The Game That Goes On and On: A Swiss Bank, A President and the Permanent Government

Reading Time: 1 minute A little-noted presidential golf outing opens the door to an intrigue-filled world of financiers, murky international interests, money-laundering, tax evasion, and politics as not-so-usual. — Last August, the presidential press corps followed Barack Obama and his family to Martha’s Vineyard for their brief vacation. The coverage focused on summery fare—a visit to an ice cream 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

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

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

A Fresh Wind

Reading Time: 3 minutes Traditional journalism organizations as a matter of practice eschew and even sometimes demonize the work of independent journalists who document apparent high-level collusion against the broader public interest.  “Conspiracy theory,” they sniff. Yet with the fast-changing media landscape, even the most cautious enterprises are suddenly suffused with the spirit of the muckrakers, who were unafraid Read More

The Post-Journalism Era?

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Washington Post has great reporters, but as a journalistic institution, it has been strikingly sympathetic to the ruling establishment. Over the decades, reporters there have complained repeatedly about how their efforts to break out of an emerging consensus have been stymied, overtly or more subtly. See for example pages 223-226 in Kristina Borjesson’s book Read More

Invest In The Truth!

Reading Time: 1 minute Support Fearless, Nonpartisan, Independent Investigative Journalism that takes on the subjects, institutions and people that few news outlets will touch. This is a Beta site awaiting public funding so it can go daily. If you like what you see here, if you appreciate the kind of serious journalistic exploration of “deep politics” exemplified by WhoWhatWhy Read More

“Individual Liberty” = Hidden Corporate Interests = Dodgy Amazon Reviews

Reading Time: 3 minutes Too seldom do we get advance notice of what corporate interests are up to in the political arena—doings that are too often masked, sometimes hidden behind a staged “citizen uprising”. That’s why it’s good to see this piece in the New York Times: Like about a dozen other states, Florida is debating a proposed amendment 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

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

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A Number That’s Nobody’s Business

Reading Time: 2 minutes Here’s an odd thing: the muscular US Chamber of Commerce, long a force for extreme big-business values, fighting off universal health insurance, minimum wage increases, global warming action and the like, is actually much smaller than it makes itself out to be. According to Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson, the Chamber, aided and abetted by news 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

Fair and Balanced Nukes?

Reading Time: 2 minutes Yesterday’s New York Times represented a kind of quiet sea change. A front-page article addressed the quality of intelligence analyses of Iran’s nuclear intentions, against the background of the West’s mounting confrontation with Tehran. Unlike the largely credulous articles written by Judith Miller and others that provided crucial fodder for justifying the invasion of Iraq Read More

Credit Where Credit Ain’t Due

Reading Time: 2 minutes Two large debit-card issuers have suddenly decided to clean up their acts in the face of pending legislative action against them. The bigger question is: what’s to prevent them from pulling a bait and switch, first voluntarily revising their rapacious practices and then, when the threat of legislation dies down, ramping those practices right back 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