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Review The Horace Mann

A Journal of Opinion on Current Events, Politics, and Social Issues

Rebecca Segall Editor-in-Chief

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A Region Wrought With Conflict


hat is it about the Middle East that makes it such a perennial region of interest to the rest of the world? This month, Review writers explore various answers to this question. For starters, a population that relies almost exclusively on oil to operate is inextricably tied to the politics of the few countries that produce more than half of the world’s most precious resource. What are the implications of being this economically bound to a region that also exports political instability and conflict? The Middle East’s acknowledged role as a hotbed of terrorism also solidifies its centrality in the global conversation on international security. 9/11’s terrorist attacks are one of the events that most significantly affected our nation’s foreign and domestic policy in the last decade. Violent conflict in the Middle East informs the American mentality in myriad ways, through terrorist organizations, the threat of nuclear power, or America’s involvement in two war efforts. A more positive social and political undercurrent in the region captures global attention, though. As the Arab Spring’s push for democratization un-


folds, one year after its inception, citizens of all countries reevaluate the importance of representative government. Bloodshed continues in some nations as ironfisted heads of state fail to demonstrate true leadership. But the message of hope demonstrated by the Jasmine Revolution, though marred by violence and uncertainty, unites us in the never-ending march towards democracy and equal opportunity. With our eyes turned towards these complex issues, we are happy to share with you our opinions on their implications and possible resolutions. As always, The Review also presents exploration of various other current events, from the debate on Internet piracy law to factionalism within the GOP. The Review is always open to new writers interested in engaging with the events that are shaping our world. Sincerely,

Senior Editor - International

Dorin Azerad

Senior Editor - Features

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Senior Contributor

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Spencer Cohen Benjamin Davidoff Treshauxn Dennis-Brown Daniel Elkind Maurice Farber Jacob Gladysz-Morawski Nicholas McCombe Stephen Paduano Alexander Posner Nathan Raab Elizabeth Rosenblatt Charles Scherr Junior Editor

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Rebecca Segall Editor-in-Chief Volume XXI

The Horace Mann Review is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the American Scholastic Press Association, and the National Scholastic Press Association. Opinions expressed in articles or illustrations are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board or of the Horace Mann School. Please contact The Review for information at

The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI





ia ic ss ard eg.


Domestic Pipeline to Prosperity

Daniel Baudoin


Losing our Rights

Nathaniel Tillinghast-Raby


The State of Charity

Philip Perl


Mitt Romney’s Bainful Past Gay Rights: The Road Ahead

Edmund Bannister Ikaasa Suri

10 11

Ron Paul Revolution

Henry Luo


Romney Strikes Back

David Hackel


From Slumdog to Millionaire

Matthew Harpe


China’s Fundamental Flaw

Charles Cotton


The Price of One Life

Austin Rahmin


The Unfinished Revolution: Egypt’s Next Step

Vivianna Lin


Let Them Fear Us

Ben Greene


On the “Right” Side of Israel

Lazslo Herwitz


Crisis in Iran

Brett Silverstein


The Oil Dilemma

James Megibow


Iran: A Threat.

Samantha Rahmin


Israel’s Sexism: Media Sensation

Samuel Fisch


Our Call to Arms

Isaiah Newman


Fixing Europe

Will Ellison


SuperBowl Commercials: Are They Worth It?

Kelvin Rhee


The Individual Investor

Mitchell Troyanovsky


International Features

Economics Science and Technology SOPA and PIPA: Two Viewpoints

Caroline Kuritzkes and Hana Krijestorac


Facebook Going Public?

Adam Resheff


Nuclear Energy Apps and Us

Lauren Futter

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The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

Sahej Suri



pipe line


y t i r pe

s o r p to

the keystone xl president obama and the future of american energy daniel baudoin Washington Independant


The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI



hy should the United States have to confront the political and social issues of the Middle East? Why do we have to deal with the coups and rebellions of Libya and Syria and the social injustices of Saudi Arabia? We do so mainly because of the Middle East’s enormous supply of oil, even though, according to a recent Consumer Energy Report, America actually gets more oil from Canada than from the Middle East. Canadian oil, however, requires pipelines to move it from oil well to oil refinery, and President Barack Obama has recently rejected one of the most important proposed pipelines, the Keystone Pipeline XL. In rejecting the Keystone XL, President Obama temporarily rejected a measure that would reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil and create jobs for the unemployed. The Keystone Pipeline XL would be a series of pipelines starting from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, and running through a total of nine American states. Costing a (relatively cheap, for infrastructure projects) $13 billion, the Keystone XL would transport crude oil to the refining cities of the United States in an extremely secure way: the pipelines, made of steel, would be the safest way to transfer oil from Canada to the refining hub of Port Arthur, Texas. The economic benefits from the Keystone Pipeline XL are compelling. It would supply the United States with a more stable energy supply for a longer period of time than importing oil from the Middle East. It would cement our ties with our most important trading partner, Canada. And the most appealing part of this potential oil tap is the jobs it would create. 20,000 high-wage manufacturing and construction jobs would be newly available if the pipeline were to be built. This stimulation is what America needs now, considering the US currently has one of highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression. Many of the citizens who oppose the Keystone Pipeline XL have problems with the fact that it has the potential to cause the environment much harm – in particular, the aquifer that supplies potable water to the populations of Nebraska and Oklahoma. Those concerns are misplaced. Not only would the pipelines be theoretically leak-free, but computerized monitors would also supervise them 24 hours a day, and if for any reason a pipeline is damaged, a staff member would immediately shut down the pipeline and fix the broken part. Even if a spill were to occur, the pipelines would not be built in environments occupied by endangered species, over significant water crossings, or through paleontological digs. TransCanada would also be held responsible for any significant spill, though as expressed before, pipelines are the safest and securest way to transfer oil, and if

for any reason oil contaminated an underground aquifer, TransCanada would be legally obligated to find and pay for an alternative water supply. On January 18, 2012, President Obama rejected the Keystone Pipeline proposal, purely for partisan political purposes: he did not want to be pushed around by Republicans in Congress, who, in December, had given Obama a two-month period to make a decision on the fate of the pipeline. After the rejection, the President made a statement saying that the State Department was not given sufficient time to finish a review of the proposed project. “The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said to ABC News. While Obama’s statement is reasonable, his repudiation kills 20,000 jobs, a potentially important stimulant to the American economy. Two months should be plenty of time to map out a reasonable solution. Also, the company proposing the Keystone Pipeline XL, TransCanada, had already mapped out a route for the pipeline system, and Obama’s own Commission on Jobs and Competitiveness had recommended that the project go through. Had Obama listened to his own advisors, we would not be debating this issue today. Obama should have listened to the Congressional Republicans and have gone through with the creation of the Keystone Pipeline XL. Job creation is obviously the most direct way of stimulating our economy and lowering the high unemployment rate in the America, and the United States should not have to rely on the group of bellicose countries in the Middle East for our oil import requirements. The only reason we have tried to reconstruct the political and economic situations in Libya and the social problems of Iraq are because of the oil they provide us. A life without the Middle East would allow the United States to deal with our domestic priorities: the economy, healthcare, and budget deficits. This is the indirect benefit of severing our reliance on the Middle East. To summarize, the Keystone Pipeline will stimulate the economy, create jobs, provide a safe way to transport oil, and will effectively end our hypocritical diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. This should be a no brainer. Congress should immediately draft a bill approving the Keystone XL, and Obama should let it pass. HMR

“In rejecting the Keystone XL, President Obama temporarily rejected a measure that would reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil and create jobs for the unemployed.”


The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5



Losing Our Rights


How Post 9/11 Security Measures Have Curbed Our Rights

nathaniel tillinghast-raby

merica’s civil rights activists have had a tough time of it this past decade. 9/11 has ushered the United States into a new age of government security measures and paranoia. In the meantime, faceless behemoths have led our Congress into protecting the interests of the few at the expense of the many. The results? The rhetoric and the reality of how the Constitution is applied in America today are drifting farther and farther apart. A good example of this contrast is


Wikileaks. Perhaps the world’s first truly independent news source, it operates in locations around the world. A throwback to the muckraking journalism of the early 20th century, the group has broken stories from the leaking of toxic waste in Africa to the film “Collateral Murder,” which shows American soldiers, in a helicopter, shooting at Iraqi citizens and two Reuters journalists. Yet, after revealing these atrocities and many more, Wikileaks has been accused of breaking the law by soliciting information from U.S. government employees under the

Espionage Act of 1917, an archaic relic of World War I which was created prior to Supreme Court decisions expanding the protections of the First Amendment. Wikileaks is in supposed violation of the section of the law that states that any unauthorized possessor of a document or documents that could be used to injure the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation cannot communicate or transmit the document to a person not authorized to receive it. The government is trying to use this case to set a dangerous legal precedent: The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Domestic that asking a source in the U.S. government for information is breaking the law and can be prosecuted as such, which would give the U.S. government total control over what is published about it. This would obviously completely violate the First Amendment. Regardless of what you think of Wikileaks and how they go about publishing their material, the fact remains that they did publish it, with the intent to expose corruption and outrages committed throughout the world. Shutting Wikileaks down because the government doesn’t like owning up to the problems within itself would violate the very spirit of the Constitution. Another, much more obscure violation of the Bill of Rights was signed into law by President Obama on December 31, 2011. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the military spending bill for 2012, but it manages to infringe on one of our most basic rights: the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees us the right to fair trial. What this bill does is allow the indefinite military detention of American citizens if they are suspected of working to harm the United States. This incredibly loose qualification for indefinite detainment effectively allows the U.S. military to be the judge, jury and jailor of any American citizen, anywhere. Amazingly, the NDAA passed with overwhelming majorities in both the House and the Senate, even though our military court has successfully handled a grand total of six terrorism-related cases, while the civilian courts have dealt with over 400. That our entire legislative body, along with our president, was able to ignore this fact, as well as entirely disregard the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, is a terrible reminder of the age of fear that we now live in, even ten years after 9/11. The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

This bill, of course, builds off of the Patriot Act of 2001, which authorizes the indefinite detention of immigrants, allows the FBI to look through telephone, email and phone records and gives the government the power to go through financial records, among other provisions. To be fair, this bill was both made and passed right after 9/11, when terrorism was seen as a legitimate threat. But if the Patriot Act should have been passed at all, its provisions should only have been temporary measures. Instead, it has been in place for over a decade now, quietly endangering our civil liberties and providing a platform for bills like the NDAA. Finally, there is the widely derided SOPA and its cousin PIPA, which were introduced in late 2011. Made famous by the protests of sites such as Google, Firefox and Wikipedia, they were another step forward in the entertainment industry’s ongoing war with the Internet over copyright infringement, which has been raging on since the mid 1990s. The problem is the availability of pirated material online. The entertainment industry keeps trying to get harsher legislation concerning copyrighted material on the Internet, while Internet activists cry foul every time, believing that any attempt to control the Internet is a violation of their rights. For the most part, I agree with the entertainment industry: people deserve not to have their hard work stolen. But these bills managed to cross the line from proper regulation into outright censorship. The problems with SOPA & PIPA have been well discussed by the media: that by giving the power of online censorship to profit-driven companies, SOPA & PIPA would have killed the Internet as we know it, stifling online innovation,

growth and most importantly the First and Fourth Amendments. Despite all these faults, the bills enjoyed broad bipartisan support before they were brought into the public eye. The reason? SOPA and PIPA’s sponsors received four times as many contributions from the entertainment industry than they did from tech. companies, proving that for all the grand speeches of America’s politicians, money seems to matter more to them than our Constitutionally-given rights. The examples given here are not the only times that our civil liberties have recently come under fire. There is a vast list of them, from our government using drones to kill an American citizen to warrantless searches – and it gets longer every day. Some of these abuses have come about because of greed, and others from America’s War on Terror. But does it really matter? The point is that these civil rights violations have, are, and will continue to happen unless we do something about it. An encouraging sign is that when the public becomes aware of something like SOPA or “Collateral Murder,” the general response is outrage. The problem is making people aware. There’s a very good reason why nobody has heard of the NDAA, and that’s because our politicians are aware of what most of us would think. The same reason applies to almost every example on our list. After all, the public can’t react to constitutional abuses that it doesn’t know about. Our government needs to be more transparent. It needs to stop listening to just big business. It needs to stop taking drastic actions because of 9/11. I, for one, do not want to grow up in an America where my civil liberties are anything but. HMR




The State of Charity


merican charity is well known and regarded around the world. According to Dr. Carol Adelman, director of the Center for Global Prosperity at the Hudson Institute, Americans are the “most generous” people in the world, especially in private giving. This generosity is present in good times and in bad times whether it takes place at home or abroad. So what are some of the motivations that make us so generous compared to the rest of the world and how effective are they in solving social ills? There are as many explanations for American generosity as there are forms of charitable giving. One explanation is that Americans are just “good” people who participate in charitable giving for the sake of giving. Another equally popular explanation is that Americans are very compassionate people who simply enjoy satisfying the needs of the suffering. A third explanation is that Americans understand social responsibility better than the rest of the world. While there is some degree of truth in all of these explanations, for many Americans, charity is not just the right thing to do but also the most effective way of giving and achieving the “common good.” The belief has been that individual care is better than government care, which transfers money from one group to another. According to Andrea Coombs of CBS Market Watch, “philanthropy has become more than just an act of generosity or a tax deduction; it is an investment.” Many proponents of this view of philanthropy engage in civic service not because of tax incentives, their wealth or their generosity but because they see their involvement as an invest-


ment opportunity to effectively allocate their resources, connect with different members of society and work together to promote improvement on shared concerns. Advocates for individual progress, for example, choose to invest a resource like money to reward those who have initiative or want to pursue their individual potential, while advocates for social change, on the other hand, choose to invest their time or skills because they want to solve social ills by changing the circumstances rather than actions of those suffering the most.

“Americans understand social responsibility better than the rest of the world....Americans’ charity is not just the right thing to do but also the most effective way of giving and acheiving the ‘common good.’” Even though charitable giving in America reached a new height of more than $200 billion in 2000, the philanthropic challenge has been how to maintain charitable growth. The general belief among philanthropists is that giving works because it improves the welfare of its recipients. In reality, giving does not work because it never achieves a solution to the problem that precipitated giving in the first place. Just because giving is not effective, it does not mean that we should avoid it. Instead of looking for ways to increase giving, the emphasis should be on finding ways to give in more effective and sustainable ways so that circumstances that contribute to charitable giving would not recur. For charitable giving to work, giving must be sustainable. That means that charitable giving would have to meet

the needs of the recipients in the present without compromising the ability of future charitable giving. The problem with charitable giving has been that donors put money where their heart is, making recipients perpetually dependent on donations. Today there is increasing support for sustainable charity that emerged during the creation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Through corporate social responsibility, businesses identify ideas, practices and policies that constitute effective and sustainable charity. To make a transition from giving to sustainable giving, philanthropists have to give in ways that are appealing to recipients. One way would be to fund a cause–driven business that will achieve a social goal, such as healthcare for the poor, cover all costs, and make profit. In social business, all profits would be reinvested in the venture for expansion and improvement and the investor would get his or her investment back but without dividend beyond the original investment amount. The challenge for this type of charitable giving would be to seek business opportunities that maximize profit as well as social objectives. Instead of philanthropists investing assets to earn returns, which they may give to charitable organizations, they can direct their capital and attention to enterprises that create both profit and social value. This type of giving would be attractive, as it would allow recipients to have a stake in the process. Social business enterprise would incorporate the interests of corporations with economic development in a way that would create sustainable giving. Such an enterprise would not only address many social problems but would also offer inThe Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


novative and economically feasible opportunities for both donors and their recipients. Consider Dannon, a French dairy product corporation that contributed to social objectives in India. Instead of donating earned cash in various forms of charity to random recipients, Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist and founder of Grameen Bank, helped convince Dannon to give small loans to The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

India’s poorest people to launch a yogurt business so they can lift themselves out of poverty. By lending the credit to India’s poorest, Dannon engaged in a social business and at the same time empowered the recipients to create opportunities for a sustainable business charity. Since social business enterprises can create an environment in which the poor can help themselves out of subsistence

and into the independence that surplus brings, it will not take long before investors see that technology, experience and other skills in addition to money can also make a perpetual difference in recipients’ lives. HMR



Mitt Romney’s Bainful Past I

EDMUND BANNISTER n recent weeks, one of the most widespread and controversial stories in the news has been that of Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and his record at the venture capital firm Bain Capital. Governor Romney is the former CEO of the Boston based investment firm. In recent weeks he has come under fire from Democrats and his fellow republican candidates, especially former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, for leading the so called “liquidation firm”. His critics accuse him of firing all the workers at companies that the firm bought and then stripping the companies of all their assets and selling them. His political opponents are trying to brand Governor Romney as a man who laid off hard working Americans. The fact of the matter is they’re right, and he did. However, is what Romney did destruc-

tive and hurtful? The answer to that is, in my opinion, no. Bain Capital purchased companies and sometimes, as Romney’s opponents have said, stripped the companies clean of their assets and fired their workers. However many free market, capitalist principles, especially the theory of creative destruction, suggest that Bain’s actions aren’t necessarily bad. Capitalism rests on the principle that only the strong survive, a concept similar to the theory of evolution. Evolutionary principles apply to economies and companies as well. If a company is productive, innovative, profitable, and supplies an in demand product, it succeeds and investment firms and banks are encouraged to invest in them, rather than destroy them. If a company is inefficient and unprofitable it either dies on its own, is destroyed by its more successful

competitors, or is taken over and destroyed by firms like Bain Capital. This process is good for the country, businesses, their employees, and U.S. consumers. The more profitable companies proceed to take the destroyed companies’ market share and expand, or new companies spring up to take advantage of the opportunities created by the destruction of the old ones. Both of these eventualities result in the hiring of new workers. They also mean that more efficient companies have more business. If companies are more efficient it also means that they can afford to sell their products at a lower price, which both lowers prices for consumers and gains more customers for the company. The country as a whole makes progress, because innovative companies are able to expand and provide useful services to people that want and/or need them. From the seemingly sad event of the destruction of a company, jobs, creativity, and progress have emerged. The above economic ideas are embraced by Republicans in particular, which is why it is surprising that Romney’s fellow candidates are attacking him. His opponents are pandering to the lowest kind of mindless populism there is. They are using the largely held sentiment against Wall Street and corporate “fat cats” to turn mainstream voters against Romney. Republicans have always opposed regulation of companies and businesses. Instead of sticking to the free market principles that they have advocated for in the past the other candidates are going against what they believe because it is politically expedient. Their actions prove that in a race where Romney has been labeled as a flip-flopper, candidates like Mr. Gingrich are being wildly hypocritical. They are pandering to the emotions and particularly the fears of a people still recovering from the recession by pointing fingers and throwing accusations. It is not enough to say, “curb Wall Street greed,” or “lower taxes”. The critical economic issues that need to be discussed are infinitely more complex than that. Instead of explaining ideas in one liners and catch phrases, candidates should have an intelligent debate about the economic road that is best to pursue to lead the country into a more prosperous future. HMR

Washingyton Independant


The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


Gay Marriage

The Road Ahead sfexaminer


toy truck missing a wheel needs fixing. A violin with a popped string might need to be mended, and an iPod with a cracked screen should probably be looked at. But a person--does any person require repairing? Little 8-year-old Elijah was found telling dropout Presidential candidate Representative Michelle Bachman, at her book signing in South Carolina this past December, “My mommy’s gay and doesn’t need any fixing.” Bachman’s charlatan smile quickly turned into an embarrassed expression, hearing those strong words come out of such a young boy’s mouth. And as she stood there, I could only wonder what was going The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

through her head, for she was only able to whisper a quiet “bye now,” standing on the slightly elevated stage. The idea of gay rights is a widely debated topic, one with many different viewpoints and opinions internationally, let alone within different American political parties. But as a country that only represents legal gay marriage in six U.S. states, gay rights is still a new concept to Americans, one that not all of us are willing to accept so quickly. New York City, known to many as the Big Apple, the Empire state or the center of capitalism, is also a melting pot of diverse races, perspectives, views and attitudes. For most of us, we know it as a place where new and modern ideas can be developed, regardless

of how conventional or un-conventional they are. With over eight million people in this one city, there are bound to be overlapping views, especially on the legalization of gay marriage. In late July of last year, when the bill passed on a vote of 33-29, the legalization of gay marriage marked not only a political movement but an urban and personal progression as well. To many New Yorkers, this bill affected themselves, a family member or a friend, seeing this as a warm gesture from the New York government. People were now able to believe that government supported their lifestyle, something many people in New York alone had been battling with for many years. Although New York, one of America’s most progressive and fastpaced cities, has legitimatized gay marriage, it is a fairly recent development compared to other countries that already allow same-sex marriage nation-wide. Countries like Argentina, Canada, Spain, South Africa and Sweden all legalized this act in 2001. And even as America’s economic capital has tackled this idea, I don’t think our national government is ready to take on gay rights as a whole. Halfway across the world, Hilary Clinton at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva publically argued that human rights and gay rights are “one and the same.” Her and Obama urged for efforts in combatting other nations that don’t recognize homosexuality and the abuse that often comes along with the intolerance against it. And while Obama and Clinton haven’t taken direct initiation for these vows, they have made it a priority to use American diplomacy to promote gay rights. HMR



henry luo

Four years ago, Ron Paul – then Texas’ fourteenth Congressional District’s representative – made a run for the presidency. Paul was a fundraising success but underwhelmed at the polls; he ultimately managed to place only fourth in the delegate count, and then withdrew, allowing John McCain to go on to be the Republican nominee. Since 2008, he has been reelected to his seat in Congress twice, defeating both his Republican and Democratic challengers overwhelmingly. Today, the same Ron Paul whom some thought of as a non-serious candidate four years ago is one of the Republican candidates again, and this time his campaign has reached new highs in popularity, running a consistent third place in most nationwide polls. Now a real contender in the contest between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, Paul has seen his ideas gain massive amounts of popular support. Ron Paul has transformed the Republican nomination race and, thanks to his experience and his policies, has the chance to become the Republican Presidential nominee. Many of Paul’s counterparts have

dismissed Paul’s sometimes radical ideas; John Huntsman, before dropping out of the nomination race, called him a “crazy uncle” in one of the television advertisements he ran in Iowa. Yet, contrary to those doubters’ claims, Ron Paul’s policies are rational and realistic - and have stayed constant over time, unlike Mitt Romney, for example, who

created the most controversy. Paul firmly believes in non-interventionism, meaning that the U.S. should not engage in foreign wars unless in self-defense, and that the President should not sign overwhelming numbers of treaties with other countries. Limiting entangling alliances, however, does not mean an end to diplomacy. Paul advocates for open trade and communication with foreign nations; all he wants to avoid is American involvement in foreign wars. As such, he supports the withdrawal of troops from foreign military bases. Additionally, Paul wants to put an end to foreign aid; he has been especially critical of America’s ‘special relationship’ with Israel and the huge volumes of money that America spends on maintaining that relationship. Israel, Paul notes, has the highest GDP per-capita in the Middle East; it does not need United States aid to keep it safe and prosperous. Meanwhile, limiting government aid will help the economy by reducing government spending and curtailing its involvement in the global economy. Many members of the GOP have criticized this policy, but his disdain

“Ron Paul’s message of small, constitutional goverment and civil liberties has drawn a wider audience now. Paul has already had a major influence on the Republican primaries and his policies, though radical and sometimes unpopular, can solve this country’s problems.”


has “flip-flopped” constantly on his stance on issues from abortion to taxation. Ron Paul is a self-declared libertarian and Constitutionalist, and firmly believes in constitutional government, meaning, among other things, a dramatic reduction in the size and scope of government. His policies have garnered disbelief, but Paul has actual concrete solutions for America’s problems. Paul’s foreign policy has probably

The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Domestic for interventionism made him a leader in donations from members of the armed services and their families. Paul has recieved over ten times the amount of donations Mitt Romney has recieved from members of the armed forces, for example. At a time when the United States has engaged itself in a draining war with Iraq and Afghanistan, Ron Paul’s policy of “no more wars” is particularly appealing to the masses. Fitting with his cautious foreign policy, Ron Paul proposes a dramatic reduction in the United States federal government’s involvement in life and major cuts to the budget. He has vowed to never raise taxes and believes that the individual income tax could and should be eliminated - through constitutional amendment, as to prevent it from ever returning if the government’s spending is also cut. In addition to cutting government spending, he, if president, says he would end five whole departments of the Cabinet: Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. If elected, Paul would cut the federal budget by a trillion dollars in his first year alone, essentially ending America’s overspending and associated budget deficit in one fell swoop. These aren’t the pie-in-the-sky budget proposals of the other candidates: Paul has clearly listed which programs he would cut, and how and when he would cut them. Ron Paul’s economic wisdom has become more and more popular in these last few years. His proposals to curb federal spending and cut unessential government programs have become a viable solution to the issues which plague the U.S. now. Instead of innefective stimulus spending, Paul proposes lean and efficient goverment. Paul would replace jobkilling regulations with a free and fair competitive market. At no time in history has America needed these ideas more than now. The last key plank of Ron Paul’s platform is his support for civil liberties. Paul was one of the few ReThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

publicans to vote against the contorversial PATRIOT Act, and he endorses continued protection of important constitutional rights like the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms and the Fifth Amendment’s right to a fair trial, including the right of habeas corpus for those accused of terrorism. Even more radical, he’s supported the legalization of prostitution, at least on the federal level, on the grounds that the Constitution allows citizens to do “controversial things” and government should not encroach on those rights; in fact, without violating the principle of federalism, government cannot encroach upon them. For the same federalist rationale, Paul stated his belief that states should be given the decision as to whether or not to legalize gay marriage and drugs, like heroin and marijuana. The one major social issue Paul does not take a liberal position on is abortion rights; but despite that, Ron Paul does not believe in federal government’s regulation of constitutional rights and he doesn’t want federal laws or Constitutional amendments restricting the civil liberties of citizens, as the states, he feels, have the sole Constitutional power to regulate the provision (or lack thereof ) of abortion. Paul would also end federal funding of abortion agencies. Ron Paul is not the favorite to win the Republican nomination. He is a radical libertarian who will not appeal to many voters. He has extreme ideas like his proposal to abolish the Federal Reserve and a desire to return to the gold standard. His foreign policy has been received poorly by many, like those in South Carolina, which has a major military community. He may have had strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire but will likely suffer in other states. However, his message of small government and civil liberties has drawn a wider audience now. Paul has had a major influence on the Republican primaries and his radical, unpopular policies can fix this country’s problems. HMR

President Paul would...


the War on Drugs and legalize marijuana, as well as other drugs...


from Afghanistan and end America’s presence in the Middle East...

AUDIT the Federal Reserve and

move America back to the gold standard...

CUT military expenditures and

weapons procurement programs...

DEFUND Social Security, Medic-

aid, and other social welfare programs...


landmark civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, as violations of states’ rights...

ELIMINATE the Departments of

Commerce, Education, Interior, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development, and as the EPA, the EEOC, and the FDA...

AMEND the Constitution to add

a Balanced Budget Amendment and bar future government stimulus packages...

LIFT Dodd - Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley,

and other financial regulations...

IN GENERAL, return the Fed-

eral Government to a size and scope last seen before the New Deal.



Romney Strikes Back

D david hackel

espite an athletic six feet two inches, Mitt Romney, during the Florida Republican Presidential debates, stood on stage absorbing insults like an aged prizefighter absorbs a younger opponents quick-fisted jabs; Romney was nothing more than a pincushion for Newt Gingrich’s pin-like verbal assaults. The many anti-Romney advertisements financed by Gingrich were, in large part, financed by the billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, helping Gingrich to win the South Carolina primary. Newt’s hail Mary worked, sending Romney and his advisors back to re-strategize. Mitt Romney’s only option was to go into Florida playing the other candidates’ game of attacks on personal life and past records. In Florida, he


did. During the debates on January 23rd and 26th Romney made a mockery of Gingrich, stating how Gingrich was hypocritical in his accusations toward Romney and reminding the country of Gingrich’s resignation as Speaker of the House. Romney went into these debates, not only playing Gingrich’s own game of attacking the opponent, but Lalso laying down his platform and providing evidence as to why he would have a better chance of unseating President Obama. Partial reasoning behind Romney’s loss in South Carolina was due to Gingrich’s proclaiming Romney as anti-immigrant and branding him as someone who is dishonest. Soon after, Newt Gingrich became, according to, the betting favorite to win the Florida primary, and Romney barely a favorite to win the nomination.

However, in Florida, Romney turned a corner responding to all of Gingrich’s previous allegations: in response to Gingrich’s calling Romney “anti-immigrant,” Romney replied, “I’m not anti-immigrant. My father was born in Mexico. My wife’s father was born in Wales. They came to this country. The idea that I’m anti-immigrant is repulsive. It’s simply the kind of over-the-top rhetoric that has characterized American politics for too long.” Furthermore, Romney, who was blasted at by Gingrich for having investments with mortgage agencies Fannie May and Freddie Mac in mutual funds with Goldman Sachs, countered Gingrich’s statement saying: “Mr. Speaker, I know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but have you checked your own investments? You also have investments for mutual The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Domestic “Romney’s success with Bain Capital, a company he cofounded, led him to more than financial prosperity: it created jobs and wealth for many thousands of workers.” funds that also invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” To which Gingrich had nothing else to say other than, “all right.” In addition to defending himself, Romney asserted his feelings on some of Gingrich’s stances: Gingrich’s unusual ideas on outer space and beliefs in placing residents on the moon came with Romney’s retort of, “I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, ‘You’re fired.’ ” As of now, Florida voters have increasingly come to view Gingrich as promising anything to win votes. Romney also brought up Gingrich’s time as a consultant for Freddie Mac to peoples minds:  “Freddie Mac was paying Speaker Gingrich $1.6 million at the same time Freddie Mac was costing the people of Florida millions upon millions of dollars.” Romney went on through both Florida debates stating why, in fact, his success in business would lead the country out of the near-recession economy that Obama has done little to improve. He viewed Gingrich as just

another Washington insider. Upon evaluation of a candidate, one must look at his or her past to find if past accomplishments can led to a prosperous future. Romney’s success with Bain Capital, a company he cofounded, led him to more than financial prosperity; jobs and wealth were created for many thousands of citizens. Voters should not disapprove of Romney because of his financial success, an argument Gingrich has been trying to make, but rather view it as a positive. Likewise, they also should not disapprove of him because of the amount of taxes he pays. He pays what is legally required; payment of a high tax rate by any candidate is not an issue worth debating because of its merit-sound. The Federal Reserve recently reported they will keep short term interest rates close to zero until 2014, aiming to spur economic growth. This is imperative as the most recent report on GDP showed that, even with 2.8 percent fourth quarter growth, economic growth remains sluggish and is likely to take until 2014 to recover. Because of Romney’s success in business and his strong job creation background, I believe he would help quicken the eco-

nomic growth compared to Gingrich and Obama, both of whom are lacking in this area. At different times our country needs a leader experienced in the important issues of the day: and today it is an intricate knowledge of business and industry. To solve our problem, Romney has a sophisticated and well thought out plan consisting of reduction of taxes, spending, regulation, and government programs, while he wants to increase trade, energy production, human capitol and labor flexibility. When taking an individual’s morals into account, Mitt Romney will have the better chance to beat out Obama for the presidency, for, unlike Romney, Gingrich’s personal life is looked down upon by many: having been married three times including multiple affairs. These wrongdoings would affect Gingrich, would he be the nominee, again making Romney a more popular candidate. Through the success of Mitt Romney, and the flaws in New Gingrich, Romney has clearly proven to be the superior presidential candidate. HMR

“The true strength of America is self-rule, and a government that answers to a free and independent people.” -Mitt Romney The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5




m o r F umdog l S T

matthew harpe

hese days, China gets all the media attention. Its booming economy with its extraordinary GDP growth and relatively low unemployment rate, and its outstanding infrastructure are all envies of the world, especially in the tough economic times in which we live. However, just south of this authoritarian power sits India, which lives, without cause, in the shadow of China. India’s approach to political and economic issues is vastly different from China’s. One may be surprised to learn that India


had the largest GDP growth rate of any country with an economy larger than $900 billion, even outgrowing China. India’s phenomenal success with its laissezfaire capitalist-friendly policies is a sign of hope for Western capitalist ideals in a world where they often seem to fail elsewhere. The beginning of this economic growth can be traced to 1991, when Manmohan Singh, India’s current prime minister, instituted a massive overhaul of the financial system, changing India’s economic identity from socialist to capitalist. Since 1992, India’s GDP has skyrocketed, in-

creasing seven-fold in a twenty year time frame. Cleary, though, India’s economy is not quite yet on par with China’s. India’s GDP per capita is a mere one-third of China’s, coming out at just below $1,500, and still less than that of Nigeria, Sudan, or the Philippians. Less than 10 minutes from the heart of downtown Mumbai, India’s wealthiest and most populous city, lies Dharavi, a slum not much larger than half of Central Park and home to over one million povertystricken Indians. However, Dharavi is an economic hub and has a GDP of almost $1 billion. Drawn by the opportunity to make The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


e r i a n

o i li l

M to money and advance their families in society, poor Indians from all over move to the unhygienic collection of shanties right in the middle of the India’s business capital. “Dharavi [is] a city within a city,” says the secretary of the Housing Ministry of Manharastra State. There are even millionaires who have worked their way out of poverty and now run major multimillion dollar Dharavi companies. In essence, the Dharavi slum is a social ladder and economic powerhouse for poor Indians who would otherwise have no way of improving their lot. The most phenomenal part about the slum is the fact that its GDP per capita is shockingly equivalent to two thirds of the Indian national average. If this were true for the poorest neighborhoods of the U.S., the average household income in these areas would amount to approximately $35,000, well over the

$22,000 per household poverty line that approximately 50 million Americans live under. Furthermore, the GDP per square mile of the Dharavi slum is comparable to

Dharavi, land now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Caution is in order since, in the past, attempts to build low-income housing in Indian slums have failed, often resulting in the displacement of the slum population all together, siphoning off money to other projects like luxury complexes and leaving decaying tenements in their wake. Of course, with one quarter of its population still below the poverty line, mediocre infrastructure, a relatively corrupt and inefficient government, and a less than poor education system, India still has plenty of room for improvement. Nonetheless, with a large English speaking population (keep in mind that it was an English colony up until 65 years ago), India already has an invaluable advantage and should be easily capable of continuing its remarkably high growth levels. HMR

“In essence, the Dharavi slum is a social ladder and economic powerhouse for poor Indians who would otherwise have no way of improving their lot.”

The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

many large cities around the world, and even outpaces London and Los Angeles. The slum is a perfect example of how India’s economy has bloomed despite little guidance from the government. A debate has arisen in India around whether or not the government should follow the Chinese method and develop




China’s Fundamental Flaw


charles cotton

ver the past few years, the Chinese government has been cracking down on longtime political dissidents and practically anyone who says or writes anything against the communist dictatorship. Many believe that this is because of the recent uprisings across the Arab world that have been unexpectedly successful. The most infamous example was the inability of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo to attend the awards ceremony in Stockholm because of his incarcerationfor an 11-year term. His wife was not able to attend the dinner either as she was under house arrest. Despite the fact that the Chinese government is very concerned about its image as a progressive forwardthinking entity, it was unable to show the world it could overlook Liu’s “crimes.” Recently they have been arresting and incarcerating more dissidents, both religious and political. At the same time, China’s economic power continues to grow at an extremely fast rate. The Chinese economy has recently become the world’s second largest, outstripping Japan’s while continuing to strive towards surpassing the United States. Many people wonder if China can continue to grow economically and maintain its status as a superpower in the


global economy without granting certain human rights. It seems as if the government is far too powerful for the dissidents to have any direct effect on its policies, but the increasing number of dissidents put in jail, or placed under house arrest, may cause some in the international community to try and distance themselves from the repressive Chinese leadership. This might cause the Chinese economy to take a major hit. There are numerous examples of dissidents being released from prison after serving their sentences and telling not only of the basic human rights denied to them, but also of the way in which they were treated. Many report having been tortured, beaten by guards, and humiliated in front of others. The actions that the Chinese government takes against these dissidents are what most would categorize as inhumane. Considering the fact that China does not appear to aim for total control over its citizens the way North Korea does, it comes as a surprise to many that it censors its people and media in such a punitive way. That is to say that the Chinese people can choose what to wear, where to live, and what to eat, but when it comes to the issue of free speech, or their personal expression, they have very little freedom at all. If the Chinese government continues to censor its citizens and severely pun-

ish political and religious dissidents, one would hope that it would no longer be treated as an equal partner of free and independent states. The world community should ensure that China realizes that after getting to the economic state that it is in, along with having the largest population in the world, it must start acting like a government with this much importance and responsibility. With its rapidly increasing global importance, one hopes the Chinese government will reform itself into a modern government - one that guarantees its citizens the right to free speech and self expression, without the fear of punishment. Especially in the wake of revolution in countries like Egypt and Yemen, China must take into account the power of the Internet and social networking to inspire spontaneous uprising among its large citizenry. China should remember that these modern forms of association were not around during the protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, which were easily quashed with around 600 people killed. If China were to institute reforms, it might serve its own best interests in reducing the growing tensions between the ruling party and the dissidents as well as the relieving growing unhappiness among its citizens who labor under censorship in all aspects of society and an outstanding lack of due process. HMR The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI



Price ofOne austin rahmin



One thousand twenty seven Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for one captive Israel soldier. Gilad Shalit was held captive for 5 years after Hamas soldiers raided his tank, murdered the remaining Israeli soldiers with him, and dragged him into captivity. On October 18, 2011, he was released in a prisoner swap. The prisoner swap was completed in two phases. Four hundred seventy -seven prisoners chosen by Hamas officials were released on October 18, and 550 were released more recently. The number of the prisoners exchanged has more significance than just their value as they set troubling precedents and may complicate peace negotiations. The timing of the prisoner exchange raises questions about the motivation of Hamas to free Gilad Shalit. The prisoner exchange came several weeks after the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, applied for United Nation’s recognition of a Palestinian state. This action by Abbas was very controversial. In an attempt by Hamas to increase its relevance and popularity, the prisoner exchange was agreed upon. Thus, it appears that the situation was motivated by political gain rather than by a desire to achieve peace negotiations with Israel. The prisoner exchange compromises further peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Hamas was rewarded for its violence. Israel established the exchange rate to free captured soldiers at over 1000:1. Calls all over the Arab world came for Hamas to take advantage of IsThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 4

rael’s willingness to negotiate and capture more Israeli prisoners for use in bartering. Freeing over a thousand prisoners for only one man will eventually jeopardize Israel’s security. Hamas may continue to take advantage of Israel’s willingness to complete such a lopsided trade. The Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, was under significant pressure to release the prisoners in exchange for the freedom of Gilad Shalit. In 1995, Binyamin Netanyahu published a book, A Place of Sun. In this book, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “the release of terrorists is a mistake the Israeli government repeats time and time again.” Nevertheless, Netanyahu went ahead and exchanged a plethora of convicted captive terrorists for one Israeli soldier. it can be argued that Netanyahu succumbed to media pressure while ignoring the country’s security. According to Yedioth Ahronoth, a local Israeli newspaper, a poll was conducted that showed 79% of Israelis favored the prisoner exchange. Although Netanyahu was acting with the support of the polls.he may have undermined Israel’s security It must be realized, however, that when Gilad Shalit was kidnapped he was in the process of completing his mandatory military service. Israel has a mandatory military requirement for anyone over the age of 18 with few exceptions. Since Gilad Shalit was fulfilling his mandatory requirement, the Israel government needed to make every effort to free him in order to demonstrate to its soldiers its complete support. By exchanging over 1000 prisoners for Gilad Shalit, the

Israeli government demonstrates that it will support its soldiers at all costs. However, it simultaneously portrays Israel as weak to Hamas. How can any government justify releasing over a thousand terrorists? Moral reasons cannot be used to justify a political action. It significantly undermines security as well as establishes a dangerous precedent for future prisoner exchanges. This prisoner exchange raises but does not solve many controversial topics. Should Shalit have been sacrificed for the safety of Israeli society? In this situation, Gilad Shalit’s freedom could lead to the death of many other innocent civilians since it is well known, and has been demonstrated in the past, that many of these released terrorists will go on to launch further attacks against the citizens of Israel. Hamas did not act in a way to bring on peace negotiations. They may be encouraged to capture other soldiers or civilians and use them as hostages or pawns in negotiations. As evidenced by Netanyahu’s statement and his current action, the importance of individualizing each decision is demonstrated. The exchange does, however, emphasize the importance of the individual and the importance of life to the state of Israel. The fact that 79% of Israelis were in favor of the exchange highlights the values of not only the Israeli people, but the Israeli government as well. It is necessary that a country constantly under attack stand together and regard human life with the utmost importance. HMR





housands of Egyptians occupied Tahrir Square on January 25, 2012, in commemoration of the first anniversary of the revolution that was the zenith of Arab Spring, inspiring demonstrators in Syria and Libya. Accompanying the celebratory mood, however, was a mix of agitation and tension. Still painfully reminded of the resurgent protest movement against military rule in November, this time around Egyptians had become splintered into opposing groups of military rule supporters and political factions, when they had once gathered in Tahrir Square as a unified mass. Two of the nation’s most powerful institutions, The Muslim Brotherhood and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, have already raised the suspicions of Egyptians in their struggle for power. The protests against the military’s increasingly explicit attempts to decree for itself special powers in November led to four days of violence and unrest. The brutal crackdown on demonstrators that left at least 40 demonstrators dead ignited an even broader backlash against the military’s power grab, but Brotherhood leaders equivocated on whether they supported the swelling protests. The Brotherhood, which recently won a dominant role in parliamentary elections, and the military rule reached an agreement that would hand power to an elected president by June 2012. Dissenters immediately labeled Brotherhood leaders to be “opportunists who lost their principles in exchange for a piece of power.”


The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Features Despite citizens’ ambivalent feelings towards the Brotherhood, the anniversary celebration did indicate one unequivocal position; most citizens called for a swift exit of the ruling generals. A banner in front of the stage in Tahrir Square on the anniversary read: “The people want to end the military trials of civilians. The people want the handover of power. The people want the restoration of the stolen money.” Pro-Brotherhood groups and anti-military factions gathered to chant phrases such as “Down with the military rule!” One question that has arisen from these tensions is whether the power struggle between the Brotherhood and the military rule will end in accommodation or in conflict. The Brotherhood, even after gaining a majority in parliament, still remains subordinate to the military junta, but Egyptians grow increasingly distrustful of the transitional government, which not only is failing to re-establish stability and order, but also uses draconian measures to silence opposition. The violence with which the military attempts to control its citizens certainly does not evoke an image of democracy somewhere down the line; the fact that people continue to protest demonstrates the ineffectiveness of this transitional government. In February 2011, the Supreme Council had declared it would old power only for six months. Now, a year after the Mubarak’s ousting, Egypt remains under martial control, and citizens are worrying about the Council’s attempts to cement its powers under a new constitution. Clearly, the military government has a vested interest in maintaining influence unrelated to, perhaps in opposition to, achieving democracy in Egypt and keeping the sta-

The Horace Mann Review | Issue 4

bility. How can a government that does not institute effective reform and whose intentions are ambiguous ease the transition to a new nation? The army is working effectively to create for itself a repertoire of superiorities through which it will be able to maintain its control over the civilian population. For example, the Council, led by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, claimed to have curbed the state of emergency law by limiting its use of extrajudicial arrests and detentions to cases of “thuggery.” The term “thuggery” could apply not only to protesters but to potentially anyone the Council chooses, establishing a legal pretext for the army to take measures against civilians who should never be tried in a military court in the first place. Thus, by increasing the scope of control in the public sphere the army aims at widening its power gradually. What the people want is not another repeat of the Mubarak regime with rampant police brutality and suppression of liberty. On January 31, 2012, thousands of protesters marched to Parliament to demand that the military rulers surrender power now, before a new constitution is drafted and without any sort of immunity. When met by a barrier of Brotherhood members, however, the protesters turned their anger on them, chanting “No Brotherhood, no officers. Down, down with military rule!” The volatility of some of the protesters demonstrates a deep uncertainty and anger that is easily directed; right now, Egypt is in no better shape than it was during Mubarak’s regime. The fact of the matter is, the revolution that took place was not one at all; a revolution ushers in an era of reform,

overhauls, and transformation of a nation. Egypt’s reality remains the same as it was during Mubarak’s regime; the only change was the name of the oppressor. The collective uprising of the people did not result in a new consciousness and set of principles, nor did it realize a new nation derived from the will of the people. Somewhere along the way, protesters, Brotherhood, and military council members alike all lost sight of their values and morals; civilians should not need an army to keep it from murdering others during a soccer match, and the military, which is meant to protect the people, should not be joining in the brutality. The protesters are angry, and rightfully so, for the military has not fulfilled the promises it made, but resorting to violence and continuously disrupting the peace will only further hamper efforts for reform. The ideals the protesters fought for a year ago have now degenerated into mob mentality and disorder. These citizens are deluding themselves if they believe mindless violence will bring about lasting change; if they have lost sight of their goal, then they have lost their right to revolt. In the face of all this, can Egypt truly achieve liberty and democracy? If so, all aspects of the country must work in a cooperative effort. The military junta must efficiently hand over power to civilians. The protesters must stop ascribing blame and resorting to violence to make themselves heard. The Muslim Brotherhood must not stand on the sidelines as history is made. Dismantling Mubarak was only step one of the revolution. The next is to install a new government that can effectively institute reform and do what is just and right for its people. HMR





he common American fears Al-Qaeda. And rightfully so. Yet at the same time the common American could not describe the detailed intricacies of the group or the names of its various leaders. The Al-Qaeda is a name that sets of a trigger. The trigger of 9/11 that has forever left a stigma on this country and brings us back to one of the darkest days in our history. But let us not forget the success of our government at combatting and foiling the ensuing, attempted plots. But let us not forget the success at killing masterminds of these cruel men such as Osama Bin Laden. But let us not forget the resiliency of the American people, how we, united, stood as one in the midst of an intimidating national defense issue. It’s our duty to never forget those lost on 9/11, but it’s also our duty to stand strong for those same people. The only way AlQaeda beats us now is if we let them dictate and control our lives by emotional fear. As the great Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, “that these dead shall not have died in vain”; and again we now must gain back our freedom for those who sacrificed it. The freedom of fear. Because we can. Osama BinLaden alongside his top advisor, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, founded Al-Qaeda sometime between 1988 and 1989, with the top priority of carrying

out a global jihad against all cultures and religions that differed from the beliefs of traditional Islamic Sharia Law. This was a movement totally new to the world, so radical that almost all Muslims denounced the group despite the growing anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. Bin Laden grew to denounce American and Western countries’ prevalence in the Middle East vehemently, especially such influence in his home country of

Saudi Arabia. The hatred and repulsion of one radical man’s disgust for the principles of Western culture sparked what is now considered the most dangerous and potent threat to our national security. But just as years go on and times change, so does Al-Qaeda. Once accustomed to the safe havens of the tribal regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Al-Qaeda is now a nomadic group, attempting in large part unsuccessfully to launch attacks from Yemen and other countries in the Arabian Peninsula. No longer is Al-Qaeda as much a threat as the American people believe. Al-Qaeda undoubtedly once rose but now they are steadily falling. Al-Qaeda had once been accustomed to steadfast support and sanctuary in the

rorist organization and its allies. Supporting Al-Qaeda makes the tribal regions a target for American bombs and drones, leading to more deaths and attacks on innocent civilians. Additionally, providing sanctuary to Al-Qaeda increases the growing tension between the tribes and the Afghan and Pakistani governments, further harming the relations of the tribal regions. As a result, Al-Qaeda’s most prominent branch today appears to be the AQAP (Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula), which has steadily attempted to launch attacks on Western soil. For example, the infamous Christmas Day Bomber, Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was trained out of Yemen by Al-Qaeda to launch a global jihad. Additionally, in

Osama Bin Laden: May 2, 2011

Baitullah Mehsud: August 5, 2009

Anwar al-Awlaki: September 30, 2011


Northern tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the government’s authority was extremely limited and contested to the extent that tribal leaders would strike deals in order to supply shelter to the terrorists. However, that support seems to be dwindling, and Al-Qaeda seems to be realizing it. Tribal leaders and government officials have smoothed over some recent tensions and many of these regions no longer offer refuge to the ter-

“It is important to recognize that Al-Qaeda capacity to carry out the horrific

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FEAR US 2010, two bombs were flown from Yemen intended to go to a Chicago synagogue. That plot was also foiled. Through the recent attempted attacks and through other extracted intelligence, undoubtedly the focus and primary threat to our nation’s national security has emerged from the Arabian Peninsula region. At the peak of its threat in 2001, AlQaeda possessed the capabilities, finances, and brainpower to launch intricate


a threat as a propagandist on behalf of Al-Qaeda for he spoke fluent English and could connect to the lives of those Muslim American citizens who harbored hatred against their country. Awlaki was extremely successful at convincing certain American Muslims to launch jihadist attacks against their own nation, posing one of the most imminent threats. With Awlaki gone, Al-Qaeda does not possess someone of the same intelligence,

does not possess the capabilities and attacks we have grown to fear.” and successful attacks that could inflict serious damage to the United States. Yet since the 9/11 attacks, the American government has launched a relentless campaign against these inhumane fiends with the objective of capturing or killing these terrorists. Al-Qaeda and its allies have slowly deteriorated due to the lack of support from the Muslim world and the simple lack of needed capacity to carry out attacks. First off, the killings of Osama Bin Laden along with U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki were instrumental successes in the American combat against terrorism. Awlaki was an American citizen in Yemen who was killed while crossing a desert in a car by a U.S. attack confirmed by President Barack Obama. Awlaki posed

determination, and evil-driven charisma who can pose a greater threat to American security. Perhaps the most important advancement in counter-terrorism was the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Though Al-Qaeda was quick to name Zawahiri the leader of the group and claim that revenge and a violent reaction would arise, the fact remains that Al-Qaeda lost its fearless and brilliantly evil leader. Al-Qaeda will continue to plan attacks against all Americans and American culture, but Bin Laden was a genius planner, a rallying and uniting force for the terrorist group, and the man with the experience and capacity to launch attacks. With Bin Laden gone, the group is in utter disarray. Bin Laden possessed a rare tandem

Ilyas Kashmiri: June 3, 2011

N. Mohammad Top: June 3, 2011

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of plotting ingenuity along with a evillypersuasive appeal that Zawahiri does not reach. The Arab Spring has showed an undeniably quest for democracy amongst nations that once supported Al Qaeda, which now believe much more strongly in setting up fair, democratic governments. The democratic quest for many of these Middle Eastern countries reveal a new wave of sentiment, aimed at personal freedoms and liberties of all people. The people of the revolting countries demonstrate their weariness at tyrannical and dictatorial governments, like that of AlQaeda, instead aim to implement governments that directly represent the respective people of each independent nation. It is important to recognize that AlQaeda does not possess the capabilities and capacity to carry out the horrific attacks we have grown to fear. Nevertheless, the game changes as soon as they get hold of a nuclear bomb or something of atomic power, but that is for another day. It is also important to recognize that Al-Qaeda still and will always remain a threat, as there will always be people who hate American and Western society, culture, and ideals. Yet we must not overreact to the threat and carry on our lives with such inexplicable fear. Let the terrorists fear us, don’t fear them. HMR

A. Hafs al-Shahri: September 15, 2011



On the “Right” Side of Israel


laszlo herwitz

srael, the world’s only country to be established under the tenets of Judaism, was founded in 1948 on the principles of liberty and equality. Because of this, some may say that it is ironic that the Israeli government treats the Palestinians with such hostility. Another problem Israel has is that all the countries around it either have fragile peace treaties or want to destroy it all together. These concerns about safety have led people to flock to the more conservative wing of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. This influence has forced Israel to take a tougher stance on the building of settlements, caused peace-talks between the Israelis and Palestinians to break down, and has also been a catalyst for Israel’s covert sabotage policy against Iran. Recently, the Israeli government has taken a more extreme stance on the building of settlements in the West Bank through refusal to renew its freeze on settlements for a longer amount of time, after having discontinued the building of settlements for a one year period. This is due to the fact that many people have not been satisfied with the way Israel is functioning and, thus, have voted for the most conservative wing of the Knesset. This very conservative wing of the Israeli Parliament is sympathetic to the UltraOrthodox, whom many Israelis criticize


An Analysis of the Move Towards Conservatism in the Jewish State for not holding jobs, living off of state welfare programs, and not having to join the army at age 18 like the rest of Israeli citizens. These pro-Orthodox sentiments cause the members of the conservative parties in the Knesset to aggressively advocate for no concessions or freezes of settlement building in the West Bank because these settlements are mainly built for the ultra-Orthodox. This factor guarantees the conservative parties the vote of the ultra-Hasidic Jews, which, although not big, is quite influential. Another ramification of the push for a more conservative government in Israel is the break down of the peace-talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. The political left in Israel is the faction that advocates for a Palestinian state created out of the West bank and other Israeli concessions, whereas the political right, refuses to allow any concessions on the part of Israel in the creation of a Palestinian state. The stance of the right wing members of the Knesset reflects the view of a significant proportion of Israelis. Even though many Israelis would like to see a State of Palestine, there are just as many who don’t, and these are the people who feel that the current Israeli administration has been too willing to make concessions. Such conservatives have also helped fuel the election of more right-wing politicians to the Knesset. A number of right wing politicians who

play a role in the peace talks have maintained the position that no concessions should be made if a state is to be created. The hardline stance of these politicians has caused anger and resentment on the Palestinian side of the peace talks, contributing to the subsequent break down. Unfortunately, a termination in peacetalks may turn out badly for Israel in the short term. Many Palestinians would feel disenfranchised at Israel’s refusal to negotiate and will turn to radical political groups, such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in their attempts to create a Palestinian state. The political right in Israel has been an outspoken advocate for strong sanctions and even military action against the Iranian nuclear Program. Their growing influence has contributed to the slew of attacks this past year on the Iranian nuclear program. Earlier in 2011, a virus known as ‘Stuxnet’ ravaged several Iranian nuclear centrifuges. The origin of this virus is unknown, however, many speculate that it was created in Israel due to the fact that Israeli officials seemed rather happy when questioned about it. In addition, a piece of data in the virus can be interpreted as a reference to a part of the Old Testament. More recently there have been two other attacks on Iran. The first attack consisted of blowing up a Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran, which killed a senior Revolutionary Guards ofThe Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


The Knesset

ficial who had played a large role in the Iranian nuclear program. The second attack occurred a few weeks ago when a magnetic bomb, attached to a car, killed a senior Iranian nuclear scientist. If Israel actually executed such attacks, which is highly likely, then it highlights Israel’s growing fear of Iran’s continued nuclear program. As such, many Israelis feel that the government is not treating this situation gravely enough and are thus flocking to the conservative politicians that advocate for quick and decisive military action against Iran. It is evident that the Israeli people want politicians who will act more decisively in solving Israel’s problems, making Israel’s safety their top priority. It is equally evident then that these people don’t necessarily want to always take military action; they are simply worried and

latch on to the most reassuring and forceful solution, whether or not they think it is in the best interests of the state in the long term. This swing towards conservatism is still in its early stages, so its long-term effects are still unknown. Depending on the will of the people of Israel, we can expect to see changes in the policy of the Israeli government in the years to come. There are two obvious outcomes to this situation. The first outcome is that the swing continues and Israel becomes more militarily hostile. This would be helpful in the short term because it would muscle

“The stance of the right wing members of the Knesset reflects the view of a significant proportion of Israelis.”

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Israel’s enemies into submission. However, in the long term in would alienate Israel’s allies and cause Israel to lose support within the UN, a body that is not currently sympathetic to Israel and Israeli interests. The other outcome is that the situation with Iran cools down. If this happens then the Israeli people would move away from the hard-right because they would feel that such extreme measures were no longer needed. HMR






The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


Features anothermccain



ith the world currently focused on the upheaval in Syria and the recent elections and riots in Egypt, let us not forget the precarious situation in Iran. Over the past month Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz, through which 17 million barrels of oil are transited every day--roughly equivalent to 20% of the world’s daily oil production. However, it is important to keep in mind the different goals and agendas of the nations that are involved in the standoff. Whether or not Iran will stand by its word is questionable. While they do have a navy capable of closing the straits the United States and European Union have sent ships of their own into the Persian Gulf to make sure the straits stay open. On January 22, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln crossed the straits with an escort of a guided-missile cruiser, two destroyers, a British frigate, and a French vessel. Moreover, the US Navy has issued a no bid contract to upgrade the troop carrier USS Ponce, which was previously slated to be decommissioned, into a floating base from which helicopters and navy seal teams can be launched. While Saudi Arabia claims they will increase oil production to compensate for the oil production that will be lost if the straits are closed, the US and EU cannot afford to

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take any chances. The undeclared proxy war that Iran and the Western Powers are fighting can be traced back to Iran’s nuclear program. Fox News reports that Iran will have “20% concentration of enriched uranium by next month.’ Fox News says, “that level of enrichment is not used for energy production but towards weapons development.” Assuming this is true, if anyone doubted that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb, it is now that much harder for him or her to do so. This news is particularly frightening for the nation of Israel since Iran and Israel are sworn enemies and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said that he would wipe Israel off the face of the map. With diplomatic initiatives to encourage Iran to cease their nuclear development program having failed over the past decade the western powers are now turning to economic sanctions and possibly military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions that the US and the EU plan to impose on Iran would bar the buying of Iranian oil. This would cripple the oil-based Iranian economy. Thus Iran’s threats of closing the Straits of Hormuz are a measure to not only delay the imposing of the sanctions, but also to give themselves more time to develop a nuclear bomb. For the most part the Iranians have gotten what they wanted as President Obama is waiting until the spring to decide whether or not he should

go through with the sanctions. Reports that the United State’s bunker busting bombs might not be effective if used against Iran’s underground nuclear facilities further strengthens Iran’s position. However, the United States still appears to be willing to use them. The US has reportedly given out contracts to strengthen the bombs and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey recently traveled to Israel. It is widely assumed that if an air strike were to be enacted against Iran’s nuclear facilities it would be Israel who would carry them out. Making the whole situation that much more complex, earlier in January Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, one of the chief Iranian nuclear scientists, was killed when two motorcyclists planted a bomb on his car in the Iranian capital city of Tehran. It is widely believed that Israel is responsible for this assassination, but the Israelis refuse to comment. Undoubtedly, Iran will use this assassination to try to gain leverage in the UN. The US has leverage of its own. During January the US Navy rescued a number of Iranian ships from pirates in the Persian Gulf. Going forward it will be interesting to see if the sanctions are successful. There still are questions as to whether or not an air strike can be successful against Iran. If all fails in the end and Iran ultimately obtains nuclear weapons, the world will likely turn into a much scarier place.

“With diplomatic initiatives to halt Iran’s nuclear development program having failed over the past decade, the western powers are now turning to economic sanctions and possibly military action instead.”


Features During January the U.S. Navy rescued a number of Iranian ships from pirates in the Persian Gulf. However, this is not a significant point of leverage for the U.S. since Iran is a consistent violator of human rights. For example, Iran sentenced Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to stoning for allegedly committing adultery. Iran has also sentenced ex-U.S. marine Amir Mirzaei Hekmati to death for spying while he was in Iran visiting his grandparents. It was not until September that Iran released two American hikers whom Iran accused of espionage for one million dollars bail. It is likely that they never even crossed the Iraq-Iran border; rather, Iran probably captured them close to the border in Iraq. In terms of violence against its own people, Iran brutally crushed the peaceful Green Revolution in 2009. Thus it is highly likely that Iran is not going to extend an olive branch just because the U.S. rescued some Iranian sailors from pirates. If Iran were a weak and unimportant state, it is likely that the west would have laughed at Iran’s pronouncements about closing the Straits of Hormuz. If Iran was a weak nation, Iran probably would never have threatened to close the straits. However, Iran is an extremely dangerous nation with a large army and large oil deposits. Iran’s economy is about 40% reliant on oil revenues and Iran is OPEC’s second largest oil exporter, exporting four million barrels each day. Most of the oil is exported to Europe and Asia. Over the past decade Russia and China


“Iran has proven itself to be a rogue nation, consistently supporting terrorism and attempting to undercut American influence.”

have supported Iran, generally blocking sanctions and resolutions in the UN that would hurt Iran. Iran has proven itself to be a rogue nation. Iran has consistently supported terrorism and tries to undercut American influence. There have been media reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accepted payments from Iran totaling over one million dollars. Iran is known to funnel money and weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine and Gaza. Both organizations are classified as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department. Moreover, Iran is a strong supporter of Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime in Syria. Some estimates for the current death toll in Syria as a result of the Syrian government’s crackdown are as high as 6,000 people. A 2009 U.S. intelligence report estimated that Iran could obtain nuclear weapons by 2013, although some estimates have Iran obtaining nuclear weapons even earlier. Iran’s nuclear program appears to have received immeasurable help from the Russians, who significantly helped build the Bushehr I nuclear reactor that opened in 2011. Western nations fear Iran’s obtaining nuclear weapons due to Iran’s not recognizing Israel, its tensions with the Sunni states, in particular Saudi Arabia, and its known relations and support for terrorist groups. The West fears that Iran will directly use nuclear weapons against Israel or the Sunni states, or that Iran will give nuclear weapons to

terrorist groups that would do the same. While the U.S. sanctions passed in December that require U.S. banks to seize and freeze the assets of the Iranian Central Bank will go into effect February 13th, the EU says it will only ban Iranian oil imports starting in July. While Iran does almost no business with the U.S., Iranian oil is traded in US dollars and the Iranian oil industry secures credit through the Iranian Central Bank. Thus the United States’s sanctions will make it that much harder for Iran to sell oil. The United States hopes that with a drastic decrease in oil revenues Iran will be forced to halt its nuclear program. However, it might be already too late for the sanctions to work and Israel’s fears of an Iranian nuclear bomb might come to fruition this summer. In 20 years, the Straits of Hormuz standoff will likely be seen as a small facet of Iran’s march to build a nuclear weapon and the West’s struggle to prevent the rogue state from going nuclear. In the meantime, Iran’s threats to close the Straits have been successful, with the U.S. delaying sanctions for almost two months. While Iran would close the Straits if it could, its threats appear to be just a means to delay the enactment of sanctions and to provide more time for the development of a nuclear weapon. Moreover, the sanctions might not even be the deciding factor in whether or not Iran obtains nuclear weapons. In a recent Washington Post article, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear program this spring. If Israel does and fails then only a lack of determination will stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon; U.S. sanctions may slow Iran down, but either Iran’s capacity to build a nuclear bomb must ultimately be destroyed or the effects of the sanctions must prove so crippling that the Iranian government will be forced to cave into the West’s demands. Iran may calculate that it is best to let the people suffer under the sanctions and that once a nuclear bomb has been developed, the nation will have the leverage to force the West to back off sanctions. HMR

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The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5



“The US needs to take necessary steps to both reduce the price of foreign oil in the short-term, and minimize its dependency on such oil due to the inherently high price.�



he price of Middle Eastern oil in the United States is corrupted and perverted due to numerous intentional and unintentional price exploitations and influences by Middle Eastern oil corporations. In a free capitalist society, the price of any commodity is determined solely by the supply and demand for that product. The price of Middle Eastern oil is currently not appraised at its fair market value as a result of the immense number of manipulative variables that exist. The United States government is entirely responsible for one of the major reasons Middle Eastern oil is overvalued. Economic embargoes and sanctions upon oil-rich countries in the Middle East amplifies the price per barrel since the government is restricting the supply of oil while the demand remains constant. The United States underestimates the enormous effect that sanctions and restrictions on free trade have upon the price of oil. In 1979, The U.S. initiated a major sanction on an oil rich country. The government prohibited all economic trade with Iran, which resulted in a 249% increase in oil costs. This sanction still exists today, and since Iran is the fourth largest producer of oil in the world, it continues to overvalue American oil imports. The monopolization of oil by the

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Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) coupled with their consistent, direct, and effective manipulation of both production and distribution of oil has left America with astounding non-market value prices. OPEC represents twelve countries and collectively controls 40.4% of the entire world’s production of oil. As a group, OPEC decides the amount of oil that each of its member countries will export. Generally, OPEC will authorize the export of almost enough oil to cover the United States’ public demand. They sell enough oil to maintain themselves and their countries, but the price of oil rises with their actions. However, the amount that OPEC trades has no correlation to the availability or actual supply of oil located in OPEC countries. Therefore, OPEC overvalues oil by manipulating the available supply to the United States but leaving the real total supply in reserves. Another tactic that Middle Eastern oil companies and governments both exploit is fear. Ultimately, supply and demand determine the price of a commodity. An anticipated reduction in supply causes higher demand and consequently higher prices. The Middle East corporations and governments fabricate this anticipated reduction in demand by citing irrelevant political and military conflicts as threats to the total production of oil. The most com-

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mon conflict associated with rising oil prices is the Israel-Palestine dilemma. In 2002, violence between Israel and Palestine escalated with more fatalities than at any other point in the engagement previously. This conflict drove oil prices to climb 65.9% in 2002 alone from 2001. It would seem perfectly sensible that when two oil exporters are in conflict, the supply is reduced and the price goes up. The contradiction is that Israel and Palestine combined export less than 0.01% of the world’s oil. The skyrocketing of oil prices cannot be attributed to a change in actual demand since Israel and Palestine export such an insignificant amount of oil. Rather, Middle Eastern oil companies are able use the Israel-Palestine violence as a justification to release poor supply predictions that consequently cause the upward pull in the price. The U.S. needs to take the necessary steps to both reduce the price of foreign oil in the short-term and minimize its dependency on such oil due to the inherently high price. The first step is to remove the sanctions and embargoes on Middle Eastern nations and to encourage global free trade. Once this is done, the U.S. will have access to a heightened supply of oil, which would cause the price per barrel to fall. Oil is a diminishing resource. Not only is there a limited number of oil deposits, but also the Uppsala Hydrocarbon

Depletion Study Group predicted that oil production would peak in 2018. The United States’ dependence on foreign oil will automatically diminish because of the nature of the market. As oil production begins to decline, the price greatly increases due to the reduced supply and the aforementioned price manipulations. Eventually, the price of oil will be higher than the price of alternate forms of energy, and the United States’ dependency will fall to nothing as Americans are forced by cheaper prices to utilize alternate forms of energy. The Middle East oil companies and governments force the overvaluing of Middle Eastern oil by ensuring perpetual diplomatic conflicts, fronting price inflation with irrelevant violence, and monopolizing the industry. Though, ultimately the heightened oil prices will force Americans to reduce reliance on foreign oil and oil as a whole, in favor of alternate forms of energy. HMR



iran samantha rahmin


n the 1960s, Iran created its first nuclear program. Since then, nuclear weapons have become a contentious issue. In 1968, Iran agreed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a landmark international treaty with the goal of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and achieving nuclear disarmament. Luckily, Iran’s first nuclear program officially ended in 1979 when revolution spread through the nation. But, the question remains: has Iran lived up to the obligations in its treaty? Worldwide suspicions grew in the 1990s. In 2002, documents were found revealing Iran’s secret nuclear program. President Mohammed Khatami’s government promised to suspend work on uranium enrichment and allow more inspections by the International Atomic Agency. Consequently, in retrospect, we know Iran could not be trusted. Therefore, over a decade later, why hasn’t the United States resolved this problem with Iran with means other than diplomacy and sanctions? President Obama spent his early years in office proving diplomacy’s failure. Unwilling to compromise, Iran backed out of a tentative agreement to ship Uranium to be enriched elsewhere. The United States continued to look into Iran’s nuclear program. In September 2009, American intelligence agencies found that Iran had enough nuclear fuel to make a nuclear weapon, but not a bomb. Iran purposefully declined to take the critical final steps to make a bomb. Iran has kept a stockpile of Uranium, more of which would need to be enriched to make a bomb. The United States, allied with Russia, China,


is a threat.

Britain, France, and Germany, convinced Iran to agree to export most of its Uranium for processing. Unsurprisingly, just before this exportation was scheduled to happen, Iran rejected the deal. Iran did not trust the West. Yet, the West is always willing to give Iran a second chance. In February 2010, Western suspicions were confirmed. For the first time ever, the United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declared that they had extensive evidence of Iran’s futile activities, one of which included Iran’s military’s development of a nuclear warhead. Yet despite these findings, Iran was unwilling to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Russian and Chinese diplomats worked to urge Iran’s government to accept a United Nations plan on uranium enrichment during meetings in Tehran. Iran refused. This event proves that we cannot count on Iran to respond to diplomatic negotiations. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Russia and China now agreed to work with the United States imposing new sanctions on Iran. In June of 2010, the UN Security Council also voted to impose a new round of sanctions on Iran. After months of debate, President Obama proclaimed that he was delivering “the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government.” These sanctions were imposed against military purchases and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ trade and financial transactions. In retrospect, while these sanctions may have slowed Iran’s nuclear program and disrupted banking and export related economic functions, they did not meet their goal of permanently

w stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Subsequently, even more sanctions have been imposed on Iran. This November, Western powers worked to prevent Iranian banks from being part of the international financial system. The United States went even farther, proposing sanctions on Iran’s nuclear, petrochemical, and oil industries. These sanctions take away the power of the Iranian government to refine oil or invest in its petroleum industry. In an attempt to prove its power over Western nations, Iran retaliated. Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil transit point. If Iran carries out this threat, the price of oil could immediately rise over 50% of its current price. As a consequence, the United States worked to isolate Iran’s central bank as well as Iran’s three largest oil customers, Japan, South Korea, and China. Saudi Arabia and other oil producers promised to make up for any gap in the supply of oil. President Obama used some unknown, secret way to communicate to Iranian leaders that closing the Straight would provoke an American response. With tensions high, American allies, such as Israel, declared that any attack on Iran because of nuclear weapons was still very unlikely. On Monday, January 23rd, 27 of the nations in the European Union banned Iranian oil imports. All these nations promised that they would not sign oil contracts with Iran and that existing oil contracts would end by July. By “oil” these nations have agreed not to import crude oil, petroleum, and other The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


now ! now Features

we must act chemical products. Importantly, the Iranian national bank will still be frozen within the European Union. In the heat of decisions pertaining to how to deal with Iran, an unidentifiable motorcyclist attached a bomb to an Iranian scientist’s car. The Iranian scientist was killed. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps threatened retaliations. Clearly, the atmosphere surrounding nuclear programs in Iran is incredibly tense. The tension is revealed with the sudden, mysterious death of Iranian scientists and with the harsh sanctions imposed on Iran by Western powers. Conveniently, in this uneasy atmosphere, Iran announced that the country was prepared to start a second uranium enrichment site. Buried 30 feet under concrete and surrounded by air defenses, the current uranium enrichment site in Natanz is very resistant to airstrikes. However, the new uranium site is reported to be even more apt to fending off airstrikes. The CIA has tried to destroy Iran’s nuclear program by cutting off the nation’s supply lines. Though, this tactic is not working. Again, the United States is looking towards negotiations with Iran. In January, Iran agreed to resume talks with America, Russia, France, China, Britain, and Germany. Nevertheless, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said that the new sanctions could not force Iran to end its nuclear program. Ultimately, this statement and Iran’s reaction has many diplomats wondering: Is Iran just buying time? If Western nations do not react to nuclear threats, one of Iran’s weapons will be detonated on Western soil. With tensions this high, an event of conflict of some sort The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

is inevitable. America has exhausted all possibilities for diplomacy. As sanctions fail us, America has two options. America can agree to live with an Iran that has a thriving nuclear program. Or America can use the force of our own weapons to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. There are many counter arguments to bombing Iran. For example. retaliations in the form of nuclear warfare by Iran is a possible risk. However, if America waits to bomb Iran, these risks will amplify. The only thing worse would be if Iran beats us to the punch. Considering that an unstable country with a nuclear weapon is rather dangerous, America must act in the best interest of the citizenry. It is time for our Department of Defense to demolish Iran’s nuclear program. The military can attack both the Natanz facility and Fordo, another enrichment site carved

into Iran’s mountainside. Since American weapons are so accurate that civilian causalities are not an issue. Since we have no formal contact with Iran, foreign relations should not be an issue. Yet, if we postpone bombing, the country will become more unified and build even more secret nuclear facilities. Of course, this argument neglects that Iran already is a country unified around a nuclear program with underground nuclear facilities. Alternatively, there is every indication that the situation in Iran will worsen if America keeps waiting for and talking to Iran. One of Iran’s 56 foot-tall, deadliest weapons, the shabab-3, is paraded around banners reading, “Wipe Israel off the Map.” It is irresponsible of our government to ignore these signals and let Iran’s nuclear program continue thriving. HMR



Israel’s ism Sex by samuel fisch I

remember a story my grandmother used to tell me of a disturbing incident when she was in Israel with her daughter. My grandparents and their daughter were quietly walking through an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. Suddenly, a group of Orthodox men dressed in full traditional black attire appeared and began to throw rocks and stones at my aunt because of the clothing she was wearing. She was wearing jeans, which was an inappropriate style of dress for a young woman in that neighborhood. My grandparents and aunt quickly left the area, and luckily, no one was harmed. Although this story happened thirtyfive years ago, it appears that some things have not changed in Israel. Recently, international media outlets have placed almost as much emphasis and headline space on the recent happenings regarding the discrimination against women in Israel as they have on the ongoing Pales-


tinian-Israeli conflict. The Western and Israeli media have recently publicized various incidents of discrimination by the ultra-Orthodox against women in Israel. In Beit Shemesh, a group of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews—known in Israel as Haredi—have stoned, taunted, cursed and even spat on an eight-year-old Jewish girl because her clothing did not comply with their modest ultra-Orthodox dress code. The girl is the daughter of two American immigrants, both of whom are now practicing Orthodox Jews themselves, living in an ultra-Orthodox community. Another tale: extremists in Beit Shemesh removed every public bench from the community during a nighttime raid, for the sole purpose of preventing women from sitting outside in the street with their children. Yet another example exists: in Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox extremist vandals blacked out billboards with advertisements featuring female faces. Also, wom-

en are expected to sit in the back of public buses that serve ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, physically separating these women from the men in ultra-Orthodox communities. These examples of oppression of women by the ultra-Orthodox in Israel are neither new nor unique, as this type of discrimination started centuries ago in these sects. The blatant discrimination against women in Israel by the ultra-Orthodox is abhorrent, disgusting, and unacceptable. However, some of the Western media has inaccurately portrayed the various incidents of gender inequality in Israel as equal to or greater than the mistreatment of women in many Islamist-ruled Muslim countries surrounding Israel and also as reflective of the role of women in Israeli society generally. While these incidents of discrimination against women in Israel by the ultra-Orthodox are inexcusable, they are inextricably linked to the larger societal issue in Israel of the power The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


and role of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel’s government and the country. These situations are not at all illustrative of the relatively advanced role of women in Israel. The gender discrimination in many Islamist-ruled Muslim countries is sponsored and dictated by government officials and religious leaders who rule those countries. For example, in Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive and women who attempted to publically drive cars were brutally beaten by Saudi men. Over forty-two percent of women over the age of fifteen in Turkey have experienced sexual or physical abuse sometime in their lives. Worst of all, women and girls in Iraq are still subject to forced prostitution and much domestic abuse. Most shockingly, areas in northern Iraq still practice female genital mutilation. These examples reveal the appalling nature of discrimination against women, which is more extreme than the discrimination occurring in Israel. Most imporThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

tantly, unlike in Israel, the mistreatment of women in Muslim countries is condoned by the government. Unlike the religious and government leaders in Muslim countries, Israel’s government strongly disagrees with and takes powerful action against acts of discrimination towards women. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in a recent speech that Israel “won’t accept spitting on people in the street just because someone doesn’t approve of their apparel,” and that Israel’s “public sphere is open and safe and will remain so.” Rabbinic leaders of even some of the more Orthodox sects in Israel have similarly spoken out against the utterly abusive behavior of the ultra-Orthodox fanatics in Beit Shemesh. In fact, the vast majority of Israeli citizens hold women as equals. Israel is particularly notable for women’s equality and the lack of a “glass ceiling.” A woman is the head of Israel’s Supreme Court and

five women just graduated from the Israeli Air Force’s distinguished pilot flying course. Women and men fight side by side in the Israeli army and have always been in combat together. Although there are segments of Israeli society that mimic the harsh treatment of women in Muslim countries, Israel is a modern, thriving Western democracy where the vast majority of women can attain roles in society that women in Islamist-Muslim countries can only dream of achieving. Although the issue of discrimination against women by some of the most radical ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel is alarming and inexcusable, this gender discrimination is in no way reflective of the role of women in Israeli society and is in no way equal to or greater than the barbaric oppression of women in some of Israel’s Muslim neighbors. HMR



Blatant World

Our Call to Arms Why we must take down Bashar al-Assad and his tyrannical regime isaiah newman



or many years, Syria has had perhaps the most iron-fisted regime throughout the entire Arab World. It thus has been surprising to many that the uprising in Syria that began as a part of the Arab Spring movement has become such a prolonged struggle, despite continued violence against the Syrian people by President Bashar al-Assad’s autocratic government. The Assad family has been in power in Syria for over forty tears, with much of that time being characterized by a loosely defined state of “emergency law�, which the government has used to justify the suspension of almost all constitutional protections for its citizens. In March of 2011, Syrians finally began an uprising against their government, influenced by neighboring protests and organized in response to the torture of several anti-government graffiti artists. At first, governmental reform seemed like it was The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


“Despite the many problems and brutalities the Syrian movement has faced, the resolve of the people has remained strong.” within reach, with President Assad hinting at some movement towards a less autocratic government. However, as time has progressed, there have been increasingly more violent military crackdowns against the protests. The Syrian government has alienated itself from the rest of the Arab world through its violent actions, with strict sanctions being imposed by the Arab League. Syrian soldiers have even begun to defect towards the resistance movement, lending the Syrian protesters some military power with which to fight back against Assad’s crackdowns. Arab League observers have been allowed in the country in order to try to quell Central Observer the violence and provide a more accurate picture of the situation, but so far their presence has had no notable effect. President Assad has shown no desire to stop his violent crackdowns, and erroneously continues to blame the violence that has arisen against the protests on a foreign conspiracy. Despite the many problems and brutalities the Syrian movement has faced, the resolve of the people has remained strong. They have continued to protest against their tyrannical The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

government, and have even won some international support. Criticism of the Syrian government has come even from those nations with which Syria is traditionally allied, such as Jordan, Turkey, and Russia. Still more action and determination is necessary, however, if the Syrian protesters are to achieve their avowed goal of ousting Bashar al-Assad and creating a new, more democratic gov-

ernment. The protesters must continue to rebel against the atrocities committed by Assad’s unforgiving regime, and to receive international attention for it. So far, they have done an admirable job of exercising their natural political right to self-determination, and of staying strong in the face of extreme adversity. It is impossible for the Syrian people to overthrow Assad’s government solely by their own will, however. Assad has not responded to any of

their demands thus far, and it is highly unlikely that he will do so in the future. However, if there is continued international pressure, then perhaps Assad might attempt to end his government’s isolation from the rest of the international community. More specifically, the United Nations and its member states need to take decisive action. They must impose strict economic and diplomatic sanctions, so as to make staying in power even more detrimental to Assad and to weaken his sway over any remaining supporters. Furthermore, the international community must continue to denounce Assad’s actions and the legitimacy of his government, thereby weakening international relations with Syria, and greatly decreasing any benefits that Assad would receive from staying in power. If the international community fully takes into account the rights of the Syrian people, then perhaps the Syrian people will attain the political freedom that they so righteously desire. HMR







william ellison

ill Europe be able to recover from its enormous economic problems? Hopefully, for the sake of both the European nations and the world, yes. But even if the Euro Crisis itself is resolved, it is imperative that many European countries restructure and reform their economies to not only prevent another future crisis, but also to enable Europe to regain its economic strength in the face of the growing BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). As the world


becomes increasingly economically interdependent, Europe’s reclaiming economic might will enable it to compete with emerging economic powers in other parts of the globe. In addition, Europe’s regaining economic vitality will benefit all of its trading partners across the globe. In particular, European economic renewal will benefit the United States, as we are closely allied to the European countries. One of the first key areas to address in order to revive Europe’s economy is to fix the ever-increasing gap between Europe’s more competitive

rich northern nations and the more spending-oriented southern countries. British economist Ian Kernohan claims that in the long term, economically weaker European countries such as the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) will continue being uncompetitive and will become even less competitive compared to the stronger northern European nations unless they reorganize their economies. Dutch investment firm Robeco opined in a recent statement, “Europe is working on a solution to the debt crisis, but this does not diThe Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Economics rectly solve the current problems in the southern European countries.” While trying to solve the Euro Crisis, European leaders have generally not considered how to use the crisis to improve their economies, as Germany has with past crises. Politicians in southern European countries, such as Greece, Portugal, and Spain, are focusing too much on cutting spending and increasing taxes, and not focusing on what is more important: diverting considerable amounts of resources to reenergizing the most basic elements of their economies, so that they can be more competitive with northern European countries and other stronger economies, such as those of China and Russia. Developing and maintaining severe budgetary discipline will not be enough to solve Europe’s problems, according to major economists.

The European countries could utilize the crisis to reconstruct their economies by adopting policies of better resource allocation. The European countries could utilize the crisis to reconstruct their economies by adopting policies of better resource allocation. “In one sense, the resources – both human and natural – of Europe are not much different than before the crisis, so our potential is not that different,” Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, stated in an interview. “But what’s clear is that misguided policies and market failures are leading Europe not to use its resources well, by not investing in people and capital, or improving technology, in a way that will help them be more competitive with what’s going on in Asia.” Another aspect in reforming European economies is the The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

European governments’ finding ways to increase productivity and have an industrious work force. Increasing the number of work hours will not solve the problems, as Greeks with full-time employment work an average of 42 hours a week, Portuguese workers 38 hours, and German workers just over 35 hours a week, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency. Despite these differences, a recent Eurostat index of labor productivity provided Germany a mark of 105, Greece a 94.8 and Portugal a 76.4. Further, European countries need to decrease the strictness of the regulations on their economies, as this scares investors away who may otherwise invest money into the European economies and aid in the creation of jobs. After all, numerous large and midsize companies across the globe are holding unspent cash and are ready to invest it. There are five main targets that the European Union has already established as goals for 2020: increase employment, innovation, and education, decrease poverty and establish a new energy policy. Regarding employment, the EU’s goal by 2020 is that 75% of people between the ages of 20 and 64 will be employed. The EU desires that 3% of its gross domestic product (GDP) will be invested in both research and development/innovation. The EU also aims for 20% of its energy to be from renewable sources and for a 20% growth in energy efficiency. As for education, the EU wishes to decrease school dropout rates to below 10%. Next, by 2020 there should be 20 million fewer citizens in or at risk of poverty. Furthermore, the EU wants greenhouse gas emissions to be between 20% and 30% lower than they were in 1990. These positive goals are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Educational enhancements will help increase employment and decrease poverty. Additional R&D/ innovation in conjunction with more effective resources will allow the EU to become more competitive and produce more jobs. And finally, financing in better technology and machinery


Economics will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and simultaneously generate new business and job openings. The Euro Zone has so far muddled its way through its debt crisis by using the European Central Bank to provide a spark for the economy by printing money and buying debt, but Europe is now reaching the edge of a cliff, over which Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and even the entire Euro Zone may fall. 2011 has been quite a

be resolved soon, as the southern European countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain try to deal with enormously high costs and significantly weakened economies. Standard & Poor’s has recently downgraded the ratings of not only France, but also Italy, Spain, Austria, Cyprus, Portugal, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia. Additionally, although it’s not in the Euro Zone, the debt crisis has greatly affected the United Kingdom as well. However, while the

nations, even though analysts caution that these countries are susceptible to the economic issues of the developed world. “Emerging economies continued to benefit from structural growth drivers but were not completely immune from the slowdown in the developed world, having to raise interest rates in their battle against inflation,” explained chief investment officer at HSBC Global Asset Management Alec Letchfield. He continued by saying

tumultuous year, causing global financial markets to become unstable and unpredictable. As each week passes, a new country in the EU becomes entangled in its own independent debt crisis, causing chaos on the global stock exchange and jeopardizing the future of the euro, the EU and Europe itself. The challenging situation does not seem like it is going to

Euro Zone will probably continue to struggle in 2012, the United States will likely remain one of the more economically powerful among the major developed countries, thanks partially to low-interest rates and diminishing prices of goods. Countries gaining economic strength are also on track to proceed noticeably better than the European

“as they continue to grow, there will inevitably be greater spending on domestic infrastructure and an increasingly wealthy population will look to consume more. This will reduce the dependence on exports and with it, make emerging market economies and possibly stock markets increasingly guardians of their own destinies.” As other economies are slowed by the


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Economics global economic situation and by the natural consequences of reaching a certain level of economic growth, including the request of the citizens of the countries for higher standards of living, better infrastructure, and better working conditions, Europe should take this opportunity to try to reform its economy and regain economic vitality. Furthermore, as the emerging and strengthening BRIC economies have to start paying more attention to their populations and domestic issues, and have less time to focus on global trade, Europe can try to at least catch up if not get a step ahead. While the European countries for centuries were world powers that collectively ruled a gigantic percentage

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of the world’s population and land, and while Europe collectively is still an extremely potent economic force, the individual European countries

The European countries should settle their differences and resolve the Euro Crisis. are giving way to the larger (both in terms of land and population) BRIC countries. Except for Germany, the once feared European powers such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy,

that divided up the world, are now not of nearly as crucial importance on a world economic scale. Of course, Europe does not need to rule the world again, but as our closest allies and trading partners, it would be beneficial for them and for the United States if they could reclaim some of their previous economic life. The European countries should settle their differences and resolve the Euro Crisis. They should then look towards the future by pursuing the goals that have already been put in place and restructuring their economies to become more competitive and secure. HMR



Superbowl Commercials: A



As long as millions of people watch the Superbowl, -- either as fans of the sport or fans of the advertising -- they will be tuned in as not only spectators, but also as consumers, suckers for this annual show of commercial craziness. Bowl commercial spots not only to draw customers, but to shows prestige and prowess. But are purchasing these obscenely expensive amounts of commercial slots economically sound? Most people watch the Superbowl for football, but some people disregard the actual sport and only tune in for the commercials. If one


watches the Super Bowl and pays close attention to the commercials, one will see a trend in the companies buying these expensive air slots and in the actual elements of the commercial. Every year PepsiCo cranks out a multitude of commercials for the Super Bowl. Last year alone they produced 6, 30-second commercials, good for a total of 21 million dollars spent on advertising in one night. Although that is negligible in proportion to PepsiCo’s annual revenue it is still a large amount to spend on one night of advertising. PepsiCo is paying $21 million dollars to attempt to get 111 million people’s attention for a mere 180 seconds. The average American will spend around $151 on PepsiCo products a year. If each of the 111 million people who saw PepsiCo’s Super Bowl ads spent around $5.30 on PepsiCo products a year then the company will break even on their Super Bowl advertising investment. This is a low-risk high-reward system that PepsiCo is implementing. Considering PepsiCo needs the 111 million viewers to spend only 1/28 of what the average person spends on

PepsiCo products to break even on the investment in commercial time, there is very little risk. PepsiCo cannot just sit back and bring in the profits automatically. Making attractive commercials is an integral part of PepsiCo’s success. Arguably PepsiCo’s most famous brand of chips, Doritos, is PepsiCo’s most advertised product dur-

very year towards the beginning of February everyone in the United States becomes excited for the largest American sporting event of the year: the Super Bowl. Football fans enjoy the event the most, but even those who don’t watch or know anything about football get riled up for the Super Bowl, not for the games, but for the unique commercials. Last year, 111 million Americans tuned into the Super Bowl, becoming the highestrated night in television history. And this is exactly what companies drool over every year –hundreds of millions of consumers, glued to the TV, easily impressionable. Each year Super Bowl commercials become more and more memorable due to their stereotypical, funny, raunchy, attractiveness. With a high demand for commercial time during the Super Bowl, air time comes at an obscenely large price. For a 30 second ad spot during the Super Bowl, corporations will have to shell out a whopping 3.5 million dollars. Companies seek Super

The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


Are They Worth it? ing the Super Bowl. Making an attractive advertisement has a direct correlation to profitable Super Bowl ads, which ensures either risqué, or downright absurd Super Bowl ads appearing throughout the night. Reoccurring themes from companies such as GoDaddy, a domain name hosting service, uses sex appeal to attract the viewer to remember the ad. Companies also use preposterous and outlandish humor to ingrain their product in the consumer’s mind the next time they decide to buy a bag of chips, search for a new car, or show up to the movies. PepsiCo implements a system that not only benefits them in labor and filming expenses, but the effort and creative genius it takes to concoct a memorable advertisement. For Doritos (owned by PepsiCo), a year round contest has fans and aspiring advertisement producers create ads, which have the chance to be played during the Super Bowl. On Doritos’ website, people who visit can vote on the best and the top 4 commercials will be aired during the big game. The one that receives the most buzz after and during the game will not only yield PepsiCo large profits, but the creator of that commercial will be hired to do the advertisements for Doritos for the rest of the year. This is a beneficial system on all ends and is an obvious example of companies taking advantage of their massive fan base, while taking a large burden off of their shoulders in production of an otherwise expensiveto-create commercial. This year the Super Bowl ads should be as impressive as ever, with companies bringing back memorable ad campaigns such as the eTrade talking baby and GoDaddys seductive lineup of commercials. In addiction to all this

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excitement, Mars promises to unveil their new M&M ad campaign and have M&M replace Snickers as their flagship candy. This year, the Super Bowl ads look as promising as the highly publicized Patriots-Giants rematch. Is it possible for the excitement of the commercials to overtake the excitement of the game itself? For companies like PepsiCo and GoDaddy, the answer is irrelevant. As long as millions of people watch the Superbowl, -- either as fans of the sport or fans of the advertising -- they will be tuned in as not only spectators, but also as consumers, suckers for this annual show of commercial craziness. HMR



The Individual Investor Mitchell Troyanovsky


n investor who invests in stocks as a hobby or as a plan for retirement, rather than as a main job, sees that one of his or her stocks just had bad quarterly results or some other headline comes up that pushes the price of the stock down. Assuming the investor hasn’t held this position for long should, he or she sell it or not? The answer is absolutely not; the reason is that by the time this person reads the headline, his stock would have already dropped to a level that the market deems correct factoring in this new headline. Basically, if he or she sold the stock based on that information, it would be sold he at a price that would already reflect and factor in this new headline. The investor would actually be losing money because the stock has already gone down from this headline, and what this person would be doing is selling it after the price reflects the news.


The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Economics Let’s talk about another example. As everyone probably knows Apple had a blowout quarter to end fiscal 2011. So in the trading hours that followed, Apple stock went up about 6%. This 6% gain means that, factoring in the news, the professionals on Wall Street value the stock at a price that is 6% higher after this news came out. Should you buy Apple stock after this news comes out? Theoretically, no, because all you will be doing is buying at a price reflecting the report. The reason this is a bad idea is because investors buy stocks ultimately because they think other people will buy the stock, so that the value of the stock goes up. So basically if you bought Apple stock after you see this news you will not be ahead of the curve; you will be behind the curve and you will be making money for all those professionals on Wall Street. Now I’m not trying to say that if you invested it after you won’t see gains; you might. But those gains won’t be a result of the news you initially heard. Those gains might happen because of events that you never foresaw, but were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. The reason individual investors shouln’t invest on news (short term investing) is because the professionals on Wall Street know all the news before you, so you will always be behind the curve. The reason the professionals

other stock for week and then selling it after it goes up or down, a strategy taken by the HM Business League virtual stock game, for example. But there is no way an individual investor can beat a computer at speed, so don’t try. You will not earn gains unless you are extremely lucky. Buying stocks isn’t gambling and people shouldn’t

“There is no way an individual investor can beat a computer at speed, so don’t try.” try to turn it into that. This doesn’t mean I discourage investing in the stock market; far from it. There are ways you can beat those professionals on Wall Street. First, let’s consider what many of those people do. They have money, mostly client money, that they have to earn returns on to pay their clients. They sit at their desks on Wall Street looking for patterns in the graphs, anxiously waiting for what the feed is about to say, looking at the headlines, etc. So how can we beat these guys? First of all we have to remember that stocks are real companies, which many of them we buy from or see others buy

“If the stock you bought has a good balance sheet and good prospects then the price will always bounce back.” always know it before you is because it is their job to know it first. They sit at their desks watching the headlines and they have computer programs trading on it instantaneously. People always tell me about shorting the S&P for a week or buying some

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that? The answer is no; because they don’t go to school they don’t see the trend. What they see is the quarterly report. So if you invest in Nike seeing that its shoes are becoming more popular you might very well see its stock rise when their quarterly report comes out. This is because you saw the fad first and these fads made Nike

from all the time. For example, you see that all your friends start to have Nike shoes. It is not just a coincidence that just your school has them. Most likely, kids in other schools like them too. Lets say it’s the new fad. Do the professionals on Wall Street know

have higher revenue. So when the professionals on Wall Street see the report, they will drive the stock up, but you don’t need to worry at beating the computer program because you already owned shares of the stock. Don’t just hold a stock for a quarter; if you see long term growth potential hold on to the stock for many years to come. Even if the stock goes down you don’t need to worry. If the stock you bought has a good balance sheet and good prospects then the price will always bounce back. As I mentioned earlier, many heard of Apple’s blowout quarter, but what people might not know is that the quarter prior Apple did awfully. For the first time in years it failed to live up to analyst estimates. This pushed the stock down more then 1300 basis points to $367. I held on to the stock because I knew Apple wasn’t going out of style. I still see people going in and out of the Apple store near my house. I still see people on the bus with iPods and iPhones. I wasn’t going to sell the stock after it already went down based on a report. I held on to it and it is currently at $460. This is just one example of why you shouldn’t sell a stock based on headlines, but this happens all the time, in every industry in every stock index. Don’t short term invest; all you’re doing is endlessly following the market. HMR


Science & Tech.

Science Science&&Technology Tech.

SOPA and PIPA: Two Viewpoints


The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Science & Tech.

Why We Need Online Piracy Law


caroline kuritzkes

magine a world without free knowledge.” On Wednesday, January 18th, millions of Internet users encountered this unnerving message in Wikipedia’s blackout. They were denied access to the online encyclopedia’s information taken for granted by so many Americans. Americans were surprised, if not alarmed, by the image of black tape suffocating Google’s familiar, colorful logo. They considered a completely unprecedented question: how could the Internet go on strike? Wikipedia and Google protest the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the “Protect Intellectual Property Act,” otherwise known as SOPA and PIPA. These bills were proposed by the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively to stop internet piracy, or online copyright infringement. They are meant to enforce measures taken against online piracy by allowing individuals to request court orders against foreign infringement sites, thus prohibiting the sites from doing business with U.S. advertising networks

The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

or receiving funding from credit card companies. Yet the opponents of the bills believe that the legislation could restrict free speech - that the government would be overstepping its limits, actively controlling the internet in its efforts to protect

“Ultimately, the SOPA/PIPA dispute is a difficult and controversial one. What was just a law protecting the property and hard earned money of movie producers has spiraled into a huge debate.” copyrights. According to Wikipedia, the site launched its blackout “out of concern that SOPA and PIPA would severely inhibit people’s access to information.” For example, the bills empower the government to accuse a site of copyright infringement, even if the site is unaware that it contains pirated content. For internet service providers like Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia, this aspect of the bills is particularly problematic. Though the

majority of the content of these websites is uploaded by users, rather than by the sites themselves, these sites are currently not legally responsible for the entries that their users provide. However, the SOPA and PIPA laws would make these sites responsible for illegal content uploaded by their users, and as a result, Internet service providers would be required to carefully monitor their users’ uploaded entries. Sites like YouTube, which contain thousands of non-pirated videos, could also be shut down even if only a few of their uploads violate copyright infringement laws. On the other hand, pirated music and videos on foreign-based websites can cost media and entertainment companies billions of dollars a year. Though it might not seem like stealing to the average American adult or teenager, uploading, downloading, or even watching infringed movies is actually theft. Until the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation, the U.S. government had done very little regarding pirated content; currently, Internet service providers are solely respon


Science & Tech. sible for the content uploaded by the sites themselves. Ultimately, the SOPA/PIPA dispute is a difficult and controversial one. What was just a law protecting the property and hard earned money of movie producers has spiraled into a huge debate. Entertainment companies argue for the protection of property rights, while Internet companies insist on the protection of free speech. But how do we decide which side is right? One way is to uncover the true motives of the Internet companies. If this argument is about free speech for Internet companies, then why would Wikipedia deny its users access to its content in the first place? This act of protest restricts free speech more than the SOPA and PIPA laws ever could. And if, in the extreme case, a site is accused of Internet piracy for hosting pirated content unknowingly, we should be able to trust our justice system to make the right decisions and come to fair conclusions regarding Internet piracy cases, and bear in mind that it is highly unlikely that a website would be unfairly convicted and forced to shut down. In the rare case of a site being shut down unfairly – that is, if a site were shut down without knowing that it contained pirated content - the legislation could be problematic. But in short, if Wikipe-

dia and Google are simply protesting the free speech that could be limited from this unusual and extreme case, these sites are overreacting. Another factor, money, must be the real fuel powering the protests of major internet companies. Motion picture companies admittedly argue for stopping online piracy to hold onto their profits, but maybe a monetary gain is also behind the SOPA/ PIPA debate for Internet companies. Remember, Internet companies make large profits by directing users to widely visited illegal pirate websites. For Wikipedia, a site that has only thirty-five staff members, none of which edit the site’s entries, it would be expensive, complicated, and inconvenient to hire a larger staff responsible for overseeing and removing so much user-generated content. Though internet companies argue that the online piracy debate is about protecting free speech, maybe this dispute is really about money after all, for both sides. Not to mention, what does Wikipedia’s protest mean for the legitimacy of Wikipedia itself? Wikipedia’s articles are supposed to be unbiased, but if Wikipedia openly opposes SOPA and PIPA on its own website, can we still trust the validity of its entries? Companies like Wikipedia and Google should be trying to find practical


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Science & Tech.

ways of stopping internet piracy instead of rousing the public into fear and frenzy through publicity stunts. Users of Wikipedia and Google are heavily reliant on these websites in their everyday lives, and to have such essential websites participate in a blackout, or strike by other means, is unsettling to the average online user. The public may identify with Wikipedia and Google for the wrong reasons; Americans depend on these sites and do not want to see them go away. After all, what would we do without Wikipedia and Google? A world without these websites is almost inconceivable. Other individuals support an anti SOPA/PIPA position just so they can continue downloading illegal songs and watch pirated videos for free. Yet Wikipedia and Google have a point; the SOPA and PIPA bills are quite unclear, and do not resolve or appeal to the specific case of a site being shut down if it hosts pirated content unknowingly. But although the SOPA and PIPA bills are slightly flawed, the idea behind them is not. Online piracy is an issue that needs to be addressed by the U.S. government. Perhaps different measures need to be taken to prevent online piracy, and maybe the government needs to follow a different route. But a route must be followed all the same.

So what can the government do to stop online piracy? Congress could revise the SOPA and PIPA bills by making them clearer. The consequences of a site that contains pirated content could be changed from the entire site being shut down to just the pirated content being removed. In this way, the sites that heavily rely on user generated content, the majority of which is legal, will not feel victimized, and freedom of speech will be preserved. Still, there are other ways to reduce online piracy besides implementing legislations. Sites like Netflix and Hulu have already been extremely successful streaming videos legally and conveniently, for a reasonable price. Ultimately, Americans need to recognize that online piracy is a problem that needs to be resolved. If Wikipedia and Google choose to protest SOPA and PIPA in particular, that’s one thing. But if they protest any initiative to stop online piracy, they are clearly more concerned with protecting their profits than preserving free speech. If the online piracy dispute is about money, then Wikipedia and Google should just admit it. But disguising a dispute over money as a debate about free speech is just unacceptable. HMR

A Threat to Free Speech


hana krijestorac

n Wednesday, January 18th, protestors on the Internet engaged in a public rebellion against the House of Representatives’ proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, an act deliberately devised to attempt to discontinue the illegal usage of other individuals’ work such as music and movies. The House also presented a counterpart to the SOPA Act called the Protect Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA, mostly sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith. The main difference between the SOPA and PIPA Act is that PIPA also bans the streaming of unauthorized copyrighted content. Through The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

these acts the Federal government is trying to limit the amount of foreign-based pirated electronic information that becomes available to U.S.-based websites by blocking all funding, advertisement, or links to these foreign-based websites. So far, a generally bipartisan attempt to stop these bills has been produced, mostly centered on the argument that it would limit one’s right to the freedom of speech, calling the bills too extreme. This would indirectly cause a search-engine type website like Google to disable or censor the links that would come up from the search. This also gives the Federal government the right to prohibit credit card companies from making payments to these websites.

Not only does this seem a little extreme for individual users, but its disadvantages also branch out to website owners. All user-based websites would be penalized for pirated content posted by a user, shutting down a number of popular social media websites such as Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter. Although these websites have enough revenue to delay this anticircumvention clause, smaller and lesserknown websites do not. This arises from the anti-circumvention clause, which states that if a user posts a link to a pirated website, the website could face a government enjoinment, causing it to be shut down. Although websites like Google and Facebook have enough revenue to delay


Science & Tech. this anti-circumvention clause, smaller and lesser-known websites do not. Wikipedia used this public relations opportunity only to bring light to the issue of censorship, not just for major websites like Google, but also smaller websites and blogs that we may take for granted. While piracy is an issue that needs to be confronted in the digital sphere, there is already legislation attempting to prohibit it; the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This piece of legislation requires websites to take down infringed material. While copyrights are essential to our system of free information through the Internet, this issue has already been confronted. Naturally, it is fair to rightly credit another individual’s work. As blogger T.J. Stiles phrases it, censoring websites like Google will ruin the free flow of speech afforded by the new digital world. Using this logic, one can conclude that by enacting these bills, the government is indirectly prohibiting the freedom of speech. Another negative aspect of the two bills is that they undermines a person’s individual Internet security by Domain Name System Blocking, a system used to convert the letters that one would type into web browser into a code of numbers. The bills would halt the conversion, making it increasingly simpler for a hacker to obtain user information. Although many preach the dangers of cyber bullying and hacking, the government seems to be indirectly supporting it, which shows the looseness of the bill itself. It seems almost rushed and unplanned, even though they were proposed in May of last year. Not

only are the moral implications of the bills being undermined, but also the technicalities of it. Recently we’ve seen a general trend or movement of speaking out against the government through the Occupy Wall Street movement, and now the more official rebellion against SOPA and PIPA. The audacity that websites like Google and Wikipedia have to openly oppose such a bill seems a bit harsh; however, one must understand that the SOPA and PIPA bills are directly threatening their survival and ultimately the usefulness

As blogger T.J. Stiles phrases it, censoring websites like Google will ruin the free flow of speech afforded by the new digital world. Using this logic, one can conclude that by enacting these bills, the government is indirectly prohibiting the freedom of speech. of the Internet. On January 18th, individual protestors went to the offices of Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both supporters of the bills, hoping to get their message across. The future of SOPA and PIPA still remain unclear, considering that the opposition has increased on a local and federal level. Many senators have backed out of the bill, by noting its immoral implications. According to Nobel-prize winning writer J.M. Coetzee, who has analyzed the history of censorship, the resistance on the war on censorship generally wins. Hopefully with further resistance, SOPA and

PIPA will be put to rest for good. Although the American people pride themselves on their leniency towards their views on freedom of speech, throughout history we have seen that mainly totalitarian governments perform restrictions like this using covert means. For example, Coetzee reflects on his time spent in South Africa, where the amount of censorship in publications was substantial. Take the Soviet Union during its Stalin years; a society hindered by is overly controlling government. Looking back on these seemingly inferior nations in the respect to their freedom, the United States seems to be going in the same direction of censorship. By implementing these bills, the United States will imitate nations like the Soviet Union or South Africa. Naturally, a resistance formed in the Soviet Union (mostly made by artists and writers) and South Africa, much like Google or Wikipedia are demonstrating. Some have the perception that Wikipedia’s plea for support from viewers originates from fear of losing money. While this is true, the argument for keeping sites like Wikipedia alive is necessary in order to feed the freedom of the digital world. This is not just a scheme for the CEO’s of banks to keep their income; this marks a grander crusade on the government’s need to censor the public, a restriction, as pointed before, that corrupt governments perform. The United States government’s procession into this type of censorship can only mean the worst for the American future. HMR


The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Science & Tech.


adam resheff

Going Public?

acebook, one of the world’s most popular social networks, recently filed to go public and is expected to raise $5 billion for the company in its initial public offering and to be valued at $100 billion. Facebook’s $5 billion initial public offering (IPO) will be the largest of any technology company in history, nearly 5 times bigger than Google’s IPO, and its $100 billion valuation will make the company worth more than Amazon, McDonald’s, and Disney. Currently, more

hold. Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, persists in taking the stance to work on perfecting the website, rather than worrying about the profits. With 845 million users on Facebook, this business strategy has yet to fail. The creativity and time put into a product like Facebook often creates tension between the business and creative sides of the company, one wanting to look at revenue and the other at innovation, respectively. Facebook succeeds at integrating both sides of the company, by its generating $3.7 billion dollars in ad rev-

ideas such as the “Like” button and or the “News Feed,” where would the website be at this point? As there has been a push for years from investors for Facebook to go public, it can only be assumed that the decision to go public now has been well thought out, factoring in all such issues that may come along with it. It would be hard to deny the economic benefits of going public, but if economic benefits hurt the substance of Facebook, would its users prefer if a select group of individuals pad

“The question then arises, not necessarily about the financial risks of going public, seen in other highly-anticipated, highly-valued tech. companies like Groupon and Zynga, both of which flopped shortly after going public, but in the drawbacks that outside interest may have on the operations of the social network.” than 1 in 10 people worldwide use Facebook; it is the fourth most visited site in the U.S. and first in ad revenue. Before the news of its IPO, Facebook already had many investors at its feet, with financial institutions such Goldman Sachs investing billions of dollars in the company. Facebook seems set to make an impact on Wall Street. The question then arises, not necessarily about the financial risks of going public, seen in other highly-anticipated, highly-valued tech. companies like Groupon and Zynga, both of which flopped shortly after going public, but in the drawbacks that outside interest may have on the operations of the social network. Investors typically focus on the short-term profits of a company, a strategy CEO Mark Zuckerberg is unlikely to The Horace Mann Review | Issue 5

enue in 2011. Regardless, Zuckerberg’s awkward stature and mannerisms may not be what investors want from the man who is to be the face of their company. With his long-term approach to business and ⅓ ownership of the company, which creates risk for the company in the case of his death, investor contempt may prompt the investors to push for Zuckerberg to either give up his majority share or leave Facebook. As drastic as this may seem, the reality of going public is that those in charge of running the company give up a portion of their control over its actions. Facebook is giving up its power of total creative expression, taking away its ability to innovate the ways in which its users interact with the site and with each other. If investors opposed and pushed against

their wallets at the expense of Facebook’s creative influence that draws in 907 minutes of usages a day? Facebook shouldn’t risk harming the substance of Facebook. If Mark Zuckerberg really doesn’t care about profit, as he’s previously stated, then he wouldn’t potentially put Facebook in harm’s way or risk losing control of the company, taking away from himself the capability to further perfect what has become so popular around the world. The economic benefits of Facebook going public are vast, but one can only hope that the potential financial gains do not supersede the importance of perfecting a product for the 845 million people that make Facebook the powerhouse that it is. HMR


Science & Tech.






nd in the desert cold men invented the star.” A mere nine words long, Franz Wright’s poem, “The Forties”, describes the invention of the atomic bomb, and offers a glimpse into the public perception of the atomic bomb. Wright remains an omnipresent observer in the poem, though, two words in this poem hint at the author’s opinions of Enrico Fermi, Neils Bohr, Robert Oppenheimer, and others involved in the Manhattan Project: cold men. In the midst of a desert, supposedly in Los Alamos, New Mexico (the sight of the first tests), these men remained “cold”. Though despite the men being cold in the eyes of the author, it cannot be denied that their invention, “the star”, was the opposite. With the technology used to create the bomb, every country has the choice of seeking destruction or using


this power for good. Such a decision can be seen in some countries’ use of nuclear power to create reactors to power towns and cities. Countries such as Brazil have vowed to use nuclear energy for purely peaceful purposes. Meanwhile, countries such as Iran have decided to begin nuclear programs and threaten national security. Both of these countries had a choice of how to use this power. Because Iran decided to build an arsenal, it threatens national security, and provoked the United States and other countries to enact sanctions. Brazil, on the other hand, faces no scrutiny for its decision of how to use nuclear power. The simple power and destruction of the bombs is captured in the few remaining photographs taken by photographers who risked their lives in the 1940’s to preserve the sense of fear and awe that the bomb inspired. Most photos of nuclear weapon detonations show the smoke and

dust after the explosion; however, the military commissioned group of photographers, the Lookout Mountain Laboratory, was able to truly show the power of these weapons. One photograph depicts the detonation milliseconds after the bomb was set off. In the photo, the bomb looks like a sun, which is ironic considering the sun being a symbol of life and the bombs being a symbol of death and destruction. The simplicity of the photograph is immediately striking, and appears to show an immense uncontrolled force that is greater than any scientist that might have conceived the idea of the bomb. Another photo taken in 1953 shows the shadowy silhouettes of photographers as they take pictures of smoke plumes rising from the ground. The way the photographers align themselves is reminiscent of paparazzi trying to get a shot of a famed celebrity. The bomb could also be said to be a celebrity in its own right, able to use its power The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI

Science & Tech. for good or for evil. The end of World War II brought the rise of two world powers: the United States and the Soviet Union. With the rise of two major powers also came conflict. Both the United States and the Soviet Union were interested in amassing a stockpile of nuclear arms, which caused both to see one another as threats to each other’s power. Eventually, several treaties were passed such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a treaty that attempts to halt the spread of nuclear weaponry. Despite the numerous accords passed as a result of the Cold War, the most memorable part of the Cold War could possibly be the pop culture spawned as a result. Acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick directed the movie Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying Love the Atomic Bomb in the midst of Cold War in 1962. The film focuses on the fictional Air Force General Jack D. Ripper who orders his aircrafts to bomb the Soviet Union, thus causing a nuclear war. The film discusses concepts such as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and the Security Dilemma, the idea that if one country increases their weapons arsenal another country will see it as a threat and build their arsenal, in a way that made these concepts understandable. So, despite the scare of nuclear war, an amazing movie helped explain the crisis at hand. The movie Dr. Strangelove is just an example of the creative potential that arises from

nuclear weaponry, and it foreshadowed what would come in the future. The 1980’s brought the Reagan administration and the fall of the Berlin Wall, which helped unite the world. It is difficult to believe, in a world that becomes more and more connected with every tweet and status update, that a wall could split the world. Before a Facebook message could spark a revolution like the Arab Spring, it took the threat of nuclear war for change to occur. Eventually though, the peace talks that came from nuclear weapons and the fall of the Berlin wall led to this interconnectedness that allows us to tweet a message to someone halfway around the world. The Clinton Administration furthered these talks amongst nations to promote non-proliferation in North Korea and other countries. Peace talks with North Korea solidified the idea of every country gaining nuclear weapons despite the intent. As the talks continued, other countries began researching nuclear programs and hoping to expand their arsenals, which the United States hoped had peaceful intention. Now it is the twenty- first century and Iran, Israel, and North Korea have been in the news as countries that hope to expand their nuclear programs. President Barack Obama has attempted to assuage fears by hosting a Nuclear Non-Proliferation summit in 2010, but tensions escalate. Iran and Israel have been locked in a series of con-

flicts, with Israel fearing Iran’s recent increase in their arsenal. Despite this seemingly perpetual conflict between states, there remains hope. Just as the original creation of nuclear weaponry allowed for the creation of poems, photography, and movies, this new wave of nuclear conflict can cause creativity of a different sort. The future of nuclear energy can be either positive or negative depending on the direction the world plans to take. Despite nuclear reactors being better for the environment, many wonder about the sustainability of nuclear energy and whether or not future generations will have to deal with the waste they produce. Additionally, nuclear energy relies on rare elements like uranium, which can only be found in small quantities. Consequently, instead of countries fighting over oil, they will begin to fight over uranium. So, while there are many positive characteristics of nuclear energy, countries cannot solely rely on it. Countries must continue to search for other ways to use the technology originally developed to end World War Two to end energy and economic crisis in a sustainable manner. Nuclear energy does not have to carry the negative connotations that it currently does, the implications that it can carry is the decision of the next generation that will lead peace talks and hopefully light the way to a brighter future. HMR

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Science & Tech.

Apps And Us How Mobile Applications Will Threaten the Primacy of the Web sahej suri


The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XXI


he surge for the development of mobile applications on platforms such as the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace has recently caused mobile and tablet users to spend more time on downloadable applications rather than mobile web-browsers. Previously, a study by Flurry Analytics found that the majority of the time users spent on their phone was not through calling or texting but through the Internet. The new technologies that have been incorporated in these applications have strategic advantages to that of the web. As phone manufacturers would like to limit the functions of their web browsers, such as when Apple restricted Flash on its iPhones and iPads, applications on these app stores have become alternates the missing features from the standard web-browser. Perhaps the most consequential aspect of this issue is how mobile developers react to the technology presented to them. An extensive amount of effort has been made to try to incorporate advertisements into web browsers. However, due to the vast amount of bugs that would slow down the mobile device entirely, advertisements have remained relatively unsuccessful on mobile web-browsers. With the addition of advertisements on mobile applications, however, app developers are able to easily insert advertisements onto the pages without needing to access the Internet, as the advertisements will already be placed on the applications during download. In addition, the app business has been more lucrative for developers. Not only do they have the option of having the user pay for the application beforehand, but these advertisements allow them to collect an additional revenue. Although the introduction and rollout of the 4G technology has been relatively successful, the past-faced user is interested in having information at the tip of their fingers without having to enter in a URL and then wait for it to load. With mobile applications, data is much more accessible and convenient. Television and movie streaming are available through applications such as Netflix and Hulu. Facebook, which has traditionally been accessed from computers, has transitioned nicely into the mobile application field. According to Nielsen, Facebook is the most used app on Android, The Horace Mann Review | Issue 45

Science & Tech. as it has even become more used than the preinstalled apps on Android phones. According to the most recent report form Flurry Analytics, “With Facebook’s recent push into HTML5 with Project Spartan, where apps built for Facebook’s platform can run on top of the Facebook app, instead of requiring the user to launch the iOS app equivalent, this poses a disintermediation challenge to Apple. As Apple and Google continue to battle for consumers through the operating system and devices, Facebook is demonstrating that it can leverage its hold over consumers at the software level, through the power of the social network, across multiple platforms.” The introduction of technologies such as HTML 5 will cause companies such as Apple and Google to step back from outpacing the rest of their competitors. Adobe was forced to halt their development of Flash technologies into web browsers when Apple resisted to have its products be Flash-compatible. However, the implementation of HTML 5 will ensure that Adobe cuts into the profits of Apple and Google as HTML 5 is able to perform many app-like functions in the web browser. In addition, according to a CNN article, HTML 5 “supports geolocation, makes Web forms easier to fill out on your phone, supports coding scripts that enable custom features, and it

also loads multimedia elements faster in Web pages.” This could potentially change the direction for many developers. According to a HTML 5 Report, “The mass migration to HTML5 will eliminate the need to rely on companies like Apple and Google, which take up to 30% of all revenues generated from applications.” HTML 5 is also cross-platform, which makes it convenient for developers to make changes to all versions of their product at once- whether it is geared toward Apple, Google, or other products. The fact of the matter is that since the introduction of various application stores, corporations such as Apple, and Google have been able to attract a wider range of customers. A report by Flurry Analytics stated, “Since 2007, more than 500 million iOS and Android smartphones and tablets have been activated. By the end of 2012, Flurry estimates that the cumulative number of iOS and Android devices activated will surge past 1 billion.” Applications range from books to games to even video content from major television networks. It is no surprise that people spent more time on mobile applications instead of accessing their mobile browsers in the past year. With the introduction of new technologies such as 4G and HTML 5, perhaps the game will revolutionize again for the better. HMR


Issue 5 - Conflict in the Middle East