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!

Social Security Works!, Charlotte & Banks

26 September 2016 – We are finally back up to full power this week and have a truly terrific interview with Alex Lawson of Social Security Works! Because our listeners already have heard me talk about the mechanics of how Social Security works, Alex was free to wade out into the weeds where the world gets really interesting. He went into a great deal of detail about the dirty underbelly that the lying liars are trying so hard to keep us from seeing when they promote the privatization of Social Security. He also recommended that we take a side trip to the link for Social Security Spotlight where the (excellent) website lays out the economic impact of Social Security state by state.

At the top of the show Will talked about the importance and joy of celebrating Bi Visibility Day. I was especially caught by his pointing out why it is that the largest group within the LGBTQ community is also the most ignored.  For my opening section I was less cheerful in giving an update on the latest news from the protectors gathered on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation along the Cannonball River. Like Keystone XL before it, the Dakota Access Pipeline is an enormous environmental threat and its construction has already caused the bulldozing of burial grounds, sacred sites and the locations of historic villages. Pressure from around the world has caused the Obama administration to reconsider but the project is by no means stopped. We must join in demanding an end to this and all similar pipeline projects.

Will then really spent time time getting into the role that journalism is playing in the protests in Charlotte. That journalists have stopped operating as journalists and now are only feeding the clicks necessary to support advertising has destroyed one of the cornerstones of our democracy. When the people lose their voice, they lose hope and then where do they turn?

I spend just a few minutes talking about how banks create money and why new money is pulled out of central banks by private sector banks instead of being pushed out as is the common view.

One last note, if you haven’t checked us, ImHoppingMad, out on Instagram yet, the six Team Arliss bunnies are now there providing their own brief comments on politics, economics and, of course, carrots. Carrots! – Arliss


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Ariella Barker on PwD Advocacy

13 June 2016 – We always think our interview guest is going to give us a strong interview but there is no way to predict when an interview is going to be breathtaking. Ariella Barker, advocate and activist for persons with disabilities (PwDs) gave us a truly stunning, erudite and heartfelt interview. It is no surprise that this is our longest interview to date. Ariella had a lot to say and all of it was important. I tracked Ariella down after I read her 18 May blog post, “‘Berned’ by Bernie,” which was suddenly all over my Twitter timeline one day. You. Must. Read. This. Blog. Post. There is a reason it went viral. Even more than this post though, I was astonished by the revelatory honesty and genuine humanity of Ariella’s blog as a whole. She goes by “shiksappeal” on WordPress and that is only one of the lovely things about her. I always gravitate to smart people who can laugh at themselves. Ariella is my kind of person. I guarantee you will learn an astonishing amount about the political issues with which the PwD community is grappling. I did. Did you know PwDs are the largest minority community in the United States! Fully 20% of all Americans fall into this group. Twenty. Percent!!! I had no idea and I suspect that most people don’t. Shiksappeal is a natural storyteller and she teaches by sharing her life with us. I, for one, am so grateful.

In my block I am finally turning toward Brexit, the 23 June referendum when the UK will vote to either stay in or exit the European Union. The two campaigns, Leave and Remain, are neck and neck and there is so much more on the line than most people realize. Certainly there is more involved than most in the Leave camp are taking into consideration. One of those things would be the end of peace in Northern Ireland. No joke. I spend my time this week talking about Ireland v Brexit and how both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will be deeply damaged, both economically and culturally, should Leave win the vote. Next week I’ll be on the economics of Brexit.  Basically, both this week and next Will and I are all Brexit all the time. (You had to know it was coming, right?)

I was a busy bunny this week. I was on the 10 June Kagro in the Morning show with the always interesting David Waldman. David had spent time in each of his two previous shows talking about Social Security and I had some additional information which I hope was helpful. I was also fortunate enough to be a guest on the newest episode of Irreverent Testimony. Travis and Rachel are such a joy. Smart, snide, funny and never afraid to say what they are thinking – they give me hope for the future. We talked about the end of the Dem primary, what it means for Rachel and I as women to see this moment in US history, potential VPs and the hot mess that is Trump.

With that I will leave Will to say a few words. Carrots! – Arliss

We had a last minute change to the program because of the attack on the Pulse LGBT Club in Orlando. Arliss and I had a long conversation about that, about grief, and about healing. We talked about giving Orlando space to grieve. Sunday was a very difficult day for a lot of us. – Will

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David Dayen on “Chain of Title” & Housing Choices

30 May 2016 – I have a house rabbit named David Dayen. That’s how highly I think of our guest this week.  Dayen is a highly respected financial news and economics journalist for a reason. He finds a way to make even the most dry and dense topics understandable while also making it absolutely clear why we should all care. David’s first book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud (also on Audible.com  here),  is meticulously researched and a deep dive into the foreclosure crisis. Typical of David he found a unique way into the story through the lens and lives of three regular people who, instead of going quietly into the dark of foreclosure shame, chose to shine a revelatory light. Whatever you know about the foreclosure crisis sprouted, quite directly, from the questions Lisa, Michael and Lynn asked and the shocking answers they unearthed. Heroes are those who run into the fire, into the storm, to bring others to safety. Chain of Title is a gripping, true-to-life rendering of the lives of heroes and the deeds of villains. And, whether you know it or not, what this handful of people discovered changed your life. You can follow all of David’s writing here and I strongly recommend subscribing to his weekly summary e-mail.

I lead into David’s interview with some information about Gresham’s Law, the idea that bad money drives good money out of the market, meaning that Wall Street criminals make it virtually impossible for competitors to continue to abide by the law. I also talk about something that seems obvious, asymmetric information, meaning that the seller knows more than the buyer. One would think that was as plain as the orange on a carrot but three people won the Nobel in economics for describing how asymmetric information influences macroeconomics and, in the case of Wall Street, further influences the criminographic environment.

Will brings up something which so often gets left out of the political mix, housing. He observes that the desires and right to choice of those who are among the most vulnerable in our society, the homeless, must be sine qua non to any array of solutions. Will uses, as an example, a heart rending description of the state of homeless shelters in Washington, DC.

Will and I open the show with what can only be described as a rant. I read an article this week which eloquently encapsulates my feelings regarding the 2016 Democratic primary, Misogyny Rules the 2016 Election by Victoria A. Brownworth. I truly am done with the sexism which is spreading, from the top down, through the Sanders campaign. Bernie’s silence, in some cases, and defense, in others, regarding the violence being committed against women by his campaign makes it clear that it is a leadership-lead issue. Bernie reveals himself with the lack of women (with the glaring exception of his wife) in the upper tier of his campaign as well as his shocking opinion that he believes Hillary to be “unqualified” to be President. (His too little, too late “apology” not withstanding.) Bernie’s personal rage at the world has permeated all facets of his campaign. He and his cult are frightening women…on purpose. Bernie could have been great. Instead he is the leader of a cult that is tilting ever more toward increasing degrees of violence. History will remember him as an old, white man who, while choking on his privilege, turned away from leadership and toward ignominy. Good riddance. – Arliss

First off, I apologize for the lack of music in today’s show. We simply had too much content and not enough time. I had to cut my discussion of Bernie’s e-mails and a section from my block where Arliss and I discussed the Tiny House movement. Across the nation communities have begun using tiny house neighborhoods as part of a menu of solutions for homeless housing. Tiny houses provide homeless folk with a place of their own, an address, a place to sleep protected from the elements, a place to cook their food, and a place to feel safe.

But I also made a promise at the top of the show which I was forced to cut: that I’d provide access to the threats Roberta Lange recieved. For those who want to see just a small selection of the nearly 1000 phonecalls and hundreds of thousands of harassing text messages received by Lange, here’s a dropbox folder released by the Nevada Democrats. 

I’m really frustrated with the situation. I want to talk about what we can do to make the Democratic Party better, more transparent and the process more trustworthy. I want to talk about things like Modern Monetary Theory and work on the housing policy I described in today’s show. But unless the people who step-up to lead chase the dangerous nonsense out of the process we can’t have those conversations. We simply can’t be silent while women are harassed and while people call for their public lynching. If we want to change the conversation we absolutely cannot afford to let it fall into the gutter. We need leadership, not rhetoric. – Will

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Conspiracy Theories, Democracy & Social Security

16 May 2016 – When you have Mark Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), on for the interview, you already know it’s going to be a good show. Mark is the editor of  the SPLC quarterly journal, Intelligence Report and most of this interview is based upon an article he and Don Terry wrote for the Winter issue, Margins to the Mainstream. While Mark is one of the leading experts in the country on extremism (and we will have him back in a few weeks on that very subject) this article took a look at the conspiracy theories which have seeped into the mainstream of politics from the radical right. In this, the season of Trump, it seemed apropos.

Will takes a thoughtful stroll around democracy. Once initially ensconced, most citizens tend to think of democracy as a done deal but it is a process and, certainly, both in North America and in Europe, it is undergoing change, some good and some bad. Will knows where he wants to go and that’s what he’s “on about” today.

I’m off on one of those “third rail” topics of American politics, Social Security. Everyone seems sure that Social Security is in need of saving and, well, everyone is wrong. It isn’t that we shouldn’t maintain and even strengthen Social Security, we most assuredly should, it’s that the problem with Social Security isn’t funding, the problem is politics.

…and one other thing…we are going to Netroots Nation in St. Louis in July! Will and I will be there the whole time. We will be recording interviews for Hopping Mad and helping out on Radio Row at the Netroots Radio booth. Come on by. We would love to meet you, maybe chat over a couple of carrots and generally have a fabulous time.

Thanks for listening! – Carrots! Arliss

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The Awful Truth: Trafficking of LGBT Youth in the US is a reality

25 April 2016 Rachel Hutchison of Irreverent Testimony joined me as a guest host because Arliss is on vacation.

Today we started with a tiny bit of coverage on the Scottish elections. Our UK listeners will note that I didn’t talk much about Nicola and that’s because I’m saving a full segment for her next week when I talk about the Scottish elections on May 5th. Only when those are over and done with will I give Brexit my full attention.

Then Rachel and I followed with a discussion of LGBT strategy when it comes to elections as well as a discussion about how we take state governments back.

Our interview was with social worker Molly Judson, who’s been on the front lines for just over two decades. Because of the subject matter, LGBT children and teens who’ve been enslaved right here in the US, this was one of the hardest interviews I’ve ever done. Molly deals with these issues directly. Looking at the ways that LGBT teens are being enslaved is extremely bleak – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Especially if we’re all vigilant and become involved. Even the smallest effort at this point will be better than the wall of silence we face. Call your senator or congressman’s office, and ask them why the trafficking of LGBT youth isn’t a priority. Silence is deadly but you can be a part of the change we need.

The following resources were provided to us by Molly and we hope they’ll be useful in combating the scourges of bigotry, trafficking and modern slavery in the United States.

National Runaway Hotline (www.1800runaway.org):
1-800-RUNAWAY
Resources and support for runaway youth and their families

Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org) – LGBTQ Crisis Line – Counselors trained in areas of support specific to LGBTQ issues
1-866-488-7368 – Hotline
1-202-304-1200 – Textline

Human Trafficking Resource Center (https:traffickingresourcecenter.org)
Hotline – if you are a victim of trafficking or suspect someone is being trafficked, please call the hotline:
1-888-373-7888 – National Human Trafficking Hotline

Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (www.combathumantrafficking.org) – lots of research and ways to get involved in anti-human trafficking efforts. Based in Colorado, the Laboratory is one of the most well-respected research organizations.

They also help run the Human Trafficking Hotline for Colorado – 1-866-455-5075 (if you or someone you know is or is suspected of being trafficked in Colorado, there are many resources available)

Trans Lifeline – translifeline.org – suicide and crisis line for trans*-identified individuals
1-877-565-8860 – US
1-877-330-6366 – Canada

True Colors Fund – 40toNone Day is April 27, 2016 – go to the website (truecolorsfund.org) to sign up for advocacy efforts.

Will

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“Hopping Mad” Debuts!

21 September 2015 – We survived the launch! It would have been better had it not taken us about eight hours to record the show only to later discover that we still had a strange audio problem in a couple of places but all-in-all we are still in one piece and we are downright hoppy with the result. It’s hard to be anything but thrilled with the end product because we had such a wonderful time talking with SUNY professor and Daily Kos feature writerDenise Oliver-Velez. I think it’s obvious that Dee is basically a progressive rock star. She answered questions about hope, Puerto Rico, the Latino get-out-the-vote effort and education. I especially loved the conversation about the fact that the Moral Mondays platform and the Black Lives Matter platforms are putting forward issues that are not “new” contrary to the commentary by mainstream media. Dee, with her wealth of perspective on progressive movements closed out by commenting on the difference between getting out the word in the 1970s versus the social media of today but she was sure to say, “The revolution will be slogged, not blogged.” We make change by talking with one another directly.

Will and I began the show talking a little bit about how we got started in the space that ultimately lead to “Hopping Mad.” We then went on to talk about the need for a new New Deal via job guarantee programs.

So, here it is, the very first Hopping Mad