August 21, 2017

Green Party — decentralization or disorganization?

I have, in my critique of the Green Party's Ten Key Values and elsewhere, said that one of my main problems with the party is the "decentralization" plank.

That's regardless of different interpretations of what the plank means.

That said, though, many Greens seem to take a maximalist view of the plank. As in, a maximalist interpretation of how much decentralization it allows.

Besides ixnaying the potential for robust federal government action on thing like climate change, if there ever were a Green president and she or he took such a view of decentralization, within the party, it causes other problems.

In essence, it allows various state parties to become private fiefdoms. As I've said before, many, from what I see, are like the old British version of rotten or pocket boroughs in the Commons 200 years ago.

And finally, at The North Star, somebody totally gets it! Although I don't agree with all of his digressions into Marxist theory, and the piece is in general a long read indeed, on organizational issues, Andrew Stewart is spot-on.

Start with this:
We essentially have a situation now where there is an organization in Washington DC that calls itself the Green Party of the United States and carries on with pretenses of being a national presence but which in reality is just one of multiple individual state parties that have absolutely no de facto coordination mechanisms with a central authority and other parties. It is possible for sister parties to communicate via email forums but the structure of decentralized democracy makes decision making far different than the style of previous Left political parties.
Bingo. (Emphasis mine.) 

The Green Party US, as in the national party, is nothing more than another state party. And, things like this contribute to the national party having various pants-crappings. (Stewart is very much with me in his take on David Cobb and the AccommoGreens.)

Several things from Stewart.

It's a pretense that it's a national party. And probably, that pretense is another thing connected to the GPUS/GPUSA split.

Second, no coordination. So, if the national party won't pay for Jill Stein's AccommoGreens recount, she'll get a state party to back her.

Third, no central authority.

Greens have a clear object lesson (besides the current state of the national party) when you have something that (allegedly, in this case) has no central authority.

The Occupy movement.

It, too, got jack shit done.

Or, to look back at the last election, per Tom MacMillan? The Oklahoma Green Party, going beyond Stein's personal endorsement of him before the California Democratic primary, formally endorsed Bernie Sanders. Before that state's OWN primary. As in "We're Greens, declaring ourselves irrelevant. And stupid."

The party claimed it was due to the state's repressive ballot access laws. Bullshit, multiple times. First, they can't be more repressive than Texas, can they? Second, surely, you can have a caucus and convention if you can't have a primary. Third, if you couldn't do that, you still don't need to endorse one Dem over another.

Per MacMillan and along that line, Colorado Greens, in a state that should be more sympatico to a Green Party than Oklahoma, were arguably even worse. And, they didn't like Tom calling them about. But, contra Andrea Merida Cuellar and others, and their link, he was right (or more right than wrong) and they were wrong (or more wrong than right). Writing 1,000 words about the Colorado Democratic presidential caucus and how Berniecrats were running out of hope and how they could consider jumping ship after hope was exhausted?

To coin a phrase? That is "lesser evilism" at work.

At a minimum, one could write a Green Party state-level appeal to Sandernistas without an in-the-weeds, inside-baseball 500-word section about how the Colorado Democratic presidential caucus operates.

Beyond that, for me, I would have mentioned foreign policy issues in that appeal and said something like: "If you really oppose American imperialism, the Green Party is the only choice." In other words, tell them to start voting Green now, ignore the Democratic Presidential caucus and move on because — Bernie is a Democrat. (And he is, in reality.)

I'm not sure the Colorado Greens were as off-base as MacMillan claims, but, if that link is the best defense they can offer, they were at least a bit off-base.

(Note: This is not in any way a taking of sides in the Cuellar vs Cobb-Stein events at this year's GP national convention.)

And, per a comment Stewart had on MacMillan's piece? Occupy was probably not much more than left-neoliberal, and selfish graduate-school whites, as self-polling indicated, and I blogged about.

That said, I disagree with MacMillan in condemning fusion candidates, period. I'd cross-endorse a Dem IF they checked all major lefty check boxes.

That said, back to Stewart's main piece. This:
The Green Party needs to actualize itself as a national party by suborning the multiple state parties to the Green Party of the United States.
Is the bottom line.

I doubt it will happen in or by 2020.

Which means I move closer yet to either the Socialist Party USA or not voting. 

August 19, 2017

India plans to go all-electric on cars by 2030

No, really! That's what the government claims, per the World Economic Forum.

Yeah, right.

Both Modi's currently ruling BJP AND Congress would be more likely to let Pakistan have Kashmir than for this to become a reality.

I mean, given that by 2030, India will likely pass China as the world's most populous nation, thanks to Modi having declared a "birthrate war" with Beijing, AND, given that India's been a foot-dragger to this point on even voluntary efforts to help fight global climate change, this would be great.

But, it ain't happening.

There's ZERO charging infrastructure there. But, that's a minor problem.

One-third of rural Indian homes lack electricity, even though just about all the country (theoretically) is wired. Many houses that do have juice don't have it for a full 24 hours a day. It's intermittent and unreliable.

And, by India's current grid, going all-electric could be worse than having more gas-powered cars. Coal makes up nearly 60 percent of its power generation, and a fair amount of that is dirty lignite.

After all, in advance of the Paris Accord talks, the Modi government said India should be lumped with sub-Saharan Africa, not China, on standards. If it was telling the truth, then it knows it can't meet these promises. If it was lying, then it may well be lying now.

And, per that link and my "birthrate war" comment above, if ANYTHING is ANTI-climate change battling, it's deliberately asking your country to increase its birthrate.

To the degree India cleans up its electric generation, and produces more, other demands on it will go well ahead of electric cars.

August 18, 2017

Grocery wars, part 2


A week and a half ago, per the graphic above, I blogged about what appears to be a new showdown in grocery wars, starting with Kroger's end to a 13-year sales growth, along with the announced expansion of Aldi and cousin Lidl mean for the grocery industry.

Well, we've got a couple of updates.

First, at the nearest Kroger, in a town that also has an Aldi's, Kroger's done a bunch of price-whacking on house brand products from deli "pan" style premium bread to crackers, potato chips and more. And Aldi has responded.

Bigger yet?

Aldi's is rolling out a trial run of grocery delivery. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metromess, the nearest big city to me, is one of the trial areas.

Now, everybody from wags to serious economic analysts wonder how many Aldi's shoppers will pony up for this.

I'd say: You're stereotyping Aldi's shoppers and possibly more than you realize, at least in some places. I'd also say: You're making assumptions about how much Aldi will charge.

Perhaps of better note? Aldi's CEO said it would be adding more house brands.

That means, in Dallas, more of a possible war not just with Kroger, but with the recently invading Winco Discount Foods, which in terms of overall selection combined with a value range of products near Aldi on price and wider in products, is the best of all three stores.

August 16, 2017

The Nation and its DSA bromance vis-a-vis the Green Party

I have longly, loudly and repeatedly, for many years, bitched about The Nation's refusal to give any real coverage to the Green Party. Said oversight is not just limited to presidential election seasons, and it is clearly deliberate.

The Democratic Socialists of America? Different story. Now that Bernie Sanders has made it OK for Bernibros to come out of the closet or whatever, they are. And so, the mag has run not just one but two stories, by John Nichols and by Jesse Myerson, puffing the DSA.

And, "puffing" both are.

First, Nichols talks about the DSA's "long, storied tradition."

So, let's look at that tradition.

First, the DSA is NOT a political party. It's merely an activist group. It is arguably the most conservative splinter of the breakup of the old Socialist Party, per its Wikipedia page. While I'm no David Cobb fan, Greens should note the DSA endorsed John Kerry ahead of Cobb in 2008, and Barack Obama ahead of both Cynthia McKinney in 2008 and Jill Stein in 2012. (Of course, the Communist Party USA also endorsed Obama, showing just how far tokenism can go at times.)

Unfortunately, judging by a Facebook group, there's plenty of Greens who have a DSA bromance, too, and not all of them are Berniecrats wearing (for now) Green get-up.

Second, on Myerson's piece? I'm more a socialist than the Berniebros, by and large, and I'm certainly more of a socialist than Bernie himself.

And, re Myerson's breathless reporting on its growth rate? First, that's the old fallacy of appeal to the crowd. Second, the Green Party, though having a disappointing 2016 presidential run, is also growing.

Next, the likes of Maxine Phillips opposing a full-on BDS illustrate, among older members, just how conservative the DSA is.

Speaking of, Nichols in his piece ignores reporting on how perennial Socialist candidate Norman Thomas was long on the CIA payroll, a fact that I am quite sure he knows.

Some people may claim the DSA is leftist by its voting at this year's convention to leave the Socialist International. Big deal. The Socialist Party USA, which is an actual party as well as an activist group, did that back in 2005. Unlike the DSA, the SPUSA, per Wiki, does not in any way, shape or form collaborate with the Democratic Party. It may not run many candidates, but it runs more than the non-party DSA. It may not be big, but at least until this year's DSA convention, it was at least as big as the DSA.

None of this, though, will ever be reported by The Nation. And, as a result, "none" is what sort of subscription I will ever buy, or money I will ever send.

And, as for Greens? Basically, to riff on a GP name or two above, the DSA is kind of what AccommoGreens like Cobb and Stein would like to make the Green Party — an activist organization to prod Dems left first (remember Dear Leader asking for that, then getting mad when anybody did it), and a political party of the left a distant second.

As for Greens shouting over the DSA having a libertarian sectional at this year's convention? I accept certain elements of libertarian socialism, while noting that not all libertarian socialists are anarchic, that I am definitely not, and that I reject anarchic ideas for the Green Party.

Otherwise, is the DSA "bad"? No. Am I glad it's moving further left? Yes.

But, Greens? For any of you having a Nation-type bromance for the DSA? Again, what presidential candidates have they endorsed?

August 15, 2017

TX Progressives denounce #Charlottesville, Trump non-response, await #txlege sine die

The Texas Progressive Alliance strongly condemns the racist Nazi violence in Charlottesville as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at July finance reports in key State Senate districts.

Socratic Gadfly examines Consortium News' latest in-depth piece on how Putin did NOT "do it" on the DNC hacks and and ties this together with Sy Hersh's comments about Seth Rich.

With only a few days remaining in the special legislative session, it appears that Greg Abbott won't come close to getting everything he wanted out of it, says PDiddie at Brain and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas calls out the Texas Republican hate on display this week - from LGBTQ bashing, immigrant bashing and the bashing of the poor.

Neil at All People Have Value went to the monthly meeting of the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. The meeting was well-attended and many tangible actions were discussed. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Ted at Jobsanger offers up some statistics about Muslims in America.

Lewisville Texan Journal has a profile of John Wannamaker, one of four Dems vying to challene Rep. Michael Burgess.

Texas Watch wants the state department of insurance to investigate car insurers for allegedly cutting corners on paying for repairs.

========================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Marc Campos eulogizes former Governor Mark White, while the TSTA Blog remembers his legacy.

Texas Vox needs some help for its challenge to one of Trump's deregulatory executive orders.

Lone Star Ma makes the case for breast pumps.

The Daily Report notes that now-former Corpus Christi mayor Dan McQueen is going to go Steve Stockman and primary Ted Cruz.

The Rivard Report notes San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg telling Greg Abbott to back off the attack on cities.

The Texas Living Waters Project frets about the zebra mussel invasion.

August 14, 2017

Another job, another age discrimination?

A marketing communications job at a state university, where the job description doesn't even include the phrase "social media," decided to hire another person after its interviews of me and other finalist candidates.

Not going to name the place,  as, unlike the now-being-named Bastrop Advertiser newspaper, who I blogged about before with the use or misuse of "social media" questions as what I believe was a screening tool, I don't know who this state university hired. (I know who Bastrop hired and I knew him personally and it was no surprise he left after less than a year.)

But its initials are SFA State University and it's in Deep East Texas.

Anyway, in case I need to, I bookmarked the particular job. And, I'm going to copy/paste the details.
General Description:
This is a professional position responsible for performing editorial work in support of the operation of the Office of University Marketing Communications. Responsible for contributing to the development, publication and dissemination of department-produced communications; assisting with the development and implementation of communications programs; assisting with special projects as assigned; and ensuring the quality, consistency, and conformity of departmental public relations, branding and publication functions. Works under general supervision, with moderate latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment. This is a security-sensitive position. Reports to the assistant director, University Marketing Communications (Creative & Editorial Services). 
 
 Essential Job Functions:
1. Researches, writes, and edits department-produced communications for use in print and electronic publications, branding efforts and communications programs.
2. Obtains, prepares, and disseminates informational and promotional items in the form of news stories, feature articles, or marketing collateral internally to the university community and/or externally to local and state media and the general public.
3. Confirms facts for releases, features, and marketing copy, adhering to journalistic standards for fact-finding, research and style.
4. Consults with university faculty and staff to obtain information for publication and/or to respond to media inquiries.
5. Contributes to the print and electronic publication of department-produced communications.
6. Assists with the development and implementation of communications programs that describe and promote the university by collaborating with departmental staff and/or other departments and contributing to decisions on content and style.
7. Upholds established editorial standards of official university communications.
8. Monitors comprehensive project schedule to ensure timely project completion.
9. Ensures the quality, consistency, and conformity of departmental public relations, branding and publication functions.
10. Provides periodic project status reports to supervisor.
11. Stays abreast of developments and emerging trends related to areas of specialization.
 
Non-Essential Job Functions:
1. Assists with copywriting as assigned.
2. Assists with photography and videography shoots as needed.
3. Assists with special projects as assigned.
4. May edit publications produced by other departments.
5. Performs other related duties as assigned. 
 
 Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
1. Knowledge of, or the ability to learn, university policies and procedures.
2. Knowledge of professional standards related to areas of specialization, including journalism principles, the concepts used in writing news and marketing copy, Associated Press style, desktop publishing and printing.
3. Skill in using computer applications including spreadsheet, database, publication, and word processing software.
4. Skill in completing assignments accurately and with attention to detail.
5. Skill in editing documents for correct grammar.
6. Ability to analyze, organize and prioritize work while meeting multiple deadlines.
7. Ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written form.
8. Ability to establish and maintain a good rapport with university faculty and staff, students and the general public.
9. Ability to think conceptually and creatively.
10. Ability to exercise sound judgment in making critical decisions.
11. Ability to problem-solve in a variety of situations.
12. Ability to maintain currency of knowledge and skills, including adapting to changes in technology and software related to areas of specialization. 
 
 Education:
Completion of at least two years of college coursework or an Associate's degree in English, communications, journalism, marketing or a related field is required. Bachelor's degree is preferred. 
 
 Experience and Training:
Two years of related experience is required. Experience in news writing, marketing, advertising, public relations, communications or a related field is required. Graphic design experience is preferred. 
By the job description, on both education and experience, I was overqualified, if anything. Therefore, the idea that they hired somebody even better qualified, for a job that, at its base-level pay, pays less than the journalism job I now have?

Laughable. 

I really doubt that, per the university's form "no" letter, they got somebody better qualified. (I'm doubly sure of that now; re-reading the job title, I realize I looked one line too high on the university's pay scale. At their pay range, I am VERY sure they didn't have somebody better qualified. Somebody cheaper, as part of being younger? Possible. Very possible. Or else, they hired somebody either far more desperate than me, or somebody who "got creative" on a resume and / or in the interview process.)

On the social media issue, you'll note that the phrase "social media" isn't even mentioned. And, other than details of how to apply, and information that would more specifically identify who the university is, that is the WHOLE job description.

I was asked at least three "social media" questions by one of the four interviewers. (They had split up questions; I don't know if they brainstormed question lists together or separately.)

I was asked in detail about my skill in personal and professional use of not only Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram and Snapchat.

First, WHY was I asked any of these questions?

Second, WHAT THE FUCK is Snapchat used for as a professional social media tool? Seriously?

At best, it could be seen as attempting to be hip to millennials making college decisions. However, they might at least feel patronized by such, and besides, that's really the business of recruitment and admissions anyway. But, to reach out to alumni? Professional organizations interested in professors and various colleges of a university? No.

Beyond all THAT, when folks on Twitter like the Democratic Party and Ted Cruz use the Snapchat icon as their Twitter icons, you know it's about to lose its "millennial cool."

Third, the supervisor for the position, when I queried by email later, having gotten the impression from interview questions that I was suddenly interviewing for a social media editor's position, told me that the job only involved a one per day to each of the social media accounts. (I still have that, and other, emails saved.)

Given all that, and that the person asking the social media questions was under 35, if not under 30 ...

Age discrimination is the only realistic conclusion I see. 

Even if it wasn't consciously done. (Sorry, Dan Kaufman, but this is why things like Project Implicit not only reveal a fair amount of truth, but are necessary.) Even if wanting somebody cheaper cuz younger.

Also, if this wasn't conscious age discrimination, it was godawful interviewing to ask somebody questions that aren't even on a job description.

==

I will be charitable enough to say they let me interview by Skype (OTOH, they might have pushed the "social media" issue even harder in person), and complete timed writing and editorial tests on an honor system.

August 11, 2017

#ClimateChange news parsing, #ParisAccord BS, scientific punch-pulling

Yes, this is one of those blog posts where I pull various ideas of the header together into a seamless whole.

The New York Times' "breathless" story Wednesday about the draft version of the latest installment of the the quadrennial National Climate Assessment is very good — but too breathless; as many media outlets have noted, like the WaPost, it wasn't "private." And, per a comment near the end of that blog, you've got to double-dot every "i" and double-cross every "t" with the current White House.

So, this technically can't be about climate change censorship. However, per climate scientist Bob Kopp, also quoted at Erik Wemple's blog, the Trump Administration does face an Aug. 18 review deadline.

And, per the scientists who talked to the Old Gray Lady, it is possible that without publicity, it IS possible, Mr. Kopp, Mr. Wemple, et al, that Trump, Scott Pruitt, et al, would indeed have shit-canned, or butchered the hell out of, the version scheduled for release.

(Update, Aug. 15: Andrew Revkin, who knows his way around the worlds of both climate change reporting and anti-climate change politics, reports at Pro Publica that this could indeed be the case, and cites the history of previous NCAs under Shrub Bush. In his piece, Revkin mentions Steve Koonin as calling for the "red team, blue team" approach to "critique" the NCA. Per Wiki, Koonin is, at a most charitable interpretation, a climate change minimalist. Per less charitable interpretations, he's a denialist. Add in that his op-ed was in the Wall Street Journal, going as far right as he could while still trying to plump for mainstream credibility.

I also finally got Kopp's attention. And, no, I didn't say you disagreed with a co-author of the report; I said, per Wemple's piece, you arguably were downplaying the suppression risks. That said, I wouldn't have cross-tweeted that co-author, Katharine Hayhoe, off Revkin's piece, today, if I had noticed her Tweets on Wemple's piece last week earlier. Because, she arguably did the same thing that Kopp arguably did.

And, per said Twitter exchange, both Hayhoe and Kopp? Nice, polite, Obamiac type climate scientists, as far as I can tell. Wouldn't surprise me if they've flung around the term "climate change alarmist" before, or at least words kind of like that. Whether or not that's in their particular book, I have decided that, if I ever hear that, not only addressed to myself, but wrongly addressed to others in the future, I'll use the phrase "climate change neoliberal."

Update, Aug. 18: Gary Yohe says that a Trump shit-canning of the NCA, referenced by him under alternate title of the Climate Science Special Report, would be worse than withdrawal from Paris.)

And, also, this ignores whatever differences existed between the January draft posted online for public comment and the July draft filed for final administrative review. The July draft is identified as a fifth-order draft, indicating right there it's not the same as the January one. And indeed they're not; the January draft is a third-order one. And Kopp and Hayhoe can choose to tell the general public, if they don't want to wade through the whole thing, what changes have been made.

That said, that's going to get us to other things.

First, Kopp himself is "breathless" in his optimism about how little damage Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will cause. That's because, in turn, he's breathlessly optimistic about the Paris Accord itself, even though it's ultimately aspirational bullshit, as I've called it before.

So, too, are domestic measures passed by Dear Leader. The tighter EPA mileage regs? Carmakers can pay fines — and will, with cheap gas prices — if they don't meet them. They also have loopholes for flex-fuel vehicles, which will almost never burn E85. In turn, that's actually good, perhaps, because the amount of climate change that would be caused by trying to grow enough corn to actually meet significant E85 use would itself be a problem.

Kopp either does know that, and is pulling his own punches, or he doesn't, and needs to do some more reading himself.

That said, per Counterpunch, the leaked, uncovered, revealed, or pointed-to National Climate Assessment is itself not much above the aspirational bullshit level.

First, it's based on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2014 report, which itself is a matter of issue, and now we're going to get to the third part of the header.

The IPCC's reports in general are known for taking conservative stances on how much of a concern the present course of climate change is. (Cue Michael Mann and others worried about "alarmism.")

Second, per Counterpunch, that 2014 IPCC report has been overtaken by some events. More permafrost craters in Siberia, not only, surely, releasing carbon dioxide but possibly leaking methane too, which may indeed be causing some of the craters. Loss of another section of the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

The only real answer is the one I said even before Paul Krugman did — carbon tax plus carbon tariff. And, no, Bob Kopp, neither the EU nor China is "taking the lead" on climate change until one or the other of them pushes this through if the US won't.

Oh, and claims that China has peaked in carbon emissions? Well, if President Xi Jinping plumps for more and more of a consumer sector economy, that means more polluting cars (if not electric), more polluting airline flights (no way to electrify), more Chinese consumer plastics, etc.