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.
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Putin Starts Syrian Troop Withdrawal on Surprise Air Base Visit (Trevin)
On Tuesday night, all eyes will be on Alabama to see who won the special election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. But with Alabama’s opaque election process, we may never be certain that the results were accurate.Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill refuses to preserve the digital ballot records produced by the vote-tabulating machines. Election integrity activist John Brakey, co-founder and executive director of AUDIT-AZ, says this deprives citizens of a means to scrutinize election results for errors — and evidence of rigging.
I still remember what I thought when I found out two years ago that Alabama planned to shut down 31 DMV offices, and that the closures would primarily affect counties with large minority populations: “Why would anybody need to suppress the vote in Alabama?” Now I know. Heading into Tuesday’s special Senate election, the race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is still too close to call. It is conceivable that a few thousands votes will make the difference when all the ballots have been counted.
The trajectory of the gay rights movement can sometimes resemble the jagged line on a heart monitor. Gains and setbacks can land with equal force and frequency. This week’s events included a legislative win and oral arguments before the US Supreme Court in a momentous case.On Tuesday, the court heard long-awaited arguments in a case filed by Colorado baker Jack Phillips — the proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple because he felt doing so clashed with his Christian faith.
Don’t Expect Aggressive US Shale Drilling (Jeff C.)Countless news articles have hyped the extremely low breakeven prices of shale oil extraction. The reality is that right up through this year, the promise of big profits has continued to prove elusive.
The Coming Republican Assault on the Safety Net (Trevin)
After mass shootings or other types of terror attacks in the US, the finger-pointing begins almost immediately.
MSNBC Fires Sam Seder for Old Tweet Mocking Polanski Supporters (DH)
Conservationists in Mexico have front-row seats as yet another species is on the verge of extinction. They can watch, but it looks as though there is little they can do to prevent it.This time, the species in question is the vaquita porpoise. Experts believe there are only about 30 vaquita left in the warm waters of Mexico’s Gulf of California, the only area in the world where the small porpoises are known to live.Only discovered in 1958, the vaquita 一 known as the “panda of the sea” for the darkened rings around its eyes 一 has always been a rare and enigmatic creature.
Leading Trump Census Pick Causes Alarm (Jimmy)
Was Mary Pinchot Meyer killed in an intricate, CIA-conducted operation like something out of the old television show, Mission Impossible?Did Meyer, who was President John F. Kennedy’s mistress, know too much about his assassination, and about the organization she believed was involved?
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party Leads Conservatives by Eight Points (Trevin)
With the mystery of alleged sonic attacks on American diplomats in Havana still unresolved, a new development has caused some to point to a familiar foe: Russia.The State Department recently received another report of a possible covert attack on US foreign officials, sources told
President Donald Trump might be one of the few people in Washington who doesn’t understand — or does he pretend not to understand? — that there was massive foreign interference on various levels in the 2016 elections.
North Korea this week blasted its 20th and most fearsome intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into space. This shattered not only the illusion that the country may be softening its nuclear stance, but also any hope of imminent diplomatic progress with the US.Hwasong-15, fired just before dawn on Wednesday, was the first such missile test conducted in two months — the longest hiatus this year.
Baltimore Police Refusing to Let FBI Join Investigation of Murdered Detective Scheduled to Testify Against Officers (Jimmy)
Donald Nichols never fit the mold of a post-war American spy. In 1946 he went to Korea as a nobody, going to a place that nobody wanted to go to. When he arrived he began preparing for a war that no one else knew was coming. When it did, he was uniquely ready.He became an intelligence superstar. He had his own base of operations, and his own army.
Media’s Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn (Jimmy)
Congress’s efforts to enact a controversial tax bill have been grabbing most of the headlines. That legislation is something the GOP majority in Congress wants to do — it does not have to do it.
Is Chicago Failing to Investigate Serial Killings? (Chris)Vice News Tonight looks into a disturbing pattern in recent Chicago homicides — one that may be getting ignored by police due to the high number of (frequently unsolved) gang-related killings there.
Trump’s Chance to Suppress Voters is Here (Reader Steve)
There were no profiles in courage in the Senate Budget Committee on November 28. Just one Republican Senator on the committee opposing the bill could have stopped the Senate’s controversial tax reform bill dead in its tracks during the procedural vote on Tuesday. None did.At least two senators on the committee had previously raised concerns about the Senate proposal. No matter. They kept quiet and voted in lockstep with their colleagues.Both Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Bob Corker (R-TN) had criticized the Senate proposal.
How Illegal Weapons of Mass Surveillance are Sold (Milicent)Al Jazeera has produced an extremely engrossing, visually powerful documentary, exposing the covert sales of sophisticated surveillance equipment to the highest bidder, no matter how corrupt. And how they circumvent the rules.
Facebook to Expand Artificial Intelligence to Help Prevent Suicide (Trevin)
Comedians Tim Dillon and Ray Kump, with their special guest, WhoWhatWhy founder Russ Baker, take on the world’s ills and still find a way to make the audience smile.In a live podcast from the TBS Comedy Hub at the New York Comedy Festival, they address wars, nasty politicians, and the meaning of life as seen through an investigative lens — and from the dark perspective that writers and comedians share.
Will the White House Bungle the GOP’s Tax Plan? (Dan)The GOP’s hope of achieving at least one legislative achievement this year is riding on the White House. And that has given Republicans in Congress year-end shivers.
Human Brains Are Three Times Larger Than Chimp Brains (Milicent)
When representatives of an entire industry are asked to testify before Congress, it’s usually not about the side they want the public to see. Just ask the heads of Big Tobacco.This fall, the kings of the “new economy” — Big Tech — had their turn in front of congressional investigators, who grilled them on their role in the 2016 election.To the representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google, this was a new experience. To those who are familiar with the excesses of unchecked capitalism, it seemed like old news.
If Republicans were to write a bill to hyperbolically make fun of Democratic positions, they might call it “The Mandatory Abortion and Free iPhones for Welfare Recipients Act of 2017.” The legislation would get rid of the Department of Defense, put in place healthcare for all, and outlaw vehicles with combustion engines. And, of course, it would take away all guns. If Democrats were to write a bill to hyperbolically make fun of Republican positions, they might call it “The Take from the Poor to Help Billionaires Act of 2017.”
In just three weeks, the freedom with which Americans have navigated the web — a terrain that seems as expansive as the universe — may become a thing of the past. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled a plan to gut net neutrality, the principle that aims to establish a level playing field online.
FCC Explains Why Public Support for Net Neutrality Won’t Stop Repeal (Jimmy)
With the world feeling like it’s spinning out of control, with a new crisis happening every day at a speed beyond our ability to process, humor may be the only thing that can get us through. For this holiday weekend, WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman sits down with Chicago comic and professor Al Gini to talk about humor, satire and why we need both to fend off our fear of the world.Certainly there is no algorithm for what’s funny.
Having moved over from England a few years ago, Thanksgiving has taught me what it actually means to be American.From the outside, all that most foreigners see of America is a stereotypically brash, greedy “number one!” mentality, with a giant soda-drinking mouse mascot, overly padded sportsmen, and an earnest desire to police the world. Sure — you win lots of medals at all the Olympics. Congratulations!
With the country deeply divided along partisan lines, this week saw a lot of stories encouraging Americans to avoid politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table.A Reuters poll showed that nearly one-third of respondents will steer clear of the topic.
It is a big year for those interested in the mysteries that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on this day in 1963 still poses. WhoWhatWhy has been a leader on this subject and our team of experts will spend this day — as it has so many others — scouring the newly released documents for interesting information.
In 2008, Emilio Gutierrez fled Mexico because of serious death threats. Ten years later, he faces imminent deportation.
Tories Attempt to Delete Human Rights from EU Withdrawal Bill (Trevin)
President Donald Trump seems determined to undo just about everything Barack Obama has done. There is one area, however, in which he is following the lead of his predecessor: drone warfare.Not that the public would know anything about it — or the dangerously loose oversight involved. And that’s by design.The Trump administration is not only expanding the use of drones, it is also obscuring the facts about how many drones are being used, how many people are being killed by them and where.
“Think back when the US pursued the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.