Tag: U.S. and the World

Can American Foreign Policy Be Greened?

In the 1977 novel Edith’s Diary, by the great crime writer Patricia Highsmith, Edith is the mother of a dipsomaniacal good-for-nothing who records in her diary not the truth about her son but, instead, the compensatory fantasy that he is a grad student in engineering, the husband of a charming wife, […]

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Big Tech’s Unholy Alliance With the Pentagon

In September 2017, Google began work on Project Maven, a Pentagon program that provides artificial intelligence software for drone warfare. More than ten employees were tasked with building a highly realistic surveillance system, like Google Earth, that would render whole cities and buildings, classifying cars as cars and people as […]

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Google Is Struggling to Remake Itself for the #MeToo Era

As in so many cases of sexual harassment, it was not the incident that sparked the most outrage, but the employer’s response. 
 In 2012, Andy Rubin, the Google executive who developed the Android operating systems, started dating a woman who worked for him. By 2013, she wanted to end […]

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The False Promise of Silicon Valley’s Quest to Save the World

Companies in Silicon Valley are wonderfully fond of describing themselves as “mission-driven.” Palantir has raised nearly $2 billion “working for the common good” and “doing what’s right.” At Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes promised “actionable information at the time it matters.” And for the past four years, Google and Facebook have occupied […]

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The Stark Political Divide Between Tech CEOs and Their Employees

Two years ago, two Stanford professors teamed up with a journalist to survey more than 600 “elite technology company leaders and founders” about their political views. The average executive, they found, believes in free markets, supports gay marriage, likes environmental protection, hates unions, and distrusts regulation. He says he wants […]

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The Story Behind the Green New Deal’s Meteoric Rise

On November 13, 2018, just days after Democrats reclaimed the House of Representatives, dozens of young activists filed silently into Representative Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill. Some sat down along the walls of the office, unfurling banners and forming a circle. Others stood in the center and told their […]

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A Database Showed Far-Right Terror on the Rise. Then Trump Defunded It.

In May 2017, Erin Kearns, an adjunct instructor at American University, gave a lecture on terrorism in the United States. Jihadists, she said, commit only a small portion of attacks on American soil, just 12 percent—far fewer, in fact, than right-wing extremists do. People with far-right beliefs, like white supremacists […]

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The One Issue the Left and Right Can Agree On

In November, not long after Amazon announced that it would build its second headquarters in New York City and northern Virginia, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected representative from Queens and the Bronx, tweeted that she’d been getting calls from residents all day. “The community’s response?” she wrote. “Outrage.” Amazon, as […]

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Trump’s Gentrification Scheme to Enrich Real Estate Developers

Buried within the more than 500 pages of Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut was an unobtrusive line item with potentially damaging consequences. Proposed by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the provision allows governors to select certain census tracts in their states, in economically distressed areas, as “opportunity zones.” The […]

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Radical Centrists Will Decide the Democratic Primary

Around this time four years ago, before the presidential primaries had begun, the most plausible Republican candidates seemed to be reading from more or less the same script. There were differences, to be sure, between Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush, but for the most part, they offered a […]

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Trump Is Outsourcing the Migrant Crisis to Mexico

In late November, a group of migrant women from Central America stood outside the Enclave Caracol community center in Tijuana, and announced the beginning of a hunger strike. They would not eat, they said in Spanish, until the United States and Mexico expedited the process for letting asylum seekers across […]

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Why Brazilians Elected an Aspiring Dictator

Jair Bolsonaro isn’t big on democracy. The newly elected president has dismissed the notion of human rights as a “disservice” to Brazil. He has bemoaned the fact that its police force, one of the deadliest in the world, does not have the right to kill more freely, promising to give […]

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It’s Time for a New Voting Rights Act

In early 2011, when new census figures showed that Evergreen, Alabama, a small city midway between Montgomery and Mobile, had grown from 53 to 62 percent black over the previous ten years, the white majority on the city council took steps to maintain its political dominance. They redrew precinct lines, […]

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Democrats, Don’t Compromise With Trump

With Democrats in control of the House, they are now faced with the question of how best to use their legislative authority. Nancy Pelosi has already drafted a lengthy list of goals: lowering prescription drug prices, investing in infrastructure, restoring background checks for gun buyers, protecting Dreamers with legal residency […]

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The Republicans Broke Congress. Democrats Can Fix It.

In the great 1972 political satire The Candidate, Robert Redford plays a novice candidate who runs a slick campaign for Senate and wins an upset against an unbeatable incumbent. On election night, right before the media throng arrives, he turns to his campaign guru, played by Peter Boyle, and says, […]

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The Outsider Democrats Who Built the Blue Wave

On Saturday, November 3, three days before the midterms, 200 volunteers gathered in Modena, New York, to canvass for Antonio Delgado, an African American lawyer and first-time congressional candidate. A local field staffer, a cheery young man named Todd, told me that so many people had shown up around the […]

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Tech’s Military Dilemma

On April 3, President Donald Trump sat down to a private dinner with some close associates, including Peter Thiel, his most loyal supporter in Silicon Valley. Thiel had brought Safra Catz, the co-CEO of Oracle, along to discuss a $10 billion Department of Defense contract to build the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, a […]

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Climate Kings

National crises make governments vulnerable to autocracy—a rather obvious assessment, perhaps, but one rarely seen in debates about climate change. Take the Maldives, an atoll nation in the Indian Ocean. Rising seawater is projected to consume most, if not all, of the country this century. In 2008, the Maldives chose its first democratically elected president, […]

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Closing the Wage Gap for Women

One day in 2012, Aileen Rizo, a math consultant in the Fresno, California, education system, overheard a recently hired male colleague talking about his salary. Rizo was “floored,” she said, to learn that although she had the same job title as he did, was better educated, and had more experience, he was paid more. After […]

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Wet, Hot, Aristocratic Summer

Royalist mania transcends traditional political divisions in the United States. Liberals, who decry entrenched privilege at home, seem strangely OK with a British aristocracy that conveys titles and estates through bloodlines. Fox News talking heads, who denounce coastal “elites” and the Ivy League, nonetheless carried breathless live coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding […]

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From City Hall to the White House

It’s invisible primary season— the time when candidates begin launching book tours, jockeying for endorsements, and locking down political strategists—and the mayors of some of America’s most liberal cities have begun making pilgrimages to Iowa. In April, Los Angeles’s Eric Garcetti traveled around Des Moines for two days, shaking hands with Democratic activists at a […]

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Weaponizing Children

In 1977, the public school system of Tyler, Texas, a small city 100 miles southeast of Dallas, began expelling students who couldn’t prove they were in the United States legally. The state had passed a law cutting off educational funding for undocumented children, and for Lidia and José Lopez, migrants from Mexico, it meant that […]

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