Tag Archives: Mexico

SFD Short—Political Cynicism

SFD Short—Political Cynicism
Safe For Democracy

 
 
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Hey Folks,

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.

Diminished US Power—A Conversation with Rob Morris

Diminished US Power—A Conversation with Rob Morris
Safe For Democracy

 
 
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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.

SFD Short—Land and Food and Capitalism

SFD Short—Land and Food and Capitalism
Shorts

 
 
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We’re talking about capitalism, and specifically the ways in which unrestrained, industrialized, late-stage capitalism like ours works to destroy, reconstitute and commodify widely-available goods, usually in such a way as to create a population that is so repressable, the state and its corporate partners don’t even need to repress it.

Big ask for one show. But it’s a reachable one, I think, and everything’s pretty damn interesting on the way there.

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Enjoy this one, folks.

Some stuff that might be interesting to folks based on the episode:

Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food

The Mexican milpa planting system

And what’s kind of my experience thereof

A history of bread

Adult dorms

SFD Short—Corruption

SFD Short—Corruption
News

 
 
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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.

Goethe’s Oak

I’m running a day late this week, mostly due to hangover, but I’ve got an excuse. This was a three day weekend in Mexico, commemorating the birthday of what wasn’t their first president, or even their first republican president, but what was, because of a messy political century from 1820 to 1920 or so, their first real republican, democratic president, and the first indigenous president elected anywhere in Latin America.

Viva Juarez.


Another EO

We only got one real new executive order last week. The new travel ban was actually written two weeks ago, and since it was stopped by a federal court as soon as it was supposed to go into effect, until the next wrinkle on that shakes out, the one worth paying attention to is EO 13781, the “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.”

The EO, on its face, appears to be pretty tame, and definitely to appeal to the folks who got POTUS elected. It directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, who puts together the budget for the executive branch, to:

…submit to the President a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies. The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions. The proposed plan shall include recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.

 

Continue reading Goethe’s Oak

Looking at History from the Outside

Photo credit goes to Michael Doherty
Photo credit goes to Michael Doherty

You ever notice how our history seems exceptional?

I don’t mean American Exceptionalism the way it comes up in the State of the Union, or not exactly. I mean the way it feels when you think about it, compared to when you think about the history of Rome, say, or Mexico. There’s something less straightforward about  it, something more nuanced; we have more shades of gray.

Whether or not you agree with any of that, meditate on it for a minute. Try the Vietnam War. Why were the French in Indochina in the fifties? Because of colonialism, simple. Why were we there in the sixties? Supporting our allies, maybe, or war profiteering, or as part of the containment policy and domino theory. Tell that story to yourself and see if it comes out as cut and dried.

It’s natural and almost inevitable to feel that way about your own history. If you’re American, you probably know more US history more intimately than anyone else’s, and that much just by osmosis. The same is true of French history if you’re French, Canadian if you’re Canadian. I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexican schools, and just like their counterparts in the US, they spend every single semester learning about the same group of guys who founded the Republic, repeated year in and out.

I’ve studied more Roman history, more Latin American history, and more European history than my own, but I have a better feel for how it looked and sounded in the back when in the US than in any other place. Everyone feels this way about their own country’s past, which is, just to note, why the phrase ‘American Exceptionalism’ rubs pretty much everybody in the world the wrong way.

Continue reading Looking at History from the Outside