Tagged: Political Science

Ban on "soft money" reaffirmed

June 29th, 2010 in Politics 0 comments

political contributionsThe Supreme Court has reaffirmed the ban on political parties being able to raise unlimited amounts of “soft money” contributions, despite the high court’s ruling in January which removed restrictions on corporate and union spending in federal elections.  The Republic Party had appealed to the court to undo the ban.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Business and Politics,” says whether soft money was really used as originally intended for “party building” rather than helping candidates, it’s reasonable to presume that corruption could be linked to soft money contributions.

“But the GOP is right to say that if you allow unfettered spending by corporations and ban soft money contributions to political parties, you are going to disadvantage parties and have more of the action coming from special interests.  Whether that is good for democracy can be questioned.”

Contact Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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Gun rights apply to local laws

June 28th, 2010 in Law 0 comments

handgunsThe Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is a fundamental right that states cannot abridge.  The 5-4 ruling will require a lower court to overturn laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park., Ill., that limited handgun possession.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective,” says the conservative majority of the court tilted away from a historic conservative position that states and cities should be able to adapt policies to local conditions and circumstances.

“Not since 1937 have we seen such conservative judicial activism and it makes complaints about liberal justices ‘making law from the bench’ ring more than a little hollow.”

Contact Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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General summoned to White House

June 22nd, 2010 in Military 0 comments

Gen. Stanley McChrystalThe commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal (r.), has been summoned to the White House to explain in person some controversial public remarks he made which were critical of the Obama administration.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective,” says presidential power is cumulative and so is its loss – so looking feeble in one policy area makes a president lose authority in completely unrelated areas, too.

“More generally, this turmoil at the top of the Allied effort in Afghanistan further destroys public confidence in that war.  Divided leadership plus continuing casualties equals loss of public support.”

Contact Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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BP CEO hit at Congressional hearing

June 17th, 2010 in Energy 0 comments

BP CEO Tony HaywardMembers of Congress came down hard on BP CEO Tony Hayward (r.) as he testified about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  But political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Business and Politics,” wondered why the spotlight over American’s worst-ever spill hasn’t shone on Transocean, BP’s partner in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig that exploded in April.

“How did Transocean get off the hook so easily?  Aren’t they people who were drilling the well with MMS approval and weren’t they ones saying the rig was needed to quickly to drill another well?”

Contact Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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BP faces Congress

June 15th, 2010 in Uncategorized 0 comments

BP logo with spillIt’s all BP all the time in Washington this week.  After President Obama addresses the nation Wednesday on the BP oil spill situation, company executives on Thursday face a Congressional hearing on the matter.  Visiting law Professor Elizabeth Nowicki, both a former SEC and Wall Street attorney, says BP CEO Tony Hayward would be well-served to remember what empirical research shows about the economic value of apologies.

“My advice to Hayward is to remember what behavioral research has shown:  Corporations with senior management who willing and sincerely apologize are (a) less likely to get sued and (b) more likely to settle inevitable lawsuits more cheaply.”

Meantime, political science Prof. Graham Wilson, author of “Business and Politics,” wonders when other companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and its aftermath will be put in the spotlight that thus far has swamped BP.

“It will be interesting to see if the American companies involved, such as Transocean and Haliburton, are also asked to set aside funds [for clean-up].  Only eight of the people on the rig when the well failed were employed by BP.”

Contact Elizabeth Nowicki, 518-867-5355, enowicki@bu.edu; or Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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New Japanese P.M. and U.S.

June 7th, 2010 in International Relations 0 comments

JAPAN-POLITICS-KANAfter naming his new cabinet, Japan’s prime minister-elect Naoto Kan (l.) will be sworn in and begin what the United States hopes is a tighter U.S.-Japan relationship than under his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, who resigned abruptly after a turbulent eight-month reign.  Political science Professor Thomas Berger cautions that pushing the new government too hard on issues of U.S. interest could be counterproductive and possibly trigger an anti-American backlash.

“While many in Washington clearly hope that with Hatoyama gone U.S.-Japanese relations can get back to business as usual, those hopes are likely to be dashed.”

Contact Thomas Berger, 617-353-5351, tuberger@bu.edu

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Report: Burma developing nuke

June 7th, 2010 in International Relations 0 comments

nuke blastSmuggled evidence shows Burma’s military rulers are secretly acquiring components for a nuclear weapons program, though it appears the impoverished nation is many years away from developing an actual bomb.  Political science Professor Joseph Wippl, a 30-year career CIA officer, says the report developed by the dissident group Democratic Voice of Burma, again shows the need for accurate intelligence collection.

“There is no country so unimportant or so isolated as not to require intelligence and U.S. intelligence community expertise on that country or region.”

Contact Joseph Wippl, 617-353-8992, jwippl@bu.edu

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Obama under political fire

June 4th, 2010 in Politics 0 comments

Obama looking upFrom the handling of the Gulf oil spill to internal Democratic primary politics, President Obama is under intense political fire and the White House is getting defensive.  Political science Professor Graham Wilson, author of “Only in America? American Politics in Comparative Perspective,” says some of the criticisms are ironic.

“One irony is that when the health care bill was being blocked by the Republicans, many questioned whether Obama was capable of horse trading and cracking a few heads politically.  ‘Too cerebral, insufficiently political’ was the criticism.  Now he is being criticized for trying to cut deals.”

Contact Graham Wilson, 617-353-2540, gkwilson@bu.edu

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Memorial Day thoughts

May 28th, 2010 in Military 0 comments

Parades and political Memorial Dayspeeches this Memorial Day weekend remind us of the price of war.  Unmentioned is the hidden cost: the socioeconomic inequality in who makes the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the nation – more of the dead are from poorer communities.  Political science Professor Douglas Kriner, co-author of “The Casualty Gap: The Causes and Consequences of American Wartime Inequalities,” writes in a Los Angeles Times commentary about how this casualty gap is not part of our national dialogue.

“The reason is clear: Casualty inequalities challenge our fundamental American values. Bringing a frank and honest discussion of the casualty gap into the public sphere could significantly alter the tenor of political discourse in Washington.”

Contact Doug Kriner, 617-358-4643, dkriner@bu.edu

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Director of national intelligence quits

May 21st, 2010 in International Relations 0 comments

Dennis BlairRetired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair resigned as national intelligence director after only 16 months on the job — pushed out by President Obama who will name a successor.  Political science Professor Joseph Wippl, director of the BU Center for International Relations and a 30-year CIA operations officer, said it’s an impossible job because it doesn’t have budgetary or personnel authority over all 16 intelligence agencies.

“Expect another U.S. military man to become DNI.  The military is always good for hopeless causes in civilian leadership.”

Contact Joseph Wippl, 617-353-8992, jwippl@bu.edu

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