Sadness is the sentiment all Beaver Area High School students share. Bring your tissues, because this is the last high school edition of “No Bull with Liam Bull.”
All jokes aside, this article will conclude a series of editorials that I am immensely proud of. For the past year, I have written 14 articles for No Bull with Liam Bull: And for the 15th and final edition, I would like to reflect on my previous work.
Issue 1: “Nation in Decline: The Death of the American Empire”
My first article was a bleak and chilling look into the current state of the American Empire. I outlined the disastrous military adventurism, infantile electoral system, and expanding wealth inequality visited upon large sectors of the American population. My conclusion—which underscored the inanity of voting for Democrats to solve our nation’s problems—still describes how I feel about the current state of our empire.
To update the argument, I would add the situation under President Joe Biden has not improved. Many issues—especially foreign affairs—have gotten substantially worse. There is a familiar list shared by all declining societies, and we continue to check off every box.
Issue 2: “What the Frack: The Need to Ban Fracking”
Western Pennsylvania is at the heart of the fracking boom, and I initially wrote this article because I wanted more information on the process of hydraulic-fracturing (aka fracking). My research into the subject was eye opening. Fracking is an industry created to fulfill our country’s insatiable appetite for fossil fuels—no matter the cost. The jobs created by the industry are minuscule, the environmental impact is devastating, the human impact can only be described as genocidal, and the profits are wholly comprised of government subsidies.
I argued for an unequivocal ban on fracking nationwide, and my opinions on fracking are unchanged: ban fracking.
Issue 3: “The 2020 Election: An Illusion of Choice”
The 2020 election, I argued, was yet another triumph of neoliberal politics. The election was reduced to personality and social-issues rather than the bleak reality of current economic circumstances. Biden trumpeted the normalcy-rhetoric of “Nothing will fundamentally change,” while Trump echoed the neo-fascist rhetoric of, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Both candidates supported the corporate status quo.
Allow me to brag: I was right. Biden has continued the disastrous drone strikes on Syria, he capitulated on the calls to raise the minimum wage, he supports the regime of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, and he approved a $40 billion increase in the defense budget. All of these positions would have been supported by the former president. Indeed the 2020 election was yet another illusion of choice.
Issue 4: “Electoral Insanity: The Need to Abolish the Electoral College”
My opinions on the electoral college, as reflected in this article, remain the same. We must abolish the electoral college, because it is fundamentally an undemocratic system. It is a system where the candidate with fewer votes may become president; it is a system that reduces political participation; and it is a system that ensures the will of the people will not be accurately reflected. The electoral college must go.
Issue 5: “Count Every Vote: Democracy in Crisis”
This article was drafted before the devastating siege on the United States Capital in early January. I argued that President Trump’s challenging of the election posed a grave threat to democracy. Sadly, the precedent has been set. Future elections may now be challenged by the loser regardless of the margin of victory.
What I wrote then is perhaps more true today. The contesting of the 2020 election has spawned a new political era. Nearly all federally elected Republicans claim that the 2020 election was stolen and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president. Elected Republicans who oppose this lie are swiftly denounced and their political careers are finished. It is a moral imperative to ensure that democracy prevails, and sadly the assault on elections in the United States marks a turning point from which we may never recover.
Issue 6: “Televised Hate: The Fraud of Televangelists”
I attempted to capture the absurdity and profit-driven motives of the televangelist movement in this article. My research included viewing dozens of televangelists, including Benny Hinn, Jim Bakker, and Paul Crouch. These “religious figures” perverted the core meaning of Christianity into a religion sanctifying greed and material wealth.
I believe today as I believed in December that these figures are incredibly antagonistic to democracy. Many televangelists, after the 2020 election, informed their viewers that Donald Trump was the true president and Joe Biden was an agent of Satan. It appears, with this rhetoric, that the televangelist movement has gotten significantly more dangerous.
Issue 7: “The Sickness of the System: Healthcare Is a Right”
The commodification of fundamental services in the United States—including healthcare—poses a threat to our open society. The United States is the only industrialized country not to guarantee universal healthcare to all citizens. Thousands of Americans lose their lives or go bankrupt because of our profit-driven healthcare system. When I first wrote about these themes, Biden had not yet been sworn into office.
Now, the need for free-universal-healthcare has grown significantly. The pandemic continues to destroy the lives of many, and Common Dreams estimates 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the United States would have been prevented if the United States had instituted a Medicare for All system. Healthcare must be a right, and the insanity of the current system must stop.
Issue 8: “One Country, One Party: The Political Duopoly”
Many left-wing figure heads celebrated Joe Biden’s victory. The point of writing this article was to squash their excitement. Biden’s language may be more eloquent than Donald Trump’s, but the majority of policies and practices have remained unchanged. I wrote about the staggering number of similarities between the Republicans and Democrats and how Biden would continue the mediocre leadership of past presidencies.
My conclusion has been largely supported by President Biden’s actions. Biden and the Democrats have governed from the center-right. Sadly, because of Trump’s buffoonery, Biden has put progressives to sleep. Progressives, like myself, feel ignored. We must pressure the Democratic Party to do its job, and we must organize movements to combat the political duopoly.
Issue 9: “Joe Biden: The Progress President”
I initially wrote this article after Joe Biden's first month in office. The first line of my article read, “I was wrong.” When I wrote those words, I was referring to my previous article heaping scorn and ridicule on Biden. My article detailed the hope I had that Biden would legislate to the left of his campaign. I again would like to say that I was wrong.
The crumbs thrown to progressives within the first month of his presidency have been overshadowed by his appalling foreign policy and his failing domestic policy. My initial instinct on Biden—that he would govern from the center-right—is now reality. Just days after the publication of my article, news broke that Biden planned on continuing the drone strikes in Syria. It has been downhill from there. Biden is not a “progress president,” he is a “hindrance president.”
Issue 10: “Raise that Wage: The Fight for 15”
It seemed in February that the United States might actually raise its federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Unfortunately those hopes have been squashed by the Democratic Party. I argued, in this article, that we must raise the minimum wage. I dispelled the fiction that raising the minimum wage hurts the economy.
The minimum wage must be increased—beyond $15 an hour. People cannot live on the federal minimum wage of $15 an hour, and that is unacceptable. Failing to raise wages for people in poverty leads to more despair. Despair will further fuel despotism. We must fight for higher wages, and the minimum wage is a great place to start.
Issue 11: “Toxic Ted Cruz: The Senator from Texas”
Ted Cruz is one of the most repulsive elected officials in United States history. Cruz’s embrace of far-right rhetoric and his distasteful conduct have led to criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. I will forever hate Cruz, and my thoughts on him are best summarized by Former Senator Al Franken of Minnesota: “I probably like Ted Cruz more than most other people like Ted Cruz, and I hate Ted Cruz.”
Issue 12: “Imperial Invasion: The Corporate Coup”
This article was written to expose the horrific war crimes committed by the United States under both Republican and Democratic presidencies. From the endless bombing of innocent civilians under Barack Obama, to the torture of “suspected terrorists and associated forces” ordered by George W. Bush, the United States’ foreign policy has been one of murder and regime-change.
The terror created by the United States abroad leads to terror waged against the United States in the future. It is the United States that is the world's largest terrorist organization. Noam Chomsky best summarizes my opinion on US foreign policy: “Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism, well there’s a great way to do that. Stop participating in it.”
Issue 13: “Printing Propaganda: The Failing Fourth Estate”
For this article, I attempted to highlight the propaganda disseminated by the US mass media. US news organizations mostly are owned by large corporations who depend on corporate funding to stay afloat. The corporate influence on the media heavily biases the content featured on these platforms. In the case of the Iraq War, for example, defense contractors contributed to several news organizations, all of which supported the invasion of Iraq in their news coverage.
The media is perhaps the most flawed democratic institution in the United States, because their role is to expose the inner working of power. The media not covering important issues accurately means the blinds are drawn to the inner workings of power. Rather than focus on important issues, sensationalism and burlesque fills news segments and front page articles. I believe today, as I did several weeks ago, that the fourth estate is indeed failing us.
Issue 14: “Manchin the Menace: The Democrat in Disguise ”
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, I argued, is not a Democrat. Manchin was endorsed by the NRA, is a climate change denier, supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, is pro-life, and sopports an array of other right-wing postions.
Manchin’s conservatism and his power, given the Democrats’ slim Senate majority, means he bears a large responsibility for the lackluster legislative agenda of the Biden administration. Manchin is—and will always be—not only a Republican, but a menace to the people of West Virginia.
Goodbye, Beaver Area High School
It has been a great honor to write so freely about issues I feel so passionately about. Writing for the BASD ECHO—especially for “No Bull with Liam Bul”l—has been an enjoyable and memorable experience. I would like to thank Mr. Kissick for giving me the freedom to write about very controversial topics—and not muzzling my personal opinions on them.
For those interested, I host a YouTube channel (also titled “No Bull with Liam Bull”) where I plan to discuss similar political topics in the future.
I would also like to thank the readers of my articles, because without any readers the point of writing would be moot. It has been a terrific—if a bit odd—senior year, and I am excited for what the future holds. Thank you all, and here’s to a bright future for BASD ECHO.