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

Dr. Randall Wray on Minsky

31 October 2016Modern Monetary Theory innovator and torchbearer, Dr. L. Randall Wray is with us for most of the show in a deep dive interview on his book, Why Minsky Matters:  An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist (here from Princeton University Press or here from Amazon). If you have been a listener for more than a couple of weeks you have undoubtedly heard me speak of Dr. Wray. I may have discovered MMT through Dr. Stephanie Kelton but it was Dr. Wray’s book, Modern Money Theory:  A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, which entirely captured my imagination, gave me hope as to how we get to where we need to go and (finally) made economics make real sense to my very pragmatic mind. Still, even though this was one of our longest interviews to date I could have easily asked another hundred questions–Wray is that interesting. I think you will be fascinated.

At the top of the show Will takes just a few minutes to knock down the persistent Clinton bashing related to Honduras. People, facts matter. Really. Twitter is just loaded-up with Bros who are convinced that Hillary backed a war in Honduras facts not withstanding. …very frustrating. I take a similar ride only related to the most recent e-mails FBI Director James Comey detonated into the election, likely breaking the Hatch Act while he was at it. According to Kurt Eichenwald, of Newsweek, who seems to have an inside source, none of the e-mails involved appear to be either to or from Hillary. None of the e-mails appear to have been withheld by Hillary from the investigation. The FBI has had the laptop with the e-mails for weeks and they were told about the e-mail accounts involved in April! Director Comey said, in the bomb he sent to Congress, that he has no idea what is in the e-mails. He just thought he would blow-up the election for the hell of it!

Sadly, Will and I will be off next week. Will has an election-related job and I am, of course, busy making sure the Rabbit American vote turns out. We will be back on the 14th. Carrots! – Arliss

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JD Alt on “The Millennials’ Money”; AltRight & the Trump Economy

17 October 2016 – I have been talking on the show about JD Alt’s book, The Millennials’ Money, since it was still a series of posts on the modern monetary theory (MMT) blog, New Economic Perspectives. This book is that good and it’s that important. JD not only covers the basics of MMT effectively and in an especially accessible manner, he goes much further and explains why it has particular applicability to millennials and how it can be the tool they need to make the changes in the world they have been calling for so articulately. JD’s ideas for using MMT to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society genuinely made me think deeply. And guess what, there’s an app for that (or there could be.) JD is an architect by trade so his drawings, showing how MMT works, are unmatched and are core to the success of his first MMT book, the best-seller, Diagrams & Dollars. The inclusion of his diagrams in The Millennials’ Money makes the book even more useful. Perhaps the most important thing JD brings to the MMT discussion is some truly original and interesting thinking on how we re-frame the debate to make the obvious nature of MMT as apparent to everyone else as it is to us right now. The Millennial’s Money is available from Dog Ear Publishing and on Amazon.

This week Will starts our talking about the cluster bombing of Syrian civilians by the Russians. Cluster bombs are fragmentation weapons which deploy many smaller bombs and are anti-personnel ordinance on a major scale. Will then goes on to talk about so-called “New Mysogyny” and the Altright. Apparently, there are various pods of men who are so under-developed emotionally that they think women rule the world and are running a massive conspiracy to keep men down all the while being considerably less intelligent than are men. (Because that makes sense. LOL!) But these guys in the Manosphere are so far gone that they are working to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and are blaming their involuntary celibacy (which they refer to as “incel”) on everything except their own repulsiveness. Will recommends David Futrelle’s website We Hunted the Mammoth for insight and appropriate mocking of these tiny, tiny “men.”

I start out with something you knew had to be coming, a run-down of the “achievements” of Indiana Governor and GOP Vice Presidential Candidate, Mike Pence. Suffice to say here that Pence is dangerous but unlikely to be a threat to anyone in the future as he rides off into the sunset of what will be his non-starter of a 2020 Presidential campaign. I then finish-up detailing the lies Trump told about the economy during the first debate. This does not really matter since the Trump campaign is toast but these old tropes are regularly trotted out by the GOP so it is worth putting a stake through their heart.

Remember that voting is open in many states. Be sure to vote and to get all your (sane) friends and family to the polls to do the same. A big win for Democrats will help us crush the “the vote is rigged” meme beneath our foot, grind it under our heel and then scrape it off on the nearest patch of grass. This election is the most important in decades. Never doubt it. Carrots! – Arliss

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Flipping the Senate, Trump’s Lies & the AltRight

3 October 2016 – We are fortunate again to have back on the show progressive political pundit Jesse LaGreca (@JesseLaGreca) to talk about the efforts by Democrats to flip the Senate. Something we were once so sure of has become seriously imperiled and Jesse takes us through the top targeted Red to Blue Senate races step by step. It matters that we are about to put a Democrat in the White House but without the Senate President Clinton will not be able to accomplish many of our goals, including appointing decent human beings to the Supreme Court. We can not roll-back Citizens United or restore the weakened Voting Rights Act or wisely protect the environment or be sure that women are free to make their own decisions without securing the Supreme Court. This is a more than critical election. We cannot allow GOP money to shut out our voices again.

Will gets into detail with the horror that is the AltRight and the ties of the Trump campaign to openly racist groups. He discussed the ideological backing of the fascist branch of the alt right, rooted in conspiracy theories, and shows how the Trump campaign and the alt right is moving from covert, dog-whistle racism, to overt antisemitism, including this death threat sent to Jewish Politico journalist Julia Ioffe, which is fairly representative of the way Trump’s supporters have been attacking Jewish journalists. Next week, He’ll talk about the misogynistic “Manosphere” component of the Alt-Right.

I dive into dissecting the morass of lies Trump told about economic issues during the first debate. In fact, there are so many that I will be back next week with even more. (How sad is that?) This week I get into the fact that China is NOT manipulating their currency, factories in Mexico are NOT more sophisticated than those in the US and Mexico is NOT the “8th wonder of the world” as claimed by Trump. Then I go after his lies related to jobs and Ford Motor Company. Ford is NOT putting workers in Michigan out of work in order to move manufacturing to Mexico and the US is NOT shedding manufacturing jobs. In fact, the Obama Administration (or Obama/Clinton Administration, as Trump puts it) has added 800,000 new manufacturing jobs in the last five years.

At the top of the show Will tells us that Jeremy Corbyn still can’t lead his Labour Party out of a paper bag, much less to Downing Street. I get into it over Trump’s lie about the condition of the US nuclear arsenal.

If you haven’t seen them yet, Team Arliss, on Instagram at ImHoppingMad, has their own take on the recent Presidential debate. Carrots! – Arliss

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William Spriggs, Scots & Saudis

2 May 2016 – Even more than in the past there is this nexus between the progressive movement and the labor movement in the US. This week we were joined for the interview by the Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO, the deeply knowledgable Dr. William Spriggs. Dr. Spriggs kindly gave us an unusually long and detailed interview and we highly recommend visiting some of the pages, to which I refer during our talk. They are on the excellent website of the AFL-CIO here, here, here and here.

At the top of the show Will fills us in on what is going on with the protestors who have just taken the Iraqi Parliament. Later in the show he gives us the promised update on the Scottish elections which will take place on 5 May.

I start out on the newly released anti-austerity budget which has just been announced by the Trudeau government in Canada. I come back a bit later to give a lot of detail about the very aggressive Vision 2030 economic plan aimed at weaning Saudi Arabia off of its dependence on oil. Headed by favorite son Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS as he is called in Saudi), the plan is interesting and hopeful but will have to overcome significant resistance from Wahhabi fundamentalists in order to succeed. We’ll see….

I also learned that Netroots Radio has moved all of the old shows to which we had links from this site. Of course, all those links are now dead. I’ll have to figure out where they went and fix that. On a more cheerful note, the archive section for Hopping Mad has been updated and an index has been added making it easier to find specific subject – Carrots! Arliss

 

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SCOTUS Says, “No, You Can Never Have Your Day in Court”, Daily Kos’ Armando Explains

12 October 2015 – It’s true, over the past eight years the Supreme Court has been steadily chipping away at citizen access to Federal courts for civil actions. Not only is the bar to individual access almost impossible to surmount, climbing the mountain of barriers put before those attempting to gain certification for a class action is very nearly impossible. Corporations are people and welcomed into the courts but actual people…not so much.

Armando, who is a lawyer, frequent contributor to Daily Kos Radio Kagro in the Morning with David Waldman and a Daily Kos front pager, joined us to walk us through the foundation of citizen access (which was the Sherman Act) the later clarification to access  (Conley v Gibson) and then the Roberts’ Court efforts to tear access down through Ashcroft v Iqbal, Bell Atlantic v Twombly, Wal-mart v Dukes and AT&T v Concepcion. I’ll be honest with you, until I hopped on a Twitter link which took me to an article in The Nation, I had absolutely no idea things had become this serious. Essentially, Federal courts are filled to overflowing with criminal cases (many of which should not be there at all) and instead of working to reform the criminal case-load, SCOTUS went after the rest of us and slammed the door of the third branch of government right in our face. The version of “Hopping Mad” which aired, on Netroots Radio, on 12 October, contains the first half of our interview with Armando. The podcast version (player below) has the full length interview so it is, of course, “Extra Mad!”

This week Will gets into it on the need for progressives to stay connected to the real world and to create a workable progressive political strategy. He utilizes the current struggle of Jeremy Corbyn and the candidacy of Bernie Sanders as examples. Arliss goes off on de-industrialization and the successful campaign by neoliberal economists to keep us from caring too much.

As a final note, we managed to get through the recording of this episode all in one day. We were very excited. I don’t know what Will did with the rest of his weekend but I spent mine gardening, hiking and standing at the paint counter at Home Depot – because my life is precisely that exciting.

So here it is, the forth episode of “Hopping Mad”…