29 March 2017 – (This is an update from Arliss.) In February my scheduled surgery was canceled when I was already in the surgical suite because at the last minute a conflict was found in critical data. Periodically through the rest of the month I went through exhausting and miserable testing which severely limited me. I actually had the surgery on 2 March. I’ve learned something important since then. Even when everything goes much better than anticipated and recovery is going perfectly, “major surgery” is still major. My surgeon laughed when I said I hoped to go back to work after four weeks. Tomorrow is four weeks and despite the fact that I am genuinely doing well, the surgeon was right. I can currently make it through an hour or two of serious work and then I’m all done. As a side note, I have caught up on the last three seasons of The Big Bang Theory. Since I stopped watching television nearly three years ago this counts as fun for me. I’m going to try to watch something more compelling next. We’ll see how that goes.
I am currently planning to be able to do a new show for 10 April. I appreciate all the good wishes and the kindness extended by listeners especially the fabulous bunny socks sent by Rebecca Romans. The really good news is that this surgery repairs a long-term, life-threatening condition which is now resolved. In the past couple of years I have been hospitalized and/or extremely ill over and over and over. That caused me to miss shows many times. From here forward I should be good to go. Both Will and I still travel for work and take holidays with our families but that’s fairly normal and we can plan in advance.
Again, thank you for your kindness and patience. Carrots! – Arliss
28 February 2017 – Indivisible Southeast Indiana (@IndivisibleSEIN on Twitter and Indivisible Southeast Indiana on FB) met on Sunday, 19 February, for our second meeting. We gathered in the home of one of the organizers and decided that we needed to act immediately. One week later, on Sunday, 26 February we hosted a “Where’s Waldo” themed constituent town hall.We invited Congressman Luke Messer (R – IN-6) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN). Both declined to come. In fact, neither held any open-to-the-public town halls or events anywhere during this recess. We persisted.
Our Where’s Todd? Where’s Luke? Town Hall was held in front of the lovely and historic Ohio County Courthouse (the oldest in continuous operation in Indiana) located in little Rising Sun, Indiana (population 2304). Sunday was cold but sunny and with little notice and very little publicity in this red, red corner of Indiana, about fifty people turned up. In San Francisco this would be an embarrassing turnout but in Rising Sun it was exceptional and you could feel the excitement in the air. We even had (briefly) a tiny Trump contingent but they left when they didn’t draw attention or a fight.
The event featured life-sized Todd and Luke Waldos, lots of handmade signs and really darling Waldo scarves that one of the organizes made and handed out. Several planned speakers told their two-minute stories and then other attendees asked to speak and we were thrilled to have them. The thing which most struck me was how well informed these voters are and how wide ranging their issues of concern.
For Hopping Mad I recorded a brief interview with two of the organizers, Rebecca Barhorst and Christine Craig, just after the meeting on the 19th and then the entire town hall on the 26th. I think what people had to say during the town hall was as important as any of the interviews we have done on this show. I think you will enjoy this and when you imagine what people are thinking about in these midwestern states, remember what you heard here today. Carrots! – Arliss
PS – For anyone wondering, the show will remain on hiatus for another few weeks. Will may try to host a show on his own but I will again be unavailable. I went in for surgery, as I had previously mentioned, on 6 February but the surgeon found a conflict in the diagnostic reports just a few minutes before the surgery was supposed to begin. I was floating on a cloud by this point but, as I understand it, the decision was made to run another entire battery of (hideous) tests over the following two weeks. Ultimately, those tests confirmed the original diagnosis and I go back in for the originally planned surgery on Thursday, 2 March, which means I will be down for the count for a while. Already I have a backlog of things I want to talk about so by the time I am back with you I will be brimming over. Take care of yourselves. I miss you already!
30 January 2017 – Armando Llorens, attorney and Daily Kos front pager, cleared-up all the questions I had about the emoluments clause of the Constitution and 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.
Will spoke about his visit with both anarchists and Trump voters on Inauguration Day. It was easy for Will to get from his apartment in DC to the Mall that day but not so the next. The difference in crowd size and sensibility during the Women’s March was immense and it’s great to hear Will’s first hand account. See below for video and more detail on Will’s experience at the Women’s March.
We started the show by talking about two new segments we plan to regularly include in future shows. First, we invite you to email us at ImHoppingMad@gmail.com with your submission for The Lying Liar Lie of the Week. Pick the Trump administration lie you think is the most egregious and let us know what it is and why you selected it. If we can (and if you want to) we will even arrange to record a brief segment with you. We give extra points if you bring the funny. The other new segment is Damage Report in which we will call attention to the most dangerous Trump administration action of the week.
We will be back with an all-new show next week and then we will go dark for a few weeks while I have major surgery and deal with the not insubstantial recovery. We will definitely be back as soon as we possibly can. Carrots! – Arliss
I took a few videos when I was at the women’s march. I’m including a map below which shows where the videos were taken to give you an idea of just how large the march was.
This first video was taken at D & 7th, two blocks north of the mall. This is what almost all of the side streets looked like on the 21st. We couldn’t even get to the south side of the mall. There were just too many people.
This next video was taken at the Gallery Place metro. There was an endless crowd streaming out of the station. So many people arrived throughout the day that they were having to temporarily close stations for safety, in order to clear the platform that the next group of people could exit or board trains safely. It took hours to get people home.
When waiting for my wife to arrive, we grabbed a cup of coffee near the ellipse. Our thinking was that we’d march south on 15th, join the marchers just as they entered the ellipse, and be part of the march there. That plan was foiled. This was the picket outside of the White House near 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue.
After my wife arrived, we headed south on 14th street. And then we ran into this. A wall of people heading north on 15th street. There was no way we’d be able to get to the march route on Constitution Avenue. We had to go east.
15 minutes and a block later, we found 14th street just as choked with people. There was still no way to get to the march route. So we decided to take side streets to the ellipse.
There we were, at the very northern edge of the ellipse, just south of the White House. By this time, the march was supposed to be over, but most of the march hadn’t even reached the ellipse yet.
At this point, it was time to go home. We’d marched. We’d reached the ellipse. We’d temporarily joined people in the mall (though unfortunately, that video was corrupted so I can’t share it with you.) This was the site of people leaving the mall two whole hours after the march was supposed to have ended. We’d spent about an hour fighting our way through the crowd so that we could head home. In this video, you can hear one of the rolling roars that routinely tore through the crowd. You’d hear it in the distance, and then people near you would take up the cheer. Every few minutes, the entire center of our federal government shook, as more than half a million people raised their voices together.
I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Being there was an absolute privilege.
I hope we can all do this again on Tax Day (April 15th) and literally shake the foundations of this government with our voices once again. Some people laugh at protests.
Remember Spicer’s fearful, shaky press conference? Remember the lies that the Trump team attempted to tell during the match? They’d spent all day cowering in a building, listening to the roars of the crowd outside. The windows of their offices had literally shook with the discontent outside. Their building was surrounded all day – to the point that staffers weren’t able to make it to the entrances.
The crowd was peaceful. But for a group of paranoid conservatives who had spent years dreaming of leading a crowd like this against Obama, who had just driven a wave of populism, to discover this level of opposition on their first day was chilling.
We didn’t just make our voices heard. We scared them.
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.
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.
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:
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!
31 October 2016 – Modern Monetary Theory innovator and torchbearer, Dr. L. Randall Wray is with us for most of the show in a deep dive interview on his book,Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist (here from Princeton University Press or here from Amazon). If you have been a listener for more than a couple of weeks you have undoubtedly heard me speak of Dr. Wray. I may have discovered MMT through Dr. Stephanie Kelton but it was Dr. Wray’s book, Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, which entirely captured my imagination, gave me hope as to how we get to where we need to go and (finally) made economics make real sense to my very pragmatic mind. Still, even though this was one of our longest interviews to date I could have easily asked another hundred questions–Wray is that interesting. I think you will be fascinated.
At the top of the show Will takes just a few minutes to knock down the persistent Clinton bashing related to Honduras. People, facts matter. Really. Twitter is just loaded-up with Bros who are convinced that Hillary backed a war in Honduras facts not withstanding. …very frustrating. I take a similar ride only related to the most recent e-mails FBI Director James Comey detonated into the election, likely breaking the Hatch Act while he was at it. According to Kurt Eichenwald, of Newsweek, who seems to have an inside source, none of the e-mails involved appear to be either to or from Hillary. None of the e-mails appear to have been withheld by Hillary from the investigation. The FBI has had the laptop with the e-mails for weeks and they were told about the e-mail accounts involved in April! Director Comey said, in the bomb he sent to Congress, that he has no idea what is in the e-mails. He just thought he would blow-up the election for the hell of it!
Sadly, Will and I will be off next week. Will has an election-related job and I am, of course, busy making sure the Rabbit American vote turns out. We will be back on the 14th. Carrots! – Arliss
19 September 2016 – We are ONE! This is our first year podcast-aversary and we truly want to thank those at Netroots Radio who were so much a part of getting us launched. Also right at the top of the show I talk about where we came from and where we are going. We’re pretty excited about the future.
We do not have an interview this week. Alex Lawson, of Social Security Works!, had a family emergency and had to cancel at the last minute but we can all look forward to having Alex with us next week.
In his segment Will focuses tightly on a terrible article in New Republic which exemplifies one of the dramatic failings of the media during election cycles. Guess what, folks, most of the time it isn’t “both sides.” Most of the time it is facts and reality on one side and absolute make-believe fear mongering on the other side. What is amazing is how easy it is to slip lies into the public space when journalists, like Clio Chang, completely fall down on the job.
I get really wonky and go into the differences between money, sovereign currency, monetary instruments and commodities like Bitcoin. Bitcoin is no more a form of money than is a Beanie Baby. Both are commodities which only have value because the market has deemed it to be such and just like the infamous Pet Rock or, historically, tulips, that “value” can dry up and blow away at any time. Bitcoin is also not a cybercurrency. Thinking of it that way is Bitcoin Bro hype which has been accepted by journalists sheep. These are the links to some of the articles I mention in the show.
A note about the music in this show: I wanted to use some short snippets which fit with the themes of the blocks we were doing this week. As in the past this will not be a common thing for us, I just really love these particular songs and I thought you might want to hear them too. Selling the News, by Switchfoot, and and Channel 5 News, by Bo Burnham, both have dense and brilliant lyrics. The songs are well worth hearing in full and many times. At the very end of the show I slip in a tiny part of Cyndi Lauper’s genius acoustic reworking of her hit Money Changes Everything. It is seriously wonderful and a must-own piece of music.
Thank you to all of you and a huge thank you to Will. It has been such fun and I can’t wait for more. Carrots! – Arliss