I did this long interview with my friend Taylor Beacom about the cosmic significance of the protests in Iran and the clash between the ancient Iranian ethos and Islam.
I met social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt at a Thanksgiving party and, after striking up a conversation, he gave me a signed copy of his book "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion."
I was going to write one long book review, but I realized it's way too much to review his takes on religion, evolution, morality, the emergence of civilized societies, and contemporary politics in one piece. Instead, I decided I would write a series of distinct short essays in response.
I applied Haidt's moral matrix to the NFL kneeling protests and #BlackLivesMatter. "Simply put, if you were in a hypothetical encounter with a police officer and could choose your race for the next half hour, which race would you choose to be?"
If I got anything wrong, feel free to leave an unhinged, ad hominem attack in the comments.Read More
Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are, in some ways, more powerful than our federal government. The tech giants decide what information we see - and what we don't. Their decisions can close down whole industries. For many years, they stuck to sunny California. But today they're a huge presence in the Washington swamp, spending millions to make sure legislation goes their way, providing a lucrative revolving door between industry and government. And they're even secretly funding lapdog professors to make their arguments for them.Read More
The annual UN General Assembly starts in New York this Tuesday, with President Trump scheduled to speak that morning.The UN is a sprawling international bureaucracy with endless different bodies and agencies. Its executive arm, the Secretariat, has a five and a half billion dollar budget... 22 percent of which is funded by you, the U.S. taxpayer. So, where exactly is your money going?
The United Nations is tonight's Swamp Watch.Read More
Given Swamp Watch's measurable popularity, Fox decided to run a Swamp Watch Special on Sunday. We aired a montage of Swamp Watch clips and interviews with the indispensable Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel, former lobbyist and convicted felon turned anti-corruption activist Jack Abramoff, Representatives Mike Gallagher and Ro Khanna, and New America senior fellow Lee Drutman.Read More
You're going to hear a lot over the next few months about tax reform. But as you listen to the arguments, remember that our tax code is as much a part of the swamp as any other aspect of government. And the real scandal is that it benefits the elite at the expense of working Americans.Read More
Hostile foreign governments have infiltrated the D.C. swamp. Even Saudi Arabia, whose state religion inspires ISIS, has an army of lobbyists doing their bidding. And what they want is often the opposite of what Americans want. We expose them on this Swamp Watch.Read More
An insular club of elite lawyers have corrupted our justice system. Eric Holder and his friends move between the Department of Justice and white collar criminal defense firms like Covington & Burling. They’re the reason why bank executives who admit to committing crimes still get to avoid prison. And they’re the subject of this installment of Swamp Watch.Read More
Some of the swampiest parts of Washington operate in the dark. The little-known Export-Import Bank is our official export credit agency, helping foreign buyers of American manufactured goods with sweetheart deals. It's also a hub of corporate welfare and a burden on the taxpayer. The bank benefits huge corporations and harms the taxpayer through subsidized loans at below-market interest rates.Read More
There's a revolving door between the federal government and health insurance companies. And they're writing legislation that harms customers and is a giant windfall to the companies. It's an abuse of public trust that is enriching a small group of people, and it's the subject of this week's Swamp Watch.Read More
Health care is so expensive in the US partly because hospitals are charging exorbitant fees for their services. They can do so because local hospitals are being increasingly replaced by megahospitals, giant conglomerates that operate as regional monopolies shielded from competition. I profile this practice that is harming patients in this week's Swamp Watch.Read More
The pharmaceutical industry is ripping us off, driving up the cost of health care, lying to patients, and enriching an elite group of well-connected executives. This is one of the biggest, most profitable swamps in the country, and it's in the crosshairs of this Swamp Watch segment.Read More
Our $600 billion defense budget is a giant swamp of people getting rich and inefficiently, to say the least, delivering national security. There's also a well-known revolving door between the defense department and defense contractors.Read More
Alternative energy companies are spending tons of money on lobbying, getting huge subsidies from the Department of Energy, defrauding consumers, and subsequently going bankrupt. It's a swamp that hardly anyone is talking about.Read More
There's a revolving door between big banks and the Treasury Department, and lots of people are getting rich off our tax dollars. Jack Lew is a great example. He worked at CitiGroup, which received a lot of TARP funding; then he got a large bonus from the company; and shortly afterwards, he started working for the federal government. How nice. Let's see who else we'll find in this swamp.Read More
There are two possible Flynn-Bannon-Trump strategies on Iran worth considering.
I. The first is that they're setting the table for war with Iran, plain and simple. The administration will use the recent missile test and subsequent Iranian noncompliance to create a pretext for starting a war. Look at what Flynn thinks about Iran's role in the Middle East, and it's clear that he feels Iran needs to be met directly by force for countering the US's designs for the broader region (see Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and the ailing peace process)Read More
I recently completed work as a consulting producer for VICE on HBO for their documentary on US-Iran relations, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, and the country's nuclear program. The piece was hosted by Shane Smith and came out great.
I worked alongside two full-time VICE producers to secure exclusive access to a nuclear facility, as well as complete all the other pre-production tasks required to get an American crew to cover a story inside the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The documentary debuted on Friday April 29 at 11pm ET on HBORead More
As part of my AIC work, I'll be hosting tonight's "US Election and Middle East Foreign Policy" event featuring Dr. James Zogby from the Sanders campaign and Richard Nephew from the Clinton campaign. We've invited the two men to speak about their candidate's foreign policies toward the Middle East as well as take some questions. We'll also be live streaming the event, which you can watch right here at 6pm today!
Thursday April 7, 6pm
Marymount Manhattan College
In this 'Iran Chat' interview with Richard Nephew, the former lead sanctions expert for the US team negotiating with Iran, AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari discusses a host of issues concerning US-Iran relations, including the implementation of the nuclear accord, the recent changes to the visa waiver program, and how post-sanctions era Iran will affect global energy prices.Read More