SocraticGadfly: 9/25/16 - 10/2/16

September 30, 2016

The wrongness of Adolph Reed on Clinton, Stein, Greens, third parties

Early this year, as I expanded my left-liberal political reading, via Doug Henwood, I came across Adolph Reed Jr.

Good thought. As an academic, someone in a position to speak freely.

And then ...

He dives not just reluctantly, but vigorously, into the shallow pool of lesser-evilism and says Vote Clinton. And, in so doing, and yes, I'm critiquing a political science professor, I think he offers up an incorrect view of voting as instrumentalism and more.

I too think voting is an instrumental tool. Specifically, he offers the wrong instrumental angle.

Of course, Reed is also apparently ignorant of 1930s Germany. From what I understand, the German Communists DID try to ally with (or co-opt?) the Social Democrats. The SPD repeatedly, and out of principle, rejected the approaches.

Reed nowhere says he thinks the SPD should have denied the approaches. Now, even if he's unaware of the reality, he still could have answered a hypothetical version of this in yes or no fashion.

September 29, 2016

R, D, and G: Refudiating the "no difference" red herring

Plenty of Democrats, in presidential elections, in addition to using scare tactics like "oh the SCOTUS," or Swiftboating, like claiming Jill Stein is an antivaxxer, also like to use red herrings.

The most common one is that people like me claim there's no difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

I don't know about other Green voters in particular or left-liberals in general, but as for me, that's simply not true. Period and end of story.

Now, I DO say that there's less difference between Clinton and Trump than between Clinton and Stein.

In 2012, I said the same about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney than Obama and Stein, or in 2008 between Obama and John McCain vs. Obama and Cynthia McKinney, or 2004 and John Kerry and George W. Bush vs Kerry and c.

I stand by that, and expect to stand by that in the future. (I won't hold my breath over who Dems nominate in 2020 if Clinton loses, nor will I hold my breath on Clinton being anything other than a generic centrist if she wins.)

You'll notice I didn't go back to 2000. That's because I've voted Green in every presidential election this century, and 2000 is technically in the previous century. I'll have more on Ralph Nader, the man vs. the myths, in the future.

Unfortunately, along with the general "two sides only" of the duopoly appears to come a lot of black-and-white, or better, Manichean, thinking in general.

Once again, in the face of such thinking, I quote Idries Shah:

To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.
What else is there to say?

September 28, 2016

I'm not THAT afraid of a President Trump

In brief, here's why.

First, let's stipulate that Trump, not Ted Cruz, truly best represents Tea Party voters (voters, not astroturf groups) on two key issues.

Anybody who's seen Tea Partiers in Texas, let alone Trump campaign rallies, know they're virulently anti-immigrant. Cruz is not.

And, white working class GOP voters, especially those of the Tea Party brand, very especially those who have, or have had, manufacturing jobs, are strongly anti-free trade. Cruz is not.

On the former, two notes.

First, if Paul Ryan (assuming he remains as Speaker of the House) continues John Boehner's stance that a majority of the GOP caucus must support a bill for it to get to the floor, Trump's wall is unlikely to do so, let alone pass the House, at least if the caucus of the caucus is by secret ballot. Many GOP Congresscritters will see the size of the bill for a Trump-size wall, and knowing that he can't make Mexico pay, won't want the U.S. to pay.

Second, even if such a bill were discharged, it would never pass.

That said, it would be fun to see border-state GOP Congresscritters, if the caucus vote were NOT secret, squirm into voting contortions.

As for free trade?

Trump's a hypocrite, but one with, for him, a reasonably time-consistent stance. The TPP is more likely to be dead with him as president than as Clinton.

Plus, Trump said earlier this year he opposed privatizing Social Security, and actually wants to shore it up.

As for the Religious Right portion of the GOP, sure, Trump has mouthed 2 Corinthians and has its leadership sucking up to him, but when was the last time you heard him mention either "abortion" or "gay rights"?

Well, he actually did two weeks ago, and his comments, overall, aren't further right than any other typical Republican, although with even less information. And, he has yet to spew about gay rights.

As for his racism? That which makes many people fear him the most? Well, as with the likes of Ohio county chairwoman Kathy Miller, the Trump campaign is doing America a favor. It's ripping the lid off racism that still exists among many Americans, the suave bullshit of Preznit Kumbaya aside.

So, he gets elected.

He puts his man on SCOTUS instead of Merrick Garland, who was "meh" anyway.

The next recession hits. (It likely will.)

Dems get a real candidate, and move left not right, and they win.

Or Greens up their appeal, and the recession isn't real bad, and Trump re-election looms.

Jeet Heer from The New Republic largely agrees. He notes that Trump is, in essence, a less Religious Right tilting Pat Buchanan. No, Pat didn't get the GOP nomination in 1992. That said, he was running against an incumbent, and Pat had less charm than Ronnie Reagan did against Ford in 1976. But, Buchanan showed the way for Trump was open.

I mean, this goes back to National Review's call-out/literary purge of John Birchers even while failing to admit its own racism.

The only real fear I have from a Trump win is that a lot of Republican national leaders distancing themselves from him now might decide his racism is no big deal six months after his potential election.

But, even that would be "trumped" by Dems then nominating a better candidate in 2016 than Clinton, with or without a recession.

Paul Street at Truthdig totally agrees, telling Hillbots and fellow travelers to stop peddling the fascist meme. All folks like you do is solidify my Green voting not just now, but for future elections. And, I'm not even a Millennial that you're likely to see slip away for the future.

This, buried near the end of the second page of the long piece, is the nutgraf:
Neofascism is simply not where the American ruling class is right now. When it is, we will know. If and when it gets there, it will put forward a far more serious and capable frontman than the preposterous Donald—a man so uninterested in the actual work of ruling that he offered the “moderate” Republican John Kasich control over “domestic and foreign policy” in a Trump White House if Kasich would be his running mate.

Far from being a Manchurian candidate, one could argue The Donald is a Manchurian False Flag candidate, if anything.

If Hillbots wanted to do more sensible fear-mongering, they'd try making intelligent voters afraid of President trump dying in office and being succeeded by President Mike Pence.

September 27, 2016

#Debate2016 — No. 1 was #DumbAndDumber

Good fricking doorknob.

Yes, I Tweeted about "Dumb and Dumber" last night.

I said Trump insults intelligence of people in general (Dumber) while Clinton insults intelligence of well-informed people (Dumb).

If you want a chess-match scorecard?

Clinton "won" with a gentlewoman's C-minus, to riff on  Shrub Bush and Hillbot extraordinaire Charles Pierce's calling him a C-plus Augustus. She did do some good Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope, but, she's the same semi-vacuous incrementalist, when discussing her own ideas, she's always been.

Trump "lost" with an F-plus.

I don't give him an F because he didn't always lie.

Biggest example? Yes, he was endorsed by ICE's union.

And, it's MSM gnat-straining to claim that his claim of being endorsed by ICE was a fib. As I told NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, I say that as both a Green voter and a media person myself.

I very likely won't watch the other two debates.

We've seen that Donald Trump is going to approach the debates as ... Donald Trump.

And that Hillary Clinton will be rope-a-dope Clinton because it's easy and defense-smart.


Within this actual debate, Trump told plenty of lies, of course.

And, Clinton told her fair share.

Beyond the "I'll be tough on regulations" likes designed to appeal to Berners dumb enough to buy, her biggest lies were in Russia-related cybersecurity issues. Beyond spreading the Manchurian candidate idea by indirect innuendo, she had a whole series of lies.

She claimed the U.S., unlike Russia or China, never commit cyberespionage, let along cyberwar.


So Stuxnet never happened?

See "Dumb and Dumber."

September 26, 2016

TX Progressives gear up for first debate

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes Tom "Smitty" Smith a happy and healthy retirement as it brings you this week's roundup and gets its popcorn for the first presidential debate.

Heat Street has a betting guide to the fun, Moms Rising offers debate bingo, and there's even a presidential debate drinking game.

Socratic Gadfly "invites" members of Anonymous to hack the TV feed of the presidential debate on Monday.

Off the Kuff marvels at the latest order from Judge Nelva Ramos in the voter ID lawsuit.

A discomfiting conclusion about Ted Cruz folding to Dan Patrick and endorsing Trump was drawn by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos is thrilled by the poll that shows Hillary Clinton 10 points ahead of Donald Trump in Harris Co.  That said Libby knows a Clinton win in Harris Co. will be a relentless and tough fight. Hot Damn Houston! We can do this. Clinton leads Trump in Harris Co.

As the Republican Congress fiddles, the Zika virus marches on TexasCouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is continually appalled at the Republican war on health care and the well being of citizens.

Neil at All People Have Value pointed out that Ann Harris Bennett would be a far better Harris County Tax Assessor-Voter Registrar than failed incumbent Mike Sullivan.    APHV is part of


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

Lone Star Ma focuses on the twelfth of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Colleen Aune (a former member of the Rice MOB) and Dan Solomon have their say on the MOB's controversial halftime show during the Rice-Baylor game.

Raised On The Rail provides a handy map of Houston restaurants near light rail stops.

The Lunch Tray alerts us to a disturbing report about teens and hunger.

The Austin Chronicle reminds us that SBOE member David Bradley is a huge jerk.

Berners who became Hillsplainers out of fear — or naivete

I've been seeing this more and more in recent weeks.

People who were ardent backers of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary and who even are semi-informed about the Green Party, pitching their tents and backing Hillary Clinton as soon as Bernie decided to do the same, and tarpaper over the Democratic shithouse in general.


On Effbook, a medical doctor who backs single-payer, and right now has a "no TPP with a slash" icon, but yet has claimed that Clinton's not a warhawk. (Never mind that Bernie is himself, as another story.)

Via the network of Texas progressive bloggers, someone who originally said that if he lived back in Ohio he'd vote Clinton not Green, but has now expanded it to here in Texas where he lives, despite Clinton's chances of success being totally undependent on Texas, and her having no chance of winning the Shiny Pointed Object State two weeks ago, despite fellating of her chances in a few corners.

Such people have two distinguishing points.

First, following Madame Slickster herself, they're operating in the politics of fear.

Second, per my header, they soon become Hillsplainers, working to explain away much of her history of wrongheadedness and wrongheartedness, and in the process, further showing the vacuousness of the word "progressive."


In other cases, Berners think Trump is much more a warmonger than Clinton. Wrong.

And, they think Bernie was much less a warmonger than Clinton. Also wrong.

Not totally wrong, but the man who lusted after F-35s for a decade and has yet to condemn the Hillary-backed coup in Honduras is less than pristine on foreign policy.

And Berners, especially those touting how edjumacated they are about him? Maybe they aren't.