Politics II Flashcards Preview

T.B.'s deck > Politics II > Flashcards

Flashcards in Politics II Deck (30)
Loading flashcards...

What are the 3 branches of US govt?

Legislative (makes laws)
- called "Congress"
- Congress is divided into 2 parts: The Senate (there are 100 Senators - 2 from each state) and The House of Representatives (there are 435 representatives. The number is determined by how populace the state is).
Congress determines whether bills should become laws.

Executive (carries out laws)
- president of the United States administers the executive branch of our govt.
- he enforces the laws that Congress makes.
- below the president is the VP. Below the VP is the Cabinet (nominated by the president and must be approved by the senate).
- the president is elected by US citizens, 18 and older, who vote in the presidential elections. Votes are tallied and form the electoral college. States have the number of electoral votes which equal the number of senators and representatives they have.

Judicial (evaluates laws)
- includes: Supreme Court (9 justices nominated by the president and approved by the senate) and other Federal Courts (in each state)
- they are special judges who interpret laws according to the constitution. They are the highest court in our country.
- also has lower courts located in each state to hear cases involving federal issues.


What was the Western Bloc in the Cold War?

The US and it's NATO allies.


What was the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War?

The Soviets and their WarPac allies.


Why was the Cold War "cold"?

Because there was no large scale direct fighting between the two sides (east and west), only regional, "proxy" wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Afganistan.



Mutually assured destruction

During the Cold War, the US and the soviets armed heavily in preparation for an all-out nuclear war that would assure destruction for both sides.


How was the Cold War fought - instead of conventionally?

Through proxy wars around the globe, propaganda, psychological warfare, espionage, and the space race.


Rogue state

A term used in politics (frequently by Americans) to describe a country they consider threatening to world peace. (First used by Reagan)

The term was more or less banished from use in 2000.

To be classified as rogue a country must do 4 things:

- pursue weapons of mass destruction
- sponsor terrorism
- severely abuse it's own citizens
- stridently criticize the US

Countries considered rogue: Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan


Axis of Evil

A term used by George W. Bush to describe Iraq, Iran, and North Korea after 9/11.

Similar in ideological terms to "rogue states".


Pariah states

A term applied to countries like Burma (Myanmar) and Zimbabwe, who abuse the human rights of their populations while not (unlike rogue states) being a tangible threat beyond their own borders.


Iran/Contra affair

In 1985, Ronald Reagan authorized the sale of military weapons to moderate Iranians (even though Iran was the subject of an arms embargo) in exchange for the release of US hostages, who were being held in Lebanon.

The weapons were actually sold by Israel, who were then reimbursed by the US.

The Admiral in charge resigned after the second shipment and Oliver North replaced him.

North suggested they cut out the Israelis and sell to Iran directly and that they mark up the price, then divert some of the proceeds to fund Contra militants in Honduras who were fighting a guerilla war against the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).

Direct funding of the Contras was made illegal through the Boland Amendment, but North's plan was ok'd without Reagan's approval.

North and his secretary Fawn Hall both were busted for shredding important documents as the deal attempted to circumvent the Iran arms embargo and the Boland Amendment.


What lead to the Iran/Contra affair?

In Nicaragua, a US-installed dynasty of military dictators (the Samozas) ruled from the 20's until '79. They siphoned off much of the country's wealth.

In the 60's, a group called the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) started growing in opposition to Samoza rule.

The FSLN took power in '79. Carter agreed to give FSLN aid as long as they weren't supporting other rebel groups. The US discovered the FSLN was sending arms to El Salvador and withdrew its aid.

A group of anti-FSLN guerrillas in Honduras called contras formed, backed by aid and arms from Reagan. The contras were horribly brutal: they destroyed schools and hospitals and were known to rape, torture and kill.

The FSLN won the Nicaraguan general election in '84 but Reagan claimed it was rigged because the right-wing candidate didn't run.

Despite the Boland amendment (which made giving aid to the contras illegal) Reagan continued to covertly do so, even selling arms to Iran through Israel and funneling the proceeds to contra aid.



A joint federal and state program that helps low-income individuals or families with health care and custodial care costs, provided they qualify.

Although largely funded by the federal govt, Medicaid is run by the state where coverage may vary.

Medicaid is not always accepted at facilities. Not everyone qualifies for it.


Custodial care

Non-medical care where a person who needs help with daily living is helped with their medication or special diet, etc.


Where does the US govt get all the money it spends?

From taxpayers. The govt does not have its own money.

Govt receipts come from:
- individual income taxes
- corporate income taxes
- estate & gift taxes
- social insurance taxes
- excise taxes


Progressive tax

Taxation scheme that is a method of income redistribution.

The US has a progressive tax.

Progressive tax takes a larger percentage from high income earners than it does from low income earners.

People who earn 8k a year are taxed10%, while people who earn 300k were taxed 35%.

People who earn more money pay higher taxes. The taxes are then used to fund social welfare programs that are used by people who earn less.

Critics say a flat tax would be better.


Flat tax

A system that applies the same tax rate to every taxpayer regardless of income bracket.

Supporters propose it would give taxpayers incentive to earn more because they wouldn't be penalized w/a higher tax bracket.


Income tax

A tax that govts impose on financial income generated by people.

By law, people must file an income tax return every year, to determine whether they owe taxes or are eligible for a tax refund.

It is a key source of funds the govt uses to fund its activities and serve the public.


Corporate tax

Tax placed on the profit of a firm. Applied to a company's operating expenses.

Levied by all forms of govt - state & country.


Estate tax

A tax imposed on assets left to heirs.


Gift tax

Federal tax applied to a person who gives a valuable gift (more than 14k) to another.

Levied on the giver.


Excise tax

A penalty tax applied to ineligible transactions in retirement accounts.


Shadow economy

Economic activities unreported to tax authorities.

This is "tax evasion".

Although it may involve activities that are themselves legal, the failure to report the financial gains from those activities is illegal.


What countries have the largest shadow economies?

Over 60% of their country's economic activities were not reported to the govt last year:



Which countries have the most debt?

What countries have the largest debt? (200-220% of their GDP:
- Japan

- Greece
- Liberia
- Italy
- Iraq
- Macedonia

- Brazil
- us
- Canada
- Germany
- France
- India
- Egypt

- Mexico
- Argentina
- Pakistan

Saudi Arabia


What did Andre Malraux say about Marxism?

He said Marxism is less a doctrine than a will. A will to feel proletariat.

In other words, it's a way for college students to play house and pretend that they're living in Peru.



Lower class.
Working class


How many blacks are killed each year from black on black violence?



What are the main causes of the astronomical murder rate among blacks?

Out-of-wedlock teen births, dropping out of high school, drugs, gangs, and the dismantling of the traditional family structure.


What are deflections from the truth used by black lives matter to point the finger of blame?

Minimum wage, ills of the past, and wage gaps.

Black lives matter is about holding whites to a higher standard than young black men hold to each other.

If black lives matter, stop killing each other.


Checks and balances

Limits imposed on all branches of a govt by vesting in each branch the right to void or amend those acts of another that fall within its control.