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

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.

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    We have a comprehensive dialogue with Dr. Robert Marbut, a renowned figure in the realm of homelessness advocacy and a former appointee of President Trump to lead the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Dr. Marbutt known for his pragmatic approach to tackling homelessness, sheds light on the multifaceted nature of this crisis, emphasising the need for a nuanced understanding and targeted interventions.Show Notes:Introduction to Dr. Robert Marbut:Background in homelessness advocacy.Experience in government and policy-making.Founding of Haven for Hope.2.Understanding Homelessness:The scale of homelessness in the U.S. and its societal impacts.Differentiating between various groups within the homeless population.The critical distinction between housing shortage and homelessness.3.Dr. Marbut's Approach:Critique of one-size-fits-all solutions.Advocacy for a holistic approach: Engage, assess, and treat before housing.Success stories from cities that have implemented comprehensive strategies.4.Policy and Perception:Addressing misconceptions and stigmas around homelessness.The importance of data-driven policies and community involvement.Future directions in homelessness advocacy and policy.5.Resources:"No Address" documentary and movie for insights into homelessness.FixHomelessness.org for data and success stories.MarbutConsulting.org for more on Dr. Marbut's work and philosophy.QuotesDr. Robert Marbut: "The way you exit homelessness in most parts of the country is death. That, I think, is a way you judge a society — how you deal with the least, last, and lost."Roifield Brown: "The future of humanity is for us to live closer and closer with each other, and if that is going to be the future, we need a way that all of us can have the equity of at least a roof over our heads."Dr. Robert Marbut: "We love you so much we take you as you are, but we also love you so much to let you stay that way."Dr. Robert Marbut: "We're making it easy to get high and hard to get treatment. We need to make it easy to get treatment and hard to get high."Further ReadingNo Address Documentary and Movie: These works explore various aspects of homelessness, providing insights into the challenges and potential solutions. The documentary, in particular, features various perspectives from across the political and ideological spectrum, illustrating the complexity of the issue.FixHomelessness.org: This website, associated with the Discovery Institute, offers resources, articles, and data on successful interventions and policies aimed at reducing homelessness. It advocates for evidence-based approaches and highlights case studies of communities that have made significant progress.MarbutConsulting.org: Dr. Robert Marbut's consulting website provides information on his approach to addressing homelessness, his experience, and the services he offers. It also includes resources and publications related to his work in the field.
  • Creating Rainbows: The Ongoing Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights with Kevin Jennings

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    In the ever-evolving landscape of LGBTQ+ rights in the United States, few names resonate as profoundly as Kevin Jennings. A guest on the "Mid Atlantic" podcast, Jennings, a leader of Lambda Legal, provided an illuminating discourse on the history and ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. His insights offered a rare window into the resilience and triumphs that have marked the movement from its nascent days to the current era.Jennings' tenure at Lambda Legal stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment to the cause of LGBTQ+ rights. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Lambda Legal, under Jennings' leadership, has been instrumental in several landmark legal battles. Most notably, Jennings highlighted Lambda Legal's role as co-counsel in the historic Obergefell v. Hodges case, which granted marriage equality to same-sex couples in the United States. But Jennings' involvement extends beyond this singular victory, tracing back to earlier milestones such as the 1983 lawsuit securing protections for individuals living with HIV and the pivotal 2003 case, Lawrence v. Texas, which abolished so-called sodomy laws.Jennings' journey, characterized by both legal advocacy and policy-making, underscores the multifaceted approach necessary in the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights. In an era marked by shifting political landscapes and persistent challenges, His work, as detailed in the "Mid Atlantic" podcast, is not just a narrative of legal triumphs but a broader story of societal progress, one where the fight for equality continues with relentless vigor and unwavering hope.Show Notes:Guest Introduction: Kevin Jennings, leader of Lambda Legal and renowned advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.Topic Overview: Tracing the history of gay rights in the U.S., including key milestones and ongoing challenges.Key Discussions:The formation and impact of Lambda Legal.Jennings' work in the Obama administration and its effects on bullying prevention.The intersection of LGBTQ+ rights with other civil rights movements.The impact of the AIDS crisis on the LGBTQ+ community.The evolution of LGBTQ+ rights from Stonewall to the present day.Actionable Insights: How listeners can support LGBTQ+ rights and Lambda Legal.Audience Q&A: Engaging discussion with listeners about the challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community globally.Quotes from the Episode:"We've been fighting the good fight for 51 years now, and we have the receipts to show that we're effective." - Kevin Jennings"We showed the government can make a difference. And our successor showed the government can make a difference in the opposite direction." - Kevin Jennings on bullying prevention"LGBTQ+ people have experienced a lot of oppression, but for a century, LGBTQ+ people have been fighting back. So it's a very hopeful story." - Kevin Jennings"The government hostility towards gay men in particular, during the AIDS crisis, is why half a million people died." - Kevin Jennings"We are not going anywhere, and we are not going to let this happen." - Kevin Jennings on fighting anti-LGBTQ+ legislationFurther Reading:Lambda Legal's website: lambdalegal.orgKevin Jennings' book "Becoming Visible": An exploration of LGBTQ+ history for young readers.Documentary "Welcome to Chechnya": Showcasing the plight of LGBTQ+ individuals in Chechnya.PFLAG's website: pflag.org - Support for families of LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Unmasking AI: The Politics of Bias

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    In this episode of the Mid Atlantic Podcast, we look into the complex world of AI and political bias with expert guest Maxim Lot. A seasoned journalist and data connoisseur, Maxim brings over 15 years of experience to the table, having worked with ABC, Fox, and as the founder of Maxim True Substack. His latest project, TrackingAI.org, is at the forefront of analysing political biases in AI, offering a unique perspective on the issue. The discussion navigates through the intricacies of data harvesting, AI algorithms, and the potential societal impacts of AI-driven technologies.Show Notes:Introduction to the topic of political bias in AI.Maxim Lot's extensive background in media and data analysis.Discussion on data harvesting, AI algorithm training, and their inherent biases.TrackingAI.org's innovative approach to evaluating AI biases.Debate on AI regulation and the balance between innovation and societal impact.Listener Q&A: Addressing the practical and ethical challenges of AI in various aspects of life.Closing thoughts: The need for a holistic approach to AI development and regulation.Quotes:Maxim Lot: "They just vacuumed the data and fed it into these AI algorithms. And so that's step one. Where there could be bias if Wikipedia is biased, if the Google News results are biased, that could lead to a biased data set."Roifield Brown: "However, I'm profoundly scared about an AI future and a scale of one to 10. You're a better man. You deal with statistics. How scared should I be about an AI-driven future?"Maxim Lot: "So I basically did this for all the AIs, ChatGPT, Bard, Rock, and just to see where they would come down on this political quiz."Roifield Brown: "I don't believe in a future which is run by tech companies and tech companies alone. I must admit, and that scares the bejesus out of me."Maxim Lot: "But in the nuclear industry, for example, where you obviously need some regulation, but now we have a situation where France, for example, most of their energy is produced with nuclear, and it's great, they've never, no one's, died from it, and they produce 70 percent of their energy with it, and it's clean, there's no CO2.
  • Age and Statesmanship: Biden's Tenure and Kier Starmer stumbles

    53:31
    Today we delve into the highly charged topic of President Joe Biden's age and its political ramifications. Host Roifield Brown leads a panel of experts through an incisive discussion, beginning with Robert Herr's report on Biden's handling of classified documents and his response about his son, Beau. The conversation pivots to the media's portrayal of Biden and Trump, exploring biases and the impact on public perception. As the debate heats up, our panelists weigh the consequences of an aging leader, comparing media scrutiny and voter sentiment. We also venture across the pond, examining the Labour Party's challenges in the UK, from antisemitism to policy stances on Gaza.Show Notes:Deep dive into Robert Herr's report and its implications.Discussion on media's treatment of Biden vs. Trump, focusing on age and mental acuity.Analysis of Biden's policy successes and media's search for sensationalism.Exploring the potential for a Democratic alternative to Biden.Transition to UK politics: Labour's turmoil and antisemitism challenges.Insights on Labour's stance on the Gaza conflict and its political repercussions.Reflections on leadership and the role of age in politics.Quotes:Aram Fischer: "I think the short answer is no, [Biden's] obviously not too old because he's currently in the job and by a lot of metrics, he's doing a good job."Mike Donoghue: "The media needs to look in the mirror quite a bit here because what our media really thrives on is less left-right and more sensational at all costs."Jarett Kobek: "Biden seems old. Trump seems young because psychosis always has a sort of youthful break to it. Everybody's ancient and it's not good for the health of the Republic to have two people this old vying for the highest office in the land."Steve O'Neill: "One of the ways that Keir Starmer and his team have rescued the Labour Party is by stamping out and having a zero tolerance line on antisemitism."Tonye Altrade: "South Africa has shown that by willingness and by the intent to do the right thing, they can start making a difference. By taking that case to the ICJ, South Africa have shown that with boldness and courage, they can stand up to people or their friends and tell them when they're doing something wrong.Cory Bernard: I think [the Labour Party's handling of antisemitism] has the potential to be damaging, but I just don't think it will be, just because the Conservatives right now are just not able to capitalize on anything that can give them that edge to maybe narrow the polls a bit more.
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  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is This a Turning Point - Rami Khoury

    01:02:31
    Rami Khoury, Director of Global Engagement at the American University of Beirut. This conversation sheds light on the ongoing Israeli invasion of Gaza and its ramifications. Khoury, an acclaimed journalist and academic, brings a unique perspective, honing in on the imminent famine crisis in Gaza and exploring the historical context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Tune in for a deep dive into the future of Palestine, the role of Hamas, and the shifting global response to this century-old struggle.Show Notes:Introduction to Rami Khoury: Brief background on Khoury's achievements and his perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Current Crisis in Gaza: Discussion on the Israeli invasion of Gaza, focusing on the humanitarian crisis and the threat of famine.Historical Context: Exploration of the conflict's history, tracing back to the early 20th century, and the role of colonial powers in shaping the current landscape.Role of Hamas: Insights into Hamas's influence and actions within the conflict, including the October 7 attack and its global perception.International Response and Legal Perspectives: Analysis of the International Court of Justice's rulings and the shifting stance of Western governments, including the U.S. and the U.K.Prospects for Peace: Envisioning a two-state solution, the challenges ahead, and the potential roadmap to peace.Audience Q&A: Responses to listener questions, providing clarity on complex issues.Conclusion: Summarising key takeaways and reflections on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.Quotes:On the Historical Context of the Conflict: "It was in 1923 that the League of Nations gave a mandate to Great Britain...and now it's 101 years, and this is still going on." - Rami KhouryRegarding the Role of Hamas: "Hamas has developed since the late 1980s, and it has become over time a very proficient military force... recognising what the capabilities they have developed." - Rami KhouryOn International Response and Legal Perspectives: "The International Court of Justice decision... is very significant because this is the first time in the history of this entire conflict, the two sides were able to present their case in public at a legitimate venue." - Rami KhouryLooking Towards the Future: "The Israelis and the Americans when they talk of states, they say states for the Palestinians, but the Israelis have security rights to control the borders... We're done with that. The Arab world is done with that." - Rami KhouryHope:I am 75 years old. I was born in 1948. So I've lived, this has been my whole life, but it seems to me that this year is the turning point. 2023, 2024. This is the most dramatic week that we've seen where changes are happening... it seems to me that this year is the turning point. - Rami Khoury
  • The Democratic party Chessboard 2016 - 2024 - Luppe Luppen and Hunter Walker

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  • Crossing the Aisle: Steve O'Neill's Political Odyssey from Lib Dems to Labour

    01:03:24
    In this episode of "Mid Atlantic," we explore the world of UK politics through the eyes of Steve O'Neill. Steve, a seasoned political strategist with a background in education and international policy, shares his journey from the British civil service to his involvement in political strategy with the Liberal Democrats, and his eventual shift to the Labour Party. The discussion delves into the dynamics of British politics during critical times like the end of New Labour in 2010, the coalition government, and the post-2015 election challenges faced by the Lib Dems. Steve also discusses his time in New York, including a stint with the United Nations, and his work on the "No Man's Land" podcast, offering a perspective on political division and the quest for unity.Notable Quotes:On Political Awakening: "I wasn't really interested in politics until I was 23, 24 years old. A lot of what I learned about policy and politics was from my day job in the civil service."On Coalition Compromises: "I thought a lot of the big ideas happened in politics. This led me to sympathize with the Lib Dems, particularly their stance during the coalition government."On Shifting Allegiances: "The world felt politically different around the Brexit referendum. That's when I realized no more fence-sitting – it was time to support a more progressive party."On Political Identity: "I'd probably describe myself as centre-left now, aligning more with the Blair-Brown era of politics, having moved away from my earlier centrist views."
  • Maple Politics, the Winds of Change in Canada

    59:13
    Roifield Brown invites Canadian political pundits Laura Babcock and Adam Schaan to dissect the shifting dynamics of Canadian politics. As they delve into the complexities of Trudeau's leadership, the rise of Pierre Poilievre, and the influence of U.S. politics, the conversation illuminates the pressing issues shaping Canada's future. From the climate of political discourse to the impact of housing and immigration policies, this episode offers a deep dive into the heart of Canada's political climate as it stands on the brink of significant change.Show Notes:A deep dive into Canadian political attitudes and the public's perception of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Analysis of Pierre Poilievre's rise in Canadian politics and his potential impact on the country's future.Discussion on Canada's housing crisis and its political ramifications.Exploration of Canada-U.S. relations and their influence on Canadian politics, especially considering potential changes in U.S. leadership.Insights into the role of social media and communication strategies in contemporary Canadian politics.Predictions for the future of the Canadian political landscape and the potential outcomes of upcoming elections.Quotes from the podcast episode:Laura Babcock: "Canada has been going through a really deep affordability and housing crisis like nothing else that we've ever seen. Despite doing well compared to other G7 nations, we are completely not feeling it on the ground."Adam Schaan: "Pierre Poilievre's rise is significant. He's been a member of parliament for nearly two decades and is now seen as sharp, competent, and a potential prime minister. His approach, blending traditional politics with savvy social media strategies, marks a new era in Canadian politics."Laura Babcock: "What's important is for people who say, 'Yeah, that's just Trump. That's just his BS.' He has had a very intelligent and deep and sophisticated and widespread machine behind him the last two years that has been organising how to, in fact, bring in all loyalists, how to take apart the justice system."Adam Schaan: "Canadians recognise how important immigration is and are in support of it, both on a moral basis as a multicultural society and also due to the economic necessity to bring in people to fill in shortages in the labor force and to counteract an aging population."