Show 36: Losses & Listening, Mark Carney & Stress
11 July 2016 – We could not begin without acknowledging that yet again our nation has suffered terrible losses: Alton Sterling, Philander Castile, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa. Will sums up our feelings by reading parts of Hillary Clinton’s speech in Philadelphia which, we feel, speaks for us.
It’s hard to believe there was anything else important in a week like this past one but there was and I get to two of the big pieces of financial news. The US Federal Reserve released the stress test results of both the quantitative (DFAST) and qualitative (CCAR) testing of the thirty-three largest US banks. Stress testing is one of the big gains which emerged from the Dodd-Frank Act. In order to pass banks must prove that they can withstand specific “severely adverse scenarios.” The scenarios are both different and more difficult each year. This year all the banks tested passed DFAST and all except the US subsidiaries of Deutsche Bank and Santander passed the CCAR. I know you don’t think this really applies to you but that brings me to my second segment for the show….
The UK really is in a crisis, both political and economic. In the midst of all the chaos the one steady, calm voice of national leadership has come from Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England (BoE). In a critical speech on 30 June (PDF here), Carney delineated what the BoE has done, is doing and will do as the economic disaster of Brexit trundles forward. Alone among major UK governmental departments or associated institutions the BoE had a Brexit contingency plan and they have put it into action. Carney steadied markets and calmed the City with his cogent, realistic assessment and announcement of actions which the BoE is taking. Carney also reminded everyone that the most recent round of UK bank stress testing did include a Brexit scenario and that UK banks have been found to be capable of withstanding losses more than twice those they sustained during the global financial crisis. In addition, Carney noted that the BoE will be making sure that banks are making loans both to business and to individuals and he let banks know that the BoE will not be taking its eye off the regulatory ball either, ring-fencing will progress. In this period of complete UK political breakdown, Carney looks like the only adult in the room and proves it by managing to walk and chew gum at the same time–times ten. Oh – and central banks can make all the difference in a crisis.
Will got into the one other big piece of news from this past week, the matter of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. He made a point of fact-checking and adding to the information that is out there and he clarifies the difference between Clinton and those who have willfully and knowingly divulged classified information. There is a reason no prosecutor in the country would bring the case, Hillary’s mistakes do not meet either the letter or intent of the law. We will all, regardless, spend another two years listening to the GOP yammering on about it but it’s good to get the facts straight at the top.
Next week we are hopping down the bunny trail and our show will consist of interviews we have done while at Netroots Nation in St. Louis. If you are there, please come on by and visit with us. We will be on radio row (on and off) in the vendor hall. We’re bringing treats! – Carrots! Arliss
Show 37: QT POC STL & Metro Trans Umbrella Group Bring the Power
16 July 2016 – We are here in St. Louis at Netroots Nation and, as usual, it’s remarkable. On Friday we sat down for a truly wonderful interview with Lady Ashley Gregory, of QT POC STL, and Capella Marissa Huniwalt of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group. Together these two organizations work symbiotically to empower the queer and trans community of St. Louis. The Metro Trans Umbrella Group delivers against their CAVE (Community, Advocacy, Visibility, Education) Priorities in genuinely impressive ways including providing nationally certified trainings to hospitals, universities and community organizations on providing trans related services and on interacting with trans individuals. They have recently also built and opened the first Trans Memorial Garden in the nation. I especially love the quote they have on a sign there, “They thought they could bury us. They did not know we were seeds.”
Speaking of seeds, QT POC STL grew out of the swirl of emotions following the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The QT POC community needed a place to talk and to organize. From that beginning an organization has grown. As Lady Ashley says during the interview (paraphrased here), “When they go to write history books in the future, Ferguson will figure prominently.” There is no question of this and QT POC STL is just one of the examples of how the nation has been forever changed by the activism which was trigged initially by the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
This episode of Hopping Mad is exclusively dedicated to the articulate, informative, exceptional interview and we thank our guests. – Carrots! Arliss
Show 38: PPP & NN16
18 July 2016 – Will and I drove out of St. Louis yesterday full to the tippy top with almost too much information. We were extremely lucky to be able to capture some interview time with Tom Jensen the Director of the highly respected Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling (PPP). I know why PPP has managed to maintain its edge as a scientific pollster with just a dash of the ludicrous, Tom is a funny guy and he laughs a lot. That bodes well for anyone who operates all day, every day in the political sphere. Tom takes us behind the scenes and talks with us about the basics of polling and about what PPP learns even from the funny questions they ask. [Hint: keep an eye out on an upcoming PPP poll for an answer to the question I find to be the most critical for this and every year.]
Will and I begin the show still bathing in the glow of Netroots Nation 2016 (NN16) and then I spend a little time on 10 Things I Learned. Will shares his comments and notes from one of the sessions he attended, How to Have a Conversation About Race Without Everyone Running Out of the Room then I do the same for How the Next President Can Bust Up Big Corporations.
St. Louis was glorious and Raven Brooks’ last Netroots Nation a true success. Thank you to all who worked with such dedication from the day NN15 ended to bring NN16 off. We can’t wait to see y’all in Atlanta next August. Carrots! – Arliss
Show 39: Jesse LaGreca, China & Italian Banks
25 July 2016 – Jesse LaGreca (@JesseLaGreca), political activist and commentor, manages to be both incisive and hilarious with his jackhammer-pounding, nailgun-fast insight into the underlying structure of the current election cycle. In the first half of the interview Jesse both breaks down the structural problems with the GOP and brings true thoughtful analysis to the pick of Tim Kaine. In Extra Mad he gets into more detail and provides some of the sharpest wit I have heard on these topics to date.
At the top of the show I round-up the latest developments in court rulings on voting rights summarizing the Wisconsin, Texas and Virginia decisions. I also take a moment out to remind everyone that, (to paraphrase James Carville), “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!” Will , then, takes a few minutes to talk about just how dangerous the GOP has become and concludes by quoting Professor Halford E. Luccock, of the Yale Divinity School, who said during World War II,
When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called ‘fascism;’ it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.’
If you did not hear Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, the word “Americanism” features prominently. No joke.
In Will’s block he brings us all up to date on the ruling handed down addressing the conflict between the Phillippines and China over the Spratly Islands and, more importantly, the surrounding sea lanes. What is especially interesting about the ruling really comes down to how international law will be enforced in the foreseeable future.
In my block I get into the Italian banking crisis and talk about the difference between a bail-out and a bail-in. Just when you were thinking that Italian banks can’t possibly be a big deal for you personally, I explain why the new bail-in regime Italy is fighting will likely cost you money when you go to buy a car or a house.
We had fun this week and I hope you do too. – Carrots! Arliss
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