John McCain: A Man of Honor or Disgrace?

By Atilla Sulker | United States

Society often uses death as an excuse to exempt the deceased individual from criticism. This is especially true in the case of a person of honor, a statesman, or in the case of John McCain, a war hero. To come to a consensus of truth, however, we must remove this lens and never lose sight of the individual’s shortcomings.

We can all agree that the death of any individual is sad and doesn’t warrant us to insult their character, especially considering that they are no longer in this world to defend themselves. But at the same time, we must break out of this idea that once an individual has died, they are vindicated of all shortcomings. In the case of John McCain, I don’t use the term “shortcomings” lightly.

What is a hero? First, consider the context of the question. In the case of a tall tale, a hero could have otherworldly attributes. In the real world, a hero could be considered someone with great achievements and courage. Of course, contemporary society places the titan Arizona Senator in this category.

Then presidential contender Donald Trump found himself in hot water in 2015 for proclaiming that the Arizona statesman was not a war hero. Before addressing this point, it is important to know as to how that whole debacle started. Trump infamously questioned McCain’s valor in an interview in which he was criticized for calling John McCain a “dummy”. It is important to understand that Trump referred to McCain as a “dummy” before he questioned McCain’s heroism.

Looking back at the interview, it appears that the interviewer immediately brought up McCain’s war hero status in an attempt to invalidate Trump’s comment. This well exemplifies the elitist fabric of society’s perception of statesmen and “heroes”. Their hero status exempts them from any criticism, even if the criticisms have nothing to do with questioning valor. When Trump referred to McCain as a “dummy”, he was responding to McCain referring to Trump’s supporters at a Phoenix rally as “crazies”.

In regards to Trump’s latter comment that McCain’s capture was not an act of heroism, one must reassess the attributes of a hero. Does POW status necessarily align with hero status? Can hero status also include POW status?

Vicente Lim is an example of an unsung WWII hero who also happened to be a prisoner of war. Lim not only was a general, but also helped in the Filipino resistance against the Japanese. The Japanese captured and executed him in 1944. McCain does not fit this description, even though he was a POW. Yes, it is true that he endured great torture and pain as a POW, and this deserves a badge of courage, but it should not give him automatic hero status.

Additionally, this discounts the importance of the many other POW’s who were captured alongside McCain. There are countless other individuals, such as Senator Tammy Duckworth, who have sacrificed much more and even shed blood. To call McCain a hero and not recognize the actions of those who have sacrificed far more is an insult to these unsung heroes. Perhaps it was McCain’s background that lead to his fame, particularly the fact that his father was a navy admiral.

Heroism depends on context. If the context is an undeclared, unjust war, would we refer to our troops as heroes, or rather servants of the state? This question is especially important during the eras of the military draft.

Dr. Phillip Butler, who was a fellow POW alongside McCain, notes an important attribute of the great maverick: his infamous volatile tendencies. Butler describes McCain’s volatile character as being linked to his policy proposals, for example, the continuation of American empire through the provocation of further conflicts. Unfortunately, as Senator, this volatile mind already helped shape a substantial amount of U.S. foreign policy, including helping to supply the supposed “freedom fighters” in Syria. Ultimately, though, the Islamic State either defeated or converted many of the rebel groups.

Among other things, McCain is no friend of civil liberties. After all, he, along with co-sponsor Russ Feingold, put into effect the McCain-Feingold Act, which placed further limits on speech in an attempt to supposedly implement “campaign finance reform”. McCain also voted in favor of the Patriot Act, among other bills that limited privacy. Dr. Ron Paul has always stated that a common problem in the way we solve things is we treat the symptoms rather than cure the disease. McCain did exactly this throughout his career. Increasing size of government has led to the phenomenon of “dark money” and cronyism in politics. The “dark money” is simply a symptom of the expanding nature of government.

What strikes me most about McCain is the public perception of him being a “maverick” for standing up to his party. This may seem like an honorable quality, on the surface. But looking closely, it is simply another way of saying that McCain represents the epitome of failing bi-partisanship in Washington. There is certainly nothing of “maverick” quality in someone who is so cozy with the establishment that he embodies this bi-partisan spirit. Being a sort of mediator between the two parties does not make someone a “maverick”, especially when the establishment bases of the two parties are virtually identical. Both parties are in favor of gradually curtailing human individualism and free will. It is simply a matter of picking your color of poison, and John McCain picked both red and blue.

McCain was indeed an enigmatic character in many ways. His experience in Vietnam shaped his stance on torture, and he wasn’t afraid to cross the aisle in search of allies. But McCain’s public perception absolves him from blame from his many clear faults. Labels such as “war hero” should not immunize an individual from criticism, for under the immunity lies a man whose policies have killed thousands, civilian and soldier alike. And so henceforth, the question then becomes: “On August 25th, 2018, did America lose a hero, or just another dangerous arm of the state?”


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U.S., Mexico Reach Overhaul Deal, Canada Pressured to Agree

Eli Ridder | CANADA

The United States and Mexico reached an agreement on Monday that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and put pressure on Canada to agree to new terms with the aim of reaching a final deal by Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto said that negotiations with Canada would start immediately, however, Trump threatened tariffs on Canadian auto imports if a trilateral deal could not be found.

“They used to call it NAFTA. We’re going to call it the United States-Mexico trade agreement. We’ll get rid of the name NAFTA,” Mr. Trump told gathered reporters, explaining the name had a “bad connotation”.

NAFTA negotiations have been ongoing for over 12 months in an attempt to modernize the tri-country agreement that launched in 1994, but continuous threats by the U.S. president has hurt markets and dollar values in both Canada and Mexico.

Canada is encouraged by the new developments and will continue to negotiate for a deal, but will only sign onto an agreement that is good for the country, a spokesman from Global Affairs Canada said soon after the news broke.

“Progress between Mexico and the United States is a necessary requirement for any renewed NAFTA agreement. We are in regular contact with ur negotiating partners, and we will continue to work towards a modernized NAFTA,” Adam Austen told Reuters.

Markets in all three countries opened higher on optimism over a trade deal that would bring some stability to the economic uncertainty caused by the talks.

“A big deal looking looking good with Mexico!” Trump tweeted on Monday morning.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will be able to sign onto the deal before he leaves office on Dec. 1, and it is expected that Trump will send official notice to the United States Congress within the week to formally signal an intent to sign a new trade deal.

Mr. Nieto has been vouching for a trilateral agreement that would include Canada since negotiations began in 2017, and said as much on Monday when he tweeted that he wants Canada’s re-incorporation “to achieve a successful trilateral negotiation of NAFTA this week.”

However, it is not yet clear how or when Canada will rejoin the talks.


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Free College Harms More Than It Helps

Indri Schaelicke | United States

It’s midterm season, meaning that the lore of socialism is gripping every voter’s concience. Socialists have added the misnomer “democratic” to their political identification in hopes of persuading the last few sane voters that their ideaology is rooted in the same false peace and prosperity that Americans believe the United States is.

Among many, there are several socialist policies that appeal to constituents. Chief among these is the prospect of fully government subsidized, tuition free college. Proponents of a free secondary education program advocate for such a measure because the price of attending university for has steadily increased over the recent years.

https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/2017-trends-in-college-pricing_0.pdf
Courtesy of College Board

While this is true, they fail to realize that the reason the price of college is climbing is due to government intervention in the secondary education market. As colleges add more amenities and luxuries to appeal to prospective students, the cost of these upgrades must be compensated for in tuition and fee increases. Because the cost of tuition increases, many more students are unable to afford the price tag, meaning that they must make ends meet through money from an outside party. Government has extended what seems to be a benevolent hand to those students who cannot afford college, offering grants and loans. However, these grants and loans actually contribute to the exponential rise in the price of college.

As colleges continue to hike their tuition and fees, the federal and state governments are continuing to give more financial aid. This does the opposite of bringing costs down-it actually encourages colleges to continue to increase their prices because they know that whatever price they set, the government will always be there to bridge the gap between what students can afford and what the real price is. If governments stopped subsidizing college education, prices would actually stop climbing and perhaps even drop. Government created the mess we find ourselves in now, and will only continue to worsen the situation if left to its own devices.

The best way to lower prices again is to remove all subsidies from secondary education markets and eliminate all barriers to competition. Once the impediments are taken away, colleges can compete among each other to offer the best combination of affordability and quality education to students, the consumers of the market.

Part of the problem today is that schools push all students to pursue higher education. This creates a high demand, which also contributes to the hike in tuition prices. Rather than making secondary education seem like the next step along every student’s career path after high school, adults should emphasize the need for students to find a career that is appropriate for their talents and also brings them joy. Only about 19% of undergraduate students graduate from their university within 4 years, a troubling sign. This statistic, coupled with the fact that the average student changes their major 3 times and 80% of students change their major at least once throughout their college career is a telltale sign that many students are pushed into going to college without any real idea about what they wish to study. And why should they? 18 year olds fresh out of high school should not be expected to know what they wish to spend their entire adult life doing.

Supporters of a free college for all system hope that this program would help equip students better so that they may be more competitive in the job market. The issue with a free, government subsidized higher education system is that it floods the market with workers of equal qualification. This greatly devalues the degree attained and makes the 4+ years spent studying to earn the degree almost a complete waste.

Due to the relatively modern push for all high school graduates to achieve degrees in higher education, there is a shortage of workers in the industries that require mere technical degrees and certifications. This shortage has caused the median salary of plumbers to be $50,181 per year, while the median yearly salary of an elementary school teacher is $44,195. The elementary school teacher spends at least 4 years in school, racking up debt and spending precious years out of the work force. On the other hand, plumbers can become certified and begin working after just a few years of technical school, accumulating little to no debt and joining the work force earlier. It is being proven more and more that the idea that one must attend college to become wealthy and successful is false.

The government’s intervention in the secondary education market has drastically increased the cost of tuition for every student, and its attempts to solve the issue are only worsening the issue. To truly solve this crisis, adults must stop pressuring all students to attend university and the government must end all subsidies and barriers to competition in the market.


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Larry Sharpe to be Featured on The Joe Rogan Experience

By Kenneth Casey | United States

Early Sunday morning, New York State Libertarian Party Gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe took to Twitter to announce they he will be a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience on September 5th, and that the event will be live-streamed from 6:00 EST to 7:30 EST.

If you’re unfamiliar with who Joe Rogan is, he is arguably the most prominent figure of Alternative Media and the host of the 4th most popular podcast on ITunes as of August 26th, which puts him ahead of The New York Times’ The Daily and ‘Oprah’s Master Class: The Podcast’.

He’s earned the reputation as an open-minded podcaster who’s willing to talk to any culturally relevant figure. He’s had discussions with prominent right-wing figures such as Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder, and Jordan Peterson, as well as left-wing figures such as Bret Weinstein, Kyle Kulinski, Sam Harris and Cenk Uygur, just to name a few. He’s also had on some highly controversial figures like Alex Jones and Ted Nugent. Rogan offers something you just can’t get from mainstream media.

For Sharpe, this is a huge deal for his campaign. Rogan gets millions of downloads on every one of his podcasts, and I don’t think it’s far-fetched to argue he’s a more influential voice and reaches more people than anyone on radio or anyone in mainstream media. Sharpe has run an impeccable campaign which has lead him onto prominent shows such as The Rubin Report and Kennedy, as it’s very rare for a Libertarian Party candidate (or any third party candidate) to receive that type of media attention.

To listen to the podcast when it hits the air, subscribe to Joe Rogan’s YouTube Channel and turn on notifications to receive an immediate alert when it goes live. You can also download his podcasts on iTunes or your favorite podcast hosting site.


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Several Shooting Deaths Reported at Madden 19 Tournament in Jacksonville

Ian Brzeski | United States

Shots were reported at a Madden 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida today, which was being live streamed on Twitch. People tuning in to the stream were able to hear a dozen or so shots. Authorities confirmed “multiple fatalities” at the scene, including the suspected shooter. The event was being held at GLHF Game Bar in an upscale area known as The Landing.

Since it was a stream, the clip was recorded, and viewer discretion is advised.  In the video right before the shooting occurred, you can see around the 27-second mark that a red-dot appeared on the shooter’s chest. Right after, the recording of the players cuts out and leaves only the Madden gameplay. A couple seconds later, gunshots could be heard along with the screams of the people.

The player on the stream who had the red-dot on his chest was shot 3 times. He was a professional Madden player who played for the Bucks Gaming Team. “I have to get to him. I am four hours away from him and I have to get to my son,” the mother of the deceased player said on the phone.

Authorities have reported that 11 people were shot and there are 4 confirmed deaths. The shooter, identified only as a white male, is also dead at the scene. The scene of the shooting has been cleared and many people were evacuated out of the building. No more details have been released so far.


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