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The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless. The Stone is featuring occasional posts by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, that apply critical thinking to information and events that have appeared in the news. Americans strongly support democracy both at home and abroad. But we are ambivalent about referendums (often in California, recently in Mississippi and in Greece ), which put major decisions to the people as a whole. We don’t fully trust “the people” to make legislative decisions.
The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless. The Stone is featuring occasional posts by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, that apply critical thinking to information and events that have appeared in the news. The rise of Newt Gingrich, Ph.D.— along with the apparent anti-intellectualism of many of the other Republican candidates — has once again raised the question of the role of intellectuals in American politics. In writing about intellectuals, my temptation is to begin by echoing Marianne Moore on poetry: I, too, dislike them. But that would be a lie: all else equal, I really like intellectuals. Besides, I’m an intellectual myself, and their self-deprecation is one thing I really do dislike about many intellectuals.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph WASHINGTON, DC – In the three years since the global financial crisis erupted, two dominant views of what went wrong have emerged. It is crucial that we understand each, because their implications for policymakers – and thus for the future health and stability of the global economy – could not be greater. Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph The first view is that governments simply lost control of the situation, either through incompetence or because politicians were pursuing their own agendas.
David Koch, above, and his brother Charles, founders of Koch Industries and major backers of the Tea Party, are trying to take control of the libertarian Cato Institute Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images On Friday afternoon, as the Washington offices of the Cato Institute were emptying out for the weekend, the libertarian think tank’s president sent an e-mail to all staff. The subject was the Koch brothers crisis. “Catoites,” wrote Ed Crane, “You are all probably aware by now of the unfortunate development with Charles and David Koch.
We met every afternoon for two weeks in N’Djamena. After the midday prayer, I would pick him up in a taxi at the shop he hoped to turn into a laundry. We ate fish and rice in my hotel room – he would have been recognised outside – and he just talked, beginning at the beginning.
The First Amendment Upside Down. Why We Must Occupy Democracy You’ve been seeing this across the country … Americans assaulted, clubbed, dragged, pepper-sprayed … Why? For exercising their right to free speech and assembly — protesting the increasing concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the top. And what’s Washington’s response? Nothing.
A sked to deny presidential authority to indefinitely detain Americans without charges or a trial, they declined, citing the threat of al-Qaeda . Is it lawful for the president to order any American held indefinitely as a terrorist, without formal charges, evidence presented in open court, a trial by jury, or a standard of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt"? The U.S. Senate had a chance Wednesday to assert that no, a president does not possess that power -- that the United States Constitution guarantees due process.
You might almost think the news was good. The Europeans, so headlines tell us, have at least a “partial solution” to the Euro-zone crisis (until, of course, the next round of panic is upon us); the stock market has sort of rebounded (until the next precipitous plunge); the unemployment rate “dropped sharply” to 8.6% in November, the lowest it’s been in more than two years (thanks in part to the strangest category around -- the 315,000 people who grew too discouraged last month to look for work and so were no longer considered unemployed but out of the labor force); and talk of a double-dip recession seems on holiday . So why pay attention to the modest-sized Associated Press story you were likely to find, if at all, deep inside your newspaper (as on page 21 of last Friday's Washington Post )? It was headlined “Household wealth down in 3rd quarter,” with the telling subhead, “Corporate cash continues to grow, Fed report says.”
Justice Janice Rogers Brown testifies before the Senate Judiciary full committee hearing on the nomination of Janice Brown to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit. Photograph by Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images. A few days ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed down a decision in a little-noticed case involving milk regulations , with a remarkable concurring opinion written by Judge Janice Rogers Brown.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph STANFORD – Successful political candidates try to implement the proposals on which they ran. In the United States, President Barack Obama and the Democrats, controlling the House of Representatives and (a filibuster-proof) Senate, had the power to do virtually anything they wanted in 2009 – and so they did.
[ Note for TomDispatch Readers: A last reminder for those of you in New York City: Jeremy Scahill and I will be onstage Friday, 6-8 pm, at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute discussing our American world (such as it is), his work, and my new book, The United States of Fear . Hope you’ll drop by.
The Hawkeye State is unrepresentative of the nation, caucuses are bizarre, and the system doesn't work. It's time to let someone else start the nominating process. Let's bid farewell to the Iowa caucuses. They've had a long run, but it's time for someone else to launch the presidential campaign process. This state with far more hogs than people has hogged its place at the front of the political line far too long.
When it comes to campaign spending, we know only a fraction of the information we have the ability to know. Today, Jan. 30, 2012, is a uniquely strange day in the history of American democracy. It's the day before Florida's Republican primary, and the gap between the million dollars in outside spending and the possibility of transparency through technology is, quietly, bigger than it has ever been in the history of the republic. "There's really two phenomena here," says Commissioner Ellen Weintraub of the Federal Election Commission, "the creation of the super PACs and the compression of the primary schedule." We'll add a third: the blurring of the line between coordination and independence.
Coverage that focuses purely on emotional conflicts and who's winning impoverishes our democracy and obscures the real, important issues at play. Up went the shirtsleeves. Out came the jabbing index finger. The commander-in-chief meant business. Two years ago, just hours before the House of Representatives narrowly passed a sweeping, historic health-care reform bill -- or, depending on your ideological persuasion, the socialist straw that broke liberty's back, sending America on a one-way slouch to neo-Soviet tyranny -- President Obama stood behind a lectern at George Mason University and made his closing argument: a punchy, ad-libbed plea for change on a matter of literal life and death.
A TV reporter interviews a participant in the Occupy Wall Street protest on Nov. 3, 2011 in New York Photograph by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images. The United States tumbled 27 places in the latest edition of the annual Press Freedom Index , thanks in large part to the rough treatment of journalists covering the Occupy Wall Street protests that took place around the country this past year.