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They used to be on top of the world. Remember the mighty OPEC countries? With the fall of the price of oil, countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela are reeling. Professor Michael Klare looks at the nightmares unfolding and how we’ll be affected. And on party two, Doctor Andy Lazris talks about his new book Curing Medicare. As is so often the case, bringing democracy to the process would be a needed shot in the arm.

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It might be all over for democracy when it comes to citizens’ right to know what they’re about to eat. Chemical companies are spending many millions to pass a bill to ensure GMOs can not be labeled. Not sure it can be stopped in the House, but maybe the Senate. And on the second half we look at the significance of Obama’s Iran deal and how it could have more profound historic impact than Nixon’s opening to China.

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Standing up to economic bullies; that’s what the people of Greece voted to do. The creditor cartel, led by Germany, was determined to keep the screws tight, allowing for no restructuring of their unaffordable debt. But though the rejection of imposed-from-above austerity ventures into uncharted territory, the people, by a wide margin, voted to restore democracy in economic decision making. Just Foreign Policy’s Robert Naiman explains how this may relate to restoration of democracy in the US, and what this all may mean as an issue on the 2016 presidential election.

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There are big jets and big media, but there’s also a one person gyrocopter and local media. Former postal worker Doug Hughes on April 15 flew his ultralight on to Capitol grounds with the goal of drawing attention to the revolving door of money and politics. Did it work? He’s about to go on trial on felony charges, see what he’s got planned next! It just might work.

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Bernie Sanders campaign is on fire at the moment. But it’s been said that when Americans hear the word Socialism, they stop thinking. Yet a clear majority actually agree with socialist positions on issues. Have we come far enough away from the fear used in the 1950s to actually elect a Democratic Socialist? History professor Lawrence Wittner analyzes where socialism has been in America and how it may impact who wins in 2016.

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Though Iraq is less than 100 years old, it’s just about finished. Twenty Four year State Department veteran Peter Van Buren talks about what he sees as the last throes of what was never a real nation, with optimism for the future. And on part two, in addition to the push for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, there’s a movement to push Obama to issue an executive order to require disclosure of political spending by government contractors. It may yet happen.

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WHAT YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW ABOUT UKRAINE

Did you know the US has some 300 troops on the ground there? That makes Moscow very nervous. Did you know about waves of political assassinations by the government we support? And that the European Union is not happy with our policy there either? Veteran international reporter Patrick L. Smith reveals what is behind the official, and of course misleading, narrative.
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In the face of many wars, the big powers are trying to steer small nations to create their own version of peace. That was the Congress of Vienna 200 years ago and there’s a lot of deja vu, and still a great deal to learn. The Austrian aristocrats threw an incredibly lavish, nearly year long party and peace deals were worked out. Many similar dynamics are at work today, including Ukraine and ISIS. Historian Mark Jarrett fills us in.

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

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

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