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.

Wisconsin, Meet the Military

Reading Time: 3 minutes Anyone concerned about excessive government spending—and looking to make cuts to be financially prudent—would look at the biggest cost categories. Right? Wrong.
In all the talk about the outrageous salaries and benefits of teachers and government employees, how much discussion is there about the budget for the military and the spy establishment? Well, um, almost none at all.

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.

Qaddafi, Bush And The Iraq Big Lie

Reading Time: 2 minutes While the US government expresses outrage over the brutality of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi toward his own people, we’re missing a complex but significant wrinkle that ties Qaddafi to America’s cover-up of the true path to war in Iraq.

In May, 2009, a man named Ibn Shaikh al-Libi supposedly committed suicide while being held in a Libyan jail. Al-Libi is a deeply, deeply interesting fellow. Back in 2002, he was tortured by Egypt under US direction. It appears that the reason the US government had him tortured was not to stop some imminent attack on the United States, but to generate alleged—and false— links between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that could justify invading Iraq.

Seymour Hersh…And The Men Who Want Him Committed

Reading Time: 11 minutes It seems unusual for a staid, respected publication (one that has received three National Magazine Awards in just this past decade) to start treating a celebrated journalist (who himself has won two National Magazine Awards in just this past decade) as if he were nothing more than a paranoid crank. [Read the rest]

Unanswered Questions as Obama Anoints HW Bush

Reading Time: 5 minutes On February 15, President Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest award, to a group of people which includes former president George H.W. Bush. Having spent five years researching the elder Bush and discovering a staggering array of secrets to the man’s life—none of them favorable, I was curious why Obama gave Bush the medal.

Sex, Oil, Chaos & Corruption at American U. of Iraq

Reading Time: 15 minutes Anyone who still wonders why the Bush administration invaded Iraq would do well to become familiar with an institution whose existence few Americans are aware of: the American University of Iraq-Sulaimaniya.

Located in Kurdistan, at the nexus of northern Iraq’s border with Iran and Turkey, AUI-S opened its doors in 2007. At the time, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote about it with the sort of wide-eyed enthusiasm that had generally accompanied the invasion itself four years before. “Imagine for a moment if one outcome of the U.S. invasion of Iraq had been the creation of an American University of Iraq…Imagine if we had created an island of decency in Iraq…Well, stop imagining.”
[Read the rest]

Giving Chase: Egypt, OK – But What About America’s Oligarchs?

Reading Time: 3 minutes With all the attention on crowds of ordinary people rising up and asserting themselves against corruption and self-dealing by an oligarchy, we’re missing what the oligarchs are doing right at home. Take, for example, the activities of one of our biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase. Newly released documents show that high officials of the bank knew Read More

Bush, Rumsfeld and Iraq: Is the Real Reason for the Invasion Finally Emerging?

Reading Time: 4 minutes In Donald Rumsfeld’s new book, Known and Unknown, out February 8, Rumsfeld offers an account of George W. Bush’s early interest in Iraq.  This was just days after the 9/11 attacks.  There were no apparent reasons for Bush to focus on Iraq, instead of on the actual perpetrators of the attacks. Here’s the Rumsfeld version Read More