New York Times’ articles expose Trump family’s tax evasion, fraud

Selena Bemak | Editor

This past Tuesday, the New York Times published a 13,000 word investigative report into Donald Trump’s financial history, which has revealed that Trump took approximately $413 million from his father, Fred Trump. This revelation directly contradicts Trump’s claims that he is a “self-made billionaire.”
The exposé revealed that the Trumps evaded paying taxes on the transfers of these funds and even committed fraud. According to the Times, the duo evaded inheritance and gift taxes by creating a fraudulent account for a fake corporation, named All County Building Supply and Maintenance. The sham company, created in 1992, was used to transfer millions of dollars from Fred Trump to his children.
The Times, who based their report on over 100,000 documents, including Trump’s tax forms, also reported that Trump’s parents transferred over $1 billion to their children, which the Times estimated would generate $550 million in gift and inheritance taxes, based on the 55 percent tax rate at the time. However, they paid approximately five percent, which is about $52.2 million.
The report also alleges that Trump was receiving the equivalent of $200,000 in today’s dollar by the age of three and that he became a millionaire by the time he was eight.
The New York State Tax Department announced that it is looking into the allegation made by the Times in the investigative report.
The White House responded to the allegations this week by issuing a statement that claims the report is “misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times.” They criticized the news media further, stating that “they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news.”
In response to the article, Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept “time value of money” in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”
The president’s brother, Robert Trump, responded to the article by stating, “All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid.”
One of Trump’s lawyers, Charles J. Harder, issued a statement on the matter, claiming that “there was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”
“President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” according to the statement. “The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”
bemaks1@student.lasalle.edu

California set net neutrality laws; opposes Trump administration

Radley Faulknor | Staff

On Sunday California signed into law its set of net neutrality rules, a set of legislation more protective than the previous rules enforced under Obama. Under the Obama administration’s enforcement of net neutrality, internet service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon were mandated to provide equal internet speed without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. The recent California legislation seeks to take this policy a step further by also outlawing so-called zero-rating offers, which allow internet carriers to weaken internet service, in return for zero data costs. The legislation, due to take effect on January 1, 2019, will be the best strictest set of net neutrality protections ever in the history of the U.S.
However, the Justice Department has quickly responded, declaring the bill as unconstitutional. Attorney General Jeff sessions was highly critical of legislation, viewing it as an attempted subversion of the federal government. “States do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does,” said Sessions. “Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”
Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, also had some words, stating “The broader problem is that California’s micromanagement poses a risk to the rest of the country. After all, broadband is an interstate service; Internet traffic doesn’t recognize state lines. It follows that only the federal government can set regulatory policy in this area. For if individual states like California regulate the Internet, this will directly impact citizens in other states.
California’s legislation may seem unnecessarily radical, however the state is merely taking the steps to ensure accessible internet service. In August 2018 it was revealed that Verizon throttled, or slowed the internet connection of the Santa Clara County Central Fire Department’s data service during the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in California history. From December 2017, to July 2018, the FPD battled with Verizon, begging them to stop slowing their internet connection, warning the company of the potential harm to others that could result during emergencies and disasters. It wasn’t until the Santa Clara FPD agreed to pay fines-more than double their previous bill-that Verizon ended the throttling and sped up their internet connection.
Verizon’s declared the episode a customer service mistake, declaring “the situation has nothing to do with net neutrality or the current proceeding in court.” However, Ash Kalra, member of the California State Assembly, begged to differ, stating “This company’s throttling has everything to do with net neutrality. It shows that the ISP’s will act in their economic interest even at the expense of public safety.”
With the signing of its net neutrality bill, which defies federal regulations, California has inadvertently, started a war between the state and national government. Net neutrality has shown that it can be a very divisive issue, and with growing tensions, it would be to no surprise if the issue lands a case in the Supreme Court.
faulknorr1@student.lasalle.edu

New York Times’ articles expose Trump family’s tax evasion, fraud

Selena Bemak|Editor

This past Tuesday, the New York Times published a 13,000 word investigative report into Donald Trump’s financial history, which has revealed that Trump took approximately $413 million from his father, Fred Trump. This revelation directly contradicts Trump’s claims that he is a “self-made billionaire.”
The exposé revealed that the Trumps evaded paying taxes on the transfers of these funds and even committed fraud. According to the Times, the duo evaded inheritance and gift taxes by creating a fraudulent account for a fake corporation, named All County Building Supply and Maintenance. The sham company, created in 1992, was used to transfer millions of dollars from Fred Trump to his children.
The Times, who based their report on over 100,000 documents, including Trump’s tax forms, also reported that Trump’s parents transferred over $1 billion to their children, which the Times estimated would generate $550 million in gift and inheritance taxes, based on the 55 percent tax rate at the time. However, they paid approximately five percent, which is about $52.2 million.
The report also alleges that Trump was receiving the equivalent of $200,000 in today’s dollar by the age of three and that he became a millionaire by the time he was eight.
The New York State Tax Department announced that it is looking into the allegation made by the Times in the investigative report.
The White House responded to the allegations this week by issuing a statement that claims the report is “misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times.” They criticized the news media further, stating that “they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news.”
In response to the article, Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept “time value of money” in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”
The president’s brother, Robert Trump, responded to the article by stating, “All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid.”
One of Trump’s lawyers, Charles J. Harder, issued a statement on the matter, claiming that “there was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”
“President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” according to the statement. “The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”
bemaks1@student.lasalle.edu

California set net neutrality laws; opposes Trump administration

Radley Faulknor|Staff

On Sunday California signed into law its set of net neutrality rules, a set of legislation more protective than the previous rules enforced under Obama. Under the Obama administration’s enforcement of net neutrality, internet service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon were mandated to provide equal internet speed without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. The recent California legislation seeks to take this policy a step further by also outlawing so-called zero-rating offers, which allow internet carriers to weaken internet service, in return for zero data costs. The legislation, due to take effect on January 1, 2019, will be the best strictest set of net neutrality protections ever in the history of the U.S.
However, the Justice Department has quickly responded, declaring the bill as unconstitutional. Attorney General Jeff sessions was highly critical of legislation, viewing it as an attempted subversion of the federal government. “States do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does,” said Sessions. “Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”
Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, also had some words, stating “The broader problem is that California’s micromanagement poses a risk to the rest of the country. After all, broadband is an interstate service; Internet traffic doesn’t recognize state lines. It follows that only the federal government can set regulatory policy in this area. For if individual states like California regulate the Internet, this will directly impact citizens in other states.
California’s legislation may seem unnecessarily radical, however the state is merely taking the steps to ensure accessible internet service. In August 2018 it was revealed that Verizon throttled, or slowed the internet connection of the Santa Clara County Central Fire Department’s data service during the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in California history. From December 2017, to July 2018, the FPD battled with Verizon, begging them to stop slowing their internet connection, warning the company of the potential harm to others that could result during emergencies and disasters. It wasn’t until the Santa Clara FPD agreed to pay fines-more than double their previous bill-that Verizon ended the throttling and sped up their internet connection.
Verizon’s declared the episode a customer service mistake, declaring “the situation has nothing to do with net neutrality or the current proceeding in court.” However, Ash Kalra, member of the California State Assembly, begged to differ, stating “This company’s throttling has everything to do with net neutrality. It shows that the ISP’s will act in their economic interest even at the expense of public safety.”
With the signing of its net neutrality bill, which defies federal regulations, California has inadvertently, started a war between the state and national government. Net neutrality has shown that it can be a very divisive issue, and with growing tensions, it would be to no surprise if the issue lands a case in the Supreme Court.
faulknorr1@student.lasalle.edu

Reforms signal new era for the DNC

Emily Glycenfer ♦ Editor

The Democratic Party made a historic decision in late August to dramatically reduce the role super delegates play in future Democratic presidential nominations. In response to the 2016 presidential election, super delegates— who are allowed to vote for whichever candidate they desire—will have no say in the first ballot of the Democratic presidential nominee if it should oppose the popular vote represented by pledged delegates.

Since the 1980s the DNC, Democratic National Committee, has allowed both pledged delegates and unpledged delegates, who are typically made up of party insiders otherwise known as “super delegates,” to vote for any democratic candidate they prefer regardless of who won the popular vote. This rule was originally instilled in response to the 1980 presidential election n which Jimmy Carter won the Democratic nomination by the will of Democratic voters, though lost by a wide margin to Ronald Reagan in the general election. It was meant to ultimately encourage what DNC insiders presumed to be the best competition to beat the Republican nominee and become the next president of the United States, according to an article by NBC.

Despite super delegates’ votes historically falling in line with that of pledged delegates elected by the people, many see their influence as undemocratic. They take power away from the delegates who vote to represent the preference of ordinary citizens. Certainly, this contention came to a head after the 2016 primary, in which the number of pledged delegates for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were close. Yet super delegates, which make up about 15 percent of the final vote, nearly all stated that their vote would be for Clinton. The purpose of the super delegates appeared to be discredited when Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the general election, despite being chosen by party elites, who voted against Sanders in the primary. Thus, as the DNC responded to an unsuccessful election in the 1980s with reform, they did so again with this new rule.

The DNC also decided all states must allow absentee ballots, as to ensure that those eligible voters who cannot physically be present on Election Day still have an opportunity to participate in the primary. This rule change encourages, though does not require, states to switch from caucuses to government-run primaries, allow independent voters to participate in primary elections and allow for same-day voter registration. These party changes provide opportunities for a more inclusive election process. It also establishes that those seeking the Democratic nomination must declare that they are a member of the Democratic Party, a change directed at Sanders who was originally registered Independent before caucusing with the Democrats.

Both CNN and CBS reported that Democrats and other progressives are criticizing this reform as not much reform at all. Super delegates have not been overwhelmingly vital in redirecting the outcome of the party’s presidential nominee in the past, considering that they typically vote for the same candidate that wins among pledged delegates. The decision to allow super delegate influence in the runoff ballot, should the first ballot be inconclusive, does not totally remove the influence of super delegates on the primaries.

Super delegates will still be allowed to endorse any candidate they want during the entirety of the primary. Some progressives view it as the same system we currently have in place for electing Democratic presidential candidates. Even though the number of super delegates were extremely disproportionate between Clinton and Sanders, he did not win the popular vote and therefore super delegates did not directly change the outcome anyway. Some feel it also attempts to block less conventional progressives like Sanders the option to gain support through caucuses, in which independents tend to participate more in.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez ensures that this change provides opportunity for a more honest election in which super delegates’ votes carry less weight. This addresses the concern that super delegates deciding which candidate they support hinders the opportunity for Democratic voters to get a comprehensive view of their options. To Perez, this decision will allow Democrats to “earn trust back” from the people by “return[ing] the power to the grassroots.”

Sanders, a representative of Vermont, the supposed victim of the Democrats’ previous electoral system, has been a huge proponent of this change, tweeting that it is an “important step forward,” for the Democrats who have not seen reform as staggering as this in decades.

glycenfere1@student.lasalle.edu

America remembers and mourns McCain

Jonathan Mains ♦ Editor

The late senator for Arizona died August 25 at the age of 81 after battling with brain cancer.
The late senator for Arizona died August 25 at the age of 81 after battling with brain cancer.

Hero. Patriot. Icon. Friend. These are among the titles used to recognize late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who passed away on Sat., Aug. 25. His death, at the age of 81, came a day after his family announced he would cease treatment for the brain cancer, glioblastoma, which he has battled for over a year. McCain’s passing has garnered both national and international attention, filled overwhelmingly with praise for his dedication to America and her values.

He served in the Navy for 22 years, including time spent as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War in which he endured great suffering and torture. McCain served six terms in the Senate, spanning 30 years, a period marked for multiple bi-partisan efforts and two presidential campaigns. In 2000, he was the lead primary challenger to future President George W. Bush. He launched another campaign in the 2008 election in which he earned the GOP nomination but lost in the general election. McCain announced his cancer diagnosis in July of 2017, yet continued fighting in the Senate for as long as possible before turning his focus toward medical treatment.

McCain’s final speech on the Senate floor followed shortly after this announcement, using the opportunity to buck his party and the president on health care, providing a passionate call on the necessity for returning to regular order. This speech came after the critical deciding vote earlier that day to reject legislation overturning the Affordable Care Act. It was through instances such as this for which he was coined The Maverick—recognition of his attempt to American ideals and common decency above all, even party loyalty.

Following his death, services were held in both Arizona and D.C., statements of commemoration poured in from leaders across the country and globe and he was given the rare honor to lie in state at the Capitol. Considering he knew the end was near, McCain delicately, yet purposefully crafted his funeral arrangements, which included guests and speakers highlighting the bi-partisan and national values he championed. His funeral service on Sept. 1 at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, resting place of Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson, was attended by over 2,000 people. Yet one key person was not included in the invitation—President Donald Trump.

Leading up to the service in the nation’s capital, the late senator laid in state at the Arizona Capitol the Wednesday following his death. The service held in the Arizona Capitol rotunda featured former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son also lost his life to glioblastoma. Biden began his eulogy with his traditional humor, a trait Biden and the late senator shared in common, saying, “My name is Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat. And I loved John McCain.” The highly emotional and powerful eulogy focused on their decades of friendship both in and out of the political sphere, the pain associated with such a loss and the values McCain held which shaped him as role model for both politicians and the country at large.

Biden remarked, “Above all, we understood the same thing, all politics is personal. It’s all about trust. I trusted John with my life, and I would, and I think he would trust me with his.” Biden would go on to serve as a pall bearer during the service in DC. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald also eulogized the state’s senator, driving home at the man and friend McCain was to so many.

The ceremony in Washington was much more elaborate. McCain joined he rank of just 30 other individuals, including being the first Vietnam veteran, given the honor to be lain in state at the Capitol. The procession then took McCain from the Capitol to the National Cathedral with a planned detour to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, at which a wreath was laid by his wife Cindy, alongside Trump’s Chief of Staff, John Kelly, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The Secretary of Defense stated, “His was a life well lived, one whose actions epitomized the motto of his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy: non sibi, sed patriae—‘not for self, but for country.” Streets throughout the capital, albeit closed, were lined with Navy sailors, paying respects to their fellow serviceman who was held and tortured in Vietnam at Hanoi Hilton.
At the Cathedral, The Maverick’s first eulogist was his daughter, Meghan, who delivered a passionate, stirring and emotional address, including highlights from his role as a father and family man. McCain is survived by his mother, wife, and seven children. Meghan McCain noted during her speech about “the passing of American greatness,” going on to include many remarks disparaging policies and rhetoric of the president and current administration, without, however, stating Trump by name.

McCain choose both opponents from his 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns, George W. Bush and Barack Obama respectively, to also give eulogies. Bush’s remarks celebrated his courage and statesmanship, reflecting on how he “detested the abuse of power” and “swaggering despots.” He went on to state, “John’s voice will always come as a whisper over our shoulder —we are better than this, America is better than this.”
Obama took a similar tone, urging Americans to follow the example of McCain and to ignore the “mean and petty” politics that are “born out of fear.” Reflecting on the 2008 campaign when McCain stood up for his opponent against racism, Obama noted that he was certain McCain “saw himself as defending America’s character, not just mine … He considered it the imperative of every citizen who loves this country to treat all people fairly.”

Unity, respect and decency were core tenants to McCain’s political philosophy throughout his career. In 2000, at the Republican National Convention he said, “My friend Governor Bush believes in an America that is so much more than the sum of its divided parts… He wants nothing to divide us into separate nations. Not our color. Not our race. Not our wealth. Not our religion. Not our politics. He wants us to live for America, as one nation, and together profess the American creed of self-evident truths.”
This was a sentiment shared by Obama, stating, “We shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher—the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed.” McCain was buried at the U.S. Naval Acadmey, his alma mater, in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday.

McCain’s death and memorial services focused largely on American principles and bipartisanship, uniting much of the country, albeit if just for a short period. Many believe this has come at a time when the country and government is lacking those very values, and that these services have served as a “requiem for the American century,” according to Roger Cohen—the death knell to a seemingly shrinking form of politics and behavior.

The governor of Arizona announced on Wednesday that former Sen. Jon Kyl would fill McCain’s seat and he was subsequently been sworn in. Kyl served in the Senate before retiring in 2013, but has returned in time for the vote on Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. Cindy McCain remarked that this is a great tribute to her late husband, stating that “Jon Kyl is a dear friend of mine and John’s.”

mainsj1@student.lasalle.edu

header_politics

Congress reaches no decision on future of DACA children

Immigration has been a topic at the forefront of U.S. politics ever since President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in September. It featured as a prime topic in the president’s State of the Union Address and caused enough gridlock in Congress to cause a government shutdown. However, last week the Senate once again failed to reach an understanding on the subject, and the current bill failed to pass, according to the New Yorker. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed doubt last week about the success of any bill, even if it should find a supporting majority in the Senate. He said that the president was unlikely to support any bill Congress would send him. Later that week, President Trump announced that he would in fact deny any bill other than his own.

The debate, which was expected to be quite lengthy and spirited, lasted only an hour, according to CNN. Some lawmakers blamed the comments made by the president for the short discussion. They reasoned that perhaps more of an effort would have been made if more people felt President Trump would support the solution they agreed on. Democratic Sen. Chris Coons was one such person, criticizing the White House’s stance Coon said, “It is striking to me that the White House and the Department of Homeland security actively and aggressively campaigned against the McCain-Coons bill and the bipartisan Rounds-King bill and yet both of those bills got more votes significantly then the White House initiated Grassley bill.”

However, Democrats were not the only ones disappointed. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was also critical, stating, “I fear that you’ve got some within the White House that have not yet figured out that legislation almost by its very definition is a compromise product and compromise doesn’t mean getting four Republicans together and figuring out what it is that those four agree on, it is broader.”

The president’s own bill failed to pass the Senate with a vote of 60-39, according to Reuters. The president’s plan includes increased funding for border security, an end to chain migration and an end to the Visa lottery, according to Fox News. The president claimed that his goals for immigration are in the name of safety, an idea he repeated several times during his State of the Union Address. Earlier this month, Trump tweeted, “Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time.” Building a border wall would fulfill one of the president’s campaign promises.

While 14 Republicans also opposed the legislation put forth by the president, the White House blamed Democrats for the failure. “They are not serious about immigration reform, and they are not serious about homeland security,” said a statement from the White House last Thursday.

While DACA protections are set to start expiring March 5, legislators are being given more time to debate the future of those protections by federal judges. According to Republican Sen. Bob Corker, legislators are now able to pass temporary funding for DACA protections through a funding bill. However, this bill must be passed by March 23. In the current political climate the future of the 1.8 million people relying on DACA protections is uncertain.

Jackson Swindells, Editor
swindellsj1@student.lasalle.edu

header_politics

Mueller indicts 13 Russians for election interference

Last Friday, Feb. 16, 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities were indicted for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Special counsel Robert Mueller charged the indicted nationals, according to the Department of Justice.

Five of the accused were also charged with aggravated identity theft. An additional three were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

All 13 were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. The recent indictment is part of an ongoing saga that began in 2016, though President Donald Trump has adamantly denied Russian interference in the election, referring to it as a “hoax.” The 37-page indictment details how the nationals charged are accused of allegedly posing as Americans, planning Trump rallies and other campaign events, and purchasing ads on various social media platforms as part of their election meddling scheme.

Several of the 13 indicted are also said to have been participating in election interference while in the United States. The indictment states that no Americans were knowingly involved in the election meddling.

The Russian organization Internet Research Agency began meddling within the US political system as early as 2014. According to the indictment, 12 out of the 13 accused allegedly worked for the Internet Research Agency, purchasing ads and “posting derogatory information about a number of candidates.”

According to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, “The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

The White House released a statement regarding the indictment, affirming that Trump had been briefed on the situation. According to the statement, the White House is “glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.”

Trump has also acknowledged the indictment in a series of tweets over the weekend. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian hoax was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

Trump also alleged in several tweets that former President Barack Obama may have known about the interference yet neglected to act on it. On Monday, he tweeted “Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?”

The Kremlin issued a response to the charges on Monday, denying any interference by the Russian government in the 2016 election. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for President Vladimir Putin, stated that there were “no indications that the Russian state could have been involved in this and there can’t be any. So we still insist, we think such evidence lacks foundation, we don’t think it’s in any case comprehensive, we don’t think it’s fair and we can’t agree with it.”

According to Peskov, “Russia has never interfered, doesn’t have the habit of interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries, and is not doing it now.”

Selena Bemak, Editor
bemaks1@student.lasalle.edu

header_politics

Parkland tragedy spawns new activists

Last weekend, a group of grieving and outspoken survivors of the Parkland high school shooting gathered at a local park where they set up a makeshift media center to begin an advocacy campaign called Never Again, according to NPR. The movement aims to prevent future school shootings through its fundamental political goal: stricter background checks for gun buyers. The students have also planned a nationwide protest, March for Our Lives, which is scheduled for March 24.

The movement began with passionate social media posts venting their sadness and anger over the loss of 17 classmates and teachers who were killed by Nikolas Cruz when he opened fire with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The students have since become a “powerful political voice,” according to the Washington Post.

“I’m safe,” wrote Cameron Kasky, a Parkland student and drama club member. “Thank you to all the second amendment warriors who protected me.”

“PLEASE contact your local and state representatives as we must have stricter gun laws IMMEDIATELY,” junior Jaclyn Corin wrote in an Instagram post after she found out that one of her friends was killed. She began reaching out to her congresswoman, Debbi Wasserman Schultz and state representatives about gun control. Corin began arranging to go before the Florida state legislation with 100 other classmates.

CNN and other national networks began asking these outspoken students for quotes and interviews, so Krasky invited these students and friends to join him in developing a larger media presence. Overnight, the group created social media accounts to get their message about the Never Again campaign out.

They then convened in a park on Sunday, inviting news media to ask them questions. On a series of morning talk shows broadcast across the nation, the organizers announced the March For Our Lives protest. The focus of the interviews, essays and speeches has not only been on pushing stricter gun legislation but also on holding elected officials accountable for their negligence in not passing stricter regulations before.

“My message for the people in office is: you’re either with us or against us,” Kasky told CNN. “We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around.”

Citing past school shootings, these students say they weren’t entirely shocked—they see school shootings as systemic because of continued access to powerful weapons with little regulation, according to the Washington Post.

Unlike students at Sandy Hook, the students said they are old enough to process and speak out about what happened to their peers, teachers and friends.

“We’ve sat around too long being inactive in our political climate, and as a result, children have died,” David Hogg, a student journalist and founder of Never Again said. “If our elected officials are not willing to stand up and say, ‘I’m not going to continue to take money from the NRA because children are dying,’ they shouldn’t be in office, and they won’t be in office because this is a midterm year and this is the change that we need.”

The students, who at first made pointed references to the Republican party’s ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA), have made it clear that their stance is not one-sided. They have vowed to create “a badge of shame” for any politician that accepts funds from the NRA.

“If you actively do nothing,” said Emma Gonzalez, a student and Never Again founder in a passionate speech that has spread across social media, “people continually end up dead,”

The Florida House of Representatives held a vote Tuesday to open up a debate on the issues spearheaded by the Never Again movement, according to the New York Times. However, the vote failed to pass 36 to 71 in a vote that held strictly to party lines. In the aftermath, State Representative Kionne McGhee reported seeing one of the students from Parkland burst into tears at the news.

Some of criticized the Florida House because it would declare pornography a public health risk later that same day. “Has anyone ever been killed as a result of the health implications of pornography,” asked Democratic Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith clearly, insinuating that gun regulations should have been given more attention.

MegAnne Liebsch, Editor
liebschm1@student.lasalle.edu

header_politics

North Korea in the Winter Olympics

In attempts to ease tensions over North Korea’s nuclear missile program, South Korean President Moon Jae-in welcomed the participation of North Korean athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Also included in the North Korean delegation are politicians, artists and Kim Jong Un’s “Army of Beauties,” a group of 230 cheerleaders. The 2018 Winter Games marks North Korea’s first Winter Olympics in eight years.

As tensions have risen over North Korea’s multiple nuclear and missile tests, the South Korean government has chosen to improve ties. In fact, many see the 2018 Winter Games as a time of unification and peace between North and South Korea. “Through the participation of North Korea, the ‘Peace Olympics’ has been realized and this will lead a foundation to improve inter-Korean relations,” Games Chief Lee Hee-beom told reporters according to CNBC. North Korea and South Korea walked under one flag at the opening ceremonies. The two countries have a joint Korean ice hockey team.

Furthermore, Kim Yo Jong’s presence, at the Games marked the first time a member of North Korea’s ruling dynasty had traveled to South Korea. These moments of unity, analysts indicate, could be the beginning of better relations between the two countries.

According to state-run media, Kim hopes to “[liven] up the warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue” that the Winter Games has sparked. North Korea’s participation in these Olympics, some experts believe, sends a message to the world that it is ready to engage in diplomacy. How that message was received varies among world leaders. United States Vice President Mike Pence refused to stand during the opening ceremonies. However, Pence later alluded in an interview with the Washington Post that the United States and South Korea will engage in dialogue with North Korea. “If you want to talk, we’ll talk,” Pence was quoted as saying in the interview. Similarly, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was skeptical of North Korea’s participation. The North Korean athletes are to compete in the figure skating, skiing and ice hockey events. The country’s delegation has yet to win a medal.

Bianca Abbate, Staff
abbateb2@student.lasalle.edu