Liberal democracies like ours seem, for the most part, to have learned how to avoid meticulously planned mass-casualty plots with the complexity and scale of 9/11. But they don't know how to keep their citizens safe at night clubs and concerts, in supermarkets, on beachfront promenades, from truck drivers.

Surrendering to jargon is a sign of journalism's dismal lack of self-confidence in the optimized age of content-management systems.

Together, Apple and Walmart represent the intense separation of American life into blue and red, rich and poor, overpriced and undersold, hyperconnected and left behind.

Discerning the legal difference between what WikiLeaks did and what news organizations do is difficult and would set a terrible precedent.

Putin stands for the opposite of a universal ideology; he has become an arch-nationalist of a pre-Cold War type, making mystic appeals to motherland and religion.

Amazon's identity and goals are never clear and always fluid, which makes the company destabilizing and intimidating.

Partly what I'm writing about is the way taboos get toppled.

I don't know if it's a male thing, but I've always been interested in how people respond to the stresses and dangers of war, how they react under fire.

Certain murderous ideas are in the air worldwide, and they are finding individuals in scattered places in different ways, and every attack spreads them further, plants an idea in a new head.

The libertarian worship of individual freedom, and contempt for social convention, comes easiest to people who have never really had to grow up.

Walmart's period of explosive growth coincided with decades of wage stagnation and deindustrialization. By applying relentless downward pressure on prices and wages, the company came to dominate both consumer spending and employment in small towns and rural areas across the middle of the country.

The similarities are limited but real. They amount to a shared disgust with politics as usual in America. The Tea Party focuses on the federal government; Occupy Wall Street focuses on corporate America and its influence over the government.

It might not be wise for a sometime political journalist to admit this, but the 2016 campaign doesn't seem like fun to me.

So many writers grew up in tortured isolation, in revolt against their families. I and my sister were in a house where writing was considered the worthiest thing you could try to do.

America's vast population of working poor can only get so poor before even Walmart is out of reach.

A curious thing about this rarefied world is that bloggers are almost unfailingly contemptuous toward everyone except one another.

Obama is the splendid fruit of a meritocracy.

I've read a lot of war writing, even World War I writing, the British war poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves's memoir 'Goodbye to All That,' and a civilian memoir, 'Testament of Youth,' by Vera Brittain.

Lawyers, judges, doctors, shrinks, accountants, investigators and, not least, journalists could not do the most basic tasks without a veil of secrecy. Why shouldn't the same be true of those professionals who happen to be government officials?

American wars in Muslim countries created some extremists and inflamed many more while producing a security vacuum that allowed them to wreak mayhem.

WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a cell of activists that is releasing information designed to embarrass people in power.

'The Assassins' Gate' is a very tightly controlled story of the ideas that led to the war and the consequences of those ideas in Iraq, and there is no doubt about where it is going and what kind of groundwork is being laid.

Today, we have our own concentrations of economic power. Instead of Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, the Union Pacific Railroad, and J. P. Morgan and Company, we have Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft.

It suddenly occurred to me that the hottest tech startups are solving all the problems of being 20 years old, with cash on hand, because that's who thinks them up.

Mark Zuckerberg has started an advocacy group for immigration reform.

For 20 years, my mother, my sister and I had seldom spoken of my father. If he happened to come up in conversation, pain and embarrassment entered the room and stayed until he disappeared back into the silence with which we all felt more at ease.

Afghanistan can't police its borders, and its neighbors give sanctuary and assistance to insurgents.

It's a cliche that the Senate is broken, and like most cliches, it's true.

Before Google, and long before Facebook, Bezos had realized that the greatest value of an online company lay in the consumer data it collected.

Jay-Z is a hero, Sam Walton is a hero - these are not exactly communitarian champions. These are - in some cases, literally; in others, just figuratively - gangster heroes. That's who is worshipped: people who get away with it.

'Charlie Hebdo' had been nondenominational in its satire, sticking its finger into the sensitivities of Jews and Christians, too - but only Muslims responded with threats and acts of terrorism.

Much of the international unease with the Sochi Games has focused on the threat of terrorism, Putin's domestic repressiveness, and the Russian campaign of anti-gay propaganda.

The difference between a reporter, a newspaper columnist, a paid speaker, a television personality, a radio talk show host, a blogger, a movie producer, a publicist, and a political strategist, is growing less - and not more - distinct.

Ambition, of course, is the politician's currency.

As America has grown less economically equal, a citizen's ability to move upward has fallen behind that of citizens in other Western democracies. We are no longer the country where anyone can become anything.

I don't think they need to be nice to reporters, but the White House seems to imagine that releasing information is like a tap that can be turned on and off at their whim.

The invisibility of work and workers in the digital age is as consequential as the rise of the assembly line and, later, the service economy.

To many book professionals, Amazon is a ruthless predator. The company claims to want a more literate world - and it came along when the book world was in distress, offering a vital new source of sales.

By the fall of 2007, my last remaining Iraqi friend in Baghdad had left. Once he was gone, my connection to the country and the war began to thin, even as the terror diminished. I missed the improvement that came with the surge, and so, in my nervous system, I never quite registered it.

The idea of solving as huge and long-term a problem as inequality - which, for my money, is the biggest single problem we have here at home - just never gets serious concern from both sides.

If the presidential nominating process were an international sports competition, one would assume that top officials of both parties were taking envelopes of cash from town chairs in Durham and precinct captains in Waterloo.

All over Africa, people are wearing what Americans once wore and no longer want. Visit the continent, and you'll find faded remnants of secondhand clothing in the strangest of places.

If you've ever left a bag of clothes outside the Salvation Army or given to a local church drive, chances are that you've dressed an African.

The base of the party, the middle-aged white working class, has suffered at least as much as any demographic group because of globalization, low-wage immigrant labor, and free trade. Trump sensed the rage that flared from this pain and made it the fuel of his campaign.

A great writer requires a great biography, and a great biography must tell the truth.

The Princeton economist Alan Krueger has demonstrated that societies with higher levels of income inequality are societies with lower levels of social mobility.

The phrase 'change the world' is tossed around Silicon Valley conversations and business plans as freely as talk of 'early-stage investing' and 'beta tests.'

Whether as victim, demon, or hero, the industrial worker of the past century filled the public imagination in books, movies, news stories, and even popular songs, putting a grimy human face on capitalism while dramatizing the social changes and conflicts it brought.

How a candidate runs shapes how a president governs.