One of the things I’ve been comforted by, since Trump’s election, is the amount of political participation. People are protesting, going to town halls, etc. It has made me think that, if we can sustain it, we may have a chance at stopping (at least) the worst of what’s happening in D.C. now. Because it is the only way we have of stopping it. It’s only been a month of Trump’s presidency, and already you can feel the fatigue. We can’t let the fatigue get to us. What is happening is seriously terrifying. It is threatening to slowly erode our democracy. I don’t think that Trump is Hitler, the comparison is insulting. And, I don’t think Trump is the only person threatening our free system in this country. I think there are a lot of congress people that are doing whatever they feel like doing, instead of representing the American people. But, if we can keep up the level of political awareness, and outrage, we can really shake up Congress in 2 years. I’m really hoping that we can vote out enough Republicans in Congress to get a majority. Then, at least, we can make it much more difficult for Trump in the last 2 years of his presidential term. And, even more hopefully, we can then vote Trump out. Amazingly, I feel like members of Congress are actually incentivizing people to vote them out of office. Since Trump has taken office, and done many things that scare people, or anger them, or both; people have begun to engage with their respective member of Congress. They’re going to town hall meetings, calling their representative’s offices, or e-mailing their Congress person. And, incredibly, Congress’ response has been to shove their fingers in their ears and shout “LALALALALALALAAAA, CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!” This makes me rage as much as Trump being president. Congress is supposed to represent the will of the people. They are supposed to be beholden to their constituents. But, now, they are shutting down lines of communication between them and the people they are supposed to be working for. Kellyanne Conway is telling them to ignore their constituents, that the only thing that matters is (what she calls) the “Real Person Impact” (R.P.I). She says that it only matters what “real” people think. Which I find directly insulting, apparently I’m not a real person. But, how does she determine what “real” people think anyway? She’s telling representatives to actively ignore constituents trying to make their voices heard. And, we know the Trump administration denounces polling data. So, how are they getting the information on what “real” people think, anyway? Over the weekend, our representatives went home to their districts. Of the 292 members of Congress, there were only 88 in-person town halls scheduled, and 35 of those were for ONE Congress person. Our members of Congress are instead opting for live-streaming town hall events online, where they can pre-screen any questions they decide to answer. But, that’s not all. Many Representatives are not answering their phones, or e-mails. We have people faxing their representatives, because it’s the only way they can get their voices heard by the people that are supposed to be representing their voices. I hope all these people hold on to their outrage over this, and actually vote these people out in 2 years. Because this is not how democracy is supposed to work.
Let’s stop all the partisan fighting for a moment, and recognize how amazing Kellyanne Conway is. Now, I love politics. I was so excited for the final presidential debate, that it made me feel old and boring. And, I am passionate about who I support and why. But, no matter which party you associate with, or which candidate you like, you have to admit how great the GOP’s presidential nominee’s campaign manager truly is. No matter how bad it has gotten, Kellyanne Conway has maintained her incredible skill as a campaign manager. She maneuvers around reporters’ questions with such ease. She turns just about just about any discussion of her candidate back on the Democrat’s nominee, so fast it’s made my head spin on occasion. No matter how bad things seem to get for her client, Conway is there with a more flattering take on it. I love watching her. There are some conservatives that I can’t watch, and some liberals, but I love watching her on TV. I seek out clips of her on YouTube. She is a strong, smart, and extremely competent woman.
Take this, for instance. When I watched Kellyanne Conway talking about Clinton’s legal settlements, I thought she’d painted herself into a corner. “He settled a sexual harassment case for $850,000 with Paula Jones in 1998 dollars. The last time I didn’t sexually harass someone, I didn’t pay him $850,000,” she said.
Anderson Cooper went after that one right away. “Your candidate has settled numerous lawsuits without admitting any guilt on a whole number of things,” he said. “Are you implying that settling a lawsuit is implying guilt? Because if so, it means your candidate is guilty of an awful of lot of things, no?”
Conway dodged the question. And, Cooper repeated it. And, yes, Conway was briefly flustered. But, she sighed pointedly, and quickly recovered. She was barely thrown off for a second, then rapidly threw out this before quickly moving on, “I’m saying that I believe Paula Jones, is what I’m saying,” That was the closest I’ve ever seen to her being trapped, or thrown off her game. But, she zipped around that pothole, and only spilled a tiny bit of her coffee.
Kellyanne Conway really dedicates herself to her job. Before the final debate, she told reporters that her candidate would absolutely accept the election results. And, after he made it clear (during that debate) that he wouldn’t commit to that, Conway was on top of it, “Everybody, including Al Gore in 2000, waits to see what those election results are,” Conway said. This woman has an answer to everything.
And, it’s not just the press. You can tell that she does her best with her candidate, too. At a rally in Greensboro, N.C., journalist McKay Coppins tweeted “Trump supporter in the back shouting at the candidate, ‘Stay on the issues!’”
Kellyanne Conway responded, tweeting “That was me! I was there…” Now, that could well have been a joke. But, I think it shows she is trying her best with her client. I always look forward to seeing her on television. She comes across as genuinely passionate about what she’s doing. I can’t speculate on whether this is just a job for her, or if she truly does believe in everything she’s being paid to say. But, there will be people that will link her to him from this point on. And, I don’t know if that’s entirely fair. But, it could leave her with the task of distancing herself from her candidate. I don’t anticipate her having any problems with that, though.
You should check out some of her TV appearances online. For me, Kellyanne Conway is a joy to watch. I admire her so much. If her client loses, I hope she doesn’t go away. I want to see her more often. And, if I ever ran for office, she’s exactly who I’d want fighting for me.
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NEWS FLASH (SCARY ANIMATED GRAPHIC): The country is not a business. Not only is the USA a country, but it is a special country. And, I mean that. We are special.
The basic idea of running the USA like a business, actually violates the entire spirit of the constitution. The same constitution, by the way, that local politicians claim to be fighting for while firing guns at print-outs of bills that they hate. I wish that were a joke, no wait… not sure that I do.
That’s right, we’re going to cut the bloat out of the government and tighten it’s belt. Except, when most companies “cut the bloat,” that’s code for firing many people. And, “tightening their belt” doesn’t result in a wealth for the entire corporation. It results in the highest paid positions, getting even higher.
Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine a Bernie Sanders utopia. We won’t speculate on the success or failure of these policies, fight the urge. But, pay is up at every job level, every company position. And yet, even here, a corporation is still a corporation. It still has people that have radically different income levels, and radically different amounts of power over others. Even with regulations, as long as they are followed, the head of a company can do more to people than a president ever could. As for instance, freedom of speech. A company can fire you for saying something they don’t like. We can’t jail people for that, though. We are also not supposed to have inherited power in politics. What are sons, grandsons, and so on of the people that invented the famous flaming doo-hickey (from the makers of the finest flaming doo-hickeys, in the world), but financial dynasties? Financial royalty? That’s what they are, and it is against this county’s core values.
But, that’s in the most liberal of circumstances. We know that in reality, in our country, that too many corporations are exploitative. There are many whose lowest level of full-time employees, still need government assistance to survive. Too many middle class Americans that need 2 jobs to make it.
A country, OUR country, is not supposed to be set up this way. Any government is a way for people to come together, and decide how to divide resources among everyone in a fair (or not so fair) way. But, our country specifically was so afraid of tyrannical rule that we have checks and balances at every level. The president is not like a president of a company. The board of a company is not like congress. And, the rest of the American people are not their cashiers. We do not have to stay out of a bar, no matter what. We can express ourselves with tattoos, without being forced to hide them, because the taxpayer’s don’t like it. And, you can’t give an individual’s citizenship over to an individual of another nation.
No one should want our politicians to treat human beings like corners they can cut, especially to the extent that corporations do. Don’t spit on the founders’ ideals, while invoking their name. It is insulting to them, and to us. When politicians talk about “running the country like a business,” they should be eliminated from their run for office on just this point alone.
Dr. Huey Percy Newton was the co founder of the black panther party where it was formed in Oakland, CA. Huey Newton was a African American political activist and a powerful revolutionary. With co-founder Bobby Seale they both put together a party that sparked the world. Huey Newton became a large important figure because of the black panther party in African american urban societies. The Black panther party was revolutionary and it was for African Americans and the things we were going through during civil rights. Two of the most memorable quotes from Huey are “If you stop struggling, then you stop life.” and “The blood, sweat, tears and suffering of black people are the foundation of the wealth and power of the united states of America. We were forced to build America, and if forced to, we will tear it down. The immediate result of this destruction will be suffering and bloodshed. But the end result will be perpetual peace for all mankind.”
Both of these quotes were extremely powerful in black communities. If a person is not struggling and pushing him/herself to the highest limits. There is no way an individual can push him/herself for what they believe in. The second quote speaks on African Americans being a big part in America. We built it and we can tear it down. Blood, sweat, tears, and suffering affects African Americans in all types of ways. with poverty and white supremacy. We are the people that are standing up for what’s right and we will die for what we believe in and what’s good for our people. Only then there will be peace and love on earth. We will never forget. black lives matter! Huey is important in every African American culture and we were blessed to have him
Huey P. Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana on February 17, 1942. Huey attended Merritt College in Oakland, CA where he was giving many opportunities to share his views on political issues. He also attended Oakland Technical High School and University of California, Santa Cruz. He states that he did not learn anything at Oakland Tech. He explains he didn’t get anything out of his high school, so he had to find knowledge through his neighborhood, his city and the issues that were present in America. Huey Newton was a social activist. Having the black panther party really help black communities. They sought to protect young and old from the insensitive government and pushed to influence the nation that we need as African Americans in black political involvement. Being able to express his political views at Merritt College it was a huge opportunity for Huey. He was able to speak the truth in front of so many African Americans who came from his same environment.
His Dad really influenced him in the long run. Him being in the National association for the advancement of colored people, that’s what got Huey involved in black matter. His whole family was activist and pushed for self deference toward colored which sometimes concluded with bad results. But always moving forward for the main issue. Huey’s family was a family that stood together through anything and that made him who he is today. Huey Newton ended up enrolling at Merritt College where he joined the Afro-American association and got into politics. Where he wanted to adopt a African American course at Merritt College. He was able to speak his mind on issues in the community. He read different works of Karl Marx, Malcolm X and other great leaders.
Creating the black panther was the most noteworthy, because it was the stepping stone to other organizations and political ideas from African Americans all over. Being involved with everything that has to do with pushing black power and education to youth and the old. This gave African Americans something to stand up for and believe in. The world has changed in many ways but there are still issues that are not resolved among African Americans. We are in a different time and African Americans have more opportunity than ever to speak their mind and be successful. As black people we have learned to love ourselves more and each other and stand up for issues like white supremacy. It’s still issues in black communities and it’s not good. That’s why I push as a black man to contribute what I know and believe to my fellow brothers and sisters. Even me today, a Merritt college graduate, looks up to Huey for the things he believed in. Being from the Bay Area and having family that experience the hard times of the civil rights, really helped me understand who I am and that’s African American. Pushing myself to the highest limits and contributing what I can to the world. Creating peace and unity!
The month of January has come to a close and it has not been a good start to the year. Wall street had its worst start since 2009. The Bank of Japan has implemented negative interest rates. Trump still leads the GOP despite boycotting the final republican debate before the Iowa caucus. China’s era of exponential growth seems to have come to a sputtering halt. Now some of the world’s biggest hedge funds are placing their bets, shorting the yuan in anticipation of a further slide in the Chinese currency. It has been a tumultuous start to the year, but what does it all mean? Are we doomed for another financial crisis? Is this just a market correction?
We can read all the tabloids we want but fully understanding their implications can be a daunting task. I do not purport to know anything about the markets, or politics, or even the best way to tie shoes, but I can learn. We can all learn. For this reason I am excited for my classes this fall, particularly Finance 137 taught by George Jouganatos. The course is titled “Financial Institutions and Markets,” and although it is an upper-division course it is merely an introduction to the inner-workings of the financial markets, much like an introduction to Political Science course would be to global politics. In just one week and two class sessions, the class has retouched on economic fundamentals, you know, supply and demand, classical versus Keynesian theory, and so on. It really gets your brain working and it is in our class discussions that I worry that not enough people really understand these topics. Maybe now is a good time to say I chose to be a business major because I wanted to know about the one thing that rules the world, money. It may be a morbid reality but it is the way the world works. Personally I do not need millions to be happy, taking finance courses is not just about getting rich, it is more about understanding the rules we all live by. It is my goal in taking three finance courses this semester, FIN 135, 136, and 137, that I will leave with a better understanding of these rules.
I guess this is my call to arms (or disgruntled Senior plea):
True expertise takes a lifetime of study, but as voting citizens of these United States, and as a Homo sapiens, it is our duty to think critically about our world. Living passively won’t bring progress for our country, or humanity. College is a time to have fun but it is also a time to soak in the teachings of the experts that teach our classes. As the semester gets into full swing I look forward to building upon what I already know, and even more excited for finding out the things I don’t.
Maybe this post is just a Senior four months from graduation voicing a biased opinion about why finance is important in the vain of ethnocentrism, but I hope to have struck a chord with some of you.
-Anthony Parenzin (DJ Ricky Sueños)
I’m taking a digital art class this semester. Our first project was manipulating images of objects that we scanned into the computer. For my mother’s birthday, earlier this year, I bought her a handheld scanner. She lent it to me for this project. So, I was wandering around campus one evening after class, scanning things I saw. I was walking by the large bulletin board by Kadema Hall. A flyer for something caught my attention. I wasn’t interested in using it for the project, I wanted to check this group out for my personal interest. I realized that I had left almost everything in my car. I didn’t have a pen or pencil, or anything to write on. How would I jot down the phone number? AHA! I had a brilliant idea. I put what I was holding up on top of the bulletin board (to free my hands), I took a strip of paper dangling from another flyer, grabbed an unused pushpin from the bulletin board, and proceeded to scratch the phone number into the strip of paper. Great! Now, I can just make out the phone number, etched into my strip of paper. Aren’t I clever. So, I put the pushpin back on the bulletin board, and reached up to the top of the bulletin board to retrieve my….. hand….. my hand-held…. scanner. Hmm. Well, that was silly. I had the perfect solution in my hand, at the time.
This story isn’t just to make you laugh. It is a good analogy for the 2016 presidential run.
When we are trying to decide who to elect to the office of President of the United States, we (in most cases) have the perfect standards by which to judge the candidates. Most of these candidates have been politicians for a significant period of time. They have governed, signed legislation, pushed to create or destroy government agencies, etc. They have a track record, a resume, that we can look at. We can pretty much see what is important to them, and what they would likely set as top priorities, if elected. Instead, we put that resume up on top of Kadema Hall’s bulletin board, and then proceed to obsess over mostly irrelevant things. For instance, Hillary Clinton had to re-direct the conversation at the last debate when the issue of her e-mails came up. Bernie Sanders even came to her defense, and told people to stop talking about the e-mails. Now, I’d be lying to say that the e-mail scandal didn’t give me pause. It looks very bad. And, if a politician I hated had gotten caught doing the same thing, it would make me upset. But, it wouldn’t hold my attention for long, because there are many other things about said politicians that are much more important. Also, on a side note, no politician would want the American people to read their e-mails. ALL politicians have to wheel and deal, and be slimy. It is the nature of the game. If you were to look through all their e-mails, every politician (at one time or another) is going to have said something that America would be unhappy with. We need to stop focusing on SQUIRREL! We need to realize we have the perfect standard by which to measure the presidential candidates, their track record. We need to stop putting their resumes on top of the bulletin board, while we scratch at more trivial things. All we will end up with is a very small strip of a “resume”, that you can just barely make out how you THINK they will run the country. This is a serious, and very important, election. We need to treat it as such.
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The best thing about being an older college student is noticing the relevance between what I am learning and everyday life. For instance, I am running for school board this year, and two of my classes, Political Science Research Methods and Public Policy, are educating me on the basic systems and philosophies used to gauge public opinion and public need.
I am supposed to be doing homework right now. I need to read Supreme Court civil rights cases for my Constitutional Rights and Liberties class. There is a huge exam coming up. Instead, I am on Episode 6, Season 2 of House of Cards. This Netflix original series, created by Beau Willimon, is magnificent, and addictive. The main characters, Frank and Claire Underwood, (played by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) are cool, calculating and ruthless. Their brainpower together can blow up the political landscape of Washington D.C., leaving only a few resilient operatives standing.
Free speech has many challenges. So do civil rights. And does expressive association, the right of “free speaker” (in this case, a private group) to exclude someone that would undercut their message, limit free speech or civil rights? Both, really. The trick is, not letting it restrict either too much.
The Boy Scouts of America is a private group. They were sued because they expelled an assistant scoutmaster for stating he was gay. They argued, successfully, that their right of expressive association would be undercut by allowing gay people. Yes, their “message” supposedly includes the fact that being gay is morally wrong. Which was a big surprise to everyone, because they seemingly went out of their way not to convey that message to the public before their court case came about. And that’s just one reason the Supreme Court got this case wrong. They had no long-standing tradition of opposing the gay lifestyle in public, that’s the Westboro Baptist Church.