Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Obama commutes Chelsea Manning’s sentence

By Jordan Fabian, The Hill, 01/17/17

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, according to the White House.

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that were later disclosed by WikiLeaks.

The 35-year sentence Manning received was the longest ever imposed for a leak conviction. Manning has already served seven years of her sentence and will now be released on May 17, 2017.

She was originally set to be released be released in 2045.

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Interview with Lindy Li

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester,

Recently I interviewed Lindy Li, a Princeton graduate who has been active in Chester County political life.

On May 18 you gave a speech entitled “American audacity” at the United Nations World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship [see text here and video here]. You feared that “The same intractable issues will anchor us down.” What sort of issues did you have in mind?

lindy-li-2Lack of campaign finance reform prevents progress on almost every front. I’d love to do something about climate change, but we can’t because of moneyed interests. I’d love to do something about gun violence and to prevent the senseless slaughter of innocent Americans, but we can’t because of deep-pocketed organizations that very effectively impose their political will upon our lawmakers. The American people must hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire and demand action now. We need to be better organized and vocal than those who seek to maintain the status quo.

You said “my story is one of transcending limitations.” For example?

Being a young Chinese-American woman means that according to some I immediately have three strikes against me. The key is to transform my potential weaknesses into my greatest strengths.

You were at a dinner with President Obama recently?

Yes, we spoke briefly. I am also invited to go to the White House on June 14th for the United State of Women Summit, where the President, Vice President, and First Lady will be speaking. This event will gather together women leaders from across America….

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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Obama Friends Take Over For-Profit Higher Education Group

by Diane Ravitch, 2/10/16

A group of investors with close ties to the Obama administration have taken control of the University of Phoenix and other for-profit “universities.”

“The troubled for-profit education company that owns the giant University of Phoenix agreed on Monday to be bought for $1.1 billion by a group of investors that includes a private equity firm with close ties to the Obama administration.

“The university and its owner, the Apollo Education Group, have been subject to a series of state and federal investigations into allegations of shady recruiting, deceptive advertising and questionable financial aid practices.

“In recent years, many for-profit educational institutions that have received billions of dollars in federal aid, including the University of Phoenix, have been pummeled by criticisms that they preyed upon veterans and low-income students, saddling them with outsize student loan debt and subpar instruction.

“Moreover, at many of these schools, enrollment has been falling and profits shrinking, casting doubt on the future health of the industry.

“The investors in the Apollo Education Group include the Chicago-based investment firm Vistria Group, the Phoenix-based Najafi Companies, and funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, which is not connected to the Apollo Education Group….

“Vistria’s founder is Marty Nesbitt, one of President Obama’s closest friends and the chairman of the Obama Foundation. Mr. Nesbitt is also a longtime business partner of Penny Pritzker, the commerce secretary.

“A Vistria partner and its chief operating officer, Tony Miller, was deputy secretary of the United States Department of Education between 2009 and 2013. He has been tapped to become the new chairman of Apollo Education Group in August, when the deal is scheduled to be completed.”

If you watched the video of the congressional panel quizzing John King about the ethical “lapses” of Chief Information Officer Danny Harris, you may recall that King said that deputy secretary Miller had cleared Harris.

Now we understand why the for-profit higher education industry has gotten a free pass.

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Obama: Show How TPP Would Stop Keystone XL NAFTA Lawsuit

email from Just Foreign Policy, 1/11/16

Urge Pres. Obama to show how the TPP agreement would prevent ISDS suits like TransCanada has filed against rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In his State of the Union address tomorrow night, President Obama is expected to tout the purported benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership [TPP] agreement. Supporters of the TPP agreement claimed that TPP critics’ concerns about corporations suing governments under the TPP against environmental, labor rights, and public health policies were overblown, and that reforms in the TPP would address these concerns. Now a Canadian oil company has sued the US for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline under similar provisions of NAFTA. TPP supporters owe us an explanation.

Urge President Obama to show how purported reforms in the TPP would have prevented the Keystone XL NAFTA lawsuit by signing our petition at MoveOn.

One of the most controversial aspects of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” [ISDS] – corporations suing governments in retaliation for laws or regulations that they claim reduce their profits. As Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote, “ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court.” [1] In response to criticism of ISDS provisions in the TPP agreement from Senator Warren, Senator Sanders, [2] and others, the White House promised to put “stronger safeguards” on ISDS in the TPP. [3] Continue reading

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