Samuel Loewenberg

Samuel Loewenberg lives in Berlin and writes about European affairs.

Recent Articles

European Tour

Madrid -- Cindy Sheehan blazed through Madrid this week like a rock star or a political candidate, shuttling from peace rally to a day-long press event to a private dinner with her supporters. Watchful handlers hurried her from venue to venue, drawing her away from autograph seekers, though she seemed always to have time to give her supporters a hug. It was a mission to rally the faithful, amidst signs that Europe has backed off from confronting America over foreign policy and is turning inward to deal with domestic problems. The Madrid stop was the third and final leg of Sheehan's European tour, which had taken her through England and then Ireland, where she met the foreign minister, before arriving in Spain. The whirlwind tour had clearly left her exhausted, but like a veteran candidate, America's most famous anti-war protester always kept up a smile. “I always wanted to come to Europe," Sheehan told The American Prospect . “So I finally came but I didn't get to see anything.” The...

Letter From London: Britannia Stays Cool

Finished with their Sunday morning of studying the Koran, the dozens of young boys in the Muslim Center in east London raced to put their shoes back on. Talking excitedly, they filed upstairs to spend the rest of the afternoon playing Arabic board games and Ping-Pong. Three days earlier, terrorist bombs had ripped open three subway cars and a double-decker bus, taking the lives of at least 52 people and injuring 700. Now, life was getting back to normal. The Muslim Center, which adjoins a mosque, is just a 10-minute walk from where one of the bombs went off. And for the city's 600,000 Muslims, the bombings had made their place in society suddenly precarious. Some Islamic organizations had issued warnings for Muslims to stay off the streets for fear of reprisals. But by the weekend, the streets were again bustling with veiled women and men wearing traditional beards. “Yes, I'm worried, but I'm not overly worried,” says Shibbir Ahmed, a local government official who volunteers with the...

That Other Forum

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL -- What do Bill Gates, Tony Blair, and Sharon Stone have in common? All spent the last week of January hanging out in Davos, the exclusive Swiss resort town that for the last three decades has been home to the World Economic Forum, where the world's elite business, financial, and political leaders meet to chart the course of the world. For everybody else, there was the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, a small river city in southern Brazil. Here, more than 150,000 people from 135 countries spent six days attending some 2,500 lectures, workshops, and cultural events. This was the anti-globalization movement trying to globalize itself. It was messy. Activists from poor countries and rich, feminist and native-rights groups, environmental organizations and unions -- all trying to find common ground. When the World Social Forum began in 2001, stopping free trade and the power of multinational corporations was at the top of the agenda. These days, the activists, trade...

Offshore Thing

George W. Bush seems to have the Democrats fiscally stymied. They can try to rescind most of his tax cuts, but as responsible fiscal stewards they would need that money to close his huge deficits -- and could forget about addressing public needs. Alternatively, they could try to restore social outlay and take a lot of heat for being irresponsible about the deficit. In fact, there's another, far better option that almost nobody mentions: collecting the hundreds of billions of dollars that the taxman leaves on the table. According to estimates from former Internal Revenue Service officials and independent tax experts, between $250 billion and $300 billion in owed taxes goes uncollected every year. Today, federal revenue is just 16.6 percent of the gross domestic product, the lowest ratio in 45 years. And corporate tax receipts are down to just 1.2 percent of the GDP, which is nearly half of what it was in 1998 and 25 percent less than it was in 1990 during the last recession. This...

Business Meets Its Match

For decades the American chemical industry has put tens of thousands of substances on the market and into the environment with little interference from the U.S. government. What a surprise, then, to come up against the new Europe. The European Union, concerned that it does not have health or environmental data on the majority of the compounds now in use, is crafting legislation that by 2005 will require the industry to conduct extensive safety tests on 30,000 common chemicals. At least 1,500 are expected to be banned or severely restricted in their use as a result. The industry estimates that the testing alone will cost it more than $7.5 billion. "At present we are unwittingly testing chemicals on both living humans and animals," European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström told chemical-company executives in Brussels, Belgium, the EU capital, this spring. "It is high time to place the responsibility where it belongs: with industry." The American companies -- and the Bush...

Pages