We Live in a Golden Age of Ignorance

  We have a strong history of political satirists in the United States, from Mark Twain in the 19th century to such early 20th century wits as Will Rogers and H.L. Menken, on up to more recent provocateurs like Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Al Franken, and our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Andy Borowitz  

To Prosecute or Not to Prosecute… That Is the Question

As Machiavelli wisely said, “If you come for the king, you best not miss.”     On this special WhoWhatWhy podcast we talk with journalist Damon Linker about the many so far fruitless   attempts to bring Donald Trump to account.   

What a Peaceful Transition of Power Looks Like

The mainstream media in the US has paid scant attention to the recent changing of the guard in the British government. And yet, given the current state of our politics, we might learn a lot from the peaceful transition of power that just took place, as Boris Johnson left office and Liz Truss was installed as Britain’s new prime minister.  

Russia, Ukraine…Where Are We Now?

Public interest in the Russia-Ukraine war ebbs and flows. While the war slogs on, the advantage seems to shift back and forth, as new weapons and new troop deployments reshape the battlefield. Just when international attention seems to lag, a new threat arises, like the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor and the world holds its collective breath.  

Subscribercast 67 – Pam and Tommy vs Minx

Pam and Tommy tells the story of the stolen Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee sextape. Minx tells the story of a 1970s... The post first appeared on .

Getting at the Truth: Two Perspectives

How do we find out about hidden corruption in our society? Whether in politics, business, academia, medicine, or in the personal behavior of trusted individuals, it is often the dogged work of investigative reporters that exposes what malefactors try to keep from public view. In recent years, for example, without such dedicated journalists there would have been no prosecution of Elizabeth Holmes or Harvey Weinstein.   

Democracy Is the Mother of All Dictatorships

We often conflate the political process of “democracy” with the idea of liberal democracy, even though there is never any guarantee of what kind of government democracy will give us.    Our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Zac Gershberg, co-author of the new book The Paradox of Democracy, reminds us that among the many contradictions of democracy is the fact that all modern fascist governments have been born from democracy.  

It’s the Free Speech, Stupid

  When we say “democracy” is under threat in America, what is really being threatened? Often missing in the debate about “democracy threatened” is a simple but powerful notion: The best way to get at the truth is through a clash of ideas, driven by free and unfettered speech.   In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with professor Corey Brettschneider. He is an expert on the US constitution, editor of the Penguin Liberty series, and a professor of constitutional law and politics at Brown University.  

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Looks on the Bright Side

On this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast we talk with New York Rep. Jamaal  Bowman (D). Elected in 2020, he beat a long-entrenched Democratic incumbent, like his fellow Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).     He shares with us how his background as a public elementary school teacher and middle school principal shaped his policy views on issues like standardized testing, curriculum, school funding, and the federal role in all aspects of education policy.  

Why They Did It: Bad Actors and Those Who Enable Them

We live in the Age of Complicity. There were the Wall Street enablers of 2008, who knew all too well what lay ahead. The Hollywood enablers, who gave people like Harvey Weinstein a pass. And the Washington enablers, who used to be “normal,” but succumbed to the psychopathy of Donald Trump.

Subscribercast #66 – The Undeclared War vs Slow Horses

When it comes to British intelligence, there are three rules: (1) Trust no one, (2) Trust nothing that they say... The post – The Undeclared War vs Slow Horses first appeared on .

Subscribercast #65 – The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Imagine a world where Nicholas Cage plays himself and is recruited by the CIA to spy on a drug kingpin,... The post – The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent first appeared on .

Ukraine’s Second Front: Disease, Famine, Toxic Air

Our global attention has skipped effortlessly from the dangers of COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine. Both global events have fostered fear, sadness, and death. And both are challenges to the world’s public health system.   On this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with Dr. Barry Levy, a past president of the American Public Health Association, an adjunct professor of public health at Tufts University School of Medicine, and author of From Horror to Hope: Recognizing and Preventing the Health Impacts of War.

ClandesTime Special – Top Gun: Maverick

Well, it’s here. The least-needed film in cinematic history, and therefore likely the box office smash of 2022. In this... The post first appeared on .

Subscribercast #64 – The CIA and Fake News

In the summer of 2020 a former CIA officer published a book with the overt aim of countering the tide... The post – The CIA and Fake News first appeared on .

Mass Shootings and the Shaky Future of America

When Richard Reid, the so-called “shoe bomber,” was caught with a “bomb” in his shoe, the world of airport security was turned upside down. While Reid hadn’t killed or injured anyone, suddenly 350 million Americans had to take off their shoes and change the way they go through airports. The transformation took only days.   And yet mass shooting after mass shooting produces no change in policy or behavior. Is it just guns? Or is it something deep within the culture of America, in the DNA of our birth as a nation?  

The Fed’s Current Role in Undermining Democracy

The current trajectory of Federal Reserve policy began in 2008. Since then, the Fed has moved into uncharted territory beyond its statutory authority and without legislative direction from Congress.   

How Wars End

Gabriel García Márquez famously said, “It’s much easier to start a war than it is to end it.” We’ve seen this in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and with both world wars.    On this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast we talk with Gideon Rose, author of the classic work How Wars End. He is the long-time editor of Foreign Affairs and currently a distinguished fellow in US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Rose is also a former staff member of the National Security Council.  

Battlefield Nuclear Weapons Really Are a Thing?

Even amid great battle victories for the Ukrainians over the Russians, the war is far from over. The desperation and brutality of Russia seems to be without end. And over and over again, we hear threats from the Russians about the use of tactical nuclear weapons.   But what are these weapons? Just how deadly are they? How widespread could their potential damage be, and how might their use escalate? David Shlapak, our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, has been studying these issues since the Cold War.    

Democracy and Diversity Don’t Mix

Never in history has a democracy succeeded in being both diverse and equal. Instead, such policies have failed in treating members of many different ethnic or religious groups fairly. And yet achieving that goal continues to be central to the democratic project in the US, and in countries around the world. It is, argues our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Yascha Mounk, the greatest experiment of our time.  

Decoding Putin and Russia: A Conversation with Sam Ramani

Has any war in history gotten such overwhelmingly granular coverage as the war in Ukraine? We seem to know about every missile, every aircraft part, every military and civilian death in staggering detail. But to really understand what’s happening, we need to step back and consider the deeper geopolitical causes and implications.  

Why We Should Not Take Data Breaches for Granted

All your personal data is online somewhere. If you didn’t put your financial information online, your bank did. If you don’t think your health data is already in the cloud, ask your health care providers why they put it there.    Today, to live a full life, your online data is required, and your mobile phone will soon be the only way to travel, arrange for health services, or transact business.