Tuesday, August 13, 2013 Exclusive -- Hastings "Unauthorized Cremation" Mega-Rumor False, Family Says (1 comments)
According to a member of Michael Hastings's family, a widely circulated story that the investigative journalist's body was cremated by authorities without the family's permission is flat-out untrue. The story that the cremation was unauthorized -- further stoking credible suspicions aroused by Hastings's strange death in a fiery one-car crash, complete with a dramatic explosion -- has raged across the Internet for weeks.
Saturday, August 10, 2013 New Obama Disclosure Block (2 comments)
Washington's hunger to know everything about its citizens seems to be matched only by its reticence in revealing its own activities to its citizens. The latest move to prevent us from knowing what is going on relates to so-called transparency policies whose fine print instead does the opposite -- by effectively blunting the stated intent of the regulations.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 MONDAY MORNING SKEPTIC: Is Snowden The Criminal -- Or Is It The System? (3 comments)
Around the mediascape, we hear a lot of talk about Edward Snowden being a criminal, and needing to return home to face "justice." But what about the possibility that people like Snowden actually are the forces of justice, while the criminals are the ones in charge of the system?
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 FBI: Knew About Saudi 9/11 Hijacker Ties -- But Lied To Protect "National Security" (16 comments)
The FBI's practice of finding evidence tied to Saudi Arabia, then denying it had such evidence, then reluctantly admitting that it did (but only as a way of blocking still more disclosure) is telling. The apparent willingness of the FBI to brazenly lie and then reverse itself -- seemingly with no consequences -- is now beginning to look like standard operating procedure.
Sunday, June 2, 2013 New York Times Warning: Trust Authorities On Boston Bombing, Or You're Nuts (6 comments)
There are people who live in the real world and are not blind to nuance, people who don't buy what the kook machines have to sell, but also recognize that the establishment media (compromised by, among other things, its financial dependency on the corporate elites) can't be trusted to get to the real bottom of things.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 WHO In Boston: Bombing Story Mysteries
What about the Boston Marathon bombing, in which innocent people died seemingly at the hands of anti-American monsters? It's important to ask the tough, even unpopular questions. The Boston story, as we previously noted, is full of question marks and high-stakes implications -- all the more reason to dig beneath the screen of official handouts.
Friday, April 19, 2013 The Marathon Bombing: What The Media Didn't Warn You About (6 comments)
When an event like the Boston bombing gives rise to wall-to-wall coverage, it fills our bandwidth. It exhausts us. It blocks out our ability to focus on anything else. At least, if we're going to give up on everything else, is it too much to ask that the coverage contain some useful information?
Thursday, April 11, 2013 Just Asking: Media Outfoxed On Spate Of Bizarre Shootings? (8 comments)
The idea that the United States is the only country where ferocious financial and political interests would never consider using surrogates to achieve a larger purpose is both statistically impossible and just plain ridiculous. The press frames both individual events and the longer arc of history not as an honest broker but as an integral part of a dangerous fantasy-making machinery.
Saturday, April 6, 2013 RFK Assassination Legal Case Update (5 comments)
If the public were to learn to distrust the official version of yet another assassination that changed the course of American history, where would this all end? Before long, people might wonder what happened to Martin Luther King, to labor leader Walter Reuther, to all of the leading lights that were extinguished one after another in the last century.
Thursday, March 28, 2013 How To Survive A Coup: Lessons From David Petraeus (4 comments)
Petraeus' proclivities and vulnerabilities were well known among those with a reason to care. It is also worth studying the man who, in some respects, was his chief competitor: John O. Brennan. Within hours of Obama's re-election, Petraeus was somehow selected for the world's attention. The take-down was never properly scrutinized for the role played in it by intelligence-connected figures, the FBI, and other shadowy figures.
Saturday, March 23, 2013 NYT's Rhodes To Nowhere: A Cipher In The Oval Office (1 comments)
Once we start asking questions about Benjamin Rhodes, this leads to questions about Obama, about the Times and CBS and journalism in general. And it leads to questions about how much we, the most smugly self-assured people on earth, understand about how anything of significance actually works.
Thursday, March 7, 2013 The Jonathan Pollard Spy Case: Plot Thickens (2 comments)
Perhaps no spy case in recent decades has more sharply divided opinion than that of Jonathan Pollard, the American accused of spying on the US for Israel. Pollard is described in the subtitle of one book as "one of the most notorious spies in American history" and by others as no actual threat to the United States at all.
Sunday, January 27, 2013 Explainer: Fiscal Cliff's Secret Gifts To Corporations
Closer to the looming fiscal cliff deadline, i.e., in November and December, a bunch of other interests got into the act, landing $205 billion in tax breaks. Stoller lists various tax subsidies that benefited corporations and banks in general -- many of whom preferred Romney to Obama.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 Why The "All Government Is Bad" Movement -- Is Bad (5 comments)
Almost every day, members of Congress, that much-maligned institution, are actually proposing measures to deal with real problems that affect our well-being, and employees of federal agencies are working to establish rules and procedures to implement those measures. We believe strongly that the government apparatus must represent us.
Thursday, January 10, 2013 Talk About Politicizing Intelligence! Meet John Brennan, CIA Chief Designee (3 comments)
The Senate hearings on Brennan's nomination at CIA will likely focus only on bite-sized, partisan controversies like the death of America's ambassador to Libya. We're not likely to witness Brennan opening up about the highly delicate topics of recent vintage. Why not at least broaden the inquiry to quiz Brennan on current policy toward murky security matters that are still unresolved decades later?
Saturday, December 29, 2012 Explainer: How Poor Timing Buries Important News (2 comments)
Timing is everything in the news business. That's why those seeking maximum impact typically seek to make announcements when people are paying attention and when there's little competing news. A lot of those rules went out the window with the arrival of the 24-hour cable news cycle and the subsequent rise of the instantaneous posting culture on Twitter and other social media.
Thursday, December 27, 2012 Fact-Checking Wayne LaPierre (3 comments)
LaPierre's even raising the issue of Feinstein's bill was a red herring -- a distraction from the substance of what NBC's David Gregory was saying. Thus, while it was true that Feinstein's bill did not prevent the carnage at Columbine, the proposal Gregory was referring to...very likely would have.
Saturday, December 22, 2012 Connecting The Dots On Syria: Fooling Enough Of The People Enough Of The Time"
Let's think about this logically. The president of Syria is struggling to stay in power and he's looking to attack other countries? Countries far stronger than he is? Countries whose allies would immediately retaliate against Assad, guaranteeing he would be driven from power and probably killed?
Thursday, December 20, 2012 Get Your Pink Rifle At Dick's! America's Love Affair With Money And Violence (1 comments)
The day of the assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dick's Sporting Goods announced a special cash dividend because the company is just bursting with funds. So, who believes Dick's (or any other gun dealer) is going to stop selling "modern rifles" (for hunting or otherwise) a second longer than it must to survive the current p.r. nightmare?
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 The Post-Election Project: The Establishment Pillories Susan Rice (5 comments)
Beyond Milbank's point that the Clintonites don't like Rice for perceived transgressions and indignities, they probably also would prefer that Hillary not be followed by another woman who might outshine her in concrete diplomatic breakthroughs, of which there have been not so many thus far under Obama.
Friday, December 7, 2012 Innovation Alert: Kinder, Gentler (Cheaper?) Medical Care? (3 comments)
The idea is that a more flexible, more humane, and more responsive medical practice is actually a money-saver. If primary care physicians are more attentive to the needs of patients, and more emphasis is placed on prevention, the thinking goes, insurers' outlays to expensive specialists will drop.
Saturday, December 1, 2012 The Post-Election Project: Should America Have A National Popular Vote? (5 comments)
The person with the most popular votes actually has garnered the most electoral votes and been installed in the White House in 51 out of 55 elections. But even assuming those four exceptions don't trouble you, it's worth considering another issue: How the current Electoral College makeup distorts the campaigns themselves.
Monday, November 26, 2012 Dallas Diminishes JFK, His Legacy, And Those Who Care About Democracy (1 comments)
Many of the crusades that Kennedy set in motion -- restricting offshore tax shelters, regulating monopolies, doing something about the corruption of politics by big money, tackling Wall Street influence and the Federal Reserve, controlling militarism and reining in the national security apparatus -- are still being successfully resisted by entrenched interests.
Saturday, November 10, 2012 Meanwhile, Back In The Middle East... (1 comments)
That Panetta would announce the deployment of American troops in the fall of 2012 just as the nation was distracted by the presidential horserace is significant. In fact, American troops have been operating out of the same Jordanian base for almost a year and a half, a tell-tale sign of the West's direct involvement in supporting if not creating the Syrian uprising in the first place.
Thursday, October 18, 2012 Unstacking The Deck: The Status Quo, Third Parties, And You
We have had times in this country when the differences between two nominees were openly asserted and clear to all. Think Richard Nixon and George McGovern, or Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale. We no longer have that -- perhaps because the two parties know not to nominate anyone with too distinctive a set of views.
Thursday, October 11, 2012 Privacy Watch: An Orwellian Bargain (5 comments)
The consequences of the steady slide into complete consumer commodification are staggering. Not only are we tagged and labeled like cattle. The long-range implications aren't hard to see: Anyone with ill intentions would be able to track our movements and locate us in a second. They would know where we go, what we do, what we eat, and perhaps who we are with.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 Mitt's Advisors: He Has No Clue On Foreign Policy (2 comments)
How did we end up with a situation in which one of our two choices in November is a man who seems to know, or care, so little about the world? How is it possible that, with just weeks before the election, there is no dominant person or clique in Romney's camp to articulate a vision of what the United States can and should do in an incredibly complex and explosive world?
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 Oil Companies Bribing Gulf States To Ignore Spill?
Recently, Gulf area legislators have been pushing to get their states a larger share of government income from offshore drilling. We're told that they need the extra revenue to improve flood protection. We don't have a media that can afford to just tell it to us straight -- in such a way as to make us care, and make us want to actually do something about it.
Monday, September 10, 2012 The Real Reason For The Afghan War? (14 comments)
Some of the least likely candidates for insight are waking up. To quote Alan Greenspan: "I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." Who will say the same about Afghanistan and its mineral wealth?
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 For Hayward, BP Stands For "Back In Play" (1 comments)
Wealthy Turks are horning in on the Iraq oil situation. Could the desire to evict the Assad regime and install a Western-friendly regime, with the likely military bases there, be driven, in part, by a desire to keep watch over those valuable oil properties in Iraq?
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 Syria: We Can Learn A Lot From The "Small Stuff" (1 comments)
Who is responsible for this descent into chaos? We are. Our taxes and our government fuel the revolt in Syria, and so, whether or not we might feel the revolt itself worthy of support, we ought to at least acknowledge that the crime wave and attendant terror did not just happen, nor was it caused by the Assad regime.
Friday, August 24, 2012 Obama's Buds Sunstein and Wolf Overboard! (2 comments)
Our political system is so bad that the alternative to the Obama-Wolf relationship is Romney, who both is -- and openly embraces -- big money, and wants to "unshackle" big money further. And whose own widespread use of offshore banking and other devices to pay lower tax rates than the rest of us makes him a far less likely candidate than Obama to do anything about it.
Friday, August 17, 2012 CloseReading: Are Joe Biden's "Gaffes" Accidental? Or Brilliant? (22 comments)
The media either doesn't get how this works, or is reticent to spell it out. Either way, the latest Biden BooBoo is yet another example of how the public is the last to understand what is going on -- and how it continues responding, on cue, to manipulation...not substance.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 Meaningless and Misleading Campaign Reportage: Landlord Romney
The only thing we should be looking at is: who's really driving Romney's train? Who, if anyone, has a real vision of what his presidency can or should be? Pretty clearly, that's not Mitt. He's another ambitious and lucky guy who wants to be president because he can be.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 Only "Lone Wolves" Commit Terror? (2 comments)
The use of deadly "false flag" operations to gain strategic political advantage is not exclusive to regimes of any particular ideology. The lone wolves, meanwhile, are certainly out there, but they're not all as solitary as they might appear.
Saturday, July 21, 2012 Did You Hear About the Shooting? (5 comments)
We live in a country where firepower, both that held by individuals and by the state, is, frankly, pretty deranged. No other country on earth so bristles with means of killing--and no other country thinks it is quite so healthy an entertainment for us and our children to sit at a console for hours and try to "kill" other people--including civilians.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 Romney vs. Obama on Regulation and Big Money
As much as Romney and Obama are similar on so many of the biggest issues, it's usually in matters that represent at least a partial amelioration of the way that the powerful can and do repeatedly hoodwink the rest of us -- where we can see a difference.
Monday, July 16, 2012 Syria, The Movie: Monsters and Defectors (1 comments)
Any regime considers itself authorized to do whatever it takes to put down insurrection. And when foreign powers are helping the uprising, the regime believes it has even greater cause for muscular action. That's the basic issue in Syria. Yet, because the West, which wants the Assad regime gone, does not have a policy of generally supporting uprisings against authoritarian, repressive regimes it cannot invoke that argument.
Monday, July 9, 2012 Everything They're Telling Us About Syria...is False? (1 comments)
While the Western media simply ignores statements from the Syrian establishment, it functions as the flip side of the Syrian government press agency, publishing a relentless stream of declarations from the establishment trying to bring Assad down. There's a growing body of evidence that we Americans are being lied to by our government, with nary a peep from the people's representatives in the press.
Saturday, July 7, 2012 Ben Franklin on Justifiable Assassination (6 comments)
Benjamin Franklin felt that political assassination was justified in some cases. Political assassination and impeachment have long been closely tied, as both involve removal of a leader outside of elections. We could all stand to do less finger (and dagger) pointing, and make more of an effort to get a cool reading on just who is doing what -- and why.
Thursday, June 28, 2012 Times/HBO: A Flower For "Poppy" Bush (3 comments)
The problem, which neither HBO nor The Times will mention, is that Poppy Bush is only a "gracious" man in his public manners, not in his (largely deniable) actions -- the most odious of which have never been reported to the American people by either the establishment media or the so-called "alternative" (liberal) media.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 The Hijacking of Arab Spring, and the Media's Complicity (1 comments)
When almost no media anymore question these barely disguised coups against uncooperative standing governments, we are in very deep trouble. Because if we can't count on the media to tell us what is going on in far-off places, what may we expect of them closer to home? We are witnessing a crisis for journalism that is nothing less than a crisis for democracy itself.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 Do Republicans Lie More Than Democrats? Here's What's Circulating... (1 comments)
In most cases, when we receive an e-mail with seemingly alarming information, it is about a Democrat. And when we look into it...it is hardly ever true. Just some angry sounding thing with a bunch of made-up stuff, being frantically forwarded by people who like the sentiment and don't apply any kind of logic to see if it might be legitimate.
Thursday, May 31, 2012 Is the Government Holding Back Crucial Documents?
Next year will be a half-century since the death of JFK. And the Obama Administration thinks we need to keep secret the records on the matter...a little longer yet. Believe it or not, more than 50,000 pages of JFK assassination-related documents are being withheld in full. And an untold number of documents have been partially withheld, or released with everything interesting blacked out.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Syria: The Dangers of One-Sided Reporting (1 comments)
The bottom line is that without journalists verifying, it's not journalism. And it's not worth rushing to report one-sided claims under pressure to scoop the competition instead of waiting for more reliable information.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Burying the "Lockerbie Bomber" -- And the Truth
On some level, all but the very stupidest journalists know how things really work. But they aren't permitted to tell the rest of us. Thinking of digging deeper when that's strongly (albeit implicitly) discouraged? There's a simple choice: your conscience or your job.
Thursday, May 17, 2012 Something Stinks: John Edwards and a Thirty Year Jail Term? (14 comments)
Does no one else find the fact of John Edwards being on trial curious? Does no one else wonder about the criminal basis for the prosecution? Not all politicians are created equal. And not all are treated equally. Therein lies an issue deserving a much, much closer look: whether vulnerable Democrats, chiefly of the liberal persuasion, are targeted for destruction. Or at least helped along to their doom by a double standard.
Saturday, May 5, 2012 Osama, Obama, and Us: A Shocking Display of Propaganda from NBC (23 comments)
Why even offer this purported exclusive insight into the raid? Because it was nothing of the sort. Because it was propaganda to make these people look good, to quell reasonable doubts about what really happened that day, and to get the president and his team re-elected.
Monday, April 30, 2012 A Closer Look at the Secret Service (1 comments)
Secret Service? We continue to let this agency off the hook. We forgot that even LBJ, a direct beneficiary of the agency's sloppiness with his former boss, trusted the outfit so little himself that he inquired at one point whether he could have the FBI protect him instead.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Trayvon vs. Tyrone: Why Racial Stories Are a Bad Idea (2 comments)
While the Trayvon Martin story is tragic and worth studying, we made a mistake by allowing it to dominate our news cycle for an extended period to the exclusion of so much else. Such incidents are, by definition, anecdotal, and do not necessarily warrant treatment as the defining issue of the moment. Issues like this can morph in unpredictable ways and push us toward more, not less, conflict.
Friday, April 20, 2012 CLOSE READING -- About that "surprise" attack: Ka-Bull! (1 comments)
The US military "has discovered" that Afghanistan is sitting on, oh, about a trillion dollars of untapped mineral deposits--so much that Afghanistan could become a world leader in mining. The advantage of this surprising attack getting our surprised response--is that it is likely to justify more, not less, continued presence of foreign troops and operatives in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. KACHING!
Friday, April 13, 2012 "Smart ALECs" Get Their Due (1 comments)
It's clear that the corporations' reaction is no more than a public relations move in the face of a scorching hot controversy. It's too steamy in that particular kitchen. For now. The reality is that many big corporations just looove ALEC. In fact, they are ALEC. ALEC is a front for corporate capital and its corrupting influence on the democratic process.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Someone Would Have Talked? Someone Would Be Crazy (3 comments)
Whistleblowers are quickly discredited, suppressed, or worse. From time to time people even come out of the national security establishment to testify to such wrongdoing, but they almost always pay a heavy price -- which of course discourages others from bearing witness.
Monday, April 2, 2012 How War Reporting in Syria Makes a Larger Conflict Inevitable (2 comments)
If indeed the Syrian government is arming one group in the country, that is because the government is besieged -- and those being armed are members of the same minority sect as the ruling Assad clan. Syria managed for decades without internecine warfare. It is the uprising itself that has massively exacerbated animosity and fear between religious groups.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 The Trayvon Effect: Americans as Tragedy Addicts (1 comments)
The public has trouble focusing on more than one story or one issue at a time. So that means that every week we have a Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman affair, or a Tyler Clementi/Dharun Ravi controversy, or even a Rush Limbaugh/Bill Maher brouhaha, we're unable to focus on things like the constant loss of civil liberties for all, the growing crisis for life on earth, and the destruction of democracy by corporate capital.
Saturday, March 17, 2012 Body of Evidence: Osama bin Laden, Stratfor, WikiLeaks, and Journalism That Isn't (7 comments)
The kerfuffle over Osama's body got impetus recently when WikiLeaks began publishing a vast trove of e-mails from the private US security company Stratfor. The moral of this story is that private "establishment" outfits that are gung ho parts of the military-industrial complex, such as Stratfor (and there are many others), should be viewed with great wariness.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 Media's Belated "Acknowledgment" of Saudi 9/11 Story (7 comments)
Suddenly, the "Saudi-9/11 connection" is on the table for the media. But it certainly wasn't, for the longest time. We know they ignored it because we know them, and we sent it to them. And we heard that it would be and was being ignored. They were only willing to do maudlin, "human interest" stories for the 10th anniversary of this monumental and still-mysterious event.