Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Recent Articles

THINK TANK ROUND-UP: FEDERAL-STATE-MEGA PARTERNSHIP EDITION.

Once again, a foray into the white papers that make our world go round. Better than First Class. In addition to tax breaks, the super-rich are getting discounts when the take private jets, according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies . While a commercial flight pays $2,014 in taxes to fly from New York to Miami, a private jet only pays $236, despite incurring the same cost to air traffic control. The number of private jets has grown slowly but steadily over the past 30 years and according to this report will double in the next ten years. Terror and charity. OMB Watch has a comprehensive paper detailing how counter-terror policies have led to civil rights violations in the charitable sphere: "Lack of basic due process rights and use of secret evidence mean there is no protection against unsubstantiated evidence, mistake, or abuse. Organizations are unable to present evidence to an independent review body or hire defense counsel with seized funds. Challenging a designation...

MORNING MEDIA MIND-MELD.

During the most awkwardly conceived exercise of Washington Post self-promotion in recent memory, ace national security reporter Dana Priest responded to a question on Iraq's importance in the 2008 elections: Obama started out more radical and, as we have seen, is moving to the center. My bet would be that McCain drops his surge idea--too difficult to pull off right now--and both candidate will end up with positions that are even more similar. Iraq will become less and less of a major election issue as this happens (except the left will disown Obama as they have begun to do. But they have no where else to go (exception Nader, like I said) so it won't matter. Priest has broken some huge stories as a reporter, but this kind of analysis is ridiculous. Almost nothing in that paragraph is right . This Broder ian fantasy that Iraq will lose its importance as these two candidates end up with similar positions, flying in the face of all fact, is of a kind with most pundits' refusal to admit...

WHAT DO IRAQIS WANT FROM US?

A really excellent reported piece in the Times today taps into a broad swathe of Iraqi public opinion on withdrawal. Most seem to support it with some reservations about the timing and a few worry that the Iraqi Army will be unable to provide security without the backing of American troops. But presumably the first troop withdrawals won't begin for another six months -- a Friedman unit ! -- giving the Iraqi troops more time to solidify their training and clear areas of insurgents. It's also clear that Iraq's governing officials are starting to assert themselves and reject American attempts to impose a "colonial relationship" on the country. Some Iraqi citizens quoted in the piece echo a personal worry of mine that I suspect John McCain shares: that American troops' departure will lead to chaos in the country and a failure to live up to our moral, you-break-it-you-bought-it obligation to correct our mistakes there. But the U.S. has reached the limit of what it can achieve militarily in...

SOMETHING I READ ON A DOLLAR BILL.

Obama ’s nearly-record-breaking June fundraising haul -- $52 million! -- ought to change the media narrative for the next few days. The campaign claims an average donation of $68. Assuming those numbers hold up when we get the full FEC reports, they support Obama's justification of his decision to back out of public financing -- that he won’t be beholden to wealthy interests if most of his money is coming in small chunks from regular folks. We’ll see if that turns out to be true. But most impressive is the fact that this was done in June; fundraisers will tell you that the summer months are the most difficult time to raise money (primary’s over, the general hasn’t started to really heat up, people are going on vacation, etc.) although, given the amount of media coverage of this, er, amazing race has generated, perhaps that dynamic doesn’t apply. John McCain and the RNC still have a good $28 million $1 million more cash-on-hand, but that’s in part because Obama has been up on TV more...

KNOWN UNKNOWNS?

Yet another puzzling factor in the Iraq debate are the conservative types and media figures (see the third graf) who think it is so crazy for Obama to talk about Iraq policy before he visits the country. Is his arrival in Baghdad going to lead to some great epiphany? Between news reports, easy access to experts, and intelligence briefings (which I believe he's entitled to as nominee, though I'm not sure if he's getting them yet...) Obama or anyone else should have a solid enough idea of what's going on Iraq to make a broad strategic decisions about the conflict (as a President does) that can still be tactically flexible and respond to advice from policy implementers on the ground. In fact, like most Congressional junkets, and especially those to dangerous places, he'll likely be whisked around in convoys -- recall McCain's delightful trip to a Baghdad market -- meet local dignitaries, and do some photo-ops. Sure, it'll be great to meet General Petraeus in person, but their...

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