SocraticGadfly

September 25, 2020

Some thoughts on my relationship to the Green Party
and other political issues for 2020 and into the future

I am going to preface this with a couple of observations.

First, about 15 years or so ago, the Dallas Morning News ran a "Where are they now" piece, maybe a series, about local civil rights advocates from the 1960s. If I recall rightly, about a full half of the people interviewed said they had dropped out of electoral politics entirely. That said, about half of that half remained involved with some form of socio-political activism.

I've grown in "member activism" within the GP over the past five years. I've also become more watermelon red on the inside as an ecosocialist, and seen more and more of the anarchist and libertarian green resistance to that. I have little use for anarchism in general, and have made that clear with blog posts here about the Black Bloc, the Occupy movement, etc., for more than a decade. (In summary: Most alleged anarchist groups actually do have leaders — Occupy NYC clearly did, contra myth — and I have no doubt the Black Bloc, various groups all claiming to be "Anonymous" and others do, too. Second, violence-based anarchism, including violence against property as well as persons, often seems to exist for performance art as much as anything. Pass.)

Another problem is the issue that I have long labeled "AccommoGreens" when talking about persons. Howie Hawkins is not as bad as Jill Stein or David Keith Cobb at this, but, he still has some AccommoGreen bones. He had said on many occasions that part of the purpose of previous political runs has been to push Democrats leftward. That's nice. Or, "nice." In New York State, I think he's oversold his degree of success, but that's secondary to the political philosophy issue. I want third-party candidates running because they back their third party's stances, period. If that happens to change other political parties, fine. But, an expressed public desire to change another political party shouldn't be the reason for running.

I can't remember Cynthia McKinney's stance in 2008, but St. Ralph of Nader in 2000 is the only Green I recall who clearly was not an AccommoGreen. That said, for the unaware, he pledged to run a safe states strategy and then broke that promise. Not the only problem he had, either.

Some of these issues tie to the division between the GPUS and GPUSA, which I wrote about a few years ago when I learned more about it. It bears continued reading, especially with my personal thoughts on the "decentralization" issue, of which more below. (That link also has more on some of Nader's issues.)

Then there's the Dario Hunter whining issue. For the record, I think there were small amounts of brushfires behind the smoke Dario saw. I commented on the Twitter PR that Howie selectively got. But cheating? No.

With his independent run (there is no such thing as "Independent Green" in my book) he's burned his bridges with me, as he also has in his alliance with Jesse Ventura backers. I expect him to make a GP run again in 2024. And I expect the Presidential Candidate Support Committee to, at least for public consumption, welcome him back with open arms, even absent any apology.

Next, there's the possible expulsion of the Georgia Green Party. No, it didn't happen at this year's convention, but the Green Party has a national meeting every year. Howie's on record as saying that, while he opposes expulsion, he things the GGP is totally wrong and the Lavender Caucus is all right. He's also gone along with the LC on believing its claims to have science on its side. Even short of expulsion, this stance from the party leader isn't acceptable to me.

I'm not a radical feminist of any sort, though I am a feminist. I'm not a gender-critical feminist, but I am a gender-skeptical one, as there's more than two sides on this issue. There are.

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.

Decentralization has long been a GP bugaboo, to pull some links out of the GPUS vs USA issue.

One is that, from a piece on the original drafting of the Ten Key Values, they were never meant to be absolutist; "appropriate centralized regulation in certain matters" is explicitly mentioned. That said, the author of them, Mark Satin, was also a FAN of Nordhaus and Shellenberger, reflecting the still-neoliberal roots of many early Greens. Or radical centrism and New Ageism, both in Satin's history. Both of those two issues still have a fair amount of infusion in the party. That's another reason another wing of the party has resisted an ecosocialism push. In addition, the hyperfocus on "consensus," back to his New Age radical centrism already in the 1970s, had many people talking about a "diddler's cult." PERFECT description of much of what is wrong with today's GP.

Per the Green Pages News account of the split and related issues, the Green movement started in the middle 1980s.  And, the party as party is no further along than it is. Decentralization is not the only reason for that, but it is one reason for sure, IMO.

I mean, boasting that you're a federation of state GPs? That's often interpreted in a "confederation" sense, it seems. Other than that, you see "confederation" once, prominently in American history. And, the Articles of Confederation were a primer on how NOT to have a national government in America. The U.S. Constitution, besides compromises with slavery and other things, and being a conservative second American Revolution, is nonetheless much better, and MUCH much better on the issue of national government as a general concept.

Within this presidential election cycle, other problems with abuse of the idea of decentralization have popped up. The Rhode Island GP refused to send presidential delegates to the national convention, and semi-endorsed Joe Biden for bad measure. Texas GP co-chair Laura Palmer was Yang Ganging then Tulsi-stanning over basic income, then, after the GP nomination, touting indy candidate Mark Charles for the same reason or similar. The Alaska GP went off the board to nominate the loathsome — yes — Jesse Ventura.

Another issue, NOT in the Ten Key Values even (more on that below), consensus-building, is even more of a shibboleth to many long-time as well as shorter-term party members, and even activists and leaders. And, IMO, it's even more of a roadblock to building a better party. And, while the GPUSA did point out the issue of dues-paying as one disagreement with the GPUS, it had zero problems with this. One can applaud making an initial run at consensus, but it's too often pursued too long as a will o'-the  wisp. And, as I noted, made into a shibboleth.

As for those Ten Key Values? I have had some degree of unease with multiple ones of them for some time, and over the last four-five years, that unease has grown.

3. Ecological wisdom? Too often, some version of New Age bullshit. Flat-out pseudoscience in the party's official opposition to GMOs. Encourages antivaxxerism, anti-5Gism, and COVID denialism among many Greens.
5. Decentralization? Beyond its problems within the GP party structure, from someone who's seen plenty of classism in small towns, decentralization of resources, processes and inputs isn't a problem-solver. Sometimes, it's even a problem-booster.
6. Community-based economics? Per what I said above about decentralization, I'm fine with this when appropriate. Too often, it's not, and it can be used as a wedge against socialist needs.

The New Agey stuff has been an issue for years. And, by the relative paucity of openly self-acknowledged secularists and atheists I've run into in Green dialogue, I don't think that — or the degree to which it contributes to Green pseudoscience, will change.

This said, I have left two email lists related to dialogue over the Georgia GP issue. One person had largely hijacked the group at times. This, and other issues, which I won't discuss for obvious group privacy issues, nonetheless would, for non-Greens, reinforce several stereotypes.

I have not yet left the GP Facebook group. But, another outbreak of censorship will probably make that happen. I am going to do my level best to reduce participation there.

So, 2020? I may, or may not, give money to Howie. (He just asked again on Aug. 13.) I may, or may not, have a high degree of enthusiasm for his campaign.

For 2024? I respectfully suggest the Socialist Party USA wait until 2024, rather than acting in late 2023, to choose its presidential nominee. I think that's part of larger work on growing the party and its credibility. I might lend a bit of help. If you want it and support the idea. After all, I joined the GP in part because it was a party of the left. If we can build a better, better organized party of the left in the SPUSA, forward!

For 2024, part 2? I wouldn't support Dario if he gets the GP nomination, without some contrition.

For 2024, bigger picture? While I am an ecosocialist, I am not a Marxist, and I reject Marxism and anything that calls itself Marxist economics unless it TOTALLY drops anything associated with Marxism itself. Why? It's pseudoscience. No, literally.

Hegalian dialectic was, and still is, crappy philosophy. It's non-scientific, like most philosophical systems-buildings are. Made as the basis for a theory of social science, it then becomes pseudoscience on traditional grounds of judging what science is.

Related to that? I'm not an anticapitalist. I am a post-capitalist of some sort, but not an anticapitalist. And I even invented that new logo.

That said, there's a bigger ticket picture here.

Several years ago, late friend Leo Lincourt talked about, not just in politics, but in a lot of the big-ticket items of life in general, at trying to find the sweet spot in a Venn diagram overlap of some sort of left-liberalism (for him) or become more than that (for me) in political point of view, the best of non-scientism scientific thinking including new ideas, and the best of non-Gnu Atheism, non-Skeptics™ scientific and philosophical (especially for me) skepticism. (I first ran into Leo in the old Skeptics Circle blog circle. Those were the days.)

Unfortunately, the Green Party just doesn't seem close enough to that sweet spot. Jill Stein's footsie on vaccines was something I was a quasi-apologist for. Wouldn't do that again, especially now that we have a prez candidate, David Rolde, and others, going beyond her on smartphones to 5G nuttery. (Howie Hawkins, as nominee, seems sane on these issues.) And, the number of Greens horseshoing on COVID conspiracy theories (in part working off an antivaxxer base in many cases) is just ... too much.

Then, there's Howie getting attacked over alleged "Russiagate," but, while more right than wrong on that, him screwing the pooch on China-stanning for Xi Jinping Thought, or at least getting in bed with them, including his late campaign manager, Zeese.

So, to conclude?

I've said many times in 2016 and now that "Democrats don't own my vote."

Well? "Greens don't own my vote, either."

I'll likely still vote for Howie Hawkins. I doubt a Trot will be available for a protest write-in vote. If I give any money, it will be to Hawkins, not the Green Party, though. And, I may not do even that. I've emailed directly to his campaign finance guy, Travis Christal, asking for a copy of the "letter of interest" submitted on behalf of Jesse. And, if they're not going to cough it up, especially with the Alaska GP now nominating Jesse, then why should I care? (Travis has never emailed me back.)

As for 2024? None of the 2020 candidates other than Hawkins is acceptable.

September 24, 2020

Texas Progs talk cult of RGB and more

Leading off the New World Order (deliberate quasi-punning riff) for many librulz, including most current and former contributors to Texas Progressives, is the death of the "Notorious RBG," aka the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Yours truly, a leftist not a liberal, cuts through the cult of Ruth's hype (and it IS a cult, and that's not just me speaking) to tell you the truth about her being a squish on the First, Fourth and Sixth amendments. As for filling her seat? Unlikely that Mitch the Turtle tries before Nov. 3, but a lame-duck move is possible. 

With that, let's head to the rest of state and national news.

Texas

Christofascist Tim Dunn has given Shelley Luther a $1 million loan in the SD 30 special election. Loans like this are even more interesting than donations, which of course can't be done in this amount. Loans can be held over a candidate's head if they're elected. 

SocraticGadfly notes that PRO Gainesville, the group protesting the Confederate statue and other things in Cooke County, appears to have shot itself in the PR foot, as part of recent updates about events there.

Off the Kuff makes an argument for voting in person.

Stephen Monacelli reads the fight about mail ballots as being over who can vote, not how we can vote.

New maps about climate change confirm Texas is screwed in 50 years or less. Texas ag and habitability are both screwed. That's as Tropical Storm Beta is becoming a mini-Harvey.

At the Monthly, Evan Mintz stans for the Ike Dike. As I have written before, no, no, and no, in part because it's overpriced Corps of Engineers BS and in part, per the paragraph above, it does nothing about rain-induced flooding.

The Monthly excerpts from the new James Baker bio.

The recent rains in North Texas mean skeeters, which means West Nile.

The State Fair may be scrubbed, but the annual food contest? Still here, with the Big Tex Choice Awards going entirely virtual.

John Coby calls Fort Bend County Sheriff (now Congressional candidate) Troy Nehls one of the reasons why we need police reform. Joe Bowen spotlights the candidates and organizations that are turning Texas blue.

National

Barton Gellman says, a la the run-up to 9/11, that warning lights are all blinking red for Nov. 3.

A British former would-be biographer of Julian Assange writes about what Assange and Wikileaks says about America — and American journalism.

JP Morgan of Dear Leader Obama $500K checking account infamy faces new criminal charges.  And new ethics issues over money laundering.

This blogger also salutes Phat Albert Pujols for passing Willie Mays into No. 5 on the all-time home run list. Albert is not quite dead yet after his typical slow start to the season, but, the pandemic shortening has surely dinged his chance to cross the 700 mark on career homers next year and eliminated the possibility of passing Babe Ruth.

Lindsay Carnett rounds up some reactions to the impending Tik Tok ban.

September 23, 2020

Gellman: The Nov. 3 intelligence lights are flashing

Barton Gellman says, a la the run-up to 9/11, that warning lights are all blinking red — only this time, it's about Trump being willing to do anything and everything to sabotage election results. The question is, will Biden lawyer up more than Al Gore? Given the way Senate Dems are already folding their tents on the "packing the Supreme Court" strawman, I wouldn't be surprised if Sleepy Joe folded his, too, to be honest.

Gellman then links to a piece by Edward Isaac-Dovere about the 1887 Electoral College Act, which could give Trump additional reason and legal loopholes to monkey-wrench.

That said, even though a variety of GOP operatives have been skunks-working things to do on Election Day and afterward, how much of this will actually happen? And, again, if some of the worst of it DOES happen, and the likes of Black Lives Matter and/or the renamed Black Bloc resists, what will Biden do?

I suspect most of this is unlikely.

I suspect that, should Biden win, even with some degree of Trump shenanigans, the Dems' half of American exceptionalism, including full-on Constitution fellation, will break out next.

Beyond that, this presumes that all of these contemplated actions by Trump are either new, new outside of Trump and Bush-Gore, or maybe new outside of them plus 1876. Not true. Jerry Ford, for example, had some plans on the shelf ready to launch if the right opening arose. (Ohio and Hawaii both went to Carter by just a few thousand votes. Had Ford flipped one, and been a bit closer in the other, his campaign would have surely seen an emergency and "broken the glass.") Also of note, in infamous 2000, the Florida Legislature, GOP-controlled, had plans to select its own electors if all else. And yes, the Constitution still reserves that power to state legislatures even if a popular-vote model is on the books.

Test of Baseball-Reference

This is only to test if using the new linker system works when I start from scratch, and if Blogger is indeed not compatible, as B-Ref has not gotten back to me. Will Albert Pujols link show up on a B-Ref post?

And, apparently the old system is fine, and B-Ref had some crawler issues, I think.

Looks like it's time to boycott Walmart and Dollar Tree like Kroger

Six months ago, when the coronavirus first hit the fan, I went to my local Walmart in Gainesville, Texas, for my advertising salesperson for a need of hers at home — lubricating oil for a treadmill.

Wally didn't have any, I eventually determined. Well before that, I determined there was nobody working the store floor aisles to the right of cosmetics. As in, nobody in HBA, nobody in home and garden, and nobody in automotive as well as sporting goods.

I Tweeted Wally corporate. With 48 hours or so, they tweeted back, or maybe messaged. Asked for my phone, and got it. 

Within another 48 hours, somebody from the Gainesville store called.

Well, last week's weekend, I was in there again.

And met COVIDIOTS. The gent on the right as well as on the left was maskless, and both had been walking through the store that way.

Here's a better pic of the gent on the left.

I Tweeted Wally again. And posted on the Gainesville store's Facebook.

As I said, it wasn't just the masks, it was that an apparent managerial person walking the floor saw them and did nothing, and the clerk managing the self-check kiosks did nothing.

No response to me on social media.

So, time for action.

Unlike my Kroger boycott, this isn't over a distant store's actions, it's local. But, like with Kroger, it involves PR.

And, Wally, you threw out the guy in Alaska, so local staff do this stuff elsewhere.

Dollar Tree had a maskless guy, too. No response to my tweet there.

September 22, 2020

Texas Progressives talk coronavirus, week 25

It's time for week 25 of separated-out coronavirus coverage at this corner of Texas Progressives.

And, it's time to take clearly and publicly for wingnuts that, if you want to reduce the pandemic to a cold capitalist chud, that dead people have economic consequences. Dead grannies don't buy gifts for grandkids. They don't eat at Denny's. They don't get gifts bought for them by kids. They don't buy senior health products.

James Hamblin talks about how this winter, due to magical thinking and other issues, is likely to be a coronavirus disaster in the US

Texas landlords must start telling tenants about what the federal eviction relief law means, and how to apply for it.

Unemployment claims are still running triple or higher of pre-COVID. And, Chumptroller or Comptroller Glenn Hegar et al are still ignoring the OPEC+ push, separate from the coronavirus, to shove frackers in Texas out of business. (The Trib misses this in its story, as well as the underemployed count, the drop in wages and pay issue, and on the revenue side, the plunge in oil and gas production taxes, deeper and more alarming than the sales tax drop.)

Bars remain infuriated at Gov. Strangeabbott over his latest "reopen Texas" order. Sorry, bar owners, but the answer is simple. Sell enough food to hit the 51 percent mark.

Immigrant farmworkers and the pandemic: The Observer discusses the family of one dead worker seeking answers from out in Dalhart.

Therese Odell wades into the latest CDC controversy.  

Martha Anne Pierson reflects on our inability to mourn properly right now.