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

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@DeRay McKesson For Mayor!

11 April 2016 – Every time I hear DeRay McKesson speak or read an article he has written I am again convinced that we need someone like this running every major city in America. Our interview with the Baltimore Mayoral candidate, civil rights activist and educator reveals him to be a holistic thinker, a realist and a revolutionary all at the same time. If you don’t already, you must follow him on Twitter at @deray. Will has referred to DeRay’s platform on past shows and, if you have not already done so, go and read a plan for an American city that is grounded in what works and the mechanisms for scaling already tested, functional programs.

At the top of the show I talk about the realities of presidential campaign financing which Bernie consistently avoids. I have to admit, I see him differently after his utter failure at the interview in New York and his, frankly, unforgivable (from my perspective) remark about Hillary. I don’t know if he realizes how very differently women heard him. For me, Bernie has crossed a rubicon and we are never, ever, ever getting back together.

I suspect you are thinking I will talk about the Panama Papers and I do…in a way. I spend my time (and Will’s) talking about the mechanisms of tax havens, why they are usually bad but not always and some of the unexpected questions about privacy.

I talk a lot this week but, fear not, I am about to be away for two weeks and Will will be running the show. I know you will all have a spectacular time. I’ll be back in May for our interview with…wait for it…the Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO, William Sprigs!  Later in the month we have the editor of the “Intelligence Report” from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mark Potok. All of that and root vegetables too. – Carrots! Arliss

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Apologies all, for some reason this Blog entry never posted like it was intended to. New Episode tomorrow.

Will