Author: William Ramage

The U.S. Badly Needs Campaign Finance Reform

William Ramage | United States

Lack of campaign finance reform in the United States contradicts the very principles the United States was founded upon. Business and corporations indirectly control what Congress legislates. There are no laws preventing large corporations from funding federal campaigns. This results in policies of that candidate reflecting the interests of their corporate funders. They represent corporate interests rather than people. 

Take, for example, big pharma. Say they solely fund a senators campaign who wins the seat. The senator will then advocate for big pharma, possibly going against his constituency’s population and their needs. Often, big pharma will advocate price hikes on necessary drugs, turning healthcare into a business. With representative puppets, this is easy to accomplish. Lack of campaign finance reform leaves the door open for lobbying and corruption to occur. Hush money is also completely unethical, yet entirely legal. 

Campaign Finance Reform Furthers Democracy

As the Stormy Daniels affair showed, one who has more money will have a better chance of election. Simply put, he or she can cover up faults far easier. This is severely unethical as the voters will often have little idea who they are really voting for as these people can continue to cover up their dark pasts with money, and then be the face of Americans. This legal bribery greatly influences our elections and, incredibly, continues to be legal. It is unfathomable how the federal government views this as ethical as it directly influences the outcome of elections. After all, the people have the right to know who they are electing to represent, or govern the country.

Further laws fail to prevent the individual’s personal endeavors in various investment opportunities, creating yet another loophole, for the lawmaker’s personal gains. One can buy up tons of stock of a particular industry, deregulate the said industry, thus driving up the stock prices. Public office holders have the complete ability to change the legislation, potentially affecting thousands of people without their consent, in order to personally succeed. Thanks to the relaxed laws, all of this is completely legal. In this sense, our government’s design allows the upper class to maintain their elevated status at the expense of the working and lower classes.

A Move to Reject PACs

This is often overlooked by the general public, and is a persistent problem in our modern system of government. Despite the ability to get away with all of this in a completely legal manner, some new candidates have begun to pave the road towards a new future of campaigning controlled by the people. Grassroots campaigns and a rejection of PAC donations are beginning to voluntarily appear in various campaigns.

Political figures such as Beto O’Rourke, Ilhan Omar, and Dean Phillips are among dozens of progressive candidates who have pledged to reject corporate PACs. Despite the government’s open door, these candidates have taken the ethical route and it has paid off. This shows the true nature of the truest Americans as they refuse to take the apple from the snake. Instead, these candidates take the high road and fight for the correct way to hold office.

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Ocasio-Cortez: The New Norm of Congress

William Ramage | USA

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to be elected to the house of representatives. Her victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District is a victory for progressive ideas and millennials. As younger generations form the bulk of the United States population, politicians with a similar style to Ocasio-Cortez will become the new norm. Millennial voter bases favor progressive action. Congressional candidates are becoming younger and younger. Ocasio-Cortez’s drive and passion have bought an entirely new dynamic to Washington. 

The Disconnect

The world of the baby boomers and the world of today are much, much different. Traditional policies aren’t catching on with the millennials and the younger generations. The current representative base of wealthy older white men inaccurately represents our population. We tend to elect the highest educated and most wealthy as our representatives as they reflect more successful people.

The voter base needs to stop putting financial success on a pedestal for political candidates. Success doesn’t reflect the ability to represent. So why elect someone who is extremely successful living amongst a majority of those who have struggled to become financially efficient? While education is important in this field, financial gain is not. Americans need to start electing members who accurately represent their living situations. Then they will see representation that better suits working class people.

The Rise of the Millennials

Older generations are beginning to lose their influence in politics. As a result, policies similar to those proposed by Ocasio-Cortez will become more prevalent within Congress. Millennials have been subject to the policies of the baby boomer generation for decades now. Cortez is much more in touch with the younger generations. One could anticipate millennials will start running for office and push for legislature that better represents them.

However, a major criticism of younger candidates is their lack of experience and in some cases education. 

While Ocasio-Cortez’s attitude in Congress has come across to some as overly aggressive, many have found it inspiring. More and more charismatic people like her will be elected to office with the same drive and passion. It’s not abnormal or dangerous, it’s simply the attitude of younger Americans.

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Extraterrestrial Life is More Likely Than You Think

By William Ramage | United States

Extraterrestrial life has long been a well-debated topic. It is a commonly held belief that there is no possibility of life outside our own planet, when in reality there are millions, if not billions, of possible life-supporting planets. Additionally, it is possible that extraterrestrial life does not follow the same basis of life we do. For example, foreign life may not need water and oxygen, but rather could be sustained by different elements or compounds. The universe is such a vast, unexplored region, that the mere statistical chances for life other than us are so high, we can almost be certain of them.

Despite the universe being so immense and unmapped, humanity has already discovered many possible Earth-like planets, analyzing not even a fraction of the universe. We have even discovered possible life-supporting planets where we may have been reluctant to look.  For example, NASA found a very strong candidate not far from us. An American probe, Cassini recorded jets of water squirting from cracks known near the south pole of Enceladus — evidence, scientists say, of an underground ocean kept warm and liquid. The possession of water makes Enceladus a very strong candidate to support life. Water is one of the main factors that currently determines if an area can sustain life, and since Enceladus contains an underground ocean that is heated, any life forms living inside are protected from the harsh outside elements. This also expands far past one potential life-bearing planet. At first glance, Enceladus did not appear at all to be Earth-like, but at a closer look, it is. Given this, we may be overlooking many planets that have the potential to host life.

Some argue that all life must follow the same guidelines as life on Earth when in reality it is very feasible that life may not follow any of the guidelines we think to be true. It is such a strange subject to think about, yet it is a very possible factor in our search for extraterrestrial life. The very definition of life is tricky, since scientists have only one example from which to draw conclusions, and that’s Earth life. If this comes to be true, possibilities of life may be endless. We could find life anywhere which once seemed completely improbable. Unearth-like life may not rely on any water, may not rely on any oxygen, and may not have any organic compounds. We think we know so much about life, and we’re just assuming all life is like ours, but once we discover more about our universe, we will uncover more and more solutions to these issues, and also uncover new mysteries.

With all of this being said, probability is still one large factor in finding extraterrestrial life. The possibility of any life other than ours in the universe can be determined by one equation–and the results are shocking. Using the Drake equation, Scientists at the University of Washington came to the conclusion that the chance that we are alone in the universe is one in ten billion trillion. Based on this knowledge, it seems almost impossible for other life not to exist. Knowing this, we may become more enthusiastic to search for life. A newfound enthusiasm paired with such a high chance of coming to a successful conclusion will fuel and motivate our search for life.

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Government Shuts Down Because of Trump’s Ego

By William Ramage | United States

As of Saturday at midnight, the government is partially shut down indefinitely for the third time this year alone. This comes after Congress worked tirelessly to pump out a short-term funding bill in order to prevent this from happening yet again.

Even in a time as divided as we are now, the Senate was able to vote unanimously to pass the funding bill. They only required a signature from President Trump, who evidently failed to provide it.

The Senate chose their country over their party, and Trump chose his ego over his country, essentially blackmailing the rest of the government in order to get what he wants. This is simply rendering the system of checks and balances useless.

This is the first time in 40 years that the government has shut down 3 times in one year alone. Once again the president is putting his own personal prospects before the needs of the American people. Trump failed to provide a signature as the new funding bill did not fund his border wall.

Not only is the wall an unfathomable idea, but it is also not a required piece of infrastructure, and certainly not more important than the very government that controls our nation. Trump chose not to represent his people but rather himself, postponing the running of our democracy.

The crude, stubborn, and indifferent actions of our leader have caused more than 400,000 to be out of their job and out of pay until a deal is reached to satisfy our president and his childish behavior. He claims to bring back jobs to Americans yet he cannot manage to retain the ones that should stay steady and permanent.

Our president has gone rogue, not even adjourning to his own party. The needs of the American people should be the first priority of the government, and the egoistic desires of singular people in office should not even factor in.

Maintaining an operational government should be within the least of our lawmakers’ worries, however, it has continued to prove a struggle point for our underqualified president. The ability of the entire Senate to agree on this funding bill demonstrates that our greatly divided nation is able to unite over the important issues, however, our president is unable to even consider putting his wants aside for the needs of the entire population.

We cannot claim to be the best democracy in the world and set a precedent for other rising democracies if we cannot manage to keep our own functional and running smoothly. We need to put aside individual desires for the prosperity of our nation as a whole.

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

The U.S. Stance on Marijuana Is Contradictory

William Ramage | United States

Multiple nations around the world are shifting towards marijuana-friendly policies. However, the United States has remained highly conservative on the issue. Despite numerous breakthroughs in the medical use of marijuana, the majority of the United States has yet to legalize any form of cannabis. Given this steadfast view on marijuana, why does the United States take such a liberal approach to alcohol?

The Alcohol Comparison

Alcoholism, drunk driving, and alcohol poisoning contribute to 88,000 annual alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. Alcohol is the third highest cause of preventable death in America, falling short to tobacco use and physical inactivity. On a global perspective, alcohol-related deaths account for 5.9% of total deaths.

In spite of this, modern society has normalized the use an abuse of alcohol. As a result, it often overlooks these looming problems. This normalization of alcohol is a result of alcohol use being prevalent throughout the majority of human history; we are simply used to it and have grown accustomed to it. In the early days of our republic, there was an effort to outlaw alcohol.

The Temperance Movement came from alcohol plaguing the common man. In fact, many would spend far too much of their wages on liquor. This negatively impacted his family and resulted in many inter-familial tensions. The movement was mildly successful but eventually died out completely.

Present day marijuana resistance, on the other hand, is essentially an unorganized, government-led temperance movement. It is preventing the population of our “free” country from using it medically and recreationally without a specific reason to ban it. In fact, a nationwide legalization of marijuana would be beneficial on various levels, far more so than alcohol is.

Marijuana and Medical Benefit

Marijuana has many health benefits, including being an effective painkiller. Cannabis can absolutely be an addictive substance. However, addiction is fairly uncommon and less dangerous, especially compared to opiates like morphine and codeine. These drugs, though, are legal in the United States for medical use. One can very easily overdose to the point of death from using these opioids, while it is impossible to do so from marijuana.

A number of studies have shown that marijuana use helps to curb vomiting and nausea in chemotherapy patients. The government should not be preventing these patients from receiving the treatment they need; it is unfair and the benefits greatly exceed the minor risks. There is also some evidence that suggests marijuana can target cancer cells without harming normal ones.

If applied on a national level, medical marijuana could cause a breakthrough in cancer research. Marijuana is a very low-risk drug, far more so than many legal ones. America’s decision to legalize cannabis in all forms is long overdue, and its strict policy on it is incredibly contradictory, given the legal status of other drugs, both recreational and medical.  

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