A penetrating look into the transformative influence of black feminist political strategy and principles in mainstream US politics, especially since the 2016 election.
Sixty prominent Americans have signed a letter calling on Congress to reopen the investigations into the 1960s assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
The letter, signed by historians, journalists, lawyers, and other experts on the four political murders, is an effort to create a national truth and reconciliation commission to begin a reversal of disastrous social and cultural divisions fueled by decades of government sanctioned lies.
Longtime journalist and author David Talbot, who's written several books about the assassinations and the deep state, is a leader of this effort. He talks to Jeff Schechtman about what he hopes this effort will accomplish, about the corrosive impact that the lack of truth about these killings has had on the fragile US democracy, and why now is the ideal time for the nation to handle the truth.
Everyday we look at unfolding news and events through the lens of politics. Suppose we tried to understand it all instead through the lens of psychology? Suppose we got beyond the zero-sum political construct, and into how we have been and are still being manipulated.
What if we realized that President Donald Trump is just a symptom of the deeper crumbling psychological infrastructure of our country? One that makes us so vulnerable to divisive political tactics?
Our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast is psychologist and attorney, Dr. Bryant Welch. In his book State of Confusion, he argues that these are questions not of politics, but about the health of the American mind.
Welch talks to Jeff Schechtman about the long-term impact of today’s sophisticated forms of political manipulation, all of which undercut our ability to seriously deal with modern problems. In an era of change and the onslaught of technology, Welch explains how we are particularly susceptible to paranoia, sexual perplexity, and envy — and how they can easily be used to undermine our ability to function rationally.
In Welch’s theories, we can see the root cause of the power of religious groups, and why long-accepted rational scientific ideas are suddenly now under siege. According to Welch, half of Americans today are “suggestive and regressed,” and he says that we are now also suffering from a kind of collective trauma.
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.
According to Rael, the borderlands are like a third nation, combining some of the best of language, food, and culture of the US and Mexico. More profoundly, the existing wall is just as much a place of connectivity as it is of division.
Rael explains that the current wall is actually a form of architecture. As such it defines space and in so doing defines places. It keeps people apart, but he details how it also encourages the coming together of people in unique ways.
Since we are putting them up, the current walls are structures that are always built on the US side of the border. The result are vast borderlands between the wall and Mexico. With no viable uses, this creates an otherworldliness in the areas that are sequestered behind it.
Rael points out that over the next 25 years, it will cost $49 billion just to maintain the existing structures. He speculates on what else could be built along the border with that money: things like massive solar fields or water treatment plants that would have a far greater and more positive impact on both the US and Mexico.
The recent UN report on climate change indicated that we could be facing existential risks — ever more extreme weather events and rising sea levels — within 20 years. So what is the world to do?
Jeff Goodell, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, joins Jeff Schechtman for this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast. Goodell, the author of The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, takes us deep into the grim reality we’re already facing: By century’s end, hundreds of millions of people will be retreating from the world’s shores. From island nations to the world’s major cities, inundated coastal regions will disappear. Bold engineering projects to hold back the water may buy some time, but despite international efforts and tireless research, no permanent solution is in sight. No barriers or walls will protect us in the end from the drowning of the world as we know it.
Goodell has stated, “We’ve spent 40 years denying the risks of climate change, thinking that if we can just get everyone to buy a Prius and recycle their plastic, everything will be OK. The message of recent fires and hurricanes is that it will not be OK.”
We’re living, according to Goodell, “in a new world now, and we had better get ready.” He reminds us that it’s not too late — if we rethink almost every aspect of how we live in the world.