DB 12.1/Gender Inequality

  1. Due to the 1.5 million women’s cases all being slightly different, they were not eligible for trial in court. Because of Rule 23’s commonality requirement, all participants in a class-action suit would need to share similar accounts as far as similar pay discrimination, inappropriate encounters with same manager or Walmart location. This would help the court see that the trial could result in a “common solution.” According to the reading a class-action case could not move forward “without some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together.” This class-action suit was not uniform enough for a common ruling.

DB 11.1/Court System

  1. One way the court system is better suited to protect individuals is because of its diversity. Plaintiff and defendants’ arguments will be considered on a case by case basis. Diversity in the court as far as religion, gender, ideology and ethnicity protects people from bigotry. By having a diverse set of judges/staff, clients have a chance at their case being handled fairly and justly and with some empathy. One example is the same-sex marriage ruling. Former Solicitor General, Donald B. Verrilli Jr. convincing the other 5 justices to rule in favor of same-sex marriage. This decision was based on empathy for another group of people whom Verrilli didn’t exactly identify with, but wanted to grant legal right for them in spite of that.
  2. The way judges become judges is certainly un-democratic. With democracy, the people supposed to be included in the selection process. With things electing politicians, votes and popular opinion are factored into who gets chosen. Judges are appointed through people in high places within congress. The may not even be made aware of it unless there is a high-profile politician behind it such as the President. Only the rich and powerful (upper-class) only being considered for appointing lifetime Supreme Court members.

DB 13/Just/Un-Just Laws

  1. According to MLK, the difference between just and unjust laws are based on one main thing — moral vs. immoral. He explains that while it is man-made, a just law is rooted in morality and/or “law of God.” It should uplift and protect people. Unjust laws are simply laws not in alignment with natural and eternal law. Furthermore unjust laws violate human rights. MLK further references the then segregation laws, relating that to a law unjust in nature due it’s distortion of the soul.
  2. In my opinion, this distinction is fundamentally important. Looking at a societies set of laws and determining how unjust the laws are will show how poorly a certain group of citizens are treated vs another group benefitting from that mistreatment. This affects the daily lives of all parties involved. It can affect their lives because one can benefit from it and will continue to uphold those unjust laws because they don’t apply to them. On the other hand, the non-benefitting will have to fight back to eventually change those laws.
  3. One example of an unjust just is, relating to Module 9, “Sneak and Peak warrants” under the Patriot Act giving law enforcement rights to invading organizations and private individuals right to privacy. Not only do these violate amendment rights, it violates their natural right to have privacy. An example of a just law is outlaw of driving while intoxicated. This protects both parties by deterring driving under the influence. An intoxicated individual who may not be aware of their surrounds and risks possibly killing and innocent people in another car or standing by. In the case an incident does happen the guilty should be charged and ultimately penalized. 

DB 9.2/Terrorism

  1. Traditionally, war would be waged against a certain targets like an enemy. According to P. Williams, the ‘war on terror’ was more mind warfare. The special thing about this war was that the enemy had no specific identity. Anyone in America would be a potential target. Also the thing with terror and mind warfare is it tends to make people act out of fear and emotion and ultimately prejudice. 
  2. The ‘Roving Wiretaps’ seems to violate the fourth amendment. There seems to be a contradiction. The way it’s supposed to work it federal agents need to apply and get a approval for wire taps before recording. In the case of suspected terrorists, this does not apply. 
  3. “Sneak and Peek” warrants also seem to violate the Fourth Amendment. This allows agents to suddenly enter suspects homes without warning to the suspect. This validate unreasonable searches and seizing of property without proper documentation. Granted, if you warn a suspect that they are being investigated, chances are they may try to run. This should only be used in extreme cases. 

DB 9.1

  1. The “Establishment Clause” and the related “Lemon Test” were used to explain religious freedom. Religious freedom has two parts. First of which is to protect people from the religious beliefs imposed on them by the government, similar to separation of church and statue. Secondly, the other is to safeguard citizens from the government imposing restrictions their religious practices. In relation to “Establishment Clause,’ which means that the government prohibits the formation or furtherance of the religion it is supporting. Lastly, the ‘Lemon Test’ strives to make certain laws and/or behaviors supported in reference to the constitution. 
  2. The First Amendment does protect the flag from being damaged and treated with disrespect. At least in theory. However, according to the court case, it is stated “burning the flag was a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment and found the law, as applied to flag desecration, to be unconstitutional.” The Court Case “Texas v. Johnson” The Supreme Court were in agreement that burning the flag is a form speech. Although physically burning the flag is not supported in the amendment rights, freedoms of speech is. Therefore, burning the flag cannot be outlawed. 
  3. A personal saying ‘I’m taking the Fifth,’ means they are chose exercise their right to stay silent. This move is typically used to avoid saying any statements to build a case against them. This decision is protected by the fifth amendment.  

DB 7.1/ Government Systems

  1. The primary differences in each of the three government systems are determined by sources of governmental power. Federal splits the political powers between either each particular state-based governments and the nation’s government (Albany in NY vs Washington, D.C. e.g.). In the federal government, powers on a national and international level, such as regulating commerce between states and wars. State governments can only regulate issues such as taxes, healthcare, and traffic laws etc. within their state only. Secondly, confederations means the power is distributed equally among different states or groups. These different groups/states are working together sharing a common purpose (ex. similar military or economical standards). Lastly, we have the unitary government. With a unitary system, all political authority lies in one central government, absent of state government or alliance groups (confederations). The states would only follow governmental law set by this central group. 
  2. I understand the division of power as being a way for governments to regulate themselves. Division of power, for example, would the three branches of government: legislative, executive, judiciary. Each branch of  government has power to regulate the other. This keeps each brand accountable by creating a sort of ‘checks and balance’ system between the three.
  3. Pertaining to Covid-19, the federal government shaped the actions of state and local governments by, I would say, setting public health safety standards (CDC). This means the mask mandate, requirement to monitor people’s body temperature to grant access to closed spaces. Also, protecting workers with paid sick time for having to quarantine for contracting the virus. If a person got sick from covid and needed to take time off work, they will get paid for the two weeks they are gone.  Lastly, providing stimulus checks for taxpayers nationwide. The federal government issued between 2020 and 2021, three stimulus checks to help assist the nation’s working taxpayers earning a certain amount of income with additional bills and personal needs.

DB 5.1

  1. Means of production are basically the tools and materials used to create a product. Labor is high-skill or low-skill work put forth to create a product. For example, if I wanted to perform the labor of creating a website, my means of production would include web development skills, domain name, and of course core content for my audience. 

2. According to the video, I understand value being dependent on how much labor and time it took to create the product. For example, I could have a choice between purchasing a $40 pair of shoes or a $400 pair of shoes. The difference in value may include how long it takes to make the shoes, quality of materials, whether a skilled person made them or a machine did most of the work. Also, with selling services, value could be determined based how long it would take to do under normal circumstances. If a service or products takes longer than normal to complete, its value may decrease. 

3. Labor and value pretty much support one another. Labor will determine a product or service’s value. Value may convey how much labor was put in to produce the product. If someone tells me their leather wallet cost $150 I would wonder why it cost so much. After they explain that it’s handmade with genuine leather, the pricing would be justified.

4. Based on the video, the difference between labor and labor power is that aside from actually performing the work (labor), you would need the ability to perform the work (labor power). These could include your cognitive state, physical abilities, overall wellness to be able to accurately do the work. Labor power only pertains to humans. This is because in order for us to produce to the best of our ability, we require food, proper housing, and comfortable, clean clothes. Labor is performing the task, labor power makes us able to successfully perform the task.

5. Surplus Value could be described as the profit that is made by the laborer but it kept by private owner who employs the laborer. Even if the laborer did the work they will not directly compensated from each monetary transaction they make. For example a restaurant cashier may get paid a flat rate of $11/hour. That one cashier may ring up $1,500 in transactions in one day but  only be compensated $88 (pre-tax) due their flat-rate wage. The amount the worker is being paid is grossly disproportionate to the profits being made by the company. This is important to know because it speaks to the greed of capitalism that most people may not be aware of.

M-C-M model

In a capitalistic economy, the MCM model seems to work sell for creating and maintain wealth. (MCM’) would mean the buyer (or capitalist) purchases a product with the intention to re-sell and turn a profit, therefor create wealth. M’ at the end of the MCM’ formula means the money at the end of the transaction would be greater than the beginning amount. Once again referring to a capitalistic business transaction, the buyer will purchase a commodity at a lower value and plan to resell that same product for a higher value. Thus creating more profit and opportunities to build capital.

Businesses may purchase commodities or assets (loyal, skilled workers). Those commodities then become capital to further business profits by utilizing their value by reselling them (commodities) or selling their skills, respectfully. Also, with employing people, business must provide way for laborers to support their labor power. The laborer (or working-class person) sells their product or skills to obtain money (wage) which is used to tend to their personal needs, therefor reinforcing their labor power.

 But how do businesses stay afloat if they have to pay their workers? That’s where surpluses labor comes in. Surplus labor is the money made after the worker has recouped what the company has paid them for a work day. If a cashier is paid $12/hour and within 4 hours of their shift they rang up $500 in sales, well the company has made $404 plus whatever the cashier will ring up during the last 4 hours of their shift. The company will only pay the wage agreed on between them and the worker. Therefore the company is getting free (surplus) labor with 100% profits. 

DB 6.1

  1. According to readings 6.1 & 6.2, drafters of the constitution were described as wealthy and powerful. Social classes not allowed to participate in the drafting of the constitution or any politics for that matter were women, slaves, indentured servants and men who lacked ownership of real property. This dichotomy of social classes included, during these times, wealthy land-owning white men and then the landless working-class debtors and slaves. Ultimately, the wealthy land owners sought to shut out any political say-so on the working class’ end. The wealthy only set out to use the working-class for their labor.

2. There are similarities is social class structure when comparing early U.S. to day. It’s the same in that money and land ownership are still powerful resources today. Individuals and groups with more resources including money are readily able to garner support from politicians. A few differences include people outside of the wealth communities being included in the voting process. As far as wealth opportunities and earning wages there is more consideration for the working class.

3. The wealthy did not desire a government partially controlled by the non-wealthy working people. They were afraid those people were not wise enough, due to their economic status to determine what they need from government. After all the constitution was created to help the wealthy to stay wealthy. Why would the poor working classes be given a seat at the table? I think the wealthy just desired full control of over the government and they feared letting in the working class people would greatly disrupt that by them voicing their own personal concerns that the wealthy did not care about in the first place. 

DB 4.1/Social Class Categories

  1. The main similarities I noticed between readings 4.1 and 4.2 were social class categories based on income levels and residential location. One difference I noticed was that reading 4.2 did not mention other factors such as education levels, political parties etc. Also reading 4.2 does not really define social classes solely based on the incomes listed. It merely shows the relationship between residential location and and income.

2. I live in Brooklyn near the J train at Broad Junction. The median income reported was $51,691. I suppose that could fall anywhere between lower and up to middle class. I think there that does represent a good amount of residents of the East New York area. However, there are people who live there with their own business and college education too. Although their income levels may not scream upper-middle to upper class. 

3. A general pattern I noticed was income in the 200K+ levels were mainly associated with lower manhattan. The lowest incomes were associated with mostly Brooklyn and Queens. I think people already expected higher incomes to be in Manhattan so that wasn’t very surprising. I was shocked to see such low incomes in Queens and Brooklyn and some parts of Upper Manhattan. Incomes as low as 16k we’re reported! And these are working people as well.