Oligarchy is a political system in which power rests with a small number of people. Fear that an entrenched elite would seize power dates all the way back to the very founding of the U.S. system of government. Max Pixel (CC0) "We say no to oligarchy!" Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who again is running for the Democratic nomination for president, proclaimed in a 2019 speech to 16,000 supporters in San Francisco. Sanders, who warns that billionaires are buying elections and exerting too much power over the government, uses the O-word frequently, but he's not the only one. If you read enough articles on the web, you'll see places ranging from Russia, China and Saudi Arabia to Brazil and even Hong Kong described as oligarchies. A 2017 Salon article even warned of the growing power of a global uber-oligarchy comprised of wealthy, super-powerful figures ranging from financiers to rock stars. And the concept isn't just owned by the left, either. President Donald Trump … [Read more...] about What Is an Oligarchy and Has the U.S. Become One?
Former White House Counsel Don McGahn ignored a Congressional subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on May 21, 2019 on Capitol Hill, after President Donald Trump directed hime not to comply with the subpoena. Alex Wong/Getty Images If some local magistrate — or, say, the United States Congress — ever lays a subpoena on you, the best thing to do, probably the easiest thing to do, is just to show up in court — or, say, on Capitol Hill — and save yourself all the headaches. You could ignore the subpoena, of course; it happens, more than you might expect. If you choose that route, though, get ready for a world of legal hurt involving lawyers, lots of wasted time, possible fines and, maybe, some jail time. Neither option is great. That comes with subpoenas. "[Y]ou're legally bound to show up," Anthony Madonna, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia, says. "The problem with that has always been enforcement." What Is a … [Read more...] about Can You Ignore a Subpoena?
Alex Wong/Getty Images Americans are conditioned to believe that the Constitution created a system of checks and balances that preserves their rights and gives all equal standing in the law. But, if you follow politics long enough, there'll be headlines that make you wonder if a U.S. president can really do that thing you just read about. Take our quiz to learn what's within a president's rights. Start Quiz » You scored 0 out of 10 Question 1 of 10 True or false: It is completely legal for U.S. presidents to secretly record White House conversations. true Laws regarding secretly recording conversations (called "one-party consent") vary from state to state. However, the District of Columbia allows the practice, meaning the president can certainly record anything he wants … even if doing so comes back to haunt him. false The law isn't clear on this matter. Question 2 of 10 Since 1979, how many times has a U.S. president called a State of … [Read more...] about Quiz: Can a U.S. President Do That?
Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on Jan. 4, 2019 in Washington, D.C. As of Jan. 12, 2019, the current government shutdown became the longest in U.S. history. Alex Wong/Getty Images So far, there's no end in sight to the current government shutdown that has resulted over President Donald Trump's demand that Congress provide $5.7 billion to build a 234-mile (377-kilometer) portion of his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. And despite his repeated claims that Mexico would pay for the wall, if he doesn't get what he wants, Trump has said that he may try a highly unorthodox move despite legislators' opposition — invoking the National Emergencies Act, a 1976 law that allows a president to take dozens of different actions without Congressional approval in the event of a crisis. "We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely," Trump said at a January 4 press conference, according to The Hill newspaper. "We can do … [Read more...] about Is a Border Wall Really Grounds for a National Emergency?
Trash has accumulated along the National Mall in D.C. because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. The shutdown has continued for more than two weeks as Congress and Trump disagree on funding for a border wall. Win McNamee/Staff/Getty Images No matter how long the current U.S. federal government shutdown lasts — or, in an optimistic view, how quickly it's over — people are going to be affected. They always are. They always have been. They, realistically speaking, always will be, every time the federal government throws a fiscal hissy fit. Some 800,000 U.S. federal workers have been feeling the pinch of Washington politics since the wheels of government ground to a halt Dec. 22, 2018, after Congress failed to pass a federal spending budget. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) workers at the airport, the park rangers in the National Park Service (NPS), the docents in the Smithsonian, the prison guards, some FBI agents, the tax man at the IRS are … [Read more...] about The Ripple Effect of the U.S. Government Shutdown