Safe for Democracy

64 EpisodesProduced by Jonathan Coumes

A look at the foreign policy disasters of the United States and their long-term consequences, both for the people in question and for the world today.

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Vietnam VIII: End of Indo-China

August 1st, 2018


Here it is, the end of the last real battle of the French war: Dien Bien Phu. After this it’s just Geneva and the transition from French ignobility to American monstrosity.

That all comes next time though. For now, …

Vietnam VII: Dien Bien Phu

July 18th, 2018


Finally we’re here, at the end of the French War, at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

Some cool show news: we’re registered for the People’s Choice …

Vietnam VI: Learning Curve

June 25th, 2018


And here we are, finally, finally making it to the end of the French War.

We still have Dien Bien Phu and the denouement to wrap up, which we’ll do in the next episode, maybe in the fastest-ever-produced next episodes, …

Vietnam V: Giap and de Lattre

June 19th, 2018


I’m trying something a little different with these show notes, especially since, with that interim show about Kennan already done, I don’t have any other story I want to be telling apart from the cast. So I’ve got a …

Kennan and Cold War Policy

May 22nd, 2018


Like I said at the end of last episode, there were some broader Cold War issues that I wanted to talk about and some history that I wanted to churn …

Vietnam IV: The First Indochina War

May 14th, 2018


We’re getting into the French War proper now, and we’ll make it almost all the way to the outbreak of the war in Korea by the end of this one.

I’ve …

SFD Short—Refugees

May 1st, 2018


Hey folks,

I thought I’d try something new with the show notes this time around and just give you the script. The only time I give this a real …

Vietnam III: The World at War

April 23rd, 2018


Well, we’re making time now, and I hope that keeps up. I’ve got some interesting stuff to show you today. First is the cover image for the show. That’s Ho Chi Minh on the left and Vo Nguyen Giap on the right along with …

SFD Talk—Vietnam in the US Imagination

April 17th, 2018


Hey folks, in lieu of notes this time, I’m going to give you the full outline that Rob and I were ostensibly working off in the show. Which should …

Announcement—Vietnam Talk

April 9th, 2018


Like it says in title, there’s no show this Monday, but there is going to be a show this week.

Rob Morris, Ernie Piper, and I are going to be broadcasting another live show this Thursday from 11am to 2pm EST and this …

Vietnam II: Ho Chi Minh

April 4th, 2018


It’s a day late but nowhere near a dollar short (except, I guess, in terms of what I’m paid for these shows; in that case it’s several thousand …

SFD Talk — Unending Oil

March 27th, 2018


I’m back from down south in Oaxaca, and I’ve got the cut-down of the show that Rob Morris and I did, along with my buddy Ernie Piper, about a month …

Peace Corps Chats

March 12th, 2018


Hey folks—

It’s a longish show where myself and some Peace Corps friends of mine talk about two of the last few shorts, Liberal Arts, Again and Land …

SFD Short—Political Cynicism

March 6th, 2018


Hey Folks,

We’re back to a mix of history and short shows, which means we’re back to quick intros on the smaller episodes. It looks like I’m finally …

Vietnam I: Ancient History

February 26th, 2018


Well, here we are folks. The beginning of the Vietnam series and very probably the end of SFD. We’re starting, literally, with the dawn of human …

Vietnam: A Plan

February 19th, 2018


Writing on the first script starts in earnest this week, and I thought everybody deserved to know more or less where we’re headed. This episode gets …

SFD Short—Monopolies

February 13th, 2018


It’s the last of all news shows, folks, and it’s barely newsy at all. We’re talking about monopolies in the American economy, which was, …

Diminished US Power—A Conversation with Rob Morris

February 8th, 2018


I’m getting back on track after my internet outage, and as promised, here’s a make-up of a sort for those last couple of weeks. This is the show that Rob and I recorded back in December, and which went up earlier this …

SFD Short—The Point

February 5th, 2018


Hey folks,

Boy do we have some housekeeping. You probably noticed there hasn’t been a show the last two Mondays. That’s because fourteen full days …

Liberal Arts, Again

January 15th, 2018


I’ve been saying, for longer than it was exactly true, that everything’s bad and it’s only getting worse. The world’s come around to my point of view though, and at least in the US, almost a year out now from the …

SFD Short—Maintenance

January 9th, 2018


Well, my face isn’t totally unstuffed-up yet, but I think the nasal quality has dropped out enough to record, and I want my shows to hit the top of the week again.

Check out our Patreon!

Talk to me on Twitter!

This is …

Announcement 1.8.18

January 8th, 2018


I’m sick, basically, and my voice is gross. Show’ll be out as soon as I can speak again.

SFD Short—Land and Food and Capitalism

January 2nd, 2018


We’re talking about capitalism, and specifically the ways in which unrestrained, industrialized, late-stage capitalism like ours works to destroy, reconstitute and commodify widely-available goods, usually in such a …

SFD Short—Trickledown

December 28th, 2017


I have a whole new show all written up but between family stuff and, well, more family stuff, I haven’t been able to find a time to actually record …

SFD Short—Corruption

December 18th, 2017


It’s pretty straightforward on this one; October’s news show on Corruption just in time for December. Enjoy folks. Patreon people, appreciate the …


December 4th, 2017


Hey Everybody—

The folks on Patreon have voted the news shows into wider circulation, so they’ll be coming out either regularly or when we have a …

Saving the State Department—A Conversation with Rob Morris

November 30th, 2017


Hey folks,

This show’s coming to you on a Tuesday just because of that new job I mentioned and because Thanksgiving happened on a Sunday this year …

Iran IX: The End

November 21st, 2017


We’re covering a pretty long period in this one, from half or most of the way through the war with Iraq all the way up to the present, although it’s a pretty quick hustle from Khomeini’s death in 1989 to today.

The two …

Iran VIII Part One: The War

November 13th, 2017


Hey folks—

It’s explained in the show, but the tortured titling here comes from that I promised the last Iran show this week, and in what’s to me


November 6th, 2017


Does what it says on the box, guys.

Patreon poll is right here.

The Outtake Reel is right here (as, unfortunately I see now, promised).

I’ll keep …

SFD Short—Ends and Means, Again

October 30th, 2017


Hey Everybody—

Today we’re releasing the seventeenth SFD Short, but by far what’s more important is that today is Muellermas, when a fabled, …

Iran VII: The Revolution in Power

October 23rd, 2017


Hey Folks,

This one’s number twelve, and while we’re not done with Iran yet, number thirteen, Iran VIII and the very last Iran show, come hell or …

Lying in Politics

October 16th, 2017


Not a whole lot of news this time out. The title of the post is obviously drawn from the essay in Hannah Arendt’s Crises of the Republic.

Which we …

Iran VI: Revolution

October 9th, 2017


Alright, here we are, finally. The Iranian Revolution of 1979. There’s still some groundwork to be laid, but we’re getting there this episode, full …

The Plan for Mexico

October 2nd, 2017


Hey Everybody,

This Monday’s show is short and to the point. Next Monday, we’re back to Iran. You might be able to hear in this one that I’m a little sick. The unfortunate side-effect of having a weekly show where I …

SFD Short—State

September 22nd, 2017


Hey Folks—

I’m back on track here in Mexico, finally in the same place long enough to get working on the regular. To that point, if anybody hasn’t …

The End of the World—A Conversation with Rob Morris

September 20th, 2017


Hey Everybody—

Like I said up on the FB page on Monday, I wasn’t skipping this week, I just had a date with Rob Morris yesterday. Short show notes, but remember:

Rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or …

SFD Short—Collapse

September 12th, 2017


Hey Everybody—

I was on the road a little longer than I thought I’d be and I missed last week’s show and for that I’m sorry. But I’ve got one this week, and I’ll be away from rural Tennessee and back in Mexico by next …

SFD Short—Abolish the Army

August 20th, 2017


This is another one of those topics I’ve been thinking about for a long while, at least since I wrote this cute little essay sophomore year:

Offshore Balancing

And I think it ties in with what we were talking about a …

Politico Is Full of It—A Conversation with Rob Morris

August 14th, 2017


Hey all,

I had this chat with Rob back in June, when some of you might have caught it live or on Rob’s Youtube channel, the More Freedom Foundation. I didn’t get it re-edited and trimmed down for a podcast until this …

SFD Short—Ends and Means

August 7th, 2017


Well, this is the tenth short, which means we’re putting out a helluva lot more content this year than last, and I hope that’s to the good.

Our very first Patreon-exclusive news analysis show is going up this week, so …

SFD Short—American Legions

July 31st, 2017


Hey folks,

Not much to report but that the next Iran show is coming along and that my first Patreon-exclusive show is going up probably early next …

SFD Short—Grand Theories

July 24th, 2017


Well, like I can’t remember if but might have said last week, we’re back from hiatus and onto regular production again, which means a show for you …

Iran V: The White Revolution

July 18th, 2017


Here we are, the absolute last episode (I promise) before we get to the Iranian Revolution and, I think, the Iran-Iraq War.

In this episode, we’re …

SFD Short—Storming and Norming

June 28th, 2017


Hey folks,

I know I’m running a little late on the next Iran show, but with some law school stuff, a family reunion, and a neat little piece I’m …

Conversation with Rob Morris—Iran v Saudi Arabia: Backing the Wrong Horse

June 18th, 2017


Hey folks, does just about what it says on the box.

We’re having another conversation with Robert Morris of the More Freedom Foundation, a YouTube …

SFD Short—Death of the Republic

June 5th, 2017


Hey everybody, so two things I’ve mentioned coming to fruition this week. First, I’m gonna be having another conversation with Rob Morris of the More Freedom Foundation like the one we did a few weeks ago. That is, if …

SFD Short—Alternate Realities

May 29th, 2017

“Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

Iran IV: America’s Dictator

May 22nd, 2017


Hey folks. We’re getting on with it, but research and length got away from me again, and it’ll be another episode before we’re edging up towards …

Conversation with Robert Morris of the More Freedom Foundation

May 18th, 2017


I’ve been telling you folks about and pitching you on Rob Morris, who runs the More Freedom Foundation and its YouTube channel, for a couple of …

SFD Short—Liberal Arts

May 16th, 2017


This is the fourth short, adapted from something I wrote way back in the day when I was still fighting the good fight.

Back when I was in the Peace …

SFD Short—Forgetfulness

May 8th, 2017


This is the third short and the first entirely new one, although I’ll get it typed up and post it like any other blog and then link it here sometime this week.

The big news this time though is that sometime next week …

SFD Short—Looking at History from the Outside

May 2nd, 2017


The next one of these, I think, or the next two (who knows!) will be totally new, but this one, like the last one, does what it says.

New intro on this one, but I might shorten it up, given that the eps are shorter.

SFD Short—Historical Optimism

April 11th, 2017


Hey folks, does what it says on the box.

It looks like I might end up in law school this fall, so there’s a fair chance the show is winding down. …

Iran III: Guns of August

April 3rd, 2017


Well, we finally made it. I thought I’d blow from the ancient Persian Empire straight through to the plot of Persepolis in one episode, but just …

Iran II: Nationalization

March 9th, 2017



Here we are at Episode 7. Like I say in the cast, I thought we’d get farther down the road with this one, but podcasts are long and history’s longer, and we’ll have to wait until Episode 8 to get all the way to the …

Iran I: Take Up the Burden

February 12th, 2017


Hey everybody, we’re back from hiatus.

I spent the fall studying for the LSAT and applying to law schools and scrounging enough cash to stay alive, …

Aftermath Part IV

October 14th, 2016


Hey guys.

Welcome to the fifth episode of Safe for Democracy, the podcast about the foreign policy disasters of the United States in the 20th …

Aftermath Part III

September 16th, 2016


Hey everybody, and welcome to the fourth episode of Safe for Democracy, the podcast about the foreign policy disasters of the United States in the …

Aftermath Part II

August 27th, 2016


Hi, and welcome to the third episode of Safe for Democracy.

Which is the second part of the Aftermath, which, in four shows, is the second part of our overarching series on Guatemala.



Last time we worked our …

Aftermath Part I

August 5th, 2016


Hey everybody, welcome to Safe for Democracy and our second episode.

If you’ve listened to the first podcast, you know that we’d originally planned to do a quick one-two, one episode for the coup in 1954 and one to …

The Coup

June 20th, 2016



Hey, welcome to the first full episode of Safe for Democracy.  We’re going to be looking at Guatemala from 1930 or so until 1954, in the lead-up …

Intro Episode

June 13th, 2016


Welcome everybody to the introductory episode of Safe for Democracy. This is just a primer for anybody who’s interested in the shape of this project, the arc of its future, and who I am. For everybody else, there’s …

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