America, an Evil Empire? - January 30, 2004

January 30, 2004
America, an Evil Empire?
Three years into the presidency of George W. Bush, many people here and abroad fear and loathe our country, its power, its policies, its pride. Is America an evil empire? Seven new books seem ready to think so." - cover line of the Sunday New York Times Book Review, January 25.

John Kerry, "A Centrist on a Surge"?

"Weaknesses: [Sen. John Edwards] is not as well financed as Senator Kerry, Dr. Dean or General Clark, a fellow Southerner gaining ground in the polls. He is not as well known in New Hampshire as the New Englanders Dr. Dean, Senators Lieberman and Kerry, who is a more experienced, fellow centrist also on a surge." - Randal Archibold, January 25.

Ashcroft's "Harsh Measures"
"Mr. Ashcroft also faced wide criticism of the harsh measures he had taken to combat terrorism." - Alan Cowell reporting on Ashcroft's visit to Davos, January 23.

Tax Cuts Mostly Helped the Rich
"Many Democrats argue for an increase in the minimum wage (as does [writer Gregg] Easterbrook) or a repeal of the recent tax cuts, which benefited mainly upper-income families." - David Leonhardt, January 25.

Another Vietnam?

"In the Johnson administration's deceptive hyping of the Gulf of Tonkin incident as a provocation to war, we see the Bush administration's deceptive hyping of the supposedly imminent threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction for the same purpose." - Frank Rich, January 25.

The Softer Side of Hezbollah
"It runs hospitals, charity programs and a television station and holds 12 seats in Parliament, a toehold for a likely growing role in politics." - Ian Fisher on the Lebanon-based anti-American and anti-Israeli terrorist group Hezbollah, January 29.

Bush "Taking Away Civil Liberties"
"There are better ways to make the country safe: inspect more of the shipping containers coming into United States ports, increase security around nuclear and chemical plants, and buy up enriched uranium before it falls into the wrong hands. But the money to do such things is in short supply after the president's tax cuts. Taking away civil liberties may not expand Mr. Bush's gaping budget deficit, but its price in lost freedom is more than we can afford." - Times editorial, January 27.

Communist East Germany's "Social Safety Net"
"Retired, unemployed, the social safety net of her country no longer available to soften her fall after reunification, Heidi began to experience a deepening sense of dislocation, despair and ambiguity about her sexual identity." - Jere Longman on an East German Olympic shot-put champion, January 26.

A "Chilling Effect" on Lousy Reporting
"Advocates of tough, adversarial reporting were also dismayed by Lord Hutton's report, which they fear will have a chilling effect on the news media's ability in general to question the government's motives, particularly on the Iraq war." - Sarah Lyall on the report from Lord Hutton condemning the BBC and vindicating British PM Tony Blair, January 29.