politics

How the World Views Trump, Impeachment and the 2020 Election

Reading Time: 4 minutesAs the impeachment of President Donald Trump and the forthcoming presidential election monopolizes the American conversation, WhoWhatWhy launches a weekly series looking at how the world views these historic events. This week Trump was in London for the 70th anniversary summit of NATO.

Who is William Barr? Attorney General’s Unknown Past

Reading Time: 16 minutesIf you want to understand William Barr, President Donald Trump’s strikingly partisan and loyal attorney general who has continually assured Trump that his desired actions are perfectly legal, then you have to understand William Barr, the person.

Subscriber Podcast #36 – The LAPD’s Hollywood Office

Just like many federal agencies the Los Angeles Police Department have a dedicated entertainment liaison office for dealing with Hollywood....

[Video] Jack Ryan, the CIA and Venezuela

A video essay presenting my breakdown of Amazon's Jack Ryan, including how the CIA, DOD and other US government agencies were involved in producing it.  I outline some of the history between the government and Tom Clancy productions before breaking down how seasons 1 and 2 are propaganda for US foreign

Chaos in Hong Kong: Election Candidates Stabbed and Beaten

Reading Time: 4 minutesHONG KONG — Kneeling on the ground with his hands handcuffed behind his back and his eyes streaming with tears, a gray-haired, middle-aged man is clearly in acute distress.Police officers have just pepper-sprayed Richard Chan in the face, violently wrestled him to the ground, broken his spectacles, and arrested him. With less than two weeks remaining befo

Warriors Wanted: Does the US Military Prey on Teenagers?

Reading Time: 10 minutesAir Force veteran Eddie Falcon enlisted as a teenager just before the September 11 attacks, partly to escape his violent Los Angeles County neighborhood. “I just didn’t see a lot of opportunities to succeed,” he said. Falcon assumed war “wasn’t something we were doing anymore.” 

Jack Ryan, Midway, and For All Mankind

It has been another curious week of half-truths, spin and outright falsehood as culture commentators get to grips with recent releases Jack Ryan (on Amazon), For all Mankind (on Apple TV) and Midway (in theaters now).

ClandesTime 197 – The Spycops Scandal

For decades undercover British intelligence officers have infiltrated almost every notable political movement in the UK. In this episode I talk to Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist who has written extensively about this topic.

Ukraine Whistleblower Came Forward in Spite of Weak Protections

Reading Time: 5 minutesAs recently as this summer, it looked as if an effort by some House Democrats to impeach President Donald Trump had stalled.

Does Location of ISIS Leader’s Death Hint at Turkish Help?

Reading Time: 2 minutesAbu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the secretive Islamic State leader, died during a US raid in northeastern Syria last night, President Donald Trump announced on Sunday morning.

Jack Ryan Star John Krasinski Tries to Dispell Allegations of Propaganda

With just a week to go before season 2 of Amazon's Jack Ryan is released and the eponymous star John Krasinski has tried to downplay allegations that the show is propaganda for a US coup or war in Venezuela.  In an interview he trie

Vietnam Bans a Movie, But Somehow It is China’s Fault?

Today's entertainment news features an absolute gem of political hypocrisy: Vietnam's one party 'Communist' state has banned the animated kids' movie Abominable, and the Western media are heralding the decision, claiming that Vietnam are standing up to China's censorious one party 'Communist' state.  This is perhaps the dumbest employmen

Erdogan Risks Syria Becoming Turkey’s ‘Vietnam’

Reading Time: 4 minutesTurkey has now embarked on its grand plan of taking over northern Syria, crushing a fragile that US allies have been building there and resettling the area wi

Avoiding Trump’s Wrath: Portman, Johnson Take Different Paths

Reading Time: 4 minutesTwo Republican senators have conceded that they were eager to oust the same special prosecutor in Ukraine that then-Vice President Joe Biden wanted to see replaced. But both remain defenders of President Donald Trump.That’s where the similarity ends. Sen.

ClandesTime 195 – The New Cultural Cold War

The original Cultural Cold War has been the subject of numerous books and articles on both sides of the divide, but the new version has been almost entirely ignored.

The Film Censorship Cold War — China vs the US

Recently, Martha Bayles of The Atlantic published a hilariously misleading essay calling for Hollywood to produce more pro-American propaganda, in the face of the Chinese government’s increased role in the entertainment industry.

Voter Suppression in Indian Country: ‘A Little Bit Insulting’

Reading Time: 5 minutesProtecting Out Vote 2020Native American voters could tip the scales in several key races across the country next year, but as Democratic presidential hopefuls work to increase turnout in Indian Country, Republ

Toss-up State to Use Vulnerable Tech in 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutesProtecting Out Vote 2020The 2020 election is expected to once again be razor-close and, in light of Russian attempts to hack the vote in 2016, making it secure is of paramount importance.

ClandesTime 194 – Oliver Stone’s JFK

This week, I welcome to the show author and friend James Oddy to discuss the JFK assassination case and its treatment in the Oliver Stone movie JFK. We look at the psychological and political consequences of the assassination, as well as the political and cultural impact of the film.

Voter Registration Could Tip the Scales in 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutesProtecting Out Vote 2020Navigating a state’s voting laws can be daunting for first-time voters. Many of them may be discouraged from even trying.

Are We All Cult Members Now?

Reading Time: 19 minutesEvery day there are stories about how interactions between people have become increasingly tribal &; prompting individuals to trash facts, science, and objective reality in the service of a cause or a set of beliefs.It’s almost as if society has been taken over by c

Social Insecurity: When Retirement Means Hardship, States Move to Fill the Void

Reading Time: 5 minutesWhen signing the Social Security Act into law in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said  that it is impossible to ensure the entire population against all hazards, but that the new program would “give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”

The US Navy Supported Captain Phillips – One of the Most Inaccurate Movies I’ve Ever Seen

Captain Phillips tells the story of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama - a US container ship - off the coast of Somalia, and the subsequent US Navy intervention that killed three of the pirates and arrested the fourth.  It is also one of the least historically accurate films

The DOD and Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is a piece of absolute militaristic schlock, starring the whiny-voiced Marky Mark Wahlberg as Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell - the only survivor of Operation Red Wings, a 2005 special forces joint operation in the summer of 2005.  Over 100 pages of Navy documents show their heavy involvement in the film and how they covered

How the Pentagon Rewrote GI Jane

GI Jane is a crude, clumsy attempt to show a 'woman's perspective' on being in the military, that ruined Demi Moore's career as a leading lady.  Little known until now is how the Pentagon negotiated with Ridley Scott to rewrite the script, and even though the film didn't qualify for military support some of the scr

Trump’s Kind of Labor Day

Reading Time: 5 minutesLabor Day is a national holiday, but probably not one that generates much celebration in the Trump White House, which is moving to add regulatory insult to the existing injury of policies that depress the wages of low-income workers.

ClandesTime 191 – The ‘Disguised’ Political Film in Hollywood

Why isn’t the ‘political film’ a genre of cinema? Hollywood puts out a consistent stream of politically-themed films, but rarely if ever promotes them as such.

100 Years After Suffrage, Full Equality Eludes Women

Reading Time: 9 minutesHappy. One hundred years ago today, the US officially got around to giving half the American adult population the right to vote. The battle wasn’t easy.

ClandesTime 190 – Karl Rove and the Cultural Impact of 9/11

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush’s chief spin doctor and senior advisor Karl Rove enlisted Hollywood’s help in selling the War on Terror.

FL Dems Call for Gun Control Session Following El Paso Shooting

Reading Time: 5 minutesJust a few weeks after the devastating shooting in El Paso, Democrats in the Florida House of Representatives have called for a special session to deal with the issue of gun control &; and they think the votes could be there to finally see action by state lawmakers t

Why Amazon’s The Boys is the Most Subversive TV Show of the Year

Amazon Prime's The Boys is not only the most enjoyable TV show I've seen all year, it's also the most subversive.  While it will appeal to audiences suffering from superhero fatigue after more than a decade of relentless Marvel and DC products, it is so much mo

Jeffrey Epstein Death: A Little Skepticism is Warranted

Reading Time: 2 minutesHow and why did Jeffrey Epstein die? Did he commit suicide to escape an embarrassing trial and a lengthy prison sentence as a child rapist? Or did he know too much about too many powerful people who did not want to be implicated? In any case, any serious person would admit that the timing was most convenient.

Progressive Insurgents Make Impeachment a Primary Issue

Reading Time: 9 minutesFew political leaders would seem more invulnerable than Nancy Pelosi (CA), the speaker of the House and a Democrat in one of the most heavily Democratic cities in the country.

ClandesTime 188 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Mubin Shaikh

The 2006 arrests of the Toronto 18 was a key moment in the post-9/11 war on terror. It helped internationalise the war effort and added Canada to the list of supposed terrorist targets. This week I examine the life and work of the main Canadian intelligence informant inside the Toronto 18 – Mubin Shaikh.

Minimum Wage Hike Would Benefit Millions

Reading Time: 2 minutesImagine giving 33.5 million American workers a raise, helping 6.2 million ease the pinch of poverty, and increasing the total annual wages for minimum-wage workers by $92.5 billion.