News with tag President Barack Obama  RSS
2020 Watch: Is Biden remaking the Democratic coalition?

26.10.2020 19:22

On paper, Democrat Joe Biden continues to lead President Donald Trump by a significant margin nationally, but polling suggests the race is tight in key battlegrounds like Florida, Arizona and North Carolina. Meanwhile, Trump is racing across America to reach as many voters as possible — the pandemic and public health guidance notwithstanding — while Biden sticks close to home, relying on surrogates like former President Barack Obama to energize targeted groups of Democratic voters.

Sasha Obama Proves She's Living Her Best Life in Viral TikTok

26.10.2020 12:30

What has Sasha Obama been up to since her dad, former President Barack Obama, left the White House? She's hanging with her girls on TikTok, of course. On Oct. 25, the 19-year-old set...

Severed families, raided workplaces and a climate of fear: Assessing Trump's immigration crackdown

26.10.2020 7:59

Donald Trump was on the defensive about his immigration policies in the final presidential debate, with a question about 545 migrant children taken by the U.S. government who may never be reunited with their parents. Immigration authorities say they cannot find the children’s families, many of whom have been deported to Central America. Taking children away from their families at the border was part of a broader strategy aimed at discouraging immigrants from coming. The cruelty of the family-separation policy traumatized migrant children and spurred nationwide protests. A federal judge ordered the government to reunite the separated families on June 26, 2018.Four years ago, candidate Trump was on the offensive about enforcement, portraying immigration as a threat to American security. Trump laid out his platform in an Aug. 31, 2016, campaign speech. This overview examines President Trump’s record on three big promises made in that speech. 1: The ban“[I]mmigration will be suspended [from] places like Syria and Libya.”In a 2017 executive proclamation, the Trump administration indefinitely barred immigrants from Iran, Syria, North Korea, Chad, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the U.S. The rule, a revised version of the “Muslim ban” previously struck down as discriminatory, was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018. Though the specific countries included in the ban have changed since then, the ban has dramatically limited immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. Immigrant visas to people from war-torn Yemen dropped from over 1,000 per month in 2016 to less than 100 per month in 2018. Student and tourist visas from the banned countries also plummeted.The Trump administration reduced refugee admissions allowed into the U.S. by capping the number who may be resettled in the country at 15,000 in 2020, down from 85,000 in 2016. This also disproportionately affected those from Muslim-majority regions. 2: Extreme enforcement“All immigration laws will be enforced.”This promise was, perhaps, doomed from the start. The federal government lacks capacity and popular support to fully enforce U.S. immigration laws, which one federal court called “a maze of hyper-technical statutes and regulations.” Doing so would also require surveillance and militarization that most Americans would find unacceptable.Under Trump, a system prioritizing the removal of people found guilty of a crime was replaced with instructions to deport “all removable aliens,” including those who had been allowed to stay in the U.S. by discretion of an immigration judge.To this end, the administration pledged to hire an additional 10,000 enforcement agents. Hiring has fallen short – both Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have fewer agents now than they did in 2016. Two numbers that have grown under Trump are the number of child migrants held in state custody and the daily total of immigrants imprisoned in prisonlike detention centers. The U.S. detains more migrants than any other country, a trend that has been growing since the Clinton administration. The daily average hit a historic peak of over 50,000 in October 2019. That population has since declined during the pandemic. 3: The wall“We will build a great wall … and Mexico will pay.”Despite an executive order signed just days into his term calling for securitizing the border, Trump has fortified less new mileage along the U.S.-Mexico border than his two predecessors. George W. Bush added about 450 miles along all four southern border states – California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas – under a bipartisan 2006 congressional agreement called the Secure Fence Act. Around 100 more miles of the border were fenced under Barack Obama. As of August 2020 Trump had covered just 5 previously unfenced miles along the U.S.-Mexico border. Double barriers or replacement fencing have also been constructed on several hundred miles since 2016.The government does not fully disclose the length or location of border walls on its website, making these figures difficult to pin down. But Trump’s 5 new miles bring the total length of fenced U.S.-Mexico border to around 660 miles. The Mexican government has refused to bankroll any of this project. So has Congress, which in 2018 rejected Trump’s request of US$18 billion to build 864 miles of border wall. Trump’s subsequent diversion of funds from the defense budget for a border wall by declaring a “state of emergency” was ruled improper by a federal appeals court earlier this month. Crackdown through criminalizationLargely stymied by the courts and Congress in implementing some of his promised anti-immigration policies, Trump and his administration advanced a strategy of harsh law enforcement and regulatory changes to crack down on immigrants.ICE regularly conducts dramatic SWAT-style raids in migrant-heavy workplaces like poultry plants and occasionally detains people near “sensitive locations” like churches, something ICE’s own guidelines recommend against. When immigrants go for a routine ICE check-in, they may be apprehended and deported. “Zero tolerance” rules expose even legal permanent residents to removal by making a long list of actions into deportable offenses, including using welfare services, admitting to addiction problems or failing to inform the government quickly of a change of address. By the numbers, President Barack Obama still removed more people each year, partly because unauthorized border crossing by Mexican nationals across the southern border was higher during the Obama years. But Trump’s immigration enforcement is more random and punitive, vastly increasing criminal prosecutions for immigration-related offenses and removing people who have been in the U.S. longer. Trump has also tried repeatedly to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The Trump administration has also dramatically restricted the federal system allowing migrants to apply for asylum under international and domestic law and has treated asylum seekers as if they were criminals. The administration finally shut it down entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many such actions have been challenged as unconstitutional, among them family separation and sending asylum seekers to Mexico to wait while their claims are processed, and the cases will be heard by the Supreme Court next year. The balanceAll told, Trump has made over 400 changes to immigration policy, largely fulfilling his 2016 promises and creating a climate of fear even among immigrants who are legal residents and citizens.However, because these changes happened almost entirely through executive ordersr – not legislative action – they can be undone by a future president, even without congressional support. But the human cost to migrant parents and children cannot so easily be reversed.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Miranda Cady Hallett, University of Dayton. * Thousands of asylum seekers left waiting at the US-Mexico border * Migrant caravans restart as pandemic deepens the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico borderMiranda Cady Hallett does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

At Debate, Trump Presses Peculiar Hometown Strategy: Attack New York

23.10.2020 15:05

NEW YORK -- In the final weeks of the presidential race, President Donald Trump cannot seem to stop harping on New York City.He wrote on Twitter that his hometown had "gone to hell." He said on Fox News recently that the city was in such despair that he might win the state in November -- despite polls showing that he is far behind. And in both debates against Joe Biden, Trump referred to New York as a ghost town."Look at what's happened to New York; it's a ghost town. It's a ghost town," he said at the debate Thursday. "For so many years I loved it; it was vibrant. It's dying. Everyone is leaving New York."Trump's antagonistic stance lies in stark contrast to Biden, the former vice president who has made his home state of Delaware a central part of his narrative, referring to it several times during Thursday's debate. But for the president, belittling New York seems to serve two purposes: It appeals to his base as a campaign strategy and allows him to address personal scores with his foes.While many New Yorkers feel that Trump has turned his back on the city, the feeling is mutual with Trump. The city overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. There were protests when he returned to Trump Tower. His name was stripped from skyscrapers.Democratic prosecutors in New York are digging into his family's finances, and Democratic leaders, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, frequently accuse him of betraying his hometown. Cuomo recently accused the president of "actively trying to kill New York City ever since he was elected."Rep. Peter King, who is close with Trump, said the city serves as a useful foil for the president for "what happens when liberals take over.""If he wants to have a punching bag that plays with the rest of the country, New York City is the perfect target," he said. "You see the boarded-up buildings. You see the dramatic increases in crime. You see people leaving for the Hamptons."Trump, however, has not seen much of the city's problems firsthand. The only visit he made to the city this year was to see his ailing brother before his death in August.Despite his absence, his aides said that Trump was still proud of being from New York, even noting that the president interrupted Biden during Thursday's debate to say that he was born in Queens."President Trump loves New York City and, as you heard last night, is proud to be from Queens," Judd Deere, a White House spokesperson, said in a statement that also included many of Trump's grievances, including "draconian shutdowns" and high taxes."This is a failure of state and local leadership, and this president is not going to let what is happening to New York and many other places happen to the rest of the country," he added.Indeed, the president last month labeled the city an "anarchist jurisdiction" and threatened to slash its funding.But he has also rejected initiatives that would benefit New York. He refused to support a project to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River; he punished the city as a sanctuary for immigrants living in the country without legal permission; and he made it more difficult for New Yorkers to fly at airports in a fight over driver's licenses for immigrants living in the country without legal permission.The president is now balking at granting New York more coronavirus recovery funds, despite entreaties from King to reconsider. But the constant taunting from Cuomo and de Blasio -- including painting "Black Lives Matter" on the street in front of Trump Tower -- does not help, King said. They could play nice, he suggested, or "at least tone it down."At this juncture, playing nice would likely have little effect: Trump seems to regard his hometown with such acrimony that his decision to officially move his residency to Florida last year served as a de facto finalization of divorce papers.Anthony Scaramucci, a former White House communications director under Trump, said the president views his attacks as "red meat" for voters who resent East Coast elites."He's throwing New York under the bus because he thinks it's going to help him get reelected," said Scaramucci, who broke with Trump and endorsed Biden."He's determined that those people are in battleground states and disaffected areas of the country that have a disdain for East Coasters, elitists and Wall Street," Scaramucci said.That strategy should ring familiar to Trump: Four years ago, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas attacked "New York values" at a Republican presidential debate. Trump bristled at Cruz's taunts then, saying the city was a "great place" with "wonderful people."But Trump's tone began to change not long after the election, which saw New York City voters side with Clinton 4 to 1.While Trump said he wants to be competitive in New York state, he could fare worse in this election than he did against Clinton. Trump won about 36.5% of votes in the state in 2016 and is polling at less than 30% against Biden.His standing in New York fell during the height of the pandemic and in the aftermath of Black Lives Matter protests, when he said that his "administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones," singling out New York and two other cities.The "anarchist" designation could have a real impact on transit funding and other federal resources, although New York City officials Thursday filed a lawsuit contesting the potential funding cuts.The two investigations in New York have also clearly rankled Trump. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is seeking his tax returns as part of an investigation into the president and his business practices, focused on potential crimes that include tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records.New York's attorney general, Letitia James, is looking into whether the Trump family's real estate company committed fraud, and Trump's son Eric was compelled this month to give a deposition in the matter.The president has frequently criticized the prosecutions as politically motivated and unfounded, contending on Twitter that the investigations were products of a "politically corrupt New York."Given the acrimony, Trump's visits to New York have dwindled. He made a few trips to the city last year, for the U.N. General Assembly, fundraising events and an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Madison Square Garden.The president received a mixture of boos and cheers at the Garden, but King, who was with Trump, said the president "was in his glory.""The next morning at the hotel," King said, "cops and firefighters were taking pictures with him."But when the city's largest police union endorsed Trump this summer, the rally was not held in New York. It was staged nearly 40 miles away at his country club in Bedminster, New Jersey.Trump visited the Hamptons in August for fundraisers and came to Manhattan later that month to visit his younger brother, Robert Trump, in the hospital. The president's only other trip to the state this year was in June to give the commencement address at West Point, about an hour's drive north of the city.U.S. presidents have long visited the sites of major tragedies and natural disasters. President George W. Bush visited New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and President Barack Obama visited communities after mass shootings and tornadoes.Trump has also traveled to Florida and Puerto Rico after devastating hurricanes, and in May, the president said that he would visit New York City, where more than 20,000 people have died from the coronavirus, "when things calm down." He has not done so.Jesse Garcia, a county Republican leader on Long Island, said Trump had shown his love for the city by providing relief funds through the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill in March and sending the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort to the city, along with the Army Corps of Engineers."I believe where he has some angst is with the ultraleft progressive socialist Democrats that have let this wonderful city rot from the inside," Garcia said.The president's comments about New York's decline could also help Republicans in local suburban House races on Long Island, King said, including ones involving Rep. Lee Zeldin and Andrew Garbarino, a state assemblyman seeking to succeed King, who is not running for reelection.After so many slights, Cuomo said Trump would need heavy protection if he tried to return."Forget bodyguards," the governor told reporters last month. "He better have an army if he's going to walk down the street in New York."Edward Cox, the former head of the New York State Republican Party who is working on Trump's presidential campaign, said the president would have no qualms about returning, despite Cuomo's threats."He can come here anytime," Cox said. "He doesn't need an army. There would be a few protesters, but he'd be just fine."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

Obama slams Trump's record in 2020 campaign trail debut

22.10.2020 17:00

October 23, 2020 5:00 AM
PHILADELPHIA • Former president Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday, launching a blistering attack on Mr Donald Trump with less than two weeks to go before the Republican President's face-off with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Nov 3.

US election campaign hots up in toss-up states

22.10.2020 17:00

October 23, 2020 5:00 AM
United States President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama hit the campaign trail in key toss-up states this week, with the presidential election just 12 days away.

Obama blasts Trump's tweets, track record in 2020 campaign trail debut

22.10.2020 4:05

PHILADELPHIA/GASTONIA, N.C. - Former President Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday with a blistering attack on Donald Trump with less than two weeks to go before the Republican president's Election Day face-off with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Speaking at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia on behalf of Biden, his former vice president, and Democratic running mate Kamala Harris, Obama offered his fiercest critique yet of his successor. He took aim at Trump's divisive rhetoric, his track record in the Oval Office and his habit of re-tweeting conspiracy theories. "With Joe and Kamala at the helm, you’re not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every...

Obama says White House is probably using pandemic playbook he left 'to prop up a wobbly table'

22.10.2020 0:30

Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday said dealing with the coronavirus pandemic "would have been challenging for any president, but this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true."Obama made his remarks in Philadelphia during a drive-up rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Obama said that South Korea recorded its first COVID-19 case at the same time as the United States, "and its per capita death toll is just 1.3 percent of what ours is. Canada is just 39 percent of what ours is. Other countries are struggling with the pandemic, but they're not doing as bad as we are because they've got a government that's actually been paying attention."Comparing Biden to President Trump, Obama declared that "Joe's not going to screw up testing, he's not going to call scientists idiots, he's not going to host a superspreader event at the White House." The United States is eight months into the pandemic, and cases are again on the rise across the country, but "Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us," Obama said. "He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself."Trump can't say Obama didn't try to warn him — before leaving office, his administration passed along a 70-page document on how to fight pandemics, the former president stated, with information included on novel coronaviruses. "We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook," Obama said. "They probably used it to prop up a wobbly table somewhere."Obama didn't just focus on the pandemic. He also made the pitch for Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), promising voters they "are going to fight for you every day. They care about you and they care about this democracy. ... They believe that no one, especially the president, is above the law. They understand that protests on behalf of social justice isn't un-American, that's the most American thing there is. That's how this country was founded: protesting injustice."More stories from theweek.com The left embraces rigging democracy The greatest risk for a Biden administration A new constitution? Be careful what you wish for.

Beheading in France could bolster president's claim that Islam is in 'crisis' – but so is French secularism

22.10.2020 0:30

A French high school teacher who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his class was beheaded on Oct. 16 by an 18-year-old Muslim refugee in what France’s President Emmanuel Macron characterized as an “Islamist terrorist attack.”The killing is the latest high-profile attack by a Muslim extremist in France, coming after the 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine and the 2016 truck attack in Nice. It also occurred two weeks after Macron gave a controversial speech defining Islam as “a religion that is in crisis today all over the world.”France, which colonized many Muslim-majority territories in Africa and the Levant in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Algeria and Mali, has Western Europe’s largest Muslim minority – 6 million people, or 9% of its population. Macron’s Oct. 2 speech outlined a legislative proposal to fight “Islamist separatism.” If passed in Parliament, it would essentially ban home-schooling of all children aged 3 and up and prevent foreign-trained imams from leading French mosques. The goal, said the president, is “to build an Islam in France that can be compatible with the Enlightenment.” Macron’s analysis concludes, simply, that Islam is somehow at odds with modern Western society. But my research on state secularism and religion shows that the reality is much more complicated. French versus American secularismFrench secularism, which is embraced by both the progressive left and the Islamophobic right, goes well beyond the American democratic concept of separating religion and state. Called “laïcité,” it essentially excludes religious symbols from public institutions. France has banned Muslim women’s headscarves in schools and outlawed religious face coverings everywhere. There are no such bans in the United States.While both America and France have ongoing debates about “Islamic fundamentalism” and “Muslim terrorists” and views that can be defined as Islamophobic have some popular support, American democracy generally provides better opportunities for the integration of various religious groups. In France, the Constitution defines the state only as secular, without delineating the boundaries of that secularism. In the United States, the First Amendment restricts the secular state’s engagement with religion, saying the government can neither establish a religion nor prohibit a religion’s free exercise. It would be difficult for the U.S. to announce, as Macron did, a state-sponsored project to “forge a type of Enlightenment Islam.”Indeed, 11 years before Macron voiced his provocative view, U.S. President Barack Obama gave a famous speech on Islam in Egypt in 2009, attempting to reset the relationship between America and the Muslim world.Emphasizing Muslims’ contributions to American society, Obama said, “It is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear.”Obama’s speech reflected an idealized American melting pot, a place where hyphenated identities like Muslim-American are common. French secularism sees no hyphenated identities – only French or Not French. Islam and the secular stateSome in France also see this rigid secularism as unequal to the challenges of multiculturalism and migration. The eminent scholar Jean Bauberot, for example, defends a more “pluralistic secularism” – one that tolerates certain religious symbols in public institutions. France has in fact made many exceptions for Catholics. The government provides substantial public funding to private Catholic schools, which educate about a quarter of all K-12 students, and six of 11 official holidays in France are Catholic holidays. Too often, laïcité translates into an unwillingness to accommodate the religiously based demands of Muslims. In 2015, a Muslim advocacy organization sued a municipal authority in France’s Burgundy region for refusing to offer an alternative to pork in public school cafeterias. The court compelled the town to reverse its policy, but not because it violated religious freedom. The court found the menu violated the children’s rights.France’s founding commitment to equality under the law likewise forestalls meaningful social debate on racial discrimination; its census does not even collect information on race. Although France’s biggest minority is mostly composed of nonwhite Muslim immigrants from its former colonies in Africa and their descendents, Macron’s speech referenced only in passing to French colonialism.[Expertise in your inbox. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter and get expert takes on today’s news, every day.] BlasphemyThat said, I find some truth in Macron’s speech. But the “crisis” facing Islam lies in the historical and political failings of the Muslim world, not in the religion itself.As my 2019 book, “Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment,” documents, many Muslim countries like Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia have long-lasting authoritarian regimes and chronic underdevelopment. In 32 of the world’s 49 Muslim-majority countries, blasphemy laws punish people who speak sacrilegiously about sacred things; in six countries, blasphemy is a capital offense. These laws, which block freedom of expression, are more rooted in the interests of the conservative clergy and authoritarian rulers than in the Islamic faith, my research shows. They actually contradict several Quranic verses that urge Muslims not to coerce or retaliate against people of other faiths. Still, in Western countries where Muslims are a minority, extremists occasionally take it upon themselves to punish those who, in their view, mock the Prophet Muhammad. That has caused global controversies over cartoons and movies. At times, in France and beyond, it has led to an unacceptable outcome: murder.Such killings, whether perpetrated by the state or by individuals, are tragedies. But to frame them as a purely religious problem ignores the socioeconomic and political origins of Islamic blasphemy laws, and the anti-democratic cultural consequences of authoritarianism in many Muslim countries. It also overlooks the difficult reality that social alienation is an underlying factor in the radicalization of some young Muslims in the West. Multiple secularisms, multiple IslamsMacron’s speech made some gestures toward greater inclusion. “I want France to become a country where we can teach the thoughts of Averreos and Ibn Khaldun,” he said, referencing two eminent Muslim thinkers of the 12th and 14th centuries, and envisioned “a country that excels in the study of Muslim civilizations.” That plural in “civilizations” is meaningful. It acknowledges that Islam is not monolithic. Neither is French secularism. Both are complex systems with varied interpretations. In truth, Macron doesn’t need to “build an Islam in France that can be compatible with the Enlightenment,” because that already exists. Whether French secularism can adapt to Islam is another question.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Ahmet T. Kuru, San Diego State University. * Teachers in France, on the front line of defending the values of the Republic * Execution for a Facebook post? Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countriesAhmet T. Kuru does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Trump can't even take basic steps to protect himself, says former US President Barack Obama

21.10.2020 22:37

Taking a jibe at Trump, Obama said that this is not a reality show but reality wherein the people will have to live with the consequences of him proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously.

From: www.dnaindia.com

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