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Washington Post

Washington PostBy common consent one of America’s two or three greatest newspapers, The Washington Post is particularly celebrated for its coverage of American politics. Its opinion pages are home to some of America’s most prominent commentators, including George Will, Robert Novak, and Charles Krauthammer on the right, David Broder in the center, and E.J. Dionne, Jr., and Harold Meyerson on the left. Meyerson began his weekly (usually Wednesday) column there in March of 2003, just as the Iraqi War was beginning.

Start the border fence in Norfolk, Va.

The immigration reform bill likely to pass the Senate this week will pick up a few more votes becuase it commits the government to building a longer fence. Thanks to a Republican amendment, workers will erect an additional 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

But if we’re going to build a fence, is that really where it should go? If we have apprehensions about our neighbors to the south, are those the neighbors — and is that the south — that really present the United States with its most difficult problems?

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Afro-Cubans fight for equality under Castro regime

“More than half a century ago, Fidel decreed the elimination of racism,” said Leonardo Calvo Cárdenas. But “this just made the problem deeper and more complex.”

Calvo Cárdenas is an Afro-Cuban — a group that makes up roughly half of Cuba’s population but that is greatly under-represented in its political leadership, media and nascent business class. Calvo Cárdenas hasn’t always been on the outside looking in. “I was the director of the Lenin Museum,” he told me during a visit to Washington this month.

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Go slower on free trade

The U.S. economy may have undergone a sea change in the past quarter-century — with workers’ incomes shrinking while major shareholders’ incomes soar — but the drive among our corporations and government for more free-trade agreements plows relentlessly ahead. The Obama administration, like those of Bill Clinton and both Presidents Bush, is seeking a trade deal, this one with Pacific Rim nations. What’s in the pact isn’t clear, as the administration has clamped a tight lid on the proceedings. What is clear, however, is that the era of free-trade deals has been one of growing economic inequality in the United States and the decoupling of U.S. corporate interests from those of the American people. These deals have done little to nothing to offset the job and income losses that U.S. workers have endured during this period.

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Apple’s U.S. revenue should be taxed

The open secret of many global corporations’ success — and occasionally, downfall — is to fall between the cracks. Apple, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., created an Irish subsidiary with no employees, into which it funneled roughly $30 billion between 2009 and 2012 on which neither Ireland nor the United States levied taxes. Then there is American International Group (AIG), the New York-based insurer, whose London office sold insurance policies on derivatives that the company lacked the funds to redeem when banks demanded their money during the 2008 financial meltdown. The U.S. government was compelled to fork over a guarantee of $85 billion — which eventually expanded to $182 billion in taxpayer dollars — to keep the banks in business. Neither U.S. nor British regulators kept an eye on AIG’s risky practices as it rose. Only as it plummeted, threatening to drag the global economy down with it, did regulators notice that AIG’s London office operated in what was effectively a regulation-free zone.

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Los Angeles poised for rebirth with Mayor Garcetti

In electing Eric Garcetti their mayor on Tuesday, voters here chose a candidate who personifies the multiracial, multicultural city of L.A.’s hipster youth. At 42, Garcetti will be the youngest mayor this city has had in more than 100 years. Ethnically, Garcetti is not only the first elected Jewish mayor of Los Angeles but also the city’s second Latino mayor in more than 100 years (he’ll succeed the termed-out Antonio Villaraigosa). His Italian forebears settled in Mexico; his mother’s family is Jewish. Not since New York was governed by Fiorello La Guardia — an Italian Episcopalian who had a Jewish mother — has a mayor been a better demographic fit for so polyglot a city.

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Mending factory conditions after Bangladesh

The most dangerous job in the world, outside war zones, isn’t that of an undercover police officer or a firefighter or a bullfighter or aerialist. It’s sewing garments — particularly in Bangladesh.

The death toll in the April 24 collapse of Rana Plaza has topped 1,100 and continues to rise. But Rana Plaza is merely the most deadly of an unbroken string of preventable disasters that have plagued garment manufacturing in Bangladesh, the world’s second-largest exporter of clothing, behind only China. It’s not even the most recent preventable disaster: Since the cataclysmic building collapse, several fires have swept other Bangladeshi factories, the most recent of which, last week, took eight lives.

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Harold Meyerson Named One of Nation’s Top 50 Columnists!

awardIn September, 2009 Atlantic Monthly named Harold Meyerson one of 50 Most Influential Columnists. Calling its list “its all-star team,” Atlantic Monthly’s Top 50 are the most influential commentators in the nation – the columnists and bloggers and broadcast pundits who shape the national debates. Harold Meyerson is honored to be in their midst.

To get a complete list of the country’s Top 50 Idea-meisters, click here.

Harold Meyerson's Book

Harold Meyerson's Book
Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz?
Yip Harburg, Lyricist

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