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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Landon Shroder on Terrorism & White Nationalism

17 July 2017 – Will is back and he brought political risk and security expert Landon Shroder (@LandonShroder) with him. The interview, both in the broadcast and in the podcast versions of the show, is longer than usual and with good reason. We go wide getting into Mosul, the Kurds, Saudi, Yemen and the UAE during the broadcast show and then, in Extra Mad, coming stateside to talk about the rise of terrorism within the white nationalist movement.

Will continues his series on small “d” democratic principles and progressives. For this show Will is thinking about citizenship and it’s relationship with social responsibility. I push back just a bit asking Will about the difference between what is a right and what is earned. Also, Will and I talk about distinguishing between ideals and the reality of history and privilege.

I geek a bit on this show about the continuing rise of the discussion about how modern money really works (aka modern monetary theory or MMT) and the implications of having the power of fiat money recognized and utilized by society. It turns out that the debt-ceiling battle of 2013 really was an inflection point for MMT and voices have been added at a steadily growing clip. The Nation has a great article on 8 May 2017, The Rock-Star Appeal of Modern Monetary Theory, and that is just one of the many, many places MMT is being discussed.

I love having Will back and, friend of the show, Landon on with us again. We have another strong interview lined-up for next week too. We are definitely getting our hop back on! Carrots – Arliss

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Erasing Women, Healthcare, Trade & Policing – Something for Everyone

10 July 2017 – Today I was joined by all three of the new associates:  Michele LeSure, David Paquette & Joel Dent. They are all bringing new perspective and strengths to the show so I am reveling in the opportunity to showcase them. Will is still on vacation but he is back next week with, hopefully, some interesting stories to tell.

Michele starts off the show with a brief introduction of herself and then her nomination for the Hopping Mad Lying Liar Lie of the Week – Donald Trump. He claims, in some truly twisted ways, to respect women but his actions show us what he really thinks. This week it was revealed that the women who are part of the White House staff, those who work most closely with the President, are paid far less than their male counterparts. Additionally, the Trump White House is far more male dominated than was the Obama White House. No surprise there but now we have evidence. I countered with Trump failing to mention or notice the only female astronaut in the room, Sandy Magnus, when he was signing an executive order establishing a related space commission and while thanking and commenting on the three male astronauts who were there. Trump not only does not value or hear women, he completely erases them. 

David followed next with some information on healthcare and American exceptionalism. He introduced a concept called “duct taping” which is a single number which can be seen to encapsulate a wide variety of other seemingly unrelated elements. This, he explained, is why the CIA uses maternal morbidity as a CIA Fact Book statistic. I promise you, you are going to be depressed when you hear where the US falls in the ranking of maternal morbidity.

I’m still on trade this week. I get into some detail on the upcoming NAFTA 2.0 negotiations and what you can expect to see there. Additionally, I touch on the brand new (spit in Trump’s eye) in-principle trade agreement between Japan and the European Union. They call it, “Cars for Cheese” but this is going to be an enormous and, apparently, forward looking deal. It will take some time to negotiate but this is the first hard evidence that the world is reshaping its relationships into a new structure without either the US or the post-Brexit UK at the center. This really, really isn’t a good thing for American business.

Joel and Michele close out the show with a sobering discussion about the militarization of the police. Dr. Victor E. Kappeler, of Eastern Kentucky University, has a paper out called A Brief History of Slavery and the Origins of American Policing, which ties the origins of modern police forces back to slave patrols. It’s chilling. Joel and Michele make this concept present by tying it to the murder of Philando Castile and modern policing tactics and mindset. They also discuss the difference between a military action and a police action as well as why this is becoming an evermore gray area in the US.

We do not have an interview this week so there is no Extra Mad. I expect all will be back to normal once Will is returns safe and sound. He is missed! 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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