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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The Monopoly Man!

9 October 2017At the last minute we were incredibly lucky to get an interview with the oh-so-popular Monopoly Man! Amanda Werner, of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, joined us right at the top of the show to talk about her experience as the Monopoly Man at the recent Senate hearing on SJ Res 47. GOP members of the Senate want to rollback the new rule from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) which eliminates forced arbitration clauses. Due to careful tactical planning, the Monopoly Man was able to get a seat behind and just a bit to the left of the (now former) CEO of Equifax so that every time the CEO was on camera Amanda was right behind him making her point by clowning it up. Within a matter of minutes the meme blew-up on Twitter and generated a truly phenomenal amount of coverage. Obviously, this was a powerful and funny way to get the word out about a topic many would otherwise overlook. Amanda (cough!), I mean, Monopoly Man, take a bow! Now the rest of us need to do our jobs and call our Senators to let them know we oppose SJ Res 47. We cannot let this one slip through the cracks unnoticed.

Since we had already recorded the entire show and because it was an unusually formatted episode anyway, the only way to hear the complete show is on the website or through your favorite podcast app. The last ten minutes of Will’s block and all of my block are pushed back into Extra Mad.

Following the Monopoly Man interview, in the original top of show block, I talked about the work Big Pharma, and especially Indiana-based Eli Lilly, is doing to support their employees in Puerto Rico, to mitigate supply-chain disruption for critical medications for the US and to supply medication into the region. Pharmaceuticals comprise 72% of Puerto Rico’s exports and the 80 pharma and medical device facilities there employee nearly 100,000 people. It is an enormous job made no easier by the failure of the Trump administration and their disaster response. Will followed-up by talking about the response of private individuals and companies to the problem of entirely rebuilding the electrical grid and cell service system in Puerto Rico. Again, a massive task which should be the responsibility of the US federal government but which is being totally mishandled by unqualified Trump appointees and understaffed, under-resourced agencies.

Will did an extended block on self-determination. This was especially timely because of the recent vote in Kurdistan and the attempted vote in Catalonia. Will underpinned his later discussion of specifics with a thoughtful backgrounder on who it is who determines who will be “allowed” to determine themselves. He moves from there seamlessly to use the nationalist movements of the Kurds and the Catalonians to illustrate his points.

In my block I talk about why cash is still king. Unlike electronic transactions, cash is resilient enough to accommodate disasters like that in present-day Puerto Rico. But that is just a small thing in comparison to the fact that we are rapidly being trained to believe that a so-called cashless society is upon us and if we don’t give up (literally) dirty and ecologically harmful cash then we are falling behind the trend. This is a corporatist agenda being pushed by the companies who are skimming a bit off every single digital transaction. …and then there’s the digital trail. A cashless society is one where we forfeit the power of a transaction to the middlemen and we leave behind us a record of the “micro texture of our electronic life,” to quote economist/anthropologist Brett Scott. Preventing the subversion of cash to a cashless society not only preserves choice, it preserves our option to be anonymous. Cash equals privacy for all of us equally.

Until next week, many carrots! – Arliss

P.S. Giving Arliss the “Wild Haggises at Dawn” treatment, I closed out the show with a bit of a song called Subdisco by Niteworks, an Electronica band from the Isle of Skye who make a ton of great music, much of which modernizes Gaelic song traditions. –Will

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The CFPB is Under Attack!

31 July 2017 –  [Note:  this post was, somehow, erased from our site. We have republished to the site as of 20 September 2017.] We were incredibly lucky to have just the right interview guest at just the right time, Amanda Werner (@wamandajd), Arbitration Campaign Manager for Americans for Financial Reform & Public Citizen, was with us to talk about the dangerous efforts, by Congress, to overturn the new arbitration rule just published by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). In the first half of the interview Amanda gets into some great detail about why forced arbitration is problematic and why some communities are particularly impacted. In the second half we get into the politics of the rule and explain why it is essential that you get involved in this very winnable fight.

At the top of the show I talk with Will a bit about the letter sent by the American Psychoanalytic Association to its members clarifying their long-held position that as medical professionals they have a “duty to warn” and that they see this duty as particularly relevant due to the observable behavior of President Trump.

And speaking of observable, impulsive, antagonistic, aggressive behavior…

This week Trump thought he could change DoD policy with a 140 character tweet in which he attempted to ban transgendered individuals from serving in the armed forces…where they are already serving…by the thousands. The Pentagon was blindsided and made it clear that DoD policy is not now and never will be issued via tweet. Will spoke both about the organizational issues and the personal struggles of the trans community. Trump’s efforts to feed hatred are despicable and, frankly, just another bit of evidence that he is mentally ill and unfit to serve as president.

Just before the interview with Amanda Werner, I reviewed the mission and successes of the CFPB. I also talk a bit about their enemies. In government, of course, no good deed goes unpunished so Congressman Jeb Hensarling, in an especially personal and vicious manner, is directly attacking CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Hensarling really despises Cordray because Cordray is so good at his job. Which is proof that it is absolutely essential that, like other regulators, the CFPB remain insulated from the political process as much as is reasonable. The GOP is looking for every possible opening to diminish this critically important agency. As we did with the ACA, we must, we simply MUST fight to defend the CFPB at every turn.

And so it goes. No rest for the victorious! Carrots! – Arliss

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You Heard It Here First…

19 June 2017 – This was one of those shows where Will and I covered a lot of ground. We did not have an interview (and there is no Extra Mad) so we just moved straight through the show with no breaks.

I began with a nod acknowledging Will for bringing on Math Campbell last week and taking time from the discussion of the UK snap election results to talk with Math about the fact that the new agreement between the May government and the DUP has destabilized the already precarious Good Friday Agreement. This week Gerry Adams and the group of the Sinn Fein leadership met with PM May and made their grievances known and clear. Interestingly, Adams also pressed May on the fact that her austerity economics has drained more than £1bn out of the Northern Irish economy, an economy already dramatically endangered by the coming closure of the border between the Republic of Ireland and the Counties.

I also took a moment to note that MP Jo Cox was assassinated one year ago this week and the memorial event her family planned, The Great Get Together (#Jo Cox, #GreatGetTogether, #MoreInCommon) spread deep and wide across the country as people joined to acknowledge their desire for less divisiveness and more unity. More than 100,000 listed events took place and millions of people participated in everything from fair-like activities held in parks to tea parties held at libraries, churches, mosques and synagogues and even in simple things like baking cupcakes for neighbors. In this week when members of Congress and their staff were terrorized in Alexandria, it seemed appropriate to take a look at what trying to heal could look like if we wanted it to.

In our Hopping Mad’s Lying Liar Lie of the Week segment Will’s contender was the inability of the Trump administration to have any actual idea if Trump went to see Rep. Steve Scalise. I nominated Trump’s “witch hunt” tweets and included my favorite response tweets. As it turns out, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) made the best case. He, of course, represents Salem, MA. ’nuff said.

In the body of the show I use the example of the central bank of Denmark warning its member banks about concerns related to the hot lending market despite the fact that all of those banks have passed ECB compatible stress testing. Meanwhile back in the US, the House voted to roll-back Dodd-Frank and the Trump administration is tamping down regulatory enforcement at every opportunity. This leaves only the Fed between us and the same economic disaster which nearly destroyed the economy in 2007. So – every time you hear the deeply misguided “audit the Fed” meme, I want you to remember this week and thank the Great Bunny that the US Federal Reserve is (relatively) independent and self-funded.

Will then spoke about the violent, so-called “left” DemExit movement and enumerated the ways in which they not really part of the left and definitely not part of the Democratic Party. Their dangerous, nihilistic rhetoric is really not about politics it’s just a self-justification for their rage. They are not interested in engaging in the public debate about policy. Truly, their only focus is on revolution in the streets and destruction. Just as progressives blame the GOP for not having called-out the violent, far right; progressives must now take responsibility and call out the terrorists on the farthest fringes of the left for both their views and actions.

I followed-on the subject of the responsibility to speak out by talking about former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s new book, Courage to Act. NOW Bernanke acknowledges the the economic crazy is all coming from one side, the GOP, and even goes so far as to blame the Obama administration for not having issued more progressive budgets and then fought for them. Ben, where were you then!?!

This show will air on 19 June and so I thought it was appropriate to take time to talk about the history of Juneteenth and why it is a relevant and important holiday for all Americans. I have to say I had to educate myself from scratch in order to even be able to speak in the most general ways about Juneteenth but I hope to listen and learn more in the coming year. By next year I would hope to lift up this topic with greater understanding.

One last thing – Rebecca Romans, thank you for the AMAZING TOUR and for all that you do in supporting progressive media. I know I speak for many podcasts when I say that we all love you! Many, Many Carrots! – Arliss

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Indivisible SE IN “Where’s Waldo” Town Hall

28 February 2017 Indivisible Southeast Indiana (@IndivisibleSEIN on Twitter and Indivisible Southeast Indiana on FB) met on Sunday, 19 February, for our second meeting. We gathered in the home of one of the organizers and decided that we needed to act immediately. One week later, on Sunday, 26 February we hosted a “Where’s Waldo” themed constituent town hall. We invited Congressman Luke Messer (R – IN-6) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN). Both declined to come. In fact, neither held any open-to-the-public town halls or events anywhere during this recess. We persisted.

Our  Where’s Todd? Where’s Luke? Town Hall was held in front of the lovely and historic Ohio County Courthouse (the oldest in continuous operation in Indiana) located in little Rising Sun, Indiana (population 2304). Sunday was cold but sunny and with little notice and very little publicity in this red, red corner of Indiana, about fifty people turned up. In San Francisco this would be an embarrassing turnout but in Rising Sun it was exceptional and you could feel the excitement in the air. We even had (briefly) a tiny Trump contingent but they left when they didn’t draw attention or a fight.

The event featured life-sized Todd and Luke Waldos, lots of handmade signs and really darling Waldo scarves that one of the organizes made and handed out. Several planned speakers told their two-minute stories and then other attendees asked to speak and we were thrilled to have them. The thing which most struck me was how well informed these voters are and how wide ranging their issues of concern.

For Hopping Mad I recorded a brief interview with two of the organizers, Rebecca Barhorst and Christine Craig, just after the meeting on the 19th and then the entire town hall on the 26th. I think what people had to say during the town hall was as important as any of the interviews we have done on this show. I think you will enjoy this and when you imagine what people are thinking about in these midwestern states, remember what you heard here today. Carrots! – Arliss

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PS – For anyone wondering, the show will remain on hiatus for another few weeks. Will may try to host a show on his own but I will again be unavailable. I went in for surgery, as I had previously mentioned, on 6 February but the surgeon found a conflict in the diagnostic reports just a few minutes before the surgery was supposed to begin. I was floating on a cloud by this point but, as I understand it, the decision was made to run another entire battery of (hideous) tests over the following two weeks. Ultimately, those tests confirmed the original diagnosis and I go back in for the originally planned surgery on Thursday, 2 March, which means I will be down for the count for a while. Already I have a backlog of things I want to talk about so by the time I am back with you I will be brimming over. Take care of yourselves. I miss you already!

Armando on Emoluments Standing Plus

30 January 2017Armando Llorens, attorney and Daily Kos front pager, cleared-up all the questions I had about the emoluments clause of the Constitution and standing. Plus, typical of Armando’s frequent contributions to David Waldman’s Kagro in the Morning, Armando lead us merrily off track and onto the subject of NAFTA and how Trump’s special brand of crazy (literally) can significantly damage the US economy in the area of trade. Happily, there were many other brief side tracks too. There’s a reason so many of us follow Armando on DKos and on David’s show.

Will spoke about his visit with both anarchists and Trump voters on Inauguration Day. It was easy for Will to get from his apartment in DC to the Mall that day but not so the next. The difference in crowd size and sensibility during the Women’s March was immense and it’s great to hear Will’s first hand account. See below for video and more detail on Will’s experience at the Women’s March.

We started the show by talking about two new segments we plan to regularly include in future shows. First, we invite you to email us at ImHoppingMad@gmail.com with your submission for The Lying Liar Lie of the Week. Pick the Trump administration lie you think is the most egregious and let us know what it is and why you selected it. If we can (and if you want to) we will even arrange to record a brief segment with you. We give extra points if you bring the funny. The other new segment is Damage Report in which we will call attention to the most dangerous Trump administration action of the week.

We will be back with an all-new show next week and then we will go dark for a few weeks while I have major surgery and deal with the not insubstantial recovery. We will definitely be back as soon as we possibly can. Carrots! – Arliss

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Womens’ March Special Reporting:

I took a few videos when I was  at the women’s march. I’m including a map below which shows where the videos were taken to give you an idea of just how large the march was.

womensmarchmap

 

This first video was taken at D & 7th, two blocks north of the mall. This is what almost all of the side streets looked like on the 21st. We couldn’t even get to the south side of the mall. There were just too many people.

 

This next video was taken at the Gallery Place metro. There was an endless crowd streaming out of the station. So many people arrived throughout the day that they were having to temporarily close stations for safety, in order to clear the platform that the next group of people could exit or board trains safely. It took hours to get people home.

 

When waiting for my wife to arrive, we grabbed a cup of coffee near the ellipse. Our thinking was that we’d march south on 15th, join the marchers just as they entered the ellipse, and be part of the march there. That plan was foiled. This was the picket outside of the White House near 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue.

After my wife arrived, we headed south on 14th street. And then we ran into this. A wall of people heading north on 15th street. There was no way we’d be able to get to the march route on Constitution Avenue. We had to go east.

15 minutes and a block later, we found 14th street just as choked with people. There was still no way to get to the march route. So we decided to take side streets to the ellipse.

There we were, at the very northern edge of the ellipse, just south of the White House. By this time, the march was supposed to be over, but most of the march hadn’t even reached the ellipse yet.

At this point, it was time to go home. We’d marched. We’d reached the ellipse. We’d temporarily joined people in the mall (though unfortunately, that video was corrupted so I can’t share it with you.) This was the site of people leaving the mall two whole hours after the march was supposed to have ended. We’d spent about an hour fighting our way through the crowd so that we could head home. In this video, you can hear one of the rolling roars that routinely tore through the crowd. You’d hear it in the distance, and then people near you would take up the cheer. Every few minutes, the entire center of our federal government shook, as more than half a million people raised their voices together.

I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Being there was an absolute privilege.

I hope we can all do this again on Tax Day (April 15th) and literally shake the foundations of this government with our voices once again. Some people laugh at protests.

Remember Spicer’s fearful, shaky press conference? Remember the lies that the Trump team attempted to tell during the match? They’d spent all day cowering in a building, listening to the roars of the crowd outside. The windows of their offices had literally shook with the discontent outside. Their building was surrounded all day – to the point that staffers weren’t able to make it to the entrances.

The crowd was peaceful. But for a group of paranoid conservatives who had spent years dreaming of leading a crowd like this against Obama, who had just driven a wave of populism, to discover this level of opposition on their first day was chilling.

We didn’t just make our voices heard. We scared them.

And we’re not going to stop.

Will

Trump is Toast & Fascism in the UK

10 October 2016 – We were lucky to have Scottish National Party Councillor Math Campbell  to preview for us what it looks like when fascism takes over a country. The British government of Prime Minister Theresa May is talking about creating a “registry” for all foreign nationals and has decided that no organizations which advise Whitehall can include foreign nationals among their advisors. Prime Minister May has also announced that when negotiating Brexit from the European Union, limiting immigration will take priority over jobs, the economy and justice. It’s good to know she has established her priorities. Math let us know that plans are continuing apace for a Scottish break from the UK.

At the top of the show Will makes it clear that the most recent release from Wikileaks, which is intended to be problematic for Clinton, is not now and was not ever created by the Clinton Foundation or part of a speech given by Hillary. The release is comprised of falsified documents, probably written by Russian agents, in an effort to influence the US election.

I answer the question, what is Hillary’s plan to pay for debt-free college? This is a nod of the carrot to Travis & Rachel, our friends at Irreverent Testimony, who were faced by a Libertarian with this very question last week. I hope this answer helps. If anyone needs additional detail, there is a lot more at Hillary’s website. This link will take you to the specific page.

Usually, both Will and I have a block on the show to talk at a bit more length about a subject of interest to each of us. We planned that for this week. We prepared our notes. We got ready to record the show. And then Politico announced that the Republican National Committee had temporarily frozen the funding and all work on Trump Victory Fund projects. Will and I were willing to let the rest of the media deal with the despicable things Trump has said about women but when the GOP starts to seriously break-away from their candidate, well, that we had to cover. Late on Saturday afternoon we pitched our original plans out the window and started again. What you will hear is current as of about 6PM on Saturday, 8 October.

I didn’t mention it on the show but I did find this graphic of 150 GOP leaders who don’t support Trump and when they reached their breaking point. It is fascinating.

With luck, next week will be a bit more normal. Carrots! – Arliss

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