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Vol. XXV, Issue 2 November 12, 2013




Why Sen. Ted Cruz and his Tea Party cronies contradicted their "principles" when they voted to end the government shutdown.

pg. 4-5
The Nation






Staff Editorial Vassar & Local National & Foreign Affairs Debate & Discourse Humour The Last Page 2 3 4 16 19 20



Smoking Ban Contravenes Shared Governance


Flathead Beacon


PUBLISHER-IN-EXILE Will Serio Marya Pasciuto Nathan Tauger Gregory Perry Hannah Matsunaga Jenna Amlani Logan Hill Hailey Steichen Madeleine Morris VASSAR & LOCAL NATL. & FOREIGN AffAIRS DEBATE & DISCOURSE COpY & STYLE COppY & STYLE ASSTS. ILLUSTRATOR


assar College operates on a system of shared governance. The Governance of the College defines shared governance as a set of principles, which entails the organization and means of shared responsibility and distributed decision-making, consultation, and advising. Thus, when a college policy, if enacted, would influence the daily experiences of students, we at The Vassar Chronicle expect that the College would implement such a policy with the consent of the entirety of the student body, and not merely the elected representatives of the Vassar Student Association (VSA). This consent becomes especially salient when the College seeks to implement policies that those VSA representatives did not campaign on, and so do not have a clear democratic mandate. Moreover, we consider shared governance to be essential to a productive environment that emphasizes collaboration and mutual respect. When shared governance would hinder an essential policy from being implemented, or would actively harm Vassars community, we expect that the party violating the student trust clearly articulate such a position and explain why shared governance ought not apply in those circumstances. While we choose not, at this point, to weigh in on the merits of a smoking ban on campus, we take issue with what we perceive to be violations of shared governance and a lack of continued discourse on the future of the smoking ban. At the end of last year, the Committee on College Life (CCL), voted to approve

a smoking ban on Vassars campus. Prior to that vote, the VSA Smoking and Tobacco Action Research Team (START) conducted a survey of Vassars student body, held town hall meetings, and met to discuss the pros and cons of implementing a smoking ban. START, as per its VSA charter, sought to represent the voice of the student body to the CCL. Though we think that the survey conducted by START biased responses towards supporting a smoking ban (by including questions on the health-effects of tobacco, through smoking, second-hand smoke, etc.), 55% of the student body responded that they would not be in favor of a smoking ban. Indeed, START concluded in its recommendation to the CCL that they could not recommend the smoking ban one way or the other, based on the survey, as well as concerns raised about the ban in town hall-style meetings. START closed its report by emphasizing norms of shared governance: What we can end this with, however, is the firm articulation that more needs to be done in regard to engaging with students, educating them, and giving them respect and agency in the decisionmaking processes that govern their lives. Contrary to STARTs recommendations, the CCL voted to recommend to President Catharine Bond Hill that Vassar proceed with a smoking ban. Shockingly, of the 8 students on the CCL committee, 3 voted in favor of the smoking ban, in contradiction to the recommendation of the START committee and an authorized survey that found the student body not in favor of the ban. Such actions violated not only

the student trust, but the spirit of shared governance indeed, the Governance of Vassar College mentions the students as a constituency in shared governance, and not the interests of the VSA or individuals elected or appointed to a committee. If the Vassar administration wishes to abide by shared governance, The Chronicle Editorial Board recommends that it suspend implementation of the smoking ban until START reconvenes and conducts an unbiased survey with proper methodology. If, after such a survey, students overwhelmingly support a smoking ban, The Chronicle would take no issue with its implementation. Moreover, we think that the administration should continue to hold talks with the student body and student leaders. Finally, we urge the Vassar community to think about the smoking ban not in dichotomous terms, as being the only method for regulating smoking, but as one of many alternatives. We certainly think that common courtesy not to mention the law dictates that people distance themselves from buildings when they smoke. If, however, the administration wishes to push ahead with the smoking ban, it should make clear that the benefits of such a ban outweigh the harms, and articulate a clear reason that the student body does not possess the capacity to participate in helping to decide on this issue. We think that the establishment of such a precedent would violate the founding principles of Vassar College, and irreparably damage the relationship between students and the administration.

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Nota bene: The opinions published in The Vassar Chronicle do not necessarily represent those of the editors, except for the Staff Editorial, which is supported by at least 70 percent of the Editorial Board.








PAgE 2



'Big Brother' Star to Speak at Vassar, Contribute to Discourse
Raphael Korine Contributor

n Dec. 4, 2013, Noyes House in collaboration with Cushing House, Josselyn House, the Town Houses, the Programming Board, and the Office of Residential Life will be bringing Dan Gheesling to Vassar College as a guest speaker. Gheesling is most famous for winning Season 10 of Big Brother, a reality television show broadcasted every summer on CBS. In 2008, he became the first and only houseguest to win the show with a unanimous jury vote. Due to his immense popularity inside and outside of the house, he was asked to return as a houseguest for Season 14 of the show, which aired in 2012. In Big Brother 14, Gheesling finished in second place, becoming the only player in Big Brother history to make it to the final round both times he played. As a result, Gheesling is considered the best as well as the most famous Big Brother houseguest of all time. Since being on Big Brother, Dan has focused his attention on motivational speaking, one-on-one coaching sessions, and writing. His first book, How To Get On Reality TV: How A Normal Guy Got Cast On Reality TV, served as an inspiration to many of those who applied to be on the show. He has used his reality TV fame in a positive way by giving back what he has

learned from his experiences to the greater community. Thus far, he has lectured at other schools, including the University of Central Florida and Northwestern University. Bringing someone like Gheesling to Vassar is unusual to say the least in fact, we have never brought a speaker with a background in reality TV to our school. When presenting the idea to bring Gheesling to campus to various individuals and organizations, Noyes House received a variety of responses. Some were very positive, particularly from students who watch reality TV. Fans of Big Brother were especially excited to hear that the most famous contestant from the show could be coming to Vassar. A large majority of students, however, did not take the idea seriously. In fact, students articulated their most common response ridicule through laughter. Once these students realized that the proposition was legitimate, they followed up their mocking with cynicism and criticism. How could someone with such a background contribute to the intellectual discourse of Vassars academic community? First and foremost, Gheesling defies the stereotype of the vapid reality TV star. He is engaging, intelligent, and charismatic. The lecture he plans to give at Vassar, Six Duties of Epic Leaders, outlines six action steps that anyone can incorporate into their life to improve their leadership skills. While he incorporates some anecdotes of

his time on reality TV in the presentation, the core of the presentation focuses on leadership and achieving a balance in ones life. While there are many intellectual benefits from the typical academic speakers who usually come to Vassar, it is important to acknowledge the value of learning from those with different perspectives. As a school that encourages discourse and open-mindedness, Vassar ought to recognize that bringing a speaker like Gheesling to campus will provide many benefits. His presentation will help students to develop their leadership skills, strive for a balanced lifestyle, and attain the level of personal empowerment that Residential Life is specifically encouraging this year, particularly to house teams. It will also encourage students to challenge the stereotypes that they may have internalized when it comes to reality TV and popular culture as a whole; Vassar can and will benefit from a chance to learn from someone who has pursued an unconventional career. Finally, the presentation will work to acknowledge the students who are interested in this genre of television. Having Gheesling on campus will help to defy the stigma associated with reality TV; people will then feel more comfortable discussing reality TV without feeling ashamed that it may not have any intellectual value. In fact, Big Brother has its own academic merit: it tests core elements of psychology by isolating

Dan Gheesling rests from the intense competition of "Big Brother." He will visit Vassar to speak on Dec. 4, 2013.


contestants in a confined space for several months without any contact from the outside world. It also explores the immense popularity of this type of programming and what this popularity suggests about our culture and society. As a socially and academically-conscious community, we should always be working towards expanding our minds. To whom much is given, much is expected. A nice guy from Michigan who built his career through unconventional means can certainly provide Vassar students with a fresh perspective on leadership. Ethan Zohn 96 would likely agree he was the champion of Survivors third season.

by David Gonzalez '14

With the government finally open, While everyone sits around mopin, The homes off the range, But so much for change. No one awake is still hopin.
by Gregory Perry

Find the best move for White.

Submit your answer to The name of the first person to respond, along with the solution, will be published in the next Chronicle.


PAgE 3

Tea Party Stance in Gov't. Shutdown Contradicts Principles
Jason Storch Contributor

here are certain social aspects regarding national media coverage in relation to this article that I must establish before going any further I am well aware that, in the current state of media coverage, there is no shortage of media outlets that report that Republican Texan Senator and conservative Tea Partyaffiliate Ted Cruz is a bit of a hypocrite and a lot of a problem. While criticisms of Senator Cruz are readily available, there is one piece of information that I feel has not been broadcasted enough. It reveals not only the hypocrisy of Senator Cruz, but also his willingness to place politics and personal arguments above not only the good of the American people as a whole, but even his own agenda. That under-reported piece of information is that a vote that would have put the United States Federal Government on the path to default, and would have been, to quote former Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman, the nuclear missile to the shutdowns hand grenade, never took place. The Tea Party agenda is certainly no secret. Some of their publicly-stated goals include lower taxes, military nonintervention, and cutting entitlements. As such, it made perfect sense when they were some of the most impassioned enemies of the Affordable Care Act as it was being crafted into a legitimate, bona fide legislation that had already been the focal point of two federal elections. The government-defunding fiasco furloughed federal employees and shellacked thousands of concessions stands, ferry operators, and other private sector workers

hesitation over funding the Affordable Healthcare Act that truly caused the twoplus weeks of political turmoil. Congress has the constitutional power of

a pitiful 10% approval rating. Simply put, the people of Texas, much like their elected Senator, were fine with a half-functioning government, massive economic losses, and


While the shutdown falls in line with the Tea Partys take no prisoners; money where your mouth is; oust the Washington insider, mentality, it came to me as a huge surprise that the final person to sign off on the re-funding of the government and the prevention of default the ending of the shutdown was none other than Tea Party strongman and mouthpiece Ted Cruz.
that conduct their business directly outside of federal parks, monuments, and museums. The economy took a 23 billion dollar beating. Ironically, the only thing that remained unhindered even unaltered was Obamacare. While I think that it is ridiculous and archaic that Congress can pass a bill and then refuse to fund it, it was the way in which House Republicans went about handling their

the purse, meaning that it chooses where federal funding goes. While Congress could not prevent Obamacare from actually being implemented, it could keep the United States Government without funding a political play that had not been utilized in 17 years and would certainly bring national attention to Washington and the politics being discussed there. And that unique, high-tension situation was the perfect opportunity for Senator Cruz to show America who he was; indeed, the 2016 election was only three years away. Though it severely damaged the national economy and tossed the global markets back and forth for weeks, the shutdown did not stop the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act. If nothing else, the Republican strategy of scorched earth failed even in the midst of the shutdown to do any good. This strategy is telling in regards to Senator Cruz. While the shutdown falls in line with the Tea Partys take no prisoners; money where your mouth is; oust the Washington insider, mentality, it came to me as a huge surprise that the final person to sign off on the re-funding of the government and the prevention of default the ending of the shutdown was none other than Tea Party strongman and mouthpiece Ted Cruz. Before the shutdown ended and Congress had reached a deal to re-fund the government and avoid default, the Republican Senate minority proposed a vote to prolong the shutdown and defund the government. As Jon Huntsman stated, such an event would have been economically horrendous for the country. Yet, it seems as though that kind of vote was exactly what Senator Cruz and his fellow Tea Party colleagues would have wanted. It is no secret that during the shutdown, Senator Cruz was one of the few politicians whose constituents continued to support him. This impressive feat ought to be praised, as Congress as a whole had

a lack of international respect. For Cruz and Texas voters, the government, for all they cared, could remain at a standstill forever, just as long as they could express their opinion that the Democrats must have their spending programs reigned in namely, the Affordable Care Act. I am certainly not in any remote sort of agreement with that state of mind, but I am also not writing this article to belittle the close-mindedness of the Texan voters; I am here to discuss the distinction between the mentality on which the Texan voters elected Ted Cruz and the way he acted once he entered the actual Washington arena. To quickly run through some of Senator Cruzs antics, Ill first cite his filibuster against the Affordable Care Act. Coinciding with the mentality of other Tea Party members, Cruz thought he could stand on the Senate floor and speak to prevent the law from going into action an old practice very deliberately included in the Senate Rules. The sentiment that he soapboxed to his Tea Party voters was the same sentiment that he elaborated upon in his pseudo-filibuster. This is the way in which I am referring to Cruzs speech because the purpose of a filibuster is typically to prevent legislation from being passed, but this was neither the intent nor result of Cruzs speech; the legislation had already been passed and continued to be a law after the so-called filibuster. While Senator Cruzs voters wished for him to continue using the aforementioned political tactics, his actual course of action during the shutdown stemmed from a very different viewpoint. Cruzs attitude towards the then-looming danger of default differed from what other Republicans in Congress thought about the default. Give us your best shot, if you are even really there, seems to sum up his approach best, according to most accounts from Tea Party Congressmen/women when asked about the possibility of default. We need to go

back and redefine default, said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). Default would be if you couldnt pay the interest and couldnt manage the principle on our national debt. And thats not going to happen. The resources are there. The cash flow is easily there to pay the interest on our debt. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) demonstrated that Republicans didnt fear the default; they actually thought that it could invalidate what Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) called a scare tactic: Weve got more than enough cash flow, more than enough cash flow to pay interest on the public debt when it comes due and the House Republicans have passed a prioritization bill. This talk about default by the U.S. Treasury is nonsense. The president can be smart or the president can be stupid. And I would assume as smart as President Obama is, when push comes to shove, hell be smart. So we are not going to default on the public debt. But that doesnt mean that we have to pay every bill the day it comes in. These remarks clearly demonstrate the fact that Republicans did not dread the default or recognize it as a real obstacle, unlike the Democrats. This idealism is the linchpin to the notion that if Senator Cruz was so adamant about his Tea Party, proshutdown agenda, he would have let the vote to prolong the shutdown be put on the floor. On Oct. 16, 2013, a vote was put in the preliminary phases on the Senate floor. The vote would have determined whether the government would end the shutdown or if the United States Federal Government would, for the first time in history, default on its debt. Presumably, if the shutdown taught us anything, it is that Republicans in the Senate would have fought toothand-nail, using their historically-strong party discipline, to see this vote won. That control over the back benches, however, has been completely destroyed as a result of inflexible negotiating by the Tea Party. This led to some of the most honorable, dutiful, and flexible men of the Republican Party like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to fight a partywide civil war between the Republican base and the Tea Party fringe. Despite disillusions of imminent success, the vote was 100-0 against going into default. But, Senator Cruz, you have some explaining to do! Let me be blunt Senator Cruz was adamant enough about his principles that he spearheaded the shutdown and helped sustain it for over two weeks, was passionate enough about repealing Obamacare in order to save money in the long-term to let the economy lose 23 billion dollars, and was confident enough to claim that the default was nothing more than a liberal myth and scare tactic. Though adamant, passionate, and confident enough to do all of these things, he was not adamant, passionate, or confident enough to push a vote to keep the shutdown on the Senate floor. In fact, Senator Cruz was not adamant, passionate, or confident enough
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PAgE 4


Making Sense of Ted Cruz's Hypocritical Actions
Continued from Page 4

to even vote to prolong the shutdown himself. While it is obvious that Senator Cruz was guilty of a number of hypocritical missteps, let us not forget that he is not alone in the Senate there are other Tea Party Senators who marched to the same beat, albeit less loudly. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who stated that Obamacare scared him more than the shutdown, voted to end the shutdown. It is worth noting that South Carolina is one of the leading states in populations without insurance a whopping 20% of people are still uninsured. So, when Senator DeMint and other politicians from states like South Carolina, in the sense of lack of insurance, declare that they are acting in accordance with the will of the people, they neglect the

Just passing something to keep government funded at current levels is touted as a compromise, but its really an act of collusion in the sense that they know this isnt good for the people. Its not a good way to legislate, its not a good way to govern but we are going to do this because its the least awkward way to get things done. Senator Mike Lee
basic fact that the people need healthcare. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) named the Political Face behind the Defund Obamacare Movement by Time Magazine stated that, Just passing something to keep government funded at current levels is touted as a compromise, but its really an act of collusion in the sense that they know this isnt good for the people. Its not a good way to legislate, its not a good way to govern but we are going to do this because its the least awkward way to get things done. Lee did not seem like someone who would vote to end the shutdown and avoid default.

During the October government shutdown, about 800,000 employees were suspended. Many of these federal workers took to Capitol Hill to protest.

Al Jazeera

Senator Toomey, the man who claimed the default was a scare tactic by the Obama Administration, seemed sacred enough to vote with the other 44 Republicans in the Senate to end the shutdown. Now, allow me to give the Tea Party some credit they probably realized their take no prisoners, scorched earth mentality had failed miserably. They probably felt forced to either uphold the vote that would get the shutdown debacle over with and remove their tarnished names from the press spotlight. Sadly, the entire ordeal was brought about not due to political differences, as there were many fellow Republicans against the shutdown like Chris Christie and former Nixon speech-writer and economist Ben Stein, to name a few. Both are fervent critics of Affordable Healthcare who also maligned Republicans strategy of government

shutdown. Stein, in particular, gave a great interview on CNN in which he stated the sheer childishness of the current Republican course of action as opposed to how discrepancies are typically dealt with. Rather, the shutdown was brought about by the opportunity to gain notoriety. In Cruzs case, this is certainly evident when considering his fake filibuster, trite media coverage which, arguably, towards the end of the shutdown became as irrelevant as a Paris Hilton interview even his lone tear at the end of the shutdown (which, I remind the reader, he himself voted for). Tea Party members also used this national catastrophe as a platform to make their names known and big-talking, partisan agendas heard. The true, sad comedy of the situation is how counterproductive Senator Cruzs actions have proved. While Senator Cruz

thinks he has dug in with his base, he, in fact, alienated himself from it, as only 53% of the Tea Party now supports him. He may think that he said the right things, but, in actuality, he said some of the worst things possible. To name one of many: upon returning to Texas, Cruz stated, I spent a lot of time in Washington and it is good to be back in America. Making such irrational, callous remarks will alienate him in any sort of general elections. Lastly, while Senator Cruz may think that he put himself in a prime position to be the next President of the United States, he has just sealed his own fate, as there will never be a time when the American people choose to put their faith in someone more interested in themselves than the welfare of this nation. Senator Cruz, you should be ashamed.


Shutdown 'Uncharted Territory,' Introduces New Political Tactics
Nathan Tauger Natl. & Foreign Affairs Editor

Sidney Plotkin: So, what interests you about the shutdown? Nathan Tauger 14: Mostly, your thoughts on it. We see a few important consequences of it, and, I guess, the most pressing one would be: what do you see happening in the next midterm elections? Anything because of the shutdown? SP: Its early to make that judgment. There are a couple of different ways to look at it: one is that the consequence of the shutdown was to produce devastating impact on public opinion of the Republican Party. The most recent Wall Street Herald poll indicates that public approval of the Republican Party is at 22%. Thats unprecedented. No major political party has ever been that unpopular in American history in the era of polling. We are in unprecedented, novel territory. So, looking at it from that point of view, the Democrats have a potential advantage going into 2014. On the other hand, the rollout of the Obama healthcare plan has been something short of success. Its been a disaster, politically Democrats are quite frightened that whatever advantage they may have gotten from the shutdown will now be dissipated as people hold the Obama administration to account for the roll-out which has been very, very badly handled. Now, if the administration gets its act together by November, December, and is not forced to delay the act and the requirements for annulling an insurance plan, I think theres a good chance that the administration will not pay too heavy a price because peoples political memories tend to be short. But, if people find that they cant enroll at the time that theyre supposed to enroll, and theyre left in a situation where theyre confused and, keep in mind, were running into Christmas season, so people are buying kids their presents, theyre shopping, theyre organizing Christmas parties the last thing they want to have to worry about is turning on their computer and finding website difficulties. I mean, its just a mess. The administration, if it gets its act together, might be able to ameliorate the negativity that theyre confronting right now as a result of the roll-out. But, looking at it from those different perspectives at the same time, it becomes very difficult to calculate, at this point, whos likely to benefit in 2014. Chances are that the Congress in 2014 and 2015 is not going to look terribly different from the one we have right now because of gerrymandering and the number of relatively safe districts in the House, in particular. Its likely that the numbers will change only slightly, unless some distinctive, evident wave begins to emerge. Lets say the Obama people do get their act together and the peoples anger about the Republican Party persists then you could get something rather dramatic, but, frankly, I dont think thats going to happen. I think the other fascinating dimension of the shutdown, and this is consistent with what Ive been saying about American politics for about two years, before the

2012 election you know Nathan talks about the campaign one point I tend to iterate and reiterate is that one of the most fascinating consequences of 2012 is going to be the impact on the Republican Party. Coming out of 2012, particularly if they lose, which they did, the Party would then be tested with respect to whether it would follow the Tea Partys ultra-conservative route or decide that Romney was such a poorly-situated candidate who was bending over rightward to appeal to the Tea Party without really honestly being a Tea Party person, that it made sense to really pull the party back towards its traditional, Main Street, business-oriented Republicanism. I anticipated that this divide would get worse and worse, and it has. The Republican Party right now is in such disarray, not only because of the numbers the public opinion numbers, thats bad enough but whats feeding those numbers, in part, is the fact that the Republicans are so internally divided, both in the House of Representatives and amongst and between key core segments of the constituency of the Party. One of

lifetime and I never thought I would ever even think this, let alone say it it is now not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the party could fracture so badly that it would have to be replaced by a new conservative party. Do I think thats going to happen? Nah, its probably not likely, but is it possible? I mean, there was a story today [Nov. 1, 2013] in the New York Times about business organizing, the Chamber of Commerce, and a number of individual firms like AT&T pouring money into a Republican primary in Alabama to elect a more moderate conservative an establishment conservative who is running against a Tea Partier who is very, very strongly Christian, very strongly antigay, very strongly in favor of the shutdown, and continues to be in favor of the shutdown. The business community wants government to be open, needs government to be open, depends on government being open, wants an immigration bill passed, wants tax reform, that is, tax reform that is favorable to business, wants these things to happen and knows that government has to function the idea that it would

the most remarkable, really remarkable, aspects of the shutdown was to observe major business interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce banging on the doors of Tea Party representatives and getting no hearing, and then Tea Partiers announcing with great pride, Were not going to listen to big business. Were not going to listen to the Chamber of Commerce, which, by the way, is not big business the Chamber of Commerce is a much more diverse group. Were not going to listen to the business lobby? Well, thats the core of the Republican Party! Thats mind-boggling. I mean, cutting yourself off from your key constituency? The Republican Party has been the Party of Business for the better part of a century or more. Really, in that period, it became the Party of Business basically in the period right after Lincoln. Thats its whole history, and now youre cutting yourselves off from that? Oh, my God. So, youre talking about major, deepseated fissures in the Republican Party to the point where, for the first time in my

be best if government didnt function, or functioned in a radically smaller way, is alien to business interests in the United States. Businesses are now beginning to get heavily involved in Republican primaries to reshape the party in its traditional image. Whether theyll succeed or not is an open question because the Tea Party groups tend to be very intense, very galvanized, and they turn out to vote. NT: So, what youre saying is that you dont see the next congress as being radically different from this one. Do you mean that only in terms of Democrat vs. Republican or do you think that we could see the same kind of thing that we saw in 2012 where a lot of more moderate Republicans were replaced by Tea Partiers? SP: That could very well happen; that could very well happen. You might see a situation in which the Tea Party constituency would hold its own, and thats really all it has to do. It has somewhere between 40 and 90 sympathizers 40 hardcore, 50 hardcore, maybe 90 sympathizers. All it needs to do is hold

its own and it can wrench the Republican Party in all sorts of twisted ways, in the process making it very difficult for the President to govern in the latter part of his second term, which is going to be difficult, in any case, because hell be a real lame duck now. Now, hes sort of a quasi-lame duck, but hell be a real lame duck the moment the 2014 election happens, so Obamas got a very, very small window of opportunity. Now, things could change the Democrats could take the House and hold the Senate but I dont think thats likely to happen. Again, its a little bit too early to say. I would just stress I think that its very, very important the Republican Party is in deep disarray. I think youd have to go back to the Democrats in the era of the Vietnam War to see a political party as twisted and torn as the Republican Party is now; I think that, even at their worst, the Democrats were not as twisted and torn as the Republicans are right now. The Democrats ultimately recovered after about 30 years. Greg Perry 15: What are your thoughts in terms of the precedent this government shutdown sets on an international plane in terms of the integrity of the United States? SP: This is uncharted territory. In political science, we talk about nondecisions as patterns and roles and biases and ideological formations that prevent certain issues from getting raised because theyre too sensitive. Historically, the debt ceiling issue was a kind of quasinon-decision issue, in the sense that it was permissible for the minority party in Congress to jump up and down and shout about how terrible it was that the debt was getting bigger and refuse to raise the debt ceiling, knowing full well that that majority would raise the debt ceiling, whether the majority was Republican or Democrat. So Obama, a couple of years ago when he was in the Senate, voted against raising the debt ceiling because he knew it was a free vote inconsequential, trivial, irrelevant and symbolic spitting in the wind, as it were. It was never taken seriously. Neither party seriously contemplated calling into question the full faith and credit of the United States, which is absolutely indispensable to the integrity and rationality of the global economy. The global economy depends upon a basic unit of measure. That basic unit of measure is the U.S. Treasury; if you say that were not going to pay our debt, the value of that Treasury note is now suspect, so you now no longer have a basic unit with which to evaluate and measure things in the international capitalist system. Its so wild and so weird and so strange and so provocative as to beggar the imagination. The fact that weve gone through this twice is remarkable I dont mean that in a positive way. It has been literally remarked upon quite deliberately and consciously by the Chinese, who hold much of our debt and dont like seeing it toyed with. Theyre holding trillions in U.S. paper and they dont want to see those trillions of dollars being meddled with by a handful of zealots in the United States House of Representatives who dont understand the international economy. Nonetheless, we come back
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PAgE 6


Tea Party 'Intensity' Usurps Traditional Politics
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to the point I was making before: so you have Wall Street, Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and some of the biggest corporations in the United States knocking on the Republican House door and saying, What are you people doing? and they get the response, Were trying to fight the accumulating debt of the United States, and its as if they dont understand international economics. There were members of the House Republican caucus who were saying, You know, if we default, the economy will be stabilized. Yeah, probably at a depression level, with more mortgage defaults and factory closures and with unemployment skyrocketing. Whos going to lend you any money if you dont know what the value of that money is? So, the international implications were staggering, and thats why President Obama, in my opinion, made a mistake in 2011 when he bargained with the House Republicans, with John Boehner, on the debt expansion. He should have realized, at that point, that once you set the model, once you set the pattern of being willing to negotiate on the debt ceiling, then its not unreasonable for Republicans to think that they can get a negotiation and some tradeoffs and something back the second time. The second time, I think, Obama pursued the more responsible Presidential strategy, which is to say, There are not going to be any negotiations. He made the point, and others have made the point, that this is not partisan. If were going to play this kind of game, its not inconceivable that five or 10 years down the road, when a Republican is president, and the Democrats might control the House, they might say to a Republican president, Well, well give you your debt ceiling increase, but you have to raise taxes on corporations 20%. If you dont want to do that, fine, well go into default. Republicans would not like that, so this is a very, very bad precedent. I mean, Alexander Hamilton would be spinning in his grave at digital speed. He fought with all of his strength and vigor in the early years of the Washington administration to establish the full faith and credit of the United States; he said it was important for us to go into debt so we could establish that full faith and credit and begin to establish a financial presence in the world so we could borrow and ultimately pay for the various things that we were going to become engaged in inevitably, by the way, war. Governments finance war by borrowing long-term. So, for Hamilton, the idea of repudiating the debt thats about as anti-governmental and antiAmerican a strategy could get. I mean, if you were a really radical, radical Marxist anarchist, you might say, Wow, this is a great strategy. This really will bring down the capitalist system. So, the Tea Party, in that sense, pursues a logic that ultimately feeds into the most radical understandings of the inability of capitalism to function, but Marx says capitalism cant function because of its internal contradictions he didnt anticipate that it would be an ideological move from the far right that would threaten the integrity of the whole global capitalist system. GP: The strongest beneficiaries, no less.

Joshua Sherman 16: One question regarding the Tea Party and the Republican Party in its current state, does it seem like the Tea Party is trying to consume the Republican Party? Right now, the Tea Party cannot exist without the Republican Party, but do they think otherwise? SP: The Tea Party is a very complicated thing theres a lot of scholarly debate on how best to understand it. In essence, simply, there are those scholars who believe that the Tea Party is genuinely an indigenous American conservative populace that really does come fundamentally from the grassroots up and that what youre seeing is a powerful sense of indignation at a number of things the growth of the central government, the

The Tea Partypursues a logic that ultimately feeds into the most radical understandings of the inability of capitalism to function, but Marx says capitalism cant function because of its internal contradictions he didnt anticipate that it would be an ideological move from the far right that would threaten the integrity of the whole global capitalist system.
weakness of the national economy, and the lack of economic security for people from the lower-middle class, particularly in rural America. Theres all this anger building up and its coming from the grassroots. There are other people who say, No, its really a manipulation from the top down, in that its the Koch brothers and other conservative groups that are taking some of this discontent and funding it, fueling it, organizing it, mobilizing it, and then bringing it to bear in Washington because what they ultimately want to do is limit the scope of the government and reduce taxes. So, the Tea Party is playing a kind of fools game for the very rich. Then, there are those who argue that its something of both. Theres an indigenous movement from the bottom, but theres also recognition by certain groups, like the Koch brothers, that such groups could really be helpful in empowering a very conservative attack on government in Washington. But, in the case of the shutdown, even the Kochs backed off. The Koch brothers said, Wait a minute, you cant meddle with the debt, and the response was, Why not? We can do whatever we want. We have power and this is what we think is right. Were not going to listen to the establishment, and the Koch brothers became the establishment, in this case. So, the Tea Party is their own expression of an on-again, off-again phenomena. A very conservative populism surfaced in the 19th century in various ways the Know-Nothing Party is one expression of that, the John Birch Society in the 1960s was another kind of expression of it, some aspects of the Cold War movement its something thats deep-

set in the American political experience, but weve never seen it take the kind of virulent economic form that we have now. Its usually in terms of something like anti-immigrant fervor or anti-communist fervor, anti-Semitism, racism these are the traditional ideological manifestations of the Right. The idea that the Right would challenge the integrity of basic institutions of capitalism the Fed, the debt, the Treasury Department this is pretty new. I mean, theres always been an element of that conservative populist view that saw the Zionist conspiracy running the government. That was always there, but it wasnt powerful. It wasnt potent. It didnt have an imprint on national politics. This Tea Party is having an imprint on national politics and on the international political economy. I would bet that all around the world, from Berlin to Beijing, leaders are saying to themselves, Mr. President, get control of your political system. Get control of your political system because you are endangering the global economy; we will all go to hell together if youre not able to get this political system under control. Of course, what they dont necessarily understand very well is that presidents dont have the power to really control the political system their power doesnt run that far. Republicans really have a big task facing them. They have to put their own house in order. Democrats cannot discipline the Republicans the Republicans have to discipline themselves. Frankly, I think that party right now is going through what, in my earlier years, we used to call a nervous breakdown. They just dont know how to assemble a coalition thats effective. Thats why, I think, John Boehner held out for as long as he did. I think he was trying to say to the Tea Party people, Ill stick with you I will bind my reputation and my speaker-ship to you but in the end, and he said this very early on, In the end, Im not going to let this country default. So, I think the fact that he was willing to go to the very tip of the crisis the tip of the ledge was a way of confirming his leadership and sympathy with respect to the Tea Party. I think there were two things here: One, at the most cynical level, he was protecting his own speaker-ship, but at a more structural or institutional level, I think he realized that if he moved early, the Tea Party folks would rebel against him and he probably would have lost his speaker-ship. Then, the question becomes, if not Boehner, who? And that would have sent the Republican House into a real tizzy. I think there may have been an element of Boehners thinking that involved really more than his own self-interest that the party had to be held together and the only way to hold it together was to walk the plank. This was even though Boehner, as an inside Washington guy, knew and he didnt need to be an inside Washington guy to know that this was a self-defeating and futile strategy. In the face of it all, Ted Cruz remains popular, is raising a lot of money, and thinks hes going to become president. JS: Just very briefly, Ted Cruz has been taking center field the spotlight is

there any perception of motivation for that? Hes walking back and forth between taking credit for the shutdown and ducking it. SP: He wants to become president of the United States I think he actually believes that he can be president. Hes looking over at Obama, who went to the Senate, served a couple of years, and then became president. The idea that politicians have to pay their dues, climb the greasy pole build up experience, a social portfolio, and a resum is not in American politics anymore. You can become president pretty quickly if you build up a national reputation and a national following; in the twitter age, which is already eons away from when Obama ran for office in 2007 and 2008, its even easier to do that. He really believes he can become president I think this has been very much about his interest in running for President in 2016 and locking down the most conservative elements of the Republican Party in the primary for the presidential primary process, and, in a sense, isolating any conservative so that he will monopolize that wing of the party, certainly be able to isolate Rand Paul, and then, presumably, get the nomination. Clearly, he thinks he can win. I think thats a fairly utopian understanding of American politics and remarkably egoisticallydriven, but he is very smart, he comes from a very important state, he can get access to a lot of money, and he clearly has a very strong built-in willingness to do some things that under ordinary circumstances would be seen as crazy. JS: What would you say is his biggest challenge in that sense? SP: His biggest challenge is the Republican Partys approval at the polls that people are very upset about the shutdown and hes the guy that created a strategy that had no winning outcome to it. Why would you want this guy to be president of the United States? He clearly is thinking in ways which dont adhere to the traditional expectations and understandings of political rationale, so I think his ability to win the independent voters who are essential to any Republican victory is highly suspect at the very least, but ego is a very powerful force in politics and I think that he thinks that he can become President. Right now, in order to become president from the Republican side, you have to get the Republican nomination the key to the Republican nomination, as he sees it, is attracting these very conservative Tea Party voters who command by no means a majority of the Republican Party, but a very intense minority who do turn out to vote. In this Alabama primary that I mentioned, these folks are really concerned. While they may feel that they have the better candidate and the more rational position, that doesnt mean those voters who are more moderate-conservative are going to come out to vote. The Tea Party people are going to come out to vote. Theyre intensely committed in politics, intensity trumps just about any other emotion or virtue or principle or factor. Joshua Sherman 16 and Gregory Perry 15 contributed reporting.


PAgE 7

Gun Control in America, Part I: Framing the Debate
Spencer Virtue Contributor

his is the first of what I envision to be a series of four articles on gun control; I would like to say, before I begin, that my opinion on gun control falls on the conservative side of the political spectrum. I fundamentally disagree with nearly every gun control law that has been passed or proposed since the Sandy Hook shooting. I believe that the majority of the gun control laws proposed in Congress by Dianne Feinstein, as well as those passed in various states including California, New York, and Connecticut, are not only ineffective, but are also likely unconstitutional based on recent Supreme Court precedents. Furthermore, I believe that many gun control measures significantly curtail the natural rights of free people. My intention in this article, however, is not to take a side on the issue. Rather, I would like to present both sides of the gun control debate in the most non-partisan way possible in the hopes that it will both clarify a very complicated issue and set the groundwork for the arguments to be presented in my further articles. As I present each side, I will cover the three fundamental points around which the entire debate circles: the effectiveness of the laws, their constitutionality, and the theoretical arguments for and against the restriction of private gun ownership. I will have to generalize my definitions of left and right stances on gun control undoubtedly, it would not be possible to address all of the various opinions subscribing to each ideology. Rather, I will primarily address what I understand to be the more mainstream left and right perspectives. I will start with the opinions of the left. Dianne Feinsteins recently failed guncontrol package, The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, is a fair representation of the concrete gun-control measures supported by Democrats in Congress. This package included expanded background checks, bans on the sale, manufacture, and importation of various types of assault weapons, and restrictions on high-capacity magazines usually defined as a magazine carrying 10 or more rounds of ammunition and another 157 specifically-banned firearms. Many Democrats in Congress and in various state legislatures also supported laws that allowed doctors to declare patients mentally unstable, which would prohibit them from purchasing firearms. In my view, the above measures accurately represent the more mainstream proposals made by leftists since the Sandy Hook school shooting. With this in mind, I will analyze the three pivotal points of the lefts arguments for these proposals: effectiveness, constitutionality, and ideology. Those on the left argue adamantly that the above measures effectively curb gun violence, not only in theory, but also in

practice. There is an abundance of data, both from independent crime studies as well as the government, that indicate a strong correlation between various gun control measures and a significant curbing of gun violence. Much of this information is frequently quoted by leftists in support of the above measures. Feinsteins bill quoted many of these statistics, including studies showing reductions in shootings committed by assault weapons after the passing of bans on these weapons. One such study, published in 2004 by the University of Pennsylvania on the effectiveness of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and entitled, An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, presents particularly compelling evidence. It claimed that the 1994 Ban was directly responsible for a 6.7% decrease in total gun murders, as well as a decrease of the use of assault weapons in crime by 66%. More generally, those on the left have routinely quoted the crime statistics of countries such as the UK and Australia countries that have passed extensive gun control legislation and have achieved subsequent reductions in gun-related crime for years. Australian gun crime statistics are particularly compelling; while yearly gun-homicide rates are 3.2 per 100,000 in the United States, only .14 people per 100,000 are victimized by guns each year in Australia, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In general, the stricter a nations gun laws, the lower the number of gun homicides per capita. I will discuss this data further in a later article, and explain some of the issues with it. Over the past ten years, there has been a revitalization of debate surrounding the constitutionality of various gun control measures. Two Supreme Court decisions McDonald v. Chicago (2010) and District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) established that the government does not have the absolute authority to regulate gun ownership. While these two decisions undoubtedly limit the authority of the government to regulate firearms, Democrats in Congress, including Dianne Feinstein, argue that every recently proposed gun control measure passes the constitutionality test with flying colors. This argument, indeed, is compelling and grounded in solid constitutional law. While, for now, I will not delve into specifics, Feinsteins legal argument can be summarized as follows: while the Supreme Court has clearly established through the two aforementioned decisions that, while the Second Amendment protects an individuals right to bear arms, the government has the legal authority to pass reasonable restrictions on that right because the government has a substantial interest in curtailing gun violence. As is the case with other fundamental rights entrenched in the Constitution, including the First Amendments right to free speech, the government may abridge

those rights if certain constitutional criteria are met. If the government can prove that circumstances meet these conditions by proving a substantial, or, perhaps, rational governmental interest, it can limit even the most fundamental of constitutional rights.

Conservatives argue that liberals are looking at the wrong sets of data data that is misleading in nature, sometimes false, and extraneous to the actual question at hand.

The ideological underpinnings of the gun control debate for the left are clear while private citizens can and should be allowed to own firearms, ones right to life trumps the right to bear arms; therefore, guns necessarily should be restricted to prevent gun homicides. Furthermore, leftists argue that, while the government should not restrict gun ownership to such an extent that it de facto prohibits home defense with a firearm, any measures up to that point do not breach the rights of citizens. Many on the left believe that gun ownership should not be a fundamental right at all, in that the Second Amendment should be abolished, and a massive Australia-style abridgment of gun possession should take place. This last argument, however, is not nearly as common in the mainstream left as it is on the more radical fringes. Mainstream conservatives in Congress disagree strongly with nearly all of the aforementioned gun control proposals, particularly with respect to expanded background checks many conservatives, such as Sen. Tom Coburn, have spoken out strongly against these proposals. While, as I mentioned, there is a considerable amount of compelling evidence in support of the effectiveness of gun control, conservatives cite an equally abundant pool of data which seems to suggest the contrary. Conservatives argue that liberals are looking at the wrong set of data data that is misleading in nature, sometimes false, and extraneous to the actual question at hand. For example, the number of gun homicides in Hong Kong, which year-to-year rest between zero and four, according to the Sydney School of Public Health, are often quoted as proof that fewer guns equals less crime. However, according to conservatives, this data is simply besides the point in that it addresses not the question of, Does having fewer guns lead to less gun crime? but, rather, the question of, Does having no guns at all equal less gun crime? The answer to this latter question is, of course, a resounding Yes! but this is not the question currently being debated in the

United States. There are nearly 95 guns per 100 citizens (Small Arms Survey of 2007) in America today, which makes one of these questions relevant while the other is entirely not it would be simply illogical to fathom there being no guns at all in the United States. This is one example of the ongoing debate regarding which statistics are informative, which are not, and how to properly interpret the data that is relevant to the argument. Speaking generally, conservatives believe that traditional gun control measures, such as those proposed by Dianne Feinstein, are ineffective and backwards ways of combating violent crime. Many conservatives, alongside the NRA, have made the argument that, contrary to the beliefs of their opponents, the solution to violent crime is a steady increase in the number of gun-owning civilians and the more frequent carrying of guns by individuals in public. There is an abundance of data to support this claim, the most compelling of which shows that states with stringent restrictions on firearm possession, such as California and New York, have equal or more crime than states with more relaxed gun laws. Once again, the debate is largely centered upon whether or not that data is legitimate and whether or not conservatives interpret it properly. Conservatives and liberals fundamentally disagree on the constitutionality of the aforementioned measures. While, again, I will postpone delving into specifics, the general gist of the conservative argument against these gun measures is that, since gun possession is a fundamental, enumerated right, the Supreme Court should apply a very high standard of review to gun control cases. When they are examined under such a high standard of review, conservatives believe that these laws will be ruled unconstitutional. This idea that gun possession is a fundamental, constitutional right is irrevocably tied to the conservative ideology. According to many conservatives, largely unabridged gun ownership must be preserved in a free society in order to protect the citizens from a tyrannical government. In other words, the Second Amendment is the right of rebellion written into the Constitution; the threat of a repressive national government is no less real today than it was 200 years ago. Gun ownership by private citizens disrupts the governments monopoly on violent force. As I mentioned above, this is the first of four articles that I will write on gun control. My purpose here was to try to illuminate the multifariousness of this topic, but, in doing so, I have been necessarily brief in many areas. In the following articles, I will continue to form and defend the conservative viewpoint and explain why, in my opinion, the entire liberal gun control agenda is not only ineffective and unconstitutional, but also morally reprehensible.

PAgE 8



American Complacency Precludes Care for Others
Christa Guild Senior Editor

alala Yousafzai is currently the most famous teenager in the world. The 16-yearold from the Swat District of Pakistan publicly protested the restriction of girls education put in place by the Taliban. For her efforts, she suffered two gunshots in the head and neck from a Taliban gunman in October of 2012. Yousafzai survived, recovered from the assassination attempt, and has since become an international voice on universal education advocacy. Her story pulls at heartstrings across America, but I cannot find the same passion that so many others have found for this voice of a generation. I agree with Yousafzais belief in the necessity of equal access to education among genders, but I do not believe in the ability of the American people to do anything about it. Two other recent cases typify my ambivalence to the American peoples ability to institute change. A year and a half ago, the Kony 2012 campaign gained immense prominence. Americans who saw the viral video were disgusted that they knew nothing about the horrors taking place in Uganda. Then, this past December, 26 people were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Across the nation, people rallied together to institute stronger gun control laws. Both causes brought together millions of people with the same hopes. Then, a few months after both incidents, while the horrors had not been forgotten, the response to these crises had diminished to nearly nothing. An explanation for the sudden downturn in public outrage so soon after the Kony campaign gained its voice is readily available; after Jason Russell, the co-founder of Invisible Children the organization responsible for the production of the viral video suffered a meltdown and was arrested, the public became disillusioned with the campaign. Just a few weeks after the Kony 2012 video went viral, it was becoming a distant memory. However, other tragedies regularly remind the public of the Newtown shooting, and yet gun control laws have barely improved. has created a tracker to commemorate the number of people killed by guns since the Newtown shooting; their data does not show any downturn in deaths by firearms. Immediately after Newtown, there was a cry for immediate action because gun control advocates understood that, after a certain amount of time, the shock would pass and no legislation would change. That is exactly what took place. This effect is American complacency. The public finds a cause to rally behind, throws money at the problem (or promises to do so and then forgets), and eventually lets the issue pass while feeling better because they cared, if only for a moment. It is because of this tendency that I cannot feel the same hope as the rest of the country that change is

any nearer while listening to Malala Yousafzai. Firstly, Malala is not famous because of her views on education or womens rights she is famous because she was shot in the head. Her story is spectacular and unbelievable the sort of tale that appeals to peoples unending curiosity for the irregular or extreme. An intelligent girl from Pakistan does not strike people as terribly unusual, but now that she has proven herself to be unique through her attention-grabbing story, her voice can be heard. The problem with gaining fame in this manner is that the initial shock that drew people in will wear off, so although she gathered attention incredibly quickly, there is nowhere for her to grow. We have seen how these other amazing stories play out. Time and time again, we have seen American complacency take effect. After an onslaught of unrelenting information, people feel desensitized to these unimaginable situations. Three weeks after the Sandy Hook massacre, or the Aurora shooting, or the Boston bombing, people were so used to hearing about the tragedies that they did not truly pause to consider their context or implications anymore. Malalas story of Taliban gunmen coming onto her bus, seeking her out, and shooting her is the same situation. It is only the most recent of the American fascinations, and, unfortunately, it will likely pass.

The public finds a cause to rally behind, throws money at the problem (or promises to do so and then forgets), and eventually lets the issue pass while feeling better because they cared, if only for a moment.
The Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization made in her name that intends to fight for young girls right to an education, does nothing to turn Americans from the course of complacency. The CEO of the Fund, Shiza Shahid, told CNN that the fund is looking for innovative solutions and intends to help fund programs that are already in place. The Malala Fund, then, strikes me as somewhat harmful, if anything. Instead of raising awareness for programs that already directly help people in need, the Fund acts as a middleman. Additionally, a donor to the Fund has, as far as I can tell, no idea where exactly their money is going. Without that knowledge, donors can drift back into their complacent lifestyles feeling like they have helped to alleviate an issue without a true awareness of the situation. The Malala Funds intention is to increase awareness of the lack of education available to girls in Third World countries and to raise money to

combat this issue. The program asks only for monetary donations, which is not the best way to provide a direct link between donors and the concern at hand. It is likely that people will donate and then forget about it entirely detaching themselves from the problem. Charity feeds American complacency by distancing the people donating from the actual issue. People can donate and assume their money is helping someone, but if, in fact, the situation gets worse, they will not be informed about it. Ironically, the people contributing to fighting for education may not be educated themselves about the actual status of the issue. The question then is what Americans should do and how much they should care about other people. Americans benefit from not caring and prevent themselves from accessing information that would make them care. I do it too I am one of the many people guilty of not reading the news enough because it does not make me feel good. It is incredible that so many people are willing to give up any little bit of the insulation that living in the developed world provides. The very fact that people do donate at all is positive, but even more engagement is necessary. Americans as well as people in many other developed countries need to find a way to reconstruct their perception of the rest of the world. One of the comments I have heard most frequently from people who have visited an underdeveloped country is that, Theyre just like us, with a tone of surprise. We often equate economic status with ontological status because underdeveloped countries do not have many of the same conveniences that we do, we assume that their people must not have the same emotional abilities as us, and are therefore not as important. We distance ourselves from people whose lives are incomprehensible, forgetting that they, too, have similar concerns and goals to us. When we actually connect to people, it is far harder to ignore or distance them. The beauty of such a globalized world is that communication defies national boundaries. Technologies enable us to reach out and talk to people who lead very different lives than we do. American fascinations form because of an interest in a specific person and who they really are. After the Newtown massacre, people mourned the loss of children they had never met, trying to find every detail they could about their lives and the futures they had lost. People sought to relate to the victims because this personalization added to the tragedy of the situation. This overexposure eventually led to the desensitization of their stories, but that initial empathy American engagement could be funneled into something with much more positive results than just a moment of charity. It is not the responsibility of the United States to save the world. It is, however, necessary to be aware of issues and to be educated about how certain changes can help. If people do choose to help others, they are responsible for understanding

The book I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban discusses Malala Yousafzais experiences under the Taliban regime and her hope for the future of womens education.

who and how they are helping. Giving aid blindly continues American complacency and the stagnancy of international perceptions. A fantastic example of an organization that avoids falling into complacency is Kiva, which is built around the practice of microfinance. A member can choose someone to support whose story they admire and donate money to that person individually. The program, though, is more than just a charity. The money usually goes towards helping the chosen person build up their business, so they eventually repay the money, and the Kiva member can then lend these same funds to another person. Kiva claims a 99.02% repayment rate. At this point, Kiva connects over 8,000 people across the world looking for or receiving loans related to education to others who are willing to fund them. With 4,800 of them being women, a Kiva member is able to do directly what the Malala Fund is seeking to do through more indirect means. Of course, Kiva is certainly not able to reach everyone, and the Malala Fund will be able to find people to support who would otherwise be ignored. Nevertheless, the idea of microfinancing does struggle against the tendency of the American people to isolate themselves through ignorance; it is a positive method of keeping people in touch with the world outside their own bubble. While Malala Yousafzai may become incredibly influential and help people all across the world, her story is not what will change American discourse on education or assisting other countries. Her story is, however, the promise that people in the developed world can find the empathy to do so. We need to become engaged with the world as a whole, not just in our narrow state of complacency.


PAgE 9


Discourse of Surveillance Ignores History of Systemic Change
Zack Struver Editor-in-Chief

hancellor Angela Merkel expressed her shock that the National Security Agency (NSA) may have been intercepting her communications. The infringement of international law concerned Merkel less than the violation of trust: Spying between friends, thats just not done. Assorted prime ministers, presidents, diplomats, and political activists united behind Merkel, criticizing the NSA for overstepping diplomatic protocol, and President Obama for condoning such blatant violations of national sovereignty. U.S. spokespersons rushed into the fray. They evaded questions about past spying on Merkel and asserted that the U.S. is not monitoring and will not monitor Chancellor Merkels cell phone, while simultaneously asserting that President Obama had no prior knowledge of such operations. According to reports in Der Spiegel, the NSA may have been intercepting Chancellor Merkels communications for at least ten years via a covert spying operation in the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. As former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael Hayden recently commented, the NSA surveillance of foreign leaders and governments and one could add of United States citizens is nothing special, and its certainly nothing new. For centuries, governments have infiltrated and analyzed obscure and secret sources of information produced in the affairs of state they have intercepted diplomatic dispatches, stolen secret military plans, and planted spies in ministerial meetings. Since the advent of communications technologies, these governments have utilized new intelligence-gathering methodologies and established new systems for employing and categorizing knowledge. Room 40, a precursor to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) the NSAs elder peer in London intercepted German communications using then emerging surveillance methods, long before the NSA tapped Angela Merkels cell phone. At the start of World War I, the British Navy cut Germanys trans-Atlantic telegraph cables, forcing the Germans to use the United States cables. As in every war, the British sought to intercept and decode its enemies diplomatic and military communications. Though Room 40 engaged in a limited inquiry of German communications they sought intelligence on German military operations and strategy they proceeded, absent the assent of the United States government, to collect all German communications sent over the U.S. cables. Room 40 collected the Zimmerman Telegram (an offer of material support from Germany to Mexico to attack the U.S., and one of the proximate causes for the U.S. entering the war) in its broad program of signal interception. The British Admiralty misinformed the United States government that a British spy had bribed a Mexican telegraph official to obtain the

ciphered telegram so that Room 40 could continue to collect American telegraph communications. Angela Merkel ought not be shocked that the United States has been tracing her phone calls; spying between friends (who, one should remember, are always potential enemies) through the mass collection of information has been done for at least a century. Though the United States and the United Kingdom now participate in an enterprise of mutual surveillance, not much has changed since World War I. The GCHQ continues to employ the same methods for collection on a grander scale; they intercept and store all digital communications that flow through massive trans-Atlantic fiberoptic cables as they pass through England from North America to Europe. The GCHQ grants the NSA access to this data so that it, in turn, can use NSA tools to sort through it. Although its methods, in this instance of intelligence gathering, have remained the same, the GCHQ collects vast quantities of internet and telephone

Jonathan Freedland, a columnist for The Guardian, describes this discourse in terms of a polarized conception of the function and authority of state power: Britain has a fundamentally different conception of power than, say, the United States. In America, it is we the people who are held to be sovereign. Viewed like that, the N.S.A., and other arms of the government, is a servant of the people: It is meant to do what it is told. The British system, by contrast, still carries the imprint of its origins in monarchy: Officially, it remains Her Majestys Government, not the peoples. Power still emanates from the top and flows downward, with the public allowed a peek only when the state chooses. It means that Brits can be quite resigned toward the level of government power over, and intrusion into, their lives because they dont really see government as their servant in the first place. Britons remain subjects, not citizens. As American citizens, according to Freedlands analysis, we feel entitled to

Ministry of Defence/Wikipedia.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) serves as England's primary surveillance organization. The United Kingdom, along with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, comprise the "Five Eyes," an intelligence collective that seeks to share knowledge and techniques to further the interception of mass communications.

data for very different reasons. The Guardian, which has reported extensively on the leaks, sees the GCHQs collection efforts, codenamed Tempora, as a means of capturing extensive data on the interactions of almost every internet user in the world: For the 2 billion users of the world wide web, Tempora represents a window on to their everyday lives, sucking up every form of communication from the fibre-optic cables that ring the world (GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to worlds communications, 6.21.13). The dominant discourse of surveillance emphasizes the collection of data on the mundane experiences of individuals as an unwarranted violation of rights and an intrusion of the political into social interactions. Mass surveillance is reduced to the government infringement of personal sovereignty. In a recent article published in The New York Times (Why Do Brits Accept Surveillance?, 11.8.13),

control of and oversight over the state security regime. Government surveillance violates individual rights, and the ability to participate in a system of free governance unhindered by limitations on democratic discussion. The implied solution to this inversion of democratic sovereignty is a renewed concern with individual rights claims. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asserted that this inversion violates Fourth Amendment due process protections and the right to privacy. They argue that such information could be use to create a virtual communicative record of every U.S. citizen. This dichotomous conception of individuality predicated on ahistorical national differences on the one hand, an American citizen served by the government, and on the other, a British subject constrained by the monarch reduces the power dynamics of surveillance to the government violation of rights, rather than the construction and elimination of

perceived threats. Threat construction does not violate any discernible sovereign rights, but its pernicious effects motivate government policy and modulate norms of social relations. The history of surveillance contradicts the premise that the concept of citizenship entails imminent resistance to government surveillance. Supposed communists reds threatened the democratic system in the early twentieth century. Government officials cited the communist threat as a reason to improve methods of watchfulness and collect information on U. S. citizens. A young J. Edgar Hoover, then head of the newly formed Bureau of Investigation, organized his police force to infiltrate communist organizations and collect information on potential subversives that could be deported under broad anti-immigrant laws. From 19191920, the Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice conducted the Palmer Raids, resulting in the deportation of hundreds of suspected communists. The Palmer Raids represent an early attempt at constructing a national threat through the collection and analysis of mass data sets. In later years, Hoover would cite statistical evidence that quantified FBI arrests and the number of threats in the United States to justify funding his hunt for public enemies. The popular culture of the 1940s and 1950s reveals that Americans believed that the FBI served to protect the ideal of American citizenship. Even before McCarthy and HUAC, they predicated their participation in democracy on the elimination of threats as a means of preserving their rights, rather than the assertion of rights claims as a tool for preventing government violation of their social activities. General Ralph Van Deman operated a domestic intelligence network that encouraged individuals to report on the potential disloyalties of their friends, family, and neighbors. When he granted the FBI access to his intelligence, he opened the door to the current incarnation of government surveillance. The modern paradigm of surveillance dictates that the state collect information on its subjects and those outside of its political boundaries to parse through the totality of social and political fact; this enables the state to construct a reality that can be categorized, described, and queried against a conceptual system of potential threats, subversives, and enemies. A source in the GCHQ explained to The Guardian that they use this system to collect a small number of needles from a vast haystack of data (GCHQ taps fibreoptic cables for secret access to worlds communications, 6.21.13). The same official explained that the government has no interest in listening to British people talking to each other. The massive amount of data collected prevents the GCHQ from reading the personal emails of and listening in on the phone calls of the average mass telecommunications user. Indeed, the system automatically logs communications that relate to security, terror, organised crime[,] [a]nd economic well-being, which trigger further
Continued on Page 11

PAgE 10


Surveillance Produces System of Threat Construction

Continued from Page 10


Act after years of criticism, and the NSA remains subject to limited, rubberstamp, judicial oversight, in the form of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Should ACLU v. Clapper reach the trial phase, it seems likely that the government could very easily argue that it has a compelling state interest in overriding any constitutional provisions that could protect American citizens from surveillance. Moreover, the government can, and will, point to the regime of legal oversight and the lack of any real constitutional violation. Individuals already sign away the right to control the use of the metadata that they generate; most tech companies sell or use such information to improve targeted advertising or the utility of their services. These companies already own such metadata, and the use of a secret federal warrant to collect such information, though distasteful, seems perfectly legal under the PATRIOT Act, and represents a small incursion into the privacy of any one individual. Though framed as collective, the Bill of Rights protects individuals, not groups. The constitutionality of NSA surveillance ensures its continued use, until Congress either radically reforms the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the PATRIOT Act, or passes a constitutional amendment that explicitly lines out globalized, aggregate rights that would protect modern internet users. Neither option seems likely. Although representatives and senators have held hearings on government surveillance, members of the intelligence oversight committees have known of the extent of these programs since their inception. Their public shock and criticisms seem disingenuous, at best. The government continues to compel, as General Alexander put it, private technology corporations to comply with metadata collection procedures. Sophisticated methods of surveillance will improve upon the current patchwork solution of hasty back-doors. The government could soon require technology companies to hand their encryption keys over, allowing government officials to hack, crack, and intercept any private communication sent over a network or using a specific piece of technology. Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit (an encrypted email service), compelled by a FISC order to hand over the private encryption key of his system, typed the key in four point font and handed federal officials eleven

investigation by intelligence analysts. Government regulation predetermines the needles sought by the GCHQ and allows analysts to construct a system of knowledge that will identify those needles. This systematization of discursive exchange allows for the quantitative construction of threats, based on the words used and associative networks of communication between known terrorists, radicals, spies, etc. and others. The construction of a verifiable threat requires empirical analysis grounded in the precise interpretation of the totality of data produced and exchanged in the world. General Keith Alexander, Director of the NSA, testified on Oct. 2, 2013 that terrorists and other foreign adversaries hide in the same global network, use the same communications networks as everyone else, and take advantage of familiar services We must

The modern paradigm of surveillance dictates that the state collect information on its subjects ... to parse through the totality of social and political fact; this enables the state to construct ... a conceptual system of potential threats, subversives, and enemies.

Director of the NSA General Keith Alexander testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Washington, on Oct. 29, 2013. Gen. Alexander stated that the NSA can both "defend the country and protect our civil liberties and privacy."

Reuters/Jason Reed.

develop and apply the best analytic tools to succeed in our mission: Finding the communications of adversaries while protecting those of innocent people regardless of their nationality. The ubiquity of communications technologies justifies the deployment of surveillance tactics that tracks the metadata of such communications. Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows federal officials to request the business records of any business, broadly construed to include the phone logs of telecommunications companies; the subject lines, recipients, and senders of emails; and the instant messages of social networking services. Though many have argued that such methods are unconstitutional, the courts have ruled in favor of the PATRIOT Act, Congress continues to reauthorize the



pages of illegible text. Compelled to give the government a digital version of the key, Levison shut down Lavabit rather than become complicit in crimes against the American people. It seems that the only means for resisting government surveillance is as equally unattractive and unlikely as the legislative methods for changing the surveillance system. This resistance requires removing oneself from the system, forgoing all networked technologies. Should one wish to resist the NSA, they would need to remove themselves from the global exchange of ideas and information, cut all contact with distant family and friends, and avoid public appearances, for fear of being captured by CCTV or drone surveillance and placed in a database used for facial recognition. My pessimistic assessment of the future of government surveillance does not imply that we ought not worry about potential abuses of such a system. I trust that many current government officials, including General Alexander, believe that they protect rights even as they construct a terroristic threat that inculcates Islamaphobia and reinforces the concept of an empire abroad. Yet, I worry that intentions and motivations change, and that a future president or intelligence chief may use such technologies to pursue profit, fame, or pure power. The notion of a threat continues to shift from an ideological norm reliant on stereotype (as typified by cases such as the Trayvon Martin trial) into a scientific category that

pursues the analysis of large sets of data. Since the construction of a threat as a clear definition of an other who does not belong to the people remains essential to the American democracy, it remains impossible to dismantle the American security apparatus. Most people are aware of drone strikes, the slaughter of innocent civilians abroad, and the massive incursion of the political into the social. Yet, as long as they continue to believe and internalize claims that threats to democracy require the violation of basic human dignity, there will be no change. Unless we witness the wholesale repudiation of the discourse and rhetoric that defines and marks terrorism as threatening and dangerous, surveillance will continue, and state power will expand. Democracy entails radical, fundamental equality of voice. Voices cannot be heard if the state silences them as external to the nation. Surveillance will end only as we redefine nationalism as inclusive, globalization as productive of valuable relationships, rather than global threats, and democratic participation as the freedom to communicate without entering into a system of quantification and abstraction. Or, perhaps we can all put our cell phones down for a little bit, reflect upon our unhealthy attachments to technology, and rethink how we communicate with others. State surveillance will end only if the people refuse the government a mandate to totalize and eliminate threats.


PAgE 11

Peace Contradicts Israel's Supremacist Interests

Gregory Perry Natl. & Foreign Affairs Editor


o attain peace has never been in the interest of Israel. The more time passes, as conflicts remain unresolved, the more Israel gains, in terms of territory as well as positioning in the power dynamic, and in what has been dubbed the political reality of the situation. This has been the case since before the creation of the expansionist state in the first place. The Israeli state has been a colonialist enterprise from its very inception. The power relationship and methodology have remained largely the same throughout the course of the now century-long invasion of Palestine. Although the slaughter of civilians in the streets certainly has died down in recent decades, the methods by which the Israeli narratives dictate discourse remain similar. Efforts are made to provoke retaliation, including forced eviction, arson, and the above-mentioned slaughter, so that the retaliators can be pointed at and labeled terrorists, extremists, and aggressors. Once your enemy has been defined as an aggressive terrorist entity, who wouldnt be on your side? The immigrants to Israel largely are white, European or American immigrants who feel entitled to a living space very recently inhabited by Arabs. The fictitious narrative of a land without a people for a people without a land sheds light on this imperialistic sense of entitlement, and on its foundation in the dehumanization of indigenous populations.

"I see nothing wrong with forced transfer." These operations can be carried out ... by destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their rubble), and especially those population centres that are difficult to control permanently; or by ... encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state. -David Ben-Gurion
And just to be clear, the reason for the Palestinians departure is entirely autocratic. These people are not packing up and leaving voluntarily, despite being forced to live under such extreme conditions as to constitute humanitarian crises. Soldiers armed with bulldozers and the

best conventional weapons in the world (courtesy of your American taxpayer dollars) forcibly inspire the eviction, by the authority of the supremacist invader government. But theyre defending themselves, so its fine. The Oxford Dictionary defines colonialism as the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically. The UN Council for Human Rights (UNCHR) links a state or regimes desire to impose ethnic rule on a mixed area with the use of acts of expulsion. Acts of ethnic cleansing are defined to include separation of men from women, detention of men, explosion of houses, and subsequently repopulating the remaining houses with another ethnic group. Drazen Petrovic is a widely acclaimed scholar and expert on matters of ethnic cleansing, having published extensively on the intractable conflicts of the former Yugoslavia. He defines ethnic cleansing as the policy of a particular group of persons to systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religious, ethnic or national origin. Such a policy involves violence and is very often connected with military operations. It is to be achieved by all possible means, from discrimination to extermination, and entails violations of human rights and international humanitarian law[and] expulsion by force in order to homogenise the ethnically mixed population of a particular region or territory. The purpose of expulsion is to cause the evacuation of as many residences as possible, by all means at the expellers disposal, including nonviolent ones. In 1975. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 declared Zionism a form of racism and racial discrimination to be eliminated. The racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being. By these and a whole range of other definitions, the facts of the IsraeliPalestinian question speak for themselves. The fact that the sentiments and actions of Israeli leadership coincide so clearly with these descriptions is not something that should take us by surprise, so long as we actually examine what they say and have even a slight awareness of the context of discourse. Thus, once a stone has been thrown back, the same old accountability-absolving narrative will never fail to remind us that violence occurs on both sides.This and many other constructions borne from the pro-Israeli narrative are made with the flagrant intention to obscure the context of this conflict. They distort the situation, for example, to imply that it should be depicted as a just war of some sort as opposed to the colonialist invasion of one group by another. Once we consider the situation in a vacuum and neglect to acknowledge

the prior human presence in this space, invading it seems totally reasonable. This severely underdetermines the vast extent of violence and abuse directed against unaccountable, unarmed, unsuspecting civilians by one of the best organized militaries in the world. Moreover, these incredible injustices have become inseparable qualities of Palestinian identity, along with the need to vouch for their having occurred in the first place due to unrelenting assaults on their historical veracity. These are the effects not only of neglect and refused acknowledgment on the part of the Western world, but also of the endorsement, protection, and funding of what unequivocally amount to ethnic cleansing operations. The resources for these supremacist settlement expansions do not appear out of thin air. These are your taxpayer dollars, sponsoring the IDF in its efforts to systematically dwindle and disenfranchise an indigenous populace. There is a striking resemblance between the horrific ethnic cleansing operations of the former Yugoslavia and the entirety of the Israeli enterprise. In the early 1990s, the late Slobodan Milosevic, leader of Serbia at the time, executed a systematic ethnic cleansing initiative against Croats and Bosniacs in an attempt to create an ethnically homogeneous Greater Serbia. Massive slaughter of civilians and ravaging of cities took place, and the atrocities that played out set the scene for the coinage of the term ethnic cleansing. There are two analogies here I would like to emphasize. First, the actual methods of ethnic cleansing pursued by the founders of the state of Israel are nearly identical with many of those performed by the Serbs. Some of these tactics included superfluous home arson and demolition, and the public mass-execution of able-bodied men, not to mention indiscriminate rape, murder, and mutilation just to speed the terrorizing eviction process along. Second, the nature of the power dynamics in the negotiations of Milosevic with the Croats and Bosniacs were remarkably similar to what exists now, and what has existed since before 1948, between Israel and the Palestinians. The first thing one learns about peace negotiations is that negotiations wont work if there is a significant imbalance in power between the two participants. As time passed fruitlessly, American Diplomat Richard Holbrooke and company gleaned an awareness that the initially cooperative Milosevic was consistently failing to make any substantive progress toward cooperation, despite his best appearances. Upon learning about the covert genocidal operations he had been conducting, it dawned upon them that the more time passed, the more Milosevic gained both in terms of territory and victims lives lost. There was no incentive for Milosevic to contribute sincerely toward a peace initiative because he was winning. When one group has a glaring advantage over the opposing group in a conflict (when the power dynamic is drastically disproportionate, as it were), it is not within that groups interests to

end the conflict. Peace was against Serbias interest because it was benefiting from exploiting the conflict. Since Israels graceful entrance into the context of negotiation,(principally due to international pressure, it should be noted) its government has had to adapt its means of maintaining power, although its supremacist and expansionist goals evidently have not changed. Israel has finally adopted policies of peace negotiation, which of course have been completely disingenuous. In opposition to recognizing the need for genuine concession in order to acquire lasting peace, Israeli proposals have been deliberately inflammatory, its initiatives sabotaged and doomed to fail from the very beginning in order to continue to serve Israeli interests. This policy is described explicitly by the venerated Israeli scholar Yehoshafat Harkabi, awarded the Israel Prize for political science: We must define our position and lay down basic principles for a settlement. Our demands should be moderate and balanced, and appear to be reasonable. But in fact they must involve such conditions as to ensure that the enemy rejects them. Then we should manoeuver and allow him to define his own position, and reject a settlement on the basis of a compromise solution. We should then publish his demands as embodying unreasonable extremism. This policy is a sophisticated attempt to derail any prospects of peace that would allow for a significant Arab presence in the prospective Greater Israel. Moreover, its primary use and purpose has been to further demonize and undermine these victims of grotesque violence and oppression, to codify current and future abuses into a legal framework, and to wrench out from the history books any trace of evidence that these abuses ever happened. The pattern has been consistent. Israeli strategy consists of fallacious peace initiatives, accompanied by loudly proclaimed condemnation of the Palestinians, while the invasion and occupation of Arab Palestine continues unabated. It must be established clearly that a foundational contention of this issue is the erasure of the culture, history, and identity of the Palestinians, beyond just that of their immediate physical presence. Part of the Nakba, or catastrophe, faced by the Palestinians in 1948 involved the active dismantling of any evidence of Palestinian presence in their former cities, and this venture continues to this day. It has been a prioritized Israeli initiative to omit acknowledgment of the extensive Palestinian society that pre-existed the mid20thcenturys influx of Jewish immigrants by several hundred years. Cities and towns have been buried or renamed, and then given a historical narrative that vaguely depicts noble settlers coming to a barren land and making progress. Somehow these depictions fail to mention the broad extent of Palestinian society present before the displacement of over a million of its people. Part of the essence of ethnic cleansing is the eradication, by all means available, of a regions history. The most common
Continued on Page 13

PAgE 12


Western World Sponsors Ethnic Cleansing of Arabs

Continued from Page 12


method is that of depopulation within an atmosphere that legitimizes acts of retribution and revenge. Israel bitterly refused even to consider negotiating about Palestinians with actual Palestinians until 1991, as they continued to deny acknowledgment of their identity through the forced juncture of a JordanianPalestinian delegation. Since the reluctant descent into dialogue with its victims, Israel has continued to employ brazenly manipulative devices to debilitate their stance. Israels propagandized accounts of history impede the cooperative process further in that they undermine the integrity of the negotiation process as a whole, and drastically limit the possibility of reaching an agreement. Negotiation attempts have been composed exclusively of Israeli proposals (due to a priori rejection of Palestinian leverage) concerning exclusively issues framed along Israels terms and fictional history. The framing of these issues appoints Israels security against alleged Palestinian terrorist aggression as the principle priority; it persistently reiterates Israels innocence and complete lack of accountability; and then it offers concessions, like the slowing of the expansion of settlements that have been repeatedly and internationally condemned as illegal ethnic cleansing operations. Palestinian acceptance of the premises of Israeli propositions would result in crippling disadvantages on the ground as well as a deterioration of the domestic support necessary for political stability. Some of these premises amount to rescinding acknowledgment of genocidal policies directed against Palestinians of the past as well as validating apartheid policies of the present. They include the demands that the Palestinians agree to fostering the expansion and permanence of these policies, and that they renounce the historical accounts of the systematic abuses that now constitute such an integral aspect of Palestinian identity. For a Palestinian leadership to rescind the history of its people, and thus effectively to delegitimize its own stance in negotiations, is an outrageous proposition to make, and it accomplishes nothing but to establish clearly that the negotiation process is entirely disingenuous. It is inconceivable that a Palestinian leadership would betray the people of its constituency so thoroughly and still be able to maintain a shred of integrity among them. And these are the demands thrust forth as preconditions for even entering the discussion. The procedure itself is dictated by Israeli terms, in a way that is deliberately constructed to disallow cooperation. As articulated by the acclaimed historian Walid Khalidi, the Palestinians suffer the unique position where not only is their catastrophe ruled out of the Western court, as being irrelevant to their reactions against its perpetrators, but where these very reactions are held to incriminate them. Israels interests align only with peace in a homogeneous state, in effect, as a product of the comprehensive eradication of the ethnic/religious minority it considers as vermin. The irony here of the similarity

between Israeli and Nazi rhetoric mustnt be neglected. Frequent references to rhetorical narratives such as the purity of the state, the enemies of Israel, and a perpetual status as the victim, not only of greater injustices but also of having to tolerate living amongst an infestation of parasites, hark back to the language used by Hitler himself. When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle Rafael Eitan, Israeli Chief of Staff, 1983. In the context of having supremacist ideals as the foundation of the colonialist enterprise, in which the purification of the state has been endorsed and pursued on a consistent basis, and in which ones opposition to such aspirations results in public condemnation, Israel holds incentives contrary to the prospect of peace via reasonable settlement. To renounce the entire foundation of ones purpose as a prerequisite for any sort of progress is a non-starter. Yet it is the Arabs labeled as uncooperative. Israels actions have done nothing but exploit and exacerbate the situation: brazen instigation funded and militarized by the government (not limited to invasive settlement expansion) is publicly denied

administrations opposition to Palestinian statehood based upon fallacious premises of Israels right to self-defense. This might be more aptly called Israels privilege to oppress, as a facet of a more general keepthem-divided-and-conquered tactical mentality. After the 2000 Camp David summit, the failure of the negotiation process in its current form came to light, and Palestinian people responded with civil uprising, which escalated and produced violent retaliation on a larger scale. This culminated in the election of Hamas in 2006. Expressions of outrage and isolated incidents of individuals violent retaliation became grossly inflated as collective and indefinite unwillingness to consider peace and thus, as a compromise of Palestinian integrity to the international community. Resistance to past instances of negotiation by Palestinians stems only from warranted apprehensions about being exploited further. It comes from the perspective of victims of perpetual occupation, based on clear and consistent historical precedent. Palestinian requests are barely acknowledged and are routinely pushed aside or postponed at Israels command. The renunciation of Palestinian national identity has somehow become a prerequisite for any hope of its representation

Dylan Finley

to the international community by the party bearing statehood, while Palestinian leadership is pushed towards more extreme positions for fear of appearing complacent in the eyes of its constituency. The United States pro-Israeli bias is entirely shameless. Israel stoops to negotiations only when they serve to codify policies of occupation and apartheid into a legal framework, and it receives nothing but unquestioning support from the United States. Martin Indyk is quoted as having said even-handednessand pressure [are] not in our lexicon, referencing the United States diplomatic policy towards Israeli delegations, standing alongside several other members of the Clinton administration who expressed similar sentiments. Such a declaration, extended to the resources of ones vocabulary, communicates an unabashed prejudice in Israels favor that boasts an extremity worth noting. Little has changed since the 1990s in this respect, as we saw last year with the Obama

in actualized policy, while what the Palestinians consider basic human rights are used freely as bargaining chips by the opposing, advantaged side. The entirety of this conflict must be qualified by Israels strategic refusal to recognize this Palestinian national identity. The deprivation of statehood has perhaps been the most effective instrument in securing the failure of the peace process. The Palestinians are cornered into a position in which their status persistently suffers a shortage of legitimacy due to the lack of statehood, the only alternative being the renunciation of the very foundational premises to the claim of statehood in the first place. The ability to frame the issue to the international community is directly linked to the distinction of statehood. Without an established, sovereign representation, the Palestinians are merely a group within the Israeli state to be dealt with by Israelis. They have no means by which to project a voice. Sadly, the various indoctrinations intertwined within the Israeli narrative,

including rabid Islamophobia, pervade mentalities in the United States as well. Discourse is infected by the condescending narrative of, for example, the civilized man vs. the savage, where civilized man means homicidal imperialists and savage means colonized community ravaged by said civilized chaps. Last year, subway advertisements several major cities in the United States boasting those inflammatory constructions caused quite a bit of contention, and even the likes of Fox News blurred out the word savage in its coverage of the stories. Most people advocate for the use of less overt, epithetical, and shameful language, than that pursued by people like Pamela Geller, and by organizations such as the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), amongst several others. But the fact is that discourse is very much determined along the terms set by this advantaged side. Apart from public discourse, these organizations are responsible for enormous influence on our politicians. The proIsraeli lobby consistently donates millions of dollars to Israel-friendly incumbents, as well as to the competitors of legislators courageous enough to lift a dainty finger of criticism against Israeli foreign policy. In addition to the many billions of dollars tossed over by the federal government, these groups funnel obscene sums of money toward further illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank and Gaza at a truly staggering and alarming rate. In the case of the former Yugoslavia, it took the deployment of NATO air strikes on major military bases and infrastructural areas, as well as the arming of the disadvantaged Croats and Bosniacs, before the power dynamic was balanced and Milosevic was convinced to truly negotiate a settlement. At this point in the Israel-Palestine conflict, an overwhelmingly powerful third party would be required to coerce vast waves of unilateral concessions from Israel in order to secure even a modicum of justice for the Palestinian people. I wouldnt hold my breath. The attainability of justice long ago became a dead and irrelevant question. Now all we have left to work with is how to minimize the bleeding. Surprisingly perhaps, asking nicely has not worked in dislodging the many Israeli daggers embedded in the chest of Palestine. We need not delve into the more abstract issues as to whether any state in the first place deserves existence in order to examine Israels alleged Right to Exist. We need not even acknowledge that the very idea entails the denial of that right for the people that had been living peacefully on that land for hundreds of years. I have a simple math problem to address the contention. This, lest we run into some foundational ideological fissures, we can say for sure: Supremacist states do not have a right to exist, and should not exist. Israel, it should be clear, is a supremacist state and has been from its inception. Four.


PAgE 13

SEC Investigates Possible Bribery in JPMorgan Hiring Practices

Janet Kanzawa Contributor


PMorgan Chase & Co. is not playing by the rules. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the largest bank by assets in the United States has been under the spotlight for inaccurate credit reporting and rigging bond transactions and that is only what the regulators have caught so far. This kind of market manipulation should not be accepted; regulation, now more than ever, is absolutely necessary. But, right now, JPMorgan is facing an investigation that does not stem from what we may think of as traditional market manipulation. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) found an internal spreadsheet that shows a direct correlation between JPMorgans hiring practices and the business it is winning in Asia. Now, JPMorgan is under investigation for possible violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which raises new questions concerning its standing in the international business world. The FCPA, enacted in 1977, prohibits companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and SEC, which are responsible for enforcing the FCPA, have interpreted the key provisions very broadly. Violations can be triggered not only by cash payments, but by anything of value, which includes basically any form of benefit entertainment expenses, scholarships, or even the hiring of a foreign officials family member if its purpose is to generate an advantage not enjoyed by competitors. The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA apply beyond the constraints of U.S. territory to U.S. companies operating abroad as well as to any third parties who act in affiliation with them. Unsurprisingly, the FCPA is argued to be the most significant compliance challenge for companies operating internationally. In 2006, JPMorgan started a hiring program called Sons and Daughters, which separated the friends and family of Chinese elites from other normal job applicants, in order to protect its business dealings in China and ensure it could avoid bribery charges in the U.S. Although the program was instituted to prevent questionable hiring practices, in the years that followed, interviews with former employees and an SEC letter showed that it became a fast-tracking process for the children of ruling elite. According to the New York Times, applicants from prominent Chinese families often faced fewer job interviews and more relaxed standards compared to their unconnected competition. This past August, the SEC began investigating whether two former JPMorgan employees were hired for the purpose of helping JPMorgan win business with their parents companies. The spreadsheet the SEC discovered linked some hiring decisions to specific transactions pursued by JPMorgan, which can be viewed as evidence that JPMorgan hired people in exchange for business. JPMorgans Hong Kong office hired Tang Xiaoning the son of the chairman of the

state-controlled financial conglomerate China Everbright Group. After Tang was hired, JPMorgan secured a succession of coveted deals with China Everbright Group, including the underwriting of the Initial Public Offering of one of its subsidiaries. JPMorgan had never done business with China Everbright Group before hiring Tang. JPMorgan Hong Kong also hired Zhang Xixi the daughter of an official of the state-controlled construction company Chinese Railway Group. After Zhang was hired, the Chinese Railway Group selected JPMorgan to advise its $5 billion public offering. The SEC will hunt for evidence showing that Tang and Zhangs jobs were invented only because their parents were important public officials. This may be a difficult task, given that Tangs resume includes impressive stints at other global banks, while Zhang attended Stanford. According to the FCPA, however, it does not matter if the employees are qualified the mere act of hiring a family member in order to win business is illegal. The probe, originated by the SECs anti-bribery unit, has since expanded to an investigation of JPMorgans hiring practices in countries across Asia. The DOJ has joined in the investigation, which now targets not only full-time workers, but also interns. JPMorgans presence in the AsiaPacific region expands to 16 countries; over 200 hires have been flagged for review. This investigation will take a long time JPMorgan must undertake an internal investigation of its hiring practices from the last six years to identify potential violations, then turn over the results to the DOJ.

The SEC is investigating JPMorgan for hiring the children of prominent Chinese businesspeople. They face possible criminal charges and large fines for their alleged misconduct.


Some argue that, in order to protect themselves from the risk of Chinese corruption, Wall Street firms should not allow their princelings to work on deals in sectors overseen by their parents. However, this seems like a new kind of discrimination itself employees should be able to work on the deals in which they are most interested and for which they are most qualified.
Even if JPMorgan cooperates with the investigation, the firm may find acquittal more difficult than it would ordinarily expect. The DOJ is asking for a payment of $13 billion to settle JPMorgans other past offenses, but, reportedly, has not dropped the criminal investigations for the possible FCPA violation. This means the DOJ may require JPMorgan to admit wrongdoing. Hiring politically-connected bankers in China is nothing new; Wall Street firms have been doing so for so long that there is a term for it elephant hunting which specifically refers to the seeking of mandates to manage the highly lucrative stock offerings of Chinas big state-owned companies. In fact, the children of the

government-affiliated Chinese elite are referred to as princelings. Not everyone thinks elephant hunting and hiring princelings are bad. As Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Weil points out, American firms operating within the U.S. hire the children of powerful people all the time for reasons unrelated to their qualifications for the job. If we are going to target wheel-greasing in China where it can be difficult to get business done without bribing does this mean we need a Domestic Corrupt Practices Act, too? Weil said. Of course not. Life isnt fair not in the U.S. and not in China. It seems hypocritical to pursue cases involving foreign officials, like that of JPMorgan, when similar behavior is condoned within U.S. borders. For example, the practice of under-qualified applicants obtaining internships through their parents should be of concern, given that the JPMorgan investigation now includes interns. The issue boils down to the question of what being well-connected means. So many industries rely on building a network of relationships for the purpose of having people to rely on in the future. The popularity of LinkedIn shows how much value people place on being connected to other professionals, presumably with the intent of keeping in touch in order to do business with them in the future. Is it wrong to count your parents in your network? Even if Tang and Zhang were hired because JPMorgan knew it could win a deal with their parents, is this not the same reason why any company would hire the better-connected candidate for potential business? If Tang and Zhang did not actually do their job properly, then it is surely dishonest and unacceptable for JPMorgan to have hired them as fulltime employees solely for the benefit of obtaining a connection with their parents companies. The FCPA would be more logical if it applied to the hiring of anyone for the purpose of winning business with their family members, regardless of whether they fall under the foreign or domestic category. What the FCPA is trying to ban is the creation of an unfair advantage over

rivals in their relations with foreign governments. Anti-bribery measures prevent multinational corporations from going into poor countries and manipulating their governments for their own benefit. No one wants a system where government officials spend their time seeking bribes instead of performing their duties. However, in this case, China Everbright Group and the China Railway Group would have inevitably closed deals with a large, multinational financial firm they just needed to determine which one. If Tang and Zhang were actually qualified as they seem to be and could have chosen to take a job at Goldman Sachs instead of JPMorgan, it was legitimate for JPMorgan to hire them and use their networks to its advantage because, otherwise, Goldman Sachs would have. Yes, this could be considered problematic; perhaps there were smaller firms that wanted to advise the Chinese companies on their public offerings, but were not able to offer Tang or Zhang salaries comparable to those they were offered at the Wall Street firms, and so were driven off the playing field. Yet, it seems unrealistic to expect such a fair playing field for companies in the foreign arena when what goes on within the U.S. can be equally corrupt. Some argue that, in order to protect themselves from the risk of Chinese corruption, Wall Street firms should not allow their princelings to work on deals in sectors overseen by their parents. However, this seems like a new kind of discrimination itself employees should be able to work on the deals in which they are most interested and for which they are most qualified. Is the FCPA going to lead companies to prevent their employees from pursuing their passions just for the sake of compliance and risk mitigation? At this point, JPMorgan has not been accused of any wrongdoings and has hired the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to handle the investigation. The multinational business world continues to hold its breath to see if the FCPA applies to conduct commonplace in competitive firms hoping to win business from foreign governments.

PAgE 14


Nuclear Disaster Exacerbated by TEPCO, Japanese Government
Erin Murray Contributor

arch of 2011 will be remembered for the tragedy of the nuclear reactor disaster in Fukushima, Japan. American journalists, representing our dignified cable news networks, spoke of generations of radioactivity, clean-up, and possible side effects in children and food supplies. By May of that year, the first debates for the 2012 United States presidential election that would occur in 18 months from had begun (Rick Santorum, anyone?), and the aftermath of the nuclear disaster was no longer newsworthy. Unfortunately, this was just when the situation was taking a turn for the worse. On Mar. 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant run by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) suffered several nuclear meltdowns after the severe Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The magnitude-9.0 earthquake sent a monster tsunami that swept over 15,000 people out to sea and a 13-foot wave over the 10-foot seawall of the nuclear power plant. This wave flooded the bottom-floor emergency generators that kicked in when the earthquake occurred. The generators failed, the coolant pumps stopped, the meltdowns commenced, and the rest is history. TEPCO and the Japanese government were unprepared for the disaster. Posttsunami inquiries and studies concur that the design of the plant and governmental response were both inadequate in preparing for and responding to the catastrophe. TEPCO took the design for the plant from an American General Electric plant design a design fine for a landlocked plant but completely wrong for a plant located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. This choice of schematic explains why the generators were placed in the basement of the building, which is why they failed almost immediately. The governmental response is also to blame in that, immediately after the disaster, the Japanese government allowed TEPCO to dump tens of thousands of tons of


contaminated water into the Pacific as an emergency measure. The government contracted TEPCO to head the clean-up and decommissioning of the plant, which led to a slew of problems. Since 2011, TEPCO has been accused of employing ineffectual subcontractors, racketeering, exploiting legal loopholes in decontamination regulations, and using contractors affiliated with the Yakuza. Only this past summer did TEPCO admit

Post-tsunami inquiries and studies concur that the design of the plant and governmental response were both inadequate in preparing for and responding to the catastrophe.

the claim that the groundwater flowing into the basements of the reactor buildings

was contaminated. Testing of groundwater shows that several radioactive chemicals were present in the groundwater surrounding the plant at levels 10-50 times their legal limits. TEPCO has also recently acknowledged that the plant is leaking an additional 300 tons of contaminated water into the ocean each day. Since TEPCO had denied this countless times previously, many suspect the amount could be considerably more. Studies provided by the government concur, but I am hesitant to trust the data provided by the Japanese government, considering the government consented to TEPCO contaminating the ocean in the first place. The Japanese governments response to cancer risks is another example of a failed response to the disaster. Children have the highest risk of becoming ill from radiation exposure than any other age group; they are particularly vulnerable to thyroid cancer caused by radioactive iodine. The government possessed potassium iodide pills that were to be given to children in the case of a nuclear emergency to block radioactive iodine from entering their

thyroids, but it failed to administer them in time to be effective. Testing has found a substantial, though inconclusive, rise in thyroid cancer 44 cases have been found in 200,000 children since March of 2011 within the Fukushima prefecture compared to the average incidence of one out of every 1,000,000 from before 2011 in the same region. In order to prevent their children from developing thyroid cancer, many parents are still, to this day, using Geiger counters detectors used to measure levels of radiation on the food their children eat. In response, the Mayor of Matsumoto has offered to host children from the affected region in his town. Now, parents have the option to send their children away in hopes that it will maintain their health while, at the same time, tearing their families apart by staying in Fukushima themselves. The harmful direct and indirect effects of the Fukushima disaster are now being felt across the world. Alarming numbers of fish along the west coast of Canada are bleeding from their gills, stomachs, and eyeballs. 45% of sea lions born this past June in California have died compared to less than 33% in past years. Polar bears, as well as other mammals, along the Alaskan coastline are suffering from open sores and hair loss classic signs of radiation poisoning. Certain countries have banned all fish imports from Japans northeast coast, such as South Korea; the economy of northeast Japan has been irreparably damaged without fishing. Pollution is not only working up the food chain, but across the ocean too. Millions of tons of tsunami debris, of which some may be radioactive, are making their way across the Pacific and have started washing up along the west coast of the United States. Just recently, a magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. Naturally, the debate has started up again regarding proper solutions to the crisis. The Japanese government must take responsibility for future nuclear problems and for the continually-unfolding TEPCO debacle. If not, the repercussions will be felt by the entire world.



PAgE 15


'Captain Phillips' Critiques Western Inaction Abroad
Keon Karimabady Contributor

aptain Phillips is the newest addition to director Paul Greengrasss repertoire. After directing such movies as The Bourne Supremacy, United 93, and Green Zone, Greengrass has attempted to match the success of his prior works without falling short of expectations or allowing his movie to ultimately become another rushed, over-hyped, Hollywood current-event-based film. The public is all too familiar with this genre, with movies such as Act of Valor, Zero Dark Thirty, and Argo released in the past year alone. Touching on sensitive topics such as the Osama Bin Laden take-down and the Iranian hostage crisis, these movies attempt to recreate actual events but inevitably succumb to movie magic as their truth becomes buried underneath the cameras. Captain Phillips, however, tells a story that needed to be told, and it tells this story well. Released on Oct. 11, 2013, the film recounts the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. cargo ship, Maersk Alabama, by Somali pirates. The ships captain, Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks), tries to out-run and outsmart the pirates, but is eventually taken hostage. A tense standoff then ensues between the pirates and the U.S. Navy. Though Captain Phillips is nothing like a Bruce Willis action-packed film, it is filled with twists and turns and neverending suspense that accurately depicts Phillipss ordeal.

Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass, develops a contrast between the ideological assumptions of the West and Underdevloped nations while humanizing its subjects Somalian pirates as individuals motivated to improve their economic and personal security.

Paul Greengrass

It is easy to picture the Western World as a bubble protected from the perceived evils and poverty of Third World countries. The same bubbles that delineate countries distinguishes college campuses from their surrounding communities. These bubbles do not mark an ignorance of circumstance, but rather an unwillingness to engage.

The film opens with Phillips en route to the airport with his wife (Catherine Keener). He reflects on todays changing world and tough economic climate, in which thirty people apply for the same job. Back in his day, he explains, people were able to sit through class and do well

in life, but now, employers look for everdistinguished individuals. This expresses the realities of contemporary society and intricately ties in the increasing competition in the workplace with the increased demand for higher education. Competition and demand are by no means unique to suburbia, however, as the film later makes clear. The prologue establishes a contrast between two times, the past and the present. Throughout the course of the movie, this contrast broadens and shifts to encapsulate a difference between two worlds the West and the Underdeveloped. Greengrass investigates the underdeveloped nation of Somalia and analyzes the validity of ones pre-conceived notions surrounding piracy. It is easy, for instance, to view pirates as inhuman savages; given the countless news reports and propaganda pieces on the harm that piracy inflicts on capitalist economies, it is hard to do otherwise. In Captain Phillips, however, Greengrass presents us with a realistic account of Muse, the pirate commander (Barkhad Abdi), and the other Somalians. Greengrass, true to form, delicately captures the struggles and realities of life for the pirates and the crew, as he did in his 2006 film United 93, which documented the takeover of United Airlines flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. The hijackers of the Maersk Alabama had been coerced into piracy by

terrorists, unable to escape the cycle of poverty in which they were entrenched. Unchallenged by local governments, terrorist groups present themselves as ruthless and imposing . Similarly, the American crew of the Alabama had little choice but to run the gauntlet or join the unemployment queue. As the tension builds between the crew and the pirates, Phillips attempts to negotiate with Muse. He asserts that everyone has a boss and that, surely, the pirates must have some other way to earn a living. Muse replies, Maybe in AmericaMaybe in America. Perhaps the most powerful line in the movie, Muses response reveals a shocking truth. It is easy to picture the Western World as a bubble protected from the perceived evils and poverty of Third World countries. The same bubbles that delineate countries distinguishes college campuses from their surrounding communities. These bubbles do not mark an ignorance of circumstance, but rather an unwillingness to engage. In the past 30 years, fundamentalists largely unchallenged have spread across the world like a disease. Governments fueled by unbelievable brutality, ignorance, and superstition suppress education, human rights, and freedom in countries like Somalia. These nations are marked by a regression in values towards marginalized groups, rather than innovation and growth.

Greengrass masterfully depicts the consequences of Western inaction. The choice is clear. In todays world, massed with instant communication technologies, fundamentalism like cancer will spread even further if left unchallenged, and will ultimately lead to chaos. We, as citizens of a free nation, cannot afford to wait until our way of life and existence is threatened before we act. Those who hope to set the clock back on progress should be confronted, wherever they are, by the governments of neighboring countries, if not the government of the afflicted country itself. These radicals, not unique to Somalia, should be educated and provided with real alternatives to terrorism, such as agriculture or industry. Before becoming an actor, Barkhad Abdi left Somalia for Yemen at the age of seven, but even then, he could not attend school as a black child. As Americans leaders of the free world it is our duty to take the first step against terrorism. Captain Phillips portrays these harsh realities well, especially the tremendous psychological strain that encounters with terroristic violence and repressive governments can place on victims. Dashed with the right balance of Hollywood heroism, Captain Phillips is an entertaining and soul-searching film that compellingly and accurately depicts the ordeal of the Maersk Alabama and her crew.



PAgE 16

Marginalizing Ignorant Voices Harms LGBTQIA Activism

Maya Horowitz Contributor


o those of us entangled with the politics of our minds, it can be difficult to imagine opinions free of thought. And yet, ignorance is boundless. People are stupid; most people think without instruction and with the absence of criticism. More often than not, ignorance reflects not upon personal character, but rather upon the byproducts of social norms and quieted conversation. Within our industrial modern economy, capital, rather than creativity, dictates the production of the cultural class. Set structures enable set results, and thus hegemonic ideals become organized realities by way of markets, institutions, and advertisements. In other words, most people lack agency over their very imaginings. This is especially true when it comes to issues of gender and identity. From day one, we are sorted: pink or blue, girl or boy the estimated two to five percent transgendered demographic in the U.S. be damned! If you are intersex, you will likely be reassigned an arbitrary gender to better acclimate to society; its binary or bust. As children, we begin to understand ourselves within this limited framework; we internalize these differences and begin to expect categorization. The education system only compounds the problem by focusing on standardized testing, memorization, and performance as opposed to understanding, collaboration, and exchange. Questions are encouraged, but only if they touch on core concerns: You wont be tested on that; dont worry about it, and That goes beyond the scope of the class, are phrases often heard in the classroom. Questions, in turn, become vehicles to produce set answers tools to further clarify ones understanding. What if the answer isnt enough? What if a question necessitates further questioning? Questions have the capacity to produce dialogue, but only if we let them. For example, take the recent debacle regarding V-Day a movement started by feminist artist and activist Eve Ensler that aims to generate broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls. This year, in honor of V-Day, Connecticut Colleges Vagina Monologues group produced a video that asked one question: Why are vaginas important to you? Interviewing 100 men from an array of different backgrounds and sexual orientations, the Vagina Monologues group received a variety of different responses. They ranged from the immature: Vaginas remind me of Sunday morning breakfast. Because they are the original honeycomb hideout. Sometimes, they are good in cartoon, but usually, they are better in real life. to the rudimentary: Because without them, I wouldnt be here They are warm, cozy, and theyre great! I like em a lot. Cant live without em. to the reflective: I like solving puzzles, and its kind of

like a puzzle. Vaginas they make me kinda nervous. I love seeing em. I love looking at em. to the oblivious, yet well intentioned: Vaginas are all about peace and love and happiness! They are the key to consensual love. And, finally, to the encouraging: They are complex. They are beautiful. I should be informed more about the vagina so that I can understand why its important. Vaginas are all different and beautiful and wonderful, as they are unique They are an exploration and they should be loved. Everyone no matter what race, gender, sexuality, [or] class they belong to its just something everyone should be proud of. Everyone should be happy And think that [they] are totally kick ass! Critics of Ms. Ensler and V-Day have long noted the projects cisgender and heteronormative bent. In talking about the vagina, V-Day often equates the vagina with motherhood, livelihood, and womanhood itself. V-Day efforts have also been criticized for failing to encapsulate greater issues regarding sexuality by not incorporating the vulva or clitoris into discussions surrounding sex and sexual violence. Though V-Day does not necessarily exclude trans* and intersex people, it does not explicitly include them, rendering them invisible to the cause and sidelining trans* concerns. According to critics, in asking men, Why are vaginas important to you? Connecticut College helped reinforce a narrative of trans* marginalization, in effect committing an act of transphobic violence through the media. While I am sympathetic to these claims, I completely disagree with them. When casually asking difficult questions, one cannot expect perfectly complex, nor complete, responses. Soliciting personal perspectives about genitalia is unexpected, at best; to even be willing to answer a question about the importance of the vagina demonstrates a profound break from societal conventions of silence surrounding sex and the body. However normative, thought and discussion about the vagina, about women, or about issues of sexual violence are necessary in order to promote further awareness. The video in question is framed so as to underline the awkwardness and radical nature of the project; while it doesnt directly speak to trans* issues, this does not necessarily mean that it is not ultimately allied with trans* concerns. Granted, the trans* community does not have the luxury of choice in regards to being allied with feminism, whereas feminism has the privilege to either exclude or include trans* dialogue, but that being said, to even begin to conceive of gender outside of a binary requires first the acknowledgment of cisgendered women as equals within society and under the law. Too often, we do not speak for fear of sounding stupid, but being stupid is necessary, dare I say, vital, to eventual understanding. Without voicing inaccuracy and without giving space to prejudice,

Zach Bokhour

there is no potential for growth, no ability to unlearn. Instead of condemning and insulting different understandings, we need to ask more questions in order to effectively refocus conversation. Telling people that they are wrong does nothing to engender support. If you operate under the logic that by ignoring race, one is racist, or that by ignoring women, one is sexist, or by ignoring class, one is classist, then you poise yourself for destruction. Labeling others does not aid in reconstructing your own label it only further perpetuates systems of difference intolerant to voices of dissent or confusion. When we begin to label, defenses raise and conversation stops. Name-calling ensues, be it justified or not, and before any understanding can be reached, lines are drawn and differences are decided. The Connecticut College video asked a single question and produced a variety of responses. The positivity or negativity of these responses is irrelevant; its the existence of the question that matters. The answers given should not be judged according to how well they fit into our politically-correct and socially-aware expectations of dialogue, but should rather be appreciated for providing discourse to dissect, learn from, and further question. If the ultimate goal is to have inclusive, productive, and equitable dialogue, then we must be willing to be frustrated. We must be able to explore the painful assumptions and perspectives of others if we are ever to have a chance at shifting sentiments or expanding dialogue. Perspectives that directly or indirectly support intolerance and oppression

only fester when left unsaid. The fact that most people assume that all women have vaginas and that all vaginas belong to women is not an act of violence, but an act of ignorance. While hegemonic understandings are often complicit in systems of oppression, and thus violence, it is excessive to correlate socio-sexual illiteracy with brutality. Furthermore, doing so ignores the fact that education about LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) issues is a function of privilege. The label of violence is better suited to explicit acts of aggression, not answers to questions or questions of answers. The only way to thwart ignorance is through engagement. While it is not the responsibility of marginalized groups to teach others about their oppression, it bodes well to consider the ability of others to learn. There is no praxis in shaming ignorance. Questions need to be asked; we should not be disdainful of the answers. This doesnt mean we must accept answers with which we disagree, but condemning discourse is not constructive. So, why are vaginas important to you? Vaginas are important to me because they connect me to a larger network of beings; my vagina reminds me that I am an animal, and, regardless of choice, attention, or education, cannot escape the cyclical reality of my humanity. Vaginas are important to me because they represent both incredible power and vulnerability; they remind me of both strength and shame. Your turn.


PAgE 17

Debate: Ought Nations Allow Refugees to Emigrate?

Hannah Matsunaga, Debate & Discourse Editor Sterling Higa, Contributor


he Syrian Civil War has displaced over two million people, more than half of them women and children. On Oct. 23, 2013, over 300 African migrants died after a ship carrying over 500 migrants sank off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, Italy. Meanwhile, Congress continues to delay comprehensive immigration reform, despite pressure from the public and President Barack Obama. These events, incidents, and inactions relate to a number of issues surrounding immigration. Do nations have an obligation to its citizens to prevent certain immigrants from entering? Do countries have a moral obligation to support refugees? How do we determine who should be allowed to immigrate to a certain country? In this Debate of the Month, Debate & Discourse Editor Hannah Matsunaga 16 and contributor Sterling Higa discuss the following question: Ought nations recognize the right of refugees displaced by deadly conflict to emigrate? Sterling Higa: First, Id like to argue that immigration is beneficial and desirable for nations. Immigrants often young supplement aging populations and are willing to work in unskilled positions for low wages. These positions, however menial, are preferable for individuals coming from areas of conflict, like Syria. Even the most frustrating job in America is better than suffering in an overcrowded refugee camp in Jordan or Lebanon countries that border Syria and are currently struggling with many of its immigrants. The mass movement of refugee populations exacerbates the infrastructural shortcomings of politicallyunstable and economically-developing regions, as occurred during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Hundreds of thousands of displaced persons strain resources that are often already stretched thin. Meanwhile, many countries clamor for inexpensive labor. Practices that expedite the immigration process to nonneighboring countries will reduce the economic strain and instability produced by large refugee populations in neighboring countries. At the same time, we can deliver labor where it is needed, and, as a bonus, increase multiculturalism. In this way, our commitment to preserving human life need not conflict with selfish national interest. We can have our cosmopolitan and drink it too! Hannah Matsunaga 16: Lets start with the most important idea that this debate brings forward the idea of incentives. The incentives for, amongst other social actors, citizens, the

government, and economic actors created by allowing individuals displaced by conflict to immigrate to any country will win this debate because they extend beyond individual and specific circumstances. Sterling makes a very interesting point when he says that immigrants are a great source of unskilled labor because theyre willing to work in menial conditions for low wages. While this sort of labor may be a farm or factory owners dream, it requires a deeper analysis of Sterlings romantic labor model an analysis of what an influx of displaced and desperate workers would actually do. A pool of poor and unskilled immigrants who would likely struggle with language barriers and culture shock would be the perfect pool of laborers to exploit. The fact that these immigrants would work the worst jobs that society has to offer for very little pay, no less not only damages the immigrants themselves by forcing them into poor working conditions, but actually regresses labor reform because individuals displaced by conflict do not have the power or political pull in their new country to better their conditions. This easily-exploitable labor would eliminate incentives for job creators to create better working conditions because desperation and displacement forces the lowest common denominator of laborers to accept whatever they can get. Why raise the minimum wage when theres a steady supply of immigrants willing to work for next to nothing?

Immigration to nearby countries is positive because it allows for the possibility of rebuilding after conflict, whereas allowing refugees to flee to any country would push people like the Syrians far away from Syria, creating a brain drain and crippling the possibility of infrastructure restoration.
SH: While exploitation of labor and culture shock may result from this policy, I still think that the benefits would outweigh the costs. First, the alternative counters any moral argument about their treatment as immigrants. If they remain in their wartorn countries, refugees are likely to die in violent conflict or from the ills of famine and disease, as is happening in Syria right now. Some would choose to stay in their homes, though their country may be ravaged by violence and instability. Those who want a better life should, however, have the choice to leave. Right now, they have the option to flee over land borders to countries overtaxed by supporting refugees, or they

can attempt to navigate the seas, where it is probable that they will echo the cries of those who drowned off the coast of Lampedusa. Lets leverage the economic advantage of this labor pool and encourage countries that are stable to adopt these refugees and convert them into productive citizens. Second of all, helping refugees leave sites of conflict benefits regional stability. Jordan and Lebanon have shouldered over a million refugees from the Syrian conflict. This is a tremendous burden for these countries. In the case of Rwanda, refugees ultimately destabilized the entire Congo this destabilization was precipitated by the immense violence of the First and Second Congo Wars and encouraged by the tumultuous aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. Sometimes, nations cannot intervene to stop violent conflict, but they can mitigate the harms and instability caused by these conflicts by allowing refugees to join societies in which their human rights will be protected. Ultimately, adopting this policy would allow us to assist those in need and mitigate instability caused by refugee overflows, despite politics that sometimes prevent direct intervention. HM: The distinction between intervention action taken to improve a situation and mitigation action taken to reduce severity is a critical one in this debate. The advocacy proposed by my opponent, which would allow an unlimited number of refugees to immigrate anywhere in the world, is mitigation of harm a Band-Aid over an ax wound. It would diminish the incentive for warring parties to end deadly conflicts by allowing all of the people who have a profound interest in seeing such suffering end to leave, which decreases incentives for both local and international movements to end fighting. Most distressingly, however, is the fact that the people who are emigrating are exactly the people that conflict-torn regions will need once the conflict ends. Sterling seems particularly tormented by the idea of refugees immigrating to countries that are nearby, giving the example of Syrian refugees fleeing to Jordan and Lebanon, but what happens when the civil war is over? What happens when Syria needs doctors, lawyers, farmers, and electrical engineers? Immigration to nearby countries is positive because it allows for the possibility of rebuilding after conflict, whereas allowing refugees to flee to any country would push people like the Syrians far away from Syria, creating a brain drain and crippling the possibility of infrastructure restoration. This kind of a brain drain is just a perverse echo of colonial and imperialist practices that stole valuable resources from the underdeveloped world for the benefit of the developed world. Only this time, the valuable resources being stolen are the

people capable of rebuilding a war-torn nation. SH: I think we disagree on whether people are humans with rights or resources to be exploited. Unfortunately for Hannah, her opposition to granting victims of deadly conflict the right to emigrate is much more dehumanizing than my proposal. When we sentence a person to their lot in life based on their country of birth, we deny them their rights as humans. To Hannahs first point that migration decreases chances of intervention I say that personalizing foreign conflicts will do more to end them than rhetoric and hope. When your neighbor is a Syrian refugee, your perspective changes. You can no longer afford to dismiss far-flung conflicts. This change in perspective actually increases advocacy and bolsters support for intervention, bringing a speedier end to conflicts. To Hannahs second point about brain drain: a policy that welcomes all people, including those willing to work low-wage jobs, helps to humanize current immigration policies of accepting only professionals. I believe that all people should have the opportunity to pursue their livelihood without fear of genocide or any other type of violent conflict, regardless of the skills they possess. It seems especially dehumanizing to force certain individuals to stay and die because they supposedly have more to offer to the world than others. Yes, Syria has not been doing well recently, and Id want to leave, but neighboring Iraq is not exactly paradise either. Pretending that violent conflicts happen outside the context of regional instability is silly. In closing, adopting this policy would benefit all stakeholders. Nations receiving immigrants can satisfy their national interests, immigrants dont have to suffer human rights abuses or die in overcrowded refugee camps, and the personalization of foreign conflicts will bring speedier intervention and resolution to those conflicts. HM: Sadly, the clash in this debate has not centered on the central question, but rather between reality and fantasy. Sterling frames the key issue in this debate around a false dichotomy between choosing a prosperous life or a certain death. Life for people displaced by conflict is going to be hard, regardless of their specific circumstances, but it is still better for those people to be in circumstances where their labor is not exploited which sets a dangerous precedent for other laborers in their new countries where the valuable human capital of a region is not sapped away, and where they can help to rebuild a war-torn region. This side of the debate envisions a world where those affected by conflict are empowered rather than pushed aside. As the old clich goes, there is power in numbers.




PAgE 18


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Deece
Adam Ninyo Contributor

Once, when I was around five years old, my mom served me a plate of rice and I told her, Mommy, I like your rice better than Daddys. Why is that, honey? Because you always end up burning it! I always think back to my excited proclamation that I enjoyed miscooked food whenever I eat badly-burned rice it gives me a warm, fuzzy, and nostalgic feeling inside. In a strange way, the Deece gives me the same feeling, though I simultaneously rant about how much I hate it. By the end of my first week at Vassar, I was growing bored of the small selection of mediocre and processedtasting food, but by the end of my second week, I had started to delude myself that the food wasnt actually that bad. I told myself that it was good, compared to most college food, which, admittedly, it is. Now, Ive found a reason to love the Deece: that warm fuzzy feeling it gives me except when that feeling is actually food poisoning. The Deece seems to be a constant in Vassars crazy world, just like my moms (delicious) burnt rice was a constant at home. Whenever I go to the Deece, I count on certain items to always be there and always taste the same, like the pizza thats always too soft, fragments near the crust, and has cheese that slides off the sauce and directly onto whatever shirt Im wearing. I can

Alessandra Seiter

always count on the stir-fry to be prepared with the same ingredients and sauces. I can always expect a steady rotation of nondescript items, like the fancifully titled, Bistro Chicken Sandwich, which is really just a grilled chicken sandwich with some mayonnaise on it. In a screwed-up, Orwellian way, I love the regularity of the Deece and take solace in its consistency; even if I dont necessarily like it, I know what Im going to get. After a long day of classes and papers, I look forward to a nice, hot plate or maybe five of the Deeces food. The Deeces monotony adds an element of stability to my life at Vassar. I dont know which grade Im going to get on my next paper and Im usually scrambling to find stuff to do on a weekend; however, with the Deece, I can

take comfort in the fact that some things or most things, in the case of the Deece never change. Ive even started to warm up to some of the Deeces options. As a borderlinecarnivorous foodie, I have always had an aversion to salad bars, but in my weeks at Vassar, Ive learned that the salad bar is a great place to pick up wilted lettuce and over-ripe tomatoes for burnt paninis. A side effect of my growing love for Deece food is that I have started to become overly-defensive of its many splendors. A friend of mine from high school toured Vassar a few weeks ago with his mom and they insisted on eating at the Deece for lunch. As my friends mom glanced at the food on my plate, she took explicit note, with more than a hint of disdain, of

the sad little piece of chicken slathered in barbecue sauce that lay on my plate. I grew a bit defensive, thinking, Yeah, that may be a sad little piece of chicken, but thats my sad little piece of chicken! The Deece has been an essential part of my overall Vassar experience thus far. I respect the Deece the same way one respects the kid in gym class who tries way too hard in gym class but is ultimately unsuccessful at everything okay, maybe I was that kid; heres looking at you, Vassar Athletics! The Deece may not be successful in everything it tries to do, and, at times, it may trip over itself in hilarious ways (please never serve meatloaf again), but you have to admire its gumption (and gumbo). Stay classy, Deece. Stay classy.

Janet Napolitano Commits $5 Million to Undocumented Students

Zack Struver


PAgE 19

Fifty Shades of Boehner

Creamsicle Beetroot



Agent Orange

Carrot Pumpkin

Beetroot (embarassed): Boehner's face after hearing his name mispronounced by yet another high school tour group in the Capitol. Agent Orange (angry): The Ohio General Assembly gerrymandered Boehner's district into Cleveland. Cheeto (horny): Boehner's feeling flamin' hot. Somebody call the fire department or Nancy Pelosi.

John Boehner's skin tone changes color all shades of orange based on his mood and the current political situation in Congress. Pictured above are some of his most common colorations. Below, we've described what they mean.
Creamsicle (relaxed): The Tea Party announces that they're hosting a farewell tea party. Carrot (normal): John Boehner after sitting in the sun for a weeklong "caucus" in Florida. Pumpkin (sad): Newt Gingrich squashed Boehner's feelings after failing to return his calls.