July 3, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, we celebrate the 4th of July by having critical meta-discussion about American history and how it is constructed with the one and only William Hogeland, popular historian and author of such books as Autumn of the Black Snake, Declaration, Founding Finance, and The Whiskey Rebellion. In the course of our conversation we discuss his new blog Hogeland's Bad History on Substack and take a deep dive into problems related to how everyday American citizens and serious historians alike look at U.S. history. In particular we talk about the wave of calls for historians to play a more vital role in political discourse in light of the rise of Trumpism, the problems with the sentiments of "Ask a Historian", the debate over how history should be taught in school now summed up in the conversation over CRT or Critical Race Theory (although the use of CRT may be a misnomer), Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton and the case of Hamiltonmania that has been sweeping the nation, the age old Republic Vs. Democracy debate about the nature of U.S. government, whether or not it may be more useful to look at what the U.S. Founding Father did rather than what they wrote or said, Constitutional originalism in both its right-wing and liberal forms, and much, much more!
June 30, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, Anatol Lieven, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft's new senior research fellow on Russia and Europe as well as an Orwell-prize winning journalist and professor at Georgetown University in Qatar, joins me to discuss U.S.-Russia relations and the recent Biden-Putin summit. We also get Prof. Lieven's thoughts on the state of U.S. foreign policy discussion, discourse around Putin and human rights, the Ukraine issue, national security and the international-rules-based order, the Cold War, Russia's perspective on foreign policy, diplomacy vs. conflict, and much, much more.
June 29, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, Barbara Boland of the Crashing the War Party podcast (which she co-hosts with the great Kelley Vlahos and Daniel Larison) joins me for a discussion about the need to reassess U.S. foreign policy, re-opening the diplomatic toolbox and remembering the value of diplomacy, and the ever contentious issues around the border and border security. Barbara formerly wrote for The American Conservative and is now writing for the Quincy Institute's Responsible Statecraft publication. This is a bit of a cross-partisan conversation w/ Barbara coming from a more conservative background and your host coming from a more progressive background. It's not a debate, even on the contentious issue of the border, but an attempt to find areas of commonality (in relation to the border that comes about in recognizing the U.S.'s complicity in the problems faced by countries like Guatemala and Mexico vis-a-vis our foreign policy and the War on Drugs as well as criticism of Trump's policies on the border, horror at the kids in cages stories that have surfaced, etc.). You may be surprised by some of Barbara's views depending on what your conception of a conservative is. We delve into issues like racism, U.S. policy towards Cuba, memes about Venezuela and socialism, Iran, sanctions, the Cold War posturing over China and Russia, the "international rules based order", entangling alliances, the military industrial complex,
June 28, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, what and where is the intersection where organized crime and political corruption meet each other? And is it a threat to our Democracy? Author Jonathan Marshall attempts to answer those questions in his fascinating new book Dark Quadrant: Organized Crime, Big Business, and the Corruption of Democracy. In this stunning new book, Marshall details the shocking and sordid history of where and when organized crime have met in American politics from the Presidencies of Harry Truman to Donald Trump. Among the topics covered in this in-depth conversation:
- How Marshall became interested in the subject of politics and organized crime; collaborating with Peter Dale Scott; the concept of deep politics; drug trafficking and Iran/Contra
- Thomas Pendegrast and the Pendergrast Machine
- The China Lobby (Taiwan) and foreign lobbies
- President Richard Niion and the mob
- High-powered, mob-conencted lawyers and "fixers" like Sidney Korshak
- The Hollywood connection to political corruption
- Reformist efforts to stop organized crime's role in political corruption in the 20th century; Robert F. Kennedy
- J. Edgard Hoover, the FBI, and the mob
- Donald Trump and the mob; a different take on Russiagate
- Donald Trump as a transition point in the history of the "Dark Quadrant"; transnational organized crime
- The connections between organized crime, the FBI, and anti-communism during the Cold War
- And much, much more!
June 27, 2021
Mike Gravel passed away on June 26th, 2021. This epiode is offered as a replay to listeners in order to celebrate his memory.
On this edition of Parallax Views, former Senator Mike Gravel made some waves earlier this year when a group of teens meme'd him into a Presidential campaign seeking the Democratic nomination. Although that campaign has since ended, Gravel is hard at work promoting one of his greatest passions: direct democracy. During his Senatorial career Gravel forcefully opposed the Vietnam War draft and, famously, read the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Department of Defense study courageously leaked to the public by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, on the floor of Congress. He is, in another words, a man that has not only bore witness to history, but participated in it. And at 89 years old he's a passionate and committed as ever. Not only that, but he has a great deal of hope. As a proponent of direct democracy he believes strongly in the will of "We the People" and has faith in the masses. Moreover, he argues that a more direct democracy, which would include the citizens in our lawmaking processes, is eminently possible. In this conversation we discuss all of these matters and subjects as well as Mike's working-class background, the influence figures like Bertrand Russell and IF Stone had on him, and more.
June 26, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, Oliver Stone has proven to be one of Hollywood's most controversial and political filmmakers for many decades now. After the release of his 1991 epic JFK he received a great deal of criticisms from elements of the press for undermining the official narrative of the JFK assassination. Put simply, Stone was, despite previous highly-regarded films as Wall Street, Platoon, and Salvador, branded a "conspiracy theorist". Nonetheless, Stone kept making films and followed JFK up with another subject of historical interest to the Vietnam era: Richard Nixon. Starring the acclaimed Anthony Hopkins as Tricky Dick (a role that garnered him an Academy Award nomination), Nixon proved to largely be a hit with critics but underperformed at the box office. Although many had expected that Nixon would be "conspiracy" film or a mere attack on the former Republican President, Stone's feature offered a complex portrait of the man that received flak from both Nixon's critics and supporters.
Eric Hamburg, author of JFK, Nixon, Oliver Stone, and Me: An Idealist's Journey from Capitol Hill to Hollywood Hell, acted as a producer on Nixon. He enjoys me to revisit that film as well as to discuss his time on Capitol Hill with John Kerry and Lee Hamilton, how he met Oliver Stone through JFK, his work on Oliver Stone's football film Any Given Sunday, the potential effect that Vietnam had on Stone, Stone on dirty money and Hollywood, the attention to historical details in Nixon, the concept of "The Beast" described in Nixon, how Nixon came together, interviewing the Pentagon's Robert McNamara and Watergate testifier John Dean as research for the film, and much, much more!
June 25, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, the issue of how politics on Capitol Hill is effected by foreign lobbies, influence peddling, and think tanks with connections to the defense industry are important but oft underdiscussed topics. Joining us to unravel these matters is Ben Freeman, Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy. We discuss the Foreign Agents Registration Act and its history as well as the role of Saudi lobbying on the Republican Party and Qatari lobbying on the Democratic Party. Additionally, we discuss the need for transparency when it comes to foreign lobbies and Ben explains why these issues should matter to average American citizens and voters. The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee is also discussed.
But we do not stop at the issue of foreign lobbies. We also discuss the topic of the military industrial complex and Ben's updating of that term to the military industrial congressional think tank complex. What is the role of the defense industry and weapons manufacturing in influencing U.S. policy? In discussing think tanks we are able to tie foreign lobbies back into the conversation because both foreign lobbies and defense contractors play a huge role in the funding of political think tanks in America. Given that experts at many think tanks are featured on various media outlets it is important to be transparent about who is funding these think tanks and how it may influence the agenda of those think tanks. In regards to think tanks we tackle the question of how trust can be restored in think tanks and, moreover, why it is important for that trust to be restored.
June 23, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, Dr. Assal Rad comes back to show to discuss the recent results of the Iranian elections, Iran's new President Ebrahim Raisi, the effect of sanctions on Iran, and the fate of the Iran nuclear deal aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. We discuss how Raisi's win came about, Iranian people, anti-Iran deal John Bolton's cheering on the victory of Raisi and hardliners, the U.S. federal government's seizure of Iranian state-sanctioned media outlet PressTV's website, who Raisi is and what it means for the Iranian people, the role of U.S. foreign policy in emboldening hardliners and Raisi, and much, much more.
June 23, 2021
This episode is being replayed in light of news of John McAfee's death. It was... a rather strange interview and I may go over my thoughts about it and McAfee on a future Patreon edition of the show.
On this edition of Parallax Views, an equal parts wild and tense conversation with the founder of McAfee associates (the creators of McAfee Antivirus), bitcoin bull, Presidential candidate, international fugitive, and person of interest in the Belize murder of Gregory Faull, John McAfee. Joining me to help ask some of the more probing questions in this interview is the inimitable freelance journalist Marlon Ettinger, who previously joined us to discuss his experiences at the NY trial of the now deceased Jeffrey Epstein. Marlon was helpful in trying to ask questions that dug a little deeper during the course of the conversation. I trust that, unlike some podcasts dealing with the controversial figure of McAfee, this is not an exploitative or "comedic" conversation and gives some insights into both the notorious John McAfee and some of the infamies associated with him. In any case Marlon and I tried to do something different with this interview and we hope that you, the listener, get something out of it.
June 21, 2021
On this edition of Parallax Views, former Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich has often been called a man ahead of his time. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio's 10th district from 1997 to 2013, has been both known and often ridiculed for his unwavering progressive politics. He voiced support for issues like marijuana legalization, trans individuals holding important political positions, opposing the Iraq War, making universal single-payer healthcare a reality, and more before such positions were popular. Many of those positions were formerly seen as too radical or lofty, especially at the times Kucinich ran for President 2004 and 2008. But, as The Washington Post has noted, the former Congressman has since been vindicated. Which is to say that many of his positions have now become part and parcel of the mainstream discourse. "When he ran for president, he was ridiculed and dismissed," wrote David Montgomery in The Washington Post, "t turns out he was the future of American politics."
But the former Congressman and man ahead of his time isn't done yet. He's running for Mayor in Cleveland. Which is fitting seeing as he first came to prominence as Cleveland's Mayor in 1977. And now he's telling the full story of his first go as Mayor in his fascinating new book The Division of Light and Power.
Described as a cross between The Godfather and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Division of Light and Power details how Mayor Kucinich fought corporate interests to save Muny Light, Cleveland's publicly owned utility company. This led to a conflict with CEI (Cleveland Electrical Illuminating Company) that makes for a riveting tale of one man's fight against political corruption. It's a story that involves organized crime, hitmen, and even attempted assassination. And now, for the first time, Dennis Kucinich is telling the full story in the form of a memoir. He joins us on this edition of the program to discuss The Division of Light and Power as well as how Catholic social teachings and growing up in relative poverty have influenced his political and social worldviews. All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.