Political

Trump inspires college journalists

BY VALENTINA MARMOLEJO
Contributor

Throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump has been very vocal in expressing negative views on news outlets and reporters which has some journalism majors at the County College of Morris feeling a mixture of attacked and inspired.

“I have never been a fan of Donald,” said Jannat Sheikh, journalism major at CCM. “He is extremely unprofessional when he speaks and even tweets.”

The job of a journalist is to gather and present factual information in an unbiased manner. Having a president vocalize his distaste toward the profession through terms like “fake news” and “lying media” creates a sense of distrust between the public and the press.

“Journalists serve an important purpose in a democracy,” said Derek Allen, CCM alumnus and staff reporter at The Progress, a weekly newspaper serving six communities in Essex County. “It’s our job to be government watchdogs, out to expose wrongdoing and keep people critically informed about their government.”

Allen said he believes that Trump doesn’t fully comprehend the responsibilities of a journalist.

“I personally think that’s disgusting, unprofessional and so, so dangerous,” Allen said. “Impeding and delegitimizing reputable news outlets does not help Americans. Lying does not help Americans.”

Sheikh took issue with Trump’s choice of words in his disparagement of the press.

“If he wants to express his opinion, he can say something like ‘the media isn’t as credible as it used to be,’” Sheikh said. “But, it truly annoys me when he says, ‘fake news’ and ‘lying media.’”

Trump has found a way to denounce old media like television and newspapers, while still finding a way to use new media, like Twitter, to his advantage.

“I think he views the press as a PR tool to be used, since that’s what he’s always seen it as while he was on reality TV,” Allen said. “To him, the press only exists to give him more PR. But now that it’s all bad press, or critical of him, he tries to spin it as false.”

Current news editor of The Youngtown Edition and journalism major, Brett Friedensohn had his own interpretation of why Trump criticizes the media.

“I think that most of the time it’s just him trying to avoid being held accountable,” Friedensohn said. “He’s done it quite often where he has just said things that either aren’t true or don’t have any backing.”

While Trump’s comments about the media may seem like a promotional hashtag, Sheikh and Friedensohn have taken his words as a push in an investigative direction.

“An attack on the general press I think is an attack on the truth and trying to be held accountable,” said Friedensohn. “It inspires me to do some more investigation on the government. I don’t get angered by it because I know that a person who is trying to get power and doesn’t want anyone to hold him accountable. “

Sheikh said she takes his comments as a challenge to prove the efficacy of journalism.

“As a future journalist, I feel that I need to work harder to portray media in a positive light,” Sheikh said.

Trump’s first weeks in office: Immigration, economy are among top concerns

By Marisa Goglia
Copy Editor

At 11:59 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, when Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America and immediately set the tone for his administration with a flurry of hyperbole and action.

Thus far in Trump’s first 100 days he has worked at a consistent pace on putting pen to paper on a plethora of executive orders. Through the hallways and cafeterias at County College of Morris these orders have sparked conversation.

Mark Washburne, an associate professor of history and political science at CCM, said it is not unheard of for a president to take swift action once entering office.

“Most presidents try to get things done in their first 100 days when their popularity is usually at its peak,” Washburne said.

Washburne cited Franklin D. Roosevelt as a president who took advantage of those first 100 days in 1933.  

“During FDR’s first days in office,” Washburne said. “FDR along with Congress enacted legislation to deal with some of the problems the nation was facing during the Great Depression.”

Serving three consecutive terms in office, FDR managed to sign 3,721 executive orders. That is more than any other president, according to the American Presidency Project, a database of presidential documents hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara.  During President Barack Obama’s first two weeks in office he signed a total of eight executive orders in 2009 and his successor is following a similar path with a current total of eight actions, according to the LA Times.

A few of Trump’s orders brought to fruition include, defunding sanctuary cities, increasing border security and to begin construction on a U.S.-Mexico border, according to FOX News.

Construction on the U.S.-Mexico border was a prominent campaign promise made by Trump during his campaign for president last year.

“I think Trump is doing a pretty good job,” said Billy Gleason, an information technology major at CCM. “Trump has come through with just about everything that he said, whether it’s building the wall, he’s putting that in place…I believe something needs to be done about immigration in this country”

With the U.S.-Mexico border stretching 2,000 miles long, Trump is concentrating on erecting a wall towards the southern border, according to CNBC. While a cost has not yet been announced, it may cost up to $21.6 billion according to Reuters.

Wyatt Wiegman, a liberal arts major at CCM, would also like to see Trump deal with immigration, but he finds the funds for the wall should be allocated towards another area.

“I would like to see Trump deal with immigration,” Wiegman said. “But not in the way that he is doing it by building a wall. To me, building a wall seems like a waste of taxpayer money. Most immigrants are not coming in through the border, they are coming in through flights and boats. Trump should go through the airports and find a way to check for fake passports and visas”

On Jan. 27, Trump signed another executive order pertaining to immigration that has ignited conversations on both sides of the aisle.  The action states for 120 days the U.S. Refugee Admission Program is suspended and anyone arriving from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen face a 90-day visa suspension, according to the British Broadcasting Company.

“Presidents have done this before from Bush to Reagan,” Gleason said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable that Trump put the suspension in place just to try to figure out what to do with the problem. The countries that Trump has listed, there have been known terrorists that have come from these countries. It is not like these people are not allowed to come to America. You can still come to America; you just have to go through an interview process and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. My mother came from England and my father is from Ireland and they came through the right way.”

Wiegman said his main argument is the United States of America is a country established on immigrants and feels President Trump acted hastily.

“I’m not a big fan because we are a country based and built off immigrants,” Wiegman said. “We can’t really deny a group that are being religiously persecuted in their own countries and are seeking to get away from that… I think President Trump should have made this order more specific. I don’t exactly agree with the way it’s worded. I do agree that Trump is trying to make it work, but it’s turning away a lot of people who don’t deserve to be turned away.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of people surveyed say that defending the country from terrorism and 73 percent of people surveyed say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress.

Gleason who is currently serving in the Navy reserves applauded one of Trump’s first executive orders where he imposed a federal hiring freeze.

“Trump stopped civilian employment and is continuing with military,” Gleason said.  “I can still get a federal job. A lot of the civilians that were hired were under qualified, whereas you have military personnel who are still trying to find jobs and this will just give them a great opportunity.”

Trump stated that he vows to create 25 million jobs during his years as president, according to his campaign site.

Gleason said Trump’s job creation goal is not out of reach while he president.

“I do believe Trump will bring jobs in,” Gleason said. “Stopping certain trade from other countries and bringing it back to America whether it will be steelwork or in another way.” However, Washburne said there are positives and negatives to Trump renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, a trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico which eliminates tariffs on imported and exported goods, according to the Business Insider.

“Free trade agreements have been good for our country’s economy as a whole,” Washburne said.  “This is not to say that free-trade agreements are not without their faults. NAFTA did lead to some manufacturing jobs leaving our country for Mexico, where the cost of labor was cheaper. On the other hand, the agreement also helped create a stronger middle class in Mexico, who went on to buy other American goods that were of a higher technology and profitability for our companies…It is in the best interest of the United States to see Mexico and other Latin American countries succeed. When these countries succeed, people find jobs in their own country and do not try to enter our country without proper documentation.”

While Trump’s first weeks in office have come, and gone, one will have to wait and see what the next four years will bring.

Opinion: President Trump: The First 100 Days

BY EMILY ELIZABETH BETZ
Contributor

On January 20, 2017 Donald Trump will swear in as the 45th president of the United States of America and begin the crucial period know as “the first 100 days.”

Trump’s win has come as a shock to many, as the polls showed Hillary with a fair lead heading into the election. Not only did the country get Trump, but they got a Republican House and Senate, giving the president-elect an assumed sympathetic Legislature for at least two years if not four.

There has been some fear at the news of a Trump presidency, coming off almost apocalyptic, with protests breaking out all across the country, Californians even going as far as petitioning to secede from the United States. We have to wonder what a Trump presidency is going to be like. Well, if it is anything like his plan for the first one-hundred days, people have reason to worry.

In Trump’s plan for his first 100 days he lists out some very big changes he has planned for America. This includes lifting oil and fossil fuel restrictions, canceling any future payments to the U.N for the Paris Agreement.

The agreements which took effect a few weeks ago will help dozens of countries including the United States cut back greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in the next twenty-years. He also stated that he will be pushing through with the construction of the Keystone pipeline.

These policies send a strong message about his stance on global warming and clean energy, even more so with the possible appointment of Myron Ebell as administrator, who once said talking about global warming was a waste of time and “the vast majority of scientists think [global warming] is silly”.

Trump ran his campaign on immigration reform, deportation and building a wall. So it comes as no surprise that those things are listed as top priorities on his plan. He plans on beginning deporting illegal immigrants, canceling federal funding to sanctuary cities (cities that protect illegal immigrants), creating laws that would put jail sentences on immigrants caught entering the United States illegally multiple times, and suspending any and all immigration from “terror prone” regions. In interviews this has been specified specifically as a possible ban on Muslims entering the United States.

In health care Trump plans to abolish Obamacare which has lead to some concern over birth control, now free under Obama’s health care policy. And if there was any comfort in the fact that Obama’s administration ruled to protect Planned Parenthood’s funding, Trump has stated that he will turn over every executive order Obama has made that he views as unconstitutional. And when asked what his plans were for Roe v. Wade, the case decided in the supreme court to legalize abortion nationally, he said he would pick Supreme Court Justices who were pro-life.

And during his term in office that could be as many as four. Trump in an interview with 60 Minutes said the state’s should be able to decide abortion laws, and that women who wished to get abortions may have to “go to another state”, however in presidential debate’s he went as far as to say there should be “some sort of punishment” for women who get abortions. Vice president-elect Mike Pence has also taken a strong stance on repealing abortion laws.

The people have spoken, or at least the electoral college has, and President Donald Trump will be sworn into office in just a short 55 days. As of right now that presidency looks like one of racism, sexism, and ignorance over proven scientific fact. A Trump administration seems to be attempting to time travel back to the 1950’s where everything was great and prosperous—for white-anglo-saxon-men. From breaking the Paris agreement, banning muslim immigrants, deporting millions of people, canceling healthcare for millions, to attempting to reverse Roe v. Wade. It seems that maybe Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan should have been “Make America Polluted, Suppressed and White Again”.

Politics runs interference on the football field

BY MARISA GOGLIA
Copy Editor

As Americans are we standing tall or sitting down? In sports there is a camaraderie amongst teammates. Players who come together, work toward the common goal of winning the game for thousands of adoring fans. However, recent events have caused a divide in the locker room.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem in protest. Kaepernick cites a misconduct against African Americans and minorities within the United States, according to NFL.com. This is no longer becoming a trend, but a movement. It is gaining momentum and igniting debatable conversations from the basketball court to the Cohen Cafeteria at County College of Morris.

Kaepernick later defended his decision to protest with a statement on NFL.com. I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,Kaepernick said. To me this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.

Jack Sullivan, athletic director of CCM, points out this type of protest is not something new, noting the 1968 Olympics. According to TIME, two African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on top of the medal podium with their heads bowed, and raised black gloved fists. Both men who were track and field hall of famers, were suspended from the U.S. team. Unfortunately, their protest was not as well received as Kaepernicks.

Politics is very difficult,Sullivan said. Theres been many unfortunate incidents that have happened in our country that is causing a divide. Its sad to think in 2016 we would be going in different directions, as opposed to coming closer together.

For CCMs home basketball games, the national anthem is played. If a student were to kneel, Sullivan said he would like to know the reason behind it.

Students have the right, and Im not the person thats going to deny a student’s right to do what they want,Sullivan said. I would like to find out what their rationale is, the message they’re trying to send is. I would like to educate myself. I wouldn’t haphazardly say this will not happen, its not a dictatorship. I have my opinions and everyone has their own opinions, and thats under the flag we have and fly under, We have that right, its not easy, you can disagree, thats what America is. People have that right of freedom of speech.  Im not going to debate that.

In recent weeks athletes have stood in solidarity with Kaepernick from the Miami Dolphins to U.S. national womens soccer player Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe knelt during the United States national anthem, but stood for Thailand because the country offers no First Amendment protections to its people, according to breitbart.com.

I dont want to kneel forever,” Kaepernick said, according to USA today. I want these things to change. I do know it will be a process, and it is not something that will change overnight. But, I think there are some major changes that we can make that are reasonable.

The first change Kaepernick made was to donate to his own cause. Kaepernick is donating his first $1 million this season to organizations who are combating against the issues he cares deeply about. The next day Kaepernick stepped up his offer saying he will donate $1 million of all his jersey sales to this cause.

Millennials hold presidential power

BY JARED BURKE
Contributor

The Morris County Solar 2 Program, which prompted solar panels being installed over the County College of Morris parking lots in 2012, is implementing phase two of the project in an attempt to further reduce the county’s energy costs. Solar panels will be installed at five public schools, the county library, the county Public Safety Training Academy, the county’s Office of Temporary Assistance and at the municipal complex in Chester, New Jersey.

“We have 10 solar projects on nine sites planned to be built this year and completed by Dec. 31,” said Larry Ragonese, County of Morris communications director. “There had been some financial setbacks in the first phase of the solar project, but phase two has been scrutinized in a very conservative manner. Only sure bets to generate positive revenue and save entities costs on their power needs have been included.”

According to the Request for Proposal issued by the Morris County Improvement Authority, “the county anticipates 27 percent reimbursement for site construction from the federal government through the Federal 1603 Program, which requires work to be completed by Dec. 31.”

The RFP noted that the Morris County Improvement Authority sold $33.1 million in bonds to help finance the Morris County Solar 2 Program. However, due to numerous factors, including a legal battle between renewable energy program’s developer and contractor, the Solar 2 Program is facing financial deficits.

Therefore, the county strategically chose locations for phase two that would generate enough solar power revenue to help pay off phase one debt and provide long-term energy cost savings for the locations that will host the solar panels.

According to CCM’s website, the solar panels installed on campus during phase one of the project were expected to “generate about 45 percent of the college’s yearly energy usage, which would power about 340 homes per year.”

In addition to saving energy and money, the solar panels over the CCM parking lots have provided a bonus to the students parking under them — protection from the weather.

“Parking under the solar panels in the bad weather is awesome because they keep the snow off my car,” said Professor Evren Gulistan, a CCM adjunct algebra professor. “I think it’s a great idea for saving electricity and cutting the costs on the electric bill.”

But the panels have not worked as well in the rainy weather.

“I get drenched when I park under the solar panels in the rain,” said Marvin Vibanco, a CCM liberal arts major. “The rain is like a waterfall over the edges of the panels. It falls directly onto me and my car as I try to get in and out, but they are great in the snow and also great for the environment and helping to reduce energy costs.”

Whether the panels are sheltering cars from the snow, power washing them during the rain or saving the county thousands of dollars on its electric bills, the Solar 2 Program is an investment that affects us all.

Clinton losing County College of Morris clout

BY MOHAMMED RAHMATULLAH
Contributor

PHOTO CREDIT FACEBOOK

With the New Jersey primaries coming up in June and less than half the primary contests left ahead, the County College of Morris students are beginning to cement their political leanings for this election cycle. Having remained largely undecided, many students are now beginning to watch the race closely to help shape their decisions. While many students are wrestling with indecision, one sentiment seems to be echoed among them: a growing sense of disillusionment toward Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I thought before that I was going with Hillary but a couple things came up that I saw recently,” said Helen Burke, a human services student, “I’m questioning my [support].”

Largely disregarded due to being one of the last primaries held, the New Jersey primary is often considered to be irrelevant to the outcome of the race. However, this year the New Jersey primary could have a larger impact. Having raised $42 million in donations in February and $44 million in donations in March, Sen. Bernie Sanders has expressed his intention to continue his campaign despite suffering heavy losses during the March 15 contests. With such a divisive and heated race, it is conceivable that both candidates will press on until June, granting the New Jersey primaries a greater significance than in recent years.

Shaken by recent statements made by the Clinton campaign, Burke said that she wants to see a candidate who will tackle the growing issue of poverty. Recent statewide funding cuts trouble Burke, who is a social worker and has seen the impact of conservative policies first-hand. As a registered Democrat, Burke said that she will “absolutely” be voting in the New Jersey primaries.

“From what I’ve read, Hillary is very reflective; copy-cat like,” said Jason Driesse, a communication student and ex-Republican who has become an Independent voter. “She’s trying to win people over…by saying what they want to hear.”

Citing recent accusations that Clinton is mimicking the rhetoric used by the Sanders campaign, Driesse said he does not trust Clinton’s promises and that he’s “not a fan” of Hillary.

“The one thing that I do like is that she already has experience,” said Alejandro Garavito, a biology student and registered Republican. Stating his interest in Republican candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, Garavito intends to vote in the New Jersey Republican primary.

Garavito said he was concerned about Clinton’s mixed and occasionally contradictory stances on issues.

“She’s very on and off,” said Garavito.

Trump vs. Cruz: is there a lesser of two evils?

BY SANDRA RIANO
Senior Opinion Editor

With Donald Trump dominating media coverage, the extremities of the platforms of other Republican candidates are less obvious. While Trump is leading both in polls and in asinine comments, opponent Ted Cruz may actually be even more extreme in his ideologies.

Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, junior Senator from Texas, prides himself on his evangelical views, his desire to abolish the separation of church and state and his work towards restricting abortions and closing women’s health clinics in his state.

Ted Cruz also apparently doesn’t care about war crime convictions when in office because his approach to dealing with terrorism will be simply to “carpet bag” them or bomb them with no regards for civilian casualties which is considered a war crime by the terms of the Geneva Conventions.

Cruz is most widely known for his 2013 filibuster against the Affordable Care Act in which he spoke for 21 hours in which he read tweets and “Green Eggs and Ham” on the floor of the U.S Senate. Now running for the office of president, Cruz still stands by his actions that led to the third longest government shutdown in history and plans to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office while providing no coverage plans to the millions who will lose their health insurance. How will President Cruz change the country for the better if he has a history of putting his beliefs before the needs of others?

Cruz, a Canadian immigrant born to Cuban-American parents, plans to deport all 12 million undocumented immigrants that currently live in the U.S. While Trump has this same idea, Cruz has revealed that he has a plan to actually do it. He will use U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a task force to go knocking on doors to arrest immigrants. This includes immigrants that have lived here for the majority of their lives and some who have children who may have been born here, making them legal citizens. He also wants to track immigrants, according to his website, in the same manner as “Amazon and Fedex can track packages”.

After severing millions of families through deportation Ted Cruz also plans to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Education and has provided no clarification for how the tasks done by those departments will get fulfilled.

The Republican Party is leaving much to be desired this election cycle and with Trump so far into the race, many Republicans are jumping onto the “Never Trump” bandwagon a little late. The effort to stop Trump may benefit Cruz but we have to ask ourselves who is really going to be the lesser of two evils in this situation: a Tea Party, radical Senator who knows how to manipulate the government or an entertainer who will say anything and appeal to anyone to get what he wants. While Trump craves attention and latches onto the week’s topic of conversation at least he sticks to his guns like when he was booed during a debate for opposing the Iraq War. Cruz on the other hand is deeply committed to his Tea Party ideology and is not well liked at all in Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, moderate Republicans like John Kasich who are generally nice, sensible people are being left behind as the radical demagogues and bullies sweep up delegates across the country. What we are witnessing is a primary election that is not based on legitimate policy and experience but is based instead on fear mongering and playing to the crudest prejudices that still exist in many Americans.