On Sunday night, Joe Biden declared in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes that the Covid-19 “pandemic is over.” Not so coincidentally, this statement comes right after existing federal pandemic response funding has run out, and after attempts at approving more money were routinely removed from spending bills in order to designate more money for Ukraine. If the pandemic is “over,” the government can be excused for failing to provide additional support. But while official cases, hospitalization, and death counts are all much lower now compared to the peak of the Omicron wave in January, and while vaccines continue to mitigate the severity of illness, the Covid-19 virus is still wreaking havoc in the United States. The pandemic continues to still not be over.
More than a year after it froze $7 billion of Afghanistan’s central bank reserves in the wake of the Taliban’s military victory, the US has announced it will use half the money to establish a fund at a Swiss bank to help stabilize the cratering Afghan economy. President Joe Biden’s refusal over the past year to allow the Afghan central bank access to its own reserves has caused an economic crisis that has pushed most of the population into extreme poverty and malnutrition. Moreover, in February, Biden announced that he was reserving half of Afghanistan’s money for families of 9/11 victims, sparking international outrage—and yawns from TV news outlets (FAIR.org, 2/15/22). The establishment of the “Afghan Fund” is a half measure that, while almost certain to provide some much needed relief, continues both the unjust theft of half the funds and the hobbling of the country’s recovery by undermining the central bank.
On Sunday President Biden warned Russian President Valdamir Putin "Dont. Don't. Don't." use nuclear weapons in retaliation for severe battlefield losses in Ukraine. While Putin dismissed Biden's worries as unfounded, the specter of nuclear Armageddon drove US anti-war activists to the streets days before in a September Week of Action organized by the Peace in Ukraine Coalition. Demanding a "Ceasefire now!" activists hosted anti-war events in DC, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Madison, Boston, Rockville, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Pedro, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. The Peace in Ukraine Coalition—CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Democratic Socialists of America, Massachusetts Peace Action, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom-US and other organizations—mobilized for negotiations, not escalation in what CODEPINK describes as a proxy war threatening a direct war between the two most heavily armed nuclear nations, the United States and Russia.
President Joe Biden makes me laugh. One would think at his age, he would know that you can't heal a major illness, or wound, until you start at the source. I am referring to his continually saying, "We have to heal the soul of the United States (U.S.)." That's never going to happen until the powers-that-be, including President Biden, begin to heal the original illness, or wound, as you wish, which is the mistreatment and injustice they continue to give to the Original Nations, the American Indian Nations who are us. Some call it Karma. We call it the circle. Whoa!! No one wants to think about that let alone verbalize such an idea. Yet, that is precisely what the 1894 Sioux Nation Treaty Council has been doing for the past few years through letters to President Biden. He has been given the opportunity to "heal" the U.S. What is his response? The first year, there was NO response. So another letter was sent.
Just after 5 a.m. on Thursday, Marty Walsh tweeted that the railroad companies and the railroad unions had come to a tentative agreement, less than 19 hours from a potential shutdown: “Moments ago, following more than 20 consecutive hours of negotiations at [the Department of Labor], the rail companies and union negotiators came to a tentative agreement that balances the needs of workers, businesses, and our nation’s economy. The Biden Administration applauds all parties for reaching this hard-fought, mutually beneficial deal. Our rail system is integral to our supply chain, and a disruption would have had catastrophic impacts on industries, travelers and families across the country.” By 11:30 a.m., Joe Biden was in the White House Rose Garden, declaring victory: “This is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers and for their dignity and the dignity of their work, it’s a recognition of that.”
I am writing you as a proud member of Veterans For Peace and its former president. We have been following the war in Ukraine closely, since well before the Russian invasion on February 24 of this year. We were alarmed when you and President Obama supported the regime-change coup in Ukraine in 2014, which was openly cheered on by the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, and spearheaded by self-described Nazis. We watched in horror as those same self-described Nazis set fire to an Odessa union building full of Ukrainians who were protesting a new law outlawing the Russian language as an official language of Ukraine. 50 people were burned alive or shot and beaten to death. This in a country with a long history with Russia and millions of Russian speakers.
Workers at the Environmental Protection Agency are calling on President Joe Biden to issue a climate emergency declaration at the same time they’re calling for improvements in staffing and resources for the agency in their next union contract. The largest union representing workers at the EPA, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 238—which represents nearly 7,500 EPA employees around the US—voted to declare a climate emergency in May 2022 and are calling on Biden to do the same. AFGE is the largest union representing federal government and District of Columbia employees (currently the membership is about 700,000), though other smaller unions do represent professionals at the EPA.
After signing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last spring, President Joe Biden touted what the economic stimulus bill would deliver: food assistance to millions of people in need, lower healthcare premiums for millions of Americans, and $350 billion for state and local governments to spend on COVID-19 recovery. Economists say it was the largest infusion of federal funding in local governments in almost 40 years. A year later, ARPA became one of President Biden’s talking points to demonstrate Democrats are not out to defund the police. “[T]he American Rescue Plan … provided $350 billion that cities, states, and counties can use to hire more police, invest in more proven strategies like community violence interruption, trusted messengers,” Biden said during his State of the Union address this year.
“MAGA proposals are a threat to the very soul of this country.” Joe Biden“The MAGA agenda represents an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.” Joe Biden“The MAGA ideology looks at America and sees carnage and darkness and despair.” Joe Biden“MAGA Republicans in Congress look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th not as insurrectionists but as patriots.” Joe Biden Anyone paying attention knows that Joe Biden’s accomplishments as president are pretty sparse. The oligarchy allowed his American Rescue Plan stimulus program to go through but then put a stop on Build Back Better or any other legislation that would help the people in a meaningful way.
With less than one week to go before the September 16 deadline when a national railway strike can legally begin, a conflict is brewing between US railroad workers, on the one hand, and the major corporations, Washington and the trade union apparatus, on the other. The sentiment for a strike among 100,000 railroaders is overwhelming. In July, engineers voted to authorize a strike by 99.5 percent. But it is not simply a question of what they want. They have no other choice. It is impossible for them to continue to work 80 hours or even 100 hours a week, on call 24/7. The brutal work regime in the railroad industry, which is more profitable than any other, renders workers strangers to their families and leaves them even without time to schedule doctor’s appointments.
In a blatant violation of international law and its 1947 hosting agreement, the US government has blocked numerous countries from participating in events at the UN headquarters in New York City. The Biden administration is banning Russian diplomats, while the Trump administration illegally prohibited top officials from Venezuela and Iran. Reuters reported on September 2 that Russia has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations, after the US government has “been constantly refusing to grant entry visas” to Russian diplomats to participate in events at the UN headquarters, Moscow’s ambassador said.
Last week, US President Joe Biden extended for one more year the sanctions on Cuba, arguing the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917. This mechanism has been used for the last 60 years to back the countless sanctions that make up the US blockade against Cuba. This time, Biden only limited himself to saying that it was a “matter of interest to the United States.” By a stroke of the pen, he condemned the Cuban people to continue to suffer all the economic shortages caused by the blockade. Sanctioning and playing with the welfare of millions of people, with their very lives, seems to be a reflex action of US political class.
96 percent of freight rail workers still want to strike as soon as they can under federal law, despite a Joe Biden-appointed emergency mediation board recently drawing up terms for a potential compromise contract, according to a survey conducted by a railroad worker group. The survey is the latest indication that the deep, years-long cleavage between workers and management centering on working conditions, pay, and health care benefits at the country’s freight rail lines will not be easily reconciled. “People are pretty furious,” said Railroad Workers United secretary Ron Kaminkow, who conducted the survey. He added there was “nothing really surprising, but it’s always very vindicating when the word on the street and from your co-workers that it’s overwhelming is verified.”
The Biden administration announcement of so-called student loan debt relief does little to alleviate the problem it claims to solve. Forgiving $20,000 for Pell grant holders and $10,000 for all who earn less than $125,000 is questionable for a variety of reasons. It is a midterm election bait and switch that pleases gullible democrats, helps only a minority of borrowers, and is nothing like what candidate Biden proposed during the 2020 campaign. Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. This crisis did not occur by happenstance. Universities did not escape the neoliberal onslaught and are fund raising machines charging astronomical amounts of money for tuition and room and board.
Researcher Stephen Semler documented the 21 distinct military aid packages that the Joe Biden administration approved for Ukraine in the year between August 2021 and August 2022, at a total of $40.13 billion. Two of those 21 pledges were approved before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Excluding these two Presidential Drawdowns from August and December 2021, which are worth $260 million combined, the Biden administration passed $39.87 billion for military aid in Ukraine between February 25, 2022 (the day after the Russian invasion) and August 19, 2022.