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Insight

The powers and vulnerabilities of the U.S. president

Let’s be clear about the constitutional powers, immunities and vulnerabilities of the U.S. president. Questions: Can the president fire anyone in the executive branch at any time and for any reason he may choose? Can a president be sued or indicted while in office? Can a president obstruct justice with impunity? Or conspire with a foreign enemy? Can a president pardon anyone for anything ­— including himself?

‘Little people’ will pay for Trump tax plan

Multimillionaire businesswoman Leona Helmsley was famously quoted as saying: “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.”

A number of recent research studies on tax patterns in the U.S. suggest that Ms. Helmsley was all too right. Also, as presidential candidate Donald Trump explained: “If I don’t pay taxes, it’s because I’m smart.”

Gun safety legislation: It’s now or never

On Sunday night, Oct. 1, 2017, American citizens faced once again another horrific mass shooting, this time at a musical event in Las Vegas, and the worst in U.S. history.

While the great majority of American citizens reacted in shock and pleaded for new thinking and action to control gun violence, reactionary forces in Congress and in the White House proclaimed it “too early” and “too political” to start discussing gun control policy at this time of tragedy. 

How to pay for your monumental tower

Suppose, hypothetically, you decided to build a monument to yourself, such as a multi-story steel and glass tower in the middle of Manhattan, costing a few hundred million dollars. How would you pay for it?

Well, if you happened to have the cash lying around, that would be a solution, but would it be the “smartest” solution? 

Harvesting vs. use of aquatic herbicides for weed control in Connecticut lakes

According to sources in the Hartford Courant and Republican-American newspapers, a number of Connecticut towns, including Winsted and Winchester, have turned to increased use of aquatic herbicides to control milfoil and other nuisance waterweeds in Connecticut ponds, lakes and even reservoirs for public water supply.

Truth, democracy in the age of Trump

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has brought to the fore a national debate on the relationship between truth and democracy in American politics. 

It would seem obvious, almost beyond debate, that Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people and for the people” requires a reasonably educated citizenry,  informed of actual facts. These may include basic, truthful facts about democratic government, current events, history, science, economic and social reality, law and politics. 

Impeachment and criminal prosecution

Part 2 of 2

Secret meetings and back-channeling of secret, encrypted communications, designed to be hidden from our own U.S. national security and intelligence services, would hardly make the President’s situation any better. If treason is proven to be the case, then the solution is clear: “Lock him up.”

Impeachment and criminal prosecution

Part 1 of 2

 

With all the smoke, fire and mirrors surrounding alleged connections and secret communications between the Trump administration and Russia, it may be useful to summarize the rules, similarities and differences between impeachment of a U.S. president and criminal prosecution while in office.

It is well known that a serving U.S. president can be removed from office only by “impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” (U.S. Constitution, Article II).

Freedom of Assembly and Speech in the Age of Trump: A learnable lesson for 2017?

Part 2 of 2

 

The following is a relevant, personal, cautionary tale from that time of McCarthyism and the Red Scare. In the 1950s, I got to know Princeton Professor J. Robert Oppenheimer (of Manhattan Project fame). A statistical wizard, he was quite a baseball fan and came to many a university game. Out of the blue one day, he asked me, “Would you please teach my 12-year-old daughter, Toni, how to play baseball?” 

Controlling CT weeds and invasive plants

Currently, there is a serious debate in the Connecticut Legislature over the question of regulating the use of glyphosate-containing herbicides, such as Glypro and Roundup, to control invasive plants and weeds, particularly along state highways and water courses. Both sides of the argument must be listened to carefully to come to a reasonably worded solution that will protect both human health and the environment.