Tag Archives: human rights

Biden at UN Slams Russia’s Ukraine Invastion, Calls for Action on Climate Change, Human Rights, Global Health, Nuclear NonProliferation

President Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly: So let’s stand together to again declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the U.N. Charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, although none of us have fully achieved it. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features via msnbc.

President Joe Biden presented America’s foreign policy manifesto in his speech to the United Nations 77th General Assembly in New York, asserting a world striving toward equity, shared progress, social, economic and environmental justice, just as he has endeavored to implement at home. He called out Russia, China and others for their human rights abuses, called for climate action, global health initiatives, food security, cooperation rather than competition on the technology advances to improve the lives of everyone. He called for diplomacy instead of conflict and a reaffirmation of the rule of law and the essential founding principles embodied in the United Nations Charter.

“So let’s stand together to again declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the U.N. Charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, although none of us have fully achieved it,” Biden declared. “We’re not passive witnesses to history; we are the authors of history. We can do this — we have to do it — for ourselves and for our future, for humankind.”

Here is an edited, highlighted transcript – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

11:08 A.M. EDT
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you. 
 
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, my fellow leaders, in the last year, our world has experienced great upheaval: a growing crisis in food insecurity; record heat, floods, and droughts; COVID-19; inflation; and a brutal, needless war — a war chosen by one man, to be very blunt. 
 
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Let us speak plainly.  A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. 
 
Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter — no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force. 
 
Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime. 
 
Now Russia is calling — calling up more soldiers to join the fight.  And the Kremlin is organizing a sham referenda to try to annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the U.N. Charter. 
 
This world should see these outrageous acts for what they are.  Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened.  But no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict. 
 
In fact, we warned it was coming.  And with many of you, we worked to try to avert it.
 
Putin’s own words make his true purpose unmistakable.  Just before he invaded, Putin asserted — and I quote — Ukraine was “created by Russia” and never had, quote, “real statehood.”
 
And now we see attacks on schools, railway stations, hospitals, wa- — on centers of Ukrainian history and culture. 

In the past, even more horrifying evidence of Russia’s atrocity and war crimes: mass graves uncovered in Izyum; bodies, according to those that excavated those bodies, showing signs of torture. 
 
This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people.  Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should not — that should make your blood run cold.
 
That’s why 141 nations in the General Assembly came together to unequivocally condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine.  The United States has marshaled massive levels of security assistance and humanitarian aid and direct economic support for Ukraine — more than $25 billion to date. 
 
Our allies and partners around the world have stepped up as well.  And today, more than 40 countries represented in here have contributed billions of their own money and equipment to help Ukraine defend itself. 
 
The United States is also working closely with our allies and partners to impose costs on Russia, to deter attacks against NATO territory, to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities and war crimes.
 
Because if nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for.  Everything.
 
Every victory won on the battlefield belongs to the courageous Ukrainian soldiers.  But this past year, the world was tested as well, and we did not hesitate. 
 
We chose liberty.  We chose sovereignty.  We chose principles to which every party to the United Nations Charter is beholding.  We stood with Ukraine.
 
Like you, the United States wants this war to end on just terms, on terms we all signed up for: that you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force.  The only country standing in the way of that is Russia. 
 
So, we — each of us in this body who is determined to uphold the principles and beliefs we pledge to defend as members of the United Nations — must be clear, firm, and unwavering in our resolve. 
 
Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation.  We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine.  We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression.  Period.
 
The US Will Defend Democracy

Now, it’s no secret that in the contest between democracy and autocracy, the United States — and I, as President — champion a vision for our world that is grounded in the values of democracy. 
 
The United States is determined to defend and strengthen democracy at home and around the world.  Because I believe democracy remains humanity’s greatest instrument to address the challenges of our time. 
 
We’re working with the G7 and likeminded countries to prove democracies can deliver for their citizens but also deliver for the rest of the world as well. 
 
Reaffirm the United Nations’ Founding Principles

But as we meet today, the U.N. Charter — the U.N. Charter’s very basis of a stable and just rule-based order is under attack by those who wish to tear it down or distort it for their own political advantage. 
 
And the United Nations Charter was not only signed by democracies of the world, it was negotiated among citizens of dozens of nations with vastly different histories and ideologies, united in their commitment to work for peace. 
 
As President Truman said in 1945, the U.N. Charter — and I quote — is “proof that nations, like men, can state their differences, can face them, and then can find common ground on which to stand.”  End of quote.
 
That common ground was so straightforward, so basic that, today, 193 of you — 193 member states — have willingly embraced its principles.  And standing up for those principles for the U.N. Charter is the job of every responsible member state. 
 
I reject the use of violence and war to conquer nations or expand borders through bloodshed.
 
To stand against global politics of fear and coercion; to defend the sovereign rights of smaller nations as equal to those of larger ones; to embrace basic principles like freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and arms control — no matter what else we may disagree on, that is the common ground upon which we must stand. 
 
If you’re still committed to a strong foundation for the good of every nation around the world, then the United States wants to work with you. 
 
The UN Should Become More Inclusive

I also believe the time has come for this institution to become more inclusive so that it can better respond to the needs of today’s world.
 
Members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States, should consistently uphold and defend the U.N. Charter and refrain — refrain from the use of the veto, except in rare, extraordinary situations, to ensure that the Council remains credible and effective.
 
That is also why the United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the Council.  This includes permanent seats for those nations we’ve long supported and permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
 
The United States is committed to this vital work.  In every region, we pursued new, constructive ways to work with partners to advance shared interests, from elevating the Quad in the Indo-Pacific; to signing the Los Angeles Declaration of Migration and Protection at the Summit of the Americas; to joining a historic meeting of nine Arab leaders to work toward a more peaceful, integrated Middle East; to hosting the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in — this December.
 
Relentless Diplomacy to Tackle Challenges

As I said last year, the United States is opening an era of relentless diplomacy to address the challenges that matter most to people’s lives — all people’s lives: tackling the climate crisis, as the previous speaker spoke to; strengthening global health security; feeding the world — feeding the world.
 
We made that priority.  And one year later, we’re keeping that promise.
 
From the day I came to office, we’ve led with a bold climate agenda.  We rejoined the Paris Agreement, convened major climate summits, helped deliver critical agreements on COP26.  And we helped get two thirds of the world GDP on track to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
 
And now I’ve signed a historic piece of legislation here in the United States that includes the biggest, most important climate commitment we have ever made in the history of our country: $369 billion toward climate change.  That includes tens of billions in new investments in offshore wind and solar, doubling down on zero emission vehicles, increasing energy efficiency, supporting clean manufacturing.
 
Our Department of Energy estimates that this new law will reduce U.S. emissions by one gigaton a year by 2030 while unleashing a new era of clean-energy-powered economic growth.
 
Our investments will also help reduce the cost of developing clean energy technologies worldwide, not just the United States.  This is a global gamechanger — and none too soon.  We don’t have much time.
 
Climate Crisis

We all know we’re already living in a climate crisis.  No one seems to doubt it after this past year.  As we meet, much of Pakistan is still underwater; it needs help.  Meanwhile, the Horn of Africa faces unprecedented drought. 
 
Families are facing impossible choices, choosing which child to feed and wondering whether they’ll survive.
 
This is the human cost of climate change.  And it’s growing, not lessening.
 
So, as I announced last year, to meet our global responsibility, my administration is working with our Congress to deliver more than $11 billion a year to international climate finance to help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.
 
The key part of that will be our [PREPARE] plan, which will help half a billion people, and especially vulnerable countries, adapt to the impacts of climate change and build resilience.
 
This need is enormous.  So let this be the moment we find within ourselves the will to turn back the tide of climate devastation and unlock a resilient, sustainable, clean energy economy to preserve our planet.
 
Global Health

On global health, we’ve delivered more than 620 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 116 countries around the world, with more available to help meet countries’ needs — all free of charge, no strings attached.
 
And we’re working closely with the G20 and other countries.  And the United States helped lead the change to establish a groundbreaking new Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response at the World Bank.
 
At the same time, we’ve continued to advance the ball on enduring global health challenges.
 
Later today, I’ll host the Seventh Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  With bipartisan support in our Congress, I have pledged to contribute up to $6 billion to that effort.
 
So I look forward to welcoming a historic round of pledges at the conference resulting in one of the largest global health fundraisers ever held in all of history.
 
Food Crisis

We’re also taking on the food crisis head on.  With as many as 193 million people around the world experiencing acute — acute food insecurity — a jump of 40 million in a year — today I’m announcing another $2.9 billion in U.S. support for lifesaving humanitarian and food security assistance for this year alone.
 
Russia, in the meantime, is pumping out lies, trying to pin the blame for the crisis — the food crisis — onto sanctions imposed by many in the world for the aggression against Ukraine. 
 
So let me be perfectly clear about something: Our sanctions explicitly allow — explicitly allow Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer.  No limitation.  It’s Russia’s war that is worsening food insecurity, and only Russia can end it.
 
I’m grateful for the work here at the U.N. — including your leadership, Mr. Secretary-General — establishing a mechanism to export grain from Black Sea ports in Ukraine that Russia had blocked for months, and we need to make sure it’s extended.
 
We believe strongly in the need to feed the world.  That’s why the United States is the world’s largest supporter of the World Food Programme, with more than 40 percent of its budget.
 
We’re leading support — we’re leading support of the UNICEF efforts to feed children around the world. 
 
And to take on the larger challenge of food insecurity, the United States introduced a Call to Action: a roadmap eliminating global food insecurity — to eliminating global food insecurity that more than 100 nation member states have already supported.
 
In June, the G7 announced more than $4.5 billion to strengthen food security around the world.
 
Through USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, the United States is scaling up innovative ways to get drought- and heat-resistant seeds into the hands of farmers who need them, while distributing fertilizer and improving fertilizer efficiency so that farmers can grow more while using less.
 
And we’re calling on all countries to refrain from banning food exports or hoarding grain while so many people are suffering.  Because in every country in the world, no matter what else divides us, if parents cannot feed their children, nothing — nothing else matters if parents cannot feed their children.
 
Rules of the Road for International Cooperation

As we look to the future, we’re working with our partners to update and create rules of the road for new challenges we face in the 21st century.
 
We launched the Trade and Technology Council with the European Union to ensure that key technologies — key technologies are developed and governed in the way that benefits everyone. 
 
With our partner countries and through the U.N., we’re supporting and strengthening the norms of responsibility — responsible state behavior in cyberspace and working to hold accountable those who use cyberattacks to threaten international peace and security. 
 
With partners in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific, we’re working to build a new economic ecosystem while — where every nation — every nation gets a fair shot and economic growth is resilient, sustainable, and shared. 
 
That’s why the United States has championed a global minimum tax.  And we will work to see it implemented so major corporations pay their fair share everywhere — everywhere.
 
It’s also been the idea behind the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which the United States launched this year with 13 other Indo-Pacific economies.  We’re working with our partners in ASEAN and the Pacific Islands to support a vision for a critical Indo-Pacific region that is free and open, connected and prosperous, secure and resilient.
 
Together with partners around the world, we’re working to secure resilient supply chains that protect everyone from coercion or domination and ensure that no country can use energy as a weapon.
 
And as Russia’s war riles the global economy, we’re also calling on major global creditors, including the non-Paris Club countries, to transparently negotiate debt forgiveness for lower-income countries to forestall broader economic and political crises around the world. 
 
Instead of infrastructure projects that generate huge and large debt without delivering on the promised advantages, let’s meet the enormous infrastructure needs around the world with transparent investments — high-standard projects that protect the rights of workers and the environment — keyed to the needs of the communities they serve, not to the contributor.
 
That’s why the United States, together with fellow G7 partners, launched a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.  We intend to collectively mobilize $600 billion
in investment through this partnership by 2027. 
 
Dozens of projects are already underway: industrial-scale vaccine manufacturing in Senegal, transformative solar projects in Angola, first-of-its-kind small modular nuclear power plant in Romania.
 
These are investments that are going to deliver returns not just for those countries, but for everyone.  The United States will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change.  Climate diplomacy is not a favor to the United States or any other nation, and walking away hurts the entire world.
 
Relations with China, Nations

Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China.  As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader.  We do not seek conflict.  We do not seek a Cold War.  We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner. 
 
But the United States will be unabashed in promoting our vision of a free, open, secure, and prosperous world and what we have to offer communities of nations: investments that are designed not to foster dependency, but to alleviate burdens and help nations become self-sufficient; partnerships not to create political obligation, but because we know our own success — each of our success is increased when other nations succeed as well.
 
When individuals have the chance to live in dignity and develop their talents, everyone benefits.  Critical to that is living up to the highest goals of this institution: increasing peace and security for everyone, everywhere. 
 
The United States will not waver in our unrelenting determination to counter and thwart the continuing terrorist threats to our world.  And we will lead with our diplomacy to strive for peaceful resolution of conflicts. 
 
We seek to uphold peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. 
 
We remain committed to our One China policy, which has helped prevent conflict for four decades.  And we continue to oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side. 
 
We support an African Union-led peace process to end the fight in Ethiopia and restore security for all its people. 
 
In Venezuela, where years of the political oppression have driven more than 6 million people from that country, we urge a Venezuelan-led dialogue and a return to free and fair elections.
 
We continue to stand with our neighbor in Haiti as it faces political-fueled gang violence and an enormous human crisis.
 
And we call on the world to do the same.  We have more to do. 
 
We’ll continue to back the U.N.-mediated truce in Yemen, which has delivered precious months of peace to people that have suffered years of war.
 
And we will continue to advocate for lasting negotiating peace between the Jewish and democratic state of Israel and the Palestinian people.  The United States is committed to Israel’s security, full stop.  And a negotiated two-state solution remains, in our view, the best way to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity for the future and give the Palestinians the state which — to which they are entitled — both sides to fully respect the equal rights of their citizens; both people enjoying equal measure of freedom and dignity.
 
Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Let me also urge every nation to recommit to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime through diplomacy.  No matter what else is happening in the world, the United States is ready to pursue critical arms control measures.  A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. 
 
The five permanent members of the Security Council just reaffirmed that commitment in January.  But today, we’re seeing disturbing trends.  Russia shunned the Non-Proliferation ideals embraced by every other nation at the 10th NPT Review Conference
 
And again, today, as I said, they’re making irresponsible nuclear threats to use nuclear weapons.  China is conducting an unprecedented, concerning nuclear buildup without any transparency. 
 
Despite our efforts to begin serious and sustained diplomacy, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues to blatantly violate U.N. sanctions.
 
And while the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
 
I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome.  The nonproliferation regime is one of the greatest successes of this institution.  We cannot let the world now slide backwards, nor can we turn a blind eye to the erosion of human rights.
 
Human Rights

Perhaps singular among this body’s achievements stands the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is the standard by which our forebears challenged us to measure ourselves.
 
They made clear in 1948: Human rights are the basis for all that we seek to achieve.  And yet today, in 2022, fundamental freedoms are at risk in every part of our world,
from the violations in Xinjiang detailed in recent reports by the Office of U.N. High Commissioner, to the horrible abuses against pro-democracy activists and ethnic minorities by the military regime in Burma, to the increased repression of women and girls by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

And today, we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.
 
But here’s what I know: The future will be won by those countries that unleash the full potential of their populations, where women and girls can exercise equal rights, including basic reproductive rights, and contribute fully to building a stronger economies and more resilient societies; where religious and ethnic minorities can live their lives without harassment and contribute to the fabric of their communities; where the LGBTQ+ community individuals live and love freely without being targeted with violence; where citizens can question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisal.
 
The United States will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter in our own country and around the world.
 
Let me end with this: This institution, guided by the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is at its core an act of dauntless hope.

Let me say that again: It’s an act of dauntless hope.
 
Think about the vision of those first delegates who undertook a seemingly impossible task while the world was still smoldering.
 
Think about how divided the people of the world must have felt with the fresh grief of millions dead, the genocidal horrors of the Holocaust exposed.
 
They had every right to believe only the worst of humanity.  Instead, they reached for what was best in all of us, and they strove to build something better: enduring peace; comity among nations; equal rights for every member of the human family; cooperation for the advancement of all humankind.
 
My fellow leaders, the challenges we face today are great indeed, but our capacity is greater.  Our commitment must be greater still.

So let’s stand together to again declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the U.N. Charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, although none of us have fully achieved it.

We’re not passive witnesses to history; we are the authors of history.
 
We can do this — we have to do it — for ourselves and for our future, for humankind.

Thank you for your tolerance, for listening to me.  I appreciate it very much.  God bless you all.  (Applause.)

11:37 A.M. EDT

Trump Says is Standing with Saudi Arabia as Ally Which Promises to Spend $450 Billion in US: ‘America First!’

Citing Saudi Arabia’s promise to spend $450 billion in the US and its oil production and ability to raise or lower oil prices, Donald Trump says he will stand by his ally and ignore the allegations of culpability of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the savage murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. “Very simply it is called America First!” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Donald Trump issued a statement unequivocally standing with Saudi Arabia, declaring “America First!,” and stressing that Saudi Arabia “agreed” to spend a record $450 billion in the US, while throwing darts at Iran to defend Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen that have contributed to the most severe humanitarian crisis on the planet, and all but dismissing any accountability for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. 

“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump declared. 

“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.” 

Here is his statement, highlighted —Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

 The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

Women’s March Redux Jan. 20 Kicks Off Get-Out-The-Vote Campaign to ReMake Government

Trump & the Republicans thought women would just forget and forgive after the Womens March a year ago, but this year’s Womens March, January 20, kicks off the 2018 midterm elections with a massive voter registration drive and thousands of women candidates to challenge the Trump/Republican regime © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

by Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Abigail Adams, writing to her husband, John Adams, a Congressman at the time, in March 1776, warned, “Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” That revolution clearly is still going on, despite finally getting the right to vote 144 years later and nearly a century ago.

Even after women staged the biggest protest in history exactly a year ago, swamping Washington DC and coming out by the hundreds of thousands in cities and hamlets across the country, Republicans did not get the message, but spent their first year in total control of all the levers of government systematically dismantling all the elements of a free and equal society, and specifically, waging a war on women’s rights, health and security.

Republicans went full throttle to attack women’s reproductive rights – the House has already passed a 20-week ban on abortion which is set to go to the Senate and is guaranteed of Trump’s signature, while dismantling health clinics.

“The threat for women—and reproductive freedom—is greater than ever,” writes Ilyse Hogue, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The consequences of this bill becoming law would be gut-wrenching. Women seek abortion care after 20 weeks for a variety of reasons, including medical problems, difficulty accessing care, and the fear that comes with rape, incest, and abuse.” The bill makes it a crime for a doctor to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for a woman’s health. The bill would leave a woman—and her healthcare provider—with no safe and legal option.

And hidden in the 429-page Republican Tax Law is a provision that establishes “personhood” by giving legal rights to a fetus for the purposes of college savings accounts. “That might seem innocuous, but once that legal precedent is established, it’s a short step to banning abortion outright.”

Let’s be clear: women’s reproductive rights are not just about the freedom to make choices about one’s body, but one’s future. It is nothing less than the right to self-determination which men claim. It is about Equal Protection under the Constitution. If men have a right to life and liberty, so do women and nothing less. Men don’t require government authorization to get a vasectomy or take Viagra (covered under health insurance). And women should not be made less of a person, less of a citizen than a zygote, with government as its unappointed “Regent”.

“It took us a while to figure out,” Gloria Steinem said in an interview with The Guardian, “but patriarchy – or whatever you want to call it, the systems that say there’s masculine and feminine and other bullshit – is about controlling reproduction. Every economics course ought to start not with production but with reproduction. It is way more important.”

The tax code Trump and the Republicans are so proud of attacks everything that makes the American Dream possible, and everything that women count on for their families. Republicans have yet to reauthorize CHIP, leaving 9 million children and pregnant women without access to health care. And what of that child after the Republicans compel its birth? They are stripping away access to child care, pre-K, health care, special education. Now Republicans will go use the mounting budget deficit – $1 trillion – because of their tax plan, to go after Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, food stamps and welfare – things that women, who live longer but have lower earnings throughout their working lives, or who are more apt to be single parents – depend on to a greater degree than men. (To see what a pro-Woman agenda would look like, read what Governor Cuomo is proposing.)

Not to mention Trump’s executive actions and his appointments to EPA, Interior, Education, Health & Human Services, Energy and the judiciary who are enacted policies that harm women and families, climate and public health.

In each and every category of concern to women:  health care, immigration, climate change and environmental justice, domestic violence and gun violence prevention, criminal justice. Trump, who through words and actions has shown nothing but contempt for women, and the Republicans have sent a big F-U to women.

Republicans after the 2017 women’s marches, felt they were safe, that women would just forgive and forget, go away, be too consumed with the pressures of earning a living wage to keep their family with food and shelter, than to be politically active.

Indeed, the furor of last year’s Women’s March was quickly dissipated over addressing the Outrage Du Jour: Travel Ban, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, unleashing ICE to round up undocumented immigrants, gun massacres of historic scale, horror over the government’s failure to address the climate catastrophe Puerto Rico, efforts to repeal Obamacare, then the tax code.

But then there was the #MeToo movement. I can only imagine that the furor has some quaking at the new-found power of Womanhood (but also fear that overuse, amounting to a Salem Witchhunt, will result in a backlash).

This year’s protests are different because 2018 will be the first significant opportunity for voters to take consequential action at the polls. That’s why these protests are so much more important than a year ago.

[Last year] we marched for even bigger, more systemic issues. We marched because 1 in 4 women is sexually assaulted in her lifetime (as well as 1 in 6 men). Women make up half of the country but only 19% of Congress. Women earn 79 cents to a man’s dollar, and that percentage drops to 63 cents for Black women and 54 cents for Latina women. And there are more anti-abortion laws on the books now than at any time since Roe v. Wade,” writes Caitlin Alesio Maloney, Director of Campaign Operations & Technology.

“None of the issues went away in 2017, but we are seeing progress. #MeToo was a breakout movement that is bringing about real change. Emily’s List had 920 women interested in running for office in 2016, but 16,000 women reached out to them to run in 2017. And with the Women’s March Power to the Polls project launching the day after the anniversary marches, we know this movement can make the difference and get them elected in 2018,” she stated.

“We need to show up for #MeToo. For Time’s Up. For women’s reproductive rights. For equal pay. And we need to show up to remind Donald Trump, on the anniversary of his inauguration, that We. Will. Always. Resist.”

These are the issues but here is the action: March Into Action will be registering voters at the march to support a national effort to register 1 million women to vote by the 2018 elections.

There are some 280 women’s marches taking place across the country on Saturday, January 20, with the largest in New York City, organized by Women’s March Alliance, Corp., 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Columbus Circle  with a rally at about 11:30 (line up up Central Park West), followed by a march down to Sixth Avenue & 45th Street. (https://womensmarchalliance.org/2018-womens-march-on-nyc/2018wm-faq/

This time, instead of cutesy pink pussyhats, we should wear black and come with pitchforks (or broomsticks).

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© 2018 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Trump Should Follow NYS Governor Cuomo’s Cue on Aggressive Stand Against Anti-Semitism

Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY3) holds a standing-room only town hall in the Jewish Community Center of Plainview, Long Island, where just a few days later, it was one of several JCCs in New York State and the nation victimized by a bomb threat. Governor Cuomo immediately took action © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

A Jewish Community Center in Plainview where only last week Congressman Tom Suozzi had held a SRO town hall, was among several in New York State terrorized by a new wave of bomb threats on Feb. 27 sweeping the country.

Bomb threats were also phoned into JCCs in Tarrytown, Staten Island and New Rochelle. In all, there were 29 bomb threats made across 18 states – 89 in 30 states and Canada since January.

That same day, the Mount Carmel Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized, with 100 tombstones damaged. It was the second such incident in a week, following a desecration of more than 100 tombstones in a 123-year old Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.

Last week, an anonymous bomb threat was phoned in to the headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League – its CEO and national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, had only days before addressed a Long Island synagogue on the rise of anti-Semitism and the fact Donald Trump had taken no action, nor even come out with a statement denouncing such acts.

But Governor Andrew Cuomo, who responded swiftly last week with a hotline (888-392-3644) to the State division of Human Rights, and instructed the New York State Police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to fully investigate and hold perpetrators accountable. He also introduced a $25 million grant program to boost safety and security at New York’s schools and day care centers “at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.”

“Make no mistake: these reprehensible and cowardly attacks are not limited to the Jewish community. They are assaults on all New Yorkers and I vow that we will do everything in our power to catch those responsible for this wave of hate crimes,” Governor Cuomo stated.

“I share the pain and the outrage of so many New Yorkers who are affected directly and those who are sickened by watching these attacks unfold. We will not allow anyone to intimidate or strike fear in the state of New York. The full force of government will be brought to bear in these efforts and these perpetrators will be punished.”

After the attack on the ADL headquarters in Manhattan, Cuomo called it “unacceptable, un-American and – disturbingly –  increasingly common. This despicable act of anti-Semitism completely contradicts the values we hold dear as New Yorkers.  This is now a national crisis as a troubling pattern of recent anti-Semitic threats have been directed at Jewish Community Centers on a regular basis, including Buffalo, New York City, Albany, and Syracuse.

“We are treating these incidents for what they are – as crimes – and we will not allow them to go unpunished. Today I have directed the New York State Police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to launch a full investigation into this latest incident. Make no mistake, we will find these perpetrators and hold them fully accountable for their actions….

“We as New Yorkers stand with the Anti-Defamation League, an organization for over a century whose mission has been to stand up for the Jewish people and fight back the ugly divisive forces of bigotry and defamation.  We stand with all Jewish people here in New York and across the country to say loud and clear – enough is enough.”

Meanwhile, there has been nothing of any consequence from Donald Trump, who otherwise doesn’t hesitate expressing his outrage in 140 characters at any perceived personal slight. Instead, he shut down questions about the rise of anti-Semitic incidents from an Israeli reporter at his press conference with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and the next day, told an Orthodox man who was careful to say he was not accusing Trump of being anti-Semitic, in fact, calling him Zaide, the term for a Jewish grandfather, to just shut up and sit down, proclaiming himself the least anti-Semitic person anyone would meet.

But he has not called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who also has been extraordinarily silent) to have his Department of Justice investigate and prosecute hate crimes, or done anything of any consequence.

Trump, who has already completely undone America’s value system to combat terrorism from abroad, doesn’t see or care about domestic terrorism. Indeed, he no longer classifies domestic terrorism as terrorism.

This emboldens acts against Jews, minorities of every stripe, immigrants, foreigners. It gives permission to regard “others” as nonpersons, not deserving of civil or indeed human rights, the same strategy employed in Nazi Germany, laying the foundation for the Holocaust.

Indeed, Trump made no statement after a Kansas man shot two Indian engineers who worked for Garmin and another man who tried to come to their aid, killing the 32 year old Indian man. “Get out of my country,” the man reportedly shouted just before opening fire.

My country.

Immediately after the St. Louis Jewish cemetery was vandalized, Hillary Clinton tweeted, “JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped,” she wrote on Twitter. “Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS.”

Finally, ambushed during his photo-op at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington DC on Presidents Day, he meekly replied. “Anti-Semitism is horrible. And it’s gonna stop and it has to stop…I think it’s terrible. I think it’s horrible. Whether it’s anti-Semitism or racism or any — anything you wanna think about having to do with the divide. Anti-Semitism is, likewise, it’s just terrible.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League: “The issue of anti-Semitism is not partisan. It is potentially lethal..that demands moral leadership – with the president’s leadership it can get better and with neglect or instigation it will get worse.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The issue of anti-Semitism is not partisan,” Greenblatt told Temple Beth-El just a few days before the ADL received a bomb threat. “It is potentially lethal. Nor is it an arcane policy matter that demands debate. This is a simple social problem that demands moral leadership – with the president’s leadership it can get better and with neglect or instigation it will get worse. The president’s repeated failure to address it is empowering, emboldening bigots.”

Trump should take a cue from Governor Cuomo.

“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities,” David Posner, the director of strategic performance at the JCC Association of America, said in a statement reported in the Jerusalem Post. “The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country. Actions speak louder than words.”

The silence is deafening.

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© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin