cover art for Thom Hartmann - The Hidden History of American Democracy

Mid-Atlantic - conversations about US, UK and world politics

Thom Hartmann - The Hidden History of American Democracy

Thom Hartmann is an American author, radio host, and progressive political commentator. Hartmann has written numerous books on a variety of topics, including American politics, economics, and the environment.

He is best known for his radio show, "The Thom Hartmann Program," which airs nationally in the United States. The show focuses on political and social issues from a progressive perspective. Hartmann has also appeared on various television programs, including "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "Real Time with Bill Maher."

Throughout his career, Hartmann has been a vocal advocate for progressive causes, such as income inequality, healthcare reform, and environmental sustainability. He is known for his articulate and passionate style of commentary, and he often engages with listeners and viewers in lively discussions.

Thom has written a new book, The Hidden History of American Democracy: Rediscovering Humanity’s Ancient Way of Living.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Be Broke Be Birmingham

    Guests: - Professor Carl Chinn, MBE A historian, he's a broadcaster and author.- Jane Hayes She's an award winning, the award winning politics and people editor of Birmingham Live- Jez Collins The founder of the Birmingham musical archive,- Alex Yip Conservative councillor for the city of Birmingham representing Sutton Coldfield Wylde GreenOverview: In this episode, host Roifield Brown talks about the multifaceted crisis Birmingham is experiencing, focusing on the city's financial predicament, historical context, social conditions, economic disparities, and the impact of austerity measures. The discussion delves deep into the reasons behind Birmingham’s current situation, including the disparity between the bustling city centre and the poverty-stricken suburbs, reflecting on the essentiality of restoring power to local governments and a need for tangible solutions to alleviate the numerous challenges Birmingham faces.Key Points Discussed: 1.  Existential Crisis: Birmingham is undergoing a serious crisis involving economic, social, and administrative turmoil, significantly impacting its reputation and the livelihood of its citizens.2.  Equal Pay Claims: The city is grappling with equal pay claims amounting to between 650 and 760 million pounds, predominantly impacting women workers and posing substantial liabilities to the council.3.  A Tale of Two Cities: Birmingham is witnessing a stark contrast between a flourishing city centre, characterised by substantial investments and developments, and impoverished neighbourhoods, marked by severe deprivation and deteriorating living conditions.4.  Impacts of Austerity: The austerity measures, implemented since 2010, have exacerbated the existing issues in Birmingham, diminishing public spending and contributing to the rising instances of poverty within the city.5.  Mismanagement & Accountability: Mismanagement of funds, asset misappropriation, and a series of failed projects are among the reasons contributing to Birmingham’s crisis. The discussion sheds light on the urgent need for accountability and rectification from the local and central government.6.  Housing and Community Crisis: Birmingham is facing an acute housing crisis, coupled with the dilapidation of existing housing stock and a growing population, necessitating equitable development and community integration.7.  Centralised Power: The iron grip of central government and limited local financial autonomy is underscored as a major constraint, affecting local councils' ability to foster progress and self-sustain.8.  Future Trajectory:  The discussion hints at a lengthy resolution process involving numerous meetings, the imposition of commissioners, and possible interventions from the government to navigate through the crisis.Quotable Moments: -  Jez Collins:  “Great cities change, they always change, the landscape changes, the communities change, they have to change, they have to adapt, but it’s about how change is done.”-  Professor Carl Chinn:  “The whole of the working class of Birmingham is being buffeted by winds pouring in from every direction.”-  Jane Hayes:  “This was very much about scoring political points and making political headway.”
  • Biden's Global Vision and a Municipal Crisis: Insights from the UN and Birmingham

    In this podcast episode, host Roifield Brown is joined by a diverse panel, including political pollster Logan Phillips, Doug Levy, Tonye Altrade, Zee Cohen Sanchez and the Manchester native Corey Bernard. The episode begins with a deep dive into President Biden's recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly, focusing on themes of reconciliation, global collaboration, and addressing climate change. The panel discusses Biden's message to China, the significance of his visit to Vietnam, and the evolving landscape of global politics.The conversation then shifts to the importance of foreign affairs in American politics. Logan Phillips emphasises the role of crisis in elevating foreign policy as an election issue and highlights the impact of global events on voter priorities. The panel delves into Biden's foreign policy approach and its implications for the United States' global standing.The episode also explores Birmingham's financial crisis, shedding light on the city's challenges, including equal pay claims, poor investments, and the changing funding model imposed by central government. The panel touches on the broader issues facing post-industrial cities in the UK and the impact of economic restructuring on their cultural and reputational resurgence.Throughout the discussion, the panel provides valuable insights into international relations, domestic politics, and the economic challenges faced by cities like Birmingham in an ever-changing world.
  • Impeachment Inquiry and Crumbling Infrastructure: Challenges on Both Sides of the Atlantic

    In this episode of the "Mid Atlantic" podcast, host Roifield Brown discusses the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden with a panel of guests. The panel includes Emma Burnell, a UK journalist in London; Zee Cohen Sanchez, a political strategist in Nevada; Logan Phillips, a political pollster in D.C.; Tonya Altraide, a philosopher and non-conformist in London; and Steve O'Neill, the ex-deputy head of policy with the Liberal Democrats, also in London.The discussion revolves around the impeachment inquiry's lack of concrete evidence linking President Biden to any wrongdoing, focusing instead on his son Hunter Biden's business dealings. The panel explores why some Republicans are pushing for this impeachment, with Zee Cohen Sanchez suggesting it may be a desperate attempt to regain support, especially among the MAGA wing of the party.Logan Phillips provides polling insights, indicating that most Americans believe Hunter Biden profited from his father's position but don't see direct involvement by Joe Biden in any wrongdoing. He also suggests that the impeachment effort may be driven by political calculations rather than public sentiment.The conversation then shifts to the crisis involving reinforced autoclaved concrete (RAAC) used in critical infrastructure like schools and hospitals in the UK. Emma Burnell discusses the historical context of underinvestment in infrastructure and the cancellation of building projects, leading to the current crisis. The panel explores the need for a long-term consensus on infrastructure investment.Steve O'Neill emphasizes the importance of competence in addressing these issues and raises concerns about the financial constraints on UK local councils, citing the example of Birmingham's bankruptcy.The episode concludes with a discussion on the challenges facing Britain and the optimism that the country can overcome them in the long term, despite short-term challenges.
  • Exploring the Promise and Pitfalls of AI: A Conversation with Max Sklar

    In this episode, Roifield introduces Max Sklar, the creator of the Local Maximum podcast. Max is known for his exploration of tech, math, and political philosophy with leading experts. He played a key role in developing Foursquare's city guide rating system, combining data from 120 million global points of interest and 500 million data points.The conversation delves into the future disruption caused by AI and the critical ethical and regulatory considerations governments face, such as mitigating bias in algorithms and strengthening privacy protections. Max shares his optimistic but cautious perspective on AI's future, acknowledging the incredible possibilities while highlighting potential pitfalls. They discuss concerns around AI consolidation in the hands of a few companies and its potential to influence governments.The conversation explores the balance between AI's potential for creativity and personal creation while acknowledging the risk of retreating into echo chambers. Max emphasises the power of generative AI to enable individuals to conjure entire new worlds for creative purposes. They touch on AI's impact on various industries, such as drug discovery, pharmaceuticals, and the legal field. Max suggests that while certain roles may not disappear entirely, they could be transformed with the integration of AI, making them more self-serve and advisory.In summary, Max Sklar provides insights into the exciting and complex future of AI, emphasising the need for a balance between human and AI capabilities across various industries.
  • Racial Extremists and Murder: A Transatlantic Perspective.

    Mid Atlantic" podcast, host Roifield Brown delves into the temperature around race, immigration, and hate in the US and the UK. He gathers a panel of experts to discuss the recent racially motivated attack in Florida and its connection to far-right extremism. The attack resulted in the deaths of three individuals, carried out by a white 24-year-old who left behind a disturbing manifesto. The Justice Department is investigating it as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated political extremism.The panelists include Logan Phillips, a political pollster in DC; Denise Hamilton, a professional speaker and thought leader; Doug Levy, a freelance writer and communication strategy expert; and Corey, a political pundit from the UK.They discuss the persistence of hate-fueled ideologies and their impact on society, especially focusing on the rise of racially motivated attacks in the US. They also explore how some Republican politicians, including Ron DeSantis, are perceived as fostering an environment where far-right extremism can thrive. Additionally, they highlight the importance of addressing white supremacy directly and the need for more anti-racist efforts to create a more equitable society.The segment concludes with a sense of hope for a better future in the US, driven by a rising anti-racist coalition and a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and equality in the country.The speakers then address various aspects of rhetoric around immigration and politics in the UK by non white politicians. The discussion then shifts to the scale of immigration in the UK, with a focus on recent statistics. They debate whether the Conservative Party is effectively tackling the issue or merely generating media headlines without concrete policies. The hosts express concerns about rewarding failure within the government.In the latter part of the conversation, they explore the differences between how non-white politicians are perceived in the UK and the US. They discuss whether UK politicians are seen as representatives of their respective minority groups and whether the UK is truly post-racial. The hosts highlight the presence of diverse politicians in key positions but question whether this reflects genuine inclusion.The discussion captures different perspectives on immigration, politics, and diversity in the UK, emphasising the complexities and nuances of these topics.
  • Navigating AI for the Future

    In this podcast episode, we introduce a diverse group of individuals who share their insights and perspectives on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in our lives. Roifield Brown serves as our host, guiding the conversation through a range of viewpoints.Laura Babcock, hailing from Hamilton, Canada, brings her expertise as a communication strategist and media commentator who has harnessed AI for writing, editing, and design. Her enthusiasm for AI's creative potential and innovative capabilities is palpable, tempered by a keen awareness of the ethical and social challenges that demand regulation and education.On the other side of the spectrum, we have Zee Cohen Sanchez in Nevada, USA, a political strategist who approaches AI with skepticism. Having utilized AI sparingly for photo editing, Zee raises thought-provoking questions about AI's impact on democracy, privacy, and human dignity, highlighting concerns about reliability, accountability, and sources.Moving on to Washington, DC, we meet Logan Phillips, a political pollster and data analyst who has leveraged AI for processing, analyzing, and visualizing data. Logan's optimism about AI enhancing human intelligence and decision-making is apparent. However, he doesn't shy away from discussing AI's limitations and biases, advocating for transparency and quality control.Joining us from Seattle, USA, is David Volodzko, a journalist and writer who has delved into AI out of curiosity. While not a professional user, David's experiments with AI for paraphrasing, research, and essay writing intrigue him about its potential applications in journalism, art, and communication. He thoughtfully explores the ethical and social implications of AI, emphasizing the critical need for verification and critical thinking.Doug Levy, a freelance writer and communication strategy expert based in San Francisco, USA, offers practical insights into effectively and responsibly employing AI for writing, editing, and content generation. Drawing from personal experiences, Doug shares examples and tips that shed light on AI's practical applications.Finally, from Houston, USA, Denise Hamilton, a diversity speaker and TED speaker, lends her perspective on AI's potential for education, diversity, and inclusion. With a curiosity about AI's capabilities in these domains, Denise also underscores the imperative of addressing AI's ethical and social dimensions, advocating for awareness and empowerment.
  • Unveiling Injustice: America's Flawed Justice System - Stephen B Bright

    Todays podcast explores America's Flawed Justice System. Today's guest is esteemed awyer Stephen B. Bright, a renowned in law and justice advocate. We delve into Stephen's book, "The Fear of Too Much Justice." which reveals systemic failures in the US criminal justice system, highlighting inequality, injustice, and its struggles for fair trials.Stephen's experience includes teaching law at Yale and Georgetown, directing the Southern Center for Human Rights, and advocating in Supreme Court capital cases. The conversation begins with Stephen explaining his drive to expose US justice inequalities after handling death penalty cases since 1979. The US stands out for its deeply flawed justice system due to elected prosecutors and judges, politics driving cases, and power imbalances favouring the powerless.Historically, remnants of slavery influence the system, seen in the racial bias of the death penalty, particularly in the South. Stephen shares the tragic case of Glenn Ford, wrongly sentenced to death, who suffered from inadequate defence, discriminatory jury selection, and prosecution misconduct. This illuminates the National Registry of Exonerations' findings, revealing over 2,800 wrongly convicted people by 2021.Systemic flaws underscore the urgency for reform. Discriminatory practices, racial bias, and unchecked power in the US justice system demand a closer examination.
  • Balancing Scales: Trump's Indictment and The Impact of The Woman's World Cup

    In this episode, a diverse panel discusses two topics: the global impact of women's sports and the latest indictment of Donald J. Trump in Georgia. The indictment raises questions about the intersection of justice and politics, impacting the 2024 election. The panel includes Michael Donoghue, an author and political enthusiast from Los Angeles; Logan Phillips, a political pollster from DC; Corey Bernard, a political affairs expert from Manchester; and Leah Brown, CEO of Broadstairs Consulting from Kent. The discussion starts with the complexity of Trump's trial, the role of judges' appointments, and the challenges of separating politics from justice. Despite the foundational principle of unbiased justice, there's heightened attention to judge appointments based on party affiliation. The panel acknowledges that while the desire for a fair trial exists, the reality often involves political considerations. The conversation shifts to polling data. Polls show decreasing trust in the justice system, particularly among Republicans, influenced by Trump's claims of witch hunts and bias. The panel discusses the clash between prosecutors seeking swift trials and Trump's defence team aiming to delay until after the 2024 election. The reasons for the disparity in opinion are debated, with some suggesting a potential impact on Trump's campaign if trials occur before the election. The conversation concludes with the panel highlighting the importance of expeditious trials in the public interest to uphold democracy and justice.The ongoing Women's World Cup serves as a springboard to discuss broader issues in women's football and sports coverage. Despite thrilling matches, the tournament highlights gender disparities in media attention and reporting. Women's sports receive less than 10% of annual coverage compared to men's, which shapes public perception. The panel discusses the impact of media coverage on how women's sports are perceived. While women's sports have increased visibility, they still face a lack of coverage. The Women's World Cup spotlights these issues and provides an opportunity to contemplate the stories that will shape the trajectory of women's sports and football. The final match between England and Spain garners excitement, yet the panel debates the role of media and governing bodies in perpetuating gender disparities. The discussion delves into societal views and biases about women's sports, touching on issues of funding, representation, and recognition. The panel debates reasons behind the unequal media coverage and emphasizes the need to recognize the talent and achievements of women's teams on par with men's, promoting fairness and equality in sports.
  • Unveiling the Crossroads: Abortion Rights, Ballot Defeats, and Political Landscape Shifts in US and UK

    In this episode of "Mid Atlantic," host Roifield Brown welcomes Emma Burnell, a UK journalist in London; Logan Phillips, a political pollster in Washington, D.C. and Corey Bernard, a political pundit in Manchester. The discussion revolves around a pivotal political moment in the United States. The main topic is a Republican proposed constitutional amendment, Issue One, which faced a resounding defeat in a recent special election. The amendment aimed to raise the threshold for future constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%. The defeat was seen as an attempt to hinder an upcoming referendum and garnered national attention due to its implications for abortion rights.The conversation delves into the impact of the defeat on abortion rights supporters and the connection between the proposed amendment and women's health care decisions. The panelists discuss the polling data and the landslide nature of the defeat, with little middle ground between the predictions. They highlight similar instances in other states like Kansas and Michigan, where efforts to restrict women's rights through ballot initiatives also faced significant defeats. On to the UK, Greenpeace has criticised the UK government for its perceived failure to address the climate crisis while simultaneously engaging in divisive culture wars. This critique follows a surprising Tory victory in the Uxbridge by-election, attributed to opposition against the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Greenpeace argues that the government's neglect of climate concerns contrasts with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. The podcast panelists discuss how the ULEZ issue influenced the by-election and the Tory government's subsequent reaction to the organisation's protests, including directing officials to cease engagement with Greenpeace. This raises questions about whether the Tory government is engaging in a culture war against climate change advocates.