What to Do About Japan—And What Not

Reading Time: 2 minutes Anyone watching the devastation in Japan must certainly wonder what we as individuals should be doing to help. For some insight, we turn to Richard Walden, a most unusual leader of a most unusual humanitarian relief group, called Operation USA. His organization’s efforts are well known to WhoWhatWhy, and they tend to be practical and modest and effective. In a just-published item on Huffington Post, Richard cuts against the conventional mass reaction to a crisis like this. We reprint his remarks here in their entirety:

NPR Scandal Reversal: The Raw Footage Shows Something Else

Reading Time: 2 minutes When I wrote a piece the other day about a scandal rocking National Public Radio over “inappropriate” comments NPR fundraising executives make on edited hidden-camera footage, I wondered whether raw footage might provide some useful context. I did not know at the time that such raw footage was there to be scrutinized.

WORTH READING: No One Need Apply, Best Place to Work?, Where to Get Sick

Reading Time: 1 minute Corporations are hitting record profits this year so where are all the jobs? Despite massive tax incentives for job creation, companies like Verizon and GE are cutting back their workforce rather than increasing it. Perhaps it’s time to provide them with some disincentives to turn the tide for America’s unemployed.

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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.

BOOK REVIEW: America's Nazi Secret: An Insider's History

Reading Time: 4 minutes Book By John Loftus America’s Nazi Secret is not what you’d call extremely reader-friendly material. Sometimes it feels like a chore to read it. But wow—does it ever provide powerful insight into the “deep politics” of US policy. Born of the Boston Irish, John Loftus never imagined that he would end up tracking down Byelorussian Read More

Arabs and Jews: A Surprising Statement

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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?

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

Barack Obama, Stanley McChrystal

Woodward Update: The Post And The Generals

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Reading Time: 5 minutes 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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 Redux

Reading Time: 2 minutes Recently, I raised some questions about the impact of imprisonment at Guantánamo and how it affected those who were released. For example, I wrote: As for those who returned to jihad, one would like to know whether they were more motivated to do so as a result of their treatment at Guantánamo, or less. In Read More

Jihad Leak

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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