John Buell

John Buell

John Buell has a PhD in political science, taught for 10 years at College of the Atlantic, and was an Associate Editor of The Progressive for ten years. He lives in Southwest Harbor, Maine and writes on labor and environmental issues. His most recent book, published by Palgrave in August 2011, is "Politics, Religion, and Culture in an Anxious Age." He may be reached at jbuell@acadia.net

Articles by this author

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Friday, July 20, 2012
Penn State, Democracy, and Modern Workplace Culture
Pundits will draw many lessons from the Penn State scandal, but the role and predicament of the janitor strikes me as in need of more attention. According to Louis Freeh’s detailed report on the university’s handling of the sexual abuse allegations: “A janitor spots Sandusky in the shower with a boy but is afraid to say anything because crossing Paterno ‘would have been like going against the president of the United States.’”
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Too Big To Trust: Banking Reform and Financial Instability
Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase’s high profile CEO has performed a public service. His firm’s well publicized Three billion --and counting-- loss puts to rest, at least for the time being, the notion that we can count on deregulated financial markets and self-interested bankers to reach socially optimal outcomes. That Dimon’s loss matters to more than his stockholders has been clear from the attention given to this story. Even our limp corporate media recognize that should this bank fail, it will become a further burden for taxpayers.
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Thursday, March 01, 2012
The Science and Ethics of Austerity: Lessons from the US and Europe
Around the world, corporate media and even substantial segments of the working class have embraced an old religious creed, the celebration of austerity. Its cold bath is supposed to rid us of our sins. Its tenets stand in contrast to the academic wisdom of post World War II generation and to many of the metrics commonly accepted across the political spectrum. We cannot understand the power of this reborn orthodoxy without addressing its complex roots. Several historical narratives converge. They reflect and sustain compelling social and personal identities.
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Thursday, February 02, 2012
Mitt’s Faulty History
An essential talking point of the Mitt Romney campaign is the candidate’s tortured invocation of the 's' word. Barack Obama is a socialist. His favorite models are socialist Europe. Romney then goes on to add with his characteristic sneer that Europe does not work even in Europe. How strange a world this is. A Democratic President who discourages prosecution of the crudest fraud by investment bankers and sanctions cuts in Social Security is deemed a socialist.
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Thursday, September 08, 2011
The Folly of Pocket Book Politics
A conservative friend of mine likes to say that he votes his pocket book. The push to cut taxes, roll back environmental regulations, eradicate unions, and reduce the size and scope of the safety net is good for him. He will have more money to spend and be able to live in more comfort and security.
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Friday, July 01, 2011
Born on the Fourth of July?
Lately our political leaders talk a lot about borders. It is an article of faith that we must “secure our borders.” But is the concern for secure borders really a matter of our physical safety, a desire to protect ourselves from violent criminality? Or are we trying to reassert or reclaim clarity, vigor, and validity of the nation state itself in an era that makes nationalism increasingly problematic?
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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Osama and the Culture Warriors
Okay, let me get this straight. A vast swath of land along the Mississippi is now drowning, with an end to the spread of the flooding still weeks away. The Southeast is recovering from a series of tornadoes historic in both scope and intensity. And Texas seeks to recover from the worst forest fires in 90 years and the most severe drought in a century. Yet what seems to concern our leaders and the corporate media the most? Even in death, Osama bin Laden is the focus of attention.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Faces of Government
I had dinner the other night with one of those villains, a "faceless bureaucrat" working as a wildlife biologist for the Department of the Interior in northern Florida. A college friend of my wife, she had spent many years in research on endangered species, and now has moved into an administrative position where she supervises the research of other wildlife scientists.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Personal Automobile Makes for a Bad Romance
Reading about another tragic life-altering car crash here on Mount Desert Island reminded me of an old newspaper headline. Ten years ago a newspaper in Saskatchewan, which has a population slightly less than Maine’s, ran an eye-popping headline: 165 People Killed! 7,562 Injured! Over $100,000,000 in Property Damage! Provincial Government Helpless! Expects Same Carnage Next Year!”
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Spirituality, Economics and Nature
The United States lags the world in responding to climate change. Guardian columnist George Monbiot points out that as the scientific consensus grows, skeptics gain ground. Though I find the consensus persuasive, science probably won’t win this argument. Social and religious values play a big a role.
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