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
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
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.)
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
5 June 2017 – We are celebrating our return from hiatus by joining in the celebration for the arrival of the brand new Daily Kos Political Editor and Senior Communications Advisor, Carolyn Fiddler (@cFidd).Carolyn begins her work with dKos today so it seemed the perfect time to interview her. She comes to dKos from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) where she was the Communications Director. She has deep knowledge of state-level campaigns and her hiring signals the fierce nature of the focus dKos bringing to its work to elect Democrats nationwide at all levels of government.
Today is also the beginning of a new format for Hopping Mad. Will and I feel like we had set-up a show which was too dense and difficult for us to sustain indefinitely but we vey much wanted to continue it so we have evolved. I think you will find that the show is more conversational, there will be more “umms” and pauses and, in fact, it will move a bit slower because we are going to stop trying to cram too much show into too little time. We are going to keep our focus on the resistance, 2018, modern money (#MMT) and, inevitably, Scotland (*wink*). We are also going to continue to be one of the few US-based podcasts which will bring you news and commentary about international issues. Annnnddd – we are inviting you to join us in the weekly segment, The Lying Liar Lie of the Week. You can submit your nominations here, on this site, or directly to us at ImHoppingMad@gmail.com.
Again, we are happy to be back and so glad you are still with us. Carrots! – Arliss
10 May 2017 – As it turns out, when a doctor says you can, “can start thinking about work about six weeks out…” they don’t actually mean you can dive back into life at full-throttle six weeks after surgery. I built a new 150 page website for my business during my last two weeks stuck in bed and I started back to work two weeks ago but I still hit a wall pretty quickly after just eight hours of work. Since catching-up from being away from my actual day job needs all of the energy I have the show is getting the short end of the stick.
The good news is that I really do feel amazing (right up to the point that I run out of energy) and the surgery has been worth every second of this long, long recovery. I will check back in here again next week with, hopefully, a hard and fast re-start date for the show.
29 March 2017 – (This is an update from Arliss.) In February my scheduled surgery was canceled when I was already in the surgical suite because at the last minute a conflict was found in critical data. Periodically through the rest of the month I went through exhausting and miserable testing which severely limited me. I actually had the surgery on 2 March. I’ve learned something important since then. Even when everything goes much better than anticipated and recovery is going perfectly, “major surgery” is still major. My surgeon laughed when I said I hoped to go back to work after four weeks. Tomorrow is four weeks and despite the fact that I am genuinely doing well, the surgeon was right. I can currently make it through an hour or two of serious work and then I’m all done. As a side note, I have caught up on the last three seasons of The Big Bang Theory. Since I stopped watching television nearly three years ago this counts as fun for me. I’m going to try to watch something more compelling next. We’ll see how that goes.
I am currently planning to be able to do a new show for 10 April. I appreciate all the good wishes and the kindness extended by listeners especially the fabulous bunny socks sent by Rebecca Romans. The really good news is that this surgery repairs a long-term, life-threatening condition which is now resolved. In the past couple of years I have been hospitalized and/or extremely ill over and over and over. That caused me to miss shows many times. From here forward I should be good to go. Both Will and I still travel for work and take holidays with our families but that’s fairly normal and we can plan in advance.
Again, thank you for your kindness and patience. Carrots! – Arliss
28 February 2017 – Indivisible Southeast Indiana (@IndivisibleSEIN on Twitter and Indivisible Southeast Indiana on FB) met on Sunday, 19 February, for our second meeting. We gathered in the home of one of the organizers and decided that we needed to act immediately. One week later, on Sunday, 26 February we hosted a “Where’s Waldo” themed constituent town hall.We invited Congressman Luke Messer (R – IN-6) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN). Both declined to come. In fact, neither held any open-to-the-public town halls or events anywhere during this recess. We persisted.
Our Where’s Todd? Where’s Luke? Town Hall was held in front of the lovely and historic Ohio County Courthouse (the oldest in continuous operation in Indiana) located in little Rising Sun, Indiana (population 2304). Sunday was cold but sunny and with little notice and very little publicity in this red, red corner of Indiana, about fifty people turned up. In San Francisco this would be an embarrassing turnout but in Rising Sun it was exceptional and you could feel the excitement in the air. We even had (briefly) a tiny Trump contingent but they left when they didn’t draw attention or a fight.
The event featured life-sized Todd and Luke Waldos, lots of handmade signs and really darling Waldo scarves that one of the organizes made and handed out. Several planned speakers told their two-minute stories and then other attendees asked to speak and we were thrilled to have them. The thing which most struck me was how well informed these voters are and how wide ranging their issues of concern.
For Hopping Mad I recorded a brief interview with two of the organizers, Rebecca Barhorst and Christine Craig, just after the meeting on the 19th and then the entire town hall on the 26th. I think what people had to say during the town hall was as important as any of the interviews we have done on this show. I think you will enjoy this and when you imagine what people are thinking about in these midwestern states, remember what you heard here today. Carrots! – Arliss
PS – For anyone wondering, the show will remain on hiatus for another few weeks. Will may try to host a show on his own but I will again be unavailable. I went in for surgery, as I had previously mentioned, on 6 February but the surgeon found a conflict in the diagnostic reports just a few minutes before the surgery was supposed to begin. I was floating on a cloud by this point but, as I understand it, the decision was made to run another entire battery of (hideous) tests over the following two weeks. Ultimately, those tests confirmed the original diagnosis and I go back in for the originally planned surgery on Thursday, 2 March, which means I will be down for the count for a while. Already I have a backlog of things I want to talk about so by the time I am back with you I will be brimming over. Take care of yourselves. I miss you already!
6 February 2017 – This week we were joined by Travis and Rachel of Irreverent Testimony and Tom of The Coffeecast. We discussed the direction of the US, and the future of the republic. Unfortunately, this will be our last show for a few weeks. As our broadcast goes out Monday morning, Arliss will be in surgery to correct a longstanding illness. All of us are wishing her a speedy recovery, and we will keep you updated about our schedule – and her health – moving forward. – Will
30 January 2017 – Armando Llorens, attorney and Daily Kos front pager, cleared-up all the questions I had about the emoluments clause of the Constitution and standing. Plus, typical of Armando’s frequent contributions to David Waldman’s Kagro in the Morning, Armando lead us merrily off track and onto the subject of NAFTA and how Trump’s special brand of crazy (literally) can significantly damage the US economy in the area of trade. Happily, there were many other brief side tracks too. There’s a reason so many of us follow Armando on DKos and on David’s show.
Will spoke about his visit with both anarchists and Trump voters on Inauguration Day. It was easy for Will to get from his apartment in DC to the Mall that day but not so the next. The difference in crowd size and sensibility during the Women’s March was immense and it’s great to hear Will’s first hand account. See below for video and more detail on Will’s experience at the Women’s March.
We started the show by talking about two new segments we plan to regularly include in future shows. First, we invite you to email us at ImHoppingMad@gmail.com with your submission for The Lying Liar Lie of the Week. Pick the Trump administration lie you think is the most egregious and let us know what it is and why you selected it. If we can (and if you want to) we will even arrange to record a brief segment with you. We give extra points if you bring the funny. The other new segment is Damage Report in which we will call attention to the most dangerous Trump administration action of the week.
We will be back with an all-new show next week and then we will go dark for a few weeks while I have major surgery and deal with the not insubstantial recovery. We will definitely be back as soon as we possibly can. Carrots! – Arliss
I took a few videos when I was at the women’s march. I’m including a map below which shows where the videos were taken to give you an idea of just how large the march was.
This first video was taken at D & 7th, two blocks north of the mall. This is what almost all of the side streets looked like on the 21st. We couldn’t even get to the south side of the mall. There were just too many people.
This next video was taken at the Gallery Place metro. There was an endless crowd streaming out of the station. So many people arrived throughout the day that they were having to temporarily close stations for safety, in order to clear the platform that the next group of people could exit or board trains safely. It took hours to get people home.
When waiting for my wife to arrive, we grabbed a cup of coffee near the ellipse. Our thinking was that we’d march south on 15th, join the marchers just as they entered the ellipse, and be part of the march there. That plan was foiled. This was the picket outside of the White House near 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue.
After my wife arrived, we headed south on 14th street. And then we ran into this. A wall of people heading north on 15th street. There was no way we’d be able to get to the march route on Constitution Avenue. We had to go east.
15 minutes and a block later, we found 14th street just as choked with people. There was still no way to get to the march route. So we decided to take side streets to the ellipse.
There we were, at the very northern edge of the ellipse, just south of the White House. By this time, the march was supposed to be over, but most of the march hadn’t even reached the ellipse yet.
At this point, it was time to go home. We’d marched. We’d reached the ellipse. We’d temporarily joined people in the mall (though unfortunately, that video was corrupted so I can’t share it with you.) This was the site of people leaving the mall two whole hours after the march was supposed to have ended. We’d spent about an hour fighting our way through the crowd so that we could head home. In this video, you can hear one of the rolling roars that routinely tore through the crowd. You’d hear it in the distance, and then people near you would take up the cheer. Every few minutes, the entire center of our federal government shook, as more than half a million people raised their voices together.
I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Being there was an absolute privilege.
I hope we can all do this again on Tax Day (April 15th) and literally shake the foundations of this government with our voices once again. Some people laugh at protests.
Remember Spicer’s fearful, shaky press conference? Remember the lies that the Trump team attempted to tell during the match? They’d spent all day cowering in a building, listening to the roars of the crowd outside. The windows of their offices had literally shook with the discontent outside. Their building was surrounded all day – to the point that staffers weren’t able to make it to the entrances.
The crowd was peaceful. But for a group of paranoid conservatives who had spent years dreaming of leading a crowd like this against Obama, who had just driven a wave of populism, to discover this level of opposition on their first day was chilling.
We didn’t just make our voices heard. We scared them.
16 January 2017 – The genius of flippable.org is that it engages us with “small bite” activism. On a weekly basis Flippable suggests little bits we can each actually do to help Democrats take back state legislatures and governor’s mansions around the nation. Catherine Vaughan and Chris Walsh, two of the three Flippable founders, join us to talk about the genesis of the project and the leadership they and their team are collectively providing to flip targeted state legislatures from red to blue. I know that 2018 and 2020 seem like a long way away but in political terms they are, basically, tomorrow. Time is short and, as Catherine says, we can sleep after the 2020 election. Between now and then, we work. What I love about Flippable is that I can do the things they suggest in a reasonable amount of time and still know that I am making a difference. This is the drip, drip, drip, drip constant activism, constant pressure that matters.
Will and I started the show talking about specific journalists. I dive into the genuinely remarkable life of Clare Hollingsworth and Will wonders about what the hell happened to Glenn Greenwald. Clare Hollingsworth was the first female war correspondent (as we know that profession today). She is the reporter who got the scoop and broke the story that World War II had begun. She was the first person to figure out and the first reporter to break the story that Kim Philby was the infamous “third man” and that he had defected to Russia. Hollingsworth was at the very front, in fact often behind enemy lines, of all the many conflicts she covered and her reporting was renowned for peeling back the layers and complexities of war. Clare died on 10 January at the age of 105. To her final day she kept her shoes and passport right next to her bed in case she was called by her editor to report a story from the field.
Glenn Greenwald, on the other hand, has become a Russian shill. He has allowed the Snowden case to push him past the point of rational thought when it comes to Russia and he has taken to reporting the world through a Russian lens. Once upon a time Glenn was one of the great left-wing reporters but that was long ago. Buh-bye, Glenn. Don’t let the borscht hit you on the way out the door.
In my block I give some background on Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, the Title of Nobility Clause known today as the Emoluments Clause. It is likely that Congress and the courts will not be able to use the constitutional provision as a stand-alone way to remove the President Collect from office. However, if other matters (say a traitorous relationship with Russia) was to move public opinion enough, the Emoluments Clause may become the handy “big stick” the GOP needs to impeach Trump and get us to a horrible but not nearly as dangerous, President Pence.
This next week is going to be really hard on all of us. Join flippable.org, read up on Clare Hollingsworth. Hold on to hope. Many Carrots! – Arliss
Note: we will not have a new show next week as I am traveling on business. We will be back on 30 January with an interview with the Armando.