Despite offering an opportunity to skewer exceptionalist arrogance, the shutdown was not a good thing. Nevertheless, it did provide some illuminating lessons in American politics.
Story after story, fueled by leaks from former security contractor Edward Snowden, is uncovering a U.S. surveillance empire with unprecedented reach and breadth.
There is something uniquely disturbing about an industry that not only has incentive to push for war as part of its business plan, but also possesses the lobbying power to move lawmakers who might otherwise object to White House designs.
What were the elected officials doing for weeks before realizing that runaway surveillance programs might actually be dangerous and unconstitutional? Rather than facing unpleasant facts, they've preferred to kill the proverbial messenger.
If politicians in Washington, DC refuse to talk about our warming planet, how do we shift the climate of national debate?
Economists love to talk about incentives. In this case, such limits would motivate CEOs to augment the pay of their janitors, secretaries, and cashiers for a simple reason: Their own raises would depend on it.
Seeing drafts of new trade agreements that enhance corporate power could move people to similarly rash displays of democracy.