I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 August 2020

Heather Cox Richardson. In her History and Politics chat of 21 July, she addressed two questions. In the first, looking at the use of Homeland Security forces in Portland, she was asked why the Posse Comitatus Act did not apply. This act, and even moreso the military traditions attached to it, prevents the military being used against the American people. Her answer- the Department of Homeland Security (and she, too, bridles against that title, as do I) answers to the executive government and so it doesn’t apply to them. The second question was about the switch in Republican policy to be pro-Russian instead of steadfastly anti-Communist as it had been in the past. Her answer- it happened in 2016 when Paul Manafort took control.

Her History of the Republican Party of 17 July picks up with the election of 1912 and goes through to the election of 1928. With a four-way contest (including the Socialist Eugene V. Debs), Woodrow Wilson the Democrat came through, and many of his actions were not inconsistent with the Progressivist agenda of the Republicans at the time, although springing from a different philosophical base. He was painted as a Communist by the Republican party, and by the time Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge took over, the Republican party was once again championing big business.

Let’s Talk about Sects. The second in this monthly series, The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God looks at a Nigerian sect which is similar to the Jonestown massacre in terms of deaths. Headed by Credonia Mwerinde, who claimed to be receiving messages from the Virgin Mary,  the usual tale of appropriation of resources and intimation ensues, but heightened further by the hundreds of deaths that the cult evoked.

Rough Translation  (NPR) El Hilo: Walking to Venezuela. We all know that millions of people fled Venezuela as a result of the appalling inflation and violence, but now that coronavirus has led neighbouring countries Colombia and Ecuador to make it impossible for them to gather a precarious livelihood with street selling and casual work, millions are now walking the 1300 miles back to Venezuela. This is really good.

Lectures in History. This series of podcasts are recordings of university history lectures, generally relating to American History. In Socialism in Early 20th Century America, historian Eric Foner talks about the importance of the Socialist Party in New York and Milwaukee in particular, and the presidential campaign of Eugene V. Debs in 1912.

Rear Vision (ABC) Heading into the US election, there is a lot of speculation of if and how Trump might ‘steal’ this election. Voter suppression in the United States of America looks at the right to vote in America, pointing out that the amendments to the Constitution (e.g. 15th) have just been to (supposedly) prevent the vote being denied but without actually saying that there IS a right to the vote. With the rise of the Civil Rights Act, southern states have found ways to deny the vote to the black population e.g. voting boundaries, requiring specified ID, strict ruling on discrepancies.

The History Listen (ABC) Manuscripts Don’t Burn: The Master and Margarita revisits Bulgakov’s famous book, which became a cult sensation when it was published in the 1960s, thirty years after Bulgakov wrote it in Stalin’s Russia. I read it in 2004, before I started this blog, and I think that I must have read it at a surface level, because I don’t remember finding the depths that the afficionados interviewed for this podcast discovered. Maybe I should re-read it some day. Or maybe not.

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