We Cannot Win Until We Win & Carolyn Fiddler

19 February 2018 At this point it really all boils down to one thing, we cannot win until we win. Everything we cover on the show today boils down to that. Prosecuting those who colluded with Russia, opening our hearts and borders to Syrian refugees, securing our elections, passing gun safety legislation – none of these are doable until we have taken Congress back (and even then it’s going to be a tough fight.) AND we can’t just win on the Federal level – states are key and that’s why we wanted to have Carolyn Fiddler, the Daily Kos Political Editor and Senior Communications Advisor on the show this week. Carolyn is a specialist in state races, something I know we do not cover enough. We promise to do better because, we cannot win until we win.

In the top bock of the show Will asks you to take a look at a video made by friend of the pod, Landon Shroder, which is the first in a series telling the story of Syrians who have fled to America. I don’t care who you are, this one will reach into your heart and remind you that humanity, kindness, life and love are things which bind us together. Lots of things are tearing us apart but can we please, please, please agree that kindness simply must be a shared value.

In my main block I cover the MMT take on inflation. It’s a real thrill ride. Carrots! – Arliss

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We referenced a heartbreaking video on Syrian Refugees living in the US. You can view that video here.

The Best Laid Plans of Bunnies & Men

15 January 2018Unfortunately, Hopping Mad is on hiatus until (probably) 12 February. Will and I had intended to come back with a show today and then I was leaving to travel on business for the rest of the month while Will held down the fort. At least, that was the plan. The good news is that Will’s wife got a terrific new job so she and Will are moving. Will, who has a full-time job in journalism, is busy trying to pack, move and unpack in their new home so extra time to prep for the show is more than he can take on. I, on the other paw, have had a simply horrible time since I last spoke with you all. We had a death in the family in December, losing our beautiful bunny, Beatrix (on the left above), in a sudden and entirely unexpected way. Then, my husband and I braved a snowstorm this past week to take Bunny Chesney (on the right above) to a specialist only to find that he is in congestive heart failure and, though we are trying everything, the prognosis is extremely grave. So, basically, I’m miserable…and trying to both prepare for an important business trip while also closing the books for my company for the year.

So – things may fall together and we may be able to come back the week before but we don’t want to over-promise. We have some incredible interviews lined-up and I have some really interesting international topics prepped so good things are on the way. We will miss you all and look forward to being back just as soon as possible. Many Carrots! – Arliss

Science, 2017, and Farming with Liz Brownlee

18.12.2017 – What a year this has been. We were happy to end this year’s interview with the amazing Liz Brownlee, who talked farm policy with us, while Arliss tackled the continuing war on science, and the two of us discussed our hopes for 2018.

What a year. Star Wars is breaking records at the box office again, and you know, when Episode 4, A New Hope came out, there was this feeling that the Empire had been around forever. But having watched the prequels, it’s only about 20 years old. And boy do I understand that because 2017 could basically have lasted 20 years.

But 2018 will be better. We won in Alabama, and have eroded the GOP senate majority, and the future looks bright. But more importantly, we’re all going to work hard to make it bright. We look forward to working with all of you for a better country next year.

See you in January – Will

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VA-09 candidate Justin Santopietro on Appalachia’s future

12/11/2017 – This week we were happy to welcome VA-09 Democratic Primary candidate Justin Santopietro (@JS4VA) to the show to discuss his ideas for Southwest Virginia and the country as a whole. At the top of the show we discussed the Hurricane, and in Will’s section, we discussed Brexit, or did our best to do so considering how many developments have occurred in the past few weeks.

Will discussed the Brexit situation, which seems like it has no workable solutions. At least, no solutions that won’t lead to the destabilization of May’s government. It doesn’t seem possible to satisfy the various factions of the Tory party while also keeping the DUP on board. May’s government is having some internal conflicts and scandals that are also threatening to bring her down, and the recent agreement she reached with the DUP doesn’t seem like it actually fixes any of these problems.

Our discussion with Justin Santopietro was broad ranging. Justin told us that environmental issues really are bread and butter issues, and the solutions to many of the problems we face can employ a lot of Americans in rural spaces. We discussed the necessity to bring real change to Appalachia, the Virginia 9th Districts history in support of things like the civil rights act, and the potential to rebuild our progressive coalition to include Appalachians once again.  We talked about how to speak to folks in Appalachia, and talked about the hope we have for the future of our rural spaces.

Happy Holidays everyone! –Will

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Emoluments & NAFTA Reprised with Armando Llorens

20 November 2017 – What’s old is new again or, in the case of Trump, never went away. Due to a confluence of unexpected events we were unable to produce an entirely new show this week so I went back to 30 January 2017 and grabbed the interview we did at the time with attorney, Armando Llorens. I put both the original broadcast interview and the Extra Mad extended interview into the show and edited out comments we made which were too dated to really be applicable now.

Armando, who is also a Daily Kos front-pager, cleared-up all the questions I had about the emoluments clause of the Constitution and related issues of  standing. Plus, typical of Armando’s frequent contributions to David Waldman’s Kagro in the Morning, Armando lead us merrily off track and onto the subject of NAFTA and how Trump’s special brand of crazy (literally) can significantly damage the US economy in the area of trade. Happily, there were many other brief side tracks too. There’s a reason so many of us follow Armando on DKos and on David’s show. You will enjoy this interview and it is well worth hearing it a second time.

We are off next week, due to the holiday, and then back on 4 December. Many carrots! – Arliss

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Rural Spaces

13 November 2017 – We accidentally ended up with a theme this week – rural spaces. During our interview block we were fortunate enough to have Lane Siekman (@LaneSiekman), Congressional candidate in IN-6, and Dearborn County, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman, Tricia Gaustad (@GaustadTricia). Lane gave us an articulate and well thought out rundown of his priorities including progressive favorite, Medicare for All. Tricia talked about why the 2018 cycle is not at all the same as the 2016 cycle even in her deep red county. She is listening to local Dems and has built a strategy to truly fight the good fight.

Will started the show talking about the ways in which some conservatives are trying to twist the current conversation about powerful people sexually abusing others into a diatribe which reinforces feelings about LGBTQ people. They do this, of course, at the expense of women but that is their normal operating procedure so we should not be surprised. In his block Will gets serious about rural spaces and why the Democratic party simply must find a way both to honor our base and to reach back into rural areas for those who have priorities which are not all about racism. He reminds us that rural areas vary in demographics from state to state and that those variations represent opportunities.

I begin the show with a couple of brief observations about the elections this past week. In my block I explain carried interest, why it is part of the GOP tax plan debate and the fact that the issue with carried interest is not about how much the wealthiest Americans pay in taxes, it is about increasing inequity and inequality. …Oh, and eliminating the carried interest loophole represents yet another promise which Trump has broken. I spend most of my block talking about new research, summarized in an article in the Harvard Business Review, which evidences a strong correlation between opposition to federal spending and racial resentment. We keep thinking that it is possible to wrap our minds around all the ways in which racism is systemic in our society and, as this research shows, we are nowhere close to understanding.

On that cheerful note…the interview I was expecting to have this week really is happening next week. It will be very different from our normal fare but I think it is going to be wonderful. Stay tuned! Carrots! – Arliss

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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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