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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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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