Democratic Senate Win A Game-Changer For Biden

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP
File photo: US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

The projected Democratic takeover of the US Senate is a game-changer for President-elect Joe Biden, who will be able to push through his key goals and nominations without systematic Republican obstruction.

Raphael Warnock, a pastor, and young political star John Ossoff held leads in dual-seat Senate runoffs in Georgia over Republican incumbents closely allied with defeated President Donald Trump.

The victories would mean that Democrats and independents aligned with them will have 50 seats — an evenly divided Senate that gives Democrats control as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break ties.

– What can Biden do now? –
Democrats would control both chambers of Congress as well as the White House for the first time since the initial two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when he pushed through a major economic recovery package and a signature health care plan that extended or improved insurance coverage for millions of Americans.

Biden would now be able to push through Democratic priorities starting with boosting coronavirus relief checks to $2,000 for every American — a proposal blocked by the current Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, despite backing from Trump.

In this file photo taken on November 16, 2020, US President-elect Joe Biden answers questions from the press in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP)

 

Other Biden goals that are now within reach — raising the minimum wage to $15 nationwide, relieving some of the burden of student loan debt and creating a health care “public option” — a long-held dream of Democrats who want to offer affordable, government-supported insurance to compete with private companies.

READ ALSO: Manchester City Confirm Three More COVID-19 Cases

One priority that will be especially personal to Democrats — passing the “For the People Act” that will protect voting rights nationwide, make Election Day a national holiday and limit Republicans’ push to carve out safe House seats by putting nonpartisan commissions in charge of drawing electoral districts.

– Does Biden enjoy free rein? –
No. Democratic control could not be more wafer-thin, giving kingmaking power to individual senators, and the party holds its slimmest majority in nearly a century in the House of Representatives.

One key senator will be Joe Manchin, a Democrat who has kept winning in West Virginia even as his state became one of the most solidly Republican.

While broadly supportive of Democratic priorities on the economy and foreign policy, Manchin is expected to oppose any climate legislation seen as threatening his state’s coal industry and has voiced misgivings about wide-reaching gun control.

But Biden will likely breathe a sigh of relief on appointments to his cabinet and eventually the judiciary as the Senate is in charge of confirmations.

Republicans had earlier indicated they may try to block at least one nominee — Neera Tanden, an outspoken progressive tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

Some observers believe Biden was waiting for the Senate outcome before announcing one remaining top position — attorney general — and that he now has leeway to choose a more assertive candidate as America’s top law enforcement official.

– What is the victory’s political effect? –
Huge. The victory would be a shot in the arm after dismay among Democrats that they lost seats in the House and that Trump still feels he has a lifeline for his divisive politics.

Democrats have voiced utter delight at taking away majority leadership from McConnell, a famously ruthless tactician who blocked much of Obama’s agenda.

“The fact that Mitch McConnell — a man with an unrelenting commitment to undermine America’s first Black president — could lose his veto power over American democracy (because) of Raphael Warnock, John Ossoff and Stacey Abrams is some kind of American justice,” tweeted Ben Rhodes, who was a top aide to Obama.

Ossoff will be the first African-American Democratic senator ever elected from the South and Ossoff will be the South’s first Jewish senator in more than a century, in an election strategized by Abrams, a Black woman.

But Biden, a senator for 36 years, is surely aware that the president’s party usually loses seats in its first midterm election, which will take place in November 2022.

Amanda Litman, who founded the Run for Something movement after Trump’s election that encourages progressive candidates, tweeted that Democrats will have “less than two years to deliver huge meaningful progress that people can feel.”

“There is no such thing as limited capital here: Do as many good things as possible, then talk about it around the clock.”

AFP

Wizkid, Tems Make Barrack Obama’s List Of Favourite Music Of 2020

WizKid’s single with Tems makes Obama’s favourite songs’ list.

 

Former United States President, Barack Obama, on Saturday has shared a list of his favourite music of 2020.

The list which was shared on Twitter, according to Obama is complied with “valuable consultation from our family music guru, Sasha” who seems to have a considerable influence on her famous father’s music choices.

The former Commander in Chief’s Nigerian pick, Essence, is a single from Wizkid’s “Made in Lagos” album in which he features Tems.

Listen below:

 

Obama’s musical taste touches many genres, from rock (Bruce Springsteen’s Ghosts, Bob Dylan’s Goodbye Jimmy Reed,  Jeff Tweedy’s Love Is the King) to pop (Dua Lipa’s Levitating, Jessie Ware’s Remember Where You Are) to rap (J. Cole’s The Climb Back, Travis Scott’s Franchise, Lil Baby’s The Bigger Picture) to country (Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over, Ruston Kelly’s Brave)

This comes as a part of Obama’s annual tradition of sharing his favourite entertainment programs, books, and music from the particular year. Some of the movies from Obama’s movie and TV favourites include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,  Pixar’s animated movie, Soul, David Fincher’s Mank, the documentary Time,  and Higher Ground Productions, Crimp Cramp.

See the full list of Barack Obama’s favorite music of 2020 below:

SAVAGE REMIX – Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyoncé
LOVE IS THE KING – Jeff Tweedy
FRANCHISE- Travis Scott ft. Young Thug g M.I.A.
NADA- Lido Pimienta f. Li Saumet
CAN’T DO MUCH- Waxahatchee
THE BIGGER PICTURE- Lil Baby
GHOSTS- Bruce Springsteen
LEVITATING- Dua Lipa ft. DaBaby
THE CLIMB BACK – J. cole
REPEAT- J Hus ft. Koffee
DAMAGE- H.E.R.
GOODBYE JIMMY REED- Bob Dylan
SUMMER 2020- Jhené Aiko
BRAVE- Ruston Kelly
UWRONGO (EDIT)- Prince Kaybee, Shimza, Black Motion, and Ami Faku
BETTER DISTRACTIONS – Faye Webster
LEMONADE- Internet Money ft. Don Toliver, Gunna, and NAV
BLUE WORLD- Mac Miller
CUT EM IN- Anderson . Paak ft. Rick Ross
STARTING OVER- Chris Stapleton
MECCA- Spillage Village, JID e EARTHGANG
LA DIFICIL- Bad Bunny
ESSENCE- WizKid ft. Tems
ALL MY GIRLS LIKE TO FIGHT- Hope Tala
KYOTO- Phoebe Bridgers
SUN CAME OUT- Gunna
REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE- Jessie Ware
4 My PPL – Goodie Mob
DISTANCE- Yebba
ONE LIFE, MIGHT LIVE- Little Simz

Former US Presidents Ready To Publicly Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 21, 2017, (L-R) former US Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama attend the Hurricane Relief concert in College Station, Texas. – Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton are volunteering to take a coronavirus vaccine on camera if it will help promote public confidence. (Photo by JIM CHAPIN / AFP)

 

Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are volunteering to take a coronavirus vaccine on camera if it will help promote public confidence.

Obama, in an interview with SiriusXM radio, said he would be inoculated if top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci signs off on a Covid-19 vaccine.

“If Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting Covid, absolutely, I’m going to take it,” Obama said.

“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” he said.

“I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting Covid,” Obama said.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 21, 2017, (L-R) George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton attend the Hurricane Relief concert in College Station, Texas. – Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton are volunteering to take a coronavirus vaccine on camera if it will help promote public confidence.  (Photo by JIM CHAPIN / AFP)

 

Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, told CNN the former president also wanted to help promote vaccination.

“First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations,” Ford told CNN.

READ ALSO: Premier League, EFL Agree £250-Million COVID-19 Rescue Package

“Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera.”

Angel Urena, Clinton’s press secretary, told CNN the former president would also be willing to take a vaccine in public on television

Vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna-NIH are expected to be approved by US authorities shortly and a top science official said Wednesday the United States hopes to have immunized 100 million people by the end of February.

AFP

Biden Speaks To Trump Allies Netanyahu, Modi

US President-elect Joe Biden answers questions from the press at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware on November 16, 2020. ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP
US President-elect Joe Biden answers questions from the press at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware on November 16, 2020. ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP

 

US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday held his first talks since his victory with the prime ministers of Israel and India, allies of Donald Trump who has not conceded defeat.

Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had a notoriously rocky relationship with the last Democratic president, Barack Obama, that he was determined “to ensure that the US-Israel relationship is strengthened and enjoys strong bipartisan support.”

Biden “reiterated his steadfast support for Israel’s security and its future as a Jewish and democratic state,” the president-elect’s office said in a statement.

The office of Netanyahu, who had vigorously challenged the 2009-2017 Obama-Biden administration over its diplomacy with Iran and push for Palestinian rights, said he had a “warm” conversation with the president-elect.

Biden also spoke to President Reuven Rivlin, whose position is largely ceremonial.

“I said that as an old friend of Israel he knows our friendship is based on values beyond partisan politics,” Rivlin wrote on Twitter.

Biden separately voiced optimism about working with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had heaped praise on Trump in two giant joint rallies in Texas and Gujarat.

India enjoys support across party lines in Washington but Democratic lawmakers have increasingly voiced concern about human rights under the Hindu nationalist Modi, including his championing of a controversial citizenship law and revocation of autonomy in Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Biden said he hoped to cooperate with Modi on common challenges including the Covid pandemic, regional security, climate change and, in a delicate choice of words, on “strengthening democracy at home and abroad.”

The Indian foreign ministry said Modi for his part called for cooperation on promoting access to affordable vaccines and also conveyed greetings to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, whose mother was born in India.

Trump has refused to concede defeat two weeks after the election but the leaders of virtually all countries have congratulated Biden except Russia, Mexico, Brazil, North Korea, and Slovenia.

Biden’s first calls took place with US allies who had tense ties with Trump including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Obama Extends Support To Trump, Despite ‘Political Fight’

A photo combination of US President Donald Trump and former US President, Barack Obama.
A photo combination of US President Donald Trump and former US President, Barack Obama.

 

Former President Barack Obama on Friday sent a message of support to White House successor Donald Trump and his wife Melania, setting aside the bitter election battle to wish them a rapid recovery from COVID-19.

“Although we’re in the midst of a big political fight, and we take that very seriously, we also want to extend our best wishes to the president of the United States, the first lady,” Obama said at the start of a fundraising event with vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

“Michelle and I are hopeful that they and others that have been affected by Covid-19 around the country are getting the care that they need, that they are going to be on the path to a speedy recovery.” he said.

“We’re all Americans and we’re all human beings, and we want to make sure everybody is healthy.”

 

 

 

 

 

-AFP

Biden’s Campaign Raises $364 Million In August, Beats Obama Record

Former US Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak, at the Hotel Du Pont March 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden raised more than $364 million in August, reportedly breaking the record for monthly campaign donations even though his fundraising efforts were largely online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The former vice president and the Democratic National Committee pulled in a total of $364.5 million, of which $205 million were pledged online from small donors, his campaign team said Wednesday.

The previous record was set by Barack Obama and the DNC in September 2008, when he raised almost $200 million, according to CBS and New York Times reports.

“That figure blows me away,” said the 77-year-old Biden in a statement thanking his supporters.

“Over $205 million, or 57 percent of the money we raised, came from online donations, from people like you, chipping in $5, $10, $20 at a time,” the candidate added.

Having prepared his re-election campaign since he arrived in the White House in early 2017, 74-year-old President Donald Trump still has a larger overall war chest, but Biden has been drawing in ever larger sums since winning the Democratic primary in April.

“We have to keep breaking records if we want to ensure a fighting chance at winning this thing,” Biden urged his supporters.

“Trump’s money machine remains and it’s bolstered by outside, dark money — not grassroots donors like all of you,” Biden said.

“And you better believe they will pour it all into attacks and smears against me, against Kamala, and against our campaign.”

Biden’s pick of California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the woman of color on a major party presidential ticket, fired up his donor base, raising $26 million in 24 hours, Biden revealed on August 12.

In July, Trump and the Republic National Committee raised $165 million, against $140 million for the Democrats the same month.

Trump Responds To Obama Criticism, Calls Him A ‘Terrible’ Leader

A photo combination of US President Donald Trump and former US President, Barack Obama.
A photo combination of US President Donald Trump and former US President, Barack Obama.

 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired back angrily at his predecessor Barack Obama after being branded an unserious president who had put US democracy in danger.

Trump told reporters Obama was an “ineffective” and “terrible” leader.

“I see the horror that he’s left us, the stupidity of the transactions that he made,” Trump said.

“President Obama did not do a good job. The reason I’m here is because of President Obama and Joe Biden,” he said.

Obama had accused Trump of never showing “interest in taking the job seriously,” in excerpts of his speech at the Democratic convention.

“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously…. But he never did,” the US 44th president said.

“He’s shown no interest in putting in the work, no interest in finding common ground,” Obama said in a series of deeply critical comments about the sitting president.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

 

AFP

Trump Fans False Birther Theory About Kamala Harris

WILMINGTON, DE – AUGUST 12: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) listens to Biden make remarks at the Alexis Dupont High School on August 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Harris is the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to be a presumptive nominee on a presidential ticket by a major party in U.S. history. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

US President Donald Trump has stoked false claims that Democratic vice-presidential contender Kamala Harris is ineligible to hold that office because her parents were foreign-born.

The claims about Harris — who was born in the United States, making her constitutionally eligible to be both vice president and president — echo a baseless theory that Trump long promoted about his predecessor Barack Obama.

“I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump said at a White House news conference on Thursday, referring to an August 12 opinion piece in Newsweek.

The article by conservative law professor John Eastman says that “before we so cavalierly accept Senator Harris’ eligibility for the office of vice president, we should ask her a few questions about the status of her parents at the time of her birth.”

Trump said that Eastman, of Chapman University “is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that’s right.”

Eastman was also an unsuccessful Republican challenger, losing in the primary for the 2010 California attorney general’s election won by Harris, who served in that post before becoming a US senator.

Harris, 55, was born in Oakland, California to a mother from India and a father from Jamaica. She is the first black woman and woman of South Asian heritage to be granted the honor of a place on the ticket of a major US party.

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, 77, who on Tuesday named Harris as his running mate, blasted Trump’s rhetoric Friday, with his campaign calling the false claim “abhorrent.”

– A historic choice –
Eastman’s article followed claims shared thousands of times on Facebook that Harris could not become president because her parents hailed from abroad.

Article 2, Section 1 of the US Constitution says that “no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States” shall be eligible for the presidency. They must also be at least 35 years old.

And Section 2 of the 14th Amendment says that: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”

Under that clause and an 1898 Supreme Court ruling, “anyone born on US soil and subject to its jurisdiction is a natural born citizen, regardless of parental citizenship,” Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute says.

Harris could not become vice president if she failed to meet requirements for the presidency.

David A. Super, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Economics at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States,” according to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution.

This means, Super said in an email to AFP, that “someone who is not a native-born US citizen, or someone who is not 35 years old, could not take office as vice president.”

As Trump parlayed his TV fame into a political career, he adopted and promoted the “birther” lie that Obama, America’s first black president, was not born in the United States.

Obama was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and a white American mother. Trump grudgingly acknowledged late in his 2016 presidential campaign that Obama was American-born.

Since then, Trump has faced accusations of racism, and has embraced other conspiracies.

Polls show him losing the November vote.

On Wednesday, he praised Georgia Republican congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory who has called white men the most oppressed group in America.

 

 

-AFP

Twitter Accounts Of Apple, Musk, Gates Hacked In Scam

(FILES) In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. - Twitter shares closed the formal trading day up more than 7 percent after word spread of a team codenamed "Gryphon" working on a subscription platform. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
(FILES) In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia.  (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

 

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin, in a massive hack.

The list of accounts commandeered grew rapidly to include Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Uber, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bitcoin specialty firms and many others.

“Tough day for us at Twitter,” chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a tweet.

“We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.”

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

The Biden campaign told AFP that Twitter locked down the hacked account quickly and removed the bogus tweet.

Twitter disabled the ability to tweet from validated accounts, those with the official blue checkmarks, for about two hours while working on a fix.

“Most accounts should be able to Tweet again,” the Twitter support team said in an evening update of the situation.

 

 

“As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

The duplicitous posts, which were largely deleted, were fired off from the array of high-profile accounts telling people they had 30 minutes to send $1,000 in bitcoin in order to be sent back twice as much.

“This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate!” Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss warned from his official account on Twitter.

“This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant!”

BitTorrent chief executive Justin Sun is offering a $1 million reward for finding the Twitter hackers and bringing them to justice, according to media reports.

-‘Giving back’-
The site Blockchain.com, which monitors transactions made in cryptocurrencies, said a total of 12.58 bitcoins, worth almost $116,000, had been sent to the email addresses mentioned in the fraudulent tweets.

The tweet that appeared on Musk’s Twitter feed said, “Happy Wednesday! I am giving back Bitcoin to all of my followers. I am doubling all payments sent to the Bitcoin address below. You send 0.1 BTC, I send 0.2 BTC back!”

 

 

It added that the offer was “only going on for 30 minutes.”

The fake messages that appeared on the accounts of other famous personalities made similar promises of instant riches.

The account of US President Donald Trump, which has more than 83 million followers, was not among those hacked.

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

 

“Given the accounts that got hacked more recently (Apple, Uber, Gates, Musk, etc), I am now leaning towards this being an internal compromise of a Twitter system, not an API attack from a social aggregator service,” bitcoin authority and author Andreas Antonopoulos said in a tweet from his @aantonop account.

Rachel Tobac of cyber-security firm SocialProof Security theorized that hackers got control of a Twitter employee’s administrative access to “take over a prominent account and tweet on their behalf.”

As evening arrived on Twitter home turf in San Francisco, the company continued to investigate what happened.

A version of the scam invited people to click on a link at which they would be exploited.

 

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers in a massive hack — who according to cyber police were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin.

 

“All major crypto Twitter accounts have been compromised,” Winklevoss warned in a tweet.

Among the hacked accounts was @gemini, used by the crypto-exchange, according to his twin brother and co-founder Tyler Winklevoss.

Twitter has been targeted by hackers in the past.

In March 2017, the accounts of Amnesty International, the French economics ministry and the BBC’s North America service were broken into by hackers believed to have been loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last August, a series of insulting or racist messages were posted on the personal account of Twitter founder Dorsey without his knowledge.

Trump Administration Asks US Supreme Court To End Obamacare

A photo combination created on May 9, 2020 of former US President, Barack Obama and current US President, Donald Trump.
A photo combination created on May 9, 2020 of former US President, Barack Obama and current US President, Donald Trump.

 

 

US President Donald Trump’s administration asked the Supreme Court Thursday to strike down Obamacare, which has provided health insurance to tens of millions of Americans.

The third challenge to the landmark law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, comes as the United States records some of its highest coronavirus infection rates since the contagion hit the country.

Under Obamacare, millions of Americans are required to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty.

But in 2017 Congress eliminated the fine for people who failed to sign up — known as the individual mandate — removing a key part of former President Barack Obama’s policy.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) argues “the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the Act.”

Because of that “the mandate is now unconstitutional as a result of Congress’s elimination … of the penalty for noncompliance,” it said in a late filing.

As a result “the entire ACA thus must fall with the individual mandate.”

The DoJ also argues that ACA coverage protecting people with pre-existing conditions — rules that mean insurers cannot refuse customers because of their age, gender, or health status — should also be overturned.

The Supreme Court will hear the case in its next term starting October, but US media reported that it is unlikely to be examined before the presidential election in November.

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the Trump administration’s move and called it an “act of unfathomable cruelty” during the pandemic.

She claimed if passed 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions could lose the ACA’s protections, and as many as 23 million citizens could be left without any insurance.

“There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care,” she said.

The US has been particularly badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic — and unlike Europe and parts of East Asia, has never climbed down from its peak.

Twenty-nine states are now experiencing fresh surges, with almost 40,000 new cases recorded, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

US health officials now believe based on antibody surveys that about 24 million people may have been infected at some point — 10 times higher than the officially recorded figure of around 2.4 million.

 

 

-AFP

Supreme Court Rejects Trump Bid To End Young Immigrant Protections

Protesters hold signs at a rally to defend DACA on September 5, 2017 in New York. BRYAN R. SMITH AFP
Protesters hold signs at a rally to defend DACA on September 5, 2017 in New York. BRYAN R. SMITH AFP

 

The US Supreme Court dealt President Donald Trump’s efforts to choke off immigration a fresh blow Thursday when it rejected his cancellation of the DACA program protecting 700,000 “Dreamers,” undocumented migrants brought to the United States as children.

The high court said Trump’s 2017 move to cancel his predecessor Barack Obama’s landmark Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was “arbitrary and capricious” under government administrative procedures.

The judgement on a five-to-four vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s four liberal members, stressed that it was not an assessment of the correctness of the 2012 DACA program itself.

Instead, they said the Trump administration had violated official government procedures in the way they sought to quickly rescind DACA in September 2017 based on weak legal justifications.

The ruling suggested there are legal administrative methods Trump could cancel DACA, putting the onus back on the administration if it wants to pursue the issue.

 

‘The American way’

Immigration champions and Dreamers cheered the narrow ruling.

“Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation,” Obama tweeted.

“Today, I’m happy for them, their families, and all of us. We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals.”

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the ruling prolonged the life of a program she said was supported by three-quarters of Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike.

“This way is the American way and I’m very proud of it,” she said.

Jesus Contreras, a Houston paramedic under DACA who came to the US from Mexico as a child, said he had prepared for the worst.

“I know it is not the end of the battle,” he said.

“We still have to fight for legislation but right now it is a good feeling to know that we are protected and safe at least for now,” he said.

 

Campaign issue 

On Twitter, Trump turned the decision into a call to support him in the November presidential election so that he can appoint more conservative justices to the high court.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” Trump wrote.

“We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”

 

Anti-immigrant policy

The decision came three and a half years after Trump entered office promising to halt almost all immigration and to expel the more than 10 million people estimated living in the country, many for decades, without legal immigration documents.

The Obama administration had sought to address this issue in 2012 with the DACA policy offering protection at renewable two-year periods, including authorization to work, to people brought into the United States illegally as children, and then growing up here.

DACA, and the subsequent DAPA program — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents — were executive actions by Obama to eliminate the constant threat of deportation for more than 4 million undocumented migrants.

Obama ordered the programs due to Congress’s inability to pass the so-called Dream Act, which would have created a law offering essentially permanent residency to millions of immigrants long settled in the country, families with homes, businesses, and professions.

Trump cancelled DAPA just after coming to office and then went after the more established DACA, but immediately faced a series of court battles over it.

 

-AFP

Obama Backs Young US Protesters, Seeks ‘Use Of Force’ Policy Review

This screengrab from a video released courtesy of The Obama Foundation shows MBK (My Brother’s Keeper) Alliance Virtual Town Hall with President Obama on “Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence” live-streamed on June 3, 2020. THE OBAMA FOUNDATION / AFP

 

 

Former US president Barack Obama on Wednesday applauded the “profound” protests by Americans demanding racial justice and said demonstrations over last week’s killing of a black man in police custody could spark nationwide reforms.

In his first video comments since George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis triggered unrest across the country, President Donald Trump’s predecessor also urged state and local authorities to review their policies on the use of force.

Obama directed his comments at young black men and women who he says have often witnessed or experienced too much violence.

“Too often some of that violence has come from folks who were supposed to be serving and protecting you,” Obama said in a webcast with activists.

“I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter, your dreams matter.”

He also said that in the last few weeks, Americans have witnessed “the kinds of epic changes and events in our country that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

The 58-year-old, who remains popular among Democrats, noted the deadly upheaval of the 1960s civil rights movement and said “a far more representative cross-section of America” is protesting now than as compared to half a century ago.

“There is a change in mindset that’s taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better,” Obama said.

Young protesters, in particular, have been galvanized, he said, and their motivation could serve as inspiration for broader change.

“It’s very important for us to take the momentum that has been created as a society, as a country, and say ‘Let’s use this’ to finally have an impact,” Obama said.

He also addressed the country’s local leaders, saying “I’m urging every mayor in this country to review your use-of-force policies with members of your community and commit to report on planned reforms.”

Obama did not directly address Trump’s handling of the unrest, including the president’s controversial demand that authorities “dominate” protesters.

But Obama was reportedly outraged by the use of chemical dispersants on protesters outside the White House Monday before Trump walked to a nearby church and held up a Bible.

AFP