Politics

Obama’s Photographer Just Roasted Trump For Running Over Montenegro’s PM

Pete Souza was one of the more quiet constant presciences of the Obama Administration.

He served as the official White House photographer for the entire length of Obama’s term and was in the room for nearly all of the most important moments of it.

But since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Souza has taken on another role: chief troll who keeps reminding the world how much better Obama was at his job than Trump.

He did it again yesterday when Trump bumped the Prime Minister of Montenegro in order to get to the head of the pack of NATO leaders.

It was not a great look to say the least.

Here’s Souza’s perfect response.

Laughter at the 2012 NATO Summit. No jostling involved.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

“No jostling involved.”

This would almost be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Mark Zuckerberg Calls For Universal Basic Income

Mark Zuckerberg called for the US to explore the idea of universal basic income in a speech to the graduating class of Harvard University on Thursday.

Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook dropped out of Harvard to focus on the company that would ultimately make him worth around $63 billion.

“We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful,” Zuckerberg said in the speech, according to Business Insider. “We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Zuckerberg is in the middle of a 50 state tour of the United States and is considered by some to be a potential 2020 presidential candidate.

According to  Mic, universal basic income is “an allocated payment that’s provided to individual adults instead of households, regardless of other sources of income and with no requirement for work.”

While its a controversial idea, some economic heavy hitters have come out in support of the program including Elon Musk.

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Cover Photo Credit: Alessio Jacona/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Where The Fuck Is Turkey Going?

With a seemingly endless war going on in Syria, Arab states slowly coming apart, terrorist cells continuously operating and economic as well as military interests from countries like Russia and America, the Middle East has become a complicated and turbulent region.

While the role of the world’s greatest hegemonies inside the Middle East seems clear, there are regional powers whose presence is often underestimated or forgotten.

So, with a strained relationship with the Unites States and failed negotiations to form part of the European Union, what is Turkey’s international and regional role?

“Every decision Turkey makes, even the ones that affect the international sphere, are related to their domestic policies.” Agustín Berea a Middle East specialist said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “Everything Tayyip Erdoğan does is for his public and his public is the Turkish people.”

In a developing country where the society is divided between those in favor of business and liberalism and those who are much more conservative and traditionalist, Tayyip Erdoğan came in as a reformist, progressist and with strong ties with the conservative sectors of the Turkish society.

In the beginning of Erdoğan’s mandate, talks about joining the European Union were strong.

 

READ MORE: Why Turkey Should Be Removed From NATO

However, such discourses have gradually faded over time.

Historical issues, such as the occupation of Cyprus, and the recent violation of human rights, as well as the authoritarian government, have been enough to declare that Turkey does not reach the standards to form part of the union.

Although the Republic of Turkey was founded with the objective of having a legitimacy based on secularity and laicism, the Turkish society remains strongly attached to its religious basis.

“Demographically, there’s a lot more people who identify themselves with the East than with the West. Geographically, the part of Turkey located in Europe and the Mediterranean, although highly populated, represents a minority,” Berea said.

Not only that, but the agenda of Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan does not tie with the agenda of other international actors such as Russia and the United States.

A market in Istanbul. Photo Credit: Pedro Szekely/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“His main goal is to solve internal conflicts,” Berea said.

The inability to tie Turkish interests with those of other countries has resulted in strained relationships with the American president Donald Trump and the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Moreover, it has also resulted in the breaking of diplomatic relations with the Iranian president Hasán Rouhani.

While Erdoğan’s ability to project his influence at an international level is questionable, with one of the world’s largest and most powerful armies, Turkey’s regional power is undeniable.

“Turkey cannot reach just any part of the world. However, its mobility and ability to effectively achieve its goals within the Middle East are higher than the one of countries like Russia or even the United States,” Berea said.

These goals include neutralizing the threat of ISIS within Turkish borders, the liberation of the city of Raqqa, and toppling the Assad regime. However, this would require more time, planning, and manpower than the one Turkey currently has in Syria.

This year, as early as February, former prohibitions considered to be secularization measures, such as the banning of the of Islamic veil and religious demonstrations, have been lifted. This has led many to believe that Turkey is no longer the champion of secularism.

“Muslim sectors are much closer to the government and it would seem like Turkey’s regional allies are projects that align with the agenda of political Islam,” Berea said.

Turkey is not the only nation of the Middle East that seems to be going back to projects and governments based on the Muslim religion.

READ MORE: Kicking Turkey Out Of NATO Would Be A Massive Mistake

“Countries in the Middle East have experienced with secular governance models and it is the opinion of many that such projects have not worked so far,” Berea explained.

Iran, Syria and Egypt are some of the countries that have experienced with these secular governance models.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The idea of going back to a caliphate comes from these failed projects of democratic nations and the people in the Middle East want to go back to a moment in which society and political structures worked better.

Could we expect Tayyip Erdoğan’s government to fail or to be toppled by a revolution in Turkey?

“The only way that there could be a successful coup against Erdoğan is if he openly spoke about religious structures within the state. This is unthinkable for the Turkish army,” Berea said.

Although political leaders have known how to handle their differences and act with moderation, the future of the Middle East is now more uncertain than ever.

With so many international actors involved in a small region, the situation seems to be bound to escalate to major proportions.

“My fear about Trump is that he may not know how to handle himself in moments of tension,” Berea said.

While conflict is possible, it doesn’t seem likely yet.

NOW WATCH: This Is The Oldest Building In The Western Hemisphere. We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of It 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

 

Former GOP Florida Congressman: Trump Should Get “Accessory Charges” In Gianforte Case

Former Florida Republican Congressman David Jolly is not a big fan of Donald Trump.

Jolly lost re-election in a very close race to former Republican turned Independent turned Democrat Charlie Crist in large part due to anti-Trump backlash in his swing Tampa area district.

Since the election, Jolly has been a constant critic of the President on Twitter.

But after the news that Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed a reporter, Jolly upped his anti-Trump ante.

Woah.

That is one mad Republican.

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“Walkabout Miami”: Go Inside The Oldest Building In The Western Hemisphere. And Yes It’s In Miami

Photo Credit: David Jolly/ Facebook

Barack Obama Is Basically Still US President For Europe, Sends Heartfelt Message To Manchester

Former President Barack Obama is still acting like the current President and many people around the world are totally cool with that.

Obama spoke earlier today to a crowd of over 70,000 people in Berlin where he shared a stage with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He also filmed a video message to the people of Manchester with Merkel and it was everything the world needed to hear.

Meanwhile, his successor was having awkward handshakes with the French President.

Still Don’t Get Why Gianforte’s Assault Matters? These Two Sentences Should Make It Clear

Montana businessman and Republican candidate in the special statewide congressional election Greg Gianforte allegedly assaulted a reporter last night.

Some have made light of the incident and refused to acknowledge its importance.

If you know one of those people, share this very insightful Tweet with them:

Photo Credit: Gianforte campaign/ Facebook

This University President Just Smacked Down Trump In An Amazing Email

University administrators are often criticized for not speaking up about issues that their students care about. But that is certainly not the case at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

There, university president Jay A. Perman has taken a forceful stance against President Donald Trump’s anti-science agenda.

In an email to the entire university community, Perman launched into the Trump administration’s “assault on science”.

UMB is a collection of graduate degree offering institutions including a world renowned School of Medicine.

Perman wrote the email in anticipation of the March for Science that will be taking place this weekend on April 22.

“The assault on science comes not only in the form of draconian budget cuts, but in ways meant to politicize science or intimidate those who undertake it,” Perman wrote. “The administration has issued gag orders on science agencies engaging in unsanctioned speech and sent letters to agency heads ordering that they identify scientists working on climate research. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump endorsed theories that have no basis in science — for instance, that vaccines are linked to autism or that climate change is a hoax.”

Maggie Davis, a law and policy analyst for the Center for Health and Homeland Security at UMB is supportive of Perman’s aggressive stance. 

I think it is an appropriate critique of budget priorities of the new administration, especially considering the hostility we have seen to researchers and scientists that work for agencies like NOAA and the EPA,” Davis said. “President Perman’s statement was clearly aimed at the policies promoted by the new administration and not President Trump as an individual, which I think is the best approach to have to build stronger support for robust funding of scientific research.” 

You really should read Perman’s entire letter. It is something else.


“To the UMB Community:

I know many of you are planning to join the hundreds of thousands of people expected to march this Saturday in Washington, D.C., to celebrate — and defend — science. I thank you for lending your voice and your advocacy to this movement because, without a doubt, science needs defending these days.

President Trump’s budget proposal cuts 31 percent from the Environmental Protection Agency, slashes the Department of Energy’s basic science research program, and zeros out a program that supports early-stage research into technologies that could reduce our national dependence on fossil fuels. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which spends $32 billion a year on biomedical research — most of which goes to universities and medical schools across this country — would see a nearly 20 percent cut, bringing the agency’s budget to its lowest level in 15 years. By no means is it only science under attack: The president’s proposed budget eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The assault on science comes not only in the form of draconian budget cuts, but in ways meant to politicize science or intimidate those who undertake it. The administration has issued gag orders on science agencies engaging in unsanctioned speech and sent letters to agency heads ordering that they identify scientists working on climate research. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump endorsed theories that have no basis in science — for instance, that vaccines are linked to autism or that climate change is a hoax.

And so I stand with those who will march this weekend to defend science and the scientific method. It is the scientific method that teaches us how to ask questions, form hypotheses, and then — critically — test those hypotheses with rigorous and replicable experiments. It is this method that protects us against specious theories and unproved (and unprovable) “facts.”

As a physician, I know that it is because of science that diseases that were once widespread and incurable are now — within my own lifetime — eradicated or treatable. This is the science that some in Congress and in the White House want to cut, attempting to persuade the American people that the basic research undertaken in labs across this country doesn’t affect them. But it does, and powerfully. Every modern medical advancement that has saved patients in a physician’s care and relieved their loved ones of grief had its origins in the research lab.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, himself a physician, defended President Trump’s proposed $6 billion cut to the NIH budget by suggesting that these cuts would be carved out of the overhead costs that universities like ours incur in doing research — costs such as operating and maintaining the facilities in which the research is conducted. However, as any businessperson knows, this overhead isn’t frivolous. It’s exactly what enables our people to keep doing the research that builds the science that ultimately saves and enriches lives. And I propose that it is precisely these kinds of efforts that many Americans want their tax dollars to support.

UMB is educating the next generation of health care practitioners, scientists, researchers, and policy experts, the people who will one day solve the greatest challenges of human health and well-being. I take this responsibility to train tomorrow’s problem-solvers seriously, and I support all of you in your fight to preserve smart and humane science policy and investment.

The budget priorities of this administration do not reflect the America I know, an America strengthened by its science and scientists, by investments made in research that protects its people, advances its interests, and enlarges global cooperation. The shortsightedness we’ve seen over the last three months undoubtedly threatens science, but science will prevail. It always does.

Sincerely,

Jay A. Perman, MD
President”


 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: University of Maryland, Baltimore/ Facebook

“In Venezuela We Don’t Live, We Survive.” A Millennial Fights For His Country While It Falls Apart

Ever since Nicolás Maduro’s rise to Venezuela’s presidency in 2013, the nation’s already unstable political and social situation has continued to deteriorate.

Insecurity, food shortage, a devastated economy and peaceful protests followed by violent repression are part of Venezuela’s daily life.

And millennials in the country are increasingly caught up in the unrest that threatens to tear apart the nation.

“Everyday, I see something that makes me think that we have to find a way out of this,” 19 year old student Juan Simón Ávila said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “There’s no day in Venezuela in which you’re happy or in which you can say that nothing happened in the country. It’s very hard.”

Ávila is a TRX fitness coach, and a musician.

Everyday, he leaves his house at 7 a.m. to go to work and everyday he see’s something dramatic in the streets of Valencia, the nation’s third largest city and the home of University of Carabobo, where Ávila goes to school.

“I see what’s going on,” Ávila said. “There’s people eating from the garbage and long lines of people outside of gas stations and food markets. People have left their jobs and they seek for any activity that may create more income to survive. In Venezuela we don’t live, we survive.”

In the past few years, Venezuela has suffered from a serious shortage not only in staple foods such as milk, chicken, coffee and rice, but also on staple products such as toilet paper and even medicines.

19 year old activist Juan Simón Ávila. Photo Credit: Submitted.

The Venezuelan economy is heavily reliant on global oil forces, and times have been tough in recent years as the price has been driven low.

This shortage of daily stable items is called by some Venezuelans, “Maduro’s Diet”.

“The amount of food has declined and people eat less,” Ávila said. “Not only that, but we’re also worried about not having enough food to get through the week and about insecurity. I go out and I worry about getting robbed, kidnapped or even killed. I want to walk through the streets without being afraid.”

Venezuela’s streets also witness the abusive and violent way in which the army and the police crush the citizens’ pacific protests.

They throw tear gas and shoot lead balls as well as real bullets to Venezuelans who attend protests with nothing but banners, whistles and tambourines.

As protests become a daily occurrence in Venezuela, the importance of the young generations cannot be overstated.

They are forming the core of protests and are pushing for rebuilding their country while forcing their voices to be heard.

“There are no reasons to stay at home, but there’s too many reasons to go out there and fight to recover our country,” Ávila said. “I want to finish my degree and I want to leave, but I want to come back and rebuild Venezuela. How could I come back if I didn´t fight until the last day I was here?”

Now in his third year as a student in the University of Carabobo, Ávila has seen how the country’s fragile economy and growing instability have taken a toll in the education sector.

“Universities are a mirror of Venezuela’s situation, or at least mine is,” Ávila said. “Everything is abandoned. The university is destroyed and my college is falling apart.”

The University of Carabobo, which runs on federal funds, is one of Venezuela’s five autonomous universities.

However, given the state of the country’s economy, the university has not received any federal aid to support itself for over six months.

With no money to maintain the facilities or pay the professors, university authorities are still deliberating whether to declare bankruptcy and suspend the institution’s activities.

“I wouldn’t go to class anyway,” Ávila said. “Venezuela comes first because if we don’t fight for it now, then we won’t do it ever. And how is it useful to me to go to college and attend classes if I won’t have a country to work in?”

With escalating street violence and a repressive and tyrannical government in charge, Venezuelans see no quick solution to the problem that afflicts their country.

“This government has to stop,” Ávila said. “Maduro has to leave. We’ve called for pacts and elections, but they have shown they don’t care about what anyone says. I don’t see any way of solving this conflict in the near future. Maybe we need a big rebellion or a foreign intervention because Venezuela’s situation will not be solved through democracy.”

Ávila said he looks forward to finishing his degree in Fiscal Science and going to Mexico with his sister Rosa María to play music.

“People out there have to know that there’s people here fighting for Venezuela,” Ávila said. “They have to know that Venezuelans’ human rights are being violated, but that we’re still here facing this government. They have to know that there’s people who believe that this country will get through this. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but we will get through this. People out there have to realize and talk about how there’s something going on in Venezuela.”

Read More: While America Closes Up Shop, Mexico Opens Its Arms To Syrian Students

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credits: Juan Simón Ávila/ Submitted

South Carolina Student Governments Stand Up To Governor Over Bond Bill

Three Student Governments in South Carolina have united to beg their Governor to change his mind regarding a bill that would raise taxes in order to pay for infrastructure improvements at universities in the state.

In a press release, the SGA presidents for Clemson University, University of South Carolina and College of Charleston asked Gov. Henry McMaster to change his opposition to House Bill 3722, which is better known as the “bond bill”.

The bill would raise around $250 million that could be spent by state universities to keep up with crumbling infrastructure and physical campus improvements.

McMaster has said that he opposes the bill and would rather spend the money on fixing roads in the state.

SGA presidents Ross Lordo (South Carolina), Killian McDonald (Clemson) and Michael Faikes (College of Charleston) issued a joint statement that tried to explain why they believe the bond is important to the state.

From the joint statement:

“The $250 million in funding that would be authorized by HB.3722 would allow fifteen public colleges and universities across the state to make critical renovations and repairs to facilities that simply cannot keep up with South Carolina’s rapid population growth. The last bond bill was passed over sixteen years ago. That timespan has allowed our state’s current students to graduate from their elementary schools and make it all the way to the colleges they attend today. Yet these past sixteen years have also taken a toll on the classrooms and buildings that have educated sixteen classes of graduates. Failing to make improvements to our schools now will only lead to larger, more extensive, and ultimately more expensive costs farther down the road. As governor, you have pointed out our state’s roads have suffered similar neglect and disregard, bringing the need for road repairs “from important to critical to urgent.” We should not allow the facilities at our state’s institutions of higher learning to suffer the same fate as our roads.”

Read the whole letter below:

Bond Bill Letter by Andrea Lashay on Scribd

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Henry McMaster/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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