Archive for the ‘government powers’ Category

Real World Graduation: Question 19

RealWorldGraduation_Question_19   <– PDF

Suppose a prominent black civil rights leader had made public speeches like these in 1993:

a.  “Only after the white virus destroying the quality of life of black people has been eliminated can we hope to promote cooperation between the remaining races, which will then be founded on a common understanding.”

b.  “Honkie parasites on one hand ripped off the black people without a second thought, and on the other hand instigated people of color to violence. The misfortunes of black people have become a continuing objective for these white trash crackers, and it was unfortunately made possible because of the large number of desperate unemployed black people that mistakenly supported the international trade treaties, which further benefitted the rich honkies.”

What is the proper amount of government regulation or actions that should be adopted to address speech of this sort?

a) Public speeches of this sort should first be subject to review by qualified people to determine if they are acceptable for public consumption. If a proposed speech is considered acceptable, then the speech could be made.  However, neither of these two fragments is acceptable, and both should be prohibited.

b) These fragments are obviously racist, and should be prohibited by appropriate legislation.

c) These fragments indicate both racism and mental illness, and the person who made these statements should be examined to determine his mental health. If he is found to be of sound mind, he should be prosecuted for racism or hate speech.

d) The person making these statements should be prosecuted for hate speech unless he can prove he is mentally ill and therefore not responsible for what he says.

e) Because of the First Amendment, it is difficult to pre-empt speech solely because some find it objectionable. For radical opinions like these, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, but the government should consider some appropriate remedy, tailored to specific cases.  However, such remedies should be civil (i.e., fines and restrictions) instead of criminal (imprisonment).

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, government powers, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 18

RealWorldGraduation_Question_18  <– PDF

Consider the following fictional scenario. A certain city of 250,000 people was consistently overrun with rats.  It was estimated that there were about 20 times as many rats in the city as there were people.  The rats continued to be a health nuisance, and many children had to be treated in local hospitals due to rat bites and the diseases they carry.  Over the past ten years, the citizens had voted for, and paid, special taxes to be allocated to fighting the rat problem, totaling $150,000,000.  (This works out to about $60 per year for ten years for each city resident.)  The city sanitation department was in charge of suppressing the rats, and sometimes made some progress.  They routinely proclaimed great successes, but over the long run, the reality was that the rat population continued to grow, outpacing the growth of the human population.

A certain wealthy man decided to take some action. He convinced a local radio station to announce a “bounty” on rats, amounting to $2.00 per pound for any rats, dead or alive, payable in cash to any resident of the city who showed up at the city dump with the rats on a certain day.  This was widely advertised over a two-week period; on the chosen day, many city residents arrived at the city dump with about five million dead rats. This is far greater than the total number of rats killed by the city forces in the past ten years.

The average weight of the rats was about 1.5 pounds each; this initiative cost the wealthy man about $15,000,000 all total. The wealthy man paid the bounty in cash as promised.  The total expense was about one-tenth of the total cost of the special taxes paid by the residents over the past ten years.

Then, to embarrass the city, the wealthy man arranged for all the dead rats to be dumped on the sidewalks in front of City Hall late on a Sunday night. When the City Hall workers come to work the next morning, they could not get into the building because of all the dead rats blocking the entrances.  Naturally, the Mayor and City Council members were furious, and called a press conference to denounce the private rat killing effort.  The mayor demanded that the wealthy patron have the rats removed, which was refused.  The city ended up removing the rats and burned them in a neighboring incinerator.  What is likely to happen next?

a) An investigation will be conducted into how the tax money appropriated for the unsuccessful city-run rat suppression initiative was spent to see if there was any waste, fraud, or abuse of the taxpayer’s money.

b) The head of the sanitation department will resign for his failure to get the rat population under control, even though the taxpayers had paid $150,000,000 in taxes for that purpose over the previous ten years.

c) The Mayor will resign in disgrace for letting the rat situation get out of control.

d) The Mayor will remain in office, but will announce that he will not run for re-election.

e) Both a) and b) plus either c) or d).

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Real World Graduation: Question 14

RealWorldGraduation_Question_14   <– PDF

Consider the following fictional scenario.

Congressman A received a total of $161,000 from a consortium of oil and gas companies, consisting of $118,000 in direct campaign contributions and $43,000 to his Political Action Committee (PAC). Congressman B received a total of $68,000 from a legal lobbying group that supports expansion of civil lawsuits, consisting of $53,000 in campaign contributions and an additional $15,000 in contributions to his PAC. Congressman C received a total of $258,000 from an environmental lobbying group, consisting of $204,000 in campaign contributions and $54,000 to his PAC, which is another environmental lobbying group.  Congressman D received a total of $380,000 from a group devoted to increased regulation of “conservative talk radio”, consisting of $346,000 in campaign contributions and $34,000 to his PAC. All four of these Congressmen were lawyers before they ran for Congress.

A bill came before Congress which contained the following provisions:

  1. A reduction in natural resources leasing fees, which will save oil and gas companies $24,000,000. This is the outcome desired by Congressman A’s donors.
  2. An increase in the deductibility of rent and expenses for legal offices, which will result in a $138,600,000 savings to lawyers because they will pay less in income taxes. This is the outcome desired by Congressman B’s donors.
  3. An extension of the amount of federal land to be controlled and administered by environmental groups along with a federal grant of $102,700,000 to cover administration, lobbying, education, and other costs. This is the outcome desired by Congressman C’s donors.
  4. A provision in which a portion of the advertising revenue from certain talk radio shows (totaling $47,200,000) is to be turned over to a federal agency to investigate the political ideology and financial condition of talk radio hosts. This is the outcome desired by Congressman D’s donors.

All four of the Congressmen voted for the bill. Which Congressman’s actions constitute the worst examples of bribery?

a) Congressman A, because he seeks to protect the predatory for-profit oil and gas industry, which seeks to pollute the entire earth.

b) Congressman B, because the contributions he received constitutes a conflict of interest (he was a lawyer himself before he ran for Congress).

c) Congressman C, because the amount that was given to the environmental PAC will be devoted to lobbying, part of which will be probably be donated to Congressman C next year.

d) Congressman D, because his donors seek to reduce the free speech rights of conservative talk radio hosts.

e) All of them are equal offenders, because the principle involved, trading favors or creating laws for money, is immoral and illegal, not the exact amounts of money that changed hands.

 

(See answer on p. 2 of the PDF).)

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Christie’s Private Beach

ChristiesPrivateBeach  <– PDF

The arrogance of power descended on a beach in New Jersey today as His Most High Graciousness Governor Chris Christie and his family enjoyed the sunny weather on Island Beach State Park.  It turns out that His Majestic Highness, owing to a budgetary dispute with the legislature, had ordered all state beaches closed as of Friday night.  Under New Jersey state law, His Graciousness has two official residences: one in Princeton, and one at Island Beach State Park.  The royal festivities were captured by a helicopter flying overhead.  His Majesty’s Lord High Spokesman at first denied that he was there, but when confronted with photographic proof, said:

“He didn’t get much sun because he had a baseball cap on.”

The Lord High Spokesman failed to mention if there is any exception granted to the His Graciousness under the law if the state beaches are closed to the public. His High Graciousness Christie took the time to look down his nose and issued a clarifying official statement on the matter:

“The governor is allowed to go to his residences, and I’m at my residences. I’ll tell you this, I said last Monday – a week ago today – that no matter what happens, we were coming here as a family this weekend.”

Apparently there is a new budget deal in the works that will open the beaches to the general public (you know, those slime-slurping bottom dwelling taxpaying lowlifes) in time for the Fourth of July.

The sad part is not that a governor thinks he’s royalty – that is as old as human nature. What is truly sad is that the people of New Jersey have been so brainwashed by serfdom that they are no longer offended by the open demonstration of official contempt.  There are a few applications that could have been made by the people, if they had the backbone for it.

First, the people could simply have declared that the beaches are open to everyone, since the Governor and his family are enjoying it. They should have proceeded to the beaches en masse, and dared anyone to arrest them.  Second, they could announce that government regulation of beaches is hereby abolished on the grounds that any government that regards itself above the law ipso facto cannot be trusted.  At minimum, an investigation should ensue as to whether any exception is allowed for the Governor in these instances, and if so, the exception should be immediately repealed.

In any case, the people of New Jersey should henceforth always refer to Christie as His Majesty, and other titles befitting such a royal personage, having demonstrated he is above the law, and (probably in his own mind) above the Constitution as well.

His High Graciousness had one final word to the lowlife peasantry:

“What a great bit of journalism by The Star-Ledger. They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with, his wife and children and their friends.  I am sure they will get a Pulitzer for this one.”

His Majesty forgot to mention that he initially denied he was on the beach, and admitted it only after the picture became public. His statement also implies that friends of the royal family are also above the law.  Yet the people of New Jersey tolerate this level of arrogance.

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