Category: Viewpoints

Objective journalism is a farce. Every journalist allows personal opinion to influence their work. The Fifth Column’s journalist openly share their biases with the reader. The opinions are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of The Fifth Column.

The Corruption of Corporate Sponsored Politics

Politicians are on the fundraising trail as they look to fill their pockets for the 2016 elections. Rarely people ask where the hundreds of millions in donations come from. Here is a hint, it isn’t from your grandma sending checks for $5 to the candidate she thought had the best interview on the Ellen show. People often say that politicians are bought off. This brings to mind the image of people meeting in an alley during a midnight rainstorm and exchanging an envelope full of cash. The truth is stranger than fiction.

Political campaigns are backed and funded by corporations and big business. Sure, averages citizens do send in private donations; but these are drops in the bucket in comparison to the money corporate donors are forking over. The question remains; why do corporations have an interest in donating hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars backing politicians as they run for office?

The State and Manipulation of Education

American education is under attack in an attempt to turn your child into a corporate profit. Teachers, students, and communities are being used as pawns in a chess match. Politicians are filling their campaign piggybank to support and fund the private sector. Tax money is being used send students to attend religious, private, and charter schools. In many states the private sector has a lower success rate of performance, growth, and development.

An educational system that allows options serves a purpose. Families should have a say in what school their child attends. The problem lies when private sector does not have to play by the same rules and regulations in regards to assessment, yet are given funding that has been allocated for the public sector. Our schools are not broken. Our politicians are.
Currently, public schools are given funding based on how high test scores are at the end of the year. Lower performing schools have their funding cut for not performing well. This ideology sets up a system that will eventually force an economic segregation.

Cycle of Insurgency: President Obama setting stage for more officers to be gunned down

In a move symptomatic of the current debacle, the White House is considering lifting the ban on transferring weapons of war to police departments nationwide. After Ferguson, the administration banned the transfers. Now it’s rethinking the move.

Political posturing is behind the announcement and decision. One of the major reasons officers are being gunned down in the streets like never before is because of the “warrior cop” mentality departments across the country have adopted. They are given the tools of war from the Department of Defense, but do not have the training to use them. So, concussion grenades maim children, rifles are used to shoot unarmed people, and MRAPs are used to violate the Constitutionally-protected right to peaceably assemble.

President Obama Openly Supports War Criminal

While it isn’t over, the indications are the coup against Erdogan has failed. The stated goals of those behind the coup were to return to a secular government and reinstate the rule of law.

The President of the United States encouraged people to “support the democratically elected government of Turkey”. He said this while his administration is in the midst of a multi-year effort to overthrow the government of President Assad in Syria. The US, historically, doesn’t care about democracy or elections. The US wants Erdogan in power because he has more or less been an obedient lackey. While there are moments of discord, Turkey is still a faithful dog at the end of one of the many leashes held by the US. This allows Erdogan to behave in a manner that would not be tolerated from a non-puppet state.

Berned Out: Jill Stein Fans Flames of Abandoned Revolution

It’s official. Bernie Sanders has thrown his weight behind the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. In a joint appearance on July 12, 2016, Sanders conceded that, “Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination”. He then congratulated her, and went on to say that he intended “to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States”. The process of uniting the party has begun. But what does that mean for the millions of people who believed they were fighting for a “political revolution”, echoing the battles cries of “Never Hillary”, and “Bernie or Bust”? Are they expected to disappear back into the fold of the establishment Democratic Party?

Jill Stein doesn’t think so.

Dissecting the Dallas Police Memorial

Yesterday, the memorial service for officers killed in the ambush that has dominated the news cycle was held. What could have been a somber moment marking America’s descent into tyranny was turned into a beautiful piece of public propaganda. So much so, that Fox News chose to televise the entire service without commercials. There’s no reason for Americans to miss one single tear, one utterance of the word “hero”, or one glimpse of the grieving families.

The Mayor of Dallas opened up the parade of the dead and stated plainly, “we did nothing wrong.” The opening implication is that Dallas PD is free of the police brutality issues plaguing departments all over the country. Dallas Police have a record of police brutality that goes back years. At the beginning of this year, it was still so bad that Mother’s Against Police Brutality held a protest and press conference proposing a 9 point plan to end a pattern of systemic violence. The city gave rise to the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, a group of black men trained by Army Rangers, who took to patrolling their own streets while armed because the police couldn’t be trusted. Department of Justice complaints have been filed against the department and videos surface with regularity of officers victimizing citizens. Officers were regularly cleared by bogus internal investigations. Dallas is not the home of community policing, nor was it a model department. Although, admittedly, it did appear to at least be attempting to clean up its act.

The Tragic Inevitability of the Dallas Shootings

I woke this morning to the news that there were five dead and seven wounded after a shooting in Dallas. I wasn’t shocked; I was hardly even surprised. It seems like every day in America, there is some shooting, some mass murder. As Malcolm X said in the 1960’s, “violence is as American as cherry pie,” and that certainly has not changed in the intervening period of time. When I learned that the victims in this case were police officers, I was still utterly unsurprised. It was, sadly, only a matter of time.

I woke this morning with the intention of writing about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. My point, in that piece, was to contrast their slayings by police with the recent extrajudicial police killings in the Phillipines. If people can be killed on the street without trial, I was going to argue, why bother with legal proceedings at all? We can simply elect a strongman dictator and allow the police to act as judge, jury, and executioner. My goal was to show the inherent immorality of such a system, how such a system is inherently prone to abuse, and how it would only lead to civil unrest and increased violence.

UN: Suspend Saudi Arabia from Human Rights Council

‘Gross and Systematic’ Violations in Yemen Threaten Council’s Credibility

The United Nations General Assembly should immediately suspend Saudi Arabia’s membership rights on the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. A two-thirds majority of the General Assembly may suspend the membership rights of any Human Rights Council member engaged in “gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

Saudi Arabia, as the leader of the nine-nation coalition that began military operations against the Houthis in Yemen on March 26, 2015, has been implicated in numerous violations of international humanitarian law. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented 69 unlawful airstrikes by the coalition, some of which may amount to war crimes, killing at least 913 civilians and hitting homes, markets, hospitals, schools, civilian businesses, and mosques. The two organizations have also documented 19 attacks involving internationally banned cluster munitions, including in civilian areas. Saudi Arabia should be suspended from the Human Rights Council until it ends unlawful attacks in Yemen and conducts credible investigations that meet international standards or agrees to and cooperates with an independent international inquiry.

Freedom or Slavery: Which Will It Be?

As the Fourth of July approaches and social media is once again bombarded with falsely patriotic notions, I feel the need to ask: America, what do you know about Freedom? Are you truly free? With the stipulation that you are not inflicting pain upon another human being, are you free to live as you so please? No? That’s what I thought.

So, now I ask you this, at what point did slavery become perfectly acceptable for the whole of society? Or any part of society for that matter? Certainly our chains may not be visible, however, one should have no doubt that they are ever present in this world of modern slave masters.

You Should Stop Buying Apple Products, Here’s Why:

If you’re an avid user of Apple products then there’s a good chance you’ve probably broken at least one in your life. What you may have fail to realize is that broken iPhone represented a golden opportunity; an upcoming decision and a metaphorical fork in the road between Apple and Android. I’m going to explain why the Android route is the ideal direction in which to travel.

2006 was the year I owned my first and last Apple product and I hated it, especially the difficulties I encountered trying to figure out how to add music to it without destroying my friend’s library or my own. It was an original 4th Generation iPod and given to me as a hand-me-down. In spite of the inconvenience that its old style proprietary cable poses, I used it for a short while until it was replaced by the music player in my Android phone. I still have that 32Gb iPod, I’ve just stripped it of everything that makes it Apple. Now I occasionally use it for external storage. This year marks a decade of my distaste for the Apple company and it’s products, so let’s celebrate. I’m going to explain why I’ve never purchased an Apple product, nor will I ever own one again… and neither should you. Here’s why:

ISIS Must Love Trump

As the sun set over New York on June 12, hundreds of Muslims gathered in Hudson River Park to break their Ramadan fast together.

Iftar, the evening Ramadan meal, is often a joyous celebration of faith and family. But the mood that Sunday was solemn: That morning, news had broken of the ghastly massacre of LGBTQ revelers at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

A lone Muslim had allegedly perpetrated the attack. Here by the Hudson, over 200 knelt in prayer.

“We’re praying for those who were lost,” one woman explained in a video circulated by the Huffington Post, her voice breaking. “As Muslims, we’re united in our outrage over this senseless act of violence.”

Banning “Assault Weapons” Will Not Save Lives

Last weekend, America regrettably witnessed one of the deadliest mass shootings in the country’s history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were murdered and over 50 injured. The atrocity was carried out by a fanatic who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, using a civilian semi-automatic rifle, the Sig Sauer MCX. (Early reports that it was an AR-15 were mistaken.)

In the wake of this attack, many people have laid the blame on America’s relatively lax gun laws, arguing that so-called “assault weapons” (more appropriately known as semi-automatic rifles) and high-capacity magazines should be banned from civilian use.

They note that many of the deadliest shootings in American history have involved rifles like the AR-15, and they propose that such rifles should be banned to prevent heinous crimes like the Orlando massacre from occurring in the future.

Left or Right, Pro- or Anti-Gun: You cannot support the “No Buy” list

It doesn’t matter where your political affiliation lies. It doesn’t matter what your stance on gun control is: you cannot support the No Buy list. The essence of the proposal is simple: the government declares a person a “bad guy” with no trial and no evidence, and that person loses their inalienable Constitutionally-protected rights. Regardless of your opinion of the Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights is meant to act as a bulwark against tyranny and dictatorship. If the government is able to bypass this bulwark by simply declaring it has the authority to do so, the United States is a literal dictatorship.

The government has an established pattern of overreach and abuse. If this is allowed to stand, government officials will have established legal precedent to rescind any other right you hold dear by simply adding your name to a list. Don’t even consider what this proposal is trying to do, look at how it will do it. There is no due process, which is the backbone of free society. The government simply declares you an enemy of the state and removes your rights.

Not Voting Is a Powerful Form of Dissent

It’s also a human right

Imagine living in a country in which the two major parties had nominated a statist, war-mongering crook and a nasty authoritarian narcissist. Imagine being embarrassed that after more than two centuries of existence this apparently was the best your beloved country could do. Imagine considering that the best option on Election Day might be committing ritual Seppuku, but deciding to stay home instead.

The Freedom to Stay Home

But then imagine government officials showing up at your door, demanding that you accompany them to the polling place to vote for one of the candidates who you would scratch your eyes out before actually watching speak. That is the world which some high-minded “civic activists” desire.

Every election can be expected to unleash ponderous commentaries bemoaning low voter turnout. Many Americans don’t register, let alone cast ballots. Why, oh why, won’t they get out and participate—which usually means vote left? It is so unfair, we are told. The wealthy, elderly, and well-educated disproportionately participate, which “skews policymaking,” complained the Economist. Just think of all the government programs the underrepresented could vote for themselves if only they showed up on Election Day.