"DSC_7662" by United Nations Development Programme is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (via Flickr)

This past week, members of the first Qassim Girl’s Council, a provincial group in Saudi Arabia that discusses issues regarding women’s rights within the Qassim region, met publicly to begin discussions on how they can meet certain goals laid out as part of their Vision 2030 program. Despite the seemingly good intentions of a council like this, the photographs from this conference present a different narrative. The dark reality of this meeting can be seen through the photographs of strictly men sitting in on the conferences. The women that were part of the Qassim Girl’s Council were reportedly in another room being connected via video stream, adhering to the strict laws of gender separation outside of familiar ties that is practiced in Saudi Arabia. Photographs of this meeting garnered significantly more attention in the United States after being compared with the photographs of President Donald Trump signing abortion legislation while being surrounded by powerful, white, conservative males. The moral issues presented here cover a host of topics, but the main focus of this issue is whether or not men have the right and/or autonomy to govern the rights of women.

"Sarah Toscano discusses an exhibition at PAAM with children participating in Children's Art Adventures" by Grace Ryder O'Malley is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Editor’s note: The Prindle Institute for Ethics, which hosts The Prindle Post, has recently been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the institute’s director has engaged in advocacy work for the National Humanities Alliance.

The logic of President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget has left even some of his supporters scratching their heads. First, there are the cuts to programs including the New York Police Department and airport security programs – proposals that are especially perplexing, given Trump’s longstanding emphasis on keeping America safe. Then there are cuts targeting programs widely seen as both uncontroversial and beneficial. Such programs include Meals on Wheels, an organization that delivers food to the elderly and the poor. While many expected Trump’s budget to reflect a hard-line conservative approach to federal spending, cutting programs like Meals on Wheels has taken even some GOP members of Congress aback.

"Crowd" by James Cridland is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

As the human population continues to grow, questions arise concerning how to deal with problems that are human in origin: problems like pollution and environmental degradation, resource depletion, and global food shortages.  The global population, which currently sits at over 7 billion, is expected to reach 10.9 billion by the end of the century.  

As populations increase, the rate of greenhouse gas emissions also increases.  Topsoil depletion that took place between the years 1900 and 2000 was equal to the depletion that took place in the 1000 years that preceded it.  As a result, land that is suitable for agriculture becomes more and more scarce and our ability to produce enough food for climbing populations is threatened.  

"Mike Pence" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

A little over a month into Donald Trump’s presidency, chaos continues to swirl around even the most basic of the administration’s operations. High profile controversies – most notably, the emerging details about Trump surrogates’ contact with members of the Russian government during the campaign – continue to roil the nascent administration. From within, leaks to the press abound, painting a portrait of a chaotic White House even more defined by power struggles and botched policy rollouts than usual. And all the while, Trump continues to make inflammatory statements, most recently asserting without evidence that then-President Barack Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 election.

"Interstate 5 in Washington" by I, Cacophony is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikipedia)

On Friday, March 3, a man was shot in a suburb outside of Seattle after being berated and told to go back where he came from. He wore a turban, and the shooter presumably interpreted him to be of Middle Eastern origin. The man was a Sikh, a population that is enduring harassment and worse alongside Muslims in the United States’ most recent rise of Islamophobia due to the widespread ignorance of the religion.

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"Donald J. Trump at Marriott Marquis NYC September 7th 2016" is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

At 3:35am on March 4, President Donald Trump tweeted an accusation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower prior to the election. Trump compared it to Watergate and called Obama “sick.” A spokesperson for Obama quickly and strongly denied the allegations, stating that “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.” FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department to immediately reject the president’s allegations on the grounds that it falsely implies that the FBI broke the law.

Screen capture from "Extended Interview: Jorge Ramos Talks Race with Jared Taylor" via Youtube.

This week, a debate between Jorge Ramos and Jared Taylor went viral in Spanish language social networks. The debate was originally an interview for Hate Rising, a documentary that aired last October. Ramos is one of Univision’s anchors, and he was infamously expelled by then-candidate Donald Trump from a press conference. Taylor is the editor of American Renaissance, a white nationalist organization that became one of the most visible representatives of the alt-right; he also enthusiastically supports President Trump.

"Bowe Bergdahl" by United States Army is licensed under CC0 Public domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

In June of 2009, 23-year-old Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post at Mest Manko in Afghanistan.  Shortly thereafter, he was captured by the Taliban.  He was held as a prisoner of war for five years in deplorable conditions.  In 2014, President Barack Obama’s administration arrived at an agreement with the Taliban. In exchange for Bergdahl’s release, the United States would release five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay.  The deal was controversial.  Many people felt that the U.S should not have negotiated with terrorists for release of a soldier that deserted his post.

Bergdahl’s case was a hot topic on the campaign trail during the 2016 presidential election.  Now-President Donald Trump commented on it frequently, referring to Bergdahl as a traitor and suggesting that if he could undo the deal, sending Bergdahl back into captivity and returning the detainees to Guantanamo, he would do so.  

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"Indiana Statehouse" by Noah Coffey is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

Every year, thousands of bills are written and proposed during Indiana’s legislative session. The Indiana General Assembly takes place during the first few months of the year, and is a chance for state representatives to advance their agenda. Many Americans pay more attention to what happens at the federal level, but state and local government also has a large influence on the lives of citizens.The 2017 session, Jan 3 through April 29, is taking place during a budget year, and in the wake of an extremely contentious and important state and national election. Legislation authored this session ranges from bills that deregulate environmental protection to resolutions aimed at honoring professional athletes. However, one bill that has not gained much attention raises many ethical concerns in regards to criminal justice and the prison system.

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"Grand Ballroom" by sergio_leenan is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 (via Flickr)

President Donald Trump has spent three of the past four weekends in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago resort, conducting political business from interviewing cabinet nominees, hosting the Japanese prime minister, and formulating a response to a North Korean missile test at the club instead of in Washington. On Saturday morning, the president went so far as to dub the establishment “the Southern White House” in a tweet. While the Trump family’s extensive travel has already sparked concerns, Trump’s decision to hold numerous political meetings outside the actual White House is raising serious concerns about access and security.