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, December 08, 2009
Obama and His (Virtual) Virtuous War
I expected to be disappointed by President Barack Obama's West Point address. During the campaign he constantly reminded us that this war had been thrust upon us. Like World War II, it would define us. Unfortunately, even after months of reflection Obama's speech added little more to his case than catchy metaphors and inconsistent analysis, with spick-and-span cadets as props.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Bad Times Could Get Worse for Obama
The Obama administration faces the midterm elections in the vortex of forces that might impale it. Does President Obama recognize the magnitude of the risks?
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Capitalism’s Incarnations
Is capitalism evil? Is it bound to pass from the scene? I thought such questions were forever relegated to occasional seminars in a few cloistered left academies. Now, compliments of Michael Moore and the Great Recession, such questions are part of our national discourse. Yet, as even many on the left would caution, shorting capitalism is a dangerous strategy that has burned many over the last two centuries.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Debating Burns’ Thesis on National Parks’ Value
Living on the doorstep of Acadia National Park, my family hardly needs to be reminded that national parks are a good idea. But are they America’s best idea, as Ken Burns’ PBS documentary suggests? Scott Klinger and Rebecca Adamson of the First People’s Alliance challenge Burns’ unequivocal enthusiasm. They credit Burns for acknowledging the violence against first peoples that stains the history of our parks. But for them the problem with the parks endures.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Justice for the Unemployed
With the official unemployment rate nearly 10 percent, now is no time to let talk of recovery deter us from concern for the suffering of the unemployed. The unemployment rate continues to grow and will likely do so even if a modest growth in statistical GDP is under way. Paul Krugman points out that “comparing actual GDP since the recession began with what it would have been if the economy had continued growing at its 1999-2007 trend, we’re something like 8 percent below where we should be.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009
Reflections on Air Travel, Globalization, and 'Another World'
Labor Day weekend, I flew to Toronto for the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Not surprisingly, complexity, globalization and unpredictability were themes of the conference. Globalization has become a catchword to celebrate every aspect of modern capitalism. Yet globalization has more than one source and can take many forms. Our future may depend on reshaping the reigning understanding of globalization.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Weight of Government’s Hand on Capitalism’s Scale
To advocate a new, robust stimulus package, as in my last column, invites some predictable comments. Government is inefficient, politically motivated in its choice of winners and losers, and out to pad its own wallets.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009
US Lurching from One Quagmire to Another
Robert McNamara's life may illuminate contemporary tragedy. Just weeks before McNamara died, President Obama pressured reluctant Democrats (kudos to Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree for resisting) to approve a strange hybrid coupling of Afghanistan war funds with billions for the International Monetary Fund.
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Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Recenter Abortion Debate on Equality of Sacrifice
I am sickened by the death of Dr. George Tiller, a physician who displayed lifelong respect for the woman and her body. Operation Rescue condemned his murder, though in language that tacitly encourages violence. Randall Terry, calling Tiller a "mass murderer," even accused him of performing late-term abortions for women who had simply decided they did not wish to have a baby. Terry never lets facts stand in the way of his vicious war against the rights of women. Grand juries in culturally conservative Kansas rejected Terry's charges.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Corporate Offense Against Unions Relies on Myths
Economic crises are as endemic to capitalism as is its resilience. Nonetheless, the system seldom survives in the terms predicted even by its most powerful players. The corporate CEOs that dominate contemporary capitalism know that the system cannot survive in its present incarnation. Most, however, demand that however much they rely on public dole, they should continue to dominate business and finance.
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