Brad Voracek from The Minskys – Part 1

23 October 2017 – This was one of those shows which fought every step of the way.* While at the MMT conference this summer I recorded a terrific interview with the bright and articulate young economist Brad Voracek (@bradvoracek) from one of my favorite websites, The Minskys. Embarrassingly, I managed to error during the recording process and had both a sound problem and actually lost part of the interview…twice. As I say in the show, I am making it my life’s work to have Brad back for a fully and competently recorded interview very, VERY soon.

Meanwhile, though Will told me weeks ago that he was traveling this week, I have been so distracted by the fires in my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA,  that I forgot to make arrangements in advance for a cohost. Fortunately, Michele LeSure stepped in and went well above and beyond not only doing nearly all the editing but presenting two blocks. We decided to update you on some of the issues surrounding three of the four major disasters all of which are only in the earliest stages of recovery. Michele talked about Florida and Houston. I, of course, am still on what is now being called the October 2017 Fire Siege which has savaged Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties in California.

Michele concentrated on the poor quality of the support being rendered in Florida and Texas. She also discovered an issue I had not heard about at all which manages to entangle disaster recovery aid in Texas with the politics surrounding Israel. Yes, you read that correctly. Michele just touches on the subject this week and has promised to come back next week with more.

It will not surprise you to know that in progressive, liberal Sonoma County the experience around receiving the basic necessities for survival for the more than 5500 families who have lost their homes is the polar opposite of that in states controlled by Republican legislatures. Additionally, the Sonoma County Sheriff, Rob Giordano has distinguished himself not only demonstrating superhuman leadership during the crisis but by being an extraordinary protector of all the residents of his county, including a homeless, hispanic man that ICE and Breitbart are falsely accusing of setting the fires. Sheriff Giordano is the kind of experienced, fair and thoughtful law enforcement officer who seems to live the ethic of “to protect and serve.” Sonoma County is fortunate to have him at this sad, terrifying, challenging time.

Will will be back next week. Many carrots! – Arliss

* Note:  among many of the other things which went wrong while I was flailing about trying to get this show out,  Comcast had an area blackout as I was uploading the show…because it really was just one of those shows.

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The Monopoly Man!

9 October 2017At 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

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The NFL, The German Election, and Zach Carter

In this weeks show, Arliss interviews Zach Carter, and I discuss both the NFL and the German election.

Yesterday was a tough day for German Democracy. The Far-Right took third place in their election, entitling them to become the third largest political party in the Bundestag. What’s particularly worrying is the tough path that Merkel now has to form a government, the fractures in the left wing SDP, and the poor coalition options. Which include trying to get the Greens to work the CDU and the FDP. Three parties that agree on very little.

We’re also poadcasting the first of several interviews which Arliss made with folks at the MMT conference. This week with Zach Carter, whom we like to quote here at hopping mad. Their wide ranging discussion touched on a number of economic issues, but also the way that certain conservatives tend to treat politics like sports.

We’ll have another heavy hitting interview for you next week.

Will

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The Caribbean; Energy; Profit & Hate

18 September 2017 – Every time Denise Oliver-Velez is on our show I learn so much! This week we asked Denise to join us to cover what is happening in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. I particularly loved the posts Denise put up at Daily Kos on Puerto Rico and the history of the word “hurricane” as well as her thoughts on the subject. We spend most of our time on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the places where Irma really did first make landfall in the US. (If you thought that was Florida you weren’t alone.)

In our Lying Liar Lie of the Week segment Will talks about an attack against a trans woman during a protest at Speaker’s Corner in the UK. Fortunately, it was caught on video and Will walks us through it as well as posting the video and some stills here.

In Lying Liar I talk for just a minute about Equifax who is making the obviously false statement that “they are doing everything they can.” This is clearly not the case and I’m quite sure we will be talking about them in the near future.

In Will’s big block he talked about climate change, weather, alternate energy and politics.  It’s appalling to think that the states which most need to confront new kinds of energy generation are fighting it the hardest.

In my block I get into the profits being made by Facebook, Google and tech in general, to promulgate hate. The blood money tech companies are taking as they act as conduits for hate groups (and terrorism) is much more costly to society than it is profitable in annual reports. We simply must find an effective way to address this.

And one more thing…

In a special election, scheduled for 26 September, Florida State Senate candidate Annette Taddeo is facing an extreme get-out-the-vote (GOTV) challenge. She is running in District 40, which is Miami-Dade, and many of her prospective constituents are among those who had to evacuate. Flippable.org has identified this race as one which can be won but needs immediate help. Anything you can do would be appreciated. Carrots! – Arliss

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A note on Lying Liar, the video we have is pretty shaky, and while it’s clear what happens in said video, it’s a chaotic scene. So to make things easier for our listeners, I’ve got stills from the video to walk folks through what happened, followed by the video in full.

Look for the red bus, as the scene we’re paying attention to starts just below it. A woman in a blue jacket and purple hat approaches a group of chanting protesters. She gets into an animated conversation with them and then pushes into the crowd, raising her camera above their heads. The crowd pushes back and blocks her camera with signs. Look for the bright spot to the right of the images below:

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A pushing match breaks out, and we lose sight of the altercation, catching glimpses through the crowd as the Camera pans away. But when the camera re-focuses on the scuffle, the woman who started the altercation has grabbed one of the Trans protesters by the throat. You can see her just to the right of center, our view over the shoulders of two onlookers:

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We lose sight of her again, but the camera returns to her, and she’s still got her hands on the protester she’s chosen to attack:

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And at this stage, when she’s grabbed a protester by the throat, dragged them halfway across a footpath, and enthusiastically participating in a fight she started, another protester punches her to get her to release the person she’s grabbed:

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Despite pretty clear evidence to the contrary, showing her starting this altercation and then enthusiastically engaging in the resulting fight, she is claiming martyrdom and… in a rather weird twist, saying she wants to spank people.

Which is just gross.

Will

The full video is below:

Hurricanes and Libraries with Michelle LeSur

We started our show this week with a discussion of Republican exaggerations of the demise of Obamacare. Ryan claimed that dozens of counties were without an insurer. Turns out the actual number was one when he said it, and is now zero.

In my block I discussed hurricanes and the lack of infrastructure and zoning laws, as it relates to Harvey, and Houston Texas. Houston was not ready for another hurricane, as reported by the Texas Tribune. Thankfully, the dams holding back two reservoirs are holding, for now. The Army Corps of Engineers is being forced to release water into Buffalo Bayou, which runs through Houston, in order to prevent failure. I talk about the problems with Zoning and Climate Change as it relates to Hurricanes. Unfortunately, we’d finished recording the show before Trump decided to use Texans as political meat shields by pardoning Arpaio and banning Transgender recruits from the military.

Michelle spoke passionately about Libraries and the purpose they serve in our communities. She talked a little about their history, but mostly about their future. We talked about how we measure how people use libraries, and about a Pew Research survey that breaks Americans into cohorts based on their library usage, which includes a quiz you can take here.

Arliss will be back next week!

Will

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America has a Fascism problem

We weren’t expecting what happened in Charlottesville, just over a week ago, but by the time events unfolded, last week’s show was already recorded. And a portion of this week’s as well.

But with the terrorist attack that happened quite close to where I live, I thought a deep dive into the thread far-right terrorism represents was important. Joel and I discussed recent events, a brief history of far-right terrorism in the US both recent and in the past, and also, we discussed what can be done about the problem.

Arliss is away this week on business, and will be away next week as well, but after that we’ll be back to our usual schedule.

Will

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Freedom of Speech w. Armando Llorens

24 July 2017 – This weeks show was a first amendment extravaganza. Arliss had to leave on business, but she still made time to participate in the show this week. In my section, I discussed freedom of speech with Joel Dent, long time listener and new member of the Hopping Mad team. We talked about what freedom of speech is, what it isn’t, and how the alt right represents a threat to it.

Arliss discussed being blocked on twitter by Donald Trump, and why that’s probably illegal. Yes, the president of the United States is so offended by rational discussion of how money works that he took the time to personally block Arliss on Twitter. It’s amazing that he found the time to do that during the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

Our guest was Armando Llorens, with whom we had a fascinating discussion about freedom of speech, trademark law, and Hamlet. Arliss will be back full time next week, and we look forward to seeing you then.

Carrots and the like,

Will

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