Tag: White house

The Trump and Clemson Hamburger Party Is a Non-issue

Jack Parkos | United States

Yesterday, President Trump invited The Clemson Tigers, NCAA football champions to the White House. There, he served them a feast of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King. In a tweet, Trump claimed they had over “1000 hamburgers”. The White House kitchen staff was not available due to the shutdown.

Many mainstream media outlets were outraged. Of course, there are plenty of things to criticize within the Trump administration, including military action in Yemen that led to the slaughter of children on a school bus. But why is there anything wrong with a Clemson hamburger party?

Trump Hamburgers: Not The Onion

Many needed to find out exactly how many burgers were served.  Former NFL player Reggie Bush called it was disrespectful and a “slap in the face” to the winning team. However, the team appeared to enjoy the festivities in all available photos.

An opinion article in “USA Today went so far as to claim that this is a tactic to divert us from the government shutdown. This comes in spite of the fact that the president directly mentioned the shutdown in a tweet about the party. Author Christine Brennan stated:

What was the rush? Most White House celebrations occur at least a month or two after a championship is won. Why did Trump hurry Clemson into the White House a week after the national championship game? Is he really that lonely — or so desperate for a photo op with football players? Diversion, anyone?

When people think of diversions, they generally imagine major political controversies, not a Clemson hamburger party.

Moreover, a Washington Post article ridiculed the idea that Trump’s hamburgers were a mile high. In a non-satirical article, they “fact-checked” the claim, proving that, in fact, 1,000 burgers would only be 2,000 feet high. Of all of the Trump claims to fact-check, this is not worth attention. Stories like these belong on The Onion, not reputable sites.

Covering the Clemson Hamburger Party

Is this really what the media is covering? This story, in general, did not deserve much attention. At most, it deserved short stories of players visiting the White House and greeting the president. Do we really need a national debate about what they ate and why? Quarterback Trevor Lawrence said he liked the meal. It appears the team enjoyed the meal. Why does there need to be controversy over this?

There are real stories out there in America and the world, ones of suffering and glee. But the mainstream media fails to cover these. While a hacker group releases ominous files about the 9/11 attacks, we see story after story about Trump’s “hamberders” typo. They are trying to make huge controversies out of nothing. This is not a story; it is an attempt at a political attack on an enemy.

We cannot further allow the media to be a political tool. Journalists are supposed to tell stories and discuss actual issues. This siege of stories merely marks another step away from legitimate, honest journalism.


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President Trump’s Turbulent Trade Tomfoolery

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

Over the past week, much confusion has surrounded the future of the US-China trade war that Trump has moved to start. Just a few days ago, all signs were pointing toward a de-escalation of trade tensions as both China and the US seemed ready to come to the table to make a deal.

But only 2 days later, it appears that the US will be starting this trade war after all. On Tuesday, the Trump Administration announced it would enact 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in imports by June 15. The White House will also announce investment restrictions on Chinese purchases of U.S. technology two weeks later. The administration’s inability to present a clear, coherent plan threatens the stability of the market as people speculate about the future of  America’s trade policy. Over the past 5 days, the stock price of America’s largest steel producer, Nucor, has fluctuated between $62.50 and $64.50 as instability rocks the steel market. People are unsure about the fate of steel prices and are hesitant to invest in the steel industry.

Beyond instability however, there are several other issues that protectionism fails to consider. Tariffs are put into place in an effort to protect domestic companies and workers from competition from abroad. By placing import tariffs on Chinese products, the Trump administration is hoping that they can promote increased purchases on American produced products. The administration is specifically targeting protecting the steel industry, but the tariffs imposed will affect a multitude of others.

Take a look around you and notice how many things you use everyday are made of steel. The device you are using right now to read this article contains steel components. The car you drive, the tools you use, the appliances in our homes, all have important steel parts. Tariffs on steel will drive up the price of American steel and make it more difficult for companies who create products with steel components to price their own products at an affordable price. When a cost of an input in production rises, so does the final product itself. Steel tariffs will impact many industries and jack up prices across the economy.

Throughout his campaign, Trump was committed to protecting American jobs and making it a global economic force. His solution of imposing protectionist policies is not one that will lead to the greatest economic growth. Rather than isolating the US and hurting our economy, he should be looking to expand it and make it competitive in the global markets.

President Trump has already enacted large scale regulatory reform, a move that will surely help the economy boom. The corporate tax cuts introduced and signed in December 2017 have also reduced the tax strain on corporations and given them greater ability to invest and build their business. Enacting protectionist policies will only reverse the good being done for the economy.

Instead of driving up the prices of US products, which will decrease our net exports as other nations cannot afford our goods and services, Trump should aim to do just the opposite- steps should be taken to lower production costs and therefore lower the costs of final goods and services. Tariffs and other protectionist policies hike up the prices of our goods and services and make them unable to compete in the global economy.

Reducing barriers to trade is one simple way to decrease the cost of production of goods and services in the US. If the White House embraces free trade, it will see America prosper and little loss of jobs.


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The White House Weighs in on “Yanny or Laurel”

By Colin Louis | United States

In a recent Twitter video, the White House asked staffers to give their beliefs on the new viral debate over if a video posted online is saying the word “Laurel” or “Yanny.”

Ivanka Trump stood with Laurel. Kelly Ann Conway believed it to be Laurel, but is willing to use her alternative facts if needed. President Trump took the third perspective of “Covfefe”, referencing his nearly year-old tweet blunder.


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The Stormy Daniels Story is Irrelevant

By Mike McCosker | United States

If you were to tune into CNN, or any of the other liberal news outlets over the past few months, it would be inevitable that you would be blasted with ideas that the 45th President Donald Trump, is the worst human that has ever walked the planet. When allegations of a connection between the Russian government and the Trump campaign were disproved, the news went into Trump’s bedroom. Literally, liberal news organizations are so determined to destroy the character of Donald Trump that they are continuously dissecting the story of Trump’s affair with a porn star, Stormy Daniels. 1

In 2011, the pornographic actress claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Donald Trump. Trump has since declined, and then accepted the allegations that he has slept with Daniels. However, the negligible scandal comes as a result of Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, paying Daniels $130,000 in order to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the affair. 2

The Stormy Daniels story, is ridiculous, and only highlights the left’s inability to use reason to explain why their ideas are worthwhile. First, the progressive culture often highlights and promiscuity. In an article from May, 2017, the New York Post wrote an article in which they said that it was time to “rethink cheating.” 3 Using logic and normal, adult, human reasoning, that would mean that it is either right or wrong for everyone to cheat. If it is ok for everyone to cheat, then Trump did nothing wrong, and if it is always wrong to cheat, then sexual promiscuity is wrong, and liberals have a foolish platform.

Second, the government should not be in the business of inspecting bedrooms.  In America, 38 states have laws that allow them to imprison individuals for things like owning more than six dildos (Texas), or that it is illegal to get married if you have gonorrhea (Montana.) 4 These are necessarily offences against the individual, and are violations of the right of privacy, and any sort of right to self-ownership.

The third, and biggest reason the Stormy Daniels story is irrelevant is, who cares? Nobody ever expected Donald J. Trump to be a moral beacon, or the prime example of monogamy; and if they did then they should have revisited his time in the WWE, the Apprentice, or friendships with the Clintons.

Donald Trump obviously has his shortcomings, whether they are moral, Twitter rants, or decisions to start WW3 because of self-destructive patterns in the Middle East. Yet, this Stormy Daniels story is not one of them.


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Conservation Offers Reasons For Conditional Optimism, But We Seem To Prefer Feeling Glum

Craig Axford | United States

It’s become fashionable to depict our species as a greedy, stupid, and unprincipled killing machine. Unquestioning acceptance of the idea that everywhere we go we leave nothing but death and destruction in our wake has become almost compulsory in many circles.

This one-sided view of humanity is dispiriting to say the least. In addition to failing to consider the big picture or take the long view, it’s a narrative that tends to undermine the very values those proclaiming it claim to hold dear.

Consider the “obituary” published for the Great Barrier Reef in the October 11, 2016 issue of Outside Magazine.This unfortunate commentary will hopefully go down in history as one of the greatest premature pronouncements in history.

The obit for the largest coral reef ecosystem on the planet declared that after 25 million years in existence that included numerous environmental changes, at least a few of which were pretty stressful even relative to current events, Homo sapiens proved to be too much for the reef to handle. According to the article “The Great Barrier Reef was predeceased by the South Pacific’s Coral Triangle, the Florida Reef off the Florida Keys, and most other coral reefs on earth.” In the final sentence the author asks mourners to send donations to the Ocean Ark Alliance “in lieu of flowers”.

But why would anyone bother with a donation to a conservation organization dedicated to saving ecosystems that have just been declared dead? Even if this piece of hyperbole was intended to scare people into action, as presumably it was, the only reasonable emotional response to this sort of rhetoric is a paralyzing mortification.

Coral reefs are, of course, vital ocean ecosystems that are facing increasing stress from climate change, pollution, and other impacts associated with human activity. That we need to do more to protect these and other areas isn’t in dispute. However, urging people to act by falsely advertising the moment to save a particular ecosystem has passed is like including a solicitation for funds to facilitate grandma’s recovery with a premature announcement of her memorial service.

Humans have been having a profound impact upon the environment for quite some time. For example, a major extinction event on the continent of Australia has been strongly linked to the arrival of people there roughly 45,000 years ago. That the first humans to arrive in North America may have pushed much of the megafauna there over the edge has also long been the subject of considerable speculation. It’s widely understood that before European settlers arrived indigenous peoples in the Americas engaged in intensive agriculture.

However, it’s important that past interactions with the environment be considered in context. The state of human knowledge at the time is relevant to any judgment we might care to make regarding past human activities. To say that concepts like population biology and ecology were merely foreign to our ancestors is to risk underestimating the degree of human ignorance relative to our own throughout most of human history. They lacked the information needed to even speculate about the possibility of many of the theories that we take for granted today. Just 200 years ago the idea that humans might actually be able to engage in agricultural and industrial activity on a scale that would change the global climate would have been extremely difficult to imagine and impossible to demonstrate using the available data.

The good news is that as our understanding of the natural world has grown, our desire to protect it has generally increased as well. Just in the United States alone the Endangered Species ActWilderness ActNational Environmental Policy ActClean Air ActClean Water Act, Antiquities Act, and the creation of the National Park Service all serve as prominent examples of legislation that reflect changes in values that can be directly linked to increases in our knowledge.

Globally efforts to protect habitat and conserve resources have also seen dramatic advances. According to the World Bank, between 1990 and 2016 the amount of land under some form of protected status rose from 8.2% to 14.4%. Terrestrial and marine areas combined receiving some form of protection increased from 6.2% to 12.8% between 1990 and 2014.

Though greater optimism is justified, it shouldn’t be unconditional or uninformed. Realistic evaluations of the challenges we face and accurate assessments of both our progress and our failures are necessary to building and maintaining any momentum we might achieve. However, we have fallen into the habit of focusing almost exclusively upon our failures while minimizing, ignoring, or even denying our progress. The environmental movement, in particular, seems to have turned cheerleading for pessimism into a kind of dystopian art.

This toxic atmosphere of continually pending disaster has left people increasingly convinced that government is a failure and other institutions are utterly unresponsive to growth in human knowledge or evolving social values. To see the cost of this distrust and cynicism one need look no further than the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Humanity has, to be sure, failed at times. Like its individual members, our species makes mistakes. Sometimes we need to make them a number of times before the lesson of those mistakes begins to sink in. Positive change doesn’t occur everywhere at once or at the same pace everywhere it is happening. But celebrating our successes is as essential to persuading others to join us as data. Happy warriors are much better at recruiting new soldiers than those urging people to join a lost cause. The world could use a few more happy warriors at the moment.

Photo by Michael LaRosa on Unsplash

Other recent articles by Craig include: Winter Is Pub Season, But The Rest Of The Year Belongs To Nature & Equality: The Yeast That Makes Liberty Rise

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him at Medium.com