Saturday, February 27

Two interesting HS Journalism Articles: Obama's Continuation of Bush's Programs? and The Anger at the MTA taking away NYC Student Metro Cards

The War on the Middle East is Draining America

The War in Iraq and Afghanistan is in its ninth year, and most students can barely remember a time when America wasn’t at war. A recent random-selection school poll cleary indicates that over 80% of students say we need to pull out, and over 50% of the general public disapproves of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan according the Washington Post. Yet President Obama, pushed by republicans and weak democrats in congress, recently increased troops in Afghanistan contrary to the overwhelmingly strong public opinion against the war.
The argument in the mainstream media is that the wars have become wars of necessity for the safety of America, but this brings to question, when will we be able to stop fighting? The arguments and motives of keeping US forces in the Middle East are similar to those of US forces in Vietnam in the 1960s. Albeit, the US army was a draft army in Vietnam, students still are rightfully wary and tired of the endless wars.
David Simantove(’11) said “I want us to pull out, but it’s tough to see an end to it.” This kind of sentiment is supported by the fact that the US in the midst of the greatest recession since the great depression.
When Common Sense interviewed and surveyed students about how the recession has effected their family, students were quick to express their concerns. Rebecca Smith (’10) told Common Sense Newspaper, “My father lost his job and now he doesn’t pay child support anymore.” Similarly Emma Wilde (’12) responded that, “My uncle and my cousins have lost their jobs in this recession.”
A cash-strapped federal and state government has voted to cut social services like student metro cards, yet bailout bank executives whose incompetence helped lead to the recession, and continue to fund the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Resident Economics teacher Mr. Evans expressed serious concern, “…If anything, the war drains resources. We already have an unpaid $2 trillion debt to this war.”
And that’s only Iraq. Many students claim that they don’t know as much as they should, don’t care, or that we should stay in Afghanistan because its “the good fight.” The reality is that the wars are connected, and have similar consequences of draining resources, killing soldiers and civilians, and creating anger that leads local Iraqis and Afghanis to join insurgencies. Freshman Kate Mallary (’13) added, “ I think more money should be put into the schools, so many countries have tried in Afghanistan and failed, so we’re just dumping money over there.”
Although troops report not having adequate body armor, and complain that they are paid less then privately contracted mercenaries like those of the recently indicted blackwater corporation accused of massacring scores of innocent Iraqis, Obama insists on the necessity of continuing a war with significant opposition on the home front.
Despite the fact that US bombings have destroyed infrastructure in both countries leading native people to join terrorist insurgencies in response, and despite the fact that the US army is relying on recruits promised college education and a chance at the American dream in impoverished areas, politicians insists that it is in the interest and safety of America.
The interest and safety in America right now really relies on restoring economic faith. While economists claim the economy has already recovered while enjoying lavish vacations in 5-star hotels, Americans on the street know that the 10% unemployment rate indicates that its only over for the rich, and just beginning for the poor.
Instead of creating public works programs, building public housing, and improving schools and job placement programs in inner-city communities, Obama has instead chosen to continue the policies of his predecessor, the president with one of the lowest approval ratings in history.
As troop and civilians death tolls rise daily, it appears the only solution to ending the war lies not in the hands of the government, but soldiers, students, and people who mount a public outcry against the war. It was the public pressure from yearly protests in big cities across the country in the war that led our politicians to draft the “timeline” for pulling out of Iraq. It’s up to Americans to keep them accountable, and push for an end to the draining war in Afghanistan.

Say Good-Bye To Your Student Metrocard, But Hello to Resistance

In December, the MTA announced a plan to snatch student full-fare metrocards from out of the hands of over half a million students who use them on a daily basis. The plan will entail the distribution of half-fare metrocards next semester and then entirely getting rid of the metrocard program by 2011.
Although the situation appears bleak, student from Bronx Science to Boys & Girls have begun organizing against what they call an encroachment of a hard fought for right. Junior Ian Turley said, "It is a moral mockery to be forced to spend money for free education." This sentiment was echoed by both lowerclassmen and upperclassmen here at HSAS. Senior Melissa Olivo quickly stated, "I hate it. I hope the MTA headquarters explode." Sentiments like these are alarming to government which intends to keep schools running efficiently, despite the anger of students, and the threat and blackmailing tactics of the MTA in order to secure further fare hikes or funding. Resident Economist and Commodities Trader Arnold Mansdorf stated that the blackmailing tactic of the MTA is, “political football… They’ll never do it. How do the expect families of two to four kids to pay 10 to 14 dollars a day?” This highlights dissent from not only poor students, but suburban teachers, and all stratas of society.
Last month, a student protest in front of MTA headquarters on 42nd street attracted approximately a 1000 students from the 5 boroughs, fiery speakers talked about mass civil disobedience and storming the headquarters, but the protest remained peaceful and suprisingly well organized.
Most troubling about the situation is the vow by students, who can't afford the $2,500 cost of transportation to-and-from school for one year, to simply not go to school anymore. Despite the fact that the government was able to provide banks with billions of dollars in the infamous bank bailouts started under Bush, the government claims its pockets are empty when it comes to money for jobs and education or the people whom the government is supposed to represent. Senior Kadacia stated that, "It'll take a toll on my mom, and they should cut something else." In fact a recent survey indicates that over 90% of students agree with this, they just feel too isolated to actually take action to protect their metro cards
Bloomburg's maitenance of a sizable police force, larger then the original invading force of Afghanistan, has continued guliani's policy and created heavy strain on the city economically and socially.
Aside from the murder of citizens like Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell, Officers have drained the city of money for social programs, and put it towards the overpolicing of urban communities. When questioned whether Officer Castro believed that cutting the police force and funding school metrocards would be a good idea, he responded, "that's not good we gotta keep the crime down." But the Bronx has the one of the highest dropout rates, most arrests, and intrusive searches by police of students with a high rate of racial profiling.
These police officers will be paid to arrest students as they jump turnstyles and refuse to pay court summons as they attempt to get to school.
Senior David Greenblatt and other concerned students have begun organizing against the metrocard cut by collecting expired metrocards from last semester with messages to the board of education. Although a small step, only through greater student activism will the MTA begin to pay attention to the demands of students.

1 comment:

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