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Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show airing live every Monday night from 2-3 PM (CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer is Don Dwayne
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For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
“At one point he [Trump] started to attack the press and I said, ‘You know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this? You’re doing it over and over and it’s boring and it’s – it’s time to end that. You know, you’ve won the nomination and, uh, why do you keep hammering at this? And he [Trump] said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.’ He said that. So, put that in your head for a minute.” ~ Lesley Stahl (“Deadline Club”, May 21, 2018). Excerpt from “Kasie DC”, May 27, 2018
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- Your Annual Poop Alert for Visiting the Texas Coast | The Daily
San Antonio Current › 2018/05/25 › you…
3 days ago · While you probably have your Memorial Day weekend plans in place to hit up Padre or Galveston, we’d like to remind you that you’ll most likely be swimming in shit. … There are spots along the bay, Mustang Island and Padre Island that have low levels, but a handful with medium levels
- Flash floods again rip through Ellicott City, Maryland; 1 missing, By Emanuella Grinberg and Janet DiGiacomo, [CNN] Updated 10:50 AM ET, Mon May 28, 2018
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency Sunday in Howard County as a massive storm drenched the Baltimore region, triggering flash floods in Ellicott City and leaving one person missing….
- Brown water rushed through Ellicott City’s historic Main Street, toppling buildings and upending cars, as the nearby Patapsco River swelled to a record-breaking level. In some areas, water levels reached above the first floor of buildings, Howard County Fire and EMS said.
- The devastation was especially hard to comprehend coming barely two years after the last flood that ravaged the city, he said. The disaster left two dead and damaged dozens of buildings. …
- … The river rose 17.8 feet in two hours on Sunday afternoon to 24.13 feet, a new record from the previous high of 23.6 feet. …
- Indefinite Detention, Endless Worldwide War and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (in response to MOD from May 21 show)
- ACLU – On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield.
- The breadth of the NDAA’s worldwide detention authority violates the Constitution and international law because it is not limited to people captured in an actual armed conflict, as required by the laws of war. Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way. The ACLU does not believe that the NDAA authorizes military detention of American citizens or anyone else in the United States. Any president’s claim of domestic military detention authority under the NDAA would be unconstitutional and illegal. Nevertheless, there is substantial public debate around whether the NDAA could be read even to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act and authorize indefinite military detention without charge or trial within the United States.
- Although President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the NDAA’s detention provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use them, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The provisions – which were negotiated by a small group of members of Congress, in secret, and without proper congressional review – are inconsistent with fundamental American values.
- The U.S. lost track of 1,475 immigrant children last year. Here’s why people are outraged now, by Amy B Wang [WASHINGTONPOST.COM] May 27, 2018 at 7:32 PM
- Reports of federal authorities losing track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children in their custody. Scathing criticism over children being taken from their migrant parents at the border. …
- How accurate are certain claims circulating online? What do those children have to do with the Trump administration’s new immigration enforcement policies? How many families are being separated? And why is there so much outrage about it now? …
- Did the United States really lose track of 1,475 immigrant kids?
- … yes. During a Senate committee hearing late last month, Steven Wagner, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services, testified that the federal agency had lost track of 1,475 children who had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on their own (that is, unaccompanied by adults) and subsequently were placed with adult sponsors in the United States. As the Associated Press reported, the number was based on a survey of more than 7,000 children:
- From October to December 2017, HHS called 7,635 children the agency had placed with sponsors, and found 6,075 of the children were still living with their sponsors, 28 had run away, five had been deported and 52 were living with someone else. The rest were missing, said Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary at HHS.
- Health and Human Services officials have argued it is not the department’s legal responsibility to find those children after they are released from the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which falls under HHS‘s Administration for Children and Families. And some have pointed out that adult sponsors are sometimes relatives who already were living in the United States and who intentionally may not be responding to contact attempts by HHS. …
- … Are children being taken from their parents after they cross the border into the United States?
- Yes. On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would begin prosecuting every person who crossed the Southwest border illegally — or at least attempt to prosecute “100 percent” — even if some of them could or should be treated as asylum seekers, as the American Civil Liberties Union has argued.
- Although Sessions said he understood that some people were fleeing violence or other dangerous situations, he has also stated that the United States “cannot take everyone on this planet who is in a difficult situation.”…
- … The consequence of this new “100 percent” policy is that children will be separated from their parents as the adults are charged with a crime, even if the adults are seeking asylum and present themselves at official ports of entry. Under federal rules, Immigration and Customs Enforcement transfers unaccompanied minors, and now children of detained adults, to Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement within 48 hours of their crossing the border,according to the AP.
- Are child-parent separations being used as a tool to deter border crossings?
- `That would appear to be the case. As The Washington Post’s Sari Horwitz and Maria Sacchetti reported,internal discussions about separating families at the border suggested that it was to dissuade people from attempting to cross the border:
- Senior immigration and border officials called for the increased prosecutions[in April] in a confidential memo to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They said filing criminal charges against migrants, including parents traveling with children, would be the “most effective” way to tamp down on illegal border crossings.
- The “zero-tolerance” measure announced Monday could split up thousands of families because children are not allowed in criminal jails. Until now, most families apprehended crossing the border illegally have been released to await civil deportation hearings.
- In a May 11 interview with NPR’s John Burnett, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly referred to family separation as something that would be a “tough deterrent” to migrant parents who may be thinking of bringing their children to the border. …
- What are some of the issues that these children face during separation?
- For months, stories have abounded of families separated by immigration authorities at the border: Three children were separated from their mother as they fled a gang in El Salvador; a 7-year-old was taken from her Congolese motherwho was seeking asylum; and so on, in reportedly hundreds of cases. In almost every case, the families have described heart-wrenching goodbyes and agonizing uncertainty about whether they would be reunited.
- According to the Florence Project, an Arizona nonprofit organization that provides legal and social services to detained immigrants, there have been more than 200 cases of parents being separated from their children since the beginning of the year in the state alone.
- “The type of devastation that we’re talking about … where a separated mother doesn’t know where her child is for four days, that’s entirely common right now in this administration,” Laura St. John, the group’s legal director, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “Children and parents who are separated sometimes don’t have any way to communicate with each other for days, for weeks — I’ve seen months where a parent had no idea where their child was after the U.S. government took their child away.”
- St. John noted her group also was seeing increasingly younger children being taken into custody by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as opposed to the migrant teenagers who had previously crossed the border themselves.
- “Just last week we saw a 53-week-old infant in court without a parent,” St. John told Hayes. “What we’re seeing now is that, because the government is separating the children from the parents, the government is actually rendering these children as unaccompanied minors and bringing them to the shelters.”
- On the same program, Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project, told Hayes that the number of separations his group has seen was “unprecedented.”
- “This is the worst thing I’ve seen in 25-plus years of doing this civil rights work,” Gelernt said. “I am talking to these mothers and they are describing their kids screaming, ‘Mommy, Mommy, don’t let them take me away!’ … The medical evidence is overwhelming that we may be doing permanent trauma to these kids, and yet the government is finding every way they can to try and justify it.”
- … The topic gained traction Saturday morning when Trump tried to blame Democrats for “the horrible law that separates children from parents once they cross the Border” — even though there is no such law, and even though it was a policy supported by his administration.
- Trump also tried to use the issue to drum up support for his proposed border wall.
- China’s navy ‘warned off’ US warships that sailed through disputed South China Sea, by Rosie Perper [BUSINESS INSIDER] May 28, 2018
- China’s military warned off US warships conducting “unauthorized” sailing in waters Beijing claims in the South China Sea.
- China’s defense ministry said two US warships, the Antiem guided missile cruiser, and the USS Higgins destroyer, entered disputed waters around the Paracel Islands on Sunday.
- The move comes at a sensitive time between the US and China, after the US disinvited China from an international military exercise last week and the two countries continue to spar over trade and foreign policy.
- China’s military took “immediate action” on Sunday against “unauthorized” sailing by US warships in South China Sea waters claimed by Beijing.
- … According to Reuters, the US freedom of navigation operation was a targeted measure against China’s growing influence in the region.
- … According to Reuters, the US freedom of navigation operation was a targeted measure against China’s growing influence in the region.
- The move comes at a sensitive time between the US and China. Last week the Pentagon disinvited China from an international military exercise in an effort to send a message about the country’s activities in the South China Sea.
- … “China’s continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serve to raise tensions and destabilize the region,” Department of Defense spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, said in a statement.
- Blankenship wages war on GOP after losing Senate primary – The ex-convict and another May primary loser are not getting in line behind the nominees, By JAMES ARKIN [POLITICO.COM] 05/20/2018 06:58 AM EDT
- Don Blankenship lost his Senate primary in West Virginia, but the former coal baron is still causing problems for the Republican Party.
- Blankenship has said the GOP’s newly minted Senate nominee, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, would likely lose in the fall — and promised to work to defeat him. He’s not the only sore loser: In Ohio, businessman Mike Gibbons is harboring lingering frustration over Rep. Jim Renacci’s primary tactics during their Senate race, according to a Republican close to Gibbons, and is not yet prepared to endorse the congressman’s campaign.
- Republicans are banking on a unified base to defeat red-state Democratic senators who have specialized in getting cross-party votes in the past. But a few primary also-rans’ unwillingness to get behind the party is already making people nervous in a couple of key GOP Senate targets. In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin looks more vulnerable than ever — just as Blankenship and his campaign manager have opened a rift in the state Republican Party.
- “Obviously, I’m worried,” said Mitch Carmichael, the Republican president of the West Virginia state Senate. “But I think it will be seen as just sour grapes.” …
- … But in Ohio, Gibbons remains frustrated by Renacci’s tactics after Renacci’s roughly 47 percent to 32 percent primary victory. Gibbons and Renacci spoke by phone on election night, and a Republican close to Gibbons, who requested anonymity to detail private conversations, called it a “decent enough” conversation. But feelings are still raw. Gibbons sued Renacci for defamation four days before the election and accused him of lying during the campaign, calling him a “bully.” Renacci shrugged off the accusation, which angered Gibbons more.
- Nikki Haley’s Twitter account raises protocol concerns – Critics question the U.N. ambassador’s mixture of the personal and the official online, By NAHAL TOOSI [POLITICO] 05/20/2018 06:54 AM EDT, Updated 05/20/2018 08:23 AM EDT
- On the @nikkihaley handle, the rising Republican star posts pictures of her dearest friends and showers love on her dog, Bentley. But she also denounces Russian actions in Syria and chides U.N. nations for voting against the United States. …
- … social media is an important tool in public diplomacy, in which sites like Twitter and Facebook are part of a growing diplomatic virtual infrastructure that communicates U.S. views abroad.
- Haley has long been considered a potential presidential candidate. Since her confirmation as ambassador in January 2017, Haley has seen her Twitter following increase more than eightfold, to 1.6 million. That’s more than four times as many as the U.S. Mission to the United Nations’ office Twitter handle, @USUN.
- “Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to fund someone’s social media stardom for political or business purposes,” said Brett Bruen, a former diplomat who helped craft the State Department guidelines. “It doesn’t take a savvy political mind to identify that Haley is trying to attract American voters for 2024.”
- How Trump changed everything for The Onion – The comedy website has had to develop new strategies and new characters for a president who often defies satire, By ANDREW RESTUCCIA [POLITICO.COM] 05/20/2018 06:49 AM EDT
- A lot has changed since 2013, when the editors of The Onion got an angry email from Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen. Back then, Cohen was an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, and his client was just a TV mogul, still years away from announcing his first serious presidential bid.
- Cohen was fuming over a satirical article published under Trump’s name with the headline, “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years.” On Trump’s behalf, Cohen demanded that The Onion immediately remove the article and apologize.
- “This commentary goes way beyond defamation and, if not immediately removed, I will take all actions necessary to ensure your actions do not go without consequence,” Cohen wrote, according to a copy of the email provided to POLITICO. “Guide yourself accordingly.”
- Five years later, Trump is in the White House, Cohen is under federal investigation and the article is still on The Onion’s website, which many West Wing staffers begrudgingly admit to occasionally reading.
- … As The Onion tries to find its footing in the Trump era, its writers have increasingly focused on the people around the president. Vice President Mike Pence is often depicted as a repressed religious fanatic who, in one memorable article, refused to be alone with a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth maple syrup until his wife arrived. Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., known as the “Trump boys” in The Onion’s lexicon, are cast as bumbling simpletons whose misadventures — from setting up their own makeshift law firm in the White House’s electrical room to interrupting an intelligence briefing with sofa cushions duct-taped to their bodies — are the closest thing to the site’s wildly successful mockery of former Vice President Joe Biden. …
- “… Trump poses definitely an interesting challenge [says editor-in-chief Chad Nackers], and it goes pretty deep. We’re so divided in this country politically right now that I feel like people can be very dismissive if they think you’re doing a joke that’s critical of Trump. They’ll be like, “That’s not funny. That’s no good.” On the other hand, I think overly left-leaning people can be too on board with anything someone says, not even an Onion thing. They’ll believe anything as long as it’s hammering Trump. …
- … The First Amendment is very important to all journalists, and that’s something I’ve always been appreciative of with The Onion, that in America you feel very protected and you can comment on things. So, it scares me when, regardless of the political group, when people start saying, “Well, that person shouldn’t be allowed to say anything.” Because that’s a pretty slippery slope. …
- … The other challenge about this administration is that so many of their policies and things, like for the EPA, they almost feel like satire. You’re just cutting everything that would protect the environment or making it easier for people to pollute. That’s the kind of thing that you would in the past make jokes about. I think we had an article years ago that said something like: “EPA: Rivers Aren’t Supposed to Smell like Shit.” And you can’t really do that kind of joke now because that’s not really where their focus is.
- It goes throughout the Department of Interior. We used to do lots of jokes about various things — laying off animals and stuff like that. It’s not quite as relevant now because they’re not functioning at a normal level.
- ‘Tricked by the devil.’ They backed Trump. Now, his foreign labor cuts may ruin them. | Lexington Herald Leader, By Tom Eblen [COM] firstname.lastname@example.org, May 10, 2018 11:34 AM (Updated May 13, 2018 06:20 AM)
- Eddie Devine voted for President Donald Trump because he thought he would be good for American business. Now, he says, the Trump administration’s restrictions on seasonal foreign labor may put him out of business. “I feel like I’ve been tricked by the devil,” said Devine, owner of Harrodsburg-based Devine Creations Landscaping. “I feel so stupid.”
- Devine says he lost a $100,000 account because he didn’t have enough men to do the job. He’s worried he may be out of business next year if things don’t improve.
- He isn’t alone. Cuts in H-2B visas are hurting small businesses across the country that can’t find Americans willing to do hard, manual labor: Maryland crab processors, Texas shrimp fishermen, and Kentucky landscapers and construction companies.
- … “We live and die by these visas,” said Ken Monin, owner of Monin Construction, which specializes in home additions, roofs, decks and garages. “Last year we about went bankrupt. The workers we were supposed to get in March didn’t show up until August because they couldn’t get visas.”
- Monin applied for eight H-2B workers this year, but he isn’t optimistic he will get any. Employers seeking H-2B workers must prove they have advertised and tried unsuccessfully to hire local workers.
- “Americans don’t want most of these jobs,” said Monin, who pays his workers about $17 an hour. “I’ve been in this business 20 years. It’s hard, hot work.”
- … what makes him most angry is that Trump’s properties in Florida and New York have used 144 H-2B workers since 2016. “I want to know why it’s OK for him to get his workers, but supporters like me don’t get theirs,” Devine said.
- China’s first home-built aircraft carrier begins sea trials as Beijing ramps up its maritime might, By Neil Connor, Beijing [telegraph.co.uk] 13 May 2018 • 1:16pm
- California’s future: More big droughts and massive floods, new study finds, By Paul Rogers | email@example.com | Bay Area News Group [mercurynews.com] PUBLISHED: April 23, 2018 at 8:00 am | UPDATED: April 23, 2018 at 9:18 am
- The extreme weather swings that Californians have experienced over the past six years — a historic drought followed by drenching winter storms that caused $100 million in damage to San Jose and wrecked the spillway at Oroville Dam — will become the norm over the coming generations, a new study has found.
- Those types of extremes are not new, but because of climate change, they can be expected to occur more frequently, as hotter global temperatures and warming oceans are putting more water vapor into the air, concluded the study, which was published Monday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.
- And perhaps most ominous, the odds are rising that a mega-storm — like the one that famously flooded California in 1862, forcing Leland Stanford to take a rowboat through the streets of Sacramento to his inauguration as governor — will strike again. Such a storm “is more likely than not” to hit the state at least once in the next 40 years and twice in the next 80, the study found. The 1862 event, the largest recorded flood in California history, saw 43 days of continuous rainfall that washed whole towns away and forced the state capital to be temporarily moved to San Francisco.
- What is a “Populist”?
- From Wikipedia: … a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against a privileged elite. Critics of populism have described it as a political approach that seeks to disrupt the existing social order by solidifying and mobilizing the animosity of the “commoner” or “the people” against “privileged elites” and the “establishment”. Populists can fall anywhere on the traditional left–right political spectrum of politics and often portray both bourgeois capitalists and socialist organizers as unfairly dominating the political sphere.
- Political parties and politicians often use the terms “populist” and “populism” as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as demagogy, merely appearing to empathize with the public through rhetoric or unrealistic proposals in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum.
- From Merriam-Webster:
- 1: a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people; especially, often capitalized : a member of a U.S. political party formed in 1891 primarily to represent agrarian interests and to advocate the free coinage of silver and government control of monopolies
- 2 : a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people
- A person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.
- America’s Cultural Revolution, by Catherine Rampell
- 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.” …
- 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.
- He said that both countries were also “torn apart by ideological struggles,” with kinships, friendships and business relationships being severed by political differences.
- “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.”
- 7 Reforms After Trump, by Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) 12/3/17, 19:31
- Repeal Shelby v Holder (LEGISLATE: Renew Voting Rights Act)
- Repeal Citizens United (LEGISLATE/AMENDMENT: Limit Money in Politics, abolish anonymous money in politics)
- Abolish/Revise electoral college (or can it be saved?)
- Apply anti-nepotism law to White House (It was WRITTEN for White House [Robert Kennedy serving with JFK])
- All declared POTUS candidates must release at least 5 years tax returns and medical physical data. (LEGISLATE/AMENDMENT: for how many years)
- Presidents may not self-pardon (AMENDMENT OR LEGISLATION: or pardon executive appointees?)
- No “self-funding” of campaigns beyond legal donor limit.
- Special counsel has power to indict president
- 2/3 Senate vote to confirm SCOTUS appointment
TOPICS FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:
- TV Talk:
- “The Good Place”
- “The Orville”
- “Adam Ruins Everything”
SOURCES WHICH MAY BE RELEVANT TO OTHER DISCUSSION: