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Tea party's cure
Tea party's cure

-Editorial-

PARIS – Once upon a time, there was a Republic that knew how to overcome ideological differences. It was largely governed from a certain middle ground, a magical place and the matrix of what political art can produce in its most intelligent and, often, noble form: reform by compromise.

This Republic of yore could find majorities thanks to center-leaning politicians from the country's two main parties, Republicans and Democrats. Momentous policies were thus enacted: the New Deal's welfare state, the fight against 20th century totalitarianism, the Civil Rights Act, the conquest of space …

Across the Atlantic, the Old Continent — too often absorbed in ideological squabble — longed for a flexibility similar to that of the American political system.

Yet, as the years passed, this system was bound to grind to a halt. The workings of the American democracy have been getting rustier and rustier. The latest example of this is the government shutdown as the White House and Republican-led House of Representatives are locked in a standoff over the federal budget.

The new budget year started on Oct. 1 and, without a deal, the Treasury has no money to pay civil servants — meaning that parts of the government's basic services are simply shut down.

It's the politics, stupid

Of course, it is an eminently political affair. The Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have no intention of voting the budget unless they get the cancellation of Barack Obama's health care reform — an eventuality that the president and the Senate, controlled by his party, refuse to even discuss.

But things do not end there. Although this is already harmful to the economy, the shutdown could lead to something much worse: the default on the American debt payment, should the Republicans adopt the same conduct come Oct. 17, when the debt ceiling will need to be raised. The beginning of the U.S. economic recovery could be seriously jeopardized, bound to lead to negative repercussions on the rest of the world's economy.

It would be wrong to assume that there is a genuine disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over Obamacare health reform. It is but a pretext for the extremist, fundamentalist core of the Republican party, the Tea Party, to sabotage Obama's presidency. Such is the reflection of an increasingly polarized American public life.

There is no rational justification for the actions of the Tea Party, except for the hatred they share for this President, or for a view of politics that falls under the frame of permanent civil war.

A majority of the American people strongly oppose the Tea Party, but their representatives in Congress risk nothing. Their constituencies were tailor-made by Republican governors, guaranteeing them reelection. And meanwhile, the Founding Fathers of this great Republic will continue to turn over in their proverbial grave.

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Ideas

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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