Wednesday, December 3, 2014

17 States Suing Over Immigration Reform Policy

            After promising immigration reform consistently over the last 6 years, President Obama has finally kept his word. Unfortunately, the President was forced to act unilaterally to do everything in his power to begin to solve our nations broken immigration system. He has been praised by his supporters and fellow democrats but has been quickly criticized by republicans nationwide.

            With every great change made to our nation comes great controversy. Despite the fact that everyone intends to have the best interest in mind for our country, not everyone agrees on what those interests are. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner came out and publically declared his anger towards the president for making this decision. He believes that the president has no right to act on his own and that he has acted beyond the means of his constitutional powers.

            It was publically announced today that Texas, along with 16 other states, have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for doing what they believe is unconstitutional. Their claims are loosely based on the idea that the president does not have the authority to act unilaterally on issues such as immigration. It is clearly a partisan gripe though because when President Bush decided to invade Iraq unilaterally he had an enormous amount of support from Republicans.

            Only time will tell what will come of all of this, but for now the President’s new policy will help dozens of families stay united and gain the legal citizenship they have sought out for years. It is important to remember JFK’s statement that this country was founded by immigrants. Without the ingenuity of immigrants our country would not be what it is today. It is the diversity of this nation that makes us strong and makes us a force to be reckoned with.

Montgomery, David, and Julia Preston. "Executive Action on Immigration Prompts Texas to Sue." The New York Times. The New York Times, 3 Dec. 2014. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. <>.

Overcoming Inequality

            It was roughly a week ago that the controversial decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson was passed by the grand jury. The decision sparked widespread riots all over the nation led by angry citizens who felt that the justice system had not done its duty. The case involved the mentioned officer shooting and killing an unarmed teenage African American male. With a history of black oppression by American police forces, citizens were absolutely outraged by the announcement not indict Officer Wilson.

            With protests still occurring in Ferguson and in many other major U.S. cities, another announcement was made today. A grand jury in Staten Island decided not to indict the officer who accidentally killed an unarmed African American man by using a chokehold on him. There is a video of the incident occurring that clearly shows the police confront the unarmed man then proceed to throw him to the ground and use a choke hold while the man screamed he couldn’t breathe over 10 times.

            The man became unconscious at the scene and was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The video clearly shows the officer using much more force than necessary for confronting an unarmed man about illegally selling single cigarettes. It came as a surprise to many that the decision was made not to indict the officer. It is highly likely that this decision will incite some protesting possibly accompanied by rioting.

This marks another decision that will add to the alienation of African Americans. What little hope they had in the justice system will likely decrease even further. The decisions made in the recent weeks involving the Michael Brown case and now this one clearly present the hard fact that racism is very much still alive in this country. While our nation has come a long way since the 1950s, we still have a far ways to go before true equality is achieved.

Goodman, J., and Al Baker. "In Eric Garner Chokehold Case, Grand Jury Is Said Not to Charge N.Y.P.D. Officer." The New York Times. The New York Times, 3 Dec. 2014. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. <>.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson Riots Continue

Riots have erupted nation-wide over the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. In Ferguson Missouri the prosecution attorney came out and publically announced the grand jury’s decision not to press charges against the police officer who fatally shot the unarmed teenage Michael Brown. This decision has been largely criticized by the mainstream media and the far left.

Following the public announcement, riots began in the city of Ferguson. It started with angry citizens throwing bottles and other objects at the officers protecting the police station. Before long, people had lit a police car full of live ammunition on fire and proceeded to burn down several local businesses. Soon after, the violence continued. Many individuals began looting stores and basically causing overall mayhem and destruction to the city of Ferguson.

            The next morning, it became clear that riots had spread throughout the many major cities in the nation. From New York City to Illinois, protests that were both violent and nonviolent began to erupt. A report on CNN showed protestors in Los Angeles tearing down a fence and shutting down a freeway causing an incredible amount of traffic on several Los Angeles area freeways. In New York, many roads were blocked and effectively shut down as well.

            While the decision made by the grand jury remains highly controversial, many are not surprised. The Trayvon Martin verdict rendered similar results with African Americans largely feeling betrayed by the broken system. Riots and protests will likely to continue to occur for the weeks to come, although it is likely they will decrease in size and strength. The president has publically called for an end to the violence and has encouraged those upset by the decision to stay true to their cause in a way that will not jeopardize their cause.

Wallis, Ellen, and Edward McAllister. "Scores Arrested as Ferguson Protests Spread to Other U.S. Cities." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <>.

Hagel Resigns

After close to two years as the leading officer of the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has resigned. His resignation doesn’t come as a huge surprise. It has long been publicly known that he has had disagreements with the administration’s handling of the Islamic State conflict in the Middle East.  Hagel has been the only Republican in the president’s cabinet throughout his whole time in office. Many believe that he supports a stronger and more heavily militarized approach to combating ISIS.

It was just a few weeks ago that the nation’s top law officer, Attorney General Chuck Holder, announced his resignation as well. It appears as though there has been some internal conflict within the Obama administration and after the Democrats lost a majority in the midterm election, it is likely that the president wanted a change. While nobody knows whether Hagel’s decision was unilateral or whether he was pushed to resign, it is clear that his resignation was inevitable.

The question that now awaits an answer is who the president will choose to fill this newly vacant position. While there are many names on the list of logical successors, the second in command of the pentagon has withdrawn herself from consideration claiming she is currently dealing with family issues. The president will have to pick wisely as the current conflicts overseas demand someone who is capable of taking on the challenge but also someone who holds the same views as the president.

It is highly likely that the world will watch the president’s appointment closely. While the next secretary of defense will largely follow and support the policies of the president, he/she will play a huge part in deciding American foreign policy. Mr. Hagel has publicly thanked the president and praised him for the opportunity. He has also stated that he is exceedingly proud of what they have accomplished together and wishes the administration and the president all the best.

Cooper, Helene. "Hagel Resigns Under Pressure as Global Crises Test Pentagon." The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <>.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Change For Climate Change

            President Obama and many other leaders of the world’s most powerful nations have been trying for years to reach a climate change agreement with China. China has long been a large manufacturing nation since countries first began outsourcing jobs. Due to a lack of labor and environmental laws China has been able to establish a booming economy; however, despite their economic success, they are the most polluted major industrialized nation on the face of the earth.

            In many of China’s largest cities the pollution levels are so bad that citizens wear masks covering their mouths and noses to avoid breathing in pollutants. It has long been believed that the Chinese were more concerned about their economic standing than their environmental conditions. An article in the New York Times written by Coral Davenport has stated that after years of trying, President Obama has finally reached a carbon emissions agreement with China.

            Several nations signed on to obey the air quality requirements of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 but the agreement largely failed. This news of a new agreement couldn’t be more welcome among Americans and other citizens of countries across the globe. Climate change was a key issue during President Obama’s campaign and he has consistently promised to do everything he can to crack down on air quality control.

            This agreement brings new hope to people everywhere. It is a huge step in the right direction. If we can reach a global agreement when the climate change talks occur in Paris, we might be able to begin making a big difference for the future of our planet and for the future of the human race. While this is largely seen as a political win for the President, it is a win for the planet, and a win for human beings. The world will anxiously watch as we hope to see further action taken to counter the hazardous effects of a changing global climate.

Davenport, Coral. "Deal on Carbon Emissions by Obama and Xi Jinping Raises Hopes for Upcoming Paris Climate Talks." The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. <

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Obama Vows To Cooperate After Republicans Retake Senate

            The midterm elections went as many expected with Republicans retaking the Senate. Now in control of both houses, the Republican Party will be able to hold firm control over any proposed legislation throughout the rest of President Obama’s second term. An article published in The New York Times by Julie Hirschfield Davis stated that President Obama intends to cooperate with the Republican congress, but only to a certain extent.

            Gridlock has been plaguing congress since the house was retaken by Republicans in 2010. The president has tried unsuccessfully to work with house leadership to pass some of the groundbreaking legislation that he promised during his campaign such as immigration reform. Republican leadership in congress had made it very clear to the President that he would not be able to pass any legislation unless he tailored it to their liking.

            Now the President is vowing to try to cooperate with the Republican house and senate. If he has any desire to pass any legacy policies in his second term he will be forced to extend the olive branch and negotiate with his opposing party. A speech given by the new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that with both houses under Republican control, gridlock should finally be over. Many democrats are extremely skeptical of this claim and with support for congress at an all-time low, most Americans feel the same.

            The new congress will have to be willing to compromise with the President in order to truly end the gridlock. Unfortunately, with the radicalizing of both parties the odds of the president and congress working together are extremely low. For now, the best American citizens can hope for is that partisan politics can be put aside so the federal government can begin to solve the many problems that are holding our mighty nation back from progressing.

Hirschfield Davis, Julie, and Michael Shear. "Mitch McConnell Promises Cooperation and Compromise." The New York Times. The New York Times, 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 5 Nov. 2014. <®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news>.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Turkey Joins The Fight

            After much hesitation from the Turkish government about what kind of role they are willing to play in taking on the Islamic State, the debate is slowly coming to an end. An article published by BBC has stated that with ISIS fighters on Turkey’s doorstep, Turkey has decided to allow Peshmerga fighters to cross its borders. The fighters plan to enter into Syria from Turkey where they will meet the Islamic State fighters face to face in the Syrian city of Kobane. This comes as a large surprise after the Turkish Prime Minister had been very clear about not allowing the use of Turkish territory or resources in combatting the Islamic State.

            This change in tone from Turkey is welcomed by the United States and other coalition countries. Allowing the use of its territory and resources will be a huge help in halting the ISIS war machine. Turkish involvement does have a price though. The prime minister has stated that Turkey’s involvement in this conflict will be “an integrated strategy” that will also take action against the Syrian dictator’s forces. On its face, this seems to complicate the situation; however, the United States would love to see Bashar Al Assad lose power just as much as the people of Turkey.

            With ISIS fighters advancing into Syria and closing in on the Turkish border, being able to launch airstrikes from Turkey will be extremely advantageous. If the coalition is able to gain the cooperation of all the surrounding countries, it will be able to surround the Islamic State territory and stop it from gaining more ground. Once ISIS can be contained, coalition forces can begin to reclaim lost territory and defeat the Islamic State at last. It will be interesting to see how the support of Turkey will aid the coalition in the long run, but as of now it is gratifying news that is warmly welcomed by the United States.

"Peshmerga Fighters Head to Turkey." BBC News. BBC, 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.