Flippable.org, Journalists, Emoluments

16 January 2017The genius of flippable.org is that it engages us with “small bite” activism. On a weekly basis Flippable suggests little bits we can each actually do to help Democrats take back state legislatures and governor’s mansions around the nation. Catherine Vaughan and Chris Walsh, two of the three Flippable founders, join us to talk about the genesis of the project and the leadership they and their team are collectively providing to flip targeted state legislatures from red to blue. I know that 2018 and 2020 seem like a long way away but in political terms they are, basically, tomorrow. Time is short and, as Catherine says, we can sleep after the 2020 election. Between now and then, we work. What I love about Flippable is that I can do the things they suggest in a reasonable amount of time and still know that I am making a difference. This is the drip, drip, drip, drip constant activism, constant pressure that matters.

Will and I started the show talking about specific journalists. I dive into the genuinely remarkable life of Clare Hollingsworth and Will wonders about what the hell happened to Glenn Greenwald. Clare Hollingsworth was the first female war correspondent (as we know that profession today). She is the reporter who got the scoop and broke the story that World War II had begun. She was the first person to figure out and the first reporter to break the story that Kim Philby was the infamous “third man” and that he had defected to Russia. Hollingsworth was at the very front, in fact often behind enemy lines, of all the many conflicts she covered and her reporting was renowned for peeling back the layers and complexities of war. Clare died on 10 January at the age of 105. To her final day she kept her shoes and passport right next to her bed in case she was called by her editor to report a story from the field.

Glenn Greenwald, on the other hand, has become a Russian shill. He has allowed the Snowden case to push him past the point of rational thought when it comes to Russia and he has taken to reporting the world through a Russian lens. Once upon a time Glenn was one of the great left-wing reporters but that was long ago. Buh-bye, Glenn. Don’t let the borscht hit you on the way out the door.

In my block I give some background on Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, the Title of Nobility Clause known today as the Emoluments Clause. It is likely that Congress and the courts will not be able to use the constitutional provision as a stand-alone way to remove the President Collect from office. However, if other matters (say a traitorous relationship with Russia) was to move public opinion enough, the Emoluments Clause may become the handy “big stick” the GOP needs to impeach Trump and get us to a horrible but not nearly as dangerous, President Pence.

This next week is going to be really hard on all of us. Join flippable.org, read up on Clare Hollingsworth. Hold on to hope.  Many Carrots! – Arliss

Note:  we will not have a new show next week as I am traveling on business. We will be back on 30 January with an interview with the Armando.

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Indivisible, Action & Rural Spaces

9 January 2017 – We’re baaaaack…!

This week we kept is simple and talked about what we can all do to fight the good fight. For short term specifics we talked about the ACA Day of Action, scheduled for 15 January in cities and towns all around the nation and a sampling of many of the actions scheduled for Inauguration weekend.

Will used his block to talk again about the importance of Democrats who live in rural spaces, how to listen to them and how to activate them. I talked about the Indivisible Guide a fabulous new tool for optimizing the effectiveness of protest actions aimed at your members of Congress. Here are the “tools” links recommended by the Indivisible Guide:

  1. Call My Congress– Congressional office contact information
  2. GovTrack– Congressional district maps
  3. Vote Smart – voting history
  4. Open Secrets– campaign donation data
  5. Google Alerts – set one for all your representatives, federal and state so you know when something is written in the media about them
  6. Google News – find out which reporters are covering your representatives and district then follow those reporters on Twitter; remember to personalize your news with the names of your members of Congress

Here is just a sampling of the actions scheduled for the short term:

  1. The Women’s March
  2. Students Walk-Out Against Trump
  3. Not My President
  4. Occupy Inauguration:  Chicago – one of many, many local protests planned look for one near you

Finally, here is that great New Republic article, Progressive Protesters are Ready for Trump. Thanks, Obama, by Graham Vyse and the  New York Times editorial by Charles Blow, The Anti-Inauguration.

We have a fabulous interview coming up next week with Catherine Vaughan and other founding members of flippable.org. Until then, carrots! – Arliss

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Charles Gaba on the ACA & How Fake News Works

19 December 2016 – We are thrilled to welcome back ACA expert Charles Gaba (ACASignUps.net, Brainwrap.com, Brainwrap on Daily Kos and @Charles_Gaba on Twitter) to the show. It’s hard to even understand all the rumors flying around about the ACA (aka “Obamacare”) these days and Charles helps us to parse what different options will mean. Basically the ACA is a towering healthcare Jenga and the GOP is imagining they can pull the foundational blocks out without the whole thing crashing down. They are wrong. [BWT – there’s a GoFundMe on Charles’ ACA page. His work is unique in media and often quoted by progressive media everywhere so if you can, pitch in a little to help him out.]

Will and I combined our blocks to talk about how fake news works, define propaganda, touch on the PropOrNot controversy which was stirred-up by the Washington Post and then get into detail about how sites like TruthDig and TruthOut are exhibiting pro-Russian bias rather dramatically. For us, sites like Naked Capitalism, are still important and trusted sources but we recognize that all sources have a certain amount of bias and it is essential that every consumer be clear about how that bias may or may not be slanting coverage of a given topic. We do definitely concur with seventeen different US intelligence agencies that the Russian government did directly interfere with the US election. This puts our democracy at risk and it is not wrong to be alarmed.

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Matt “Neo” Taibbi

General show notes:  I apologize for suddenly having to cancel the show last week. On Friday morning I rushed little Matt “Neo” Taibbi to his exotics veterinarian in Cincinnati. They stabilized him and then I rushed him up to a major exotics veterinary hospital (with their own CT Scanner, MRI equipment etc) in Columbus, Ohio. Neo’s medical team fought all through Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday morning but shortly after 9AM, while snuggled in my arms, Neo hopped over the Rainbow Bridge. He was only five, a young and strong bunny, so none of us were prepared. Neo is mourned by his loving life partner, David Dayen, his new bunny friend, Mercy, and his human family. We are all crushed to lose such a bright spirit so soon.

Will and I will be taking the next two weeks off to spend the holidays with our respective families. We will return on 9 January to kick-off 2017 with an all new show packed full of information you won’t hear in this detail in many other places.

Many Carrots of the Season – Arliss

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Standing Rock & Suiting Up

5 December 2016 – It’s time to suit-up. The coming battle will be extraordinarily difficult emotionally, physically, economically, politically and, well, in every other way imaginable. But we are still here and while they may have a choke-hold on power, that hold is fragile. Now that they will have the responsibility of leadership squarely on their shoulders it will not take long for them to be exposed as the king who wore no clothes. They will be naked and we will be in our best battle armor. We fight. We keep fighting. We never, never, never lose hope. This week the show is about the fight. It is about the future.

Our interview is with Neeta Lind (navajo on Daily Kos). Neeta is the Director of Community at Daily Kos where she blogs about native American issues. Today she is filling us in on the battle between the Standing Rock Sioux, the US federal government and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). We felt this interview was so important that Will gave up his block so that more of the interview would fit into the broadcast version of the show. What is happening at Standing Rock is intersectional in many ways, the rights of indigenous people, environmental racism, sex trafficking, abuse of women, clean water, religious freedom, broken treaties, climate change and militarized police forces are all issues which have ended up being part of the Standing Rock resistance. I recommend this video which speaks to some of these matters. If you want to help, Neeta recommended this link as the place to start:  The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s DAPL page.

At the top of the show I provide an update on scheduling for future shows as we know it at this time. Will and I will be celebrating the holidays with our families so there will be no show on 26 December or 2 January. I will be traveling on business so there will also not be a new show on either the 16th or 23rd of January. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, I am finally having the surgery to resolve my health issues in February so there will be no new show on the 13th or 20th of February. What we really need is a third member of the Hopping Mad team. If you would like to volunteer or know someone who would be a terrific addition, please let us know. The show is an enormous amount of work but also very rewarding so think on it and let us know.

Also at the top I touch on my perspective on going forward. I do not plan to hyperventilate about every drop of acid which will be pouring from the firehose of the administration of President Collect* Trump. Also, I won’t be spending much time on the battle within the Democratic party. None of those things move us forward and my eyes are firmly on survival and building for future victory. I do think that Keith Ellison will be helpful as DNC chair and this is his agenda. Will elaborated on my thinking by observing that the President Collect is exceptionally good at getting the media and the Left to pay attention to his tweets and overlook many of his actions. Here on Hopping Mad, we won’t be doing that. BUT – I did promise you a link to Markos’ post which is a perfect summary of how I feel, just in case you are in any doubt.

In my big block I go through a list of the organizations which will truly be on the front lines and ask that listeners join at least one  – and by join I don’t mean signing-up for their email list or sending a contribution. I mean working. Because that is what it will take. Below are the links I promised to include:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and SPLC Teaching Tolerance

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU Local Affiliates

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and CPJ Advocacy

American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee (ADC) and the ADC Voter Protection Unit

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and HRC Volunteer

The National Organization for Women (NOW) and NOW Actions

National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and NARAL State Affiliates

Planned Parenthood Action (PPAct), PPAct Local and PPAct Communities

Daily Kos

So, as I said at the beginning, suit-up. Many Carrots of the Season! – Arliss

* David Waldman, of Kagro in the Morning fame, accidentally coined this term when he had a Freudian slip while trying to say “President Elect.” President Collect is more accurate so I think I will keep it for a while. Thanks, David!

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Illness strikes again, just before the Thanksgiving Break

Arliss’ illness has struck again, landing her in the hospital again. By Sunday, she was resting somewhat comfortably at home. As this is a recurring illness, she’ll be seeing a specialist again this week. This is a medical problem which is being handled, it will just take some time. We will have a few more cancellations for medical reasons in the future before all is said and done, but I’ll let her update you on the specifics there. I spoke with her on Sunday, and while she’s not doing back flips or anything, she’s still herself.

There is something I was going to discuss this week on-air, and I think it still needs to be said. On this show, we endorsed Kieth Ellison for DNC Chair. We think he’s the best person for the job, and the ideal person to bring the Democratic Party together right now.

He is now facing the same smear campaign today which he faced when he ran for office in 2006. All of it circles around his religion. Ellison is a Muslim. As a result, all sorts of nonsense has been thrown his way. He’s been accused of having ties to the Nation of Islam, and Louis Farrakhan. He is being accused of being a dangerous radical, as well.

This is all complete nonsense. As I’ve said before, I’ve met Kieth Ellison on a number of occasions. He’s one of the best democrats we have. The fact that they are using his religion to attack him is par for the course in 2016. They did the same thing when he was running for office a decade ago. Then, they threw a fit over whether he’d be required to take his oath of office on the bible, even though, as a Muslim, there’s another holy scripture more appropriate for him to use.

If we’re taking oaths seriously, shouldn’t a religious person lay their hand on a religious text that actually matters to them? Shouldn’t they use something they actually believe in? To that end, Kieth Ellison took his oath of office on not just any Quran, but on Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Quran. 

American Muslims are Americans. Period.

Fingers and paws crossed, and we’ll see you folks in two weeks.

Will

This week’s radio broadcast is episode 40, with Frances Coppola, which can be heard in full here.

Moving Forward & Denise Oliver-Velez

14 November 2016 – As was said so beautifully by American civil rights lawyer and Sikh, Valerie Kaur, in her moving piece in the Washington Post following the white supremacist massacre of the Charleston Nine, she still felt optimism “Because today we mourn. Tomorrow we organize.” Many of us are still spinning with emotions following the 8 November election we must take a breath to grieve, we must take care of ourselves, our families and our loved ones – and then we must organize. Fast. There is no time to waste.

Our guest for the interview this week is Professor Denise Oliver-Velez (@DeOliver47). Denise’s experience as a civil rights activist goes back to the Young Lords Party and the Black Panthers. Though she has won some, she has also lost many struggles and her perspective on losing and still moving forward seemed perfect for this time in our Party, our movement and our hearts.

I begin the show talking about grief and making sure we are all clear that there is no “right” way to grieve. People will grieve in many different ways but the bottom line is that we are resilient. This too shall pass. I must say, however, I am done with being nice. I am finished with letting radical left purists, bigots, white supremacists, sexists and Confederate flag traitors, people who are the least among us, believe that I find them anything other than deplorable. I am through trying to reason with the irrational and the stupid. Consider this your pre-rant warning. Moving forward, I would like to see Rep. Keith Ellison become the new Chairman of the DNC. He would be a unifying voice and a much needed one. I am also going to invest my time in the coming Obama/Holder National Democratic Redistricting Committee project. I’m going to put my energy into getting rid of the incredibly harmful national gerrymander. This project begins with the 2017 elections in VA and NJ so again, time is of the essence.

Will spends time talking about some reorganization within the Democratic Party and about the “we oppose everything” tactic which has served the GOP so well during the Obama administration. Will deeply believes that in addition to the important big tent work the Democratic Party has been doing to become increasingly more inclusive, some of that needs to be directed toward the specific and forgotten needs of rural (and by “rural” he does not mean just rural white) communities. He also brings into real focus the scam which masquerades as the American Green Party. He also pointed out that Donald Trump has a legitimacy problem, and no mandate, because Hillary Clinton got more votes than any presidential candidate in history with the exception of Barak Obama himself.

As we all try to figure out for ourselves the best way to keep heart, I have to say one of the things which did me the most good this past week was the soothing and still hilarious “F*ck That: An Honest Meditation” on YouTube. I highly recommend it. Carrots! – Arliss


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