Author: James Sweet III

James Sweet is a reporter for 71 Republic from Lexington, South Carolina. He is an advocate for voluntary association and the free markets, alongside personal responsibility. As well as being a member of his school's FBLA chapter and debate team, James is the Director of the South Carolina Libertarian Youth Caucus. You can contact him at [email protected]

IRS To Issue Tax Refunds During Government Shutdown

By James Sweet III | United States

The Internal Revenue Service, despite previous reports stating that the agency would take money but not give any back, will issue tax refunds during the current government shutdown. Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russel Vought, brought relief to the citizens of the nation when he announced to reporters that “tax refunds will go out.”

The previous plan was for the IRS to take in tax returns. However, refunds would not be given out until the government was fully functioning again. Lawmakers were feeling the pressure of filing season, with many receiving calls about when the government would be functioning again. Constituents were worried that their families would not receive refunds when they needed them, giving members of Congress a reason to find a speedy and efficient solution to the problem of government funding.

In the first week of the filing season of the previous year, around eighteen million Americans claimed $12.6 billion in refunds. The filing season of this year begins on January 28th. If President Trump’s rhetoric is true, then the shutdown may still be ongoing by then.

To Republicans, this is a positive event, as they can now continue to pressure Democrats in both the House and the Senate to find money for President Trump’s border wall. Some also believe that this will allow American citizens to see the effects of the current tax laws, something that the GOP has said they had a hard time doing. To Democrats, this is something that distracts the people from the fact that Republicans are holding the government hostage. According to Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, “It’s a band-aid to try to make people feel better about the fact that the government is not functioning.”


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Assange May No Longer Face Extradition to America

By James Sweet III | United States

If Julian Assange decided to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London tomorrow, he could leave knowing that he may not be extradited to the United States. According to Ecuador’s President, Lenin Moreno, the British government has guaranteed that the founder of Wikileaks would not be extradited to any nation that may serve him the death penalty.

Moreno stated in a radio interview Thursday that he has received written assurances from the British government that they will not extradite Assange to a foreign country that could put the man to death. In the United States, Assange is facing several charges for leaking classified information regarding diplomatic cables and war crimes in the Middle East. The possible sentence for these crimes could carry the death penalty.

Assange has been hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, being granted asylum under former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. His access to the internet was cut by the Ecuadorian government, although it was recently restored, and he hasn’t seen sunlight in years. While the current President has stated he will not force Assange out, Moreno revealed that the asylee’s team is discussing what to do next.

Assange could still be extradited to the United States, however, if American prosecutors promised not to pursue the death penalty. Wikileaks revealed in mid-November that the government of the United States was pursuing charges against Assange, but they are currently sealed and the charges federal prosecutors may pursue are unknown.

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Regardless, this is an important step for Julian Assange. The activist’s chances of leaving the embassy without fear of a shortened life have increased. If he did indeed leave the embassy and was kept in the United Kingdom, it would be a victory for government transparency advocates around the world, although not being arrested is preferable.


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Cindy Hyde-Smith Moves on to Mississippi Senate Runoff

By James Sweet III | Mississippi

With 28% of precincts reporting, 71 Republic is calling the Mississippi Special Election for United States Senator in favor of Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and Mike Espy (D). As of 9:55 PM, Espy is leading the race with 44.5% of the vote. Hyde-Smith is in second place with 38.2%. The race required a majority to win without a runoff, which will be held on November 27th between the two candidates.

Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi State Senator, campaigned fiercely against Cindy Hyde-Smith, calling her an establishment candidate and labeling his campaign as anti-establishment. As tonight was a “jungle primary”, there was not a single candidate for each party. The competition between McDaniel and Hyde-Smith was expected to be the fiercest in the primary as they were the closest in a recent poll, but McDaniel only has 15.8%

Cindy Hyde-Smith is supported by the mainstream Republican Party, having garnered the endorsement of President Donald J. Trump. While Espy earned the first place for this election, due to the deep redness of the State of Mississippi, it is expected for Hyde-Smith to win the runoff election and to secure her seat as the Junior Senator from Mississippi.


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The Nature of the High School Hierarchy

By James Sweet III | United States

Hierarchies are naturally occurring, but the values that determine an individual’s placement in that hierarchy varies. The most peculiar of social structures is the one formed by the youth, whose brain is still developing. In high schools, students are often associated with groups, and those groups are placed above another group. These social structures vary according to location, like most social structures. Unlike other social hierarchies, this one is not reliant on wealth, race, or gender. Rather, the high school social hierarchy focuses on the acceptance of others.

The Structure

PBS compiled and analyzed research to determine what a high school social hierarchy typically looks like. The following is what they believe the average high school social structure looks like.

  • The “Very Popular Kids”: The athletic “alpha males” and the “queen bees”. They often have social skills and looks that make others more attracted to them. They are usually physically stronger than other students of their respective gender and may be more aggressive.
  • The “Accepted Kids”: The majority of high school students fall into this group. They are considered well known or popular and are smart and outgoing.
  • The “Average or Ambiguous Kids”: While not popular, they are also not unpopular. They are very common in friend groups.
  • The “Neglected Kids”: These students are often well-behaved students and achieve good or average grades, causing teachers to not give them special or extra attention. However, it does take them much longer to make friends, and they often do require or wish for some kind of attention from parents and teachers.
  • The “Controversial Kids”: They often have a mixed, mostly negative, reputation to their name. They may be nice with some weird habits or be bullies to kids while making others laugh with their sense of humor.
  • The “Rejected Kids”: These students are at the highest social risk. “Rejected Kids” are either submissive, meaning they withdraw themselves from social activities so as to not receive any attention, or aggressive, meaning they purposely act up or emotionally blow up if they are teased too much.

The Line of Acceptance

A student that belongs in any of the first three groups finds themselves above the “line of acceptance”. They are mostly accepted by their peers or are at least not considered unaccepted. Any students one of the last three groups are below the line. They are mostly not accepted by the majority of their peers.

The line is drawn between the “Average Kids” and the “Neglected Kids”. If you are on that line, you are, theoretically, perfectly balanced between acceptance and its opposite. The line is the halfway point towards total acceptance and domination of your school as well as complete isolation and “undesirable” status. One question arises from this: What causes one to rise or fall in this social structure?

The Aggressive Social Climb

As previously stated, the students at the top of the high school social hierarchy are likely to be more aggressive than their counterparts. In fact, a student is more likely to be aggressive if they above the line of acceptance and submissive if they are below the line of acceptance.

While you can have bullies that are beneath the line of acceptance, they are often found above the line. Some students below the line of acceptance undeniably are victims of bullying by either students in their same social status or by those above them. Those at the top of the social structure, however, face bullying and/or aggressive actions more commonly than one typically thinks.

In schools, students are taught that bullies are insecure or are mimicking their home life. This isn’t entirely true for all bullies. It may apply for the kids that are in the “Controversial” social status, but it likely isn’t the case for bullies that are on the top. Researchers from the University of California at Davis and Pennsylvania State sought to uncover the motives of bullying and found a possible answer.

Students at the top of the social hierarchy are aggressive and competing to become the king or queen of the school. In a conflict that occurs over the social climb, neither student is willing to back down. Students at the top of the social structure have more to lose than the average student. After all, a group of friends may revolve around one person, and they are very likely to defend that status as the center of their group, meaning that conflicts are usually started by those in the center and that the friends in the circle back up their “leader”.

Assuming you fit the social norms, the risk of victimization increases with your social status. Being at the top makes you a target. If you’re taken down or outdone and do nothing about it, that’s a guarantee that you are going to lose social status and your rival will gain your former place. If you continue to fall down the social ladder, there is less of a reason for those wishing to climb up to bully you.

Once a student is threatened, they are likely to undergo radical personal changes, either to prepare for the fall to the bottom or to prepare their retaliation. This conflict at the top does spill out to the social groups below them. If an aggressive alpha male drastically drops in social status, they may take their anger out on some submissive, lower status student who wishes no harm. There is little to gain from this, but it serves as an emotional vent for the fallen.

The Lesson

High school has a very tense environment. Students compete for grades and social status. So how does one ensure that they are not trampled during the stampede for the top?

One thing should be clear: do not change who you are as a person. You are a unique individual, and trying to conform yourself to the masses is a way to erode your identity.

It comes down to being able and willing to fight back. Do not initiate conflict, but do not avoid it if it comes your way. If you are willing to defend your own status, not only are you ensuring that you will stay at your current place in the hierarchy, you are also making it possible to shut an aggressive bully down and climb the ladder yourself. As Dr. Jordan B. Peterson said: “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”


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New Survey Finds Surprising Crypto Demographics

By James Sweet III | United States

Cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm, threatening the fiat currencies of major nations. The governments of these nations are very hesitant to embrace the blockchain, but their people are not. According to a survey by YouGov, 44% of Millenials believe that crypto will become more accepted in the future. This makes them the most optimistic generation of the cryptocurrency market.

Of these Millenials, 48% would be interested in switching their primary currency over to Bitcoin or another crypto. 50% would not be interested. Overall, 36% of the Americans surveyed said they would be interested in making the switch.

You wouldn’t need a survey to know that Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency among the American population. For those that like to hear numbers, you’d be happy to know that 71% of those surveyed have heard of Bitcoin before, with the second most well-known cryptocurrency being Ethereum, with only 13% of those surveyed hearing of it before.

Men may dominate the cryptocurrency community. 74% of men saying they have heard of Bitcoin while only 68% of women say they have. 27% of women said they have not heard of any cryptocurrency before, which is a significantly more amount than the 16% of men unfamiliar with cryptocurrency.

Race might play into the stereotypes of blockchain technology. 32% of Hispanics believe that cryptocurrencies are used for legal purchases more than illegal purchases. Only 12% of Caucasian’s interviewed said the same thing. African-Americans are in the middle, with 22% saying that cryptocurrencies are used for legal reasons more than illegal reasons. Overall, 17% believe that crypto technology is used more for legal transactions, while 25% believe that it is more used for illegal transactions.

Hispanics, Millenials, and men seem to be the most likely groups to embrace cryptocurrencies than the other groups in their category. Will the future of the crypto market be young minorities in a male-dominated society? Or can these numbers change with more women embracing the revolutionary technology?


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