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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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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DeRay Mckesson, GDP, Puerto Rico and Umberto Eco

22 February 2016 – This week Will and I ended up with so much to say that we did the whole show ourselves. I open with an update on the economic crisis in Puerto Rico and I follow that with a quick take on economic canaries, Maersk and CSX.

Will follows me with news about the terrific campaign of DeRay Mckesson in the mayoral race in Baltimore. DeRay has released spectacular position papers and proposals and is running the kind of campaign which deserves to draw support from progressives across the nation.

I’m up next with answers to listener questions relating to the article, “It’s Not About the Debt,” by Chad Stone. I get into some detail about why using debt-to-GDP ratio as a metric  makes no logical sense. As part of my explanation I draw from the excellent Levy Economics Institute Working Paper (Number 603), “Does Excessive Sovereign Debt Really Hurt Growth? A Critique of This Time It’s Different, by Reinhart and Rogoff.”

We also mark the passing of the gifted author and thinker, Umberto Eco. Both Will and I have been deeply impressed by his works and given the bent of the current US elections many of Eco’s literary themes seem inordinately timely.

In Extra Mad I venture out into the weeds of GDP; what it is, what it isn’t, what’s wrong with it and the various options. If you listen to the podcast version of the show I’m betting you will be surprised by relevancy of this topic.

We do have new interstitial music this week from Bua, the great traditional Irish band. Check out their website and support their music. Traditional music artists have an especially challenging road and artists as fluent and musically astute as Bua are rare.Bua Cover

 

As always, Hopping Mad is available here as a download as well as on Stitcher and iTunes. We are on Twitter and Facebook as IMHoppingMad. We LOVE receiving your feedback, questions and corrections. Spring is coming! – Carrots! Arliss

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Music

21 September 2015 – I wanted to take just a moment to tell you about the music we are using as part of Hopping Mad. Music is a large part of both of our lives and we wanted to reflect that in the show. In fact, just last night Will sent me a link for Mongolian rap. I know what just flashed through your mind…Will is crazy. Okay, that’s true but the link he sent took me to an incredible video. How DO Mongolian throat singers do that? Really, if you aren’t already a fan of Mongolian rap then you simply must listen to this. After you come back I’ll tell you about the music we are using in the show.


Intro Music

Our intro music is a small snip from the lead-in to the great James Taylor’s songStand And Fight. It’s a deep cut from Taylor’s 1981 album, Dad Loves His Work. This is a song every progressive around the world should, at the very least, hear and I recommend you purchase it so you can listen to it whenever you need to remind yourself why the hell you are doing all this (fill in the blank) anyway. Here’s a link to the complete song on iTunes: Stand and Fight.

Dad Loves His Work album cover


Interstitial Music

Liz Carroll isn’t just any traditional Irish fiddler. First of all, she was raised in the American Midwest. Still, Liz made her mark in traditional Irish music early when she won the All-Ireland* senior category competition in fiddle (a very competitive category) at the age of eighteen. She was also honored with a National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1994 and became the first Irish-American traditional Irish musician nominated for a Grammy (2010) for her album with John Doyle. We feature music from two of Liz’ albums, Lake Effect (2002) and On the OffBeat (2013). From the former we are using The Rock Reel/Morning Dew/Reeling on the Box and from the latter we are using Liam Child’s/Balkin’ Balkan/The E-B-E Reel. Even from the very short selections we are using on Hopping Mad it is clear that Liz is an extraordinary musician and composer. She is also just a generous and lovely person. We thank her for allowing us to use her work and encourage you to download more of her music. Trust us when we say, it doesn’t get better than Liz.

[*Note:  the “All-Irelands” are the major international competition for Irish music…obviously.]

Liz Carrol's "Lake Effect" album cover.

On the Offbeat album cover


Outro Music

Our outro music is by one of my very favorite singer-songwriters, John Gorka. Here’s a tip as to how old I am – the first several John Gorka albums I purchased were on vinyl. Then I bought them again on cassette. Then I bought them again on CD. Then I downloaded them from iTunes. Oh – and I have seen him in concert more than a dozen times. If you could see the iTunes section of my computer you would know that I listen to a LOT of music. So much so that my iTunes music library has to live on its own terra-drive and at any given time I limit myself to a mere 2000ish songs downloaded onto my phone. Even amidst all of that, I listen to John very frequently. His songs Lightning’s Blues and Flying Red Horse feel like old friends. Still, those songs were from early in John’s career and he just continues to get better. The song we are using as an outro is Ignorance and Privilege. It is from John’s 2009 album So Dark You See which, I have to tell you, doesn’t have a weak song on it anywhere. The message of Ignorance and Privilege is both powerful and timely. Please support music, support John and support us by purchasing some of John’s music. It will make your day. – Carrots! Arliss

So Dark You See album cover.