Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, and the New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Farewell, Filene's

Should we mourn the fact that this will be the last Christmas season with Filene's as a Boston landmark? I think so, and I was surprised at the lack of outcry when the giant retailing conglomerate, Federated Department Stores, announced last summer that it would close the flagship store and retire the Filene's name as part of an $11 billion deal to acquire Filene's owner, the May Company. Federated is not just ending the proud legacy of Filene's but also Chicago's equally storied Marshall Field, and Pittsburgh's Kaufmann's. All of these, as we have been told, will become (ho-hum) more Macy's. In one sense, this is no big thing. Retailers come and retailers pass away. When family businesses lack a suitable heir, or cease to be competitive, or just want to cash in, they typically sell out to a big chain. The chain, in turn, is free to do as it wishes. This has been going on for centuries. A famous New Yorker cover depicted a ghostly Manhattan scene with all the great retailers who have...

Search and Seizure

The New York Times recently reported that in a North Carolina strangulation-murder trial, prosecutors introduced as evidence the fact that the defendant's Google searches had included the words "neck" and "snap." The Times noted that the evidence had come from the defendant's home computer, but could just as easily have come from Google. Google's business model includes keeping track of users' searches by putting "cookies" (tracking devices) on users' own computers and then using the results to customize ad offerings that pop up when we use their ingenious free search service. In the era of the misnamed USA PATRIOT Act, which allows warrantless police searches that are not even disclosed to the target, Google plus Dick Cheney is a recipe for undoing the liberties for which the original patriots of the American Revolution bled and died. Under the PATRIOT Act, anyone suspected of enabling terrorism can be subjected to these fishing expeditions. Depending on a prosecutor's whims, that...

Woodward's Work

Editor's Note: It is astonishing that it took his current conflict of interest for the press to start questioning Bob Woodward's iconic status as an investigative reporter rather than an enabler of those in power. We are re-posting Robert Kuttner's Prospect review from last year of Woodward's book, "Plan of Attack," one of the very few exceptions to Woodward's adoring press notices. Future historians will point to two interrelated foreign-policy disasters that could make George W. Bush a one-term president, if the voters pay attention. The first is the well-documented failure of the Bush administration to take al-Qaeda seriously enough, both before and after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The other is the administration's obsession with toppling Saddam Hussein, based on one mistaken premise after another and followed by an equally disastrous failure to anticipate the likely aftermath. These two stories, of course, are increasingly connected, as mounting evidence ties the...

A Morbid Interregnum

The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum, there arises a great diversity of morbid symptoms. Back in the day, this observation by an obscure Italian radical named Antonio Gramsci was oft-quoted. His words, written in the 1920s from an Italian prison cell, have great resonance again. The Iraq War is obviously both a disaster and a fraud, but what different future for American policy and the Iraqi people might be imagined and brokered politically? President Bush has lost control of his domestic agenda. Republican moderates have revolted, for the second time in two weeks, against Bush's policies of enacting deeper tax cuts for the wealthy while taking billions out of social programs. Deadlock ensues. High Court nominee Samuel Alito's record is daily revealed to be ever further outside the mainstream, and but will Republican moderates recoil when it comes time to vote? The Bush era is dying a well-deserved demise. But...

The Right Fight

Many Democratic strategists contend that a battle to block Samuel Alito's elevation to the Supreme Court is the wrong fight at the wrong time. The Bush presidency is in trouble on so many other fronts: the deceptions that misled the nation into war, the disastrous war itself, the spreading stain of corruption, the bungling of Katrina, the defection of moderate Republicans from the Bush tax and budget program. Given this self-inflicted Republican collapse, why pick a fight that could make Democrats look divisive and obstructionist? Why make Roe v. Wade the fulcrum of American politics? Why not concede Alito's confirmation, and fight on stronger ground? Why invite the charge of abusing Senate procedure with a filibuster? Herewith a dissent. As the full record emerges, it's clear that Alito is a hard-line right-winger, and not just on abortion rights. Roe may loom too large in American politics. But Alito has been dreadful on numerous other issues. The far right is not cheering because...

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