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 Gerrymandering and How Does it Work?

Gerrymandering is a practice that is sometimes used in politics to divide districts in a way that will allow one side to have a political advantage in an election.

Imagine that a state has 100 precincts, of which 60 are in favour of Party A, and 40 are skewed towards Party B, but voting is done by district not by precinct. Depending on which precincts are in which district, it could be possible for Party B to control more precincts than Party A, thereby winning the election.

Historically, districts or constituencies have been decided by geography alone, which makes the election process broadly fair because political alignment does not come into account – however if the central government has typically focused on, say, “the rich south” then “the poor north” may skew towards a different government because of a feeling of isolation from those in power. If there were some strongholds towards the current government in areas where it typically struggles to get votes, then in theory the practice of gerrymandering could be used to turn constituencies ‘the right color’ in the voting process.

Gerrymandering has negative connotations, and it is not something that is considered good practice, but it can be hard to tell the true motivations of changing the lines for a district or constituency. If the reason behind the change was one of practicality, or even intended to ensure that elections were more fair, then that is a different case. Manipulating boundaries to create more competitive elections is still a form of gerrymandering, but it is less controversial because it offers better representation for the whole population. Such changes are achieved by the use of neutral bodies that work with statistics or through the work of cross-party bodies, to ensure everyone has a voice. There have been occasions where such work has been vocally opposed by parties that benefit from gerrymandering, especially in the UK and the USA.

In some cases, rather than changing boundaries, the changes are achieved by counting prisoners as being a part of the district in which the prison is located, rather than in the area that the prisoner usually lives. This affects the percentage of non-voters significantly, and can have an impact on the overall outcome of an election as an indirect result, while adversely affecting the areas where there are no prisons, by comparison

Some Of The Pros And Cons Of Marijuana Legalization

In the United States, marijuana has been illegal for most the past 100 years or so. However, some states, such as Colorado and Washington, have now legalized owning personal quantities of marijuana with encouragement from attorneys and other legal advisors. However, this has opened up a lot of debate in other states about the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. There are plenty of opinions on both sides and the different sides aren’t split along the usual political line either.

Legalized Marijuana Frees Up Policeman

One of the huge reasons to legalize weed is to free up the jails, courtrooms, and policemen to focus on other, more important crimes. There is always a shortage of money in the justice system so crimes have to be prioritized by importance with the most serious getting the resources and the lesser crimes not so much. In states that have now legalized smoking weed the police no longer need to pay any attention to those that are only smoking and can focus on dangerous felons.

It also relieves the huge burden that many young people pay when they enter the justice system after being arrested. The lawyers, fines, and jail time take their toll and leave many people in debt for years. Now they can be left in peace and not worry about being arrested.

There Are Benefits To Medical Marijuana As Well

The most common two drugs in weed have two different effects on the human body. One, the THC is what causes people to feel euphoric, or high, the other CBD has a full range of benefits that have nothing to do with feeling high at all. The CBD has been shown to be highly effective in reducing joint pain caused by arthritis. Many sufferers of arthritis have been taking opiates for so long that they’ve lost their effects and they have to keep increasing the dosage. By smoking medical marijuana that has a high CBD content they can reduce or completely replace all of the prescription pain medication they’re taking.

Although the evidence is still being collected and research being done to prove its effectiveness, many veterans swear by marijuana as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some US states have allowed prescriptions to be written so that those seeking help can smoke marijuana for relief. The US Department of Vets Affairs publicly states that there is no evidence of it working on PTSD yet millions of Vets go on PTSD forums and state their claims that it’s the best treatment available.

There Are Some Cons To Legalizing Marijuana

Obviously, people getting high is not the best use of their time, and driving a vehicle after smoking can be dangerous as well. But many people do the same after consuming alcohol and there are systems in place to reduce this particular type of abuse.

If nothing else, freeing up the justice system from the huge backlog of pot smokers will save a lot of money. At the same time, many of the states that legalize the drug are also collecting taxes on it and making money. The debate will rage on and eventually more states will legalize smoking marijuana and more studies will be done on it’s use in pain relief, PTSD, depression and other diseases as well.

The Pros and Cons Of Building A Border Wall Between Mexico And The United States

The new president of the United States, Donald Trump, has decided to erect a wall in between Mexico and the United States. The reason for doing so is to theoretically help diminish the possibility of having illegal immigrants cross over from Mexico into America. Although there is a substantial fence line that is constantly monitored which has been successful at diminishing illegal immigration, it is thought that this wall will actually be a much better deterrent. Let’s look at the pros and cons of building a border wall between Mexico and the United States to determine whether spending billions of dollars on this new barrier will be worth the money.

Do We Currently Have An Existing Wall Or Fence?

There is actually a fence line between the United States and Mexico that has existed for many years. It does not, however, block the entire border. The continental border itself is nearly 2000 miles in length, but there is currently only 580 miles that is fenced off. Although it is not a continuous structure, it does protect a sizable area, specifically where the border is easy to access. There are also digital cameras, drones, and individuals that patrol this area, helping to make it as effective as possible. The areas where no fence exists are in regions that would require people from Mexico to travel into very mountainous areas or across desert terrain for a minimum of 50 miles before reaching the US-Mexico border.

Will A New 2000 Mile Wall Completely Eliminate Illegal Immigration?

It is unlikely that a wall that blocks the entire border would be 100% effective that preventing illegal immigration. People will still find a way to climb the wall, go under the wall, or they may simply focus on ramping up the creation of fake identifications. Although having a wall that extends the full distance would prevent people and vehicles from simply walking across the border, the remaining 1400 miles of the border that is currently not protected by a physical structure are areas where human beings would simply not attempt to cross.

The Pros And Cons Of Building This Wall

From a negative perspective, this wall is estimated to cost upwards of $20 billion, something that President Trump initially stated the Mexican government would pay for, will likely be paid for through American taxes. There is also no guarantee that it will prevent future illegal immigrants from crossing the border as pointed out by Staten Island care planning attorney. On the other hand, from a positive perspective, it may provide extra protection. Until the wall is up, and its value can be assessed, we may never know. What we do know is that illegal immigration is something that will continue to happen, and when people are desperate enough, they tend to find a way to get from Mexico into the United States.

About the Defense of Marriage Act

Byname of U.S. Public Law 104-199., the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law in force from 1996 up to 2013 which specifically denied all same-sex couples all federal recognition and benefits bestowed upon opposite-sex couples. What those benefits included owe over 1,000 federal privileges and protections, for example access to employment benefits of a partner, recognition of relationship, joint tax returns, tax exemptions, residency or immigration or partners which were not citizens, rights of inheritance, protection from domestic violence, next-of-kin status. As well as the right to live together in college or military housing.

What the DOMA mandated was that states that banned same-sex marriage were not under the obligation to recognize same-sex marriages which had been performed in other states, this went as far as stating that for purposes of federal law, marriage could only take place between a man and a woman. When introduced, the act received overwhelming support from Congress even thought was speculated that same-sex marriage would soon be legalized in Hawaii, meaning the other states will be forced to recognize same-sex marriages which had occurred in Hawaii. The DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. After that occurred, around forty states enacted unequivocal bans in either state laws or state constitutions on same-sex marriage.

A nonbiological parent in a same-sex couple under DOMA was not able to have a legal relationship established with the biological parent´s child or children; same-sex partners were also not allowed to take a family medical leave to care for their partners or nonbiological children, to adopt the children, or id the relationship ended, to petition the court for child support, custody, or visitations.

The way that DOMA advocates viewed opposite-sex marriage was as being the only appropriate context for procreation and for forming a family According to supporters of DOMA, alternative family formations was validated by same-sex marriage, it undermined monogamy and opposite-sex marriage, it encouraged relationships that were incestuous as well as polygamous marriage. Opponents argued that definition of marriage and family that were narrow like this devalued every other kind of relationship and family, discriminated based off of sex, and related homosexuality with polygamy and incest.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the definition the DOMA placed on marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman in 2013 (United States v. Windsor). The provision of law which had allowed these states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that had taken place in another jurisdiction was in 2015 invalidated by the court (Obergefell v. Hodges), which granted same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry.

Understanding The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs is primarily associated with the United States desire to end the illegal drug trade and influx of drugs into the nation. The initiative was begun under the presidency of Richard Nixon and set forth a number of policies that were designed to end the production, consumption, and distribution of illegal psychoactive drugs. It was at this time in 1971 that President Nixon announced that drug abuse was considered “public enemy number one”. This war that began over 45 years ago costs American taxpayers over 51 billion dollars a year.

The war on drugs would pick up considerable steam under the Reagan administration. In fact, it was Nancy Reagan who would create the Just Say No campaign to introduce this war to children across the world. The campaign would use cartoon and sitcom stars to showcase this new aspect of the war. While it was a highly successful campaign and got children talking about drugs in the open, it did very little to slow down drug use in the nation (especially in Missouri) or world.

The war on drugs would continue through the next several presidential administrations with very little change. It would not be until President Obama took office that the war would take on a new course. While the war would continue, the administration decided it would no longer be known as a war on drugs. It was decided that the term was counter-productive and that drugs needed to be treated as a disease and not the enemy. In fact, it was the drug policy of Sweden that changed the policy of the United States. Within Sweden, there has been great care to provide health care for drug addiction as well as drug legalization. It has been shown to work as the Swedens use of cocaine is barely one-fifth of what Spain uses. It is assumed if we follow a similar policy the drug rate will lower. Which is one of the reasons there has been a considerable turn on the legalization of marijuana in this country?

However, with all of the policies and money that has been spent the war on drugs was declared a failure in 2011. In addition, it was stated that the world is a worse position due to the war on drugs. It is now known that new initiatives need to be put in place and the world needs to rethink drug policies.

The Threat Of Cyberterrorism

Cyberterrorism is on the rise, with more and more attacks being reported on a daily basis. Large computer hacks on corporations, government databases, and computer networks are becoming more common and more people are having their private information stolen by cyber terrorists. Cyber terrorists could potentially disable power grids or even bring down the Internet, which could result in disaster.

Cyberterror attacks could bring down the banking system and even start a nuclear war if the terrorists were able to successfully hack the military. One of the worst things about cyberterrorism is that it operates in the shadows and it is extremely difficult to actually apprehend anyone.

You can find hackers who are actively trying to do harm anywhere from ISIS to neo-Nazi groups. Their intent is to create chaos and steal personal information from multiple people to both track people and cause financial harm. On an individual level, being hacked causes extreme stress and you feel that your privacy has been invaded.

Cyber terrorists have a larger goal of carrying out attacks that are actually going to kill people, like tampering with the computers that run nuclear energy plants for example. These attackers will try to create chaos in any way possible and will look for loopholes that allow them to get access to the most sensitive information they can find.

Power stations could be potentially vulnerable as there are so many of them and it is impossible to fully protect them. If hackers managed to shut down a power station in the heat of the summer, it could be disastrous because thousands of people would temporarily lose their air conditioning and their refrigerators would go out.

Cyberterrorists look for vulnerability and when they find it, they exploit it. Whether they are working on disrupting the financial system or taking down infrastructure, eventually an attack is going to succeed. Any computer system is going to be vulnerable to attack, no matter how much security is in place. A good cyber terrorist is going to find a way to get around those security measures and try to harm people in the worst way they can.

Oil refineries, water plants, pipelines and more could be vulnerable to an attack. It would be wrong to underestimate how much chaos an attack could cause. Hackers could even do something like attack retailers before Christmas and cause extreme financial harm to them. Cyber terrorism is a real threat.

The Arguments For And Against Accepting Syrian Refugees In The U.S.

The political climate in the United States is horrendous right now. President Trump is doing everything he said he would do during his campaign. Unfortunately, most of what he promised to do are actions that alienate and enrage many of his followers as well as his opponents.

One such area is the question of Syrian refugees. The situation in Syria has been delicate for years, causing hardship for President Obama during his last term. President Trump, who was voted into office on a platform of not knowing anything about politics, has been unable to decide how to approach this delicate situation.

Why Should We Refuse Syrian Refugees?

There are several reasons people want to refuse refuge to people from a war-torn country. These reasons are espoused largely by the Republican party, though the logic is enticing to some on the left, as well.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), as one example, claimed that the United States is “paying [the Syrian refugees] to be here” during an interview on the Dale Jackson Show. He went on to state that the refugees get free health care and other social benefits, paid for by U.S. tax dollars. As a final point he stated that Islam is a fundamentally violent religion, stating he felt that “…terrorists are doing exactly what the Koran tells them to do”.

Of course, a less extreme reasoning suggests we have needs in our own country that must be addressed. They point to the estimated (as of 2013) 2.5 million homeless children or 58K homeless veterans from motorcycle accidents and state that the nation’s time, money, and resources should go to helping its own citizens first.

Why Should We Allow Refugees?

The major argument on the left is a moral one rather than one based on specific needs. That is, the Democrats argue that Syria is fleeing a civil war, their lives are being torn apart by the same terrorists the U.S. is trying to stop, and so we have a moral obligation to offer those people protection.

Even if the United States was not in direct conflict with those forces, the alternative for many refugees would be one of several refugee camps. Lastly, they show one of the multiple pictures of injured refugees, terrified for their lives and the lives of their children. For many, this is a powerful image.

Indeed, the arguments of the Republicans and the right make it difficult for the left to find numbers. It’s impossible to prove mathematically how many people aren’t terrorists, since that requires knowledge that’s impossible to find until they commit an act of terrorism.

What is possible is to point out that the United States spends $601B every year on military spending. Much of this money goes to the research and development of new equipment, but that equipment is of questionable use. The F-35, as just one example, went $165B over its budget and took an additional 7 years from it’s estimated time to completion and yet is not as functional as the F-16, which it was designed to replace.

If that money had been spent on helping our own citizens, the Democrats argue, we wouldn’t need to worry about the additional cost of refugees.

The Full Ramifications.

If one piece of candy in a bowl of candy is poison, would you eat the candy? The Republicans argue no, that would be dangerous. The Democrats don’t argue about eating candy, but rather point out (100% correctly) that the same argument was part of 1938 Nazi anti-jewish propaganda.

This is the major political ramifications of the Syrian refugee issue. With neither side capable of deciding if we must make a moral judgement or an economic one, it’s difficult to find common ground. And with the moral argument being incredibly strong, it’s easy for those who think the economic viewpoint is more important to become defensive.

The end result is a major division in the U.S. political environment at a time when we most need unity.

Comparing Trump’s Health Care Plan To Obamacare: How Do They Stack Up?

There has been a lot of back in forth in politics about what a good healthcare bills and the debate over the current ACA (aka “Obamacare”) and the AHCA (aka “Trumpcare”) has been heated, to say the least. The trouble is that it can be difficult to cut through slanted points of view and to get some type of a read on what an un-biased comparison looks like. With anything as complicated as a national healthcare system there will always be unexpected consequences however we will compare these two health plans and the most likely results based on in-depth studies and past instances of similar healthcare plans being joined or dropped.

Is “Trumpcare” Going To Be Better Or Worse Than “Obamacare?”
This is a difficult question to answer for two main reasons:
1) Because there is no finalized version of the Trumpcare bill yet and as the old saying goes “The devil is in the details”
2) Answering this question depends heavily on an individual’s idea of what a good or better healthcare system should look like

In addition to this, as with all things in politics, there is often a difference between what the face of the bills (Trump, Obama) say and the details that actually make it into law. In situations where there is a contradiction or technicality, we’ll default to known text as being the overriding way the program works or will work.

The Major Differences
The ACA under Obama was seen as a first step towards socialized medicine, taking the idea of healthcare as a right but trying to create a privatized or capitalistic solution to providing the same universal or near universal coverage. For the first time people could not be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, there were no caps on lifetime coverage, and limits were put into place in regards to pricing so people with pre-existing conditions couldn’t be priced out of the market. The expanded coverage of the poor and high risk individuals was off-set by taxes mostly on very high income earning companies or certain types of investment income.

The AHCA appears to be returning to a more free market approach getting rid of things like the individual mandate, allowing states to decide what constitutes essential coverage, and allowing states to eliminate price checks for people with pre-existing conditions. The idea is that cutting down on regulations will allow for lower prices because of competition. There are very mixed assessments on whether or not that will have any major practical effect.

Major Potential Impact
The AHCA will reduce taxes for many individuals with investment income as well as some privately owned businesses paying more taxes on insurance and healthcare. While in theory healthcare under Trumpcare would still be accessible to everyone, the problem is with no price checks the reality indicates that likely over 20 million people would lose their health coverage, and the proposed multi-billion dollar pool for high risk cases wouldn’t come close to making up the nearly $600 billion in tax cuts from repealing ACA funding.

For individuals struggling to stay insured, the lack of penalty for not having insurance could theoretically be helpful, as long as they stay healthy and don’t need insurance coverage.

What’s The Overall Verdict?
If you believe in the lowest possible taxes and 100% capitalism, then Trumpcare is a huge improvement over Obamacare as many medical providers, pharmaceutical companies, and wealthy individuals will see tax breaks totaling an estimated $600 billion. However, if you are with the group that sees healthcare as a right or believes controls are reasonable to encourage lower pricing or access to coverage then Trumpcare is going to be a major step back from the ACA and Obamacare.

Impact Of NY’s Free Tuition On Other States

New York’s implementation of free tuition for students (or their parents) with a net income of less than $125,000 has had an impact on various components of American society. The visible impact has happened to students who are now provided with a tuition-free option if they choose to pursue it.

However, the next question is, “How does it impact other parts of America?”

Will it remain the same? Are things going to change so other states can start to catch up to New York with its free tuition setup?

Let’s take a look.

Impact on States

Let’s begin with the impact this decision has on other states. With Oregon and Tennessee already having tuition-free programs (two years only) there was a precedent for such an inclusion. However, New York is the first state to provide free tuition to all students for a four-year program.

Various other states will look to mimic this option as it has been received well.

It is expected adjustments would be made to how the program is rolled out in those states. Similar to most changes at a state-level, some are going to adapt it while others are not. In general, the average state is going to implement some form of this program to get it on the ground.

This should have a profound impact on the educational landscape moving forward.

Federal Government

What about the federal government? How will they react to this program?

The federal government continues to fund students and provide multiple pathways for students to manage their fees. It is important to note various other states have built-in programs to help students even if they’re not as robust as the one passed by New York.

The federal government will be eying how well the program does and might end up promoting it in other parts of the nation, like they did with legislature regarding personal injury. This is a change which will happen gradually and shouldn’t be expected right off the bat. The positive is both sides in the house of representatives are in agreement with the value of this option and what it brings to the table.

This might pave the way for future allowances when it pertains to education in the nation at a federal level.

Impact on Student Loan Debt

Before looking at the impact this decision will have on student loan debt, it’s important to recognize how the program works. It will provide tuition fees for all students who qualify but will not provide assistance with room or food expenses. All of those are the student’s responsibility.

Keeping that in mind, the student loan debt will start to deplete. Most students study in the region and will take advantage of this program for all it has to offer. This is critical as it provides students with an excellent launching pad once they graduate and enter the working world.

New York’s free tuition program will take three years to implement and is going to be rolled out in September 2017. The goal is to ensure students who are wishing to pursue post-secondary education can do so without worrying about fees. This is a significant change and something that has been in the works for a while. Its impacts on neighboring states and the federal government remain to be seen, but there will be movement one way or another. New York might become a leader in this regard and set things into motion for a wholesome change across the board.

A lot of focus is being pushed towards the state, but many are looking at this as a new way of life for students.