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Politics, some rock music, then more Politics. Oh, and according to Bill Clinton, "83% of quotes are fake."
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World's first lab-grown burger eaten

World's first lab-grown burger eaten | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
The world's first lab-grown burger is cooked and eaten at a news conference in London.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

8/5/2013

Mass Media/Interest Groups

Summer Assignment 9.2

 

I shall end my final summer post with something juicy: burgers.


Although one might wonder how a burger could be related to politics, is hunger not a nationwide, fixable problem. Millions are overweight and billions are hungry. Something is wrong with our eating paradigm, and we might have a solution, also, to our carnivorous overconsumption: the first lab-grown burger that is tasty. Such an endeavor cost its funders 300,000 thousand US dollars, yet seem to be a promising solution compared to the ineffective cow farming in Western culture that has become to have international ramifications since we are an international model of success for some nations. Feeding our the planet needs to be effective, and if it is beef they crave, the lab burger will be able to hit the spot. The food critics who consumed the first lab grown burger in London this week had remarks that it had the correct texture and flavor, but lacked the fatty goodness. (Is more fat what Americans need?)  Not only would lab grown burgers save land, they would reduce carbon emissions, preserve water, and be a winner for animal rights activists. The ball is now in the Scientist's ball park, if they hit a homerun and develop a viable solution to cow meat, future bipartisan barbeques will be forever changed.


On a more political note, the creation of the burger was from stem cells from cows. I am for science over religious conviction, thus “playing G-d” with genetic engineering for cows is all dandy to me. I am still cloudy, though, in regards to stem cell research for human betterment. But if the research can give me gills then I am totally for stem cell research; I shall swim with turtles after I retire.

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Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes face off at Fancy Farm - Craig Howie

Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes face off at Fancy Farm - Craig Howie | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell faced off Saturday against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes at the heavily anticipated 133rd Fancy Farm political forum.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

8/3/2013

Poltical Parties
Summer Assignment 8.2

 

Besides the Super Bowl of dressing preppy occurring at the Kentucky Derby, there also will be national attention to the Bluegrass State for its Senate race among Mitch McConnell, current Senate minority leader, and Kentucky’s democratic secretary of state, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Matt Bevin, a Louisville businessman. All three candidates spoke at the highly anticipated Fancy Farm political forum. Politico writer, Craig Howie, summed up the three themes of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race: man vs women, youth vs experience, and establishment vs startup. Current Senator McConnell was the first speaker at the event and his talk could be summed up as whether or not the voter want for America Obama’s image of Kentucky or Kentucky’s. He picked up points for setting his agenda away from the President’s and more inline with Kentucky’s. The hot-button issues in the mostly Republican state are marriage between a man and woman, taxes, and abortion. Although McConnell is able to attack Grime’s abortion beliefs, she has some heated rhetoric to attack the current senator’s time in office. “If doctors told Sen. McConnell he had a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it,” said the female candidate. Belvin, the third speaker, then attacked McConnell's view on amnesty for immigrants, local jobs and big business bailouts. The latter brought the question to whether to create new jobs or expand the current industries. Later on in each contender's campaign the question will be answered, but for now it was not the focus.  


This race will be on my radar for the year to come. Will Grimes paint the state blue and continue Senate’s blue tint or will McConnell enter into another six year term? If I was a Kentucky resident, who had Republican views, I would support Belvin over McConnell. But, I feel that Belvin is oil business’s pawn, and that Grimes would be the fire of energy that Congress needs. Her ability to attack the effectiveness of McConnell's four terms make her more appealing, also she is visually pleasing. Alison Grimes 2020!   

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The Unsteady States of America

The Unsteady States of America | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
WHEN Greece ran into financial trouble three years ago, the problem soon spread. Many observers were mystified. How could such a little country set off a continental...
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/27/2013

Interest Groups

Summer Assignment 7.2

 

Domino Theory seems to be running true in the financial world as evident by Greece hurting the Euro and Detroit hurting the Dollar. The Economist brings to attention the idea that the public sector's pensions, being based on final salary, is the problem that has raised the total pension gap to nearly $2.7 trillion. Who helps pay for government pensions? Yep, taxpayers who suffer from politicians offering wonderful pensions to their soon-to-be voters that will be paid for by the future taxes. How lovely are poltical campaigns?


Back to Detroit, there are cases in which the state of Michigan would be delighted to lower the tensions, thus lowering their bill, but there are Federal laws that stop such an action. One other problem for Detroit is their economy was centered solely around their automobile sales that were curtailed once foreign makers, without workers in unions, entered the America auto industry. I am not declaring death upon unions to fix Detroit, but a better solution would be to replicate the private sector’s pension plan to save taxpayer dollars. Personally, with Americans living longer the nation should adjust to the happy trend by helping the public servants better over time without “taxing,” literally, those who will soon be retired.

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President Offers a Personal Take on Race in U.S.

President Offers a Personal Take on Race in U.S. | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
In his most extensive remarks on race since 2008, President Obama spoke in personal terms about the experience of being a black man in the United States.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/19/2013

Executive Branch

Summer Assignment 6.2

 

Without the reminder from mainstream, overrated rapper Young Jeezy that “my President is black,” one might forget his racial background because he does not bring unnecessary attention to the fact that before him the oppression of African Americans had been a political trend. Following the Florida murder trial for George Zimmerman who murdered a teenage African American, the White House remained quiet on the matter until days after the widely protested verdict. “Trayvon Martin could have been me thirty-five years ago,” said Obama eloquently during his eighteen minute talk in the Press Briefing room about his reflections on the gun laws and racial profiling methods. His two most chilling reflections were so common that it is hard to believe that a future President was “followed while shopping in a department store,” and  heard car locks click as he walked by. Obama’s decision to wait out the storm before he spoke will not help his Presidential greatness in the future. If the President had come out in defense of African American’s being racially discriminated, I speak of this more than gun laws because they were barely mentioned in the article, he could have solidified Democrats as African Americans for maybe a century. But, his new found openness to being discriminated in his youth bring me pride because despite those hardships he became President. Twenty bucks that the next minority, soon to be majority, will be a Latin American. Too bad a Native American will not step up to the role, but who knows.


Although racial discrimination is impossible to suppress, methinks, better education would fix the racial ignorance faster.

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Florida Considers Eliminating Laws Altogether

Florida Considers Eliminating Laws Altogether | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Arguing that its current system of laws is out of step with life in today’s Florida, a growing chorus of lawmakers in the state are arguing for a measure that would eliminate laws altogether.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/15/2013
Mass Media

Summer Assignment 6.1

 

 Both Bobby Fuller and The Dead Kennedys, who my dad saw at a concert in California back in the day, fought the law and the we all know who won: the law. The same situation occurred in Florida this week when the jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial ruled in congruence with Florida’s stand-your-ground law. New Yorker satire writer, Andy Borowitz, penned a nifty article in which Florida decides to just eliminate all laws. Is this truly an article that one could count on as having true facts about the Sunshine State? No, but it does deliver a great laugh about the writer’s opinion on the law that acquits defensive shooters instead of writing satire about the overtold George Zimmerman trial. To make this more political, I think that despite mass riots following the trial, the self defense law is important for the public’s perceived safety. Citizens think that this law can and, if they are armed, will save their lives if they were to be assaulted. Once this post-Zimmerman aquitial fury dies down, stand-your-ground law will still be in effect in Florida.  

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Even DC might fall into the sticky clutches of decriminalized weed

Even DC might fall into the sticky clutches of decriminalized weed | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
A bill is to be presented to Washington D.C. Council that would decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis in the district.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/11/2013 
Public Policy

Summer Assignment 5.1

 There are too many popular culture references to the green subsistence that eases anxiety and boosts hunger that is trying to gain decriminalization, that I can not choose one alone. From the political side, Obama has to be indifferent to cannabis as to not offend the myriad of users, some medical and some recreational, and to not seem soft on drugs, thus losing more conservative Americans. Luckily for him, it is not his decision yet because the idea has been going through state and local governments first instead of a federal. The bill, the article references, would “save young stoners from missing out on jobs for having a criminal record,” according to Councillor Tommy Wells. Personally, the fines and punishments for marijuana are too strict for a drug that does not have as bad of an effect on the user as the legal, formerly illegal drug: alcohol. The bill’s decriminalizing the possession of less than one ounce of weed, if one has more the fine will be decreased from $1,000 to $100, and no possible prison time where the user could be influenced into worse criminal avenues. I think a gradual decriminalization of weed would help ease the Americans, who could save money and possibility gain more tax revenue from the drug if it is sold commercially. If cannabis was bought from a shop that is not interested in gaining a user, then the curious, vulnerable individual would be less pressured into trying other, harder drugs.

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Egypt's coup: What we know so far

Egypt's coup: What we know so far | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
After days of mass demonstrations, Egypt's military finally ousted Mohamed Morsy, the country's first democratically elected president, in the country's second revolution in two years.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/4/2013
Mass Media
Summer assignment 4.1

 

Two hundred and thirty seven years later, the oldest democracy is still in function. Hip-hip-hooray!


What would summer be like without a military coup occurring in Egypt following the election of their first democratic President, Mohamed Morsy? Quick reiteration, what would summer be like?  To educate myself more in the subject of Democracy, my advanced placement American Government teacher assigned the class to read “The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad” by Fareed Zakaria. Using my knowledge from my reading, Egypt's democratically elected president did not last because of the lack of check and balances in the political institutions and the absence of a sturdy economy in Egypt. No complete revolution of power will arise from this event because of the strong Morsy supporters, who are not a majority, according to Ben Wedeman, senior international correspondent for CNN, but a significant portion of the population.


I feel that this event was inevitable, and unless the military starts massacring the pro Morsy supporters, this event will run its course without American intervention. Our Commander and Chief, Barack Obama, responded correctly by advising for the officials to review aid contributions for Morsy and asking the military to hand power back over to the democratically elected civilian government. Today was a bad day for democracy abroad.    

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Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage hailed as historic victory

Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage hailed as historic victory | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Gays and lesbians celebrated historic gains Wednesday in their fight against laws limiting same-sex marriages.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

6/27/2103
The Judicial Branch
Summer assignment 3.1

 

Besides California girls being unforgettable, according to Katy Perry, the Golden State - which refers to 1848 Sutter’s Mill’s gold discovery sparking the westward surge - has brought new hope for same-sex couples seeking marriage rights. In a five-four vote proposition eight, which limited federal benefits for the same-sex couples as well as made their marriage illegal, was reversed. Same-sex marriage advocates were hoping for the Supreme Court to have nationwide effects, but rejoicing still occurred on a national scale. Not all were happy though. Across the country, same-sex marriages have gained more acceptance, but not strong religious groups, who find the decision to be “immensely troubling.” Supreme Court’s ruling has now brought our Country close to the European ways, and farther away from some nations that serve the death penalty for homosexuality.  


I am an advocate for same-sex couples to be treated equally in law and in public. But, here is no constructive way for the latter to occur universally. My generation has had trouble moving past certain slang that makes being gay seem to be a bad thing. Yet, there is a surge towards pro gay marriage that could make it a social norm within two decades. "Today's historic decisions put two giant cracks in the dark wall of discrimination that separates committed gay and lesbian couples from full equality," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. I am joyous for my fellow equal Americans.

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Gov. Brewer Signs Obamacare’s Medicaid Program Into Law - CBS DC

Gov. Brewer Signs Obamacare’s Medicaid Program Into Law - CBS DC | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday signed a law expanding the state's Medicaid program to 300,000 more poor Arizonans following her victory over conservatives in her own party opposed to embracing a key part of President Barack Obama's health...
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

6/18/2013 
Legislative Branch

Summer assignment 2.1

Phoenix, Arizona, the home of John McCain and temperatures soaring over one hundred degrees fahrenheit, expanded their Medicaid coverage for over 300,000 more poor citizens on June seventeenth this year. The losers of the signing will be hoping for their referendum to gain the needed signatures then the vote will be added to the November 2014 ballot. The true story about the 24th state to approve Medicaid, is influenced the signing the most: Jan Brewer. Her ambition lead her state to call a special committee to begin the funding for the program, while the House speaker delayed the vote. Those affected by the signing would be the most vulnerable citizens, who will feel the benefits in “clinics and doctors’ office and community health centers across our great state,” said Republican Heater Carter, who chairs the House health committee. Lifes can be saved along with money with this new deal. Yet, the conservative viewpoint has a valid defense that there needs to be a two-thirds vote for the government to raise taxes.


Before this article, I was clueless about the pros and cons of the new Medicare plan authored by our government, but I knew health care was a national issue. Now, I believe that since it has benefits that outweigh the negatives, I am for the new Medicare. If the worse are being helped, I say our tax dollars are well spent. But, for the taxpayers, they desire big budget items such as health care to help them out, rightfully so I must add. Yet, an America that can help the worst of is something that I am willing to be taxed for.

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What the Military Could Learn From Diane Feinstein and Other Female Senators

What the Military Could Learn From Diane Feinstein and Other Female Senators | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
The Senate has changed. Why can’t the U.S. military?
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

6/12/2013
Legistlative Branch

Summer Assignment 1.1 

 

One infamous statement used by pop music frequently is "Where the ladies at?" I, too, must ask that question when the Legislative Branch of our government that still does not have much female participation, only twenty women. Eleanor Clift, of Newsweek, starts her article bringing into focus the rise of sexual assaults in the military. The discussion was held at a Senate panel meeting that, for once, had a good proportion of females: six. Clift’s thesis in the article is that there is a lack of women participation when only men represent the Army in these types of decisions, which can lead to an unfair conclusion for women. Perfect example that made Clift nervous was the 1991 all-men Senate Judiciary Committee who, in the public’s eye, heard Anita’s Hill case with a male bias. Following the public’s outrage, the number of women in senate tripled to six after the women rain on the slogan, “2 percent is fine for low-fat milk, but not women in the Senate.”


Women, who make up one of the most powerful subgroups during elections, are very interested and defend fellow XX chromosomes. This defense has entered the U.S military, who made a step for women this January when the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, implemented a three year plan to lift bans on women fighting in combat. I am a fan of this interest group wanting to keep the dreams of fellow women reachable: equality in all fields. Although the Senate now has twenty percent representation of women, I still think this is too slim. Yet, I still want the most qualified, elected candidate to win Senate elections. Wouldn’t equality in Senate, though, be better represented by candidates who belief for the equality of the sexes, not just women?

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18 of 19 closed U.S. embassies, consulates to reopen

18 of 19 closed U.S. embassies, consulates to reopen | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
The diplomatic offices had been closed since Sunday due to intel about a possible terrorist attack
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

8/9/2013
Executive Branch

Summer Assignment 9.1

 

“It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt, then its hilarious,” is a quote that often adorns prepubescent boy’s shirts. Such a fact is untrue in the case of national security. Eighteen out of nineteen U.S embassies in Muslim and Non Muslim nations were closed for the weekend due to possible an intercepted Al Qaeda message about a major attack. Last spring, though, Obama had made assertions that Al Qaeda’s forces were “diminished” and “a shadow of their former self.” His recent contradictions, through the closing of the embassies, are pointless, in my opinion, because I believe in preservation over seeming untrustworthy (anyways, more trust would be lost if an attack occurred). He said on Friday that his previous reference was to the core leaders of the group, while the extremists are certainly more regional now and still a threat to the safety of our citizens abroad. Yet, if the Commander-in-Chief had strengthened the safety to the embassies, he would have not had to admit the misunderstanding that made American’s feel ignorantly comfortable. My opinion is that he made the correct move, gobama (how convenient that O begins his last name; yet, it is helpful for his enemies: nobama).

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Senate Republicans block spending bill, another sign of trouble in the fall

Senate Republicans block spending bill, another sign of trouble in the fall | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
(CNN) -- In yet another sign that Congress is headed for a clash in the fall over government spending, Senate Republicans Thursday blocked a transportation and housing bill, arguing it would break budget spending caps.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

8/1/2013
Poltical Parties
Summer Assignment 8.1

 

I am curious how regulation can begin for the government’s spending tactics, when from the outside it seems like “ain’t nobody got time fo’ ‘dat,” as eloquently said by viral sensation Sweet Brown. Congress seems to be planning on answering the budget question being in the Fall according to the recent CNN report. Senate Republicans, though, voted on Thursday against a transportation and housing bill that they flagged as too expensive for the 113th Congress’ budget. Currently, the Republicans want to cut spending since we are over budget and Democrats want to spend more to encourage job growth, and also in agreement with Keynesian Economics, which helped bring our nation out of the Great Depression and supported us during World War Two. I am not an Economics major, but I agree with Keynesian Economic thoughts due to their success; yet, only when used for the short term. Republicans, once again, postponed government action on the matter of our nation’s budget and consequently voted down a bill that would increase jobs nationwide. Job increase has been such a buzz word in the 21st century, thus voting against such a measure seems counterintuitive to me. I am very much anticipating the Congress’ budget debate that will arise this Fall.   

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Syria death toll rises above 100,000

Syria death toll rises above 100,000 | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/25/2013
Polticial Behavior
Summer Assignment 7.1

 

 

There is no fun hook for death. Currently, Syria is a mess with armed conflicts between the citizens and the military lead by President Bashar al-Assad. I am not John Kerry, but I am pretty sure that this Syrian Civil War should be stopped in a way that does not drag allies into a World War Three. Unfortunately, there has been talks of plans drawn by General Martin Dempsey, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, that could oppress the conflict, but they are costly and could drag us and Syrian government’s allies into the war.


On a very sad note, and a note in which the article begins, last month’s United Nation’s casualties number was seven-thousand people short, because now the death toll is 100,000 people according to Ban Ki-Moon - UN Secretary General. I think despite the high death toll, sending our country’s young warriors across the world would be unwarranted and too soon. Just like in Vietnam, minus the swampy terrain, it would be hard to tell who the good and bad guys were; yet, military intel would probably account for such a fact.


To paraphrase the wise, George Washington, unity at home and neutrality abroad. I feel that concept from over two-hundred years ago can still hold truth for our current situation. 

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The Clash - I Fought The Law

The Clash - I Fought The Law
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

How lovely that I did not reference the band that made this song famous in Summer Assignment 6.1. How hipster of me. 

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The Spitzer Myth: Sex Scandals Are Not Political Poison

The Spitzer Myth: Sex Scandals Are Not Political Poison | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Political comebacks after tawdry behavior aren't the exception. They're the rule.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/9/2013
Mass Media
Summer Assignment 5.2

 

One of the most overheard soundbites of the 1990s was the Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton, reassuring the public “I did not have sex with that woman.” Studies on the political scandals by political scientists have shown that voters care about sex scandals and financial scandals, but as much as corruption scandals according to the calculations made by Scott Basinger during his research with University of Houston. The former, sex and financial scandals, cause only a five percent difference in votes and the latter affected the vote by almost eight points. I agree with the fallibility of humans, and if a candidate votes as I would, then I would vote for him regardless of whether it is for the House of Representatives or Florida’s senate. One piece that stirred up the most feeling in me was Molly Ball’s ending, “[Politicians] will be doing what politicians have always done: getting in trouble and then getting elected anyway.” Why has the public become so unphased by their representative’s bad behavior? Basinger reassures the basic thought that the longer after the scandal then the less the voter will care. Such a fact bodes well for Eliot Spitzer, who will run for New York’s city comptroller five years after the call-girl scandal that caused him to resign. My personal answer to why it is not a career ending ordeal now is that there are bigger issues in the voter’s eyes.

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The Politics Of Abortion In Texas : NPR

The Politics Of Abortion In Texas : NPR | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
State Senator Wendy Davis has caught national attention after her 11-hour filibuster to block a bill that would limit abortions in Texas.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

7/3/2013
Public Policy
Summer Assignment 4.2

If one wants to make a room full of people turn red with rage using just one political subject, abortion would be the obvious choice. In Texas, a more conservative, republican state, a ground breaking performance from Democrat state Senator Wendy Davis lead to a successful filibuster on a bill that called for tough, new standard on the clinics and ban most abortions after two weeks. Host of the talk, Celeste Headlee, questions Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the Dallas Morning News, about why Rick Perry called state legislature into special session for the bill. “He does intend to look seriously into another run for president,” said Slater who explains how Perry wants to appeal to the social conservative masses, in states like Iowa and Florida, with the idea that every life matters and should to able to realize its full potential. Red flag, if Perry sticks conservative on this social issue, which polls are showing Americans are becoming more liberal on the issue, he is hurting himself if he does run in 2016. There are some trends in more conservative states having the stricter laws being overturned by the judges, so if that does happen to Perry in Texas he would have “fought the good fight and those terrible judges tried to take it away,” according to Slater.

I think, life is important and the state should let the parent decide with their hearts, not through a representative. I am in agreement with the bans getting stricter longer into the pregnancy, but I am nonetheless prochoice. Abortion is so situational I am uncomfortable supporting one definitive answer.

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IRS head questioned about internal report

IRS head questioned about internal report | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
The IRS came under more fire from Congress on Thursday over unanswered questions surrounding the targeting of political groups that remain after a preliminary review issued from the agency. Lawmakers scolded IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner Danny...
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

6/27/2013
Interest Groups
Summer Assignment 3.2

 

As of today, rappers are not the only ones who receive extra scrutiny from the IRS. Conservative political groups, along with Progressive and Liberal groups, have gained extra attention according to recent developments. Danny Werfel, IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner, on Thursday had a lack of answers to whom arranged the groups on the “BOLO,” be-on-the-lookout, list. Michigan House Representative, Dave Camp, asks Werfel “Why has it been allowed to continue for so long? How widespread was it?” Danny did not answer the question, because the criminal case against the IRS was complete. To add another name, The Treasury Inspector, General Russell George, who found the wrongdoing of the agency, found the “Progressive” BOLO not always to apply extra scrutiny.


Government beliefs might have leached into an organization that regulates the backbone of our country: the income. Although Wefel could not say much, I have to take the side of the IRS, because if they are not proven guilty of wrongdoing, I feel that this could have been a Republican tactic to tarnish the Democratic Mr. President. If proven guilty, my question will be who arranged for the additional scrutiny to certain groups. Either side, Republicans or Democrats, could have been involved; however, the latter has more incentive. I am going to be cynical when the IRS has someone regulating them, so we can only hope they will get their act together for the nation’s sake.

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FBI Admits It Surveils U.S. With Drones | Threat Level | Wired.com

FBI Admits It Surveils U.S. With Drones | Threat Level | Wired.com | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
FBI Director Robert Mueller said today the bureau was surveilling the United States with drones.
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

6/19/2013
Civil Liberties 
Summer Assignment 2.2

 

Stephen Colbert, a comedic relief for the big stories of the day, delicately brought the topic up in classic Colbert report fashion: how the interaction between a drone delivering pizza to him would go terribly wrong if he did not have the money to pay (I shall not get into the visual details, but the music implied something rated R.) Indeed Colbert was correct to be afraid of the drone situation, which can into question when Robert Mueller, FBI Director, testified during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that there is drone use in the United States for surveillance. Wired Magazine writer, David Kravets, clarifies that the Federal agencies uses drones for fighting wildfires, surveying dams after hurricanes, along with surveying our borders. California Senator, Dianne Feinstein, questioned Mueller how the surveillance on American soil does not breach any citizen's privacy law. His unprepared retort was, “[we] very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized leads.”


Am I worried that there is a drone watching every move I make? No, I am not, because if there was enough capital to afford all those drones, why would I be a person of interest? Yet, I do worry that without regulations on how the Bureau can use the drones for surveillance, our privacy could be breached from the web and, also now, from the air. I must add that I do admire the current uses that other Federal agencies have for their drones. Our government having a toy not released to the public is not new to me. On that note, I wonder when the blackbird airplane, which travels 2,193.2 miles per hour, will go on sale. Back to current events, my biggest fear about this drone surveillance on United States soil being confirmed is that since 2009 four American citizens were killed by drones. Although the odds are against my demise being drone related, why not worry about another way of death?

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A Guide To Tech Terms In The NSA Story : NPR

A Guide To Tech Terms In The NSA Story : NPR | AP Government Scrapbook | Scoop.it
The details about the NSA's foreign surveillance programs are still not fully understood. And for many people, neither are the terms associated with some of the stories. What, exactly, is "metadata"? What does an "algorithm" do?
Benjamin Ginsberg's insight:

6/12/2013

Civil Liberties
Summer Assignment 1.2

 

Summer politics did not start with a Miley Cyrus concert near The Hill, but with a government surveillance scandal that has made Big Brother paranoia have some basis. Last week, Edward Snowden spoke publicly about the broadness of the National Security Association’s Prism, which collected data on a gargantuan scale. Matt Stiles, a writer for National Public Radio (NPR), posted an article to explain the technological terms that are as foreign to the average, literate American as the myriad of second amendment interpretations. The terms defined are: metadata, big data, algorithm, server, and data mining. The difference between metadata and big data is that the first is data about data and the latter is lots of information as a whole which can help viewer’s analyze human activity to make educated predictions. As for an algorithm, it is the step-by-step instructions the computer uses for its search. Three down, two to go. Sever refers to access to the internet. As for NSA’s Prism, there are servers on servers on servers times one thousand. Last, but not least, data mining is the revealing of previously unknown facts by asking the right questions. Was that not short?


Knowing the terms commonly used to explain how the Prism data mining source, has made me feel less ignorant about the NSA details. Personally, I feel uncomfortable when someone reads my correspondences to my friends via sms, so why would I feel different if it was my government. Although they provide public services, which I need, my privacy should not be compromised unwittingly. Where else is Big Brother going to be next? Yet, the big “if” factor that can legitimize their use of data mining to defend the Nation can not be discredited. I am interested about Snowden’s future due to his leaking of top secret knowledge to The Guardian. What other civil liberties might Americans lose this summer? Let us all hope suffrage survives. 

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