Businessman Ralph Taylor, who learned he is 4% Black from a DNA test, is classified as Black by his state government and White by the federal government. This racial inconsistency means he’s eligible for affirmative action programs in Washington state but not in Washington, D.C. But rather than seeking to financially benefit from programs meant to redress past racial grievances, Taylor says he’s out to prove that “there is no valid definition of race.”
I'm launching a new weekly documentary series on Verizon Media with my awesome friend Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani (someone for whom I have nothing but the most effusive of praise) and a team of excellent producers whose names you don't know but who deserve praise. It's currently available on the Yahoo app in Roku and on the HuffPost website.
One of our first one-on-one interviews is with the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, who spent 544 days in an Iranian prison and experienced Islamic justice. He wrote about it in his new book 'Prisoner'.
Watch the video interview here.
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
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
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
The new visa waiver restrictions are complicated and can be confusing to understand. Fortunately, AIC's Kayvon Afshari breaks it down by interviewing a lawyer from the ACLU, a former American nuclear negotiator, and an Iranian-German dual citizen who was recently affected by the law. Watch the video, then share it with your friends who need to learn about the issue!Read More