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

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Hurricanes and Libraries with Michelle LeSur

28 August 2017 – 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. It 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 had 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

21 August 2017 – We weren’t expecting what happened in Charlottesville, just over a week ago, but by the time events unfolded last week’s show had already been recorded as had a portion of the current show.

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 gone next week as well but after that we’ll be back to our usual schedule. – Will

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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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Charles Gaba – Fixing the ACA, a Deep Dive

7 August 2017 – This week we go really deep into the weeds, which is our favorite place! National ACA expert, Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba aka Brainwrap) of ACASignUps.org fame is with us to help us sort out current legislative efforts, what needs to be done as well as what is politically possible. Charles also defines and clarifies terms like “Medicare for All” and explains the problems with Dems settling on that vocabulary and policy at this point.

Will starts us out with a bang and a rant. I chime in too. We have both just HAD IT with with the “Brocialist” attitude toward women. We also REALLY hate the entitled, special snowflake crap they throw at every idea which does not fully comply with their purity tests. Politics is work and compromise. It’s about community. It’s almost always a long, hard slog to get anything of real merit. It’s definitely not for the whiny or precious. Being mean, vindictive and exclusionary is expressly not welcome in the big tent of the Democratic party. Everyone who wants to work, cooperatively to achieve the platform goals is welcome. Brocialists? Get the hell out.

I devote my segment this week to part two of a three-part “series” highlighting the current, fierce attack on Dodd-Frank. Last week I was on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). This week I review the basics of the rest of Dodd-Frank in preparation for getting into detail regarding the increasingly successful Trump administration attack on the foundations of our entire financial system. It’s a big deal and very much under-covered in the media, hence a three week project to shine a light.

I’m here next week but traveling for the following two weeks so you can look forward to hearing from some of our new folks later in August. Carrots! – Arliss

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The CFPB is Under Attack!

31 July 2017 –  [Note:  this post was, somehow, erased from our site. We have republished to the site as of 20 September 2017.] We were incredibly lucky to have just the right interview guest at just the right time, Amanda Werner (@wamandajd), Arbitration Campaign Manager for Americans for Financial Reform & Public Citizen, was with us to talk about the dangerous efforts, by Congress, to overturn the new arbitration rule just published by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). In the first half of the interview Amanda gets into some great detail about why forced arbitration is problematic and why some communities are particularly impacted. In the second half we get into the politics of the rule and explain why it is essential that you get involved in this very winnable fight.

At the top of the show I talk with Will a bit about the letter sent by the American Psychoanalytic Association to its members clarifying their long-held position that as medical professionals they have a “duty to warn” and that they see this duty as particularly relevant due to the observable behavior of President Trump.

And speaking of observable, impulsive, antagonistic, aggressive behavior…

This week Trump thought he could change DoD policy with a 140 character tweet in which he attempted to ban transgendered individuals from serving in the armed forces…where they are already serving…by the thousands. The Pentagon was blindsided and made it clear that DoD policy is not now and never will be issued via tweet. Will spoke both about the organizational issues and the personal struggles of the trans community. Trump’s efforts to feed hatred are despicable and, frankly, just another bit of evidence that he is mentally ill and unfit to serve as president.

Just before the interview with Amanda Werner, I reviewed the mission and successes of the CFPB. I also talk a bit about their enemies. In government, of course, no good deed goes unpunished so Congressman Jeb Hensarling, in an especially personal and vicious manner, is directly attacking CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Hensarling really despises Cordray because Cordray is so good at his job. Which is proof that it is absolutely essential that, like other regulators, the CFPB remain insulated from the political process as much as is reasonable. The GOP is looking for every possible opening to diminish this critically important agency. As we did with the ACA, we must, we simply MUST fight to defend the CFPB at every turn.

And so it goes. No rest for the victorious! Carrots! – Arliss

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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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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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