Category: CitPolitics

Trump: America’s Hitler

There have been, since early fall, a number of comparisons made between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler– and in response, a number of defenses against this assertion.

Opinions aside, you can’t refute the facts (unless, of course, you’re Kellyanne Conway), so let’s explore Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in the 1930’s:

Germany in the 1930’s was a dismal picture.  The country had just bitterly lost WWI and was forced to pay enormous reparations for its role in the conflict.  These reparations swiftly devalued the Deutsche mark and caused a period of devastating economic decline.  Germans had lost faith in the government and were seeking elsewhere for salvation; enter Adolf Hitler.

Hitler ran for president in the 1932 election and was resisted vehemently by the German establishment– only fueling anti-establishment Germans’ support for him.  Though he lost the election (by 16.2%) he was appointed chancellor in 1933– and with the president’s death in August of 1934, Hitler assumed his new position of Fuhrer.

Hitler garnered support for the Nazi party on the premise that he would “make Germany great again,” a promise which resonated with a struggling people.  Hitler’s platform included a few major points which may sound familiar:

  • A “war” against establishment politics
  • An immigration freeze (i.e., no aliens, no refugees)
  • Press censorship if the printed word defames the Reich or population
  • Freedom of religion as long as it doesn’t offend the German moral

At this point it’s absurd to disregard the parallels between Hitler’s assumption of power and Trump’s.  Both men took advantage of a rightfully defeated people to realize their own agenda.

Make no mistake, Donald Trump’s near immediate censorship of national agencies and media outlets alike, his blatant disregard for facts (bonus: his claim to the authority to rewrite fact) and his intent to keep all of his campaign promises is the beginning of a Fascist America.

It is inadmissible for Americans to sit by in silence as we watch a play we’ve seen before. Nazi Germany didn’t plan on being Nazi Germany– their failure was recognition.  If we can recognize the Trump administration for being what it is, maybe we can save ourselves.

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Manufacturing Job Aren’t Going Overseas; They’re Becoming Obsolete

The office of Donald Trump, as well as millions of blue collar workers across the country, are screaming for a revival of the blue collar job force.  Families that have worked in industry for generations are seeing their local plants and mines shut down en masse, and they’re angry– rightfully so, I might add.

Trump and his cabinet have now officially proclaimed their intent to bring back manufacturing jobs and  revitalize the coal industry.  A move such as this would help all of those pissed off heartland Americans who feel their voices are going ignored and their struggles discounted.

Right?

Well, not really.

The reason that the United States has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 has very little to do with international trade deals, and very much to do with the pending obsolescence of those very jobs.

The first industrial revolution boasted a great American progress.  Manufacturing was the newest industry, and human labor was the latest technology.  American factories employed the vast majority of the urban population– a tradition to be clung to for the next 100 years in the United States.

It could be asserted that the second industrial revolution is already well underway, as conservative projections land the portion of manufacturing tasks performed by robots at 25% by 2025.  Growing automation in manufacturing has largely made human employees outmoded.  Why hire 100 men to do the work that 15 robots could do faster and with less error?  From a business standpoint, it only makes sense to carry out all manufacturing automatically– a fact of which Donald Trump, a businessman, should be well aware.

That’s not to say that Trump’s administration won’t create new manufacturing jobs for Americans, because they very well may.  To create manual manufacturing jobs, however, is only putting a band-aid on the employment problem.

A sustainable, long term plan would include affordable tech education– be it certificates or college degrees– that would allow those robbed of their manufacturing jobs to learn the new trade.

Maybe it’s time for a new revolution, wherein American workers are leading in tech development rather than being robbed of their jobs by that very tech.

The bottom line is that somebody, somewhere is going to be developing this new technology.  If the American people and government refuse to adapt, it is almost guaranteed that we as a nation will be left behind as the rest of the developed world progresses.

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6 Hours in Office: Trump’s First Executive Order Attacks Obamacare

Just hours in the oval office and Trump signs in his first executive order, aiming to “minimize the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal.” What exactly does this mean?

Well, nobody knows.

Donald Trump is playing his usual “wait and see” game, as though building the suspense of the nation is going to somehow garner support for his charge on Obamacare.

The bottom line is this:

Without the ACA, millions of Americans would be without both preventative and reactive medical treatment.  Families across the country would be in agonizing debt while receiving the care they so desperately need, and to defund Obamacare without having a legislative replacement is downright irresponsible.

The only thing that could be meant by “easing the economic burden” would be a re-allocation of tax dollars to other programs, leaving ACA beneficiaries aground indefinitely.

Let’s be clear– this isn’t a win for anyone.

A Modern American Civil War

The 2016 election was divisive and tumultuous.  Sixty-three days ago, the American people (roughly half of them, anyway) voted an inflammatory, uninformed, careless, politically inexperienced egotist into the most important office in global politics.  One week from now, that man takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  That day could potentially be the beginning of a precarious situation for the American people, given that numerous demographics feel not only unrepresented but altogether beleaguered by our President Elect.

A modern American civil war would be decidedly unfortunate for all parties involved (and most parties not involved) and this piece is not meant to abet or condone a civil war, but more to explore what a modern American Civil War would look like and how it would affect international politics.

The Preceding Weeks

There are currently roughly fifty documented, planned protests and demonstrations for January 20th and 21st, not only in Washington D.C., but in major cities all over the nation.  It’s fair to expect more spontaneous demonstrations to crop up that weekend, as well as responsive demonstrations by the other side of the spectrum.  Tensions have been high essentially since the election day demonstrations that erupted, and it would be cogent to assume a similar display on and around Inauguration Day.

Senate Republicans are already taking steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act— a move that has been staunchly resisted by Democrats across the board.  The regrettable truth is that the Republican majority allows for such a repeal to pass within the very near future.

An ACA repeal would strip this spring’s millions of expected college graduates between the ages of 22 and 26 of the health insurance that the ACA guarantees them under their parents’ plans.  Unfortunately for these budding adults, an ACA repeal would also almost ensure that employers would drop healthcare plans that they’d no longer be penalized for curbing.  This leaves nearly twenty-six million young Americans high and dry; young Americans who are vocal, motivated and eager to see change.

Forcing a legislation shift as drastic as this with no Democratic competition would be devastating and antagonizing to an already embittered demographic.  With more millennials now involved in politics than ever, there would be protests both organized and not.

At Home

If the new administration holds true to all of its threats (and promises), it won’t take long for peaceful demonstration to cultivate into all out civil disorder.  The difference between the strife of the 19th century and the strife of today is that there is no line– real or imagined– separating “us” and “them.”

We live in an integrated world.  Civil war no longer means a territorial dispute, and nobody could attempt to secede without serious protest from half of the population of any given state.  The civil war in Syria is a prime example of what a modern civil war looks like, given a revolt and a governmental power struggle.

Given the current domestic political climate, growing discord among marginalized demographics, and the recent militarization of our police force– a full blown civil war would emerge with great momentum and force.

The first, most charged manifestations would likely be from factions like Black Lives Matter and the newly emboldened white nationalists.  Rioting would take place in large cities across the country, but likely would be concentrated along the East Coast.  Tensions would build due to the rioting, causing smaller skirmishes and violent crimes in the heartland and across the South.

From there, the conflict would augment as the authorities attempt to maintain control of the growing situation.  A militarized police force would react harshly to such widespread violence, in turn shifting the focus partially to the police– a situation already unfolding in recent months.

In a clash between American nationalists, liberals and the government the resounding effects would be near impossible to predict or measure.  The only definitive outcome is a weakened America, which is unmistakably bad news for greater world affairs.

Abroad

Civil war in the United States would hardly go unnoticed, as unrest is already forecast by much of the international community.

At first, the U.S. would halfheartedly maintain its European installations, though the force would be sparse.  The host nations would surely have their suspicions, creating a visible threat to their stability and stoking nationalist tensions.  There would be an almost immediate uptick in racially and religiously motivated violence, as well as economic decline.

At this point, Russia would enter Europe in a bid to expand its sphere of influence.  There would be a swift destabilization of Europe as Russia attempts to install friendly governments throughout the Balkans– a move which will help to weaken the EU and reestablish Russia as a leading world power.

China would almost immediately know about any American conflict, and would take the opportunity to pressure Taiwan into reunification.  The Chinese government would be slower to act than Russia, but would monitor the situation and seek control of resource rich islands throughout Southeast Asia– a campaign which only Japan could defend against.  We could also see Chinese interference in the American conflict in an attempt to profit off of arms deals.

India and Pakistan would turn into a proxy Russia V China conflict, resulting in a series of border skirmishes that would slowly escalate.  The United States would obviously largely pull out of the Middle East, causing the situation there to continue amplifying.  Uncontrolled conflict in the Middle East would precipitate an even greater refugee population, and in turn stir the nationalism weakening Europe to Russian influence.

The Odds

The odds of a modern American civil war are mediocre at best.  I don’t foresee a full scale conflict in the coming months, but I don’t see absolute peace either.  The likely result will be constant demonstrations and skirmishes between organizations and authorities– because the unrest is undeniable at this point.

America indisputably made a mistake this past fall.  This isn’t a matter of Republican versus Democrat– this is a matter of right versus wrong; knowledge versus ignorance; humility versus pride; nationalism versus diplomacy.

–Rowan Seets

Advisers: James Cooley, Cody Hunley

Can Trump Align with Putin?

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During the most recent election cycle in the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support for then candidate Donald Trump, who went on to win the election.[i]  Russian diplomats even reached out to Donald Trump’s campaign to discuss the war in Syria.[ii] Now that Donald Trump has won the presidency we need to take a serious look at his foreign policy positions, and of the most interesting to investigate are his plans for better relations with the Russian Federation.

Since the end of World War II, Washington and Moscow have not had the best relationship. During the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union fought several proxy conflicts and almost two major conflicts–in Germany in 1947 and in Cuba in 1962. From 1947 to 1991, the US and the USSR vigilantly formed their own spheres of influence that were in direct conflict to one another. Both the US and the USSR pursued strategies of containment to limit the influence of their adversary. One could argue that this antagonizing sentiment in American and Russian governments is long gone, however both world powers have spent years creating alliances among smaller, less powerful states that put American and Russian interests at odds.

Trump has assumed office during a very trying time for world politics. States today face the issues of war in the Middle East, waves of refugees leaving those areas affected by war, climate change, and a tense situation in Europe. The Kremlin has pursued policies during these times that are often in direct opposition to American interests. In the Ukraine, for example, Russia has armed rebels intent on destabilizing the state and they have even annexed a portion of the Ukraine.[iii] In Syria, Putin has stood by Bashar Al-Assad and conducted airstrikes against Syrian rebels–most of which are armed and trained by the United States and US civilian aid efforts.[iv]

The Kremlin has recently stated that it believes a Trump presidency will lead to a warming of US-Russian relations and Trump has expressed similar sentiment–but can they really reset their relationship? It’s hard to see how they could. Donald Trump has run on the promise that he will defeat ISIS and that he knows more about ISIS than the United States’ generals do.[v] Russia is also for destroying ISIS, however the Syrian conflict is a three-way war and the US and Russia have sides fighting ISIS and fighting each other. It would be impossible for a Trump administration to abandon their coalition in Iraq and Syria now and switch to a side that is pro-Russian, because that side is also pro-Assad, pro-Iranian, and anti-US ground soldiers. The side aligned with Russia is pro-Assad because Russia’s number one goal in Syria is to keep the Assad regime, a long time military and economic ally of Russia, afloat.[vi]

It is pro-Iranian for the same reason. Iran has been a strong ally of the Assad regime and they have even sent troops to help defend Assad.[vii] Republicans in Washington have long been against US-Iranian cooperation, it’s doubtful that American and Iranian forces would fight directly side by side under the guide of a full Republican government. Finally, to align with Russia in the fight against ISIS would require Donald Trump to end the aid of moderate opposition forces against Assad–forces that the US has fostered since 2011.

So, if Donald Trump just abandons our efforts on the ground in Syria then he could, in theory, side with Russia–and he may very well do that.[viii] However, we must not forget about the strongest US ally in the Middle East: Israel. Israel is not a friend of Assad and it’s highly unlikely that they will be in favor of the US aiding Assad in his fight alongside Russia, against ISIS. This goes back to my original claim that there are too many conflicting alliances with other countries for a unilateral reset with Russia. Just aiding Russia in this one conflict would be a dramatic change in US foreign policy and it would create cooperation with adversaries and conflict with allies.

This is not the end of the conflicting interests either. One more example is in Europe. Trump has come out in support of Putin’s territory grab in Crimea and has mentioned lowering US involvement in NATO. Could Donald Trump actually back the US out of NATO though? The situation in Europe is tense and Putin has not only threatened, but actually moved nuclear capable missiles close to NATO countries.[ix] Is this a stance that Donald Trump could take? Could he really abandon long US allies in Europe as tensions between European nations and Russia are at a longtime high? It’s hard to tell. Certainly Donald Trump could not singlehandedly shift US policy to a pro-Russia stance and if Washington and Moscow even were to warm relations, it would require a long and cooperative effort by many states.

To ease tensions, the US and Russia would have to seriously negotiate more than what has been mentioned in this article. Currently, Russia is under economic sanctions put in place by the United States and the United States is actively pursuing policies to damage the Russian economy. People do not have to look far to see these efforts either; just drive down to your local gas station and compare the current price to the prices of a few years ago. The US has increased its energy production and OPEC nations have kept production levels high, thus dropping world oil prices low in an effort to hurt the Russian export based economy.[x] Trump has campaigned on a message of bringing back American jobs too, so it’s unlikely that he’ll drop US oil production.

The next four years should be interesting as far as foreign policy goes. There will either be an international movement and several shifts in power or nothing will change.

Most likely nothing will change.

–Cody Hunley

Why You Should be Worried About the Alt-Right

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I’ve heard the term “alt-right” thrown around a lot this election cycle, but never until recently decided to see what this young conservative faction is all about.

Sources credit the internet with the birth of the Alt-Right movement, so I figured: what better place to start?

Simply Googling “Alt-Right” didn’t seem like the right place to begin, however.  A simple Google search turns up some mildly written descriptions of the Alt-Right, as well as a handful of liberal news sources discrediting the entire movement.  If you heard of the Alt-Right in the same fashion as I did, they would have seemed like a thin margin at the very fringe of conservative politics– namely, racists.

What I didn’t realize is that we weren’t giving them enough credit.

r/AltRight self defines as “racial and sexual realism” translated into a political ideology. Thus, “fringe” they absolutely are. A brief trip through the subreddit is both insightful and terrifying if you’re a rational person, and it makes a few things exceedingly clear:

  • The Alt-Right is predominantly young, white men who are legitimately concerned that the entire world is out to get them. There are several striking pieces outlining a baseless fear of their race being eradicated by the likes of feminists, socialists, liberals, and basically every ethnic minority.
  • The Alt-Right is remarkably hopeful for a Trump presidency.  There are a great number of posts on the subreddit exclaiming “we’ve done it!” and “one step closer!”–attitudes not echoed by basically any mainstream news source. Speaking of mainstream news:
  • The Alt-Right hates it. The political movement is rooted in deep anti-establishment affections. They feel that the liberals and mainstream conservatives are silencing the voices of white men, and that the media is sympathetic to these “oppressors.”

So why should we be concerned with the Alt-Right? I have one reason why we should be concerned with the Alt-Right: because they are concerned with us.

Trump ran a hate filled campaign for the very purpose of appealing to these Alt-Right voters.  The Alt-Right isn’t just anti-left; they are altogether anti-establishment. They beseeched the GOP to deliver a candidate that put them first, and the GOP begrudgingly delivered.

What this means for the rest of us is that there is a newly emboldened fringe movement feeding off of racism, sexism, and anger.

This means that the next four years could go one of two ways: Donald Trump follows through on his promise to the Alt-Right, or he doesn’t.

The latter is the more likely of the two outcomes, but that will only stoke the fire. If Donald Trump isn’t the anti-establishment middle finger that the Alt-Right had hoped, then their fears are only affirmed. To them, a Trump betrayal is testimony to their fictional plight.

The Alt-Right fringe may be thicker than we thought.

The Alt-Right fringe is absolutely something to worry about.

–Rowan Seets

A Nation Divided

This election has been unprecedented in terms of divisiveness.  Part of that reality is due to the fact that we are not as politically segregated today as we have been for much of American history.  No longer are Republicans and Democrats separated by state lines, but rather by six-foot privacy fences.  This year, it wasn’t North versus South or city versus country– it was neighbor versus neighbor.

That’s a tough world to live in.  On the internet you can create a bubble, and only interact with people who echo your own beliefs, but in the real world it’s not so easy.  You cannot avoid interacting with your neighbors, the girl at the gas station, your waiter, or your classmates.  Differing opinions surround us, and that’s what makes us stronger together.

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump took these divides and built a wall between them.  He took the angriest, nastiest underbellies of American ideology and pitted us against each other.

By alienating the “liberal elite” and distorting a very real and very justified Middle America anger, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump divided a nation.

Two days ago, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump became Presidential Elect Donald Trump.

In two short months, Presidential Elect Donald Trump will graduate to President Donald Trump– and that man will inherit a divided nation of his own making.

Middle America is still angry.  The poor, white, struggling class of Americans are still poor and struggling.  The difference now is that the other side of the spectrum is angry too.

Racial and religious minorities, women and college students are angry too.  The idea that their neighbors–people that they know and love– would vote for antiquated ideals that don’t take their existence into account has fueled the same anger felt by Middle America.

The question now, is how will President Donald Trump handle the mess he created?

The first objective of the Republic is to preserve the Republic– and ideal left far behind when Trump decided to run a campaign based on ignorance and bias.

If President Donald Trump is the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, is preservation of the Republic on the table at all?

If President Donald Trump is not the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, where will this existing anger be channeled?  Will he follow through on his promises to the Angry Middle?

The best we can do is be tolerant of each other.  President Donald Trump, regardless of who he ends up being, can only do so much.  We the people cannot be hateful, ignorant, or intolerant of each other.  At the end of the day, we are still all neighbors.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to live in fear of my neighbors.

–Rowan Seets

No, I Won’t Stop Talking about Politcs

The election was two days ago, and I hear you: nobody wants to hear about the election anymore.

Donald Trump won the general election, and the overwhelming response is that the leftists need to stop whining and accept our new President.  I hear you, I do—but no, I won’t stop talking about politics.

I can accept that Trump won the election and that, in January, he will become POTUS.  I cannot, however, just roll over and forget about politics for another four years.  That isn’t how this works.

Politics isn’t a switch that flips on every four years, it is a constantly moving machine.

House seats open up and local elections are held to choose people for roles that are very relevant to your everyday life.

Politics rolls on, and if you ignore the process, you will wake up one day and realize that you are no longer proud of the country you live in.

I urge you to learn about the political process.  Know who your representatives are.  Read up on proposed legislation.  Speak out when you disagree.  Stay involved.

For those of you elated at the outcome of the general election—just because your guy won doesn’t mean your job is over. The other side will stay vocal, and so should you.

For those of you disappointed by the results—don’t let go of that disappointment.  We may not have the progressive government we had hoped for, but the movement isn’t over.  Get involved on a local level; stay educated.

So for everyone begging me to just shut up: I’m sorry, I won’t.

I won’t stop talking about politics.

–Rowan Seets

What I, and Women Everywhere, Just Learned

On April 12, 2015, a qualified woman declared her bid for presidency in the 2016 election.

She is a Yale Law School graduate, a former First Lady, senator, and secretary of state.  This woman has been involved in politics from the age of thirteen, and has devoted her entire career to breaking down barriers for women everywhere.

Today, on November 9, 2016, I woke up to a world where this woman lost the general election to a bigot; a failed businessman with no political experience, numerous sexual assault accusations, and open business practice investigations.  She lost to a man so grossly under-qualified to run this country.

Today, I learned that we as women are not done with our fight.  There was a brief moment in which I was hopeful for the future– both of women and of the United States of America.  However, that is not the reality that I woke up to this morning.

Today I learned that my great country has not come as far as I had thought.

Today I learned that I can spend decades working toward a goal and still be passed up for a man.

Today I learned that rape culture is so prevalent that we as a nation just elected a President who condones sexual assault.

Today I learned that my worth is less to voters than the worth of coal mines and unborn fetuses.

Today I learned that women still are not equal– and that’s a sad reality to wake up to.

Today I learned that my neighbors are more comfortable with a bigoted President than they are a President with a vagina.

This isn’t over.  We may have lost this one, but I know I woke up this morning with a new anger.  I woke up with a burning rage– one that many marginalized voters now share– and we will get there.

My future daughters will grow up in a world where they are valued; a world where they are free to make their own choices and are given equal opportunities as men.  It is our job, the women of today, to create this world.

Today I learned that women are stronger than ever.

Today I learned that it is up to us to fix this.

-Rowan Seets

 

Today, I’m with Her

flat800x800075f-c075800331-u1When I was eight years old, my third-grade teacher assigned us a project on our future career.  I chose “First Woman President” as my career.  Today, I cast my ballot in the hopes of never fulfilling my third-grade dream—but rather allowing Hillary Clinton the honor.

The past eighteen months have been arguably some of the most divisive in U.S. history, and today it ends.  At the end of the day, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will have been elected President of the United States, and I can only hope that we have chosen well.

Through all of the rhetoric and debate and passion, I am comfortable with my choice.  A President Trump does not represent my ideals, and I believe doesn’t represent the ideals of a lot of the people who are voting for him.  Trump is a man who is so consumed with himself that he couldn’t possibly be fit to run this country, and nothing could dissuade me from this stand.

At the end of the day, Hillary’s emails don’t matter.  Her political history doesn’t matter.  The FBI doesn’t matter.  What does matter is the freedoms her platform offers.  Today, I voted for freedom.

I voted for affordable healthcare.

I voted for education reform.

I voted for reproductive rights and closing the wage gap.

I voted for the decriminalization of marijuana and for LGBTQ rights.

If today, you voted for Donald J. Trump, there is nothing that I can say that will convince you of your mistake.  All I can do is try to reassure you: nobody is trying to take away your guns.  We don’t want to tax you out of existence, and your “way of life” is not at stake.  America does not need God.  We don’t want to rip babies apart, and we aren’t cheating.

Donald Trump is not our answer, and America is still great.  I would like to keep it that way.

Today, I voted for the America that I would be proud to live in.

Today, I am with her.

-Rowan Seets