Biden Bits: My Full Statement

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

It’s Monday.

Yes, I’m forced to start repeating songs…

For Monday, August 16th, 2021, President Biden has probably received his daily brief though no time was listed on his public schedule. There is nothing further on his public schedule. President Biden is currently at Camp David.

President Biden has not tweeted for Monday so far.

When Biden Bits was published on Friday, President Biden had tweeted 2 times. He add 4 tweets giving him a Friday Tweeting Total of 6 tweets and no retweets.

From the White Houses breakdown of the Build Back Better agenda.

The Build Back Better Agenda.

The video is 2 minutes and 25 seconds long. The video is snips taken from remarks President Biden gave on August 11th, 2021. His full remarks can be found here.

President Biden (2:20): [That’s why] I want to talk today about what we’re going to do to try to ease the burden on families right now and what we need to do to help them succeed over the longer term. First, for millions of families, help is on the way right now, thanks to the American Rescue Plan.  On Friday, about 40 million families will receive their second monthly payment as part of our tax cut for families with children: [three hundred and — $300 for each child under the age of 6, and $250 for every child 6 through the age of 17.  That’s money for diapers, food, rent, school supplies, fees and equipment for a child to join sports teams and dance class.  Most of all, as my dad used to say, it just gives a parent a little bit of breathing room.]

President Biden (3:47): The second point I’d like to make is: We’re talking about taking action that alleviates global supply chain challenges that keep prices higher than they should be. For example, we’re — we’re tracking congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — the largest ports in United States — where increased shipping traffic, and the challenges of operating safely in a pandemic are creating disruptions. [Those disruptions impact everything from how much our food costs to when deliveries arrive. So, my administration is bringing together the port operators, shipping lines, the labor unions, trucking companies, railroads, and others to speed up the port’s operations.] Right now, our experts believe — the major independent forecasters agree as well — that these bottlenecks and price spikes will reduce as our economy continues to heal. 

President Biden (4:57): Third, I’ve directed my administration to crack down on what some major players are doing in the economy that are keeping prices higher than they need be. [Take your groceries bill:] When big agriculture operations consolidate, they put a squeeze on small and family farms, making them pay more for seed, paying them less for what they produce, and raising prices on what your groceries — what you pay for your groceries at the grocery store. My executive order opens up competition in the agricultural business, gives more farmers a chance to compete, which will give Americans more food choices at lower cost. Fourthly, we are taking action to address gas prices as well. [Today, gas prices are lower than they were early in this decade. But they’re still high enough to create a pinch on working families.] One key thing about the infrastructure bill that just passed the Senate is there are no gas tax increases.  No gas tax increases.

President Biden (15:11): [So, let me close with this: We’ve brought this economy back from a cold start. And] there is going to be — there are going to be some ups and downs. But I am committed to making sure that our historic economic recovery reaches everyone — this time, it reaches everyone — and eases the burden on working families not just this year, but for the years to come.

The Build Back Better Agenda.

The Build Back Better Agenda
The Build Back Better Agenda.

The video is 31 seconds long. The snip is taken from his remarks on August 6th, 2021. Yes, he’s wearing a tan-suit, and yes, that will continue to make me giggle probably for all time.

President Biden (3:11): Economic growth is the fastest in 40 years. Jobs are up. The unemployment rate is the lowest since the pandemic hit. Black unemployment is down as well. Why? Because we put in place the necessary tools early in my presidency — [the COVID vaccine] — the COVID-19 vaccine plan, the American Rescue Plan — to fight the virus and fight the economic mess we inherited. As a result, we’ve been able to make progress on both fronts against grave challenges.


President Biden tweeted 4 times for Saturday.
President Biden did not tweet for Sunday.

His full statement:

Over the past several days, I have been in close contact with my national security team to give them direction on how to protect our interests and values as we end our military mission in Afghanistan.

First, based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military, and intelligence teams, I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 U.S. troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of U.S. personnel and other allied personnel, and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance.

Second, I have ordered our Armed Forces and our Intelligence Community to ensure that we will maintain the capability and the vigilance to address future terrorist threats from Afghanistan.

Third, I have directed the Secretary of State to support President Ghani and other Afghan leaders as they seek to prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement. Secretary Blinken will also engage with key regional stakeholders.

Fourth, we have conveyed to the Taliban representatives in Doha, via our Combatant Commander, that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts U.S. personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong U.S. military response.

Fifth, I have placed Ambassador Tracey Jacobson in charge of a whole-of-government effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants and other Afghan allies. Our hearts go out to the brave Afghan men and women who are now at risk. We are working to evacuate thousands of those who helped our cause and their families.
That is what we are going to do. Now let me be clear about how we got here.

America went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11th. That mission resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda. And yet, 10 years later, when I became President, a small number of U.S. troops still remained on the ground, in harm’s way, with a looming deadline to withdraw them or go back to open combat.

Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in U.S. history. One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.

When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500.

Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies’ Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.

White 08/14/2021.

On Sunday the Defense Department and State Department released the following joint statement:

At present we are completing a series of steps to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights.  Over the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control. Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals. And we will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the United States over the past two weeks. For all categories, Afghans who have cleared security screening will continue to be transferred directly to the United States. And we will find additional locations for those yet to be screened.

Defense Department. 08/15/2021.

On Sunday Secretary of State Antony Blinken was on CNN’s State of the Union hosted by Jake Tapper. Blinken’s full remarks can be found here.

Some Highlights:

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Jake, first, let’s put this in context.  And as we’ve discussed before, we were in Afghanistan for one overriding purpose: to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11.  That’s why we went there 20 years ago.  And over those 20 years, we brought bin Ladin to justice, we vastly diminished the threat posed by al-Qaida in Afghanistan to the United States to the point where it’s not capable of conducting such an attack again from Afghanistan.  We’re going to keep in place in the region the capacity to see any re-emergence of a terrorist threat and to be able to deal with it.  And on the terms that we went into Afghanistan in the first place, we’ve succeeded in achieving our objectives. 

When the President came to office, he had a decision to make.  The previous administration negotiated an agreement with the Taliban that said that our forces, our remaining forces, only about 2,500 would be out of the country on May 1st.  And the idea that the status quo could have been maintained by keeping our forces there I think is simply wrong.  The fact of the matter is, had the President decided to keep forces in Afghanistan beyond May 1st, attacks would have resumed on our forces.  The Taliban had not been attacking our forces or NATO during the period from which the agreement was reached to May 1st. 

The offensive you’re seeing across the country now to take these provincial capitals would have commenced, and we would have been back at war with the Taliban, and I’d probably be on this program today explaining why we were sending tens of thousands of American forces back into Afghanistan and back to war, something the American people simply don’t support.

QUESTION:  You keep changing the subject to whether or not we should be there forever, and I’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about whether or not this exit was done properly, taking out all the service members before those Americans and those Afghan translators could get out.  That’s what I’m talking about.  And then you have to send people back in.  That shows – that’s the definition of, oh, we shouldn’t have taken those troops out because now we have to send twice as many back in.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Look.  I think it shows that we were prepared.  The President was prepared, for every contingency as this moved forward.  We had those forces on hand and they were able to deploy very quickly, again, to make sure that we could move out safely and securely as the situation on the ground changed. 

QUESTION:  Let me just ask you:  Is the Biden administration right now offering the Taliban anything in exchange for a promise of safe passage for Americans and others out of Afghanistan?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  No, we haven’t asked the Taliban for anything.  We’ve told the Taliban that if they interfere with our personnel, with our operations, as we’re proceeding with this drawdown, there will be a swift and decisive response.  That’s what we’ve told them.

[this is not in the video clip].

QUESTION:  Why now?  Why are just doing that now?  On this show we’ve been talking for months about the need to evacuate these thousands of Afghan translators and others who helped U.S. service members during the war.  President Biden just named an ambassador just a few days ago to run an interagency task force on this.  Thousands of these folks are now trapped in their homes; they cannot even try to get to Kabul.  It’s not safe.  I know two lieutenants, veterans, who are, like, setting up a GoFundMe to save their translators from COP Keating.  Why did President Biden wait so long to set up the interagency task force?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  In fact, that task force has been going for many, many weeks now, and Ambassador Jacobson, who is leading it, has actually been in place for many, many weeks.  And we have been working this from day one.  We had to put in place an entire system to deal with this.  Unfortunately, none of that work was done when we came in, and we had to put that in place.  As you know, the refugee admissions process and support system was decimated in recent years.  We’ve been working to rebuild that, and it’s been – it’s taken time to get all of that in place.  But we have a whole-of-government effort going on right now to do everything we possibly can to get people out of harm’s way if that’s what they want to do.

State Department. 08/15/2021.

His full interview can be found here.

This is where I confess I’m highly outside my wheel house to provide a full overall view of what’s happening in Afghanistan. It’s not exactly that I can’t grasp it, my issue runs along the lines of what sources do I trust or can I trust to help provide a overall view of what’s happening as it relates to foreign policy.

Richard Engel reported this for the Today show.

This was his full report for NBC Nightly News last night.

Here’s a thread from yesterday…

This is from Reuters.

President Biden has tweeted that he will address the nation this afternoon D.C., time on the situation in Afghanistan.

We move on to the rest of Saturday’s tweets.

His full statement:

In what is already a challenging time for the people of Haiti, I am saddened by the devastating earthquake that occurred in Saint-Louis du Sud, Haiti this morning. We send our deepest condolences to all those who lost a loved one or saw their homes and businesses destroyed. I have authorized an immediate US response and named USAID Administrator Samantha Power as the senior US official to coordinate this effort.

Through USAID, we are supporting efforts to assess the damage and assist efforts to recover those who were injured and those who must now rebuild. The United States remains a close and enduring friend to the people of Haiti, and we will be there in the aftermath of this tragedy.

White 08/14/2021.

CNN is reported that following the 7.2 earthquake that has left almost 1,300 people dead, Tropical Depression Grace “was approaching the southern coast of Hispaniola, the island comprising Haiti and the Dominican Republic, early Monday bringing with it sustained winds of 35 mph (56 km/h), and higher gusts, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Dominican Republic and Haiti later today, Brink said, adding that several inches of rain are forecast — with up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) possible in some isolated areas — through Tuesday.

His last tweet for Saturday.

President Biden’s remarks are scheduled to start sometime after 3:30 p.m. D.C., time.

This is an open thread

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Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.