16 October 2017 – Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) comes back again to explain why Trump’s latest move against the ACA is so incredibly dangerous. This time, however, there are some really specific things we can be doing to help to keep the ACA from imploding. Join the Indivisible ACA Sign-up Project (@2018ACASignUps) and get involved on the ground with GetAmericaCovered.org. As I mention at the end of the interview, Charles is a national resource who is taking time away from his real job to maintain expertise and educate us in all kinds of ways on all the subjects associated with the ACA. Please go to Charle’s excellent website ACA Signups and support him. He is certainly supporting millions of us.
At the top of the show I talk a bit about the fires in my in my hometown of Santa Rosa.Will talks about the hate that Trump is sending out and pushing right into Will’s home and that of every LGBTQ person in the country.
I have handed-off my main block to Will and Joel. Will will tell you about it below. For all the years and years it will take to rebuild, I remain #SonomaCountyProud. Carrots! – Arliss
For my block, we discussed millennials, guns, and regulation. Millennials aren’t willing to accept the all-or-nothing dichotomy we’ve been handed on the gun debate. We’re perfectly willing to let people keep their guns, but also perfectly willing to enact heavy restrictions such as a national gun registry, a ban on offenders convicted of domestic violence owning weapons, mental health screening, and gun insurance. This fact, that we tend to be both pro-guns and pro-gun control, confuses people. Due to time, I cut this block from the broadcast edition, but it’s in our podcast.
For Joel’s block, we discussed the upcoming 2018 elections, the metrics beforehand, and what we can do to actually win.
9 October 2017 – At the last minute we were incredibly lucky to get an interview with the oh-so-popular Monopoly Man! Amanda Werner, of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, joined us right at the top of the show to talk about her experience as the Monopoly Man at the recent Senate hearing on SJ Res 47. GOP members of the Senate want to rollback the new rule from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) which eliminates forced arbitration clauses. Due to careful tactical planning, the Monopoly Man was able to get a seat behind and just a bit to the left of the (now former) CEO of Equifax so that every time the CEO was on camera Amanda was right behind him making her point by clowning it up. Within a matter of minutes the meme blew-up on Twitter and generated a truly phenomenal amount of coverage. Obviously, this was a powerful and funny way to get the word out about a topic many would otherwise overlook. Amanda (cough!), I mean, Monopoly Man, take a bow! Now the rest of us need to do our jobs and call our Senators to let them know we oppose SJ Res 47. We cannot let this one slip through the cracks unnoticed.
Since we had already recorded the entire show and because it was an unusually formatted episode anyway, the only way to hear the complete show is on the website or through your favorite podcast app. The last ten minutes of Will’s block and all of my block are pushed back into Extra Mad.
Following the Monopoly Man interview, in the original top of show block, I talked about the work Big Pharma, and especially Indiana-based Eli Lilly, is doing to support their employees in Puerto Rico, to mitigate supply-chain disruption for critical medications for the US and to supply medication into the region. Pharmaceuticals comprise 72% of Puerto Rico’s exports and the 80 pharma and medical device facilities there employee nearly 100,000 people. It is an enormous job made no easier by the failure of the Trump administration and their disaster response. Will followed-up by talking about the response of private individuals and companies to the problem of entirely rebuilding the electrical grid and cell service system in Puerto Rico. Again, a massive task which should be the responsibility of the US federal government but which is being totally mishandled by unqualified Trump appointees and understaffed, under-resourced agencies.
Will did an extended block on self-determination. This was especially timely because of the recent vote in Kurdistan and the attempted vote in Catalonia. Will underpinned his later discussion of specifics with a thoughtful backgrounder on who it is who determines who will be “allowed” to determine themselves. He moves from there seamlessly to use the nationalist movements of the Kurds and the Catalonians to illustrate his points.
In my block I talk about why cash is still king. Unlike electronic transactions, cash is resilient enough to accommodate disasters like that in present-day Puerto Rico. But that is just a small thing in comparison to the fact that we are rapidly being trained to believe that a so-called cashless society is upon us and if we don’t give up (literally) dirty and ecologically harmful cash then we are falling behind the trend. This is a corporatist agenda being pushed by the companies who are skimming a bit off every single digital transaction. …and then there’s the digital trail. A cashless society is one where we forfeit the power of a transaction to the middlemen and we leave behind us a record of the “micro texture of our electronic life,” to quote economist/anthropologist Brett Scott. Preventing the subversion of cash to a cashless society not only preserves choice, it preserves our option to be anonymous. Cash equals privacy for all of us equally.
Until next week, many carrots! – Arliss
P.S. Giving Arliss the “Wild Haggises at Dawn” treatment, I closed out the show with a bit of a song called Subdisco by Niteworks, an Electronica band from the Isle of Skye who make a ton of great music, much of which modernizes Gaelic song traditions. –Will
2 October 2017 – Some days it’s hard to remember that despite all appearances, there is a world out there beyond Trump and all the many, many ways he is failing this week. The truly dazzling economist Dr. Pavlina Tcherneva(her excellent site is here) is with us for the interview. I was able to interview her in person at the First International Conference of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT Conference).We talked about how the, now famous, chart (see above) she developed was able to influence the conversation around inequality and how a job guarantee program can add more than just jobs to a society. It is inspiring to know the modern monetary theory rests in the hands of economists, like Pavlina, who have a clear connection to the ground truth of the programs and policies they imagine into existence.
I start out the show with just a quick overview of my experience at the MMT conference. It was genuinely compelling and I was overwhelmed by all the ideas and applications of MMT to which I was exposed. You will be hearing about many of these in depth in the future and I promise you will be intrigued too.
Will then updated everyone on the events in Catalonia related to the independence vote.Spain is refusing to acknowledge the vote and tension is ratcheting up. Will has covered Catalonia in the past and promises a deep dive next week.
We touched briefly on Puerto Rico. Now that it is (finally) being followed by major media we are leaving most of that to actual journalists but people are suffering and our President, while golfing, is too busy trying to shame the Mayor of San Juan with tweets to actually send an appropriate level of support. It’s not just frustrating or inhumane, it’s evil.
In Will’s main block he talked about Brexit. Many are saying that all the economic ills projected by those who wanted to remain in the European Union have not come to pass and were therefore simply election scare tactics. Will points out the obvious, the UK is still in the EU and the pain from Brexit will not be felt until Brexit actually occurs. It remains reasonable to expect cost-push inflation (also known as supply shock) as the UK strikes out on its own.
In my block I briefly lay out my reasons for supporting Bernie’s current “Medicare for All” bill.This may surprise some of you but I find this bill to be essential and extremely well-timed. Don’t get me wrong, this bill won’t move and, ultimately, the bill that does move will look different but here’s the thing – we can’t legislate until we get elected. Will disagrees but I think “Medicare for All” is a good bumper sticker way to sum up the shared Democratic party value that healthcare is a right. I think having this bill under active discussion now gives us an opportunity to build coalition and consensus in preparation for a non-Trump future. No matter what, this bill has already moved the Overton Window and that in and of itself is critical. Bernie has written a solid bill and he is gathering important voices. There is long, hard work ahead to build unstoppable grassroots momentum but this is how healthcare gets changed for real. It will take all of us…and it should. Carrots! – Arliss
Since recording this episode, the Spanish government has acted without restraint or dignity in Catalonia, attacking unarmed civilians with a wave of brutal repression. Many folks who oppose the referendum say that holding it is illegal. That may be true, but it isn’t an excuse for state violence. Spain had every ability to refuse to acknowledge the vote, which was itself an act of civil disobedience. But instead of responding to this act with restraint, and refusing to acknowledge the results, they chose to wage an unnecessary and unnecessarily brutal campaign of violence against the Catalan people. These actions bring the legitimacy of Rajoy’s governance of Catalonia into question. Things will likely only get worse in the coming days. I will report in depth on the situation next week, and talk about Kurdistan and its referendum as well. –Will
In this weeks show, Arliss interviews Zach Carter, and I discuss both the NFL and the German election.
Yesterday was a tough day for German Democracy. The Far-Right took third place in their election, entitling them to become the third largest political party in the Bundestag. What’s particularly worrying is the tough path that Merkel now has to form a government, the fractures in the left wing SDP, and the poor coalition options. Which include trying to get the Greens to work the CDU and the FDP. Three parties that agree on very little.
We’re also poadcasting the first of several interviews which Arliss made with folks at the MMT conference. This week with Zach Carter, whom we like to quote here at hopping mad. Their wide ranging discussion touched on a number of economic issues, but also the way that certain conservatives tend to treat politics like sports.
We’ll have another heavy hitting interview for you next week.
18 September 2017 – Every time Denise Oliver-Velez is on our show I learn so much! This week we asked Denise to join us to cover what is happening in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. I particularly loved the posts Denise put up at Daily Kos on Puerto Rico and the history of the word “hurricane” as well as her thoughts on the subject. We spend most of our time on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the places where Irma really did first make landfall in the US. (If you thought that was Florida you weren’t alone.)
In our Lying Liar Lie of the Weeksegment Will talks about an attack against a trans woman during a protest at Speaker’s Corner in the UK. Fortunately, it was caught on video and Will walks us through it as well as posting the video and some stills here.
In Lying Liar I talk for just a minute about Equifax who is making the obviously false statement that “they are doing everything they can.” This is clearly not the case and I’m quite sure we will be talking about them in the near future.
In Will’s big block he talked about climate change, weather, alternate energy and politics. It’s appalling to think that the states which most need to confront new kinds of energy generation are fighting it the hardest.
In my block I get into the profits being made by Facebook, Google and tech in general, to promulgate hate. The blood money tech companies are taking as they act as conduits for hate groups (and terrorism) is much more costly to society than it is profitable in annual reports. We simply must find an effective way to address this.
And one more thing…
In a special election, scheduled for 26 September, Florida State Senate candidate Annette Taddeo is facing an extreme get-out-the-vote (GOTV) challenge. She is running in District 40, which is Miami-Dade, and many of her prospective constituents are among those who had to evacuate. Flippable.org has identified this race as one which can be won but needs immediate help. Anything you can do would be appreciated. Carrots! – Arliss
A note on Lying Liar, the video we have is pretty shaky, and while it’s clear what happens in said video, it’s a chaotic scene. So to make things easier for our listeners, I’ve got stills from the video to walk folks through what happened, followed by the video in full.
Look for the red bus, as the scene we’re paying attention to starts just below it. A woman in a blue jacket and purple hat approaches a group of chanting protesters. She gets into an animated conversation with them and then pushes into the crowd, raising her camera above their heads. The crowd pushes back and blocks her camera with signs. Look for the bright spot to the right of the images below:
A pushing match breaks out, and we lose sight of the altercation, catching glimpses through the crowd as the Camera pans away. But when the camera re-focuses on the scuffle, the woman who started the altercation has grabbed one of the Trans protesters by the throat. You can see her just to the right of center, our view over the shoulders of two onlookers:
We lose sight of her again, but the camera returns to her, and she’s still got her hands on the protester she’s chosen to attack:
And at this stage, when she’s grabbed a protester by the throat, dragged them halfway across a footpath, and enthusiastically participating in a fight she started, another protester punches her to get her to release the person she’s grabbed:
Despite pretty clear evidence to the contrary, showing her starting this altercation and then enthusiastically engaging in the resulting fight, she is claiming martyrdom and… in a rather weird twist, saying she wants to spank people.
11 September 2017 – The always interesting and informed Rachel Hutcheson, of Irreverent Testimony, joined us for a mini-roundtable. Will, Rachael and I each brought a topic and we spent some time thinking out loud about them.
Will started us off talking about climate change, in terms both of the hurricanes and fires currently razing huge swaths of the United States. Will made the point that in the not-too-distant past we prepared for disaster through federally organized civil defense. Now those activities have been broken apart and many have fallen through the cracks. We already know that recovery from Harvey and Irma will take years if not decades so there’s that but the real point is that “Winter is coming,” so to speak. Climate change doesn’t care if Florida, Texas and Montana believe in it or not. It’s here. It is going to get worse. We are doing nothing.
Rachel used the both funny and important work done by the Satanic Temple to talk about the push-back in the courts against the growth of forced Christianity. Rachel zeroed in on the use, by the Satanic Temple, of their sincerely held religious beliefs (which are egalitarian, scientifically coherent and humble), to challenge anti-abortion-related laws in the State of Missouri on behalf of member Mary Doe. This case, for which opening arguments are being heard today, is fascinating and makes for an interesting conversation.
I wanted to cover the economic side of DACA but I wanted to couch it in terms that, perhaps, Rachel could use in talking with her dad and brother (both of whom are conservatives) about DACA and immigration. Rachel spoke with her dad in advance of recording the podcast and brought that into our discussion. I was surprised and, frankly, still can’t wrap my mind around the disconnect in his “reasoning.” I make the truly overwhelming argument about the positive economic impact of DACA and, in fact, immigration in general.
Will and I will be back next week and, hopefully, between now and then I will get the time to put our new merch up on the site. Other folks have t-shirts but at Hopping Mad we have Thurston Owl, the deficit owl, and Arliss Bunny, wearing a McLeod tartan scarf, ornaments. These have been handmade for us by an artist in Kansas City and we are thrilled to support such a talented artisan. Carrots! – Arliss
We started our show this week with a discussion of Republican exaggerations of the demise of Obamacare. Ryan claimed that dozens of counties were without an insurer. Turns out the actual number was one when he said it, and is now zero.
In my block I discussed hurricanes and the lack of infrastructure and zoning laws, as it relates to Harvey, and Houston Texas. Houston was not ready for another hurricane, as reported by the Texas Tribune. Thankfully, the dams holding back two reservoirs are holding, for now. The Army Corps of Engineers is being forced to release water into Buffalo Bayou, which runs through Houston, in order to prevent failure. I talk about the problems with Zoning and Climate Change as it relates to Hurricanes. Unfortunately, we’d finished recording the show before Trump decided to use Texans as political meat shields by pardoning Arpaio and banning Transgender recruits from the military.
Michelle spoke passionately about Libraries and the purpose they serve in our communities. She talked a little about their history, but mostly about their future. We talked about how we measure how people use libraries, and about a Pew Research survey that breaks Americans into cohorts based on their library usage, which includes a quiz you can take here.