Our coverage of Barrett Brown

Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains

The Intellectual Underpinning of a “Mean” Republican Party

Today’s Republican Party bears little resemblance to its more moderate past. While President Ronald Reagan tried to limit the “overreach” of the federal government in favor of states’ rights and individual freedom, this purportedly high-minded (if self-serving) movement has since morphed into something rawer and more extreme: an apparent effort to curb democratic rule, reshape the Constitution, and protect money interests well beyond limiting taxes on the wealthiest.


According to our podcast guest this week, historian and professor Nancy MacLean, this is no accident. She proposes to WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman the provocative idea that this has all been part of View article …

Government, failures, Top Secret

Hiding History

Everyone talks about the need for transparency in public affairs, but what the government means by transparency turns out to be… not all that clear.  


In this reprise of an important WhoWhatWhy podcast, award-winning author Nicholson Baker (Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act) describes what it’s like to try to squeeze even a small amount of truth from a huge mass of documents that the federal government seems determined, for apparently arbitrary reasons, to keep secret. 


Baker set out View article …

climate change, September record, NOAA

Scientists See Hottest September on Record

Barrett’s Evasions Show Why Expanding the Court Is Necessary (Reader Steve)

From the Nation: “During Tuesday’s Senate hearings, Barrett was asked if she would recuse herself if the scenario Trump outlined came to pass and she had to pass judgment on the election. Barrett refused to commit to recusal, protesting that her personal integrity would guard against any wrongdoing. … Barrett is framing the issue of integrity in narrowly personal terms, as if her own honesty were all that counted. But integrity is a matter of legitimate systems as well View article …

Wisconsin Supreme Court, US Supreme Court

Court Now Allows Extension for Wisconsin Mail Ballots

Protecting Out Vote 2020

UPDATE, September 30, 2020: The US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has now upheld a federal order extending the deadline to count mail-in ballots in Wisconsin by six days after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked by November 3. This ruling is a major win for Democrats and voting-rights activists, although Republicans can appeal the order to the US Supreme Court.


All three of the judges who upheld the lower court order were appointed by Republican presidents, including one Trump appointee, according to the Associated View article …

Donald Trump, Felix Sater, Soho

Role of Judges in Hiding Trump Activities Helped Pave Way for Eventual Victory

New revelations show that Donald Trump’s path to the presidency might have been much more difficult — if a panel of judges had acted differently in 2011.


Documents released by a federal appeals court in Manhattan on Friday, March 9, but thus far not reported, demonstrate that a panel of judges in 2011 blocked the release of extremely damaging information about then real estate mogul Donald Trump to the late Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, who was then working for the Daily Beast.


Those documents, if they had been released at the time, would have shown that Trump was accepting financing View article …

Little Rock, integration protest, 1959

Remembering Brown v. Board of Education

Senate Votes to Overturn Ajit Pai’s Net Neutrality Repeal (Jimmy)

The author writes, “The US Senate voted to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, with all members of the Democratic caucus and three Republicans voting in favor of net neutrality. … Democrats face much longer odds in the House, where Republicans hold a 236-193 majority.”


Dems Give Up on Trying to Get Cable News to Care About Anything but Russia (Reader Luke)

The author writes, “For the past View article …

The Work Is Not Done at Standing Rock

After the news broke Sunday night that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had denied Energy Transfer Partners’ permit to continue building the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation, the gathered protesters celebrated but their mood remained apprehensive.

Many veterans and “water protectors” believe that the Army’s action was a ploy, prompted by the oil company’s desire to avoid the public relations disaster that would ensue if law-enforcement officers clashed with the thousands of U.S. military veterans who had descended upon Standing Rock, vowing to shield the camp.

Many also believe that the company will continue building and simply pay a small fine for not having View article …

Everything Epstein

One-stop shopping for the latest coverage of the mysterious life and death of Jeffrey Epstein — and his connections to powerful people.

The Jeffrey Epstein story strikes us at WhoWhatWhy as utterly unique — and, notwithstanding its tabloid aspects, of potentially profound importance. 

That’s why we’re launching a recurring aggregation of stories from a diverse range of sources — “Everything Epstein.”

Our goal is to keep View article …

computer security

Exclusive: Georgia’s Voter Registration System Like ‘Open Bank Safe Door’

Two days before the midterm elections, a series of security vulnerabilities have been discovered that would allow even a low-skilled hacker to compromise Georgia’s voter registration system and, in turn, the election itself. It is not known how long these vulnerabilities have been in place or whether they have already been exploited.


Just before noon on Saturday, a third party provided WhoWhatWhy with an email and document, sent from the Democratic Party of Georgia to election security experts, that highlights “massive” vulnerabilities within the state’s My Voter Page and its online View article …

RFK Friend to Raise Doubts About Sirhan Guilt at Parole Hearing

On Wednesday morning in San Diego, Sirhan Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Bobby Kennedy, will once again be considered for parole. Sirhan was originally scheduled for release in 1984 but after intense political pressure, his parole date was rescinded and he has since been denied 13 times.


At the hearing, Sirhan will come face-to-face with Paul Schrade for the first time — a close friend of the Kennedy family who, on June 5, 1968, was walking behind the senator when the shooting started. Schrade was shot in the head by Sirhan.


For over 40 years, Schrade, now 91, has been campaigning View article …

US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

SCOTUS Absentee Ballot Ruling in PA Adds to Election Uncertainty

Protecting Out Vote 2020


The Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision regarding absentee voting in the swing state of Pennsylvania has created more uncertainty as more than 300 election-related lawsuits, concerning which mail-in ballots can be counted and for how long, await decisions just two weeks before voting ends.


The Court’s 4-4 ruling on Monday means that the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court’s decision to consider valid absentee ballots received up to three days after November 3 as long as they View article …

Brett Kavanaugh, protest

The US Supreme Court at the Center of an Approaching Storm

Protecting Out Vote 2020
The US Supreme Court’s latest decision concerning the deadline for accepting Wisconsin’s mail-in ballots constitutes the opening volley in a volatile legal battle that is likely to become even more controversial with the addition of the court’s newest justice, Amy Coney Barrett.  


When the Republican Party challenged an earlier ruling by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court allowing mail-in ballots to be received up to three days after Election Day, the US Supreme Court reached a tie vote, View article …