Shame On You Trump For Your Willingness To Embrace Saudi Arabia After All That Has Happened

Shame On You Trump For Your Willingness To Embrace Saudi Arabia After All That Has Happened

He is willing to place narrow strategic interests over fundamental human rights.


Jamal Khashoggi was a prominent journalist who worked for the Washington Post; on October 2nd, he walked into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and he never walked out. At first, he was thought to be missing. Then, Turkish officials acknowledged that he was dead and claimed to have audio tapes proving that he was murdered by a Saudi hit squad sent from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for weeks denied the fact that Khashoggi had disappeared or died, calling these reports "completely false and baseless." But eventually, the Saudi government under pressure from several countries acknowledged his death but still insisted that the government had nothing to do with it. They claimed his murder was a rogue operation and promised to punish those involved. But as the New York Times reported, several of the suspected agents have ties to the Crown Prince.

Khashoggi was a famous dissident, known for criticizing the Crown Prince in his column for the Washington Post over Saudi Arabia's economic policies, the war in Yemen, and the government's intolerance of dissent. His public and constant criticism of the Saudi regime would surely have made him a target. But the fact that the Saudis thought they could murder a journalist in cold blood and get away with it shows how dire the situation has become under the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration has had a cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia since coming into power, focusing on their oil exports and their strategic importance as a counter-balance to Iran in the Middle East. But the government of Saudi Arabia seems to have gotten the impression that with Trump as a partner, they can get away with anything and escape punishment. Looking at the record, Trump has consistently supported them. He supported their diplomatic isolation of Qatar. Under him, the US government has quietly escalated US involvement in Yemen, military intervention that I would argue is unconstitutional because it hasn't been approved by the Senate, the body whom the Constitution grants war-making powers to (Republican Sen. Mike Lee agrees with me). The war in Yemen, a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has led to the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet.

Just days ago, Trump took the astonishing step of believing the Crown Prince's story over the determination of the CIA that the Crown Prince had orchestrated the murder. Trump faced sweeping criticism from members of Congress over his statement, Even Mitch McConnell publicly disagreed with Trump's assessment, saying the CIA "basically certified" the involvement of the Saudi government. Sen. Bob Corker tweeted, "I never thought I'd see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia".

It seems that Trump is placing Saudi Arabia First instead of defending the American values of freedom and support for human rights across the globe. When defending his decision, Trump referred to oil prices and arms agreements. So Trump is willing to tolerate the flagrant violation of fundamental human rights, the freedom of a journalist to criticize another government, because of these transactional interests which he apparently deems more important than basic human freedom and dignity. It's worth noting that Trump also has deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia, providing an incentive for him to look the other way. But regardless of whatever rationale Trump invokes, his blatant disregard for human rights and his willingness to embrace the Saudi regime is disgraceful and unjustifiable.

For decades, the US government made some pretty terrible foreign policy decisions (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.), but at least we attempted to promote freedom, democracy, and human rights abroad. We sought to lead the world and show people in every country a vision of the form of government where they could be truly free to speak their minds and choose their leaders, where there could be freedom of religion and government could be held accountable to their people. This idea of liberal democracy is one the West has always defended, and the United States as the world's superpower has borne the primary responsibility for this defense. In denying the truth about Khashoggi's murder, Trump is abandoning this duty and compromising the moral leadership of the United States around the world. Shame on you, Mr. President.

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Customer Service Expert, Gary Brewster of Oneida Provides Tips for Displaying Appreciation to Your Customers

By taking a more direct and proactive approach to managing your customers, you can open up a new avenue of success for your business.


Customer relationships are a core part of your business success. Many businesses that outperform their competitors are just more responsive in this area. By taking a more direct and proactive approach to managing your customers, you can open up a new avenue of success for your business. How can you display genuine appreciation to them? Here are tips and practices from customer service expert and accomplished entrepreneur, Gary Brewster in Oneida, Tennessee that you can adopt.

Event Sponsorship

There are many small signs of appreciation you can show to customers, but hosting an event provides significant evidence to customers that your business genuinely acknowledges and cares for their support. With these events, you can treat customers as guests - which can be a great way to elevate your relationship with them. After these events, you can follow-up with your customers, build upon that relationship, and gain additional insights into their expectations.

Customized Products and Services

Customers will be pleasantly surprised to see products specifically catered to their preferences. This shows that you do respond to their feedback and are appreciative of the information they provide. Also, you are reinforcing the fact that your business firmly puts a priority on their needs and is committed to elevating their experience. You can personalize your products through a couple of means, including offering them in certain colors, modifications, labels, and more.

Use Handwritten Notes

A handwritten note is one of the best ways to convey authenticity in your messages. When you use this medium for sending messages of appreciation to your customers, it generates a more positive response. In a world saturated with emails, social media messages, and mobile text, a handwritten letter can stand out. You can work with your team in organizing a schedule where customers are sent handwritten notes. These can especially work great for the holiday season as customers are more receptive to goodwill messages during this time.

Develop a Loyalty Program

While your business benefits form loyalty programs, they also make the customer feel more appreciated. For your most consistent customers, you are sending the message to them that their loyalty has not gone unnoticed and that you are truly grateful. When repeat business is rewarded, the long-term benefits will be valuable. Instead of merely creating a loyalty program from scratch, consider doing research and recognize specific purchasing patterns within your customer base. You can then highlight certain products they favor and make that the focal point of your loyalty program.

When it comes to maintaining a high standard of customer service, communication and goodwill are valuable. Showing appreciation to your customers is more than simply communicating with them, but also conveying a general sense of commitment to their needs. Your business stands to gain immensely by developing this unique approach to customer service. Consider adding more of these elements as you build your customer service strategy with your team.

About Gary Brewster:

Gary Brewster in Oneida, Tennessee is an entrepreneur and commercial roofing expert. Driven by building excellent relationships, he takes pride in providing the best customer service possible. As a business owner, his goals include delivering exceptional service, solving complex problems, and giving back to the community. Outside of the office, Gary enjoys spending time on his family farm with his wife, children, and grandchildren.

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Listening To Vic Mensa

A social commentary through music.


In the fall of my junior year, I acquired an aversion to elephants and the color red. The red elephants on my television screen were revolting: come January 2017, an openly sexist, racist bigot—the antithesis of the American spirit—would hold our country's highest office. My calculus homework was long-forgotten on the kitchen table as I sat next to my mother in silence. I envisioned repealed civil liberties for minorities, eradicated universal healthcare, and an ominous wall that separated us from the rest of the world. I felt helpless—but, I was not alone. 2,140 miles away in an Atlanta hotel room, the face of social hip-hop, Vic Mensa, fielded phone calls from his dejected sisters and dealt with his own incurable disgust.

Mensa grew up in Chicago's South Side. His parents (both educators) taught Mensa the importance of politics, literature, and mathematics, while the rest of the South Side exposed Mensa to humanity's unsettling realities: gun violence, drugs, and police brutality. Following the murder of his childhood friend, Mensa decided to create music that inspires political and social change. Mensa writes and performs powerful songs packed with an effective combination of both rhetoric and personal experience. To him, the 2016 Election results were not disheartening; instead, Trump's win only strengthened his vision. "I realized that [Trump] had to happen because we've been pacified by having Barack [Obama] in office. That pacification would have only continued by having Hillary elected," Mensa stated in an interview with CNN the day after the election, "My fight doesn't end here no matter the outcome".

Mensa's debut album, There's a Lot Going On, was released a few months prior to the presidential election. On the seven-part album, track six, "Shades of Blue", is the most politically-charged song included in the collection. The first time that I heard the song during the summer of 2016, I focused solely on the appealing beat and pretty harmonies. I understood the obvious reference to the Flint water crisis; however, I overlooked the lyrics' full significance. Listening to the song post-election was a drastically different experience. As Mensa predicted, Trump's hateful rhetoric and racist remarks pushed social justice issues towards the forefront of my mind. This elevated awareness made me conscious of "Shades of Blue"'s allusions to social justice, and Mensa's intricate lyrical tools reinforced my sense of purpose: taking a firm stance against injustice to spur political change.

As I later discovered in "Shades of Blue", Flint is a segue to other social justice themes. Race, socioeconomic status, government inefficiency, and white-centric media coverage are all problems that are exacerbated by the Flint crisis. Mensa utilizes potent images, the "color of morning pee coming out of the sink" and "lead in the water gun," to highlight the severity and transparency of the crisis. Mensa further articulates his point on race and class disparity by comparing the Flint crisis to a sinking boat: if the boat contained white people, the government would intervene and help; yet, since the boat contains minorities (both racial and socioeconomic), the government will allow it to sink. Mensa's lyrics also explain the government's inability to aid poverty-stricken areas. Our representatives allow inner-city areas to flounder under mounting violence while allowing media sources to emphasize the stagnant stalemate between the U.S. and Russia. Rather than confronting the rising crime rates in places like Mensa's native South Side Chicago, the government chooses to work on "true" American problems like Russia and to leave the "black problem" to fester and deteriorate. For me, these verses highlighted the government's incompetence and failed attempts to provide tangible assistance for specific minority groups which amplified my frustration with the inequality in America.

Trump has forced America to recognize some of its ugliest truths. His supporters no longer have to hide their racist opinions; the enemies are clearly targeted, and the lines have been erased—anything is fair game. For years our nation has suppressed underlying marginalization, and now that these sentiments are public, our generation can identify, confront, and combat racism. I have followed politics from a young age, but Mensa's music inspires myself and my peers to actively participate in politics. With the Trump administration bearing down on valued American institutions, the public must unify and stand as an ally for groups who have been ignored and suppressed throughout history. Our strength and influence is derived from passion, large numbers, and ceaseless agitation. "Change gon' come," Vic Mensa promises in "Shades of Blue", but "it's all on you."

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