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Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 8am

Politics

Volume 90 (Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)

Las Vegas Shooting Evokes Gun Control Debate

Las Vegas Gun Control DebateIn the wake of the Las Vegas mass-shooting, many have called for improving the regulatory measures that surround the purchase and ownership of firearms.

Stephen Paddock opened fire from his hotel room onto the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada last Sunday, Oct. 1—terrorizing concert-goers, and leaving 58 dead and nearly 500 more injured.

Last Thursday, Oct. 5, the Clark County Coroner’s office released the identities of the victims who were killed in the attack: 36 women and 22 men, as old as 67 and as young as 20. The devastating calamity has been confirmed as the worst mass shooting in modern-American history. 

Limiting gun ownership is not an unfamiliar initiative, and the topic of gun control has long been a torrid and poignant discussion. “[The Las Vegas shooting] isn’t the first time we’ve heard about these tragic events,” Dr. Sue Stark, an associate professor in the Department of English, says, “I think it’s absolutely horrible; unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last time… If we didn’t do anything after the shooting at Sandy Hook, I didn’t think we would do anything at all.”

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Pence Leaves Football Game after Team Protests

Pence Leaves Football GameAt President Trump’s request, Vice President Pence left a football game after players kneeled in protest during the National Anthem on Sunday.

The game took place in Pence’s home state of Indiana, between the San Francisco 49ers. Nearly two dozen of their players kneeled, an action Pence tweeted “disrespects our soldiers, our Flag” and “our national anthem.”

The San Francisco team has been among the most active in the N.F.L. protest, which sparked controversy when, on Sept. 22, Trump, in response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest last year of police officers killing black men, urged owners to “fire” those “sons of bitches” who took a knee.

“While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and out National Anthem” Pence tweeted in a full statement.

Trump also took to Twitter to clarify that he asked Pence to leave the game, and his opinion on the issue: “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”

Pence posted a picture of him and the Second Lady at the game before leaving, as well as one standing during the anthem with the caption, “We were proud to stand – with all our @Colts – for our soldiers, our flag, and our National Anthem.”

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Trump Promotes Tax Reform Proposal in Indianapolis

Trump Tax Reform Proposal Indianapolis 1President Trump traveled to Indianapolis to promote his proposal of reforming the American tax system in order to lower the tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent on Wednesday, September 20.

Trump has long been advocating for reforming the American tax system.

The president’s speech took place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds at around 3:30 p.m., where he explained his tax reform plan, which many still considered to be vague, according to The Oakland Press.

“To protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer, we are finally ending the crushing, the horrible, the unfair estate tax, or as it is often referred to, the death tax,” Trump said during his speech.

“Today, our total business tax rate is 60 percent higher than our average foreign competitor in the developed world,” he continued.

The president traveled to the city due to the fact that winning the bipartisan support for a tax bill is receiving the support from Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly, since he proves to cross party lines more often than other democrats.

Trump’s first significant speech on his tax reform proposal occurred in Missouri in August. He and Pence also visited North Dakota and West Virginia, respectively.

The trip was Trump’s second since he won the presidential election.

Currently, there are seven federal-income tax brackets, and the president wants to bring that down to three: 12%, 25%, and 35%. He states that by doing this, it will stimulate the economy. This was accomplished by former-President Ronald Raegan during the 1980s. Many today still advocate for Raegan-like tax cuts: “As someone who believes in capitalism, I think that the economy will improve with tax cuts to corporations and high-earning individuals,” Alexis Borrino, a sophomore primary-education major at Monmouth, stated.

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Puerto Rican Citizens React to Trump’s Tweets

Puerto Rican Citizens Trump TweetsPuerto Ricans fight back on Trump’s assertion that the island’s citizens “want everything to be done for them when it should be community effort,” in regards to Hurricane Maria, on Sept. 30.

This follows President Trump’s criticism of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, who was also skeptical of the U.S. president’s lack of initiative in sending aid to the devastated region.

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,”

Trump tweeted, according to The New York Times. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and other of Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

Cruz, who told Anderson Cooper on Saturday that she is not a democrat, said, “He is looking for excuses for things not going well. I have no time for small politics or for comments that do not add to the situation here.”

The Puerto Ricans who supported the mayor’s efforts and called for additional relief, were contacted by CNN.

“I’m amazed that he has the gall to say Puerto Ricans expect everything to be done for them,” Griselmarie Alemar, of Stratford, Connecticut, said.

“They are working exhaustively to lift themselves up. We are citizens. We pay taxes. We serve in the military,” he continued.

President Trump has asserted that Puerto Rico should be less dependent on the federal government for aid, reported The New York Times:

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Pope Francis Urges Trump not to End DACA

Pope Francis Urges Not End DACASenator Bernie Sanders introduced his “Medicare for All” bill on September 13th and plans to go state-to-state in order to promote his bill—his first stop was in San Francisco at the “California Nurses Convention” on Sept. 22.

In 1965, then-President Johnson established the Medicare program in order to provide healthcare to Americans 65-and-older. Eligibility for the program’s benefits was extended to Americans with certain disabilities in 1972. The program provides a variety of covered medical treatments at certain prices, and subsequently reimburses doctors and hospitals whenever a beneficiary uses those services.

The Medicare “trust-fund” is dependent on its enrollment, and how many medical services recipients use. Sanders hopes to significantly increase the program’s enrollment by expanding it to every American, which would render most Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges obsolete.

According to Sanders, his plan would eventually lower prices of healthcare because of the single-payer system’s simplicity. However, getting subsidy for the program would require reducing doctors’ salaries and/or the number of professionals in hospitals, as well as eliminating some medical treatments that are currently offered. Sanders also suggests cutting spending in pharmaceuticals to save expenses. However, doing so could potentially limit access to new, and otherwise expensive, treatments—as well as reduce investments in new technologies. Moreover, “the perks of staying in an American hospital, such as having a private patient room” could be jeopardized—the Times reports.

Many countries have single-payer healthcare systems, yet all of them pay substantially less for healthcare than the U.S. would. This is because Sanders’ plan would cover extensively more than usual insurance plans do in both the U.S. and abroad. According to research from The Urban Institute, Sanders’ healthcare plan would cost double than what his 2016 campaign initially estimated.

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Sanders Introduces Medicare for All

Sanders Medicare For AllSenator Bernie Sanders introduced his “Medicare for All” bill on September 13th and plans to go state-to-state in order to promote his bill—his first stop was in San Francisco at the “California Nurses Convention” on Sept. 22.

In 1965, then-President Johnson established the Medicare program in order to provide healthcare to Americans 65-and-older. Eligibility for the program’s benefits was extended to Americans with certain disabilities in 1972. The program provides a variety of covered medical treatments at certain prices, and subsequently reimburses doctors and hospitals whenever a beneficiary uses those services.

The Medicare “trust-fund” is dependent on its enrollment, and how many medical services recipients use. Sanders hopes to significantly increase the program’s enrollment by expanding it to every American, which would render most Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges obsolete.

According to Sanders, his plan would eventually lower prices of healthcare because of the single-payer system’s simplicity. However, getting subsidy for the program would require reducing doctors’ salaries and/or the number of professionals in hospitals, as well as eliminating some medical treatments that are currently offered. Sanders also suggests cutting spending in pharmaceuticals to save expenses. However, doing so could potentially limit access to new, and otherwise expensive, treatments—as well as reduce investments in new technologies. Moreover, “the perks of staying in an American hospital, such as having a private patient room” could be jeopardized—the Times reports.

Many countries have single-payer healthcare systems, yet all of them pay substantially less for healthcare than the U.S. would. This is because Sanders’ plan would cover extensively more than usual insurance plans do in both the U.S. and abroad. According to research from The Urban Institute, Sanders’ healthcare plan would cost double than what his 2016 campaign initially estimated.

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Justice Dept. Sides With Baker in Supreme Court Case

Justice Dept Baker Supreme CourtThe Department of Justice made its support for Colorado baker Jack Phillips apparent, by filing a brief in support of his case that his religious beliefs prevent him from making cakes for same-sex couples on Sept. 7.

What started as a dispute of discrimination and intolerance back in 2012 when Phillips refused to create a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins has now turned into a nationwide spectacle as the case heads for the Supreme Court to be heard before the end of its 2017 term. As this five-year case reaches an ultimate conclusion this year, it falls upon the people to determine what effects this historical ruling will have.

This decision comes on the coattail of Obergefell v Hodges, which rulted that “those who adhere to religious doctrines may continue to advocate...that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned” according the The Economist.

“Part of the marriage equality ruling is how it fits into society”, says Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, a professor of Political Science. “Many different specific cases can arise from one issue, so sometimes we need more clarification from the Supreme Court.”

Dr. Mitchell views the issue as a sociological one, and is a byproduct of the original 2014 case that made same-sex marriage legal in the first place.

“It’s past precedent, in a way”, he adds, “If you want marriage equality to be strengthened, it has to be tested.”

This goes both ways; this will not only affect the rulings and particulars of marriage equality, but religious freedom in the U.S. as well. This will be a landmark case for either side, with the ruling determining the future of both issues.

“You’ve kind of got to kick a law to see how strong it is” Mitchell said.

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Unanimous Vote to Impose Sanctions on North Korea

Unanimous Vote Sanctions North KoreaThe United Nations (UN) Security Council voted to enforce new sanctions against North Korea on Monday, Sept. 11th.

President Trump’s top diplomat, Ambassador Nikki Haley, said these are “by far the strongest measures ever imposed [on North Korea].”

“This will cut deep,” Ambassador Nikki Haley said after a unanimous vote to impose new sanctions on North Korea, following their latest nuclear test, the Washington Examiner reported.

The package of sanctions targets North Korea’s imports of oil and textiles, as well as its ability to profit from forced laborers overseas. The Security Council has imposed limits on inbound oil supplies and more comprehensive inspections of cargo-ships going in and out of North Korean ports.

These measures will deprive North Korea $1.3 billion annually, according to Ambassador Haley. In addition, she reminds the regime and its allies—such as Russia and China—the U.S. government has no intent to overthrow North Korea.

 “We are not looking for war,” Haley stressed, “The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return.

If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it. On the other hand, if North Korea continues its dangerous path, we will continue with future pressures. The choice is theirs.”

“The [North Korean] regime is not suicidal,” Dr. DeRosa, a Monmouth professor, states. “It wants very badly to survive. The USA and its allies can continue to contain [the regime] even as it acquires more nuclear weapons.”

“[The sanctions] are worth a try,” DeRosa says, “but [Kim Jung-un’s] regime believes having nuclear weapons will make it more secure, and they will do their best to continue their program despite sanctions.”

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University President and Professors Take Stand Against Hatred and Bigotry

Dear students, friends and colleagues:

Our shared commitment to building a community of mutual caring and respect, diversity, and integrity does not stop when classes are finished, or take a pause before the new academic year begins.

The sad and shocking events in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend are a stark reminder that our educational mission is vi-tal, and perhaps more important than ever, to extinguish bigotry and violence, and to affect positive change in the world.

As an academic enterprise based on exploration of diverse thought, we must balance freedom of expression with an active commitment to ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for every individual, without exception.

As we prepare to come together on campus in just a few short weeks, I know you will join me in condemning hatred, bigotry, and violence in all forms as well as offering support to those who may be feeling vulnerable. I look forward to working with all of you to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming campus for all.

Sincerely,

Grey J. Dimenna, Esq. President

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Faculty Tweets Go Viral Following Charlottesville Protests

Faculty Tweets 1The Dean of Monmouth University’s Honors School, Dr. Walter Greason, wrote a series of tweets following the protests in Charlottesville, VA on Aug. 12, that immediately went viral, attracting the attention of several news outlets.

The New York Times reports that the tragedy ensued after the white supremacist-led “Unite the Right” rally that took place in Charlottesville during the second week of August. After city officials announced that they would remove a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee, white supremacists gathered and were met by counter protesters. The tensions escalated between the two groups, and one of the “Unite the Right” attendees James Alex Fields, Jr. drove his car through the counter protesters, killing one woman. Between the clashes themselves and the car attack, 34 other protesters were injured.

“[The statue] was basically a rallying point for white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and neo-Confederate forces,” said Greason, “[The rally] wasn’t just about the statue, but it was about the principles of white supremacy being defended and reasserted in the United States.”

In the day following the live coverage of the violence, Greason decided to analyze the situation by explaining the underlying reasons why a horror like this would occur. He noted that many were quick to reject the “Unite the Right” movement and distance themselves from it online, and took issue with the fact that events like what happened in Charlottesville are all too common in the US.

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Jeff Sessions Announces DACA Reconsideration

Jeff Sessions DACA ReconsiderationAttorney-General Jeff Sessions announced that President Trump will be rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order established under the Obama Administration, on September 5th. 

In 2012, former President Barack Obama announced that he would be temporarily providing the renewable two-year grace period to individuals who have entered the country illegally as minors, typically through their parents. 

Much contention already surrounded DACA prior to President Trump’s rescission.

In November 2014, former-President Obama attempted to expand DACA and establish the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). Texas, along with 25 other states, sued the United States federal government in response soon thereafter. 

In 2015, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked then-President Obama’s series of executive orders with a 2-1 vote in Texas v. United States— sustaining a lower court’s injunction against the two programs, The Atlantic reported. In response to these rulings, the United States Department of Homeland Security rescinded the DACA expansion on June 16, 2017.

Many still questioned the prospect of DACA if it were to be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, considering the precariousness of the executive order. 

Much of the criticism surrounding DACA—both when it was established and today—was not so much what former-President Obama did, but rather how he did it. Presidential executive orders can sometimes stir controversy.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu