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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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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