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OPINION AND COMMENT:
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (With Nepotism)
By Ross Turner
In The Moment
Nepotism is having a moment right now. Arguably, this moment never ended, but it has found renewed vigor in the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Nepotism simply means favoritism towards relatives, usually expressed by their appointment to unearned positions. The word stems from the Latin nepos, meaning nephew, which during the Middles Ages became nepotismo in Italian. Nepotismo referred to the tendency of Popes and bishops to assign relatives to positions of power. Since they took vows of chastity and had no sons of their own, these assignments often fell to nephews. The word may be medieval, but the practice is as old as mankind. We are biologically hardwired to favor our kin over strangers, but this doesn’t mean that family is always fit for the job.
The Nepos Scale
History is rife with examples of nepotism that highlight its often disastrous consequences. From the formation and collapse of the Roman Empire, to countless mad kings lording over the realms of Europe, much bloodshed and tumult has occurred as a result of incompetent kin who never should have held power in the first place. Nonetheless, families can’t seem to help themselves and keep on appointing each other to run their businesses and countries (into the ground.) So, in the spirit of family, let us survey the Trump clan and see how far nepotism has taken them. To assist in our appraisals, I’ve developed a highly scientific metric called the “Nepos Scale.” Zero nepos is billing your toddler for diapers; five nepos is promoting your toddler to Director of Operations.
Ivanka Trump: The Golden Child
Ivana Marie “Ivanka” Trump is, without question, the crown jewel atop Trump’s golden mane of straw. You can tell because, in addition to being named after his first wife, Trump claimed that “perhaps [he’d] be dating her” if she weren’t his daughter. I’m no Freudian psychologist, but… yikes. Moving right along, Ivanka, like her father, attended Wharton Business School where she, like her father, received a B.S. in economics. Just a year later in 2005, she clawed her way up to an entry-level gig as Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at the Trump Organization, as most college grads do. However, in an effort to shed her image as merely the privileged offspring of her rich father, Ivanka thereafter spent many a hot summer personally working her lemonade stand in the Bronx, slowly accruing wealth. Just kidding; she sold fine diamonds and gold jewelry in downtown Manhattan until dad decided to get into politics.
www.calamitypolitics.com loves political cartoons. The Week magazine has some of the best. Here is Pulitzer prize winner Adam Zyglis’ (Zyozis) March 28, 2019 cartoon. A true classic. Apparently Trump felt a need to share a bit of his knowledge on obstruction of justice and other criminality. Thanks, Adam for keeping us laughing. If it weren’t for the political cartoonist I am sure I would lose my sense of perspective. A good laugh brings everything into perspective.
Too Rich for Jail:
The Manafort Case A Lesson In Sentencing Disparity
By Quinton Reed
What is Sentencing Disparity?
Idiomized, you may hear the term as a “slap on the wrist”. As an adjective, a justice system might be described as “two-tiered” or “hybrid”; a lawyer may be accused of upholding “double standards”. These phrases are used to describe situations of sentencing disparity. Sentencing disparity is defined as: “a form of unequal treatment that is often of unexplained cause and is at least incongruous, unfair and disadvantaging in consequence”.
Across the Spectrum
Sentencing disparity is rampant in the US Judicial system. Discriminatory sentencing in the courtrooms occur on the basis of gender, race, immigration status, religion, sexuality, and economic status. For the sake of providing thorough commentary, this article focuses specifically on classism. Particularly how obvious it was in the most recent case of Paul Manafort. That is to say, the last sentencing on Manafort’s case–especially as compared to other, similar cases–and the attitude surrounding that ruling–is intrinsic in the discussion of sentencing disparity on basis of class.
The Price of Freedom
It isn’t a matter of one or two set of statistics that correlates sentence severity and economic status; it’s an epidemic. A study conducted by The Brookings Institution’s Adam Looney and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ Nicholas Turner was enlightening . The statistics revealed that boys who grew up in the bottom tenth of income distribution were 20 times more likely to be in prison. Both researchers were not only economists, but also used to work for the Treasury Department. This position provided plenty of research not only on prisoners’ incomes before imprisonment, but also the incomes of their parents.
The Jukebox choice of the day here at www.calamitypolitics.com is unanimous. Celebrating John McCain’s heroism. “Danger Zone” from 1986. Thank you, Senator McCain for your service.-Calamity
Opinion and Comment
Trump’s Cowardice vs McCain’s Heroism
By David L. Shadrick
Please be warned of the following issues I harbor so you can remove my personal bias’ from the narrative. I’m a Veteran living in transitional housing. I work helping the homeless through legislation and litigation. My focus is on the 85% of the homeless population who have a diagnosed mental illness. I’m extremely annoyed a non-vet has the cojones to attack a vet, especially after his passing.
The Vietnam War
John McCain’s heroism during the Vietnam War is well recorded. Simply speaking, there were four major choices young men faced when their draft number came up. Some of the men decided to go to Vietnam and serve their country. Others moved to Canada, leaving behind their lives in protest. Some took their chances in court and risked going to prison. Finally there were those that received a deferment of some kind.
Serving Your Country Versus Deferment
Because this article is focused on Trump’s comments about Senator John McCain’s heroism, I’ll be brief. I’m only looking at serving your country or choosing a deferment. While many people believe that Trump’s deferment was obtained illegally, I will not be addressing that issue. It is also irrelevant to the issue at hand.
Off To War
An Annapolis grad and aviator, John McCain came from a long line of naval officers. McCain decided to serve his country and suffered one of the worst fates a service person can endure. It is important to note here that the North Vietnamese had given McCain a get out of jail free card. McCain’s father was an Admiral and because of that rank, the younger McCain was offered a flight home. When he refused to leave his comrades he was literally subjected to five years of non-stop torture. Just being able to survive this kind of torment, much less being able to thrive after it, is a tribute to McCain’s personal character and heroism.
Meanwhile, President Trump received a medical deferment, the only choice that didn’t involve a sacrifice. I have no problem with someone using this method to avoid serving in a war they didn’t support. But I believe strongly that it disqualifies such a person criticizing someone who went; someone like John McCain.
Inappropriate and Disgraceful
Concentrating on Trump’s comments about McCain’s heroism isn’t the point of this article. There is no doubt that his continuing comments are inappropriate and disgraceful. Trump says he “doesn’t like heroes who get captured.” I don’t f*cking like civilians who think staying home was just as good as going to Vietnam. Or, challenging the validity of Senator John McCain’s heroism.
Even Trump Supporters
As I mentioned before, I currently live in transitional housing. I share an apartment building with about a hundred other veterans. Let me assure you all of them are angry about Trump’s attacks on John McCain. John McCain’s heroism is not Trump’s to question. One of my friends is an ardent Trump supporter who always defends Trump, no matter what the position. I announced to my friend that I was writing an article for www.calamitypolitics.com condemning Trump for his attacks on McCain. He agreed that such a response had to be written.
No matter what your political affiliations very few support attacks on a dead people, certainly not a man of Senator McCain’s stature. Hey, the man is dead and can’t punch back. Let him rest in peace. It leaves his still grieving widow and children to defend his legacy. Shameful, that the family had to fight back to have McCain’s heroism protected. It just highlights Trump’s fundamental weakness of character. A spineless man who fights imaginary wars is what we have in the White House.
Backlash over the attacks on McCain’s heroism were swift and harsh. While one would expect that the Democrats would issue a harsh response to Trump’s remarks, the condemnation from the right was swift and harsh as well. Strange, Lindsey Graham, one of McCain’s closest friends during his lifetime, exchanged a condemnation of Trump for an evening of champagne and cronyism at Mar-a-lago.
To quote the Business Insider
Here are some responses from prominent Republicans taken from an article by the Business Insider. (Full story here https://www.businessinsider.com/gop-senators-slam-trump-tirade-against-john-mccain-2019-3.
“Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who is often critical of the president, condemned Trump’s comments on Twitter.
‘I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God,’ he wrote.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who rarely criticizes Trump and avoids big headlines in the press, also spoke out against the president for his repeated attacks on McCain. Isakson, who chairs the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, told The Bulwark, a conservative opinion website, that he intends to excoriate Trump in the same manner he did shortly after McCain’s death when the White House did not properly lower their flags to half-staff.
‘I want to do what I said that day on the floor of the senate,’ he said. ‘I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better, I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world. Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.’
During an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind” later on Wednesday, Isakson called Trump’s comments ‘deplorable’. He suggested that type of comment did considerable damage to the way military veterans are treated.
‘It’s deplorable what he said,’ Isakson said. ‘It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out because there’s one thing that we got to do. You may not like immigration, you may not like this, that, maybe a Republican, maybe a Democrat. We’re all Americans.’
‘There aren’t Democrat casualties and Republican casualties on the battlefield. There are American casualties,’ he added. ‘And we should never reduce the service people give to this country, including the offering of their own life, even in political fodder in Washington, DC, or anywhere else for that matter.’
– The Business Insider, March 20, 2019
Write The White House
Please take note of this disgraceful behavior from President Trump and speak up. Just because you agree with his policies 99% of the time, please realize this time is the 1% of the time you need to disagree. Write or e-mail the White House and demand an apology for his attacks on McCain’s heroism.
Deadly Effect of Deforestation
By D. S. Mitchell and Michael Leonard Douglas
“Deforestation is the permanent destruction of forests in order to make land available for other uses”-Wikipedia-“Deforestation causes extinction, changes climate, creates deserts, and displaces indigenous populations”-Wikipedia.
From Then Until Now
Of the over 6 million original square miles of rain forest earth has lost over 4.5 million square miles. This incredible loss is due to human activity and naturally occurring deforestation events. In addition to human activity millions of trees are lost to wildfires and those losses are not effectively replaced. The pressures of constant logging make it impossible to preserve forests within a reasonable time frame. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s leading producers of palm oil. This fact makes them two of the world’s greatest deforestation culprits.
For a well-balanced relationship of organisms in the ecosystem, there must not be any interference with the natural processes. However, man has entered the picture and his activities are negatively influencing the natural balance. Over the last two decades the rate of deforestation has increased exponentially. The increased demand for timber products and the clearing of rain forests for developing palm oil plantations are two leading drivers of deforestation. Human beings are creating a dramatic imbalance in the eco-system that may be irreversible.
Current efforts to stop deforestation are failing. It is estimated that up to 18.7 million acres of trees are lost from deforestation annually (IUCN, 2019). Since the 1960’s, we have lost more than 50 % of the forest reserve. With continued destruction there are not enough trees being planted at a fast enough pace to restore the ecological balance. Deforestation is a global phenomenon, but some regions are more effected than others, especially the tropical rain forests. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that we may lose the tropical rain forests within the next 100 years. They are not protected and replenished.
With close to 32% of the planet covered by forests, increased deforestation is likely to effect every living thing on the planet. Can you imagine a world without trees. It would be a pretty horrific place. Where would we get food, fresh water? What kind of planet would it be without the wildlife we love? The threat is real. This is why efforts to curb deforestation make headlines and it has become a hot topic at conferences and forums held around the world. Citizens are demanding action from world leaders. Presidential candidates are making it the cornerstone of their election campaigns.
How It Happens
The primary cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming accounts for 48% of deforestation. Commercial agriculture is responsible for 32%. Logging another 14%. Fuel wood removal 5%. The important issue is that forests are converted from their prior state of natural existence to a ‘economic producing’ status whether it be to farming, mining, ranching or industry. The removal of trees without re-planting is resulting in irreversible habitat damage, biodiversity loss, aridity and disturbance in the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
we @calamitypolitics are convinced that with knowledge and understanding we can change our deadly course. Climate 101: Deforestation is a startling look at the causes of deforestation. Thanks National Geographic for the production of this video from last year. Darlene
Greenpeace ad presenting the story of an orphaned Orangutan who was driven from her home by the palm oil plantations.