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Tag: Government

book cover

Robert Christgau on America’s Secret Fundamentalists

Just how dangerous are evangelical zealots? A new book by Jeff Sharlet takes a close and disturbing look at the group known as The Family and its disturbing and apparently widespread influence on mainstream political culture.

Posted on Sep 5, 2008 READ MORE


Making Goliath Walk

In the imminent confrontation over the Employee Free Choice Act, an almost embarrassingly modest proposal, corporations are actually billing themselves as the underdog—the poor, overmatched peasant David against the Philistine monster Goliath.

Posted on Sep 4, 2008 READ MORE


A Private Matter—for Everyone

Here is what we have gotten with John McCain’s vice presidential selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, picked in part for her extreme anti-abortion credentials: an exquisite endorsement of the pro-choice argument.

Posted on Sep 3, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Jonathan Shapiro on the Hamdan Case

In Jonathan Mahler’s new book, George W. Bush emerges as the most lawless president in American history, the first to usurp the law as a matter of policy.

Posted on Aug 29, 2008 READ MORE


Universal Health Care Makes More Sense Than Ever

It is worth pausing during these orchestrated partisan celebrations to look afresh at entitlements. There is no more recent evidence of their enduring value than the latest report from the Census Bureau on the number of Americans who are doing without health insurance.

Posted on Aug 27, 2008 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / Ansgar Walk

Interior Dept.: Talk to the Hand

Not only is George W. Bush’s secretary of the interior trying to rewrite endangered species protections, he also appears to be tuning out public input, which is required by law. Scientists and activists from more than 100 environmental groups have signed a petition demanding a longer, more democratic hearing before environmental protection goes the way of the icecaps.

Posted on Aug 22, 2008 READ MORE


McCain’s Lobby Posse

Congressional Quarterly investigates John McCain’s curious decision to pollute his maverick image by hiring a bunch of lobbyists to run his campaign. The list includes “campaign manager Rick Davis, senior adviser Charlie Black, deputy campaign manager Christian Ferry, congressional liaison John Green, senior policy adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer” and neocon chicken hawk Randy Scheunemann.

Posted on Aug 15, 2008 READ MORE


book covers

Warren I. Cohen on China’s Charm Offensive

The Beijing Olympics are proof that the rule of China’s Communist Party has been validated. Yet human rights abuses continue. What’s really going on? What kind of country is China becoming? Two new books help provide answers.

Posted on Aug 15, 2008 READ MORE



NASA

The Endangered Species Act Is Endangered

The agencies responsible for the welfare of endangered species are proposing rule changes that would cut through all the red tape keeping animals such as the bald eagle alive. True to the administration’s tradition of considering the fox before the hen house, officials hope the changes will assist frustrated developers.

Posted on Aug 12, 2008 READ MORE


China’s Sins in the Spotlight

World attention, in addition to fixing on the spectacle of the Olympics and the Chinese economic miracle, will be cast on a record of human rights abuse and environmental degradation.

Posted on Aug 7, 2008 READ MORE


China’s Quest for Olympic Glory

The Chinese authorities’ anxiety that the Olympic Games will be a success reflects their need to find international confirmation of their general political and economic policies of the past 20 years.

Posted on Aug 6, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

A War of Self-Destruction

An attack on Iran, which Israeli and Bush administration officials appear set to carry out if Iranian uranium enrichment is not halted, would ignite a regional war in the Middle East and lead to economic collapse and political upheaval in the United States.

Posted on Aug 4, 2008 READ MORE



EPA Tells Agency’s Enforcers to Zip It

According to an internal e-mail obtained by the AP, the chief of staff of the EPA’s enforcement wing has issued a gag order, telling staffers in June exactly what to do should a reporter, the inspector general or the Government Accountability Office call: “Please do not respond to questions or make any statements.”

Posted on Jul 29, 2008 READ MORE


A Parting Gift to the Religious Right

From the people who brought you the Terri Schiavo spectacle, the stem-cell research stalemate and the atrocious waste of tax money on abstinence-only sex education that has been shown not to work, comes a sequel: a proposal to redefine abortion to include some of the most common forms of birth control.

Posted on Jul 28, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / EyePress

China Under Fire for Olympic Crackdowns

When Beijing was chosen to host the Olympics, the Chinese government pledged to make human rights improvements, but Amnesty International says the situation has actually gotten worse because of the coming games: “Specifically we’ve seen crackdowns on domestic human rights activists, media censorship and increased use of re-education through labor as a means to clean up Beijing and surrounding areas.”

Posted on Jul 28, 2008 READ MORE


George W. Bush
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

From Surplus to a Record Deficit

George W. Bush rode into office with a budget surplus, courtesy of his predecessor. When he leaves in January, he will not return the favor. The White House estimated the budget deficit for next year at a record $482 billion—and that doesn’t include the full cost of two wars, the potential bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the full stimulus package or the loss of tax revenue from an economy in the toilet.

Posted on Jul 28, 2008 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
news.bbc.co.uk

U.K. Cracking Down on Net Piracy

The British government is planning to “significantly reduce” the country’s online file-sharing of copyrighted content, by at least 50 percent, in the next three years through a sequence of warning letters, Internet account suspensions and ultimate expulsion from Internet access.

Posted on Jul 25, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Nikki Keddie on Iran

In “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies,” Barbara Slavin, a leading Middle East reporter for USA Today, offers a refreshingly nuanced and revelatory taxonomy of power within theocratic Iran that sheds light on its leaders and their ambitions.

Posted on Jul 25, 2008 READ MORE


Six Little Words

History books teem with six-word phrases, from the comforting (“Nothing to fear but fear itself”) to the inspiring (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”) to the embarrassing (“Read my lips, no new taxes”). But the six words “on the basis of union membership” could be more momentous than any of those.

Posted on Jul 24, 2008 READ MORE


Turn On, Tune In, Change the World

The conventional wisdom on certain subjects is so deeply rooted that no amount of evidence disturbs its hold. That’s how it is with those dreary predictions that young Americans just won’t vote.

Posted on Jul 24, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Super Mega Housing Bill on Bush’s Desk

There’s a lot the president doesn’t like about the new housing bill, just passed by the House, but he’ll hold his nose and sign it. The package includes huge guarantees for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae—the national debt ceiling had to be lifted by about $800 billion, just in case—but also rescue for hundreds of thousands of homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

Posted on Jul 23, 2008 READ MORE


Washington’s Overrated ‘Old Hands’

The strongest argument for Obama is the weak performance of the Republican regime’s vaunted “grown-ups,” including McCain and his advisers. They have gone far in proving that experience can be overrated.

Posted on Jul 23, 2008 READ MORE


Sarkozy’s List of Successes

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy is often dismissed for his flamboyance, but he has quite remarkable accomplishments, including some reforms long sought by the left.

Posted on Jul 23, 2008 READ MORE


Chinese Police
AP photo / Ng Han Guan

China to Allow ‘Protest Lite’

Taking cues from past Olympic protests and the U.S.‘s notoriously ironic “free speech zones,” the Chinese government has declared its openness to dissidents criticizing the state—so long as dissent is contained in one of three areas, does not threaten vague notions of national unity, and is submitted five days beforehand to the local security bureau.

Posted on Jul 23, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Mark Lennihan

Bad Days for Newsrooms—and Democracy

The decline of newspapers is not about the replacement of the antiquated technology of news print with the lightning speed of the Internet. It does not signal an inevitable and salutary change. It is not a form of progress.

Posted on Jul 21, 2008 READ MORE


U.S. Tehran Embassy
wikimedia.org

U.S. to Maybe Consider Thinking About Talking to Iran

Plans for a bastardized version of a U.S. embassy—an “interests section”—are reportedly in motion in Iran as the Bush administration tries to supplement its bellicose rhetoric with what it calls “people-to-people exchanges” between Iranians and U.S. citizens.

Posted on Jul 18, 2008 READ MORE


The Democrats’ Visionary

On the issue of gasoline prices, Republicans think they have a winner in their call for new drilling and Democrats are playing defense. Democrats need—this is a technical term—a lot more oomph. Al Gore wants to help them.

Posted on Jul 17, 2008 READ MORE


‘Kafka Comes to America’

Steven Wax’s new book provides an insider’s view of some of the most hideous practices our country has allowed since the 9/11 attacks. And that’s without giving accounts of torture and abuse of detainees.

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 READ MORE


The House That Gramm Built

Phil Gramm’s dismissal of America’s economic suffering has forced him to the political sidelines, but as one of the congressional architects of Republican economics, the mess he made will haunt Americans no matter who the next president is.

Posted on Jul 14, 2008 READ MORE


Fannie Mae
foreclosurewearhouse.com

The Rise and Fall of Fannie and Freddie

Although certain Washington denizens from both sides of the aisle might have been thrown when the two government-backed mortgage finance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, hit the skids last week, several of their current and former colleagues had long seen the crisis coming.

Posted on Jul 12, 2008 READ MORE


The Death of Reaganomics

The biggest political story of 2008 is getting little coverage. It involves the collapse of assumptions that have dominated our economic debate for three decades.

Posted on Jul 10, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Petros Giannakouris

Disorderly or Not, America Should Withdraw

The endless debate about the U.S. withdrawing its army from Iraq and what will happen to the country once it does tends to ignore much of what we know about how the world works.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE


Colombia: Celebrate the Release, Not the Regime

It is fantastic to see Ingrid Betancourt free, but the celebration of her release should not be confused with celebration of the Colombian government.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE



Executive Office of the President of the United States

Bush’s Christmas in July: Senate Passes FISA

You know a legislative compromise is one-sided when the AP headline announcing its passage reads “Senate Bows to Bush.” Democratic advocates of the new FISA bill, passed by the Senate on Wednesday, are still trying to explain what they got in exchange for rolling back a few civil liberties and burying some of the president’s abuses. When they figure it out, someone, somewhere, will surely be listening.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE


Betancourt Rescue
news.bbc.co.uk

The Real Operation to ‘Rescue’ Ingrid Betancourt

The July 2nd rescue of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and U.S. mercenaries employed by the Northrop Grumman Corp. was heralded as a dramatic victory over the anti-imperial FARC guerrilla forces in Colombia. The real story may be significantly less daring. The mainstream media’s heroic rescue narrative is being contradicted by claims that a $20-million ransom payment was made.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE


Marty Klein

The War on Sex

What do abortion, nude beaches and group sex have in common? According to author and sex therapist Marty Klein, they’re all targets of a coordinated war on sex. “The government,” he says, “has acquired more and more tools to regulate sexual expression over the last thirty years.”

Posted on Jul 7, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Ruth Rosen on ‘The Populist Vision’

Do the socially progressive ideals that jump-started 20th-century reform movements have lessons relevant to the concerns of 21st-century America? A new book makes a strong case that they do.

Posted on Jul 3, 2008 READ MORE


Obama’s Leap of Faith

Barack Obama keeps trying to end the wars over culture and religion, and good for him. The 1960s are so 40 years ago. But Obama’s opponents, as well as some of his friends, won’t let him do it.

Posted on Jul 3, 2008 READ MORE



Patrick Chappatte, NZZ am Sonntag

France Rejects Mugabe

France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, announced on Monday that his country would not recognize the government of Robert Mugabe. Kouchner, who co-founded the human rights organization Doctors Without Borders, dismissed Zimbabwe’s recent election as a “farce.”

Posted on Jun 30, 2008 READ MORE


midwest flood
AP photo / Jeff Roberson

Floods Fall, Anger Rises

After the past weeks’ disastrous floods, many in the rural Midwest are looking to the government not with gratitude but animosity. Folks in towns that requested levees back in 1993 were left, paradoxically, high and dry by the Army Corps of Engineers, which required small communities to pay more than $1 million for flood barriers.

Posted on Jun 27, 2008 READ MORE


Ratner

Obama and McCain’s FISA Flip-Flop

Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights has the goods on the new FISA bill, which offers retroactive immunity to the telecoms and allows the government to spy on Americans without a warrant.

Posted on Jun 26, 2008 READ MORE


Funny Man in an Unfunny World

The world lost one of its great comedians this week with the death at age 71 of George Carlin. Carlin had a career as a stand-up comic that spanned a half-century, in which he continually broke new ground, targeting those in power with his wit and genius.

Posted on Jun 25, 2008 READ MORE


Oil Mania

There’s nothing like the Saudi version of straight talk to put in perspective the tongue-twisting of American politicians.

Posted on Jun 23, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak, file

The Hedonists of Power

Washington has become Versailles. We are ruled, entertained and informed by courtiers.

Posted on Jun 23, 2008 READ MORE


FISA Deal: Compromise or Capitulation?

Democrats and Republicans cut a deal in Congress on Thursday to rewrite controversial surveillance legislation. It’s being billed as a compromise, but civil rights advocates are groaning over concessions including virtual immunity for telecommunications companies and the ability to spy on Americans without a warrant.

Posted on Jun 19, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Brennan Linsley

A Government of Law, Not Fear

John McCain and Barack Obama’s differences over the Supreme Court’s recent Guantanamo decision speak volumes about the two candidates and their competing visions for America.

Posted on Jun 19, 2008 READ MORE



DoD / Sgt. Luis R. Agostini

Iraq Negotiations Hinge on Sovereignty

President Bush is trying to wrap up a new status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi government before the U.N. resolution under which the U.S. operates its occupation runs out. Team Bush has made some concessions to the Maliki government, but there’s one sticking point that threatens an agreement: veto power over military operations.

Posted on Jun 18, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Senators Fume Over Torture Revelations

With statements such as “if the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong” guiding our government’s thinking during the formation and implementation of interrogation techniques, it’s no wonder Carl Levin and others were outraged in the Senate on Tuesday.

Posted on Jun 17, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / maveric2003

China Gives U.S. Some Economic Pointers

The United States has long enjoyed lecturing the communist government of China over the conduct of that nation’s economy. How times have changed. Chinese officials have recently criticized the United States’ “warped conception” of regulation, among other economic blunders.

Posted on Jun 17, 2008 READ MORE


Fiat Chief on the Global Finance Crisis

The Italian-Canadian chief executive of Fiat, the leading Italian industrial enterprise, Sergio Marchionne, speaking about the present economic crisis last weekend, mentioned the well-known argument first made by the Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter about the function of “creative destruction” in modern capitalism.

Posted on Jun 16, 2008 READ MORE


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