Saturday, 17 November 2018

Midterm Special

Well, you know by now that Democrats retook the house, for the first time in 8 YEARS! How many of us were even old enough to remember when Democrats were in power that way?

While Republicans strengthened their lead in the Senate, it was by very little now that Kristen Sinema, a Democrat, has won her race in Texas.


California isn't as blue as you think. In Orange County in Southern California, Republicans form a significant portion of the House Representatives California sends to Washington. 

Until this week, that is.

Democrats flipped four seats in Southern California, which we found out just this week. They also won a supermajority in both the State House and Senate, as well as the Governor's mansion. The California Democratic Party gleefully tweeted that Republicans have now been denigrated to third-party levels of irrelevance in California. 

Utah and Kansas

Yes, you read that right. Democrats won in states beyond their wildest dreams. The "heartland," long written off as unreachably red, went for Democrats this year. Or at least more than normal.

Congressional Democrats in Utah. In Texas, Democrats fell short of defeating Texas Senator Ted Cruz, which was an emotional disappointment for that night. However, they came closer than ever and because of something pundits are calling "the Beto effect", Democrats took House seats in Texas. 

However, the biggest surprise of the night was the defeat of Kansas governor Kris Kobach. A Democrat now heads Kansas's state government. Utterly unimaginable. The reason this happened can be seen in how one-party Republican rule of Kansas went too far, even for conservatives. They slashed taxes and kowtowed to big business, bankrupting the state. The government had to shorten the school week in Kansas as the school districts ran out of money. A revolt against this ended up with a Democrat in Kansas's highest state office.

A Year of Firsts

2018 has been called the "Year of the woman." Women ran for office and replaced men all across the country. 

The "Rainbow Wave" came out in full force this year as well. The first openly gay governor was elected in Colorado, the first bisexual woman was elected to the Senate, and Kim Davis, the conservative icon who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was soundly defeated.

And I'm not making this up: A rainbow shone over Capitol Hill.

For the first time ever, not one but two Muslim women were elected.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Deconstructing the Conservative Youth Movement

There has been a growing trend of young conservatives who position themselves as the leader of a young right-wing movement. The young usually lean left, and these new right-wingers hope to dispute this. As petty as it seems, a large part of this is being "cool."

The problem with marketing conservatism to young people is that they believe in traditional values-remaining a virgin until marriage and not cursing or deviating from social norms. That's kryptonite for young people. More importantly, being cool entails a sense of rebellion. By definition, conservatives are not rebels. They support the status quo and the people in power, including the military, the police, and business leaders. 

Finally, to start a movement you need a pressing issue, a great injustice. The right, especially now, has overwhelming control of the US government. So the right needed anything to latch on to, to make an issue out of. What's the one place conservatives aren't especially prominent? College campuses. That's where conservatives decided to focus.

Enter Ben Shapiro. Starting as a conservative columnist as young as high school, he had a talent for talking at a dizzying speed and being fast on his feet during debates. While he shares the social value of conservatives, like opposing gay marriage, he was smart to mostly shut up about them because they alienate young people. 

He understood one crucial aspect of coolness-- not caring or becoming emotional about anything. Ben Shapiro would invite leftists to argue with him. College leftists are very passionate but often aren't articulate. Ben Shapiro exploits this to create a dynamic where he seems like the untouchable epitome of coolness and logic, while the left comes off as emotional SJWs. His hyperbolically titled videos are shared online, contributing to the view counts on his show. His usage of the Internet, where entertaining soundbites gets the most views, is masterful. He preaches the message that the left is obsessed with victimhood and dominates the media, but he has a new message that abstains from identity politics and such self-pity. He has a sense of humor and gave his followers a feeling of collective identity. 

He has inspired a number of wannabes from Charlie Kirk, who has taken the extra step of founding College conservative group called Turning Point USA, to Steven Crowder, who hosts viral Change My Mind segments on college campuses, to the now irrelevant Milo Yiannapolous, who veered to far right for even mainstream conservatives. 

Next I will discuss the contradictions within their movement.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

New Law Should Prokove Bipartisan Outrage, Not Support

As international criticism of Israel mounts, the U.S. has continued to be their steadfast ally. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has accused the U.N. of antisemitism for disproportional targeting Israel and shifted blame to Hamas, the group that runs the West Bank and does engage in terrorism. Following the U.S. criticism of a U.N. resolution condemning Israel, the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council. As a member of the all-powerful security council, the U.S. vetoed resolutions calling for the embargo and sanctions of Israel or its internationally disputed settlements.

Image result for Nikki haley un
Nikki Haley speaks at the U.N.

The United States has as of late decided to crack down on BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), a group that calls for nonviolent boycotts as a way of pressuring Israel to stop engaging in human rights abuses. The FBI investigated and questioned members of BDS recently. This provoked outrage among left-wing and free-speech groups who accuse the FBI of chilling political speech and relying on right-wing outlets for information. 

The most bold iteration of the anti-BDS trend is a bill introduced in the Senate, The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, and an equivalent bill in the house that would punish Americans who participate in and support boycotts of Israel. The bill goes further and says Americans who participate in boycotts of any U.S. allies could also face punishment. The language tries to mask its purpose, saying that this bill only applies to international government organizations propagating for a boycott, but many say it could still be used to punish individual Americans. The text in the bill tries to stay general, but it is clear that the organization they are targeting is B.D.S. and the U.S. ally they are protecting is Israel. Meeting public backlash, they have tried to amend the bill, but it's akin to putting lipstick on a pig: it's still a pig.

ACLU's Letter to Congress

The punishments range from a $20000 dollar fine to, at maximum, a $1 million fine and up to 20 years in prison. Before my Democrat-supporting friends jump in, the bill in the Senate is sponsored by Democratic senator Bill Cardin and supported by Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats. An equivalent bill in the House of Representatives is sponsored by dozens of Republicans and Democrats. 

It would also discriminate against businesses who do not work with Israel, as a matter of boycott or not, by denying their credit applications in the Export/Import bank, effectively cutting them off from the rest of the world.

Below is a list of members who support the bill. There are currently 55 Senators- enough to pass the Senate and 218 representatives- enough to pass the HOR. As it stands, the bill is very likely to pass. If your representative is a Democrat, he/she may be especially open to your thoughts. Especially if your congressmen is on it, or even if they aren't, I urge you to call, email, and write to them to tell them this bill is an affront to free speech.

Senate Members Who Support the Bill
House Members Who Support the Bill