Tag: 9/11

Many believe that Donald Trump’s apparent victory in the Republican primaries will ultimately lead to the party’s downfall. Others have countered that Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity with independent voters and the young people who support Bernie Sanders means the GOP might yet have the last laugh in November. (More…)

Seymour Hersh occupies a peculiar place in the American media landscape. As the guy who broke the story of the massacre at My Lai in 1969, and having been instrumental in exposing the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in 2004, Hersh is second only to Woodward and Bernstein in the firmament of investigative journalism. (More…)

After the latest spate of mass shootings in the United States, I tried to engage NRA supporters in reasonable debate. But I struggled to comprehend their way of thinking about risk. Defending easy access to assault weapons, one of them argued that, “If I put one in front of you when your family is under attack by a mob, you wouldn’t blink an eye.” I wasn’t so sure. (More…)

There’s something of a cottage industry in the US, devoted to tying contemporary politics to their intellectual forebears. In some cases, it’s a matter of pure character assassination, as in the assertions from the far right that Barack Obama is some sort of  socialist. From the leftward side of the spectrum come claims that this or that politician is a devotee of the thought of that great seducer of the adolescent male mind, Ayn Rand. (More…)

After each needless slaughter in an American city or town by a lunatic who had easy, legal access to firearms, liberals find themselves creating a whole host of narratives to explain the gun culture that makes the United States stand out among industrialized nations for its epidemic of gun violence. (More…)

I grew up hearing rumours about the Jews. They were at once our puppet masters and minions of Shaytan; filthy beggars and degenerate elites; supporters of the Red Army and Balochi insurrectionists. I replayed the fairy tales in my head as I took the S1 train up to Sachsenhausen. I never believed them. (More…)

Over the past month, pieces marking the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide have built to a crescendo. For those who remember the initial coverage of his death, when his face stared out from publication after publication, the commemoration inspired a disturbing sense of déjà vu. We were being asked to relive something that wasn’t pleasant to begin with, but also, inevitably, to compare that period with our own. (More…)

The cars and trucks that draw my eye usually display an excess of public expression, with an array of bumper-stickers telling a complex and sometimes contradictory story of political and cultural allegiance. But sometimes I’m stopped short by a different kind of message, elegant as one of Ezra Pound’s Imagist couplets. Like this formulation: “Forget 911. I dial .357.” (More…)

Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations are the biggest journalistic event in the past decade, and certainly the most important US leak since the Pentagon Papers. They have exposed practices that have been judged to be government privacy boards to be illegal, and by courts as an affront to the Constitution. And they have demonstrated that large amounts of state surveillance in the post 9/11 era have nothing to do with terrorism. (More…)

Plastering political bumper stickers on the back of your car or truck may win you friends and enemies, but paying for a customized wrap-around paint job takes vehicular self-expression to a whole new level. When I saw this SUV parked in front of my local Trader Joe’s recently, I had to tip my cap. Because even if I found the message it communicated a little monomaniacal, there was no denying the owner’s passion. (More…)

Although almost everyone around the world has a superficial knowledge of the American way of life, forced down their throats by the United States’ two most successful export industries, weaponry and media, deeper understanding can prove elusive. How, for example, can the people of a nation that has been a global superpower for the better part of a century still conceive of themselves as renegade underdogs, fighting for freedom? (More…)

“I am just glad there isn’t a cactus on the cover.” Justin St. Germain is in the Tap Room of Tucson’s historic Hotel Congress, discussing his stunning new memoir Son of a Gun. At the time, I think he is simply expressing the saguaro fatigue that afflicts longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert. Images of the tree-sized cactus are stamped on everything imaginable. But when I drive through Tombstone a month later, I realize my mistake: (More…)