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24
In the face of many wars, the big powers are trying to steer small nations to create their own version of peace. That was the Congress of Vienna 200 years ago and there’s a lot of deja vu, and still a great deal to learn. The Austrian aristocrats threw an incredibly lavish, nearly year long party and peace deals were worked out. Many similar dynamics are at work today, including Ukraine and ISIS. Historian Mark Jarrett fills us in.

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19
Generally it seems that people’s eyes glaze over when the subject is the federal budget.  This years it’s different. The Republicans are now in control of both the House and the Senate. Their PR machine is calling it "A balanced budget for a stronger America" but the truth is, as discussed herein, it has the potential to hurt a lot of Americans and our economy in general. But we are hardly powerless, as they want us to believe. OurFuture.org's Isaiah J. Poole provides useful clarification for us all.

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17
Psychedelics hold enormous potential for understanding the human mind, so why is it kept illegal? A recent study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology notes that some 30 million Americans have tried LSD and other drugs to no ill health effects. On this show former United Church of Christ minister George Zilliac discusses the spiritual benefits of the careful use of LSD and other similar substances. He outlines principles for legalization and says that there is no legitimate justification for government outlawing their use. And it's an issue, really, of personal liberty.

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12
At the depths of the first world war in 1915, about 1200 women from around the world met at The Hague to try to bring an end to that blood drenched disaster. As they celebrate their centennial, there's much to learn from the past that remains in today's news, many crucial topics needing attention. Guest on this Keeping Democracy Alive is Robin Lloyd who created a play about her grandmother in 1915 and who remains active on WILPF. Can the inclusion of women in peace negotiations make a unique and crucial difference? Listen in.

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10
March 8, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the first official ground troops landing in Vietnam. Today it's like a dark family secret, intentionally disappeared from popular memory. It was erased in part by President Reagan who invaded Grenada to restore American Pride. Today the only lesson the government learned from that war is to keep reporters away and to use drones instead of American "boys." On this remarkable interview, Christian Appy, author of the just published American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity talks about the role of manliness and of the current near-worship of all things military. And what we still so desperately need to learn.

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05
It used to be that when the word "Extremist" came up, the John Birch Society was the first thing you'd think of. Claire Conner was raised by two national leaders of the Birch Society. Her new book is "Wrapped in the Flag," and she is a dedicated fighter for her country, trying desperately to make Americans realize that the John Birch Society is alive and well, and as she puts it, extremely dangerous. More so now than ever because today it's called the Republican Party.

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03
Every day more than 10,000 people born at the baby boom turn 65. America is not prepared for what today's guest Ai-Jen Poo calls the "elder boom." Her just-published book is called The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elderly Future in a Changing America. Of course government, which is doing practically nothing now,  can help by investing in much more cost effective and comfortable situations for the elderly. Intentional communities, sharing resources, reinforcing personal connections--the possibilities are quite hopeful indeed.

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26
It's very difficult and painful to let go of a dream. For many decades, American Jews have based their identity as Jews on the State of Israel. On this show, Alice Rothchild bravely explores the difficulties Jewish Americans are having with the stark realities of so much injustice and racism in the State of Israel. And rabbis are in the difficult position of either standing by Israel and protecting one's job, or speaking out for traditional Jewish ethics and justice. But knowledge is powerful and can set you free, as challenging as it often is to face reality.

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24
The corporate polluters want us to just accept our sense of powerlessness. But not only are there real answers, available now, to global climate change, but they can actually be made to happen. Environmental engineer and writer for the Huffington Post, Ellen Moyer on this show offers exceptional insight with realistic solutions. Some of the biggest sources of carbon emissions may surprise you. And we can make them happen, despite moneyed resistance in Washington.

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19
One of the greatest aspects of democracy is artistic freedom. Movie makers put this value to great use. Everyone knows about the Oscars, many of those films have questionable artistic value, often winning because they make a lot of money. Throughout Hollywood's history, many filmmakers have applied their conscience and consciousness, not all turn out to be big moneymakers. On this segment of Keeping Democracy Alive, we talk about this years winners of the Progressive Movie Awards with LA based film historian and critic Ed Rampell. Some great movies you won't want to miss. And others (like American Sniper) you might want to avoid.

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17
It's been a huge success bnow for 80 years. But the right has been attacking Social Security for the last decade. They're trying to whip up fear among young people that it won't be there for them. Balderdash. Guest today is Nancy Altman, co-author of the just published Social Security Works! She answers the mystery of why people like billionaire Pete Peterson would try to destroy this much beloved federal program.

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12
The mainstream media loves her: an attractive insurgent campaign--maybe. But there's the drama, and the media thrives on drama. On this who Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director of Democracy for America, and Kurt Ehrenberg, state director of Run Warren Run talk about what might make her jump in and run for president. And why they think she can win not only the nomination but the White House as well.

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09
What was once healthy and strong may now be breaking apart. Stresses from many people angry at a lack of a say in their own future may be pulling the once powerful European Union apart. We see it from the left and the right. On this show, Foreign Policy in Focus's John Feffer looks at how it happened: how grand it looked in 1989 and how fragile Europe looks today.

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05
In the long held American tradition of opposition to colonialism and a government serving the common good, FDR's vice president Henry A Wallace was an outstanding visionary. Then a corrupt political machine performed a bloodless coup at the 1944 Democratic convention. Just as his name was to be placed in nomination (he easily had the votes to win) the gavel was brought down and the convention adjourned. Had Wallace remained as VP, he would have become president instead of Truman. American University History Professor Peter Kuznick explains the incredibly significance of this act to the next sixty years of American history. There would have been no atomic bombs dropped and no Vietnam War, had Wallace's name simply been placed in nomination. The difference was about nine seconds. Listen in and learn.

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03
Most Americans were shocked by high profile police killings of unarmed black men last year. Was it a few bad apples, poor training, or what? On this show, Professor Sam Mitrani discusses what he learned in writing his history book on the subject. Police are not there, as most of us think, to protect and serve. In fact modern policing came about in the effort to keep ruling class control over all of society. Mitrani reveals that there's a long history of police treating the communities they allegedly serve as the enemy to be controlled, using violence if necessary. It hasn't always been this way; in the past there has been actual democratic control over policing. And it is possible to get back to that idea. it would help a lot, according to Mitrani.

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29
it was an earthquake in Greece. On January 25th, fed up Greek citizens took a leap into the unknown electing the radical-left Syriza to power to take on the anti-democratic forces of centralized capital. The European financial powers have threatened non-specific "consequences" if Greece fails to fully repay it's staggering debts. The upheaval in Greece may be a contagion spreading to other debtor nations, of course.  Here to explain it is Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. And along similar lines, in the second part, we discuss what must be done to protect what's left of democracy here in the USA. Victor Tiffany, of the Syracuse Examiner, maps out a strategy for defeating the profoundly anti-democratic TrasnPacific Partnership, often called "NAFTA on steroids." It would grant tremendous new power to supra-national corporations and make America'as founders spin in their graves. Citizen action is needed to stop it.

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22
If you want to be inspired, give this a good listen. The people of Spain, now in desperate economic straits thanks to northern European-imposed austerity, are organizing themselves to really take on the powers-that-be and create genuine self-government. It's called Podemos, meaning "We Can" and it's brand new. Guest Sebastiaan Faber, Professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College fills us in on the exciting new politics, neither traditional left nor right, but something new and democratic.

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20
It is understood that the war against southern independence ended any question of slavery in the re-established union. It was made illegal. Well, sort of. On this show, the Wall Street Journal's Douglas Blackmon describes the results of his research and delves into the grim reality that slavery actually continued well into the 20th century. It's a shocking and fascinating story.

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15

In her new book of essays, author Janet Cheatham Bell shares her unique insights into lessons learned from growing up black in America. Henry Louis Gates Jr. called her a "pioneer." She talks about how much progress has, or hasn't, been made in race relations, given the events of 2014. Her subjects range from spirituality and family history, to "too big to fail," and to mass transit. A very informative and entertaining discussion, with lessons to be learned.

 

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13
Though it's dropped out of the headlines recently, the situation in Ukraine and Russia is remarkably dangerous for the west. And according to our guest, Patrick L Smith, columnist for Salon and a veteran of the International Herald Tribune, most of the problems are of our own making. Western Europe is being hurt but the Obama Administrations seems to not care. The sanctions are actually only working to help strengthen Putin's grip and international standing. In in the Ukraine there is a major rise in neo-Nazism. Americans have been in a "propaganda bubble," and the truth should be of concern to all of us, according to Smith.

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08
Teachers today face intense pressure to avoid politically controversial issues in their classrooms. But according to our guest, Diana Hess, author of The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, the need to do this is great. America's founders talked about how essential education is to a democracy and in this discussion, Hess talks about what the research she did with co-author Paula McEvoy reveals: that kids without civic education become poor citizens. And that taking sides and civilly and respectfully presenting your case are skills that serve the individual and society through a lifetime.

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06
How and when the media got put on a short corporate leash? When we had an activist FCC, it was understood that the airwaves were being leased from the public and that the public had to be served. How far we have come.
On today’s show, guest is Victor Pickard, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at U of Pennsylvania, whose brand new book is America's Battle for Media Democracy.
If information is a commodity, can there be democracy? Luckily, Pickard sees real opportunity to take back public control of the airwaves and the internet.

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18
You've probably heard of the Christmas Truce 100 years ago between the trenches of the British and German soldiers. These were indeed brave men. Today it seems anyone with a uniform is dubbed a hero, but what about the peacemakers? On this show Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost and To End All Wars, talks about those who risked all to oppose that insane first world war, and the relevance to today's pervasiveness of permanent war and near silence of calls for peace.

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16
There is a widely recognized crisis in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. There is a huge demand for such educated kids but a very low supply. And it's also now known that if schools don't grab kids interest in K-2, it probably won't happen. On this show Dennis Kleinman, who developed Reading Rainbow, explains the brand new teaching tool; it is internet based, interactive, and easy for teachers. And the well-animated characters are called Quinks. Listen in and see why. This can bring help where it is most needed: high poverty/low income areas.

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11
Preserving democracy is even more important than ice cream. On this show, Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's, talks about his new effort to literally stamp money out of politics. As he describes, the Stamp Stampede is a campaign to stamp messages on America's currency in support of overturning the Citizens United court decision which enables money to own politics and what used to be our government. Author Elias Isquith wrote "future scholars may view Ben Cohen's work in politics as more important to American history than his co-creation of the company that brought us Cherry Garcia." Is stamping money silly, is it legal, can it really make a difference? Listen in!

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09
It's about power: not just generation of electricity. The story of nuclear power is one of citizen power: big money and tremendous political power one one side and average citizens organizing at the local level on the other. And guess what; despite the odds, the informed citizens often won. There's a new book just out, called To the Village Square: From Montague to Fukushima, 1975-2014. The photos are by Lionel Delevingne with an introduction by Burt's guest Anna Gyrogy, long time veteran of the anti-nuclear movement and author of NO NUKES: Everyone's Guide to Nuclear Power. People these days may not think they have real political power, but they do. It's quite a story, listen in!

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04
Potential presidential candidate VT Senator Bernie Sanders talks about his just released 12 point Economic Agenda for America. He believes Americans are at last hungry for real solutions to our challenges. People need work, and there is a lot of work to do fixing our badly worn infrastructure. And he is determined that America remain a republic and not a plutocracy. This guy is the real thing. And on part two, law professor Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, dissects the legal improprieties of the recent Ferguson grand jury ruling letting officer Darrren Wilson off the hook for the killing of Michael Brown. It is not over, she says justice is not done, not yet.

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02

As the first president Bush exclaimed after the first Gulf War, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all.” Powerful political forces remain determined that we never learn any lessons from America’s disastrous war in Vietnam. There’s a new effort, called The Full Disclosure Campaign, presenting a clear alternative to the this effort to sanitize the Vietnam war and to thereby legitimize further unnecessary and destructive wars. On the first half  hour Merle Ratner of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Reponsibility Campaign talks about the continuously exploding bomb of Agent Orange and efforts to help the generations of victims. And on the second part Professor Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyer’s Guild, focuses in on the US government’s specific efforts to sanitize the real history of that war so that we never learn what we must learn.

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24
With multiple opportunities to learn and make a course correction, it seems national Democrats remain committed to a course which has proven to be political suicide. On this show, Michael Brenner, senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic relations and professor of International Affairs talks about how President Obama and so many others seem determined to drink the Kool-Aid of Republican-Lite, me-too "centrism."

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20
Prisons are a very old concept and it's time to ask: Do they still work? Do they accomplish the goals for which they were created? What can we do with dangerous people if we do away with prisons, how can we protect society? Maya Schenwar is guest on this eye-opening discussion about her new book Locked Down, Locked Out. She says instead of healing, "Incarceration is tearing society apart." Dehumanizing inmates helps no one. So what can we do? Listen in and find out.

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18
 After any defeat, it's an important opportunity to listen and learn any lessons. Most of the Democratic losses in the 2014 election were among Blue Dog, "centrist" Democrats. On part one of today's show, Elias Isquith of Salon argues that it is Elizabeth Warren's party now, and that is a good thing for Democrats and America. And on the second half, we talk with Zaid Jilani of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee about the historic use of the word "socialist" as derision and that there is evidence that the negative reactions to that word are lessening and the more Americans, especially millennials, are ready to listen to socialist ideas for solving our deep structural problems.

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13
Peter Van Buren spent 24 years at the State Department and a year in Iraq. He has great knowledge of the players in the region, and on this show we focus on what's possible in the new war against ISIS. There are not a lot of options at this point, and none of them good. But if you want to know about what's really going on, give a listen.

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11
No doubt you've seen the current near-worship of all things military. All men and women in the military are called heroes. But what does that really do? On this show, Will Hopkins, who was decorated for valor in Fallujah 2004 and now serves as executive director of the NH chapter of Veterans for Peace, sheds a great deal of light on how Americans can best serve those who put their lives on the line. Myth is often taken as actual history, but Hopkins points out how crucial it is to instead see reality for what it is.

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06
What happened? With the Republicans now in the driver's seat, does this actually improve chances for Democrats in 2016? Or might that just be sour grapes talk? Guest on this discussion of New Hampshire and the nation is Republican political consultant Alicia Preston. If you are at all interested in electoral politics and what goes on behind the scense, you'll enjoy this one.

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03
On election day 2014 The Burt Cohen Show examinest the intent of America's founders. The far right has too often gotten away with claiming the mantle of the values of America's founders. Even Glenn Beck has stolen the title of Thomas Paine's 1776 pamphlet Common Sense as the title of his own book. In this interview, Montana author and radio host Brian Kahn talks about the real values of our founders. They are applicable today for progressives in taking on the illegitimate power of the corporations which have gained sovereignty over we, the people.

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30
Remember the boisterous chants of "We're Number 1!" and "USA! USA" when Osama binLaden was taken out? Exceptionalism is beyond mere national pride, it is an insistence that we are above the normal rules and that we are God's gift to the world. Of course if we know someone who feels this way about him or herself, we don't like that person. On this show, Professor David Bromwich of Yale discusses the nature and context of this belief in American Exceptionalism. Needless to say it does not serve us well at all, but if one criticises it, watch out. Give a listen, we can use this to make America better and more secure.

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23
But will congress give it to them? FBI Director James Comey recently went to congress asking to change the law to enable them to get a back-door access to our cell phone and computer communications data. But according to guest Jake Laperruque, Fellow on Privacy, Surveillance, and Security at the Center for Democracy and Technology, it seems both left and right are suddenly wary of government snooping, thanks in large measure to the work of Edward Snowden. And firms like Apple and Google are motivated to keep the back door shut. Listen in, and see that our voices do matter to congress.

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21
There have been many clampdowns on free speech in America lately, a sudden radical and highly disturbing new trend has emerged. If you dare to criticize Israeli policies, watch out for your job. Today's guest Allan Brownfeld of the American Council for Judaism, says: "If you express views critical of the Israeli government and its policies, or are sympathetic to Palestinians and their efforts to achieve a state of their own, your views seem to be outside of the zone of protected free speech." It seems that Israeli policies on free speech run counter to traditional Jewish support for this crucial freedom.

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16
You've probably had the gut feeling there's more than meets the eye regarding the ISIS story. Guest today is Nicolas J. S. Davies who has done significant research and written about the subject in his book, Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion an Destruction of Iraq. He finds that a significant portion of those drawn to ISIS are Iraqis terrorized by the killing of a million or so Iraqis by thousands of US air strikes. ISIS seems to be the only organized resistance. And a lot of the background goes back to 1919 and is related closely to the dominance of the royals in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Kuwait. There is another, far more productive way to defeat ISIS, according to Davies. It's not all that complicated. Listen in for a much needed clarification.

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06
Do you oppose the concentration and centralization of power and authority? Prefer natural, locally grown foods. Want top end American imperialism and militarism? Sounds like typical left stuff, right? Today there are petitions from more than 30 states calling for secession. Yes, secession. Today's guest is Michael Hill, hardly a typical lefty. Actually he's a very traditional conservative. He's co-founder and head of the League of the South, which holds all the above values, and is dedicated to a new paradigm which he and many others believe will serve us a lot better than the monolithic centralized power America has become. Check it out!

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02
As he embarked on a book tour in 2011, Henry Kissinger was met with protests. And you know the tour did not include  Spain or France, where there are warrants out for his arrest. Guests on this show are Joyce Horman, who blames the murder of her husband Charlie Horman on Kissinger (the subject  of the movie "Missing"), Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait, and Tom Keough, who organized the protest against Kissinger when he appeared at New York's 92nd St Y. Listen and ask yourself why a Democratic candidate for president in 2016 might love him so much.

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30
Thomas Jefferson said: "An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people." Maybe that's exactly why some authoritarian political interests try to ban many books. The last week of September is the annual Banned Books Week and our guest on this show is Devon Chaffee, executive director of the NH Civil Liberties Union. You might be surprised at the familiar much loved classics which have been banned over the years. But what about parents protecting their kids from inappropriate books? That can be done without imposing on other parents. As a bumpersticker reads: Critical Thinking; the Other National Deficit. When it comes down to it, America is all about our First Amendment rights.

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25
Freedom is very appealing. Especially in the case of over zealous and ill focused police work. On the first part of this show, Benjamin Domenech of The Federalist talks about the mood of the so-called millennials, people born from 1980 to 2000. They deeply value freedom and have huge numbers heading into the election. Will libertarian Republicans win them over? And did you know that arrests for small amounts of marijuana are three times that of arrests for actual violent crime? On the second half, Stephen Gutwillig of the Drug Policy Alliance sheds light on significant ballot initiatives relative to changing marijuana laws in a number of states and municipalities this November 4th.

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23
Ink on paper, books, have always been subversive. They lead to critical thinking. On the first part of this show, Ken Gloss,  proprietor of the internationally renowned Brattle Book Shop talks about the role of books in the 21st century. And he is most optimistic. And on part two, journalist Sarah Jaffe dissects the surprising dynamics of the recent New York state primary where Andrew Cuomo's campaign hit a major bump in the form of a left-leaning populist named Zephyr Teachout  who had pennies to his mega-dollars. What does this say about the perceived inevitability of institutional candidates across America?

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18
Freedom of speech; we take it for granted. But after the Reverend Bruce Shipman wrote short, a fairly mild letter to the NYTimes, recognizing that Israels devastation of Gaza probably fanned flames of anti-Semitism, he was forced to resign from his position at Yale. People call him brave, but why should it require courage to speak out? A professor at University of Illinois was similarly dismissed, for daring to broach this subject. What is behind this serious chilling of Freedom of Speech? It appears to be the influence of AIPAC money in politics and universities. An especially good show, listen in.

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16
Talk about making history! On Thursday September 18, Scotland votes on whether or not to declare independence from the United Kingdom. My guest is Bob Campbell, a Scot who is in the north of England. He doesn't want a Yes vote because Campbell figures if liberal/left Scotland leaves, that ensures more power to the right wing Tories of Cameron. But why shouldn't Scotland be the master of it's own fate? Many smaller countries have done the best in the world: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland. How much of a factor is England's eagerness to go to wars along with the big US? How would independence affect the Scottish economy? The audio quality across that bid pond is not ideal but give a listen and learn about this momentous decision.

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11
The State of Israel and it's defenders have been very adept at intimindating Jewish Americans from speaking out against their brutality in Gaza by labeling critics as "self hating Jews." On this show, "self respecting Jew" Eric Mann takes this charge head on. He is a veteran of the 60s civil rights movement and knows a lot about effective organizing to successfully achieve stated goals. Mann provides a valuable perspective and offers useful suggestions as to how to change US policy toward Israel despit the currently powerful pressure.

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09

So much of what we love about American culture has roots in Africa. Today some Americans fear the unknown Islamic world of the region. But there really is nothing to fear and a lot to gain. There is a West African music and culture festival coming up on September 21 in Portsmouth. Great dance and drums and lots of other culture from which we can learn and grow. Check it out. There will be contagious joy to share.

 

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03
Brushed aside for decades, a recent conference of scientists focused on the potential uses of LSD and other psychedelics. On this show, guest Randolph Hencken of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies talks about Psychedelic Science for the 21st century. If carefully controlled, should LSD and other psychedelic drugs become available as a tool for addressing psychological problems? If it can be of significant benefit to humankind, why not prescribe?

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02
As this show was being recorded, word came that another American journalist was beheaded. War hawks McCain, Graham, and Hillary Clinton are calling for massive intervention, but that has so often backfired. On this show, veteran foreign policy journalist Patrick Lawrence calls for bombing of ISIS to be a part of a solution, but only a small part. Everyone agrees we need to do what really works to put them out of business, but what? With his knowledge of the region and it's history, Lawrence has some very practical ideas

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