VA-09 candidate Justin Santopietro on Appalachia’s future

12/11/2017 – This week we were happy to welcome VA-09 Democratic Primary candidate Justin Santopietro (@JS4VA) to the show to discuss his ideas for Southwest Virginia and the country as a whole. At the top of the show we discussed the Hurricane, and in Will’s section, we discussed Brexit, or did our best to do so considering how many developments have occurred in the past few weeks.

Will discussed the Brexit situation, which seems like it has no workable solutions. At least, no solutions that won’t lead to the destabilization of May’s government. It doesn’t seem possible to satisfy the various factions of the Tory party while also keeping the DUP on board. May’s government is having some internal conflicts and scandals that are also threatening to bring her down, and the recent agreement she reached with the DUP doesn’t seem like it actually fixes any of these problems.

Our discussion with Justin Santopietro was broad ranging. Justin told us that environmental issues really are bread and butter issues, and the solutions to many of the problems we face can employ a lot of Americans in rural spaces. We discussed the necessity to bring real change to Appalachia, the Virginia 9th Districts history in support of things like the civil rights act, and the potential to rebuild our progressive coalition to include Appalachians once again.  We talked about how to speak to folks in Appalachia, and talked about the hope we have for the future of our rural spaces.

Happy Holidays everyone! –Will

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Donor’s Relief Bill, Sexual Harassment & Fire Department Health Insurance

4 December 2017 – Though Will is still on vacation, I am joined by two of our associates. Basically, we came at the subject of framing from many different directions throughout the show.  I start with a fairly deep dive into dynamic scoring. I know––you can’t wait, right?!? While scoring methodology is one of those suuuuuppppper dry subjects, dynamic scoring in important because of the framing space it supposedly grants to Republicans and because this frame is so good at getting us to take our eyes off the carrot. Paying attention to what actually matters in this reality means that we MUST STOP talking about deficits and stay focused on our values, on the real economy and on the welfare and happiness of our people – and by that I mean #AllOfUs.

Hopping Mad Associate, Alexis Dent, is up next. For those of you who are regular listeners, you will notice that Joel has changed his name to Alexis and he begins his block by briefly telling us about that before talking about the current conversation which is everywhere these days, sexual harassment. Alexis is not sharing or commenting upon the latest stories or scandals, rather he is talking about what he believes to be a shift in some of the long-standing victim-blaming agendas and his concern about the inevitable backlash. He also takes a few minutes to address the fact that not all victims are women and while this is a time for women to have their say, all of those who have been the victims of predators are to be believed, supported and empowered.

HM Associate David Paquette is back with us again to keep diving into health insurance related issues. This time he uses an excellent framing, likening health insurance to the fire department. I did not know anything about the insurance industry efficiency scoring of fire departments but Dave explains it well and appropriately. He moves from there to a discussion of the use of emergency rooms as primary insurance of last resort and how The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) came into being. Another fascinating story I did not know. Dave ties all of this back to the Donor’s Relief Bill, currently known as the Republican Tax Plan, in a very timely way.

In Extra Mad I close out the show with a terrific article, from SplinterNews.com, by Raúl Carrillo (@RaulACarrillo), of New Economy Project, and Jesse Myerson, of Hoosier Action, The Dangerous Myth of ‘Taxpayer Money’. This is an outstanding article about framing and how we talk about public money from the point of view of two experienced and accomplished activists. I recommend that you read it and share it WIDE.

Will is back next week! Carrots! – Arliss

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Emoluments & NAFTA Reprised with Armando Llorens

20 November 2017 – What’s old is new again or, in the case of Trump, never went away. Due to a confluence of unexpected events we were unable to produce an entirely new show this week so I went back to 30 January 2017 and grabbed the interview we did at the time with attorney, Armando Llorens. I put both the original broadcast interview and the Extra Mad extended interview into the show and edited out comments we made which were too dated to really be applicable now.

Armando, who is also a Daily Kos front-pager, cleared-up all the questions I had about the emoluments clause of the Constitution and related issues of  standing. Plus, typical of Armando’s frequent contributions to David Waldman’s Kagro in the Morning, Armando lead us merrily off track and onto the subject of NAFTA and how Trump’s special brand of crazy (literally) can significantly damage the US economy in the area of trade. Happily, there were many other brief side tracks too. There’s a reason so many of us follow Armando on DKos and on David’s show. You will enjoy this interview and it is well worth hearing it a second time.

We are off next week, due to the holiday, and then back on 4 December. Many carrots! – Arliss

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Rural Spaces

13 November 2017 – We accidentally ended up with a theme this week – rural spaces. During our interview block we were fortunate enough to have Lane Siekman (@LaneSiekman), Congressional candidate in IN-6, and Dearborn County, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman, Tricia Gaustad (@GaustadTricia). Lane gave us an articulate and well thought out rundown of his priorities including progressive favorite, Medicare for All. Tricia talked about why the 2018 cycle is not at all the same as the 2016 cycle even in her deep red county. She is listening to local Dems and has built a strategy to truly fight the good fight.

Will started the show talking about the ways in which some conservatives are trying to twist the current conversation about powerful people sexually abusing others into a diatribe which reinforces feelings about LGBTQ people. They do this, of course, at the expense of women but that is their normal operating procedure so we should not be surprised. In his block Will gets serious about rural spaces and why the Democratic party simply must find a way both to honor our base and to reach back into rural areas for those who have priorities which are not all about racism. He reminds us that rural areas vary in demographics from state to state and that those variations represent opportunities.

I begin the show with a couple of brief observations about the elections this past week. In my block I explain carried interest, why it is part of the GOP tax plan debate and the fact that the issue with carried interest is not about how much the wealthiest Americans pay in taxes, it is about increasing inequity and inequality. …Oh, and eliminating the carried interest loophole represents yet another promise which Trump has broken. I spend most of my block talking about new research, summarized in an article in the Harvard Business Review, which evidences a strong correlation between opposition to federal spending and racial resentment. We keep thinking that it is possible to wrap our minds around all the ways in which racism is systemic in our society and, as this research shows, we are nowhere close to understanding.

On that cheerful note…the interview I was expecting to have this week really is happening next week. It will be very different from our normal fare but I think it is going to be wonderful. Stay tuned! Carrots! – Arliss

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JD Alt Dreams in MMT Reality

6 November 2017Architect and author JD Alt again graced us with his thoughts, this time talking about his new novella, Low Earth Orbit. The novella takes the functionality of modern monetary theory and applies it to solve major issues facing a society on the brink. The novella lives at the intersection between architecture, environment, society and economics with a light touch which will bring you back to it again and again in the future. Low Earth Orbit demonstrates the dreams of which reality is made and I could not recommend it more.

I begin the show with background information about Trump’s nomination for the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome “Jay” Powell. Powell is currently on the board of Governors of the Fed and it is thought that he will continue the practices of his predecessor, Janet Yellen. Trump could have nominated a number of truly despicable people, including Mike Pence’s favorite, John Taylor. Instead, the next Fed chair is known to be hardworking, calm,  interested in both sides of any question as well as being…frankly…rational (something in short supply these days.) In Trump-adjusted terms, Powell is basically a “win.”

Will pushes back against the not particularly factually-based spin being tossed about by former DNC chair, Donna Brazille. Here’s the bottom line:

We need a functional DNC which works for everyone.

We MUST win in 2018.

Nothing else is as important.

Will then moves on to a discussion of the upcoming race in Virginia. Virginia, he notes, tends to vote contrarian and is not necessarily the bellwether some are insisting upon. The race is being impacted by Trump’s impossible claims around coal and restoration of coal-based jobs while job training lacks a viable program.

Hopping Mad Associate, Dave Paquette, who is, himself, a registered nurse, updates us on the opiates crisis and the latest, minimal actions by the Trump administration. While Trump claims to have declared a “national emergency,” with all the funding and support such an act involves, in reality he only declared a “public health emergency.” The fund available for use in such emergencies is $56,000. So, not even sofa cushion change. Meanwhile, the family-owned Purdue Pharma has been profiteering wildly from sales of opiates. Purdue’s owner, the Sackler family, simply must be pulled out into the light of day. More than 2.5 million Americans are thought to be addicted. Overdose is now the leading cause of death for adults under the age of fifty. In 2016 up to 65,000 people (depending upon how the count is done) died from opiate overdose but, somehow, it is not a national emergency.

We will be back next week with an unusual interview I think you will love. Until then, carrots! – Arliss

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Amanda Werner, Brad Voracek & Michele LeSure are All Back!

30 October 2017 – It worked! Brad Voracek (@bradvoracek) is back this week and the wait was worth it. This time you are able to hear his full answers on youth employment, Senator Sander’s & Congressman Conyers’ Employ Young Americans Now bill, the science versus human aspects of economics and his thinking on so-called (and wildly mis-named) “Right to Work” laws. Brad is a founder of the not-to-be-missed website, The Minskys and I recommend regular visits there.

We were also extremely lucky to have Amanda Werner, of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen (aka The Monopoly Man), back with us to fill us in on the loss this week when the Senate voted to support Wells Fargo and Equifax in their illegal/incompetent behavior by making sure that citizens cannot sue these corporations either singly or in class actions suits. Forced arbitration is, apparently, forever, just like diamonds.

We also had Hopping Mad associate, Michele LeSure giving us more information on the strange anti-boycott legislation which has been passed in Texas and Kansas and is, supposedly, in support of Israel. This legislation is preventing some Texans from receiving federal aid post Hurricane Harvey. It’s strange and wrong and the ACLU is on it.

Will updates us on the latest in the rapidly changing situation in Catalonia as the Spanish government attempts to “fire” the elected government of Catalonia. The Spanish government claims it will hold “legitimate” elections in December but the specifics remain to be seen.

As always, there is a great deal going on and we will be back next week to take another swing at it. Carrots! – Arliss

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Brad Voracek from The Minskys – Part 1

23 October 2017 – This was one of those shows which fought every step of the way.* While at the MMT conference this summer I recorded a terrific interview with the bright and articulate young economist Brad Voracek (@bradvoracek) from one of my favorite websites, The Minskys. Embarrassingly, I managed to error during the recording process and had both a sound problem and actually lost part of the interview…twice. As I say in the show, I am making it my life’s work to have Brad back for a fully and competently recorded interview very, VERY soon.

Meanwhile, though Will told me weeks ago that he was traveling this week, I have been so distracted by the fires in my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA,  that I forgot to make arrangements in advance for a cohost. Fortunately, Michele LeSure stepped in and went well above and beyond not only doing nearly all the editing but presenting two blocks. We decided to update you on some of the issues surrounding three of the four major disasters all of which are only in the earliest stages of recovery. Michele talked about Florida and Houston. I, of course, am still on what is now being called the October 2017 Fire Siege which has savaged Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties in California.

Michele concentrated on the poor quality of the support being rendered in Florida and Texas. She also discovered an issue I had not heard about at all which manages to entangle disaster recovery aid in Texas with the politics surrounding Israel. Yes, you read that correctly. Michele just touches on the subject this week and has promised to come back next week with more.

It will not surprise you to know that in progressive, liberal Sonoma County the experience around receiving the basic necessities for survival for the more than 5500 families who have lost their homes is the polar opposite of that in states controlled by Republican legislatures. Additionally, the Sonoma County Sheriff, Rob Giordano has distinguished himself not only demonstrating superhuman leadership during the crisis but by being an extraordinary protector of all the residents of his county, including a homeless, hispanic man that ICE and Breitbart are falsely accusing of setting the fires. Sheriff Giordano is the kind of experienced, fair and thoughtful law enforcement officer who seems to live the ethic of “to protect and serve.” Sonoma County is fortunate to have him at this sad, terrifying, challenging time.

Will will be back next week. Many carrots! – Arliss

* Note:  among many of the other things which went wrong while I was flailing about trying to get this show out,  Comcast had an area blackout as I was uploading the show…because it really was just one of those shows.

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