Posts tagged with "politics"

Rita Azar illustration for 360 MAGAZINE article on immigration

American Attitudes Towards Immigrants

New Report: What Immigration Issues Do Americans Hold Sacred?

Why has immigration moved from being a mundane policy issue into one of the most hotly-debated topics in American politics today? Why was family separation so widely rebuked by the public and why is building a border wall so divisive?

Answers to these questions can be found in a new report published by the Center for Inclusion and Belonging at the American Immigration Council and Over Zero, titled: “What Immigration Issues Do Americans Hold Sacred? A Psychological Journey into American Attitudes Towards Immigrants” by Nichole Argo, Ph.D. and Kate Jassin, Ph.D.

The report—and the behavioral survey upon which it is based—overcome the limitations of traditional polling by digging deeper into how deeply respondents think about immigration issues, and why they feel the way that they do. 

In March 2020, the authors conducted a nationally representative survey to examine 14 key immigration issues. They asked respondents to choose between an open or restrictive stance on each issue, then reflect on how much it mattered to them. They then asked how much money it would take for respondents to give up this value.  

Stances that cannot be traded away for any amount of money are considered “sacred values.” They are processed in the brain differently than regular values, and efforts to argue or negotiate around them as if they are regular values are likely to backfire.

How sacred is immigration in the United States today to those on the right and the left? Very. This is one explanation for why the debate becomes so heated on immigration and easily divides Americans. 

What are the beliefs, values, experiences, and attitudes most associated with open or restrictive sacralization and what can we do about it?  

View the full report and key findings here

Illustration for 360 Magazine by Rita Azar

Montana’s Anti-Transgender Bills’ Negative Impact

On Thursday, Leader Kim Abbott, the ACLU of Montana, the Free and Fair Coalition, local Montanans, and the Human Rights Campaign detailed their opposition to two anti-transgender bills (HB 112, a bill that would ban the participation of transgender women in women’s sports, and HB 113 which would restrict transgender access to medical care) being rushed through the legislative process in Montana.

HB 112 passed the House Judiciary Committee and HB 113 is expected to see the same result, with both likely to be voted on by the full House within the week after preliminary hearings were held on the federal holiday of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Opponents of the bills on today’s press call discussed the discriminatory nature of both bills and the adverse personal, social, economic, legal, and medical impacts the passage of these bills have had in other states. Those opposed include local legislative voices and those that would be personally impacted by the legislation in question.

“Montana is the first state this year to be giving serious consideration to anti-transgender legislation and unfortunately we don’t expect it will be the last,” said Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director. “Last year was historic for anti-transgender bills and we expect this year will be as well. These bills went through a rushed legislative process. Why the rush? These are made up issues. As a federal court has already recognized, bills like these are unconstitutional and motivated by anti-transgender animus. This — not COVID or economic relief legislation — is their priority and their motivations are 100% political.”

“This bill would harm pediatricians and other medical professionals by levying steep fines,” said Dr. Lauren Wilson, from the Montana Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics. “House Bill 113 represents one of the most extreme political attacks on transgender kids in history. Transgender kids are kids. They don’t deserve a ban against participation in sports. We know that transgender kids who can  live with gender they identify with have a lower rate of suicide. These bills undermine the work and rules that schools already have. It would also violate federal law and threaten federal funding. Transgender kids have the best chance to thrive if they can get the care they need and are allowed to be an active part of their community.”

“I am the proud daughter of two kids. My son is transgender. Being transgender is not a choice, and being transgender is not negotiable,” said Jaime Gabrielli, the parent of a transgender child in Montana. “Impulsivity is not part of the equation of transgender affirming health care. These are necessary, planned, informed, thoughtful processes that do not happen quickly. It’s a choice that often comes as one of two remaining options: end your life or transition. When suicide is an option, you do everything you can as a parent to help. I see him beginning to thrive because he’s finally able to be who he is. Making necessary medical care that transgender kids rely on illegal does not make them more safe. My plea to lawmakers is to protect trans youth in Montana by voting ‘no’ to HB 112 and HB 113.”

“I am among the more than 160 businesses in Montana that stand against these bills,” said Chelsie Rice, Owner of the Montana Book Company. “It’s projected that the loss from the North Carolina bathroom bills was upwards of $3 billion. Montana businesses do not support these bills. We face a loss of revenue that we can’t afford. More than that, we want to be businesses that are welcome to all in our state.”

Public policy polling by the Human Rights Campaign in partnership with the Hart Research Group across swing states in the 2020 election showed that support for transgender access to medical care had more than 90% support, including significant support among conservative voters. Idaho, which was the first and so far only state to pass  legislation banning transgender women from participation in sports, has been enjoined from implementing that law pending the final determination of the case as a federal district court found the transgender athlete challenging the law has a significant likelihood of winning her case.

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and South Carolina show that there would be devastating economic fallout. The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill would have lost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years. During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state. Together, these real-life previous implications of attacking transgender people put Montana’s economy and reputation at risk.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Illustration by Kaelen Felix

The Presidential Inauguration

Today, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States which commences his four-year presidency and Kamala Harris as Vice President. 

Earlier it was revealed that former president Donald Trump would not attend the ceremony. Trump announced this on his Twitter account before the account was suspended. On January 8 he tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Trump is the sixth outgoing president that did not attend the presidential inauguration. The last time this occurred was in 1921 when Woodrow Wilson did not attend the inauguration of Warren G. Harding because of poor health. 

“It’s usually a sign that American society is in the midst of major political feud,” the presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said in the New York Times. “The fact that the incoming and outgoing presidents can’t shake hands and co-participate in an inauguration means that something’s off-kilter in the democracy.”

President Biden took an upbeat approach while speaking to the public in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the “Celebrating America” concert. After  addressing many difficulties the nation has encountered recently, he asked if American’s were up for a challenge. 

“Will we meet the moment like our forebearers have?” he asked. “I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America than I am this very day.”

“There isn’t anything we can’t do, if we do it together,” he added. 

“So thank you for this honor, I will give my all to you,” Biden concluded. 

The “Celebrating America” concert was star-packed and many celebrities came together to celebrate the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. Performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, John Legend and Katy Perry all had smashing performances. The celebration was hosted by Tom Hanks, who many sources noted as looking “freezing” because he didn’t have time to take a break in the heated trailers set up for performers. 

There was of course concerns because of the violence that recently occurred at the Capitol earlier in January, explained Adrienne Elrod, the director of talent for the Biden transition team. “What happened on January 6th I wouldn’t say derailed us, but it certainly caused us to take a step back,” she said.

This inauguration is monumental as the first female Vice President is sworn in inspiring girls throughout America. Many people showed heartwarming tweets of their daughters watching Harris as she was sworn in as president. It was also reported that Harris will not immediately be moving in to the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory. 

In Harris’s first statement to the public in her role as Vice President, she encouraged the people of the United States to unite in this time of crisis. 

“In many ways this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We, not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted, in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration,” Harris said.

Dr. Jill Biden tweeted a video of her and President Biden arriving at the North Portico of the White House as her first official tweet as First Lady. “Thank you for your faith in something that is bigger than all of us: that we will build a better world because we’re going to do it together,” the tweet read.

One unexpected part of the inauguration that has taken social media by storm is an image of Bernie Sanders sitting in a chair with mittens on. A huge number of memes have been created of Sanders in various locations and according to the Los Angles Times Sanders has also been laughing at the memes. 

A school teacher from Vermont was responsible for crafting the famous mittens and has since been flooded with requests from people that want to buy them. However, she has announced she is no longer selling them.

“Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens!” Jen Ellis wrote on Twitter. “I’m so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them.”

Sanders said he had no idea that the image of him would cause such an uproar on social media. “I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on,” he said during an interview on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Thursday. Even celebrities like Reba and Sarah Jessica Parker joined in on the fun making memes of the image. 

Biden began his duties as early as Wednesday when he finalized over a dozen executive moves in the Oval Office. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden told reporters as he began signing a stack of orders and memoranda. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”

Biden also made it clear during a swearing-in ceremony that his employees are expected to respect each other.”If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot,” said Biden. 

The Biden administration has also put a plan in place to focus on specific issues that need attention. Starting on January 20, the Biden Administration began with Inauguration and four Crises to focus on.

They decided to pick a theme for the following ten days so they would be able to focus on specific issues each day. Some of these themes include Covid, Economic Relief, Climate, Health Care and Immigration. In February there is a plan to focus on restoring America’s place in the world. Throughout these days there will be a variety of executive orders depending on the theme.

gun violence image for 360 magazine by Kaelen Felix

Motherhood Does Not Drive Support For Gun Control

A recent study has found that moms are not more likely than other women to support gun control efforts. In fact, this new study finds that parenthood doesn’t have a substantial effect on the gun control views of men or women.

“Everybody ‘knows’ that moms are more politically liberal on gun control issues,” says Steven Greene, corresponding author of the study and a professor of political science at North Carolina State University. “We wanted to know if that’s actually true. And, as it turns out, it’s not true – which was surprising.”

To explore the impact of parenthood on people’s gun control views, the researchers drew on data collected by the Pew Center for Research in 2017 as part of Pew’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. The researchers then used statistical models to account for various confounding variables, such as political affiliation, allowing them to focus specifically on the effect that parenthood has on one’s beliefs regarding gun control.

The Pew surveys had examined a range of issues pertaining to gun control. Across the board, men were substantially more politically conservative than women on questions related to gun laws and regulations. In other words, men were more likely to favor fewer regulations and laxer legal requirements when it comes to guns.

On four of the gun control issues, parenthood had no statistical impact at all – meaning that the positions of moms were no different from the positions of women who weren’t parents, and the positions of dads were no different from the positions of men who weren’t parents. Those four issues pertained to: gun ownership, or how permissive gun ownership laws should be; home safety, or laws pertaining to how guns and ammunition are stored or secured in the home; teachers and guns, or whether school personnel should carry firearms; and whether stricter gun laws would reduce mass shootings.

However, parenthood did have a small – but statistically significant – impact on two other gun control issues.

Mothers were actually more politically conservative than other women on the issue of gun strictness – meaning that moms were slightly more likely to support less restrictive gun laws.

And fathers were more politically conservative than other men on the issue of gun prevalence – meaning they were slightly more likely to believe that more people should be allowed to own guns, and guns should be allowed in more places.

“When we talk about political movements and efforts to change laws, it’s important to have a clear, accurate sense of where people stand on the relevant issues,” Greene says. “Using the potent symbolism of motherhood in America in order advance a political agenda, in this case, is actually ignoring the fact that positions on gun control are virtually identical for women across the board. There is some minor variation, but even there, it actually suggests that mothers are less supportive of restrictive gun laws.

“To be clear, most women – including most moms – support more restrictive gun laws. But it’s not because they’re parents.” In conclusion, there is no true correlation between how adults feel about gun laws and if they are a parent.

The paper, “Do moms demand action on guns? Parenthood and gun policy attitudes,” appears in the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. The paper was co-authored by Melissa Deckman, of Washington College; Laurel Elder, of Hartwick College; and Mary-Kate Lizotte, of Augusta University.

“Do moms demand action on guns? Parenthood and gun policy attitudes”

Authors: Steven Greene, North Carolina State University; Melissa Deckman, Washington College; Laurel Elder, Hartwick College; and Mary-Kate Lizotte, Augusta University

Published: Dec. 28, 2020, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties

DOI: 10.1080/17457289.2020.1862130

Abstract: The idea that motherhood primes women to support stronger gun control policy permeates our contemporary politics. Motherhood shapes views on a variety of issues, but the question remains whether mothers hold distinctive views on gun control policies relative to their non-parent peers. We draw on 2017 Pew Research Center data to explore the ways gender, parenthood, and race intersect to shape attitudes on gun policy in the post-Sandy Hook era when gun violence has become prominently linked with schools and children, and during a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has drawn national attention to the relationship of gun violence and racial inequality. Most notably, we find that contemporary depictions of mothers as a distinctively pro-gun control constituency are largely inaccurate. The very real gender gap in gun policy attitudes appears to be falsely attributed to motherhood, rather than gender. We also find very little impact of parenthood for men. Finally, we generally fail to see much relationship between race, parenthood, and gun attitudes. Overall, despite common belief and media reporting to the contrary, the story is very much one where parenthood seems to play little role in gun policy attitudes.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Ritchie Torres for 360 Magazine

TRAILBLAZER: CONGRESSMAN RITCHIE TORRES

By Elle Grant

January 3rd marked the commencement of the 117th Congress and the swearing of its newest members. For many, it marked the beginning of a new dawn. One that will be followed by the inauguration of TIME’s People of the Year, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. They will replace President Trump on Inauguration Day on January 20th. Yet several other remarkable individuals were elected this year and sworn in a bit earlier, solidifying the 117th Congress as the most diverse in American history. One of these representatives is a freshly elected Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old politician serving the 15th congressional district in the Bronx, New York. Torres is the first openly gay Afro-Latino man elected to Congress, and one of two gay Black men that will serve in the 117th Congress, a distinction he shares with fellow New Yorker Mondaire Jones. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Torres to discuss the story of his life, the issues he considers vital, as well as pick his brain for his thoughts on current events.

“I am a product of the Bronx,” Torres says of his childhood, “I spent most of my life in poverty.” Ritchie Torres was raised by a single mother, one of three children, in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the East Bronx. He recalls the difficulty his mother had raising a family on minimum wage in the 1990s, as well as the awful conditions of the public housing he grew up in. Torres recollects these experiences with the soft yet fluid countenance that marked his speech throughout 360’s conversation with him. He floats between topics and memories with ease.

He recalls, with a rich sense of irony, the construction of Trump Golf Links as a child. “My life is something of a metaphor. I grew up right across the street of what became Trump golf course and actually something funny, is when the golf course was undergoing construction, it unleashed a skunk infestation. So, I often tell people I’ve been smelling the stench of Donald Trump long before he became President.” His own situation, compared with the government subsidized construction of the Trump Golf Links, deeply unsettled Torres’ image of society. He says collectively of his youth, “Those experiences shape not only who I am as a person, but as a public official.”

Such injustices prompted Torres to seek to become “The change that you wish the see in the world,” he says, quoting Mahatma Gandhi. He named public figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy as role models. He got his start as a housing organizer and eventually took the leap of faith to run for public office, becoming New York’s youngest elected city official at age 25. He had “No ties to the machine. No ties to the dynasties of Bronx politics, but I was young and energetic. I knocked on thousands of doors,” he claims that kind of face-to-face contact won him that election. Torres then became the first LGBTQ+ official elected from the Bronx.

“I think it has several implications,” he says when asked what this early accomplishment meant to him. “I mean, first, we are all products of our identities and our lived experiences. Right? Who we are as people shapes what we do as policy makers. It is important to have LGBTQ policy makers in the room where decisions are being made. A wise person once said, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, then you are probably on the menu.’” Referring to his 2020 election win, he says “My election means that LGBTQ people of color, in particular, will have a seat at one of the most powerful tables, the United States Congress.” He calls the reality of his election both empowering and normalizing. “I am a symbol of possibility.”

“I met Mondaire for the first time four years ago,” Torres says of Mondaire Jones, U.S. representative of New York’s 17th congressional district. “I remember when I met him for the first time, we had a conversation about the lack of LGBTQ representation of color in New York state politics. And I never imagined that four years later, he and I would become the first openly LGBTQ Black members of United States Congress.”

Congressmen Torres recognizes that his path, though marked with accomplishments, has not been one of only highs. Torres stands apart as a public official on the national stage who is open about the lows of his life and his struggles with mental health. When asked why he chooses to be so transparent, he says “I felt a deep sense of obligation to speak openly about my own struggles with depression in order to break the silence and shame and stigma that surrounds mental health.” He seeks to evolve, not perpetuate, the current ideas surrounding mental health. He hopes to show that “there is a way forward” out of difficult moments, which for him were struggles with substance abuse, the loss of a friend, and moments when he considered taking his own life. But seven years later, Torres was elected to city council. “I would not be alive today, much less a member of the United States Congress, were it not for mental health care which saved my life.” He aspires to send a message that “Recovery is possible. You can take an antidepressant, as I do every day, and find normalcy and stability” and achieve feats like being elected to Congress.

The 117th Congress is slated to be the most diverse in history. Torres says of this reality, “I think American is increasingly becoming a multi-racial, multi-ethnic inclusive democracy. We are witnessing the collapse of politics as an old voice network. I am part of a new generation of young leaders every bit as diverse as America itself. Congress is becoming what it always should have been, a miniaturization of America itself.”

Torres acknowledges the year 2020, monumental in many ways, as harrowing for his Bronx community. “COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for the city and the country, and the South Bronx has been the epicenter of COVID-19. The South Bronx had the highest rate of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality during the peak of the pandemic. And just as destructive as COVID-19 itself were the deeper inequalities that were brought to light.” He argued that the coronavirus exposed the deeper health inequalities, racial inequalities, and class inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.

These issues are at the forefront of Torres’ mind in thinking of his work as a legislator. When asked what he saw as the first step to rectifying the rampant racial injustice in the United States, he answered “the first thing is to bring greater accountability to policing in America,” an argument familiar to many Americans following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd and their ensuing protests. As the Black Lives Matter movement swept the nation with greater momentum than ever before, cries for justice and defunding the police became common across the country’s cities. “Where there is no accountability, there will never be an end to police brutality” Torres says, being especially critical of qualified immunity in the United States.

Torres heads to Congress as a man with a mission regarding many issues. He himself declares “My great passion is affordable housing,” reflecting a long journey working continually in the housing sphere. He seeks to secure far greater funding for public housing in New York City and to expand the Section 8 program. The Section 8 program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, created by an act in 1978, provides assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income families to rent housing in the private market. Torres says, “For me the surest way to stimulate the economy is to put money in the pockets of struggling families.” In order to do that, he believes the solution is an expanded child tax credit, which he describes as the single largest tax expenditure in America, yet he finds fault with a system that is “so regressive that it excludes a third of American families. Particularly the poorest families in America.” Torres’ passion shines through when he discusses the subject, detailing how this solution could slash childhood poverty by 40% in the span of the year. He calls its potential an absolute “game changer.”

Without question, affordable housing and tax reform are the first issues Torres hopes to address after being sworn in to the 117th Congress on January 3rd, 2020. “For me, the central mission of my life is to fight poverty in America. Racially constructed poverty in America. The South Bronx is said to be the poorest district in America and if we can make progressive policies work in the South Bronx, we can make them work anywhere.”

360 Magazine also had the opportunity to discuss a variety of current issues with Congressman Torres, one of which being the then impending Senate run-offs in Georgia. Following races too close to call in November 2020, Republican incumbent David Perdue is facing a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff. Additionally, GOP appointee Kelly Loeffler is defending her seat against Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock. The election is vital because it will determine which party will control the Senate. “The stakes are supremely important,” Torres says of Georgia. “As long as Mitch McConnell refuses to bring critical bills to the floor for a vote, there is a limit to what we can accomplish. For me, Mitch McConnell is the single greatest obstruction on the path to progress. Winning those two seats in Georgia are essential.”

Regarding the impending mayoral race in his home of New York City, as well as early polls that display former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang as the frontrunner, Torres is coy. “The mayor’s race is wide open. Anyone who claims to have it figured out is lying.” He goes on to affirm “It is full of more than one credible candidate.”

“To be clear, I never announced that I wasn’t going to be in the squad.” Torres says, referring to ‘The Squad’ of United States Congress, composed of Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New Yorker, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. With new young progressive politicians like Torres joining the fray, claims of expanding membership are common. Torres, along with the aforementioned Mondaire Jones, as well as Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, and Congressman Jamaal Brown are commonly referred to as impending members.

Instead, Torres clarifies, “I would never issue an announcement that I would not be a part of something. That would be an odd thing to do. Whenever I’m asked about the squad, I simply state that I’m my own person and I prefer to be judged on the basis of my own story and my own record, on my own terms.” He goes on to assert he is willing to work with “anyone and everyone in the service of delivering to the people of the South Bronx. That is my highest priority.” Torres is clear in this declaration that he is willing to work with more conservative members of his own party or the Republican party in hopes of progress.

On a future in politics, Torres affirmed his intent to serve the people in the moment and to “let the dice fall where they may” regarding the future. When asked what wisdom he would impart to a younger generation, Congressman Torres says “We are all only as strong as the support we have in our lives and be grateful for the supporters you have. The friends and family. I would not be here today if not for the friendship of people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. Know who those people are and value them and be grateful for them.”

Update as of 1/14/21, Congressman Ritchie Torres has formally endorsed former presidential candidate Andrew Yang for mayor of New York City. This comes just a day after Andrew Yang announced his campaign in a video titled ‘Why I’m Running,’ which features Torres in it.

Graffiti and art article illustrated by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 magazine

Graffiti Art: Hobby, Art, or Political Statement

It is perhaps deliberately that this has been framed as a loaded question, is graffiti art considered to be art? But this takes us directly to the heart of the matter, what constitutes something being art is very truly on the eye of the beholder. But some serious debates are surrounding this topic.

Terminology

The term graffiti itself is problematic. Consider this article about prominent Chicago artist Dont Fret, he is referred to as a street artist. This distinction offers a more constructive spin on the entire artform, as street art is a more creative and acceptable term. You can see how celebrated the artist is from the article as he is lauded by a city official.

Criminality

Should we be considering graffiti, or street art, a crime? Well, technically it is, but only in some circumstances. The crux of the matter comes down to permission. If you paint, draw, or write anything on a surface without permission of the property owner, then by the letter of the law, it would be considered illegal vandalism. Would this result in prosecution in reality? This mainly depends on the owners’ attitude since much of the art is done either with permission or in abandoned spaces, the level of prosecution these days seems to be low in most areas. What of art on publicly owned buildings? This is a subject of hot debate as it brings politics into it (more on that later).

Should we Encourage it?

Is it an art form that should be encouraged? You could encourage young people to use it to express themselves. Take an art class, equip them with some Dang Paint and find an area to let them give it a go. Many art schools and colleges have whole courses on graffiti art as a legitimate medium. Reputation still holds it back for some more conservative folks, but it is steadily gaining momentum as a serious and respected medium.

Part of the City

In many places, grafitti art has become a defining feature of the city and its culture. High-quality street art can be stunningly beautiful and show much of the culture and history of a place when done well. Take the series of stunning murals in Glasgow, Scotland that is now a famous feature that residents and visitors to the city rightly marvel at. 

Politics

Politics often, but not always, plays a big part in street art or graffiti art. Take the world-famous Banksy, no-one even knows who he or she is, but many of the pieces are political, showing a real flavor of social commentary. These pieces have sparked more social debate in the last couple of decades than any traditional artform as they reach ordinary people who would never have considered visiting an art gallery. Other more overtly political examples can be seen in communities with a much more overt political struggle, the murals on display in Northern Irish communities, on both sides, are excellent examples.

Senate called on to include $200 billion for charities in relief package

A coalition of nonprofit groups is calling on the U.S. Senate to include a temporary emergency stimulus in its next pandemic relief package. The proposal would unlock $200 billion in charitable funds to assist charities overwhelmed by the pandemic, with updates to the laws governing private foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs). The proposal would release more of the estimated $1.2 trillion they currently hold by increasing required distributions to 10 percent annually for three years.

“Nonprofits need emergency help right now. Millions of nonprofit jobs have been lost, one-third of them in health care. Up to 120,000 nonprofits are shutting down completely,” said Scott Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund, a private foundation that committed to spend 20 percent of its own endowment in 2020. “We urge Congress to enact an Emergency Charity Stimulus to force philanthropies to increase their support for nonprofit organizations – immediately, urgently, and temporarily, to allow time for deployment of a vaccine and economic recovery.” 

“We are collectively facing the most dire moment that many of us have seen in our lifetimes, and it is likely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the challenges that await us as a society and a planet,” said Aileen Getty, founder and president of the Aileen Getty Foundation and granddaughter of billionaire J. Paul Getty.

“While some foundations and donors are stepping up at this moment, others continue to treat the five percent payout as a ceiling not a floor,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies. ““Donors have already taken the tax break for these contributions. Congress needs to raise the bar for those donors who haven’t figured out this is no time to sit on your treasure.”

Led by the Charity Reform Initiative of the Institute for Policy Studies, Patriotic Millionaires, and the Wallace Global Fund, the groups first proposed the idea in May with a letter to Congress. The letter has now been signed by almost 800 philanthropists and leaders of foundations as well as several thousand nonprofit leaders and staff.

The proposal calls for a temporary doubling of private foundation payout from 5 percent to 10 percent for three years and would establish a similar 10 percent payout for donor-advised funds (DAFs) that currently have no mandate.

Researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies estimate these policies would unleash an estimated $200 billion in additional charity funds over three years, with no additional cost to taxpayers. The independent nonprofit sector is part of the front-line response to the pandemic and other natural disasters. The sector employs 12 million workers or more than 10 percent of the private workforce.

Prominent signers of the letter include: Scott Wallace, Wallace Global Fund (PA); Abigail Disney (NY); Aileen Getty, Aileen Getty Foundation (CA), Sara Miller, Miranda Family Fund (NY), Rory Kennedy (CA), Ning Mosberger-Tang (CO); Catherine Gund, George Gund Foundation (NY); Mary Mountcastle, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (NC); Anna Fink, Amalgamated Charitable; Ellen Friedman, Compton Fund (CA); Jerry Hirsch, Lodestar Foundation (AZ); Morris Pearl (NY); and Stephen Prince (TN). 

About the Charity Reform Initiative

The Charity Reform Initiative of the Institute for Policy Studies aims to modernize the rules governing philanthropy to increase the flow of resources to the nonprofit independent sector and protect the integrity of the tax system. 

About the Patriotic Millionaires

The Patriotic Millionaires are high-net worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who are united in their concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in America. The mission of The Patriotic Millionaires organization is to build a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation by promoting public policies based on the “first principles” of equal political representation, a guaranteed living wage for all working citizens, and a fair tax system. 

About the Wallace Global Fund

The mission of the Wallace Global Fund is to support people-powered movements to advance democracy and rights and to fight for a healthy planet.

Will Trump Attend Inauguration?

BookMaker.eu released odds on whether President Trump will attend the inauguration of Joe Biden and the public vehemently disagreed with their prediction. “Initially we priced President Trump at a 1/2 (-200) favorite to attend. Meaning you had to wager $2 to win $1 on Trump attending,” said Head Political Trader Angus Hamm. “The public did not share our belief in Trump adhering to tradition and we were buried in bets against Trump attending to the point where the odds shot up to 1/3 (-300) that Trump will not attend.” 

Live Odds — https://www.bookmaker.eu/live-lines/politics

Will Donald Trump attend the inauguration of Joe Biden?

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Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Drug Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Oregon Decriminalizes Drugs

By Justin Lyons

This year’s election will go down as a legendary one in the history of the United States of America, and for some of the bigger fights, the country still doesn’t have an answer.

Where answers do exist seem to be in propositions and measures, and the big winners are those hoping for the decriminalization of drugs. Mississippi, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona all approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The biggest victory for those in favor of drug decriminalization probably came in Oregon, where the penalty for small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs was lessened.

According to Ballotpedia, Oregon’s Measure 110 would reclassify the possession of controlled substances such as those listed above from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E violation, which would result in a $100 fine or the necessity of a “completed health assessment.”

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that convictions for possession would decrease by 90.7%.

Addiction recovery centers conduct the health assessments, which will include a screening from a certified alcohol and drug counselor and must be completed within 45 days of the Class E violation.

The funds for the assessments and the recovery programs will come from the Oregon Marijuana Account and money the state of Oregon saves from reductions in arrests, incarceration and official supervision. The recovery centers will provide treatment 24 hours per day along with health assessments, intervention plans, case management services and peer support and outreach.

The possession quantity of the now decriminalized drugs to be classified as a Class E violation are as follows: one gram of heroin or less, two grams of cocaine or less, two grams of methamphetamine or less, one gram or five pills of MDMA or less, 40 or fewer user units of LSD, less than 12 grams of psilocybin, fewer than 40 user units of methadone and fewer than 40 pills, tables or capsules of oxycodone.

A person carrying more than the specified amounts may face a misdemeanor with less than a year imprisonment, a $6,250 fine or both.

According to Yes on Measure 110, more than 125 Oregon-based organizations endorsed the measure, including Oregon Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon School Psychologists’ Association and Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

Ballotpedia also said the Democratic Party of Oregon, Multnomah Democrats and Working Families Party of Oregon support the bill, right alongside 11-time-GRAMMY-Award-Winning artist John Legend.

The measure is to be implemented no later than Feb. 1 of 2021.

Kael Felix illustrates Joe Biden for 360 Magazine

BIDEN WINS

By Payton Saso

THE OVERWHELMING UNCERTAINTIES

As four years of uncertainty may be coming to a close, there is not the expected sigh of relief we could hope for. As election day takes way, it is hard to ignore all the uncertainties that still loom over America. 

The nation we are living in is something many young voters have not seen before. As big cities board up businesses in preparation for the salient threat of riots and protests following election results, COVID-19 cases are on the rise and the fear amongst Americans is palpable.

Reuters analysis of state and county reports showed that COVID cases have risen 18% and deaths have risen 3%. While 3% may not seem exponential, “Nationally, nearly 5,800 people died of the virus in the seven days ended Nov. 1,” they reported.

The election follows the week in which Amy Coney Barrett [ACB] was confirmed to serve her life-long term on the Supreme Court, making some voters even more concerned regarding the outcome of the election and the fate of their human rights.

In its first hearing since ACB was confirmed, the Court will start its hearings in a case regarding the Catholic Social Services in Pennsylvania. The case follows the suing of the City of Philadelphia by the CSS for not allowing children to be placed in foster care with organizations like the CSS who exclude same-sex couples from being fosters, according to the local news stations NBC 10 Philadelphia.

Originally facing the Supreme Court’s docket when the late Justice Ginsburg still served, the new outcome of the case is truly up in the air. With the addition of ACB, who is conservatively Catholic, it is unclear whether she will side with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in their claims that their First Amendment rights are being violated. 

It is clear that how ACB votes on this case, will set the precedent for her term and quite frankly how she will vote if President Trump objects to the outcome of the election. 

Which is an evident possibility, seeing that the G.O.P. in Texas has already attempted to get 127,000 votes from Harris County. The county, which is largely Democratic, instilled drive-through ballot drop locations throughout by Harris County clerk, Chris Hollins, the New York Times stated.

Though the case was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court, those in the lawsuit claimed that the locations were illegal and favored Democrats. However, it seems that this is a tactic of voter suppression in hopes to throw out Democratic votes. 

Similarly in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court ruled last month to reject “Republican request for a stay on a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that would allow ballots to be counted up to three days after Election Day,” Politico reported.

This attempted block is another attempt to threaten the validity of mail-in votes to which President Trump has been very vocal about opposing. The use of these absentee ballots; however, are just to yield some relief on the growing pandemic numbers to ease traffic at the polls today.

As of 12:17 EST, the US Elections Project gathered data that 100,611,070 Americans have voted early. With a mass number of votes already cast, it is clear this election will be historical in every way.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN WON’T STOP

Regularly dressed to the nines with his signature Aviator sunglasses, Biden has had to add another signature accessory to this fit, a mask. But that hasn’t stopped him from emanating the vibe of the cool Uncle Joe. His recent Twitter post for one of his campaign videos shows that.

Using the iconic Eminem song “Lose Yourself” from the “Eight Mile” soundtrack, the black and white video was Tweeted alongside the words by Biden, “ We have one shot. One Opportunity. One moment. Don’t miss the chance — vote.”

Appealing to those of all ages, “Lose Yourself” has become a song of triumph relished by sports teams, boxers and just the average joe in need of a confidence boots. The Grammy Award winning song was licensed to the Biden-Harris campaign which, Variety says, is a song rarely allowed by Eminem to be used.

It is no surprise that Eminem is one of the celebrities endorsing the Biden-Harris ticket. In 2017, he rapped a freestyle for the BET Awards that tore into Trump as president and as a human. He then released an album entitled “Revival” that year in which he continued to criticize Trump more. His song “Framed” on the track led the Secret Service to investigate the rapper.

While the Secret Service would not confirm this, “documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request confirmed that they did,” Rolling Stone claimed.

However, “One Shot,” regardless of the artist’s own personal hits at the President, encompasses the feeling of the American people in this time. The video depicts everyday people, our essential workers, nurses, doctors, those waiting in the long lines of the polls, and every other demographic Biden says he will work for. 

The power and importance of this election reigns true with the words ‘we only got one shot’ to make a promising change in America.

TRUMP PROMOTES THE AMERICAN DREAM

With the final push for votes occurring, both candidates are Tweeting out new campaign videos in hopes to still appeal to undecided voters.

President Trump Tweeted today a video that appeals to the masses who are patriotic and believe American is the greatest country. Playing to the idea of the American Dream, which he has made a prominent stance on, the video shows masses of Americans rallying together waving Trump flags and signs.

The images of American Flag sliced into images of the Armed Forces cheering and standing at attention, are overlaid with the words of President Trump. “America is the place where anything can happen. America is the place anyone can rise,” Trump asserts. 

The immensely patriotic video comes the day after President Trump announced his American Dream Plan. “President Trump recently released the American Dream Plan to reaffirm his commitment to fight for Hispanic prosperity and opportunity for all to achieve the American Dream,” The White House announced.

This final appeal to voters goes along with Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” where he says he will create a country completely independent of China, create job opportunities and create an environment where the American Dream can be accomplished. 

This video is in contrast to his opponent’s, Joe Biden, recent campaign video by using B-roll and music that is simple and might appeal to older voters, while Biden’s campaign used music and video editing that might appeal better to younger voters. 

Regardless of who the candidates are trying to appeal to, hopefully these campaign videos help some undecided voters to choose who they believe is best for our country.

ELECTION PREDICTIONS

The results of this election are being awaited anxiously by Americans everywhere. Because of so many people using mail-in ballots, the final results may take longer than usual to be confirmed. Many predictions have been made about who the winner may be.

Primary Model predicts that Trump will take the win and gives him a 91% chance of doing so. They predict Trump will get 362 electoral votes while Biden will only get 176. Since Primary Model was created in 1996, they have correctly predicted all but one presidential election.

It is predicted that voter turnout will surge this year. “The intensity of the electorate is without recent precedent,” Tom Bonier, the CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political-data firm, said in The Atlantic. It was predicted last year that 150 million Americans would vote this fall.

A historian and professor at American University, Allan Litchman, has predicted every presidential election correctly since 1984. Litchman explained on Fox News his prediction model called “The 13 Keys to the White House.” He explained Trump was in the lead to win until the coronavirus pandemic hit America.

“My prediction is that Donald Trump will become the first sitting president since George H. W. Bush in 1992 to lose a reelection bid, and Joe Biden will become the next president of the United States,” said Litchman.

Henry Olson also gave his prediction in The Washington Post. He predicted that Biden would win the popular vote with 52.5% of votes. He believes Biden will conclude with 350 electoral college votes while Trump will conclude with only 188.

AFTER ELECTION NIGHT

It is no surprise that results for this election are taking longer to finalize. With more early and mail-in votes due to the pandemic, some states are still counting ballots on November 4.

As of 3 pm on November 4, Biden is in the lead with 237 electoral college votes compared to the 213 Trump has. Six states are still undecided including Alaska, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia. Michigan and Nevada are currently leaning blue while the other remaining states lean red.

President Donald Trump seems dissatisfied with the fact that ballots are still being counted. “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” tweeted Trump at 12:49 am on November 4.

He also tweeted, “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!” The Trump campaign has also filed a lawsuit to stop vote counting in Michigan.

Candidate Joe Biden has been more positive on his Twitter account. At 1:03 am on November 4 he tweeted, “We feel good about where we are. We believe we are on track to win this election.”

THE WAIT FOR A WINNER

As of Friday morning, Biden has taken over Georgia and Pennsylvania. Georgia is 99% reporting and Biden is winning with just over 1,000 votes. Pennsylvania is 98% reporting and Biden has a slightly greater advantage than in Georgia.

The last time a Democrat won Georgia was almost 30 years ago when Bill Clinton won over his opponent George H.W. Bush in 1992. Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has already announced there would be a recount due to the small margin.

Nevada is at 84% reporting and Biden remains in the lead. Trump is leading in North Carolina and Alaska.

The Trump campaign continues to protest the results. They plan to sue in Nevada and claim that votes are being counted for people that have moved or died. According to Daily Mail, Trump plans to sue every battleground state that Biden has won.

This election is being compared to the 2000 election where George W. Bush and Al Gore had an incredibly tight race. This election lead to the supreme court decision to stop the recount known as Bush v. Gore. Bush ended up winning Florida by only 537 votes. In 2000 the winner wasn’t determined until December 12th and Americans everywhere are strapping in for what could be another long battle for the election results.

Joe Biden has passed 270 votes as of Saturday morning. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris posted on her Twitter in celebration.

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