Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes

By Chris Hayes, MSNBC & NBCNews THINK

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Kim ( St. Pete, FL)
 Dec 8, 2018
Re: 12/4 podcast: For the first time in at least a decade, I have a piercing bit of clarity into the reason why so many of U.S. citizens have "relinquished their intellectual sovereignty ." (quoting Steve Schmidt)


 Dec 5, 2018


 Nov 23, 2018

A Podcast Republic user
 Sep 1, 2018

Description

Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening? This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.


Episode Date
Politics and Violence with Joanne B. Freeman
01:07:09

Imagine what would happen if your Senator was beaten bloody on the Senate floor. Or if your Congressperson pulled a gun on a member of the opposition party. Our current political climate is ugly but that kind of violence would be unfathomable today. In the early and mid-1800s however, it was a whole different story. Joanne Freeman spent 17 years wrenching out the hidden history of just how endemic violence was within the political class in the decades leading up to the Civil War. Freeman shares riveting accounts of Capitol Hill beatings, brawls, and duels, and details how that period of violence led to a war that shaped what our country would become.

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RELATED READING:

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War by Joanne B. Freeman

Affairs of Honor by Joanne B. Freeman

Dec 11, 2018
The Information Crisis with David Roberts
00:53:27

How can you be sure that the things you know are true… are actually true? We have access to more information than any humans in history but we can't process it on our own. In fact, almost all of what we know comes from others. We come to rely on people and institutions to tell us what to believe and not to believe. And it turns out there are huge consequential differences in how Americans form those relationships, relationships which serve as the building blocks for how we shape our own views of the world. So what happens when someone tries to manipulate that trust? If you ask David Roberts, you need only look at the current conservative movement to get your answer.

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Dec 04, 2018
Live: A New Hope with Ta-Nehisi Coates
01:03:06

In our first ever live edition of WITHpod, Chris interviews one of the most important non-fiction writers in America - Ta-Nehisi Coates. His books and essays drive national conversations about issues like systemic racism, blackness, white privilege, and the legacy of President Obama. Chris and Ta-Nehisi sit down to talk about how the current political moment tells us where we stand in the American project. Listen for a conversation on the future of the Democratic Party, what it’s like to be a writer, who cleared the way for President Trump’s rise, the power of staying off twitter, and the crucial 2-word piece of advice for anyone who hopes to be great.

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Nov 27, 2018
History and Scandal with Rachel Maddow
00:50:51

Listen to Rachel Maddow talk about her new podcast, what it’s like to be covering the news in this political moment, how we can use history to make sense of current events, and why are you even still reading this description – it’s Rachel and Chris! What more do you need to know! 

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Nov 20, 2018
Slavery’s Enduring Political Legacy with Maya Sen and Matthew Blackwell
00:58:41

What can soil tell us about election results? After every election, analysts pore over piles of data in order to better understand political trends. But what if a better place to search for answers is the ground beneath our feet? More specifically, whether that soil was conducive to crops worked by slaves over 200 years ago?

Listen to Maya Sen and Matthew Blackwell trace southern racial conservatism all the way back to glacial deposits. Their new book, "Deep Roots", studies the swath of America where slave-based economies thrived as a result of nutrient-rich soil ideal for growing cotton. Hear them uncover the tangible legacy of slavery that continues to shape today's political life.

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Nov 13, 2018
The Trump Scheme to Rig the Census with Dale Ho
00:58:52

In many cases the Trump Administration isn’t shy when it comes to undermining the Constitution of the United States. But while fights over things like the Muslim ban or ending birthright citizenship play out in public, there are other massive Constitutional erosions happening under the radar.

This is the story of how Wilbur Ross and the Trump Administration went about trying to change the way people in America are counted and how they got caught lying about it. Dale Ho is the director of the Voting Rights Project for the ACLU. He caught the Trump Administration in a big lie about the way it intends to execute the 2020 census. Listen to Dale Ho describe what they found, why they’re suing, and why the results of his case could change the way Democracy in America functions. 

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Nov 06, 2018
BONUS: Midterm Watch with Daniel Nichanian
00:17:38

It’s a bonus mini-episode of #WITHpod! Daniel Nichanian joins Chris to talk about what he has his eyes on ahead of election day. Read his much more extensive list at Whatsontheballot.com and find out what’s happening in your state.

Nov 01, 2018
White Identity Politics with Michael Tesler
00:52:54

Just one week left until the midterms and race and identity politics are playing a major role in the messaging of both parties. For Republicans, it comes in the shape of fear-mongering about the threat imposed by anyone ‘other’, a play ripped directly from the campaign that won Donald Trump the presidency. While these candidates are following in the steps of President Trump, they are tapping in to a divide that was exacerbated not just in the 2016 election, but starting back in 2008. Something profound happened when the country elected Barack Obama, something that took years to fully manifest. Listen to Michael Tesler explain his revelations on racial resentment, economic anxiety, and how it changes the way we think about the 2016 election.


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Oct 30, 2018
Medicare for All with Abdul El-Sayed
00:52:48

What would it mean to have Medicare for All? The issue of healthcare emerged as a key campaign fight in the coming midterm elections, with ads and debate questions centered on coverage of pre-existing conditions. While Republicans dig deeper into a fear mongering campaign that Medicare for All means Medicare for none, a growing number of Democrats are throwing their support behind single payer healthcare. Although Medicare for All is proving popular in polling, the left has a lot of work to do if they want to embrace it as a political project. Abdul El-Sayed has put a lot of thought into exactly that, having worked as the Health Director of Detroit and then ran on a universal healthcare platform in his recent bid for Governor of Michigan. 

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Oct 23, 2018
Voter Suppression Past and Present with Carol Anderson
00:52:02

Why are Republicans so obsessed with voter fraud? Study after study finds no evidence of any large-scale voter fraud in the country, yet we keep hearing about necessary changes to voting systems in order to combat this major threat to democracy. Here’s the thing - it’s a sleight of hand trick, just the latest in a long history of racist voter suppression laws. By crying ‘voter fraud’, the government has been able to tap into policies based in white supremacy with the intent of curbing voter turnout, particularly among black voters. Carol Anderson follows her wildly popular book “White Rage” with “One Person, No Vote”, detailing the sustained attacks on voting rights that we are watching unfold as we head into the midterm elections. 

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Oct 16, 2018
The Myths of the Ruling Class with Anand Giridharadas
00:49:06

Will a ride-sharing app battle religious intolerance? Can a billionaire combat illiteracy by sending laptops to underfunded communities? Would a bank’s involvement in one of the largest financial crises in American history be forgotten if they donate enough money to nonprofit organizations? The ruling class - those at the top who hold all the power - want people to believe that they can do good for the world by continuing to do well for themselves; the more money and power they have, the more good they can do. They put themselves in a position of authority that is packaged and sold as both necessary and benevolent. But Anand Giridharadas argues in his new book, “Winners Take All”, that this philanthropy amongst elites is a charade, and that the ruling class is only willing to change the world so long as it doesn’t change their world.

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Oct 09, 2018
Women, Rage, and Power with Rebecca Traister
01:01:42

Women are pissed. After the election of Donald Trump, the sustained fury of American women has been one of the defining features of his political backlash. From the immediate outpouring of rage in the Women’s Marches to the reckoning of the #MeToo moment to the historic number of women on the ballot in the coming midterm elections, the country is witnessing the beginnings of a social upheaval that’s been long in the making. In her new book, Rebecca Traister traces the historical and current potency of women’s political rage. 

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Oct 02, 2018
Social Infrastructure Week with Eric Klinenberg
00:59:10

Can a library save your life? Could public parks help address crime and addiction in your neighborhood? Think about libraries and churches and crowded subway trains – they’re shared spaces that can push all types of people together, playing a crucial role in civic life. Eric Klinenberg calls this phenomenon social infrastructure. And, while crumbling bridges and roads can mean the difference between life and death, so too, argues Klinenberg, can the crumbling of our social infrastructure.

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Sep 25, 2018
Investigating the President with Nick Akerman
00:53:36

It’s time we talked about Watergate. The crime, the greed, the paranoia and the investigation; how does one of the most significant criminal conspiracies in the history of the American republic help to inform us about what’s unfolding with Robert Mueller’s investigation? Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman tells the story of what it was like on the inside of the investigation. Hear him explain the exact moment he knew President Nixon was guilty, the vast gap between what we know and what Robert Mueller knows, and how he thinks we ended up back here nearly 50 years later.

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Sep 18, 2018
The Left Wing of the Democratic Party with Sean McElwee
00:54:35

Can the Democratic Party keep up with the new left? The left-most wing of the party is growing and expanding, pushing platforms like Medicare for all, free college, and abolishing ICE. Though this group is the minority, the space they’re creating is the space in which the entirety of the party will have to participate in the coming elections. For example, Abolish ICE was first popularized by a twitter hashtag pushed by Sean McElwee. Now, it’s a common campaign issue that the President rails against in his speeches and that any 2020 Democratic hopeful will have to answer to. Sean McElwee pops up again in the primaries, having foreseen two of the biggest Democratic upsets months in advance. As someone at the nexus of the changing winds of the left, McElwee joins us to share his thoughts on what he sees as the way forward for the Democratic Party. 

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Sep 11, 2018
America’s Role in the World’s Worst Crisis with Shireen Al-Adeimi
00:51:01

The people of Yemen are experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet, according to the United Nations. They are devastated by a war that the United States supports. Why is the U.S. involved in a conflict that has left an estimated tens of thousands dead and millions more displaced? Why is the U.S. providing weapons to a coalition that launched an airstrike killing dozens of children? How did Yemen get to this point? Shireen Al-Adeimi has the answers for us, having worked tireless to raise awareness of the civil war in the country she calls home.

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Sep 04, 2018
Trump, Brexit, and Racial Grievance with Mehdi Hasan
00:56:47

Donald Trump’s victory wasn’t the only 2016 election result to shock the world. Just months earlier voters in the United Kingdom made history when they opted for Brexit, thereby initiating the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. While the two elections took place on opposite sides of the world, the roots of both winning movements can be traced to similar origins. British journalist Mehdi Hasan talks about the role of racial grievances from the US to the UK, where things stand with Brexit, and how many people are feeling intense ‘Bregret’.

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Aug 28, 2018
Why Trump's Corruption Matters with Zephyr Teachout
01:05:00

Is President Trump a symptom of a system of corruption, or is he the cause? The nation’s highest office is embroiled in scandal, some so brazen and shameless that it’s almost easy to grow numb to the onslaught of headlines. But corruption is a uniquely poisonous threat to the country, a danger the founding fathers became obsessed with trying to prevent. So how did we reach this particularly low point, and what can be done to clean it up? Zephyr Teachout is in a unique position to talk about this, as she is the author of the book “Corruption in America” and she also happens to be running New York Attorney General, a race the President should be paying close attention to.

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Aug 21, 2018
The Wicked Problem of Climate Change with Andrew Revkin
00:58:29

Why is it so hard to focus attention on the climate crisis? We know the damage we’re doing to the climate and we know why we’re doing it. We even know the obstacles to the solution (fossil fuel companies, denialist political parties) and yet it’s still a challenge to keep the issue front and center. After spending 30 years covering the climate crisis, Andrew Revkin knows what it’s like to be sounding the alarms that seem to fall on deaf ears. In this episode, Revkin talks about the huge role social science plays when it comes to talking about climate, explores what it would take to get the world to pay attention, and explains why he says, in his expert opinion, we’re already “in the shit”.

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Aug 14, 2018
Roe V. Wade's Final Hour? with Nancy Northup
00:53:15

Are we on the precipice of one of the most destructive social reversals in the country’s history? President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice initiated a heated conversation about the future of Roe v. Wade because, should he be confirmed, Kavanaugh would become the deciding vote on a ruling that could alter the lives of millions of women. This week, Chris Hayes speaks to Nancy Northup, the President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, about not just the future of Roe v. Wade but about the legal history of abortion rights. They talk about the stakes of the coming fight, the relevance of a 1923 Supreme Court ruling on teaching foreign languages in schools, and why Northup thinks a victory for anti-abortion activists could ultimately be catastrophic to their own movement.

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Aug 07, 2018
School Segregation in 2018 with Nikole Hannah-Jones
00:58:49

Why are American schools resegregating? Over 60 years since the Brown v. Board of Education ruling forced schools to integrate, the nation is witnessing schools become increasingly segregated. So how did we get to this point? Nikole Hannah-Jones has firsthand knowledge of the system. Beginning in second grade, she was bussed to a wealthy, majority white school as part of a desegregation initiative in her home town. Now, she’s an award-winning investigative reporter writing for The New York Times magazine, doing extensive work on school segregation. In this episode Nikole Hannah-Jones explains why we continue to see segregation in the classroom and how, if at all, the education system can truly desegregate.


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Jul 31, 2018
Our Real Estate Obsession with Giorgio Angelini
00:50:09

Why do you live where you live? Not just the state or the city but the block you walk down and the door you walk through every day. Having a space to call home is packaged as part of the ‘American Dream’ and it has become a full on real estate obsession. If you’re like Chris Hayes, you might find yourself binge watching HGTV or scanning house listings in cities you have no plans of living in. But our ability to partake in that dream is far from equal thanks to housing policies that have disenfranchised generations. Despite these forces directly ruling over where we are able to live, talking about housing policy can make the eyes glaze over. Luckily, Giorgio Angelini managed to weave together the intricate history of housing discrimination from New Jersey to California in his visually stunning new documentary, “Owned: A Tale of Two Americas”. 

Jul 24, 2018
"Futureface" with Alex Wagner
00:40:40

Why is everyone taking DNA tests to find out about their heritage? While Americans are fueling an industry selling them a story of global identity, the country’s President is spreading fear and hostility about non-white immigrants. Trump seems to have an idea of “Americanness” that is limited to those of a certain ethnic inheritance and anyone from places like Mexico or South America or Haiti is fundamentally foreign and ‘other’. The most obvious fact remains that the overwhelming majority of us came from somewhere foreign, that at some point, our heritage was ‘other’. This is the intersection Alex Wagner explores in her new memoir, “Futureface”. It’s a story about how we think about who we are based on where we come from and how that fits into our conception of our own “Americanness”.

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Jul 17, 2018
Ending Mass Incarceration with Larry Krasner
00:58:35

Have you heard about Larry Krasner? He’s a lefty progressive lawyer in Philadelphia that made his name by defending the underdogs, representing activists and suing police officers. Last year, he was elected as Philadelphia’s District Attorney, meaning he now runs the mass incarceration machine he’s spent his decades-long career criticizing. He might be the last person in the world you would expect to be the chief prosecutor for the city of Philadelphia, but if you truly want to see criminal justice reform what better place to start? People looking at the growth of mass incarceration are increasingly focusing on the key role that prosecutors play, and in just six months Krasner has already radically changed that role. Chris Hayes got a chance to talk to Larry Krasner about “storming the palace doors”.

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Jul 10, 2018
Fracking Trump Country with Eliza Griswold
00:47:23

What does it look like when fracking comes to town? For folks in poor rural areas, parts of Trump Country before we had Trump Country, fracking can mean opportunity, wealth, and autonomy for some, destruction and ruin for others. Journalist Eliza Griswold tells a story that begins in the Niger delta and brings her to the doorstep of a family farm in Southwest Pennsylvania in the midst of the energy boom. There, in the towns of Amity and Prosperity, she learns about the intimate and complex reasons why people chose to bring fracking to their town, and the crisis they face when mysterious illnesses begin to appear.

Read more at NBCNews.com/WhyIsThisHappening

Jul 03, 2018
How Bad Is It? with Ezra Klein
00:46:12

Families are being ripped apart at the border, a Republican Congressman retweeted a Nazi sympathizer, and Trump White House officials are being protested with increasing regularity. It is feeling pretty rough out there – so just how bad is it? There have been some folks looking to the Civil War when discussing the current landscape of political polarization. While it’s not quite that bad, just exactly where are we on the scale of ‘everything’s fine’ to ‘Civil War’? Chris Hayes and Vox editor-at-large Ezra Klein have been checking in on this very question throughout the Trump administration. In this episode, they talk about unique problems of the American political project, the staying-power of political identities, and what we can learn from the X-Men superhero, Legion. Read more at NBCNews.com/WhyIsThisHappening

Jun 26, 2018
Destruction in Puerto Rico with Naomi Klein
00:40:49

How did Hurricane Maria evolve from a natural disaster into a human catastrophe in Puerto Rico? While the official death count remains at 64, a Harvard study suggests thousands were killed. While the hurricane left its devastating mark on the island, there were already destructive forces in play long before the storm made landfall. Forces that made Puerto Rico uniquely vulnerable to the ravaging effects of the storm and its aftermath. So when did the problems in Puerto Rico start? And how did they manifest in the lead up and aftermath of Hurricane Maria? Naomi Klein says that to understand what happened you need to go way back before the storm. She explains how Hurricane Maria acted as an accelerant to a process long underway and that could continue to get worse as Puerto Rico tries to pick up the pieces. Visit NBCNews.com/WhyIsThisHappening for more.


Jun 19, 2018
Political Tribalism with Amy Chua
00:43:07

There seems to be a lot of talk about this idea of political tribalism lately. Critiques that groups are increasingly insular not just around politics but about race or religion or any number of identity markers, and that this isolation makes it impossible to have meaningful conversations about the big issues facing our country. We’ve witnessed groups rallying around their side in ways that can be ugly, discounting the thoughts of the ‘Other’ on the mere status of being other, but is that true of all of political tribalism? Is it a dangerous group in-thinking or can it look like positive, meaningful group organizing? Chris Hayes is torn about the ambiguous use of political tribalism as a critique of certain types of politics, so he brought in Amy Chua to work them out. Amy Chua has been studying prejudice for 20 years and has a new book out called “Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations”. In this episode, Chris Hayes and Amy Chua wrestle over these questions and discuss whether political tribalism is even inherently a bad thing to begin with. Visit NBCNews.com/WhyIsThisHappening for more.

Jun 12, 2018
Separating Immigrant Families with Lee Gelernt
00:56:19

The Trump administration is forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents, something they are hoping will deter immigrants from entering the country. It's sparked widespread outrage, protests and lawsuits, with the White House now attempting to distance itself from its own policy. How did we get here? Lee Gelernt has worked on immigrants right’s issues with the ACLU since 1992 and is now the lead lawyer suing the Trump administration to stop taking kids away from their parents. In this episode, Gelernt explains how immigration and national security became so conflated, how it connects to 9/11, and describes the trauma these families are going through. Read the full transcript at NBCNews.com/WhyIsThisHappening.

Jun 05, 2018
Who Broke the Internet? with Tim Wu
00:46:15

From the rise of fake news and the troll farms pumping it out to the harvesting of our Facebook data by groups like Cambridge Analytica, Chris Hayes knows the internet feels pretty crappy these days. In this episode, Hayes examines how something once seen as a miracle of human connection became a free-for-all frenzy to get your clicks, and marvels at the lengths companies will go to keep your eyes to your screens. These are the ideas Tim Wu has spent a career, and two books, exploring. So, when we ask what created the conditions for this environment and angst surrounding our experience with the internet, we turn to Tim.

May 29, 2018
The Rule of Law in the Era of Trump with Kate Shaw
00:42:09

Since his first day in office, Donald Trump has been testing the boundaries of the law on multiple fronts. From his open hostility towards the investigation into his campaign’s involvement with a foreign adversary, to his policy prescriptions by way of executive order, to the way Donald Trump runs his own White House, this President has challenged the rule of law like no other recent President. So, in the case of Donald Trump v. the Law – who’s winning? And what can we learn from what’s happened so far? In this episode Chris gets answers from Kate Shaw, a law professor from the Cardozo School of Law who has worked in both the White House, the Supreme Court, and who also happens to be his wife. It also happened to be her birthday on the day this was recorded, and yes, that came up. Read more at NBCNews.com/whyisthishappening

May 22, 2018
The Conservative Movement with Corey Robin
00:38:58

Is President Donald Trump a conservative? While other contemporary writers and thinkers may be quick to write the President off as an anomaly to the conservative movement, Corey Robin has another theory. He argues that if you trace conservatism back through the centuries to understand what the movement is really truly about, then Donald Trump makes perfect sense. Corey Robin, author of “The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump”, is the guy who can explain why this is happening. Read more at NBCNews.com/whyisthishappening

May 15, 2018
The Middle East with Dexter Filkins
00:34:38

What is happening in the Middle East? Chris Hayes sorts through the bewildering number of individual conflicts and key players to get to the heart of what’s unfolding in the Middle East. And, at the heart of it, is one big potentially world-war-starting kind of fight that helps explains them all. To understand the details of that fight, Chris turns to one of the best foreign reporters writing today – Dexter Filkins. He has covered the area extensively, knows the Middle East inside and out, and can tell us why we could be standing on the precipice of something era-defining. Read more at NBCNews.com/whyisthishappening

May 15, 2018
The Personal is Political with Brittney Cooper
00:35:30

Talking about the politics of identity, particularly in the age of Donald Trump, can feel like you’re walking through a minefield. Whether it’s the President’s immigration policy or two black men arrested in a Starbucks, Chris Hayes argues that all the political debates we’re having are wrapped up in personal politics. But when it comes to confronting those personal politics and examining the power struggles that they invoke, conversations tend to get tense and defensive. Author and Professor Brittney Cooper’s story is compelling and traumatic and illuminating and she uses these pieces to explore how the personal becomes political within her own life in her new book, “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower”. If there’s anyone who can talk about the politics of identity, feminism, and how we can understand those ideas through the lens of Beyoncé, it is Brittney Cooper. Read more at NBCNews.com/whyisthishappening

May 15, 2018
Why IS this happening?
00:00:51

This podcast will help answer the BIG questions that keep Chris up at night. In this tumultuous time, the things we see play out on cable news every day are driven by big ideas, themes, and huge arcs of history. So, every week a new expert will help us better understand why this is (all) happening. Read more at NBCNews.com/whyisthishappening

May 09, 2018