CPU Updates

Welcome Back, Columbia!

September is here and the campus is buzzing with excitement, at least it will be once everyone has had their coffee/hair-of-the-dog. You can’t deny it for much longer- the semester is upon us. Now’s the time to really think about how to have the best semester possible. Start reading those books early, stake out the best study spots (bonus points if you explore outside of Butler), and- of course- get involved with CPU.  We’re talking to you First Years*: now’s the best time to get started at the Political Union. So come on down to our NSOP table today in Lerner’s West Ramp Lounge from 4:30-5:30. We don’t bite.

Start your storage boxes!

* Sophomore, Juniors, and Seniors. We still luv you and wanna see you today, but it’s important to let the First-Years feel welcome. You understand kthxbi

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Events on Campus, International Politics

CPU Event: Syria Panel TODAY!!!

seriously, fuck al-asadWe know it’s late in the semester and times are tight, but that doesn’t stop human rights abuses in Syria. Bashar Al-Assad hasn’t let up the violent oppression of his own people since the Arab Spring, where they demanded an end to his political party’s nearly fifty year long rule. Al-Assad’s military intervention against protestors has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Syrians and the violence is continuing. Just recently Al-Assad’s forces shelled and dispersed opposition forces located in the city of Hama, killing fifty people.

The Columbia Political Union will be holding a panel to discuss the future of Syria and the extent of Al-Assad’s violence and if you have any interest then you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice by not attending. The event will be taking place Tuesday (that’s today) in room 517, Hamilton Hall. Panelists will include Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah and Mr. Sarab Al-Jijakli. Be there, or influential international journalist, Fareed Zakaria, will be disappointed in you!

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Events on Campus, International Politics

French Election Primer!

This Wednesday at 7:30 CPU and The French Cultural Society are holding a informal discussion on the French Elections in the IAB. It’s a deeply fascinating subject because these elections will shape the balance of power throughout Europe for five years. But if you aren’t up to date with France’s politics this might be all news to you. Well never fear Pub goers, we’ve broken it down for you. So sit back, grab your favorite French import to snack on, and join us on a brief tour de French electoral politics.

Nicolas Sarkozy is the incombent president of France. In 2007 he won in his race against Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal for his first five year term as president. But his Union for a Popular Movement (UPM, center-right) wasn’t just running against the Socialist Party. Twelve parties ran in France’s 2007 presidential election. See, in France voting works differently than in the United States. Instead of one big election there are two rounds, one in April and one in May. If no party received more than 50% of the vote in the first round, then the top two candidates go head to head in round two. That allows for France to have a larger amount of political parties, and ideally a more fluid political system. It also means that parties one might consider fringe groups, such the National Front who’s main platform is preventing Muslim immigration, can be very successful in the first round. This happened in 2002 when Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front won second place in the first round with only 16.86% of the votes, only to be trounced by Jacques Chirac in the second round.

Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy didn’t win his second round in 2007 nearly as easily as Chirac did, partially due to his opponent not being a far-right radical. His presidency was marked by some early successes, especially in environmental policy (Columbia even ranked France as the most environmentally respectful out of all the G20). But Sarkozy’s popularity has waned. He’s to liberal for the right who supported him and still to conservative for the left to adopt him. He also has a nasty habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, with several gaffs during his presidency that have been criticized as either racist, intolerant, elitist, or some combination of the above. Once he even tried to convince people that he was present during the fall of the Berlin Wall by posting a doctored photo on Facebook. All that plus a struggling economy after the global economic turndown doesn’t give Sarkozy much momentum going into the race.
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Events on Campus

CPU Event: An Open Discussion with Former Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry

Ambassador Eikenberry in action

You’ve enjoyed Bacchanal and took advantage of the Spring weather, but now there’s another type of Spring to turn your attention to: The Arab Spring. Join Karl Eikenberry, the current Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and former Commander of Combined Forces in and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan for an open discussion on Afghanistan and related issues.

Not familiar with anyone on the panel? Well, just take the word of CPU GM Emily Tampkin, who says “from the state of U.S. relations to Afghanistan and the Afghan government to the potential for a regional oil pipeline deal that could bring peace and stability to the region, there are few more knowledgeable voices on policy in the area than former Ambassador Eikenberry.” That’s right, Eikenberry has got the Tamkin Bump, so you know it will be an exciting evening filled with intriguing conversation.

It’s all going down this Monday at 5 pm (that’s TODAY) in the Wein Hall Lounge. Do it up, Cub Pubbers! 

Click after the jump to see Ambassador Eikenberry discuss private security companies in Afganistan

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Events on Campus, Politics is fun

AAAAND TWEEEEENTY-FOUR DAAAANES

we love you danes!

Come down and join CPU at Deutsches Haus today as we host Political Science students from the University of Copenhagen! That’s right, 24 Danish students have decided to take time out of their busy schedules to come mingle with us because we’re just that fascinating company. Aww, stop it, you’re too kind!

Did we mention that coffee and refreshments will be served? The event starts at 5:00 pm at Deutsches Haus, 420 West 116th Street (between Amsterdam & Manhattan). See you there, Cub Pubbers!

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Debate Coverage

CPU Debate: Republicans vs. Dems on Public Sector Unions.

oh noes

Or maybe we don't?

Come on down to Hamilton 602 to witness the friendly yet fierce title bout between the college repubs and dems on this fresh an exciting topic…  Resolved: Public sector employees should not be allowed to form unions.

If you can’t make it, as always, there will be a live blog of the happenings right here on Cub Pub. Stay tuned!

  • *8:18 The debate is beginning and there is only one republican, Jamie Booth, repping  for the republicans to match the dems two debaters. So far the goofy CPU designated coin flipper already botched the coin flip. Off to a great start?
  • 8:21 The dems start, arguing that public sector jobs should be allow to unionize. Saying it’s part of our American right to organize and where employees work doesn’t matter. Jamie from the republicans argues that one cannot collectively bargain with the government as a civil servants. They must put the nation above themselves and thus they shouldn’t be able to demand more benefit for their own personal gain. Rebuttals are ongoing.
  • 8:27 prepared questions are starting. Are tax dollars that ends up going to public sector unions a waste? Dems argue that the question misses the point since peaceful assembly is a constitutional right. Our lone republican argues back saying a peaceful assembly isn’t necessarily a union and vice versa. Both seem to have answered CPU’s question on tax payer dollars.
  • 8:32  Scott Walker, governor from Wisconsin has entered the debate and things get fierce. People either love him or loath him. Well, maybe not love, not dislike?
  • 8:34 second question, income equality rising resulting in less union involvement? jamie argues that lower unions participation is more due to people recognizing that they could do better on their own. Soon the debate turns to a debate over whether works should be forced into unions or not, and both sides fight over it while both agreeing on “no.”
  • 8:37 The dems in the audience are getting really into the debate and things get heavy. The repub debater suggests that unions can only be harmful to the economy which sparks some uproar. Says that unions are “self serving” and endanger the economy.
  • 8:41  Jeannine, prez of the dems, asks Jamie “if we can assemble but not collectively bargain or strike then how much freedom do assemblies really have? Does that mean te government is restrict our freedoms?” Jamie argues that freedom of assembly should be truncated if it endagers the safety of the American people and the solvency of its economy. The dem argue that these freedoms shouldn’t be violated “except in extrem situations like war time.”
  • 8:46 Upon prompting from Ms. Tampkin, the dems come out and say that unions should be allowed to protest and collectively bargain. Dems start talking about Scott Walker again, pointing out how he allowed only unions who supported his election to retain collective bargaining rights.
  • 8:49 dems point out that some law preventing collective bargaining and public sector unions would probably never pass. Well, yeah. Jamie references the Laffer curve, suggesting descreasing taxes on corporations increases tax revenues, which would be true if 70% of a company’s profits went to taxes.
  • 8:52  Difference between government and private sector? Repubs say that public sector employees need to put the country first and must accept cuts without complaint.
  • 8:56 We’ve reached that sweet, hazy part of the debate where people start repeating themselves. The government is the people, it comes first! It’s a fundamental right given to by the constitution! Repeat ad infinitum.
  • 8:59 Jeannine argues that if the government prevents public employees from striking and demanding any more pay then what’s to say that goverment employees shouldn’t work for free, or be paid the minimum. Jamie argues that some positions are essential for the nation, air traffic controllers, ect, and the government has a right to prevent them from striking. They should amicably discuss the situation with their employers without forming “threatening unions that will threat to strike.” Dems are against.
  • 9:05 Jamie admits that he believes that collective bargaining, people coming together to talk with employers, is bad. He thinks that people should talk with employers as individuals. The example of firefighters collectively bargaining for better safety equipment become the hot button issue. Is it too sentimental of an issue? Is collective bargaining only good when they try to get workers better working conditions, not higher pensions?
  • 9:10  When do unions go bad? When do things get excessive? It’s all very unclear. The republican debater soldiers on, saying public sector workers like firefighters can always quit if they dislike the conditions of his job. Dems argue that firefighter skill sets are very specialized, they can’t just quit.
  • 9:11 West Virginia coal mines! Jamie argues it’s an example of unions that work because it’s necessary, in private sectors, and not excessive. Dems argue that change wouldn’t happen without everyone’s right to collective bargaining. And with that we break for closing statements…
  • 9:17 Closing statements begin and there are no surprises. Dems argue that despite the effect on the economy or anyone’s personal opinions, it is a fundamental constitutional right for workers to organize as unions and collectively bargain. Jamie argues that public workers must put the country first and thus shouldn’t “endager society” by collective bargaining. Instead they should come individually to their employers.
  • 9:21  And that’s a wrap. Good debate everyone, despite some hiccups. Check out the events set up by the dems, repubs, and of course, CPU.
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Pub Coverage

Long Overdue Coverage: The Columbia Libertarian Blog

why are you looking at this?

If only political ideologies could be graphed and modeled on a 2D plot

For the past week The Cub Pub has been covering the CPU  debate between the Columbia Democrats and Republicans. However, we’ve been forgoing one political group on campus: CUL, Columbia Libertarians. Last week they had an event as well:  The Young Americans for Liberty’s Civil Liberties College Tour. Several speakers attended such as Bruce Fein, Glenn Greenwald, Jacob Hornberger and Jack Hunter. The event had a huge turn out: around 180 people came to listen to the panel and it’s a shame that The Cub Pub did not have reporters to cover it. This absolutely wil be rectified for future political events on campus, CUL sponsored or otherwise. You can read up about the speakers and the event itself on the Columbia Libertarians blog here.

Speaking of the CUL blog, it has to be the most regularly updated and supported political blogs on campus, besides The Cub Pub of course. This is somewhat unexpected because CU Libertarians are a smaller group on campus than the College Dems and Repubs. The Libertarians’ have published four articles since the start of the semester. That may not seem like much but in comparison the post recent articles on both the Democrats’ and Republicans’ sites are still on SOPA/PIPA.

But there is a larger issue. If you read though all these blogs you’ll find that there’s hardly a single comment on any post. This is a problem. There’s no way to incite meaningful political conversation on campus if so few people are writing it and discussing it. Journals, reviews, and publications are nice but they they lack an online presence where real discussion can take shape. That’s the domain of blogs and that’s why the political blogs on campus are so important. The Cub Pub encourages all political groups to keep their blogs updated, keep the content fresh and timely, keep the conversation going. We have our own work cut out for us when it comes to creating discussion but in this case we are fortunate that it’s a tide that raises all ships.

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