June 13th, 2019
In this week's playlist you'll find:

The Venn Weekly
A selection of top political podcasts we recommend for enhancing your understanding of the week's news 

The Venn Deep Dive
Three great episodes from the podcast archives exploring our political topic of the week. This week we're focusing on Criminal Justice Reform: Part 2

This week we are turning to the former Texas Congressman, Beto O'Rourke

How to access the podcasts:

Option 1: Click the yellow link above for the full easy-to-use playlist.  To learn how to download into your preferred podcast app follow the tutorial on our Instagram story.
Option 2: Click on any of the pictures below to go to the individual episode on the podcast host's website, or on the Apple podcast link to take you directly to the Apple podcast app.


This week we're looking at the surge of nationalism across Europe, plus the social and psychological factors that drive us to form our ideological positions.
Why? Because today Trump welcomes Poland's nationalist President, Andrzej Duda, to the White House, while across the pond French nationalist leader, Marine Le Pen, is announcing the formation of a new cross-national right-wing coalition in the European Parliament. 
Then, for some light relief, we've also included a podcast on what we can make of the Democrat Presidential candidates based on the music they choose to represent them.


The European Union was formed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the horrors of the Holocaust. What began as a purely economic union, consisting of 6 countries bound by a belief that increased economic interdependence would reduce the possibility of another war, developed into an organization consisting of 28 members, covering a broad swathe of policy areas from climate change to health.
The long term vision? To construct a 'United States of Europe', which would bind Europeans together and eliminate the possibility that extreme nationalism would ever take hold again and disrupt this newfound peace. But now, as Britain attempts to extricate itself from the European Union, and a surge of nationalism and populism sweeps the continent, the future of this Western alliance appears increasingly uncertain. 
In this episode, the first in The Daily’s new 5-part series on the movements aiming to destabilize the E.U. from within, the New York Times’ Berlin Bureau chief, Katrin Bennhold, discusses the re-emergence of German nationalism, and what it symbolizes for the rest of Europe.



We are living in what seems like increasingly polarized political times. While the gulf between Republicans and Democrats gapes ever wider, across the Atlantic, European politics is being fractured by the rise of far-right populism. But what lies at the heart of these ideological differences? What leads us to form our political affiliations?
In this episode, Hidden Brain delves into some of the social and biological causes driving our partisan divide. 




It’s been a long week. And with less than two weeks to go until the Democrat candidates ascend the stage for the first of the primary debates, the heat is ratcheting up on their respective campaign trails.
So, we thought we’d offer some light relief. This episode takes a look at what we can learn about the candidates from the songs they chose to walk out to at a recent event in Iowa. Some fun and some unlikely choices.




This week we're returning to the topic of Criminal Justice Reform and focusing on life inside America's prison system. What it's like, what it does to those incarcerated, and what a better system might look like.


What is the purpose of prison? To keep dangerous people off our streets? To punish those who commit heinous crimes? To reeducate and reform criminals so that they don’t commit another crime upon release?
Really, it’s a combination of all three. Yet the high rates of reoffending in the U.S. - around 70% of released prisoners are arrested again within 3 years -  suggests something is going seriously wrong with the system’s rehabilitative function. And given that 95% of people who go into prison eventually come out, we all have something to lose when incarceration fails to engender reform.
In this episode, New Thinking discusses ‘the false bill of goods’ Americans have been sold when it comes to the policies that will ‘keep us safe’, and the misguided motivations driving them. Plus, the impact and limitations of the recently passed First Step Act at addressing federal criminal justice reform. 





Have you ever wondered what life is like inside an American prison? How closely it resembles the institution depicted in ‘Orange is the New Black’? What about life inside one the country's privately run federal prisons, which now house around 8.5% of the overall prison population, up 47% from 2000. According to a damning report from the U.S. Inspector General in 2016, these privately run institutions are less safe and less secure (but no less costly) than those run by the federal or state governments.
You would be hard pressed to find this information since journalists are rarely given unconstrained access to explore America’s prisons, particularly its private prisons, whose records aren’t typically subjected to public access laws. But Mother Jones reporter, Shane Bauer, did gain access. In 2014 he took a job as a Corrections Officer at Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, Louisiana, earning $9 an hour. In this episode of Reveal, Bauer discusses what he discovered about life within the walls of one of America’s private prisons.




If we were to start from scratch and redesign America’s prison system, what would we want it to look like? 
The U.S. currently has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world, at around 70%. By comparison, Norway has the lowest, at 20% - in large part thanks to its emphasis on rehabilitation and restorative justice over punishment and confinement. Their policy approach is simple: prepare people for release from the day they are incarcerated. 
So, with criminal justice reform high on the minds of U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle, as America’s prison population remains stubbornly high, what can we learn from the way Norway structures its penal system? In this episode of ‘My Perfect Country’, the BBC World Service explores just that. 



This rounds up our deep dive, but stay tuned as we will return to Criminal Justice Reform: Part 3 in two week's time.


The first Democrat primary debates are almost upon us. So who will light up the stage and convince us they're the person for the job? A few months ago, former Texas Congressman, Beto O'Rourke, might have seemed a good bet. But now...?


Beto O’Rourke’s star seems to have fallen as fast as first it rose. Back in November 2018 he was being praised as the Democrats’ golden boy, possessed of an Obama-esq oratory power and charm that saw him come within an inch of defeating Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, in the solidly red state of Texas. When he launched his Presidential bid in March 2019 he had a boost of momentum and raised $6.1 million on the very first day of his campaign. But fast forward a couple of months, and his support has waned. A recent poll in Iowa showed he was backed by only 2% of those surveyed, the same result as another poll conducted last month in New Hampshire. 
But with a spate of new policy proposals and a bold plan for addressing climate change, can O’Rourke still make it to the White House? 
In this podcast interview, ‘It’s All Political’ questions the Presidential hopeful on why he’s the right man for the job… and why The Clash offers so prescient a message for this particular moment in politics.



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