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Brandeis University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1949 | Waltham, MA

Analyzing Trump’s State of the Union shenanigans

President Donald Trump gave his final State of the Union speech before his re-election campaign kicks into full gear, but you might not have even realized it. With Trump’s acquittal on all charges of impeachment and the chaos of the bungled Iowa Democratic caucus completely dominating the airwaves, comparatively little ink was spilled on Trump’s address to the nation. If you’re nonplussed, you’re not alone, as congressional Democrats seemed downright bored during the proceedings.  

The war in Syria hasn’t improved; Americans have just forgotten about it

Over the last week, the Russian and Syrian government forces have committed the same sort of war crimes that they’ve been committing daily since 2015 at an exceptional rate in and around the Syrian city of Idlib. More than a hundred airstrikes were launched over the course of a three day period. Warplanes have targeted hospitals and open markets, just as they have on a daily basis for the last many years. According to the Syria Campaign — an organization that I will return to in a moment — at least 1,648 civilians, including 392 children, have been killed since this escalation began in April.  

The Trump-Netanyahu peace plan is fatally flawed

One of the largest dilemmas of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is that American administrations expect to be treated as the neutral arbiters in the conflict, but American policy is clearly not neutral. The United States and Israel have long had a “special relationship” that, intentionally or not, taints our ability to negotiate on the Palestinians’ behalf. 

In a year that's off to a terrible start, don’t forget to laugh

We have been thrown into a brand new decade, complete with its fair share of disasters. Two days after celebrating the New Year, the hashtag #ww3, or World War 3, was trending on Twitter. This trend was in response to the abrupt killing of a high-ranking Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, an action that the United States promptly took responsibility for. Understandably, this enraged both the Iranian government and its people, with the Supreme Leader and numerous parliamentary figures promising  “harsh revenge” for the United States  and its allies. 

On behalf of The Hoot and the Justice: Journalistic rights on campus

 As the editorial boards of The Brandeis Hoot and the Justice, we have decided to write a joint editorial explaining the rights and responsibilities of student journalists, a topic we feel has been often misunderstood. By outlining our goals and ethics, we want to share what it means to be a journalist and to open communication between us and our community. We believe that informing the public is a service to the community and is necessary for us to understand each other and the world. 

Striking a balance between morals and career prospects

 I used to work in Silicon Valley at some of the most respected and admired companies in both tech and pharma. I never felt good about how they were proselytizing to their employees, how they were considered great places to work and how I seemingly felt differently from all my colleagues. I wanted to love my employers, but I was unable to muster the enthusiasm and zealotry they demanded. I always felt that the employer-employee relationship was an even exchange, more or less, in which one would offer services in exchange for a salary. Despite the amount of work, effort and dedication I put in, I felt that these companies were operating at odds with my values of family, work-life balance and caring for the greater good. Until recently, I thought I was among the few who held this perspective. 

Views on the News: New York Times Democratic Endorsement

In an editorial published on Jan. 19, the New York Times took an unorthodox approach to their traditional endorsement of a Democratic nominee for president. The editorial board chose to endorse not one, but two candidates: a progressive, Elizabeth Warren, and a moderate, Amy Klobuchar. The Times cited them as the candidates best equipped to handle the myriad issues that Americans and the world face, as well as the most likely candidates to defeat President Trump on the national stage. Do you agree with the decision to endorse two candidates, and do you think endorsing two candidates changes the significance of the endorsement itself? What are your thoughts on the Times’ choice of candidates? 

EDITORIAL: Recognizing students’ campus concerns

 It is 2020, which means elections, Olympics and last, but not least, that Brandeis University is now back in session! Hearing student tales of a less than optimal start to the semester, the Justice opted to highlight some of the issues that plague students. Some problems students face — faulty WiFi, for instance — may be unavoidable, while others could easily be mitigated by improved communication between students, faculty and administration.   

What to learn from Hillary Clinton’s primary struggles

All the way back in the now ancient-year of 2008, a bygone era when Tik Tok was neither social media platform nor Ke$ha single, the Democratic Party’s presidential primary was mired in a nasty state of affairs by its conclusion. Long thought to have the contest in the bag, Senator Hillary Clinton slowly lost ground to political newcomer Barack Obama over the course of a lengthy and bruising primary season.  

The opioid crisis: more nuanced than you might think

 If you were asked to describe a drug addict, what would you say? Would adjectives such as pale, skinny, desperate, uncontrollable, volatile and unpredictable cross your mind? Would you dare to expand your imagination and envision a drug addict who also has a family, a marriage, an education and a job? The single image of drug addicts that society has perpetuated does not always mirror the reality of addiction. Drug addiction affects individuals of every race, gender and socioeconomic status. Once it is clearly understood that drug addicts range in appearance, gender and wealth, available treatments and methods should also illustrate that point.   

Views on the News: Soleimani Killing

 On Jan. 3, Iran’s Major General Qasem Solemani, the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed in a targeted drone strike by U.S. forces at the command of President Donald Trump. Many have praised this operation, seeing Solemaini as an enemy responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers, and the Trump administration has claimed that he posed an imminent threat to U.S. forces in the region. Others have questioned if the threat was imminent and see the killing as a rash and poorly-timed decision that could destabilize an already volatile situation, endanger lives and start another Middle Eastern conflict. Do you believe the president was justified in ordering Soleimani’s killing, considering the broader context and the potential consequences? What do you make of Trump’s claim that Solemani posed an imminent threat to American lives in the region?  

EDITORIAL: Dining improvements are a welcome development

 As the spring semester kicks off, many students have noticed Sodexo has raised the quality of options available for students in the dining halls and other retail locations. Previously, students complained on a daily basis about the food Sodexo has served. As Sodexo’s current contract comes to an end, this Board has seen improvement and hopes that the University’s future food vendor will continue with this upward trend. This board acknowledges the positive changes made by the University and Sodexo in order to satisfy the needs of students on campus.  

EDITORIAL: Commending anti-discrimination efforts on caste

  On Tuesday Dec. 17, University President Ron Liebowitz announced that Brandeis would be adding caste to its non-discrimination and harassment policy, becoming the first private university to do so. The term “caste” refers to one’s designation within a rigid social stratification system. This statement from the president may have come as somewhat of a surprise, with many Brandeis students unaware that such discrimination happens in the United States where there is no explicit caste system. Banning caste discrimination is an important step toward protecting Brandeis community members from discrimination.  

Seventh Democratic debate: recap and candidate rankings

 The seventh Democratic debate on Tuesday marked the final debate before the Iowa caucus takes place and the race officially gets underway. It was befitting of the night that the debate was held in Iowa, which was no doubt a deliberate choice on the part of the DNC. Among the storylines which soaked up the most media attention in the leadup to the debate was a report that at a 2018 meeting between Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Sanders told her he thought a woman could not win the presidency in the United States. After Sanders publicly denied the report, it set the stage for a contentious argument on debate night over what really happened at the meeting. Moreover, questions abounded over whether this story was deliberately leaked by the Warren campaign in the leadup to Iowa for political gain — as the meeting had taken place at least a year and a half prior to the debate — and whether one of the two was playing fast and loose with the facts. Overall though, it was a fairly uneventful debate with no clear winners of the night. 

Universities, don’t just divest — invest with impact

The Climate Movement’s call for divestment has been one of the most widespread and effective movements of our time. And with $617 billion in aggregate university endowments across the country, it’s important that universities invest portfolios that refrain from investing in oil and gas. But here’s the thing: our universities should do more than just divest. Rather, universities must invest in initiatives that support the kind of world we want to see. In other words, universities must start impact investing.  

Exploring the tragic contemporary global loneliness epidemic

  When we speak about loneliness, we often imagine an old person living in solitude. To a certain extent, our imaginations do not deceive us. The loneliness epidemic amongst Baby Boomers has attracted a great deal of attention over the last few years, and rightly so; one of every 11 is growing old without a support system. However, a major survey of over 55,000 people conducted by the BBC found that the loneliest individuals are not the Baby Boomers, but those aged between 16 and 24. Loneliness among the youth is an epidemic that is found all over the world. Research done by Cigna and market research firm Ipsos found that young people age 18 to 22 are most likely to be lonely in the U.S. In another study conducted by the American Sociological Review, the average person in the U.S. claims to only have one close friend. 

The Sanders-Warren feud is bad for everyone involved

  Tuesday night’s Democratic debate defied my expectations and remained largely civil. I wasn’t thrilled that my first choice, Andrew Yang, had been excluded because of a dearth of early January polling, but the remaining candidates had a nuanced discussion of foreign policy and largely steered clear of personal attacks. The one notable exception to this broader trend of civility, however, was the messy onstage breakup of progressive candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. 

Views on the News: Mike Bloomberg Presidential Run

  On Nov. 21, billionaire politician Michael Bloomberg announced his candidacy for President of the United States as a moderate alternative to a Democratic swing to the left in an attempt to defeat current U.S. President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Many have been quick to criticize the launch of his campaign, citing the undue influence billionaires have within politics to launch and self-fund campaigns without relying on average citizens’ support, as well as concerns that this wealth makes for politicians that are unaware of the struggles of the common man. How do you view Bloomberg’s campaign in the context of our current political and economic climate? Do you think he presents a new type of candidate that could beat Trump in 2020?  

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