Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael
Piranha Women and Indie Filmmaking Secrets! w/ Fred Olen Ray

Piranha Women and Indie Filmmaking Secrets! w/ Fred Olen Ray

July 3, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, July 4th is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate than hitting the beach! Of course, if you're not careful in that water you could get munched up by a shark like in JAWS. Or worse... PIRANHA WOMEN!

Piranha Women is the latest effort of Charles Band's long-running horror/fantasy/sci-fi factory Full Moon Features. It's also a return to said genre for it's director, the legendary independent filmmaker Fred Olen Ray. For a number of years now Fred has been working on TV, including making Hallmark Christmas movies with Chevy Chase and Lifetime thrillers. For him filmmaking is not merely some hobby, but a profession. Simply put, he's a working class filmmaker. Prior too much of his television work, Fred directed a great number of horror, sci-fi, action, and fantasy pictures during the VHS boom in the 1980s and a number of erotic thrillers during that genre's popularity in the 1990s. Among some of the cult classics Fred has directed are Hollywood Chainsaw HookersThe TombBiohazardCycloneEvil ToonsInner Sanctum (one of the most successful video rentals of the 99s), Beverly Hills VampWitch AcademyAlienatorDeep SpaceStar SlammerBad Girls from MarsMind TwisterAttack of the 60 Foot CenterfoldsInfernoPossessed by the Night, and countless others. Through it all he's worked with such well-known actors as Ice-T, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, David Carradine, Sybil Danning, Martin Landau, Nightmare on Elm Street's Heather Langenkamp, Eric Roberts, Gunna Hansen (Leatherface in the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Morgan Fairchild, comedy movie legend Eddie Deezen, Bond girl Britt Ekland, Twin Peaks' Russ Tamblyn, Sid Haig, and many, many others. A monster kid that grew up on drive-in horror movies, Piranha Women marks Fred Olen Ray's returns to the type of fun genre fare that's made him a cult figure amongst cinema buffs. And it stars such beauties as Carrie Overgaard and Keep Chambers as the deadly titular fish women.

In this conversation Fred and I discuss a number of topics including:

- The secrets of indie filmmaking from matching shots to filming big name actors on a schedule

- Working with classic actors like John Carradine, Aldo Ray, and Cameron Mitchell

- The tricks he used to film the animated monster in the ambitious low-budget live-action horror Evil Toons

- Working with Full Moon and thoughts on the promotional wizardy of Charles Band

- Filming nude scenes with actresses

- How to make films on low-budgets and tight-schedules

- The craft of filmmaking

- Orson Welles' cinematographer Gary Graves and his sabotaged film Moon in Scorpio

- How he began working on Hallmark and Lifetime movies; what TV networks expect out of him as a director and why he gets the job

- Filmmaking as a job rather than a hobby

- The killer ta-tas gag in Piranha Women

- The rise and fall of the "Scream Queen" cycle of films in the 1980s directed by Fred, Jim Wyrnoski, and David DeCoteau starring actresses like Linne Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Brinke Stevens, and Kelli Maroney

- Advice to young filmmakers and what Fred looks for in young filmmakers (including discussion of Fred's producer credits for Steve Latshaw's Jack-O, which was recently re-released on Blu-Ray by Fred's Retromedia company, and Henrique Couto's Bigfoot web-series Boggy Creek)

- And much, much more!


Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealthiest Dynasties w/ David de Jong

Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealthiest Dynasties w/ David de Jong

July 1, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, former Bloomberg News reporter and investigative journalist David de Jong joins Parallax Views to discuss his new book The Dark History of Germany's Wealthiest Dynasties. There has been much academic research and debate over the years on the topic of big business and the rise of the Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, specifically in the form of Henry Ashby Turner's 1985 book Big Business and the Rise of Hitler. A little bit of digging will lead anyone interested in the subject to a secret meeting between Hitler and German industrialists that occurred on February 20th, 1933.

De Jong picks up the story from those early days of the Third Reich and examines the wealthy families that prospered under Hitler's reign including the Quandt Family, the Porsche–Piëch family, the Von Finck family, the Flick family, the Oetker family, and Reimann family. These families have become associated with such familiar auto companies as Porsche, BMV, and Volkswagen over the years. Additionally, some of these families even have ties to brands like Dr. Pepper, Panera Bread, and Krispy Kreme donuts.

Although Germany society has went to great length to reckon with the Holocaust over the decades since WWII, de Jong argues that these wealthy dynasties have not done the same or at least not done enough to grapple with the actions of their patriarchs and ancestors.

We discuss all of this as well as other issues such as:

- The seizure of Jewish businesses by the Third Reich and the ways in which wealthy German families benefitted from this

- The career of August von Finck, Sr., founder of the German insurance company Allianz and the private bank Merck Finck & Co., and his son August von Funck, Jr.'s alleged involvement with the German far-right political party AfD in the 21st century

- BMW heirs Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten

- The persecution of Porsche's Jewish co-founder Adolf Rosenberger

- Were these families driven by opportunism or ideology?

- The American connection to the post-WWII fates of these families; how Cold War politics played into that connection; Telford Taylor: Chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, and his attempts to make German big business reckon with Nazi collusion; the role of John J. McCloy, U.S. high commissioner for occupied Germany, in this story

- American investigator Josif Marcu and the man he called "the modern self-made German Robber Baron", Friedrich Flick; Friedrich Flick's comments about his trial

- War crimes, slave labor, and German industry

- Herbert Quandt, the AfD, and the whitewashing of history

- Aryanization, big business, and the Third Reich

- And much, much more!

Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders w/ Kathryn Miles

Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders w/ Kathryn Miles

June 27, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, journalist Kathyrn Miles joins the show to discuss her new true crime book Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders. In the spring of May 1996, Julianne “Julie” Williams and Laura “Lollie” Winans went into Shenandoah National Park, part of the Appalachian trail. They were two bright young women in college with a future ahead of them. That future, however, was stolen as both Lollie and Julie were murdered in the woods of Shenandoah Nation Park.

Their murder became nationwide news. So much so in fact that when George W. Bush became President of the United States, the Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales of announced that they had found a suspect and that the murder was a hate crime. You see, Lollie and Julie had been in a romantic relationship. As such, their murder could've been a hate crime. The culprit? A man by the name of Darrell David Rice.

However, not all is as it seems. Kathyrn Miles takes us through her investigation of the Shenandoah murders explaining the missteps and even, in some cases, malfeasance by the FBI, National Park Service, and the Department of Justice. In doing show she cast doubt on Rice as the perpetrator (note: Rice has not been convicted, even to this day) and offers another suspect. But this isn't just the story of the investigation of the murders. It's also an exploration of what it's like to be a woman, LGBTQ+, or other marginalized identity exploring the frontier of the Appalachian trail and the ways in which that trail is experienced differently by men and women.

We discuss all that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.

The Old Right and the Antiwar Movement w/ Brandan P. Buck

The Old Right and the Antiwar Movement w/ Brandan P. Buck

June 21, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, a previously unpublished conversation from April 2022 with Brandan P. Buck, a Ph.D. candidate in history and Digital History Fellow at George Mason University. Brandan has been researching the topic of a early-mid 20th century conservative formation known as the "Old Right". Epitomized by figures such as Senator Robert A. Taft and journalists like John T. Flynn and Garet Garrett, the Old Right was a force that opposed President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Some of this was in opposition to FDR's New Deal, but the Old Right was also known for its antiwar stance often leading to it being accused of isolationism or antisemitic, fascist/Nazi sympathies. Brandan and I discuss all of this as well as the history of the Old Right and specifically its connection to antiwar thought.

This conversation came about after reading Brandan's piece at Responsible Statecraft entitled "No ‘Putin apologia’ and certainly not new: the Old American Right on war". Said piece details the history of the Old Right including the figure of Republican politician Eugen Siler's 1968 Senate run as an explicitly antiwar candidate during the Vietnam War. Prior to his Senate run Siler was a Congressman where he was the sole member of the House of Representatives to oppose the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (a resolution that led to greater U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War).

Among the topics discussed in this conversation:

- The connection between the Old Right's opposition to FDR-era progressive economic policies and the Old Right's non-interventionism and opposition to mass conscription

- Understanding the Old Right and its origins within the GOP

- Anti-interventionist and antiwar sentiments in the aftermath of WWI and the U.S. soldiers who were casualties of that war.

- The question of antisemitism; the America First Committee; Charles Lindbergh's September 11th, 1941 speech

- The book Merchants of Death about war-profiteering in WWI and left/right anti-war coalition

- The Cold War, the Ronald Reagan era, Pat Buchanan, William F. Buckley and the National Review, and the decline of the Old Right

- The differences between the antiwar left and the antiwar right

- The Old Right's view that war and militarism were destructive to either individual liberty and/or family units

- The influence of both Jeffersonianism and particularism on the Old Right

- And much, much more!

Otto Skorzeny: The Devil’s Disciple w/ Stuart Smith

Otto Skorzeny: The Devil’s Disciple w/ Stuart Smith

June 15, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, Stuart Smith, author of Otto Skorzeny: The Devil's Disciple, joins the program to discuss the life, myths, and controversies of Nazi SS commando Otto Skorzeny. Skorzeny is perhaps best known for his involvement in a 1943 rescue mission operation to save Benito Mussolini in what has become known as the Gran Sasso raid. In this conversation we discuss:

- The Luftwaffe and the controversies around the credit Skorzeny gets for the Gran Sasso raid

- The connection between Otto Skorzeny and Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 novel Moonraker

- Skorzeny, Operation Greif, and the Battle of the Bulge; efforts of the Axis forces to deceptively dress as Allied soldiers to cause havoc during the Battle of the Bulge

- The myth-making of Otto Skorzeny and the media; discussing how Skorzeny's superficial qualities, such as the distinctive scar that got him nicknamed "Scarface", and his self-aggrandizing memoirs (My Commando Operations: The Memoirs of Hitler's Most Dangerous Commando) made him appealing to media

- The trial of Otto Skorzeny in 1948 and how he skirted justice

- The Operation Long Jump assassinations plot; Operation Knight's Move (the airborne raid against Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito); War crimes and the death squad-style Operation Peter aimed at taking out the resistance in Denmark

- Otto Skorzeny and post-war intelligence; the CIA; Reinhard Gehlen and the Gehlen Organization; the Mossad; Skorzeny's brother Alfred and the Soviet Union; French intelligence; was Skorzeny a post-war spy?; surveillance of Skorzeny after WWII

- Skorzeny's lack of organizational skill and his penchant for having big ideas that weren't focused on the fine details

- The question of the post-war fascist international, Nazi ratlines in South America, and Skorzeny's involvement in those matters; Die Spinne (The Spider) and Skorzeny in Latin America

- Otto Skorzeny's wealth in his final years and his involvement in private mercenary contracting (the Paladin Group) and arms dealing

- Skorzeny and antisemitism

- Skorzeny's attempts to paint himself as merely patriotic German  rather than a killer

- Otto Skorzeny in Egypt; Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser

Let’s Agree to Disagree w/ Mickey Huff & Nolan Higdon/Origins: Birth of a Pandemic w/ John Duffy

Let’s Agree to Disagree w/ Mickey Huff & Nolan Higdon/Origins: Birth of a Pandemic w/ John Duffy

June 13, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, Project Censored's Mickey Huff and Nolan Higdon return to the program to discuss their new book, available now from Routledge, Let’s Agree to Disagree A Critical Thinking Guide to Communication, Conflict Management, and Critical Media Literacy. This was recorded around the time that Mia Janowicz and the Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board was in the news so we also delve into issues related to censorship and corporate media bias. In the course of our conversation we also touch upon critical theory and Frankfurt School thinkers like Herbert Marcuse, the abortion debate, and much, much more!


In the second segment of the show, a previously unpublished conversation from early 2022 in which J.G. spoke with friend of the show and returning guest John Duffy (co-author with Ray Nowosielski of The Watchdogs Didn't Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror and the investigative documentary podcast After The Uprising: The Death Of Danyé Dion Jones) to discuss Duffy's latest docu-podcast Origins: Birth of a Pandemic, which investigates the issue of COVID and the lab leak hypothesis. In the conversation we discuss a number of topics including biolabs and biodefense, Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak and the EcoHealth Alliance, biosafety, and much, much more!

Global Civil War: Capitalism Post-Pandemic w/ William I. Robinson

Global Civil War: Capitalism Post-Pandemic w/ William I. Robinson

June 11, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, sociologist William I. Robinson returns to the program to discuss his new book Global Civil War: Capitalism Post-Pandemic. Picking up where his last book, Global Police State, left off, Global Civil War explores the growing global discontent in the age of transnational capitalism and the 21st century's emergent, high-tech surveillance society in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. Among the topics discussed on this edition of the show.

- The digital revolution, the biopolitical regime, and the transformation of global capitalism

- The transnational capitalist class and the Davos-based World Economic Forum

- Social control, surveillance, and the disciplining of the global working class

- The digital revolution and the exacerbation of global inequality and the rapid expansion of the ultra-wealthy's fortunes since the pandemic

- The new, dramatic crisis of global capitalism and the history of crises within the capitalist system

- The emergence of a biopolitical regime

- The political crisis of state legitimacy and the global revolt

- The 1800s and the explosion of imperialism and colonialism in response to crisis

- Fordism-Keynesianism, redistributive capitalism, and welfare states in the 20th century

- The crisis of 1970s, the neoliberal counterrevolution, the redisciplining of the global working class by the global ruling class or transnational elite

- Divisions within the transnational capitalist class over how to resolve the current crisis and the right-wing authoritarian turn amongst major sectors of global capital

- The massive new round of restructuring of global capitalism based on digitalization

- The lack of national solution to the global crisis

- The role of artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, the internet of things, nanotechnology, 5G, facial-recognition technology, 3D printing, and other technologies in the current global transformation and social control

- Big tech and the biomedical-industrial complex, global financial conglomerates, and the military-industrial complex

- On-demand and remote work, automation, robotization, the threat of displacement and degradation of labor, precarious employment, and "surplus humanity"

- The automation and robotization of agriculture

- China's 996 work regime, Taylorism, and scientific management

- The restructuring of time and place to exercise greater control over the global working class

- New technologies and the fragmentation of labor

- The need for a digital proletariat to organize in new ways and examples of global revolt occurring and the transnational capitalist class responding to it

- Emergency mobilization after the pandemic, states of exception, and the history war game-style pandemic response scenarios such as the "Lockstep Scenario"

- The problem with right-wing conspiracy theories about the transnational capitalist class, the pandemic, and other issues

- The problem of disinformation

- And much, much more!

Failed State Update PREVIEW - Operation Northwoods: False Flags in the Pentagon

Failed State Update PREVIEW - Operation Northwoods: False Flags in the Pentagon

June 10, 2022
This is a preview for the latest Failed State Update, a podcast I co-host with Joseph Flatley.



Douglas Horne on the JFK assassination and the planned invasion of Cuba


This is what happened when I Googled 'Bay of Pigs'


This is what happened when I Googled 'Bay of Pigs'

Douglas P. Horne is a former staffer for the Assassination Records Review Board and the author of several books, including Inside the Assassination Records Review Board. In this episode of Failed State Update, J.G. Michael and Horne discuss Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon's (very real) plan to down aircraft, blow up ships, or possibly kill American civilians as a pretext for an invasion of Cuba. President Kennedy, wisely, thought the whole thing was nuts and prevented it from happening.

Northwoods is a bit of a history lesson, but it's an important one. It exemplifies the lengths that the military may go in order to get its way. And as conspiracies go, it's as bizarre as anything Alex Jones has cooked up. And it's all real.

American Tourism in the Soviet Union & What It Can Tell Us About U.S.-Russia Relations Past and Present w/ Sean Guillory

American Tourism in the Soviet Union & What It Can Tell Us About U.S.-Russia Relations Past and Present w/ Sean Guillory

June 7, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, the SRB Podcast's Sean Guillory returns to discuss his new documentary podcast series Teddy Goes to the USSR. This new series chronicles American tourism to the USSR during the Cold War through the story of Teddy Roe's visit to the Soviet Union. In doing so the series offers a window into how people from different cultures view each other in light of Otherizing and getting a better understanding of the lived experiences of everyday people in the USSR.

Among the topics we cover in this conversation:

- Who Teddy Roe is, how he ended up visiting the USSR in 1968, and his connection to U.S. politics and Congress

- Racism and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. during the Cold War and the Soviet response to it; Soviet anti-racist ideology

- Consumerism in the Soviet Union and the misunderstandings about it based on American metrics; the Soviet Dream and the American Dream

- KGB surveillance of American tourists

- Why American wanted to visit the Soviet Union during the Cold War and why Soviets welcomed tourism; American soft power and U.S. tourists in the USSR

- How different were everyday people in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union from each other (or how similar were they to each other)?

- Soviet humor, comedy, and satire

- The burden of the Cold War and the shadow it casts over the U.S. and Russia today

- How the Teddy Goes to the USSR series came about; how Sean ended up finding out about Roe's story and contacting him

- The taboo allure of the Soviet Union to Americans during the Cold War

- And much, much more!

That’s Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy Work for Them w/ Nick Marx

That’s Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy Work for Them w/ Nick Marx

June 6, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, Nick Marx returns to the program to discuss his new book, co-authored with Matt Sienkiewicz, entitled That's Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy Work for Them about what could be called the emerging right-wing comedy complex. Marx and Sienkiewicz argue that a niche has emerged for right-wing comedy that's proving useful for the pursuing the political agenda of the American right. In this conversation we discuss:

- The "paleo-comedy" of figures like Tim Allen and his sitcom Last Man Standing, the reboot Rosanne, the shades of paleo-conservatism within "paleo-comedy", and how it targets a "boomer" demographic

- The rise of Greg Gutfeld from the ostensibly surrealist, even countercultural Red Eye to his latest Fox News show Gutfeld!; how Gutfeld's show is less about policy than "owning the libs" with a carnival-esque aesthetic

- Steven Crowder of Louder With Crowder and right-wing comedy as a niche market that can also be used recruit young people to the American right-wing

- The far-right of the right-wing comedy complex: Sam Hyde, Million Dollar Extreme, and Bronze Age Pervert; trolling in right-wing comedy

- Is Joe Rogan and the Joe Rogan Experience part of the right-wing comedy complex?

- Thoughts on Dave Chappelle

- Right-wing comedy branding itself as countercultural, edgy, and "cool"

- How the book is not an endorsement of the humor of the right-wing comedy complex, but rather addressing how the complex works politically; the punching up vs. punching down humor debate

- Right-wing comedy and manufactured outrage

- The era of liberal/left-wing comedy with Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart and how the right-wing comedy complex became a niche

- And much, much more!

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