30 October 2017 – It worked! Brad Voracek (@bradvoracek) is back this week and the wait was worth it. This time you are able to hear his full answers on youth employment, Senator Sander’s & Congressman Conyers’ Employ Young Americans Now bill, the science versus human aspects of economics and his thinking on so-called (and wildly mis-named) “Right to Work” laws. Brad is a founder of the not-to-be-missed website, The Minskys and I recommend regular visits there.
We were also extremely lucky to have Amanda Werner, of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen (aka The Monopoly Man), back with us to fill us in on the loss this week when the Senate voted to support Wells Fargo and Equifax in their illegal/incompetent behavior by making sure that citizens cannot sue these corporations either singly or in class actions suits. Forced arbitration is, apparently, forever, just like diamonds.
We also had Hopping Mad associate, Michele LeSure giving us more information on the strange anti-boycott legislation which has been passed in Texas and Kansas and is, supposedly, in support of Israel. This legislation is preventing some Texans from receiving federal aid post Hurricane Harvey. It’s strange and wrong and the ACLU is on it.
Will updates us on the latest in the rapidly changing situation in Catalonia as the Spanish government attempts to “fire” the elected government of Catalonia. The Spanish government claims it will hold “legitimate” elections in December but the specifics remain to be seen.
As always, there is a great deal going on and we will be back next week to take another swing at it. Carrots! – Arliss
23 October 2017 – This was one of those shows which fought every step of the way.* While at the MMT conference this summer I recorded a terrific interview with the bright and articulate young economist Brad Voracek (@bradvoracek) from one of my favorite websites,The Minskys. Embarrassingly, I managed to error during the recording process and had both a sound problem and actually lost part of the interview…twice. As I say in the show, I am making it my life’s work to have Brad back for a fully and competently recorded interview very, VERY soon.
Meanwhile, though Will told me weeks ago that he was traveling this week, I have been so distracted by the fires in my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA, that I forgot to make arrangements in advance for a cohost. Fortunately, Michele LeSure stepped in and went well above and beyond not only doing nearly all the editing but presenting two blocks.We decided to update you on some of the issues surrounding three of the four major disasters all of which are only in the earliest stages of recovery. Michele talked about Florida and Houston. I, of course, am still on what is now being called the October 2017 Fire Siege which has savaged Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties in California.
Michele concentrated on the poor quality of the support being rendered in Florida and Texas.She also discovered an issue I had not heard about at all which manages to entangle disaster recovery aid in Texas with the politics surrounding Israel. Yes, you read that correctly. Michele just touches on the subject this week and has promised to come back next week with more.
It will not surprise you to know that in progressive, liberal Sonoma County the experience around receiving the basic necessities for survival for the more than 5500 families who have lost their homes is the polar opposite of that in states controlled by Republican legislatures. Additionally, the Sonoma County Sheriff, Rob Giordano has distinguished himself not only demonstrating superhuman leadership during the crisis but by being an extraordinary protector of all the residents of his county, including a homeless, hispanic man that ICE and Breitbart are falsely accusing of setting the fires. Sheriff Giordano is the kind of experienced, fair and thoughtful law enforcement officer who seems to live the ethic of “to protect and serve.” Sonoma County is fortunate to have him at this sad, terrifying, challenging time.
Will will be back next week. Many carrots! – Arliss
* Note: among many of the other things which went wrong while I was flailing about trying to get this show out, Comcast had an area blackout as I was uploading the show…because it really was just one of those shows.
2 October 2017 – Some days it’s hard to remember that despite all appearances, there is a world out there beyond Trump and all the many, many ways he is failing this week. The truly dazzling economist Dr. Pavlina Tcherneva(her excellent site is here) is with us for the interview. I was able to interview her in person at the First International Conference of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT Conference).We talked about how the, now famous, chart (see above) she developed was able to influence the conversation around inequality and how a job guarantee program can add more than just jobs to a society. It is inspiring to know the modern monetary theory rests in the hands of economists, like Pavlina, who have a clear connection to the ground truth of the programs and policies they imagine into existence.
I start out the show with just a quick overview of my experience at the MMT conference. It was genuinely compelling and I was overwhelmed by all the ideas and applications of MMT to which I was exposed. You will be hearing about many of these in depth in the future and I promise you will be intrigued too.
Will then updated everyone on the events in Catalonia related to the independence vote.Spain is refusing to acknowledge the vote and tension is ratcheting up. Will has covered Catalonia in the past and promises a deep dive next week.
We touched briefly on Puerto Rico. Now that it is (finally) being followed by major media we are leaving most of that to actual journalists but people are suffering and our President, while golfing, is too busy trying to shame the Mayor of San Juan with tweets to actually send an appropriate level of support. It’s not just frustrating or inhumane, it’s evil.
In Will’s main block he talked about Brexit. Many are saying that all the economic ills projected by those who wanted to remain in the European Union have not come to pass and were therefore simply election scare tactics. Will points out the obvious, the UK is still in the EU and the pain from Brexit will not be felt until Brexit actually occurs. It remains reasonable to expect cost-push inflation (also known as supply shock) as the UK strikes out on its own.
In my block I briefly lay out my reasons for supporting Bernie’s current “Medicare for All” bill.This may surprise some of you but I find this bill to be essential and extremely well-timed. Don’t get me wrong, this bill won’t move and, ultimately, the bill that does move will look different but here’s the thing – we can’t legislate until we get elected. Will disagrees but I think “Medicare for All” is a good bumper sticker way to sum up the shared Democratic party value that healthcare is a right. I think having this bill under active discussion now gives us an opportunity to build coalition and consensus in preparation for a non-Trump future. No matter what, this bill has already moved the Overton Window and that in and of itself is critical. Bernie has written a solid bill and he is gathering important voices. There is long, hard work ahead to build unstoppable grassroots momentum but this is how healthcare gets changed for real. It will take all of us…and it should. Carrots! – Arliss
Since recording this episode, the Spanish government has acted without restraint or dignity in Catalonia, attacking unarmed civilians with a wave of brutal repression. Many folks who oppose the referendum say that holding it is illegal. That may be true, but it isn’t an excuse for state violence. Spain had every ability to refuse to acknowledge the vote, which was itself an act of civil disobedience. But instead of responding to this act with restraint, and refusing to acknowledge the results, they chose to wage an unnecessary and unnecessarily brutal campaign of violence against the Catalan people. These actions bring the legitimacy of Rajoy’s governance of Catalonia into question. Things will likely only get worse in the coming days. I will report in depth on the situation next week, and talk about Kurdistan and its referendum as well. –Will
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
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
31 October 2016 – Modern Monetary Theory innovator and torchbearer, Dr. L. Randall Wray is with us for most of the show in a deep dive interview on his book,Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist (here from Princeton University Press or here from Amazon). If you have been a listener for more than a couple of weeks you have undoubtedly heard me speak of Dr. Wray. I may have discovered MMT through Dr. Stephanie Kelton but it was Dr. Wray’s book, Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, which entirely captured my imagination, gave me hope as to how we get to where we need to go and (finally) made economics make real sense to my very pragmatic mind. Still, even though this was one of our longest interviews to date I could have easily asked another hundred questions–Wray is that interesting. I think you will be fascinated.
At the top of the show Will takes just a few minutes to knock down the persistent Clinton bashing related to Honduras. People, facts matter. Really. Twitter is just loaded-up with Bros who are convinced that Hillary backed a war in Honduras facts not withstanding. …very frustrating. I take a similar ride only related to the most recent e-mails FBI Director James Comey detonated into the election, likely breaking the Hatch Act while he was at it. According to Kurt Eichenwald, of Newsweek, who seems to have an inside source, none of the e-mails involved appear to be either to or from Hillary. None of the e-mails appear to have been withheld by Hillary from the investigation. The FBI has had the laptop with the e-mails for weeks and they were told about the e-mail accounts involved in April! Director Comey said, in the bomb he sent to Congress, that he has no idea what is in the e-mails. He just thought he would blow-up the election for the hell of it!
Sadly, Will and I will be off next week. Will has an election-related job and I am, of course, busy making sure the Rabbit American vote turns out. We will be back on the 14th. Carrots! – Arliss
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
26 September 2016 – We are finally back up to full power this week and have a truly terrific interview with Alex Lawson of Social Security Works! Because our listeners already have heard me talk about the mechanics of how Social Security works, Alex was free to wade out into the weeds where the world gets really interesting. He went into a great deal of detail about the dirty underbelly that the lying liars are trying so hard to keep us from seeing when they promote the privatization of Social Security. He also recommended that we take a side trip to the link for Social Security Spotlight where the (excellent) website lays out the economic impact of Social Security state by state.
At the top of the show Will talked about the importance and joy of celebrating Bi Visibility Day. I was especially caught by his pointing out why it is that the largest group within the LGBTQ community is also the most ignored. For my opening section I was less cheerful in giving an update on the latest news from the protectors gathered on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation along the Cannonball River. Like Keystone XL before it, the Dakota Access Pipeline is an enormous environmental threat and its construction has already caused the bulldozing of burial grounds, sacred sites and the locations of historic villages. Pressure from around the world has caused the Obama administration to reconsider but the project is by no means stopped. We must join in demanding an end to this and all similar pipeline projects.
Will then really spent time time getting into the role that journalism is playing in the protests in Charlotte. That journalists have stopped operating as journalists and now are only feeding the clicks necessary to support advertising has destroyed one of the cornerstones of our democracy. When the people lose their voice, they lose hope and then where do they turn?
I spend just a few minutes talking about how banks create money and why new money is pulled out of central banks by private sector banks instead of being pushed out as is the common view.
One last note, if you haven’t checked us, ImHoppingMad, out on Instagram yet, the six Team Arliss bunnies are now there providing their own brief comments on politics, economics and, of course, carrots. Carrots! – Arliss
16 May 2016 – When you have Mark Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), on for the interview, you already know it’s going to be a good show. Mark is the editor of the SPLC quarterly journal, Intelligence Report and most of this interview is based upon an article he and Don Terry wrote for the Winter issue, Margins to the Mainstream. While Mark is one of the leading experts in the country on extremism (and we will have him back in a few weeks on that very subject) this article took a look at the conspiracy theories which have seeped into the mainstream of politics from the radical right. In this, the season of Trump, it seemed apropos.
Will takes a thoughtful stroll around democracy. Once initially ensconced, most citizens tend to think of democracy as a done deal but it is a process and, certainly, both in North America and in Europe, it is undergoing change, some good and some bad. Will knows where he wants to go and that’s what he’s “on about” today.
I’m off on one of those “third rail” topics of American politics, Social Security. Everyone seems sure that Social Security is in need of saving and, well, everyone is wrong. It isn’t that we shouldn’t maintain and even strengthen Social Security, we most assuredly should, it’s that the problem with Social Security isn’t funding, the problem is politics.
…and one other thing…we are going to Netroots Nation in St. Louis in July! Will and I will be there the whole time. We will be recording interviews for Hopping Mad and helping out on Radio Row at the Netroots Radio booth. Come on by. We would love to meet you, maybe chat over a couple of carrots and generally have a fabulous time.
4 April 2016 – Most of us have a short list of “desert island” authors and I have to admit that award-winning author Matt Rees has been on my list since I stumbled across his novel, The Collaborator of Bethlehem, early in 2007. Reading Matt’s work over the years has changed my perspective and every time I re-read one of his books I find that once again I am seeing part of the world in a new way. In the interview today we spend most of our time on Matt’s newest book, The Ambassador, which he wrote with co-author Yehuda Avner. You will likely recognize Mr. Avner’s name as he was the well-known Israeli diplomat and advisor to Prime Ministers who passed away just this past year. In the interview Matt talks to us about both the process and the fabric of his thoughts on writing. Matt was born in Wales, grew up in London, went to university in the States and then worked as a journalist, briefly covering Wall Street but then for nearly fifteen years in Jerusalem much of that as the Time Magazine Jerusalem Bureau Chief. Matt, his wife, the writer and author Devorah Blachor, and their children now live in Luxembourg. The Blachor-Rees family are pro-rabbit. Matt joined us over Skype but under a blanket (to cut down on the echo) for a truly lovely and fascinating interview.
Will brings the horror this week talking about the only recently recognized scorched-earth massacre which took place on 30 January in the village of Dalori, Nigeria. This is Boko Haram/Islamic State at its worst and the West completely overlooked it for more than a month.