New Zealand Passes Gun Reform
by: Anneken Le Bouar
Just six days after the seismic mass shooting in New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed, the nation’s Parliament almost unanimously passed tighter gun laws. Christchurch, the third-largest city in the country, experienced unprecedented shock earlier this spring when Brenton Tarrant, a 28 year-old white supremacist, executed a coordinated attack in two mosques. The country’s government immediately took action, voting 119-1 to restrict access to MSSAs (military- stylesemi- automatics) and assault rifles. “We are ultimately here because 50 people died and they do not have a voice,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardennes, who also proposed the new reforms. “We, in this house, are their voice and today we have used that voice wisely.” Parliament is expected to take additional gun control measures later this year, including a weapon registry
Brexit: The Saga Continues
by: Josh Ho
As Hersey students patiently await summer break, citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) are growing restless due to the Brexit deal which should have been completed this past winter. The Brexit deal, Britain’s plan to exit the European Union (EU), had an original deadline of March 29, 2019. At the time of this publication’s last Brexit article, this deadline was approaching and Britain had no solid plan in place. The UK had several options. They could pass Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan, leave the EU without a plan, or seek an extension of the deadline. The UK opted for an extension, and the EU approved the new deadline of April 12. However, this two week extension proved to be too little time. The UK could not agree on a course of action, so the EU extended the deadline to October 31, 2019. The British government still appears disjointed as ever, and little progress seems to have been made. Theresa May and Parliament remain gridlocked, much to the frustration of the British citizens. Last month, six million people signed a petition to revoke Article 50, the article that started the Brexit protest. On March 23, tens of thousands of British citizens gathered in protest of Brexit. With pressure from the people mounting, it remains to be seen how the British government will respond. Brexit could be cancelled altogether if Parliament votes to remain in the EU. However, with all the effort and resources being put into the Brexit deal, this option seems highly unlikely. Theresa May’s 585-page Brexit withdrawal agreement has seen little support from Parliament, even after numerous meetings and revisions. Many government officials believe that May will step down shortly, as she is facing considerable backlash from her own party and the opposing Labour Party. May’s resignation would lead to another election and would pave the way for a new Prime Minister and a new, more promising Brexit deal. Of course, Britain could always leave the EU without a deal, however many officials and experts are warning against such a plan. The no-deal Brexit would immediately cut Britain off from the EU’s economy, which would significantly hurt Britain’s economy for years until it becomes self-sustainable. Britain’s next six months will be very hectic, as the government scrambles to prepare for the October 31st Brexit deadline. Although the UK will most likely leave the EU with a deal in place, it is unclear what the deal will be and who will guide Britain through this complicated process. For the citizens of the UK, all they can do is wait and see.
by: Matt Bednar
The first three months of this year have been like no other. With the longest government shutdown in history, the Dow Jones started the year nearly 3,000 points lower than the start of 2018, and combined with conflicts in foreign trade the economy wasn’t looking so good. Coming off a year when the economy surged, 2019 has a lot of expectations to meet. However, with the government shutdown going into 2019 many lowered their high expectations. The government shutdown didn’t affect the grow as much as expected. The Dow Jones went up pretty constantly throughout January. But at the beginning of the year the Dow was at its lowest point since August 2017. With the Dow in the end of 2018 finishing in a downward trend, investors were worried about the start of 2019. This made predictions of the first quarter even lower. That’s not even the end of the bad start of the year, as the U.S. and China still haven’t come to a compromise about trade. These trade talks had huge effects on the Dow in 2018 and with the first quarter not looking promising, this made the predictions even lower with some of the lowest predictions since Obama was in office. With predictions low, people were expecting the worst. However, everything started to turn around in February. By the beginning of February, the government shutdown was over and didn’t have nearly as big of an growing impact as expected. The Dow grew steadily throughout the month of January, nearly 2,000 points in the month alone and staying constant for the rest of the quarter. The China talks also began to head in a better direction during February. As the first quarter report is not out yet, economists are excited to see if the quarter made a comeback.
by: Carter Zagorski
23 months after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director and accomplished federal attorney Robert Mueller III as Special Counsel to the Russia probe, the general public gained access to a slightly redacted version of Mueller’s full report. Almost four weeks after receiving the 448- page document and sending his own summary of the report to Congress, Attorney General William Barr released the political bombshell earlier this month to great anticipation. Many concluded that due to the great accumulation of evidence Mueller had obtained - via subpoenas, raids, and general cooperation among multiple levels of the judiciary - as well as the Mueller team’s successful attempts at controlling the public messaging (recall how the Mueller office shot down a Buzzfeed article claiming President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, lied to Congress, after media coverage quickly spiraled), that the report’s release would be filled with incriminating details on many, including President Trump. While data from a March 26 poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, a long-time source for polling data, showed that a majority of Americans (55 percent) believed the investigation was conducted fairly - nearly the highest result achieved based on polling over the last 12 months - an extensive majority (84 percent) expressed a desire for the report’s release. Furthermore, a second Quinnipiac University poll in July 2018 showed that 46 percent of voters believed that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia leading up to the election, whereas 44 percent believed no collusion occurred. Unfortunately for those individuals with those high expectations of incriminating details on both Trump and those on his team, this proved to only be half-true. Axios tracked the entirety of the investigation and found that the process resulted in 199 criminal charges, 37 indictments or guilty pleas, and 5 prison sentences, but none of which were directly targeted at President Trump. However, one may recognize a few of the names included in the Mueller investigation, simply based on the large volume of coverage related to the Mueller investigation over the preceding 23 months: former advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI when discussing his talks with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.; Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman who is still facing sentencing for additional crimes on top of previously-concluded trials related to banking and tax fraud; and Roger Stone, a polarizing Republican strategist/political consultant who is perhaps recently best known for his threatening Instagram post of a photo of Judge Amy Berman Jackson - who is presiding over the Mueller investigation-related case of which Stone himself is the subject of - with a crosshairs symbol adjacent to her head. Now, as questions surrounding Mueller’s investigation, report, and Barr’s release of the findings still linger, it should be noted that while the report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” This specific item of the report has been subject to much controversy, especially immediately after the report’s release, whether in regard to those who have overlooked this important detail or others who have celebrated it. But until all twelve remaining referrals of other potential investigations - which could not have been investigated by Mueller’s team due to the specific nature of the Russia investigation’s scope - become public knowledge (just as what happened with Cohen as well as with Gregory Craig, White House counsel during the Obama administration), on top of the future outcome of the imminent 2020 presidential election (which, due to its conduction in a short 18 months, is preventing Democratic leaders from advancing any impeachment processes in fear of boosting President Trump’s polling numbers), Americans will not know the entire story. In the meantime, investigations conducted by congressional Democrats as well as, for the time being, the Southern District of New York will be where any future storylines emerge.
by: Josh Ho
Arlington Heights’ village board saw four seats up for election this past month. Out of the four seats, two incumbents were re-elected. Robin LaBedz, who received the most votes at 22.26 percent, will be returning to the board after serving for the past six years. John Scaletta will also return to the board to serve a fourth term. They are accompanied by two newcomers: management consultant Mary Beth Canty and businessman Tom Schwingbeck. Both Canty and Schwingbeck are eager to serve the community, and are particularly interested in the Block 425 Project, a proposal for residential and retail area in downtown Arlington Heights. This year’s election saw an extremely low voter turnout. Out of the 62,411 people who registered to vote in the election, only 5907 people cast their ballots. In a city with a population of 75,000, according to U.S. Census estimates, such a low turnout is worrisome. Junior Jack Gillespie, who served as an election judge this year, encourages students to care about politics and voice their opinions. Gillespie said, “Students should care about politics because their ideologies inherently shape society. It’s important for students to voice their opinions at a local level, which ultimately reflects federal decisions to an extent.”
Mount Prospect’s village board saw no turnover this past year, as the three seats up for election were filled by incumbents. Colleen Saccotelli, Paul Hoefert, and Richard Rogers will all be returning to help oversee developments in the village’s downtown area. Such developments include the proposed relocation of the village’s police and fire stations, as well as more housing and apartments. This year’s race for the last board seat was extremely tight. The night after the election, Richard Rogers had received 2,530 votes while newcomer Yulia Bjekic had garnered 2,529 votes. This initial count, however, was not final. Mail-in votes were not taken into account and took several days to finally be added to the total. This undoubtedly caused unrest for both Rogers and Bjekic’s campaigns. When all the votes were counted, Rogers received the final spot on the board.
Prospect Heights featured one of the biggest races of election day, as citizens voted to elect the mayor of the city. The two candidates were Nicholas Helmer, who was running for a third term, and newcomer Lawrence Rosenthal, who served as an alderman in the city’s second ward. Helmer won the election by a wide margin and seeks to capitalize on the momentum he has built over his past two terms. Helmer was influential in helping Prospect Heights solve their financial issues and started numerous citywide events like Run the Runway at the local Chicago Executive Airport. He plans to continue to help combat the city’s flooding problems and establish better communication between the government and the residents
Pritzker & Harris Team Up
by: Claire Dwyer
On Jan. 14, J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as Illinois’ 43rd governor. The new governor, along with a Democratic majority in the Illinois General Assembly, hopes to pursue an ambitious agenda. In addition, Juliana Stratton became the first African-American woman to be lieutenant governor. In his inauguration speech last Monday at the Bank of Springfield Center, Pritzker highlighted plans to balance the state’s budget, fight climate change, and fund schools and new infrastructure. He also hoped to change the tone of state politics with bipartisan cooperation and debate. One key effort Pritzker made for this promise was to try to assemble both Democrats and Republicans throughout his administration. Pritzker chose Rep. David Harris, a Republican, to take charge of the Illinois Department of Revenue. Harris, an Army veteran from Arlington Heights, was a representative in the Illinois General Assembly for 18 years and retired from his position on Jan. 9. In addition to his support for increasing education and infrastructure funding, Pritzker has also voiced his support for the legalization of recreational marijuana. Although there is still a lot of opposition to this move in the General Assembly, expanding current laws for medical marijuana is a plan Pritzker seems keen to pursue. Legalizing recreational marijuana would likely take over a year in the General Assembly, with many logistics of the issue still up for debate. A report by the non-profit Illinois Economic Institute and the University of Illinois claims the state could receive approximately $525 million in tax revenue from legal marijuana and the new industry could add $1 billion per year to the state’s economy. However, opponents say that the safety of the issue must be seriously considered. With an abundance of support in the General Assembly, Pritzker hopes to get a start on the important issues brought up during the intense election season. A record-breaking $170 million of his own money was spent on his campaign, and Pritzker now hopes to take action on the promises he made to Illinois residents.
2019 Chicago Mayoral Campaigns
by: Carter Zagorski
With November’s midterm elections in the rearview mirror, some in the Chicagoland area may have naively assumed the region would no longer fall victim to the routine bombardment of political smears, overstatements, and other electioneering tactics on televisions, radios, or front lawns each day until the 2020 primaries for the upcoming presidential election. Unfortunately for many, those people would be wrong. Welcome to the Dispatch’s new hub for all things Chicago mayoral election-related, running from now until a Mayor-elect is determined either after the initial election on February 26 or the likely run-off election on April 2, in which the top two vote-getters would duke it out to become the city’s 45th Mayor if no candidate assumed a February majority. The Rahm Emanuel successor will be tasked with overseeing the O’Hare renovations, navigating the city’s budget, and determining social and additional infrastructure priorities, among the numerous other monumental responsibilities entrusted to the election’s winner. With a field of 14 competitive candidates ranging in both experience and endorsements, C h i c a g o a n s are bound to bear witness to a range of left-leaning ideologies along the runway of the absolutely wide open race. Frequently-sparring Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza lead the charge, yet their stories behind their runs for the position are dissimilar; Preckwinkle chose to defer a campaign against Emanuel last cycle and instead focus on her recent position, whereas just eight days after Mendoza won her first term as Comptroller, which began in 2016, the seasoned former state representative announced her intent to join the field of candidates. The similarly experienced Bill Daley, the former U.S. Commerce Secretary, White House Chief of Staff, brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and son of former Mayor Richard J. Daley, is also considered by many to be a frontrunner. While extensive name recognition for Daley represents a double-edged sword, the lack of recognition serves as a main obstacle for most of the younger and less experienced candidates. That may not be the case for Amara Enyia, who previously unsuccessfully ran in 2015, initially worked as a journalist before ultimately earning a doctorate in education policy and now serves as the director of Austin’s Chamber of Commerce. Yet at just 35 years old, she’s received high-profile endorsements from both Kanye West and Chance the Rapper. Conversely, similarly young South Side native John Kozlar seeks to boost his standing, as the 2011 University of Chicago graduate finds himself in last place in fundraising despite his experience of forcing a run-off against 11th Ward Alderman Patrick Daley-Thompson - nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley - in 2015, the first run-off election in the ward in over 70 years. Jerry Joyce Jr., Yale University alumnus and former Assistant State’s Attorney, is running as the son of Jeremiah Joyce, the current state Senator and associate of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Bob Fioretti, a civil rights lawyer who also unsuccessfully ran four years ago and ultimately received Enyia’s support along the campaign, is once again competing for the mayorship this cycle. Despite his inability to defeat Preckwinkle and become the County’s Board President last March, the former Alderman believes his experience and accolades from his time in office will be enough this time around. Additionally, Lori Lightfoot also hopes to bolster her popularity in the crowded field, trusting her time in Mayor Richard M. Daley’s City Hall, as a senior partner at Mayer Brown, as well as her attempts at CPD reform after the Laquan McDonald shooting will be enough to propel her to become the first openly gay and the first African-American woman to be elected Mayor of Chicago. Garry McCarthy is connected to CPD reform as well; the candidate was fired from his post as Chicago Police Superintendent by Mayor Emanuel after the McDonald video was released and has since blamed the departing mayor for the tragic debacle. La Shawn Ford, a former CPS teacher and current Springfield Congressman representing the West Side of Chicago, also hopes to overcome any negative recognition associated with his name; while a federal judge believed his unpaid taxes were the result of mere oversight and not criminal intent, the 46 year-old progressive was previously charged with fraud and later spent six months on probation. For the time being, so too does Neal Sales-Griffin; the political blunder on the very first public move of his campaign — the announcement of his candidacy last April - didn’t reflect very well on the young University of Chicago and Northwestern University instructor and CodeNow.org CEO. “I’m about to be the most embarrassed human being in Chicago,” he said during his 85 minutes-long opening rally, conceding that he was “vulnerable,” had “bombed this speech,” but importantly showed his “realness,” as he delivered his remarks which didn’t contain substantive policy plans and featured a revealment of his personal cell phone number. Paul Vallas, inaugural CPS CEO from 1995-2001 and 2014 candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, is also a candidate in the election. Also the city’s former Budget Director, Vallas is intent on utilizing his experience with economics as a selling point of the campaign. Gery Chico, former Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and president of CPS during Vallas’ time as CEO, has unsuccessfully courted the position in the past, losing to Emanuel in 2011. But with newfound experience as Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education and being the first candidate to launch attack ads earlier this month, Chico is counting on this cycle to yield a different outcome. Data from a recent Chicago Sun-Times poll conducted last week showed Preckwinkle (12.7 percent) and Daley (12.1 percent) out in front of the pack of candidates, with Chico solidifying his third place position (9.3 percent) and businessman, 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, and former McDonald’s franchisee Willie Wilson (9.0 percent) not far behind. Yet with 25.8 percent of respondents considering themselves to be undecided, the upcoming weeks are of the utmost importance to each of the fourteen candidates, being as none of whom are assured or eliminated from the opportunity to lead the nation’s third-largest city for
President Trump's First Address To The Nation
by: Matt Bednar
On January 8, 2019, two years after his inauguration into the White House, President Trump made his first address to the nation from the Oval Office. His short speech focused on 3 main points: the border wall, border security, and the government shutdown. Trump started by stating that he has given Congress bills that would solve the government shutdown. However, Democrats have turned down these bills. He also stated that he isn’t to blame for the shutdown because he has been trying to compromise, which is somewhat accurate; during the government shutdown, Trump has made efforts to reopen the government. He has wanted to make deals with the Democrats, but their position is to talk after the government is reopened. He also discussed the Southern border wall and illegal immigrants. He questions Democrats’ stance that a wall would be immoral by positing, “Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes?” He then added, “They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside.” Trump then discussed the issue of illegal immigration by bringing up examples of past crimes, including the killing of a police officer and a California Air Force veteran, as well as the MS-13 gang killings. He concluded by calling out Congress to pass a bill and to the American people to call their congressperson to support legislation to reopen the government. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on the networks at the conclusion of President Trump’s address. They mainly talked about how Trump was lying and how the wall was immoral, but some have argued they did so without including much evidence. How did the public feel about these problems? Did the speech make people switch sides? According to The New York Post, Trump’s speech only changed 2% of people’s opinion about the border. Politico states that 82% Republicans favor the wall but 33% say it’s a national emergency. According to Deadline. com, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer’s speech got about two percent more views. But Twitter was buzzing by the end of the night, with many on the platform instantly turning the pair into a meme because of their appearance. Overall, many appreciated our nation’s President and Congressional leaders speaking to the public about what is happening in our government.
30,000 German Students Advocate For Climate Projection
by: Anneken Le Bouar
Over 30,000 students are, instead of attending school, gathered in major cities of Germany to strike for better climate protection. Their main goal: phasing out of fossil fuel and raising awareness of global warming. The strike is a part of the movement called “Fridays for Future,” inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish student who gained worldwide attention in August 2018 by refusing to attend school until her government would reduce their carbon emissions as per the Paris Climate Accord. After the general election in September, the 16 year-old continued striking on Fridays, which soon inspired students from other countries to follow her example.
Thus was the case on January 18 in Germany. With quotes like “ Make our planet great again,” “There’s no planet B,” and “It’s our future, it’s our planet, it’s in your hands,” thousands of students throughout Germany are trying to raise awareness of global warming.
According to the German news channel Tagesschau, the southern German city of Freiburg - home to around 3500 students - has assembled the largest number of demonstrators to date. Clara Berndt, a protestor whose job is to count the people during the demonstration, has confirmed an attendance of at least 7000 students. This is a surprisingly large number, considering the high punishments threatened by schools for absence and the cold weather.
Yet in spite of this, the protestors consider the demonstration to have gone well; the strike started at 9:00 am with a number of speeches, followed by a controlled march through downtown and ended after about three hours with an open microphone and music.
Although the school strikes have received some negative attention, they have also brought forward important debates on whether the freedom of speech or compulsory education is more important. Berndt is confident that the activists’ views have reached politicians and will hopefully procure a change.
Economic Turmoil Spirals France into Protest
by: Joey Ivanov
France has never been a country afraid to rebel against the existing social structure in hopes of bettering the country. The nation is now on its sixth constitution and once again its people are upset.
In Nov. 2018 those looking for change started to form mass demonstrations in the streets of France. The movement is fueled by rising fuel prices, high cost of living, and claims that the burden of the government’s tax reforms were falling on the middle class.
The movement has goals to reintroduce the solidarity tax on wealth, an increased minimum wage and called for President Emmanuel Macron’s resignation. The former Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs has served as President since 2017.
Everyday people gather in the streets building bonfires and occasionally blocking traffic. President Macron, in response, has offered increasing the monthly minimum wage by $114 and eliminating the fuel-tax that set the country ablaze. When Macron was elected he was France’s youngest leader since Napoleon and he took office with a majority in Parliament.
Macron is notorious for poorly communicating with the French people, once telling an unemployed man to simply cross the street and get a job in a restaurant. Macron has been called a president of the rich. France’s population is furious that for the past 40 years, presidents have been favoring big business and banks instead of the working class.
Like they’ve done in the past, the people of France’s strikes have triggered more strikes throughout the world. People in Iraq are revisiting the same causes that the French people have been striking about.
Residents in Basra, Iraq, have begun demanding improved public services due to an escalated water-contamination crisis leading more than 102,000 people needing medical treatment. These protesters have been blocking roads, clashing with the police, and committing arson.
by: Josh Ho
On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom made headlines around the world by deciding to leave the European Union. The decision, dubbed “Brexit,” was made via a country-wide referendum, with 51.9% of the 30 million voters electing to leave the E.U. Shortly after the referendum, UK Prime Minister David Cameron resigned from office.
On March 29, 2017, Cameron’s successor Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, initiating the Brexit process. Under Article 50, the UK has two years after the invocation to officially leave the EU. However, due to political turmoil, the exit date of March 29, 2019, as well as the terms of the deal, could be significantly altered.
Prior to the 2016 referendum, Theresa May opposed the idea of the UK leaving the EU. However, after seeing the results, May changed her stance and began the Brexit negotiations. The negotiations, which began on June 19, 2017, resulted in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, a 585-page document that details the terms of the UK’s exit, including how much money the UK owes the EU (39 billion Pounds, according to the BBC), how to handle UK citizens who live in other EU countries (and vice-versa), and how to avoid another border wall in Northern Ireland.
This agreement was frowned upon by many parties within the UK, including May’s own Conservative party. In response to the agreement, several government officials, including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, stepped down from their positions. On December 12, 2018, the Conservative party held a vote of no-confidence with regard to May’s leadership. May won the vote 200-117. During the vote, May told Parliament that she would be stepping down as Prime Minister after Brexit. The next month, on January 15, 2019, May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by the House of Commons 432-202, the largest margin against a government in UK history.
With the March 29 Brexit deadline approaching and no agreed-upon withdrawal deal in place, the United Kingdom is experiencing major political unrest. In a battle for control over the terms of the Brexit deal, the Labor Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled another motion of no confidence in order to try to force an early general election. Such an election could result in a member of the Labor party becoming Prime Minister, granting the party control of Brexit negotiations. However, May barely won the January 15 no confidence vote by a margin of 325-306.
With an early general election appearing improbable, Theresa May will likely be the one to guide the country through the Brexit process. However, she is running out of options. One path she can follow is a “No-deal Brexit.” Since May’s withdrawal agreement was rejected, the United Kingdom currently does not have a deal negotiating a smooth exit from the EU. May could decide to proceed with Brexit without a deal in place, although this is unlikely. A no-deal Brexit could cause an economic collapse, as the UK would be immediately cut off from the EU market without other plans in place.
Another option would be to hold another Brexit referendum. Although the majority of the UK still might vote for a Brexit, a second referendum, which could take a year to organize according to the UK government, would grant the government more time to agree to a deal. According to CNBC, 130 business executives in the UK are pushing for a second referendum. However, both the Conservative party and Labor party are against the idea.
May could also attempt to modify her previous agreement in a final attempt to pass a deal before the March 29 deadline. She is set to present her revised plan to Parliament on January 21, with a January 29 vote. With much work to be done in very little time, the Brexit situation bears watching in the coming weeks and months.
Global Community Mourns, Responds to Death of Prominent Journalist
by: Carter Zagorski
“I was recently online looking at the 2018 ‘Freedom in the World’ report published by Freedom House and came to a grave realization. There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as ‘free.’ That nation is Tunisia. Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of ‘partly free.’ The rest of the countries in the Arab world are classified as ‘not free.’”
That’s the opening paragraph of the last published article by Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and author who contributed to The Washington Post (click here to read the Opinions piece). Khashoggi, a critic of his home country’s government, was well-known around the world for his coverage of numerous stories of importance to the Middle Eastern region and the world. On Oct. 2, as he entered the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey - two nations considered “not free” in the same Freedom House report - he was prepared to, according to BBC, “obtain a document certifying that he had divorced his ex-wife, so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée.” He attempted to do so on Sept. 28, but was told to return later for reasons unknown. The events that would follow Khashoggi’s second entrance are unclear; what is confirmed is that Khashoggi did not leave his country’s embassy alive.
Immediately after the world knew of Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Saudi government declared that it had no knowledge of his fate, maintaining for two weeks that he had left the embassy after staying for no more than one hour. The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. called reports of Khashoggi’s death “completely false and baseless,” and his brother, First Deputy Prime Minister Prince Mohammed, stated that “we have nothing to hide.”
Yet once news broke soon after on the country’s state-run television channel that Khashoggi was murdered in a “rogue operation,” and after a government official described how the journalist’s body was graphically disposed of, Saud al-Mojeb, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor, stated that Khashoggi’s death was premeditated. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan concurred, claiming in a speech to his Justice and Development Party members last week that his nation had evidence of the killing. Presently, both Turkish President Erdogan and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman have agreed to cooperate in the investigation through sharing information that could lead to the still-missing body.
Last week’s “Davos in the Desert” investment conference hosted by Saudi Arabia was due to feature guests including Fortune 500 executives and world leaders. However, many reversed their decisions because of Khashoggi’s death, including Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
And after much contentiousness, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also did not go to the investor conference he was previously scheduled to speak at, though he did travel to Saudi Arabia. “We have an important relationship with Saudi Arabia, focused on combating terrorist financing and focused on our common interests of stopping Iran’s spread of both terrorism and other issues,” he said in defense of the visit.
President Trump invited Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, to the White House last week following his administration’s increasingly forceful messaging towards the Saudis. He vowed “very severe” consequences for the country, saying that the case “has caught the imagination of the world, unfortunately. It’s not a positive. Not a positive,” and that the U.S. will respond once the investigation is complete.
Cengiz declined her invitation, stating that President Trump’s comments “were simply statements to gain public sympathy,” and calling for “all those involved in this savagery from the highest and lowest levels [to be] punished and brought to justice.”
A memorial service was held Monday in London.
by: Matt Bednar
As President Trump’s second year is winding down, he was able to put two judges on the Supreme Court. He appointed Judge Neil Gorsuch on Feb. 1, 2017, and Gorsuch was later confirmed with a 54-45 Senate vote on April 1, 2017.
But his second nominee had a very bumpy ride to the high court. President Trump appointed Judge Brett Kavanaugh on July 10, 2018, after Justice Anthony Kennedy stepped down. Kavanaugh was filling a big seat in the Supreme Court as Justice Kennedy was usually the tiebreaker vote.
As his hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee approached, Kavanaugh was looking more and more competent for the court. With his professional records on the US D.C Circuit Court for 12 years, working for President Bush, and a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh was looking like he was going to be the 114th Supreme Court Justice.
But roughly a week after his hearings and a couple of days before his possible committee vote, Christine Blasey Ford accused him of a sexual assault that occurred 36 years ago. This accusation shocked both Democrats and Republicans across the country.
Ford’s lawyer and other Democratic senators called for an FBI investigation, however, President Trump declined because no Senator can order an investigation and the FBI can’t make judgment calls.
Ford wanted to have the entire committee to fly to California so she could testify in her home state due to her extreme fear of flying, and the committee agreed to do so. But Ford didn't respond to this offer so the committee had to put a final date down. The Republicans told Ford they will have her testify on Sept. 24 and if she didn’t show up, that would be it.
On the day of the hearings, Ford and Kavanaugh testified separately due to Ford not wanting Kavanaugh in the same room.
During Ford’s testimony, Democrats on the committee used most of their time asking her what happened that night and trying to establish her credibility. The Republican senators used their time by deferring to Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell who asked Ford their questions. Overall, both sides treated Ford with respect which she deserved.
During Kavanaugh’s testimony, Republicans used most of their time once again by using Rachel Mitchell. The Democrats came after Kavanaugh with full force, asking about his drinking habits, spare time, parties, other allegations, and demanding he ask Trump for an FBI investigation.
The atmosphere in the committee room was definitely more intense than the previous hearing. While it’s important to stress that the hearings were not a criminal trial and no charges could have emerged, it appeared that a significant number of people in the court of public opinion were branding Kavanaugh “guilty” before the hearings concluded and evidence was presented.
After the committee testimonies, they voted their support of an FBI investigation which President Trump said should be conducted quickly but comprehensively.
At the conclusion of the hearings, both Kavanaugh and Ford came out of the testimonies as believable as they could. Ford was able to give the committee a detailed imagine of the room. She also provided four names who she thought would support her statements. Kavanaugh gave the committee a detailed calendar of his summer in 1982 which the alleged assault happened. The calendar showed no party that Ford described. Kavanaugh also had a letter signed by 65 females who he grew up with who said he would never do the things Ford alleged.
The committee voted for an FBI investigation which lasted for about five days. The FBI mainly investigated alleged witnesses. They interviewed former classmates of Kavanaugh, friends of Ford that were alleged to be at the party, and even the other man that Ford claims assaulted her with Kavanaugh. The results weren’t made public, and the only people able to view them are President Trump and the U.S. Senators.
In the end, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The final vote was 50-48, with senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voting to confirm the judge.
Political Figures Targeted by Deranged Mail Bomber
by: Carter Zagorski
Cesar Sayoc, the FBI’s suspect in last week’s mail-bombings case, appeared in court on Monday after being charged with interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and certain other persons, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting federal officers
Sayoc, of suburban Miami, allegedly had a list of over one hundred people to target. The list has not been publicly released, though according to NBC News, “...law enforcement will be informing politicians, entertainers, and members of the media of Cesar Sayoc’s intention to mail them a crude pipe bomb.”
Former President and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, billionaire Democratic activist Tom Steyer, billionaire Democratic activist George Soros, and notable actor and producer Robert De Niro were all either addressed by Sayoc’s packages as intended recipients or named as the sender. CNN was forced to evacuate their New York studio in the midst of Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto’s coverage of the packages sent to Clinton and Obama last week, and on Monday, an additional bomb was sent to CNN’s Atlanta bureau. All of the targets have previously been critical of President Trump and his administration. None of the targets were injured; none of the mail-bombs detonated.
The DJ and bouncer of a gentlemen’s club in West Palm Beach, Sayoc was known in his community for his white Dodge van filled with paraphernalia supporting President Trump and criticizing Trump’s opponents. The New York Times characterized Sayoc as “a volatile nobody desperate to become a somebody, a bankrupt loner who spewed anger and spent years living in and out of [the] van.”
Last week, the FBI stated that a fingerprint on one of the packages both led them to Sayoc and connected him to the other packages. If convicted, he faces up to 48 years of imprisonment.
Justice for Laquan McDonald
by: Joey Ivanov
On Oct. 20, 2014, officer Jason Van Dyke of the Chicago police department began a shift that would change the course of his life. A 911 call came in reporting that man was breaking into trucks at 41st Street and Kildare Avenue. Van Dyke was sent to investigate and on his way there he would encounter 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Witnesses that made the call reported that McDonald allegedly pulled a knife on them and swung at one of the witnesses. McDonald walked down the block where he encountered Officers Thomas Gaffney and Joseph McElligott, the officers ordered McDonald to stop, take his hands out of his pockets.
Holding a knife in his right hand, McDonald was ordered to drop the weapon.
McDonald continued walking, when he approached the intersection of 40th and Karlov avenue police officer Gaffney turned the car toward him. McDonald slashed a tire and broke the windshield. McDonald then begins running to the nearby Burger King.
McDonald continued to walk down the street, knife in hand, when Van Dyke shot him for the first time, McDonald fell to the ground immediately. Van Dyke then proceeded to open fire on him shooting him for about 13 seconds. McDonald was shot 16 times.
Four years later, Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty with second degree murder. This has been the first time a Chicago police officer has been convicted with an on-duty shooting in nearly 40 years.
McDonald’s uncle who said that Van Dykes sentence makes McDonald’s legacy a symbol of hope for justice.
Trade War: Terrific or Terrible
by: Matt Bednar
As the fourth month of Trump’s trade war comes to an end, things are looking more confusing than ever. Since his first tariff has been put in effect on June 1st, the economy has been fluctuating. The tariffs have been placed on the European Union, which, in fact, has come up with solutions with President Trump, and the tariffs on China have been ongoing since June 1st. The stock markets prices have been going up and down due to the steady rise in tariffs. These tariffs have been affecting prices of goods we use everyday and actually have been affecting families in the community. Steel and aluminum are two of many goods in the tariffs, which has raised prices of products from cars and Apple products to even some alcoholic drinks.
President Trump says that the tariffs are going to make the markets more fair for American companies, and this been illustrated by the steel industry; due to the high tariffs, the industry has been doing its best in years, which is also increasing the steel job market to thousands of people. Because the US has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, they have struck back. Soybean farmers are some of the people that have been hit the hardest by these Chinese tariffs. As one of China’s biggest imports from the US, soybeans were hit with a 25% tariff. As a result, the US government has been subsidizing farmers because they are losing money, paying out $4.7 billion to farmers affected, some of whom live in our state.
This trade war doesn't look that good for farmers right now, but economists predict that the lost profit now can lead to a huge increase in profit in the future. In fact, the soybean tariffs have started to backfire on China as they begin to run out of soybeans. As we approach our fifth month in this trade war, which never seems to leave the news, a question remains: are we going to win this trade war, or will we have to give in?
Is a Blue Wave Incoming?
by: Josh Ho
In recent years, the United States government has been largely controlled by the Republican Party. Although the Democratic Party controlled the executive branch for 8 years under President Barack Obama, for 6 of those years the House of Representatives remained under Republican control. The Senate was also controlled by Republicans for the last 2 years of the Obama Administration. Since the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, the Republican Party has controlled both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. However, this may not last long.
Over the past 7 months, 46 of the 50 states have been holding primary elections, where all political parties choose their candidates for the upcoming midterm elections. Based on the results of these primaries, many political experts are predicting a “Blue Wave” in the House of Representatives, which means that the Democratic Party would take control of the House for the first time since 2011. In order for Democrats to take control of the House, they need to pick up 23 seats. Yet with the November midterms looming, it is still unknown whether the Blue Wave will actually occur.
History would suggest so. According to BBC, in the 21 midterm elections since 1934, the president’s party has only gained seats in the House three times. All three of these gains were minimal, with the biggest gains occuring in 1934 when the Democratic Party gained 9 seats in the House under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Conversely, losses in House seats by the presidential party are typically more drastic. In the 2010 midterms, Democrats lost 63 House seats, equivalent to almost 15% of total seats in the House. This shift was reflective of Obama’s approval rating, which in 2010 was about 40%. At the time of this writing, President Trump has a similar approval rating of 40.5%, according to political statistics website Fivethirtyeight. Based on this statistic, and the fact that Democrats only need 23 seats for a majority, it seems like a Blue Wave is imminent.
However, predicting politics is rarely that simple. Many different factors affect elections, including voter turnout. Republicans typically have better voter turnouts for midterms than Democrats. The BBC explains that midterm voters are usually older caucasians, a demographic that is typically Republican. In order for the Blue Wave to occur, Democratic voter turnout will have to increase.
A change in House control could potentially have a major impact on the country during these next few years. If the Democratic Party controls the House, it could limit the effect of the remaining two years of the Trump administration. Since a House majority is required to pass a bill, a Democratic House could thwart President Trump’s plans. This could result in a political stalemate for the rest of Trump’s presidency.
The upcoming midterms are crucial and will alter the trajectory of the U.S. government over the next few years. While history points to the Democratic party reclaiming some, if not majority control of the House, low Democratic voter turnout and staunch Republican support of Trump’s presidency could dispel that notion. Regardless of the results, the midterm election will be exciting to monitor as voting day draws near.
Midterms = Minimum Voters
by: Gavin Hill & Ryan Manthy
The Illinois gubernatorial governor race is set to be one of the most contested elections in the history of the United States. As of June 4th, candidates JB Pritzker (D) and Bruce Rauner (R) have invested a total $200 million in the race. Despite their ideological contrast, both candidates share the common agenda of persuading Illinoisans to vote. Unfortunately, this goal is unlikely to come without challenges. Most Americans do not feel inclined to vote during midterm elections, which are the elections that occur between presidential elections.
In fact, only 35.9% of eligible voters turned out for the 2014 midterm election, and an even lower amount of young voters turned out to the midterms. According to Vox News, only 23.4% of young voters turned out in the previous midterm election cycle, with only 28% of young voters planning on voting in this year’s midterm elections. While this number is still higher than the previous midterm elections, the percent of eligible young voters participating in voting is still very low.
Our right to vote had long been debated as the greatest strength to our nation. Many have fought for our right to vote and gave their lives for our freedom; unfortunately, many people take that right for granted. This can be seen through our voting tendencies throughout the past years, especially in young voters. Registering to vote isn’t a hard process; you can register online in a process that is quick and easy. If you have a computer you can visit your local government website and register, or if you can’t get online, you can also register in your local government building. It is our moral obligation to vote, so no matter who you believe in, get out and vote!
Senior Huskie Engaged in Government
by: Carter Zagorski
There’s a difference between participating in government and actually engaging with it. Charlie Goldberg, a senior here at Hersey, knows this well. As millions of Americans turn out in droves to polling places for the upcoming midterm election, Goldberg won’t be joining them; not because he chooses not to vote, but because he can’t (he is still 17 years old, one year short of the requirement for voters to be at least 18 by Election Day).
Yet while age will prevent Goldberg and other young Americans from participating in the political process and voting next November, his age does not serve as a barrier from going a step further than mere participation: he serves as a Youth Member on the Arlington Heights Youth Commission. Providing voices for the younger citizens in the community, Goldberg and six additional Youth Members (composing over half of the 13-person group) “share updates regarding our high schools with the Commission, inform the Village Board on important events, and help shape future community gatherings for youth of all ages,” he said.
These community gatherings are entirely planned by the Commission, and one neat facet of Goldberg’s role as a Youth Member is his ability to incorporate his individual expertise and interests into the planning of the events. Outside of the Commission, Goldberg is also passionate about astronomy (and recognized for his achievements in the field; a member of the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA), an organization dedicated to limiting light pollution to preserve clear and dark skies, he attended last year’s IDSA annual General Meeting to receive the 2017 IDSA “Rising Star” award). This led to the creation of “star parties, which are gatherings at night in parks where participants use telescopes to view the stars,” Goldberg says, adding that the Commission is “currently planning a star party around Martin Luther King Day in January to view a lunar eclipse and serve hot chocolate.”
He has also been instrumental in running the Commission-sponsored annual Teen Job Fair. The Commission typically invites 20 or so companies from around the area to set up booths and come to the library, and teens are encouraged to dress up for the event and meet with businesses they’re interested in. “The library even runs a workshop teaching teens how to talk with business owners as well as look their sharpest,” Goldberg added.
With the graduation of Goldberg and others on the Commission next May, new members will be needed to fill these roles. “We look for applicants to go through the interview process each year, and if you’re interested, more information is available on the Village of Arlington Heights website.”