Login

Insight

Right to vote is reaffirmed

It must come as something of a surprise for many American citizens to learn that U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) are preparing to introduce in Congress a “Right to Vote” amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Does this mean that in contrast to what every American schoolchild believes, and in contrast to most democracies around the world, the U.S. Constitution does not already affirm the right to vote? Why then did the framers devote so much language to voting procedures if there is no right to vote?

The right to vote is reaffirmed

It must come as something of a surprise for many American citizens to learn that U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) are preparing to introduce in Congress a “Right to Vote” amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Does this mean that in contrast to what every American schoolchild believes, and in contrast to most democracies around the world, the U.S. Constitution does not already affirm the right to vote? Why then did the framers devote so much language to voting procedures if there is no right to vote?

Social Security gets a clean bill of health

Two pervasive myths about Social Security, repeated again and again without fact check, are that: (1) Social Security faces eventual bankruptcy, and (2) Social Security somehow contributes to the national budget deficit. Neither allegation is true.

As some know and others don’t, the Social Security Trust Fund is sustained entirely by its own “Payroll Tax,” quite separate from the regular IRS “Income Tax,” and it has nothing to do with the U.S. national budget or the current budget deficit.

Financial transaction tax: Budget debt solution revisited

Thanks to Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Peter DeFazio, the idea of a U.S. federal “financial transaction tax” is being taken up again in the U.S. Congress as the obvious solution to the U.S. budget deficit problem.

The proposal is to impose a small tax on trades in stocks, bonds, derivatives and similar paper. We already pay a state “sales tax” of 6 to 7 percent on a cup of coffee. Why should paper trades be exempt? What might such a financial transaction tax contribute to U.S. revenues? Let’s do some math.

Prosecuting military, and other, practitioners of torture

When President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, he inherited an ongoing U.S. policy and practice of systematic torture of detainees suspected of possible acts of terrorism, or sympathy for terrorist organizations.

The new president was on the horns of a dilemma. As a former law professor, President Obama knew that engagement in torture violates U.S. federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution, as well as the specific provisions of the U.S.-sponsored International Convention Against Torture (1984).

Prosecuting military, and other, practitioners of torture

When President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, he inherited an ongoing U.S. policy and practice of systematic torture of detainees suspected of possible acts of terrorism, or sympathy for terrorist organizations.

The new president was on the horns of a dilemma. As a former law professor, President Obama knew that engagement in torture violates U.S. federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution, as well as the specific provisions of the U.S.-sponsored International Convention Against Torture (1984).

Yet another fiscal crisis

Once again the American people are being drawn into a “national debt crisis” which threatens to shut down the U.S. government and calls into question the ability, faith and credit of the USA to pay its debts.

The congressionally authorized debt ceiling currently stands at $16.4 trillion, which is roughly equal to the existing debt on approved expenditure obligations already incurred. In other words, we’ve already spent the money; now we’ve got to pay for it.

A constitutional issue

Insight

Once again the American people are being drawn into a “national debt crisis” which threatens to shut down the U.S. government and calls into question the ability, faith and credit of the USA to pay its debts.

The congressionally authorized debt ceiling currently stands at $16.4 trillion, which is roughly equal to the existing debt on approved expenditure obligations already incurred. In other words, we’ve already spent the money; now we’ve got to pay for it.

Israeli-Palestinian peace: It’s still attainable

Insight

On Thursday, Nov. 29, the U.N. General Assembly voted 138 to 9 (with 41 abstentions) to extend to Palestine “nonmember observer status” in the United Nations. The bright side of this compromise is that it gives Palestinians a voice, if not a vote, in matters affecting the Middle East, particularly those offering a chance of finally ending this “cousins’ war” between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli-Palestinian peace: It’s still attainable

Insight

On Thursday, Nov. 29, the U.N. General Assembly voted 138 to 9 (with 41 abstentions) to extend to Palestine “nonmember observer status” in the United Nations. The bright side of this compromise is that it gives Palestinians a voice, if not a vote, in matters affecting the Middle East, particularly those offering a chance of finally ending this “cousins’ war” between Israelis and Palestinians.