America: Land of the Unfree

Conjure an image of ninth graders, fourteen-year-olds who have just barely entered high school, putting tape over their laptop webcams in an effort to thwart U.S. government spies. When I was in ninth grade, this trend was all the rage. Many of us feared that the FBI agent “personally assigned” to us would snitch on us for going on Facebook during class. Most students did this as a joke, but some of my slightly less-informed peers surmised that the government could – and would even bother to – watch them…

How Much for a Little Afghani Girl?

Welcome to Afghanistan: home to some of the world’s most gorgeous mosques, breathtaking national parks, and booming markets for selling little girls. Every American is probably well aware of the war that we have been fighting in Afghanistan for the past 17 years, but there is a more sinister aspect of Afghanistan that we are not told about. Families have now found themselves in situations where they need to sell their daughters in order to provide for their other children. You might ask: how could a mother or father do…

No, Amazon in New York is a Terrible Idea

“It is a great day for New York City” said New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, as he and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the plan to host half of Amazon’s headquarters in Long Island City. Yes, the same guy who suggested that private property just doesn’t make the cut in New York City is now welcoming a company through billions of dollars in incentives. He even said “I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which…

Why Representation Matters

If you are a straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied man or woman, it is likely that you have never given diversity much thought because you have always been represented. You have always shopped in a store, turned on the TV, or read a book wherein the names and faces match what you see when you look in the mirror. For many people, this is not reality. Occasionally LGBT and non-white people are given a bone – as if to say, “here, now stop complaining” – but the amount of times in…

Towards a Secure and Effective Emergency Powers Doctrine: A Reflection on the Dark Knight Trilogy

If we could unleash a Batman-like force to solve an emergency of either domestic or international politics, should we? This was a question that occurred to me while recently watching Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Batman’s job is to save the city of Gotham, which is too corrupt to be saved by conventional means. The mob has such a stranglehold on the city that the typical crime fighting institutions cannot bring about justice. Batman decides that in the fight for justice, extrajudicial means are necessary. Acting as a vigilante, he…

The Shroud of Objectivity

Racialized immigration has reentered the contemporary national discourse following Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and his “Muslim Ban.” Trump’s immigration policies, like “family separation” and the Muslim Ban, call for the exclusion of “undesirable” immigrant groups with appeals to order and national security; this exclusion, he argues, is a logical and impersonal precaution which serves the nation’s best interest. However, these appeals to order prove insincere when he and others effectively describe the citizens of the targeted nations as “lesser,” “untrustworthy” racial groups. Trump’s immigration policies and corresponding justifications echo the…

The Dire State of Our Environment

On November 23rd, the U.S Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a Congressionally-mandated report about global warming and related issues.  The document detailed the findings of more than 300 scientists, with input from 13 federal agencies, concluding that the planet is getting warmer, humans are greatly contributing to that warming, and without mitigation efforts, the effects will be devastating.  With warnings concerning an overall decrease in the American quality of life and substantial damage to the U.S. economy and human health, it is a severe…

The Hypocrisy Surrounding the Death of Jamal Khashoggi

“Democracy Dies in Darkness.” The Washington Post debuted its grim new slogan in early 2017, not a month after the inauguration of President Trump. T​he same constructive cynicism that generated the Washington Post’s mission statement is what motivated Jamal Khashoggi to flee his homeland of Saudi Arabia and begin writing for the Post in 2017​. Khashoggi was a staunch supporter of democratic values and transparency in his journalistic career, which he exemplified when he condemned human rights violations committed by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the crown prince himself,…