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Donald Trump

Thoughts on the Trump Op-Ed

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

The past couple of months have been a blow to the Trump administration. From Michael Cohen’s pleading guilty to federal fraud charges, implicating Trump in many of the Russian collusion claims made by the Mueller investigation, to Trump himself being criticized for fist bumping while entering a 9/11 memorial service, it would be safe to say President Trump has angered a significant portion of the American population. However, one of the most controversial topics concerning the Trump administration is the release of an Op-Ed by the New York Times containing an anonymous letter written by somebody in the Trump administration. In this letter, the anonymous writer admitted to covertly undermining Trump’s actions from inside his administration in order to curb Trump’s “misguided impulses until he is out of office”. The anonymous writer further stated that he is in agreement with the goals of the Republican Party, but believes that Trump is a “petty” leader. The writer of the op-ed reveals that even the members of Trump’s cabinet, who are often perceived as unreliable, actively try to slow the agenda of our even more unreliable president. In comparison to all of the other revelations against Trump, the release of the Op-Ed has the most damaging consequences due to the fact that a member of his own administration is defaming him. The Op-Ed has obviously caused unrest in the Trump administration, with Kellyanne Conway leading a manhunt for the author. How can we trust a president that is stopped by cabinet members that he chose? How can the American public trust an administration whose goal is the subversion of the president? With the upcoming election in November, I hope that more Democratic members are elected to Congress in order to provide more checks on our misguided president.

Since his election, Trump has been praised by members of his party for taking action. However, is this action safe for our country? Only time can tell.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

Donald Trump’s Historic Economy

in Miscellaneous/Political Issues by

Despite what you might hear from CNN, MSNBC, Slate, and a myriad of other left wing news outlets, the Trump Economy is booming. The inflation rate has not doubled in the period of time he has been in office. In contrast, the inflation rate doubled under Obama multiple times due. This, combined with the 1.5-2% Real Wage Growth since Trump took office and the Trump tax cuts are allowing American households to save more money. Regardless of whether you like the tax cuts or not, a family of four with $59,000 in income would save $1,182 in federal taxes under the cuts. Additionally, new business confidence and consumer confidence indices report the highest levels since the nineties, meaning more businesses are feeling like they are in a safe environment. This increases the amount of capital put into the US to forward their company, and in turn, the American people. To top it all off, the unemployment rates are staggeringly low for all American peoples, regardless of race, sex, or wealth.

Although there have been significant tangible economic gains that have resulted from Trump’s economic policies, opponents to his governing style disapprove of his use of tariffs. However, the Trump administration is intending to use these tariffs to force trade partners to adopt fair trade practices, and redress existing trade imbalances. Some opposing analysts go so far as to saying that Trump’s tariffs would cause an economic and political disaster throughout domestic and international markets. However, this style of thinking has many faults. Using data provided by the MSCI World Index, a fund composed of high performing companies in all of the major markets of the world, it’s clear that overall global economic growth has risen 23% ever since Trump took office. In addition, the DOW Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ Composite have reached record highs here in the United States.

It is also important to realize how his tariff policy, however brash it may be, is having its desired function. When Trump used Twitter to state how he loved tariffs, he scared us- and the markets- for a while. But, over time, we understood that this was just Trump being Trump. He did not actually love tariffs, but how much power they gave him to sway other countries around the world, including many allies, who were charging exorbitant tariff rates on American goods.

So, what did this accomplish?

The EU, along with Canada, Mexico, and China* have been overpowered by the US and forced to sit at the table and negotiate, removing their tariffs against US natural gas, oil, steel, and much more, with more adding to the list every day.

The EU understood that they could not stand up to the US, so after a brief period of finger waving, Belgium and Germany came to the negotiating table. Without Germany, the rest of the EU has no hope of beating the US in an escalated trade war, as they are less efficient producers, have higher tax rates for companies, and lack natural resources. So, as we negotiate with the EU, they have suspended all tariffs against US goods.

With the Renegotiation of NAFTA, Mexico and the the US have agreed to amendments to NAFTA such as a six year lease on the deal which allows both countries to renegotiate a better deal if the current deal doesn’t ease trading multiple years from now. In addition, Canada is engaged in negotiations to do the same by the end of the month.

China cannot stand up against the US either in this trade war, as they are hurt much worse than America with the issuing of every counter tariff. The Shanghai Index YTD has fallen about 17% in valuation, whereas the US markets are up from over 14% on the NASDAQ, and the S&P 500 has gained 8.5-9% YTD.

And even though there have been significant gains in the economy thanks to Trump’s economic agenda, the true genius of his policies is the fact that they’ve forced us as a country to think more about our economic future and accept a hard truth: economic progress is just as important as social progress. Even though we live in an America plagued by numerous social issues, we can’t neglect the impact the economy has on all of our lives. The 21 trillion dollars of debt that loom over all of us have the possibility to affect our generation and the generations after us. Trump’s twitter rants and talk of tariffs, however unconventional they may be, provide the basis of a conversation that will define the prosperity of our country for the many years to come.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/091918-analysis-chinese-refiners-
Get-a-breather-as-crude-oil-excluded-from-the-tariff-list
https://markets.ft.com/data/indices/tearsheet/summary?s=MS-WX:MSI
http://time.com/5389853/unemployment-rate-near-18-yearl-low/
https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/august-2018-jobs-report-analysis
https://data.oecd.org/leadind/business-confidence-index-bci.htm#indicator-chart
https://www.cnbc.com/quotes/?symbol=.SSEC
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/19/chinas-economy-could-feel-far-more-pain-than-us-in-trade-
Wars.html
https://data.oecd.org/leadind/consumer-confidence-index-cci.htm#indicator-chart
https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/nov/07/markwayne-mullin/
https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wage-growth

A One-Woman Show: Sarah Huckabee in The White House Press Briefing

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

Perhaps the most simultaneously intriguing and horrifying cultural phenomenon this year was not a movie, television show, or play but rather the theatrical absurdity of our political system.

Indeed, the unprecedented political landscape of President Trump’s administration has created scenarios more outlandish than the most far-fetched episode of Veep, more tense than any episode of 24, and more cringeworthy than the most awkward moments of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Filled with more morally ambiguous characters than Game of Thrones and more unforeseen twists than Survivor, the Trump Administration has truly been a terrifying, riveting narrative. However, while the aforementioned shows are ultimately designed to entertain, Mr. Trump’s administration is all too real.

Throughout this chaotic news cycle, one woman has distinguished herself as a particularly notable character: Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Ms. Sanders stars in a one-woman show nearly every day, performing to an audience of journalists in her White House Press Briefings.  And to be clear, her briefings are theater —  Ms. Sanders spends her briefings articulating her spurious lines, which consist of intentionally misleading “alternative facts.”

This is not to say that Ms. Sanders is a poor performer — she’s not. In fact, she drastically outshines her predecessor, Sean Spicer, by adding an unfazed temperament to her performance that he lacked. Whereas Mr. Spicer seemed to show some semblance of remorse for intentionally misinforming the American people, Ms. Sanders brings an unperturbed facade to her performance that Mr. Spicer could not seem to muster.

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of her show is her improvisation segments. Ms. Sanders allows select audience members to ask her questions, which she impressively manages to evade, spin, and twist. Her control over her stage (and her audience) is nearly unparalleled in contemporary theater.

For example, in one of Ms. Sanders’ first shows, TIME Magazine White House correspondent Zeke Miller asked whether the White House transition was “chaotic.” Without missing a beat, Ms. Sanders assuredly replied, “No, I don’t see it as chaotic.” As Mr. Miller tried to rephrase his question, Ms. Sanders joked, “You want to see chaos, Zeke, you should come to my house early in the morning when my three kids are running around.  That’s chaos.” As laughter erupted in the audience, Ms. Sanders immediately transitioned to the next question, effectively ending Mr. Miller’s line of interrogation. This impressive, deliberate control over her audience allows her to inculcate her message clearly and without opposition.

Ms. Sanders’ emotional temperament, her finely-tuned control over her expressions and inflection, allows her to be one of the most effective and remarkable actresses in theater this year. Unfortunately for us, her show is non-fiction.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Product of Errant Publishing Co.

Who’s Responsible for the Government Shutdown?

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

At 12:01 AM, on the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the government shut down. The Senate proved unable to pass a budget plan for the upcoming year, so all “nonessential” governmental operations have ceased. Now, politicians are delivering scathing speeches, releasing ruthless attack ads, and tweeting ferociously to ascribe blame to various groups and people for the shutdown. Here are some of the most compelling suspects.

Suspect #1: Senate Democrats

THE EVIDENCE: Certainly receiving the most blame from the executive office, the Senate Democrats assembled the necessary votes to prevent the budget plan that passed through the House from becoming law. Republicans argue, therefore, that they blocked the only viable spending plan from becoming law and, thus, are naturally the cause of the shutdown. Democrats, on the other hand, point out that the House bill failed to provide a solution for the DACA kids (dubbed “Dreamers”). Senate Democrats have long held the position that they would reject any bill that fails to negotiate a solution for the Dreamers. Although the bill does continue to fund CHIP, another essential Democratic program that provides American children with healthcare, Democrats still largely rejected the budget.  To their credit, Democrats have been very open to bipartisan negotiations, earning praise from several Republican Senators, such as Senator Jeff Flake.

THE ACCUSERS: President Trump and Congressional Republicans.

VERDICT: The Democrats have been abundantly clear about their positions and are willing to negotiate. Furthermore, they hold a minority in both chambers of Congress, so it seems very hard to pin all of the blame on them. They demand that American children have a right to healthcare and Dreamers are able to continue positively contributing to American society.

Suspect #2: Senate Republicans

THE EVIDENCE: Since Republicans have a majority in both the House and Senate, many expect them to keep the government functioning. The failure to pass a budget bill certainly demonstrates a poor ability to lead and continues their struggle to pass legislation, despite their majorities. In fact, multiple Republicans voted against the Mitch McConnell-endorsed spending bill. Democrats accused them of using CHIP and DACA children as political hostages by pinning them against each other, reducing them to political bargaining chips. Judging from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent tweet, it’s hard to blame them.

THE ACCUSERS: Democrats and most Americans.

THE VERDICT: Yes, the Senate Republicans are largely to blame for the government shutdown. Exploiting the lives of Dreamers and threatening the status of CHIP to force a government shutdown was a machiavellian political move to avoid the looming 2018 bloodbath. Many Republicans rejected negotiations with willing Democratic senators. However, they should not receive all of the blame, which leads us to suspect #3.

Suspect #3: President Donald Trump

THE EVIDENCE: Author of The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump has seemingly lost his former dealmaking prowess. After one year in office (with majorities in both chambers of Congress), Trump has narrowly passed one major piece of legislation: tax reform. One might assume that a slow legislative year suggests that the President also spent most of the year under the radar. One would be wrong; the president’s chaotic first year was fittingly capped with a government shutdown. And no one lays out a stronger case against the president than … President Trump himself.

THE ACCUSERS: Democrats, most Americans, and President Trump(?)

THE VERDICT: As Donald Trump once said, “The President has to lead.” He should take his own advice.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Product of Errant Publishing Co.
https://goo.gl/WUb7pX

 

 

Prioritizing Justice Over Civility

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

No words resonate with the modern status of racial inequality more than those of Dr. Martin Luther King in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Over 54 years ago, King reminded African Americans that the Negro’s greatest stumbling block in his stride toward freedom would be the white moderate. King defined this individual as more devoted to ‘order’ than to progress. The archetype of the moderate, an individual preferring an absence of tension over the presence of justice, appears in both the fiction of literature and the realities of our own history. President Donald Trump’s ambiguous response to the violence incited by a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville revealed Trump’s preference for American order over African-American justice. President Trump’s inexcusable behaviour demonstrates that acting on the grounds of civility with regards to racism prohibits social progress towards justice.  

In present day America, our nation’s foremost priority of civil order threatens social progress towards complete racial equality. In August of 2017, in response to the prejudice-motivated actions of a white nationalist group in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Trump blamed “many sides” for the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.”* Yet, he failed to identify the Alt-Right white supremacist group as the sole perpetrators of this crime. By equating the blame “on both sides” instead of condemning the white-supremacists, Trump undermines the efforts of anti-racists protestors. Essentially, the President reduced the concerns of these individuals to avoid further disruption in Charlottesville. The President’s desire to placate racial animosity hinders the resolution of these recurring conflicts.

Trump, assuming the role of King’s white moderate archetype, prefers to silence the anger of African Americans rather than to combat the racist ideologies of their oppressors. In his initial remarks, Trump identified the anti-racist supporters as the “Alt-Left group,” criticizing that, unlike the Alt-Right group, these counter-demonstrators did not have a permit to protest in Charlottesville. Regardless of whether the anti-racists protesters violated this requirement, their actions to counter the hate-filled speech pervading Charlottesville deserved the President’s praise, not his criticism. Trump’s injection of moral equivalence into a situation of racial discrimination demonstrates his attempt to prioritize the law of the nation over justice for the nation’s African-American people. While other prominent politicians ardently denounced the actions of these white supremacists, Trump defended his moderate response by accusing “fake media” of never being satisfied. Even with backlash from his initial remarks, Trump insisted that “not all of [these protestors] were white supremacists.”  Despite their Confederate flags and “You will not replace us” posters, Trump concluded that these individuals were simply protesting “the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” later questioning “whether the movement to pull down [these] Confederate statues would lead to the desecration of memorials to George Washington.” If Trump were to denounce the cruelties of these white-supremacists, he would legitimize the anger of African-Americans and inspire more individuals to protest these injustices.

However, rather than recognizing the prejudiced truth behind their opposition, Trump justified their protests by dismissing the relevance of counter-protestors concerns. Rationalizing the issue of racial discrimination, Trump subverted all efforts toward social progress. Instead of using his platform to promote change, Trump exploited his power to undermine progressive movements and, in effect, prevent racial equality in America. Trump’s inability to condemn the evident acts of terror in Charlottesville perpetuated the culture of unspoken racism permeating in American society, denying justice to the African American community.

To obtain rightful justice, individuals must disregard the order which infiltrates their surroundings. By opting for social order when justice was required, Trump engaged in a form of covert racism which trivialized the problems of the black community under a false pretense of sustaining “order”. It is this “order” which prevented those silenced in Charlottesville from complete freedom.

Thus, disregard the institution. Renounce the plagued loyalties. Condemn the acts of racism. Equality can only be realized by transcending civility, shouting against the cruelties executed by the moderate, yelling and screaming, deafening the oppressor of justice.

*On August 12, 2017, while protesting the decided removal of a confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, a supporter of the Alt-Right white-supremacist group rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist counter-demonstrators, killing one young woman and injuring dozens.
Graphic Design by Frederique Fyhr
www.cnn.com/2017/08/12/politics/trump-fails-to-condemn-the-alt-right-white-supremacists/index.html
theestablishment.co/white-people-its-time-to-prioritize-justice-over-civility-bfd90b80012e
www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/us/politics/trump-press-conference-charlottesville.html

The Fake News Awards: An Ominous Attack on the Free Press

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

Donald Trump is engaged in a war against “Fake News.” Although, in his mind, “Fake News” means any sort of criticism against him, regardless of its veracity. Although there is obviously some widespread misinformation about him, Donald Trump is most certainly not engaged in a battle against fictitious news stories. If he were, his preferred news source might be NPR, not Fox News (whose consistent viewers, according to a FDU Public Mind Study, scored lower in a current events questionnaire than viewers who watched no news at all). Fox News, undoubtedly, perpetuates far more biased information than the other major news networks, so, if the president were keen on restoring truth to journalism, he would detest the deliberately deceptive partisanship of Fox News.  

To give you a sense of the other news sources Trump supports, while appearing on Infowars, Alex Jones’ radio talk show, he complimented Jones’s “amazing reputation.” Alex Jones, for context, once introduced a conspiracy theory that the gut-wrenching Sandy Hook massacre was a government hoax where no one was killed (prior to Trump’s appearance on his show). In all of the false reports that I have seen, no story is more heartless, baseless, and absolutely detestable. Exploiting the murders of innocent school children to stir up controversy and garner attention for a radio show is utterly reprehensible, and no one who does such has an “amazing reputation.”

In actuality, Trump’s attacks on CNN, the New York Times, and other reputable news sources serves as a means to delegitimize the media as a reliable source of information. The free press provides a key tenet in maintaining our democracy, offering an often unrecognized system of checks and balances between representatives and their constituents. By corroding the inherent dependability of the free press, Donald Trump has created an environment where (at least to his supporters) he is the sole dictator of what’s true and false. News sources that support the president are rewarded with retweets, while news sources that cover him negatively are attacked relentlessly, permanently branded with a Scarlet Letter-esq “Fake News” tweet.

The parallels between Trump’s actions and previous authoritarian fascists are alarming, to say the least. Both Hitler and Stalin rose to power by instituting a state-controlled press, and modern-day dictators, such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolás Maduro, have already used the term “Fake News” to quash criticism from their own respective journalists.

Trump’s recent Fake News Awards are perhaps the climax of his attacks on the press. A collection of “Fake News” sources, listing Op-Eds that incorrectly predicted the future and retracted stories as “Fake News,” the awards were nothing more than a callous attack on the media.  The issue here is not that the stories were incorrect — it’s that Trump has forever tarnished the reputability of these news organizations with his tweets. An act undermining our democratic processes — whether it be our right to free elections, right to free speech, or right to free press — is an attack on our country, and must be treated as such.

Product of Errant Publishing Co.
Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
http://www.newsweek.com/trump-fake-news-awards-media-783228
http://www.historyguide.org/europe/lecture10.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting_
conspiracy_theories#Alex_Jones_claims
http://www.businessinsider.com/study-watching-fox-news-makes-you-less-informed-than-watching-no-news-at-all-2012-5
http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/tv/fox/
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