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Last updateTue, 23 Apr 2019 4pm

Politics

University Hosts Senator Kyrillos as Public Servant-in-Residence Panelist

Senator Kyrillos Public ServantThe University hosted an open-forum panel discussion on pension and benefit reform with the Public Servant-in-Residence program in the Wilson Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 28.

The Office of the President and the Department of Political Science and Sociology coordinated the Public Servant-in-Residence program, and is featuring former New Jersey state-Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) as its 2018-2019 Public Servant-in-Residence.

Throughout the academic year, Kyrillos will be leading four panel discussions, focusing on pension and benefits reform, bridging the partisan divide, jobs and the economy, and oceans and shore protections, respectively.

In addition to Kyrillos, the first panel included New Jersey Senate President Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D-Glouster); Richard Keevey, a former-Budget Director and Comptroller for New Jersey; Tom Byrne, former-Chair of Senate Investment Council, and member of the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefits Study Commission; Peter Reinhart, Esq., Director of the University’s Kislak Real Estate Institute, and a member of the Fiscal Policy Working Group; and Gordon MacInnes, a former New Jersey state-Senator, and President and Chief Executive of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

“The program was created to provide a venue for public officials to share their expertise with students and the campus community at Monmouth University,” writes University President Grey Dimenna, Esq., in an email inviting students to attend the forum.

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Democratic Lean in NJ 7th District

default article imageDemocratic candidate Tom Malinowski narrowly leads incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District race, according to a recent poll released by the University’s Polling Institute on Thursday, Sept. 20.

This district includes all of Hunterdon County, and parts of Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties; and it has been represented by Lance since 2008.

According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), the district has a score of R+3, meaning it tends to vote Republican.

Republican candidate, former-Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney won the district by six points in the 2012 presidential election.

However, the district swung by one point for Democratic candidate, former-Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“It’s a brutal campaign season for moderate Republicans running in blue states like New Jersey,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, and an associate professor of political science.

“Many pollsters are predicting a pink wave of women voters that could potentially tip the scales for Democrats against moderate Republicans, which the current controversy involving Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh makes worse,” he added. 

Patten also attributes the Democratic lean to the recent tax reform bill passed by the Republicans in Congress last December.

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Puerto Rico Struggles, A Year After Hurricane Maria

default article imagePeople gathered in San Juan, Puerto Rico to mourn the thousands who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year, on Thursday, Sept. 20. Government officials denounced the inactive role which the U.S. federal government has played in recovering. 

Congress has invested billions of dollars in efforts to help reconstruct Puerto Rico after the Category-4 hurricane hit the island last year, but devastation continues to ensue.

Danica Coto, from The Associated Press, and based in Puerto Rico, said that eight months after the storm, “major power outages are still being reported, tens of thousands of insurance claims are pending, and nearly 60,000 homes have temporary roofs unable to withstand a Category-1 hurricane.”  

The mayor of San Juan expressed frustration with U.S. relief efforts through the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) and other federal assistance programs.

She told CNN in an interview, “The [Trump] Administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect. The Trump Administration led us to believe they were helping when they weren’t up to par, and they didn’t allow other countries to help us.”

According to Ralph Cuseligo, DSW., an assistant professor of social work, “the U.S. government could have done more to provide aid to Puerto Rico in the wake of Maria.”

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Supreme Court Stays Decision to Disclose “Dark Money” Political Contributions

Supreme Court Dark MoneyThe U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling of a lower federal court, which requires all non-profit groups to disclose the identity of any donor giving more than $200 when such groups advertise for or against political candidates, on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The ruling was a result of a six-year-long case brought on by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization.

According to its official website, CREW “uses aggressive legal action, in-depth research, and bold communications to reduce the influence of money in politics and help foster a government that is ethical and accountable.”

In Oct. 2012, CREW filed a complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), requesting that a conservative non-profit group called Crossroads GPS should be required to disclose the names of their donors.

The request was issued after Crossroads GPS ran a $6 million campaign in opposition to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

On Aug. 3, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted CREW’s Motion for Summary Judgment and denied the FEC’s and Crossroads GPS’s cross-motions.

According to the FEC official litigation records, the court “stayed the vacatur” for 45 days to provide time for the FEC to issue interim regulations consistent with the Federal Election Campaign Act.

The Court also vacated the Commission’s dismissal of an administrative complaint against Crossroads GPS and remanded the matter for reconsideration.

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Protests Continue During Kavanaugh’s Hearings: Women’s Rights and Roe v. Wade

Kavanaugh Hearings 1Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh attended a hearing with Senators to discuss his stance on abortion on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

A group of women dressed in red gowns and white caps stood outside of the hearing room in silent protest.

As the hearings continue for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, protests from groups opposing his appointment have increased.

 During Kavanaugh’s testimony on abortion, fifteen women lined the balcony above the hearing room, overlooking the Senate offices.

The women’s costumes were meant to carry a solemn message from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel A Handmaid’s Tale, which portrays a world wherein women are devoid of basic human rights: namely, control over their own bodies.

 These women are members of Demand Justice, an organization which strongly opposes Kavanaugh’s confirmation based on his prior rulings on abortion and healthcare as a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge.

 Protests have not only taken place outside of Congress and the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., but also through fundraising to target Senators who are undecided about their confirmation vote.

Many activists involved have been arrested for disrupting the confirmation hearings, protesting their concerns over Kavanaugh’s stance on social issues. These protests have led to criticism from Senators, such as Republican Benjamin Sasse from Nebraska, who claims that the Supreme Court is not the appropriate venue to debate politics.

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Senior Trump Official Publishes Anonymous Op-ed

Trump Official AnonymousThe New York Times published an anonymous op-ed at the request of a senior official within the Trump Administration, which contained claims that are devastating to Trump’s presidency, on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

In the op-ed entitled “I Am Part of the Resistance inside the Trump Administration,” the author, identified as a “senior official in the Trump administration,” asserts that “the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”

The unnamed official attributes President Trump’s behavior to his “amorality.”

In the prelude to the article, the New York Times added a statement saying “[they] believe that publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to [their] readers.”

Historically speaking, anonymous sources are common in matters of national, political news; yet, it is rare occurrence when editorial pieces are published anonymously.

Julian Garcia, a professor of journalism, affirms the importance of anonymity in certain circumstances saying, “For those who believe in an open and free press, anonymous sources are important.” In establishing the weight anonymity carries in journalism, Garcia commented on the material published.

“The revelations were not the least bit shocking to me because I feel like many of us knew this already, regarding the president’s behavior. But to have someone so close to him, working in his administration, confirm this, was huge,” he said.

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Govenor Murphy Signs Paid Sick Leave Bill

default article imageDemocratic Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy’s Earned Sick Leave bill, A-1827, will become effective on Oct. 29 of this year.

“This is not just about doing what’s right for workers and their families,” he said of paid sick leave at the bill signing in early May. “This is about doing the right thing for our economy and protecting more New Jerseyans’ place in that economy.”

This latest adjustment to state law requires all New Jersey employers to provide paid sick leave to all of their employees.

“Liberals and conservatives will have a different opinion about this, as they do with anything else,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., an associate professor of the political science. One of the issues being discussed is the bill’s budget.

Some legislators are also worried that this new law will dramatically change the state budget until it is finalized. “There will be some arguing, some disagreements among ourselves, between the legislature and the executive,” said New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) during the signing of the law on May 2.

“But we will get together and we will have a budget that appropriately sets the priorities for New Jersey,” she assured.

Those eligible to take paid sick leave from work include full time and part time workers. The new law requires employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours that their employee works, with a total annual cap of 40 hours per employee.

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Trump’s Attack on Amazon Signals Disconnect Between Government and Big Business

default article imageAmazon, led by Jeff Bezos, has undergone a widely publicized ascendance to become one of most valuable global companies. The world watched it enjoy unprecedented growth and expansion with notable milestones such as the release of Alexa, a first of its kind voice assistant, and the acquisition of Whole Foods.

According to a report by CNBC, the company’s most recent fourth quarter earnings yielded revenues of $60.5 billion, blowing past Thomson Reuters’ initial projections of $59.83 billion.

The company’s net income at the close of 2017 was $1.9 billion, more than double the former year and a record high for the company. The close of the fourth quarter also included a $789 million tax benefit, a direct result of the recent change to the U.S. tax code which passed in December 2017.

In Amazon’s early days, the company’s central business model was constructed with the prioritization of growth pursuit over profits, routinely underpricing their products, and placing a higher value on consumer welfare and gaining popularity.

Even with massive sales, the company still prices products below market value. Its emphasis on consumer welfare, which it defines as short-term price effects, was often criticized by economists and deemed ill to compete in the capitalist marketplace.

In a series of recent tweets spanning from March 29 until April 3, President Donald Trump scrutinized Amazon, calling it a “no tax monopoly,” while accusing it of “pay[ing] little to no taxes to state and local governments.”

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U.S. and Allies Strike Syrian Chemical Facilities

US Syrian StrikeFollowing the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s recent chemical attack on civilians last week in Douma, President Donald Trump, along with U.S. allies Britain and France, announced military action against Syria, sending missiles into chemical weapons facilities late in the evening on April 13.

General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated at the Pentagon the following day that three primary targets were hit: a scientific research center in Damascus, a chemical weapon development facility west of Homs, and a chemical equipment storage facility, which was also used as a command post. No civilian casualties have been reported at this time.

Following the strikes, Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White, said that Trump declared, “[the] operations were very successful.”

“The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic,” said Trump.

Al-Assad has a long history of repeated use of chemical weapons and using them in attacks against his own people, causing large masses of civilian causalities and deaths from the chemical gas containing chlorine and another chemical agent called sarin.

The Syrian and Russian governments deny any involvement of chemicals and instead accuse rebel groups of fabricating the attack. Russian chemical weapons specialists and medical personnel claimed to have found no trace of chemical weapons.

However, about 500 patients seen at medical facilities were experiencing symptoms similar to those of having an exposure to toxic chemicals, following the April 7 attack.

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Equal Pay in New Jersey

default article imageGovernor Phil Murphy announced that he will sign into law comprehensive equal pay legislation, last Tuesday, April 10.

“There is no reason a woman in New Jersey should earn just 82 cents to the dollar made by a male for the same work. That’s why, two weeks from now on April 24, I will sign into law the most sweeping equal pay legislation in America to close the gender wage gap,” Murphy writes on his twitter account.

Murphy campaigned for equal pay during the New Jersey 2017 gubernatorial race, and wanted to sign the legislation last Tuesday to coincide with the Equal Pay Day.

The bill (S-104) passed both houses of the New Jersey Legislature last month, and Murphy has said that he planned to sign it since.

Murphy postponed his initial signing date, waiting for one of the bill’s chief sponsors, state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), to return from vacation, two anonymous sources with knowledge of the decision told reporters at NJ Advance Media.

“As we watch our counterparts in Hollywood, California and England doing the same thing, after scandals revealed men earning dramatically more than women, New Jersey is thankfully taking action,” said Katherine Parkin, Ph.D., Vice President of the Faculty Association and a professor of history and gender studies.

The S-104 Bill makes it illegal for employers in the state to offer lower pay and benefits to workers, protected by the state Law Against Discrimination, which includes “protected classes” such as women and minorities, if they perform “substantially similar work” compared to white males.

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The Highest, Hardest Glass Ceiling: Women in Politics

Women in PoliticsAccording to a study by Politico, American University, and Loyola Marymount University, researchers Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox found that, when asked “How qualified are you for public office,” only 22 percent of female participants answered “very qualified.”

Corey Wrenn, Ph.D., Director of the Gender Studies Program, explained the role that a woman’s confidence has both on herself and other women who may consider running for public office.

“Research finds that confidence is not just socialized but also situational, such that when we see women in positions of leadership, their communication style changes to fit the position,” she said. “The belief that women are not fit to lead is based on observations of women in general—who are not in leadership positions and thus…women are never even given the chance to lead.”

According to the PEW Research Center, in a 2014 study, when asked, “Why aren’t more women in top elective offices,” 47 percent of women agreed that it is because women are held to a higher standard than men are.

Lauren Santoro, an adjunct professor of political science, said that women who run for office face what has been termed the “double-bind,” having to display both femininity and masculinity, which is often associated with leadership. Santoro also notes the potential for women seeking office to face sexist commentary and other negative treatment. Things such as their appearance, their family life, and their “likeability” are questioned like that of no male candidate is.

Mary “Dee” Bulvanoski, an instructor of English, talked about how she faced similar treatment in her first campaign when she ran for the Board of Education in Oceanport, NJ.

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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