SocraticGadfly: 9/18/16 - 9/25/16

September 24, 2016

Is there a Trump Effect in polling — a reverse Bradley Effect?

For those who aren't sure about what I'm getting at, first, I was inspired by this blog post by friend Brains.

Let's start with what the Bradley Effect is, as an explainer. From Wiki:
The Bradley effect (less commonly the Wilder effect) is a theory concerning observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some United States government elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. The theory proposes that some voters who intend to vote for the white candidate would nonetheless tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for the non-white candidate. It was named after Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor's race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections.
So, that's that.

That said, what if there's a reverse effect with Trump?

"Good" Republicans ashamed to admit that they'd vote for Trump? Too ashamed to admit it even to anonymous polls?

Brains' post has Hillary Clinton with a 10-point polling lead over Trump in Harris County (Houston), Texas. Barack Obama won the county by 1 or 2 percentage points in 2012 over Mitt Romney and 2008 over John McCain. The idea that she's doing that much better than him, when she's sagging nationally, does not compute.

So, the light bulb came on, since I'm aware of the Bradley Effect, and aware of the social psychology of why it happens.

If I'm even partially barking up the right tree, then Hillary Clinton's in even more trouble than the mainstream media wants to admit.

September 23, 2016

Did Ajamu Baraka raise a false flag, or just reality, on Hamas and Israel?

About a month ago, as I blogged here, the issue of Green Party Veep claiming that the 2014 kidnapping of three Israeli teens by Hamas had been a false flag was used to bash him by the likes of Zionists like Corey Pein.

Well, the reality is more subtle.

(And I should have gone in more depth at the time.)

First, if the kidnapping was done by Hamas members, it was apparently NOT, per Wikipedia's article, done by Hamas leadership. Also according to that page, Israeli officials were looking for pretexts for a new crackdown.

It's a crackdown that Israel has needed because of the egg on its face (largely hidden from the public) in helping Hamas get started. Yes, you read correctly. Click the link.

That said, I still reject the idea it was a false flag.

And, I remain leery of Baraka appearing with false flaggers, including Holocaust denialists. And, I don't really buy his attempts to explain this away. And, it thus remains another black mark against the Green Party.

So, my question was more rhetorical than real. But, hopefully a few readers did learn about what Israel will do at times. As well as learning again to examine conspiracy theories carefully.

September 22, 2016

Wanted: #Anonymous; Your mission? Hack the debates

If the so-called "Anonymous" crowd is as good as it claims, and if hypercapitalist smugness is as strong as we know, it shouldn't be too hard to hack into the feed of the first presidential debate, set for Sept. 26 an hour before start time, have a heads-up ready for the Jill Stein and Gary Johnson campaigns, and tell them to be ready to roll, right?

And, if any of this actually is doable, the Stein and Johnson campaigns need to drop any squeamishness about going along.

And, Anonymous will want to find a real non-duopoly debate moderator, as opposed to the dreck we're likely to get.

The dreck includes the fear-driven polling that the Commission on Presidential Debates uses to justify excluding third-party candidates

* The author of this blog post is not a member of Anonymous and has never met a member of Anonymous. Only trained professionals should try electronic hacking. Objects in your rearview mirror may be closer than expected.

September 21, 2016

#FreeTrade vs #climatechange

This is the first of what will be several mini-blogs on the subject of free trade.

Chris Tomlimson, an online friend, and most likely a personal friend, if I knew him in person, has expressed a moderate amount of concern about climate change as business columnist for the Houston Chronicle.

However, he's also an ardent free trader.

And, given the amount of coal China uses, as well as the inefficiency of many of its coal-fired electric plants, and the lack of pollution controls on them, know that free trade outsources pollution — including the global-warming pollutant carbon dioxide.

Anybody who's heard about Beijing's attempts to quash U.S. embassy pollution measurements, or seen a picture of the Beijing atmosphere, knows how true this is.

This is why "carbon tax PLUS carbon tariff" is the way, and only way, to go, on addressing climate change.

Otherwise, as for free trade vs fair trade, Tomlinson needs to focus his big guns on American, and European, Big Ag as much as anything. But we'll talk more about other free trade issues ahead.

September 20, 2016

This is how to recycle! In the face of #freetrade

A new French law is requiring that all disposable picnic-type dinnerware — silverware, plates, cups — be compostable and made of biologically sourced materials.

Per the story, it's yet another clear example of what's wrong with free trade agreements and similar. Opponents argue it violates the European Union's regulations on free movement of goods and services.

It also, per the story, reflects tensions between socialist/social democrat voters (and politicians) and green ones. French Environment Minister Segolene Royal not only originally opposed the measure, but called it elitist, in essence.

I, in turn, would argue that sentiments such as hers are themselves elitist.

As for Eamonn Bates claiming the products won't compost ... let him prove up or shut up.

TX Progressives looks at "deplorables" and more

This member of the Texas Progressive Alliance notes "deplorables" come in both mackerel and apples as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff encourages you to read the Houston Chronicle's story about how special education services have been systematically denied to Texas families.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos is not in the least bit surprised to know TX Governor Greg Abbott threw his hat into the ring with the The Grand Wizard of Birtherism.

On Sept. 11, Socratic Gadfly looked back at 9/11 and reminded readers of many repeated, recurring causes of death that kill almost as quickly as 9/11, some with political connections, that still don't get truly addressed.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme blames Republicans for playing mean political games instead of addressing real problems like the spread of the Zika virus. Cruel like Texas Republicans denying services to disabled children

Political polling wizard Nate Silver tells Democrats they can start to panic this week, as passed along by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value took the Harris County Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar class this past week. It takes a long time to really be able to register anybody after you take the class because the Republicans who run the county don't want you to register anybody. APHV is part of

The gap between the lives experiences of White Americans and Americans of color is significant. With this in mind,Texas Leftist offers a viewpoint on and justification for Black Lives Matter. Most thathave lived the experience of being unlawfully detained (or worse) by police see the movement as not only valid, but necessary.


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

Better Texas Blog has a bit of good news in the fight against food insecurity.

The Lunch Tray packs up six years of lunch packing advice.

Grits for Breakfast interviews Rebecca Bernhardt, executive director of Texas Fair Defense Project, which is one of the plaintiffs suing Harris County over its bail practices.

Streetsblog wonders why TxDOT doesn't believe its own data that show Texans are driving less per day on average than they were a decade ago.

Eileen Smith has a few questions about those charitable Trump portraits.

The TSTA Blog sounds the warning about school vouchers again.

The Agonist takes note on the lack of media coverage of the rise of labor organizing in the South. 

Digital Heretic deplores the use of voter-bashing by Clinton and Clintonistas.

September 19, 2016

Movement in Sweden's case against Julian Assange

Per NPR, here's the bullet points:

1. Arrest warrant is still active.
2. However, Swedish officials will interview him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London later this year.

I'm no blanket defender of Assange's personal behavior. The man's reckless at times, and clearly an egotist.

Yet, since Sweden DID help the CIA in its renditions work, I believe he is still right to fear extradition by Sweden to the US.

That said, there is a third bullet point.

The two non-rape charges have been dropped due to the lack of indictment before the statute of limitations expired. A tea-leaf reader will operate on the assumption those charges, at least based on evidence at hand, were that weak.

Tea-leaf readers will also note the 2020 statute of limitations on the rape charge and notes that — discounting fears of street kidnapping — Assange has four years left to try to run the clock out on the Swedish government.