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Everything is Going Great: April News Bulletin

Sarah Myers, '17, Editor

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President Donald J. Trump has been called many things-the great orange dictator, real estate mogul, fake Republican, spray-tanned troll doll, billionaire, cheeto benito- so many, in fact, that it feels strange to see a simple “President Trump.” The President that launched a thousand think pieces is still in office, and the US is still having a nationwide dialogue, by which we mean screaming match, about him.

Trump has the richest cabinet in history by any metric, but that’s not such a bad thing. Everyone knows that the only way to get rich in America is to be a hardworking visionary, the exact kind of person who should be in the President’s Cabinet. Just look at Trump’s career- starting out with a small loan in the family business and becoming a completely real billionaire through hard, honest work.

Trump’s administration has also been unfairly criticized for shifting its stance on important issues. On the campaign trail, Trump told us that Hillary Clinton’s private email server and speeches to Goldman Sachs were a disgrace. In office, Trump has explained that Mike Pence was completely justified in using a private email server as governor, and that Goldman Sachs’ executives will be joining the White House. This isn’t inconsistency, it’s the Trump Golden Rule (not the one about Russian hotels): treat others the way you don’t want to be treated.

Sure, we could talk about Trump’s disastrous budget proposal, the chaos of Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, military operations in Yemen, or the mess that is Trump’s travel (read: definitely not at all about Muslims) bans. But Trump is the President, and he knows what’s really important (thanks to all those top-secret intelligence briefings he’s not attending). And what Trump cares about, as demonstrated by his twitter, is: why Arnold Schwarzenegger really left The Apprentice, pictures of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi publicly meeting with Russian politicians from the 2000s, unverified and illogical accusations that Obama directed a Nixon-style wiretapping, and Snoop Dogg’s failing career.

Sorry, I shouldn’t have said “what Trump cares about;” the White House has specifically asked that everyone not use the term “Trumpcare,” or any similar term. Admittedly, they meant in regards to the new train wreck of a healthcare bill, but, just to be on the safe side, let’s agree: Trump doesn’t care.

Speaking of things Trump doesn’t care about: the rest of the world! Lately, it seems like America First really just meant ignoring news from anywhere that isn’t the United States. So let’s take a cheap and significantly less fun virtual world tour.

Pivoting towards Asia, you’ll notice that North Korea has had yet another missile test. Think of Kim Jong Un as a toddler dealing with a new younger sibling. Suddenly, he’s not the cutest one in the family! Or, in this case, Kim suddenly isn’t the most unstable world leader- or even the one with the worst haircut. Trump responded with a tantrum of his own, tweeting (like a real President) that “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”

Kim Jong Un is also one of the suspects in the assassination of his older half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. King Jong Nam last made headlines by using a fake Dominican Republic passport while attempting to travel to Disneyland. He was killed in an airport in Kuala Lumpur by a woman who approached him and held a handkerchief containing fast-acting poison to his face. At this point, whoever actually ordered the killing should probably just admit that their dastardly plot reads like a knock-off Bond film. The woman may or may not have been told that they were simply participating in a prank for a television show. To be fair, a television show about tapping random people’s faces with handkerchiefs is still more interesting than Big Brother’s 18th season.

South Korea’s politics are equally explosive. The country’s president, Park Geun-hye, became the first South Korean president to be impeached. She was convicted of extortion and conspiring to conceal that crime.

China is also conspiring, now at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Communist Party is China’s only political party, which is why a record number of Americans are now considering moving to China (said one: “It might be an oppressive government run by power-hungry elites, but at least they don’t have presidential elections”). This year a record number of politicians at the party conference will be forced to retire, as nearly a third of the members have reached the mandatory retirement age of 68. Fortunately for the Communist Party, China is such a freedom-less wasteland that age discrimination lawsuits are not a concern. Crossing the mountainous and controversial region of Tibet, which sits between China and India, without comment, because I would like to safely visit China at some point, we arrive in India. India has recently gone through something called “demonetization.” More devout among readers might be concerned that the nation of India has been turned into a demon. Unfortunately, reality is much worse. In this case, demonetization is a process enacted by Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi. Approximately 86% of the cash in India (calculated by value) was declared worthless. Citizens were allowed to exchange their old cash for new banknotes, but had to wait in line for hours and days in order to do so- if they succeeded. The purpose of this arcane economic ritual was to excise corruption, black market dealings, and old cash from the country. This, as is true for most arcane rituals, did not work. In the end, corruption did not decrease, but India’s lower and middle classes did suffer significant issues, as people were unable to afford food and necessities and the low-tech, cashdependent portions of the Indian economy ground to a halt (Forbes, Jan 3 2017).

Speaking of grinding to a halt: the Middle East! The Syrian civil war is slowly winding down, with Russia, Turkey, and the Syrian government (accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity) taking over. Those countries have, however, promised that President Trump can join them at the adult negotiating table, just as soon as he realizes that these negotiations are taking place. The US has largely withdrawn from negotiations and ground operations in Syria, but is still very much present elsewhere in the region. An American military operation in Yemen resulted in the death of one American sailor, multiple male and female Yemeni civilians, and at least nine Yemeni children (NPR, Feb 2). Yemen responded by withdrawing permission for the US to conduct this type of operation in the country, but Trump isn’t letting a silly thing like that stop him; less than two months later he gave officials permission for further raids (The Independent, March 15).

In Africa, the “largest humanitarian crisis in the history of the UN” is going on, at least according to the UN (BBC, March 11). Twenty million people across four countries in West Africa are facing starvation and UNICEF predicts that 1.4 million children will die of starvation this year. America has lead the dynamic international response to this crisis by failing to notice that it is occurring.

This article will not cover Europe because the author is annoyed by the resurgence of far-right groups in a region which gave the world the Holocaust. Thanks to bureaucratic maneuvering and legislative requirements, Brexit will proceed at approximately 1 km per hour for the next two years or more, in the worst slow-motion sequence ever produced.

This article will not cover Russia, or Russian involvement in the American election, or Russian involvement in Ukraine, Georgia, or Syria, or Russian involvement in European elections, or Russian connections to the Trump campaign, because this article is not fake news.

That leaves South America, which you had probably forgotten. Venezuela is having an economic crisis, Brazil is having a corruption crisis, and Colombia is still trying to make a peace deal between FARC rebels and the government work (Columbia University, meanwhile, told 277 applicants this year that they had been accepted and contacted them again 75 minutes later to rescind the first letter). The Zika crisis has receded, if you don’t count the thousands of infants born with conditions that will stunt their development and make normal life difficult or impossible. But that’s not cheerful, so instead focus on the fluorescent frogs recently discovered in South America. The South American polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) emits blue and green light when exposed to ultraviolet illumination (Foreign Policy, March 16).

In summation, everything is going great and America is well on its way to being great again.

The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
Everything is Going Great: April News Bulletin