HRC & DNC Conspiracy Theories & the IMF Says “Whoops!”

8 August 2016 – This week we had a lot of territory to cover and very little time due to scheduling issues. We have no interview or Extra Mad today but do start with breaking news on a new and unexpected humanitarian crisis. From there I plunge into Trump’s views on and utter lack of knowledge about nuclear weapons. (Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.) Will then moves on to the newest nation in the world, South Sudan, which represents an incredible opportunity missed and a sad story we will be hearing for a very long time.

Will wanted to spend some time this week really talking about several of the conspiracy theories surrounding Hillary and some of the misunderstandings/conspiracy theories which are frustrating regarding the Democratic National Convention and Committee. Will talks about the truly hideous conspiracy theory about Hillary having Vince Foster Seth Rich murdered recently. Will also, apparently for my entertainment, brings up an old theory where President Obama has ordered a nuclear attack against Charleston…South Carolina. He then chats about the false claims that the DNC rigged the primary election and I end up ranting while reminding everyone that the DNC is not a public organization and not part of the government. It’s a private organization, a club…a treehouse, and because this is the case the DNC gets to write its own rules. I also mention why I feel like Bernie delegates, to the national convention, had expectations which could not be met because they were not fully briefed by the Sanders campaign. I do feel bad that it happened this way.

I close out the show with a review on the recent report from the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the International Monetary Fund, “The IMF and the Crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.” This is a WOW report. The IEO has provided a very constructive but extremely brutal review of the many, many failures of the IMF in dealing with the European banking crisis. The thing I am most pleased by is that so many of the things the MMT community has been shouting for years now are bourn out in this report but this is small comfort beside the gravity of the impact of the errors made by the IMF and the troika.

Will is traveling this next week but we will be back on 22 August with an all new show. – Carrots! Arliss

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Frances Coppola, Putin & Rajan

1 August 2016 – It is always glorious when we can have the well-known banking expert,  economics wonk and bloggerFrances Coppola on the show.  We were thrilled to welcome her back this week to talk about threats to the independence of central banks. We also discussed her recent panel at the Financial Times Festival of Finance where she consistently pointed out that the rise in populism expressed both through the Brexit vote and in the Trump candidacy, is all about the local.

Will and I had a lot of fun at the top of the show where he reveled in the number of GOP pundits who had to admit they loved the Democratic National Convention and I revealed what is, perhaps, the single most important polling result of this election cycle.

Will then goes on to tear into what we know (and what we don’t) about the relationships between Donald Trump, members of his campaign staff, Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin and various Russian surrogates and agencies. The word “traitor” does indeed come to mind. Seriously.

I spend my time on an overview of the economy of India, the modernization efforts and challenges and a bit about the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) including its recent upheaval. Since the soon-to-be former Governor of the RBI may very well be the incoming head of the IMF, after Lagarde steps down later this year, it’s worth getting to know a bit more about him. Rughuram Rajan is a neoliberal economist but he is also extremely accomplished, qualified and would be a much stronger voice for developing nations.

In spite of Trump, this has been a great week to be a Democrat and Will and I are still in the post-convention glow. In the next 100 days this country may well rise or fall. Let’s get to work. 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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Losses & Listening, Mark Carney & Stress

11 July 2016 – We could not begin without acknowledging that yet again our nation has suffered terrible losses:  Alton Sterling, Philander Castile, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa. Will sums up our feelings by reading parts of Hillary Clinton’s speech in Philadelphia which, we feel, speaks for us.

It’s hard to believe there was anything else important in a week like this past one but there was and I get to two of the big pieces of financial news. The US Federal Reserve released the stress test results of both the quantitative (DFAST) and qualitative (CCAR) testing of the thirty-three largest US banks. Stress testing is one of the big gains which emerged from the Dodd-Frank Act. In order to pass banks must prove that they can withstand specific “severely adverse scenarios.” The scenarios are both different and more difficult each year. This year all the banks tested passed DFAST and all except the US subsidiaries of Deutsche Bank and Santander passed the CCAR. I know you don’t think this really applies to you but that brings me to my second segment for the show….

The UK really is in a crisis, both political and economic. In the midst of all the chaos the one steady, calm voice of national leadership has come from Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England (BoE). In a critical speech on 30 June (PDF here), Carney delineated what the BoE has done, is doing and will do as the economic disaster of Brexit trundles forward. Alone among major UK governmental departments or associated institutions the BoE had a Brexit contingency plan and they have put it into action. Carney steadied markets and calmed the City with his cogent, realistic assessment and announcement of actions which the BoE is taking. Carney also reminded everyone that the most recent round of UK bank stress testing did include a Brexit scenario and that UK banks have been found to be capable of withstanding losses more than twice those they sustained during the global financial crisis. In addition, Carney noted that the BoE will be making sure that banks are making loans both to business and to individuals and he let banks know that the BoE will not be taking its eye off the regulatory ball either, ring-fencing will progress. In this period of complete UK political breakdown, Carney looks like the only adult in the room and proves it by managing to walk and chew gum at the same time–times ten. Oh – and central banks can make all the difference in a crisis.

Will got into the one other big piece of news from this past week, the matter of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. He made a point of fact-checking and adding to the information that is out there and he clarifies the difference between Clinton and those who have willfully and knowingly divulged classified information. There is a reason no prosecutor in the country would bring the case, Hillary’s mistakes do not meet either the letter or intent of the law. We will all, regardless, spend another two years listening to the GOP yammering on about it but it’s good to get the facts straight at the top.

Next week we are hopping down the bunny trail and our show will consist of interviews we have done while at Netroots Nation in St. Louis. If you are there, please come on by and visit with us. We will be on radio row (on and off) in the vendor hall. We’re bringing treats!  –  Carrots! Arliss

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SNP Councilor Math Campbell-Sturgess

27 June 2016 – Well, THAT happened. Brexit basically ate the news cycle of much of the world this past week. Who knew so many people could find legitimate use for the word “gobsmacked.” We were lucky to be guided through the chaos by Scottish National Party Councilor Math Campbell-Sturgess. Will has been wanting to have the Inverclyde Council representative on for a quite a while and this seemed like the moment. In fact, the timing was so good that Will trimmed down his block and I ditched mine completely because there was just too much ground to cover. I am especially interested by the way austerity is playing in elections and politics around the world. It’s insidious. We also talked about the upcoming Scottish referendum on leaving the UK, the terrific leadership of Nichola Sturgeon, the mess that is trying to pass as the Labour Party, the horror that is the Conservative party, commonalities between current UK and US politics, land reform and the general future of Scotland. Also, I think Angela Merkel joined Nichola Sturgeon on a very short list of people who managed to look like world leaders this week.

I began the show with a short tribute to Amjad Sabri, the sublimely talented Sufi Qawwalis singer and musician who was killed on Thursday in Karachi, Pakistan. He was a man who had devoted his life to a message of peace and love. His loss is unspeakably great. In tribute to Amjad, all of our interstitial music this week is his.

Will took a few minutes to hit the highlights of the ruling by the Hague on the case being brought by the Philippines against China over the Spratly Islands. The Philippines won. Enforcement is another matter entirely. *sigh*

It was a big week and I don’t think anyone knows what comes next. Hang on to your ears!  Carrots! – Arliss

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WOW! Frances Coppola on Brexit

14 March 2016 – I follow many media sources on economics but none more closely than I do Frances Coppola. Frances’ insight on banking fraud, regulation and on the Greek crisis has contributed significantly to my thinking on these subjects. Having her on the show to talk about Brexit is especially exciting for me and I know you will be bowled over by her as well. Her blog, Coppola Comment and other writings, at The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes and her appearances on the BBC provide an accessible clarity rare among financial industry wonks.

Will is breaking news today on the Agent Orange crisis on the San Carlos Apache reservation lands in Arizona. The Environmental Protection Agency is apparently stepping up to finally (thirty years after the fact) mitigate extreme adverse impact. At the top of the show Will talks about working to focus on the big issues, the real issues in the campaign and not getting lost in the weeds of a single comment.

I finish my financial instrument backgrounders by talking about mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. Whew! I also update on the Finnish economy which, sadly, is not being held aloft by Angry Birds. Is the Finnish economy “Finnished?”

Once again, our interstitial music is by the wonderful Irish American band, Bua. Buy their album. You won’t be sorry. – Carrots!  Arliss

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