Sat11182017

Last updateFri, 17 Nov 2017 9pm

Politics

U.N. Holds Conference on Climate Change in France

On Nov. 30, in Paris, France the U.N. Conference on Climate Change began, and it will conclude on Dec. 11. According to the COP21 website, this is the 21st U.N. Conference on Climate Change, and there are representatives from any and all nations that wish to take action on behalf of the environment.

Dr. Ken Mitchell, associate professor of political science,  speculated on the ability for such different countries to work together, “The Paris conference reveals the potential for global governance, as well as the challenges for global governance. The problems and challenges have been identified, but science cannot take us much further. We are now in the realm of global policy making, and this is a realm we know very little about.”

Zachary Dix, a masters student at the University of Iceland studying Environmental Sustainability, attended the conference said “The conference brings together countries of the world to create a document that is internationally binding with the United Nations.  The nations come together and used the scientific knowledge about how to mitigate and adapt to climate change and try to reach a consensus internationally on how to handle climate change.”

According to Dix and the COP21 website, a large aspect of the negotiations is how many degrees Celsius the world temperature my increase. Dix explained, “A lot of the previous agreements have aimed to increase no more than 2 degrees Celsius from pre industrial levels.” He said, “However the recent increases in intense weather events and the severity of sea level rise is displacing nations such as Micronesia as we speak; these islands are literally sinking and the people are being forced to relocate almost immediately. Consequently, now the majorities of countries are feeling as though 2 degrees Celsius is insufficient and need to move it to a 1.5 degree goal.  Scientists have been studying the global temperature, and in their latest report they started degree scenarios where they emit different amount of greenhouse gasses to create global temperature scenarios. Right now the big thing they’re pushing for is a scenario of no more than a global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

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Should There be More Study of Philosophy, Religion, and Interdisciplinary Studies at Monmouth?

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are over 322 million people living in the United States and over seven billion in the world. This is remarkable but there is one issue, how can all of these people get along? Humans have been at war with each other for as far back as history can trace. This is evident in the current terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, CA and  in Paris in which the Islamic extremist group, ISIS, has taken credit for. Today, the challenge for Americans is to quell threats like ISIS, while still being open and tolerant to those who hold different ideological, political, religious, and cultural beliefs. There is not a simple answer to this problem but according to multiple University professors, learning more about interdisciplinary studies which include ideological, political, religious, and cultural beliefs.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Interdisciplinary Studies, Dr. Golam Mathbor, who is from Bangladesh, said “The number one problem in the world is ignorance. The core point of interdisciplinary studies is to learn about each other.” Unfortunately, Monmouth University students cannot major or even minor in interdisciplinary studies. According to Mathbor, there are only seven or eight courses available in his department during a given semester. He said, “We need a strong interdisciplinary or global studies program.” This could help quell tension between different groups because it would help students to develop “holistic thinking” and to “see what is happening in the grassroots.” However, most of these interdisciplinary topic can only be found in other majors and is not a program itself.

Professor of Political Science Saliba Sarsar, who teaches various classes on Islam and the Middle East said, “As global citizens, we have an obligation to learn as much as possible about the world around us” and “By learning about others, we can learn more about ourselves.” Sarsar’s interesting background has especially allowed him to see various perspectives. According to Elaine Durbach of New Jersey Jewish News, Sarsar spoke in front of the Jewish Community Campus (JCC) on April 29 of this year and said, “My father was a White Russian prince” and his mother was Greek. Born and raised as a Christian in Jerusalem, which was under Jordanian control at the time, Sarsar “grew up caught between the Jewish and Muslim communities, and with memories of fleeing during one of the periodic eruptions of violence.” Sarsar explained in front of the JCC that it wasn’t until the six day war in 1967 where he realized that Jews were not the enemy like he was taught, and that “they were just like us.”

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Monmouth Debate Hawks Won Team and Individual Awards at University of Rochester this Weekend

Debate HawksThe Monmouth University Debate Team won a team and an individual speaking award at the University of Rochester’s Debate Tournament this weekend (Nov 21-22). Payal Patel and Matthew Toto made it into the playoff rounds and Sabrina Saenger won an individual speaking award.  MU had 24 debaters (12 teams of two) compete at the tournament this weekend.

When asked about how she felt about making the playoff rounds, Patel said, “It was my last debate tournament so I was really nervous going in. But I had a good partner (Toto) and we made it through five rounds and into the playoffs, By the end of the tournament I was really happy because it was a good way to end my Monmouth debate year.”

Matthew Toto adds that the tournament was a learning experience. “We fought hard against schools like New York University, and Cornell and succeeded so that’s pretty cool. It is cool to show the younger debaters that what school you go to does not matter. Anybody can succeed if you work hard enough.”

Team Captain Danielle Doud and partner Victoria Borges competed in the varsity division that includes debaters on debate scholarships.  Monmouth debaters competed against other debate teams from teams from New York University, Cornell University, the West Point Military Academy, the New School and other teams from the tri-state area.

Doud said, “Overall, the Rochester Tournament was a great experience. Bringing twelve teams, we had the largest showing, meaning that pretty much every round in the Novice Divison involved one of our teams. It was great to see the new kids, and  the ones enrolled in the class taught by Dr. Patten, hold their own against students from big schools like Cornell, NYU, Binghamton, and Rochester.”

 

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Obama Administration to bring in 10,000 Syrian Refugees

After the Paris Attacks three weeks ago, The White House has released to the press and on their website that President Obama is going to welcome 10,000 Syrian Refugees into our country within the next fiscal year. This has sparked debates throughout the country on if this is the right way to go.

Some say no, because they could be radicals and pose a threat to our country, and that we need to first take care of our own citizens before taking care of those from other nations. Others say yes and are sympathetic to the situation the refugees are coming from.

Not all states are as welcoming as President Obama. CNN reported in Nov. that 31 states are not allowing refugees into the country. These leaders mainly oppose allowing refugees to enter the country because they believe they will be security threats.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of political science, also had thoughts on whether or not we should allow refugees into the United States. He said, “We have millions of refugees who find themselves in this tragic condition because of a civil war or conflict that has been going on for years. Many have found a temporary home in the Middle East or Europe. This is a tragic and humanitarian issue. I am very supportive of helping refugees find a permanent home. Many refugees say that if peace comes, they want to return back home. They lose loved ones and property because of war so I am very sympathetic. There is a fear that within these refugees, in these numbers, there may be a few radicals posing as refugees and that they may be members of the Islamic State. This is something that concerns me and all of us.”

He continues, “But what I want to explain is that the U.S., with President Obama indicating taking about 10,000 refugees, requires potential refugees to go through organizations such as the CIA or FBI. At the end of the day, there is no guarantee. But we need to trust the system and welcome them with open arms. It is mostly women and children that are looking for a new home and it is our moral obligation and human response to give them one.”

There is a very complicated process that anyone must go through before becoming a refugee. A video on the website “attn.” narrated by Secretary of Defense Jeh Johnson describes the situation step by step.

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What’s Next for France After Friday’s Deadly Attacks?

Paris 2According to BBC, over 129 lay dead and many more injured in Paris after the latest and most devastating attacks to be attributed to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to date.

Compounding this shocking attack were the string of bombings in Baghdad, Iraq and Beirut, Lebanon, once known as the “Paris of the Middle East,” which killed and injured hundreds last week just prior to the Paris attacks.

 According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the downing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt last month could be easily forgotten in this maelstrom, but was also an unequivocal act of terrorism,

Twin explosions that killed nearly 100 in the Turkish capital Ankara on October 10 during a rally for peace were never claimed by IS, however it is speculated their complicity resulted in this massacre as well.

“They’re becoming bold in their outward attacks against any civilization they perceive as un-Islamic,” said Monmouth University graduate student, Bryan Larco. “It’s time to strike back lest they believe they can attack again with impunity.”

   In a similar retaliatory act to that of the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11, France, already an active participant in the war on terror, unleashed air strikes on the ISIS capital of Raqqa, Syria.

Although the efficacy of the airstrikes has yet to be determined, it has been postulated that this unilateral action taken by France may be used later to invoke a multilateral European response through Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to The Washington Post.

This deterrent allows any attack on a NATO member to be perceived by all as an attack on the whole, which may prompt certain member states that have not yet been overt in the global fight against terrorism (like Germany) to step up their involvement. Our own strategy for dealing with IS will admittedly undergo “intensification,” said President Obama during a conference in Turkey on Monday. 

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GOP Candidates Spar Over Issues That Surface After Paris Attacks

GOP Rand PaulGOP candidates sparred over numerous issues last week in the Milwaukee debate hosted by the Fox Business Channel and hosted by the Wall Street Journal. Do to new debate rules, two candidates– Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, and Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie– did not make the cut for the main stage debate.

Governor Christie seems to be frustrated with his lack of progress in the polls. A week before the debate, he referred to the Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, Patrick Murray, as a “political weatherman” in an interview with NJ 101.5. According to an editorial in the Asbury Park Press, this is the second time the Governor has taken shots at the pollster since July when he said of Murray and his poll, “there couldn’t be a less objective pollster about Chris Christie in America” and that the poll was created just to “aggravate me.”

Chair the Political Science Department, Dr. Joseph Patten, said about Christie, “He is being upstaged by Trump and he doesn’t have a lane.” Patten referring to Trump because Christie is known for his straight forward and brutally honest ways discussing issues is hidden beneath the flash of the billionaire celebrity real estate mogul and television personality, Donald Trump.

Assistant Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, Stephen Chapman said, “Context is everything. In 2012 ,people were begging him to get into the race but after Bridgegate, he really sunk his chances.”

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Quentin Tarantino Under Fire About Police Brutality

Quentin TarantinoControversy is still in the air over the famous film maker, Quentin Tarantino’s, statements last month at an anti-police brutality protest.

The original controversy was reported after Tarantino allegedy referred to cops as “murderers” during the event on Oct. 24 of last month— just four days after the fourth New York City police officer this year, Randolph Holder, was shot and killed while on duty. 

Tarantino’s exact words according to The Washington Times were, “When I see murders, I do not stand by. I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

Tarantino has faced backlash over those comments being accused of instigation and worsening an already tense situation between police officers and the general public.

In particular, police officers have been the most outraged by his statements. In an interview with the WNYM- 970 AM radio station, New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton said of Tarantino, “Shame on him, particularly at this time when we are grieving the murder of a New York City police officer.” Bratton also said in the interview, “There are no words to describe the contempt I have for him and his comments.”

According to The New York Post, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), Patrick Lynch said, “It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too”

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Free Education: A Popular Topic of Presidential Race

With the release of Bernie Sanders’ free education plan the topic of free higher education has become one of the most discussed topics of the race for the White House in 2016.

According to Sanders’ website, berniesanders.com, the plan starts by making tuition free at public colleges and universities. One thing regarding this is if Sanders were to be elected president and his plan were to pass through congress, Monmouth University would not be free.

Right now, according to Sanders’ website graduates are forced to pay five to seven percent on their loans, when an average car loan is 2.5 percent. According to the Monmouth University website a current student is paying $33,028 for tuition.  If they are taking loans, with interest it might cost them an extra $2,312 annually. This could be an extra $9,249 over four years.  If a rate like Sanders purposes was in effect,  that number might drop to, roughly $3,302, saving a typical Monmouth student $6,000 in interest.

Another thing Sanders would execute in his plan is increasing federal work study. He would increase it almost three times of what it is now. Federal Work Study is a plan that services lower income students based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) that allows students to work on campus jobs and has universities only pay a portion of the wage, and the federal government covers the rest.

Hilary Clinton, currently is the democratic front-runner, also has a plan in order to make higher education more affordable, the New College Compact. Her plan does not take the full cost out of college education.

According to Clinton’s website, hilaryclinton.com, she is proposing that no student should have to borrow money for books, tuition, and any other fee associated with higher education.

In the New College Compact, Clinton also proposes the students will work ten hours a week in order to help finance their college education. Also the federal government will help to fund more universities.

John Henning, Dean of the School of Education at Monmouth University, feels education should be a national priority. Henning said, “In a global economy that is highly competitive, where knowledge is king your human resources are the best thing this country has, so if we have a significant amount of our population not having the opportunity (education) it actually hurts everyone.”

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What’s In A Name? A Look at the Washington Redskins

Native American mascots have been a wildly debated topic for years; the most prominent mascot being the Washington Redskins.

The term ‘red skin’ can be considered a racial slur toward Native Americans. Yet, it is being chanted at football games and being sold as a logo. The use of Native American mascots is a form of cultural appropriation.

According to The Washington Post, cultural appropriation is the practice of one culture taking control over aspects of another culture and using them in an inappropriate manner.

In the case of mascots, the dominant culture in question is making a monetary gain because of the Native American race. 

However, Heidi Bludau, lecturer of Anthropology at the University, said, “Not all Native American tribes agree on everything, including the issue of mascots.  Some are against it and some are able to capitalize on it.”

Some sports fans believe that the Native American mascots are not mocking the Native American race and culture, but are exemplifying their fighting spirit.     

Journalist Naomi Riley wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal and said that they are an, “exciting addition to football games.”

When asked if there are currently any laws against Native American mascots, Professor Gregory Bordelon, professor of Political Science at the  University said,“To my knowledge, there are none. But any time that you pass any law that restricts a mascot, to the extent a mascot is an expressive statement (pride, team spirit, etc.) you possibly are treading on first amendment grounds.”

However, some Native Americans believe that teams parading around their mascot is demeaning to them and their culture.

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The Reality of Drone Warfare by the U.S. Military

Drone“I’m going to repeat one more time,” said President Barack Obama in a lengthy 2013 speech at the National Defense University in Washington D.C.

“As a matter of policy, the preference of the United States is to capture terrorist suspects. When we do detain a suspect, we interrogate them. And if the suspect can be prosecuted, we decide whether to try him in a civilian court or a military commission,” said the President.

According to the Monmouth University Polling Institute, 76 percent of American say law enforcement agencies should be required to obtain a warrant from a judge before using drones.

New documents leaked to The Intercept reveal that the President’s claims were at best intentionally misleading and at worst patently false.

The Intercept is an online start-up news site launched in Feb. 2014 by First Look Media— the news organization created and funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The magazine serves as a platform for the documents leaked by former NSA cyber security contractor, Edward Snowden, and employs journalist Glenn Greenwald, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and author Jeremy Scahill as editors.

The response to the latest leak of classified military documents has been largely restrained but has provoked some outspoken critics, such as the Qataristate-funded media network, Al Jazeera, which said, “the U.S. drone program is imprecise and arbitrary and a grave risk to civilians everywhere. It is also a program over which the president exercises little control.”

The American-based Foreign Policy Magazine published that The Intercept’s reporting “is less one big ‘bombshell’ and more of a synthesis of over a decade’s worth of reporting and analysis, bolstered by troubling new revelations about what has become routine.”

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Presidential Candidates Take On College Affordability

As the national student debt plan continues to rise above $1.2 trillion, according to The Washington Post, many young voters have turned to the Presidential Candidates for the best solution when coming into office in 2016.

A couple of the candidates, such as Jeb Bush and Ben Carson, have said that tuition prices have doubled under President Obama’s two terms. Tuition prices have gone up 86 percent since he took office.

However, after the 2008 recession and the high amount of job loss, more and more students enrolled into college to ensure work. And with the rise of enrollment, comes the rise in tuition prices, according to Donald Heller, the Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University.

Former Governor Jeb Bush wants to see students use for-profit and online schools be used more. He also wants more responsibility from the schools to ensure that students graduate in four years, and not see them as money suppliers.

When asked about this in an interview on C-SPAN, he said, “If kids can’t graduate with a four year degree in four years, there ought to be some pay back to them or their family. Or have some support for the loans they have taken out. We have to make sure a four year degree can be done in four years.”

Former Hewlitt- Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also believes that if the technology is available, online classes would help the debt situation. She wants the idea of government involvement to be non-existent to help college affordability.

When asked she said in a speech, “I would return the free market to the student loan industry. Secondly, I would enable as much choice and competition in higher education as possible. For-profit university do a very good job of educating a lot of people at a lower cost.”

Many have turned to see what Former U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has in plan for college affordability, since she has years of political experience. Her plan would not make college completely free for student, like her opponent Bernie Sanders plan, but would highly rely on federal state partnership. And for students who choice to stay in-state, they will not have to borrow loan money for in state college.

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