Happy Birthday Barack Obama!

This transforming Tuesday, we get to look at an aging president as well as what the future holds for the democratic party in the upcoming election. When looking back at how the 44th president looked at first compared to what the stress of everyday life has transformed him to the man he is today, we can see his age having more of an impact.However his birthday did not come with no celebrations this year. Last year, Obama marked his birthday with meetings and the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. But this year he started the celebrations early. “On Saturday he took his friends out golfing at Andrews Air Force and then went to Camp David in Maryland, where he’s also partied in previous years.” Also, we have to appreciate that in these past few years, there have been striking changes regarding White House advisory, Health Care Reform, gun policy, internet policies, as well as foreign policy in the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and recently Iran. Although these changes and events have been a part of his terms, one can never forget the June of 2015 when the SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage. Now we can see the reward in celebrating today from the beginning of the election of 2008 ; now seeming a distant memory to August 4th 2015 – 461 days until his term comes to an end. In terms of looking forward to the 2016 election, there is some controversy about the vice president – Joe Biden running for the election as a presidential nomination. However, we must accept the fact after numerous interviews, countless lectures, and a multitude of campaigns strategies that the democrats seem pretty ready for Hillary Clinton. This can seem to be proven almost as a fact because “Many members of the Obama administration have gone to work for Clinton, including some close to Biden.” As for the Republican party there is the top choice leading a fractured team of other candidates- Donald Trump. Slightly behind him are Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. Something to look forward to amid all these runners is the debate on August 6th Fox News debate which will only invite the top 10 candidates based on recent national polls. While watching this heated debate, we must appreciate and recognize the new storm of changes in events coming, and reminisce on the cyclone of events that have occurred in these past few years.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” -President Obama

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The Truth About ADD and OCD

Many people playfully state that they have a mental disease, such as Attention Deficit Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, in order to explain certain behaviors. For example, students often blame their poor grades, inability to focus, and compulsiveness to cheat on ADD, when they actually do not try in school hard enough to excel. In terms of OCD, many will say that they have OCD if they like to organize their belongings in a certain way. Due to these fake claims, not many people know what it is actually like for people to suffer from these diseases.

Attention Deficit Disorder is a mental illness that can be broken down into three categories: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and the combined type. Unlike what the media portrays as ADD, it is not that easy to identify a person with ADD. A person with the inattention type will most likely:

  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  • Daydream and move slowly
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to
  • Struggle to follow instructions
  • Possibly skip the entire list because it was too long to read

A person with the hyperactivity type will most likely:

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Talk nonstop
  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  • Be constantly in motion

The cause of ADD can be one of three things: environment, society, and primarily, genetics. It is treated, mainly, through medications. If a person with ADD takes their medications daily, then they will be able to lead a mostly-normal life. ADD tests, ever since people have been faking the illness, have improved to ensure that the people who really do have the disorder are getting the help they deserve.

OCD, on the other hand, is a little difficult to fake since the symptoms are much more drastic than those of ADD. Despite the comments that are made about the disease, it is a very serious malady that can drive one insane if not taken care of correctly. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a condition where people feel the need to take care of something, such as keeping themselves clean or organizing something to perfection, in order to soothe their anxiety. What people do not know is that there is more to OCD than just striving to be neat and tidy. Other symptoms of OCD include:

  • Seeking reassurance from others constantly – seeking reassurance from others is fine from time to time, but when the questions become increasingly repetitive, that is when you know you have OCD.
  • Counting – now this one seems a little odd, but people with OCD often count everything they do. This stems from believing in superstitions, such as the lucky number seven or the unlucky number thirteen. It comes to the point where they cannot get the numbers out of their head. For example, a person who is walking up the stairs may take them seven at a time just to ease their anxiety.
  • The need to check something obsessively – this includes pressing Ctrl-C ten times to make sure you copied something, making sure that the door is locked five times, checking that the stove is off three times, checking for errors in this sentence ten times, so on and so forth.
  • Having everything in uniform – And because I changed this sentence into italics, those with OCD will go insane to change it.

Although there aren’t as many symptoms as ADD, they are much more serious. A patient can spend hours cleaning their house and still not be satisfied. They might only be satisfied if the volume on their TV is a multiple of seven. Things like this may seem odd to most people, but their life is a nightmare if not treated correctly. For thirteen-year-old Megan, OCD conferences help her connect with others with OCD, which helped her cope with the illness. However, going to conferences do not help treat the disorder; medications, like for ADD, are given to the patients to ease their anxiety.

Real people everyday deal with diseases like these and rarely ever complain with what they have to deal with. Famous comedian Howie Mandel suffers with OCD and ADD; yet, he still continues to perform as a comedian and judge without having to sacrifice anything. Those people that claim to have certain mental illnesses when in reality they don’t cloud the truth about the maladies.

Bibliography:

“Diagnosing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 08 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

“10 Signs You May Have OCD.” Health.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Signs and Symptoms.”Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

Japra, Nikita, and Katheryn Nathanson. “Girl, 13, Learns to ‘Just Breathe’ After Sudden OCD, Panic Attacks.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Talks Stall Due to Increasing Complications

After another round of meetings in Hawaii, it was reported that negotiations between several representatives of Pacific Rim countries had not succeeded in closing one of the biggest possible free-trade talks in history. The Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb stated that the deal was, “..98% complete, but we haven’t concluded it.” Supposedly, Australia had “walked out” on finishing the deal after being unable to negotiate an entrance into US dairy markets. These setbacks are merely the latest of many that are challenging the completion of this free trade agreement that has the ability to span a large portion of the world economy. The implementation of this agreement is in the interest of the Obama administration and the US government as it would provide the United States a much-needed financial pivot into Asia in order to counteract spreading Chinese influence in the region as well as provide a financial boost to American markets. Nevertheless, the deal has various opponents who are claiming that if passed, the deal will have adverse impacts on important issues like healthcare, Investor-State Arbitration, and intellectual property.

In June 2015, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine expressed concern that various clauses concerning copyright laws pertaining to pharmaceutical drugs could affect healthcare in numerous countries. According to the article, the TPP had the potential to prevent the production of cheaper generic drugs through stricter patent laws. This would create a risk in developing countries like Vietnam, where a large portion of the population cannot afford expensive “brand name” drugs and instead relies on cheaper drugs. This could also affect developed countries like America as  state sponsored healthcare systems like Medicare and Medicaid would be forced to buy the previously mentioned brand name drugs, thereby raising the price of medical care. Arguments have arose against the TPP over concerns of increasing healthcare costs and it seems to be that this hurdle will prove difficult to get over.

Another controversial aspect of the agreement includes the writing concerning Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). Simply put, ISDS allows a foreign company to sue member countries of the TPP for money in cases where they could argue that future profits were lost due to government policy, effectively circumventing government law and receiving money for it. It is no surprise that countries would be reluctant to agree to this provision after hearing about Occidental Exploration and Production Company vs. The Republic of Ecuador, in which Ecuador was ordered to pay approximately $1.76 billion in reparations to an American oil company. ISDS has been present in previous free trade agreements between other countries and has been an extremely contentious topic due to the fact that it can overcome government law in the name of free trade. Therefore, it is no surprise that TPP member and negotiators are cautious when dealing with this problematic law.

Despite the aforementioned worrisome parts of the TPP, the most questionable provision is arguably the Intellectual Property Chapter. This part of the agreement requires that global intellectual property rules be rewritten in a more restrictive format, like the United States’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). An obligation like this would require countries to place liabilities on internet intermediaries like Google and Facebook and thereby restrict privacy and expression of users. It would also compel the extension of copyright laws, suppressing any possible innovations. And last but not least, it would adopt criminal sanctions for any copyright infringements not done for “commercial purposes” (That means that the police really will arrest you for illegally downloading that Beyonce song).

It is no question that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement poses a multitude of risks to the countries that it seeks to facilitate free trade with. Yet, the important thing to ask ourselves as people affected by global actions is, “Is it worth it?” Will the increasing globalization of trade ultimately harm or help us? Living in the USA, I can see that many of the things I use on a daily basis like my phone, my clothes, even my food, are the products of an world that is growing smaller through increased trade. I can see that free trade between countries can raise the standard of living and I can see that it is extremely beneficial to the economy. But it should not empower the businesses and corporations that control production to restrict basic human rights like freedom of expression nor should it allow a business to dodge the law for profit. If the TPP cares more about protecting a business’s ability to increase profits through economic liberalization instead of allowing people of all countries to mutually benefit from trade, then in my humble opinion, it should not be supported by anyone