WVUM 90.5FM | WE ARE THE VOICE | University of Miami

Posts Tagged ‘blog’

7 Reasons Why Arming the Syrian Rebels Is A Bad Idea

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | June 21st, 2013 | SHOW COMMENT(1)
  1. Obama’s “red line” was the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war— and now the US is arming the rebels. The incident of the use of sarin gas on the battlefield only caused 150 deaths compared to the 90,000 deaths caused by conventional warfare.
  2. We’ve seen the same rhetoric pre-Iraq war with the promise of WMDs as a reason to intervene militarily.
  3. We’ve also seen the same premise of arming the rebels to defeat a common enemy of the people and the United States (The Mujahideen in Afghanistan). 
  4. The types of military support the US is offering is not enough to topple Assad’s regime but only to exacerbate an already bloody war. 
  5. We have no way of controlling who the arms are given to. Al-Nursa is one of the opposition groups that have openly stated their connection to al-Qaeda.
  6. Supporting the rebels does not mean we have allies in this war. Non-state actors are unpredictable and don’t need to claim allegiance to any country.
  7. Syria has become the stage for competing international interests in the Middle East. Russia and Iran supporting the Assad regime and the West (US, UK, France, Germany) supporting the opposition; making it a proxy war.

The Farm Bill and Poverty in the United States

By Jordan Lewis | Counterpoint | June 14th, 2013 |

 

This week, the U.S. Senate passed an extensive, 955 billion dollar Farm Bill package that will extend certain subsidies and crop insurance packages for the next 10 years. The Senate also cut $3.9 billion from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which allows low-income families to pay for food costs, through the food stamp program. The Republican-led House of Representatives voted on its own version, cutting food stamps by $20.5 billion over the next 10 years, denying 2 million people the food they need.  From a policy and an ethical standpoint, Congress erred by cutting SNAP considering that poverty has only worsened since the Great Recession.

Over time, food stamps were integrated as part of the Farm Bill as a means for urbanites to support the agricultural sector. While preserving family farms should be a focus of the government, much of our agricultural policy is rooted in giving subsidies to large corporations such as Monsanto, whose bottom line is enhanced by the American taxpayer. Other recipients of this money include wealthy landowners, such as Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-TN), who cited the Bible in his defense of cutting food stamps: (while pocketing $70,000 in farm subsidies) “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Food stamps provide an important function in combating both urban and rural poverty. They not only provide additional resources for the user to pay for their other needs, but also help provide sensible nutrition, which will save us money in the long run. They also provide the biggest economic stimulus per dollar out of any policy the government could enact (multiplier effect of 1.73 per dollar spent). Americans think that hunger is a relic of the past, and while it is true that the United States produces a surplus of food, hunger is an everyday battle for many families. One out of five American children (16 million) struggle with hunger (No Kid Hungry). With extensive health and retirement benefits, and a healthy salary, most members of Congress are seemingly unaware of the challenges of surviving on food stamps. This week, nearly 30 congressmen will take the SNAP challenge and live on $4.50 a day, as 47 million Americans (1 in 7, half of whom are children) do. In many cases, SNAP isn’t enough, evidenced by record numbers serviced at food banks and other charities.

Furthermore, over half of Americans will spend a year under the poverty line. The government has the resources to combat poverty and has instead squandered it on corporate welfare, tax cuts for the wealthy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the drug war. The poor don’t have the political clout that America’s wealthy do. In an era where demagogues like Grover Norquist make any tax increase on America’s wealthiest an anathema, America’s poor are left to fight for themselves.

Over the last few years, conservatives have used welfare as a means to rile up their base and stoke racial divisions among Americans. In fact, the majority of welfare recipients are white, and working Americans. We’ve seen a rise in unemployment and a great increase in discouraged workers that artificially reduced the unemployment rate. Pension plans and other economic security measures have weakened over the last 10 years as employers look to cut back on expenses. Many Americans today work part-time jobs or work without a living wage, or suitable health care coverage. On this topic, the Florida Legislature voted to eliminate Miami-Dade County’s minimum wage provision that will only hurt the weakest in our society.

America’s working poor is growing and growing as the middle class has shrunk. Many workers are forced to take multiple jobs or make incredible sacrifices to make ends meet. The average Chartwells’ worker at UM makes less than $20,000 a year and often must rely on assistance programs to pay their mortgages, get health care, or eat.

If you thought that poverty in America was on the downturn, recent policy alternatives may make it worse.
The decline in unionization has cost millions of workers decent jobs, and the advent of Right to Work (for less) in states like Indiana (and already in Florida) will union and non-union workers alike.

The sequester has laid off millions of workers and hurt many more. Republican cuts to the social safety net have only worsened poverty.

A failure to pass a suitable immigration bill will jeopardize the prosperity of millions of Americans already here and allow owners the leverage to pay their legal workers less.

Unless Congress acts, the student loan interest rate will double to 6.8%, with student debt already surpassing $1 billion and difficult to remove even post-bankruptcy. (Our banks receive preferred rates of less than 1% from the Fed).
However, the biggest test to controlling poverty over the next generation is securing our entitlement programs. Republican ideas to reform our entitlement programs enrich the wealthy while damning the poor. Social Security has been the single-biggest anti-poverty measure undertaken, and have reduced poverty among our seniors by a wide margin. Medicare is effective, popular, and essential for our seniors’ health care needs. Finally, Medicaid provides vital health care to low income Americans. The refusal to take up Medicaid expansion paid for by the Affordable Care Act is a massive failure on the part of the Florida House and cuts millions off from health care coverage they need. Reducing entitlement benefits will only shrink the middle class and make the poor poorer.

We haven’t had a targeted approach to reducing poverty since Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. Wall Street has recovered from the recession. The majority of Americans haven’t. Income inequality is at an all-time high, with record CEO compensation and giveaways to agribusiness and Big Oil. It’s time to address the problem that nobody really wants to talk about.  We need to make sure that our fellow Americans can lead dignified and prosperous lives. We have the both the means and moral responsibility to do so.

 

 Counterpoint airs Fridays at 1pm ET

 

The NSA Leaks A Week Later: What Next?

By Mike Kanoff | Counterpoint | June 13th, 2013 |

Over the weekend it was revealed that the whistleblower behind the NSA leaks was a man named Edward Snowden. Snowden is presumably in Hong Kong, although there hasn’t been any confirmation yet, other than the fact that he checked out of a hotel there recently. There has also been chatter about Snowden having a bid for political asylum, though there has been no official confirmation or denial of such asylum at the time of writing, be it from China, Iceland, or Russia, the three nations allegedly weighing the possibility, with only Russia officially “considering” asylum.

 

That’s all well and good, but what about his homeland, the U.S.? Already, some members of congress are calling for his head, Obama is trying to do damage control, and as stated above, Snowden isn’t even in the country. On the other side, there is already a whitehouse.gov petition to pardon him, even without any charge of wrongdoing so far, and privacy advocates are taking a break from performing the “I Told You So Dance” to show support of the person behind the information.

 

I don’t want this to be another article entirely about whistleblowers, so I’ll shift to the leaks themselves–I wrote last week about the notion that some things shouldn’t be classified to begin with, but this leak goes beyond that. The PRISM program and the Verizon (and I would assume other major telecoms companies) data mining efforts shouldn’t have even been started, and for revealing them, I thank Snowden very much.

 

I believe the best part of these leaks is the re-ignition of the discussion of privacy vs. safety: at what point does “anti-terrorism” become too invasive? At some point during the show last week, I asked “what terrorism?” and by that I was questioning how many terrorism plots were, or even could be, foiled by this type of surveillance. I realize that the CIA/FBI/DHS/etc. have to keep some things secret, but I believe that if they want to even propose this type of surveillance, there had better be concrete, publicly available evidence that it works, and even then, there is no reason that the government needs the metadata on every call. Heck, I call in to Counterpoint from over 1500 miles away for an hour once a week, and I’m sure that could be construed as “odd,” even though I can say with 100% certainty that I am not a terrorist.

 

But what about the one in a million who is a terrorist? Surely we can’t just let him/her continue uninhibited. Do we trust that the government and police can catch most of them? Do we trust each other to be on the lookout for bomb/etc. factories across the country? In all honesty, I don’t know what we can do to stop terrorist attacks from ever happening again, but just because there isn’t an alternative idea at this point in time does not make the surveillance state is a good idea. I can live with the current airport security; it’s a pain, but it’s only a little overzealous. I can get behind the occasional wiretap, but I think a warrant should be required beforehand. I draw the line at the public camera system/Trapwire and Internet monitoring in any form; the first is far too invasive, and the second is too easy for the actual intended targets to circumvent and only harms the bystanders.

 

We have to accept that there are people out there that want to hurt us, be it from some bastardized form of an otherwise peaceful religion, or from run-of-the-mill psychopathy, and I’ll admit that I don’t know how to stop them 100% of the time, but what I do know is that turning America into an Orwellian state out of fear of terrorism would be “letting the terrorists win,” and I’m sure I’m blowing these programs a little out of proportion, but one of the hallmarks of such a state is total surveillance, which, thanks to Snowden, we know is closer than we thought it was last week.

Counterpoint: April 5 | North Korea, Gun Control Legislation

By WVUM News Staff | April 6th, 2013 |

 

 

A discussion of North Korea, Connecticut gun legislature, and Florida’s “Parent Trigger” law.

 

 

Counterpoint: 4/5 by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint: March 29 | Gay Marraige, Rachel Maddow Q&A

By WVUM News Staff | April 6th, 2013 |

 

 

Meghan, Jordan, Mike, and our new contributor, Alex discuss gay marriage, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Meghan’s encounter with Rachel Maddow.

Counterpoint 3/29: Gay Marriage, CFAA, and Rachel Maddow by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Audio: Yoani Sanchez at the University of Miami

By Hyan Freitas | News Director | April 3rd, 2013 |

 

On April 2, 2013 Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez toured the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami and then spoke with student media members about journalism in Cuba, the stereotypical angles foreign journalists have with regards to the Cuban people and her thoughts on the power of the internet and, specifically, social media.

 

La bloguera cubana Yoani Sánchez recorrió la Colección de la Herencia Cubana de la Universidad de Miami y luego habló con los medios estudiantiles sobre el periodismo en Cuba, los estereotipos periodistas extranjeros tienen con respecto al pueblo cubano, y sus reflexiones sobre el poder de internet y los medios sociales.

 

 

Yoani Sanchez at the University of Miami by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

SG Debate 2013- ‘Power of U’ and ‘One of U’

By Hyan Freitas | News Director | February 18th, 2013 |

 

With the approach of student government elections at the University of Miami, both campaigns stopped by WVUM to promote their platforms of initiatives and urge students to vote for them.  In case you missed it, here is our joint discussion with the candidates from ‘One of U’ and ‘Power of U’.

 

‘Power of U’ vs ‘One of U’ by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Interview: Mystic Force Foundation

By Shelly Lynn | NFP | February 18th, 2013 |

The Mystic Force Foundation is a local nonprofit that seeks to raise awareness of childhood cancer and raise the funds to end it. In an interview on WVUM, founder Silvia Vanni spoke passionately with Not For Profit host Shelly Mlacker about her mission, inspired by the legacy of her son Salvatore Vanni who bravely fought and lost a battle with Neuroblastoma cancer.

Interview: Mystic Force Foundation by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

WVUM News Reports: Underage Drinking at UM

By Chloe Herring | September 16th, 2012 |

Many students often joke around about tricking bars and clubs with their fake ID's and boast about getting drunk at hotspots like the Grove. However, underage drinking has become a serious issue at UM and around the nation's universities.

Below, a WVUM investigation:

WVUM News Reports- Underage Drinking and ‘U’ by Wvumnews on Mixcloud