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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Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Are We Bidding Farewell to Advocacy Journalism?
With the passing of Daniel Schorr and the forced retirement of Helen Thomas, are we bidding farewell to "advocacy journalism," the journalist who makes news rather than reports it? I think not. All journalism is advocacy of one sort or another. That Thomas and Schorr have no clear successors hardly demonstrates the passing of advocacy journalism. A journalist's questions neither are nor can be merely neutral and descriptive. Advocacy journalism remains a staple of the D.C. press corps, but it is advocacy on behalf of the privileged and the powerful.
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Afternoon Spent Listening to Talk Radio
Recently on a dull Sunday afternoon I tuned in a local talk radio program. Talk radio generally pains me, not so much because of the content as the tone. Tone and content are not fully severable, but talk radio often conveys less a consistent position than diffuse anger, dogmatic certainty, and contempt for those of differing views and ways of living.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Recovering from Deficit Obsessions
The politics of private and government debt provide an occasion to contest both conventional economic theory and related moral narratives. The old story is that a profligate working class and indulgent governments spent themselves into deserved ruin. Yet as The New York Times reports, the wealthy are now defaulting in dis-proportionate numbers on investment housing loans. But as Robert Reich points out in his blog, working-class Americans "went into such deep debt ... because their wages didn't keep up. The median wage ... dropped between 2001 and 2007. ... [T]he only way ...
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Spending Not the Cause of Our Problems
"Runaway government spending" is an easy target now. It is not the cause of our problems. Government spending will not "crowd out" private investors. It is essential in stimulating the demand on which the private sector and even our ability to sustain healthy debt to gross national product ratios depend.
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Corporate, Religious Terrorism
Why won’t our leaders call BP a terrorist, a label readily applied not only to Faisal Shazhad but also to radical Muslims? Even if BP is indicted, few will question its right to the best defense money can buy even as police limit Shazhad’s Miranda rights. Our knee-jerk silencing of all radical Muslims while giving BP endless benefits of the doubt limits our ability to assess critical problems.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Arizona, Globalization, and the Politics of Immigration
Arizona, a U.S. state for only about a century, serves as microcosm of our national experience. Most of our ancestors are from away, do not share a common heritage and have seen themselves as God's chosen. We experience an especially strong need and temptation to affirm the unity and simplicity of a set of core values.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Give Me Your Huddled Masses — Sometimes
The president may have no appetite for immigration reform, but most commentators find it hard to avoid. Liberal columnist Paul Krugman agonizes over the topic in recent blog posts: "Democrats are torn individually ... On one side, they favor helping those in need, which inclines them to look sympathetically on immigrants; plus they're relatively open to a multicultural, multiracial society ... today's Mexicans and Central Americans seem to me fundamentally the same as my grandparents seeking a better life in America.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Coal and Predatory Capitalism
Just days after the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in a quarter-century, the World Bank approved a $3.75 billion loan to South Africa to build one of the world’s largest coal-fired electric power plants. Though both South African and U.S. environmentalists had urged the U.S. to vote no, abstention was the best they could achieve. Coal plays an outsized role in our politics. Just how and with what consequences are questions that must be addressed if we are to enjoy sustainable growth.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Mid-April Draws Out US Tax Bashers, Blue Dog Dems
Mid-April is surely one of the favorite times of the year for Republicans, Tea Party members and their covert allies, the Blue Dog Democrats. Much as they hate to pay taxes, they love the opportunity to remind hard-pressed Americans about their steep taxes and their evil consequences. One of their familiar chords is Europe as the land of high taxes and sluggish growth. The only problem with this tale is that the European experience raises a whole set of ethical and economic issues U.S. tax bashers may not want to face.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Humans, Climate Change
Despite growing consensus among scientists regarding human-induced climate change, the U.S. remains a leader in resistance to corrective action. Some blame our recalcitrance on the small minority of climate skeptics or on the simple self-interest of oil companies. There may, however, be deeper and more intractable reasons.
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