Remember when Mr. Trump constantly criticized Obama for his “many unnecessary trips that cost millions in tax payer’s money”? The Trump family has long depleted the Secret Service Funds. It was around August this year where rumors started circulating that the Trump family had depleted the Secret Service protection fund. As of now, it can […]
Trump Family Has Depleted Secret Service Fund: Protect our Hardworking Agents!
Remember when Mr. Trump constantly criticized Obama for his “many unnecessary trips that cost millions in tax payer’s money”? The Trump family has long depleted the Secret Service Funds. It was around August this year where rumors started circulating that the Trump family had depleted the Secret Service protection fund. As of now, it can certainly be confirmed.
At the time, it was said that more than a thousand agents had hit the mandated caps for salary and allowances. The funding for this was supposed to last them a year. At the time when the rumors started, it had only been 8 months since Trump was inaugurated. The news that our Secret Service has run out of money to pay its agents is completely unprecedented and completely baffling. How about anytime you need a personal injury lawyer in austin?
As the president of our country, Trump is a symbol. This is why his safety is paramount. What is to happen now that they can no longer afford to pay the very people who are tasked to protect him? What does it say about us a country that our elected leader appears to be uncaring about how much he’s costing us? How much more do we stand before we say enough is enough?
The incredible secret service agents were met with a crippling workload in terms of logistics. Trump, since the start of his presidency, has travelled consistently to one of his many properties. His adult children and their families, who are also under the protection of the Secret Service, constantly have business and vacation trips abroad. Unlike the Obamas, the Trumps have added a significant amount more people to protect.
Instead of saving tax payer’s money like he had promised, Trump has effectively blown through the budget that was supposed to last him for 12 months. And yes, even his family was factored into the initial cost and budget allotment. Every single time that Trump visits Mar-a-Lago, it costs an estimated $3 million each time. The other trips he’s taken, along with the necessary planning it takes to secure his safety, is no easy task.
Our hardworking agents now face the very real threat of not being compensated for work that they had already rendered. The entire concept is ridiculous. Something definitely needs to budge.
Here’s a hint: it shouldn’t be the tax payers. Mr. Trump needs to have a reality check and our hardworking agents need to be suitably compensated.
Taking a Stand: When the President Threatens Your Healthcare Access
Donald Trump really loves Twitter. So much so that he can’t seem to stay off it. As such, we get an unfiltered insight into his thoughts and actions regarding our healthcare. It seems that the man is obsessed with dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was put in place by his predecessor.
When Mr. Trump was sworn into office, it seemed that he was well on his way to uprooting ACA. The Senate was majorly Republicans so it came as such a surprise that the ACA repeal has failed more than once. The president, along with this staff, had constantly harped on about not only repealing the ACA but replacing it with something that would effectively provide superior coverage at an even lower price. How they hoped to accomplish that while simultaneously promising to spend less public money is a pretty big mystery.
The day after the Senate failed to repeal the ACA, he tweeted which sent chills down everyone’s spines. In 140 characters or less, he pretty much threatened to end cost-sharing reduction subsidies for lower income Americans AND end the employer contribution for Congress members and their staff members.
Does our president have such absolute authority that he can simply cut people off from their bailouts?
Healthcare is not a stick to beat the American populace with. Yet, that is exactly what Trump is doing. A lot of Americans previously did not have access to adequate healthcare. That was something that the ACA helped with. Granted that the ACA has its share of flaws, it still managed to help countless of Americans with their medical emergencies and needs.
What do we, as Americans, do when the person who is supposed to make our lives better is on the path to make everything so much worse? What legal avenues can we realistically pursue? Here are a few suggestions:
Get in touch with your state representative
That’s what they are there for. Try to find who your representative is and let your voice be heard.
Join in peaceful protests
As the political climate is strife with imminent hatred, it is even more important to showcase tolerance and peace. Take for example the Women’s March that occurred January this year. To-date, it is one of the largest single day protests in our history. Not only did it give a good show of numbers, it also sent a pretty clear message to Trump and the rest of the world.
Be discerning about the information you spread
The internet can be a pretty helpful place. It can also be quite treacherous. Facts are friends and you should arm yourself with them. Be careful with any pro or anti-Trump articles floating around in the internet. Take time to verify any information that you read before sharing. There is already significant confusion and strife in the world. It would be prudent not to add to any of it.
Trump is where he is because of the people. They can get him out as well.
Social Justice Discussion: Free Speech versus Hate Speech
The Constitution of America protects the right to free speech. This is a freedom that we have used liberally. However, where do we cross the line between “free” and “hate” speech? We take a closer look at that today.
What is free speech?
As a part of the First Amendment, Americans enjoy the freedom of speech. This means that they have the legal right to express any opinions, which may include offensive words or phrases, without censorship or restraint. To further explain, if you’ve ever heard the sentence “I may not like what you say but I defend your right to say it” that’s free speech. This covers written works as well.
What is hate speech?
Hate speech is a verbal or written attack on a person, group or culture on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and many more. Hate speech, as we’ve seen through history, can be dangerous if and when it is allowed to prosper.
What’s the difference between the two?
Hate speech often incites violence and promotes prejudice. Free speech does not include the right to incite any form of action that causes direct or indirect harm to others.
What’s sad about this discussion is that now there are people who make use of “free speech” as a cover for their vitriolic views.
Do they have a legal leg to stand on?
The answer is both yes and no.
It is yes in the sense that in 2011, our Supreme Court favored the rights of the Westboro Baptist Church to hold protests with offensive signage. It was all under the provision that the speech does not lead to imminent violence.
As for the no part of the legal standpoint, it was just this past June where our Supreme Court affirmed that there is no ‘hate speech’ exception to our First Amendment law.
If that’s the case, why is the free speech excuse still being used?
The people who use hate speech on a regular basis make use of “free speech” as a shield simply because they can. Also, there has been no outright condemnation from our governing body. In the eyes of the law, as long as a group or a person does not use their speech to incite violence or imminent harm, they get a pass.
It should be pointed out, however, that white supremacists have always included a violence-driven narrative in their speeches. Over recent events, several chapters of the ACLU have declared that they will no longer defend the free speech rights of armed protestors.
This comes at the wake of the deadly Charlottesville clash a month previously. We, as a people, need to become more aware of the intrinsic differences between free speech and hate speech. The last time hate speech was allowed to take root in a nation, world war broke out. So it’s doubly ironic now that our nation seems to be diving in headfirst into chaos and fascism. We need to take a stand against hate speech.
The Nightmare is Only Beginning: the Resurgence of White Supremacy
When they spoke of angry hate mobs with torches, anyone could dismiss it as something you’d see in a history book or an old movie. However, as we all saw, white supremacy is back.
It’s little over a week since the world watched new age Nazis marching in broad daylight. Hiding under the guise of “free speech” these individuals took to the streets of Charlottesville, loudly chanting “Jews will not replace us.” While they were not clear on what exact capacity Jews were supposed to replace them as, the gathering was as vile as you’d expect.
It certainly didn’t help that there was radio silence from the White House for at least two days that followed the Charlottesville incident. In doing so, our own leader has fueled the white supremacists belief that they are a valid existence. White nationalist Matthew Heimbach and those who think like him fully believe that “white America” is under threat. These are the very same people that deny that the Holocaust ever existed.
These individuals who attended their “white lives matter” rally are outspoken in their belief that white people suffer more discrimination that any other racial or ethnic group in the US.
Anti-Semitism isn’t anything new
The US has always been the home of different minded people. That was one of the things that made it so great. However, while the freedom of expression led to some the best highs our society has experienced, it has also allowed the cretins to fester.
Hate speech is not ‘free speech’
A constant defense of those who speak ill is that they are merely practicing their freedom of expression. However, the greatest distinction in the purpose of free speech is to be free and willing to engage in thoughtful discussion with people you may not agree with.
Hate speech is an all-out attack on the person or group you are speaking to. The purpose of hate speech is to demean and degrade with no thoughts to the effects or consequences to the recipient. Hate speech is pretty much what the white supremacists did in Charlottesville. Inciting violence and carrying weapons should not be protected by free speech.
While our president exclaims that he does not condone white supremacy and that he’s committed to fighting it, his policies would suggest differently. Trump has never been one to shy away from controversial words and way of thinking. He has expressed views that have empowered white supremacists into galvanizing together.
If you don’t think there’s trouble brewing, you’re wrong
“White Lives Matter” supporters now believe that they are supported by our president. From the way Trump acts and speaks, who can blame them? The way Trump issued his statements regarding Charlottesville matters a lot. He has never been one to shy away from publicly calling out anyone he perceives to have done something wrong.
This means a world of trouble for the rest of the US that aren’t white or straight. This is truly a worrisome time in our history.
The ACA and the High Premiums that Gut Us All
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to be our salvation. It helped but the unforeseen rise in premiums caught everyone off guard. Today, we take a closer look on such a hot issue.
It was in the 20th of March in 2010 that President Obama had signed the ACA into law. This heralded a great many changes in the US healthcare system. The goal was to increase healthcare coverage and several others. At the time, it was a very welcome change.
Before the enactment of the ACA, people could only achieve health plans through their employers. Soon after, people could then attain a healthcare plan on their own. It came as a relief that there was another option besides the ridiculous healthcare premiums of existing health insurance companies. It was these high premium costs coupled with large medical bills that drove most Americans into bankruptcy. Everything had looked so dire. It was common to hear stories of retirees who could no longer pay for their own medical bills.
So when the ACA was passed, most Americans thought that the worst was over. There was a drastic drop in the overall number of uninsured elderly persons. The lower income households were now covered.
However, it seems that all the celebrations were a tad premature.
Recent studies have shown that it was ACA itself that drove up premiums further. Around four years before ACA came to be, various families comprised of different age groups had experienced a 9.2% or less. Within the first four years of the ACA itself, every age group and family type received the startling increase of 56-64%.
The families that could previously afford healthcare found themselves at a loss and looked toward acquiring Medicaid. Acquiring this wasn’t as simple as people expected as not all states had chosen to expand Medicaid. This eventually led to an overburdened system that was still in its infancy.
There is no denying that ACA has helped countless families all across the country. However, it wasn’t just the premiums that were rising. Even the deductibles were rising. Deductibles refer to the limit that people needed to pay as covered by insurance plans before they are able to share costs with the insurance company. The combination of the premiums and the deductibles were truly a bit much.
Other than the steep premiums, the extensive coverage of the ACA meant there were longer waiting times in emergency rooms. Everyone hates bureaucracy and doctors are no exception. As ACA was still working out its paperwork, more and more doctors weren’t accepting Medicaid. This meant that the demand for care was still high but now there were fewer doctors to address the needs of the people.
While we aren’t saying that the ACA was a failure, it was certainly flawed. Still, it is certainly better than nothing at all. With the ACA on the verge of being repealed, only time can truly tell if the American public will finally get the type of healthcare it truly deserves.
What in the World is a Social Justice Warrior?
What on God’s green Earth is a “Social Justice Warrior“? Today, we take a better look at this apparently derogatory term for anyone who has socially progressive views. The term social justice warrior or SJW wasn’t always derogatory in its usage.
What did it begin as?
First spotted on the social media platform Twitter, an SJW was pretty much anyone who wanted to promote social progressiveness and equality. However, in its more recent incarnation, an SJW is a ‘slur’ used against people who engage in prolonged and aggressive debates against others about a range of topics. The topics closely associated to an SJW are politics, political correctness, feminism, and social injustice.
What’s so bad about that?
It would seem that the enthusiasm and self-righteousness of several bloggers and activists all lent credence to SJW becoming a derogatory term. The phrase ‘Check Your Privilege’ was a favored rhetoric of SJWs. It was a concept that expressed the idea that the body and life you are born with carries its own set of privileges that others do not have. While true in a sense, it was thrown in arguments a lot.
What made the idea of the SJW become so toxic is the fact that there are people out there that were overboard when it came to discussing social issues particularly those that revolve around gender equality.
So they’re all bad?
Not in the least. It should be noted that the term SJW is now a favored method of dismissing often valid views. When it comes to the concept of social justice, it is important to remember that it is not only what you are fighting for that should be thought of. The way in which you fight for your cause must be thought through carefully.
In its most toxic sense, an SJW was anyone who was thought to engage in lengthy and vitriolic debates for personal validation. The ideas of ‘tall privilege’ and disuse of gender pronouns for all have been credited to SJWs. Rather than bringing people together, they are divisive.
In its truest and original sense, an SJW is crucial to spearheading the awareness campaigns both online and offline. They are a credit to social awareness.
What should I do if I am called one?
First off, consider if your arguments were constructed based on calm and grounded logic. It is often easy to be carried away due to conviction. If you believe that your arguments do not warrant the degrading term, disengage from the conversation.
While it is important to fight against social injustices, it is ultimately more important to care for your mental health. Online discourse is often a murky swamp which never ends. Always remember: what other people think of you is more indicative of what sort of people they are. You have the choice to continue to engage or to walk away. It is ultimately up to you.
If you ever feel that your safety is in peril, never hesitate to consult legal avenues immediately.
Not the Usual Concept: Understanding Grassroots Democracy
You’ve probably heard of the term “Grassroots Democracy”. If you haven’t, tune it as we’ll be taking a much closer look at the concept and how it may end up changing the world.
What is it?
By definition, a grassroots democracy is the inclination to form political processes wherein the decisions are made by the country or organization’s lowest demographic. Think of it in terms of a pyramid. The way our usual government system works is that a few or the “top” get to decide on reforms that affect every hierarchy of the pyramid.
A grassroots democracy shifts that. Instead of those in the top making the decisions, it’ll be those in the bottom. This is a concept which the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) likes to throw around.
So the power is with the people?
As far as we have ever known, our government has always taken oligarchic forms. We see this every election season: Politicians, who are born and bred in wealth, claiming to understand what it’s like for the ordinary citizens of this country.
The grassroots democracy movement puts forth the idea that the people are directly involved with the decisions that affect their daily lives. Rather than having a single representative that might be out of touch with their demographic.
What’s so good about letting the people decide?
A common complaint of the everyday citizen is that our leaders and representatives pass laws and reforms that directly affect their lives—yet these very people seem to live in a bubble. For example, our president is currently trying to remove the ACA (which has helped countless Americans) but he, himself, will not suffer any consequences.
If he ever falls ill, he provided the very best of medical care simply by being our president. Also, even if wasn’t our president, he would be able to afford the best medical care anyway. Most other politicians are also like this. So the average American voter is left to suffer consequences that do not faze the ones making the decisions.
By letting the people themselves be in charge of decision making, a more practical and realistic view of reforms can be made.
Does literally everyone get a say?
By virtue of the grassroots democracy, yes they do. Our current voting system has seen its share of evolution. Back in the day there were several of the demographic that weren’t allowed to vote. In a grassroots democracy, all are given voices to speak.
Why don’t we have this now?
This is simple: it is because of the gridlock of the duopoly of the Republicans and the Democrats. These two parties make it virtually impossible for any third party to have a chance to be heard.
We are at a critical point in our history as a country. Violence is prevalent and the people cry out in anger. It seems that the systems we put in place to protect us no longer do so. And thus, it must come to change.
Our Right to Good Health: Why is Our Healthcare Built to Serve Only Few
People have the right to proper healthcare regardless of financial status. Why is it that our uphill battle to have affordable healthcare never seems to end? What are we doing wrong?
Even before our current president was sworn into office, he was never glib about the fact that the wanted to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) or more commonly known as “Obama Care”. While the ACA was not perfect, it allowed a lot of Americans access to relatively affordable healthcare.
Our politicians are fighting pretty much every day to either remove or sustain our healthcare. What a lot of people don’t understand is why is the Trump administration is so hell-bent on removing ACA when it cannot even present a suitable alternative. When routinely asked about it, our president would only speak in vague and general terms like “It’s going to be great!” or “It’s going to be the best!”
These are pretty much the descriptions that you would expect from a child and not someone who you trust to run your government. Americans are torn on whether or not they support or condemn ACA but these are also the people who have benefitted from it.
If you go to the White House webpage, you will find that the information regarding ACA is no longer there. Instead, we have archives we can comb. However, the information you find there may no longer be applicable.
Our physicians are torn between their understanding of the insurance network and their own need to make a profit. This is why people like Margaret Flowers quit her practice and has actively been laboring for a healthcare reform. She understood the fact that there is a grave economic gap between those who need ACA and those who do not.
What do we really need?
At this point in time, if our government cannot provide us with a suitable alternative to the ACA, they need to leave it where it lies. They need to present logical and factual arguments as to why it needs to be removed. They also need to establish what they’re going to change. A lot of people’s lives are on the line here.
It doesn’t bode particularly well that our current leader has never known hardship or what it’s like to need medical care and not afford it. He speaks as if he knows our plight while being deaf to our cries. He is a businessman; at least, that’s what he says he is. So how would someone who has always had net profit as the end goal suitably understand the gulf between patients and their expensive medical bills?
We need new options and we need better opinions that the ones we’ve all heard before. The sad truth of it all is that medical practice, with all its bells and whistles, is still a multi-billion dollar profit market. So is it really so surprising that those in the lower economic bracket would be unable to access suitable healthcare? Everything is so wrong.
The Rabid Teeth of Social Justice
Just what is social justice? It’s a term constantly thrown around yet what does it really mean? Today, we take a closer look at what social justice is and its effects in our society.
What is social justice?
By definition, it should be the fair and equal distribution of resources and opportunities. There should be no category of people that should have any leverage over the other. In the early eras of social awareness, the term social justice was directed toward those in dire poverty. The emphasis was placed on the need for the equal distribution of resources.
In other words, everything is equal. This, however, is hardly what our society at large gets to experience. This fact is particularly true today.
Who should be responsible for social justice?
The common belief was that it was only the government that should keep a watchful eye on social injustices. However, what is to occur when it is the government itself that doles out injustices?
In a nutshell: everyone. When people turn a blind eye to the wrongdoings done to others, they are complicit in allowing the injustice to continue. This is why the terms like ‘woke’ are constantly being used in social media today. The younger generations are realizing that they need to fight in order to still have a world to live in. They understand that what’s happening lately is not okay.
What social justice issues persist today?
To be honest, there are so many issues that are occurring all at the same time. The ones that are at the cusp of heated discussion would be the Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally. It could be said that the clash that occurred there was the result of rabid social justice standpoints from both sides.
Both sides equally believed that they had something to legitimately fight for. Where do we draw the line? While social responsibility is a lovely theory, the actions undertaken by a person or a group should benefit the whole of society and not just the sect they belong to.
What we have now are people who ride the idea of social justice without really understanding or putting into effect what it actually means.
What can one person do?
One person, with the right words and the right crowd, can change the world. We’ve seen it happen. This is why it is extremely crucial for individuals to educate themselves and develop critical thinking. We need to sift out what are actual issues from what is simply noise. We also need to come together to peacefully attain a solution that’s beneficial to all parties involved.
Most people confuse the idea of satisfaction versus justice. Instead of having those who are only after personal satisfaction, justice is an idea that must be upheld in its truest sense. We all need to stop shouting at each other and really listen.
In the same vein, we need to constantly reevaluate the methods in which social justice is fought. We all have to live here.
Breaking the Duopoly: A Closer Look on Why American Politics Needs a Third Party
Today, we take a closer look at the permeating duopoly that the American voters can’t seem to shake off. The duopoly must be reevaluated. The American public deserves more choices.
In the past several years, our national politics have revolved around the wheel of having either a Democrat or a Republican at the helm. Before the 45th president (a Republican) was sworn in—a democrat was in power for eight years. While there was a significant amount of progress for equality under the Obama regime, our current president is more inclined to undo most policies without providing a suitable alternative.
While the elephant and the donkey are busy fighting each other, it is the American public that suffers in the crossfire. This has always been the issue with the duopoly in our politics. The ebb and sway of opinion usually means that decisions have been stalled simply because there is an even hold in voting power.
What would a third party be able to accomplish?
If the American voters had a third party to choose from, the potential for reform is stronger. A third party has the ability to serve as a bridge to connect the voters who feel alienated by the often polar extremes of the two parties.
There is more to the world than being a liberal or a conservative. Given the events that permeate our political sphere of late, there is no more middle ground. When you’re a republican, it’s either you fully support the president or be called a snowflake. On the flipside, it’s either you abhor everything 45 stands for or you’re a budding neo-Nazi. However, the world is not so simple. You can dislike policies that the president enact and still approve of others.
Having a third party in the mix enables lost voters to revitalize their interest in our democratic process. If we have a third party, we can achieve real progress as new agendas can be presented. Fresh views can be added into the intellectual sphere. We need better options and we need them now.
We need change NOW
Our country is in a pretty precarious state. Unemployment is at a high. The funding for our environmental agencies has been severely undercut. Our students face crippling debt before they’re even out of school. Instead of the focus on this, it seems that the world is more interested in finding out the latest ‘tweet’ or coming up with the latest ‘fake news’.
There is too much bickering and not much actual progressive action in our country.
Our system isn’t working to our benefit any longer
Both democrats and republicans have effectively put in place ways to sustain themselves from being supplanted by any other party. This security meant that they can underperform without any significant consequences. If their candidate loses, they merely need to wait four years before they can try again.
The American citizen ends up having to deal with whatever mess is left behind. Enough is enough. We truly deserve more.