The Monopoly Man!

9 October 2017At the last minute we were incredibly lucky to get an interview with the oh-so-popular Monopoly Man! Amanda Werner, of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, joined us right at the top of the show to talk about her experience as the Monopoly Man at the recent Senate hearing on SJ Res 47. GOP members of the Senate want to rollback the new rule from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) which eliminates forced arbitration clauses. Due to careful tactical planning, the Monopoly Man was able to get a seat behind and just a bit to the left of the (now former) CEO of Equifax so that every time the CEO was on camera Amanda was right behind him making her point by clowning it up. Within a matter of minutes the meme blew-up on Twitter and generated a truly phenomenal amount of coverage. Obviously, this was a powerful and funny way to get the word out about a topic many would otherwise overlook. Amanda (cough!), I mean, Monopoly Man, take a bow! Now the rest of us need to do our jobs and call our Senators to let them know we oppose SJ Res 47. We cannot let this one slip through the cracks unnoticed.

Since we had already recorded the entire show and because it was an unusually formatted episode anyway, the only way to hear the complete show is on the website or through your favorite podcast app. The last ten minutes of Will’s block and all of my block are pushed back into Extra Mad.

Following the Monopoly Man interview, in the original top of show block, I talked about the work Big Pharma, and especially Indiana-based Eli Lilly, is doing to support their employees in Puerto Rico, to mitigate supply-chain disruption for critical medications for the US and to supply medication into the region. Pharmaceuticals comprise 72% of Puerto Rico’s exports and the 80 pharma and medical device facilities there employee nearly 100,000 people. It is an enormous job made no easier by the failure of the Trump administration and their disaster response. Will followed-up by talking about the response of private individuals and companies to the problem of entirely rebuilding the electrical grid and cell service system in Puerto Rico. Again, a massive task which should be the responsibility of the US federal government but which is being totally mishandled by unqualified Trump appointees and understaffed, under-resourced agencies.

Will did an extended block on self-determination. This was especially timely because of the recent vote in Kurdistan and the attempted vote in Catalonia. Will underpinned his later discussion of specifics with a thoughtful backgrounder on who it is who determines who will be “allowed” to determine themselves. He moves from there seamlessly to use the nationalist movements of the Kurds and the Catalonians to illustrate his points.

In my block I talk about why cash is still king. Unlike electronic transactions, cash is resilient enough to accommodate disasters like that in present-day Puerto Rico. But that is just a small thing in comparison to the fact that we are rapidly being trained to believe that a so-called cashless society is upon us and if we don’t give up (literally) dirty and ecologically harmful cash then we are falling behind the trend. This is a corporatist agenda being pushed by the companies who are skimming a bit off every single digital transaction. …and then there’s the digital trail. A cashless society is one where we forfeit the power of a transaction to the middlemen and we leave behind us a record of the “micro texture of our electronic life,” to quote economist/anthropologist Brett Scott. Preventing the subversion of cash to a cashless society not only preserves choice, it preserves our option to be anonymous. Cash equals privacy for all of us equally.

Until next week, many carrots! – Arliss

P.S. Giving Arliss the “Wild Haggises at Dawn” treatment, I closed out the show with a bit of a song called Subdisco by Niteworks, an Electronica band from the Isle of Skye who make a ton of great music, much of which modernizes Gaelic song traditions. –Will

Download Here.

 

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

Hurricanes and Libraries with Michelle LeSur

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. 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’d 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

.