When Hollywood tries to rewrite history


When my youngest son was barely a teenager, he engaged me in a debate over the Kennedy assassination, announcing authoritatively the existence of a huge conspiracy that reached to the highest levels of government. It was clear that his opinions had been formed through the magic of Hollywood and the fertile imagination of Oliver Stone, whose docudrama about that tragedy was mainly fiction verging on propaganda.

The tension-filled halls of Congress


To walk the halls of Congress these days is to feel the tension. Republicans attack Democrats as unpatriotic for not being on board with President Bush’s demand for more authority. Democrats accuse Republicans of being power-mad.

It’s the system, stupid

America is in free fall – a failed nation led by failed leaders with failed ideas serving a lemming-like populace that views failure as an acceptable alternative.

Today’s America is flawed in so many ways that analysis of the complex events that led us to the precipice is difficult at best.

How did we get here? Can we save what once was a great country built upon noble notions of freedom? Is redemption possible or even desirable?

Alberto Gonzales and the Bush power grab


President Bush has finally announced that 14 terrorist suspects will go on trial. He has acknowledged the detainees have been in CIA hands and are now in military custody. Congress still has to authorize court procedures for the trials. This is a pivotal moment. It is a "paradigm change," a time when one conceptual way of understanding could give way to another.

Terrorist in the Oval Office


Like it or loathe it, President Bush’s speech from the Oval Office on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks may be one of the handful of addresses that historians consult about his presidency.

George W. Bush: Phony warrior


Of all the phony political images that have bombarded us in the five years since al Qaeda terrorists struck the United States, the phoniest of all remains the sight of George W. Bush donning a fighter pilot’s uniform and landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

The point of that little stunt was to send the visual message that Bush was the strong leader that America needed to triumph in a war against our enemies. As a piece of propaganda, it was fabulously successful. If the goal of propaganda is to make black seem white, then the fact the Bush administration still emphasizes this message is a tribute to the administration’s ongoing triumph in its propagandistic war against reality.

New GOP campaign tactic: Reveal who’s behind the pork

McClatchy Newspapers

The Republican-led House of Representatives will vote this week on two measures that could help reveal who’s behind billions of dollars in pork-barrel spending each year.

That could help Republicans appeal to fiscally conservative voters who are frustrated by Congress’s runaway spending and threatening to stay home from the polls in November.

Apologies? We don’t need no stinkin’ apologies


In the category of how Washington really works — and often doesn’t — it is important to note just how often the smartest and most experienced players and observers seem to lose sight of how and why things really happen in the capital city.