90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Corruption in Afghanistan

It’s being called “Corruptistan.” Afghanistan is choking under graft and embezzlement. Can this war be won, with a government so corrupt?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens during a Peace Jirga in Kabul, June 4, 2010. (AP)

The United States has invested billions in Afghanistan and the war effort there. And corruption has siphoned billions from that effort. “Corruptistan,” the country’s being called, and the problem is now so pervasive – goes so high and wide – that it threatens the war effort itself. 

Serious analysts ask if corruption in Afghanistan is more dangerous than the Taliban — and if U.S. taxpayer dollars are actually funding the Taliban. 

Knock out corruption and you knock out the government.  Then, who are we fighting for?  Leave it, and what are we fighting for? 

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Matthew Rosenberg, reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He has been covering Afghanistan.

Greg Miller, reporter for the Washington Post. Read his latest article on corruption in Afghanistan, “U.S. Anti-Graft Effort Appears to Miscarry.”

Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He has advised the U.S. military recently on its policy in Afghanistan. His new report on the corruption problem in Afghanistan is: “How America Corrupted Afghanistan: Time to Look in the Mirror.”

More links:

The On Point staff wanted to re-post Tom Ashbrook’s reflection on his travels in Afghanistan, published in the Washington Post just after the 9/11 attacks — and just as our show first began broadcasting on public radio. The article’s themes still resonate.

To read some in-depth reporting on the issue of corruption in Afghanistan, read these two pieces in The Nation by reporter Aram Roston: “How the U.S. Funds the Taliban” and “Congressional Investigation Confirms: U.S. Funds Afghan Warlords.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • NICK

    I know that every government system is corrupt to some extent – including ours. For us, we have made it legal to accept payoffs by just declaring that we received the payment – in a simplified way.

    But in Afghanistan, we are dying so they can be incredibly corrupt….

    At this point, why don’t just pay off the Taliban instead of fighting a war we lost the momentum to several years ago. That would be less expensive than dying for a corrupt and failing government.

    Nick

  • Nick

    I know that every government system is corrupt to some extent – including ours. For us, we have made it legal to accept payoffs by just declaring that we received the payment – in a simplified way.

    But in Afghanistan, we are dying so they can be incredibly corrupt….

    At this point, why don’t just pay off the Taliban instead of fighting a war we lost the momentum to several years ago. That would be less expensive than diing for a corrupt and failing government.

  • Zeno

    Why should we expect a higher standard of behavior from the Afghanistan government than we do our own? Isn’t each place just a different venue for laundering the US taxpayer’s money through any number of “security” or “national interest” schemes?

    The necessity of Afghanistan and Iraq, were to be far from the prying eyes of all media, and even to the extent that all media was banned from area places of transaction. The top five percent cannot directly fleece the taxpayer as easily in an environment of stability and peace.

    How did a focused search for a handful of SAUDI terrorists turn into war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and potentially Yemin and Syria?

    When Osama bin Laden (AKA The Golden Goose) stops paying off he will be “found”. The US went from having a trillion dollar surplus to bankruptcy and depression in a period of eight years…but we are to believe that the Bush administration with its doctrine of domestic and foreign policies had nothing to do with it. No it was caused by Americas most powerless people (poor people), and not the top 5% and their military corporations.

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in Afghanistan,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings. – With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare.

  • http://brainmindinst.blogspot.com Peter Melzer

    History shows that partners of necessity are of limited value.

    Read more here:
    http://brainmindinst.blogspot.com/2010/09/teutoburg-forest-mind.html

  • EIOBoston

    Corruption is worse here at home than in Afghanistan. THe financial bublle is the biggest give away(legal and open corruption)in the history of the world. Afghan corruption is not up to snuff.,can not hold a candle to us.

  • EIO Boston

    With our recent wall street history backed by the full faith and credit of our government. Thes Afghans can bot hold a candle to us when it comes to fleecing the masses.

  • cory

    What is it exactly that we expect Afghanistan to become? China and Italy both have lots of corruption, so what’s the point?

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Maybe the point (Cory) is that we didn’t install and continue to prop up China and Italy’s governments like we’re doing in Afghanistan.

    Let them be corrupt, but not at our expense.

  • Larry

    I got excited. Thought you were finally going to talk about the complete and utter corruption in American government.

    But no, still clinging to the notion it’s only 3rd world governments that are corrupt.

  • William Maher

    Interesting subject: The O’Bama Administration that shakes down American taxpayers for billions to bail out the union thugocracy in Detroit stands on their pedestal lecturing countries on ethical government. Could Karzai be laughing harder? By the way, did O’Bama ever find a Cabinet-level official in his administration who actually paid his taxes? I would love to see Karzai ask O’Bama these questions at a televised press conference. If the top official(Tim Geitner) overseeing the IRS is a flagrant tax scofflaw, what oversight do you think was used to hire the rest of his career-government thieves.

  • Webb Nichols

    No nation can do the work of another. Iraq could easily fall apart. Afghanistan is a lost cause. People suspected it from the beginning. Corruption? Not bad for a trillion dollar investment in security and exporting democracy.

    Respectfully,

    Webb Nichols

  • http://ddunn45@beld.net Daniel

    We must leave afghanistan. The waste of money and more importantly lives, is intolerable. I’m sure the debate about it’s strategic importance will continue. That is bogus fixation. Let us focus on our problems, economic and social here at home.

  • Pat Hunt

    Everytime I hear stories like this, of corruption and waste, both here and abroad, I think “there goes every dollar I will ever pay in income taxes, to line someone’s pockets.”

  • Michael Shapiro

    Can someone tell me the difference between what goes on in Afghanistan, which is called corruption, and what goes on in Washington, which is called politics?

  • sixerjman

    I had to laugh at that line “the bank was put in place to introduce ‘modern banking’ to Afghanistan”. People were SHOCKED (SHOCKED I say) when the bank closed it’s doors. Hey, modern banking, just like in the US.

  • Dennis.in.Omaha

    American has the right to defend itself.

    Corruption in Afghanistan is important, but a secondary question.

    The primary question is;

    Does corruption in Afghanistan prevent the United States from defending itself?

    If the region known as Afghanistan can prevent terrorists from attacking America and it’s allies, then we should refrain from judging the culture and subcultures as corrupted.

    But, corruption or not, if Afghanistan cannot prevent terrorists from attacking America and it’s allies, then can we justify the very existence of Afghanistan?

    No. We cannot justify the existence of Afghanistan.

    We must find allies who can absorb it, or annex it for ourselves.

    Options:

    1.) Many people in Pakistan, who are culturally similar, need a place to live after all the flooding. We would spend our money much better helping them merge their societies.

    2.) The cultural seed of China, where Chinese first called themselves Chinese, is in Afghanistan. We have evidence of that in our own museums in Kansas city for instance. Also remember the giant Buddha statues? If China takes it over, then they might be bad like in Tibet, but as their own society evolves to a post-modern society it would slowly release them from their grip.

    Maybe I am off base here, and other more informed people have better ideas. But the only way to justify this mess to our taxpaying and voting citizens is that it reduces the threat of attacks, military or terrorist, against America.

  • http://www.pegasuscap.com Richard Pigossi

    Countering corruption in Afghanistan is countering Afghan culture. Corruption is part of that society, grease for the wheels of commerce and power. What we see as corruption they see as loyalty to family and tribe. Our values are different. Societies are as they are, and they change fundamentally only from within. Our culture and values are radically different. Why must they prevail? Our presence there simply delays the process of change by Afghans for Afghans. WE are now the problem in Afghanistan, repeating the mistakes of Russian, British and other invaders before us and doomed to fail as they did.

  • wavre

    Why should we expect a higher standard of behavior from the Afghanistan government than we do our own? Isn’t each place just a different venue for laundering the US taxpayer’s money through any number of “security” or “national interest” schemes?

    The necessity of Afghanistan and Iraq, were to be far from the prying eyes of all media, and even to the extent that all media was banned from area places of transaction. The top five percent cannot directly fleece the taxpayer as easily in an environment of stability and peace.

    How did a focused search for a handful of SAUDI terrorists turn into war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and potentially Yemin and Syria?

    When Osama bin Laden (AKA The Golden Goose) stops paying off he will be “found”. The US went from having a trillion dollar surplus to bankruptcy and depression in a period of eight years…but we are to believe that the Bush administration with its doctrine of domestic and foreign policies had nothing to do with it. No it was caused by Americas most powerless people (poor people), and not the top 5% and their military corporations.

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in Afghanistan,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings. – With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare.

    Posted by Zeno, on September 16th, 2010 at 6:48 AM

    Zeno, my friend, you have said it all!!!!

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Zeno: Best post today. I wish I could talk shop with you.
    beretco.op@hotmail.com

  • Trond Peersen

    You have a US Pentagon that uses two different accounting systems and can only state for certain how much money it is allocated yearly, but has no idea how much money it actually spends. Is Afghan corruption really any surprise when their main dealing with the US government is a dysfunctional Pentagon? Combined with the ultimate goal of many US troops to become “contractors” and reap the sky high salaries. US soldier one year, the next year hitting your buddies up for pie in the sky contracting jobs.

    The corruption investigation should have started in Washington, DC 8 years ago – remember the “no bid” contracts?

  • Trond

    … and I should not have insinuated that all US troops are looking for contracting jobs… but can you blame them if they are? We pay the troops just about poverty wages as it is. Government needs to get out of hiring contractors and consultants. Pay the real troops real wages. Same goes for all the Agencies in DC – its just another form of corruption.

  • Jim in Omaha

    To Mr. Maher (the totally un-funny Maher)

    Of course the Bush administration would never have lectured a corrupt pay-for-play government like Afghanistan’s because in their minds, that is exactly how a government is supposed to operate, that is, for the personal profit of those entrusted with taxpayer dollars. See Halliburton, private defense and homeland security contractors, etc.

    And it continues after you quit too if you’re really connected like former attorney general John Ashcroft:

    “Ashcroft is now a lobbyist who runs his own Washington consulting firm, the Ashcroft Group LLC, which was awarded a contract last fall to oversee the operations of Zimmer Holdings of Warsaw, Ind. The company, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of knee and hip implants, avoided prosecution for allegedly paying doctors to use its products, according to the settlement.

    The deal is expected to earn Ashcroft’s firm $28 million to $52 million over 18 months, according to financial filings.”

  • Steve V

    One of lifes lessons, usually learned the hard way. Anywhere there’s money there will be someone trying to figure out how to get their hands on it. Yes, I was also SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find another bank closing (but this time in Afghanistan). It sounds like some individuals in that country learned their banking methods from Wall Street (before this they probably thought “bailout” was something you did in a leaking boat). Yes, we’re certainly teaching these people some valuable lessons in Democracy. The bottom line: We are the problem, not them.

  • michael

    “We pay the troops just about poverty wages as it is. ”

    As a former soldier this is kind of a half truth. When you throw in housing,health-care, allowances for food, family,hazzard pay, not paying taxes in war zones, signing bonus far exceeds what you think there getting paid. Not to mention all the ways to avoid(if not in a war zone) paying taxes on such. Health care for a Reservists and his/her family was about 120$ a month. Just like most of our corrupt politicans here and in afganstian many in the military can find ways to game the system paying them more wouldn’t change such.

    Did you know the U.S. government is charged for private contractors healthcare and if there injuried as well(lumped in) NPR did a piece on this.

    I agree it not as much as many would like but hardly poverty levels. It also been shown and (sometimes reported in the U.S. media) many U.S. private contractors are just as corrupt as the afgans

  • Bush’s fault

    All people are corrupt, so all governments are corrupt. It has always been this way; it will always be this way, despite liberal dreamers’ hopes to the contrary.

    God bless you all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.zapen David Zapen in Miami FL (WLRN)

    I didn’t hear the whole show, but it seems to have missed three key cures. George W. Bush could have accepted the Taliban’s offer to turn over al-Qaeda to the World Court or a similarly neutral party, but he wanted to be a war president and carry out the policies of “Jeb Bush” and his friends at http://www.newamericancentury.org; unlike Portugal, America and the West criminalizes Afghanistan’s opium products thus inflating the price to make it profitable. Finally, only oil is the common denominator between Iraq and Afghanistan; cutting off America’s need for oil by subsidizing solar-and-wind-power and energy efficiency would render the Middle East a non-issue. http://www.thomhartmann.com says $3/gallon gasoline is really $10/gallon if you include the hidden costs of environmental damage and health costs; I would add the Clinton-era subsidies on drilling for oil that were unchanged during the $4/gallon stagflation of the summer of 2008 thanks to the oil bubble. Americans should be home for Christmas, thus being less of a recruiting tool for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, ending Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) and with it his Crusade.

  • http://tombstone001.blogspot.com MOHAMMED N. RAZAVI

    excrepts from

    http://tombstone001.blogspot.com/2009/11/obamas-ladder.html

    11/30/2009

    OBAMA’S LADDER

    Surely, as predicted, President Obama tomorrow will commit more troops to the so called war that is no longer called the “war on terrorism”. And thus will contribute to the destabilization of a much more populous country of Pakistan, that is our co called ally in the so called war on terrorism thus increasing the danger of a major escalation of terrorism in Pakistan and abroad.

    There are severe problems, Taliban is no longer a serious power in Afghanistan if we just leave the country alone, they will probably help control the corruption in the country and may even moderate their stance if the Arabs will quit financing them and try to make them heel. Al Qaeda on the other hand has no center, it is all over the place, ( I have been saying this for years).

    Also as we talk about controlling corruption, then we must start at home, how do we, HOW DO WE!, want to stop monetary corruption when our whole system is based on profiteering and high pay, most of our contract mangers in Afghanistan are making a quarter million or more per year, these are the ones dealing daily with Afghan leadership, surely our counter parts are tempted, it would be naive of us to believe other wise, continued at

  • Ishmael

    Did the Soviet people have to listen to this stuff in Pravda and other domestic media before they were sent packing from Afghanistan?

    History seems to be repeating itself.

    What a cesspool. David Petraeus, as someone who is involved with a tiny part of what is happening in the cesspool, made some pretty entertaining comments: that judges and others are being fired, jailed etc for corruption; the overwhelming impression being, of course, that if they weren’t convicted of corruption it was because they bribed the right people….. Is Petraeus serious??

    And for all the amateur psychoanalyzing and posturing, everyone seems to have forgotten the purpose of the invasion to begin with: to track down 911 perpetrators and prevent further attack. It has deteriorated into a “chase-the-money” keystone cops comedy.

    The US did such a sterling job in places like Vietnam and Iraq, well, history does have a way of repeating itself. ……

  • Peter Lindener

    Dear
    Tom Ashbrook -

    Given the very real possibility that Information Theoretic Democracy would provide a more eloquent resolution of our current occupation of Afghanistan, I write urging you to take a close look at what is being proposed here…. If all of this ends up surviving your deeper scrutiny, I would then encourage you to bring this thinking to General David Petraeus and Karl Eikenberry’s attention, such that it could be studied more thoroughly in terms of an exit strategy from our nations conflict zones.

    —–
    How we can
    Alleviate
    Conflict of Interest
    in
    Government

    What if:… you enjoyed personal friendships with everyone
    who represents your interests in government,…
    …AND: You could remove any of them from their role,
    and replace them with anyone else you individually would prefer,
    any time, at will, with just a few clicks of a mouse?
    Further more: Your right to make such adjustments, towards your own better representation in government, at ANY time of your choosing, were protected under constitutional law?

    Afganistan,
    the case for:
    Social Network based,
    personal issue by issue, dynamic proxy based representation
    in support of a truly democratic group decision process.

    This Social Decision system based approach for an exit from conflict, enabled by the inter-net’s potential support of Information Theoretic, truly Democratic Group decision process, would possess the following advantages over current (corruption temping) governance paradigms.

    * Fully decentralized, no single points of failure, with respect to persons in power, or running for office, Polling time’s and places etc. ( the Taliban can not destabilize the governmental decision process, by assassinating or intimidating individuals ).

    * Governance policy based truly democratic group decision system would keep the socio-political decision process focused directly on issues of real substance and meaning. Such a system will tend to operate effectively beyond issues of power balance, instead facilitating the group decision process directly on the underlying issues..

    * Wide open Ranked Choice Space, (free degradation due to third candidate spoiler effect ) when applied directly to issues of governmental policy ( as opposed to personality ), this will permit the electorate to choose the alternative the whole group as a whole would most congenially prefer. ( Based on a more advanced, Information Theoretic formulation of Condorcet’s assertion for the Groups most preferred of alternatives )

    * Social Choice Mathematics Historian Ian McLean at Oxford has suggested that the concept of Pair-wise differential analysis, suggested by LLull, in the 13th century, and then more fully developed by Condorcet in 1785, may have its origins in the Arabic Mathematics literature.. as Llull was fluent in Arabic as well as enjoying access to the rich Arabic library of that time period. It would seem that cultural pride would leave many in the Arabic world open to the idea that Information Theoretic Democracy. A concept rising from there own cultures interest in the best from mathematics of Voting systems.

    It is my personal position that Information Theoretic Democracy can leave us with a bright new day for both Afghanistan as well as Iraq. My hope is that others will also see the potential of this dream. For those wishing for more formal, presentation of recent Information Theoretic Social Decision system developments you can find this co-authored paper I helped write in the Journal Voting Matters.

    I look forward answering any further questions you might have.

    Sincerely Yours
    -Peter Lindener

  • Alex Wolf

    A solution is staring us in the face. We need to abandon the impossible pretense that in the short run the people of Afghanistan can properly govern themselves and establish a democracy. They never had one, not even 10%. They need to be guided towards democracy by us. We need to appoint a tough and fair American proconsul to be the ultimate power in Stan, have that proconsul run things indluding to spend some years creating a decent political class in Stan. That is what General MacArthur did in Japan after WW2 and the Japanese respected and loved him for it. Secondly, if it costs $1 Million per year to keep a GI in Stan, tehn somebody is getting very rich on it and it is not the Afghanis. That can be fixed too.

  • Danson Pool

    Have you seen these postings on the web? This blows the whole thing wide open and shows what the real agenda of these people is-

    “The recent electric car production announcements were a sham to cover a bigger scam. Certain groups used extraordinary non-transparent leverage to acquire “favored nations” or “sweetheart status” access to the massive lithium fields in Afghanistan and nearby countries. Lithium is the oil of the electric car world. Lithium is required for most electric car energy storage. By manipulating who got electric vehicle funding, these cabel groups manipulated who got to place the next largest Lithium orders in human history, estimated to be worth TRILLIONS of dollars over the next 15 years. By controlling who made the cars, certain parties controlled who profited from the Lithium fields. But they did so with taxpayer (your money) dollars.

    From Stanford Research Coalition & Wikipedia and blog postings:

    Ener1 Battery Systems who got zillions of the dollars from DOE per the Loan Guarantee and Section 136 ATVM funds Is controlled in part by Russian “business man” Boris Zingarevich, who is best friends with the Russian Dmitry Medvedev who came to Silicon Valley recently to meet with venture capitalists on June 22, 2010.

    Dmitry arranged for all of Russia to extend current agreements signed with foreign automakers between 2005 and 2008 granting preferential duties on imported components for eight years in return for sourcing 30 percent of parts locally, the Industry and Trade Ministry said. Once those arrangements expire, the carmakers would need to commit to buying 60 percent of components in Russia within six years to get more tax breaks. Dmitry also appears to own interest in lots of Lithium processing and mining company technology in Russia. Russia is right by Afghanistan.

    “Afghanistan is: the “Saudi Arabia’ of lithium”. American geologists have discovered huge mineral deposits (possibly $1 trillion worth) throughout Afghanistan, according to the New York Times. Lithium, gold, cobalt, copper, iron, among other valuable minerals are lying beneath what is already a war-torn country with little history with mining. Off and on over the decades, geologists—Soviet, Afghan, American—would investigate and chart some of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, only to put the work on hold as violent conflict erupted. Now, corruption, in-fighting between the central and district governments, foreign interests, and greater zeal from the Taliban might come into play to disrupt a potential economy evolving around these natural resources. With the Ministry of Mines, a Pentagon task force is now helping organize a way of handling the mineral development and bidding rights. How this unfolds socially, environmentally and politically should be interesting.”

    The New York Times reports: The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion. The two most prevalent minerals are copper and iron. Niobium, used for making superconducting steel, has also been found.

    As for lithium, an important metal used in computer and hybrid car batteries, Afghanistan’s potential stores in Ghazni Province in the west might be bigger than in Bolivia, which according to the U.S. Geological Society, has an estimated 5.4 million tons.

    The effort to get that money for Ener1 was strong armed by Republican Sen. Richard G. Lugar, one of the deans of Congress, and his junior colleague, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

    Richard Lugar and Lachlan Seward co-managed the Chrysler Bail-out.

    Lachlan Seward was appointed by George Bush to run all of the tens of billions for the ATVM and Loan Guarantee Programs. He gave most of the money away to his closely aligned interests and negated competing applicants.

    Another place near Afghanistan that there is lot’s of Lithium is in Mongolia.

    Blum Capital has targeted the Lithium fields in Mongolia, next to Afghanistan, said to be the second largest fields after Afghanistan in the region.

    Mongolia touches Russia so mining and equipment access could first take place there via Russia. China wants the Mongolian Lithium too so there is some two-way bidding that each country (Russia and China) do not know about. The owner of Blum Capital is Senator Feinstein’s husband. She recently helped make him the Goodwill Ambassador to Mongolia… China halted export of Rare Earth Metals:

    http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-09/china-has-halted-rare-earth-eCOMPANYorts-japan-reports-times

    But this is huge because of this revelation-

    Shortage of Rare Earth Minerals May Cripple U.S. High-Tech, Scientists Warn Congress

    Until 1948, most of the world’s rare earths were sourced from placer sand deposits in India andBrazil.[6] Through the 1950s, South Africa took the status as the world’s rare earth source, after large rare earth bearing veins were discovered in Monazite.[6] Until the 1980s, the Mountain Pass rare earth mine in California was the leading producer. Today, the Indian and South African deposits still produce some rare earth concentrates, but they are dwarfed by the scale of Chinese production. China now produces over 97% of the world’s rare earth supply, mostly in Inner Mongolia.

    Per Wikipedia: Blum’s wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has received scrutiny due to her husband’s government contracts and extensive business dealings with China and her past votes on trade issues with the country. Blum has denied any wrongdoing, however. Critics have argued that business contracts with the US government awarded to a company (Perini) controlled by Blum may raise a potential conflict-of-interest issue with the voting and policy activities of his wife. URS Corp, which Blum had a substantial stake in, bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002; EG&G subsequently won a $600m defense contract. In 2009 it was reported that Blum’s wife Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a government agency that had recently awarded her husband’s real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, what the Washington Times called “a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.”
    In 2009 the University of California Board of Regents, of which Blum is a member, voted to increase student registration fees (roughly the Univ. of California equivalent of tuition) by 32%. Shortly thereafter, Blum Capital Partners purchased additional stock in ITT Tech, a for-profit educational institution. These events suggest a conflict of interest on Blum’s part.”

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 28, 2014
Some of the hundreds of earthquake damaged wine barrels cover and toppled a pair of forklifts at the Kieu Hoang Winery, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A powerful earthquake that struck the heart of California's wine country caught many people sound asleep, sending dressers, mirrors and pictures crashing down around them and toppling wine bottles in vineyards around the region. (AP)

Drought in California, earthquake in Napa. We look at broken bottles and the health of the American wine industry.

 
Aug 28, 2014
Photos surround the casket of Michael Brown before the start of his funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.  (AP)

The message that will last out of Ferguson with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment
 
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

More »
1 Comment