Kavanaugh and your voice

Everything You Need To Know About Brett Kavanaugh

The Senate has their vote on Friday at 9:30 am. Here's what we know about the candidate for Supreme Court as the vote approaches.

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Let's start with the facts: President Donald Trump nominated a man named Brett Kavanaugh to be a new Supreme Court Justice on July 10th, 2018. The date of the final vote to confirm or deny his position will be this Friday, September 28th, 2018. Let's unpack who this man is and why this is a problem for us.

Brett Kavanaugh graduated from Yale University and has been working in politics and law since his graduation. He notably assisted Ken Starr in his series of investigations leading up to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He was then appointed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit by Former President George W. Bush. He is now in the running to fill Anthony Kennedy's vacancy in the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh, preceding recent events, was what some may consider a smart conservative choice for the position. He follows most conservative platforms and has in the past been decent at maintaining a low profile and doing his job. He was off my political radar until his nomination in July.

Following his nomination, some very interesting revelations have surfaced. Most of which have caught my attention for all the wrong reasons. (Fair warning, this is where my bias really shines through)

Brett Kavanaugh has some opinions which I do not personally agree with. For example, he is pro-life and I am pro-choice. But, I understand that someone with such a conservative bias will have different views than someone like me. I do need to point out that he did not exactly say that birth control is an abortion-inducing drug. This was taken mildly out of context while he was responding to a question about a Catholic group called Priests for Life. Whether or not this is something he agrees with has not been made clear. BUT that quote was not what it seemed to be.

The thing that seriously caught my eye were the allegations. Let's unpack them:

The first woman to come forward was a woman by the name of Christine Blasey Ford. Ford bravely stepped up on September 16th and told her story about her encounter with Kavanaugh. Without getting into the details, she stated that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a house party in 1982. At the time, he would have been 17 and she would have been 15. She alleged that Mark Judge was present at the time of the assault.

The second woman who came forward was Deborah Ramirez. Ramirez alleged that at a house party, Kavanaugh exposed himself and forced her to touch him. She added to it stating that someone started yelling about the incident to people at the party.

The third and most recent woman to come forward was Julie Swetnick. Swetnick stated under penalty of perjury that in 1982 she was gang-raped at a party with both Kavanaugh and Judge present. She says that Kavanaugh and Judge were constantly at parties together. They would join in "trains" of boys who would wait to rape young girls who were drunk or drugged at these parties.

The testimony is scheduled for Thursday and the vote is scheduled for Friday at 9:30 am. With the little information the public has and will obtain in the amount of time given for us to react, it has never been so important to stay alert, stay informed, and make your voice heard. A man who has been accused by three women of rape and sexual assault and he is in a position to become a very powerful person without a term limit. Make your choice and use your voice.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

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rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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