Best of the Left - Progressive Politics and Culture, Curated by a Human
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An award-winning, expertly-curated podcast of progressive politics and culture. Diving deeply on a wide range of topics, we draw from more than 100 sources of progressive news and commentary. Est. 2006.
Today, I use a case study incident to show how the system of racism defends itself against attack. Many separate parts, none of which understand how their individual actions connect to the larger system, work in complicated yet predictable ways to carry out this defense of racism much like the many specialized antibodies of an immune system work together to isolate and eradicate threats to the host.

Today we take a look at the origins and legacy of Manifest Destiny, the historical term most closely tied to our most toxic version of nostalgia: the one longing for America's golden age of genocide

Today we take a look at the problems with cops that aren't the obvious, racist problems. We're talking about the rules that help protect bad cops from accountability, the police unions that insist on those rules and the lack of state or national policies that would structurally disincentivize the hiring or continued employment of problem officers.

Today we take a look deeper at the concept of "I can't breathe," going beyond the literal utterances by victims of police brutality and COVID-19 sufferers to the metaphorical epidemic of exhaustion, burnout, depression and disaffection in the US and around the world.

Today we take a look at the history of racist policing which flows seamlessly into our present racist policing which itself flows into Trump's authoritarian glee at the opportunity to consolidate violent, racist power in response to protests against violent, racist power.

Today we take a look at the uprising sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the context of a world in which that event was just the last straw in an innumerable series of straws.

Today we take a look at the long arc of racism in America as a primer for many of the topics it would be good for you to be acquainted with as we live through yet another convulsive societal awakening regarding racism and police abuse in our country. If you only ever share one episode of this podcast with friends, family or another else, make it this one.

Today we take a look at the growing importance of China on the world stage and the growing instinct of the American Empire to confront it even while the fundamentals of the strength of the empire slip away. All that with the Coronavirus on top just to make things interesting.

Today we take a listen to a few of the reactions from people of color to the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the police officers in Dallas

Today we take a look at the classic battle between good and... not evil exactly but worse than just 'bad'... 'malicious indifference to suffering in the pursuit of ideology over real-world outcomes' maybe?... as seen through the lens of trying to destroy or save the US Post Office, the battle for basic labor rights and protections and the struggle to define the revolutionary change we are going to experience on the back end of the pandemic for either good or ill.

Today, Amanda and I discuss the new film Executive Produced by Michael Moore, Planet of the Humans. We try to hit as many topics as we can but do not claim this is an exhaustive list of problems with the film. In short, the film tries to make a few good points but they are completely drowned in a sea of misinformation potent enough to send climate deniers into a joyous tizzy.

Today, Amanda and I discuss the dangerous, pervasive epidemic of hope fueled by desperation spreading throughout the country that is leading people to self-destructive thoughts and actions.

Today we take a look at the unique, profound dysfunction at the heart of the train wreck that is Trump's response to the Coronavirus. Plus, we explore the death cult that is the group of people still supporting the president.

Today, we discuss clips that highlight two of the most powerful American myths that consistently drive us into calamitous territory: the primacy of market-based solutions and hyper-individualism

Today we take a look at the ways that COVID-19 are impacting the most vulnerable communities the worst and how our legacy of discrimination is being put on full display.

Today, Amanda and I discuss a few of the aspects of life during a pandemic that's causing mental fog and affecting our work.

Today we take a look at the way mass incarceration is coming back to bite the US as jails, prisons and immigrant detention centers are becoming Petri dishes for the coronavirus that will help perpetuate the pandemic as well as non-virus related deaths throughout the population.

Today, Amanda and I discuss the extremely counterintuitive practice of Negative Visualization and how it could be one of the most powerful tools to help you feel better about your circumstances and the state of the world during the pandemic crisis.

Today we take a look at many of the economic angles of the COVID-19 pandemic including the role of the shock doctrine in the wake of the coronavirus, calls for a socially just economic recovery, calls for the elderly to be turned into Soylent Green and the biggest Reverse Robin Hood bailout of all time.

Today, Amanda and I discuss the silent, ever-present taxation that is robbing all of us of our normal levels of mental energy during the pandemic.

Today we take a look at Modern Monetary Theory and the neoclassical economics it is looking to replace. It’s very important to understand the logistical and political mechanisms by which money for progressive policy priorities would be appropriated by Congress and the debate over MMT gets to the core of those issues and seeks to change the paradigm we use to think about government spending.

Today we take a look at the toll the pandemic is taking on mental health and offer a wide range of coping mechanisms to help get everyone through.

Today we take a look at the social safety net we need in the face of Coronavirus and the forces preventing us from having it.

Today, Amanda and I discuss the emotional toll of dealing with a pandemic, some facts about how math works in cases of exponential growth, the unfortunate truth about what we should all be doing right now, the predictable amorality of the health insurance and Pharma companies, the unconscionable propaganda from Trump and his supporters and the aspects of humanity that are revealed when tested.

Today we take a look at Democratic Socialism and how to explain it because socialism and the freedoms it provides are a lot more American than we tend to think.

Today we take a look at the Coronavirus through the lens of the systems it is affecting including the incompetence of a government that doesn't believe in governing, the dangers of the lack of universal access to medical care and the interdependency of our economies regardless of the inevitable racism that flares up in times of panic.

Today we take a look at the election through the lens of billionaire politics, from the candidates in both parties to the heads of media organizations to the way a pro-billionaire mentality trickles down to the establishment class on the media and Democratic Party. And what has all of this money been able to buy in terms of opposition research and narrative building against Bernie Sanders? Red-baiting at its most naked and pathetic.

Today we take a look at the historical through-line that has brought us to the present state of border barbarism we're now witnessing. An empire of perpetual expansion has finally reached its limit and decided to close the door. Meanwhile, well-meaning liberals have been playing on the nationalists’ turf for far too long.

Today we take a look at a post-acquittal, power-mad Trump taking advantage of his thoroughly-confirmed ability to do whatever he wants without repercussion and the work Bill Barr is doing to completely subvert the Justice Department in favor of using it as a tool to favor the President's friends and harm his enemies.

Today we take a look at Trump's recently-proposed budget and rule changes targeting the most vulnerable recipients of Social Security benefits. The budget has no chance of passing as it is because, thankfully, a Democratically-controlled House of Representatives will now allow it. However, it is still very valuable to understand why kind of budget and rules Trump and the GOP would pass if they were in complete power.

Today we take a look at the, ahem, "Peace Plan" devised by the US and Israel with absolutely no input from Palestinians. Plus, some additional discussion of how things are going in Israel/Palestine (not well) and how opinion has begun to shift dramatically within the Democratic Party.

Today we take a look at the ways Trump is working to rewrite the rules of trade with NAFTA 2.0 (The USMCA), a post-Brexit agreement with the United Kingdom and what's emerging from the ongoing trade war with China.

Today we take a look at the development of the Green New Deal and its impacts on economics, labor, frontline communities climate mitigation and the politics of the possible

Today we take a look at the globetrotting trend of building and maintaining far-right, authoritarian political power by stoking fear and hatred of Muslims. We will draw the connections between the Chinese Uighurs, the Rohingya people of Burma, the Governmental policy in India to strip Muslims of citizenship and the actions taken by the US over the past decades that have helped to turbo-charge this trend.

Today we take a look at the past, present and future of behavior modification from worms to pigeons to prisoners, and finally, internet users.

Today we take a look at the relationship between fear, anger and how to deal with the structural forces of harm in our society. To help us, we examine two of the greatest thinkers of the past 65 years, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mister Rogers, and go beyond the nonviolence of King and interrogate Mr. Roger's insistence on liking everyone just the way they are.

Today we take a look at the flurry of controversy around the Democratic Primary race, once again exposing multiple rifts within the party along both ideological and gender lines.

Today we take a look at the climatic, political and social dynamics at play that have helped set the country of Australia ablaze both literally and figuratively

Today we take a look at the history of US tensions with Iran and the reality that it has been the irrationality of multiple Republican administrations working hand-in-glove with the far-right government of Israel that has thwarted any chance of peace.

Today we take a look at The Afghanistan Papers which reveal in stark detail much of what the anti-war movement has known or strongly suspected since the beginning. Going beyond the scope of The Pentagon Papers of the Vietnam War era, The Afghanistan Papers feature interviews and documentation from top-ranking officials admitting from the start that they had no idea what they were doing in Afghanistan.

Today we take a look back at the year 2010 in our annual 10-years-past retrospective to see what we may learn. 2010 was an enormous year of news and I've been working on this episode so long that I can hardly remember life before I started.

Today, due to my current bout of perpetual-rake-in-the-face, I share a selection of honorable mentions from the 2009 retrospective show

Today we take a look at the social benefits of high taxation as the US gears up for our first genuine debate on raising taxes in a long time with an eye toward the life-improving programs that money could fund.

Today we take a look at the history of FDR's "Four Freedoms" and "Economic Bill of Rights" that laid the groundwork for the fight for economic freedom for all that continues to this day.

Today we take a look at the warring factions of progressive and conservatives who are all trying to amend the constitution in various ways. Some progressives want to call for a Convention of States to propose an amendment, as do some conservatives, while others are calling for an amendment but would rather it go through the Congress for reasons that will be explained.

Today we take a look at socialism in America from our often violent response to the concept in the wake of the Russian Revolution through the recent revival in interest, driven primarily by the younger generation today

Today we take a look at the GOP through modern history to understand how they came to be what they are and how the impeachment is throwing this reality into such sharp relief.

Today we take a look at the history of impeachment starting with the crafting of the language in the constitution and on to how the impeachment process has played out over time.

Today we take a look at the impeachment story through the lens of the last six years of history between Russia and Ukraine from the annexation of Crimea to election tampering and all that followed.

Today we take a look at the labor movement as energy and power continue to build and more workers continue to strike to demand better conditions for themselves and all of society in an intersectional movement for social justice. Though not much thanks can be given to either political party.

Today we take a look at the reaction to decades of the fetishization of privatization in the form of a reinvigorated movement for public ownership of institutions meant to serve the public such as utilities, banks, train systems and so on. But this isn't your grandfathers' top-down public ownership, the new movement has bottom-up, accountable, democratic control of institutions at the very core of its mission.

Today we take a look at some solutions to our social media problems of fake news, propaganda and hate in all forms spreading like wildfire through society

Today we take a look at the ways that Native Peoples are represented in white society and pop culture, how some are working to take back their own narratives and some insight into the profound effects, both positive and negative, of how peoples are represented.

Today we take a look at just a few of the aspects of modern life for Native Peoples that we can see as stemming from the racism and colonialism that has been endemic in post-contact America.

Today we take a look at the process of systematic, government-sponsored genocide against the native peoples of North America that kicked off the wealth-accumulating, territory-expanding American empire we know and love today

Today we take a look at the literal and figurative bloody messes of the history of Thanksgiving and the identities of native peoples

Today we take a look at the rarely-told, real legacy of Christopher Columbus and some of the reverberations from his actions that can still be felt to this day

Today we feature a full episode of Brave New Words focusing on one of the most pressing issues for Americans: access to medicine and the fight against Big Pharma.

Today we take a look at just a few forms the decolonization movement is taking from finance to cartography to the internet and beyond.

Today we take a look at how Neoliberalism was born, how it was maintained and why it is on the verge of collapse.

Today we take a look at the proposals from Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for a Wealth Tax and how those proposals run afoul of not just Republican Fats Cats but Democratic Fat Cats as well

Today we take a look at some of the ways that conservative policies, willed into existence almost exclusively by white people, measurably hurt people and shorten life expectancies, including those who most fervently support the self-destructive policies.

Today we take a look at the system of patriarchy from the perspective of how it negatively impacts men in our culture, thereby demonstrating the need for feminism to advocate for all those negatively impacted by patriarchy, regardless of gender

Today we take a look at the many protests ongoing around the world with a very strong through-line of demands to reverse austerity, lessen inequality, and improve public services, all hallmarks of neoliberal economic policies

Today we take a look at how the debate over our health care system has been framed and how we should frame it.

Today we take a look at some of the main characters that make up the Trump administration to get a sense of who they are, where they're coming from and how they're working tirelessly to ruin everything good about our government and find brand new ways to be terrible

Today we take a look at the complicated series of forces driving the protests in Hong Kong that span the ideological spectrum.

Today we take a look at why the concept of prison abolition isn’t as scary as it sounds, the answer to the question of what would replace prisons and why you’re wrong for even asking that in the first place.

Today we take a look at the recent developments between Turkey and Syria and the role Trump played in allowing Turkey to effectively invade Syria and extend its border.

Air Date: 10/15/2019 Today we take a look at the literally depressing truth about our economy, our work and the culture that surrounds it. We work too hard to be perfect, we don't get enough time off, many of us don't have enough control over the work we do and too many know their jobs are completely worthless. Be part of the show! Leave a message at 202-999-3991   EPISODE SPONSORS: Bombas.com/BEST  |  Madison-Reed.com (Promo Code: LEFT)  |  Clean Choice Energy SHOP AMAZON: Amazon USA | Amazon CA | Amazon UK  MEMBERSHIP ON PATREON (Get AD FREE Shows & Bonus Content) SHOW NOTES Ch. 1: How the Economy Is Damaging Our Mental Health with Becki Winson, Hana Riaz and Annie Quick - Weekly Economics Podcast - Air Date 2-4-19 One in eight young people have a mental health problem. One big problem is access to treatment. Mental health services are underfunded, leaving many people stuck on waiting lists. Ch. 2: From Stigma to Oppression - Off-Kilter with Rebecca Vallas - Air Date 5-31-19 Mental Illness is very common in the US, from burnout to anxiety to depression to suicide, and our systems don't support proper care. Ch. 3: Neoliberalism Is Creating a Mental Health Crisis - @Thom_Hartmann - Air Date 02-08-18 Neoliberalism, the belief that markets are democratic and that what works for them, works for all parts of society, isn't working for working people. Neoliberalism is creating a mental health crisis in America and around the world! Ch. 4: David Graeber Bullshit Jobs - Novara Media with James Butler - Air Date 2-1-19 David Graeber discusses neoliberalism, bullshit jobs, capitalism and the value of labor. Ch. 5: On Bullshit Jobs with David Graeber - This Is Hell - Air Date 5-14-18 David Graeber and Chuck discuss bullshit jobs, financial feudalism, the ruling class and human instinct. Ch. 6: Uncovering the Causes of Depression with Johann Hari - The Majority Report - Air Date 3-19-19 The biological makeup of humans has not changed for many centuries, but depression, anxiety and addiction are on the rise. Sam and Johann discuss. Ch. 7: Why You Are Depressed and Anxious with Johann Hari - TED Talks Daily - Air Date 9-18-19 Johann Hair discusses the causes of rising depression and anxiety because of the modern capitalist neoliberal world. FINAL COMMENTS Ch. 8: Final comments wrapping up MUSIC (Blue Dot Sessions): Opening Theme: Loving Acoustic Instrumental by John Douglas Orr  Our Fingers Cold - K2 Waltz and Fury - Macrame Glass Runner - Marble Run Take a Tiny Train - Ray Catcher LaBranche - Bayou Birds Derailed - The Depot Voicemail Music: Low Key Lost Feeling Electro by Alex Stinnent Closing Music: Upbeat Laid Back Indie Rock by Alex Stinnent   Produced by Jay! Tomlinson Thanks for listening! Visit us at BestOfTheLeft.com Support the show via Patreon Listen on iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify | Alexa Devices | +more Check out the BotL iOS/Android App in the App Stores! Follow at Twitter.com/BestOfTheLeft Like at Facebook.com/BestOfTheLeft Contact me directly at Jay@BestOfTheLeft.com Review the show on iTunes and Stitcher!

Today we take a look at this whole impeachment kerfuffle I’ve been hearing about.

Today we take an unflinching look at two of the major sources of anxiety in modern life, Donald Trump and the climate crisis, and some of what we can do to find a degree of calm.

Today we take a look at the legacy of 9/11; the war on terror, the PATRIOT Act, our collective PTSD and our desperate clinging to American Exceptionalism™

Today we take a look at the 2020 electorate. Not the election, not the candidates, the electorate - the people voting.

Today we take a look at the lives and legacies of the Koch Brothers. Or, put more pointedly, we look at how two decedents of a bonafide conspiracy theorist have almost single-handedly doomed us to endure runaway climate chaos while suffering from severely degraded labor standards and a broken democracy.

Today we take a look at the history and the process of the building of an American empire that currently spans the globe but allows as few people of color to vote as possible.

Today we take a look at the economic indicators portending a recession, the global impacts of Trump's trade war with China and then look ahead to what policies progressives should be ready to implement when the next inevitable recession eventually hits.

Today we take a look at the fact that our election system is designed to fail in ways that undermine the legitimacy of our elections and, by extension, our entire democracy.

Today we take a look at the attacks on the Amazon rainforest and its inhabitants by the fascist government of Brazil and the protests and worldwide boycotts springing up in response

Today we take a look at the strategies being developed to mitigate and adapt to climate chaos while centering social justice in our planning

Today we take a look at the movement to elect progressives to the position of chief prosecutors in cities across the country in an effort to curb mass incarceration and bring a real understanding of justice back to our justice system

Today we take a look at the lengths the Democratic leadership will go in an attempt to silence the emerging progressive movement within their ranks and how all of this is self-defeating if one actually cares about general Democratic principles rather than just maintaining power for power's sake.

Today we take a look at the El Paso and Dayton shootings by connecting the dots between white supremacy, misogyny, privilege and power

Today we take a look at just a few of the ways that it is in the nature of corporate media to ruin political discourse by dismissing progressive perspectives and preferring hype and controversy over substance

Today we take a look at the recent rebellion in Puerto Rico that unseated the governor as well as plenty of the context of what led us to this point

Air Date: 8/06/2019 Today we take a look at the racist attacks by Trump and his supporters against "The Squad" and how those attacks are in line with a long tradition of working to delegitimize and silence the perspectives of non-whites in America Be part of the show! Leave a message at 202-999-3991   EPISODE SPONSORS: Credo.com/BEST | Clean Choice Energy SHOP AMAZON: Amazon USA | Amazon CA | Amazon UK  MEMBERSHIP ON PATREON (Get AD FREE Shows & Bonus Content) SHOW NOTES Ch. 1: A Racist By Any Other Name - Backtalk with Amy Lam and Dahlia Balcazar - Air Date 7-25-19 Trump's racism towards the squad is actually being called racism by some media outlets, and we need to keep calling it out. Ch. 2: Trump's Racist Rhetoric is Deliberate with Henry Giroux - The Real News with Marc Steiner - Air Date 7-17-19 Trump is 21st-century fascism, filled with toxic masculinity, nationalism and white supremacy. Ch. 3: Trump's Racist Comments Roundtable with Laura Carlsen, Jackie Goldberg and Gerald Horne - Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod - Air Date 7-18-19 Trump and his racist are an ongoing attack on democracy, and its very loud, white supremacy. Ch. 4: Why "Send Her Back" Reverberated So Loudly - On the Media - Air Date 7-19-19 Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, considers a different line of inquiry: who gets to be American? Kendi and Brooke talk about how the president's comments have plenty of precedent in history. Ch. 5: Trumps Racist Lies About Ilham Omar Define the GOP with John Nichols - The Real News with Marc Steiner - Air Date 7-19-19 Trump is doubling down on racist attacks aimed at the congresswomen of color, he is propping up white supremacy and using fear tactics. VOICEMAILS Ch. 7: Thoughts for those on the fence about universal health care - Heather from Texas Ch. 8: Many thoughts on our health care system and drug choice - Syd from the Pacific Northwest FINAL COMMENTS Ch. 9: Final comments on the corrosive nature of commodifying common decency and humanity MUSIC(Blue Dot Sessions): Opening Theme: Loving Acoustic Instrumental by John Douglas Orr  Beast on the Soil - Desert Orchard Denzel Sprak - CloudCover Derailed - The Depot Sweetly - Blue Dot Sessions Voicemail Music: Low Key Lost Feeling Electro by Alex Stinnent Closing Music: Upbeat Laid Back Indie Rock by Alex Stinnent   Produced by Jay! Tomlinson Thanks for listening! Visit us at BestOfTheLeft.com Support the show via Patreon Listen on iTunes | Stitcher| Spotify| Alexa Devices| +more Check out the BotL iOS/AndroidApp in the App Stores! Follow at Twitter.com/BestOfTheLeft Like at Facebook.com/BestOfTheLeft Contact me directly at Jay@BestOfTheLeft.com Review the show on iTunesand Stitcher!

Today we take a look at the ways that Trump and his administration are systematically chipping away at the concept of a free press, a hallmark tactic of authoritarian governments everywhere

Today we take a look at the ongoing debate about socialism between socialists and non-socialists alike, including discussion of tactical strategies on where to set our goals and how to get from here to there

Today we take a look at the widespread movements gaining steam around the world using disruption of business as usual as a tactic to protest insufficient governmental action on climate change

In preparation for our next regular episode on the topic of socialism in America and Bernie Sanders' role in bringing the debate to the center of the Democratic primary campaign, I wanted to make available Sanders' full speech from George Washington University in June.

Today we take a look at the fight for free and fair elections in which voters choose their representatives rather than the politicians getting to select their voters to keep themselves in power indefinitely regardless of the will of the people.

Today we take a look at the fight for Medicare for All through the lens of the Democratic Primary elections.

Today we take a look at the legacy of the Confederacy, the monuments and white supremacy it left behind and the racial terror institutionalized in America based on upholding its values

Today we take a look at the well-planned and completely predictable build-up to war with Iran from the Republican neocons and theocrats who've wanted this war for decades

Today we take a look at the history, legality, conditions and consequences of US concentrations camps erected to house asylum seekers fleeing from unspeakable violence only to land in the hands of Trump's intentionally torturous immigration detention system

Today we take an unflinching look at Mitch McConnell and what a bad, bad man he is for basically all of the reasons.

Today we take a look at the ways in which Christians are being rallied to see themselves as the true victimized minority in America, a key component to stoking right-wing nationalism

Today we take a look at the ways that extreme inequality and many of the worst instincts and repercussions of capitalism are being upheld and perpetuated by our culture of philanthropy. It turns out that what we see as the rich giving back is really more of a purchase on their part, a purchase of our acceptance of inequality and the right of the wealthy to rule

Today we take a look at the surprisingly varied ways that progressive, well-meaning, do-gooding philanthropists have consistently held back the social movements they are attempting to help and have strangled attempts to implement truly egalitarian policies designed to help everyone

Today we take a look at the ways that Native Peoples are represented in white society and pop culture, how some are working to take back their own narratives and some insight into the profound affects, both positive and negative, of how peoples are represented

Today we take a look at the violence being inflicted upon the LGB and particularly T community as well as the history of our societies erasure of trans people who have been around for thousands of years

Today we take a look at the renewed call for reparations for slavery, Jim Crow and beyond that is infusing the 2020 Democratic primary campaign as well as the history of the campaign for reparations

Today we take a look at Modern Monetary Theory and the neoclassical economics it is looking to replace. It’s very important to understand the logistical and political mechanisms by which money for progressive policy priorities would be appropriated by congress and the debate over MMT gets to the core of those issues and seeks to change the paradigm we use to think about government spending.

Today we take a look at the arguments for and against impeaching Donald Trump in the House of Representatives and sending an indictment over to the Senate where the trial would be held

Today we take a look at the long-awaited Mueller Report and see what conclusions can be drawn from it.

Today we take a look at the renewed energy in the anti-choice movement in the wake of the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. We have entered a new phase, having transitioned from the "chipping away" phase to the "full frontal assault" phase.

Today we take a look at the ways that how we design and fund our towns, cities and housing impacts the quality of life for everyone in society

Today we take a look at the much-maligned, rarely-understood field of economic and social study known as Marxism

Today we take a look at the recent trend of White Nationalist and White Power-related violence, the history of where it's coming from and why the US government does next to nothing to combat it.

Today we take a look at the socially and politically existential threat of our time - the fight against encroaching authoritarianism in the US and around the world.

Today we take a look at the disastrous system of hackable, unverifiable and expensive electronic voting machines that were our solution to the hanging-chad fiasco of the Florida 2000 presidential election.

Today we take a look at the three moderate white guys sending a shiver up the collective legs of the members of the Democratic Party establishment and the mainstream media

Today we take a look at the impacts, from personal to global, of the paradigm of companies profiting off of surveillance of their users, otherwise known as surveillance capitalism.

Today we take a look at several topics that, at first glance, may seem to be unrelated but that I think are all tied together with a thread that runs through all of them and points the way toward The Great Transition we are currently in the middle of.

Today we take a look at just the economic side of immigration including the effects from low-skilled immigrants and high-skilled immigrants and then look at an alternative vision for how we should debate the issue from the left

Today I have a double-bonus show for you with additional clips on Brexit and Native Peoples

Today we take a look at the current state of the Democratic Party in the wake of the 2018 elections that swept in a new class of Super-Progressives who are now locking horns with the more establishment and conservative leadership of the party as they all gear up for the 2020 primary and general elections.

Today we take a look at the racism, sexism and classism that is permeating the algorithmic systems that are directing more and more of our online and offline lives

Today we take a look at just a few of the aspects of modern life for Native Peoples that we can see as stemming from the racism and colonialism that has been endemic in post-contact America. This episode is fourth in an ongoing series focusing on Native Peoples in North America. Previous episodes are, in order, #1216 on Christopher Columbus, #1230 on Thanksgiving and #1252 on Westward Expansion.

Today we take a look at everything there is to know about Brexit, Lexit, Remain and Reform, the Irish question, The Troubles, the neoliberalism of the EU and the senses of local and national identity in an age of globalism

Today we take a look at the overwhelming benefits to society of labor, health and safety regulations and how they only people who don't come out ahead are those who have to pay for them

Today we take a look at the current state of abortion rights - Hint: They're already in tatters - and speculate about what's to come as Roe vs Wade faces relentless chipping away and the possibility of full repeal.

Today we take a look at the so-called "Algorithms of Oppression." Not that they're made to be that way on purpose but that it is a natural outcome of a profit-based system that incentivizes people to post the most click-baity content while the system learns the viewer's weaknesses to ruthlessly feed them whatever will keep them engaged.

Today we take a look at the history of why we don't already have Medicare for All, just a handful of the overwhelming reasons why we need it and the fight ahead to make it a reality

Today we take a look at the story of Amazon’s enormous growth, the history of how our anti-trust laws were neutered and how the former is making us rethink the latter

Today we take a look at apologies and forgiveness, some of the building blocks for a healthy human society, at a moment in time when society is reorganizing itself in several ways at once, making it all the more necessary that we refresh ourselves on the fundamentals of how best to relate to each other

Today we take a look at the likes of Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson as a window into the world of their followers and as an inoculation against thinking they're people worth taking seriously just because they make sense one-third of the time.

Today I share an unusual clip and talk for a while about how much better Scandinavia is than the US.

Today we take a look at the development of the Green New Deal and its impacts on economics, labor, frontline communities climate mitigation and the politics of the possible

Today we take a look at two strategies being pursued in parallel to reform our presidential election process and make every vote for president count equally

Today we take a look at how the illiberalism of the Israeli government has alienated the vast majority of democratic nations and individuals who support human rights, leaving the country with some of the most far-right, fascist, white-supremacist, anti-Semitic people in the world as their only remaining allies.

Today we take a look at the social benefits of high taxation as the US gears up for our first genuine debate on raising taxes in a long time with an eye toward the life-improving programs that money could fund.

Today we take a look at the process of systematic, government-sponsored genocide against the native peoples of North America that kicked off the wealth-accumulating, territory-expanding American empire we know and love today

Today we take a look at two of the most popular politicians who have announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris

Today we take a look at the legacy of Martin Luther King that some people prefer to forget and most people never learned about. In fact, it is likely his forgotten opinions that got him killed rather than his calls for racial equality.

Today we take a look at recent teachers union strike in the Los Angeles school district and see it as another event in an emerging pattern of progressive uprisings that have been stirring for the last decade, fighting back against the status quo, the neoliberal instinct to privatize everything for the ultimate benefit of billionaires.

Today we take a look at both the BDS movement and the backlash response to it resulting in firings and legislation in many states (and pending federally) to restrict employment and business opportunities from those who fail to pledge in writing to not support of the boycott of Israel

Today we take a look, briefly, at the last 100 years of Venezuelan history to understand how they went from oil riches and inequality to revolution and social progress only to run afoul of American imperialism

Today we take a look at the history of FDR's "Four Freedoms" and "Economic Bill of Rights" that laid the groundwork for the fight for economic freedom for all that continues to this day.

Today we take a look at the warring factions of progressive and conservatives who are all trying to amend the constitution in various ways. Some progressives want to call for a Convention of States to propose an amendment, as do some conservatives, while others are calling for an amendment but would rather it go through the Congress for reasons that will be explained.

Today we take a look at the planned chaos and fever dream governing style cooked up by the radical, anti-government conservatives running the country, otherwise known as the shutdown

Today we take a look at the past and present of our immigration system to understand the paradigms within which the entire debate takes place

Today we take a look at socialism in America from our often violent response to the concept in the wake of the Russian Revolution through the recent revival in interest, driven primarily by the younger generation today

Today we take a look at the groundwork for a Green New Deal as it's being laid and the fight that is heating up around the policies, not just between political parties but between the separate wings (and generations) of the Democratic Party

Today we take a look at the history and mechanics of US empire and the military-industrial-congressional complex that gleefully perpetuates it.

Today we take a look at the small-D anti-democratic power grabs implemented by many GOP-led legislatures during the lame-duck session with the explicit intention of subverting the will of the voters and the most significant democracy reform bill since the Watergate era meant to help restore eroded democratic norms that was introduced by the new Congress' House Democrats as their first order of business.

Today we take a look at the burgeoning call for progressivism to look beyond national borders to create policies, solidarity and power that spans, unified, across the world.

Today we take a look back at the year 2009 in our annual 10-years-past retrospective to see what we may learn.

Today, From WCPT Radio, Playwright W. C. Turk, producer Greg Alexander and the Occupy Players we hear a presentation of Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol

You didn't think the War on Christmas™ could get any more exciting but then someone decided to bring race into the mix and the whole thing blew sky high. We'll report back as casualty numbers are confirmed.

Today we take a look at the Yellow Vests protest in France to understand what they are, how they started and what implications they have for the struggle between neoliberal, fascist and progressive politics worldwide

Today, as we do each year, we take a look at the current state of the War on Christmas™ but with more of a historical focus on how we got here

Today we take a look critically at the life and times of George H.W. Bush

Today we take a look at the election of a true neofascist to be president of Brazil and some of the economic and political realities that lead us to this point

Today we take a look at the ongoing war in Yemen including its origins, multitude of players, the US supporting that is helping drive the worlds worst humanitarian crisis and what we can and should do to stop it.

Today we take a look at the two major recent climate change reports that were released and some of the new energy arriving in Congress determined to be equal to the task

Today we take a look at the history and present of anti-semitism in America

Today we take a look at the literal and figurative bloody messes of the history of Thanksgiving and the identities of native peoples

Today we take a look at a few different visions of what the future holds for our labor market and some policies we should be putting in place to set the scene for the coming evolution of work

Today we take a look at the gendered nature of anger and how the anger of women is feared as a potentially revolutionary force

Today we take a look at the system of patriarchy from the perspective of how it negatively impacts men in our culture, thereby demonstrating the need for feminism to advocate for all those negatively impacted by patriarchy, regardless of gender

Today we take a look at rising of right-wing terrorism in the US and the unmistakable link to the violent rhetoric and extreme policies of right-wing politicians

Today we take a look at the stunningly consistent history of the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. A relationship born out of a need for oil and sustained for the sake of empire.

Today we take a look at the movement behind the anti-government, pro-wealthy campaign to remake America that dates back much farther than the Koch Brothers.

Today we take a look at some of the various ways our election system is vulnerable to tampering and hacking from within and without and how it poses a threat to our democracy by casting doubt on the system whether any tampering actually happens or not

Today we take a look at the phenomenon of conspiracy theories from several different angles including psychology, political necessity and some of the conspiracies de jour.

Today we take a look at the crumbling trust in the Supreme Court in the wake of the Kavanaugh confirmation, not to mention the undemocratic electoral college, undemocratic Senate and a whole slew of anti-democracy GOP dirty tricks that have been used to acquire and intrench power for a conservative minority

Today we take a look at various strategies, some institutional and some organizational, for the left to take back power and steer the country back toward small D democracy

Today we take a look at the Koch brothers and the movement they spawned to better understand exactly how to fight back

Today we take a look at the distant and recent history of conservatism in America and beyond and follow the steps that have led to their rejection of science at a moment in history when it has never been more critical to heed the warnings of scientists

Today we take a look at the process and conclusion of Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court and how the whole spectacle, top to bottom, was drenched in some of the worst aspects of patriarchy and toxic masculinity that our society has to offer.

Today we take a look at the monopolistic practices of Amazon with a focus on their effects on labor and wages in America

Today we take a look at the rarely-told, real legacy of Christopher Columbus and some of the reverberations from his actions that can still be felt to this day

Today we take a look at the fact that welfare technically no longer exists in America except as a dog whistle term used to push an ideology that divides the majority for the enrichment of the minority.

Today we take a look at the long legacy of racially-based voter disenfranchisement from Reconstruction right up to today and the many, many forms it takes as those who strive to benefit from suppressing the vote employ an ever-evolving slate of strategies to keep themselves in power.

Today we take a look at where we stand, now ten years on from the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008. Inequality has spiked, the banks are more profitable than ever and not a single banker went to jail for fraud. Now we must look ahead to how we can better manage the next inevitable crash.

Today we take a look at the economics, sexism and racism embedded in the restaurant industry, largely due to the practice of tipping.

Today we take a look at the current state of the centuries-old fight against the monopolization of economic and political power and how these forces threaten the very concept of democracy.

Today we take a look at the confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh, his stance on several critical issues and his threat to democratic values and separation of powers in the federal government

Today we take a look at some strategies to and reasons why we need to have better political conversations

Today we take a look at several of the ways that average people benefit from collective action including unionization, class action lawsuits and politically attuned investing of pooled pension funds. Plus, making the obvious case for why the Democratic Party needs to get wholeheartedly on board with policies that unwaveringly support working people and empower collectivism.

Today we take a look at many of the underlying reasons that health care in America is so expensive and how those who benefit from the status quo work to keep it that way

Today we take a look at some of the tactics and ramifications of Trump's all-out war with journalism which is his strategy to undermine the most potent force capable of opposing an administration of lies and propaganda

Today we take a look at just some of the many ways the Trump administration is systematically attacking the environment and our health to pave the way for increased profits for the business interests who have the administration's ear

Today we take a look at some of the historical context for the dynamics of international trade, some progressive ideas about managing the domestic results of trade, the economics and politics of tariffs and the dangers of trade wars.

Today we take a look at some of the reasons behind the rise of right-wing movements around the world but also at some of the various shapes they're taking, strategies they're following and emerging trends that may lend them additional momentum in the future

Today we take a look at the threats to reproductive justice everywhere, from the newest Supreme Court nominee to the entire long and storied history of the structures of power clamoring to control the bodies of women with a particular focus on the destinies of communities of color

Today we take a look at some of the historical context that sheds light on our current immigration debate by showing that there is essentially nothing new about it, only the details are fresh. We'll also explore the evolution of criminalizing immigration, the abuse of separated children and the GOP need to build a demographic control machine.

Today we take a look at a few of the reasons the Democrats went from controlling both houses of Congress and the presidency 10 years ago to being completely out of power today and then lay out a series of steps the left can take to return to power

Today we look at the origins, underpinnings and effects of neoliberal economic thinking and policies. #1, it has nothing to do with who Americans think of as “liberals”. #2, both major US political parties are on board with it to varying degrees. #3, it’s pretty much what everyone in the world is pissed off about without necessarily knowing that there’s a name for it

Today we take a look at some causes of depression that our society tends to look away from. Instead of focusing only on chemical imbalances, it seems wise to look outside ourselves at the circumstances we find ourselves in and ask how much our surrounding effect what goes on inside

Today I do something a little different and present to you (with permission) the entire first episode of the second season of the outstanding podcast, Offshore. Offshore is produced by Honolulu Civil Beat, a nonprofit and non-partisan investigative news site in Hawaii and I especially think the BotL audience will appreciate their telling of the story of the mountain protectors of Mouna Kea, The Sacred Mountain, on the big island of Hawaii.

Today we take a look at our current moment in history and the two basic paths that lay before us, one dominated by fear that drives a willingness to give up power to authoritarian rulers and the other guided by hope for a better future and a willingness to work together toward that future

Today we look at the forces causing a great deal and anger and upheaval all around the world, how that anger is being misdirected and what we can do in our own lives to face it

Today we take a look at the history of what led us to be on the brink of the most conservative Supreme Court in 90 years, some of the details as to what's at stake and some ideas on fighting back, now and in the future

Today we take a look at the media landscape and how it enables rather than challenges our horrific political status quo and we also hear suggested alternatives structures that could help us change the game

Today we take a look at the attempts to distract with calls for civility and the attempts to suppress dissent with various bans and impediments to protest

Today we look at the state of capitalism, the logical arguments for its inevitable demise and the evidence that the end may more nigh than ever before

Today we take a look at the movement underway to take back power for progressive ideas in this country from a variety of perspectives all working toward a common goal

Today we take a look at the multi-pronged campaign to prevent as many people from voting as possible and what we can do about it

Today we take a look at the misguided transformation of our thinking about health care that causes us to accept the idea of it being a market-based commodity, who continues to support this idea and why it continues to make suckers of us all

Today we look at the technology that massively influences how we spend our time and hear lots of advice on how we can begin to take back control

Today we take a look at where we are in the negotiation process with North Korea and how we got here

Today we take a look at the high toll Puerto Rico is paying, in both money and lives, for the triple disasters of colonialism, Hurricane Maria and disaster capitalism

Today we take a look at the absolute horror show that is the US immigration system. Understanding that it was bad before but has been revved up to literally inhumane as our government makes a concerted effort to dehumanize asylum seekers on the run for their lives.

Today we look at the woeful state of the Democratic Party and the strategy to bring them back from the brink

Today we take a look at some of the adversity facing disabled people from labor rights to health care accessibility to incarceration

Today we take a rare sojourn into the world of Trump's seemingly endless corruption in business and life with a focus on his long history with Russia.

Today we take a look at the legacy of the Confederacy, the monuments and white supremacy it left behind and the racial terror institutionalized in America based on upholding its values

Today we take a look at some of the structures of white supremacy and the moment in the sun it is currently enjoying

Today we take a look at the importance of the upcoming mid-term elections and the necessary danger of infighting amongst the left

Today we take a look at the context and history that preceded the US cancellation of the Iran nuclear agreement

Today we take a look at both the policies of a Federally-Guaranteed Jobs program and a Universal Basic Income and hear arguments for and against each

Today we look at many of our misconceptions of the nature of poverty, the interconnectedness of economics with all aspects of life and some suggestions on how to pursue justice

Today we take a look at how we came to have some of the mandatory minimum laws that we do, how they came out of a sense of desperation from an underserved and ignored community, and how prosecutors have used those laws to make things worse. But there is hope to turn this around.

Today we take a look at the falling dominoes of rebellion and demands for justice in the form of teachers strikes as they go from one educationally decimated red state to the next

Today I tell stories about Bhutan including personal experiences and what I can about the cultural and political past, present and future of the country

Today we look at some conservatives engaged in the fight against climate change and their best policy proposal to get the job done

Today we take a look at some of the highlights of the Kingdom of Bhutan including the most famous of their exports, Gross National Happiness and many lesser-known aspects of their focus on happiness, good governance and environmental protection. We will also look at one of the blackest marks of the countries past, one that still hangs around their necks to this day

Today we take a look at the debate between individualism and varying forms of collectivism, the benefits and drawbacks of consumerism and some philosophies of economics both past and future

Air Date: 6/20/2017 Today we take a look at the legacy of conservative economics in Kansas, the new federal budget being pushed that would echo the Kansas disaster, deregulation that will cost citizens billions and the intellectual underpinning of modern conservative philosophy that is driving all this Be part of the show! Leave a message at 202-999-3991 Become a member and enjoy ad-free episodes and bonus content! Visit: https://www.patreon.com/BestOfTheLeft Show Notes Ch. 1: Opening Theme: A Fond Farewell - From a Basement On the Hill Ch. 2: Act 1: Conservatism is failing from Topeka to Tulsa to the River Thames - Bradcast from @TheBradBlog - Air Date 6-9-17 Ch. 3: Song 1:  Dust in the Wind - Kansas   Ch. 4: Act 2: A billionaire perspective on Trump's budget - The Other Washington - Air Date 6-1-17 Ch. 5: Song 2:  Turtle (Bonobo Remix) - Pilote   Ch. 6: Act 3: Republicans Repeal Disastrous Tax Cuts - @theyoungturks - Air Date 06-11-17 Ch. 7: Song 3:  Lesson Learned (feat. John Mayer) - Alicia Keys   Ch. 8: Act 4: Roll-Back of Financial Regulations Has Nothing to do with Complexity or Boosting the Economy - @TheRealNews - Air Date 6-13-17 Ch. 9: Song 4:  Ennio 08-08 - Silence Is Sexy   Ch. 10: Act 5: Stop Republicans from Deregulating Wall Street & #DefendCFPB via @RealBankReform - Best of the Left Activism Ch. 11: Song 5:  This fickle world - Theo Bard   Ch. 12: Act 6: Nancy MacLean on the intellectual underpinning of a “mean” Republican Party - Who What Why - Air Date 6-16-17

Today we take a look at some of the lesser-known sides of Martin Luther King's life and legacy, not just about his radicalism and focus on labor rights but also some new takes on the long shadow of the patriarchal views he held and reinforced