Biography

Two well-known columnists with wide-ranging backgrounds.

Robert Reich: Former U.S. Labor Secretary, Reich now serves as professor of public ...

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American Voices

John Kass: Ferguson a lesson lost on race

November 26, 2014

Of all the wild talk coming out of Ferguson and the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer -- and all that angry and predictable noise emanating from race hustlers like Al Sharpton -- there are two things I just can't shake.

  • Rachel Marsden: What Obama can learn from Hagel -- and from 'Mockingjay'

    November 25, 2014

    PARIS -- Less than 10 days before Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced his resignation, he addressed a memo to senior defense leaders.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why college is necessary but gets you nowhere

    November 25, 2014

    This is the time of year when high school seniors apply to college -- and when I get lots of mail about whether college is worth the cost.

  • John Kass: 'Fighting Jane' battled the machine and won

    November 19, 2014

    Did she ever get steamed up at a negative portrayal in the media -- and there were many -- then have a few drinks and call the reporters to give them angry editorial criticism?

  • Rachel Marsden: Will Obama finish as a statesman or a politician?

    November 18, 2014

    PARIS -- U.S. President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 as a politician, and he's on pace to finish his presidency as one, rather than as the statesman many presumed he would become.

  • Robert B. Reich: The growing wealth and clout of the richest .01 percent

    November 18, 2014

    The richest Americans hold more of the nation's wealth than they have in almost a century. What do they spend it on? As you might expect, personal jets, giant yachts, works of art and luxury penthouses.

  • John Kass: The stupid virus and the smart economist

    November 12, 2014

    Americans for generations have wondered why our politicians treat us as if we're stupid.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama is being economically outmaneuvered by China

    November 11, 2014

    PARIS -- U.S. President Barack Obama had barely set foot in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit before he was cutting lip-service deals with China, seemingly unaware of that nation's long-term agenda and the American vulnerability that's ripe for exploitation. For the Chinese, it's not about trade anymore, but about making the U.S. dependent on China in the long term.

  • Robert B. Reich: The choice of the century

    November 11, 2014

    The president blames himself for the Democrats' big losses on Election Day.

  • John Kass: Even in defeat the president remains inscrutable

    November 6, 2014

    In "The Secret Life of Barack Obama," our story begins, as such stories often do, with our hero in a dream.

  • John Kass: Send in the clowns?

    November 5, 2014

    Coulrophobia is a terrible condition that can strike anyone, at any time, but especially if you're within reach of a weird grown man with white face makeup, perhaps a wig, floppy shoes and a big red nose.

  • Rachel Marsden: Is Chinese strategy the key to defeating Islamic State?

    November 5, 2014

    PARIS -- While the U.S. and its allies are struggling to figure out how to stop the Islamic State from metastasizing throughout the Middle East and beyond, China has been conspicuously absent from the containment efforts. Given that China is the largest beneficiary of oil contracts in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, you have to wonder why it can't seem to be bothered.

  • Rachel Marsden: Is Chinese strategy the key to defeating Islamic State?

    November 4, 2014

    PARIS -- While the U.S. and its allies are struggling to figure out how to stop the Islamic State from metastasizing throughout the Middle East and beyond, China has been conspicuously absent from the containment efforts. Given that China is the largest beneficiary of oil contracts in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, you have to wonder why it can't seem to be bothered.

  • An Election Day carol

    November 3, 2014

    In the early hours of Election Day, before dawn reached the nation's capital, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was suddenly awakened by someone standing next to his bed.

  • John Kass: Democratic candidates have an Ebola problem

    October 29, 2014

    The Sexy Ebola Nurse costume with thigh-high stockings revealing ample flesh above the knee -- yellow boots optional -- is here just in time for the November midterm elections, and for just $60.

  • Rachel Marsden: Canadian attack prompts absurd reactions

    October 28, 2014

    PARIS -- Some warped minds believe that when a nation suffers a terrorist attack, it somehow deserved it and should set about doing some soul searching. Implicit in this argument is the notion that the attacker was somehow justified in his heinous actions -- there was no other option but to lash out violently.

  • Robert B. Reich: Politicians plagued with Empathy Deficit Disorder

    October 28, 2014

    Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska's Republican congressman, Don Young, said suicide didn't exist in Alaska before "government largesse" gave residents an entitlement mentality.

  • John Kass: Opportunity knocking for GOP -- but will party leaders squander it?

    October 22, 2014

    Wasn't it just yesterday that President Barack Obama extended his arms like some Hollywood Moses, promising his election would calm the seas and heal the planet?

  • Rachel Marsden: Provocative American artist miscalculates the French

    October 21, 2014

    Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy recently made international news by erecting a giant green sex toy in Paris' Place Vendome and calling it "Tree." Before the installation could officially open this week, some Paris residents forced the object's removal by cutting its support ropes. A week earlier, someone slapped McCarthy in the face at an event celebrating the sculpture and then ran off.

  • Paul McCarthy: Provocative American artist miscalculates the French

    October 21, 2014

    Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy recently made international news by erecting a giant green sex toy in Paris' Place Vendome and calling it "Tree." Before the installation could officially open this week, some Paris residents forced the object's removal by cutting its support ropes. A week earlier, someone slapped McCarthy in the face at an event celebrating the sculpture and then ran off.

  • Robert B. Reich: Getting a grip on Ebola

    October 21, 2014

    We have to get a grip. Ebola is not a crisis in the United States. One person has died and two people are infected with his body fluids.

  • John Kass: Ebola no match for Dr. Nancy 'Soups' Snyderman

    October 15, 2014

    If you were just dying for soup -- and you were NBC medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman, bent on breaking an Ebola quarantine that you figured didn't really apply to you because you're so special -- what soup would it be?

  • Rachel Marsden: Political buffoonery is America's greatest security threat

    October 14, 2014

    There are at least two things that the public expects the government to get right, even when it fails at nearly everything else: public safety and national security. The Obama administration has a responsibility to protect its citizens. There is no excuse for the failures we're witnessing -- from the containment and eradication of Ebola to the containment and eradication of its ideological equivalent: radical Islamic extremism.

  • Robert B. Reich: American higher education skewed toward elite private universities

    October 14, 2014

    Imagine a system of college education supported by high and growing government spending on elite private universities that mainly educate children of the wealthy and upper-middle class, with low and declining government spending on public universities that educate large numbers of children from the working class and the poor.

  • John Kass: Political fictions no stranger than reality -- but at least they're less depressing

    October 8, 2014

    In an early scene on "Madam Secretary" -- a kinda Hillary Clinton political soap opera on CBS -- our heroine mucks horse manure out of a barn.

  • Rachel Marsden: Humanitarianism in the form of airstrikes

    October 7, 2014

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- A recent Ipsos Reid poll found that 64 percent of Canadians support the participation of Canadian Forces jets in airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq. What refreshing moral clarity. In reality, however, the use of force against Islamic State radicals could become the most complex campaign that Canada has ever known.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why we allow Big Pharma to rip us off

    October 7, 2014

    According to a new federal database put online last week, pharmaceutical companies and device makers paid doctors some $380 million in speaking and consulting fees over a five-month period in 2013.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama's blame game underscores U.S. intelligence problem

    September 30, 2014

    In a nationally televised interview that aired Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke of his director of national intelligence, James Clapper, the way a manager at a fast-food joint would speak of a grill cook who just botched a burger.

  • John Kass: NFL, Goodell sideline the concussion story

    September 30, 2014

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a public relations genius.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why the economy is still failing most Americans

    September 30, 2014

    I was in Seattle recently to congratulate union and community organizers who helped that city enact the first $15-per-hour minimum wage in the country.

  • John Kass: Jimmy Fallon's coming, but where are the activists?

    September 24, 2014

    If Jimmy Fallon really wants to grab Mayor Rahm Emanuel's attention when he brings "The Tonight Show" to Chicago for another mutual ear-licking session, Jimmy might ask this:

  • Rachel Marsden: General Assembly an exercise in message-shaping

    September 23, 2014

    World leaders, some of whom are taking their shady human-rights records and diplomatic immunity out for some exercise, have descended upon New York City this week for the United Nations General Assembly. In this celebrated display of self-flagellation, leaders take unchallenged turns expressing what they want the masses to think, doing so from the safety of a Lower East Side tower. Their mere presence brings local traffic to a teeth-grinding halt, with the ripples of their actions expanding infinitely outward from there, like a stone tossed into a murky pond.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why ordinary people bear economic risks and Donald Trump doesn't

    September 23, 2014

    Thirty years ago, on its opening day in 1984, Donald Trump stood in a dark topcoat on the casino floor at Atlantic City's Trump Plaza, crowing that his new investment was the finest building in Atlantic City and possibly the nation.

  • Rachel Marsden: Has World War III already begun?

    September 16, 2014

    While recently commemorating the World War I centenary at an Italian military cemetery, Pope Francis declared: "Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction." The pope's observation begs the question: If World War III has already started, would we even know it? Or would it only be evident in the rearview mirror?

  • Robert B. Reich: Berkeley vs. Big Soda

    September 16, 2014

    I was phoned the other night in middle of dinner by an earnest young man named Spencer, who said he was doing a survey.

  • John Kass: Obama needs to clarify murky Middle East mission

    September 15, 2014

    Can President Barack Obama lead a coalition to degrade or destroy the terrorists of the Islamic State?

  • John Kass: Send Goodell packing with Ray Rice, then call Condi

    September 10, 2014

    The NFL is all about making billions of dollars a year selling its brand of glitzy gladiatorial violence and power.

  • Robert B. Reich: The bankruptcy of Detroit and the division of America

    September 10, 2014

    Detroit is the largest city ever to seek bankruptcy protection, so its bankruptcy is seen as a potential model for other American cities now teetering on the edge.

  • Is the era of 'slackocracy' leadership nearing an end?

    September 9, 2014

    France is abuzz with the rumor that former center-right French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to re-enter public life. Could the era of the chill bros be over already?

  • John Kass: Obama's eat-the-rich campaign hauled out for mid-terms

    September 2, 2014

    I'm not really into the political cannibal thing. And I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that eating humans -- even in metaphor -- is still a sin.

  • Rachel Marsden: Tweaking the agenda for Obama's Europe trip

    September 2, 2014

    U.S. President is headed to Europe this week. There used to be a time prior to his election when he would travel to Europe and inspire the masses -- mostly on the strength of their own idealistic projections. But now, never has a Nobel Peace Prize laureate seen so many global conflicts erupt on his watch, while mostly standing there slack-jawed like a spectator at a fireworks display.

  • Robert B. Reich: Back to college, the only gateway to the middle class

    September 2, 2014

    This week, millions of young people head to college and universities, aiming for a four-year liberal arts degree. They assume that degree is the only gateway to the American middle class.

  • Rachel Marsden: America needs a grand bargain with Russia to fight terrorism

    August 26, 2014

    It should have been a no-brainer for the U.S. and Russia to cooperate to fight Islamic radicals in the Middle East. But even if you place the high-jump bar on the ground, some people will still manage to trip over it -- then insist on going back and tripping over it again.

  • Robert B. Reich: Back to school, and to widening inequality

    August 26, 2014

    American kids are heading back to school. But the schools they're heading back to differ dramatically by family income.

  • John Kass: Jackie Robinson West, pardon the adult sympathy

    August 26, 2014

    To the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars:

  • John Kass: Chicago's Little League team worth watching

    August 20, 2014

    America tells stories to itself in images, funny ones, sad ones, selfies we send out over our phones with snarky comments.

  • Rachel Marsden: Hackers are after more than just personal info

    August 19, 2014

    A cyberattack on Community Health Systems Inc., a private hospital network, in April and June resulted in the theft of non-medical data of 4.5 million Americans, including names, addresses, birthdates, phone numbers and Social Security numbers, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The attacks were attributed to Chinese hackers. There's justification for alarm, but not for the reasons you might think.

  • Robert B. Reich: The disease of American democracy

    August 19, 2014

    Americans are sick of politics. Only 13 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, a near-record low. The president's approval ratings are also in the basement.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama repeating past mistakes in Iraq

    August 12, 2014

    Despite its military supremacy, the U.S. under the command of President Barack Obama is at risk of having an upstart group of Islamic terrorists take over Iraq -- all because politically straitjacketed American military might has struggled against unrestrained guerrilla warfare, and the president has failed to absorb the lessons from America's past mistakes.

  • John Kass: Trip to becoming empty-nesters went too fast

    August 12, 2014

    They don't talk about the quiet in the house.

  • Robert B. Reich: The rebirth of stakeholder capitalism

    August 12, 2014

    In recent weeks, the managers, employees and customers of a New England chain of supermarkets called Market Basket have joined together to oppose the board of director's decision in June to oust the chain's popular chief executive, Arthur T. Demoulas.

  • Rachel Marsden: Separating cybersecurity hype from reality

    August 5, 2014

    LAS VEGAS -- The big players in the global information-security industry are intermingling with computer hackers this week at the annual Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Even Chris Inglis, who stepped down as the deputy director of the National Security Agency earlier this year, is scheduled to attend the conference in his new capacity as an advisor to the American security-intelligence company Securonix. The purpose of the event is to reveal and discuss new threats and research in the field of cybersecurity.

  • Robert B. Reich: Workers who serve society aren't rewarded for dedication

    August 5, 2014

    What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society.

  • John Kass: Obama, Emanuel need to put Chicago's kids first

    July 30, 2014

    On the Chicago block where that 3-year-old boy was shot in the stomach, a victim of the city's murderous gang wars, there was a woman watering her flowers.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama mugged by the realities of foreign policy

    July 29, 2014

    Barack Obama's foreign policy disasters are about what one might expect from a leftist community organizer elected to be leader of the free world. So many of the countries this administration has touched -- Ukraine, Libya, Iraq -- have descended into acute civil war on Obama's watch. It's worth asking why, exactly, this has been the case.

  • Robert B. Reich: The increasing irrelevance of corporate nationality

    July 29, 2014

    "You shouldn't get to call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from the American taxpayers," President Obama said last week.

  • John Kass: Illness threatens the best of barbecuers

    July 23, 2014

    This could be a terrifying tale right out of the Book of Meat Science Fiction, only this one isn't fiction.

  • Rachel Marsden: Kerry makes yet another dangerous rush to judgment

    July 22, 2014

    Here we go again with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leveraging a tragedy to make another "strong case" based on limited evidence. We have already seen this in the case of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and chemical weapons. Now it's Russian President Vladimir Putin's turn for the global smear treatment.

  • Robert B. Reich: The rise of the non-working rich

    July 22, 2014

    In a new Pew poll, more than three-quarters of self-described conservatives believe "poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything." In reality, most of America's poor work hard, often in two or more jobs. The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing.

  • John Kass: LeBron's return proves he's a Midwesterner at heart

    July 15, 2014

    If you're from the Midwest, you probably hated LeBron James.

  • Rachel Marsden: Have intelligence agencies become too reliant on technology?

    July 15, 2014

    PARIS -- A newly leaked document stolen by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden last year reveals that one of the NSA's partner agencies within the "Five Eyes" Anglo-intelligence network -- Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), responsible for signals intelligence -- dedicated vast resources to fooling around on the Internet, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald. The GCHQ has reportedly developed tools capable of playing with the results of online polls; sending out spoof emails and Microsoft Office documents that, once opened, can grab and transmit files and info from a user's computer; collecting data from public profiles on LinkedIn and other social-networking websites; and discreetly increasing website traffic and rankings.

  • Robert B. Reich: The limits of corporate citizenship

    July 15, 2014

    Dozens of big U.S. corporations are considering leaving the United States in order to reduce their tax bills.

  • John Kass: Chicago Democrats a protected species on the national stage

    July 9, 2014

    Prominent Chicago Democrats have had an easy time with the national media for decades -- as easy as shaking a ring of keys to distract an anxious child in church.

  • Rachel Marsden: Humanitarianism can be an effective disguise for profiteering

    July 8, 2014

    PARIS -- Billionaire Hungarian-American oligarch George Soros is an extremely concerned humanitarian who can be counted on to put his considerable bank balance where his concerns are. Lately, those concerns have included Ukraine and other former Soviet satellite states; Syria; immigration rights in America; the U.S. banking system; and the Great Lakes region of Africa, where all the mining opportunities just happen to be. Perhaps he could lay off the generosity long enough for us to recover from it all.

  • Robert B. Reich: Freedom, power and the conservative mind

    July 8, 2014

    Last week the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that privately owned corporations don't have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners' religious beliefs.

  • John Kass: IRS emails 'lost' -- and so is the outrage

    July 1, 2014

    How does a nation lose its way?

  • Rachel Marsden: Is US being duped into funding jihadist startup?

    July 1, 2014

    PARIS -- The Islamic terrorist army often referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has made a faster womb-to-superstardom ascension than Justin Bieber. Largely unheard of just a few weeks ago, the group is now the self-proclaimed new ruler of an Islamic caliphate, or republic, extending across Iraq and Syria. These countries currently have internationally recognized heads of state -- but, you know, whatever, man. It's not like U.S. President Barack Obama is going to stop ISIL. In fact, he's asking Congress to give it $500 million, under the guise of funding the "Syrian opposition."

  • Robert B. Reich: Hillary's hardest choice (and the Democrats' dilemma)

    July 1, 2014

    What's the reason for the tempest in the teapot of Hillary and Bill Clinton's personal finances?

  • John Kass: Soccer fans often feel pain -- and sometimes even a bite

    June 25, 2014

    In an exclusive interview, Raffaele Raia -- the noted Italian soccer aficionado from Oliveto Citra, near Salerno -- said America is missing only one thing to fully grasp World Cup soccer.

  • Russia and China subverting Obama's 'pivot' to Asia

    June 24, 2014

    PARIS -- The irony of recent U.S. foreign interventions is that despite Uncle Sam's best efforts, the ultimate benefactor ends up being America's primary economic rival in the area in question. It should come as no surprise that the two economic rivals who usually benefit are China and Russia, both absolute masters of subversion.

  • Robert B. Reich: America's real business leaders want to save capitalism

    June 24, 2014

    A few weeks ago I was visited in my office by the chairman of one of the country's biggest high-tech firms. He wanted to talk about the causes and consequences of widening inequality and the shrinking middle class, and what to do about it.

  • John Kass: World Cup hero a Chicagoan by blood, by tattoo

    June 18, 2014

    Chicago must truly be the most American of cities, and it's not because politicians keep saying it. John Brooks, the newest American soccer star in the World Cup, has testified to this fact.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obsession with Putin diverts Obama's attention from terrorism

    June 17, 2014

    PARIS -- The fact that U.S. President Barack Obama is putting hundreds of boots back onto the ground in Iraq to protect American interests is the result of some bad decisions and missed opportunities to correct course. Except that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already staked out the proper course -- and the Obama administration seems intent on turning every action into a political spitball aimed at getting Putin's attention.

  • Robert B. Reich: The three biggest right-wing lies about poverty

    June 17, 2014

    Rather than confront poverty by extending jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed, endorsing a higher minimum wage or supporting jobs programs, conservative Republicans are taking a different tack.

  • John Kass: Hillary: I was once poor like you

    June 11, 2014

    Hillary Clinton graced Chicago this week on her Planet Hillary Global Domination Tour as she seeks the presidency.

  • Rachel Marsden: CIA makes an ill-advised foray into the Twitterverse

    June 10, 2014

    PARIS -- On June 6, the Central Intelligence Agency joined the social media platform Twitter with its first tweet: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet." Presumably this is an attempt by the agency to develop its "brand." Here's why this is a really bad idea:

  • Robert B. Reich: Corporate wrongdoers must be prosecuted as a deterrent

    June 10, 2014

    General Motors has fired 15 employees after an internal investigation into the company's handling of defective ignition switches that lead to at least 13 fatalities.

  • John Kass: Our culture behind Wisconsin girls' stabbing case

    June 4, 2014

    What kind of culture produced those two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls charged with stabbing a classmate 19 times?

  • Rachel Marsden: Bergdahl swap a retro moment in the new Cold War

    June 3, 2014

    PARIS -- U.S. President Barack Obama recently agreed to the release of five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for an alleged U.S. military deserter. It's great trade for the soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who will be reunited with his loved ones back in America. Nonetheless, it's a bad precedent for America.

  • Robert B. Reich: Freedom Summer II

    June 3, 2014

    I spent several days in New York last week with students from around the country who were preparing to head into the heartland to help organize Walmart workers for better jobs and wages. (Full familial disclosure: My son Adam is one of the leaders.)

  • John Kass: 'Obama: Like a Boss' -- bumper sticker for a true Chicagoan

    May 28, 2014

    The Democrats have it all wrong when it comes to one of their choices for a new President Barack Obama bumper sticker:

  • Rachel Marsden: Why women -- and voters -- prefer jerks to fops

    May 27, 2014

    PARIS -- An intriguing social phenomenon prompted a horrific killing spree in Santa Barbara, California, last week, and the same phenomenon might help explain the surprising results of last weekend's European Parliament elections.

  • Rachel Marsden: Why women -- and voters -- prefer jerks to fops

    May 27, 2014

    PARIS -- An intriguing social phenomenon prompted a horrific killing spree in Santa Barbara, California, last week, and the same phenomenon might help explain the surprising results of last weekend's European Parliament elections.

  • Robert B. Reich: The perils of America's hard-charging capitalism

    May 27, 2014

    For years Americans have assumed that our hard-charging capitalism is better than the soft-hearted version found in Canada and Europe. American capitalism might be a bit crueler, but it generates faster growth and higher living standards overall. Canada and Europe's "welfare-state socialism" is doomed.

  • John Kass: Fake royal show among bottom of the heap

    May 21, 2014

    With the Russians on the prowl, the Chinese hacking into our computers, Boko Haram in Nigeria triggering fear and celebrity hashtags, the last thing America needs is to lose a trusted ally:

  • Rachel Marsden: U.S., China go private with the Cold War

    May 20, 2014

    PARIS -- The U.S. Justice Department filed charges this week against five Chinese military officers, accusing them of hacking American companies to steal secrets, including the nuclear energy company Westinghouse. In March, reports surfaced that the National Security Agency had hacked and spied on the Chinese telecom company Huawei.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why American women are endangered

    May 20, 2014

    According to a report released earlier this month in the widely respected health research journal The Lancet, the United States now ranks 60th out of 180 countries on maternal deaths occurring during pregnancy and childbirth.

  • John Kass: Karl Rove's boneheaded swipe at Hillary Clinton

    May 14, 2014

    Many of you know that I'm not Hillary Clinton's biggest fan.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama's immigration reform is in need of reforming

    May 13, 2014

    PARIS -- As a chronic immigrant, I'm loath to support immigration policies that might make life difficult for anyone seeking to legitimately integrate into and contribute to an adoptive nation. Nonetheless, as the Obama administration attempts to reform U.S. immigration policies, there needs to be some standard of selection for immigrants. That standard should be nothing more or less than meritocracy.

  • Robert B. Reich: The six principles of the new populism

    May 13, 2014

    We're five years into a so-called recovery that's been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for the middle class, which is fueling a new populism. "The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get it right down to their toes," says Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

  • John Kass: Don't tune out the newest Benghazi developments

    May 6, 2014

    Why is Benghazi important to Americans?

  • Rachel Marsden: Trans-Pacific Partnership a bad deal for America

    May 6, 2014

    PARIS -- The good news is that the Obama administration plans to create a lot of new jobs. The bad news is that those jobs will mostly be in Asia.

  • Robert B. Reich: The four biggest right-wing lies about inequality

    May 6, 2014

    Even though French economist Thomas Piketty has made an airtight case that we're heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the 19th-century robber barons, right-wing conservatives haven't stopped lying about what's happening and what to do about it.

  • John Kass: Sterling's race case a movie of our age

    April 30, 2014

    An unwritten American novel is playing out in Los Angeles. It's about rich, whiny racist Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. And it's about his cooing kitty-cat of a girlfriend, who infuriated him by bringing black people to his games.

  • Robert B. Reich: The distributional games

    April 17, 2014

    Every year I ask the students in my “Wealth and Poverty” class to play a simple game. I have them split up into pairs and imagine that I’m giving one of them $1,000. They can keep some of the money only on condition they reach a deal with their partner on how it’s to be divided between them.

  • John Kass: Researchers diagnose conservatism, but is there a cure?

    April 8, 2014

    Thanks to learned scientists, I've discovered that I suffer from a mental problem afflicting millions of Americans.

  • Cuban Twitter project was a tweet in the dark

    April 8, 2014

    PARIS -- First, Cubans would receive fun little text messages about baseball and music. Then, one day -- bam! -- they would learn via cell phone that they'd been living in a dictatorship for over half a century and would realize that it was time to overthrow the regime.

  • Robert B. Reich: The balance wheel of democracy

    April 8, 2014

    Last week a majority of the Supreme Court decided that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to pour as much as $3.6 million into a political party or $800,000 into a political campaign.

  • John Kass: Ruling could mean future shock for college football

    April 1, 2014

    Even a former cornerback who failed to graduate from Whatsamatta U. can deduce what will happen to college football in America.

  • Rachel Marsden: Export opportunity to Ukraine, not the nanny state

    April 1, 2014

    PARIS -- In an apparent effort to fight bribery with even more overt state-sanctioned bribery, the battle for the hearts and minds of Ukraine has devolved into two suitors -- the West and Russia -- flashing their respective bank account statements. How obscene. I don't recall U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev giving dueling speeches in the Cold War 1980s that made it sound like Poland was up on the auction block in a bidding war at Christie's.

  • Rachel Marsden: Why this Cold War reboot is different

    April 1, 2014

    PARIS -- Russia and the West are both warning of the risk of escalation to a civil war in Ukraine between pro-Russian and pro-Western factions. Rhetoric is heating up, with each side referring to members of the other’s ground team as “terrorists,” setting the stage to justify any potential opposition force. A Russian fighter jet drew the Pentagon’s ire by repeatedly buzzing an American warship in the Black Sea. And just like that, we’re back to an era of “bad guys” that Hollywood has never been able to get past. It’s the 1980s all over again. Where are my neon legwarmers and Sony Walkman?

  • Robert B. Reich: Slouching toward oligarchy

    April 1, 2014

    America is not yet an oligarchy, but that's where Charles and David Koch and a few other billionaires are taking us.

  • John Kass: If we raise minimum wage, why stop at $10 an hour?

    March 25, 2014

    When President Barack Obama and other Democrats began talking about raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, I didn't believe them.

  • Robert B. Reich: The new tribalism and the decline of the nation-state

    March 25, 2014

    We are witnessing a reversion to tribalism around the world, away from nation-states. The same pattern can be seen even in America -- especially in American politics.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama's critics aren't communists, Russia isn't the Soviet Union

    March 25, 2014

    PARIS -- There's no faster or easier way to shut down legitimate debate than to slap an undesirable label on someone based on their views. Criticize same-sex marriage and you're a bigot. Take issue with immigration policy and you're dismissed as a racist. In the latest incarnation of this phenomenon, any conservative who dares to criticize U.S. President Barack Obama's stance against Russia on the issue of Ukraine runs the risk of being called a Putin-loving communist.

  • Robert B. Reich: The 'you're paid what you're worth' myth

    March 18, 2014

    It's often assumed that people are paid what they're worth. According to this logic, minimum wage workers aren't worth more than the $7.25 an hour they now receive. If they were worth more, they'd earn more. Any attempt to force employers to pay them more will only kill jobs.

  • Rachel Marsden: Sanctions against Russia symbolic of a hollow culture

    March 18, 2014

    PARIS -- There are fewer things more pathetic than watching someone take a running dive off a high board only to end in a spectacular belly flop and still think that they're scoring a perfect 10. That's U.S. President Barack Obama right now on the issue of sanctions against Russia. It's a worrying attitude that increasingly permeates Western culture.

  • John Kass: In the cheese wars, call me a traitor

    March 18, 2014

    With so much uncertainty in the world, it's upsetting to see American politicians, backed by cheesy special interests, trying to start a war with Europe.

  • John Kass: Annoying people: There ought to be a law

    March 12, 2014

    It's clear that Americans are irritated by some of our annoying, stupid, idiotic laws.

  • John Kass: Social worker still mourns loss of 12-year-old

    March 11, 2014

    Not every child can be saved.

  • Robert B. Reich: The great U-turn

    March 11, 2014

    Do you recall a time in America when the income of a single schoolteacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars and raise a family?

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama late to the realpolitik table in Saudi Arabia

    March 11, 2014

    PARIS -- Later this month, U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here's hoping he decides to stay home and help his daughters with their homework instead.

  • John Kass: It's 3 a.m., and Obama's phone is ringing

    March 4, 2014

    As he seeks to rebuild the Russian empire, strongman Vladimir Putin has developed a terribly obnoxious habit.

  • Rachel Marsden: The West needs Russia's help more than it realizes

    March 4, 2014

    PARIS -- Remember when you were a kid and packed your bag to run away from home, only to quickly realize that you lacked the requisite means to follow through on your threat? Mom and Dad, after giving you a little time to save face, had to drive down the road and toss your penniless little behind and your Transformers backpack into the backseat. We're now witnessing a similar scenario with the pathetic display of political theater underway between the West and Russia over Ukraine.

  • Robert B. Reich: The real job killers: lousy jobs, lousy wages

    March 4, 2014

    House Speaker John Boehner says raising the minimum wage is "bad policy" because it will cause job losses.

  • John Kass: 'First Laddie Issue' could impede Hillary in 2016

    February 25, 2014

    You probably won't believe this, but I aim to help Hillary Clinton fulfill her destiny and rule the world.

  • Rachel Marsden: Ukrainian uprising is a rebellion, not a revolution

    February 25, 2014

    PARIS -- Ceding to protestors' demands, Ukrainian parliament members voted last week to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych and hold early elections, which have been set for May 25. Online "slacktivists," keyboard warriors and various media outlets responded by breathlessly declaring the situation a "revolution" -- and in some cases even proclaiming it a successful one. Except that it isn't at this point. Far from it.

  • Robert B. Reich: WhatsApp deal shines light on our economic problems

    February 25, 2014

    If you ever wonder what's fueling America's staggering inequality, ponder Facebook's acquisition of the mobile messaging company WhatsApp.

  • John Kass: Dasvidaniya, Sochi, you're beautiful

    February 18, 2014

    SOCHI, Russia -- There are two things I probably forgot to mention about my time here at the Winter Olympics in Russia.

  • Rachel Marsden: America shouldn't rescue socialist Venezuela

    February 18, 2014

    PARIS -- Here we go again. Yet another country full of voters who foolishly bought into the socialist pipe dream of endless nanny-state freebies is noticing the check coming due. Facing hyperinflation and shortages of necessities like toilet paper, Venezuelans are spilling into the streets, pleading for Captain America to rescue them from their own chronically poor voting choices. Sorry, amigos, but it's not America's problem.

  • Robert B. Reich: America's 'we' problem

    February 18, 2014

    America has a serious "we" problem -- as in, "Why should we pay for them?"

  • Rachel Marsden: Infrastructure attacks are cause for concern

    February 11, 2014

    PARIS -- At a time when many of us have become fixated on U.S. intelligence agencies' "big data" programs, authorities are becoming aware of a much more insidious kind of threat -- one that could successfully exploit the growing blind spot created by our overreliance on technology.

  • John Kass: A flickering flame of faith in Sochi's oldest Orthodox church

    February 11, 2014

    SOCHI, Russia -- About the only difficulty I've encountered here, wandering alone, far from the official Winter Olympics staging grounds, has been my inability to speak Russian.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why did we forget important economic lessons?

    February 11, 2014

    Why has America forgotten the three most important economic lessons we learned in the 30 years following World War II?

  • John Kass: Does the 'Ring of Steel' gleam in the Russian sun?

    February 4, 2014

    SOCHI, Russia -- What do you do in Sochi?

  • Environmentalists do billionaires' bidding in fight against Keystone pipeline

    February 4, 2014

    PARIS -- An environmentalist lies down alongside his fellow organic cucumber aficionados to block the construction of an oil pipeline and wakes up a member of a proxy army serving the billionaires who are fighting against America's economic and national security interests to line their own pockets. How did that happen?

  • Why there's no outcry over inequality

    February 4, 2014

    People ask me all the time why we don't have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why conservatives would rather address poverty than inequality

    January 28, 2014

    With polls showing that a majority of Americans now believe inequality has grown over the past decade, and favor tax increases on the wealthy to expand help to those in need, conservatives want to change the subject.

  • Rachel Marsden: Transparency must accompany financial oversight

    January 28, 2014

    PARIS -- On the occasion of President Obama's State of the Union address this week, marking five years since he was sworn into office with the stated primary objective of turning around the post-crisis domestic economy, it's worth asking: Is America safe from another economic crisis?

  • John Kass: We need Hillary now

    January 28, 2014

    It's sad, yes, but America probably hasn't fully grasped the terrifying truth about President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech.

  • John Kass: The future is now: A sci-fi geezer's lament

    January 21, 2014

    The post-apocalyptic sci-fi stories I liked best as a boy weren't space operas on distant planets, involving warlike aliens who (weirdly enough) spoke guttural English, as if they were KGB officers in some action movie.

  • Rachel Marsden: Syrian refugee plan poses security risks

    January 21, 2014

    PARIS -- What's the point of intervening in a foreign country under the guise of humanitarianism, or sending aid, if you're just going to end up importing its citizens en masse anyway? Isn't the whole idea to shape up the place so that its people can safely remain there?

  • Robert B. Reich: Fear is why workers vote against their economic self-interest

    January 21, 2014

    The recent massive spill of the toxic chemical MCHM into West Virginia's Elk River illustrates another benefit to corporate interests of high unemployment, economic insecurity and a safety-net shot through with holes. Not only are employees eager to accept whatever job they can get, but they are also unwilling to demand healthy and safe environments.

  • Rachel Marsden: Coverage of Hollande displays media's misplaced priorities

    January 15, 2014

    The most disappointing thing about the news that French President Francois Hollande allegedly has been rendezvousing with an actress in the privacy of her apartment is that it's a testament to how pathetic and petty some segments of French society are allowing public discourse to become in a country historically renowned for grand ideas and debate.

  • John Kass: 'Lone Survivor' confronts viewers with true cost of war

    January 14, 2014

    I wasn't eager about seeing "Lone Survivor," the new film about four U.S. Navy SEALs forced to fight a terrible and heroic battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

  • Robert B. Reich: GOP's divide-and-conquer strategy no longer applies

    January 14, 2014

    Fifty years ago, when Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the poor were different -- "other," as in Michael Harrington's seminal book of 1962, "The Other America."

  • John Kass: Pay no mind to that man in your bathtub

    January 7, 2014

    What if you woke after a night of uneasy dreams to find a strange man standing in your bathtub?

  • John Kass: Mayoral tan? Bali Hai Mayor Rahmfather

    January 7, 2014

    Nice tan, Mr. Mayor!

  • Rachel Marsden: Pre-Olympic partnerships offer security hope for Sochi

    January 7, 2014

    At the London 2012 Olympics, various media outlets probed the notion of the Olympic athletes' village being a giant bed-hopping venue -- a phenomenon that not only disgusted my mother every time she heard it mentioned (which was often) but also puzzled me as a former international-level swimmer who spent every night before a race hunkered down doing visualization exercises. What does make sense, though, is the kind of pre-Olympic bed-hopping that we're currently seeing among nations in the run-up to the Sochi Games.

  • Robert B. Reich: The year of the Great Redistribution

    January 7, 2014

    One of the worst epithets that can be leveled at a politician these days is to call him a "redistributionist." Yet 2013 marked one of the biggest redistributions in recent American history -- a redistribution upward, from average working people to the owners of America.

  • Rachel Marsden: U.S., Russia can go for Olympic gold in war on terror

    December 31, 2013

    Well, that was fast. In an early-September column about the Syrian conflict and the new world order, I wrote that Russia and the West could team up against the forces of radical Islam. It looks set to happen sooner than expected, given the current wave of Islamic terrorist attacks not far from the site of the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games.

  • Robert B. Reich: Affordable Care Act deserves patience, not defeatism

    December 31, 2013

    Whatever happened to American can-do optimism? Even before the Affordable Care Act covers its first beneficiary, the nattering nabobs of negativism are out in full force.

  • John Kass: Remembering what matters on Christmas Eve

    December 24, 2013

    For all the children who should be loved always, but especially on this wondrous night, with our arms around them and a long good-night kiss on the temple, a kiss more precious than anything wrapped in a box.

  • Robert B. Reich: Equal opportunity, shared prosperity slipping further out of reach

    December 24, 2013

    It's the season to show concern for the less fortunate among us. We should also be concerned about the widening gap between the most fortunate and everyone else.

  • Rachel Marsden: Superpowers making strategic moves in Africa

    December 24, 2013

    By the looks of it, U.S. President Barack Obama may be close to joining the French in taking on the Chinese -- in Africa.

  • Rachel Marsden: French Socialist report a blueprint for national destruction

    December 17, 2013

    Former New York Times foreign correspondent Joel Brinkley is on sabbatical. His column will return to American Voices in June 2014. During his absence, John Kass has been added to American Voices.)

  • Robert B. Reich: Charity begins at home (particularly at wealthy homes)

    December 17, 2013

    It's charity time, and not just because the holiday season reminds us to be charitable. As the tax year draws to a close, the charitable tax deduction beckons.

  • Rachel Marsden: A report card for America's top community organizer

    December 10, 2013

    PARIS -- When U.S. President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, it marked the first time that a local "community organizer" had risen to the highest office on the planet. I wasn't entirely optimistic. Granted, the geopolitical competition (Russia) is also led by a community organizer of sorts, Vladimir Putin, except that the community he was organizing was the Russian domestic intelligence service.

  • Robert B. Reich: Corruption of America starts at home, not abroad

    December 10, 2013

    The Justice Department has just obtained documents showing that JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street's biggest bank, has been hiring the children of China's ruling elite in order to secure "existing and potential business opportunities" from Chinese government-run companies. "You all know I have always been a big believer of the Sons and Daughters program," says one JPMorgan executive in an e-mail, because "it almost has a linear relationship" to winning assignments to advise Chinese companies. The documents even include spreadsheets that list the bank's "track record" for converting hires into business deals.

  • Coca-Cola steps up for Cambodian land-grab victims

    December 3, 2013

    Many Southeast Asians and others around the world owe their thanks to the Coca-Cola Company.

  • Rachel Marsden: Ukrainian protestors unlikely to stage a successful revolution

    December 3, 2013

    PARIS -- Tens of thousands of protesters are flooding the streets of Ukraine, blocking access to government offices and threatening to start what the media is largely (and preemptively, if not mistakenly) referring to as a "revolution." All this over the pro-Russian Ukraine leadership's decision to renounce a free-trade agreement with Europe that would have represented a shift away from the Russian sphere of influence.

  • The true price of great holiday deals

    December 3, 2013

    The most important website last weekend and in weeks to come -- on which the hopes and fears of countless Americans are focused (and the president's poll ratings depend) -- is not HealthCare.gov. It's Amazon.com.

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