Flipping the Senate, Trump’s Lies & the AltRight

3 October 2016 – We are fortunate again to have back on the show progressive political pundit Jesse LaGreca (@JesseLaGreca) to talk about the efforts by Democrats to flip the Senate. Something we were once so sure of has become seriously imperiled and Jesse takes us through the top targeted Red to Blue Senate races step by step. It matters that we are about to put a Democrat in the White House but without the Senate President Clinton will not be able to accomplish many of our goals, including appointing decent human beings to the Supreme Court. We can not roll-back Citizens United or restore the weakened Voting Rights Act or wisely protect the environment or be sure that women are free to make their own decisions without securing the Supreme Court. This is a more than critical election. We cannot allow GOP money to shut out our voices again.

Will gets into detail with the horror that is the AltRight and the ties of the Trump campaign to openly racist groups. He discussed the ideological backing of the fascist branch of the alt right, rooted in conspiracy theories, and shows how the Trump campaign and the alt right is moving from covert, dog-whistle racism, to overt antisemitism, including this death threat sent to Jewish Politico journalist Julia Ioffe, which is fairly representative of the way Trump’s supporters have been attacking Jewish journalists. Next week, He’ll talk about the misogynistic “Manosphere” component of the Alt-Right.

I dive into dissecting the morass of lies Trump told about economic issues during the first debate. In fact, there are so many that I will be back next week with even more. (How sad is that?) This week I get into the fact that China is NOT manipulating their currency, factories in Mexico are NOT more sophisticated than those in the US and Mexico is NOT the “8th wonder of the world” as claimed by Trump. Then I go after his lies related to jobs and Ford Motor Company. Ford is NOT putting workers in Michigan out of work in order to move manufacturing to Mexico and the US is NOT shedding manufacturing jobs. In fact, the Obama Administration (or Obama/Clinton Administration, as Trump puts it) has added 800,000 new manufacturing jobs in the last five years.

At the top of the show Will tells us that Jeremy Corbyn still can’t lead his Labour Party out of a paper bag, much less to Downing Street. I get into it over Trump’s lie about the condition of the US nuclear arsenal.

If you haven’t seen them yet, Team Arliss, on Instagram at ImHoppingMad, has their own take on the recent Presidential debate. Carrots! – Arliss

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1st Anniversary! Media, Money & Bitcoin

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.

Bitcoin is Not a Currency by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

Everything I was Afraid to Ask About Bitcoin but Did by Lambert at Naked Capitalism

Money & Banking Part 16:  FAQs About Monetary Systems by Eric Tymoigne at New Economic Perspectives

Bitcoin’s Deflationary Weirdness by Dan Kervick at New Economic Perspectives

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

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We’re BACK with Failed Tech & Blockchain

12 September 2016 – The stars have almost fully aligned. Will and I are both fully functional this week. Sadly, we have no interview or Extra Mad, because we are both frantically catching-up at work, but the show is all new this week and next week, for our 1-year anniversary show, we have an interview I have been trying to get for a while so I’m excited.

At the top of the show I talk about the bankruptcy filing by South Korean shipping giant, Hanjin. Sea freight is a canary in the coal mine economic indicator and the sinking of Hanjin speaks volumes. Also, with Christmas on the horizon, the Toy Shippers Association (no joke, there’s clearly a club for everyone), is expressing deep concern. It is already apparent that the stranding of so many toys will be putting extra pressure on reindeer-based transport systems on the night of 24 December. Also during the top block, Will, as predicted/promised, gets into the appearance of Nigel Farage at a Trump rally in Mississippi. Fascism is real and it’s gone mainstream. The “Lauering” of the bar by the press has allowed it to go unchallenged for years and now we are all reaping the crop of hate so carefully nurtured by the AltRight.

In his block Will has some fun talking about the history of tech and projects that failed because they were too far ahead of their time. The Scottish efforts to build a canal across Panama, the Macon and Akron airships and the Apple Newton were all failures. Still, there is a tiny bit of Newton in every iPhone. Eventually, good ideas tend to take root. The photo below is of the USS Macon during a visit to new York City in 1933.

enosmacon

US Navy Photo colorized by Jared Enos.

 

In my segment I answer the question, what is blockchain? Bitcoin, the first iteration of blockchain, is an interesting experiment but it has substantial limitations. Blockchain itself, however, will have a big future and be used in many applications. It will not replace currency, for reasons I will get into in more detail next week, but it is an important technology which is on the rise. I do spend some time on the technical limitations of blockchain including the Byzantine Generals problem. There are many serious descriptions of this hurdle as it has been an unresolved challenge, both for programmers and applied mathematicians, for nearly forty years but there was one genuinely short but funny article and I promised to link to it here.

Both Will and I thank you for sticking with us through the past few weeks. – Carrots! Arliss


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Jesse LaGreca, China & Italian Banks

25 July 2016Jesse LaGreca (@JesseLaGreca), political activist and commentor, manages to be both incisive and hilarious with his jackhammer-pounding, nailgun-fast insight into the underlying structure of the current election cycle. In the first half of the interview Jesse both breaks down the structural problems with the GOP and brings true thoughtful analysis to the pick of Tim Kaine. In Extra Mad he gets into more detail and provides some of the sharpest wit I have heard on these topics to date.

At the top of the show I round-up the latest developments in court rulings on voting rights summarizing the Wisconsin, Texas and Virginia decisions. I also take a moment out to remind everyone that, (to paraphrase James Carville), “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!” Will , then, takes a few minutes to talk about just how dangerous the GOP has become and concludes by quoting Professor Halford E. Luccock, of the Yale Divinity School, who said during World War II,

When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called ‘fascism;’ it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.’

If you did not hear Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, the word “Americanism” features prominently. No joke.

In Will’s block he brings us all up to date on the ruling handed down addressing the conflict between the Phillippines and China over the Spratly Islands and, more importantly, the surrounding sea lanes. What is especially interesting about the ruling really comes down to how international law will be enforced in the foreseeable future.

In my block I get into the Italian banking crisis and talk about the difference between a bail-out and a bail-in. Just when you were thinking that Italian banks can’t possibly be a big deal for you personally, I explain why the new bail-in regime Italy is fighting will likely cost you money when you go to buy a car or a house.

We had fun this week and I hope you do too. – Carrots! Arliss

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Award-Winning Author Matt Rees

4 April 2016 – Most of us have a short list of “desert island” authors and I have to admit that award-winning author Matt Rees has been on my list since I stumbled across his novel, The Collaborator of Bethlehem, early in 2007. Reading Matt’s work over the years has changed my perspective and every time I re-read one of his books I find that once again I am seeing part of the world in a new way. In the interview today we spend most of our time on Matt’s newest book, The Ambassador, which he wrote with co-author Yehuda Avner. You will likely recognize Mr. Avner’s name as he was the well-known Israeli diplomat and advisor to Prime Ministers who passed away just this past year. In the interview Matt talks to us about both the process and the fabric of his thoughts on writing. Matt was born in Wales, grew up in London, went to university in the States and then worked as a journalist, briefly covering Wall Street but then for nearly fifteen years in Jerusalem much of that as the Time Magazine Jerusalem Bureau Chief. Matt, his wife, the writer and author Devorah Blachor, and their children now live in Luxembourg. The Blachor-Rees family are pro-rabbit. Matt joined us over Skype but under a blanket (to cut down on the echo) for a truly lovely and fascinating interview.

Will brings the horror this week talking about the only recently recognized scorched-earth massacre which took place on 30 January in the village of Dalori, Nigeria. This is Boko Haram/Islamic State at its worst and the West completely overlooked it for more than a month.

I begin the show with a few comments on the book I read this week, Dan Ephron’s, Killing a King:  The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel. Later in the show, and following weeks of other topics, I finally return home to talk about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and the Bloomberg article, Ignored for Years, a Radical Economic Theory is Gaining Converts.

For your entertainment, Will sent me this link  and I thought I would share it with you because it’s just that good. Enjoy! – Carrots! Arliss


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Jim Crow Never Died

11 January 2016 – Ever since the Black Lives Matter hashtag rose to prominence I have found myself on a steep learning curve. Our guest for this show is Dr. Lawrence Brown an Assistant Professor at Baltimore’s  Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy. Dr. Brown is a rising national voice spreading the word that Jim Crow never died and the kind of hyper-segregation seen in Black communities, like that in Baltimore, has shocking and far reaching public health and societal consequences far more pervasive than are initially apparent. Dr. Brown clearly conveys the implications of policies, both historical and current, which have been imposed on Black communities.

In doing my pre-show research I read many of Dr. Brown’s articles but the one that really knocked me back is one I recommend that you read as well. Down to the Wire: Displacement and Disinvestment in Baltimore City encapsulates many of Dr. Brown’s points and should be required reading for everyone seeking greater understanding of the underlying causes behind the current racial crisis. Really. Read it. This is what you will be talking about for a long time after you make the investment.

We open the show with Will talking about polls in the Democratic race and I try to put the precipitous drop in the Chinese stock market (and ours) into perspective. Then Will goes on to talk about policing as it relates to terrorism and I get deeper into the way money flows through the US economy.

It’s good to be back! Carrots! – Arliss

On another note, three polls were published AFTER we recorded this, putting Bernie neck-and-neck with Hillary in Iowa. So my analysis in the first five needs amendment. All polls in Iowa now put Clinton and Sanders within the margin of error of each other, so it’s anyone’s guess. It just goes to show you how fast things can change. I’m excited to see what happens next, and I’m looking forward to the general election. – Will

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Modern Policing, Climate Change & More on Taxes

7 December 2015 – We are back with an all new show including a first-rate interview with Police Chief David Hewitt. For eleven years Chief Hewitt has been running a small town, Midwest department which is known for its considered approach to law enforcement. His thinking on social justice, the militarization of policing, use of force and the pressures being placed on law enforcement to fill gaps which are not being met at the source are all well worth hearing. Listen to him saying “You can’t arrest your way to” a solution. If he could tell all departments across the nation one thing he said, “You can’t take that bullet back.” Every department is not Chicago or Ferguson. It’s important to hear from a Chief who thinks deeply about the challenges and solutions in modern policing.

Will reassures us that Turkey and Russia are very unlikely to go to war no matter what all the various talking heads are saying. These are nations which do not now and have not ever had an alignment of purpose but it is not in their interest to battle one another at this time. In his longer segment Will tries to make climate change more real to us all be describing what is happening in Florida already.

I continue on the subject of taxes. Though I usually pull from many sources while I cover a topic, this time I lifted virtually my entire presentation from one given by Dr. Stephanie Kelton (now the Chief Economist for the Minority, Senate Budget Committee). If you have time you can view her entire presentation here. I promise that it is an hour well spent. At the beginning of the show I briefly update the decision by the International Monetary Fund to include the Chinese renminbi as part of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket. Since that will be entirely unintelligible to most people (and with good reason) I refer you back to a segment I did on The After Show on 6 August 2015. (My segment begins about half way through the show.) There I explain SDR, the basket and China’s desire for inclusion.

To all those who have been communicating with us via a variety of channels, we LOVE hearing from you. You push us and for that we are grateful. An extra big helping of thanks goes out to Peter who always listens so closely and asks wonderful questions. It will take me a few weeks to get through them all but I’m on it!

Carrots! – Arliss

 

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