Advertisements
Image

Oprah Winfrey: Awards Speech Ignites Frenzied Speculation On Presidential Ambition In 2020

At the start of the Golden Globes on Sunday, host Seth Meyers playfully encouraged Oprah to run against Trump. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
At the start of the Golden Globes on Sunday, host Seth Meyers playfully encouraged Oprah to run against Trump. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

 

Could Oprah Winfrey run for president and beat Donald Trump? The United States was ablaze Monday with speculation that the billionaire talk show queen might be nurturing White House ambitions after an impassioned Golden Globes speech.

Winfrey had barely heralded a “new day” following a sexual harassment watershed, before calls snowballed for one of America’s most famous women, a self-made tycoon born into poverty, to run for the highest office in the free world.

Hollywood’s loathing of Trump and Democrats’ bafflement that a crass-talking reality star with no previous government experience could win the presidency have fueled talk of, well, why not another television star, only one with the “right” politics?

Twitter ignited, Democrats championed her as superior to Trump and even Republicans admitted she was a formidable opponent to a reality star president, who himself named Winfrey as his pick for vice president in an interview 20 years ago.

The White House even waded in, saying Trump would “welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else,” when a spokesman was grilled aboard Air Force One.

The only fly in the ointment? Winfrey’s denial.

“I don’t, I don’t,” she reportedly said backstage at the Globes when asked if she planned to run.

“There’ll be no running for office of any kind for me,” she told CBS in October.

But fevered speculation only escalated. “Oprah for president? She’s got my vote,” tweeted pop superstar Lady Gaga.

CNN quoted two anonymous “close friends” as saying Winfrey was “actively thinking” about a presidential run. Her longtime partner suggested that she could be persuaded.

‘Isn’t that crazy’

“It’s up to the people,” Stedman Graham was quoted as telling the Los Angeles Times. “She would absolutely do it.”

“I want her to run,” Meryl Streep told The Washington Post. “I don’t think she had any intention (of declaring). But now, she doesn’t have a choice.”

If the speculation is wishful thinking, Winfrey’s fame and wealth, extraordinary personal story overcoming poverty, child sexual abuse and pregnancy to build a $2.8-billion fortune and Oscar-nominated acting career, would stack up nicely in her favour.

“I slept on it and came to the conclusion that the Oprah thing isn’t that crazy,” tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior advisor to Barack Obama, the president Winfrey was credited with helping to elect in 2008.

Bill O’Reilly, a Trump supporter and ex-Fox News anchor disgraced by sexual harassment allegations, wrote: “How can any politician attack Oprah, a feminine icon, human rights hero, civil rights champion and beloved human being?”

A March 2017 poll by Quinnipiac University gave Winfrey a 52% favorable rating compared to Trump’s then 41% job approval rating.

Despite Winfrey’s denials, she tweeted in September a New York Post editorial that trumpeted her as the Democrats’ best hope of beating Trump in 2020 with the message: “Thanks for your VOTE of confidence!”

Raised in Nashville, Milwaukee and Mississippi, 63-year-old Winfrey was raped and sexually abused as a child and became pregnant aged 14, but miscarried the baby.

After college, she went into journalism before reigning for 25 years as queen of the US talk show, ushering in an era of confessional television before becoming the first black woman to own a television network.

‘Don’t do it’

At the start of the Golden Globes on Sunday, host Seth Meyers playfully encouraged her to run against Trump. Becoming the first black woman to accept the Cecil B. De Mille lifetime achievement award, her speech wove together gender, poverty and race.

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men,” she said to a standing ovation. “So I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon.”

But there was also angst at the idea of electing another television star with zero government experience as commander-in-chief in charge of the nuclear codes.

“Oprah, Don’t Do It” advised a New York Times editorial, calling it a “terrible idea” that would show how far celebrity and ratings have repudiated experience and expertise.

But Republican strategist Rick Wilson suggested Trump’s election, once unthinkable, had rewritten the rules.

“There may be an equation here where the only thing that can beat a celebrity is another celebrity,” he told AFP. “The thought of Oprah isn’t as absurd as it might have been two years ago.”

But if politics is a money game, then the odds are still long.

“There is money around for Oprah, Michelle Obama and George Clooney — but the odds suggest The Donald is going to be hard to beat,” said Rupert Adams, spokesman for global betting chain William Hill.  (Agence Presse France)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

Obama’s Invitation To Prince Harry Wedding In Trouble Because Trump Is Not Invited

a man standing in front of a table: <span class="lead-asset-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;padding-right:4px;color:#888888;">Prince Harry, right, interviews former US President Barack Obama as part of his guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's Today programme which is to be broadcast on the December 27, 2017</span><span style="color:#888888;font-family:'Austin News Text Semibold', Georgia, Times, serif;font-size:10px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="lead-asset-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="lead-asset-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;KENSINGTON PALACE COURTESY OF THE OBAMA FOUNDATION&nbsp;</span>© Provided by The TelegraphPrince Harry, right, interviews former US President Barack Obama as part of his guest editorship of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme which is to be broadcast on the December 27, 2017  

 

Prince Harry chose Barack Obama to be his flagship interview  – but it may not be wise to invite him to his wedding.  The Prince chose to feature the former President on the Today Programme, which he is guest-editing on Wednesday.

The interview highlights the close relationship between Prince Harry and Obama.   The prince is thought to have told aides he wants to invite Mr Obama and his wife Michelle to the wedding on May 19.

But civil servants are said to fear a diplomatic issue if Mr Obama is invited to the upcoming royal nuptials.

Current president Donald Trump is unlikely to get an invite – and there are fears he would not respond well if the Obamas were asked to come.

Relations between Britain and the White House are currently particularly strained.

In November Prime Minister Theresa May criticised Mr Trump after he retweeted three videos made by far-right group Britain First.

She said promoting the messages “was the wrong thing to do” and called Britain First “a hateful organisation. It seeks to spread division and mistrust in our communities.”

The prince’s fiancee Meghan Markle is also thought to be no fan of Mr Trump, having tweeted criticism of him during last year’s US election.

The Obamas helped the Prince, 33 promote the Invictus Games, which were held in Toronto earlier this year.

A senior government source told the Sun: “Harry has made it clear he wants the Obamas at the wedding, so it’s causing a lot of nervousness.

“Trump could react very badly if the Obamas get to a Royal wedding before he has had a chance to meet the Queen.

“Conversations are ongoing about and ministers will eventually have to decide. If the PM lays down the law, Harry will just have to suck it up.”

The wedding is not a state occasion and the Government has only a consultative role in the guest list, which is being drawn up by Buckingham Palace.

Downing Street declined to comment.

Source: The Telegraph

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Obama Goes From White House To Wall Street In Less Than One Year |RN

Max Abelson
                              © Getty 

Hillary Clinton says she made a mistake when she gave speeches on Wall Street after leaving government. Taking money from banks, she writes in her new memoir, created the impression she was in their pocket.

Her old boss doesn’t seem to share her concern.

Last month, just before her book “What Happened” was published, Barack Obama spoke in New York to clients of Northern Trust Corp. for about $400,000, a person familiar with his appearance said. Last week, he reminisced about the White House for Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, according to two people who were there. Next week, he’ll give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s health-care conference.

Related: How much is Obama worth?

Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well-trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton. Or, as some of his executive friends see it, he’s just a private citizen giving a few paid speeches to other successful people while writing his next book.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to speak about financial reform at Cooper Union in New York, U.S.: President Obama                          © Bloomberg/Bloomberg President Obama  

“He was the president of the entire United States — financial services are under that umbrella,” said former UBS Group AG executive Robert Wolf, an early supporter who joined the Obama Foundation board this year. “He doesn’t look at Wall Street like, ‘Oh, these are individuals who don’t want the best for the country.’ He doesn’t stereotype.”

Fat Cats

Since leaving office, Obama has delivered public and private speeches that are “true to his values,” Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, said in an email. “His paid speeches in part have allowed President Obama to contribute $2 million to Chicago programs offering job training and employment opportunities to low-income youth.”

Obama’s relationship with Wall Street hasn’t always been good. Bankers still boil over with rage about him, wincing over his 2009 line about fat cats as if the wounds were fresh. But his Justice Department prosecuted no major bankers for their roles in the financial crisis, and he resisted calls to break up the biggest banks, signing a regulatory overhaul that annoyed them with new rules but didn’t stop them from pulling in record profits.

The brokerage and investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald isn’t one of those giants. S&P Global Ratings announced this year that the New York-based firm’s debt grades could be cut to junk. Cantor’s investment banking division is run by health-care specialist Sage Kelly, who left Jefferies Group after divorce-case accusations became salacious tabloid fodder in 2014. His ex-wife later apologized for the storm caused by the claims, which he had denied.

Cantor Chief Executive Officer Howard Lutnick, whose firm lost more than 600 people in the Sept. 11 attacks, said the former president will make remarks and take questions. The three-day conference for current and prospective clients begins Sept. 25. Obama will be paid about $400,000, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

“Everybody would like to come,” Lutnick said. “Hopefully, we will really talk about the Affordable Care Act in interesting and nuanced ways, which I think is really cool.”

Private Island

Obama’s appearance at the Carlyle conference in Washington was previously unreported. The private equity giant has enjoyed some of the best political connections in the world, with executives and advisers who have included former presidents, prime ministers and cabinet secretaries. Obama discussed his life and the decisions he made in the White House, the people who heard him said. A spokesman for the firm wouldn’t comment.

The ex-president has been busy. His foundation is raising money for a library in Chicago, and he and his wife signed a book deal with Penguin Random House after an auction that went above $60 million, according to the Financial Times. He spoke about food in Milan, democracy in Jakarta and himself at an A&E Television Networks event in New York. He vacationed in California and Hawaii and on Richard Branson’s Necker Island with its billionaire owner.

Obama has picked private equity, hedge fund, venture capital and banking veterans to oversee his foundation, and an alumnus of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise him on investments.

Northern Trust is a bank that specializes in wealth management for rich families and services for big funds. The event had gone unreported, but a program accessible on the firm’s website lists Obama alongside executives from Microsoft Corp., IBM and Michael Bloomberg, majority owner of Bloomberg LP.

Northern Trust, based in Chicago, gave Obama a discount on a $1.32 million loan for a mansion in that city in 2005, after he was elected to the Senate, the Washington Post reported. The rate was changed to account for an offer from another lender, a spokesman for Obama said three years later. Doug Holt, a spokesman for Northern Trust, wouldn’t comment for this story.

Imperial Ballroom

Obama is getting advice on investments from Robbie Robinson, who’s on leave from BDT & Co., according to a person familiar with the arrangement. That Chicago-based firm works with wealthy families and is run by Byron Trott. Both bankers worked for Goldman Sachs.

Obama has known executives there for more than a decade. He spoke at the 2006 Goldman Sachs partners’ meeting in Chicago. Then a senator, he appeared between Hank Paulson and Warren Buffett in the Fairmont hotel’s Imperial Ballroom, an event program shows.

Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump blasted Clinton for her lucrative Goldman Sachs speeches, and the issue is still raw. Sanders and fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren have tried to pry the Democratic Party away from its cosiness with Wall Street. If Obama is hoping the party will be a big tent with room for corporate giants, they may stand in his way.

Obama’s donor friends tend to mention the same reason when they defend his Wall Street speeches, saying he’s no longer president and not running for office. Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman Tom Nides is one of them.

“I love Barack Obama, and if someone is willing to pay him to give a speech, God bless America,” said Nides, a deputy secretary of state under Clinton in Obama’s administration.

Revolving Door

But Jeff Hauser, who studies political corruption as head of the Revolving Door Project in Washington, said Obama should play by the same rules as other politicians because of his ongoing work with the Democratic Party.

“He’s continuing to exercise the authority,” Hauser said, citing Obama’s support for the party’s redistricting committee and the push he gave Tom Perez in the race to head the Democratic National Committee. If he wants to play a role, “he ought to forgo a few hundred thousand here and maybe a half-million there.”

Few leaders have left the top of the U.S. government recently and resisted the lure of corporate money. Former Vice President Al Gore is a director at Apple Inc. and a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm whose chairman, John Doerr, is on the Obama Foundation’s board. Dan Quayle, another ex-vice president, has spent almost two decades with private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. Trump’s White House has lost officials so quickly that Sean Spicer has already made arrangements to speak to a financial firm this year.

“Not everyone’s going to be a Jimmy Carter, who does purely good works after he gets out,” said Sean Coffey, a Democratic donor who chairs the complex litigation group at the corporate law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. Obama is used to being criticized, the attorney added. “I don’t think to get any grief for doing this is going to bother him at all.”   (Bloomberg)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Trump To Reverse Obama’s Cuba Policy, Says Report |The Republican News

 

Niv Elis
Report: Trump to reverse Obama’s Cuba policy          © Provided by The Hill Report: Trump to reverse Obama’s Cuba policy  

President Donald Trump plans on reversing a set of policies softening relations with Cuba, according to a report from The Daily Caller.

According to the report, the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, an anti-embargo group, said the Trump administration was preparing to announce the changes to Obama-era policies in a June speech in Miami.

The report cites two unnamed sources who say that a bipartisan trio of senators — Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) — pushed for the reversal.

Obama, who became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in almost a century last year, put in motion a series of policies to thaw relations with the Communist island nation, which had been a strategic burden throughout the Cold War.

While Obama was able to soften regulation on some kinds of trade, business and travel, Congress has refused to lift the 57-year-old embargo.

The Trump administration had put the Cuba policy under review upon taking office.

The Daily Caller report surfaced days after Trump met with Pope Francis, who facilitated the deal between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.  (The Hill)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Republicans Win By Reversing Obama-era Rules On Guns, Environment

 

Image: Senate Republicans hold a news conference following a policy luncheon© Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at a news conference beside fellow Republican Sens., f… Image: Senate Republicans hold a news conference following a policy luncheon  

WASHINGTON — Final score: Republicans 14, Barack Obama’s last-minute regulations, one.

Congressional Republicans anxious to show voters they can get something done are hailing their reversal of more than a dozen Obama-era regulations on guns, the internet and the environment.

Over a few months, lawmakers used an obscure legislative rule to ram through changes that will have far-reaching implications for the coal industry, broadband customers, hunters and women seeking health care at Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

The deadline for scuttling the rules that Democrat Obama imposed during his final months in office was last Thursday. The 1996 Congressional Review Act had given Republicans the power to make the changes with a simple majority, within a set time.

While the rest of Washington focused on the furor over President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Republicans were celebrating their effort to reverse the rules, arguing that it would boost the economy and make it easier for businesses to operate.

“I am almost speechless when I think about the success,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

Senators pointed out that Congress had only once before used the legislative tools stemming from the Congressional Review Act to quash a regulation — until this year. In all, the GOP was able to reverse 14 regulations that had or will get Trump’s signature.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader in the Senate, argued that overturning rules passed at the end of the Obama administration hardly constituted an agenda.

“The fact that they are bragging about these highlights how little else they have accomplished legislatively,” Schumer said.

Republicans have a long way to go in their efforts to repeal and replace the health care law, cut taxes and boost infrastructure spending, all Trump priorities. Still, the GOP made clear soon after election victories in November that one of the first orders of business would be to go after Obama administration rules.

The effort has had strong backing from business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and prominent anti-abortion groups — all key constituencies that generally back Republican candidates. The Chamber endorsed eight of the 14 repeal resolutions that Congress passed. One still awaits the president’s signature before it can become law.

Republicans reversed Obama rules that enhanced protections for waterways near coal mines, required contractors to disclose violation of 14 federal labor laws for the previous three years when bidding on contracts and imposed tight restrictions on what broadband companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast could do with their customers’ personal data.

Neil Bradley, a senior vice president at the Chamber, said that when it comes to slow economic growth, it’s difficult to say, “This regulation is the culprit, but collectively, that’s what happens.”

“Together, they affected a pretty broad base of the business community,” Bradley said.

Democrats overwhelmingly voted against most of the regulatory repeals. Republicans generally supported them, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote to allow states to deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. That reversed a rule Obama issued in his last weeks in office.

While many of the actions were designed to help businesses, others addressed social issues, including the repeal of a regulation designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people. The NRA as well as advocacy groups for the disabled and the ACLU weighed in. They said it was discriminatory for the Social Security Administration to forward the names of certain beneficiaries to the instant background check system based on a mental disability and having a third party manage their benefits.

Democrats and environmentalists scored one victory last week.

Senate Republicans failed to overturn a rule that would have forced energy companies to capture more of the methane that’s burned off or “flared” at drilling sites. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he considered the rule onerous but undoing it would have prevented the Bureau of Land Management from issuing a similar rule in the future.

McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined Democrats on the vote.

GOP leaders opted not to bring a couple dozen other repeal resolutions up for a vote, including one that would have blocked a rule designed to protect funds on prepaid debit cards in case of fraud and unauthorized use.

Still, the 14 victories gave Republicans a chance to crow.

“In just a few short months, we have turned a significant corner from how things operated under the Obama administration,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “Instead of going around Congress to push through regulations, the president is working with us to ease the burden.”  (NBC NEWS)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

SAME SEX ISSUE: Why Obama worked with APC, Buhari to destory Nigeria

BarrackObama1

Excerpts from chapter one of Facts Versus Fiction: (The True Story of Jonathan Years, Chibok, 2015 and The Conspiracies)

Culled from Goodluck Jonathan

This is not the full chapter. It is an excerpt. It will be continued tomorrow and on subsequent days until the chapter is concluded. Facts Versus Fiction: (The True Story of Jonathan Years, Chibok, 2015 and The Conspiracies) by Reno Omokri will be released on the second week of July 2017.

Chapter 1 – THE CONSPIRACY TO REMOVE JONATHAN

The recent revelations from Segun Adeniyi’s book, Against the Run of Play: How an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria, have promoted reactions and counter reactions to some of the more astounding accounts detailed in that book.

Former President Jonathan in his interview with Segun Adeniyi, gave some detail of a conspiracy to remove him from office due to patriotic policies and actions he undertook which might have set him at variance with foreign powers.

Amongst other things, Adeniyi quotes Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as saying “I got on very well with Prime Minister David Cameron but at some point, I noticed that the Americans were putting pressure on him and he had to join them against me. But I didn’t know how far President Obama was prepared to go to remove me until France caved into the pressure from America.”

Since these revelations came to light, a former Governor of Niger state, Mr. Babangida Aliyu has also been quoted making comments in Segun Adeniyi’s book that corroborate the statements by Dr. Jonathan.

According to Mr. Aliyu, the Obama administration had invited twelve governors from Northern Nigeria to sound them out on their commitment to the plot to unseat Dr. Jonathan.

Mr. Aliyu is quoted in Segun Adeniyi’s book as saying “I have no proof of course, but I think the idea was to ascertain what the disposition of the north would be to the idea of another term for President Jonathan. That was my reading of the situation. I believe it was all about the 2015 election for which the Americans had resolved not to support Jonathan. They just wanted to size us up for the level of commitment to regime change.”

Mr. Aliyu was referring to a series of meetings that twelve Northern governors had in the U.S. in March 2014.

Why did the Obama administration organize those meetings? What occurred at those meetings? Who said what, where, when and why? The answer to those questions will help throw light on whether or not there was a conspiracy by the Obama administration (not the United States) to remove then President Jonathan from office.

I tracked down Mr. Matthew T. Page who until his resignation in 2016 was the U.S. State Department’s top intelligence analyst on Nigeria. Matthew Page also served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Africa with the National Intelligence Council. He sat in on each of the meetings the twelve Northern Nigerian governors attended, beginning from their meetings at the United States Institute for Peace and thereafter their meetings at the State Department.

In 2016, Mr. Page left the State Department and moved to Cambridge in the United Kingdom from where he spoke to me. He was adamant that Mr. Babangida Aliyu’s version of the events at those meetings where not accurate and was keen to set the records straight.

According to Mr. Page, the meetings were attended by twelve Northern governors of whom the most vocal was the then governor of Adamawa state, Admiral Murtala Nyako. Others at the meetings who voiced anti Jonathan sentiments were then Kano governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto and Kashim Shettima of Borno. The then governors of Kwara and Kogi were in attendance but were non-committal.

Mr. Page noted that the meetings at the United States Institute for Peace were innocuous but that when the governors proceeded to the closed-door sessions at the US State Department, things changed.

According to Mr. Page, present at the State Department meetings were Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield who was then the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs. Also present at the meeting was the then number three man at the State Department, Ambassador Thomas Alfred “Tom” Shannon Jr., acting Deputy Secretary of State of the United States and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

At that meeting, Admiral Murtala Nyako read out a memo he had written itemizing the case against Jonathan. He was so openly and almost violently against the Jonathan administration in his speech that he had to be openly rebuked at the meeting by the then Nigerian ambassador to the US, Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye of blessed memory.

Admiral Nyako’s belligerence against the Jonathan administration was so venomous that it prompted a rebuttal from the Gombe state governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who showed loyalty to the then Nigerian President. According to Mr. Page, this prompted most of the other Northern governors present to turn on him.

In my interview with him, Mr. Page revealed to me that after the anti Jonathan tirades by these governors, they were shepherded to the White House on March 18, 2014 for more meetings. Even though Mr. Page attended the reception at the White House for the Northern governors, he did not make me privy to who were at that particular meeting other than stating that the governors met with then National Security Adviser, Susan Rice. Ms. Rice is however a known Nigerian specialist and was the person who on July 7, 1998, allegedly made the tea that the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Nigerian Presidential election, chief MKO Abiola, drank minutes before passing away after reportedly foaming at the mouth.

After the meeting, the Obama White House released a statement which said, amongst other things;

“Rice and the governors discussed the need to bring an end to the violence and insurgency in northern Nigeria; create broad-based economic opportunity in the north and throughout Nigeria; protect and respect human rights; strengthen democratic governance; and ensure that the 2015 election in Nigeria are free and fair.”

What the White House statement did not say, but which I verified from other sources, was that at that meeting, Admiral Nyako accused then President Jonathan of being behind Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist group that is behind the insurgency in Nigeria’s Northeast (the same accusation was publicly made by Nasir El-rufai in 2014. El-rufai was one of a handful of All Progressive Congress party officials that related directly with David Axelrod’s firm as AKPD Message and Media prepared the APC for the 2015 elections).

One question arises though. When sub national officials from a nation that is friendly to the United States espouse comments that undermine the President of that friendly nation, why would such persons be honored with very high level meetings that stretched from the State Department to the White House?

When I asked Mr. Page if he thought that the Obama administration was opposed to the re-election of the then Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, he paused and said “my objective opinion is that it was not as if the administration was against Jonathan. There were a few issues. The Obama administration was a bit disappointed (I know that sounds paternalistic) but there were some issues they felt let down on, and you have to remember that the Obama administration supported the transfer of power to Jonathan in 2010. The issues were the human rights situation in the Northeast which has still not changed under Buhari and Diezani Alison-Madueke who they felt should have been removed. Washington also took issue with some clauses in the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013, even though they understood that Nigerian cultural values were more conservative on the issue than American ones”.

Mr. Page continuing said “the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria at the time was actually anti-Buhari, believing he failed to call his followers to order during the post-election violence of 2011.”

Although he listed three reasons why the Obama administration felt let down on by Dr. Jonathan, my conversation with Mr. Page gave me a sense that the first two reasons were just excuses and that the main reason was because of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013.

That issue was a deal breaker for the Obama administration because of the strong support they had from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender) community for Mr Obama’s re-election campaign of 2012.

Per the New York Times, the gay vote was “crucial” to Obama’s re-election, whereas to CNN, the LGBT community not only made the difference in 2012 by trooping out to vote for Obama, they were also his top donors.

In Tracy Baim’s book, Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage, she details the influence that the former American President wields with the LGBT community. Very few voting blocs have the get out the vote power that the LGBT community has, being that they are great at organizing for the purpose of advancing their agenda.  (Oblong media)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Barrack Obama’s $400,000 Speech To Wall Street Sparks Liberal Blowback

 

Matthew Rozsa
Former President Barack Obama hosts a conversation on civic engagement and community organizing, Monday, April 24, 2017, at the University of Chicago in Chicago. It's the former president's first public event of his post-presidential life in the place where he started his political career.© AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast Former President Barack Obama hosts a conversation on civic engagement and community organizing, Monday, April 24, 2017, at the University of Chicago in Chicago. It’s the former president’s first public… 

The former leader of the free world is suddenly facing intense criticism.

Barack Obama has accepted a $400,000 speaking fee for a Wall Street conference that will be hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, according to a report by Fox Business.

This is almost twice as much as the speaking fees Hillary Clinton charged for three speeches to Goldman Sachs after she left the State Department. She later came under immense criticism during her campaign for receiving so much money to speak to Wall Street firms. According to the Washington Post, her husband and former president Bill Clinton “earned more than $16.3 million for 72 speeches” in 2012 —  averaging around $226,000 per speech. CNN also reported he was once paid $750,000 for a speech to telecom firm Ericsson.

Obama will address a health care conference scheduled for September and the 44th president will reportedly be the keynote luncheon speaker for one day of the event. Although Obama has already signed the contract, the early reports indicate that Cantor Fitzgerald is still in the process of coordinating the details with the former president. Obama can still reportedly pull out of the deal if there are scheduling conflicts or if he finds himself on the receiving end of negative publicity.

And Obama’s already received boatloads of negative publicity.

“Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine everything he believes in,” wrote Vox’s Matthew Yglesias this week. “To fight the rising tide of populism, mainstream leaders need to raise their ethical game,” he argued.

“The more that Wall Street firms give out-of-office presidents and big-name politicians these paydays, the more they become the norm,” Aaron Blake of The Washington Post wrote. “Other presidents will know that such payments are on the table, and it risks coloring their decisions with regard to Wall Street and special interests.” A point Vox’s Yglesias agreed with:

Indeed, to not take the money might be a problem for someone in Obama’s position. It would set a precedent.

Obama would be suggesting that for an economically comfortable high-ranking former government official to be out there doing paid speaking gigs would be corrupt, sleazy, or both. He’d be looking down his nose at the other corrupt, sleazy former high-ranking government officials and making enemies.

Which is exactly why he should have turned down the gig.

The election in France earlier this week shows that the triumph of populist demagogues is far from inevitable. But to beat it, mainstream politicians and institutions need to shape up — not just with better policies, but with the kind of self-sacrificing spirit and moral leadership that successful movements require.

Blake also pointed out that bans on lobbying by former government employees are usually written because “it became so normal for former aides to cash in afterward and basically use their government jobs for a future payday on behalf of well-heeled special interests. The prospect of future wealth became a given.”

Of course, the criticism continued on Twitter:

It’s so heartwarming that @barackobama is willing to speak to Wall Street for only a $400,000 hourly fee. A true man of the people.

— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) April 26, 2017

Almost as though Obama explained himself why giving $$$ speeches to banksters is bad https://t.co/IT5RnyawaT

— Jonathan Cohn (@JonathanCohn) April 26, 2017

Hey @BarackObama if you are unable to give your Wall Street speech, I am available to attend. I’m willing to give a 50% discount. DM details

— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) April 26, 2017

This is what Obama said literally the same day his $400K Wall Street speech was revealed. The, er, um … audacity pic.twitter.com/P3hTwOPZ6j

— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) April 25, 2017

But not everyone thinks Obama’s legacy is on the line with a couple of big post-presidency paydays:

I fail to see how @BarackObama accepting one high-paying speaking gig “undermines everything he believes in.” https://t.co/GVJrEj9uQL

— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) April 25, 2017

Salon

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

I Failed In ‘Aspirational’ Goal To Unite Americans, Obama Tells Young Leaders

 

Amber Phillips, Juliet Eilperin
President Barack Obama visits with youth leaders Monday at the University of Chicago to promote community organizing, his first formal public appearance since leaving office.© Scott Olson/Getty Images President Barack Obama visits with youth leaders Monday at the University of Chicago to promote community organizing, his first formal public appearance since leaving office.
CHICAGO — In his first public appearance since leaving the White House in January, President Barack Obama told young leaders here Monday that “special interests dominate the debates in Washington” and that he had failed to realize his “aspirational” goal of uniting Americans in red and blue states.

“That was an aspirational comment,” the former president said of his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, prompting laughter from the audience at the University of Chicago. He added that when talking to individual Americans from different political backgrounds, you learn that “there’s a lot more that people have in common” than it would appear. “But, obviously, it’s not true when it comes to our politics and our civic life.”

Obama, who has kept a relatively low public profile since the end of his second term, did not mention President Trump during his opening remarks at the event. But he said he was determined to galvanize younger Americans to do more politically because they were the ones best positioned to bridge the current political divide.

“The single most important thing I can do … is prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton,” said Obama, who sat onstage, wearing a black suit, white button-down shirt and no tie, with half a dozen activists in their teens and 20s.

All of the panel members were Democrats except for one Republican, University of Chicago undergraduate Max M. Freedman. Asked by Obama whether he has a hard time being heard on a college campus as a Republican, Freedman replied, “You can expect some level of ostracization from certain people.”

“There’s a significant empathy gap, not just here, but everywhere… We’ve cloistered ourselves,” Freedman said. “Civic engagement, at some point, will require a level of civility.”

During his time in office, Obama relished holding town halls with young people while traveling overseas. Monday’s event had a similar feel, as he asked the socially active members of the panel why they got involved in politics. Ramuel Figueroa, an undergraduate at Roosevelt University who had served in the military before starting college, said activists need to “connect personal problems to policy issues” to get people invested in elections.

“If you’re working two jobs and can’t afford day care, it’s not because you’re lazy,” Figueroa said. Of activists he said, “You need to demonstrate some connection.”  (The Washington Post)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Trump Blames Chemical Attack In Syria On Obama Administration’s ‘Weakness, Irresolution’

 

Pamela Engel
Donald Trump Barack Obama /&nbsp;<span>REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque</span>© Provided by Business Insider Donald Trump Barack Obama / REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Donald Trump released a statement Tuesday blaming a chemical attack in Syria on Obama administration’s policies.

Dozens of people were reportedly killed on Tuesday when a hospital treating civilians injured in chemical attacks was bombed. Activists described the attack as among the worst in the country’s six-year war.

“Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” Trump said in a statement. “These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.”

Trump cited President Barack Obama’s inaction after issuing a “red line” in 2012 that suggested that the US would intervene militarily if the Assad regime used chemical weapons.

When evidence emerged that Syrian forces did use chemical weapons to attack civilians, the US declined to use military action in retaliation, instead opting to broker a deal in which the Assad regime agreed to remove chemical weapons from Syria.

“President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing,” Trump said. “The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.”

But it doesn’t appear that the Trump administration is planning to urge Assad to step down. And Trump didn’t seem to want Obama to enforce the red line at the time, tweeting in 2013, “AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA — IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters while he was in Turkey last week that the “longer-term status” of Assad would “be decided by the Syrian people.” And US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told reporters that the Trump administration’s “priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.”

The remark signaled a shift in America’s official position on the Syrian strongman. Though they were criticized for failing to act against Assad, Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry had long called for Assad to step down in a monitored transition of power.

Tillerson released his own statement on the chemical attack on Tuesday, saying the US “strongly condemns” such actions.

“While we continue to monitor the terrible situation, it is clear that this is how Bashar al-Assad operates: with brutal, unabashed barbarism,” Tillerson said in the statement, which stopped short of calling on him to leave power.

Tillerson instead shifted responsibility to Russia and Iran, two of Assad’s biggest allies, saying they “bear great moral responsibility for these deaths.”

“Those who defend and support him, including Russia and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions,” Tillerson said in the statement. “Anyone who uses chemical weapons to attack his own people shows a fundamental disregard for human decency and must be held accountable.”

Tillerson called on Russia and Iran to “exercise their influence over the Syrian regime and to guarantee that this sort of horrific attack never happens again.”

(Business Insider)

www.twitter;com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

President Trump Faces His Hardest Truth: To Admit He Was Wrong

 

Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker
President Trump listens with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by his side during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on March 17.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Trump listens with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by his side during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on March 17.  

On the 60th day of his presidency came the hardest truth for Donald Trump.

He was wrong.

James B. Comey Jr. — the FBI director whom Trump celebrated on the campaign trail as a gutsy and honorable “Crooked Hillary” truth-teller — testified under oath Monday what many Americans had already assumed: Trump had falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping his headquarters during last year’s campaign.

Trump did not merely allege that former president Barack Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower, of course. He asserted it as fact, and then reasserted it, and then insisted that forthcoming evidence would prove him right.

But in Monday’s remarkable, marathon hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey said there was no such evidence. Trump’s claim, first made in a series of tweets on March 4 at a moment when associates said he was feeling under siege and stewing over the struggles of his young presidency, remains unfounded.

FBI Director James B. Comey Jr., left, and Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20.© Matt McClain/The Washington Post FBI Director James B. Comey Jr., left, and Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20.  

Comey did not stop there. He confirmed publicly that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and associates with Russia, part of an extraordinary effort by an adversary to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor.

Questions about Russia have hung over Trump for months, but the president always has dismissed them as “fake news.” That became much harder Monday after the FBI director proclaimed the Russia probe to be anything but fake.

“There’s a smell of treason in the air,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said. “Imagine if J. Edgar Hoover or any other FBI director would have testified against a sitting president? It would have been a mind-boggling event.”

For Trump, Comey’s testimony punctuates what has been a troubling first two months as president. His approval ratings, which were historically low at his inauguration, have fallen even farther. Gallup’s tracking poll as of Sunday showed just 39 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance, with 55 percent disapproving.

The Comey episode threatens to damage Trump’s credibility not only with voters, but with lawmakers of his own party whose support he needs to pass the health-care bill later this week in the House, the first legislative project of his presidency.

Furthermore, the FBI’s far-reaching Russia investigation shows no sign of concluding soon and is all but certain to remain a distraction for the White House, spurring moments of presidential fury and rash tweets and possibly inhibiting the administration’s ability to govern.

Some of Trump’s defenders said the impact of Comey’s testimony could easily be overtaken if the White House is disciplined enough to marshall its agenda, as well as Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, through Congress.

“All that really matters this week is Gorsuch moving forward and the House passing step one of Obamacare repeal,” said Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist who works for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “All the rest is noise.”

On the Russia issue, Trump and his aides were defiant Monday in the face of Comey’s testimony. Before Comey was sworn in at the hearing, Trump tried to set the tone with a series of early-morning tweets decrying the accusations of collusion with Russia as “FAKE NEWS” being pushed by defeated Democrats and arguing that the real scandal is the leaking of sensitive information from within the intelligence community.

“Must find leaker now!” he wrote in one tweet from his personal account.

During Comey’s testimony, Trump offered live commentary on his official presidential Twitter account, pushing the argument that Russia did not influence the election.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer picked up the torch in the afternoon, trying in a contentious briefing with reporters to deflect attention from Trump’s false wiretapping charges while steadfastly refusing to admit any wrongdoing.

“I think we’re going to test the outer limits of the Trump ‘fake news’ cult,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist. “The central contention that Barack Obama wiretapped Donald Trump in Trump Tower was blown out of the water and utterly dismissed.”

As always in Trump world, where the guiding ethos is winning at any cost, the worst sin is conceding defeat.

Jennifer Palmieri, who served as communications director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, said Trump’s wiretapping situation reminded her of his “death spiral” after lashing out at a federal judge over his Latino heritage.

“He just cannot let it go,” Palmieri said. “Except this time he is getting slapped down by the sitting FBI director. That’s a brutal blow to his credibility and a huge opportunity cost. He should be focused on salvaging his health care bill, not continuing to draw all of America’s eyes to the Russia investigation.”

A master showman, Trump surely could intuit the theatrical power of Comey trekking to Capitol Hill to testify for several hours about Russia, all broadcast live on national television.

“It just makes it much more vivid,” said Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, who has worked in the three previous Republican administrations. “It’s one thing to read statements from a transcript or a newspaper and that’s not unimportant, but when you see it on video, it carries a punch.”

Spicer’s defense strategy was in part to distance Trump from the figures under investigation by the FBI for their ties to Russia. In Spicer’s telling, Paul Manafort was a virtual nobody, saying he “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.”

Manafort was actually Trump’s campaign chairman and de-facto manager for five months last year, from the end of the primaries through the summer convention and the start of the general election.

“Watching Sean Spicer twist himself into a pretzel yet again to try to pretend that Paul Manafort isn’t an influential figure is ludicrous,” Wehner said. “It’s like saying Aaron Rodgers isn’t a central figure for the Green Bay Packers.”

Brinkley, who has published biographies of such presidents as Gerald Ford, Franklin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, said of Trump’s start, “This is the most failed first 100 days of any president.”

“To be as low as he is in the polls, in the thirties, while the FBI director is on television saying they launched an investigation into your ties with Russia, I don’t know how it can get much worse,” Brinkley said.

But Trump’s supporters have proven largely impervious to the political winds, at least so far. The president jetted late Monday to Louisville, Ky., to rev up another mega-rally crowd — separating himself from the swamp of Washington by more than 600 miles.

“My gut is that he’s bulletproof with his base,” said Austin Barbour, a Mississippi-based Republican strategist. “There’s just this massive distrust of Washington, and whether that’s fair or not — of Washington, of the intelligence community, of Congress, of the judicial branch. It’s just the reality outside of the Beltway.”

(The Wsahington Post)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: