30 August 2018 – Because of the holiday we did not have a show planned for Monday but then I noticed a tweet from ACA expert, Charles Gaba (@Charles_Gaba). The ACA is at serious risk again, this time in the courts in what Charles refers to as the Texas Fold ’em Case (Texas v Azar). Normally, this would not be a case which posed any threat but the Trump administration has opted not to defend the ACA (you can insert “not to defend the rule of law,” same difference) so with very little warning a collection of Attorneys General from various blue states are suddenly arguing the side of HHS Secretary Azar. Either way, this thing gets appealed and it is almost surely bound for the Supreme Court…with whatever new justice is seated.
Not to beat a dead horse, but this is another one of those elections have consequences moments and yet another time when the lives of many will be put at risk (and many lost) which would not be happening if Trump had not won the election. Both sides are not the same. As I said on the last show, this coming midterm IS the fight of our lives and we can not afford to lose.
We will be back on 10 September with a regular show. Until then, many carrots! – Arliss
14 May 2018 – This past week, with the suicide of Frightened Rabbit frontman, Scott Hutchison, media and, well, all of us, once again came up against how best to talk about suicide and best practices for media. Dr. Dan Reidenberg, Executive Director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), joined us for the interview. In particular he spoke about the fact that everybody has a role in suicide prevention and that including stories of hope, of those who have survived, is important. Dan also mentioned a number of websites and I am including links for you: SAVE.org; Live Through This; Blogging on Suicide; and To Prevent the Attempt (for media organizations).
In his block Will gets into the fracas the International Association of Athletic Federations is in over their new regulations on natural testosterone levels. Their reasoning is based on secret, unethical, and dubious research carried out by the communist German Democratic Republic which suggested that testosterone levels affect the performance of female athletes. This research can’t be repeated because dosing children with testosterone without their knowledge or consent is deeply unethical. Despite broad opposition from scientists of various disciplines, the IAAF is pushing forward with the regulations, mostly because they’re angry that Caster Semenya keeps winning races.
In my block I’m still on framing modern monetary theory (this is part 4) because how we talk about things, how we frame them, makes all the difference and since MMT redefines the art of the possible and we are still at the beginning of surfacing MMT, this is the time to set those frames well. Also, I learned a new word from Will: sado-monetarism!
As we mentioned at the beginning of the show, we will be off next week because my day job is invading my life. Until next time, many carrots to you and yours! – Arliss
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.
13 November 2017 – We accidentally ended up with a theme this week – rural spaces. During our interview block we were fortunate enough to have Lane Siekman (@LaneSiekman), Congressional candidate in IN-6, and Dearborn County, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman, Tricia Gaustad (@GaustadTricia). Lane gave us an articulate and well thought out rundown of his priorities including progressive favorite, Medicare for All. Tricia talked about why the 2018 cycle is not at all the same as the 2016 cycle even in her deep red county. She is listening to local Dems and has built a strategy to truly fight the good fight.
Will started the show talking about the ways in which some conservatives are trying to twist the current conversation about powerful people sexually abusing others into a diatribe which reinforces feelings about LGBTQ people. They do this, of course, at the expense of women but that is their normal operating procedure so we should not be surprised. In his block Will gets serious about rural spaces and why the Democratic party simply must find a way both to honor our base and to reach back into rural areasfor those who have priorities which are not all about racism. He reminds us that rural areas vary in demographics from state to state and that those variations represent opportunities.
I begin the show with a couple of brief observations about the elections this past week. In my block I explain carried interest, why it is part of the GOP tax plan debate and the fact that the issue with carried interest is not about how much the wealthiest Americans pay in taxes, it is about increasing inequity and inequality. …Oh, and eliminating the carried interest loophole represents yet another promise which Trump has broken. I spend most of my block talking about new research, summarized in an article in the Harvard Business Review, which evidences a strong correlation between opposition to federal spending and racial resentment. We keep thinking that it is possible to wrap our minds around all the ways in which racism is systemic in our society and, as this research shows, we are nowhere close to understanding.
On that cheerful note…the interview I was expecting to have this week really is happening next week. It will be very different from our normal fare but I think it is going to be wonderful. Stay tuned! Carrots! – Arliss
6 November 2017 – Architect 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.”
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
16 October 2017 – Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) comes back again to explain why Trump’s latest move against the ACA is so incredibly dangerous. This time, however, there are some really specific things we can be doing to help to keep the ACA from imploding. Join the Indivisible ACA Sign-up Project (@2018ACASignUps) and get involved on the ground with GetAmericaCovered.org. As I mention at the end of the interview, Charles is a national resource who is taking time away from his real job to maintain expertise and educate us in all kinds of ways on all the subjects associated with the ACA. Please go to Charle’s excellent website ACA Signups and support him. He is certainly supporting millions of us.
At the top of the show I talk a bit about the fires in my in my hometown of Santa Rosa.Will talks about the hate that Trump is sending out and pushing right into Will’s home and that of every LGBTQ person in the country.
I have handed-off my main block to Will and Joel. Will will tell you about it below. For all the years and years it will take to rebuild, I remain #SonomaCountyProud. Carrots! – Arliss
For my block, we discussed millennials, guns, and regulation. Millennials aren’t willing to accept the all-or-nothing dichotomy we’ve been handed on the gun debate. We’re perfectly willing to let people keep their guns, but also perfectly willing to enact heavy restrictions such as a national gun registry, a ban on offenders convicted of domestic violence owning weapons, mental health screening, and gun insurance. This fact, that we tend to be both pro-guns and pro-gun control, confuses people. Due to time, I cut this block from the broadcast edition, but it’s in our podcast.
For Joel’s block, we discussed the upcoming 2018 elections, the metrics beforehand, and what we can do to actually win.
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
14 August 2017 – All across the country incredible first-time candidates are entering the political fray. Darlene McDonald (@VoteDarlene), running in UT-4, is an articulate, accomplished, woman with a truly compelling backstory. This is the very kind of candidate who has the ability to change the Democratic party…and I don’t mean only if she wins. Darlene’s message, story and her campaign carry the voice of the party in the way no amount of tweeting, blogging or, frankly, podcasting, every will. Darlene is precisely how and why the Democratic party will shine and grow in the future and we LOVED having so much time to talk with her. We think that after you hear from her you will want to support her and we look forward to having her back as the race heats up.
Will threw down the gauntlet in the Lying Liar Lie of the Week segment describing some of the abuses perpetrated by the new Netflix show, What the Health. Will makes the point that someone with a doctorate in English advising on health and health-related issues is disingenuous at best. Sadly, for Will and for all of us, I soundly defeated him with the report, from Alex Thompson at Vice News, that Trump gets a 22 to 25-page report twice each day full of all the positive things said about him on cable news, Twitter and the like. Inside the administration this document is called the Propaganda Document. Unlike past administrations, which collected media in order to judge the public mood positive or negative, only positive media is forwarded to Trump and the intention is strictly to fluff his ego. (Yuck!)
Will hasn’t taken us to Scotland lately and, of course, we knew that couldn’t last! For the past few years, HMRC has been engaging in what might be called “Willful Incpompetence” when it comes to measuring the Scottish Economy. As far as various sectors of Scotland’s economy are concerned (including two of the biggest, oil and energy) HM Revenue and Customs has been allocating Scotland’s economic activity to an “Unknown Region” because they simply didn’t want to do the work to determine where said economic activity was actually occurring. Recently, they were forced to update their figures revealing that they had been understating the value Scotland’s Oil exports by about 90%. This equates to 15 Billion worth of revenue that was allocated to an “Unknown Region,” and these updated figures still do not give an accurate accounting of Scotland’s economic activity.
I finish-up my three week run on Dodd-Frank and the efforts by the administration to change the Volker Rule both by legislation and just by reinterpreting enforcement. Dodd-Frank and the Volker Rule seem like distant things which are way above the “pay grade” of most of us but the fact is that these are the rapidly breaking walls which are holding back the surge of another financial crisis just like the last one. The GOP and Wall Street have learned nothing. Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, and FDIC Director, Martin Gruenberg, are among the only (Obama appointed) regulators standing between the Trump hoard and their goal. Emailing them your support would not be a wasted effort. They need to know we are watching. Additionally, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has opened Volker revisions up for public comment.You are the public so go here to comment. It is not important that you be technical. Tell them your story and make sure they know you are paying attention.
I will be away for the next two shows but Will and our new team have got you. Carrots! – Arliss
10 July 2017 – Today I was joined by all three of the new associates: Michele LeSure, David Paquette & Joel Dent. They are all bringing new perspective and strengths to the show so I am reveling in the opportunity to showcase them. Will is still on vacation but he is back next week with, hopefully, some interesting stories to tell.
Michele starts off the show with a brief introduction of herself and then her nomination for the Hopping Mad Lying Liar Lie of the Week – Donald Trump. He claims, in some truly twisted ways, to respect women but his actions show us what he really thinks. This week it was revealed that the women who are part of the White House staff, those who work most closely with the President, are paid far less than their male counterparts. Additionally, the Trump White House is far more male dominated than was the Obama White House. No surprise there but now we have evidence. I countered with Trump failing to mention or notice the only female astronaut in the room, Sandy Magnus, when he was signing an executive order establishing a related space commission and while thanking and commenting on the three male astronauts who were there. Trump not only does not value or hear women, he completely erases them.
David followed next with some information on healthcare and American exceptionalism. He introduced a concept called “duct taping” which is a single number which can be seen to encapsulate a wide variety of other seemingly unrelated elements. This, he explained, is why the CIA uses maternal morbidity as a CIA Fact Book statistic. I promise you, you are going to be depressed when you hear where the US falls in the ranking of maternal morbidity.
I’m still on trade this week. I get into some detail on the upcoming NAFTA 2.0 negotiations and what you can expect to see there. Additionally, I touch on the brand new (spit in Trump’s eye) in-principle trade agreement between Japan and the European Union. They call it, “Cars for Cheese” but this is going to be an enormous and, apparently, forward looking deal. It will take some time to negotiate but this is the first hard evidence that the world is reshaping its relationships into a new structure without either the US or the post-Brexit UK at the center. This really, really isn’t a good thing for American business.
26 June 2016 – Most of this show was recorded within a few hours after the Senate released their “Better Care” bill and we were lucky enough to have Linda Benesch (@LindaBenesch), the Communications Director for Social Security Works, with us to spell out the depth of the depravity of the GOP. I began by asking her “On a scale of 1 to I’m moving to Norway, how bad is it?” She recommended the Arctic. And she’s not wrong. Linda got into some detail (because we, at Hopping Mad, love to go out into the weeds) but she was also very clear that we need to be talking about people’s lives, not statistics. This really is an “all hands on deck” level crisis and none of us can afford to just hope for the best. I recommend going to the site for Indivisible’s targeted campaign, aimed at the ten (or so) GOP senators most vulnerable on this.
The other real stroke of luck this week is that I was joined on air, for the Hopping Mad Lying Liar Lie of the Week segment by one of our three new associates, Joel Dent. Joel begins by telling you a bit about himself and then goes right into why he thinks Jason Chaffetz is the Lying Liar of the Week. (Thank you to Rebecca Romans for nominating Chaffetz. Excellent choice!) I reserved my wrath for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. You’ll hear why. Oh, and I took just a minute at the beginning of the show to update everyone on the change in the line of succession within the House of Saud. MBS is in.
Will is actually traveling this week but prior to leaving he recorded a brief segment on rights. We on the left are the party of expanding and ensuring rights but defining them can be interesting. Will gets even further behind the curtain when he talks about who it is that “grants” rights and the purpose of the social contract and of government.
I thought it would be helpful to talk about how Medicaid works and what it is right now. Since the GOP is getting ready to completely end Medicaid as an entitlement program (as a foot in the door to privatizing Medicare and Social Security) it seemed to make sense to talk about why it is so critical that Medicare remain a fully functional part of the social safety net.
Wow! I know this is the fourth week but I’l still just really, really glad to be back on the air. Carrots! – Arliss