Trivia Answers – October 2017 Newsletter

War in Afghanistan

1. Since 2002, Congress has appropriated more than ____ for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, representing the largest expenditure to rebuild a country in the United States’ history.

a.    $30 billion

b.    $117 billion

c.    $1.4 trillion

2. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the population of Afghanistan is around ____ as of 2016 and the country is slightly smaller in size than which U.S. state?

a.    33 million, Texas

b.    24 million, Kansas

c.    49 million, Oregon

3. What is the name of the largest city and capital of Afghanistan?

a.    Damascus

b.    Islamabad

c.    Kabul

4. Which ethnic group is the largest in Afghanistan?

a.    Uzbek

b.    Pashtun

c.     Shia

d.    Sunni

 

Surveillance Law

 

1. Which of the following was not cited among the constitutional rights concerns in the 2014 Report on Section 702 Surveillance by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board?

a. Number of U.S. citizens whose communications have been collected by the NSA is unknown and likely vast

b. NSA’s practice of sharing any evidence of U.S. citizens’ criminal behaviorwith the FBI

c. NSA’s use of “about” collection of U.S. persons’ communications that aren’t to or from a foreign target

d. NSA’s querying of the information collected to search the communications of specific U.S. persons

2. Which U.S. service providers participate in the NSA’s PRISM program, which collects users’ emails and other personal data directly from their servers?

a. Google and YouTube

b. Apple and Microsoft

c. Facebook, Yahoo and Skype

d. All of the above

3.  Data collected under PRISM is an example of “upstream” collection.

a.     True

b.     False

4. What is the name of the intelligence-sharing agreement the United States has with other nations, including the United Kingdom and Canada?

a.     Boundless Informant

b.     Five Eyes

c.     Optic Nerve

 

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – October 2017

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: War in Afghanistan

Remarks by President Trump on the Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Report to Congress

CIA World Factbook on Afghanistan

Brookings Institute Article, “America’s Afghanistan Problem”

Heritage Foundation Commentary, “Trump Lays Out Winning Strategy for Afghanistan”


Issue 2: Surveillance Law

Letter from Attorney Gen. Sessions Urging Congress to Reauthorize FISA Section 702 

Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board 2014 Report on FISA Surveillance Program 

Center for Democracy & Technology, “Section 702: What It Is & How It Works” 

April 28, 2017, Statement from NSA on Stopping of Certain Section 702 Activities

Sen. Rand Paul’s Call for Amendment to End Warrantless Searches of U.S. Citizens 

CQ Online Article, “Congress Braces for Tense Debate on Surveillance Law” 

 

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: War in Afghanistan

  1. Do you support continuing to have a military presence in Afghanistan? Why or why not?
  2. Read President Trump’s remarks on his strategy for Afghanistan (see link above). Why do you think he chose not to give specifics such as how many troops he will send or state an estimated withdrawal date? Do you agree or disagree with this strategy?
  3. Read the Heritage Foundation commentary (see link above). Do you agree with the author’s reasoning? Why or why not?
  4. Compare and contrast the pro/con congressional quotes on p. 3 of the newsletter. Whose opinion do you agree with most on this issue, and why?
  5. Why do you think President Trump changed his mind on sending more troops to Afghanistan, despite earlier criticizing President Obama for doing so when he was in office?

Issue 2: Surveillance Law

  1. Read the NSA’s April 28, 2017, statement announcing it will no longer include “about” communications in its intelligence gathering activities. Does this assuage any concerns you may have? Why or why not?
  2. Does FISA Section 702 need to be amended to strengthen protections of Americans’ constitutional and privacy rights? Or should Congress permanently reauthorize it as is? Justify and defend your position.
  3. Why do you think some legislators are concerned about the potential for abuse of power among employees and/or contractors of the NSA, FBI and/or CIA?
  4. Read Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Sept. 7, 2017, letter to Congress (see link above). Do you agree with his reasoning? Why or why not?
  5. Carefully read the wording of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Are Americans’ constitutional rights being violated under the NSA’s current interpretation of FISA Section 702? Why or why not?

Trivia Answers – September 2017 Newsletter

Dreamer Immigrants

1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently released data that showed more than ____ Dreamer immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created.

a. 2 million

b. 750,000

c. 450,000

2. To qualify for DACA, applicants must meet all the following criteria except:

a. Must have arrived in the U.S. prior to age 16

b. Must be currently enrolled in school, have graduated high school or obtained a GED

c. Must qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (food stamps)

d. Must not have been convicted of a felony or multiple serious misdemeanors

3. Although DACA offers Dreamers a way to apply for a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit, it does not provide a path to U.S. citizenship.

a. True

b. False

Civil Asset Forfeiture

1. Which state’s civil forfeiture law requires that people be criminally convicted before their property is seized and that forfeiture proceeds go to a general fund vs. directly to the agency that seized the assets?

a. California

b. Florida

c. New Mexico

2. On March 29, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released a report on the DOJ’s cash seizure and forfeiture activities, which concluded:

a. During the past 10 years, law enforcement agencies under the DOJ (such as the FBI) have seized more than $28 billion in forfeiture assets.

b. Between 2007 and 2016, the DEA seized approximately $3.2 billion in cash forfeitures.

c. The vast majority of asset seizures were forfeited without a criminal proceeding.

d. The DEA conducts cash seizures that may pose risks to citizens’ civil liberties.

e. All of the above.

3. Although asset forfeitures happen often, most people do not try to get their property back because they can’t afford to file a lawsuit against the agency that seized it.

a. True

b. False

Bill of Rights Matching Game

H___ First Amendment
C____Second Amendment
G____Third Amendment
F____Fourth Amendment
B____Fifth Amendment
I____Sixth Amendment
J ___ Seventh Amendment
D___ Eighth Amendment
E___ Ninth Amendment
A___ Tenth Amendment

 

A. Powers reserved to the states.
B. Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double jeopardy.
C. Right to keep and bear arms.
D. Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.
E. Other rights of the people.
F. Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
G. No quartering of soldiers.
H. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
I. Right to a speedy and public trial
J. Right of trial by jury.

 

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – September 2017

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Dreamer Immigrants

Dream Act of 2017 Summary

Side by Side Comparison of the 2010 and 2017 Dream Acts, and DACA

New York Times’ Collection of Dreamers’ Stories

“Why I oppose the DREAM Act” Editorial

“The Dream Is Now” Documentary Video by Organizing for Action 


Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Statement (July 19, 2017)

Summary of Report on the DOJ’s Cash Seizure & Forfeiture Activities

FOX News Article, “Sessions opens door for police to seize assets”

Washington Post Column by George Will, “When Government Is the Looter”

“Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture” Report

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Civil Asset Abuse

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Dreamer Immigrants

  1. Who are the Dreamers and why are they called Dreamers? If you were in their situation, would you keep your status private at school? Why or why not?
  2. View goo.gl/msmk7t to view a map of state laws on access to higher education for undocumented immigrants. Find your state and read its policies. Do you feel these policies are fair, unfair or just right?
  3. Read the “Why I Oppose the DREAM Act” editorial (see link above). Do you agree or disagree with this stance? List your arguments and defend your positions.
  4. Watch “The Dream Is Now” video (see link above). Compare and contrast your own dreams and the dreams described by the young people in the video. What are the similarities and differences?
  5. Read the Dream Act of 2017 summary (see link above). If you were a member of Congress, would you vote yay or nay on this legislation? Why?

Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture

  1. Civil asset forfeiture is one of the few bipartisan issues on which right-leaning Republicans and left-leaning Democrats agree. Why do you think this is so?
  2. In your opinion, does civil asset forfeiture violate citizens’ constitutional rights? Why or why not?
  3. Read the summary of the DOJ report (see link above). Do the findings challenge or support your position on civil asset forfeiture?
  4. Read Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statement on July 19, 2017 (see link above). Do you agree with his reasoning? Why or why not?
  5. According to the Fifth Amendment, “no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Why do some people see civil asset forfeiture as a violation of the “due process” clause?

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for May 2017 Issues

LINKS

For further research, please see the links below. Links have been shortened for your convenience.

Issue 1: Syrian Missile Strikes

Statement by President Trump on Syria

Bernie Sanders’ Opposition to Missile Strikes

Visual Guide to Missile Strikes on Syrian Airbase

Heritage Foundation on Missile Strikes Video

Brookings Institute Pros & Cons to Missile Strikes

Issue 2: Minimum Wage

U.S. Department of Labor – Minimum Wages by State

Raise the Minimum Wage

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Article

National Women’s Law Center on Minimum Wage

CNBC Article on Universal Basic Income

Congressional Budget Office Report

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Help students develop their critical-thinking skills on legislative issues with these essay questions.

Issue 1: Syrian Missile Strikes

  1. Please read the pro and con arguments in the Brookings Institute article (link above). Which side do you agree most with, and why?
  2. Will military intervention solve the Syrian conflict? Why or why not?
  3. Does the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians justify the U.S. missile strikes?
  4. What could potentially go wrong as a result of the U.S. missile strikes on the Syrian airbase? What could go right?
  5. Should the U.S. intervene in Middle East controversies such as the Syrian Civil War? Where should we draw the line?

Issue 2: Minimum Wage

  1. Using the U.S. Department of Labor link above, see if your state has a minimum wage law. How does your state compare to other states? Do you think it should be higher or lower than it is?
  2. How does the minimum wage issue relate to income, gender and race inequality?
  3. Please read the CNBC article (link above). Should the U.S. should establish a “universal basic income?” Why or why not?
  4. If you worked at a job that paid the current minimum wage of $7.25, you would work one hour and receive about enough money to pay for a fast food combo meal. Is that fair?
  5. Do you think that if the minimum wage was raised, it would ultimately help or hurt workers?

Trivia Answers – May 2017 Newsletter

SYRIAN MISSILE STRIKES

1. During the U.S. missile strike, 59 _____ cruise missiles were launched from the guided-missile destroyers USS Ross and Porter in the eastern Mediterranean.

a.  Harpoon

b.  Tomahawk

c.  Javelin

2. The airfield that was targeted in the U.S. missile strike is near which city in Syria?

a.  Aleppo

b.  Damascus

c.  Hom

3. The missile strike carried out by the Trump administration marks a significant shift in U.S. relations with Syria from the Obama administration.

a.  True

b.  False

4.  The first large-scale use of chemical weapons was during World War II.

a.  True

b.  False

MINIMUM WAGE

1. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is ____ an hour and hasn’t been raised since 1991.

a.  $2.13

b.  $4.02

c.  $5.45

2. Opponents of raising the minimum wage say because of the law of ____, some workers will lose their jobs or have their hours cut if businesses are forced to pay them more.

a.  diminishing returns

b.  supply and demand

c.  lean manufacturing

3. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly a quarter (24%) of people at or below the federal minimum wage are teenagers (ages 16 to 19), as of 2013.

a.  True

b.  False

4. In 2012, the richest 1% of the U.S. population earned 22.83% of the nation’s income, resulting in the widest gap between the rich and the poor since the 1920s.

a.  True

b.  False

Trivia Answers – April 2017 Newsletter

1. According to Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, does the President have the sole power to negotiate and sign a treaty?
a.   Yes
b.   No, the President must have the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate.
c.   No, both the House and Senate must approve.

2. Which branch of government can impeach the President?
a.   Executive
b.   Legislative
c.   Judicial

3. According to the Constitution, what is treason against the United States?
a.   Refusing to pay taxes
b.   Levying war against the U.S., adhering to the enemy, or giving them aid or comfort
c.   Refusing to join the armed forces

4. Is a Constitutional amendment submitted to the President?
a.   Yes
b.   No

5. Which Constitutional amendment protects Americans’ right to privacy?
Hint: The Amendment guarantees,“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
a.   Second Amendment
b.   Fourth Amendment
c.   Eighth Amendment

6. Which number series represents the individuals in each of the three branches of U.S. government (legislative, judicial and executive)?

a.   535, 9, 1
b.   435, 5, 3
c.   250, 11, 5

7. The current Congress (2017-2018) is referred to as the 115th Congress and first convened on Jan. 3, 2017.

a.   True
b.   False

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for April 2017 Issues

LINKS

For further research, please see the links below. Links have been shortened for your convenience.

Issue 1: Food Stamps & Junk Food

USDA on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

USDA Food and Nutrition Service Report (Nov. 2016)

American Enterprise Institute

Cato Institute 

New York Times Article

Issue 2: Travel Ban

President Trump’s Travel Ban Executive Order (3/6/17)

White House Memorandum on Trump’s Executive Order (3/6/17)

Hawaii Judge’s Ruling on Trump’s Revised Travel Ban (3/15/17)

Factcheck.org Facts on Immigration Order

Constitution Center Blog

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Help students develop their critical-thinking skills on legislative issues with these essay questions.

Issue 1: Food Stamps

  1. Why do you think “food-insecure” (low-income) Americans spend more on sweetened beverages than people who make enough money?
  2. USDA requires able-bodied adults with no children to work or attend job training for at least 20 hours a week to receive food stamps. Is this fair, too strict or not enough? Explain why.
  3. One in six people is food insecure while two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. How do these two trends relate to each other? Is there a cause-and-effect relationship?
  4. Since the “N” in SNAP stands for nutrition, is the food stamps program failing its purpose?
  5. Where should the line be drawn between healthy and non-healthy foods? How do you define “healthy” and “non-healthy?

Issue 2: Travel Ban

  1. Read Trump’s executive order and decide whether it is good public policy. Will it help or hurt the nation’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks?
  2. If Trump’s justification for his executive order was to prevent another 9/11 attack, why wasn’t Saudi Arabia in the list? Can you think of any reasons?
  3. Does the executive order comply with the First Amendment right of religious freedom for Muslims who seek to come to the U.S.?
  4. One of the main purposes of the judicial branch (the courts) is to interpret the Constitution. Why do you think judges keep objecting to Trump’s travel ban executive orders?
  5. While it is true that jihad terrorists are of the Islam faith, does the fight against terrorism justify putting all people of this particular religion under suspicion?

Trivia Answers – March 2017 Issue

Sanctuary Cities

1.  Which states have the largest populations of unauthorized immigrants?

a.   New York, California and Texas

b.   Texas, Florida and California

c.   New York, New Jersey and Texas

2. In sanctuary cities, undocumented immigrants are pursued for any criminal acts they commit, except for being undocumented.

a.   True 

b.   False

3. Nationally, unauthorized immigrants made up ___% of the total population in 2014.

a.   3.5%

b.   5.2%

c.   7.9%

4. Which Founding Father was born in the West Indies?

a.   George Washington

b.   Thomas Jefferson

c.   Alexander Hamilton

Regulations

1.  The REINS Act would require Congress to affirm major federal rules with an economic impact of ____ or more.

a.   $1 million

b.   $100 million

c.   $1 billion

2. Currently, Congress does not have the power to stop regulations if circumstances dictate.

a.   True

b.   False

3. The REINS Act requires that any future major regulation adopted by an agency must be approved by a specific resolution in each house of Congress within ___days to take effect.

a.   70 days

b.   90 days

c.   6 months

Links & Critical Thinking Questions – March 2017

LINKS

For further research, please see the links below. Links have been shortened for your convenience.

Issue 1: Sanctuary Cities
Center for Immigration Studies – Sanctuary Cities Map

President Trump’s Executive Order

Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R.400)

Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities Act of 2017 (H.R.748)

Heritage Foundation OpEd

Washington Post Article

Issue 2: Regulations

Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (H.R.26)

President Trump’s Executive Order

U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Regulatory Reform

League of Women Voters Position Statement on REINS Act

Natural Resources Defense Council

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Help students develop their critical-thinking skills on legislative issues with these essay questions.

Issue 1: Sanctuary Cities

  1. Before reading about sanctuary cities and discussing the issue in class, did you already have an opinion on the topic? If so, did it change? Summarize your view on the issue.
  2. Using the first link above, view the sanctuary cities map. Why do you think many of the largest U.S. cities choose to provide sanctuary to immigrants? This could be from a practical and/or philosophical perspective.
  3. Should local jurisdictions cooperate with federal immigration officials, or should they be allowed to remain as “sanctuaries?” Explain your position.
  4. Do you think de-funding sanctuary cities will ultimately help or hurt local communities?
  5. Is de-funding sanctuary cities the best solution? Are there other alternatives that might satisfy both sides?

Issue 2: Regulations

  1. If the REINS Act is made into a law, how might that affect the safety of the citizens in places like Flint, Michigan, where the water is unsafe to drink?
  2. What guidelines or values should the government go by when creating regulations?
  3. If businesses were left alone by the government, do you think they would put the interests of American citizens first? Why or why not?
  4. List some examples of regulations that affect you personally (e.g., food safety, clean air and water). Are they necessary or do they go too far?
  5. What are the consequences of creating too many regulations? Of NOT creating such regulations?