Storms, Religion & DACA – Got Empathy?

11 September 2017 – The always interesting and informed Rachel Hutcheson, of Irreverent Testimony, joined us for a mini-roundtable. Will, Rachael and I each brought a topic and we spent some time thinking out loud about them.

Will started us off talking about climate change, in terms both of the hurricanes and fires currently razing huge swaths of the United States. Will made the point that in the not-too-distant past we prepared for disaster through federally organized civil defense. Now those activities have been broken apart and many have fallen through the cracks. We already know that recovery from Harvey and Irma will take years if not decades so there’s that but the real point is that “Winter is coming,” so to speak. Climate change doesn’t care if Florida, Texas and Montana believe in it or not. It’s here. It is going to get worse. We are doing nothing.

Rachel used the both funny and important work done by the Satanic Temple to talk about the push-back in the courts against the growth of forced Christianity. Rachel zeroed in on the use, by the Satanic Temple, of their sincerely held religious beliefs (which are egalitarian, scientifically coherent and humble), to challenge anti-abortion-related laws in the State of Missouri on behalf of member Mary Doe. This case, for which opening arguments are being heard today, is fascinating and makes for an interesting conversation.

I wanted to cover the economic side of DACA but I wanted to couch it in terms that, perhaps, Rachel could use in talking with her dad and brother (both of whom are conservatives) about DACA and immigration. Rachel spoke with her dad in advance of recording the podcast and brought that into our discussion. I was surprised and, frankly, still can’t wrap my mind around the disconnect in his “reasoning.” I make the truly overwhelming argument about the positive economic impact of DACA and, in fact, immigration in general.

Will and I will be back next week and, hopefully, between now and then I will get the time to put our new merch up on the site. Other folks have t-shirts but at Hopping Mad we have Thurston Owl, the deficit owl, and Arliss Bunny, wearing a McLeod tartan scarf, ornaments. These have been handmade for us by an artist in Kansas City and we are thrilled to support such a talented artisan. Carrots! – Arliss

Darlene McDonald for Congress

14 August 2017All 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

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Trump is Toast & Fascism in the UK

10 October 2016 – We were lucky to have Scottish National Party Councillor Math Campbell  to preview for us what it looks like when fascism takes over a country. The British government of Prime Minister Theresa May is talking about creating a “registry” for all foreign nationals and has decided that no organizations which advise Whitehall can include foreign nationals among their advisors. Prime Minister May has also announced that when negotiating Brexit from the European Union, limiting immigration will take priority over jobs, the economy and justice. It’s good to know she has established her priorities. Math let us know that plans are continuing apace for a Scottish break from the UK.

At the top of the show Will makes it clear that the most recent release from Wikileaks, which is intended to be problematic for Clinton, is not now and was not ever created by the Clinton Foundation or part of a speech given by Hillary. The release is comprised of falsified documents, probably written by Russian agents, in an effort to influence the US election.

I answer the question, what is Hillary’s plan to pay for debt-free college? This is a nod of the carrot to Travis & Rachel, our friends at Irreverent Testimony, who were faced by a Libertarian with this very question last week. I hope this answer helps. If anyone needs additional detail, there is a lot more at Hillary’s website. This link will take you to the specific page.

Usually, both Will and I have a block on the show to talk at a bit more length about a subject of interest to each of us. We planned that for this week. We prepared our notes. We got ready to record the show. And then Politico announced that the Republican National Committee had temporarily frozen the funding and all work on Trump Victory Fund projects. Will and I were willing to let the rest of the media deal with the despicable things Trump has said about women but when the GOP starts to seriously break-away from their candidate, well, that we had to cover. Late on Saturday afternoon we pitched our original plans out the window and started again. What you will hear is current as of about 6PM on Saturday, 8 October.

I didn’t mention it on the show but I did find this graphic of 150 GOP leaders who don’t support Trump and when they reached their breaking point. It is fascinating.

With luck, next week will be a bit more normal. Carrots! – Arliss

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SNP Councilor Math Campbell-Sturgess

27 June 2016 – Well, THAT happened. Brexit basically ate the news cycle of much of the world this past week. Who knew so many people could find legitimate use for the word “gobsmacked.” We were lucky to be guided through the chaos by Scottish National Party Councilor Math Campbell-Sturgess. Will has been wanting to have the Inverclyde Council representative on for a quite a while and this seemed like the moment. In fact, the timing was so good that Will trimmed down his block and I ditched mine completely because there was just too much ground to cover. I am especially interested by the way austerity is playing in elections and politics around the world. It’s insidious. We also talked about the upcoming Scottish referendum on leaving the UK, the terrific leadership of Nichola Sturgeon, the mess that is trying to pass as the Labour Party, the horror that is the Conservative party, commonalities between current UK and US politics, land reform and the general future of Scotland. Also, I think Angela Merkel joined Nichola Sturgeon on a very short list of people who managed to look like world leaders this week.

I began the show with a short tribute to Amjad Sabri, the sublimely talented Sufi Qawwalis singer and musician who was killed on Thursday in Karachi, Pakistan. He was a man who had devoted his life to a message of peace and love. His loss is unspeakably great. In tribute to Amjad, all of our interstitial music this week is his.

Will took a few minutes to hit the highlights of the ruling by the Hague on the case being brought by the Philippines against China over the Spratly Islands. The Philippines won. Enforcement is another matter entirely. *sigh*

It was a big week and I don’t think anyone knows what comes next. Hang on to your ears!  Carrots! – Arliss

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Counter-Messaging ISIS, Immigration & Transphobia

23 May 2016 – Middle East expert Landon Shroder (@LandonShroder) has returned to talk to us about the work being done to counter-message ISIS. His new company and foundation, Applied Mathematics, combines the skills of experienced foreign policy experts with the messaging genius of marketing professionals to create authentic, high quality content which will provide a counter-weight against on-line, violent, extremist media.

Will starts off the show with a story about flags. Because they had nothing better to do with their lives, Spanish soccer authorities tried to ban the Catalan flag, the Estelada, from being waved by fans during a championship match.  Will then goes on to talk about the tremendously dangerous environment which now exists for ALL women as a result of the new anti-trans, bathroom laws in North Carolina. Women across the nation have already come under active threat and it’s only going to get worse. Bathroom vigilantes are coming to a bathroom near you.

Transwomen look like women, because they are women. Take these women for example:

Do they look like they belong in the Men’s restroom?

What about her? But it’s not just women that this affects.

Does he look like he ought to be in the Women’s restroom? What about this couple? Which one should use which restroom?

North Carolina thinks they ought to use the same restroom. And honestly, I have no idea which restroom that would be, because the couple here haven’t informed anyone which one of them was assigned the wrong gender at birth.

I begin with the extravaganza that is Eurovision and the politics of the win this year by Jamala of Ukraine. You must, must, must take a moment to take a look at both the Ukrainian and Russian competitors. A…maz…carrots! My main take this week is on the economics of immigration and the enormous upside potential which exists for the US if we can force our way past the politics. This is one of those rare cases when we need business and money to do the talking because progressives, economists and American business are all on the same side.

Next week we have David Dayen for the interview on his new book, Chain of Title. Enjoy these few, final days of Spring. Carrots! –  Arliss

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If you’d like to contact Landon about his work, he can be reached at info@apmathlabs.com.

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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WOW! Frances Coppola on Brexit

14 March 2016 – I follow many media sources on economics but none more closely than I do Frances Coppola. Frances’ insight on banking fraud, regulation and on the Greek crisis has contributed significantly to my thinking on these subjects. Having her on the show to talk about Brexit is especially exciting for me and I know you will be bowled over by her as well. Her blog, Coppola Comment and other writings, at The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes and her appearances on the BBC provide an accessible clarity rare among financial industry wonks.

Will is breaking news today on the Agent Orange crisis on the San Carlos Apache reservation lands in Arizona. The Environmental Protection Agency is apparently stepping up to finally (thirty years after the fact) mitigate extreme adverse impact. At the top of the show Will talks about working to focus on the big issues, the real issues in the campaign and not getting lost in the weeds of a single comment.

I finish my financial instrument backgrounders by talking about mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. Whew! I also update on the Finnish economy which, sadly, is not being held aloft by Angry Birds. Is the Finnish economy “Finnished?”

Once again, our interstitial music is by the wonderful Irish American band, Bua. Buy their album. You won’t be sorry. – Carrots!  Arliss

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