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

Silenzio! Demands Silvio

Reading Time: 2 minutes There’s a fascinating political-media brouhaha going on in Italy that is a kind of turbocharged mega-Lewinsky scandal, but it is getting comparatively little coverage in the United States. One of the country’s leading newspapers is challenging Silvio Berlusconi, the 72-year-old Italian prime minister as to the nature of a relationship he began in 2008 with Read More

Lack of Mercury Reporting is Fishy

Reading Time: 2 minutes On August 20, while scanning the New York Times the old-fashioned way, i.e. on paper, I stopped to look at a small article, no bigger than a long paragraph, tucked away in a column full of short items called “National Briefing.” The headline read: “Mercury Found in Every Fish Tested, Scientists Say”. I stopped to 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 Well-Oiled Crowd Balks at Climate Fix

Reading Time: 2 minutes The New York Times has a surprisingly direct, no-hedging, exposé of oil industry shenanigans designed to block climate change legislation. For once, it is crystal clear to readers what is going on—the oil industry is rallying workers whose (understandable) immediate concerns do not extend beyond continuing to earn a living, to . . . preserving 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

The Importance of Whistleblowers

Reading Time: 2 minutes In the New York Daily News, columnist Stanley Crouch stresses the significance of health insurance p.r. executive Wendell Potter’s defection to the health care reform movement. Potter is now working with the Center for Media and Democracy to counter industry propaganda and reveal the internal workings of the business. Whistleblowers are indispensable in the battle 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

Conflicts of Interest, and the Appearance Thereof

Reading Time: 3 minutes There was a time when the mere appearance of a conflict of interest was sufficient to rule out certain media practices. That time seems to have long passed. Take, for example, the alleged pay-for-play scandal at the American Conservative Union. The organization offered FedEx lobbying support in a labor dispute for a $2–3 million fee, 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

The Foreign-Policy Establishment

Reading Time: 3 minutes Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard University, recently wrote an interesting piece for Foreign Policy magazine about what topics are considered “taboo” among establishment foreign-policy wonks—a group that includes Walt himself as a member. The article is equally compelling for what it says as for what it implies about Walt, as Read More

A Drive for Unrestricted Executive Power

Reading Time: 2 minutes The New York Times comes out with a strong editorial, calling for an investigation into Bush administration security abuses, now that it is clear that the practices were not necessary to protect the national interest. We’ve known for years that the Bush administration ignored and broke the law repeatedly in the name of national security. Read More

Opinions to the Highest Bidder

Reading Time: 2 minutes The American Conservative Union describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative lobbying organization” devoted to, among other conservative ideals, “a market economy.” For the ACU, it seems, everything should be determined by market forces—including what policies it should support. Politico’s Mike Allen has caught the organization in an embarrassing pay-for-play scandal: The Read More

Did Goldman Sachs Manipulate Markets?

Reading Time: 2 minutes [Update below – Ed.] Over Independence Day weekend, Sergey Aleynikov, a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer, was arrested by the FBI for allegedly stealing the firm’s high-speed stock- and commodities-trading programming code and uploading it to an unidentified Web server in Germany. At Aleynikov’s July 4 bail hearing, Joseph Facciponti, an assistant U.S. Attorney, told Read More

Questions about Developing C.I.A. Story

Reading Time: 2 minutes An official story is forming about the secret program that the C.I.A. hid from Congress: the agency planned to organize assassination squads to target Al Qaeda terrorists around the world, according to a lead article in today’s New York Times. Although this account has gained widespread acceptance, there’s reason to be skeptical. As I noted Read More

The Mega-embassy That Wasn’t

Reading Time: 2 minutes Have you heard that Iran built a mega-embassy in Nicaragua? Word of this development has passed the lips of many a conservative anxious about Tehran’s intentions. As the Washington Post reports: It is not clear where the report of the embassy in Managua began. But in the past two years, it has made its way Read More