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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.

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

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

THE WORD: Thoughts on Trump becoming president?

THE WORD: Thoughts on Trump becoming president?

Photos and interviews by Nicholas Trujillo at Desert Vista Campus

“Either way, no one was going to be happy. People shouldn’t judge everyone else, because everyone has a different opinion.”

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Paul Silva

Major: Mechanical engineering

“It caused a lot of hate between everyone. We have to learn to connect with each other and just deal with it for four years.”

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Emily Rivera

Major: Veterinarian

“Both of them had too many of the bad things, so it was kind of a hard choice. I didn’t vote because those two weren’t the right ones for this country.”

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Kenneth Gonzalez

Major: Computer engineering

“Disappointed. He doesn’t have the experience to run this country and I feel like he’s just going to run it into the ground.”

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Yvette Robles

Major: Athletic training

“Hopefully he does a good job. I think we’ll be OK. Hopefully we don’t go downhill real fast.”

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Jennifer Weisbrod

Major: Pharmacy

 

Shocking election result means it’s time for soul-searching

Shocking election result means it’s time for soul-searching

By EDDIE CELAYA

 Donald Trump pulled off one of the great political upsets in American history Nov. 8, defeating Hilary Clinton in the race for president.

Trump won the Electoral College with 276 electoral votes. Clinton was winning in the popular vote as of press time.

In a night that will be remembered for its outcome, Trump outlasted Clinton in numerous battleground states from Florida to Ohio. Along the way, he picked up states thought to be Democratic strongholds, like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The country now finds itself at an existential crossroads. Down one path lies a pragmatic future, which will require a reasonable and realistic Trump. Down the other path there is only unknown, with storm clouds gathering and buzzards circling.

The defeat has left the Democratic establishment reeling. With a Clinton presidency expected to carry on many of the policies of the last eight years, a total re-think of the party’s national strategy will be needed.

However, there may be more pressing matters at hand.

Along with the presidential victory, Republicans picked up five of eight contested Senate seats, assuring that Republicans control all three branches of government.

The dream scenario has come to fruition for conservatives. Coming into the election, there was some speculation that the Senate could be taken under Democratic control. A wave of Republican voters put that fever dream to rest.

That could spell doom for a host of liberal policies once thought untouchable. With a Trump victory and a current open seat on the Supreme Court, sacred cows such as Roe v. Wade, the Civil and Voting Rights acts and marriage equality will be assailed.

Not since Richard Nixon has there been a president-elect so hostile to the ideals of the New Deal and the Great Society.

These concerns are even more pressing than what Trump has warned will be his policies: building a wall with Mexico, “extreme vetting” of Arab and Muslim refugees/immigrants and an eventual trade embargo with China.

As if on cue, the Asian Futures market was down nearly 700 points in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 and the Mexican government was expected to hold emergency meetings to address the most rapid devaluation of the peso ever.

The immediate aftermath of the loss may leave the Democrats stunned, but much soul searching lies ahead. The most obvious conclusion is that the Clinton Dynasty is now done.

What started in 1991 with Bill Clinton’s ascendency to the Democratic nomination has come crashing down in the most surprising of fashions. The party will be wise to cut ties with the duo and let them lick their wounds.

If the Democrats are smart, they will continue to play to their strengths, and resist the temptation to look at this election as a total rejection of their platform. The country may want a businessman at the helm, but it is still socially liberal.

That is, of course, as long as liberals stay put.

With the results becoming more and more apparent as Tuesday night wore on, a real estate run of anxious Americans crashed Canada’s immigration website.

The rush to leave the country is real. Fear, especially among communities Trump has singled out, is warranted. Leaving the country, while it may feel good, only leaves those fighting the good fight that much more outnumbered.

Instead here is what Democrats can do to begin the turnaround:

First, it’s time to embrace the label “liberal.” Oftentimes, Democrats are just this side of ashamed when branded a liberal by the other side. Instead, embrace and own the title by defining why being called a “liberal” is such a great thing.

Liberals fought for the modern 40-hour work week. Liberals fought for women’s rights and child labor laws. Liberals were abolitionists and pro-choice. In short, remind conservatives that the modern world we live in is shaped by liberal ideals.

Second, it’s time to draw clear distinctions on issues. Perhaps the biggest complaint heard from independents is the unwillingness of Democrats to define what they believe in a moral context.

This is a simple fix. On issues such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, Democrats would be wise to use an old Republican tactic: stand firm no matter what. Say what you will about conservatives, at least they pick a cause and stand up for it, no wavering allowed.

Third, and most important, Democrats must explain why multiculturalism is a benefit and not a boon. It is not enough to trot out great stories at the convention. There has to be more outreach. There has to be different faces making the decisions.

For that, the Democrats are equipped but time will tell if they are willing. Running diverse candidates for positions as mundane as school board takes more than guts: it takes bravery.

The Democrats must show their willingness to get behind untraditional minority candidates for positions that aren’t sexy and glamorous. In so doing, you normalize a population that, while represented, is still looked on as the “other.”

In doing so, Democrats can put themselves into a position not just to win minority votes, but to win over the hearts of those who would otherwise not give second thought to minorities plights.

That’s what it comes down to. In order to beat or stifle Trump and his agenda, liberals must convince many of the same folks who voted for Trump that his policies are disastrous.

It’s doable. If the country can survive eight years of Bush, four years of Trump is survivable.

Eddie Celaya is editor-in-chief of the Aztec Press.

Just put right man in charge

Just put right man in charge

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

As the nation draws closer to election day, it’s nice to see a man who has faced many hardships on the ballot.

Donald Trump used a small loan from his father to start his own business, which is now worth $3.9 billion. His reality TV show raked in 6.4 million viewers on average.

A man of his stature surely represents the best-case scenario of a well educated and highly respected presidential nominee.

In a world of sink-or-swim, the man swam to Australia and back with one hand tied behind his back.

When Trump takes his rightful seat in office, this country will be the best it has ever been. Go ahead and measure any time period. The Jackson era and his battle with the banks? Trump putting up the wall to regulate Mexicans coming into the United States will be more heroic.

The wall he’s going to put up won’t even be expensive. At first, yes, it could cost from $10 to $25 billion. But we’re looking at an investment here, folks. What’s $10 billion to saving lives in America? How much are we worth to our government?

The future won’t even ponder that question after the wall goes up faster than you can say, “Make America great again.”

Money doesn’t talk in America. Important decisions talk. Decisions like keeping out the people who want to kill and rape others because they’re “bad hombres.”

You know who else talks? Celebrities. Give them a hot mic and anything they say turns to gold.

But enough about talking. It’s the “doing” that really matters. We’re do-ers with or without consent.

Do-ers like the 1 percent.

Actually, more like the top 20 percent. They provide 87 percent of the income tax collected in America. So who’s really holding up this country?

The bottom half of taxpayers end up getting money from the government, like welfare to help them out of poverty, but it rarely works.

It’s like communism in China. The concept works on paper but it’s actually an inefficient idea.

This is what we’ve let America become. It can be so much better if we just put the right man in charge.

Trujillo rarely take sides, prefering to look at the pros and cons of each candidate.

Want change? Generate noise

Want change? Generate noise

By D.R. WILLIAMS

In the United States, one can receive a million-dollar loan from one’s father, star in a crappy reality show, sexually harass women and then gain credibility for a presidential campaign.

Now that isn’t the typical American experience but, best-case scenario, you can be a real asshole and people will love you for it.

The more knives you strategically place in the back of anyone unwitting enough to turn, the better. If that means tax evasion, DO IT. More power to you.

This is the country of winners or losers, sink or swim, rich or poor. If you don’t like it, get out. America is the country where the top 20 percent get the pie. It’s too tasty to share because the other 80 percent are complainers who wouldn’t adapt and overcome.

We have a capitalistic society. Being a good person doesn’t pay the bills. Andrew Jackson on the 20 does.

Execute the rape, murder and eviction of native peoples and you could be glorified for 200 years. That’s reality.

Money talks in the USA. We love our millionaires more than our bleeding-heart activists and protestors, and no one apologizes for it.

The possibilities are endless. We have more potential and opportunities than anywhere else in the world. We’re bigger, faster and stronger, and we don’t stop.

Security is top priority. Our drones keep a constant lookout, making sure the people stay in line.

The working class holds the country together. If it wasn’t for their back-breaking work, we would be lost. Of course, that doesn’t mean we value them accordingly. That’s the beauty of it: have the largest, most skilled labor force and keep them at each other’s throats for the scraps the upper class leaves behind.

Accept our country for all its glory: the giant mansions on the sides of beautiful mountain ranges, the skyscrapers rising to the clouds, the breast implants, the gold jewelry and fancy cars.

This is what we’ve let America become. If you don’t care, just keep doing your thing. If you love this country enough to want change, speak up. The ones who make the most noise (good or bad) gain the most following.

Williams has 10 years until he’s eligible to run for presidential. Don’t hold your breath.

Aztec Press Word: Marry, Fornicate, Eliminate...Top Republican Candidates

Aztec Press Word: Marry, Fornicate, Eliminate…Top Republican Candidates

 

 

Marry? Fornicate? Eliminate? Top Republican Candidates

Trump only succeeds in entertaining

Trump only succeeds in entertaining

By NATE KEZER

For quite a few months now, it has been difficult to avoid all of the attention that presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been getting.

Both before and after the recent Republican debate, he has continued to fly high in the poll ratings.

Many, especially those who support his campaign, would claim that his recent success is due to his willingness to be politically incorrect and speak whatever is on his mind, as well as the fact that he is not actually a politician.

However, I take issue with all of these claims.

First of all, I see little else behind his high ratings in the polls besides the fact that he has provided a significant degree of something which no other presidential candidate has been able to do in a long time: provide entertainment.

I ultimately use that term because it really seems to be the best thing that comes out of all of the exceptional drama that he has caused in the political sphere.

Not to say that the political sphere has lacked drama, but simply that, unlike any other recent candidate, Trump has been able to connect with the people in a much deeper way via his blunt and off-script remarks that create entertainment.

Going on a similar note, I believe people are making a huge flat-out mistake when they view Trump as the model hero against the tyranny of political correctness.

While I am no fan of political correctness whatsoever, I do realize that one does not have to be a jerk in order to not be politically correct.

Nobody seems to realize that there can be, and is, plenty of room between the extremities of political correctness and crass jerkishness. One can still be polite and classy, even when speaking the hard truths and whatever is on his or her mind.

Trump, by contrast, has no issue simply being a jerk whenever he feels like it.

There is definitely plenty more to be said on Donald Trump, but I’ll leave it at that. Besides, he’s already been getting too much attention in my humble opinion.

Kezer is a political science major and an advocate for personal liberty. His dream is to be a high-ranking political journalist, covering topics like the elections.