19 March 2018 – There have been a lot of things which Will and I have been wanting to talk about and we get into it. Ask yourself the following questions: Is Vanessa Trump’s filing for divorce really about divorce?; Is there a link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism?; Can Trump be so anxious to suppress the vote that even GOP Secretaries of State are willing to stand up?; Can we encourage the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to be more diverse in thought, experience and identity?; How many ways is Andrew McCabe going to find to get even with the tweeting yam?; and, most importantly, Is the special relationship between the UK and the US forever damaged? We hit all of this in a wide-ranging show. We don’t do this kind of thing often so, enjoy!
12 March 2018 – Dr. Fadhel Kaboub (@FadhelKaboub and @BinzagrInfo), President of the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and Associate Professor at Denison University, gave us such a wonderful interview that we dedicated the entire show to it including the compelling extended part of the interview. Dr. Kaboub became interested in modern monetary theory (MMT) early in his studies at a time when there was virtually no understanding of how the precepts of MMT could be applied to developing economies. His work in this area and his emphasis on the specific issues faced by the peoples and economies of the Middle East has become the leading edge of the conversation. You are going to be fascinated to hear him talk about how he believes Tunisia can fight imported inflation and political unrest with fish. Really. It’s brilliant. Also, Fadhel deeply understands the relationship between TIARA (There is a Real Alternative) and hope as a key to leveraging economic prosperity and political stability. I also enjoyed listening to his description of how the currency he has invented for his economics students, the Denison Volunteer Dollar (DVD), has crossed-over into the basketball program!
Will and I do plan to be back with a regular program next week. Carrots! – Arliss
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
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
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
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.
9 October 2017 – At 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