SHOW AUDIO: Link is usually posted within about 72 hours of show broadcast.
This program was recorded on SUNDAY, JUNE 7. Due to Covid-19, shows are being prerecorded beginning March 13th and until further notice. We miss our live call-in participants, and look forward to a time we can once again go live.
This week’s show was a rerun of the show from 6/1/2020. I’m re-posting that show below. Below that, I’m posting an unaired version of the show that was intended for today, 6/8/2020. That show will air on KPFT next week on it’s usual day and time.
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 co-host and Editor is Andrew Ferguson.
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.
SIGNOFF QUOTE[s]: “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.” ~ Bill Clinton, Democratic Convention Speech (Wednesday, August 27, 2008)
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.
MAIN TOPICS: TOPIC: BLACK LIVES MATTER! July 14, 2020 – Primary Runoff Elections, THE RISE OF S.W.A.T., Pentagon Hand-Me-Downs Helped Militarize Police, Why local American police have so much military gear at protests, Public Health Experts Say the Pandemic Is Exactly Why Protests Must Continue, Some People May Have a Head Start Against Coronavirus, Surprising Evidence Shows, Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination, Coronavirus May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything, Jim Cramer: Coronavirus Pandemic Triggered ‘One of the Greatest Wealth Transfers in History’, These 16 retailers and restaurant chains have filed for bankruptcy or liquidation in 2020, Voting Info, July 15 Tax Deadline, MORE.
Make sure you are registered to vote! (Voting and election info are items 1 thru 6. Show information begins after Item 4.)
This program was recorded on SUNDAY, MAY 31. If you call in, you will NOT be able to get on the air, so please do not call the call-the show. We love our callers, but unfortunately live call-in is one of the casualties of COVID-19.
- BLACK LIVES MATTER!
- RESULTS FOR THE SPRING FUNDRAISER ARE HERE.
- Thanks TO Rand, Emily, Mark and Marie for their contributions to Thinkwing Radio and KPFT. You all helped to make a difference.
- Next election is a runoff, originally scheduled for May, is now scheduled for July 14, 2020 – Primary Runoff Elections (SAMPLE BALLOT at com). CHRIS HOLLINS, HARRIS COUNTY CLERK
- Harris County Clerk’s office are closed for in-person business.
- General business for county Clerk: https://www.cclerk.hctx.net/ and indirectly via HARRISVOTES.COM
- Make sure you are registered to vote!
- For a personalized, nonpartisan voter guide visit VOTE411.ORG (DO NOT!! go to 411Vote!!)
- If you are denied your right to vote any place at any time at any polling place for any reason, ask for (or demand) a provisional ballot rather than lose your vote.
- HARRISVOTES.COM (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965) Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County ClerGOV – Texas Voter Information
- VoteTexas.gov- Texas Voter Information
- HARRISVOTES.COM – Countywide Voting Centers
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: If you 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.
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: If you do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Make sure you are registered
- Make sure you are registered:Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
- CHECK REGISTRATION STATUS HERE
- Outside Texas, try Vote.org.
- Countywide Voting Centers
- IRS Announces New July 15 Tax Deadline …, By Ashlea Ebeling, Senior Contributor | FORBES.COM| Apr 9, 2020,06:54pm EDT
- THE RISE OF S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons And Tactics) TEAMS (from WIKIPEDIA)
- According to the Historical Dictionary of Law Enforcement, the term “SWAT” was used as an acronym for the “Special Weapons and Tactics” established as a 100-man specialized unit in 1964 by the Philadelphia Police Department in response to an alarming increase in bank robberies. The purpose of this unit was to react quickly and decisively to bank robberies while they were in progress, by utilizing a large number of specially trained officers who had at their disposal a great amount of firepower. The tactic worked and was later soon to resolve other types of incidents involving heavily armed criminals. …
- The LAPD promoted what became known as SWAT teams for a variety of reasons. After the racially charged Watts riots in Los Angeles in August 1965, the LAPD began considering tactics it could use when faced with urban unrest, rioting, or widespread violence. Daryl Gates, who led the LAPD response to the riots, would later write that police at the time didn’t face a single mob, but rather “people attacking from all directions.” New York University professor Christian Parenti has written that SWAT teams were originally conceived of as an “urban counterinsurgency bulwark.”:112
- Another reason for the creation of SWAT teams was the fear of lone or barricaded gunmen who might outperform police in a shootout, as happened in Austin with Charles Whitman.
- After the LAPD’s establishment of its own SWAT team, many law enforcement agencies across the United States established their own specialized units under various names.
- The Pentagon’s Hand-Me-Downs Helped Militarize Police. Here’s How – Over several decades, the 1033 program has shipped over $7.4 billion of Defense Department property to more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies. By Brian Barrett, Security | WIRED.COM (via COM) | 06.02.2020 04:54 PM
- … [P]rotesters flooding the streets of cities across the United States, met by police forces equipped with full body armor and tactical vehicles that vaguely resemble tanks. The local law enforcement responding to even nonviolent protests has often looked more like the US Armed Forces — and that was before … Donald Trump deployed an actual military police battalion against peaceably assembled US citizens in the nation’s capitol Monday. That’s no accident.
- It’s easy enough to buy tactical gear in the US, and the Homeland Security Grant Program has funneled billions of dollars to law enforcement agencies to acquire military-grade equipment. But for decades, a primary driver for why it can be so hard to tell a National Guard troop from a local cop has been the Department of Defense itself, through a program that has parceled out everything from bayonets to grenade launchers to precincts across the country.
- Created as part of 1997’s National Defense Authorization Act, the 1033 program allows the Department of Defense [DoD] to get rid of excess equipment by passing it off to local authorities, who only have to pay for the cost of shipping. (A precursor, the slightly more restrictive 1208 program, began in 1990.) According to the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), which oversees the process, over $7.4 billion of property has been transferred since the program’s inception; more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies have enrolled. Much of that inventory is perfectly ordinary: office equipment, clothing, tools, radios, and so on. But the haul also includes some of the so-called controlled equipment — rifles, armored vehicles, and so on—that have helped create such a spectacle of disproportion. …
- … Proponents of the 1033 program say that it keeps cities safer. Detractors say the distribution of controlled items actually increases police violence. Widely circulated studies have argued both sides. But those who have examined the 1033 program in depth more recently argue that the real problem is that no one knows for sure either way, because years of lax record-keeping have made a hash of the underlying data. …
- … The issues with 1033 have also run deeper than just contradictory or incomplete data sets. The Department of Defense does not provide training for law enforcement agencies that receive controlled property. Instead, it’s left to recipients to certify their own training each year. “What programs like 1033 have done is given people the equipment to carry out operations that are traditionally done by tactical teams that otherwise would not have been able to obtain it,” says Jonathan Mummolo, a political scientist at Princeton University who focuses on policing. “That is for sure not always accompanied by extensive training. There’s just a lot of variation in policing standards across the board.”
- That seemingly lax oversight has manifested in other troubling ways, as well. In a 2017 sting operation, the General Accountability Office obtained over 100 controlled items from the 1033 program—including night-vision goggles and pipe bomb materials—with a total estimated value of $1.2 million. All it took was the creation of a fake law enforcement agency, website, and shipping address. The GAO’s fraudulent application was processed and approved within a week. …
- A year after Ferguson, then president Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited state and local law enforcement from receiving certain types of property, like grenade launchers and weaponized aircraft, under the 1033 program, but these restrictions were short-lived: Trump lifted them in 2017. …
- [R]esearch into [the] 1033 program … paints an alarming picture about its effect on police activity. “Our research suggests that officers with military hardware and mindsets will resort to violence more quickly and often,” says Ryan Welch, a political scientist at the University of Tampa who coauthored a 2017 study on the effects of the 1033 program on police violence. While it “Other research shows that when governmental responses are violent, dissidents and protestors are more likely to act violently at the site and in the future. Of course, that leads to more violence from the government creating a spiral that is hard to escape.”
- Why local American police have so much military gear at protests. by Aarthi Swaminathan, Reporter | Yahoo Finance| June 6, 2020
- The equipment used by some local police — ranging from tear gas grenade launchers to bayonets — are part of the federal 1033 Program, which transfers surplus equipment from the armed forces to civilian law enforcement agencies.
- “This is typically stuff that they weren’t buying on their own — they wouldn’t consider it a budget priority,” Cato Institute Senior Fellow Walter Olson told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM (video above). But “once you’ve got the gear, the temptation is to use it… we have seen the results — we have seen armored vehicles… we’ve seen grenade launchers, helicopters that turn protests into something closer to a war zone.”
- The tide may be turning against the de facto police militarization.
- Earlier this week, former Vice President Joe Biden slammed the program during his speech in Philadelphia, calling for it to be ended among new reforms.
- “There are other measures: to stop transferring weapons of war to police forces, to improve oversight and accountability, to create a model use-of-force standard — that also should be made law this month,” Biden said. …
- The itch to reach for these military weapons gets worse because of the ease of accessibility, [Cato Institute Senior Fellow Walter Olson] said, adding that “we’ve seen tension diffused because the police got out there and talked to demonstrators and they began realizing that that they agreed on things and this was one community together. It’s harder to do that when you’re militarized.”
- The Law Enforcement Support Office, which oversees the process, maintains a spreadsheet on its website that details items transferred, many of them run-of-the-mill office expenses such as screw drivers, pens, shirts, bandage kits, sleeping pages.
- But some police departments got their hands on some pricey items.
- Police department in Okeechobee County, Florida, Otero County, Colorado, Blount County, Tennessee, and others, were all shipped mine resistant vehicles valued at more than $700,000 each. A police department West Deer Township in Pennsylvania was shipped an explosive ordinance removal robot worth nearly $300,000. …
- The 1033 program is not just a relationship between the Department of Defense and local police departments — it also includes private sector partnerships. AT&T, Verizon, and Harley Davidson are among the companies listed as “Platinum Partners” on the National Sheriff Association’s website.
- Public Health Experts Say the Pandemic Is Exactly Why Protests Must Continue, By Shannon Palus | SLATE.COM | June 02, 20207:18 PM
- There has been a lot of concern on how the protests over the past several days may produce a wave of coronavirus cases. This discussion is often framed as though the pandemic and protests in support of black lives are wholly separate issues, and tackling one requires neglecting the other. But some public health experts are pushing people to understand the deep connection between the two.
- Facing a slew of media requests asking about how protests might be a risk for COVID-19 transmission, a group of infectious disease experts at the University of Washington, with input from other colleagues, drafted a collective response. In an open letter published Sunday, they write that “protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.” …
- … Protests address “the paramount public health problem of pervasive racism,” the letter notes. “We express solidarity and gratitude toward demonstrators who have already taken on enormous personal risk to advocate for their own health, the health of their communities, and the public health of the United States.”
- By Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,000 epidemiologists, doctors, social workers, medical students, and other health experts had signed the letter. …
- Some People May Have a Head Start Against Coronavirus, Surprising Evidence Shows. By AYLIN WOODWARD | BUSINESS INSIDER | 4 JUNE 2020
- Some people’s immune systems may have a head start in fighting the coronavirus, recent research suggested.
- A studypublished last month in the journal Cell showed that some people who have never been exposed to the coronavirus have helper T cells that are capable of recognising and responding to it.
- The likeliest explanation for the surprising finding, according to the researchers, is a phenomenon called cross-reactivity: when helper T cells developed in response to another virus react to a similar but previously unknown pathogen. …
- “You’re starting with a little bit of an advantage – a head start in the arms race between the virus that wants to reproduce and the immune system wanting to eliminate it,” Alessandro Sette, one of the study’s coauthors, told Business Insider. He added that cross-reactive helper T cells could “help generate a faster, stronger immune response.”
- Mike: It’s worth remembering how the very first smallpox vaccination was deduced and invented by Edward Jenner, and how this observation may be significant:
- Jim Cramer: Coronavirus Pandemic Triggered ‘One of the Greatest Wealth Transfers in History’ – Small businesses are “dropping like flies,” said the “Mad Money” host. By Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams.org | Friday, June 05, 2020
- CNBC‘s Jim Cramer said Thursday that that coronavirus pandemic has triggered “one of the greatest wealth transfers in history.”
- The remark from the network’s “Mad Money” host came amid “ominous” economic data but a rebounding stock market.
- “How can the market rebound without the economy? Because the market doesn’t represent the economy; it represents the future of big business,” said Cramer. “The bigger the business, the more it moves the major averages. … [T]his is the first recession where big business—along of course with bigger wealth … — is coming through virtually unscathed …”
- In contrast, small businesses are “dropping like flies,” Cramer said, attributing those failures to the fact that smaller businesses are struggling to pay rent as “major landlords” don’t appear to be offering relief.
- “That’s the thing about this pandemic,” Cramer continued, “it’s been one of the greatest wealth transfers in history.”
- Cramer projected that transfer to have a “horrible effect” on the country.
- Further, the CNBC host said, “we’ve barely begun to see the impacts” of the pandemic’s economic fallout. Cramer pointed to the latest corporate bankruptcy figures he said would “chill both Republicans and Democrats.”
- The new comments came a day before federal data showed the nation facing a 13.3 percent unemployment rate, and as a new analysis showed the fortunes of U.S. billionaires increased by $565 billion between March 18 and June 4. That 11-week period also saw 42.6 million Americans filing jobless claims.
- These 16 retailers and restaurant chains have filed for bankruptcy or liquidation in 2020. BY Áine Cain and Madeline Stone | BUSINESSINSIDER.COM | Jun 1, 2020, 3:48 PM
- 2020 has been a busy year for retail bankruptcies.
- The previous year saw a number of well-known national and regional retailers file for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This resulted in everything from outright liquidation to financial reshuffling.
- But either way, the retail business being what it is, it’s not unreasonable to expect to see more shuttered stores on the horizon, especially as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts the industry.
- Here’s a list of the retail companies and restaurant chains that have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2020:
- The entire fleet of Papyrus stores was slated to shut down when the chain’s parent company, The Schurman Retail Group, filed for bankruptcy in January. Geri Lavrov / Contributor / Getty Images, Source: Business Insider
- After Kroger announced it would divest its stake in Lucky’s Market in December, grocery industry observers wondered whether the regional chain might be in jeopardy. The following month, Lucky’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Joe Raedle/Getty Images Source: Business Insider, CNN
- Organic grocer Earth Fare filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 4. The chain’s 50 natural foods stores were set to shut down, but some locations have been acquired by new owners. Holly Hildreth / Contributor / Getty Images Source: Associated Press, Business Insider, Supermarket News
- Noah’s Event Venue, a chain offering spaces for various gatherings, technically filed for bankruptcy in May 2019. However, in February 2020, a federal judge ordered the remaining Noah’s locations closed, leaving engaged couples around the country scrambling. NOAH’S/Foursquare Source: WBIR, Fox 23
- Home goods retailer Pier 1 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 17. In May, the Texas-based company said it would shut down its business after failing to find a buyer. AP Photo/Nati Harnik Source: Business Insider, Business Insider
- Michigan-based chain Art Van Furniture filed for Chapter 11 on March 8. Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV/Youtube Source: Click on Detroit
- Modell’s Sporting Goods filed for Chapter 11 on March 11. The family-owned sporting goods chain will liquidate its remaining stores after failing to find a buyer, Bloomberg reported. Business Insider/Jessica Tyler Source: Bloomberg
- FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the parent company of the Brio Italian Mediterranean and Bravo Fresh Italian restaurant chains, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 10. The company said that 71 of its 92 restaurants had temporarily closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. Maria A. / Yelp Source: Restaurant Business
- True Religion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 13. It had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2017 but emerged from proceedings four months later. Brett Deering/Getty Images Source: Bloomberg
- J. Crew filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 4. The company now plans to convert $1.65 billion of its debt into equity. Business Insider/Mary Hanbury Source: Business Insider
- Neiman Marcus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 7, citing “inexorable pressure” from the coronavirus pandemic. Katie Warren/Business Insider Source: Business Insider
- Stage Stores, which owns Goody’s, Palais Royal, Bealls, Peebles, and Gordmans, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 10, saying that coronavirus-related closures exacerbated a “challenging market environment.” The company said it would start winding down operations while seeking a buyer for part or all of its business. Fox E. / Yelp Source: Stage Stores
- Garden Fresh Restaurants, owner of the buffet chains Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on May 14, choosing to close its doors for good. Source: Restaurant Business
- JCPenney filed for bankruptcy on May 15, saying in court documents that pandemic-related disruptions pushed it over the edge. It will close about 30% of its stores.Source: Business Insider, Business Insider
- On May 27, off-price retailer Tuesday Morning filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced plans to close approximately 230 stores. Lea Z. / Yelp Source: Business Insider
- The US arm of Le Pain Quotidien filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 27. It sold all of its 98 locations to Aurify Brands, which reportedly plans to reopen at least 35 restaurants. Source: Nation’s Restaurant News
- Hertz Files For Bankruptcy, Raises Fears It May Flood Market With Hundreds Of Thousands Of Used Cars – Hertz has filed for bankruptcy after being dealt a devastating blow by the coronavirus. BY Michael Gauthier | CARSCOOPS.COM | Posted on May 23, 2020
- … Despite the bankruptcy filing, it’s business as usual as Hertz and its subsidiaries remain open. As a result, “all reservations, promotional offers, vouchers, and customer and loyalty programs” should continue as planned. The company also noted they have more than $1 billion (£821,959,400 / €917,010,700) in cash to support its continuing operations.
- That’s a pretty significant cash reserve, but the company is drowning in approximately $17 (£13.9 / €15.6) billion in debt. The coronavirus has also ground travel to a halt, virtually eliminating the need for rental cars.
- In the bankruptcy announcement, Hertz said “The impact of COVID-19 on travel demand was sudden and dramatic, causing an abrupt decline in the company’s revenue and future bookings.” …
- It remains unclear how the bankruptcy will pan out, but there have been fears the rental company could liquidate part of its fleet of roughly 570,000 vehicles. If this were to happen, it could flood the used car market and drag prices down significantly. …
- Weight Watchers fires thousands of employees over Zoom: Report – Audio-only Zoom call reportedly lasted only a few minutes. By Ann Schmidt | FOXBusiness | 2020-May-22
- WW International — formerly called Weight Watchers — reportedly fired thousands of its employees last week over Zoom, according to recent reports.
- Last week, an anonymous post on com claimed thousands of WW service providers were laid off.
- On Friday, HuffPost reported the audio-only call lasted just a few minutes.
- According to the website, the manager who fired the employees read from a script and had everyone else muted so they couldn’t ask questions. Some employees who were fired had even worked at the company for “decades,” HuffPost reported.
- By the weekend, employees’ emails had reportedly been shut down and they no longer had access to WW employee websites.
- According to a report by com, some employees claim that up to 4,000 workers were fired in the call.