Mon, 1/8/2018, 9PM (CT) on 90.1FM. TOPICS: SUPPORT KPFT!, Voter Registration Ends Feb.5 for Primaries, Obamacare Signups, Cliven Bundy case dismissed, Oprah could run & Oprah could win – Is America going insane or coming to its senses, Trump-appointed regulators reject plan to rescue coal and nuclear plants, more. GUESTS: Open Forum [AUDIO/VIDEO]@KPFTHouston

SHOW AUDIO: Link is usually posted within about 72 hours of show broadcast. We take callers during this show at 713-526-5738.

Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show  airing live every Monday night from 9-10 PM (CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer is Bob Gartner.

Listen live on the radio or on the internet from anywhere in the world! When the show is live, we take calls at 713-526-5738. (Long distance charges may apply.)

Please take a moment to visit Pledge.KPFT.org and choose THINKWING RADIO from the drop-down list when you donate. Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio on Twitter), is a listener call-in show  airing live every Monday night from 9-10 PM (CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer is Bob Gartner.

For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:

  • You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
    Houston Mayor Annise Parker [L] with Mike, just before the show. (Dec. 14, 2015)

    Houston Mayor Annise Parker [L] with Mike, just before the show. (Dec. 7, 2015)

  • An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.

SIGNOFF QUOTE[s]:

Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.” ~ Attributed to William E. Simon (1927-2000), Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan

 

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  1. Make sure you are registered to vote?
    1. Registration for the primaries ends Feb. 5, 2018
    2. Primaries will take place on March 6, 2018
    3. Make sure you are registered:
      1. HarrisVotes.org
      2. VoteTexas.gov
  2. From ‘Fire and Fury’ to Political Firestorm (The New York Times): The Michael Wolff Book
    1. Judge dismisses federal charges against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who calls himself ‘a political prisoner’, by Mark Berman and Leah Sottile January 8 (WaPo) at 6:04 PM
      1. S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the case against the rancher, two of his sons and a Montana militiaman, just three weeks after she declared a mistrial in the case against Bundy. Navarro had ruled that government lawyers suppressed key evidence that would have been favorable to the defendants’ case — including suppression of evidence from FBI surveillance cameras recording the Bundy family home and the presence of federal snipers around the property ahead of the standoff, among other omissions.
  3. Oprah could run. Oprah could win. Is America going insane or coming to its senses?, By Dan Zak and Monica Hesse January 8 at 3:24 PM
    1. Maybe billionaires should be excluded from high political office.
  4. Trump-appointed regulators reject plan to rescue coal and nuclear plants, By Steven Mufson January 8 at 5:40 PM
    1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday unanimously rejected a proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry that would have propped up nuclear and coal power struggling in competitive electricity markets.
    2. The independent five-member commission includes four people appointed by President Trump, three of them Republicans. Its decision is binding.
    3. At the same time, the commission said that it shared Perry’s stated goal of strengthening the “resilience” of the electricity grid and it directed regional transmission operators to provide information to help the commission examine the matter “holistically.” The operators have 60 days to submit materials. At that time the agency can issue another order.
    4. Top of Form
    5. Bottom of Form
    6. Perry’s proposal favored power plants able to store 90 days fuel supply on site, unlike renewable energy or natural gas plants.
  5. Why Michael Wolff’s book made me think about Hitler’s ascent, By Richard Cohen Opinion writer January 8 at 5:10 PM
    1. About halfway through Michael Wolff’s new book on President Trump, I had the sense that all this was familiar. As the pages flew by — and the reading is both alarming and delicious — the sense of deja vu became even more pronounced. At the three-quarters mark, I realized where I had read all this before: William L. Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”
    2. But in any reading of the rise of Nazi Germany, you come to a dead stop: How did this happen? How did a nut such as Hitler manage to take over one of the world’s most advanced and civilized nations? The question becomes particularly acute when you consider the jumble of criminals, incompetents and ideological zealots he had around him. One answer to the question is that others in Germany thought Hitler could prove useful.
    3. The Trump presidency that Wolff describes in virtually pornographic detail was the creation not just of Trump but of all the people who failed to oppose him. These are the people who ducked the greatest political test this nation has faced since the Civil War — who enabled the election of a man whose sanity is now questioned but whose incompetence never was. It is not true that Trump is nobody’s fool. He is the GOP’s.
    4. The reference to Germany is jarring, I know, but once again the conventional were thrilled by the unconventional, the rich were assured they would remain so, and a collection of political naifs bought into the Mar-a-Lago political bordello, thinking it was Monticello. Wolff tells a frightening tale. It is all the more frightening because it has been told before.
  6. China’s watchful eye: CCTV footage taken in Beijing uses the facial-recognition system Face++. China, unburdened by concerns about privacy or civil rights, is integrating private cameras and security cameras into a nationwide surveillance system., Story by Simon Denyer, Photos by Gilles Sabrié, Video by Joyce Lee, January 7, 2018 (Washington Post)
    1. Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance
      1. …who’s a criminal? In China, documents for the Police Cloud project unearthed by Human Rights Watch list “petitioners” — people who complain to the government about perceived injustices — as potential targets of surveillance, along with anyone who “undermines stability” or has “extreme thoughts.” Other documents cite members of ethnic minorities, specifically Muslim Uighurs from Xinjiang, as subjects of scrutiny.
      2. Maya Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said what sets China apart is “a complete lack of effective privacy protections,” combined with a system that is explicitly designed to target individuals seen as “politically threatening.”
      3. “In other countries, we are often concerned about the use of big data for deepening existing policing bias — for example, for targeting historically disadvantaged groups like African Americans in the U.S. context — but for the Chinese systems, the targeting of people of certain ethnicity is a fundamental function of the system,” she added.
  7. Protests in Iran:
    1. Iran bans teaching English in primary schools, By Valerie Strauss January 8 at 3:08 PM (Washington Post)
      1. Iran just banned the teaching of English in primary schools — even after school hours — because, it said, those early years should be devoted to strengthening students’ skills in the Persian language and Iranian Islamic culture.
      2. Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television, “Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” the BBC reported. Iran’s education system is divided into the primary and secondary grades, with children moving from the former to the latter at age 12. There are both public and private schools.
  • Navid-Adham did not mention the deadly anti-government protests that have erupted in Iran, which authorities have linked to foreign powers, including the United States and Iraq. Iranian authorities blocked social media apps Instagram and Telegram — “temporarily” — after demonstrators used them to share videos of protests.
  1. [Iran FM warns neighbors against fomenting unrest]
  2. According to the BBC, English is widely studied in Iran and is so popular in higher grades that classes started to be offered in primary schools. This has happened despite concerns expressed by Iran’s rulers, who have said that the teaching of English and other foreign languages amounts to a “cultural invasion.” In a speech to teachers in 2016, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, bemoaned the prevalence of English classes in Iranian schools, saying:
    1. This insistence on promoting the English language in our country is an unhealthy course of action. Of course, we should learn foreign languages, but foreign languages are not confined to the English language. The language of science is not only English. Why do they not specify other languages in school as language lessons? Why is there such an insistence? . . .
    2. I am not saying that we should cancel English classes shortly. This is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that we should know what we are doing. We should know what kind of generation the other side wants to be built in the country and with what characteristics. . . .
  3. Analysis: Iran protests show danger of economic woes, Associated Press via Washington Post
    1. The economic resentment seen in recent days could prompt the rise of another Ahmadinejad-style hard-line populist — if Iran’s clerical leadership allows such a candidacy.
    2. …Weeks before the protests, Rouhani publicly complained that large parts of the government budget went to religious institutions, largely seen as power bases of the hard-liners, seeking to deflect blame over the economy. From the other side, it is widely believed that the hard-liners were the ones who initially stoked the protests to embarrass Rouhani, only to see the demonstrations turn against the entire ruling establishment.
  • PROTESTS WANE, ANGER REMAINS: Authorities managed to stifle the protests in part by blocking access to the messaging app Telegram, through which demonstrators organized the rallies and shared images from the streets. The Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer Basiji force also was deployed and police have arrested hundreds; more than 20 protesters were killed, although security forces did not engage in the level of bloodshed that followed the 2009 protests.
  1. Both U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they supported the protesters, without apparently providing any aid. The protests quickly raised the hopes of those abroad who want to see an end to the Islamic Republic.
  1. There may be a ‘crisis of rising expectations’ after many economic sanctions were lifted, yet many Iranians feel they have not benefitted as they might have anticipated
  2. Official unemployment is pegged at 11.7%.
  1. NET Neutrality: Why it matters.
    1. MIKE: Did your internet seem to slow down almost immediately the FCC’s net neutrality decision? If it did, you aren’t alone. I’ve seen many complaints online of people having the same impression
  2. America’s Cultural Revolution, by Catherine Rampell
    1. Last month in Shanghai, Chinese venture capitalist Eric X. Li made a provocative suggestion. The United States, he said, was going through its own “Cultural Revolution.” …
    2. Li said he saw several parallels between the violence and chaos in China decades ago and the animosity coursing through the United States today. In both cases, the countries turned inward, focusing more on defining the soul of their nations than on issues beyond their borders.
    3. He said that both countries were also “torn apart by ideological struggles,” with kinships, friendships and business relationships being severed by political differences.
    4. “Virtually all types of institutions, be it political, educational, or business, are exhausting their internal energy in dealing with contentious, and seemingly irreconcilable, differences in basic identities and values — what it means to be American,” he said in a subsequent email exchange. “In such an environment, identity trumps reason, ideology overwhelms politics, and moral convictions replace intellectual discourse.”
  3. 7 Reforms After Trump, by Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) 12/3/17, 19:31
    1. Repeal Shelby v Holder (LEGISLATE: Renew Voting Rights Act)
    2. Repeal Citizens United (LEGISLATE/AMENDMENT: Limit Money in Politics, abolish anonymous money in politics)
  • Abolish electoral college (or can it be saved?)
  1. Apply anti-nepotism law to White House (It was WRITTEN for White House [Robert Kennedy serving with JFK])
  2. POTUS candidates must release tax returns (LEGISLATE/AMENDMENT: for how many years)
  3. Presidents may not self-pardon (AMENDMENT OR LEGISLATION: or pardon executive appointees?)
  • Special counsel has power to indict president
  1. ADD:
    1. 2/3 Senate vote to confirm SCOTUS appointment
  2. Sex and Politics: Where’s the boundary between innocent and inappropriate?

KPFT is the Pacifica station in Houston, Texas

TOPICS FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:

  1. What do belts around Proxima Centauri mean for exoplanet research?, By John Wenz  |  Published: Friday, November 03, 2017 [http://www.astronomy.com]
  2. TV Talk:
    1. “The Good Place”
    2. “The Orville”
    3. “Adam Ruins Everything”

LINKS:

 SOURCES WHICH MAY BE RELEVANT TO OTHER DISCUSSION:

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