Tuesday, September 30, 2008

LF Available in McGinley Center soon!

Keep an eye out for an LF distribution table. It should be in McGinley at the end of next week or near that time!

Also, if you are not a Fordham student but would like a copy of LF, please send a check with a minimum suggested donation of $5 to the following address:

Liberty Forum of Fordham University
P.O. Box 1394
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Official National Language is a No-go for Obama

By Michelle Hardy

(Note: This article appeared in the print version of LF but was unfortunately cut off at the end. It appears in its entirety here. Enjoy.)

It was a rare moment in history when a Barack Obama’s speech caused worrisome ‘uh-oh’s’ instead of the usual ecstatic joy and optimism. “Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English… you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish!” declared the Illinois junior senator in Powder Springs, Georgia. Thankfully, the finely tuned public ear caught the resonant undertone in Obama’s statement that assimilation ought to be conciliatory, on the part of the native citizens of this country.

After substantial criticism, Obama assured the public his comments merely intended that it is time for Americans to branch out and become bilingual, trilingual, etc. And that’s a great idea. Yet the glaring flaw in this speech was not that Obama wants Santa to leave some Rosetta Stone software under the holiday tree this year. His comments implied that, although he acknowledges the need for immigrants to learn English, it is not a top priority issue for him.

According to polls, Americans recognize the threat of losing their bond formed by having one language, while letting an assortment of languages fight for attention, creating cultural barriers between natives and newcomers. This is not an unlikely scenario, considering that the Hispanic population will have nearly tripled between the years 2000 and 2050 according to the US Census Bureau, reaching 102.6 million and radically shifting America’s cultural climate.

That’s why the 2007 Zogby poll reported that 83 percent of US citizens would like to officially name English the country’s national language. Three-quarters of Hispanic Americans within the survey, an unexpected and astounding number, favored a national language as well. While the decision would help maintain unity as the nation’s Spanish-speaking population skyrockets, Obama voted against such a move in 2006 and again in 2007.

America is actually the most multilingual country in the world, considering almost every world language is spoken on its soil. We learned in kindergarten that the reason our wide array of ethnicities can co-exist peacefully is the unifying American melting pot: living under one common language and one common culture while every ethnic group or nationality adds a unique flavor to the recipe. School House Rock metaphors aside, when immigrants arriving in large droves are not adequately encouraged to, or are implicitly encouraged not to, assimilate into mainstream culture, primarily through language, a destructive disunity arises.

This is already happening in cities like Miami, where the Hispanic and Latino population composes 80.3 percent of the city’s people, and English speakers are a minority. It’s now extremely difficult for those who don’t speak Spanish to find jobs in the city - even simple minimum wage jobs. As a result, many English speakers are moving out.

Canada decided to embrace two national languages - English and French - but the results have been a bit less than impressive. Residents of Quebec, a French-speaking province, continually argue they should secede from the nation because their culture is so distinct from the rest of Canada.

And that’s in a country much less linguistically diverse than the US. What’s protecting us from similar cultural incompatibility in our future? Will we make Hispanic immigrants more comfortable at the expense of other immigrants? Will Indian or Arab immigrants seeking jobs have to learn English and Spanish on top of their native languages? Will distinct areas of the US become virtually inaccessible to English speakers?

It is undoubtedly important that US children do learn a second or third language in an age of globalization, and in all fairness, Spanish is extremely beneficial, considering it is the second most spoken language in the world. But a language should be acquired as a personal goal for professional or travel purposes - not to make living without English easier on any one immigrant group.

“While bilingualism is something to which more Americans should aspire in today's global economy, the skill is certainly not a civic duty, rather, something extra to be lauded upon its achievement,” said Fordham sophomore Ryan Vale.

The US has had non-English-speaking immigrants for as long as it has existed. Not until the current porous border crisis have we ever found logic in adopting immigrants’ languages so that English isn’t a necessity. New Yorkers in the early 1900’s did not campaign for Italian to be a vital part of their children’s curriculum. Italians fully integrated, linguistically and otherwise, and we can now go to Little Italy right outside Fordham and communicate with every waiter in every restaurant on Arthur Avenue (save for a bit of embarrassment at how we pronounce, or more likely mispronounce, the menu).

“I believe that to promote unity we need not only a national language but also a law that requires immigrants in the naturalization process to learn that language after being in the country for a certain amount of time,” says Fordham senior James Scalera. “In order to interact with other individuals in society and in order for the economy to function properly, each of us must be able to speak one common language. If we make exceptions for one ethnicity we must make an exception for all ethnicities, something which is obviously not feasible or at all realistic.”

So why should an official language be the first step in encouraging the United States to unite? With this move, all government business – including public documents, meetings, legislation, hearings, and government ceremonies – would be conducted solely in English. This would encourage fluency in English so that immigrants could participate in the democratic process and fully assimilate.

Opponents ironically argue this shows racism and intolerance, yet without English, immigrants are isolated linguistically and culturally from other citizens. Rumors that English would be forced upon immigrants in healthcare and judicial matters are blatantly incorrect. The official move to a national language would be the first step in closing the cultural gap between new and old Americans, connecting them by means of a universally spoken language.

If learning English takes the back seat in national politics, there is a great chance it will take the back seat for immigrants as well. Declaring a national language is not a priority for Obama, and showing leniency on this vital need, “instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English,” cannot be afforded in coming years. More than ever before, it’s an issue we most definitely need to be “worrying” about.

America’s diversity is admirable because a variety of ethnicities can stand together under one common language and culture, not because its diverse cultural groups exist interdependently, factionalized in their varying comfort zones. Voting against a unifying national language as ethnic demographics in America rapidly transform is just not logical. ¡Es il√≥gico, Obama!

US Must Maintain a Top-tier Nuclear Arsenal

By Chadwick Ciocci

This past summer I had the opportunity to participate in an interview on US nuclear weapons policy with a public broadcasting company based out of Nagasaki, Japan (essentially the Japanese equivalent of PBS). My Japanese friends sought to understand American reasoning and opinion on its current nuclear weapons policy in this new age of global terrorism and moving threats.

They had a difficult time understanding why I would support maintaining a top tier nuclear weapons arsenal when I readily acknowledged that nuclear weapons are not a deterrent to terrorists like Osama bin Laden. I admitted that at first this may seem like a contradiction in threat and response, but that in fact one has nothing to do with the other.

You see, nuclear weapons are a deterrent to rational, normal governments- not radical, Islamic, and state-less jihadists. They are a deterrent to nations like Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, not al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad or any of the other terrorist groups who seek to destroy the lives of innocent civilians.

Why maintain a nuclear arsenal then when terrorism is the main existential threat against the USA? Because terrorism isn’t the only threat against the USA.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Soviet Union collapsed into Russia and China is becoming increasingly capitalistic, these two nations pose a very real threat to the USA, especially in the long term. Russia is not only dramatically rebounding economically but is becoming more and more aggressive on the world stage, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin and his successor Dmitry Medvedev. Likewise, China is becoming a major economic powerhouse which will eventually translate into a major military powerhouse.

But Russia and China are not the only two long-term potential adversaries we face. In the shorter term, North Korea, Iran and Syria pose serious potential nuclear threats. Emotions in the Middle East continue to be (?)aflame as the USA gallops around nation building.(?)Unfortunately it may come to the point where sultans and Muslims alike feel the only way to get on equal footing with the USA will be to develop nuclear weapons of their own.

A cursory overview of the United States’ current and future threats (all which involve nations that currently possess nuclear weapons or ones which are actively seeking them) makes it abundantly clear that it would be quite foolish for the US, in any way, to make itself vulnerable to these nations by weakening its own nuclear arsenal.

Why then do some people advocate the abolition of the United States’ nuclear weapons cache? I believe such advocacy is powered by several factors:

1. A lack of understanding of the threats against our nation.
2. An unrealistic and blinding (but very respectable) idealism.

In the case of my Japanese friends, it seemed as if these were the two most prevalent reasons they supported American abolition (when considering the fact that they are from Nagasaki, it is easy to understand their short-sided impracticality.)

One will note that I label such blinding idealism as respectable, and I do not do so facetiously. I truly believe such idealism is respectable, as I share in the belief that the end goal of American and international policy should be the total abolition of nuclear weaponry- I merely want to pursue this goal in a way that ensures the safety and security of the USA.

If we contend that the primary responsibility of government is to protect its citizens against threats foreign and domestic, then to disarm ourselves in a way that would give Russia, China or some other nation a nuclear tactical superiority would be not only foolish but irresponsible, and represent a failure of American government.

Pain at the Pump

By Barbara F. Delo

Tuition, books, food…..gas.

The 2,500 students who park their cars in Fordham’s parking lots every day will have to dig deeper into their pockets this year. For many of the students who drive daily to Fordham, the price of commuting far exceeds the price of books and is inching up on the cost of room and board. Gas prices, in particular, have reached such high levels that both presidential camps have put forth plans to help ease the burden of high gas prices.

In January of 2007, the average price of a gallon of gas nationwide was $2.27. In July of 2007, the average was a record high $4.16 a gallon.

What does this mean to the typical Fordham commuting student? A recent fill up of a midsize car at a Mobil Station in Nanuet, New York cost sixty-six dollars, and the round trip from there to Fordham used a quarter of a tank of gas. It would cost a minimum of $1908.00 for a Fordham student from this area to drive to classes four days a week for an entire school year. Add to that amount $450.00 a year for tolls, $440.00 a year for a parking pass, higher gas usage when the traffic is bad, and an occasional trip for a football game and the price tag for a commuting student from Rockland County is above three thousand dollars a year. Gas expenses for a student from Monroe or Yorktown Heights would be a little higher, for students from Yonkers and White Plains, a little less.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the price of foreign oil on the world market is far and away the biggest culprit in the increase in gas prices. America imports 66% of the crude oil used in this country primarily from Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq, and Mexico. As countries like China and India put more cars on the road, the demand for gasoline world wide increases and drives up the amount oil producing countries can charge. These higher prices are then magnified as the oil moves to the United States because of the recent devaluation of the dollar.

Taxes represent the next highest portion of the price of gas. In 2007 the national average for combined federal, state, and local taxes represented 24% of the total price of gasoline.

Other contributing factors, like natural disasters, that affect the oil infrastructure and investment in the oil supply by speculators have a smaller impact price of oil.

What will our next president do?

Democratic presidential hopeful Barak Obama’s proposal for dealing with the current energy crisis focuses on reducing America’s oil consumption. He proposes to achieve this through an “Apollo like commitment” to new technology that would provide alternatives to oil as our primary fuel and add efficiency to our cars. According to his official campaign website, an “Obama Administration would invest 150 billion government dollars over ten years towards the development of biofuels, plug-in hybrids, and renewable energy.” He also proposes to send government checks to low income families to help defray the cost of higher fuel prices.

Obama’s current plan leaves in place existing bans on new development in either the oil rich Anwar region of Alaska or in our nation’s numerous offshore oil deposits. This plan is, therefore, acceptable to even the most stringent environmentalists. However, it still leaves foreign oil as a significant source of our nation’s fuel until technological breakthroughs succeed in changing the face of the automobile industry. Recently, Obama has shown signs of wavering on this environmental commitment.

Republican presidential candidate, John McCain has a more vigorous plan to alleviate the present gas crisis. His plan would approach the problem on a number of different fronts. Named by his campaign the Lexington project, his goal is to address both short term prices and to make America free of dependence on foreign oil by the year 2025.

Short term, McCain proposes a gas tax holiday that would bring relief from federal taxes to all citizens. He also supports lifting the ban on off-shore drilling increasing domestic oil production within two years. Lower prices could be realized even sooner as anticipated new supplies would decrease the need for holding back large reserves. “We have trillions of dollars of oil and gas reserves in the US at a time we are exporting hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas to buy energy,” he explains.

As part of his overall plan, McCain would also encourage research on new energy technologies, including biofuels, renewable energy sources, and battery technology. To do this, he would offer tax incentives and bonuses to companies for breakthrough technology. Finally, McCain sees controlled nuclear power and development of clean coal technology as part of a long term plan to free America from dependence on foreign oil.

Both the Obama and McCain plans oppose irresponsible oil speculation.

As the politicians debate the issue in Washington and the presidential candidates argue their policy positions, Fordham commuting students are left battling the higher gas prices here at home. Students adjust their schedules to fit needed classes into as few days as possible. They check websites to find the lowest gas prices and they look for carpools. Some students detour across the George Washington Bridge to Jersey for cheaper gas. A few daring students even park on Fordham road, a risky endeavor as campus security reports a significant number of car break-ins off campus each semester, to avoid the recently increased parking fees. But be wary of this. A better course of action might be to use the new parking plan offered by the school that offers a lower fee and pay-per-usage coupons.

Even our teachers are not immune from the higher price of gas. And for Fordham graduates who nab prestigious jobs in The Big Apple, the pain of commuting may be just beginning.

America's Past Obamas

By Pearse Lenz

Barack Obama’s all-inclusive message of “Change” and the dashing good looks that come with it have attracted millions of Americans as they face the challenging current political and economic climate. Available jobs are harder to find today than before the credit crisis of the summer of 2007. Food and energy prices are soaring, and giant corporations have collapsed. Even the New York Times has written about the attempts of the mega-wealthy to cut back on their purchases.
In addition to the present turmoil, President George W. Bush has not met the expectations the American public held prior to both his election victories, and opinion polls suggest that the nation, as a whole, feels dissatisfied with his performance. Times are dire and the nation needs a messiah: someone we can trust to support us through the unknown trials ahead and help us escape the awful reality America is experiencing.

According to the popular media, the only man worthy to take up the challenge is Barack Obama. The popular media’s disproportionate focus on Obama has turned him into a “celebrity” of sorts, according to the McCain campaign. Not to withdraw credit from the Obama campaign staff’s efforts (they have produced a brilliant campaign thus far), but most of the attention drawn to him comes from his charisma. It is an important aspect for every presidential candidate in any election to have, considering that many people will vote with their hearts and not according to a candidate’s policies. The charismatic candidate is an attractive one, however not necessarily the best.

History has shown that the ideal candidate with the “Presidential Look” has not always performed up to expectations. This is not to say that every personable presidential candidate that lacks experience will perform poorly, but instead the history of the Harding and Carter Administrations display vivid examples of how voting based on a candidate’s message and image are misleading.

A rather eclectic duo of Presidents, Harding and Carter shared a common trait, in that they “seemed” to be capable of steering the country on the right course, despite their lack of experience in government affairs, yet America instead showed their opinions of both presidents by not re-electing them for a second term.

Before Harding entered the Presidential race in 1920, the Republican Party believed that the gregarious Harding was the ideal candidate. The tall, dark, handsome U.S. Senator held an unremarkable and short legislative career (sound familiar?) before being elected. He promised to calm the chaos and redirect the nation following World War One, and instead brought about the Teapot Dome Scandal and died two years into his term. He has been ranked as being one of the least effective and worst Presidents in history.

Ever the philosopher, Jimmy Carter won the 1976 election on part of his ideals for a better America and providing rhetoric to assuage the pain that followed the Watergate Scandal. Carter entered the office with a disarming Southern charm and only four years of executive-level experience as Governor of Georgia. Past his response to the 1970’s energy crisis, Carter’s ideals did little to help America during the difficult times of that decade.

The economy experienced double-digit inflation, high-interest rates, and stagflation. Carter’s lack of experience in foreign affairs did little to improve the Iran Hostage Crisis, a national crisis that continued after the American public showed their disapproval for Carter, ousting him in the 1980 election.

Both Harding and Carter won their election with their rhetoric to “change” America following trying times for the American public (WW I for Harding, Watergate for Carter), and the public image of the two candidates helped propel them to the Oval Office. Despite these promises and messages and seemingly trustworthy image, Harding and Carter left America in arguably worse shape than when they entered.

The President bears the responsibility of the actions of the entire government and every employee and agent; hence, the chances that someone will make a serious mistake and put the nation in a challenging position are high. A President must have the confidence to take that responsibility of every mistake, a confidence that must be forged through victories and defeats performed on a large scale.

Unfortunately for Obama, a few victories in a Chicago neighborhood and the Illinois State Senate will not make the cut. Senator John McCain has sponsored 31 bills that the Senate has enacted in the fifteen years he has been Senator of Arizona, which is an extremely high number relative to his peers’ ability to pass their bills into law. To his credit, Obama has shown that he can also propose bills and see them through the entire legislative process- twice. Obama’s confidence seems almost undeserved when this fact comes to mind.

If further interested in learning about McCain’s or Obama’s Senate voting record or Bill Sponsorship, go to the Library of Congress website, http://thomas.loc.gov/. If interested in the effects of the Carter Administration, look at Iran.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The -isms bringing down the Obama campaign

By Rachel Ring

Throughout recent election coverage, I’ve been hearing a few re-occurring themes since the McCain- Palin surge. I find these views to be not only contradictory, but a priceless example of how elitist and condescending the Obama campaign actually is, and demonstrates their panic that America is slowly waking up from the “Obama spell” as I like to call it, and coming to their senses. Logging onto Yahoo the other day, one of their top news headlines was that Obama is losing ground because of Americans “deep seeded” racism. Wait a minute!

How presumptuous that the AP would just assume that Obama is losing because of his race. I’ve said this from the beginning, if it was Colin Powell running for office, or Condoleeza Rice, they’d have my vote. This isn’t about race, it’s about the fact that Obama is proven by his voting record to be the most liberal senator on record, and many Americans aren’t comfortable with some of his votes and choices.

Is the press implying that Americans should just get used to Obama’s views and vote for him because if not, we’ll look racist? No, on the contrary, we’d look stupid, for voting for a man because of his race, and not because we agree with him and want him as our president. Furthermore, Obama has not done himself any favors.

That grandiose spectacle at the Democratic convention of giving a speech on stage as if already in the Oval Office was simply unsettling. If we don’t vote for Obama, it’s implied us simpleton Americans must be racist, we must “cling to our religion and our guns” we must just be so ignorant as to not see the greatness that is Obama.

To the Obama campaign, voters could not have possibly made a critical thinking process and decided that Obama’s far left and sometimes downright scary votes just don’t fit with their views. No, they’re insisting that Americans must just be racist and short sighted if they cast their vote in favor of McCain.

As a woman, the most infuriating theme that I’ve seen out of the election coverage is the Democrats anger over the switch that white women in America have made by swinging largely in favor of the McCcain-Palin ticket. Let’s flashback to Hillary’s primary run, where it was just fine with Democrats if white women supported another woman when it was in their favor.

What has been such a disappointment for me is that women such as Gloria Steinem (who I respected and admired) have gone and just made themselves look worse than any misogynist man I’ve ever seen by completely ripping apart Sarah Palin’s life and views. (What would have been the reaction had the Republicans done that to Hillary? There would have been cries out against the Republican Party being old and out of touch, but when the same happens to Sarah Palin, the same reaction is not had).

This is where feminism has lost its grip on reality. This is why women still have to deal with glass ceilings and why women have not made as much progress as they should have. Feminists, and Democrats, expect their women to be these bra burning, Roe v Wade supporting, rejecters of religion and men in their lives in order to be “progressive” women.

However, they’ve clearly completely missed the mark on most of the women in America, who hold middle class values in high regard, are juggling work and family life, and admire a working mother. Why aren’t fellow women at least respecting Palin, a working woman who clearly is the main breadwinner in her marriage, raising 5 children and one with special needs? It’s because she does not fit in the with the feminism role of the sixties and seventies.

She’s an unapologetic Christian, she’s attractive, and she can hold her own in such unbalanced interviews as the Charlie Gibson ABC debacle. The meltdown of some of these feminists against Palin has actually set women back: it’s a classic example of middle school girls in the schoolyard. Because Palin does not agree with the democratic feminist majority, they’re going to rip her apart in a brutal group mentality, and this trend has clearly turned voters off and in favor of McCain-Palin 2008.

That, compacted with the false racism accusations of the Obama campaign and the Democrats, will continue to hurt them in the upcoming election.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Liberty Forum is out!

Stop by the College Republican table at the club fair today to pick up an issue of The Liberty Forum- Fordham's only conservative publication.

Read about the high cost of oil and gas, America's past Obama's, the US' nuclear weapons policy and more.

The club fair is from 2:30-4:30 on Eddy's.