November 15

Ep. 0040: Alexis de Tocqueville & Prof CJ on Democratic Despotism

No, this isn’t an interview — but it’s not that far off, either.

Prof CJ reads excerpts one of his favorite sections of Tocqueville’s famous Democracy in America, and also gives some of his own take on Tocqueville’s description of democratic despotism.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • A little bit about who Alexis de Tocqueville was and how Democracy in America came about
  • Tocqueville’s take on how despotism might come about and operate in a democracy
  • Prof CJ’s take on the relationship (or non-relationship) between democracy and freedom

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October 30

Ep. 0038: ‘Merica Does Mengele Part 2: CIA Mind Control Experiments

Here we have another batch of experiments by the US government, many of which were illegally/unethically conducted on subjects who hadn’t given anything resembling informed consent.  This time, we’re looking at mind control experiments

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The origins and motivations behind the CIA’s mind-control experiments
  • How the experiments that used subjects who had not given informed consent violated the Nuremberg Code, as well as other laws and codes of conduct
  • The first CIA mind control experiment programs, Project Bluebird and Project Artichoke
  • The creation of Project MKUltra, an enlarged mind control program, under the auspices of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, head of the Chemical Division of the CIA’s Technical Services Staff (or TSS)
  • The CIA’s LSD experiments, which began on consenting subjects (including college students, prisoners, and CIA personnel) but soon progressed to unwitting test subjects, such as the unfortunate Frank Olsen, an Army doctor who was given LSD without his knowledge, had a really  bad trip, and ended up killing himself.
  • The CIA experiments run by Federal Narcotics Bureau Agent George White, who hired prostitutes to lure johns into apartments that had been set up by the CIA to look like love nests; once there, in addition to being sexually serviced, the johns would be drugged without their knowledge while White and CIA men observed and recorded everything from behind a 1-way mirror
  • The CIA-sponsored smorgasbord experiments of Dr. Ewan Cameron, psychiatrist at Allen Memorial Institute at McGill University in Montreal Canada, where unwitting mental patients were reduced to a near-vegetative state through a combination of drugs, electroshock, and other means.
  • How MKUltra “ended” in 1964, but actually continued under new codenames into the 1970s (if not beyond)
  • How some of this information started to come to light in the 1970s, despite efforts by CIA Director Richard Helms to destroy all records of these experiments
  • The fact that what we do know is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg — who knows what experiments happened that we’ll never know about?

External Links

  • Clip from a documentary (wish I could find the whole thing) on the Senate Committee headed by Frank Church (D-ID) which investigated some of the dirty deeds of the CIA
  • Another documentary from a while back on some of the mind-control experiments

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October 24

Ep. 0037: ‘Kill the Messenger’: A Dangerous History Movie Review

Warning: Spoilers!  (Assuming you don’t already know about Gary Webb’s story, and the story he broke.)

Kill the Messenger is a 2014 movie about Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, who authored the series of articles in the San Jose Mercury under the title ‘Dark Alliance’ and later published a book by the same name.  In Prof CJ’s opinion, Gary Webb was a hero and may perhaps be the last great investigative newspaper journalist in American history.

This is definitely a dangerous history movie (unlike most historical flicks, which don’t usually raise questions about the Establishment.)  I had to drive over an hour to catch this flick, and I’m happy I did.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Gary Webb and the story he broke
  • How Webb’s reporting met with initial acclaim, but provoked Establishment counterattacks that destroyed his career
  • Webb’s alleged suicide in 2004 (shot twice in the head…?)
  • Prof CJ’s take on the movie, which is generally quite positive
  • His main criticism of the movie — that it didn’t have a bit more

External Links

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October 19

Ep. 0036: ‘Merica Does Mengele Part 1: Radiation Experiments

 

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The Nuremberg Code, and its relevance to these experiments
  • The first experiments carried out by Manhattan Project doctors between 1945 and 1947, including one on a 4-year-old Australian boy dying of cancer
  • The creation of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and how they created experimental guidelines similar to the Nuremberg Code, which unfortunately they had no problem ignoring
  • Over 800 pregnant women in Nashville who were given ‘cocktails’ containing radioactive elements in the late-1940s & early-1950s
  • Boys at the Walter E. Fernald State School for the mentally disabled who were given radioactive milk and oatmeal courtesy of MIT scientists & the Quaker Oats company
  • Prisoners in Oregon and Washington who had their testicles dosed with massive amounts of radiation in return for cash
  • How this all really started to come to light in the 1990s due to investigations by Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary and a committee set up by President Clinton to investigate these experiments
  • The less-than-satisfying conclusion of those investigations

External Links

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October 9

Ep. 0035: A History of the US Dollar Part 4: Rise and Fall of Bretton Woods

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The Bretton Woods system, set up in 1944 as the framework for the international monetary order
  • The roots of the Great Inflation (c. mid-1960s-early-1980s) that would end Bretton Woods & any link between the US dollar and specie (gold & silver), including the rise of  the so-called “New Economists”, who pushed a Neo-Keynesian view that relied heavily on a model called the “Phillips Curve”  (BTW, the stagflation of the 1970s later proved that the Phillips Curve doesn’t always work)
  • How the Great Inflation came to be, looking across multiple decades & presidential administrations
  • The government’s responses to inflation, including de-monetizing silver in the mid-60s & ending the Bretton Woods ‘gold window’ in 1971
  • Some of the effects of inflation

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy from Amazon via these links to help support the show at no additional cost to you)

September 29

Ep. 0033: A History of the US Dollar Part 3: From Reconstruction Through the New Deal

Here it is, another installment in our non-consecutive mini-series on the tumultuous history of the United States Dollar.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How hard money was eventually restored after the Civil War
  • The Mint Act of 1873 (called the “Crime of ’73” by its opponents)
  • The Populists’ (unsuccessful) challenge against the Gold Standard
  • The establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 and its effect on US money
  • Inflation/devaluation during the First World War
  • The actions of Benjamin Strong (Head of the NY Fed) in the 1920s to help the British pound, moves which also caused the stock & real estate bubbles of the 1920s, which burst in 1929
  • The end of the gold standard, gold confiscation, and the devaluation of the US Dollar under FDR in the 1930s, and how this was actually one of the factors that led to the Second World War

External Links

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September 25

Ep. 0032: Uncle Sam vs Democracy, Part 2: Operation PB Success

Encouraged by their success against Iran’s democratic government (covered in last episode), the Dulles Brothers’ next move was against the small central American country of Guatemala, where a left-of-center government appeared to be threatening the interests of the United Fruit Company.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The immediate backstory on Guatemala, including the dominance of American corporations over the country, its democratic revolution in 1944 and the election of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman to the presidency in 1951
  • The Arbenz government’s Decree 900, aimed at redistributing unused land to poor peasants
  • The CIA’s Operation PB Success, a largely psychological campaign that succeeded in overthrowing Arbenz in June 1954
  • How the CIA itself, after ousting Arbenz, failed to find any real evidence that Arbenz was in league with the Soviets
  • The brutal aftermath of this coup, which caused suffering and oppression in Guatemala for decades and killed over 200,000 people
  • A brief thought experiment of how Americans might respond if they were put in an analogous situation
  • Some discussion of the concept known as “blowback”

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September 22

Ep. 0031: Uncle Sam vs. Democracy Part 1: Operation Ajax

In this episode and the next, we’re going to look at two instances in the early Cold War of American-sponsored and -instigated overthrows of democratically elected governments, and their replacement by unpopular, USA-backed dictatorships.  Of course, I’m talking about Iran and Guatemala in the early-1950s.  This episode will set the context and cover Iran.  Next time we’ll cover Guatemala and consequences of these sorts of operations.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • A quick sketch of the Dulles Brothers (John Foster & Allen) who played such key roles in these sorts of operations in the 1950s
  • A look at the historical context (ie, early Cold War)
  • A sketch of Iranian PM Mohammed Mossadegh, and why the Dulles Bros (and the corporate interests they served) wanted him overthrown
  • How the CIA overthrew Mossadegh and replaced him with Shah Reza Pahlavi
  • The aftermath of this operation and its legacy, which is still being felt today

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September 4

Ep. 0026: A History of the US Dollar Part 2

We continue with our non-consecutive mini-series on the history of the US dollar, which has changed repeatedly over the centuries.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War Continental Dollar inflation, most of the Founding Fathers were soured on paper money, and took the opportunity of writing a new Constitution to reinstate a hard money (specie) standard
  • The loopholes that remained within the system even after hard money was written into the Constitution that allowed the banksters to still inflate to their own advantage
  • The Coinage Act of 1792 and its effect on the definition of US money
  • How banks (especially central banks) still created some inflation thanks to the ‘magic’ of “fractional reserve banking”, and also sparked business cycles – though by today’s standards the US dollar’s value was remarkably stable overall
  • How the not-so-Civil War spelled changes in American money that were just as dramatic as the changes the war wrought in so many other arenas, with the Union experiencing high inflation, and the Confederacy experiencing hyperinflation

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August 28

Ep. 0025: DHP Heroes: Lysander Spooner

For the second installment of Dangerous History Podcast Heroes, Prof CJ takes a look at the life and ideas of nineteenth century American individualist anarchist Lysander Spooner (1808-1887.) Spooner had a huge influence on many prominent anti-state intellectuals and activists, including Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess (subject of the first DHP Heroes podcast back in episode #11.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  •  A brief overview of Spooner’s life
  • An examination of his ideas, including:  his opposition to slavery, but even more vehement opposition to the Union’s conquest and subjugation of the South in the not-so-Civil War; his belief in the inherent criminality of any coercive state; his rejection of any notion of a social contract; his rejection of the supposedly morally sanctifying effects of democracy; his economic ideas, including his belief in private property and preference for self-employment; and his vehement dislike of banksters, especially those who bankroll the state

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