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Hosted by internationally acclaimed journalist Michael Goldfarb, this podcast is about history: the history he's reported on, written and lived. Sometimes it will just be him talking, sometimes he is will be in conversation with others who have reported on the history of our times.

Hosted by internationally acclaimed journalist Michael Goldfarb, this podcast is about history: the history he's reported on, written and lived. Sometimes it will just be him talking, sometimes he is will be in conversation with others who have reported on the history of our times.
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Hosted by internationally acclaimed journalist Michael Goldfarb, this podcast is about history: the history he's reported on, written and lived. Sometimes it will just be him talking, sometimes he is will be in conversation with others who have reported on the history of our times.






Civility And the Paradox of Tolerance

America is undergoing a crisis of civility - don't just take FRDH podcast's word for it - and this civility crisis is an example of the Paradox of Tolerance. In this FRDH, Michael Goldfarb traces the origins of the civility crisis thirty years to Newt Gingrich's declaration of a second Civil War using words instead of guns to conquer all those who disagree with the Republican party. He looks at how three decades of Republican unwillingness to tolerate other views of America has brought...


Reality in the age of trump

Reality in the age of trump by FRDH Podcast with Michael Goldfarb


Bible Study for Atheists: Jewish Quarrels

This edition of Bible Study for Atheists looks at today's Jewish quarrels and asks whether the arguments among Jews today over whether to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and the expansion of Israeli settlements into the West Bank is an echo of the quarrels of Biblical times. Is the story of the 12 tribes of Israel separating into two kingdoms true? How deep is the historical continuity between the Israelites whose story we read in the Old Testament and that of modern Jewry?


Iran: Ignorance Is Not Bliss

When it comes to Iran, ignorance is not bliss. For the last 40 years, American policy makers have displayed astonishing ignorance about the day to day reality of life in Iran. This has led to one blunder after another in how the US deals with the country, most recently President Trump's withdrawing the US from the JCPOA or Iran nuclear deal. What makes this ignorance astonishing is just how much contact there is between ordinary Iranians and Iranian Americans. In this FRDH podcast Michael...


Reality of Torture With No Euphemisms

The reality of torture is usually smothered in euphemism when it is discussed in Washington as it has been during the Senate hearings on Gina Haspel, Trump's nominee to run the CIA. It shouldn't be. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb, who has interviewed torture victims and torturers, and made the DuPont award winning documentary, "Surviving Torture: Inside Out" cuts through the euphemisms surrounding this barbaric practice. He explains why the official version of what happens in CIA...


Warsaw Ghetto Anniversary Meditation: What Would You Have Done?

On the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, FRDH host Michael Goldfarb has a meditation on the uprising's meaning today. He tells the story of how the Jews of Warsaw, one-third of the population of the city were herded into a Ghetto and how slowly and then rapidly the Nazis tried to kill them all until, eventually, a group of fighters decided to die with a gun in their hands on teh street of the Warsaw Ghetto rather than to walk meekly into a gas chamber. He explains what effect...


King and Kennedy Assassinations: America's Repressed Trauma

The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy in the spring of 1968 was a national trauma. Like most traumas people have repressed their memories of the event. Yet, half a century later, the twin decapitation of America's progressive leadership still has an effect on the country. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb traces the decline of broadcast journalism and political discourse to the murders. No politician today speaks as honestly to the American people as King and...


Iraq War 15 Years On: What Might Have Been

The Iraq War began 15 years ago. Seems like ancient history given where America is now. This FRDH podcast, made at the start of the war, shines a light on what might have been and foreshadows the disaster the Occupation became, a disaster Iraqis are still trying to crawl out from under. Was the failure of the Iraq War the American unipolar moment begin to unravel? Was the day Saddam Hussein’s regime disintegrated in Mosul, the day when the seeds were sown for the city to be overrun by...


Liberal, Conservative: Can We Decide What These Words Mean?

What do the words liberal and conservative mean any more? What about left and right? No one is sure. Certainly not the news media who throw the terms around without a thought to definitions that make sense. Conservatives in America are neo-liberals when it comes to the economy. Neo-conservatives call for liberal intervention. In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb gives a potted history of the word liberal and calls for clarity and uniformity of usage by the mainstream news media. It's a...


Remembrance, Ritual, the Sacred and Auschwitz

What is the historical process by which something becomes sacred? Is Auschwitz a sacred place? In this FRDH podcast, Michael Goldfarb asks what is the historical process that leads to the creation of a religion, or changes in the practice of one that already exists. Is it possible that events of modern history will someday take on religious significance, or are people today intellectually and emotionally incapable of understanding their experience as “awesome” in the sense that the great...


Year 1 Trump report: Crazy or a member of the Club?

The big question at the end of Donald Trump's first year in office is: Is he crazy or just typical of his social class? Anti-Trump forces constantly question his mental state in the hopes of provoking his cabinet into forcing him out via the 25th Amendment. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks at whether Trump is crazy or is he just a typical country club kind of person. Are his words about shithole countries and immigrants any different than you would hear most Sundays at the...


America 2017: Magical Thinking vs Reality

America in 2017: was the story of Magical Thinking vs Reality. For Trump voters it was a confirmation of everything their "unbiased" news told them. For the anti-Trump brigade it was believing too many of the rumors they saw on twitter. Reality was the victim in this car crash. 2017 challenged the very notion of a fact-based, mutually acknowledged reality that is essential for creating a stable society. Finding facts on social media like twitter became impossible. Twitter is about Outrage...


Bosnia, Mladic: the Price of Justice

The fact that we are in a new historical epoch was underscored recently in the response to the news that Robert Mugabe and Ratko Mladic, two men who ruined their countries and caused the deaths of thousands, got their comeuppance. 20 years ago this would have been enormous, front page a-segment news. it would have been the topic of gleeful conversation among the well-informed and politically aware. But In this era of Trump and harassment and Brexit, hardly a ripple. It's ancient history....


Bible Study for Atheists 3: Judging Roy Moore a Blasphemer

Share this Bible Study for Atheists, in which FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb looks at the controversy over Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. A self-proclaimed man of God whose behavior seems like blasphemy. How is it that the most religious part of America is also home to the most blasphemers? And Alabama really is the most religious state in the country, According to a 2016 survey by Pew research Alabama ranked first in the nation for religiosity. 82% of its people say...


FRDH: No Place of Greater Safety

There is no place of greater safety for civilians and soldiers wounded in today's wars. Why? Are we seeing the end of the rules that governed warfare and provision of safe spaces for those caught in the crossfire? The origins of the Red Cross and humanitarian law go back to the middle of the 19th Century, to the battle of Solferino in 1859. The French Army under Napoleon III faced off against the Austrian Army led by Emperor Franz Joseph 1st. The politics behind the battle related to...


FRDH Bolshevik Revolution 100th Anniversary Thoughts

The Bolshevik Revolution is to political change, what nuclear weapons are to warfare: the ultimate deterrent. The question on this 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution is what happens to a society when you take violent overthrow of the government by the governed as a last resort out of the equation. How does it affect a society’s ability to respond to the inevitable changes wrought by the passage of time? Economic, political, social pressure’s build up as decades pass. These...


FRDH How Media Obscures Our Understanding of History

Media obscures history. Not intentionally, but the effect of looking at images without a deeper understanding of the context in which the images were created will keep the viewer from knowledge of an historical event. In this FRDH podcast, host Michael Goldfarb looks at how this lack of full understanding is hampering efforts to create a coherent political strategy to oppose President Trump. He explores the seminal research into how media obscures not just history but also other aspects of...


Catalonia, Kurdistan: What Is A Nation

Referendums in Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia raise the quesiton "What Is a Nation?" What is a nation? What is a nation-state? Is it the same as a country? Are a people, or a tribe, the same thing as a nation? What does national sovereignty really mean? These are the key questions for our globalized 21st century. What is a nation? Is it something you die for? Get murdered for? Is it something that can make you clinically insane, incapable of seeing reality? Is a nation something that can be...


FRDH Berkeley High Point Of The Revolution

This episode of FRDH is about Berkeley and the high point of the revolution of the 1960's as host Michael Goldfarb remembers it. Revolution is a romantic word and a bloody practice. This autumn "revolution" will be discussed a lot, as we mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. The word will also come into use as we move towards the 50th anniversary remembrances of 1968, the year of student revolution. The University of California Berkeley, is where student revolution was effectively...


Three Things I learned about America on Vacation

Three things I learned or was reminded of on my first American vacation in more than 15 years. First thing I learned: America is clearly in crisis but not yet at crisis point. I watched television news just once - for a very few minutes. It is hysterical, condescending to its viewers and in the way it contextualizes reporting - frequently wrong. Some other podcast I will back that assertion … the history of how TV news got that way requires several essays … but trust me on this, the...