One Last Time

Earlier tonight, President Obama gave his farewell address. I hope you were able to catch it, but if not here is the video and transcript. From a technical point of view, the speech was, in my opinion, brilliant. Impeccably timed pauses, powerful parallels, diction and word choice that gave me chills. No matter your politics, I think it is fair to say that content-wise the president’s speech was, again, wonderful. Obama recognized the accomplishments and shortcomings of his administration over the past eight years and encouraged us to collectively grow stronger and better as we move forward. He talked about the need for us to celebrate our differences while cooperating with each other – to unify all of a diverse nation. My favorite line was “our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted.” We are stronger together than divided, and better off when actively engaged in how our country functions both domestically and on a global level. My dad preaches that the “government is run by those who show up,” and we need now more than ever for people to be passionate and vocal about the issues they find important. As we settle into 2017, I hope you can add advocating for what matters to you to your New Year’s Resolutions – there’s no time like the present. I hope, too, that you keep it going for the rest of your life; this is our civic duty, not just something you do once in a while.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow with another Women in History Crush Wednesday post. Be heard!

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Debate Dates

Tomorrow night, the GOP will be holding their second debate. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to tune in, but hopefully I’ll be able to watch and write about it this weekend or at some point next week. If you have to time to watch it live or even later, please do! Primaries start in about five months and the final election is in a little over a year – stay informed!

Here are the upcoming dates as they are currently scheduled – they may changed, added to, or cancelled. I’ll try to keep you updated as things get moved around. For your viewing pleasure:

September 16 (GOP)
October 13 (Democratic)
October 28 (GOP)
November 14 (Democratic)
December 15 (GOP)
December 19 (Democratic)
January 17 (Democratic)
February 6 (GOP)
February 13 (GOP)
February 26 (GOP)
March 10 (GOP)
I hope you can watch tomorrow’s debate; it’ll be broadcast on CNN starting at 7:00CT. Happy watching, be heard!

Last Night’s Play-by-Play

This is a “bonus section” of the previous post, if you will. During the debate, I took quick notes about everything that was said, so the following is a more coherent rendition of what I wrote. My last post was summary-esque, so this is definitely more specific. I included times as reference points. Here we go:

8:05

Donald Trump won’t pledge to not run independently if he doesn’t win Primary because he will not respect whoever is the winner

Rand Paul accuses Trump of supporting Hillary Clinton in his refusal to pledge

Ben Carson does not address question about his knowledge on foreign affairs and instead says he is intelligent and will work hard along the way

Marco Rubio says election can’t be a resume’ competition because then Clinton would be the definite winner, but rather about current issues like domestic job security 

-Rubio says Clinton can’t say anything about him not supporting the middle and lower classes because he was raised poor

8:10

Jeb Bush says he doesn’t want to be considered part of the Bush dynasty but that he’s like his dad, followed by the statement that citizens in Florida “called [him] Jeb because [he] earned it”

-Mediator Megyn Kelly questions Trump about his derogatory statements on his twitter about women, to which he responds he only says that stuff about Rosie O’Donnell

-Kelly, not impressed, says that’s false, which sets Trump off on a rant about how he doesn’t have time to be politically correct and that wasting time on being politically correct is why America is “losing to China and Mexico”

-At the end of his rant, Trump threatens that in the future he won’t be so kind in his comments about Kelly

Ted Cruz stresses the importance of truth and his dislike of scandals

8:15

-Christie talks about his success in fixing the New Jersey budget without raising taxes by cutting state programs, “there’s a lot of work to do in New Jersey but I’m darn proud of how far we’ve come”

Scott Walker denies saying that rape shouldn’t be an exception when it comes his pro-life beliefs, but continues that he is pro-life no matter what

-Walker plans to defund Planed Parenthood (henceforth PP) because it’s “what the majority of Americans want”

Mike Huckabee says his approach to defund PP is “bolder than Constitutional amendments,” but says he’ll use the 5th and 14th Amendments as grounds to defund PP and to force the Supreme Court to outlaw abortion

8:20

-Paul says the only way to defeat ISIS is to stop funding and arming ISIS and it’s neighboring nations

John Kasich says he supports Medicaid because when Saint Peter asks him at the gates as heaven what he’s done for the poor he wants to be able to answer

-Kasich talks about the need for rehab programs needed to get drug addicts healed and out of jails

-Bush stands by his previous statement that illegal immigration is an act driven by love of family, but adds that the US should be more strategic about patrolling and eliminate sanctuary cities along the border

8:25

-Trump speaks directly to Bush about his racist remarks, saying that “if it weren’t for [him] candidates wouldn’t be talking about illegal immigration” and that the situation along the border is simply “money going out, drugs coming in” 

-Trump is given more time for not answering original question, during which he states that “our leaders, our politicians, are stupid” multiple times

8:30

-Kasich says that “Trump is hitting a nerve in this country,” continuing that Trump’s way to combat border control is an option but not the only way

-Rubio agrees that the US should build a fence but says that Mexico isn’t the problem, but rather the farther south Latin American countries

-Rubio adds that illegal immigration isn’t fair to those who wait for legal entry to America

-Walker says US needs to secure the border without amnesty in order to protect domestic wages and jobs

-Cruz discusses Kate Steile Law, saying that he helped pass the legislation

-continuing, Cruz says current border control isn’t enforced enough by the “Washington Cartel and Obama,” agrees that no amnesty should be offered

-Christie says that he is pro-PATRIOT ACT because protecting Americans is of extreme importance since 9/11

-Paul interrupts Christie saying that he believes in the 4th Amendment and that the US should only collect records about terrorists

-Christie questions Paul “How do you know who is and isn’t a terrorist?”

-Paul shoots back that Christie doesn’t understand the Bill of Rights and care more about “hugging Obama”

-Christie retorts that at least he “hugs in favor of victims and not for politics like you”

8:40

-Cruz claims that radical Islamic terrorism is the focus of the world’s terror, and that the US needs a Commander in Chief who “says ‘if you join ISIS you’re signing your death certificate,'” and will void passports of those who join ISIS

-Cruz concludes statement saying that Obama is an ISIS apologist

-Bush confirms that Iraq War was a mistake but that his heart and prayers go out to the veterans of the war and those who died

-Bush claims that Obama abandoned Iraq and that’s why ISIS exists, continuing that he’ll stop the Iran Agreement and take out ISIS no matter the cost

8:45

-Walker discusses idea that “America is leading from behind”

-Carson makes joke about thinking that he wasn’t going to get to talk again

-Carson doesn’t reject the idea of bringing waterboarding back into terrorist interrogations, saying that “there is no such thing as a politically correct war” and that the US should “do what ever it knows to get done what it needs”

-Trump holds off on answering his question to say that he was the first to say in 2004 that the Iraq War would destabilize the Middle East

-Trump defends single payer health care and says US needs to take care of those who can’t afford health care but in non-Obamacare system

-Trump insults Paul and then talks about candidate funding, saying that he calls in favors all the time which proves that the funding system needs reform

-Walker straight up says that “Clinton screws up everything she touches” politically

8:50

-Huckabee claims America’s biggest problems are the Wall Street-government bond and that the federal government is powerful past the point of its’ Constitutional jurisdiction

-Huckabee wants to switch tax on income to consumer tax

-Carson wants to have a proportional tax system with no loop holes

-Bush remains pro-Common Core but clarifies that the state should set the curriculum and that the federal government shouldn’t interfere

-Rubio agrees that there needs to be education reform but says the Common Core is shoved down people’s throats

-Bush agrees to disagree, saying that the states still need high standards without Common Core

9:00

-Kasich talks about his roots in poverty to show how he is pro-growth and wants to restore the American Dream

-Carson, though he doubts Clinton will be the Democratic candidate, says she will get votes because she takes advantage of the uninformed, also that she will destroy the nation with debt

-Bush says the way to life American morale is to eliminate Obamacare and to embrace the Energy Revolution

-Walker wants to increase education and get rid of Obamacare in order to fix unemployment

-Christie says he wants to increase the retirement age and have a social security reform because social security is being misused by the wealthy

-Christie says “Huckabee isn’t lying, he’s just wrong”

-Huckabee says social security is a government tax scheme but that a reform including a consumer tax and the ending of Obamacare would fix the system, also suggests ending Congress’ retirement program

-Christie says they already have “trust funds filled with IOUs” and to “just fix the system”

-Huckabee says “illegal immigrants, pimps, and prostitutes are freeloading on the income tax system” which is why we should switch to a consumer tax

9:10

-Trump talks about how he’s “taken advantage of the law” to save his company several times and is proud of that in order to preface needing big business legislation reform

-Mediator looks to the camera to give hilarious side eye while Trump is talking

-Trump continues that he’s proud of the money he made in Atlantic City before he had to move away because his company was going bankrupt

-Rubio calls for evening out of small business taxes, regulatory tax reform, repeal of Obamacare, and the elimination of the Dodd-Frank Act

9:20

-Walker wants to terminate Iran Deal and have Congress pass sanctions, says he is anti-Obama-Clinton Doctrine

-Paul says he a “Reagan conservative” and stresses compliance with that ideology

-Huckabee quotes Reagan and insults Obama, then says the Obama/Clinton Doctrine holds no benefit to the US and puts the world in danger, says the US needs to take Iran seriously

9:25

-Bush joined Bloomberg(?) for education reform but still defunded PP in Florida, “my record as a pro-life governor is not in dispute”

-Rubio says the Constitution basically already protects life and is pro-life, no rape or incest exception, “as a society we’ll look back and realize pro-choice is barbaric”

-Trump was pro-choice in past but after having a friend survive a failed abortion and prosper he’s pro-life, became Republican after leaving New York City, says “the Democrats gave us Obama and you can’t be happy about that”

-Bush says the Republicans will win if they correctly use conservatism, doesn’t like Trump’s tone

-Trump says “it’s Medieval times, tone doesn’t matter” and that he’ll get done what needs to get done

-Kasich accepts court ruling on gay marriage and says though he doesn’t personally agree with homosexuality he will love gay people because he wants to “give everyone a chance and respect everyone” 

-Kasich continues “God gives unconditional love and I should too”

9:30

-Paul says “marriage and guns shouldn’t be registered in Washington,” that the government shouldn’t interfere in religion

-Walker address the #BlackLivesMatter movement by saying the US needs police training reform especially in the area of using force

-Trump says Obama is incompetent and that what happened in Iran is a disgrace

-Cruz says ISIS, Iran, China, and Russia are enemies to the US and that the new president needs to stand up to them

9:40

-Carson wants to build military to protect from the consequences of Obama’s mistakes

-Walker says China and Russia know more of Clinton’s emails than Congress, that the US should be supplying Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic with weapons

-Huckabee says military health care programs should not cover gender reassignment surgeries because “the military is not a social experiment”

-Paul says to quit funding countries where people burn the American flag, no aid to enemies, “stop spending money we don’t have”

-Christie wants to strengthen the military, says Israel is a priority at this point and should continue being funded

9:50

-Cruz thanks God and tells story about how his father was an alcoholic-turned-pastor

-Kasich says he wants to unite the country and tells people to listen to and respect others, “God wants America to be strong and to lead”

-Walker talks about how he was redeemed by Jesus and lives his life as a testimony to heaven

9:55

-Rubio says “God has blessed the Republican Party,” the US needs a VA that cares more about veterans than bureaucrats 

-Carson says “skin doesn’t make you who you are” and that US needs to move past racism

-Kasich talks about how he brought hope back to Ohio

-Christie says America needs to stop worrying about reputation of love and instead demand respect

-Paul says he’s “a different kind of Republican”

-Rubio says that because his parents were poor Cubans who got to experience the American Dream he wants to “save and expand the American Dream” to create a “new American century”

-Cruz wants to repeal all of Obama’s legislation on immigration, investigate and destroy PP, and move the US’ embassy in the Middle East

-Carson jokes about DC, talks about surgical accomplishments and the need to “fight for freedom”

-Huckabee insults Clinton, says “the nation is in trouble but not beyond repair,” stresses “one nation under God”

-Walker says he’s “aggressively normal” and that “it wasn’t too late for Wisconsin, it isn’t too late for America”

-Bush says he wants to fix the immigration system and embrace the Energy Revolution

-Trump says the US can’t beat anyone in trade, wants to end Obamacare and “make the country great again”

Last Night's Play-by-Play

I know this is a really long post…if you made it this far, thank you! Don’t forget to watch the upcoming debates for both parties!

Be heard!

First GOP Debate Thoughts

The first GOP Debate of the season is over, and all I can say is WOW. While there were moments of rational conversation, the majority of the broadcast came across as a glorified pissing contest – lots of “I’m the only one up here who ________” and low jabs at each other. Leading topics included illegal immigration, Obamacare, foreign affairs (specifically dealing with Iran), abortion and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and economic reform.

In my opinion, Chris Christie and Ben Carson, though they didn’t speak as much as some of the other candidates, did the best by remaining focused on reforming American policies for a better future without blaming or insulting others.

Donald Trump, per usual in his recent interviews, often put his foot in his mouth, at one point arguing for reform in legislation on domestic business and taxes by saying that he successfully took advantage of American laws four times in the past. The mediators at multiple times looked exasperated or offended by Trump’s responses to their questions, but given what he said I think they’re completely justified.

There was a tense moment when Christie and Rand Paul got into a heated argument about the privacy of American citizens; Christie expressed that he’s pro-PATRIOT ACT because of his experiences with the 9/11 terrorist attack while Paul said that the 4th Amendment protects Americans and that only terrorists should be tracked and recorded, to which Christie retorted “How do you know who is or isn’t a terrorist?” The argument didn’t conclude so much as get cut off in order to continue questioning the other candidates.

The debate was ended with statements meant to wrap up each candidate’s campaign message as well as relate God to each’s platform, which I think is somewhat uncalled for in the name of separation of state and church, but that’s a conversation for another time… In the end, all the candidates wished to change our current governing system to create a stronger America to lead the world of tomorrow.

Those are my basic thoughts about and the highlights of the debate, which, if you missed it, can be watched here. The next GOP debate is scheduled for September 16th, and the first debate for the Democratic Party is set for October 13th. Again, I encourage all of you to tune in to both.

Be heard!

Did He Really Say That?

A little bit ago, I received this email from the Bernie Sanders campaign:Did he really say that?

Now, I’m not in the habit of believing information without validating it, especially when it’s about a presidential candidate potentially cutting funding for federal women’s health programs, so I did some research.

And wouldn’t you believe it, it’s true.

Earlier today, in an interview for a South Baptist Convention in Tennessee, Jeb Bush stated that “[he’s] not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women’s health programs…there are many…federally sponsored community health organizations to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues…but abortion should not be funded by the government.”

If he’s saying that abortion funding should be cut and restricted even more than it already is, that’s fine. That’s information about his platform that voters might find important to know. But suggesting that the overall funding for general women’s health care be cut is a considerably uninformed suggestion…

For the 2016 Fiscal Year, the Obama administration has set aside roughly $20.9 billion for women’s health programs. This budget includes coverage, based on financial need, for well-woman visits, Medicaid and/or Medicare for mother and child, counseling, FDA-approved birth controls, testing for diseases like HIV, family planning programs like Title X, pregnancy health grant programs like Title V, sex education courses, teen pregnancy prevention, health care services for female veterans, and early cancer detection programs. These programs are in place to protect and aid the low-income women of America, who otherwise would have problems obtaining access to the same level of care.

Bush’s explanation for his statement is that he doesn’t want the government funding Planned Parenthood or abortion. But according to both FactCheck and the Planned Parenthood, only 3% of the organization’s services are abortion related, and 10% of their clients receive an abortion. Additionally, while Planned Parenthood is partially funded by the government, that money cannot legally be used for abortion services.

By cutting women’s health funding, Bush would in no way, shape, or form affect the current abortion practices, availability, or statistics. He would, however, limit the basic health care services available to low-income women across America. 

Is that what he wished to convey?

Personally, I think we need a president who cares about accessibility of health care services needed by women, regardless of their ability to pay.

The first presidential candidate debate for the Republican Party will be held on Thursday, August 6th at 9:00PM EST on Fox News. I urge you to tune in and stay informed!!

Be heard!

Houston Feels the Bern

Last night, I went to Bernie Sanders’ candidacy event at the UH campus. I know it sounds crazy – a democratic candidate making a stop in an extremely republican state. But the crowd was unbelievable! The seats were packed with at least 5,000 enthusiastic Houstonians, and there was hardly a moment that passed that wasn’t filled with chanting and cheering. People were authentically interested in every word Sanders said. And his support didn’t come from a select few demographics; people of every race, age, and economic level could be found.

Houston Feels the Bern

In a time where it’s easy to be disappointed or disenchanted about American politics, Sanders shows a light of progressivism and rationality that really brings hope to this next election. While he spoke genuinely about a broad range of topics, his care and attention focused on a few things:

election corruption
wage gaps
education
unemployment
social justice
health care
environmental care

Sanders wants to again make the government a system by the people, for the people, of the people. He isn’t looking at simply the small picture – he’s thinking about the future of our country. As an American youth getting ready to enter the world of college and adulthood, his views and ideas sound extremely beneficial to all walks of life, and seem like a great way to build tomorrow’s booming America.

I’m glad I was able to attend Sanders’ event. I left knowing what he stands for and what he plans to do with the presidency. I left knowing that he isn’t driven by funding but rather passion for the American people. I left knowing that he cares about tomorrow enough to change what’s happening today.

If you’re interested in exactly what Bernie Sanders said, Daily Kos member leu2500 did a great livefeed/liveblog here and YouTuber n8glenn put up a nice video here! And if you want more general info about Sanders himself, visit his campaign website!

Thanks for reading! Be heard!