99% Invisible. When I went to Spain quite recently, I was told and read that the Spanish Civil War was still a topic best avoided. This episode, Valley of the Fallen, talks about the memorial constructed by Franco, using prisoner labour, which he envisaged as a huge monument to honor the achievements of “our crusade,” and the “heroic sacrifices of our victory.” It was only when Spain’s allies in the Cold War became uneasy about the size and divisiveness of the memorial that Franco announced that it would be for all the fallen. But once again, being Franco, ordered that bodies be exhumed from mass graves and taken to The Valley of the Fallen for reburial. Many of these bodies were of his enemies, and they were disinterred and thrown together in a way that they could not be identified. When he was buried there, it became a site of pilgrimage for fascists. I had heard that he had been exhumed last year and shifted elsewhere. I hadn’t heard that many of the families of his victims are trying to get the other bodies exhumed and identified. Post-Franco Spain had agreed to forget about the crimes in a ‘Pacto del Olvido’ – a pact of forgetting- that silenced any memory of the past. But some things cannot, and should not, be forgotten. The website has a transcript with videos (in fact, it’s probably better than the podcast).
Heather Cox Richardson. Her History and Politics Chat of 18th August started off by looking at De Joy and his removal of the sorting boxes. She then moved briefly to Trump’s convention trick of ‘pardoning’ Susan B. Anthony. The major part of her chat this week is about the republican-lead Senate report into Russian interference in the last election- something that made my eyes goggle, and which seemed to disappear completely afterwards (as no doubt the Republicans intended by releasing it during the Democratic convention). I think she must be tired because this was a bit disjointed, although I think that she was also being very careful about what she said.
Her chat of 25 August was interrupted by a storm! In the fifteen minutes that she recorded, she responded to a question over whether it was unusual that the Republican National Convention had not released a policy platform but just recycled the 2016 one. Yes, it was unusual she said. She noted that there are three groups within the Republican party: Trump supporters, anti-Trumpers and a group with four letter names who oppose government action of any sort- Rand, Cruz and I can’t remember the others (and neither can she). And then BANG! The power went off.
The following 1 September she talked about Social Security and Unemployment Insurance and whether Trump really would get rid of the payroll tax through which these programs are funded (as distinct from deferring it, which he has already done). Yes, he would, because that would be consistent with the ideological position that many in the Republican party, if not Trump himself, endorse. She was then asked why Donna Hylton, author, criminal justice activist and convicted for 25 years for second-degree murder and kidnapping, appeared at the Democratic Convention. Her answer- because she had done her time, and this is what rehabilitation looks like.
Her History of the Republican Party of 13 August is the one I have been waiting for: when the Republican party switched from the big-government, New Deal party to the individualistic, evangelical party that it is today. This Southern Strategy took place between 1964 and the 1980s. She intended getting to Reagan, but instead ending up spending the whole session on Nixon. An interesting take on Watergate: Nixon had actively undermined LBJ’s peace talks in Vietnam, and Nixon was terrified that the Pentagon Papers would reveal this (they didn’t – they didn’t go up that far). And that was why he needed the ‘plumbers’ to find the dirt on Daniel Ellsberg and the Democrats in the Watergate building.
The Real Story (BBC) This program frightened the bejesus out of me. Why is QAnon going global looks at the the QAnon conspiracy theory that Mr Trump is leading a top-secret campaign to dismantle a global network of Satan worshipping cannibal paedophiles led by billionaires, celebrities and Democrats. It’s spreading in US, Europe and Latin America, right from President Trump through to evangelical churches. Really scary.
The Navalny ‘poisoning’ puts inverted commas around the word ‘poisoning ‘ as there is debate amongst these commentators about whether he was poisoned, and whether Putin was behind it. Yevgenia Albats (Russian investigative journalist), Sir Tony Brenton (former British Ambassador to Russia), Mary Dejevsky (former Times correspondent to Moscow), Vladimir Milov (opposition politian, Navalny adviser) and Sergei Markov (former member of the Duma from President Putin’s United Russia party) barely agree on a single proposition in this podcast.
America if You’re Listening (ABC) Russia If You’re Listening is back with a new name! This time Matt Bevan looks at the four year presidency of Donald Trump, starting off with What a hurricane taught Trump about being President. Trump handled hurricanes in Florida and Texas well but once it came to Puerto Rico….What did he learn? That when things are going badly, lie.