Why I have a problem with athletes protesting the anthem now (9/25/17)

Regardless of whether you are a sports fan or a socially-engaged individual, it is hard to miss the protests that have been erupting all over the American professional sports landscape.

Some athletes in the MLB and NBA, but mostly the NFL, have been “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem as a form of silent protest for the perceived racial inequality in the country. Taking a knee has generated much controversy.

The situation escalated after President Trump expressly espoused the idea of firing athletes who kneel during the anthem. On Sunday, players from many NFL teams kneeled during the anthem (with nearly the entire Steelers team not even showing up on the field) and locked arms in a symbol of unity.

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In a Sunday game against the Bears, the entire Steelers team chose to sit in the locker room during the anthem. Only one member of the team, OT Alejandro Villanueva, came out and stood during the anthem. Villanueva was a former Serviceman. (Pic: AP)

And as a long-time NFL fan, I have to say I am disappointed.

I’d like to first mention that I firmly acknowledge the right these athletes have to protest. I am not doubting their freedom of speech rights, and I am certainly not going argue against the Constitution. That is not the issue.

While I believe that all athletes should stand for the flag, because the flag serves as the symbol of our country and the protection that the U.S. military gives us, I don’t even necessarily have an issue with the athletes protesting. That is not the issue, either.

The issue I have is with the timing of it all.

It’s been over a year since the former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the National Anthem. And while other players followed, they were small in number, and nothing like it was this past Sunday.

I genuinely feel that the large number of players that kneeled on Sunday were just doing it because it was “trending” and the issue was at the forefront.  These players had a year to express their protest, but the majority of them never did.

So, why now?

While I don’t doubt that these NFL players are aware of the major police brutality cases and injustices, I doubt that many of these players believe in this cause strongly enough to kneel during the anthem. It feels as if these athletes didn’t want to stir up unnecessary controversy, but when it was made clear, as on Sunday, that everyone was going to kneel and that it was safe to do so, then they decided to do it.  It doesn’t seem genuine or heartfelt.

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Where were you guys last year? (Pic: USA Today)

As much as I dislike Colin Kaepernick, at least he was genuine and kneeled because he truly wanted to protest inequality and police brutality.  By contrast, I feel that the majority of the NFL players who kneel are just doing it for PR reasons.

And again, I’d like to stress the fact that I don’t believe that all of these athletes did this just because it was the “popular thing to do.” However, some did.  Players, like Martellus Bennett, who had once refused to protest during the anthem and are now choosing this time to attack the President and claim they wouldn’t mind being fired for doing something they believe in, are hypocrites.  They are just doing it because everyone else is.

The main concern I have with this protest is the use of “identity politics.”

I feel that a lot of these players are being pressured into kneeling when they might not necessarily agree with it. Identity politics generalizes groups of people and pressures  a person to think or act a certain way by virtue of his membership in a particular group.  However,  not all people in these groups have the same views or live in the same condition. In America, you should think for yourself and act freely, and you shouldn’t feel pressurized into agreeing with something you might not believe in.

Is America a perfect country?   Absolutely not. While the patriotic side of me would like to say yes, the reasonable, logical and realistic side says no. And while we, as a country, understand that our country has flaws, we also have to be reminded of the great things our country provides and stands for.

So, to the NFL players, next time you think of kneeling, think LONG and HARD about the opportunities this country has given you and decide for yourself if you really want to kneel or not.  Do not feel pressured into kneeling.

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Don’t be afraid to stand if it’s what you truly believe in. (Pic: SI)

 

 

 

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“Amnesty Don” (9/15/17)

Outrage sparked from pro-Trump media Wednesday night when news surfaced about President Trump possibly working with Democrats on a deal to protect dreamers.

With Democrats.

Let that sink in.

It didn’t get any better for Trump supporters, when this morning, Trump also seemed to retreat from his famous immigration wall pledge. In a series of tweets, Trump announced that the “wall” would be renovated and fixed from previous fences and walls.  It would not involve an actual construction of a new wall.

 

Pro-Trump media outlets blasted Trump this morning, accusing President Trump of straying from the hardline immigration stance he campaigned and won on.  Because Trump is already so unpopular with the mainstream media, losing the support of the pro-Trump media, which is all he has, could be disastrous for the Trump Administration.

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A pro-Dreamers rally in Texas. (Pic: LBC9 News)

“Amnesty Don” was the title Breitbart News had on its front page, along with a series of articles that slammed Trump for his seemingly softer stance on immigration. Breitbart, which is one of the largest pro-Trump media outlets, has become increasingly critical of the President since Steve Bannon left the White House.

Other well-known Trump supporters voiced their displeasure with Trump, too.

Ann Coulter, who wrote the book “In Trump We Trust,” lambasted Trump’s deal with the Democrats and even joked about impeaching him.  Some Fox News reporters accused Trump of “acting like Obama,” claiming that Trump’s ideas were clearly not America First.

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Ann Coulter, initially one of Trump’s biggest supporters, has since turned on him for retreating from his immigration and healthcare promises. 

The fury from the pro-Trump media raises an essential question: What would happen if the pro-Trump media abandoned Trump?

No doubt, it would be political suicide.

President Trump believes that his supporters are loyal because they have supported him through his many scandals and shenanigans.  However, he doesn’t seem to understand that a large number of voters supported him mainly because of his hardline stance on immigration.  If his immigration stance continues to soften, it’s safe to say that a large portion of Trump’s core support will turn on him.

The reality is that President Trump is not turning into the “Immigration Executioner” that many of his supporters had dreamed he’d turn out to be.  Truthfully, Trump is starting to act like the other Republican candidates he successfully ran against. This is especially problematic, because Trump’s promise of radical change was critical to his victory.

In the 2016 election, many people were weary of Obama and his policies. They felt that America needed a change.  Trump represented that breath of fresh air and promised a radical change in the White House.

But now, eight months into the Trump presidency, Trump’s America doesn’t seem that different from the Obama America.

Racial tensions still run high, and the country is largely divided. Trump has not made repealed and replaced Obamacare, and for now, Obamacare is here to stay and is the law of the land.  Trump’s new stance on immigration seems no different than amnesty espoused by other Republican candidates.  Remember, the then-candidate Trump railing against candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush for supporting amnesty?

It is a critical time for President Trump. While he still has a lot of time left to go in his first term, it’s safe to say that if he doesn’t start enacting some of his campaign promises, such as immigration and tax reform, he could be packing his bags in 2020.

 

 

 

 

Sorry America, no politics in this fight (8/28/17)

It was bound to be a second Mayweather-Pacquiao, right?

So hyped up, yet ultimately so disappointing and so not worth the ridiculous pay-per-view fee.

But, it wasn’t.

Floyd Mayweather v. Conor Mcgregor turned out to be a real, honest-to-goodness fight, and a genuine source of excitement and entertainment.

There was no real way Floyd was going to lose. He was the legend. Undefeated, 49-0, going for his 50th straight victory. This was his sport, and there was no chance he was going to let McGregor, a UFC fighter known for primarily using his feet to fight, show him up.

Yet, with all the odds against him, McGregor didn’t back down. He took it to Mayweather, arguably winning the first three rounds, and taking Mayweather ten, before losing via TKO.

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Floyd Mayweather (right) catches Conor McGregor (left) with a right jab. (Pic: MMAMania)

And while it was the outcome we expected, it was so enjoyable, partly because it was an example of a typical sports story we all love: David vs Goliath.

Even though it’s hard to compare McGregor to David because of his massive physical nature, in this boxing matchup, he was the big underdog, and even though we knew it wasn’t possible, he went out there and competed. He embraced the persona of the “little guy” and served as an inspiration to small guys everywhere, showing them courage and perseverance.

The best part of the fight, though?

No politics.

It didn’t seem that the fight would be politics-free, though. Both athletes had notably commented on political issues in the country.

Conor McGregor was caught singing along to “F*** Donald Trump” and has stated numerously in interviews that Trump should “shut his big fat mouth”.

Mayweather also made headlines when he called out former-NFL player Colin Kaepernick for protesting the national anthem. He also spoke about the importance of cops, calling for the black community to trust the police more.

For awhile, massive sporting events or spectacles have been used to prove a political agenda. Since Trump’s election, numerous celebrities have used their powerful status to broadcast messages of disapproval towards the current president. And while it’s good that athletes are engaging socially and politically in the world, recently, the atmosphere in the United States has been too rife with politics.

Sports has always served as a symbol of fun and entertainment. People play sports for fun and to escape reality.

Due to the political partisanship and division in the world today, politics has infiltrated the sports world.  But the fight on Saturday was a reminder of just how enjoyable sports are meant to be and that no matter how bad things get, sports will always serve as a symbol of fun.

 

 

 

The subtle consequence of Charlottesville (8/18/17)

For the past week or so, one city has prominently been in the news: Charlottesville.

Charlottesville is known as the home to the University of Virginia, one of the best public universities in the United States.

But Charlottesville’s name became synonymous with terror after an attack on counter-protestors occurred on August 12, resulting in the death of a counter protester. Counter protestors took the streets of Charlottesville to protest against a white nationalist/Neo-Nazi march, which had begun the night before allegedly to “oppose the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue.”

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The possible removal of the Robert E. Lee statue was cited as the main reason for the white nationalist protest. (Pic: AP)

Controversy erupted when President Trump, commenting on the Charlottesville attack, failed to denounce by name, white nationalists and Neo-Nazis, and suggested that the counter protesters, who opposed these hate groups were equally at fault in the violence that occurred. And while Trump, feeling overwhelming pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, did later denounce the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, he then did a complete turn around and retracted that statement and defended his original comment that the counter protesters were equally at fault.

And while there were heavy consequences for Trump and for the alt-right movement, there is one consequence of Charlottesville that has been vastly overlooked: the consequence and effect on the Republican party.

Trump won the election partly because many Americans were dissatisfied with what the Democratic party had become. Many felt that Democratic party was out of touch and that it no longer represented their interests. Many felt that the party had moved too far left and that American ideals were being lost. In addition, people were unhappy with the Obama administration and decided it was time for change. And while Trump seemed erratic, many viewed the Republican party as more moderate and true than the Democratic party.

However, after the attack in Charlottesville, the Republican party is now dangerously close to becoming identified as increasingly radical. The Republican party cannot afford to be even perceived as sympathetic toward the radical-right cause.

Trump needs to remember that he represents the entire Republican party. While his reluctance to denounce the white nationalist groups may seem like it only hurts his legacy,  the Republican party will also suffer.

If the Republican party doesn’t denounce outright and explicitly the alt-right, then it’s game over. No matter how left the Democratic party has become, most Americans will not want to be associated with a political party that has factions that support Neo-Nazism and white supremacy.

It’s imperative to remember that the ideals of Neo-Nazism are as un-American as they get, and that the majority of the United States does not condone this hatred.

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Remember what ideals we were fighting for, and what ideals we were fighting against in WW2? (Pic:BN)

 

The President needs to understand that his actions have far-reaching consequences, and that if he continues to be careless, the Republicans can kiss their majorities goodbye.

 

 

Situation with North Korea could be helpful for Trump and America’s cause (8/10/17)

While there may be initial protests by some over the prospect of war, if a war were to start, it could oddly serve as a morale booster for a country, and, if successful, a popularity boost for the president.

If we’re being totally honest, war, or in the broader sense, conflict, could be a unifying cause.

For example, after the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, President George H. W. Bush saw his approval rating skyrocket to 89%. When the successful NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia ended in June of 1999, Bill Clinton saw his approval rating go up to 60% after it had been in the low 50s for some time. And of course, George W. Bush, after Sept. 11, and after his invasion of Afghanistan in October, saw his approval rating go to record numbers of around 80-90%.

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The success in the Persian Gulf War skyrocketed H.W. Bush’s approval rating to record heights. Here, Bush announces the end of the Gulf War. (Pic: History.com)

So, as odd and insidious as it might sound, if the current North Korean crisis does escalate to a major, or even minor conflict, Trump could see his approval ratings and popularity rise if he handles the situation decisively and successfully.

And while approval ratings don’t necessarily tell the entire story of a presidency, high approval ratings could do wonders for Trump, who does care about how the entire United States feels about him, even if he acts like he only cares about his base.

Yes, the nuclear threat from North Korea is alarming, but what if the conflict never gets that serious, and Trump is able to get North Korea to back down? Not only could this do wonders for the Trump presidency, but it could work to unify the country. After all, what would unify a country more than defeating a universally acknowledged enemy?

There is a massive social and political divide in this country. It seems there are not even “small” issues that both sides can agree on. If the U.S. were to step up and resolve this conflict with North Korea, that divide could begin to repair, and a more common ground could be reached.

Now, that being said, I am by no means suggesting a major conflict with North Korea would be good, or even necessary. I am against war. What I’m saying is, if this conflict can be handled decisively by the U.S., it could be a major win for the country and for President Trump who really needs a win.

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Can Trump make Kim blink first? (Pic: CNN) 

 

 

 

Weighing the options of a possible invasion of North Korea (8/9/17)

On January 29, 2002, then-president George W. Bush used the term ‘axis of evil’ when he grouped together three countries: Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. This axis was used to describe three countries that, to the Bush administration, possessed a grave threat to the free world, either by seeking out weapons of mass destruction, sponsoring terrorism, or committing human rights violations.

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Flashback: Bush recaps early progress of the War on Terror and proclaims Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are part of an “axis of evil”. (Pic: The NYT)

For a while, Iran and Iraq dominated the headlines, and it seemed like North Korea, while dangerous, was not an imminent or a true threat.

However, in recent years, North Korea has become increasingly more bellicose and unstable, if that’s even possible. Recently, global alarm bells have been blaring as North Korea continues to make significant progress in launching or firing a long distance nuclear weapon. North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-Un, also continues to make threats to the United States, South Korea, Japan, and any other country that crosses its path.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” U.S. President Donald Trump told the media at his golf club in New Jersey, where he is spending much of the month on a “working vacation.” “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

To the history buffs out there, this pronouncement by Trump sounds similar to a statement made by the 33rd President Harry Truman to the American public about Japan near the end of World War II.

Truman’s exact words were, “If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.”

While the scenarios are different, Trump’s message is ominously clear: the U.S. would take major action if the North Koreans continued to threaten its or its allies’ interests.

While it’s unclear exactly what Trump will do if the North Koreans continue to “mess around”, one thing is for certain, an attack, or a possible invasion, to topple the Kim regime, unprovoked, is not a good idea.

Unless North Korea initiates an attack on the United States, or a close ally, there’s just simply too much to lose if the United States gets bogged down in a big conflict with North Korea.

Here’s why the United States should, for now, not take military action against North Korea.

First, there’s the issue of China.

It is no secret that the U.S. is in the midst of a “Cold War 2” with Russia and China. A U.S. invasion of North Korea could unnecessarily provoke China, who, for better or worse, remains an ally of North Korea, mainly for economic reasons. China also has many reasons for not supporting an invasion of North Korea, one of them being the possibility of a North Korean immigration influx that could occur in China if thousands of North Koreans chose to flee their country. While the United States certainly doesn’t like the current scenario with North Korea, a far worse scenario might be starting a conflict with China.

Second, there’s the mass “human loss” that would occur if the U.S. invaded North Korea. Because North Korea will throw their entire country behind the war cause, the conflict, while winnable for the U.S., would be protracted and would likely result in millions of lives lost. No one wants that. Especially after the Iraq War, there is no stomach for a war, especially if North Korea hasn’t made the initial attack. Right now, North Korea is no worse than Iraq before 2003, which had made threats to the U.S., but had not carried them out. There’s just no reason to risk lives of millions when the North Koreans haven’t initiated an attack.

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When the U.S. toppled Saddam in 2003, it was a major victory, but looking back on it, we weren’t prepared for post-Saddam Iraq. And as more and more lives continued to be lost and war costs kept rising, we began to ask, “was the world better off before or after the war?” (Pic: The Federalist) 

Finally, there’s the issue of post-Kim North Korea itself, which in reality, is just too uncertain to solve. There would be humanitarian aid and reconstruction effort to rebuild not just  North Korea, but other parts of the world affected, which would be so massive, it would likely take decades to complete. The use of nuclear weapons in the conflict, which is highly likely, would like decimate millions, and the fallout would take years to clean up.

Also, as I touched on earlier, there’s the issue of a refugee crisis with millions of displaced North Koreans, largely poor and unskilled. Where would they go, and how would they adjust to their new lives, after having been brainwashed by the Kim regime?  There would also be issues involving what to do with North Korea itself. Do we reunify the Koreas, or do we keep North Korea as is, and if so, who would govern?  There are no easy answers.

As of right now, North Korea represents no bigger threat than the 2003 Iraq. The United States should avoid getting involved into another unnecessary armed conflict, even if it means keeping Kim Jong-Un in power. While the threat from North Korea seems untenable, the threat is still not close to where it needs to be for preparations for an invasion, or even a war, to begin.

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Is Kim more dangerous than Saddam was? (Pic: Fox News) 

 

 

Dear George W. Bush, It’s America. We miss you. (7/26/17)

The turmoil of the current White House administration has Democrats so fed up with Donald Trump that they are even beginning to miss George W. Bush in office.

Yes, you read that correctly.

George W. Bush.

The man, who for the latter half of his second term, could have cured cancer and still had an approval rating of 18% among Democrats.

At the end of Bush’s presidency, most Democrats were calling him the worst president of the modern era, a pretty stinging insult, considering the modern era consists of presidents like Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter.

So, just what is it about “Dubbyah” that Democrats are starting to miss?

First of all, while detractors doubted Bush’s ability to handle political affairs, there was never any doubt over his morals, integrity, and fitness for office. He was an American patriot who took the job seriously, but never took himself too seriously.  He was constantly able to laugh at himself for his famous “Bushisms.” Bush even admitted the “brilliance” of some of his impersonators, such as Steve Bridges and Will Ferrell, and even brought up the former’s impersonation of him at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Bush never focused on the heated criticism, and remained undistracted and committed to the job of presidency.

This is in stark contrast to Donald Trump, who has infamously blasted Alec Baldwin for his impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live. Trump is also quite famous for the “war” he is waging against his “critics”, constantly denouncing news media outlets CNN, NBC and MSNBC for “fake news” and “unfair criticism”. To Democrats, Trump’s thin skin and constant overreaction to any criticism, real or perceived, makes him look unhinged.

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George Bush (left) and Steve Bridges (right) at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2006. (Pic: New York Times)

Bush also never really caused any major political scandals throughout his presidency (there were minor things, but most weren’t linked directly to him). Unlike the present, the White House under Bush was never in a state of perpetual crisis.  The Trump administration is currently dealing with a major scandal, the Russian-collusion allegations, and he is only six months into his presidency. Other smaller scandals, such as Trump’s failure to produce his tax returns and his failure to fully divest his business interests, also loom large in the Trump administration.

But above all, what Democrats may miss the most is the respect George W. Bush had for the office of the presidency.

Despite being a Republican, Bush was willing to work across party lines to achieve things that he believed were in the best interest of the American people . He never criticized former presidents, and he certainly didn’t bash any Democratic politicians.

As Bush stated in a famous interview with then Fox News host Bill O’ Reilly, “the office of the president is much more important than the occupant.” In other words, Bush refrained from bashing or name-calling his political opponents because he felt that it would diminish the highest office of the land.

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 I get the feeling we won’t see Trump and Obama doing this anytime soon… (Pic: Yahoo News)

This is much different than the “Trump rhetoric” and Trumpism, which involve personally defending the office’s beholder, Trump, rather than the office itself.

Trump has constantly criticized politicians, both Republican and Democrat.  His constant attack on his predecessor, Barack Obama, is unprecedented.  He has disparaged John McCain, Ted Cruz and other Republicans who have disagreed with him.  In the past 48 hours, Trump has railed against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who happened to be one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal supporters.  His personal attacks towards media figures, particularly women, have appalled almost everyone. Finally, his behaviour and attitude towards foreign leaders has hurt America’s status and reputation globally.

While Bush certainly wasn’t a favorite among Democrats, liberals, after witnessing all of the scandals and upheavals in the Trump administration, are starting to miss him.

And the funny thing is, it’s only been six months.  Six months.  Who knows?  After one year, Democrats might even start missing Richard Nixon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could President Donald Trump win a Second Term? Yes. (7/25/17)

Due to the continuing scandals surrounding the current president, it may be hard for both Trump supporters and Trump haters to imagine that President Trump could be re-elected in 2020.

President Trump has relatively low approval ratings as of July 25. According to Gallup, Trump’s approval rating from July 21-  July 23 was 39.1%. While the mainstream media is quick to pounce on Trump’s low approval ratings, it’s worth noting that Bill Clinton, who is considered to have been a good president, had an approval rating of 41% about six months into his presidency. Similarly, after about a year in office, Ronald Reagan had an approval rating in the high 30s, yet he won re-election in 1984 and is also widely considered to have been a great modern president.

The point that I’m trying to make here is that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. 

While it may certainly be difficult to fathom President Trump achieving anything monumental at the moment, it’s worth remembering that he is only six months into his presidency. With more than three years remaining, he still has time to turn things around, even though it might, at the moment, seem like he can’t accomplish anything.

Much can happen in three years, which is why it is still very possible for President Trump to be reelected in 2020.  Say he is able to achieve major tax cut legislation, or pass a great infrastructure bill, or he is successful in defeating ISIS.  Maybe his trade policies will create or bring jobs back to America.  What if he can foster a better relationship with Russia? All these things could easily help Trump win re-election in 2020. Trump’s loyal base support will continue to support him, and his success in these other areas could  sway independents to vote for him again.  After all, voters who voted for Trump did so precisely for his policies on the economy and his tough stance against ISIS.

Trump’s fate also lies, in part, with the Democratic party.

For many, the modern Democratic party is now seen as the party for illegal immigrants and socialists. It’s main focus seems to be about political correctness – “using correct terms” and “making sure no one feels bad” rather than about the economy or foreign affairs. To put it bluntly, the party has become almost “un-American” to some, who feel that true American ideals, American interests, and mainly, the American people, are being left behind.  It is perceived by some that the party has moved increasingly left since Obama took office, and that it looks completely different from the party that Bill Clinton was the head of twenty-five years ago.

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As illustrated by the cartoon, for many, the failure to control illegal immigration and the pandering to illegal immigrants has become a symbol of the Democratic Party. (Pic: A.F. Branco, 2010)

If the Democratic party continues to become increasingly radical, and nominates a candidate like Elizabeth Warren, or even Bernie Sanders (if he runs again) then it would be impossible to say with certainty that Trump would lose in 2020. Even though the world is becoming increasingly liberal and more accepting, Americans still want a leader who will be tough and put America first.

While Democrats are relishing Trump’s current scandals and celebrating his failures, it’s worth noting that the Democrats faced the same situation last summer, when shocking scandals about Trump and misogyny were headline news. The Democrats were arrogant, and instead of proposing actual policies, they relied on the implosion of Trump and the Republican party, expecting that that alone would be sufficient to get Hillary Clinton elected.

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Mainstream media: “After (insert Trump scandal here)… there’s no way he could become president, right?” (Pic: Time) 

The Democrats failed to recognise the difference between approval ratings and favorability ratings, believing that as Trump became increasingly unlikable, the American people wouldn’t vote for him. They didn’t realize that many Americans might have still thought that he would do a good job, regardless of whether they thought he was a good or likeable person. They failed to consider this idea, even though Bill Clinton, the husband of the Democratic presidential nominee, was a prime example of a president who might have not been well liked, but was still considered to be doing a good job in office.

In short, the onus is now on the Democratic Party.  It must decide what and who it represents.  If it fails to change and rests simply on the presumed self destruction of  President Trump, it better be prepared for four more years of Donald Trump.

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Where will the country be, and what will it look like in four years? (Pic: The New Yorker) 

 

 

Trump clearly doesn’t see “honesty as the best policy” (7/16/17)

Why can’t the Trumps stop lying?

Just days after news came to light about a private meeting in June 2016 between Donald Trump Jr, senior members of the Trump cabinet and a “Russian government lawyer”, President Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., have told the media differing stories of the meeting’s purpose.

On July 8, when news of the meeting was first published by The New York Times, Trump Jr. explained that the meeting was simply about “adoptions.” He failed to mention anything about opposition research on Hillary Clinton or agreeing to accept help from the Russian government in the 2016 election.

Fast-forward to a day later.

On July 9, more information about the meeting was revealed.  It turns out, the meeting was not about Russian adoption, as Don Jr. stated, but rather about obtaining damaging information on then-Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Documents and other information harmful to Clinton were promised to the Trump cabinet as a show of Russian government’s “support” for Donald Trump’s candidacy.

The emails about the Russian meeting can be read here.

Since these revelations have come to light, Trump Jr. has acknowledged that he went into the meeting planning to receive damaging information about Clinton.  However, he claimed that he did not receive such information, and that discussions shifted to Russian adoption and the Magnitsky Act. He insisted that “nothing” came out of the meeting.  He justified accepting the meeting on the ground  that information on Clinton was “honest political opposition research” and that he had the First-Amendment right to speak to the Russians.

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I guess they don’t teach you how to lie at UPenn. (Pic: Reuters)

 

If Trump Jr. honestly believed that the information he thought he was going to receive was opposition research, why didn’t he just come out and say that? Why did he lie or tell half truths about the meeting’s purpose?  Why did he fail to mention there were other Russian individuals present at that meeting.  Why do we still not know exactly who attended the meeting?  Why did he insist that he has told the public “everything”?  Clearly, he has not.  All the incessant lying only fuels the suspicion something nefarious or criminal occurred.

News of the secret meeting, the details of which seems to be constantly evolving, sparked outrage, and the meeting has now become a critical part of the ongoing investigation into Russia-Trump ties in the 2016 Election.

Even several Fox News commentators have spoken out and denounced Trump’s handling of the news of the meeting.

Charles Krauthammer, a respected and regular Fox News commentator, claimed that “evidence [of collusion] is now shown.”

“This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks,” Krauthammer writes.  “This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself.”

While the investigation continues, burning questions are posed: why does Trump continue to lie? What is he hiding? Does he believe that as President, he has a certain authority or right to lie without consequence?

As the Trump presidency continues, hopefully we will get the necessary answers.

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             Just what are these two hiding?  (Pic: The New Yorker)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For England, Wimbledon has a special meaning this year (6/30/17)

On Monday, July 3, the Wimbledon Championships, once again, will kick off in London, England.

In the tennis world, Wimbledon is the most special tournament. And for good reason, too.

There’s the unpredictability of the grass which always causes shocking upsets.

There’s the appearance of English royalty, the sweetness of the traditional strawberries and cream, and the class and prestige of the All-England Club.

Yet this year, something is different.

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Kate Middleton applauds after watching a semi-final match at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships. (Pic: The Sun)

Manchester. London Bridge. Finsbury Park.

All of these places have been the subject of terrorist attacks, and all of the attacks have occurred with weeks of each other.

And while this isn’t the first time that a terrorist attack has occurred in England, it’s the first time in a while that England, one of the most powerful and influential nations in the world, has looked so vulnerable.

The worst news: it might not even be over.

The UK Terror threat level still remains at SEVERE, which means that security and armed forces are still on high alert.

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Citizens leaving the area with their hands up after the London Bridge Attack on June 3. (Photo: Reuters)

While England still continues to pick itself up after the deadly attacks, it’s worth noting that one of the attacks, the attack on a mosque in Finsbury Park, was not perpetrated by an Islamic extremist.  This attack highlights the difficulty in preventing terror attacks.  As more people who don’t necessarily fit the terrorist profile resort to hatred and violence, it is nearly impossible to identify potential terrorists.

And while we condemn the Islamic extremists for their repulsive actions, there is no reason to take out anger on the Islamic religion and people as a whole. We are no better than terrorists if we attack innocent people simply because of their religion.

As former President George Bush did after the 9/11 attacks, it would be wise for British PM Theresa May to make a statement about respect for Muslims as well.

These recent attacks certainly raise security concerns for the upcoming Wimbledon tournament.  However, it is important that the tournament serves as a symbol of inspiration, tradition and entertainment and does not contribute to the fear in England.

If anything can cheer up a nation’s spirit during a tough time, it is sports.

We saw it after 9/11 with George Bush and his famous Yankee Stadium Pitch. We saw it at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, at a time where there were many doubts over government corruption. And now, we will see it in England with the greatest tennis tournament.

This is what makes Wimbledon so special this year. It can serve as a symbol of hope for Britain. It can show the terrorists that no matter how much they attack us, we will not change our lives for them. It can bring the people of England together, even at such a anxious and dark time.

And while given Andy Murray’s current form, there might not be a winner from the UK this year, we know that he, other English players, and all the other athletes will be playing with a little bit more in their hearts.