SocraticGadfly: 12/11/16 - 12/18/16

December 16, 2016

American Indian myth and reality vis-a-vis #DAPL and #NoDAPL

It is true that Anglo America/official America broke many Indian treaties, including with the people we call the Sioux. But, some context is needed.

Before oh, about 1800, the Black Hills were not Sioux land. They were only moving west of the Missouri, at least in any number, about the same time Lewis and Clark were  moving up that river. The map on page 5 of this PDF, also reproduced at left by screen capture, demonstrates that for the Teton (Lakota) Sioux, the most western branch, pretty clearly. (Note the 1785 line, and how it's almost entirely east of the Missouri. As of Lewis and Clark time, they had finally started moving west of the Missouri in more numbers. They were regularly visiting the Black Hills, but the Black Hills were not yet part of "their territory."

That said, why the move? They were doing so, moving west, because the Ojibwe (Chippewa) had kicked their butts out of western Wisconsin and other areas closer to the Great Lakes. As documented on Ojibwe history (Wiki is really uneven in its articles about different Native American peoples), this happened at the end of the 1600s and in the 1700s. Before 1500 CE, they seemed to have lived in Ohio, and from there, migrated northwest. Then the Ojibwa, who got guns from the French before the Sioux got as much in the way of white man's goods, shoved them further westward.

Before that, the Black Hills are best described as an American Indian neutral ground, before 1800 or so, and possibly before 1820 or so. This map, which purports to be around 1800 for inland tribes, but has a lot of vacant space, has a bit more detail. Ergo, per one factoid of American history, while the Black Hills may have become Sioux religious ground, it most certainly is NOT ancient Sioux religious ground.

Otherwise, many so-called "tribal maps" are temporally static and diachronic to boot. In other words, they may show where one tribe was located at, in 1800, but where another was already located at in 1600. And, please, do note cite me back a Vine DeLoria, who loved to put on and off his Ph.D. hat at will.

And, the area of the Missouri River of the Dakota Pipeline? Mandans and other American Indians lived there before the Sioux pushed them out. Or the Arikara. Or the Hidatsa. See here. Indeed, the town of Mandan sits across the Missouri River from Bismarck and is the county seat of Morton County of recent infamy over the Dakota Pipeline.

I don't know if any Mandans, or Arikara, or Hidatsa, were at the #NoDAPL protests or not. If they were, I don't know if they got overlooked by the mainstream media, shunted aside by the Sioux, a combination of both, or what.

All of this ignores that American Indians generally didn't think in terms of land possession, of course. Nor did they, in terms of talking about despoiled graves, bury their dead European-style, in most cases, before the Columbian contact.

That said, there's still plenty of good ancient Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa, and not-so-ancient Sioux, reasons to scrap this sucker.

As for polluting their land? Yes, we did it. They did it to their own land, too. Don't buy the myth of American Indians as proto-environmentalists. And, don't buy a rebuttal myth that white America corrupted them. We did, with our technology, give them the power to be worse at this, yes.

We as a nation need to do our best to right our wrongs. We don't need to do that by, in part, pretending that American Indians were living in some quasi-Edenic Rousellian state of nature before 1492.

They weren't.

Most American Indians, like the Sioux, even without signed treaties, had agreements with other peoples — that they broke. Many of them committed wars for the primary purpose of seizing slaves and forced tribal members. Many of them, to the limited degree their technology allowed, overused the land. Some had homemade alcohol pre-1492, as well. American Indian religious belief, in many tribes, was far from enlightened. Witness the barbarism of the Sioux's Sun Dance.

In short, American Indians aren't savages, but they're not angels either. They're people. We do them no real service by viewing them as either angels or savages rather than as people. I've overcome some bad fatherly thinking from my childhood. I don't want to replace one stereotype with another.

And, they're different people. A Sioux, or Dakota, isn't a Hopi, who isn't a Navajo, who isn't a Cherokee. That said, to the degree that assimilation continues, and legally, they're all Americans.

December 15, 2016

I'm part of an Assange-loving "cesspool" on #Wikileaks, #PodestaEmails

Per Twitter on Monday evening, Dec. 12, I've seen the best argument yet for journalists NOT to get a J-school or communications degree from a name brand academic program, and certainly not a graduate degree from one of those outlets.

When Danna Young, a comms professor at University of Delaware, chided Doug Henwood for his appreciation of Wikileaks, specifically, over the revelations in the Podesta email leaks, I jumped in.

Then, Brian Rosenwald, a fellow Penn alum of Young's, jumped in.
But, he didn't stop there.
As someone who knows at least a bit about journalism, I reject the term "Fourth Estate" because people like Rosenthal obviously take that all too seriously.

But, that wasn't enough for him. Next was this:
I of course responded that I voted Green.

His response, to paraphrase his next Tweet, was that a vote for Stein was a vote for Trump.

Two takeaways from that.
1. The chattering class has shown where its bread is buttered.
2. They're still in the "blame anybody but Clinton and the DNC" mode.

And, per Rosenwald's appeal to expertise?

These are the people who are teaching our future journalists to be journalists, with such uncritical, gatekeeper ideas. While New Media has its problems indeed, including a guru problem bigger than conventional media (I'm going to tackle that in some future blog post), this is part of why it's gained traction — beyond all the other arrogance of traditional media that led to business-side mistakes.

Update, Dec. 22: Mondoweiss totally agrees, saying, specifically in relation to US-Israel and US-Middle East foreign policy, that Wikileaks did "a tremendous public service, revealing how government works."  Nutgraf arguably is the last one on page:

But regardless of the emails’ political effect, the media make a mistake in demonizing the emails. They are ignoring their value: they told us important things the people have a right to know about how the powerful conduct themselves. Wikileaks made leaders more accountable. 
That said, part of what set Young off?

She Tweeted this to Henwood in response to his appreciation for Wikileaks:
First, that gets back to Old Media as gatekeepers, something I don't need a Jay Rosen to tell me.

Otherwise, on the big issue, Doug's right, even if Wikileaks isn't perfect. The Podesta emails et al WERE enlightening about modern American democracy. That's not to mention the enlightenment of the Iraq and Afghanistan leaks that "made" Wikileaks.

And, they were journalism. Remember when much of the MSM (and presumably, profs like the duo here) followed the gummint line that Wikileaks was endangering lives, etc.? Well, Assange and his assistants did this thing called "editing" precisely to guard against that.

As for the Podesta emails? Wikileaks generally provided background information, narratives, transitions, etc., as needed. It didn't need to do a lot of that, because they already had the background of earlier DNC leaks from Wikileaks.

See, the Youngs and Rosenwalds don't like Wikileaks in part because, per gatekeeper mentality, it's not a source that Old Media can control. And, such animosity, per Doug, certainly doesn't square with being a "democracy enthusiast."

Rosenwald then said, but Wikileaks reports only partial information. And the inside-the-Beltway scribes don't do the same, in spades.

That said, Doug is right on the other count, too. This IS more democratic, than ... many puns intended ... today's Democratic Party. I suspect that's part of what's eating at Young. I'm pretty sure she's not a Trump voter, and from Rosenwald's antidemocratic sneer, we know he's not.

They then both said "but we're academics," and we study the economics of media and more. Again, "study" vs "do," first of all. Second, it's goalpost shifting. Per the Tweet above, the dispute was about journalism, pure and simple. Not about media economics. Not about the sociology of communication. Nope, nope, nope.

Young tried to claim this was ONLY about democracy, despite her mentioning both "democracy" and "journalism" in the Tweet above.

Rosenwald then said "I stand with Madison and Hamilton." I outsnarked him by saying "Who are they."

(Actually, we know "who are they," too. Two elitists, one of whom wanted a monarchy, and the other a landed gentry aristocracy, and probably believed a pre-Spencer form of Social Darwinism.)

Young then said "PhDs today would hate me," or words to that effect. I outsnarked her by saying "Did they have PhDs?" Both then got muted.

But, I noted the degree earlier, joking that she got a Ph.D. from the guy who created TV Guide. (Penn's Annenberg School of Journalism being named after Walter Annenberg.) And I noted his love for "gotcha journalism," per Wikipedia:

In 1966, Annenberg used the pages of The Inquirer to cast doubt on the candidacy of Democrat Milton Shapp for governor of Pennsylvania. Shapp was highly critical of the proposed merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad with the New York Central Railroad and was pushing the US Interstate Commerce Commission to prevent it from occurring. Annenberg, who was the biggest individual stockholder of the Pennsylvania Railroad, wanted to see the merger go through, which it eventually did, and he was frustrated with Shapp's opposition.[13] During a press conference, an Inquirer reporter asked Shapp if he had ever been a patient in a mental hospital. Never having been in one, Shapp simply said "no." The next day, a five-column front page Inquirer headline read, "Shapp Denies Mental Institution Stay." Shapp and others have attributed his loss of the election to Annenberg's newspaper.
Yeah, it was snarky to tell her that. But, it's true. (Which she admitted.)

That said, this would be like Jeff Bezos getting a Washington Post reporter to ask a similar question of Bernie Sanders.

Speaking of ...

What Young never answered was my comment that the Washington Post, speaking of Rosenwald's cesspools, is more a cesspool than Wikileaks, over PropOrNot, doubled down on the editorial page by Iraq War bloodhawk Fred Hiatt.

Back to the Podesta email leaks, which, according to a friend of Assange's, a former British diplomat, did NOT come from the Russkies.

The reason that, unlike with Chelsea Manning, he didn't leak these to the likes of the New York Times is he knew that, per this year's election, they wouldn't report on the emails unless their hand was forced. And he forced their hand. So, the inside-the-Beltway scribes, whether actually trained by the duo above, or simply simpatico with their thinking, who tilted even more Clinton than, I'll bet, any Dem candidate has been tilted before, are ... infuriated.

I also color myself suspicious of communications profs using "quantoid" as a buzz word.

Ditto for being a "quantoid," part of her Twitter profile.

Of course, I also "love" journalism/media profs making assumptions without evidence. Like assuming that I was a Trump voter, before the anti-Green sneer.



And, the cesspool gets bigger in Camp Clintonista, too. Like Kos, yes, THAT Kos, saying that West Virginia coalminers deserve to lose their insurance and die early if that's a result of voting Trump.

Then, there's Kos alum Bmaz:
Not even worth responding to, though I've gotten part of a group fire on Twitter on this.

Hilariously, on Emptywheel, he tells people in this post its time to move beyond 2016. But, on Twitter, he still can't do that. THAT, in a nutshell, is Clintonistas' own Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

That said, I agree with "moving on." But, I don't practice unilateral disarmament, or singing Kumbaya.

December 14, 2016

#Recount2016 detritus: Jill Stein, her pricey lawyers and her future

Jill Stein. Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia
I thought I was done last Saturday, when Greg AtLast weighed in after the Michigan recount got nixed, but, we have new information to talk about.

Jill Stein has provided us a financial status report from Recount 2016. One interesting item there, and one other interesting item.

The interesting financial is that, of the $7.33 million she raised, more than 20 percent, or $1.6 million, went to lawyers. I guess Bob Fitrakis, David Cobb and other mouthpieces and advisors weren't exactly doing pro bono work.

There's actually another interesting financial. She got that from 161,300 donors. That's $45 and change per donor. And, yes, it may well be more total, and more per-donor, than her election run. (I'll check as I have more time.) I suspect one-third of those donors, and 40 percent of the amount, were from Clintonistas refusing to accept defeat, since, Stein bucked a Green Party executive committee vote and recounted only three states that Donald Trump flipped red from Barack Obama 2012, despite New Hampshire and Minnesota being just as close. Detailed backstory on all that at this post.

Interesting non-financial?

The future of that donor list. It's Stein's, not the Green Party's, for the reason above.

She hasn't said what she plans, but the story notes it "could be sold to others or tapped for future efforts."

Via Liberal Values Blog, this shows the reality of undervotes.
Meanwhile, further refutation of Greg Palast's conspiracy theory about undervotes, or of bad machine scanning of ballots, even? Wisconsin set a record for write-in votes. People just didn't like either Clinton or Trump, even while caring enough to vote in other races.

If that "future effors" includes a third presidential run (of which I've heard speculation) absolutely not. I'm already on record against that. The Green Party doesn't need a Norman Thomas or Harold Stassen. Or a Ralph Nader, for that matter. Or a Pat Paulsen. If the party can't find a better candidate in 2020, then maybe, per Mark Lause and my analysis of him, it's time to move on to another third party of the left.

The "sold to others"? What others? Back to the national Green Party? Per the "backstory" link, to Progressive Democrats of America? (She'd do that, I'll bet.)  To Bernie Sanders' "Our Revolution," which, if the Texas branch's "names" are any indication, is probably little different than PDA, so far?

Pass. (But, with a question — how much is a donor list like that worth? And a second question — if Stein sells it, who gets that money? Capitalist profit for her?)

I'm glad I didn't give recount money. And, in 2020, I'll give to the party, not to its presidential candidate, even if that candidate is indeed a better one.

December 13, 2016

#Hypocrisy alert? Sanders vs. Trump on Carrier and eco devo policy

Hey, if St. Bernard of Sanders wants to fight with Donald Trump over the exact amount of economic development incentives he and Mike Pence are giving Carrier to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana, that's fine. And that's one thing.

But ...

If you are trying to claim Trump has done something wrong in general, or been pwned by business, period?

St. Bernard of Sanders is wrong on this one, and I presume acting as Democratic (because he really is a Democrat) apparatchik first, labor backer second.

As Matt Stoller has also noted, as have others, in the case of Carrier, presidential administrations both Democrat and Republican have given trade preferences to defense-related industries. And (although I disagree with them) states and municipalities have long had economic incentive grants. Bet you did as Burlington mayor, Bernie.

Survey says?

Per this piece, Mayor Bernie supported a bond issue that helped benefit a high-end development. When it didn't get a two-thirds majority, he used an eminent-domain lawsuit in conjunction with the state. Per The Nation (which mentions part of the Lake Champlain development but "overlooks" the suit) Bernie provided seed money for start-up businesses. The Nation also says he "helped" other businesses, not just start-ups, but again, no details, except in one case where it says he "provided capital." This was all part of the Community and Economic Development Office that Sanders created as mayor.

Yes, Bernie did help nonprofits, help get affordable housing, and more, but! He gave already established businesses money — possibly after hints they'd move elsewhere or something.

As a member of the media, I have long opposed municipal economic development incentives of the type Bernie apparently gave. (I have never personally reported on an eminent domain lawsuit, but I'm generally leery of those, too. And, given that Bernie's lawsuit there was hatched along with the state of Vermont, I certainly have opposed most state-level economic development handouts, like CPRIT here in Texas.)

And we haven't even mentioned Senator Sanders voting to increase federal handouts to Big Ag dairy farmers, and Rep. and Sen. Sanders lusting after F-35s. (That's even as Trump has now taken to Twitter to do what I "invited" Sanders to do a week or so ago: bash the cost of the plane.

As for Bernie's claims about Carrier, or parent United Technology, now "holding hostage" the government and showing other businesses how to do it? No more, and no less, true than businesses have long done with local, county and state governments. Again, Bernie knows this, too.

So, too, do Tweet-blasters like Stoller. As I tweeted back to him, you either truly drain that swamp from the bottom, too, or else you have a strong-arm prez using executive orders and more to force states and municipalities to cut off the economic development incentives.

As for Sanders?

Sometime before the 2018 midterms, he's going to have to make a clearer decision whether he truly supports something called "Our Revolution" before the Democratic Party, or not.

December 12, 2016

A few quick notes on alleged Russian hackers and #Recount2016

First, this: While the FBI and CIA disagree on their motivation on alleged Russian hacks into the Democratic National Committee computer system (along with possible alleged Republican National Committee hacks as well), the two agencies agree that the decentralized nature of US voting, among other things, make a hack of voting systems highly unlikely.

Let's unpack that further.

It means that the claims of Alex Halderman, Jill Stein, Bob Fitrakis, David Cobb, Greg Palast and others evaporate into even thinner air than they already inhabited after numerous other people refuted Halderman's claim of "anomalies."

Halderman himself not only claimed anomalies, but also both hinted that Putin did it while portraying how this might have happened in such a way that the Kremlin looked like both geniuses and imbeciles at the same time, as I said in my first blog post about #Recount2016. (I hope you have your Michigan State computer science class lectures straighter than your conspiracy theories.

Second, note that I used "alleged" twice in the first paragraph.


Per a friend of his, who also happens to be a former British diplomat, Julian Assange has repeatedly said that he did NOT get the DNC emails he leaked from Russian hackers. That former ambassador, Craig Murray (who will surely not be a future ambassador!) has the details here:

As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks – there is a major difference between the two.
Beyond that, Murray was interviewed for a Guardian piece, where he added:
“I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.
Of course, this doesn't fit Clintonista narratives, pre- and post-election, and it probably doesn't fit CIA post-election narratives either.

Speaking of, Murray then doubled down on his call-out of the CIA:
“If what the CIA are saying is true, and the CIA’s statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone if it was someone inside the United States.
“America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it’s not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever.”
He's right, as James Risen and others know. At least, as far as someone inside the US doing this hacking for Russia. Now, of course, this could all be done at a Russian remove.

As for Clintonista claims that, but, of course Donald Trump was more favorable to Russia?

I'll repeat again what I've said elsewhere, adding one word this time to spell it out more. Google "Frank Giustra" plus "uranium" plus "Rosatom" plus "Clinton Foundation."

Yes, Clinton as a warhawk might have upped the chances of war with Russia. But, were sanctions likely to get that much tougher? No. And, at the same time, she offered a level of stability and predictability Trump did not.

As for motive? Assange has long made no attempt to disguise his dislike, even his venom, for Hillary Clinton.

That said, I wouldn't trust Assange much further than I can throw him. He may be lying to Craig Murray and the rest of us. And, if he did get the DNC emails from Russian hacks, he has good reason to lie, just like Edward Snowden has good reason to downplay how much Putin is using him as a tool. If these were Russian materials, Assange would look less skillful than claimed at recruiting independent hackers, or doing it himself, on the one hand, and on the other, he would look like a petty tool of Putin. (Sidebar: I still haven't figured out how much Snowden may actually be a willing tool of Vlad the Impaler, how much he may be an unwilling tool, and how much he may be so clueless as to be an unwitting tool.)

On the other hand, as a career British diplomatic service officer before a principle-driven resignation, Murray probably has at least a mid-level skill of bullshit detection.

Per Counterpunch, remaining agnostic on CIA claims is probably the best stance for now.

The CIA is no doubt as displeased with the outcome of the election as their current President is, as I am, as most of the rest of the world is. But cherry picking anonymous leaks about a rumored CIA report supposedly claiming to have proof of a Russian hack to call for Trump’s electoral votes to not be counted is a dangerous stance. It betrays a fundamental distrust of democracy, and places a dangerous amount of faith in letting the CIA determine electoral outcomes.  If history teaches us anything about the CIA, it is that its analysis cannot be trusted when they are the sole possessors of intelligence, especially when this analysis aligns with the desires of the President it serves. …

We need to see the CIA’s report.  But we also need to see the CIA’s Red Team report that uses the same data as the main report, but argues against Russians as the hackers destined to undermine the Clinton campaign; but I doubt this minority report will see the light of day under Obama, but it may well be leaked under Trump.  That’s how the intelligence game is played.
I just quoted stuff most germane to the main point, above.  There's much more to read at the link.

And, a security analyst, a former Russian national, says the ball hasn't been moved, in his mind, since June. That's minor. Far more interesting is that Andrei Soldatov says that, to the degree the Russians are connected, they're surprised to have this gift of claims of how strong their hacking is being dropped into their collective lap, and they're unsure how to further exploit it.

Meanwhile, if you're wondering just how hypocritical the CIA is to condemn the Russkies for alleged election interference? Plenty.

TX Progressives talk Trump transition, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance can remember a time when Republicans thought Russian meddling into our affairs was a bad thing as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff notes that businesses have calculated the cost of Dan Patrick's bathroom bill, but wonders if they have calculated the cost of Dan Patrick.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos is grateful to a Houston Chronicle business reporter for exposing Lt. Gov. Dan Patrickís rationale for his bathroom obsession.  Practicing bigotry to mask fiscal and ethical failures. How we can expose this mal-practice?

Socratic Gadfly looks at Trump's so-called "generals' cabinet," and suggests some additional generals.

The December 7th anniversary nobody in Southeast Texas wants to commemorate was shared by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is alarmed over Trump's military cabinet choices.  This is how a junta starts.  He did promise regime change.

Neil at All People Have Value said Oakland warehouse fire victims used alienation to create rather than to attack. APHV is part of


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

The Great God Pan Is Dead contemplates fire codes and art spaces in the wake of the tragedy in Oakland.

Lone Star Ma calls for action to help the women and children released from family detention centers.

Naveena Sadasivam talks to retiring environmental lobbyist Tom "Smitty" Smith.

Juanita gets mad about the latest governmental intrusion into uteruses.

The Lunch Tray notes the likely demise of the pending Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR).

Better Texas Blog highlights how much Texas will lose if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

December 11, 2016

#Recount2016 recap with Greg AtLast

Since it's all over but any residual crying, with a final denial of Jill Stein's attempt to recount Michigan — overviewed here — it is indeed time for a recap with shadowy friend Greg AtLast.

Beyond what AtLast said above, I have one additional immediate point about this recount.

If we killed the Electoral College and went to direct popular vote, that would undermine much of the rationale for these recounts. As a result, a seeming conspiracy theorist like Jill Stein, and definite conspiracy theorists, the Bob Fitrakises, Greg Palasts and Brad Friedmans (of BradBlog) of this world would need to find more honest work. Maybe even a David Cobb, with his connection to the annoying Progressive Democrats of America. AtLast already took a look at Palast here, shredding his interview of Fitrakis.

With that said, let's take a look at what I've written in the last couple of weeks.

Via Liberal Values Blog, this shows the reality of undervotes.
There's of course the link at top, where Stein shows either cluelessness about, or some mix of obstinance for, and/or gullibility to, conspiracy thinking about, undervotes in elections in general and this presidential election in particular.

The big issue is this one, my blog post with extended excerpts from, and analysis of, a piece by Ohio Green Mark Lause. It's what AtLast references in the video. It certainly appears that Lause would be open to better options on parties of the left. So would I, for the reasons I note there, AtLast mentions in the video and more.

Further refutation of Palast's conspiracy theory, or of bad machine scanning of ballots, even? Wisconsin set a record for write-in votes. People just didn't like either Clinton or Trump, even whlie caring enough to vote in other races.

Meanwhile, let's not forget that Stein paid her legal mouthpieces more than 20 percent of the money she raised.

And, who knows? Maybe we'll get it, "it" being a better option on the left, whether a stronger, better Green Pary or something else. The national Green Party executive committee opposed Stein's recount. With good reason. The same reasons I do, as I blogged, while wondering why three members of the executive supported her. In turn, that gets back to Lause's issue of looking for better options.

And, that's a toughie. The various non-Communist parties of socialism are tiny, even compared to Greens, let alone Democrats, fractured, and in some cases, as whacky as Lause notes, as I have noted, and as many people see as stereotypical Greens.

In 2018, if I am still alive, still in Texas, and haven't rented it out and moved to Hell, per William T. Sherman, I'll sign a Green Party ballot access petition, just as I did multiple times in the past before the party hit the 5 percent ballot eligibility line. But, I may undervote races like I did the 2014 governor's election, speaking of undervoting. (I'm sure Texas Democrats will find some crappy candidate to field.)