Category Archives: Donald Trump

Obama meets with at-risk youth ahead of Chicago speech

obama

I’m back. You got a prob with dat?

31 people shot in your home town over the weekend. Five died. But hey, “optimistic!”

Once a community organizer, always a community organizer.

From ABC News: Former President Barack Obama met Sunday with at-risk young men and boys in his hometown of Chicago before his first major post-presidency speech.

The former president spent time at a roundtable with youth from the organization Chicago Create Real Economic Destiny located in the Roseland/Pullman neighborhood in South Side Chicago where Obama started as a community organizer at age 25.

The CRED program provides job skills and employment opportunities for at-risk young adults.

Spokesman Kevin Lewis says Obama listened to the young men’s stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up. Obama “was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program,” Lewis said.

The program was founded by Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, who also attended the meeting.

“The president and Mrs. Obama look forward to working with similar organizations through the Obama Foundation and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that are already committed to bringing much needed expansion of opportunities in Chicago neighborhoods,” Lewis said.

Obama will speak Monday to young community leaders and organizers at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library is planned.

Obama’s first public engagement comes as President Donald Trump nears his 100-day mark in office.

DCG

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposes income tax for city’s ‘high-end’ households

ed murray

A sure-fire way to get re-elected: Another tax

The devil is in the “high-end” number, which Murray doesn’t define.

And this proposed tax, combined with his alleged sexual assault allegation, just may not get Murray re-elected. But then again, it’s socialist Seattle.

From Seattle Times: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will propose a city income tax on “high-end” households, he said Thursday night during a forum for mayoral candidates. On stage with six challengers in a Lake City church, Murray said he would send a proposal in the “next few weeks” for a City Council vote. He didn’t offer many details.

 “We all know that Washington state has a regressive tax system,” Murray told a crowd at the forum hosted by the 46th District Democrats.

“We can all argue about what we’re going to do about it. Those discussions have been going on since I was a kid in this city. But what I’m going to send to council is a proposal for a high-end income tax.”

Thursday’s event was the first such candidates’ forum in the 2017 race for mayor and came two weeks after a 46-year-old Kent man sued Murray for alleged child sexual abuse decades ago.

The mayor has adamantly denied the accusation and similar allegations made by two other men, who also claim Murray abused them as teenagers in the 1980s. Murray has vowed to remain in his job and continue running for a second term.

This week, former Mayor Mike McGinn and urban planner Cary Moon declared bids. They joined Murray at Thursday’s forum, along with educator and activist Nikkita Oliver, who entered the race earlier.

The mayor’s income-tax proposal came as a surprise to many in the crowd and seemingly to McGinn, who in launching his campaign Monday had called for an income tax.

For weeks, a coalition of local organizations led by the Transit Riders Union has been drumming up support for a city income tax under the slogan Trump Proof Seattle.

When asked about the campaign previously, Murray said he had supported the idea at the state level when he was a lawmaker in Olympia, but stopped short of backing Trump Proof Seattle, describing it as ill-fitted to pay for immediate needs.

Washington has long lacked an income tax because of a restrictive state law and voters have said no to statewide proposals before. A 2010 statewide initiative proposing a high-earners tax was defeated.

A Seattle tax likely would be challenged in court and could serve as a legal test case with statewide implications. “It’s going to be challenged,” Murray told the crowd Thursday. “It’s too soon to cheer … But if we win in court and we can get that high-end income tax we can shift our regressive taxes on sales tax and on property tax onto that high-end income tax.”

Asked after the forum to clarify his plan, the mayor said the income tax would be accompanied by reductions in other taxes that hit poorer people harder. During his term as mayor, Murray has backed a number of property- and sales-tax hikes.

The income tax wouldn’t be completely revenue neutral because some of the new revenue would be set aside to backfill potential cuts in federal funding by the Trump administration, Murray said.

“He didn’t steal it. I think he finally saw the wisdom of the idea,” McGinn said after the forum, reacting to Murray’s proposal. “Elections have a way if doing that sometimes.”

Murray said his initial plan is to propose a resolution stating the city’s intent to pass an income tax rather than an actual ordinance putting it into effect. That could potentially leave open the option of asking voters to weigh in later on the ballot.

Oliver declined to immediately comment on Murray’s proposal. Moon answered during a lightning round that she would not support a local income tax. Also taking part in the forum were Jason Roberts, Mary Martin and Alex Tsimerman.

During the lightning round, every candidate expressed support for allowing more duplexes and triplexes in neighborhoods now zoned for single-family houses, including Murray, who put forward and then quickly withdrew such a change in 2015.

DCG

DOJ issues ultimatum to NYC and other ‘sanctuary’ cities

trump and jeff sessions

Works for me.

From NY Post: The US Department of Justice on Friday gave New York City and eight other local governments that provide “sanctuary” to illegal immigrants until June 30 to prove they’re not violating federal law by refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities.

The ultimatums from President Trump’s administration were accompanied by an accusation that many of the targeted jurisdictions are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime.”

“New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance,” the DOJ said in a news release.

A related letter to the director of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Criminal Justice warns that the feds could withhold funding, suspend or terminate grants, declare the city ineligible for future funding or take “other action, as appropriate.”

A City Hall spokesman called the threat “nothing new.”

“This grandstanding shows how out of touch the Trump administration is with reality,” spokesman Seth Stein said.

“Contrary to their alternative facts, New York is the safest big city in the country, with crime at record lows in large part because we have policies in place to encourage cooperation between NYPD and immigrant communities.”

Letters were also sent to officials in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Miami; Clark County, Nev.; Milwaukee County, Wis.; Cook County, Ill., and the state of California.

DCG

Trump admin negotiates release of Egyptian-American aid worker from Cairo jail

hijazi and trump

Hijazi meets with Trump

The demorat-controlled media has been largely silent about this. The release of these aid workers is a very good thing. Yet it wasn’t accomplished by their savior, Obama, so it shall not be mentioned.

From Fox News: The Egyptian American charity worker who was sent to prison for three years in Cairo met with President Trump Friday at the White House. “We are very happy to have her back home,” Trump said. “Thank you very much.”

The White House has been working for weeks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to secure the release of Aya Hijazi, 30, as well as her husband Mohamed Hassanein and four other humanitarian workers.

Wade McMullen, managing attorney at the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organization which has been advocating on Hijazi’s behalf, told National Public Radio that Sisi’s visit to Washington came during “a short window of time before the final verdict” in Hijazi’s case.

McMullen said during the trip, “senior administration officials were engaging with Egyptian officials on Aya’s case.”

Hijazi became the face of Egypt’s crackdown in 2014, She had her husband were sentenced to prison on May 1,2014 on child abuse and trafficking charges that have been widely criticized and dismissed by multiple human rights workers and U.S. officials as false.

Hijazi is a graduate of George Mason University and grew up in northern Virginia. There was virtually no evidence brought against her, her husband or the four humanitarian workers.

DCG

Bruce Springsteen releases anti-Trump song

bruce-springsteen

Love can conquer hate…

Oh goody. I’ve never bought any of his music and won’t start now.

From Yahoo: Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has denounced US President Donald Trump as a “conman” as he collaborated on a new protest song released Wednesday.

Joe Grushecky, a Pittsburgh-based heartland rocker who has worked in the past with Springsteen but has had much less commercial success, titled his song “That’s What Makes Us Great” — a play on Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

An energetic rock tune that sounds like it could have come from Springsteen’s E Street Band, the song halfway through features The Boss singing verses on his own. “Don’t you brag to me that you never read a book / I never put my faith in a conman and his crooks,” Springsteen sings in clear reference to Trump.

Springsteen and Grushecky come together for a chorus that urges mobilization against Trump. “It’s up to me and you / Love can conquer hate / I know this to be true / That’s what makes us great,” they sing.

While the song is not his own, it marks some of the most overtly political lyricism of Springsteen’s career alongside “American Skin (41 Shots”) about New York police officers’ 1999 killing of unarmed immigrant Amadou Diallo.

Springsteen — whose songs have often told the plight of working-class Americans of the type who provided crucial support to Trump — largely stayed out of direct politics until 2004 when he campaigned for John Kerry in his failed bid to defeat president George W. Bush.

In November, Springsteen joined Hillary Clinton in a major election-eve rally in Philadelphia, where he denounced Trump for his “profound lack of decency,” and later played a somber, private show for Barack Obama’s staff as they left the White House.

Grushecky told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he wrote the song around the time that Trump took office and that he sent it to Springsteen, who liked it and agreed to give it “the Bruce treatment.”

Grushecky said he had been outraged by Trump since the time the tycoon mocked a journalist with disabilities. “That to me is appalling. I have special needs people in my family and in my neighborhood. I worked with special needs people my whole life, and I was really offended by it,” he told the newspaper.

Wonder if Grushecky wrote a song after Obama’s Special Olympic joke? I’m being sarcastic, of course.

DCG

U. of Alaska exhibits professor’s painting of Captain America holding President Trump’s severed head

Despite complaints from the public, the administration of University of Alaska – Anchorage (UAA) refused to remove from an exhibition in the university’s fine arts gallery, a deeply offensive, vaguely-homoerotic painting of a naked Chris Evans (an anti-Trump actor best known for portraying Captain America on screen) holding the severed head of President Trump.

Blood from the severed head drips onto a ridiculously young Hillary Clinton in virginal white, clinging to Evans’ left leg, while on his right is the carcass of a dead buffalo with the words “Make America White Again” inscribed on its torso.

Amber Athey reports for Campus Reform that the painting by Assistant Professor of Painting Thomas Chung, is displayed as part of a month-long faculty art exhibition that ends today, April 20.

Thomas Chung, who claims a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Yale University and a B.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute, said he had wavered about putting the painting on display out of concern that it might make some students feel uncomfortable, but defends his painting:

“It’s an image of the actor who plays Captain America, and two eagles are sort of screaming into his ears, and he’s holding the severed head of Trump, and there’s a young Hillary Clinton clinging to his leg. I was reminded of those 80’s rock posters, where there’s a woman in tattered clothes clinging to a strong male hero’s leg.

I was really torn about putting this piece up a faculty show, because I would never talk about my own political beliefs to my students. But I realized that I feel very strongly about this, and I think even students that might be pro-Trump supporters could benefit from having a conversation with me about why I feel this way—why I painted this.”

Paul Berger, a former UAA faculty member, points out that Chung’s painting is visible from outside of the gallery entrance and is the first thing people see as they enter.

Steven Godfrey, the chair of UAA’s Fine Arts Department, said they would “protect” anyone who made a controversial piece of art: “I guess the people are upset about the work that’s being shown. If they were taking a class at the university and made art that was considered controversial, no matter what their political or religious bent is, we would do our best to protect them and protect their rights to make that kind of work in the institution, whether it would be a student or faculty.”

UAA Chancellor Tom Case defends the exhibition of Chung’s painting on the grounds of “protected expression” and the university as “a place for free exchange of ideas, diversity of thoughts and of opinions”.

For his part, UAA President Jim Johnsen also defends the art exhibit as free speech: “A vital and vibrant university, regardless of the campus, must be a place of ideas, opinion, and debate. Not all ideas, opinions, or artistic expressions stand the test of open debate or time. “he dust bin of history is filled with such ideas…I can think of no better place than a university to test ideas, especially those that are highly controversial and objectionable, through open and rigorous debate.”

But Professor Berger, who calls himself a conservative,questions if the administration and students of UAA would approve of the painting if it depicted Obama’s severed head instead of Trump’s. Berger also asks if such an art display is appropriate for a university that is funded by taxpayers.

Quite aside from the offensiveness of Chung’s severed-head painting, it’s not even a good painting from the point of view of artistry. Any number of amateur painters can do better.

Chung’s other paintings show an obsession with demonic images of death, snakes, and homoeroticism. Here’s a sample from his Facebook page (h/t FOTM‘s CP):

Thomas Chung can be reached at (907) 786-1738 and tpchung@alaska.edu (email).

UAA President Jim Johnsen can be reached at ua.president@alaska.edu; 907.450.8000 (phone); 907.450.8012 (fax).

See also:

~Eowyn

Facebook Gives Staff Green Light to Join May 1 Political Protests

From Bloomberg: Facebook Inc. said it won’t punish employees who take time off to join pro-immigrant protests on May 1. And, in a nod to security staff, janitors, shuttle-bus drivers and others who work for Facebook contractors on campus, the company also said it will investigate if any of its vendors illegally crack down on their employees’ protest rights.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”

Facebook notified employees of its policy in a posting on an internal forum April 14. A spokesman said it applies regardless of whether workers notify the company ahead of time. The Menlo Park, California, company also said it would re-evaluate its ties to any vendor if it breaks the law that protects workers’ rights to organize and protect themselves.

“It’s important not just to the engineers and H-1B holders that are traditionally thought of as the immigrants in tech but also to folks who are subcontracted but work side-by-side on those campuses,” said Derecka Mehrens, co-founder of Silicon Valley Rising, a union-backed coalition. “Immigrants play a critical role in the tech sector — both as engineers and coders but also in keeping tech campuses running smoothly.”

Many tech companies have been vocal in their opposition to aspects of Trump’s agenda. Facebook has criticized Trump’s immigration moves. At a rally in January at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin spoke against Trump’s executive order that closed U.S. borders to people from several majority-Muslim nations. Both companies, along with Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., are among more than 120 firms that signed a February court filing opposing the travel ban.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG