Letters to the Editor: Obama Edition

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Instead of More Politics From President Obama, We Need Jobs

President Obama will be on campus Tuesday to talk about the economy and more specifically to make the case for the so-called ‘Buffet Rule,’ which is a tax increase on high income earners and small businesses.

I guess I’m a bit confused about the whole situation. If he’s visiting campus to talk about the economy, why is he advocating for higher taxes? Didn’t he say last year that “you don’t raise taxes in a recession…because that would just suck up and take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole”? If anything, Friday’s jobs report should be an indication that the economy is still weak. The last thing job creators need right now is another roadblock to hire more workers

Call me cynical, but it’s obvious what President Obama is doing. He’s playing politics by setting up his fall campaign instead of focusing on the number one issue that my generation cares about: jobs.

For my fellow college students and me, we are worried about getting our first job out of college and paying off our student loan debt.
Instead of focusing like a laser on getting the economy moving again, all we’ve seen out of President Obama is a mild commitment.  His stimulus plan had lackluster results,  spending is out of control( he’s racked up more debt in 3 years than any of his predecessors) and Obamacare is a Trojan horse for more spending and decreased care. Instead of leadership, we’re hearing class warfare rhetoric and partisan attacks on his opponents.

It’s no wonder then that many students at FAU and across this country, who bought into the ‘Hope and Change’ of 2008, are not rejoining his campaign. I was never an Obama fan, but it’s clear that what Barack Obama promised in 2008 and what he’s delivered has left many in my generation wishing for more.

If his actions of late are any indication, his speech Tuesday will be an attack on the rich, oil companies and the House Republicans’ budget-a cynical ploy to try and deflect from his failed leadership.

It’s really unfortunate because my generation has been hardest hit by the recession. Instead of helping the economy so we can get jobs, he’s worried about saving his own. We may have been duped in 2008, but, this fall, my generation won’t be fooled again.

–Jeffrey Arnold

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Commentary: President Obama comes to campus.

By now most people know that the President of the United States will be speaking at the FAU Boca Raton Campus on Tuesday April 10th.  Most people also know that President Barack Obama is very capable of giving inspiring, motivating speeches.  I would encourage everyone to try your best to attend this speech because of the significance of a sitting President speaking at our university.  I’m grateful the President decided to speak at FAU.
According to the University Press he will be addressing the issue of the economy.  The economy is precisely one of the issues I would like to address here.  He will most likely try to persuade people in his speech of the wonders he has done to turn the economy around, the facts don’t agree with him.  First, I will start by looking at the current unemployment rate of 8.2%.  The President has had an unemployment rate above 8% for his presidency thus far. It must be made clear that when the government reveals the new unemployment numbers each month, those numbers do not include people that have given up looking for a job and are still unemployed.  It only shows the amount of people that are unemployed and actively looking for work.  According to the non-partisan website, Factcheck.org, the unemployment rate with those no longer actively job seeking included “…was 9.9 percent in January.”  Therefore, when you add in all people that are unemployed, not only the ones that are actively seeking a job, the unemployment rate skyrockets to almost 10%!
However, the bad news does not end there.  The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the unemployment rates among Blacks and Latinos is still extremely high.  Black unemployment is at 14% and Latino’s are at 10.3%.  However the most depressing number of all is the unemployment rate among U.S. teenagers with an unemployment rate of 25 %(Bls.gov).”   So please be aware of these facts as the President may tout his supposed accomplishments in regards to the current unemployment rate.  We know that the high number of 8.2% is actually much worse once you dig a little further.

President Obama has blamed his predecessor George Bush for many of the country’s economic woes.  This argument has some merit.  However, a perfect example of President Obama inheriting a bad thing and it getting even worse is clearly seen in the nation’s national debt.  A CBS News article concluded in March that “The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.”  We must realize the magnitude of this.  The debt under the Obama administrations first term is higher than it was during the two terms of President Bush.  It’s scary to think of how much more it could increase under President Obama if he were to get reelected.  The article also gives us the numbers in terms of the debt increase under Obama. “The latest posting from the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department shows the National Debt now stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on President Bush’s last day in office, which coincided with President Obama’s first day (CBSNews.com).
There are many economic reasons to oppose President Obama.  However for me personally, it is his pro-choice extremism that really turns me off.  When Barack Obama was a state senator he opposed bills that would have required that doctors give medical care to children that were born as the result of a failed abortion.  CNN reported that the “The intent of the legislation was to protect any infant who survived a botched abortion by requiring the doctor to give life-saving care. In part, the bill said “a live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.”  This shows a pro-choice extremism that is not really talked about too much because the economy is on everyone’s minds at the moment.  He has also voiced support for the brutal abortion method known as partial birth abortion.  This is a late term abortion in which a child is partially born and then killed.
My goal with this letter is to make people aware of the economic failure of this President and the extremism he has shown in regards to abortion. I urge students to do their own research on these topics and I have included a list of the sources I found to show that I’m not making this up.  We have an important election coming up in November.  Facts are more important than inspiring speeches.

–Eric Lupo

Destroying Prospects for Justice, Mutual Peace and Coexistence, One Palestinian Home at a Time

Last week, members of my organization, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), spent their Friday evening working in pursuit of justice for Palestinians. They posted 200 mock eviction notices in elevators and on the doors of randomly-selected dorms at the three largest residential halls on campus.
The objective was to raise awareness about, and expose Israel’s criminal systematic policy of destroying Palestinian civilian homes in the internationally-recognized Occupied Palestinian Territories (the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem) and Israel proper.
The initiative, previously undertaken by Palestine solidarity activists at Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, and Tufts University, was accomplished with prior approval from the Housing Department one month after meeting with a top Housing official.
Accompanied by Housing staff, we stuck around to answer potential questions posed by students, many of whom were unaware about the issue and expressed a genuine desire to inform themselves.
The local- and campus- based pro-Zionist opposition went up in arms. Rather than attempt to address this real issue of civilian home demolitions by Israel, in general, and in particular, whether this criminal practice serves American and Israeli national security interests, the opposition sought to shift the focus of the FAU community away from Israeli home demolitions and towards an irrelevant triviality (the official Palm Beach County Seal that was inserted on the bottom left-hand corner of the notice).
It should be mentioned that the Zionist outcry came mostly from local pro-Zionist opposition groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League (with its regional HQ’s in Boca Raton) as opposed to FAU students themselves.
The Senior Vice President of Student Affairs’ university-wide statement stating that our initiative violated university policy appeared to be intentionally vague as it failed to contain specific regulations that may have been violated. This is a strong indication that Dr. Brown’s response was more a product of internal and external political pressures exerted against him and the University and less a product of careful legal analysis.
The opposition argued that it was illegal for SJP to use the seal because it did not get prior permission from the county to do so. Ignored was the fact that there was an obvious disclaimer next to the seal which read in bold, “NOT A REAL EVICTION NOTICE. NOT AFFILIATED WITH COUNTY.” Clearly, we had no intention of bypassing the law.
Regardless, do not allow yourself to be misled by this standard tactic.
This deliberate strategy was undertaken with the aim of deflecting attention away from the real issue, that of criminal home demolitions by Israel, and instead, shifting the focus toward an irrelevant triviality (the use of the seal).

Those (myself included) who paid careful attention to the critics’ claims picked up a striking commonality: the pro-Zionist opposition did not dare publicly dispute the validity of the content on the notices regarding Israeli home demolitions, which was obtained from reputable sources. In fact, the opposition deliberately ignored it, and unsurprisingly so.
The pro-Zionist opposition wanted the FAU community to focus on the irrelevant seal, but not on the fact that:
–the demolition of Palestinian civilian homes is a violation of the human right to housing[1];
–the demolition of Palestinian civilian homes constitutes collective punishment (the criminal practice of holding innocents accountable for actions they did not commit), a violation of Israel’s obligations as the Occupying Power[2];
— Approximately 25,000 Palestinian civilian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967[3];
–Israeli home demolitions are carried out without prior warning[4];
–during the last decade, over 90% of Palestinian applications for building permits have been denied by Israel[5];
–while denying Palestinians the right to housing,  Israel is building illegal Jewish-only settlements (colonies) on Palestinian land financed by tax-exempt donations from American entities and sustained by the U.S. treasury[6];
–Israeli home demolitions are made possible by the use of American-made Caterpillar bulldozers[7];
–American taxpayer money is used to fund American-made Caterpillar bulldozer transfers to Israel[8];
–in conducting these illegal home demolitions, Israeli Occupation Forces have murdered 21 defenseless Palestinians, 7 of whom were children[9];
–among those killed was a family of 8 from the Palestinian city of Nablus that was crushed to death after its home was destroyed in 2002[10];
–Rachel Corrie, an American human rights advocate, was twice crushed to death by a Caterpillar bulldozer operated by the Israeli military in March 2003 as she sought to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home[11];
–US transfers of aid to internationally-recognized human rights-violating states such as Israel violate American law.[12]

Israel’s demolition of Palestinian civilian homes clearly contradicts American values, law, and democratic ideals. It harms real prospects for peace, justice, coexistence and dialogue in Palestine and Israel.
Our initial goal was to get 200 FAU students to inform themselves about Israeli home demolitions by posting mock notices on 200 doors. Thanks to the coverage we’ve received, both local and national, we have well-surpassed that goal.  Our activism was exposed to hundreds of thousands of people. This is a real success, despite the newness of our group and the relatively small membership of SJP.
The opposition’s baseless claim that our initiative constituted a form of “anti-Semitism” (Palestinians are Semites, too) and a “hate crime” is a standard one used regularly against Palestine solidarity activists. It is a claim that echoes similar responses in situations where those advocating for Palestinian rights have mounted successful campaigns.
This is the problem inherent in the pro-Zionist opposition. It is one in which the opposition resorts to attacking the organizers as opposed to listening to their message. This fails to bring out about peace.
To humanize the Palestinian people in the eyes of the American public in no way delegitimizes the Jewish people, countless of whom have awaken from their slumber and now struggle in pursuit of Palestinian rights. Those who assert that raising awareness about illegal Israeli policies vis-a-vis Palestinians amounts to threatening the existence of Israel are foolishly and dangerously veering from the course of peace and justice for all. It also speaks volumes about what their real agenda entails.
We are not, and will not be deterred by these grossly misguided and baseless accusations that only serve to demonize us, as well as delegitimize and suppress our human rights work.
As president of SJP, I call on those with an interest in America’s and Israel’s best interests,  as well as Palestinian rights, to join us as we work to help achieve peace, justice, and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

–Noor Fawzy


[1] The United Nations: Office of the Commissioner of Human Rights, “Israel’s policies violate right to housing and need urgent revision – UN independent rights expert”
http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11817&LangID=E

[2] Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, “Statistics on House Demolitions (1967-2010)
http://www.icahd.org/?page_id=5508

[3] Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, “Statistics on House Demolitions (1967-2010)
http://www.icahd.org/?page_id=5508

[4] Amnesty International, “Israeli authorities must stop demolitions of Palestinian homes”
 http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/israeli-authorities-must-stop-demolitions-palestinian-homes-2010-06-16

[5] USA Today, “Report: Israel Denies Palestinians Permits”
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-02-21-israel-palestinians_N.htm

[6] New York Times, “Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/06/world/middleeast/06settle.html?pagewanted=all

[7] US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “US Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications and Options”
http://aidtoisrael.org/downloads/Policy_Paper_print.pdf

[8] US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “US Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications and Options”
http://aidtoisrael.org/downloads/Policy_Paper_print.pdf

[9] US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “US Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications and Options”
http://aidtoisrael.org/downloads/Policy_Paper_print.pdf

[10] US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “US Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications and Options”
http://aidtoisrael.org/downloads/Policy_Paper_print.pdf

[11] US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “US Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications and Options”
http://aidtoisrael.org/downloads/Policy_Paper_print.pdf

[12] US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “US Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications and Options”
http://aidtoisrael.org/downloads/Policy_Paper_print.pdf