2014 Program Archive

December 31 - A New Year's Retrospective on Domestic Political Issues and Future Trends That Might Shape 2015

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Today on this New Year’s holiday we examine the important domestic political issues and social trends in 2014 and look ahead to what might emerge in 2015. Stephan Schwartz, a Research Associate of Cognitive Sciences at the Laboratories for Fundamental Research and the editor of the daily web publication Schwartzreport.net, where he identifies and analyses trends that are affecting the future, joins us to discuss the red/blue political divide in the country that was glaringly apparent in the last election. With Republicans dominating rural America and Democrats concentrated in urban America, we look ahead to a possible devolution of power to the states as the more successful blue states like California and New York tire of subsidizing the red states in the south. We will look ahead as our divided country heads in different directions with the blue states moving into the 21st century embracing progressive social change and economic innovation while the red states move back to the 19th century in economic terms and the 17th century in social values. We also explore the growing disgust with our politics as fewer Americans vote, while record amounts of money are spent on campaigns, and the growing scandal of income inequality which is likely to get worse for younger Americans saddled with student debt before they even get to the job market which is being steadily downsized to accommodate what the 1% claim is the necessary result of global competition. 

stephan shwartz

 

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December 30 - How and Why an Increasing Dangerous Middle East Dominated 2014; The Hope for Change in the Middle East

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Today we examine one of the stories we have covered this year and that is the surprising and deadly emergence of the so-called Islamic State in the heart of the Middle East, as well as the intensifying proxy war in the region between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Two of the leading experts on the area, both of who speak Arabic and have lived and worked in the region, join us to look back at this year’s events and look forward to what might occur in 2015. We begin with veteran CIA officer Robert Baer, who is considered one of the foremost authorities on the Middle East who is currently the national security affairs analyst for CNN and is the author of four New York Times bestsellers including “See No Evil” that was made into the movie “Syriana” which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Robert Baer. His latest book is “The Perfect Kill: 21 laws for Assassinations”.

robert baer

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Then we continue our analysis of the events in the Middle East in 2014 as well as try to predict what might unfold in 2015 and speak with Juan Cole, a Professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan and the author of the blog Informed Comment at JuanCole.com. His latest book is “The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East” and we will discuss whether a generational shift in the region will be able to overcome the growing sectarian divides and the entrenched feudal monarchies and military regimes that have reversed the expectations of the “Arab Spring”. We will also examine these issues in the broader context of a widening Sunni/Shia divide that is in effect a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. 

juan cole

 

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December 29 - Early in 2014 a Dire Warning on Climate Change; A March 31 Interview on the Latest Alarming IPCC Report; Some Hope at the End of the Year From Lima, Peru

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As we approach the New Year we examine one of the stories we have covered this year that is perhaps the most important issue on the planet yet does not dominate the headlines and perhaps only will when it is too late to do anything about it. Today we look into the year’s events in terms of global warming, an inconvenient truth that is largely under-reported or misreported when it comes to the influence of coal, oil and gas-funded global warming deniers in the conservative media and on Capitol Hill. We begin on March the 23rd 2014 with the new article at Scientific American “Earth Will Cross the Climate-Danger Threshold by 2036” and speak with Michael Mann, the Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University about the growing gap between scientific alarm and political action as the planet runs out of time to prevent its own destruction.

michael mann
 

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Then, on March 31st of 2014 we discuss the release of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report that global warming poses a growing threat to security, food supply and human life, with a warning that the worst is yet to come. Elizabeth Kolbert, a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker and author of the book “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” joins us to discuss what can be done to overcome the organized denial of the problem that is thwarting efforts to address an impending global catastrophe.

elizabeth kolbert

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Then finally on December the first, on the eve of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru that produced for the first time a commitment from 190 nations to move off fossil fuels, we spoke with Jeffrey Bury, a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, about the work he does on the political economy of climate change and glacier recession that is impacting Peru’s water supply following the loss of up to a half of the country’s Cordillera Blanca glaciers.

jeffrey bury

 

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December 28 - Deeper Structural Racial and Economic Issues; The Militarization of Police Forces; "Dying While Black"; Another Failure to Indict a White Policeman Who Killed A Black Man Before the Eyes of the World

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As we approach the New Year we examine one of the stories that sadly in many ways will define 2014, the rash of police shootings and the protests that have erupted across the country in response to a perception that there is no justice for black victims shot by white policemen and that we are far from a colorblind post-racial society. We begin with an interview on August 14 when protests were erupting in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman. Bree Carlson, the Director of the Structural Racism program for National People’s Action joins us to discuss the deeper structural racial and economic issues at play beyond the headlines.

bree carlson

 

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Then we speak with Elizabeth Beavers, the Legislative Associate for Militarism and Civil Liberties at the Friends Committee on National Legislation who has been lobbying Congress for the past year to block the Pentagon’s hand-out of surplus military weapons and hardware to police forces across the country known as the 1033 program that has resulted in the streets of Ferguson looking like a war zone. We spoke to Elizabeth on August 17 of this year.

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Then we go to an interview I did on November 25, 2014 with Vernillia Randall, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Dayton, Ohio and the author of “Dying While Black”. We examined the sham and charade that was presented by the prosecutor who declined to indict the policeman who shot Michael Brown, and looked into the extent to which the fix was in from the beginning with a police-friendly prosecutor whose apparent aim all along was to exonerate Officer Wilson.

vernillia

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Then finally, earlier this month on December 4 we spoke with Ekow Yankah, a Professor of Law at the Cardoza School of Law at Yeshiva University. He joined us to discuss another failure of a grand jury to indict a white police officer for killing a black man, in this case an NYPD policeman who used an illegal choke-hold, strangling a man to death in an incident that was recorded on video by a bystander. Yet the grand jurors who saw the same video as the rest of the world did, declined to indict the NYPD officer. 

ekow yankah

 

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December 25 - A Christmas Day Exploration of the Historical Jesus and the Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism

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Today on this Christmas holiday we explore the historical Jesus whose birth Christians around the world are celebrating. James Carroll, the Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Suffolk University and a columnist for The Boston Globe joins us. He is a former priest who has been a civil rights worker, an anti-war activist, and a community organizer as well as a best-selling author whose books received the first Thomas Merton Award and include “An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that came Between Us”, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem: The Ancient City that Ignited the Modern World” and his New York Times bestseller “Constantine’s Sword” which provided the basis for an award-winning documentary. James Carroll’s new book just out, is “Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age” and we will look into the effects of Christian anti-Semitism on contemporary faith and examine the historical roots of prejudice that ultimately led to the Holocaust, along with its relationship with the religious violence dominating our current political climate, both in regards to the seemingly endless cycle of violence in the Middle East, as well as to the recent upswing of anti-Semitism occurring globally.

james carrol

 

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