Democracy in Crisis

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 27: Charlottesville

    Democracy in Crisis Episode 27: Charlottesville

    On this week’s episode Marc Steiner talks to co-host Baynard Woods and City Paper editor Brandon Soderberg about their experiences at the racist rally in Charlottesville. Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted by Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner, produced and engineered by Calvin Perry for...

  • Charlottesville and the shattering of America

    Charlottesville and the shattering of America

    Two middle-aged men, one black and one white, were walking up a street in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia yelling at each other. It was a moment of relative normalcy in a day otherwise defined by mayhem. Both men use the phrase “born and bred” to define their relationship to the smallish Southern...

  • Democracy In Crisis Episode 26: With Fire and Fury (We're all gonna die!)

    Democracy In Crisis Episode 26: With Fire and Fury (We're all gonna die!)

    On this week’s episode co-hosts Marc Steiner and Baynard Woods are back after a two-week hiatus just in time to talk about the possibility of nuclear war. Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted by Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner, produced and engineered by Calvin Perry for The Center for...

  • The kind of police violence Trump encouraged in Long Island speech marked his inauguration, according to ACLU suit

    The kind of police violence Trump encouraged in Long Island speech marked his inauguration, according to ACLU suit

    Donald Trump's authoritarian streak has been on full display in recent weeks, nowhere more so than when talking to cops in Long Island. "Please don't be too nice," he said and told the officers that when they arrest someone they don’t need to protect the prisoner's head. "I said, 'You can take...

  • Stop fetishizing normalcy to condemn Trump

    Stop fetishizing normalcy to condemn Trump

    I went down to the White House to see Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner give his excuses surrounding the meeting that he, Trump's son, and Paul Manafort, among others, had with Russians, hoping to get dirt on Hillary. "This is not normal," I hear, echoing through my head as I walk from the Metro...

  • Alt-Right in Fat Elvis Mode: 100 or so Nazis gather for “Freedom of Speech” rally

    Alt-Right in Fat Elvis Mode: 100 or so Nazis gather for “Freedom of Speech” rally

    "Can I get some sunscreen?" one young Nazi asks another young Nazi near the Lincoln Memorial where the alt-right's "Free Speech" rally—the more edgy of two right-wing rallies scheduled for the same time in Washington, D.C. on June 25—is about to kick off. The second rally, which is supposed to...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Sad little scenes from the White House Briefing Room

    Democracy in Crisis: Sad little scenes from the White House Briefing Room

    1. The White House briefing room feels like a mansion's pool house, but with the carpet of a church basement. On the eve of the summer solstice, after a week without an on-camera press briefing, the room smells like a grill doused with too much lighter fluid. Cameramen and techies move around in...

  • Democracy In Crisis Episode 21: Black Bloc and the Prosecution of Journalism

    Democracy In Crisis Episode 21: Black Bloc and the Prosecution of Journalism

    On this week’s episode co-host Baynard Woods talks with Baltimore City Paper editor Brandon Soderberg and Center for Emerging Media's Imani Spence about the charges against journalist Aaron Cantú stemming from the black bloc actions on Inauguration Day. Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted...

  • Dream Darker: The indictment of journalist Aaron Cantú portends grim future for First Amendment

    Dream Darker: The indictment of journalist Aaron Cantú portends grim future for First Amendment

    Dozens of defendants, each sitting with their own lawyer, fill a Washington, D.C. courtroom, looking like college students wearing their nicest clothes for a job interview. It is far more serious than that. They are all facing charges of felony rioting, conspiracy to riot, and destruction of property...

  • I took my Trump-loving father to Mar-a-Lago

    I took my Trump-loving father to Mar-a-Lago

    A couple of weeks ago, my dad and I stood on a Palm Beach sandbar staring at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf club and resort. My dad didn't dress up much for the trip. He was wearing his quintessential summer garb of kneehigh white sport socks, a faux polo shirt from the sale rack, and a pair...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 20: Maryland AG Brian Frosh sues the president

    Democracy in Crisis Episode 20: Maryland AG Brian Frosh sues the president

    On this week’s episode co-host Marc Steiner interviews Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh about the Emoluments Clause. Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted by Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner, produced and engineered by Imani Spence for The Center for Emerging Media. Theme music by Ruby...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Amid Comey chaos, lessons from the history of America's secret police

    Democracy in Crisis: Amid Comey chaos, lessons from the history of America's secret police

    Hundreds of people lined up in the marble hallways of a Senate office building, hoping to get one of the 88 public seats in Room 216, where James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired over the Russia investigation, was scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. That was at 8:30 a.m. More came. Some of the people...

  • Amid Comey chaos, lessons from the history of America’s secret police

    Amid Comey chaos, lessons from the history of America’s secret police

    Hundreds of people lined up in the marble hallways of a Senate office building, hoping to get one of the 88 public seats in Room 216, where James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired over the Russia investigation, was scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. That was at 8:30 a.m. More came. Some of the people...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 19: Politics and the Counterculture

    Democracy in Crisis Episode 19: Politics and the Counterculture

    On this week’s episode co-hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner, joined by producer Imani Spence, talk about the Fugs, exorcising the White House and the state of the counterculture. Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted by Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner, produced and engineered by Imani...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Reinventing the underground part one—a countercultural exorcism

    Democracy In Crisis: Reinventing the underground part one—a countercultural exorcism

    Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, poet and provocateur Ed Sanders shouts "Out demons, out!," his arms raised in clenched fists above his head, a computer bag hanging from the shoulder of his powder-blue sports coat. With a wild halo of white hair exploding from his balding pate, small...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Marching for truth days before Comey testimony

    Ten members of St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band gathered at the trolley turnaround at the corner of Market and Powell St in San Francisco last Saturday. The New Orleans second line brass band usually just “marries ‘em and buries ‘em,” as one band member told me, but today the band volunteered...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 18: Hannah Arendt in the Age of Trump Part 2, Global Fascism

    In the second part of a two-part conversation, cohost Baynard Woods talks with scholar and writer Kathleen B. Jones about the relevance of political theorist Hannah Arendt in the age of Trump. Jones is a professor emerita at San Diego State University and the author of numerous books, stories and...

  • Jackson, Trump, Hitler and the seeds of global fascism

    I'm writing this week from North Carolina, the state that may be the center of our current illiberal, anti-democratic and yet ostensibly populist politics; the place that should be called North Coup-d'etat-arolina after the Republican legislature tried to disempower the democratically elected Democratic...

  • Democracy In Crisis Episode 17: Hannah Arendt in the Age of Trump

    On this week's podcast, cohost Baynard Woods talks with scholar and writer Kathleen B. Jones about the relevance of political theorist Hannah Arendt in the age of Trump. Jones is a professor emerita at San Diego State University and the author of numerous books, stories and essays, including "The...

  • Democracy in Crisis: What we can learn from Turkey's populist regime

    I fucked up on Twitter last week when sending out a story I wrote about Kurds and other activists who were attacked by Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security forces outside of the Turkish ambassador's Washington, D.C. residence. Instead of typing "Turkish security forces," I inadvertently wrote "Trump...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Comey, Comey, Comey Chameleon, You Come and Go

    Back in March when then-FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Select Intelligence Committee—chaired by Devin Nunes, who had yet to jump out of an Uber in the middle of the night for a shady White House meeting—he began the substance of his remarks by saying, “I have been authorized...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Inauguration Day protesters face decades in jail

    It was almost like a smaller, less intense recap of inauguration day as socialist Wobblies waving red Industrial Workers of the World and the black masked anarchist ranks of ANTIFA marched up to the line of police officers standing in attention outside the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse in Washington...

  • Democracy In Crisis Episode 14: Trump's Harrisburg Rally and May Day Marches

    On this week’s episode, cohost Baynard Woods and Baltimore City Paper editor Brandon Soderberg talk about the strange political landscape after attending both the Trump rally in Pennsylvania and the May Day marches in D.C. Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted by Baynard Woods and Marc...

  • Democracy in Crisis: The complexities and hypocrisies of the March For Science

    Twenty years ago I was arrested for occupying the office of Sen. Pete Domenici in Albuquerque, N.M. The senator and one-time segregationist Dixiecrat presidential candidate Strom Thurmond had threatened to defund the Environmental Protection Agency if it did not approve the Waste Isolation Pilot...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 13: Imara Jones on Disarray At 100 Days

    In this week's episode, hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner talk with writer and analyst Imara Jones about the chaos surrounding the White House as we approach the 100th day of the Trump administration. Imara Jones holds a degree from the London School of Economics and is currently developing...

  • Democracy In Crisis: The death of Freddie Gray and the future of police reform

    On a cold and rainy day shortly after the election, I interviewed Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis in his office overlooking the city's downtown. Donald Trump had just nominated noted racist Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and the consent decree the city had been negotiating with the...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 12: D. Watkins and the Death of Freddie Gray

    On this week’s episode, hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner talk with D. Watkins, educator, editor at large at Salon.com, and the author of "The Cook Up," and "The Beast Side" about the drug war and Freddie Gray, who died after being arrested in Baltimore two years ago this week. And composer...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Republican dirty trickster disses square A.G. Sessions' outdated take on toking

    Roger Stone has two bongs shaped like his hero, Richard Nixon. "One's in the shape of his head, the other is kind of more artsy," he said. "They're both very cool but they're a symbol to me that the war on drugs, as waged by Nixon, was a failure. Is a failure." Stone, the famous Republican dirty-trickster...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Move over Louise Mensch, Roger Stone has a Carter Page theory of his own

    Carter Page, the seemingly hapless, dead-eyed and bald-headed former-Trump adviser who is at the white-hot center of the controversy surrounding Trump campaign collusion with Russia, looks like he tried to learn to smile like Putin but can't pull it off. Yet he continues to accept offers to botch...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 11: Tax Resisters

    Feeling crushed by your own taxes, while wondered why the president won't release his? This week, co-host Baynard Woods talks with Democracy in Crisis' FOIA expert Mary Finn about her story on tax resisters. Co-host Marc Steiner is on a reporting trip in Alabama. And composer Ruby Fulton puts one...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Archaeological Notes on "Russia"

    After the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian interference with the U.S. election, I had to renew my press credentials and took the elevator down to the private subway that runs beneath the Capitol. As the train approached and the glass doors opened, I imagined a...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Paul Ryan’s No Good Very Bad Day

    Friday afternoon, after a dramatic capitulation, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan walked out before the press and conceded defeat on what had been his party’s primary concern for the last seven years. “Obamacare is the law of the land,” Ryan said. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 8: House Hearings on Possible Russian Involvement in the Election

    In this week's episode, hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner talk about the House Intelligence Committee hearings on possible Russian involvement in the U.S. election and ask—where does this all lead? Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted by Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner, produced and...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Congress going "berserk" over Russia

    Like the rest of the country, Congress has gone crazy. "The idea that Russia could come in and interfere with our election, all of us should be going berserk," Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings said Thursday, summarizing the mood on at least half of the Hill.  On Monday, the House Intelligence...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Republicans seek leaks, raise possibility of prosecuting press

    Republicans collectively twisted themselves into knots Monday in order to ignore what was really happening in the hearings on Russian hacking of the election and tried to use it as an opportunity for another attack on the free press. FBI Director James Comey confirmed during the House Select Intelligence...

  • Democracy in Crisis: The Man Behind FOIA

    Last week, reporters from the Indianapolis Star filed a state public records request and learned that while Mike Pence was governor he communicated using a hackable AOL account to conduct state business. And reporters used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law in 2015 to show that Hillary Clinton...

  • Democracy in Crisis: General Flynn's brother responds to "From Skater to Hater"

    Joe Flynn, the brother of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, wrote this letter in response to our story "From Skater to Hater: Mike Flynn's Wipe Out." We verified the identity of the author but did not edit the letter.  Baynard: I hope this finds you well. I am just so pissed at all the...

  • Democracy in Crisis Episode 5: Shane Bauer on Private Prisons & Stoned at CPAC

    Shane Bauer joins us to talk about private prisons in the Trump era. Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo supporting the federal government's continuing use of private prisons, rescinding an Obama administration directive last year that aimed to reduce and eventually phase out...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Stoned Reflections from the Opposition Party

    I am stoned at CPAC. I am in hell. Here’s how it happened: Shortly after Steve Bannon laid out his vision of nationalism and the deconstruction of government on the first day of CPAC, I was writing a story over a beer at the National Press Club. On the television was Sean Spicer who said the regime...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Bannon brings nationalist deconstruction to CPAC

    Steve Bannon, the schlubby alt-right White House advisor who wants to destroy the state, was the clear star of the first day of the conservative circle jerk that is CPAC. Bannon shared the stage with Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican National Committee and Trump's chief of staff, but...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Church and Trump

    In front of the illuminated columns of the Supreme Court Building, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney and several other Christian activists gathered together, waiting for Donald Trump to announce his pick for Supreme Court justice—a spot left vacant for nearly a year after Republicans refused to acknowledge...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Occupying airports and the future of protest

    Donald Trump, Russian sex workers, and Vladimir Putin aren't the only ones who need to worry about piss. In a recent column about the Women's March in Washington on the day after the inauguration, Kate Drabinski wrote: "There's much to say about the politics and critiques of these events, but in...

  • Democracy in Crisis: A podcast discussing the BWI protest with one of its organizers

    In the first episode of the Democracy in Crisis podcast, hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner speak with Payam, one of the organizers of a protest at Baltimore's BWI airport, about the Trump administration's indefinite ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, and...

  • Democracy in Crisis: Lawyers at Dulles fight for travelers trapped by Trump's 'Muslim ban'

    Lawyers are huddled up, poring over papers on the floor of Dulles International Airport, outside of Washington D.C. a couple hundred feet away from the throngs of protesters cheering, chanting and welcoming home people coming out of customs from international flights. Since Donald Trump signed...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Solidarity for the Inaugural Six

    Six journalists have now been charged with felonies for reporting on the black bloc protests on inauguration day in Washington D.C. Police allege that they have violated the district's laws against rioting. Evan Engel of Vocativ; Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series "Story of...

  • Democracy In Crisis: Darkness at noon

    Dozens of police officers blocked off the corner at 12th and Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C., gripping their batons and big canisters of pepper spray, their faces obscured behind shields, as nearly 100 activists who had already been arrested were cordoned off behind them, waiting to be...

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