Barack Obama urges Congress to find courage to defend his healthcare reforms

Former president avoids mentioning Donald Trump as he implores Republicans to ‘speak the truth’ even against their own party

By Sarah Betancourt, The Guardian
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 Former President Obama receives ‘Profiles in Courage Award’ from Caroline Kennedy

For the first time since leaving office, Barack Obama addressed his landmark healthcare legislation in a speech, reminding supporters of the courage and integrity of junior congressmen that it took to pass the bill.
Speaking at the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Sunday night, where he was given the Profiles of Courage award, he said: “Because of that vote, 20 million people got healthcare who didn’t have it before.
“And most of [the congressmen who voted for it] did lose their seats. But they were true to what President Kennedy defined in his book – desire to maintain the integrity that is stronger than the desire to maintain office – the faith that the right course will be vindicated. Personal sacrifice.”
“It is my fervent hope and the hope of millions … such courage is still possible, that today’s members of Congress regardless of party are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it contradicts party positions.”
Obama spoke of what is at stake for the millions of Americans who stand to lose coverage if a repeal passes, without naming Donald Trump specifically.
And he implored members of Congress to demonstrate political courage even if it goes against their party’s positions.
The former president focused much of his address on the legacy of Kennedy, as the library prepared to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth later this month. Obama noted the Kennedys had long advocated for healthcare reform, and in particular the late Senator Edward Kennedy, who died of brain cancer before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Obama’s comments come a few days after the House squeaked through a partial repeal and replacement of Obamacare with a 217-213 vote, a long-promised goal of Republicans who have decried the bill since its passing.
The former president was awarded the award by JFK’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, a former ambassador to Japan, and her son Jack Schlossberg.
Schlossberg, 24, introduced Obama to the crowd of 700 people in a rare public speech. He said: “My life changed in 2008 because a young candidate was fired up and ready to go, and he told me, ‘Yes we can.’ Without Barack Obama, I might still be sitting on my couch, eating Doritos and watching baseball games.” He cited Obama’s policy choices on healthcare reform, nuclear disarmament and gun control as the reasons for why he deserves the award.
The John F Kennedy Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization, created the Profile in Courage award in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment to public service. The award is named for Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of US senators he believed risked their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. This year’s event marks the 100th anniversary of Kennedy’s birth, on 29 May 1917.
Previous recipients include former presidents Gerald Ford and George HW Bush, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and US Senator John McCain.

Hate groups increase for second consecutive year as Trump electrifies radical right

 

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Southern Poverty Law Center

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016 as the radical right was energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations.

The most dramatic growth was the near-tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups – from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. However fear has grown among many racial and ethnic minority groups. In a post-election SPLC survey of 10,000 educators, 90 percent said the climate at their schools had been negatively affected by the campaign. Eighty percent described heightened anxiety and fear among students, particularly immigrants, Muslims and African-Americans. Numerous teachers reported the use of slurs, derogatory language and extremist symbols in their classrooms.

The growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an  executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries. The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign.

The report, contained in the Spring 2017 issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, includes the Hate Map showing the names, types and locations of hate groups across the country.

The SPLC found that the number of hate groups operating in 2016 rose to 917 – up from 892 in 2015. The number is 101 shy of the all-time record set in 2011, but high by historic standards.

“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report. “The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists. In Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president’s ear.”

The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States, as well as anger over terrorist attacks such as the June massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The overall number of hate groups likely understates the real level of organized hatred in America as a growing number of extremists operate mainly online and are not formally affiliated with hate groups.

Aside from its annual census of extremist groups, the SPLC found that Trump’s rhetoric reverberated across the nation in other ways. In the first 10 days after his election, the SPLC documented 867 bias-related incidents, including more than 300 that targeted immigrants or Muslims.

In contrast to the growth of hate groups, antigovernment “Patriot” groups saw a 38 percent decline – plummeting from 998 groups in 2015 to 623 last year. Composed of armed militiamen and others who see the federal government as their enemy, the “Patriot” movement over the past few decades has flourished under Democratic administrations but declined dramatically when President George W. Bush occupied the White House.

The SPLC also released an in-depth profile of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBT hate group. Leaders of the legal advocacy organization and its affiliated lawyers have regularly demonized LGBT people, falsely linking them to pedophilia, calling them “evil” and a threat to children and society, and blaming them for the “persecution of devout Christians.” The group also has supported the criminalization of homosexuality in several countries.

 

Activists, Black Leaders anticipate what’s next as Federal Courts block Trump’s Travel Ban

 

By Barrington M. Salmon

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Barely two weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump signed a travel ban targeting Muslims in seven countries effectively blocking citizens, visitors, students, professionals, refugees and even those who worked with the US military in Iraq from entering the United States.

On Feb. 8, that ban was blocked by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is a ruling that the Trump Administration could appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court or the executive order could be re-written as an attempt to meet legal and constitutional muster.

Before the court ruling, the order denied entry to anyone from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. Trump’s action drew widespread condemnation and fierce opposition from civil rights and immigrant groups, national security experts and analysts and others deeply angered by the discriminatory nature of the ban and their concerns about the ethical and constitutional implications of the executive order. At the same time, Americans spooked by Trump’s constant assertions of an impending terror attack by praised the executive order and are pushing for stricter controls.

Black leaders, including National Urban League President Marc Morial, say the ban opposes American values.

“With the easy stroke of a pen, and a messy rollout, President Trump summarily stopped an entire class of people from entering the country, throwing airports into chaos and confusion, sparking spontaneous protests, delaying or halting family reunions and disrupting the lives of lawful immigrants both within and outside our nation’s borders,” wrote Morial in a statement.

While the executive order fulfilled an oft-repeated campaign promise, administration officials and pundit acknowledged that the hurried nature of the rollout of the order and the decision by the president not to consult with affected agencies or members of Congress created unforeseen problems. This included confusion among those responsible for enforcing the order and chaos at airports as Customs and Immigrations officials detained men, women and children, put others on airplanes back to their points of origin and revoked travelers’ visas.

The ruling of the three-member panel of judges from the US Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, brought a semblance of calm and order by refusing to lift the emergency stay that a Seattle judge had earlier imposed.

During oral arguments, the federal judges were unconvinced of the administration’s argument, citing among other issues, “the government’s shifting interpretations of the Executive Order and assertions of the president’s broad authority superseding that of the judiciary,” the three-judge panel wrote in the 29-page ruling. “The government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terror attack in the United States. (And) rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.”

The panel’s ruling continued, “National defense cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of legislative power designed to promote such a goal. It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties … which make the defense of the Nation worthwhile.”

Other critics of the travel moratorium – some of whom described it as “Un-American, counterproductive and possibly illegal – hailed the victory. Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington, DC-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, while praising the ruling, warned opponents of the measure not to get complacent.

“We applaud this ruling as a reaffirmation of the strength and independence of our system of justice,” he said in a statement. “The decision adds to a long list of federal judges – both Republican and Democratic appointees – who found reason to block this discriminatory order. While this decision is critical, it is not the end of the legal process. Other courts across the country will be passing judgement on the order, and the US Supreme Court will likely weigh in at some point.”

Hillary Clinton, who Trump bested to become president, posted a Twitter message saying simply, “3-0”.

Prior to the ruling, Trump railed against judges in general and decried the politics he said suffuses the judicial system. He also blamed any judges who might rule against him as being responsible if there’s a terror attack against the United States.

“SEE YOU IN COURT. THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE,” he tweeted immediately after the verdict.

And to reporters at the White House Trump said: “It’s a political decision. We’re going to see them in court. It’s a very, very serious situation, so we look forward, as I just said, to seeing them in court. It’s a decision we’ll win, in my opinion, very easily.”

Justice Department officials said in a statement that they were reviewing the decision and contemplating options. The case could be headed to the US Supreme Court which is short one justice. With the 4-4 liberal-conservative split on the High Court, it’s quite possible that the 9th Circuit ruling would reaffirm the lower court ruling. Perhaps this reality led administration officials to say that they would eschew going to the Supreme Court and pursue redress in federal courts.

This legal saga portends what could be the first of any number of legal challenges to Trump’s controversial policies and pushback against his view that the executive has primacy over the judiciary despite constitutional checks and balances.

The swift and furious public response to the travel ban caught authorities and activists observers by surprise.

“The spontaneous support has been amazing. We called for a rally in Boston and 20,000 people came out. Normally, it’s like pulling teeth,” said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Washington, DC-based Council for Islamic-American Relations. “I’m not surprised at all that this has happened. He’s been telegraphing his intention to impose a complete ban since last year. We’d been expecting, anticipating some type of ban. This has had a tremendous impact on travelers, visiting grandmothers, students, and people coming and going home. It’s been a nightmare.”

Hillary Clinton wins Alabama Black Belt by 56,741 votes, more than Trump’s win in Michigan and Wisconsin

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

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By John Zippert, Co-Publisher

Looking back over the final results of the 2016 Presidential election, according to Politico, Donald Trump received 306 electoral votes and 61,201,031 popular votes while Hillary Clinton received 232 electoral votes and 62,523,126 popular votes. In Alabama, Trump won by 1,306,925 to 718,084 popular votes for Clinton.
Based on Politicos figures, Hillary Clinton won the election by 1,322,095 popular votes or a little over 1% of the total votes cast, including those for third party candidates.
The results for the 12 county Black Belt area (including Montgomery) was 32,095 more votes for Clinton in the eleven counties (shown in the chart) and 56,741 more votes in the entire band of blue across the south central part of the state from Mississippi to Georgia.
Trump won Michigan’s 16 electoral votes by a margin of 11,612 votes (2,279,805 for Trump to 2,268,193 for Clinton).
He won Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by 27,257 (1,409,467 for Trump to 1,382,210 votes for Clinton). Trump carried Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes by 68,136 votes. In the three closest states, Trump’s margin of victory was 107,005 votes.
Trump earned that 46 vote Electoral College victory by a slim margin in those three states.
The 56,741 votes of residents of the Alabama Black Belt were more than Trump’s margin of victory in two states – Michigan and Wisconsin.
Don’t let anyone tell you that your vote doesn’t matter or doesn’t count. Every vote counts and everyone who is not registered, or did not have the proper voter id, or was too lazy to come to vote is responsible for the results.

Map of Alabama – counties

http://www.politico.com/2016electionresults/
map/president/alabama

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Hillary Clinton is now more than 2.5 million votes ahead of Donald Trump

hillary-clinton Hillary Clinton

It’s three weeks after the US election, but we’re only just getting a final tally (and it’s not set in stone yet) as some of the ballots took a long time to be counted. This is the current situation:

Votes for Hillary Clinton: 65,152,310

Votes for Donald Trump: 62,626,216

Votes for other candidates: 7,373,248

The Democrats are 2,526,094 votes ahead – but they won’t be in power after January 20. Due to the American ‘electoral college’ system, it doesn’t matter that Hillary won the popular vote by such a striking majority.

Her vote share, at 1.9% ahead of Trump, is bigger than that of 10 US presidents. In most situations, it would be an impressive victory. She actually got more votes than any presidential candidate in history, except for Barack Obama.

If all the extra people who voted for Hillary over Trump came together to form a state, that state would be more populous than New Mexico, Hawaii, Nebraska and West Virginia (and a dozen others that we didn’t have the space to list).

Why has it taken so long to count votes? States such as California still counted postal votes even if they arrived days after the election, as long as they were mailed on election day. Other states delayed their declaration because they thought the vote could be close and they might need a recount. Problems with voting machines could lead to a delay too, as well as actual recounts.

You generally expect that the person who wins the most votes wins the election, but that’s not how it always works in practice. You can bet that if Donald Trump had won the popular vote but lost the election, many of his supporters would have been out on the streets calling for blood. The ‘rigged system’ was a major feature of Trump’s campaign and he regularly complained that US democracy was in crisis.

‘The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy’, he even tweeted in 2012.And in a now-deleted tweet, he claimed in 2012 (inaccurately): ‘[Obama] lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!’

Since that same system helped him get to power, however, he seems to have had a change of heart. Now, it’s ‘actually genius’.

However, people who feel their vote effectively didn’t count are unlikely to agree. You’d imagine that one person, one vote, makes things equal. But actually, there are vastly different numbers of individual votes which make up one electoral college vote (the one that actually counts).

In California, for example, it takes around half a million people to make up one electoral college vote. But in Wyoming, which will contribute three electoral votes in total, there are only around 143,000 voters for each one. In other words, a vote in Wyoming is worth around four times as much as in California.

– See more at: http://nehandaradio.com/2016/12/02/hillary-clinton-now-winning-popular-vote-ridiculous-amount/#sthash.AlE96Jjc.dpuf

 

 

 

Omarosa Manigault named Trump’s Director of African-American Outreach

Written By Charise Frazier

Omirosa Manigualt and Donald Trump

Omarosa Manigualt with Donald Trump at the convention

Former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault breathed new life into her career by announcing her title as Donald Trump’s campaign director of African-American outreach on live television.

Manigault, a longtime supporter of the presumptive GOP nominee, and former Vice Chair of the National Diversity Coalition For Trump, solidified her position during a Monday interview with MSNBC‘s Craig Melvin.
Melvin pressed Manigault on the recent polling in Ohio and her home state of Pennsylvania, where Trump’s support from African-Americans stands at an astounding zero percent. “I just spent an amazing weekend with African-Americans for Trump, about 300 of them,” she said.
“I’m just wondering who they called because those numbers would be flawed according to the people who have come out to support, had an amazing faith-based service yet with African-Americans who support Donald Trump, had an amazing reception yesterday evening with African-Americans who support Trump,” she continued. “So I look at the data, but my reality is that I’m surrounded by people who to want see Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, who are African-American.”
Well, the numbers don’t lie and if Manigault has any chance of sustaining success in her position, she now knows where she can start.
Manigault pivoted to touting Trump’s economic prowess as a principle for his readiness to lead the country. Though the controversy with Trump University’s multiple lawsuits stands as a stain on Trump’s economic record, and considering the questionable tactics he’s taken with his personal finances (filing for bankruptcy, refusing to make his tax returns public when prompted), Manigault still believes her candidate has “an incredible vision for this country.”

Hillary Clinton goes on attack against Donald Trump in NAACP speech

BY LISA L. COLANGELO
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Hillary Clinton addresses NAACP

Hillary Clinton
addresses NAACP

Hillary Clinton made it clear Monday she isn’t about to let the GOP cast Donald Trump in a softer light at the Republican National Convention.

During an emotional speech before the NAACP’s national conference in Ohio, Clinton painted her likely Republican opponent as a President Obama-hating, white supremacist sympathizer who was once investigated for refusing to rent apartments to African-Americans.
“He might say otherwise if he were here, but of course he declined your invitation,” Clinton told members of the historic civil rights group. “So all we can go on is what he has said and done in the past.”
Her comments come as Republicans are expected to launch a wave of attacks against her as part of the first day of the convention’s theme: “Keep America Safe Again.”
Clinton, who is poised to receive the Democratic nomination for President next week, kicked off an aggressive campaign to register 3 million new voters in the coming weeks.
“This man is the nominee of the party of Lincoln and we are watching it become the party of Trump,” she said to cheers. “That is not just a huge loss to our democracy, it is a threat to our democracy. … Donald Trump cannot become President of the United States.”
Her voter registration campaign will include 500 events at diverse locations including minor league baseball games, college campuses and hair salons.
“Your votes count more than ever,” Clinton told the crowd.
Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference, tried to head off GOP criticism by lauding Clinton’s service as Secretary of State.
“She strengthened national security, championed human rights and opportunities for women and girls across the world,” Dukes said. “She was instrumental in restoring American standing in the world.”