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HKS in the News July 19, 2012

1. US confronts new perils in the Middle East as election looms (Burns) The Boston Globe

2. Philosophic Clash Over Government’s Role Highlights Parties’ Divide (Putnam) The New York Times

3. Collecting What Government is Owed Efficiently -- and Equitably (Goldsmith) Governing Magazine

4. Michelle Bachmann’s anti-Muslim paranoia (Kayyem) The Boston Globe

5. Purge of North Korean general still a mystery (Park) CNN

US confronts new perils in the Middle East as election looms

The Boston Globe

July 19

Commentary by: Nicholas Burns, Belfer Center

Topic: Foreign policy and the presidential election

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discovered in the Middle East this week that its revolutionary moment has entered a new, violent, and unpredictable phase.

Just after her return, Syrian rebels managed to penetrate the Defense Ministry in Damascus and killed the defense minister, President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law, and other officials. In Egypt, the military and the new Muslim Brotherhood leadership are locked in a dramatic struggle for the country’s future while Iran defiantly blocks progress with the United States on its nuclear ambitions. These rapidly shifting events pose tough choices for US leadership in the region and could have an impact on the 2012 election. …

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Philosophic Clash Over Government’s Role Highlights Parties’ Divide

The New York Times

July 18

Quoted: Robert Putnam

Topic: The presidential election

It took only a few days for it to become a favorite Republican talking point. President Obama told an audience that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen.” …

“America has historically swung between an emphasis on individualism and an emphasis on community,” said Robert D. Putnam, a Harvard University professor who has written books on the role of community in America. “It may not feel like we’re having this big philosophical debate, but underneath, I think that really is what’s at stake.”

Professor Putnam, who got to know Mr. Obama during seminar retreats more than a decade ago where these issues were discussed, said individualism had dominated the national mood for much of the last 40 years. “This is a big swing of the historical pendulum, and he’d like to be involved in beginning the swing back the other direction,” he said of Mr. Obama. …

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Collecting What Government is Owed Efficiently -- and Equitably

Governing Magazine

July 18

Commentary by: Stephen Goldsmith, Ash Center

Topic: Enforcing fines and fees owed to the Government

Government officials, despite their bureaucratic stereotypes, constantly wrestle with equity and fairness issues on matters that involve finances, penalties and payments. I first noticed this years ago after the Indiana Legislature significantly increased penalties for driving an automobile with equipment problems such as a burned-out light or a minor exhaust defect. Police officers simply didn't believe it was fair to lay a large fine on a relatively poor citizen driving an older, beat-up car. Ticket revenues dropped until the law was modified to allow the officer to give a citation allowing the driver to pay a much smaller fine if he proved the defect had been corrected. The number of tickets went up, equipment defects went down and ticket revenues increased.

But what about the other side of the curve, when individuals owe fees and do not pay them? All responsible officials empathize with those without the capacity to pay what they owe. A family in which a mom has lost her job and now may lose her house evokes sympathy and concern. When, however, officials tolerate or legislatively mandate broad protections or build endless amnesty opportunities and second-chance efforts across the board, the system tilts sharply in the direction of unfairness. …

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Michelle Bachmann’s anti-Muslim paranoia

Boston Globe

July 19

Commentary by: Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Center

Topic: Anti-Muslim accusations in the US

There are Tiger Moms and Helicopter Moms and French Moms, and all sorts of labels to measure our adequacies as parents. But these moms have nothing on those who sacrifice in pursuit of a much-higher ideology. Now, thanks to Representative Michele Bachmann’s attempts to root out the Muslim Brotherhood’s “deep penetration” into the US government, the nation has been introduced to a new phenomenon: the Manchurian Mom.

According to the new wave of anti-Muslim accusations, America’s enemy takes the form of a woman in national security who marries a man outside her faith as a decoy to her real intentions, acquires political positions and access to policy makers through her assimilation, and subverts the nation’s interests while still propagating. …

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Purge of North Korean general still a mystery


July 19

Quoted: John Park, Belfer Center

Topic: North Korean politics

North Korea's sudden dismissal of Ri Yong Ho from his post as army chief and from all his government posts caught many watchers of the secretive regime of Kim Jong Un by surprise and wondering what was going on. …

Ri's departure "looks a lot like the outcome of decision making and the jockeying within this new leadership structure," said John Park, a Research Fellow with the Belfer Center at Harvard University. "This isn't Kim Jong Il ruling from the grave anymore, but the early signs of this new regime structure making some early movements." …

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Broadcast Notes

Susan Crawford, Shorenstein Center

American Public Media, “ Marketplace,” 7/19

Topic: The rise of data sharing plans

Steven Kelman

Federal News Radio, “In Depth,” 7/7/17

Topic: The General Services Administration scandal

This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley

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