Fall Into the (Wealth) Gap by Matthew Ponder

By 2030, more than half of the world’s wealth will be controlled by its wealthiest 1%. That total would amount to around $305 trillion dollars. You don’t need an economics degree from MIT to see the countless issues this poses globally. Here in the states, It can be argued that this projection simply represents the natural cause-and-effect of a capitalist democracy. An unavoidable trickle-down; Only, the true monster glaring down upon our economic system happens to be none other than, Neo-Corporatism. America has gradually ventured away from genuine capitalism since its conception. As a result, the reach of the 1% continues to grow along with the gap in wealth created by this trend.

When you are barely surviving, it is unlikely you will thrive. This statement describes too accurately what the majority of African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, women and other disenfranchised groups experience. Wealth inequality in the U.S. can be contributed to not only a wave in Neo-corporatism but- discrimination, globalization, Trumponomics and deregulation. One year ago, the poverty rate for African-Americans was 21.2%, 18.3% for Hispanic-Americans and 8.7% for non-Hispanic Whites. That same year, the poverty for women (aged 18 to 64) was 13% in contrast to the 9.4% held by men of the same age.

The materialist culture of the 90s reared its head and left an indelible impression on our society. Many millennials today are bogged down by crippling debt, sluggish increases in wage and competitive markets. Moreover, this generation sits atop the list of emotional and neurological disorders i.e. depression and anxiety. It is not until America adopts a nationwide strategy to make education and healthcare an inclusive right that we will bridge this widening gap.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Survey 1968 to 2018.

Red Dead Redemption Song by Matthew Ponder

This morning, the latest gameplay trailer for Rockstar’s highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 was released much to the delight of gaming loyalists worldwide. Already projected to break numerous records, this title may very well become the new paradigm for the future of open world gaming. Its predecessor launched in 2010 to critical acclaim and with its captivating story, larger-than-life characters and gritty action sequences, one can see why this game is considered a classic.

The Old West has always been a point of interest in civilized society. There is an undeniable mystique to the outlaw mentality; an age-old archetype that’s been adapted for modern series like HBO’s West World and various spaghetti westerns and anime. Rockstar has likely developed a narrative parallel to much of what we love about the frontier (if not light years ahead of it). As a result, the protagonist of this prequel- Arthur Morgan, will be free to exercise the duality of his nature while exploring scenic vistas, hunting, robbing, bartering and more.

Today’s release was visually stunning and now we’ve seen a glimpse of how far visual presentation has evolved. Each of these components are vital to an immersive gaming experience but none more important than the soundtrack. Red Dead Redemption is one of the first games of its kind to incorporate an original score. Woody Jackson who is known for his composing on other Rockstar titles along with films like The Devil Wear Prada will hopefully return for RDR2 along with Bill Elm. José Gabriel González is another name worth noting when discussing the level of talent to be found in a Rockstar release as revolutionary as Red Dead Redemption. Gonzalez’ track, ‘Far Away’ won best song in a game in 2010.

If you’ve been impatiently waiting for this game since 2010, only 25 days remain until you can live out your wild, western fantasies in what should be a gaming masterpiece.

Mojado Caliente Verano Americano by Matthew Ponder

This summer we found ourselves fixated on hackneyed headlines involving police brutality. Each month offered a fresh account of the events that lead to these tragic shootings and slayings. 2018 isn’t finished and already, over 500 people have been fatally shot by police in America. A surprisingly drastic decline in contrast to last year’s 987, according to a study conducted by the Washington Post. Earlier this year we diverted our gaze from one injustice to the next. America is undoubtedly a country still mired in racism. Such racism was on full display through a discriminatory travel ban and broken immigration policy.

Every legitimate government is entitled to protecting its borders and enforcing a thorough process towards nationalization. Regrettably, the White House did the very opposite this year. President Trump, along with the aid of ICE, detained and prosecuted thousands of illegal immigrants. This lead to the separation of over two thousand children from their legal guardians. There was never an official strategy to reunite these families in a timely fashion as a quarter of those children remain detained at the cost of the American tax-payer. This is a dangerous political game that has surely tarnished our global image. All efforts to hold our government accountable are more important than ever and it’s imperative we continue to pressure our elected officials. They are waiting to hear from us.

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