Memorial Day 2017: A Message From The Liberty Bell Team – “Freedom Isn’t Free”

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Editor-In-Chief/Columnist: Nicole Commisso

Ronald Reagan once said in a Message on the Observance of Memorial Day:

“I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.”

On Memorial Day, we need to put the best shopping sales, BBQs, and beach days in the back of our minds. We must put those who put their lives on the line and those who have given their lives for the service and protection of America’s freedom directly in the front. Memorial Day is a significant time to remember the incredible sacrifice that the brave men and women who fight and have fought for our country make and made for our freedom and to give us the ability to proudly say, “I am an American.”

Our great country was founded on freedom. As Americans, we have many freedoms that a lot of citizens in other countries do not – the freedom to stand up for what we believe in and protest what we are against (me writing this blog), the freedom to follow our own “American Dream,” the freedom to practice any religion we believe in, equality for men and women, equality for all races, etc. As a woman, I am very aware that I would not even have the opportunity to get an education or drive a car if I were in a place like Saudi Arabia, let alone have the equal opportunities here in America such as the ability to interview for the same job as a man.

We sometimes tend to take for granted the freedoms we have as Americans as we live our busy, hectic lives. But, when people get offended by free speech (opinions other than their own), decimate the American flag, and stick up for terrorists whose religion wants to destroy us, there needs to be a closer look taken at the world in places such as Syria where the freedom level is NOTHING CLOSE to ours. As the granddaughter of a veteran and a friend to many who are in the military, I strongly believe we need to acknowledge the privilege it is to be an American. We need to defend our military in return for their selfless defense for our freedoms.

I am undeniably proud to be an American and will continue to be tremendously thankful for those who protect our great country.


Associate Editor/Columnist: Michael Bove

What does Memorial Day mean to me?

Like so many other Americans, I come from a family of immigrants. My great-grandfather, a poor, uneducated Italian 18-year-old came to this great country just prior to the Second World War. At the time, Europe was struggling to recover from World War One, Fascism and Nazism were rising, and Communism had just gotten a foothold in the Soviet Union. Those dangerous movements were oppressing millions of Europeans and taking away their liberties and freedoms. Shortly after landing on Ellis Island, my great-grandfather worked with a local businessman to open up a coal station. Many years and generations later, my family transformed that coal station into a multi-state propane retailer.

I have been blessed to be a part of a family that has lived the American dream and had the freedom to start and run a business. My family’s successes, however, would not have been possible without the absolute sacrifices made by those whom we honor on Memorial Day. If it were not for the brave Americans who lost their lives in World War One, my great-grandfather might have never had the opportunity to immigrate to the United States.

Without American men and women fighting in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so many other conflicts, forces of evil and oppression might have encroached on our soil and done damage to our institutions that uphold the U.S. Constitution. Being an American citizen is a privilege that allows me to do a number of things that I wouldn’t be able to do in other countries, such as writing for this blog (especially considering that I wrote a piece that was critical of the current President). In many other countries, people can be fined, imprisoned, or even executed for writing opposing positions or speaking out against the ruling party of their government.

I am thankful that I have the right to speak out and write freely, and I only have those rights because of the sacrifices made by members of our armed forces to defend said rights. I hope that we, as American citizens, can fully appreciate the reason that we have a “Memorial Day”. Sure, it’s nice to get a day off from school and work, but really we should be consciously focusing on the sacrifices made by millions of Americans so that we have the opportunity to live freely in this great nation.


Columnist: Alex Pearce

Memorial Day, a time to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this great nation. It is the least we can do for the brave heroes of our armed forces. Without them, our security, freedom, and values would be lost to the evil forces of this world.

Though to many this weekend is an extra day off from work, it is vital that we remember the true meaning of this “holiday.” There is no greater honor than to give one’s life in defense of the United States. As a nation, though we may have our differences, we ought to remember, and preserve, the legacy of the brave men and women who allow us to have those differences. We must never take a day in this great nation for granted, as being citizens of the United States is the greatest blessing an individual can receive.

This Memorial Day, please take a moment to reflect, and respect, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Without them, we are nothing. Godspeed to all those who have laid down their lives for our country, may you live forever in our memory.

 

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The Epic Failure That is the War on Drugs

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Author: Alex Pearce

Since the earliest days of my life, it has been drilled into my head that drugs are dangerous, deadly, and a poor decision to make. While in the right context this is largely true, the way in which the United States treats, handles, and “fixes” the drug problem needs to be addressed.

Under the Obama administration, a shift was seen in which the “get tough on crime” policies were altered when it came to drug sentences. In one of his final acts as president, he granted more than 330 commutations for nonviolent drug offenders. According to the deputy Attorney General this was done to restore “proportionality to unnecessarily long drug sentences…making a lasting impact on our criminal justice system.”

The United States makes up 5% of the world’s population but is home to more than 25% of the incarcerated population. Over one million drug arrests were made in 2014. In both the federal and state prison systems, a majority of those serving drug sentences are black or latino. Finally, between 1993 and 2009, each year more individuals were incarcerated for drug law violations than violent crimes. Moreover, typical rehab options such as AA only work for 5-8% of those who participate in it. America is lacking in drug treatment and rehabilitation. Incarceration is not the answer.

When recently interviewed about this topic, Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed that he is looking to institute maximum sentencing and zero-tolerance policies in order to combat the drug problem and the subsequent crime that follows. I think Mr. Sessions is forgetting that crime is at an all-time low in the United States. Moreover, “get-tough” policies do not work. In 2006, when Mexico started their war on drugs, homicide rates doubled, over 150,000 people were killed, and 28,000 civilians went missing. Compare that to Portugal where drugs have been decriminalized. Though use of marijuana has increased, heroin addiction is down by 70% and overdose deaths have decreased significantly.

Drug use is a health issue, not a criminal issue. Are we to expect that drug use will decline with continued incarcerations and use of failing rehabilitation methods? If we are so concerned with the health and well-being of our citizens, why do we continue to impose social and economical barriers to those facing issues with drugs? I am not suggesting that we turn a blind-eye to those who are in need or that we ignore the dangers of drugs. Rather, we need to recognize the health and societal issues associated with drugs.

Incarcerations, employment barriers, and lackluster rehabilitation methods are all that face an individual involved in the drug world. Imagine if everyone with a drinking problem or a gambling problem was prevented from getting treatment, thrown into a cell, and then expected to become a productive member of society. Sure, there are cases where incarceration is the answer. However, we need to realize that rehabilitation, decriminalization, and education are better answers than putting somebody in jail for 10 years.

If the drug war policies were successful, we would not still be seeing growing incarceration rates, a heroin epidemic, or cartel wars. If stigmas of race and income weren’t placed on the drug scene, we wouldn’t be seeing blacks incarcerated at a rate 3x that of whites while whites are overdosing at a rate 3x that of blacks. If policing methods were successful and rehabilitation resources sound, we wouldn’t be spending a record-breaking $31 billion annually on the drug war. Clearly, something is wrong.

The Nixon-Era drug policies are outdated and costly. Moreover, they were only created to stop Nixon’s “two enemies: the anti-war left and black people.” I am not suggesting that we let drug users run wild and ignore the implications of drug use. Instead of using that $31 billion knocking down doors and making arrests, we should educate our youth, provide treatment and rehabilitation to those struggling with drug addiction and work to create employment and educational opportunities that will take the places of needles and pipes.

Fear tactics are not working. Building a wall will not work because no matter how tough immigration, customs enforcement, and other border laws have gotten, drugs still find their way into the country through any means possible. Where there is a demand, there will be a supply. Drugs are brought into and out of the United States illegally through means such as air travel, legal border crossings, etc. To put it simply, extreme drug laws, while making one drug illegal, create a demand for a new drug which in turn facilitates a supply that cannot be stopped by creating a wall around our country or by deeming the drug as illegal. The legality of the drug is not what determines its use, rather it is the mental and physical state of the user. That is what needs to be corrected.

We need to work to decriminalize low-level drugs such as marijuana. We need to stop acting as if drug use is only prevalent in low-income, minority communities. Politicians need to stop comparing marijuana to heroin, pretending addiction can be solved with handcuffs, and acting as if our judicial system is top-notch. As a country, we need to come to terms that the way we handle drug-use is barbaric and ineffective. In order to create an environment that rejects drug use, we need to work to help one another, not create a war where nobody wins.

 

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-jeff-sessions-wants-to-bring-back-the-war-on-drugs/2017/04/08/414ce6be-132b-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.3884dcba9fd0

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/10/opinion/a-decade-of-failure-in-the-war-on-drugs.html?_r=0

https://www.drugpolicy.org/sites/default/files/DPA%20Fact%20Sheet_Drug%20War%20Mass%20Incarceration%20and%20Race_(Feb.%202016).pdf

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/policy-dose/2015/06/01/america-is-neglecting-its-addiction-problem

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-america-cant-quit-the-drug-war-20160505

 

An Open Letter to President Trump – From Someone Who Voted For Him

Donald Trump

Author: Michael Bove

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations are in order. After years of Democratic control, you led the Republican party in taking back control of the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. Not only did Republicans regain control of the federal government, we control a majority of state governments as well.

On the economic front, consumer confidence has spiked since you won the election. Americans have a new-found confidence in our economy, which will almost certainly translate into economic growth as consumers begin spending again. You have also personally intervened to save thousands of American jobs, even before you were sworn into office. During your first few weeks in office, you have also slashed regulations and began work on a new tax code that will encourage economic growth and lower taxes for nearly every American. As a finance major and investor in the U.S. stock market, I must also thank you for winning since after your victory, the S&P 500 has climbed over 10% in just a few months. This has created billions of dollars in wealth for not only the top 1% but also for every american with a retirement account.

Regarding our justice system, you fulfilled a campaign promise of appointing a conservative justice to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation has ended the issue of having an incomplete Supreme Court. I believe that Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated that he believes in following the Constitution instead of wrongfully re-writing it.

Just a few days ago you designated May 14-May 20 as “Police Week.” In additional to this, you shined a blue light on the White House in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day (unlike President Obama). As the nephew and grandson of several police officers, I am thrilled to see that there is a President that will finally support and defend our police officers who have sacrificed so much to ensure that our communities stay safe.

Mr. President, you have done a number of really good things for this country so far. However, there are a number of things that you really need to work on and change.

Firstly, I want to comment on is your executive order that temporarily banned travel from several Middle East countries. Now while I agree with the idea of temporarily banning travel from terrorist hotspots, this executive order was rushed and not effective. I understand the idea of quickly wanting to protect the country but, in the end, not even our own airport security personnel knew how to implement your order. This caused mass chaos and eventually your executive order was even struck down by the courts who felt that your own administration did not demonstrate an adequate need for such action.

Now, to be fair, I understand that there is a difference between running a company and running a country. When you were the CEO of your company, you were only accountable to yourself and you got to make the rules without any oversight. But as President, there are other factions, such as the court system, that you will need to work with to ensure that your orders are successful and legal. Not everything can just go how you want it to and how you say you want it to, there are procedures that need to be followed.

I am immensely concerned with how you handled the firing of former FBI director James Comey. There is no question that you had every right to fire Mr. Comey, as The Liberty Bell has discussed in a previous blog post however, he and his staff were informed of the firing by seeing a news program on television. Regardless of how effective you believe he was at his job, I believe it is inappropriate and immature to fire someone in a way where they find out your decision from a television report. Although Trump issued Comey a “sick burn”, it was unorganized and demonstrates poor leadership.

While writing this article, it appears that your administration has become embroiled in yet another political misstep. According to several news outlets, “an anonymous source” reported that you revealed classified intelligence on ISIS to the Russian Ambassador. The information was said to be so heavily classified that some of our allies did not even have access to it but now the Russians, who aren’t exactly our best friends, do have access to it. What is even worse is that we do not even know the true scope of the incident. Your National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, made a statement saying that no classified information was revealed at the meeting but you, in a tweet, explained that you had “the absolute right to” reveal classified information to the Russians. Which is it? Did you reveal classified information or did you not?

Mr. President, it seems that your administration is in chaos and not even your top advisors know what is true and what is false. In order to move forward, I think the best course of action is to begin acting as a leader and stop sending vague tweets that can be misconstrued and make the American people question you and your administration. Your tweets, while necessary in communicating with your supporters during the campaign season, are now creating confusion and miscommunication. Also, it might be wise to consider cleaning house. Your advisors (Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon) seem to be wholly incapable of allowing you to make the transition from running a successful real estate empire and a successful presidential campaign into running a successful presidential administration. Furthermore, your Press Secretary (Sean Spicer) is unable to contain and dispel false reports and distortions coming from a variety of news outlets.

Overall, I would give you a solid B- on your administration so far. I hope that moving forward, you learn to take constructive criticism from not only the left but from your own supporters too. After all, it’s difficult to realize you’re not doing an A+ job if you are not taking these criticisms seriously in order to fix the issues at hand. You have done many good things but there are a number of significant areas that need improvement in order for you to run an administration that will “Make America Great Again.”

 

Sources:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/05/15/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-may-15-2017-peace-officers-memorial

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/10/james-comey-fired-ousted-fbi-director-learned-was-fired-from-tv.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.1af341cbae22

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/national-security-adviser-mcmaster-trump-s-revelations-russians-wholly-appropriate-n760136

Harvard ‘BLACK COMMENCEMENT 2017’: Segregation is… Equal?

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Author: Nicole Commisso

Loretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. or the “First Lady of Civil Rights”, was a forceful public figure in the Civil Rights Movement who once said,

“Segregation was wrong when it was forced by white people, and I believe it is still wrong when it is requested by black people.”

Apparently, segregation is equal and acceptable now according to black Harvard 2017 grads who have organized a separate commencement for black students only. It is called the “Black Commencement 2017”, in which 120 black graduates of Harvard University are registered to attend. This segregated commencement will take place May 23, two days before the regular official commencement and by regular commencement, I mean the commencement where all the students of all different colors will be invited to graduate together in celebration of the great accomplishment of completing college.

Why you might ask? The apparent logic behind the blacks-only graduation is that it amplifies how difficult college life can be for minorities. In the rationality of the left and the belief in “white privilege” this all makes sense: it is easier for white people to have accomplishments since they don’t have immense struggles because of their skin color therefore, non-whites should get extra praise for the same accomplishments to even it out. But, I thought segregation was bad and racist?

Beverly Daniel Tatum, the author of the widely-acclaimed books, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” And Other Conversations About Race and Can We Talk about Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, has emphasized that the apparent continued racial segregation in society has had an impact on the achievements of racial minorities. So, what is the answer for Harvard University? Taking those who have “overcome” this racial segregation and segregating their achievement of graduating college to blacks only. I know, it’s all backwards and upside down to me as well.

Michael Huggins, a Harvard graduate student and the president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, was a part of organizing the separate ceremony saying that the segregated commencement “is not about segregation” …wait what? Confusingly so, he further explains:

“It is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s Black excellence and Black brilliance… an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community.”

So, by separating the black students from all the other students to celebrate just their excellence and their brilliance, solely based on their skin color as a “collective, whole group” isn’t about segregation? To say that this is not segregation is outrageous and laughable really because of how contradictory it is.

This black-only commencement is a setback for America. In the past and present, we learn that racial segregation is wrong and it should not be re-implemented. Regardless of how you feel this event is segregation by fact. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of segregation is: the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment.

Why should these black students get a special ceremony just because they are black and are graduating college? This demeans the same accomplishment of all the other students of various races who will be graduating as well. All college students work extremely hard to graduate, regardless of their color. All college students have their own struggles in which they overcome, whether it’s academic or personal, large or small, so why are they being diminished and put in second to the struggles of black students? Nothing about this seems equal to me.

The individuals that support this event are most-likely the same individuals that believe there is “white privilege” (leftist term that means white people don’t have to worry about being targeted or discriminated against for their skin color like non-whites do because of systematic racism, slavery, etc.) and who say there isn’t enough diversity at schools such as Harvard University. I am beyond perplexed, which is not something new when it comes to trying to understand the left, with this whole “segregation is equal” concept. Riddle me this, wouldn’t having a separate blacks-only commencement be hypocritical to this belief that we need more diversity and that white privilege stems from discrimination and slavery? Is this not pedaling back to a time where water fountains, bathrooms, schools, towns, etc. were segregated? This event degrades and discredits the incredible actions took by brave protestors and activists during the Civil Rights Movement. In his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Martin Luther King Jr. said,

“I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls.”

“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

“Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”

Graduation is a memorable, important moment where all students come together, despite what their skin color is, and throw their caps up in the air in celebration of this remarkable, shared accomplishment in earning their degree, which they all worked hard for. I don’t agree with or understand the purpose of this black commencement. I feel as though it is separating the students and the community by race and in no way could it possibly bring them together as a whole. There is certainly no logic in saying that it could. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “We cannot turn back” which I believe, is exactly what the Harvard University ‘Black Commencement 2017’ is unfortunately doing.

 

Sources:

http://www.dailywire.com/news/16171/progress-harvard-hold-blacks-only-graduation-amanda-prestigiacomo

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/05/12/harvard-grads-organize-separate-commencement-for-black-students.html

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/segregation 

President Trump DOES Have the Right to Fire James Comey

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Author: Alex Pearce

Like any decision Donald trump makes, his firing of former FBI Director, James Comey, has received stark criticism, especially from the left. Amongst the criticisms, many are arguing that Trump had no authority to fire Comey, that the firing is only to protect the investigation into Trump’s campaign, and so on. All feelings aside, constitutionally speaking, Trump had every right to fire Comey.

I want to start this article by reminding readers that I am a harsh critic of Mr. Trump, especially in regards to his foreign and immigration policy and economic decisions. With that being said, there is some logic that lies behind this entire issue that I would like to bring to the attention of everyone reading this article:

First off, Donald Trump is the President of the United States. James Comey was an at-will employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a bureau that is under the authority of the POTUS. Therefore, Trump, as president, has every right to fire any employee of the FBI whenever he desires.

Second, those attacking Trump’s decision under the position that he is “covering his tail” are incorrect for a few reasons. On the one hand, the great thing about the judicial system of this country is that all are “innocent until proven guilty”. No trial has occurred for Trump or any of the members of his campaign team regarding the current investigation that the FBI is conducting. That means that those claiming Trump is just “hiding the guilt” of his campaign staff are actually the one’s being unconstitutional by claiming guilt before a trial decision has occurred. Additionally, the investigation will still occur. President Trump can do nothing about that. A new director will be appointed, one that has to be approved by Republicans and Democrats, alike, and who swears an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Following that, the investigation will resume and the facts will speak for themselves.

Third, there were other reasons for Comey’s termination. There are claims that he handled the investigation into Clinton’s use of private emails in an unconstitutional manner. Both the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, requested that Trump fire Comey. Debate all you want about their reasons, but no constitutional laws were broken in the firing of Comey.

Finally, we should be thankful that the transition of power, in this case that of the FBI Director, can be done in such a peaceful, regulated manner. Do you think such a decision would have gone so smoothly in North Korea? We must remember how lucky we are to live in a country where transitions of power such as this can be part of the norm.

I have very mixed feelings about this entire incident. Part of me worries that Comey was fired as a way to protect Trump’s past decisions. Another part of me feels that Trump was in the right to fire Comey and that this story is only making headlines as another example of the polarization of politics by the divided media. Though I agree that this decision can be seen as ill-timed due to the fact that Comey was investigating Trump, there may be much more to the story and I cannot fully comment on these issues as I do not have the same information that the FBI has. It seems that Comey had some issues of his own such as lacking support from his colleagues in Washington and his mishandling of the Clinton investigation. While it is possible that the White House may be trying to hide something, in this case that being something Comey may have found during his investigation into the Trump Campaign’s possible ties to Russia. I can only hope that the investigation is conducted in the proper manner from this point forward and that it remains independent from political influence. Moreover, this entire scenario, from the investigation into Trump to the possible misconduct with the FBI, reeks of big government and I hope soon enough Americans demand that the power be returned to the people. It is likely that this story is nothing more than a distraction of larger issues, it being reported on only as a way to divide Americans on their support of the POTUS.

In closing, I firmly believe an independent, thorough investigation should still be completed by the FBI in which the facts are what matter. Speculating why Trump did what he did is useless at this point. He used his constitutional authority to make a decision and there is no changing that. Instead of wishing that he made a different decision, we must look to the future and work to ensure the best possible candidate is selected to replace Comey and that upholding the constitution remains at the the forefront of this country. Crying and complaining will solve nothing. We must count our blessings, remember what a great country we live in, and work to preserve those values. Respecting constitutional authority only when it fits your narrative will do nothing to preserve the integrity of this great nation.

Sources:

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/10/comey-firing-trump-russia-238192

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HZMv6MpR9ZHaFxk5U6CRIWb9PI0MNdWcAbU5LdATRow/pubhtml?gid=856623971&single=true

http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/fbi-director-james-comey-fired-celebrity-reactions-1202421616/

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/is-the-comey-firing-causing-a-constitutional-crisis

The American Health Care Act: A Bitter (But Necessary) Pill to Swallow

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Author: Michael Bove

Just a few days ago, on May 4, 2017, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). In the six days that have followed the passing of the AHCA, many on the political left have jumped into the debate and absolutely vilified the Republicans who passed the bill. The left has called those Republicans “heartless”, “inhumane”, and “evil” for their own misleading reasons, such as, the AHCA supposedly taking away coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Despite the false information campaign led by the Democrats, the AHCA does not take away coverage for pre-existing conditions. Instead, protection for the coverage of pre-existing coverage is affirmed in the new bill. Rich Lowry, from the National Review, summarizes it best, “the legislation maintains a federal baseline of protection in such cases, and says only that states can apply for a waiver from it, provided that they abide by certain conditions meant to ensure that no one is left out in the cold”. If you actually read the bill, it becomes quite clear that the AHCA protects those who need help the most while also giving the states enough freedom to manage their own healthcare systems rather than the federal government.

To further understand why the left’s harsh accusations are wrong and why the AHCA is a step in the right direction, we need to first recognize what exists now. I’m referring to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. In their quest to provide access to healthcare for everyone, the Democrats constructed a flawed entitlement program that has seriously damaged the country and is currently collapsing-in on itself. To provide healthcare for nearly every citizen in the country, sweeping changes were made in our healthcare system. In order to (attempt to) fund the ACA, an individual mandate and an employer mandate were created. The individual mandate imposed a fine on people who either were not insured or not adequately insured. On the other hand, the employer mandate forced businesses that employed 50 or more people to offer health insurance to all full-time employees or they would face a fine. These mandates force people to purchase a certain level of insurance. They were also barely constitutional (with the Supreme Court deciding the mandates could be interpreted as taxes) but even so, the freedom for citizens to choose their insurance plan is severely limited.

These two mandates have been devastating for many Americans and many small businesses. I am fortunate that my family owns and operates a small business but have been unfortunate to see and experience, first hand, the damage caused by Obamacare. Furthermore, because of my background in business, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with scores of small business owners. They all say that the ACA has been one of the worst regulations to impact their businesses in years (and I come from New York State, so that’s saying a lot). Like many of individuals have experienced, those business owners lamented the fact that they, due to the implementation of the ACA, have had to pay significantly more for insurance that covers less than they had before. The architects of the ACA seem to be fine with this situation, but for millions of Americans, this is a substantial problem.

It is a combination of these factors, among others, which makes Obamacare such a colossal failure. Our government got bigger and bureaucrats (not doctors or health care professionals) were put in charge. Costs rose and the quality of coverage declined for millions of Americans. President Obama and the Democrats were so eager to give “free” healthcare to people that they created a monstrous government program that made American health care so much worse. The AHCA, although certainly not perfect, begins to undo the terrible features of the ACA. The new bill is a step in the right direction because it puts the consumer back in the driver seat in controlling the insurance that they will purchase. Insurers will now have to more strongly compete against other insurers and this competition will drive down prices in the market. Furthermore, the AHCA will erase the employer mandate and the individual mandate. As a result, this will ease the burden on consumers and hopefully, stimulate this severely lagging economy.

Now, those on the left will argue that the AHCA is a terrible bill because many Americans will lose health care coverage. They cite a report from the Congressional Budget Office which states, “the increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would rise…to 24 million in 2026”. Certainly, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to pass a bill that will cause a large number of people to lose their healthcare coverage however, we need to continue reading the CBO report. The CBO report further states, “starting in 2020, the increase in average premiums from repealing the individual mandate penalties would be more than offset by the combination of several factors that would decrease those premiums…”. In other words, as the healthcare market readjusts to the new economic conditions, premiums would initially increase but then substantially decline. Further regulatory reforms in the healthcare industry, mentioned by the Trump administration, should continue to decrease healthcare premiums.

This idea of deregulation positively impacting consumers is not a new phenomenon. An article, “Why Computers Are Less Expensive Than Health Care” published by the Foundation for Economic Education sums up this idea quite nicely. The author, Devin Cooper, states, “tech enthusiasts and consumers have experienced higher quality products at a less expensive cost. Computer parts have gotten faster while prices have either fallen or remained about the same”. Anyone who has been alive for the past decade can see those changes. So why hasn’t the healthcare industry experienced similar declines or stabilization in prices? It all comes down to government interference. Cooper reflects on the differences in regulation of both the healthcare industry and the tech sector. He writes, “while the free market has been allowed to bring competition to the tech industry, government intervention in the health insurance markets have brought monopolies and heavy distortions to the market that no longer reflect real consumer demand”. These distortions that Cooper is referring to translate to more expensive coverage being of lower quality insurance. 

Obamacare is not only a terrible law, it is one of the biggest entitlement programs that the U.S has ever seen. This creates a dilemma for the Republicans who worked to repeal the bill as it is extremely difficult to take away an entitlement program once it is implemented in the system. Sure, by repealing Obamacare they are doing something that will benefit the nation in due time, but it will come at a cost of near-term political support. The AHCA isn’t perfect, but, it does work to fix some of the issues with our broken healthcare system and it strives to return power to the consumers. In the long run, the only way that we can have affordable, high quality health care in the U.S is to allow the innovation and power of the free market to transform the industry, not by allowing outdated and antiquated government offices to control it.

Sources:

https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/americanhealthcareact.pdf

https://fee.org/articles/why-computers-are-less-expensive-than-health-care/

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447430/ahca-pre-existing-conditions-big-lie-democrats-are-telling

Bill Nye the Idiot Guy

Author: Nicole Commisso

If you are a 90s baby like myself, I guarantee that during elementary school/middle school you were probably introduced to (and loved) “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. I remember being excited in science class when the teacher put on one of the five-minute clips of Bill Nye demonstrating whichever topic we were learning with a cool science experiment. Even though Bill Nye graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and is not technically a scientist, he made science fun, entertaining, and engaging for young students. Even for the individuals who were not interested in science at all, he made it fascinating with his funny and clever antics. Although, all good things must come to an end.

For Bill Nye, a good thing has turned into a 61-year-old, washed up minor celebrity from the 90s, trying desperately to stay relevant with his latest leftist performances. He is abusing the influence he had on young people years ago by spreading nonsense with his new show “Bill Nye Saves the World”. The first season is on Netflix, which I would strongly discourage you to watch unless you want a cringe-worthy laugh, to feel extremely uncomfortable, and/or possibly lose brain cells. Each episode of the show targets a so-called controversial issue in today’s society such as, climate change, GMOs, vaccines, sexuality/genders, etc. Before watching, here are 9 Reasons You Shouldn’t Listen To Bill Nye About Science, but if you’re like me you might have to see this insanity for yourself. Unlike the old Bill Nye, I didn’t recognize any significant scientific evidence, or any evidence quite frankly, of his claims while watching his new show.

While trying to make it through multiple episodes of his show, the one that was most disturbing to me was Episode 9: “The Sexuality Spectrum”. An entire 30 minutes of Bill Nye and his cast rationalizing the leftist view of sexuality being on a spectrum rather than being biology. The episode begins with the apparent pieces of sexuality: Sex, Gender, Attraction, and Expression. Basically, Bill Nye states that exploring this concept of sex, biologically not everyone fits into the categories of male or female and that there are a variety of sex organs. Last time I checked, you are either born with a penis or vagina… no variety there. Bill Nye also claims, without evidence might I add, that one’s gender isn’t defined by their chromosomes. Even though, Bill Nye did properly explain gender in his 1990s children’s show which they conveniently just edited out recently. Hypocrite! In society today, the fact that XX means you’re a woman and XY means you’re a man is absurd to Bill Nye and the left. Where’s the science in that, Bill Nye the “Not So Science Guy”?  

As he explains the rest of his take on sexuality, he pauses and creepily says to the audience,

“You wanna hear Bill Nye talk about… sexual intercourse, right? Doing it!”

Actually, I really don’t want to hear you talk about that, Bill. That is bizarre, gross, and completely inappropriate for your TV-14 audience. He then goes on a huge rant while stomping back and forth,

“Like we have you know some people here in the United States that will never accept [sexuality being on a spectrum] … What’s the big deal? Just get over it will you! What do you care?! Those people are not going to try to have sex with you. Let’s just get over it and move on!”

What an excellent way for people to come together, Bill. Forcing your leftist agenda with your feelings by yelling “just get over it!” and throwing a fit. Where are your facts? Reality check: you can’t make people agree with you by screaming “agree with me!”. Pretty sure this was covered way back in kindergarten days – agree to disagree. Imagine that, being able to have a different opinion. Oh wait, we can… we live in America! This is something that the left tends to frequently forget.

Then, he has a panel of “experts” of sexuality sit around and discuss the “facts”. Bill Nye asks Katrina Karkazis, Cultural Anthropologist at Stanford University, “Is there such a thing as a gay gene?” She responds, “No. We group gay people together into this flat label of homosexuality for [individuals who believe there is a gay gene] to try to make sense of it.” This group of “experts”, including a gay comedian (which I am unsure how he is an expert on sexuality just because he is gay), all agree that we don’t need labels. They proclaim that it is offensive to cluster gays, lesbians, transgender, etc. into labels and groups. However, if we dare to use to wrong pronoun or not correctly address them to whichever label/group they “self-identify” as, we are labeled as homophobic. This is just one example that we’ll never please the left unless we agree with every single thing they say, no matter how hypocritical and irrational it is.

Next on Bill’s agenda is Ice Cream Conversion Therapy, where Bill shows an animation with talking ice cream cones that has Vanilla, the heterosexual ice cream flavor. Vanilla thinks that everyone should be/pretend to be “vanilla” (straight) like him in order to please “the big ice cream in the sky” (God). With this, they make a blanket generalization about straight people being conservative Christians that are heterosexual to please God and believe that everyone, regardless of what they are or how they feel, should convert to their beliefs. Newsflash: not every heterosexual fits this stereotypical criteria. A terrified Strawberry ice cream cone, who is screaming and running around, is clearly in need of a safe space as he jumps into Salted Caramel’s arms when Vanilla says everyone should be “vanilla” (straight). All the other different flavors of ice cream are upset with Vanilla for trying to change who they are. Then, they all gang up on Vanilla saying that it is only natural to want more than one “flavor” (more than one gender/sex). Mint Chocolate Chip, who boasts about being two things at once, says in a sexual way, “C’mon, Vanilla. Haven’t you ever wanted to be in a… Neapolitan?” Forcing their beliefs on Vanilla and telling him it isn’t natural to be “vanilla” (straight) is immensely hypocritical.

These hypocritical, animated ice cream cones are doing exactly what they were mad at the Vanilla ice cream cone for doing in the first place. Mint Chocolate Chip telling Vanilla (who is heterosexual) they should want to be in a Neapolitan, which I will leave to your own imagination what they are insinuating there, is complete hypocrisy. Again, what’s good for the left is a crime to the right. Vanilla can’t force his opinions on them but the other flavors can and it is completely fine. Strawberry is totally fine by the way, once Vanilla crosses to the other side of the argument that is. At the end of the clip, Vanilla joins them all in a big bowl where all the ice creams are licking each other and partying… Let me repeat, this show is rated TV-14. Doesn’t this bother anyone that this is what we are teaching our children?

The performance at the end, My Sex Junk” by Rachel Bloom, is one of the most vile things I’ve ever seen/heard. It is a song explaining how she is on board with having sex with basically anyone and doing anything labeled taboo. Her lyrics are repulsive, some are, “Power bottom or a top off, versatile love may have some butt stuff”, “I’m down for anything, don’t box in my box, give someone new a handy”, “Even you might like it if you sit up on it”, and the list goes on and on. I mean are you kidding me? This is undeniably sickening and almost unbelievable. At the end of her performance, Bill Nye shouts,

“That’s exactly the right message Rachel!”.

I will repeat yet again; this show is rated TV-14. Not cool, Bill Nye, Netflix and Rachel Bloom, not cool. The message they are trying to send out is what exactly? Confusing young, impressionable minds who are trying to discover who they are? Making straight people feel guilty for not wanting to have sexual experiences they don’t desire or feel uncomfortable about? I am straight, why should I feel guilty about it just because I don’t necessarily want what others do. They don’t want to be judged for how they live their lives yet, they’re doing exactly that to others who act differently. The hypocrisy is incredible!

As someone who had never seen the show before and enjoyed Bill Nye as a kid, I was expecting it to be science-related or at least somewhat informative. For someone to claim that they are “saving the world” with a show presents huge expectations to live up to (spoiler: these expectations are never met). His new show is like an alleged science version of Jerry Springer. By NO MEANS will Bill Nye and his new, atrocious antics save the world. In fact, this show is making fun of the issues he is bringing up rather than giving any real information on them. Would anyone be able to take any issue seriously when the “expert” is making a joke and mocking that very important issue? Watching “Bill Nye Saves the World” made me cringe at its poorly produced foolishness and at the thought that there are people who recognize Bill Nye from his old show, that they loved as kids, and listening to his leftist nonsense. At the end of his show he says to his audience, “Now go out there and save the world!” yet, he gives them zero tools on how to do so.

What I would like to say to Bill Nye “The Used to be Science Guy” is that I am tremendously disappointed in what you’ve become. I wish that staying relevant and forcing your leftist views wasn’t more important to you than truly “saving the world” (whatever that even means to you). Although I have right-wing views, I do believe that I am an open-minded individual and am always trying to see and understand the other side’s case. Before watching the show, I knew it leaned more to the left but, I thought that maybe I’d walk away with something I didn’t know before. That there must be some kind of substance, some sort of proof that will help me understand other people’s opinions. This was absolutely not the case. Bill Nye, you’re making a joke of what you’re attempting to prove and it is honestly pathetic and embarrassing to even try to watch. Do us all a favor and try saving the world by canceling your show.