Democracy=Corruption And Eggshells?

Reading Time: 2 minutes A recent Washington Post article reported on the not-so-coincidental timing of campaign contributions from corporate interests with votes on legislation affecting those interests. As thoughtful folks might say, “well DUH.” Who can be surprised by this? Certainly, the daily corruption of Congress must be covered, and I’m glad to see the Post writing: Numerous times Read More

Covering up: A tale of two autopsies

Reading Time: 4 minutes Here’s a fine piece of work that ran on the front page of The New York Times recently. The article, written by Ellen Barry, concerns a suspicious death, a cover-up and a commission’s inquiry into the death. See if you can guess where this incident took place (“spoiler” details have been removed from the excerpts Read More

WikiLeaks—Where’s the Oil?

Reading Time: 5 minutes By Charlotte Dennett Ever since the first WikiLeaks “dump” of classified documents began during the summer of this year, I’ve been looking for official documents that confirm what many serious — but often censored — journalists have known for a long time: that the war on terror is really just the latest stage in the Read More

One President's Secrets—And The Media That Keeps Them

Reading Time: 5 minutes There’s still a striking double standard between the way the big American media treat American officials and foreigners. Let’s compare Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former President George H.W. Bush. Have a look at a recent New York Times article about Putin’s response to leaked diplomatic cables that cast him in a negative light. Read More

Voters: The Horror Movie

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s like some kind of horror movie in which people are behaving verrrry strangely. First, though, we don’t see anything odd at all. For example, The Associated Press reports in a new poll that More than half the country backs raising taxes on the richest Americans But then there’s the vague notion of something slightly Read More

Bones to Pick With Obama

Reading Time: 2 minutes Barack Obama is on the road these days, taking off after the special interests and elites, and defending the middle class. He is talking about equity and openness. He wants to end tax cuts for the wealthiest. Given Obama’s rhetoric, one might think that in his appointment recently of a new chairman of the White Read More

Peculiar Posner

Reading Time: 3 minutes At first glance, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Here’s a complaint letter to the editor published in The New York Times, from a man representing the highly controversial brother of Afghanistan’s president Karzai—and the letter-writer’s name is Gerald Posner. Gerald Posner? Isn’t that the same name as the investigative journalist who resigned from Read More

General McChrystal’s New Job: Dig a Bit, Please

Reading Time: 4 minutes Did you happen to see how fast General Stanley McChrystal landed on his feet after President Obama fired him for insubordination? In a now-famous Rolling Stone article, the then-commander of US troops in Afghanistan expressed contempt for Obama and Vice President Biden, and a generally profane manner regarding just about everyone. But practically no time Read More

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