Vermont Senators and College

Emily B. Cyr

To the thrill of college students at Georgetown University this Thursday, 2016 presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders came to campus to explain his philosophy of Democratic-Socialism. At a school like Georgetown where the average cost of attendance for an undergraduate is $67, 420 annually, it is not hard to guess that Sanders might find a few fans for his tuition free college plan. But while people might think Sanders’ plan is radical, he is certainly not the first Senator from Vermont to propose drastic changes to higher education.

Before Sanders held his seat in the Senate, many, many years before, it was held by Justin Morrill. Born in 1810, Morrill grew up in Vermont with the aspirations of obtaining a college education, but the inability to do so. He got as much schooling as he could while working different jobs throughout New England. Fortunately, he became politically active and was elected to the House of Representatives as a Whig in 1854. It was during his time in Congress where he made history, by proposing the groundbreaking Land Grant Acts of 1862 and of 1890.

These acts are responsible for the vast network of schools now known as Land Grant schools. (Penn State, Cornell, MIT, Tennessee State, Texas A&M and the University of Kentucky are a few to name). Morrill had both personal and political reasons for expanding higher education; one namely being that this was a time of rapid industrialization in the United States. Farming techniques were lagging and Morrill saw a need for improving the sciences of agriculture and engineering. Morrill also wanted to expand education opportunities so that people like him, the son of a blacksmith, had access to an education that included practical studies as well as the liberal arts.  The schools were funded through the sales of public lands, making this a huge increase in the federal government’s involvement with higher education. The bill passed in 1890 extended these benefits to African Americans, and created the 1890 schools, better known as the historically black colleges and universities.

While Morrill provided the schools, now Sanders wants to make them free. The two senators have more in common than just the higher education. Both Sanders and Morrill use Europe as an example of what they are hoping to implement. In his website platform Sanders references how Germany has made college tuition free, similar to Morrill referencing how Europe already had agriculture schools which were making them industrially superior to the United States.

Bringing a little irony to the table—the fact that Sanders does not look so radical next to Morrill, who literally transformed education from an elite privilege to a public good. The Republican making the Demo cart look conservative…who would have thought? 


Judge Napolitano: 'Law is on the President's side...politics are not'

Judge Napolitano said Thursday on 'Special Report with Bret Baier'  that  the 'Law is on the President's side, but the politics are not' after the House resoundingly approved veto-proof legislation that requires new requirements for screening refugees from Syria and Iraq, following Friday's terrorist attacks that killed 129 people in Paris.

Obama has planned to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to enter the United States based on a 2005 statute, but  today the House passed changes to that. It now goes on to the Senate where it faces a much tougher battle to passage there.

"The law is on the President's side, but the politics are not," the  Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst said. "I just don't see how the president can do this, even if the Senate fails to pass the legislation that the House passed. He has absolutely no public opinion behind him, and he and Mrs. Clinton will suffer terrifically for it."

The Banlieues of France

Emily B. Cyr

For those familiar with the situation in the Parisian suburbs, known as banlieues, it was probably not a shock that the alleged ring leader of the Paris attacks was found there. Saint-Denis, where he was located, is a northern suburb of Paris, one of many that are infamous for their crime and violence. The banlieues of Paris represent France’s problem of a largely marginalized immigrant community that has become a potential home for radicalism.

In the mid-20th century, three things caused a major influx of immigrants into France. The first came after World War II; already facing housing issues from the destruction of war, France also had to find room for the flood of immigrants they were receiving. Secondly, the influx of new residents grew with the end of the Algerian War in 1962 when thousands were repatriated to France from Algeria.  The third influx came during a period known as Les Trente Glorieuses, meaning the thirty glorious (years). During this time (roughly 1945-1975), France experienced great economic growth and sought immigrants to fill labor shortages. But this prosperity ended with the oil crisis of 1973, and employment opportunities started to dwindle.  

During this massive growth in population, France created high rise apartment complexes called HLMs (Habitation à Loyer Modéré), where masses of immigrants live. These are rent controlled apartments in the industrial suburbs where many immigrants from the Maghreb countries like Tunisia and Morocco live. The HLMs have become synonymous with high crime rates, high unemployment rates and low graduation rates. One of the major reasons for this is because many banlieues are physically isolated. Usually the benefit of living in the suburbs is to have an urban city at your fingertips and be able to easily escape to the calm suburbs. But for many of the underprivileged banlieues like Clichy-Sous-Bois, this is a far cry from reality. While Clichy-Sous-Bois is only 15 kilometers (less than 10 miles) from the center of Paris, it is not connected by the metro thus it takes about an hour and a half to commute into the city. Due to frustrations like these, many residents in the banlieues became restless.

It was starting in the 1980s the banlieues got a bad rap for violence. In the late summer of 1981, around 250 cars were vandalized in France. This was a tactic known as “rodéo”, meaning the cars were specifically stolen, taken on joy rides and then burned together. This led to an increase in tensions between the police and Maghreb community, leading to two tragic events. The first was event occurred in 1986 when Malik Oussekine died. Oussekine was arrested during a student protest at a university in Paris who died in police custody under questionable circumstances. Then in 1993, Makome M’Bowole, an 18 year old immigrant from Zaire, was shot and killed while in police custody.

These two instances inspired Mathieu Kassovitz to create the film La Haine in 1995. La Haine, which means hate, is a French black and white drama that depicts the lives of three youths living in the suburbs of Paris. Spoiler alert: it ends with the main character being accidentally shot and killed by a French police officer.  La Haine won critical acclaim, and vast recognition, with Prime Minister of France Alain Juppé holding a mandatory screening of it for cabinet members.

Of course this did not end the problems, with riots erupting again in 2005. It was actually just in October that President Francois Hollande travelled to the northern Paris suburbs to mark the 10th anniversary of these riots. President Hollande argued there were no longer forgotten neighborhoods in France to which he was met with boos from the crowd, who asked him if things would ever change?

Understanding these deep seeded frustrations already exist, there is concern it could lead to radical action means that President Hollande must keep his eyes focused domestically as well as abroad if he wants to ensure the safety of France.


Franco-American Alliance

Emily B. Cyr

 The attacks in Paris on Friday still feel unreal; impossible to understand and the source of incalculable grief. While trying to grasp these events, there has been one phrase that comes to the minds of many Americans: this is France’s 9/11. It is without a doubt an oversimplification to label the Paris attacks this way but it allows America to show its support and understanding of the grief those in France are feeling this week. It is another way the two countries are linked, and a chance to revive the Franco-American alliance that began centuries ago.

As President Obama said Friday, France is America’s oldest ally. This is a fact not up for argument, because on February 6th 1778, the United States of America made its first formal military alliance with a foreign power through the Treaty of Alliance with France. On the same day, the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed, which ensured a trade alliance between the two countries. These treaties were crucial because at this point in the Revolutionary War, the United States had been on the edge of reconciliation with Britain, and this alliance allowed them to continue fighting. One of the most visible forms of this alliance was through a man beloved by French and Americans alike, the Marquis de Lafayette.

Eager to help the American cause, 19 year old Lafayette came to America by his own means in 1777 (before the Treaty of Alliance was even signed) as the Continental Congress could not afford to pay for his voyage or his service. He offered himself free of charge and George Washington, who liked that Lafayette was a fellow Mason, made him a Major general. Lafayette was not only a symbol of this alliance, but a crucial player in war.

During the miserable winter of 1777 to 1778, Lafayette suffered alongside Washington and his troops at Valley Forge. He used his own money to help the poorly equipped troops at Valley Forge and would not leave despite the protests of his wife back in France.  Lafayette was staunchly loyal to General Washington, and it was through these two men that major victory arrived.

In 1781, Lafayette and Washington laid siege to General Cornwallis and British troops at Yorktown. Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781 and this siege, known as the Battle of Yorktown, became the last major battle in the American Revolution. It was in 1782 victory was formally declared to the United States and a peace treaty was signed in 1783 between the British and Americans. Where was this treaty signed? No place other than Paris.

Without question, the alliance has had its ups and downs. Through the French Revolution, the American Civil War and both World Wars, the countries have argued and quarreled. But, as the outpouring of American support for Paris has shown, France and America are ultimately friends. “Nous sommes tous Américains” read the headlines in Paris on September 12th, 2001, and “we are all Parisians” as Secretary of State John Kerry said last night. Both countries are stronger for this friendship and will be stronger for working together to alleviate this pain and preventing a new one.  

Russian long-range bombers launched ISIS mission from base in southern Russia

By Lucas Tomlinson

12 Russian long-range bombers including supersonic Tu-22M “Backfires” flew from a base in Mozdok, Russia near the border of Georgia and Azerbaijan and launched cruise missiles inside Syria against ISIS targets in Raqqa shortly after midnight according to a US official with knowledge of the mission.

The supersonic Russian bombers flew over the Caspian Sea, Iran, Iraq and into Syria from a base in southern Russia before unleashing a volley of cruise missiles into Raqqa.  The U.S. military is still assessing the damage.

The Russians also struck targets in Aleppo in northwest Syria as well according to reports which could not be independently verified.

Cruise missiles were also fired Monday from the Caspian Sea from Russian Navy missile boats, some of the same vessels which launched a similar salvo into Syria last month and broadcast worldwide by the Russian defense ministry.

Earlier today the Russian Minister of Defense said cruise missiles missiles were launched from Tu-160 and Tu-95 Bear bombers, but did not mention the Tu-22M Backfires. Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu, also said the Russians have carried out 2,300 sorties in the past two days.

The Pentagon says the U.S. military does not count airstrikes the same way the Russians do. 

A defense official says the Russians count each bomb as one strike, and the U.S. counts one mission as a strike.  For example, the four A-10 warthogs and AC-130 gunships which destroyed 116 ISIS fuel trucks over the weekend in eastern Syria counted as only one airstrike according to a report from the U.S. Central Command.

Speaking at the annual Wall Street Journal  CEO Council in Washington Monday night, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called on Europe to do more against ISIS.

“I'm hoping this tragedy has the effect of galvanizing others as it has galvanized the French,” he said.

Krauthammer: The French have called this an act of war and he [Obama] calls it a setback

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Monday on “Special Report” that President Obama’s comments at a news conference at the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey about the administration’s strategy to defeat ISIS were “flat” and “detached.”

“What struck me above all was not the misstatement of facts or the delusions about what's going on, it's the president's tone. There was this lassitude, passivity, annoyance, he was irritable,” Krauthammer said, adding, “You know, 'You guys asking me again if the strategy is working,' as if it's all so obvious that it is.”

Krauthammer went on to say the president failed to show passion or urgency on the issue in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

“The French said this was an act of war, and he calls it a setback,” he said.

In fact, Krauthammer said the only time Obama managed to rouse real emotion during the almost hour-long presser in Turkey was when he asked about the Syrian refugee crisis.

“That’s where he showed the passion. And who’s he angry against? Republicans, who suggest ‘slamming the doors on refugees,’ when their reasons are good,” he concluded.

U.S. miltiary shared intel on ISIS targets in Raqqa, pledges more cooperation

By Fox News Producer Lucas Tomlinson 

The U.S. military shared targeting data with the French military about ISIS targets inside its de-facto headquarters of Raqqa, Syria over the weekend and has pledged to broaden cooperation with the French government going forward a senior defense official tells Fox News.

“We started [Saturday] night, a couple of big targets that the French had been wanting to hit. The coalition gave them 100% support.  Also we will continue with a combination of coalition targets and specific French requested targets for the foreseeable future.  Also we are continuing with our oil revenue targets, under Operation Tidal Wave II.  We are having good results,” according to a U.S. military source.

Operation Tidal Wave II was announced Friday in a Pentagon briefing as a means to attack ISIS oil infrastructure in eastern Syria.  The original Operation Tidal Wave was a U.S. operation against Nazi oil infrastructure in World War II.

When asked how much help the U.S. gave the French military, a separate U.S. official answered, “a lot.”

“The targets had been in the works and we accelerated the strikes due to great interest from the French after the attacks [Friday night],” said the U.S. official.

The French Ministry of Defense said 10 of  its Rafale fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on strategic targets inside Raqqa.

The French strikes were launched from bases in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, according to a statement from the French military.

This week, the French aircraftcarrier Charles de Gaulle is expected to depart midweek from Toulon and sail to the Persian Gulf to begin strikes against ISIS.

In Norfolk, the USS Harry S. Truman strike group which includes, USS Anzio, a guided-missile cruisier and a number of destroyers and other escort ships will get underway later today, part of a previously scheduled deployment to the Middle East.

The French airstrikes against ISS Sunday were quickly planned to avenge the 129 people killed in Paris Friday night.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to his French counterpart, Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian twice over the weekend pledging to “further intensify our close cooperation” against ISIS, according to statements from the Pentagon.

On the same day of the French airstrikes, the U.S. military destroyed 116 ISIS fuel trucks Sunday in Abu Kamal, Syria in the Euphrates River basin near the Syrian-Iraq border, according to the latest strike report from the U.S. Central Command released Monday.

A military official with knowledge of the strikes said that recently arrived U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthogs from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey carried out the strikes on the fuel farm. 

The official said previously the fuel trucks were off limits to U.S. military strike aircraft.  When asked if the Paris attacks would bring about a change in the U.S. military’s rules of engagement, the official said that the truck drivers were warned first before the bombs fell. 

“We dropped leaflets, warning the drivers to scatter,” said an official who had been briefed on the strike.  “Next we strafed the area [with 30mm cannons] before the dropping bombs” from the warthogs.

The official said separately F-15E Strike Eagles, which arrived to Incirlik late last week participated in their first strikes against the Islamic State over the weekend separate from the attack against the fuel farm.

Over the weekend, the U.S. military sent another shipment of small arms ammunition to the Syrian Arab Coalition, driven to them from Erbil, in Kurdish Iraq.


Krauthammer: Trump is “extremely good” at handling the topic of immigration

Charles Krauthammer told viewers Thursday on “Special Report” that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is “extremely good” at handling the topic of immigration. “He [Trump] dances and he dekes and he faints and then he disappears without backing it down,” said the syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor.

Krauthammer was referring to Bret Baier’s one-on-one interview with Donald Trump, where he was challenged about his previous criticism  of former GOP candidate- Mitt Romney’s stand on illegal immigration. Mitt Romney supported self-deportation of illegal immigrants.

Krauthammer said that when asked about his earlier statement about self-deportation being “crazy and mean-spirited,” Donald Trump denied ever having said that. Krauthammer called out the real estate mogul for flip-flopping on  the issue of immigration. Krauthammer explained that self-deportation “ is a lot softer than the forcible deportation, which he [Trump]is advocating now.”

Military "reasonably certain" Jihadi John dead

By Lucas Tomlinson

Col. Steve Warren said the U.S. military is “reasonably certain” that Mohammad Emwarzi better known  as “Jihadi John” was killed in the U.S. drone strike last night.

A U.S. official earlier told Fox News there is “99% certainty” that Jihadi John is dead.

In a Pentagon briefing today from Baghdad, Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, downplayed the drone strike that killed Jihadi John calling more a “blow to the prestige of ISIL” than a military victory.  Warren called the strike “routine” and said similar strikes against mid-to high value ISIS leaders has occurred every two days since May.   

But Warren later said that his death is  “significant” for ISIS.

“The world is a better place,” Warren added.

Warren said the driver of the vehicle carrying Jihadi John was also killed after being struck by a hellfire missile fired from the U.S. drone.   

The assassination of Jihadi John comes as the U.S. military is stepping up airstrikes throughout Iraq and Syria.

Warren said Operation Tidal Wave II, a U.S.-led bombing campaign targeting ISIS’s oil infrastructure in eastern Syria near the city of Dayr as Zawr has been underway in recent days to destroy oil infrastructure controlled by ISIS.  ISIS receives two-thirds of its revenue from oil, according to Warren. Despite earlier attempts to destroy the refineries in eastern Syria, Warren said the damage inflicted earlier was repaired in a 24-hour period on average.

The first “Tidal Wave” operation dates back to World War II when the U.S. targeted Nazi Germany’s oil infrastructure, according to Warren.

Warren said the strikes going on today in eastern Syria against the oil refineries require “replacement parts that ISIS doesn’t have” and parts that, if ordered, could be tracked by the coalition.

“We wanted them broken longer,” said Warren when asked why the strikes did not occur earlier.  Warren said strikes in the past year produced damage to infrastructure that was “easy to replace.”

Media Creating Madness at Colleges

Emily B. Cyr

Tensions are past the boiling point on campuses at the University of Missouri and Yale University.  Protests and unrest are normal part of university life, but there is a relatively modern component that is bringing it to new level: technology (of course). It is specifically the all too easy distribution of emails and overuse of social media websites that has contributed to the current campus chaos.  

One of the biggest nuisances on college campuses today is an app called Yik Yak. Social media opens itself to all sorts of problems but Yik Yak invites danger in a whole other way, because the selling point of the app is that it is anonymous. Yik Yak creates a geographically based conversation where users can post things anonymously and like or dislike posts. It allows people to say whatever they want without fear of consequences, and it is particularly popular among college students. Conversely, it does not seem college students are mature enough for this form of unfiltered freedom.

This app is where Connor Stottlemyre has been accused of posting death threats to African American students at the University of Missouri. While Yik Yak does have the option to flag abusive posts, it is not clear how long it takes them to remove the posts. And even when they do take down the post, students often “screenshot” things, making them permanent even if Yik Yak deletes the posts.

It also does not really matter that Yik Yak is able to locate every user. While it is vital that Yik Yak cooperated with police to locate Stottlemyre so that no physical harm could be done, they could not undo the emotional damage. Another instance of senseless hatred and ignorance has spread further which no arrest can erase.

While Yik Yak is where students are creating problems, it is emails causing college administrations headaches. Amid the threats and protests at the University of Missouri, Dr. Dale Brigham, a Missouri professor, sent an email to his students saying their exam would still happen and encouraged them to stand up to the bullies threatening them. Not only did the students take issue with this email, it was immediately posted all over the Internet.  This circulation led to harsh criticisms of Professor Brigham, so much so that he submitted his resignation.  It seems the same students who feared bullying turned into bullies themselves, misconstruing what Brigham meant and making him feel uncomfortable enough to want to leave the school (Missouri has rejected his resignation).

At Yale, the administration sent an email trying to direct the students in their costume choices for Halloween. There are many reasons to wonder if this email would have been sent 50 years ago, but a big one is this: would Yale have issued this statement if they did not have email? Consider how it is all too easy to draft an email and send it thousands of people by the click of a button. What if this had been a memo that had to be printed and distributed by hand throughout campus; would the administration have felt Halloween costumes were worth such labor?

The emails did not stop here unfortunately, and this is where the trouble really began. Residential faculty member Erika Christakis responded to students annoyed at the overbearing administration, discussing the matter and asking “is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little obnoxious…or yes, offensive?” No, apparently there is not as the students of Yale are now demanding the resignation of Christakis and her husband, who is also a residential faculty member at the university. 

These are only the most recent incidents, and it is clearly not technology’s fault that these issues exist, and there are many ways it is helping to spread awareness/stop these problems. At the same time though, it is a real concern that more and more problems are coming about from things like Yik Yak. We are a country practically built on the tenant freedom of speech, but are we using it appropriately? Freedom of speech does not mean condoning threats, but it does mean there should be room for differing opinions and dialogues. Or are college students not mature enough for this either?




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