boston, Massachusetts, to attend the 2022 Earthshot Prize awards ceremony on December 2, 2022. The Earthshot Prize, started by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales  honors innovative solutions in five areas: Protect & Restore Nature, Clean Our Air, Revive Our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free World, and Fix Our Climate. The ceremony will be jointly hosted by the John F. Kennedy Foundation.

For media inquiries, please contact OES-PA-DG@state.gov.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken At State Luncheon in Honor of French President Emmanuel Macron

1 Dec

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Well, good evening, everyone.  (Laughter.)  Thank you for your patience.  President Macron, Mrs. Macron, it is an honor to welcome you to the State Department.

(Via interpreter) Professionally, but also on a personal level, this is an honor for us to have you here.

It’s also an honor to be joined by my co-host for this lunch, the Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris.  (Applause.)  And also – and also the Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff.  (Applause.)

It is only fitting that for the first state visit of the Biden-Harris administration, the United States is welcoming our oldest ally.  This very week, in 1776, a bedraggled, exhausted, and very sea-sick American landed in France after a grueling month at sea.  The Continental Congress had dispatched Benjamin Franklin – who looks out over us, our very first diplomat – to find support for the American Revolution.  Over the next year, Franklin and his counterpart forged America’s very first alliance, and that of course proved vital to winning our nation’s independence.

Now, France, Mr. President, made quite an impression on Ben Franklin.  Before he went to France, he would extoll the virtues of going to bed early.  (Laughter.)  Then he went to Paris and, as he said, “Wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  (Laughter.)

I think it’s fair to say that Franklin also left his mark on France, where he became something of a celebrity.  His trademark fur cap even inspired a new wig style among French women: the “coiffure a la Franklin.”

Now, it’s also fair to say that no American diplomat since – and Henry Kissinger is here today and I think he can attest to that – none of us have lived up to Franklin’s legacy as a style icon.  (Laughter.)

But for more than two centuries, the United States and France have built upon the foundation of those early ties – and today, we are unwavering security allies, close economic partners, and most of all, cherished friends.

I am one of the countless beneficiaries of those bonds.  Living abroad in France taught me to see the world through another’s eyes – something that I carry with me to this day.  France welcomed me, educated me, inspired me – I doubt that I would be here if I had not gone there.

It quickly taught me something that everyone in France knows but, as of yesterday, is now officially recognized by UNESCO:  The French baguette is a global cultural treasure.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT MACRON:  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Now, as my mother who’s here today can attest, I would probably add the pain au chocolat to that, so maybe we can work on that.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT MACRON:  (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Those years also gifted me with a lifelong love of soccer – or football, to use the correct word – and also the Paris Saint-Germain team.  So while I couldn’t be prouder to cheer on Team USA at the World Cup, I’m also thrilled to see Kylian Mbappé working his magic for Les Bleus.  And Mr. President, thank you for keeping him in Paris.  (Laughter.)

Today, as both presidents said when they were together at the White House, we find ourselves in a consequential moment – for both of our countries but also for the world.  The post-Cold War era is over, and we face a global competition to define what comes next.

This is a challenge that we can best meet as friends, and, for the United States, alongside our very first friend.

Together, the United States and France are defending the international rules-based order that we helped to build after the Second World War.  We’re also working together to reform that order so that it better reflects the realities of today.

We’re supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their nation and resist President Putin’s attempt to redraw the borders of a sovereign, independent nation by force.  (Applause.)

We’re working together to strengthen European security and advance a free and open Indo-Pacific.

We’re taking urgent steps to save our planet for future generations, which continues to be driven in large part by the agreement that was reached in Paris.

We’re also making investments in global health to stamp out diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS, to build greater capacity to prevent and respond to future health emergencies.

Mr. President, you’ve led on the world stage on all of these issues and so many more.  But even as we think about the individual issues, it’s also the vision that you bring to global leadership that is so exceptional.  Your commitment to a stronger, better future for all has been a galvanizing force for all of us, for all of our partners.  We could not do without it; we’re grateful for it.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

And Mrs. Macron, I want to salute you as well.  You’ve been a beacon for so many families this year, particularly through your work on behalf of Ukrainian children when they so desperately need it.  Thank you.

(Applause.)

The bottom line is this:  It’s hard to find a challenge that we can’t solve if the United States and France work together.

For, in all that we do, our people and our nations are bound together by our core values – of liberty and democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, the belief that all people should have a chance to reach their full potential.

And that’s exactly what Franklin saw when he went to France.  He observed that the French saw – and I quote – “our cause the cause of all , and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.”

Those are values that continue to unite us today.  That’s the reason that your causes are ours – and ours are yours.

So I’d like to all – ask all of you to join me in a toast to our common history, but also – if we have glasses (laughter) – they’re coming (laughter) – great, thank you – but also, also to our shared future.  May the values that have brought us here continue to guide us for generations to come.

Vive les États-Unis.  Vive la France.

And now it is my particular pleasure and honor to introduce the Vice President of the United States.  Madam Vice President.

(Applause.)

(Vice President Harris makes remarks.)

(Applause.)

PRESIDENT MACRON:  Thank you, thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.

PARTICIPANT:  Sir, your microphone.

PRESIDENT MACRON:  (In French.)  Thank you for hosting us, (inaudible), Ms. Ryan.  First, I do want to apologize because we had a very long meeting with President Biden.  (Laughter.)  We almost fixed everything.  (Laughter.)  So you will see a lot of big changes in your life in the coming hours and days.  (Laughter.)  So this is at least the argument I have to survive vis-à-vis you for the coming minutes and hours.  (Laughter.)

No, thank you very much for your patience and sorry to make you wait.  Let me first thank you, Tony, for welcoming us here and organizing such a wonderful lunch, and thank you once again, Vice President Kamala, for your friendship, and thanks to both of you for your words.

I have to say: both of you mentioned Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin.  I could add to this list Jefferson and so many others who built these incredible links between our two countries.  A lot of people ask President Biden: why did you choose President Macron to come for the first state visit?  (Laughter.)  Obviously, I’m not the one to answer this question – (laughter) – but I can tell you why the U.S. and France, definitely.  I think because a lot of people in this world do believe sometimes we are too proud, too self-confident and so on, but it’s because both of us do believe that we can – and we are in a certain way, in charge of universal values.

And you just quoted these words from Lafayette.  He had this in-depth feeling that he will fight for his own country and for liberty together.  And when your soldiers came during the First and the Second World War in our country, they had exactly the same feeling.  And we will never forget that a lot of your families lost children on soils they never knew before just because they were fighting for liberty and for universal values.  And I think this link in the current environment, in our world, is unique, and this is why I think we are here today and I am so proud to be here indeed with you.

(Inaudible) we have a wonderful delegation.  We have our ministers and a lot of civil servants working hard on a daily basis for the bilateral relation.  We have business leaders, and we were very proud two days ago to have the first Franco-American business council, and I want to thank all of those who contributed to this event.  We have a lot of members of our parliament on both side, and we had a wonderful discussion yesterday with the caucus – and, I will admit, representatives and senators right after this luncheon.  I want to thank our delegation as well for that.  You have a lot of tech players, a lot of investors, a lot of people involved in culture, sports, because we are so much linked by all these sectors, so much linked by the strength of creativity on both sides and our common ability to convey our faith in science and knowledge and our appetite for talent and creativity.

And indeed, we have a lot of common work and common challenge together.  We are very much engaged together to help the Ukrainians in this war and to resist to the Russian aggression.  And I want to thank your country for the unique commitment and investment alongside the Ukrainian people and in great solidarity with the Europeans.

And we are as well very much engaged for climate change.  More solidarity in this world, we will work hard for this new partnership between north and south in the coming months.  We are committed for climate and biodiversity, and yesterday we had a wonderful discussion for some initiatives regarding better conservation and protect our rainforests and our oceans.  And what we have in common is precisely to work very hard for these values and to make them concrete for our people.

We have huge challenges in our democracies.  Because our middle classes do suffer, and the recent years and decade was so, so tough.  And we see in our countries almost everywhere a sort of resurgence of hatred speech, racism, divisions.

One way is to accompany this move and to be a demagogue.  You decided not to do so, and I want to thank you for that.  And we try to resist on our side as well, to precisely deliver more and be efficient and provide concrete solutions to our fellow citizens when we speak about health, when we speak about climate, when we speak about (inaudible) our country, when we speak about defense and security.  And this is how our partnership has to work and deliver.  And this is why this morning we had a very useful and fruitful discussion to work on this issue.

I was very happy as well to have very concrete discussion yesterday with you on space, and we are so proud of our astronauts and our common journey (inaudible) in the future.  We had very good discussion on nuclear energy, on science and research, on quantic, and so many different fields.  And tomorrow I will go to New Orleans with a wonderful delegation to speak about green energy, climate change, culture, and Francophonie, as I can demonstrate it right now.  (Laughter.)  But I want to give you some time more, so I want to avoid translation.  But we will clearly as well launch a new program for French language, and you’re a perfect example – both of you – of this attachment for the French language.

But I come from a country where everybody knows that gastronomy and a good lunch is part of diplomacy.  (Laughter.)  And a lot of people pretended that Talleyrand was so successful because he was already with his cooker, and some people claim that in fact Talleyrand’s cooker is the actual diplomat.  (Laughter.)  So I don’t want to be longer.  I want you to enjoy this lunch, because I think it’s part of diplomacy – (laughter) – and I think it’s the best way to share a very good moment.

But let me tell that in these challenging times, this history and the friendship between the United States of America and France on both sides is part of our soul, our roots, but as well part of our future.  And I will be committed to deliver concrete results for our fellow citizens on both sides of the ocean in this context, thanks to this common history, and committed to this common destiny.

Thank you.  (Applause.)