Deconstructed

Deconstructed

Each week The Intercept’s Washington, D.C. bureau brings you one important or overlooked story from the political world. Bureau Chief Ryan Grim and a rotating cast of journalists, politicians, academics and historians tell you what the rest of the media are missing. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Episodes

May 19, 2022 57 min

Progressive Democrats scored a number of high-profile wins in the Pennsylvania primaries this week. State Rep. Summer Lee seems poised to win her race in the blue-leaning 12th District and become the first Black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress; meanwhile, Izzy Smith-Wade-El, associated with the grassroots group Lancaster Stands Up in southern Pennsylvania, won his Democratic primary for a seat in the state legislature. ...

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As their country’s economic crisis continues to spiral out of control, Afghans are finding themselves forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures just to get enough food for their families. The crisis is driven by the US refusal to release frozen Afghan central bank reserves, a measure that might restore some semblance of normalcy to the economy. Afghan journalist Masood Shnizai rejoins the podcast to discuss the situation ...

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In the early days of the pandemic, the theory that Covid-19 may have originated in a virology lab was often dismissed as a xenophobic right-wing conspiracy theory. Over the intervening months and years, new information has cast a different light on the idea. Reporters Katherine Eban, Mara Hvistendahl, and Sharon Lerner join Ryan Grim to discuss the lab-leak theory.

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Earlier this evening, Politico reported on what appears to be a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court striking down Roe V. Wade. In light of the news, we're re-running our interview with Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice from October 2020.

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April 27, 2022 53 min

This week, after nearly 1,000 days of arbitrary detention, the environmental and human rights lawyer Steven Donziger was released from house arrest. On this week’s podcast, Donziger talks to Intercept investigative reporter Sharon Lerner and Ryan Grim about his <a href="https://theintercept.com/2020/01/29/chevron-ecuador-lawsuit-steven-donziger/">decadelong legal battle</a> with Chevron over land contaminati...

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April 22, 2022 70 min

As deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential run, Ari Rabin-Havt got an intimate look at the daily life of the independent senator from Vermont. Now he’s chronicled those experiences in a new book, “The Fighting Soul: On the Road With Bernie Sanders.”

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In 2020, former foster child Mackenzie Fierceton received a Rhodes Scholarship as a self-identified “first generation, low income” student at the University of Pennsylvania. But the acclaim quickly devolved into acrimony as the university and the Rhodes Trust began questioning aspects of Fierceton’s backstory. The battle between her and the school was chronicled by Rachel Aviv in the New Yorker earlier this month. Fierceton joins R...

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April 9, 2022 28 min

The Yemen cease-fire, which took effect last week, is the first serious truce between the country's warring parties in six years. The factions in Yemen agreed to a two-month truce proposed by the United Nations. And on Thursday, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Yemen’s exiled president, said he would transfer power to an eight-member presidential council, suggesting progress in ending the war. All of this comes on the heels of a new Yem...

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April 2, 2022 54 min

David Sirota went from advising Sen. Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign to co-developing the story for Adam McKay’s film “Don’t Look Up,” which was nominated for — among other things — the Academy Award for best picture. It didn’t win, but Sirota was in Hollywood for the big night. He joins Ryan Grim to discuss why Hollywood is so averse to political films, the difficulty of generating interest in the climate crisis, a...

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The Biden administration is drafting an executive order to invoke the Defense Production Act to develop green energy storage technology — an essential element for a clean energy future. The war in Ukraine and soaring oil and gas prices have renewed conversations in Washington about passing a major clean energy package. Recently at CERAWeek, a major energy conference, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin shared his views on what he would ...

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March 18, 2022 53 min

In standard economic theory, prices are simply expressions of information about the scarcity of (and demand for) goods. But in his new book “Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World,” writer and filmmaker Rupert Russell argues that the modern era of algorithm-driven speculation has normalized unpredictable price swings in commodity markets and turned prices into “engines of chaos.” Russell joins Ryan Grim to d...

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March 12, 2022 39 min

The CERAWeek conference took place this week in Houston. CERAWeek is an annual gathering of major players in the energy sector; CEOs, government officials, and financiers are among the conference's attendees. The major theme this year, of course, was the effect of Russia’s war in Ukraine on global oil and gas markets — in particular, President Joe Biden’s announcement Tuesday that the U.S. would move to ban imports of Russian o...

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“Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us,” declared Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. “It is an inalienable part of our own history, culture, and spiritual space.” This conception of Ukrainian history forms the bedrock of Putin’s justification for invading the former Soviet republic, independent since 1991. On this week’s podcast, Ryan Grim talks with Ukrainian sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko about his country’s ...

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February 25, 2022 33 min

Crime is surging in Houston, and homicide detectives are given free rein as they race to close cases. Investigators are certain that Charles Raby is guilty of Edna Franklin’s murder — and that DNA evidence will prove it. But once Charles confesses, the forensic investigation stops.Murderville, an investigative podcast hosted by senior Intercept reporters Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith, examines the systemic failures that lead to w...

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February 19, 2022 40 min

The proposed Social Security 2100 Act would bolster the nearly century-old social insurance program through additions like caregiver credits and increased minimum benefits. Connecticut Rep. John Larson, the architect of the plan, joins Intercept reporters Ryan Grim and Jon Schwarz to discuss why he thinks an expansion of Social Security is overdue.


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In the waning hours of his presidency, Donald Trump issued an order designating the Houthis in Yemen as a terrorist organization; one of Joe Biden’s first actions upon taking office was to reverse that designation. Now, under pressure from the United Arab Emirates, he may be having second thoughts. Intercept reporter Ken Klippenstein and Michigan State University assistant professor Shireen Al-Adeimi join Ryan Grim to discuss the p...

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February 2, 2022 46 min

In his new book, congressman Ro Khanna tackles the question of how the prosperity generated by technology can be more broadly shared. In the foreword, Indian economist Amartya Sen writes “just as people can move to technology, technology can move to people. People need not be compelled to move from one place to another to reap the benefits offered by technological progress”. Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley in Congress, joins ...

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February 1, 2022 34 min
Murderville, an investigative podcast hosted by senior Intercept reporters Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith, examines the systemic failures that lead to wrongful convictions. Season Two takes Segura and Smith to the death penalty capital of the country, Harris County, Texas, where they investigate a disturbing crime, a startling confession, and a story that doesn’t add up. To follow the series, subscribe to Murderville at Apple Podc...
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“I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism." So declared famed Marine Corps officer Smedley Butler in 1935, at the end of a long career spent blazing a path for American interests in Cuba, Nicaragua, China, The Philippines, Panama, and Haiti. In a new book on Butler’s career, Gangsters of Capitalism, Jonathan Katz details Butler’s life and explains how it dovetails with the broader story of American empire at the turn of the...
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The normally reserved International Committee of the Red Cross recently made a surprisingly direct statement about the unfolding economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. They said, “Can the international community” — meaning the U.S. — “hold 39 million people hostage to the fact that they do not want to recognise the authorities that are now in place in Kabul and in Afghanistan?”


Masood Shnizai is a journalist based in Kabul...

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