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StocktonAfterClass

English, Sciences, 1 season, 175 episodes, 4 days, 13 hours, 48 minutes
About
Ron Stockton was a professor of political science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn for 48 years. His specialty was non-western politics and political change. He taught classes on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Religion and Politics, the Politics of Revolution, Non-Western politics, and American politics. He also taught in the Honors Program, focusing upon foundational readings from the 18th and 19th centuries. He has an interest in religion and politics and in the role of religio-ethnic groups in the political system. The listener can anticipate talks on Arab-Americans, Jews, African-Americans, the Scots-Irish, and Evangelicals. He has lectured and written on American politics, public opinion, and voting behavior and on the role of religious organizations and ideologies in the political system. There will be occasional discussions of books and films that address serious issues. And he has lectured and published and even taught a class on gravestones, especially those of different ethnic and religious groups such as Muslims, African-Americans, Jews, and Native Americans. The goal of the podcast series is to provide analysis and commentary by a political scientist to explain and make accessible political, historical, and cultural developments in the United States and around the world, and to give the listener analytical tools to understand those developments. It is also to entertain the listener.
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Who Shot Trump. And Why?

This was written three days after Trump was lightly wounded in an assassination attempt in Pennsylvania.    It is based on patterns of violence rather than hard knowledge.  I hope it helps. 
7/16/20246 minutes, 20 seconds
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What Happens When You Get Old? Joe and Donald, Listen Up!

7/12/202415 minutes, 31 seconds
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John Mearsheimer on the Gaza War. Israel: Loser; America: Loser; Iran:Winner. Ouch!

John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago is one of the very top strategic analysts in this country.  He is of the Realist School.  He thinks we should look at the reality of power, and that each country should look after its own interests.  Earlier in this month, he delivered a talk in Australia on the Gaza War.  He came up with data I had never heard and insights I had never considered.  This is a faithful summary of his key points.  It will change the way you think about this conflict. And the talk itself is easily accessible on the internet.  Just search for his name, then find the Australian talk.   you will be glad you did. 
6/18/202414 minutes, 4 seconds
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Visiting Palestine During A Time of War and Genocide, Part II

This is the second of two podcasts on my visit to Palestine in early June, 2024.  If you have not listened to the first podcast, please do so before listening to this  one. 
6/14/202430 minutes, 14 seconds
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Palestine during a Time of War and Genocide, Part I.

In early June, 2024, I visited Palestine.   It was a visit that changed my way of thinking.  As someone who had taught a course on the Israeli-Palestine Conflict for 40 years this surprised me.  This is Part I of a two-part podcast.  The second part is not this long and has a different focus. 
6/11/202436 minutes, 50 seconds
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Request for Permission to Arrest Netanyahu and Yahya Sinwar, and others.

On May 20, the War Crimes Prosecutor Karim Khan asked the International Criminal Court for warrants to arrest the leaders of Hamas and Israel, and three others. This was a stunning development. This podcast is a discussion of what is included in that document. Later in the week, South Africa asked the High Court of Justice for additional Provisional Rulings ordering Israel to stop its attack on Rafah, to allow supplies to get through, and to allow teams in to investigate the issue of genocide. It was a busy week. 
5/25/202429 minutes, 12 seconds
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Roe V Wade Overturned. A Reposting two years after the event of the Alito decision.

Two years ago we learned that the Supreme Court would reverse Roe v Wade. I worked through the leaked draft and tried to extract the logic of the decision.  It was painful to see such tortured analysis. Some of those Trump justices had actually said that Roe was "settled law" during their hearings.  That is a phrase that means, everyone agrees and it is not subject to reversal. Now, in May of 2024, Trump is running on the fact that his justices were the ones that tipped the balance on the Court.  And Biden is running as champion of women's rights, promising to pass a national law once again making this a decision of a woman and her doctor. In case you missed this podcast the first time around (or want to refresh your memory) here it is once again. 
5/3/202440 minutes, 53 seconds
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Nelson Mandela Freed, 1990 A Reposting

Back in February of 1990 Nelson Mandela was freed from 27 years in prison.  When he walked out of prison that Sunday morning, the whole world was watching.  At least everyone in our house was watching.  Mandela quickly became the world's greatest statesman.  This is my assessment of his life and contribution.  And of the two times Jane and I crossed paths with him.  
4/29/202415 minutes, 14 seconds
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Comments to the Graduating Class

I prepared this podcast last year (2023) but did not get around to posting it until now (2024).  It focuses upon the time a few years ago when  I was asked to speak to the graduating class.  The students were there and their parents.  Plus the Chancellor and Deans and other luminaries.    It was a really nice event.  I did make one mistake.  When I came to the campus in 1973 the state of Michigan funded over 80% of our budget.  Today it is well under the 25% I mentioned, maybe closer to 15%.   An event such as this was not a time to ask for money, but I thought I would plant the seed. 
4/13/20246 minutes, 58 seconds
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Ottoman Perspectives on Zionism (and on Jews). A reposting

This summarizes the main findings of a book on this topic.  The Ottomans had experts in Zionism who monitored writings and developments very carefully.This podcast has surprising  findings.Note:  This was recorded during covid times as a class lecture (when we were not allowed to go live).  
3/19/202421 minutes, 5 seconds
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Evangeline. A Poem of Love and Loss by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Evangeline was a standard assignment in the 8th grade when I was a kid.  It was long and had big words but we read it because it made us better people.  This is the story of this poem, and of my experience with it.   It is also the story of Longfellow, the most popular poet of his age, and of his poems.  The Village Smith, Paul Revere's Ride, Haiwatha, and the powerful Christmas poem/song, "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Longfellow had a painful life, but he kept writing those wonderful poems. Have you ever read a single poem by Longfellow?  This is your chance to encounter his creativity. 
3/6/202424 minutes, 25 seconds
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Hamas Narrative on the events of October 7. What we did; Why we did it; What we want; What we did not do.

In January, 2024 Hamas published a paper called "Our Narrative . . .  Operation Al -Aqsa Flood."  It is an 18 page document discussing their perspective on the events of October 7.  I had not read any Hamas explanations, beyond short statements quoted by people not friendly to their side, so I immediately printed this out and read it.  More than once. As I read this document, I realized I was not the only person who had never heard the Hamas perspective on those events.  I knew immediately that it was something I should turn into a podcast.  So here it is.  I did make a mistake in the podcast.  The Israeli representative to the UN tore up a document in 2021, which I reported as 2001.  Then he got elected as Vice President of the organization in 2022, which I reported as 2002.    There is a word Nakba which many of you will recognize but some may not.  The word means Catastrophe.  It is the Palestinian term for the events of 1948 when Palestine ceased to exist and the Palestinian people lost most of their land and mostly ended up in exile.  
2/20/202434 minutes, 51 seconds
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High Court in The Hague Preliminary Ruling on the Genocide Case against Israel.

 This is a summary of the main points in the ICJ ruling.Below is a summary of other International Humanitarian Laws.  These definine various crimes that occur within the context of war.  They are distinct from genocide but could be a part of genocide.  They would be heard by the International Criminal Court rather than by the High Court of Justice.  The three most commonly discussed offenses are Ethnic Cleansing, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes.Ethnic Cleansing"rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group." Crimes Against HumanityUnlike other human rights violations, war crimes do not engage State responsibility but individual criminal responsibility. This means that individuals can be tried and found personally responsible for these crimes.Prohibited acts include:MurderExterminationEnslavement Deportation or forcible transfer of populationImprisonmentTortureSexual violencePersecution against an identifiable groupEnforced disappearance of personsThe crime of apartheidOther inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health War Crimes: Elements of the Crime War crimes are those violations of international humanitarian law (treaty or customary law) that incur individual criminal responsibility under international law. As a result, and in contrast to the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, war crimes must always take place in the context of an armed conflict, either international or non-international.Some examples of prohibited acts include: murder; mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; taking of hostages; intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population; intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historical monuments or hospitals; pillaging; rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy or any other form of sexual violence; conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities.War crimes contain two main elements:  A contextual element: “the conduct took place in the context of and was associated with an international/non-international armed conflict”; and A mental element: intent and knowledge both with regards to the individual act and the contextual element.In contrast to genocide and crimes against humanity, war crimes can be committed against a diversity of victims, either combatants or non-combatants, depending on the type of crime. In international armed conflicts, victims include wounded and sick members of armed forces in the field and at sea, prisoners of war and civilian persons. In the case of non-international armed conflicts, protection is afforded to persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ‘hors de combat’ by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause. In both types of conflicts protection is also afforded to medical and religious personnel, humanitarian workers and civil defence staff.   
1/30/202427 minutes, 22 seconds
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Israel on Trial for Genocide. The South African Document

In December, 2023 South Africa filed a document before the High Court of Justice in the Hague accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza.  This was for its actions against Gaza in the wake of the blood-chilling Hamas attack on Israeli military positions, towns, and a music festival on October 7.  Those attacks killed nearly 1200 people. There are two recent developments worth noting.  First, Mexico and Chile are preparing to charge Israel in the International Criminal Court with War Crimes.  This has a much lower standard of evidence for conviction than genocide.  Also various parties have raised the issue of "complicity in genocide."  What does this mean from a legal perspective?  I am not entirely sure but the U. S. and Britain may well be charged by a group of South African attorneys.  I have two earlier podcasts on those attacks, one three days after October 7, one three weeks later.  Both were before the world could see the extent of the Israeli response, and well before this genocide accusation was filed. I also have an earlier podcast on the topic of genocide.  That was a talk delivered to a class  during a unit focusing mostly on the Armenian and Rwanda genocides.  This is a complex podcast.   If you find it painful, then you are not alone. 
1/21/202451 minutes, 37 seconds
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Hard Right Jewish Religio-Ethnic Nationalism. Rabbi Meir Kahane. Reposting.

The Israeli election of November, 2022 brought into the Knesset some of the most extreme individuals in that country's history.  To bring himself back into office,  Netanyahu brought them into his cabinet.  (Smotrich and Bin Gvir get the most attention, but there are others).   These were people who had been brought up in the shadow  of Rabbi Meir Kahane.  Kahane had been banned from office and Netanyahu's new allies had also seen their party banned.  But they had reconstituted themselves into a new configuration and evaded the ban.  With the horrendous attacks of October 7 and the brutal Gaza war that followed,   suddenly the thinking of those religio-nationalists has moved closer to the center of the political system.  (Note:  1200 Israelis and Israeli-linked workers were  killed on October 7.   22,000 Palestinians are dead as of early January, 2024,  70% being women and children). This is a reposting of an earlier podcast outlining the ideology of Rabbi Kahane.  Kahane was born in Brooklyn but moved to Israel and was elected to the Knesset.  He was later assassinated.  At the time, his views were considered shockingly extreme.  He was widely renounced by American Jews and by Israelis.   (Note that someone of his thinking had conducted the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre in Hebron in February, 1994.  29 Muslims had been killed on the first day of Ramadan, plus ten more sot by Israeli soldiers in the aftermath).  And someone of this mind-set also assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin).  I heard Kahane speak twice in the Detroit area in the early 1980s.  I also read two of his books, Time to Go Home [a call for Americans Jews to escape to Israel before the American holocaust] and They Must Go!  [ A call to expel all Palestinians so that Israel can become a Jews-only state].  Those books were chilling  I also read quite a few essays by him, and one biography.    As far as I can tell, those who today embrace his name and his ideas are not fundamentally different from what I heard in the 1980s.   Kahane believed that anything is justified to bring the new age and to save the Jews.  I thought of the accusations by radical Iraqi Jews that the 1952 bombings of synagogues were done by Zionist commandos in an effort to panic them into fleeing to Israel.  I have no way to know if those accusations are correct but such a thing would surely be justified by Kahane.  He was filled with hatred of Arabs, Americans and secular Jews.  He believed in his cause and would do anything to achieve it.  He had a definite support base in the American Jewish community, although certainly not nearly as big as the vast proportion who were hostile to him.  I don’t want to be inflammatory but I wrote in my notes back in the 1980s that I felt I was in a Munich beer hall in 1924 listening to Hitler polish up a speech.  I have never heard anyone quite like him. Note that in the Knesset, there are religious parties connected to the rabbis.  Two are United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazi) and Shas (Sephardic).  These are NOT Kahanist. If you are interested in how  a similar logic works out in American culture you might listen to my podcast on the Replacement Wars. 
1/6/202434 minutes, 56 seconds
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Genocide: A Reposting

To destroy "in whole or in part" the ability of a people to function.  I delivered this talk in 2020  for a unit on Armenia.  It was well before the fall of 2023 and the horrible Gaza War.  As I am writing (December 2023) 20,000 Palestinians have been killed.  The Israelis say the number of Hamas combatants killed is around 1700+  Gaza is no longer functioning.  There have been several scholarly essays and discussions of whether this meets the standard for genocide.   Here is my  original introduction: On April 24, 2021 President Biden used the word “genocide” to describe what happened to the Armenians of Turkey. The use of this word had been a matter of debate since the 1970s.  In 1915 the Ottoman government, fearing that the Armenians in eastern Turkey would align with the Russians, decided to evacuate the whole Armenian population of Eastern Turkey by marching them across the desert to the Arab provinces of Lebanon and Syria.  They also massacred large numbers of Armenians.  Many young women were forced to marry Turks, and there were many forced conversions.  No one is certain how many people were lost.  Most scholars say  a million or 1.5 million.   The Biden announcement had a softening provision, but two provocations.  Biden referred to events during Ottoman times, the previous, discredited regime.   This seems to spare the Turkish Republic of direct responsibility.  But a State Department press release referred to the capital of Turkey as Constantinople, a Christian name not used since 1453.  The State Department also used the highest estimate of fatalities, a million and a half.  One controversy over the the word genocide has to do with the official definition.  It requires intent.  The Turks insist that while there were massive losses among the Armenians, there was no “intent” to exterminate the Armenians as a people or to commit mass murder.  They also say the word draws a comparison with the Holocaust.  The Armenian deaths were a by-product of war, they insist, a war in which Turks and others also died.  Two points about the Armenian genocide.  First, after the war, the Turks put several officials on trial for war crimes.  (The word genocide did not exist at the time).  Many observers wonder why the current leaders do not say, “we disagree with the word genocide but agree that some of those leaders committed crimes against some of our people, as we showed by putting them on trial and finding them guilty.” But those trials  were carried out by the old regime, not seen as legitimate today.  Second, the national hero of Turkey, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, was fighting the British at the time and was not involved in these events.    My lecture was  recorded on my computer and shared with students.  I wish I could provide you with the written definitions of genocide made available to students.   please listen carefully as I read definitions or as I discuss the model to predict future genocides. Three points.  First, the statement that 90% of the Kosovo Albanians were displaced was an inflammatory over-statement   by some world leaders.  Second, Leo Kuper in his  book Genocide uses the term “genocidal massacre” to describe targeted killings short of a full genocide.  An example might be killing a whole village or perhaps widespread massacres to intimidate a targeted population. Third, regarding  “war crimes,” there is a concept of “disproportionate response.”   It consists of “extensive destruction not justified by military necessity.” .  Welcome to class. 
12/22/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 48 seconds
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Suppressing Dissent. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. A Reposting

In December, 2023  House Republicans summoned the Presidents of Harvard, MIT and University of Pennsylvania to a hearing about Anti-Semitism on their campuses.  They were asked if calling for Genocide against Jews would be an offense.  Knowing that Republicans consider the word “intifada” (“shaking off”) and the phrase “from the river to the sea” to be genocidal, not to mention that Israel should be a state for all its people rather than a “Jewish” state, there was no way to win with that question.  Nor can you expel students for saying stupid things.  Plus that hearing was really about trolling for votes and donations.  And the Presidents fell into the trap.  The President of Pennsylvania was told that a billionaire donor was cancelling a $100 million donation.  She had to resign.  This  was a class lecture in November, 2020. It is not an easy topic.  It focuses upon how difficult it is to engage in serious discussion of the conflict and of how there are organized efforts to disrupt or silence debate.  One issue is that there are groups trying to define the word anti-Semitism in a way to weaponize it forpolitical use.  That will require a different podcast. However, if you are interested, see an article by Nathan Thrall in the NY Times, March 28, 2019, “How the Battle over Israel and anti-Semitism is Fracturing American Politics.” I wrote three articles in Middle East Policy on the Presbyterian debates on whether to sell their shares in five companies that cooperated with the Israeli occupation.  Those can be found in the University of Michigan virtual archive called Deep Blue.   I mentioned a Task Force that wrote a policy on faculty being required to write letters that raised moral issues.  Here is that policy:  Point I.   Faculty Obligation to Support Students: Faculty should endeavor to support their students in the pursuit of their aspirations.  This includes writing letters of recommendation whenever possible.  Point II.   The Case of a Faculty Member Declining to Write a Letter of Support.  Given the right to acts of conscience as a part of academic freedom, faculty members are not obligated to write letters of recommendation for participation in programs if they judge that doing so would compromise their moral principles.  Point III.  Working with the Student:  In the event that a faculty member declines to write a letter covered by this policy, the faculty member should consider meeting with the student to discuss the reasons for that decision.  Such a discussion can be beneficial and educational for those students who may not understand the issues involved.  Point IV.   Due Process in the Event of a Formal Complaint: If there is a complaint  under this policy  against a faculty member, that matter should be referred to the department grievance committee.  In such an event, there should be an initial assumption that the faculty member behaved appropriately.  There should be strict adherence to due process for the faculty member, including a right to appeal an adverse finding.  In the event of an adverse finding, the matter should be referred to the appropriate  promotion and tenure or other review committee for consideration during their assessment of the individual’s performance of duties.   There should be no sanction beyond whatever comment the committee chooses to include in their review letter. Point V.  Letters for Undeserving Students: This policy affirms the established right of faculty to refuse a letter for an individual  student who is academically or otherwise undeserving. Note:  I was Faculty Ombudsman for 17 years.  Free expression is important to me.
12/10/202357 minutes, 12 seconds
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Three Narratives on Israel. Evangelical Christian, Jewish Nationalist, Arab Nationalist. A Reposting.

Are you getting frustrated with argumentation?  Does it irritate you that so many people just seem to repeat tired old arguments that any reasonable person can see are not true?  Well, maybe you need to listen to this podcast.  Each of us carries around a narrative of logical and irrefutable arguments on this topic.  Except for the fact that people outside of our group have trouble accepting it.  I like this podcast.  My students also liked it.  I would pass it out at the beginnig of the semester.  It helped them put themselves into a tradition. Here is what I wrote when I first posted this podcast: "It is often helpful to understand how we think before we approach new material.  In American discourse, there are three dominant narratives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Jewish Narrative, the Arab Narrative, and the Evangelical Narrative.   Each of these has a way of integrating and interpreting material that creates a coherent explanation of the nature of the conflict and how the various parties interact.    Many people deny they have a pre-existing narrative.  Their perspectives are objective and rooted in facts.  So they say. "  Happy listening.  
12/5/202322 minutes, 32 seconds
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Sabra and Shatilla Massacre and Kahan Commission Report. A Reposting

For those of you watching the mass killings in Gaza (nearly 14,000 dead in seven weeks, over 2/3 of them women and children) you might find it helpful to think back to an earlier time when Israel was once again implicated in a mass killing.  This was what happened in September, 1982 during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.  The Israelis are quick to point out that they did not themseslves do the killing, but neither were they free of  responsibility.  This podcast has two purposes:  to describe what happened in those terrible three days, and to tell you what the Israeli Kahan Commission subsequently concluded.  It is very clear that there will be a post-war commission to study why the Israeli security system failed to detect the extensive planning for this attack.  What is less clear is whether there will be an Israeli commission to study the response.  We can be certain that international bodies will conduct such investigations. Notice:  This is not easy listening.  (Below is my original introduction) In September, 1982, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon,  the Israeli army took control  of West Beirut and the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Chatillah.  Bashir Gemayel, the leader of the Phalangist movement (Kataeb in Arabic), had just been assassinated.  He had supported the Israelis in their invasion, hoping to free his land of the PLO and of Syrian domination.  The individual convicted of the assassination was a Christian.  He claimed he had acted because of Gemayel’s support of Israel.  Many people think Syria was behind the attack. Gemayel’s followers were bent on revenge.  The visible target was the Palestinian refugee camps.  The PLO forces had been evacuated to Tunis by an American-brokered agreement.  Part of that agreement was that the U. S. agreed to protect the Palestinian civilians who would be left without security.  President Reagan’s personal representative, Ambassador Phillip Habib, had negotiated the withdrawal of Palestinian forces and had guaranteed the security of the civilian refugees left behind in the camps.  But there was extremely bad blood between the Phalangists and the PLO and this was an opportunity to get revenge for past offenses.  The Israelis controlled access to those camps and allowed military units to enter.  The killing went on for three days.   There was a story in the Jerusalem Post as the massacres were going on.  The sun was setting and a  military rabbi was leading an outdoor religious service.  There were sounds of shooting and screams in the distance.  The Jerusalem Post said this will go down in history as the “Rosh Hashana of Shame.” Under domestic and international (i.e., U.S.) pressure, the Israelis set up a three-person commission headed by a very respected member of their high court, Justice Kahan.  This is the story of that report. There are two award-winning films that might be of interest.  One is an Israeli film called Waltz With Bashir, a graphic-novel type film.  An officer is having nightmares of wild dogs.  He starts talking to others in his unit.  They are also having nightmares.  It turns out they were all present during the massacres but they have suppressed what happened on their watch.  The other film is The Insult, a Lebanese film.  It starts with a simple confrontation between two men in which one calls the other a name. This happens many times every day without consequence so why does this incident escalate?  It turns out the two parties are connected personally to these massacres. Even though this is decades later, the wounds are still there.  People:  Bashir Gemayel, Amin Gemayel, Raphael Eitan, Shimon Peres, Menachem Begin
11/30/202342 minutes, 30 seconds
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Shall we Chat on Zoom? How About December 2 at 2:00 Eastern Standard Time.

Would anyone out there like to have a chat on Zoom?  It is now the end of November, 2023 and I just passed 50,000 total downloads so I am thinking I should do something to honor that event.  What beter thing than to talk to those of you who helped make that number possible.  And I almost never get feedback from you so I really don't know who you are. We could talk about whatever you want.  The War in Gaza, American Politics, Politics in your country, podcasts that you particularly liked, or didn't. Questions that you have, your favorite book, how your life is going, or how your cat is doing. You get to set the agenda. How about 2:00 Eastern Standard Time on Saturday December 2.  That will be the evening for anyone in Europe or morning for anyone on the West Coast.  For those of you in Asia or the Pacific, you may have to scramble a bit but you are very welcome if you can make it. Please send me an email at  my university account:  [email protected].  I will send you a link later this week.  I hope to see you. [email protected]
11/25/20231 minute, 29 seconds
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The Palestinians After 1948 (Reposting of an Earlier Podcast)

What happened after the armistice in January of 1949?  Of course, the major consequence was the Palestinian refugees.  Thinking only of what we consider the internationally recognized boundaries of Israel, probably 80% or more of all the Palestinians inside of that area  on January 1, 1948 were gone by December 31, 1948.  This is the real “catastrophe,” or nakhba,  as the Palestinians call it.  The Israelis were insistent that none of these refugees would be allowed to return.  I am very sorry I can’t deliver an hour-long talk on the refugee situation.  I am just not sure how to make it work.  Still, I have tried to incorporate key points into this talk and into the previous talk on the Palestine War of 1948.  And again, I invite you to go to Deep Blue (see that previous podcast if you are unclear) where I have posted my briefing document on The Palestinian Refugees of 1948.  As of April, 2021 this document has nearly 13,000 downloads from around the world.  It is a very thorough summary of the data on the refugees, of the recent research on the topic, of the personal stories of what happened, and of the argumentation.  For those interested in this subject, it is a valuable source.  If you would like to read a short novel consider Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar.  The author was a noted literary figure (Yizhar Smilansky) who concealed his true identity so he could tell what happened when his unit took control of a Palestinian village in 1948.  It was translated into English in  2008.  It shocked many Israelis to realize that a person of such literary stature had experienced these things.  I mentioned the mayor of El Bireh, a Palestinian town just 10 miles north of Jerusalem.  His name was Abdul Jawad Saleh.  I met him in Amman in 1987.  He was one of the most respected of the Palestinian leaders and was later put in charge of the PLO  treasury because everyone trusted him.    He told me that one evening he had a knock at the door and two soldiers told him the governor wanted to talk to him.  This was not unusual so he went without resistance.  But they took him to the Jordan border (I think in the southern desert) and pushed him into Jordan.  They then announced on the radio that he had been expelled.  The Jordanians rushed units into the area to find him before he died of thirst.  I met him in his apartment.  His daughter was visiting and his grandson.  He was the person who made the map of the dead cities and villages of Palestine.   I asked him why they had expelled him (which is a violation of international law, by the way). He said they never tell you why they are expelling you or detaining you  but he thought it had to do with the fact that the city was erecting a “mother statue.”  It depicts a mother lifting her child  to reach for a goal. It is obviously a metaphor for the Palestinian situation.  He thought it was just too symbolically powerful for the Israelis.  When the archives were opened by Menachem Begin in the late 1970s,  Israeli scholars plunged in.  By the late 1980s, they produced a new wave of histories that went beyond wartime hero narratives but relied heavily upon primary source materials: diaries and journals and memos.  They were called the New Historians.  Their research exploded myths about how the Palestinians had fled of their own will, for example or that the military maintained a “purity of arms.”  Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim and Simcha Flappan were three of these.  Tom Segev’s book, The First Israelis, focusing upon 1949, after the fighting was over, brings surprising new perspectives to the issues.  These historians are hated by those on the Israeli right. 
11/25/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Palestinian Refugees of 1948: Reposting of an Earlier Podcast

It has occurred to me that there is great interest in the background to the current conflict.  Here is a discussion of the Palestinian Refugees of 1948. This is an extremely important topic surrounded by false narratives and inflammatory rhetoric.  I have put off preparing a podcast for some time, but not because it is sensitive.  I deal with quite a few sensitive topics.  It goes with the territory.  But in this case, a reason for my hesitation is that I have a written briefing document that is the basis of this podcast.  It is very thorough and is fully available to anyone through Deep Blue.  (See the separate podcast on how to access Deep Blue).  It has the same title as this podcast.  But I have thought for some time that transferring that written document to a podcast would be a good thing.  My hesitation is that I will be reading and improvising from a printed text into the spoken word.  I am worried about jumps and stops and stumbles along the way.  I hope those who listen to this will find it useful. It will certainly introduce some information that is new to most of you. And if you also want to download the document from Deep Blue that is good given that it has additional information in it.   https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/110670Note that there are previous podcasts on The Palestine War of 1948, and The Palestinians After 1948. Some People in order of being mentioned:  Menachem Begin, Simha Flappan, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev, Joseph Weitz, Herbert Hoover, David Ben-Gurion, Abba Eban, Samuel Katz, Meir Pa-el, Mordechai Ra’anan, Yigael Allon, Yitzhak Rabin, Gold Meir, Abu Iyad, Aharon Cizling, Moshe Sharrett, Nahum Goldman, Walid Khalidi. Some terms, places, organizations  in order of being mentioned: The Partition Plan of 1947 (181), Haganah, Irgun, Stern Gang, Plan D/Plan Dalet, Peel Commission of 1937, Deir Yassin, Haifa/Jaffa, Absentee property and the Present Absentees law, “transfer.” 
11/21/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 35 seconds
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Israel-Gaza War. Podcast 2. Israel Invades Gaza

This is the second podcast on this war. I have posted it a second time because Buzzsprout had technical problems andthe first posting may not have reached everyone. It was written November 1. It is written in the early stages of the Israeli invasion. Much of it has to do with implications and reactions. As I post this update on November 5, there are close to 10,000 Palestinian fatalities.  Perhaps 40% of them are children. 
11/5/202333 minutes, 7 seconds
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Israel-Gaza War. Israel Invades. Podcast Two

This was written November 1.  Much of it deals with the reaction to the war and the implications of the war. 
11/2/202333 minutes, 7 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Hamas-Israel War of 2023

On October 7, 2023, the anniversary of the 1973 War, Hamas began a massive missile barrage at key Israeli cities.  Hamas soldiers crashed through the barriers that enclosed Gaza and struck at 22 different Israeli cities.  They also attacked a Music Festival going on just near the Gaza border.  By the time they were driven back, over a thousand Israelis had been killed.  Perhaps a hundred and fifty were taken into Gaza as captives. This was the sixth Hamas-Israel combat.  Most had left large numbers of dead Palestinians, many civilians, and few dead Israelis, mostly soldiers.  This was different.  It Was a deep psychological trauma for Israelis.  How did this happen?  Why did our intelligence agencies not anticipate this?  After two days, I am offering my thoughts on the issues involved.  On an almost hourly basis more information is being revealed so by the time you listen to this it may be dated.  But I have tried to focus on some issues that are more long-term.  I hope you find it of use. Thanks for listening. 
10/11/202343 minutes, 19 seconds
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1973 October War. The Fiftieth Anniversary. Egypt, Syria, and Israel. (Also the US and USSR)

1973 October War, 50th anniversary October 6.  October 6, 2023 is the 50th anniversary of the 1973 October War.  This war lasted three long weeks and took the great powers (the US and the USSR) to the brink of  nuclear war.  It also cleared the sinuses, so to speak.   Nixon and Kissinger realized that unless there was progress in working out some kind of resolution of the 1967 war, the US was going to get dragged into a major war.  Let me clarify the term “The Year of Decision.”  My lecture got a bit distracted on that.  In 1972 Sadat spoke to his parliament and said “This is the Year of Decision.”  The Egyptians knew what that meant.  They cheered hysterically.  The Israelis also knew what that meant. They mobilized their reserves and prepared for the attack.  That mobilization cost a lot of money.  But as the joke goes, what if you gave a war and nobody came?  In fact, there was no war in 1972.  Then in 1973, Sadat delivered another speech.  “This is the Year of Decision.”  Again, the Egyptians were hysterical with excitement.  But Golda Meir decided she had been snookered once and would not be snookered a second time.  Alas, for her, this time the war came.  And Israel was not prepared.  This  decision wrecked Golda Meir’s credibility.  She was driven from office and replaced by Yitzhak Rabin (who was elected a second time in 1992).   The Israelis still argue over who was responsible for that decision not to mobilize.  Let me also note that the Israelis thought it was a bit of dirty pool that the attack came on Yom Kippur Eve when many  Israeli soldiers had been given home leave.  Of course it also came during Ramadan so it was a religious holiday for both sides.  We Americans also remember that George Washington attacked the British at Trenton on Christmas Eve when he knew the British army would be drunk.  As Harvey unwisely said in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “there are no rules in a knife fight.” Or a war.  This was a class lecture and there were a few glitches along the way:  paper rattling, the zoom fading.  And also the laptop microphone not as good as the quality one I now hae.  I hope that is not too distracting. 
10/5/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 18 seconds
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Understanding Impeachment (On the first day of the impeachment investigation of Joe Biden) What our founders meant by the concept. A reposting.

Today (September 28) I watched the first hearing of the impeachment investigation (or whatever they are calling it) of Joe Biden.  Not that this podcast  on what the Founders meant by impeachment  will be of much use to the Republican Caucus  Even their three  expert witnesses told them there were no grounds for their investigation.  Unless they just wanted to investigate for the sake of investigation.  Which I suspect is their purpose.  Fox News had two experts  discuss what they had just seen.  They said that this would probably last until next August, and  not turn up anything.  As one noted, this is similar to what they did to Hillary with the Benghazi investigation, which produced absolutely nothing.  But it drove her ratings down, as one person said.  Back in 2021 I posted my very first podcast.  Ironically, it had to do with impeachment.  That is, what out founders meant by impeachment.  It occurred to me that some of you might be interested in what they were thinking, back in Olden Times. This is based on a class briefing lecture. 
9/28/20231 hour, 1 minute, 26 seconds
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Why I Killed Gandhi. The Public Statement of his Assassin

Why I Killed Gandhi  by Nathuram Godse Gandhi was assassinated in 1948.  In most movies, the assassin is portrayed as a deranged bearded scary-looking fanatic. (In one, Horst Buchholz played the role.  His character was closer to the real assassin).  Some of those words might well be justified, but we are never told that the assassin was an exceptionally well educated, well-read reformer, someone who hated the caste system and looked forward to a modern India.  His name was Nathuram Godse.  He was tried for Gandhi’s murder and hanged.  He knew from the beginning that he would be executed for his action, but he did it anyway.  He saw himself as a patriot for his people.  During the year or so that he was waiting for his trial, he wrote a lengthy statement discussing his life and his philosophy and his reasons for what he did.  During his trial, he was allowed to read a shortened version of that longer text.  This is the text I am going to read for you during this podcast. I hope you will forgive my bad pronunciation of some of these Indian names.  They are new to me, and all I can do is pronounce them in a phonetic way, phonetic as I understand them.  Below are a few of the names and terms but there were others – for example intellectuals and political leaders – that I did not include.  I suspect if we read their writings we would understand much more than we understand now, but that will have to wait for another time. My students considered this a shocking document.  It was not shocking because this person killed Gandhi – we knew that --  but because it was logical.  Some of you know from another podcast, my Rules of Good Studenting.  In a class where we deal with political movements and ideologies that may offend, two of the most shocking Rules are these:  “Until you can understand an argument well enough to explain it to the satisfaction of someone who holds that view, and defend it from its critics, you do not understand it well enough to know if you agree or disagree. “  Well, that excludes maybe 90 % of the people who get into arguments.  But my students found it liberating, that they were allowed to understand arguments that offended and terrified them. A second Rule is this one:  “If you were there, you would be there.”  Or as I put it to my students, every single thing we will encounter in this class, no matter how shocking or offensive, you would quite possibly do if you were in the condition of the person who did it and had experienced all the things that person had experienced.   Again, that is distressing.  You would kill and even participate in a massacre?   Yes, you would.  And if you think you would not you are not thinking deeply enough.  I recommend you listen to that podcast:  The Rules of Good Studenting.   Don’t expect to like it.  My students considered this one of the most disturbing things we read during the whole semester, that the person who assassinated the saintly Gandhi  was a thoughtful intellectual who made sense (even if we disagree with him). Some termsHindutva --  Hindu nationalist ideology.  Linked to the BJP party of Prime Minister Modi. Mahatma (term of respect for Gandhi)Moghul Empire (Muslim conquerors of India)Satyagraha:  Gandhi’s philosophy of active, non-violent resistanceHindi and Hindustani   A “real” language and a bastard language created to mollify MuslimsMohammed Ali Jinnah – founder of PakistanJawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India
9/24/202325 minutes, 17 seconds
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Falling Man. An Iconic Story About September 11

Falling Man:  A story of September 11Let me be a Time Traveler and take you back to that terrible day.  For those of us who remember September 11, the image of the “Falling Man” is iconic.  As the flames engulfed the upper stories of the towers, there were several people who decided they would not wait to be burned alive.  They jumped to their deaths.  Some even held hands with friends as they fell.  One person on the ground was killed when hit by a falling body. The noted American novelist Don De Lilio took the theme and used it to write a novel about two people who escaped from the towers and later connected.  This is my discussion of some of the events of that day, as well as a discussion of  that novel, and some of the memorable lines from it. Even if you were not born when that event occurred, you are still a survivor.  We are all survivors.  We will be forever survivors.  We are always falling, eternally falling. Note:  The young woman who told about her experience as a child was of Arab heritage. Note 2:  I once posted the Pulitzer Prize winning photo of that “falling man” on Facebook.  It was covered up with a warning that it might be upsetting to some viewers so they would have to click on the image to see it.  I thought to myself, this is the most traumatic event in American history and you are covering up the most iconic image with a warning because it might upset people.  Upset is a word that falls far short of how we reacted to that event.Note 3: I have two other  podcasts on September 11, one focusing on what happened that day, the other focusing upon what happened after the event, including two talks I delivered.  I think you would find both of those worth your time. 
9/7/202313 minutes, 2 seconds
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Biden Will Be a One-Term President.

Biden Will Be a One Term PresidentI came up with this insight nearly three years ago.  If I had posted it back then, you could have thought about it all this time and looked for little signs here and there.  With Joe creating a campaign structure, it may look a bit different in late 2023.  Still, it is only 8 minutes or so long so you will not sacrifice a lot of time listening to it. And if you haven't listened to the podcasts on the three indictments (Mara-Lago Documents, January 6 Insurrection, and Georgia Election Interference) those are well worth your time. As is the Dominion v Fox News podcast, also rather short. Have fun. 
8/30/20238 minutes, 52 seconds
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Trump On Trial. The Georgia Indictments. A Briefing.

This is the third indictment of Donald Trump relevant to the election of 2020.  I have done podcasts on each of these.  The Mara-Lago Documents caseThe January 6 indictments. Now the Atlanta/Fulton County, Georgia Indictments. I also did a podcast on the Dominion Voting Machine defamation case against Fox News, which was settled out of court. If you listen to these four podcasts, you will know more than any other kid on your block. 
8/21/202332 minutes, 57 seconds
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The January 6 Indictment. Trump On Trial. A Briefing

This is a discussion of the January 6 Indictment for Insurrection handed down in early August.  There is an earlier podcast on the Mara-Lago stolen documents case, and one on the Dominion Voting Machine defamation lawsuit against Fox News. There were some glitches in this podcast.The Vice President is President of the Senate, not Speaker. Giuliani showed the Georgia committee an edited video, not an edited photo. There is a "crime-fraud" exception, not exemption. But Rudy Giuliani really did talk about carrying around a USB port.  That was his mistake, not mine. . I saw an interview that I did not include.  It was with George Connally, a former Republican affiliated with the Lincoln Project. He is a noted attorney and was asked how he would defend Trump.  He said that the evidence was exceptionally strong.  If he were Trump's attorney his goal would be to keep him out of prison.  He would urge him to seek a plea deal in which Trump would plead guilty and agree to leave the public arena.  In exchange the government would drop all charges.  That was the deal that Spiro Agnew worked out.   Admit guilt, no prison, disappear. And it would very much be in the public interest that this happen.  I think everyone can see that Trump would never accept such a settlement.  My suspicion is that he thinks he can win the election and make the whole thing go away. 
8/12/202345 minutes, 6 seconds
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Israel Seriously Polarized, and in Trouble, 2023

This is the kind of podcast I try to avoid. a discussion of an issue that is ongoing.  The problem is that it might evolve in a different direction and I would be exposed as someone who had seriously misunderstood the issues or missed key points.  I remember writing a podcast on the Ukraine-Russia controversy.  The next morning when I went into my office to record it, I realized that Russia had invaded Ukraine as I slept.  (Darn you, Putin.  He had said he was not going to invade.  Liar, Liar.  Pants on fire).  That new development did not affect my observations (which were good) but I decided to add a couple of extra paragraphs to update the commentary. For over 30 months now (it is August 2023) the Israeli public has been in turmoil, resisting the extremist Netanyahu government.  ("The most extreme I have  seen. And that goes back to Golda Meir," according to Joe Biden).  Netanyahu is trying to push through  a change in the legal system so that the Supreme Court could no longer reject a law that violated its Basic Laws (the closest thing Israel has to a constitution).   Sometimes there have been protests involving 200,000 people.  (And counter-protests).  Many suspect Netanyahu is also trying to figure out how to get himself freed from prosecution. Israel is now seriously polarized around these issues.  Why and how did this happen?  I offer some hypotheses based on some social science theories, some comments by Israeli analysts, and some personal observations.  And I draw some parallels with our own country, which is also polarized.  Note:  I included 2023 in the title because someone said, "you need to do that.  You will have to do another podcast on this topic in the future, and your listeners need to know which particular crisis you are discussing." Glitch:  Somewhere in the middle of this podcast, I used the wrong word.  I have forgotten what it is but you will notice it.  Sorry about that. 
8/10/202324 minutes, 30 seconds
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In Praise of the Ku Klux Klan. The Clansman (1903). A Book of Exceptional Importance, Then and Maybe Even Now

Let's start with a Trigger Warning:  Not only am I going to tell you about this book, and about its impact on American society.  I am also going to read excerpts to you.  You will not find these passages easy to hear.  This is about Reconstruction in South Carolina where the author (Thomas Dixon Jr.) lived.  He was a prominent minister, actor, author, and local hero.  He was also a racist. But he was not unique.   He had a lot of fans.  His book sold 100,000 copies and the play he wrote on the story in the book was seen by perhaps a million people.  The film Birth of a Nation dramatized the story, and President Wilson showed it in the White House. There was resistance to this story, but there is no doubt the book was far more popular.  And its ideas persist:  the need to stifle the black vote, for example. Well, enough introduction.  Spend 30 minutes with this podcast and you will understand some things you had not understood before. 
7/28/202330 minutes, 24 seconds
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Gandhi's Concept of Non-Violent Resistance, a. k. a. Satyagraha or Soul Force

I have  a two-part podcast on Gandhi.  This is Part I. It focuses on  Gandhi's concept or strategy of Satyagraha.  He invented that term himself.  It means Soul  Force.  We might say non-violent resistance.  It is pacifist, but not passive.  it is definitely confrontational.  It was rooted in deep moral concepts, but also in Indian culture and history.  Maybe this podcast will make you want to read the book by Rudolph and Rudolph which discusses those cultural traditions in depth. Gandhi assumed that within every opponent there were good forces with which one could negotiate.  Think of Martin Luther King in Selma.  He assumed that most white people did not like what was going on in the South but they were simply unaware.  If they saw the ugly side of racism with their own eyes, they would do something.  MLK had taken his inspiration and strategy from Gandhi.  And it worked. The second podcast, which I will post in a couple of weeks, is entitled  "Why I Killed Gandhi."  It is the statement Gandhi's assassin read to the court when he was sentenced to die. I suspect you will find it shocking, given that it is logical and reasonable and spoken by a very literate intellectual person.   
7/17/202325 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Black Swan. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. An alternate Ending . A Reposting.

This was the final lecture in my class on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the last time I taught that class.   The thesis is that none of the main political science models for how this conflict will end are correct.  But History (capital H) does not like intractable conflicts.  SOMETHING will happen.  And History (capital H) will not ask us what we think.  Most likely, History (capital H) will choose something we don't like and something we cannot anticipate.  This is called The Black Swan. Let me say, I do not think Israel will cease to exist.  But what I do think  is that it there will be massive bloodletting and significant depopulation.  And the country will be transformed by the visit of this Black Swan so much that those of us around today will not recognize it. I have always been very cautious to avoid reaching conclusions based on the headlines.  What is happening today may look exceptionally dramatic and transformative, but most likely it is just a flash in the pan.  Nothing will be changed.  But I see some new patterns that look significant.  Attacks on isolated settlements or on settlers in cars,  not conducted by organized groups but by individuals or perhaps by local bands of resistance.   And there is what local people are calling the Knife Intifada (uprising) in which individuals stab other individuals.  All of these are very hard to identify and remove.  And I have not even mentioned the hard right Israelis who conduct widespread attacks against Palestinians, and even against other Israelis.  The Israeli security forces always,  ALWAYS, respond with great force.  They conduct massive bombing campaigns into Gaza.  As with other militaries, they seem to be fighting the last war.  But think about it.  When was the last time Israel fought a national army?  Was it 1973?  In Lebanon (1982) they fought Hezbollah but that was a local resistance force, not a conventional army.  During the two Intifadahs (1989 and 2000)  that was against localized individuals or groups.  Note:  My wife told me not to discuss this scenario, but the Israeli security forces discuss it so I am in good company.  Note also that this lacks the normal traits of my podcasts, introductory music for example. I hope this makes you think.  Update:  July 4, 2023.  A major new poll shows only 35% of Israeli Jews have confidence in the future security of the state.  Are we surprised?  Headlines report someone driving a truck into a crowd in Tel Aviv.  Someone else shoots into a crowd.  Meanwhile, the Israeli military is deep into Jenin and its refugee camp, thinking this will restore security.  But look at the examples listed above:  truck, shooting, knives.  Were any of those produced in a weapons factory in Jenin?  
7/3/202349 minutes, 24 seconds
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Rape. A Wrongful Conviction. A 28 Year Sentence. A Story that Will Chill Your Bones and Challenge your Soul. At least it did mine.

How can a totally innocent man be unequivocally identified as a rapist?  And be sentenced to 28 years in prison? And when the false conviction is exposed and the case thrown out, is there any way for the person who made the false identification to find peace?    
7/1/202331 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Mara-Lago Indictments. Trump On Trial. A Briefing

This is a discussion of the indictments in the Mara-Lago documents case.  If you are confused, and don't want to read the 60 page indictment with its 37 counts, this may be a short cut for you.  It addresses some context, some points of law, some background issues.  There are a couple of glitches in this podcast.  A fine would be $250,000, not $250. And a name in a string of names is wrong. And for those who are careful listeners, those two rulings by Judge Cannon were so closely linked that they might be considered one ruling rather than two. 
6/17/202343 minutes, 14 seconds
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Waco. Not the City in Texas. The Waco of the Mind. The Call for a New Civil War

In 1993, 30 years ago on April 19, the totalitarian government in Washington, the New Babylon, the entity that must be destroyed, exposed its true nature.  What happened on that day became an inflection point, a call to action. This podcast is a followup on my earlier podcast on Violent White Nationalism.  It explains the logic of those who agree with that opening paragraph. Don't expect to fell good at the end of this podcast. 
5/31/202332 minutes, 47 seconds
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Legacy Lecture: My Life, My Career, My Classes, My Research, My Students.

On March 30, 2023 I delivered my farewell Legacy Lecture to the UM-Dearborn community.  There were about 70 people present.   The event had four stages.  First, two colleagues (Don Anderson and Elias Baumgarten) reflected on my career and their interactions with me;  then I delivered my talk; then five memorable students were on a panel to discuss their work with me; then there was an Open Mike.  The full event was about two hours.   The full video event is available on the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters website in their Deep Blue site.  My talk was around 50 minutes.  That is what is here. Thanks for listening.  
5/17/202350 minutes, 13 seconds
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Israel at 75. The Palestine War of 1948. Liberation or Catastrophe, or both?

On May 14, 1948  (on the American calendar) the Zionist forces in Palestine declared the arrival of the state of Israel.  2023 is the 75th anniversary of that event.  Israelis and Jewish nationalists in general consider this to be a day of liberation.  To Palestinians it is a day of catastrophe (Nakba) when they lost not only their farms and homes and quarries and orchards and professions  and bank accounts but their homeland.  The inflammatory rhetoric in our own country around these events gets very unpleasant.   Just this week a local school system in the Detroit suburbs lost its superintendent and a high school  principal because they allowed a Palestinian to speak to the sophomore class.  As an educator, I always tried to present the matters surronding these events in a way that made them accessible and helpful to my students, whatever their background.  During the decades that I taught my class on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict I was very successful at that.  I had a couple of off-campus people or groups raise issues, but never once did I ever have a regular student raise a complaint.  (Although several came by after class to discuss their experiences and their perspectives.  I always appreciated those conversations, which I always told the class I wanted to hear). The last semester that I taught was during the pandemic and I had to record my classes and then forward them to students.  That was very difficult to do, to be completely detached from my students.  But it had the advantage of leaving me with a cache of recorded lectures.  Several of those on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict have been  previously posted.  Many of those involve the events of 1948.   This is one of them.   They are all there on the Stocktonafterclass site waiting for you.  This podcast is one.  You are welcome to listen to others as you wish. Glitch:  During the lecture, I got a number wrong.  It was the fabricated number of fatalities during the Deir Yassin massacre.  The number I mentioned was was 254, made up by Zionist spokesperson Mordechai Raanan on the spot.  I think I said 280.  The number of 248  reported by BBC and the New York Times, and used by trusting professors for decades until the true number of 110 emerged in the 1990s. 
5/12/202358 minutes, 55 seconds
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Les Miserables. Why I swore I would never read this novel. And why it is now one of my top two favorites.

In 1862 Victor Hugo wrote what may be the greatest novel of the 19th century.  He wrote this masterpiece in 14 months, while he was in exile.  It is about Jean Valjean who was sentenced to the galleys for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his widowed sister and her chidren.  Many people have seen the film or stage version of this novel, but the written text is stunning.  Was it divinely inspired? I don't know.  Did the hand of God reach down and direct the hand of the author?  I don't know.  I do know there were times when I said to myself, "Hugo did not write this.  No human being could have written this."  This is my discussion of this book, and of several other books written by inspired geniuses.  The podcast is 41 minutes long.  Do yourself a favor and listen to it.  And then read the book.  Or should I say, "the books discussed herein"?
5/4/202341 minutes, 1 second
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Dominion Defeats Fox. The Parties Settled Today. What Happened, and Why? An 8 minute summary.

The Dominion Lawsuit Against Fox News, April 18, 2023As a part of the Big Lie conspiracy theory, that Donald Trump had won the 2020 Presidential election but it had been stolen from him, Fox News began to feature attacks on Dominion Voting Machines.  They said that Dominion machines had “flipped” millions of votes from Trump to Biden, thus stealing the election.  Needless to say, this would destroy Dominion’s credibility, especially in Red States.  Dominion sued for $1.6 billion. Legally, there were two dimensions of this lawsuit:  First, did the evidence show that Fox had indeed defamed Dominion?  And if so, how much should the damages be? On April 18 the trial began.  Everyone was expecting a six week drama.  But before the opening statements could be delivered, the judge announced there had been a settlement.  This podcast tells you what happened.  Under court rules, the elements of a settlement are private and do not have to be revealed unless the parties agree to reveal them.  Sometimes there is a non-disclosure component to a settlement.  The public may not even know of such a provision unless the parties reveal its existence.  Please note that Smartmatic also has a $2.7 lawsuit against Fox.  And Dominion has outstanding lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell.  Also note that  Alex Jones lost a lawsuit that cost him $1.4 billion dollars for saying the Sandy Hook killings were fakes.  No one thinks he will ever pay it.  But Fox is a rich and powerful corporation with deep pockets. Also note that while most Americans have multiple sources of news, 75% of conservatives rely heavily upon Fox News.   And Fox wants to keep it that way.  Fox executives live in fear that they will lose their viewers to their smaller rivals Newsmax or Oan.  There is a furious race to hold onto the kooky element who believe that 135% of all eligible voters in Detroit actually voted in 2020.  (Note:  It was actually around 55% turnout).  Glitch:  That famous Supreme Court case about defamation is NYT v Sullivan.  In my rush to get this finished the same day as the settlement, I got that wrong.  (If Fox had been as honest about their mistakes as I am, they would have 3/4 of a billion dollars more in their bank account than they do now). Note:  Recorded on cell phone.  
4/19/20238 minutes, 48 seconds
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A Palestinian Reflects on His Life in Ramallah, and His Life in Ann Arbor. A New Memoir.

A Palestinian Reflects on life in Ramallah and Life in Ann ArborLast year, Ramsey Hanhan published a slightly fictionalized memoir of his life.  It was called Fugitive Dreams:  A Personal Memoir. Ramsey grew up in Ramallah, nine miles north of Jerusalem.  His parents were 1948 refugees.  In those days Ramallah was predominately a Christian town.  Today it is a bustling city.   Ramsey grew up under the Israeli occupation.  His textbooks had to have an Israeli stamp certifying that they did not have any Palestinian content.  No mention of the literary heroes  Ghassan Khanafani or Mahmoud Darwish for example.  (He was delighted when he got to Ann Arbor and found all of Darwish’s poetry in the library).   One of his first memories was when he was three and his mother told him to stay away from the window.  He could get hit by a stray bullet. In 1987 the first Intifadah began.  To a kid It was exciting but it divided his classmates.  Suddenly there was fear of “Birds,” i.e., informants. In time his family moved  to Canada, and then to the U.S.   Ramsey entered the University of Michigan (and ended up with a doctorate in Engineering and became a professor).  He quickly got involved in student activism.  His insights on the complexities of trying to create a unified student movement will be of interest to anyone who has ever gotten engaged in such movements. Ramsey told me he would be in the Detroit area so I invited him to come by to let me interview him.  This is the first time I have tried such thing.  I hope you will let me know if you found this useful.  (Stocktonafterclasspodcastdicsussiongroup@gmail) Note:  My sound system was not working so this interview was done on a cell phone. You may have to fiddle with your dials to get it right.  Blah! 
4/15/20231 hour, 1 minute, 50 seconds
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Christopher Robin Poems: A Delightful Selection

Almost everyone knows about Winnie the Pooh, but not as many know about the Christopher Robin Poems.  There were two collections of these poems, later gathered into a single book, The World of Christopher Robin.  These are poems that my sons and my grandkids know very well because Jane and I read them over and over.  (Recently we mentioned this collectin to my grandson and he began to recite the one that he liked the most).  Kids love to hear things like this over and over but for parents, or grandparents, to engage in this repetitious recitation,  there has to be a certain entertainment value for the performer.   And these poems were a delight to read.   Maybe that is why I have wanted for some time to do a podcast reading some of them to you.  These were written a hundred years ago, which means they are now out of copyright. I am only reading a selection, so I encourage you to buy the book, especially if you have a young person in your life.  Hint:  You can start reading to them as soon as they can hold their head up.  They won't understand the words but they will understand the music and rhythm of the poems, and will know that you love them enough to hold them and read these poems over and over. And if our experience is any indication, they will grow up to be amazing human beings. 
4/6/202330 minutes, 28 seconds
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Why there will be no negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Perspectives of Ian Lustick. A Reposting.

With Israel being led by the most extreme government in its history, and with violence escalating on the West Bank, I thought it might be useful to repost this podcast.  Ian Lustick is a significant political scientist.  He specializes in intractable ethnic and colonial conflicts, and how they end.  This is his discussion of why Israel is incapable to addressing its occupation, and why the U.S. is incapable to pressuring them. I have another podcast on possible outcomes, including the Black Swan scenario. 
3/19/202338 minutes, 39 seconds
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Jimmy Carter. A Great American. A Great Christian. He Never Gave Up

Jane and I met Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter once, but I think we, and other Americans, knew him long before that.  These are my reflections on the life of a great American. This includes his election as governor, Camp David, Panama Canal, his personality, and especially issues of race and racism. It also includes his books, and especially An Hour Before Sunrise, his book on growing up in small town Georgia, and the nature of racial issues. 
3/5/202324 minutes, 41 seconds
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Ukraine War. Reposting from February, 2022 (I had not listened to this for a year. I learned some things. Thanks for doing it, Ron. You're welcome, Ron)

Background to the Ukraine War.  Observations from February 24, 2022This war will not end with the defeat of the Russian army or with Vladimir Putin in the Hague for a war crimes trial.  There will have to be a settlement.  This podcast offers some thoughts on the nature of the conflict.  Back in 2008 there was a crisis in Ukraine.  It led to the separation of two regions from Ukraine, and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula.  I convened a Faculty Forum on the event, asking my knowledgeable colleagues to help us understand the issues.  I delivered some thoughts of my own on the American role and the American interests.  This talk is based on my comments at the time, and how they relate to what is happening now.  There is also updating to the current situation.  I wrote this podcast on February 23, 2022 in the afternoon.  My plan was to record and post it later that evening, but events intervened. By the time I was ready to follow through, the Russian military had initiated its attack.   I added a few supplementary comments the morning of February 24 as the world was trying to figure out what was going on.  I posted on Facebook a simple statement:  “Now we understand how the world felt when we invaded Iraq.”  Two glitchesFirst, there was a lack of clarity at the point when I explained that NATO was founded with an anti-Russian clause in it but this clause had now been removed.  It sounded as if I had said “Not removed.” Second,  twice I mention the wonderful journal Foreign Affairs, but called it Foreign Policy.  Foreign Policy is also a good journal but it is not the same as Foreign Affairs.  When this war began, we thought the Russian army would be in Kiev within a week.  We saw massive convoys of Russian tanks heading west.   We thought President Zelinskyy would probably be dead or in exile.  And yet the Ukrainian army is holding on, and Zelinskyy is an international hero.   And this war seems to have taken on characteristics that we could never have predicted.  Year II seems equally ominous. Note that my analysis may not be what you expect.  Some names:               Adam Rapacki              Yanukovich              Zelinski              Samuel Huntington              George F. Kennan              General Giap              John Mearsheimer  Some Terms or places              Maiden Square              Donets, Luhansk, Donbas              Abkhazia and South Osettia              Kiev Curious Factoid:  Maiden Square in Kiev uses a borrowed word from Arabic.  Maiden is the same as Medina, the important pilgrimage site in western Saudi Arabia.  Medina means city. 
2/24/202325 minutes, 11 seconds
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Eichmann in Jerusalem. Reposting on the 60th anniversary of its publication.

Sixty years ago, the New Yorker published a long analytical essay on the Eichmann trial by the famous intellectual Hannah Arendt.  It became an instant classic.  It also became the center of rabid controversy.  This is a short discussion of Hannah Arendt, of her life, and of what happened when she published her discussion of this trial. 
2/21/202311 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Case for Caution: Why we Should NOT Invade Iraq. A talk from 2002. (Raises some good, long term issues).

During the lead up to the Iraq War of 2003 I was very active in raising concerns about why this would be a bad decision.  I was interviewed scores of times and spoke scores more to civic groups, churches, and anyone who wanted to listen to me.  I also delivered two major talks.  One was in 2002 as Congress prepared to vote on the "authorization to use force" resolution.  I feared the invasion would be a catastrophe and explained why the first Bush administration had been cautious.  The second talk was four years later when I explained why it had turned out to be the catastrophe I feared.   This is the first of those talks.  I will post the second talk in a few weeks. These are period pieces from a time at least two decades ago.  You may find them boring.  But you may also find them very interesting.  They do address some ongoing issues. Glitch:  Once when I was discussing our difficult relations with Israel I said that there was a danger that Iraq would get involved in the war.  Blah!  Obviously I meant to say there was a danger that Israel might get involved.  I think that is obvious from the context, but I wanted to mention it to you. 
2/11/202335 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Lebanon War of 1982: How Our Leaders Saw it. (Not a parody but at times sounds like one).

Several top American leaders wrote their memoirs about this war.  Ordinarily we assume that our leaders, those giants who hold the top positions in the country and shape the destiny of the world,  are smarter than a student who had just completed my class on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.  We assume they will have some basic knowledge of the region and will have enough sense to avoid obvious dangers.  I read several of those memoirs and typed up their discussions of what they did and why.   Those were circulated to my students for supplementary reading.   This is the type of thing that serious students taking a serious university-level course would learn.   With 144,000 lebanese killed during that period of terrible violence,  they would know enough not to make obvious blunders. Note that there are other podcasts on this war.  One is called The Lebanon War of 1982;  one is on Sabra and Chatilla massacres and the Kahan Commission Report. 
2/5/202333 minutes, 37 seconds
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Kennedy School Rejects HRW Head over Apartheid Report. Reposting: Is Israel an Apartheid State? Please read text below.

Kennedy School Rejects HRW Head over Apartheid Report.  When Kenneth Roth retired as head of Human Rights Watch he was invited to join the Kennedy School as a senior fellow for a year.  The appointment would be with the Carr Center for Human Rights one of the 12 centers affiliated with the Kennedy School.  He agreed to the nomination but when he had his interview with Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the School (who has to approve all appointments),  he got odd questions.  One was “Do you have any enemies.”  Roth, who is Jewish, recognized that as code for Israel.  As he said later -- Make Enemies.  That is what I do for a living.  I issue reports and I make enemies. The supporters of Israel have consistently accused HRW of having a bias against Israel and singling it out.  They were particularly incensed about a report last year on apartheid and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.  In fact, HRW has issued reports on over 100 countries (including the US).  In the past two decades they have issued 1700 reports about the Middle East, few of which focused on Israel, and one of which was a very harsh criticism of the Palestinian Authority.  Roth was informed that he would not receive the appointment.  (Note that the Kennedy School has 750 visiting fellows, many of whom are there to write a book. As a rule, they do not teach classes).  He accepted an appointment with the University of Pennsylvania human rights group (although after an explosion of criticisms Elmendorf reversed course and offered him an appointment in the Kennedy School.  I am not sure if he has reconsidered the Penn appointment in favor of Harvard). Last year I presented a podcast on the concept of apartheid, and whether it applied to Israel when compared with South Africa under apartheid.  Note that the HRW report was primarily concerned with the occupied territories rather than Israel itself.  
1/21/202341 minutes, 4 seconds
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Explaining Hitler. Ten Famous Scholars Debate the Issues (Sometimes with heated words)

Ron Rosenbaum published a book in 1998 discussing how 13 major scholars (and a score of lesser scholars) explained Hitler.  Who was Hitler?  Was he a charlatan just using Jew-hatred to rise to power?  Was he the personification of Evil?  Was he a Christian saint avenging the crucifixion of Christ?  Was he just a victim of German culture?  Did he slide into mass murder as events evolved, or had he planned the Holocaust as early as 1918?  And should we even discuss these issues? This book captured my imagination.  Each of these scholars was uniquely interesting.  I think it will capture your imagination also.  
1/14/202346 minutes, 10 seconds
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Three Catholic Stories: A Female Pope (which the Vatican denies), My Run for Pope (which the Vatican denies), and Spotlight (which the Vatican wishes would go away).

Now that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has passed on, it is time for me to post the story of the time I ran for pope.  The Vatican and I have very different stories about what happened but this is my version.  There is also the story of Pope Joan, the female pope. And of Spotlight, the Best Film of the year. Enjoy
1/1/202326 minutes, 4 seconds
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Impeachment for Insurrection: The Second Trial of Donald J. Trump. A reposting

An impeachment is not the same as a criminal trial, which may be what Donald Trump is facing,  given that the January 6 Committee has referred four possible crimes to the Justice Department.  Trump had TWO impeachment trials, the first for holding up congressionally approved arms shipments to Ukraine until they opened an investigation of his opponent, the second for the insurrection on January 6.  This podcast addresses the second trial. There is also an earlier podcast on The Logic of Impeachment, focusing on that earlier situation.  If you don't remember that  event this may help clarify some of the issues. 
12/21/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Nine Commandments. (But I thought there were Ten?) This is really interesting.

This is an unusual podcast.  It is s summary of a lecture delivered some years ago by the head, i.e., editor, of the Anchor Bible Project.  This is an effort to translate and ofer exegesis on 66 books.  47 were done at the time of the talk.  The editor says that we need to remember that the books of the Old Testament were not books.  They were scrolls that were organized into a single "book" by an editor or some editors.  And as editors, they organized those scrolls into a structure to create a narrative. These are  fascinating insights. But what happened to the Tenth Commandment?  Interesting that you should ask. 
12/19/202215 minutes, 39 seconds
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Courtship in the Stone Age. A 60th Anniversary Story

In late December,  Jane and I will celebrate our 60th Wedding Anniversary.  Ten years ago, we celebrated our 50th anniversary by taking our whole family of ten on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Kenya.  We visited all the places that Jane and I knew from our time in that wonderful country.  Whenever an anniversary rolls around I always think back to when I first met this amazing and beautiful woman, and how I had to persuade her that this dorky guy was worth her time.   Back a decade ago, in honor of that earlier anniversary, I wrote up the story of our courtship.  That was long before the days of online dating when guys actually had to approach young women in their live forms.  I'll tell you, guys, that was not easy, especially for someone like me who did not have the slightest idea of what to do.  We meant well but  I suspect several of our techniques would today sound strange.   Anyway, here is the story, with all of its embarassing moments.  
12/7/202215 minutes, 30 seconds
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Books on Religion That You Will be Glad you Read

A year ago, I made a list of books on religion that I found very engaging when I read then.  I wanted to share those with you, but it took me a year to get the podcast ready.  These are not books on religion in a conventional sense, the kind of thing that might remind you of your religion class when you were 12.  These are serious books by scholars and intellectuals.  They are intellectually provocative.   They are the kind of books I might have mentioned during my class on Religion and Politics.  There are twelve of these.  Three deal with Islam, two are by Garry Wills, one of my favorite writers, and six focus upon Christianity in one way or another.  And as I say in the podcast, please remember that I am a political scientist, not a theologian or a minister. I hope you consider reading one or more of these.  You will be glad you did. And my wife thinks this is the best podcast I have ever done.  But she is my Number One Fan.  
12/5/202244 minutes, 31 seconds
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Invitation to a Zoom Discussion, December 3, 2022 12:00-1:00 (Eastern Time). Details attached.

Podcast Zoom ChatWould anyone out there like to have a Chat?  My friend and my wife thought this might be a good idea.  After all, I have 37,000 downloads in 124 different countries and I never get to interact with any of you.  Well, on Saturday, December 3 from 12:00 - 1:00 (Eastern Standard Time), I am going to be available if anyone wants to chat.  Do you want to follow up on some podcast?  Do you want to tell me how you found the series?  Do you just want to talk?  Whatever, I am available and interested. If you will send me an email I will send you a link. [email protected] you then.  ps.  I just realized I am not allowed to make a text announcement on this site.  I  have to have a podcast. I am going  to attach my Six Month Report.  You can listen to that if you wish.  Or not. 
11/25/202218 minutes, 40 seconds
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A Matter of Honor. An Incident in the Damascus Souk

Back in the 1990s I took high school seniors from around the country to the Middle East for a month of visitation and discussion.  We would spend two weeks in Jordan and two weeks in Syria.  In Damascus we would always go to the amazing covered marketplace, the Hamidiyah souk.  One summer, we had an unpleasant incident in which a young merchant engaged in an act of sexual harassment against one of my female students.  Decades later I still feel uneasy about what happened and how we handled it.  You are welcome to form your own opinions. 
11/16/202233 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Return of Netanyahu and the Rise of the Israeli Hard Right. A Reposting on Kahanist Thinking

Netanyahu has apparently come back from the dead.  As of today (November 2, 2022) he is expected to form an exceptionally hard right government with Kahanist parties  that were previously considered poison.  What does this mean?  Here is my earlier podcast on the political model of Rabbi Kahane who was banned from politics because of his racist ideology.  (There is a debate within Israel about whether those from the extremist Religious Zionism party should have access to security briefings.  That was the same debate that occurred in the US when Trump was elected). 
11/2/202234 minutes, 35 seconds
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Four Fun Stories, two about Halloween. Including the legendary story of Gato, King of the Cats. (A reposting, just for fun).

10/30/202215 minutes, 56 seconds
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Why the President's Party Loses Seats in the Off-Year Election, and why the pattern doesn't always hold. Political Analysis plus some comments. (How could I not?)

This is a well-known pattern in electoral studies:  That the President's party loses seats in the House in the off-year election.   This podcast discusses recent patterns and the logic behind the patterns, as well as a few reasons why the rules may not hold. This podcast is posted exactly two weeks before the 2022 mid-term elections.  it is risky to post such a discussion at a time when the results will soon be in and you, the listener, will know what actually happened.   But I delivered a talk on this subject at a faculty forum on campus on Monday night and the students were interested enough that I thought you might be interested as well. I think I know what will happen, but let's save that for another season. thanks for listening. ps.  A point I meant to make.  At this point (14 days out) no one is changing their mind.  The whole effort is on mobilization.  I doubt that reading the polls will be as useful as in other races.  They may be  accurate, as they mostly are, but if  unexpectedly large numbers of people vote that will shift the balance of the outcome.  
10/26/202225 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Palestinian Intifada of 1987-1993. Reposting. A parallel with Iran 2022?

With the protests in Iran escalating, I am beginning to see some structural and political parralels with the first Palestinian Intifada of 1987-1993.  There may also be parallels with the anti-Shah protests of 1978 that brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power but I have not had time to think  those points through.  However the common thread in all three sets of protests are that the security forces kill someone during a demonstration and then there are follow up demonstrations to protest that killing.  It just keeps escalating.  And the security forces go into stupid mode and keep thinking that they can suppress the protests with violence.The current protests may be suppressed or may fizzle out.  We can't tell.  But as of October 9  over 150 people have been killed by the security forces, and many, many, many detained.  ps.  Please don't tell the Ayatollahs that  I think they are behaving like Israelis.  
10/9/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 57 seconds
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Is Christianity Polytheistic? Uh ... Interesting question. Sit down. Have some coffee. Let's Talk

I have been running this podcast over in my mind for twenty plus years, well before I even knew what a podcast was.  It started when a Muslim student, with curiosity and respect, asked me to explain Christian thinking.  It is certainly not an easy question to answer, but I have given it my best shot in this podcast.  When I told a friend who was a priest that I was planning this podcast, he looked very nervous and said, "Be careful." I have tried to be careful, and have also tried to be informative and true to the complexity of the issue.  And maybe a little entertaining.  I hope you learned something.  And let me know if you have a thoughtful reflection.  
10/1/202233 minutes, 40 seconds
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Eight Things About the Holocaust. Reposting of a Podcast

Ken Burns has a documentary on the Holocaust starting tonight (September 18) on PBS. His focus is on US policy rather than upon the Holocaust itself. This is my attempt to help students understand what the Holocaust was, and was not. 
9/18/20221 hour, 59 seconds
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Kahan Commission Report on the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre: Reposting of an earlier podcast

Starting on September 16, 1982 and extending over three days, right wing Christian militia forces went into the Sabra and Shatilla camps near Beirut and massacred 800 (or was it 3,000?  Who knows for sure?) unarmed Palestinian refugees.  The protests within Israel and world-wide were so strong that the right wing government of Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon was forced to set up a commission to determine what happened.  This is a discussion of those incidents, and of the report.  Warning:  Not easy listening.  
9/16/202242 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Lebanon War of 1982. The War That Never Stopped

This is a difficult topic.  In my classes I had quite a few Lebanese students, mostly Shia but some Maronite Catholics, and a few Sunni.  Many were from refugee families.  Many were refugees themselves.  Over the years they told me stories of their families and of those terrible days. Even now I get angry at leaders who seem driven with delusions of changing the world and seem indifferent to the human costs of their adventures.  And who seem not to consider the downside of what might happened if everything does not work the way they hope. This is a complex war in which different leaders had different and often contradictory goals.  As I would often say to my students, "You have now had a unit on this war.  Would any of you have thought that these leaders could pull off their aspiration?"  Of course, none of them would have had such delusions.  The thought that 20 year-olds spending two or three classes studying a war would know better than to do what powerful leaders obviously did NOT know is enough to make you spit.  Remember, violence combined with political stupidity is like sexually transmitted disease.  It is a gift that keeps on giving.  
9/10/202255 minutes, 24 seconds
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Understanding the Americans. A Talk With Some Members of the German Bundestag.

Back in 2003 Jane and I were in Berlin visiting our friend Sibylle Laurischk.  Sibylle was a member of the Bundestag, the German parliament.  She was with the Free Democrats, the fourth largest party.  I had just completed a major project on Arab-Americans (the Detroit Arab-American Study) and offered to discuss the findings with any members of her party who were interested.  She was her party's spokesperson on what we might call minority or immigrant affairs so I thought that might be of intrest.  But she told me she was bringing in people who were specialists in foreign affairs.  That sent me scrambling.  What could I possibly tell them what they would want to hear?  What I came up was this talk, which I called Understanding the Americans. Questions for American listeners:  Is this like looking into a mirror?  I am sorry to say that Sibylle died in 2020, much too early.  
8/30/202232 minutes, 15 seconds
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Why Kill Salman Rushdie Over a Book? A Reposting (but worth your time)

On August 12, 2022 there was an attempted assassination of the world-class author Salman Rushdie.  Rushdie had twice won the Booker Prize for the best novel in the English language.  Then in 1978 he wrote a book entitled The Satanic Verses.  Part of the book focused upon a dream of a delusional man about a "city in the sand' where a group of false believers had embraced a false prophet. It is the kind of book that a world-class novelist would write.  At that point Iran had just ended its war against Iraq, and Ayatollah Khomeini was on his death bed.  His son came out of his room with a declaration that Rushdie was an apostate who had insulted the Prophet Mohammed and should be killed.  He called upon all faithful Muslims to undertake the task.  Quickly an organization in Iran offered a vast reward to anyone who was successful at this task.  (Today the amount is in excess of $3.0 million).   Rushdie went into hiding for nine years and later wrote a memoir entitled Joseph Anton, his code name during  that terrifying time.   It is very good.  A subsequent Iranian government declared that the issues were in the past and the declaration was no longer in effect.  But today, there is a new sheriff in town. I posted this classroom lecture a year ago (it has over 400 downloads)  but given what happened this week, it deserves another posting.  
8/13/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 59 seconds
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Mark Twain's autobiography, and The Dog as Beautiful as a Girl

A few years ago Jane and I were in Hannibal, the home town of Mark Twain.  We did all the touristy stuff -- the Becky Thatcher house, the Tom Sawyer cave.  We also went into a book store where I saw the autobiography of Mark Twain.  This was not a typical autobiography.  He tried that and stopped.  Then he decided to invent a new form of autobiography.  He would just write individual segments, often just 4-6 pages long.  He threw those into a box, in no particular order.  His instructions to the person who was executor of his estate was to put these together into a book but NOT in chronological order.  The result is wonderful.  (The Autobiography of Mark Twain, edited by Charles Neider.  I hope some of you will buy it) I have a few more things to tell you along the way, about visiting his house in Hartford, about some things he wrote, but the best part of this podcast is a reading of his story about needing $3.00, and meeting a beautiful dog with beautiful eyes. Well, listen away. I think you will like this. 
7/31/202218 minutes, 47 seconds
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Is Israel an Apartheid State? What does that term mean, and what difference would it make?

I am an academic, not an activist.  Maybe I should be an activist, but I am not. In recent months (this is July 2022) the word apartheid has become almost universally used by those who are critical of Israeli occupation policies. This podcast  is a discussion of the comparisons between South African Apartheid, which ended in the early 1990s after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, and the Israeli policies in the occupied territories.    Back in 2005 I had an article in Middle East Journal ("The Presbyterian Divestiture Vote and the Jewish Response").  It is available on the UM virtual archive site Deep Blue. It  discusses the debate over this topic.  Here are some passages from that article. Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited Palestine and saw definite parallels. He used words such as “disenfranchised,” “voiceless,” “injustice,” “oppression,” “collective punishment,” and “home demolitions” to describe the Palestinian situation. “I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.” As Israel’s highly respected columnist Nahum Barnea put it, “thirty-seven years after the occupation, in the eyes of a large part of the world, Israel has become a pariah country."  That reminded me what a young South African woman said to me, "It was not pleasant being the polecat of international politics." The Anti-Defamation League preferred to focus on Israel rather than the Occupation: "In no way can the treatment of Arabs by the State of Israel be compared to the treatment of the Blacks of South Africa under apartheid. There is no Israeli ideology, policy or plan to segregate, persecute or mistreat the Arab population. Apartheid was a uniquely repressive system, through which South Africa’s white minority enforced its dominion over the black and other non-white racial groups who made up more than 90 percent of the population. Apartheid—which means ‘separate development’ in the Afrikaans language—was enabled through a host of laws which banned blacks from ‘white areas,’ prevented blacks and whites from marrying or even having sexual relations with each other, and regulated the education of black children in accordance with their subservient social position. No such laws exist in Israel, which pledged itself to safeguard the equal rights of all citizens in its Declaration of Independence. Arab citizens of Israel have the full range of civil and political rights, including the right to organize politically, the right to vote and the right to speak and publish freely. Moreover, Israel has declared its acceptance, in principle, of a sovereign Palestinian state in most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Whatever your view of Israel, the Palestinians and the conflict, it is obvious that there can be no comparison to apartheid."Former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meron Benvenisti  noted that the South African regime was isolated.  but  “Israel receives massive, unshakable support from a unified Diaspora Jewry and American aid” and is protected from “effective sanctions” by post-holocaust concerns."Finally, while many white South Africans felt uneasy about the morality of an ethnic regime, few Israelis question the ethics of a Jewish state. Most argue that the Jews are a national people inhabiting their historic homeland. There is “no feeling of guilt,” and the occasional cracks in the “national consciousness” are “plastered over” by raising the specter of an “existential threat.” I hope you find this discussion informative. Factoid:  15,000 Gazans  cross the border daily to work  in Israel.   
7/16/202241 minutes, 4 seconds
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Origins of Islam: Mohammed and the Koran

 This is a class lecture delivered near the end of the semester.  We had spent three months discussing different religious traditions from a political perspective.  As I told students, political scientists know nothing about God or about miracles.  We deal with people and politics.  I also told students on the first day, and repeated it more than once, that they were not required to accept anything presented in class   All they had to do was understand it well enough to explain it.  Then they could say, I don’t believe a word of it.  This talk has a provocative thesis  about the influence of Nestorian Christianity on  Mohammed.  These are not my own ideas.  I borrowed all these insights from reputable scholars.  I also presented various disputes from within Islam itself.  As with Christianity and the dispute over the nature of Christ, there are “official” perspectives but there are also other perspectives that continued to exist under the radar.  My goal is to inform you and to make you think.  Not to convince you of anything. Don't overlook the other two lectures in this series.  Lecture One was on Background to Islam.  The other lecture was on the Satanic Verses.  Both are interesting. Anecdote:  I had a student who pursued a doctorate and at one point took a class on Islam from a noted scholar.  He asked the professor about the influence of Nestorian Christianity on Mohammed.  The professor said he believed these were true, but when the direction of prayer changed from facing Jerusalem to facing Mecca, some things changed. Better terms:  I referred once to the close followers of Mohammed as disciples.  A better term is companions.  Also, what Mohammed received from the angel Gabriel/Jibril are better called revelations than prophecies.  Glitch:  In one of these two talks (I forget which) I might have used the wrong word.  Fatiha is the opening passage  of the Koran.   It is often used to start a meeting, almost like a prayer.   Shahada is the Islamic statement of faith.   Names and terms used along the way ConstantinePeople of the BookDuophysite MonophysiteNestorian / ArianMutazaliteIbn Rushd / AverooesAli, Abu TalebMecca/ Medina/ TaifI hope to do a separate podcast on the Christian teachings over the Nature of Christ, and the Trinity.  Worth waiting for.  (But who knows when it will be ready?) 
7/8/202234 minutes, 24 seconds
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Three Detroit Area Gravestones (of really interesting people).

This is a discussion of the gravestones of three really interesting people buried in the Detroit area.  One was a nationally famous radio preacher, one was a survivor of the Titanic, a woman from Tibnin, Lebanon, and one was an erased aunt whose existence was discovered posthumously by her nephew (who did not know she existed and who wrote an award-winning book Annie's Ghost on the topic).  Along the way you will learn about Eloise, the massive facility that housed people with emotional problems.  
6/24/202224 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Most Famous Public Opinion Study. How We Analyze Voting Behavior (and why people don't move around much).

This was a class lecture on the most famous voting behavior study ever done, showing how certain variables connect to other variables to product voting outcomes. This is not as boring as it sounds.  In fact, it is pretty interesting and will give you lots of insights.   Plus it is not very long. 
6/13/202225 minutes, 21 seconds
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Memorial Day 2022: Reflections during a Difficult Time. .

Just two hours ago, I decided to do a podcast on Memorial Day.  As someone who grew up with strong patriotic impulses, it has been a surprise to me how my perspectives have changed.  Today, I think my country is in very bad shape.  There is an incredible danger from extremist elements who think it will be necessary to have a violent insurrection, even a Civil War, to overthrow the extremists who now control us.  I am writing this at a very depressing time in our country's history, when there are 19 kids and two teachers lying dead in Texas.  They were killed by an 18 year old who brought an AR-15 the day after his 18th birthday.  And there are others lying dead in Buffalo, killed by an 18-year-old who wrote a 180 page manuscript describing how whites are being overwhelmed in their own country and they have to fight back. And I am thinking of what happened in Dearborn last week when a white man with a baseball bat went into a very upscale vegetable marker and began hitting two Black women who were shopping.   Was his goal to create a white Belfast in which certain neighborhoods would be only for "our" people.  You can go to your own neighborhood?  I have been in conversation with a  white nationalist who thinks that way.  If you want an uplifting podcast, this is not the one for you. But I keep thinking of what Hemmingway said.  "You love your country in spite of, not because of." I am not giving up.  But I am of the age when I need some of you younger people to do the heavy lifting to save our country. 
5/29/202218 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Origins Of Public Opinion

Public Opinion did not emerge Full-Blown from some father's head (to borrow from Greek mythology). In fact, the very concept of public opinion evolved over time. This is the first of a two-part introduction to  the concept  of public opinion  focusing on how early scholars saw it. The second lecture (these were delivered in class) will show how empirical public opinion research refined the concept. 
5/25/202229 minutes, 52 seconds
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Is Roe v Wade Doomed? The Leaked Alito Decision

On May 2, 2022, the draft In 1973 the Supreme Court handed down its stunning decision, Roe v Wade, decriminalizing abortion and declaring that women had a constitutional right to privacy in their health decisions.   After 49 years, almost every child-bearing age female has grown up under this ruling.  But the Republican Party has spent 49 years committed to overturning it.  Today the Supreme Court has a 5-person bloc of Originalist Justices who have made a decision to overturn Roe and its companion Casey.  Justice Alito wrote the decision, which will probably be released in June.  On May 2, the draft leaked. This was the first time such a thing has happened. The response was stunned outrage by abortion rights advocates.  We might have anticipated that Republicans would be dancing in the streets, but they were largely silent, preferring to discuss the leak than the decision.  It was Democrats who took to the streets with rallies and demonstrations. This is a discussion and analysis of the draft decision, which the Chief Justice confirmed was authentic. I found this podcast hard to write.  You may find it hard to listen to.  It is filled with different legal concepts and arguments.  Some of those arguments irritated me. Note:  This podcast is not about abortion.  It is about the Alito decision.   Oops.  Did I say Joseph Alito?  I meant Samuel Alito.  
5/9/202240 minutes, 53 seconds
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Background to Islam: Not What You Think.

This is a multi-part lecture I delivered to students in my class on Religion and Politics.  This focuses on the context within which Islam emerged.  There is an earlier talk on the Satanic Verses if you are interested. As I would always do, I asked students for reactions to these lectures Here is what they said. Many of you were very surprised to learn about the story of revelation and the origin of the Koran.  Regarding the idea of not showing images of Mohammed, there are images of him as a young boy circulating in the Islamic world.  But they are before he became a prophet.  Hence no problem. You liked the idea that all prophets were flawed and that all resisted the idea of their prophethood lest they were promoting their unworthy selves and were misunderstanding God’s intentions. Several of you were struck with the fact that there were 360 Gods in the pantheon. You said you realized the significance of that number from the numerology lecture even before I discussed it.  Bravo to you. Regarding the fact that Islam just means to submit to God’s will some wondered why people were not just called Believers.  Interesting point.  The original Christians were called followers of The Way, i.e., the example of Jesus.  Ironically, that is what the term Sunnah means, the examples or ways of the Prophet. Several were surprised at the countries where Muslims live. You thought Arabs and Muslims were the same.  The fact that there are more Muslims in the US than in Lebanon was a surprise. Only one person thought Mohammed was considered a GodYou were surprised that Mecca was a cosmopolitan city, not a desert. (But dry by Michigan standards). You were surprised that although Islamic rule was spread by conquest, the Islamic religion was not. You liked the list of false understandings about the origins and nature of Islam.  It is called “unlearning.” Jinn was a new and interesting concept to you.   Local people have stories about a Jinn in the house who rattle around and wakes people at night.  Two local guys put up a big billboard in East Dearborn a few years ago advertising themselves as “Jinn Busters.”  Is your marriage in trouble?  Do you have low self-esteem?  Lost your job?  A Jinn did it.  We can help.  (I am not sure they are still in business). Question:  If you are not physically able to fast do you still have to?  The answer is no.  There are waivers for such people, including pregnant or menstruating women, the ill, soldiers in combat, etc. Did I tell you the story of my exchange on a pastor’s discussion group?  I mentioned the Satanic Verses and said I wished  we knew there were three Satanic Verses in the Bible.   One person said if this were true, he would renounce his religion because if any part of it is false, then all is false.  (Note: This is called Idolatry with a Book).  Another said he agreed.  Then we would have to examine each verse within the context of an overall divine plan to make sure we were not being deceived by Satan.  Hmm. Some of you may want to read something on this topic.  British writer Karen Armstrong wrote a very readable biography of Mohammed.  I like that she used primary sources.  Some of you wished you could talk to Muslims.  If you seek a beautiful opportunity, look about you.  (Note:  That is a paraphrase of the Michigan state motto).  The people in this class are very friendly and thoughtful.  They might also like to talk to you. 
5/7/202253 minutes, 15 seconds
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Liberation Theology: The Political Background in Latin America, especially the role of US involvement in radicalizing the region.

This is part I of a two part talk.  Part I deals with the political background to Liberation Theology, especially the role of US involvement in Central America as a radicalizing force. Part II deals with stories about people, particularly Archbishop Romero, who was assassinated during mass, and Che Guevara, and how they were transformed by circumstances from moderates to radicals.  
4/24/202226 minutes, 38 seconds
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Liberation Theology: How Individuals became radicalized. The cases of Archbishop Romero and Che Guevara

We often assume that radicalism emerges from radical texts.  Someone reads the text and becomes a radical.  But sometimes it grows from experience and the fact that a efforts at moderate reform are blocked by resistant forces.  
4/24/202217 minutes, 47 seconds
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Legendary Dearborn Mayor Orville Hubbard: Controversial, destructive, creative, racist.

Orville Hubbard:  His Life and CareerThis is based on a zoom talk I did with Community Conversations, a social activist group associated with Littlefield Presbyterian Church of Dearborn, Michigan in May of 2021.  It is a broad discussion of the life and career of Orville Hubbard, for 36 years the creative but extremely controversial mayor of Dearborn.  I think Hubbard was one of the most unique political figures in  20th century America. Because the audience had many Dearborn people, they were good at asking questions based on their experiences.  I knew several of these people so we had brief exchanges of greetings.  I edited those out.  If you notice a jump, that may be the reason. David Good wrote the definitive biography of Orville Hubbard, based partially on extensive interviews with the mayor.  His book is Orvie: The Dictator of Dearborn.  Thanks, Dave.  I borrowed some of your anecdotes for this talk. In the two thousand and tens, the issue of statues became a central battle ground in the struggle over racism.  Why were there so many statues of people who had devoted their military careers to destroying the union and perpetuating slavery?  And why was there a statue of Orville Hubbard in front of the city hall?  I discuss my own evolving thinking on this issue, and the controversy over the Hubbard statue. For a thoughtful discussion of statues Mitch Landrieu is a good source.  He was the mayor of New Orleans.  He had a statue of Robert E. Lee in the middle of his town square.  Given that Robert E. Lee had never visited New Orleans it was not clear why the statue was there.  Its presence also  caused some distress to Black residents.  Landrieu wrote a thoughtful book, In the shadow of Statues, describing the controversy over those statues and how he managed to remove it. Terms used:  Southend (a small, isolated neighborhood in Dearborn near the enormous Ford Rouge Plant;  the  Ambassador Bridge connects Detroit with Windsor, Canada;  Camp Dearborn is  about 40 miles west of Dearborn. Dearborn people go there in the summer.   Note that there is another Hubbard podcast focusing on an interview with him and on his reputation as America’s “Meanest Man” in race relations. The music TakingStock was written by G. Kevin Dewey.  Thanks, Kevin. 
4/15/202257 minutes, 40 seconds
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Populorum Progressio. A papal encyclical renouncing the International Imperialism of Money; declaring that property ownership is not inviolate, and questioning whether free trade is consistent with Christian principles. .

Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI, 1967This was a class lecture, delivered in late 2020.  (Sorry for the occasional distractions)  It focuses upon one of the most significant of the papal encyclicals, one that engaged the concept of liberation theology.  Paul VI considered himself a Third World Pope, someone whose responsibilities stretched far beyond the Catholic world.  This is an extremely deep, very intellectual encyclical.  It would be good if you would download the encyclical and have it in front of you as a reference as you listen.   If we use the word “radical” to mean “going to the roots of a problem” then this document is radical.   It is also very sympathetic to the uprisings in Central America at the time. Pay special attention to the Three New Teachings, i.e., things the pope is saying that pushes church teachings beyond what it had been before. This was released in 1967 on Easter weekend.  The pope read it to an assembled crowd of cardinals and other church leaders.  If you have listened to the podcast on Rerum Novarum, these two go together well, but are quite different.  Some terms you will encounterJust WarSt. Thomas, St. AugustineColonialism and imperialismFinance capital, the international imperialism of money, economic dictatorshipLiberalism as an ideology of capitalism Two Realms/ Two PlainsEcclesiastical VocationHumanae Vitae, an encyclicalNatural lawJust wage and just trade agreements     
3/30/20221 hour, 1 minute, 13 seconds
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Is Anti-Zionism a form of Anti-Semitism? And what do those terms mean anyway?

Back in 2019 I was asked by the Jewish News of Detroit to write some thoughts on whether Anti-Zionism was a form of Anti-Semitism.  President Macron of France had said that it was.  This was an allegation often used to attack and possibly discredit critics of Israel.  But what do those terms even mean?  My approach as a professor is to make sure there are clear definitions of controversial terms before we can discuss the topic.  My draft essay (which the Jewish News chose NOT to publish) took that approach.   I suspect for some people clarification is not a friendly act. By the way, there are two terms that often converge but are quite different.  I did not separate them sufficiently in my talk, and these are two terms that DO require clarification.  Deicide is the belief that "the Jews" were collectively responsible for the execution of Jesus and that the responsibility for that crime rests upon the Jewish people  today.  The Catholic Church renounced this view during the Vatican II conference (on which there is a separate podcast).  The Blood Libel is the belief that Jews require the blood of a Christian child for their religious rituals.  When Israel is accused of being indifferent to human life in their bombing campaigns, or of being guilty of war crimes, their defenders often say these criticisms are a blood libel.  Ariel Sharon used this term when he defended himself from  accusations that he was involved in the Sabra and Shatilla massacres.   There is also a podcast on this topic (The Kahan Commission Report). I hope you find these reflections interesting 
3/18/202219 minutes, 17 seconds
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Liberation Theology: Peruvian Theologian Gustavo Gutierrez and the Social Factor

This was a class lecture.  It discusses Father Gustavo Gutierrez and the concept of liberation theology.  Most theology comes down from above, from theologians, from universities, from popes.  Liberation Theology grows from the bottom up.    The structure of society is essential to understanding this way of thinking.  Injustice, inequality, historic structures dating back to colonial times hundreds of years ago. There will be several lectures in this series.  For those wanting to understand a different way of thinking about theology, this series is not only fascinating but extremely informative (if I do say so myself). 
3/10/202237 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Ukraine War of 2022: More Nuance and Insight than the News

Background to the Ukraine War of 2022Back in 2008 there was a crisis in Ukraine.  It led to the separation of two regions from Ukraine, and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula.  I convened a Faculty Forum on the event, asking my knowledgeable colleagues to help us understand the issues.  I delivered some thoughts of my own on the American role and the American interests.  This talk is based on my comments at the time, and how they relate to what is happening now.  There is also updating to the current situation.  I wrote this podcast on February 23, 2022 in the afternoon.  My plan was to record and post it later that evening, but events intervened. By the time I was ready to follow through, the Russian military had initiated its attack on Ukraine.   I added a few supplementary comments the morning of February 24 as the world was trying to figure out what was going on.  I posted on Facebook a simple statement:  “Now we understand how the world felt when we invaded Iraq.”  Two glitchesFirst, there was a lack of clarity at the point when I explained that NATO was founded with an anti-Russian clause in it but this clause had now been removed.  It sounded as if I had said “Not removed.” Second,  twice I mention the wonderful journal Foreign Affairs, but called it Foreign Policy.  Foreign Policy is also a good journal but it is not the same as Foreign Affairs.  Some names:               Adam Rapacki              Yanukovich              Zelinski              Samuel Huntington              George F. Kennan              General Giap              John Mearsheimer  Some Terms or places              Maiden Square              Donets, Luhansk, Donbas              Abkhazia and South Osettia              Kiev Curious Factoid:  Maiden Square in Kiev uses a borrowed word from Arabic.  Maiden is the same as Medina, the important place in western Saudi Arabia.  Medina means city. 
2/24/202225 minutes, 11 seconds
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Liberation Theology: Some Theological Themes

Liberation Theology was strong in the 1960s and 1970s and 1980s.  It was mostly Catholic, and was concentrated in Latin America, but there were variants of it in South Africa and in the  American Black Community, especially in the Detroit area.  James C. Cone is a name that stands out.  Those interested in an excellent discussion might look at Faith in the City by Angela D. Dillard.  I read extensively in this topic and even met some liberation theologians.  This is my summary of their major teachings and themes.  This is Part I of a two part presentation.  The next podcast will focus upon Populorum Progressio (The Progress of People), the astonishing 1987 encyclical by Paul VI.  This was a class zoom lecture during the pandemic.  Welcome to class. 
2/22/202231 minutes, 53 seconds
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Valentine's Day: A Mushy Three Minute Love Story

This is for lovers, for aspiring lovers, and for those who (to quote an old song) gambled for love in the moonlight,  but lost. And if you want a longer love story, check out When Ron Met Jane, an earlier podcast.  
2/13/20223 minutes, 28 seconds
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Is Whoopi Goldberg Black? Are Jews White? What do we mean by Race? And why did Whoopi get Suspended from The View?

On February 1, 2022 Whoopi Goldberg got a two week suspension from The View, the early morning women’s talk show that she hosts.  It occurred because of things she said about the Holocaust, race, and Jews as a category. This is a really complex issue.  Anything in America involving “race” gets hot very quickly.  We can’t even agree upon what the word “race” means.  And when we move on to "racism" it becomes an explosive quagmire very quickly.   This is my effort to discuss the complexities of this topic.  I discussed some definitions of race.  In case those zipped past, I include them here. International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, 1969: “any distinction, exclusion restriction of preference based o race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.” UNESCO definition of racism, 19781. Any theory which involves the claim that racial or ethnic groups are inherently superior or inferior, thus implying that some would be entitled to dominate or eliminate others, presumed to be inferior, or which bases value judgements on racial differentiation, has no scientific foundation and is contrary to the moral and ethical principles of humanity. 2. Racism includes racist ideologies, prejudiced attitudes, discriminatory behaviour, structural arrangements and institutionalized practices resulting in racial inequality as well as the fallacious notion that discriminatory relations between groups are morally and scientifically justifiable; it is reflected in discriminatory provisions in legislation or regulations and discriminatory practices as well as in anti-social beliefs and acts; it hinders the development of its victims, perverts those who practise it, divides nations internally, impedes international co-operation and gives rise to political tensions between peoples; it is contrary to the fundamental principles of international law and, consequently, seriously disturbs international peace and security. 3. Racial prejudice, historically linked with inequalities in power, reinforced by economic and social differences between individuals and groups, and still seeking today to justify such inequalities, is totally without justification.ADL:  Three definitions over time. Before July 2020,’the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics…the hatred of one person by another — or the belief that another person is less than human — because of skin color, language, customs, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person.”  July, 2020: “the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people”  Post-Whoopi definition: “Racism occurs when individuals or institutions show more favorable evaluation or treatment of an individual or group based on race or ethnicity.”  And the Kenya word for a white person is Mzungu.  
2/11/202230 minutes, 49 seconds
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A Year of Podcasting. First Anniversary Report to Listeners.

On February 6,2021 I posted my first podcast.  As of the morning of February 6, 2022) I have 26,001 downloads in 106 countries and 1,982 different locations around the country and around the world . This is a short report on what has happened over the last year. I discuss the origin of the podcast, what I hoped to achieve, where the listeners live, the types of topics covered in the podcasts, some of the most popular podcasts, and some feedback.  That first podcast was a introduction to what listeners could expect.  I did not anticipate that many people would listen to it, but I was wrong. There were over 300 downloads in 32 countries and 34 different locations.  People in that initial download group were from UK, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, New Zealand, Romania, Italy Canada, Australia, Finland, Malaysia  Israel, Netherlands, Oman Sweden, Brazil, Thailand, Spain, South Africa, Lebanon, Greece, Qatar, Bahrain, Norway, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Kenya, Palestine, Switzerland, Australia, and Iceland. When you create a new podcast site, you enter certain subject words.  Those are searchable.  I guess that may have been the appeal.  Thanks to those of you who have been following these podcasts. I hope you find this one of interest. ps.  I could be making money off of your interest by allowing commercials but I have decided not to  monetize this podcast.  It is my gift to you. 
2/6/202220 minutes, 24 seconds
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RIP F. W. De Klerk, the Last White President of South Africa. And the Logic of Apartheid.

F. W. DeKlerk, the last White President of South Africa. The Logic of Apartheid, and how De Klerk’s perspective evolved F. W. De Klerk died in November of 2021.  He came out of the very heart of the Afrikaaner establishment, and was firmly entrenched in the secret society known as the Broederbund (brotherhood).   Whites were about 15% of the South African population and the Afrikaaners (of Dutch heritage) were about 60% of the white population.  They controlled all the major positions of power in the Republic.  And yet by the 1980s many Afrikaaners  could see that the reality was changing, and they would have to change with it, or be swept away.  F. W. De Klerk became the instrument of that change.  This may well be the only place where you will ever hear a sympathetic discussion of the logic of apartheid, which was widely condemned in America, especially among those of us who had studied the South African political system. Remember that there are other podcasts on Archbishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela. And one called Thoughts of a Former Terrorist, discussing my activism on this issue. Names:  Botha, Mulder, Terms used:  apartheid, Stellenbosch,  verligte, verkrampte, Xhosa, Zulu, Tswana, Ndebele, Swazi. Transkei, Zululand, Professor Jeppe, 
1/24/202236 minutes, 26 seconds
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John Paul II. A Legendary Pope

John Paul IIJohn Paul II was one of the great popes.  He is now a saint.  As a saint, that means he has  intercessory power.  Individuals can pray to him and  he will take their concerns directly to God.  Someone becomes a saint by performing three miracles.  We will discuss what those miracles were, at least one of them.  John Paul became pope during a time of significant stress.  There was stress within the Church regarding what constitutes official teaching.  There was also stress regarding corruption within the church, and corruption and crime outside of the church.  John Paul decided that the church had committed numerous sins over the centuries and it had to clear its soul by acknowledging those sins.  He also decided that the church was internally divided by teachings and the lack of obedience among the hierarchy.  He became a tough pope.  This left the church organizationally disciplined but also divided in a way that caused many Catholics, especially younger Catholics, to walk away. This was a class zoom lecture in which students could actually see me as I waved my arms around and snapped my fingers and raised an umbrella for them to see.  Fortunately, it was far enough into the semester that I had figured out the art of lecturing to a machine so  this is relatively smooth. Glitches:  However, I made  two verbal glitches during the lecture.  I spoke of Saint Patrick’s Square in Rome when I obviously meant St. Peter’s Square.  I also referred to the earlier pope as Pius when I obviously meant Paul.  (This pope was not called John Pius, as you may have noted).  Sorry for those fumbles.  Some names mentioned:  John XXIII, Lech Walesa, Hans Kung, Cardinal John O’Connor, Cardinal Dearden, Cardinal Szoka, Father Robert Drinan, Zbigniev Brzezinski, President Brezhnev of the USSR, and General Jaruzelski of Poland. Terms mentioned:  Vatican Bank, Gambino Family, Warsaw Pact, Schism, Orthodoxy, Orthopraxis, mea culpa.  Note two earlier podcasts relevant to this one.               How a Pope is Elected,              Vatican II.  
1/15/20221 hour, 6 minutes
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How Democracies Die. Understanding the Insurrection of January 6, 2021

The Insurrection of 2021, An Anniversary PodcastOn January 6, 2021 there was an attempt by an insurrectionist mob to block the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election.  This uprising came within the context of an American political system that had become seriously weakened over the past decades.  This weakened political system made it possible for an authoritarian leader to step into the breach.  Shockingly, this pattern of the elected autocrat has been seen in other countries.  The book How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt  (2019) discusses the phenomenon.  In this discussion I use this book as a jumping off point for an analysis of some of the causes and patterns of this frightening new development.  There is also an excellent book by Anne Applebaum, The Twilight of Democracy, 2020, that addresses some of the same issues. This book is interesting because Applebaum is an American with a close connection to Poland, which has its own problems with democratic authoritarianism.   I do not discuss this book but you might find it interesting.  I make reference to two previous podcasts which listeners might find of interest , one on Impeachment and one on The Replacement Wars:  The Ideology of Radical White NationalismAt the time of this podcast, I was sniffling  so my voice fades at time.   Drat! Also, there were two glitches.  The 2020 German state election when Merkel challenged her own party leader was in Thuringia.  Sorry about that.   And, also, Madison wrote Federalist Ten.   Oh, my.  Generations of students would turn on me if I did not acknowledge this error. 
1/6/202243 minutes, 57 seconds
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu. the Moral Giant, who created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was one of the three indispensable people whose actions saved South Africa from a violent transition when that country went to majority rule.  He created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an alternative to prosecutions and vengeance.  He also believed that the Black struggle in South Africa and the Palestinians struggle were very parallel.  He once said, we cannot be free if they are not free. I hope you will find this podcast to be  morally challenging and rewarding. Note:  I have a previous podcast on Nelson Mandela and am working on a podcast on F. W. De Klerk.   I also have a podcast entitled Confessions of a Former Terrorist, mentioned during the current podcast. 
12/27/202123 minutes, 16 seconds
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A Christmas Gift For You. The Story of The Rudolph Song. With Commentary

This is the story of the song  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and how it came to be, with some commentary along the way by me.  I hope you do not find that distracting. I forgot to mention that when this came out, we kids were a bit upset that the other reindeer were so mean to Rudolph.  We expected better of them.   But it turns out ok in the end. In case you don't remember all the words, here they are. You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and VixenComet and Cupid and Donner and BlitzenBut do you recallThe most famous reindeer of all?Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerHad a very shiny noseAnd if you ever saw itYou would even say it glowsAll of the other reindeerUsed to laugh and call him namesThey never let poor RudolphJoin in any reindeer gamesThen one foggy Christmas EveSanta came to say"Rudolph, with your nose so brightWon't you guide my sleigh tonight?"Then how the reindeer loved himAs they shouted out with glee"Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerYou'll go down in history"Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerHad a very shiny noseAnd if you ever saw itYou would even say it glowsAll of the other reindeerUsed to laugh and call him namesThey never let poor RudolphJoin in any reindeer gamesThen one foggy Christmas EveSanta came to say"Rudolph, with your nose so brightWon't you guide my sleigh tonight?"Then how the reindeer loved himAs they shouted out with glee"Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerYou'll go down in history"ps.  I found this story on the internet.  I am hoping it is not one of those fake stories that people make up to fool the gullible.  
12/24/20217 minutes, 35 seconds
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Christmas Songs: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Christmas Songs:  Who?  What?  When? Where? This is a discussion of the fifty-one most popular Christmas songs, when they were written, what themes they contain, and how the patterns of favorite Christmas songs changed over the centuries. This is short, but you might find it an interesting approach to Christmas songs.  Please remember I am a social scientist.  I count things for a living. I hope you enjoy this. And don’t forget, “melekelekemaka is the island way . . . “ (And I hope you will forgive my inept efforts to sing a couple of those songs). Question:  Do you wonder what would emerge is someone did this analysis is another country:  England, Spain, Brazil, Palestine, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Albania, Nigeria.  Hmm. ps.  Someone pointed out that this list skips Carley Simon's song, All I want for Christmas is You.  That certainly makes the point, that there are demographic factors at work in this list. 
12/21/202113 minutes, 41 seconds
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Vatican II: The Catholic Church Transformed

When John XXIII became pope in 1958, he was a compromise choice.  The powerful cardinals who wanted the job figured they could choose the elderly and sickly Cardinal  Roncalli of Venice.  They suspected he would not last long and then they could step in.  Little did they know that he would become one of the most significant popes.  John decided that the church had become stuffy and the windows needed to be opened to let in some fresh air.  He convened all the bishops to Rome to began a process of deliberation that would lead to the transformation of the church.   He died before that process was  finished but his right-hand man, Cardinal Montini, soon to be Pope Paul VI, carried the task to its finish. This is the story of what happened and what changes were made. The right wing elements of the hierarchy decided to bite their tongues and bide their time until they could undo what they saw as serious errors.  They are the bishops and cardinals who are fighting Pope Francis today. Curious factoid:   The body of John XXIII is on display in the Vatican.  It is sitting out where tourists such as myself can take photos.  I was a bit shocked at this display until I read the explanation.  Because John became a saint, he is now a "relic" so that body on display is not his body but the equivalent of the piece of the cross that I saw in Vienna.  (Note: The sign with that piece of wood said that the Church had never been able to verify the authenticity of the splinter but that it has given encouragement to believers over the ages and for that reason the Church is pleased to keep it on display) Note:  You do not have to be a Catholic to find this a fascinating topic. Note II.  This was a zoom lecture in the fall of 2020. 
12/17/20211 hour, 18 minutes, 29 seconds
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Roe v Wade. The Mississippi Challenge Now Before the Supreme Court

  On December 1, 2021 the Supreme Court heard arguments on the Mississippi law that would effectively gut Roe vs Wade, the 1973 decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion. This podcast discusses those arguments and some of the issues surrounding that case.  There is a discussion of Roe and also of Casey, the Supreme Court case that allowed modifications of Roe.  There is a discussion of some constitutional principles, of data on abortion, and of public opinion on the issues.  There is also a summary of the arguments by the two sides and of the political implications of whatever comes next.  Let me say this is the most difficult podcast I have ever prepared.  I was very determined to give you an accurate summary of the issues, including the legal terms, the medical terms, and the political arguments.  I had read Roe v Wade at least three times in the past (and had made notes in the margins) and had read quite a bit about the broader issues when I had lectured on the topic.    I started with a body of knowledge that made me feel confident.  But issues kept coming up, and I wanted to get everything right. I am grateful to my wife Jane for her help with medical terminology, and for her remarkable editing skills.  Often the difference between an acceptable talk and a good talk is how carefully words are used.  I hope you find this to be a good talk that is informative. The longer commentary was by Jacob Kahn. The court will probably hand down its decision in the spring, maybe around June of 2022.  Just as we are gearing up for the 2022 mid-term elections. Strap on your seat belts.  (Oops.  A glitch.  I repeated a comment about the derogatory comparison of Roe v Wade with Plessey v Ferguson, the infamous pro-segregation ruling in 1896.  Well, the argument is so offensive, and  irritated me enough that saying it twice is not really that bad.  Anyway, it's only two sentences so it won't slow you down much).  
12/6/202133 minutes, 18 seconds
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Closing a Church. A unique and significant Dearborn congregation doing things no other congregation was doing.

ing a Church Littlefield Avenue Presbyterian congregation has existed for 91 years.  On November 21, 2021 we closed the church building for good.  While the membership was fading, it was really the floods of 2021 that made the decision necessary.  In Presbyterian terminology, what happened is called decommissioning.  To Presbyterians a building is just a building until it is dedicated for a religious purpose.  It remains a religious space until it is decommissioned.  Then it is once again just a building.  The congregation survives, but it is now a congregation without a building, and without a clear idea of what comes next. But the purpose of this podcast is really to talk of the history of this congregation, and of the significant role it played in working with the Arab/Muslim community, especially in the 1970s and 1980s.  In those decades Lebanon was being torn apart by conflict and refugee were coming to Dearborn in large numbers.  Those refugees were traumatized and disorganized and were facing serious resistance from local people.   Littlefield decided they would be allies (is that the word?).  They would support the Arab community and would help them to build their institutions.  They would try to educate the public, and would speak against injustice and hostile stereotyping. And after September 11, the importance of the congregation became even more significant. This is the story of that congregation, and what it meant to the members and to the broader community.  This is posted with great appreciation for Reverend Nancy Bass, who came in to help us decide what to do next and then found herself presiding over catastrophic damage to the building itself.  She was an indispensable person.  We could not have worked through this without her unique skills.  Update:  A friend with more experience than I have reminded me that the original name was Littlefield Boulevard Church.  It was changed to Littlefield Presbyterian Church in 1983 when the Presbyterian Church reorganized itself.  
11/22/202124 minutes, 6 seconds
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From the Other Side of the Desk. Stories of Memorable Students.

Memorable Students Did you ever wonder how life looks from the other side of the desk?  This is your chance to find out. During my last semester, my wife suggested that I prepare two farewell lectures discussing my career.  One would focus upon Memorable Students, one upon Memorable People I have encountered.  This is the talk on Memorable Students.  This was a zoom lecture for my classes.  It was recorded on my computer so the sound is not perfect.  You may have to turn up the volume to hear well.  A couple points of clarification.  For those who are not familiar with Dearborn, Henry Ford Community College (now College) is just next to my campus.  I make reference to two colleagues who taught there.  I discuss two students who were upset and disappeared but then returned later.  Both are success stories. I discuss two students that I did not like but who got in touch with me later.  I mentioned an incident in which there was a bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in Berlin in 1986. That was a place where American soldiers would hang out.  Three died and 229 were injured, some seriously.  One of my students was in that place when the attack occurred.  After September 11 he began to have PTSD flash backs.  The NSA had intercepted communications indicating that Libya was behind that attack (presumably in revenge for the earlier U.S. bombing of two Libyan  ships).  The U. S. conducted retaliation bombings into Libya.  One of those hit Muamar Ghadafi’s house and killed one of his children. Libya later acknowledged responsibility and  paid a settlement to the victims and their families in an effort to improve relations with the U. S.  In the end, we participated in his overthrow (and death). The more complex story is of my strangest student.  I will avoid her real name and use her preferred pseudonym, Ms. Montezuma.  She called herself The Daughter of The South because she believed she was the daughter of Montezuma, the famous Aztec ruler killed by the Spanish in 1520.  In discussing this student, I mention the Book of Revelation in the Bible.  She saw herself as a part of things mentioned in that book.  I also use the term exquisite sensitivity, meaning the ability to read people’s psyche and to feed back to them what they need to hear so as to convince them to trust you and give you what you want. (For those who know how the human mind works, I apologize for my armchair analysis).  Note that my talk on September 11 has its own podcast.  In fact two, with the talk being in the second one focusing on September 13 and after. 
11/21/202156 minutes, 20 seconds
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Biography of a Graveyard. What you can learn from 829 gravestones dating back 16 decades.

Biography of a Graveyard Back in 2001 I had just published a book and had no projects on my plate.  I decided to use part of my summer to create an inventory of all of the gravestones in my home town graveyard.  This is Horse Prairie graveyard in Sesser, Illinois about 500 miles south of Detroit.  It is a very lovely graveyard, surrounded by farmland and rolling hills.  It is where many of my relatives are buried  -- grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, and now parents.  I also have a gravestone there waiting for my arrival.  When I got back home my wife noticed that I had birth and death dates from most of those stones and could easily create an Excel  spreadsheet that would help me detect patterns.  Indeed!  That was what I did.  In the end I produced three publications from this project, one in an academic journal, one in a collection of writings on how professors do research, and one a full book on everything I learned about these people and their history. What I learned covered history, culture, religion, personal stories, mortality, gender differences, age differences, disease and inoculation,  human tragedy, and so much more. I also learned what every researcher learns, that many of your beginning assumptions are wrong.   I think you will enjoy this. Two Notes Jane was invaluable in this project.  After I had  typed up a draft of everything I had recorded from the gravestones,  she returned with me to walk the graveyard and to go through the stones one last time, stone by stone, to make sure I had all the facts and inscriptions correct. Not only is she a very precise person but she has an amazing ability to read faded stones. And a slightly sad update:  My collaborator on this project, Clara Crocker Brown, died in mid-2021.  She was just a couple of weeks short of 100 years of age.  She died at home.   She came to our town when she was a little girl and married a local man but she always felt she was new.  Still, she devoted many years of her life to walking graveyards and recording the information that she found.  So much that she found would have been lost had she not done what she did.  There are many good things in life that will never get done unless someone says, "If nobody else is going to do this, I will do it myself."  She was a remarkable woman. 
11/14/202133 minutes, 27 seconds
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Religion And Politics 11. Rerum Novarum. The 1891 Papal Encyclical that Pulled the Church into the Modern Age.

Rerum NovarumFor those of you who are Catholics, I have bad news for you.  There was a time in the 1800s when your church went over the edge, in terms of what you value today.  It renounced reading of unapproved books, it renounced what you would think of as education, it renounced curiosity, and it even renounced the existence of Germany and Italy.  (The pope had a vested interest in the non-existence of Italy given that he was the ruler of his own state, which got absorbed into Italy.  Anyone who voted in an Italian election or served the Italian state in any way was excommunicated.  To be honest they made themselves irrelevant, so that large numbers of Italians marched away from the church.   This is called anti-clerical).  This 1891 encyclical, by Leo XIII, one of the great popes, reversed that disastrous tendency, and tried to drag the Church into the modern age. An encyclical is important not because it repeats what the Church has already said – the rich should give charity to the poor.  That's not new – but because it says something the Church has never said before.  These are called New Teachings.  This encyclical has three new teachings.  Those are identified along the way. An encyclical is an official teaching by the pope.  The word means Letter and borrows from the epistles (letters) of Paul in the New Testament.  Encyclicals have numbered paragraphs to make it easier to discuss.  The podcast makes reference to those numbers throughout. It is possible to listen to this podcast without the text in front of you, but this is a case where I would recommend that you download the encyclical and read along.  I will attach a link. This was a class lecture.  How would we classify this pope?  He is definitely a classical conservative in the sense of Disraeli.  He clearly has Lockean impulses.  He is a cultural conservative in the sense of gender issues.  He is NOT a Ronald Reagan conservative. (“The most frightening words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help”).   He clearly wants to save the capitalist system and to reinforce the power structure and make it work more effectively.  He feels a bit of nostalgia for the past but is realistic that we cannot turn back history.  He wants the Church to play a role in the future in terms of creating and shaping parties and unions.  Would you call him a paternalistic Disraeli cautious reformer?  That is an awkward term but I can’t think of any that is better. Note:  I think the Pope was answering the Communist Manifesto, even though he never mentions Marx.  See if you agree. http://www.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum.html
11/7/20211 hour, 11 minutes, 17 seconds
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Why Sexual Misconduct Investigations Go Wrong (Please read the introduction)

Some decades ago, I was involved in a church that had a destructive conflict.  Congregational and regional officials mismanaged the conflict in a way that escalated it.  The conflict went through an ecclesiastical court system. (Few members even knew such courts existed, much less that individual members could file accusations against other  members).  There were formal accusations, and counter-accusations.  Ultimately the conflict ended up in the civil courts.  The damage was deep and serious. Let me repeat something reported in the podcast:  Even though gender issues were central to this case, there was not a single report of any exchange of fluids.  In a sense, that makes the case even more interesting.  Sexual misconduct without physical sexual contact.  The story of this project is interesting. I am by nature a pack rat so every time some document appeared I threw it into a folder.  This included even monthly newsletters or an annual report but also policy documents and official rulings.   When the formal processes had exhausted themselves and the pastor was gone, I decided to write a Briefing Document to send to the national headquarters to describe what had happened.  I thought that might do some good. That initial report was 40+ pages long, single spaced.  But something unexpected occurred. My friend John, a fellow political science professor in another college, had a heart attack.  As he was recovering, I went by to see him.  When I walked in, I said, “John, how are you doing?”  John was delightfully blunt in his manner and so was his response:  “I am doing fine.  What the hell is going on in your church?’  It turned out that someone in the congregation who was his friend had stopped by and told him everything she knew.  John and I  sat for two hours discussing the details.  Then he said, “This deserves a book, and you would be able to write it.”  With John as my advisor, I set out on the project.  The more I wrote, the more I realized I needed additional information.  I read extensively about Presbyterian polity,  sexual misconduct policy (including federal court cases),  feminist writings, Presbyterian political history and governance issues (a branch of law), and quite a bit of administrative law (how policy is implemented in local institutions). After three years, I produced a book, “Decent and in Order:  Conflict, Christianity and Polity in a Presbyterian Congregation.” This was a time when sexual misconduct issues in the Catholic Church were exploding and the Church was paying  hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.  On one point, there is a fundamental difference between Catholic and Protestant cases.  Catholic misconduct typically involves a priest and a  same sex minor. Protestant cases typically involve a male pastor and an adult female.  However, patterns of cover up and denominational malfunction are similar. As the distinguished Catholic scholar Father Andrew Greeley noted in his introduction to the book Bad Pastors, “I want to thank Professor Stockton for showing me that another denomination can mishandle a problem as badly as my own.” I think some observations in this analysis  go beyond religious bodies.  As someone who has followed sexual misconduct issues in universities for decades, the same malfunctions are there – redefine the problem, blame the victim, guilt-trip and try to buy off those harmed.  And focus upon the good things the institution achieves, things that might be damaged if these stories got out, and payments were extracted.  Mona Hanna-Attisha’s superb book on the Flint Water Crisis (What the Eyes Don't See) notes the same patterns.  It is as if there is a shared mindset 
10/28/202153 minutes, 2 seconds
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General Colin Powell. Some Reflections and Thoughts

General Powell was one of the great men of his age.  He could have been President. He made one serious mistake in his career and it tarnished his reputation.  Every single comment on his life will mention it. These are my thoughts. Note:  Factual error. Sorry about that.   It was 1996 that General Powell announced that he would not be a candidate.  He had appeared ready to declare but then he backed off.  He would have been running against Bill Clinton who was trying for his second term.    Apart from Alma's doubts, there is no clear explanation for his decision.  
10/18/202118 minutes, 52 seconds
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Four Fun Stories. Two about Halloween

These are four stories, just for fun. I call themBad Hair DayCrazy Lady on the PhoneA Halloween MisadventureGato's HalloweenThe stores are all ahead of the curve in terms of selling Halloween decorations so I figured I might as well get ahead of the curve with stories about Halloween. I hope you like them. 
10/15/202115 minutes, 56 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 22. Suppressing Dissent.

Suppressing Dissent                              This is not an easy topic.  It was a lecture delivered to my class on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in November, 2020. It focuses upon how difficult it is to engage in serious discussion of the conflict and of how there are organized efforts to disrupt or silence debate.  One issue is that there are groups trying to define the word anti-Semitism in a way to weaponize it for use in political struggles.  That will require a different podcast. However, if you are interested in the article by Nathan Thrall, it is in the New York Times, March 28, 2019, “How the Battle over Israel and anti-Semitism is Fracturing American Politics.” I wrote three articles in Middle East Policy on the three Presbyterian debates on whether or not to sell their shares in five companies that cooperated with the Israeli occupation.  Those can be found in the University of Michigan virtual archive called Deep Blue.  There is a separate (short) podcast on how to find that, if you need some help. I mentioned that I headed a Task Force that wrote a policy on faculty being required to write letters under circumstances that raised moral issues.  Here is that policy:  Point I.   Faculty Obligation to Support Students: Faculty should endeavor to support their students in the pursuit of their aspirations.  This includes writing letters of recommendation whenever possible.  Point II.   The Case of a Faculty Member Declining to Write a Letter of Support.  Given the right to acts of conscience as a part of academic freedom, faculty members are not obligated to write letters of recommendation for participation in programs if they judge that doing so would compromise their moral principles.  Point III.  Working with the Student:  In the event that a faculty member declines to write a letter covered by this policy, the faculty member should consider meeting with the student to discuss the reasons for that decision.  Such a discussion can be beneficial and educational for those students who may not understand the issues involved.  Point IV.   Due Process in the Event of a Formal Complaint: If there is a complaint under this policy against a faculty member, that matter should be referred to the department grievance committee.  In such an event, there should be an initial assumption that the faculty member behaved appropriately.  There should be strict adherence to due process for the faculty member, including a right to appeal an adverse finding.  In the event of an adverse finding, the matter should be referred to the appropriate  promotion and tenure or other review committee for consideration during their assessment of the individual’s performance of duties.   There should be no sanction beyond whatever comment the committee chooses to include in their review letter. Point V.  Letters for Undeserving Students: This policy affirms the established right of faculty to refuse a letter for an individual  student who is academically or otherwise undeserving.  Note that I was Faculty Ombudsman for 17 years so faculty rights are a big deal for me.  There is another podcast called Thoughts of a Former Terrorist that might be of interest.  Some terms:  Canary Mission, existential threat, BDS, PAC, megadonor, Anti-Semitism. Human Rights Watch.  Standard Practices Guide (SPG), Ombudsman. Apartheid, double standard. Names:  John Cheney-Leopold, Lucy Pederson, President Schlissel, President Duderstadt, Norman Finkelstein, Alan Dershowitz, Steve Salaita, Juan Cole, Nathan Thrall, Ihlan Omar, Benjamin Ne
10/12/202157 minutes, 12 seconds
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Religion and Politics 10. How a Pope is Elected

How a Pope is Elected   This is a discussion of a papal election, with special attention to the election of John Paul II.   This was a classroom lecture and is an hour and ten minutes long.  There is a discussion of the ideological factions in the church, and the regional divisions.   The successful candidate is able to put together a coalition of votes that incorporates the ideological factions and the geographic divisions.  The candidate also has to be able to address the issues facing the church.  Sometimes those issues are within the church, sometimes they are global or international issues.  This was originally a zoom lecture, one of the first I delivered.  There were some bumps along the way so I had to delete some sections.  Sorry abut that. Popes mentioned:  Pius XII, John XXIII/Roncalli, Paul VI/Montini, John Paul I, John Paul II/Wojtyla, Benedict XVI/Ratzinger, Francis I, Alexander (1600s) Names Mentioned:  Hans Kung, Sunens, Kroll,  Ottaviani, Siri, Bernardin, O’Conner, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, Zbigniew Brzesinski, Terms:  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Note glitch:  Not Defense of the Faith). “Roman,” curia, papabili, habemus papam, heresy, Tubingen University, College of Cardinals, Conclave,  St. Peter’s Square, Constantinian Donation, Temporal power, “radical,” ostkardinalaat.  I think it is hard to overstate how proud people were that there was a Polish pope.  The Italians had dominated the papacy for perhaps 400 years.  But there he was, a Polish pope.  Would you like a joke?  When JP II visited St. Louis he was introduced to the legendary baseball player Stanley Musial, then retired.  Musial said to the pope, "We have two things in common.  Would you like to know what they are?"  The Pope said he would.  "We are both Polish and we are both former cardinals."    Films:  Two Popes:  a dialogue between Pope Benedict and Cardinal Bergoglio (Francis) We Have a Pope (about a reluctant pope, chosen over his objections) The Good Pope.  The story of John XXIII.  I have not seen this film but it said to be good. Eight Men Out:  The story of the Black Sox Scandal and Kennesaw Mountain Landis. The Shoes of the Fisherman.  Pure fiction about an unexpected election.  
10/6/20211 hour, 11 minutes, 8 seconds
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Why are Darwin and Evolution So Controversial and So Politicized in the US?

This podcast has two parts.  The first part is a discussion of the Scopes Trial of 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee.  Tennessee had passed a law restricting the teaching of evolution and a science teacher named John Scopes decided to challenge it.  The second part is a talk I delivered at a conference on Religion and Science. Interesting Factoid:  Those who argue against evolution say that there is no way natural evolution could have produced the human eye, for example.  There must have been an "intelligent design" behind what happened, i.e., God.  This curious phrase comes from a story in the McGuffey Readers.  George Washington, then a young boy, is walking through the garden with his father.  His father points to a pattern in the plants that spell out "George Washington."  His father asks how he thinks there can be such a thing.  Young George says  he thinks there must have been some 'intelligent design' behind it.  There the story ends.  I would put my money on George's father, but that is not the conclusion of those who believe in divine creation.   There are references to the Leopold and Loeb Trial, Clarence Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, John Scopes,  the Fundamentals of the Faith, H. L. Mencken, Nietzsche, Malthus, and the Bible. There is also a discussion of public opinion on relevant topics. Books:  Clarence Darrow.  For the Defense by Irving Stone Summer for the Gods.  the Scopes Trial by Edward Larson. Film and play:   Inherit the Wind.  Update:  Just reading the Larson book.  The Tennessee Supreme Court voted 3-2 to uphold the law.  One of the three justices said it did not prohibit "theistic evolution," i. e., the idea that God created evolution.  Also, Tennessee law specified that the jury should set the fine.  The jury had recommended that the judge set the fine at the minimum, i. e., $100.00.  The court ruled that this was out of order.  They vacated the conviction.  In the end, Scopes was NOT convicted.  Moreover, there was no appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court.  Scopes was offered scholarships to Harvard and elsewhere.  He went to the University of Kentucky to study engineering and became a petroleum engineer.  
9/29/202131 minutes, 9 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 21. The Palestinian Refugees of 1948. A Detailed Briefing. Third podcast of three on the Palestine War of 1948.

The Palestinian Refugees of 1948This is an extremely important topic surrounded by false narratives and inflammatory rhetoric.  I have put off preparing a podcast for some time, but not because it is sensitive.  I deal with quite a few sensitive topics.  It goes with the territory.  But in this case, a reason for my hesitation is that I have a written briefing document that is the basis of this podcast.  It is very thorough and is fully available to anyone through Deep Blue.  (See the separate podcast on how to access Deep Blue).  It has the same title as this podcast.  But I have thought for some time that transferring that written document to a podcast would be a good thing.  My hesitation is that I will be reading and improvising from a printed text into the spoken word.  I am worried about jumps and stops and stumbles along the way.  I hope those who listen to this will find it useful. It will certainly introduce some information that is new to most of you. And if you also want to download the document from Deep Blue that is good given that it has additional information in it.  As of 1 September 2021 it has 13,000+ downloads worldwide. https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/110670Note that there are previous podcasts on The Palestine War of 1948, and The Palestinians After 1948.  Some People in order of being mentioned:  Menachem Begin, Simha Flappan, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev, Joseph Weitz, Herbert Hoover, David Ben-Gurion, Abba Eban, Samuel Katz, Meir Pa-el, Mordechai Ra’anan, Yigael Allon, Yitzhak Rabin, Gold Meir, Abu Iyad, Aharon Cizling, Moshe Sharrett, Nahum Goldman, Walid Khalidi. Some terms, places, organizations  in order of being mentioned: The Partition Plan of 1947 (181), Haganah, Irgun, Stern Gang, Plan D/Plan Dalet, Peel Commission of 1937, Deir Yassin, Haifa/Jaffa, Absentee property and the Present Absentees law, “transfer.” 
9/22/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 56 seconds
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Hannah Arendt. A Great Intellectual and a Controversial Woman. (Suggestion: Watch the movie, Read the book).

Hannah Arendt was one of the great intellectuals of the twentieth century.  She was a German Jew.   Some of her books were targeted to academics and other intellectuals but her book on Eichmann in Jerusalem was published in the New Yorker and achieved wide readership.   It also plunged her into deep controversy, if that is even an adequate word for the vilification she experienced.  Anyway, here are some thoughts on this amazing woman.  
9/16/202111 minutes, 23 seconds
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September 11. Part II. After 9/11. A Talk to the Campus. A Talk to the Archdiocese. Reactions.

September II.  Part two.  September 13. This is podcast two on the topic of September 11.  The first podcast focused on the day itself. This one focuses upon what happened next.  I spoke to a campus gathering.  I spoke to the Archdiocese of Detroit.  And I spoke to many people whose stories and experiences are reported here. 
9/9/202133 minutes, 43 seconds
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September 11. Recollections and Reflections from That Day in 2001

September 11.  Recollections and Reflections from 2001  Back in 2001 I was keeping a journal.  These are some things I recorded on one of the worst days in American history.  Two days later, on September 13, the Chancellor held a commemoration event on campus and I was asked to speak.  That will be a separate podcast. Oops.  A glitch.  I said the 1973 bombing of the World Trade Center.  I meant the 1993 bombing.   Some filmsFahrenheit 9/11Flight 93World Trade Center 
9/8/202136 minutes, 29 seconds
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Religion and Politics 9: Abram Leon. A Marxian Analysis of The Jewish Question

Abram Leon, The Jewish Question. Abram Leon was a Jewish intellectual and activist.  He was a Marxist of the Trotskyite tendency.  He was also a Zionist.  He lived in Palestine for a time as a child but his family returned to Europe and he moved from Poland, where he had been born, to Belgium.  The Nazi movement plunged him into reflections on why there had been such tension around and hostility to Jews throughout European history.  He was not convinced that this was simply a matter of religious prejudice.  He saw it as more complex than that.  His analysis, called in English The Jewish Question, was written in 1944. It used Marxian logic, focusing upon "materialist" conditions.  He said the Jews survived, not “in spite of history” but “because of history.” They performed functions that society needed.  As the industrial revolution spread to Eastern Europe, displacing whole classes of people, the Jews became a surplus people (as did others).  We Americans are well aware of the waves of East European immigrants who began to pour into this country in the late 19th century: Jews, Poles, Ukrainians,  Romanians, Lithuanians, and others.    Leon felt that Jews constituted a “people-class.”  The meaning of that concept will be discussed in the podcast, but it refers to a group of people disproportionately concentrated in and associated with certain economic functions.  It is similar to the concept of an “ethno-class,” a term used in contemporary social science.  I suggest that if we turned the analysis to ethnic groups in general (which we Americans have studied for 400 years) it makes real sense.  This is a unique and provocative analysis. The book was published in 1946 in French, in 1950 in English (in a very limited edition in Mexico), and then in America in 1970. An introduction to the book explains how the publishers searched for the source material that Leon used.  He was dodging Nazis at the time and did not have access to libraries. All the footnotes and tables were added later. This was a classroom lecture delivered by Zoom during the Pandemic.  
9/6/20211 hour, 17 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy. Introducing Mearsheimer and Walt, Two of America's Premier Strategic Thinkers

The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy Back in 2007 two of America's great strategic thinkers wrote a book entitled The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy.  They were John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard.   This book, which was extremely readable,  became a sensation, as you might guess.   It even became a best seller, which is amazing for a book that is 484 pages long, including 106 pages of footnotes.  And it came under the predictable assault from pro-Israeli activists who made all the not-surprising accusations.  A student group in Ann Arbor invited Mearsheimer and Walt to come to the University of Michigan to speak.  They invited me to introduce them. I am not sure how they decided that I was the best person, but I am glad they did. The rather large room was packed, and were very attentive to my every word. The student who headed the organization made a nice introduction when telling the audience who I was but he called me John Stockton.  He was a bit embarrassed and quickly apologized.  I told him that I had no problem when people confused me with one of the great point guards in NBA history.  This is my introduction to these two great scholars and their book, and the issues surrounding it.    Remember this was when the Obama-Clinton struggle for the Democratic nomination was going on. Note that at several points in the podcast, I pause to explain to the audience the context for a certain comment or to explain some term that may not be familiar today.   Remember, there is an earlier podcast called Paradigm Lost, which discusses another book and its analysis of why internal dynamics in Israel pulled Israel away from a political settlement based on two states.  And ways in which the pro-Israel lobby influenced U. S. policy, not for the good.  Truth in Podcasting:  Mearsheimer and Walt cited one of my articles.  It was in one of those hundreds of footnotes, but anyway, thanks guys.  
9/2/202115 minutes, 31 seconds
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An English Vacation in the Lake District: Meeting the Queen (well, almost), Visiting Wordsworth's Grave and a Stone Circle, and Climbing The Mighty Helvelyn

This podcast is just for fun.  It is about a vacation we took in England, in the Lake District.  We went with our dear German friend, Sibylle Laurischk.  It was a special vacation.  We met the Queen.  (Well, sort of.  She came while we were there and we were able to see her and Princess Anne).  We also climbed the mighty Helvelyn and avenged an earlier defeat when we had tried to climb it,  and failed.  We also learned the story of the Faithful Dog, who, as it turns out, was not all that faithful in the end. Well, off we go. Note:  Within a day or two I will put a text version of this, with photos, on Deep Blue.  See the short podcast on Deep Blue if you need information on how to access that.  The photos are great. 
9/1/202117 minutes, 13 seconds
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Afghanistan: A Background Briefing

Afghanistan:  A Background Briefing This is the first podcast Briefing, focusing upon something in the headlines.  I would often do briefings such as this in a class, when some major event occurred.  Some of those classroom briefings were fairly short, maybe 15 minutes.  Others would last over an hour.   Students liked these.  The briefings linked analysis with the headlines. The goal of this podcast is to give you some context for what is happening in Afghanistan.  My version of context starts in the 1840s and extends up to the afternoon of August 26, 2021 when I recorded these thoughts.  As I recorded this, I had been listening to reports of the bombings in the Kabul airport where American soldiers were conducting evacuations. Someone else might have started context with Alexander the Great. I think simple explanations often go wrong.  History and politics and world struggle are too complex to be understood by a single explanation.  It’s the oil.  It’s the Zionists.  It’s racism.  It’s the military-industrial complex. Please.  Spare me.  If everything can be explained by one thing then you are listening to ideology, not insight or analysis. I remember hearing someone say, “The Arab world makes a serious mistake when they try to understand what the Americans are doing.  They assume we are smarter than we are.”  Afghanistan is not a part of the Arab world, but the point is still valid.  Sometimes our leaders are just not very bright.   Sometimes they get fixated on some way of thinking and just don’t let their minds open up to alternate possibilities.  Sometimes they get locked into a policy and can’t figure out a way to escape from it.  Sometimes they get charmed by an advisor and pay too much attention to that person’s explanations and suggestions.  Sometimes they are just afraid of the voters.  I hope you will come out of this podcast with more questions than answers.  Even as I am posting it, I am second guessing myself. Have fun, and thanks for listening. Update on September1.  All of our troops are out and nearly 122,000 people were evacuated. The war is over.   Bravo! Some terms and names used, in case you don’t recognize them. Mujahideen, Taliban, Madrasa, The Scramble for Africa, geopolitics, Jihad, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Malindi, Stinger missiles, Al Qaeda, ISIS, reconstruction, nation building, Doha Agreement of 2020, Pushtun, apartheid, Shia, Hazara, Ashura, Ali, Hassan, Hussein, Osama bin Laden,  William Casey, Rudyard Kipling,   Gorbachev, Brezhnev, Tony Blair, Abdul Ghani Baradar,  Secretary of State Pompeo, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana,  Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela,  Najibullah.  Film OsamaBook: Ahmed Rashid, Taliban Book: Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower 
8/26/202134 minutes, 19 seconds
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Religion and Politics 8. Marx on Religion. Not What You Think

Marx on Religion  In my class on Religion and Politics, I had three lectures on the Marxian model.  One was on Marx’s view of religion; one was how Marx analyzed the situation of the Jews in Europe; and one was on a fascinating person named Abram Leon.  He was a Zionist and a Trotskyite.  In 1944 he wrote a book trying to make sense of what was happening to the Jews in Europe.  If you are seriously interested in this analysis, then these three talks are made for you.  I think they are fascinating but that is for you to decide. This talk focuses upon Marx and his view of religion.  Warning:  It is NOT what you think.  His thinking was nuanced and analytical and even humanistic.  This talk is an hour and fifteen minutes long.  It covers a lot of ground but I will take you by the hand and try to lead you through the wilderness. Our warped view of Marx came out of the Cold War, that everything having to do with Marx was really, really bad.  He was an evil, scary person who hated God and believed in oppression of religion. I have even read kooky articles suggesting that he was the inspiration for the Holocaust.  Bizarre! I think back in those days people with an agenda sometimes intentionally took every brutal thing that Joseph Stalin ever did and attributed it to Marx.  This talk is not on Marx’s political views but I think he would have been a vigorous opponent of Stalin with his ruthless brutality.  Plus Stalin was Russian; Marx was West German and an activist in the pro-democracy movement of 1848. The Communist Manifesto (not addressed in this talk) was written more than 70 years before Stalin was in power.  It was a political platform warning people not to be misled by false information being spread about what was then called the Workers Party.  This talk was delivered to a class in early 2020 when the pandemic was just starting.  There is reference to study sheets and readings.  At one point I ask students to draw a chart.  These parts might be distracting, but they are short so perhaps you can get through them. I mention a few names you may not know: Engels (colleague of Marx), Tomas Munzer (a populist revolutionary during the peasant wars), and Martin Luther. Words used are hierarchy, guild, Thesis/anti-thesis/synthesis. 
8/24/20211 hour, 16 minutes, 4 seconds
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A Black President. Thoughts the Day After Obama's Election, 2008.

Reflections on Obama’s Election.  The Day AfterFor someone of my generation, it was hard to believe that we would ever have a Black President.  And then we had one.  I realized that this was a historic event and decided I should put my thoughts down in writing.  These are reflections written the day after that amazing election.  They are very personal, especially about my engagement with race and racism, and how that evolved over time.  But these thoughts are also analytical.  I try to do my political science thing as best I can.  This discussion reports  on how the aging Civil rights leaders reacted to Obama, how white voters reacted to Obama, and how my students reacted to Obama. I shared these with the university community and got very good feedback.  I also shared them with my students.  I always urge students (and others) to write something about historic events:  September 11,  the invasion of Iraq, the election of Donald Trump, the pandemic.  We are small bits of debris caught up in tornados but our modest reflections may be of interest to future generations. I hope my reactions to the Obama election keep your attention.  Note:  In case you were not aware, I also have a podcast on Obama’s memoir.  Thoughtful Comments:  [email protected]
8/15/202132 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Satanic Verses: Salman Rushdie, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Fatwa to Kill Rushdie

Satanic Verses by Salman RushdieSalman Rushdie is one of the great English language literary figures.  He has won the Brooker Prize for the best Novel in English and was a finalist twice. The focus of this talk is on the Rushdie novel, the Islamic traditions around the most controversial passages, comparisons with Christian traditions, and the reaction of Ayatollah Khomeini. But a core focus is upon how we interpret texts, especially religious texts.  Consider an incident in the gospels.  It is called The Woman at the Well.  Jesus is thirsty and asks a woman drawing water if he can have a drink.  She says yes and gives him a drink.  It turns out she is a “loose” woman, maybe even a prostitute.  But that aside there is a problem in translation.  In at least one African culture, when a woman gives a man food or drink from her hand, it is a prelude to sex.  In that particular translation of the Bible, there is a footnote explaining that Jesus is not hitting on this woman. Lesson 1:  Fidelity to the words as written can often be wrong rather than right.  Lesson 2: Our understanding can also be wrong, even if we have a clear understanding of the words. There is also a tension between the overarching goal of revelation (for those who are believers) and specific texts.  If the divine goal of revelation is to empower humans to achieve their full potential, then a focus upon a specific text intended to put a check on sin can be in contradiction with the higher goal if it is emphasized in a way that constrains human empowerment by overlooking  the higher divine purpose.   All believers want to know God’s Will but God is often opaque in terms of our understanding.  (Go back to the podcast on Feuerbach is you missed that one).  I am reminded of what the great Catholic theologian Hans Kung said when he came to Dearborn in the 1980s and was challenged from the floor about how he had interpreted a specific passage. The person challenging him had absolute certainty about the meaning of a specific text regarding the future: Kung  said, “God does not act to satisfy human curiosity.”  Ouch!  Some of you will find this lecture provocative.  Good! I hope it is provocative in a way that makes you think.  This was a class lecture.  There is some interaction with students and some  references to readings.  Sorry about that.  I thought the lecture came out well and did not want to re-record it. Books by Salman Rushdie are Satanic Verses and  Joseph Anton.  Some terms and namesQureish, Hagar/Hajar, Ishmael, Abraham/Ibrahim,  Mecca, Medina, Gabriel/Jibril, circumambulate, Mahound, Salman the Scribe; Pantheon (a building in pre-Islamic Mecca where there were 360 gods); Taif; demiurge;  intersession; garaniq. Three female goddesses from Taif: Al-lat, al-Uzza, Manat.  Ayatollah Khomeini, fatwa.  Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.  Early biographers: Ibn Ishak, Tabari, Ibn Saad; Apostasy, blasphemy, heresy. One glitch:  A favorite translation of the Bible is The Jerusalem Bible, not The Jefferson Bible.  (There is a Jefferson Bible, consisting entirely of the words and teachings of Jesus, but it is not the one I mentioned). Thoughtful Comment:  [email protected]
8/9/20211 hour, 11 minutes, 59 seconds
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Six Months and Counting. A Report to Podcast Listeners

Six Months of Stocktonafterclass, and Counting.August 6, 2021 is the six month anniversary of the beginning of this podcast series.  This is a short description of how this podcast got started, the philosophy and approach of the series,  some of the themes followed, and some data on the downloads, including where they are occurring.  There is also a discussion of feedback, including one very positive and one not. Thanks for your interest in this series. It is far more fun and far more rewarding than I had ever imagined. There is a Stocktonafterclass Podcast Discussion Group on Facebook if you are interested.  Thoughtful comment:  [email protected] 
8/6/202118 minutes, 40 seconds
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Gilead. My Favorite Novel. Suggestion: Listen to the podcast, then read the book.

My favorite novel is Gilead by Marilynn Robinson.  It is up there in my pantheon with Les Miserables and Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.  Spoon River Anthology is a dialogue from the grave, short one-page, free-verse statements from the deceased about their lives.  After a while you realize they are interacting with each other, in death as they did in life.  It is one of the most creative books I have ever read.  All three of these are books I have read more than once.  Each time, they are new.  (Which is a characteristic of world-class literature). Gilead is about a Congregationalist minister, John Ames.  He is an older man who lost his beloved wife and daughter during childbirth.  He has never quite gotten over that loss but then, decades later, a young woman appears in his church one morning.  A March-October marriage?  Can this possibly work?  In fact, it does and they have a son.  But then John gets a diagnosis.  He has a heart condition that will soon take his life.  "Why do you have to be so old? his loving young wife asks.  She would have loved having another 30 years with John.  But he recognizes reality.  He realizes that he will never be able to tell his son, now six, all the stories of his family history that he would ordinarily tell him.  Nor will his son have more than a fleeting memory of his father.  John decides to write a letter to the son telling him all the things he would have told him had he had the time, and discussing with him all the issues -- religious, philosophical, historical, personal  – that he would have discussed with him as he got older.  Gilead is the note that John left for his son.  Those who know me know that I spend a lot of time in graveyards.  I frequently lead graveyard walks for friends and students.  When I discuss gravestones I always say that a gravestone is not about death.  It is about life.  It is about who we were, what was important to us, and how we want to be remembered.  This letter is the gravestone that Ames leaves for his son.  Who I was, what was important to me, how I want to be remembered.  By the way, Jane and I put our gravestone into place a few years ago.  It has the normal information:  names, dates, professions.  It includes the names of our two sons and our four grandchildren.  It has the date of our marriage.  And it has the slogan, “We were given the gift of time, and used it well.”  I stole the first part of that from Ted Kennedy’s memoir.  He had three older brothers, all of whom died violently (one in war, two from assassination). He said, “I was given the gift of time,” which his brothers were not.  His memoir is a reflection on his life, the achievements that would never have occurred had he died at the age that his brothers died.  We added the last part to our stone to make it clear that we were grateful for our time. John Ames was not given that gift. Do you have a thought?  You can send me a reaction at [email protected]
8/2/202136 minutes, 59 seconds
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Black Political Leaders. A Profile of Nine Different Personalities and Nine Different Styles

Black Political Leaders                     There are two talks on Black leadership, one on Political Leaders, one on Intellectual Leaders.  This is the talk on Political Leaders.   The focus is upon nine key leaders.  There are others who are worthy of inclusion. I thought of Rosa Parks, far more significant than the demeaning image as a simple woman with tired feet who sat down rather than stand. Parks was a defiant activist who moved to Detroit to keep from being assassinated.  Without her and others like her organizing car pools, the Montgomery Bus Boycott would have failed.  She organized women on the ground, and sparked a movement.  Her leadership was remarkable.  May I recommend that you consider reading Dark At the End of the Street, an amazing book on the role of women in the civil rights movement.  It will change your way of thinking.  And will help you see Rosa Parks in a totally different light. Note: I intentionally left out elected leaders, although some are very significant.  There are separate podcasts on Barack Obama, Vernon Jordan, and others. Also Note:  There are two very good graphic-style biographies of John Lewis, the great civil rights leader and member of Congress.  One is called March, the other is called Run. Who are these leaders?   Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and Black-rights activist,  who wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the best of the slave memoirs. Sojourner Truth, activist, feminist who wrote a memoir. Brooker T. Washington, who wrote Up From SlaveryW. E. B. Du Bois, a founder of the NAACP and author of The Souls of the Black FolksMarcus Garvey and the United Negro Improvement AssociationMartin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership  Conference.  The film Selma describes one of his critical marches. Malcolm X, originally  of the Nation of Islam. His Autobiography of Malcolm X  is a remarkable work.  There is also an excellent film entitled Malcolm X  starring Denzel Washington. Jesse Jackson, who was an ally of Martin Luther King and then formed his own organization. Louis Farrakhan  of the Nation of Islam.  My conference paper (“The Political Ideology of Louis Farrakhan”) is deposited in Deep Blue.  Terms used:  Seneca Falls, Talented Tenth, Maroons, Black Nationalism, Black Star Line, Elijah Mohammed, Boston Latin High School, Calypso music, Fruit of Islam, J. Edgar Hoover, Paul Tillich, Rosa Parks, Southern Christian Leadership Conference/SCLC. The remarkable essay by Garvey that I call “Advice to Young People” is actually named “Intelligence, Education and Universal Knowledge.”  It is available on the internet.  If you read it, you will be glad you did.  ("Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden"). 
7/29/202141 minutes, 16 seconds
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When Ron met Jane. A Story of Courtship in the 1960s

When our 50th anniversary rolled around, I decided to write up a reflection on how we came to become a couple.  That occurred back in the 1960s when dating practices were a bit different from today, to say the least.  I wrote this with an idea of entertaining my family members.  I also shared it with friends and colleagues and even with some students.  Most people thought it was worth their time.  I hope you also find it worth your time. For those who didn't catch the joke, the title is borrowed from that delightful film When Harry met Sally.  And some of you will remember the line from Jerry Maguire:  "You had me at hello." 
7/25/202115 minutes, 30 seconds
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Religion and Politics 7. Osama bin Laden's 1996 Declaration of War on the United States.

Osama issued two declarations of war on the United States, one in 1996 and one in 1998.  The one in 1996 was more lengthy and more filled with passion.  The one in 1998 was in the name of a collection of leaders, some of whom were religious leaders.  Both were called "fatwa," a term much misunderstood to most Americans.  A fatwa is a an advisory opinion by a religious leader explaining how to apply a principal of faith in a specific situation.  I recently saw an opinion by a local religious leader about whether an observant Muslim was allowed to work in a grocery store that sold alcohol.  That is just guidance for someone who is confused about what the faith requires of a person trying to do the right thing. The problem with Osama's 1996 "fatwa" was that he was not a religious leader and had no authority to hand down rulings.  And the problem with both "fatwas" is that they do not follow the proper format of a fatwa.  It typically starts with a passage from the Koran and then may quote something the Prophet Mohammed said, or one of his devoted followers, or a subsequent scholar.  It is not just a political opinion with some quotes thrown in for "proof texting."  Still, there is a question of who has authority to speak when the recognized religious leaders are not speaking or have even taken the wrong side.  In such a case, righteous people (as Osama and his followers would considered  themselves to be) can step into the breach and take the place of those who are not doing their duty.  This is a discussion of the 1996 fatwa.  The text is widely available on the internet for those who want to read the whole thing (which I recommend). The previous podcast on Background to Osama bin Laden has a list of terms.   If you have not listened to that podcast, you might want to do so.  These two are a matching pair. A note on how I taught this material:  My goal was to show bin Laden’s view of world conflict, not to argue with him or critique his perspectives.  When students were asked to write on this, they were asked to analyze without revealing their personal perspectives.  I told students that if their thinking after reading and analyzing a document was the same as before, then no new learning had taken place.  A serious review of a document should make you understand things you had not understood before your analysis.  (Check out the podcast on Rules of Good Studenting) After students had finished their paper, they were asked to add a Personal Response in which they would tell how they reacted to what they read.  That was not graded.  Most said they still did not like Osama but they understood him better.  A few felt guilty because they found several of his arguments logical.  All thought this was a very good topic to address and a very good assignment.  Also, students were asked to write a paper comparing the Maccabees uprising (on which there is a previous podcast) with the Al Qaeda uprising.  These uprisings are 2200 years apart and yet they have many parallels in terms of the issues, the structure of the conflict, the nature of the outside force, etc.  The students considered this a challenging and creative assignment.  We call this critical thinking.  This podcast is rather long, but it is worth your time.  
7/20/20211 hour, 19 minutes, 2 seconds
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Israeli-Palestine Conflict 20: The Holocaust. Eight Key Points

The Holocaust was an effort by the Nazi government to exterminate the total Jewish population of Europe.  It is a form of genocide but perhaps the most extreme form of genocide.  There is a separate talk on that topic which you can listen to if you wish.  This talk will walk you through the Holocaust in eight steps.  There is nothing in this talk that is meant to be argumentative.  There are complex issues upon which serious scholars may disagree.  There are also points upon which there is no disagreement.  My goal is to outline those issues for you. In teaching my class on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict I noticed an interesting pattern:  most students, be they Jewish or Palestinian or something else, were able to handle this difficult material with an open mind.  But people who were Holocaust-centric in their thinking about Jews, i.e., they saw Jews through the lens of the Holocaust, were sometimes resistant in a way that other students were not.  I think this period of history is so traumatically horrible and beyond human comprehension that it is exceptionally stressful to hear someone such as me try to discuss it from an academic perspective, without expressing trauma.  On the other hand, students have told me that an academic perspectives is very valuable in helping them think analytically.  I hope it works that way for you. If this topic interests you, you might want to listen to two other podcasts in this series.  One is the podcast on genocide, which discusses the range of definitions and cases;  the  podcast on the Palestinian Refugees of 1948 discusses a different situation.  Are you looking for something to read?  Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler, consists of interviews and profiles of the top Holocaust scholars and how differently they think about what happened and why.  Rosenbaum also discusses some of the controversies and issues that are often unclear.  (Example:  Did Hitler have Jewish ancestry?);  Lucy Dawidowicz’s book, The War Against the Jews, is a good single book   I found it very helpful.  Raul Hilberg’s book, The Destruction of the European Jews, is considered the best single book.  It is a shortened version of his multi-volume definitive history; Hannah Arendt’s  Eichman in Jerusalem is a classic report on the trial of a top Nazi leader.  The excellent film Hannah Arendt shows the vilification directed at this astonishing woman for her report;  and The Reader by Bernhard Schlink tells about a simple young woman who got caught up in the conflict without really understanding what the issues were.  It was also made into a good film.  It raises complex and disturbing issues. This was a talk delivered to a class in the fall of 2020.  I had provided students with a list of names and terms, and with a chronology and some data on the number of Jews who died in different countries.  I try to summarize them for those listening. Welcome to classSome Terms and Names: Raphael Lemkin, Dr. Kastner; Transfer Agreement; Adolph Eichman; Kristallnacht of 1938; Madagascar Plan; Israel as a “gift” of the Holocaust; Biltmore Conference of 1943; Evian Conference of 1938; Munich Conference of 1938; Wansee Conference of 1941 The music, Stockspeaks, was written by G. Kevin Dewey. 
7/14/20211 hour, 59 seconds
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Religion and Politics 6. The Catholic Church. Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. .

Background to Catholicism.  Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.This is an introduction to the Catholic Church.  We start at 1868 when Italy became a country and the pope was stripped of his “temporal” power, i.e., he stopped being the ruler of a state.  He got very irritated and renounced the very existence of Italy and Germany.  Not good. The Church shifted to a very right wing position during those decades.  This withdrawal from the world was reversed in 1891 with the encyclical Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII. There is a separate podcast on that significant encyclical.  This podcast will walk you through the organization of the Church, some key concepts of theology and organization, some issues that came up (such as secular government, papal infallibility, the Dreyfus Affair,  and what Catholics can read or think).  We will also talk about the structure of the Church and the role of the College of Cardinals. Here are some names and terms and concepts that will appear along the way.  Some Supreme Court Justices who are conservative Catholics: Scalia (R.I.P.), Alito, Thomas Anti-clericalLord ActonEncyclical:  Its meaning and importanceApostolic SuccessionInfallibility; Ex cathedra; Vatican I, 1870; Dogma; Revelation1950 infallibility teaching on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the  Immaculate Mother of GodSecular Government (i.e., separation of church and state)Some Encyclicals:  Rerum Novarum, On Civil Government, Populorum Progressio Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor; KulturkampfDreyfus AffairSyllabus of Errors and the “index” of books HierarchyCollege of Cardinals, Princes of the ChurchConcordatCuriaConclaveHoly SeePapal NuncioGraham Greene, The Power and the GloryMagesteriumSola fide, sola scripturaSome Popes:  Leo XIII, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis. Note: There I am planning future podcasts on How a Pope is Elected; Rerum Novarum; Populorum Progressio; Liberation Theology, Vatican II, and maybe the Pope’s recent encyclical on fraternity. 
7/9/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 20 seconds
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Black Intellectual Leaders

Black Intellectual leaders .   Because I think race is the single most critical and most divisive issue in American politics, I always included a unit on Black politics in my course on American government.  And in my course on Revolution.   And in my Honors course.  The approaches in these three courses were very different but they all followed a theme:  resistance to injustice.    There are two podcasts on Black leaders. One is on Political leaders, one on intellectual leaders.  This is the lecture on Intellectual leaders.  These are people who write books and analyze situations.  The other talk is on those who take leadership positions and head organizations.  The goal of this talk is to show how complex the issues are and how various Black intellectuals approach the problems of the Black community in different ways.  In each case I try to follow the Rules of Good Studenting, to explain that person’s position to their own satisfaction.  As you listen to these different ideas, please remember that all of these people are trying to make the situation better.  They do not agree with each other on what is the proper approach. Regrettably I did not discuss James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time) or Ta’Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) or Derrick Bell (Faces at the Bottom of the Well), all of which influenced my own thinking.  I do plan future podcasts on Louis Farrakhan and Critical Race Theory (which will include Bell's book).  Meanwhile, do yourself a favor and add them to your reading list, if you have not already read them.    Names mentioned in this podcast:                 St. Clair Drake                Nicholas Lemann                Marcus Garvey (who is discussed more fully in the talk on leaders)                 Franklin Frasier and his book The Black Bourgeoisie                Shelby Steele and his two books, The Content of Our Character and White Guilt                 Barack Obama and his Father’s Day Speech (plus his books Dreams from my Father and The Audacity of Hope).                 Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and his book Disintegration                Murray and Herrnstein and their book The Bell Curve                Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her book Amerikanah   (I love this book). Some terms used:  Race Man, Bronzeville, caste, Black Conservative 
7/6/202157 minutes, 26 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 19. Paradigm Lost by Ian Lustick. Why Israel threw away the possibility of a Two-State Solution.

Ian Lustick is a prominent political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is known for his analysis of intractable conflicts:  South Africa, Algeria, Northern Ireland, and Israel-Palestine. I discussed some of his ideas in the podcast on The Black Swan.   In his book Paradigm Lost Lustick discusses why the option of a two-state solution is no longer possible.  He says there is now a single state reality containing Israel and Palestine.  He also discusses how Israeli thinking of the Holocaust has gone through four stages, with dramatically different implications for public policy.  There were several opportunities in the past for Israel to make a serious effort to create a Palestinian state.  There were partners available.  Why did Israel not take this opportunity to solve a problem that could potentially destabilize the state?  He says there are two reasons rooted in how the Israelis think – one involves the idea of an Iron Wall and the other an understanding of the Holocaust.  There is also a political factor, the role of the Israel Lobby in America.  His discussion of these factors is deeply analytical and grounded in reality.  After all, he is a political scientist. This is my summary of Lustick’s thinking.  If you are concerned about this conflict, you should listen to this podcast.  And if you think it is as important as I do, you should probably buy this book to discover all the things I did not have time to discuss.   Glitch:  The Reagan Plan, also called the Comprehensive Solution, was in 1982.  Sorry for the confusion. People Mentioned: Meir Pa’il,  David Ben-Gurion, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon, Konrad Adenauer, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, King Fahd, James Madison, Golda Meir, Adolph Eichmann,  President George H. W. Bush, James Baker. Other Things Mentioned:  AIPAC, Reagan Plan, Resolution 242, Oslo Accords, Holocaustia, Yad Vashem, Sabra and Shatilla, Ibrahami Mosque massacre (Hebron), Federalist Ten, Treblinka. 
7/1/202138 minutes, 39 seconds
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Religion and Politics 5. Background to Osama bin Laden and his Declaration of War on the U. S.

This is part one of a two part lecture on Osama bin Laden. Part Two  will focus on his Declaration of War on the United States (1996).  Osama issued two Declarations of War, in 1996 and in 1998.  The second was called a “fatwa.” Both are available on the internet.  I suggest that you download the 1996 declaration so you can follow along as we discuss it.   My goal is to show bin Laden’s background and view of world conflict.  I am not arguing with him.   I tell students that if their thinking after analyzing a document has not changed, then no learning had taken place.  I tell students that Osama made five key points.  I agreed with him on four.  We parted ways when he said Muslims should kill Americans.  I did this to model openness of mind, and to help students realize that agreeing with Osama on some point did not mean you supported what happened on September 11.  This was a class lecture.  There may be a few times when I talk about readings and assignments.  Sorry about that.  Here are some terms and references that some people don't know. Dawa: Preaching about Islam, spreading Islam Ansar:  The companions (supporters) of Mohammed were called the Ansar.  Scholars (Ulema): The recognized scholars of Islamic law.  Mujtihad means one.    Fatwa: An opinion by a recognized religious scholar on how to interpret Islamic law.  Apostate:  One who has abandoned the faith.  Qibla:  The site faced while praying.  Today it is Mecca.  Originally it was Jerusalem.  Night Journey:  God took Muhammed on a flying creature to Jerusalem. Al Aqsa: The sacred place, i.e., the mosque in Jerusalem.  This term is in the Koran.  Sharia: Islamic law, both the specific rules and the general principles.  Shirk/Mushirk:  One who has something in the heart ahead of God, i.e., one who worships a false god or false belief or false authority.  Umma/Ummah:  The Muslim community or Muslim people (worldwide).  Grand Mufti bin Baz.  Head of Saudi Ulema. Literalist interpretations.  Close to monarchy.  His fatwa said that because of danger from Saddam, it was acceptable to admit US soldiers Abdullah Azzam.  Palestinian professor who influenced Osama.  He was killed. Ahmad Yassen.  Spiritual leader of Hamas.  Killed by the Israelis. Omar Abdur Rahman.  Blind Egyptian sheikh who planned NYC attacks. In US prison. William Perry.  Secretary of Defense when the Khobar attack occurred.Abdul Aziz.  Founder of Saudi Arabia.  Americans call him ibn Saud. Bernard Lewis & Samuel Huntington.  Professors who teach Clash of Civilizations.  Sykes-Picot: WWI plan to partition the Arab world into zones of Western influence.  Wahab.  Early religious reformer whose strict teaching called for a return to the founding principles of the faith.  Movement is called Wahabism or Salafi.  Somalia: US forces ambushed.  Black Hawk Down movie Khobar, 1996.  Attack on U.S. base in Saudi ArabiaKhost Tunnel Complex:  Built in Afghanistan during Russian War.  US financed it.  Qana Massacre: Israelis attack UN post in 1998.  100+ Lebanese refugees killed. USS Cole, 1998.  US warship bombed by Zodiac boat.  Nearly sank. The Looming Towers is superb. 
6/26/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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Pete Seeger, one of the great protest singers, and what happened when he sang "Knee Deep in The Big Muddy" on national television just after the Tet Offensive

Pete Seeger was one of the great social justice protest singers.  His songs ("If I had a hammer" for example) were legendary.  Pete believed that music could change societies.  He never gave up, even during the long period of time when he was blacklisted.  Then in 1968 he appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and introduced a new anti-Vietnam war song.  It was "Knee deep in the Big Muddy."  This is the story of Pete's life, and of what happened when he sang that song on the Number One television program of the age.  You are welcome to join Stocktonafterclass Podcast Discussion group on facebook.  Thoughtful comments welcome. 
6/21/202113 minutes, 52 seconds
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Religion and Politics 4. The Book of Daniel. A Biblical Critique of Religious Uprisings.

The Book of Daniel was written about the same time as Maccabees II.  It would be best to listen to the Maccabees podcast before this one.  Remember that Maccabees II was a response to the Maccabees uprising, described in Maccabees I.  Daniel was placed in a much earlier time to conceal its contents as not being contemporary, even though it was.  This was a time when the literary style of the day was filled with poetry and metaphors and mystical symbolism.  For example, a domestic animal such as a sheep, represented a friendly country.  A wild animal such as a lion represented a hostile country.  Back in those days, everyone would have understood these stories to be symbolic, not literal.  If you were brought up in a tradition that treated these stories as if they were literal (as I was) then this will be a new approach for you, and a new way of looking at a biblical text. Have fun. ps.  This was a class lecture.  There  was some interaction with the class (which was off in zoom land) about readings and assignments.  In case I didn't delete that, sorry for the distraction.  pps.  There is a Stocktonafterclass podcast discussion group on Facebook.  Thoughtful comments welcome.  
6/18/202144 minutes, 51 seconds
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Religion and Politics 3. The Maccabees Uprising

The Maccabees Uprising . 167-160 B. C. In my class on Religion and Politics I had students study two uprisings rooted in religious communities.  One was the Maccabeean uprising against the Seleucid Empire and the other was Osama bin Laden.  This podcast is on the Maccabees.  There will soon be a podcast on Osama bin Laden. Thinking of these two uprisings in comparative and analytical terms, leaving aside your preferences, yields valuable insights. A word about these texts.  The word “canon” means the official books of the Bible.  The canon was closed about 300 years before the birth of Christ.  Jonah was the last-added book.  To Christians, the canon was re-opened with the gospels.  To Jews, it is still closed.  But between the closing of the canon and the birth of Christ, there was a lot of history and a lot of teaching, and a lot of writing.  The books that emerged during that time are called The Apocrypha, a word that means both hidden and unfolding.  They are in the Catholic Bible but not in the Protestant or Jewish canons.  The Jewish leaders of that time were worried about revolutionaries who claimed to be prophets and would produce revealed books to prove it.  They had a rule that if you are a prophet you must perform a miracle in the presence of a minyan (10 righteous people).  Otherwise, there were severe penalties. (Those familiar with the Gospels will recall times when "the Jews," i.e., a minyan, would ask Jesus to perform a miracle). To avoid these problems, books would be written in mystical styles with spirits and creatures and miracles.  They would also be placed well into the past, as if they had been “rediscovered.”  The book of Daniel was of that style, being placed hundreds of years in the past.  There is a word pseudepigrapha that means falsely attributed.  It does not mean false.  It is as if you wanted to write a book on politics today and presented it in the form of a secret diary of George Washington.  After about ten pages any reader would realize this is not George Washington at all but a commentary on today’s political situation.  A couple of thousand years later, people might not get that point.  When you read Daniel and his troubles with an oppressive ruler who is abusing believers, you need to realize that this is really about a contemporary leader.  Except the author does not want to be arrested.  Also during that time the writings would use metaphors and codes.  Everyone at the time knew what those things meant, but today we often read them as if they are somehow factual, or even as predictions of future events.  That was how I was brought up.  In the discussion of Maccabees II we will discuss some examples of this style and what it means.  Remember, the authors knew what they meant, and so did everyone at the time who read those texts. I thought about breaking this into two podcasts, Maccabees I and Maccabees II, but left it in one.  It's a bit long, but it covers all the bases. Suggestion:  You might download the books of Maccabees I and Maccabees II so you can follow along with the discussion.  You might even read them in advance if you wish. Or just lean back and enjoy yourself. People:  Tobias, Mattathias, Antiochus Epiphanies, Ptolemy, Seleucid, Onias, Heliodorus, Judah Maccabees. Terms and places:   Galilee, Samaria, Judea, Syria, pseudepigrapha, canon, Cohen, zealot, gymnasium, Shema, phalanx, Hasid, Hellenism, Hanukkah, Apocrypha, Torah, Modein. 
6/12/20211 hour, 25 minutes, 38 seconds
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How to Write. Lessons Learned Along the Way

Somehow I went from being an 18-year-old writing instructor’s nightmare to a being a good writer.  There were a lot of steps along the way to that achievement, not all of them easy.   In this podcast, I am going to share some of my struggles, and my secrets, with you.  I always told my students that writing was a skill that one could learn.   I have seen students go from C to B in a few months after they adopted some of these ideas, so I know what I am saying.  When I was teaching in Kenya, the British teachers taught me something they did in their schools.  It was called a precis, using a French term.  I came to love this exercise.  We would give students a 300 word passage and tell them to rewrite it in 100 words.  And don’t leave anything out.  This forced students to concentrate upon what was essential in a passage, and what could be dropped.  My colleague Elaine Clark said she would have students write a two-page essay rather than a five-page essay.  She said two pages required more discipline than five pages.  Plus professors could mark them quicker so it was possible to give more assignments.  I am not sure the students liked that last part.  I do have a suggestion that might be hard to implement.  When I was 9 years old I had a heart problem -- rheumatic fever -- that caused me to spend a lot of time sitting on the sofa in the winter or on the porch swing in the summer.  (I totally recovered).  To pass the time, I began to read.  The town next to us had a nice library so every two weeks my mom would take my sister and me to that place and I would check out five books.  That was the number you could check out and I always took the maximum.  We had to return them in two weeks so I would start reading.  I seldom got through more than two, but the idea of having five books was exciting.  In my younger years, I would read boy books about dogs and horses.  But I also read adventure stories and  biographies about heroic leaders.  As I got older, I migrated towards history and biography.  I also had a secret weapon in the Chicago Tribune.  Every Sunday we would buy the VERY fat Sunday paper.  I think we got it for the comics but it had a very nice magazine of books.  Today the New York Times is the only newspaper that has a book magazine.  But every Sunday I would read those book reviews.   I learned how writers analyze and how they write.  When I was a sophomore in college our English professor had us write an essay on a book.  She gave me a bad grade and wrote on the paper, “sounds very bookish,” as if I had stolen it from somewhere.  I was very upset at this.  Not only did she think that I had plagiarized the essay, but she assumed that someone from a small town in Southern Illinois could not possibly have written a cohesive essay.  I told her about the Chicago Tribune and she realized she had made a mistake.  I was happy that she did so. I realize that none of you can return to when you were 9 and start reading but do remember that reading  will improve your writing skills. Somehow it gets into your head. And some of the tips in this podcast can work wonders. 
6/9/202117 minutes, 24 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 18. Beirut's Sabra and Shatilla Massacre. Israel's Kahan Commission Report

In September, 1982, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon,  the Israeli army took control  of West Beirut and the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Chatillah.  Bashir Gemayel, the leader of the Phalangist movement (Kataeb in Arabic), had just been assassinated.  He had supported the Israelis in their invasion, hoping to free his land of the PLO and of Syrian domination.  The individual convicted of the assassination was a Christian.  He claimed he had acted because of Gemayel’s support of Israel.  Many people think Syria was behind the attack. Gemayel’s followers were bent on revenge.  The visible target was the Palestinian refugee camps.  The PLO forces had been evacuated to Tunis by an American-brokered agreement.  Part of that agreement was that the U. S. agreed to protect the Palestinian civilians who would be left without security.  President Reagan’s personal representative, Ambassador Phillip Habib, had negotiated the withdrawal of Palestinian forces and had guaranteed the security of the civilian refugees left behind in the camps.  But there was extremely bad blood between the Phalangists and the PLO and this was an opportunity to get revenge for past offenses.  The Israelis controlled access to those camps and allowed military units to enter.  The killing went on for three days.   There was a story in the Jerusalem Post as the massacres were going on.  The sun was setting and a  military rabbi was leading an outdoor religious service.  There were sounds of shooting and screams in the distance.  The Jerusalem Post said this will go down in history as the “Rosh Hashana of Shame.” Under domestic and international (i.e., U.S.) pressure, the Israelis set up a three-person commission headed by a very respected member of their high court, Justice Kahan.  This is the story of that report. There are two award-winning films that might be of interest.  One is an Israeli film called Waltz With Bashir, a graphic-novel type film.  An officer is having nightmares of wild dogs.  He starts talking to others in his unit.  They are also having nightmares.  It turns out they were all present during the massacres but they have suppressed what happened on their watch.  The other film is The Insult, a Lebanese film.  It starts with a simple confrontation between two men in which one calls the other a name. This happens many times every day without consequence so why does this incident escalate?  It turns out the two parties are connected personally to these massacres. Even though this is decades later, the wounds are still there.  People:  Bashir Gemayel, Amin Gemayel, Raphael Eitan, Shimon Peres, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, Elie Hobeika, Yaron, Major Saad Haddad,  Terms: pogrom, blood libel, Phalange, Lebanese Forces, Damour Vengeance Brigade, “The Comprehensive Solution,” i.e., the Reagan Plan, Eretz Israel, Appendix B, Blood Libel, Knesset, Tunis. 
6/6/202142 minutes, 30 seconds
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Lincoln's Greatest Speech. The Second Inaugural

Abraham Lincoln delivered two speeches that are considered among the greatest ever delivered.  One was the Gettysburg Address and one was the Second Inaugural.  Most Americans consider the Gettysburg Address to be his greatest, but Lincoln believed his Second Inaugural was his best. I agree.  It changed the way Americans thought about their country.  This is a talk I delivered to a class in the fall of 2020.  They had in front of them the speech itself.  You should print out the speech before you listen to this so you can follow along.  Lincoln had read and admired Feuerbach on how we humans generate our religious thinking.  If you have not listened to the talk on Feuerbach, and are interested, you might do that.  The last minute of the talk gets cut off. Sorry about that.  I was talking about Barack Obama’s minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Reverend Wright was an amazing minister.  His congregation, which is situated in south Chicago, a very poor neighborhood, had wonderful programs.  He had educational tutoring, scholarships, jobs programs, food programs, health programs.  You name it, they did it.  I admire him in many ways.  But he had a style of preaching that was common in the Black community but not well understood outside of that tradition.  I grew up with that style.  The preacher will renounce the congregation for their sins. In my case I remember the minister saying, “You are damned and doomed to a devil’s hell.”  But the renunciation was really a reassurance that you can overcome your sin and be a better person.  In one sermon Reverend Wright spoke of the tendency of people to say “God Bless America.”  The Reverend thought they were claiming a status in the eyes of God that they did not deserve.  He said, “NO!  Not God Bless America.  God Damn America!”  It may be hard to believe but that was actually an expression of patriotism, an affirmation that America could be what God meant it to be.  God is in the whirlwind and we can emerge a better nation, a nation truly under God.  But this emerged during a presidential campaign and one of the candidates was a Black man who had attended that church.  This phrase was distorted and misrepresented until candidate Obama had to renounce it.   Lincoln would have agreed with Reverend Wright.   Lincoln DID agree with Reverend Wright, as you can tell.  God is giving us a terrible punishment that we could never have imagined.  “I tremble for my country when I consider that God is just,” as Jefferson said.  Lincoln was even more graphic:  a Black drop of blood will be repaid by a dead white person.  We have to wonder how an American president would fare today if he delivered such a speech.  It was American Exceptionalism, Lincoln style. Two last points.  Reporters were keeping close track of cheering.  Most of the enthusiasm during the talk came from the Black members of the audience.  Many white people were silent.  The white members of the audience were Lincoln’s base, his strongest supporters.  And every single one of them had lost someone they knew and loved in that war.  Finally, the comment by Frederick Douglass demands an acknowledgement.  Lincoln and Douglass had become personal friends.  This  unlikely friendship is  analyzed in the wonderful book Giants by John Stauffer. Douglass came by the White House that evening.  The place was packed but Lincoln singled out Douglass and asked what he thought.  Douglass demurred but Lincoln insisted.  “Mr. Lincoln.  That was a sacred effort.”  And so it was.  For those overseas, be aware that I am taking you deep into an American way of thinking.  
6/6/20211 hour, 2 minutes
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General William Westmoreland, U. S. Commander in Vietnam, 1964-1966.

In 1986 General Westmoreland visited the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  He had three events during the day.  One was a meeting with faculty and guests, which I chaired.  Another was a panel discussion and a third was a meeting with the public.  These are my observations and comments, written up just after the day's events.  
5/28/202116 minutes, 56 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 17. The Israeli Hard Right. the Kahanist Model

There are extremist group in Israel, even in the Knesset,  that trace their origins to Rabbi Meir Kahane.  Kahane was born in Brooklyn but moved to Israel and was elected to the Knesset.  He was later assassinated.  At the time, his views were considered shockingly extreme.  He was widely renounced by American Jews and by Israelis.  I heard Kahane speak twice in the Detroit area in the early 1980s.  I also read two of his books, Time to Go Home and They Must Go!  They were chilling  I also read quite a few essays by him.    As far as I can tell, those who embrace his name and his ideas are not fundamentally different from what I heard in the 1980s.   Kahane believed that anything is justified to bring the new age and to save the Jews.  I thought of the accusations by radical Iraqi Jews that the 1952 bombings of synagogues were done by Zionist commandos in an effort to panic them into fleeing to Israel.  I have no way to know if those accusations are correct but such a thing would surely be justified by Kahane.  He was filled with hatred of Arabs, Americans and secular Jews.  He believed in his cause and would do anything to achieve it.  He had a definite support base in the American Jewish community, although certainly not nearly as the vast proportion who were hostile to him.  I don’t want to be inflammatory but I wrote in my notes back in the 1980s that I felt I was in a Munich beer hall in 1924 listening to Hitler polish up a speech.  I have never heard anyone quite like him. Note that in the Knesset, there are religious parties connected to the rabbis.  Two are United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazi) and Shas (Sephardic).  There are NOT Kahanist. If you are interested in how  a similar logic works out in American culture you might listen to my podcast on the Replacement Wars. 
5/19/202134 minutes, 56 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 16. Al Aqsa Intifada, 2000-2005. The logic of violence, the impact of violence.

Al Aqsa Intifada.  The Logic of Violence, the Impact of Violence.  There were two Intifadas. The first began in December, 1987. The second is called the Al Aqsa Intifada and began in September, 2000.  The first involved non-lethal violence on the part of the Palestinians, throwing stones, burning tires. The second was extremely violent.  In both cases, from a Palestinian point of view, the protection of Islam and Islamic Holy Sites was a major motivating force.  The Here are some names and terms you might not know: Names:  Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat, Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu, Anwar Sadat, Colonel Luft, Professor Papp, Marwan Barghouti, Shimon Peres, Sheikh Yassin, Dr. Rantisi. Yitzhak Shamir. . Other terms:  Oslo Accords of 1993, Camp David (Carter and Clinton efforts), IDF (Israeli military)There is an excellent film called Paradise Now. It focuses on the logic of suicide bombing. Menachem Begin wrote a memoir, The Revolt.  It addresses what is terrorism and what is not.  When US forces went into Afghanistan after 9/11 and entered the Al Qaeda camps they were stunned to discover Begin’s  materials on Al Qaeda computers.  I was not surprised.  Begin’s  organization was Irgun. Fatah is Yassir Arafat’s party; Al Aqsa Brigade is a Fatah  military unit. Kill ratio is a term from the Vietnam War.  It means the ratio of our dead to their dead. The kill ratio in first Intifada was 23:1.  23 Palestinians died for every Israeli who died.  Why did I say 23:3?  That makes no sense.  But that kind of glitch happens in the middle of a talk. Note:  I originally delivered two talks on this topic.  This merges the two. 
5/16/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 14 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 15. The First Intifada, 1988-1993.

The word Intifada (sometimes Intifadah) means uprising.  More specifically it means “shaking off,” but uprising is close enough.  There were two Intifadas, one in 1987-1993, just called the Intifada.  The other is called the Al Aqsa Intifada from 2000 to 2005.  These were very different from each other. I have two podcasts on these.  One on the Intifada, one on the Al Aqsa Intifada. I wrote two articles on Intifada Death Patterns.  One of those, analyzing the first two years of fatalities, is available in Deep Blue.  I also wrote a shorter newspaper analysis of deaths during the first Intifada.  This was accepted for publication by a Jerusalem newspaper (Al Fajr) but was censored. Israel has two censors, a military censor and a political censor.  My article was cleared for publication by the military censors but rejected by the political censors.  This is odd because the information I used (individual data about age, gender, day of death, possible cause of death, location of death) was publicly available.  I guess having that analysis available in a Palestinian newspaper was seen as too dangerous  (although similar analysis was covered in the Israeli press on a regular basis, and Defense Minister Rabin issued similar analyses on a regular basis).  As far as I know, I am the only University of Michigan-Dearborn professor  who ever had his research officially censored.   (I have the draft newspaper article with the censor’s mark on it.  It is framed and on my wall).  There are quite a few terms, places, names, etc. that you might not recognize.  Here are some of them (in no particular order).  You might read those before you listen.  Places: Ecce Homo; Dome of the Rock; Al Quds;  Four Quarters; Via Dolorosa; Stations of the Cross; Jabalya, Gaza; Balata camp; Negev Desert; Hebron, Nablus, Jenin; Birzeit University; People:  Um Kulthum (famous Egyptian singer); Yitzhak Shamir; Ariel Sharon; Yitzhak Rabin; Yasser Arafat. Other: Lechi/Stern Gang; extra-territorial entity;   Status Quo Agreement; kill ratio;, Iron Fist; Hezbollah;  Uprising of the Stones; Breaking Bones Policy; Biladi (my land, a song). Note:  The kill ratio in the Intifada was 23:1.  Sometimes in a lecture someone’s brain goes off track and comes up with bizarre numbers. Also Note:  Al Aqsa refers to the mosque compound, Al Quds refers to Jerusalem.  I might have got that backwards at one point. 
5/16/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 57 seconds
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Israeli-Palestine Conflict 13. The Black Swan Scenario. An End of the Conflict?

One morning we woke up and Soviet Union was gone.  None of us saw this coming. When I started teaching in the 1970s, I told students there were three conflicts that would go on forever:  Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Israel-Palestine.    But two of those are resolved: Northern Ireland and South Africa. Is it possible that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict could be resolved short of a catastrophe?  I am going to discuss four scenarios that work elsewhere but will not work here.  Those scenarios are explained more fully on Deep Blue under the title “Strategic Options in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”   Suggestion: download a map of the West Bank with Areas A and B and C outlined.  A and B are where Palestinians live.  C is where most Jewish settlements are.  When the Israelis talk of annexing the West Bank, most mean Area C.   I discuss the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.  Today the balance of those two groups is about 48-48.  But what if the Ashkenazim began to leave and the balance shifted to 60-40 in favor of the Sephardic Jews?  What would that mean?  The professor I mentioned is Ian Lustick.  He is very good. 
5/13/202158 minutes, 13 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 12. The Palestine War of 1948. What happened after the War?

What happened after the armistice in January of 1949?  Of course, the major consequence was the Palestinian refugees.  Thinking only of what we consider the internationally recognized boundaries of Israel, probably 80% or more of all the Palestinians inside of that area  on January 1, 1948 were gone by December 31, 1948.  This is the real “catastrophe,” or nakhba,  as the Palestinians call it.  The Israelis were insistent that none of these refugees would be allowed to return.  I am very sorry I can’t deliver an hour-long talk on the refugee situation.  I am just not sure how to make it work.  Still, I have tried to incorporate key points into this talk and into the previous talk on the Palestine War of 1948.  And again, I invite you to go to Deep Blue (see that previous podcast if you are unclear) where I have posted my briefing document on The Palestinian Refugees of 1948.  As of April, 2021 this document has nearly 13,000 downloads from around the world.  It is a very thorough summary of the data on the refugees, of the recent research on the topic, of the personal stories of what happened, and of the argumentation.  For those interested in this subject, it is a valuable source.  If you would like to read a short novel consider Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar.  The author was a noted literary figure (Yizhar Smilansky) who concealed his true identity so he could tell what happened when his unit took control of a Palestinian village in 1948.  It was translated into English in  2008.  It shocked many Israelis to realize that a person of such literary stature had experienced these things.  I mentioned the mayor of El Bireh, a Palestinian town just 10 miles north of Jerusalem.  His name was Abdul Jawad Saleh.  I met him in Amman in 1987.  He was one of the most respected of the Palestinian leaders and was later put in charge of the PLO  treasury because everyone trusted him.    He told me that one evening he had a knock at the door and two soldiers told him the governor wanted to talk to him.  This was not unusual so he went without resistance.  But they took him to the Jordan border (I think in the southern desert) and pushed him into Jordan.  They then announced on the radio that he had been expelled.  The Jordanians rushed units into the area to find him before he died of thirst.  I met him in his apartment.  His daughter was visiting and his grandson.  He was the person who made the map of the dead cities and villages of Palestine.   I asked him why they had expelled him (which is a violation of international law, by the way). He said they never tell you why they are expelling you or detaining you  but he thought it had to do with the fact that the city was erecting a “mother statue.”  It depicts a mother lifting her child  to reach for a goal. It is obviously a metaphor for the Palestinian situation.  He thought it was just too symbolically powerful for the Israelis.  When the archives were opened by Menachem Begin in the late 1970s,  Israeli scholars plunged in.  By the late 1980s, they produced a new wave of histories that went beyond wartime hero narratives but relied heavily upon primary source materials: diaries and journals and memos.  They were called the New Historians.  Their research exploded myths about how the Palestinians had fled of their own will, for example or that the military maintained a “purity of arms.”  Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim and Simcha Flappan were three of these.  Tom Segev’s book, The First Israelis, focusing upon 1949, after the fighting was over, brings surprising new perspectives to the issues.  These historians are hated by those on the Israeli right. 
5/13/202132 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Concept of Genocide: Armenians, Jews, Tutsis and others.

On April 24, 2021 President Biden used the word “genocide” to describe what happened to the Armenians of Turkey.  Whether to use this word had been a matter of debate since the 1970s.  In 1915 the Ottoman government, fearing that the Armenians in eastern Turkey would align with the Russians, decided to evacuate the whole Armenian population of Eastern Turkey by marching them across the desert to the Arab provinces of Lebanon and Syria.  They also massacred Armenians in other parts of Turkey.  Many young women were forced to marry Turks, and there were many forced conversions.  No one is certain how many people were lost, through murder or death or forced absorption.  Was it half a million or a million or a million and a half?  Most scholars use a number close to a million.  The Biden announcement had a softening provision, but two provocations.  Biden referred to events during Ottoman times, the previous, discredited regime.   This seems to spare the Turkish Republic direct responsibility.  But a State Department press release referred to the capital of Turkey as Constantinople, a name that goes back to Christian times and has not been used since 1453.  The State Department also used the highest estimate of losses, a million and a half.  The controversy over the use of the word genocide has to do with the official definition of the term.  It requires intent.  The Turks insist that while there were massive losses among the Armenians, there was no “intent” to exterminate the Armenians as a people or to commit mass murder.  They also say the word draws a comparison with the Holocaust.  The Armenian deaths were a by-product of war, they insist, a war in which not only Armenians died but Turks and Kurds and others.  Two points about the Armenian genocide are worth noting.  First, after the war, the Turks put several officials on trial for war crimes.  (The word genocide did not exist at the time).  Many observers were curious about why the current leaders do not say, “we disagree with the word genocide but agree that some of those leaders committed crimes against some of our people, as we showed by putting them on trial and finding them guilty.” But those trials are controversial and were carried out by the old regime, which is not seen as legitimate today.  Second, the national hero of Turkey, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, was fighting the British at the time and was not involved in these events.    Back in 2020 I prepared a lecture on this topic.  In the age of pandemic, the lecture was recorded and shared with students.  I just listened to it and found it informative and nuanced.  It was done on my computer rather than with the fancy microphone that I now use, but the sound is ok. I wish I could provide you with the written definitions of genocide that I made available to students.  You should listen carefully as I read definitions or as I discuss the model to predict future genocides. Three points.  First, the situation of the Albanian refugees from Kosovo was terrible but stating that 90% of the population were displaced may have been an over-statement by some world leaders for whatever reason.  Second, Leo Kuper in his valuable book Genocide uses the term “genocidal massacre” to describe targeted killings short of a full genocide.  An example might be killing a whole village or widespread massacres to intimidate a targeted population. Third, regarding  “war crimes,” there is a concept of “disproportionate response.”   It consists of “extensive destruction not justified by military necessity.” Massive bombing in response to a homemade missile might be an example.  Bad as it may be, this is not genocide.   I will soon post a talk on the Holocaust. 
5/8/20211 hour, 18 minutes, 8 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 11. The Palestine War of 1948. Israel created, Palestine erased.

In 1948 the Jewish forces in Palestine declared themselves to be the state of Israel.  The Israelis joyously call this their independence war but Palestinians see it as the Nakhba, the catastrophe that deprived them of their homeland and sent most of them into exile. What many people do not realize is that this was not one war but three.  There was the Zionist-British War, the Zionist-Palestinian War, and the Israeli-Arab War.  These wars were very different from each other.  Understanding these differences is very important. A legitimate question is, why did the Zionist forces win this series of wars, especially the Palestine War of 1948?  I break this into two questions:  Why did the Jews win? Why did the Palestinians lose?  As with most of life, the answers are not easy.  If you do not have a map of the UN Partition Plan of 1947, Resolution 181, you might want to download one.  It outlines the proposed partition of Palestine (and the creation of a federation).  The map, which usually also illustrates the population concentrations of Jews and Palestinians, is extremely useful in understanding what happened. And if you have Tessler or some other book on this conflict, you will note there is quite a bit that I did not have time to include, such as the negotiations among the great powers over alternatives.  You might want to go through this for your own interest.  This was a talk I recorded for my students. Welcome to class. ps. If you go to Deep Blue (see separate podcast if you are confused) you can find my paper on The Palestinian Refugees of 1948.  This is a valuable resource. pps.  There  are two other podcasts connected to this one.  One is on what happened in the aftermath of 1948.  The other is entitled The Palestinian Situation After 1948.  these are a part of this lecture.  
5/6/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 33 seconds
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Pandemic Orientation: A Talk to my Students about finding Meaning in an Age of Pandemic

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, we could handle it. Live classes were cancelled but faculty made audio talks to share with students.  At that point, the students knew each other, they knew me, I knew them, and I had examinations and  papers so assigning a semester grade was not a problem.  I decided to focus my talks on  important topics and have students write personal reactions to the talks rather than analytical papers.  This worked out  well. But when the fall semester rolled around, that was a different ball game.  We had never met as a class.  They did not know me and I did not know them.  I realized I had to give students some philosophical orientation to an unprecedented situation.  I sent some written encouragements and also gave an orientation on the first day of class.  I told students to consider that in a hundred years people will look back to the time when the whole world was shut down.  Even if you did not ask for this privilege, you  have become players in a drama of unprecedented  significance.  My suggestion was to keep a journal. Write to a future reader you may not even know.   Use this time to help someone else understand our unique age.  I figured if students could stop thinking about themselves and think about someone else, that might help.  I also told them about Viktor Frankel’s amazing Auschwitz memoir,  Man’s Search for Meaning  The reason this is such an astonishing book, and the reason I read it for a second time in four months, was because Frankel leaves the reader with stunning insights.  First, he says anyone can find meaning in life no matter how bad it seems.  Even in Auschwitz there is a life worth living.  In the book, which Frankel wrote in nine days, he tells two stories about his patients. One was of a man whose wife had died.  After two years his grief was as great as the day she died.  Frankel asked what would have happened if he had died first.  The man was horrified.  His wife loved him so much that she would never have recovered.  “So, by surviving you have spared her the grief of mourning forever.”  The man suddenly realized that his survival was a blessing, not a betrayal.    A second patient was a young woman in a depression.  Frankel asked how old she was.  She said 30.  He said, “No.  You are 80.  You are lying on your death bed and looking back over your life.  Is there anything you see that made your life worth living?” She suddenly realized that there was much meaning in her life, things she had overlooked. Frankel says two traps lead us astray: dwelling on the past and dwelling  on the future.  The temptation is to say, “Remote Learning is terrible.  Last semester was great.  I could talk to friends, discuss issues in class, and talk to my professor. This is awful.”  The other danger is to think, “When this is over, everything will be good so I will just get through this catastrophe.”   If you idealize either the past or the future and ignore the present, then you are missing whatever benefits there are in your current life.Frankel says we have to remember that we have the life we have, not the life we wish we had. But what is uniquely good about living in pandemic?   Before Auschwitz, life was good.  After Auschwitz life was good (for those who survive).  But life IN Auschwitz. How could that be good?  Frankel says even if we know we will not survive, we need to find  meaning in  whatever life we have.  Is there anything about the pandemic for which we can be grateful?  I am glad that I recorded a semester of lectures.  This podcast project would be much more difficult to start without those.   
5/4/20217 minutes
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 11. Public Opinion on Jews and Arabs and Muslims

This is a discussion of public opinion, focusing upon scientific survey research studies.   Some of the findings are a bit surprising.  As we might guess, Jews are rated higher than Arabs or Muslims but the patterns are not as simple as they might seem at first.  There is a lot of nuance and complexity in public opinion.     The theme music Stockspeaks is by G. Kevin Dewey.  
4/28/202136 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Replacement Wars. The Ideology of Apocalyptic White Nationalism, Part One

This may be the most important research project I have ever done, because of its ominous significance for the future of our country (and of other countries).  It is a worldview rooted in a terrifying sense of confrontation and violence.  It is a form of violent white nationalism rooted in the belief -- originally found in Europe but now emerging in the US on the extreme right -- that white Christian Americans are being numerically overwhelmed and replaced, even displaced,  in their own homelands by minorities and waves of immigrants. Those immigrants come with little desire to assimilate or to identify with America and its values and traditions.  Often, they have hostile views of western values and cultures.  To survive as a civilization true Americans must fight back, with violence.  This is a zero-sum struggle.  There will be a winning side and a losing side.  This is not simple racism or xenophobia.  It is something much more fundamental and scary  It is rooted in a toxic combination of identity and fear and a sense of vulnerability, and an ominous sense of a horrifying future unless the emerging course of history is stopped and reversed. The focus of the analysis is nine texts that express these views.    There is also a discussion of three best selling  but widely condemned European books.   This lecture is broken into two parts.  You should listen to them in order.  Note that this has nothing to do with legitimate debates over immigration policy. 
4/21/202138 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Replacement Wars. The Ideology of Apocalyptic White Nationalism, Part Two

This is Part Two of my discussion of  The Replacement Wars.  This is a worldview that began in Europe but has spread to the US and is emerging on the violent extreme right.  It is a discussion of this ideology and of nine manifestoes or expressions of this, plus of three novels in Europe, and of other sources.  You should listen to Part One before listening to Part Two. Note that this has nothing to do with legitimate debates over immigration policy. 
4/21/202135 minutes, 59 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 10. The 1967 War

"On the seventh day of the six-day war, Israel became a different country." This was the amazing victory of the Israelis over the combined armies of their immediate antagonists:  Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq.  How did they do that?  It was remarkable. But there were consequences for as God says, "Take what you want.  And pay for it. " In spite of the astonishing military victory,  this set up a strategic situation that was not entirely good for the Israeli future.  Israel had reunited historic Palestine, the Mandate, but from that point on,  Israel controlled the Palestinian territories and created a demographic situation that cannot possibly work out well.   That will have to wait for a subsequent lecture. It also made the 1973 war more-or-less inevitable.  As soon as the war ended, President Nasser announced he was stepping down.  But there were crowds in the streets calling for him to remain in office, so he did. This was a lecture I delivered to my students. For the rest of you, welcome to class. (And I should note that while the Israelis gleefully call this the Six-Day War,  the Arabs call it the June War). 
4/17/20211 hour, 13 minutes, 2 seconds
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King's Mountain. A key battle in the American revolution. How guerrillas beat the world's most powerful army.

In 1780 the Americans were on the ropes.  The British had won several key battles and had taken Savannah and Charleston, giving them control of the South Carolina and Georgia coasts.  Now Lord Cornwallis was coming south with a large army.  His plan was to link up with pro-British Americans, called Whigs in those days, and to separate the whole south from the rest of the country.  The country would be split, Washington would be isolated and could be defeated, and America would remain within the British Empire. But the Americans had two secret weapons:  the Scots-Irish and Nathanael Greene.   The story of how Greene, and his commanders, fighting mostly with rag-tag militias but brilliant guerrilla war tactics, were able to reverse this catastrophe is a little-known element of this war.  There were four critical battles during this campaign, but King's Mountain was the turning point. I hope you enjoy this story (which has meaning to me personally). 
4/16/202120 minutes, 46 seconds
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Richard III, King of England. His life, death, and resurrection

Richard III was the last of the Plantagenets.  He was killed by his rival Henry VII in 1485 at the battle of Bosworth Field.  He has come down in history as a monster, thanks to Shakespeare and a Tudor propaganda campaign.   This is the story of his life and what happened after his death and how he has received some modest rehabilitation. It is also the story of his body, how it was lost, and recovered. I once was asked to deliver a sermon reflecting on the life of Richard.  The sermon is included.  It is the only sermon I have ever delivered, and the only one I will ever deliver. This is an unusual podcast, but perhaps an entertaining one. 
4/16/202122 minutes, 6 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 8. Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, 1896

Theodor Herzl, the brilliant journalist, novelist, and political thinker wrote his famous treatise, Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in 1896.  He wrote this in a fever, in just a few days.  It was as if suddenly an insight had come to him and he had to get it down on paper.  That insight was that "We are a people.  One people."  Herzl was not the first person to make this point, but his brilliance was that he followed up the next year with a conference in Basel, Switzerland in which he set up an organizational structure.  We will discuss that in a future podcast.  But what was brilliant about this essay was that he said it was not just a fantasy.  It was a reality that could be achieved.  Herzl had a scientific mind.  He said that what he was describing was a scientific process to create a reality.  It was not a dream.  This essay created a sensation within the Jewish community.  It created enormous enthusiasm and enormous resistance.  The argument that the Jews were a national people was very offensive, especially in Germany.  Herzl knew this and addressed it. Before we start, let me give you a term and a definition.  The term is Zionism.  It commonly means Jewish nationalism.  If you ask American Jews today if they consider themselves Zionists, a minority will say that they do.  Of those who say yes what they mean by the term, they are all over the place.   Israel should be safe; there should be a place where Jews can go if they cannot go anywhere else;  Jews should move to Israel; and so on. Let me give you a definition  that Herzl would probably consider consistent with his thinking.  This is what we might call political Zionism.  "The Jews are not merely an ethnic or a religious group but are a national people, living in temporary exile and awaiting a return to their homeland." I hope you will try to find this short essay and read it.  (I think it is 96 pages long).   This is my discussion of the essay and of the points that jump out as key elements of Herzl's thinking. Question:  I think Herzl was a scientific thinker, not an ideologue.  Do you agree? 
4/7/20211 hour, 13 minutes, 13 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 9. The PLO Charter of 1964

In 1964 the Palestinian leaders met in Jerusalem under the tutelage of President Nasser of Egypt.  Nasser was a great hero to the Arab people, someone who believed that all Arabs shared a common destiny and that they alone should control that destiny free of foreign influence.  He had become a hero in 1956 for standing up to the British and French and Israelis.  He had sponsored the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PLO.  Now he was sponsoring this conference at which the Palestinians would define their identity and their goals. It would be helpful if you would go online and print out an actual copy of this document.  It is only a couple of pages long.  Note that the charter was revised at different times so be sure you get the original version of 1964. As I have read this many times, and discussed it many times with my students, it has seemed to me that there are definite parallels between Palestinian thinking and Jewish thinking as exhibited in Herzl's Der Judenstaat.  You can decide if you agree with that or not. Again, that awesome theme music is by G. Kevin Dewey. 
4/7/202145 minutes, 28 seconds
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Bernie Klein. A Legendary Professor

Bernie Klein was a professor of political science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. His specialty was urban politics.  He was probably the single most popular classroom instructor on campus.  Students would sign up just to hear the stories he told about Detroit and Michigan politics.  (He would also manage to slip in a few dirty jokes from time to time).  Three times Bernie was called into service to be Acting Chancellor when the regular chancellor took a job in another place. Bernie retired in the early 1990s but for generations of students he was unforgettable.  He died in April of 2020, an early victim of Coronavirus.  I wrote this tribute to him within a few days and shared it with my colleagues on campus.  I am happy to share it now with any of you who would like to listen. 
3/29/202111 minutes, 32 seconds
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Thoughts of a Former Terrorist (me)

This is an article I wrote for the University of Michigan newspaper  back in 2002.  The essay discusses the fact that in polemical arguments certain discrediting words (focusing here on terrorism and anti-Semitism) have two characteristics.  First, they tend to have different meanings to different people and, second, those with a position will often try to define them in such a way as to strengthen their own position and weaken those of their critics. These are mostly reflections upon my sabbatical trip to South Africa during the time of apartheid, and how my support for a change in the South African political situation made me a terrorist, by definition. Theme music StockSpeaks by G. Kevin Dewey.  
3/24/202112 minutes, 20 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 7. Ottoman Views of Zionism and Jews (Ottoman and European)

I knew how the various players saw Zionism:  the Zionists, the anti-Zionist Jews, the British, the Christian Zionists, the Palestinians.  But I had never thought of how the Ottomans saw Zionism.  And how they thought of Jews, both the Ottoman Jews and the immigrant mostly Russian Jews.  That was very odd, given that Palestine was an Ottoman Province.  This podcast will discuss Ottoman perspectives on these issues.  Awesome theme music, StockSpeaks, by Kevin Dewey.  
3/24/202121 minutes, 20 seconds
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Orville Hubbard. The Meanest Man in Race Relations

Orville Hubbard was the mayor of Dearborn for 38 years.  He was brilliant, creative, passionate, dedicated, popular.  He was also a mean demagogue, a racist, a bully.  This reports the time I went with a group of students to interview the mayor.  All of his qualities were there on display.   Especially his racism. This interview was just before he had a debilitating stroke.  Even if you are not from Dearborn, this will be of interest to you. 
3/20/202119 minutes, 56 seconds
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Religion And Politics 2. Numerology: Numbers in Religious Texts

In a religious text, a number is not a number.  It is a point, a teaching. Those who think the Bible or other religious texts are science books are missing the point.   Those who think a religious text is offering you facts miss the point.  This podcast outlines several different ways that numbers are used and appear in a mix and match pattern in religious texts.  When I say that Jeff Bezos is a jillionaire, that is not a number.  I am making a point, that no number is really adequate.  Will someone in a thousand years find my statement and try to figure out the value of jillion?  People today would understand my meaning just as people at the time understood what those numbers meant when they appeared in those historic texts. This is a fun lecture, but one that students always found eye-opening. 
3/16/20211 hour, 15 minutes, 7 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 6. The Palestinian Condition After 1948

The events of 1948 were a joyous celebration for Israelis who got their independence, but it was a time of despair for Palestinians who lost their homeland.  They call it the Nakhba or Catastrophe.  Perhaps 80 or 85% of all the Palestinians inside of what was Green Line Israel on January 1st of 1948  (i.e., internationally recognized boundaries) were in exile on December 31 of 1948.   The Palestinians had lost their lands, their businesses, their bank accounts and even the right to call themselves a people.   Their natural leaders had been pushed aside -- the doctors, the professors, the authors, the businessmen, the heads of the big families, the heads of the political organizations.   This is the story of how they struggled to adapt to that reality.Those following this podcast series can see parallel analysis for looking at the Jews and the Palestinians.  Look at the objective conditions, i.e., what we can measure, and see how those conditions produced certain political outcomes that would not have been predictable before those objective conditions changed. You might want to google the UN  partition plan 181 of 1947, and especially look at a map of that plan.   You might also want to read the UN resolution 194 of 1949 which defines the rights of the Palestinian refugees.  We will discuss both of these but it helps to read in advance. You might also want to look at my briefing document on The Palestinian Refugees of 1948.  That is a very thorough discussion of the data and how different parties to the struggle describe what happened.   You will see in this that the idea of "transferring" the Palestinians to make room for a Jewish state was cooked into the thinking of the great powers, as well as into the thinking of many Zionist Jews.   That document is available free on Deep Blue .  If you missed it, there is a three minute podcast on how to get my Deep Blue documents free. Next we will have a podcast on the PLO Charter and the Hamas Charter. 
3/14/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 50 seconds
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Obama's Presidential Memoir: A Promised Land

This is my summary of Barack Obama's presidential memoir.  It is a stunningly elegant book, intimate, informative, insightful, candid.  Obama's style is as a story teller, someone sitting in the living room discussing with you what really happened.  It reminds me of Jimmy Carter's family story, An Hour Before Daylight.  Anyone taking a drive across country would be happy if they took that with them.  This is probably true of the Obama memoir as well.  Not only do I discuss the memoir, and the points that I think are more important, but I also read some passages that I think are particularly revealing.  I give special attention to the issue of race and the racist lies about Obama,  dealing with a Republican party that believes negotiations will cost them votes in the next election, heroism in politics, dealing with Israel,  Middle East issues,  how to govern.  If you don't want to listen to a 70 minute podcast, you can read the 700 page book.   Or go on to the next Reacher novel. ps.  I have a second possible Obama podcast.  That would be my reflections on the Wednesday after he won in 2008.  It's a bit more personal than analytical but it combines the two approaches.  Let's see if Obama 1.0 is a hit before we decide on Obama 2.0. 
3/11/20211 hour, 9 minutes, 40 seconds
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Grandfather Stories (that I told my grandchildren)

I decided early on that a grandfather should be a story teller.  I would entertain the four grandkids by telling stories.  Sometimes these were real stories, and sometimes they were made up.  I would say, "Do you want a real story or a made up one?"  My grandson would often ask for a real story, but the other kids were more flexible. These are three stories that I told my grandkids.  Children love to hear stories over and over, so these were not one-off stories.  You may not like these stories, which would be fine.  Or you may enjoy them.  They are only 20 minutes. My grandkids did. (Music by the awesome Kevin Dewey). 
3/9/202121 minutes, 8 seconds
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Religion and Politics 1. Feuerbach and How we Think About God

When I would start my class on Religion and Politics, my first lecture would always be on Feuerbach.  He would give students a new way to think.  We could focus on the God Idea-  which we humans generate.  This had nothing to do with God but rather with human thinking.  We could analyze "outside of the circle" of believers as I would call it.  This is a bit of an intellectual discussion, but I have tried to make it accessible. If you think this might upset you, then skip it.  If you want your thinking challenged, then Carry On (as the British would say).  The students liked it. Happy studenting.  
3/7/20211 hour, 4 minutes, 11 seconds
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Vernon Jordan: A Civil Rights Giant, and Power Broker

Vernon Jordan died on March 2, 2021.  He was one of the last of the Civil Rights generation, those giants who were contemporaries of Martin Luther King.  (Jesse Jackson is the last of that generation, unless I have forgotten someone). Jordan was at the center of DC politics, and of advancing Black rights.  As a close friend of Bill Clinton, he got questioned in the Monica scandal.  His answers show the substance of the man.  I met him once, when he was doing a book tour.  I was able to ask him a question, and got an answer that I really liked. This is my appreciation of his life. 
3/4/202121 minutes, 59 seconds
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 5. Ariel Sharon. Hero or Murderer or Security Threat?

To his fans, who were many, Ariel Sharon was a hero, a defender of his people.  His exploits during the 1973 war were legendary.  But not everyone agreed. To the Lebanese he was the Butcher of Beirut.  Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, under whom Sharon served, saw him as a security threat, an insubordinate general who escalated the Lebanese War into a major crisis.  Begin said that he expected to wake up some morning to look out the window and see his office surrounded by tanks.  And Sharon's insistence on capturing as much of the West Bank as possible set up a future crisis whose outcome we cannot yet tell.  This is the story of Sharon's life and career, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  
3/2/202114 minutes, 3 seconds
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Nelson Mandela: The Greatest Black Man of the 20th Century

This describes the two times Jane and I crossed paths with Nelson Mandela.  Once was in Cape Town, once in Detroit.  How amazing to come so close to greatness. 
2/25/202115 minutes, 14 seconds
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Israeli Palestinian Conflict 14. Christian Zionism: Prophecy, politics, public opinion, Israel

Christian Zionism is the belief that the Bible predicted the creation of a Jewish state in 1948 and that Christians are obligated to support that state.  This belief grew out of the Protestant Reformation in the 1600s.  By the late 1800s it was very strong in America.  What is interesting is that the Protestant idea of "restoring" the Jews to Jerusalem predates the emergence of Jewish political Zionism in 1896 when Herzl wrote his famous essay.   This podcast, which was et up as a classroom lecture, discusses the Biblical texts that provide a foundation for the belief.  It discusses how traditional Catholic teachings (unfriendly to Jews) were transformed by the emergence of Protestantism and a new "philo-Semitic" way of reading the Bible. There is a discussion of the concept of the millennium (a thousand years of justice), of pre-millennial and post-millennial views, of the idea of an Anti-Christ, of the concept of "signs," and of the passage in the gospels known as the Eschatological Discourse. There is also a discussion of public opinion patterns and why public opinion does not shape policy but allows it to emerge without resistance. For those interested, my article on this topic is available in Deep Blue.  It's title is "Christian Zionism: Prophecy and Public Opinion."  
2/21/202150 minutes, 57 seconds
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Deep Blue: How to find my publications for free

Deep Blue is the University of Michigan virtual archive on the internet.  You can find my publications there -- articles, talks, essays, book chapters.  They can be downloaded for free.  When I mention one of my articles or talks during a podcast, you can follow up if you wish. Update (June 1, 2021) 1.  Google "University of Michigan Deep Blue"2.  Once in, click on Deep Blue Repositories. 3.  Then enter my name  Stockton, Ronald.  Stockton alone will not work.        If perchance, you get a doctor, try again with Stockton, Ronald R.  4.  Note:  Deep Blue alone is a chess game.  If you get that, try again with University of Michigan included.   It's easy. 
2/21/20211 minute, 41 seconds
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Rules of Good Studenting

This is a short discussion of only about 15 minutes. These are not rules in the traditional sense of rules and you do not have to be a student in the traditional sense of being enrolled in a class.  These "rules" are more guidelines for how to listen in a way that will maximize your ability to engage with difficult topics on which you might have pre-existing perspectives.  My classroom students really liked these rules.  Note:  While I originally wrote these rules for the benefit of my students, I also wrote them to reflect my own experience and my own efforts to get beyond my assumptions about something difficult to understand. 
2/17/202114 minutes, 43 seconds
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Israel Palestine 4. Arab Revolt of 1936, Part B

This is the second half of the talk on the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939.  The focus is on how all parties to this conflict -- British, Jewish, Palestinian -- were transformed in fundamental ways, and how the consequences of the uprising set the stage for future developments. 
2/17/202137 minutes, 25 seconds
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Israel Palestine 4. Arab Revolt of 1936 Part A

The 1936 Arab Revolt was a turning point in this conflict.   It changed the nature of British policy, of Palestinian politics, and of Jewish politics.  To make this more accessible, I have broken the talk into two parts, A and B. You will notice that these thought were directed to a class.  There are a couple of times when I mention documents.  I wish I could attach documents to these podcasts, but perhaps you can find them on the internet. I suggest that you print out a map of the 1937 partition plan.  It will help when we discuss this. There are some other podcasts coming that pre-date this topic sequentially.   You haven't missed anything.  Interesting factoid:  Izzadin al Kassem, the Syrian religious scholar and reformer who joined the revolt, was killed in his first battle. Also, when I discussed the possibility that my wife might have divorced me when we were living in enya, that was a hypothetical example.  We are still happily married. 
2/17/202143 minutes, 27 seconds
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Impeachment for Insurrection. The Trial of Donald J. Trump

For those who had the luxury and time and inclination to watch five days of an impeachment trial, and watched discussions, and read extensively, this may not be necessary.  But if you were not and did not, this is my analysis of what happened and why. Enjoy. The music is by G. Kevin Dewey, a musical legend in southeast Michigan.  
2/14/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 21 seconds
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Israel Palestine 3. Background to Zionism

Jews had traditionally said that they were "Germans of the Jewish faith" or something similar. But by the end of the 19th century there was a new movement -- Jewish nationalism or Zionism -- that had a different perspective.  Zionism is the belief that the Jews are not merely a religious or an ethnic group but a national people living in temporary exile and awaiting a return to their homeland.  How did this transformation occur?  This podcast discusses the enlightenment, its impact on Jewish thinking and Jewish standing in Europe,  the reaction against the enlightenment.  It discusses scientific racism, the Dreyfus Affair, the pogroms of 1881, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the devastating impact of late industrialization on the Jewish social and economic system.  
2/9/202157 minutes, 40 seconds
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Israel Palestine 2. Three Narratives About Israel

It is often helpful to understand how we think before we approach new material.  In American discourse, there are three dominant narratives in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Jewish Narrative, the Arab Narrative, and the Evangelical Narrative.   Each of these has a way of integrating and interpreting material that creates a coherent explanation of the nature of the conflict and how the various parties interact.    Many people deny they have a pre-existing narrative.  Their perspectives are objective and rooted in facts.  So they say.  
2/9/202122 minutes, 32 seconds
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Israel Palestine 1. A Podcast Series

I am going to present a series of podcasts on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.  For 40 years I taught a class on that topic.  I have published and lectured on that topic, and have visited Israel and Palestine (and other countries in the region) multiple times.  I think I have interesting insights that I am pleased to share.   This introduction will give you an idea of what will be in that series.  Those who want to engage this topic seriously should also listen to the podcast on the narratives about Israel, and the podcast on Rules of Good Studenting.  Many of these podcasts will be an hour long.  Thoughtful feed back is welcome.  [email protected] 
2/9/202113 minutes, 58 seconds
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Understanding Impeachment

This is a discussion of the history and logic of impeachment.   What did our founders have in mind when they wrote of "high crimes"?  What do the concepts of Contract Theory of Government and "we the people" tell us?  Is the President subject to the law the way other citizens are?  Is there such a thing as "absolute Immunity," as Donald Trump said?  Is the president just like Louis XIV "except four years at a time," as Richard Nixon said? Can a President be sued while in office?  Or even arrested for shooting someone?  Can a president be impeached for being honest and well-meaning but totally incompetent?  We will look at four cases, the non-impeachment of John Tyler, the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson, the  likely impeachment of Richard Nixon, and the impeachment and trial of Bill Clinton?  Should we think of TWO people in the Oval Office, Mr. President and Mr. Citizen?  If Mr. President uses his office to help Mr. Citizen (for example during a re-election campaign) would that be abuse of power?Thanks to G. Kevin Dewey for writing the theme music, "Taking Stock." Thoughtful comments are welcome:  [email protected]
2/5/20211 hour, 1 minute, 26 seconds
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Introduction to My Podcasts

Professor Stockton introduces himself and some of the topics he will be discussing.  Among those are the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,  Religion and Politics, non-western political systems, the politics of revolution, American politics, public opinion and voting behavior, religio-ethnic groups, graveyards, contemporary events, and occasionally books and films of merit.  Thoughtful comments are always welcome:  [email protected]:  I am new at this.  Podcasts cannot accommodate power point lectures.  I will try to find an alternative posting technique. 
2/4/20218 minutes, 41 seconds