DOMESTIC TERRORISM ON THE CAPITOL

Yesterday, January 6, 2020, our nation experienced the most damaging attack on the nation’s Capitol since the British burned it down during the War of 1812. The story goes like this: President Trump called on his supporters to rally at the Capitol in Washington DC as Congress was confirming president-elect Joe Biden’s win. Despite President Trump having lost both the popular vote and electoral college, he (and some of his supporters) continue to live in denial. This wasn’t a typical rally– Trump supporters sieged the Capitol. They breached security lines, scaled walls, and disrespected the very essence of our country as they entered the Capitol building. These people smashed windows, carried guns inside, and for the first time in all of the United State’s existence, brought the Confederate flag inside the Capitol.

The safety of lawmakers and staff inside the Capitol was feared for, and police worked to evacuate them as quickly as possible. Police locked the doors to the House chamber and barricaded it with a desk. Representatives were given “escape hoods.” There is an image of a man sitting at House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk with his feet up, and another of a man carrying out the Capitol Podium, smiling.

CBS News and many news outlets have confirmed at least four people dead. As in any case of death, this is saddening, but we must look at the facts surrounding this day. President Trump called on his supporters to rally at the Capitol. He didn’t suggest they siege it, but his call to action and four years of damaging administration directly provoked what happened that day. There was no reason for Trump to dispute the election results, and especially no reasoning to encourage a rally protesting it.

What happened on January 6, 2020 in Washing DC is white privilege. We all know how differently this story would be told had the “rioters” been anything but white. In BLM protests police were quick to react violently with rubber (and sometimes real) bullets and mace, most of which were non-violent protests. Yet when it’s hundreds of white nationalists breaking into and vandalizing the Capitol, and attempting a coup, security miserably fails to protect. I don’t mean to compare these opposite fights, though. I’d rather compare yesterday’s events to when Ahmaud Arbery was hunted and killed while jogging, to when Breonna Taylor’s home was broken into by police and she was killed at their hands, and to the countless other violent acts targeting Black people.

The people who stormed the US Capitol are not rioters but domestic terrorists. They committed violent acts in the pursuit of Donald Trump’s administration meant to intimidate and coerce the public. The difference in how police handled this situation versus BLM protests is disturbing and extremely indicative of the racism this country continues to experience. This is Donald Trump’s America, but not for long.

Trump supporters climb the west wall of the US Capitol.
Staff and lawmakers shelter in the House Chamber from Trump mob.
Trump supporter carries the Confederate flag freely through the Capitol.

#ENDSARS and #ENDSWAT

TW: r*pe

There have been weeks of protests in Nigeria in opposition to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS. Nigerians and people around the world are specifically protesting police brutality, which SARS has been a long-time participant of. Unfortunately, the protests turned deadly when security forces fired live rounds on demonstrators and killed ten people just over a week ago. A major part of the movement’s outburst is the result of a video featuring a SARS officer allegedly shooting a man in Delta state before driving off, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad’s purpose is to fight violent crime in Nigeria like armed robbery and car jackings. SARS has been known to abuse power through unlawful arrests which have resulted in raping, beating, kidnapping, and stealing from young Nigerians. Despite SARS being reorganized in 2017, there has been no change.

The movement #EndSARS consists of seven demands from Nigerian youth, who are trailblazing the movement. These demands are as follows: cost of governance, institutional reforms, health reforms, constitution reforms, education reforms, public office reforms, and youth affair reforms. As you can infer, the call to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad is bigger than meets the eye, like many movements. People are demanding progress and wanting change to ensure a better life in Nigeria for future generations.

Many headlines speak of the absolvement of SARS, which was recently announced in a statement by the Inspector General of Police. However, this is not the news many have been hoping for. The same statement was released in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019; and now, a new unit by the name of SWAT has been formed to carry out the duties of SARS. Through SWAT, officers “will receive training on police conduct and use of force by the the international committee of the Red Cross.” But protesters fear that SARS officers will blend into the new unit without facing accountability and are using #EndSWAT in opposition.

The same article from the Wall Street Journal states that President Muhammadu Buhari, a former general, agreed in a televised statement¬†to disband SARS,¬†but has been silent since. Protestors perceive the president’s statement as a way to cover up the issue of police brutality and abuse rather than solve it, and their anger is escalating.

How to help: donate to https://www.gofundme.com/f/4ppyfs-diasporans-against-sars; donate here and explore other ways to help on https://feministcoalition2020.com/

Sources not linked: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGnX2-HHHHt/

ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE US

Anti-Semitism, for those who are unaware, is prejudice against Jews. Judaism is the least liked religious group in the world, with only 38% favorability, according to @soyouwanttotalkabout on Instagram. Additionally, Jewish people only make up 3% of the United States’ population, and 74% of people worldwide have never met a Jewish person.

The Anti-Defamation League has reported a 12% increase of acts of assault, vandalism, and harassment against Jewish people over the previous year. This is also the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents since the organization began reporting in 1979. In August of 2017 there was a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where participants were throwing Nazi salutes, waving flags with swastikas, as well as shouting “Seig Heil” and “Jews will not replace us.”

More examples of anti-Semitism include a Jewish center in Delaware being lit on fire, two Jewish men being violently run over in Brooklyn, and many attacks on Jewish synagogues and cemeteries in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia, and California. A study by the American Jewish Committee reported 35% of American Jews said they’ve experienced anti-Semitism in the past five years, with one-third concealing outward indication of their Judaism. I could go on and list more instances of anti-Semitism, but I don’t need to. As demonstrated by research, it is indisputable anti-Semitism is at an all-time high.

According to The Atlantic, “Some critics attribute the recent spate of anti-Semitic violence, at least indirectly, to the rise of Donald Trump, a charge that reflects the deep political and cultural divide in American society. They say that his rhetoric and tweets, his targeting of minorities, his bullying and name-calling have created an atmosphere conducive to such attacks.”

I have a hard time disagreeing with the quote from The Atlantic for many reasons, but some of which comes from last night’s Presidential Debate in which President Trump refused to denounce white supremacy. He won’t denounce white supremacy just like he won’t denounce anti-Semitism because he has supporters who fall into these two categories. He creates an environment that makes these groups feel protected and supported, which is permissive and extremely dangerous for the victims of these groups.

In conclusion, the United States’ anti-Semitism is an issue that cannot be blamed entirely on a political leader. Historically, anti-Semitism thrives when there is social unrest– the epitome of this year (and presidential campaign.) The concept of anti-Semitism is not new and Jews have been targeted and blamed since the beginning of time, and I hope the world can fight for this marginalized community like they do for others.

THE BEIRUT BLAST

Last week, Lebanon, a country in the Middle East, suffered a port explosion in their capital of Beirut. According to an article by BBC, at least 70 people have been killed and over 4,000 others injured. Officials are naming the cause as stored, highly explosive materials in a warehouse, specifically, “by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years,” although an investigation is underway to confirm or disprove this.

Previous to the explosion, Lebanon was in economic crisis– their worst one since the 1975-1990 civil war. A plan was proposed in 2019 to tax calls via WhatsApp to gain more revenue, but this led to mass protests and turmoil. At this time, Prime Minister Hassan Diab had only been in power two months having been elected following an uprising.

Many have been frustrated about the country’s corrupt government and see the explosion as a government failure. The Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, tweeted that the amount of ammonium nitrate stored was “unacceptable.” Protesters have been out on the streets following the explosion, which was the final straw for many of Beirut’s people.

The Lebanese government has resigned in the wake of the blast to “stand with the people.” The next elected prime minister will be Lebanon’s third this year. Despite this, many Lebanese citizens question if it will actually bring about change. Parliament’s decision to choose a new prime minister is not expected to be a timely or pleasant one because of the government’s complicated political system.

300,000 citizens have been made homeless with nearly 80,000 children misplaced. Lebanon also hosts the largest number of refugees per capita– approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees. The country’s health system is weak, made worse by COVID-19 and now with overwhelmed hospitals from the blast.

Lebanon’s prime minister has asked for international help. If you’re able to, please donate to any of these resources: https://helplebanon.carrd.co/

MY FAVORITE PODCASTS

Crime Junkie

This is my favorite crime podcast because every episode covers a different case. Whether it’s a missing person, a murder, or a serial killer it tells a whole story in a single episode. I’m super picky about the narration of podcasts because I don’t want the narrator to go on and on about tangents or play a five minute 911 call that only has ten seconds of anything relevant, but the hosts, Ashley Flowers and Britt are really good at their jobs and I get so excited whenever a new episode is released because they’re always amazing.

Serial

Serial was the first podcast I listened to and still recommend it to everyone. I’ve only listened to the first season, which is about a high school senior, Hae Min Lee, who went missing in 1999 Baltimore. Six weeks later her boyfriend was arrested, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The second season doesn’t have the best reviews, but it seems the third is much better. Plus the host, Sarah Koenig, is great.

Cold

This story is absolutely insane. There are so many surprising and freaky things, but that’s what makes it such an interesting story. It focuses on the Powell family and specifically the disappearance of Susan Powell, wife and mother. The narrator even reads from Susan and her husband’s personal journals that give listeners an intimate look into the family’s twisted dynamic. And the father-in-law… it makes my skin crawl just thinking about him.

Someone Knows Something

I listened to season five of Something Knows Something super randomly and loved it so much that I’m about halfway through the first season right now. The fifth season is about Kerrie Brown, a 15 year old girl from Thompson, Manitoba in Canada who went missing from a house party and was found dead two days later. Over 30 years later the Brown family still doesn’t have answers, but host David Rogen forms a relationship with them and interviews the people involved. Season one is good so far!

Doctor Death

Wondery has a lot of good podcasts, and this is one of them. Doctor Death is about Dallas neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch whose patients would experience complications not long after their procedure because Duntsch was intentionally harming his patients. Listeners hear from victims and their families, and it discusses the blind faith we put in doctors that ended up changing his patients’ lives forever.

Your Own Backyard

For some reason this podcast hit me really hard. Kristin mysteriously disappeared from Cal Poly her freshman year of college in 1996 after being escorted to her on-campus dorm following a party. It’s so heartbreaking, like all these cases, and especially upsetting because it really sounds like they have the culprit from the research discussed by narrator Chris Lambert, but there are tons of roadblocks stopping a conviction.

The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast

Cody Ko and Noel Miller are kings, and you’ve probably heard of or seen their YouTube videos (the Love Island ones are my personal favorite). Every podcast has a different topic, but they’re usually about pop culture, celebrities, and completely random things like types of bottle openers. Cody and Noel are both comedians so every episode is full of humor, and they even have a few songs under their duo-group Tiny Meat Gang.

Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain

I really, really like Emma Chamberlain. I like her vibe and a lot of what she has to say in her podcasts. I also think she low key controls the fashion industry, but that’s a topic for another time. In her podcast, Emma discusses about a large range of things like her thoughts and opinions, stories with friends, and deeper topics like in her Advice Session episodes. Overall, these episodes are an enjoyable listen and Emma please be my friend.

MY FAVORITE SHOWS: THE ULTIMATE LIST

I’ve watched a lot of shows… like, a lot. I’ve had a show recommendations list on my Notes app for as long as I can remember, so I thought I’d share some of them on here along with a leetle summary.

COMEDY

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This show focuses on a Brooklyn police precinct and its employees, so detectives, cops, officers, all that jazz. Andy Samberg has not only jokes, but BDE, and this series graciously introduced me to him. Chelsea Peretti would have me laugh-crying portraying her pop-culture obsessed character, Gina. I could go on and on about this cast.

Where you can watch: Hulu, NBC

That 70s Show

Ah yes, where Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis began their love story. This show focuses on a group of friends in Wisconsin in the 70s (duh) and their young adult lives that includes boyfriend/girlfriend drama, beer, smoking, and longing for independence.

Where you can watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Big Mouth

Please don’t be scared away by the fact this show is animated, or any show. This is the funniest animated adult series out there. Nick Kroll and John Mulaney (king!), the former who doubles as a creator and producer, voice the main characters– two middle school-aged boys navigating puberty and their changing bodies, but in the most hilarious and vulgar way.

Where you can watch: Netflix

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Created by Tina Fey, this show focuses on Kimmy Schmidt (played by Ellie Kemper) who finally escapes after an underground cult led by a crazy reverend and befriends amazing, flamboyant Titus in New York City and gets a job as a personal assistant to a rich woman. Carol Kane made me want to rip my eyeballs out the entire series, unfortunately.

Where you can watch: Netflix

Schitt’s Creek

This show definitely took me a few episodes to get into, but it’s so good. It’s CBC so most of the actors are Canadian like Daniel and Eugene Levy, who are also writers for the show. Legendary Catherine O’Hara is in it, too and she’s hilarious. It’s sweet, not emotionally traumatizing, funny, and entertaining. What more can you ask for?

Where you can watch: Netflix

COMEDY-DRAMA

Shameless

This show is *chef kiss*. It has a great cast and an interesting plot with laughs and tears. It’s about an extremely dysfunctional family in Chicago led by Fiona (Emmy Rossum), raising her five younger siblings. William H. Macy plays their not-so-present chaotic father. Debby sucks.

Where you can watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Orange is the New Black

Piper, who now lives a very normal life with her boyfriend Larry, is sent to prison for carrying drugs for her drug dealer ex-girlfriend. It focuses on the group of friends Piper makes in prison, as well as other inmates, and also discusses the cruelty of the prison system.

Where you can watch: Netflix

Atypical

I really wish this show had gotten more seasons. It’s about Sam, who’s on the autism spectrum and his friends, family, and introduction to the dating world. It’s super sweet and does a good job of discussing/teaching about the spectrum.

Where you can watch: Netflix

On My Block

This show deserves SO much more hype. It’s about four high school-aged friends– Cesar, Monse, Ruby, and Jamal, in Los Angeles. It involves gang violence, coming-of-age trials and tribulations, romance, and comedy.

Where you can watch: Netflix

Freaks and Geeks

Young Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Lisa Cardellini, Busy Philipps, and Jason Segel. That should speak for itself. The show focuses on them as high school students as well as a group of middle school boys in the 80s. This show was ROBBED, robbed I say! They only got one season.

Where you can watch: Amazon Prime Video

Umbrella Academy

This is another show that deserves way more hype. It’s about seven adopted siblings who all have superpowers and are reunited after years apart by a family death. Their father created the Umbrella Academy made up of his children to save the world. I love Klaus and his character development <3.

Where you can watch: Netflix

Disenchantment

This show has the same creator as The Simpsons, but it’s very different. Feisty princess Bean and her sidekicks, pessimistic demon Luci and naive elf Elfo encounter dangers in their medieval town and huge mysteries unravel.

Where you can watch: Netflix

DRAMA

How to Get Away with Murder

Viola Davis is such a badass in this show, and in general. In How to Get Away with Murder, Davis is a law school professor that chooses a group of students from her class to assist with cases. They all get tied up in drama and yes, murder, so crazy. I will say I didn’t love season six. RIP.

Where you can watch: Netflix, ABC

Dead to me

Christina Applegate and Lisa Cardellini’s characters meet in a support group and become friends. However, Cardellini’s character, Judy, is hiding a huuuuge secret from Applegate’s character, Jen. Then they get wrapped up in some ish and James Marsden is there, too.

Where you can watch: Netflix

Bates Motel

This is what sparked my girl crush on Nicola Peltz. This series is clearly based off the 1987 Bates Motel movie, but from what I can remember, is not the same. Norman and his mom move to a new town and own/run a motel. Here’s the catch: he’s a psychopath.

Where you can watch: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video

Queen of the South

Another underrated show right here. Queen of the South is focuses around a Mexican cartel that the main character, Teresa, who gets wrapped in it through her boyfriend that is murdered. She rises through the ranks of the cartel, and plenty of drama and plot twists ensue.

Where you can watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Reign

Sometimes I think about how cool it’d be to live in the 1500s and then I remember there was disease, plague, female oppression, and corruption. Regardless, Reign is a great show. It focuses on Mary Queen of Scots and her arrival in France to claim her political marriage arrangement. Learn about (dramatized) history and be entertained, all in one!

Where you can watch: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video

Euphoria

This show is for a more mature audience. It gets pretty deep and shines the light on the not so awesome parts of life, but it’s real. The cast is amazing and has an awesome soundtrack. Euphoria follows high-school aged drug addict Rue, played by Zendaya, and her and her friends’ lives.

Where you can watch: Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video

REALITY

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

This show is hilarious and full of drama, unsurprisingly. It’s still filming and just as good! The “housewives” change minimally throughout seasons, but it focuses on multiple women of wealthy families in Beverly Hills and their friend group and families.

Where you can watch: Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video

Keeping up with the Kardashians

Everyone likes, or is at least entertained by the Kardashian/Jenners and that’ that.

Where you can watch: Hulu, YouTube TV, YouTube

Love Island UK

When I tell you Love Island UK season 6 is the best reality show I’ve ever watched, I’m saying it with my chest. Imagine The Bachelor but one thousand times better, and that’s this. Unlike The Bachelor, Love Island has the same number of women as men, include couple versus couple contests, and is open to public voting.

Where you can watch: Hulu, CBS