Discussion Board 13 Hongtao Fu

1.According to MLK, how can we tell the difference between just and unjust laws? Understanding this questions is the most important part of this module, and I will ask it again during our second exam.

Martin Luther King told us the difference between just and unjust laws lies in the humanity of us and our moral code. A just law is a law that promotes and protects human dignity and upholds our moral code. A just law is virtuous. An unjust law is a law that steers away from our moral compass. Unjust laws are the laws that compromise humanity and denied human rights.

2.In your view, is this an important distinction (between just and unjust laws), do you think it makes a difference in the way someone (as an individual, or our society as a whole) lives their lives? Can it affect our politics?

A lawful society is the number one proof of prosperity. I believe a set of just laws can help guide people in how they live their life. Just laws shall resonance with the virtuous part with our humanity, thus help to push our society to move forward. On the other hand, unjust laws degrade morality and oppress human characters. It will inevitably lead to destruction and uprising.

3.Based on our discussion of Question 1, give an example each, of an unjust and just law, in the US today. Explain what makes it unjust or just (using MLK’s definition of those two types of laws).

An example of just law is the First Amendment of the US constitution. Freedom of speech is one of the basic human rights to freedom. The right to express one’s own opinion is important to excise justice. It promotes human dignity and our right to have our own thoughts. An example of an unjust law is our medical insurance system. The mounting expenses of medical treatment force every person to have medicare. If a person is going through a downfall in their life and cannot provide themself with medical insurance they simply cannot afford to see a doctor. A just society should take responsibility to protect each individual and ensure they can live their life to the fullest.

Discussion Board 12.1 Hongtao Fu

The Supreme Court case “Dukes v. Wal-Mart” raises a question: Can women be represented as a class in a lawsuit? The Supreme Court finally answered the question as no. Judge Antonin Scalia joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan represented the majority opinion that 1.5 million of women can not be certified as a class of plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit.

One crucial factor for the decision is the class action requirement of “commonality.” Justices Antonin Scalia stated that 1.5 million of women is too broad to fit the requirement of commonality. On top of that, not all 1.5 million of female employee facing the exact same issue posed by Walmart. Therefore, there is no “one size fits all” solution to the problem. Which is another requirement for a class action lawsuit.

Discussion Board 11.1 Hongtao Fu

1.The court system is suited to protect people because laws equally protect everybody. Courts are not influenced by popular opinions because they are not elected. Judges are not or at least should not subject to any political agendas. Their jobs are solely to interpret laws and apply them. This characteristic is highlighted by the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The court ruled the “separated but equal” is inherently unequal and outlawed jim crow law. This is a highlight in the advantage of our court system because at the time many citizens are heavily in favor of the separate but equal doctrine. If the court system is democratic the tyranny of the majority will be inevitable. Because the function of the court is pure therefore it is the best suited to protect the people.

2.The court system is anti-democratic for a reason. For one, due to the nature of the function of the court, the election system will lead to biased judges. Because if a judge needs to win an election to keep the job, he/she is more likely to make the ruling in favor of his/her voters. This will be a problem because if we take the court case we have talked about “Brown v. Board of Education.” And we place a team of biased judges, in this case, the result may very well be different and the verdict itself might be unconstitutional. In order to uphold the authority of the law, unbiased, just judges must be selected. This is why Supreme Court judges are appointed rather than elected.

Discussion Board 9.2 Hongtao Fu

1.P. Williams writes in her essay, that the war on terror is a new type of war. What’s new about it, how is it different from traditional wars?

Terrorism is a means for a weaker faction to attack a stronger faction. In the case of the United States, it is difficult to defend from unpredictable terrorist attacks, while The US military has no target to capture or cities to occupy. Traditional war often has a tangible target, either a piece of territory or a finite natural resource, terrorism aims to install fear among the enemy instead. Therefore a terrorist organization can take on a form of a network instead of an army because there is no need to hold a front line. This new type of war is not only about military power but more about information and counter-infiltration.

2.In what ways does the “Roving Wiretaps” of the Patriot Act seem to violate the Bill of Rights? Which amendment(s) does it seem to violate and why?

“Roving Wiretaps” refers to the permission to wiretap and eavesdrop on a suspect for all of his/her communication devices without the need to apply for a new wiretap for each new device. This may sound proper enough however it seems to violate the Fourth Amendment right. The fourth Amendment protects one’s property from unreasonable searches and seizures. Any unlawfully acquired evidence can not be used to testify in court unless the search is authorized by the court which must be within a specific time frame, location and item. Knowing that the special authority is given by “Roving Wiretaps” doesn’t specify the item to be searched. Which is Unconstitutional.

3.What about “Sneak and Peek” Warrants?

“Sneak and Peek” Warrant allows the law enforcement investigator to perform a warranted search before noticing the subject that is being searched. It allows the investigator to obtain evidence with minimal chance of the suspect destroying the evidence upon notice. This gives the crime investigator a powerful tool to fight crime however the constitutionality of it is debatable. The Fourth Amendment stated the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches. I don’t think searching first noticing later falls under the realm of reasonable. It depends on the subjectivity of “reasonable.” Maybe in the investigator’s view, the reasonable doubt is established so the search is justified. However, it is not reasonable to have strangers all of a sudden breaching into your house rampage through everything.

Discussion Board 9.1 Hongtao Fu

1.Describe how you understand the “Establishment Clause” and the related “Lemon Test”.

The establishment clause of the First Amendment prevents the government to establish an “official religion.” Having an established official religion could lead to religious persecution and discrimination. The Lemon Test named after the Supreme Court case Lemon v. Kurtzman. The Lemon Test is used to test out if a government activity or legislative action violates the establishment clause. Activities such as prayers or funding religious schools.

2.Is burning the US flag protected by the First Amendment? Explain by referring to the relevant court case discussed in the reading.

Burning the US flag is protected by the First Amendment as a form of free speech. This is supported by a precedented Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson.

3.What does it mean when someone says “I’m taking the Fifth”?

“Taking the Fifth” is referring to invoke one’s Fifth Amendments right to remain silent against self-incrimination. This phase is often used when encountering with law enforcement agents during Interrogation of any sort. Because any information that a person said can be used against him in the court therefore the Fifth Amendment is a strong tool for self-protection. Also refuse to provide testimony can not be used against the suspect in the court.

Discussion Board 7.1 Hongtao Fu

1.Difference between federal, confederation and unitary systems lies in the hierarchy of power distribution. Federalism gives up a large number of powers of individual states to the federal government. It aims to create a strong union that takes on the responsibility of homeland security, unified currency, and the power to challenge states’ laws. States have independence but compare to the confederation system is limited. The Confederation system puts more power into the hand of each state. Powers that I listed before could end up fall into states. The unitary system takes an aggressive approach that aims to create a strong centralized government in return weaken the idea of two-level government.

2.By dividing power into different branches, each branches take some power but also restricted by other branches. It achieves a balance of power. The idea is to use this balance of power to eliminate the chance of having too strong of a government that end up dominating its citizens. In detail, Legislative branch represent citizens, it has the power to make laws and impeach a president. The Judicial branch is the court, it interpret laws and rules them. The head of Executive branch is the president. It is responsible to carry out the law, president is also the head of the military.

3.One outstanding interaction between the federal and state government is grants. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury website, the federal government is giving out multiple funds to the local government to help relief COVID-19. CORONAVIRUS STATE AND LOCAL FISCAL RECOVERY FUNDS, Capital Projects Fund, Homeowner Assistance Fund, Emergency Rental Assistance Program etc. Adding up to over four hundreds of billions of dollars in assistance.

Discussion Board 6.2 Hongtao Fu

1.What concept that we have already discussed does “faction” remind you of?

The only concept we have discussed is social class. Which I believe is what is this “faction” referring to.

2.According to Federalist #10 (written by James Madison), what is the source of wealth (private property)? What factor explains why some people get to possess wealth by owning private property, and others don’t (thus remaining poor)?

I really don’t know I guess some people are just more smart and ambitious while the rest only want to work a job and get by.

3.Do you agree with this explanation of wealth and poverty?

I agree that a person is entitled to a reward that matches his/her ability and devotion. Yet only addressing the morally acceptable concept of “No pain no gain” and ignoring the darker fact about capitalist exploitation is a bad attempt of sophistry.

4.What is the core mission (“first object”) of the US government? Does this surprise you, does it sound different from what our society today seems to suggest the core mission of the government is? Explain.

The core mission of the US government is to protect the interest of the owning class. It did surprises me but I quickly had the realization of course it was this way. The top 1 percent owns more than the rest of 90 percent of us combined. In a way, we don’t matter to the advancement of humanity. Society suggests self-made fortune, politics and social causes are all distractions to keep us busy. This bleak realization is probably going to haunt me for years.

5.Given the discussion in questions 1-4, are you surprised that Federalist #10 is not in favor of democracy, and supports a Republican (representative) form of government? Why would d the author dislike a (pure) democratic form of government? Hint: think about how this question connects with the social classes…

By now I am not surprise of the intention of the author anymore. The author dislike the pure democratic society because it will endanger the position of the the owning class. Democracy is the weapon of the weak just like guns are just as deadly in the hand of a child as in the hand of a grown-up man. Only more deadly since the working class has far more majority in numbers.

Discussion Board 6.1 Hongtao Fu

1.Based on the arguments presented in Readings 6.1 and 6.2, which social class wrote the Constitution, and which class was excluded and not allowed to participate in this process? In your comment, make sure you clearly specify the difference between the two classes by giving examples from the readings.

Based on the reading 6.1 and 6.2 the owning class was the main beneficiary of the Constitution. These are the white males who are wealthy enough to be considered real property holders. To be more specific, small farmers, manorial lords, and slaveholders. People that are undesirable to be involved in politics are called “disenfranchised.” These people include working-class white male who doesn’t own properties, women, slaves, and indentured servants.

2.Would say that the social class structure of early United States society, was the same as ours today, or different? Explain.

In my opinion, the U.S. social class structure from 200 years ago is roughly the same as today. Property owners are just as same as the capitalists today, owning the business or assets that can generate more wealth that can be put into generating even more wealth. The differences are the exploitation is even crueler. Having slaves working for the farm owners for free means all of the slaves’ productions are surplus-value. Since the rules are made by the property owners the power balance is completely one-sided, without the working class have even the possibility of gaining power

3.Why were the people who wrote the Constitution so afraid of democracy? Hint: think about how to answer this question by discussing it in terms of social classes.

The people that drafted the Constitution are the owning class. As we know the owning class look for exploitation to the working class and they need the rule to play by their book. Uniting democracy is like giving their enemy weapon, allowing the working class to make decisions will weaken their position. that is why the people who wrote the Constitution were afraid of democracy.

Discussion Board 5.3 Hongtao Fu

1.Which statistic on wealth inequality in the US (discussed on p. 29) made the biggest impression on you? Explain why?

The worst realization I had after reading the statistics is that the few people in the top 1 percent of the society own almost 50 percent of the total wealth. Imagining where one person owns so much, he can literally buy half of the city and leave all the rest of us just huddled together on the other half of the city. That amount of money means so much power and it makes me think there is just no way the government and these individuals are not connected and their power had nothing to say for the fate of the rest of humanity. And it gives chills knowing the people with this amount of power are putting profit on top of their list.

2.What could be some of the implications of living in a society that has such huge wealth inequalities? Do you see this dynamic getting played out in everyday life in our society? How so? Example?

I think New York City has such dramatic wealth inequalities that are being displayed every day we don’t even notice it anymore. Manhattan and Queens look like two different cities. All the way from people who live in nicely designed art deco mansions with doorman in suits open doors for you to people living in basement rooms separated by a single plank of wood.

Discussion Board 5.2 Hongtao Fu

The capitalist formula of M-C-M’ differs from the traditional C-M-C formula where there is no profit made. Capitalists take their capital, which is the first M(money). and trade it into C(community) at the value of said community, this part is somewhat similar to the M-C part of the traditional C-M-C formula. And then the capitalists will trade the community they bought for M’. The M’ is equal to M+m, which is a bigger amount of the original M. The lower case m is the profit gained as know as the surplus value. Once the cycle is done, the profit has been made and capitalists can proceed to use the profit to upscale the operation. This is how captialists are able to maintain and increase their wealth, As long as the m(profit) is to be made in this process, the captialists can continuiously increase the volume of their trade.