What To Expect From Trump’s 2018 State of The Union Address

Tonight marks the first official State of The Union Address under Trump’s presidency. The speech will air on every major TV network and begins at 9 pm EST. Although there is no time limit on how long the speech can be, it is expected to go for almost an hour. For those who do not have cable or television, the State of The Union will stream online on CSPAN, Facebook, and YouTube.

The Obama administration usually provided the public with a list of policy proposals before the big speech in order for the public could have a better understanding of what was being discussed. However, the current administration has been ironically quiet and selective about what will be in tonight’s speech. Here’s what we have been told beforehand: the theme of tonight’s address is “building a safe, strong, and proud America” and will cover 5 topics: jobs and the economy, infrastructure, immigration, trade and national security.

And with a controversial first year, people are for the most part interested in what the President has to say but also interested in the fanfare that surrounds his presidency. Despite the rumors that President Trump was having an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels while she was pregnant, Melania is expected to make an appearance on Tuesday. However, members of Congress are invited to bring guests and many are rumored to be bringing those who are vehemently opposed to Trump’s administration including those who are members of DACA, transgendered troops and immigrants from “shithole” countries.

Approximately 11 Democratic party members will not be in attendance which is fewer than the 60 that boycotted the President’s inauguration last year. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will also not be in attendance. This might not seem unusual as many Supreme Court Justices do not attend the State Of The Union but she attended all of Obama’s State Of The Unions.

And even when Trump is finished, the drama does not end there. Joe Kennedy will deliver the Democratic Response, Bernie Sanders will deliver his own response, Elizabeth Guzman will deliver the Spanish response, Donna Edwards will comment on behalf of working families and Maxine Waters (who is one of the democratic leaders boycotting the event) will respond via BET.

Say what you want about Trump, the fact of the matter is no one has ever been this excited about politics!

Marketing and Politics

There is something to be said about the times when the political arena has the capacity to create such a dramatic paradigm shift due solely to its volatility, especially when it isn’t even trying very hard. We saw such movements in marketing and businesses involving the likes of the National Football League (an entity that generates about $10-15 billion in annual revenue), beginning with peaceful protests against police brutality and ending with what almost appeared to be a personal agenda against the President of the United States.

But, it would seem that, while many were once rather secretive about their political allegiances, people – and indeed businesses as well – seem to be more outspoken regarding politics than ever before, despite statistics that suggested marketing tactics involving politics tend to fail more often than not, and the risks of such tactics were almost never worth the reward, if any. In fact, a survey conducted by the 4A’s this year concluded that over half of those polled frowned or disapproved whenever advertisements took any sort of political stance. This is also reflected by the aforementioned National Football League, which has taken a hit in viewership compared to its general expectations – as much as 15% earlier in the season according to Nielsen ratings.

All of this begs the question. Is this the new standard for marketing and advertising tactics? Some may argue that this is the latest show of American patriotism, as many of the ads that are being aired are in direct opposition to the policies of the President. Others suggest that the recent phenomenon of being protest-happy may just be the latest in subliminal advertising and marketing tactics by utilizing drama and conflict as a compelling source for marketing genius. With new topics such as the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate accords and the Muslim travel ban adding to the controversy of NFL players protesting as well as the clearer-than-ever divisiveness of party politics, it is some food for thought to consider whether appealing to the political views (appealing to whichever side they might) of the public would or wouldn’t inspire more “patriotism” by purchasing said products or acquiring said services in the name of political favoritism. In several cases, the public already identifies certain entities with some degree of patriotism (howsoever they choose to define it) or political affiliation. In the poll conducted by the 4A’s, 43 percent of conservative respondents thought that Chik-Fil-A was patriotic and 30 percent of liberal respondents thought the New York Times was patriotic. What does this mean for marketing as it relates to party politics, if anything, or is this simply a fad that advertisers and companies are currently riding until political tensions ease up?

Some Of The Most Famous Political Scandals

When there is no good news to go around, you can trust in politicians to shock the world. Whether it is the power trip they go on that makes them think they are untouchable (which in some cases it is true), or they simply lose sight of what’s important, a scandal is never far away. Here is a look at some of the most famous political scandals to date.

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton made waves around the world when he got caught with his pants down – in a manner of speaking. Now, he is associated with a name nobody who lived in the 90’s is going to forget, which is the notorious Monica Lewinsky. They had an affair of sorts, and when Lewinsky came out with the truth, Clinton denied the allegations.

Eventually, the pressure got to him and he confessed the affair did happen, which also triggered his downfall. And the fact that he lied about the affair in the first place didn’t help his situation. To make things worse, six years before getting tangled up with Lewinsky the tabloids ran with a story about him having an affair with a state employee. Sounds like he’s going to need an estate planning attorney real quick if he keeps up this behavior.

Hillary Clinton

While Hillary Clinton wasn’t caught cheating on her husband, she found herself in a world of trouble thanks to emails that leaked from her private server. The private server was established for her, her family and her deputy chief of staff. In 2009, she vowed that she wouldn’t coordinate with the Clinton Foundation, and this is what the FBI based their initial investigation on. They accused her of breaking the Espionage act of 1913, which created one of the most famous political scandals and putting her right up there with husband Bill.

Richard Nixon

By now everyone has heard of the Watergate scandal, and it will probably continue to resonate with Americans until the world ends. It was the first time a president resigned from his post, and it was also when Americans became aware of how deceiving a political image can be.

As the story goes, five of Nixon’s re-election campaign members started engaging in phone tapping and stealing top-secret documents. However, it will never be clear whether Nixon was in on the plan before it happened, but he did his best to sweep it under the rug. That didn’t stop an impeachment process from escalating, uncovering more dirty secrets about how Nixon abused his power on several occasions.

Daniel Ellsberg

Even though Daniel Ellsberg was only a marine and military analyst, he became famous when he leaked confidential documents (referred to as the Pentagon Papers) to the New York Times in 1971. These documents show that the Vietnam war had several underlying motives for expansion, but this was withheld from the American public and Congress. These secrets passed under four presidential administrations – starting with Harry S. Truman and ending with Lyndon B. Johnson – until the New York Times printed sections of the reports. Naturally, the Nixon administration tried to stop the paper from running these stories, but the Supreme Court didn’t agree and made the landmark decision to support press freedom.

To learn more about famous U.S. political scandals, please feel free to watch the following video:

What is McCarthyism?

If you were alive during the Cold War, there is a good chance that you remember how hostile the United States was towards any notion of Communism.

From 1947 to 1956, the United States went through something called “The Second Red Scare,” which saw United States politician take a hardened stance against communism and take increased action against anyone even tangentially related to communism.

The head of The Second Red Scare and its nationalist rhetoric was Senator Joseph McCarthy, who spearheaded multiple campaigns trying to bust suspected communist espionage agents.

During McCarthy’s era, hundreds of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers. The bad thing about this was, people were often accused with little to no evidence, and were faced with aggressive investigations and questioning. Ironically enough, the people who were most suspected were government agents.

The harsh attacks on often innocent citizens led to many people losing their jobs & careers, and even imprisonment. A large number of the punishments handed out as a result of “McCarthyism” were later overturned for being unconstitutional, illegal, actionable, or extra-legal.

In short, McCarthyism was a wide-spread practice of making accusations of treason without proper evidence that was generally accepted because Communism was truly feared by many Americans. No one, from celebrities to government agents to teachers, was immune from baseless threats of Communist sympathizing or activity.

Even though McCarthyism was simply unconstitutional, it is not without its supporters. Many people believe that the ends justified the means – as long as the country ended up safe from the embrace of communism, they were happy with it. I wonder how they would have felt if they were the ones being falsely accused of communism, however.

Nowadays, we have tried to learn from the era of McCarthyism in every possible way. While it is tempting to make invasive investigations based on a hunch, that is not the way a functioning society works. Hopefully we never have to worry about being illegally searched for something we did not take a part of – that doesn’t sound very American at all.

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.