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Jim Jeffries, Australian comic with a philosophy degree, on the topic of guns  in Google Classroom

Jim Jeffries, Australian comic with a philosophy degree, on the topic of guns

Just watch these two videos of one sixteen minute comic routine.  And you can send me something in Feedback as to whether you agree or disagree with Jeffries, or maybe you found a hole in his comic oriented analysis. I will say two attorney friends who love their guns said they found his arguments very strong, and could not really say he was wrong.  I found that interesting.


FINAL EXAM: 20% of GRADE TEST in Google Classroom


We will go over this on Thursday, December 9, and we will work on it at the same time. This way, we should either finish before Monday's Final test day, or you may finish it yourself in the one hour on December 13, 2021 before the end of the class that day.


Propaganda techniques in the last few days in Google Classroom

Propaganda techniques in the last few days

1. Congressman Madison Cawthorn exhibited which technique when talking about abortion rights under the Constitution, assuming he understood the technique he was using?

2. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene on the analogy of COVID shutting down a school and cancer shutting down a school. What propaganda technique is used here?

3. President Biden is doing a particular propaganda technique known to every president and governor in the history of the past 100 years, since the rise of modern mass communications.  What is the technique?

4. Here is an argument over whether Louie Sanchez, in ABQ City Council District 1, should be allowed to immediately begin serving as City Councilor, having defeated an appointed incumbent who ran and lost to Sanchez in the November 2021 elections.  Read the ABQ Journal article and the Joe Monahan blog (He is a leading political reporter in the state, and is now semi-retired as a blogger). Now, watch KQRE and KOAT tv reporting, and note, separately from how shallow the reporting is, how each covers the story.  Name one or more of the propaganda techniques being used.


ABORTION!!!  in Google Classroom


On December 1 and 2, 2021, we will go over first the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Justice Blackmun's concurring opinion in Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992).  This is the pro-abortion rights side. The anti-side will become very clear as we row and wade through the legal waters. Pun intended.


Judiciary in Google Classroom


Federalist Paper no. 78 (Hamilton), where Hamilton appears to be saying he expects it will be the right of the US Supreme Court, and other Federal courts Congress may authorize, to rule on whether a law Congress passes is constitutional--and if not constitutional, declared void and of no further enforcement. 

Read Federalist Paper no. 78 and answer the questions in the attached documents.  Each of the questions, except the last, is worth four (4) points. The last question is worth eight (8) points. Total: 24 Points.

We will also go over in class the US Supreme Court case of Marbury v. Madison (1803), where the US Supreme Court expressly held Courts have a right to declare a law or governmental practice unconstitutional and refuse to enforce that law in the courts. It sure looks like it is merely Hamilton's point about judicial power in Federalist Paper no. 78, and essentially it is.  To learn about Marbury, we will watch a short video about the case--and then read Jefferson's impractical alternative he spoke of, as he politically opposed having a strong judiciary while he was president.


Letter from Birmingham Jail: Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963 in Google Classroom

Letter from Birmingham Jail: Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

30 Points:  Read all the way through, after we will have gone over in class, and then write four paragraphs or twelve bullet point notes to understand the essence of this letter that is now taught as if it was a Declaration of Independence. In a sense, it definitely is.  

See the Wiki article before we begin. It provides the basic background that King and others were arrested for saying they would defy a southern judge's injunction order against civil disobedience, which is marching in the street without a permit, boycotting stores that were segregated by race, and other peaceful demonstrating.  As King sat in jail, in what were not good or healthy conditions, someone hands him a petition signed by white preachers in the area who said he was behaving badly and without morality.  King was incensed. He wrote this open letter to these preachers and to the larger white audience around the nation.

Therefore, what your "radical" teacher likes about the letter King wrote is King's attack on privileged complacency. Further, he pointedly notes how people who call themselves "moderates" are ultimately more crafty enemies of progress and justice  than the people who want the ones protesting for progress or justice, well, dead.  The "moderates" don't kill those who seek justice or progress. However, they ultimately are fine with keeping the status quo, with maybe some symbolic gestures or tweaks around edges, in a way which continues to maintain that status quo in terms of power dynamics.  You know, like someone who likes Mayor Pete, but thinks Bernie Sanders goes way too far....Hmmmm....LOL.


How a bill becomes a law assignment (four videos) in Google Classroom

How a bill becomes a law assignment (four videos)

20 Points: How a Bill Becomes a Law (Khan Academy). Watch and then write two paragraphs that summarize the video.
10 Points: Watch Schoolhouse Rock and write one paragraph that summarizes the video.
10 Points: Watch Vox video and write one paragraph that summarizes the video.
10 Points: "Watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" film clip about how a bill actually gets passed and summarize in one paragraph the film clip.


TEST LEVEL:  Propaganda Assignment, Part I in Google Classroom

TEST LEVEL: Propaganda Assignment, Part I


We will have already read together the three attached documents.  This Test Level Assignment is a relatively small project, where I divide you into two scholars each (one group will be three people). Your assignment is:

1. Research something in mainstream (corporate) media an advertisement for a product or service and (2) a political show interview with a politician, or political talk show clip, BOTH OF WHICH corresponds or relates to the propaganda technique I will assign to each duo (two of you).

2. Download a Google Doc, and cut and paste into the Google Doc the links to (1) the ad and (2) political show interview with a politician or political talk show clip.

3. WRITE into the same Google Doc (which has the links to the Propaganda Technique the clip or ad which you uploaded per #2 above), and EXPLAIN WHY in ONE PARAGRAPH the Propaganda Technique is being used in the clip or ad. Not one sentence or a partial sentence. An actual multiple sentence explanation of how this propaganda technique applies and worked in the ad or political clip or ad.

4  Each group or duo will ORALLY present their findings to the class. 

NOTE: After this Part I research and presentation, there will be a second assignment I will be separately assigning, which is a paper on one of the topics we will be going over in the three attached documents. 

How to do THIS PART I assignment to find and present to the class the advertisement, political show interview or political talk show. It is to be considered a RUBRIC:

You will get a total of 40 points for this first assignment: 

(a) 20 points for the research and writing up of your findings and explanation, which must include providing the link for the project manager/teacher ability to evaluate, and then submitting the findings, explanation and link in a Google Doc for my review and grading of up to 20 points; and 

(b) 20 points for the presentation to the class, and handling questions from the class or your project manager/teacher.

The (a) part is due Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 11:59 pm. The (b) part will begin on Monday, November 15, 2021, and continue in person class. 



Corporate media dominance in the United States in Google Classroom

Corporate media dominance in the United States

I want you to take the time to read each of the six articles over the next several days, so you may get a decent understanding of how much your parents or grandparents consume corporate owned and dominated media. It may apply to you, too. :)  I also want you to not feel superior to your parents or grandparents because, in about a week or so, we will analyze where YOU get your political information, and, if you think, "Well, I don't watch any of it!", that is not making you a thoughtful citizen, either. :)

Anyway, here is the assignment:  READ each of these articles, and for EACH article, write a TWO PARAGRAPH (four sentences or more for each of the two paragraphs) SUMMARY that shows me you understand, comprehend, and evaluated what was in the article. Each two paragraph summary of each article will be worth ten points, for a total of 60 points. I am going to grade this at a QUIZ LEVEL to ensure you do this assignment.

However, before you start reading the articles, read what I have to say below, as it will help you in your reading, and help provide what literary folks call a portent when we get to how social media has added to the general confusion most Americans have about why bad things continue to happen to the vast majority of Americans. We are, sadly, the most effectively propagandized people on the planet, as even North Koreans know their "news" is from a dictatorship that uses "news" to keep their people in fear of the dictator. Anyway, here goes:

Jefferson's and Madison's dream about small pamphleteers enlightening us with robust political discussions--you know, Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" or the Federalist Papers-- took a major hit by the late 19th Century, with the rise of what press critics of the turn of the century called the "capitalist" press. That press would fill people with information and opinion wrapped right into their stories, which were about gruesome murders in urban settings, strident voices (look up "strident") against union "agitators," civic or electoral reformers, and often against racial and ethnic minorities--the better to keep workers fighting each other than blaming the bosses. The capitalist press often liked to promote wars, in appealing to one's national pride and patriotism. In short, the capitalist press, even when geared toward more highly educated readers, such as readers of the New York Times, were often purveyors of a narrative that suited the wealthy elites who dominated America's economy.

With the rise of broadcast media--radio in the 1920s and television in the 1950s--we saw immediate concentration of corporate owned broadcast media because there were only so much bandwidth in radio and television "waves."  This allowed for morals regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (which Congress passed in the late 1920s), and even what was called a "Fairness Doctrine," where broadcast media had to ensure balance, meaning they did not go too far right, as corporations which bought the airwave time from the government never would go too far left. That did not fully stop radio, in particular, from having shouting fascistic, racist commentators, from Fulton Lewis to Father Coughlin, but it was fairly well controlled.  By the 1950s, there was a more calming, homogenized, set of political voices on television, even as we were, as a nation, demonizing labor leaders who were deemed too radical in wanting what Europeans were already getting, and those who wanted more balanced relationships with the Soviet Union in Russia and its environs, and Communist controlled China. In other words, a Red (meaning Communist) Scare managed to occur even within the so-called  homogenized, and balanced, media environment. 

It is amusing to me, as an aging Boomer, to hear my fellow Boomers lament the "good old days" of CBS, NBC, and ABC reporting, in kindly, friendly, but authoritatively objective sounding voices, on largely the same news that we could all comment on in lockstep to our preconceived notions. However, that meant that what was NOT covered went down the drain of non-knowing, and, worse, too often the CBS-NBC-ABC homogenous influence allowed people to avoid any systemic analyses as to why things happened or continued to happen.  The venerable CBS newsreader, or "anchorman," the late Walter Cronkite, often said in interviews that all he did was read headlines for people for 22 minutes a night (it was a half hour show with eight minutes of commercials in between).  This was not a problem when many white middle class and working class families read a newspaper of note each day, which was true up through the early to mid 1970s. However, as newspaper reading declined, especially with the proliferation of choices in cable television ENTERTAINMENT offerings (think of the different cable channels and then recognize how, from the 1950s through 1980, all many people across the nation had were CBS, NBC, and ABC, and maybe a PBS station, and many communities had only one or two of the big three privately owned networks), all people got were headlines on those news shows by the end of the 20th Century. Even worse, as network executives realized cultural oriented political debates got people to tune in, viewers began watching these opinion shouting shows, and began to confuse the cable "news" styles of heated arguments among corporate paid pundits, over what were often cultural issues, or political issues discussed in a lens of culture clashes, with the type of news that had at least previously implied facts, analysis, and evaluation. 

With the rise of the Internet, we have seen a proliferation, or cacophony, of voices, which, at first glance, may have been what Jefferson and Madison were after. And yes, look up the words "proliferation" and "cacophony."  And now, we are seeing more and more younger people (meaning those under 40 years old) gravitating away from cable news, which I find a welcome sign--but where people are going for news reveals something potentially dangerous, when people are unable to discern how to detect unreliable, misleading, or shallowly presented information. 

What many of us pro-First Amendment and pro-Jefferson and pro-Madison people are learning is Jefferson's and Madison's dream of intelligent debate, and good information driving out the bad, are not really the result of this proliferation of voices across a broadcast style medium of the Internet. Worse, we are now seeing how people on social media platforms may be manipulated into anger and mistrust of each other through algorithms that turn information into something akin to a drug or alcohol. In social media, most people, while using screaming or highly emotional rhetoric, create or promote misinformation, misleading information, or shallow opinions that end up being misleading. Even worse, we learned in this course how most adults cannot even define for themselves the bases of their own political philosophies, which make it that much easier for Internet outlets, social media platform users, and politicians to manipulate people into hating each other, when consistent polling data shows an agreement on issues among a majority of Americans across economic, political, and even cultural issues.


Cat Your Vote! in Google Classroom

Cat Your Vote!

My Third Period Gov/Politics class put this together.  Let's get five points for some fun.  Due Monday 11:59 pm.


What are representatives' duties? in Google Classroom

What are representatives' duties?

See the Materials in Who Represents Me? (not the assignment, the materials).  Using the links, answer the questions in the attached questions.


Who Represents Me? in Google Classroom

Who Represents Me?

Too often, too many adults don't know who their representatives are.  I aim to help you know before you leave high school.  We have multiple levels of government in our nation, and have had these levels since our nation's founding as a republic in 1783's Articles of Confederation and our nation's Constitution ratified in 1788.  The basic levels of government are (I did not include school board as we are a public charter school, and our board is not elected; but Rio Rancho Public Schools has an elected board, and your folks and maybe you can vote for them even if you are not in the Rio Rancho public school system):

1. Municipal or City government (mostly mayor and always a council known as a city council);
2. County Commission (In NM, basic county government consists of a Commission with Commissioners.  Other states have county governments known by other names.  Two main names are Board of Supervisors and Freeholds);
3. County Clerk;
4. County Sheriff;
5. County Treasurer;
6. County Assessor;
7. State government: Legislature (In NM, two houses: State House of Representatives and State Senators)
8. State government: Executive (Governor, Lieutenant Governor)
9. State government:  Secretary of State (county clerk for state government, plus more)
10. State government: Land Commissioner (NM pretty unique here, as only a few states have these, mostly in southwest US)
11. State government: Attorney General
12. State government: Auditor
13. State government: Treasurer
14. Federal or United States government: Legislature (US House of Representatives and Senators)
15. Federal or US government: Executive (President and Vice President)

So, the question you should ask is this: "Who represents me?"  The people holding these offices do.  And you should at least know YOUR representatives' names and, eventually, whether you largely agree or disagree with their representation.  The next assignment will be to know the duties of the people who represent you in this nominally titled Republic in the United States.


Political Parties questions in Google Classroom

Political Parties questions

We will go over Political Parties analyses on Monday, Oct 11 and Tuesday, Oct 12. We will have a series of questions to answer at the end.  

I will then upload by Wednesday, Oct 13 the asynchronous classes' assignment, which will be separate from this one.


Redistricting Questions in Google Classroom

Redistricting Questions

Please see the 10 page document (from Google Docs below) which we went over in class, and then answer the questions, also in the Google Docs attachment below.


Tribal Sovereignty: More complicated than you think in Google Classroom

Tribal Sovereignty: More complicated than you think


In this lesson, we will at least scratch the surface of tribal government in New Mexico. The key to understanding is, when a person is on tribal lands, and is not of that tribe's membership, such a person may have certain privileges and rights, but not the same level of privileges and rights that person would have if the person is on non-tribal land. This is because, since hundreds and maybe thousands of years before our national government was founded, Native Americans have had their own organizations and nations.  

Our settler-colonial drive eradicated much of the Native Americans and their governments, but not completely. Therefore, what we will be learning may seem confusing or not clear, but that is because, especially in recent years, the US Supreme Court has become more willing to return certain rights and privileges earlier era Courts and Congress had, in all practicality, not allowed.

At the end of the lesson, I have prepared a Quiz level set of 21 questions. After the information imparted, this may be worked on in class on September 28 and 29, 2021, and the evening of September 29. You have more than enough time to complete this Quiz. 

This again is due September 29, 2021 at 11:59 pm. If not submitted by then, it is a PERMANENT ZERO AS THIS IS A QUIZ.


New Mexico Constitution and Larrazolo in Google Classroom

New Mexico Constitution and Larrazolo

15 Points: Answer the three questions in the document attached below.
12 Points: Answer the questions about Larrazolo.


Are we a republic or a democracy?  in Google Classroom

Are we a republic or a democracy?


15th Amendment: how much voting rights? in Google Classroom

15th Amendment: how much voting rights?


14th Amendment: The revolutionary amendment? in Google Classroom

14th Amendment: The revolutionary amendment?


13th Amendment: Ending slavery--or did it? in Google Classroom

13th Amendment: Ending slavery--or did it?


Habeas Corpus and other legal rights in the Constitution in Google Classroom

Habeas Corpus and other legal rights in the Constitution

Read the first attached document, which explains the different sections of the original US Constitution that defines various legal rights, such as habeas corpus, laws against bills of attainder, and ex post facto laws.  

Then, answer the six questions attached as well.


Federalist Paper no. 51 in Google Classroom

Federalist Paper no. 51

This is the last Federalist Paper we will do, as the remaining ones (Federalist Papers no. 78-83), though in the NM PED standards, are about the judiciary and Hamilton's and even obliquely, Madison's views on the power of the judiciary. In short, Hamilton predicts the power of courts to declare a law unconstitutional, not really established until Marbury v. Madison (1803).  We can spend all class on that, but that is the essence.

This Federalist Paper no. 51, which historians say Madison more than Hamilton wrote (but are not sure), is at least interesting and fairly easy to read at this point.  I attach the questions that go along with this one.


Federalist Paper no. 41 and questions in Google Classroom

Federalist Paper no. 41 and questions

Today, in class, we will discuss Article I, Section 8, Federalist Paper no. 41, and Brutus no. 6, and the debate over Congress' enumerated powers. 

I am then assigning a take-home quiz which we will work on in class tomorrow, and is due tomorrow night. THERE IS NO EXTENSION ON THIS AS IT IS A QUIZ.

I decided to call this a quiz because I want us to take this assignment seriously, as the subject goes to the heart of Congressional power and the continuing arguments over the scope of Congress' power today.  It goes to the heart of those people who insist on calling themselves "Constitutionalists" and who claim to believe in the "Real Constitution."  And, it further undermines the certainties of those who claim they believe in "Original Intent."

Read the attached Federalist Paper number 41 and Brutus #6, both of which are what you are supposed to know for the AP Test.  Then, read the attached analysis I wrote, and note the case law, 10th Amendment and 14th Amendment.  I also attach the questions to be answered.


Federalist Paper no. 37 and questions to answer in Google Classroom

Federalist Paper no. 37 and questions to answer


Federalist Paper no. 11 in Google Classroom

Federalist Paper no. 11


Federalist Paper no. 10 (Madison) in Google Classroom

Federalist Paper no. 10 (Madison)

This is a two day assignment.  We will go through Madison's somewhat long, philosophical, but practical explanation of the extent of Congress' powers. We will also go through Brutus #1, which is part of what are more known in modern times as the Anti-Federalist papers.  Here is Madison at his most expansive in terms of what he believes the Constitution will allow the national legislature to do, while Brutus will sound like so many pundits on talk radio and most of corporate owned media. :)


History of Federalist Papers and Paper no. 1 in Google Classroom

History of Federalist Papers and Paper no. 1

Madison and Hamilton wrote (John Jay wrote a couple himself) a series of anonymous--meaning they were not signed at the time of publication in newspapers--of 85 articles or essays, which became known later as "the Federalist Papers." The articles were written in the period of 1787 to 1788,  and were published in two main newspapers in New York State, which Hamilton, Madison, and Jay believed was a pivotal state if the Constitution would be granted. The articles-essays, however, ended up being published in other states, as well.  Not long after the Constitution was ratified, a publisher numbered the articles-essays, and that is how we refer to them today.  We also learned, over time, who wrote each Federalist Paper article-essay.

Some justices of the US Supreme Court have said, over the two plus centuries of the Constitution's existence, that we should NOT use the Federalist Papers as a basis to interpret what particular constitutional provisions mean. It is said the articles-essays are polemical and political, meaning they are done to persuade, and, as there are many who were at the constitutional convention framing or crafting the Constitution, two men (plus a bit of John Jay) should not have so large or definitive a voice. 

However, in our nation's popular discourse, and even in case law, most citizens and many judges, whether highly informed or not, treat the Federalist Papers as definitive statements of important constitutional framers, namely Hamilton and Madison. Therefore, for better or worse, the papers carry great weight. However, as with anything written by a human being, their language is often understood in different ways, and we get continuing arguments.


Exit Ticket:  Article III of the Constitution in Google Classroom

Exit Ticket: Article III of the Constitution


Exit Ticket: Article II of the US Constitution in Google Classroom

Exit Ticket: Article II of the US Constitution


Exit Ticket: Article I of the US Constitution (Congress) in Google Classroom

Exit Ticket: Article I of the US Constitution (Congress)

34 Points: Complete and submit the attached Exit Ticket, based upon the US Constitution's Article I, which we will go over in class on August 17. I will hand out a physical copy of the Exit Ticket during class and provide time to complete the Exit Ticket in class, while giving until tonight to submit the Exit Ticket through Google Docs. You may hand in a hard copy tomorrow morning, however, but I would strongly advise not to first complete the Exit Ticket tomorrow morning.  IT IS BEST TO GET AS MUCH DONE IN CLASS AND THEN COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THIS AFTERNOON OR EVENING.


Exit Ticket: Summary of articles in US Constitution, Preamble in Google Classroom

Exit Ticket: Summary of articles in US Constitution, Preamble

Complete these questions. If you do so in class, you may hand in to me. If not, complete by the due date and time by submitting through a Google Doc.


Hobbes, Locke etc.  Questions in Google Classroom

Hobbes, Locke etc. Questions

For those who missed class, or don't have the handout, I attach the homework assignment and the reading we went over. All one has to do is read the brief bios and explanations of the four philosophers, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, and not any of the other activities or questions.  

The homework assignment I have crafted is the other document in this Assignment.


Take Home Quiz for Declaration of Independence unit in Google Classroom

Take Home Quiz for Declaration of Independence unit

Rather than an Exit Ticket, I realize this is more than an Exit Ticket of work.  However, I did not want this to be a full on class Quiz. I figured, let's try a take home quiz first.  

This take home quiz is as much about your opinion, backed with facts, than trying to have you simply show multiple choice answer type of knowledge.  It is in essence both the government side, which are largely factual, and the politics side, which are largely about opinions, values, and judgments.  

Each question and answer will be worth three points each for a total of 21 Quiz points. I am giving you till tomorrow night to complete the quiz.  I am going to look very carefully at how each of you phrases the answers to look for signs of cheating or plagiarism. I am fine if you talk about it with each other, as that is also learning, but the work must be your own.


Pursuit of Happiness: What did Jefferson mean, as best as we can determine? in Google Classroom

Pursuit of Happiness: What did Jefferson mean, as best as we can determine?

I apologize for not putting up the assignment for this weekend.  All I wanted you to do is read through, even skim, without notes, the two articles that I had posted onto the Declaration of Independence materials which concerned the "pursuit of happiness" language in the Declaration.  We will go over the two articles on Monday, Aug 9, which I post below for convenience.  Just a skim or reading, and there is no grade until we do an Exit Ticket, which I will provide near the end of the class.

The purpose of this exercise is to not only show how one may view the phrase "pursuit of happiness" in different ways, each with support from the time Jefferson coined the phrase overall. It is to also show, as I said last Thursday, why we, as discerning citizens, should be wary of fact-checkers in the corporate owned news media and on the Internet.  That is not because "Snopes" is "liberal" or the fact checkers may be either "liberal" or "conservative."  Instead, we should read and rely on fact-checker sites to the extent we review the links the fact-checkers cite. The links are what we should read, so we will be in a position to do further research, and then make our OWN determinations as to whether something somebody has asserted is false, true, or mostly false or true.  

I strongly recommend reading the scholarly article first, then the Politifact article.  We will go over the two articles and then ask ourselves, is the Politifact ruling fair to reactionary (in politics, economics, and especially culture) former senator from Pennsylvania or not.  


Liberal and Conservative/3 Realms in Google Classroom

Liberal and Conservative/3 Realms

Write at least two paragraphs that explain whether you are more radical, liberal or conservative, reactionary, etc. on politics, economics, and culture issues.  Put it in Google Doc or hand me the handwritten paper tomorrow morning (Aug 4).