Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook
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Why don’t Americans trust the government? Because the other party is in power.

Why don’t Americans trust the government? Because the other party is in power. | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Party polarization is leaving Americans with little faith in a government run by the opposition.
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 4 , May 5- 9


Little doubt remains that our elected officials are polarized in one way, shape or form. When it comes to what is happening in Washington, the debate isn’t about whether there is polarization; it is about how and why. However, a recent Monkey Cage post by Morris Fiorina and Sam Abrams tells a very different story about the public. They argue that ordinary Americans are not ideologically polarized. They find that ordinary Americans are not more extreme in their beliefs than they used to be. The average score Republicans gave the Democratic Party was just 18 degrees, and the average score Democrats gave the Republican Party was the same, 18 degrees. It is not that partisans love their own side’s ideas. Instead, they now deeply distrust their opponents’. As a consequence, public opinion does not encourage polarized politicians to rise above their basest instincts. Although public opinion did not create the polarization that has caused Washington to grind to a halt, it now reinforces it.


I think that our populous is a little hypocritical. Why complain about a potentially over controlling government but then lose trust in them when it is a system of conflicting ideas and values. Of course, they don't always satisfy everyone but that's a good thing. Imagine if they didn't have opposition then whatever the government wants they would get and the people would have no say. That's why having two parties with different ideas is a good thing because it's a real life. We are a divided country but until we're all okay being ruled under communism, a little fighting in our government is ok.

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The Government Listens To Lobbyists And The Wealthy, Not You And Me

The Government Listens To Lobbyists And The Wealthy, Not You And Me | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
New research finds that average citizens have next to no influence on passing public policy.
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 2, April 21-25

 

According to multiple different research, the government are more proven more likely to respond to the voice of the rich and interest groups than of the average American. The government preference of tending to the needs and wants of the interest groups gives them much more control over the impact of public policies. It matters little what the average citizen's opinions stand for, but for the wealthy, if they approve a bill it passes 45% of the time and if they disapprove a bill it passes only 18% of the time. These results are true for interest groups as well. With the growing gap between the poor, middle-class, and the rich, you might expect this research to become more accurate.

 

I think this article supports the two ideas of Elitism and Hyper pluralism It shows how the well funded are treated better than the average person. It also shows how the government tend to appease the needs of interest groups as well. I personally think that the research is extremely accurate. The government responds to the people that hold the most power or influence and it belongs to the rich and interest groups. It's kind of a sad reality when we think that we live in a democracy, a country that responds to its people, not a oligarchy, a government that responds to the powerful.

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Hai Duong's comment, April 22, 2014 8:53 AM
I liked that you used some vocabulary words that we are using in class, but i think you needed more politically savvy words. The US government doesn't really interest the majority of the citizens but ruled by the rich and powerful. I like how you said the our economy is generally elitism and pluralism.
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Supreme Court: ‘Video Games Qualify for First Amendment Protection’ | TIME.com

Supreme Court: ‘Video Games Qualify for First Amendment Protection’ | TIME.com | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
In a 7-2 decision with an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court effectively declared on Monday (PDF file) that video games can be afforded the same constitutional protections as visual art, film, music and other forms of expression.
Ben Tran's insight:

In a 7-2 decision by the Supreme Court, they ruled effectively that video games can be afforded the same constitutional protections as visual art, film, music and other forms of expression. The case that went before the court, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association), strikes down California Civil Code 1746-1746.5, which tried to make the sale or rental of mature-rated video games to underage consumers an illegal offense punishable by fine. People were afraid that vulgar and violent games could endanger and pollute younger audience's minds. However, the court appealed away that fear.


Video games to me are another form of entertainment and just like movies they shouldn't be censored. I'm glad that court ruled that video games are under protection rights of the 1st amendment.. In the article they mentioned that violent video games falls into the group of obscenities, which usually falls out of the favor of the 1st amendment, but it's too hard to decide on obscenity cases because of the ever changing culture and society. I feel like new generations always see things that were considered obscene 20-30 years ago as normal. For example, rock and roll or biknis were considered exploitative  and racy but now they are just part of society.

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The Judicial Assault on American Flag T-Shirts

The Judicial Assault on American Flag T-Shirts | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Last Thursday, a federal court unanimously determined that officials at Live Oak High School in California acted appropriately when they ordered students wearing American flag t-shirts to turn them inside out, or be sent home during a 2010 Cinco De Mayo celebration. "Our role is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put in place to avoid violence," Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the three-member panel of judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The past events "made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real," she wrote.
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 3,Week 5

 

Students at Live Oak High School were stopped by officials and were asked to turn there American flag t-shirt inside out during cinco de mayo. Apparently, this has is based on safety precautions made by school to protect the students from violence from the Hispanic students after school officials said they received reports of Hispanic students threatening to "f-- up the white boys" for being racist. Other threats via text, phone calls, and possibility of gang violence were also said to happening. Many parents, teachers, and other peers were upset by this. They could not believe that someone would be sent home for being patriotic, no matter what day it is. However, the Judicial court has determined that what the school officials did was appropriate on the basis of avoiding violence.

 

This article is the perfect case for a debate on the freedom of expression stated in the 1st amendment in the bill of rights of the Constitution It's obvious that if this were to head to a larger court that freedom of expression would be discussed. I understand that some people think it's okay to censor the boys wearing the shirts in an attempt to prevent violence between the races ,however, I think that violating these boy's rights is unjust. The boys were not igniting any violence and were silent throughout the day, but still they got punished. I think this is unfair and the school should find another way to handle the situation.

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Gay Rights and the Justice Department

Gay Rights and the Justice Department | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Changes announced by Attorney General Holder will advance equality and the justice system.
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 3 February 3-7

 

The Justice system is now acknowledging the rights of same sex couples treating them like straight couples. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.announced a bold plan to remove the distinction between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. His goal is ultimately to "treat all individuals equally regardless of sexual orientation" Gay-couples now are eligible for "spousal privilege,” a rule that prevents spouses from being forced to testify against each other. Same-sex partners of 9/11 firefighters or police officers that was injured during the tragedy have access to special programs that the Justice department administers as well. There are many more benefits that gay-couples can now enjoy just like opposite-sex couples. It's still surprising as to why the white house are still refusing to break the barrier and hire workers with same-sexual orientation.  However, This is a big step in the gay rights movement showing that change is happening.

 

I see this story as a significant moment in the gay rights movement, like one of those you read about the civil rights movement back in the 1900's. It really shows that change is happening and it's happening quickly. People are more tolerate of this change and I think that's because we live in a much more accepting society. I know that racism and hate are still very much present in our nation. But, this proves that society is changing and people, even in the government, has adopted a broader acceptance of differences.

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More Mexicans returning home, fewer immigrating to U.S.

More Mexicans returning home, fewer immigrating to U.S. | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
In a historic reversal, Mexican immigration to the U.S. has tumbled since the recession began and more are returning home.
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 1,  January 20-24

 

Illegal Immigrants entering the U.S from Mexico has dropped significantly. From 2005 to 2010, 1.4 million Mexicans came to the U.S, those numbers have dropped down by more than half from the 3 million who came from 1995 to 2000. The number of Mexicans returning to their country has doubled in contrast to the previous decade. This outflux of illegal immigrants is probably due to the improving economic and social conditions happening back in their home country of Mexico. Along wtih dropping rates of illegal immigration from Mexico could also lead to a drop of immigration debates: due to the fact the main cause for debating is because of Mexican influxes.


I see this story as the beginning of the end for a highly debated issue in our government. Political campaigns will now have less questions on immigration but on other issues like gay marriage and our economy at home. I also see this as a change in demographics for the future. Previous predictions of the Hispanic group eventually becoming the minority-majority will probably change. 

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Congress Celebrates Memorial Day By Hammering Civil Liberties

Congress Celebrates Memorial Day By Hammering Civil Liberties | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Before heading home this Memorial Day weekend to honor those Americans who fought and died for the principle of liberty, Congress did a number on the basic rights that define that liberty: Guantanamo remains open, Americans are still subject to indef...
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 3, April 28 - May 2


To celebrate Memorial day this year, Congress did a number on the basic rights that define that liberty: Guantanamo remains open, Americans are still subject to indefinite detention, our endless wars abroad still have an open-ended legal basis, the NSA will keep spying on us, and the lawyer who said U.S. citizens are legitimate drone targets was just confirmed to a lifetime federal judgeship. The most significant congressional move: the annual defense budget authorization bill that passed the House on Thursday. Or as House Armed Services Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon modestly called it, the Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act. The defense bill sets the parameters for the military's spending in the next fiscal year, and also lays out policies on how that money will be spent.


I think this article shows the power of the central government over the decisions that really matter. The non-federalist were right to worry about a too powerful central government because this is a prime example of one. Congress has the power to make legislation that affects the entire Country, States, and the people but the people have no say in it. It shows that the shift of power in the our Federalism continually shifting to the central government, even to the point where they can tip toe around Civil Liberties.

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Anthony Bui's comment, May 27, 2014 9:52 PM
I believe that this is true the power of the central government over decisions do play a vital role. The Non-Federalist may worry about the government becoming too strong but they may do little. I do believe that the people play a little role in this also. I feel that the Government has more power than the people. over the past years the power has been shifting more towards the Government.
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Is the Constitution Still Relevant? | Consortiumnews

Is the Constitution Still Relevant? | Consortiumnews | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 1, April 7-11


The U.S. Constitution has become part of today’s political battlefield, with the Right claiming to be its true defender and the Left questioning why the old parchment should undercut democratic choices in the modern age. But neither side seems very interested in what the document actually did, says Robert Parry. By Robert Parry There are two major schools of thought about the U.S. Constitution. One from the Left argues that it’s an outdated structure that should not be allowed to inhibit actions necessary to meet the needs of a modern society. And one from the Right, that only a "strict constructionist" reading of the Constitution and respect for the Framers’ "original intent" should be allowed.


The two points that Robert Parry brings up in this argument is really interesting. I personally believe the first opinion that he constitution should adapt to the times of the people. I believe in the Framers' original intent and all, but I believe they didn't intend us to follow it's every rule like it was a guideline that was set to approach problems in our modern society. 

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ACLU Hails Supreme Court Victory in Internet Censorship Challenge

ACLU Hails Supreme Court Victory in Internet Censorship Challenge | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Custom Right Sidebar
Right Sidebar Block 1: 


Blog of Rights



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Related Issues



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Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 3, week 6

 

In an overwhelming victory for Internet free speech, the Supreme Court today ruled in Reno v. ACLU, that the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech, affirming a lower court decision. In a landmark 7-2 decision written by Justice Stevens, the Court ruled that the CDA places an "unacceptably heavy burden on protected speech," that "threatens to torch a large segment of the Internet community."


I found this article really interesting because it is a modern day precedent that relates to me. Also, it's interesting to see that the constitution and the bill of rights protect the people on a matter that reaches way past it's day of creation. The internet is like the press, it's a whole different stage for people to express their ideas and opinions and I'm glad that our Justice system recognizes it and protects it. 



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5 Ways New Media Are Changing Politics - US News

5 Ways New Media Are Changing Politics - US News | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Emerging communications phenomena have transformed the political process.
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 4 February 10-14


Thanks to the fast growing technological advances we've had in the past 10 years, media is now changing politics. Politicians used to spend millions of dollars into television ads, with the goal being to get the viewers to vote, volunteer, or donate money. However, today there are way better and cheaper ways to reach the people through the usage of vast social media. Sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are known to have millions of users.  It wouldn't be a surprise for Politicians to target these sites because almost everyone now in the 21st century has access by phone or computer. Also, it's cheap and fast way of spreading information makes it easier to get the masses.


I see this article of how Politics in our nation is adapting to the  times. It was really interesting to me because just like our Constitution was written to be flexible to the ages, our politicians and our government is also flexible on how they run. When Franklin D. Roosevelt was president he used media through the radio to connect with our nation. President Obama today, uses the internet to get his message to the people through you tube or live streams. However, even though politics change their approach on reaching the nation, the core process of politics itself never changes, just like the constitution.

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American Voter Turnout Lower Than Other Wealthy Countries

American Voter Turnout Lower Than Other Wealthy Countries | Ben Tran Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Regardless of which metric of eligibility you use, the United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts of any of the comparator countries, while Australia and Belgium have the highest.
Ben Tran's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 2, January 27-31

 

Voter turnout in America is considerably lower than in other compariable countries such as Germany and Australia. These countries are not any different than America in status of economy, education, or equality, but, for some reason seem to differ greatly when it comes to voting. Belgium for example, is a country with a 93% participation rate of age-eligible voters compared to the U.S' low 38%. It's possible that other countries with laws in place that make voting mandatory with the punishment for not voting being a fine, could be the reason for such high voter turnout. However, complicated methods for voting in the U.S could also be a reason for the low turnout compared to simpler methods used by other nations. If changing voting to be a mandatory act is out of the question, approaching a new method for citizens to vote could change the number of voter turnout in our country. 

 

I see this story as a sign of an ever degrading interest in our government. Since the 1970's trust in government has decrease and not surprisngly,  has the people's participation in our government's processes has decreased as well.  Most voters today in America are older. These voters belonged to an age where voting was a great privilege but today people take it for granted. We could see a generation that grows up as a nation but not a nation well involved with our government. However, that's could just because we have such a high population of young citizens who have not taken great interest in Politics yet. 

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