Extend Your Attention Span for Syria

Read time: 2 minutes

Syria is not in our headlines everyday. When I do see any articles, I avoid clicking on them because I know what it says.

Another airstrike.

More casualties.

Absolute terror.

I knew about the Netflix documentary The White Helmets for a while now and I avoided watching it. It’s only 45 minutes long but I avoided it for weeks. I knew it was going to be good but I also knew it was going to be deeply horrifying. The documentary short is about the first responders in Syria that have saved over 58,000 lives since 2013. They are civilians who have dedicated their lives pull both dead and living bodies out of rubble as the daily strikes continue. Well, I finally watched it.

Incredible stories.

Sad beyond reason.

Induces an ugly cry that lasts as long as the documentary.

I’m glad I watched.

The way we have shielded ourselves from this horror in America is fascinating. It’s something I will woefully look back on and hesitate to tell my future children about.

“I’m sorry, I can’t say much about the Syrian genocide because we were too busy talking about the dumbest and most backwards Presidential election in 2016.”

We also probably don’t talk about this everyday because we don’t even know what’s going on. Everyone’s involvement in this war is convoluted and ambiguous. You shouldn't be embarrassed about not knowing. No one understands the lines anymore (although this video from Vox was helpful).

There’s something else we’re all not admitting here in America. Deep down in our hearts, we know that there’s a huge chance that we’re the bad guys this time. We don’t know the extent of our government's involvement in this war, we don’t want to welcome refugees, and worst of all, we don’t want to acknowledge our educate ourselves on it.

What’s going on in Aleppo is as traumatic and rampant as the Orlando nightclub shooting. Except for Syrians, the massacres are a daily occurrence. This is not a comparison of casualties, this is a comparison of fear. The number of people waking up everyday wondering if today is their last outweighs any tragedy we are facing here. Daily terror is not an abstract concept for them like it is for us. Our inability to admit this is also sickening. We are not entitled to ignore what’s going on Syria. We are not entitled to safety over them.

I didn’t watch The White Helmets last night. I watched it two weeks ago and I am still completely shaken up. If I were to die today and have to answer to God, I know I would be ashamed of my inaction. Please watch this short, please do your best to care, and please donate to these incredible heroes. That’s the least we can do from our desks right now.

Giving Up Indifference

Read time: 3 minutes

I am happy and complacent. The happiness part I’m used to but the complacent state of mind is driving me to an edge. I’m grateful for my life but it’s pushed me away from empathy with suffering and most of all, it’s made me feel like I’ve stopped going forward in life.

Every year, I like to celebrate Lent  - for two obvious reasons: it’s easier than Ramadan and second, 40 days is an appropriate time frame to form a new habit. This post on what the Pope wants you to give up for Lent stirred what was central to my discomfort with my idle mind: indifference. I'm giving up on indifference because indifference is too easy and it's definitely not making any of us feel better about our political and social climate.

Describing this phenomenon he calls the globalization of indifference, Francis writes that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.

Earlier this month, as soon as I decided to care about stuff again and let our American state of affairs sink in, I was grossly galvanized by the Republican Party's propaganda. Every PR firm in America should come together and re-brand what is now a shameful party to associate your traditional, conservative, and once practical values with.  If you disagree, again, they have a major PR issue. Imagine how hard it is for young American to attach to the Republican Party. Imagine what it’s like to be cornered into backing Donald Trump come end of day today. Perhaps it's not so different from having to back Hillary Clinton but at least she’s not the American equivalent of the early stages of Saddam Hussein.

Caring is hard but please care enough to not vote for Not Trump. If everyone who is a part of the  My-Vote-Doesnt-Count group voted, it would count right now. Even if you have to wait three hours in line, at least you saved your Republican friend from losing their mind and got to skip some work. This evangelical and conservative radio talk show host and pastor doesn’t even understand how this Trump take over is happening. Decide to pay attention this election year and help out a Republican in need.

To close this rant, I saw this on Facebook last night and I want everyone to read this at least 14 times and be sad with me.

Let today sink in. There’s nothing to celebrate and everything to change.

I Would Like You to Know About This: Violence Against Women

I failed myself as a woman the past few years. I've been known for my anti-feminist jokes. They were misguided by extreme feminism – mostly the misogynists you picture when you hear the word "Feminism". Truthfully: I was naive. There are gender equality gaps in the workforce and the discrepancies are narrowing but the reality of women being mistreated still exists. This is my last summer before the career world and if I didn't begin substantial volunteering now, it would not gain traction later on down the road. We like to care about poverty, hunger, violence and injustice but many of us cannot empathize. I needed exposure. Yet, no matter where we live in the US, it’s easy to unravel our issues.

Going down the highway from downtown was a different kind of forever this time. There was no traffic. My insides swirled and I just got in my car and started crying. I guess I finally got it. I just had my first orientation at Genesis Women’s Shelter. A few weeks before graduation, it became evident to me that I needed to emotionally challenge myself in many ways. Genesis is a shelter for battered women and their children. Everyone has their trials but these aren't my trials, these are our trials. Domestic violence is one of our trials as humanity.

Here’s a correlation to remind us of what this household violence perpetuates: 85% of men in prison have been exposed to domestic violence while growing up.

Domestic violence has only crossed my path indirectly, maybe a friend’s friend or neighbors cousin. I did not know how to help them. Though emotional intelligence is a strength of mine, I doubt I would be able to detect these kind of disturbances in peoples relationships.

There are a few reasons domestic violence within a couple goes undetected. One main reason: women are afraid. They're afraid of  upsetting their spouse, losing their family, and believe they are dependent. Fear alone will empower battered women with the ability to lead normal lives in front of others. If their friends find out they are abused - physically or psychologically, it will only arouse the abuser more. To these women, it is an important and painful cycle to avoid.

Getting inside the outreach facility for Genesis was justifiably complicated. The actual shelter is at an undisclosed location. I walked into a room where women (and some men) ranging from high school to retirement age sat sharing "Why?”. Why are you here? Why do you want to volunteer? At first, it was a few but then it was half the room that had experienced violence in their time. Now they wanted to give back.

“I’m here to give back.”

Give back what? The sole idea that they had made it safely out of their situation, maybe with some help, have led them to want to give back? Some didn't even have help but they’re there to give back. I sat floored with admiration.

“When I called the police, they told me I had to get out myself and I could not take my children.”

“My first husband found me in California. He sent a letter stating, “I know where you are”.

Except for the part where I introduced myself and my desire to volunteer, I was silent. I’m not usually quiet but what was I supposed to say? “Yeah, my life and people in them have been totally great; I'm here to emotionally enrich myself. Sorry about what happened.”

No.

These women did not share their stories, they were there like me: wanting to help. The more I heard, the more I was appalled by my own naivety.

1 in 4 women experience violence in their lifetime. That means that the lady driving cruising 40 mph on the highway or the one carrying a whaling baby at the grocery line perhaps at a bad day. It’s overwhelming to even have these thoughts. I've only known great guys. But with my luck aside, there is a serious men’s issue within sour communities.

As outlined in a pretty spectacular TED Talk, there needs to be a paradigm shift. Domestic Violence is largely a men’s issue, a leadership issue. The burden to teach the youth should fall on adult men with power. They are leaders of this cause and should be held accountable for the crimes, the inaction, and the ignorance regarding the severity of this issue.

Men should interrupt each other and not stand for tactless jokes against women. There should be no blurred lines regarding violence in our peer culture. That way, men who perpetuate this hate, this abuse, lose their status in society As a result, we could see a radical drop in abuse. We could stop forgetting that it's happening.

Its not fair to our mothers and sisters to lack introspection regarding domestic violence. People like Chris Brown should not be allowed to perform anywhere or have influence among our youth. I don’t think as individuals we can be silent bystanders as these perpetrators continue their heinous antics.

Every city has their resources. In Dallas, one of them is Genesis. They have gone out of their way to be smarter than the abuser, to provide help to women discretely, and to help them start new lives methodically.

Genesis provides:

A 24 Hour Hotline, an emergency shelter, counseling, housing, daycare, recovery, child play therapy, an onsite school, case management, job readiness, and legal counseling – all free of charge.

We assume wonderful facilities like this exist and it allows us to sleep at night. But before I came here, I would not be able to properly redirect a friend in need if she came to me. That’s pretty disappointing. So, I want you to know.

Genesis

Having Opinions: Be Prude Yet Shrewd

I struggle with extremism. Overly strong beliefs provide a harbor for narrowed ideas and anchor any potential progress within a thinker. We have invested our views upon only a few media conglomerates, making us susceptible to any mismanaged fact. We react without much thought to misleading statistics. We respond to outrage with more rage or obsession. Our news sources throughout the years have diminished from full-fledged articles, to blogs, to tweets, and memes that grossly generalize complicated ideas.

I think it’s great that many people have responded so sensibly, pinpointing deficiencies in news coverage and reflecting on the morality of any given situation. However, we have become prisoners to our ideologies, our small worlds, and tightly held beliefs. We’ve stunted learning any new information and filter our minds to find what specifically pertains to us. I'm not saying there is an easy solution to revamping the American media. I'm saying that as any other concerned individual, we have to bring it upon ourselves to uncover whats right. For every stance you take—for every post you share—read twice as many opposing articles. Not only can that further cement your position on a subject, but it may also enlighten you to the true issue at hand.

Despite the weight of an issue, it’s important to remain rational and choose leveled words when making an argument. Without the concept of moderation during critical events, we lose sight of what’s at the core of an issue.

Relevant example: there are enraged gunmen committing serious crimes at places one would never hope for. Regardless of what you feel is at the core of these events (whether it is gun control, fair coverage, or pure injustice), be cautious by how you intake new information. Not only heed caution when learning about such tragedies but practice temperance when speaking on it. We aren't surprised by how stories unfold, not because there isn’t crippling information, but because we have already predetermined our stance. Isn't it possible that you are immune to reason because you are so deep at one end of an issue? Aren't we all clouded by a plethora of right and wrong information?

Another relevant example: A chicken sandwich chain and the supposed jeopardy of free speech at one end of the extreme and freedom of religion at the other. Both sides can substantially argue that their first amendment rights are in question. If you are truly appalled by the situation, regardless of which end you stand on, make sure you empathize and rationalize yourself out of an extreme end. Failing to do so will cause your frustration to linger, in which case, your cause has already lost effectiveness. Think of the last time you read something by the extreme opposition and miraculously altered your views? Never. Rage fails us. So, do your research: what other corporations support groups that you feel are opposing your liberty? Or at the other end: Whom else do we quiet as a society for simply speaking their mind?

There is truth to both sides but radical ideas don't constitute a viable stance on their own.

Really, disproportional and bias news coverage is an old topic. However, the same way a physician takes an oath to practice honest care, journalists need to carry a heavier burden of presenting well-rounded information. Do justice to your beliefs and remain educated. It's been a work in progress for me to do this as I read/watch the news but it has provided me with a more positive psyche. Change the way you read, be weary of extreme language, and empathize generously to opposing arguments.

This is all my opinion so perhaps I sound extreme myself. If you are easily persuaded by this or don't agree at all, maybe I failed to make my point.  Also relevant: The Best New Show for America

Swim Good: Frank Oceans Letter

When I first heard, I had the unique luxury of a friend reading Frank Oceans poetic letter out loud to me.

“Whoever you are, wherever you are…I’m starting to think that we’re a lot alike”.

And everything suddenly stood still. I’m not musically inclined, I have minimum artistic qualities, and I’m straight. But I felt Frank Ocean. I clung on to each word and because I wasn’t reading, I was seeing.

We’re in blackness. Did you even know there was blackness? There is a struggle. There is truth. If you can’t accept the sexuality of others, then this isn’t for you. There’s little for you. This is for those who oversee these differences but have yet to empathize. We can try. Recently, there has been an even stronger theme for progress from social pioneers. Each story heavies my chest but this one I really felt. Its raw.

We’re all in blackness, attempting to live truthfully.

I’ve carried a motto within me the past few years that has helped me through anything and everything: Empathize often. If you can place yourself somewhere foreign, then you know what’s right. It has helped me find everything good in my world. So how much would it hurt if I felt like a prisoner in my own body?

Because I couldn’t be honest with myself.

Because I couldn’t tell my friends who my heart felt for.

Because my parents wanted everything else of me.

These prisoners spend their lives with mixtures of guilt and confusion. They never want to know what’s at the end of a sentence that begins with homosexuality and ends with God. Why isn’t this darkness a part of our past already?

By the time Frank Ocean realized he was in love, it had become “malignant”. Anyone who has loved knows what that means.

I see Frank sitting, stiff because his words are fleeting too freely to his friend. I see his tears. I picture the sad years passing because he didn’t know his feelings were reciprocated. But he harnessed what he was given. He told himself he was going to be fine, and so he was. He spent years developing his craft and creating great music.

I admire what he's done with his words. I’ve always enjoyed his music but now his letter injects a new spirit into my breaths. His dialogue has resonated in my thoughts for a few days now.

I’m going to be seeing him in concert soon. I hope I get a chance to tell him: “Hey Frank, we’re nowhere near a falling sky”.

Defining a Villain

Serial killers destroy families. Corporate, religious, and political psychopaths ruin societies. Author of Men Who Stare At Goats, Jon Ronson, explores the underlying causes of psychopathy and characteristics that define a psychopath. The book, of course, took a journalistic approach—adding background research, personal insight and humor.

Why is the world so unfair? “Why all the savage economic injustice, those brutal wars, the everyday corporate cruelty? The answer: Psychopaths”

For some time now, I have believed that there are no villains in this world. Every action is a product of nurture and people's experiences define their morals. To the villains, they are the heroes—they are right. They are just. So what are rapists, murderers and schemers? They are just “jagged rocks thrown into the still pond.”

They are charmers. They are people who study the rest of us being normal and then imitate. They are eloquent, capable of disguising madness as logic. They will listen to you ramble about your morals and beliefs but pity you in their head for being restrained by your conscience.

If you were to unknowingly marry a sociopath (basically synonymous with psychopath), just leave. You will not hurt that person because they associate no real emotions with that kind of a loss. In the book, Ronson describes an experiment that reveals a critical, physical difference between a psychopath and a normal person.

When intense electro-shock therapy was legal (before the 1970's), several psychiatrists would conduct tests on prisoners for their research. Psychopaths were then considered to have personality disorders. Prisoners would volunteer to be a part of these experiments, unaware of what it entailed. They would be seated on the chair and told that they were going to be shocked at high levels. The prisoner would begin to sweat and tremble at the anticipation of the shock and after it was done, they would never volunteer again. That’s a normal person. The prisoners that were labelled to have personality disorders would not even sweat or twitch before the shock was delivered. It was as if their mind could not process the anticipation of pain and once it was endured, the memory of the pain would be fleeting. It was later discovered that psychopaths have a short-term, emotional memory—basically they lack a functioning amygdalae.

Psychotic prisoners are easy though; they like meeting researchers to break the monotony of their day. CEO's and politicians, however, find ways to bury their madness.

The right information is not covered about Anthony Weiner; he is a likely psychopath. Faking tears is the first thing they learn to do. His life ambitions are limited to fame and power and having (attempting to have) extramarital affairs is common. Let’s be real, most congressmen do not have sext worthy abs. Each of his six packs seemed to need a virtual mistress. This kind of superficial tendencies and need for continuous admiration encompasses a psychopath. His wife is intelligent, beautiful and accomplished, so he obviously had to be cunning and manipulative to deceive her. Yes, any politician would be all of these to an extent but Weiner displays a little more that aligns with the research Ronson did.

Jon Ronson even took Bob Hare’s course on identifying psychopaths; he describes it as both a power and flaw. After reading the book, it was difficult not to over analyze the people in my life. However, it’s also really helpful to notice these traits unwillingly. The Hare PCL-R (Pyschopathy Check List-Revised) lists all the characteristics that allow psychologists to diagnose psychopaths. If you read these and think “I’m all of these things sometimes, I may be a psychopath!” then you’re probably not. It’s those who ways to justify their behavior and psychotic ideologies that score high on this list.

Clearly, I really enjoyed this book. Buy it, Kindle it, Nook it, iPad it, Torrent it, Read it.

Deafening Silence: Muslims Against Radical Islam

Until Muslims want more from their people, there is little room for complaint. The anger and frustration against my own religion has been numbed by sadness and displaced acceptance. I want to feel ashamed by the silence I maintain when people around me express their disdain towards my religion, Islam. For some reason, however, I feel no shame. Because I don’t want to feed Islam’s greatest misconceptions, I avoid engaging in frenzied debates or displaying my frustration with strangers and even some friends.

Take a tough moment to sympathize with anyone who has ever degraded you, attacked your most precious beliefs, or has unjustly left you without spirit. Sympathize because everyone hates and everyone is a victim at some point.

Fanatics
Fanatics

It took long, mindful thinking to realize that I too would be left with a bit of inescapable contempt towards Muslims after everything that has happened in the Muslim world. The emotional, physical, verbal attacks against the Western world from Radical Islamists are endless.

Radical mentality cannot exist without and is only supported by stubborn ignorance. The greatest display of ignorance is in the leaders of suppressive governments. Recently, it was the Bush Administration that first discovered the complexities and inanity of Islamic Regimes. And now beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, corruption is unfolding from Tunisia to Indonesia.

Muslims, who live outside the tiny scope of Radical Islam, feel betrayed. They are victims to their own kind. No one retaliates the way militant Muslims do in this era. Their methods are unwarranted and accomplish nothing but notoriety—fueling the ignorance and hypocrisy of fanatical “Muslims”. Despite everything, more people in the United States acknowledge the discrepancies between real Muslims and the fanatics. I am always so proud to be American.

Ignorance exists everywhere but Muslim-Majority nations are letting it cripple their image with the rest of humanity.

The association of terror with Islam cannot be limited to Western ignorance. The fear is perpetuated by false practices of Islam by the militant leaders. Under the guise of morality, extremists in these nations maintained a theocracy—dictated by distorted interpretations of Islam’s holy book, the Quran. They ignore the basic, crucial principles of peace, compassion, and true faith.

Before Muslims can defend themselves against hate, they should condemn radical Muslims for their ignorance.

The Quran is beautiful poetry, outlining the need for compassion, accepting that God gave everyone freewill, and leading a life of humility. Violence is limited to defense, women (especially Mothers) are held with the highest regard, charity is a must, and there should be no limits to education. Yet, these radical leaders and their followers continue to arouse chaos, fight against social reform and keep their people silenced—all in the name of Islam. What validity of faith, peace, and worship exists after acts of any violence?

makkah
makkah

Small cries soon lead to fierce shouts against what was once silence. The chain-reaction of peaceful uprisings against fascists in Africa and the Middle East has enthralled everyone. More than hope, there is now a progressive social reform in the Muslim world. People broke free from dictatorship and corrupt regimes with movements loud enough to show truth in Islam.

Twitter #Jan25
Twitter #Jan25

Islam does not justify suppressing women, burning schools, and stoning adulterers. Although the reality of Radical Islam is difficult to grasp for normal Muslims, we should display spirited defense. Political and social movements took perseverance. The recent efforts in Northern Africa and Middle East are truly noteworthy. For once I know: it can be done. The bubble has burst and the aspirations of modern men and women can no longer be ignored.

Why was it ever so hard for me to say: “I’m a Muslim and my religion does not support that.” That’s almost all it takes.

Break the silence against ignorant, illiterate, radical “Muslims”—the real enemies against Islam.

Running Out of Patience, Mr. President.

2 YEARS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH TO FIX:

  1. A health care and education system in downturn
  2. The worst economic crisis since the depression
  3. An environmental crisis that many have yet to acknowledge
  4. A lack of bipartisanship in Congress
  5. Manage a huge financial deficit (inherited from the previous 8 years)

Where’s your magic wand Obama? Do you not have magical powers like the supposed witch, Christine O’Donnell?  Why aren’t you as qualified as the charming Sarah Palin? Sometimes I wonder if you’re even a real American because a birth certificate wasn’t enough.

In fact, I feel that you haven’t delivered all the “change” that you have promised.  As an American, I don’t have enough patience to wait in a drive thru so what makes you think I’m going to wait for your policies to take positive effect? Like my state representatives, I just wish you would tell me what I want to hear instead of doing what you know is best for our country.

As a smooth speaker, half knowledge, and mildy witty citizen, I feel that I am more qualified to run this nation than you are. I probably know more about the economy, intricacies of taxation, implementing bills, and social welfare than any current politician. Surely I’m informed enough since news coverage has always been impartial or misconstrued anything. I could run this country. Polls never lie: America thinks youre failing. If not me personally, then why not Sarah Palin? She’s JUST like ME: qualified.

Sure, you’re the strongest supporter of the gay community than any other President. Forget the hate crime laws. Put aside the new business regulations to prevent future economic meltdowns. Lets ignore the fact that unlike the previous 7 Presidents, you successfully passed a healthcare reform. I dont know what a socialist is but I know you are one. And clearly you really enjoyed issuing all those bailouts to major corporations.

But still, WHERE IS THE CHANGE? Do you even care about us regular folks? Do you even plan on helping small businesses and restoring our middle class? Doubt it.

At least I know I’m succeeding as an American. I put my own ideological beliefs first. I will fight to keep my tax cuts while expecting our deficit to decrease. I will continuously arouse panic and lead my community with falsified promises.

Tomorrow, on November 2, I will vote. My vote will depend on my level of patience, how much I can relate to the candidate, and which tell me what I want to hear.

I voted for you in 2008 but now I cannot bear to handle the hard truth: recovery takes time.

What we need are:

  1. Policies everyone can agree upon
  2. Quick fix policies
  3. Candidates in office we can relate to, too well.
  4. Continuous questioning of our Senators and Members of Congress every time they attempt to vote according to their logic (likely against our own).
  5. The Government to help us recover from all our personal, financial mistakes
  6. The Government to provide everything without our taxes.

Oh, and the world is probably ending.

We Cannot Grow Without Accepting Our Weaknesses: The Economic Meltdown of 2008

I recently sat in on a Q&A with Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke. It was aimed to answer questions that rose from our recent economic crisis and to help students of all ages understand the importance of personal financial literacy. Some key lessons/ideas I will seek to grow from:

Greatest Success and Greatest Failure of The Federal Reserve

During the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve failed to boost the money supply and stabilize the financial system. Consequently, in 2008-2009, the Fed took this lesson to heart—they prevented deflation and kept the banking industry from collapsing. A great achievement was in the 1970’s. The Fed brought down inflation, conquered it and achieved great prosperity. He urged the importance of students needing to understand the elements of stability and crisis management from the past and present.

 

Role of the Media in Consumer Confidence

The media controls a large portion of consumer and business confidence. We should keep a healthy amount of skepticism and decide for ourselves before placing too much or too little confidence in our economic health. We need to think for ourselves with a wide variety of sources (newspapers, channels, politicians and economists). Those who have prospered have always kept this in mind.

Monetary vs. Fiscal Policy

It is importance to know the difference because the Fed only deals with monetary policy. The Fed works independently from Congress its Fiscal Policy therefore, maintaining their nonpartisanship. Although we’re in a recovery, we are still struggling. According to Bernanke, we cannot cut taxes while increasing spending all at once. However, we need to be expansive in the short run and frugal in the long run. It’s a challenge. We need to somehow persuade the public that we need to tackle our long run debt and will in turn give us more space to be expansive.

Banks: Raise or Lower Risks?

Raising risks brought on the recession but not taking any risks has slowed down our growth. Should banks seek to build capital and stabilize or make more loans? Bernanke proclaims that banks should make loans to good borrowers to build capital—great for both businesses and our economy. However, we should now take a “balanced and appropriate” approach: healthy risks and lots of help for small businesses (85% of our economy).

The recession ended in June 2009. Why is there still slow growth?

Bernanke states, “It is not uncommon for recovery to be slow after such a financial crisis.” He mentions that banks were reluctant to make loans and cater to household finances. Consumers are saving (finally!) but spending has decreased. Ultimately, even though our labor market is expanding, we still feel little growth. Bernanke concludes that the suffering is diminishing and we should continue being hopeful.

What if the Fed didn’t collaborate with the Government?

Its true: we basically bailed out Wall Street. A combination of subprime mortgages, greedy business executives, and the lack of business regulations was the root of the bailouts.

This Frontline video is one of my favorites and it thoroughly explains the financial crisis of 2008.

Basically, loans were given to homebuyers despite investment banks being aware of its high risk. Insurance companies, like AIG, backed these loans with phenomenal ratings, entrusting them to attract other investors. Keep in mind that these insurance agencies maintain peoples pension and hedge funds. Companies like Goldman Sachs allegedly sold these loans, aware that they would fail, and bet against them (synthetic collateralized debt obligations).

In the end, the burden is left on the taxpayers.

So in 2008, the Fed had no choice but to step in. They tried to prevent a collapse of our economy, not to save Wall Street. They knew from history that the financial system is too important…its collapse would have been beyond devastating. Bernanke reiterates, “Although it was distasteful, it was necessary.” In September-October 2008, we came very close to a global financial system collapse. Actually, a couple of nations did have their economy collapse but most nations began issuing bailouts to prevent a deeper, greater meltdown. If the Fed did not collaborate with the Government, people would lose investments, retirement, and the wounds from this recession would be far from healing years later. It was all a successful attempt. The Feds actions were necessary because it affected every single American. In retrospect, we prevented being in a graver state like other nations. Many companies are also paying back their bailouts with interest. Bernanke concludes that, “as an economic historian, we really had to keep it from being worse.”

The toughest situations have the least popular policies. Patience and trust has never been so important, even beyond our economy.

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

I’m a business major but even I cannot ignore the need for reform. The Dodd-Frank/Consumer Protection Act passed in July and was comprehensive enough to mend our errors. It makes fundamental changes in our financial system: creates a stability oversight council and brings together the heads of all financial agencies. This reform greatly strengthens the provisions for regulators to oversee individual as well as the general whole of the various institutions. It closes many existing gaps in our system (there were previously no legal requirements for investment banks to be regulated).

It also creates a consumer protection agency. It has provisions that make bailouts unnecessary and illegal. We will have an agency to oversee it in the case that an institution is collapsing and the government will “size it down with no tax dollars spent…this legislation is, by far, the most sweeping since 1930”. The Great Depression lead to the creation of the FDIC and The Meltdown of 2008 lead to the Dodd-Frank/Consumer Protection Act.

So what’s an important lesson for our future generation: the students?

At the macro-level we can take note of how damaging financial instability can be on our society as a whole. Contrary to what I felt before, I’ve realized the enormous importance of Wall Street. Its near collapse jumpstarted a series of bailouts that were, regretfully, necessary. At the micro-level, we can learn a lesson in personal financial literacy. The basics of saving and budgeting as an individual have never seemed more crucial.

Note: I really do appreciate all the support, praise, and constructive criticism I receive. I don’t know why more people don’t question my thoughts and ideas because I’m pretty debatable. I cannot hope to improve my style or rhetoric without criticism.

Who Really Wins?

Sarah Palin's Facebook Posts July 22 An Intolerable Mistake On Hallowed Ground (Excerpts)

Earlier today, Mayor Bloomberg responded to my comments about the planned mosque at Ground Zero by suggesting that a decision not to allow the building of a mosque at that sacred place would somehow violate American principles of tolerance and openness…Many Americans, myself included, feel it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project sponsored by such an individual to go forward on such hallowed ground. This is nothing close to “religious intolerance,” it’s just common decency.

- Sarah Palin

August 14 Legitimate Questions for the President

Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people? Please tell us your position. We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? And, no, this is not above your pay grade. If those who wish to build this Ground Zero mosque are sincerely interested in encouraging positive "cross-cultural engagement" and dialogue to show a moderate and tolerant face of Islam, then why haven't they recognized that the decision to build a mosque at this particular location is doing just the opposite? Mr. President, why aren't you encouraging the mosque developers to accept Governor Paterson's generous offer of assistance in finding a new location for the mosque on state land if they move it away from Ground Zero? Why haven't they jumped at this offer? Why are they apparently so set on building a mosque steps from what you have described, in agreement with me, as "hallowed ground"? I believe these are legitimate questions to ask.

-  Sarah Palin

It wasn’t until I read this that I realized how ridiculous this Islamic Centre near Ground Zero issue has become.  Sarah Palin, among many others, has adamantly opposed the building of the Manhattan mosque to preserve the honor of the victims of 9/11. I can’t say fully understand the reasoning behind the terrorist attacks on the twin towers because no reason will ever justify that kind of massacre. Yes, the attacks demoralized Americans and furthered the understanding of, what should be considered, a peaceful religion. However, to discourage building a place to manifest the true nature of Islam only fuels the people at both radical ends.

On one side you have this ignorant “politician” and justifiably angry citizens who carry a disdain towards Muslims all together after the attack. According to Palin, who has endlessly voiced in her naïve opinion on this, “This is not an issue of religious tolerance but of common moral sense... a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.”

I definitely understand the anger behind this issue. It seems outrageous to build an Islamic Center near those grounds. However, to deny a certain group of faith their right to do so infringes on the very fundamental rights we are seeking to defend against the radical terrorists. “By doing so, it is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our City even closer together and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam,” states Mayor Bloomberg in his speech defending the building. To go back on the principles that America most cherishes let’s the terrorists win and the victims die in vain.

And on the other side, we have people who want to build this Islamic Center despite the anger it will arouse. If after 9 years since the incident, Islam is still misunderstood and tied to justifying terrorism, then what good will this Center do now? What is the purpose of still wanting to build this mosque even though it will clearly fall into further discrimination and possibly face much vandalism? Because if it's being built to build better relations and minimize the divide between Americans and Muslims, it's failing so far. Then again, a point is to be made.  And it really has been with weeks of endless debates over this site. I think that instead of having 11 stories to exemplify Islam, they should split up the Center to manifest the good in all faiths and create a memorial to further honor the victims of 9/11.

The basic point I’m trying to make is that it is hypocritical for us to deny these citizens their right to build a place of worship on private property. Mayor Bloomberg precisely made this point when he states,

“We would betray our values and play into our enemies hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists and we should not stand for that... We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting..”

I avoid reading anything Sarah Palin posts on facebook because most of it is geared towards fueling hatred towards our President. A truly legitimate question to ask would be why she believes she is adequate enough to run our country. Anyway, I’m tired of seeing this on the news and coming across messages like these. It is every leaders duty to protect what we preach to others. I’m moderately surprised and glad that President Obama also stood up and defended the building of this Islamic Center in order to preserve the constitutional principle of religious freedom and equal treatment.