Air Date 8/5/2022
[00:00:00] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Welcome to this episode of the award winning Best of the Left Podcast, in which we should take a look at the politics of energy and climate in a world addicted to fossil fuels but full of people striving to push past the tipping point toward a clean energy future.
Clips today are from the Muckrake Political Podcast, A Matter of Degrees, Democracy Now!, Today, Explained, CounterSpin, and The Ralph Nader Radio Hour, with additional members-only clips from Gaslit Nation and the Thom Hartmann Program.
Biden Fist Bumps A Pariah - The Muckrake Political Podcast - Air Date 7-19-22
[00:00:33] NICK HAUSELMAN - CO-HOST, THE MUCKRAKE POLITICAL PODCAST: A lot of this is all around the fact that the the price of oil has gotten so high and global market and all the, whatever the stuff means. But here's the thing: Trump had to go to them in, during his administration and tell them, and they needed to lower their amount that they were piping out because the price of oil had gotten so low during the beginning of the pandemic. And they figured out that, what, if we limit our capacity for making oil, the price goes up and that's really fascinating, Jared. And why would we ever wanna increase that again, if the price stays high for us?
It's a manipulated market. I think that's what we have to say here. Yes. If Biden can go onto Twitter and say, you know what, people at the gas pump who are running your gas stations, you gotta lower those prices and then go, Hey, look, all of a sudden, oh my gosh, after a week or so they start lowering their prices and then he goes there and then the price goes down.
It's all manipulated. It's all at the whims of very few people in this world. And I just think it's one of those things where you get into the White House and they just start prepping you from day one. Okay, you're gonna go to visit Saudi Arabia and go dance with them and shake some swords. Just put it on his calendar.
[00:01:35] JARED YATES SEXTON - CO-HOST, THE MUCKRAKE POLITICAL PODCAST: Shake some swords. I don't know. I hate it when I get told by my advisors, I have to go to Saudi Arabia and shake some swords. I was just thinking, as you were going through that, thinking about Trump making his trip. I have this very visceral memory. I don't know if you have it or not. It's been many years. And my god, we know that administration had so many images and moments that we would like to forget. These pictures of him with his hand on a glowing orb. And just like what a fever dream, all of that was. And before we get into the details of this Saudi Arabian situation, we're gonna get a little bit into the history and what's happening here.
We gotta talk about oil. We gotta talk about fossil fuel. One of the reasons why people like Jimmy Carter and realist and pragmatic foreign relations people, and politicians are always talking about Saudi Arabia is because it's our foothold into what we would refer to as a reliable source of oil and fossil fuels.
In the middle of all this -- I'm sorry to do it, I apologize to our listeners. We try not to do this. This is also coming around the time where Senator Joe Manchin just completely single handedly submarined any ability whatsoever for the Biden agenda to move forward and also to start going after climate change -- we have a problem in this world, which is an addiction to fossil fuel.
And it's not a coincidence that where you find fossil fuel, whether or not it's Saudi Arabia, other places in the middle east, Russia, where you find it you find despotism. And you find dictators and authoritarians that you gotta go and kiss up to them and look the other way. For instance, in the middle of all this, we have crown prince Mohamed bin Salman MBS, who is -- let me check my notes -- a total piece of shit. Not only assassinated Khashoggi, we're talking about disappearing political enemies. We're talking about rounding up feminist protesters and then torturing them. That's who this person is.
Meanwhile, what do you have to do when you're the president of the United States and you promised to make Saudi Arabia an international pariah? You have to go and get pictured with him. For days on end -- I don't know if you heard this, but the people I talked to they're like, there is no way whatsoever that Joe Biden is going to get pictured with MBS. There's no way we're gonna see a handshake; that's not gonna happen. And what shows up on all of our feeds? There's the POTUS giving a joyful fist bump with MBS.
It sucks. It just sucks. And the reason's 'cause fossil fuels are not only killing the planet, but they also breed corruption and they breed despotism that you have to kiss the ass of.
[00:04:13] NICK HAUSELMAN - CO-HOST, THE MUCKRAKE POLITICAL PODCAST: A couple things. I don't think he was joyful in the fist bump.
[00:04:17] JARED YATES SEXTON - CO-HOST, THE MUCKRAKE POLITICAL PODCAST: Okay, that's fair. That adjective might have been a little bit too much. That's fair.
[00:04:22] NICK HAUSELMAN - CO-HOST, THE MUCKRAKE POLITICAL PODCAST: But the despotism in countries that produce the most oil is an interesting phrasing, because who leads the world in oil production now? We do. United States is up there. If they're not leading completely, they're pretty close, like at the same amount as like Russia does in terms of billions or millions of barrels per day.
So we are moving towards some version of despotism. Do you think that's a connection between oil production and despotism?
[00:04:48] JARED YATES SEXTON - CO-HOST, THE MUCKRAKE POLITICAL PODCAST: I think everything that we're looking at right now, and let's lay this out. When we're talking about growing authoritarianism, when we're talking about this movement that we've been chronicling now for years, right? There are so many different reasons. People want a silver bullet thing. And they always look at conspiracy theories, the idea of evil, right? A bunch of people in a dark room, rubbing their hands together, coming up with plans. No. We're talking about capitalism and we're talking about what happens with entrenched wealth, how they protect themselves, how they make sure that things continue. In all of this, we're in a situation now where we're on the precipice of, we need to do something about fossil fuels. We need to move beyond them. A lot of these people are trying to protect themselves. They're trying to maintain this sort of monopoly that they have.
But also these are the same people who don't want to see the snow globe shook up. You know what I mean? They really like the way things are set up and they want to continue down that path. So it's not a coincidence that as we're looking at climate change over the horizon, when we're talking about the possibility of, I don't know, trying to move to wind or solar or even nuclear for the love of God, we are talking about people defending their block.
And I think these things absolutely go hand in hand, whether it's with Putin, MBS, or even the assholes we're dealing with in this country.
[00:06:05] NICK HAUSELMAN - CO-HOST, THE MUCKRAKE POLITICAL PODCAST: Yeah. It's money.
This is a Big (Climate) Deal: Whats in the Inflation Reduction Act Part 1 - A Matter of Degrees - Air Date 8-3-22
[00:06:06] LEAH STOKES - HOST, A MATTER OF DEGREES: If you want to understand what's in it, I would really recommend this Evergreen explainer about the climate impact of the Inflation Reduction Act. It's up on the website at evergreenaction.com and it just walks you through in many pages, but not nearly as many pages as the bill, what is in the bill. So, Representative Jayapal, could you talk about what these climate investments would mean for everyday Americans, how it would help everyday Americans save on their energy bills, and what it will do to help us address the climate crisis?
[00:06:33] REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Absolutely. And, um, I have to say that I'm, first of all, I gotta do a little brag on the Congressional Progressive Caucus because, as you know, we have a hundred members and if it wasn't for us in the first round, we never would've had a reconciliation bill with many of the provisions that, the good provisions that are contained within this bill. If you remember, when the infrastructure bill came to us from the Senate, it was passed with a lot of bipartisan votes, but there was no bill for what we were calling at the time Build Back Better, that was the climate investment and the Progressive Caucus really stood up time and time again to make sure that we got a bill negotiated, we got a bill drafted and we got a bill passed in the House. And now finally the Senate is comin' along and yes, it's not quite everything that we had put in there, but it is a significant step forward.
So, this bill contains billions of dollars worth of consumer facing incentives that would help us to reduce emissions and energy bills. And the studies that we've seen have shown that 41% of inflation has been driven by fossil fuels. So when we talk about this bill making investments in clean energy, remember that that is one of the biggest components of price increases that consumers are facing. So that's a really, really important point.
How does it do the work that it does? It includes tax credits that will make it cheaper for low- and middle-income Americans to get clean energy technologies, like an electric vehicle or a heat pump or an induction stove, or any of the other technologies that are out there. And if people adopt those technologies, it not only reduces emissions, and the estimate is that it will reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. And that does not take into account the accelerator effect that researchers are now showing. If people adopt these technologies, it will save them an average of about $1,800 a year on energy bills. So it's directly combating the high cost of these fossil fuels that are passed on to the consumer.
And the benefits for my constituents, or really for the whole country, go beyond the direct investments, as I was just kind of alluding to. There are researchers at Oxford that have just released some studies that have found that the more renewable technology that we build technologies, like solar panels and wind turbines and electric vehicles, the cheaper they get to produce. This is not the case in the fossil fuel industry where prices have basically remained the same for about 140 years, if you adjust for inflation. But the Inflation Reduction Act puts this massive investment into renewable energy that will dramatically lower renewable energy costs by more than just the monetary value of the tax credits. And that will accelerate the declining cost of renewable energy for decades to come, which will save Americans money well beyond the expiration of the tax credits. And it'll create a tipping point where clean energy ultimately will decline in cost well below what we currently pay for fossil fuels.
Now it also includes 4 billion for environmental justice initiatives in historically disadvantaged communities that have faced the worst effects of climate change. That's a huge priority for me and my constituents because we have a lot of areas in and around the district that have experienced the harms of air pollution, heat waves, wildfires, and Superfund sites. So if you really look at the totality and it's about, if you look at all the different places where we're investing in environmental justice the amount is closer to about 60 billion for environmental justice initiatives.
And so all of these different components, when you put them together will be the biggest investment in taking on the climate crisis, protecting our people, protecting our planet, and doing it with justice for the most disadvantaged at the center. It will be a huge deal. And that's just on the climate front. We're not talking even about the other pieces that are in the bill around lowering healthcare costs, continuing the Affordable Care Act subsidies, lowering the cost of prescription drug pricing, for the first time, by the way, making big pharma negotiate with Medicare to lower the cost of at least some of the drugs - we're hoping that insulin will be in there as well, though it's not in this bill, that it would, ultimately be added in - and, of course, making big corporations pay at least 15% corporate minimum tax. So lots of really good stuff in this bill, but certainly the climate provisions are one of the big highlights of what we're gonna be able to do here.
[00:11:36] LEAH STOKES - HOST, A MATTER OF DEGREES: Can you share any insight that you have about how this might be received in the House, especially in your role as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus?
[00:11:46] REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Well, look, I think that the bill is the result of years of progressive activism and policy proposals on how to tackle climate change. And I really hope that everybody that is listening in today, watching, listening to this conversation takes some credit for the work that you've done to really move the movement forward.
There is nothing that passes in Congress that isn't the result of an enormous movement pushing things forward. And so that's the first thing. I think, you know, I mentioned the Build Back Better Act that was the reconciliation bill that passed the House, that had 555 billion in climate investments. This is lower than that, but it is still historic.
The inflation reduction act has a historic 369 billion for transformative climate action. But most of the changes between the two bills are decreases in amounts for specific programs, but most of the programs are retained in this version of the bill. So I think that is going to help a lot of our progressives feel really good about the bill.
And as I mentioned before, it's got billions of dollars worth of tax credits for American families that are gonna save money, reduce emissions and energy bills. I think one of the key issues was making sure that there's direction to ensure that the investments reach communities where fossil fuels were the main source of income and ensure just transition.
That was a top priority for the progressive caucus. And again, here, it includes that focus on environmental justice in historically disadvantaged communities. So I think all of those are gonna be very well received. Now, I don't wanna tell you that the bill is perfect. It's not. It does contain some provisions that require fossil fuel lease sales and the sales are problematic for people, but I wanna point out that the amount of sales in the bill are about a quarter lower for offshore leasing than the historic ten-year average and about half of historic onshore lease sales. And the bill also increases the royalty rates and costs for fossil fuel producers, and so another way that the bill will speed up the tipping point where renewable energy becomes less expensive than fossil fuels.
So as we push for both climate action and a fossil-free future, it is okay to be angry about those provisions. It's not that we have to be happy with those provisions. However, I do want people to understand that this bill in totality represents enormous progress, not perfection, and we still have to fight to achieve a fossil-free future and this bill is a big step along that path. The most important thing to remember is that the fossil fuel parts of the bill are estimated to add only 1% to emissions by 2040 and the rest of the bill is actually expected to drastically reduce emission levels, which is what would allow us to reach that, 40% reduction in emissions.
So it's about 80% of the initial goal that president Biden had laid out. And so in talking to my colleagues in the progressive caucus, we really feel like this is, on totality, very much of a big victory and a big step forward.
With Congress Unwilling to Act, Pressure Grows on Biden to Declare National Climate Emergency - Democracy Now! - Air Date 7-21-22
[00:15:13] PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: That’s why today I’m making the largest investment ever — $2.3 billion — to help communities across the country build infrastructure that’s designed to withstand the full range of disasters we’ve been seeing up to today — extreme heat, drought, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes. Right now there are millions of people suffering from extreme heat at home. So my team is also working with the states to deploy $385 million right now. For the first time, states will be able to use federal funds to pay for air conditioners in homes, set up community cooling centers in schools, where people can get through these extreme heat crises. …
Not a single Republican in Congress stepped up to support my climate plan. Not one. So let me be clear: Climate change is an emergency. And in the coming weeks, I’m going to use the power I have as president to turn these words into formal, official government actions through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders and regulatory power that a president possesses. And when it comes to fighting the climate change — climate change, I will not take no for an answer.
[00:16:29] AMY GOODMAN: Again, Jean Su, President Biden used the term “emergency” five or six times during the speech but did not actually declare a national climate emergency. Its significance?
[00:16:42] JEAN SU: Yes. So, President Biden did not declare a climate emergency yesterday. We absolutely need him to do that. It is an incredible rallying cry if President Biden can actually articulate that we are in a climate emergency and unleash all the tools in his toolbox as the president to really combat the crisis in front of us. The other part of the climate emergency declaration is that it signals to the entire world and Americans that President Biden is no longer going to have a confused or slow-walked climate policy, that he is going to have an all-hands-on-deck approach to the suffering that we are all experiencing right now across the world.
[00:17:25] NERMEEN SHAIKH: And Jean, could you outline what are the measures that Biden could take in the event that he does declare an emergency?
[00:17:33] JEAN SU: Absolutely. So, the Biden administration, if they declare a climate emergency, actually unlocks additional emergency powers, as well as ordinary powers, to deal with the climate emergency. Some of the emergency powers are very powerful tools to turn off the spigot for fossil fuels. One of them would be to reinstate our crude oil export ban, which has allowed the fracking and explosion of oil in the Permian Basin. Another is to actually stop offshore drilling right now that is happening in the ocean. And finally, another power would allow him to stop the hundreds of billions of dollars every year that private corporations, like BlackRock, like all of our private banks, are sending abroad to build fossil fuel plants and poisoning and endangering communities there.
Did Joe Manchin just save the planet? - Today, Explained - Air Date 8-3-22
[00:18:24] HOST: So Lee kind of gave us the broad strokes, 369 billion of investment, but can you tell us what are the largest areas of investment?
[00:18:34] REBECCA LEBER: Yeah. If this bill works as it's intended, it will basically push Americans away from relying on fossil fuels in all parts of the economy.
Our biggest polluting sectors are transportation, electricity. And then after that we have indice. Buildings and some other areas, okay. This bill helps clean up cars. It helps clean up the power sector. It has tons of funding for clean energy tax credits, as well as credits for electric vehicles. And I think that's where consumers are going to see the biggest difference.
Those kinds of credits.
[00:19:10] HOST: Okay. Let's talk about cars first. What's this bill doing on?
[00:19:13] REBECCA LEBER: This helps clean up the car industry by providing tax credits for new and used electric vehicles. The idea is bringing down the cost for electric vehicles for everyone. So this more targets, the lower and middle income brackets to help make cars more affordable.
So that's why I think the tax credits for used electric vehicles is, is particularly interesting here because that's what most people are buying. I think
[00:19:42] HOST: a lot of people discovered in this pandemic that it's kind of hard to buy used cars and even new cars. Does this tax credit do anything to address the shortage of availability that people have had?
[00:19:53] REBECCA LEBER: Yeah. That's the other half of this bill. Targeting consumption of fossil fuels, but it's also looking at the manufacturing side. This is basically Biden's campaign promises to enhance us jobs and manufacturing. So there are credits for manufacturers to produce electric cars. There's also some stipulations in the electric vehicle tax credit section.
More parts of the car have to be produced in the us. And those actually ratchet up over time. So ideally over the next decade, you see more cars being put together, parts being produced in the us.
This investment in environmental justice is real. It also provides tax credits that will create thousands of good paying jobs, manufacturing jobs on clean energy, construction projects, solar projects, wind projects, clean hydrogen projects, carbon capture projects, and more by giving tax credits.
For those who build these projects here in America,
[00:21:00] HOST: you also mentioned power was a big part of the spending here. What's gonna happen regarding power.
[00:21:08] REBECCA LEBER: So the power, sector's a really important piece of this puzzle because as we have more electric cars, as we replace appliances in people's homes with electric appliances, that's going to be plugging into a grid.
So we're only as clean as the grid is. we have to make sure that the power sector is not running on coal and not running on natural gas in order to ensure that it's running on clean energy and not contributing to the climate crisis. So the biggest spending of the bill is actually on clean energy tax credits for solar wind and even growing.
Uh, the us is very small offshore wind industry. All of that is to ensure that we have a cleaner grid, that we're not just plugging cars into a grid that's powered by coal. And what all of the economic modeling has shown is that without. This kind of spending, there could still be some coal on the grid in the next decade when we really need to get that down to zero by 2030.
But the other thing it does that is really big, is it tackles methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Hmm. So there is a methane fee and finds for oil and gas operators that are basically leaking this very powerful greenhouse gas throughout its supply chain. So this is the first. Industry wide kind of fee that, that tries to bring down this really polluting greenhouse gas that it compared to CO2 methane pollutes up to 86 times more over a 20 year period.
So it's important to tackle methane.
[00:22:56] HOST: So it seems like it's pointing us in the right direction, especially when it comes to methane and carbon emissions in the United States. When you say there's all these tax credits and that's the biggest proportion of spending in the entire bill, are we talking about tax credits for individual homeowners?
Are we talking about tax credits for business who gets the
[00:23:14] REBECCA LEBER: money? It's a mix it's tax credits for people to put rooftop solar on their homes, but also for. The company manufacturing side. One thing this bill does is extend tax credits by 10 years. Hmm. And without this, we would've seen wind and solar credits actually on the verge of expiring this year.
And what this does is provide some certainty for the future, for businesses on their growth. And we do need both sides of this to ensure the growth of the clean energy sector. Okay.
[00:23:49] HOST: So cars. Power. Anything else here? That's hugely significant.
[00:23:54] REBECCA LEBER: There's also the first national green bank.
We have green banks throughout the country. Some states and cities have created these, but at the federal level, this is a quasi public private. Bank that has a social mission, which is to boost clean energy. Okay. Now they are expecting a return on their investments. This isn't just a government grant, but the idea is to boost spending in all kinds of clean energy sectors.
And one thing I think this does that is unique to what a national green bank could do, as opposed to the private sector. Is it dedicates a portion of those funds to low income?
[00:24:41] HOST: Hmm. Is this like a new idea
[00:24:43] REBECCA LEBER: for the government? It's not new other countries have it? The UK, for example, has its own green bank.
And that's been really instrumental in growing its offshore wind industry. So if a national green bank can do the same for the us, that's basically growing an offshore wind industry from zero. So it can make a big difference.
This is a Big (Climate) Deal: Whats in the Inflation Reduction Act Part 2 - A Matter of Degrees - Air Date 8-3-22
[00:25:06] SEN. ED MARKEY: Here's the good news: this bill, if we get it over the finish line, and we need all of the energy of everyone who is on this call, we actually reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030, not 42% of [unintelligible]. But because this bill is so big, it's gonna allow us to sprint these final eight years, sprint to get us to that 40% reduction. Now we know it really requires 50%. But at the same time, we also know that a half a loaf, which is what this is, will give us the sustenance we need in order to get the whole loaf. Because we are right and they're wrong, that the jobs are gonna be created by the millions, the greenhouse gases are going to come down, we'll be providing the global leadership, and we'll be providing environmental justice to communities like Chelsea and Roxbury and Boston, but it'll be in Harlem, South Central LA, it'll be everywhere in the country in a way that's gonna build a new political machine in our country around these issues. Because when we come back in three or four more years, it'll be totally different because of all the all-electric vehicles and solar and wind and battery jobs that have been created. And the political dynamic on this is going to change. And so that'll give us a capacity to come back and try to pass more legislation that gets us up to the 50%.
So from my perspective, the movement - and thank you, movement - built the momentum - thank you, Reverend, for using momentum - for this moment for us to be able to get this passed. And we have an ability here to keep fighting to get this passed and then use it as the springboard to move on to the future.
So for years, what we've been saying is when the oil and gas and coal have had tax breaks for a hundred years, don't criticize us about socialism. That is socialism. And in this bill, we get wind and solar and battery and all-electric vehicle and transmission tax breaks for 10 years. So once that playing field is leveled, once all the investors can see what will happen, if we can get this passed and it's predictable over a 10-year period, it's gonna telescope the timeframe for us to get this done.
So I just feel absolutely great about it. Let me put it like this: it's a great bill that's imperfect. It's almost like our Constitution, in order to form a more perfect union. It's like contradictory inside and of it itself. How can something be more perfect, right? So that's our job, right? It's something that we're gonna have to continue to work on, but I thank everyone for joining us. So, we now have the recipe for future success.
[00:28:00] LEAH STOKES - HOST, A MATTER OF DEGREES: What's the one thing you really want people to take away from the bill? Like if they only really understood one thing at the end of this event, what do you think is a really key takeaway?
[00:28:10] SEN. ED MARKEY: Ah, well, again, our goal has always been 3 parts. 1: Dramatic reduction in emissions. It does it. 2: Creating millions of jobs, most of them union. It does it. And 3: Spending tens of billions of dollars, 60 billion, to remediate environmental injustice. It does it. So that's the test, and it passes the test. And for me, I've been working hard - I'm glad you raised it - I've been working hard to make sure we have domestic production of solar, domestic production of offshore wind technologies here in the United States. And so I worked hard and, with Sheldon Whitehouse to keep getting the offshore wind tax break, extended and extended in fits and starts, and we got it done, but nothing like this bill. It's 10 years guaranteed. And nothing like this bill, because I was able to get in $10 billion to have domestic American production of the technology, not imported from China, not imported from some other place. We'll do it here, made in America with union workers. And there's also, which doesn't really get mentioned that often, and you know, we talk about the tax rates from wind and solar and cars and batteries, but there's a 27 billion dollar climate bank, that's in this bill. 27 billion? And that's going to be used and that's something I put in the bill. And it's 27 billion that is going to be used to give out low interest loans all across the country.
Mackenzie - Capitalism Incorporated - McKenzie says that for every dollar that comes out of the climate bank, it's gonna unleash $7 to $10 of private sector investment. So then we're talking like another 250 billion in investments in our country that will be a small town in Ohio. Just saying we wanna over, we wanna completely do over our public housing stock. Okay, good. Come to the climate bank, you know, we'll make sure you get the funding to do it to the highest possible energy efficiency standard. Or a community that wants to install a solar panels on their city town dump, Oh, come to the climate bank, we'll help you to finance it so that it's affordable for the private sector to come in and to do it. So it's a provision that's kind of hidden a little bit but it's close to 8% of the whole bill in terms of the funding that's there. And ultimately it has a potential to have an explosive clean energy response in thousands of small towns all across the country who can apply, and it can be the poorest towns that need the money the most and have always been wondering, Where is it gonna come from? And the climate bank will be there to help them. So it's something that I feel great about, doesn't get the attention, but it's right up there with these other provisions in terms of the magnitude of the historic impact which it's going to have. And by the way, with members of the House, I was able to build in 33 million for environmental justice mapping for the whole country. So I got that money in there, too. So there'll be a map of the entire country that is created of where the environmental justice crimes have been committed. Then it'll make it easier for us to target this money, to make sure that it's going into those communities. So I'm very proud of that as well.
Vivek Shandas on Climate Disruption & Heat Waves, Jamie Kalven on Laquan McDonald Coverup - Counterspin - Air Date 7-29-22
[00:31:41] VIVEK SHANDAS: Often, what we're hearing about the climate change is this global phenomenon. And so I wanna just start with that idea in that we have now going back to the 1950s, in fact, there were oil companies, scientists who were convinced in the 1950s that the emission of these massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would lead to a potential forcing of and destabilizing of the climate system as a whole. And that's now over, you know, half a century established science that's been growing over time and we had some real interest in this kind of global phenomenon.
And so where the conversation is increasingly going and where we're trying to move this is to get it down into much more of an everyday experience of something that communities need to be far more prepared for and far more safeguarded from. And that takes place at our local neighborhoods, at our streets, in our cities as a whole.
And so the conversation's starting to move in that direction. And while we're talking about the kind of increasing precision of the science that's emerging, we're also starting to see at this very localized level, the pernicious effects of what happens when a climate and a planetary system does become dysfunctional from what we've known it from millennia in the past. And so part of what we're seeing now is this ability to describe in incredible detail how an individual street, how a city block, how a neighborhood really feels some of these most acute effects of, for example, a heat wave that's just come through my city of Portland, Oregon, and who are the people who are most affected by these heat waves. And we've been able to chalk this up to a variety of different factors, namely factors that related to race-based planning and segregation efforts, that took place almost a century ago, that are coming home to roost today. And that's what we're starting to see these disproportionate impacts around.
[00:33:47] JANINE JACKSON - HOST, COUNTERSPIN: Well, let's talk a little bit in detail about that because I understand that you've been able to find actual temperature variations between neighborhoods. Yeah?
[00:33:59] VIVEK SHANDAS: Right. So, generally when we talk about the weather we see on the news or in newspapers or radio, we hear about, you know, the high that's going to befall a city or region. And sometimes we get a little bit of variation across cities within a metro region. So what that essentially does is it creates this kind of one temperature for an entire city. And what that also suggests is that mother nature is throwing this thing at us and we really have no agency. We have nothing we can do about it. Though when we get into these specific measurements and descriptions of differences by neighborhood, we're then able to see that the actions where we've taken in past planning and design can be directly attributable to the experiences that communities and infrastructure and ecosystems have at the local level. And so when we start seeing those differences, what that suddenly suggests is that we have some agency, we have some control over what our everyday experience is like when it comes to these heat waves, flooding events, various forms of climate-induced impacts as they fall upon our cities as a whole. So what we've been able to find is that cities vary by upwards of 15 sometimes 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
In fact, the heat wave that came through the Pacific Northwest, during the heat wave, I was really lucky and fortunate to have some very sensitive temperature and humidity measurements that I was able to go out and collect around the region and found that while the news media was saying, you know, it was 115 on Sunday, I was able to go out and actually clock neighborhoods at about 124 Fahrenheit with these sensitive thermometers. I even went by a few houseless encampments that were along a busy street, and I was able to use a little infrared camera to take photos of various tents that were set up and I could see silhouettes inside the tents, so I knew there were people inside, and I noticed that these tents were coming in at about 135 Fahrenheit. And that's lethal when you're talking about communities that are completely exposed to this kind of heat coming through and very limited preparation or outreach that I noticed was happening in and around the region.
[00:36:21] JANINE JACKSON - HOST, COUNTERSPIN: Right. And so you're talking about things like, Hey, if you're in an affluent neighborhood, you probably have more trees. And that is a material difference in terms of how you're gonna experience a heat wave.
[00:36:34] VIVEK SHANDAS: Yes, trees are often the first go-to because they are incredibly efficient in their ability to draw water up from the deep soil. It transpired out their leaves, change the humidity around the local environment, provide that shade, all of these things help cool that local environment. And yes, wealthier communities have been designed to have more trees because of a variety of racial covenants and redlining policies that were promulgated 80 to 100 years ago that still maintain their fingerprint or their, kind of, echo today.
And so what we're seeing is that these trees directly do help, though what we're also seeing is that the amount of space for being able to get trees into the ground is much larger in wealthier, often whiter neighborhoods, meaning racially whiter neighborhoods of cities, whereas lower income communities of color, often Black, Latino, Indigenous communities, living in cities due to historic segregation policies or living in places that have far less space for trees, let alone all the other potential factors that lead to the amplification of heat waves.
[00:37:44] JANINE JACKSON - HOST, COUNTERSPIN: Well, we know that public policy relies on public opinion and opinion relies on experience. So there's a real relationship between thinking, Well, you know, that heat wave was bad, but it wasn't so bad for me or, you know, Well, I don't live on a coastline or whatever, you know, and also people have things on their mind. They may have lost their job. Their kid might be sick. How do we work on engaging people in a incredible problem that might still be abstract for them based on this just differential impact?
[00:38:21] VIVEK SHANDAS: It's interesting, specifically in the Pacific Northwest where a lot of the houses don't, even middle income, higher income homes, don't have a history of having air conditioning. And so what's particularly, noticeable for me in this particular event of 115 plus degree heat wave coming through is that there were a number of people who often don't step up and show up for those conversations about inequity actually coming up and saying, Hey, this is really hot. We are not well prepared. And I was hearing a lot of that over the last few days in the Pacific Northwest. Though to get to your point more directly, I think the idea of public opinion of folks who may not be necessarily directly engaged with the conversation, one of the most important parts of this is for us showing evidence about what is it that's happening in and around a region.
We have been very ambitious in going out and engaging communities that are often at the front line of the heat waves, those who are working outside, working through community-based organizations, to go out and collect evidence around what are we seeing? Often this is the invisible side of things. We don't see the differential effects because we are not directly experiencing it. Though, I am able to show you that your block, which is just a couple of blocks away from another neighborhood, is actually 15 degrees cooler, in terms of temperature, then just a neighbor a walk's distance away. And so when I can start, when I or we can start describing these differences in what the experience is, we can start to really have conversations about why those patterns exist, what may have led to them, and ultimately engaging in those conversations could lead to actions that would allow communities to then change public opinion about where we prioritize resources, how we center historically-marginalized communities in reducing the impacts of heat waves, which, as we know, kill more people than all other natural disasters.
And so that's something that we really kind of ground ourselves in, is this evidence and descriptions of what is happening just outside of our houses, just within our neighborhoods and across our whole city.
What If The Fed Bought Out The Oil Industry - Ralph Nader Radio Hour - Air Date 7-18-22
[00:40:44] JIMMY LEE WORD - PRODUCER, RALPH NADAR: The first thing we have to confront when we think about inflation is energy prices. Now, energy prices are in a special category because of the climate crisis. In my view, fossil fuel energy prices shouldn't be brought down. They have to be brought up, if anything, in order for us to facilitate, accelerate the transition out of fossil fuel dependency.
So what do we do when you have energy prices skyrocketing? People's livelihoods are being significantly hurt. Should you lower fossil fuel energy prices? The alternative has been presented in Congress: a Windfall Profits Tax. That is, uh, you have energy prices remaining high, but you tax the profits of the oil companies and you redistribute the revenue back to the American people.
So if we look at energy prices today, even relative to pre-COVID, relative to pre-COVID, so we are not talking about the lockdown and anything that had to do with that, the average gasoline price today at $4.70 a gallon is about twice as high as it was pre-COVID. So the oil companies are making gigantic monopolistic profits. Those profits need to be taxed away. And if we did that, every person in the country on average, every person in the country would be getting about $125. So a family of four would be getting about $500 to cover their increased gasoline prices.
When we talk about the Windfall Profits Tax, which has been proposed in Congress and I strongly favor, it does raise a broader question is, if we're gonna tax the so-called excess profits of oil companies, how do we define excess profits?
Under what circumstances should oil companies be making money when the way they make money is by destroying the planet? So any profits by the oil companies, in my view, and any kind of logical framework should be recognized as excess profits, 'cause there shouldn't be any profits. In which case the Federal Reserve could buy the assets of the oil companies, just like they bought the assets of all other kinds of Wall Street firms, and deliver a nationalized oil industry that could then manage a green transition in an orderly fashion.
[00:43:20] RALPH NADER - HOST, RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR: So what companies should be nationalized, the way the government took over a bankrupting General Motors and near-bankrupting Chrysler a number of years ago? They owned a majority share the stock. So, you would nationalize ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, the three bigger ones. Tell us how that would work apart from the difficulties on Capitol Hill?
[00:43:45] JIMMY LEE WORD - PRODUCER, RALPH NADAR: Well, again, the simple model is exactly what the Fed did during the COVID crisis, in general. The Fed just bought financial assets. They bought stocks, they bought bonds owned by Wall Street firms. In this case, they could just buy majority ownership of these three oil giants. And, you know, I calculated, this is from about a couple months ago, the cost would probably be lower now, given that the market's gone down, but according to my calculations, they could buy majority ownership for about 400 billion, which is 1/10th - 1/10th - of what the Fed pumped into Wall Street in 18 months during the COVID crisis. So this is not actually any kind of outrageous proposition. As you just noted, Ralph, the government bought majority ownership of General Motors, Chrysler, and AIG, the insurance giant. They bailed out Goldman Sachs in 2008-2009. So this is certainly within the realm of feasibility and it's within the realm of the technical tools available from the Fed.
[00:44:56] RALPH NADER - HOST, RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR: And then what would happen? Let's assume that the three big oil giants were nationalized. There's still a lot of non-nationalized oil companies who can engage in frollicks and detours. How do you deal with that? And basically two questions: what would the government do once it nationalized? It would be the owners of these three giant oil companies. And how would it deal with the rest of the oil, gas, coal economy, which is bent on maximizing short term profits? Nevermind the effect on climate disruption or anything else?
[00:45:33] JIMMY LEE WORD - PRODUCER, RALPH NADAR: Well, I mean, I didn't mean to set it as a principle that they should only buy the three giants. I did that just by way of illustration. Yeah, you could buy all the rest of the companies. The other companies are much smaller so that the federal government could nationalize the entire fossil fuel industry. You know, my calculation was the three giants at 400 billion. You could do the whole shebang for less than 800 billion. And so that, I wasn't establishing that, Oh, we just get rid of the three big ones and the others get to do whatever they want. The basic point being that once the government controls these giant fossil fuel companies, then we can have an orderly transition in which, yes, we keep fossil fuel prices high. The revenues from selling the fossil fuels would be transferred automatically back to the American people. Meanwhile, at the same time, they would be investing in accelerating the growth of the clean energy infrastructure.
Dirty World. - Gaslit Nation with Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior - Air Date 7-19-22
[00:46:38] ANDREA CHALUPA - CO-HOST, GASLIT NATION: Now in a recent New York times, Sienna college poll, only 1% of voters offered climate change as their number one concern. The leading concerns of voters are corns poll, the obvious ones, the economy, and inflation.
There's that famous saying? When it comes to campaigning, it's the economy stupid. Everything comes down to the economy. Obviously, if you're struggling on how you're going to get food on the table, how you're going to pay rent, whether you're you're on the verge of homelessness, wh when you're fighting for survival, the immediate threats are obviously going to be your number one priority.
And so many people are vulnerable right now, but before political leaders take this polling to dismiss climate change as a key issue, they should take into. That I'm gonna quote now from Harvard health publishing, according to a survey by the American psychological association, more than two thirds of Americans experience some climate anxiety, a study published by the Lancet found that 84% of children and young adults ages 16 to 25 are at least moderately worried about climate change.
59% are very or extremely worried. So in general, two thirds of Americans experience some climate anxiety and the next generation of voters are also extremely worried. So guess what? Politicians, if you wanna. People to knock on doors for you to make phone calls for you to move mountains, getting out the vote, speak clearly.
And with moral leadership, when it comes to the climate emergency, the majority of Americans experience climate anxiety, that's motivation. The economy is always a leading factor in elections, but it's firing up the base that can make all the difference in election, especially a close one. So don't lose sight of the fact that the climate emergency is the number one issue.
The climate crisis is disruptive across all industries, all walks of life in the UK. For instance, you see the British rural air force had to stop flights out of its large stair base because the runway had melted in extreme heat. That extreme heat is only going to get worse. The climate crisis is an international security crisis.
The Pentagon knows this. They released a report on it. That was apocalyptic. Also all the oil and gas that we're consuming. That's destroying the planet, that oil and gas that's paying for Russia's war crimes in Ukraine. Russia continues to. Deliberately target civilians because it's a terrorist state, right.
And Russia released a report saying that a warming planet is a good thing for Russia because it's going to melt the ice in Siberia and Siberia will then be turned into farmland. For Russia to exploit I kid you not Russia once climate change so that it can turn Siberia into a bread basket of Europe.
The idiots there don't understand how extreme heat flooding extreme drought, extreme storms will mess with those plans. So Russia continues to rake in billions from oil and gas using that money to fuel its war machine committing genocide and Ukraine. And Joe mansion is empowering. All that. Joe mansion and his financial backers are fueling Russia's war machine by preventing America from taking any meaningful action right now on the climate emergency, we need to make oil and gas obsolete.
We need to accelerate our transition to renewable energy. We're not moving fast enough. And in the meantime, we're empowering mass murdering psychopathic, dictators, like put. Yes, economic uncertainty and inflation brought on by that pandemic than made even worse by Russia's genital. War are scary, but we need to weather this storm and demand.
We move faster in our transition to renewable energy. We're all being called to meet this moment. There's so much at stake at this dangerous crossroads. We're all facing. Now we're going to end this show with a. Uh, beyond Stoltenberg the former prime minister of Norway for the labor party and the current secretary general of NATO speaking to the European parliament, the Euro currently is getting battered the Euro and the dollar are now equivalent, which is huge.
Um, Europe is paying a big price in the energy hit that it's taking and trying to wean itself off of Russian oil. And. This is a problem of Europe's own making. They should have been paying attention all this time on how Russia was abusing its own people, abusing its neighbors. They should have never relied on a terrorist state like Russia for its energy.
But unfortunately, the policy across Europe was disastrous. Appeasement led by Merkel of Germany. Under Merkel journey became further dependent on Russian energy. And now here we are, Europe created this crisis for themselves, and now they're forced to pay the price. It is a reminder to all of us that we, we have to have moral leadership.
You cannot trust or do business or let in terrorist of any kind, whether it's a terrorist lawyer, like Jamie gray, like, or a mass murdering terrorist, like Putin, we have to draw the line and we have to enforce those lines or else that's.
[00:51:51] JENS STOLTENBERG: The price of not supporting them is much higher. Partly because for me, this is a moral issue.
This is about an sovereign independent nation with more than 40 million people living in Europe, which is brutally attacked by a big power Russia. If you don't react to that, you have seen what happened in BJA. In other places. It, it violates my understanding of what I say, decent behavior of neighbors and friends of Ukraine.
So of course, yes, it has a price. But not to act and just let that brutality continue and let that brutality of Russia be awarded is for me a higher price. Second, it is in our interest to help Ukraine because you have to understand that if Ukraine loses this, that's a danger for us that will make Europe even more vulnerable for Russian.
Because then the less learned from Georgia 2008 from an exia in 2014, from starting to undermine Donbas in 2014 and then the full brutal invasion by Preston Putin in February is that they can just use force. They get the will. It's to reestablish and the idea of sphere, so influence where big powers can decide what small neighbors can do, and that will make all of us more vulnerable.
So even if you don't care about the moral aspect of this, supporting the people of Ukraine, you should care about your own security interest. So therefore you have to pay, pay for the support, pay for the humanitarian aid, pay the consequences of the economic sanctions, because the alternative is to pay a much higher price later.
and then remember one thing, yes, we pay a price, but the price we pay as the European union as NATO is the price we can measure in currency, in money, the price they pay. It's measured in lives, lost every day. So you, you should just stop complaining and step up and provide support, full stop.
12 Ways Biden Is Fighting Climate Change That You Haven't Heard - Thom Hartmann Program - Air Date 7-26-22
[00:53:49] THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: 12 ways the Biden and the Democrats are protecting the environment. This is part of the Good News Roundup over on DailyKos.com and it's a great read and I'll summarize it for you.
Number one, Biden rejoined the Paris climate accords. This is a huge deal. Donald Trump pulled us out of the Paris accords because he and the Republican party were taking -- I don't know specifically how much he took -- but the Republican party in general had been taking literally hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars over the years from the fossil fuel industry, from fossil fuel billionaires, and from foundations and groups aligned with both. And they wanted to get us out of the Paris climate accords because they wanted to be able to continue to pollute with impunity and in the process make as much profit as possible. And Biden said, no, we're gonna rejoin the Paris Accords.
Number two, Biden expanded wind farms. This is great. The Departments of Interior, Energy and Commerce are all working together to increase our offshore wind energy capacity, which by the way, is some of the most reliable wind out there.
And again, this is on Daily Kos. The Departments of Energy, Interior, and Commerce committed to a shared goal of generating 30 gigawatts, 30 billion watts of offshore wind in the us by 2030. The Interior Department estimates that reaching that goal would create nearly 80,000 jobs.
This was an effort that they took that they didn't need Congress for, so they succeeded. But any effort by Congress to do something like this would be blocked by Republicans who are in the deep pockets of the fossil fuel industry.
Number three, Biden and the Democrats made the largest investment in railroads since Amtrak was created. That's a good thing.
Number four, Biden revoked the Keystone XL pipeline permit. Again, this has nothing to do with the price of gas in the United States. This coal slurry that runs through that pipeline is not made into gasoline. It's made into heavier things like diesel and other kinds of oils, like that. And it's for export. They're trying to ship this stuff from Canada down to the Gulf coast. Not because there's a huge demand for this thing in Texas and Louisiana, but because that's where there's a port and they can put it on ships and ship it out of the United States. So we refine it, we get the pollution, which is why you've got cancer alley from east Texas, all the way through Louisiana, all the way down wind from these refineries, we get the pollution. The people who own the refineries -- and it used to be the Koch brothers, I don't know if it still is -- but the people who own the refineries get the profits, and other countries get the oil. And Biden said, no, this is stupid. And it was. So good on him for that.
Number five, Biden protected endangered species. He reversed two Trump-era rules that ended defense of endangered species in the United States. That's a big deal.
Number six, he increased the use of renewable energy. This was by executive order. Under an executive order, the federal government would phase out the purchase of gasoline-powered vehicles and federal government buildings -- which are not inconsequential, there's a lot of them -- federal government buildings would be powered by wind, solar or other clean energy.
Number seven, Biden is cleaning up long-ignored toxic sites. Now you'll recall, I believe it was during the Nixon administration, it might have been after that, it was after the Love Canal thing melted down. And frankly, I don't remember what year it was. But it was in that neighborhood of the seventies to the eighties. We started this fund, this Superfund cleanup that was funded -- originally the Superfund cleanup projects were funded by the polluters themselves. So if you're a chemical company and you're going to pollute, you're going to have a toxic landfill, you have to pay in advance for the cost of cleaning that thing up. That got done away with by one of the Republican administrations. And as a consequence of that, companies have just been walking away from their toxic landfills and the federal government picked up that slack with a Superfund fund of its own, but it has been cut dramatically. It was cut dramatically during the Bush and Trump administrations. So Biden has reversed that. He signed legislation, reviving a polluters tax, which is expected to raise 14 and a half billion in revenue over the next 10 years, and would accelerate the cleanup of these Superfund sites. The Superfund list, by the way, includes more than 1300 abandoned mines, radioactive landfills, shuttered military labs, closed factories and other contaminated areas across all 50 states, every single one of which was a major contributor to the profits of their owners at the time, and every single one of which is now being paid for the cleanup is being paid for by you and me. This is how capitalism works in America, when capitalists can buy the votes of legislators.
Number eight, Biden has halted federal aid to new fossil fuel projects overseas. And this is another big deal. For the first time, it bars the US government from backing future ventures.
Number nine, Biden protected trees. Remember Bush's healthy forest initiative that allowed for clear cutting of forests? The outgoing Trump administration slashed federal protection for Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the world's largest intact temperate rainforest. Biden reversed these policies. Oh, and they also stopped protecting more than 3 million acres here in the Pacific Northwest of habitat for the spotted owl. And Biden reversed those policies and multiple other anti-environmental policies of the Trump administration after taking office.
Number 10, Biden reduced climate emissions from cars. He wasn't able to get this through Congress, Joe Manchin, Mr. I'll Take Money from the Fossil Fuel and To Hell With my Children and Grandchildren's Future blew this up, but Biden was able to do an EPA rule to cut climate pollutions from new cars and light trucks.
And finally, not finally, number 11, Biden protected 3 million acres of land, some of our most precious land, the Bears Ears National Park [Monument] and the 1.87 million acre Grand Staircase, Escalante Monument. He also reimposed fishing restrictions in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the Atlantic that Trump had opened to commercial fishing.
And finally, number 12, Biden is making light bulbs more efficient. This was supposed to take effect in the last year of the Trump administration, but Trump set that aside. Right now using old light bulbs cost consumers $300 million a year in needless energy bills and causes 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, which are absolutely unnecessary because these new LED lights are so much more efficient.
So a lot going on there.
[01:00:28] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today, starting with The Muckrake Political Podcast discussing how oil creates despots and special relationships. A Matter of Degrees spoke with representative Pramila Jayapal about what progressives managed to squeeze into the climate bill. Democracy Now! discussed Biden potentially declaring an official climate emergency. Today, Explained also discussed what was in the climate bill. A Matter of Degrees spoke with Senator Ed Markey about how this imperfect bill will be something to build upon. CounterSpin looked at the phenomenon of neighborhood temperature variation and what can be done about it. And The Ralph Nader Radio Hour discussed nationalizing, the fossil fuel industry as a strategy to winding it down.
That's what everyone heard, but members also heard bonus clips from Gaslit Nation describing how oil purchases are funding the war in Ukraine. And Thom Hartmann looked at a list of additional positive accomplishments from the Biden administration that you may not have heard about.
To hear that and have all of our bonus content delivered seamlessly into your new members-only podcast feed that you'll receive, sign up to support the show at bestoftheleft.com/support or shoot me an email requesting a financial hardship membership, because we don't let a lack of funds stand in the way of hearing more information.
And now, we'll hear from you.
Response to neurodivergence episode - Bill from St. Petersburg, FL
[01:01:50] VOICEMAILER: BILL FROM ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Hi, this is Bill from St. Petersburg, Florida. I just listened to the neurodivergent episode. And basically this pulled off the oldest and largest scab I've had. I was adopted into a family that was literally and mentally the complete opposite of who I am. I was supposed to be the doctor that my father never got to be.
My original parents, my biological parents, one was an artist, one was a musician. That's where my aptitudes were. Anything that was outside of the bubble of expectation was denied, shut down immediately. Any kind of outburst, emotional, everything was shut down. It's been a life of torture. I'm 57 years of age now, and I haven't even bought my first home.
That episode described my life. It's a travesty that people are not allowed to live to their potential in this country because of biases of all kinds. We are literally throwing away this country's potential. This is something that must be recognized. It must be accepted. We can't go any further like this, or else this country's gonna crash.
This episode may be cry like a baby. Thank you.
Neurodiversity - Larry
[01:03:11] VOICEDMAILER: LARRY: Hi Jay, this is Larry.
As a Conservative, I thoroughly enjoy the intellectual challenge of your podcast. The Neuro-diversity episode illuminated two long-held, bedrock beliefs of mine that we agree on! That’s a good thing. The first, in my own words, is: “The range of normal is huge.” In your podcasts words, “We are all wired differently.” This is not only true, but it is a great evolutionary advantage. I am not sure why we are quick to pathologize some differences; I suspect money and self interest are involved.
Your open admission to struggles in the past to succeed, or cope, or thrive, take your pick, brought back my own struggles to do the same. I have long understood that success, as each individual defines it, is far, far more difficult to attain than the culture represents. It should be easy, right? It never is, and the main struggle is the struggle within. I tell my grandchildren: “Success will be harder to attain than you ever thought possible.” I follow up with: “You will find tools and resources you did not know you had.” So, keep up the good work. There is hope.
Final comments on the range of normal
[01:04:05] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Thanks to all of those who called into the voicemail line or wrote in their messages to be played as VoicedMails. If you'd like to leave a comment or question of your own to be played on the show, you can record a message at 202-999-3991, or write me a message to [email protected].
So, thanks, obviously, especially to Bill and Larry for your messages. There have been other positive responses to that episode, and I've been really glad to hear it. We've never done an episode on that topic before and, whenever that happens, my biggest fear is that we're gonna screw it up and horribly insult somebody. And that hasn't happened so far or I haven't heard about it happening so far.
Bill, first of all, I sort of actually meant to mention during the episode that while putting that episode together, I was also brought to tears a couple of times. The weird thing was, though, by the time I was recording my commentary later in the day after having cried, like sort of significantly earlier in the morning, I couldn't quite put my finger on why, like the feeling had sort of come and gone and I didn't feel fully equipped to talk about it. Otherwise I would have. I think part of it is that, as I've mentioned before but not in a while, I tends to cry at happy things more than sad things. And that episode had a couple of instances, I think, of happy empowerment going on that hit me in that particular way.
Also, I don't know that before this week, I mean, before that day, as I was putting the show together, that I never really thought about that English teacher of mine in high school helping me pass a class without having to do all of the work that would've been torture for me to do. I hadn't really thought about that scenario through the lens of a neurodivergent kid needing an accommodation. I'd thought of it in other ways that I don't even know how to describe. But thinking of it in this new way made me appreciate it on a different level than I had before. And so that sort of hit me as well.
And then Larry, I appreciate your message for sure. You describe yourself as a conservative and yet we have found common cause on the idea that, in your words, the range of normal is huge. And I find that extremely interesting, because that is not the kind of sentiment I expect to hear from conservatives. But I'm glad that I am hearing it.
That said, I really have to take this opportunity to ask your take on gender and sexual orientation, because to me, your quote that the range of normal is huge, essentially describes exactly the perspective of those who are welcoming and open to the LGBTQ community. I mean, in essence, we think that they are normal, even if they are in the minority, because the range of normal is huge -- huge enough to include people with different sexual orientations and gender identities than the majority of us.
And so, Larry, I don't presume to know your opinion on sexual orientation and the gender spectrum. So I'll ask this in a two-part question.
If you are not fully and enthusiastically supportive of equal rights and the equal humanity of members of the LGBTQ community, particularly trans people who are being specifically targeted by conservative politicians right now, then what is the difference for you between that topic and the topic of neurodiversity that you seem to fully be on board with, or alternately, if you do see them as the same and are a conservative grandfather who fully supports LGBTQ rights, then bless you for that.
In which case I ask about any friends or acquaintances you surely have who may very well agree with you on the general premise that the range of normal is huge when it comes to humanity or brain structures or something, but who themselves aren't supportive of LGBTQ rights. Do you have any sense of how they would answer that same question?
Or another alternate question: do you tend to find a lot of agreement about the range of normal being huge among people who generally share your political opinions? Or are you an outlier among your peers?
As I said, that's not the kind of sentiment that I expect to hear from a conservative. So I don't know if that's something that a lot of people who would describe themselves as a conservative grandfather would also say about the range of normal.
So if you have any further thoughts on that, or any other conservatives want to chime in, or if anyone else wants to join in on this conversation, please do.
And of course, on the topic of neurodivergency more broadly, I would love to hear any other stories. There's a huge range of experiences out there. So every story is valuable.
As always keep the comments coming in at 202-999-3991, or by emailing me to [email protected].
That is going to be it for today. Thanks to everyone for listening. Thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their research work for the show and participation in our bonus episodes. Thanks to the Monosyllabic Transcriptionist Trio, Ben, Ken, and Brian for their volunteer work helping put our transcripts together. Thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work on our social media outlets, activism segments, graphic designing, web mastering, and bonus show cohosting.
And thanks to those who support the show by becoming a member or purchasing gift memberships at BestoftheLeft.com/support, through our Patreon page, or from right inside the Apple Podcast app. Membership is how you get instant access to our incredibly good bonus episodes, in addition to there being extra content and no ads in all of our regular episodes, all through your regular podcast player.
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So coming to you from far outside the conventional wisdom of Washington, DC, my name is Jay!, and this has been the Best of the Left podcast coming to you twice weekly, thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show from BestoftheLeft.com.