News and Announcements

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Solutions for Political Dysfunction & Polarization: by Columbia Prof. Nemerovski

Columbia Professor Steven Nemerovski will discuss his two-volume book, "“Third Party” -- Volume One: "Starting In The Middle” and Volume Two: "Strange Bedfellows.”

Additionally, Prof. Nemerovski will discuss more about "None Of The Above," an initiative to confront and develop solutions for political dysfunction and polarization.

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EVENT FORMAT:

Part One: intro by Prof. Nemerovski
Part Two: one-on-one interview lead by Thomas
Part Three: Q&A from the audience

Columbia SIPA students will be joining this event.

Discussion topics may include the following:

• Myths and common misconceptions about third parties.

• A viability of a third party in the upcoming election cycles.

• Partisan dilemmas, pitfalls, and strategic challenges for both sides of the isle.

• Historic factors giving rise to the current partisan gridlock.

• What are the sensible reforms for either or both parties?

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The U.S. Airstrikes on Syria

Since March 2011, on the heels of the "Arab Spring," a bloody and complex civil war has erupted and ravaged Syria, resulting in one of the most complicated international, geopolitical crisis in the modern times.

In the past twenty-four hours, the U.S. launched a unilateral military strike -- thereby effectively making an entry into this multi-national conflict, six years in making.

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Our discussions will include the following:

• What are the moral arguments for and against the military strikes?

• Was the unilateral use of military force justified and proportional?

• Should Pres. Trump have sought Congressional approval beforehand? Was the military action an overreach by the Executive Branch or without a proper legal basis?

• What does this mean for the "Trump Doctrine" -- a shift from "America First" to regime change and nation building in the Middle East?

• How will this impact the geopolitical dynamics in the region vis-à-vis Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and others? How will the rest of the world react?

• How will this affect the current Syrian refugee crisis?

• What role should the U.N. and the International Criminal Court play in prosecuting Assad?

• Will this inevitably lead to partitioning of Syria?

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Law, History & Politics: the "Separate But Equal" Doctrine + Justice Gorsuch

For this meeting, we'll read and discuss the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).

(Once upon a time, state racial segregation laws for public facilities were upheld and justified, under the doctrine of "Separate But Equal." It was overruled five decades later in Brown v. Board of Ed -- the Brown decision will be discussed in the upcoming LHP series.)

*** PLUS, we'll discuss the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. We'll discuss his previous high-profile opinions, as well as the political controversy surrounding his nomination and the eventual Parliamentary-rulemaking maneuver for his confirmation.

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Motion Debate: Is "Stop and Frisk" an effective policy?


Synopsis: During his campaign, then-Candidate Trump called for the controversial "stop and frisk" policy to be instituted nationwide, as a means to combat violent crimes. Advocates for the idea point to its success in New York City, where the implementation of stop and frisk led to a 75% decrease in crime, and significantly less gun-carrying.

However, strong dissent from civil rights organizations challenges the effectiveness of such an invasive procedure, believing it unfairly targets young male minority groups. Police stops in NYC soared some 600% since the 1990s, with 80% of those stopped being Hispanic or black. A 2013 decision from the Federal District Court for the Southern District held that the NYPD violated the Fourth Amendment by conducting unreasonable searches and the Fourteenth Amendment by systematically conducting stops and frisks in a racially discriminatory manner (see Floyd v. City of New York, 959 F. Supp. 2d 540).

Is this controversial policy worth it to make cities safer, or is there an alternative method to achieve the same result? Join us for an exciting dose of civil discourse!

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***UPDATE***

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Monthly Discussion -- U.S. Atty firings, "TrumpCare,"­ Post-Brexit UK + Debate!

We'll resume our "regular" monthly roundtable discussion, covering the most compelling stories and events unfolding in our City, the Nation, and around the World. As always, there's plenty to discuss!

PLUS, our monthly meetings will now feature a new segment -- "a Mini-Debate," where members can engage in a short, structured debate on a contentious issue.

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Topics:

• The City: the firing of the U.S. Attorneys, including Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York -- what this means for City and State politics, regarding the S.D.N.Y.'s pending prosecutorial matters (e.g., investigation into the Mayor's office, the Moreland Commission, suits against Wall Street firms etc.)

• The Nation: the demise of "TrumpCare" and the fate of Obamacare.

• The World: the future of the U.K. in a post-Brexit era

*** MINI-DEBATE: Is NATO still relevant and effective, as originally intended?

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Motion Debate: "Does the government have a duty to educate its citizens?"

The second Motion Debate continues!

Here, we debate the contentious issue of the role of government and public education. Education is undoubtedly an important factor in success and accomplishment -- however, does the Government owe a moral duty to educate its citizens?

Upcoming debate in April:
Is "Stop and Frisk" an effective policy?
https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/events/238343477/

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***UPDATE***

Debaters Chuck Braman and Rob Guzman were this month's winners arguing against the motion. Citing a failing public education system paid for by coercion and tax dollars, Chuck and Rob advocated the idea that parents should have full autonomy in choosing how their children receive education.

Arguing for the motion were Ariela Silberstein and Lenny Herrera, who believe that while systems of education in western liberal democracies are flawed, they are necessary. Without government regulation and funding, there would be no metric to determine the success and applicability of a child's education.

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Feb. Monthly Meetup -- "Sanctuary City," "Travel" ban, the U.S.-Russia relations

We'll resume our ever-popular "regular" monthly meeting discussing the most compelling stories and events unfolding in our City, the Nation, and around the World. As always, there's plenty to discuss!

PLUS, our monthly meetings will now feature a new segment -- "a Mini-Debate," where members can engage in a short, structured debate on a contentious issue.

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Topics:

• The City: NYC's role as a "sanctuary city" for immigrants

• The Nation: Pres. Trump's Executive Order ("Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the U.S.") and the subsequent legal challenges (States of Washington and Minnesota v. Trump -- Docket No. 2:17-cv-00141)

• The World: the future of the U.S.-Russia relations under the Trump Administration

*** MINI-DEBATE: Is every American entitled to a healthcare as a "right"?

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January Monthly Meetup -- 2nd Ave Subway, "Fake News," South Korea, Mini-Debate

Happy New Year!

We'll resume our "regular" monthly meeting discussing the most compelling stories and events unfolding in our City, the Nation, and around the World.

PLUS, our monthly meetings will now feature a new segment -- "a Mini-Debate," where members can engage in a short, structured debate on a contentious issue.

opics:

• The City: the historic grand opening of the Second Avenue Subway

• The Nation: the emergence of the so-called "Fake News"

• The World: the impeachment of South Korea's President and the possible fallout

*** MINI-DEBATE: Should the U.S. Embassy in Israel change from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

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The "monthly discussion" series are undoubtedly by the most popular discussion series, that serves as our trademark "discussion menu." After a busy 2016 schedule with discussions focused around the presidential elections, we're delighted to bring back this monthly series!

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A New Discussion Series! Law, History and Politics

As we usher in the new year, a new discussion series will be introduced -- LAW, HISTORY AND POLITICS.

The LHP series explore the intersections of its namesake -- an in-depth study of a particular law, court decision, or a legal precedent that shaped the political forces and its historical ramifications.

The LHP series will start out with subject matters that directly relate to the U.S. For instance, we'll discuss landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions, particular Constitutional Amendments, or an influential Legislative body of work.

The advanced LHP series will explore international and comparative law from a historic perspective. These may include: Magna Carta, the Code of Justinian, the Code of Hammurabi -- to more recent selections, such as the Treaty of Versailles, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention.

For the premier discussion, scheduled on February 2, 2017, we'll read and discuss the following:

• The Federalist Papers No. 2 ("Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence" -- by John Jay).

• The Federalist Papers No. 68 ("The Mode of Electing the President" -- by Alexander Hamilton).

• Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856) -- a.k.a. the "Dred Scott Decision"

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We're excited to announce a partnership with MotionDebate.com!

The NYCPF is excited to announce a new partnership with MotionDebate.com.

The Motion Debate hosts monthly live debates addressing current issues, where anyone can watch or participate. Learn skills and strategies used in competitive debate, and their application toward real-world situations.

Many important political subjects matters and public policies are highly debatable. At the Motion Debates, we exchange these views in an exciting live setting! Additionally, the audience members play an active role in: 1) during the live "Q&A" portion; and 2) registering their views during the pre-debate and post-debate stages.

The upcoming debates will include:

January 26, 2017
Is abundance of open information more harmful or good to society?
https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/events/236987955/

Feb. 22, 2017
Does the government have a duty to educate its citizens?
https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/events/237515311/

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***UPDATE***

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