SocraticGadfly: 10/30/16 - 11/6/16

November 04, 2016

The MSM vomitorium for Clinton continues

Start with my Wednesday post about the New York Times shooting down most of the Trump-Putin bullshit Clintonistas are peddling.

And,  yes, there IS an "MSM" that's clustered around peddling this.

The worst MSM outlet has to be Salon. Of course, that's not a real surprise. Many of the site's current contributors are Hillbots, including some like Digby who have tossed away previous reputations.

Outside the MSM, the worst is The American Prospect, the magazine affiliated with the think tank The Center for American Progress. TAP has also done everything it could to find multiple buses to run over FBI Director James Comey, even though, other than Comey making the mistake of speaking of Friday, not Monday, the ultimate problem-causer here is Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

President of CAP Neera Tanden is a long-term Clintonista, plus is partially to blame for the quagmire called Obamacare. She's also hugely and highly partisan, and it would not surprise me to see a so-far hidden trove of emails between her and Debbie Wasserman Schultz come to light.

November 03, 2016

No, elections aren't being rigged

Yes, per friend Brains, or the Snooze, voting machines can occasionally malfunction.

But, rigging elections? Besides Trump Train nutbars who will inevitably make that claim this year?

In Ohio 2004, the two most prominent claimants of that are Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a huge autism conspiracy wingnut, and Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog, a known JFK assassination conspiracy theorist.

Friedman doubles down by claiming, breathlessly, that just 6 flipped votes in each Ohio precinct would have given the election to John Kerry.

Well, he lost by 115K votes. Simple math says Ohio has more than 19,000 precincts. Yes, per his math, there was fraud in one county in the recount. And that's it.

Seriously, if this were the case? The 2012 election was close enough, and Mitt Romney was an upstanding GOP candidate. Why didn't Diebold flip that one?

Per Wikipedia's 2012 info, 70,000 flipped votes in Florida would have given that to Romney and made it 303 for Obama, 235 Romney. Another 550,000 combined would have flipped Pennsylvania and Ohio, 38 EVs, and given the election to Romney.

November 02, 2016

No, Trump is not having cybersex with Putin, or other rumors

The New York Times put paid to all such bullshit a couple of days ago.

Several people on Facebook who should know better have been reporting this crap, though. (I just unfriended one alleged skeptic. Easier than going through Facebook links to unfollow posts.)

Start with the header: "FBI sees no clear link."

Then, this:

Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.

That's assuming that Russia had a direct hand in such hacking; I don't even believe that.

As for that Trump-Russian bank connection? Not so much:

F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.

There you go.

As for Harry Reid's comments? He's full of crap. He could more productively use his last two months in office with a mea culpa in the form of working to overhaul hard-rock mining law.

November 01, 2016

TX Progressives have election overview update

The Texas Progressive Alliance asks if you have voted yet as it brings you this week's roundup.
Off the Kuff compares current and older poll results to evaluate the argument that Texas Democrats should not get too giddy.
Socratic Gadfly calls Mark Miller, the Libertarian candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission, a dangerous alternative, and calls out any and all state-level Democratic fixtures endorsing him instead of Green Martina Salinas over Grady Yarbrough.
Libby Shaw at Daily Kos learned that elections are rigged in a certain way.  The rigging is called voter suppression and gerrymandering.  Where the Real Rigging Takes Place.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why Texas Republicans hate women and children so much.  Funerals for miscarriages? Giving tax cuts to corporations while stiffing health care for children.
Turnout in Harris County and across  Texas and the country swelled as Americans chose to end the 2016 presidential election as early as humanly possible. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wrote about his personal experience voting early at one of Houston's heaviest polling places.
Neil at All People Have Value said that if you see a gap, you should fill it in yourself. APHV is part of
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.
Lone Star Ma wants to know what your voting plan is.
Grits for Breakfast despairs over the degraded state of Texas high criminal court elections.
The TSTA Blog calls on Dan Patrick to put his money where his mouth is on special education.
Mimi Marziani argues that Texas still has a long way to go to get it right on voter registration.
Paradise in Hell wonders how many more Republican judges will switch parties.

October 31, 2016

Besides a Finals threepeat, what's on tap in the NBA?

Kevin Durant: Will he help Warriors
take the title back from the Cavaliers?
It's time for another season of the National Basketball Association to start.

We're guaranteed — or almost so — a threepeat of Golden State-Cleveland Finals showdowns, right?


Is there something wrong with that?

Obviously, the biggest offseason news was surely Kevin Durant using free agency to bolt the Oklahoma City Thunder and go to the Golden State Warriors, winners of the 2015 title and Finals losers to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer.

Of course, the move brought out a variety of naysayers.

These were usually of two types.

One was deploring the rise of “superteams.”

Well, we had superteams in the past. Lakers-Celtics in the 1980s. The Bulls, period, in the 1990s. Lakers again at the start of the previous decade. Then the Miami Heat when LeBron made The Decision to leave Cleveland for South Beach before coming back home.

Yes, any team with LeBron seems like a superteam, and he's been to the Finals six years in a row. But, he's lost three of those. So, success is not guaranteed, although there's often a good chance of at least near-success. That said, per my post about this year's World Series, it's more bullshit than truth that America loves an underdog.

At the same time, especially with Lakers-Celtics, fans often love rivalries. That's true, at least to some degree, even if their team isn't one of the two in the series.

So, I don't loathe the idea of superteams myself. Besides, superteams can be built through drafting, scouting and trading just as much as free agency. Look at the San Antonio Spurs.

The second objection is that a team with that much talent will never find the way to mesh, will never find the way to be unselfish and so will be less than the sum of its parts.

Well, “your mileage may vary,” or “past performance does not guarantee the future,” but in the preseason, the Warriors seemed to have very little problem meshing. When they briefly had this year's version of their “Lineup of Death” on court, they played at an efficiency, skill and productivity level that will break all NBA records if they carry it out during the regular season. Add in that this additional depth in the starting lineup will let them give their starters more rest in games during the season, especially on nights when they play back-to-back games.
The one potential liability is that Durant has never been known as a great defensive player, and, as LeBron and his Cavaliers showed in rallying to win it all last year, playoff defense is a big deal. Durant's not horrible, but he's not good. And, with Andrew Bogut departing the Dubs for Dallas, the Warriors have no interior shot-blockers.

But, it will still, barring major injury to LeBron, or to one or more Warriors, be a threepeat of the Finals foes. And, the Cavs won last year with several players, including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, playing less than stellar D themselves. And, while Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala lock down, Iggy's getting older. Steph Curry isn't known for his D, and Draymond Green is hit and miss to a degree greater than his potential eikon (sic), Dennis Rodman.

Elsewhere? A few basic prognostications here.

Speaking of  Bogut, and the Mavericks, I predict they miss the playoffs this year. Whether Mark Cuban and his front office can do a real rebuild of the team remains to be seen. Frankly, I'm betting against Cuban for a few years. I suspect that, after 2017, the post-Dirk Nowitzki era could be a dry time indeed.

I predict the Lakers will be as bad as last year — just a different bad without Kobe Bryant jacking up 40 shots a game.

In the West, I also expect Utah and Minnesota to both make the playoffs ahead of the Mavs. In the East, I don't see any serious challengers to Cleveland. But, I do expect Joel Embiid to be for real, and to help the Sixers move from 10 to at least 15 wins. In the West, the San Antonio Spurs will give the Warriors another run, while the L.A. Clippers will probably threaten to do that before becoming dysfunctional again.

Blake Griffin will probably have some part in that dysfunction. In Alamo City, speaking of the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard may step into team leadership. Will Tony Parker step aside? Will Lamarcus Aldridge follow him, or per rumors, will he go on the trading block?

Yes, they looked very good in the opener against the Warriors, but I'll stand by the Dubs to win the West.

Anyway, beyond defense, what both the Cavaliers (and any LeBron team before that) and the Warriors have shown in the last two years is that teamwork is key in the NBA. The Spurs show it before that. Make the extra pass on offense. Make the extra rotation on defense. Communicate.
Buckle up for another great year!