UK Election, Trumpcare & Positive Liberty

12 June 2017 – While the results of the snap election in the UK were not quite as unexpected as the most recent US election, they came close. Recovering politician and the founder of English Scotts for YES, Math Campbell (@MathCampbell and @EnglishScottsForYES) joins us to sort out the chaos. We take extra time to really understand why British PM Theresa May opted to form a coalition government with the terrorist affiliated political party from Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party. Since this tipping of the delicate balance in Northern Ireland toward the unionists and away from the republicans could potentially re-ignite the Troubles it seemed worth our time. Math and Will also dissect the voter turnout problem in Scotland and, like the 70,000 voters in the upper Midwest who tipped the entire US election, they cover why the SNP voters who stayed home made such an outsized difference in the result nationwide.

We begin with our new weekly segment, the Lying Liar Lie of the Week. Arliss’ competitor was proposed by listener @bosengood. Apparently, David Brooks thinks the Flynn/Russia matter had little to do with why Trump fired Comey! Will rejoined with Trump assuring us that he is 100% happy to testify under oath. (Sure you are, Donald.)

The American Health Care Act (AHCA / Trumpcare) is back with a vengeance and I went over what we think is in this bill and why the AHCA is incredibly bad even for those with health insurance through their employer. Ben Winkler, of MoveOn.org, has a truly excellent set of instructions and tips for how to optimize a call to your senators and how to #resist.

Will got way back to basics, all the way back to Thomas Paine (and further) talking about the principle of positive liberty and why it is this basic core value which distinguishes progressives from conservatives. Positive liberty is about having the capacity to create real opportunity versus the negative liberty principle of not being prevented from achieving an outcome. Positive liberty is why progressives believe in basic rights and is at the heart of the healthcare debate.

On a side note, Will and I have begun speaking with some folks who have come forward to volunteer to join the Hopping Mad team. If you are interested please let us know. We are serious about adding more voices. Carrots! – Arliss

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We. Are. Back!!!!

5 June 2017 – We are celebrating our return from hiatus by joining in the celebration for the arrival of the brand new Daily Kos Political Editor and Senior Communications Advisor, Carolyn Fiddler (@cFidd). Carolyn begins her work with dKos today so it seemed the perfect time to interview her. She comes to dKos from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) where she was the Communications Director. She has deep knowledge of state-level campaigns and her hiring signals the fierce nature of the focus dKos bringing to its work to elect Democrats nationwide at all levels of government.

Today is also the beginning of a new format for Hopping Mad. Will and I feel like we had set-up a show which was too dense and difficult for us to sustain indefinitely but we vey much wanted to continue it so we have evolved. I think you will find that the show is more conversational, there will be more “umms” and pauses and, in fact, it will move a bit slower because we are going to stop trying to cram too much show into too little time.  We are going to keep our focus on the resistance, 2018, modern money (#MMT) and, inevitably, Scotland (*wink*). We are also going to continue to be one of the few US-based podcasts which will bring you news and commentary about international issues. Annnnddd – we are inviting you to join us in the weekly segment, The Lying Liar Lie of the Week. You can submit your nominations here, on this site, or directly to us at ImHoppingMad@gmail.com.

Again, we are happy to be back and so glad you are still with us. Carrots! – Arliss

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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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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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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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Dr. Randall Wray on Minsky

31 October 2016Modern 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

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