All Articles Tagged "Obama"
President Barack Obama is truly unlike any other president we have seen in the office.
This past Friday, President Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckey. CNN Reports,
The President’s speech will be remembered for a moment at the end when he launched into a solo of “Amazing Grace,” that at first stunned the mourners and then brought them to their feet as they joined him in song.
“As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind,” Obama said. “He’s given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves.”
The President’s remarks at times felt like a sermon, with organ chords backing him during some of the most impassioned passages. The mostly African-American crowd was, at the end of the eulogy, on its feet, clapping and cheering Obama as he named each victim of the church shooting and declaring each “had grace.”
Take a look at the President’s solo.
You would think that police officers are battling ISIS with their access to grenade launchers, armored vehicles, and camouflage uniforms. President Obama is cracking down on the militarization of America’s police force and yanking those bayonets right out of their hands, Quartz reports.
The White House announced that police access to certain military equipment will be banned. Public outrage took off when images revealed by news media showed local police forces confronting protesters in heavy military gear. Quartz points out that the lines between police and military operations were beginning to blur — especially in minority communities.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” the AP quotes Obama, nine months after the Ferguson, MO protests. “It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message,” he added.
On Monday, in Camden, NJ, Obama announced his move to demilitarize local police forces.
Under his order, tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, and large-caliber firearms and ammunition will no longer be provided to state and local police.
There is an exception, though. According to Quartz, “law enforcement agencies that meet certain standards for training—including policies in place for better relations with their communities—will be able to obtain certain controlled surplus items.”
(Media Matters notes the overstatement on Fox News. Obama is not “disarming” the police.)
Still, it’s a step in the right direction for critics who protested against police militarization, which rose into prominence last year with the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Acknowledging the outcry, Obama announced that he would order a review of the programs that provide the heavy military gear.
The review, published in December, found that five federal agencies spent $18 billion on military equipment, including 5,235 Humvees, 617 mine-resistant vehicles and 616 aircraft, according to AP.
The White House defended the expenses, arguing that the armory is useful in terrorism cases such as the Boston Marathon bombing.
Though POTUS is rescinding access to military gear, he’s pushing for police forces to wear body cameras to “increase accountability,” Quartz said.
This may be hard to believe, but President Obama only has $1,001 in his savings account, according to current financial records recently released.
Obama’s annual financial disclosure report reveals just one only savings accounts, a “JP Morgan Chase Private Client Asset Mgmt Savings Account.” And his balance is just $1,000.
But don’t go thinking the Obamas are poor. Actually the President and the First Lady have put most of their earnings toward their daughters’ education. They have saved between $200,000 and $400,000 for Sasha and Malia to go to college. Add to this the the First Couple has more than $1 million in Treasury bills.
In all the President Obama has an estimated net worth of nearly $7 million, reports AOL. This is an increase from the $1.3 million he had in 2007. In fact, it is a 438% increase in net worth.
The Obamas also have personal properties, which were worth around $1.7 million. In December 2000, they paid $885,000 in cash and secured a $1.95 million mortgage for another home. But some experts say this was a bad financial move.
“The Obamas are throwing away thousands of dollars each year on a high-rate 30 year mortgage loan that hasn’t been refinanced since 2005. The President and First Lady are paying 5.625 per cent interest on the loan for their Chicago home, and owe between $500,001 and $1,000,000 on the note,” reports The Daily Mail. “Assuming only a half-million dollar loan, the Obamas are paying $2,879 per month on their home. They could be paying $2,335.”
But as far as top-earning White House couples go, Bill Clinton is considered the wealthiest president. He and Hillary’s combined net worth reached around $55 million, reports 24/7 Wall Street. And when Bill left the White House, according to 1999/2000 records the couple had as much as $15,000 in savings.
President Barack Obama is looking to boost the literacy rate of low-income kids with a plan to offer free access to 10,000 e-books.
This is a welcome move, as research shows 80 percent of low-income children lag below their grade level in reading skills and lack books at home.
According to Ann O’Leary, vice president and director of the children and families program at Next Generation, by the time low-income children reach three years of age, they have amassed a vocabulary of about 500 words. Meanwhile children of the same age from more affluent households have learned more than twice as many words, with a vocabulary of about 1,100.
The White House will partner with publishers and libraries. There are $250 million in e-book commitments from publishers, including from the five major publishing houses: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, Penguin Random House, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, and News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, reports Reuters.
Also, the New York Public Library is creating an app to connect low-income kids with the books.
“If we’re serious about living up to what our country is about, then we have to consider what we can do to provide opportunities in every community, not just when they’re on the front page, but every day,” said Jeff Zients, Obama’s top economic adviser, in a briefing with reporters.
And since kids will need computers and devices to read these free e-books, the White House already has a plan in place to upgrade Internet services for schools and libraries, with private sector help from companies such as Apple, which pledged $100 million in devices to low-income schools.
Non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis shows President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal could shrink U.S. deficits by $1.2 trillion over the next decade, Reuters reports.
POTUS’ ambitious proposition targets military operations in Afghanistan for spending cuts. The government currently shells out a whopping $74 billion a year on foreign combat endeavors, according to Fiscal Times. Obama’s budget is seeking to slash that total down to $58 billion in 2016.
Spending cuts on military intervention would account for $532 billion in savings, the Fiscal Times adds.
Obama is also looking to levy higher taxes on the wealthy and eliminate tax loopholes, which would pull in an additional $526 billion in revenue.
According to the Fiscal Times, should our current spending and tax laws remain unchanged, the U.S. government’s fiscal deficits would total a whopping $7.2 trillion between 2016 and 2025. If the country adopted Obama’s budget proposal, on the other hand, that total would drop down to $6 trillion in the same period.
However, Obama’s budget proposal is most likely to be greeted with push back, especially since Republicans now have command over both houses of Congress. POTUS’ proposals are, as FiscalTimes reports, “ritually declared ‘dead on arrival’ by the president’s political opponents.”
“It’s fitting that President Obama released his budget on Groundhog Day because it’s a painful repeat of the same failed policies that he has presented to Congress for the past six years,” Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) said, according to Politico.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) called the POTUS’ proposal “laughable.”
Casting aside Obama’s budget request, the Republican-dominated budget committees in the Senate and House will reveal their own fiscal propositions soon, which will supposedly knock out U.S. deficits within a decade. Expect deep slashes for government assistance programs.
So far, Republicans are uncompromising on defense spending and refuse to sign off on anything that does not increase military funding, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Although Congressional Republicans aren’t keen on cozying up to Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal, they just might have to surrender to a few of the proposition’s objectives:
“Both parties seem focused on passing some type of tax reform this year, and in order to do that Republicans will likely have to concede on at least some of the president’s wishes,” ValueWalk said.
President Obama’s budget proposes to assist middle-income families and “help America’s hard-working families get ahead in a time of relentless economic and technological change,” the White House claims. The right’s instantaneous flogging of Obama’s budget proves one thing: “They’re more interested in helping special interests than middle class families,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
President Obama has announced a $100 million federal government grant program to improve training and hiring of high-tech workers, which is great news for individuals interested in the field. Tech employees can earn much more than the average American worker; according to the White House, high-tech jobs pay 50 percent more than average private-sector American jobs.
According to Obama, the U.S. sorely needs tech workers in order to keep up with the rest of the world. “If we’re not producing enough tech workers, over time that’s going to threaten our leadership in global innovation,” he said.
A new program just announced by President Obama will help get tens of millions of young girls in school globally. And First Lady Michelle Obama its hitting the road to promote it. First she’ll travel to Japan and Cambodia later this month.
Obama is pursuing his “Let Girls Learn” initiative because more than 60 million girls are being denied schooling for a variety of reasons.
“We’re making it clear to any country that’s our partner or wants to be our partner that they need to get serious about increasing the number of girls in school,” Obama said.
And according to Mrs. Obama, her office and the Peace Corps will work jointly to highlight community-based solutions.
The Peace Corps’s “Let Girls Learn” program will begin in Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo, and Uganda, reports The Huffington Post.
Mrs. Obama will travel alone to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, from March 18-20 and Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia from March 21-22.
Mrs. Obama said she wants the initiative to inspire girls in the United States.
“I want our young people to be awed by these girls, but more importantly I want them to be inspired and motivated by these girls,” she said.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 21, 2015
President Obama, who some had expected might deliver a State of the Union address befitting a lame duck, instead touted economic growth and pressed for more policies to help the middle class. Obama used the annual podium to talk about low gas prices (below $2 per gallon), job creation, more Americans getting healthcare, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drawing to a close and high graduation rates. He also talked about the future, a discussion that started a couple of weeks ago when he proposed free community college for those who can maintain the GPA, enhancements to cybersecurity, paid and sick leave for workers, more access to broadband internet and more tax breaks for the middle class. ICYMI, here’s the transcript of his speech. Overall, the theme was one of “middle class economics.”
He challenged the Congress to discuss policies with solutions and compromise in mind. And he hit on some controversial topics, from further opening relations with Cuba to tackling climate change.
But the topic of helping the middle class is where he spent a good chunk of time as opposed to benefits for poor Americans, which Republicans tend to frame as “entitlements” that the country can’t afford.
Still, in order to help the middle class, Obama suggested higher taxes for the rich, which Republicans have a problem with as well. And now they have big wins in the midterm elections to fall back on, saying the people have spoken and it’s their policies that they’ve selected.
“He has ignored the will of the people, instead choosing to offer up the same tired and failed policy proposals we’ve seen unsuccessfully implemented for the past six years,” The Wall Street Journal quotes Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
For the President, helping the middle class means enacting laws and benefits that help women, such as help paying for child care and equal pay. He also talked about raising the minimum wage and the struggle to live on $15,000 per year.
“If you truly believe you could work full-time & support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it.” —Obama pic.twitter.com/MsHkVdUnhM
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 21, 2015
The Daily Beast framed the proposals as a “dare”; that the American people will be looking for a piece of the prosperity that seems to be going almost exclusively to the one percent. And now that the economy is doing better people will start to feel like these are investments we can make. With an approval rating on the rise, the President can afford to apply some pressure.
So even faced with a majority Republican Congress, President Obama gave a confident SOTU. And then there was this epic shade.
OMG… for days. And then VP Joe Biden on backup with the mean mug remix. Also, this.
Obama wink.gif pic.twitter.com/VruDO3g7Vr
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 21, 2015
The environment. Unemployment. ISIL. Which moment has you talking this morning?
President Obama wants to make broadband available for the masses. He has called for repeal of state laws preventing communities from creating broadband networks. Speaking at Cedar Falls Utilities in Iowa, Obama talked about steps to increase access to affordable, high-speed broadband across the United States.
This has been a mission for Obama, who, for the second time in three months, spoke out against large cable and telephone companies that provide the bulk of the nation’s Internet service.
According to Obama, having access to faster speeds would create jobs and let local businesses to compete in the global economy. “Today high-speed broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Obama said.
While 94 percent of Americans living in urban areas can purchase an Internet connection of 25 megabits per second, only 51 percent of Americans in rural areas have access to such Internet speeds, found a new White House report.
On top of this, due to the lack of competition three out of four Americans lack a choice for such Internet service.
“Tens of millions of Americans have only one choice for that next-generation broadband. So, they’re pretty much at the whim of whatever Internet provider is around,” Obama said.
Obama now wants the Federal Communications Commission to “pre-empt state laws that stifle competition and said his administration will work to cut red tape so more communities can get connected,” reports Chicago Tribune.
Obama promises that his administration will give technical and financial assistance to towns and cities that want to improve Internet service for residents. Through this initiative, the White House also announced that the Commerce Department would promote greater broadband access by offering regional workshops and technical assistance to communities. And, the Agriculture Department plans to provide grants and loans of $40 million to $50 million to assist rural areas.
Of course, the industry isn’t too happy about Obama’s stance. In fact, president Meredith Attwell Baker of industry lobbying group, CTIA-The Wireless Association, said in a statement: “The president’s focus today on using taxpayer money to compete with commercial providers, which are pouring billions in private capital every year into U.S. broadband infrastructure and jobs, is the wrong path forward. The wireless industry has invested $100 billion in the last four years alone. In such a vigorously competitive market, government-owned networks would only serve to chill private-sector investment, tilt the competitive playing field and harm consumers.”
Right now, 19 states have restrictions on municipal broadband networks and many have laws encouraged by cable and telephone companies.
“The FCC is already considering requests for Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, to prevent state laws from blocking the expansion of their broadband projects,” reports the Tribune.
North Korea is experiencing it’s second country-wide internet blackout.
The news comes after North Korea called President Obama “a monkey”, blamed the U.S for their first internet blackout and the release of the comedy “The Interview.” On Saturday, North Korea representatives said, “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” in regards to the release of The Interview. The rep also said the U.S was behind the outages of North Korean websites.
According to the North Korea commission’s spokesman, “the U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing a tag.”
North Korea is believed to have been behind the devastating hack on Sony Pictures. However, North Korea has denied involvement with the cyberattack. Korea has expressed rage against the movie, The Interview, being released and made period.
North Korea has threatened to retaliate against the U.S on multiple occasions. The U.S and North Korea have technically remained in a state of war since the 1950s.