Tag: Democracy

Ilhan Omar Exposes Congress’ Dual Loyalty

Michael Sweeney | United States

On Thursday, Democratic freshman Congressman Max Rose of New York apologized for remarks made a few weeks ago by Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota. Her controversial comments were widely interpreted in the media as antisemitic. As a result, members of Democratic party leadership began the process this week of seeking a primary challenger against Omar, only months into her first term.

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Batman, Plato, and Meritocracy: Who Should Hold Power?

Thomas DiGennaro | United States

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is loaded with elements of philosophical theory and undertones of libertarianism. One that stands out, in particular, is the mass surveillance used to track the Joker in the ending of the film and the resulting ethical questions that arise.

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Communism Was Never a Proletarian Revolution

Rafael Augusto B.L. de Oliveira@ancient_scrolls

History has repeatedly shown us that human greed, ambition, and selfishness will never let Karl Marx’s ideas properly work in the real world. When Karl Marx wrote his ideology of communism, he envisioned a world of near-total equality. In other words, this would be a world without any division of classes or inequality. While his ideas looked promising on paper, they did not properly function in the real world. Instead, totalitarian states formed, under which the working class had even fewer rights than before. Unlike capitalism, the workers didn’t even have a slight chance of eventually joining the upper class. Continue reading “Communism Was Never a Proletarian Revolution”

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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The Freedom Caucus: Accountability or Hindrance?

Juan Ayala | United States

“[The Freedom Caucus] can’t tell you what they’re for. They can’t tell you what they’re against. They’re anarchists, they want total chaos.” – Former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

“…to solve immigration reform, House Republicans have to break precedent and bring a bill to the floor that offends the Freedom Caucus.” – Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 

“..the Freedom Caucus has ruined the Republican Party” – Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

So, just who is this growing group of conservatives and why should you care?

The Freedom Caucus: A Background

In 2009-2012, President Obama carried out his agenda through the stimulus package and poured money into the economy through government subsidies. Out of this “pork barrel spending,” the Tea Party was born. The caucus consists of candidates that were angry with what they thought were big government bailouts. Thusly, they became part of this grassroots movement to accomplish what they believed establishment Republicans were not.

According to the group’s Twitter, they support an open and accountable government, constitutionalism, and rule of law. Senators in the caucus include Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Some notable Representatives in the caucus include Thomas Massie and Justin Amash.

Relationship to Trump

The Republican Party is split over those who are openly criticizing Trump and those who let his rhetoric go by the wayside. The leaders of the Caucus are “brave, tough cookies” for Trump, as he puts it. Others like South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford have a lesser relationship with Trump. Sanford boasted an 80% positive rating with Trump’s voters and many see him as a constitutional conservative. However, his criticism of Trump led to the President releasing negative tweets about him the night of his primary. Many GOP strategists believe that these untimely tweets cost Sanford the race.

How the Caucus Operates

Congress is messy. The procedures and work schedule are an extremely difficult aspect of Congress and the Freedom Caucus doesn’t make it any easier.

Imagine you need 100 people to agree on an issue in your local community about implementing Common Core; you have 40 people in favor and 40 against. The final 20 want it abolished, to get rid of sex education and also want one of their members on the local school board. You have to give them 2/3 of what they’re asking for their support and need 51 people to agree to pass any measure, so a compromise must occur. Clearly, it’s damn near impossible to get there.

The previously mentioned 20 in the example would be the House Freedom Caucus, a group of four-dozen or so hardline conservatives (out of 199 Republican-held seats). Their presence can hinder a bill’s progress. Most notably, they killed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was supposed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump infamously blamed them for the death of the AHCA. They have also opposed most immigration reform bills.

Remember, these are voting members of Congress and their opinions can very much impact anyone’s life.

The Growth of the Caucus

There is no official membership list. The founders, Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), court candidates. Contributing to an individual’s campaign is a key part of the Caucus. Following the 2018 midterms, the Caucus adds to its ranks Ben Cline (R-VA) and Chip Roy (R-TX). They expect another five to six members to join their ranks.

New Progressives, Hardline Conservatives & The Future

On camera, Congress is always ready for a 30-second sound bite. It’s the content that gets clicks, retweets and presumably also why Ocasio-Cortez was seated on a committee that also has Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan on it. The far-right and far-left are emerging in the House. Consequently, there will be an already uphill battle to achieve a consensus on commonsense approaches.


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