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Politics

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

First Round of Nuclear Deal Approaches Deadline

Iran comicThe tension between the two nation’s leaders began with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation to speak in front of Congress on March 3 to address the Obama Administrations controversial nuclear negotiations with Iran that 59 percent of Americans do not trust that Iran would follow, according to the Monmouth University Polling Institute. Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, associate professor of political science, said, “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was a disaster for USA-Israeli relations.” 

Israel, has been one of the US’s closest and most important allies since its establishment as the world’s only Jewish state in 1949 – especially important in terms of Middle East relations. According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, Americans ranked Israel as within the top ten US’s most favorable allies, a list also including Japan, France and India, among others The country the size of New Jersey, has proved to be an essential ally in the Middle East due to its democratic government, religious and moral values, and national interests that are similar to those of the US. However, these similarities and interests do not always line up, as seen by the recent friction between the Obama Administration and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Obama’s anti-Netanyahu actions have proved to be controversial as well. The friction escalated when President Obama reacted by sending his 2012 national field director to Israel to fund against Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election which he wound up winning, according to the Washington Post. 

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Patrick’s Law Calls Out Animal Abuse

cute puppyIn the early morning hours of Sunday, March 1, a call was made to Toms River police that a white pick-up truck was seen doing “donuts” on the ice near Pine Beach.  When police arrived, the headlights and taillights disappeared as the pick-up broke through the ice and sunk into the river.  

A Coast Guard helicopter spotted the pick-up several hours later in about six feet of water during its search and rescue mission.  Divers, looking for human victims, located the body of a 2-year-old boxer who had been left in the truck. This discovery sparked outrage in animal activist circles, bringing to the forefront the questions surrounding animal abuse laws and punishments in NJ.  This case brought over 1,000 signatures to a Change.org petition requesting animal cruelty charges be brought against the driver of the pick-up in the days after the story broke.

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Iranian Nuclear Policy ‘Blows Up’

Iran StoryThe US, Iran, Israel and others have held discussion in the past few weeks in an attempt to establish a safe use for Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran has been pursuing a nuclear program over the years, considering it a right that they hold as a nation; however, Iranians argue that the reason for nuclear use in their country would be solely for civilian purposes, primarily for electricity generation.  

The negotiations have been talked about between the US, France, Germany, Russia, China, Britain and Iran, and are trying to reach a deal within the next couple of months. Some of terms that have been discussed are to have Iran curb their nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of serval or all sanctions that have been damaging their economy. 

Gary Sick of Politico Magazine explained, “Iran has been subjected to a wide variety of sanctions and pressures. Originally these were mostly unilateral pressures from the US, but under the Obama administration they have become far more international and far-reaching, culminating in the crippling sanctions on Iran’s oil sales and its ability to access international financial markets.”

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, said that the negotiations have torn many in Washington, apart. 

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Boris Nemtsov’s Assassination Draws Criticism

Huffpost BorisIn the wake of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination on Feb. 27, Russian authorities have charged two Chechen individuals with his murder, according to the New York Times. A number of others were suspected of the killing, one of whom notably blew himself up.

Assassinations and untimely deaths of political opponents were events that commonly took place in the Cold War age Soviet Union. In most cases, those who opposed the Soviet Premier and their government were taken care off through a myriad of means—often at the hands of the secret police, the KGB. Stalin’s Great Purge was a perfect example of how a former dictator of the then dubbed “evil empire” could easily do away with all of their political enemies.

Russia has been under strict scrutiny lately, mainly because of the annexation of the Crimea and the continued conflict in Ukraine. The circumstances of Nemtsov’s death are causing even more tension in the region, and have lead to a lot of unanswered questions for both Russia and the West.

Nemtsov was a political opponent of current Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was very outspoken against him.  In the recent past, Nemtsov has been fighting against the current economic crisis in Russia, and speaking out against what is going on in Ukraine.  Nemtsov was not new to the political scene—he served as Deputy Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite numerous arrests for his candidness, Nemtsov continued to speak out again Putin.

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FCC Rules in Favor of “Net Neutrality” for Internet

amazonaws Net NeutralityThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) controversial decision to pass new “net neutrality” regulations on Feb. 26 is being argued and legal battles and legislative disputes are about to begin over this emerging phenomenon that has been brewing since 2010. The FCC’s original attempt at broader internet regulation was struck down by Federal courts but they are now revamping their argument under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which they claim makes the Internet a “Public Utility.” But first off, what is “Net Neutrality” and why is it important?

Net neutrality is the internet open and without regulation. The FCC is trying to regulate it to prevent speed traps to certain websites. According to CNN, this could speed up access to certain websites, slow down access to others, and block others entirely. Companies that deliver Internet access like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T have spent millions of dollars on lobbying against these rules because they claim that micromanagement by the government would hurt their business and their consumers. On the opposing side, giant Internet Corporations like Google, Facebook, and Netflix are in favor of this legislation argue that the Internet is a public entity and should be regulated as such. 

Assistant professor of criminal justice, John Comiskey, said, “This legislation seems to be concerned more about businesses trying to establish and maintain monopoly.” He also added that the Internet is an “information highway” and “getting information before others is an advantage.” 

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Egypt and Qatar Aggravate Tension in Worldwide Soccer

Lusail QatarA match between the Zamalek SC White Knights and ENPPI erupted last month when a riot among fans and police broke out, killing 25, on Feb. 8. The riot comes as a 3 year anniversary to a similar soccer fueled riot that killed 71, also in Egypt.

The Egyptian Premier League initially responded by canceling the entirety of the season. According to Yahoo.com, after some deliberation, “between the Ministries of Interior, Youth, and Sports, as well as the Egypt’s soccer association,” the League is scheduled to resume play with one stipulation: fans cannot attend the games.

The League has yet to establish whether the abolition of fan attendance will continue in future seasons, but for the immediate future it is outlawed. The complications stem from the cause of the riot being unclear. BBC reported, “Police fired tear gas and birdshot at fans trying to force their way into the stadium, leading to a stampede.”

Regardless of motivation, the riot last month illuminated the role of soccer, (rather, football), as a cultural and political driving force around the world. A 2006 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) “Big Count” estimated 265 million men and women play football, while five million more referee the game, totaling 4 percent of the world as involved with the game. Additionally FIFA cites 1.3 billion people as interested in football.

For comparison, the US Youth Soccer National Tournament Database noted only three million US players in 2014, leaving the majority of footballers living worldwide. 

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Opinion: Mohammad Emwazi

As with any private institution, the American news media often does itself a disservice. It has an agenda which largely revolves around raising viewership, highlighting controversies, and while presenting information in a clear and concise fashion. Publicizing nicknames like “Jihadi John” for ruthless terrorists and killers aids in creating sympathy for him as well as demeaning the seriousness of the problem.

The origins of Mohammad Emwazi’s nickname, “Jihadi John”, are unclear. Some sources like The Mirror claim it was created by freed hostages, while sources like NBC News profess that the UK media created the persona.

Regardless of origin, Emwazi’s nickname highlights the severe problem with creating sympathizers for Daesh (Arabic term for the self-proclaimed Islamic State). The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) estimates that approximately 150 American’s have attempted to reach Syria, Iraq and other Middle East States to fight alongside Daesh. Recently, the NYPD thwarted three men’s plot to assist Daesh, both financially and militaristically. The UK also had trouble with tracking down three girls who allegedly have crossed into Syria, according to CNN. “Jihadi John” is not the only creator of Daesh sympathy, but, by profiling him on national news, he is established as a public figure. When, CNN, BBC or any other outlet profiles Emwazi, they are providing speculation about the type of person he was when before the murder. UK based activist group CAGE described Emwazi as a “beautiful young man,” according to ABC News

BBC, however paints Emwazi in a different light, citing a former Daesh Fighter calling him “a cold loner who set himself apart from others.” 

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American Sniper Film Controversy Turns Heads

American Sniper ColorThe controversy over America’s most popular film, American Sniper, is still lingering after the Oscars on Sunday night and the murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh—the alleged killer of Chris Kyle, the movie’s main character played by Bradley Cooper—all happening at the same time. 

The film contended for six Academy Awards and crushed box office records by earning a total of $428 million, according to Yahoo.com. Birdman, the film that beat out American Sniper for best picture, only earned about $76 million. 

According to the Daily Caller, the film is being considered the most successful war film of all time, however, it only won for sound editing. Some are accusing the Oscar snub as a result of the awards becoming political. 

The controversy over the film started early in January with a Twitter war started by two celebrities, Seth Rogen and Michael Moore. Rogen tweeted, “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Bastards.” Moore tweeted, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught that snipers are cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.” 

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What’s Currently Trending in Politics?

marijuanaNJ is pushing for the legalization of marijuana. The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are  among supporters. 

 

 

 

 

ChrisChristieGovernor Chris Christie’s pension reform law was brought before a New Jersey Superior Court Judge who ruled that the governor must make payments promised to the system in the law.

 

 

 

 

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Brian Williams’ Memory Lapse Leads To Suspension

Brian Williams FaceBrian Williams, anchor and managing editor for NBC Nightly News, has been the subject of the news himself as of late.  Williams’ journalistic integrity has been questioned as a result of a fallout from a Jan. 30 broadcast in which Williams recounted riding in a Chinook helicopter that was shot down during the Iraq War in 2003.  

After the broadcast, Williams was blasted by veterans who were actually on that mission, stating that he was on a different helicopter on a separate mission an hour behind.  

The Jan. 30 broadcast covered a public tribute for recently retired Sergeant Major Tim Terpak, a New Jersey native, who was assigned to security for the NBC News crew at the time of the alleged incident.  During that broadcast, Williams stated, “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.”  

Williams has told variations of this story over the years, including one in which the pilot, Richard Krell, received a Purple Heart for his injuries. Veterans who were involved in the incident have since vocally blasted Williams. 

Further, Krell never received the Purple Heart, as evidenced by the absence of his name from the Purple Heart Recipient database. He also allegedly did not pilot the Chinook on which Williams and the NBC crew were riding. Other  veterans, including flight engineers Joseph Miller and David Luke, as well as pilot Allan Kelly who say they actually flew Williams’ helicopter, reported that Williams was not even on that particular mission, was never fired upon, and was on a two-copter mission about an hour behind the Chinook that had been hit. 

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University Hosts a Discussion on Russo-Ukrainian Relations

russia Ukraine comicDr. Alexander Yarym-Agayev born in Donetsk, Ukraine and a professor of economics, a businessman, and political activist, shared his personal views with the help of his brother and translator Dr. Yuri Yarmin-Agayev on the unfolding issue of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, where approximately 125 students and faculty gathered on Monday Feb. 9 at 2:30 pm in Wilson Hall Auditorium. 

Students and faculty that attended the talk got to hear a very personal upfront perspective of what it’s like to live in Ukraine while Russia began its invasion. Yarym-Agayev painted an image of his experiences by thoroughly explaining an ordinary day in Ukraine. “A year before the invasion it was quite comfortable, everyone was going on with their daily routine with no expectation of a dramatic change,” explained Yarym-Agayev.

He continued, “A year later, things began to change and that was when there were busses of Russians being sent over into Ukraine. These Russians began to take over Eastern Ukraine. They did so by invading administrative buildings and taking control of how things were being run.”

Despite the Russians invasion of eastern Ukraine’s administrative buildings and day-to-day life was not really being harmed. Yarym-Agayev explained that daily routines remained in place regardless of being under the control of Russians. 

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