Knox Democrats Tue, 07 Dec 2021 11:13:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Knox Democrats 32 32 Poll shows Donald Trump would lead Joe Biden if presidential election takes place today Tue, 07 Dec 2021 08:59:00 +0000

With US President Joe Biden declining in popularity, an online poll found that the Republican candidate and former President Donald Trump is more competent than the incumbent. According to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll published exclusively for The hill, more Americans are now in favor of Trump. According to the survey, if the 2024 presidential election takes place today, Trump would lead the ballot. The poll said about 48% of voters want Trump to rule the country while Biden got 45% of the vote. Another 8% were not sure. In urban areas, Biden scored 20 points and suburban voters 4 points, while in Trump’s case he scored 33 points in rural areas.

It is worth mentioning that before and after the US presidential elections last year, the image of outgoing President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was reinforced as the first African American and the first American in Asian origin to occupy the vice-presidency. However, an old saying – “with great power comes great responsibility” – began to operate as soon as the Main Democrats took over the office. The stature of the top Pentagon leaders turned around when they failed to resolve the Afghanistan issue, leading to the dramatic collapse of the already war-torn country. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further affected the popularity of the two leaders.

“Biden’s fall sparked a wave for ex-President Trump”

While countering the claims, Democrats have always said the opposition played down immunization data. Currently, nearly 60% of the U.S. population has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Besides the coronavirus, the report says the outgoing president has failed to provide jobs for young Americans. “Biden’s downfall led to a wave for ex-President Donald Trump on all fronts both in the GOP primary and in a possible general election,” The hill quoted pollster Mark Penn.

It should be noted that Biden got 7 million more votes than Trump in the 2020 presidential election. The vote includes 4% of the total votes received by all candidates. Biden paved the way for victory by managing to win major states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin. All the states have already been won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Image: AP

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Statement from Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders on Vice President Kamala Harris’ Meeting with Black Women Leaders Tue, 07 Dec 2021 00:49:54 +0000

Today, Vice President Kamala Harris called a follow-up meeting with black women leaders to discuss the progress of the Build Back Better law, the administration’s efforts to amplify and implement the bipartisan infrastructure law. and voting rights. This group of leaders had already met the vice-president on July 16, 2021 to discuss the protection of the fundamental right to vote.

During today’s meeting, leaders spoke with the Vice President about specific provisions of the Build Back Better Act that would benefit all communities, including the Child Tax Credit, Universal Pre -K and investments in child care. They discussed the importance of ensuring that all Americans have accessible and affordable high-speed internet access, which bipartisan infrastructure law makes possible. The Vice President thanked the leaders for their continued work on these issues and reiterated her commitment to see the passage of the Build Back Better Act, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Leaders who attended today’s meeting included:

Melanie L. Campbell, Coordinator, Black Women’s Roundtable, President and CEO, NCBCP
Minyon Moore, Co-Host, Power Rising
Dr Barbara Williams Skinner, Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network
Clayola Brown, National President, A. Philip Randolph Institute
Bishop Leah Daughtry, co-organizer, Power Rising
Joi Chaney, Executive Director, Washington Bureau, Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, National Urban League
Ebonie Riley, Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, National Action Network
Shavon Arline-Bradley, Chairman and Chairman, D4 in action
Roslyn Brock, President Emeritus, NAACP
Karen Finney, Lawyer, Vice President NARAL, Communications Advisor NCBCP / BWR
Rachel Noerdlinger, President, Noerdlinger Strategies
Cora Barry, Board Member, NCBCP, Former First Lady of the District of Columbia
Jotaka Eaddy, Manager, #WinWithBlackWomen
Salandra Benton, Coordinator, Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation / FL Black Women’s Roundtable
Glynda Carr, President, Higher Heights for America
Tameka Ramsey, Coordinator, Michigan Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Eastern MI / Metro Detroit Black Women’s Roundtable
Carol Joyner, Director, Work for Working Families Project
Joycelyn Tate, Senior Policy Advisor, Black Women’s Roundtable


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CT Democrats Are Good Leaders For Our State Mon, 06 Dec 2021 11:07:36 +0000 Connecticut is emerging from the biggest and most disruptive crisis in our lives. But unlike other states, we protect the public with ever-increasing immunization rates, dramatically improving our fiscal health, and seeing people and businesses relocate to our state.

These are facts, despite all Republican claims to the contrary.

There’s a reason Connecticut is doing so well: For many years, Democratic governors, majorities in the General Assembly, our federal delegation, and city leaders across the state made tough decisions for us. get back on track and grow. More recently, Governor Ned Lamont’s remarkable leadership has made Connecticut the envy of other states.

From 1994 to 2010, under Republican governors, Connecticut struggled with skyrocketing debt and no savings. Since then, Democrats have made tough decisions to shore up collapsing incomes and protect the most vulnerable in the throes of a brutal recession.

Republican pessimism predicted the end of Connecticut as we know it – they seem to like this theme – with locals moving away in droves. But the opposite has happened. Today, the state has record surpluses, and families are moving to the state in record numbers. New York City alone: ​​27,000 new residents, paying taxes and contributing to the economy.

When Governor Lamont took office in 2019, he defended the Rainy Day Fund against Republicans overreaching and was successful in limiting borrowing. As a result, Connecticut can count on a record $ 3.1 billion rainy day fund and projected budget surpluses for years to come. Our bonds were revalued for the first time in decades, and we made historic payments of $ 1.7 billion to pension funds ignored by Republican governors.

Even the GOP knows that Governor Lamont has been a good steward of our public finances. The 2021-2022 state budget was supported by 22 Republican members of the State House and nine of the 12 Republican members of the State Senate.

And so the political attacks are disheartening at best. While partisan politics has always been robust in our state, the ugliness inspired by the former president now dominates the political climate.

Throughout the pandemic, the Republican response to every prudent public health measure has been ‘no’. While offering no solution, they called on governors, urged the repeal of vaccine and mask requirements, and called “heroes” those who disrupt local school board meetings. Democrats believe the real heroes are those who kept our state and our schools safe, not those who flout common sense policies during a deadly pandemic.

Just as we approached the COVID crisis with a focus on data and proven interventions that work, Democrats will tackle the recent increase in auto theft and gun violence without resorting to the hyperbole and fear-mongering tactics we use. let’s see the Republicans of Connecticut. Every act of theft and violence is wrong and deserves the full response of the law. We applaud Connecticut law enforcement officials for their response to this national trend.

Scare people is not a solution. We know that a well-balanced community response includes both policing and prevention programs, many of which have been limited or closed due to the pandemic. Instead of swearing to revert to mass incarceration policies that we know fail to stop crime, we can both support the police and support the programs that we know deter crime.

Congressional Democrats and President Biden are also delivering for Connecticut. The child tax credit has put thousands of dollars in the pockets of middle class and working families, and the infrastructure plan will improve so many aspects of life in our state. Connecticut is a great place to live and raise a family. Democrats work every day to make it better and we are successful.

Nancy DiNardo is president of the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Mona Charen: Dr Oz charlatan the code of republican politics Mon, 06 Dec 2021 00:00:00 +0000

Sean Parnell, the Trump anointed candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate, dropped out of the race after a child custody hearing that presented chilling details of his relationship with his ex-wife. Laurie Snell alleged that Parnell hit her, strangled her and hit one of their sons hard enough to leave a mark on the boy’s back. Parnell replied that she had made it all up.

Custody battles are infamous for their exaggerated accusations and passionate denials, and it’s hard for outsiders to know who to believe. But Parnell’s comments on the witness stand did not tarnish his credibility. Appearing on Fox Nation, Parnell said, “I feel like all the ‘happy woman, happy life’ nonsense has done nothing but raise one generation of female bullies after the next. ” He hadn’t finished. “Now there is a whole generation of men who don’t want to put up with the BS of a demanding narcissistic woman.” The potential senator – uh, rather, won’t – concluded with a short sermon on biology: dinosaurs. Where does the GOP find these geniuses?

Well, this one was one of the crops grown by Fox News. Parnell served in Afghanistan and wrote a book about his war experiences, but since his release he has sought to advance primarily through public speaking. Fox and other right-wing media raised him. He ran for Congress once, without success. But Parnell caught the attention of Donald Trump Jr., who told Trump Sr. about him and voila, he was on his way to the US Senate … until the aforementioned hearing judge granted full custody of her three children to her ex. -spouse.

So, with the departure of the dinosaur slayer, the field was open for another clown.

This brings us to Dr. Mehmet Oz. Unlike Parnell, Oz has professional credentials and impressive professional accomplishments. He is a cardiothoracic surgeon and a professor in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.

Oz could be at the top of the American professional class – respected, well paid, privileged to dedicate his career to caring for others and teaching rising generations to do the same.

But it wasn’t enough for Oz. He wanted to be a TV star. With a nudge from Oprah, that’s what he became, and before you could say ka-ching, he was peddling “wonder” weight loss drugs.

A 2014 study by Canadian researchers found that only 46% of the advice given on “The Dr. Oz Show” was science-based. The following year 1,000 doctors signed a letter calling on Oz to resign from Columbia College. “He’s a charlatan and a fake and a charlatan,” wrote Dr. Henry Miller of Stanford.

Oz did more than abuse his public’s trust by selling trash; it escalated when covid-19 arrived, informing viewers of a “self-reported” study on hydroxychloroquine that showed excellent results. The con artist didn’t bother to add that the study was not peer-reviewed and its subjects were only patients who were already on the verge of death.

Dr Oz abuses all the privileges that life has bestowed upon him. It attacks people with less knowledge and sophistication. It is misleading even when it can cause harm.

The Pennsylvania Republicans might have been better off with Parnell, who at least strikes his blows directly, without malicious deception.

Mona Charen is Policy Writer for A union columnist since 1987, she worked in the White House under President Reagan and at the National Review. His books include “The Benefactors: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim To Help – And The Rest of Us.”

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Joe Biden: Brian Williams’ Presidency Sun, 05 Dec 2021 18:00:09 +0000

“I’ve known every prime minister since Golda Meir, including Golda Meir. And during the Six Day War I had the opportunity to – she invited me to come because I was going to be there. liaison between her and the Egyptians about the Suez. ”And I sat down in front of her desk.

It was President BidenDescendants of Joe Biden Marcus Garvey ask Biden to pardon posthumously civil rights leader GOP grapples with chaotic Pennsylvania Senate primary Social media startup Trump receives billion-dollar pledge from ” diversified group ”of unidentified investors MORE earlier this week, speaking of a meeting with Golda Meir, who served as Prime Minister of Israel from March 1969 to June 1974, during the Six Day War. The problem for the president is that he was a student at Syracuse Law School in 1967 when war broke out and the meeting was supposed to have taken place. Meir did not take office until two years later.

It’s a growing trend with the 46th President telling stories from Brian Williams’ playbook. You remember, of course, Williams – the former NBC Nightly News anchor who claimed he was shot in a helicopter over Iraq (he had not been) and had seen dead bodies floating in the French Quarter of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. (he hadn’t). Williams was suspended by NBC for telling these and other stories during his tenure as host, but the network was kind enough to bring him back a few months later with his own hour-long show on sister network MSNBC.

For Biden, it’s the same thing: fabricating stories – and seemingly for no particular reason – that are easy to verify. Remember, this is a career politician who is used to playing fast and loose with the facts: he abandoned his first presidential candidacy due to plagiarism. Before dropping out, he claimed he graduated at the top of his law class (he was in the bottom half), got three college degrees (he didn’t) and that ‘he had been named an outstanding political science student (he was not).

The future president has continued to make ridiculous statements throughout his career, leading to his third presidential candidacy in 2020. For example, on February 11, 2020, during the Democratic presidential primaries, he said: “On that day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela got out of prison and started talking about apartheid. I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our UN ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robbens Island. “

This, of course, never happened, forcing the candidate to admit it.

The model continued in his presidency. Regarding the withdrawal of US military personnel from Afghanistan, the commander-in-chief insisted that “if there are still US citizens (by the withdrawal deadline of August 31), we will stay and get them all out.” This was not true, and to this day there are still hundreds of Americans trapped in the country under Taliban rule.

Biden also insisted he would not “demand” that COVID-19 vaccines “be mandatory.” This was, of course, before requiring them to be mandatory and even going so far as to tell companies with more than 100 employees to ignore the Supreme Court – which had ruled that such warrants were unconstitutional – and , instead, to follow the guidelines of the Biden administration. It’s an uber-180.

On voting rights, the president pushed this doozy several times over the summer: “It’s sick – decide you’re going to finish the vote at 5 p.m. [in Georgia], when workers are just getting off the job. The Washington Post “awarded” “Four Pinocchios”, his worst possible truth rating:

Regarding gas prices, the President said last week without laughing: “Over the last month we have seen the prices of oil and gas out of wells, the prices of oil and gas in the wholesale market, decrease considerably. ”

“Significantly” is apparently defined as “two hundred”.

On injecting trillions of dollars into the economy by passing two bills in an attempt to (wait for) lower inflation, he told CNN anchor. Don LemonDon Carlton Lemon’s suspensionChris Cuomo leaves CNN’s future in doubt.: “If I get the other two things I’m trying to do, we’re actually going to cut inflation, cut inflation, cut inflation,” a statement echoed by the White House press secretary Jen psakiJen PsakiBiden and Putin will meet next week amid the build-up of the military in Ukraine..

Biden ran for president based largely on his being an honest alternative to his truth-challenged predecessor Donald Trump. He promised to restore confidence in the government, confidence in our leaders and to unify the country. In his inaugural address last January, he said:

“The past few weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as a as citizens, as Americans, and most importantly as leaders. Leaders who are committed to honoring our Constitution, protecting our nation. Standing up for the truth and defeating the lies. “

Well, here we are again: another president, another inability to play fair with the American people. A Brian Williams presidency, if you will.

Bet most people would rather prefer a Walter Cronkite presidency.

Joe Concha is a media and political columnist for The Hill.

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Democratic lawmakers renew calls to add Supreme Court seats after abortion debate Sat, 04 Dec 2021 18:45:00 +0000

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

The growing push by some Democrats to reshape the Supreme Court rekindled this week as the court heard oral arguments in Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban case, which could potentially limit access to abortion in the United States.

The court heard arguments from Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and legal analysts have suggested that the Conservative majority will abolish decades of precedent after Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that limited government restrictions on abortion. If so, it would open the door for state legislatures to pass laws banning abortions prior to fetal viability.


Former President Trump appointed three judges who were confirmed by the High Court, moving the membership to six GOP-appointed judges and three Democrats-appointed judges. As a result, Democratic lawmakers have called for removing the filibustering Senate requiring 60 votes to pass legislation to add more seats to the court.

Anti-abortion activist holds doll during protest outside Supreme Court building ahead of arguments in Mississippi abortion rights case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, in Washington on December 1, 2021. (REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)

Republicans have called efforts to expand the Supreme Court a Democrats’ “judiciary” and political power game.

In light of the arguments in Dobbs this week, Democratic lawmakers are renewing their calls to expand the court and add more liberal judges to offset what they see as partisan GOP gains.

“A ‘conservative’ court would maintain a precedent. But a ‘partisan’ court cannot – and it is perhaps the most partisan court in history,” said Representative Adam Schiff, D-Calif. , in reference to Democratic demands to extend the Supreme Court. “We must protect a woman’s right to choose.”


Senator Tina Smith, D-Minn., Tweeted on the day of the Supreme Court’s argument in favor of expanding the court in the abortion case.

Representative Judy Chu, D-Calif., Urged Congress to pass the Judicial Act, introduced in the spring, to increase the number of court seats. She claimed in a tweet on Friday that the court had been “manipulated to protect the political objectives of the GOP,” despite the fact that every justice upheld under Trump had gone through the proper constitutional process.

Senator Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Tweeted Wednesday after oral argument: “9 is not a magic number… Now we have to talk about expanding the court. #ExpandTheCour

In April, Markey and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, DN.Y., introduced the Judicial Bill of 2021 to increase the number of Supreme Court justices to 13.

“This bill would restore the balance of the nation’s highest court after four years of substandard action by Republicans which led to its current composition and significantly damaged the court’s reputation in the eyes of the American people. “, explained the Democratic lawmakers. “In order for the Court to fulfill its duty to provide justice equal before the law and to protect the rights and well-being of millions of Americans, the law expands the Court to restore balance, integrity and independence.”

Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., Talks about his legislation to expand the Supreme Court on April 15, 2021.

Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., Talks about his legislation to expand the Supreme Court on April 15, 2021.

Other Democratic senators have not pledged to support expanding the tribunal, with Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., saying he will not vote to wrap the tribunal or end the filibustering of the Senate .

Likewise, Senator Krysten Sinema, D-Arizona, poured cold water on her colleagues’ press campaign, saying through a spokesperson in October that she opposed an expansion. .


Early in his presidency, Biden created a commission to study potential changes to the Supreme Court. But, in a blow to progressives, the preliminary report on the future of the tribunal released in November said expanding the size and scope would not strike a balance.

The 203-page draft indicated that “the risks of expansion of the Court are considerable”. The report suggested concepts such as term limits for the Supreme Court, possibly 18-year staggered terms on the tribunal. The panel argued that the idea “would advance our Constitution’s commitments to checks and balances and popular sovereignty.”

A majority of Americans oppose an attempt to stuff the courts by Democrats, according to a poll conducted October 15-18 by the New York Times and Siena College.


Among likely voters, 58% said Democrats should not seek to increase the size of the Supreme Court. Only 31% said they were in favor of court packing, while 11% of respondents were undecided.

“The public is overwhelmingly against the runaway courts. President Biden has called this a silly idea,” said Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University previously.

Abortion rights activist Alicia Hurt holds a sign during a protest outside the Supreme Court building ahead of arguments in the Mississippi Dobbs abortion rights case against Jackson Women's Health, Washington, DC December 1, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

Abortion rights activist Alicia Hurt holds a sign during a protest outside the Supreme Court building ahead of arguments in the Mississippi Dobbs abortion rights case against Jackson Women’s Health, Washington, DC December 1, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

“That hasn’t changed. It’s still a silly idea. But what’s really fascinating to watch is the number of congressmen and law professors saying we have to pack the court because he doesn’t read the Constitution like we read the Constitution, ”Turley said.

“It is fundamentally wrong to wrap the court up and tear down the institutions that protect our rights,” R-Texas Senator Ted Cruz previously said.

Fox News’s Chad Pergram and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

A brutal Washington Post story about Kamala Harris Sat, 04 Dec 2021 16:34:27 +0000

Vice President Kamala Harris greets panelists during a virtual town hall to discuss different care policies as part of the Build Back Better program at the White House in Washington, DC on October 14, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters)

It’s hard to say what’s worse for Vice President Kamala Harris in this Washington post story– comments from anonymous former staff rampage his management style or the official commentary defend his management style by comparing Harris to Donald Trump:

“People personalize these things”, [former Harris staffer Sean Clegg] continued. “I have never had experience in my long history with Kamala, where I felt she was unfair. Did she call bulls? Yes. And does that sometimes make people uncomfortable? Yes. But if she was a man with her management style, she would have a TV show called “The Apprentice”. “

Staff members who worked for Harris before she was vice president said a constant problem was that Harris refused to delve into briefing materials prepared by staff members and then berated employees when she seemed unprepared.

“It’s clear you’re not working with someone who’s willing to do the prep and the job,” a former staff member said. “With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also your own lack of confidence. So you are constantly supporting a tyrant and it’s not really clear why.

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The “best” Republicans don’t come Sat, 04 Dec 2021 11:01:06 +0000

Republicans love a good ol ‘purity test. The party has long drawn inspiration from an endless array of scorecard groups that set the standard for GOP DNA and punish deviantsof Club for Growth To RNA To the Heritage Foundation. In the 2016 election, then-Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus feared Donald Trump would refuse to support the winner of the Republican presidential primary, promulgated its own purity test by forcing the field to submit to an oath of loyalty that they would support the prospective candidate. In the end, of course, Trump himself won the nomination. Now, forced devotion to Trump is the only test of purity that matters.

Liz Cheney is perhaps the most notable recent victim of the Trump Party’s purity test. Last May, the representative from Wyoming was kicked from the GOP House leadership team for her failure to show loyalty to Dear Leader. Even more recently it was formally defrocked of its Republican character by the Wyoming GOP. I don’t spend a lot of time pitying Cheney, but she certainly did try to force such a feeling on us. In an editorial for The Washington Post Shortly after her excommunication in May, she called the moment of her defeat a “turning point” for her party. “History is watching,” she wrote.

However, when asked to comment, History reminded me that not so long ago Cheney’s hot red blood was pounding pure and true, during which she gladly pushed her party towards the illiberal turns of its own design. The story specifically took me back to 2010, when Cheney’s political action group, Keep America Safe, dropped an ad questioning “the loyalty of the attorneys of the Department of Justice who argued in favor of the detention of terrorist suspects during the Bush administration”. At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder angered Cheney by refusing to identify seven of the suspects by name. Cheney’s ad called these lawyers “Seven of Al Qaeda.”

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U.S. Secret Service Finds Russia Preparing Ukraine Offensive Sat, 04 Dec 2021 02:48:45 +0000

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden on Friday pledged to make it “very, very difficult” for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to take military action in Ukraine as US intelligence officials determine Russia is planning a possible military offensive which could begin as soon as possible. in early 2022.

The new intelligence finding estimates that the Russians plan to deploy around 175,000 troops and that nearly half of them are already deployed along various points near the Ukrainian border, according to a Biden administration official who s ‘is expressed on condition of anonymity to discuss the discovery.

It comes as Russia resumed its demands on Biden to ensure that Ukraine will not be allowed to join the NATO alliance.

The official added that plans call for the movement of 100 battalion tactical groups as well as armor, artillery and equipment.

Intelligence officials have also seen an increase in Russian propaganda efforts through the use of proxies and the media to disparage Ukraine and NATO ahead of a possible invasion, the official said.

Asked about the intelligence discovery on his way to the presidential retreat at Camp David on Friday night, Biden reiterated his concerns about the Russian provocations.

“We’ve known about Russia’s actions for a long time and I expect we’ll have a long discussion with Putin,” Biden said.

The risks of such a gamble for Putin, if he did indeed proceed with an invasion, would be enormous.

U.S. officials and former U.S. diplomats say that if Putin clearly sets the stage for a possible invasion, the Ukrainian military is better armed and prepared today than in years past, and the sanctions threatened by the West would cause harm. serious damage to the Russian economy. It is still unclear whether Putin intends to carry out what would be a risky offensive, they say.

Earlier Friday, Biden pledged to make military action in Ukraine “very, very difficult” for Putin and said new initiatives from his administration are aimed at deterring Russian aggression.

“What I’m doing is putting in place what I think is the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to move forward and do what people fear he will do, “Biden said. journalists.

The Kremlin said on Friday that Putin would seek binding guarantees preventing NATO expansion in Ukraine during the call with Biden. But Biden has sought to push back the request.

“I don’t accept anyone’s red line,” Biden said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have also warned that Russia could invade next month. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told lawmakers on Friday that the number of Russian troops near Ukraine and in Russia annexed Crimea is estimated at 94,300, warning that a “large-scale escalation” is possible in January. US intelligence officials estimate nearly 70,000 troops are deployed near the border, according to an unclassified intelligence document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

The intelligence findings were first reported by the Washington Post.

There are signs that the White House and the Kremlin are set to hold a conversation next week between Biden and Putin. Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Friday that arrangements had been made for a Putin-Biden appeal in the coming days, adding that the date would be announced after Moscow and Washington finalized the details. The Russians say a date has been agreed, but declined to say when.

Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also tentatively agreed to make a call next week, according to a person close to the Ukrainian president who was not allowed to speak in public and spoke on condition of anonymity.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said administration officials had “engaged in the possibility” of a Biden-Putin appeal. White House officials did not respond to a request for comment on Zelenskyy’s expected appeal.

“It would certainly be an opportunity to discuss our grave concerns about the belligerent rhetoric, the military build-up that we see on the border with Ukraine,” Psaki said of a potential Biden-Putin appeal.

Biden did not detail the actions he weighed. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Sweden on Thursday, said the United States had threatened further sanctions. He did not detail the potential sanctions but suggested the effort would not be effective.

“If the new ‘hell sanctions’ come along, we will respond,” Lavrov said. “We cannot fail to respond.”

Psaki said the administration will seek to coordinate with European allies if it goes ahead with the sanctions. She noted that bitter memories of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that had been under Ukraine’s control since 1954, come to mind as the White House contemplates the path to follow.

“We know what President Putin has done in the past,” Psaki said. “We see that he is building the capacity to act as quickly as possible.”

Deep differences were displayed during the Blinken-Lavrov meeting, the Russian official instructing the West to “play with fire” by denying Russia a say in any further NATO expansion in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Zelenskyy pushed Ukraine to join the alliance, which keeps the membership promise but has not set a timeline.

Blinken said this week that the United States had “made it clear to the Kremlin that we will respond resolutely, including with a series of high-impact economic measures that we have refrained from using in the past.”

He did not say what sanctions were being considered, but one of them could be to cut Russia off from the SWIFT international payments system. The European Union’s parliament in April approved a non-binding resolution to cut Russia off from SWIFT if its troops entered Ukraine.

Such a move would go a long way in blocking Russian companies from the global financial system. Western allies reportedly considered such a step in 2014 and 2015, during previous escalations of Russian-led tensions over Ukraine.

The then Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, declared that this would amount to “a declaration of war”.

But some U.S. government officials say Putin may also seek the attention and concessions of Biden and other Western leaders, using military escalation to force Russia to resume a central role in world affairs as it does in the United States. era of the Soviet Union.

“They are seriously envious of the superpower status and (…) parity with the United States that existed during the Cold War. That’s what it is, ”said John Herbst, former US Ambassador to Ukraine.

An invasion is possible, but more likely, “they cause a crisis, they get concessions from us, then they reduce the crisis. Law? And that, I think, is probably their goal, ”Herbst said on Friday.

Associated Press editors Vladimir Isachenkov and Dasha Litvinova in Moscow contributed reporting.

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Kamala Harris’ lifelong friend shares link in “Friends From the Beginning” book Fri, 03 Dec 2021 12:00:00 +0000

EXCLUSIVE: Stacey Johnson-Batiste told Le Grio that Vice President Harris “has always been a leader.”

No one knows you as a childhood best friend. Vice president Kamala harris‘ best friend Stacey Johnson-Batiste wrote a heartfelt tribute to her friend who traces the origins and development of two women and a friendship still strong after five decades.

Now politicians are no strangers to the scrutiny, and black women in the public eye arguably get more than their fair share. The 2020 election proved that Harris is no exception. She has not had it easy in the press and with certain members of black communities who have questioned her roots, her values ​​and her commitment alongside her record.

Johnson-Batiste’s book, Friends from the start: the village of Berkeley that raised Kamala and me, provides what almost no one else can: the inner perspective of someone who knew her from the start.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Stacey Johnson-Batiste (Twelve Books, Stacey Johnson-Batiste)

The story begins in Berkeley, California. Stacey Johnson met Kamala Harris at the age of 5 and the woman who would break down barriers to become America’s first woman, first black, and Asian first vice president was just four, on the cusp of be five years old. The girls met through their mothers and then went to a progressive and multiracial preschool together, Berkwood Hedge School, where both thrived. A sense of community, care and love was cultivated in them during the Berkeley days. It permeates this book, which is in large part a heartfelt testament to the importance and sustaining power of friendship.

Beyond that, what may surprise skeptics is that with this VP, what you see is what you get. This is the most important theme of the book: Kamala Harris is who she always has been. The fiery debate stage Kamala is the Kamala who showed up in kindergarten. In fact, this continuity of character and spirit is what inspired the book, which is organized around the twelve core values ​​that shaped Kamala and Stacey as girls and remain with them to this day.

Guiding principles such as passion and purpose remain constant watchwords in the vice president’s communication and action, to the underlying courage and determination of their ambitious and loving mothers and propel them from strength to strength. before whatever happens.

Kamala Harris Stacey Johnson-Batiste

Vice President Kamala Harris and Stacey Johnson-Batiste as children (Twelve Books, Grand Central Publishing)

When she attended the inauguration, Johnson-Batiste found that despite the grandeur of the setting, the atmosphere around the Vice President, one she helped create and nurture with care, felt the same to her. than during the previous stages of his life. a friend’s career. She has been there for everyone.

This led Johnson-Batiste to contemplate the commonalities between those moments and childhood, and how the girl she knew became the woman on the world stage. And for the author, it was about the values ​​and priorities Harris carries with her.

This became the foundation of the book and its guiding principle: “The more I thought about the characteristics that I admired most in my friend, that I had just seen go down in history, the more I realized that they were the same ones that I had seen go down in history. had drawn me to her throughout our childhood and had sustained our friendship. From the beginning.”

leGrio recently had the privilege of reading a first copy of the book and speaking with Johnson-Batiste one-on-one. Here is what we learned.

[The transcript has been edited for brevity]

theGrio: The main inspiration for the book came on the opening night?

Stacey Johnson-Batiste: If you imagine, I was standing with this huge Lincoln statue to my right, the reflection pool to my left, Kamala was right in front of me, John legend was to my right. The reflection pool was lined with 400 lanterns, each representing 1,000 of our fellow Americans who died of COVID at the time. It was very, very moving, overwhelming, and I could almost imagine, as in the heavens hovering above, his mother Shyamala [Gopalan], my father, Robert, our uncle Sherman, and our Aunt marie, a little contemptuous of all that.

The dedication ceremony, it was so familiar the feeling, the ambiance, the color [and] the diversity…. There was a feeling even with a much smaller crowd, a very good feeling of joy as it did with each of his swearing-in ceremonies.

I thought I was going to start aligning these characteristics, these qualities that I saw in her throughout our childhood and teenage years and our 20s and 30s, and certainly throughout her career., Map that to those people who were influential and important to both of our lives… This is how I framed the chapters and the thoughts behind the book.

theGrio: Let’s talk about how you met. Were your mothers first friends?

Johnson-Batiste: Absoutely. Now my mother can’t remember exactly how she met Shyamala. She assumes that she was introduced to her by Uncle Sherman and Aunt Mary… while they were both looking for a kindergarten to send their daughters to… It seemed like we became friends instantly. Our mothers became very close, so we were together every day at school, but also sometimes after school and on weekends.

Our mothers would crowd Kamala, Maya, and myself, either in my mom’s Mustang 66, and off we went, either to the park or to Fairyland or to the Grand Lake Theater. etc. And we’ve been friends ever since.

theGrio: You wrote that it was in Berkwood that you first realized that “Kamala doesn’t have time for bullies”. What happened?

Johnson-Batiste: Berkwood hedge. Well I mean she always asserted herself, but she also loved playing with everyone. So that day in our school, which was rich in arts and crafts, we had made a small work of art. We had to mold it, put it in the oven for a few minutes and then let it sit outside. And this boy, who will remain nameless [She still remembers his name.] … Took mine and threw it on the ground. And knowing myself, I was probably shocked and my eyes filled with tears, but Kamala stood in front of me and said something to him, and he got mad enough to pick up a stone or a piece of clay. and hit her in the lead.

Her mom had to come home from work, take her to the hospital, she needed stitches! It was just a testament to the kind of person she was and always has been. She will defend the underdog and protect her friends and family.

theGrio: I think a lot about the fact that there is often a mismatch between someone’s media image and their reality. What is your reaction when Kamala’s identity, her darkness is challenged? And what would you say to people who aren’t sure she’s one of them?

Johnson-Batiste: OK, well, she grew up black. And her mother was keen to make sure her daughters had a very good foundation in African American history and culture. As well as their East Indian culture. So there was never any confusion, you know, that I could say from that point of view.

But in terms of my personal image compared to you know, on stage or in front of the camera, I really see the same person. I think people want it to be more complicated than that. But… she has a good sense of humor. She is very intelligent and cares about people. She gets things done. And she keeps it real. She has her feet on the ground. So no, it’s really the same person.

Vice President Kamala Harris

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks at the Louis Stokes Library on the campus of her alma mater Howard University on July 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Organized by the Democratic National Committee, the event focused on voting rights. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

theGrio: Were you surprised when she met Doug [Emhoff] and decided to take the plunge?

Johnson-Batiste: Oh, I was overjoyed. I mean, it still gives me chills, I was so happy. When she first told me about him, we were having dinner in San Francisco. And I could tell there was something different, something very, very special.

And when I met him, I could see him: he just adores him. It was clear. He looked like he had a really, really good heart. They were both lawyers, so they had that in common. Cole and Ella, his son and daughter, are just wonderful. You know, very, very sweet, kind, caring.

So I was so happy for her. And at the wedding, I had never seen her so happy. It gave me hope because I was single… It was encouraging to be able to find true love at any age and at any stage.

theGrio: What has been the best moment you’ve witnessed in Kamala’s public life?

Johnson-Batiste: Well, first of all, it was extremely important, you know, to be the first black woman and vice president of the United States. It is extremely important. But I also go back to election night when she ran for the district attorney in San Francisco. I knew it was very, very special to her, very, important. I had appointments in San Francisco that day and drove pretty much nonstop, because I wanted to be there.

I think that’s when I realized what the potential was, and I was so proud of her. And since then I’ve seen her do what she said she was going to do and take care of business. And she has the same consideration and concern for people, the environment and justice that she always had.

theGrio: Was that when you knew Kamala was a leader?

Johnson-Batiste: I mean, she was always a leader, even when we were teenagers. I admired him. She had her own style of fashion. She was determined to go see Howard. She was her own person from the start. And people have always been drawn to her. But I think it was also then, during this San Francisco District Attorney’s campaign, that I realized how much of a strong leader she was.

Friends from the start: the village of Berkeley that raised Kamala and me is now available for purchase.

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The post office Kamala Harris’ lifelong friend shares link in “Friends From the Beginning” book appeared first on The Grio.

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