Presidential Debate Recap: Hillary – 1, Donald – 0

By Luke Wathen

Staff Writer

The night of Sept. 26 hosted an event that Americans have been anticipating for over a year: the first presidential debate of the 2016 election. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage in their solemn glory for what many hoped to be a verbal bloodbath.

And a bloodbath it was. While both candidates took the stage with heads held high and an air of confidence about them, only Clinton left with her pride intact.

To understand what caused Trump to do so poorly in his first one-on-one presidential debate, it is important to look at his past performances.

During the GOP primary season, Trump made a habit of hounding his various opponents about their alleged weaknesses and shortcomings. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were notable targets, and both suffered a drop in support after Trump’s mockery.

Yet, whenever it came time to discuss actual policy proposals, Trump all but disappeared. After being so eager to lambast his fellow candidates, he would slip into silence and let his adversaries duke it out.

This strategy of making short but memorable outbursts made Trump excellent fodder for the 24-hour news cycle and world of entertainment. As a result, the other candidates lost out on publicity and their campaigns faltered until Trump was able to clench the nomination.

The strategy of condensing his campaign to short quips may have let Trump seize the Republican nomination, but it may prove his undoing in a general election. While Clinton seemed much more poised and articulate during the debate, Trump appeared visibly shaken and desperately tried to compensate for his past statements on issues ranging from global warming to racial relations.

That is not to say Clinton has not had her fair sure of issues as a candidate. The ongoing investigation regarding her use of a private email server, her role in the Benghazi attacks of 2012 and the leaked Democratic National Convention emails that paint her as a corrupt figure have no doubt shaken the nation’s confidence in her.

Even with a laundry list of controversies tied to her name, Trump did little to bring attention to them. Besides a few passing mentions of her private email server and her controversial tenure of Secretary of State, Trump was so busy covering his own tracks and denying the unconstitutionality of “stop and frisk” procedures that he failed to even see Clinton’s history of hypocrisy and unethical practices.

The debate is still fresh in the minds of the American people and the coming days should tell how this will impact the overall election. But for now, it seems that the once mighty Donald Trump has fallen and the presidency is ripe for the taking for Hillary Clinton.

How Far is Too Far

By LILLY METCALFE

Staff Writer

With descriptive language, personification and the perspective from a six-year-old, the novel “Too Far” by Rich Shapero encompasses all three of those things. The novel had potential to be a great read but it fell short due to the confusing plot and the creepy fact that the children were discovering sexuality at such a young age.

If the novel Bridge to Terabithia had a fraternal twin or part two, this novel would be it. The storyline is very similar. The two children use the wilderness and their imaginations in order to escape their everyday reality.

The two children, Robbie and Fristeen, were six-years-old and about to enter the first grade once the summer ended. They both came from very different homes, but each home was falling apart. Fristeen’s mother was a drug addict. Robbie’s parents’ relationship was struggling and leading to a divorce. Robbie and Fristeen used their friendship, wild imaginations and the woods to escape their home troubles.

The novel’s format is simple as if it was written for a middle school audience, but the content is very adult as the characters explore their independence and sexuality.

Robbie challenged the authority of his parents, when he claimed since turning six and being more mature than his five year-old self he should have more freedom, like explore the vast woods.

The author made Robbie and Fristeen have sexual tension and feelings towards each other. They shared their first kiss, saw each other’s genitals, held hands and claimed it was okay because they were going to get married.

There were also many sexual references like when Robbie was counting Fristeen’s teeth he got distracted about how warm and smooth her mouth was. These references and descriptions made the novel very uncomfortable to read because the children were so young.

The perspective of the novel is through Robbie’s point of view and that is how the plot unfolds about the parents’ relationship and the impact it has on Robbie and Fristeen.

Their active imaginations are seen through the metaphors and personification of the woods. The use of the personification was interesting and made the book stand out from others, but it may have been too much. There came a point when the story didn’t make much sense and was hard to understand because these literary devices were being over used.

The ending was very poorly written. It was a huge disappointment especially as it was tied all together at the last two pages of the 244-paged novel. The ending didn’t make any logical sense, which is what ruined the reading experience.

The author made it seem like the children witnessed a murder in the woods as it describes a pool of red, a person they called the Dream Man bashing a head of a woman and spilling her brains as they interpreted as releasing her thoughts. It sounded like a murder, yet the author took it in a completely different direction at the end, which is why the ending made no sense. He also did not explain the importance of what the children witnessed either, leaving it all for the reader’s interpretation.

The novel could be a metaphor of life, death, sex and young love, but if so, Shapero failed miserably. This novel was an attempt at trying to be a literary masterpiece, but this novel should be used as a doorstop.

The novel is available on amazon, for only one cent, so any Salisbury University student can read it and give it a chance.

The Flyer gives “Too Far” a 3/10.

Trump’s immigration speech offers national security solutions

BY SAMUEL STEVENS

Editorial Editor

@SamuelJ_Stevens

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a surprise visit on Wednesday with Mexican President Enrique Nieto. Trump’s campaign has evolved from the earlier shock and awe of his primary campaign to a third position in the general election.

The visit to Mexico teased his landmark speech in Phoenix on immigration.

While recently Trump has been waffling on immigration policy — the cornerstone of his campaign and support base — the Mexico visit shows a significant evolution in Trump’s public image.

Trump’s rhetoric is bombastic. He is not, as the neoconservative establishment would say, “respectable.”

The veneer of respectability and his pandering to the opposition is exactly what created Trump. Conservative voters and lifelong non-voters have craved what they see as an authentic candidate.

Trump’s immigration speech on August 31 thankfully clarified his recent gaffes on his immigration stances.

About the current system, he said, “The fundamental problem with the immigration system in our country is that it serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists and powerful, powerful politicians.”

Trump emphasized the need to reach out to the working class, a viable constituency long ignored by the GOP as it marched toward destructive neoliberalism in the 1980s and 1990s.

In another stellar move, Trump emphasized the utter failure of our immigration system to track down criminal illegal immigrants and repatriate them.

Trump’s speech also marks a rhetorical divergence from the party politics of the last several decades. The candidate did not emphasize strict ideology or abstract “conservative principles,” and instead focused on American interests and the needs of American citizens.

The Republican establishment for too long has focused on giving its base vague promises of “conservatism” while following a disastrous policy of globalist capitalism, costly wars and open borders.

Their platform has done little to solve questions of the economy, immigration or terrorism.

Trump’s plan for a border wall sounds fantastic. However, immigration is one of the greatest national questions of our time.

The wall may not be necessary. The fundamental issue is a lack of enforcement of existing laws. Sanctuary cities, another issue Trump addressed, is a display of complete lawlessness on the part of states and localities.

Mass immigration into the United States may provide foreigners with opportunity. Allowing them all in, from all corners of the globe, does nothing to solve the problems within those countries.

It also contributes to “brain drain” via legal immigration with the H-1B visa program. The United States absorbs skilled workers from the developing world, contributing to waves of illegal immigration by low-skilled workers.

Trump commented on the problems with taking in Middle Eastern refugees. While many may be legitimate victims of war in the region, it does not solve the actual problems in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

Coupled with his foreign policy, his immigration plan may actually help to improve American national security and even global security.

The opposition claims Trump is unfit for office or lacks the experience necessary for the presidency. The opposition offers Hillary Clinton, whose disastrous foreign policy decisions caused the massive upheavals of the Arab world.

When not wrecking already fragile states, Clinton stored top secret and above material on a private server — an action that would land any other federal employee in prison.

Trump is no threat to national security.  He offers a plan to secure the United States from within and without.

Combined with his trips to Mexico and Louisiana, Trump’s immigration proposals show he is far more qualified to lead the United States than his opponent.

 

 

 

 

#Oscars2016 What You Missed

In case you were busy not watching the Oscars, we have compiled everything you missed into one simple bite size chunk. Everything from Leonardo Decaprio winning his first Oscar to Chris Rock’s inspiring monologue, The Flyer has you covered. Follow the link below and check it out!

https://storify.com/ReigningPandas/oscars2016-what-you-missed

The Christmas Creep

By Kobi Azoulay

Staff Writer

@elements11997

Thanksgiving is a time to gather around with your family, discuss what you are thankful for, eat some turkey and sing Christmas carols.

Wait what?

Everyone knows that singing Christmas carols is an activity better suited for after Thanksgiving, but lately Christmas has been encroaching on Turkey Day’s territory.

This phenomenon has been exacerbated by the fact that stores around the United States begin rolling out their Christmas merchandise earlier and earlier every year. [Read more…]

Islamophobia an Urgent Issue

By Kobi Azoulay

Staff Writer

@elements11997

The increase in ISIL coverage within the mainstream media, beginning with the alleged downing of a Russian plane, continuing with the Paris attacks and now reaching a new high in America with the San Bernardino shooting, has many Americans on-edge.

Unfortunately, those attacks have sparked a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, with Republican Presidential Frontrunner Donald Trump serving as the derogatory messenger.

First, he said he would “strongly consider” closing down mosques, before shifting his position to adding surveillance to them. Then a few days later, he announced that he was open to the idea of a database of all Muslims in America.

The public outrage sparked by those ideas was nothing compared to his latest proposal: temporarily ban all Muslims from immigrating or travelling into the country.

“We want to be very fair, but too many bad things are happening and the percentage of true hatred is too great,” Trump said.

Even though prominent Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus have come out strongly against the ban, the Republican base is not as concerned.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 38 percent of Republican primary voters support the Muslim ban, while 39 percent are opposed.

Considering the latest national poll from those news sites has Trump at 27 percent support among those same voters, his anti-Muslim proposal has not hurt him and there is even room for his support to grow because of it.

That is bad news for religious freedom in America, and even worse for Muslim-Americans, who have recently seen an increase in discrimination.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, as of Dec. 8 there were 63 incidents involving harassment, threats, zoning discrimination and vandalism at American mosques and Islamic centers.

In November, the month that ISIL terrorists killed 130 people in Paris, there were 17 such incidents. That is almost three times as many as the next closest month, matching the threefold increase overall from last year

It is unlikely that the drastic increase is just a coincidence. American extremists are responding to Islamic terrorism with hate crimes of their own.

After Obama’s oval office speech on Dec. 6, Republican Presidential Candidate Marco Rubio criticized how much time he spent talking about anti-Muslim discrimination.

“Where is there widespread evidence that we have a problem in America with discrimination against Muslims?” Rubio asked.

Well Mr. Rubio, check out the statistics above and you can see that there is widespread evidence. Ask the average Muslim on the street and chances are they can give you a personal example of their own.

People might be thinking, “Why should I care about hate crimes against Muslims? It’s wrong and unfortunate, but it doesn’t directly affect me.”

Hate crimes against Muslims play right into the hands of ISIL and other Islamic terror groups. If Muslims do not feel accepted by Western culture, they are more susceptible to terrorists’ message that there is a war against Islam.

This idea is reinforced in a Washington Post article by Jocelyn Bélanger, a psychology professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

“When people feel a loss of significance — when they are humiliated — that propels them to join a radical group,” Bélanger said. “A group gives them a feeling of significance. It fulfills a psychological need.”

Instead of pushing them towards these Islamic terrorist groups, Americans must bring them in as one of us. Let Muslims know that we value religious freedom and coexistence.

Hateful Islamophobia can be defeated in America, but it requires the compassionate majority to come together and denounce the anti-Muslim speech and actions being committed on a daily basis.

Hard to Blame Obama for ISIL Plan

BY KOBI AZOULAY

Staff Writer

@elements11997

President Obama has been facing a lot of unfair criticism over his strategy against ISIL, attempting to balance defeating the terror group with avoiding war.

Now, after basing many special operators in Northern Syria to support the Kurdish Pershmerga and other local militias fighting the terror organization, the political pressure facing the president has reached ear popping levels.

Some war-weary Americans worry that by putting troops on the ground in Syria, we are creeping towards an inevitable full-scale invasion. This is possible, but unlikely under Obama because he has made it clear throughout his presidency that he does not want to engage in a full-scale invasion like the United States did during the Iraq war.

“If the Iraqis themselves are not willing or capable to arrive at the political accommodations necessary to govern, if they are not willing to fight for the security of their country, we cannot do that for them,” Obama said, according to Politico.

There are already just over 3,000 troops stationed in Iraq supporting and training their security forces. Though these troops may face dangerous situations, they are not conducting their own combat missions.

Obama deserves credit for trying to handle this situation in a strategically and calculated way.

A December CNN/ORC poll showed that the majority of Americans support sending ground troops into combat operations in Iraq and Syria at 53 percent. What some of these people may not realize is that there are already ground troops there.

Going into a full-blown ground war is a decision that the American people do not take lightly, unlike war hawk politicians like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who already wants to send 10,000 American troops to Iraq.

These troops would be in grave danger, and we would have to commit to staying there until the mission is complete.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz once said that America should be able to defeat ISIL in 90 days, a timeframe that is terribly unrealistic.

Former General Martin Dempsey told Cruz at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in September that his plan is “not possible.”

“We could destroy a lot of equipment; we could drive them underground, if you will. But as I said, they will only be defeated or destroyed once they’re rejected by the populations in which they hide,” Dempsey said at the time.

Until those populations do as Dempsey said, another costly American occupation of Iraq would go to waste. The Iraq war caused thousands of brave American lives and trillions of dollars to be lost, and it is possible a full-scale war against ISIL would cost just as much, if not more.

Obama is trying to see if America can handle them without having to take on these horrible costs of war.

People that think America should go into Iraq and Syria with an iron fist have to see past defeating ISIL. It is definitely possible for us to send thousands of troops in to destroy their so-called “state,” but what happens next?

If we take them out and leave, there will be a vacuum for another terrorist group to come in and takeover, just as ISIL did after we overthrew Suddam Hussein.

Recently they have also gained territory in Libya, so if we commit to war with ISIL, we have to be ready to send troops to more than just Iraq and Syria.

Americans should not blame Obama for taking the moderate approach to this decision.

With one faction of Americans completely opposed to war, and another wanting to move aggressively toward it, we have a president that is finding the middle ground.

That is a rare occurrence in modern American politics, something we should all be able to appreciate.

Free Speech or Ideological Puritanism?

By Sam Stevens

The takeaway from the student uprisings of the last few months is that many students graduating universities are incapable functioning in a republic.

Free speech presupposes that everyone tolerates each other in the true meaning of the term. Instead, the concept has been perverted. Everyone must embrace lifestyles or identities with which they disagree, to the point that their own identities are considered invalid or hateful. For example, the concept of freedom of association when it comes private businesses has been all but eroded.

Universities are supposed to be places of open discourse. Rather than adopt a true diversity when it comes to political thought, many have taken the route of going into hysterics when something counters their social justice ideology.

It is not the administration of these universities that launches into a rage. Students lashed out of the administrators of Yale University for suggesting that they be open to different ideas.

Yale is one of the Ivy League universities. The future leaders of the nation are supposed to graduate from Yale. Yet they need the school to police Halloween costumes they consider “racist.”

This episode suggests what academics at that university must be like. However, I can only speculate, as I do not attend the college. It does suggest a narrow range of acceptable thought.

Television, movies, and mass media have foisted upon the country this narrow range of thought, cloaking it in inclusiveness and diversity. The other mechanism is pre-packaged systems: social justice liberalism a la MSNBC and neo-conservatism a la Fox News.

Both police their respective ideological pools with ruthless efficiency. Any criticism of Israel will get you ostracized from the Republican establishment, while any criticism of immigration earns you the same fate on the other side.

This kind of conditioning is so rampant that people self-police their own thoughts and behaviors, unless they want to the self-appointed thought police to shriek them down and brand them as a deviant.

The point of a republic is to allow qualified citizens to vote and deliberate on the issues in order to come to some kind of consensus. The adherents to the kind of ‘safe space’ politics cannot function in a democracy. If someone is shielded from any disagreement or alternative ideas, it leads to stagnation and decay.

All one-party, totalitarian states fail because of this flaw. The establishment becomes so convinced of its superiority, partly because they have purged any alternative ideas.

While there are no secret police, it’s almost as if America has marginalized truly diverse thinkers. The 1960s Cultural Revolution, like all revolutions, has turned on itself.

Where the Baby Boomers championed free speech decades ago, we now have the nebulous concept of hate speech, where the self-appointed guardians of speech lambaste anything remotely beyond the pale of political correctness as “fascist.”

The “68er” Cultural Revolution mirrors the French Revolution on a much less violent scale. The students of Yale, Missouri, and other universities are the destructive Jacobin force, the true believers in “safe space” politics, attacking their Baby Boomer and Gen-X Girondists, the moderates that actually believe in free speech.

What this means for intellectual discourse in America’s universities will emerge as time goes on. Should the trend ideological Puritanism continue, it can only lead to tyranny. If the students of Yale and Missouri want their universities to coddle them and insulate them from alternative ideas, they will only want a state that does the same.

 

American Families Decaying

By Kristopher Price

The American family is in a state of decay. Contrary to what some people might tell you however, it is not because of the increased acceptance of gay marriage, decreasing religiosity of Americans or independence of young women.

These bogeymen actually take away credence from real issues threatening the filial integrity of families across the country. These issues are a combination of American individualism at its worst, and nonexistent social and welfare policies for new parents and families.

One of the proud cornerstones of American culture is its individualism. People are encouraged to go pursue their own dreams instead of being tied to a family company or farm; there is the common, now increasingly questioned, assumption that with enough effort, you can become anything.

However, this spirit of individualism has a dark side.

Many millennials are familiar with their generation being shunned for not immediately leaving home after graduation, due to not being able to afford a new home. The idea that moving out and buying your own house is what every young adult is supposed to do is actually only a couple generations old.

During the Baby Boom, millions of Americans bought houses in the suburbs, and so did their children. But now people who do not do this and remain living with their parents or relatives are often depicted in the media as immature, lazy, loners or freaks. There is a clear discouragement of living with your immediate family upon entering adulthood present here.

Another consequence of this is the eventual isolation of parents as they grow older after their children grow up and move out. If they do not live with a relative, a senior citizen can often become lonely or depressed, not to mention being less able to take care of themselves.

An interesting thing is that this discouragement of living with your family is not present in other countries. In Italy or Spain, for example, it is very common for someone to live with their extended family under one roof. If these cultures have no problem with this, then why do we?

Another significant problem affecting families is the distinct lack of paid parental leave in America. The United States is one of only eight countries in the world that does not require employers to pay parents of newborn children. The consequences of this are new mothers having to bring their babies to work, or one of the parents having to make the tough decision to stay home to take care of the kid. This can be very stressful on parents.

A more beneficial and healthy system would require employers to pay both parents, not just the mothers, while they take mandatory leave for an extended period, from six weeks to three months to even a year, to raise their child. This will give mothers more time to recover from giving birth, and let parents take better care of their child by spending more time around them.

You might be wondering why the integrity of families in America is important. The interesting thing is that happiness has been found to correlate strongly with how close ties are between family members in a given country.

For example, Venezuela might not be the first country people imagine living happily in, with its corrupt government and insane economy. However, it ranks seventh among the top happiest countries, ranked by positive index scores. Family bonds are highly valued in Latin American cultures, so this correlation between family and happiness holds true here.

People on the far right often attack new or alternative forms of family, such as gay couples or polyamorous relationships. But the fact is that these groups of people are just as capable, and sometimes better at, raising children than their heterosexual and/or monoamorous counterparts.

Gay couples, for obvious reasons, are not at risk of accidentally conceiving a child. This gives them the chance to think more carefully and be more prepared for having one. Not much research has been done on polyamorous relationships (romantic relationships between more than two people), but there is no logical reason to think that a larger set of people would be less well equipped at raising a child.

The consequences of the decaying state of American families may not seem immediate, but they will become apparent over time if not addressed. Without a reliable support network to fall back on, many Americans will become more and more isolated, some of them even falling through the gaps in the system. There might even be effects on our mental and emotional health as well.

This is why it is important that we ameliorate these issues, and could start with something as simple as paid parental leave.

Too Dumb for Democracy

By Emmanuel Atufu

Americans can be really dumb, that is a clear and undeniable fact and there is plenty of evidence to prove that.

In 2014, the Pew Research Center interviewed 1,002 adults, age 18 years and older for their News IQ quiz that measures the public’s awareness of key facts in the news. The results were fascinating, to say the least.

The quiz revealed that 49 percent did not know that Common Core was an education standard, 33 percent did not know the unemployment rate was at six percent, 24 percent did not know that Janet Yellen was the Chair of the Federal Reserve and 20 percent did not know that the Government spends the most on Social Security.

One can easily assume from the Pew Research survey that Americans are stupid (and there is certainly a case to be made), but the real problem is not stupidity, but ignorance.

 

Ignorance is the Achilles’ heel of democracy. In 2014, the Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted a survey of 1,416 adults and the results were stunning.

The survey revealed only 36 percent of respondents could name all three branches of Government, while 35 could not name a single one. And it gets even worse.

Only 27 percent of the respondents knew it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto. .The survey serves to further confirm that Americans know very little about politics and public policy.

The Federal budget is one example of political ignorance. A substantial percentage of people think that we can solve the Federal budget crisis by cutting unpopular foreign aid programs, all while not raising taxes or touching entitlement programs such as Social Security.

What most voters do not know is that foreign aid accounts for about one percent of the Federal budget. Social Security on the other hand, accounts for 24 percent of the budget, or $851 billion in 2014, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This high level of political ignorance has persisted despite the increase and diversity of new media outlets and the rise in the number of the college-educated.

But if people are not necessarily stupid and information is readily available online, then why are people still uninformed? The answer is simple: we are all too busy with our own lives to worry about what is happening in Washington D.C.

So the problem is not that Americans are stupid, the real issue here is that Americans lack the time or interest in politics. However, that lack of time and interest in politics is stalling any attempts at social progress and crippling the middle class and those of low-economic status.

In 2015, GBA Strategies conducted a national poll of 1,500 likely 2016 voters (Republicans, Democrats, Independents), in order to find the percentage of support Americans had for various key issues. The results were amazing.

When asked whether the government should negotiate drug prices, an overwhelming 79 percent of respondents agreed. On the topic of giving students the same low interest rates as big banks, there was 78 percent support.

There was 74 percent support for ending tax loopholes for corporations shipping jobs overseas, 73 percent support for ending gerrymandering, 71 percent support for NSA to get warrants, and 71 percent support for debt-free college. Overall 29 out of 52 key issues had at least 61 percent support.

With so much overwhelming support for many of the issues, you would think that there was already legislation that addressed those issues. But you would be dead wrong. All because people are uninformed.

A large number of people believe that their vote will not make much of a difference in election cycles, thus they rarely educate themselves on politics and public policy. However, they will still turn out to vote. And being an uninformed voter leads them to vote for public officials whose policies go against their own interests.

Ignorance is the reason why nothing the majority of the public wants ever gets done, even though everyone is in agreement about what needs to be done to improve the country. When things go bad, we tend to finger point and assume the politicians are the problem, instead of looking at the mirror.

It is not that we have incompetent leaders, we are just too dumb for democracy.