OPINION: Why you shouldn’t vote for Mike Bloomberg this upcoming primary

While Democrats see Mike Bloomberg as the moderate solution to beat Trump, I believe he is not the candidate that should be chosen for the nomination.

This primary season has been a very confusing time for Democrats across this country. The original front runner for the Democrats, Joe Biden, has failed to place better than third in both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary. While Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have fallen from atop the polls, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have risen to one and two in the polls respectively and Bernie Sanders appears to be breaking away from the pack of candidates. While all of this is happening, a new candidate has entered the race, yet has not campaigned in the first few states to hold primaries/ caucuses. Mike Bloomberg’s goal is to try spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Ads on states that participate in “Super Tuesday” and hopefully propel the momentum that he has right now to new heights, and potentially secure the democratic nomination for the presidency. While many people have seen him as the moderate solution the Democrats have been looking for to beat Trump, Mike Bloomberg is not the candidate that should be chosen for the nomination.

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE — Episode 701 — Pictured: (l-r) Donald Trump, Host, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Photo by Tommy Baynard/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

While Mr. Bloomberg has done admirable things with his money in support of the Democrats, as well as donations to combat climate change, his past (and maybe current in some instances) attitudes towards people of color, women, and the LGBTQIA community are not what Democrats should be looking for in a Presidential Candidate in 2020.

In the last few days since these allegations came out many candidates have voiced their troubles with Mr. Bloomberg. Last night’s debate showed how much contempt the other democratic candidates have towards Mr. Bloomberg, with Elizabeth Warren throwing most of the punches towards the former New York mayor. The quote, “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mike Bloomberg,” is a powerful message to send to Democratic voters. Mike Bloomberg shares many similar qualities to the President that democrats loathe and want to expunge from the White House in this upcoming election. Senator Warren’s remarks should make Democratic voters think, “If I hate Donald Trump so much, why would I vote for Mike Bloomberg”?

While I am writing this as someone who will be supporting Bernie Sanders for the upcoming primary, I am also writing this as someone who wants to see my country succeed for a long, long time. The idea is that in this country is that anyone can hold public office no matter their socioeconomic status. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is the most recent example who went from being a bartender in the Bronx, to being the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. While many Democrats are turning away from corporate money, Mike Bloomberg is attempting to change the game by spending a small fortune on this election.

My point is that while Donald Trump is descending more and more towards authoritarianism every day, Democrats shouldn’t make the average voter choose between authoritarianism and a full on oligarchy in this society for the next four years.

If we prove to Bloomberg and other billionaires that if they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns and they can seemingly buy the Presidency, then we may be seeing a President Jeff Bezos, or maybe a President Bill Gates in our near future. While the Citizens United court case a decade ago increased outside spending on campaigns, and put a dent in our democracy, the election of a billionaire who seemingly entered the race out of nowhere and then beat candidates that are already raising large sums of money from grassroots movements would fully break it.

While there is nothing wrong with a wealthy person running for President, being a wealthy person who is directly running to maintain their interests is not what this country needs. We need a president who is going to be for the best interests of the people and isn’t running to maintain the status quo in America, one that currently only values a small group of people in society that make above a certain amount of money, while the majority struggles every day.

No matter how you feel about this election, you should at least vote and vote your conscious because so many people won’t. Yet at the same time I implore you to choose a candidate other than Bloomberg if you will be voting in the upcoming primaries/caucuses. There are five other democratic candidates that have a legitimate shot at winning the nomination as well as beating Donald Trump in the general election: Amy Klobuchar , Bernie Sanders , Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg, all who are great candidates who I believe will be in the interests of the general population, rather than themselves. We shouldn’t focus on the money in candidates pocket this election in how to defeat Donald Trump, but if we are looking to beat Donald Trump, we should instead focus on the Candidate’s character, and willingness to go the extra mile for the common person.

Written by: Tom Derig

OPINION: Civil Disobedience Is The Way to Combat Climate Change

Humans have never faced a more universalizing threat to our existence than the effects of climate change; civil disobedience is the answer to this madness.

While the climate warms with every year we are alive, we are left to wonder: what can we do to prevent this human-caused apocalypse from happening?

Most people talk about recycling, going vegan, and using sustainable products to help lower the individual carbon footprints humans leave. The problem with this is that individual people aren’t the main causes of climate change. For example, the ban on plastic straws was a great step to help cut out the amount of waste by getting rid of an unnecessary product people use every day. However, according to a Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment article, plastic straws only account for less than one percent of the waste in the ocean. The article quotes Jim Leape, co-director of the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, who said,

“The risk is that banning straws may confer ‘moral license’ – allowing companies and their customers to feel they have done their part. The crucial challenge is to ensure that these bans are just a first step, offering a natural place to start with low-hanging fruit.” 

While he is correct that this is a valuable first step, we cannot be satisfied with this step. According to the article, plastics will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050 if we continue our current trends of waste. 

While our wasteful nature as humans should definitely be factored into how we should approach fighting climate change, the biggest thing that we should concentrate on in the climate change debate is our carbon emissions.

Carbon Dioxide is a gas that traps heat and is reradiated from Earth’s surface into our own atmosphere. This process is commonly known as the greenhouse effect and is crucial to Earth’s survival as it helps balance our temperature to an optimal level. However, like everything in life, moderation is key. When there is too much carbon in the atmosphere, more heat is absorbed from Earth’s reradiated heat and the planet warms.

Now, according to a LA Times article, there are approximately 253 million cars on the road in the United States in 2014. At the same time the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average car produces 4.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions every year. If you do the math it comes out to about a number slightly bigger than 1 billion metric tons of CO2 produced every year by American drivers. While this number is very staggering to look at, it pales in comparison to the 480 billion tons of CO2 that has been put into the air since 1965 from 20 of the top fossil fuel companies. This is the equivalent of 35 percent of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the last 54 years. While American drivers are responsible for a large chunk of carbon emissions, these fossil fuel companies take the cake for who are biggest emitters overall.

Source: The Hill

This is where civil disobedience comes into play.

According to Joseph R. Desjardins in, Environmental Ethics An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy,

“Civil Disobedience is the intentional refusal to obey a law on moral grounds as means of protesting or thwarting government policy. As a form of protest, civil disobedience often but not always protests the very law that one disobeys.” 

In this case, people shouldn’t protest because of a certain law that hinders progress; rather, protests should be about the lack of laws regarding carbon emission.

Last month a group of scientists at a protest in England stated that they endorse civil disobedience in an attempt to make governments take action against climate change because not doing so would result in “incalculable human suffering.” The 400 scientists that were in attendance at this protest have aligned themselves with a group called Extinction Rebellion, a British Civil Disobedience group. After this protest, nearly 3000 people across the world were arrested for doing peaceful protests later that day.

Source: The Guardian

In the end, major action needs to take place in order for our world to hopefully reverse the effects of climate change. While focusing on your own carbon footprint is a great way to start lowering emissions, we know who is really behind this ecological disaster. Mass protests and civil disobedience may be the only way to save the planet from becoming unlivable to most species on Earth, including our own.

Written by: Tom Derig

OPINION: What you need to know about U.S. Troops withdrawal from Syria

Trump ordered American troops out of Northern Syria who worked alongside the Kurd-led Syrian group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

This is an action that paved the way for Turkey to attempt to wipe out the Kurds in Syria who have allied with the U.S. in the war against terrorism, specifically with ISIS.

The Kurds were originally promised their own homeland in the agreement established in the Treaty of Sèvres after World War I, but then a following agreement spread them throughout Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. In Turkey , Kurds are oppressed and are seen as a threat.

What happened since Trump called out U.S. soldiers? 

First, Turkey covered 125 miles in the North East of Syria. The invasion alone displaced at least 130,000 people and have a reported 100 civilian casualties; thus, prompting the Kurds to reach out to Russia and Syria for help due to the area’s airstrikes and lack of resources.

The Kurds now had to fight a Turkish invasion on one end and prevent fleeing ISIS prisoners on the other. In fact, because of the removal of American troops, ISIS families and supporters northeastern Syria had escaped from a detention center.

Trump’s “America First” foreign policy mentality has received critical comments from scholars, Republicans, Democrats, and even the military themselves. Retired Gen. Joseph Votel, former head of U.S. Central Command, said,

“abandonment threatens to undo five years’ worth of fighting against ISIS and will severely damage American credibility and reliability.” 

Taking it a step further, it was even announced in a nonbinding resolution that the House voted 354 to 60 in opposition to Trump’s decision. Putting it into perspective, this is over two-thirds of the House and includes many high-profile Republicans.

Supporters for the decision, like those at recent Trump rallies, draw on Trump’s campaign promise to bring the troops back home and an overall agreement of less U.S. involvement in the Middle East. However, looks can be deceiving as it has been known that troops have not been sent home, but are rather just dispersed throughout the region. 

As of October of 2019, officials have been meeting to come to agreements but the area is still at war and is considered to be a humanitarian crisis. 

Even thousands of miles away Trump’s decision impacts the world today.

Knowing this, I turned to the San Diego State University community to get some more opinions on the matter. 

Professor Allen Greb, an International Relations professor, said,

“This undermines U.S. credibility. No one will join us if we are just going to abandon treaties. This decision did not make sense and was not oversought by professionals, it’s as if it was as personal as a real estate deal.”

Greb said Trump pulling American troops is detrimental, “the area is much less stable and safe now. By abandoning our trusted partner in the fight against ISIS we have made Russia, Turkey, and Iran main players in the Middle East.” 

Taking America out of the mix as a major player in the Middle East has let autocratic regimes have more influence. Good or bad, one thing is for sure, humanitarian needs have drastically declined in the short time since the U.S. pulled out.

SDSU graduate student, Patricia Abella, said she had an overall shock about the whole situation calling it disappointing and a shame.

“This doesn’t seem diplomatic, which is not one of Trump’s strong suits. It concerns me how unsupported this decision was and there will surely be consequences from it.”

Tom Derig, Geography major, said he is embarrassed about the move out from Syria.

“We now have turned our backs on our allies that helped us beat them [ISIS]. The biggest shock to me is that the United States military took a stand and actually disagreed with Trump’s plan,” Derig said. 

Personally, the decision by Trump to pull out troops from Syria is not only misleading but also foolish. Our troops are not being sent home and our relations with the Middle East just became way more complicated. America looks unreliable and unstable to our allies and to the overall international community.

Ten steps back or 10 steps forward? Well, that’s up to you but what we can tell is that the crisis in the Middle East is not getting solved anytime soon.

Written by Ali Goldberg

OPINION: Students Should Pay Attention to Impeachment Inquiry

Impeachment is more popular than ever in this country, especially among college students. A recent study done by Collegereaction.com, found that nearly 76% of college students across the country support impeachment. 

Donald Trump has been a businessman far longer than most college students have been alive, and not many know much about his life pre-presidency. Yet college students have seen what he has done as President and have formulated their opinions about him from his first term in office. 

After 3 years and numerous scandals later involving the President’s taxes, an illegal payment of a pornstar, and Muller Report. More recently the nation is seeing a new scandal unfold involving his withholding of foreign aid to Ukraine unless they investigated the Biden family.  

In nearly every new poll that gets released, Donald Trump’s approval rating has been slowly decreasing since the beginning of his presidency. For example, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Donald Trump Tracker, Trump’s average approval rating across most major polls has dropped to 40 percent overall. The latest scandal with Ukraine has not only lowered Trump’s approval ratings by about 3 percent but also has people talking about the subject of impeachment.

On Oct. 31, the House voted for the impeachment proceedings and it seems many people share a collective misconception surrounding impeachment. The idea that once the President is impeached someone new will take over as President is not the entire case.

Impeachment refers to charging a high-ranking government member with misconduct and begin removing them from office. 

After impeachment is voted on in the House, assuming it is passed by majority, the next step is a trial in the Senate which needs a two-thirds majority to convict the President. 

The President isn’t the only official that can be impeached, other members of the Government have been impeached, but most of them have been federal judges. Impeachment is not a quick process and will take time for articles of impeachment to be drafted, and even longer to decide if he will be convicted of his crimes in the Senate. 

Donald Trump is being backed into a corner by this impeachment talk. On one hand, he needs to fight off this impeachment subject for as long as possible so that he can campaign for his re-election in 2020, but at the same time the longer impeachment is talked about, the lower his approval ratings will fall due to more facts coming out about his involvement to Ukraine.

On the night of Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, and the course of American life would be dramatically shifted seemingly overnight. For the people that voted for him, there was rejoice, they had found an answer to the problems they were facing in their daily lives. They loved how he spoke freely and wasn’t afraid to challenge the political establishment. His claims of draining the swamp of Washington and returning jobs to the working-class Americans resonated with many people who hadn’t seen much change under Obama.

Yet, at the same time, there were many who felt that the election of Donald Trump would be disastrous to the social fabric of this country and immediately thought the election of this President would tear the country apart.

One area that people feared Trump would especially damage was race and race relations.

Senior Electrical Engineering Major Alex Martinez said,

“I believe Donald Trump has not improved race relationships but rather has damaged ally relationships. I think the approach and beliefs of his ideas towards some of the race relationship issues contradicts with not only the natural rights of human beings, but as well as the foundation previous governments have paved for him.”

One way you can see the immediate effects of Donald Trump’s election is the increase in attendance of HBCU’s due to tensions between white students and students of color. They have sought to find a “safe haven” from white supremacist propaganda and hate incidents that have become an alarming and increasing trend across college campuses. San Diego State is not immune to these hateful incidences such as the one that occurred early in the fall semester. 

Though there is no correlation to Donald Trump’s presidency to the rise of hateful incidences, in the last 4 years there has been a rise in the number of hate groups throughout the United States. 

While the results of Trump’s Presidency are still being debated, one thing is for certain, college students of all political demographics are beginning to turn against the President and his ideals. With the General Election almost a year away, Trump must find a way to connect with college voters or else he will have a problem swaying the younger vote in 2020. 

Written by: Tom Derig