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Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show airing live every Monday night from 3-4 PM (CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer is Leti. Today’s show is a fundraising show, so, with apologies, we can’t take on-air phone calls,
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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.
“This too shall pass” ~ (Persian: این نیز بگذرد, translit. īn nīz bogzarad, Hebrew: גַּם זֶה יַעֲבֹר, translit. gam zeh yaʻavor, Turkish: bu da geçer ya hu) is an adage reflecting on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets. It is known in the Western world primarily due to a 19th century retelling of Persian fable by the English poet Edward FitzGerald. It was also notably employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became the sixteenth President of the United States. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
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Make sure you are registered to vote!
- HarrisVotes.com (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965) Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
- In Texas, but outside Harris County? VoteTexas.gov
- You may vote early by-mail if
- you are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- Sick or disabled;
- 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- Make sure you are registered:
- Sample Ballots are now available!
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Fill out a declaration at the polls describing a reasonable impediment to obtaining it, and show a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of ID:
- A government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- (a) A certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
- Outside Texas? Try Vote.org.
- Make it a point to listen to my April 22, 2019 Interview with Harris County Clerk Dr. Dianne Trautman
- In Texas, but outside Harris County? VoteTexas.gov
- Texas House, Senate approve budget deal with agreements on school finance, property taxes, Hurricane Harvey recovery – Completing negotiations that have taken place over the last few months, Texas House and Senate lawmakers accepted a compromise on a state spending plan for 2020-21. by Edgar Walters | ORG | May 26, 201919 hours ago
- The Texas Legislature advanced a $250.7 billion two-year budget Sunday, ending weeks of deliberation over how much money to spend on the 2019 legislative session’s two highest priorities: public school funding and property tax relief. The spending plan, House Bill 1, now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott, who may veto individual line-items he objects to. …
- …The approved $250.7 billion, made up of state taxes and fees, local property tax dollars and federal funds, marks a 16% spending increase over the two-year budget approved by lawmakers in the tight-fisted 2017 legislative session. The House approved the spending plan with just one no vote, from state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford. …
- … The budget also includes $84 billion for health and human services programs, up just 1% from the last two-year budget cycle. Lawmakers ordered a roughly $900 million cut to Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled that makes up most of the state’s health care spending. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will be responsible for identifying cost-cutting measures. Additionally, lawmakers underfunded Medicaid’s expected costs, which will almost certainly require lawmakers to pass a supplemental spending plan in 2021 to pay leftover bills. …
- Kellyanne Conway Keeps Violating the Hatch Act, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 8, 2019 | Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) | CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz 202-408-5565 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Washington — Counselor to [Trump] Kellyanne Conway has continued to violate the Hatch Act by providing unprompted attacks on 2020 presidential candidates while acting in her official government role in televised interviews, according to a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).
- The Hatch Act prohibits any executive branch employee from, “us[ing] his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” Last March, the [Office of Special Counsel] determined that Conway had violated the Hatch Act in two television interviews regarding Alabama’s special election, even after she received extensive training on how to follow the law following a CREW complaint about her promotion of Ivanka Trump products.
- “Kellyanne Conway’s repeated violation of federal law, especially in light of the OSC’s prior decision and training is appalling,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “She shows a dangerous disregard for ethics laws and no understanding that government officials should not use their official positions to advance partisan politics.”
- Conway is already under investigation by OSC for potential Hatch Act violations following a CREW complaint alleging that she used her official government Twitter account to promote the Republican party and that she expressed political views about candidates for public office in a television interview in her official capacity. Following previous CREW complaints, nine Trump Administration officials have been cited for Hatch Act violations including Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Deputy Assistant to the President and Communications Director for the Office of the First Lady Stephanie Grisham and White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino.
- “Time and time again, we’ve seen members of this administration act as though they are above the law,” said Bookbinder. “It is beyond time to hold officials accountable for their actions. OSC should launch another investigation into Ms. Conway’s conduct and consider additional measures to hold President Trump’s administration accountable when they violate ethical principles and federal law.”
- Read the full complaint here.
- Rick Wilson: Impeachment Hearings Are Death By A Thousand Cuts For Trump – “There are three things you don’t want to rush in life: sex, cooking ribs, and impeachment”, said Wilson. By Scarce | COM/MEDIA BITES | 5/25/19 @ 9:45am
- Host Joy Reid asked Republican strategist [Rick Wilson ] what would he do if he were advising Democrats on how to proceed on impeachment. He dismissed concerns about current public opinion and that the Senate will not convict. Those are irrelevant. …
- RICK WILSON: I think the important thing to remember, though, is that OJ got away with it. The trial was a big deal but OJ got away with it. He didn’t get put in jail until much later for different crimes. So, my concern about this, if I were doing this, if the shoe were on the other foot, I would be pursuing the pursuing the death of 1,000 cuts. I would be making the body count of the people in the administration that had to be dragged in front of the cameras, and we live in a 24 hour a day social media and cable media environment, now, where this will become must-see broadcasting where you ramp it up. I want dinner AND dessert, okay? …
- … I think Trump has committed crimes of obstruction that are absolutely impeachable. I think it means nothing if the Senate doesn’t convict. So, you build up this long run up to it, there is plenty of great television to come. But getting his tax returns, doing all the other things that are happening right now, the court wins of this weekend, for instance, they’re setting up a predicate, setting a stage that will be a big deal. Look, there are three things you don’t want to rush in life: sex, cooking ribs, and impeachment. You want to do this at a pace. You want to drag this thing out. You want to raise the pain level. You want to increase the body count.
- What Just Happened in Europe and the UK?, By Josh Marshall | COM | May 27, 2019 11:49 am
- For those of you who’ve been trying to make sense of the EU elections and especially the EU elections in the UK, … the results are a bit muddled and contradictory. But they’re also mired in a fair amount of misunderstandings and misleading spin and gloss. Rightwing parties did do well in a lot of EU countries. But in most they either underperformed expectations or fell from previous highs in the 2014 EU election. The big story overall is the decline or in some cases near collapse of the traditional parties of government – center-right and center-left – in lots of countries, particularly heartland EU countries like Germany, France, the UK, et al.
- … in on the UK. The wild, eye-popping result is that the “Brexit Party”, founded only months ago and now led by rightist provocateur Nigel Farage, got the most votes almost everywhere in England outside of London and the most seats overall – 29 seats and 31.6% of the vote, far more than the Tories and Labour combined.
- But the picture looks very different if you step back a bit. There were five parties running as Remain parties – i.e., pro-EU, anti-Brexit. If you add up the Remain parties they got just over 40% of the vote compared to just under 35% for the hard Brexit parties (Farage’s new party and UKIP, his old party). The remaining 23% or so went to the Labour (14.1%) and Tories (9.1%), both of which are divided on Brexit, though Labour leans more Remain and the Tories more Leave. (The big party winners on the Remain side were the Liberal Democrats and the the Greens.)
- One very reasonable way to look at these numbers is that the election was about Brexit and neither of the two traditional parties of government took a clear stand on the issue. Both saw their support fall precipitously. Parties with clear Remain or Leave positions took the overwhelming majority of the votes (about 75%) and a clear majority of those went to Remain parties.
- An analogue to Trumpism is that Brexit support seems to be clearly a minority position in the UK (albeit a very large majority). Supporters of “no-deal Brexit” are definitely a minority. Yet they make up a large enough percentage of the electorate and are unified and coherent enough that they can drive the political agenda, even if they can’t necessarily carry their core policy to fruition.
- Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest Netanyahu’s Immunity Bills in Opposition’s First Rally – Protesters wore Ottoman-style fezzes and carried portraits of Turkish President Erdogan, symbolizing ‘the regime type that we are opposing’, By Bar Peleg | COM | May 25, 2019 10:01 PM
- Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for the Israeli opposition’s first rally since the April 9 election, in a “pro-democracy” protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to pass legislation that would curb the powers of the High Court.
- Addressing the crowd, Kahol Lavan co-chair Benny Gantz said this was the first protest he’s even been to because as the former chief of the Israeli army he could not attend politically-oriented events.
- “Israel is the fulfillment of a dream but I’m here to say loud and clear what we all feel, that the dream is falling apart. There are those who are attempting to replace the people’s rule with the rule of a single man and to enslave an entire nation to the interests of one man,” Gantz said.
- Protesters wore Ottoman-style red fezzes and carrying portraits of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and signs that read: “Erdogan is already here.” …
- … One of the protesters explained that “the fez symbolizes the regime type that we are opposing, where everything is controlled by one person and people are afraid to express their opinions. That’s where we’re headed.”
- … Kahol Lavan, Laborand Meretz organized the protest, but the Arab parties were not invited.
- Several hours before the protest and following public pressure, Gantz invited Arab Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh, the chairman of Hadash, to speak.
- “I am here today because I believe in Jewish-Arab partnership and believe it is the only way for hope in this country,” Odeh told protesters. “Arab citizens alone cannot do it, but without us it is also impossible. I am here today because I believe that without equality there is no democracy,” he said. …
- … The Arab party United Arab List-Balad was not invited to participate in the rally. Party leader Mansour Abbas said “the organizers of the ‘democracy’ rally ignored the representatives of the Arab community so I will not participate in the protest.” He added that he would have agreed to participate in the demonstration had he been asked, but the party wasn’t invited to join the rally and will not be taking part in it.
- On Thursday, Haaretz reported that Odeh had originally been invited to speak but that when accepted the invitation, he was told that the list of speakers was already closed and there was no room for additional speakers. …
- … [Meretz Chairwoman Tamar Zandberg] tweeted that “there is no democracy without equality and the struggle for democracy cannot be for Jews only.”
- Labor’s Shelly Yacimovich tweeted that “a protest without Arabs is surrender to racism and to the incitement from the right.”
- Opinion – The Old Scourge of Anti-Semitism Rises Anew in Europe, Jews face threats from extremists on the left and the right. A third of European Jews have considered emigrating. By The Editorial Board (The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section. |com | May 26, 2019
- For years, Europe maintained the comforting notion that it was earnestly confronting anti-Semitism after the horrors of the Holocaust. It now faces the alarming reality that anti-Semitism is sharply on the rise, often from the sadly familiar direction of the far right, but also from Islamists and the far left.
- The worrisome trend was underscored by a report issued by the German government this month showing that anti-Semitic incidents in Germany had increased by almost 20 percent in 2018 from the previous year, to 1,799, with 69 classified as acts of violence. The most common offense was the use of the swastika and other illegal symbols; the rest ranged from online incitement and insults to arson, assault and murder.
- Of the total, the report attributed 89 percent of the incidents to the far right. Germany, like many other European nations, has seen a resurgence of a neo-fascist right, but much of the recent reporting in Germany on the rise of anti-Semitism has focused on hostility to Jews among Muslim migrants. A European Union survey conducted in 2018 likewise found that among German Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic harassment over the past five years, 41 percent perceived the perpetrators of the most serious incidents to be “someone with a Muslim extremist view.” …
- … That the rise in incidents was in Germany made the government report all the more concerning. But anti-Semitism is on the rise all across Europe, as well as in the United States. France reported an increase of 74 percent in anti-Semitic acts in a single year, with 541 incidents reported in 2018, including widely viewed videotaped insults shouted at the French Jewish intellectual Alain Finkielkraut during one of the Yellow Vest protests. In Britain, nine Labour members of Parliament quit their party in part over the cloud of anti-Semitism hanging over the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. …
- … In the United States, attacks on synagogues by white-supremacist gunmen have led the growing list of assaults on Jews. [From ADL (the Anti-Defamation League – “The U.S. Jewish community experienced near-historic levels of anti-Semitism in 2018, including a doubling of anti-Semitic assaults and the single deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history, according to new data from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) issued today. ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents recorded a total of 1,879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country in 2018, the third-highest year on record since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s.”]
- A tally of incidents does not tell the full story. To a degree, the numbers reflect the way hate speech, intolerance, anger and once-taboo themes have found their way into the open on social media or via populist movements, allowing hatred of Jews to come out of the shadows. But far-right and far-left politicians have often learned to project themselves as defenders of Jews while drawing on blatantly anti-Semitic tropes, as Mr. Orban has done in Hungary. Among the Muslims of Europe, and among some leftists, a resentment of Israel often crosses into hostility to all Jews. …
- … A CNN poll last November on the state of anti-Semitism in Europe found that a third of respondents said they knew little or nothing about the Holocaust. Nearly a quarter said Jews had too much influence in conflict and wars; more than a quarter said they believed that Jews had too much influence in business and finance. A 2015 survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that 51 percent of Germans believed it was “probably true” that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.” These are the stereotypes that make anti-Semitism an especially pernicious form of bigotry, a grand conspiracy theory in which Jews spread evil in their countries through some illusory subterfuge, whether controlling capital, or the media, or whatever.
- All this is not news to European Jews, who for some time have been feeling less and less safe and welcome in their home countries. After polling more than 16,000 Jews in 12 European countries at the end of last year, the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights concluded that anti-Semitic hate speech, harassment and fear of being recognized as Jews were becoming the new normal. Eighty-five percent of the respondents thought anti-Semitism was the biggest social and political problem in their countries; almost a third said they avoided Jewish events or sites because of safety concerns. More than a third said they had considered emigrating in the five years preceding the survey.
- As appalling as these statistics should be to every European, they should also ring a loud alarm for every American leader of conscience. Speak up, now, when you glimpse evidence of anti-Semitism, particularly within your own ranks, or risk enabling the spread of this deadly virus.
- India’s blowout election is a lesson for US Democrats, By Annalisa Merelli | COM/ | May 24, 2019
- Report: Texas to lose billions if new major storm hits coast, Updated 9:00 am CDT, Sunday, May 26, 2019 (COM)
- Nancy Pelosi, master of shade, Analysis by Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN | Updated 1:43 PM ET, Thu May 23, 2019
- The Urgent Quest for Slower, Better News – The current system for delivering news online is broken. Readers and journalists will need to work together to find a new one. By Michael Luo | NEWYORKER.COM | April 10, 2019
- Commentary: The 45th president of the U.S. is poisoning his nation, By Michael Orton | Special to The [SALT LAKE CITY] Tribune | APR-14-2019