The Iran Deal: A Neoconservative Perspective – OP-ED

American foreign policy within the Middle East shouldn’t just be focused on peace, but rather the spread of liberal western values, both of which the Obama Administration abandoned while penning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program, or, known colloquially as the “Iran Deal”. The Iran Deal had success in reducing Iranian nuclear capabilities, as it reduced stockpiles of enriched uranium and cut the number of centrifuges, and established transparency outlines where United Nations inspectors could investigate possible breaches of the deal. In the event of violations, sanctions that were lifted due to compliance with the deal would be put back on.


Sounds great, given the nuclear weaponry is the most destructive artillery the world has to offer, but the framework offers the U.S. with minimal benefits, while damaging any progress that could be made in the Middle East. The Middle East is such a violent region due to two actors: Iran and Saudi Arabia, both of whom have been engaging in proxy warfare in order to achieve dominance in the region. Both have used their money to exacerbate existing domestic conflicts in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, bolstering the violence that has ingrained itself in the region for years. The sanction relief traded to Iran for its cooperation would free up $100 billion for its own use, which, even a fraction of would greatly help their allies in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and, most damaging, Lebanon.


This deal is good for reducing Iranian nuclear capability, but this deal runs the risk of augmenting the violence already present. I, personally, believe that the United States should play an active role in foreign affairs in promoting peace and liberty around the world, and this Iran deal would only make it harder to do that.


The only place in the Middle East that is a liberal, Western region is Israel, which, while not peaceful, has desired peace since its inception. Through the relief of sanctions, money can be spent on sponsoring the activities of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization resolved on the destruction of Israel and a dedicated Iranian ally. This not only clearly poses a threat to Israel, but could damage American-Israeli relations. Israel is the only country in all of the Islamic world, ranging from Iran to Morocco to uphold the values of liberalism, equality, and freedom, and damaging these relations would threaten any possible peace in the region.


If Trump truly wants to open the door to peace in the region, he must cripple Iran, and assert a joint Israeli-American dominance over the region, leaving Saudi Arabia out of the equation. Liberalism must be promoted through the support of the Arab Spring, and authoritarian dictators like Basahr al-Assad must fall, but the only way to do this is to ensure that Iran doesn’t have the resources to support them.


by Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief


President Trump Reverses Birth Control Mandate

As a part of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all new health insurance plans were required to cover female contraceptives, otherwise known as birth control. And while this law made exemptions to churches, it did not make any for other religiously affiliated entities. Following the implementation of the mandate, many conservative politicians, religious groups, and proponents of religious liberty have advocated for its reversal on the grounds that it violated religious freedom and the first amendment.


And this past week, in a victory for opponents to the mandate, the Trump Administration announced the rollback of this policy, allowing for any employer to claim a religious or moral objection to providing birth control coverage to their employees. This has effectively allowed for companies to choose whether they would like to provide health plans that coverage female contraceptives.


This received a mixed reaction, with conservatives, men and women alike, praising this as both a win for religious freedom, as well as freedom in general, as many believe that no company should be forced to provide certain coverage if they don’t wish to. Conversely, many took to Twitter under the trending hashtag #HandsOffMyBC (Birth Control) to voice their opposition to the rollback of this Obama-era policy. Women’s groups, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as well as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, have all announced their plans to file a lawsuit against the Trump Administration, on the grounds that this policy will allow businesses to deny their workers much needed care.


However, despite the outrage, Bruce Japsen, a contributor at Forbes Magazine, wrote that there is little fear for alarm, as nearly 90% of businesses, according to a 2011 study that polled small, medium, and large-scale businesses, provide coverage voluntarily, even prior to the mandate’s implementation, and this reversal will have little net effect on birth control access.


However, the fight continues to require companies to provide birth control coverage, and the liberty to provide whatever coverage a business deems necessary, continues between women’s rights advocates and the Republican dominated federal government.


By Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

What we Know about the Last Vegas Shooting

What Happened?

Late night on Sunday, October 1st, fifty-eight people were killed and another four hundred eighty-nine were injured after Stephen Paddock opened fire on an arena of 22,000 Jason Aldean concert-goers from the thirty-second floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just prior to the police raid of his hotel room, Paddock committed suicide.


What do we know about Paddock?

According to Eric Paddock, the alleged gunman’s brother, Stephen Paddock was a multimillionaire real estate investor and avid gambler who participated in heavy gambling just prior to the massacre. His father was also Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, a bank robber who was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Paddock is also believed to be in a relationship with a Marilou Danley, a woman who he sent thousands of dollars to while she resided in the Philippines.


What was his motive?

Not much is known about Paddock’s motive for committing this recent atrocities. Eric Paddock has asserted that his brother had no involvement in any political or religious organizations, but despite this, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting that Paddock is actually Abu Abdul Bar al-Amriki, and converted to Islam six months ago. Many were quick to dismiss this claim, but Rukmini Callimachi, the New York Times correspondent covering ISIS, has cautioned people against dismissing such a claim, as ISIS has rarely claimed responsibility for attacks they hadn’t had some involvement with.


What weapon did Paddock use?

Paddock has a wide assortment of weapons he purchased from surrounding states of Nevada, acquiring all guns legally, passing all background checks, and used a bump stock, an accessory that allows semi-automatic weapons to function at a rate nearly equivalent to an automatic rifle. Such a product was greenlit by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) under the Obama Administration for commercial sale. In response, The National Rifle Association (NRA) has issued a statement expressing their willingness to participate in a dialogue with the Trump Administration in order to review federal laws over bump stocks. Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo has left open the possibility that Paddock worked with some accomplice in order to collect his amalgamation of rifles.


Was Paddock planning any further attacks?

It has been reported that Paddock had plans to carry out further attacks, including car bombings. Paddock also booked a room at Chicago’s Blackstone hotel, which overlooked the downtown park which holds Lollapalooza, but never showed up to his reservation. Paddock also researched Boston hotels that overlooked Fenway park, but there is no indication he travelled to the city. All of this indicates that this attack was meticulously planned.


Investigation continues to conducted into the possible motive of Paddock, and Congressional leaders have continued to push for ever stricter gun control laws, but have released few specifics on what these laws would entail.


by Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

The Underpinning of Neo-Nationalism (Weekly Op-Ed)

The last country to declare independence, and have its sovereignty universally recognized by the members states of the United Nations was Montenegro over eleven years ago on June 3rd, 2006. Since then, both Kosovo and South Sudan have declared their independence from Serbia and Sudan respectively. Joining the ranks of South Sudan and Kosovo, as well as a handful of other countries in a similar situation, is the Catalan Republic.


Catalonia is an autonomous community located in northeast Spain which, for years, has been increasingly agitating for greater and greater independence from the Spanish monarchy. By 2014, however, Catalan citizens have become unsatisfied with simple autonomy, they wish to seek full independence from Spain, and held a referendum, today, October 1st, despite warnings from the Spanish government not to. Following an overwhelming victory in the referendum for independence, with nearly 92% voting in favor, Catalan officials have begun to suggest that Catalonia will soon become its independent state.


This is the latest installation in a larger phenomenon that has bestrewed the western world over the past few years: neo-nationalism. The examples are everywhere: The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, the election of President Donald Trump in the United States, and the election of President Shinzö Abe in Japan, and the election of ninety-four members of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party in the most recent German federal elections.


Globalization became the norm during the Reagan and Clinton years, but the United States, as well as the rest of the world, appears to be regressing into a nationalist state, in which tariffs are beginning to be reinstituted, border security is beginning to be tightened, and a renewed opposition to globalism has emerged. But what is fueling this rise of 21st century neo-nationalism? In a word: culture.


For better or for worse, when masses of people share the same space, a culture develops, in which people share the same values, partake in similar activities, and speak a common dialect. Many mistake culture as being divided along racial peripheries, but culture transcends these boundaries. Most of America, whether they be black or white, or are from Texas or New York, value economic security, freedom, and rule of law. However, as the United States expanded, given regions have developed different cultures, while still adhering to the core tenets of liberty. The Northeast has been generally concerned with ensuring all people have equal opportunity, with less emphasis on religion, while the Southeast has, while still maintaining values of equality and individualism, put a greater emphasis on family and religion. Neither of these are inferior to one another, but this highlights how geography can influence culture.


Once a culture is developed, a sort of tribalism has the potential to follow, with every country believing their culture is the best. In many east Asian countries, it is seen as socially unacceptable to be loud, abrasive, and assertive, where those are seen as virtues in the United States. Neither of these are inferior to each other, but this further highlights how geographical disparities influence the development of culture. This idea of absolute cultural superiority by some has engendered a feeling of isolation from other cultures, which has, in turn, generated a feeling of hostility to those who are different. Wishing to preserve one’s culture is not an issue, nor a major component of nationalism. Instead, it is the refusal to entertain the notion of other cultures.


This is apparent in the election of Donald Trump, who made promises to secure American borders against Middle Eastern and Central African refugees for their alleged refusal to abide by American laws. Nigel Farage, the Brexit crusader, also wished to refrain from admitting many Middle Easterners into the United Kingdom, as well as the admittance of Turkey to the European Union, due to fears that it would degrade Western, European culture. Kurdistan wished to hold a referendum so their populace may enjoy their own state where they may practice their own culture. This also explains the crisis within the European Union, as each individual state wishes to govern themselves in accordance to their own values, rather than take directions from international leaders who are out of touch with national values.


But what about Catalonia? The Catalan independence referendum was also influenced by culture, but rather than values, their culture resides in their history. Catalans are bound together by their rich history, and don’t wish to be apart of another country that doesn’t share it, due to the disunity it has fostered.


Some have proudly professed themselves to be “Western supremacists”, while others wish to create an international community of world citizens. Whatever side you may align with, or whatever point you find yourself on the spectrum, it is deniable that strong and homogenous cultures have played an important role in the rise of neo-nationalism.

By Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

Iraqi Kurds Vote Overwhelmingly for Independence

The controversial referendum for the Kurdish region of Iraq’s secession was finally voted on this past week, on September 25th, in which an overwhelming majority of Kurdish Iraqis voting to support Kurdish independence from Iraq.


The Kurds, and ethnic group within Iraq and Turkey, wish to become an entity independence from both countries, forming the independent nation of Kurdistan. This idea, however, isn’t new, as the ethnic Kurds have desired a Kurdish state since World War I when the map of the Middle East was redrawn, scattering ethnic Kurds across Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. Ever since, support for Kurdistan’s independence has remain strong ever since, with nearly 99% of Kurdish Iraqis voting to favor independence in 2003, and 93% voting in favor of independence this past week, as reported by Iraqi-Kurd officials.


These wins in these referendums, however, do not constitute a win for the secessionist cause, as these are non-binding referendums, which only serve the purpose to voice Kurdish support for an independent state.

This referendum drew heavy criticism from the Iraqi government, who viewed this as an act of treason, and threatened to send Iraqi troops in to seize oil fields in Kurdish territory, as well as shut down international flights to the region.


This proposal, as per Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, was an attempt to seize control of Iraqi oil fields and was unconstitutional, and demanded Kurdish authorities cancel the vote and void all results. al-Abadi additionally offered the concession of initiating talks between the Kurdistan Regional Government over independence, but only if the referendum and outcome were cancelled.


In response to the Iraqi government’s proposed sanctions against their airports, the KRG’s government released a statement on Wednesday, saying they would refuse to relinquish authority of their airports. Initially, Mawlud Murdad, transportation minister of the KRG, characterized the ultimatum “political” and “illegal”, arguing that airports were critical infrastructure in the fight against the Islamic State, but later, Murdad announced that the KRG agreed to talks with the Iraqi government to monitor Kurdish airports.


Turkey, a border nation to the disputed region, has also expressed opposition to the vote, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deploying troops to the border, where they were joined by the Iraqi soldiers. Kurdistan’s domestic economy is heavily dependent on Turkey, and Erdogan has expressed their ability to isolate an independent Kurdistan through shutting off oil pipelines and ceasing all truck deliveries.


Additionally, the United States has refused to recognize the vote over concerns with how a fractured Iraq could affect the syndicate against ISIS. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday, “We hope for a unified Iraq to annihilate ISIS, and certainly a unified Iraq to bush back on Iran.”


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added on, saying “The United States does not recognize the…unilateral referendum…the vote and the results lack legitimacy, and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq.”


For now, the fate of the Kurdish state seems far off, as no other major country is willing to recognize it amongst the already intense turmoil in the Middle East. However, pushes for independence do not seem to be slowing down.


by Emily Meng, Staff Writer

The Two Sides to Healthcare Reform (OPINIONS)

(OPINION) Where to Go from Obamacare: Medicare-for-All

by Daniel Song, Staff Writer

Time and time again, a Republican dominated Congress has come increasingly close to repealing the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act in an attempt, but fell short each time by only a few votes. The Republicans’ goal: the reduction of healthcare premiums, which have spiraled in the past few years. But the GOP is going at this all wrong; rather than reduce premiums on the private market, we should eliminate private premiums all together. In short, America should adopt Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act of 2017, inaugurating a service similar to the National Health Service in England.


The United States is the only OECD country, or developed country, that doesn’t guarantee healthcare for all of its citizens, as citizens who don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare are expected to pay their own healthcare premiums. And while some may cite the fact that the United States has access to the greatest healthcare in the world, there is sizable stipulation: not all in the United States can afford such access. This is seen in the fact that, even after Obamacare reforms, between twenty and forty thousand people die every year as a result of lack of health care, and half of all personal bankruptcies are as a result of exorbitant medical costs. Compared to other countries that have government-sponsored healthcare, nobody dies from the lack of health insurance, and nobody goes bankrupt due to an inability to pay. Additionally, while many claim that such countries “ration” care, they only ration it by who needs it most, whereas, in the United States, it is rationed by one’s ability to pay. Furthermore, the overall quality of healthcare in countries with such a healthcare system ranks much better than the United States.


It is ironic that the United States has a lower quality care, as the U.S. spends more on healthcare per capita than any other country in the world, as much of consumer dollars are swallowed by administrative costs, as well as inflating prices to make as much profit as possible. And while some may argue this system is too expensive, it may actually save the country money, as access to preventative care saves billions by diagnosing illnesses in their early stages.


Medicare-for-All is a cost-saving solution that expands access to healthcare to everybody in this country, alleviating the worries of unaffordable medical bills and could potentially reduce premiums. It is time for the United States to follow the lead of other developed nations and provide government-sponsored healthcare to everybody.


(OPINION) Where to Go from Obamacare: Free Market

By Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

Many view the election of President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election as a referendum on the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, and the consensus is in: people want change. No longer is the question if we should change, but it is how we should change. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, has proposed the United States government phase in expansions of the Medicare program until all Americans are eligible to enroll and have the government pay for our healthcare premiums, deductibles, and copays. Meanwhile, the GOP struggles to find a bill that at least fifty of their Senators will be able to support. But repealing Obamacare isn’t enough to liberate Americans from the crushing costs of medical bills. Instead, we need a true free market.


Many have claimed that privatized healthcare is an example of market failure, but how can it be market failure if we don’t truly have a market? The United States government has legislated so many barriers, and put up so much red tape that healthcare costs have no choice but to go up. This is no free market.


If we want lower healthcare premiums, we need to engender competition, a component severely lacking in the modern healthcare market largely due to the role insurance plays in the healthcare process. In a hypothetical scenario, Party A is the consumer, a patient who needs medical attentions, Party B is the hospital, who will provide said medical attention, and Party C will be the health insurance company, who will fund the medical attention. When all three parties are involved, Party B is able to inflate their prices because Party C will pay whatever they demand, and Party A won’t care because very little comes out of their pocket. Now imagine only Party A and Party B are involved. Party A is incentivized to seek out the highest quality medical care, at the lowest possible price. Now, Party B is unable to inflate their prices, because they want to attract several Party A’s to their business, and the only way to do that is to provide a product at the lowest possible price. Once one hospital in the area does this, several other hospitals will do the same, all competing to have the lowest possible price to attract customers. This cycle will initiate a drop in overall medical expenses, and will save people money if they are don’t consume a product.


If the institution of health insurance was, however, to be maintained for care, which can be another viable route, the government would need to allow insurance companies to sell their service across state lines, thereby creating a national market in which insurance companies compete for customers. Should this happen, consumers will flock to the company which offers the lowest price, and initiate a similar cycle in which companies will fight for customers by offering the best product for the lowest price. The same goes for drug companies. Americans aren’t allowed to purchase medicine from other developed countries, granting a select few pharmaceutical companies a monopoly on some products, which allows such notorious markups. Through allowing the purchase of medicine from other OECD countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany, the pharmaceutical industry will be forced to compete with other companies, and will have to compete for customers by offering the highest quality product for the lowest possible cost.


At the end of the day, alleviating the unaffordability of healthcare is as simple as restoring the competition the government has robbed the American healthcare market of. As of now, the United States isn’t in a free market, but we should be.

German Election Yields Mixed Results for Merkel, Far-Right

This past Sunday, on September 24th, over 76% of German voters cast their votes in the 2017 federal German elections, which would determine the fate of the 631 seats in the Bundestag, the federal German legislative bodies. After each representative assumes their seat in the legislature, every member of the Bundestag will cast their votes on the next Chancellor of Germany, the head of the federal German government.


The two major parties in German politics are the center-life Social Democrats of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the center-right members of “The Union”, a combination of two right-wing sister parties: the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU). While losing sixty-five seats in the 2017 election, The Union remains the largest party within the Bundestag, retaining a plurality of 246 seats. However, these seats didn’t go to the SPD, which also lost forty seats. Instead, many of these lost seats, from both of the parties, went to Alternative for Germany (AfD), a right-wing nationalist party.


The German electoral system allows for any party that earns at least 5% of the popular vote to collect seats within the Bundestag, which the AfD was unable to attain due to a rejection of nationalism in post-World War II Germany. However, votes surged to 13% for the AfD on Sunday, granting the party ninety-four seats. The resurgence of right-wing nationalist parties had largely been dismissed as a possibility after Marine Le Pen’s landslide loss in the French election in April. However, many attribute The Union’s losses, and the AfD’s gains, as a result of controversy over Merkel’s immigration policy, which allowed for millions of Syrian refugees to flood into Germany, as well as the rest of Europe. This recent, and growing, popularity of the AfD is largely a result of calls for immigration reform and border security from German conservatives, which have largely gone unheard by the existing government. Many even admitted they would’ve voted for the CSU over the CDU, a right-leaning party that gravitates more towards the center the CDU, Merkel’s party. However, the CSU can only be voted for in the German state of Bavaria.


Of the forty parties who ran in the election, only six were able to attain the 5% threshold to receive seats in the legislature: The Union, the SPD, the AfD, as well as the center-right, capitalist Free Democratic Party (FDP), the center-left Green Party, and the socialist Left Party. The CDU, however, earned the plurality of votes, giving The Union the ability to form a coalition government, a government made up of several allied parties. After Merkel was reelected to a fourth term as German Chancellor, she plans to embark on reducing taxes and lowering unemployment, as well as ally with the Green Party to give her a majority to work with in the Bundestag. Merkel is also advocating for European unity, particularly through the European Union (EU). Merkel has also dismissed working with President Trump, particularly due to Trump’s nationalist and isolationist policies.


And while the rise of the far right seems imminent, existing tension within the AfD led to the resignation of Frauke Petry. Petry and the federal spokesman for the AfD, Alexander Gauland, disagreed over the direction of the party, with Petry wishing to take party in the CDU’s coalition government, while Gauland saw the AfD’s purpose to oppose the CDU.


By Aditya Acharya, Staff Writer

Trump criticizes North Korea, Iran, Urges Unified Action in First UN Speech

President Donald Trump made his first ever address to the United National General Assembly this past week on Tuesday, September 19th, during which he minced no words in his criticisms for North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela.


After an introduction in which he espoused the importance of coexistence and unity across cultures, he began to criticize North Korea and the Jong Un regime for its mistreatment of citizens, and its path toward more intense nuclearization. In his speech, President Trump stated, “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself for its allies, we will have no choice but totally destroy North Korea.” President Trump continued this sentiment, stating that Jong Un, referring to him with the epithet “rocket man”, is “on a suicide mission for himself, and for his regime.”


President Trump then shifted course and directed his criticisms toward the Rouhani regime of Iran, denouncing its use of revenue from its oil sales to fund Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Islamist group with aims to destroy Israel, the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East. President Trump also disparaged Iran’s use of funds to intervene in other Middle Eastern conflict, such as the Syrian, Iraqi, and Yemeni Civil War, stating that Iran’s wealth has “fueled Yemen’s civil war, and undermined peace throughout the entire Middle East.” He continued on to harshly criticize the Iran Deal, lamenting it as an “embarrassment” to the United States.


Finally, President Trump condemned the Maduro regime in Venezuela, as well as socialism, the economic ideology under which the Maduro administration operates under. In his speech, Trump stated, “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.”


In closing, despite numerous delegates exiting the General Assembly in protest, Trump maintained that “we will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all.”


Reaction to the speech was mixed, with many criticizing his pejorative allusion to Jong Un as “rocket man” and his apparent threat to “destroy North Korea”. Others have applauded his speech, believing it asserted the strength of the United States, which many felt was absent during the Obama administration. Most popular was Trump’s condemnation of socialism, which went viral on the internet, also drawing mixed reaction.


Ultimately, President Trump’s relationship with the institution of the United Nation remains on uncertain ground. He praised the UN’s efforts at refugee aid and the eradication of hunger, but continued to espouse his nationalist and anti-globalist rhetoric.


By Melanie Lust, Staff Writer

Lack of Clarity in Trump’s Paris Agreement Position

While the White House continues to affirm its position that the United States will exit the Paris Climate Agreement, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Arias Cañete, Europe’s Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, has said that the Trump administration had agreed to a policy shift during a thirty-nation, minister level meeting earlier this week.


This position contrasts with President Trump’s initial decision in June to withdraw from the Agreement, unless changes could be made that would be amicable to the United States. President Trump cited job losses and the negative impact on the United States economy that would result from the United States adhering to the agreement, namely due to cutting carbon emissions that would hamper the growth of the coal sector Trump hoped to revive.


As per the terms of the agreement the United States signed onto under the Obama administration, America isn’t able to leave the agreement under November 4th, 2020. In this time period, the United States is free to alter their policy on the treaty. While President Trump himself as denied these reports, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the United States is open to remaining within the agreement under the proper conditions. Sarah Huckabee Sanders also took to twitter, proclaiming the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement unless “pro-America terms” are received. However it is unclear what terms Secretary Tillerson and President Trump seek, as the Paris Agreement is nonbinding treaty, meaning that all policies are set by the country with no penalties set on increasing carbon emissions.


President Trump’s alleged reconsideration of the Paris Agreement would come as no surprise to many, who have grown accustomed to President Trump changing course from his pre-election promises, with, just a week ago, reversing his decision on deporting all undocumented immigrants and favoring some version of amnesty for those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.


The Paris Agreement was largely a commitment by signatories to manage their carbon emissions and overall carbon footprint, and signatories are encouraged to align their carbon emissions policy with the goals outlined in the treaty. With the United States remaining, or not, won’t have much effect on climate change, as the U.S. was always free to set their own policy.


by Jonah Gold, Staff Writer

From Rescission to Enshrinement; The Trump-DACA Saga

It was on September 5th, just a few weeks ago, that President Donald Trump announced his administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by his predecessor, President Obama. Since then, however, President Trump’s attitude towards DACA has shifted, and has now promises to “enshrine” the DACA protections into law, and has lamented the idea of deporting the 800,000 recipients of these protections.


During the campaign, then-candidate Trump promised the rescission of DACA as a top priority, in line with his hard stance against illegal immigration. DACA was established through prosecutorial discretion via the Department of Homeland Security, meaning that this policy effectively required law enforcement agencies to selectively enforce deportations, excluding those who had registered for a two-year period of deferred action. Many Republicans considered this to be an abuse of executive power, but, even so, President Trump’s decision was met with mixed reaction from his Republican colleagues, and nearly universal condemnation from his Democratic counterparts. Following the announcement, fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration in an attempt to ensure the continuation of the DACA program.


However, the repeal of DACA won’t be enforced immediately, as President Trump has given Congress a six-month period to find a legislative solution. Meanwhile, President Trump turned to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to discuss the protection of DACA enrollees and border security. In a tentative agreement reached between the three, Senator Schumer and Rep. Pelosi agreed to support enhanced border security in exchange for President Trump’s support for the enshrinement of the DACA program into law. What was remarkably missing from this working agreement was funding for President Trump’s promised border wall along the American-Mexican border.


This is the latest installment in Trump’s deal-making with congressional Democrats. It was just a few weeks ago that President Trump blindsided his own Republican allies when he reached an agreement with Senator Schumer on an increase in the debt limit in order to finance the government until mid-December, a deal that had been rejected by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). President Trump’s aligning with the Democrats has alienated much of his base, who see him as abandoning his campaign promises. One conservative commentator remarked that she voted for Trump as a “lesser of two Democrats” back in November.


by Mae Zaleski, Guest Writer