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Politics

Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)

“Every New Beginning is Some Beginning’s End” | Christopher Orlando's Senior Goodbye

My journey at The Outlook started with Casey Wolfe (whom you’ll meet later) and I deciding to go to the Involvement Fair. I was a sophomore and she was a freshman, both of us looking to get involved. I ended up talking to Dr. Patten who introduced me to Sandra and I never looked back.

Joining The Outlook gave me a feeling of belonging from the very beginning. As a contributing and staff writer, there was always someone who was willing to chat or help with a story. As the politics editor, I had to learn journalism and leadership in a very short amount of time and finally as managing editor this year. Outlook became my home away from home and my second family. I saw three different editorial staffs come and go and never quite thought I would get to that point but now I have and there are a lot of people I need to thank.

My Family

Mom and Dad: I would not be in this position without your constant love and support. I remember when I first told you I was going to start writing for the newspaper and despite never doing it before, you both told me to give it a try. As always, you both gave great advice and always had my back which I could never thank you enough for. Your best advice was to learn as much as possible while in college and I can honestly say I learned more about myself than I did out of a textbook and for that I am very grateful.

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“Here’s Looking at You Monmouth” | Jessica Roberts' Senior Goodbye

Real World, I Think This Is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship


Goodbye is such a bittersweet concept, especially when put in the terms of a graduation. On one hand, you are excited about the next step in life, for whatever that may be, a great unknown that you have never experienced before. Yet on the other hand you are leaving a place that has become a home to you over the years, and with the family like ties that have been formed with friends with that home. Suddenly you begin to see everything as if it is the first time, the cafeteria food suddenly tastes slightly better, the squirrels much cuter and the landscape even appears slightly greener.

My experience at Monmouth has been an excellent one. Every year brought about something different, with new faces and fun stories. However, I would not have been able to experience any of it without the support of my parents. They have been my backbone throughout my life, and always inspired me to just “do my best.” Without them I most certainly could not have had the experience I have here at Monmouth, and I am forever grateful for them for the experience.

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An Interview on the State of Argentina: Past, Present and Future

Dr. Kenneth Mitchell is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University. Having completed a PhD in Politics at Oxford University, his extensive knowledge on Latin American Politics is evident through his instruction of PS 275 Latin American Politics and PS 398 Argentine Politics.

Outlook: Let’s begin with the crisis. The increase in crime, and most recently the violence seen in headlines about Argentina. When did this happen, and what could be to blame?

Mitchell: Well, crime in Argentina, it’s important to note, has never been at American levels of crime. There are a couple of [key] things about what’s going on right now in Argentina.

Number one - It is fairly difficult to collect accurate data on whether crime really is spiraling, because of what happened in January. See each year in Argentina police and others such as teachers negotiate a contract. Now Argentina suffers from 25 percent inflation, and contract negotiations take into account whether the inflation will get worse over the next year, if not your losing money. Now, what happened was the police negotiated hard, but the government wasn’t going to meet their demands. So the police went on strike. Imagine that, police across a country go on strike. There’s no police officers.

Outlook: Wow.

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Congresswoman Proposes Legislation to Toughen Laws Against Sexual Assult on College Campuses

A California congresswoman has announced plans to introduce federal legislation to toughen laws against what she called an epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

In an appearance at the University of California at Berkeley this month, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, said she would press for more aggressive action against sexual assault with increased funding for federal investigators, annual campus surveys and more comprehensive data on the outcomes of cases.

She also said she would seek to require universities to interview students who file complaints of sexual misconduct, addressing widespread concerns about inadequate investigations.

“The prevalence of sexual assault on campuses is an epidemic,” Speier said in an interview. “It’s going to take money, resources, enforcement and a dramatic change in the culture” to fix.

Speier met with media along with six UC Berkeley students who have filed complaints with the federal government against the university in the last year, alleging a failure to adequately handle their cases.

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Monmouth University Poll Explains “Obamacare” and Its Impact on New Jersey

A poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute found that 45 percent of New Jerseyans support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 49 percent oppose it. After compiling the data of 803 respondents between March 30 and April 1, the poll detailed the Garden State’s response to essential questions dealing with the efficacy of both governmental figures, as well as the ACA itself

But what is the Affordable Care Act? According to the American Public Health Association the program is national health reform, which seeks to “expand [health] coverage to 25 million Americans by 2023.” By providing increased coverage throughout the nation, the plan aims to rectify the high rate of uninsured Americans, of whom the Congressional Budget Office estimated there were 57 million in 2013.

Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that despite the statistics, New Jersey residents are still more confident about the ACA than residents from other states.

Murray said, “You have to keep in mind that New Jerseyans are a little more positive about Obamacare than the nation as a whole. They are just not as positive as they were before the enrollment period began in October.” Much of the negativity towards the policy stemmed from the faulty launch of the ACA’s website in October 2013.

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Hobby Lobby Case: Should Contraceptives Be Covered Under Health Insurance? Pt.2

As some of you may know (or may not know) the Supreme Court is hearing a case that could potentially give corporations the right to refuse some, or even all contraceptive services, on the basis that it is against their religious rights. When the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) went into effect, health insurance companies were required to cover all forms of birth control. As per the law, religious non-profits were exempted from having to provide birth control through their offered health care plans. The Hobby Lobby, a for profit organization, brought the case to court because the CEOs are conservative Christians, and they object to IUDs and the morning after pill, saying that they are forms of abortion because they prevent life from forming, according to NPR. The Supreme Court is expected to reach a decision in June.

Now that you have the facts, let me state my case. I severely hope that the Supreme Court will not find in favor of The Hobby Lobby. I am not saying this because I am a liberal; I am saying this because I am a woman, and I have rights too. The HIPPA (Human Information Privacy Protocols Act) laws state that I do not have to share any health information. My doctor cannot share any health information, unless I sign a waiver that says someone like my mother, father or sister can be informed, according to HHS.gov. What The Hobby Lobby case is asking for is for me to reveal private health information. My employer does not need to know whether or not I use any form of birth control. That information is between me, my doctor, and my significant other.

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Hobby Lobby Case: Should Contraceptives Be Covered Under Health Insurance? Pt.1

Here we go again, yet another “Obamacare” controversy and another case of the federal government treating the Constitution like its toilet paper. On March 25, the Supreme Court heard its oral arguments from the owners of Hobby Lobby and the federal government. The issue is that the owners of Hobby Lobby are forced under the Obamacare mandate, to pay for contraceptives in their employees’ health insurance. The mandate includes 20 forms of government approved contraceptives. The Green family is against covering four of those forms of contraceptives because they believe that they are similar to abortion, which is against their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby’s opposition argues that the company itself is violating the rights of its employees but that is not the case. In fact, the owners of Hobby Lobby’s rights are the ones being infringed upon and here’s why.

The first two clauses of the First Amendment state “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Clearly this law violates the Free Exercise Clause. Hobby Lobby is a privately owned business which gives the owners the right to run it how they please, as long as it goes along with federal regulations. The Obamacare mandate is, of course, a federal regulation. However, the difference between this regulation and any other regulation like minimum wage, discrimination, or child labor laws is that none of these actually require anyone to go against their religious beliefs.

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GUC Event: “I Want to Commit a Crime But in Which Nation, The USA, China or Japan”

fingerprint-through-magnifying-glassDr. Peter Lui, associate professor of criminal justice and Chair of the Criminal Justice Department hosted a Classroom Colloquium called, I Want to Commit a Crime, But in Which Nation, The USA, China,or Japan.

Lui ran it, playing it off like he was a criminal to grab the attention of the room. Lui said, "I don't want to be caught if I commit a crime. Or if I did commit the crime I don't want to be punished or severely punished." Then several crimes were brought up in depth by several different groups of students.

The first crime was brought up by a student Jenna, whose topic was drug relations. According to the presentation, the U.S. was the easiest place to commit this crime.

The U.S has such a high amount of plea bargaining that is done because of the back-up in cases, rarely anyone gets off with jail time and even less so with the death penalty.

However, it was expressed clearly that if a citizen was found carrying above a certain petty amount of a drug, their jail time was heightened by 10-20 years, more for every upgrade in amount of the drug.

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Hobby Lobby Case Could Have Impact on Contraceptives and Health Insurance

hobby-lobby-cartoonThe Supreme Court heard the oral arguments of Hobby Lobby, a national chain of crafts stores based in Oklahoma City, and its opposition. The debate started in September of 2012 when the Green family, who are the devout Christian owners of Hobby Lobby and other members of the company, filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Oklahoma.

According to PBS.org, the suit argued against the mandate by the Affordable Care Act and the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) which requires companies to include coverage of 20 forms of government approved contraceptives in their health insurance.

The owners of Hobby Lobby reject four of the contraceptive methods because they believe they work like forms of abortion. They also argue that their religious rights have been violated by the mandate because it forces them to take part of something that they believe goes against their faith. Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby said an interview with PBS that, "This is an issue of life. We cannot be a part of taking life. To be in a situation where our government is telling us we have to be is incredible."

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The Supreme Court Got it Right

McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission Case Debated


free_speech_cartoonCapitalism underpins the greatest freedoms in the United States. The goal of earning individual profits is inherent in a free society, with personal gain acting as a motivator in a fluid class structure. As it relates to the recent decision of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Committee, the Supreme Court opted to protect the capitalistic rights of the individual, voting against the campaign finance limits set forth by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The act, according to fec.gov, sought to limit campaign contributions made by individuals so as to fight corruption within the political sphere.

However, as it was aptly reasoned by Chief Justice John Roberts, restrictions on an individual's campaign contributions immediately strikes against First Amendment protections regarding the freedom of speech. In Roberts' opinion, he elaborated that as it pertains to political speech, "The First Amendment safeguards an individual's right to participate in the public debate through political expression and public association. When an individual contributes money to a candidate, he exercises both of those rights."

By striking down campaign contribution limits, the Supreme Court is making the political world more accessible to the average person. Expressing one's political views requires an audience willing to listen. And despite the advent of the internet and social media, a captive audience is difficult to come by, considering the availability of conflicting ideas and opinions. Thus, in line with the United States' representative democracy, political campaign contributions are the best opportunity for those dedicated to political expression to convey their ideas by supporting the candidates who represent them.

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The Supreme Court Got it Wrong

McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission Case Debated


democracy-not-for-saleOn April 2 the Supreme Court came down with the most recent ruling on campaign finance. The outcome: an end to longstanding aggregate limits on campaign contributions. McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission brings the biggest change in free speech through campaign finance since the Citizens United decision in 2010. What exactly we regard as free speech has been subject to definitional expansion. First Amendment protection of ripping draft cards and protesting funerals of gay veterans has given us one of the most politically expressive societies in the modern world. The question at hand is, whether or not spending money in our political process is an act of political expression.

Our Supreme Court justices voted 5-4 that indeed it is, in an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts. The holding was that aggregate spending contributions do not meet the "rigorous" standards of review used to rule on corruption in prior cases on campaign finance. Simply put, five justices think that putting a cap on how much someone gives overall to PACs, political parties, and directly to candidates is unconstitutional.

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