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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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.

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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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Comcast Data Caps, What is Money?, and Hawaiian Independence

9 November 2015 – Today on Hopping Mad, Arliss was unavailable to record the intro, but was still able to cover her usual financial beat, explaining the power of a fiat currency. Will covered Comcast’s Data Caps, and our guest was Professor Francis Boyle, Human Rights Lawyer and International Law Expert. He explained that the Hawaiian situation is unique, as the laws which apply to Native Americans apparently do not apply to Native Hawaiians. Unfortunately, his time was limited, so there is no Extra Mad section this week. But the good news is that we’re now on both Stitcher and iTunes! For those of you who prefer the direct RSS feed it is https://www.buzzsprout.com/50892.rss.

Thanks for listening, Everyone. I promise I’ll write a bio portion for my part of the site soon.

-Will

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