Tag Archives: politics

A Setback to Keystone XL Pipeline in Court

A judge has ruled that the Trump Administration has not presented a “reasoned explanation” for continuing the Keystone pipeline project. The administration also “simply discarded” evidence that said the pipeline could have a negative effect on the climate. As a result, the Keystone XL pipeline project has been halted for the time being.

Judge Brian Morris of the United States District Court in Montana blocked the construction of the 1,179 mile pipeline that would push oil from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast. For the past decade, the project has been halted and fought in the courts.

This decision will lead to a legal battle over climate change and global warming, which the president has described as “fake news.”

President Trump, as he was leaving the White House to travel to France for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, said to reporters, “I think it’s a disgrace,” when asked about the decision regarding the pipeline.

While experts have said that the pipeline would not have an effect on jobs or climate change, people have fought against the pipeline since George W. Bush was in office back in 2008.

Mark Squillace, an expert on environmental law at the University of Colorado Law School, said to the New York Times that the Trump Administration has not done a good job dealing with the findings of the previous administration (Obama). Squillace noted that political stances can change, but one thing that won’t is how you get from “point A to point B.”

While there are plenty of options to appeal, oppressors of the project are celebrating the win, after a decade-long battle against the pipeline, which is mostly completed.

This could be only the beginning of a very long court battle that most likely may reach the Supreme Court.

Is Facebook in Trouble with the U.S. Government?

Mark Zuckerburg has seen better days (well, most of his adulthood has been fine until now), and while he may still be very rich, he does have a huge problem on his hands with Facebook.

Does Facebook have trouble with the U.S. Federal Governement after an whistle-blower reveal information about Cambridge Analytica; photo from betanews.com
Does Facebook have trouble with the U.S. Federal Governement after an whistle-blower reveal information about Cambridge Analytica; photo from betanews.com

Christopher Wylie, co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, blew the whistle on Facebook and his company on Tuesday, telling a United Kingdom parliamentary committee that the “Brexit” (look it up) referendum could have ended differently if there had been no “cheating” from proponents wanting to leave the European Union.

This comes after stories broke about how Cambridge Analytica allegedly used illegally obtained data from 50 million users on Facebook.  This was used in an attempt to influence political outcomes.

Cambridge Analytica was able to use the 50 million user accounts to create 30 million “psychographic” profiles that were used to design targeted political ads.

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Monday that they had launched an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices and a couple days before that, UK authorities had raided Cambridge Analytica’s offices.

In a statement from the embattled company, they had stated that their data had no influence in “Brexit” or the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump, the current president of the U.S.

Facebook is also facing problems with the scandal as numerous people have deleted the app and also started a hashtag called #deleteFacebook. It was because of this, Facebook’s share drive took a nosedive as the social media grant lost over $60 billion in value at one point.

Mark Zuckerburg, the founder of Facebook has taken out full-page adverts in newspapers across the U.S. and UK, apologizing for what happened. Zuckerburg has also accepted an invitation to testify in front of the U.S. Congress; however, he has not extended the same offer to UK lawmakers.

As each day passes, the scandal gets more and more interest as this could affect the President and the planned “Brexit” over in the UK. Only time will tell if anything comes out of this.

Ronny Jackson, Good at Fixing People, Bad at Fixing the VA

Continuing the new normal in the United States, President Trump has fired by tweet the current Secretary of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), David Shulkin. As his replacement, Trump has nominated his personal physician Ronny Jackson. According to Shulkin, he was completely blindsided by this decision. Experts indicate that the decision was likely related to Shulkin’s resistance to the Trump administration’s desire to privatize major parts of the VA hospital systems.

Ronny Jackson served as the personal physician to President Trump, President Obama, and the second President Bush. Before that, he served as a doctor in the navy. By all accounts, he is a competent physician, but that does not qualify him to serve as the new director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs is the second largest federal agency, second only to the Department of Defense. The VA employs 377,805 people all across the country. Shulkin, the past director, served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. He had the experience required to manage a system as large as the VA. Ronny Jackson has never been in charge of more than a dozen or so people in his capacity as the white house doctor. His appointment follows President Trump’s pattern of nominating people who he likes regardless of their qualifications. This is a recipe for disaster in the already troubled VA. Our veterans deserve better. I am calling on Republicans, who always support the veterans, to reject this nomination and demand that President Trump nominates a qualified secretary.


Late one Saturday night / Sunday morning, I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed when I come across instructions for how to find out what your political views are based off Facebook’s algorithms. Intrigued, I track it down. It’s buried 6-7 links down in your Account Settings: Menu to Account Settings to Ads to Your Information to Your Categories to Review and Manage Your Categories to US Politics.

As I’m scrolling through, I begin to worry. As a Computer Science major, I’m more aware than most of just what kind of data can be collected, and despite that knowledge, I have maintained a pretty steady online presence where Facebook is concerned. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is I like to read, and Facebook does a good job of giving me delicious content to consume.

But in the past few years, the content I consume has turned more political than when I was in my 20’s (I’m 30 now). I have over 2,400 different groups liked on my profile. Thousands upon thousands of viewed articles, comments, and replies. Many would view Facebook’s interpretation of its users’ political stances as sort of a “What kind of toaster are you? Take our 5 question quiz to find out!” gimmicky tagline, and take it with a grain of salt. I, on the other hand, know the sheer amount of information I have interacted with online tells me that it is a statistically significant result. What Facebook’s algorithms think is more than likely a true representation of my political inclination.

What if I’m one of those right-wingers that everybody on-campus hates? What if people summarize my political views as “God, guns, and gin” or “King James, jacked up trucks, and Uncle Sam”? What if I get pegged at the opposite end and live out the rest of my days trying to figure out how to weave hemp undergarments with locally sourced, gender neutral, cruelty-free knitting needles? I have read news from all sources, everything from Huffington Post to Fox News. Doubts assailed me from all sides.

Imagine my relief when I see, in parentheses, the word “Moderate.” That’s like getting a ‘C’ on a final when you’re expecting an ‘F.’ But further down, there’s a little box. It says “Sorry, we don’t have an example of this kind of ad to show you right now.” This entire thing, Facebook and its affiliates, are nothing more than ad recommendation engines. 2 billion people all “turned on, tuned in, and dropping out.” And not a single recommendation for “Moderate” US politics? There are 170 million people who didn’t vote in the last Presidential election. Approximately 340 million total living in the US.  And there is no sizable subset who might be interested in Moderate political ads? That’s a scary thought.

Las Vegas

When more than 95 people die and more than 6,000 are injured daily [1], I never see a militarized media response to it. There is no soul-searching, there are no pontifications of what lies in the dark hearts of men that drive them to such mindless violence. Certainly there are no suggestions on increasing the number of regulations regarding the means by which such a tremendous number of lives may be snuffed out.

We just call them “car accidents”.

Gun violence is mostly not an accident, certainly not in the case of the recent shooting in Las Vegas. The worst shooting in modern history is a light day in car death terms. But the fact that it has become such a rallying cry in a way car accidents never have, makes me think that the motivation for such disproportionate focus is largely political in nature. It certainly cannot be empathy for the victims; I find it hard to believe the grieving families have approached every political media machine and begged, “Please use the deaths of my husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins at your earliest possible convenience to make sure such tragedies never happen again.”

“Gun violence is mostly not an accident, certainly not in the case of the recent shooting in Las Vegas.” – Photo from CNN

No, I find the root cause might be much more basic: we are more ubiquitously in love with our cars than our guns. If you’re a liberal, you may look to Musk’s Tesla, Toyota’s Prius, or the Chevy Volt as a vehicle worth attaining. If you’re poor, you may look to 1980’s-1990’s era vehicles for the ease of maintaining them. If you’re rich, you make look to the stylish new Mustangs, Challengers, and or Porsches. Whatever your tastes, even with declining Millennial interest in getting a license [2], you probably can appreciate the freedom owning a car provides, or at least utilize it.

Less so with guns. Guns have always been used to kill people; there is little ambiguity there. They are used for sport, war, relaxation, and self-defense. “God made man; Samuel Colt made them equal” as the saying goes. No political issue in our country’s history more divides our nation than one’s stance on gun control, save women’s suffrage and slavery.

Because they are not viewed as universally beloved a facilitator of freedom the way cars are, firearms receive less care and more scorn. The real issues aren’t mental health, gun control, or even what the founding fathers meant in their 2nd Amendment wording. Perhaps it’s just how willfully blind we are to the negative consequences of the things we love while remaining critical of the things other people enjoy.


[1] http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2017/12-month-estimates.pdf

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/01/19/drivers-licenses-uber-lyft/7899452


Cover Photo from CNBC

Political Trouble in the World of Sports

There have been several days of controversy and criticism since NBA player Stephen Curry suggested he would vote against accepting Trump’s invitation to the White House. When Trump heard about this development, he decided to un-invite the entire Warriors basketball team and has since sent out a number of tweets regarding both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL). The latter is the result of Trump’s comments that NFL players should be fired for taking a knee during the National Anthem and the resulting protests from NFL teams such as the Steelers.

Stephen Curry – Photo from NBA.com

The Steelers decided to remain inside of the locker room during the performance of the National Anthem. The head coach of the Steelers, Mike Tomlin, stated that he did not want the team to feel divided and that, essentially, he wanted the team to stay out of the politics going on. However, being absent during the Anthem is something of a political statement in and of itself.

Trump has stated, both at his rally in Alabama and on Twitter, that he believes anyone who does not stand up or takes a knee during the Anthem should be fired. He has also stated on Twitter that the games have been losing viewers because they are “boring” but people would keep watching if the NFL teams were loyal to the U.S. That being said, Trump is probably not the best person to give commentary on how viewership has increased or decreased for sports teams. Or in a position to really give any commentary at all. What the President has to do with a NFL game or NBA team is unknown, especially when he has more serious matters to attend to. Regardless of what Trump says, and in fact because of it, many players and teams are now making a stand and/or protesting, such as a number of players at the Jaguars and Ravens game in London. Perhaps it is time to listen to what other people have to say about why they are protesting, instead of threatening them.

Make America violent again?

Wherever Donald Trump goes, trouble seems to follow. He’s the type of man who brings out the worst in people. He succeeds by taking advantage of the uneducated people, the ones who believe it’s okay to oppress a group of people based on fear, the ones who want to build a wall because they think it will improve the American lifestyle, the ones who are okay with a man who continuously says derogatory things to women and minorities. However, the people who disagree with these beliefs aren’t afraid to say so, to protest and riot against Donald Trump’s rallies is the only way they know how to stop him from becoming the next president of the United States.

Is Trump the real deal? Or just a joke? Graphic from Pinterest
Is Trump the real deal? Or just a joke? Graphic from Pinterest

On Friday, March 11, Donald Trump postponed a rally in Chicago because of “fights between supporters and demonstrators, protests in the streets and concerns that the environment at the event was no longer safe.” I wish I could have asked Mr. Trump why he thought that the anger and the riots occurred, because he obviously doesn’t see that behind every single riot or protestings at his rallies, stands Mr. Trump and his bigotry.

Protesters attended the Chicago rally in attempts to shut it down, to “Stump Trump,” and obviously, they succeeded, which caused Trump to cancel it, leaving all supporters and protesters to fend for themselves. He fled, leaving the Chicago PD to clean up the anger, frustration, and unanswered questions. Trump also has a reputation of throwing people out of his rallies, whether or not they are actually protesting or not. At Valdosta State University, a group of black students wearing all black in a silent protest at one of Trump’s rallies, was kicked out for no reason. They were standing silently at their own gym, not causing any issues, but were forced to leave anyway. This is when Trump’s antics have gone too far, where he is taking away people’s right to protest, especially when they are peaceful about it.

There is potential for Trump to prevent violent protests like the one in Chicago, if he were to simply answer people’s questions, have actual conversations with the American people, and listen instead of preach, repeat the same topics over and over again, and say things that he knows will get a reaction from people. He’s made himself to entertainment and a source of mockery, when he could have made a name for himself in the political world, with real issues and real passion behind them. Trump thrives on the violence and anger because it gives him more publicity. He doesn’t want to make America great again. He wants to make American violent again.

All lives do matter, but that’s not the point

Over the past couple of years, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has gained a lot of attention, both positive and negative. One can trace the roots of this movement all the way back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, but the hashtag gained a lot of popularity and usage when George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin.

Along with Martin’s death, two black men’s death garnered public attention when the men were killed in separate incidents with the police; one in New York City and one in Ferguson, Illinois. Eric Gardner was the man killed by police in NYC when he was captured on video being choked out by a police officer as he pleaded for help, saying, “I can’t breathe,” a quote which has been used in the Black Lives Matter movement to show support for Gardner and other alleged victims of police brutality.

The death of Michael Brown, the young man shot by a police officer in Ferguson, caused protests and riots in the streets as neighbors, friends and even perfect strangers of Brown demanded that the officer be held responsible for his death.

This summer, Sandra Bland died in jail just days after a violent arrest by a Texas deputy in which the officer was caught by a dash cam roughing up the woman. Bland suffered from epilepsy and her death was ruled an accident. No one was charged in her death.

A "Black Lives Matter" protestor. Image from globalresearch.ca624
A “Black Lives Matter” protestor. Image from globalresearch.ca624

These incidents have only fanned the flames of the protests held to raise awareness of police brutality against minorities. As Black Lives Matter gains supporters, counter movements have begun to pop up. One group, self-proclaimed as the “All Lives Matter,” movement has an especially large following. Another movement, called “Blue Lives Matter” has been used in support of police officers, who face dangers every day on their jobs.

While I do agree that all lives matter equally, these two counter movements are looking over the bigger issue. There is a very lopsided amount of minorities killed by law enforcement officers as compared to Caucasian victims. As much as we want to believe that this is purely coincidental, the evidence has stacked up heavily against that notion. According to the NAACP, 1 in 3 black males in their thirties will likely spend some time in prison. Minorities also make up around 60% of the prison population.

The issue goes a lot bigger than just a few bad cops, the way minorities are treated in our country has attributed to the violence. Minorities, specifically black families, are much more likely to live in poverty than white Americans. Because of this, minorities are forced to live in the “bad” parts of town with Section 8 housing. These are the areas police patrol the most, and therefore, minorities are forced to have more interactions with police, resulting in more negative interactions that can result in death of either the officer or the minority being pursued.

While there are corrupt officers who do commit crimes against minorities, it’s safe to assume that most cops are just regular people going to work. However, this doesn’t face or fix the issue. Minorities as a whole are mistreated whether it be by discrimination in their jobs, housing or financial institutions. To put a blanket over the issue by saying, “All Lives Matter,” we fail to address the issues that minorities face. One analogy a friend shared with me explains this perfectly:

“Saying ‘All Lives Matter’ is similar to if there were four people sitting at a dinner table; three of these people have full plates, while the fourth has nothing. The fourth looks around and sees that while he’s starving, everyone else has a full plate. He speaks up and says, ‘I deserve food too,’ and he’s quickly silenced by the other three who say, ‘we all deserve food.’ The other three continue eating and ignore the cries of starvation of their fourth friend.”

No, I won’t stop ranting on Facebook

As the upcoming election gets more heated, and as more states caucus results come back, the debate on social media has only gotten hotter. It’s impossible to scroll through Facebook without seeing someone’s political opinions being broadcast for the world to see. On Twitter, comedians make light of what seems like a hopeless election by tweeting jokes, most of which are about Donald Trump.

As our timelines are flooded with political posts, some are joining in and sharing their thoughts, while others see the posts as a nuisance. I can recall several posts I’ve seen by complainers who would much rather see cute animals pictures and Buzzfeed articles on their timeline.

The Facebook comment section serves as an easy platform for debates. Graphic from Market Pilgrim
The Facebook comment section serves as an easy platform for debates. Graphic from Marketing Pilgrim

Politics are extremely important. Yes, discussing politics can cause some divides in our communities, but these are things we need to discuss. When it’s March Madness, there are plenty of folks complaining on social media about the team they hate, but no one really complains about that. Not that sports aren’t important, but politics are our future.

I’m the kind of person who loves to use social media as a platform to talk about politics. I’m always sharing political articles, which I’m sure has caused some people to remove me as their friend or “unfollow” me. I don’t really mind, however, because if people are so small-minded that discussing a subject as heavy as politics makes them uncomfortable, I don’t really want to be their friend.

Social media wasn’t necessarily made for politics, but it has definitely had a huge impact in some major political revolutions. In 2011, Egypt, Bahrain and Libya went through quite a bit of political unrest, a time often called the “Arab Spring.” During this time, social media was essentially used to overthrow an oppressive government. Social media was a vital tool in transcending borders and allowing protesters to organize and discuss.

Social media can be annoying at times, of course. However, we shouldn’t brush off its importance. While social media is typically seen as a distraction and unnecessary, in political scenarios and elections, we need to embrace it as a platform to allow our voices to be heard. One of the great things about Twitter is that you have a direct line to politicians, celebrities and other high-profile people. Even if you don’t get a reply, there is a possibility the person you’re trying to contact may see what you have to say. Even if they don’t see it, others may join in discussing the topic, whatever it may be.

We have more technology and the easiest platform to voice our opinions on that has ever existed. We have been granted a great opportunity to use these tools to make a difference. Your opinions matter, and social media is the fastest way to share your thoughts with the most people.

This election, social media has been used by millennials to promote their favorite candidates. Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash, a Facebook group in which members share political memes in support of the presidential candidate, has been an amazing tool in unifying Sanders supporters. At the recent Trump rally on our campus, remnants of the group were scattered throughout the crowd of protesters. There was a very heavy internet and social media influence on many of the signs and overall attitude of protesters.

If politics isn’t your thing (although it should be), simply stay off social media until the election is over. Better yet, join in the political revolution and share your thoughts loudly and proudly.

We need to grasp our opportunity to have a POTUS like Bernie

When President Barrack Obama was elected, some critics claimed that his voters wanted him in office because we felt it was time for a black president. Not only is that criticism completely inappropriate, it’s very inaccurate. President Obama has done things that I don’t necessarily agree with, but he’s exceeded my expectations by a long shot.

Now that Hillary Clinton is running for POTUS, many are claiming that the amount of support she’s received is due to the novelty of the idea of a female president. For once, I agree with this statement. Having a female president is something I want to see before I die, but I don’t think that Hillary has what it takes.

Hillary’s opponent in the race to get the democratic vote is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has worked as a public servant almost non-stop since 1972. I think it’s important we use the term, “public servant” when referring to Sanders because that’s what he is. Unlike most “politicians,” Bernie has remained steadily committed to serving the public. Hillary on the other hand, has flip-flopped on her opinion of many topics.

During one of Sanders rallies, the crowd cheered, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” to which Sanders humbly replied, “no, us!” This is incredibly symbolic and telling of the kind of person Sanders is. Sanders truly has a drive to serve his citizens and live amongst them, not above them. Even our current president hasn’t lived up to that standard of moral excellence. Sanders is the only candidate that can truly relate to the general public, as he uses public transportation and flies coach.

"Hillary? Mmm. No. Just no." Graphic from The Washington Post.
“Hillary? Mmm. No. Just no.” Graphic from The Washington Post.

So what about Hillary? Where does she stand with the public? To put it simply, she doesn’t. Hillary can’t relate to the public. Hillary has consistently been in the spotlight and proved herself disappointing. While Hillary tries desperately to relate to voters, the desperation is palpable. While Sanders considers himself “one of us,” Hillary has an air of arrogance about her that makes it seem that she believes she’s above her voters.

Sanders knows he couldn’t have gotten this far in his campaign without his voters. While he shows appreciation towards his supporters, Hillary gives off this vibe that she’s trying to prove why she “deserves” to be president and that we “owe” her. No one deserves to be president, they truly earn the title and their actions in and out of office show whether or not he or she is a good representative of our country.

While the idea of having our very first female president is exciting to many, I don’t believe that type of thinking is progressive at all. If we do elect a female president, she should live up to the standards we’ve set for male presidents as well. Sanders should be the obvious choice, especially when we considering all he’s seen in his 74 years, which have been very full of experience. We will have many chances to elect a woman as president, but we will never have another Bernie Sanders.

Three ways to deal with political monsters

Do you live in an house, apartment, or dorm room where the people have different political views than you? Do you have trouble having conversation with them because everything they say is completely the opposite of what you believe? I have the same problem. I’m a freshman and live off campus with my family. Unfortunately, they are all republicans and I am a democrat. Here are the three ways to deal with living with people with opposing viewpoints.

         1.Be respectful

I know what if feels like to deal with people who, in my opinion, have stupid and ridiculous ideals. They believe that abortion should be illegal, gay marriage should be illegal because of “tax reasons,” and Donald Trump is a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. Yes, that is a real statement said in my household. They have values that are the exact opposite of mine and they don’t shy at voicing those views. However, I discovered that voicing my direct opposition to their statements can come off as rude and confrontational which, in the end, will only cause issues within my relationships. I learned that even though I think their beliefs are barbaric and promote inequality, that being respectful and trying to understand where they are coming from is more beneficial for my relationships and keeping the house peaceful and in order is more important than ranting and being vocal with my disapproval.  

Can't we all just get along? Photo from mintpressnews
Can’t we all just get along? Photo from mintpressnews

         2. You can be respectful without losing your own opinion

Finding a balance between being respectful and not losing or letting go of your own beliefs can be difficult, but not impossible. When one of your roommates, friends, or family members decides to bring up something political, you are allowed to voice your opinion, whether it be the same or the opposite of what the other person says. All you have to do is say phrases such as “I understand what you’re saying but here is what I think,” or “I respect your belief/opinion, but I have to disagree and here’s why.” Saying these statements will allow for respect to still exist but also ensure that you aren’t passive with your opinions and won’t leave you feeling like you don’t have a voice.

        3. Pick and choose your arguments

If you’re like me, you will have someone say something ridiculous almost everyday if not more than once a day or you will have someone bring up the same argument multiple times no matter how often you prove them wrong. This scenario is when you need to choose whether or not the argument is worth your time and effort. Sometime people will be stuck in their ways and no matter what you say, there beliefs won’t change. That is when you need to move and and decide to stop arguing the topic, there is no point. By picking and choosing your arguments, you will save your time and effort as well as keep peace in the house and in your mind.

These three points should make political issues and arguments easier to handle. I know some people are so ridiculous and stubborn that these point won’t work, so in that case, why even try anymore? Some people are simply not worth it and figuring out who those people are will make your life happier and more peaceful in the long run.

Why women should vote for Bernie Sanders

Taylor Nguyen



The primary elections, which will decide the Democratic nominee for president, are only 4 and a half months away. Hillary Clinton still remains the frontrunner, even with the surge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Among women, Clinton’s lead over Sanders is even bigger. But it shouldn’t be.

I’m not one of those people that are saying that Clinton is polling well among women simply because she is a woman. Female voters, for the most part, truly believe that Hillary Clinton will represent the female demographic the best. That’s the problem,

because the biggest champion of women’s issues is not Hillary Clinton, it’s Bernie Sanders.

Bernie supports Women. Graphic from Pinterest
Bernie supports Women. Graphic from Pinterest

Let’s start with the issues that Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders agree on:

  1. Abortion and Planned Parenthood

Clinton and Sanders have both consistently supported leaving a woman’s reproductive rights between a woman and her doctor, and both have received 100% ratings from NARAL Pro Choice America. They both have criticized republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood by 500 million dollars.

  1. Gender Pay Gap

Both candidates have expressed outrage at the fact that women make disproportionately less than their male counterparts. Sanders also voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act, an act that makes sure that pay discrepancies are based on job performance and credentials, rather than just gender.

  1. Family Leave

Sanders and Clinton are both staunch advocates for instituting paid family leave. Clinton stated that  “It’s outrageous that America is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t guarantee paid leave.” Sanders points out Scandinavian countries as examples of successful implementation for paid family leave.


Now let’s look at the issues that proves Bernie Sanders to be the optimal choice when it comes to women’s issues:

  1. Minimum Wage

This is an important issue. The majority of minimum wage workers are no longer teenagers, they’re adults. And a majority of those adults earning the minimum wage are women, many of them single mothers supporting their children. Sanders and Clinton both support raising the minimum wage, but Sanders supports raising it to 15 dollars an hour. That’s much higher than the historical high level in 1968 of $10.78 an hour (adjusted for inflation). This boost in pay will lift thousands of single mothers earning low wages out of poverty, enabling them to better provide for their families.

  1. Health Care

Both candidates have supported Obamacare, which has helped millions of women across this country. But Bernie Sanders doesn’t think the law goes far enough. As an alternative, he advocates for a single payer health care system, in which medical costs are publically financed and every American is covered. Hillary Clinton made it very clear in the first debate that she would not support a single payer system.

This is important, because even after the implementation of Obamacare, women have been discriminated in the hiring process simply because their health care costs are naturally more expensive than the health care costs of men. And if women do end up getting the job, they’re sometimes forced into taking a cut from their salaries in order to cover their medical benefits. This contributes to the gender pay gap.

Under a single payer system, medical costs would be covered by the government, which will lift the burden from businesses, and hiring decisions will be based on qualifications of the worker, not potential healthcare costs.


This presidential election is a very crucial one. Each party has a very different direction that they want to take this country, and within those parties are also candidates with differing views.

Democrats already know that they don’t want a Republican in the White House for the next four years. But it’s also important that Democrats elect a candidate that has the best interest of every American: Men, women, children, seniors, and every demographic. And after taking a look at both platforms of both candidates, the choice is clear.

When it comes to women’s issues, Bernie Sanders is the superior choice for the Democratic nomination for President of The United States.

Anyone trumps Trump

The 2016 race for President is heating up. We’ve had a number of individuals campaigning in the primaries but a select few have been pulling great numbers in polls taken across the country. Though no poll is truly reliable in terms of who will win the primary, they’re an excellent estimate of what’s to come, and what we’re seeing in CNN’s 2016 Presidential election article is that even though the election itself is still over a year away, we’re quickly coming to a head in terms of which candidate will be representing which party. According to this article by CNN, published in mid-August, despite the many candidates that could very well produce a split-vote specifically in the Republican party, there are a few in particular that have been gaining distinct favor, one of them being the infamous billionaire businessman, Donald Trump.

There is no doubt that Trump is popular — though, popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to well-liked — as his poll results show amazing numbers for someone in such a circumstance as going up against fifteen other candidates in the major polls alone. You have to hand it to him; the man has charisma. But does his enthusiasm really do any good when coming from such a prejudiced being?

Immigration is a hot-button issue that many love to give their opinion on, but that few people truly understand. It’s difficult to see all sides of the situation, especially when you can only experience life as an immigrant by actually trying to immigrate.

Each occurrence is one’s own, and there’s no way to really replicate what so many go through every day in an attempt to find safety and solace here in the “Land of the Free”. Whether it’s right or wrong, that’s totally up for debate. What’s not up for debate, however, is the blatant racism that clouds the reasons of some of those who are radically opposed to open borders.

“You have to hand it to him; the man has charisma. But does his enthusiasm really do any good when coming from such a prejudiced being?”

During Trump’s presidential announcement back in early June, it became clear to many just how prejudiced this man is. During his 45 minute speech, he was slow to think and quick to spew nonsense. Rather than giving reasons as to why it would impact the U.S. economically or culturally, he decided to hit the nail on the head and explain, by painting with a broad stroke to say the least, just how terrible Mexican people as a whole were.

“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. [Applause] Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Some not being enough, apparently. Despite the obvious positive effects of an influx of diversity, and despite the obvious problems of drug abuse, crime, and rape right here on the home-front, Trump seems to make his beliefs quite clear.

Whether you agree with immigration or not, and whether you support Trump or not, there are issues that will come hand in hand with his presidency if he is elected into office, issues that will impact us all, no matter where we come from.

Trump, Bernie, and a possible way out of the millennial dilemma

This has been a crazy summer for anyone who follows politics. Donald Trump has taken the GOP by storm, bad-mouthing his way to the top of the polls, despite never having a background in politics, and giving little to no solutions to the big problems at hand.

On the flip side, Bernie Sanders has given Hillary more than a run for her money for the Democratic primary, most recently overtaking her in Iowa. But he’s not your conventional politician either, accepting no money from big businesses, and throwing no punches toward his fellow candidates.

It’s a tale of two very different campaigns, but what they both have in common is that they’re both rejections of the political system as we see it. A few months ago, we were looking at another Bush vs. Clinton race. Now, there’s a very reasonable chance we could be looking at Trump vs. Sanders, which should rightfully terrify Washington.

Sanders is further left than any candidate in recent memory has been, and Trump is as far right as any of the other leading GOP candidates, although he talks just a bit louder. This is what the majority of the public wants. Liberals want more liberal, and conservatives want more conservative. They’re tired of politics as it is now, and know that Trump or Sanders is the only way to make that change happen.

bernie sandersSupporters of Trump praise him as the only candidate that speaks his mind, which they find to be a refreshing change of pace. The more insults he hurls, the more his poll numbers rise. People are so fed-up with liberal political correctness that they’re willing to take a leader who is inexperienced in leading a nation, simply because he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks.

This summer brought about another fascinating change to the political narrative in that millennials are now louder than they’ve ever been. This generation is coming out en masse for Bernie, or, at least, against Trump, which is nothing short of a political miracle. One of the biggest fears of the political science community is that millennials simply don’t care about politics. Maybe they feel let down by the Obama presidency, or maybe they really are as self-absorbed as everyone says they are, but all of that finally seems to be changing.

For the first time, in this election cycle, millennials outnumber baby boomers and have more potential than ever to decide this election. No matter what the result of the elections may be, the important takeaway is that millennials are actually campaigning on social media, and more importantly, registering to vote.

Let’s face it, Trump may win the primary, but he has no chance in the general election. Outside of the Republican party, he is vilified by everyone he’s insulted. If we have anything to thank Trump for, it’s for motivating millennials to get politically active. Thanks to Trump, maybe we can take our first steps to fixing our broken political system.

The politics of Final Fantasy

Many fans (myself included) continue to hope for an updated re-release of Final Fantasy VII that would include enhanced graphics and voice recording. The original game didn’t age well graphically, with its blocky Lego-style character models, and voice acting is a must have for any game genre nowadays.  Perhaps there is a deeper reason why FFVII hasn’t yet seen a re-release.

It may seem preposterous to state that a video game made back in 1997 could have such powerful political statements within it, and yet, FFVII does. In short, FFVII is host to a cadre of political and social commentary on modernity.

My major focus of inquiry is with the beginning of the story. As the story progresses, itspirals into one concerning the fate of the world; however, in the beginning, the main plot concerns the ragtag environmental group AVALANCHE and the enigmatic Shinra Corporation. Both of these groups frame the story politically and socially.

An HD re-release of Final Fantasy VII is coming soon.
An HD re-release of Final Fantasy VII is coming soon. Graphic from Dual Shockers

For starters, Shinra is about as evil as a major corporation could be written.  They have engaged in genetic reengineering and experimentation on an unborn fetus,draining the land dry of its resources, poisoning the environment with the equivalent of chemical runoff, and tracking its citizens,to name a few.

Final Fantasy VII does a great job of showing a world where big corporations are  evil and vindictive entities only out profits.

On the other hand, the protagonists are part of  AVALANCHE. Problems exist within their organization as well.They’re home grown terrorists who casually blow up the equivalent of nuclear reactors to suit their own agenda.

They are explicitly anti-government (albeit, against a corrupt government) and anti-capitalist. As the story begins, AVALANCHE are framed as, and live up to, their reputations as extremists. Their extremist agenda results in the death of an entire sector as well as half of their members.

The game paints neither party as innocent. Likewise, several scenes concerning diversity are handled  tactlessly (as expected of 90’s popular culture). The only African American party member, Barrett, is a filthy-mouthed, shooting substitute for gangster culture and a racially insensitive allusion to Mr. T. Likewise, several scenes deal with hookers, sexual innuendo and crossdressers, often associating all of these things (especially crossdressers and homosexuals) with humor and shock.

Did I mention this entire game was rated Teen (for 13-year-olds and up) by the ESRB?

At the end of the day, FFVII resonates  with its powerful symbolism, which is far more complex than I can detail in this analysis. These are but some of the polarizing and glaring sociopolitical issues raised by Final Fantasy VII– and perhaps one of the reasons why Square Enix was so hesitant to remake the game.

Parks and Revolution

I recently began a Netflix adventure of binge-watching “Parks & Rec.” I’ve tried in the past to get into the show, but until recently I wasn’t a fan . However, this time , I realized that Leslie Knope is the grown-up version of myself.

“Parks & Rec” isn’t only a hilarious show, it’s also revolutionary. In the past, popular shows seemed detached from reality and didn’t touch on important issues. Watching the show, I found myself noticing jokes that touched on political issues quite cleverly.

For example, Leslie’s best friend, Anne, decides she wants to have a baby. In television, it’s very rare that characters take on an unconventional parenting role. Anne is a single nurse who decides that she wants to be artificially inseminated, which is definitely a new concept in TV.

Many other characters take on roles that in the past would have been quite scandalous. One couple that makes a frequent appearance involves a prissy, overtly Christian woman and her flamboyant husband. The irony of the situation is that they speak out frequently in support of abstinence-only sex education. With this pair, “Parks & Rec” knocks out two birds with one stone: they address the issue of gay people being suppressed and forced into relationships where they act straight, and the issue of abstinence-only education.

In the past, there may have been some jokes here and there about those issues, but characters in this show take the time to have a meaningful, insightful dialogue about them.

Another revolutionary character is the man himself, Ron Swanson. Ron is the epitome of masculinity: he eats copious amounts of meat, has a killer mustache and refutes anything that could make him appear weak. My personal favorite trait of Ron is that he is a devout Libertarian. In the past, shows may suggest that their characters are either Republican or Democrat, but Ron Swanson is the first Libertarian character who lives those values.

Ben, Leslie’s husband, begins working at a non-profit organization where he is spoiled with exquisite dinners and works in an office almost entirely made of mahogany wood. Immediately, Ben starts cutting back the non-profit’s spending to allow money to be spent towards their charities. It’s often reported that non-profits are spending money inappropriately when that money could be used for charity. This is an issue that’s rarely discussed, but “Parks & Rec” manages to discuss and dissect it clearly.

Overall, I think “Parks & Rec” is a revolutionary show which discusses political and social issues in a way that makes even the most absent-minded viewer aware. There are numerous other issues that are touched on throughout the show’s existence which may be addressed in both big and small ways. It’s a tragedy that the show has been cancelled, but hopefully Netflix will save the day and buy it.


The Parks and Rec cast being goofy. Graphic from VIP Fan Auctions
The Parks and Rec cast being goofy. Graphic from VIP Fan Auctions


It’s okay to be angry at the world

It’s easy to get frustrated with the world nowadays. So many claim to be open-minded, but in reality, they live in a small little bubble that protects them from things that make them uncomfortable. There’s so much chaos, hatred and conflict in the world between nations, between leaders and between friends. No matter where you go there are political debates about the economy and social issues, even when sometimes it’s unnecessary to even debate certain issues.

I’ve found myself to be more aggressively angry at the world as I’ve gotten older. There are so many things that I wish weren’t even an issue. I wish people could mind their own business and let others do as they please as long as they aren’t affected. For example, I’ve seen a lot of conversations centered around abortion, virginity and gay marriage taking place on various social media. Many people center their arguments around debating these rather personal issues.

watching sunset
“It amazes me how people’s priorities have shifted so much since I’ve been alive.”

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll probably shout it until my voice is hoarse and I’m light-headed. If someone wants an abortion, let them get it. It doesn’t affect or hurt you. If someone wants to have sex, let them. Their sex life has no affect on you or the morality of the world. If someone wants to get married to someone of the same sex, let them. Their sexual orientation doesn’t affect you or make heterosexual relationships more or less significant. People are too afraid to let their pride go and say, “you know what? Do what you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt me.” Politics have become a childish game where it’s the blue team against the red team and the pissing contest is never-ending.

It amazes me how people’s priorities have shifted so much since I’ve been alive. I remember growing up, I never thought about money- then again, what kid does? Even now, although I know money can provide comfort and happiness, I don’t like to think about money. I don’t like worrying that I’m not going to have a roof over my head or that I’m going to have debt. I just want to be happy, that’s my ultimate goal on this planet.

What’s astonishing to me is how many people have put money before environmental health. Yes, it sucks that coal miners are losing their jobs rapidly. However, we need to look at the bigger picture. We only have one Earth (as far as we know), and it’s deteriorating every single day. Oil spills, sludge, runoff from mines, rising temperatures, melting ice caps…the list of “illnesses” the Earth is facing goes on and on. Beautiful rain forests that once fed the imaginations of American children in National Geographic are becoming scarce as their cleared to make way for logging and businesses, and here we are worried about a little green piece of paper.

We no longer live in a world of mystery and wonder, where rain forests and streams were once real-life settings for fairy tales. We’ve gotten bored with the Earth so we abuse it and are letting it slip from our fingers. I’m terrified to have children and see them be so disappointed in the world. I don’t want my kids seeing so much hate and having to worry that one day they’ll be hated too. I want my kids minds to be filled with wander and excitement to see the beautiful things the world has to offer, much like I’ve always been.

Finally, the main reason I’m angry with the world is that I know how much it sucks to be a girl with so much passion and fiery energy in this world. Since I was young I’ve been called “bossy,” I’ve been told I let my emotions get to me too much, I’ve been told I can’t make a difference. I don’t buy that. It’s incredible what one person can do with their two hands. If I ever have a daughter, I hope she never buys into that either. I hope she has as much fiery passion for the world as I do. I hope she’s smart and brave enough to put herself on the line in order to make even the smallest difference.

The world isn’t any worse than it’s ever been. Religious wars have been waged for centuries and I fight it sickening that we only point our fingers at certain religions when Christians, Catholics, Jews and even Buddhists have all been guilty of waging religious wars at some point in time. Media nowadays just let’s us see more of the bad. Bad news gets clicks and shares, while good stories are usually covered in a thin layer of dirt.

Being a Media Studies major, I’ve seen the bad and good media can do. Although it lets us know what’s going on around the world, many times it’s nothing good. However, there is good in the world. As a matter of fact, there may be way more good in the world than there’s bad. We all just need to spread positive words, actions and stories more often than we do bad. Maybe then, the world would truly be a better place.


Anti-abortion Libertarians: Living, Breathing Contradictions

The Libertarian party has picked up quite a bit of steam in the past couple of years. More and more Americans are identifying as Libertarian, although few seem to actually vote Libertarian. I started following the Libertarian Party on Facebook last year when Robert Sarvis was running for senator in the state of Virginia. For those of you who don’t know, Libertarians typically preach little government control in many different aspects including gun rights, drug legality and use, and abortion.

Pro-life protesters. Graphic from The Blaze
Libertarians seem to have diverse views on abortion. Graphic from The Blaze

Overall, Libertarians truly emphasize the importance of liberty with little government interference. One post on the Libertarian Party Facebook page shows a woman, standing nude with the words “I’m a Libertarian because my body is my property.” When you ask a true Libertarian what their stance on abortion is, typically the answer will be somewhere along the lines of, “I believe you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with my rights.” Whether or not they necessarily agree with abortion, the motto for the Libertarian party seems to be, “it’s your choice.”

Reading the comment section on this particular post, the true Libertarians seem to be few and far between. One comment read, “her body is her property, the babies property is HIS property.” It’s obvious that by “HIS” property, this person is talking about God. Several other comments were similar to, “I don’t agree with abortion, but I’m a proud Libertarian for many other reasons!” Many more of these pseudo-Libertarians argued that abortion was actually against the ideals of the Libertarian party because the “unborn babies rights were being violated.”

Let’s break this down. Libertarians believe in little government interference in people’s personal lives including gay marriage and abortion, along with many other rights. We believe that you can do whatever the hell you want, as long as it doesn’t obstruct someone else’s rights. If anyone says they’re a Libertarian but would willingly vote against abortion, they’re not a Libertarian. If one would willingly take away a woman’s right to get a safe abortion because “that baby has rights too,” they’re not a Libertarian. No true Libertarian would agree that an unborn cluster of cells has more right than a living, breathing woman.

One of the best arguments I spotted while scrolling through this comment section was that a Libertarian would never agree that if a child needed a kidney, the parent should be forced to give up one of theirs. It’s the same concept. If a woman finds herself pregnant whether by rape, failed birth control, or whatever the case may be, she shouldn’t be forced to volunteer her body for 9 months if she doesn’t want to. Pregnancy is a great source of stress, mentally, physically and emotionally. I’d imagine being pregnant when you want to be pregnant is stressful enough, I can’t imagine what it’d be like if you didn’t want to be pregnant.

Although I’m happy that more Americans are accepting the Libertarian Party as a legitimate political party, there are going to be a lot of fakers. Being a Libertarian takes a lot of tolerance that I don’t think the Right side has. Unfortunately a lot of neoconservatives seem to be getting confused and identifying as Libertarian. The ideals of this party need to be put out on the table with the words “no exceptions.” Hopefully once the ideals of this party are put out in the open, we can weed out the true Libertarians and the party can move forward with few controversies.