Better Left Podcast
Better Left Podcast
Better Left Podcast Network
Better Left is a podcast about progressive people, with some politics sprinkled in. As a group, we live our progressive principles every day, but we know we can do better. Both as hosts of a podcast, but also as part of a greater movement that at its heart promises to bring prosperity and opportunity to everyone in the US. As a nation, we're coming to terms with what the word progressive even means. As a group of millions loosely assembled around a set of universal principles, the progressive left sure can get it wrong. Real wrong. That's why we are talking. The Better Left hosts are working-class stiffs, labor union lovers, candidates for public office, hip-hop artists, Presidential campaign staff, campaign managers, attorneys, political strategists, teachers, philosophy nerds, video game professionals, passionate political activists, and really close friends. Sarah and Jay Smith, Troy Hewitt, Cassidy 'Corn' Butler, Atom Even Engel, and Ash León. Wanna talk about it on the podcast? Maybe you want us to consider a different kind of guest, or to explore an idea from an entirely different point of view? Whatever you need, I'm sure we got it. Just send your thoughts to, where your concerns and complaints are welcome, just leave our moms out of it. Check out our website: Our Twitter: Our Insta: Our Facebook:
Joshua Collins’ Campaign doxxed a voter and... covered it up?
Content Warning: This episode covers topics including bullying, sexual assault and doxing. In this week's episode, Corn and Jay discuss a follow-up to our last episode where we discussed the Joshua Collins doxxing scandal where Joshua Collins, a candidate for Washington's 10th Congressional District, got wrapped up in drama where a voter in his district was wrongfully accused of sexually aggressing a staff member of Joshua's campaign by Joshua. Corn and Jay talk about follow-ups that came out of an investigation that Jay did including Joshua's "apology" for doxxing. If you have seen or experienced doxing, bullying or other harmful behavior from candidates or others that are part of the movement, please share those experiences with us at To learn more about the Collins campaign check out his twitter @ or visit their campaign page at Or check out one of Joshua's debates with well-known Political Twitch streamers Destiny, Pxie, and others @ For a copy of the complaint click here: For information concerning Jason Call's history of internal party harassment, check here: Intro Artist: Ash Leon Title: Big Dipper Style License: With permission from the artist Adaptation: adjusted audio levels, cut to fit Outro Artist: Ash Leon Title: Sympathy for the Devil License: With permission from the artist Adaptation: adjusted audio levels
May 13, 2020
33 min
The Joshua Collins Campaign doxing scandal, bullies, and how to be the Better Left
Content Warning: This episode covers topics including bullying, sexual assault and doxing. In this week's episode, Corn and Jay discuss bullying and the misuse of positions of power from those on the left. Join us as we examine a complaint filed with the Thurston County Democrats regarding Washington's 10th Congressional Candidate Joshua Collins who is alleged to have doxed a progressive voter in his own district. We also discuss other problematic actions from the Collins campaign including the Rent Strike Petition, concerns from tenant organizers in New York and the response from the campaign to them. Corn talks about why it is critical for us as leftists to hold candidates accountable, and how the actions of Collins and his campaign hurt electoral leftist politics for years to come. If you have seen or experienced doxing, bullying or other harmful behavior from candidates or others that are part of the movement, please share those experiences with us at To learn more about the Collins campaign check out his twitter @ or visit their campaign page at Or check out one of Joshua's debates with well-known Political Twitch streamers Destiny, Pxie, and others @ For a copy of the complaint click: Intro Artist: Ash Leon Title: Sympathy for the Devil License: With permission from the artist Adaptation: adjusted audio levels Outro Artist: Ash Leon Title: Big Dipper Style License: With permission from the artist Adaptation: adjusted audio levels
Apr 28, 2020
1 hr
The AFSCME Council 28/WFSE Frontline Heroes Fighting for Our Lives Against COVID-19
We apologize for the quality of our audio. We're getting settled with our respective home studios during quarantine, and we are eternally thankful to Jay for his superlative editing skills and patience. We'll get better! Don't forget to give us some stars and subscribe! We hope you are all staying safe, sane, and healthy. Want to talk about it? Send a note to! Follow The Better Left Cast on Twitter Follow the Better Left Cast on Facebook Follow the Better Left Cast on Instagram “We are aware that there are some inherent dangers in our work, but none of us signed up for a suicide mission,” said Yestramski. -Mike Yestramski Jr, RollCall.Com Mike is a psychiatric social worker at Western State Hospital, and President of AFSCME 28/WFSIE, the union representing approximately 45,000 state employees and public service workers across the state of Washington. That includes employees of state agencies, state colleges and universities, social services providers, state park employees, and correction officers, to name a few. While all of these public service jobs have been impacted by the unprecedented impact of this global pandemic, COVID-19 has created an untenable pressure on the frontline healthcare workers at facilities like Eastern and Western State hospitals, Harborview Medical Center, and the University of Washington Medical Center. In this episode, we check in with our friend Mike and unpack the reports we've heard from the frontline workers, the ever-present struggle with hospital administration to get the necessary PPE -protective gear used by hospital staff to reduce exposure and risk of infection for both patient and the people providing vital healthcare services. In the midst of this crisis, at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and in the United States, Mike speaks to what's going on and what the team at Washington State Federation of State Employees is doing to advocate on behalf of the incredible work on the frontlines, like #Courageous Duty Pay for front-line workers (SIGN THE PETITION!), and advocating for better screening and prioritized COVID-19 testing for front line staff. Mike at KUOW.ORG Mike at PublicNewsService.Org Michael Ferguson We also speak with our dear friend Michael Ferguson, an account manager for a company that provides lighting and technical services for large-venue public events. 200 employees were laid off as a result of the impact of COVID-19, and he speaks to the difficulty of the situation, and what he and other leaders from his field are doing to help- like raising $70,000 in support of Washington State Stage and Tech workers in an emergency fund. This Episode: Follow The Better Left Cast on Twitter Follow the Better Left Cast on Facebook Follow the Better Left Cast on Instagram Guests: Mike Yestramski Jr and Michael Ferguson Hosts: Troy Hewitt, Cassidy 'Corn' Butler Editing: Jay Smith Show Notes: Troy Hewitt Intro Artist: Hemijinks Title: Nice Ray License: Adaptation: Reduced length to fit intro, adjusted audio levels Promoted by: Outro Artist: Ed Navarro Dee Title: Atacama License: Adaptation: adjusted audio levels Promoted by:
Apr 7, 2020
1 hr 45 min
Councilman Upthegrove talks Taxes, Transit, & Archdiocese Fires Gay Teachers
Right now Team Better Left are sequestered in our respective homes and preparing to coordinate our all-remote call-in podcast, the first time we've done that, so it should be both technically challenging and entirely frustrating- for everyone! We'll keep you posted! In the meantime, here's the latest episode: The Next Episode! We sit down with King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove and talk about the recent firing of two teachers because they were marrying same-sex partners and his public advocacy on their behalf, among a host of other topics. "This is a reminder of the blatant discrimination that continues to exist in our community against members of the LGBT community," Upthegrove said. King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove to NBC News We also finally learn what the King County Council does, talk about Dave's history in politics, and just generally have a great time. Dave was a delight to talk to and we are looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Check out the background for the episode at the links below: Dave Upthegrove from his King County Council page. A day in the life of Dave Upthegrove Wanna Have a Digital Hangout? We hope you are staying safe! How are you faring? Want to talk about it? How about a digital hangout? Let us know if you are interested in joining us for a digital hangout, who knows, maybe we'll turn it into a podcast. Let us know by sending an email to! Episode Credits: Guest: David Upthegrove Editing: Jay Smith Episode Lead: Troy Hewitt Show Notes: Troy Hewitt Hosts: Cassidy Butler, Troy Hewitt, Jay Smith The Artists Behind our Tracks Intro Artist: Backyard Dreaming Title: Emotional Connection License: Adaptation: Reduced length to fit intro, adjusted audio levels Promoted by: Outtro Artist: Lvin Red Title: On Top of the World (Feat. Quayba) License: Adaptation: adjusted audio levels Promoted by:
Mar 17, 2020
1 hr 17 min
BHM/365: Blackness, Hip-hop, and Nanny of the Maroons
Ash sits down with local community activists/poets; Kamali, Maven and Seneca “Rosie Rocket” Rose to celebrate Black History Month and discuss a wide range of related topics spanning from Racial and Gender Identity to Youth Culture and Voting. They do it all through the sociopolitical lens they colloquially refer to as “Blackness”. Join us for this spiritual and often unconventional ride that we hope will inspire more questions and better solutions! References From The Show: S.A.F.E. (Seattle Against Foreclosure & Eviction) is a collective group made up of local disabled, queer, cash-poor, community organizers that have come together in an effort to help strengthen the fight against issues of displacement via gentrification through Community, Economic, Enivornmental and Social Justice. Attributions: Intro song: “Big Dipper Style” - Ash León Outro Song: “No Sympathy For The Devil” - Ash León Contact: Your Host: Ash León Editing: Jay Smith Show Notes: Ash León Guests: Kamali Derek Senior, Maven, Seneca “Rosie Rocket”
Feb 29, 2020
1 hr 28 min
Corn Goes to Iowa: What Went Down in Caucus Town
Jay and Troy talk with Cassidy "Corn" Butler and Mark "Krouton" Routon, who were in Iowa working the caucus, Corn was there as Field Director, and Krouton as a volunteer in the field, both called to Iowa by their commitment to a Bernie Sander's Presidency, they're back to tell their stories from the field! Run-ins with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michael Moore, trapping national press in an elevator, and more importantly, stories from the people of Iowa. It's a real adventure and you'll want to listen to every minute of it. References from the Show: Journey to Bernie organized by Carolyn Brotherton Support our friends who are out supporting Bernie! If you can't go yourself, support the people who are! Friends and fellow organizers, We are in a critical moment in this country and we have a real sho… Carolyn Brotherton needs your support for Journey to Bernie. Knock Doors for Bernie Want to knock doors for Bernie in your neighborhood? Take our training to get a list of doors to knock near you! Travel to an Early State for Bernie Take your own Bernie Journey! Attributions: Contact: Your Hosts: Troy Hewitt, Jay Smith Editing: Jay Smith Show Notes: Troy Hewit Guests: Cassidy Butler, Mark Routon Intro song: Bern Necessities Outro Song: Bernie Can both parodies and written by Eli Alpern and performed by The Bernettes!!!!!
Feb 21, 2020
1 hr 25 min
Boys Talk Star Wars, Justice v Kobe, SEIU v Providence, & Remembering Bacca
Discussed in this show: Greetings friends. We had some concerns about this week's show. The topics of race, gender, violence against marginalized communities, pervasive, systemic racism with tendrils so deep into the foundation of the systems we've built that places ostensibly created to mete out justice with impartiality have instead reinforced inequity and inequality, institutionalizing bias against race, gender, and class, that we end up codifying exclusion to the point of excess. How in the world could we be equipped to discuss these things? What makes us think we have the expertise? How is it that we would purport to know anything, or to preach to others about how it should be done? Well, in truth, we aren't equipped. We openly admit that we are not experts. We do not have the answers to problems so complex as this. So while we do not commit to knowing or having the answers, we can commit to this: We do this podcast because we want to know. We want to challenge each other to see the world through eyes as clear as possible. That means interrogating our ideas and understanding our personal biases and how they inform our world view. It means listening. It means asking questions. It means taking risks and asking hard questions, and it means being prepared for what the answer really is. So, please enjoy the show with the caveat that we know there are voices that can and should be represented in this conversation. We're working to make that happen. Is your voice missing? Reach out: Your opinion is important and vital, both to us and to the world at large. Thanks for listening. Here are the rest of the show notes: Star Wars: Nerds Gonna Nerd The Star Wars Always, the Topher Grace supercut Trailer: About Star Wars Always: "Back in 2014, Topher Grace cut all three prequels into one film, but due to copyright issues, he was unable to screen it to more than just his inner circle. And now, he and his editor mate Jeff Yorkes, have cut all of the Star Wars live-action films into one 5-minute clip, titled Star Wars: Always.'10 movies. 2 nerds. 1 weekend (when our wives were out of town). Enjoy,' he tweeted." The Trevarrow Script Leak: Kobe Bryant Discussion: Justice for victims, Restorative justice, Cancel culture, Systemic racism. You know, the easy stuff. Source Materials: The SEIU Action Against Swedish Rest in Peace, David Bacca. 1979 - 2020 You are sorely missed. Intro Artist: Brian Jarvis Band Title: The World's On Fire License: Adaptation: Reduced length to fit intro, adjusted audio levels Promoted by:
Feb 16, 2020
1 hr 12 min
Special Episode: Sitting with the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club
Brothers Michael and Brian and special contributors to the Better Left Network, sit down for an in-depth conversation with Shannon and Jazz from the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club. John What is The Three Percenter Militia? The four discuss The Three Percenters (also styled 3 Percenters, 3%ers and III%ers[1]) are an American far-right militia movement[2] and paramilitary group.[3] The group advocates gun ownership rights and resistance to the U.S. federal government's involvement in local affairs. Find more from Wikipedia: The group's name derives from the disputed claim that only three percent of American colonists took up arms against the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolution.[4][5] The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes the 3Percenters as an "anti-government" group.[6] Some Canadian experts consider the group the "most dangerous extremist group" in Canada.[4RThe koalistion Facebook page, follow them on twitter at: @PugetSoundJBGC . s an American abolitionist. Brown advocated the use of armed insurrection to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. He first gained national attention when he led small groups of volunteers during the Bleeding Kansas crisis of 1856. He was dissatisfied with the pacifism of the organized abolitionist movement: "These men are all talk. What we need is action—action!" In May 1856, Brown and his supporters killed five supporters of slavery in the Pottawatomie massacre, which responded to the sacking of Lawrence by pro-slavery forces. Brown then commanded anti-slavery forces at the Battle of Black Jack (June 2) and the Battle of Osawatomie (August 30, 1856). Now all about you pulling one of the most unique gun clubs in the pacific northwest, in that it is an inclusive organization of hobbyist shooters and these guys! Here's what Because she shouldn't wait for it standing different We believe in active resistance to the corrosive and destructive social effects of white supremacy, sexism, bigotry, and economic exploitation just future: loooj AWESOME episode of behind the bastards look into John Brownn, grabbing a bubgg Did you enjoy this episode? Let us know what you thought by sending us an email to with any questions, comments, insights or concerns. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter, just search for @Bettereftcast! You can find our website at BetterLeft.Net and you'll find this podcast on new cities every week. Once again, when you find us, give us all your stars, like it, subscribe, comment, and enjoy!
Feb 12, 2020
1 hr 17 min
Allison M F Taylor: Community Leader, LGBTQ Advocate, Courageous Survivor
Warning: This episode contains vivid descriptions of a brutal knife attack from the perspective of a survivor. It's powerful, it's heartwrenching, and we were honored that our guest chose to share her story with us. You may want to skip this episode, or at least jump over the 1:22:00 through 1:30:00 to the end. Welcome to the Better Left Podcast! We picked the best guest to join us after our brief hiatus. Queen of the Dirty South? Leader of the Rebel Alliance? Trouble if you make it? Maybe even if you don't? She's so good, we very nearly didn't have enough title to tout Taylor's talents, but ta-da! Allison M F Taylor has been fighting the good fight across the Puget Sound in the areas of labor leadership, as the Chair of the 30th Legislative District, as a life-long social activist, as a champion for the LGBTQ community, she's building a coalition of people working to host the very first pride parade in Federal Way, WA. She's an accomplished bridge-builder, but she's not afraid to shake the foundations in the pursuit of social justice. She's honest, she's smart, and she's not backing down until you work it out - and if it isn't today, don't worry. If you are as serious about making a positive impact as she is, you'll get plenty of opportunities to make it right. We discuss her history of service, the struggle within and without the party, the fight for equity, racial and social justice, the challenge of being a political leader in the Washington State Democratic Party while also maintaining a vocal point of view. Allison also shares her journey after surviving the brutal October 2018 stabbing at the hands of her husband. A man in the throes of a mental health crisis exacerbated by a methamphetamine binge attacked Allison, stabbing her 9 times and injuring her so severely that she spent 35 days recovering in the hospital. We're proud of this episode, and we're proud of Allison. We hope you enjoy, too. Intro Artist: Delac Title: Icarus License: Adaptation: Reduced length to fit intro, adjusted audio levels Promoted by: Outro Artist: Jon Worthy Title: Song YW License: Adaptation: Adjusted audio levels Promoted by:
Feb 3, 2020
1 hr 45 min
Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies Author: Cancel Culture, Fundamentalism, and Meaning.
Wow. You are going to love this. Jay and Sarah bring on a very special guest, and we talk about losing your religion, having a best selling book turned into a hit Hollywood movie, unwittingly picking a fight with The Internet, moving to a remote island cabin in the woods in order to turn off distraction and focus on his work and the fans of it. Seattle-based author Isaac Marion is an extremely interesting guy. Do you remember the hit movie Warm Bodies? In this episode, we continue our exploration of religion and spirituality with a very special guest, Seattle author, musician, and acquaintance of (the)John Malkovitch, after he was cast to play a pivotal character in a Hollywood movie based on the author's Warm Bodies Series. From the beginning, Isaac Marion came from a deeply religious upbringing - his father a Christian pastor, Isaac speaks frankly and openly about how he came to question his fundamentalist Christian upbringing. Isaac generously gives listeners an unvarnished view into his experience, right up to and beyond the pivotal moment in his adult life that saw him step away from his faith entirely. We also discuss Isaac's run-in (or better, head-on collision) with cancel culture, when a somewhat jokey, extremely creative writing endeavor involving a fictional conversation with President Trump catches the attention of the blindly-screaming, rage-eating, shambling denizens of angriest places on the Internet, unifying them with an urgent, ugly, singular purpose: Cancel. Issac. Marion. As it turns out, living a life of charming authenticity is honestly just the way Isaac chooses to live. From his Patreon to his YouTube, his social media presence to his newsletters, and back to his Patreon and Discord server, (we gladly became a supporter at Isaac Marion's Patreon -- we can confirm, it's worth every penny of the five dollars a month we're pitching in to support an artist practicing his craft.) Isaac's is really just that guy. Here's Isaac on the Web: Isaac Marion Community Links: His blog: His Patreon Community: About Isaac Marion: Isaac Marion is an American writer. He is best known as the best-selling author of the "zombie romance" novel Warm Bodies and its series. Isaac Marion Official site for Isaac Marion, author of the Warm Bodies series—now concluded with THE LIVING. Isaac Marion on Social Media: On YouTube: On Facebook: On Twitter: On Instagram: Warm Bodies Community Links: The Warm Bodies Fan Wiki: Warm Bodies Twitter: His work was also published alongside other essays in the anthology "Empty the Pews" where authors Chrissy Stroop and Lauren O'Neal gathered 21 pieces from people once deeply engaged with religion, now recounting their individual experience leaving Christianity altogether: Of Note: David Bazan of Pedro the Lion fame, released a solo album in 2009 called Curse Your Branches that spoke deeply to Isaac and the place he was within his own faith: There are various takes on his books, including seeing aspects of religious fundamentalism where none was meant. Bonus Content: What is R's real name? While Jay and Sarah tried to crack the code on R's real name, Isaac didn't budge. Outside of ensuring listeners that it wasn't Romeo. Word is, that in a private Patreon chat his fans claim to know R's name, but he insists he won't confirm it even if they are right -- no matter how easy it should be to piece it all together. Hrmm... There was SO much going on this episode that we're deciding to do the unprecedented! We're giving you a sampling of the questions we put together in prep for the podcast. Some of them made it, some of them changed a little, and some of them didn't. That's showbiz, friends! SUPER BONUS MATERIAL! Hosts: Sarah, Jay Guest: Isaac Topic: Cancel culture, Fundamentalism, and Meaning. Background Story: Isaac is an author who has notably written the Warm Bodies series which is best known as full-length movie that came out in 2013. Recently, Isaac has self-published the fourth entry into the Warm Bodies series and co-wrote a piece for the book “Empty the Pews” titled “A better Dream”. In 2017, Isaac found himself under fire for a series of tweets made where he created a fictional dialogue where Trump chastised Isaac for being an author. Background Highlights: Author Warm Bodies is cast as a re-telling of Romeo & Juliet, if Romeo was a zombie named R. It's important to note the details here surrounding Romeo being undead and Juliet being living. There's a cool juxtaposition here of Romeo, a formerly emotionless dead being, and General Grigio, a living being who experiences emotions but is unable to communicate them. “A better Dream” regards the Christian eschatological framework and the nihilistic “dream” that Christians have of the world ending and a new, better, world beginning. It's important to explore the link between Warm Bodies & A Better Dream here. Themes to Highlight: Christian fundamentalism v. Progressive fundamentalism Cancel Culture The impact of dogmatism on groups Dogmatism theme in Warm Bodies Dogmatism in communities Background Questions: What was your life like growing up? Christianity was a large part of your life, you mentioned Dave Bazan as part of the group (whom I-- Jay-- saw in concert just recently). If you could give a brief synopsis, how did that frame your worldview and life? What was the culture shock like moving to Seattle and “making the world your home” like you mention in your Empty the Pews book? Focus Questions What led to the story of Warm Bodies? What gave you the idea of juxtaposing the newly-feeling dead and the emotionless existence of the living? General Grigio doesn't drink, is that a reference to fundamentalist culture? Were you thinking of Fundamentalist nonexpressivism when you crafted that character? There are many in the Christian tradition who think that Warm Bodies is actually encouraging people to turn to Christianity… what would you say to that? E.g., R and Julie falling into a pool of water is a “baptism”. The turning from the dead to the living because of “love”, etc. Do you feel like this idea of ‘nonexpressivism' is something that we see in our everyday lives? Talk to us a little bit about the “Great Cancelling” of 2017 as we call it where you created a fake dialog between you and Trump, and your tweets ended up going viral as a result. What was it like being on the side of that? Why do you think you got such backlash? What led to you making the fake tweets? What did you learn through the process? When you think about the type of pushback that you got from the progressive community and you think about the type of experiences that you got from your religious upbringing, are there similarities? Progressive exclusion culture for not meeting the “rules” of the community, etc. How's this shaped your worldview overall? Where are you finding meaning in the world now? Tweets: Subscribe! Give us your stars! Review us kindly! We love you. Intro: Artist: GoMordecai Title: All We Got License: Adaptation: Reduced length to fit intro, adjusted audio levels Promoted by: Outro Artist: Omonoko Title: Empty Streets License: Adaptation: Adjusted audio levels Promoted by:
Jan 6, 2020
1 hr 13 min
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