SocraticGadfly: 1/15/17 - 1/22/17

January 21, 2017

#ResistTrump or #ResistJ20 seem to have an #Occupy type problem

The problem doesn't surprise me, as it was the same problem with the original Zucotti Park Occupy movement. As a representative picture from Washington, D.C., on Friday makes clear, the protestors are ... pretty white.

Surely whiter than the national average. Definitely whiter than the national average for under-30 Americans. Per Wikipedia, just about exactly one-third of Americans under 30 is non-white.

Based on this and other pictures, I'm guessing the protestors were at least 75 percent white — the national average for all ages — at a very conservative guess, and more likely 80 percent more more.

Again, no, I'm not surprised, as with Occupy, as I noted in a long, analytical blog post of mine, the Occupiers themselves admitted to just those facts.

Per that link above, in a self-survey, they admitted to being whiter than the national average, more educated than the national average, and being richer than the national average, unless all of them were from New York City.

A few of the details:
The data suggest that 81.3% of respondents considered themselves White, 1.3% Black\African American, 3.2% Asian, .4% Native American Indian, 2.9% Mixed, 7.7% Hispanic, and 3.2% considered themselves some other group. ... 

92.1% of the sample has some college, a college degree, or a graduate degree.27.4% have some college (but no degree), 35% have a college degree, 8.2% have some graduate school (but no degree), and close to 21.5% have a graduate school degree. ... 

The remainder 13% of the sample earn over $75,000 with close to 2% earning over $150,000 per year.

I suspect the same of today's protestors. (Update: From what I saw of Saturday's Women's March photos, my suspicions seem to played out again over it.)

So, yep, the picture above looks like a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, the latter of whom, especially, still tilt white much more than the overall national average in their age group. And, a lot of them are probably the same Adbusters-demographic dilettantes who think they're special snowflakes, wear safety pins as signallers until finding out that's being trolled, and are a bit like a kinder, gentler side of Black Bloc folks.

And, to the degree the protestors have inhaled Black Bloc anarcho-vandalism (if it even rises to that intellectual level), I partially disagree with friend Brains.

Sure, it's "fun" breaking store windows. But, what does it accomplish? Other than being an Adbusters-type theater event in the era of selfies?  Monkey-wrenching of logging company vehicles in national forests I get. That's a targeted action. But random vandalism? Nope.

Now, if these youth want to get involved with actual politics, and more specifically, the politics of the Green Party, that's different. But, the events above, and maybe another occasional protest, then not getting productively politically involved? Not for me.

When I lived in Dallas and protested at eXXXon shareholder meetings, I was already a Green Party voter — and an adamant boycotter of eXXXon for 15 years. No, I don't keep up with lists of every product I "should" boycott, but I do address a few.

That said, those protests, even though local Dallas ones, leaned awfully white, too. The Green Party is trying. VP Baraka certainly has tried and is still trying. But, we've got a lot of uphill sledding still to do on Green supporters, and on protest movements. Maybe, per blacks' comments about Occupy, they're protested out. Some of them may be too busy.

January 19, 2017

Brian Loncar OD-ed on cocaine, and capitalism — #hypocrisy alert

I was in Dallas nearly a decade ago when the self-billed Strong Arm of the Law caused an accident (I believe legally, not just empirically) with an emergency vehicle in the Oaklawn area.

Already then, he struck me as an "L.A. Law" type attorney, so, the coke up his nose, even if a fallout from his daughter's suicide shortly before that, is no surprise.

And, I'm sure he knew where to get enough coke to be contributory to a fatal heart attack (that's the OD angle) from previous experience. One doesn't just walk down to 7-11 for that. Indeed, another Dallas Snooze story mentions he had long battled addiction to a "gateway drug."

No, not marijuana, you prudes. Alcohol. It and tobacco are the biggest gateway drugs to hard drugs.

He also, if operating legally, was an ethical shyster, it seems.

That's why, per the second link, his talking about his daughter in Jesus' arms gets the hypocrisy flag. For the cocaine, and much more, for possibly screwing poor people, per Matthew 25, if there is a Jesus, he might just not be so generous to you, Brian Loncar.

I don't want to kick him, or his surviving family after facing two deaths, and news about the why of the second death — though surely some of them knew he had a coke problem too — too hard. Frankly, as I said on Twitter, even though he sued the city of Dallas, I wouldn't be surprised if either coke or alcohol was contributory to the 2008 accident.

He was granted the local level right to pursue that suit, but lost his appeal, based on official immunity. (Not just limited, but blanket official immunity.) And, he should have known that would happen at some level. The county court at law should have made that ruling itself, but didn't. Per my first comment about the accident, he was reportedly pushing to beat a yellow light. I assume the fire engine had both lights and sirens on. And, I know exactly where that intersection is.

It's called arrogance, Loncar's stance.

Per the third link, he does seem to have been generous with a fair amount of his money.

Even while pushing and scheming to get even more of it.

He actually died, indirectly, as an addict to capitalism. (The vehicle he totaled in that 2008 wreck was a $180K Bentley.) The blood pressure and heart disease were probably related to that addiction, too. Overworking and overstressing in the name of greed. And, you die before you're 60. If we're going to reference the bible, this reminds me of the wealthy landlord promising to build bigger barns and silos only to be told, per Jesus' words: "Fool! Your soul will be required of you tonight."

On the drug addiction (I presume he quit alcohol?) this just goes to show that addiction is a bitch.

#Hypocrisy alert: Flag desecration OK for #BackTheBlue, #BlueLivesMatter

Flag Desecration 101, wingnut style
Note: If you're a wingnut who wants to comment here? First, I moderate comments. I usually approve them, but I still moderate. If you live down to stereotype, though, that one comment will be your only one.

I love when wingnuts get huffy not only over flag burning, but actual or alleged desecration short of that.

Then, they do what's pictured at left. (I had been wondering what these flags were, then finally saw "Back the Blue" with one of them, and got my answer.)


Absolutely yes, I say. And, with official legal warrant. Namely, the U.S. Flag Code, or to put it again ...

Quite arguably hellz YES, per Wikipedia:
The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind placed on it or attached to it.
Sounds pretty simple.

I'd argue that fading the whole flag to black-and-white is a "mark." Certainly, putting the one blue stripe on top of it is certainly a "mark," or "figure," or "drawing" — take your pick. And, in the above, the words most most certainly are desecration, as each one is a "word."

So, besides the one I linked above, this whole shitload of Google images, for Back the Blue, Thin Blue Line or whatever one will call it, is flag desecration.

So, why?

I think a mix of several things:
1. For some, the end justifies the means, and they have at least a vague inkling they shouldn't do this, but they're going to "show" Black Lives Matter the reality — even with blue lives allegedly so vile to commit bestiality AND own child porn! And, while not THAT bad, and doing nothing illegal, Texas cop hero Darren Goforth of two years ago had a mistress, followed by the investigator of Goforth's murder having his OWN relationship with that same woman/mistress.
2. For others, it's thinking "cops right or wrong" just like "my country right or wrong," whether they think about the Flag Code or even know it exists.
3. For yet others, it's "any conservative campaign is better with a U.S. flag," even though the Flag Code also expressly prohibits it in advertising AND says that for PR-type stuff, bunting should be used instead.
4. Per No. 2, other wingers are flag-illiterate.

That said, in reality, I find wingers whining about flag desecration to be hilarious. And, just another example of "free speech for me but not for thee," as Nat Hentoff titled a book. Of course, the U.S. Flag Code, wingers' ignorance or disregard for it aside, is unconstitutional, and has been ever since Texas v Johnson; indeed, Wiki notes that SCOTUS struck down a 1989 Flag Desecration Act, passed on the basis of its ruling on the Texas v Johnson, a year later. And that's why the criminal penalties in the Flag Code have never been enforced.

But, as long as wingers are going to selectively whine about flag desecration, burning or whatever, I'm going to give it back to them, both barrels.

But, I have no problems with "Back the Blue," as long as it's not a veil for an attack on Black Lives Matter. I've known a couple of good to great police chiefs, one hard-nosed one, one allegedly sleeping around with multiple women in his small town (he's now dead, fatally shot while doing off-duty security to help pay the bills for his about 10 acknowledged kids). I've known great beat cops, OK ones, goofball ones, and one definite bad apple.

Cops are human beings. They do a job with above-average (though not the highest in America) levels of both danger and stress. And, yes, both were illustrated Tuesday by the Little Elm, Texas cop fatally shot by a suspect from his home.

As far as stress, though, as far as I know, no wingnut said "Back the Wings" before Reagan fired the stressed-out striking air traffic controllers.

January 18, 2017

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Pudge Rodriguez make Cooperstown; it's about time

Baggs at bat. Photo via Wikipedia.
For Baggs, it's been more than long enough. The man who ranks sixth all-time among first basement on Jay Jaffe's JAWS system gets in on the seventh ballot. He should have been in about six ballots earlier.

Less than 500 homers in the era of roiding and baseball expansion hurt him, even as many voters didn't look at his on-base percentage and other issues. Relatively early retirement for a first baseman also hurt.

But, he's now in. As is Rock Raines, in his 10th and final year of eligibility, with both getting above 85 percent and Ivan Rodriguez, who has had the occasional suspicion or two of PEDing, just sneaking in at 76 percent. (For the record, I personally believe the Jose Canseco allegations about putting a needle or three in Pudge's butt.)

Rodriguez will, unless I'm overlooking or unaware of something, be the first in Cooperstown with a Texas Rangers hat.

Trevor Hoffman just missed. Vladimir Guerrero, who is not a HOFer in my book (see below) got too damned close. He's certainly less deserving than Larry Walker.

Expansion of note to commenter below, re Vlad vs Larry. It's laughable how even ESPN staffers ignore that OPS+, in Walker's case, is both park-neutralized and era-neutralized. Ergo, if you know sabermetrics, there IS no "Coors Field effect."

Believed users of performance-enhancing drugs Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, while moving up in vote percentages, still fall well short, both still short of 55 percent.. With commish-ex Bud Selig now in, plus three likely knowing managers of roiders, in managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre managing multiple users, and the third, Bobby Cox, managing at least one suspected user,  I'm softening somewhat on voting players in. No reason they should be screwed more than the commish and managers who profited. The above two were HOFers anyway. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, among others, are not. Manny Ramirez, with multiple testing violations, is not.

Speaking of Canseco, Mr. Header Homer himself has weighed in on today's vote.

Also not in, and not on the ballot, of course, is Pete Rose. Interestingly, Bert Blyleven, himself a HOFer, recently said he thinks roiders hurt baseball more than Pete and his gambling.

Finally, with Edgar Martinez moving above 50 percent, voters may be softening up somewhat on where to vote career or near-career DHs. That said, he has just two years of eligibility left, and is a borderline case for a power position. And, Mike Mussina also broke 50 percent, which may reopen the debate on "compiler" pitchers.

Note: I am definitely pretty much of a "small Hall" person. For those who claim that cutoffs for a "small Hall" are arbitrary, ANY such cutoffs are arbitrary. Ditto on the 10-vote rule, which "big Hall" people hate. Whether a rule is imposed from outside, or internally developed, unless you believe in divine command theories of ethics, and your "ethics" extends to rules in general, rules of this nature are arbitrary. That includes yours, because you have an arbitrary cutoff rule for your "big Hall," too.

If you claim you don't, I'll ask you why Eckstein isn't a HOFer. You have arbitrary rules, too.

Deal with it.

I see no divinity running around; as for the arbitrary rules, for the ESPNers and a few others who want a "big Hall"? Start your own, if you don't like the rules of the current voting.

Otherwise, the claim that "but my rule is different" is the surest indicator of special pleading and oxen being gored.

#ClimateChange: Another year for the record books

After 2016 was reportedly the second-warmest ever measured year for the United States, it now looks to be the warmest ever globally, surpassing .... 2015. Which surpassed ... 2014. More here, including some discussion of the effects of these back-to-back-to-back records starting to build up in places like the Arctic.

See a pattern there? Even you wingnuts in Row 47, steerage class?

If you still don't, here's detailed graphics.

Yep, heads are nodding.

So now, it's going to be more and more lines 2 and 3 from the wingnut playbook.

Line 2: "We admit that global warming and climate change are happening, but you haven't proven human causation."

If even that seems to be too strong of an outpost, then,

Line 3: "We admit that global warming and climate change are happening, but you haven't proven how much human causation is involved."

Those are always backstopped by

Line 4: "We admit that global warming and climate change are happening, but we can always mitigate any damages rather than spend money we don't need to spend now, and can't afford to spend now."


Line 5: "We admit that global warming and climate change are happening, but spending to mitigate any damages as they arise is better than socialist coercion."

As Trump's Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke basically spouts Line 3, followed by unspoken versions of 4 and 5, and worse, EPA nominee Scott Pruitt still spouts Line 2, we need to up the fight, in Congress, in statehouses, in municipalities, and in the private sector. (More on the start of Pruitt's confirmation hearing here.)

Petitions need to be sent to commercial property insurance and reinsurance companies, pressuring them to jack their rates ever higher and start starving this capitalist reality-denying beast.

We also do not need to listen to the Scylla of some tech neoliberals whenever they promote climate engineering to fight climate change.

January 16, 2017

Greg AtLast tackles Grizzly Steppe, Golden Showers and Putin's Pisser

Now that Greg's laid that out, the neoliberal conspiracy theories riding on the tails of the national security establishment that's been spying on you and me under Dear Leader for the last eight years, let's see what he's talking about.

First, here's the reality about Golden Showers. As Greg notes, even Hillbot David Corn wouldn't print actual content from it, it's that bad. Add in Christopher Steele's highly ostentatious "going into hiding," and hints of other things far less substantial than Alan Simpson's "over the transom" stuff during the the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

Second, here's the reality about Grizzly Steppe. It's a mix of a puerile fixation on Russia Today mixed with random thoughts about malware that may have been created by somebody inside Russia or not, who may, or may not, even if inside Russia, be connected to the Russian government, who, even if connected to the Russian government, may or may not be connected to Vladimir Putin. Got it? It's pretty thin toilet paper indeed — fitting as the prelude to "Golden Showers."

Third, here's the reality of our having baited Russia for 25-plus years and counting, ever since we told Boris Yeltsin in 1990 that we would NOT expand NATO eastward. Not just the Hillbots, but top Berniecrat surrogates like Nina Turner, are on board with this nonsense. (Note: Take last 10 percent of that piece, stuff related to the original, actual Cold War, with a grain of salt. NOT with two or more grains, but yes, with one grain.)

Fourth, the neoliberal politicians that the Josh Marshall and Talking Points Memo alums fellate? They don't care about you.

Here's Dear Leader's presidential legacy. Does it look like he cares about you?

Here's the reality of Sen. MBNA's 30 years of whoring himself out to credit card companies before Dear Leader put a medal around his neck. Does it look like he cares about you?

Cory Booker has long been a sellout to Big Pharma, as a pale shadow of Obama, as he showed again a week ago — along with 13 other neolib Dems. Does it look like he, or they, care about you?

Even a civil rights icon like John Lewis shows he has no problem being a machine politics hack in peddling the #IBlamePutin bullshit. Maybe he cared about you at one time, but does he really today?

And, at least one Russian national says the ball hasn't been moved forward since June. And, that's just the time when Steele started peddling his toilet paper.

TX Progressives say goodbye to Obama, hope for last clemencies, salute #MLK, look at #txlege start

The Texas Progressive Alliance says goodbye to President Obama — while holding on to last faint hopes he commutes the sentences of Leonard Peltier and Chelsea Manning — and salutes the life and legacy of eventual socialist Martin Luther King Jr., as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff thinks that the fight over Dan Patrick's bathroom bill could cause a real and lasting schism between Texas businesses and the Texas GOP.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes Texas Republican lawmakers on Trump's front lines in the war against our constitution and freedom of the press.

Dan Patrick and Donald Trump both managed to make news from a certain urological perspective, blogged PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Socratic Gadfly take note of the opening bell of the Texas Legislature and gets snarky about the first day's events.

Neil at All People Have Value said that the work of opposing Trump is up to each of us. APHV is part of


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

Robert Rivard gives state leaders an F on their public school accountability test.

The Dallas Observer highlights the legal strategy behind the latest anti-abortion bill filed in the Lege.

Better Texas Blog reminds us that Obamacare repeal would mean a lot less mental health coverage.

Kevin Nix argues that the place to look for child predators is online.

Therese Odell recoils in horror from Trump's press conference.

The Lunch Tray shows how the restaurant industry failed to keep its promise to clean up kids' menus.

Juanita "celebrates" the return of Yachting Randy Neugebauer.

Jonathan Coopersmith evaluates President Obama's legacy in science, technology and innovation.

January 15, 2017

John Lewis is not immune to criticism just because he's a civil rights legend

John Lewis, hoist on his own Hillbot petard
First, per the basics of the spat between the iconic Georgia Congresscritter and President-elect Trump, Lewis started it.

He said Trump was not "legitimate."

The Electoral College disagreed, first.

Second, if Lewis is sniffing Hillbot and Democratic National Committee insider #IBlamePutin crack, which he apparently is, that's his problem — and it is a problem. It's a problem indeed.

Third, Lewis is getting butt-hurt after hoisting himself on his own petard. Michael Tracy, on Twitter, largely agrees, per the note above.

After all, even though many younger minority voters supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, Lewis and others of the Congressional Black Caucus gerontocracy doubled down on backing Hillary Clinton.

Who lost.

Bernie might not have one, but he might well have run a better campaign.

To help keep him from winning Southern primaries, Lewis engaged in a sneer campaign (I see what I did there) against Sanders, then tried to walk it back — unsuccessfully. Just.Another.Politician.™

As for his "I met Hillary Clinton, I met President Clinton" claim in the civil rights movement? Really? When did you meet the Goldwater Girl, who wasn't involved in any of the 1960s activities? Ditto for Slick Willie.

You made your own bed, now go lie in it. Somebody needs to primary you in 2018. Better yet, some Green Party person of color needs to run against you in the 2018 general election. Or retire. You're past the age of 75, like much of the rest of the Democratic Congressional gerontocracy, and have been in Congress for 30 years. (The exact same, by year of birth and years of Congressional time, is true of Nancy Pelosi.)

As for Paul Begala claiming Lewis was acting out of "pain, not partisanship," puhleeze. First, Paul's very much a partisan himself. Second, Election Day was more than two months ago.

As for Republicans backing him over Trump in this spat? Some, like Evan McMullin, are spooks themselves. All are wedded to the "deep state," and Trump's stance both antagonizes and scares them.