Presidential Scandals Of The 20th Century: Part 1

Presidential Scandals Of The 20th Century: Part 1

The dubious dealings of Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton.

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Surprise! All our presidents are liars! Maybe that isn't exactly shocking, after all, politicians aren't known for their candor, but at times, the level of scandal reached by our executive is truly baffling. Our current commander-in-chief might be exceptional in both the frequency and vociferousness of his untruths, but let's take a look at some semi-recent examples of presidential indiscretion for comparison.

Nixon and Watergate (1972-1974)

I think we all know this one. President Richard M. Nixon attempted to edge out his Democratic opposition in the 1972 election by commissioning some hapless cronies, known as the plumbers, to break into the offices of the Democratic National Committee and install a recording device ostensibly to monitor campaign strategy. Their super spy mission, which occurred at the Watergate Hotel, was uncovered by a security guard, and the burglars were promptly arrested. Yet, of course, Nixon denied any involvement in the crime, easily won the election in November and, were it not for the investigative journalism of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, may have evaded the FBI's ever-watchful eyes. In the end, the investigation blew wide open, impeachment was forthcoming, and Nixon resigned in disgrace. What a goof. Today, simply attach the -gate suffix to any activity and you have a scandal-in-the-making. So, thanks, Tricky Dick. You may have bombed Cambodia, but at least you left us some slang.

Reagan and Iran-Contra (1985-1987)

First, I think this requires a little background. The Contras were a right-wing, paramilitary political organization in Nicaragua opposing the Sandinistas, the socialist regime in power. They weren't exactly the good guys, rife with corruption and questionable, violent tactics, but it was Reagan, and it was the Cold War. If you slapped socialism onto anything, you'd get that leathery man riling up the Boomers like there's no tomorrow (sound familiar). So naturally, Reagan supported the Contras, but alas, those pesky legislators in Congress had banned material support to their cause. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, several Americans had been taken hostage by the Iranian government (who had some deep-seated hatred of the ol' U.S. of A. after we helped depose their prime minister and install a vehemently unpopular, puppet monarch in his place). Do you see the connection yet? Probably not. Somehow, the president and some of his top advisors found it agreeable to sell missiles to Iran, which was also forbidden, in exchange for three of the hostages and, in a gloriously ridiculous twist, send some of the money over to the Contras! Fantastic diplomacy. Truly top notch presidenting. Reagan denied any knowledge of the proceedings, but over the course of its investigation, the Senate uncovered a web of government-sanctioned private businesses and offshore accounts, collectively known as "The Enterprise," that facilitated the transaction with Iran and the funneling of cash, weapons, and other supplies to Nicaragua. Turns out the Contras also sent drugs back to the U.S. using the same planes with which we gave them aid (just say no, kids!). Several of the president's men were indicted, including Colonel Oliver North, who infamously languished under fire during Congressional hearings. Nevertheless, Reagan left office pretty much untainted. But hey, a little capitalistic, anti-communism never hurt anyone, right? I wouldn't ask any Nicaraguans.

Clinton and Lewinsky (1998-1999)

Again, we've all heard of it. We all love to joke about it. After denials from both parties that a sexual relationship ever occurred between them, things started to unravel. Kenneth Starr, a special prosecutor tasked with investigating a prior real estate scandal involving the Clintons in Arkansas, received evidence that Lewinsky had lied in an affidavit denying the mythical affair. A wiretap on Ms. Lewinsky further proved suspicions, but as public interest skyrocketed, Mrs. Clinton stood by the president's side as he uttered perhaps the most famous untruth of his two terms in office, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." I know you read it with the twang. After agreeing to testify before a grand jury in the summer of '98, President Clinton finally admitted to his "personal failure," assumed responsibility for his actions and awaited the fallout. Starr published a report of his findings and, like Nixon, articles of impeachment were drafted by the House according to the prosecutor's recommendations. Yet Clinton was acquitted of perjury and obstruction charges in his 1999 Senate trial. Like a dried stain on an intern's dress, the scandal still mars his presidency to this day.

Jokes aside, I watched an interview with Ms. Lewinsky recently on John Oliver's show "Last Week Tonight," in which she discusses the backlash she faced from the media uproar surrounding the events of 98-99. She now retains an admirable sense of humor about the fiasco, but it took her years to rehab her self-esteem. She struggled to find work, her family faced second-hand criticism, and her life was deeply, and irreparably affected by that single mistake. If we were all endlessly judged by our youthful blunders, we'd all be damaged. In that regard, I think she deserves some leeway here, as the president should inherit just as much, if not more of the blame. While this scandal differs from the others in that it didn't involve outright crimes and really could've been settled without as much public scrutiny, President Clinton still abused his power, lied to his electorate, and emerged pretty much scot-free.

Part 2 will be coming soon because the presidents of the 21st century have been just as naughty as their predecessors. Yes, that includes Obama.

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If You Have A Project You Want To Grow, Crowdfunding May Be The Answer

The benefits of the crowdfunding phenomenon.

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The idea of crowdfunding is exciting, isn't it? A small town poet can use a platform like GoFundMe or Patreon to sell their work directly to those who are looking for it. A community organizer can not only raise funds for an upcoming event, but they can also keep the funds coming in to raise money for the monthly expenses of running their group. A magazine editor can keep their readership engaged through multimedia as well as tangible perks in exchange for tiers of subscription costs.

Crowdfunding makes it so people can combine multiple engagement styles directly with target audiences for a common cause.

What really makes crowdfunding satisfying is getting monetary confirmation that what one is passionate about is supported. Money rules a lot of the world, and receiving money for creating or providing something for others is extremely fulfilling. Different than just going to work and earning a paycheck. Jobs employ workers to create or provide something that has already had a template of origination.

Crowdfunding is running one's own business of creation or providing goods without a bunch of the red tape. In fact, one could say that crowdfunding has allowed sites like Etsy to flourish. One can now make a pretty decent profit just making pins, Mickey ears, necklaces — whatever one can imagine — and get it directly in eyes of those interested. There's nothing to lose in crowdfunding, just the hour or so it may or may not take to set up the site.

Crowdfunding can also be used for temporary things like school funds, funeral funds, and recovery efforts. Need $10,000 to get through a semester at college? Have a sudden death in the family and need $5,000 to pay closing costs and unexpected expenses? Major world disaster like a hurricane or tsunami destroy an entire majorly populated area? GoFundMe is your answer. You'll most likely get twice as much funds then the goal you set.

There's now many crowdfunding sites out there. Outside of GoFundMe, the three biggies are Patreon, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter. So take your pick, make your page, and get some money!

And just in case you're wondering, yes I do have crowdfunding efforts out there for my projects! One for my personal writings, and one for my magazine.

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6 Ways I Was Able To Achieve Straight A's At The University Of Georgia This Semester

It honestly took me entirely too long to figure out how to do well in my classes.

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It is super common for students to come to the University of Georgia and have a horrible first year academically, because of the rigor and new stresses. High school doesn't prepare you for it, and it can often times make you feel really crappy about yourself. It is common for straight A students to come to UGA and start making C's. The reasons vary from studying habits to a new environment, but either way, it is the worst feeling in the world to be top of your class, and get to college and start falling behind. I haven't really made bad grades in college, but I came to UGA with a 4.2 GPA and I can assure you that was NOT the case after my first semester.

1. I stopped relying solely on my memory and used my resources.

I have always been the type of person to have a planner, but it even takes a lot to remember to look at the planner. Therefore, it was time to take things to the next level. I reminded myself of deadlines, events, and assignments in various ways to make sure I didn't slip up. This included google calendar, putting up a whiteboard in my room, notecards with important dates, etc. I have major anxiety about forgetting things, so to solve that, I just literally wrote them everywhere I possibly could.

2. I figured out why I was in college and what my purpose was.

It's hard to do something every day that you aren't even sure about. When I started to make lower grades, it was easy for me to think I was at the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. I had to really make confirm that college was for me and what I really wanted for myself. I did this by studying abroad and getting to know some of my professors. I learned that I really loved to learn and wanted to continue living in a scholarly world. All and all, I figured out that I really belonged here and I could do it.

3. I changed my major.

It was super hard for me to do this because I am the type of person that creates a plan and sticks to it. Changing my major meant that the plan was changing too, and that was one of the hardest decisions I've made. But once I changed my major to something that better fit me and what I wanted to do in the future (changed it from Risk Management and Insurance to Consumer Journalism), I was more confident and eager to make better grades.

4. I realized that everyone is in the same boat.

UGA admissions state that in 2018, the high school core GPA Overall Average of All Admitted First-Year Students was a 4.07. That means just about everyone coming in pretty much got all A's, dual enrolled, and/or took AP classes. But I can assure you, there aren't many people who continue to get those kinds of grades. And that's okay. College is much harder and it takes time to adjust. I had to realize I wasn't the only one.

5. I put school before EVERYTHING.

I missed events for my clubs, time with my friends, and I honestly probably watched Netflix a total of 10 times maximum. I decided if I was going to be in college, then it would be my first and only priority. It's easy to say that, but it's hard to miss fun things when this is supposed to be the "best four years of your life." But you kind of just have to come to terms with the fact that there will always be more chances to do those things, but if you make a bad grade it isn't necessarily going to go away.

6. When I could, I started saying YES.

It was easy for me to constantly feel like I had no time to do any more clubs or activities, but it was possible with balance and strategic planning. The more things I was involved in like UGA HEROs, Young Democrats, or even Odyssey Online, the more excited I was about what I was doing with my life. I even became a notetaker for two of my classes so I was forced to take good notes and go to class. I also studied abroad when I felt like I had absolutely no time and it turned out to be an experience that I will never forget. I said yes to things I was genuinely passionate about and things that would help me further develop skills for my future career(s).

Ultimately, to make the grades I wanted, I had to reevaluate everything I was doing and put the work in. It is all about your mindset and how far you are willing to push yourself. It's about things like being willing to do the extra credit, going to the office hours, staying in when everyone else is going out, giving yourself adequate time to study, and being surrounded by people who have similar goals. I also REALLY wanted my Zell Miller Scholarship back and I made it a goal to get there. Set goals and make them happen. If you are wanting to get better grades, my advice would be to emirs yourself completely into school. It doesn't sound super fun or cool, but it is only a few years and the return will be totally worth it. If you are studying something that you are passionate about, it shouldn't be hard to direct that energy into your schoolwork.

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