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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

The Psychological Horrors of Family Separation

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

It has been 53 days since July 26th, the date on which separated families at the border were supposed to be reunited. So, why are we still talking about it?  

Despite the myriad of promises from the Trump White House about reuniting these families, many still remain apart, wondering if they will see their loved ones ever again.

The backlash sparked by the Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” and the forced parting of parents and children garnered national attention and outrage. It seemed that wherever you looked, you couldn’t help but see some mention of children being put into cages, screaming and crying for their parents. Horrific reports of abuse and mistreatment in detention centers and harrowing depictions of children forced to defend themselves in courts of law emerged as the summer went on. But, as time dragged on and the sensationalism of the story disappeared, so did the outrage.

The articles and anger can still be found, but they are few and far between. Without the considerable weight of the American public, I wonder if the current administration will make good on its promise to reunite all families.

Even if all those separated are returned to each other, the consequences of the current administration’s actions will live long beyond the policy and anger it sparked. Videos of children who no longer trust their parents, believing they gave them up and sent them away to the detention centers, have gone viral. But those feelings can’t last long, right?

Charles Nelson, a pediatric professor at the Harvard Medical School, has done extensive research on the effects of long term separation on children’s brains. Citing research based off a 2000 study done in Romania, Nelson and his colleagues found disturbing differences in the brains of children separated from their families compared to the brains of those who had not been separated.

Children separated from their families at a young age had “much less white….and gray matter,” the fibers that transmit information throughout our bodies, as well as the brain-cells that process and solve problems. Nelson compares the brain to a lightbulb saying: “it’s as though there was a dimmer that had reduced [their brains] from a 100-watt bulb to 30 watts.” These children scored lower on IQ tests, and seemed unable to react to stress. Simply put, our brain cells do not regrow and repair the damaged areas in the same way that the rest of our body does.

Why does the brain begin to malfunction? Contact is incredibly important to us as humans–we literally need to touch and have skin-to-skin contact with other humans in order grow and thrive. The sense of safety and comfort that comes from our families supports this, allowing us to grow emotionally, physically, and mentally. Children separated from a young age lose this sense of security, and their brain develops differently. According to Lisa Fortuna, the medical director for child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Medical Center, “the part of the brain that sorts things into safe or dangerous does not work…things that are not threatening seem threatening.

These consequences are seen not only in the immigration populations in the US, but also in children separated from their parents due to divorce, foster care, death, or any other extreme scenario that forces family separation. According to Susan Hois, a Child Developmental Specialist, family separation causes slower development of linguistic abilities and higher anxiety and depression rates. The loss of control and general feeling of helplessness makes children more likely to act in ways detrimental to both themselves and others. PTSD is also more likely to form in children who have been separated from their parents–the younger the child and the longer the separation, the more likely an extreme reaction.

It has been 53 days since all the families were supposed to be reunited. The longer that the current administration waits to reunite families, the more likely the mental strain on these innocent children. The long term effects of these actions will have a profound impact on our society, especially concerning we have created a generation that has grown up with these traumatic memories. The Trump administration has ensured a legacy that will long outlive their time in the White House–the psychological effects produced by the separations will take a lifetime to undo, if not more.

 

The Constitutional Argument for Sanctuary Cities

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

Imagine you have two undocumented immigrants who enter the country and settle down in a certain city. One of them, a 27 old male named Joseph, illegally entered the country seeking a no skill needed minimum wage job to support himself and his family back home. Unable to find a secure job in his hometown, he emigrated to the states in hopes of finding a stable source of income. The other is a 24 year old female named Jane who came to the US illegally in an effort to escape government corruption in her home country. Anyways, last week, Joseph was pulled over for a traffic violation and was brought into the local police station because he did not have a valid driver’s license. He was identified in the federal database and ICE was alerted. Also that week, Jane was arrested for theft and was similarly identified in the federal database; ICE was alerted. Under federal law, both these people should be detained and deported back to their home countries. However, it’s entirely unjust that a man who was charged with a harmless traffic violation receives the same penalty as the woman who committed a felony. Some cities today back this idea, calling themselves sanctuary cities, and choose to only honor federal immigration law to a certain degree. While the federal government and the Trump administration seems to target these sanctuary cities because they interfere with the larger scheme of mass deportation, municipal governments in these cities choose to not help with the enforcement of federal law.

This presents us with a conflict of interests. On one hand, the federal government is strictly pushing for the defunding of these sanctuary cities, while select municipal governments fight for their right to be free of federal control. So who should have the final say?

The constitution declares that the power ultimately falls to the state — or a city — under the 10th amendment. Author Ilya Somin of The Washington Post supports this claim in his article, “Trump Can’t Stop the Sanctuary Movement,” stating that regardless of the federal government’s pressure on a municipal government, the city is free to carry on with their plans (without facing consequences from the federal government). He cites a Supreme Court case, New York v. United States, to show that rulings have been made saying that it is illegal for federal governments to take control of state governments in order to execute their will. He continues to suggest that, although Trump’s threats of defunding of sanctuary cities may seem looming, they are in fact much more harmless because the federal government does not have the ability to simply cut off funding because they disagree with a state’s views.

His claims appear to be generally unbiased and well-supported, but lean more toward support of the state’s ability to execute their will over the requests of the federal government. He acknowledges the argument toward federal powers having the final say over the matter, but argues against it with constitutional support and relevant court rulings.

Furthermore, although Somin’s argument is structured around the theoretical inability of the federal government to interfere with state affairs, another article published by The New York Times examines a specific case: Trump’s attempted interference in the sanctuary city movement. Author Peter Markowitz discusses the Justice Department’s lawsuit against California, which is centered against 3 California laws that basically outline their sanctuary laws. He says the case is based off a similar case in which Arizona changed their legislation to one that did not require state police to aid federal efforts to enforce immigration laws. The lawsuit against California mirrors that lawsuit; if Arizona is not allowed to interfere in federal immigration enforcement, California shouldn’t either. He argues that California is not impeding federal enforcement of immigration laws, but simply taking themselves out of the equation, which he believes to be absolutely legal.

The choice to integrate sanctuary laws into state or municipal legislation falls outside the realm of the federal government. Pursuant to the 10th amendment, any power not enumerated to the federal government becomes the power of the state. Although immigration overall is a federal power, the federal government should be only able to use their resources to enforce its policies, not those of the individual states. The resources of the state should be utilized in enforcing the law of the state, rather than being at the hands of the federal government. If we allow for the federal government to interfere with matters that are clearly under the jurisdiction of the state, what will stop them from expanding their power from restrictions on sanctuary cities to a multitude of federal interests?  

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/opinion/trump-california-sanctuary-movement.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/11/26/federalism-the-constitution-and-sanctuary-cities/?utm_term=.a23e9144eb4b

 

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.

A Fiscal Approach to the Wall

in Contemporary Politics/Foreign Policy/Political Issues by

On March 13th of this year, President Trump travelled to California to view eight potential samples for the ‘border wall’ which he promised his supporters during his 2016 Presidential Campaign. The controversial building of the wall had become a talking point, with claims that Mexico would pay for it, which Mexican President Pena Nieto continues to furiously deny. The wall should “only” cost $18 billion dollars, via Trump’s Twitter, and would be paid for through an extension of a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Removing the flagrant social rights violation that this wall imposes and personal biases against the President, the Wall could make sense, right? The United States spends close close to $750 billion dollars each year on defense, and border protection counts as defense.

According to a New York Times article, the Senate Democrats released a report in April of 2017 claiming that the wall would cost an estimated $70 billion, and would cost close to $150 million dollars to maintain each year. The wall will employ an electronically monitored zone between its two sides with armed guards patrolling. Obviously, roads would be protected heavily with gates used for inspection. Theoretically, though the cost is daunting, illegal immigration from South and Latin America would be stopped. However, the wall can easily be circumvented by criminals and immigrants alike. Major cartels can simply pay a border agent to look the other way while they construct a tunnel under the wall. The integrity of these border agents can be bought, blatantly defeating the purpose of the wall. Seeing as the wall would only be 150 feet wide, these tunnels can be done quite effectively. Thousands of criminals can smuggle their drugs and weapons through to the United States while refugees and immigrants would be trapped in their respective countries.

How can the United States then prevent illegal immigration? Recently, increased economic stability in Mexico has decreased the number of illegal immigrants. By investing in Mexican corporations and micro financing small business, the United States can improve the economy there while also making money abroad. With a stronger national economy, Mexico and other Latin American countries will be able to retain potential immigrants who can seek opportunities at their homes. In terms of that $70 billion dollars, the United States can do some good with that money. According to the Borgen project, this money can absolve all world hunger for the next 2.5 years. By investing in Latin America and curing their hunger crisis, the United States can prevent illegal immigration and create strong fiscal ties with a burgeoning superpower.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Product of Errant Publishing Co.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/see-all-8-prototypes-trump-s-big-beautiful-border-wall-n813346
https://borgenproject.org/the-cost-to-end-world-hunger/
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-visits-california-see-wall-prototypes-near-mexico-border-n854836

Stormy Times at the Trump White House

in Contemporary Politics/Political Issues by

Arguably the leader of the free world and certainly the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump now faces an alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. In a recent 60 Minutes segment, Stormy recounts in excruciating and humiliating detail her version of their affair. She describes spanking him with a rolled up Trump Magazine; she describes how Trump said she “reminds him of my daughter;” she describes feeling no attraction towards him as they had sex; she describes rejecting his advances after watching four hours of Shark Week; she describes being physically threatened by a goon to “leave Trump alone” and “forget the story.”

Trump, notably, hasn’t responded to Stormy’s allegations on Twitter (where he’s notoriously outspoken). In fact, the President’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, initiated arbitration proceedings against Stormy only for violating her NDA (non-disclosure agreement) — not for libel or defamation. Only the current (but subject to change) White House Press Secretary has denied the affair on Trump’s behalf. Trump’s silence regarding Stormy starkly juxtaposes with his typically unabashed spirit.

Unfortunately, the fact that this story even exists speaks to the dire status of our current political climate. Can anyone honestly argue that this scandal is in the least bit surprising?  If anyone thought that Donald Trump was any sort of moral exemplar during the campaign, they were likely not paying close attention. Trump’s innumerable flaws and scandals, however, seem to blunt the effect of any particular one.

Perhaps Stormy’s case is different.

The Stormy Daniels’ scandal perfectly suits our reality TV star President. Infused with sex, money, crime, broken promises, and threats of violence, the affair reads more like a reality TV show than a presidential controversy. Filled with Clickbait, FAKE NEWS, and eye-catching headlines, perhaps Stormy’s more Hollywood-esque controversy will linger in headlines longer than Trump’s countless other scandals. Stormy’s affair may not be Trump’s most egregious scandal, but it’s certainly his most fitting and entertaining one: Trumpian times call for Trumpian measures.

Ultimately, Trump’s porn star affair just further degrades the Office of the Presidency, embarrassing the US internally and internationally. Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to methodically investigate the possible crimes of the President and his affiliates. As the Mueller investigation escalates, any truth behind the Trump/Russia collusion accusations seems more likely to emerge.  Stormy Daniels may have captivated the public’s attention, but Robert Mueller is bringing the real storm to the White House.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Product of Errant Publishing Co.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stormy-daniels-describes-her-alleged-affair-with-donald-trump-60-minutes-interview/
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/us/stormy-daniels-trump-lawsuit.html

World War Three or Diplomacy?

in Foreign Policy/Political Issues by

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”     Albert Einstein

Since 2006, North Korea has had nuclear weaponry. One of their more recent tests displayed a bomb seven times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, which triggered an earthquake with a magnitude of  6.1…in Japan. In 2017, an intercontinental missile test revealed that they had the capability to hit the United States if they desired.  Immediately, worries of a nuclear World War III spread across the nation and the globe as tensions between the two countries continued to rise.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently stated that the North Korea threat “is growing.”  So how serious is this threat? Are we staring in the face of World War III?  

Recent writers say that perhaps North Korea’s nuclear efforts don’t have the feared motives behind them, but rather they have created a nuclear stockpile simply to use as leverage for diplomacy.  The best case scenario would be that, after seeing the United States’ treatment of Cuba, Kim Jong Un is simply creating enough force to deter a similar invasion.  To protect his similar dictatorship from a Bay of Pigs-esque invasion, Kim Jong Un created and threatened the use of nuclear weapons. Another slightly comforting thought is that the weapons will just be used to strong-arm South Korea into annexation.  “Other than as a smoking crater, Kim Jong Un simply doesn’t have the resources to take over South Korea,” remarked one writer, “the nukes are just for leverage.” Top CIA officials have stated that Kim Jong Un is not the “madman” that the United States often portrays, but rather a “rational actor” motivated by “clear, long-term goals.”  “Waking up one morning and deciding to nuke LA is not something he’s likely to do,” said Yong Suk Lee, deputy assistant director of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, “he knows he would be utterly eliminated…he wants to rule for a long time and die peacefully in his bed.”  It seems as if worries of an unprompted nuclear strike on the United States are unlikely to come true; of course, all of this relies on the rationality of our leaders…

Donald Trump’s reaction to the “North Korea crisis” and nuclear warfare in general is perhaps the greatest threat facing our world today.  The simple act of getting in petty twitter wars with another nuclear power world leader is arguably the most irresponsible act of his entire administration (which is a pretty high bar).  Those CIA officials that suggest Kim Jong Un is a rational leader are “continuously undermined” by the president’s words and actions.  The Moon administration in South Korea see Kim Jong Un’s actions as “largely defensive and rational,” but the reasonable voices of the world are drowned out by Trump’s petulant outcries. The most concerning of his antics is the increase of nuclear weapons.  In July 2017, Trump said he wanted to return the United States active nuclear stockpile to 1960 levels.  

The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump tweeted. Coming to your senses is decreasing the amount of nuclear weapons in the world, not increasing it. Every presidential Administration since Lyndon Johnson in the 60s has decreased the nuclear stockpile.  Trump is single handedly starting a second Cold War. What kept the Cold War from sparking into a full on nuclear war was the principle of MAD (mutually assured destruction).  We would never start a nuclear war with Russia because we knew they could annihilate our civilization, and vice versa. What is concerning about the North Korea crisis (though seemingly counterintuitive) is that we could survive their attacks, making it possible for the Trump administration to decide to go head to head.  On a morning news show Trump seemed to invite this line of logic: “Let it be an arms race.  We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” Yes, congratulations, your button is bigger and you would win, but with millions and millions of lives lost. Some have even suggested executing a preemptive “bloody nose strike” on North Korea, assuming that eventual war is inevitable.  Pence stated recently that “the era of strategic patience is over.” Though the experts say that peace is still entirely possible and most Americans believe that “North Korea is bluffing,” our leaders seem to be unnecessarily escalating an incredibly dangerous situation.

Nuclear war should simply not be an option and should be avoided at all costs. The power of modern nuclear bombs is incomprehensibly devastating.  Even in 1961, the Tsar bomb detonated with a forces of 3,800 Hiroshima explosions.  The thousands of 21st century nuclear bombs could no doubt wipe civilizations off of the face of the Earth.  Trading nuclear blows with North Korea just to quiet them would be sacrificing millions of lives over a matter of pride.  If the situation is handled by our leaders properly, there should be little worry. Unfortunately that’s a big if.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Property of Errant Publishing Co.
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/906428/North-Korea-news-Donald-Trump-Kim-Jong-un-World-War-3-US
http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-hydrogen-bomb-test-evidence-2017-9
http://www.businessinsider.com/reason-north-korea-needs-nukes-deterrence-vs-expansion-2018-1
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/05/politics/cia-kim-jong-un-intelligence-profile/index.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/09/peace-north-korea-170905092328093.html
http://www.businessinsider.com/nuclear-posture-review-trump-huffpost-draft-report-2018-1
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/903266/North-Korea-news-Kim-Jong-un-Donald-Trump-Moon-Jae-in-South-Korea-World-War-3-latest?utm_source=traffic.outbrain&utm_medium=traffic.outbrain&utm_term=traffic.outbrain&utm_content=traffic.outbrain&utm_campaign=traffic.outbrain

 

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

 

 

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.

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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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