FROM Ken Silverstein
The Death and Deadly Legacy of Osama bin Laden It was Sunday's killing of Osama bin Laden that brought President Obama to New York City today. It's been ten years since the deadly attack on the World Trade Center, but the consequences of 9/11 live on. The US is still fighting two wars—and what about bin Laden's effort to bankrupt the superpower?
Obama Gets a Big Win, but Is Osama a Winner Too? President Obama laid a wreath at Ground Zero today, met with the families of victims and visited with police and firefighters. After Sunday's killing of the mastermind of 9/11, there's the sense of a turning point in the "war on terror," declared after the World Trade towers came down. But almost a decade later, tens of thousands have died in two ongoing wars, and the US is a nation transformed by increased security and stress on the economy. How much of a turning point is it? Did America leaders fail to understand the goals of Osama bin Laden? What's the legacy of a mass murderer? What is the appropriate way to remember what happened at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania?
Money, the Campaign and Voting Integrity In 2004, George Bush and John Kerry raised $700 million combined for their presidential campaigns. That was a record. A year ago, Barack Obama promised to limit himself to public financing, but changed his mind. This year, he alone has raised $650 million, and is outspending John McCain on TV in battleground states by a margin of four to one. Tonight, Obama will address the nation for 30 minutes in prime time on CBS, NBC, Fox, MSNBC, Univision and BET, all paid for by his campaign. But big money's not the only big story of this campaign. There are massive problems with early voting, especially in southern states. There are also questions about the integrity of the electoral system, like those in the 2004 elections, in which many states' official results did not coincide with surveys taken of voters as they were leaving the polls.
Rhetoric and Reality in Presidential Campaigns "Maybe I've lived a little long, but I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear." That's according to Hillary Clinton , referring directly to fellow Democrat Barack Obama , but her comments could apply just as well to Republican John McCain . Both leaders in this year's presidential nomination battles have denounced lobbyists and claim to have embraced public financing for political campaigns. But McCain's campaign manager and his chief political advisor are lobbyists and Obama uses lobbyists as consultants, and both take money directly from corporations and unions that employ lobbyists on Capitol Hill. How far have the two presidential front-runners distanced themselves from business as usual in Washington and on the campaign trail?
Rudolph Giuliani: The Image and the Reality For political pundits, the big surprise of this year's presidential campaigns has been the continuing lead among Republicans of Rudolph Giuliani . Conventional wisdom has it that the former Mayor of New York is liberal on social issues and conservative on foreign policy. Polls show that moral issues don't matter as much this year as they did in the last two campaigns, and that Giuliani leads with Republican voters because they think he's a strong leader without knowing just what he stands for. With President Bush talking tough about Iran's nuclear development, where does Giuliani come down on another invasion? What about the indictment of a former top aide? We look at foreign policy and hear what polls show about Giuliani's popularity among social conservatives.
The CIA Investigates Its Own Chief Watchdog The CIA is a top-secret agency, but like other government agencies, it's subject to oversight by an Inspector General, an internal watchdog with the authority to audit, inspect and investigate personnel and procedures. In his work and his reports to Congress the IG is supposed to be fair to the employees involved—and independent of the officials who call the shots. In the past few years, John Helgerson has issued scathing reports on overseas prisons, interrogations and intelligence failures. Now, CIA Director Michael Hayden is investigating Helgerson—an unprecedented review that's raised hackles on Capitol Hill. Has Helgerson been unfair to career officers, including former Director George Tenet? Will Hayden's probe intimidate whistle-blowers and compromise the Inspector General's independence?
Halliburton Is Moving Its Headquarters to Dubai Run by the current Vice President, Dick Cheney, from 1995 until 2000, since the US invasion, Halliburton has become the largest civilian contractor in Iraq, with a no-bid contract for $2.4 billion just for starters. The current chairman, president and CEO, Dave Lesar, says he's moving the company to Dubai to focus on Eastern Hemisphere "oil exploration and production opportunities." New York Senator Chuck Schumer says , "It just doesn't look good, doesn't sound good, doesn't smell good." Vermont's Patrick Leahy calls it " corporate greed at its worst ." Ken Silverstein, Washington Editor for Harper 's magazine, is author of Private Warriors .
Barak Obama: Race and Inexperience With just two years in the Senate, Barak Obama is a political star who wants to be America's first black president . He counters the charge of inexperience by saying voters want "a new kind of politics." But his Washington record looks in some ways like business as usual, and African-American opinion leaders say he lacks the cultural history that makes him truly "black" in their eyes. The Illinois Democrat also has been criticized for being too cautious about the war in Iraq. Yesterday, he said he'll introduce legislation for a "phased redeployment" of American troops. It's still not clear whether he'll back Edward Kennedy's bill to cut off funding to increase troops. Can Obama turn sudden celebrity into a credible run against political pros like Clinton and Edwards ? Will his appeal to white voters turn off the black constituency that's crucial to Democrats?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.