US politics

Tell Us, Mr. Sater, About Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

Reading Time: 6 minutesFelix Sater, a business associate of President Donald Trump and a key figure in his efforts to build one of Trump’s signature towers in Moscow, is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee Friday. His testimony will be held behind closed doors —  which should suit Sater well.

Will Trump’s New Directive ‘Lobotomize’ Federal Brain?

Reading Time: 4 minutesWhen President Donald Trump issued an (EO) limiting the number of independent federal advisory committees last Friday, it didn’t make a big media splash.

The Mystery of Stupidity

Reading Time: 6 minutesScience has always held the answers — or at least the promise of answers — to many of our problems. Deadly ones, like cancer, strokes, and heart attacks. And troubling, though non-deadly ones, ranging from blindness to baldness. We have been able to explore the deepest, darkest areas of the sea.

Killer Loans — College Debt Triggers Depression and Suicide

Reading Time: 4 minutesWhen billionaire Robert Smith pledged to pay off the student loans of Morehouse College’s graduating class recently, the story went viral.

A Reminder of What Is Often Forgotten on Memorial Day

Reading Time: 2 minutesThis Memorial Day marks another year of young Americans serving — and dying — abroad. Regardless of how you feel about the wars they are fighting, or the politicians who got them there, the sacrifice of those who gave life and limb deserve to be remembered.

Guns Versus Weed: How Background Checks Conflict with State Cannabis Laws

As more states pass laws allowing the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, the potential for legal conflict with the federal government increases as well. Direct conflict between state laws legalizing cannabis and federal law — which puts cannabis in the same category as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines — is obvious enough.

Florida Seeks to Make Sharing Footage of Mass Shootings Illegal

Lawmakers in Florida are seeking to strike a balance between protecting the families of the victims of mass shootings and protecting the media’s ability to accurately report on the events.

The Mueller Report: More Disquieting Insights

It takes many hours to read the Mueller report, but the deeper you dig, the more arresting insights and intriguing plot twists you find.One surprising insight: Many of the players in the Trump campaign appear to be apolitical. They don’t grasp for power; they seek what’s “good for business,” in the words of former campaign chair Paul Manafort.

Case in Point: Carter Page

Beginning on page 95, the report recounts the saga of Carter Page, candidate Trump’s foreign policy adviser.

Youth Struggle With After-Effects of Gun Violence

Every year an estimated 3 million children witness gun violence — and the impacts can last a lifetime. Lizzie Eaton knows this all too well.Eaton is one of the high school students from Parkland, FL, who are fanning out to share with the rest of the country what they’ve learned about gun violence.“There’s no way to prepare for a tragedy like this,” she said.

Soros, DHS Whistleblowers Urge More Truth-Telling

For whistleblowers, it&;s the Emmys, the Grammys, and the Oscars rolled into one. The Ridenhour Prizes mark the one time each year that they and their supporters are celebrated for their important and often dangerous work.The ceremony, founded in 2003 and held in Washington at the National Press Club, also honors journalists — but is rarely covered by the media.

Is It Time to Worry About the Next Recession?

At a time when Americans are grappling with climate change, gun violence, voter suppression, and an immigration crisis, — both conservative and progressive — would like to add to that plate of worries: a looming recession.After all, it’s been a decade since the US economy began to rebound from the severe financial downturn of 2008.

Would Universal Background Checks Create National Gun Registry?

Universal background checks for gun purchases are one of the more popular gun control measures, . Acting on this popularity, the Democratic-controlled House that would establish them nationally.

Kavanaugh Surprises Redistricting Reformers

Good news for reformers trying to take the politics out of drawing legislative boundaries: The two cases of partisan redistricting now before the Supreme Court are so blatant, they almost scream “unconstitutional.”The bad news? Justice Anthony Kennedy — the court’s swing vote who at least seemed open to the notion that the court should regulate the practice — is long gone. His replacement? The very conservative Brett Kavanaugh.What’s at stake is the future of democracy, reform advocates say.

With Mueller’s Report Finally in Hand, Let’s Get to the Real Issue

It is likely tons of ink and thousands of hours of airtime have been consumed by members of the media speculating on the contents and the timing of the Mueller report. That report has been submitted.

In ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuaries,’ Officials Refuse to Enforce New Gun Laws

As gun control advocates see more of their proposed policies become law, another group with a decidedly different aim is also gaining momentum. It’s a loose network of local officials who are refusing to enforce the new laws, which include measures to require universal background checks, or ban assault weapons, or temporarily remove firearms from those deemed a danger to themselves or others.

Democracy Reform Advocates Hail HR 1 as First Step in a Winnable Battle

Despite pushback in the Senate, advocates for democratic reforms say the recent House passage of sweeping election law changes is a critical “step one” in a three- to five-year battle to reclaim democracy.Further, they say, the legislation package HR 1, known as the “For the People Act,” will sharply differentiate Democrats from Republicans in the 2020 elections.House members passed HR 1  on a party-line vote (234–193) on March 8.The 622-page bill introduced by Rep.

How America Fell Out of Love With Machine Guns

Able to fire 25 rounds per second, and with a standard drum magazine of fifty .45-caliber rounds, the Thompson submachine gun, or tommy gun, was the weapon of choice for gangsters of the Prohibition era.

Congress Lavishes Money on Agencies Separating Kids

How will the new House Democratic majority stop the abuse of refugees and immigrants — and families being ripped apart — after investing a record amount of taxpayer money to incarcerate them in private prisons?In the bipartisan deal to keep the Federal government open until September, Congress approved an all-time record $23 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency that arrests, detains, and deports undocumented immigrants.

The Bush Family Stories You Won’t See Tonight on CNN

CNN is certainly aggressive in questioning the myths fathered by President Donald Trump. But how does it stack up in the truth-telling department when it comes to former presidents? To determine that, you can watch its new series, , to air tonight — and then come see a small selection of what we have unearthed.

Unasked and Unanswered Questions for Michael Cohen

House Oversight Committee members had a lot of questions Wednesday for Donald Trump’s former “enforcer” Michael Cohen. We found both the questions and the answers intriguing — as we assume most people did. However, at WhoWhatWhy, we’re not just about the questions asked. We’re also about the questions that were not asked. The dog that did not bark, if you will.

Michael Cohen’s Murky Backstory Warrants More Scrutiny

This week, it’s wall-to-wall Michael Cohen on Capitol Hill. Cohen, testifying both behind closed doors and in public to not one, not two, but three committees, is revealing new things, some extraordinarily newsworthy, explosive, consequential, even profound. Notwithstanding that, there is no indication that Donald Trump’s former “enforcer” is telling all.

Philly Ignores Cybersecurity and Disability Access in Voting System Selection

Philadelphia is about to replace its aging voting equipment. This would be good news, except that the city’s election commission has omitted cybersecurity and disability access as relevant considerations in its to prospective vendors.

Public Still at Risk as Shutdown Impact Reverberates

As the nation braces for another shutdown standoff on Friday, workers and consumers are still suffering in unexpected ways from the 35-day partial government closure that ended last month.

Will Stacey Abrams Use Bully Pulpit to Fight for Democracy?

We all know what to expect when President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night: It will be an hour of patting himself on the back, braggadocious bravado, making up threats and, of course, a lot of falsehoods and outright lies. Regardless, we hope that every American tunes in because we want as many people as possible to hear from Stacey Abrams, who will give the Democratic response.

Is the Era of Unrestrained Capitalism Coming to an End?

It is truly ironic that the world’s “elite” who gathered in Davos this week claim to be puzzled that people across the globe — frustrated by stagnating standards of living — are .

Black Women Are Claiming the Political Stage

This week, a black woman became a credible candidate for President of the United States. Regardless of what you might think of the politics of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), her candidacy is historic. When Shirley Chisholm became the first such black woman, no one took that campaign seriously.Today, in an era of Black Lives Matter, African American feminists have helped define both our cultural politics and Democratic party politics.

A Rule Fit for a King

President Donald Trump, who hates being constrained by pesky things like laws, the separation of powers, or the Constitution, seems poised to invoke a national emergency to get his taxpayer-funded wall built along the southern border.   To save face after triggering a government shutdown over this issue, it is believed that Trump would use this move to seize land along the border and reallocate funds designated for real emergencies to deal with this made-up crisis.

A Border Wall as Architecture

President Donald Trump will probably never build one foot of his wall. Still, today there are 650 miles of border wall already dividing the US and Mexico. It’s almost one-third of the entire border. It divides cities, families, private property, and even impacts wildlife and habitats.We journey to the border in this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, as Jeff Schechtman is joined by Ronald Rael, associate professor in the department of architecture at UC Berkeley.

Trump and GOP Lawmakers: Going Along to Get Along

Speaking truth to power is important — but it matters little if the words aren’t backed up by action. And there may not be a more apparent truth than the moral bankruptcy of the country’s most powerful person, President Donald Trump.

The Rich Are Loving the Economy — It’s a Different Story for Regular Americans

Here are three indisputable facts: US GDP is up, the stock market is higher than ever, and unemployment is low. President Donald Trump is quick to remind us of these facts, while largely taking credit:

Let’s Give Trump the Military Parade He Deserves

Just about everybody thinks that President Donald Trump’s idea to hold a military parade in Washington, DC, is monumentally dumb. It’s actually hard to put into words how stupid an idea it is. Still, we were heartbroken when Trump canceled the event last month with a nebulous reference to another parade and a vague promise of maybe trying again next year. If our reaction sounds contradictory, please bear with us and we’ll explain.

District Court Rules Against North Carolina Gerrymandering

With the 2018 midterm elections right around the corner, a North Carolina district court ruled Monday that the state’s current congressional district lines are the result of an unconstitutional gerrymander. While the implications of the court’s decision remain unclear, the result could be as drastic as a redrawing of North Carolina election districts before the November ballot.

Mueller Investigation Shows the Rich Deserve Much More Scrutiny

While the twin breaking news of Paul Manafort’s guilty verdict and Michael Cohen’s guilty plea made for great television, neither outcome was particularly shocking. When you are palling around with dubious international political figures or when your job description is “fixer” for a shady real estate mogul, then chances are you have done some things that weren’t entirely on the up and up.

The Backstory to ‘Better Call Michael Cohen’ You May Have Missed

By now, the world knows that Donald Trump’s longtime in-house lawyer, virtual bodyguard, and confidant has to tax evasion, bank fraud, and breaking campaign finance laws. He’s got a lot of reasons to make a deal, and that puts his former boss in a particularly dicey situation.

We Got Hit by a Russian Spambot Attack — Here’s What They Targeted

WhoWhatWhy was recently hit by a major spambot attack that we have traced back to a network operating from Russia. The fact that they went after us is not particularly surprising &; that comes with the territory of covering politics in the US these days.

More Marijuana Legalization Coming — Could Trump Be On Board?

With less than 100 days to the midterm elections, Democrats are hoping to capture the House of Representatives in a much touted . But there’s another wave that has quietly been making headway — a green one.

Washington State Judge Rules Against Kids in Climate Change Lawsuit

As wildfire smoke clouded the skies of Seattle, a Washington judge ruled Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit against the State of Washington filed by a group of young climate change activists — who range in age from 8 to 18.