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We all know that Halliburton is gouging taxpayers--according to the Pentagon, Vice President Cheney's old company overcharged the US government by as much as $61 million for fuel in Iraq. But now we learn that more than 27,000 military contractors, or about one in nine, are evading taxes and still continuing to win new government business.

According to the General Accounting Office, these tax cheats owed an estimated $3 billion at the end of 2002, mainly in Social Security and other payroll taxes, including Medicare, that were diverted for business or personal use instead of being sent to the government. (Lesser amounts were owed in income taxes).

In one 2002 case, the New York Times reports, a company providing dining, security and custodial services to military bases received $3.5 million in payments from the Defense Department despite owing almost $10 million to the government. (Shockingly, the GAO estimated that the Defense Department could have collected $100 million in 2002 by offsetting payments to delinquent companies still on its payroll.)

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has scheduled a hearing this Thursday to look into what committee chair Norm Coleman calls "an outrageous situation." At present, federal law does not bar contractors with unpaid federal taxes from obtaining new government contracts. (The GAO has recommended policy options for barring contracts to those who abuse the federal tax system.)

At a time when $200 million would purchase enough ceramic body armor--the kind that usually works, the kind the Pentagon wouldn't splurge for--to protect almost 150,000 GIs in Iraq, Republicans and Democrats should demand that these tax cheats pay up.

[UPDATE: On February 13, the White House released what it said were Bush's full military records. Reporters were handed two-inch stacks of papers and...

Click here to read Ronnie Dugger's editorial in favor of Dennis Kucinich and hereto read Joel Rogers's arguments for John Edwards.

Bernardo Bertolucci has long fed off a cinephilia he appears to despise.

The world of letters lost one of its most eloquent voices on January 24, when the Saudi novelist Abdelrahman Munif died in his Damascus exile after a protracted illness.

From its unification in 1871 until its comprehensive defeat in 1945, Germany was the most bellicose and nationalistic of modern countries.

The name Shakespeare in Britain is rather like the names Ford, Disney and Rockefeller in the United States. He is less an individual than an institution, less an artist than an apparatus.

It's hard to know which is more interesting: the latest book by Kevin Phillips or Phillips himself.

The Center for American Progress was conceived as the Democratic answer to the Heritage Foundation...

George Bush owes the public a big explanation on WMDs.

While the Democratic presidential candidates were bickering among themselves over accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists, a far more significant political development occurred: George W.

The evolution of the character invented by the media to play the role "Al Gore" will one day make a remarkable doctoral dissertation.

This morning I got an e-mail from Feminist Majority asking me to e-mail the President protesting the Iraqi Governing Council's approval of Resolution 137, which would abolish current family law a

Kerry should hold himself accountable for his own mistake.

So the weapons weren't there--so what, Bush says,
Saddam was a "gathering threat."
We were certainly right to start a war.
This threat simply had to be met.

In July 2002 a retired US Army colonel who would be dead within months unburdened himself of twenty-two classified documents concerning war crimes in Vietnam.

George W. Bush may not know it, but one influential part of his government is finally taking global climate change seriously.

Iran's elections, scheduled for February 20, have provoked the gravest political crisis in that country in twenty years.

The future of Haiti hinges on support for a state based on law.

On February 3 a law enforcement official working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Des Moines served a subpoena on Drake University seeking records on its student chapter of the National Law

Percy Daley has seen a lot of politics in his eighty years, but he never saw anything like the crowd that showed up at the Belfast, Maine, city hall when Democrats gathered for their presidential

"There's going to be ample time for the American people to assess whether or not I made good calls," George W. Bush told Meet the Press host Tim Russert in their recent one-on-one.


WHO WAS THAT BIG-HAIRED GUY?

Ann Arbor, Mich.

[FOR TWO UPDATES ON BUSH'S BROKEN PROMISE AND MORE WHITE HOUSE SPINNING ON THE AWOL CONTROVERSY, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM]

George W. Bush is lucky that ...