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Now displaying: November, 2018

Welcome to the WhoWhatWhy Podcast.

Nov 30, 2018

With the news cycle of late nearly engulfed by the questions — and spy games — swirling around “Russiagate,” taking a fresh look at Watergate could be an especially worthwhile endeavor. Luckily, revisiting the rise and fall of President Richard Nixon is exactly what Shane O'Sullivan does for us in his new book, Dirty Tricks: Nixon, Watergate and the CIA.

O’Sullivan — Jeff Schechtman’s guest in this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, and an author/filmmaker whose previous work has dug into the Kennedy assassinations — takes us beyond the popular Woodward-and-Bernstein Hollywood scenario, revealing instead the deepest workings of Nixon’s cronies. From the Anna Chennault affair and the Ellsberg break-in to Watergate and the CIA, the author provides new information in a number of areas.

O’Sullivan examines what President Lyndon B. Johnson and the CIA knew about then-GOP nominee Nixon’s back channel to Chennault — allegedly used in order to scuttle the Paris peace talks and thereby gain an advantage in the final days before the 1968 election — and why they did nothing about it.

 He examines the distinction between what the CIA as an agency may have known, and what individual CIA operatives knew. He probes the deep relationship between Howard Hunt and CIA Director Richard Helms. And he seeks to further understand the role — and the missteps — of James McCord, and his possible role in a possible hidden CIA agenda.

Nov 22, 2018

An author argues that, love it or hate it, capitalism is making planetary crises worse.

Nov 21, 2018

Fifty-five years ago President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. The widely accepted narrative for all these many decades is that he was murdered by lone-wolf gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Yet the evidence is overwhelming that there was at least one other shooter present in Dealey Plaza. Skeptical? There’s really only one piece of evidence you need to see in order to overcome your doubts.

Do yourself a favor: watch the Zapruder film. This was taken by a bystander, Abraham Zapruder, who captured the assassination on his handheld 8mm camera. See that horrific headshot, with the president being thrown backwards and to the left? Where do you surmise that shot came from?

If you guessed somewhere to the front-right of the president (where numerous eyewitnesses said they heard a shot or shots coming from), congratulations — you’re using your common sense and the reasonable presumption that Newtonian mechanics are still applicable.

But the defenders of the lone-gunman narrative would have us believe that in this case we need to suspend our common-sense notions, to press “pause” on the basic laws of motion. They tell us that all the shots actually came from behind the president — fired by Oswald alone.

Of course, you can dig further — not only into the voluminous evidence from Dealey Plaza, but about Oswald himself. What was he doing in Dallas? What about his connections to US intelligence? Was he pro-Castro? Anti-Castro? Who was he connected with in New Orleans? What about Oswald’s murderer, Jack Ruby, and his connections to the mob? You can work your way outward from Dallas until you find yourself knocking on the door of the halls of power.

A much easier approach — almost as easy as watching the Zapruder film — is to examine the well-documented, unambiguous evidence of government deception in this case — simple evidence that does not depend on the words of eyewitnesses, or interpretation. A few of our own brief reports on this are herehere, and here. And please go here to see exposed some amazing tricks performed by scientists to support the government narrative.

In order to really take on the JFK assassination, you have to be willing to face the fact that powerful interests in high places have no qualms about overturning the will of the people for their own benefit.

And they’re confident enough to do it in broad daylight.

Which brings us to the conversation below, hosted by The Ripple Effect Podcast. It features a lively back-and-forth with WhoWhatWhy’s Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker, and researchers Jeff Morley and James DiEugenio, each a well-respected JFK assassination expert.

Want to hear what actually happened to change the course of world history on November 22, 1963? Click below.

Nov 16, 2018

California forests have long been a disaster waiting to happen. Forest density, antiquated forest practices, stressed and dead trees as a result of bug infestation, conflicts between state and federal government, and private property owners wanting to live close to the “wildland-urban interface” are just a few of the problems.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with longtime California environmental reporter, Julie Cart, about just how bad the problem is and what is being done to prevent more death and destruction.

She explains that a full 30 percent of California is forested. Of this total, 60 percent is owned by the federal government, 2 percent by the state of California, and the rest is owned either privately or by local governments. Each has a different approach to dealing with the problem.

California has an estimated 129 million dead trees, an acknowledged factor in spreading wildfires, Cart says. The cost for removing a single dead tree is approximately $1,000, and the optics of cutting down trees, even dead ones, in a state with strong environmental rules make remediation even more difficult.

The impact of climate change on forest fires involves a deadly feedback loop. So many of the fires are a direct result of extended drought related to climate change. But in torching so many dead trees, a severe fire season of one or two months can release enormous amounts of carbon into the air more than that emitted by all the cars in California each year which significantly adds to the buildup of greenhouse gases fueling climate change.

Last year’s fires cost over $9 billion; this year the toll will be even higher. In both dollars and lives lost. Cart points out that while Cal Fire and the US Forest Service have vast resources, so much of those resources are diverted to firefighting, leaving little time or money to do the necessary work of prevention.

Cart suggests that perhaps the real solution is simply to tell people, as they do in Australia, that if they choose to live in certain areas, they cannot expect a fire truck to roll up the driveway during the next disaster. They will have to learn how to fend for themselves.

Nov 9, 2018

Every election cycle brings with it one state that comes to represent the zeitgeist of that election. We all remember Florida during the 2000 election. In years past, as Nixon used to say, it was all about Ohio. In 2016, Pennsylvania was the tipping point.

This midterm, all eyes were on the Peachtree state, as Georgia came to define not only Democratic energy but the issues of election integrity and voter suppression that were infused with so much political concern in 2018.

This is, in part, why WhoWhatWhy made election integrity and Georgia the centerpiece of its coverage of this election. With reporters and videographers on the ground with more resources deployed than many news organizations two and three times its size WhoWhatWhy “owned” this issue.

But as Russ Baker and Klaus Marre point out in this week’s podcast, it was about more than the candidates and the partisan politics. The focus was on how voter suppression impacted real people: citizens who wanted to vote, who took their obligation seriously, who cared and thought deeply about the issues, but were thwarted or unconscionably delayed in the exercise of their franchise.

Unlike Russia or Facebook or hacking, these problems were homegrown in Georgia, and only by being there — on the front lines — could WhoWhatWhy do the kind of reporting that our readers and listeners have come to expect.

Listen to WhoWhatWhy founder and editor-in-chief Russ Baker and senior editor Klaus Marre talk about what this all means, why voter suppression anywhere matters to all of us, and what WhoWhatWhy’s ongoing coverage will look like.

Nov 2, 2018

As a regular reader of WhoWhyWhy, you know that we have focused like a laser on election integrity and uncovered story after story about voter suppression in Georgia, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and elsewhere. But important as all of this is, it’s only part of the bigger story.  

It was Joseph Stalin who said that “it's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes.” The 2000 presidential election was a fantastic example of why that matters.

You all remember chads, hanging chads, punch cards, Votomatic machines, and how 540 votes and five Supreme Court justices changed America. What if those hanging chads had not been an accident? What if it wasn’t the fault as was claimed at the time of incompetent voters who didn’t know how to completely punch out a chad? What if the cards themselves had been engineered to fail?

In a never-before-told story that reads like a detective novel, investigative journalist Stephen Singular finds himself on the floor of the factory that made the infamous punch cards, in negotiations with 60 Minutes trying to get their help, and being given hundreds of unused punch cards to test as he tries to unravel the first great electoral mystery of the 21st century.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Singular talks to Jeff Schechtman about his just-published ebook Stolen Future: The Untold Story of the 2000 Election.

Singular takes us inside the machines that manufacture the perforated cards, whose precision, down to 1/5,000th of an inch, shaped the fate of the republic. Imagine that the war in Iraq could have been caused by a dull blade in one high-speed perforating machine in one factory, or maybe engendered by foul play.

Singular examines how the failure of punch cards not only impacted the 2000 election, but became the reason for states to place orders for hundreds of millions of dollars in new electronic voting systems — made by the very same private companies responsible for the 2000 mishap.

He tells Schechtman about ES&S, an Omaha-based company with close Republican ties and far-right roots, that manufactures most of the systems to which we entrust our vote.

Singular takes us inside 60 Minutes and their failure to pursue a story that may have been too hot for them to handle.

In the best tradition of investigative journalism, Singular’s journey goes from working with an old friend to test an idea, to having door after door slammed in his face. It’s a story that should add a sober new dimension to the efforts to preserve our democracy next week.

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