Biden Bits: No Sweeter Word Than Freedom…

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

President Biden’s public schedule for Wednesday 02/22/2023:

7:00 AM Pool Call TimeOut-of-Town Pool Call Time (12:00 PM Local)
Warsaw Marriott Hotel, Poland Out-of-Town Pool
7:30 AM Official ScheduleThe President greets with U.S Embassy staff (1:30 PM Local)
U.S. Embassy, Warsaw, Poland Closed Press
8:45 AM Official ScheduleThe President meets with the leaders of the Bucharest Nine , a group of our eastern flank NATO Allies, and with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering support for the security of the Alliance (2:45 PM Local)
Presidential Palace, Warsaw, Poland Out-of-Town Pool Spray
10:45 AM Official ScheduleThe President departs en route Warsaw Chopin International Airport, Warsaw, Poland (4:45 PM Local)
Presidential Palace, Warsaw, Poland Out-of-Town Pool
11:15 AM Official ScheduleThe President departs Warsaw, Poland en route Joint Base Andrews (5:15 PM Local)
Warsaw Chopin Airport Out-of-Town Pool
8:20 PM Pool Call TimeIn-Town Pool Call Time
The White House In-Town Pool
8:40 PM Official ScheduleThe President arrives at Joint Base Andrews
Joint Base Andrews Out-of-Town Pool
9:00 PM Official ScheduleThe President arrives at the White House
South Lawn Open Press

President Biden has tweeted…

He’s got 4 tweets so far for Wednesday…

1st tweet for Wednesday:

President Zelenskyy’s full tweets:

I’m sharing tweets 2 and 3 down thread…

4th tweet for Wednesday:

At or around 6:08 a.m. CA., time the NATO meeting concluded; the YouTube live feed is 33 minutes and 10 seconds with the meeting starting at the 18 minute and 56 second mark. President Biden begins his remarks at the 26 minute and 24 second mark. He concludes his remarks at the 29 minute and 58 second mark.

His full remarks:

Well, thank you all very much.  And I’m delighted to be here. 

As some of you may remember, years ago, when we were expanding NATO, I was the one in the United States Senate who was pushing the hardest to expand NATO for membership of many of you sitting around this table. 

And the irony is that one of the last conversations I had with the — our friend in Russia was I said, “You keep asking for the Finlandization of NATO.  You’re going to get the NATOization of Finland.” 

Well, it happened.  Not only are we strong as we were, we’re stronger. 

And I say to my fellow presidents that I’m honored to be with you here — and so many strong NATO Allies — and the Secretary General, who I think has done an incredible job — an incredible job — for a long time, and I rely on his judgment a great deal. 

You know, the B9 was founded in 2015, after Russia attempted annexation of Crimea.  And today, as we approach the one-year anniversary of Russia’s further invasion, it’s even more important that we continue to stand together.  And I think this is proof of this — how strongly we feel. 

That’s why I wanted to meet all of you in person here today.  As NATO’s eastern flank, you’re the frontlines of our collective defense.  And you know better than anyone what’s at stake in this conflict not just for Ukraine, but for the freedom of democracies throughout Europe and around the world. 

You know, when — that’s what President Zelenskyy and I spoke about when I was in Kyiv two days ago. 

And the leaders around this table have repeatedly stepped up to reaffirm our shared commitment to all these values.  We provided critical security assistance to Ukraine and critical support to literally millions of refugees.  We’ve helped ensure Ukrainians can access basic services.  And together, we’ll continue our enduring support for Ukraine as they defend their freedom.

Over the past year, with your countries — with countries around this table providing collective leadership, we’ve also strengthened NATO.

The commitment of the United States to NATO — and I’ve said it to you many times; I’ll say it again — is absolutely clear.  Article Five is a sacred commitment the United States has made.  We will defend literally every inch of NATO — every inch of NATO.

And it’s — this is an important moment.  And I look forward to the discussion and the next steps we can take together and — to keep our alliance strong and to further deter aggression. 

Because what literally is at stake is not just Ukraine, it’s freedom.  The idea that over 100,000 forces would invade another country — after War — since World War Two, nothing like that has happened.  Things have changed radically.  And we have to — we have to make sure we change them back. 

So, thank you all very much for allowing me to be with you. And I look forward to our private discussions.

White 02/22/2023.

When the post was posted for Wednesday, President Biden had not tweeted. Don’t worry he totally made up for no tweets at early post time.

Wednesday’s Tweeting Total =’s 16 tweets and 1 retweet.

The YouTube is 22 minutes and 16 seconds long. His full remarks can be found here.

President Biden: One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv.  Well, I have just come from a visit to Kyiv, and I can report: Kyiv stands strong!  (Applause.)  Kyiv stands proud.  It stands tall.  And most important, it stands free.  (Applause.)

President Biden: He [Putin] thought autocrats like himself were tough and leaders of democracies were soft. And then, he met the iron will of America and the nations everywhere that refused to accept a world governed by fear and force.

President Biden: And I’ll repeat tonight what I said last year in this same place: A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never be able to ease [erase] the people’s love of liberty.  Brutality will never grind down the will of the free.  And Ukraine — Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia.  Never.  (Applause.)

The video snip is 21 seconds long.

President Biden: When President Putin ordered his tanks to roll into Ukraine, he thought we would roll over.  He was wrong. The Urai- — the Ukrainian people are too brave. America, Europe, a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific — we were too unified. Democracy was too strong.

President Biden: [tweet text] As Ukraine continues to defend itself against the Russian onslaught and launch counter-offensives of its own, there will continue to be hard and very bitter days, victories and tragedies.  But Ukraine is steeled for the fight ahead.  And the United States, together with our Allies and partners, are going to continue to have Ukraine’s back as it defends itself.

President Biden: [photo text] One year in- — one year into this war, Putin no longer doubts the strength of our coalition.  But he still doubts our conviction.  He doubts our staying power.  He doubts our continued support for Ukraine.  He doubts whether NATO can remain unified. But there should be no doubt: Our support for Ukraine will not waver, NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire.  (Applause.)

President Biden: Meanwhile, together we have made sure that Russia is paying the price for its abuses. We continue to maintain the largest sanctions regime ever imposed on any country in history.  And we’re going to announce more sanctions this week together with our partners. We’ll hold accountable those who are responsible for this war.  And we will seek justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity continuing to be committed by the Russians.

2nd and 3rd tweet from Wednesday:

The video snip is 32 seconds long.

President Biden: And while decisions are ours to make now, the principles and the stakes are eternal.  A choice between chaos and stability.  Between building and destroying.  Between hope and fear.  Between democracy that lifts up the human spirit and the brutal hand of the dictator who crushes it.  Between nothing less than limitation and possibilities, the kind of possibilities that come when people who live not in captivity but in freedom.  Freedom. Freedom.  There is no sweeter word than freedom.  There is no nobler goal than freedom.  There is no higher aspiration than freedom.  (Applause.) Americans know that, and you know it.  And all that we do now must be done so our children and grandchildren will know it as well. Freedom. The enemy of the tyrant and the hope of the brave and the truth of the ages. Freedom. Stand with us.  We will stand with you.

President Biden: When Russia invaded, it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested.  The whole world faced a test for the ages. Europe was being tested.  America was being tested.  NATO was being tested.  All democracies were being tested.  And the questions we faced were as simple as they were profound. Would we respond or would we look the other way?  Would we be strong or would we be weak?  Would be — we would — would we be — all of our allies — would be united or divided? One year later, we know the answer. We did respond.  We would be strong.  We would be united.   And the world would not look the other way.  (Applause.)

The White House posted the following readout; of President Biden’s Meeting with President Andrzej Duda of Poland

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met today with President Andrzej Duda of Poland in Warsaw. On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the leaders reflected on their shared efforts to support Ukraine, impose consequences on Russia, and strengthen NATO. President Biden praised the generous support of the people of Poland for welcoming over 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees into their communities. In addition, the leaders discussed their countries’ growing cooperation in the energy sector, including civil nuclear energy, our strong bilateral defense relationship, and the importance of the democratic values that underpin the transatlantic alliance.

White 02/21/2023.

After their Bilateral Meeting President Biden of the U.S., and President Andrzej Duda of Poland offered remarks. The YouTube is 16 minutes and 18 seconds long. Their full remarks can be found here.

The White House posted a readout of; President Biden’s Meeting with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland

Following his speech in Warsaw today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland in Warsaw to reaffirm the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Poland.  President Biden welcomed the Polish government’s decision to select a U.S-based company, Westinghouse, to provide the technology for its first three nuclear reactors, cementing a long-term strategic energy partnership between Poland and the United States.  The leaders also discussed other shared priorities, including support to Ukraine and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

White 02/21/2023.

The White House posted a readout of; President Biden’s Meeting with President Maia Sandu of Moldova

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. met today with Moldovan President Maia Sandu in Warsaw. President Biden reaffirmed strong U.S. support for Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He highlighted ongoing US assistance to help Moldova strengthen its political and economic resilience, including its democratic reform agenda and energy security, and to address the effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

White 02/21/2023.

As of 02/14/2023 Reuters posted a timeline of what was known of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. has posted a dedicated web page to the derailment that can be found here.

At their dedicated web page they posted the following background:

A train derailment occurred at approximately 8:55 PM EST on February 3, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. 

Norfolk Southern reported the incident at 10:53 PM ET to the National Response Center.  At that time, it was reported that an unknown number of the 150 train cars had derailed, but 20 of the cars were listed as carrying hazardous materials.  Approximately 50 cars were affected by the derailment with the rest being uncoupled and removed from the scene. 

EPA Region 5’s number one priority is – and will always be – the health and safety of communities across the region. That’s why as soon as EPA was notified of the Norfolk Southern train derailment on Friday, February 3, EPA personnel were on-site by 2 a.m. Saturday morning to assist with air monitoring. Since then, EPA has been boots-on-the-ground, leading robust air-quality testing – including with the state-of-the-art ASPECT plane  and a mobile analytical laboratory – in and around East Palestine.

On 02/17/2023 the White House posted the following fact-sheet; Biden-⁠Harris Administration Deploys Additional Federal Resources to East Palestine, Ohio

The Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized a robust, multi-agency effort to support the people of East Palestine, Ohio.

Within hours of the Norfolk Southern train derailment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deployed a team to East Palestine to support state and local emergency and environmental response efforts. The Department of Transportation (DOT) also arrived on scene to investigate what led to the derailment. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been closely coordinating with the emergency operations center, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, and Federal partners.

As President Biden told Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro soon after the derailment, the Federal Government stands ready to provide any additional federal assistance the states may need. Today, in response to Governor DeWine’s and the Ohio congressional delegation’s request on February 16 for additional federal public health support, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they are deploying a team of medical personnel and toxicologists to conduct public health testing and assessments. The team will support Federal, state, and local officials already on the ground to evaluate individuals who were exposed or potentially exposed to chemicals and help ensure timely communications to the public.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the people of East Palestine every step of the way, and holding Norfolk Southern accountable. Each Federal agency is playing its unique role in this task, including:

White 02/17/2023.

Environmental Protection Agency

EPA personnel arrived on site before dawn on February 4 to support state and local officials who are leading the emergency response efforts. There are dozens of EPA personnel on the ground, including multiple EPA on-scene coordinators, agency scientists, and regional teams, that are tasked with:

White 02/17/2023.
  • Monitoring Air Quality. The EPA is continuously monitoring air quality using state-of-art equipment. The EPA has also deployed mobile detection equipment and stationary equipment for detection of a wide range of compounds, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phosgene and hydrogen chloride.
  • Screening Homes for Contaminants. The EPA has assisted with the indoor air monitoring of 500 homes under a voluntary screening program offered to residents, and no detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride were identified above levels of concern. EPA is continuing to offer screening to residents within the evacuation zone.
  • Securing Norfolk Southern Commitment to Cover Clean Up Costs. On February 10, the EPA issued a letter to Norfolk Southern requiring the railroad to document the release of hazardous contaminants. The letter also outlines cleanup actions at the site and EPA’s authority under the law to hold them accountable.
  • Holding Norfolk Southern Accountable for Clean Up. The EPA is coordinating the oversight of Norfolk Southern’s soil remediation of the derailment site. The remediation includes testing of the soils within and immediately surrounding the impacted areas. Results of the testing are evaluated by EPA and OH EPA to determine a strategy to ensure the site is cleaned up to meet federal and state regulations.
  • Helping Ensure Water is Safe to Drink. EPA is assisting state and local agencies to test surface and ground water to ensure drinking water is safe. This includes surface water testing to monitor downstream impacts on the Ohio River.

National Transportation Safety Board and Department of Transportation

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the U.S. and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—including railroad, highway, marine, and pipelines, and Department of Transportation arrived on site within hours of the derailment. The NTSB is leading the investigation into the cause of the derailment with Department of Transportation personnel supporting. Once the investigation is complete, the Federal Government will use all available and appropriate authorities to further ensure accountability and improve rail safety. Ongoing actions include:

White 02/17/2023.
  • Investigating the Cause of the Derailment. The National Transportation Safety Board has been on site since within hours of the derailment to determine what caused the derailment. NTSB plans to submit preliminary findings report within weeks, and a final report that will lay out what caused the derailment. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) within DOT are also on site supporting the NTSB’s investigation.
  • Ensuring Compliance with Rail Safety Regulations. FRA is working to determine Norfolk Southern’s compliance with rail safety regulations. When DOT gets the results from the NTSB investigation about the cause of the derailment, as well as the analysis from the FRA on rail safety compliance, DOT will take actions as needed that ensure accountability and improve safety.
  • Creating a safer rail system. DOT is working on numerous fronts to improve rail safety, including managing over $4 billion in discretionary grant programs designed to improve rail safety and eliminate at-grade rail crossings. DOT also provides training and resources for local first responders who deal with hazardous materials incidents. DOT is also working on rulemakings to improve rail safety including proposing a rule that would require a minimum of a two-person train crew size for safety reasons, a major priority for rail workers. DOT conducts research to improve the design of rail cars that carry hazardous materials. DOT is also developing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will require railroads to provide real-time information on the contents of tank cars to authorized emergency response officials responding to or investigating an incident involving the transportation of hazardous materials by rail.  

Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In response to Governor DeWine’s request on February 16 for additional federal public health support, HHS and the CDC are deploying a team of medical personnel and toxicologists to conduct public health testing and assessments. The team will include a medical toxicologist and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Region 5 lead to support EPA and state health department efforts. ATSDR protects communities from harmful health effects related to exposure to natural and man-made hazardous substances and will send a team to interview people in the derailment area and conduct an Assessment of Chemical Exposure investigation.

Since the derailment, HHS has been providing technical assistance to state and Federal partners on emergency response, emergency management, and scientific assessments of chemicals including risk communication. This has included participating in daily state-led emergency coordination calls to provide expert advice and analysis.

White 02/17/2023.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA is in constant contact with the emergency operations center in East Palestine, as well as the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Federal partners. EPA has secured Norfolk Southern’s commitment to cover all cleanup costs.

White 02/17/2023.

The NTSB investigation of the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio is ongoing.

On Feb. 3, at approximately 8:54 p.m., local time, eastbound Norfolk Southern Railway, general merchandise freight train 32N, derailed on main track 1 in East Palestine, Ohio. As a result of the derailment, 38 rail cars derailed and a fire ensued which damaged an additional 12 cars. There were 20 total hazardous material cars in the train consist—11 of which derailed. A list of what the derailed rail cars were carrying is available online. There were no reported fatalities or injuries. 

NTSB is conducting a safety investigation to determine the probable cause of the derailment and issue any safety recommendations, if necessary, to prevent future derailments. The NTSB can also issue urgent recommendations at any point during the investigation. All questions regarding the safety investigation should go to NTSB. While emergency response will be a factor in the investigation, NTSB is not involved in air monitoring, testing of water quality, environmental remediation or the evacuation orders. Questions on environmental issues should be referred to the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn more: East Palestine Train Derailment – EPA OSC Response.

Parties to the NTSB investigation provide technical assistance. They include: U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration, Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Village of East Palestine, Norfolk Southern Railway, Trinity Industries Leasing Company, GATX Corporation, Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

NTSB continues to work with the investigative parties to determine what exactly caused the derailment and to evaluate the emergency response efforts.

NTSB investigators have identified and examined the rail car that initiated the derailment. Surveillance video from a residence showed what appears to be a wheel bearing in the final stage of overheat failure moments before the derailment. The wheelset from the suspected railcar has been collected as evidence for metallurgical examination. The suspected overheated wheel bearing has been collected and will be examined by engineers from the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

The tank cars are currently being decontaminated. Once the process is complete, NTSB investigators will return to Ohio to complete a thorough examination of the tank cars.

The vinyl chloride tank car top fittings, including the relief valves, were removed and secured in a locked intermodal container pending an NTSB examination. Once the fittings are examined by NTSB investigators, they will be shipped to Texas for testing, which will be conducted under the direction of the NTSB.

NTSB has obtained locomotive event recorder data, forward- and inward-facing image recording data and wayside defect detector data. NTSB investigators continue to review documentation, event recorder data and perform interviews. A preliminary report is expected to publish in two weeks.

While on scene, NTSB Member Michael Graham hosted two press briefing on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, which are available on NTSB’s YouTube channel. B-Roll is also available on YouTube.​

​​Editor’s note: An earlier version of this release indicated 10 hazardous material railcars were part of the derailment. The actual number is 11.

To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a Watch Officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7). 02/14/2023.

Yesterday the EPA posted:

From the link:

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Norfolk Southern to conduct all necessary actions associated with the cleanup from the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment. As part of EPA’s legally binding order, Norfolk Southern will be required to: 02/21/2023.
  • Identify and clean up contaminated soil and water resources.
  • Reimburse EPA for cleaning services to be offered to residents and businesses to provide an additional layer of reassurance, which will be conducted by EPA staff and contractors.
  • Attend and participate in public meetings at EPA’s request and post information online.
  • Pay for EPA’s costs for work performed under this order.

As part of the order, EPA will approve a workplan outlining all steps necessary to clean up the environmental damage caused by the derailment. If the company fails to complete any actions as ordered by EPA, the Agency will immediately step in, conduct the necessary work, and then seek to compel Norfolk Southern to pay triple the cost.  

“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community. I’m deeply grateful to the emergency responders, including EPA personnel, who’ve been on the ground since day one and ensured there was no loss of life as a result of this disaster. As we transition from emergency response, EPA will continue to coordinate closely with our local, state, and federal partners through a whole-of-government approach to support the East Palestine community during the remediation phase. To the people of East Palestine, EPA stands with you now and for as long as it may take.”

To address the concerns of residents regarding potential indoor contamination, EPA will offer cleaning services to area businesses and families. The Agency has extensive experience with similar cleaning programs in other Midwestern communities. Under the terms of the order, Norfolk Southern will reimburse EPA for the costs of these cleaning services. More details about how community members can request this service will be available this week.

EPA’s order marks the transition of the multi-agency response from its “emergency phase” to a longer-term remediation phase. To help implement the order, EPA will establish a “unified command structure” to coordinate the clean-up related efforts of FEMA, HHS, Ohio EPA, Ohio EMA, PA DEP, as well as Norfolk Southern. This approach is frequently used in situations where multiple agencies need to work together. In this case, the response includes federal, state and local agencies across multiple states.

EPA issued this unilateral administrative order pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, which gives EPA the authority to order those responsible for pollution to clean it up. The order takes effect two days after signature, though the cleanup work has already begun and will continue. 02/21/2023.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan tweeted:

This is an Open Thread.

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