Tag: potus

Stationary Plane Leaves American Patriots Breathless

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Upon reading this headline, one may expect a miracle of nature to have occurred. It appears, though, that such an event is no longer necessary to astound everyday citizens. No, some force in Burlington did not freeze a plane in the air like Michelle Gomez’s character in Doctor Who did. The stationary plane of today sat on the ground, a hundred yards or so behind tall, outwardly sloped barbed wire fence, waiting for take-off.

From a crowd standing at a laser tag, mini golf and arcade complex across the street, murmurs grew, most of them mentioning the vice president. The plane, sitting motionless on the runway, just so happened to be Air Force Two. Surely, Mike Pence himself sat aboard, as the American patriots sat and watched. And sat and watched. And sat and watched some more.

At several strategic locations, police cars sat, lights flashing, harassing the occasional citizen. At times, they let the cars pass, parking in front of them at other times. It appears that traffic was alternating, one direction at a time, for at each point, the blockade only existed in one direction.

Running by the spectacle, I pondered why the crowd simply sat staring for several minutes. Not a thing was happening, and the brutal Vermont summer gnats were swarming the muggy afternoon. As the crowd, and the preceding and following cops, faded into the distance, so did the spectacle from my mind.

A bit over an hour later, though, my run took me back through the same location. Much to my surprise, an officer was still parked in the same location, about a half mile from the plane. Passing the first blockade, I asked the officer why it was necessary to halt traffic, and was given a short, curt response of “The vice president is leaving soon.”

Following up, I questioned what half of a traffic blockade had to do with Mike Pence. But as I kept jogging, the only sounds I heard were the tune of “Come Sail Away” in 5/4 time in my head, in perfect rhythm with the soft tone of my shoes hitting the pavement.

As the laser tag arena came into view, I noticed at once that the crowd had grown. However, many of the same faces stuck out, and I realized that they had been staring at the stationary plane for over an hour. Air Force Two was admittedly a neat sight. Yet, this was because I had been looking at overgrown fields and working-class homes for the past hour. For families with children at an entertainment complex, what was the draw? It seemed as if golf and ice cream would be much more entertaining. So, I asked several of the American patriots just what in the world was going on.

Unsurprisingly, none of the answers particularly stood out. A few of those who had been standing the entire time remarked that the vice president was leaving soon. But, those same people had mentioned the exact same thing over an hour ago. Just how long was soon going to be, and just how long would the stationary plane mesmerize them?

The most peculiar response came from a middle-aged man, who remarked that he was an American patriot, and even though he did not support Pence, this was a once in a lifetime experience. Burlington International Airport was only a couple of miles away, I thought, and he could watch planes sit still as nobody boarded or went near them any day he wanted. Maybe the neat colors on the side intrigued him.

Statism is quite an interesting ideology. The last police officer, on the opposite end of the crowd by a quarter mile, was still stopping cars with his own. When some of the drivers asked and were told of the situation, they appeared stunned, immediately losing any hint of anger or disapproval. Keep in mind, this is in Vermont, where Trump and Pence scored less than a third of the popular vote.

Despite this, the American patriots showed utter respect, almost worship, for the vice president. Though they overwhelmingly despise the man, the group, as well as the cars, appeared to simply forget this fact. The ideology of statism, surely, comes into play, for they all found Pence’s stationary plane quite interesting.

Beyond politics, it is hard to imagine such a love, such a deeply ingrained fascination, for such a hated figure. This is especially true when the figure himself is not even visible. It would have been more understandable, had Pence not been sitting in the craft the entire time.

Ultimately, every human life in existence is equal, and all possess an equal claim to life. Why, then, must even the most tribalist of us come together around a figure of destruction? The state, through its wars, drone strikes, taxes, regulations, and imprisonments, inherently hurts the individual. Arguably, the state is actually what causes tribalism in the first place, at least politically. Literally and metaphorically, I ran away from the spectacle of hero-worship, deep in thought, imagining a world where a stationary plane stained with the blood of innocents would not leave American patriots breathless.

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President Trump, Take Away CNN’s White House Press Pass

By Nick Hamilton | United States

A couple of weeks ago, Trump supporters at a rally heckled CNN’s Jim Acosta. Many in his support base believe that he spread false information via his position on CNN. This sparked, once again, a battle between the President, his administration, and his supporters against the mainstream media.

Over the last few weeks, CNN has claimed President Trump is taking away their right to free press. Well, CNN fails to realize that President Trump hasn’t signed anything prohibiting them from being anywhere. He hasn’t taken any constitutional rights away from them. It’s not like he’s signed any order saying that they can’t report certain topics. All President Trump has done is claims CNN is reporting fake news. However, President Trump should actually do more to prevent the spread of false information by CNN.

It’s time for the president to take away CNN’s White House Press Pass.

Jim Acosta is one of the most disrespectful reporters in the history of the United States. If you look at this clip, courtesy of Mark Dice, you see Acosta at a White House Press Briefing, where he asks a question, and barely gives White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders two seconds to answer him before he cuts her off and asks a follow up.

This isn’t the first time Acosta has displayed disrespect to a member of the White House. You may recall that last year, before Trump was inaugurated, a female reporter was trying to ask a question when Acosta interrupted her, trying to speak over her. President Trump then insisted that Acosta sit down and wait to be called on, but Acosta took that as a sign to keep engaging. It then led President Trump to say perhaps one of the funniest and most famous things he’s ever said to a reporter: “You are fake news.”

Acosta, who had just displayed terrible journalistic etiquette, tried to lecture Trump about how President Trump was the one being, “inappropriate.” There is debate over whether this is true, but regardless, Acosta is hardly the right person to state this. Acosta, later that day, then proceeded to complain on his home network because Press Secretary Sean Spicer threatened to have him removed from the briefing if he kept up that behavior.

Access to the White House via a press pass is a privilege. CNN is treating it like it’s their right. They’re not entitled to a White House Press Pass, and frankly, shouldn’t have one. CNN’s spread of misinformation, attempts to censor right wing news outlets, and utter disrespect for not only the President, but other reporters as well are enough reason for the White House to say that CNN is not welcome at any further White House Press Briefings. CNN acts like it’s their job to be this disrespectful, when really it’s not. As for who gets to go to Press Briefings instead of CNN? Well,  71 Republic could ask some fantastic questions, but that’s a discussion for another time.

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True Libertarian Presidents III: Grover Cleveland

By Dane Larsen | United States

“It is better to be defeated standing for a high principle than to run by committing subterfuge.” -Grover Cleveland

On March 4th, 1885, a new President was inaugurated. One fresh face of a politician, who had only 3 years of experience in politics prior to being elected to Commander in Chief. Being the Mayor of Buffalo for 11 months, then the 28th Governor of New York for just over two years, Grover Cleveland brought many new ideals that alligned with the late-19th century American public.

Whether known for his rough around the edges attitude, or serving two terms as President, just 4 years, many people forget that much of the shrinking of government in wake of the 20th century should be credited to Grover Cleveland. After his first term, he was beat by Benjamin Harrison, a GOP candidate who was in office for 4 years, and messed up almost everything Cleveland did from 1885-89. From raising taxes on every tax bracket, to enforcing protectionist tariffs, or furthering the US’ involvement in Imperialism, Harrison was anything but Libertarian. So, in an effort to bring prosperity back the White House and D.C., Cleveland ran again in 1892, and won the election to be President for another 4 years, until he stepped out  of  power.

Economic Freedom

If anything, Cleveland is known for his “no nonsense” laissez-faire economics, combined with scaling down the size of government in all aspects, but in domestic finance policies primarily. He was known and recorded to have vetoed hundreds of crazy spending proposals, including omnibus budgets, enormous pension expansions, and needless capital boosts on the military’s power. Following through on his campaign promises, he also brought the national debt down, when it was still on the rebound from the Civil War.

Cleveland was a notable fighter against tariffs. In an address to Congress of 38 states at the time, he stated “it is indefensible extortion and a culpable betrayal of American fairness and justice”, to enact such taxes on goods that in all, hurt the American economy. He studied economics independently, as he only foresaw an Elementary education, yet he was up at the top of the class when he  was admitted to the New York Bar  in 1859. During a time where the idea of tariffs were gaining traction from the misinformed, and uninformed, Cleveland stuck to his word, vetoing double digits of tariff bills in office.

Lastly, the 22nd and 24th President of the USA was a firm believer in the gold standard, rather than a government-backed central bank which manipulates money at the general public’s expense. Shortly after he was inaugurated for the second time, there was a brief Depression that ensued over the United States, prompted by the failure of a railroad being built. Over one million Americans lost their jobs, and just under 400 banks closed. Cleveland overturned a Compromise bill that forced the use of silver in the monetary policy, passed by Benjamin Harrison before him. This gave the US a more sound economic position both domestically and in the world economy.


Cleveland was also a strong opponent of the Imperialism movement of the late 19th century. While he fought against intervention into the Congo specifically, he also believed in the sovereign rights of states around the US. He believed that land shouldn’t be governed from far away, much like the Founding Fathers, and he proved this when he refused to annex Hawaii and other Caribbean colonies.

During his Presidency, Cleveland did use force to try to get his way in Latin America. Despite his lacks views of foreign policy and isolationism, he did have strong opinions on countries trying to intervene in the colonial puppets of Central and South America. When Great Britain tried to set up their Imperialist powers in countries like Jamaica, Honduras, Barbados, etc., Cleveland insisted that he spread military power to the regions to resist this imperialism. He did so with Congress approval, but he overstepped his boundaries, some say, to impose his own views on other governmental powers.

While the last act of aggression can be passed off because of its good intentions, the Scott Act of 1888 is inexcusable. During the heart of Chinese Exclusion of the United States,  the Scott Act “prohibited Chinese laborers abroad or who planned future travels from returning”. Much of what we see in the Protectionist movement in modern day America, both the Republican and Democratic parties in the late 1800’s were for limited immigration and semi-closed borders. According to the Department of Homeland Security, this denied access to between 20-30,000 potential workers.

Individual Autonomy

Cleveland’s views on rugged individualism and unalienable freedoms were more of the same, aligning with many of the libertarian-type people in power. Whether it was supporting state’s rights, the Bill of Rights, and autonomy from the state, Cleveland is much like Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding and other Libertarian Presidents of members of Congress who pushed liberty. Differently than his predecessors, however, Cleveland appointed his government employees by experience and knowledge of the job itself. By committing to a meritocracy, the POTUS set up a necessary precedent for the government to avoid nepotism, or anything of the sort.

Cleveland hits a speed bump here, where he gave in to the times he was born into. The Dawe’s Act is where Grover Cleveland signed into law, a bill which turned over a lot  of the remaining American Indian land, back to the government. It divided up the tribal land between the population of Native Americans, and the rest would be surplus, open for the white man. This broke apart the tribal structure and culture. Another fault in his Presidency was during the Pullman Strike, where Cleveland broke apart a Union of railroad workers with governmental force. He used the military and police departments to threaten with strength against this strike. Because this was a cause of concern for the general public, Cleveland intervened.

He had a short list of flaws, but some may not be looked over without batting an eye. Grover Cleveland did, however, align himself with a lot of modern libertarian beliefs, and did more good than harm in office.


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Do Trump’s Tariffs Really Protect Anybody At All?

By Kaycee Ikeonu | Canada

In a 1978 talk, the great economist, Milton Friedman, famously stated that tariffs protect consumers from one thing: “it protects the consumer against low prices!” Friedman, of course, could not have been more right, but his words are ignored with today’s trade wars and tariffs.

Such words of wisdom are essential today amid harsh criticism of free trade from the Trump administration. Some of these critiques include that the United States is losing jobs overseas to countries like Mexico, that the United States has large deficits compared to her trade partners, and most significantly, the need to protect steel and aluminium industries in the United States from going out of business.

An in-depth economic rebuttal of all of these proposals exists. Yet, it is not fully necessary, as the basic rules of economics outline the clear benefits of free trade. Adam Smith, in his famous book, The Wealth of Nations, declares it perfectly. It is in people of any nation’s interest to buy whatever they want from whomever sells it the cheapest.

This is a concept that could not be easier to grasp. When people buy products at lower prices, they then have more money to spend on other goods in the economy.

Now, let’s take a case that is about to happen: The U.S. imposes a tariff on Chinese imports, and now China threatens to put a tariff of $60B on U.S. goods. So, who benefits? The American economy? The American and Chinese consumers now pay a tax on goods. Without the taxes and subsidies on both sides, both countries would strengthen their economies. But instead, they are resorting to subsidizing the hurt regions after hurting them in the first place.

Thus, very few people benefit from this policy. Perhaps, exceptions exist in a few big manufacturers and the ego of the President of the United States.

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Ecuador is Handing Over Julian Assange to the United Kingdom

By Emily Merrell | United States

Ecuador officials are planning on withdrawing asylum from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and handing him over to the British authorities.  

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno went to London on Friday to speak at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit. He has been in a wheelchair since a 1998 robbery attempt, in which he was shot.  The actual purpose of President Moreno’s trip was to meet with the British government to agree on Ecuador withdrawing protection from Julian Assange, who has been under Ecuador asylum since 2012.

Assange first came to the Ecuadorian embassy after a warrant for his arrest following allegations of sexual assault by the Swedish government.  He denied the allegations and the case was closed in 2017. He stayed in the protection of Ecuador asylum out of worries that he would be prosecuted in the United States for publishing classified documents that were leaked by Chelsea Manning.

Assange has not been allowed to access the Internet. Officials stated that he violated an agreement not intervene in state affairs by tweeting support for leaders in Catalonia to secede last year, which angered the Spanish government.  Moreno, who was elected as Ecuadorian president in May, has considered the Wikileaks founder a “stone in the shoe” and an “inherited problem.”

A source in contact with the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the President has confirmed that Moreno is close to finalizing, if not already, an agreement to hand Assange over to the U.K. in the coming weeks.  Such an agreement will depend on the rewards Ecuador will receive by withdrawing asylum from Assange. Former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa informed in an interview that Moreno has made Ecuador a highly “submissive” country toward western governments.

It is likely that the U.K., Spain, and the U.S. will be guaranteed that the U.K. will not extradite the whistleblower to the U.S. The Trump administration has promised to prosecute Assange and eliminate Wikileaks if this occurs.

Assange only has one criminal proceeding for a 2012 arrest warrant for “failure to surrender” which carries a term of three months and a fine. However, his former arrest in the U.K. may count against the pending sentence.

The question is, what will the U.S. Government do?  The Obama Administration was very eager on prosecuting Assange and Wikileaks for publishing thousands of classified documents but came to the conclusion that there would not be a way to do so without also prosecuting the New York Times and other mainstream news outlets.  

However, the Trump administration has vowed to prosecute Assange as it is against the law to publish classified documents.  Mike Pompeo stated that Wikileaks is a “non-state hostile intelligence service abetted by state actors like Russia” and claimed, “we have to recognize we can no longer allow Assange and Wikileaks Freedom of Speech against us.”

While nothing is certain yet, the future for Assange and Wikileaks seems very threatening.

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