Hopping Mad October 2015

Episode 3 – Interviewee Joe Firestone Gets “Extra Mad!”

5 October 2015 – We realized something this week. While we must maintain a tight 58 minute schedule for the version of our show which airs on Netroots Radio (at 8AM Eastern on Mondays) we have no such limitation for the version which posts here.  Joe Firestone, who joined us to talk about his new book, “Who Needs Balanced Trade? Who Needs a Balanced Budget?” was so fascinating that we simply had lots more to ask…so we did. The version of the show here on the site adds an additional 25 minutes of the interview with Joe and you must listen because Joe really had time to dive down and give us some detailed answers to our questions. While we could have called the extended version either, “Extended” or “Directors Cut” we took the path less travelled and went with, “Extra Mad!” because why not have a little fun with it, right?

The show starts off with a few minutes on the crazy things happening in Indiana Congressional District 6 / Indiana House District 68. Basically, Jud McMillan needs to keep his pants on and stay off his cell phone. In the A Block Will goes into the background of the modern Catalan independence movement, something which will be more present in the news in the relatively near future. I get my paws dirty digging into the scandals at the Vatican Bank and the impressive work Pope Frances has done to get that long-corrupt institution forcibly dragged out from the shadows and into the light. Then we get to the exciting part, the interview with Joe Firestone.

Book Cover,

I make a real effort to read everything Joe Firestone writes and that takes some doing because he is such a prodigious writer and touches upon so many topics. Still, Joe doesn’t fool around. If he has taken the time to write on it, it’s important. Joe, like me, is generally focused on the applications of modern monetary theory to the real world and recently he has been doing truly deep and detailed dives on pending trade treaties which are currently in negotiation. His newest book, published on 28 September, is his latest on the subject and is absolutely excellent. Even Will, who unlike me doesn’t usually spend all his spare moments reading about economics, could not get his nose out of Joe’s book once he started reading. He kept saying to me, “Wow! This is really good!” And so was our interview with Joe. We think you will love it too which is why you are getting “Hopping Mad” with a side of “Extra Mad!” this week. Carrots! – Arliss


Episode 4 – SCOTUS says, “No You Can Never Have Your Day in Court,” Daily Kos’ Armando Explains

12 October 2015 – It’s true, over the past eight years the Supreme Court has been steadily chipping away at citizen access to Federal courts for civil actions. Not only is the bar to individual access almost impossible to surmount, climbing the mountain of barriers put before those attempting to gain certification for a class action is very nearly impossible. Corporations are people and welcomed into the courts but actual people…not so much.

Armando, who is a lawyer, frequent contributor to Daily Kos Radio Kagro in the Morning with David Waldman and a Daily Kos front pager, joined us to walk us through the foundation of citizen access (which was the Sherman Act) the later clarification to access  (Conley v Gibson) and then the Roberts’ Court efforts to tear access down through Ashcroft v Iqbal, Bell Atlantic v Twombly, Wal-mart v Dukes and AT&T v Concepcion. I’ll be honest with you, until I hopped on a Twitter link which took me to an article in The Nation, I had absolutely no idea things had become this serious. Essentially, Federal courts are filled to overflowing with criminal cases (many of which should not be there at all) and instead of working to reform the criminal case-load, SCOTUS went after the rest of us and slammed the door of the third branch of government right in our face. The version of “Hopping Mad” which aired, on Netroots Radio, on 12 October, contains the first half of our interview with Armando. The podcast version (player below) has the full length interview so it is, of course, “Extra Mad!”

This week Will gets into it on the need for progressives to stay connected to the real world and to create a workable progressive political strategy. He utilizes the current struggle of Jeremy Corbyn and the candidacy of Bernie Sanders as examples. Arliss goes off on de-industrialization and the successful campaign by neoliberal economists to keep us from caring too much.

As a final note, we managed to get through the recording of this episode all in one day. We were very excited. I don’t know what Will did with the rest of his weekend but I spent mine gardening, hiking and standing at the paint counter at Home Depot – because my life is precisely that exciting.

So here it is, the forth episode of “Hopping Mad”…


Episode 5 – Parliament, the House & Games, Games, Games – Margaret Pless Goes Meta 

19 October 2015 – We started out simply this week with a big tip of the carrot to Whole Foods in thanks for their decision to no longer sell bunny in their freezer section. Rabbit Americans everywhere join me in collective relief. Will and I are both reading unusually good books this week. I’m reading the magical, Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights Nights by Salman Rushdie. I’ll be the first to admit that I never managed to struggle to the end of The Satanic Verses but Rushdie’s new book is in the style of 1001 Nights and is truly a book that has transported me. Will is reading The Discovery of Middle Earth, by Graham Robb. Robb traces the history of the Celts using the results of recent archeology and research. He brings a potentially new slant to the history of a tribe with much greater reach than most realize.

After the break Will told us about some of the more recent revelations by Edward Snowden and the realization by British MPs that they too are the subject of surveillance despite the repeated statements by the government to the contrary. You will be pleased to know that a court ruled that the statements by the government were “political” and not really intended to be factual so everything is all okay. Or not.

I’ve been thinking about the lack of a Speaker and the so-called debt ceiling crisis upon which Republicans continue to insist despite the fact that it is a useless anachronism dating back to the gold standard. Is this the time for platinum coin seigniorage, aka “the trillion dollar coin?” Probably not but PCS sure would solve a lot of problems. I explain what it is and a bit about why it works. Later this week I will post, under our “Other Podcasts” tab an MMT podcast I did for The After Show during which I also covered PCS. There is a bit more detail in that podcast and I will include my notes as well in case you would like more information.

Our interview this week was with citizen journalist and blogger, Margaret Pless. While Margaret has been involved in covering Gamergate, we didn’t bother to dive down into the weeds of who said what, when or to whom. Personally, with rare, rare exceptions (The Room, for instance) I don’t play games and I’m not really interested in them. What DOES interest me are some of the more meta issues of which Gamergate is only one example. We talked to Margret about women in science and tech, about games in the larger context of society and in our extended “Extra Mad” segment Margaret got in to more detail about how to protect yourself on-line. Margaret is a terrific young talent and we think you will be as engaged by her as we were.  – Carrots! Arliss


Episode 6 – The “U” in “UK,” Fiscal Spending & Iraq Expert, Landon Shroder

26 October 2015 – This week we were fortunate enough to have Landon Shroder (@LandonShroder on Twitter) join us for the interview. Landon spent seven years living in Iraq representing Royal Dutch Shell, the last five of which as Shell’s head of intelligence and assessment. Now he is writing for Vice News and continuing to cover the region as a journalist. Landon gave us an incisive interview for the broadcast show but the podcast version, below, contains the additional Extra Mad portion of the interview and it is exceptional. Truly.

In his block Will covered the new version of crazy in the UK which is so poorly conceived that it may actually lead to the devolution of the UK itself. It’s called English Votes for English Laws or EVEL (pronounced “evil”). You can make of that acronym what you will. I’m going back to do the first of what will be several segments on basic concepts. This week I’m talking about how fiscal policy comes in to being.

Also, in response to multiple requests from loyal fans, we finally found the problem in the RSS feed we had submitted to Stitcher and to iTunes. We have resubmitted the new information and really should be up on those services soon. To tide you over we have also added in an mp3 download button below each podcast player below so that you can grab the full Extra Mad Hopping Mad from there in the meantime. The encouraging thing is that for the first time we had no major technical crisis during the actual recording process. This is a big step and an even bigger relief for us both. I’m celebrating with carrot cake. Carrots to you and yours! – Arliss

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