RSSAll Entries in the "Opinion" Category

Bombing Syria: What’s the point?

Bombing Syria: What’s the point?

By EDDIE CELAYA

Eddie Celaya

On April 6 the United States attacked Syria with tomahawk missiles. I can’t help but notice the hypocrisy of such a move by this particular administration.

To start off, let’s get something out of the way. What the Syrian government is being accused of under the rule of Bashar al-Assad is deplorable and a crime against humanity. He and his ilk should face justice.

What the Trump administration attempted to do, however, falls much closer to farce than freedom for the beleaguered residents of Syria.

To start, Trump opposed a similar move proposed by the Obama administration in 2013 after Assad gassed his people.

“TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA – IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN,” Trump tweeted.

He also suggested that if Obama did want to take action, he should seek congressional approval.

Of course, back then Republicans were dead set against any kind of military intervention.

Now? “This was a clear signal from America that Bashar al-Assad can no longer use chemical weapons against his own people with impunity,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proudly declared.

Then there’s the attack on the air base itself. Multiple reports said 59 tomahawvk missiles were fired at Shayrat Air Base in Homs Province..

The Pentagon claims all but one of the missiles hit their targets. Other reports cite Russian sources, which say only 23 missiles hit the air base.

So, what did we hit? According to the local Syrian governor, not much.

“The airport is operating as a first phase,” Homs governor Talal Barazi told Reuters. “Planes have taken off from it.” The Daily Telegraph reported that Assad’s air force was flying bombing missions the next day.

There is the fact the administration clued the Russians in on the attack beforehand.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in an official statement: “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike.”

Of course the Russians let the base know.

“The bombardment of Shayrat will not have a major effect on military operations of the regime,” a resistance fighter said.

This all begs the question: What was the point of the attack?

“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” Trump said.

Perhaps the saddest and cruelest irony is Trump’s new acknowledgment of the widening refugee crisis throughout the region. But instead of opening America’s doors to them, he is showering them in more hellfire and uncertainty.

The American and Syrian people deserve better.

Eddie Celaya is News Editor and thinks Trump is doing a great job saying one thing and doing another.

Caring isn't sharing

Caring isn’t sharing

By DANIELLA CAMPUZANO

For next fall, I have committed to move into a house with five other people. To complicate this, I am an only child.

Whenever I tell people I’m an only child, most look me up and down, roll their eyes and assume I get everything I want.

Stuck with the small shower? Aztec Press illustration by Katelyn Roberts

Being an only child, I have been blessed with amazing parents who have always given me what I need. I normally don’t have to share with anyone, and most of the time I have everything to myself. Spoiled much, Daniella?

And yes, that is thoroughly correct but let’s not forget there are pros and cons to being an only child.

Like I said, the pro to being an only child is being my parents’ baby girl.

The con is that living with five new people, instead of Mom and Dad, is going to give me culture shock.

Fortunately, I’m living with friends.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to start thinking of five other people more often.

Let me repeat myself, five. Yes, that is correct. Now I’m sure you’re thinking that’s a lot of people for one house.

Do I know these people, do I trust them, and how well do I get along with everyone? We all know and trust each other, and we all get along.

I’m stoked but also very nervous.

 

Why? I now have to share a bathroom, and I hate sharing a bathroom. I don’t want to be frugal with water usage and I can’t take my 30-minute showers the way I would like to.

On top of everything, my bathroom is the smallest in the entire house. Since it’s a four-bedroom, two-bath house, of course I get the smallest bathroom.

Maybe I’ll take a caddy because apparently I’m back in the dorms. The point is, I really don’t like sharing anything, but I’m sure you understand that by now.

My problem with five people in one household is, what happens when I get home and I have homework, need to study or just want some quiet time?

Who knows if one of the roomies will decide to have a party with a few friends in the living room, and make a late-night snack at 2 a.m.?

I can already hear the microwave slamming shut throughout the night. What if I wake up to one of them playing Alicia Keys, screaming along at the top of their lungs?

Maybe they’ll even watch “Game Of Thrones” with the TV so loud I can’t hear myself think.

I’m excited to be living with five friends, but at the same time I can’t wait to set some rules and regulations. Otherwise, come August, I might just rip their heads off.

Think long and hard about your decision whenever you want to move out and live with friends. Of course, it’s fun, but make yourself No. 1 and don’t wait until the last minute like I did to look for a house. Good luck.

Daniella Campuzano currently lives with two roommates, Mom and Dad.

Don't cut EPA funds

Don’t cut EPA funds

By RENE ESCOBAR

Since his presidency began, President Donald Trump has signed 19 executive orders for varied reasons. One stands out to me as the destroyer of former president Barrack Obama’s legacy.

That action came March 28, when Trump signed an order to cut Environmental Protection Agency funds by one fourth. He would trim roughly 24 percent from an $8.1 billion budget.

“We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” Trump said during the signing ceremony.

Many jobs would be cut under the budget plan Trump has proposed. If Congress approves the budget, American resources will be hurt.

The EPA not only combats climate change but also helps the country protect its natural resources from harmful contamination.

I recently had an opportunity to talk with hydrologist Gregory Olsen from Tucson Water. His job is to make sure city tap water is as clean as possible for consumption.

Olsen develops ways to keep our drinking water clean. His work helps prevent disasters like the one in Flint, Michigan, where insufficient water treatment exposed residents to high levels of lead.

Although Olsen is not directly employed by the EPA, he works alongside the federal government to preserve the cleanliness of Tucson tap water. And yes, the EPA does play a role in our water treatment center.

“The EPA is like a big brother to what we’re doing at Tucson Water,” Olsen said.

The federal role is to conduct inspections every six to eight months, to make sure the city is doing its job right.

“I fear the inspectors will not show up anymore and force us to deal with a, god forbid, Flint-like problem, under-supervised and under-equipped,” Olsen said.

The EPA is not an organization where all employees are tree-huggers. They’re people who play a vital role in our society and help make modern life more livable. To remain a sustainable country, we need agencies like the EPA. 

Rene Escobar is a journalism major who has aspirations to be a voice of reason in a confused world. He is one who wants to be heard.

Rene Escobar

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Students: Protest tuition increase

 

Pima Community College administrators, unfortunately with the support of the Board of Governors and faculty, are incompetent with a focus on their own aggrandizement at the expense of PCC students.

Witness the recent increase in student tuition to support a financially bloated administration and faculty, notwithstanding a 30-plus percent decline in student enrollment within the past six years.
PCC students: You are being played as pawns! Pima Community College belongs to the residents of Pima County … that means you!
Take it back … Go on strike!

Francis P. Saitta, Ph.D.

Former PCC instructor

FROM THE EDITOR: With great title, comes great responsibility

FROM THE EDITOR: With great title, comes great responsibility

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

Web editor Nicholas Trujillo.

This year I dropped the ball as the web editor. I didn’t make daily updates. I didn’t change the website. I didn’t inspire people to, either.

What I did was just take a title that had a lot responsibility and throw it down the drain. However, next year will be different.

Next year I will be the co-editor in chief with my home slice Katelyn Roberts. With two people at the helm of one of the best college publications in Southern Arizona, I am confident a lot of what we say we will do, will get done.

Instead of making empty promises.

For instance, I’ve been making arrangements with students who I have a strong feeling will help with the social media aspect. I’m not putting all of my faith in them, but after strong mentorship it will all work out in the long run.

Having a stable calendar of what to publish, when to publish it and what app to use will help to make it easier in the long run as well. Because if we rely on just one person updating whatever they want whenever they want, it’s a recipe for laziness.

This year I was in charge of the Twitter account, and I only updated when I was at a sporting event and whenever I could remember. But not everyone wants to read about sports, and similarly not everyone has a twitter.

Some want to read about our provost on Facebook, or the struggles of slut shaming on Twitter, or see one of our many award winning instructors on Instagram. And that’s just to name a few topics and platforms we cover.

As for the online website, it’ll have to wait until we have a keen sense of where we stand as a publication. Because why should we stop our award winning publication from printing?

Eventually, someone will come to us with a more profound understand of websites and coding, but until then we’ll just focus on the social media platforms on your phone first.

It was instilled in us, by all-knowing adviser Cynthia Lancaster, that the paper should always come first. Even if she is leaving after this semester, it’s something that I will continue to believe in until the day they stop printing newspapers.

 

OPINION: Word to misogynists: Stop the slut-shaming

OPINION: Word to misogynists: Stop the slut-shaming

Hello, my name is Dakota Fincher and I’m a slut.

I am a slut because most times I forego wearing a bra.

My shorts may show a little too much skin on a 110-degree day in sunny Arizona.  Because of my sex appeal, my body count must be through the roof.  I’m sorry, let me explain. It is time to shame slut-shaming.

What is slut-shaming? Per Bing, it is “the action or fact of stigmatizing a woman for engaging in behavior judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative.”

Belly buttons? Cancelled. Short skirts? Forget it and cover up.

Lewd conversation may ensue if a woman’s shoulders are showing. It could lead to speculation on how many sexual partners she has had.

Does this matter? It does not. It is too much to be slutty but being a prude is worse. There is no winning, so women might as well wear what they want and be who they prefer.

My words of advice to misogynists: Do not give two cents where two cents are not  due. I don’t care what  comments you make about my body turning you on. And BTW, talking about “that ass” is not going to get you that ass. I promise.

Why even waste your time? It’s disrespectful and does not have anything to do with a woman’s character.

There are characteristics to describe women beyond their cup size. Try smart, bold and strong. The women who are being whistled at have chosen to live their life in comfort. They know why they wore a particular out fit when they left the house, and it was not to get male attention.

I’m not saying every guy out there participates in slut-shaming, but the word “slut” came into existence somehow. Personally, I don’t believe it originated from females.

Along those lines, however, women need to stop calling other women sluts. It is hard enough with men putting women  down. It shouldn’t be done by people who know what it is like.

To my female readers: Be promiscuous, or not. Show some skin, or don’t. Shake what your mama gave you, or sit down. Do not listen to anyone other than yourself. Never let anyone tell you there is anything wrong with being comfortable in your own skin.

Don’t’ let someone make you feel bad for being who you are.  Support other people’s choices. Come together instead of apart.

Dakota Fincher is a slut-supporting feminist. She believes anyone can be who they want to be, and assholes should keep their mouths shut. Also, Rhianna should have won a Grammy for ANTI. Don’t @ me.

Dakota Fincher

OPINION: Republicans prove inept in first test

OPINION: Republicans prove inept in first test

The month of March marked a seminal defeat for the Trump White House and congressional Republicans. The American Health Care Act, the long-awaited Republican answer to “Obamacare,” went down without a vote

as House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the un popular bill.

From the moment the “Obamacare” Af fordable Care Act passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by then President Barack Obama, Republicans have promised to get rid of the damn thing.

But a funny thing happened. After a disastrous roll-out, people got a taste of  Obamacare. And they liked it. So for seven years, Republicans found themselves like the Grinch on Mount Krumpet, looking down on the insured Demo-Whos’ celebrating Obama carving up the roast beast.

They decided to dispense with subtleties and nominated an actual Grinch to lead  their party.

“My first day in office, I am going to ask Congress to put a bill on my desk getting rid of this disastrous law and replacing it with reforms that expand choice, freedom, affordability,” Donald Trump said in 2016  while running for president.

This should have been a red flag to low income Americans who find themselves on state assistance for health care, whether through Medicare or Medicaid. You know,  Trump’s base. They were warned. Nevertheless, they  persisted.

Trump is in office. Republicans, who grew so adept at saying “no” for a decade,  realized they had to govern. They are now realizing they preferred opposing Obama. Unfortunately for Ryan, that didn’t get  his poop-burger health care legislation through the House.

Trumpcare (or Ryancare if you prefer)  was unpopular among Democrats and Republicans for its cuts to Medicaid and  elimination of the individual mandate.The House Freedom Caucus, the Elmer Fudd-Yosemite Sam wing of the Republican Party, rejected and ultimately sealed the bill’s fate because it didn’t go far enough.

Trump lashed out at them specifically.  “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!” Trump tweeted on March 26.

Democrats were celebrating, and rightfully so. “You may be a great negotiator,” Nancy Pelosi said to The Donald. “Rookie’s error for bringing this up on a day you clearly are not ready.”

Really, this error falls on Ryan. Mr. PolicyWonk had been promising a plan for “repeal and replace” for the better part of  a decade. When it was shown the light of day, everyone hated it and he couldn’t even rally his majority party to pass it.

The president has a word for this. Sad.

Eddie Celaya, the Aztec Press news editor, follows politics closely.

Eddie Celaya

OPINION: Drug cartel will always find a way

OPINION: Drug cartel will always find a way

Who or what can stop the drug flow into our country? President Donald Trump? Border Patrol agents? A wall? The answer is simple: nothing.

Trump has vowed to “destroy criminal cartels.” How is he going to accomplish such a feat? Hell, I don’t even know how any country can.

Cartels are an intricate and complex infrastructure with multiple leaders supervising numerous aspects of their trade.

A basic business plan for any cartel is  drugs go in, money and guns come out. At the peak of his reign, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was worth $3 billion and made $8 million per day, according to forbes.com. Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel supplied 25 percent of all illegal drugs in the United States.

Trump wants to dismantle a multi-billion-dollar industry, but how? A border fence is useless and upping the number of Border Patrol agents won’t work either. The drug flow cannot be stopped when the Border Patrol is getting tricked into al lowing drugs to flow through checkpoints.

I met a man from Nogales, Arizona, who once packed for an associate of the cartel.  He knows first-hand how cartels get drugs into the U.S. Using a tactic called “pick and roll,” the cartel recruits some poor person from the

street and offers $100. Cartel members fill a van with unconcealed marijuana and tell the driver to cross the border.

While the Border Patrol is unloading  100 kilos of cheap, renewable marijuana and celebrating the “biggest bust of the century,” the cartels are driving by in four more vans filled with meth, heroin and cocaine. Will a war on drugs work? Not likely. Just ask former Mexican President Felipe Caldron.

Caldron sent 6,500 soldiers to Michoacán in 2011. The action didn’t end cartels. Instead, 1,400 soldiers, cartel members and civilians died in April alone, according to PBS.

Trump wants to expand the border wall. That may slow the drug flow, but it won’t stop it. Cartels use a variety of inventive ways to get drugs into the U.S., including ramps, underground tunnels and catapults.

No matter what anyone does, they can’t stop cartels. As long as there’s money to be  made, there will always be drug trafficking.

Rene Escobar is a journalism major. This is his first semester at the Aztec Press and  his fourth semester at Pima.

Rene Escobar

FROM THE EDITOR(S): Friendship begins in newsroom

FROM THE EDITOR(S): Friendship begins in newsroom

By KATELYN ROBERTS and ASHLEY MUÑOZ

Roberts: Maybe you’re just starting with the Press. Maybe you’ve followed Pima Community College’s student newspaper since its inception in 1970. No matter when you picked up your first issue, my co-editor and I would

like to thank you. Ashley Muñoz and I are the photo editors for this very newspaper you cradle in your hands, unless you’re reading it online. That’s cool too. Your device probably doesn’t have the same fresh newsprint smell though.

Muñoz: When I’m not crying over the finale of “The Office,” I spend my time keeping the photo aspects of the Aztec Press in order with my good friend, Kate Roberts.

Roberts: I met Ashley at our pre-semester meeting, and her cat-eye glasses and black tights told me one thing: Be friends with this gal at all costs. I used my wit and charm (awkward meme references) to bribe her into partner- ing as co-editors, and we’re having the time of our lives.

Muñoz: When Kate first approached me, it was love at first sight. We took the photo section of the Aztec Press under our wing and try our absolute best to produce nothing but great content for ourselves and for our readers. I’m so lucky to have had Kate bribe me. It’s the best decision she’s ever made for me.

Roberts: As far as photography goes, I was pretty much born with a camera in my hand. My parents were photographers and journalists, and my godfather taught me how to use my first film SLR. My first camera was a seethru plastic little guy, and I took it everywhere. Not much has changed, except now I carry my iPhone and a Nikon.

Muñoz: Photography hasn’t always been my thing. I had mastered the art of “selfies” but that was about the extent of my knowledge up until my first year at Pima Community College. Our adviser, Cynthia Lancaster, was my first photojournalism instructor. She taught me to see life and people through a lens and it changed my world forever. I never saw myself as a potential photojournalist, but now that’s all I want to be.

Roberts: Working on the newspaper and learning the entire process has made a career in photography and multimedia journalism seem much more realistic.

Muñoz: I’m finishing my third and final year at PCC and moving on to Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I’m a bit heartbroken, but excited for what’s to come.

Roberts: She is mostly heartbroken because she is leaving me in Tucson to die.

Muñoz: I didn’t know what the hell I was doingprior to the Aztec Press, much like most college students. I am grateful for this experience, the people I’ve met and all I’ve learned throughout my years. Like the iconic band Journey once said, “Don’t Stop Believing.” Hold on to that feeling of college.

Roberts: Journey lyrics? That was a terrible way to end this column. Thanks for reading, and join the paper!

Thank you Aztec Press, Pima Athletics

Thank you Aztec Press, Pima Athletics

By CASEY MUSE JR.

I am always talking about how lucky I have been to have had an opportunity to be a part of the Aztec Press.

I was one of those people who had no idea what they wanted to do with their life after graduating from high school. After working full time for a couple of years, I decided that I needed to ease my way back into school but I still had no idea what I wanted to study.

One of my biggest hobbies outside of work and school has always been sports. I am always trying to keep up with relevant headlines across various leagues.

Early in my time back at school, I was excited when I was offered a chance to contribute to the sports section of the Aztec Press.

The first sports that I ever covered at Pima were track and field and women’s golf, and I loved every minute of each.

I learned so much about the specific steps it takes to produce a news story. This included meeting the right people, conducting interviews, creating the stories, editing the stories and designing the pages in the computer programs.

I developed a new respect for all of my favorite journalists.

Sports at Pima have definitely been on the come-up since I have been covering them.

The football program behind the leadership of head coach Jim Monaco has seen a recent playoff appearance. Improvements in recruiting every season have resulted in a better product on the field.

It has been an honor to cover Pima sports during Sydni Stallworth’s basketball career. She is a BEAST and one of my favorite Aztec athletes of all time.

I have been on staff to see head softball coach Armando Quiroz win his 400th career game and continue to sustain a consistency throughout his program. I have also seen the steady improvement made in our baseball program through a revamped recruiting effort.

I was lucky enough to cover the men’s basketball team this season as it won the Region I Division II championship for the first time in seven years. There has been an upward trend in the program behind the leadership of head coach Brian Peabody.

I would be remiss not to express a small piece of gratitude to Raymond Suarez. Suarez serves as the sports information director at Pima and is excellent at his job. He is always there for advice and extra information regarding Pima athletics. Great guy.

I am extremely proud to be a part of the Aztec family. I cannot thank my classmates, members of the athletics department and adviser Cynthia Lancaster enough for the opportunity to make something of myself.

Casey Muse Jr., Aztec Press sports editor

Breaking the Stigma

Breaking the Stigma

Mental illness remains the taboo of our society.

When someone says they have a mental illness, many people automatically believe the individual is crazy or unstable.

As a society and as a community, we must understand that mental illnesses are not as bad as they’re made out to be. Some people live their daily lives without others knowing they have been diagnosed as mentally ill.

We should grow in ways that help those with mental illnesses and find ways to make them feel comfortable in society, instead of viewing them as outsiders.

One in five adults in the United States will experience a mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illnesses. That’s about 43.8 million people.

An additional one in 25 U.S. adults will experience a serious mental illness that interferes with or limits major life activities. That’s about 10 million people.

With such high numbers, one would hope society is doing more to normalize mental illness. Unfortunately, it seems we are not.

I didn’t think much about mental illness until I enrolled in an abnormal psychology class. Everything changed when we learned about mental illnesses. My studies provided insight, which started making me more passionate about the subject.

As part of our curriculum, NAMI individuals diagnosed with a mental illness visited the class.

They told us stories about their “dark days,” when they first began to experience a mental illness. They moved on to telling us how they grew from that and were able to continue their lives. One visitor shared his hopes for the future: an end to the stigma that mental illness incapacitates an individual.

He hopes for a day when those with mental illnesses can have checkups with a doctor in the same way in which one would have a physical examination.

His point is worth repeating. People do not become their illness. They are still human beings.

 

Trump's political suicide

Trump’s political suicide

By Eddie Celaya

Donald Trump is back at it with the spying. Kellyanne Conway is worried about your microwaves Go-Go-Gadgeting into G-men. And all the while, Vladimir Putin has done a decent job infiltrating and running the country.

Let’s recap the month. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned for lying about meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any Trump- Russia investigations because he did the exact same thing.

The two men join the list of Trump surrogates with confirmed ties to Russia, beginning with former campaign manager Paul Manafort. He’s been in the news lately due to documents released in the Ukraine revealing his dealings with Putin’s Russia.

And there’s Rex Tillerson, the nation’s reluctant secretary of state. Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, hasn’t done anything wrong (yet) but is one of just a few Americans to hold the Russian Order of Friendship. Yes, that’s a real award.

Oh, and I meant reluctant. “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” he told the Independent Journal Review in an interview. “I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to go to the ranch to be with my grandkids.”

With each layer being slowly peeled back, the American public was getting close to the center of this political Russian Matryoshka doll. Then Trump seemingly went off the deep end.

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process,” Trump tweeted at 6:30 a.m. on March 4 from Mar-a-Lago, Florida. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

The tweet was a bombshell of an allegation. A sitting president accusing his predecessor of wire-tapping is indeed Nixonian.

Reactions from both sides were swift and predictable. Democrats and their allies gave the old “there you go again” head shake you give to a puppy who won’t stop pissing on the couch.

After all, Trump disobeyed the first law of high school English teachers: thou shall always cite your source.

Forget that he misspelled “tap.” Trump accolytes and apologists either took The Donald’s assertion as The Word handed down from on high, or pointed to a March 3 Breitbart article that seemed to be the genesis for Trump’s claim.

The article, which may require visiting Breitbart without being within a five-minute drive of a shower, is basically a lazy timeline linking to actual reporting done by credible news organizations.

It is easily the best piece of writing I’ve come across on Breitbart.

The most interesting link redirects to an article by former British politician Louise Mensch on her website HeatStreet.

Citing two unnamed sources, Mensch claims that on two separate occasions, the FBI requested a warrant be issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”

Note that the warrant does not focus on Trump, but “U.S. persons” within his campaign. Note also it is not technically a “wire-tap,” but instead permission to electronically track and survey activity on a server.

Of course, if you haven’t been living under a rock lately, FBI Director James Comey put all speculation of any of the U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Trump Tower to rest on March 20 during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

“With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey said.

Would that stop Trump? Hell na. Here is what he live-tweeted as Comey was testifying to the existence of an FBI probe into links between Russia and the Trump 2016 campaign:

“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!”

Clapper was the former national intelligence director under Obama.

Trump was referencing Clapper’s appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd a few months ago in which he suggests that there were no known personal contacts between Trump and the Russian government.

Not Trump associates mind you, Trump himself.

Clapper made one other important distinction. He had not seen any evidence in his time as director. However, he left his position in January. “I could not account for intelligence or evidence that may have been gathered since the inauguration on Jan. 20,” he said.

Is Trump’s tweet just a sloppy attempt to deflect attention from the Comey testimony?

Or does he really believe Obama has implemented a “deep-state shadow government” that is so entrenched in the everyday works of government that they make it impossible for Trump to govern?

Who knows anymore?

I’m beginning to doubt Trump cares if he is impeached. He acts like a kid on chemo living on borrowed time. But instead of doing Make-A-Wish and going to Disneyland, he’s decided to rob every 7-11 in town.

You almost forget that Trump should be preparing for mid-season sweeps and firing Nick Cannon, not presiding over a cabinet of creeps led by Steve Bannon. Sad.

Aztec Press illustration by Katelyn Roberts

SUNDAY SPECIAL: The Obama admin. may have tapped Trump (But it’s a good thing)

SUNDAY SPECIAL: The Obama admin. may have tapped Trump (But it’s a good thing)

By EDDIE CELAYA

Donald Trump may not be all wrong this time. But he just may be shooting himself in the foot. Actually, we may have the beginnings of a farewell-letter to the greatest American political suicide since Richard Nixon.

Let’s recap. After a month that saw National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resign for lying about phone-calls with Russian officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any Trump-Russia investigations for the same reasons.

Then Trump seemingly went off the deep end.

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process,” Trump tweeted at 6:30 AM on March 4 from Mar-a-Lago. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

The tweet is a bombshell of an allegation. A sitting president accusing his predecessor of wire-tapping is indeed Nixonian.

Reactions from both sides were swift and predictable. Democrats and their allies gave the old “there you go again,” head shake you give to a puppy who won’t stop shitting on the couch.

After all, Trump (as always) disobeyed the first law of high school English teachers: cite your source.

Trump associates and apologists either took the Donald’s assertion as The Word handed down form on high, or pointed to a March 3 Breitbart article that seems to be the genesis for Trump’s claim.

The article, which may require visiting Breitbart without being within five minutes’ drive of a shower, is basically a lazy timeline linking to actual reporting done by credible news organizations. It is easily the best piece of writing I’ve ever come across on Breitbart.

The most interesting link (which also happens to be the only one directly connected to Trump’s wire-tap assertion) redirects to an article by former British politician Louise Mensch on her website HeatStreet.

Citing two unnamed sources, Mensch writes that on two separate occasions, the FBI requested a warrant be issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”

Note, not Trump himself, but people involved with his campaign.

On the first occasion, in June 2016, the FBI was denied because the request was too broad according to the article. The second request, however, was reportedly granted.

“The second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server,” Mensch writes. “And its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

The importance of this FISC warrant can’t be understated. First, the President can request a FISC warrant, but it seems that in this case, it wasn’t the president, but a federal intelligence agency (the FBI) that made the request.

Second, even if Obama had some involvement requesting the warrant, it would not have been granted had the government not been able to prove that “U.S. Person’s” within Trump’s campaign had at least been in contact with somebody in Russia.

Some conservatives have argued that the FISC is easy to manipulate, or that the Obama administration was involved in a witch-hunt, citing the failed first request for a warrant as evidence.

If anything, it’s actually further evidence in the case to indict Trump. Note that the FBI tightened their noose around contacts between Trump Tower and Russian banks. The court likely was presented evidence alleging some sort of transaction(s) that smell.

So was Trump’s tweet just a sloppy attempt to deflect attention from the Sessions’ scandal by deflecting blame to Obama, even though it really just outs him as being the subject of a legal federal investigation?

Sort of.

I actually think Trump is deflecting. Not in response to current allegations against Flynn and Sessions, but against an anticipated (and I believe, highly probable) revelation dealing with Trump’s taxes and his ties business ties to unsavory figures in Moscow.

Whatever the reason, Trump has ensured the country of one thing. He who lives by the tweet, dies by the tweet.

Sad.

BLURRED LINES: student-staff dating

BLURRED LINES: student-staff dating

By MELINA CASILLAS

Aztec Press Illustration by Katelyn Roberts.

There’s a fitness class at a community college with about 20 people. The setting is like many classrooms in a community college: varying age groups, from a 19-year-old to a 40-something who also happens to be a counselor at the college.

The 14-week course takes its usual route as students learn new skills in a class with strangers. Students eventually make acquaintances, and exchange phone numbers for class purposes.

But when one text exchange goes awry, a younger student can’t help but ask, “Where’s the line?”

THE TEXT EXCHANGE

Older Guy: What’s your name?

Younger Girl: Who is this?

OG: *** from class…lol.

YG: oh lol, it’s ******.

OG: Is it weird I kept your number?

OG: If so, I’ll delete it if you want…

YG: No, it’s fine, I just didn’t save yours, ha ha.

OG: Ouch, lol.

OG: I’m trying to flirt, but I don’t know if it’s working, ha ha.

YG: Wait what? Lol.”

OG: I’m trying to flirt … Is it working 😉 lol.”

OG: Just thought you’re really cute and kinda sexy.

OG: But if I’m out of bounds, I apologize…

YG: (does not respond)

(1 hour later)

OG: I guess that’s a yes, lol.

IS THIS HARASSMENT?

Harassment comes in different forms. Many perceive harassment when they read or hear the word “sexual” spoken in conjunction.

But harassment can be more than obscene remarks. Any unwanted, persistent attention can be classified as harassment if it makes the person receiving it uncomfortable.

The remarks made by the older school-employed student could be classified as obscene and were definitely unwanted, based on the woman’s replies.

It is up to the young woman to decide whether she will report the interaction to school authorities. Her decision likely depends on how safe she felt after the exchange.

Everyone who believes they are being harassed by Pima Community College personnel or by their peers should immediately file a report.

The college will take action whether it is an employee or a student doing the harassment, according to the Personnel Policy Statement for College Employees.

PCC’s accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, required all college employees to take sexual harassment training after a former chancellor resigned amid numerous allegations of sexual harassment.

WHAT’S THE POLICY?

Pima’s personnel policy defines consensual relationships as “amorous, romantic and/or sexual relationships entered into by mutual consent between employees or between employees and students.”

The policy says a consensual relationship must be reported, whether it is between two employees or between an employee and student.

The wording reads: “An employee who may have a conflict of interest situation must disclose that interest in writing to the chief human resources officer or designee.”

The consequence for an unreported relationship can be employee termination.

College spokeswoman Libby Howell isn’t sure how common instances of faulty-student relationships are but said, “We are not aware of disciplinary actions specifically related to faculty-student romantic or sexual relationships, at least in recent years.”

The college reserves the right to establish guidelines and determine whether a relationship presents a conflict of interest.

If the relationship is deemed a conflict of interest, it must immediately be reported to the head of human resources.

Another policy says employees who have relationships may not be involved in their partner’s work, whether they’re employees or students.

SO, WHERE’S THE LINE?

Most people have moral compasses, so it’s baffling the older student thought it was OK to hit on a teen half his age.

However, a consensual relationship would not have violated PCC policy as long as it was reported.
Bottom line: Maybe there isn’t an ethical or moral line in a handbook, but there is one in your head.

Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t pursue it.

Former PCC Instructor faces protest charges

Former PCC Instructor faces protest charges

By EDDIE CELAYA

Jenni Monette, who writes under the name Jenni Monet, has a mug shot taken after her arrest at Standing Rock. (Photo courtesy of Jenni Monette)

No one can accuse former Pima Community College journalism instructor Jenni Monet of staying on the sidelines.

Monet, a native of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo tribe, recently added a new line to her resume: misdemeanor riot charges.

The charges came while Monet was covering environmental/native-rights protests in Standing Rock, North Dakota, at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Monet has reported from inside the protesters’ camp since last September. She was arrested Feb. 1 while taking pictures and conducting interviews with protesters who were attempting to establish a new camp on private land.

“It was just another demonstration at what was known as the Last Child camp,” she said in a telephone interview. “I was with a group of water protectors to go cover their resistance campaign, like I did in all the other work that I do.

She is facing charges of criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot. Both are Class B misdemeanors and carry a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Police accounts depict Monet as uncooperative.

“If she’s claiming she wasn’t warned, that’s absolutely not true,” North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson told the Bismarck Tribune.

Iverson told the Tribune he warned Monet, saying, “I understand you’re a journalist, but you’re on private property and need to leave.”

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement saying, “After repeated warnings to vacate a camp being illegally set up on private property in southern Morton County, approximately 76 members of a rogue group of protesters were arrested.”

Monet asserts she readily identified herself.

“When asked to show my press credentials, I did,” she said. “When asked to step back from the police line, I did. And when asked to leave, I complied and I was still arrested.”

Authorities have previously arrested at least eight journalists at Standing Rock.

Ironically, the arrest last year of Amy Goodman first shed a national spotlight on the protests. Goodman, a well-known, white, liberal journalist, hosts the syndicated radio program “Democracy Now.”

Media outlets quickly took up Goodman’s plight, with publications such as the New York Times, Salon and Variety criticizing governmental overreach.

Monet’s struggle with local authorities has not piqued the same interest. “And we’re both charged with the same thing,” she noted.

“I think it’s indicative of how big media has handled the story out here at Standing Rock,” Monet said. “It’s on the reservation, it’s one of those stories that I think is generalized a lot.”

Stories supporting Monet have appeared in Yes! Magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review, but the mainstream press has been slow to champion her story.

When the Los Angeles Times ran a story about Monet by freelance reporter Sandy Tolan, it published a photo of Goodman.

“Showing a white women in a profile piece about me, where I am completely absent, that’s not OK,” Monet said. “It’s wrong and would be the case for any profile piece. You just don’t. It’s 101 stuff.”

Web publications such as the Center for Investigative Reporting and Native-media outlets like High Country News and Native News Online have all stepped up for Monet, making it clear they find her charges unacceptable.

For her part, Monet has not let her arrest and pending court date affect her work.

“I’ve worked very diligently to build strong relationships here at the tribal, state, county level,” she said. “I will continue to maintain these relationships to report at a very critical time.”

The tenor of the protests began shifting after Donald Trump became president, Monet said

“I think there is a small sense of defeat among the water protectors,” she said.

It changed again when authorities began the process of removing protesters from their camps.

“People are feeling a little bit of loss, but also some last-minute attempts to kind of stand ground,” Monet said.

With all the uncertainty, Monet remains focused on reporting.

“I’m hoping that the charges get dropped and I can get back to work,” she said.

 

Jenni Monet Bio:

Jenni Monet is a freelance journalist who specializes in covering indigenous peoples, both in the United States and internationally. Before becoming a freelancer, Monet worked as a TV news anchor for a CBS affiliate, and as a reporter for Al Jazeera. She also taught Journalism 101 and 102 at West Campus last semester.