Saturday, September 25, 2021

Arizona Audit Wasted Millions Of Dollars To Find No Fraud


Mass Shootings Still On A Record Pace In U.S. This Year


The national news media is reporting another mass shooting. This time it was in a supermarket in Tennessee, where a shooter killed one person and injured at least 14 others. He then killed himself.

If you only got your news about mass shootings from the national news media, you might think this is a rare occurrence. That is far from the truth. The Gun Violence Archive reports that there have been 518 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. With slightly more than three months to go in the year, it looks like the mass shootings will easily top the record number from last year (610).

There have been 32,612 deaths from gun violence in the U.S. this year. That also could easily top the 43,500 gun deaths from last year.

This does not have to happen. Constitutional laws could be passed that would substantially reduce the number of mass shootings and gun deaths -- and the public supports that.


Not An Easy Task

Political Cartoon is by Bruce Plante at

The U.S. Public's View On Transgender Rights

The charts above are from a recent YouGov Poll -- done between August 25th and 31st of a national sample of 1,000 adults. The poll has a 3.6 point margin of error.

Not The Same Treatment

 Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at

Trump And His Supporters Are Losing Their "Culture War"

Beyond cutting taxes for himself and his rich buddies, Trump's administration can be boiled down to one thing -- an effort to send the United States back to the Fifties, when white men held all the power and other groups had few if any rights. It was an effort to appease white supremacists and evangelicals (many of which are also on the white supremacy bandwagon). In short, they are trying to wage a culture war. They are losing it, in spite of the massive coverage they get in the media.

Here is just part of an excellent article on this subject by Leonard Steinhorn in The Washington Post:

Despite being a one-term twice-impeached president who lost reelection and never won the popular vote, Trump looms as an outsize political and cultural figure in our historical imagination. Some have even described us as living in “the Trump era.”

Yet, this focus on Trump may miss the real story of our times. Media preoccupation does not signify historical consequence, and despite the breathless attention we lavish on him now, it’s wholly possible that future historians may view Trump less as a major force in our nation’s narrative and more as a sidebar whose disruption, nativism and anti-democratic impulses distracted us from the real changes underway in our country, ones driven by the very younger Americans who are in the forefront of rejecting Trump and Trumpism.

We’ve been down this path before, most notably in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan dominated U.S. politics and both journalists and scholars characterized those years as a time of conservative ascendancy. But were they?

Beginning in the 1960s, the United States seemed to move dramatically leftward on cultural issues, a change largely driven by young Americans holding different values than their Greatest Generation parents. Sixties youth were moving America from the monochromatic, religious and traditional society of the 1950s to one that would increasingly resemble the more diverse, multicultural and secular culture of today. . . .

This transformation, however, seemed to hit a wall with Reagan’s election in 1980. The press focused on the rise of religious conservatives as a major force in American politics. Reporters viewed their activation as evidence of a conservative resurgence that was repudiating the very cultural changes young Americans had fueled during the previous two decades and demanding the restoration of “traditional values” and Christianity in the public square. . . .

 Rather than the restoration of traditional values, the opposite happened. Although Reagan tried to turn back the clock on civil rights, women’s rights, environmental policy and religion, it didn’t work. In every respect attitudes, values, norms, practices and expectations in these areas instead grew far more liberal than what Reagan advocated — and have become increasingly liberal since.

Rather than return to traditional gender roles and domesticity, for example, women, empowered by the feminist movement, began seizing opportunities in sports, education and business. Female-owned companies nearly tripled in the Reagan years, and by the end of the 1980s, the number of young women playing interscholastic sports increased more than sixfold from 20 years before, from less than 300,000 to nearly 2 million. Women received only 39 percent of MA degrees in 1970, but by the early 1990s it had increased to 53 percent — now it’s over 60 percent.

Attitudes and institutions followed a similar path. Despite the hostility of religious conservatives and the Reagan administration — and their callous disregard for the AIDS epidemic — support for LGBTQ Americans steadily rose throughout the 1980s; this gradual liberalization eventually produced legal and cultural acceptance of marriage equality. Colleges and universities, recognizing their responsibility to tell the nation’s story through a lens far more inclusive than ever before, diversified their curriculum and added more female and minority voices and stories to their courses and canon. The media — both entertainment and news — increasingly did the same. . . .

The age of Reagan, therefore, was actually anything but.

Something similar is happening today. Young Americans, this time millennials and Gen Z, are confronting ongoing racial, cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges that their elders have been unable to solve. And instead of rejecting liberalism, they have doubled down. Widespread disdain for Trump may have been an accelerant for their deep-rooted liberalism, but young people were moving in that direction long before he became president.

Again, if one looks beyond political rhetoric and Washington politics, the picture of this era in America is far more complex. At work, millennials and Gen Z insist that companies show — and not just express — a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity, work-life balance and the environment. Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ equality are not just movements to them — they are unshakable values.

They demand a commitment to gender equality that will translate to equity in their personal relationships, jobs, parenting and institutions. Among Gen Z, many say that gender should no longer define people as it used to. They are also the most religiously unaffiliated generation in our history — more secular, less Christian, less likely to attend religious services, what one research organization called America’s “first truly ‘post-Christian‘ generation.” Even younger evangelicals are moving in a more liberal direction, far more protective of the environment and accepting of LGBTQ rights than their elders.

This does not mean that a path to a more liberal America is inevitable or will be friction-free. Trump’s damage to our democratic institutions could be massive especially if he and his supporters in Republican-run states continue to interfere with elections and voting rights. And his impact on the courts and fights over manufactured issues such as critical race theory and transgender athletes may delay changes, or make them more difficult to enact.

Yet, the “age of Reagan” taught us that those who shout the loudest about a world that’s passing them by may not be the ones wielding the most influence when it comes to the social and cultural metamorphosis that will reshape our lives and country in the years and decades ahead.

No Evidence - Still Whining

Political Cartoon is by Michael deAdder at

Murder Rate Rose In 2020 - Still Not Near All-Time High


Friday, September 24, 2021

Hispanic Population In U.S. Grew By 23% In Last Decade


U.S. Envoy To Haiti Resigns Over Inhumane Deportations

The U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti has resigned. The letter above is the resignation letter he sent to Secretary of State Blinken. Special Envoy Daniel Foote was just appointed to his position in July by President Biden.

He is right! The current administration policy of deporting people back to Haiti is cruel and inhumane. We are sending these desperate people back to a country in turmoil -- a country that is mired in poverty and lawless disorder. Sending them back puts them in danger.

It would make more sense to give these people permission to stay in our country. They are truly refugees, and deserve the chance to make a life for themselves and their families. The truth is that we need more immigrants to keep our economy healthy (since our own population is not growing enough to do so). And these people, willing to brave numerous hardships to get to the U.S., are the kind of hard-working people we need here.

I have no problem with weeding out the dangerous criminals and sending them back, but the rest should be allowed to stay in the United States. They will help our economy by taking the low-wage and dangerous jobs that U.S. citizens don't want.

We are a nation made up almost completely of immigrants and their descendants. It makes no sense to dent entrance to this new group -- especially when sending them back may well cause their death, either through violence or neglect.

I support President Biden, but the U.S. needs a more humane policy toward the Haitian refugees.

It Might Work

Political Cartoon is by Christopher Weyant in The Boston Globe.

About 351,000 Workers Filed For Unemployment Last Week

The Labor Department released its weekly unemployment statistics on Thursday. It showed that another 351,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending on September 18th. That's 16,000 more than the previous week, and marks the second week in a row that the number has climbed.

Here is the official Labor Department statement:

In the week ending September 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 3,000 from 332,000 to 335,000. The 4-week moving average was 335,750, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 335,750 to 336,500.

In Line

Political Cartoon is by Bill Day at

Cruz Tells Huge Lie To Justify Filibustering Debt Limit Raise

The House has passed a funding bill to keep the government running past September 30th. Included in the bill is a suspension of the debt limit (which needs to be raised pretty soon to keep the government from defaulting on its debts). The bill now goes to the Senate. But in the Senate, Ted Cruz has already said he would filibuster raising the debt limit -- and he has told a huge lie to justify that filibuster.

Steve Been explains at

Sen. Ted Cruz indicated last week that he intends to push the nation closer to a deliberate, self-imposed crisis, and as NBC News reportedyesterday, the Texas Republican isn't backing away from his threat to crash the economy on purpose.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, promised to filibuster it, saying there is 'no universe' in which he would consent to allowing a simple majority vote on extending the debt limit.

The GOP senator added that extending the debt limit would make it "easier for [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer and the Democrats to add trillions more in debt."

That doesn't make any sense.

There are plenty of members of Congress who are badly confused about the substantive details of governing. As a rule, Cruz isn't one of them. I've long argued that the Texas Republican's principle political problem is not that he's dumb, but rather, that he assumes everyone else is dumb.

His comments on the debt ceiling capture the problem nicely. As Cruz surely knows, raising the debt ceiling allows the United States to pay its bills, not to clear the way for new spending. The process is about paying for the stuff Congress already bought in the past, not giving lawmakers approval to buy new stuff in the future.

The GOP senator, in other words, is preparing to block important legislation — a bill that would prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations for the first time in our history — based on a rather obvious lie.

If Cruz follows through on his gambit and his effort succeeds, the results would be catastrophic. As The Washington Post's Catherine Rampell explained in her new column:

The government would have trouble paying Social Security checks, military salaries and all the creditors who'd previously lent money to Uncle Sam. A default would also violate the Constitution, which says 'the validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned.' Finally, it would trigger chaos throughout the global financial system. Financial markets currently treat U.S. debt as virtually risk-free, with all other assets benchmarked against it. If we demonstrate that our debt is not really risk-free — that we're instead cavalier about repaying our creditors — panic would tear through other markets as well.

Again, Cruz knows this. So do McConnell and many other congressional Republicans. They've decided to play with matches anyway, even if it's their own country's economy that burns.


Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

Republicans Successfully Block All Police Reforms


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Right-Wingers Want Only (Rich) White Men To Have Rights


Voters Support Democrats' Tax Plan To Pay For Infrastructure


The charts above are from the latest Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between September 18th and 20th of a national sample of 1,998 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

It shows that voters like the Democratic tax plan to pay for their infrastructure bill.

The Fastest Panderer

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

Why Won't Democrats Tax The Wealth Of Billionaires?


To pay for their "soft" infrastructure plan, Democrats have proposed raising the tax on corporations from 21% to 28%, and raising the tax on the rich back to where it was before the Trump tax cuts. They also want to fully fund the IRS, so it has to ability to more effectively go after tax cheaters. Those are all good things. But they left the growing wealth of billionaires untaxed. During the pandemic, while most Americans suffered, billionaires increased their wealth by trillions of dollars. Shouldn't that wealth be taxed? Why won't congressional Democrats do it?

Following is the opinion of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the matter:

I have to get this off my chest. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee released its proposed tax increases to fund President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social policy plan.

Here’s the big thing that hit me: Democrats didn’t go after the huge accumulations of wealth at the top – representing the largest share of the economy in more than a century.

You might have thought they’d be eager to tax America’s 660 billionaires whose fortunes have increased $1.8 trillion since the start of the pandemic – an amount that could fund half of Biden’s plan and still leave the billionaires as rich as they were before the pandemic began.

I mean, Elon Musk’s $138 billion in pandemic gains could cover the cost of tuition for 5.5 million community college students and feed 29 million low-income public-school kids, while still leaving Musk $4 billion richer than he was before Covid.

But House Democrats on Ways and Means decided to raise revenue the traditional way, taxing annual income rather than immense wealth. They aim to raise the highest income tax rate and apply a 3 percent surtax to incomes over $5 million.

Yet the dirty little secret – which House Democrats certainly know -- is the ultra-rich don’t live off their paychecks.

Jeff Bezos’s salary from Amazon was $81,840 last year, yet he rakes in some $149,353 every minute from the soaring value of his Amazon stocks – which is how he affords five mansions, including one in Washington D.C. with 25 bathrooms.

House Democrats won’t even close the gaping “stepped-up basis at death” loophole, which allows the heirs of the ultra-rich to value their stocks, bonds, mansions, and other assets at current market prices -- avoiding capital gains taxes on the entire increase in value from when they were initially purchased.

This loophole allows family dynasties to transfer ever larger amounts of wealth to future generations without it ever being taxed. Talk about an American aristocracy. We’re on the cusp of the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth in American history, as rich boomers pass it on to their millennial heirs. Closing this loophole may be our one big opportunity to stop this new aristocracy in its literal tracks. 

Biden wanted to close this loophole, but House Democrats balked.

You might also have assumed they’d target America’s biggest corporations, awash in cash but paying a pittance in taxes. But remarkably, House Democrats have decided to set corporate tax rates below the level they were at when Barack Obama was in the White House. Hell, Democrats even kept a scaled-back version of private equity’s “carried interest.” And listen to this: they retained special tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

What’s going on here? It’s not that House Democrats lack the legislative power. They’re in one of those rare trifectas when they hold a majority of the House plus a bare majority of the Senate and the presidency.

It’s not the economics. Americans have been subject to decades of Republican “trickle-down” nonsense and know full well nothing trickles down. Billionaires hardly need to have their fortunes grow $100,000 a minute to be innovative. And as I’ve stressed, there’s more money at the top, relative to anywhere else, than at any time in the last century.

Besides, Democrats need the revenue to finance their ambitious plan to invest in childcare, education, paid family leave, health care, and the climate.  

So what’s holding them back?

Put simply, Democrats are reluctant to tax the record-breaking wealth of the rich and big corporations because of … the wealth of the rich and big corporations.

Many Democrats rely on that wealth to bankroll their campaigns. They also dread becoming targets of well-financed ad campaigns accusing them of voting for “job killing” taxes. (For the record, there’s no evidence that tax increases have “killed” jobs, especially when those tax increases have been targeted at higher incomes.)

Republicans have been in the pockets of moneyed interests at least since they championed Reagan’s tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks, and dismantling of labor protections. But the timidity of House Democrats shows just how loudly big money speaks these days even in the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  

That’s partly because there’s so much less money on the other side. Through the first half of 2021, business groups and corporations spent nearly $1.5 billion on lobbying, compared to roughly $22 million spent by labor unions, and $81 million by public interest groups, according to Plus, the anti-taxers are well-organized. Thousands of industry groups, platoons of trade associations, every large corporation in America, along with small business associations — all are marching in step against corporate tax increases. There’s no similar pressure on the other side. How many pro-corporate-tax organizations can you name?

Progressive House Democrats will still have their say (AOC and other progressives will demand something more from the super-rich) and Senate Democrats haven’t yet weighed in (I’m sure Elizabeth Warren will continue to push her wealth tax).

But so far, the House Ways and Means Committee is where it all begins. 

Let me step back a bit. The looming debate over taxes is really a debate over the allocation of wealth and power in America. As that allocation becomes ever more grotesquely imbalanced, this debate over wealth and power will loom ever larger over American politics.

Behind it will be this simple but important question: Which party stands up for average working people? 

Democrats, take note.

GOP Strategy Is Not Working

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

An Example Of The "Missing White Woman Syndrome"?


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

No One Should Be Surprised By This


Poverty In The United States Got Worse In 2020


The chart above is from the Economic Policy Institute. It shows that poverty increased in the United States in 2020. The poverty rate rose by 0.9 points to 11.4% for the entire population. It was even worse for children -- rising by 1.7 points to 16.1%. How can the richest nation on the planet justify over 16% of its children living in poverty?

The poverty rate was also different for different groups, even though it rose in 2020 for all groups. Poverty among Whites rose by 0.9 points to 8.2%. Poverty among Hispanics rose by 1.3 points to 17.0%. And poverty among Blacks rose by 0.6 points to 19.3%. We still have a lot to do to make the economy fair to everyone.

Best Buddies

Political Cartoon is by John Darkow in the Columbia Missourian.

Public Supports Roe V. Wade - Opposes New Texas Law


The charts above are from the newest Monmouth University Poll -- done between September 9th and 13th of a national sample of 802 adults, and has a 3.5 point margin of error.

It shows that the public strongly favors keeping the Roe vs. Wade decision intact. About 62% says it should be left as it is, while only 31% say the Supreme Court should revisit it. 

The public also disagrees with the new Texas law banning abortions. About 54% disagree with the Supreme Court allowing the Texas law to go into effect. And 70% disagrees with allowing private citizens to enforce the law.

Choked On The Foie Gras

 Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

President Biden's Speech To The United Nations (Transcript)


On September 21st, President Biden gave his first speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Here is what he told the world:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, my fellow delegates, to all those who dedicate themselves to this noble mission of this institution: It’s my honor to speak to you for the first time as President of the United States. 

We meet this year in a moment of — intermingled with great pain and extraordinary possibility.  We’ve lost so much to this devastating — this devastating pandemic that continues to claim lives around the world and impact so much on our existence. 

We’re mourning more than 4.5 million people — people of every nation from every background.  Each death is an individual heartbreak.  But our shared grief is a poignant reminder that our collective future will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity and to act together. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the clear and urgent choice that we face here at the dawning of what must be a decisive decade for our world — a decade that will quite literally determine our futures.

As a global community, we’re challenged by urgent and looming crises wherein lie enormous opportunities if — if — we can summon the will and resolve to seize these opportunities. 

Will we work together to save lives, defeat COVID-19 everywhere, and take the necessary steps to prepare ourselves for the next pandemic?  For there will be another one.  Or will we fail to harness the tools at our disposal as the more virulent and dangerous variants take hold?

Will we meet the threat of challenging climate — the challenging climate we’re all feeling already ravaging every part of our world with extreme weather?  Or will we suffer the merciless march of ever-worsening droughts and floods, more intense fires and hurricanes, longer heatwaves and rising seas?

Will we affirm and uphold the human dignity and human rights under which nations in common cause, more than seven decades ago, formed this institution? 

Will we apply and strengthen the core tenets of inter- — of the international system, including the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as we seek to shape the emergence of new technologies and deter new threats?  Or will we allow these universal — those universal principles to be trampled and twisted in the pursuit of naked political power? 

In my view, how we answer these questions in this moment — whether we choose to fight for our shared future or not — will reverberate for generations yet to come.

Simply put: We stand, in my view, at an inflection point in history.  And I’m here today to share with you how the United States intends to work with partners and allies to answer these questions and the commitment of my new administration to help lead the world toward a more peaceful, prosperous future for all people.

Instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past, we are fixing our eyes on devoting our resources to the challenges that hold the keys to our collective future: ending this pandemic; addressing the climate crisis; managing the shifts in global power dynamics; shaping the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber, and emerging technologies; and facing the threat of terrorism as it stands today.

We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan.  And as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy; of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world; of renewing and defending democracy; of proving that no matter how challenging or how complex the problems we’re going to face, government by and for the people is still the best way to deliver for all of our people.

And as the United States turns our focus to the priorities and the regions of the world, like the Indo-Pacific, that are most consequential today and tomorrow, we’ll do so with our allies and partners, through cooperation at multilateral institutions like the United Nations, to amplify our collective strength and speed, our progress toward dealing with these global challenges.

There’s a fundamental truth of the 21st century within each of our own countries and as a global community that our own success is bound up with others succeeding as well.

To deliver for our own people, we must also engage deeply with the rest of the world. 

To ensure that our own future, we must work together with other partners — our partners — toward a shared future. 

Our security, our prosperity, and our very freedoms are interconnected, in my view, as never before.  And so, I believe we must work together as never before.

Over the last eight months, I have prioritized rebuilding our alliances, revitalizing our partnerships, and recognizing they’re essential and central to America’s enduring security and prosperity.

We have reaffirmed our sacred NATO Alliance to Article 5 commitment.  We’re working with our Allies toward a new strategic concept that will help our Alliance better take on evolving threats of today and tomorrow.

We renewed our engagement with the European Union, a fundamental partner in tackling the full range of significant issues facing our world today. 

We elevated the Quad partnership among Australia, India, Japan, and the United States to take on challenges ranging from health security to climate to emerging technologies.

We’re engaging with regional institutions — from ASEAN to the African Union to the Organization of American States — to focus on people’s urgent needs for better health and better economic outcomes. 

We’re back at the table in international forums, especially the United Nations, to focus attention and to spur global action on shared challenges. 

We are reengaged at the World Health Organization and working in close partnership with COVAX to deliver lifesaving vaccines around the world. 

We rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, and we’re running to retake a seat on the Human Rights Council next year at the U.N.

And as the United States seeks to rally the world to action, we will lead not just with the example of our power but, God willing, with the power of our example.

Make no mistake: The United States will continue to defend ourselves, our Allies, and our interests against attack, including terrorist threats, as we prepare to use force if any is necessary, but — to defend our vital U.S. national interests, including against ongoing and imminent threats.

But the mission must be clear and achievable, undertaken with the informed consent of the American people and, whenever possible, in partnership with our Allies.

U.S. military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first, and it should not be used as an answer to every problem we see around the world.

Indeed, today, many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed through the force of arms.  Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19 or its future variants.

To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will.  We need to act now to get shots in arms as fast as possible and to expand access to oxygen, tests, treatments to save lives around the world.

And for the future, we need to create a new mechanism to finance global health security that builds on our existing development assistance, and Global Health Thr- — and a Global Health Threat Counc- — Council that is armed with the tools we need to monitor and identify emerging pandemics so that we can take immediate action.

Already, the United States has put more than $15 billion toward global COVID respon- — the global COVID response.  We’ve shipped more than 160 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to other countries.  This includes 130 million doses from our own supply and the first tranches of the half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccine we purchased to donate through COVAX.

Planes carrying vaccines from the United States have already landed in 100 countries, bringing people all over the world a little “dose of hope,” as one American nurse termed it to me.  A “dose of hope,” direct from the American people — and, importantly, no strings attached.

And tomorrow, at the U.S.-hosted Global 19 — COVID-19 Summit, I’ll be announcing additional commitments as we seek to advance the fight against COVID-19 and hold ourselves accountable around specific targets on three key challenges: saving lives now, vaccinating the world, and building back better.

This year has also brought widespread death and devastation from the borderless climate crisis.  The extreme weather events that we have seen in every part of the world — and you all know it and feel it — represent what the Secretary-General has rightly called “code red for humanity.”  And the scientists and experts are telling us that we’re fast approaching a “point of no return,” in the literal sense.

To keep within our reach the vital goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, every nation needs to bring their highest-possible ambitions to the table when we meet in Glasgow for COP26 and then to have to keep raising our collective ambition over time.

In April, I announced the United States’ ambitious new goal under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the United States by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, as we work toward achieving a clean-energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050.

And my administration is working closely with our Congress to make the critical investments in green infrastructure and electric vehicles that will help us lock in progress at home toward our climate goals.

And the best part is: Making these ambitious investments isn’t just good climate policy, it’s a chance for each of our countries to invest in ourselves and our own future.  It’s an enormous opportunity to create good-paying jobs for workers in each of our countries and to spur long-term economic growth that will improve the quality of life for all of our people.

We also have to support the countries and people that will be hit hardest and that have the fewest resources to help them adapt. 

In April, I announced the United States will double our public international financing to help developing nations tackle the climate crisis.  And today, I’m proud to announce that we’ll work with the Congress to double that number again, including for adaptation efforts.

This will make the United States a leader in public climate finance.  And with our added support, together with increased private capital and other — from other donors, we’ll be able to meet the goal of mobilizing $100 billion to support climate action in developing nations.

As we deal with these crises, we’re also encountering a new era — an era of new technologies and possibilities that have the potential to release and reshape every aspect of human existence.  And it’s up to all of us to determine whether these technologies are a force to empower people or to deepen repression.

As new technologies continue to evolve, we’ll work together with our democratic partners to ensure that new advances in areas from biotechnology, to quantum computing, 5G, artificial intelligence, and more are used to lift people up, to solve problems, and advance human freedom — not to suppress dissent or target minority communities.

And the United States intends to make a profound investment in research and innovation, working with countries at all stages of economic development to develop new tools and technologies to help us tackle the challenges of this second quarter of the 21st century and beyond.

We’re hardening our critical infrastructure against cyberattacks, disrupting ransomware networks, and working to establish clear rules of the road for all nations as it relates to cyberspace. 

We reserve the right to respond decisively to cyberattacks that threaten our people, our allies, or our interests. 

We will pursue new rules of global trade and economic growth that strive to level the playing field so that it’s not artificially tipped in favor of any one country at the expense of others and every nation has a right and the opportunity to compete fairly.

We will strive to ensure that basic labor rights, environmental safeguards, and intellectual property are protected and that the benefits of globalization are shared broadly throughout all our societies.

We’ll continue to uphold the longstanding rules and norms that have formed the guardrails of international engagement for decades that have been essential to the development of nations around the world — bedrock commitments like freedom of navigation, adherence to international laws and treaties, support for arms control measures that reduce the res- — the risk and enhance transparency.

Our approach is firmly grounded and fully consistent with the United Nations’ mission and the values we’ve agreed to when we drafted this Charter.  These are commitments we all made and that we’re all bound to uphold.

And as we strive to deal with these urgent challenges, whether they’re longstanding or newly emerging, we must also deal with one another.

All the major powers of the world have a duty, in my view, to carefully manage their relationships so they do not tip

from responsible competition to conflict.

The United States will compete, and will compete vigorously, and lead with our values and our strength. 

We’ll stand up for our allies and our friends

and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones, whether through changes to territory by force, economic coercion, technological exploitation, or disinformation.

But we’re not seeking — I’ll say it again — we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.

The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to shared challenges,

even if we have intense disagreements in other areas — because we’ll all suffer the consequences of our failure if we do not come together to address the urgent threats like COVID-19 and climate change or enduring threats like nuclear proliferation.

The United States remains committed to preventing Ira- — to preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.  We are working with the P5+1 to engage Iran diplomatically and seek a return to the JCPOA.  We’re prepared to return to full compliance if Iran does the same. 

Similarly, we seek serious and sustained diplomacy to pursue the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

We seek concrete progress toward an available plan with tangible commitments that would increase stability on the Peninsula and in the region, as well as improve the lives of the people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

We must also remain vigilant to the threat of terr- — that terrorism poses to all our nations, whether emanating from distant regions of the world or in our own backyards.

We know the bitter string [sic] of terrorism — the bitter sting of terrorism is — is real, and we’ve almost all experienced it.

Last month, we lost 13 American heroes and almost 200 innocent Afghan civilians in the heinous terrorist attack at the Kabul airport.

Those who commit acts of terrorism against us will continue to find a determined enemy in the United States.

The world today is not the world of 2001, though, and the United States is not the same country we were when we were attacked on 9/11, 20 years ago.

Today, we’re better equipped to detect and prevent terrorist threats, and we are more resilient in our ability to repel them and to respond.

We know how to build effective partnerships to dismantle terrorist networks by targeting their financing and support systems, countering their propaganda, preventing their travel, as well as disrupting imminent attacks.

We’ll meet terrorist threats that arise today and in the future with a full range of tools available to us, including working in cooperation with local partners so that we need not be so reliant on large-scale military deployments.

One of the most important ways we can effectively enhance security and reduce violence is by seeking to improve the lives of the people all over the world who see that their governments are not serving their needs.

Corruption fuels inequality, siphons off a nation’s resources, spreads across borders, and generates human suffering.  It is nothing less than a national security threat in the 21st century.

Around the world, we’re increasingly seeing citizens demonstrate their discontent seeing the wealthy and well-connected grow richer and richer, taking payoffs and bribes, operating above the law while the vast majority of the people struggle to find a job or put food on the table or to get their business off the ground or simply send their children to school.

People have taken to the streets in every region to demand that their governments address peoples’ basic needs, give everyone a fair shot to succeed, and protect their God-given rights.

And in that chorus of voices across languages and continents, we hear a common cry: a cry for dignity — simple dignity.  As leaders, it is our duty to answer that call, not to silence it. 

The United States is committing to use — committed to using our resources and our international platform to support these voices, listen to them, partner with them to find ways to respond that advance human dignity around the world.

For example, there is an enormous need for infrastructure in developing countries, but infrastructure that is low-quality or that feeds corruption or exacerbates environmental degradation may only end up contributing to greater challenges for countries over time.

Done the right way, however, with transparent, sustainable investment in projects that respond to the country’s needs and engage their local workers to maintain high labor and environmental standards, infrastructure can be a strong foundation that allows societies in low- and middle-income countries to grow and to prosper.

That’s the idea behind the Build Back Better World. 

And together with the private sector and our G7 partners, we aim to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

We also — we’ll also continue to be the world’s largest contributor to humanitarian assistance, bringing food, water, shelter, emergency healthcare, and other vital, lifesaving aid to millions of people in need.

When the earthquake strikes, a typhoon rages, or a disaster anywhere in the world, the United States shows up.  We’ll be ready to help.

And at a time when nearly one in three people globally do not have access to adequate food — adequate food, just last year — the United States is committing to rallying our partners to address immediate malnutrition and to ensure that we can sustainably feed the world for decades to come.

To that end, the United States is making a $10 billion commitment to end hunger and invest in food systems at home and abroad.

Since 2000, the United States government has provided more than $140 billion to advance health and strengthen health systems, and we will continue our leadership to drive these vital investments to make peoples’ lives better every single day.  Just give them a little breathing room.

And as we strive to make lives better, we must work with renewed purpose to end the conflicts that are driving so much pain and hurt around the world.

We must redouble our diplomacy and commit to political negotiations, not violence, as the tool of first resort to manage tensions around the world.

We must seek a future of greater peace and security for all the people of the Middle East.

The commitment of the United States to Israel’s security is without question.  And a support — our support for an independent, Jewish state is unequivocal.

But I continue to believe that a two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel — Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state living in peace alongside a viable, sovereign, and democratic Palestinian state.

We’re a long way from that goal at this moment, but we must never allow ourselves to give up on the possibility of progress.

We cannot give up on solving raging civil conflicts, including in Ethiopia and Yemen, where fighting between war- –warring parties is driving famine, horrori- — horrific violence, human rights violations against civilians, including the unconscionable use of rape as a weapon of war.

We will continue to work with the international community to press for peace and bring an end to this suffering. 

As we pursue diplomacy across the board, the United States will champion the democratic values that go to the very heart of who we are as a nation and a people: freedom, equality, opportunity, and a belief in the universal rights of all people.

It’s stamped into our DNA as a nation.  And critically, it’s stamped into the DNA of this institution — the United Nations.  We sometimes forget.

I quote the opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, quote: “The equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”

The founding ethos of the United Nations places the rights of individuals at the center of our system, and that clarity and vision must not be ignored or misinterpreted.

The United States will do our part, but we will be more successful and more impactful if all of our nations are working toward the full mission to which we are called. 

That’s why more than 100 nations united agai- — around a shared statement and the Security Council adopted a resolution outlining how we’ll support the people of Afghanistan moving forward, laying out the expectations to which we will hold the Taliban when it comes to respecting universal human rights. 

We all must advocate for women — the rights of women and girls to use their full talents to contribute economically, politically, and socially and pursue their dreams free of violence and intimidation — from Central America to the Middle East, to Africa, to Afghanistan — wherever it appears in the world.

We all must call out and condemn the targeting and oppression of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities when it occurs in — whether it occurs in Xinjiang or northern Ethiopia or anywhere in the world.

We all must defend the rights of LGBTQI individuals so they can live and love openly without fear, whether it’s Chechnya or Cameroon or anywhere.

As we steer our — steer our nations toward this inflection point and work to meet today’s fast-moving, cross-cutting challenges, let me be clear: I am not agnostic about the future we want for the world. 

The future will belong to those who embrace human dignity, not trample it. 

The future will belong to those who unleash the potential of their people, not those who stifle it.

The future will belong to those who give their people the ability to breathe free, not those who seek to suffocate their people with an iron hand.

Authoritarianism — the authoritarianism of the world may seek to proclaim the end of the age of democracy, but they’re wrong.

The truth is: The democratic world is everywhere.  It lives in the anti-corruption activists, the human rights defenders, the journalists, the peace protestors on the frontlines of this struggle in Belarus, Burma, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and everywhere in between.

It lives in the brave women of Sudan who withstood violence and oppression to push a genocidal dictator from power and who keep working every day to defend their democratic progress.

It lives in the proud Moldovans who helped deliver a landslide victory for the forces of democracy, with a mandate to fight graft, to build a more inclusive economy.

It lives in the young people of Zambia who harnessed the power of their vote for the first time, turning out in record numbers to denounce corruption and chart a new path for their country.

And while no democracy is perfect, including the United States — who will continue to struggle to live up to the highest ideals to heal our divisions, and we face down violence and insurrection — democracy remains the best tool we have to unleash our full human potential.

My fellow leaders, this is a moment where we must prove ourselves the equals of those who have come before us, who with vision and values and determined faith in our collective future built our United Nations, broke the cycle of war and destruction, and laid the foundations for more than seven decades of relative peace and growing global prosperity. 

Now we must again come together to affirm the inherent humanity that unites us is much greater than any outward divisions or disagreements.

We must choose to do more than we think we can do alone so that we accomplish what we must, together: ending this pandemic and making sure we’re better prepared for the next one; staving off climactic climate change and increasing our resilience to the impacts we already are seeing; ensuring a future where technologies are a vital tool to solving human challenges and empowering human potential, not a source of greater strife and repression.

These are the challenges that we — will determine what the world looks like for our children and our grandchildren, and what they’ll inherit.  We can only meet them by looking to the future. 

I stand here today, for the first time in 20 years, with the United States not at war.  We’ve turned the page.

All the unmatched strength, energy, commitment, will, and resources of our nation are now fully and squarely focused on what’s ahead of us, not what was behind.

I know this: As we look ahead, we will lead.  We will lead on all the greatest challenges of our time — from COVID to climate, peace and security, human dignity and human rights.  But we will not go it alone. 

We will lead together with our Allies and partners and in cooperation with all those who believe, as we do, that this is within our power to meet these challenges, to build a future that lifts all of our people and preserves this planet. 

But none of this is inevitable; it’s a choice.  And I can tell you where America stands: We will choose to build a better future.  We — you and I –- we have the will and capacity to make it better. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot afford to waste any more time.  Let’s get to work.  Let’s make our better future now.

We can do this.  It’s within our power and capacity. 

Thank you, and God bless you all.