Who What Why ?

My name is Russ Baker. For more than two decades I have been an investigative journalist, doing what I believed journalists were supposed to do—seek the truth and publish nothing less. Over the years, however, I have learned how the media gatekeepers, both “mainstream” and “alternative,” will not allow the biggest, most disturbing revelations to see the light of day.

http://whowhatwhy.com/the-project/

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Is the Fall of Kirkuk Iran’s Answer to Trump?

In a lightning advance, Iraqi forces captured the oil-rich city of Kirkuk from Kurdish forces on Monday, sending thousands of civilians fleeing.The fighting between two US-trained and -equipped forces that have been central to the war against the Islamic State was a slap in the face to US foreign policy.

FEMA’s Embarrassing Puerto Rico Response

Koch Brothers: Deficits Don’t Matter (Jimmy)

The author , “Now that Republicans control all levers of power in Washington and the Koch brothers are poised to reap a windfall of billions of dollars through tax cuts, they have a new message: Don’t worry about the deficit.”

Japan Gets Revenge Over TPP (Dan)

Will Spiraling Debt Produce Another Financial Meltdown?

Debt is back in the news. Last month, with the US close to exhausting the $19.8 trillion limit on what it could borrow, Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling. But that was just a short-term fix. Lawmakers will have to and federal spending again in December.Government debt isn’t our only problem.

Will the Harvey Weinstein Scandal Inspire Reforms?

Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump, two affluent white men whose names are synonymous with their brands, have one possession in common: a taped confession of the hideous, disturbing way they perceive and treat women. Both used their fame and status to aggressively seek sexual favors. Both employed similar tactics to silence accusers: non-disclosure agreements, lawsuits and private settlements.

Looming Global Financial Crisis

Outgoing German Finance Minister: Crisis Looms (Jeff C.)

Central banks have pumped trillions of dollars into global markets, creating unstable loans and that could plunge the world into another financial crisis, according to Wolfgang Shaeubble.

Why Does Trump Get No Flak For US Deaths in Africa (Russ)

Harvey Weinstein University — Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Harvey Weinstein may be just the tip of the iceberg in Hollywood, but he’s also emblematic of a debate that has been raging for over a decade on US campuses. “Yes Means Yes” “We Believe You” “It’s Never Her Fault” — these are just a few bywords of a new sexual revolution playing out now in colleges and universities across America. The changes may be redefining what constitutes consent, assault and rape.

Are Americans Beginning to Care about Election Integrity?

Nearly a year after the 2016 presidential election, many Americans have been forced, some for the very first time, to look critically at their voting protections, and recognize that US balloting systems are not nearly as impregnable as they once thought.Clearly, the about Russia hacks provided a long-overdue wake up call for this issue.

The Calm Before the Iraqi Storm: 15th Anniversary

President Donald Trump rattled Americans (and people everywhere) with his recent deliberately enigmatic pronouncement that “.” More so because he issued the statement as he stood surrounded by an imposing wall of senior military officers.Soon, the media were abuzz with speculation.

US Treasury Department Spying?

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Nobel Winner: Goal is to Make Nukes Unacceptable (Trevin)

An Independent Catalonia: Where Firefighters Are the Unexpected Heroes

Nick Hilden is a WhoWhatWhy freelancer who is covering Catalonia’s struggle for independence. Here are his thoughts from the ground on the events that have been unfolding in Spain. The future of Catalonia is uncertain following an unsanctioned independence vote, violent police actions trying to stop that referendum and massive rallies from supporters as well as opponents of a split from Spain.

Black Rights Matter

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Want to Avert the Apocalypse? Take Lessons From Costa Rica (Reader Inez)

Want to Support the Troops? Stop Sending Them to Die in Meaningless Wars

I get really emotional when I watch videos of members of the armed forces coming home after a long deployment to surprise their loved ones. I put myself in the shoes of these families who were separated for months and can feel the love. Then I get angry. I get angry because these reunions are as touching as they are senseless.

16 Years Later, The War in Afghanistan is a Quagmire

Sixteen years have passed since the US invaded Afghanistan — less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.With the burning towers seared into the nation’s psyche, the Bush administration launched its “war on terror” against the Taliban — an Islamic fundamentalist group that assumed power in 1996 — for sheltering al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the alleged orchestrator of the carnage.Instead of swiftly dismantling the Taliban regime, the US-led coalition found itself in a brutal guerrilla war marred by strategic failures and confused foreign policy calls.

Navy Doctor: Bullet Found in JFK’s Limousine, and Never Reported

Today, a majority of Americans assume the government lied to us about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. New evidence seems to prove they are right.This is the story of a bullet — a spent, misshapen, but otherwise intact, bullet — that James Young, a Navy doctor, said was found late at night, on the floor, in the back of Kennedy’s limousine.  He inspected it himself.The bullet was found by two chief petty officers who, during the autopsy, were sent to retrieve any skull fragments they could find in the limousine. They came back with three pieces of bone, and the bullet.

California Becomes ‘Sanctuary State’

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America’s Culture of Killing: It Doesn’t Begin at Home

What if the problem of violence in America is not just the availability of guns, but a strain in US culture that accepts violence and even homicide as a “legitimate” way of solving problems?According to philosopher, cultural critic and author Laurie Calhoun, Americans seem to consider violence an acceptable form of persuasion.In this podcast with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, Calhoun questions some basic assumptions of US foreign policy.

Sanders’ Rise in the South

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Populists Are on the March in the South (Jimmy)

The Ugly Ghost of Tom Price

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Saudi Arabia’s Economy Shrinks Again (Jeff C.)

How Fake News About Africa is Costing US Taxpayers

Ugandan strongman Yoweri Museveni is like the fireman who is secretly an arsonist, starting fires he then rushes in to put out.In this WhoWhatWhy podcast, journalist and Africa expert Helen Epstein explains how Museveni, president of Uganda since 1986, has inserted himself into, and has been the cause of, many of the conflicts in East Africa.He has taken advantage of the US fear of terrorism by inflating the risk of it on the continent, and then telling the world what he is doing to take care of the problem.Museveni has used this strategy, including escalating the civil war in South Sudan, to

Classic WhoWhatWhy: Texas Concealed Carry Law and the UT Tower Massacre

The Las Vegas slaughter was not the first time a sniper sought out higher ground to target random individuals. More than 50 years ago, the Texas Tower massacre in Austin, Texas, was one of the first mass shootings in modern history. Since then, these events have become regular occurrences in the lives of Americans. Below, we reprint a review of a documentary recreation of that tragedy, which highlighted the human stories behind the headline, and lead viewers to question whether we are better off as a nation 50 years on.

Facebook Helps Chinese Gov’t?

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Gig Economy on Trial in Europe (Dan)

NRA’s Silencer Bill

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Did Saudi Arabia Pay A PR Firm $1M For 55 Tweets? (Trevin)

Another Day, Another Country, Another Corporation Hurting Workers

You don’t expect to see a morality play about corporate power vs. workers’ rights unfold before your eyes while you sip a glass of red wine at an outdoor cafe in Madrid’s hip and lively Plaza Santa Ana. But that’s what happened to me when a worker protest shattered the calm of a mild fall evening in a spot beloved by both tourists and locals.It brought home the realization that the power of multinational corporations is global, affecting not only U.S. workers, but workers worldwide.

The South’s Monumental History Lesson

One of the arguments offered by those fighting the removal of confederate statues is that it would be tantamount to “erasing history.” Instead of tributes to heroes of the confederacy, they claim, these statues are actually monuments that teach us about the evil of slavery. Once they are gone, these lessons would supposedly be lost.

Why Are Athlete-Led Anthem Protests So Polarizing?

What exactly is it about anthem protests that make them so polarizing? It seems an obvious question, and a relevant one these days — but the answers turn out to be surprising.After President Donald Trump exhorted the National Football League (NFL) to fire players who “disrespect” the national anthem, players, coaches and owners from almost every team in the league mounted a defiant response.

How Propaganda Hacks Our Brains

There was a time when the difference between marketing and propaganda was a bright line. Marketing, in the old days, had some responsibility to tell the truth. At the very least, ads could not be blatantly false. Propaganda, on the other hand, was a construction of lies designed to appeal to our baser instincts and to what we already believed.

Key Figure in Trump-Russia Saga Dodges Legal Bullet

One of President Donald Trump’s associates had some good news yesterday. Felix Sater, the subject of a recent WhoWhatWhy, had a tax fraud claim against him tossed out of court.Following a brief oral argument, Manhattan state court judge Justice Charles E.