SocraticGadfly

October 22, 2019

Winners and losers in Canada's elections

By parties, there's two clear winners and three clear losers.

The Liberals and NDP lost.

Greens, getting up to three seats, the Bloc Quebecois and the Conservatives won.

Other losers?

Justin Trudeau individually, and also NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Now, Singh's defenders will surely argue that he was campaigning on a very limited budget. I'll argue back that he's been party leader for four years; whose fault is it that NDP finances are so bad?

Another loser?

Once again, Canadian polls seem not as accurate as American or British ones, as an alleged late NDP "surge" proves to be not even close.

Possible winner?

The Canadian public, especially if the NDP price of a full coalition includes electoral reform. But, pre-election, it did not.

Possible winner? The reality of Canada more aligning with the American myth of Canada, given how Singh faced down some ethnic-religious animosity.

In the air to a degree? The future of the NDP. Yes, it dodged minor party status. Yes, Singh raised some new platform issues. But, what all does a social democratic party stand for in a post-industrial country?

Another bone to pick with High Country News

And it's by far from the first. A clear sign of, not so much a love-hate relationship, but what these things really reflect —

A love-frustration relationship.

It is frustrating at times. I've let my subscription lapse once and am getting closer to letting it lapse again. (I've been a semi-regular subscriber for 15 or more years from now, more on the "regular" than the "semi.")

What has me hacked off this time?

Their annual photo contest, or more specifically, the announced winners and editor's choices.Per the first link, and a blurb below the slideshow at the second link, the contest was about the Western night sky, and more to the point, about issues with light pollution in the Western night sky.

I quote from the contest announcement at the first link:
Light pollution is an increasing issue across the West, but we think there are still places where the night skies are incredible. This year's photo contest will put that theory to the test. Send us your best pics of the Western night sky.
OK, with that said, I refer you back to the second link. Because HCN, even with an otherwise semi-antiquated website, strongly tut-tuts on others posting their photos, even by link showing the photo, I can't do that. I'll refer you to the photos by number.

And I can copy the captions, which helps.

No. 7: Desert Gold: In Joshua Tree National Park, light painting, plus overflow lights from Palm Springs in the far distance, make for a magical, golden image.

Light painting might violate the spirit of the contest. Having the fake alpenglow from an ever-more-bloated Palm Springs directly violates the spirt of the contest, in my opinion.

That one is the worst, but not the only.

No. 9:  Sprite Sky: The photographer had just passed through Kingman Ariz., when this large and distant electrical storm made its appearance. They managed to capture this and a dozen more "sprites." The green hue to the sky is due to the airglow that was present. The orange illumination in the clouds is light pollution from below.

Again the shooter, and the editor(s), glorify the light pollution, it seems, though not as much or as directly as in No. 7.

No. 11: Coyote Gulch: Polar star trails are captured from the floor of the Escalante Canyons of Southern Utah. Another camping party just downstream filled the canyon with light and music late into the evening.

Again, "filled the canyon with light," and the shooter deliberately cropped it INTO the picture and HCN seems to salute it.

Also, the "and music" seems to glorify noise pollution as well. That's even as a new piece at Atlantic decries the continuing loss of quiet spaces. and, Rainbow Bridge, near Escalante Canyons, is a proposed International Quiet Park. And, HCN has also written about THIS issue in relation to Olympic National Park and work by Gordon Hempton, founder of Quiet Parks International.

And, that's not all.

For other reason, we need to look at ...No. 8: At Joshua Tree: A quieter-than-usual Joshua Tree National Park during the federal government shutdown in January. Pictured here is the aptly-named Jumbo Rocks Campground.

My emphasis added.

Former NPS head John Jarvis said at the start of January that it was a mistake to leave any parks open. He cited overflowing bathroom sewage at Joshua Tree.

Lemme see, I think Joshua Tree was supposed to be SHUT DOWN then? Uhh, yes, unless photographer Matt Harding got in there before campgrounds there were shut, over these issues, unless he was only a day-tripper.

Since I don't know the details ... I'm not totally comfy with HCN choosing this picture either.

==

Anyway, as noted, I'm moving closer and closer to not renewing my (digital-only) subscription when it is due for renewal. This is just another reason of several. Reposting old articles semi-regularly, even more when they're featury articles with no news-updates reasons to repost, is another. Killing online comments? I kind of get that, especially if your web content software is clunky, but it seemed to me to be a cop-out. Especially when they're non-responsive to my Tweets AND when staff has little interaction with commenters on HCN Facebook posts.

Their horrible handling of SJW Instagram influencers was the most recent previous goof. Part of the horror, besides the actual horror, was to learn that HCN doesn't run any online letters to the editor. (I never did flip through old PDF issues to see if it ran in print or not.)

The complaint before that was about killing onsite comments

And before that, it was a related, and bigger one — my idea that HCN, like national Democrats, tracked the Overton Window too much in a rightward editorial drift.

October 21, 2019

The future of Dennis Bonnen — has just imploded

BREAKING UPDATE OCT 22: Bonnen pulled the viper of Mucus too close to his breast. He has just announced he is NOT running for re-election.

Surely the GOP Caucus pressured him, and also the "Straus Republicans" may have said in the wake of "I'm going to screw cities and counties, and even more next term" that Mucus recorded, may have said they couldn't support him.

Did anybody quote Rick Perry's famous "Adios, mofo"?

And now, to the original, with new information in the same color as above.

A few quick hits here.

House Speaker Dennis Bonnen offered a resolution calling for him to resign at a meeting of the House GOP Caucus just after Mucus released the tape of their meeting this summer. (I've updated that story here.) He eventually withdrew it and no vote was taken; whether that's good news for his political future or not remains to be seen. There could have been a quid pro quo where he binds his future, at least as Speaker (not talking about his House seat) to a caucus vote. If that is the case, do House Dems, if they hold serve or get closer to a majority without hitting 76, look for a new dance partner? If so, who?

As for Bonnen's overall political prospects? Other than the occasional Libertarian, per Ballotpedia, he's not faced a general election challenger for more than a decade.

So? It's a 50-50 that Bonnen is Speaker again next year.

It's 90-10 he is re-elected to his seat unless he chooses not to run.

And, per the above? Texas Democrats? Can't take you that seriously, unless just like with Drew Springer up here on the Red, you start running state House candidates in every district.

That last paragraph still stands. And is even more important now that it's an open seat.

OK, next question is, what more authentic Straus Republican than Bonnen is going to look to be the leader of Straus Republicans? What sort of Democratic dance partner will they find? And, how soon and how public will a battle for this position start?

Related questions: Will the House GOP caucus push Bonnen to go ahead and resign as Speaker now? What if this push happens and he resists?

Also, what gave between the "offered a resolution" last week and the new announcement today? The Trib has the answer. Monday night, five Rethugs, all in Bonnen's general political territory and all, like him, not full on Tea Partiers (but more conservative in some ways than Straus, and who knows what Bonnen-like secrets lurk in their political hearts) told Bonnen they couldn't support him. Some additional support started flaking off later Monday. Clearly, Bonnen couldn't stay as Speaker, on a straight numbers count.

The Trib's not running again story said he'd lost more than 30 backers. And it, and others, has this unintentionally ironic comment by Mucus:
"He had gone from 3rd constitutional officer in Texas to a cautionary tale."
Yeah, the cautionary tale part is NEVER TRUST MUCUS. (Nor the man that Jim Schutze calls Christofascist Tim Dunn who's behind Mucus.) This is so elementary that it shouldn't need repeating, even to a Mucus suck-up like Bonnen. (Schutze pegged this totally right long ago about the not-so-Strausian Bonnen.)

On the other hand, you can trust Mucus to be more right than the Snooze, not that that's hard to do.
That said, Bonnen still could have run for his seat even while stepping down as Speaker. Tom Craddock is still in the House, as Example No. 1. Maybe I'll have enough for a folo in a couple of days.

I will say for now that Bonnen's too-clever-by-half hubris did him in. The House gym rat thought he could run circles around everybody else and instead entrapped himself.

That said, Mucus has the same too-clever-by-half hubris, and it may also wind up backfiring. Now, every House Rethug who isn't full-on Tea Party is probably looking over their shoulders at others in their band, wondering who else might be a rat fink, not a gym rat.

Imagine no American Indians

Per a Quora question about the most important single issue in "American" history, the header says what this is about.

Imagine a "New World" that would indeed be new by, as well as for, Euro-Americans because nobody came here from Siberia 20,000 or more years ago.

Think of how different the New World is with no pre-European population. (I’m setting aside whether or not Polynesians sailed to South America; if they did, it seems unlikely they left permanent genetic descent, and besides possibly bringing the sweet potato [history still disputed], left little cultural descent.)

First, a bunch of charismatic megafauna would have stayed alive, such as larger-sized bison, Columbian mammoth, New World camels and maybe even saber-toothed cats, among others.

Now, humans.

Erik the Red left Greenland mainly because of the end of the Medieval Warm Period, but early Inuit helped speed him along. Would he have stayed otherwise? Maybe.

Leif was sped off by people who were likely Algonquin-speaking Indians as well as climate, just like Erik, plus being that much further from Europe and European supplies. (As far as we can tell, neither Norse settlement made their own iron.)

Probably climate would have driven both away.

So, Columbus would have come to an unpopulated world. Without the help of Caribbean natives, he would have found no gold.

Would he have made a second trip? Unlikely.

So, next? Pedro Cabral gets blown off course just as in reality. Do the Portuguese stay with no American Indians? If so, do the Spanish follow? Are the French and English then likely to follow?

With no easy New World gold or silver and nobody to tell them where to look, no natives to enslave, and less reason to enslave Africans, the New World is populated and developed but slowly.

And, without American Indian crops? No corn, tomatoes, chiles or potatoes, among other things, in the Old World. No Irish peasantry because of no potatoes. Etc. etc.

October 20, 2019

Friday Night Lights: Keep your head up



I was covering a game between a team in a four-person district that has a guaranteed playoff spot and another that should have blown them out, but injuries (hit thin-roster small schools harder) and maybe "trap game" mindset, high school level, meant the game was in doubt until more than halfway into the fourth quarter.

The first picture should illustrate the theme. The home team, the "not good" team, in black, muffed the punt. But it still recovered.

Looking for the "big hit," which has carried down from the NFL through college to high schools, may be a partial cause of this.

It's shown more in the next picture.


Seems like the defender had a shot at a pick if he hadn't already made an early commitment to the big hit. (It's an old-barn, old-lights Class 2A field and I had to crank the ISO like hell, as far as any noise issues, but still got the ball "stopped," or nearly so.

Third picture cuts back the other way.


As it stands? A play on, I think. Looking through the lens, plus memory, plus the previous picture or two in this particular burst, if the receiver had been looking up and then making a cut inside, he might have drawn a defensive pass interference call.

October 19, 2019

Green Party thought leaders, "People's Republic" leftists
practice twosiderism on Beijing and Hong Kong

It may indeed be true, as Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers claim, though they don't use this exact phrasing, that the recent Hong Kong riots are like the 2000 Brooks Brothers "riot" in Florida over the presidential election. It may also be true, as another piece at Popular Resistance claims, that folks like the National Endowment for Democracy is among people involved with promoting the riots.

That doesn't meant that they have to link to a servile piece of Western "socialism" that seems to think China's Belt and Road initiative is even close to the greatest thing since sliced bread. Said link says nothing about how in South Asia and Africa, the Belt and Road is seen as being about as neocolonialist as anything the US and UK has ever done, nor that many sub-Saharan Africans see the Chinese as being about as racist as Americans and British.

The link at least gives up the game in admitting that the Chinese long view is re-integrating Taiwan as well as Macau and Hong Kong.

It doesn't tell you that, even if Taiwan was originally semi-dicatatorially governed by Chiang Kai-Shek et al, that since his death, other parties have democratically governed and have been led by Taiwanese natives.

Nor do I have to accept their attempts to spin an AP story about Twitter shutting down some fake accounts and why.

Nor do I have to accept the claims of Zeese and Flowers that the protests haven't gotten organized labor involved. Per a MUCH more nuanced piece by Jacobin, the protests have failed to draw in non-Chinese migrant laborers, tis true, but Hong Kong Chinese students have been involved with the protests from early on. This is NOT a "Brooks Brothers riot." In addition, though also ignored by the thought leaders? Many of these migrant workers have been pressured by their home countries not to participate. So, a Filipino making double (net) money in Hong Kong vs back home? Zeese and Flowers need to be blaming Manila (and Jakarta et al) and not Beijing.

And, as far as income inequality? Hong Kong may be horrible, but ... mainland China is about the same as the US, per Wiki.

Stuff like this is why, to the degree I am a socialist, I call myself a post-capitalist and NOT an anti-capitalist.

I reject Hegelian dialectic as bad philosophy and as pseudoscience when given a materialism quick rinse and used as the framework for a theory of economics, in addition to economic theorizing before behavioral economics in general already being close to pseudoscience.

Beyond that, on the twosiderism?

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has now said the CHINESE GOVERNMENT tried to get him to fire Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Let that sink in.

I'll also admit, lest I get slammed too hard on the charge of motivated reasoning, that I had not thought of the possibility of NED involvement. At the same time, to claim this is ONLY, or nearly only, a "billionaires' riot" sounds over the top.

Beyond rejecting twosiderism and rejecting any economic thinking that comes close to Marxism, I also reject reflexive anti-Americanism in opining about foreign policy. Note that bold-faced word "reflexive."

I have no problem criticizing American policy where it's wrong, whether wrong on explicit American exceptionalism grounds, Coca-colonialism or something else. But, to automatically assume it's wrong, and worse, to pull out the twosiderism and assume there's only two sides and the other is automatically right?

No dice.

That's why, several years ago, I stopped reading Counterpunch for a few years.

I know, per a guy I started following on Twitter before realizing he's from the People's Republic of Humboldt Bay, California, that the Zeese/Flowers link is almost two months old.

Doesn't matter. It was laden with twosiderism at the time.

As for said person from the PRHB? He claims China isn't imperialist. The pro-Chinese imperialist running dog (I see what I did) also claims that Uyghur-repressing China is especially dedicated to world peace. That would be the Xinjiang that was independent in the 1940s (and had not belonged to most Chinese dynastic empires — the Mongol Yuan and peak-era Qing Manchus are the only once to contain it in more than 1,000 years until today's China) until Communist, I mean state-capitalist, Bejing took it back over.

I don't know if this is more the People's Republic of Humboldt Bay being that idiotic, or if it's an alleged anti-capitalist actually being a grifter for a few yuan. Said Chinese lackey also claims Beijing doesn't practice Coca-colonialism. No, it practices ethnic and cultural colonialism, as anybody aware of the state-sponsored moving of Han Chinese to Xinjiang knows.

Rainer Shea is also refudiated in another way by the Jacobin piece and indirectly, so are the Green flunkies. In Taiwan, it's the plutocrat capitalists who want closer ties with China. That would be people like Taiwanese native, but now based in Hong Kong, Joe Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets.

Jacobin also refutes both Shea and the Zeese-Flowers duo specifically on twosiderism.

Going forward, it will be crucial for the younger generation in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and elsewhere to move beyond the false dichotomy of China versus the United States — neither country’s ruling class has a material or ideological incentive to promote self-determination and democracy in the region.
Exactly. Jacobin notes on the Chinese side that Beijing has repeatedly broken post-1997 promises about Hong Kong. It's no more to be trusted than NED.

As for the state-capitalist running dog Shea?

He looks like a Humboldt State student, by age in his picture. Probably thinks he's discovered the eternal truth and is combining that with college-age rebelliousness. (And I'm familiar enough with Humboldt State and Eureka, and allegations about them.) I remember putting up hammer and sickle signs a couple of times when I was that age, just for the rebelliousness; I was in truth politically quite conservative then. Today? While I look to move beyond modern capitalism, I reject anything tainted with the pseudoscience of Marx, as noted above, let alone provably fallacious stupidity like this.

Youth is indeed often wasted on the young. It's wasted worse yet when other sites, like Wrong Kind of Green, rerun stuff people like him write.