Worth Reading: English Lessons, Very Rich, Legal Murder, Chinese Wall

With the recent events in the Middle East and the union busting in Wisconsin, Americans can learn something useful about fighting back from our neighbors across the pond. In the UK, a group of ordinary citizens decided to disrupt business as usual: By spreading the word on Twitter and holding nation-wide protests of the largest cell phone provider Vodafone, they demanded the company pay up for billions in taxes owed.

Arabs and Jews: A Surprising Statement

With news reports mostly emphasizing the Israeli government’s wariness about events in Egypt, here’s an interesting development: It took the Arab-run news outlet, Al Jazeera, to run a piece about Jews being supportive of the Egyptian people’s self-determination. Writes Rabbi Michael Lerner: Ever since the victory over the dictator of Tunisia and the subsequent uprising Read More

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How Does Their Garden Grow? The Bitter Fruits of The Iraq Invasion

Bet you haven’t heard how Iraqi agriculture has been destroyed since the invasion—and how US agribusiness benefits. That’s a huge story, and one you won’t see in the corporate-owned US media. It’s a sad story, a tragedy, something that provides infinite perspective on the purposes and consequences of unnecessary war, and begins to explain why Read More

State of the Onion

During the president’s speech, I kept my eyes and ears peeled for anything that a journalist might want to pursue. Here are some random thoughts: Obama and Congress paid tribute to Gabby Giffords, on the mend from the massacre in Tucson—but Obama said not a word about the explosion of guns into nearly every corner Read More

Supremely Courting Disaster

Only infrequently does the New York Times really go for the jugular and spell out for us the extent to which the system is rigged against ordinary people and their interests. One such rare example is a recent article by the Times’ thoughtful legal writer, Adam Liptak, based on new academic research out of Chicago. Read More

WikiLeaks—Where’s the Oil?

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

Barack Obama, Stanley McChrystal

Woodward Update: The Post And The Generals

Bob Woodward’s affect is that of a human tape recorder. He claims that he is no more than a passive chronicler of events.  Yet he has played a significant role in the unfolding history he reports, from Watergate on down to the leak of General McChrystal’s memo pushing for increased troop strength in Afghanistan.  (See Read More

Bob Woodward, Obama's Wars

“Obama’s Wars”: The Real Story Bob Woodward Won’t Tell

Just one year before the publication of “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward became a player in his own book-in-progress. He morphed into his true identity: Warrior Bob. Actually, there’s an even deeper persona, Agent Woodward—but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. In June of 2009, Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, President Obama’s National Security Read More

Some Analysis is Foreign to Us

Timeless morsels are, well, timeless. Hence, I bring to your attention this phase from an early-March article in the New York Times. The reporter, writing about the Iraqi elections, noted [T]he elections may be a cautionary lesson, as politicians struggle to cobble together a coalition to rule. Iraq’s politics are more vibrant than the institutions Read More

Enforced Conformity is Deadly for Democracy

Lately, from conversations and reading posts on the Web, I have been struck by how many people have developed hardened positions on the assassination of JFK based on inadequate information. Lots of people, for example, are unaware of the extraordinary number of witnesses who told stories that ran counter to the official version produced by Read More

Fix The Economy? Toss The GDP

WhoWhatWhy Advisory Board member Jonathan Rowe explains why we need a whole new way of measuring the health of the economy. One reason that the nation has not made more progress toward an economic “recovery” is that the people in charge really don’t know what one would look like. The top economists in Washington don’t Read More

Jihad Leak

A leaked Pentagon study claims one in seven Guantánamo detainees returned to jihad upon their release. A New York Times reporter says that the assertion could be used to argue against closing down Guantánamo. But…. -If the numbers are correct, that’s a pretty low recidivism rate. It could either argue for the effectiveness of incarceration Read More

Of Bonuses and Shelters

Stories about homelessness and the spread of tent cities abound. It has always been difficult to get an accurate number on how many people are without shelter, but homelessness groups have estimated that on a given night in one of the worst months of a typical recent year, that figure might near 800,000. Say it Read More

Etymology as Journalism

Phraseology is fundamental to today’s political battles. Lobbyists, political strategists, corporate PR reps, and even academics expend an extraordinary amount of thought and money on framing issues with just the right label. Expressions like “bridge to nowhere” simply don’t arise from ordinary discourse. Consequently, journalists have to become etymologists to cover politics adequately.  Anytime they hear Read More

Windows on Morality

What makes good people do bad things? That is the topic of a New York Times article about trials of former officials of the savage Cambodian regime, the Khmer Rouge. “We were victims, too,” said Him Huy, the head of the guard detail at the Tuol Sleng torture house, who took part in the executions Read More