What the Trump is an Alternative Fact

By: Rae Arnett

This week, as I was watching the Trump Administration take full swing, I admit that I was curious about what, if any, campaign promises he would fulfill.

I was anxious to see what he might tweet, what he might say, and who he might nominate for confirmation.

I was not expecting a pissing contest about inauguration crowd sizes nor was I expecting the absurdity that is “alternative facts”.

Senior Advisor to Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, explained that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s interesting first interaction with the press (where he claimed that Trump’s inauguration had the biggest crowd ever. Period) was a representation of alternative facts. Wait… what? That’s what I thought. What is in alternative fact and how can I get some?

But let’s just examine that phrase for a moment.

Alternative is defined as of one or more things available as another possibility.

Fact is defined as a thing that is indisputably the case.

Alternative fact is, plain and simple, an oxymoron. There is no quantifiable evidence that Trump’s inauguration had the largest crowd in history, however there is verifiable evidence of Obama’s inauguration crowd being larger than Trump’s.

Spicer did not present alternative facts. He did not present facts at all, and furthermore, regardless of your personal feelings about the new administration’s policies, there should be concern about these blatant lies.

Being concerned with the honesty and integrity of the White House Administration should be expected of the American people. Especially when the lies told are not serving to protect national secrets, but rather to placate the ego of our 45th president. There is no other reason to lie about such trivial facts. Who cares about the size of the inauguration crowds? Or his hands for that matter.

If we are in the business of accepting alternative facts, then I would like to point out that Marilyn Monroe is going to be my Maid of Honor when I get married, because that’s what alternative facts are; complete fabrications.

I challenge everyone reading this to push for an honest administration. This is not about policies, executive orders, or campaign promises. It is about holding the highest office in the nation accountable and maintaining the ethics we have come to expect from such an office.

Now is not the time to be passive. If you disagree with your local, state, or national representatives then let them know. If you think they are doing a stellar job then write them, call them, send them a bottle of tequila; just do not be passive.

But, even further, I challenge you to look for and expect honesty and integrity from yourselves, and from those around you. If we are going to survive an administration of trivial lies and lack of integrity, then we must truly rise above it and elevate ourselves to a higher level.


Hindsight: A Retrospective on the Presidency of Barack Obama

By: Chris McManigal

Part 1: The Good

It’s no secret that people have highly charged opinions about Barack Obama and his Presidency. Ask some and they’ll say they already miss him, ask others and they’ll say he’s the worst thing to ever happen to this county.

So what is the reality? That answer can be subjective, of course, either somebody likes the guy or doesn’t, but Obama’s term, like any other, can be summarized by the numbers.

First, let’s define terms. Two markers are commonly used to take the national temperature as it relates to the health of our economy, the Gross Domestic Product and the Unemployment Rate. Why? Because the GDP measures what we as a nation produce, our collective “product,” and the Unemployment Rate-when seen as the inverse or the Employment Rate-measures how many people are producing it. More people working equals more product made. More product made equals more money we earn.

So, bearing that in mind, what are the numbers? According to the US Department of Commerce, at the at the end of 2008, before Obama took office, the GDP was -6.2%, meaning that we as a nation produced 6.2% less stuff to sell than the year before.

Nearly 8 years later, as Obama’s term is ending, our GDP is 2.9%. That said, 2.9% as a stand-alone figure doesn’t sound like much. It’s only when you consider that the spread between -6.2 and 2.9 is almost 10 points that one can really gage how much our economy has healed during Obama’s term.

And then there are the unemployment figures. On day 1 of his term in January 2009 the Unemployment Rate was bad, 7.8%. But it didn’t end there. The backlash from the Great Recession that Obama inherited reared its ugly head throughout the first year of his term pushing the Unemployment Rate up as high at 10% in mid-2010. That’s 1 in 10 American adults that are able and willing to not being able to find a job.

Compare that to 4.9%, the Unemployment Rate now as Obama’s term is nearing its end. On its face a more than 50% reduction in the raw number sounds impressive. But more than sounding impressive, it actually is impressive when you consider that just 1/10 of a percent represents millions of Americans having a job now that didn’t 8 years ago.

Love him or hate him, the numbers don’t lie. But they aren’t always good…


Presidential Firsts

By: Chris McManigal

No matter who wins the upcoming election on November 8th, another milestone among our Presidents will be reached. If Hillary Clinton wins, she will be the first woman President in US history and if Donald Trump wins he will be the first billionaire.

But there have been many firsts over the years. Here is a look back at many of them.

The ultimate first is, of course, our first President, George Washington. He became President after being elected by a unanimous Congressional vote in 1789. He was also the first President to appear on a stamp in 1847.

John Adams was the first President to live in the White House when it was completed in 1800.

John Quincy Adams was the first President whose father, John Adams, had also been the President.

Andrew Jackson was the first and only President that killed someone in a duel. Before he became President Jackson shot and killed a man named Charles Dickenson over a horse race bet in 1806.

Martin Van Buren was the first President to have spoken English as a second language. His first being Dutch. Also, he was the first President to have been a born citizen of the US. All Presidents prior to him had been British subjects.

William Henry Harrison was the first President to have his photograph taken while in office in 1841.

James Buchanan was the first President that had never been married.

Abraham Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated when he was shot in the head in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play. He was also the first President to appear on a coin in 1909.

James Garfield was the first left-handed President.

There have been many Presidential firsts involving transportation. Andrew Jackson was the first to ride a train in 1833, William McKinley was the first to ride in a car in 1899 and Theodore Roosevelt was the first to fly in an airplane in 1910.

Woodrow Wilson became the first President to address the public over the radio in 1923. He was also the first to have a Doctorate.

Herbert Hoover was the first President to have a telephone at his desk during his term from 1929-1933.

John F. Kennedy was the first would-be President to have televised debates during the build up to the election in 1960. He was also the first and only Catholic President to have held office.

Richard Nixon was the first and thus far the only President to have resigned from office in 1974. He was also the first and only Quaker.

Jimmy Carter was the first President to be born in a hospital in 1924.

Ronald Reagan was the first and only President to have been divorced. Before marrying his second wife Nancy, he was married to fellow actor Jane Wyman.

Bill Clinton was the first President to send an email in 1998.

George W. Bush was the first President to stream his State of the Union address live over the internet in 2002.

Barack Obama became the first African-American President when he was elected in 2008.


Candidate Close-Up: Jill Stein

By: Chris McManigal

Fourth of a 4-part series spotlighting the Presidential candidate from the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party.

Jill Stein came to be on the political stage from experiences in her first career, medicine. As a medical doctor she became concerned about the link between her patients’ health and their environment. This concern blossomed into her becoming an environmental activist and eventually to her first run for President in 2012 as the Green Party candidate.

Originally from Chicago, Stein graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1973 and afterwards attended Harvard Medical School where she graduated in 1979. She practiced internal medicine for 25 years until retiring in 2005.

Over the course of her medical career, Stein maintained a parallel career as an environmental activist and researcher. She has protested against coal pollution and testified to the state of Massachusetts to include mercury warnings on fish. In 1998 she began serving on the board of Boston’s Physicians for Social Responsibility and later partnered with Boston University’s Superfund Research Program, which is primarily concerned with the linkage between human disease and exposure to hazardous chemicals. Also, while on this board she authored two reports, In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development in 2000 and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging in 2009.jill_stein_by_gage_skidmore

As the Green Party candidate for President, Stein favors nationalizing the Federal Reserve, increasing spending on mass transit programs, and funding infrastructure upgrades to revamp cities in order to encourage biking and walking. She wishes to overturn Obamacare in favor of a Medicare-for-all model. She also favors free high public education and cancelling all student debt. She is against fracking and the use of nuclear energy.

Stein is married with two adult sons.

Age: 66

Education: BA and MD from Harvard University

Net Worth: 2.5 million

Famous Quote: “The mythology is that political change happens only in election years. The truth is you build from election to election.”


Candidate Close-Up: Gary Johnson

By: Chris McManigal

Third of a 4-part series spotlighting the Presidential candidate from the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party.

Gary Johnson has been a known quantity within New Mexico for many years having served as the Republican Governor from 1995 to 2003. He made his first appearance on the national stage in 2012 when he ran for President for the first time, initially as a Republican with Libertarian leanings. Then during that race he switched his affiliation officially to the Libertarian Party and won the party’s nomination with more than 1 million votes.

Though originally from North Dakota, Johnson went to High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduated from college from the University of New Mexico, also in Albuquerque. He began his career as a handyman which eventually led him to starting his first construction company, Big J Enterprises. That company became extremely successful and ultimately employed more than 1,000 people. When he sold Big J in 1999 it was widely known to be one of the biggest construction companies in the state.

Johnson has authored 2 books. Seven Principles of Good Government was published in 2012 and Common Sense for the Common Good: Libertarianism as the End of Two-Party Tyranny will be released in 2017.

As the Libertarian candidate for President, Johnson is in support of military non-interventionism, the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, preserving abortion rights, simplifying the tax code and the expansion of nuclear energy. While he is not a climate change denier, he does not feel that the government can or should play a role in controlling it. He also supports the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act known as Obamacare.gj

Johnson is currently unmarried, but has been with his partner Kate Prusack since 2009. He has 2 adult children from his previous marriage that ended in 2005.

Age: 63

Education: BS from the University of New Mexico

Net Worth: 6.5 million, estimated

Famous Quote: “Every time you pass a law it is a little bite out of freedom.”


Candidate Close-Up: Donald Trump

By: Chris McManigal

Second of a 4-part series spotlighting the Presidential candidate from the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party.

Donald Trump was famous for a long time before becoming the focus of the news every night. He’s been a businessman, TV star and author before first running for President in 2000 as the Reform Party candidate. That bid for the Presidency was ultimately unsuccessful, but gave the public a first glance at Trump as a politician.

Trump first began his career working for his father’s business known at the time as Elizabeth Trump and Son, which was named after his grandmother. In 1971 he took over that business and renamed it The Trump Organization. Within the first two years of him running the company The Trump Organization was investigated by the Justice Department for housing discrimination against minorities. The Organization later agreed to screen tenants based solely on income status, but never admitted wrongdoing.

Donald Trump has written numerous successful books, arguably the most famous of which was The Art of the Deal which is often regarded as the best-selling business related book of all time. Trump also starred in a reality show called The Apprentice during which hopefuls competed for a position within The Trump Organization. There was also a celebrity edition of The Apprentice during which celebrities would compete with one another in order to raise money for charity.

Donald Trump has never held elected office, but has stated that he feels his business acumen and experience makes him a logical choice for President because of the impact the office holder has on the American economy.

As the Republican candidate Trump has famously supported the overturning of the Affordable Care Act, building a wall along the US border with Mexico and vetting immigrants before granting entry into the US, which would include verification of their potential affiliation with terrorist groups.27484886630_234db35e7c_b

Donald Trump has been married 3 times. First to Ivana Trump from 1977 to 1991 during which they had 3 children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric. Second to actress Marla Maples from 1993 to 1999. They had 1 child together, Tiffany. He is currently married to Melania Trump and they have 1 son together, Barron

Age: 70

Education: BS from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania

Net Worth: 3.7 billion

Famous Quote: “I have made the tough decisions, always with an eye toward the bottom line. Perhaps it’s time America was run like a business.”


Candidate Close-Up: Hillary Clinton

By Chris McManigal

First of a 4-part series spotlighting the Presidential candidate from the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party.

Hillary Clinton is sometimes referred to as the most famous woman in the world. With good reason. She has been in the public eye since 1979 when she first became First Lady of Arkansas when her husband, Bill Clinton, was elected Governor.

When Bill Clinton was elected President in 1993 she became known to country and world over for her outspoken efforts to promote and pass healthcare reform and promote women’s rights.hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_crop

In 2001 she was elected to office in her own right as a Senator from New York and served until 2009, becoming the only former First Lady to win an elected office. During her time in office she led an investigation into the health issues suffered by 9/11 first responders. She also voted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but later openly regretted her support for the latter.

After an unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 2008, Barack Obama appointed her to be the 67th Secretary of State, a capacity she served in until 2013. During her term she negotiated a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. She also supported military action against Libya, but has been subsequently dogged by the killing of 4 Americans in Benghazi. She has also had to contend with an ongoing issue regarding classified emails during her time as Secretary.

As the Democrat party candidate for President, she has made women’s rights a cornerstone of her campaign, particularly as it relates to pay parity. She also supports LGBTQ equality, immigration reform, tax reform, universal health care, reducing the burden of student debt for college students and paid family leave for employees.

Hillary Clinton married Bill Clinton in 1975. They have one daughter, Chelsea, and 2 grandchildren.

Age: 68

Education: Juris Doctor, Yale Law School 1973

Net Worth: 31 million

Famous Quote: “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”


What is a Libertarian Anyway?

By Chris McManigal

Third of a 4-part series spotlighting the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party.

The Libertarian Party was founded in the 1971 and while it is not one of the main two parties, it has gained popularity among those that are disgruntled with the two-party system in the United States. Libertarians are not regarded as either right or left-wing, but rather a combination of both with socially liberal and fiscally conservative viewpoints.

The leading ideology of Libertarianism is non-interventionism and as such Libertarians lean strongly against government regulation of any kind. They instead believe in citizens governing themselves. Due to this they do not believe in most taxation and the programs that taxes often fund such as welfare or the military. They also do not believe that the government should have any say over who can and cannot marry or own guns.

Libertarians often refer to themselves as laissez-faire capitalists, which means they feel that the buying and selling of products and services should be totally free from regulation of tax of any kind and should be subject only to the rules that the buyers and sellers themselves agree to.

As such a new party, there have been no Libertarians Presidents in US history thus far. The most famous Libertarians that have held office have been former Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota and former Representative Ron Paul from Texas. Also, Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, a fellow Libertarian, is one of the current Senators of Kentucky and ran for President in the current election until suspending his campaign in February of this year.

Notable Libertarians include TV host Glenn Beck, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, renowned economist Milton Friedman, news mogul Rupert Murdoch and Hollywood alumni including magicians Penn & Teller and actors Gary Oldman and Clint Eastwood.

Libertarians as seen by supporters: pro-gay marriage, pro-business, defenders of liberty, pro-gun rights.

Libertarians as seen by opponents: Anti-government, anti-military, anti-taxation, anti-social safety net.

Key ideology: Non-interventionism

Size: 411,000


“Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”

By Nicole Jasso

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day? The song by Alan Jackson always comes to mind this time of year. It is hard to believe that awful day September 11, 2001 will have passed 15 years ago. Most of the students here at ENMU would have been in elementary school or barely starting school. Most of us can’t recall that day but some of us can.

Graduate student Gabby Ramirez says, “I was seven years old, in the second grade. My teacher had told us about what happened. I remember how all the teachers were talking about it. When we went home I was watching the news with my parents and watched the towers fall. It was the first time I saw a big impact happen and saw all the people panic. It was the first time I feared the world. The next couple of days when I would go to school I would get scare7978265399_457816f85fd when I would hear an airplane from the base fly over because I thought that it was going to crash into my classroom.”

Battalion chief Lance Hill, who has been a fireman and paramedic for twenty-eight years, recalls what he was doing and how he felt about that day. “I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was on duty that day and remember that I wanted to drop everything that I was doing and go over and help. I remember watching the second tower being hit. We sat around the TV and watched it unfold the rest of the day. At first we saw our brothers and sisters heading in to fight a large fire. As the towers started coming down we watched in disbelief. We saw the devastation on the television and I remember having a feeling of emptiness. I went over and told the Chief if they called for assistance I was volunteering to go. The fact that our country was under attack was beyond comprehension. It is a day that will stay with me forever.”

September 11, 2016 will be a day that will never be forgotten. Throughout the day be mindful of those who lost their lives, and the men and women in the military who have served our country.


What is a Democrat Anyway?

By Chris McManigal

First of a 4-part series spotlighting the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party.

The Democratic party, founded in 1828, is one of the main two political parties in the US. The party has undergone many changes throughout its history, but is presently regarded as the more liberal, or left-wing, of these parties.

One of the hallmarks of the Democratic party is their favorable stance on government intervention. Democrats believe that government has an important role to play in our lives in order to bring about a fairer society. They also believe that government exists to protect citizens from economic inequality and hence tend to support labor unions, equal opportunity laws, business and environmental regulation and equal access to health care.

Because they are pro-regulation, democrats are often criticized for tying the hands of business to operate in a truly free market economy. Dems also tend to support social programs such as welfare and food stamps which critics feel are detrimental to taxpayers because they enable people to not work for a living.

donkey-1445494_1280There have been 15 Democratic Presidents in US history, starting with Andrew Jackson in 1829. The most famous among these are Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Democratic presidents have been responsible for many things we consider a given in our society today including: Social Security, anti-child labor laws, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, unemployment insurance, women’s voting rights, overtime pay, Medicare, student loans and the Voting Rights Act. Democrats also founded NATO and ushered in the Civil Rights Act.

Democrats as seen by supporters: pro-diversity, pro-gay rights, inclusive, pro-social welfare and equality.

Democrats as seen by opponents: spendthrifts, enablers, anti-tax payer, anti-traditional family, anti-free market.

Key ideology: Liberalism/progressivism

Size: Approximately 43 million members

Color: Blue

Mascot: The donkey