New Abortion Laws Passed In 2018

It probably seems like every vote is important to abortion rights and freedoms, but the 2018 midterm elections were especially crucial. A number of new laws were passed (or even passed again), and Planned Parenthood once again has a tough road ahead. If you weren’t watching, there were important decisions made in Ohio, Alabama, West Virginia, and Oregon. Here’s everything you need to know.

Ohio’s House of Representatives passed a controversial “heartbeat” bill that would criminalize abortions performed if a fetal heartbeat was present at the time. This is particularly threatening to doctors who perform the operations. Ultrasounds are capable of detecting a heartbeat by week six. This early into a pregnancy, many women don’t even realize they’re pregnant. Adding insult to injury, the state does not recognize cases of rape or incest as a legal reason to perform an abortion after this timeframe has elapsed.

There is only one exception to the new law: when a woman’s life could be saved by the operation.

An earlier Ohio bill prevented abortions after 20 weeks had elapsed.

Alabama passed Amendment two with 61 percent approval. Under the new provision, the state would no longer be required to help fund abortion or protect a parent’s right to an abortion. The justification was made on the grounds of protecting the “sanctity” of the unborn life.

West Virginia passed Amendment one with only 52 percent approval, which essentially declares the same. No funding, and no right to abortion under state law.

Meanwhile, residents of Oregon destroyed Measure 106 with 63 percent opposition. The bill would have meant that abortion funding could only be provided when federally mandated or medically relevant.

The heartbeat provision of Ohio’s law in particular represents a threat to Roe v. Wade. The net result of the election at the federal level is a pro-life majority which means even more opposition in the future, because pro-life conservative representatives and senators will no doubt continue to confirm pro-life judges. This means the number of pro-life or anti-abortion federal laws in the future.

Then again, Planned Parenthood seemed satisfied with the election results, because it means a pro-choice majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. No doubt the eternal struggle will continue.

Saudi Diplomat Brutally Murdered, But President Trump Unwilling To Act

Earlier this month a Saudi journalist by the name of Jamal Khashoggi disappeared. His abduction, torture, murder and dismemberment have all been alluded too but not been confirmed, but President Trump doesn’t seem to think the situation takes any precedence–especially when he has an important arms deal hanging in the balance. Any unfortunate spike in the political volatility in Saudi Arabia comes at an inopportune time.

Jamal Khashoggi is a U.S. resident, and his brutal murder has created an uproar and a call for retaliation. Khashoggi disappeared while on a visit to the Saudi consulate. Many have noted that he often protested Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. Was Khashoggi the victim of a hit squad?

Turkey is currently investigating the crime. According to officials working on the case, Khashoggi was likely murdered in the consulate. After, his body was dismembered and transported elsewhere. The Turks currently hold a smoking-gun audio file which proves that Khashoggi was killed on-site. Alongside Saudi investigators, they searched the consulate in the hopes of discovering additional evidence.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly ready to acknowledge the death of Khashoggi as a result of a botched interrogation, although other sources say that there was never any interrogation at all, and that Khashoggi was specifically targeted by a hit squad. Mr. Trump has theories of his own, including that Khashoggi may have been the victim of a merry band of rogue killers and not the crown prince, suggesting that King Salman denied knowing anything about the attack.

Still, Trump also said that Saudi Arabia would be punished if the allegations are proved. He also made a comment about how tired he is of the “guilty until proven innocent” rhetoric. He sent the Secretary of State to meet with King Salman, while the king sent a public prosecutor in Saudi Arabia for internal investigation.

Angry democrats believe that it’s time disrupt relations with the kingdom, but Trump isn’t having it. The arms deal is worth about $110 billion, and he doesn’t want to risk something of that magnitude without all the facts.

It seems there will be a battle in Congress over whether or not to dismantle the deal, and it will be some time before we know which side wins.

Brent Kavanaugh’s Sexual Assault Accusation: Trump’s Reaction

You would think in this #metoo movement, that the President of The United States would understand how sexual assault victims react and respond to the traumatic event. Considering, Trump himself has been accused of sexual assault, the fact that he is still so clueless as to how the human psyche works… it’s actually mind-blowing.

For those who have been living under a rock, I’ll try my best to start at the beginning. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on July 31st, 2018. President Trump nominated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace him. In order for Kavanaugh to be appointed, he must be approved by Congress. This is due to the checks and balances that are built into the structure of our government. During his interviews with Congress, it was through an anonymous letter turned public by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school together. Now both of them will testify against Congress on Monday to present their side of the story.

It is important to understand that the statute of limitations against Kavanaugh for criminal charges for sexual assault to be filed against him. She became public with her allegations because she felt her voice was not being heard during the confirmation hearings.

Many people, including the President, believe that Ford’s disclosure is just to thwart Kavanaugh from serving on the Supreme Court. However, there is evidence against this as she disclosed in 2012 ago in a marriage counseling. The reason why she brought it to the public eye may certainly be to sabotage Kavanaugh. But her husband said it the best. “I think you look to judges to be the arbiters of right and wrong. If they don’t have a moral code of their own to determine right from wrong, then that’s a problem.”

President Trump, not one for subtly, tweeted this morning, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

As I said previously, mind-blowing. Has he not learned anything? It is common knowledge that many sexual assault victims do not disclose for fear of not believed and/or retaliation à la Harvey Weinstein.

But let’s ignore that for now and look at the political ramifications. To openly question a woman’s credibility in this social climate is just… mind-blowing! With midterm elections rapidly approaching, alienating female voters does not seem like a good idea to me. He also runs the risk of alienating Republican senators who are participating in the confirmation hearings.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republic leader believes that Brett Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court despite the accusations against him saying, “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”

Senator Chris Coons (DEL-D) is just as flabbergasted as I am stating that President’s tweet was “unacceptable and beneath the presidency of the United States.”

Republicans truly believe that this sexual accusation is a tactic by the Democrats to delay the vote that was originally scheduled yesterday Sept 20th to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Kellyanne Conway stated “I hope this woman is not being used by the Democrats.”

Since her disclosure Ford has been receiving death threats which are currently being investigated by the FBI.

I want to be very clear, no one is saying that Brett Kavanugh doesn’t have the career experience to be a Supreme Court judge. It is whether or not he has the moral experience to be a Supreme Court judge.

Paul Manafort and His Non-Collusion Collusion Trial

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been hard at work for the last 18 months investigating charges that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to impact the 2016 election results.

While indictments were handed out to about 20 Russian citizens, American Paul Manafort is facing trial after he served as chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign. It was possible that Manafort may be the smoking gun that anti-Trump people have been seeking in this whole collusion mess.

But why is Manafort and collusion not being mentioned in the same breath during his trial?

Maybe the smoke wasn’t coming from Manafort at all.

Manafort, who has a known history of working with people affiliated with the Russian mob, has been on trial in New York on charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and tax evasion – though none of it seems to tie directly to the investigation into Russia collusion with the Trump campaign.

How do we know this? Mueller is not prosecuting this case himself, as the case fell outside of his jurisdiction. He forwarded the case the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting the case.

Trump and collusion have not been part of the trial involving Manafort. The main issues in the trial are the genesis of millions of dollars in Manfort’s foreign accounts based on some of his political consulting and lobbying work over the years. Prosecutors were especially interested in his work from 2010 to 2015 when he had racked up about $65 million in foreign bank accounts, and they allege that he lied on applications in order to secure about $20 million in loans from banks to finance some of his efforts, especially in Ukraine, which eventually ended in 2015 right around the time that Manafort joined Trump’s fledgling presidential campaign.

The latest word from the trial came Friday, August 17, when Manfort judge T.S. Ellis revealed that he had been threatened during the trial, find the safety of those involved said he would not release the names of the jurors. Ellis has said he will have U.S. marshal protection with him everywhere for the duration of the trial if not beyond – depending on the results of the jury deliberations on the 18 counts.

Meanwhile, with this case getting headlines solely because of Manfort’s prominent relationship with Trump and his previous connections to Russia, the actual collusion investigation has reportedly not led Mueller any closer to linking Trump with the Russians, and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has asked Mueller to wrap up his case by the end of August of “we will come down on him like a ton of bricks.”

Sounds a little like a mob threat, eh?

Trump Threatens NATO Allies

President Trump sent strongly worded letters to several NATO allies including the countries of Germany, Belgium, Canada, and Norway. These letters call into question the aforementioned countries national policy and subsequently accuses these countries of spending not enough money on national security. The letter also stated that the United States is disappointed that its allies are not meeting shared security obligations determined by their alliance.

The NATO summit meets next week in Brussels and these letters are sure to cause some mixed emotions. All eyes will be on the President as he has gone on record questioning the value of the NATO alliance especially since he feels that the United States is being taken advantage of by European nations.

The letters also allude to the United States increasing their military presence throughout the world if European nations did not beef up their national security. Here’s a quote from a letter that was sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

“As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised. The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us. Growing frustration is not confined to our executive branch. The United States Congress is concerned, as well.”

The security obligations Trump keeps referring to are from the Wales Summit in 2014 where each country in the NATO alliance agreed to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on national defense. Trump, rightfully so, believes that NATO member countries are not contributing equally or as much as the United States. Trump also wrote in his letters that it will be difficult to convince the American people to send American soldiers all across the globe to protect NATO alliance countries if these countries do not actively participate in the security defense agreement. And for once – we actually agree with President Trump. For more information visit website here.

How The Fair Credit Reporting Act Protects Consumers

The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) is a law that regulates all credit reporting agencies. It requires agencies to ensure all data gathered, recorded and distributed is accurate and a fair summary of an individual’s credit history. The main purpose of the federal law is to protect individuals from having misinformation used against them by credit providers and employers.

The FCRA provides you with lots of consumer rights. The act gives you the legal right to request a copy of your credit report free of charge once every 12 months. All credit reporting agencies have to deal with any requests within fifteen days. The act also limits who can access your credit report. Companies need to have a valid need in order to obtain your data. As a consumer, you have the right to be told which companies have requested access to your report.

You can dispute any inaccurate information on your report at any time and the reporting agency is legally obligated to investigate the disputed data. All inaccurate and outdated data has to be removed from your report. Negative entries, such as missed or late payments, remain on your file for seven years. If you file bankruptcy, however, it might remain on your credit report for a decade.

The three largest credit reporting agencies are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. These agencies collect and sell huge amounts of information on consumers, so it’s important that said consumers are provided with some legal protection. The FCRA also applies to employers, banks, credit unions and any business that uses data from a credit report to deny consumers employment or financial products.

If a buyer of consumer report data or a consumer reporting agency violates the FCRA, you have a right to seek damages. You can sue the violating party in a state court or federal court. In addition, you have a right to know if your credit report has been used against you. For example, if you have been denied employment, insurance or credit by a company, you can ask the company to explain their specific reasons for the denial.

You can learn more about the history of the fair credit reporting act by visiting a good financial or legal authority website. The law was first passed in 1970, but it has been amended twice. You will often hear the FCRA talked about in the media as there are many not-for-profit advocacy groups in operation who make it their mission to protect consumers from bad practices of credit reporting agencies.

Political Sex Scandals In New York

Stories of sexual harassment and assault have exploded in capitol buildings all over the country as women, emboldened by the exposure of Harvey Weinstein, come forward with stories of their own abuse by politicians in power. At least 14 states have so far been rocked by sex scandals with more expected to come. New York has been in the thick of things, causing the state to become known as the Big Sleazy. Talk about a hit and run accident.

In 2011, New York Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner resigned from the House after weeks of denial that he had exchanged lewd online photos with women and girls. He continued his sexting after stepping down, including with a 15-year old girl, under the alias of “Carlos Danger”. After being caught sending obscene material to a minor, he was sentenced to a 21-month prison sentence on November 6, 2011.

Once New York politicians swore by the “Bear Mount Compact”, that held anything that transpired north of Bear Mountain in Rockland County would remain hush-hush, but with the advent of the internet that has become impossible. Communications and technology have outpaced privacy and secrecy.

Many New York politicians who took the oath of office have become embroiled in embarrassing sex scandals and forced to step down as a result of humiliation and failing to keep their hormones in check.

Former Governor David Paterson admitted to illicit sexual affairs a day after taking office. Soon after, his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, was exposed by his trysts with hookers at $4,300 a pop.

They had plenty of company when the ex-congressman Christopher Lee, a married man with a young son, was caught sending a bare-chested photograph of himself to a potential online conquest. Then, Rep. Vito Fossella admitted he had a mistress and daughter.

Eric Massa, aka “Rep. Tickle”, resigned when reports came out about being a serial groper of young men during his Navy days. Mark Foley, the Republican Rep. of Florida resigned when it came out that he had exchanged sexually-graphic messages with under-aged congressional pages. The Ethics Committee later found that GOP leaders had been willfully ignorant and negligent of his wrongdoings, but did not recommend any punishment.

The former Republican Sen. David Vitter admitted that he was guilty of using a prostitution service but the Senate Ethics Committee did not pursue the case.

From hooker-happy ex-governors to cheating congressmen, Empire State politicians have increasingly become involved in compromising positions unrelated to policy that has landed them in hot water.

Top 5 Democratic Primaries Candidates

Top Democratic Primaries Candidates

Democratic PartyEvery time we get within two years of a presidential election, political debates begin to arise, celebrities and public figures speak out for or against current policies, and politicians from various states come to the forefront of the public eye. Part of the election process is selecting who will represent each party in the next presidential election. The Republican party currently holds the presidential office. President Donald Trump will most likely run for a second term and represent the party. If the Democrats want to take the office, it is imperative that they begin campaigning sooner rather than later. Towards the end of 2017, the Washington Post put together a list of the top Democratic candidates for primaries. Some are familiar politicians, others are less well known, and some are known for their celebrity status. As we witnessed in the previous election, anyone who claims they are going to run should be taken seriously.

Who are the Top Candidates?

The top candidates to win the Democratic primaries are from all over the country. Some are active politicians, others are hinting at a comeback, and one is very familiar with the White House. According to the Washington Post, the top candidates are:

  1. Bernie Sanders – Vermont Senator

Bernie Sanders is a name that has been thrown around in previous presidential elections. Although, each time he has fallen short of becoming the Democratic nominee. The 2020 election might be his best chance of reaching the coveted oval office. He has the experience on his side and has gone through this process before. We will see if he is able to learn from previous mistakes and lead the Dems to the promise land.

  1. Joe Biden – Former Vice President

Joe Biden is an interesting candidate. Biden served under the Obama administration as the Vice President. His actions and charismatic personality took the nation by storm. Unfortunately for Vice President Biden, his handling of past sexual harassment cases, like Clarence Thomas, may come back to haunt him.

  1. Elizabeth Warren – Massachusetts Senator

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren comes in at the number three spot. Elizabeth Warren has shown little inclination to run and it is unlikely that she will run if Bernie Sanders does. However, if she decides to run, she may take the Democratic nomination.

  1. Kirsten Gillibrand – New York Senator

Kirsten Gillibrand became a household name after she called for President Trump’s resignation amidst sexual misconduct allegations. Since the allegations have subsided, but Kirsten has kept herself relevant. She has expressed interest in running for the presidential office. We will see if it comes to fruition over the next year.

  1. Kamala D. Harris – California Senator

Kamala was able to place herself in the democratic primary conversation when she spoke out in support of single-payer healthcare. Like Gillibrand, Harris called for Trump’s resignation amidst sexual misconduct allegations. Harris appears to be vocalizing her opinions on political matters, setting herself up for a primary nomination.

Other Names you May Recognize

In late December 2017, the Washington Post put together a list of the top 15 candidates for the Democratic nomination. Of course, there will be claims made by a ton of public figures if they are unhappy with the current administration, which many are not. Some of the names worth mentioning are:

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – Public Figure

Superstar wrestler turned actor has voiced his concerns with the current administration. He has been outspoken about his ambitions to run for office in 2020, but nothing much has come fo it.

Howard Schultz – Former Starbuck CEO

Although Schultz has not officially stated that he is interested in being considered as a candidate for the 2020 presidential campaign, he certainly has not held back from expressing his political beliefs. He has shared his visions for the future of America across many platforms. As the election nears, we will see if he is serious about running.

Oprah Winfrey – Public Figure

Oprah might be the most influential individual on this list. Her following is extensive and diverse. Further, her potential campaign budget will be unmatched. Oprah has been outspoken about her political beliefs. The former talk show host has compiled an abundance of awards and achievements for her philanthropic contributions to society. She is also an excellent communicator and would make for an interesting candidate.

Andrew M. Cuomo – New York Governor

Cuomo holds the second highest ranking office on this list, but he comes in at 10 and is currently the lower ranked candidate out of the New York State government. Cuomo has taken heat after mishandling sexual harassment allegations against his former senior aide.

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?