The American Prospect

A monthly political journal of liberal though. Contains articles that generate debate, further ideas, and set agendas; and provides a forum for working through the controversies and hard choices facing all Americans. Includes regular topics and features.

Articles from Vol. 14, No. 8, September

An Ounce of Detention: Bush and Ashcroft's Troubling "Paradigm" Is Anything but a Cure for Terrorism
IN STEVEN SPIELBERG'S MINORITY REPORT, SET IN THE not-all-that-distant future, police in Washington, D.C., have hit upon a way--through the enslavement of psychic visionaries to predict and prevent future crimes. Would-be criminals are apprehended...
Bush's Secret Government: Using Fear and National Security to Hide Information from the Public
Washington has seen its share of odd sights in the last few years but few as bizarre as the one we witnessed late last month after the release of the report on the causes and consequences of the September 11 terrorist attacks. There in front of the...
Class and Warfare: Democrats and the Rhetoric of Patriotism
NO MATTER HOW EVENTS DEVELOP IN THE COMING MONTHS, either in Iraq or in American politics, Democrats who disagree with policies of the Bush administration will still have to confront a fundamental challenge: finding a way to talk foreign affairs with...
Framing the Dems; How Conservatives Control Political Debate and How Progressives Can Take It Back
ON THE DAY THAT GEORGE W. BUSH TOOK OFFICE, THE words "tax relief" started appearing in White House communiques. Think for a minute about the word relief. In order for there to be relief, there has to be a blameless, afflicted person with whom we identify...
From's Last Stand
AL FROM IS QUIVERING with rage. It's the end of a long day in late July at the Wyndham Philadelphia, and with a sheen of sweat coating his face, he gleams with emotion as he launches into the closing speech of the day at the DLC's annual conference....
Immaterial and Unsupportable: Ashcroft and Co. Are Going after Supposed Supporters of Terrorism with a Blunt and Unjust Instrument
ON MAY 19, IN ONE OF THE FIRST ANTI-TERRORISM CASES brought against U.S. citizens since September 11, Mukhtar al-Bakri, a 23-year-old Yemeni American from Lackawanna, N.Y., pleaded guilty to the charge of providing "material support" to al-Qaeda. Prior...
Language and Leadership
Ever since George W. Bush took office, we have marveled at his ability to speak as a moderate, govern as a radical, and not be held accountable by the press or the voters. Democrats, meanwhile, have struggled to find their voice. In this issue of the...
Let Them Eat Words: Linguistic Lessons from Republican Master Strategist Frank Luntz
I'M ONE OF MANY DEMOCRATS WHO WATCH 1N FRUSTRAtion (mixed with a touch of awe) as Republicans win with words, even as the labels they devise for their policies distort or belie the facts. Take the repeal of the estate tax. An "estate" sounds like a...
Lonely in Iraq
HOW MANY LIVES OF American soldiers is the administration willing to sacrifice on the altar of its unilateralism? Maybe a soldier a day is a politically acceptable rate for George W. Bush. It's not quite high enough to rise to the level of a political...
Mothers Most Vulnerable
For some time I've tried to convince anyone who will listen that mothers--including those who are educated and middle class--are the most financially vulnerable people in the United States. Mothers of all races and income levels are less secure economically...
Nuclear Wal-Mart? Bush's Foreign-Policy Disaster in North Korea
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAILED as a victory North Korea's announcement in late July that it would participate in six-party talks on its nuclear program. The White House had insisted for months that Pyongyang's illicit activities were a regional issue...
Obscene Phone Call
I got a call from MC I the other night. It came just as I was finishing up a paper attacking a multibillion-dollar tax loophole that MCI is trying to create for itself. Having already been surprised at being contacted by AT&T and Verizon on the...
Organize or Die: Three Progressive Union Presidents-With Some Surprising Allies-Are out to Transform American Labor
IT WAS ONE OF THOSE AWKWARD MEETINGS THAT NOBODY looked forward to, and it produced an outcome nobody really liked. On Tuesday, Aug. 5, the executive council of the AFL-CIO turned its attention to the vexing question of what to do with the Carpenters....
Overpaying the Pentagon: How We Can Meet Our Security Needs for Less Than $500 Billion
WHEN GEORGE BUSH SENIOR'S ADMINistration decided that the end of the Cold War made it safe to reduce the defense budget and the size of our armed forces, many neoconservatives and defense hawks, some of whom were serving in that administration, argued...
Recall at Your Peril
OF ALL THE FORMS OF Social chaos for which California is justly famed--riots, murders, gang wars--the state's most distinctive upheavals are those that bubble up from the white middle class on election day. They've included everything from term limits...
Remember the Maine: A Small State Casts Fear in the Heart of Big Pharma
AUGUSTA, MAINE--IN LATIN, THE word dirigo, Maine's state motto, means "I lead" or "I direct." On a sleepy summer Wednesday at the Maine State House, with the legislature out of session, this slogan at first seems out of place. Scattered visitors waltz...
Shilling for Saudis
AMID THE CONTROVERSY over George W. Bush's 16 deceitful words in his State of the Union address, the larger issue--of how almost everything the administration had said about the threat that prewar Iraq posed to the United States was false--has largely...
Signs of a Pulse: The Press Is Starting to Take on Bush-Finally
I NOTED IN THE JUNE PROSPECT THAT while the bombs were bursting over Iraq, America's TV networks were so excited about embedding with troops that they declined to subject the war's rationale to serious scrutiny. How could hype, hysteria, wishful distortion...
Strange Bedfellows: Conservative Civil Libertarians Join the Fight
Early in the afternoon of July 25, Laura W. Murphy, the director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, was waiting for a friend at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport. They were due to head off for a quick...
Strategic Disinformation
In February 2002, The New York Times revealed that the Pentagon was launching a new Office of Strategic Influence to "provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations." The story cause an outcry, and the Pentagon announced...
Talking American: The Crucial First Step in Taking Back the White House
NOW THAT DEMOCRATS DESPERATELY WANT A PRESIDENtial candidate who speaks passionately, speaks to the point, and speaks like a normal person and not a politician, one contender answers their prayers. Too bad his target is his own party. Former...
The King and Thai: A Contested History Gets the Royal Treatment
WHEN TALKING HISTORY, THAIS CAN only restrain themselves for so long be fore they trot out a much-cherished fact: Their homeland is the sole country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized. And so it is no surprise that more nationalistic citizens...
The Liberal Label: The Substance Is Alive and Well, but the Brand Is in Trouble
"The masquerade is over; it's time to ... use the dreaded 'L' word, to say the policies of our opposition ... are liberal, liberal, liberal." --RONALD REAGAN, 1988 SINCE THE 1930S, THE LANDSCAPE OF AMERICAN POLITICAL discourse has been framed...
The Permanent Election
One of the things that distinguishes advanced democracies from banana republics is that winners and losers accept the results of elections. Losing candidates and parties don't initiate coups. Winners don't kill off the losers and their supporters....
Wired but Weird
LET YOUR MIND GO BACK in time, back to the unfathomably distant past--back, say, two and a half years ago. It was a different world then, but Mark Penn, the Democratic Leadership Council's (DLC) redoubtable pollster, had it all down cold. The reason...

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