Category Archives: Opinion

Pander Me Silly

 

by Andre Early

Wake up, turn on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News. What do you see on the TV?

Is it a police officer killing an unarmed black man? Is it Donald Trump regurgitating his immigration policy? If not, then maybe it’s some on-air personality criticizing a football player for protesting the national anthem.

Racial division is a pressing issue that’s not going away anytime soon. It has to be addressed with urgency.

But the ongoing pandering to get the votes of minority groups can be a distraction. During a conference in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to see diversity that Connecticut had never offered me.

I figured that I could use this to my advantage. So I went to the streets to see what people were really thinking.

“I think it’s cool, because most of the blacks don’t vote too much. I haven’t voted one time in my life,” said New Orleans resident Will McKay. “I’m 62 years old, which is a shame. Us [black people], being oppressed throughout the years, we don’t care who wins.”

There is truth to his opinion.

A large influx of blacks have turned out to the polls since the 2012 presidential election. Two million more African American voters, two million more Hispanic voters, and 600,000 more Asian voters registered in 2008 than those who registered in 2004, according to the Census Bureau in 2009. Altogether, in 2012, these three racial groups gave 80 percent of their vote to Obama, which propelled him to win the second time around.

We want to live in a world that’s not divided by hatred, bigotry and ignorance, yet it seems some of our current politicians have a problem grasping the idea that a progressive society is equivalent to an evolved one.

Recently, in the aftermath of protests caused by the murder of Keith Lamont Scott, who died at the hands of a police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina, Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger of Texas stated that, “[black people] hate white people, because white people are successful and they’re not.”

This is an elected official with the responsibility to improve the general welfare of his community.

“They don’t care about the ethnics’ well-being,” suggested Roy, a 25-year-old man out of New Orleans, “They basically don’t really want us here, so once they get our vote, it’s a wrap.”

During one of Trump’s recent campaign stops at a church in Cleveland, Ohio, former boxing promoter Don King, who rambled like a drunken philosopher, spoke as a guest of honor. King used derogatory terms that expressed a sense of self-hatred and maybe even desperation.

“You have to emulate and imitate the white man to be successful,” said King. “If you’re intelligent or intellectual, you’re an intellectual negro. If you are a dancing-sliding-and-gliding n—-, I mean Negro, you are a dancing-sliding and-gliding negro.”

This is a mindset we, as a people, have worked so hard to stray away from for over 100 years. Yet Donald Trump has no concept of what’s acceptable and what’s not.

How could Donald Trump care about the black community?

Isn’t this the same man that took weeks to denounce his affiliation with David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the infamous American terrorist affiliation, the Ku Klux Klan?

Hillary Clinton isn’t off the hook, either. Did we somehow forget about the time she referred to young black males as “super-predators?” Or what about when she backed the many bills implemented by her husband during his term in office that disproportionately incarcerated African Africans?

None of the candidates are perfect. The point I’m trying to make is that the tactics taken by these two people, just to get the black vote, are too obvious and their motives don’t come off as being truly genuine.

Who do you vote for in times like these?

“I think this is a shortcut for them to connect to potential voters but I also think it is incumbent for the voters to recognize that and to hold these politicians and candidates accountable for issues further pandering them; not just accept the regurgitation of those same old lines,” said Frank Robinson, a graduate student at South Dakota State University.  “The voters need to say, ‘OK, that’s fine, but give me something that’s tangible.’”

No more hot air from these half-witted politicians. We need to see more action, more improvement, more plans and more dedication. Time ultimately is the only factor that will reveal the true intentions of whichever official we elected in November.

Stand Up Against Sexual Assault

by Ryan Callinan 

If we are to successfully combat the ever-growing crisis of sexual assault in this country, it is not enough to simply refrain from committing sexual assault. If people do not stand up and actively fight against sexual assault, then they are also complicit in the act. If we do nothing when we know a sexual assault has happened, then we are also responsible for it continuing to be a problem. If we remain silent when we hear someone talk or joke about having committed sexual assault, then we are guilty as well.

A recording recently became public in which the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is heard not only admitting to, but also boasting and joking about committing sexual assault.

He brags about having forced himself upon, touching and grabbing women without consent. This is not “locker room talk” or “guy talk,” as he said in the days after the recording came to light.

This is sexual assault.

Continuing to support this man or minimizing what he is saying, is no different from supporting all sexual predators who commit such acts. It also makes it easier for predators to continue to do so.

This is a disgusting revelation. A man representing a major political party has not only committed sexual assault, but has also openly bragged about it.

This is an opportunity for everyone to take a stand against all sexual predators and the lifelong trauma they inflict upon their victims.

If people look past Trump’s admission and continue to support him, then they are condoning this behavior by minimizing its intensely harmful significance.

It is no different from someone talking about forcing themselves on a date against their will. It is no different from knowing about someone touching a child inappropriately and ignoring it.

Not standing up against such acts is to support them. To support them is to enable them along with the lasting trauma they inflict on their victims.

Despite this recent recording, Trump signs still remain on front lawns. That alone is stomach churning. The disgust intensified when children are seen playing in those yards next to those signs.

A child who watches their parents support a sexual predator is going to be less likely to grow up seeing such people and their crimes for what they are. These crimes are terribly harmful, trauma-inflicting and criminal.

Children are always learning from their parents, and they cannot help but be influenced by their parents’ behavior, even when they are too young to understand what assault means or have any idea how devastatingly impactful trauma from sexual assault is.

This is an instance where a sexual predator’s own words can be heard describing his crimes. The opportunity to speak and stand up against sexual assault in all of the forms it takes should be seized.

If the opportunity is seized, then the fight can be taken to the sexual assault crisis in this country.

Bernie Or Bust

 

by Kristina Vakhman

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) in July saw a split in the left like no other. From comedian Sarah Silverman calling those still standing behind Bernie Sanders “ridiculous,” to members of the audience booing and heckling Hillary Clinton’s nomination throughout the event, it was clear that “Stronger Together” was not standing as strong as it was meant to.

For any Democrat, watching the war-zone unravel during the DNC was saddening. Every “boo!” and every cry of “Never Hillary!” was like a stab in the side. It was synonymous with seeing members of a sports team turn on each other in the middle of a game. Unfortunately for my mental capacity, I fell into the category of the disheartened.

Like many left-wing Americans, I was feeling the Bern since Sanders bursted onto the scene and catalyzed a hot political movement the U.S had not seen in years. His refreshing views went as far as to ricochet beyond the country’s borders, with a vast majority of foreigners stating through social media that, if they were U.S citizens, their votes would go to Sanders.

Despite my and others’ enthusiasm for his campaign, I knew from the start that the Senator from Vermont wouldn’t be the nominee. He wasn’t just running against Clinton or Trump; he was running against a fear of change. Sanders’ promises were so unorthodox and out-of-the-water that they seemed too whimsical, even for Democrats.

Thus, I wasn’t surprised when Clinton received the nomination, nor was I shocked to find out the DNC had rigged the system against Sanders. He was an Independent running as a Democrat, after all. He was the outsider. It was clear as day that Clinton had always been set to be the nominee. Nothing could have changed that, even if I—a college student just one month shy of being able to vote—had been able to cast a ballot for Sanders in the primaries.

Currently, the divisive mess from the DNC has not cleared up. Bernie or Bust is alive and kicking. There are thousands of active pages and forums all over social media dedicated to the movement with large numbers of supporters. I don’t know if I should be proud or terrified of this.

I can’t vote yet, but even if I could, I don’t think I’d be adding Sanders onto the ballot. Doing so would be turning a blind eye to reality and the election isn’t a fantasy world. This is serious business. A candidate who has been written out of the race cannot win, no matter what voters want to believe.

With this in mind, I can’t say I’d be voting for Clinton or Trump. Clinton may have adopted much of Sanders’ platform to be more appealing to his angry supporters and Trump may have “welcomed” people like me “with open arms,” but both of these candidates are not my cup of tea. Clinton’s scandalous background and the fact that Trump is against all that Sanders stands for makes it hard for me to imagine voting for either. I’d find myself selecting the lesser of two evils and that would be difficult to determine.

That being said, if I were old enough to vote, I’d probably end up going for Hillary Clinton. This wouldn’t be because I would want to, as sad as that sounds. It would be out of Sanders’ will. He’s made it perfectly clear which side he’s on and why he opposes the other one; to deny that would be going against the beliefs I share with him and nullifying the imaginary vote I gave him in the primaries.

In fact, the Bernie or Bust supporters who will choose to write Sanders onto the ballot in November, will not be choosing Sanders at all: they’ll be choosing his polar opposite, Trump. By not making a choice, they are making a choice, only one that the Senator from Vermont doesn’t approve of. If a voter is a genuine Sanders supporter, he or she wouldn’t continue with the movement. Besides, what’s the long-term plan? So, Bernie or Bust: now what? Perhaps they’ll write Sanders in on the ballot and Trump will win. As Democrats, what do they do then?

Silverman put it well when interviewed via telephone by The New York Times after the DNC, “I couldn’t love Bernie more, and to help him at this point is to make sure he has an ally in office. People who change the world aren’t always the president.”

I can only hope that Bernie or Bust supporters will make the right choice this upcoming election. Though, to be frank, I’m moving to Canada to raise chickens no matter who wins.

Church and State are Not Separate

by Lorenzo Burgio

With the presidential election nearing, it is important to recognize the Republican Party’s inability to separate church and state — an aspect to democracy deemed necessary by the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

In a description of the party’s platform, the GOP official website states, “That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual, thus producing human equality; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail.”

The party’s claim that God-given rights are of utmost importance, comes after a proclamation that they stand for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The fact that the government is riddled with Bible thumpers would make Thomas Jefferson turn over in his grave. The Constitution specifically states no law will be made in any respects to a religious establishment, but this is increasingly seen in 21st century politics.

About 73 percent of Republicans are “absolutely certain” about their belief in God, according to a Pew research study. The same study found that 61 percent of these Republicans choose their political party on the basis of religion.

This is the same party that fails to acknowledge global warming is real, sex education needs to be taught and women’s reproductive rights are non-negotiable. Stagnant and antiquated concepts floating around the Republican Party are hurting citizens. A political group pushing a religious agenda leaves room for fallacies and fear mongering, while disregarding facts and reason.

Recently the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) stated, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance,” according to The Atlantic.

This inevitably ruffled some feathers in religious and Republican communities, but it was said at a necessary time.

Just before this claim by the USCCR, legal scholars finished a three year investigation on how to resolve the government’s issue of allowing religious freedom while protecting minority groups from discrimination. And the results were: they have no idea.

Religious beliefs that influence government decisions are destroying the vision the Founding Fathers had of government.

There is a clear issue with our government that stems from disregarding the words of the Founding Fathers. A separation of church and state is necessary in order for a democracy to work. The GOP cannot be trusted to make decisions that governs the entire country, when it is focused on a religious agenda.

SGA and The Recorder: Seperate

 

by Analisa Novak

As a member of the press, I have always questioned the Student Government Association (SGA). This is a part of my job and it’s apart of the functionality between government and press. We need to have a relationship but it needs to be separate.

Being Editor-In-Chief, I have decided to include a special area in The Recorder, dedicated to SGA and summarizing their meetings. Not because it is a requirement, but because it seems necessary.

I attend their meetings each week to try and understand what happens behind the doors of Bellin. I am a fly in the wall, listening, taking notes, getting story ideas and things to follow up on.

Last week like every other week, I sat in on the meeting. Near the end, I found myself surprised and center stage of what has to be the most bizarre thing to ever happen to me in my journalistic career. I was the topic of conversation for the SGA.

One of the senators, stood and yelled some of the most ludicrous and untrue statements I have ever heard in my life. He stood for a, “Point of personal privilege,” and shouted in attempts to intimidate. He was aware, that I could not speak and defend myself and had the audacity to say that my paper has produced “spotty journalism” and “poor journalistic conduct.”

In a letter that he passed around to all members of SGA, he criticized how I was running the campus paper, after my first issue as Editor-In-Chief. The letter claimed “lazy reporting” on behalf of the paper, which appears untrue considering the cover story made state news as NBC Connecticut made it their top story at the 6 p.m. that day.

The letter  continued to state how we should report the news and how, “This ineffectual reporting and lackadaisical journalistic effort has led to apathy and ignorance amongst the undergraduate constituency of the senate.” A fancy way of calling the student body that he represents stupid.

I was in complete shock that a member of the SGA tried to tell the press how and what to report. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin would have been so proud of him.

Nonetheless, as he yelled and shouted, I remained quiet. I knew I was not allowed to speak during the meeting and was going to respect the rules of the senate. I did not except other member to stand up and say more. I was just going to sit there, mortified, until this was over and write on how the SGA was critiquing the press.

This was until other members of the senate raised their hand to speak. At first, I was afraid that the bashing and ranting was going to continue, but to my surprise, these members of the senate came to my defense.

They were upset that this particular senator was using his privilege as a member of the senate to criticize The Recorder and my position. They also stood, but they didn’t do it to intimidate me but to try to stop this spiteful energy that was being produced.

Those senators understood the separation between press and government. They understood that they have no right to determine what can and cannot be published. Government cannot tell the press what they can or can’t print. Government does not and cannot regulate newspaper content, this is common knowledge and a necessary aspect of democracy.

This is the exact reason why we have the first amendment. Its ridiculous to think a senator would even think to write a letter in attempts to alter the press.

I was not surprised that it was this particular senator who attacked The Recorder and myself. He is close friends with the subject of my cover story.

I am choosing to believe that his own personal bias and not ignorance of the relationship the press and government have, was the reason for his embarrassing outburst. Otherwise I have to question how someone who doesn’t understand the first amendment, would every try to hold a seat in any government position.

I was surprised however at the senators that came to my defense. One senator was one who I have often not seen eye to eye with. Another who, I knew nothing of. I will forever be grateful for these two senators protecting the relationship between the press and government. Due to these two senators and a personal email from the president, apologizing for that event, I know that this relationship will continue to be fair and neutral.

As embarrassing as it was to have someone scream and shout at me, it has actually had an important outcome. The relationship and understanding between the two will continue to improve.

It is also clear his letter was not a representation of how the senate actually feels. I want members of the senate and the student population to understand that we are two separate entities, tied together on one single mission, to be the voice of the student body. We are both voices to the people that we represent and will continue to be that way. Although we share this mission statement, we are not the same. We are separate and will continue to be separate, respectfully.

A Temporary Win in the Dakota Access Pipeline

 

Many have been standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in recent weeks in order to halt construction of crude oil pipeline planned to run under the Missouri River, because it will run through sacred land, contaminate the drinking water and violate the National Historic Preservation Act.

The pipeline is planned to be 1,172 miles long, cost $3.78 billion and transfer 470,000 barrels of crude a day from western North Dakota down to central Illinois. This method of transporting crude oil will be cheaper than the current process of shipping it by train.

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers is relentlessly trying to continue construction of this unjustified and unnecessarily destructive pipeline with no regards to the repercussions, or the tribe’s culture and beliefs.

Initially, the tribe’s legal claims against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency were rejected by the Court.

The tribe still succeeded to working with federal government officials who will not issue any more permits for construction within 20 miles of the Missouri River.

Permits previously issued will also be revisited in addition to, “The whole way in which the government interacts with Indian Tribes on major projects like this one,” said earthjustice.org.

The decision by the government to stop issuing permits and revisit past ones this past Friday, Sept. 9th, is huge win and step in the right direction for tribe and protestors.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the almost hundred other tribes from the U.S. and Canada, and all standing in opposition of the pipeline have succeeded with a temporary halt through peaceful protests, but are still working for a permanent one.

“We will continue to stand united and peaceful in our opposition to the pipeline,” said David Archambault II, chairman tribe in a statement issued after the legal claims were rejected.

Photos of protesters can be seen peacefully marching together, holding signs stating, “Oil kills, Water is Life” and blocking off bulldozers and equipment from continuing construction. At the same time, countless people are shipping blankets, food and water to aid protestors.

The same cannot be said for security guards working for the Dakota Access Pipeline company and their supporters, who are attempting to forcefully continue construction, disregard the National Historic Preservation Act and use violence to do so.

A couple days before the government’s decision to halt and revisit permits, security guards and their supporter attacked peaceful protestors with dogs and pepper spray. Videos of the incident can be seen on democracynow.org.

The tribe’s spokesperson Steve Sitting Bear said to CBS that six people were bit by security dogs, one being a child, and about 30 people were pepper sprayed.

This happened outside of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation during a protest to stop construction through an American Indian burial ground and cultural sites that are on private land. The construction had already started and destroyed parts of the private land and burial ground.

The despicable actions the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have taken in order to complete the pipeline are despicable. They are deliberately violating the National Historic Preservation Act and destroying sacred burial and cultural sites that are on private land to promote their own agenda.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all who stand with them are taking a stand not only for themselves, but for all that live along the Missouri River. Further construction of the pipeline must be halted and a new plan needs to be found that works with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all that could be affected.

The Case for a Third Party

BY Jackson Rioux

We have reached the final stretch in the 2016 presidential election. A Sept. 6 poll via CNN/ORC showed Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton by just two points.

Despite the close race, it seems like nobody is excited for either option. It’s hard to get your hopes up for anything after enduring a year of scandals, immature insults and utter incompetence between the two candidates. I’ve frequently heard people say, “Candidate A is terrible, but Candidate B is even worse, so I’m voting for Candidate A.” Is this really what American politics has turned into?

This presidential election has reminded me of a famous segment from the television show, “The Simpsons.” The episode aired on Oct. 27, 1996, just days before the presidential election between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. For those unfamiliar with “The Simpsons,” this episode was the annual “Treehouse of Horror” special. The “Treehouse of Horror” episodes always feature Halloween themes that place the characters in ridiculous — and hilarious — situations. This edition featured Bill Clinton and Bob Dole campaigning for the upcoming election. Everything is normal until two aliens, Kang and Kodos, kidnap Dole and Clinton. They disguise themselves as the two candidates through “bio-duplication” and begin campaigning in an attempt to enslave the human race.

The episode reaches a climax when both false candidates are exposed as alien impostors in front of the Capitol. Kodos, no longer disguised as Bill Clinton, tells the crowd, “It’s a two-party system, you have to vote for one of us!” The people in attendance obviously are mortified, with one even yelling, “Well I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate,” to which Kang responds, “Go ahead, throw your vote away.” In the end, the people don’t go the route of a third-party and are enslaved by President Kang. Homer Simpson sums it up best by saying, “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”

The point of mentioning “The Simpsons” was not to suggest that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are merely extraterrestrial impostors. Instead, it was to show America’s reluctance towards taking any third-party candidates seriously. A third-party candidate has never won an election. The best performance for a third-party came over 100 years ago when Teddy Roosevelt finished with 88 electoral votes in 1912. If there ever was a year for a third-party candidate to make some noise, you would think 2016 would be it. “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both more strongly disliked than any nominee at this point in the past 10 presidential cycles,” according to the statistical website FiveThirtyEight.

Even with the historic dissatisfaction, only two third-party candidates are polling above 1 percent nationally. Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 7 percent, while the Green Party’s Jill Stein is at 2 percent, according to the Sept. 6 CNN/ORC poll. I’m not suggesting that Johnson or Stein are better candidates than Trump or Clinton. But how many of their policies can you name compared to the two main candidates? More Americans should be paying attention to third-party candidates. Although a third-party candidate won’t win in 2016, this election can be seen as an opportunity to build momentum for future elections. Voting for a third-party candidate isn’t “throwing your vote away,” as we’ve all heard so many times. Throwing your vote away is voting for a candidate you don’t believe in. America is one of the most diverse nations in the world, yet we’re left with only two parties to run it. Two parties speak for 318 million people. It’s Republican or Democrat. Left or Right. With relationships between Republicans and Democrats being more toxic than ever, perhaps going in a different direction isn’t such a bad idea.

The A-Rod I’ll Remember

 

by Kimberly Pena & Tyler Roaix

In 1994, an 18-year-old kid from Miami named Alex Rodriguez broke into spring camp with the Seattle Mariners in an attempt to make the team. Almost immediately after stepping onto a Major League Baseball field, he became a household name. Within two years, he was an All-Star; within five, a regular 40-homer player. By the turn of the century, many were already putting him into the Hall of Fame discussion.

On August 12, 2016, Rodriguez played his final game as a New York Yankee after an incredible 12 years in New York. Considering the 41-year-old’s lack of playing time and declining production after a resurgent effort in 2015, this may very well be the end of the A-Rod era entirely. For A-Rod, he was prepared to leave the game he fell in love with as a child.

“I do want to be remembered as someone who was madly in love with the game of baseball, someone who loves it at every level,” said Rodriguez. “Someone who loves to learn it, play it, teach it, coach it. And also, I’m going to be hopefully remembered as someone who tripped and fell a lot, but someone that kept getting up.”

Rodriguez has led a very controversial 22-year baseball career, his lowest moment being when he was infamously suspended for the entire 2014 season following the Biogenesis investigation — the longest suspension ever served in Major League Baseball history. But his story did not end there.

In his 2015 campaign, in an attempt to redeem himself and earn back the love from the fans of New York, A-Rod wrote his own Cinderella story. He smashed 33 home runs and had 86 runs batted in. He was the most consistent hitter for the Yankees all season long, helping the team reach the playoffs after a two-year-long absence. It seemed as though he knew that the theme of that season was his redemption, because that is exactly what he did. His incredible leadership and production seemed to make Yankees fans forget all of his wrongdoings, at least temporarily.

For each reason you list off as to why you loved him, it would be just as easy to throw out a reason on why you hated him. Alex Rodriguez was a great player, even one of the best ever, depending on who you ask. But no matter how many incredible stats he put up, his use of steroids will always question the legitimacy of his legacy in baseball.

Steroids were not the only instance where Rodriguez’s character was called into question. His wife divorced him in 2008 after he was seen entering a hotel room in Toronto with a stripper. During a game against the Blue Jays, he yelled “I got it,” while running by two Toronto players who were converging on a popup. Then, of course, the brawl of the century with former Red Sox’s catcher Jason Varitek. The list goes on and on.

But what will his lasting legacy be? For one of the most polarizing players in the history of sports, that is a very difficult question to answer. Will he be remembered for his unquestionable talent or for his lies?

It is funny to think about how different of an answer this would be if Rodriguez had not had a great season in 2015 after his year-long suspension.

From the perspective of a Yankees fan, it is hard not to respect just how good Alex Rodriguez was for the team. Since 2004, his first year with New York, A-Rod racked up 351 home runs and 1096 RBIs. Highlighted by two MVP Awards, Rodriguez has been nothing short of outstanding in terms of on the field play while wearing pinstripes.

That’s why for me, the story of Alex Rodriguez will always be that of untaught talent over the lies and the cheating. To put it simple, Alex Rodriguez is one of the most gifted baseball players we will ever see. It is very rare when a player comes along and can single-handedly change the way we think about a certain sport. Alex Rodriguez was that guy.

Rodriguez will always be in that dreaded category of players who maybe look like Hall-of-Famers on paper but cheated their way through the sport with the use of performance enhancing drugs. However, much like Barry Bonds, I would like to think that Rodriguez’s steroid use does not mask the fact that he was still incredibly talented on his own. It was obvious from the start that he was going to be someone special that you would never see again.

I will always think of Alex Rodriguez as the man who hit 696 career home runs — 18 homeruns shy of Babe Ruth’s home run record. The man who led the Yankees to the 2009 World Series championship, someone who loved the fans almost as much as he loved playing the game. That’s the Alex Rodriguez I will always remember.

Trump’s Campaign Causes Friction

by Lorenzo Burgio

This past Friday, hundreds of demonstrators protested the California Republican Convention to oppose Donald Trump before he could conduct his speech.

The protesters made it clear they opposed Trump and his views, cheering, “ Shut Down Trump!” It seems this may be the only way to prevent anymore friction in this country caused by the Trump, as he is currently leading the rolls of California Republican Voters.

The protestors blocked off the road in front of the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, California.

“Protesters — some of whom wore bandanas over their faces and carried Mexican flags,” said CNN.

“In Burlingame, just outside San Francisco, a diverse crowd of protesters gathered outside the Hyatt Regency, the side of the state convention, to brandish signs and change slogans like ‘racist, sexist, Dump the Trump,’” said the New York Times.

The road blockage caused Trump to pull over his caravan or SUVs and jump over a concrete median in the back of the hotel in order to use the back entrance. Trump later commented to CNN, “It felt like crossing the border.”

The day after the protest, Trump tweeted, “The ‘protestors’ in California were thugs and criminals. Many professionals. They should be dealt with strongly by law enforcement!”

This protest isn’t a shock, especially after he cancelled his event in Chicago. Recognizing what Trump represents and the friction he causes in this country, this was expected. It is counterproductive and simply asinine to insult one demographic and prioritize another. Something seen from Trump since the day he said he was running for president.

“The protests reflect the provocative nature of Mr. Trump’s candidacy and come as he has sought to re-establish himself as someone who can unite the party and, ultimately, the country. Despite those stated goals, Mr. Trump has continued to inflame the passions of his opponents by using heated language that has offended immigrants and minorities,” said The New York Times.

Trump will never be able to unite this country with his constant grotesque rhetoric that targets various demographics. He has caused a tremendous amount of turmoil between political parties and demographics already, and he hasn’t even made it to office yet.

We have seen nothing from Trump but him fueling the fire that is dividing our nation. As a country, we must ask acknowledge that presidential elections have not been this violent or out of control in recent years. There has never been this amount of turmoil between political parties and demographics. What has changed, is Trump is now running for presidency an we have allowed him to yell whatever he wants at whoever he wants with no backlash, for too long. And this is only a glimpse of what to expect if he is elected.

Not So Fast, Tom Brady

by Tyler Roaix

The NFL has won the latest round in its Deflategate legal battle and Tom Brady is once again suspended for the first four games of the season.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the NFL does indeed have the authority to suspend Brady, overturning a lower court ruling and reinstating the four-game suspension that Brady was originally handed last year.

“We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness,” the Court said of the 2-1 decision.

Two seasons ago, en route to their fourth Super Bowl, the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game. The Colts suggested the Patriots were using footballs that were deflated past the legal pounds per square inch (psi), which led to a big, drawn-out investigation by the league, Tom Brady destroying a cell phone and documents being likely mishandled and misinterpreted. The whole thing clouded both the off-season and the start of the following season. The infamous Wells Report that resulted said that Brady had a “more probable than not” involvement with the tampering.

The league’s findings in the Deflategate investigation were that Brady was more likely than not to have ordered the Patriots’ equipment staff to deflate footballs below the minimum level of 12.5 psi. Brady has insisted that he did no such thing.

The biggest misconception over the latest ruling is that this is about what Brady and the Patriots did. “This wasn’t about the actual violation,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “This was about the rights we had negotiated in our collective bargaining agreement, that we had in our collective bargaining agreement, and that we wanted to make sure that we retained.”

Essentially, the question isn’t if the Patriots violated any rules, it’s whether or not Goodell and the NFL had the right to give the penalties they gave to the team and future Hall of Famer.

There have been so many twists and turns in the Deflategate saga that no one should assume it’s over, but for the moment the NFL has won, Brady has lost and the Patriots appear set to start the season without their star quarterback.

For a player of Brady’s stature, the first question you would ask is, “How much money is he losing?” But he’s no dummy. In fact it’s almost as if he saw this coming. In March, Brady and the Patriots renegotiated his deal to go from $9 million per year to $1 million per year in base salary. A player with at least 10 years in the league is required to make at least $985,000, so Brady’s new deal is essentially paying him the league minimum.

Why so little? Because Brady received a $28 million signing bonus when the deal was made. Perhaps Brady wanted a little insurance just in case the suspension was in fact overturned. The new deal ends up saving Brady almost $2 million during the four-game suspension.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed his displeasure with the suspension. “I share in our fans’ anger and frustration with the penalties the league has levied and the entire process and how it was conducted. But please trust that I am always trying to do what I believe is best for this franchise and pledge that I will always continue to do that.”

With the four-game suspension, the Pats will turn to backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who has just 31 pass attempts in his young NFL career. In reality, this isn’t going to have a major impact on the team’s playoff chances. The closest competition they have in their division is the New York Jets, who don’t even have a quarterback at this point. With that said, the Patriots’ first four matchups of the 2016 season are as follows; at Cardinals and then at home against Dolphins, Texans and Bills. Worst-case scenario is the Patriots go 2-2, then Brady comes back and leads the team to yet another division title.

Every sports talk show will rave about Tom Brady’s suspension all summer as if it is the biggest headline, but in reality it doesn’t mean much. It gives Roger Goodell a very rare notch in the win column. It gives us fans of every other team a brief moment to celebrate that Big Bad Brady finally got tripped up. But that moment is only going to last four weeks, so cherish it. When Brady comes back, he’s going to be the Brady we love to hate. He’s going to be the guy who wins games and sends us home disappointed. He may be gone for now, but come playoff time, it will be the same story that it is every year.