Like I said at the end of last episode, there were some broader Cold War issues that I wanted to talk about and some history that I wanted to churn through that didn’t quite fit into the framework of the longer shows. That’s because I want those longer ones to be narrowly focused on the French and the relevant US decision-making rather than a panoramic picture—otherwise they’d be six hours instead of three and we wouldn’t have gotten even as far as we are now.
Come next show, though, some of that decision-making on the US part is going to be inscrutable unless you’re already an expert on the period or unless you’re as anti-American as SFD appears to be and you don’t need to suss out the motives behind bad decisions coming from Washington. What this show is going to do is fill in those gaps in, hopefully, an hour, give or take.
So at the outset of the Cold War, which, if you’re being generous, began even before the end of the Second World War in Europe, there were two huge questions weighing on the minds of western policymakers, and on the minds of the men in London and Washington in particular. First: What is Communism? And second, what are we going to do about it?
With regard to Republican wrongdoing and the Trump Administration’s sustained attack on the civil service and the State Department in particular:
Trump Versus the Deep State
The Diplomat Who Quit the Trump Administration
How Rex Tillerson Wrecked the State Department
It’s a longish show where myself and some Peace Corps friends of mine talk about two of the last few shorts, Liberal Arts, Again and Land and Food and Capitalism.
The audio isn’t anything I could have wanted, and the looseness isn’t everything I did want, but it’s the first of what may be a series of more, better talks.
It’s cut way down from the original runtime, which tightened it up some, and in any case I think it’s worth your time.
We’re back to a mix of history and short shows, which means we’re back to quick intros on the smaller episodes. It looks like I’m finally going to pull together that shorts discussion with some of my old Peace Corps buddies this week, and if I don’t have Vietnam II out by Monday—I’m about fifty fifty on that, but I think it should be out in two weeks if not in one—I’ll have that up for you.
Big thanks to Jeff, the second PoliSci grad student to reach out to me and our newest supporter on Patreon. Share the shows folks. Share, share, share the shows.
Rate them, rate them, rate them. Please rate them.
I’m getting back on track after my internet outage, and as promised, here’s a make-up of a sort for those last couple of weeks. This is the show that Rob and I recorded back in December, and which went up earlier this week as the December news show on Patreon.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this is going to be the second-to-last news show, since I’ve got to just buckle down on the four or five plates I’ve got spinning already. The Patreon site will keep trucking, hopefully with some support, but from here on out, the only exclusive content will be whatever I can cook up that doesn’t fit into the normal podcast, rather than a regular thing.
I got a short story published yesterday, so that might be worth checking out. I’m the Michigan correspondent at 50 States of Blue, and I get paid based on pageviews, so you might add that to your bookmarks, at least if you live in the Mitten State, and I wrote one of the last pieces to ever appear on the Awl, which I’m pretty proud of. Everybody who isn’t Bruno, get on Twitter and talk to me about stuff.
I’ve been saying, for longer than it was exactly true, that everything’s bad and it’s only getting worse. The world’s come around to my point of view though, and at least in the US, almost a year out now from the inauguration, it certainly seems to be going that way. The President’s interviews, when anybody can work up the stomach to go read them, are getting less and less coherent all the time; the man’s tweets more unhinged; the Mueller investigation ever closer even as the Republican Congress shows itself totally unwilling to accept the results and Republicans in investigatory committees complicit in covering up wrongdoing. The country’s shaking itself apart up top, and while the reason those people are there might well be down to grand historical forces, the stuff they’re doing now that they’ve arrived is down to deeply broken humanities and very personal failures.
I think some of that’s down to education, and like all people who think a problem’s due to lack of schooling, I think it’s down to the right or wrong kind of education, and that’s what we’ll get to in this show.
Liberal Arts is the previous show on this subject, and Liberal Arts is the previous essay.
Musical credit to Ryan Little this time out.
Well, my face isn’t totally unstuffed-up yet, but I think the nasal quality has dropped out enough to record, and I want my shows to hit the top of the week again.
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This is the Isaiah Berlin essay
And this right here is the last chapter of the Myth of Sisyphus by Camus
It’s pretty straightforward on this one; October’s news show on Corruption just in time for December. Enjoy folks. Patreon people, appreciate the patience while I’m on my monthlong, sabbatical-type trip to see my folks in the US.
I don’t do a lot of heavy quotes in this one, but I do lean very heavily on my sources, so here’s something we’re more used to from the history shows.
Arnsdorf, Isaac and Vogel, Kenneth P., “Trump Received $1.6 Million from Secret Service.” Politico, 22 September 2016.
Beauchamp, Zack, “How Donald Trump’s Kleptocracy Is Undermining American Democracy.” Vox, 31 July 2017.
Bertrand, Natasha, “Top Democrat: Trump’s DOJ Nominee Helped Russian Bank Sue over Trump-Russia Dossier.” Business Insider, 25 July 2017.
Cassidy, John, “Republicans Just Caved to the Big Banks and Exposed Trump’s Sham Populism.” The New Yorker, 25 October 2017.
Friedman, Dan, “Trump Just Blew Off a Deadline for Implementing Russian Sanctions He Approved.” Mother Jones, 11 October 2017.
Green, Miranda and Tatum, Sophie, “Pruitt: Scientists Receiving Federal Grants Will Be Cut from EPA Advising Roles.” CNN Politics, 18 October 2017.
Korte, Gregory, “As He Chairs Trump’s Opioid Commission, Christie Champions His Home-State Drug Companies.” USA Today, 19 October, 2017.
Kravitz, Derek and Shaw, Al, “Trump Lawyer Confirms President Can Pull Money from His Businesses Whenever He Wants.”ProPublica, 4 April 2017.
Nazaryan, Alexander, “Trump Administration: The Most Corrupt and Unethical in American History?” Newsweek, 23 September 2017.
O’Connell, Jonathan, “Trump D.C. Hotel Turns $2 Million Profit in Four Months.” The Washington Post, 10 August 2017.
Petulla, Sam, “Tracking President Trump’s Visits to Trump Properties.” NBC News, 10 August, 2017.
This show’s coming to you on a Tuesday just because of that new job I mentioned and because Thanksgiving happened on a Sunday this year in Mexico. What I’d like to talk to you about now, though, is what’s going to happen to SFD over the next month or so. No big or particularly bad news. It’s just that I’ll be travelling through most of the month of December, and I don’t want to commit to having a show for you every Monday. What will happen is Patreon subscribers will get a news show both for November and December, and I’ve got a few ideas for shorts that will probably get done next month, so it won’t be totally dry.
The good news is that once I’m home visiting my folks in the US, I’ll be able to lay hands on some texts I haven’t been able to get here in Mexico, including the 10,000 Day War, which is probably the most thorough history of the entire Vietnam conflict out there. I’ll be reading the whole month and with any luck we’ll be hearing about the French misadventures in Indochina by January.
Continue reading Saving the State Department—A Conversation with Rob Morris
Not a whole lot of news this time out. The title of the post is obviously drawn from the essay in Hannah Arendt’s Crises of the Republic.
Which we should all read, but if the point of this show is that politicians stopped believing the American public capable of argument and then dumbed us down to the point that we actually became incapable of argument, then I guess the point is also that as a rule, we don’t read Arendt or anything else that might explain what’s going wrong at the heart of us.
Happy Monday, folks!
Well, this is the tenth short, which means we’re putting out a helluva lot more content this year than last, and I hope that’s to the good.
Our very first Patreon-exclusive news analysis show is going up this week, so head to our page to check out the details. Otherwise, share this show, man. You can get the post I’ll be putting up at SFD’s Facebook page or you can write your own, for whatever network.
That lady up there, by the way, is Hannah Arendt, and if, God willing, some future person ever writes about me as an intellectual, they’ll be listing her as my ‘spiritual mentor.’
Musical credit goes to Kai Engel again, this time for his album caeli.