Charles Gaba – Fixing the ACA, a Deep Dive

7 August 2017 – This week we go really deep into the weeds, which is our favorite place! National ACA expert, Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba aka Brainwrap) of ACASignUps.org fame is with us to help us sort out current legislative efforts, what needs to be done as well as what is politically possible. Charles also defines and clarifies terms like “Medicare for All” and explains the problems with Dems settling on that vocabulary and policy at this point.

Will starts us out with a bang and a rant. I chime in too. We have both just HAD IT with with the “Brocialist” attitude toward women. We also REALLY hate the entitled, special snowflake crap they throw at every idea which does not fully comply with their purity tests. Politics is work and compromise. It’s about community. It’s almost always a long, hard slog to get anything of real merit. It’s definitely not for the whiny or precious. Being mean, vindictive and exclusionary is expressly not welcome in the big tent of the Democratic party. Everyone who wants to work, cooperatively to achieve the platform goals is welcome. Brocialists? Get the hell out.

I devote my segment this week to part two of a three-part “series” highlighting the current, fierce attack on Dodd-Frank. Last week I was on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). This week I review the basics of the rest of Dodd-Frank in preparation for getting into detail regarding the increasingly successful Trump administration attack on the foundations of our entire financial system. It’s a big deal and very much under-covered in the media, hence a three week project to shine a light.

I’m here next week but traveling for the following two weeks so you can look forward to hearing from some of our new folks later in August. Carrots! – Arliss

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NRA Ad Abomination & Trade War Trouble

3 July 2017 – Will is on vacation this week (and next) so I am joined on the show by two of our three new associates, Joel Dent and David Paquette. David, a self-professed connoisseur of lies, starts us off with a spectacular lie direct from a true master of the subject, Senator Orrin Hatch. I respond with a whopper from Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry but Hatch won the day on style points. Here, by the way, is David’s recommended maple syrup video. “The moment” is right at the very end but the whole thing is hilarious. Remember as you watch it that this is the man curating the nuclear arsenal of the USA.

Joel brought us the latest NRA ad which is so filled with hate that it just blows right past “abomination” as a descriptor. After the election, the NRA and the gun manufacturers had a problem. With Obama gone and no enemy to focus on how are they going to sell mountains of guns? They need a new enemy and they have found one…all of us. Joel uses video shot during one of the Milo Yiannopoulos protests (also here) as an example of the depth of the problem. He also quoted from some alt right gun blogs here and here. The psychosis is both depending and spreading.

I go back to my roots a bit to talk about the modern money take on trade and how trade works in economies like ours. The meme of the trade deficit being a problem is the same as the meme of the US needing a balanced budget. Both are ludicrous on the face if you take a minute to think about it. We give away pixels (fiat money) and get real goods and services in return. That’s the best possible deal especially when there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of making sure that everyone who wants a good job has one…except, of course, political will. *sigh* All of this is especially pertinent because while the whole country is looking the other direction, Trump is starting a trade war with our closest allies!

We have no interview this week (so no Extra Mad). Again a thank-you goes out this week to Michele LeSure, for her assistance in editing this episode. Michele will be on the show next week so you will have the chance to hear from her too! If you are in the US, enjoy your holiday! Many carrots! – Arliss

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Trumpcare, Medicaid, & Rights

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

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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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UK Election, Trumpcare & Positive Liberty

12 June 2017 – While the results of the snap election in the UK were not quite as unexpected as the most recent US election, they came close. Recovering politician and the founder of English Scotts for YES, Math Campbell (@MathCampbell and @EnglishScottsForYES) joins us to sort out the chaos. We take extra time to really understand why British PM Theresa May opted to form a coalition government with the terrorist affiliated political party from Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party. Since this tipping of the delicate balance in Northern Ireland toward the unionists and away from the republicans could potentially re-ignite the Troubles it seemed worth our time. Math and Will also dissect the voter turnout problem in Scotland and, like the 70,000 voters in the upper Midwest who tipped the entire US election, they cover why the SNP voters who stayed home made such an outsized difference in the result nationwide.

We begin with our new weekly segment, the Lying Liar Lie of the Week. Arliss’ competitor was proposed by listener @bosengood. Apparently, David Brooks thinks the Flynn/Russia matter had little to do with why Trump fired Comey! Will rejoined with Trump assuring us that he is 100% happy to testify under oath. (Sure you are, Donald.)

The American Health Care Act (AHCA / Trumpcare) is back with a vengeance and I went over what we think is in this bill and why the AHCA is incredibly bad even for those with health insurance through their employer. Ben Winkler, of MoveOn.org, has a truly excellent set of instructions and tips for how to optimize a call to your senators and how to #resist.

Will got way back to basics, all the way back to Thomas Paine (and further) talking about the principle of positive liberty and why it is this basic core value which distinguishes progressives from conservatives. Positive liberty is about having the capacity to create real opportunity versus the negative liberty principle of not being prevented from achieving an outcome. Positive liberty is why progressives believe in basic rights and is at the heart of the healthcare debate.

On a side note, Will and I have begun speaking with some folks who have come forward to volunteer to join the Hopping Mad team. If you are interested please let us know. We are serious about adding more voices. Carrots! – Arliss

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We. Are. Back!!!!

5 June 2017 – We are celebrating our return from hiatus by joining in the celebration for the arrival of the brand new Daily Kos Political Editor and Senior Communications Advisor, Carolyn Fiddler (@cFidd). Carolyn begins her work with dKos today so it seemed the perfect time to interview her. She comes to dKos from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) where she was the Communications Director. She has deep knowledge of state-level campaigns and her hiring signals the fierce nature of the focus dKos bringing to its work to elect Democrats nationwide at all levels of government.

Today is also the beginning of a new format for Hopping Mad. Will and I feel like we had set-up a show which was too dense and difficult for us to sustain indefinitely but we vey much wanted to continue it so we have evolved. I think you will find that the show is more conversational, there will be more “umms” and pauses and, in fact, it will move a bit slower because we are going to stop trying to cram too much show into too little time.  We are going to keep our focus on the resistance, 2018, modern money (#MMT) and, inevitably, Scotland (*wink*). We are also going to continue to be one of the few US-based podcasts which will bring you news and commentary about international issues. Annnnddd – we are inviting you to join us in the weekly segment, The Lying Liar Lie of the Week. You can submit your nominations here, on this site, or directly to us at ImHoppingMad@gmail.com.

Again, we are happy to be back and so glad you are still with us. 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!