Obama calls for preservation of US democracy

first_imgFormer US President Barack Obama on Wednesday assailed his successor, Donald Trump, as deeply unfit for the office he occupies and argued that voting for his former No. 2, Joe Biden, was necessary to ensure the very survival of American democracy.”He’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Obama said of Trump during the third night of the Democratic National Convention.”Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” he continued, blaming Trump for the 170,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus, the millions of jobs lost to the ensuing recession and the diminishment of the country’s democratic principles at home and abroad. After avoiding direct criticism for most of Trump’s first term, the scathing broadsides from Obama constituted an unusually harsh assessment of one president by another. His assertion that Trump, a Republican, is incapable of meeting the demands of the presidency echoed the remarks from his wife, Michelle Obama, on Monday, that Trump “simply cannot be who we need him to be.”Biden was formally nominated on Tuesday night to take on Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, his choice for vice president, also spoke on Wednesday, while Biden will do so on Thursday.Obama, who remains enormously popular among Democratic voters, also used his speech to offer a personal endorsement of Biden, who served as his vice president for two terms.”For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision,” he said. “He made me a better president – and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country.” Obama’s address was delivered from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, the city where the US Constitution – and the country’s founding democratic principles – were drafted.”The one constitutional office elected by all of the people is the presidency,” he said. “So at a minimum, we should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million of us. … But we should also expect a president to be the custodian of this democracy.”Trump, he said, had failed those tests.On Twitter, Trump responded to Obama’s appearance with a post in all capital letters: “WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE? WHY DID HE TRY TO GET HIM NOT TO RUN?”WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE? WHY DID HE TRY TO GET HIM NOT TO RUN?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2020Obama also urged Americans to vote, warning that Trump and his Republican allies can win only by suppressing and undermining votes, rather than on the merit of their policies.”Do not let them take away your power,” he said. “Do not let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote.”Topics :last_img read more

Denmark’s PBU to refuse all asset manager freebies, says new CEO

first_imgPædagogernes Pension (PBU), the Danish pension fund for education practitioners, has brought in a “zero-tolerance” policy on its staff accepting any kind of gift from current or potential external capital interests – i.e. banks or asset managers – and said it was the first pension fund in the country to do so.PBU, which manages DKK60bn (€8bn) of pension assets, sharpened up its ethical business code from October and included in it a complete ban on free lunches from parties such as banks or asset managers that are investing on behalf of PBU via a contract.Sune Schackenfeldt, chief executive at PBU, said: “Our education practitioners are to have confidence their pension fund unambiguously represents them and acts as their trusted adviser, when it comes to – or could come to – capital interests between us and third parties.” Schackenfeldt is relatively new to the pension fund, having taken over the top role on 1 August from Leif Brask-Rasmussen, who was retiring. He came to PBU from PFA Pension, where he was director.PBU said its zero-tolerance policy meant it would, in future, say a clear no to gifts or external payment for travel, accommodation, lunches or entertainment.It said gifts were extended by these external capital interests – which PBU said were typically banks or other asset managers – when they wanted to be hired to invest on the pension fund’s behalf.With its new ethical code regarding external interests, PBU said it was the first in the pensions sector to tackle a widespread problem in the industry.“The level of presents and invitations from external capital interests – particularly directed at management and investment staff – is a challenge for the whole pensions sector,” Schackenfeldt said.“It is important for our education practitioners to know their interests are the only thing we think about – from the time we get up to the time we go to bed.”When supplier and cooperation agreements are entered into, as well as investment contracts, PBU said it would  ensure, as a natural part of risk management, that there had been a compliance check to make sure the zero-tolerance policy had been adhered to.In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) criticised the practice of consultants accepting gifts and hospitality from asset managers in its interim asset-management market study released earlier this month.It said this behaviour was still happening despite previous warnings from the FCA.The supervisor has said it will look further into the matter between now and its final asset-management report.last_img read more