Posts tagged with "President Trump"

Kaelen Felix illustrates Twin Towers for 360 Magazine

Remembering 9/11

By Elle Grant

For any American, 9/11 marks an essential day of reflection and remembrance. September 11, 2020 marks the nineteenth anniversary of the historic terrorist attacks that rocked New York City, shocking the United States and the world.

19 years ago, four passenger jets were hijacked by the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in an effort to strike at American symbols. One was flown into the Pentagon Military Headquarters in Washington D.C. Another two, most remembered of the four, were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as Manhattan looked on in horror. A fourth, upon hearing news of the other hijackings, realized their plane was also under attack and chose to fight back, resulting in their plane plunging into a Pennsylvania field. In sum, roughly 3,000 lives were loss, with 2,700 of them being in New York City. The toll of lives and on the psyche of Americans was hitherto unimaginable, as was the ensuing consequences including the now infamous War on Terror.

The victims of 9/11 have been commemorated in numerous ways across the country, including at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum opened on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. The memorial is located where the Twin Towers formerly stood, now marked with design features such as man-made waterfalls, a forest of white oak trees, and the inscribed names of the victims as part of the memorial. This long-awaited memorial site has since been part of the commemorations each year, with 2020 being no exception. Visitors such as Vice President Pence and Democratic nominee for president Joseph Biden were among the attendees today.

New York is especially reflective this year as the anniversary of 9/11 comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, of which the city was an early epicenter, resulting in thousands of lives lost. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was thrust onto the national stage following the New York outbreak, said “This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost and the heroism displayed ‎as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy.” In NYC, the current death count due to coronavirus is placed at 23,000. This year, at the somber moments held at the September 11 memorial in Manhattan, those paying their respects wore face masks while honoring the dead, a new feature in remembering 9/11. New York remains a fixture of American culture, with eyes turned towards them during the tragedy of 9/11, as well as the current tragedy of coronavirus.

Another way victim’s families, including those killed and affected during rescue efforts, is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, currently authorized through 2090 and worth billions of dollars. “Our nation owes each of you a profound debt that no words or deeds will ever repay,” President Trump said during the bill signing ceremony. “But we can, and we will keep our nation’s promise to you.” Certainly, monetary efforts are no replacements for the lives loss and the impacts made, but it represents Congress’ efforts to assist those left in the wake of the tragic attacks.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

SSPBA endorses Donald Trump for President as announced by 360 MAGAZINE and illustrated by Rita Azar.

SSPBA endorses Donald Trump

Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (SSPBA) announced today that it is endorsing Donald Trump for President in the 2020 election. SSPBA board members and representatives met with Vice President Mike Pence in Raleigh today to announce the endorsement. SSPBA is composed of over 60,000 law enforcement officer members throughout the Southeast. This is the association’s first presidential endorsement in over twenty years.

“With the stakes as high as they are for the law enforcement profession today, we felt that we must speak up in support of the true law enforcement candidates,” said Chris Skinner, SSPBA president.

“President Trump has been unwavering in his support of law enforcement,” President Skinner continued.  “He has shown time and again that he stands behind the men and women who put on their uniform and badge and go to work each day,” President Skinner said.  “In these times when many are attacking the law enforcement profession, it is imperative that law enforcement officers know that they are not on their own as they face the dangers of their job.  We believe that President Trump and Vice President Pence have demonstrated that they understand and appreciate the honor and sacrifice of serving as a law enforcement officer.”

“The number one priority of government is to provide for safety and protection of the citizens. We are convinced that President Trump recognizes the fact that law enforcement and law enforcement officers are vital to the strength and stability of our communities,” President Skinner added. “We support President Trump and Vice President Pence because we know that they are the candidates who will continue to support us.”

Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc. is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to improving the law enforcement profession. PBA members are active or retired employees of federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement and correctional agencies. This professional association provides legal, legislative, disciplinary and other representation to member officers as well as a salary replacement death benefit to members’ beneficiaries. The PBA prohibits members from engaging in or condoning any strike by law enforcement officers, electing instead to represent members through aggressive political action. For more information, please visit our website at www.sspba.org.

Jacob Blake Shot by Wisconsin Police

In the most recent incident to incite protests against injustices across the nation this summer, a Black man has been shot in Wisconsin. Jacob Blake, witnesses said, was attempting to break up an argument between two women. Following this, he walked back towards his silver SUV this past Sunday, August 23rd while being trailed by a police officer involved in the confrontation. As three of his children watched from their vehicle, the police officer proceeded to fire seven times at Blake’s back and close range. One can only imagine the trauma for his sons. As of today, Blake remains hospitalized in serious condition, but is expected to survive.

The incident, caught on video, has gone similarly viral to other violent misconducts by the police over the course of spring and summer 2020. The officers involved in Blake’s shooting have been placed on administrative leave and have shocked the small city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Protests across the city have motivated Governor Evers to call in the National Guard, though he attempted to assure constituents it was not in an effort to mimic clashes between protesters and servicemen in places like Seattle, Minneapolis, or New York. Minor confrontations have occurred over the past two days despite this.

Following George Floyd’s murder this past May, protests against the police and in favor of the movement Black Lives Matter have exploded across the country. Blake’s shooting has added fuel to the fire, inspiring renewed protests and calls to action all across the nation. The incident in Kenosha has furthered the call for cities to cut funding to police departments, restructure their legal practices, amongst other changes.

Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers tweeted in support of Jacob Blake and in condemnation of the actions of police officers involved: “I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and country for far too long. And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.” The Governor also signed an executive order into Wisconsin’s state legislature for a special session to pass legislation and police reforms for August 31st. The reforms are expected to be fought by the state’s Republican leadership.

Calls from the countries Democratic leadership have come again for immediate reform, including the voice of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as he “wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force.” President Trump has not commented directly on the shooting, but Vice President Pence made a statement yesterday emphasizing the administration’s loyalty to their men and women in blue.

The situation involving the shooting of Jacob Blake and ensuing actions in Kenosha, Wisconsin continues to develop.

Violence Spikes in Major Cities

By Eamonn Burke

Last month, 65 people were shot in New York City and 87 in Chicago over the course of the 4th of July weekend. Six children were killed that weekend as well. The holiday may have been a peak in homicides, but numbers of shootings and deaths have been trending upward as the nation handles a pandemic and a historic recession. The amount of shootings in NYC from January to July exceeded the total for the entire year of 2019. Other major cities are experiencing high rates of gun violence as well, such as Philadelphia, where more than 240 people have been killed this year and which now has the 2nd highest homicide rate in the nation. Chicago saw a violent July, with 584 shootings and 105 deaths. Even smaller cities like Pheonix and Omaha are seeing rises.

As a whole, homicides are up 24% in the nation since last year. Data shows homicides and shootings trending upward sharply since late May in major cities across the US. However, as a national study shows, gun violence was creeping upward even before the pandemic began.

President Trump blames the rise in violent crime to “radical” Democratic politicians , such as Major Bill DeBlasio, despite signs that this is a bipartisan issue. DeBlasio himself blames the shootings on the virus, among other factors such as the BLM protests and faults in the criminal justice system that have recently been exposed. The Council on Criminal Justice also concluded that the virus is the root issue, and that it must be stopped first in order to reduce homicides. A chart of homicides in Chicago does in fact show a major spike after the beginning of the protests, and the BLM protests in 2014 and 2015 had a similar effect on gun violence. However, further analysis of police data instead points to a decrease in gun-related arrests as a potential cause, as well as the increase in gun purchases in recent months.

Police say that many of these crimes are gang related, and a shortage of staff due to the virus have made it harder to crack down on crime. DeBlasio was adamant about getting back on top of the gun crisis through the courts: “Our courts not only need to reopen, they need to reopen as fully and as quickly as possible.” Chief administrative judge Lawrence Marks fired back, saying the blame of courts was “false, misleading and irresponsible.”

A strange finding amongst this gun crisis is that rates of other crimes such as burglaries have not followed the same trend, and have even decreased in some cases. As this is extremely odd, it’s possible that it’s a matter of what is getting reported given the complications of COVID-19 and the BLM protests on policing.

politics, podium, flag, speech

The Census Should Count All People

The Hawkins/Walker Green Party presidential ticket today urged the Census to count every person living in the United States and opposed an order signed by President Trump yesterday to not count undocumented immigrants. Hawkins/Walker described the directive to not include noncitizens as “another disgraceful act of prejudice by President Trump.”

The census has counted both citizens and noncitizens since 1790. It is important for the government to know how many people live in the United States and where they live so it can determine the level of funding for federal programs in each jurisdiction, from roads and bridges to school aid.

The US Constitution in its fifth sentence says that “persons” residing in the states should be counted every 10 years to determine each state’s share of seats in the House of Representatives. The Constitution does not limit the census to citizens. “The Census Bureau should fulfill the requirement of the Constitution, and disobey the unconstitutional directive of President Trump,” urged Green Presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins. Hawkins said “President Trump is once again showing his racism toward immigrants. This has been on display since he first announced for president and has continued throughout his presidency. Trump has built on the legacy of Obama-Biden as the ‘deporters-in-chief’ with a venomous demonization of Latinx people.”

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

Federal Officers in Portland

By Eamonn Burke

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, cities around the country and the world erupted in protest. While in many cities protests have diminished or stopped, one city has shown crowds of protestors since Memorial Day: Portland, Oregon.

Rallies were shrinking here too, but were reinvigorated following repeated and excessive use of force by federal officers in the city. Video shows officers responding to one protest using non-lethal ammunition, gas, and fire. Secretary Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security sided with the officers, calling the protestors “lawless anarchists.” Trump and his administration have also given consistent support to the efforts of the officers.

Tensions first rose last Thursday night when protestors gathered around a local precinct shouting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”, and police told them to leave after hearing rumors of a plot to burn down the building. The crowd, however, were equipped with homemade shields and flashlights. The crowds stayed however, leading to police discharging impact munitions and using smoke and tear gas to disband them.

The ongoing clash continued Tuesday when roughly 1,000 people filled Portland’s center, with help from the recently dubbed “Wall of Moms.” Hundreds of moms stood before the officers to provide protection for protestors. Their arms were linked as they chanted things like “Don’t shoot your mother!”

“That really affected me the most, being a mom. I wanted to come down and give my support as a mother and a grandmother to all these people who have been out every night” said 55 year old mom Debbie Scott.

The “Wall or Moms” has recently spread beyond Portland into other major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, ready to defend Democratic-lead cities from Trumps’ plan to deploy federal officers. Meanwhile, the violence continued in Portland on Tuesday when officers used more gas, non-lethal bullets and stun grenades as protestors gathered outside the courthouse.

Sara Sandman, Black Lives Matter, illustration, 360 magazine, protest, rebellion, looters, riot, civil rights, human rights

BLM Mural Vandalized Again

By Eamonn Burke

Two women have been arrested in connection with vandalization of the Black Lives Matter mural outside the Trump Tower, the second time in the last 24 hours and the third time in the last week.

The women smeared black paint on a newly painted yellow mural after it was attacked on Friday, an incident which involved 10 people with blue paint. Red paint was used on Monday in another defacement.

A shirt worn by one of the women read “All Lives Matter” and claimed that the mural should read the same. Video captures her yelling “Refund the Police” as she was being arrested. Meanwhile, others witnessing the scene chanted in the opposing favor of their actions. Mayor of NYC Bill De Blasio called it a “nice try” in a tweet, and said that the movement can not be undone. Trump, however, has repeatedly called the mural a “symbol of hate.” Fellow Democrats such as Hank Newsome, leader of the BLM movement, and New York governor Andrew Cuomo are less extreme, but are also not entirely in favor of the mural.

“I like this project because it annoys Trump, but we don’t need de Blasio to sign streets. We need him to sign legislation,” said Newsome, expressing sentiments that the governor agreed with.

The women were charged with criminal mischief and released with an appearance ticket.

Schools Debate Fall Opening

By Eamonn Burke

As the Coronavirus spreads at its fastest pace yet in the United States, schools and colleges are facing the tough question of how to face the fall semester. Education facilities from kindergarten to graduate school have to rethink how classes will be run in person, and if they will be run in person at all.

According to the Federal Government, opening all schools in person is the imperative course of action. President Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are practically demanding schools to re-open, as Trump even threatened to cut funding to education if they do not. “We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools—get them open.” Trump said at an event last week. Secretary DeVos backed him, asserting that re-opening schools “should absolutely be the goal.”

However, for public school districts and colleges, the situation is not so clear-cut. California, one of the COVID-19 hotspots in the world, the two largest districts of San Diego and Los Angeles have announced that they will not reopen for in-person instruction. Many districts, such as New York City, are pursuing a more hybrid plan, which involves partial in-person learning in three different models propped by Mayor DeBlasio. The state of New York as a whole is allowing districts to open based on certain criteria. In some cases, such as Nashville, districts have actually had to backpedal and turn over plans to re-open in light of the recent spike in coronavirus cases across the nation.

Colleges, both public and private, face the same dilemma. While some have announced full closure in the fall, such as the State universities in California, others such as Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown will bring students to campus in a limited manner. Harvard and Princeton will have roughly half of the students on campus for each semester, split by grade, although all classes will remain online. Harvard will not discount their tuition, while Princeton will offer 10% off. Other universities such as Carnegie Mellon are offering more flexibility, allowing students to choose which semester to come back and offering some classes with both a remote and in-person option.

Another complicating factor in decisions for colleges are the new restrictions on international students put in place by ICE under Trumps administration. These rules, stating that international students who have only online classes must go back to their country, have caused more than 200 universities to sue the Trump administration, following in suit of Harvard and MIT. These rules were dropped quickly after facing the wide opposition.

Roger Stone Commuted By Trump

By Eamonn Burke

Last Friday, President Donald Trump shocked the political world by commuting the sentence of his long time friend and former consultant to the president Roger Stone.

Stone, convicted in 2019 of seven charges related to Roger Mueller’s investigation of the 2016 election, was scheduled to report to a Georgia prison today until Trump set him free. He was set to serve a 40 month term with two years probation and a $20,000 fine. Stone has requested to delay the start date earlier on Friday but was denied, a ruling which was overpowered by Trumps pardoning.

Prosecutors of Stone accused him of hiding evidence about tampering from Russia in the 2016 election and lying to Congress, but White House secretary Kayleigh McEnany insists that “Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax” and that “There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia.” According to her, Trump reasons that Stone deserves fair treatment and a chance to clear his name.

This comes after months of pressure from Stone’s allies and even Stone himself to pardon his sentence. It also follows many tweets from Trump that hinted at this commutation, calling it a “Witch Hunt”. Many were outraged, however, inflicting many Democrats and some Republicans including Senator Mitt Romney, who reflected the feelings of many in a tweet:

“Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”

Meanwhile, Stone’s attorney tells Fox News that Stone is “honored” by this “act of mercy”.

Positive Goya Illustration

Goya Boycott

By Eamonn Burke

A boycott of Goya foods, a major producer of beans and an essential good for many families, has launched after its CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump in a speech at the White House on Thursday:

“We are all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” said Unanue.

Immediately, many prominent Hispanic figures such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced Goya and Unanue, and hinted in a tweet she would boycott the company. Julian Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, urged people do to the same despite the prominence of Goya in Latin American homes. The resistance comes from the public as well, as the hashtags #boycottGoya and #Goyaway have trended in recent days. Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter saying “I LOVE @GoyaFoods!”

Unanue, however, is not apologizing for endorsing Trump and is labeling the boycott as a “suppression of speech”. He was proud to support Trump, and also to say that Goya would be donating 2 million cans of food to American Food Banks. He also stated that he would be “honored” to be a part of the Hispanic Property Initiative, which was signed by Trump at the event with a goal of expanding “access by Hispanic Americans to educational and economic opportunities.” The CEO also has a extensive history of donating to Republican candidates and initiatives.

“If you’re called by the president of the United States, you’re going to say, ‘No I’m sorry, I’m busy, no thank you?’ I didn’t say that to the Obamas and I didn’t say that to President Trump.” said Unanue in an interview with Fox News on Friday. Republicans like Ted Cruz and Matt Schlapp and publicly defended the CEO while denouncing “cancel culture” on Twitter.

The unwavering support of Unanue is perplexing, when considering Trump’s history against Latinx people. In 2016, his presidential campaign was largely structured on restricting immigrants, especially from Mexico. In one speech he referred to the people coming from Mexico into the U.S. as “rapists.” He has relentlessly tried to end DACA, a program which protects immigrants, and offered little support to Puerto Rico in the midst of hurricane devastation. The Trump administration works closely with ICE and has detained immigrants at the US-Mexico border in concentration camps with inhuman men conditions.

It is also confusing when considering Goya’s history as a company. Goya is currently the largest Hispanic-owned company in the nation, but it began as a small store in Manhattan run by Spanish immigrants

As for President Trump, who is already unpopular with Hispanic voters, it is possible that he sees a reduction in the 26% of Latinx voters who support him.