SocraticGadfly: 6/19/16 - 6/26/16

June 24, 2016

The not-so-bad side of #brexit

I'm not Pollyanna and I did not say "good side," just "not-so-bad side" of #brexit, Britain's leaving the European Union. And here are a few things.

1. The EU does suck in some ways. Beyond austerity for Greece and Ireland (noting Greece needed some sort of butt-kicking), a bloated bureaucracy in Brussels that is often arrogantly tone deaf is one problem. The Dutch are among people of member nations who hate the EU more than Britain.

1A. The related fact that, as the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have noted, it's like the old U.S. Articles of Confederation government.

Maybe brexit forces Brussels to face 1, and member states to face 1A. It will take 5 years if not a full decade for even the first stirrings, but stand by ...

At a minimum, more citizen of its various members will see how illiberal it is. (Counterpunch - a grain or two of salt may be needed.)

2. David Cameron leaving office.

2A. British Conservatives imploding, with the toffs portion facing the common man portion.

Neither of these can be too bad unless Labour moves further right.

3. Britain honestly realizing what its "special relationship" with Washington is, especially with Obama's pivot to Asia.

4. Trump and the Trump Train drawing false idea for overconfidence.

5. London hypercapitalism may get kneecapped, and  the remaining EU run more away from UK-style neoliberalism, per Reuters.

I may have more later, but those are starters.

June 23, 2016

Gawker 1/3 right, no more, on #NoBillNoBreak — #DemsNeverSat for real #guncontrol

I know, I know— blind squirrels, acorns, etc. But Gawker is at least half right on this — all the Dems' bill would do is stop a few alleged Mooslims and the late Ted Kennedy from buying assault weapons, when in reality ...

Any civil libertarian knows the no-fly list is bigoted, violates the spirit of constitutionality, and per my Ted Kennedy crack, is still far, far short of perfection, and ...

Any gun control advocate worth his or her salt does know that handguns are the real problem, even more on childhood accidental deaths and suicides than murders.

Senate Dems did try, and failed, on better background checks. But Dems have had less than nothing about trigger locks.

Is it 100 percent political theater? Nom starting with the GOP claiming the link to the no-fly list would violate due process, when the Guilty Old Party has never expressed that concern about the list itself, let alone a serious desire to fix it.

Right now, in it takes two to tango, this is probably 65 percent Dem/35 percent GOP on the kabuki. And, Gawker first missed the background checks, and never called out GOP hypocrisy either. Alex Pareene used to do better.

So, we'll give him his own 65 percent kabuki. And maybe this is part of Nick Denton's fundraising — pseudo-contrarian clickbait.

June 22, 2016

The fifth vote was Breyer, and don't lionize Sotomayor

Have to disagree a tad with friend Brains' original framing (now corrected) of the Strieff case that just gutted the Fourth Amendment even more.

The 'fifth vote' was NOT Tony the Pony Kennedy, it was Stephen Breyer. A Democrat.

Not the first time he's been a squish outside two hot-button social issues. You can go Google.

And, in the second half of this review of her stance on privacy issues, Sotomayor has herself been a squish at times on the Fourth Amendment, as in the Howard case. She's also shown a fair amount of deference to the Imperial Presidency.

The bottom line? This shows that outside two hot-button social issue, Democaratic Supreme Court justices aren't always "reliable" votes. "My Democrats right or wrong" types like to say "oh the SCOTUS" against us Green voters every 4 years. And this lets me throw it back at them.

Yes, the right called Roberts a squish on Obamacare. But, wth his ruling being used to undercut the Commerce Clause, he wasn't really, especially if you add in the Hobby Lobby case.

Yes, on two hot-button social issues. there's five reliable votes, as on the best interpretation of the Second Amendment,. However, on a number of issues besides Fourth Amendment ones, there's plenty of squishiness. I mentioned some issues with the imperial presidency. War on Drugs issues often tempt liberal justices to vote law and order. They also often have little problem letting schools restrict the First Amendment rights of juveniles.


And Tony Kennedy's fifth vote to preserve some abortion rights also undercuts this bullshit.

June 21, 2016

TX Progressives dissect state and national Democrats

The Texas Progressive Alliance looks forward to a day when it never has to mourn the victims of another mass shooting again as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the kuff sets a couple of hopefully attainable goals for Texas Democrats in 2016.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos has had it with political inaction after yet one more tragic mass shooting.  Enough is enough.  The carnage has got to stop. Fire the cowards who enable gun slaughter. When Political Cowardice is Lethal.

Socratic Gadfly reads Sanders' call for election reforms and wishes he had real reform that included third parties.

The Texas Democratic Convention was held in San Antonio this past weekend, and by all accounts was underwhelming, as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs predicted.

eil at All People Have Value took his efforts to the streets to promote the value of everyday life to the corner of Cesar Chavez and Harrisburg in Houston. APHV is part of

Egberto Willies interviews a secessionist who wants to see if Brexit can create ideas for Texit.

Texas Sharon maps out the oil and gas industry's health threats.


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

Diana Wray recaps Dan Patrick's very bad day on Twitter following the Orlando massacre.

The TSTA blog calls for educators to unite against Donald Trump.

Ben Becker has some questions for TEA Commissioner Mike Morath about the STAAR test.

Alamo Heights ISD Superintendent Kevin Brown and several of his colleagues warn that we  can no longer fool ourselves into believing that just because many students seem to do well and graduate prepared for college and career, that we can sustain those results over time.

Scott Braddock peeks behind the curtain at the handful of rich radicals who were trying to buy this year's legislative elections.

Nancy Sims mourns the tragedy in Orlando and asks what we all will do about it.

Kris Banks asserts that gun safety is an LGBT issue.

Grits for Breakfast has a Politifact smackdown.

San Antonio-area superintendents urge us all to get real about school funding and school outcomes.

Ben Becker questions TEA Commissioner Mike Morath about STAAR. (And gets a weak response.)

June 20, 2016

Susan Hawk needs to resign and Dallas media needs to take notes (updated)

The Dallas County District Attorney's office issued a news release today [in May] that (can't use the "embattled" word) DA Susan Hawk, she of offering Craig Watkins drinks fame, has had a depression "relapse" which is how the Dallas Morning News, and other Metromess mainstream media all ran it.

(Update, June 20: Hawk is now seeking her 3rd depression treatment just 10 days after realease from 2nd; Morning News still not asking tough questions. [see below.])

Update, Aug. 11: Hawk is back on the job. Unfortunately, the News isn't digging deeper. More unfortunately, Jim Schuetze at the Observer hasn't done much digging yet.)

There are several problems with this reportage, all of which I'm going to unpack, in more detail than I have already done on Twitter on Friday.

1. One does not "relapse" on mental illness, unlike addiction, at least not that I've ever heard. Indeed, before Friday, I'd never even heard the word "relapse used in the same sentence with any mental illness, whether depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or something else. I'm not a psychological expert, but I'm at least as knowledgeable about this as the average intelligent layperson — or the average intelligent journalist or broadcaster.

That said, Google Ngram ... which only covers books scanned into Google Books, and not newspapers, magazines, etc., with a smoothing of "one," says "depression relapse" surpassed "addiction relapse" about 15 years ago. However, "drug relapse" is still far ahead. And one other phrase with "relapse" is double that. More on that in a minute. (Sum the two up, and they have a five-to-one edge over "depression relapse."

1A. Use of "relapse" with mental illness could be stigmatizing, primarily because of the normal use of the word relapse in the field of psychology, which is going to lead in to something else just below.

2. Dallas County DA's office should know this. Indeed, I suspect it DOES know this, and I kind of wonder if Hawk's friend/enabler/something else? (as I hinted in the past on Twitter, speaking of) Mari Woodlief was behind the exact language of the presser.

2A. And, per point 1A in particular and all of the above, the use of "relapse" should raise the issue of whether Dallas County DA's office is trying to conflate this with an actual relapse of her drug addiction. Apparently, as of Friday afternoon, this possibility had not actually raised that issue among Dallas-area mainstream media.

3. Use of the word "treatment," also used in the news release by the DA's office, raises similar normal usage issues and other caveats. Again, I personally have never heard "treatment" used with depression, but I've quite regularly heard it used with addiction. I suppose it's possible; it's not grammatically incorrect, but, it's certainly not normal usage, is it?

4. I also know, contra that news release, that "attention deficit disorder" is NOT mental illness and that one does not usually get "treatment" for it.

5. The media are not required to use government, or private business, press releases verbatim. ALL Dallas media, not just the Morning News, where I first saw this, who used the word "relapse," or "treatment," other than citing the presser as a direct quote, should be ashamed of themselves for the constellation of reasons above.

5. This would of course be true in general of a good journalistic practice. In the case at hand, given that at least some staff of the DA's office have been enablers of her in the past, and also apparently in the past month leading up to what may be an actual relapse, Dallas-area media had a positive duty to be thoroughly skeptical of that press release, and they all appeared to have failed. (Well, I haven't read the Observer yet; maybe it didn't fail.)

6. Dallas media, starting with the News, has heretofore still not looked at the possible sidebar issue of alcoholism. Given that other than the almost totally physiological addiction to nicotine, alcoholism is America's primary addiction problem, the media in general should always be thinking alcohol in the back of their minds when reporting on drug addiction problems of public figures. (I've also hinted at this on Twitter.)

As for her office making this announcement? It's not really transparency, it's being backed into a corner. And, they can say the treatment is for depression, and due to HIPAA, Menninger won't say anything additional itself. (For those wondering, Menninger offers inpatient drug and alcohol treatment as part of inpatient psychological counseling and related services.)

Were I a betting man, I'd give even odds Hawk has an alcohol problem. If she does, I'd give more than even odds that her enablers as well as her are in deep denial about this. I'd give even odds that this is where her crack about Watkins came from, and that she was engaging in a bit of psychological "projection."

With all of that in mind, yes, Hawk needs to resign. If she, her staff and her enablers can't be honest and forthcoming with the public, she's lost the public trust and the right to be the county's top legal representative. And, if they can't tell her to resign, the staff in the DA's office, even with Hawk's recorded history of vindictiveness, either should resign themselves to escape a bad job, or else resign if they won't stop being her enablers. Given that Hawk and Woodlief, and any other enablers from two years ago now working in the DA's office lied about her addiction to scrips, can they be any more trusted now?

And, if I'm barking up the right tree, or even close, no, this isn't being harsh on her as a person.

Finally, in all of this, there's more than a whiff, there's a stench, of income inequality. Even if it is just depression, inpatient hospitalization for depression is FAR beyond the reach of the average American's insurance. So is time off from a job that would be only unpaid — if allowed at all.

So, in the case of Hawk, is this time off unpaid? Paid? (That's not counting how often she's missed work.)

Dear Morning News: There's multiple stories for you to write, right there.

#TrumpTrain loses more wheels

In another possibly "too late" move, after he dad pissed off multiple GOP campaign management insiders, Donald Trump has canned his own campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

The Big L says Trump kiddos forced him out. Ok.

On the big picture, on paper, this would seem to help Paul Manafort, the Donald's campaign chair. We shall see; one person really calls all the shots there, and if Manafort tries to button him down too much, he's gone himself. National analysts agree.

The move reflects larger lack of organization issues as I see it. And if Trump so Poor runs low on free media coverage, it only gets worse.

So, that means we Greens ca push 50-state strategy for Jill Stein, because Hillary Clinton has problems indeed if she can't beat Trump.

Elizabeth Warren, warhawk

Yes, from 2104, but really, she hasn't changed since then. Well worth a read on how, eve within Dems, ignoring the broader left, she's to the right on Israel.

In either case, worth a read. Now you know why, like Bernie Sanders, she'll always be a 'good Dem.'

And why, per Politico's profile of Jill Stein, Greens need to push in all 50 states.

And, Sandernistas, things like this should convince you not to listen to the People's Party siren song.