The Senate confirmation hearings of US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have turned into a controversy that may well trump the Anita Hill Hearings. Anita Hill is, of course, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of engaging in sexual harassment when he was her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. While Thomas overcame Hill’s accusations to win political confirmation, shifting cultural attitudes amid the so-called “MeToo” social media movement may well mean Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be derailed as he struggles to push back against sexual assault allegations made by California professor and former classmate Christine Blasey Ford. There is, however, one key difference between Thomas and Kavanaugh beyond social text that deserves a thorough analysis. Clarence Thomas was a legal professional when he allegedly harassed Anita Hill; whereas, Kavanaugh was a teenager when he allegedly assaulted Ford.
Donald Trump is testing the limits of American power and the US Presidency with his foreign policy. More specifically, the Trump Administration’s aggressive use of tariffs as a high-pressure tactic in trade negotiations and economic sanctions offers the world a glimpse into what the US can and cannot do without the support of allies. By many measures, the United States is a powerful nation on its own, but America’s allies and its ability to rally them to tackle worthy causes is what makes the United States the world’s only superpower. It is a lesson President Trump insists on learning the hard way. Not only has Trump’s unilateral reversal of the Iranian Nuclear Deal and unilateral adoption of new sanctions against Iran united US allies and adversaries against the Trump Administration, the US government has failed to frame US foreign policy in a way that makes it appealing to America’s allies.
Tariffs and sanctions have played a defining role in the Trump Administration’s relations with the nations of the world. As Donald Trump prepares to give his second speech to the United Nations as the US President, Washington and Beijing are implementing another round of sanctions in what is shaping up to be a trade war. The US is imposing a 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and China is imposing 5% to 10% on $60 billion dollars worth of American goods. Consumers in both nations are expected to pay more for those products being targeted. In the long-term, the Trump Administration and tariff-advocates hope the elevated costs of imports, like in the case of rising energy prices, will encourage domestic production as well as more localized sourcing of raw materials and goods. Tipping the balance to ensure American-made products are competitive and shifting the economics of the global economy to shorten global supply chains is one thing, yet too many tariffs can destroy jobs and force an economy into recession.
The geopolitics of the International Community have been heavily distorted by the weight of two major political figures. Thanks to their domineering personalities, apparent immunity to criticism, and willingness to embrace controversy in the pursuit of their agendas, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump have played oversized roles in reshaping the politics of the globe. While Putin has been a national leader for decades and Trump is still very much new to government, both leaders appear to admire each other. Not only do they share the same personality type, which has been described as narcissistic and “hyper-masculine,” they are self-serving, highly-skilled manipulators who appear to lack moral constraints. They have also demonstrated a willingness to discard their associates, who they demand absolute loyalty from, out of convenience. In terms of foreign policy, they have both embraced the sort of behavior expected from rogue states, which has troubling implications.
Shedding Light On Dark Money: Why A Supreme Court Decision May Help Blunt The Undue Influence Of Wealthy Donors
Democracies should have respected political systems that serve as a source of pride for all citizens. When voters head to the polls, they should feel as though they are doing their civic duty. When they cast their votes, they should never feel as though they should be ashamed of their choice, even though they have a right to keep their pick a secret. Someone who supports a candidate or cause enough to donate money certainly should not feel compelled to hide his, or her, contribution. For those who donate thousands to millions of dollars to political groups, transparency should be a welcome opportunity to broadcast one’s funding of the political system and worthy causes. Unfortunately, the US political system is awash in so-called dark money. It is also saturated with slanderous and negative political messages. In a recent ruling, however, the US Supreme Court may well have helped lift the veil on dark money.
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