"Hopping Mad with Will McLeod and Arliss Bunny" provides thumping good commentary from the Left on politics, economics and carrots. We are on Netroots Radio on Monday at 8AM and available via podcast on our site, on Stitcher and (soon) on iTunes.
12 March 2018 – Dr. Fadhel Kaboub (@FadhelKaboub and @BinzagrInfo), President of the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and Associate Professor at Denison University, gave us such a wonderful interview that we dedicated the entire show to it including the compelling extended part of the interview. Dr. Kaboub became interested in modern monetary theory (MMT) early in his studies at a time when there was virtually no understanding of how the precepts of MMT could be applied to developing economies. His work in this area and his emphasis on the specific issues faced by the peoples and economies of the Middle East has become the leading edge of the conversation. You are going to be fascinated to hear him talk about how he believes Tunisia can fight imported inflation and political unrest with fish. Really. It’s brilliant. Also, Fadhel deeply understands the relationship between TIARA (There is a Real Alternative) and hope as a key to leveraging economic prosperity and political stability. I also enjoyed listening to his description of how the currency he has invented for his economics students, the Denison Volunteer Dollar (DVD), has crossed-over into the basketball program!
Will and I do plan to be back with a regular program next week. Carrots! – Arliss
8 March 2018 – This is a special combined Hopping Mad and Irreverent Testimony entirely focused on trade. Travis Rosen and Rachel Hutcheson of Irreverent Testimony joined Will and I to talk about the domestic and international implications of the Trump Trade Tariffs and the basics of what international trade really means. This is a dive into what we should all really be messaging about trade and why “trade deficit” matters not at all.
Will and I will be back on Monday for our regular show. Carrots! – Arliss
5 March 2018 – WOW! We had an exhilarating, affirming, healing conversation with Real Progressives founder, Steve Grumbine (@sdgrumbine) who was on with us for the whole show. Steve is a long-time MMT evangelist and activist. He also has been active and is well known in Bernie & Green Party circles. I knew, from having heard his panel at the MMT conference in Kansas City last summer, that we shared many values and virtually all objectives and that was why I was determined to have him on as a guest. Still, I worried a little bit because the Hillary/Bernie divide runs so deep among so many. What I think we all learned as we spoke, and what I hope we were able to convey, is that there is little which divides us and much which unites us. This was a genuinely remarkable show. I learned a great deal and I think you will as well.
Next week I’ll get back to talking about inflation and unemployment but this break was well worth it. Many Carrots! – Arliss
26 February 2018 – Perhaps this time we will be willing to finally talk about the elephant in the room, white men and guns. We will never be able to ask the right questions or find workable solutions until Americans acknowledge that white men are not only usually the shooters but purchase most of the guns, organize the gun shows, protest in favor of their gun-based religion, own the gun manufacturers and are the legislators. The problem is white men from top to bottom.
Will begins the show talking about Jeremy Corbin and the Czech spy fiasco in the UK and then moves on into his main block on the subject of bulls*t. He ranges from the right-wing conspiracy theories about so-called “crisis actors” to left-wing nonsense that the “Russia stuff” is a smokescreen conceived by Hillary.
I burn the barn down (lol) explaining why neoliberal economists are completely wrong when they say “deficits crowd out investment” or that deficits cause inflation. It’s amazing that they continue to push this unproven drivel to the detriment of the real overall economy.
Next week I will cover the relationship between unemployment and inflation while Will will cover something genuinely compelling. Many carrots! – Arliss
Our interstitial music today had an addition. The Flobots “Handle your Bars,” which was in response to the mangling of their song by an infamous YouTuber. I’ve posted links that song, and the original song below.
19 February 2018 – At this point it really all boils down to one thing, we cannot win until we win.Everything we cover on the show today boils down to that. Prosecuting those who colluded with Russia, opening our hearts and borders to Syrian refugees, securing our elections, passing gun safety legislation – none of these are doable until we have taken Congress back (and even then it’s going to be a tough fight.) AND we can’t just win on the Federal level – states are key and that’s why we wanted to have Carolyn Fiddler, the Daily Kos Political Editor and Senior Communications Advisor on the show this week. Carolyn is a specialist in state races, something I know we do not cover enough. We promise to do better because, we cannot win until we win.
In the top bock of the show Will asks you to take a look at a video made by friend of the pod, Landon Shroder, which is the first in a series telling the story of Syrians who have fled to America. I don’t care who you are, this one will reach into your heart and remind you that humanity, kindness, life and love are things which bind us together. Lots of things are tearing us apart but can we please, please, please agree that kindness simply must be a shared value.
In my main block I cover the MMT take on inflation. It’s a real thrill ride. Carrots! – Arliss
12 February 2018 – We’re BACK!!! At least, we are back on the air. I’m still traveling so I’ll keep this really short. At the top of the show Will emphasizes the importance of continuing to work toward victory in November and not making the mistake of thinking we are already over the finish line. I get into the latest in the Brexit talks with the EU insisting that Northern Ireland remain within the common market.
In his main block Will talks about the shifting sands within the German government and why this may be a generally hopeful sign. In my block I try to explain what the hell is going on in the stock market and why it is in no way a reflection of what is happening in the real economy.
15 January 2018 – Unfortunately, Hopping Mad is on hiatus until (probably) 12 February. Will and I had intended to come back with a show today and then I was leaving to travel on business for the rest of the month while Will held down the fort. At least, that was the plan. The good news is that Will’s wife got a terrific new job so she and Will are moving. Will, who has a full-time job in journalism, is busy trying to pack, move and unpack in their new home so extra time to prep for the show is more than he can take on. I, on the other paw, have had a simply horrible time since I last spoke with you all. We had a death in the family in December, losing our beautiful bunny, Beatrix (on the left above), in a sudden and entirely unexpected way. Then, my husband and I braved a snowstorm this past week to take Bunny Chesney (on the right above) to a specialist only to find that he is in congestive heart failure and, though we are trying everything, the prognosis is extremely grave. So, basically, I’m miserable…and trying to both prepare for an important business trip while also closing the books for my company for the year.
So – things may fall together and we may be able to come back the week before but we don’t want to over-promise. We have some incredible interviews lined-up and I have some really interesting international topics prepped so good things are on the way. We will miss you all and look forward to being back just as soon as possible. Many Carrots! – Arliss
18.12.2017 – What a year this has been. We were happy to end this year’s interview with the amazing Liz Brownlee, who talked farm policy with us, while Arliss tackled the continuing war on science, and the two of us discussed our hopes for 2018.
What a year. Star Wars is breaking records at the box office again, and you know, when Episode 4, A New Hope came out, there was this feeling that the Empire had been around forever. But having watched the prequels, it’s only about 20 years old. And boy do I understand that because 2017 could basically have lasted 20 years.
But 2018 will be better. We won in Alabama, and have eroded the GOP senate majority, and the future looks bright. But more importantly, we’re all going to work hard to make it bright. We look forward to working with all of you for a better country next year.
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.
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.