Stockton’s Basic Income Experiment

By Lola Weber

April 7th, 2021

At the fringe of the Bay Area’s tech economy, Stockton, CA, has made momentous strides in welfare provision. 

In a new experiment/demonstration program, payments of $500 a month were made out to 125 randomly selected residents whose average annual incomes fell under $46,000 (The city’s median). These stipends were no-strings-attached, allowing for recipients to spend their money under their own discretion, without drug tests or work requirements. 

This donor-funded demonstration, officially titled the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, was initiated by Stockton’s previous mayor, Michael Tubbs, in 2019. By the end of the study period, in February 2020, there was a rise in full-time employment among stipend recipients, with improvements in physical, financial, and emotional health. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Tennessee collected and analyzed data from Stockton’s experiment. The most prominent findings included the increase in overall income volatility, leading to fluctuations of 46 percent, rather than the control group’s 68 percent. The vast majority of stipend spending was on necessities such as gas, utilities, and food. 

It was found that many families were able to pay off debts, with the added cash doubling their ability to pay for unexpected expenses. This financial stability seeped into the community itself, allowing for recipients to provide greater help to their own friends and families. 

One recipient told The Atlantic that, “It helped me to be able to take care of my groceries without having to run to the food bank three times a month. That was very helpful.”. That same recipient faced a period of homelessness due to a fire in her apartment complex, a period which was quickly dismissed by her added income which secured a new downpayment. 

What might be the most imperative aspect of this demonstration is its case against welfare stigma. Researchers found that Stockton’s basic income did not dissuade working, even going so far as to aid people in finding work through providing stability and resources. Recipients experienced a 12 point increase in employment, a much larger increase to that of the control group’s five point increase. 

These findings shouldn’t be inherently shocking, as the desire for stability and basic necessities is relatively obvious to anyone. It’s more so the idea of people ‘abusing’ welfare and becoming dependent on it which we have so strongly internalized. 

As seen in this demonstration, the only way to provide greater opportunity to those in poverty is to provide them with adequate resources. There is no reason as to why people shouldn’t be provided with greater stability, sufficient food, and less destitution. 

The politics of welfare is seeing its height at this very moment, with pandemic legislation displaying just how impactful cash stimulus is. Poverty ultimately finds itself to be the greatest threat to opportunity and potential on all scales, something that should be eliminated, and Stockton just reinforces this. 

Texas’s Culture War on Clean Energy

By Lola Weber

March 8th, 2021

Texas, home to nearly 30 million Americans, has been hit by dangerous and unprecedented weather conditions, along with a brewing struggle regarding energy policy in the U.S. 

   As expected, the urgent weather crisis which  hit Texas this late winter has morphed into a cultural conflict of sorts, creating the red-blue division which frames itself in nearly every conflict across the nation. Initially, leading GOP members initiated this ‘war’ while attempting to scapegoat the calamity of the Texan energy disaster. 

   Dan Crenshaw, a Republican representative, urgently took to Twitter in the midst of the Texas emergency, stating, “with blackouts across Texas, many are wondering: what happened? Leftists are cheering a ‘red state’ having energy problems”. He then went on to blame the blackouts on “a mix of over-subsidized wind energy and under-investment in gas power”, which hastily fired off the energy hostility. 

   Tucker Carlson soon followed suit, declaring on a Fox News segment that, “the windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died. This is not to beat up on the state of Texas — it’s a great state, actually — but to give you some sense of what’s about to happen to you.” Liberals have begun to parallel this conservative fervor over coal energy, towards wind energy.

   Although it is undeniable that in comparison to coal energy, wind energy finds itself to be significantly more environmentally beneficial, there is a discernible failure among both resources.

   While advocates of coal energy preach the resource’s efficiency, they fail to comprehend the detriment which follows. While renewable advocates push for alternatives like wind energy, they too fail to comprehend the risk and dependency that these resources have on unforeseeable weather conditions. 

 This is not to draw an equivalence between the two, as liberal renewable energy proponents are far less destructive in their mission in comparison to that of fossil fuel proponents, but to note a common flaw amongst both sides of this energy-culture war, which is the failure of well-rounded accountability and comprehension. This large-scale investment, which was about 47 billion dollars, put up by liberals across the U.S. in efforts to produce more wind turbines, did not come from a place of real climate urgency, but instead was a large-scale capitalist venture. 

   This endeavor is essentially what led to the critical deregulation of energy in Texas which created a perpetual auction on energy. Interestingly enough, Texans don’t mirror the ‘clean energy’ hostility which is so avidly projected by Republican lawmakers. 

In a survey conducted last fall, it was found that about 65 percent (an overall majority) of voters in Texas would be likely to support candidates who pledge to achieve 100% clean energy by the year 2035. Along with this, the study also found that a large sum of Texan voters actually supported the abolition of government tax advantages for the fossil fuel industry. 

The right wing zeal for fossil fuels isn’t as popular in Texas as many would assume, with 46 percent of people in the same study being against fracking, and only 34 percent being proponents of increased fossil fuel. The political climate regarding clean energy in Texas is a lot more progressive and willing to clean energy than conservative and liberal lawmakers suggest. 

Instead of the formation of another Red V. Blue culture war on energy, this situation should strike a pursuit in a more efficient and sustainable solution as a whole. Centering the discourse around wind energy versus fossil fuel energy is futile, when it should be focused around a stronger environmental agenda, such as the Green New Deal, and the push away from complete energy deregulation within the state of Texas, and throughout the nation. 

Should Lawmakers Raise Minimum Wage?

By Kirstyn Hill

February 23, 2021

With the current minimum wage standing at $7.25 since 2009 regardless of the impact of inflation, it is about time Americans are due for a wage increase. With wealth inequality at an all-time high and the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly destabilizing the financial security of Americans nationwide, the need to raise the minimum wage is increasing. President Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollars “economic rescue” package calls for gradually increasing the hourly wage in increments until it hits $15 in 2025. Additionally, it would be designed so the minimum wage is indexed to median wage growth, a move meant to guarantee wages keep up with inflation without needing new legislation. 

     It is believed that by gradually raising the minimum wage, incomes can keep pace with the increasing cost of living as well as, potentially lift millions of Americans out of poverty. A 2019 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report projected a significant improvement in the standard of living for at least 17 million people, assuming a minimum hourly wage of $15 by 2025, including an estimated 900,000 million people being elevated above the poverty line. An additional benefit from lifting so many people from poverty would be the projected reduction in federal and state government subsidies and expenditures for low-income individuals. The Economic Policy Institute found that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15/hour and eliminating the tipped minimum wage by 2025 would free up $13 billion to $30 billion in taxpayer revenue annually. 

     The downsides to raising the minimum wage are not to go unrecognized regardless of the potential advantages. Opponents argue raising the minimum wage could fuel inflation due to the probable consequence of businesses increasing their prices. By increasing the price of general goods, the cost of living increases, potentially negating any advantage to wage increase. The other projected problem is job loss among Americans. The 2019 CBO report estimates that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would result in the loss of approximately 1.4 million jobs.  Additionally, it is argued that by raising the minimum wage, Americans incentive to strive for better opportunities may be diminished through the ability to maintain a comfortable lifestyle off of an entry-level position.

 Raising the minimum wage in the US from $7.25 to $15 over the next four years does not come without its potential negative outcomes. Regardless, raising the minimum wage and allowing it to be coordinated with current inflation is a policy that many lawmakers are set on passing. IN the U.S. from 1978 through 2015, they found that a 10% increase in minimum wage only accounts for around a 0.36% increase in prices, which somewhat disproves the fact that wage increase will have any huge impact on the price increase. However other downsides of raising the minimum wage do not go unnoticed, but the overall current consensus is that this could be the economic rescue the US needs following the pandemic. 

The Secret (and Not So Secret) Anti-Semitism Behind Conspiracy Theories

By Taylor Tomlinson

February 23, 2021

People often have a fascination with the unknown. We love science fiction, space travel, mystery novels; we’re obsessed with things we want to understand. The alluring pull for answers leads us on a quest for “the truth”, which can lead to falling down a rabbit hole on the internet. Our searches can lead us somewhere dangerous, in the hands of conspiracy theorists. In a country where the truth can become distorted in layers of bias, hearsay, and increasingly distanced from fact, it’s no surprise that conspiracy theories seem to be making their way into the mainstream.

  Conspiracy theorists have a different way of operating as opposed to the scientific method the public has known to trust. To them, you start with the conclusion you want and then look for evidence to support it, not the other way around. This biased researching process often leads to the finger being pointed at one group, in particular, the Jewish population. Anti-Semitism isn’t new, and neither is using Jewish people as a scapegoat for the world’s problems, but the internet and social media have allowed it to manifest itself in new ways. Lying underneath the surface of many conspiracy theories, Anti-Semitism festers and acts as fuel in the war against truth. 

  QAnon has been a buzzing news topic for the past couple of weeks after many claim that theory fanned the flames for the insurrection at the Capitol. For those who don’t know, QAnon is a far-right conspiracy that champions former president Donald Trump as a savior facing off against, as defined by the New York Times,  a “cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring.” Before this year, QAnon has lived in the shadows and could be easily ignored. Once insurgents donning QAnon gear stormed the Capitol last month, QAnon posed itself as more than just a foggy theory spouted by lowlifes on a few dark corners of the internet. When alleged former QAnon believer Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia’s 14th District was sworn into office as a House of Representative member, the theory proved it had more of an influence on legislation than ever thought possible. 

  It’s no surprise that a conspiracy based on a group of people controlling the government and media would have anti-Semitic roots. While QAnon is not explicitly Anti-Semitic in its stated beliefs, the tropes it’s founded on have been used to cause Jewish people harm for centuries. The discourse of a secret community of left-leaning, non-Christians conspiring  against a white Protestant isn’t exactly fresh material. Its members have also been known to encrypt anti-Jewish rhetoric in its secret messages. According to Insider, “many Jewish figures, including (George) Soros, have been met with anti-Semitic attacks from the community.” While QAnon, a conspiracy that fosters racist, xenophobic, and anti-truth discussions, having anti-Jewish biases shouldn’t be a shock, it may be a surprise to learn that most Global conspiracy theories have some anti-Semitic roots. 

  Flat-Earth had a reinvigoration over the past five years. Popularized by internet discourse and social media, “Flat-earthers” believe the Earth is not a spinning ball orbiting the sun, but a stationary surface with the atmosphere hovering above it. This conspiracy has based itself in a primarily Christian support group, with claims of a fixed Earth throughout the Bible. Demonstrated by Psalm 93:1, the Bible states “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm …” which some Flat-Earthers use to disprove a globed Earth. Flat-Earth also accompanies theories of the space exploration organization NASA coordinating to hoodwink the public about the shape of the Earth. While many consider this theory silly and baseless, few regard this theory as being anti-Semitic. It appears the venn diagram of QAnon supporters and Flat Earthers are closer than many realize.

  While the theory of a Flat Earth has inherently nothing to do inherently with anti-Semitic finger-pointing itself, it’s easy to identify similar tropes that run within certain conspiracies. For flat Earth to be even remotely conceivable, it needs to be understood that NASA required thousands of their employees spanning decades to be committed to one lie. During times of political uncertainty, some grow distrustful of government organizations. This sentiment can be felt within the Flat Earth community. When journalist Kelly Weill of the Daily Beast went to the Flat Earth Conference in 2018, she observed a pattern of anti-Semitism among the convention. According to Weil, she noticed “Two tables over, vendors are selling a weighty book on Flat Earth. “Zionist Jews control the educational system,” begins Chapter 33 (“Mind Control”). The second paragraph is a block-quote from the wildly anti-Semitic and fabricated conspiracy text ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, which the Flat Earth author concludes is proof that Jews are trying to hide the Flat Earth, in order to undermine God and control the world.” As Weill points out, religious conspiracies thrive under political chaos, and this pattern can be seen way back during World War I. As people grow fearful of government, and accompanying organizations, such as NASA and the FBI, anti-Jewish fervor can spread as well. The Jewish community is not a new culprit, so it’s no surprise that when Christain ideologies are questioned and political tensions are rising, people find no trouble refusing the scapegoats of the past.. 

  Living in an echo-chamber can have its consequences, and the internet’s “dark alleys” almost always have hidden agendas and are simply trying to push their own narrative. Internet discourse can have real-world effects. According to PR Newswire, “the new FBI Hate Crimes Statistics report found that more than 60% of religious-based hate crimes in 2019 targeted Jews, an increase of 14% over 2018.” Falling down an internet rabbit hole can be exciting, but it’s important to be mindful about where your information comes from. The social media landscape is as dangerous as ever, and in the age of misinformation, personal bias almost always affects the truth. The urge to question the world around us is a good one that can push human progress. However, the rise of conspiracy asks how much questioning can be done until we have to wonder the very basis of fact versus fiction?

The Deeper Meaning Behind an Inauguration Meme

By Lola Weber

February 12, 2021

A star studded inaugural ceremony wasn’t enough to steal the spotlight from an image of an unimpressed looking Bernie Sanders, hunched in his seat with recycled mittens. Immediately following the inauguration, this image went viral and rapidly spread through various social media platforms. 

As this image continued to saturate political discourse throughout several outlets, Bernie soon transformed into a meme, having been photoshopped into historical moments, iconic art pieces, and a plethora of other pop culture moments. The emergence of this meme doesn’t come to much of a shock, as his ‘humble’ nature provided a refreshing facet to the pageantry of Biden’s inauguration. 

 Bernie’s stance, combined with the general appearance of a lack of interest, felt like an assumed rejection to the self-congratulatory mood of the inauguration. Sanders himself responded to the meme on late night with Seth Meyers, explaining that he was just, “sitting there, trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on., so this obviously wasn’t an active attempt to ‘comment’ on the inauguration, but as with any cultural moment, the people make of it what they want.

 While the concept of the meme itself seems lighthearted, the utilization has been telling. At the heart of this meme, there is an immense display of reality for millions of working people. 

Ranging from moderate Democrats to the entire spectrum of the Left, this meme has become a massive cultural takeaway from the historical events on the 20th. Although this may seem like some sort of unity, the image itself takes on a variety of meanings depending on the differing viewpoints. Those who align themselves with a more moderate/centrist viewpoint have treated this image as a mere joke, seeing the surface level of a meme about an old and frigid ‘socialist’. 

For those who align with progressive politics, such as social Democrats, it signifies an apparent defeat and melancholy outlook to the new presidency’s future. As this meme reaches a further left perspective, it maintains the sentiment of defeat and ‘let-down’, but focuses more on a push towards the left rather than Sanders himself. 

This isn’t the first time that an inauguration has spawned a meme with such cultural buzz. The 2016 inauguration led to the viral video of Richard B Spencer, the man who coined the term ‘alt-right’, getting punched in the face. This came after Spencer’s victory lap at Trump’s inauguration, celebrating a supposed win for reactionary politics and his own white chauvinism.

Both the viral video of Richard B Spencer, and the image of Bernie Sanders, were shared by a similar range of audience, Democrats and Leftists, both symbolizing two different outlooks on these presidencies. While the video of Spencer was a joyous moment for many of those who were inherently ‘anti-trump’, it did signify the fear and genuine panic of Trump’s presidency. 

The meme of Bernie signifies a different reaction to a different presidency, one that does not scream chaos or horror, but thorough disappointment. While many may feel comfort to rejoice in this win against the hellscape that was Trump’s presidency, this feeling of despondency among many lingers. That feeling in contrast to the pandemonium of Trump’s administration, definitely sets the stage for these next four years.

This disappointment is evidently warranted, considering that in a social climate with extreme inequality and declining capitalism, people were hoping for a transformative government.

Biden does not fulfill that need, and represents the milquetoast neoliberal ‘compromise’ for this election. Whether it is the people’s disappointment within Bernie’s own loss of the presidency, or the broader concept of a loss of anything to the Left, this meme has a weighty truth to it. 

Free Speech After January 6th

By Diana Kerbeck

February 12th, 2021

What is the meaning of free speech in the digital age? Does a private company have responsibility for what is posted on their site? These are some of the questions that are being asked as the social media giants begin to censor disinformation, mostly from the right, on their platforms.

 This began after domestic terrorists stormed the Capital Building in a futile attempt to stop congress from certifying Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. This insurrection resulted in the deaths of four people and permanently damaged America’s reputation as a republic.

  Social media made this insurrection possible, it allowed conspiracy theories of election tampering to run wild and it allowed the most devoted of Trump’s supporters to organize and plan their revenge. 

 Since then, most social media companies have taken bold steps to combat disinformation and hate speech on their sites, most notably the censorship of former President Donald Trump. Is this an example of the silencing of free speech or a justified act that prevents the spread of false information?

  Legally, social media companies have the freedom to control what is said on their sites, and the First Amendment only prevents congress from regulating freedom of speech. However, this does create an ethics-based dilemma since a country that prides itself on its liberty has private companies controlling what is said on the most popular means of civil discourse. 

  In my opinion, the actions taken by social media companies so far are completely justified. They have immensely helped curtail the sheer amount of false information and violent rhetoric that has littered social media for the last few years.

  Social media companies have finally realized they share responsibility when the content posted on their sites leads to hate, violence, and death. More importantly, these tech giants’ actions may have helped prevent violent riots from occurring on inauguration day.

  Additionally, spending these last few weeks without the dumpster fire that is Donald Trump’s Twitter account, has been quite refreshing. This all being said, there is still a concern over the sheer power wielded by these companies that is now becoming far more apparent than ever before. Should we trust private companies with the absolute ability to control the discussion of American politics?

 One must not forget that social media got us into this mess in the first place and that Facebook played a significant role in the election of Donald Trump in 2016. The overall issue, as it nearly always does, goes back to money. 

 The primary interest of social media companies is not to foster a free and open environment for civil discourse, or to help police the spreading of false or hateful rhetoric, but rather profit. These companies saw no issue with their platforms becoming breeding grounds for fascism, only now that they see their bottom line threatened do they act. Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be receiving credit for doing the bare minimum, especially after the damage they have already done. 

  The solution is a highly complex issue, but since the only thing these companies seem to listen to is money, consumers do have the power to withhold support from social media that chooses not to reflect our values.

Attempting to Preserve Democracy in 2021

By Kirstyn Hill

February 4, 2021

Just thirteen days ago, the US Capitol was stormed and defaced by an angry mob of Trump supporters declaring fraudulent election results, and threatening the lives of the congressmen and congresswomen inside. With President Donald Trump’s incitement of the riot then continued apprehension to attempt to adjudicate the situation, he facilitated a potential domestic terrorist attack against the democratic process. 

With President Joe Biden being officially inaugurated into office on January 20th, 2021, it has been made clear that the majority of US citizens demand a peaceful transition of power. The national security threat of extremist groups has become an increasingly more prevent issue in recent times and is now threatening the security of the American democracy.

Masks weren’t the only new arrival at this year’s inauguration, as the National Guard was called on stand by, surrounding the Capitol building, and shutting down much of Washington D.C. After a continued display of negligence shown in Washington during Trump’s last weeks of presidency, it is now crucial to show the American people that security in democracy prevails. 

Donald Trump’s failure to call the National Guard earlier on January 6th was out of sheer favoritism to the group protesting, as it was known by anyone who is active on social media, and any US intelligence agency, that an attempt to storm the Capitol would be committed. It was made clear that day that the inauguration was to be protected by the National Guard, due to the severity of the national threat at hand. In a time where it has become normal American behavior to be radicalized through basic media outlets like Facebook preliminary precaution is never unnecessary.

What is typically a peaceful transition of power from one president to another, has been disgraced by forcing the attendance of the armed military. Not only has the U.S. democracy been strained severely through Trump’s initial refusal to concede and later resistance to even accept the election results, but it has also been exposed of its weaknesses and flaws.

It is undeniable that America is in unprecedented territory and the next 100 days of Joe Biden’s time in office will likely determine the results of his whole presidency. It is time to put an emphasis on unity in America and work to undo some of the damage left by the Trump administration. The attack on the capital was a great symbolizing act of the last four years, of unjust chaos and ignorance leading to irreversible consequences. Now it’s time to move forward and hopefully gain control of a country that is edging on the line of self-sabotage.

Presidential Impeachment – Take Two

By Elle Baker

January 28, 2021

Entering the new year after the debacle we all faced that was 2020, it is safe to say that we had pretty high expectations for a fresh start. Unfortunately, we seem to have a habit of living through major historical events every other day – this including a second impeachment of Donald Trump – the same time as last year. 

 Regardless, the second impeachment is just as controversial and essential as the last. Being that both have very valid reasons for being conducted in the first place, the impending impeachment cannot be disputed nor disagreed with more than saying the sky is blue or that global warming is real. 

  Here is a breakdown: At the Save America March on January 6th, Donald Trump essentially told his supporters to “fight harder” against the Democrats and falsely claimed repeatedly that the election was stolen and rigged. He urged his supporters to “show strength” at the Capitol later that day while the Electoral College’s votes were being counted. It is clear as to what he is saying, nothing to decipher or allude to. Following their president’s enthusiastic advice, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, broke in and more or less defaced Congress. The details at this moment in time are not important, however, the connection between the speech and the riots are essential to understand.

 Knowing this, the House of Representatives Democrats decided this was the last straw and Trump had to go, despite him only having two weeks left in office. Calls for impeachment and the enactment of the 25th amendment were voiced and heard across both sides of the political spectrum (mainly Democratic). An “ultimatum” was created for Vice President Pence either to enact the 25th Amendment within a set amount of time or the House would continue with the impeachment process. 

  Time for a mini history lesson! The 25th Amendment was created following the assasination of JFK, where the Vice President becomes acting President in the event of presidential death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation. The amendment has been enacted six times in history, and only for short periods of time, mostly for health related reasons that caused the President to be incapactiated for a surgery or under anesthesia. In other words, if the President, for any reason, is unable to fulfill his duty to the American people, Congress has the power to remove him from office.

  On January 12th, 2021, the House of Representatives met to approve a resolution urging Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to use their powers under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump immediately. Following this, Pence still denied their urges, prompting the House to move forward themselves with impeachment. The push for the second impeachment took a dramatic bipartisan turn as several senior House Republicans joined the Democratic effort to remove the president before his term expires. Throughout this entire process, Trump has yet to disapprove of and apologize for inciting the violence at the Capitol, claiming what he said at the March was appropriate, according to NPR. 

 Following Pence’s refusal to enact the 25th Amendment, the House met on January 13th to debate impeachment on a single article charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Capitol riot. Trump will become the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. On top of the impeachment, lawmakers are also looking at a provision in the Constitution’s impeachment clauses that could allow them to deny Trump from ever holding federal office again. Quite a feat with just a week left in his presidency. Here is how it may work:

The Constitution allows Congress to remove presidents, or other officers of the executive branch, before their terms are completed if lawmakers believe they have committed “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” according to NY Times. 

The impeachment itself is difficult, being that it is a two-part process. First, the House votes on whether to impeach. The charges are clearly written in articles of impeachment detailing the allegations of offenses against the nation. If a majority of the House votes in favor of pressing charges, the Senate must then consider them at a trial. The House prosecutes the case, appointing impeachment managers to argue before senators, who act as the jury, and the president is traditionally allowed to create a defense. The Chief Justice of the United States oversees the trial.

  In regards to withholding Trump from ever having a federal position again, a majority of senators must vote in favor of removing him from the presidential race in 2024. Seems easy enough and might be just that as many Republican senators are in favor – some even because they want a shot at running themselves. 

  With the short amount of time left of Trump’s presidency, it seems difficult or even impossible to conduct a trial for impeachment. This is true, however, given the severity of the situation, some steps can be passed. If Democrats and some Republicans are in agreement they must act, they can move in a matter of days, bypassing the House Judiciary Committee, to draw up charges, introduce and proceed directly to a debate and vote on the floor of the House.

 One theory being discussed mentions the House could impeach Trump and hold onto the articles for a few days to wait until Democrats take over control of the Senate, which will occur after President-Elect Biden is sworn in. The length of a trial, and the rules governing it, are determined by the members of the Senate.

 To clarify, Trump can still be impeached after he leaves office. It has happened once before in 1876, where the House impeached President Ulysses S. Grant’s war secretary for graft, even after he resigned from his post. The Senate at the time considered whether it still had jurisdiction to hear the case of a former official, and determined that it did. Ultimately, the secretary was acquitted. 

While everything is still up in the air, we can only hope that once January 20th comes to pass that we can begin a new presidency with an open mindset, positivity for what is to come, and to leave the past four years where they belong: in the past.

A brief history of America’s imperialist involvement in South America. Pt. 1

Justin Higginbotham

December 14, 2020

For over a century the United States has forced itself into the regimes and elections of South American countries. The continent has proven to be a target of the United Stated for its vast natural resources and the tendency for its countries to attempt to nationalize them. Nearly every country in South America has had the United States meddle in its affairs. It would be impossible to tell the full story of the United States imperialism in South America, but it is important to break one’s perception of their own nation in order to begin to understand its history.


In Guatemala in 1944, the pro-worker and anti-colonialist Leftist President Jacobo Arbenz was democratically elected only to soon be overthrown in a US-funded and supported Coup. This followed decades of revolt and resistance from the workers and peasants against the capitalist and landowning class. This included what is now known as Chiquita Brands International, who would use coercion and violence against their workers. The coup led to the US installment of the far-right authoritarian leader Carlos Castillo Armas who had led 480 trained US CIA operatives to depose the former President Arbenz. Armas’ government killed thousands, crushing unions, silencing the press, hunting communists, and rolling back popular leftist policies. Armas was eventually assassinated by a member of his own presidential guard who had come to sympathize with the Guatemalan leftist movement after witnessing the atrocities caused by Armas first hand. Sadly, the destruction caused by Armas continued after his death, the nation spiraling into continuous chaos and civil war.


In 1957, the Duvalier dynasty began, a far-right dictatorship supported by multiple US presidents, including President Ronald Reagan, for their strong anti-communist sentiment. In 1985, a rebellion against the authoritarian regime was staged, and President Jean-Claude Duvalier who had lost even the support of the US was deposed and fled to France on an Air Force One flight. This led to the democratic election of Leftist President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was then s deposed in a military coup only eight months after his election. It is widely suspected that the US had a strong role in the deposition of President Aristide since the coup’s leaders received military training in the United States.


In 1970, President Salvador Allende, the first Marxist president elected in a liberal democracy in Latin America, assumed power. The results of the election were met with an economic war declaration by President Richard Nixon, causing Chile’s economy to suffer. On September 11th, 1973, with the country in disarray, a military-led coup with backing and support from the CIA was staged against the democratically elected President Allende. As La Moneda is surrounded, In Allende’s speech archived by titled “Last Words to The Nation” Allende gives one last speech declaringWorkers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again and free men will walk through them to construct a better society.” Soon after his speech, he proves his vow “I will pay for the loyalty of the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seeds which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever.” to be an honest one. Following his death was the rise of Augusto Pinochet, a far-right neoliberal fascist dictator who would rule Chile for decades. Under Pinochet’s regime, opposing political parties were systematically persecuted and freedom of speech was suppressed, resulting in 3,000 dead, tens of thousands tortured, and 200,000 exiled. Eventually, in 1990, democracy in Chile was restored with Pinochet’s resignation.


In 1973, the US-backed and supported a military coup against the democratically elected president, making the new President Juan Maria Bordaberry the dictator of Uruguay. Under his reign, Unions and political enemies were murdered and imprisoned, bringing criticism and attention from human rights organizations worldwide. Uruguay eventually restored its democracy through the 1984 Uruguayan general election. 

Over a century of US involvement in Latin America, and it still has not ended. As America continues to force itself into the affairs of other nations, its consequences inevitably will shine through. These are barely a handful of the vast number of Latin American countries that have been meddled with by the US, and those countries still represent only a fraction of the nations worldwide that the US has tampered with.  It is imperative that we as Americans educate ourselves on the actions of our government and its consequences.

What Happens When a President Refuses to Concede?

Kirstyn Hill

December 14, 2020

Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, lost the 2020 election to Vice
President Joe Biden. Since then, he has attempted to disregard the election results and pursue
the presidency through legal battles in the swing states. Trump’s loss of the election and refusal
to concede or even acknowledge the official results, has brought his cult-like following to
question the integrity of the American voting system.

Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election with dignity is set to mark the US
history books for years to come. With no evidence or viable arguments, the Trump campaign
continues to push false arguments, only to get rejected by various judges nationwide. The 2020
election is said to be the most secure election to have yet been carried out, regardless of the
nationwide voter suppression carried out through voting poll shutdowns in the weeks leading
up to election day.

Trump would be the first US president in history to not give a concession speech and
formally accept the results of the election. Although nowhere in the constitution does it
explicitly require a losing candidate to give a concession speech, it is generally expected. By
giving a concession speech, the losing candidate can openly accept the results of the election
and encourage their followers to unite for the greater good of the country.

Trump’s apprehension to move on with a peaceful transition of power remains
consistent with much of his behavior throughout his presidency. Even before the election took
place, it was predicted that Trump would call fraud if the election were to play in favor of Joe
Biden. With a large majority of Democratic voters using mail-in ballots and a majority of
Republicans voting in person, the election results originally favored Trump. . So when he
called for all vote counting to stop at 2:30 am on election night, that was the initial indicator of
the direction this election was going to take.

Most comparable to the 2000 election of Bush V Gore, the final say of who will be
president on Inauguration day is entirely up to the federal courts. Although none of the Trump
campaign’s evidence is holding any legitimacy, and Joe Biden clearly won the 2020 election,
US democracy will continue to be pushed to its limits. As long as Trump is not declared the
official winner of the 2020 election, it is predicted he will continue to call fraud and disvalue
the American voting system while also disregarding the prized American tradition of peaceful
transitions of power.