Men in the GOP Make Crucial Decisions Regarding Women's Healthcare

By Lily Batchelor

October is a month many Americans hold dear, the weather is getting colder, leaves are changing color, and there’s a certain spooky feeling in the air as Halloween draws near. However this October that spooky feeling was less about carved pumpkins, haunted houses, and Showtime’s Halloween marathon, and much more about the horror of men in our government trying to limit women’s healthcare and reproductive rights. What made it even more terrifying? The fact that one of these bills is based on what scientists are referring to as “junk science.”

The first bill is presented under the Affordable Care Act and would undermine the requirement that all insurance plans must cover a woman’s birth control. This means women can be denied birth control from their company owner or manager, due to any moral or religious beliefs the owner may harbor. According to Planned Parenthood nearly 9/10 women will use birth control in her lifetime, meaning the changes to the Affordable Care Act could leave millions of women without birth control and increase contraceptive costs to state-funded programs.

The second bill is called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and would make it illegal for women to have an abortion after 20 weeks (5 months) of pregnancy, with the exception of unsafe pregnancies or a pregnancy due to rape or incest. The law is based on the idea that at 20 weeks a fetus can feel pain and according to Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect the voiceless, the vulnerable, and the marginalized,” as reported by Vox.

Included in the bill is a section that talks about the science surrounding the decision to try and pass this law, stating “There is substantial evidence that an unborn child is capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.” However many scientists and experts have concluded the evidence suggested in the bill is false information. Vox reports that Amy Friedrich-Karnik, senior federal policy adviser at the Center for Reproductive Rights, has accused  the bill of “basically relying on junk science.”

Karnik is not alone in her rejection of the evidence. Jennifer Conti, clinical assistant professor and OB-GYN at Stanford University and a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health explained to a Metro reporter,  “There’s actually conclusive evidence that shows that the neurologic structures in a fetus aren’t completely laid down and working yet until much further along in pregnancy, we think even the third trimester,” Twenty weeks, she says, “is just an arbitrary limit set in place by politicians that has no medical or scientific backing.”

In 2005, the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study that showed the structures needed for a fetus to feel pain does not develop until about 23 to 30 weeks gestation’ and studies done concerning premature children conclude pain cannot be felt until 29 - 30 weeks. Vox reports that  Mark S. DeFrancesco, speaking on behalf of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists regarding the evidence, says that “No research since its [JAMA study]  publication has contradicted its findings.”

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has a similar finding, concluding that there is no evidence the cortex or any other point of the body is “wired up” before 24 weeks gestation, stating “As most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception, it can be concluded that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior to this gestation.”

Although it is unlikely the bill will pass in the Senate, the consequences of the claim are still severe. Not only is the Act spreading false information and science, but it is attempting to use that information to make it more difficult for a woman to end an unwanted pregnancy due to the arbitrary time limit of 20 weeks.

Cover photo: Pixabay

 

Nukes: Could Someone Else Call the Shots?

By Ashley Moreda

As the people of the US watch Congress convene to debate the President’s ultimate power over nuclear weapons, more fear seems to permeate minds of a possible war with North Korea. The question is, does he actually have ultimate control, or is there something or someone who can stop him?

While President Trump might be the one who gives the order to launch a nuclear weapon, he isn’t the one who actually pushes the button. However, if he were to give that order, Vox reports, “It could take about five minutes for intercontinental ballistic missiles to launch from the time the president announced his order. Missiles launched from submarines take about 15 minutes. The whole process is designed to be fast because if missiles are heading toward the United States, they could land within 30 minutes. If the president chose to, he could launch US missiles before the enemy ones hit.”

It’s one thing to respond to an attack, but quite another to fire first. His work at building up the nuclear weapons arsenal certainly has everyone doing a double take including Congress, especially with quotes such as, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said during a meeting on opioids from his golf club in New Jersey. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen ... he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.” (CNN)

An article from the New York Times reported, “Congress has been sufficiently alarmed to consider legislation that would bar the president from launching a first nuclear strike without a declaration of war by Congress…” But changing law could take time, so who could stand in the President’s way? Airforce commander of the US Strategic Command, General John Hyten who is in charge of the nuclear arsenal for the United States.

In Nova Scotia at the Halifax international security forum, the General said, “‘And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ’Mr President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ’What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.’” He went on to say, “‘If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life.’” Of course the prospect of jail time seems insignificant next to a nuclear winter.

General Hyten also mentioned to the audience, reported by The Guardian, “‘I think some people think we’re stupid,’ Hyten said in response to a question about such a scenario. ‘We’re not stupid people. We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?’”

Many hope that until Congress makes a decision limiting our current President’s trigger finger, that General Hyten is responsible enough to say no.

Ashley Moreda is a veteran and student editor of the Dominican of University of California Beat newspaper.

Photo via Chris Cillizza

Trump Being Trump

By Brandon Cadiz

Can anyone stop Trump from dropping the bomb? Simply put: NO! For the first since 1976, Republican Senator Bob Corker and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing about the president’s authority to unilaterally drop a nuclear bomb without consent from other congress members.

Corker has been highly critical of President Trump. From an article on USA Today Corker said, “To be clear, I would not support changes that could reduce our deterrence of adversaries or reassurance of allies.”

Corker went on to say that the hearing is not intended to be specific to anyone but the hearing is so congress could explore, “the realities of the system”, he said.

Trump’s aggressive approach and trading insults with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has worried members of Congress.  Earlier in August of this year, President Trump made comments that he would unleash, “fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Photo Courtesy: Financial Review

Delhi Faces Deadly Smog Attack...Will We Be Next?

By Alejandra Najera

Delhi residents woke up to a thick layer of  ‘deadly smog’ last Tuesday morning, declaring Delhi a State of Medical Emergency.

 “View from my balcony at 11:15 am! Delhi NCR has become a hellhole. #smog”     (    @BBTheorist    )

“View from my balcony at 11:15 am! Delhi NCR has become a hellhole. #smog” (@BBTheorist)

 “View from my balcony at 11:15 am! Delhi NCR has become a hellhole. #smog”     (    @BBTheorist    )

“View from my balcony at 11:15 am! Delhi NCR has become a hellhole. #smog” (@BBTheorist)

According to BBC News, The Indian Medical Association (IMA) declared "a state of medical emergency" and urged the government to "make every possible effort to curb this menace.”  The smoke has become so thick that visibility is extremely poor and the pollution levels have reached 30 times the  World Health Organization's recommended limit in some areas. The national capital woke up this morning to ‘severe’ air quality under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels breached the permissible standards by multiple times according to The Times Of India. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded 'severe' air quality, meaning that the intensity of pollution was extreme.

This blanket of smog was actually not “random” at all. Delhi's air quality typically worsens ahead of the onset of winter as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground, preventing them from dispersing into the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as inversion. Although inversion is the cause for trapping in the smog, the smog itself is caused by us, humans.

According to Delhi Air,  air pollution in Delhi’s National Capital Region (NCR) is comprised of a complex mix of pollution from human activities such as vehicle emissions, industry, construction and residential fuel burning,  as well as natural sources like dust and sea salt.

Delhi’s residents slowly have caused this blanket of smog throughout the years, how much longer does California have until we wake up in the next blanket of pollution.

Cover Photo:  “A lone bird braves the heavy air in Central Delhi this morning #airqualityindex #smog #Delhi #Pollution” (@ParomaMukherjee)

Implications of the Russia Indictment

Editors’ Note: The Dominican Beat reporters worked quickly to present important elements regarding the historic news about the Robert Mueller federal investigation into Russian meddling with the US election. Criminal indictments for a former and a current official in President Trump’s administration have been handed down as of press time. We also looked at the Russian creation of phony Black activist Facebook accounts, and how these stories are being covered by media.

12 Counts Against Manafort and Gates

By Ashley Moreda

   CBS

Nearly a year after President Trump was sworn into office, Russia’s possible involvement into his campaign has been speculated until October 27th, 2017, when a Criminal Complaint was filed against former campaign aids, Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Richard W. Gates III.

Both lobbyists plead not-guilty to the indictment that holds 12 counts including:

  • Conspiracy Against the United States
  • Conspiracy to Launder Money
  • Failure to File Reports Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts for Calendar Years 2011-2014
  • Failure to File Reports Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts for Calendar Years 2011-2013
  • Unregistered Agent Of A Foreign Principal
  • False and Misleading FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) Statements
  • False Statements

The indictment goes into detail for each count as to how Manafort and Gates committed these criminal acts. CBS reported, “Both of them directed a campaign to lobby U.S. officials on behalf of the Ukrainian government, and they broke the law by not reporting their work and fees to the U.S...”  

Leigh Anderson  discusses what an indictment is in her article with Matt Kaiser, “a former federal public defender..” He stated, “‘The Constitution requires that if anyone is to be charged with a felony in federal court, they must be charged by a grand jury. That means that members of the community come together to hear evidence and see if there is probable cause that the person committed the charges presented to them. The person is still presumed not guilty. The indictment is the formal charging document in which the government sets out the charges and starts the process of the criminal case.’”

An intricate and complex issue, Russia’s involvement in the 2016 Election is still being investigated and more than likely will produce interesting findings in the years to come.

Trump Administration Falling Apart? Who is Paul Manafort?

By Forrest Hunt

Many have questioned how President Trump got elected to become the 45th President of the United States. Since the election, accusations have been made about our election being influenced by the Russians. After further investigation, much has come out in the last 24 hours.

On October 27th, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was charged with a 12-count indictment from by the FBI. According to The Hill, “the charges against Manafort include conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, false statements, and failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.” The foreign bank accounts that Manafort’s money were in, were Russian bank accounts. Could Manafort have promised the Russians the lifting of sanctions? President Trump pushed Manafort out of his campaign quickly, three months before election day. President Trump must have gotten what he wanted from Russia, or did he? These charges were the first within the investigation of Robert Mueller, influencing the United States 2016 election.

After pleading not guilty on Monday, Paul Manafort turned himself in to the authorities and the government posted his bail at $10 million. Paul Manafort used these foreign bank accounts to purchase multi-million dollar homes, antiques, millions of dollars worth of home renovations, luxury cars, and millions of dollars worth of clothing. According to The Washington Post Manafort could face up to 80 years in prison.

Who Is George Papadopoulos and What Part Did He Play in the Russian Collusion?

By Cheyenne Sykes

In light of the indictments made against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates earlier this week, Vox reporter Andrew Prokop reported that Robert Mueller, the lead investigator in the case, unsealed a document, which revealed that President Trump’s former foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, pled guilty to lying to federal agents about his contact with the Russians during the 2016 election season.

In July of this year, Papadopoulos was arrested while he was getting off a flight at Dulles International Airport. The LA Times reported that one contact, only identified as “The Professor,” claimed to have “thousands of emails” about Hillary Clinton, while another stated, “As mentioned we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump.” The Atlantic also reported, “On March 31, 2016, Papadopoulos attended a Trump campaign meeting in which he claimed he could arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin.”

Who is Christopher Steele and Why Does He Matter in the Russian Investigation ?

By Brandon Cadiz

   CNN

CNN

Christopher Steele’s firm, Fusion GPS was hired by Donald Trump’s campaign, yet at the same time was also hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. These commissioned reports from Steele calls into question whether this could lead to a new election. Christopher Steele is a former British intelligence officer of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service of the United Kingdom. Christopher Steele is known as the “Trump Dossier” for his involvement in revealing Trump and his possible connections to Russia. Steele initially wrote a report for Buzzfeed 10 days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. At the time Steele’s name was anonymous and not linked to the report initially. The report talked about possible dirt on President Donald Trump: allegations that he has worked with Russia for several years. In a  NY Times article, it is confirmed that the report consisted of, “ … memos [that]  allege a multifaceted conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to help Mr. Trump defeat Mrs. Clinton. The memos also detail unsubstantiated accounts of encounters between Mr. Trump and Russian prostitutes, and real estate deals that were intended as bribes, among other claims about Mr. Trump’s businesses.” The report can be read here.

Russians Linked to Fake Black Activist Accounts

By Isabel Paner

Fake Black activist accounts under the handle Blacktivist have been linked to the Russian government as part of their attempt to amplify racial tensions in the U.S. and influence the 2016 election. The Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly posted content aimed to incite outrage and divide Americans, including videos of police brutality against African-Americans.

"We live under a system of racism and police are directly letting us know how they feel and where we stand,” read the caption underneath a video posted by their Facebook account addressing an incident in July where a police dog was seen biting an African-American man in handcuffs.

The fake Russian Blacktivist Facebook account amassed 360,000 likes, which was more than the verified Black Lives Matter account, which had 301,000 likes. According to CNN, “The page also publicized at least seven rallies and demonstrations around the country in 2016.” These events included the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party March and a march commemorating the death of Freddie Gray.

"Black people should wake up as soon as possible," posted the Twitter account.

"Black families are divided and destroyed by mass incarceration and death of black men," another tweet read.

But despite the Blacktivist accounts quickly gathering a following, others were suspicious of the pages that had popped up out of nowhere without an identity behind who ran it. The Guardian UK reported that Heber Brown III, a pastor, community organizer, and activist from Baltimore, “thought it was just another person who wanted to take advantage of the misery and pain of black people in Baltimore.” Another activist, Jamye Wooten, thought it might have been undercover police spying on protesters.

Neither had any idea it would actually be the Russian government.

The passionate rhetoric posted by these Blacktivist accounts  seemed to fool the public, promoting Black Lives Matter protests and interacting with activists online in a realistic way. After contacting the account, Wooten said the page “did a good job of creating an online narrative.”

In another exchange between Brown and the Blacktivist Facebook account, Brown criticized the imposter for organizing a rally without starting a conversation and listening to other activists first. The account’s response is seemingly sympathetic and apologetic.

Experts in Russian History and US Civil Rights said that even though Black Lives Matter did not play a role in the US election and the Blacktivist accounts were not directly linked to it either, Russia still capitalized on existing racial tensions in the US by using the fake accounts to create distrust and exacerbate divisive attitudes.

“I found it very disturbing that there was this orchestrated, well-funded attempt to exploit our divisions,” said Antonio French, an activist and Black Lives Matter supporter from Ferguson.

For activists, the propaganda is frustrating and shifts the attention from systemic racism in the U.S. “Our biggest concern is our local government, how black lives are being treated in America, not so much Russia’s possible interference,” said Wooten. “That’s not anywhere near the top of our list of concerns.”

How the Public/Media Are Responding to Trump Campaign Head Indictment

By Madeleine Sabin

With everything going on around the Trump campaign manager indictment, it’s hard to decipher what is really going on. So how is the media responding and covering all of it? How are some important political heads responding? Just to sum up the event, on Monday Donald Trump's campaign manager surrendered himself to the FBI. Some of the charges include among others: involve money-laundering, tax evasion, illegal lobbying, and lying. These charges could mean up to twenty years in Federal prison. One Fox news staffer was so embarrassed by the network’s coverage that they said they wanted to quit. Several quotes from Trump show that his defense on the matter is that it is “old news,” and a long time favorite, “fake news.”

A direct tweet from the POTUS himself

Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????
— Tweeted on Oct 30.

The New York Times has covered everything that Manafort did leading up to the admittance and the actual indictment. A small excerpt from the indictment:
  

In furtherance of the scheme, Manafort used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income. Manafort, without reporting the income to his tax preparer or the United States, spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and service for himself and his extended family through payments wired from offshore nominee accounts to the United States vendors.

Why is Russia for Trump?

By Caitlyn Dang

 CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Russia’s alleged involvement in the Trump administration is under extreme scrutiny by the US government and there are numerous reasons why Vladimir Putin might want to support Trump’s presidency. A US News article titled “Why Did Putin Want Trump to Win”  lists several possible reasons for being involved in the 2016 election. Two of the most interesting theories involve Trump’s personal relations in Russia and Russia’s own projection of the effect of Trump’s presidency on America as a whole.

One of the most highly controversial rumors claims to involve President Trump taking part in illicit and lude interaction with Russian prostitutes. “According to one version, told by a high-ranking Obama administration diplomat, Russian intelligence services, acting on Trump’s well-known obsession with sex, had arranged an evening for him with a bevy of hookers, with hidden cameras and microphones recording all the action.” This story, written in a Newsweek article, claims that “Trump had somehow engaged in ‘golden showers,’ sex acts involving urine.” Despite how outrageous this claim may sound, it is still very characteristic of Trump’s history with how he perceives and interacts with women. There are concerns that might Russia use this information to blackmail President Trump into working with them.

Another obscure, yet compelling theory is the “Chaos Theory,” described in Vanity Fair.  This theory wraps around the idea that Trump taking office would divide the U.S. population and create chaos that would weaken our government's stability. As time passes, this idea becomes less and less farfetched. Just take a look around us. The amount of violent discrimination in America seems to have skyrocketed since Trump’s 2016 election.

Bay Area Representative’s Commentary on the Allegations

By Lily Batchelor

 congress.gov

congress.gov

 Marin Independent Journal

Marin Independent Journal

U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman (D) who serves California’s 2nd Congressional District, and our area here at Dominican, has yet to release a statement about the implications of Russia’s alleged influence in the 2016 election, however, according to the Congressman’s communication director, Huffman is a, “strong supporter of the investigation and maintaining its integrity.”

California State Assemblyman Marc Levine (D) representing the North San Francisco Bay Area, has yet to comment on the allegations. The Dominican Beat is in contact with his Sacramento Office and is awaiting a statement on the issue.

As of press time today October 31st, very few politicians have released statements or comments concerning the implications of the investigation.

Need Some Fresh Air?

By Caitlyn Dang

When it’s the beginning of Fall Semester here at Dominican University of California, and everyone is still experiencing the frenzy of adjusting to new classes and acclimating to DU student life, things like mental and physical health often are put on the back burner. Unless you’re a student athlete, you are responsible for making healthy choices and adding physical activity to your weekly routine.

Although many of us can find solace at the gym at Conlan center, there are more adventurous options; one of these being hiking.  What makes hiking such a healthy addition to a college student’s life?

Hiking Promotes Creativity

Those of you enrolled in creative writing and research and classes could benefit from a spontaneous nature walk. According to a Healthy Living article shared by the Huffington Post, research shows that outdoor activity can increase creative problem solving skills and lengthen attention spans by up to 50%. Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education researchers also found that simply the act of walking sparks more creativity than sitting.

Hiking Keeps You Fit and Healthy

Every Body Walk, an organization dedicated to encouraging healthy living, lists weight loss, increase in bone density and energy levels, and endurance as some of their article titled, 15 Benefits of Hiking. You also shouldn’t feel discouraged if you’re a beginner hiker because even hiking at your own pace, “helps increase your HDL levels, the good cholesterol, and lowers your triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels; the harmful components,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hiking Makes You Happier

Research stated in the Huffington Post article mentioned earlier, also refers to hiking as a form of therapy that can lessen symptoms of hopelessness, sadness, and suicidality in people with severe depression. Developing the healthy habit of being active while appreciating  nature can even inspire those who are depressed to live a more healthy lifestyle.

Where You Can Hike Around DU

One of the greatest things about our campus is that it is located in the center of Marin County, and Marin is littered with amazing trails waiting to be explored. You can see some trails near campus in San Rafael at the All Trails website, but the one that is the most frequented by Dominican Students is literally in our back yard. Most students will call it the “Fire Trail,” but the trail actually leads up to San Pedro Mountain. The trail starts from a fire trail that is located at the end of Locust Road, just behind Edgehill Village, and has many places to stop and take in the view.

What are you waiting for? Take a study break, grab a friend, and let the adventuring begin!

Dominican Community Excels in Relief for Hurricane Harvey Victims

By Francyne Hari

 Students talk with ASDU members as they donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund  Photo courtesy of Dave Albee

Students talk with ASDU members as they donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

Photo courtesy of Dave Albee

It was a sudden email sent out by Director of Student Activities and Leadership on the evening of August 30th, that sparked the Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU) to host a fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey Relief.  The next day, the Dominican Community was invited to donate what they could to help local organizations provide much needed aid to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

 President Mary Marcy and Lauren Castro, Photo Courtesy of Dave Albee

President Mary Marcy and Lauren Castro, Photo Courtesy of Dave Albee

Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 Hurricane hit Texas on August 25th and Louisiana on August 30th. According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Harvey caused record breaking rainfall which resulted in catastrophic flooding. The threat and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is causing many to reflect back on Hurricane Katrina that hit the area of Louisiana on August 29th, 2005 and the aftermath of that disaster. Hurricane Katrina brought to light infrastructural failures that caused catastrophic flooding affecting thousands of people and caused racial divide in the area. Additionally, many who survived Hurricane Katrina relocated to Houston, Texas during the aftermath of the hurricane.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Albee

Hallie Balch, ASDU Student Body President, reflected on the event. “I don’t have a personal connection to what happened in Texas but there is a big impact.” Balch explains why she thinks the event is important despite having no personal connections to people affected the most by Hurricane Harvey. Balch further elaborates, “There is the realization of something much bigger.” Although the Hurricane has impacted only a portion of the country in a very personal way, Balch mentions that there is a connection for everyone. Being able to respond to an event, whether it’s in your hometown or all the way across the world can say a lot about how humans are able to connect with one another.

Together, the Dominican Community was able to raise $1,450 over the course of two days. This is an accomplishment considering the short notice of the event. All proceeds raised will go to two local organizations: the Houston Food Bank and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.