JD Alt Dreams in MMT Reality

6 November 2017Architect and author JD Alt again graced us with his thoughts, this time talking about his new novella, Low Earth Orbit. The novella takes the functionality of modern monetary theory and applies it to solve major issues facing a society on the brink. The novella lives at the intersection between architecture, environment, society and economics with a light touch which will bring you back to it again and again in the future. Low Earth Orbit demonstrates the dreams of which reality is made and I could not recommend it more.

I begin the show with background information about Trump’s nomination for the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome “Jay” Powell. Powell is currently on the board of Governors of the Fed and it is thought that he will continue the practices of his predecessor, Janet Yellen. Trump could have nominated a number of truly despicable people, including Mike Pence’s favorite, John Taylor. Instead, the next Fed chair is known to be hardworking, calm,  interested in both sides of any question as well as being…frankly…rational (something in short supply these days.) In Trump-adjusted terms, Powell is basically a “win.”

Will pushes back against the not particularly factually-based spin being tossed about by former DNC chair, Donna Brazille. Here’s the bottom line:

We need a functional DNC which works for everyone.

We MUST win in 2018.

Nothing else is as important.

Will then moves on to a discussion of the upcoming race in Virginia. Virginia, he notes, tends to vote contrarian and is not necessarily the bellwether some are insisting upon. The race is being impacted by Trump’s impossible claims around coal and restoration of coal-based jobs while job training lacks a viable program.

Hopping Mad Associate, Dave Paquette, who is, himself, a registered nurse, updates us on the opiates crisis and the latest, minimal actions by the Trump administration. While Trump claims to have declared a “national emergency,” with all the funding and support such an act involves, in reality he only declared a “public health emergency.” The fund available for use in such emergencies is $56,000. So, not even sofa cushion change. Meanwhile, the family-owned Purdue Pharma has been profiteering wildly from sales of opiates. Purdue’s owner, the Sackler family, simply must be pulled out into the light of day. More than 2.5 million Americans are thought to be addicted. Overdose is now the leading cause of death for adults under the age of fifty. In 2016 up to 65,000 people (depending upon how the count is done) died from opiate overdose but, somehow, it is not a national emergency.

We will be back next week with an unusual interview I think you will love. Until then, carrots! – Arliss

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The Caribbean; Energy; Profit & Hate

18 September 2017 – Every time Denise Oliver-Velez is on our show I learn so much! This week we asked Denise to join us to cover what is happening in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. I particularly loved the posts Denise put up at Daily Kos on Puerto Rico and the history of the word “hurricane” as well as her thoughts on the subject. We spend most of our time on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the places where Irma really did first make landfall in the US. (If you thought that was Florida you weren’t alone.)

In our Lying Liar Lie of the Week segment Will talks about an attack against a trans woman during a protest at Speaker’s Corner in the UK. Fortunately, it was caught on video and Will walks us through it as well as posting the video and some stills here.

In Lying Liar I talk for just a minute about Equifax who is making the obviously false statement that “they are doing everything they can.” This is clearly not the case and I’m quite sure we will be talking about them in the near future.

In Will’s big block he talked about climate change, weather, alternate energy and politics.  It’s appalling to think that the states which most need to confront new kinds of energy generation are fighting it the hardest.

In my block I get into the profits being made by Facebook, Google and tech in general, to promulgate hate. The blood money tech companies are taking as they act as conduits for hate groups (and terrorism) is much more costly to society than it is profitable in annual reports. We simply must find an effective way to address this.

And one more thing…

In a special election, scheduled for 26 September, Florida State Senate candidate Annette Taddeo is facing an extreme get-out-the-vote (GOTV) challenge. She is running in District 40, which is Miami-Dade, and many of her prospective constituents are among those who had to evacuate. Flippable.org has identified this race as one which can be won but needs immediate help. Anything you can do would be appreciated. Carrots! – Arliss

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A note on Lying Liar, the video we have is pretty shaky, and while it’s clear what happens in said video, it’s a chaotic scene. So to make things easier for our listeners, I’ve got stills from the video to walk folks through what happened, followed by the video in full.

Look for the red bus, as the scene we’re paying attention to starts just below it. A woman in a blue jacket and purple hat approaches a group of chanting protesters. She gets into an animated conversation with them and then pushes into the crowd, raising her camera above their heads. The crowd pushes back and blocks her camera with signs. Look for the bright spot to the right of the images below:

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A pushing match breaks out, and we lose sight of the altercation, catching glimpses through the crowd as the Camera pans away. But when the camera re-focuses on the scuffle, the woman who started the altercation has grabbed one of the Trans protesters by the throat. You can see her just to the right of center, our view over the shoulders of two onlookers:

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We lose sight of her again, but the camera returns to her, and she’s still got her hands on the protester she’s chosen to attack:

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And at this stage, when she’s grabbed a protester by the throat, dragged them halfway across a footpath, and enthusiastically participating in a fight she started, another protester punches her to get her to release the person she’s grabbed:

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Despite pretty clear evidence to the contrary, showing her starting this altercation and then enthusiastically engaging in the resulting fight, she is claiming martyrdom and… in a rather weird twist, saying she wants to spank people.

Which is just gross.

Will

The full video is below:

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

JD Alt on “The Millennials’ Money”; AltRight & the Trump Economy

17 October 2016 – I have been talking on the show about JD Alt’s book, The Millennials’ Money, since it was still a series of posts on the modern monetary theory (MMT) blog, New Economic Perspectives. This book is that good and it’s that important. JD not only covers the basics of MMT effectively and in an especially accessible manner, he goes much further and explains why it has particular applicability to millennials and how it can be the tool they need to make the changes in the world they have been calling for so articulately. JD’s ideas for using MMT to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society genuinely made me think deeply. And guess what, there’s an app for that (or there could be.) JD is an architect by trade so his drawings, showing how MMT works, are unmatched and are core to the success of his first MMT book, the best-seller, Diagrams & Dollars. The inclusion of his diagrams in The Millennials’ Money makes the book even more useful. Perhaps the most important thing JD brings to the MMT discussion is some truly original and interesting thinking on how we re-frame the debate to make the obvious nature of MMT as apparent to everyone else as it is to us right now. The Millennial’s Money is available from Dog Ear Publishing and on Amazon.

This week Will starts our talking about the cluster bombing of Syrian civilians by the Russians. Cluster bombs are fragmentation weapons which deploy many smaller bombs and are anti-personnel ordinance on a major scale. Will then goes on to talk about so-called “New Mysogyny” and the Altright. Apparently, there are various pods of men who are so under-developed emotionally that they think women rule the world and are running a massive conspiracy to keep men down all the while being considerably less intelligent than are men. (Because that makes sense. LOL!) But these guys in the Manosphere are so far gone that they are working to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and are blaming their involuntary celibacy (which they refer to as “incel”) on everything except their own repulsiveness. Will recommends David Futrelle’s website We Hunted the Mammoth for insight and appropriate mocking of these tiny, tiny “men.”

I start out with something you knew had to be coming, a run-down of the “achievements” of Indiana Governor and GOP Vice Presidential Candidate, Mike Pence. Suffice to say here that Pence is dangerous but unlikely to be a threat to anyone in the future as he rides off into the sunset of what will be his non-starter of a 2020 Presidential campaign. I then finish-up detailing the lies Trump told about the economy during the first debate. This does not really matter since the Trump campaign is toast but these old tropes are regularly trotted out by the GOP so it is worth putting a stake through their heart.

Remember that voting is open in many states. Be sure to vote and to get all your (sane) friends and family to the polls to do the same. A big win for Democrats will help us crush the “the vote is rigged” meme beneath our foot, grind it under our heel and then scrape it off on the nearest patch of grass. This election is the most important in decades. Never doubt it. Carrots! – Arliss

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Modern Policing, Climate Change & More on Taxes

7 December 2015 – We are back with an all new show including a first-rate interview with Police Chief David Hewitt. For eleven years Chief Hewitt has been running a small town, Midwest department which is known for its considered approach to law enforcement. His thinking on social justice, the militarization of policing, use of force and the pressures being placed on law enforcement to fill gaps which are not being met at the source are all well worth hearing. Listen to him saying “You can’t arrest your way to” a solution. If he could tell all departments across the nation one thing he said, “You can’t take that bullet back.” Every department is not Chicago or Ferguson. It’s important to hear from a Chief who thinks deeply about the challenges and solutions in modern policing.

Will reassures us that Turkey and Russia are very unlikely to go to war no matter what all the various talking heads are saying. These are nations which do not now and have not ever had an alignment of purpose but it is not in their interest to battle one another at this time. In his longer segment Will tries to make climate change more real to us all be describing what is happening in Florida already.

I continue on the subject of taxes. Though I usually pull from many sources while I cover a topic, this time I lifted virtually my entire presentation from one given by Dr. Stephanie Kelton (now the Chief Economist for the Minority, Senate Budget Committee). If you have time you can view her entire presentation here. I promise that it is an hour well spent. At the beginning of the show I briefly update the decision by the International Monetary Fund to include the Chinese renminbi as part of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket. Since that will be entirely unintelligible to most people (and with good reason) I refer you back to a segment I did on The After Show on 6 August 2015. (My segment begins about half way through the show.) There I explain SDR, the basket and China’s desire for inclusion.

To all those who have been communicating with us via a variety of channels, we LOVE hearing from you. You push us and for that we are grateful. An extra big helping of thanks goes out to Peter who always listens so closely and asks wonderful questions. It will take me a few weeks to get through them all but I’m on it!

Carrots! – Arliss

 

Download MP3 Here.