SocraticGadfly

July 13, 2020

Colorado Greens, a clusterfuck

Dear truly liberal, left-liberal and leftist Coloradans tearing your hair out over a battle for the U.S. Senate between John ChickenLicker FrackenLover Hickenlooper and Cory Gardner, knowing the Greens have no candidate in the race?

(Colorado State House District 55 was the only non-presidential candidate they have.)

Never fear, I was going to tell you. Former Green Veronique Bellamy is on the SPUSA line.

Nope, scratch that. I'm not deleting the comment, but I'm saying yes, do fear. Per what could fall out with the Georgia Green Party (didn't happen at the national convention, but who knows about the future), her trans activist angle would be iffy enough for me, given the playout between the Georgia Green Party and the Lavender Caucus (as abetted by two-faced Dario Hunter). But, on Twitter? She's a HARDCORE Zionist, enough to retweet outright lies about Jordan making the West Bank "Judenrein" and such. (On this issue? Jordan did expel Jews from East Jerusalem. But any Jews elsewhere in the West Bank were not affected, other than Jordan being active against any non-Arabs, period. Best estimate on Jewish expulsions is 2,000, far fewer than the Nakhba and the 700,000 who either fled in fear or were expelled.) Guess the SPUSA was desperate for a candidate itself.

Meanwhile, showing just how fucking dysfuncational Colorado GP is? On the national GP Facebook group, some other Coloradoan touted two other possibilities. NO to both. Stephen Evans is a gun nut, as is the Unity Party in general; national open carry as your No. 1 platform statement? No wonder Andrea Mérida Cuéller pushed you along. Jim Doyle? Constitution Party candidate, aka American Religious Right Party.

And that "Some other person" mentioning these two? Gary Swing, listed as a perpetual candidate. He is, per Ballotpedia. Ran in Colorado in 2012 and 2014, and is running this year; ran in Arizona in 2016 and 2018. (Gary, sorry, but for someone your age to have been running every two years for almost a decade, you are a perpetual candidate. Period.)

Are the defections from the Colorado GP in part Andrea Mérida Cuéllar's part? I think so. I largely, though not totally, agree with her as Howie Hawkins' campaign manager. And, in part, I think the Colorado GP has had issues that Harris Greens and a few other regional GPs within Texas Greens have had on race-related issues. That's the background to the 2018 disciplinary issues. (Guess a fair chunk of old white hippies aren't so enlightened. Or young ones. Swing was one of the people bhreatened with being booted from any position of authority in the party. I think he ultimately was spared. And, per this piece, beyond the rightness or wrongness of any complaints? Being a former Libertarian, then a Green, now a centrist? That much party-hopping at your age, Gary, makes you not only a perpetual candidate, but a third-party omni-whore one.)

As for Restore Green Values' complaints? Whether or not the RGV folks have even a whiff of white supremacy about them or not, I totally support that Cuellar did NOT want to admit "flag of convenience" Berners after the 2016 Dem primary.

At the same time, the amount of complaints from a number of angles? I think there's some fire behind the smoke. But, no more than one-third of it is legitimate.

That leads to our old friend Idries Shah.


I think Cuellar has done good work in a lot of ways, but it's probably time for her to step aside as state party leader. There's probably a degree of truth to that elsewhere. That said, per David Bruce Collins, even at the regional level, being involved with Greendom is a level of cat-herding that makes' Will Rogers bon mot about being a Democrat and not a member of any organized party look like weak tea.

And, if cat-herding as both Howie's national co-chair and state party co-chair got to be too much, she should have resigned one or the other, especially if it impacted her recruiting Senate candidates.

July 11, 2020

Jesse Singal hypocritically goes stanning for the Harper's letter

A lot of my closer regular readers are surely familiar with the letter that Harper's Magazine released earlier this week, decrying the so-called "cancel culture" without using that phrase explicitly.

Seeing nobody I recognize as an actual leftist among signatories was antennae-raiser No. 1. No, Noam Chomsky, safely ensconced in the "duopoly-only" world on voting issues, and a co-signer of another letter this spring, one calling on Green Party nominee (just the leading candidate at the time) to run a "safe states only" strategy. Howie politely, and I impolitely, told Chomsky to shut the fuck up. (Chomsky has LONG been a sheepdogger.)

More serious issues arise after that. And yet more after Jesse Singal wrote a column at Reason magazine defending an attempt to cancel free speech. So much for First Amendment absolutism from libertarians, eh?

So, I shot out a thread of Tweets to Jesse about some specific problems. I'm going to drop them in, with additional comments on each.

Let's start:
Seriously? When I saw Fucking Bari Weiss as a signer? Game over RIGHT THERE. And the thing is, Singal has, elsewhere, called out BDS opponents. She's not the only one, by any means. And, beyond active opponents of BDS, you've got a bunch of neocons, and a bunch more bipartisan foreign policy establishmentarians, all of whom arguably perform "cancel culture" on free discussion of Palestinian issues in the US. (Jacobin, to which I shall not link, gets this wrong. Hypocrisy may not be a sufficient reason to reject this dreck, but it is one of a group of necessary reasons.)

Pinker, and I assume wife Rebecca Goldstein, are both vigorously anti-BDS. So is Jonathan Haidt, though the way he phrases his opposition, I'm sure he'd deny he's an opponent.

Haidt, and others on that list, also have a consistent history of overstating illiberalism, or often more specifically, anti-conservativism, in academia. I've specifically called out Haidt before, for ignoring how in much of both the social sciences and the natural sciences, religious conservatives self-select out of academia because of anti-intellectual stances.

And, I'm not just being metaphorical when I accuse anti-BDSers of their own cancel culture. From intimidation of Palestinian student groups at universities, contra Haidt's narratives about academia, to the variety of bullshit that Weiss pulled at Columbia, and on through getting universities to cancel speakers and events, this is literally cancel culture.

Even IF the letter were totally right otherwise, how two-thirds of signatories could have put their names to the other one-third, I don't know. Were I famous enough in the media world (I wish) to be asked to sign such a letter, I would have refused, even if it were totally right.

Note those IFs and let's go on in the thread.
That said, this is coming from someone who actually largely agrees with Jesse's take on the trans activists' portion of cancel culture.

Update: At Current Affairs, the spot-on Nathan Robinson agrees with me in general and specifically on this issue. He also calls out Harper's for its own in-house editorial hypocrisy. And, as usual, gotta love his writing style, such as when he talks about "a motley assortment of luminaries" who signed the letter. (Jacobin totally misses this angle, or rather, rejects it.)

BUT! While Jesse mentions trans activists' response to the letter in his column, that issue is nowhere mentioned in the letter itself.

That leads to:
Seriously. We're now, as I told an email list, into massive muddle-headedness. That, too, is not something I would have expected from Harper's, but, I guess this is the new normal. Without listing a specific "redress of grievances," to get back to my second tweet, one can't even make a reasonable assessment of how close to proportionality we are. Is the "cancel culture" left one-quarter as bad as Trumpism? One-tenth? One-fiftieth? For that matter, to go back to my first tweet, is the "cancel quarter" left one-quarter as bad as anti-Palestinian Zionists? One-tenth? One-fiftieth?

Onward to No. 4.
And, yes, beyond other issues, I see a certain amount of privilege there. It's a word used a lot by SJWs, and often overused.

Per Idries Shah? This is another issue with more than two sides, though:


I think that privilege — of CLASS as well as race and sex (and religion versus secularism or atheism) — does exist, even if I agree that the idea is also abused and overused.

And, I see many of the signatories exemplifying that as well. So:
And, you chose to sign it, Jesse. You chose to defend it. And, by ignoring the hypocrites, you're choosing to defend it and their hypocrisy.

And, we haven't even tackled other illiberalisms and hypocrisies. Like this:
When I saw Gladwell's name, that Exiled Online piece at the Twitter link was the first thing I thought of.

Update: I've heard people claim that my "co-signing a letter with a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy" is wrong because even Trump has defended free speech.
1. I'm not familiar with any such recent speech
2. Comments of his in the past have been selective and hypocritical
3. I wouldn't make a pro-free speech defense along with Trump, either.

And, not part of the thread to Jesse, but worth including:
This dreck about Lee Fang etc. is what I refer to. His Tulsi-stanning? Referenced here.

That's more than enough food for thought, and I'll post this live instead of going up in the morning so I can link it to my thread.

July 10, 2020

Green Party cracking up over transsexual/transgender issues,
part 2? (from someone who rejects two-siderism on this)

I write this as the Green Party's 2020 presidential convention has launched, virtually, and it is unknown how much of a crackup, as asked in the question-marked header, may actually happen. That said, the label Just.Another.Political.Party™ is brand-new and introduced here for the first time.

Specifically, what has brought things to a boiling point is what constitutes "medical care" for minor children with gender dysphoria. But the kick-starter was the Georgia Green Party's approval of "Declaration on the Sex Based Rights of Women." The actual declaration calls for reaffirming women sex workers' rights as based on sex not gender. I agree!

Transgender or transsexual (yes, that word) advocates seem to be in a huge furor over that. They seem to be in a secondary furor because "detransitioning" is mentioned in one linked document (and maybe others), and its explicitly tied to treatment for gender-dysphoric minor children.

And now, questioning rushes to treatment is being reframed as "denying medical care."

Tosh.

I stand with the Mayo Clinic, which notes that puberty blocking medications should only be used for children who:
  • Show a long-lasting and intense pattern of gender nonconformity or gender dysphoria.
  • Have gender dysphoria that began or worsened at the start of puberty.
Note that the first stipulation has an AND, not an OR. The dysphoria must be BOTH long-lasting and intense. Note also the second stipulation. Gender dysphoria that starts after puberty should NOT be treated with these medications. And these bullet points, plus two others, including one that says a child who is a candidate for such medications should at the same time be addressing any "psychological, medical or social problems" that could interfere with such treatment.

I also stand with the Mayo Clinic, vs those who I will consider and call "child transgender manipulation activists," in that these medications, from what we already now, likely DO have some long-term effects. I've seen, and it's a public Facebook group, so no privacy violations, direct claims that such medications have no such effects. When I pointed that out, the leading advocate just "moved on" to another talking point. PBS's Frontline has more about possible long-term effects. Any major multiyear hormonal changes on a pre-adult, a child, are almost guaranteed to have some brain effects. Frontline also notes (as of the time of the piece) that use of puberty blockers for gender-dysphoric children is an off-label use.

More here.
“The bottom line is we don’t really know how sex hormones impact any adolescent’s brain development,” Dr. Lisa Simons, a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s, told FRONTLINE. “We know that there’s a lot of brain development between childhood and adulthood, but it’s not clear what’s behind that.” What’s lacking, she said, are specific studies that look at the neurocognitive effects of puberty blockers. The story also notes that there’s health risks behind transitioning hormones, and that these risks may vary based on the age at which they’re started.
Here's another piece about long-term effects for women who received Lupron for other reasons. (Leupron is the main trade name for leuproleptin, the only puberty blocker on the market.) Besides thinning bones, similar problems such as thinning tooth enamal and joint issues are listed.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported last fall that the newest British research study both found some possible mental health side effects and had ethical problems in the study itself. But, many Radically Active Transgenderism Supporters continue to claim that there's basically no problems.

Anyway, it’s a lie to claim there are no risks. These risks that we're seeing, like the tooth thinning and such, are only coming out decades later. If we have a new explosion in use, we'll have a new explosion in problems, in all likelihood. It’s a lie to claim that the benefits are guaranteed to outweigh the risks. It’s a lie to claim that, in the case of minor children, that issues behind the first or second lies don’t apply in spades. Therefore, I generally support "watchful waiting" being the first option for minor children with gender dysphoria.

And, a bigger therefore?

I stand AGAINST certain Greens like Brian Setzler, Noah Martin, and the hate-speeching Mike Gamms (calling people who disagree with him "genocidal" does approach that, IMO), along with Amergin Ó Kai and Aric Hopkins among newer ones, and it's from a public FB group, so no anonymity busting) who claim that trans activists aren't forcing or pushing anything.

In addition, per the Georgia Green Party's response to Dario Hunter's issuing a call for dialogue between the party and the caucus, among other things, it notes these comments and more. It also notes that Hunter was at the Georgia GP state convention and sat silent while the amendment up top was adopted.

I also wonder if Hunter saw this as a campaign wedge issue. And, if he did, if Howie Hawkins felt compelled to respond. The Greens as Just.Another.Political.Party™? I am shocked there are politics going on in this third party.

There is another reason for that. Without "prods" from reading too much social media or other things, 60-90 percent of gender dysphoric adolescents stay with their birth sex — and come out as gay or lesbian.

The author, Debra Soh says:
Previous research has shown that homosexuality is associated with gender-variant behaviour in childhood. All 11 studies following gender dysphoric children over time show the same finding – if they don't transition, 60 to 90 per cent desist upon reaching puberty and grow up to be gay.
There we go.

I have previously snarked on Twitter against the so-called “TERFs,” or trans-exclusionary radical feminists. While not saying they’re totally right, they’re not totally wrong, either. So, I’d like to withdraw the snarking.

There’s also the issue of whether or not, within the adult world, there are multiple varieties of transgenderism, or transsexualism.

Cue Alice Dreger.

Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in ScienceGalileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science by Alice Domurat Dreger My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Starts well, but one-sided on Ev Psych

I had thought about rating this as four stars, but ... couldn't quite do it.

I do think, per other commenters, some of Dreger's claims are overarching, but not the ones they think are.

First, the science on the two main issues. I have long thought, as some of Dreger's interviewees do, that there are (at least) two types of transgenders. And, I think she's spot-on on intersex issues as well.

Second, on the issue of "social justice warriors." I've been caught in their crosshairs more than once myself, so I agree with Dreger here — overall. Read below for caveats.

Third, I agree with her that science, when properly done, can indeed be part of social activism. Beyond examples she mentions, an obvious one is DNA showing that human "races" don't exist.

Truncating review at this point for purposes of this blog post.

View all my reviews

Now, many transgender activists hate, HATE the word “transsexual” because it cues up pictures of men with boob jobs on porn sites or something like that.

Well, you know, that might just confirm the idea that there are multiple versions of transgenders. It might also confirm that “transsexual," even if not a "good" word because of pejorative angles that became connotatively associated with it, was getting at the issue. And, some of those pejorative angles may have been fueled by activists.

Societal conditions of gender, such as whether a biological male wants to wear a dress or not, or whether he wants to wear makeup or not, are different from biological conditions of sex. That's why, versus an older word, I question whether transgenderism is the best word to use.

Per the one person who seems to be the most vocal advocate of child drug treatment, and lying about no side effects? And others?

I asked rhetorically how many of them who find no harm with these drugs call circumcision "mutilation." And I asked rhetorically how many of them who think "Big Pharma's" every action, including on vaccines, of course, is a big conspiracy, but that this is somehow pristine and different.

Given what I said above about gender vs. sex, the detransitioning issue, to the degree transgender has been fused with transsexual, is not the same as gay or lesbian detransgendering and therefore is NOT "anti-trans." Certainly, watchful waiting for minor children is not "anti-trans."

These crude attempts at framing are lies.

And, since I did tweet something, I got a response from Lavender Greens:
Thanks for not being too snarky with that last line. "Thanks" also for ignoring the distinction I pointed out in my tweet to which you were responding:
I'm more and more inclined to be less and less charitable on this issue. While this was a politer reframing than I met in the GP Facebook group, I still see it as an attempt to reframe.

Speaking of? There used to exist a private, semi-official GP issues and discussion Facebook group. As of March 20, it was "archived," apparently to cut off discussion on this issue.

Sooo ...

If you're not Dahlia Blackthorn, AND you have more enlightened stances on puberty blockers, then you need to educate her, as I indicated back without naming names.
If you are her, or someone like her? Then you need to either educate yourself, or to undo any "re-education" you've received on this issue.

And, I basically stand with feminists if men presenting as gender females but still clearly biological men, not women, invade their spaces. And, we're not talking reassignment surgery. If you're not even taking reassignment hormones, and it's a simple refusal, not a financial issue? But you're still wearing women's clothes, etc?

That's called being a "transvestite."

Some people may consider that word even more pejorative than "transsexual."

That's your problem.

As for Dahlia herhimself? And a subset of others? Maybe the old "transvestite" IS a more appropriate word, especially if associated with some sort of autogynephilia. That concept, and its apparent growth, was floating around the scientific world well before the trans movement. See this piece. (Yes, it's Quillette; still good stuff.)

Related? Starlene Rankin, a moderator for the GP Facebook group, has publicly said she wants Howie to pick Dahlia as his Veep.

I also wonder, per the information above, whether some of these people don't have an undercurrent of homophobia. Maybe that was learned from their parents, and it became safer to them to think they were really the other gender rather than to think they actually had gay or lesbian, rather than straight, sexual orientation. As homophobia is most pronounced by men, and against gays, rather than by women, or against lesbians, this would explain why the problems above present themselves much more in biological men than women.

I hadn't really jumped into details of controversy the last couple of years on this issue, especially the "TERFs vs transgender advocates" stuff. The Green Party and the Georgia state party have brought it to the forefront of my mind and I'm sorry I hadn't better informed myself sooner. Apologies for snarking aside, that's not to say that some of the transgender-excluding radical feminists don't have problems or issues of their own, and not limited to sexual identity issues. Many are still SJWs; witness Stephanie Zvan throwing Julian Assange under the bus, including refusing to even consider that Sweden's history of actions against him might have an international geopolitical background.

I also support the Georgia Green Party and outsiders for responding to Lavender Greens' call for expulsion with a call, and petition, for dialogue instead.

And, I also don't like Dario Hunter appearing to try to politicize the issue.

As for nominee Howie? He has said, in an online response to questions from the Lavender Caucus, that he opposes de-accrediting Georgia Greens. That, at least, is good, but what will he say if the party votes to do that at the convention. That said, how does he know enough to suspect the majority of the party opposes the declaration? It passed by a strong margin at the state convention. 

That said, for Greens on this issue? The not-so-noble advocates seem to be at least as lacking in science as anti-GMOers or antivaxxers, with the additional handicap of being even more shrill.

Calling opponents of "pushed" transitioning words like "genocidal" are repellent.

And, for both Greens and non-Greens? The amount of threats of violence, and attempts at intimidation. on this issue that it seems many trans activists engage in, and others support, at least tacitly, has just really come to light for me. I consider it disgusting. And it needs to be repudiated. Period.

As for the transvestites? If you want to be like RuPaul, that's your choice and you already have the freedom to do so. If you want to be RuPaul but walk into women's bathrooms, attend women's-only events, and otherwise invade women's only spaces? You shouldn't have that right, and I don't support your desire to do so.

AT THE SAME TIME ...

Adults who are making sex-based transitions have the right to be called by their new pronouns. Contra another Green, Chelsea Manning is not "he."

Contra some opponents of Lavender Greens and their like, having a functional uterus is not a sine qua non for being a woman. If you're doing what you can to biologically transition sexes, then you "qualify." In short, I may be a "gender critical" person of some sort, in looking critically at attempts to substitute "gender" for sex, but I am not a gender critical "radical" anything.

To put it another way? On this issue, just like with GMOs, as well as with climate change, I do my best to understand the science and follow the science, rather than doing so only on the last of the three issues.

Once again, there are more than two sides to this issue. But to the degree one VISIBLE side tries to lump everybody who doesn't have a Maoist-level of agreement with them into a second, and allegedly but falsely the ONLY other side, I resist.

Again:

Sex is biology. Gender is culture. Human reproductive development sometimes badly botches sexual development, but sex is still biology and gender is culture. Gender, gender roles and gender ideas are based on biology, yes, but they're ultimately cultural expressions.

So, to bluntly conclude?

— Everyone, whether a Green Party member or not, who engages in this crude set of lies by willingly and willfully confusing and conflating gender and sex issues? 
Go fuck yourselves. Repeatedly.
Per Wittgenstein, I'm not playing along with your "framing" attempts any more.

July 09, 2020

Texas Progressives talk primary runoffs, other things

Lots of stuff to dig into this week, as we await the results of primary runoffs and continue to watch the surge in Texas coronavirus cases, with more details on that, statewide, nationally, and globally, in the split-off portion of this week's Roundup.

That said, politicization claims aside, COVID and GOP politics do intersect. Let's dig in.

Both Strangeabbott and Danny Goeb have officially confirmed they have no balls, as the Texas GOP has said its state convention remains on to meet in person, but all bigwigs will speak virtually. Abbott has none over facing wingnut-plusers calling him out for "Masks On," and Patrick has none on matching words to mouth on dissing COVID, or on being 70-plus and not considering himself personally dispensable. Surprised? Sadly, since that initial story, Helltown Mayor Sly Turner removed their balllessness excuse by canceling the in-person convention.

That privately built border fence in the lower Valley? A stupidity that's going to fall into the Rio Grande sooner rather than later.

Meet the Texas GOP wingnut political candidates touting Q, whether as true believers or as political grifters. (Also note how many of them refused to talk to Texas Monthly.)

The challenges of being young, liberal (and, overlooked by Texas Monthly) wedded to the Democratic Party in Austin and having to deal with old, white liberals, especially when they demonstrate that they're far from free from implicit bias.

Trump and Cruz have dueling endorsements in the runoff in CD24 to see who will try to replace Will Hurd. Ronny Jackson, Trump's choice in CD13, will almost certainly get smoked. Trump's choice in Colorado CD5 got smoked by someone even more nutbar. Especially for endorsements to the "less nutbar" side of the GOP than Trump's, if they win nominations, whether or not general elections, how many of these will it take for the GOP to distance from Trump? And, if Trump loses re-election, how involved will he personally be in 2022?

SocraticGadfly had two third-party items of note. First, he said RIP to Mimi Soltysik, 2016 SPUSA presidential nominee. Second, he called out losing Green Party presidential candidate Dario Hunter for "going there" with identity politics and various other matters.

Related? The Supreme Court unanimously ruled states can punish so-called "faithless electors" in the electoral college. This is of a piece with state and federal courts boosting the duopoly parties and supporting third-party voter suppression, although mainstream media, and even a Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog fail to recognize this.

Off the Kuff has two more polls to analyze.

DosCentavos' early voting experience was quick, yet harrowing. The moral of the story ... don't leave until you click "CAST BALLOT."

Long read, but Scott Ritter has the nuanced truth about alleged Russian bounties on US troops. Have the MSM been hyping this to try to keep us in the hellhole of Afghanistan?

Federal judge rules the Dakota pipeline must be shut by early August, and stay shut for the duration of a review that's expected to last a full year.

Grits for Breakfast presents a primer for new, local police-reform advocates in Texas.

Dwight Silverman updates the "how to cut the cord" manual.

Christoph Spieler discusses why race is always there when we talk about transit.

Pedro Noguera wants a focus on equity when we reopen the schools.

Gadfly also offered a media analysis of the Democratic Senate runoff between MJ Hegar and Royce West.

July 07, 2020

Confederate statues and Holocaust buildings

While I don't think that any U.S. military bases should be named after men who were traitors (even if Grant's surrender terms offered to Lee at Appomattox arguably let at least the Army of Northern Virginia's officers off the hook, they still were, as were officials of the CSA government), I'm more agnostic on statues.

That's especially true if a statue is not to Lee or Stonewall Jackson, but to the "Confederate war heroes."

I know the history of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erecting these statues, basically in the 1910-20 period. I know the turd-polished history they were presenting. I also know, per such things as the 1913 "great reunion" at Gettysburg, rather than the Lost Cause using a bulldozer to rewrite history, many northern Whites were at least halfway willing, and halfway actively willing, to go along.

Santayana famously said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. Maybe keeping the statues visible — albeit with modern explanatory plaques — would help.

Something on Twitter Monday night, or maybe it was Facebook, is part of this thought.

And that's that Germany did not tear down all the concentration camps inside the country. Nor did Poland tear down the true death camps. One can still go to Auschwitz today, of course.

Arguably, this alone hasn't stopped anti-Semitism, or even Holocaust denial, in Germany. It may have helped somewhat. But, Germany also has severe laws against Holocaust denial language, laws that would never fly in the U.S.

And?

Chancellor Angela Merkel's admission of Syrian refugees became the match to light the Alternative für Deutschland gasoline.

Another analogy, per this New Yorker piece, is with 1989 and the fall of Communism. Some eastern European states destroyed anything that even smacked of Leninism. Others took a more hands-off approach. So far, it's hard to argue one has done better than the other, at least where a larger educational effort wasn't applied. In much of Eastern Europe, Communism has been replaced by authoritarianism of some sort, such as in Belarus, or a drift away from democracy has started (Poland, Hungary) or gained steam (Ukraine, and of course, Russia itself). And I haven't even talked about the former Soviet Central Asia.

The museuming isn't a bad idea. That said, in many cities, racists might make a shrine, or try to, out of the now-barren spot on a courthouse lawn. Or they might demand city and county governments spend more money on the museum, put up a pro-Lost Cause sign on those lawns, etc., etc.

One might say: "But there's no statues at any of those places."

And I might respond: "The infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' inscription on the gates at Auschwitz is still there." Or, "Lenin's mausoleum, complete with theoretically preserved body, is still on Red Square." (That's not the best example, that one, I know, because Russia had but a limited window of semi-openness and it was largely wrecked by American capitalist grifters conspiring with Russian capitalist plunderers.)

I don't claim easy answers.

So, I refer again to old philosophy friend Idries Shah:


Some people may think him hackneyed. I don't, other than I am even more skeptical of human social psychology than him, and reject the idea of "complete solutions."

Other than the passage of time moving people beyond the desire for "complete solutions" do we get even close to that.

What is the best way, out of more than two sides, with truly moving more of America beyond this past, with making more Americans realize how deeply embedded "Lost Cause" ideas in general, and still-systemic racism in particular, are in America.

That said? More than two sides? I'm not of the position of some leftists who think issues of race almost always ultimately reduce to class, but I at least 50 percent agree with the general idea, if not more.

As far as possible ideas other than the two sides? One would be plaques on these statues that
A. Describe the UDC's history;
B. In any former CSA state, like Texas, where slavery was explicitly cited as part of the reason for secession, quoting line and verse from the secession ordinance.

Or a motion-sensor triggered audio recording that played the same. The advantage of this is, if you just place it very close to the statue or its pedestal, but don't actually attach it, you don't need Texas Historical Commission approval.

Texas progressives talk coronavirus, week 15,
as we learn more about its lethality

A separate pullout for coronavirus issues in this corner of the weekly roundup is in place for another week. It will probably be in place for a couple more weeks, as in Texas, we await seeing what "Masks On," on top of the previous rollback of reopening Texas, does — or does not — do.

With that, let's dig in to the latest state, national and global news about the coronavirus. There's plenty of it to look at as new medical news and new nuttery both pop up.

First, how deadly is it?

Newest work on the fatality rate and the spread rate of COVID-19? It's 100 times as deadly as "just the flu." And, James Scott of U Texas, one of the researchers in that story, was expecting just what Texas is currently getting. The New York Times weighs in with its own piece, which among other things, notes that coronaviruses can have a better transmission rate than the flu. It's not clear from reading the two in parallel, but both are referencing the same WHO meta-analysis out of Australia as a centerpiece of their work.

Breaking addition

State Fair of Texas is officially cancelled. How long before wingnuts call the fair's board snowflakes or similar?

Texas

Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott said "masks on"? But will it hold? 

Abbott's already getting pushback from some wingnut counties, not all of them small. Ellis, Johnson and Upshur counties are among those where county judges said they won't enforce the mask order. A county with less than 20 active cases, Cass County, doesn't have to enforce the order IF it opts out. But, Judge Becky Wilbanks claiming Abbott's orders have been ambiguous? Not this one. His previous "blood on his hands"? Yes. Ellis and Johnson counties are both problematic. Both are over 150K and both are part of the Metromess. (Dunno about Johnson, or cities like Cleburne, but Ennis in Ellis County used to be a hotspot of racism to boot.) Smith County? That's Tyler. Over 200K people in the county, and also, a longtime wingnut hotbed of racism.

Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree, who looks like some home fries, says he won't enforce Abbott's order, either, and now there's a petition calling for his removal by trial for official misconduct. Petition is here.

Following up on the Bar Lives Matter stupidity from two weeks ago, over Abbott's orders to shutter bars, bar owners are suing the state. Dear bar owners, and a substantial minority of patrons. If bar lives really mattered, many of you bar patrons would get your ass to a sobriety meeting and many of you bar owners would tell those who needed to go that they indeed ... needed to go. Beyond that, as bobbies know, drunks can't socially distance.

Part of the problem of "superspreader churches"? It's superspreader church choirs. And, while I don't think bar owners have a legal leg to stand on, Abbott continuing to exempt churches is hypocritical.
Learn more about the false mask sales world.

The Texas Medical Association has reversed court on an in-person GOP convention (of which it was one of the sponsors) and said do it virtually.

If Abbott isn't primaried, Libertarian wingnut of wingnuts Dan Behrman, without mentioning names, called out Abbott, and has announced he's running for gov.

National and Global

Trump believes the coronavirus will disappear. Just like Hitler believed Gen. Felix Steiner was going to rescue him in late April 1945. As it turns out, a couple of days later, the White House word was that Trump was disappearing himself as the daily coronavirus voice.

Experts say, per my wonderings about summer AC, that indoor airborne transmission is looking like it's more and more part of the issue. Scientists saying this note that WHO is conservative and risk-averse on its medical angles and not willing to adequately consider aerosol transmission, as well as having its funding further tightened by Trump cutting off US funding. (That said, the "conservative and risk averse" is of little doubt to me; sounds just like the UNPCC on climate change.) On the other hand, for less developed countries, WHO saying, in essence, "Masks On," may require a significant financial diversion in controlling COVID. The group of scientists calling out WHO on aerosol transmission is releasing a public letter.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' famous, or infamous, or just plain wrong, five stages of death and dying is being used as a cheap counseling tool in the time of COVID. (IMO, her stages appealed to Americans from the start, as our cultural DNA is a country that believes it can always be in control, likes things in black and white, likes quick ways to allegedly get in control, like lists and action plans, etc.)

Tony Fauci's boss, NIH head Francis Collins, talks COVID issues. That said, given that this is the man who saw proof of the Trinity in a waterfall, it should surprise nobody that, from the likelihood of when we get a vaccine to how well Americans are addressing the pandemic, Collins has been smoking some Pandora-level crack.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn disagrees with Collins' (and Trump's) rosy scenario on a vaccine. While not a pessimist entirely, he says "year's end or early next year," which I think is still too optimistic.

Hahn also disagrees with Trump on something else. He said it's "still too soon" to say that an in-person RNC can safely be held in Jacksonville. What if people a month from now say it can't? How many people still march into J-ville if Il Duce says march?

Ex-FDA Commish Scott Gottlieb, a voice indirectly critical of Trump while in office, also weighs in, saying that overuse of remdesivir could deplete all the stock the US bought from from Gilead last week.