Blog Posts

Key Unanswered Questions About Epstein Death and Cameras

Reading Time: 2 minutesOne of the great mysteries so far in the fascinating Jeffrey Epstein saga is one that doesn’t seem to have gotten the kind of prime attention it deserves: What exactly do the cameras show? Where were they positioned? And who has examined the footage? 

Do Online Movements Have Staying Power?

Reading Time: 4 minutesThe recent decision not to charge the New York police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner is a good opportunity to examine the related Black Lives Matter movement and the potential power of online social movements generally. How can they mobilize so many people and yet be so ineffective when it comes to influencing policy and decision making?

How Epstein Got Rich: Clue Buried in Lawsuit?

Reading Time: 3 minutesPeople wondering how Jeffrey Epstein acquired his enormous wealth may find a clue on page 5 of the lawsuit, filed — and later withdrawn — by Katie Johnson against Donald Trump and Epstein for allegedly raping her when she was 13 years old.Tiffany Doe, a material witness named in the lawsuit, had agreed to provide sworn testimony, “fully verifying the authenticity of the claims” of Johns

Jailbirds and Peacocks

Reading Time: 7 minutesThe connection between being a convicted criminal and having a fixation on fashion might be perplexing to some, but not to me. As a longtime fashion editor and fashion follower, I get it. Having a closet filled with great clothes is empowering and it can impart a feeling of confidence, even if it’s just an illusion.

Is the Cold War in the Persian Gulf About to Turn Hot?

Reading Time: 2 minutesWestern pundits hybrid warfare with Russia nowadays, but recent events in the Persian Gulf may prove to be closer to a textbook example of how a hybrid war is fought in the 21st century.On Saturday, Britain deno

Obamacare Derangement Syndrome

Reading Time: 5 minutesThe latest assault on the Affordable Care Act seemed to advance a bit this month when the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments in a suit backed by 20 largely red states hoping the courts will do what Congress so far has not: annul the law.

Oh, Look! Our Population Problems Are Solved

Reading Time: 3 minutesOne of the many avenues taken by business-as-usual, Cornucopian analysts who attempt to downplay alarm bells currently ringing all over the planet is to remind readers of the failures of 18th-Century English economist Thomas Malthus.Population growth isn’t a problem, they argue in hindsight, for the same reasons that made Malthus’s predictions look increasingly silly over 200 years of n

Russia’s Lasting Grip on Christian Conservatives

Prominent Russian nationals and members of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) continue to build bridges with American right-wing politicians and may be influencing policy.Despite being sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury and the European Union for crimes in Ukraine, the for meeting with National Rifle Association (NRA) members are using Christian fundamentalist groups a

Turkey’s Strongman Weakened by Municipal Election Reversal

It was only a municipal election, yet, after more than three weeks it continues to reverberate loudly within NATO’s second-largest power and across the region.At a time when relations between the US and Turkey some

Afghanistan Forces Intimidate, Rob US-Hired Contractors

Morale is in Afghanistan’s armed forces that its soldiers — once expected to be a bulwark against the Taliban — have been stealing from and brutalizing US-paid local contractors.The total value of property stolen has exceeded $780,000, and contractors have been held at gunpoint, beaten, “locked in containers for extended hours,” and had their heads shaved, accordi

Young Leaders Urge Congress to Take Action on Climate Change

Young leaders took to the Capitol on April 4 to urge Congress to act on climate change. The U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis listened as they made their case that now is the time to take action in curbing the climate crisis. The hearing, titled “Generation Climate: Young Leaders Urge Climate Action Now,” is just one more event in the “Youth v. Government” climate change movement.

Mueller’s Problem: Trump Eats Evidence for Lunch

I could never understand why anyone would expect President Donald Trump to leave behind evidence of collusion with Russia. After all, Trump eats evidence.Former employee Omarosa Manigault Newman witnessed him indulging in this unusual diet after a meeting with Michael Cohen. In her book, Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House, wrote,

The Great Con: In Missile Defense, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

The military last Monday fired a first-ever “salvo” of two missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Ronald Reagan Test Site on Kwajelein atoll 4,000 miles away in the Pacific Ocean.

The Mueller Report: The Dangers of Getting Too Close

It&;s time to temper expectations for Robert Mueller&;s report. Those in the know have sent signals in recent days not to expect any bombshells, and certainly not to expect any high-level indictments.

Sex, Blackmail, and Jeff Bezos

The nation is now agog over a sex and blackmail scandal that involves two of the more famous publishers in the world — Jeffrey Bezos, owner of Amazon and the Washington Post, and David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer. By now you know the bare — and I do mean bare — outlines of the scandal.

Is Another State Ready to Reject Disenfranchisement?

Only three states — Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia — are still permanently banning former felons from voting. Soon, that list may be down to two. After Florida’s voters overwhelmingly rejected this form of disenfranchisement in November by approving an amendment to the state constitution that makes more than one million former felons eligible to vote, Iowa may be next. Last week during her Condition of the State Address, Gov.

Why Trump Won’t Back Down on Shutdown

Most — if not all — presidents ran for office because they thought they could run the country better than the other candidates. And running the country means being in charge of the US government. It implies some regard for the institution that would be paying their salary. But Donald Trump never really considered the presidency to be a job. It was just a vehicle to gain the most attention from adoring crowds, obtain the best perks, maximize his brand, and hold the greatest power.

Chaotic Haggling Follows Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan

National Security Adviser John Bolton received a cold shoulder in Turkey on Tuesday as he attempted to reduce the impact of President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw from Syria. The diplomatic confrontation appeared to reinforce between NATO’s largest and second-largest armies.

Not Everyone Buys Story of ICE Divisions

A letter sent to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen back in June should have been an internal document having to do with workplace structuring. Instead, it was hailed by Abolish ICE activists as proof that even those working within one of the Trump administration’s most controversial agencies were ready to upend the system.

Legit-Looking Websites That Peddle Fake News

While Congress is increasingly putting pressure on Big Tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter to combat on their pages, some lawmakers, such as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), have published their own “news” websites filled with self-serving disinformation.

The American Lobbyist Who Undermined a Democracy

Recent in a Ukraine courtroom have shed new light on US special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Prosecutors in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev have filed a court motion against Viktor Yanukovych, a Ukrainian politician closely allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mueller Is Not the End, but Just the Beginning

With every news cycle we eagerly gobble down the “feel good” pieces by “expert” tea-leaf readers predicting the coming comeuppance for Trump and his cadre. These experts posit the risks the Trump forces face, delight in the prospects, and offer hope that the end of our long national nightmare is at hand. Of course, no one actually knows, but that doesn&;t matter.

Your ICE at Work: Another Nanny Rounded Up and Sent Packing

The US can feel a little more secure today. On July 19, US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) successfully removed Marta Rodriguez from our shores.

Did the NRA Launder Russian Money to Help Trump Win the 2016 Presidential Election?

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Russians connected to Vladimir Putin used the National Rifle Association (NRA) to funnel illegal payments to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Why would Russian money intended to influence a US election be “laundered” through the NRA?

A Deep State: The Gun the US Doesn’t Have

Fifteen years ago, former ambassador Joe Wilson on the ignored intelligence that debunked the argument for the Iraq War, setting off a chain of events that led to the outing of a covert US intelligence agent who happened to be his wife.

It Devours: Smartphones Are Seducing Us Out of Reality

In 1996 came the Internet and it made the world instantly global. Then, in 2008, the iPhone arrived, and we as a society became universally and ubiquitously plugged-in. Mainlined into the cosmic collective, and buttressed by an accompanying explosion of virtual “communities” through social media sites.Today this omniscient virtual world is summoned on average 85 times a day by its users (31,000 times in a year).

To Flip Manafort: Is Mueller Gathering Plea Deals?

While many others targeted by special counsel Robert Mueller have agreed to cooperate, President Donald Trump&;s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has pleaded not guilty to various charges brought against him.

Official Bullshit on RFK Murder Recycled

On the 50th Anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, May 24, 2018, the  trumpeted this headline: Why Sirhan Sirhan, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian, Shot Bobby Kennedy

Rosenstein Is Caught Between Doing His Job and Appeasing Trump

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has one of the toughest jobs in Washington. He wants to ensure that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election can proceed while also having to handle the increasingly frequent tantrums from President Donald Trump.

America Makes Torture Great Again

The US Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director. Because three Republicans opposed her, some Democrats were needed to get the necessary votes. In the end, six of them voted with the rest of the GOP to confirm “Bloody Gina.” That’s some . Haspel oversaw torture at a secret CIA prison in Thailand during the Bush administration, and was instrumental in the destruction of video tapes of the torture sessions.

Restraint: A Beautifully Simple Way to Stop Joyless Overconsumption and Environmental Degradation

Pierre Rabhi is a French writer, farmer, environmentalist, agroecologist, and the inventor of the compelling concept, Oasis in any place. At the age of five, I witnessed my father lose his livelihood as a blacksmith to the exploding coal mining industry in Algeria. The year was 1943 and civilization had arrived, with its complexity and immense powers of material attraction. Rather than hang up his hat, my father conformed to the opportunities that the new industry provided, working every day for the French occupiers who had discovered coal.

Is Trump Trying to Prevent #ChinaGate?

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump raged over all the US jobs that he claimed had been lost to China, and said he would go with a program of “America First” when it came to trade deals with that country. Now we learn he is considering amending sanctions on Chinese phone maker ZTE because his proposed sanctions on the company would result in “too many lost jobs in China.”Well, by now, we are all accustomed to Trump contradicting his own promises. But this one is stranger than most. The reason?

The Insanity of Daily Life in America

“David’s Bookshelf” is a new feature for WhoWhatWhy readers. David Wineberg, popular for his insightful and entertaining reviews online, will present new works of nonfiction and offer his thoughts and commentary on these books, whose topics we believe will be of interest to many of our readers. The views expressed in these reviews reflect those of the author and not necessarily those of WhoWhatWhy.

Kim Jong-un vs. Donald J. Trump: Kim Wins

We are about to witness a no-holds-barred match between two of the greatest bait-and-switch artists in history.Two men will enter the ring. In this corner, Donald J. Trump, who describes himself as the best dealmaker on the planet. In the other corner, North Korea dictator, Kim Jong-un, a man who runs his hermit kingdom with an iron fist and never takes “no” for an answer.One man will leave the ring victorious.

Florida Needs a Better System to Restore Felons’ Voting Rights, Judge Says

Many of the 1.6 million disenfranchised felons in Florida may be one step closer to being able to vote thanks to a ruling from a federal judge. Earlier this week, US District Judge Mark Walker ordered Gov. Rick Scott (R) to devise a new system to restore convicted felons’ right to vote by April 26.The court order from Walker requires Gov.

Standoff Between Turkey, West Accelerates as Syrian Kurdish City Sacked

After the fall of the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin on March 18, the Turkish operation in Syria has entered a particularly dangerous phase, with relations between the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the US fast approaching a make-or-break point.Turkey on the next big Kurdish-held city in Syria: Manbij.

Pennsylvania GOP Moves to Impeach Democratic Supreme Court Justices

President Gerald Ford once famously said that “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers [it] to be at a given moment in history.” Pennsylvania’s Republican lawmakers apparently believe that disagreeing with them is sufficient grounds for impeachment.Twelve Republican lawmakers filed legislation on Tuesday to impeach the four Democratic justices on the seven-member Pennsylvania Supreme Court who, in January, ruled the state’s congressional map was unconstitutional.Specifically, the court said the map that Republicans had drawn in 2011 was “designed

Revenge of the Neocons

President Donald Trump’s cabinet is starting to look more and more like a Bush-Cheney war room.The irony is thick, considering candidate Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp,” his claimed opposition to foreign intervention, and his apparent antagonism to the Bush dynasty in the lead up to election day.Just days ago, Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, and nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him. To fill Pompeo’s place as head of the CIA, Trump nominated Deputy Director Gina Haspel. And reportedly waiting in the wings to replace former general H.R.

More Federal Secrecy in Case of Trump Associate Felix Sater

A US judge on Monday unsealed a host of documents related to Felix Sater, a longtime business associate of President Donald Trump. These are documents that reporters have long sought to review to determine the nature of Trump’s ties with Sater, who has mob ties in both Russia and the US.Based on a quick initial scan of the documents, they hint at a still untold story of great public interest.

Trump’s Drone War Is Worse Than We Thought

In November, to the fact that President Donald Trump is continuing the Obama administration’s drone war while suppressing important information on the drone strikes conducted this year.While that is bad enough, things are actually much worse.The number of drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen has soared as Trump appears to have handed much of his war-making authority to military leaders.

Erdogan Moves Against Syria’s Kurds

Following several days of intense artillery bombardment and air strikes, the Turkish army launched a ground invasion of the Syrian Kurdish canton of Afrin on Monday.WhoWhatWhy reported on the likelihood of such an operation.