Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.”

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

University Community Participates in March for Our Lives Events

Students and Faculty Participate in Marches in Washington, D.C., New York City, and New Jersey

March for Our LivesDozens of University students and several faculty members participated in March for Our Lives protests on March 24.

Faculty members organized trips to the Washington, D.C. and New York City marches,  according to Johanna Foster, Ph.D., Director of the Sociology Program and an associate professor. Students also participated in local marches in Freehold and Asbury Park, joining some faculty members.

The March for Our Lives peaceful protests were designed to bring attention to flaws in United States gun legislation.

Foster was the faculty advisor of the march in New York City, but she personally marched in the Washington, D.C. demonstration. “I attended because I fear for the lives of my children, not only as students, but as kids of color who could be gunned down in just about any public space in this nation because powerful white men and their allies care more about masculinity and money then they do the lives of people,” said Foster. “Not only do I constantly worry about the safety of my children, but I worry about the safety of my students, as well as the safety of my colleagues in the classrooms, and myself.”

According to Foster, 20 students participated in the New York trip, which was led by Scott Jeffrey, Ph.D., an associate professor of management and decision sciences.

Read more ...

What Kim Jong-un’s Historic Visit to Beijing Means for U.S. Diplomacy Efforts

Kim Jung Diplomacy EffortsThe arrival of a mysterious, dark green, 21-car tinted train marked by a signature yellow stripe in Beijing’s central train station on Monday, March 26, incited speculation that it could be carrying North Korean Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.

Both Kim’s father and grandfather, former leaders of the country, opted for similar means of transportation on their foreign visits. In accord with the nation’s mysterious reputation, little is known about the armoured vehicle, when it is deployed, and its rumoured lavish interior and amenities.

Chinese state media officially reported on Wednesday, March 28, that Kim had completed a visit with Chinese President, Xi Jinping, in Beijing.

The visit spanned from late Monday night to Wednesday afternoon. The event marks Kim’s first ever known trip abroad since ascending to control of the notoriously isolated nation in 2011, as well as his first ever meeting with another head of state.

Reports suggest that the visit was made at the request of Jinping in anticipation for upcoming meetings with both South Korean and American leaders.

According to China’s official New China News Agency, Kim claimed that he is “willing to hold dialogue with the United States and hold summits between North Korea and the United States.”

With regards to denuclearization, Kim subtly implied the potential for it, “If South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts in good faith and create a peaceful and stable atmosphere,” and if “the current situation on the Korean peninsula has begun to develop in the positive direction,” China’s official New China News Agency reported.

Previous attempts at curbing North Korea’s nuclear development have not yielded permanent results as anticipated. Nuclear freezes in both 1994 and 2005 ended with the nation receiving relief from their sanctions, only to later resume their program in a slow, but nonetheless deliberate, manner.

Read more ...

How the Mexican Presidential Election Could Affect Relations with the United States

Mexican Election US Relations 1As Mexico prepares to elect its next president, the lea ding candidate in the race could predict how the landscape of U.S.-Mexican relations are formed in the future.

Andres Manuel López Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City and a member of Mexico’s left-wing National Regeneration Movement Party, leads the race by double-digits. Among other issues, López Obrador’s campaign revolves around ending social and economic inequality, combating corruption in government, and embracing a stronger tone of Mexican nationalism.

However, many detractors of López Obrador have perceived his sentiments of Mexican nationalism as being “anti-American,” something that Kenneth Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and an associate professor of political science says this would be “uncharted territory,” considering that all Mexican presidents dating back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt have been “staunchly pro-USA.”

In an interview with Reuters in Mexico City on Feb. 8, Hector Vasconcelos, a diplomat chosen by presidential front-runner López Obrador, spoke out about contentions made of López Obrador’s policies taking Mexico down a route similar to that in the crisis-hit Venezuela. However, Vasconcelos did say that he did not support U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s socialist government.

“Our emphasis will be on defending the legitimate interests of Mexico, and not on trying to intervene here and there before we put our own house in order,” he said.

Additionally, Vasconcelos emphasized that Mexico would keep close ties to the United States if López Obrador were to win in July, saying that his government would seek an alliance for economic growth instead of a focus on police and military relations.

Read more ...

Contact Information

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

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

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151