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Will John Sununu’s Race Comment Cause Problems for Romney?

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John Sununu Racist

Anyone who is a fan of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is familiar with a race known as the Klingon. A race known for their knack to fight and make war, also believe if a father was a traitor then the son must also be one and suffer the same fate. The so-called “sins of the father” philosophy can be applied to those who are considered “guilty by association.”

Regardless of proof, society tends to judge someone guilty just because the person they are with is doing something incriminating. If a person is a racist, then those around him must also be racist or they wouldn’t associate with that individual. This way of thinking can be dangerous, especially in the world of politics.

Time and time again, once a person makes a comment that is considered rude, crude or appalling to the general public, everyone associated with that person becomes fair game and must distance them or be considered guilty by association. John Sununu’s race comment made Thursday on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight has drawn criticism from the Democrats and others as being ill-advised and questionable.

Sununu is no stranger to making controversial comments in his career but this latest comes at a bad time for Republicans. What some are questioning is that being a surrogate for Mitt Romney and the guilt by association philosophy many voters believe in, will Sununu’s comment cause problems for Romney come Election Day?

John Sununu appeared Thursday on “Piers Morgan Tonight” and during the interview, downplayed the importance of former secretary of state’s endorsement and pointed out the support Romney has received from the former President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.  He continued to explain that Powell’s endorsement of Obama wasn’t specifically made on the political issues at hand. “When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to look at whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or he’s got a slightly different reason for endorsing President Obama,” Sununu continued by adding: “I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

Sununu released a statement later where he said “Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies.” Sununu has been one of Romney’s most active surrogates and has taken on the role of campaign attack dog.

While lambasting Obama whenever having the opportunity to do so, his outspoken and brash manner has also prompted criticism from opponents. He has remarked by implying that the president is un-American and calling him “lazy” in referring to his lackluster performance during the first debate.

During a July conference call, he said that “I wish this president would learn how to be an American,” in reference to how he was handling the economy. This triggered a response from Democrats that caused a walkback from Sununu himself.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is a top surrogate for Obama’s campaign, said Friday the “responsible thing to do” would be that Romney’s campaign issues their own statement. He admits that in politics, people will try to connect what one person may say to others who have not made the same comment. “But the one thing I don’t like about our political culture is we take one person’s comments–stupid or not–and then we just try to spread it out and lay it over anything,” Booker said. “Mitt Romney didn’t say this, so it’s the kind of thing for me that’s just a dumb comment. It’s unfortunately something that’s worth talking about because we still in America–” he said before being cut off by Soledad O’Brien.

He continued later by adding that “This is days before this election. Really, I hope what Americans are is not the dumb racially-tinged comments of an individual. There’s too much at stake. There are larger issues. What are the plans and platform of candidates? Let’s make decisions on that.”

President Obama talked to Philadelphia radio-host Michael Smerconish on Friday and during the interview, he talked about Sununu’s comment and responded by saying, “I’ll let General Powell’s statements stand for themselves. He spoke about the fact that my foreign policy during a very difficult time had been steady and strong. He talked about, with respect to our economy, that we had helped to rescue America from a potential Great Depression and that we were moving in the right direction. I don’t think that there are many people in America who would question General Powell’s credibility, his patriotism, his willingness to tell it straight, and so any suggestion that General Powell would make such a profound statement in such an important election based on anything but what he thought was what’s going to be best for America doesn’t make much sense.”

Both Obama and his surrogate, Cory Booker, did not use “guilt by association” and try to connect this to Mitt Romney by saying this is also his belief. One thing Booker did say was that the responsible thing to do would be for Romney’s campaign to issue a statement.

To my knowledge, none has been released at this time. Anyone who is following what Sununu’s comment was on Thursday will judge the man accordingly. What is at question is whether voters will say Romney must think the same thing and be guilty by association. After all, Sununu is Mitt Romney’s surrogate and it is okay for him to constantly attack Obama whenever given the chance.

If he can persuade voters to not vote for Obama, Romney must be happy to be associated with him. Can Romney walk in the other direction when his surrogate says something that can have the opposite effect? Will John Sununu’s race comment cause problems for Mitt Romney on Election Day? What do you think?

John Sununu: Obama “a disaster”

John Sununu says Barack Obama’s presidency is “a disaster” and suggests Colin Powell is endorsing Barack Obama because they are of the same race.

John Sununu says Colin Powell Endorsed Obama Because of Race

Former Governor John Sununu suggests that former Secretary of State and Republican Colin Powell endorses Obama because they’re black.

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Education

#CancelMyDebt Trends On Twitter As Debtors Urge Student Loan Default

Twitter erupts with #CancelMyDebt sentiments after Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked netizens to share their student loan stories. Click To Tweet

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Twitter erupts with #CancelMyDebt sentiments after Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked netizens to share their student loan stories.
Approximately, there are 45 million Americans who have outstanding student loan. Photo: mancaalberto | CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

#CancelMyDebt trends on Twitter as emotional student loan debtors took to the popular micro-blogging website their frustrations on the debts they are still paying and urged the government to pay off their student loans.

Twitter erupts with poignant posts of Americans paying off their student loans and how their debts affected their lives following their graduation. The angered netizens expressed their opinions on the tax plan that granted America’s 1% with a $1.5 trillion tax cuts while the government turns blind eyes over the student loan problem that the youth has been facing.

The apparent hashtag came after U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren encouraged students and graduates to share their stories using the #CancelMyVote hashtag to support her plan to cancel student loan debts of 95% of Americans currently paying for it. Warren’s policy to cover the student loan repayment from an additional tax on top of the top 0.1%.

“I paid off my student loans after 10 years, but it took me getting a six-figure book deal to do it. Folks shouldn’t have to hope for the equivalent of winning the lottery to have a future. #CancelMyDebt” wrote @nkjemisin on Twitter.

President Donald Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law on December 2017 and have brought significant tax reforms. “For the wealthy, banks and other corporations, the tax reform package can be considered a lopsided victory given its significant and permanent tax cuts to corporate profits, investment income, estate tax, and more. Financial services companies stand to see huge gains based on the new, lower corporate rate (21%) as well as preferential tax treatment of pass-through companies. Some banks have said that their effective tax rate will drop under 21%.,” Investopedia explained.

As the current tax plan consistently accommodates the rich, student loan debtors remain in limbo as the increasing interest rates and the piling debt are crippling their financial presents and even their futures. Student loans are a form of financial aid used to help students access higher education. Student loan debt in the United States has been snowballing since 2006, rising to nearly $1.56 trillion by 2019. Shockingly, the entire total loan debt of American equals 7.5% of the country’s GDP.

There are approximately 45 million Americans who have an outstanding student loan of $37,172 on average at the time of graduation. On top of that, student loan also appears not to be evenly distributed and is disproportionately concentrated on the for-profit college sector.

Now, student loan debtors are calling for the government to default their debts. They argue that as the outstanding student loan debt totals 1.5 trillion and the tax cut equals the same, the government can afford to pay off all of student loan debts.

People tweeting #CancelMyDebt clarifies, however, that they are not asking for a loan default because they did not owe anything. They said that call was intended for the government to take actions to destroy the systems that allow student loan companies to exploit people with dreams.

“My reality is paying $1200 a month for my student debt ALONE and working 7 days a week over 4 different jobs. I’m not asking for a “hand out,” I’m asking that we as a country address the insane cost those who are not wealthy have to pay to get higher education #CancelMyDebt,” said @steeltoejilly on a Twitter post.

Another Twitter user also chimed in saying that interest hikes have ballooned her student loan debt even if she’s paying them religiously. “I have four jobs in the education field right now. I graduated in 2005 with $100,000 in student loans. After a decade of payments, undergrad debt is over $200,000 bc of interest rates. I can’t lease a car to get to work, so I walk. I don’t own a bed. #cancelmydebt.”

However, sentiments are polarized. A huge chunk of posts bearing the hashtag talks about their disagreement to Warren’s plans. Most of them argued that student loans are student’s decisions, and the government should not be burdened to pay for their obligations.

“#CancelMyDebt? Uh, no. Nobody forced you to take out student loans. Nobody forced you to major in something that won’t land you a good job. Nobody else is responsible for your debt. It’s your debt; it’s your responsibility.” Joe Walsh tweeted Wednesday.

Kurt Schlichter, a veteran, chimed in saying that Americans can serve in the military and reap the benefits of GI Bill as he did. “Well, you could have served your country and earned GI Bill benefits like I did. But you didn’t. So I’m kind of unclear why you think I owe you anything.#CancelMyDebt? Nah. How about you #PayYourOwnDebt?” /apr

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Politics

Coordinated Anti-Trump “Memetic Warfare” Emerged On Instagram

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A study revealed that a coordinated "memetic warfare" has been launched against Donald Trump on Instagram.
Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

A group of independent researchers has found out that a coordinated black propaganda campaign targeting U.S. President Donald Trump has emerged in the popular social media platform, Instagram, in an effort to derail his reputation through “meme warfare.”

The current political climate and the advent of social networking and its growing popularity in becoming platforms for social discourse created an arena for personality political wars, as seen in recent elections around the world. The camp of President Trump allegedly used the same strategy during the 2016 elections to launch targeted and coordinated personality assassination against presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in an attempt to sway public opinion against the Democrat standard bearer at that time.

Russians are said to have created spoofed accounts both in Facebook and Instagram and impersonated American citizens to influence public opinion in favor of President Trump. The study published by Italian analytics firm Ghost Data revealed that they had seen similar activities, but now targeting President Trump instead.

The firm said that the U.S. president is experiencing illicit attacks, albeit on a limited scale, with fake profiles impersonating Americal citizens to spread virulent anti-Trump narratives in a coordinated attack to derail the president. The researchers also opened the possibility that while they were able to uncover a small operation, it could also be part of something bigger.

Photo: Ghost Data

“We have uncovered a small operation that is a very likely part of something bigger,” said Andrea Stroppa, the head of research at Ghost Data. “I get the feeling that someone out there is experimenting. Testing the waters. They know what they are doing.”

Facebook, the owner of Instagram, said to Reuters that they are already investigating the apparent violations of the social network’s Community Standards. They also have removed the profiles uncovered by the researchers. Interestingly, the company has been part of a highly publicized legislative inquiry on its role in the 2016 Russian intervention in the US elections.

The accounts that were removed were said to have violated rules of Instagram, such as using stolen images of other people and acting in tandem with other accounts to spew out vitriolic messages.

Photo: Ghost Data

A spokesperson for Instagram told Reuters: “We are investigating the accounts in question and have already removed those that we’ve found to violate our policies. Accounts used to manipulate or mislead the public are not allowed on Instagram, and we will take action if we find additional violations.”

The researcher said that they were able to discover 52,000 accounts on Instagram, which were generally anti-Trump, using such hashtags as #impeachtrump. While most of them were genuine accounts owned by actual people, they also have uncovered 350 “suspicious accounts” that’s the main goal is specifically to overturn the U.S. president. Out of these, 19 accounts took the researchers interest by appearing to be interlinked and “waging incessant ‘memetic warfare,’ using multiple images and meme videos to attack Donald Trump and his administration.

There were already a total of 121,000 posts put out by all the 350 suspected account with more than 35.2 million “interactions” since October 2016, when they were first created. The researchers also found similarities and similar identifiable characteristics in the accounts, including their profile pictures. One block of five out of the smaller 19 subsets among all the suspicious accounts found by researchers was discovered to have been created on the same day last August, further supporting the thesis that these accounts are interlinked and could be part of a much bigger destabilization effort against the Republican leader.

“Their goal seems to be to infiltrate into (social media) networks that are much bigger,” said Stroppa.

U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, through an independent report published last December, said the Russian government’s Internet Research Agency created some 133 Instagram accounts in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and used them to try to propagate dangerous narratives against the U.S. political system.

Stroppa, while being suspicious, said that he had not found any evidence that would link the 19 accounts his team discovered to any form of Russian interference.

“What you can say is that this digital campaign against Trump uses some of the same methods that were used to attack Hilary Clinton in 2016,” he said.

While the study has a very tiny sample size against the total population of a billion Instagram users, Stroppa stressed that even a small number of accounts could destabilize a government structure if they will only be able to amplify their reach and make their messages heard by a lot of people.

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World

South Korea Labor Force Shrinks, Blaming Economic Problems And Increasing Number Of Celibates

South Korea's population in 2030 will mostly consist of 65 years old and above. Its newborn rate drops to 0.95, which is 45% lower to maintain steady workforce. Click To Tweet

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South Korea Population Plummets
Seoul, South Korea Photo: Emmanuel DYAN | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

According to the research conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHSA), a growing number of South Koreans are declining to get married and are not even interested in dating. One of the possible reasons is because dating is expensive and dangerous.

The Korea Herald reported that last 2015, 90 percent of men and 77 percent of women between the ages of 25 to 29 are celibates. Most South Koreans decided to be single by choice because of economic problems, dating problems, and social issues.

The nation’s overall unemployment rate is 3.4 percent, the highest record yet for 17 years. For the country’s youth between ages 15 to 29, the unemployment rate is 10.8%. The job market in the country is famed to be very competitive. Most individuals spend their free time in schools to improve their professional skills and get certificates, which can help them land their dream jobs.

CNN‘s Sophie Jeong recently interviewed a 24-year-old male student named Kim Joon-Hyup to get to a better idea about the issue and get to know the views/opinions of the country’s younger generation.

Kim is studying full time at Sejong University. But every weekday evening, he also attends another institution to study game design. Kim doesn’t have time to date. If he was in a relationship, he will be sorry for her since he wouldn’t be able to invest time.

For South Korean couples, dating and marriage are both expensive. Duo, a matchmaking industry, estimated that the usual cost per date is 63,494 won (around $55). Individuals who live with minimum-wage paychecks have to work more hours to afford a single date.

Meanwhile, to get married, couples spend an average of $90,000 for the overall wedding expenses, a 2013 survey reported. There is also a wedding tradition in South Korea, which they call “trading wealth.” For example, if a female marries a doctor, her family needs to pay a considerable amount to the groom’s family in exchange for an elite social status.

Dating in South Korea is not only expensive but can also be dangerous too. One of the major societal issues of the nation is sex crimes, illegal recording of sexual acts or voyeurism, and gender discrimination.

The National Police Agency reported a massive increase in sexual violence crimes. Data received from the 2008 sex crime survey revealed that there are 16,000 cases, and in 2017, the number of cases doubled. In most cases, the assault comes from the victims’ lover or date.

Furthermore, dating does not end up in physical abuse. Last 2017, there have been more than 6,400 cases of unauthorized recording. Recently, a viral scandal involving famous K-Pop Star Jung Joon-young circulated on the internet. He was arrested last March and accused of taking videos of women during sex without their consent. Worst case scenario, he shares the said videos on the internet explicitly.

Another possible reason why most South Koreans prefer to be single is that they have a culture which values work and study over relationships. Last 2017 OECD stated that an average South Korean works almost 250 hours more compared to their United States counterpart.

South Korea is known to have the lowest birth rate in the world. Last December, it dropped to 0.95, which means that for every 100 women, only 95 children are born. For the nation to have a steady workforce, the birth rate should be 2.1.

This fact can result in a community mostly composed of older people in the future. Lee Jong-wha, an economist from the Korea University, predicted that by 2030 almost one-third of the South Korean population would be age 65 or older.

South Korean government is aware and have created programs to solve this upcoming labor force problem. Starting in 2005, it allocated 36 trillion won (US$32.1 billion) to lessen the financial burden to families. They offered monthly childcare subsidies and other incentives to young families.

Also, universities in South Korea are offer dating classes. For example, Sejong University offers a gender and culture course which covers topics related to choosing a suitable marriage partner and how to deal with breakups. This move also aims to teach students the idea that dating does not necessarily need to be expensive if one knows how to think creatively.

Nevertheless, to some critics, there are still a lot of things that should be done to make a significant impact to motivate the country.

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