On October 1st, the Spanish province Catalonia held an independence referendum that had been condoned by the Spanish government, and divided Catalan society. At hand was the question of whether or not the province should become an independent country, though the results were non-binding. Though 90% of voters supported independence, showing was particularly poor at only 43%. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is an ardent supporter of independence, and threatened to declare it within days. Up to now, however, there has not been any declaration.
On Election Day, over 900 voters were reported to have been injured by the Spanish police, who tried to seize voting stations and results. This was critical for two reasons—firstly, the Spanish government does not intend to let go of Catalonia, as it is one of their richest provinces. An article in the Spanish constitution outlines that secession of a Spanish province is illegal, and the government is acting on that mandate to try and stop the Catalan parliament.
Secondly, Catalonia is already semi-autonomous, and runs many of its public services separate from the Spanish government. It is not the only case of autonomy in Spain—other regions such as Basque Country in the north run with similar leeway. However, the Spanish government used its police in place of the Catalan police, and has also threatened to suspend the Catalan parliament.
To try and get some international support, Catalan leaders have looked out to the EU, but have not got much positive feedback. Both the EU parliament and individual countries such as France said they would not recognize a declaration of independence, and that Catalonia would not automatically be admitted to the EU should it secede (some leaders have condoned the use of violence, however).
Catalonia could probably finance independence, as it is a richer part of Spain, and has a fourth of Spain’s exports with a fifth of it’s population. Recently, Puigdemont has delayed any declaration of independence and said that he was open to negotiation with the Spanish government. This is probably because he has been humbled by Pro-Spain unity rallies in Barcelona over the weekend, further weakening his mandate to speak for all of Catalonia.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The Pledge of Allegiance. Thirty-one historical words we say every morning, but how often do you stop and think about what they mean? We say our nation is indivisible;
however, the year 2016 saw our country grow more divided than it’s been in a long time. Mostly due to the Presidential race and elections, we have witnessed friendships and families being torn apart by opinions. During times like this, it’s a constant battle between “I should stand up for what I believe in” and “My opinion won’t change anything,” so how do we choose?
According to Mr. Bigley, a high school English teacher here at FBCS, an argument is quote, “An intellectual conversation between two opposing points of view, in which each person is prepared with evidence to support their side of the argument.” There is no name-calling or bias here, merely an exchange of facts. This is where most people go wrong when discussing politics. They are judging or being judged based on a black and white spectrum. “Trump supporters are racist/sexist/stupid,” “People who voted for Hillary are blind feminists,” and many other insulting statements like these have been said without a second thought. However, it’s extremely unfair to group people by what they believe.
“I dreaded my social studies class, because 95% of my fellow students had the opposite opinion of mine, and I would have to sit through their hurtful, blanketed statements about people who believe what I do,” a student said last trimester, during the especially rough weeks leading up to and following the election. Now, with the impending inauguration, political tensions are rising once again. But how can we guard ourselves against the barrage of hate and anger bound to come our way? Set an example. Martin Luther King Jr. once
said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Everyone has their own beliefs and opinions, which should be respected, regardless of whether or not you agree with them.
Instead of arguing amongst ourselves, perhaps Americans should look past their differences and come together to celebrate a historic event. “I think that this is a time in which we should all stand together as one,” Geraldo Rivera said in an interview with Fox News (which I would cite, but the video is blocked). So, as we watch the much dreaded and anticipated inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, let us not grumble about it. We are America, and only united can we stand. Divided, we most certainly will fall.
The upcoming November Presidential Election has been a hot topic lately. There have been wide ranges of discussion about the two mainstream candidates – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – across various news organizations and social media sites. However, for those of you who do not want to vote two-party, here are three third-party candidates running for the 2016 election.
One of these candidates is the Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson – former governor of New Mexico. Though a former Republican, Gov. Johnson’s ideals closely resemble those of the Libertarian party – that of minimal government intervention – as shown by his belief in returning control of the education system back to the state and local level. As for foreign policy, Johnson proposes a change from “policing the world” to protecting ourselves at home. Johnson’s foreign policy includes cutting funding for foreign armies, repairing our relationships with our allies, and only sending out troops with the approval of Congress. Gov. Johnson’s also supports the idea of healthy job growth in our economy. To accomplish this, Johnson states that he will remove unnecessary regulation on the market, allowing entrepreneurs and businesses to create more jobs.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein, however, believes in “jobs as a right.” Stein states that, as President, she will generate jobs for every working American – along with a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. She also believes in “education as right,” stating she will end student debt and create a tuition-free, non-privatized school system in the U.S. As for her foreign policy, Stein states she will end “wars and drone attacks” as well as cut military spending by 50 percent, close our foreign military bases, and lead a global nuclear disarmament.
Former C.I.A operative and independent candidate Evan McMullin has a different approach. Having a foreign policy based on national security, McMullin believes in a strengthening of our military through responsible spending. McMullin states that, as President, he will reform the Pentagon to be a better “steward of taxpayer dollars.” McMullin states he will accomplish this via ensuring the Pentagon monitors its spending and trimming facilities from the Cold War – cutting the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on these facilities. To support the economy, McMullin believes in spurring more economic growth. By simplifying the tax code, reducing the amount of business regulations, as well as reducing entitlement spending. In terms of education, McMullin believes in a reformation of the K-12 education system. Similar to Johnson, McMullin supports local control of the education system. However, he also holds a strong regard for charter schools and supports parents who decide on homeschooling. As for higher education, McMullin believes in cutting the amount of federal intervention in post-secondary schooling and returning control back to the local level, while maintaining the voice that the student may have in the matter. McMullin also believes that the schools should hold themselves to high standards in ensuring a student’s success.
In addition to these three candidates, there are many more alternatives. For more information, visit Politics1.
The presidential election is going to be close this year, maybe too close. The selection for this year’s democratic candidates really comes down to two, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hilary
Clinton is currently leading in the polls, but not by much, Sanders is close behind and rising. Many believe that Hillary Clinton changes her perspective to in turn be more favorable in the eyes of the voter, but Bernie Sanders has had the same political views for over 50 years and now it is finally paying off. Sanders got an immense amount of support when he explained what democratic socialism really is, many people think of labor camps when they think of socialism, but Sanders idea of socialism is quite different. Analyzing data in recent polls, the majority of Americans think that Hilary Clinton is not a trustworthy candidate for president, yet data shows that many people think that she is going to win the election. If you are interested in the two top democratic candidates and their campaigns, political past, and their stance on the issues, then I recommend that you on.
There are many fundamental differences between Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton, the first being that Hilary has plans to raise money from the big banks and Wall Street, while Bernie plans to tear them down. Bernie Sanders believes that an imbalance of wealth as severe as it is now in America is a fundamental flaw in our society. Equal rights for all is a very big issue at the moment, especially concerning gay rights for all citizens and the legalizing gay marriage. In 2002 in an MSNBC interview Hilary said that she didn’t think that New York should recognize gay marriage. Also in 2002 she went on the O’Reilly factor and said that she is against gay marriage. Ever since Bernie Sanders began his political career, he has been consistently in favor of gay rights for all and legalizing gay marriage. In Sander’s 2016 presidential race, he has refused to accept money from large corporations, big banks, wealthy individuals, and any money through super PACs, unlike Sanders, Hilary Clinton has raised a lot money through super PACs and accepted millions through donations from corporations and wealthy individuals. Bernie believes that when you have candidates that accept these enormous amount of money from extremely large companies and billionaire donors, it limits the influence that every American citizen has on choosing the next president of the United States. Clinton has raised the most so far with $76 million and has already spent $43 million. Sanders has raised the second most with $40 million and is the only candidate that has spent less than half of his campaign finances.
There are many issues where Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree, they both support the nuclear deal with Iran and have similar
views as president Obama. Clinton and Sanders are both against the Iran war and as a senator, Bernie voted against the war. Both of these top democratic candidates also have similar views on climate change, just different ways of approaching it. Sanders wants to put a tax on carbon and methane emissions so that companies will go green, but Clinton wants to have the country producing 33% of its electricity through renewable energy by the year 2027. Both of them have very similar views on immigration reform as to lead millions of undocumented workers to a path of citizenship. Sanders has a strong stance on income inequality and he wants to tax the rich and make corporations pay their fair share of taxes and of course raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, while Hilary wants to approach it in a manner that is less intense and only raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and not tax the corporations and the wealthy as heavily. On health care both democrats believe that universal health care is the way to go, Bernie believes that a single payer health care system is the right thing for this country (every majorly developed country has single payer health care), but Hilary thinks that expanding on Obamacare and improving the Affordable Care Act is what this country needs. When it comes to social security they are both interested in protecting it from the republican attacks, but Bernie wants to take it a little farther by making it so the people who make over $250,000 a year pay the same percentage of their income to social security as everyone else. When it comes to making jobs for the country, Sanders speaks loud and clear when he says that he is serious about investing 1 trillion dollars over the course of 5 years into creating and maintaining 13 million jobs, but Hilary wants to create a national infrastructure banks so that money can be made to increase funding for scientific research and grow small businesses. Both candidates strongly support equal gender pay, Clinton embraces the fact that she will be the country’s first female president and makes women’s issues a large part of her campaign, but Sanders is also very progressive on the issue and as president guarantees affordable child care and paid family leave. Criminal justice reform is also a big priority for both candidates, and sole heartedly agree that taking down the private prison industry, ending the war on drugs, and enforcing smart decisions with our police officers. When it comes to gun violence it is Hilary who dominates by making it one of the main pillars of her campaign, Sanders struggles on this issue but plans to make some little changes, like increased background checks. Unlike gun violence, when it comes to College, Sanders rules the stage, because he plans on making all public college tuition free and paying for it through a tax on all Wall Street trades, and Hilary just wants to lower interest rates on student loans and make some community colleges tuition free. When it comes to international trade there is a difference in opinion, Clinton supported the passing of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) but just recently she reversed her position on both agreements and is now against them, but Sanders has always been against trade agreements because it hurts US workers and farmers in the US, central America, and Mexico. Finally, when it comes to campaign finance reform, Bernie and Hilary have very similar views, both of them believe that making elections publically financed will be beneficial because it would reduce the high influence the wealthy has over the political arena, and also this would make the honest and good hearted more inclined to run for office because they don’t have competition from dirty and influenced candidates that can overpower them with money.
If you enjoyed learning about the candidates, and what they stand for, then I recommend that you answer the poll at the end of the article and choose which political candidate you think should win the presidential election, if any.
Who Will Be the Republican Candidate? Story By: John Holmes
Our country is on the verge of a new term, but the question remains – who will be our next president? This daunting question vexes the minds of all voting United States citizens, and grows ever more puzzling as the elections draw closer. Here are some of the platforms of the top Republican candidates.
According to a poll on the Huffington Post, Donald Trump is the foremost candidate – with a 38.1% poll. Trump’s platform focuses on reforming U.S and China trade, Veterans Administration, and the U.S tax system.
The goals for Trump’s tax plan include growing the American economy, less tax on middle-class Americans, and a simpler tax code.
According to Trump’s tax plan, if you are single and earn an income less than $25,000, or you and your spouse jointly earn less than $50,000 for a household income, you owe no income tax. There would be only four tax brackets – 0%, 10%, 20%, and 25% – rather than the current seven. No business would pay above 15% of their profit in taxes.
Ben Carson – another potential Republican Party runner – has a different tax plan. Carson’s plan includes a simple flat tax, or a tax with a constant rate. Under Carson’s tax plan, income would be taxed at a uniform 14.9%, without tax shelters or loopholes. The tax would only apply to those who are 150% above the Federal Poverty Level, to protect individuals who are in proximity of the poverty level. Under this plan, a family would not be taxed on their first $36,375.
Ted Cruz promotes a similar flat tax plan. Personal income will be taxed at a fixed 10%. A family of four would have the first $36,000 tax-free. Payroll tax would be eliminated, as well as corporate income tax. A business flat tax will be placed on corporation with a fixed rate of 16% of revenues.
Jeb Bush has also given some input on a new tax plan. Bush’s idea consists of creating three tax brackets – 28%, 25%, and 10%. The loopholes in the current tax code would be eliminated, reducing the deductions that special interest groups can make. Lastly, corporate income tax will be cut from 35% to 20%.
A tax plan akin to Bush’s is being proposed by Marco Rubio. The tax brackets will be reduced to three – 15%, 25%, 35%. The first bracket applies to individuals with an income up to $75,000, and increases as income increases. Rubio’s tax plan promises to simplify the tax code by eliminating itemized tax deductions, and a universal $2,500 tax credit will be awarded to those who attend post-secondary school or another qualified career skill training curriculum.
Education is another focus on these candidates’ agendas.
According to Rubio’s platform, decisions about education must be returned to the local level. His plan includes giving control of education back to the local levels – states, local communities, and individuals – while preventing federal interaction.
Bush, on the other hand, has several different changes to make to the current education system. One idea is to take 529 College Savings Accounts into Education Savings Accounts. These accounts would allow for individuals to save, tax-free, for education.
For early childhood education, Bush’s platform would give parents a say in their child’s schooling. Parents would be given money to use to further their child’s learning.
Carson’s educational plan includes five principles – school choice, empower local districts and parents, encourage innovation, reward good teaching, and support a simpler student loan process.
The parents, teachers, districts, and states will have the power to make decisions. Carson states he will actively support charter and private school, and innovation will be greatly promoted.
Cruz and Trump did not show any information on education, as of yet.
As for foreign affairs, Cruz has a plan that includes three elements. The first is border security, which includes increased border security, eliminating sanctuary cities, and halting any increase in illegal immigration. Cruz also promises to defend that nation, which includes rebuilding our military, defeating ISIS, and eliminating the Iran nuclear deal. Lastly, Cruz’s foreign affairs policy will strengthen our relations with Israel.
Carson’s policy includes rearming and strengthening the U.S military, reinvigorating our international relations, reforming the national security establishment, and evaluating when it is necessary to put our troops in harm’s way.
Bush’s plan consists largely of defeating ISIS. This includes supporting Iraqi military forces, and conquering ISIS and Assad in Syria.
Rubio promotes a very basic foreign policy – a doctrine of three “pillars.” The first one is redevelop American strength by modernizing our military and empowering our intelligence agencies. Second, promote American prosperity through solidifying the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic partnerships and oppose violations of international waters, airspace, and cyberspace. Lastly, Rubio’s plan will support American values, such as demanding true freedom for Chinese citizens and defeating radical Islamic states.
Only two parts exist in Trump’s foreign policy – reforming our trade with China, and immigration. For Chinese trade reform, Trump proposes that we need to strengthen our leadership and negotiations at the table – increasing our global economic negotiations. For immigration, Trump’s plan includes: 1) building a wall around our borders, 2) passing only border laws that coincide with the Constitution, 3) support immigration plans that improves jobs, wages, and security for all Americans.