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FRDH Podcast with Michael Goldfarb Profile

FRDH Podcast with Michael Goldfarb

English, Political, 1 season, 200 episodes, 3 days, 5 hours, 11 minutes
Host FRDH podcast. Radio essayist and documentarist for the BBC and NPR. Historian and author of Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace and Emancipation.
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Elections 2024: France & Macron’s Big Gamble

2024 was always going to be a year of elections globally but not in France, now President Emanuel Macron has taken a huge gamble and called a snap general election for the French parliament. Why did Macron risk the final three years of his presidency? What are the chances of his big gamble paying off? Author Agnes Poirier and former BBC present Gavin Esler look at France, the EU elections and Britain's upcoming general election and try to figure out Macron's odds.
6/11/202450 minutes, 55 seconds
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Trials, Elections: A Week in Anglo-American Politics 2024

The last week of May 2024 in Anglo-American politics saw a verdict in the trial of Donald J Trump and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have his electoral parade rained on. In these surreal times FRDH turns to Robin Lustig to calmly, rationally analyze the verdict in the Trump Trial and the curious local disinterest in the UK's elections.
6/1/202438 minutes, 34 seconds
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Presidential Immunity 2024: the Founders vs Trump's Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court is considering what Presidential immunity means in 2024 in the case of Donald J. Trump. In this wide-ranging conversation with constitutional law professor Frank Bowman FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb discusses the case, its merits, where political considerations enter Supreme Court discussions and whether Trump is just another guy, in the legal sense.
4/28/202433 minutes, 43 seconds
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Israel, Iran, Gaza, Hamas: World War 3?

The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has expanded as Hamas’s overseers Iran entered the fray with a massive launch of airborne ordnance at Israel. The internet is alive with fevered speculation that the Iran-Israel confrontation will touch off World War 3. In this FRDH podcast Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations provides a calm analysis of the situation.
4/20/202439 minutes, 2 seconds
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Why They Still Fight: Ukraine Year 3

The Ukraine war is now in year 3 and its people still want to fight. Why? We are witnessing the birth of a political nation. In this conversation with journalist and author Vladislav Davidzon who has lived in Ukraine on and off for the last 14 years, FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb looks at the tensions attending this birth to find the explanation for why, after 3 years of bloody, destructive conflict Ukrainians still fight.
3/31/202424 minutes, 8 seconds
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Why Everything Matters: Fluke with Brian Klaas

Brian Klaas on why everything we do matters and nothing is really a fluke. Klaas is a political scientist specializing in the study of corruption and how authoritarian's gain power but in Fluke he turns his mind to what isn't random in our world even if it seems like it. A fast paced far reaching 43 minute long conversation.
2/10/202443 minutes, 40 seconds
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2023s Disproportionate Wars: What Lindsey Hilsum Learned Covering Them

2023 was marked by two terrible wars of disproportion in Israel/Palestine and Ukraine and Channel 4 News's International Editor Lindsey Hilsum spent most of the year on one frontline or the other. In this FRDH podcast she talks with host Michael Goldfarb about what she learned covering Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza and Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion. Hilsum learned a lot particularly covering Israel's war with Hamas. Give us 45 minutes to tell you about it.
12/31/202344 minutes, 54 seconds
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Britain 2023: How Has So Much Gone So Wrong?

Britain in 2023 is a country where much has gone wrong and it is not a happy place. Gavin Esler, former BBC news presenter, has noticed and written a book, Britain is Better Than This, about how so much went wrong. In this FRDH podcast he explains why to host Michael Goldfarb.
12/8/202344 minutes, 55 seconds
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60 Years On: Living Memories of President Kennedy’s Assassination

On the sixtieth anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, two people who lived through that day share their memories of Kennedy's assassination and the days and decade that followed. FRDH host Michael Goldfarb talks with Richard Parker, former professor at Harvard, and co-founder of Mother Jones magazine about what might have been had JFK lived and the meanning of the President's assassination today.
11/21/202359 minutes, 10 seconds
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Israel Hamas 2023: Lebanon, Iran & the Region, What Next?

As the war between Israel and Hamas continues, what are the prospects of the conflict spreading to Lebanon, Iran and the entire Middle East region? A special FRDH podcast with Kim Ghattas in Beirut and Robin Lustig, who has reported from the region for forty years. Give us an hour to explore how Hamas's October 7th sneak attack has changed the calculus in Lebanon and Iran and where the crisis might be headed.
11/2/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 52 seconds
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Israel Hamas 2023: Waiting for the Next Phase to Begin

The war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, 2023 with a terror attack that killed 1400 Israelis and now the world is waiting for the next phase, an expected israeli invasion of Gaza. In the lull before the assault begins FRDH host Michael Goldfarb speaks with two veteran journalists who have been living the story and reporting on it for nearly 50 years. What can be done and how far will Israel be allowed to go by the US in its aim of eradicating Hamas? What are the prospects for gettting nearly 200 Israelis held hostage by Hamas safely returned?
10/17/202355 minutes, 18 seconds
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How Do You Know for Sure? Conspiracy and the Media

In a world of conspiracy theories presented as facts in new media how can you be sure of what you know? In this FRDH podcast Dr. Matthew Sweet, cultural historian and BBC presenter who has spent more time than you or I investigating this murky world, explains how knowledge is intentionally corrupted by conspiracy friendly media and why people embrace these ideas.
9/27/202348 minutes, 53 seconds
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Chilean Coup 1973: an Eyewitness's History

A half-century after the Chilean coup of 1973 an eyewitness and participant in that traumatic history remembers. Marc Cooper, then an American in his early twenties, was the President of Chile Salvador Allende's translator. In this podcast he remembers what he saw before, during and after the coup; his narrow escape; and the US role in Allende's overthrow. Eyewitness testimony on an important but neglected moment in history.
9/10/202359 minutes, 9 seconds
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Christian Nationalism: Hypocrisy and Heresy in America Today

Christian nationalism is an increasingly loud form of the faith and many evangelical Christians in America are tired of its hypocrisy. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb speaks with Andrew Whitehead, evangelical Christian and professor of sociology about his book American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens The Church.
9/1/202340 minutes, 54 seconds
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Saudi Arabia: Silent Kingdom Steps Center Stage

For decades Saudi Arabia was a place of official silence but now it is taking its place and the center of the geo-political stage. Whether it is paying exorbitant sums to entice football stars to play in its new league or holding peace conferences on Ukraine or opening up diplomatically to Israel, Iran AND the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia's leader, Mohammed bin Salman has put his kingdom in the center of the global conversation without revealing much about the place. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb talks with Steven A. Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations about the Silent Kingdom.
8/15/202348 minutes, 41 seconds
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Odesa 2023: War, Identity and Poetry

War has come with a vengeance to Odesa in 2023 and poet and translator Boris Dralyuk wants to talk about Odesa's identity and the poetry and comedy and love it inspires. In this podcast he tells about Odesa's unique historical identity as the place where so many poets, novelists, musicians and comedians come from. He knows his stuff since he is one of them.
7/29/202342 minutes, 15 seconds
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History Repeats: First Time as Tragedy, Second Time It's Still Tragic

Karl Marx was wrong when he wrote History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce. The second time around it is still tragic as the events of midsummer 2023 show. In this podcast with BBC great Robin Lustig we look at how from riots in Paris to Israeli incursions into the West Bank city of Jenin the conflicts we have covered 15/20/30 years ago keep blowing up again. Give us 50:56 to argue it out.
7/15/202350 minutes, 56 seconds
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Tel Aviv Anti-Netanyahu Demonstrations: A Rough Draft in Sound

Every Saturday night for the last 26 weeks in Tel Aviv crowds of up to 150,000 have staged demonstrations against Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu over his attempt to gut the courts and steer Israel towards strong man rule, with Netanyahu as the strong man. This short shapr podcast contains sound and interviews from the demonstration held on July 1st, 2023.
7/1/20235 minutes, 53 seconds
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Democracy in Crisis: One Idea for Fixing It

To say Democracy is in crisis today is not hyperbole but people don't have an idea about fixing it. Forty years ago Oxford professor Maurice Pope saw the crisis coming and wrote a book about one possible solution. Needless to say the book couldn't find a publisher. Their attitude was crisis, what crisis? The manuscript was lost for forty years, rediscovered and has recently been published and in this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb talks with the author's son, Hugh Pope, about his father's big idea to bypass electoral politics and take democratic decision making back to the people.
6/4/202341 minutes, 34 seconds
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China Today: One Leader, Many Chinas

Journalist Isabel Hilton talks about China today, its leader Xi Jinping, and the many different Chinas he is trying to bring under his control. China is constanstly in the news but for all the coverage it remains an unknown place. Isabel Hilton has half a century of experience reporting on the country and in this wide-ranging conversation paints a picture of Chinese society and the recent history that has created it,
5/15/202352 minutes, 23 seconds
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25 Years Later: Mo Mowlam and the Price of Northern Ireland's Peace

25 years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed this is the story of how Mo Mowlam accepted what the price of peace in Northern Ireland would be and heroically acted to make peace possible. FRDH podcast host Michael covered that story throughout the 1990s on the 25th anniversary remembers his encounters with Mo Mowlam and the twists and turns that led to Northern Ireland's peace after three decades of conflict as well as the key lesson of her brave work.
4/9/202319 minutes, 55 seconds
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One Iraqi’s War, Hopes and Ruins, A Sound History

The voice missing from most US/UK histories of the Iraq war is that of Iraqis who saw their hopes raised and then ruined. This sound history was made by FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb who covered the Iraq War as an unembedded reporter. He followed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein through the eyes of someone who had suffered terribly under Saddam’s regime. This radio documentary first aired in 2003 a few weeks after Saddam’s statue in Baghdad came down, it contains essential Iraqi voices and stands as a sound history of that conflict.
3/17/202353 minutes, 43 seconds
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Sir Lawrence Freedman on Two Wars, Two Anniversaries: Ukraine & Iraq

Sir Lawrence Freedman, takes an anniversary look at two of the big wars of the 21st century: Ukraine and Iraq. Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King's College London, talks about the current state of play in Ukraine on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion as well as what happened in Iraq on the 20th anniversary of the American invasion. Do the two conflicts have anything in common? Listen through to the end to find out.
3/11/202333 minutes, 2 seconds
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2023: Israel At the Authoritarian Crossroads

In the year 2023 Israel reached a crossroad. Hundreds of thousands of citizens demonstrated every week against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and its lurch towards authoritarianism. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb talks with former Knesset Member Ksenia Svetlova about Netanyahu's power grab and the dangerous, violent nationalism of the the religious Zionists on whom he depends for power, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir.
3/5/202332 minutes, 35 seconds
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Cultural History: Greenwich Village 1944, Brando and Baldwin

Greenwich Village in 1944 as World War 2 came to an end saw the beginnings of an explosion of artistic expression among the Village bohemians. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb tells the origin story of two of them: Marlon Brando and James Baldwin. The pair met by chance and became lifelong friends in an unrepeatable time and place: Greenwich Village 1944
2/18/202332 minutes, 5 seconds
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NHS at 75: A Surgeon, Now A Patient's History

As Britain's NHS turns 75, author Henry Marsh, who worked as a surgeon and is now a cancer patient of the National Health Service, discusses his book "And Finally" which looks back at changes in the NHS over 40 years and the role reversal of being a patient in the service. Marsh was one of Britain's foremost neurosurgeons and his conversation roams from operating room tales to philosophy to the very different experience of being on the other side of the consultant's desk. Give us 39:50 to tell you all about the difference between being an NHS surgeon and an NHS patient.
1/20/202339 minutes, 55 seconds
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America Held Hostage: Week 1 of 2023

American politics was held hostage in the first week of 2023. Once again the hostage takers were from the extremist right-wing of the already radical faction called the Republican Party who forced one of their own, Kevin McCarthy to go through 15 ballots before finally being elected Speaker of the House. The hostage takers extracted maximum concessions before giving their votes. In this extended, pull no punches conversation, Norman Ornstein, who has been studying Congress since the 1970s as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute traces the history of how the party became the threat to American democracy it has become.
1/7/202349 minutes, 55 seconds
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2022 Holiday Special: Jewish Ukrainian Music from Before Putin’s War

In this FRDH holiday special to mark the end of 2022, Michael Goldfarb plays Jewish Ukrainian music recorded by him while on assignment in L'viv before Putin's war. The stories behind these pieces are interesting and the music is unique, lovely and presciently defiant.
12/22/202216 minutes, 24 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists: The Midterms and the Renewed Search For a Strongman

In this edition of Bible Study for Atheists, FRDH host MIchael Goldfarb looks at the results of the 2022 Midterm Election through the story of the children of Israel's search for a strongman, a King. What does it say about American society that nearly half the country want to give over their democratic republic to an autocrat, if not Donald Trump than Ron DeSantis? Give him 13:30 to lead you through a Bible Study that gives an answer
11/13/202213 minutes, 30 seconds
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FRDH In Ukraine: L'viv Diary

FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb was in L'viv Ukraine recently and this is his diary. L'viv is a city he knows well and he explores how war has changed it and how different the courage of Ukrainians who are living through real war is to the enervated resignation of Britons and Americans to their own deteriorating democracies. Give him 13:30 precisely to explain it to you.
10/24/202213 minutes, 33 seconds
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Autumn 2022 and Its Economic Crises: Local and Global

The autumn of 2022 has brought Britons local and global economic crises and in this podcast the Financial Times' Martin Wolf tries to make sense of both. Did new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng not know their budget that they said wasn't a budget would cause a crisis in the markets? Didn't they think for a minute about the difficult state of the world economy reeling from three years of pandemic and now war? Give Wolf and FRDH host Michael Goldfarb 35 minutes to untangle the factors creating these economic crises and perhaps find a bit of hope for getting out of them.
10/1/202234 minutes, 58 seconds
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Gorbachev: Geopolitical Visionary, Domestic Political Failure

Was Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev a geopolitical visionary or a leader who failed at domestic politics in Russia? In this FRDH podcast, Martin Walker, who covered Gorbachev’s years in power as the Moscow correspondent of Britain’s Guardian newspaper looks back with host Michael Goldfarb on the achievements, the failures and the long eclipse of Gorbachev the man who ended the Cold War and unintentionally ended the Soviet Union. Give them 40 minutes precisely to relive those thrilling days of yesteryear that shaped the world of today.
9/1/202240 minutes, 1 second
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Bill Russell: Wasn't That a Time?

Bill Russell was one of the great figures of his time, and what a time it was. Russell was a man who transcended sport, a leader at the moment when athletes became leaders by example in the Civil Rights movement. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb talks with Michael Carlson, American ex-pat and long-time interpreter of American sport to British audiences, about Bill Russell's historic significance and what it was like to be young in a time when sporting Gods were heroes off the court as well.
8/7/202228 minutes, 52 seconds
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October 1973, Dawn of America's Reactionary Age

America’s Children of WW2 Victory grew up in a time of progressive politics and have lived our adult lives in a reactionary age and the reason is the events of October 1973. That's FRDH host Michael Goldfarb's theory and in this podcast he looks at America just before October 1973 and what happened to it after as the Great Inflation which started that month took hold. Give him 22:18 to explain his thesis.
7/25/202222 minutes, 18 seconds
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Inflation: Now and Then

Inflation is back and in this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb speaks with Financial Times columnist Martin Sandbu about the difference between inflation now and then, then being the 1970s. Nothing inspires fear in policy makers like inflation. It is the economic problem that more than any other can change a nation's trajectory in history. Take 29:30 to learn about inflation now, and what it was like back then.
7/1/202229 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Queen and I: Jubilee Rough Draft

As Queen Elizabeth the Second celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, 70 years on the throne, this First Rough Draft of History podcast looks at how the Queen intersects with many lives, including that of host Michael Goldfarb. The Jubilee marks the end of an era and is a time for a bit of reminiscence about the Queen, her family and what reporting on them over the decades has taught him about the place of the monarchy in British and American lives.
6/5/20229 minutes, 32 seconds
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Ukraine: An Eyewitness's First Rough Draft of History

To mark three months since Russia's invasion of Ukraine a conversation with the Economist's Wendell Steavenson who has been an eyewitness writing the first rough draft of the history of the war. Steavenson, a veteran reporter and author of books about the 21st century's major conflicts has fresh impressions to share with FRDH host Michael Goldfarb about Ukraine and the extraordinary mobilization of its citizens, to fight a war, like "none we have seen in this century."
5/24/202236 minutes, 16 seconds
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FRDH on the BBC: Emancipation, Assimilation & Jewish Identity

This FRDH podcast originally broadcast on the BBC World Service looks at the story of Jewish Emancipation and how it changed Jewish identity through attempts at assimilation. This is done through conversations with three prominent Jews each representing a very different strand of post-war Jewish experience ... plus lots of music. A podcast that has resonance for all minority groups trying to assimilate into societies where they are not completely welcome.
5/16/202227 minutes, 51 seconds
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Ukraine War: There Are No Simple Words, It's Time for Poets

War defies simple words, it's the time when we turn to poets to make sense of the incomprehensible. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb speaks with award-winning British poet George Szirtes who has written more than two dozen poems so far trying to make sense of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In this wide ranging half-hour conversation they talk about poetry, form, and the difference between how Central and Eastern Europeans experience history from those of us in the West. And also read poems, lots of poems.
4/13/202230 minutes, 1 second
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What is the real Russia: Tolstoy or Putin? Culture or Cruelty?

What is the real Russia? The Russia of great culture: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Akhmatova; or is it the country of dictators like Putin and Stalin and Ivan the Terrible? IN this wide ranging FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb speaks with Professor Catriona Kelly of Cambridge University about the gargantuan contradiction at the heart of Russian society: it's deep cultural tradition and its almost medieval sense of cruelty. Kelly, who was in St. Petersburg just before the invasion, shares her insights into the country, the war with Ukraine and how the conflict might end.
4/4/202236 minutes, 39 seconds
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An Odesa Story: A Tale From the Bloodlands’ Past

Odesa, on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, is a fabled city of what historian Timothy Snyder calls the Bloodlands. Part of Odesa’s legend was created by Jewish author Isaac Babel’s story collection, Odessa Stories. Today the city is a prime objective for the current Russian invasion and while waiting for the assault to begin, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb, reads one of Babel’s stories written nearly 100 years ago that looks at incomprehensible violence through a child’s eyes. Think of the children’s eyes you see in today's news photos as you listen.
3/11/202227 minutes, 52 seconds
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Putin: Waging 21st Century War for 19th Century Reasons

Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine is being fought with 21st century weapons for 19th century reasons. We know this because one of his news agencies published an article that is meant to show his thinking. Tom de Waal of Carnegie Europe joins Michael Goldfarb to look at the strange, hybrid 19th century Russian-nationalist-tsarist ideology behind Putin's 21st century war on Ukraine.
3/1/202227 minutes, 25 seconds
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Ukraine-Russia, Riddle-Enigma: Draft History of A Crisis

The Ukraine-Russia crisis really is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. In this wide ranging FRDH podcast, strategic affairs analyst Michael Moran looks at the history leading up to Russia's seeming threat to invade Ukraine and explains to host Michael Goldfarb why, despite the predictions coming out of Washington, war did not start on February 16, 2022 ... and may not happen at all. Give us 32:30 to explain it to you.
2/17/202232 minutes, 40 seconds
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Deja Vu: Bosnia & Ukraine, Europe & the US ... & Britain

2022 brings a feeling of deja vu:the response to the international crisis in Ukraine has echoes of Bosnia in Europe and the US and Britain. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks at the remarkable similarities between the international response to the current crisis in Ukraine and how it responded to the Bosnian war thirty years ago. He also explores the critical differences.
1/26/202214 minutes, 5 seconds
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Brian Klaas on Power and Why the Wrong People Keep Getting It

Power corrupts, we all know that, but according to Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas that's not why the wrong people keep getting it. In this wide ranging conversation with FRDH podcast host MIchael Goldfarb, Klaas, who has interviewed many dictators and strongman leaders talks about what makes some people seek out power and why too many of us are willing to let them have it, even though we know they shouldn't have it (think Donald Trump). Give us 42:16 to explain
1/5/202242 minutes, 16 seconds
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2021: A Personal First Rough Draft of History

A first rough draft of the history of 2021, a year that began with a Trump inspired mob assault on America's Capitol, and ends in genuine fear about the future of American democracy. FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb gives his own personal rough draft of a year when time slowed down and the weird disruptions of the covid pandemic and strange pathologies encouraged by social media made getting a handle on events more difficult. Give him 19:30 to tell you about it.
12/30/202119 minutes, 30 seconds
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Rediscovering America, One Library At A Time

After spending a quarter of a century abroad as a foreign correspondent, Mark McDonald, came up with a novel way to rediscover America: he decide visit each and every one of the libraries funded by Andrew Carnegie in the first decades of the 20th century. In this FRDH podcast, McDonald and host Michael Goldfarb talk about the way local history is revealed when you stop in at a small town's Carnegie library
12/10/202123 minutes, 13 seconds
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Thanksgiving 400: Facts, Legends, Poetry

2021 marks the 400th Thanksgiving, no other American holiday is encircled by so many different facts and legends, nor celebrated with such famous poetry and lyrics. For this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks at Thanksgiving 400 and tries to separate facts from legend and looks at how the holiday has evolved over centuries to its central place in American life. A 22 minute long meditation on historical legend and historical fact ... with poetry
11/11/202122 minutes, 6 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists: Americans Are Selling Their Birthright

In this episode of Bible Study for Atheist FRDH host, Michael Goldfarb, looks at how the story of Esau selling his birthright has echoes today, as many Americans are selling their birthright: Democracy. Give him 14:53 seconds to explain the connection between the Bible and today.
10/10/202114 minutes, 53 seconds
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How 9/11 Changed Everything ... In Britain

People knew as they watched that 9/11 changed everything for the US but how it would change everything in Britain is a different story. In this FRDH podcast to mark the 20th anniversary of the WTC's destruction, host Michael Goldfarb looks back at his reporting in Britain since then to tell you about how Britain's Muslim minority has changed and also the big unintended consequence of 9/11 ... it will surprise you.
9/7/202120 minutes, 18 seconds
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Kabul's Fall: An Eyewitness's First Rough Draft of History

The fall of Kabul, journalist Lynne O'Donnell's eyewitness account, is the essence of what journalists mean when we say we are writing the First Rough Draft of History. O'Donnell has been writing the first rough draft of Afghanistan's history for much of the last two decades. Give her a half-hour to give her eyewitness testimony to what happened at the very end and what might happen next.
8/21/202130 minutes, 18 seconds
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Afghanistan: Then, Now ... How, Why?

The Taliban's rapid takeover of Afghanistan has people all over asking how and why did it happen. Afghanistan was America’s forgotten war but now everyone remembers it especially those who have never been there. But for those who have been deeply, emotionally, physically connected to the country and can remember then and now, the promise of the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban and the dieadly decades long disintegration of the possiblities of that moment these days have been unbearable. Sarah chayes is one of them. In this FRDH podcast interview Chayes looks back at what went wrong and frankly assesses whether anything could ever have gone right.
8/17/202122 minutes, 55 seconds
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How Podcasting Became a Cultural Phenomenon

A podcast about how podcasting became the cultural phenomenon of the decade. There are literally millions of podcasts with tens of millions of episodes to listen to. In this FRDh podcast Michael Goldfarb looks at how and why some podcasts have become popular and why the BBC, NPR and the NY Times are all in on podcasting. Give him 15:07 to explain it all to you.
8/11/202115 minutes, 7 seconds
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Gavin Esler on How (and Why) Britain Will End

Breaking up is hard to do and in this podcast former BBC news presenter Gavin Esler talks about the how and why of Britain's likely end. In a wide-ranging discussion with FRDH host Michael Goldfarb, Esler talks about the history of the UK and the political missteps of the last 25 years that have brought Britons and Britain to the brink of disintegration. Give us 27:37 to explain.
7/10/202127 minutes, 37 seconds
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Midsummer Meditation: England, Then And Now

To mark Midsummer 2021, a meditation on England and being English, then and now. Fifty years ago, FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb thought he had found the key to Englishness. Eventually he moved to the country. This is a meditation on how the country has changed over half a century and what England meant then and now.
6/20/202118 minutes, 17 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists: Israel, Palestine & Mercy

In this Bible Study for Atheists host Michael Goldfarb looks at the conflict between Israel, Palestine and asks where is Mercy? Mercy is the holiest and most noble attribute of humanity, at least according to the Bible and the Q'uran. Why is there so little of it to be found in round and after round of clashes between Israel and Hamas
5/21/20219 minutes, 1 second
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Bible Study for Atheists: Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians

This edition of Bible Study for Atheists looks at how Jews and Christians diverged a long time ago, but not at the time of Jesus when there were Jewish Christians. FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb talks with Anglican priest Giles Fraser about his book Chosen: Lost and Found between Christianity and Judaism, a personal exploration of where God is to be found in the conflict between Judaism and the new religion that emerged from one of Jews" greatest traumas: the destruction of the Second Temple by the Roman Empire.
5/8/202123 minutes, 17 seconds
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Britain's Tories: Corruption & the One-Party State

Britain's Tories have become a case study of corruption in modern democracies for a simple reason: they govern what has become a one-party state. In this FRDH podcasthost Michael Goldfarb looks at how the Covid pandemic made it clear that the British political system has created a corrupt one-party state where political donations open the floodgates to government contracts.
5/1/202116 minutes, 33 seconds
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Three Women, the Vietnam War and the First Rough Draft of History

An interview with author Elizabeth Becker about her book, You Don't Belong Here," the story of how three women reporters covering the Vietnam War changed how war was reported and so rewrote the way the first rough draft of history was compiled. What did it take for these three women to get to the battlefield, and observe war, something women were not allowed to do by the US military? What was the price they paid?
4/16/202125 minutes, 55 seconds
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Jewish Ghost Stories: Chapter 5, Vienna

In the fifth and final episode of his series of Jewish Ghost Stories, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb goes to Vienna, to look not just for the city's famous Jewish ghosts, like Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler, but the much lesser known ones who fought in the revolution of 1848. He also meets people who have been moved by the stories of Jewish ghosts to convert to Judaism.
4/1/202114 minutes, 45 seconds
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Jewish Ghost Stories: Chapter 4, Hamburg

In the fourth of his series of Jewish Ghost Stories, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb goes to Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg, the largest cemetery in Europe, to look for the ghost of Gabriel Riesser. Lawyer, judge and publisher of the shortlived journal of the 1830s, Der Jude.
3/31/202114 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jewish Ghost Stories: Chapter 3, Frankfurt

In the third of this series of Jewish Ghost Stories, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb tells the tale of Frankfurt and its famous ghetto street, the Judengasse, and the struggle of its brightest young Jews in the decades after they were allowed out of the ghetto. A ghost story of identity.
3/29/202114 minutes, 28 seconds
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Jewish Ghost Stories: Chapter 2, Berlin

In this second in a series of five Jewish Ghost Stories told by FRDH host Michael Goldfarb goes to Berlins. He explores the identity crises of some of the city's most famous Jewish ghosts: philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, poet and essayist Heinrich Heine and salonniére extraordinary Rahel Varnhagen
3/28/202114 minutes, 23 seconds
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Jewish Ghost Stories: Chapter 1, Amsterdam

The first in a series of five Jewish Ghost Stories told by FRDH host Michael Goldfarb is set in Amsterdam. He goes looking for the ghost of the city's most famous Jewish son: the 17th century philosopher, Baruch Spinoza.
3/26/202116 minutes, 6 seconds
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Seduced, Abandoned ... Redeemed? The Pope in Iraq

The Bush administration seduced and abandoned Iraq, could the Pope's visit redeem it? In this podcast, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb plays psychoanalyst to explore how the Iraq War led to American withdrawal from global leadership and explore the impact of the Pope's visit on the people of Iraq.
3/9/202114 minutes, 40 seconds
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FRDH on the BBC: Rush Limbaugh, Voice of America's Calamity

Rush Limbaugh was the voice of those who led America into Calamity. But he was just a front man. In this podcast, first broadcast on the BBC, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb looks at how American broadcasting got to Limbaugh and his hate-filled, fact challenged propaganda. It places the story in its full historical context. From the beginning people understood broadcasting's unique power to sway and indoctrinate. IN America after World War 2 the Fairness doctrine was put in place to try and restrain unscrupulous political manipulation of the airwaves. It worked for a while then Limbaugh was allowed to use his voice to bring calamity to America. Give FRDH 57 minutes to explain.
2/18/202157 minutes, 25 seconds
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21st Century Epistemology: How Do We Know What We Know Is True?

Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know - the theory of knowledge. But in the 21st century the objective basis of knowledge has been challenged as never before. In this FRDH special, Baroness Greenfield, Oxofrd University neuroscientist talks to FRDH hos Michael Goldfarb about 21st century epistemology. How can people recognize what is factual truth when bombarded all day long by online falsehoods that seem like facts? What happens when the usual processes by which learning take place are amped up and corrupted by a million lies a minute on Twitter? Take 23 minutes to find out.
2/9/202123 minutes, 6 seconds
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Rules For Starting a Civil War

What are the historical rules for starting a civil war? What conditions have to be met, how far into irreconcilable hatred must a society fall before fighting becomes inevitable? Is the US close to meeting these conditions? In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks back at civil wars he has covered and analyzes the current tensions in America against the lessons he learned in places like Bosnia and Northern Ireland.
2/3/202113 minutes, 36 seconds
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Trump's Capitol Building Riot: Insurrection, Coup d'Etat or Something Else?

On January 6, 2021 a mob incited by President Donald Trump broke into the US Capitol building in what has been called a riot, an insurrection, a coup d'État, a revolution. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb tries to find the best word to describe the event and wonders how ti can be stopped from happening again. He draws on his experience covering riots and insurrection in other parts of the world as well as his study of philosophy to find the word that most accurately sums up the riot at the Capitol.
1/9/202115 minutes, 54 seconds
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Reality vs Twitter in the Year of the Pandemic with Robin Lustig

As 2020 comes to an end veteran BBC journalist Robin Lustig talks about how reality was obscured by twitter as we all tried to understand what was happening in the pandemic. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb and Robin Lustig, who have been front line journalists for a combined 75 years, go through a year like no other and its effect on them. You think you know how the world works and then suddenly you find out you haven't a clue. But it's not all doom and gloom, promise. Give us 18 minutes to prove it.
12/22/202018 minutes, 12 seconds
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The Crown, Thatcher & Brexit: No, No, NO!

In Netflix hit series The Crown, the Margaret Thatcher on display is far from the woman who has inspired Brexit. As the final Brexit negotiations go down to the wire FRDH host Michael Goldfarb, who covered Thatcher's resignation and the Brexit vote, seeks to correct the record. He remembers the most powerful, focused and radical politician of his lifetime, Margaret Thatcher. A woman who understood big ideas and sadly walked away from them. From a speech to her constituency Conservative group: "Some fears have been expressed that if Britain joins the Common Market she will cease to be able to formulate her own foreign policy and will lose her separate identity. Looking at the European Community at present, it does not appear that its separate members have lost either their identity or their sovereignty. Most people when they talk of sovereignty mean the effective control over the destiny of the nation by Parliament. But today we have entered into many Treaties and military alliances which limit our freedom of individual action. More and more we are becoming dependent for our future, on action in concert with other nations. To enter into commercial obligations and treaties is an exercise of sovereignty, not a derogation from it. Under treaties we accept obligations which we ourselves help to formulate. Sovereignty and independence are not ends in themselves. It is no good being independent in isolation if it involves running down our economy and watching other nations outstrip us in both trade and influence. We should be failing in our duty to future generations if by refusing to negotiate now we committed this country to isolation from Europe for many years to come. Moreover unless our own economy flourishes we shall be unable to hold the Commonwealth together and its members will then turn increasingly towards Europe or America or Russia for help. On the political side we should remember that France and Germany have attempted to sink their political differences and work for a united Europe. If France can do this so can we. " Give him 17:30 seconds to tell you the truth about Thatcher and Brexit.
12/8/202017 minutes, 32 seconds
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New York Stories: Leaving Home 1985

Everyone loves New York stories, this is FRDH host Michael Goldfarb's from 1985, the year he left his home town New York for London. It's a story of a New York that no longer exists and the pain of leaving home forever. It's a New York story that takes on big questions like "Is God Punishing Us?" Really, take 15 minutes to listen - you will get the definitive answer.
11/21/202015 minutes, 19 seconds
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Election 2020: A Philadelphia Diary

A diary with sound from Philadelphia and other cities in Pennsylvania, the tipping point state in Election 2020. FRDH host Michael Goldfarb records a rough draft of the dramatic 5 days between Election Day and the call that Pennsylvania had been won by Joe Biden and with that state, the election. Give him 25 minutes to tell you the story and even sing you a song.
11/11/202024 minutes, 26 seconds
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Election 2020: Scranton Trump Feels the Love One Last Time

In this Election 2020 podcast diary MIchael Goldfarb is in Scranton PA to feel the love for Donald Trump at one of his last campaign rallies. He also takes time to think about what the factors in American society that got Trump into the White House. Give him eight minutes to explain.
11/3/20208 minutes, 19 seconds
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Election 2020 in Reading Pa.: PTSD and Organizing, not Mourning

FRDH host Michael Goldfarb is in Pennsylvania for election 2020 keeping a diary and from Reading writes about how some Democrats are suffering from PTSD and othes used the shock of 2016 to get organizing to defeat Trump Give him 13 minutes to explain.
11/2/202012 minutes, 55 seconds
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All My Presidents (and one Prime Minister): Clinton and Bush

This edition of All My Presidents looks at Bill Clinton George W Bush and the British Prime Minister who links them, Tony Blair. FRDH host Michael Goldfarb, who reported on all three men during his time working for NPR, reflects on how presidential power can overwhelm the most cynical reporter and the most idealistic Prime MInister. Give him 17 minutes. He has some stories to tell.
10/21/202017 minutes, 38 seconds
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All My Presidents: Carter and Reagan

As Election 2020 approaches, this All My Presidents episode of FRDH looks at Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Host Michael Goldfarb looks at America as it completed its transition from the New Deal/Civil Rights era of Democratic party dominance to the Reactionary Age of the Republicans. With a bit about the Supreme Court, as well.
10/6/202016 minutes, 30 seconds
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QAnon: Who's In Charge, Here?

Even before the election season, American society was being convulsed by new social/political movements but no one seemed to be in charge of them: QAnon and Black Lives Matter. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks at the 21st century history of activist political movements and wonders why so many have failed, except QAnon.
9/20/202012 minutes, 34 seconds
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All My Presidents: Eisenhower and Kennedy

In this podcast originally broadcast on the BBC in 2016, FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb looks back at the first presidents whose terms in office he lived through; Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. He reflects on the president's role beyond politics in shaping American's sense of themselves. The stories he tells give a hint at the long downhill run American society has taken from the days of Eisenhower and Kennedy to a presidential choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
9/8/202014 minutes, 55 seconds
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Biden/Harris: the Pandemic Campaign and Postal Voting

The Biden/Harris ticket has been announced, now how do the pair campaign in a pandemic? In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb speaks to Democratic party organizer Meg Ansara, veteran of the 2012 Obama Campaign and the 2016 Clinton campaign about how to overcome the challenges of getting out the vote when you can't just knock on somebody's front door and ask to come in. Give us 17:33 of your time to explain how to do it
8/15/202017 minutes, 33 seconds
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100 Days Til the US Election: What Is The Reality?

With a little under 100 Days til the US Election no one is sure what the reality of the race is. It is a measure of just how norm-shattering, traumatic, and, frankly, bizarre Donald Trump’s years in office have been that virtually no one feels confident that the previous history of US Presidential election is a guide to what will happen on November 3rd. In this FRDH Podcast Michael Goldfarb tries to see through the twitter induced paranoia engulfing American society to the historical precedents that should be providing the key to understanding the situation.
7/25/202011 minutes, 45 seconds
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A Summer Story: Bastille Day 1970

Forget about the misery of summer 2020 and let FRDH host Michael Goldfarb tell you a summer story about Bastille Day 1970 in Paris. This departure from the usual subjects of FRDH podcast will take your mind off our present troubles.
7/14/202014 minutes, 29 seconds
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Mississippi 1995: A Conversation About Race

A conversation about race from 1995 when FRDH host Michael Goldfarb traveled around Mississippi. Racial tensions are once again convulsing America and these two talks from a series made for the BBC a quarter of a century ago show much and how little has changed. The conversations about race Americans keep saying is necessary, Goldfarb had them in Mississippi 25 years ago, they are like nothing you expect.
7/3/202029 minutes, 7 seconds
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Post-Pandemic: Making an Economics of Belonging

An interview with Martin Sandbu of the Financial Times about his new book, The Economics of Belonging. Even before coronavirus struck many people did not feel a sense of belonging to the economy. Sandbu's book is an analysis of the problem and some suggestions for how to address it post-pandemic. He explains just how to FRDH host Michael Goldfarb in this clear and direct economic discussion.
6/28/202027 minutes, 52 seconds
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Look What's Happening Out In The Streets: Now and Then

"Look what's happening out in the streets," sang the Jefferson Airplane half a century ago. Now, as then, the Airplane could sing, "Look what's happening out in the streets" about demonstrations sparked by the murder of George Floyd. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb looks at the differences and the similarities between two uprisings of people against the police and a government that has lost moral legitimacy in their eyes.
6/7/202013 minutes, 17 seconds
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Post-Pandemic Lockdown: How Will We Travel?

The pandemic lockdown is coming to an end, summer is beginning, how will we travel? Elizabeth Becker, author of Overbooked, the definitive investigation into the travel industry, talks with FRDH host Michael Goldfarb about an impossible situation: Airlines are still not operating, countries have not opened their borders, what happens now? The travel industry represents 10% of global gdp ... if it can't get up and running quickly can the world's economy avoid depression. And if does get up and running, can the planet stand the strain? Give us 17 minutes to explore the answers for you.
5/24/202017 minutes, 12 seconds
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Four Dead in Ohio

Four Dead in Ohio tells the story of the Kent State Massacre, May 4th 1970. On that day the National Guard opened fire on several hundred students at Kent State University in northeastern Ohio. Four were killed, nine wounded. Two weeks later, two more students were gunned down at Jackson State in MIssissippi. In this documentary built around sound recorded at Kent on the day and other sources, and interviews with survivors, Michael Goldfarb tells the story of the killings. he looks at how the event still influences politics and protest in an America as divided now as it was on that day.
5/4/202056 minutes, 30 seconds
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Pandemic Poetry: Rivers, Roads and Realms of Gold

Forget being locked in during the coronavirus pandemic and listen to some poetry. Travel down rivers and roads into realms of Gold and everywhere from your local sidewalk to the Great Wall of China. FRDH host Michael Goldfarb reads work by John Keats, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Walt Whitman
5/2/202010 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Most Frightening Pandemic Number of All

There are so many numbers being thrown around during the pandemic but only one is truly frighening: 26 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. What does it mean when so many lose their jobs in just over a month? It's never happened before. In this FRDH podcast, nost MIchael Goldfarb looks at the frightening precedents of earlier eras of mass unemployment. Give him 11:18 to explain it all to you.
4/23/202011 minutes, 18 seconds
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Parsing the Pandemic Numbers

In any highly reported catastrophe like the coronavirus pandemic the numbers reported in the press need to be parsed with care. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb casts a veteran journalist's sceptical eye over the pandemic numbers and offers helpful hints for parsing them.
4/5/202013 minutes, 5 seconds
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Lambs and Mercy: Poems for a Worrying Time

We need more poems in day to day life, especially now when everyone has time to contemplate the deep distillations of experience that poets create. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb reads poems by William Blake, John Clare and Philip Levine about lambs, springtime, mercy and love. Something we can all use in this time of self-isolation and disease.
3/21/202016 minutes, 11 seconds
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Looking for Ghosts

Forget the Coronavirus panic and listen to these ghost stories. Five tales of when I went looking for ghosts among the forgotten of Europe. Each one is around 14 minutes long. You can listen in one go or dip in/dip out. My stories of looking for ghosts are guaranteed to take your mind off the chaos outside your door. Share with friends.
3/15/20201 hour, 10 minutes, 30 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists: Solomon’s Wisdom & A Divided Society

America is a divided society, what can the Bible story of Solomon's wisdom in deciding who the true mother of the child is teach us about healing this division. In this Bible Study for Atheists edition of FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb looks at the message of this well-known story and applies it to healing the rift between America's two sides. Give him 10 minutes of your time.
3/8/202010 minutes, 8 seconds
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Sanders ≠ Corbyn or Anyone Else, That May Be HIs Secret

In the latest attacks by the newsmedia on the Democratic frontrunner, Bernie Sanders, is being compared to Britain's Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a loser by any definition. But does this comparison hold up? In this FRDH podcast MIchael Goldfarb takes the Sanders-Corbyn comparison apart and explores why the press hates Bernie and has failed to explore how he got to the front of the pack.
2/14/202013 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Paradox of Tolerance and the First Amendment

How much tolerance should we give to people who put forward propaganda as journalism claiming the protections of the First Amendment? Look at America today, hopelessly divided, how much of that division is an example of the Paradox of Tolerance? Should a tolerant society turn its back on its intolerant members? In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb puzzles out the limits of a free press.
1/31/202019 minutes, 42 seconds
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Suleimani Assassination pt 2: Iran's Vengeance? What Can It Realistically Do?

Qassem Suleimani's funeral saw call after call for Iran to take vengeance on the US. But really what can Iran do? In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb talks with journalist, author and Russia/Iran expert David Patrikarakos about the Islamic Republic's options.
1/7/20209 minutes, 50 seconds
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Suleimani Assassination: The View From the Real Battleground: Iraq

The long history of Iran-Iraq-US conflict leading to the assassination of Qassem Suleimani in the main battleground of this undeclared war: Iraq. This FRDH podcast - right in the middle of the news - is a conversation with Iraqi journalist Mina al-Oraibi about Suleimani's murder and its likely impact on Iraqi society. It is Iraqis who will pay the price.
1/5/202015 minutes, 28 seconds
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UK US Elections: What is the Center?

Does the crushing of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK election hold a lesson for the US in 2020's election? Must the Dems nominate someone from the center? In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb asks, just what is the center? Is it a fixed point? Must the center always hold
12/14/201914 minutes, 30 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists: Don the Revelator

John the Revelator is an African-American hymn and Don the Revelator is the current President of the United States. In the latest edition of Bible Study for Atheists, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb goes on a roundabout journey to explain why Donald Trump is the Revelator of contemporary America and that's fine with evangelical Christians.
12/6/201914 minutes, 19 seconds
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FRDH on the BBC: HIgh Crimes and Misdemeanours

In this BBC programme, originally broadcast in the Archive on 4 slot, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb uses archive sound and historical readings to trace the history of American presidential impeachment. Using interviews with participants in the last two presidential imepachments and historians he explores what it's like to sit in judgment on a freely elected president and just what are High Crimes and Misdemeanours. Those who don't know history are condemned to repeat it - listen to this important history and, please, share widely.
11/24/201956 minutes, 18 seconds
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Tom Holland On Dominion: Christianity and the Western Mind

A conversation with historian Tom Holland about his book Dominion about Christianity and the Western mind. This challenging, wide-ranging discussion looks at the early church, Christianity's many reformations and how it became, in Holland's view, the greatest hegemonic thought system in the world, influencing people in ways they don't even know.
11/2/201924 minutes, 47 seconds
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A Presidential Tweet>A Turkish Invasion = ISIS Reborn?

A tweet by Donald Trump announcing the withdrawal of American troops assisting the Kurds in northeastern Syria opened the door for a Turkish invasion of the area raising the spectre that ISIS would be reborn in the chaos. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb speaks with someone from Mosul in Iraq who lived the full horror of ISIS the first time around, the man known on twitter as @mosuleye.
10/11/201911 minutes, 10 seconds
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Trump/Johnson Let's Make a Deal

The right-wing in Anglo America has reached apotheosis with Donald Trump and Boris Johnson in office. The pair represent the end point of Reagan and Thatcher style conservatism. Let's free up business to make a deal. Now America's Republicans and Britain's Conservatives are led by two hucksters trying to sell deals that are incomplete and half baked ... but from which they hope to profit. In this 10 minute long podcast Michael Goldfarb looks at the reality of trade dealing and nations being led by two men whose word is most definitely not their bond.
9/29/201910 minutes, 7 seconds
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Brexit: A Judicious (not Judicial) Review

With Parliament out of session following a week of crisis this is a good time to assess Brexit's impact on British society with Robin Lustig, the most judicious journalist, I know.
9/14/201916 minutes
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How Brexit Killed the Conservative Party

In the first week of September 2019, Brexit killed Britain's Conservative Party stony dead. It was a self-inflicted event. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb looks at the quarter century long history that led to the week's fast moving events. A spoken First Rough Draft of History as an idea, and an account of the self-immolation of the Tories, as its loudest Brexiters cheered on and Boris Johnson watched his government disintegrate.
9/8/201912 minutes, 33 seconds
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Brexit Britain Breaking Up? Are You Sure?

Conventional wisdom in the UK says Brexit will cause Britain to break-up. Scotland and Northern Ireland both voted to remain in the EU. Both will now seek to leave the United Kingdom. But are the conventional wisdom mongers right about the break-up of Brexit Britain? In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb challenges the conventional wisdom about Northern Ireland, specifically.
8/7/20199 minutes, 44 seconds
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Trump, Pelosi, the Squad and a Great American Novel

The infighting and race baiting surrounding Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and the Squad is symptomatic of a political system dominated by truths learned 50 years ago. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb looks at what happens to people who cling to hard to the "truth", a lesson he learned from one the great American novels: Winesburg, Ohio.
7/21/201913 minutes, 15 seconds
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Brexit and the British Ambassador

Brexit has cost the British Ambassador in Washington DC his job. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb talks to Bronwen Maddox about the effect British Ambassador Kim Darroch's resignation will have on the people who administer Britain's government: the civil service and what it means for Anglo-American relations and Brexit.
7/13/201911 minutes, 20 seconds
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Iran War Fever: a 40-year History

For the last 40 years there has been Iran War Fever in Washington DC. With the latest bout exhausting talking heads on 24-hour news channels, Michael Goldfarb, who has reported from Iran and around the Middle East, explains why in the 40 year history of Iran War Fever, there hasn't actually been a war with Iran.
5/18/201910 minutes, 51 seconds
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Republic or Empire: Pax Americana?

Pax Americana is a documentary essay about Republics vs empires and what it means to be a citizen of both. It is about America’s long argument with itself about what it should be: empire or republic. In the age of Donald Trump, republican values seem to be disappearing at an accelerated pace. Oligarchy has replaced republican democracy. Is it just repeating a process that went on 2000 years ago in in Rome at the time of Augustus and Tiberius, a republic that had become a global power changing inevitably into something far from its founding ethos? FRDH host Michael Goldfarb looks for an answer.
5/2/201935 minutes, 33 seconds
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Remembering the Forgotten: Gabriel Riesser

Remembrance lies at the heart of Judaism and Christianity. Every spring Jews and Christians remember the great events that shaped their faiths and cultures: the Passover and the Crucifixion. But in the millennia that have passed since those events there have been other great moments in the development of those faiths that have fallen out of historical memories. IN this FRDH, First Rough Draft of History, podcast Michael Goldfarb remembers Gabriel Riesser, a very important and interesting person
4/19/201915 minutes, 56 seconds
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Brexit: a Ghost Story

If you've been having a hard time understanding Brexit maybe it's because you don't get that it is a ghost story. Brexit is about how the ghost of Margaret Thatcher has come to haunt Britain's Conservative Party. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb looks back at the nearly 30 year story of how the Tory Party has tried to appease her ghost and atone for the sin of forcing her to resign by carrying forward what they think she would have wanted: Britain out of the EU ... Brexit.
4/2/201918 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Very, Very First Rough Draft of HIstory: What Assyria Can Teach Us

FRDH stands for First Rough Draft of History and the very first drafts of history were written in cuneiform in the Akkadian language at the time of the Assyrian Empire, around 1,000 BCE. In this podcast, Michael Goldfarb talks to Assyriologist Dr. Moudhy al-Rashid, about the world described in the cuneiform covered fragments she works with. Her specialization is in medical texts. You think depression is a modern malady? It isn't. Listen to Dr. al-Rashid describe how the ancient people of Assyria and Babylon dealt with it.
3/14/201915 minutes, 54 seconds
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America's Decades Long Incivil War

Since at least 1994 America has been in the grip of an incivil war. That year, led by Newt Gingrich, the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives for the frst time in 40 years. Incivil war may sound like a figure of speech, something in the realm of the metaphorical - but it is not. The weapons may be words but the they are deployed in support of a radical reordering of American society. This documentary originally aired on BBC Radio 4. If you want to understand how America got to Trump you must understand this history recounted with great detail by Michael Goldfarb. Please share this documentary widely, urgently.
3/1/201959 minutes, 3 seconds
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Venezuela & the US: Everything Must Change

Venezuela is back in the news along with its relationship to the US. Venezuelans have taken to the street to demand a change of government from the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro but do they want US intervention? In this FRDH podcast, drawn from Michael Goldfarb's archive he looks back at a reporting trip to Caracas made in 2007 shortly after protests against Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez had been put down. What possibility for positive change is there in Venezuela so long as the US looms over the country.
2/3/201916 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Brexit Vote: A Report from Very English Scene

On the day of the Brexit Vote: a report from the scene outside Parliament as Brexiteers and Remainers demonstrate as MPs prepare to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement from the EU. FRDH stands for First Rough Draft of History and host Michael Goldfarb took his sound recorder down to the demonstration to write this very immediate draft of the historic Brexit Vote.
1/17/201912 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Many Meanings of Treason

Treason has many meanings. Treason is a fighting word and a legal term and it is very likely to be one of the words of 2019. Right wing demagogues throw charges of treason around easily, liberals tend to prefer not to use it except in its narrowest legal sense. In this First Rough Draft of History podcast, Michael Goldfarb looks at some different definitions of the word and wonders if they apply to America in the age of Trump.
1/3/201911 minutes, 51 seconds
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The NHS at 70: Born From Crisis, Enduring Stil

On the 70th anniversary of Britain’s NHS, this FRDH podcast looks at a personal level at how the NHS born out of crisis compares to the American health care system. Host Michael Goldfarb has experienced both systems intimately and explains the origins of the NHS and the challenges it faces today.
12/5/201812 minutes, 30 seconds
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Work: a Matter of Life and Death

The world of work is changing and it's become a matter of life and death. Life expectancy in America is declining especially among those whose work and prospects have disappeared. Michael Goldfarb speaks with Princeton University economics professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton about their research into the causes of declining life expectancy and the prospects for the future as technology makes many forms of work obsolete. Hand loom weavers disappeared at the start of the industrial revolution, what forms of work will disappear in the 21st century?
11/19/201819 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Midterms and the Democrats' Dilemma

The American midterm elections are over but the Democrats' Dilemma remains. How to harness its progressive grassroots energy and the real hatred of Donald Trump into a deeper political program that can be built on for 2020 and beyond. This podcast is based on reporting FRDH presenter Michael Goldfarb did for a BBC radio 4 documentary. He traveled for three weeks in October to Georgia, Texas and the Northeast making a documentary to report on the Democrats Dilemma. This is a true First Rough Draft of History. Listen and decide whether you think it will stand the test of time.
11/9/201831 minutes, 57 seconds
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Pipe Bombs and How Societies FallApart: A Talk with Author Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon is one of America's foremost writers but he was born in Bosnia and saw his country disintegrate. Actually Hemon watched the disintegration from America. He was in the US when the war started that destroyed his hometown Sarajevo. Stranded in Chicago and didn't speak much English. Yet within a few years he had graduated from Northwestern and was working on his first book. What happened in Bosnia has formed his world view and in this FRDH podcast Hemon speaks about the small steps that lead societies to disintegrate into civil war.
10/24/201819 minutes, 37 seconds
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FRDH on the BBC: Journey To Ashkenaz

In this BBC documentary, FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb, goes on a Journey to Ashkenaz. He visits what is today Ukraine which was once the heartland of Ashkenazic Jewry. It is where his father's family comes from. Excellent sound and music in this piece.
10/22/201827 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Democrats in the Midterms: with Brian Klaas

The Democrats in the upcoming Midterm elections face a dilemma. Beyond not being the party of Trump who are they? What does the party stand for? How do Democratic leaders square the circle between its urban base and the rural voters it still needs to win power. In a far ranging conversation with Washington Post columnist and political science professor Brian Klaas, FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb explores answers to the Democrats' Dilemma at the Midterms.
10/2/201820 minutes, 8 seconds
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On Being Cut Off From History

What happens when a group of people are cut off from their history? More specifically their family history. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb reflects on how children become aware of history and how the Holocaust has cut most of the world's Jews off from their family stories and so cut them off from the main channel of history.
9/26/201811 minutes, 26 seconds
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50 Years After the Soviet Invasion: Czech Cinema Lives On

On the 50th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, a look back at Czech Cinema. In a decade of tumultuous change in the arts and cultural expression this tiny country's filmmakers were as important to the youth revolution as artists in the West. In this podcast, originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb tells the story of how a unique set of circumstances made Czechoslovakia in the 1960s one of the powerhouses of world cinema. These were films made by people who had the first rough draft of history burned onto them in childhood and were not broken by all that they endured: Hitler/Stalin ... they laughed at the worst and in sharing that mockery with audiences gave them courage to stand up to totalitarianism. Of course, there was a price. But the Czech cinema of that time lives on.
8/20/201814 minutes, 27 seconds
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Ireland: Borders, Brexit & Omagh

On the twentieth anniversary of the Omagh bombing an FRDH meditation on Ireland, borders and how Brexit promises to undo the achievement of the Good Friday Agreement. For five years in the 1990s FRDH host Michael Goldfarb covered the political process that led to the Good Friday Agreement. He recalls the politicians struggle to make the partition border on the island of Ireland meaningless, he also remembers how at the moment of success there was one final tragedy to mark the end of the Troubles: the Omagh bombing.
8/13/201815 minutes, 56 seconds
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Death, Taxes and Donald Trump

A conversation with investigative journalist David Cay Johnston on death, taxes and Donald Trump. "Nothing is certain but death and taxes" wrote Benjamin Franklin. Another certainty is that Donald Trump is afraid to let the people he governs see his taxes. Johnston explains the history of taxes and how from the beginning of civilization it has been used to organize economics and politics. Then we talk about what Donald Trump's taxes tell us about the man. Johnston knows some stuff: he has been reporting on Trump's taxes and business affairs for 30 years.
7/22/201816 minutes, 10 seconds
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Civility And the Paradox of Tolerance

America is undergoing a crisis of civility - don't just take FRDH podcast's word for it - and this civility crisis is an example of the Paradox of Tolerance. In this FRDH, Michael Goldfarb traces the origins of the civility crisis thirty years to Newt Gingrich's declaration of a second Civil War using words instead of guns to conquer all those who disagree with the Republican party. He looks at how three decades of Republican unwillingness to tolerate other views of America has brought America face to face with philosopher Karl Popper's concept of the Paradox of Tolerance. Do you think politely asking Sarah Sanders to leave a restaurant was uncivil? or perfectly reasonable? Share this podcast widely.
7/10/201812 minutes, 41 seconds
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Reality in the age of trump

What is Reality in the Age of Trump? In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb speaks with Luke Harding, former Moscow correspondent of the Guardian newspaper, and author of Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, about the long, long history of official lying in Russia, how people in that country sort out reality from the propaganda, and how Putin's expertise in creating alternative "reality" influenced the 2016 US elections. Is reality an objective form of truth, or is it just relative. What did Lenin say about it? Do governments impose their version of reality, or do people collude in their own propagandisation?
6/20/201818 minutes, 49 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists: Jewish Quarrels

This edition of Bible Study for Atheists looks at today's Jewish quarrels and asks whether the arguments among Jews today over whether to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and the expansion of Israeli settlements into the West Bank is an echo of the quarrels of Biblical times. Is the story of the 12 tribes of Israel separating into two kingdoms true? How deep is the historical continuity between the Israelites whose story we read in the Old Testament and that of modern Jewry?
6/9/201815 minutes, 1 second
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Iran: Ignorance Is Not Bliss

When it comes to Iran, ignorance is not bliss. For the last 40 years, American policy makers have displayed astonishing ignorance about the day to day reality of life in Iran. This has led to one blunder after another in how the US deals with the country, most recently President Trump's withdrawing the US from the JCPOA or Iran nuclear deal. What makes this ignorance astonishing is just how much contact there is between ordinary Iranians and Iranian Americans. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb speaks with Iranian-American journalist and author Azadeh Moaveni who has reported from Iran and written two highly regarded books about the country about Trump's withdrawing the US from the nuclear deal, what it means to the many Iranians who do not support the regime and whether it brings the prospect of war closer. Ignorance may be a problem of American policy makers, but it is not a problem in this fascinating 15 minute long conversation.
5/25/201814 minutes, 26 seconds
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Reality of Torture With No Euphemisms

The reality of torture is usually smothered in euphemism when it is discussed in Washington as it has been during the Senate hearings on Gina Haspel, Trump's nominee to run the CIA. It shouldn't be. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb, who has interviewed torture victims and torturers, and made the DuPont award winning documentary, "Surviving Torture: Inside Out" cuts through the euphemisms surrounding this barbaric practice. He explains why the official version of what happens in CIA blacksites is wrong. Torture is for punishment not to extract information.
5/11/201813 minutes, 10 seconds
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Warsaw Ghetto Anniversary Meditation: What Would You Have Done?

On the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb has a meditation on the uprising's meaning today. He tells the story of how the Jews of Warsaw, one-third of the population of the city were herded into a Ghetto and how slowly and then rapidly the Nazis tried to kill them all until, eventually, a group of fighters decided to die with a gun in their hands on teh street of the Warsaw Ghetto rather than to walk meekly into a gas chamber. He explains what effect this story continues to have on himself and his fellow Jews, wherever they live and he asks profound questions about finding the courage to respond to the worst violence.
4/18/201812 minutes, 30 seconds
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King and Kennedy Assassinations: America's Repressed Trauma

The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy in the spring of 1968 was a national trauma. Like most traumas people have repressed their memories of the event. Yet, half a century later, the twin decapitation of America's progressive leadership still has an effect on the country. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb traces the decline of broadcast journalism and political discourse to the murders. No politician today speaks as honestly to the American people as King and Kennedy. He also recalls what it was like to be young and hear the news that another American leader had been murdered.
3/29/201817 minutes, 2 seconds
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Iraq War 15 Years On: What Might Have Been

The Iraq War began 15 years ago. Seems like ancient history given where America is now. This FRDH podcast, made at the start of the war, shines a light on what might have been and foreshadows the disaster the Occupation became, a disaster Iraqis are still trying to crawl out from under. Was the failure of the Iraq War the American unipolar moment begin to unravel? Was the day Saddam Hussein’s regime disintegrated in Mosul, the day when the seeds were sown for the city to be overrun by ISIS? Did the Bush administration’s catastrophic lack of planning for the day after, the moment when Syria’s fate was sealed? This deeply mixed sound documentary will take you to the battlefront of the Iraq War, experience it with FRDH host Michael Goldfarb and the extraordinary Iraqis he met. Was there a possibility it all might have worked? You can also read my book about it. Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace. It was a New York Times Notable Book of 2005. Out of print now, but still available for download into your e-reader at Amazon
3/15/201853 minutes, 19 seconds
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Liberal, Conservative: Can We Decide What These Words Mean?

What do the words liberal and conservative mean any more? What about left and right? No one is sure. Certainly not the news media who throw the terms around without a thought to definitions that make sense. Conservatives in America are neo-liberals when it comes to the economy. Neo-conservatives call for liberal intervention. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb gives a potted history of the word liberal and calls for clarity and uniformity of usage by the mainstream news media. It's a confusing world, imprecise language doesn't make it easier to understand. Let's have a classification clarification conference so we can all know what we're talking about when we say, You are a Liberal. (or a Conservative.)
2/20/201811 minutes, 11 seconds
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Remembrance, Ritual, the Sacred and Auschwitz

What is the historical process by which something becomes sacred? Is Auschwitz a sacred place? In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb asks what is the historical process that leads to the creation of a religion, or changes in the practice of one that already exists. Is it possible that events of modern history will someday take on religious significance, or are people today intellectually and emotionally incapable of understanding their experience as “awesome” in the sense that the great religions mean the term? Using sound from his personal archive Goldfarb builds a case that the catastrophe of the Holocaust, like the catastrophe of the destructions of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, should and will be incorporated into Jewish religious observance.
1/25/20189 minutes, 20 seconds
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Year 1 Trump report: Crazy or a member of the Club?

The big question at the end of Donald Trump's first year in office is: Is he crazy or just typical of his social class? Anti-Trump forces constantly question his mental state in the hopes of provoking his cabinet into forcing him out via the 25th Amendment. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks at whether Trump is crazy or is he just a typical country club kind of person. Are his words about shithole countries and immigrants any different than you would hear most Sundays at the country club? Among people of a similar social caste and with the unwritten rules of any club - you can say what you like and it will not be repeated outside the four walls of the clubhouse - when the talk turns to politics men and women, can vent their opinions on matters of politics and foreign affairs and race and immigration. The language used, will frequently be exactly the same as Trump uses. The solutions for political, economic and international problems will be as simplistic, although perhaps not expressed as crudely as Trump expresses his views. But they will be expressed with the absolute certainty of people who have money. IN this FRDH Trump Year 1 anniversary podcast the focus is on understanding the President as a product of his class ... not a madman.
1/16/201812 minutes, 38 seconds
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1968>2018: 50 Years On Time to Change the Paradigm

In 2018 There will be many stories marking the 50th anniversary of events from 1968. 1968 year of defeat, assassination, riots and treason in America. There were near revolutions in France and Czechoslovakia. An early demonstration of the violence which would consume much of Latin America over the next quarter century in Mexico City. We still live with the cosmic echo of those events. It is good to remember 1968 via news media but what lessons people who didn’t live through these cataclysms will learn. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb looks back at one of the most dramatic years since the end of World War 2. He describes living through a paradigm shift and asks if it's time to find a new one. The paradigm has shifted on the economy, and, God knows, on standards of mainstream political leadership in the Anglo-American world. But has the paradigm shifted on modes of political activism? Are people to tied up with the past?
1/8/201813 minutes, 27 seconds
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America 2017: Magical Thinking vs Reality

America in 2017: was the story of Magical Thinking vs Reality. For Trump voters it was a confirmation of everything their "unbiased" news told them. For the anti-Trump brigade it was believing too many of the rumors they saw on twitter. Reality was the victim in this car crash. 2017 challenged the very notion of a fact-based, mutually acknowledged reality that is essential for creating a stable society. Finding facts on social media like twitter became impossible. Twitter is about Outrage Outrage Outrage. It was like outrage had become a form eroticism. Makes me feel so good to feel so outraged. Back in pre-history, when the second President Bush was prematurely swaggering about victory in Iraq, his dark angel, Karl Rove told the New York Times, “we create our own reality.” Liberals - here defined as all those who didn’t vote for Bush and a lot of people who did - shook their heads at Rove’s arrogance. This group proclaimed it was part of the reality based community. And as nemesis followed hubris and Iraq and then the economy disintegrated on Bush’s watch this group congratulated itself for sticking with reality. But this same group was now ignoring facts and indulging in magical thinking. Trump wasn’t going anywhere, no matter what was proclaimed on twitter and in the opinion columns of the mainstream media. Wishful thinking or magical thinking is not reality-based thinking … that is how Trump had changed his opponents. And it’s one of the most important aspects of 2017 in America.
12/29/201720 minutes, 47 seconds
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Bosnia, Mladic: the Price of Justice

The fact that we are in a new historical epoch was underscored recently in the response to the news that Robert Mugabe and Ratko Mladic, two men who ruined their countries and caused the deaths of thousands, got their comeuppance. 20 years ago this would have been enormous, front page a-segment news. it would have been the topic of gleeful conversation among the well-informed and politically aware. But In this era of Trump and harassment and Brexit, hardly a ripple. It's ancient history. The Bosnian War, was a fascist temper tantrum that destroyed one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb, covered that conflict and returned to Sarajevo on the fifth anniversary of the Dayton Agreement to make a radio documentary on how the country was recovering. In this FRDH podcast he uses archive tape from that documentary to illustrate the difficulty of bringing justice to the families of the dead. Mladic's conviction 22 years after ordering the genocide at Srebrenica is not quite justice in full measure.
11/24/20178 minutes, 20 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists 3: Judging Roy Moore a Blasphemer

Share this Bible Study for Atheists, in which FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb looks at the controversy over Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. A self-proclaimed man of God whose behavior seems like blasphemy. How is it that the most religious part of America is also home to the most blasphemers? And Alabama really is the most religious state in the country, According to a 2016 survey by Pew research Alabama ranked first in the nation for religiosity. 82% of its people say they believe with “absolute certainty” in God, nearly tHree quarters of Alabamans say they pray to him every day. Yet, many in that state are still lining up to support a man who acknowledges preying on underage girls, and just generally falling short of all moral precepts contained in the Bible. The Southern mindset is very religious. It imposes itself on visitors, even an atheist needs a modicum of biblical knowledge and language to have conversation with Southerners. So this Bible Study for Atheists tries to figure this out in Biblical terms. When you think of Moore, and all the other public or political Christians who have been caught out in scandals think of blasphemy. Isn’t it blasphemy to present yourself to the world as a Godly person while behaving in ways that depart from all moral teaching? And isn’t blasphemy a terrible sin. St. Thomas Aquinas thought it a worse sin than murder.
11/12/201714 minutes, 8 seconds
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FRDH: No Place of Greater Safety

There is no place of greater safety for civilians and soldiers wounded in today's wars. In 2016 alone there was nearly one attack every day on a hospital in a conflict zone. The most infamous attack came in 2015, when the United States bombed an MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Why? Are we seeing the end of the rules that governed warfare and provision of safe spaces for those caught in the crossfire? The origins of the Red Cross and humanitarian law go back to the middle of the 19th Century, to the battle of Solferino in 1859. The French Army under Napoleon III faced off against the Austrian Army led by Emperor Franz Joseph 1st. The politics behind the battle related to Italian independence but the battle is famous for much more. 300,000 men met on the field of battle near Solferino a small town between Milan and Verona. After nine hours of combat nearly five thousand were dead and more than 22,000 were wounded, many lying where they fell receiving no medical treatment. A Swiss observer of the carnage, Henri Dunant, organized local people to bring some kind of relief to the stricken soldiers. Dunant, a man of private wealth, self-published a book about his experiences, it was the first step in the lobbying that would create the Red Cross in 1863 and the First Geneva Convention or the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, the following year. War today is different. Emperors no longer command armies into battle in great open spaces. Conflict is everywhere and involves everyone unlucky enough to be nearby. In WW1 for every 10 soldiers killed 1 civilian died. Today that is reversed. For every soldier killed 10 civilians die.
10/25/201727 minutes, 19 seconds
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FRDH Bolshevik Revolution 100th Anniversary Thoughts

The Bolshevik Revolution is to political change, what nuclear weapons are to warfare: the ultimate deterrent. The question on this 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution is what happens to a society when you take violent overthrow of the government by the governed as a last resort out of the equation. How does it affect a society’s ability to respond to the inevitable changes wrought by the passage of time? Economic, political, social pressure’s build up as decades pass. These pressures weaken and deform the political system, certainly it deforms the politicians who work in that system. What happens then? To paraphrase Langston Hughes, do Generations of dreams deferred, dry up like raisins in the Sun, or fester like sores … or do they explode? Is it even possible to hold off the explosion? The overwhelming violence in which the Soviet Union was born and its ultimate failure, has obscured our ability to think about revolution clearly. It is wrong to judge revolutions by whether they succeed or fail. Virtually all revolutions fail. Either they fail literally and are reversed by forces of reaction or they fail metaphorically by compromising their lofty goals. The fairest way to assess the impact of a revolution is by the fact that it happened at all. Revolutions represent tectonic shifts in society, terrible rupturings that create decisive breaks with the past. Michael Goldfarb asks Does the Bolshevik Revolution mean there will never be another revolution in a major country like the US?
10/24/201711 minutes, 58 seconds
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FRDH How Media Obscures Our Understanding of History

Media obscures history. Not intentionally, but the effect of looking at images without a deeper understanding of the context in which the images were created will keep the viewer from knowledge of an historical event. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks at how this lack of full understanding is hampering efforts to create a coherent political strategy to oppose President Trump. He explores the seminal research into how media obscures not just history but also other aspects of life by thinkers like: George Gerbner: & Neil Postman: He also writes about the television programs that shaped the Vietnam generation, like Beulah: This essay on how media obscures our undertanding of history is inspired by Ken Burns series "The Vietnam War." Goldfarb asks, Why American society today feels like it is coming apart at the seams because when watching Burns documentary you realize there is no comparison between the objective reality of the Vietnam era and now. The reality then: half a million troops in combat deployment, riots in American cities every summer with hundreds killed, major political assassinations as a regular feature of national life. Reality today: a sense of panic that is comparable to the Vietnam era but not based in anything like the same scale of trauma.
10/18/201713 minutes, 22 seconds
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Catalonia, Kurdistan: What Is A Nation

Referendums in Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia raise the quesiton "What Is a Nation?" What is a nation? What is a nation-state? Is it the same as a country? Are a people, or a tribe, the same thing as a nation? What does national sovereignty really mean? These are the key questions for our globalized 21st century. What is a nation? Is it something you die for? Get murdered for? Is it something that can make you clinically insane, incapable of seeing reality? Is a nation something that can be created by treaty or politics? What does the birth of a nation look like? What does it smell like when it dies? Michael Goldfarb draws on his decades covering conclficts rooted in frustrated attempts to express national feelings to look for an answer and comes up with more questions: Can the dozens of nations that make up western Europe hope to preserve their wealth and high living standards in a globalized economy without pooling their nation-hood into something greater? What is the importance of a nation-state in a world whose economy is no longer organized on national lines, In an era where the loyalties of global elites are to each other and not the lands of their birth? Will the 21st century see the creation of a United States of Europe and witness the splitting apart of the United States of America?
10/11/20179 minutes, 16 seconds
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FRDH Without Memory There is No History, Here’s why

If an event happens and there is no one to witness and remember it, does it become part of history? If memory is eliminated is it possible to write or understand history? When FRDH host Michael Goldfarb researched his book Emancipation, about Europe’s Jews in the century and a half between being liberated from the ghetto and the Holocaust he came across stories of many interesting people in obscure places, completely forgotten because the community that might have remembered them had been eradicated. They were no longer part of history. Restoring them to the record became his obligation. In this archive recording, originally made for the BBC, he tells the story of Gabriel Riesser. It is particularly relevant to what’s happening in America today. This is about the ephemeral nature of civil rights laws, the tarnished promise of integration, how racial hatred is never dead and buried, and finally the foundation of all history writing: memory.
9/28/201715 minutes, 38 seconds
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FRDH Berkeley High Point Of The Revolution

This episode of FRDH is about Berkeley and the high point of the revolution of the 1960's as host Michael Goldfarb remembers it. Revolution is a romantic word and a bloody practice. This autumn "revolution" will be discussed a lot, as we mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. The word will also come into use as we move towards the 50th anniversary remembrances of 1968, the year of student revolution. The University of California Berkeley, is where student revolution was effectively born in the US, during the Free Speech Movement. That was a movement of the left. Free Speech Week which may well spark a riot, is a movement of the right and it providing pundits the opportunity to note the irony that Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement, has become anti-Free Speech. In this FRDH podcast Goldfarb recounts the story of the Free Speech Movement, the fight over People's Park and recalls a memorable rally on Berkeley campus addressed by Herbert Marcuse and Angela Davis. He then describes a moment of calm in the intensity of the Sixties, a calm that he calls the High Point of the Revolution.
9/19/201716 minutes, 1 second
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Three Things I learned about America on Vacation

Three things I learned or was reminded of on my first American vacation in more than 15 years. First thing I learned: America is clearly in crisis but not yet at crisis point. I watched television news just once - for a very few minutes. It is hysterical, condescending to its viewers and in the way it contextualizes reporting - frequently wrong. Some other podcast I will back that assertion … the history of how TV news got that way requires several essays … but trust me on this, the presentational style so overwhelms the factual content, that Americans - even the most intelligent - are operating in a news vacuum. Much of the crisis in which American society is immersed, and which has been building for decades, has been framed by a news media that doesn’t inform but survives commercially by creating this hysteria as well as outrage … It was inevitable that an hysterical and outrageous person would legitimately gain political power democratically in my native land. Second thing I learned: In a tweet the Crimson, Harvard's student newspaper, acknowledged, “We made a mistake: 30.3% of surveyed Harvard freshmen are legacies, not 41.8%.” It being Harvard, I’m sure the irony in the sentence, “We made a Mistake” was intentional. very nearly a third of the students who are beginning their Harvard educations this year were admitted because a relative went to Harvard. Why does this matter? Well, for one reason, as the Crimson noted, nearly half of those legacies came from families with average incomes of more than $500 thousand a year. Another 23% came from families earning a quarter of a million to 499 thousand dollars, only 4% of legacy families were on incomes under 80 grand. The situation at Harvard is one of the best pieces of anecdotal evidence of just how calcified America’s class system has become. And a lot of the feelings expressed in polls about the American dream disintegrating proceeds from that calcification. Third things I learned about, "Sex at Wesleyan, what’s changed, what hasn’t," That was the headline on an op-ed at the New York Times. "“Adults may make fun of trigger warnings, but most kids support them because they’re about extending a hand to others, undergirding an ethic of caring and decency. Calling out “micro-aggressions” among classmates and policing tone on social media appeal to them in much the same way ... Political radicalism at college is now more vocation than avocation, and anyone who displays a trace of racism, misogyny or sexual predation is suspect.” This made me remember something I read 37 years ago at the times. Here are links to all the things I learned on vacation:
9/9/201712 minutes, 58 seconds
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When Jews Met the Blues

When Jews met African-Americans in the early part of the 20th century the collision created American popular music. Both groups were immigrants to the great cities of America's north - Jews came from Eastern Europe and Blacks from the American South. But their desire to get away from oppression to economic opportunity wasn't the only thing they had in common. Their cultures were deeply rooted in music and music of a particular kind: crying out and soulful and syncopated. In this cultural history from the FRDH archive, Michael Goldfarb traces out how talented people in both communities met, borrowed, occasionally stole musical ideas and along the way created the American songbook, as well as rock and roll and and rhythm and blues. He also tells the story of the coming together and then fracturing of the great alliance for political progress in 20th century America ... the alliance between African-Americans and Jews. It is an alliance that can be traced at least as far back as Harlem in the 1920's and disintegrated after the Civil Rights successes of the mid 1960's amid acrimonious accusations of exploitation and appropriation. An argument that continues. This FRDH podcast is a cultural history with lots of music and thoughtful interviews.
8/21/201747 minutes, 14 seconds
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Mind of the South

If you want to know America, you have to understand the Mind of the South. If you want to understand the dynamics that drove events towards the Charlottesville Outrage, you have to understand the mind of the south, or specifically the "white" Southern mind. That mindset did not just pop up, the day Donald Trump took office. It has been the driving force in American politics … all the way back to the foundation of the Republic. White Southerners are a powerful force in American politics. Not a majority - but the largest single political bloc - in the country. In the century after the Civil War this bloc was attached to the Democrats - Lincoln was a Republican - and it acted as a drag anchor on the progressive forces that shaped the modern Democratic party. In response to the civil rights movement white Southerners shifted to the Republican party. Superiority is a key part of the white southern mindset, not just racial, but religious, as well. In the 18th and early 19th centuries the region saw a heavy influx of protestant immigrants from what is today Northern Ireland, Ulster. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb talks with Southern historians about the region and the mind of the South and traces the origins of recent events to well before Donald Trump entered politics. And through the medium of the Republican party the mindset is spreading all over the country.
8/15/201711 minutes, 42 seconds
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FRDH Crash Anniversary Thought: Work ≠ Employment:

On the tenth anniversary of the start of the Financial Crash, MIchael Goldfarb looks at work and employment. Are they the same thing? We are told we will have to work longer - in Britain last week it was announced that the age at which Britons in their 40’s could collect their state pensions - social security - would be going up to 68. Work longer, but will we be employed longer? It is all well and good if people are living longer that they stay in the work force longer but it would be jolly nice if the government told that to employers, almost all of whom seem keen on getting rid of their employees once they get past 55. When you add in all the stories about robots doing most forms of work by the time those in their 40s are eligible for their pensions, there seems to be some contradictions that need to be resolved. The unemployment rate today - midsummer 2017 - is 4.3% in the US (4.5% in the uk) In the 1960’s the golden era of the American economy, 4.3% was full employment and economic contentment. Numbers are pure in their value but data is not. 4.3% unemployment today is not the same as 4.3% unemployment back then. Today you are counted as employed if you work one hour or 40 during a week. Back then 40 hours was the standard. A quarter of the jobs added in the most recent monthly report in the US were in restaurants and bars. Hospitality is not an industry for building a career, Waiting table, tending bar are good gigs for people on the way to something else or for folks who need a little cash infusion every day - I’ve worked for tips and I urge everyone who hears this to be generous - But you wouldn’t want to build a society in which more people work for tips than work at a steady job, manufacturing something or developing specialist knowledge that can be exported. And yet that seems to be the direction in which the Anglo-American economies are headed. Robots are doing the heavy lifting in manufacturing and as we keep being told in the technology press, they are coming for the jobs of paper pushers next. Since the Crash we live in an era of pre-emptive downsizing. Within four months of Lehman’s going bust 1.9 million people were laid off in America. Most did not work in financial services. Employers in enterprises of all sizes in many different areas of the economy took advantage of the event to cut payrolls, “reduce headcount,” etc. Many of the new jobs created since that nadir have been in part-time work. We have entered a new epoch in which you will, if you are lucky, have a 20 year window of full-time employment and can lay the foundations for the stability that comes with it: buy a house, set aside for retirement, educate your children. Michael Goldfarb answers his own question. Listen to FRDH podcast and find out the answer
8/8/201711 minutes, 25 seconds
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Bible Study for Atheists: America, One Nation Under Whose God?

This Bible study for atheists looks at what Thomas Jefferson meant when he wrote about God in the Declaration of Independence. Many evangelical or political Christians argue that the US is a "Christian" country because Jefferson used the word. Michael Goldfarb challenges that idea which explores the Enlightenment use of God as Nature. Far from the scriptural understanding of the Judeo-Christian divinity. He traces Jefferson's ideas back to those of Enlightenment philosopher Benedict Spinoza. He uses Spinoza's own bible study as a way of explaining what the founding father's intentions were. Spinoza, who wrote in Latin, coined the phrase Deus sive natura, God or Nature. Nature for Spinoza is is all there is. YOu can call it God if you like but it does not cause itself, or create itself. It is not the creator God of the Bible, anthropomorphized, and directing the fate of human beings and particularly the Israelites, his chosen people. This was pretty revolutionary theory, for the late 17th century. By the late 18th century Jefferson and the Founders were moving it out of the realm of speculation and putting it into practice in the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment to the Constitution. This is the second Bible Study for Atheists, a semi-regular feature of the FRDH podcast. Response to the first Bible Study for Atheists was overwhelmingly positive and is still regularly listened to at the FRDH podcast website. This edition of Bible Study for Atheists will provide background for those who wish to keep religion out of government in America and need to argue with evangelical friends and neighbors about why.
7/26/201710 minutes
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FRDH: Republican Party Is Now a Faction How it Happened

The Republican Party has become the people James Madison warned us against: a Faction. In any country, the most dangerous thing that can happen is for a group and its political representatives to act as if their view alone represents the nation. That thinking leads to the view that they alone “are” the nation and that those who disagree with them are not of the nation - even if they are fellow citizens, born on the country’s soil. When this happens in a democratic republic, like the US, and the view takes over a political party, then the threat to the national fabric is mortal. And that is the heart of the crisis in America today: The Republicans are no longer a political party but a faction. The danger of factions was noted at the foundation of the United States. In Federalist paper #10 James Madison defined faction as, "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” The Republican Party has been slowly morphing into a faction for almost 70 years. In this FRDH podcast the history of this change is told through applying the words of the Declaration of Independence to current Republican behavior. The Declaration of Independence is really a bill of divorcement, a declaration before the community of nations of the causes leading the states to separate from Britain. As I read through the list this past holiday it was amazing how many could be applied to the Republican faction today. Republican factionalism leads their elected representatives to upend existing Constitutional customs and norms and defamed the design of Madison, Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers by refusing to cooperate with anyone not of their group The design of the founders was a constitutional order that provided a mechanism for balancing the inevitable competing points of view that would grow in a society where people were free to follow different religions and debate ideas freely. Without respect for these rules the system cannot work. The result is the United States has, over the last quarter of a century, become ungovernable and now, more than at any moment in my lifetime is on the edge of some kind of catastrophic disintegration.
7/18/20179 minutes, 53 seconds
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FRDHMosul: ISIS Defeated But Is It Victory?

In Mosul ISIS has been defeated but does it count as victory? America’s misadventure in Iraq show that defeating your enemy on the battlefield is not the same as victory. ISIS defeated in MOsul but that won’t mean victory in Iraq’s second city, any more than the overthrow of Saddam Hussein meant victory there, or the killing of his sons in Mosul a few months later, or the frequent attempts by the US to buy off the networks funding insurgents of various stripes that are headquarted there. How can you measure victory in Iraq? This FRDH podcast offers a personal definition of victory. Mosul is a city that is well-known even if you are not aware of it. The opening sequence of the, The Exorcist, was filmed there. Mosul was called the Pearl of the North, in the old days. It was the envy of all Iraq. With sounds of battle recorded on site this podcast traces Mosul's history since George W. Bush declared victory in 2003. This city was never pacified and now that ISIS has been defeated can it ever enjoy the blessings of victory. Listen to the podcast to find out how you will know when victory has been secured.
7/10/20178 minutes, 52 seconds
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July 4, 2017: Hanging Together or Separately

July 4, 2017. America is not a happy place. It is splitting apart rhetorically and if only a fraction of the threats posted in social networks are acted on it will split apart in other ways. In this FRDH podcast Michael Goldfarb looks at how Americans have forgotten Benjamin Franklin's words on hanging together versus hanging separately. How can Americans rediscover their links to one another? Extremely violent rhetoric amplified by broadcast media always precedes violent acts. Nations, particularly multi-ethnic nations like the US, can disintegrate in months with a concentrated campaign of angry words against a particular group in the society: Yugoslavia, Rwanda … it took less than six months to foment civil war. Hanging together, keeping the faith, solidarity ... unity has been challenged by this new epoch of economic instability. Liberals are concerned but don't risk their own security to help and Evangelicals go to Church but don't risk talking to those who won't pledge allegiance to their political faith. Neither side makes contact with one another. Thousands of individual acts of solidarity grow into a social norm. On July 4, 2017, it is clear: the terrible rent in America's social fabric can not be repaired without it.
7/3/201712 minutes, 11 seconds
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FRDH Six Day War 50th Anniversary Meditation

On the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, Michael Goldfarb has a meditation on how that event changed what it meant to be Jewish and Israeli. The Six-Day War was an epic victory for the young country of Israel and for Jews worldwide. Coming two decades after the Holocaust it restored a sense of pride but it also brought with it an onerous burden: the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and rule over 1 million Palestinians. Over the last 50 years this has fundamentally altered Israeli society. It has also changed the way Jews of the diaspora see themselves. At each stage of their modern history what it meant to be authenticallyJewish was analyzed again and again. After 1967 this questioning has grown more intense. Since 1967 Israel has replaced religion as the touchstone of Jewish identity.
6/7/201711 minutes, 42 seconds
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FRDH: Bible Study for Atheists

Bible Study for Atheists is an occasional feature of FRDH podcast. Michael Goldfarb looks at Bible stories and the Bible's poetic books and talks about their history and their meaning in contemporary life. In this first Bible Study for Atheists podcast he looks at psalm 52, which he read just after watching President Trump on TV: "Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righeousness." He explains how the bible is is a draft of the history of our civilization, and how even Atheists need faith sometime.
5/30/201712 minutes, 28 seconds
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FRDH Episode 15: Trump's First Hundred Days: How to Survive the Next 100 and the next

Trump's First Hundred Days in office have been like no other presidents. There is no deep channel you can follow in trying to write the First Rough Draft of History for this man’s presidency you are constantly going this way and that on jagged currents. This FRDH podcast rambles looking at Trump as an avatar of a new society which emulates what it watches on TV unable to distinguish between reality and reality TV programs. “It’s a Kardashian world and he’s the Kardashian candidate.” It also analyzes the precedents for Trump and the resistance to him. Ronald Reagan was the first president to gain the presidency following a television career. It looks at what resistance to Reagan was able to achieve. It also criticizes the current practice of journalism via social networking sites, particularly Twitter. Do you think Woodward and Bernstein would have got to the bottom of Watergate if they had been tweeting every little twist and turn of the story. Give FRDH podcast 17 minutes and forty-five seconds and I will give you something to think about for the next hundred days.
4/29/201717 minutes, 31 seconds
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FRDH Episode 14 Trump & Security: What's the Policy?

President Trump's foreign and security policy: What is it? Does the military know? As American war ships steam towards the Korean peninsula and American diplomats argue with Russian leaders about Syria this FRDH podcast is a conversation with historian Robert Batement, Lt. Col (ret) of the US Army. Bateman, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq is currently a fellow at the New America think tank and a contributing columnist for Esquire magazine. He gives a nuanced analysis that non-specialists can understand explaining Trump's doctrine ... or lack of it. He also comes up with some surprising historical analogs for the chaos president.
4/13/201716 minutes, 24 seconds
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FRDH Episode 13 Brexit & Churchill & United States of Europe

Brexit: An apostate thought: the EU will be better off without UK. Churchill saw it clearly in a speech given on the 19th of September 1946 at the University of Zurich. The war had been over for just over a year. Continental Europe had been partitioned, Much of it was in ruins. Millions were displaced and homeless. There was a way out of the catastrophic conditions around the continent, Churchill told his audience, “It is to re-create the European Family, or as much of it as we can, and provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe." He added, "The first step in the re-creation of the European family must be a partnership between France and Germany.” The United States of Europe is inevitable the questions are will it be created by war or peace? And can Britain be part of it?
3/29/20179 minutes, 37 seconds
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FRDH Episode 12: episode 12: Statistics>Facts>News>Truth>History

Facts are the building blocks of journalism leading, hopefully, to the truth, and the FRDH, First Rough Draft of History. In a world overwhelmed by data and statistics facts are easy to come by, but can numbers alone tell a story? In 2016, the bulk of institutional journalism missed the rise of Donald Trump because the numbers said his victory wasn’t possible … then it was. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb says journalism’s increasing reliance on data is behind this failure. Lies, damned lies and statistics have led reporters down a blind alley. He argues for a different approach to reporting the world, one that places a deeper reliance on the rational imagination. He borrows a word from the German enlightenment for this technique, “einfühlung.” It’s a word coined by philosopher, historian, and clergyman Johann Gottfried von Herder in the 18th century. Google translate says Einfühlung means empathy which is accurate up to a point but doesn’t quite get at Herder’s intention. Einfühling means “in feeling,” feeling your way into a story. For an example he takes listeners on a journey through his past to Northern Ireland and the years he spent getting to know Protestant paramilitaries. Then returns to the present to Ohio in 2016 at the height of the Presidential campaign. In writing FRDH, the first rough draft of history, who you gonna trust: a data set or an eyewitness story?
3/13/201718 minutes, 54 seconds
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FRDH Episode 11 Resistance Is Not Futile, But It Ain't Easy

Resistance is a beautiful word. It is a Romantic word. It is the word of the moment. But what does resistance really mean? Are you a resister if you simply say you are? Anyone can call themselves a resister and put a hashtag in front of it. Does that make them part of the “#resistance?” Real resistance has an objective and it comes at a price. This FRDH podcast tells several stories of resistance from recent history to see if they have something to teach those who want to resist President Trump. French resistance: Almost from the moment the German Army overran France in June 1940 there was resistance: acts of non-cooperation with German orders or scrawling anti-Nazi graffiti on walls. It was spontaneous and uncoordinated and it had little effect. The new administration of the country took shape: a zone of occupation run by the Germans in the north headquarted in Paris. A French run government based in Vichy oversaw the south. Very quickly this new normal became established fact. From the beginning, the resistance - think of it as being written without a capital “r” at that point - was as disparate as French society. All manner of people and groups “resisted’ without any central coordination. The resisters came from the right and the left, men and women. They were catholics, protestants and jews. Vietnam War resistance: Non-cooperation with the draft was called resistance. An organization named “Resistance” was started by David Harris. Harris served time in a Federal Prison for his anti-draft activities. Artistic resistance from the 1930's in America. Resistance is a beautiful word … but it is just a word. It is a name for something, it is not the thing itself. It is not action. If it helps people get over the shock of change to add hashtagresistance to their messages … fine but more important than the word is this question: What is a meaningful way to act in a political order you find wicked or shameful? Should you act as an individual or be part of an organization? Is speaking out resistance? or just a first step towards it? Give FRDH 15 minutes and I will give you the past as prologue to the present.
2/28/201715 minutes, 26 seconds
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FRDH Podcast Episode 10: PTSD, Donald Trump, and Civil War

This is a meditation on PTSD and Donald Trump and does the shock from PTSD make it impossible to see Trump and his actions clearly. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb analyzes whether his experience of war and reporting from societies that slipped from stability to civil war affect his judgment about the state of America in the Age of Trump. He asks whether committing journalism in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq has left him with PTSD. Does his knowledge of how quickly well-established societies can disintegrate into Civil War render it impossible to see the Trump effect clearly. What percentage of a society wanting to fight is necessary for a civil war to start? In Northern Ireland and Bosnia, Goldfarb learned that civil war is a minority occupation. How many people on each side are willing to fight - not metaphorically, but physically fight - for their vision of what their country should be? Is there a critical mass at which point violence becomes inevitable? There is no data set on this question, of course, so it’s a matter of speculation. Listen for nine minutes and 48 seconds and you will hear how the past can provide a meditation for the present on American Society, PTSD and Donald Trump
2/15/20179 minutes, 49 seconds
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FRDH Special Trump's Travel Ban

President Trump's travel ban has now seen more than 100,000 people lose visas to travel to the US. In this FRDH special, Michael Goldfarb discusses the ban with Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi journalists who have long experience of living and working in the US. Today, thanks to the Executive Order issued January 27th by President Donald Trump: "PROTECTING THE UNITED STATES FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES" these three journalists cannot visit the country because Iran, Syria and Iraq are among the seven countries from which travel is banned. In a wide ranging conversation, MIna al-Oraibi, columnist for Asharq al Awsat newspaper, Nazenin Ansari, managing editor of Kayhan London, the global Iranian newspaper, and Mustapha Kharkouti, columnist for Gulf New discuss frankly how the ban affects them and how it affects the people in their home countries. All are veteran journalists, authors of FRDH, the First Rough Draft of History. All have long experience of living and reporting from America and all have been affected by the ban. Visas obtained and paid for legally have all been rendered useless. The trio reflect on the personal price to them, and the price the United States will pay in the long run for this policy. They question the Trump Administration's obsession with Iran and look at the absurdity of its geo-political strategy. They discuss their views on Trump foreign policy in Syria and, finally, what long term effect the Trump Ban will have on people from a region in turmoil who look to America as a shining city on a hill. IN a conversation that is by turns thoughtful and passionate, these journalists speak truth to the new people in power in America. An FRDH podcast special an Iranian, a Syrian and an Iraqi sit in a radio studio to talk about Trump’s Travel Ban. Give us 48 minutes and we will give you the recent past as context for the present. The FRDH Podcast is hosted by internationally acclaimed journalist Michael Goldfarb and is about History. The History he has reported on; the History he has written about; and the long History he has lived. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, YouTube and Soundcloud, and you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
2/3/201747 minutes, 15 seconds
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FRDH podcast Episode8: America, I Ain't Marchin Anymore

America is undergoing historic political change as Donald Trump is sworn in as President. It is an "un President ed" break with history. No one, not even Ronald Reagan has represented such a dramatic break with the past since the days of Franklin Roosevelt and maybe ever. People are finding it hard to make sense of the impending new era and so is Michael Goldfarb, host of FRDH Podcast. In this episode he free associates his way through his own and America's history for the last half century looking for some pattern that might explain how Donald Trump was elected to the White House. He points out the difference between Trump and Reagan and wonders what the most effective way those opposed to the new President's policies can force him to change tack. Is protest marching enough?
1/17/201715 minutes, 52 seconds
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FRDH Special: How America Got This Way

2016 was by any measure an historic year. A different America revealed itself to its own people and to the rest of the world. Donald Trump was unlike any Presidential candidate in history and now is set to be President. This FRDH podcast special explores How America Got This Way. FRDH stands for First Rough Draft of History, which is what journalists like to say they are writing and in this FRDH special four London-based journalists with a cumulative century of reporting on America and the way America effects the world talk about their own rough drafts of American history. Robin Lustig, former presenter of Newshour on the BBC World Service, Mina al-Oraibi Iraqi-British journalist formerly of pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, and Ned Temko, former political editor of The Observer, join Michael Goldfarb to talk about America, isolationism, Iraq, Syria, Putin. They ask can American institutions - especially Congress - stand up to the surprising changes in American society and is 2016 as historic in comparison with other years when modern history changed: 1968 and 1989.
12/16/201647 minutes, 48 seconds
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FRDH Episode 6: Paradigm shift Today, A Parable From the Past to Help Understand

Memoir as history. The paradigm in American politics has shifted since the election. It has many people racking their memories for a historical parallel, some source of guidance. This parable from the late 1970's in New York might help. It's a story about finding the courage to stand up when bad change happens in your society. Love, literature, torture and courage all figure in this story. It takes place in New York and Athens and in memory. Give me 15 minutes and I will give you the past as prologue to the present.
11/25/201615 minutes, 12 seconds
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FRDH Ep5: Memo to President-elect, Mass Deportation, a History

Donald Trump has reiterated his intention to deport millions of people who entered America illegally. The history of mass deportation indicates that's easier said than done
11/16/20167 minutes, 58 seconds
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FRDH Podcast Ep 4: Mind Of The South

Social History: "Whoever wants to understand the heart and mind of America better know baseball" Jacques Barzun. Not really. They better know the South, the region that more than any other shapes US politics. This piece from 2004 foreshadows much of what shaped the election of Donald Trump + great music.
11/10/201641 minutes, 8 seconds
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FRDH Podcast Ep 3: Class Reclassified

Social History: the reclassification of social classes + the history of wine
11/1/20167 minutes, 22 seconds
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FRDH Podcast ep2: You Say Want a Revolution! Are You Sure?

Political History: The true price of revolution.
9/30/201610 minutes, 26 seconds
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FRDH Podcast Ep 1: The First Rough Draft Mission Statement

History keeps happening to me. This first episode is a mission statement for a podcast about all kinds of history. the history I've reported and the history I have lived.
9/20/201611 minutes, 50 seconds
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Benedict Spinoza: God Intoxicated Man

Cultural History: A biographical sketch of the philosopher Spinoza and his thought, particularly focused on the relationship between government and religion.
7/3/201643 minutes, 25 seconds
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Trump And The Politics Of Paranoia

This draft of history - first b'cast on BBC Radio 4 just before the 2016 primaries - looks at the long history of irrational fear being used by American politicians to win office.
6/20/201627 minutes, 30 seconds
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British Jihad

First draft of history: my documentary on British Jihadis made a year before the London bombings of 7/7. It won an award from the Overseas Press Club of America.
4/16/201648 minutes, 12 seconds
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Topeka Kansas 1993

Draft History: A story recorded in Topeka KS in 1993 about the successes and failures of integration. Part of my Sony Award-winning series Homeward Bound.
6/20/201513 minutes, 41 seconds
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Yellow Springs Ohio 1993

This draft of history is from 1993: Race, violence, fear. It was part of my Sony-Award winning series, Homeward Bound. Listen to the voices recorded from the radio.
6/20/201514 minutes, 30 seconds
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Whitman To Woodstock

Whitman to Woodstock was originally made for the BBC on the 25th anniversary of the music festival. It aired on BBC Radio 3 as a Proms interval talk. It's a cultural draft of history tracing the historical chain of American bards and poets from Walt Whitman to the Woodstock festival. Something I hope will teach the children well. If you like it, share it and in the spirit of Woodstock, visit and make a donation ... to keep the podcasts - new and from the archive coming.
6/1/201520 minutes, 4 seconds
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Piano Tales: a social history of the Piano

A social history of the piano with lots of interesting facts and lovely playing.
3/11/201543 minutes, 45 seconds
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FRDH podcast, Episode 7: King's College Choir

A Christmas treat from the FRDH archive. A musical feature about the boy choristers of King's College Choir at Cambridge University. The piece is a backstage look at the boys' daily schedule of academics and rehearsal in the great Chapel of King's College. The King in question was Henry VI. Built in phases between 1446 and 1515, the chapel is one of the monuments of late Gothic architecture and possesses unique acoustics. There has been a choir associated with the building since its founding. Director Stephen Cleobury explains the history of the choir and the practical demands of the chorister's life.
12/23/20149 minutes, 7 seconds
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Charlottesville, Virginia 2017 > Natchez, Mississippi 1995

Charlottesville: “What happens to a dream deferred” wrote Langston Hughes in the poem Harlem. Hughes was referring to the frustrations of African-American life 90 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Does the deferred Dream explode, the poet asked. What happens, ironically when the deferred dream is that of white supremacy and the Confederacy risen? Does it also explode? Charlottesville is the latest detonation in a process that has been left unaddressed for decades, for more than a century and a half really. Arguably since the founding of the United States. This piece from the FRDH archive is from 1995 is based on an evening I spent with the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Natchez Mississippi which nearly ended in a fistfight over the meaning of the Constitution. Hughes poem in full: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?”
11/30/201413 minutes, 57 seconds
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Clarksdale Mississippi 1995

Draft history. Race in America. A piece from 1995 reported from the Mississippi Delta
11/26/201413 minutes, 52 seconds
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History on the move: the story of Ali, his two-year long journey from Afghanistan and his new life in the UK
10/21/201426 minutes, 24 seconds
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History on the move: documentary about Ali, who left Afghanistan as 14 year old and snuck into Britain on a Eurotunnel freight train and today holds a masters in International Relations
10/21/201422 minutes, 44 seconds
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9/11 Live: On Air

Live history: 9/11 I was hosting the NPR program The Connection as the twin towers came down. How do you find the sounds to convey an epoch defining tragedy?
9/10/201420 minutes, 4 seconds
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FEDERALISM: A Political History

Political History: Federalism beginning with the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707 through to the European Union.
9/5/201427 minutes, 38 seconds
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Autumn 1973 Ep 5: End of the Post-War Economy

Turning Point in HIstory: Part 5 of my series on how the world dramaticall changed in Autumn 1973. The photo is of Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck MIchigan 8 years later.
6/4/201415 minutes, 34 seconds
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Autumn 1973 Ep 4: Arab Oil Embargo

Turning Point in History: How the Arab oil embargo caught the American and Uk governments by surprise and effectively ended the post-World War2 economic era of good feeling in under 10 weeks.
6/4/201415 minutes, 25 seconds
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Episode 9 Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre

As the House Intelligence Committee memo alleging FBI malfeasance in its Russia investigation grabs the headlines, a look back at Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre. The Saturday Night Massacre was the hinge point of the Watergate scandal. The words coup and Third Reich were thrown around. The events of that weekend in October 1973 marked the beginning of the end of Nixon’s Presidency. Do they hold a lesson for today? President Trump has started his term of office exercising power in a similar fashion. His firing of the acting Attorney General Sally Yates has echoes of the Saturday Night Massacre. Nixon said, “If the President does it, it’s not illegal.” Trump acts as if he thinks that is the way the world works. But Nixon found out even his own Republican Party didn’t think that was true. Will Trump? This is an essay from my archive and it offers a chance to reflect on how American politics has changed in the more than four decades since the Watergate scandal. If you like this be sure to tell your friends and make a donation to keep the podcasts coming.
6/4/201415 minutes
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Autumn 1973 Ep 2: Yom Kippur War

Turning Point in History: The Yom Kippur war in 1973 changed Israeli and Jewish psyche's as well the relationship between the Arab nations and the Palestinians.
6/4/201415 minutes, 5 seconds
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Autumn 1973 Ep 1: Chilean Coup

Turning Point in History: The Chilean coup and the end of anti-war activism. First of five essays on Autuman 1973 broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
6/4/201415 minutes, 12 seconds
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Suicide Watch

The Cost of History: the surge in suicides among veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4
5/11/201427 minutes, 48 seconds
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WHAT IS A NATION? pt. 4 Germany

National History: Germans' constant attempt to answer the question "What is the German Nation?" has been one of the driving forces of history in the last 200 years.
4/30/201413 minutes, 54 seconds
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WHAT IS A NATION? pt3 Bosnia-Herzegovina

National History: I have never witnessed the birth of a nation, but I have attended the death of one, Yugoslavia.
4/30/201413 minutes, 58 seconds
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WHAT IS A NATION? pt. 2 Kurdistan

National History: The story of the Kurds, the largest ethnic group in the world without a "nation-state" of their own.
4/30/201415 minutes, 58 seconds
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WHAT IS A NATION? pt 1 Northern Ireland

National History: When does a "tribe" become a "nation"? The case of Ulster's protestants or the Scotch-Irish as they are called in America
4/30/201413 minutes, 55 seconds
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WHAT IS A NATION? pt 5 From the ashes of Empires

National History: Europe - what is "the" nation? What is the "nation-state"?
3/25/201413 minutes, 57 seconds
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Faith Without God pt 2: Becoming Religions Anyway

Cultural History: Buddha, Confucius and the first Greek taught man was responsible for his own fate not the gods. But then something strange happened: their teachings became the basis for religions anyway.
2/19/201445 minutes, 16 seconds
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Faith Without God, pt 1

Cultural History: Buddha, Confucius and the first Greek philosophers all lived at precisely the same time. They were the first to say that man, not God or the gods, was the measure of all things. Coincidence? or were their civilizations in contact with each other? In this documentary, originally made for BBC Radio 3, archaeologists, historians and philosophers offer their answers.
2/19/201444 minutes, 47 seconds