Power Corrupts

By Brian Klaas

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Category: News & Politics

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Subscribers: 217
Reviews: 3


 Jul 17, 2019

kate
 Jul 9, 2019
fascinating podcast about all sorts of hidden political issues such as witchcraft, smuggling, and rigged elections. highly recommend

AP
 May 30, 2019
This is my 1st review & I have been listening to podcasts since 2007. This is the most underrated podcast out there.

Description

Does power corrupt? Absolutely. This is the podcast about the hidden—and often nefarious—forces that shape our world. Election rigging. Smuggling. Narcopolitics. Ransom. Conspiracy Theories. North Korean bank heists. Cults. Drug Lords. Voodoo. Money laundering. Assassinations. Unhinged conspiracy theories. Unbelievable stories. Stitched together with the help of world-leading experts. Created and narrated by Dr. Brian Klaas, a political scientist and columnist for The Washington Post.

Episode Date
The Anatomy of Evil
01:05:42
What makes ordinary people commit extraordinarily violent acts? Is it their brain chemistry? Social pressure? Or a charismatic leader telling them it's their patriotic duty? In this episode, we explore the morality of a scientist who gave life to billions--but also facilitated the murder of millions; a psychiatrist who studied the brains of Nazi war criminals; a Rwandan who lost most of her family in the 1994 genocide; and hear from two experts on how authoritarian leaders can convince seemingly kind people to murder their neighbors.

 

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Aug 15, 2019
The Greatest Heists You’ve Never Heard Of
56:38

When you think of heists, you probably think of masked men, bank robbers, and priceless art. But governments carry out heists, too. In this episode, we explore a billion dollar bank heist carried out by North Korean hackers; a heist carried out by a dictator who pledged to rule for a billion years (and was obsessed with mayonnaise); and a jewel heist that destroyed diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Thailand for a generation. 

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Aug 08, 2019
From Dictator to Demigod
01:01:06

Why do dictators and despots create outlandish myths about themselves? Why spread lies claiming that you've written 18,000 books or that you personally invented hamburgers? Why waste millions on a golden statue of yourself that rotates to face the sun? It turns out there's a method to their madness. In this episode, we examine some of the weirdest and most brutal dictators on the planet to understand the three step playbook for how despots across the globe try to transform themselves from flawed tyrants into seemingly flawless demigods with a cult of personality.

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Aug 01, 2019
Letters of Last Resort
56:57
The UK has a new prime minister. On his first day, Boris Johnson will handwrite four identical letters to the captains of Britain's nuclear submarines. They are one of the most closely guarded secrets of the British government. And those Letters of Last Resort will only be opened if London is wiped out by a nuclear blast. The letters must answer a straightforward but morally complex question: should the UK fire back with nuclear weapons? To deter nuclear attacks, the answer must be yes. But can we stomach that answer, given that nuclear retaliation could endanger the survival of our species?

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
 
Jul 25, 2019
Nukes
52:18

How did 2 guys you've never heard of save the world from nuclear apocalypse? Can nuclear weapons be hacked? What's the most consequential honeymoon in human history? Why was a British nuclear weapon designed to contain live chickens in the bomb casing? And why are nuclear bombs useful for detecting art forgeries?

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Jul 18, 2019
Dirty Cash In / Clean Cash Out
49:38

You’ve probably heard of money laundering, but how does it actually work? How did billions of dollars of dirty gold from South America become clean cash in Florida and Ohio? How do crooks launder money using video games? Why are journalists getting killed for exposing money laundering? And what in the world is “cuckoo smurfing”?

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Jul 11, 2019
Blood Diamond / Blood Chocolate
57:52

Why are countries that are rich in natural resources so often poor and war-torn? You’ve probably heard of blood diamonds, but what about blood vanilla, blood microchips, or blood chocolate? How are rebels and terrorists funding themselves with watermelons and wheat? We crisscross the globe from Papua New Guinea to Madagascar to find out.

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.

 

Jul 04, 2019
An Eye for an Eye?
01:01:29

Nick Yarris spent 22 years on death row. At one point, he even escaped. But then, right before he was slated to be executed, DNA evidence proved he was innocent. Is the death penalty justified? Can a just society execute people? Are you more likely to be executed if you kill a white person? And why do most death sentences come from a tiny number of American counties?

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Jun 27, 2019
Witnessing 283 Executions
51:01
What's something that you do every 2 weeks? For Michelle Lyons, over a span of 12 years, she watched someone get executed every two weeks in Texas. What are inmates like on their last day alive? Did she have misgivings watching people take their last breath? And what do people who are strapped to the gurney actually say for their final statements?
 
 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.

 

Jun 20, 2019
Assassinations
57:26
Why did the CIA try to kill an African political leader with poisoned toothpaste? How did a sturdy couch save a leader from being killed during an elaborate plot involving a self-sinking boat and a collapsing ceiling? Was a recent attempt to blow up Venezuela's dictator with a small consumer drone a genuine attack, or just a pretext to crack down on his political opponents? Is democracy more likely to emerge when dictators are assassinated, or does it just make the situation worse? And which US president got shot in the chest by a would-be assassin but continued speaking for 90 minutes, even as he was bleeding before the crowd?
 
 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Jun 13, 2019
International Arms Trade
58:09
Why did the war in Afghanistan hinge on the ability of a teenager to help buy 100 million bullets for the US military? Where do you even go to buy 100 million bullets? What are international arms dealers actually like? Is the US facilitating war crimes in Yemen while simultaneously transferring weapons to terrorists? And why is so much of the world's corruption wrapped up in gunrunning? 

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Jun 06, 2019
Smuggling
58:44

What's the best way to smuggle a crocodile onto an airplane? What is the journey actually like for migrants getting smuggled from Afghanistan to Australia? Why is the European Union paying migrant smugglers in Niger to open bakeries? Will Trump's proposed border wall actually do anything to stop smuggling? And how should you go about smuggling your pet turtle onto an airplane?

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
May 30, 2019
Ransom
51:52
What's it like to be held by Somali pirates for 977 days? Or to meet your Dad for the first time after he's been held in a basement in Beirut for nearly 7 years? Are you more likely to be killed as a hostage if you're American than if you're French? And how does economic game theory help us answer the question: what is the price of your freedom?

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
May 23, 2019
Disinformation and Deep Fakes
53:25
Disinformation is a powerful weapon. It forces your enemy to inflict damage upon themselves based upon lies that you've deliberately spread. How did a homeless man's corpse help win World War II? How does reality television function in Russia, given that the media is so tightly controlled? And what happens when fake video gets so good that we can't tell the difference between fiction and reality? 
 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.

 

May 16, 2019
Voodoo, Vampires, and General Butt Naked
59:22
Why did a West African rebel leader send his troops into battle completely naked, protected only by talismans? How did threats of voodoo and invisible zombies stave off a US invasion of Haiti? And why was a journalist nearly killed when local villagers mistakenly thought he was a vampire? In this episode, we explore the wild and weird world of the politics of magic and witchcraft.

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.

 

May 09, 2019
Narcopolitics
58:31

How have drugs been used in warfare? Why does the cocaine in London nightclubs pass through a dictatorship in West Africa? Why did British soldiers get high on hallucinogens and try to talk to birds? How does heroin bought in the West create a market for child brides? And, should we legalize some drugs? 

 
 
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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer is George McDonagh. Theme music is by Scott Holmes, and additional music by Lee Rosevere, John Bartman, and Kevin McLeod.

 

May 01, 2019
Conspiracy Theories
54:45
Why do some people believe unhinged conspiracy theories? How are they affecting our politics? How did insane theories—like QAnon—convert millions of people? Did John Kerry split a hurricane in half with a laser beam from Antarctica? What's really lurking beneath the Denver airport? And what can we do about these unhinged beliefs, given that America now has a Conspiracy-Theorist-in-Chief?
 
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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer is George McDonagh. Alex Portfelix is the producer and sound editor. Theme music is by Scott Holmes.

May 01, 2019
How to Rig an Election
49:33
How do you rig an election—and get away with it? Why did a cult try to poison an entire county to win a local election? And what about using disappearing ink, or threatening arson, or name doubles? This episode shows how the amateurs rig elections — with hilarious mix-ups and puréed beavers — and how the pros get away with it.
 
 
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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer is George McDonagh. Alex Portfelix is the producer and sound editor. Theme music is by Scott Holmes.

News clips in this episode came from PBS, KKGW in Portland, Euronews, and CBS News.

May 01, 2019
Introducing Power Corrupts
02:25

Does power corrupt? Absolutely. This is the podcast about the hidden—and often nefarious—forces that shape our world. Election rigging. Smuggling. Narcopolitics. Ransom. Conspiracy Theories. North Korean bank heists. Cults. Drug Lords. Voodoo. Money laundering. Assassinations. Unhinged conspiracy theories. Unbelievable stories. Hear the trailer now and subscribe. Season 2 coming January 2020.

 

 

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Power Corrupts is written and narrated by Brian Klaas. The executive producer and sound editor is George McDonagh.
Mar 24, 2019