Trump Sides with Democrats

In an administration of on-going confusion and apparent shifting of loyalties, President Donald Trump has recently decided to throw his lot in with Democrats regarding the issues of the debt ceiling. In the midst of crisis following the recent string of natural disasters with hurricanes striking southern parts of the country as well as Puerto Rico, President Trump decided to sit down with Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California to discuss an agreeable middle ground for borrowing limitations with a significant national debt still looming overhead.

“We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred – very important – always we’ll agree on debt ceiling automatically because of the importance of it.”

Suffice it to say, this left a rather disagreeable taste in the mouths of his closest advisors, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, with whom Trump allegedly cut off and contradicted in a staff meeting discussing the possibilities of a long-term plan. The decision to strike a short-term deal with Democrats comes with criticism and divisiveness (ironically, something that Trump hoped to avoid by working more closely with the Democratic party), particularly with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Pennsylvania

“I think that’s ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need,” Ryan had told reporters.

Siding with Democrats as President Trump now has has left Republicans in the precarious position regarding other political issues as well. Although Trump has been in the process of attempting to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), he has also conspicuously hinted at proposing new legislation to replace the program, going against the GOP agenda that regards such a program as the closest thing to illegal amnesty without actually being such. Despite this, open criticism about the President’s decision to side with Democrats on the issue has been minimal.

Senator Schumer and Representative Pelosi apparently don’t get off scot-free with all of this interaction either. Their discussions with President Trump were met with criticism from within their own party as well.

“So Trump attacks our dreamers, and the next day the Democrats walk in there and say, ‘Oh, let’s just have a nice timeout,’ while they’re all suffering? That is what is wrong with Democrats. They don’t stand up,” criticized Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez.

However, Senator Schumer insists that, while the President and Democratic leaders have indeed come to terms regarding the debt ceiling, this is by no means a ‘trade-off.’ Senator Schumer attempted to assure his party that the issue regarding DACA is still one that Democrats intend to take on for the long haul.

Regardless of the politics of it all, President Trump has displayed a consistency with being inconsistent. While Democrats have repeatedly met him and the Republican party as a whole with resistance regarding multiple policies since his inauguration, it seems the Republicans are now getting the short end of the stick as he overtly reaches to the other side of the aisle in search of any answers at all.

Confidential Data and Government Policy

Recently, a government commission determined that extended use of private and confidential information could increase the ability for the government to determine efficacy of government-based programs. The question at that point then becomes what is the government’s new meaning of confidentiality?

Like many other citizens in this country, there are things about myself that I simply do not wish to disclose into the public eye: the more obvious ones include the likes of identity information, medical records and financial information. These are what people consider private or confidential information – because they wish to keep it that way. Generally, this information is privy only to those to whom it directly applies. Medical personnel – and only certain medical personnel – are cleared to check my medical records; the same applies to financial consultants, bankers, and accounts in regard to financial records. The part that becomes most disturbing in that line of thought is the ironic anonymity of who suddenly has the ability to go over my records – whether I like it or not – because the government reforms policy so as to impact program efficiency.

One of the greater detriments to this seems to be the potential for the one-sided operation of the situation. Even if this were to operate on a level similar to the Internet privacy regulations that were repealed earlier in the year, according to Alina Selyukh, the wide demographics that would potentially be covered as a result leave room for much speculation. Would government agencies offer options to “opt-in” or “opt-out” as Internet service providers allegedly do if someone does not wish to disclose confidential information? Could the individual citizen even count on the government to consider the possibility of addressing the options on an individually-based level?

The Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking that proposed the possibility of modifying laws to expand the Federal government’s ability to collect and utilize data – a commission that was initiated last year under the Obama administration with the cooperative efforts of current House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray – addressed the necessity of utilizing modern privacy-protecting technologies in the event that such policies happen to be approved while reinforcing the need for more data to be collected to make informed decisions.

“Policymakers must have good information on which to base their decisions about improving the viability and effectiveness of government programs and policies…Today, too little evidence is being produced to meet this need,” determines the commission’s report as of early September.

The report also mentions – quite bluntly – “Traditionally, increasing access to confidential data presumed significantly increasing privacy risk…The Commission rejects that idea.”

So, let me get this right. The Commission does not believe that furthering access to an individual citizen’s confidential data will increase its risk for unnecessary exposure? Implementing strict controls on how the information changes hands might be one thing as well as utilizing privacy-protecting technologies (whatever that might entail), but the average American citizen is less able to hold anyone, let alone the Federal government, accountable in such cases where private information falls into the wrong hands.

Politicization Of The Emmys

The Emmys are a well-recognized and appreciated awards show to celebrate prime time television.

It brings together some of the most prominent personalities and talents from around the nation. However, this doesn’t mean the Emmys are devoid of controversy, and everything is as merry as it appears on stage.

The politicization of the Emmys has long been mentioned as a point of concern.

The awards were going to shows that had a political twist to their content. This theme started to become apparent as the likes of Saturday Night LIve (Donald Trump skits), The Handmaid’s Tale, and others began to sweep away every category.

Anti-Trump Rhetoric

Not only were the awards left-leaning in how they were presented but the general sentiment remained as such from start to finish. This was mentioned by White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway in her brief comments about the Emmys.

However, it was apparent a lot of the anti-Trump posturing had to do with the ongoing events.

According to those in the audience, it was normal and nothing out of the ordinary. Viewers were left with content that was one-sided and only looking to work along the lines of this anti-Trump rhetoric.

While the importance given to politics was intriguing and might have been noteworthy, it started to get in the way of the awards. Other deserving shows were pushed to the side because they didn’t fit this political theme that was ongoing, according to an estate lawyers.

Winner after winner had some attachment to the political undertones that spread across the awards show.

This meant shows that might have won in any other setting were left to rot away such as The Stranger Things. It was all about focusing on TV shows that maintained that political connection and continued to make a point about the ongoing politics in America.

Hulu

Yes, Hulu was able to overcome all of the large budgets around it due to this reason.

It was able to make the most of its politicized content and push it to the top while others were left with nothing. While this is an exciting time for the company, it might have more to say about how the Emmys were hosted.

However, the writer of Handmaid’s Tale said this was the beginning of something special, and it was normal for people to talk out about her content. She said it was the same when she first released her book.

Football & Politics: Understanding How It Has Worked Together

There has been a lot in the news recently about politics entering sports and arguments over whether or not this is appropriate. This has been especially true in football when Colin Kaepernick (and others) kneeled during the National Anthem before the game, and when asked about it mentioned he was protesting the shooting of unarmed people of color by the police, who were then almost never punished. This led to a predictable political fall out with one side yelling about free speech, one side claiming what he (and all other athletes supporting him) were doing was disrespectful to the U.S. military, and some moderates trying to find a common ground.

So what is the history of football and politics and what exactly should their relationship be?

Who Started The Politics?

There’s some disagreement about this. While the name Colin Kaepernick comes up a lot, he was by far not the only one and in fact had teammates with him who also protested (and continue to be employed in the NFL). He was an early adopter of social justice protesting that included kneeling during the anthem, a move he says he adopted over sitting after talking with several former members of the special forces.

On the other hand, it’s a legitimate point to argue that Kaepernick and many other athletes wouldn’t be protesting at all if there wasn’t an injustice they felt like wasn’t getting enough attention or conversation. That’s generally the basis of peaceful protesting.

Another fact that has come up is the fact that the military has paid the NFL a considerable amount of money to create those pre-game displays and to have athletes out on the field during the singing of the national anthem. This wasn’t a long time tradition, but was a program designed to get the military out and associated with the NFL as a way to help spike recruitment numbers.

So in other words, politics was already injected into the NFL and that goes without even looking at the fact that local tax payers often have to float the bill for building a new stadium.

A Historical Way For POC To Speak Out

The truth is that politics have long been a part of the Civil Rights movement. Muhummad Ali and Jackie Robinson were major figures because sports hits a common chord across American culture. Their platform was a way to deal with deeper issues, so this is a situation that isn’t without precedence.

What Does This Mean?

Honestly, hard to say. There are strong passions on both sides of the issue of free speech, its exercise, and a lot of spin over this entire situation. Only time will tell how this particular chapter plays itself out.

What is a Tyrant?

Most of us probably have our own definitions for the word nowadays, but throughout history, the term “tyrant” referred to a ruler wish relatively unrestricted power. He could do whatever he wanted, and usually, he wielded this power with little regard for those lower on the totem pole. He was considered cruel by any standard of the rule, and he squashed those who opposed him like bugs–if he could. Historically, tyrants often meet sometimes justifiably violent ends. It’s difficult to prevent other outcomes through other means.

A tyrant usually gains this kind of power outside of the traditional processes already established. For example, in a democracy, a tyrant would have to acquire office after removing the previously elected official in the highest office. A coup would need to take place in order for this to happen, which means a tyrant requires substantial support–at least temporarily–or well-placed chess pieces in order to get it done.

In ancient Greek society, a tyrant was no more and no less than an authoritative sovereign. So early on in history, the term had not established the purely negative connotations that would become attached to it later. Even so, some Greek philosophers like Plato obviously did not approve of the type of power which a tyrant held or the kind of influence he wielded. According to him, the tyrant was one who ruled outside of the traditionally held values of law. Before the rise of militaristic dictatorships in Sicily during the fifth and fourth centuries BC, tyrants often held power while the government transitioned from an oligarchy to a polity with slight democratic undertones.

What most people might not realize is that there are other forms of tyranny that can occur and that our current democratic form of government could easily fall to any one of them. One form of tyranny not often considered is one in which the minority rules. The more obvious counterpart to this form is that in which the majority rules. Technically, a tyranny in which the majority rules is called a democracy (gotcha), while one in which the minority rules is an oligarchy. Any of these types of tyranny can lead to oppression of other groups within such a society, which can, in turn, lead parts of history to be excluded or undervalued and underrepresented.

We already see some of the shortcomings of this tyranny of the majority in the form of democracy we currently have, and actually, it’s the entire reason that the two parties inside of the U.S. government are often at war with one another.

There are those who use democratic means to place their own interests above all others, and then there are those who believe that we should use our government for the good of all. In the former, the tyranny of the majority leads to rampant racism and xenophobia. Ironically, the founding fathers of the U.S. were well aware of this inherent weakness of democracy and constructed the electoral college system of determining a president in order to dampen the possibility of this outcome.

What is a Timocracy?

Monarchy, democracy, communism, socialism–you’ve heard of the most popular forms of government, but you certainly don’t know them all. There are a number of kinds of government that are primarily theoretical. Some haven’t happened yet, and perhaps many never will. Some theoretical governments are controlled by those who develop that civilization’s technology. Others are controlled by the scientists and researchers who govern which technology might someday be built. A timocracy is built only by those people who own land and wealth, and those who rule usually do so because of ambition or honor.

This form of government was an idea conceived of by the Athenian ruler Solon in the 6th century BC. He built a timocracy, and allowed rulers into his timocracy according to a hierarchy with four tiers inside of the civilization’s population. If you were a manual laborer, for example, you were considered a member of the “thetes” tier of the timocracy. The thetes were the lowest rung of the ladder, and so they couldn’t get close to elected office. However, being a member of the poorest class had at least one benefit that most Americans would love–the thetes never paid any taxes.

The next tier on the ladder was known as the zeugitae. These were tillers of the land. Their class was defined in a few different ways, all of which were applicable. To be considered a member of this tier, you needed to be the proud owner of at least a pair of pack animals. You needed to produce at least two hundred bushels of produce annually (this was the primary requirement). Although you had to pay taxes, you could expect to hold minor offices that no one on the higher tiers would ever want. You could also afford armor, and so zeugitae could serve in the army as hoplites.

If you produced just a hundred more barrels a year–three hundred, to be exact–you were a member of the knight class, or hippeis. You could afford weapons and armor and cavalry because of the extra money. Members of this tier could expect to command a great deal of respect, and again you could hold offices slightly higher up the ladder.

The highest tier of Solon’s timocracy was–get ready for this–a pentacosiomedimni. Go ahead and try to say that five times fast. Members of the pentacosiomedimni produced five hundred bushels of goods annually are were granted the means to hold the rank of general. Because you reached such a high level of prosperity in ancient Athenian society, you could make an attempt to insert yourself into extremely high positions within the government. They included the ecclesia, the Council of 400, the Council of Areopagus, and nine archons and treasurers.

Even though democracy doesn’t expressly suggest a tier system regarding the amount of property or wealth you have in exchange for government qualifications, your chances of obtaining office obviously increase substantially if you have both.

What Is The Inanimate Objects Party?

With Democrats and Republicans looking a lot alike nowadays, there has been a growing push to look into alternative options for political parties to support with our donations, time and effort canvassing neighborhoods.

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in upstate New York, the students have already been rallying behind a third-party, and they are bound and determined to get an inflatable whale into office.

Fill in your favorite politician joke here.

In one of the great running parodies in politics, RPI has embraced its own third-party for going on 20 years, with the goals of electing either a seven-foot-long inflatable whale named Arthur Galpin or Alby the Albino Squirrel – a real squirrel.

Welcome to the Inanimate Objects Party, a satirical “political” group that has been in existence on campus, run by students, since 1997. It started as a protest over a college-wide rule that required all students and classrooms to use Microsoft Windows-powered computers. The IOP proceeded to put out various posters and fliers that poked fun at the mandate.

Eventually, as campus elections were held, Arthur Galpin, the inflatable whale, was introduced as the IOP candidate, and reportedly he (and his furry friend Alby) received nearly 7 percent of the vote in 2006 in the race for President of the Union (the student body). Legend has it, however, that Arthur had done much better than that in the past, but the campus rules committee never considered votes for Arthur to be valid (something about him being an inflatable whale and not an officially registered student, or something).

Arthur’s buddy, Alby the albino squirrel, really did exist as an animate object, first reportedly sighted on campus in 2001. As squirrels do not live more than a few years, it was believed that Alby became an official member of the inanimate world just after his last sighting in 2005. Now inanimate, Alby is entered into several elections along with Arthur, which can often mean splitting the votes and risking certain defeat for both of them.

As long as there is air in Arthur and as long as the squirrel remains furry, chances are good that the IOP will continue to run, collect donations and run two quality “change” candidates in the hopes of transforming their community and eventually the country. In the Era of Trump, after the Era of Bush’s Don’t Mess With Texas, don’t underestimate the power of disrupting the status quo.

And what could be more anti-status quo than two objects that aren’t breathing?

Again, enter your favorite political joke here.

What Is The OWL Party?

If you’ve never heard of the OWL party or its contributions to the political arena that is Washington state, then you shouldn’t be too surprised. It isn’t the most serious political party in existence and was conceived of by the owner of Jazz club Tumwater Conservatory, Red Kelly. After successfully creating the new party, Kelly convinced a few other fellow musicians to join up and run for state office in 1976. Suffice it to say, they failed to get out the vote. Shocking.

Kelly didn’t stop at the recruitment of fellow musicians. His mother-in-law ran for secretary of state on a platform that stood against psoriasis, bedwetting, post-nasal drip, etc. What could she have achieved during her time in higher office? Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Today, most people you might ask would consider the OWL party a satirical joke rather than a sincere act of political posturing in the real world. They wouldn’t be wrong.

OWL stands for:

“Out With Logic, On With Lunacy.”

You know a particular political party isn’t as high and mighty as the rest when its motto jokes about its own acronym-based name: “We don’t give a hoot!” You also know it isn’t so serious when the party’s Facebook page has a whopping 19 likes after decades of operation. In addition, the page has a photograph of a keyboard on which there is a key that says “Release The Kraken.” Other political parties cannot hope to compare.

You might say that the OWL party’s biggest contribution to modern politics was the effect its introduction had on those who wished for fewer smaller political parties on the ballot. The OWL party found its way into Washington with so little trouble that area politicians decided to draft a whole new set of regulations to make the process a lot more difficult for political parties that are smaller or less serious in nature. Therefore no one can sue the government

The changes were implemented after a fair amount of backlash from other parties whose effect on Washington is usually blunted by those that hold more power due to size. The Socialist Workers Party wasn’t a fan of the increased number of hurdles placed in front of those who wished to create and implement their own political parties and attempted to stop the new regulations. It didn’t work out, and today the path to creation of a new party is much more difficult.

Who knows what other political parties may have been devised had the OWL party not led to more difficult restrictions for smaller organizations! Then again, who really cares? This is what we know for sure: President Donald Trump isn’t responsible for all the laughter following political office in the U.S. We’ve always laughed about it; some people just weren’t paying attention.

Consequences Of Leaving The Paris Agreement

Currently, The United States is responsible for nearly one-fifth (20%) of all the global emissions. By leaving the Paris Climate Change Agreement there are serious consequences.

The entire world is working together for three major things:  and their leaving this agreement is a big slap in the face.

  1. To reduce carbon output
  2.  Transition to renewable energy sources
  3. Locking in future climate measures

And with The United States leaving this agreement, it is a big slap in the face to the global community at large.

President Trump defense is that the Paris Agreement would impose a high cost on the U.S economy. He claims:

  1. Job Losses – Trump claimed that 2.7 million jobs would be lost.
  2. Not Effective – Trump claims the tiny temperature decrease isn’t worth it
  3. Economic Impact – Trump claims that the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) would lose $3 trillion dollars
  4. Blackouts and Burnouts – Trump claims we need fossil fuel for electricity
  5. We Already Donate – Trump claims we don’t need to be in the agreement because we already donate the U.N.

With Trump’s America First Plan, the climate change agreement puts the world first and that is why we left the agreement.

Here’s the reality of the situation:

  1. Solar energy jobs continue to increase as coal jobs continue to decrease. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious new technology will emerge and so will new jobs
  2. In the past 100 years, the temperature has risen .9 degrees and there has been devastating consequences to our planet. If we can reduce the overall increase in temperature fluctuation by .9 degrees by 2100 – how can it not be significant?
  3. This claim is based on the current carbon tax rate that the US imposes. With less carbon, less tax which equals less income for the government. Real estimates believe the GDP would lose only .10% of its total income
  4. This is incorrect. Here’s what causes blackouts and brownouts: weather, animals, equipment failure, earthquakes, digging, and lightning. High energy demand is a cause but only on very hot summer days and it’s not from lack of power. It’s from excessive heat – heat from the environment and the equipment causing equipment failure! And with global temperature annual rising this will be a problem regardless.
  5. If you produce most of the emissions, donating does not make that any less. You still make the emissions and you should try to stop it.

As you can see, this is a very frustrating situation. The Individual States have agreed to be part of te Paris Agreement and plan on implementing state-level changes to help reduce overall emissions.

What Is The Guns And Dope Party?

This isn’t the most easily answered question. The party’s founder Robert Anton Wilson was a novelist, editor, and futurist among many other things. Certainly more than anything else, he was a man of eclectic tastes and beliefs and was perhaps ahead of the rest of us, philosophically speaking. He was born in 1932 and died in 2007, and his dark sense of humor persisted to the bitter end. He laughed through it all, even in spite of everything he disagreed with in life.

The Guns and Dope Party that he founded promotes several beliefs and causes on its website, many of which are reminiscent of the founders’ beliefs and others which are simply just absurd. They believe that all people have the right to arms, but that no arms should be forced upon other people (this is akin to the libertarian belief that if you want guns, you should have guns–but if you don’t want guns then don’t buy them).

The Guns and Dope Party also believes that you should be freely allowed to enjoy any type of drug so long as you don’t force that drug unto others. In addition, they believe in constitutional democracy (as much as they believe that our current system of government is far, far from that), and fighting for the rights of ostriches. Yes. Ostriches.

Venturing to the Guns and Dope Party website unveils several other positions taken by the interesting political interest group. Get rid of at least one-third of Congress. Leave other people alone. More than anything else, the group wants to get rid of tsars in the White House. They rightly believe that the U.S. drug tsar functions under the assumption that one person can know more about what drugs we should and shouldn’t have than the doctors who study them. After all, the tsar has never met you or studied your health.

The Guns and Dope Party is perhaps best known for its annual celebration in Black Rock City (not really a city) in the corresponding desert of Nevada. You know the one: Burning Man. The event first transpired in 1986 and has since grown exponentially into a non-profit organization with tens of thousands of participants. The popular festival is known for its view of self-expression through art and creativity while fostering a sense of community among its temporary members.

Wilson and his Guns and Dope Party are strong opponents of the fruitless war on drugs, believing that the money invested should be redistributed for other more worthwhile causes. The Guns and Dope Party still remains a relevant and thought-provoking, if comical, organization today.