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Tag: joe biden

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Endorse This! President Biden Trashes Trump, Talks Gun Violence On Kimmel

In his first live-in-studio appearance since taking office during the pandemic, President Joe Biden sat down with late-night comedy host Jimmy Kimmel to let off a little steam and set the record straight on inflation and gun violence plaguing Americans. Like most Americans, the late-night comic is impatient for action on guns -- and jokingly prodded the president.

Biden explained that he has done executive orders on guns but some things are beyond executive power alone. Then he took a poke at his predecessor.

"But what I don't want to do, and I'm not being facetious, I don't want to emulate Trump's abuse of the Constitution," Biden told Kimmel. "I often get asked, 'look the Republicans don't play it square, why do you play it square?' Well, guess what? If we do the same thing they do, our democracy will literally be in jeopardy."

Watch the Interview Below:


Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Defending Ukraine, Biden Shows Resolve — And Restraint

Restraint is a useful but often unsatisfying virtue, and in the case of Ukraine, there are plenty of people who think that it's not a virtue at all. Fortunately, American policy is being set by Joe Biden, who has a sober understanding of the perils of overreach.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine spurred all sorts of extravagant demands for U.S. action. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), urged the president "to send not just arms but troops to the aid in defense of Ukraine." Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)., was one of several GOP members of Congress to say the U.S. should establish a no-fly zone in Ukraine — which could mean shooting down Russian warplanes.

Biden dismissed these options, even as he extended economic aid, weapons and moral support to the besieged Ukrainian government. But prudence invites charges of weakness. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says Biden is "scared of Putin."

On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), took to Twitter to accuse Biden of "a betrayal of #Ukraine and democracy itself." His offense? Declining to provide Ukraine with missiles that can hit targets as far as 185 miles away.

"We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia," Biden said flatly. The obvious reason is that such missile attacks would drastically raise the stakes for Vladimir Putin — who, let us not forget, has the world's largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. Biden is not about to outsource our fate to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Another idea is to deploy U.S. Navy ships to break the Russian blockade of Odessa, which has deprived the world of Ukrainian grain. But Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointed out that this option could lead to direct combat with Russia.

"Right now, the sea lanes are blocked by mines and the Russian navy," he said Tuesday. "It would be a high-risk military operation that would require significant levels of effort."

But the concept of "high risk" doesn't register with inveterate hawks who think every problem can be solved by the application of America's armed might — a theory decisively refuted in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places.

Such disasters instilled in Biden a healthy skepticism about military intervention. But that skepticism has also moved him to look for alternatives in dealing with foreign crises.

As it has from the start, his administration is trying to ensure that Ukraine can stave off the Russian invasion — without provoking Putin to escalate and without embroiling the U.S. in the war.

Biden hasn't tried to dictate what Zelensky should aspire to achieve or what he should be willing to accept. In an op-ed in Wednesday's New York Times, he said he "will not pressure the Ukrainian government — in private or public — to make any territorial concessions."

At the same time, he's made it plain that the U.S. commitment has strict limits. Biden's op-ed didn't fantasize about a complete victory that would evict Russia from every inch of Ukrainian soil. His goal, he wrote, is to help Ukraine achieve "the strongest possible position at the negotiating table." Left unspoken is that any negotiations are bound to require territorial concessions.

Biden's administration has adopted a variety of stern measures to punish and weaken Putin and deter him from broader aggression, most recently signing a package of military, economic and humanitarian aid costing $40 billion.

Biden moved 12,000 troops into NATO countries bordering on Russia, including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Romania. He welcomed the request from Sweden and Finland to join the alliance.

He imposed a ban on Russian oil and gas imports — a step that prodded the European Union, which is far more dependent on them, to approve its own ban.

He adopted severe economic sanctions to deprive Russia of the money to fight the war. The decision led a host of big Western corporations, from McDonald's to Apple to ExxonMobil, to stop doing business in Russia. All this has been a marvel of Western cooperation and resolve.

It has also had tangible results. Russian exports and imports have plunged. Inflation hit nearly 18% in April. The Russian army has found itself repeatedly stopped or pushed back, and as many as 15,000 of its soldiers have been killed.

Biden understood the importance of responding forcefully to an unprovoked act of aggression. But he also knows that pushing too far can lead to disaster.

Follow Steve Chapman on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Video Reveals RNC Scheme To Disrupt Vote In Democratic Precincts

With President Joe Biden continuing to suffer from weak approval ratings and voters expressing considerable frustration over inflation, Democratic strategists fear that the 2022 midterms could bring a major red wave like the red waves of 1994 and 2010. To make matters worse, Republicans have been ramping up their voter suppression campaign. And according to reporting from journalist Heidi Przybyla in Politico, part of the GOP game plan is looking for ways to challenge votes in Democratic-leaning areas.

Politico, Przybyla reports, has obtained “video recordings” of “Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists” that “provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts.” The plan, according to Przybyla, is to “install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys.”

Przybyla writes, “The plan, as outlined by a Republican National Committee staffer in Michigan, includes utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at Democratic-majority polling places, developing a website to connect those workers to local lawyers and establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts.”

The RNC staffer in Michigan that Przybyla is referring to is Matthew Seifried. In a recording of a training session held on October 5, 2021, Seifried told his colleagues, “Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than (as) a poll challenger…. It’s going to be an army. We’re going to have more lawyers than we’ve ever recruited, because let’s be honest, that’s where it’s going to be fought, right?”

Seifried, according to Przybyla, “also said the RNC will hold ‘workshops’ and equip poll workers with a hotline and website developed by Zendesk, a software support company used by online retailers, which will allow them to live-chat with party attorneys on Election Day.”

Przybyla notes that “election watchdog groups and legal experts say many of these recruits are answering the RNC’s call because they falsely believe fraud was committed in the 2020 election.”

Nick Penniman, founder and CEO of the election watchdog group Issue One, told Politico, “This is completely unprecedented in the history of American elections that a political party would be working at this granular level to put a network together. It looks like now, the Trump forces are going directly after the legal system itself — and that should concern everyone.”

Penniman believes that the RNC strategy is to “create massive failure of certification” in Democratic precincts.

“The real hope is that you can throw the choosing of electors to state legislatures,” Penniman told Politico.

Law professor Rick Hasen, an expert on election law who also teaches political science professor at the University of California, Irvine, is quite critical of the RNC plan to install poll workers in heavily Democratic precincts.

Hasen told Politico, “You shouldn’t have poll workers who are reporting to political organizations what they see. It creates the potential for mucking things up at polling places and potentially leading to delays or disenfranchisement of voters.”

That is especially true, Hasen added, “if (the poll workers) come in with the attitude that something is crooked with how elections are run.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Why Crowd Cheered Bidens And Jeered Abbott At Uvalde Massacre Memorial

On Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was greeted by jeers upon his arrival at a memorial site for the victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas — the state that has seen the most mass shootings since 2012.

The escalating gun violence has sparked nationwide grief and a clamor for increased gun control in a country that has experienced at least 12 mass shootings since last Tuesday.

Abbott and his Republican colleagues have endured waves of criticism for their weakening of the state’s gun laws, as well as their unrelenting support for the easy acquisition of guns, even after numerous mass shootings.

In a recent report, the Texas Tribune stated that “in the last two legislative sessions, Texas legislators have loosened gun laws, most notably by passing permitless carry in 2021, less than two years after mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa took the lives of 30 people.”

Abbott had traveled to the town to meet with President Biden, who had also come to pay his respects and condole with the victims’ families.

As Abbott wheeled past the elementary school sign, the crowd — comprising Uvalde residents and visitors from out of town — booed the governor.

“We need change, governor!” shouted a man in the crowd. “Our children are under constant attack in this community. We need help,” the man continued, yelling at Abbott, who had delivered taped remarks at the National Rifle Association’s convention in the immediate aftermath of the school shooting.

“Shame on you, Abbott,” another voice rang out loud, according to Reuters, as Abbott’s security kept the crowd at bay.

Confidence in the governor took a hit last Friday when, in a press conference, Abbott announced that his earlier statements extolling the state’s law enforcement's speedy reaction had been wrong, but that was what he was told.

Abbott’s admission came after the state’s top safety official admitted that the police made the “wrong decision” by not storming the classroom where the shooter had killed the children and barricaded himself.

"If I thought it would help, I would apologize," said Steven McCraw, the director and colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, during a heated press conference.

Abbott tried to placate the public, saying, “Law enforcement is going to earn the trust of the public by making sure they thoroughly and exhaustively investigate exactly what happened.”

The same crowd greeted Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, with cheers as they laid flowers at the memorial. The first couple attended services at a Catholic church afterward, and when they were leaving, someone yelled “Do something!” The request caught the president’s attention, and he replied, “We will.”

Abbott has announced that new laws could be enacted because of the school shooting — laws that address mental health, not gun violence, per the Hill.

“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws passed that I will sign addressing health care in this state,” Abbott said. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.”

“Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” he added.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico after the Uvalde incident found that an overwhelming majority of Americans — 88% of the respondents — support background checks on all guns.

However, Republicans appear hellbent on ignoring the outcry, as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke pointed out when he confronted Abbott at the governor's press conference last Wednesday.

Florida Legislator Threatens Biden Over Gun Safety Speech

A Florida state representative appeared to threaten President Joe Biden on Twitter after the president’s remarks about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and two adults were killed.

“I have news for the embarrassment that claims to be our President – try to take our guns and you’ll learn why the Second Amendment was written in the first place,” Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican who likes to say he represents the “southern portion” of Brevard County. That’s east of Orlando on the Atlantic Coast.

Fine later tweeted that the reaction to his tweet “exposes the lie of the left that they just want ‘common sense gun control.’ They want one thing and one thing only — gun confiscation and an end to the 2A — and the notion that Americans will exercise their right to fight them makes them go crazy. Boo hoo.”

On Facebook Fine called Biden “Traitor Joe.”

Fine’s threatening and fact-free tweets came after Biden called for action so America has fewer school shootings like the one in Uvalde.

“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Biden asked in remarks laced with religious references. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act which would have set up offices focused on domestic terrorism at the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance called Fine’s comments “the language of fascism, not democracy.”


Fine defended his comments as reasonable, even necessary.

“If the president of the United States wants to politicize a tragedy, he should expect people to get upset,” Fine said.

In a scrum with reporters, Fine called Biden’s remarks “incendiary” because the president spoke in support of gun control.

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on Fine’s tweets. The Secret Service didn’t return an email from DCReport.

Federal law makes it a crime to in any way threaten to harm, kidnap, or kill the president. Typically public officials who make threats like Fine’s are ignored or get a visit from the Secret Service.

Fine has described a fantasy history of the Second Amendment, one popularized by pseudo-historians, white supremacists, religious fanatics, and gun manufacturers whose most profitable products are military-style assault weapons like the AR-15. Fine is all in on so-called "Constitutional carry," which would let anyone carry a gun openly with no training, no license, no firearms registration.

Fine articulated the gun industry’s Big Lie when he spoke with Florida reporters about his threatening tweets. “People need to understand the history of the Second Amendment,” Fine said. “The Second Amendment was created to protect people from an overarching government. That’s what it was created for. And when the government says we’re going to come after you and we’re going to treat you the way the Chinese treat their citizens, we’re going to take away your ability to protect yourself from an overarching government, people are going to be upset.”

As the Second Amendment states on its face it was enacted to make sure that each state could have a “well-regulated militia.” All Constitutional rights have limits, as our Supreme Court has held in many cases.

There have been 214 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Education Week, which tracks school shootings, said there have been 27 American school shootings with injuries or deaths this year. The United States this year has suffered more than one school shooting per week. Most countries have had zero school shootings this year.

Fine is a former gambling industry executive. He has an MBA and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University so he’s not lacking in education, just common sense and decency.

Fine’s threats and lies about the Second Amendment come as NRA-funded Republicans blocked the confirmation of David Chipman, Biden’s nominee to run our nation’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. Biden’s second choice for the job, former federal prosecutor Steven Dettelbach, also may not be confirmed because of Republicans toeing the line of the NRA, a former organization of hunters and target shooters that now represents gunmakers.

The ATF hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed leader since 2015. Firearm lobbyists have even blocked the bureau from making a searchable database to trace weapons used in murders and other crimes.

Reprinted with permission from DC Report.

Biden: No Change To U.S. "Strategic Ambiguity" On Taiwan Defense

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Sakura Murakami

TOKYO (Reuters) -- President Joe Biden on Tuesday said there was no change to a U.S. policy of "strategic ambiguity" on Taiwan, a day after he appeared to stretch the limits of the U.S. line on the island by saying he would be willing to use force to defend it.

The issue of Taiwan looms over a meeting in Tokyo of leaders of the Quad grouping of the United States, Japan, Australia and India, who have stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China.

While Washington is required by law to provide self-ruled Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily to protect it in the event of a Chinese attack - a convention Biden had appeared to break with on Monday.

On Tuesday, Biden, asked if there had been any change to the U.S. policy on Taiwan, responded: "No."

"The policy has not changed at all. I stated that when I made my statement yesterday," he said after a round of talks with his Quad colleagues.

China considers Taiwan an inalienable part of its territory and says it is the most sensitive and important issue in its relationship with Washington.

Biden's Monday comment, when he volunteered U.S. military support for Taiwan, was the latest in a series of apparently off-the-cuff assertions that suggest his personal inclination is to defend it.

Some critics have said he has misspoken on the issue, or made a gaffe, and his muddying of the issue risked accelerating China's desire to act, without carrying the muscle of a formal security guarantee.

But other policy analysts have suggested that given Biden's extensive foreign policy experience, and the context in which he made the remarks, next to Japan's prime minister and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, suggested he didn't misspeak.

Taiwan was not an official item on the Quad agenda and Biden spoke more about Ukraine, condemning Russia's invasion as a global issue.

"Russia's assault of Ukraine only heightens the importance of those goals of fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty. International law, human rights must always be defended regardless of where they're violated in the world," he said.

Biden said the United States would stand with its "close democratic partners" to push for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

'Ambitious Action'

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida echoed Biden's condemnation of Russia, saying its invasion "shakes the foundation of international order" and was a direct challenge to the principles of the United Nations.

"We should not allow similar things to happen in the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not mention Ukraine, Russia or China in his opening remarks.

India has frustrated the United States with what it regards as a lack of support for U.S.-led sanctions on Russia and condemnation of its invasion.

Though India has developed close U.S. ties in recent years and is a vital part of the Quad grouping aimed at pushing back against China, it also has a long-standing relationship with Russia, which remains a major supplier of its defense equipment and oil supplies.

India abstained in U.N. Security Council votes on Russia's invasion, though it did raise concerns about some killings of Ukrainian civilians.

New Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his goals were aligned with the priorities of the Quad, telling his fellow leaders he wanted them all to lead on climate change.

"The region is looking to us to work with them and to lead by example," he said.

"That's why my government will take ambitious action on climate change and increase our support to partners in the region as they work to address it, including with new finance."

China has been extending its influence in the Pacific where island nations face some of the most direct risks from rising seas.

On India's stand on Ukraine, a U.S. official said Biden, who is due to hold bilateral talks with Modi later on Tuesday, would seek out commonalities, emphasizing the importance of a face-to-face meeting.

"It's true with all the members of Quad there are some differences, the question is how they're addressed and how they're managed," the official said in a briefing to reporters before the talks.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Sakura Murakami, David Dolan, Chang-Ran Kim, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Krishna Das; writing by Trevor Hunnicutt and Elaine Lies; editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)