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Category: White House

On Saturday, May 30, 2015 Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, announced that he will be making a bid to become the Democrat’s nominee for the 2016 presidential election. He will be up against the heavily favored former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is expected to easily win the nomination.

Google+ wrote that in his speech announcing his candidacy, the 52-year-old O’Mally told voters he would punish Wall Street “cheats” and the others who were behind the economic collapse of 2008. O’Malley made his announcement in Baltimore, at the base of Federal Hill. Some demonstrator’s were there to protest how he handled law-enforcement policies as the mayor of Baltimore. As mayor, O’Malley took a “zero tolerance” stance on crime, which resulted in a large number of arrests for minor offenses. Although his policies did help reduce violence and drug abuse, critics say it caused unrest and distrust between police and the black community.

The liberal O’Malley will likely compete with independent Bernie Sanders for support. Sanders, a senator from Vermont, draws most of his votes from the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is where O’Malley needs to do well in order to have a chance to upset Clinton and win the nomination.

Although O’Malley understands he is a longshot to win the primary, he believes voters should have a choice. He made this clear during his announcement speech, saying that “The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth … between two royal families. It is a sacred trust to be earned from the people of the United States, and exercised on behalf of the people of the United States.”

In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks last week, GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has concluded that governments have limited abilities to track potential terror suspects. In the senator’s viewpoint, which can be viewed on YouTube, this warrants restricting the ability of the Obama administration to transfer terror suspects from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to other locations. Bernardo Chua cites current law allows Obama to decide when to release detainees, but requires that he notify congress  30 days prior to any release. This window allows lawmakers to voice their objection over suspects they believe are likely to resume terrorist activity.

That said, the president negotiated the release of several terror suspects last year in a prisoner swap and notified lawmakers after the prisoner swap had occurred. The Obama administration’s flagrant violation of the law was called an “oversight”. Now, Senator Ayotte wants to see a moratorium on prisoner transfers and releases until the situation can be reassessed in light of the Paris attacks. Her proposed bill already has the support of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, and Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr.

The Obama administration will likely oppose any measure that imposes restrictions on the president. The bill is far reaching. It would defund any government agency from using its budget to enhance prisons in the United States to hold Guantanamo Bay detainees. At the same time, the Obama administration continues to say that closing Gitmo serves the nation’s best interests.

 

Obama has landed himself in some hot water over the holidays as it has been reported that a couple had to more their wedding time and location to accommodate a round of golf the president was playing. According to Bloomberg, two military personal had to move back the time of their wedding and move to a backup location less than 24 hours before it was supposed to take place. What made this even more unbelievable to myself and even Sam Tabar was that the couple had invited the Obama’s to the wedding knowing they would be on the island. A few hours after receiving the regretful response that President Obama would not make the wedding they were delivered news that the would have to change the time and place due to his round of golf.

It has however been reported that people are forewarned that plans may be disrupted due to the presidents presence on the island. It was also discovered that the White House did now know of the conflict until after it had already taken place. The President did personally call the couple to apologize for making them move, which the couple described as a wonderful conversation. This is not the first time that Obama’s golf outings have drawn criticism and it surely won’t be the last.

It is undeniable that President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have a cordial if not friendly relationship. When hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey in the waning weeks of the 2012 presidential election, Governor Christie made the unusual request of having the president accompany him to the state’s disaster areas. Photographers captured a photograph of the governor giving the president a warm embrace. The experience gave the president an additional boost in the polls which rankled many within the GOP.

Recently, the president toured the Jersey shore once more to see the progress that has been made since the hurricane devastation. While on the boardwalk, he recalled playing the game “Frog Bog” which he admits he fared poorly in. He also took the football toss challenge with the governor and lost. The president said it bothered him to lose the football toss. However, he fully expects to have another crack at beating Gov. Christie at the toss sometime in the future.

In recent months, Gov. Christie has criticized some of the president’s policies most notably on the matter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). However, Christie, who many expect to launch a presidential run later next year, is careful not to be too critical of Obama. My political buddy Jared Haftel expects the popular NJ governor to make inroads in the northeast as part of his strategy to capture the White House.

In more promises from politicians, the powerhouse of a Senator Elizabeth Warren of has said that she is not running to become the next President of the United States in 2016. This statement seems like a refreshingly honest statement coming from the Senator, however as with all political rhetoric, it is at the end of the day still rhetoric.

 

The Senator has been one of the few outspoken critics of the Omnibus Budget Bill, which allowed huge concessions for Wall Street policies. Warren has also been highly critical of former Wall Street bankers like Anthony Weiss ending up in the Cabinet. It is highly unlikely the American public would vote to put a wealthy banker a Treasury position, and seems to be the Senator’s concern. Financial institutions are running the country instead of the people.

 

As the NPR Journalist who asked Senator Warren this question was quick to point out, though she said a total of 4 times that she is not running, that in no way means that she won’t be running in the future. Was her statement a mere half-truth, which in business transactions is legally actionable for damages? Should the public be allowed to sue politicians for half-truths? i know my friend Brad Reifler would be pretty ok with such a legal breakthrough-the kind of breakthrough that might just garner enough profit to get the country’s economy back to its glory days.

Part of the reason why workers in 1975 earned a much higher wages when adjusted for inflation is that they earned overtime pay. Seriously, you have to read this Politico article. My friend Sergio Lins Andrade shared it with me via Twitter. Almost anyone in a salaried job has frequently worked beyond the standard 40 hour work week. It turns out that CEOs are exploiting the trend of increasing worker productivity to mean requiring workers to complete workloads that require long work weeks. Employees, fearful of losing their jobs, comply with the demands. It has the net effect of lowering their effective wages. In addition, it contributes to the unemployment rate because CEOs are able to get away with not employing as many new workers as they should. Instead, they get their existing workers to work more for free.

What many people do not realize is that overtime pay is the middle class’ equivalent of the minimum wage. President Obama can do something about this unilaterally and without usurping congressional authority. It turns out that overtime standards are under the president’s authority to alter. If he were to restore the overtime threshold to 1975 levels, workers earning under $69,000 a year would be qualified to earn overtime wages. Currently, the threshold is a meager $23,660/yr. If the president were to do this, employers would shift from prodding their employees to give them free labor in excess of 40 hours a week and instead hire additional workers, by the millions. In turn, this would force real wages up for employees and empower the middle class once more.

Democratic leaders in the Senate strongly support President Barack Obama’s plans to issue an executive order to reform the immigration system of the United States.

A letter signed by six key lawmakers, including Majority Leader Harry Reid says the suspension of the deportation of people with strong ties to the United States would help the economy and American workers.

The letter comes at a time when Obama seems doomed to act to extend the protections of deportation to five million immigrants living illegally in the US.

Congressional Republicans have expressed anger at the immigration plans, and are debating how to obstruct the president.

The signed letter expresses strong support from Democrats to an executive order of President Senate leaders. Obama postponed its plans to issue that order earlier this year by electoral considerations for Democrats.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are immersed in an intense debate about how to respond to the impending enforcement action Obama and GOP leaders are eager to implement. Republicans are trying to design a solution that meets the needs of its more conservative members, without bringing a paralysis in government activities.

Some sectors have pressured the House to draft their own immigration reform, something they have not done in the last two years, to show that they are serious about action, and to anticipate the actions of President Obama.

Another option would be to pass a law to force a temporary budget until next year, when the Republican Party takes control of the Senate, to assess whether the Republicans can use their control of resources as a tool of pressure the president.

Obama’s announcement will happen very soon. The President seeks exemption from deportation to about five million immigrants who are in the country without legal authorization. Thanks to friend of the site Gianfranesco Genoso for sending in this news tip.

What is more important than protecting the president? Apparently sitting in your truck talking on your cell phone. Yep. Instead of taking care of the most important man in America, a job for which he was handsomely paid, one un-named Secret Service canine agent was not only talking on his cell, but he was sitting in his vehicle. Not only that, his most important piece of equipment, his radio, did not sound an alarm. To top it off, the agent left his back up radio in his locker.

The agent did take the time look out of the window though, and noticed the intruder being chased by another agent. He then joined in the chase with his canine companion, a full 11 seconds after veteran Omar Gonzales scaled the fence and began his approach to the White House.

11 seconds doesn’t sound like much time, but it was enough time for Gonzales to elude the agents and disappear into the bushes. My colleague Sam Tabar says the intruder should not have had the chance to get that close. The farce continued when he emerged from the bushes and agents made the assumption that the White House doors were locked and took their time in trying to reach him.

They eventually caught up with him inside, after he over powered a female agent that was too small to be effective against him. He had been detained on a prior occasion, but released as he had not broken any laws at the time.