Senators’ Confidential Worries About Democracy Itself

Reading Time: 3 minutes Amid the constant fracas of daily political life, it is often hard to see the big picture of power in America (and, for that matter, the world.) In researching my book, Family of Secrets, I came to a fresh appreciation of this big picture, assembling a vast amount of new evidence of the extent to Read More

Oil Execs On Safety: “I Am the Walrus..”

Reading Time: 2 minutes In a remarkable display of finger-pointing, oil company executives went after BP today, claiming that if they had been running the Deepwater Horizon rig, no accident would have been possible. But as several congressmen pointed out, all the companies’ safety procedures are absurdly inadequate. Which raises the question: how well do we, as a society, Read More

Bush's New Bankruptcy

Reading Time: 2 minutes Just read breaking news that the Texas Rangers baseball team—the entity that put George W. Bush on the path to the presidency–has filed for bankruptcy. According to Bloomberg News: The Texas Rangers, the Major League Baseball team controlled by billionaire Thomas Hicks, filed for bankruptcy after the planned sale of the team fell through. The Arlington, Texas-based Read More

No Sunshine On Sunstein's Dark Spots

Reading Time: 3 minutes Recently a New York Times Magazine article profiled Cass Sunstein, the most powerful man in government you never heard of. And it absolutely buried the lead—the main reason to take an interest in this fellow. Under the decidedly benign headline “Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us,” we learn that Sunstein, a close friend of President Read More

Letters to Jackie, But What About Jack? How to Avoid the Heart of the JFK Assassination

Reading Time: 2 minutes When it comes to the biggest and most troubling stories of our time, corporate-owned and conventional public news outlets have a tendency to do an end run around the controversy and go straight to the most emotionally satisfying but least consequential aspects. Take the assassination of the 35th president. Recently, the media were full of Read More

What Obama Is Up Against

Reading Time: 5 minutes The first anniversary of Barack Obama’s historic election finds many of his supporters already grousing. Fair enough: Obama has been more vigorous in some areas than others. But one essential question goes unasked: How much can any president accomplish against the wishes of recalcitrant power centers within his own government? We Americans harbor a quaint Read More

Déjà vu, all over again. And again. And again.

Reading Time: 2 minutes As the New York Times reports, Large batches of e-mail records from the Justice Department lawyers who worked on the 2002 legal opinions justifying the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation techniques are missing, and the Justice Department told lawmakers Friday that it would try to trace the disappearance. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Patrick J. Read More

A Chilean Chiller

Reading Time: 2 minutes Here in the United States, we are regularly warned by the media and the pundits not to subscribe to wacky “conspiracy theories.”  (For more on this theme, see my book, Family of Secrets.)  Even a suggestion that figures tied to our intelligence services might have participated in something seriously untoward on our own shores– is Read More

The Comeback of Vice

Reading Time: 1 minute So, the Cheney family is fanning out on all fronts.  Younger daughter Mary is setting up a new family-run DC strategic consulting firm, modeled on Henry Kissinger’s. Eldest daughter Liz is partnering up in  a new advocacy group called “Keep America Safe.” And both, together with their father, are on the hustings attacking President Obama…

Something to Sleep On

Reading Time: 3 minutes The New York Times lead story describes how a series of private equity firms managed to repeatedly flip the venerable Simmons mattress company, earning themselves huge profits while the company became increasingly mired in debt and ultimately forced into bankruptcy and massive layoffs, with ordinary investors, employees, and company retirees taking a huge hit. I Read More

Wild Acorns?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Conservative activists and talk show hosts, continuing a crusade begun during the presidential campaign, have been calling for their compatriots to dig up dirt on appointees and beneficiaries of Obama administration funding. The result has been an effort by the Democrats to quickly blunt any controversy by terminating links with anyone deemed controversial. Recently, a Read More

Behind Clinton Backer's Arrest: a Bipartisan, International Affair

Reading Time: 5 minutes AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano whowhatwhy.org reports exclusively on the background of Hassan Nemazee, the top Hillary Clinton fundraiser who was arrested and charged with forging loan documents. Early media accounts cast the event as an embarrassment for Ms. Clinton and the Democratic Party involving the financial misdoings of one prominent backer. Actually it is much Read More

A Deadly Health Care Rumor

Reading Time: 1 minute The other day, the New York Times got around to a bit of investigation into the origins of false information about health insurance reform. But just a bit—not nearly enough. The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposals would create government-sponsored “death panels” to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed Read More

US Attys: Missing The Origins

Reading Time: 1 minute The New York Times reports on new documents showing that Bush White House political honcho Karl Rove was much more deeply involved in the early moves that led to the firings of numerous United States Attorneys, seemingly for partisan reasons. But the article fails to focus on what matters most: Why? Internal e-mail messages in Read More

The New Sub-prime Threat?

Reading Time: 1 minute I continue to be fascinated by the leaks that are coming out of the Pentagon during the Obama administration. On Wednesday, the New York Times published an article that, in the electronic edition, was headlined “Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.” Pretty ominous. Even more so in the print edition, on page A5, Read More

Is the CIA Planted in State Governments?

Reading Time: 2 minutes WhoWhatWhy commenter David pointed us to the following video of former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura discussing his brush with the Central Intelligence Agency as a newly elected state leader . . . In the video, Ventura discusses material from his recent memoir Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me!. He repeats the following claims: (1) Shortly Read More

The Blue Dogs: Best Friends of Big Business

Reading Time: 4 minutes [Updates below – Ed.] As the Obama administration attempts to overhaul the nation’s health care, energy, and financial sectors, it faces the growing leverage of the Blue Dog Coalition—the conservative, fifty-two-member faction of the House’s Democratic caucus—to moderate, or obstruct, its goals. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) recently published an investigation into the Blue Read More

Doddering and Dithering on Financial Reform

Reading Time: 3 minutes The New York Times reports on the formidable resistance in Congress to Obama’s efforts to, among other things, create a new consumer protection agency to cover credit cards, mortgages, and other poorly-regulated financial products. It cites . . . significant criticism from the financial services industry and its allies in Congress. Earlier this week, senior Read More