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Hopping Mad with Will McLeod & Arliss Bunny
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Hopping Mad with Will McLeod & Arliss Bunny

Author: Will McLeod & Arliss Bunny

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Progressive politics and economics. Will covers political issues from around the world and Arliss does the same for financial news and monetary policy with special emphasis on modern monetary theory. Each week they are joined by a special guest for the interview. Both Will and Arliss are fond of carrots.
113 Episodes
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8 Myths About Federal Debt

8 Myths About Federal Debt

2019-05-1801:01:32

16 May 2019 – I promised you that in our next show I would get into the myths about Federal debt. This is that show. In addition, Will talks about why we should be going into space – for real. Some of the ideas sound crazy but I think there is enormous value in doing the work that takes us down those paths, regardless. There is so much possibility, why would we not get serious? At the top of the show we touch on the new agreement, between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, to establish a common travel area. Granted, this is a weak tea solution but it’s not nothing.In case you want a quick list of the eight myths about Federal debt which I cover, here goes:Carrying debt is bad for the Federal governmentAnd the corollary, Federal surplus is good (this article provides perspective)The Federal government uses our taxes to “pay for” government spendingThere is a fiscal cliffPassing Federal debt on to future generations is badThe Federal government issues Treasury bonds (debt) to fund spendingFederal debt “crowds out” investors (Stephanie Kelton crushes Paul Krugman on this subject here.)When all else fails, gibberish explains why debt is bad (a special thank-you to JD Alt for this one!)We have been busy but we will keep trying to fit shows in as often as we can. Like carrots, there are so many topics and so little time! Cheers! – Arliss
2 April 2018 – Since I, admittedly, went on and on about debt politics in this episode, I will keep my description very short. Will updates you on the latest on Brexit crazy. May has completely lost control of Parliament and Macron will not continue to be impatient with British incompetence. I talk little bit about the mechanism of federal debt and a lot about the politics of federal debt. The concept of federal debt has been weaponized for a reason.I said on the show that next week I would talk about some of the myths that surround federal debt and I will do that but the next show may end-up being an interview with Charles Gaba, @brainwarp, because Trump is seriously planning to destroy healthcare and even the GOP is furious. Cheers! – Arliss
12 March 2019 – We are back and we have a lot to say. I begin by explaining why I disappeared into my rabbit hole for so long and I talk a bit about how my process for healing and, hopefully, staying that way. Will then talks about how we have reimagined the show and made it more sustainable. We both summarize a laundry list of the things we will be talking about in upcoming shows.Then we are off to the races. I talk about the fact that MMT is absolutely storming the field and mainstream economists are seriously annoyed.  In my section I mentioned the piece by Stephanie Kelton wherein she responds to (and crushes) Paul Krugman. I also talk about Randall Wray’s response to economists who think MMT is just a recycling of (fill in the blank.) Will tries to explain the unexplainable – the current state of Brexit. This is a rapidly moving target so we will both likely be back to update you again in the very near future. It will be fascinating to see how the May government proceeds domestically after the resounding defeat earlier today and as well as how they deal with “Bwussels” (Brussels).We had a lot of fun with this show and we hope you do too. Many Carrots! – ArlissIn my section we discuss an accidental Brexit, which combined with some logistical issues getting everything running again and an illness on my part, led to an accidental Extra Mad. Brexit moved so fast that I had to add an update to this episode itself. – Will
30 August 2018 – Because of the holiday we did not have a show planned for Monday but then I noticed a tweet from ACA expert, Charles Gaba (@Charles_Gaba). The ACA is at serious risk again, this time in the courts in what Charles refers to as the Texas Fold ’em Case (Texas v Azar). Normally, this would not be a case which posed any threat but the Trump administration has opted not to defend the ACA (you can insert “not to defend the rule of law,” same difference) so with very little warning a collection of Attorneys General from various blue states are suddenly arguing the side of HHS Secretary Azar. Either way, this thing gets appealed and it is almost surely bound for the Supreme Court…with whatever new justice is seated. Not to beat a dead horse, but this is another one of those elections have consequences moments and yet another time when the lives of many will be put at risk (and many lost) which would not be happening if Trump had not won the election. Both sides are not the same. As I said on the last show, this coming midterm IS the fight of our lives and we can not afford to lose. We will be back on 10 September with a regular show. Until then, many carrots! – Arliss
27 August 2018 – This week we have Nancy Altman, the President of Social Security Works and the Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition. We are dedicating this entire episode to Nancy’s new book, The Truth About Social Security: the Founder’s Words Refute Revisionist History, Zombie Lies and Common Misunderstandings. Guess what…Social Security is NOT going bankrupt. Social Security is neither an entitlement nor welfare. Instead, Social Security is an insurance program which will be there to pay its beneficiaries indefinitely into the future. Monied interests have been deeply invested in lying about Social Security all the way back to the 1930’s. We fight the zombie lies by learning the truth and sharing it. Just think of how much fun you can have with your crazy uncle MAGA at Thanksgiving! Oh, you won’t convince him but you will send his blood pressure through the roof! We are off next week for the Labor Day holiday and back the week after. Cheers! – Arliss
20 August 2018 - Will is off today due to a family emergency and our expected interview has been rescheduled so it's just me and I thought I would try to get a jump start on our coming Puerto Rico interview show. In trying to understand what is going on with the economy and, therefore, the post-Maria recovery in Puerto Rico, I kept tripping over one thing again and again, a group of SCOTUS rulings collectively called the Insular Cases. I decided to get into it and, as it turns out, there's a reason almost everything in PR funnels back to this one point. These Insular Cases are, in no small part, why PR is struggling so much today. Along the way I discovered a couple of interesting stories and one of them was wonderful. I'll give you a little on Isabel Gonzáles now and hope to track someone down who can tell us more about her life. Isabel was the Rosa Parks of her time and she contributed greatly to the granting of full US citizenship to all Puerto Ricans. Obviously, it should be the right of PR to decide on becoming a state or becoming fully sovereign but in the meantime, the people should have all the benefits afforded all US citizens, which is still not the case. Anyway, that's all for another day. Many Carrots! - Arliss
13 August 2018 – We were lucky enough to have Steve Grumbine, of Real Progressives, for the entire show. We talked briefly about the recent OH-12 special election and his take on how the Greens impacted the election. We then spent the rest of the show talking about spreading the word about modern monetary theory and messaging. Next week we have terrific interviews with experts on Puerto Rico and the following week we have Nancy Altman of Social Security Works on her new book, The Truth About Social Security. Stay tuned, August is going to be a great month on Hopping Mad! Many Carrots – Arliss
Trade, Peace, and Youtube

Trade, Peace, and Youtube

2018-07-3001:20:39

7/30/2018 - Media often speaks of trade as if it is partitioned off from the rest of US interests including many major areas like national security, human rights and climate. Of course, these things (and many, many more) are all deeply intertwined. Sadly, that is a level of complexity which is well beyond the capacity of Trump. In this show Arliss talks not about the specific daily news around trade but about the legal underpinnings and, in particular, how the work of the Trump administration to break down the rule of law is threatening to US national security. Will's deep dive this week is on how large media organizations, in this case the BBC, are abusing fair use to get small media sites pulled down from YouTube. This is made more insidious by the fact that the appeal process on YouTube is handled by AI and not actual humans so organizations like Wings Over Scotland simply go "poof". Will mentioned Phantom Power, a Scottish new media group that makes documentary films about Scottish politics, and their short film Altered State, as well as the fact that Murray Foote, the man behind The Vow, a promise to Scotland discussed in the film, has now become a supporter of Scottish Independence. At the top of the show Arliss comments on the Democrats new slogan:  For the People. She also gives a very brief update on recovery from the 2017 California fires in light of the new and massive blazes burning. Will brings some good news about community response to a hate crime in Toledo. Will is out of the country next week but we should be back on the 13th of August. Many Carrots! - Arliss
MIA in US Media (Almost)

MIA in US Media (Almost)

2018-07-2301:35:00

23 June 2018 - We are back (and trying to stay that way.) This is a grab bag show covering a number of international issues which are getting only cursory coverage by US media (for obvious reasons.) Will has news about currency plans for Scotland which, for MMT folk, is especially frustrating. On another front, remember all those times, pre-Brexit vote, when we said that the problem was going to be the Irish border. Well, the problem is the Irish border and it is both threatening to bring down the May government and cause the UK to "crash" out of the EU instead of Brexit in an orderly manner. Tune in to find out about the "Irish Backstop." In Extra Mad, Michele LeSure, our show editor, joins us to raise an important jobs issue which is just starting to break in Gainesville but could well spread to universities across the nation. Then we go back overseas to the Israeli Nation-State law and finally, to Iran for the changes which are happening as a result of Trump pulling the US out of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. So, obviously, it's a light show this week. ;-) Along those lines, things have not been light for me this summer and that is why the show has been off-air so much. My actual job had a number of really wonderful things happen but all of them have involved a huge and unexpected time commitment accompanied by a larger than ordinary amount of stress. But that's not all, the announcement that Justice Kennedy was retiring really flipped a switch for me. I just had to stop on-boarding news, Twitter, podcasts...all of it. Kennedy was just, somehow, one hop too far. I have had to take a break. I'm getting back to the real world slowly, starting by concentrating overseas. I'll get back stateside soon and, hopefully, will be refreshed and ready to plow forward to the election. Many carrots! - Arliss
25 June 2018 - We are back from hiatus with Amanda Werner (@wamandajd), leader of the action at the Mexican restaurant in DC which sent DHS Secretary Kirsjen Nielsen scuttling for cover like a cockroach when the lights get flipped on. Amanda tells us how, with a little help from a friend, she was able to pull together such an effective protest in a matter of minutes. We also talk about actions in general, immigration and the upcoming election. Since my day job is still pretty overwhelming (with good things but nevertheless...) we will be taking the holiday next week and will return to our normal schedule in two weeks.
14 May 2018 – This past week, with the suicide of Frightened Rabbit frontman, Scott Hutchison, media and, well, all of us, once again came up against how best to talk about suicide and best practices for media. Dr. Dan Reidenberg, Executive Director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), joined us for the interview. In particular he spoke about the fact that everybody has a role in suicide prevention and that including stories of hope, of those who have survived, is important. Dan also mentioned a number of websites and I am including links for you: SAVE.org; Live Through This; Blogging on Suicide; and To Prevent the Attempt (for media organizations). At the top of the show Will lets the Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire’s, French flag fly with Le Maire’s threat to push the EU to use blocking regulations in response to Trump reinstating US sanctions against Iran in breach of the Iranian nuclear treaty. I’m excited that heterodox economists are finally being accorded a modicum of respect and space in the overall discussion around the “science” of economics. In his block Will gets into the fracas the International Association of Athletic Federations is in over their new regulations on natural testosterone levels. Their reasoning is based on secret, unethical, and dubious research carried out by the communist German Democratic Republic which suggested that testosterone levels affect the performance of female athletes. This research can’t be repeated because dosing children with testosterone without their knowledge or consent is deeply unethical. Despite broad opposition from scientists of various disciplines, the IAAF is pushing forward with the regulations, mostly because they’re angry that Caster Semenya keeps winning races. In my block I’m still on framing modern monetary theory (this is part 4) because how we talk about things, how we frame them, makes all the difference and since MMT redefines the art of the possible and we are still at the beginning of surfacing MMT, this is the time to set those frames well. Also, I learned a new word from Will: sado-monetarism! As we mentioned at the beginning of the show, we will be off next week because my day job is invading my life. Until next time, many carrots to you and yours! – Arliss
Update: The original episode released this morning did not contain the extended interview. We've corrected that this evening. 7 May 2018 - Job Guarantee remains the talk of the Twitter town (nest?) as well as some mainstream media. Critics have been vocal and a core of MMT thought leaders have been guiding the response to the push-back. Nathan Tankus (@nathantankus), who is a research scholar at the Modern Money Network and a terrific follow on Twitter, is among those leaders and joins us for the interview. Will focuses in on the court case between the British and Scottish Parliaments and why that is another example of the losses incurred by the structures of norms which underlie both the US and UK systems of governments. I am on to the third part in my series on framing MMT. In this show I cover better and more accurate framing for neoliberal deficit, surplus and balanced budget memes. I think I have just one more week on framing before I hop onto another topic. Many Carrots to All - Arliss
7 May 2018 – Job Guarantee remains the talk of the Twitter town (nest?) as well as some mainstream media. Critics have been vocal and a core of MMT thought leaders have been guiding the response to the push-back. Nathan Tankus (@nathantankus), who is a research scholar at the Modern Money Network and a terrific follow on Twitter, is among those leaders and joins us for the interview. Will focuses in on the court case between the British and Scottish Parliaments and why that is another example of the losses incurred by the structures of norms which underlie both the US and UK systems of governments. I am on to the third part in my series on framing MMT. In this show I cover better and more accurate framing for neoliberal deficit, surplus and balanced budget memes. I think I have just one more week on framing before I hop onto another topic. Many Carrots to All – Arliss
30 April 2018 – As I was flying through my Twitter stream this week, dipping in here and there to read all the many job guarantee (JG) tweets, I came across a thread, by Dr. Steven Attewell (@stevenattewell), that served to put JG into a historical context and provide background as to why past efforts had failed. What could be more timely! Steven joins us for a deep-dive interview into the history of past JG-type efforts and exposes the fact that we liberals played a substantial role in the collapse of the plans and programs. Now that was something I had never heard…had you? Steven has a book coming out, People Must Live By Work, and I can’t wait to read it. Will put all his focus into talking about the Windrush generation and he both explains what the Windrush scandal is and why it is so undeniably inhumane and despicable. His block begins with the audio of the words of Member of Parliament David Lammy calling out the opposition. At the top of the show I note that Mick Mulvaney is not only an ass but one who we now have grounds to send to jail for his admitted pay-to-play activities while still in Congress. I also address the need for Amazon to be a quality community partner and carry its own weight as it seeks a location for its new corporate headquarters, HQ2. In my block I continue my series on framing MMT, why it’s hard and why it’s important. Plus – this is episode 100!! We’ve made it to three digits. I’m breaking out the carrot cake. Thank you for joining in on this venture! Many carrots to you and yours. – Arliss
23 April 2018 – Everyone is talking about the Comey memos and I think I’m about over it BUT I have been curious about how Congress and the Justice Department both run investigations in parallel without pulling a Nunes or embarrassingly dropping a Gowdy on the floor. David Waldman (@KagroX), who is a lawyer, Congressional procedure expert and the master of all that is Kagro in the Morning, is on the show to walk us through why it is such a mess right now, how it is supposed to be done and, in Extra Mad, he gets into something I had never heard of, inherent contempt. Between March of 2007 and April of 2008 David wrote a number of explainer diaries at Daily Kos so I have included the links on our website. At the top of the show, Hopping Mad #99, we take a quick look back at how we got started and then Will continues his Big Ideas of Democracy series talking about just war theory. In my block I begin my own multi-show series, this one focusing on framing MMT. Many, many carrots! – Arliss
16 April 2018 - There comes a time in every federal budget cycle when I have to find a way to talk about debt and, specifically, the Dems dangerous debt dance. This time I decided to switch things up and invited Frances Langum (Bluegal), from my favorite podcast, The Professional Left, to interview me and to provide push-back. Fran is someone for whom I have enormous respect but, like 99% of the Dems out there, she comes at economics from a purely Keynesian perspective...and that's what I wanted. You are going to love the conversation and, I hope you find it an interesting way to get the MMT message out. At the top of the show I refresh the information about the Rapid Response events taking place when (if) Trump does any of the following:  fires Robert Mueller, fires Rob Rosenstein, pardons any key witnesses. Please go to Nobody Is Above the Law to register for the event closest to you. Our democracy cannot be allowed to go down without a fight. Also, on the day you can tune in to Netroots Radio for a live stream as events unfold. During the rest of the show Will covers an item you may have missed on your news feed, the angry Scottish badger, as well as some of the larger issues surrounding the US/UK/French strike on Syria. I get into Mick Mulvaney's appearance on Capitol Hill to give his bi-annual report from the CFPB. Both Joan McCarter, of Daily Kos, and David Dayen, for The Nation, covered this particularly well. Be vigilant folks, things are getting real. - Arliss
9 April 2018 – Democrats are finally learning that Secretaries of State are more critical than even governors in state elections so we are lucky to have elections expert and Indiana State Democratic SOS candidate, Jim Harper for the interview. Jim is a strong candidate for Indiana and the videos on his FB page reinforce why he is a great choice both for progressive and moderate Democrats. Will is talking about elections and the fall-out in Catalonia. The Germans are standing-up for the Catalans and the UK may be as well. We’ll see. Meanwhile, Russia continues to play in that sandbox exclusively to incite chaos. I give some background on the decennial Census to set it in some context for the current national conversation around the re-inclusion of the citizenship question. Just as an FYI – there is an even bigger problem with the 2020 Census…funding. No kidding. The GOP is using funding to impair the Census and suppress votes. There simply is no line they will not cross. At the top of the show I discuss the Netroots Radio plan of action in case Robert Mueller is fired. Additionally, I recommend that everyone sign-up with MoveOn.org to register for notification of a local action in your area. Until next week, carrots! – Arliss
4 April 2018 - Due to the holiday weekend we do not have a new show this week. This is a rebroadcast of a special mid-week combined Hopping Mad and Irreverent Testimony entirely focused on trade. Travis Rosen and Rachel Hutcheson of Irreverent Testimony joined Will and I to talk about the domestic and international implications of the Trump Trade Tariffs and the basics of what international trade really means. This is a deep dive into what we should all really be messaging about trade and "why trade deficit" matters not at all. Will and I have already recorded the interview for next week, with an election law expert, and we have a lot stored-up to add to the fire. Carrots!
Marlon Bundo & Space

Marlon Bundo & Space

2018-03-2655:56

In these days of increasing uncertainty, self-care gets to be more important. Toward that end, Will and I did a lightweight show this week. We dramatize the pearly gates meeting between Saint Peter and Pete Peterson. Will leads us in a discussion about the resources available in space and how important taking the next steps are in so many scientific fields. As is incumbent upon me, I close out the show with the definitive drill-down into the Marlon Bundo controversy (here is a link to my favorite snarkie review of Marlon’s book) and remind everyone that bunnies aren’t gift items, they are pets requiring a long-term, high-level commitment. Until next week, many carrots! – Arliss
19 March 2018 – There have been a lot of things which Will and I have been wanting to talk about and we get into it. Ask yourself the following questions: Is Vanessa Trump’s filing for divorce really about divorce?; Is there a link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism?; Can Trump be so anxious to suppress the vote that even GOP Secretaries of State are willing to stand up?; Can we encourage the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to be more diverse in thought, experience and identity?; How many ways is Andrew McCabe going to find to get even with the tweeting yam?; and, most importantly, Is the special relationship between the UK and the US forever damaged? We hit all of this in a wide-ranging show. We don’t do this kind of thing often so, enjoy! Promised Links are at our website, ImHoppingMad.com.
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