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The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time

By James Baldwin

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Tag: Government

Vermont Weighs Constitutional Amendment to Ban Corporate Personhood

On the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, Vermont politicians are moving to deny corporations the rights that humans enjoy.

Posted on Jan 25, 2011 READ MORE


Meat-Cleaver Budgeting

Republicans who feign attacks of the vapors and fainting spells over the big, scary deficit would be more convincing if they didn’t begin with the insane premise that defense spending should be sacrosanct.

Posted on Jan 24, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Charles Dharapak

Without Obama, We Lose So Much More Than an Election

The selfish negativity expressed by Republicans in the House health care debate last week showed why we should fight hard for President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.

Posted on Jan 24, 2011 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

How Obama Can Define Moderation

President Obama faces a choice in this week’s State of the Union message: Does he spend the next two years consolidating the gains he has made, or does he go into retreat?

Posted on Jan 24, 2011 READ MORE


Discretion Advised

Discretionary spending, the part of the federal budget that is not on autopilot and is subject to annual appropriations, generally constitutes less than 40 percent of federal spending. Take out defense spending and that share drops to well under 20 percent.

Posted on Jan 23, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Ramon Espinosa

A Tale of Two Dictators

There’s a certain irony in the fact that as one bloody, corrupt dictator headed off to ignominious exile, thousands of miles away another returned.

Posted on Jan 21, 2011 READ MORE


Is America Too Corrupt to Keep Up?

As “Buy China” policies now economically supercharge the world’s most populous nation, the White House and congressional Republicans have opposed many of the very “Buy America” proposals that might help us keep up—and that obstruction has come at a steep price.

Posted on Jan 21, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / John Lewis (CC-BY)

Obama’s New Chief of Staff Makes $8.3 Million From Wall Street Gig

In preparation for his new White House job, William Daley sold $8.3 million of JPMorgan Chase stock. Thanks to government regulations, Daley can postpone paying the capital gains on that haul until he leaves public life, which, given how fast the door between Obama’s White House and Wall Street spins, shouldn’t be too long.

Posted on Jan 20, 2011 READ MORE


Fudging the Facts on Health Care and Deficits

Data sets and out-year projections may make everybody’s eyes glaze over, but without accurate information, the end result of legislation is disaster.

Posted on Jan 20, 2011 READ MORE



Official White House portrait of John F. Kennedy

What It Was Like to Be John F. Kennedy

Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States. He gave a stirring inaugural address and then took over a job for which he was unprepared. No one is ever prepared.

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 READ MORE


Tucson, Juarez and an Assault Weapons Ban

The Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol that Jared Loughner is accused of using in his rampage in Tucson, Ariz., is, according to Glock’s website, “ideal for versatile use through reduced dimensions” and is “suitable for concealed carry.”

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 READ MORE


The Lives of Dictators

Dictators do not usually die in bed. Successful retirement is always a problem for them, and few solve it.

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Thibault Camus

Tunisian Revolution Shakes, Inspires Middle East

Every state and movement in the Middle East is reading into the events in Tunisia its own anxieties and aspirations.

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 READ MORE


Palin’s Egocentric Umbrage

In the spirit of civil discourse, I’d like to humbly suggest that Sarah Palin please consider being quiet for a while. Perhaps a great while.

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / john amato (CC-BY)

Half of Younger Americans Have Pre-Existing Conditions

A new study by the Department of Health and Human Services has found that 129 million Americans under the age of 65—roughly half of that demographic—have medical conditions that could keep them from getting insurance, reports say.

Posted on Jan 18, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Cliff Owen

The Cuts Are Coming

Republicans have their biggest statehouse majority in more than 80 years, and they’re taking orders from a man who wants to take government and “drown it in the bathtub.”

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Christophe Ena

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Democracy?

American officials were for Tunisia’s ousted despot before they were against him. Across the Middle East and Central Asia it’s the same: U.S. allies are invariably corrupt dictators, maintained in power by lavish patronage and the military.

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Fareed Khan

WikiLeaks Exposes the Danger of Pakistan’s Nukes

There are few scenarios more frightening for America than a domestic nuclear terrorist attack. We now know that U.S. policy is actually increasing the danger of a nuclear incident.

Posted on Jan 13, 2011 READ MORE


How Violent Talk Blocks Sane Gun Laws

The descriptions of President Obama as a “tyrant,” the intimations that he is “alien” and the suggestions that his presidency is illegitimate are essential to the core rationale for resisting any restrictions on firearms.

Posted on Jan 13, 2011 READ MORE



twitter.com / wikileaks

Twitter Fights the Man

When the Justice Department hit Twitter with a court order demanding the private data of certain users associated with WikiLeaks, the G-men might have expected that the social networking site would wilt like the half-dozen easily bullied companies that have cut off the whistle-blower, but Twitter, in the words of Wired’s Ryan Singel, “beta-tested a spine.” (more)

Posted on Jan 12, 2011 READ MORE


How Many Bullets Do You Need?

“High Capacity Magazines ... When ten rounds isn’t enough,” the Internet site offers. When, exactly, would that be? Enough for what?

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 READ MORE


China’s Growing Military Might and American Rashness

The U.S. can pursue one of two courses in East Asia: Either negotiate an understanding with regional powers and redeploy American troops, or continue the dangerous drift that provokes China’s insecurities.

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / M Glasgow (CC-BY)

Gun Crazy

We may not be sure that the bloodbath in Tucson had anything to do with politics, but we know it had everything to do with our nation’s insane refusal to impose reasonable controls on guns.

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / Mad Mike 3000

Internet Lies Meet the Armed and Unhinged

There are limits to the virtues of free expression in a nation where semiautomatic pistols can be obtained by near-lunatics, including those who believe that their mission is to save the United States or mankind from the forces of darkness.

Posted on Jan 10, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Petros Giannakouris

Even Lost Wars Make Corporations Rich

All polite appeals to the formal systems of power will not end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must physically obstruct the war machine or accept a role as its accomplice.

Posted on Jan 10, 2011 READ MORE


Washington Loves a Paradox

In a Washington circus that features as many morons as oxymorons, we have self-described deficit hawks who promote tax cuts, alleged war opponents who back war escalations and supposed anti-government conservatives who press to expand the National Security State.

Posted on Jan 7, 2011 READ MORE


The House of Professors

Alas for all of us and for American conservatism in particular, the new Republican majority that took control of the House on Wednesday is embarked on an experiment in government by abstractions.

Posted on Jan 6, 2011 READ MORE


Economic Suicide

Is it a case of murder, or has the Western economy deliberately, if unwittingly, attempted suicide and nearly succeeded?

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller

We Really Do Spend More Than $1 Trillion on War

The Pentagon’s budget is only about half of what the U.S. spends on war and defense. If you add costs like nuclear weapons and the medical care of wounded soldiers, the figure tops $1 trillion. Robert Higgs has the math to prove it.

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 READ MORE


Darrell Issa, Step Away From the Corporations

When it comes to food safety, as with airline safety, mine safety, pick an industry: Regulations save lives.

Posted on Jan 4, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Gerald Herbert

Wrong Again, Sen. Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham has been wrong about almost everything in the Middle East for a decade and a half, so his harebrained proposal to build permanent bases in Afghanistan is hardly surprising.

Posted on Jan 4, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / Marc Nozell (CC-BY)

When Conservatives Celebrate Terrorists

What to make of conservatives Rudy Giuliani, Michael Mukasey, Tom Ridge and Fran Townsend celebrating the officially designated terrorist organization Mujaheddin-e Khalq? Glenn Greenwald has some ideas.

Posted on Jan 3, 2011 READ MORE


Celebrating the New GOP Majority

Welcome to the Republicans who take over the House of Representatives this week. Since it is a new year, let us be optimistic about what this development means for our nation.

Posted on Jan 3, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Guillermo Arias

New Year’s Call for a Border Reboot

In light of a recent murder, and considering that we are about to ring in a new year, I think the time has come to reframe the border discussion.

Posted on Dec 31, 2010 READ MORE


A Snow-Filled Glimpse of America’s Future

“Welcome to the New Normal.” Those words should be displayed at New York’s airports as a welcome to bedraggled travelers during the Northeast’s latest “snowpocalypse.”

Posted on Dec 31, 2010 READ MORE


Will Liberals Learn From Adversity?

Was 2010 American liberalism’s Waterloo? If there is one thing the Obama White House most underestimates, it is the dispirited mood of its troops.

Posted on Dec 30, 2010 READ MORE



USMC / Cpl. Brandon Rodriguez

A Far From Happy New Year

The paradox that is seldom discussed in politics or the press is that the United States, with total military resources equal to those of all the rest of the world combined, wages wars that consistently turn out badly, leaving American enemies in power.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 READ MORE


A Reality Check for the GOP

It’s been not quite two months’ time since Republicans won a sweeping midterm victory, and already they seem divided, embattled and—not to mince words—freaked out. For good reason, I might add.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 READ MORE


The Game-Changer List

This year was a game-changer, and what we need is a game-changer list. On that kind of list, I would drop one-off sensations, beginning with the oil spill, the Haitian earthquake and the mine rescue. No. 1 would be WikiLeaks.

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Ludovic Bertron (CC-BY)

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” It turns out they were both right.

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 READ MORE


Faces of Economic Death

If you’ve turned on the tube these last few weeks, you’ve probably been a collateral casualty of the biggest televisual war of attrition in recent memory.

Posted on Dec 24, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Fradioon Pooya

Speaking Ill of ‘the Best and the Brightest’

One of “the best and the brightest” died last week, and in Richard Holbrooke we had a perfect example of the dark mischief to which David Halberstam referred when he authored that ironic label.

Posted on Dec 22, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Alex Brandon

‘Don’t Ask’: Not Quite Fa La La Just Yet

It would appear that all us gay folks should don our gay apparel and go caroling from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to the Capitol, thanking our elected representatives for finally giving us the right to kill and be killed without simultaneously hiding in the closet.

Posted on Dec 22, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

The B-Plus President

I doubt that President Obama is about to sit down at the end of this year and tell Oprah Winfrey that he is giving himself a B-plus as he did just a year ago.

Posted on Dec 21, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Sebastian Scheiner

Obama’s 2010 Successes and Failures in the Middle East

As the decade draws to a close, it is clear that the bright hopes inspired by Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech have markedly faded, and the disappointments have outweighed achievements in the most important arena for contemporary American foreign policy.

Posted on Dec 21, 2010 READ MORE


Good Business, for CEOs and Commoners Alike

Our government already favors certain industries—finance and defense, among them. President Obama should identify the parts of the private sector that share an interest in reducing the dreadful inequalities that have metastasized over nearly four decades.

Posted on Dec 19, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Cpl. Artur Shvartsberg

Round and Round in Afghanistan

The good news is that President Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan is “on track.” The bad news is that the track runs in a circle.

Posted on Dec 16, 2010 READ MORE


So Far Health Care Rulings Are Disturbingly Predictable

I’m hoping for the moment when a federal judge picked by a Democratic president strikes down the health care law. Or when a Republican-appointed judge upholds it.

Posted on Dec 16, 2010 READ MORE



U.S. Coast Guard / Petty Officer 2nd Class John Miller

U.S. Sues BP, Transocean for Damages ‘Without Limitation’

Attorney General Eric Holder says the government is going after nine companies involved with the Deepwater Horizon spill “for government removal costs, economic losses and environmental damages without limitation.” ... (more)

Posted on Dec 15, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Greg Baker

Democracy: Made in China

China is experimenting with representative democracy. Cynics say “don’t hold your breath,” but they fail to consider a new generation of Chinese citizens and leaders who are developing different sensibilities than their forebears.

Posted on Dec 15, 2010 READ MORE


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