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 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,
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.
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)
Pledge by Text: Listeners can now text “GIVE” to 713-526-5738 and they’ll receive a text message back with a link to KPFT’s donation page, with which they can make their pledge on-line at their leisure.
Make sure you are registered to vote!
- HarrisVotes.com (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965) Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
- Last Day to Register to Vote is Monday, October 7, 2019 i. Next Election: November 5, 2019 – General and Special Elections
- Harrisvotes.com (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965) Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
- Countywide Voting Centers
- 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)
- 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:
- Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
- Outside Texas, try Vote.org.
- Make it a point to listen to my April 22, 2019 Interview with Harris County Clerk Dr. Dianne Trautman
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- 3 killed, 15 wounded in shooting that left gunman dead at Gilroy Garlic Festival in San Francisco Bay Area, Updated on: July 29, 2019 / 1:10 PM / CBS News
- The band Tin Man was doing an encore when gunfire erupted, CBS San Francisco reports. Singer Jack van Breen said he saw a man wearing a green shirt and grayish handkerchief around his neck fire into the food area with what appeared to be an assault rifle.
- Van Breen and other members of the band dove under the stage.
- Van Breen told the station he heard someone shout, “Why are you doing this?” The person responded, “Because I’m really angry.”
- The Bill for America First Is Coming Due – Two of America’s closest treaty allies have announced military efforts explicitly designed to exclude the U.S., by Kori Schake, Contributing editor at The Atlantic and deputy director-general of the IISS | COM |Jul 27, 2019
- In this crowded and enervating week of news, it would have been easy to miss two small but consequential signs of the damage President Donald Trump and his team have done to America’s standing in the world. Two of America’s closest treaty allies have announced military efforts explicitly designed to exclude the United States. Australia is “seeking to cement its status as the security partner of choice for Pacific nations” by establishing an expeditionary training force. And the United Kingdom wants to create a multinational force to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.
- It’s not a coincidence that allies are striking out on their own. Countries in the Pacific worry that the U.S. is forcing them to choose between their economic connections to China and their security relationships with the U.S. And while forcing this choice, the U.S. is also publicly calling the security guarantees into question — President Trump did so before arriving in Japan for the G20 summit. Meanwhile, European allies blame Trump-administration tactics for Iran’s decision to lash out at shipping in the Gulf. That’s why British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stressed that the purpose of the multinational force was to dissociate European governments from U.S. policy toward Iran. Hunt explicitly said, “It will not be part of the U.S. maximum pressure policy on Iran because we remain committed to preserving the Iran nuclear agreement.” …
4. Mike Honig (@ThinkWingRadio) 7/28/19, 19:34 @Kasie [Hunt ] if you must use the demeaning term for these women at all, how about using the phrase, “The so-called Squad,” instead of buying into, and legitimizing, the deliberately demeaning shorthand for 4 US Congresswomen deserving of our respect?
Sharpton: Trump has ‘particular venom’ for blacks, people of color, | The HILL |By Rebecca Klar – 07/29/19 11:06 AM EDT
“He attacks everybody. I know Donald Trump, he’s not mature enough to take criticism … he’s like a child,” Sharpton said at the news conference in Charm City. “But he has a particular venom for blacks and people of color.” …
c. “He attacks [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, he attacks [Senate Democratic Leader] Chuck Schumer, he attacks other whites, but he never said that their districts or their states are places that no human beings want to live,” Sharpton, the founder of the nonprofit National Action Network, said, citing Trump’s criticism of the city as violent.
- Dan Coats, Who Challenged President Trump, Is Ousted From Top Intelligence Job, by Greg Myre | NPR | July 28, 20194:53 PM ET
- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, one of the last remaining survivors of President Trump’s original national security team, will leave the administration on August 15, the president said in a tweet on Sunday. The president said he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to replace him. …
- … During Coats’ tenure, the intelligence community has shifted its focus from radical Muslim groups like ISIS and al-Qaida and spent more time on large, state rivals.
Coats said the U.S. should concentrate on what he called the “big four.”
“China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran – all of which pose unique threats to the United States and our partners,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee in January.
- Coats was also an advocate of stronger election security, though he worked for an administration that’s been criticized for not doing enough to safeguard against possible interference.
- In one of his final acts, Coats named Shelby Pierson, a veteran of the intelligence community, to serve in a new position as the overall head of election security efforts.
- “Election security is an enduring challenge and a top priority,” Coats said.
- Dem senators slam Ratcliffe’s nomination for intel chief, By QUINT FORGEY | COM | 07/29/2019 09:05 AM EDT
- Chris Murphy on Monday dismissed Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), President Donald Trump’s nominee to become the next director of national intelligence [DNI, to replace Dan Coates], as a “television character” who is an “inappropriate choice” for the historically nonpartisan post.
- Gary Peters (D-Mich.) on Monday also predicted broad Democratic resistance to the administration’s efforts to confirm Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney and mayor of Heath, Texas, a town roughly 8,000. “I’m not sure he’s qualified for the job,” Peters told CNN. “The president doesn’t want people to challenge him, and when you think about an intelligence director, you want independent advice,” he added. “You want to have the best available intelligence to make decisions that are based on facts and reality. That is not something our current president wants.”
- Is there significance to this series of events that is relevant to the U.S.?: Who Will Be Puerto Rico’s Next Governor?, by Sasha Ingber | NPR | July 29, 201911:36 AM ET
- Days before Puerto Rico’s embattled governor is scheduled to resign, his successor remains unclear, leaving the island’s future in question.
- Ricardo Rosselló is scheduled to vacate the office Aug. 2. He announced his resignation following nearly two weeks of mass protests over “Rickyleaks,” leaked chats on the Telegram messaging app that showed him and close aides disrespecting women, ridiculing gay people and mocking victims of Hurricane Maria.
- The man who would have been Rosselló’s next in line, Puerto Rico Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín, isn’t an option, having resigned earlier this month over his involvement in the scandal. His position has remained vacant for about two weeks.
- And now the island’s justice secretary, Wanda Vázquez, who was expected to replace Rosselló, says she doesn’t want the job. …
- … Before Sunday’s announcement, the possibility that Vázquez might become governor was swiftly met with outrage. Critics derided her ties to Rosselló and used the hashtag #WandaRenuncia, like #RickyRenuncia, to denounce her leadership. …
- [There’s a lengthy list of possible successors, who are considered politically taionted or don’t want the job.]
- … “At this point, it seems that it all depends still on who Gov. Rosselló may name as the secretary of state in his last days in office,” [NPR podcast editor Luis Trelles] says. …
- … Puerto Ricans are set to elect a governor in November 2020.
- … Protests have gripped the island since Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of leaked exchanges on July 13. The exchanges also revealed that officials had been discussing how to discredit critics and exploit public opinion.
- Rosselló initially apologized and defied calls to step down, sparking outrage and daily demonstrations in the capital. As protests continued, the streets of the old city of San Juan began to resemble a war zone, with fire, shattered glass, rubber bullets and gas canisters.
- In 2017, the commonwealth filed “the biggest government bankruptcy in U.S. history.” Residents on the island have faced slashed public services and more than a decade of recession. About 44% of people in Puerto Rico live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Nearly two years ago, hurricanes a month apart devastated the island. The sole provider of electricity took more than a year to restore power to all homes after Hurricane Maria.
- Following the destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, the island saw what a Pew Research Center report called a “historic net migration” last year. From 2017 to 2018, the population of Puerto Rico dropped 3.9%, which Pew says “represents the largest year-to-year drop since 1950, the first year for which annual data is available.”
- ‘He must resign’: Thousands pack Puerto Rico streets again with an urgent message for Gov. Rosselló, by John Bacon | USA TODAY | July 22, 2019 | Updated 12:51 p.m. ET July 22, 2019
- “Domestically, the [Rosselló’s New Progressive Party (Spanish: Partido Nuevo Progresista, PNP)] party … in Puerto Rico that advocates for the island to become a state of the United States. … In national/mainland politics, party members affiliate with either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. “– WIKIPEDIA
- “Thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets Monday as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló clung to his job amid a deepening scandal involving vulgar text messages that have fueled intense emotions across the island. …
- … The issue involves the leak of more than 800 pages that include sometimes profanity-laced, misogynistic texts and online chats with male members of his administration.
- MIKE: In more apocalyptic language: Could Boris Johnson be the last prime minister of the United Kingdom?: Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?
- LONDON — On Boris Johnson’s first day as Britain’s head of government, the loquacious Ian Blackford stood in the House of Commons and welcomed “the last prime minister of the United Kingdom.” Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s leader in Parliament, was not being subtle. He was suggesting that with Johnson as prime minister, the United Kingdom might soon crack up, beginning with Scotland.
- Scotland voted against independence in 2014, but there is much animosity toward Johnson north of the border, and a palpable dread over leaving the European Union — especially the hard, “no-deal Brexit” that the new prime minister says Britain must prepare for.
- In the country’s 2016 Brexit referendum, Scotland voted to remain in the E.U. by a wide margin, 62 percent to 38 percent. …
- … The new prime minister is a divisive character — loved and very much disliked — across the United Kingdom, a political union comprising four nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Or as Johnson called it on the steps of Downing Street last week, “the awesome foursome that are incarnated in that red, white and blue flag,” the Union Jack.
- In more extended remarks Monday afternoon in Scotland, Johnson is expected to praise “the most successful political and economic union in history” and to assure the north that “we are a global brand, and together we are safer, stronger and more prosperous.”
- It has become something of a ritual for British leaders to visit each of the nations early on as a way to demonstrate their commitment to the union — and their understanding of the devolved, power-sharing governments, which allow Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to maintain their own parliaments with some power over regional spending and decision-making.
- But some are concerned that the “awesome foursome” could get wobbly, especially without an E.U. withdrawal agreement. Johnson says he wants a new better Brexit deal with Europe but has promised to leave the E.U. at the end of October “no ifs, no buts.” The current legal position is that Britain will leave without a deal, something many economists think could hurt the country. …
- … In a rare intervention into domestic British politics, Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, warned that a hard Brexit could undermine U.K. unity.
- “One of the things, ironically, that could really undermine the union, the United Kingdom union, is a hard Brexit,” Varadkar said The leader of the Republic of Ireland warned that Northern Ireland could seek to exit the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland is an E.U. member.
- “People who you might describe as moderate nationalists or moderate Catholics, who were more or less happy with the status quo, will look more towards a united Ireland,” Varadkar said.
- Some in Britain have sounded similar alarm bells. May’s de facto deputy prime minister, David Lidington, told the BBC this month that the union “would be under much greater strain in the event of a no deal.”
- He added: “My view comes not just from Scottish nationalism and pressure for Irish unification — it comes from indifference among English opinion to the value of the union.”
- You know who was into Karl Marx? No, not AOC. Abraham Lincoln – The two men were friendly and influenced each other
- It was December 1861, a Tuesday at noon, when President Abraham Lincoln sent his first annual message — what later became the State of the Union — to the House and Senate.
- By the next day, all 7,000 words of the manuscript were published in newspapers across the country, including the Confederate South. This was Lincoln’s first chance to speak to the nation at length since his inaugural address.
- He railed against the “disloyal citizens” rebelling against the Union, touted the strength of the Army and Navy, and updated Congress on the budget.
- For his eloquent closer, he chose not a soliloquy on unity or freedom but an 800-word meditation on what the Chicago Tribune subtitled “Capital Versus Labor:”
- “Labor is prior to and independent of capital,” the country’s 16th president said. “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
- If you think that sounds like something Karl Marx would write, well, that might be because Lincoln was regularly reading Karl Marx.
- President Trump has added a new arrow in his quiver of attacks as of late, charging that a vote for “any Democrat” in the next election “is a vote for the rise of radical socialism” and that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other congresswomen of color are “a bunch of communists.” Yet the first Republican president, for whom Trump has expressed admiration, was surrounded by socialists and looked to them for counsel.
- Of course, Lincoln was not a socialist, nor communist nor Marxist, just as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) aren’t. (Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) identify as “democratic socialists.”) But Lincoln and Marx — born only nine years apart — were contemporaries. They had many mutual friends, read each other’s work and, in 1865, exchanged letters. …
- Russia May Sell Its Own Fighter Jet to Turkey after U.S. Cancels over Missile Sale and Considers Old Rival, By Tom O’Connor | NEWSWEEK | 7/18/19 at 5:51 PM EDT
- Russia has offered to sell its own fighter jets to Turkey after the U.S. canceled a recent sale due to Ankara’s purchase of Moscow’s missile system and considered selling elsewhere.
- Sergei Chemezov, head of the state-run Rostec industrial conglomerate, told reporters Thursday that, “if our Turkish colleagues express an interest, we are ready to discuss the deliveries of Su-35,” according to the RIA Novosti news outlet. The Su-35, an advanced version of the Su-27, is meant to bridge the gap between fourth- and fifth-generation fighter jets like the U.S.-built F-35 that was originally to be acquired by Turkey until President Donald Trump formally canceled the delivery Tuesday.
- China signs secret deal to use Cambodian naval base: report, By Rebecca Klar | THE HILL |- 07/21/19 05:37 PM EDT
- China has signed a secret deal to gain exclusive rights to a Cambodian naval base, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
- Chinese and Cambodian officials denied the plans, but U.S. and allied officials familiar with the matter told the Journal the agreement was signed this spring.
- … Phay Siphan, a Cambodian government spokesman, told the Journal the reported deal is “fake news.” “Nothing is happening like that,” he told the paper.
- At the base, which would be Beijing’s first dedicated naval staging facility in Southeast Asia, China would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships, the Journal reports.
- Emily Zeeberg, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, told the Journal that Washington “is concerned that any steps by the Cambodian government to invite a foreign military presence in Cambodia” would disturb regional peace and stability.
- According to the Journal’s report, U.S. officials are debating if Washington could persuade Phnom Penh to reverse its decision.
- How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours, BBC.COM | 7 July 2019
- What is the point of sending someone to prison – retribution or rehabilitation? Twenty years ago, Norway moved away from a punitive “lock-up” approach and sharply cut reoffending rates. …
- [Are Hoidal governor of Halden Prison ] says “… in the early 1990s, the ethos of the Norwegian Correctional Service underwent a rigorous series of reforms to focus less on what Hoidal terms “revenge” and much more on rehabilitation. Prisoners, who had previously spent most of their day locked up, were offered daily training and educational programmes and the role of the prison guards was completely overhauled. … since our big reforms, recidivism in Norway has fallen to only 20% after two years and about 25% after five years. So this works!”
- In the UK, the recidivism rate is almost 50% after just one year.
- The architecture of Halden Prison has been designed to minimise residents’ sense of incarceration, to ease psychological stress and to put them in harmony with the surrounding nature …
- … “We start planning their release on the first day they arrive,” explains Hoidal, as we walk through to the carpentry workshop where several inmates are making wooden summer houses and benches to furnish a new prison being built in the south of Norway.
- “In Norway, all will be released – there are no life sentences,” he reminds me.
- Normalising life behind bars (not that there are any bars on the windows at Halden) is the key philosophy that underpins the Norwegian Correctional service. At Halden, this means not only providing daily routines but ensuring family contact is maintained too. Once every three months, inmates with children can apply to a “Daddy In Prison” scheme which, if they pass the necessary safeguarding tests, means they can spend a couple of nights with their partner, sons and daughters in a cosy chalet within the prison grounds. …
- … It takes 12 weeks in the UK to train a prison officer. In Norway it takes two to three years. Eight kilometres north-east of Oslo in Lillestrom, an impressive white and glass building houses the University College of the Norwegian Correctional Service, where each year, 175 trainees, selected from over 1,200 applicants, start their studies to become a prison officer.
- Hans-Jorgen Brucker walks me around the training prison on campus, which is kitted out with reproduction cells and prison-style furniture. I note a bulging pile of helmets and stab vests in one storage room. Brucker acknowledges that prison officers will undergo security and riot training, but he’s fairly dismissive of this part of the course.
- “We want to stop reoffending which means officers need to be well educated,” he says. He shows me a paper outlining the rigorous selection process, which involves written exams in Norwegian and English (about a third of the prison population is non-native, so officers are expected to be fluent in English) and physical fitness tests.
- “My students will study law, ethics, criminology, English, reintegration and social work. Then they will have a year training in a prison and then they will come back to take their final exams.” …
- The hidden hunger affecting billions, By Michael Marshall | BBC.COM | 7-JULY-2019
- Two billion people do not get enough micronutrients in their diets, which can lead to severe health conditions.
- New kinds of crops could help to create better, more nutritious foods to beat these deficiencies.
- When children do not get enough iron in their food, the results are heartbreaking. They are slower to acquire language, struggle with short-term memory, have poor attention spans and ultimately do less well at school.
- “They can never live up to their full physical and mental potential,” says Wolfgang Pfeiffer, director of research and development at HarvestPlus, an organisation that develops nutritionally improved crops in Washington DC. “If they are deficient in their childhood, they learn 20% less as adults.”
- In the poorest parts of India and China, millions of children have their lives stunted through lack of iron. In South Asia, an estimated50% of pregnant women have iron deficiency, and it is also prevalent in South America and sub-Saharan Africa.
- But iron is only one small part of the story. There are several dozen other “micronutrients” – substances that we need to consume, in small quantities but regularly, to remain healthy. They include zinc, copper, vitamins and folates such as folic acid and vitamin B9.
- The traditional solution to micronutrient deficiencies has been to add more micronutrients to common foods, or to supply pills … But these strategies have limits. If people can’t afford pills or don’t have access to a pharmacy, they may still not get enough micronutrients. What’s more, adding micronutrients to food is a constant process: every batch of breakfast cereal has to be artificially dosed with iron and vitamins.
- A much simpler approach would be to go back to the crop plant from which the cereal is made, and ensure that it packs itself full of the micronutrient in the first place.
- This is the thinking behind “biofortification”, the process of creating crops that have unusually high levels of micronutrients like iron. HarvestPlus was founded in 2003 by economist Howarth Bouis, after a decade of lobbying and raising moneyto create biofortified crops and make them available where they are needed. Today HarvestPlus has members in more than 20 countries and has biofortified over a dozen crops, from rice to sweet potatoes.
- FedEx will no longer provide express shipping for Amazon in the US, by Eugene Kim (@eugenekim222) | CNBC.com | Fri, Jun 7 2019 2:02 PM EDT Updated Fri, Jun 7 2019 2:58 PM EDT
- Key Points
- FedEx announces Friday that it won’t renew its express U.S. shipping contract with Amazon.
- The move comes as Amazon is more aggressively building out its own shipping and delivery network.
- Key Points
- India’s blowout election is a lesson for US Democrats, By Annalisa Merelli | COM/ | May 24, 2019
- Narendra Modi, India’s Hindu nationalist prime minister, defied expectations when he won his second election in an even bigger landslide than the first one. He did so at the expense of India’s Congress party, which campaigned on a secular and pluralist platform.
- Turns out the nationalist message of Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hugely popular with voters. It was a massive defeat—the second in a row—for India’s more liberal Congress party. It’s a bitter loss that came with many lessons, ones that Democrats in the United States would be wise to heed. …
- … Politics in India have traditionally been about the economy. This time, however, Modi and the BJP’s support of Hindu nationalism took a more prominent position than it had in past campaigns, exploiting tension with Pakistan to redirect the debate toward national security and anti-Muslim sectarianism. As Modi’s message grew stronger, [the once-dominant Congress Party] failed to really fight for India’s long-established secular ideals. …
- … The Congress isn’t known for its ability to learn lessons, but there are some more to note. And given that a left-leaning party promoting pluralism just lost to a right-leaning party promoting nationalism, the Democratic Party in the United States should probably read a long as it prepares for its own election season.
- Don’t make it about the candidate: Modi’s leadership of the BJP is strong, and there is no separating his party or government’s success and work from his own. His party capitalized on this, turning the election into a referendum on him—rather than his government’s record. Polarizing figures like Modi tend to benefit from these kinds of politics. His party understood this. His adversaries did not.
- Turning the campaign into a vote for or against Modi prevented the opposition from asserting its own ideas. Even when the Congress proposed policies that could have appealed to a broad electorate — for instance, guaranteed minimum income … — they received little attention. As George Lakoff explained in his 2004 book, Don’t Think of an Elephant, obsessing over a candidate’s flaws only makes him or her more popular.
- Democrats in the United States made this mistake in the 2016 election, running a campaign against Donald Trump instead of for their own policies.
- Dare to be different: … For many voters, the Congress party is associated with old-school elitist politics, corruption, and a perceived inability to bring change to India. Gandhi’s candidacy didn’t do much to change anyone’s minds.
- Make friends: Congress also failed to make strong alliances with other, smaller political parties…. Progressives seem to make this mistake a lot. While conservatives often stick together (the Republican Party’s support of Trump during the campaign is a textbook example), liberals often fail to find common ground. In the last presidential campaign, the Democratic primaries went on long after Trump was the presumed nominee. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton spent more time tearing each other apart than focusing on the bigger fight. The extremely crowded field of potential democratic candidates suggests the same thing could happen again.
- Focus the narrative: Modi’s narrative of a new, strong, corruption-free India—one with international power, credibility and gravitas—appealed to many voters. It delivered a clear vision of what he was promising, and one that Indians were fast to embrace. Congress never presented a clear vision of its own.
- [The Congress Party] decried the threat to secular values [Modi’s Party] posed, and held itself up as its defender. But rather than communicating how those values could help India succeed, the party focused more on what would happen if protections further deteriorated.
- This is not unlike what happened during the 2016 election in the United States. Just look at the campaign slogans: Trump’s “Make America Great Again” had a clear if suspect mission. Clinton’s “Stronger Together” described a status, not an intention. Democrats could face the same problem they did in 2016—and the same problem India’s Congress party faced this week—unless they forget about the opposition, stop playing defense, and promote their own, clear vision.
- 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.
- I WANT TO RE-EMPHASIZE: FIGHT FOR YOUR State Legislature
- In 2010, the Republicans won a a swath of state legislatures which allowed them to gerrymander Dems out of State and Federal legislatures. It’s vital we must not allow that to happen again in 2020.
- Look for “flippable” seats in the State Lege and try to support this candidates.
- The battle for the Lege is gonna be lit, by Charles Kuffner | Off the Kuff | Jun 24th, 2019
- Citing from the Texas Tribune by Patrick Svitek | texastribune.org | June 13, 20193 AM: Some Democrats are mobilizing in hopes of taking the nine House seats they need for a majority in 2020 …
- …“Everything is focused on redistricting,” state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said at a recent tea party meeting as he fielded questions about the demise of some controversial legislation this session. “There is nothing more important — not only to Texas, but literally the nation — than to make sure that we maintain the Texas House … going into redistricting because if you look at the nation — we lose Texas, we lose the nation. And there’s no other place to go.”
- ANALYSIS FROM CHARLES KUFF: At this point, the name of the game is one part candidate recruitment and one part raising money, which will be the job of the various PACs until the candidates get settled. In Harris County, we have two good candidates each for the [GOP] main targets: Akilah Bacy and Josh Wallenstein (who ran for HCDE [Harris County’s Trustee for its Department of Education] in 2018 …) in HD138, and Ann Johnson and Ruby Powers in HD134. In Fort Bend, Sarah DeMerchant appears to be running again in HD26, while Eliz Markowitz (candidate for SBOE7 in 2018) is aiming for HD28. We still need (or I need to do a better job searching for) candidates in HDs 29, 85, and 126, for starters. If you’re in one of those competitive Republican-held State Rep districts, find out who is or may be running for the Dems. If you’re in one of those targeted-by-the-GOP districts, be sure to help out your incumbent. Kelly Hancock is absolutely right: This is super-duper important.