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Executive privilege versus the power of Congress

President Donald J. Trump claims unlimited executive privilege: (a) to refuse any request to appear before Congress; (b) to refuse to turn over any requested documents, including his own tax returns; and (c) to forbid others to do so. 

The enigmatic story of the historically disputed Golan Heights

Part 2 of 2

Our informal World Health Organization (WHO) humanitarian plan for the Golan Heights, introduced in Part 1 of this series of columns, mapped out areas for local enterprise including wine-growing, fresh water supplies, ski trails, protected wilderness, hotels and eco-friendly tourism, especially activities such as bird-watching and ornithological research, all under demilitarized international control. These ideas were worth pursuing no matter who ultimately owned or ruled the Golan Heights.

The enigmatic story of the historically disputed Golan Heights

Part 1 of 2

President Donald Trump woke up one morning recently and declared that he had in effect “decided to give the Golan Heights to Israel.” In doing so, he reversed long-standing U.S. foreign policy and violated United Nations resolutions on the subject. Of course, the Golan has gas and oil reserves, as well as a near endless supply of fresh water, but there’s more to it than that, namely the matter of national security for all nations concerned.

The war on democracy in America: The radical right seeks victory by deception

Part 3 of 4

Given the obvious contradiction between right-wing ideology and the real needs of most Americans, the radical right devised ways of deceiving ordinary citizens, using populist language to assure them that conservative reformers were selflessly saving these social programs for the peoples’ future benefit, while in reality they were whittling them away, slice by slice,  toward complete  extinction. 

The war on democracy in America: What the radical right extremists really believe

How do we know what the Kochs and the radical right really think and believe? Rather than try to summarize or paraphrase their thoughts and beliefs, I prefer to let them speak for themselves in their own words. For the following quotations, I am indebted to Nancy MacLean  and her excellent new book, “Democracy in Chains,” published by Viking/Penguin Random House in 2017.

The war on democracy in America

Part 1 of 4

When President Woodrow Wilson famously said we must “Make the World Safe for Democracy,” most Americans assumed that he meant the threat to democracy would come from outside the USA, from foreign sources, not from within our own country. Today, however, the danger comes from a home-grown, well-heeled, and surprisingly well-organized network of radical-right ideologues and self-interested “oligarchs.” 

The irresponsibility of the tabloid press: Free speech, falsehood and defamation

Part 2 of 2

Recently, going through the Stop & Shop grocery check-out line, I picked up two issues of the Globe weekly magazine, published by American Media Inc., formerly owned by Rupert Murdoch.  The tabloid seemed to have two deliberate intentions:  (1) to defame the Royal family of Britain, and (2) to defame liberal Democrats in the USA. 

Responsibility of the electronic media: Free speech, falsehood and defamation

Part 1 of 2

In April 2018, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made a commendable appearance before the U.S. Congress testifying about the role and intentions of Facebook in the light of the hacking and misuse of cyber communications technologies and social media to skew the 2016 U.S. elections and undermine the democratic process in America.  Facebook had been raided for personal information on more than 87 million unsuspecting users.

The Russian connection and U.S. law

There is much confusion in the mainstream media and on talk shows between the political concept of “impeachable offense” and the legal definition of “criminal offense” in U.S. jurisprudence. How do these two terms apply to the “Russia connection,” if at all? Also, to add to the confusion, a sitting president can be turned out of active office for “inability” to carry out the duties of the office, although technically that “inability” is not impeachable and is not itself a crime.