Robert Dreyfuss

Robert Dreyfuss is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect. He is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. He can be reached through his website.

Recent Articles

Reforming Reform

E ven as it prepares for yet another attempt to ban unregulated soft money in the form of the modest McCain-Feingold bill, the movement for campaign finance reform is further than ever from its goal of getting money out of politics. That's because passing McCain-Feingold would have little effect in the real world. Much of the $400 million or so in soft money--mostly from corporations and the rich--that deluged Democratic and Republican caches this year would simply be spent in other ways to influence electoral politics. Candidates and political parties would continue to sell their political souls for billions of private dollars in the form of regulated hard money from wealthy individuals and political action committees. More and more outside groups, increasingly representing business and industry coalitions, would continue to air phony issue ads that are really disguised candidate support. These remain perfectly legal given the Supreme Court 's view that money is...

News Flash: Corporate Life Is Harsh

Is journalism the only industry whose quality is adversely affected by the capitalist drive to increase profit margins? You might think so, judging by the media response to the resignation of Jay T. Harris, publisher of the San Jose Mercury News. Harris abruptly quit his job as chief of the Knight Ridder–owned daily earlier this spring--with a public salvo aimed at his bosses. "So far," he wrote, "we have been unable to find a way to meet the new [financial] targets without risking significant and lasting harm to the Mercury News as a journalistic enterprise." Harris's action gained him widespread acclaim among editors and reporters; a few weeks after his resignation he had a starring role at the convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE). "I resigned because I was concerned about the damage to the whole of the paper," he said. "I was worried that in Knight Ridder a greater priority was being given to the business aspects of the enterprise rather than to fulfilling...

Philip Morris Money

I n Virginia, fresh-faced, environmentally minded schoolchildren gather biological samples and test water quality in rivers and waterways, part of the Izaak Walton League's Save Our Streams initiative. In Chicago, amid Tai Chi classes and body massages, families with young children enjoy performance art and teenagers flock to an all-night "rave," all part of the Museum of Contemporary Art's Summer Solstice weekend. In Minnesota hundreds of children with HIV or AIDS come together each year at Camp Heartland, where they can "escape the isolation and misunderstanding they so often face because of this illness." And all of these kids can thank the caring people at Philip Morris. It might raise eyebrows that children and youth engage in otherwise worthwhile activities while carrying brochures and leaflets bearing the Philip Morris logo, but these and scores of other programs--ranging from battered women's shelters to disaster relief programs to scholarships for African-American students at...

The New China Lobby

Who bought American indulgence of China? Surprise--multinational corporations that fly the U.S. flag.

Illustration by Bob Dahm J ust before the November election, concern about foreign influence over U.S. trade policy suddenly emerged amid revelations that the Clinton campaign had accepted (and then returned) illegal donations from wealthy East Asian nationals. But as the media focused on the connections of one fundraiser to the White House and the debate became tinged with xenophobia, a bigger story of influence-peddling got lost: the role of multinational corporations that nominally fly the American flag. see related resources below Nothing reveals this pattern better than the recent history of the U.S. relationship with China. China has been under fire for violations of both human rights and commercial rights. It routinely ignores intellectual property protections, and it closes its domestic market to much that the U.S. might export. By 1995, China's trade surplus with the United States had ballooned to an embarrassingly high total of $34 billion, heading upwards. [See Chalmers...

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