Real Progressives’ Steve Grumbine

5 March 2018 – WOW! We had an exhilarating, affirming, healing conversation with Real Progressives founder, Steve Grumbine (@sdgrumbine) who was on with us for the whole show. Steve is a long-time MMT evangelist and activist. He also has been active and is well known in Bernie & Green Party circles. I knew, from having heard his panel at the MMT conference in Kansas City last summer, that we shared many values and virtually all objectives and that was why I was determined to have him on as a guest. Still, I worried a little bit because the Hillary/Bernie divide runs so deep among so many. What I think we all learned as we spoke, and what I hope we were able to convey, is that there is little which divides us and much which unites us. This was a genuinely remarkable show. I learned a great deal and I think you will as well.

Next week I’ll get back to talking about inflation and unemployment but this break was well worth it. Many Carrots! – Arliss

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White Men, BS & Deficits vs Investment

26 February 2018 – Perhaps this time we will be willing to finally talk about the elephant in the room, white men and guns. We will never be able to ask the right questions or find workable solutions until Americans acknowledge that white men are not only usually the shooters but purchase most of the guns, organize the gun shows, protest in favor of their gun-based religion, own the gun manufacturers and are the legislators. The problem is white men from top to bottom.

Will begins the show talking about Jeremy Corbin and the Czech spy fiasco in the UK and then moves on into his main block on the subject of bulls*t. He ranges from the right-wing conspiracy theories about so-called “crisis actors” to left-wing nonsense that the “Russia stuff” is a smokescreen conceived by Hillary.

I burn the barn down (lol) explaining why neoliberal economists are completely wrong when they say “deficits crowd out investment” or that deficits cause inflation. It’s amazing that they continue to push this unproven drivel to the detriment of the real overall economy.

Next week I will cover the relationship between unemployment and inflation while Will will cover something genuinely compelling. Many carrots! – Arliss


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Our interstitial music today had an addition. The Flobots “Handle your Bars,” which was in response to the mangling of their song by an infamous YouTuber. I’ve posted links that song, and the original song below.

Flobots Handle Your Bars (Response Song)

Flobots – Handlebars (Original Song)

We Cannot Win Until We Win & Carolyn Fiddler

19 February 2018 At this point it really all boils down to one thing, we cannot win until we win. Everything we cover on the show today boils down to that. Prosecuting those who colluded with Russia, opening our hearts and borders to Syrian refugees, securing our elections, passing gun safety legislation – none of these are doable until we have taken Congress back (and even then it’s going to be a tough fight.) AND we can’t just win on the Federal level – states are key and that’s why we wanted to have Carolyn Fiddler, the Daily Kos Political Editor and Senior Communications Advisor on the show this week. Carolyn is a specialist in state races, something I know we do not cover enough. We promise to do better because, we cannot win until we win.

In the top bock of the show Will asks you to take a look at a video made by friend of the pod, Landon Shroder, which is the first in a series telling the story of Syrians who have fled to America. I don’t care who you are, this one will reach into your heart and remind you that humanity, kindness, life and love are things which bind us together. Lots of things are tearing us apart but can we please, please, please agree that kindness simply must be a shared value.

In my main block I cover the MMT take on inflation. It’s a real thrill ride. Carrots! – Arliss

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We referenced a heartbreaking video on Syrian Refugees living in the US. You can view that video here.

The Good, the Strange & the Stock Market

12 February 2018 – We’re BACK!!! At least, we are back on the air. I’m still traveling so I’ll keep this really short. At the top of the show Will emphasizes the importance of continuing to work toward victory in November and not making the mistake of thinking we are already over the finish line. I get into the latest in the Brexit talks with the EU insisting that Northern Ireland remain within the common market.

In his main block Will talks about the shifting sands within the German government and why this may be a generally hopeful sign. In my block I try to explain what the hell is going on in the stock market and why it is in no way a reflection of what is happening in the real economy.

Now, I must hop. Cheers! – Arliss

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Donor’s Relief Bill, Sexual Harassment & Fire Department Health Insurance

4 December 2017 – Though Will is still on vacation, I am joined by two of our associates. Basically, we came at the subject of framing from many different directions throughout the show.  I start with a fairly deep dive into dynamic scoring. I know––you can’t wait, right?!? While scoring methodology is one of those suuuuuppppper dry subjects, dynamic scoring in important because of the framing space it supposedly grants to Republicans and because this frame is so good at getting us to take our eyes off the carrot. Paying attention to what actually matters in this reality means that we MUST STOP talking about deficits and stay focused on our values, on the real economy and on the welfare and happiness of our people – and by that I mean #AllOfUs.

Hopping Mad Associate, Alexis Dent, is up next. For those of you who are regular listeners, you will notice that Joel has changed his name to Alexis and he begins his block by briefly telling us about that before talking about the current conversation which is everywhere these days, sexual harassment. Alexis is not sharing or commenting upon the latest stories or scandals, rather he is talking about what he believes to be a shift in some of the long-standing victim-blaming agendas and his concern about the inevitable backlash. He also takes a few minutes to address the fact that not all victims are women and while this is a time for women to have their say, all of those who have been the victims of predators are to be believed, supported and empowered.

HM Associate David Paquette is back with us again to keep diving into health insurance related issues. This time he uses an excellent framing, likening health insurance to the fire department. I did not know anything about the insurance industry efficiency scoring of fire departments but Dave explains it well and appropriately. He moves from there to a discussion of the use of emergency rooms as primary insurance of last resort and how The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) came into being. Another fascinating story I did not know. Dave ties all of this back to the Donor’s Relief Bill, currently known as the Republican Tax Plan, in a very timely way.

In Extra Mad I close out the show with a terrific article, from SplinterNews.com, by Raúl Carrillo (@RaulACarrillo), of New Economy Project, and Jesse Myerson, of Hoosier Action, The Dangerous Myth of ‘Taxpayer Money’. This is an outstanding article about framing and how we talk about public money from the point of view of two experienced and accomplished activists. I recommend that you read it and share it WIDE.

Will is back next week! Carrots! – Arliss

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JD Alt Dreams in MMT Reality

6 November 2017Architect and author JD Alt again graced us with his thoughts, this time talking about his new novella, Low Earth Orbit. The novella takes the functionality of modern monetary theory and applies it to solve major issues facing a society on the brink. The novella lives at the intersection between architecture, environment, society and economics with a light touch which will bring you back to it again and again in the future. Low Earth Orbit demonstrates the dreams of which reality is made and I could not recommend it more.

I begin the show with background information about Trump’s nomination for the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome “Jay” Powell. Powell is currently on the board of Governors of the Fed and it is thought that he will continue the practices of his predecessor, Janet Yellen. Trump could have nominated a number of truly despicable people, including Mike Pence’s favorite, John Taylor. Instead, the next Fed chair is known to be hardworking, calm,  interested in both sides of any question as well as being…frankly…rational (something in short supply these days.) In Trump-adjusted terms, Powell is basically a “win.”

Will pushes back against the not particularly factually-based spin being tossed about by former DNC chair, Donna Brazille. Here’s the bottom line:

We need a functional DNC which works for everyone.

We MUST win in 2018.

Nothing else is as important.

Will then moves on to a discussion of the upcoming race in Virginia. Virginia, he notes, tends to vote contrarian and is not necessarily the bellwether some are insisting upon. The race is being impacted by Trump’s impossible claims around coal and restoration of coal-based jobs while job training lacks a viable program.

Hopping Mad Associate, Dave Paquette, who is, himself, a registered nurse, updates us on the opiates crisis and the latest, minimal actions by the Trump administration. While Trump claims to have declared a “national emergency,” with all the funding and support such an act involves, in reality he only declared a “public health emergency.” The fund available for use in such emergencies is $56,000. So, not even sofa cushion change. Meanwhile, the family-owned Purdue Pharma has been profiteering wildly from sales of opiates. Purdue’s owner, the Sackler family, simply must be pulled out into the light of day. More than 2.5 million Americans are thought to be addicted. Overdose is now the leading cause of death for adults under the age of fifty. In 2016 up to 65,000 people (depending upon how the count is done) died from opiate overdose but, somehow, it is not a national emergency.

We will be back next week with an unusual interview I think you will love. Until then, carrots! – Arliss

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Amanda Werner, Brad Voracek & Michele LeSure are All Back!

30 October 2017 – It worked! Brad Voracek (@bradvoracek) is back this week and the wait was worth it. This time you are able to hear his full answers on youth employment, Senator Sander’s & Congressman Conyers’ Employ Young Americans Now bill, the science versus human aspects of economics and his thinking on so-called (and wildly mis-named) “Right to Work” laws. Brad is a founder of the not-to-be-missed website, The Minskys and I recommend regular visits there.

We were also extremely lucky to have Amanda Werner, of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen (aka The Monopoly Man), back with us to fill us in on the loss this week when the Senate voted to support Wells Fargo and Equifax in their illegal/incompetent behavior by making sure that citizens cannot sue these corporations either singly or in class actions suits. Forced arbitration is, apparently, forever, just like diamonds.

We also had Hopping Mad associate, Michele LeSure giving us more information on the strange anti-boycott legislation which has been passed in Texas and Kansas and is, supposedly, in support of Israel. This legislation is preventing some Texans from receiving federal aid post Hurricane Harvey. It’s strange and wrong and the ACLU is on it.

Will updates us on the latest in the rapidly changing situation in Catalonia as the Spanish government attempts to “fire” the elected government of Catalonia. The Spanish government claims it will hold “legitimate” elections in December but the specifics remain to be seen.

As always, there is a great deal going on and we will be back next week to take another swing at it. Carrots! – Arliss

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Brad Voracek from The Minskys – Part 1

23 October 2017 – This was one of those shows which fought every step of the way.* While at the MMT conference this summer I recorded a terrific interview with the bright and articulate young economist Brad Voracek (@bradvoracek) from one of my favorite websites, The Minskys. Embarrassingly, I managed to error during the recording process and had both a sound problem and actually lost part of the interview…twice. As I say in the show, I am making it my life’s work to have Brad back for a fully and competently recorded interview very, VERY soon.

Meanwhile, though Will told me weeks ago that he was traveling this week, I have been so distracted by the fires in my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA,  that I forgot to make arrangements in advance for a cohost. Fortunately, Michele LeSure stepped in and went well above and beyond not only doing nearly all the editing but presenting two blocks. We decided to update you on some of the issues surrounding three of the four major disasters all of which are only in the earliest stages of recovery. Michele talked about Florida and Houston. I, of course, am still on what is now being called the October 2017 Fire Siege which has savaged Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties in California.

Michele concentrated on the poor quality of the support being rendered in Florida and Texas. She also discovered an issue I had not heard about at all which manages to entangle disaster recovery aid in Texas with the politics surrounding Israel. Yes, you read that correctly. Michele just touches on the subject this week and has promised to come back next week with more.

It will not surprise you to know that in progressive, liberal Sonoma County the experience around receiving the basic necessities for survival for the more than 5500 families who have lost their homes is the polar opposite of that in states controlled by Republican legislatures. Additionally, the Sonoma County Sheriff, Rob Giordano has distinguished himself not only demonstrating superhuman leadership during the crisis but by being an extraordinary protector of all the residents of his county, including a homeless, hispanic man that ICE and Breitbart are falsely accusing of setting the fires. Sheriff Giordano is the kind of experienced, fair and thoughtful law enforcement officer who seems to live the ethic of “to protect and serve.” Sonoma County is fortunate to have him at this sad, terrifying, challenging time.

Will will be back next week. Many carrots! – Arliss

* Note:  among many of the other things which went wrong while I was flailing about trying to get this show out,  Comcast had an area blackout as I was uploading the show…because it really was just one of those shows.

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Pavlina Tcherneva & the World Beyond Trump

2 October 2017 – Some days it’s hard to remember that despite all appearances, there is a world out there beyond Trump and all the many, many ways he is failing this week. The truly dazzling economist Dr. Pavlina Tcherneva (her excellent site is here) is with us for the interview. I was able to interview her in person at the First International Conference of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT Conference). We talked about how the, now famous, chart (see above)  she developed was able to influence the conversation around inequality and how a job guarantee program can add more than just jobs to a society. It is inspiring to know the modern monetary theory rests in the hands of economists, like Pavlina, who have a clear connection to the ground truth of the programs and policies they imagine into existence.

I start out the show with just a quick overview of my experience at the MMT conference. It was genuinely compelling and I was overwhelmed by all the ideas and applications of MMT to which I was exposed. You will be hearing about many of these in depth in the future and I promise you will be intrigued too.

Will then updated everyone on the events in Catalonia related to the independence vote. Spain is refusing to acknowledge the vote and tension is ratcheting up. Will has covered Catalonia in the past and promises a deep dive next week.

We touched briefly on Puerto Rico. Now that it is (finally) being followed by major media we are leaving most of that to actual journalists but people are suffering and our President, while golfing, is too busy trying to shame the Mayor of San Juan with tweets to actually send an appropriate level of support. It’s not just frustrating or inhumane, it’s evil.

In Will’s main block he talked about Brexit. Many are saying that all the economic ills projected by those who wanted to remain in the European Union have not come to pass and were therefore simply election scare tactics. Will points out the obvious, the UK is still in the EU and the pain from Brexit will not be felt until Brexit actually occurs. It remains reasonable to expect cost-push inflation (also known as supply shock) as the UK strikes out on its own.

In my block I briefly lay out my reasons for supporting Bernie’s current “Medicare for All” bill. This may surprise some of you but I find this bill to be essential and extremely well-timed. Don’t get me wrong, this bill won’t move and, ultimately, the bill that does move will look different but here’s the thing – we can’t legislate until we get elected. Will disagrees but I think “Medicare for All” is a good bumper sticker way to sum up the shared Democratic party value that healthcare is a right. I think having this bill under active discussion now gives us an opportunity to build coalition and consensus in preparation for a non-Trump future. No matter what, this bill has already moved the Overton Window and that in and of itself is critical. Bernie has written a solid bill and he is gathering important voices. There is long, hard work ahead to build unstoppable grassroots momentum but this is how healthcare gets changed for real. It will take all of us…and it should. Carrots! – Arliss

Since recording this episode, the Spanish government has acted without restraint or dignity in Catalonia, attacking unarmed civilians with a wave of brutal repression. Many folks who oppose the referendum say that holding it is illegal. That may be true, but it isn’t an excuse for state violence. Spain had every ability to refuse to acknowledge the vote, which was itself an act of civil disobedience. But instead of responding to this act with restraint, and refusing to acknowledge the results, they chose to wage an unnecessary and unnecessarily brutal campaign of violence against the Catalan people. These actions bring the legitimacy of Rajoy’s governance of Catalonia into question. Things will likely only get worse in the coming days. I will report in depth on the situation next week, and talk about Kurdistan and its referendum as well. –Will

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Landon Shroder on Terrorism & White Nationalism

17 July 2017 – Will is back and he brought political risk and security expert Landon Shroder (@LandonShroder) with him. The interview, both in the broadcast and in the podcast versions of the show, is longer than usual and with good reason. We go wide getting into Mosul, the Kurds, Saudi, Yemen and the UAE during the broadcast show and then, in Extra Mad, coming stateside to talk about the rise of terrorism within the white nationalist movement.

Will continues his series on small “d” democratic principles and progressives. For this show Will is thinking about citizenship and it’s relationship with social responsibility. I push back just a bit asking Will about the difference between what is a right and what is earned. Also, Will and I talk about distinguishing between ideals and the reality of history and privilege.

I geek a bit on this show about the continuing rise of the discussion about how modern money really works (aka modern monetary theory or MMT) and the implications of having the power of fiat money recognized and utilized by society. It turns out that the debt-ceiling battle of 2013 really was an inflection point for MMT and voices have been added at a steadily growing clip. The Nation has a great article on 8 May 2017, The Rock-Star Appeal of Modern Monetary Theory, and that is just one of the many, many places MMT is being discussed.

I love having Will back and, friend of the show, Landon on with us again. We have another strong interview lined-up for next week too. We are definitely getting our hop back on! Carrots – Arliss

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