American soldiers born decades apart in the state of New York, Ron Kovic and Maj. Danny Sjursen are two crucial dissenting voices that have experienced firsthand the futility and brutality of America’s interventionist wars. Kovic, a Marine veteran who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War, has spent the rest of his life fighting against the U.S. war machine. The film “Born on the Fourth of July,” starring Tom Cruise, was based on his book, a work he hoped would combine with his activism to dissuade young people from buying into the toxic patriotism that leads Americans to fight destructive, ultimately pointless wars.
Was it conspiracy or idiocy that led to the failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to detect and prevent the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon headquarters? That’s one of the questions at the heart of “The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror,” by John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski. In their careful and thorough investigation of the events leading up to the attacks, the authors uncover a story about the Central Intelligence Agency’s neglect, possible criminal activities and a cover-up that may have allowed al-Qaida to carry out its plans uninhibited by government officials.
In January of 2017, one week after he was sworn into office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country. Approximately eighteen months later, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a revised version of Trump’s Muslim ban—a decision that Omar Jadwat of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project has lambasted as one of the worst in our nation’s history, on par with the Korematsu v. United States during World War II.
Writer Chris McGreal and host Robert Scheer zero in on the book “American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts” in this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence.”
Of the myriad policy decisions that have brought us to our current precipice, from the signing of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the invasion of Iraq and the gerrymandering of House districts across the country, few have proven as consequential as the demise of Glass-Steagall. Signed into law as the U.S.A. Banking Act of 1933, the legislation had been crucial to safeguarding the financial industry in the wake of the Great Depression. But with its repeal in 1999, the barriers separating commercial and investment banking collapsed, creating the preconditions for an economic crisis from whose shadow we have yet to emerge.
THERE WAS NEVER ANY LOVE LOST BETWEEN GEORGE Herbert Walker Bush and me. How’s that for presumption? As if the Skull-and-Crossbones, blueblooded captain of the Yale baseball team, who went on to become the Director of the CIA, would give much thought to the individual reporters who covered him. Trust me, I didn’t welcome the attention, certainly not after he called his good friend and my boss, Otis Chandler, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, to demand that I be fired.
As the world’s pre-eminent heads of state gather in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this weekend for the annual G-20 summit, the postwar order has never looked more fragile. War threatens to break out at any moment between Russia and Ukraine, Britain is staring into the abyss of a failed Brexit negotiation and the U.S. faces a rising tide of ethno-nationalism, reinforced in no small part by Donald Trump’s presidency. Compounding this larger crisis, new research indicates we have just 12 years to radically reduce carbon emissions or risk climate catastrophe.
If you clicked this story, or have any desire to listen to the interview embedded within, odds are you’re a consumer of independent media. Yet even as you’re reading these words, your ability to do so in a timely manner is in grave jeopardy.
In a compelling essay for The New York Review of Books this month, Christopher R. Browning, a leading historian of the Holocaust and Nazism, outlines the frightening parallels between the United States and the Weimar Republic. “No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends,” he writes, “the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics.”
Photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is an expert in Americans’ yearning for material wealth. Since the early ’90s, her work has documented our hunger for it in photography books, multiple traveling exhibitions, short films and four documentary features, notably 2012’s “The Queen of Versailles,” the story of one Florida woman’s quest to build a replica of King Louis XIV’s home.
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