The 2018 Farm Bill will cost US taxpayers around $867 over the next ten years. The amount sounds astronomical, but the Farm Bill is not just another spending bill. It is a major piece of legislation with an oversized impact. In many respects, the 2018 reauthorization for the Great Depression-era legislation is essentially a continuation of the status quo. There is, of course, a great deal of buzz surrounding provisions that legalize the production of hemp containing less than 0.3% THC. It is a long overdue change to an unnecessarily broad attempt to regulate controlled substances. The Farm Bill also includes funding for various public works projects. The mainstay of the 2018 Farm Bill, however, continues to be subsidies for farmers and food subsidies for poor Americans. The fact that few Republican-proposed reforms made it into the final bill is a major victory for those who rely on these subsidies, but the five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill is yet another missed opportunity to address major economic issues.
“Democratic Socialist” is a term that has grown popular since US Senator Bernie Sanders became a national figure due to his prolonged unwillingness to withdrawal from the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary. With the election victories of headline-grabbing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other self-proclaimed democratic socialists, the democratic socialists have certainly emerged on the national stage and inflamed partisan tensions. Somewhat akin to Libertarian Republicans, Democratic Socialists may well represent the future of the Democratic Party. Just as Republicans are shifting toward one extreme, Democrats are shifting to their own. Democratic Socialists could well be a product of this trend. Where Democrats have always criticized Republicans for ignoring the financial freedom and security of Americans through their preference for business and fanatical approach to capitalism, Republicans have always criticized Democrats for their massive social welfare spending. A Democratic shift toward democratic socialism would certainly intensify the partisan bickering, but it could easily be a fad. More importantly, it could just represent a philosophical correction that favors a sort of socialistic capitalism, if such a thing can exist.
Politics is awash in dysfunction. There is a bipolar political divide between those who favor the Democratic Party and those who favor the Republican Party. Although this ideological division is largely a national phenomenon engineered and accented by political elites seeking to exploit partisans, individuals at the local level mirror the extreme polarization in the positions they adopt on various issues. This is especially true when it comes to nationalized issues. When it comes to nationalized issues in general, more Democrat and Republican voters can be expected to align themselves along partisan lines. When it comes to nationalized issues that are also locally significant, Democratic and Republican voters can be expected to converge toward positions that best reflect their local interests. That is with exception to extremist, hardliner Democrats and Republicans. When it comes to the leaders and elected officials of both political parties, identity politics also seem to trump constituent interests more often than not. It is easy to superficially blame political polarization, but the deeper problem is a cultural issue.
The Ortiz Story: The Psychology of A Murder, Oversight Vacuums, And The Need To Hold Authorities Accountable
Juan David Ortiz, 35, served his country in the Navy as a corpsman for eight years before he joined the U.S. Border Patrol where he became an intelligence supervisor. Ortiz is a husband and a father. He is also a murderer. In September of 2018, Ortiz began abducting sex workers on the streets of San Bernardo Avenue in Laredo, Texas and driving them beyond the city limits where he shot them in the head. In all, Ortiz murdered three women and one transgender individual with a female persona. Only because a fifth victim managed to escape was Ortiz caught before he could find more victims. Angered by the failure of local authorities to crackdown on crime, his goal was to cleanse the streets of Laredo. Ortiz now faces the death penalty upon conviction. His story is shocking and frightening, especially since he is a trusted authority figure. The psychology of this murderer is not, however, unique. Understanding men like Ortiz shines a light on why they do what they do and how predators are able to able to garner the trust of others.
Wisconsin Legislators Abuse Lame-Duck Powers: A Troubling Sign That Majority Will No Longer Matters To Voters
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is no stranger to confrontation and controversy. After all, he began his gubernatorial career with a highly contentiousness war on public unions that nearly cost him his governorship after enough signatures were collected to trigger a recall election. It was, however, thanks to Walker’s efforts to strip public employees of their right to engage in collective bargaining and the fierce opposition to it that allowed Scott Walker to become a national figure. Despite stripping Americans of their rights and enraging a significant number of Wisconsin voters, Walker’s political prospects were buoyed by the fact that a great number of people feel public employees are overcompensated with too little accountability, especially when compared to that of many private sector employees. Having lost the 2018 Election, Walker and his Republican cohorts in the State legislator have chosen to strip the new governor of the powers Walker coveted in order to push his agenda. State Senators also moved to embed Republican operatives into the State government by approving 82 of Walker’s appointees civil posts in one day, among other moves.
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