September 23, 2017

Melo. Thunder. Wow

Woj just called it, so it must be official.

Thunder get Carmelo Anthony and send the Knicks Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and their second-round draft pick. (Actually, that's a second-rounder the Thunder got from the Bulls, so it could be decent.)

So, there will be ultimate questions of who won this deal, both short-term and long-term. And with that, see the poll at right.

Before or after you vote, here's my take and analysis, along with questions.

Will Melo be the 3 and Paul George the 4 for the Thunder, or other way around? Or will that be kind of fluid?

Next: How do Kanter and Kristaps Porzingis mesh in New York? What does that mean for playing time for Joakim Noah? (Not a lot, anyway, if he's still injury-riddled.) Willy Hernangomez? That's a bit of a backlog of big men now. Likely the Knicks aren't done trading, but to whom?

(Sidebar: They're over the cap. Kanter's contract is player option for next year, but I would expect him to invoke it. But, how many takers are there for an injury-riddled Noah or a defenseless Kanter?)

Also, does McDermott have any more growth potential there? If so, that could be interesting.

ESPN has more on the Knicks' road ahead. It notes, as many have known, that the team played better with the Unicorn not having either Melo or Derrick Rose on the floor with him. So, that's good. But they have about bupkis at the 3 and are thin at PG. See below for more.

In Oklahoma City, does this convince either George or franchise icon Russell Westbrook to stay after next year? Remember, Melo only has one more year than them on his contact. For this next year, that frees up more time for Steven Adams, who is more mobile than Kanter.

Early consensus is that this is all-in for the Thunder, and based on Lil Russ likely staying.

And, Lil Russ has now signed his $205M offer. So, let's see where they're at a year from now. Sam Presti might make a run at PG-13, swallow hard on the lux tax, and hope he signs him. Then, after that one year of massive contracts, let Carmelo walk after he exercises his player option. At that point, he'd know more of Adams' ceiling and how much to pay him anyway.

And now, PG-13 is dropping hints that the Lil Russ signing makes him at least more likely to stay after this year.

Thunder at No. 4 in the West now, after Warriors, Rockets, Spurs, if they weren't before, with George? Actually, both may be ahead of the Spurs if Kawhi is missing at least all the preseason.

So, Warriors, Rockets, Thunder right now. Not ready to push Thunder ahead of the Rockets yet.

And now, the other side of the coin.

Knicks? Ends drama and gets their salaries lower. Gives the Unicorn a chance to be the team leader. Certainly makes them different. Not sure that it makes them better in the short term.

Long-term, if it accelerates the Unicorn, and with young small forward Mindaugas Kutzminskas perhaps growing, along with McDermott, that could be an interesting team. They really need better point guards.

The team, when Zen Guru Phil was still the GM, did draft Frank Ntilikina to be the PG of the future, although he's viewed as a defense-first person. Maybe that future is now. I'm not seeing it in an aging Jerrett Jack, nor in the Ron Baker that's supposably a favorite of coach Jeff Hornacek who has new, non-triangle challenges. Maybe Tim Hardaway Jr. gets more of a look at PG as well as SG?

I don't know if the Knicks made a run at Adams instead of Kanter or not. He has a new contract, starting this year, so the cap would have matched even without a McDermott throw-in. OTOH, the Knicks may not have wanted a burden of him at $25M a year and rising for four years. I think Adams still has some upside, but I don't know how much.

And, speaking of bucks, Woj notes that, without paying a BUNCH of tax money — and remember, they traded James Harden because of cap fears — bringing back Lil Russ, PG-13 and keeping Melo next year, especially with that Adams possible albatross — will be pricey. Woj says the Thunder will pay more than $27M in lux tax THIS year. That's without a new contract for Lil Russ, if he signs. (That said, ESPN notes that OKC offered Harden an extension to the contract he then had in place before trading him. Red Satan, though, does not note that even for that version of Harden, the extension was kind of a lowball.)

September 22, 2017

If you've been watching Ken Burns on Vietnam

Ken Burns/Wikipedia photo
First, the amount he gets wrong seems fairly big, and I'll detail that in a moment.

But, really, you shouldn't be surprised.

As I've noted, his bland pro-Americanism is like eating Chinese food. (And, as that link shows, his Vietnam series isn't the first time he's gotten Koch Bros money, either.)

As for what he misses or gets flat wrong?

He gets Tonkin Gulf, the non-event that LBJ used to get a blank check for war, totally wrong.

He doesn't even interview Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, brought to the eye of some younger Americans by the Edward Snowdon issues.

He acts determined to present the war as nothing but a simple mistake, rather than willful stupidity mixed with imperialism that could have been avoided. (More on this lower in the piece.)

Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report, notes that the death of 3 million Asians is a "crime" not a "mistake." (Not sure if Burns provides totals on non-US dead.) Anyway, per the reference he and others make about Noam Chomsky, the war was indeed ultimately deliberate and ultimately in the service of American imperialism.

Related to that, History News Network says Burns and co-producer Lynn Novick are patronizing to the Vietnamese. This one deserves a pull quote.
Did the Vietnamese really need two Americans, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, to finally teach them about the bloodshed and devastation their own land suffered because of the Americans? 
And therein lies the core flaw of the entire project—it’s a series of stories, but not really a history of the war. That’s the Burns-Novick trademark and it’s worked for a long time, making them famous and I suspect wealthy. But it substitutes vignettes for ideas, personal anecdotes for larger structural factors, bathos for analysis.
THIS! Yes, Burns is an “auteur.” I’ve never denied it. But, per my top link, that’s why watching him is like eating stereotypical Chinese food.
And it ends up providing a misguided view of the war, one that has politically conservative consequences (ironic because Burns himself is openly liberal) by shifting attention away from the historical, material reasons for American intervention and focusing on 79 people interviewed who were directly involved in Vietnam. Instead of an exposé of aggressive militarism, they give us sentimental stories of survival and perseverance. 
Burns and Novick, despite their claims of originality, provide a pretty boilerplate liberal examination of the war.
And, even though Counterpunch went overboard in one piece in calling Dems the war party of the 20th century, nonetheless, the Wilsonian angle was partially there in WWII, and elsewhere in the 20th century. It was LBJ's meat and potatoes in foreign policy, arguably.

(Sidebar: The Eastern Establishment wing of the GOP,  including returning Bull Mooser TR, were just as pro-intervention as Wilson in 1916; they just tried to get TR to not be vocal about it. There was more geographical division within both parties than a split between the two. In 1940, GOP presidential candidate Wendell Willkie was just as pro-intervention as FDR. In Korea, don't forget that MacArthur had already toyed with trying to get the GOP presidential nomination in 1948. In Nam? Yes, LBJ was president, but look at the vote for Tonkin Gulf; totally bipartisan.

I earlier said on Twitter than Counterpunch sounded like Bob Dole, 1976, in talking about "Democrat wars." I stand behind that, redoubled.

And, for any leftists who think that Democrats are somehow especially warmongering? I guess this might make for a separate blog post.)

OK, we've not kicked the dynamic duo enough. More from the same piece:
Burns and Novick talk a lot about reconciliation and healing, sort of a Vietnam War version of Dr. Phil and Oprah. ... 
Is America really still divided over Vietnam the way it was in, say, 1968, when Walter Cronkite stunned the White House and Main Street by essentially declaring that the war was unwinnable? ... 
Reconciliation and healing are always worthwhile and necessary goals, but that process has been well in place long before Burns and Novick arrived. The promotional material for the series boasts that they “unbury the secrets of the Vietnam War.” They also stress they want to let Americans know about Vietnam. But don’t we know a lot already?

They're really that way, in the smarmy-preachy liberalism way, that ALSO is a hallmark of 20th-century Democrats.

Finally, the "necessary" claim gets its own butt-kicking:
The war was necessary because the U.S. made it necessary—the politburo in Hanoi and the NLF in the south would gladly have taken control of Vietnam without getting blown up and killed in apocalyptic numbers by American weapons. Equivalency and objectivity are the tools of liberal apologetics, and Burns and Novick have always used them well to make Americans (and Americans below the Mason-Dixon Line) feel good about themselves. Instead of examining American aggression, they ruminate on Vietnamese irredentism. Love them, they’re liberals.
Indeed. This is what tempts me to drop the "left-liberal" phrase for myself and just call myself a leftist, or per the blog header, a "skeptical leftist."

Here's a politer version of some of the same criticism — claims of "false balance," an old bugaboo of centrist "the media."

It too gets a pullout, because it too expresses issues emblematic of Burns' whole corpus:
Burns and Novick are the masters of false balancing, the technique of countering one story line with another to create the impression of objective evenhandedness. The same good-guy, bad-guy lens through which the war was viewed also filtered perceptions of the antiwar movement at home. Jack Todd is one of 30,000 Americans who deserted to Canada but, we are reassured, 30,000 Canadians volunteered to go to Vietnam. Never mind that, by other estimates, over 100,000 Americans are estimated to have gone to Canada during the war. The first figure apparently called for such dubious balancing because, as we later learn, Todd regrets having renounced his US citizenship.
Indeed. The "false balance" of including Shelby Foote as one of the top talking heads on his Civil War series made it bad enough at the time, and much worse in hindsight. The "false balance" of not having more Eric Foner, or any significant black historians, made the Reconstruction series, with my having gotten wiser, suck at the time. More here, thanks to S-USIH, on the outright racism of Foote and Burns, when later corned on how much he used Foote, doing a tap dance around it. The general appeal to violence by Foote underscores that the South is one of those "honor cultures" similar to much of the Middle East that Southern white wingnuts foam at the mouth about.

And, if all that isn't enough, there's a full website devoted to nothing but what Burns, and his ilk, got and get wrong by either omission or commission. (It was started five years ago, but for obvious reasons, is getting new circulation now.)

Bottom line is that, contra Burns, the Vietnam War was more than a mistake, it was imperial hubris, and also, that to the degree it was a mistake, it was easily avoidable.

"Old China hands" who had not yet been chased out of the State Department by McCarthyism knew the millennia, literally, of Vietnam-China animosity. So, that part of the domino theory was out the door. Chinese-USSR animosity meant that, while the Russkies had Cam Ranh Bay, the Chinese wouldn't help them there. Old State hands in general knew the history behind the Geneva accords and knew that, if we had tried, we probably could have cut a deal to make a unified Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh the Yugoslavia of Southeast Asia.

But, that's not in Burns' narrative either.

Why is all of this important?

Tonkin Gulf was similar to Shrub Bush's request for Congress to let him use military force in Iraq. And thus, to pass one off as a "mistake" invites people to do the same with the other. You know, like Obama's "look forward, not backward."

Snowden, and Chelsea Manning, had leaks similar to Ellsburg, vis a vis Afghanistan. We didn't learn from them, either.

Today, many Democrats have joined Republicans in calling Afghanistan, now a longer war than Vietnam, a simple mistake, which it may or may not be, and many have done the same with Iraq, which definitely is not true.

And, President Obama, as the likes of Andrew Bacevich have noted, simply became a hypocrite on Afghanistan. Not only did he continue the war, he did a "surge" similar to what he opposed in Iraq. And politicized it further by splitting the difference.

My overall opinion on Afghanistan is not as harsh as Ted Rall's. In hindsight, I'm still OK with the original action — well, I'm OK with what SHOULD have been done, i.e., putting real amounts of US boots on the ground at the start of the war, rather than depending on Afghan tribespeople to hold the line at Tora Bora, which they deliberately chose not to do. Per Bacevich, Obama should have had some cojones and gotten us out of there rather than doing ANY version of a "surge." (I did not support any version of a "surge.")

But, he didn't want to. Per Consortium News:
Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state. Obama’s overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government has had the desired effect: the massing of American-led NATO forces on Russia’s western borderland through which the Nazis invaded in 1941.
That's pretty much right.

(Noting Bacevich, above, I think a number of non-imperialists of the right and left alike reject the idea that the Afghanistan war as originally presented to the American public was a war of imperialism. And, while Counterpunch has opened my eyes on some things, like Bosnia, on others, it and other leftist opinion magazines remain wrong, IMO. For all I know, somebody could call the American Civil War imperialist; certainly, Southerners did, in essence.)

On the link from my previous blogging? Besides this not being his first use of Koch money, Burns overhyped the National Park Service into "America's greatest idea," got a number of things about both TR and FDR wrong, turned dealing with cancer into an American-style war to win (at that top link), pulled punches on the history of baseball in his iconic early series and more in his folo, commits American exceptionalism and ignores the Russkies in WWII and more.

His American exceptionalism fellatio goes back to his original Civil War series, bad enough that a Smithsonian Magazine contributor now harshly scores him.

That WWII series also failed to include anything about Hispanic or Native American contributions. And, even though it was before good DNA testing, Burns got all the white historians in his Thomas Jefferson miniseries to pooh-pooh over the idea that he had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings. Now, it's true, that was before the 1998 DNA Y-chromosome testing, but still.

If it harshes some people's mellow too much, sorry. But, many you're viewing Vietnam through rose-colored glasses yourself.

(Update, April 23, 2019: This is all also bad enough to make me wonder if Burns is, if not necessarily consciously racist, at least carrying a big bag of implicit bias.)

And, I understand that for many from vague moderate conservatives to vague left-neoliberals, PBS = Polite Broadcasting System just like NPR = Nice Polite Republicans. I understand that a centrist version of Merika is engrained into its cultural DNA just as much as, by 1888, the fact that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was actually about emancipation was whitewashed into the pretense it was about post-Civil War healing and unity.

The idea that the NPS might NOT be "America's greatest idea" shocked a lot of environmentalists when the National Parks Conservation Association's Congressional liaison did a long blog post on its website, noting the Emancipation Proclamation + 13th Amendment would probably qualify instead. [I suggested the First Amendment myself. In any case, I agreed with the NPCA person that America's national parks not only aren't America's greatest idea, they're not even in the top three.] Seriously, a bunch of nice, polite, white environmentalists suddenly, for them at least, got strident. I suspect a fair chunk of them don't like to see that Ken's getting called out for whitewashing Nam, either.

And, for that matter, not only were national parks, and the Service, NOT America's greatest idea, Ken didn't tell you that, even as he was producing the episodes, the NPS continued to fall apart even as Dear Leader planned a thorough neoliberal centennial celebration. (And, per the likes of High Country News, Ken told you bupkis about the history of sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the Park Service.)

For you, whether or not this is particularly about being a Ken Burns fan or not, I understand the shock. But, if you're a left-liberal or beyond, this shouldn't be anything new. Sorry, but that includes my blogging cousin by a different aunt. (And, given that Ken didn't talk about petrochemicals — you know, in places like Houston's Petrochemical Alley — being carcinogens in his cancer series, again, left-liberals and beyond in places like that ... I don't get the love for Burns.)

Is this particular piece all bad? I'm sure it's not and even Consortium News mentioned good things in another link. But, for people under 40, and especially under 30, for whom Burns is quasi-godlike, there's a lot of problems.

Theoretically, the cuts to federal funding for PBS and NPR should make it more willing, not less, to take risk. In reality, the likes of George Soros aren't much more likely to fund anything that counteracts belief in American exceptionionalism much more than Charles Koch and David H. Koch.

Per that, Consortium News has a new piece up about Ken's funders in general, among other things, over whom he gushes.
Burns says he is grateful to “the entire Bank of America family” which “has long supported our country’s veterans.” Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. 
Thanks, BofA. Maybe Ken can do a series about subprime loans and CDOs in a few years.

Real American exceptionalism, if it actually existed, would be a fairly widespread acceptance that America's shit does stink, stinks a fair amount of the time, and stinks in ways that should upset notional liberals as much as conservatives, if they're honest.

As for the "have you watched it?" rhetorical question? No. I'm in a place where, since my most recent forced job change, I'm pretty sure I can't get TV without cable and I'm pretty sure that PBS won't let me watch it online. Even if these weren't all problems, per Wiki, I don't think I need to waste 18 hours, longer than anything else he's done since his original Baseball series.

That said, I didn't say it was all wrong. And I've never claimed that in stylistic, framing and narrative skills, that Ken Burns is anything but a master of the TV documentary craft.

But, per my link at top, and chunk of links at bottom, I don't need to watch. I have no real surprise about what Burns does get wrong. And I have no need or desire to have American exceptionalism and mythmaking about the Vietnam War served up on a plate, even if it's by a French chef.

And, longtime Burns narrator sidekick Peter Coyote may be a nice and decent guy, and at one time more lefty than he is now, but he's not a national treasure, and if he really believes that Vietnam was "started in good faith by decent men," then he's whored himself out for Koch Bros money and contra a comment of his on his Wiki page, he's "capitalist first, activist second, actor third."

Hey, sh-it happens. John Kerry might have been a national treasure 40-something years before his presidential run, talking some truth as part of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, but he's not today.

And, at times, I'm also a deliberate contrarian, part of becoming a neo-Cynic. Brains, at least, knows this. And, this is one of those times.

Burns also, while covering Speedy Express, pretty shortchanged it — and it was worse than MyLai and more emblematic of how America fought in Vietnam. See Nick Turse, then a decade ago, and Nick Turse now, directly on the series.


Sadly, Philip Weiss, editor of Mondoweiss, says he likes the series even though he admits he knows a fair amount of what I said above about Burns' modus operandi.

Wonder if he would say the same if Burns next makes a series about the creation of the nation of Israel that turd-polishes Zionism?

That said, Donald Johnson has a follow-up piece there, which more politely raises similar criticism.


Updates: First additional note? Burns (h/t Consortium News), if his series was trying to imply Merika is a specially peace-loving nation, sadly forced into Nam, is totally wrong on that.

Next: Per a comment back to me from S-USIH, I didn't need to watch this. Others' critiques confirmed my observations of Burns from having seen most of his previous documentary series. Seriously, when Doris Kearns Goodwin gets Taft v. TR more correct than you do?

September 21, 2017

Valerie Plame, self-hating Jew? — does CIA lie that baldly? or is it that dumb?

For those who haven't seen the verschnizzle on Twitter, Valerie Plame, the Bush-era CIA agent outed by Scooter Libby and others in their relentless drive for war with Iraq, totally broke her foot off in it today when she claimed:
First, this misses the fact that in the Iraq war that she and hubby Joe Wilson were fighting to stop, the charge was led by those famous goys George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, etc. It also ignores the wag-the-dog bombing, as well as the one-sided Serb-only bombing in the Balkans (vs. doing nothing to Croatia) of non-Jew Bill Clinton.

And, in todays environment, it ignores the non-Jewish heritage of Messrs. Trump, Bannon (in background), McMaster, et al vis-a-vis North Korea. This is like Counterpunch having a blogger recently claim that the Democrats were the "war party" of all major 20th-century wars.

There's several problems additional problems here, though, related to the provenance of the link — the Unz Review. If you're not familiar with the website, or Ron Unz, click the link. Maybe names like Pat Buchanan and the even more loathsome Steve Sailer will give you an idea of stuff you can find there.  Unfortunately, lefty economist Michael Hudson (who has been on my blogroll for some time) writes or rewrites there, as does outside-most-political-lines Paul Craig Roberts.

Also in that same vein, Consortium News, also on my blogroll and which has done a lot of good pushback on the "Putin Did It" narrative, does much of this work in conjunction with Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, of which Giraldi, like Plame an ex-spook, is a member.

So, I did a four-tweet thread, starting with:
Followed by:
Then taking the other fork of the dilemma with:
And finishing with:

More on that thread below.

Anyway, Plame now claims:
Um, sure!

See my second and third tweets in that thread. Or this Twitter thread. (David Klion rightly points out the problem of left-of-center people, like Patrick Cockburn working for left-of-center mags/websites, like Counterpunch, by noting that piece author Philip Giraldi has done stuff for the likes of The Nation before. Sadly, "Ask a Mexican" alt-weekly columnist Gustavo Arellano is also listed on Unz Review.)

So, if you are telling the truth, are you really that ignorant, and if so, what does that say about CIA operatives' political insights and knowledge in general?

Or, if you're not telling the truth, is this a(nother) non-shocking case of the CIA teaching operatives to lie that baldly?

Then comes this:
Well, I tackled that on Twitter, too:
What else is there to say at that point?

Erm, Sarah Kendzior! That's what to say!

The self-inflated foreign policy non-expert weighs in:
Finally, no, it's not a defense to claim that she really meant Zionists, and not "Jews."

As a Jew herself, she should know to make that distinction, so, at best, that's further illustration of sloppiness, while still not an excuse for what the hell she's doing at Ron Unz's site.

Newspapers, barn doors, Facebook and Google

Friend Chris Tomlinson at the Houston Chronicle has a good column on the latest Facebook brouhaha of many, and not the only one in the past month.

It's not his only one on the subject. It's generally good, as far as it goes. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg would probably sell his own grandmother to the devil for some new Facebook innovation. That's even as, in the US, Facebook traffic appears to have hit a wall and may even be tailing off. (The increasing number of Facebook memories I see in my own feed for suggested sharing — and the number that I see friends actually sharing — would be anecdotal evidence in support.)

That said, many newspapers (don't know about Chris's Chronicle) made their bed a year or two ago by signing off on the Facebook Partners program, or exactly whatever it's called.

That, in turn, continues a string of 20-plus years of multiple bad decisions related to All Things Internet.

It began in the mid-1990s when Dean Singleton, not only the creator of the now-foundering MediaNews empire, but also at that time chairman of the AP's board of directors, agreed with other AP board members that the "TV model" for newspapers would be just fine as far as "monetization" of the Internet.

The "TV model" basic point was that TV, like radio, was free, and did fine with advertising. So, why couldn't online newspapers be the same?

Well, this ignored several things.

First, cable TV wasn't free.

You counter: But, that's the same as paying an ISP provider for Internet.

First, pay cable TV channels existed in the mid-1990s, and HBO and the Playboy Channel, at least, were 15-plus years old by then.

So, it's not just hindsight to say Deano et al were wrong.

They may have been wrong in misunderestimating the reach of the Net. The first tech bubble crash at the turn of the century, followed by the Greenspan-Bush post-911 bubble inflating their ad revenues, probably fed newspaper owners' ongoing motivated reasoning.

But, they were still wrong.

They probably had a chance, by the late 1990s, if not by the early 2000s, to reverse the AP party line on "retransmission costs" for Yahoo, the first big news aggregator, and up-and-coming Google. Remember when Yahoo was the bomb?

But, eventually, that chance faded away. And, the Net and other things aided both Reuters and AFP in expanding their American presences, too. And, any agreement between them on pricing web content would be collusion.

So, AP at least stiffs smaller dailies more and more on the content of "content," even while jacking the price. The most basic AP package doesn't even include photos.

As to Facebook?

Beyond what I said above?

Algorithms are no match for people in "curation," a word that with online media is even more barf-inducing than "content."

That's true whether it's Facebook or Google.

That said, Facebook is a threat not just to daily papers of size.

The rise of Facebook Groups threatens the future of small daily and non-daily community papers as well. I know this from experience.

If people don't like your coverage of an issue, if they think that, even though you keep a good eye on city hall in general, you just have to be wrong on Issue X?

Boom. New post on the "Citizens of X" Facebook group.

Don't want to turn a string of gossip into a semi-libelous news story?

Boom. New post on the "Citizens of X" Facebook group.

Some blogs used to be this way, as the unlamented, incarcerated felon Joey Dauben illustrated well. (It still blows my mind, as it did at the time, that the Dallas Observer thought him worthy of a long-form profile, especially without considering his possible psychological background.)

But, Facebook gives credence to this stuff, in a way that a random blog doesn't.

And, the mindset of DMCA, if not the act itself, protects it legally just as much as it protects YouTube. (It's also why Mark Zuckerberg steadfastly insists he is NOT a publisher.)

Which is too bad, in a way.

A few libel lawsuits against Facebook might clean some things up.

Beyond that, of course, Facebook can subconsciously manipulate your thoughts in a way that even Google can't. (Google just consciously controls what you see, by things like paid placement, and now, its "fake news" filter that, in America, screens out anything besides the duopoly.) And it's already done it repeatedly.

This all gets to "barn doors," if it's not clear.

A lot of newspaper paywalls are still pretty permeable. And they're afraid to make them less so, as I see it. It now seems to me that the vaunted Wall Street Journal is putting more articles outside its paywall, even, if accessed by social media.

It's like an addiction, even though it's known in most cases that the online ads won't pay for that, and that you're just enabling theoretically bad behavior anyway.

That said, many addictions often seem to be the best solution for a problem even after it seems more clear to non-addicts that they're not. And, until that's recognized by the person or entity with the addiction, that won't change.

Other than pointing out many larger newspaper chains are still too hypercapitalist in what they pay corporate executives, I'm not out to bash the industry. And, while I don't claim to have solutions, I do think, at a minimum, the downward spiral on readership and ads is diminishing.

On the ads side, as Zuckerberg continues to shoot himself in his Facebook foot, newspapers have a reputation to sell, as well as the package of targeted online sales — and better targeting on the print side, too.

As for past sliding? On the circulation side, at least, as top German papers show, it's not just an American problem.

September 20, 2017

Will Greens continue to struggle in chasing black members?

I referred to this issue in passing in a blog post in July, in talking about the Green Party's public pants-crappings leading up to, and during, the 2017 national convention.

That's the issue of race and the party.

As both the Texas state and the national conventions showed, there is racism in at least a few pockets of the party. Maybe more than a few.

Is it endemic, though?

I don't think so.

And, I definitely don't think that evidence of absence is proof of that.

Neither does Bruce Dixon, as referenced there and noted here.

Bruce, the editor of the Black Agenda Report, has a few problems with this spin.

First, he sees at least a small degree of tokenism in a fixation, or at least an overfixation, on black party members qua black party members.

Then, he notes that Greens need to reach outside traditional black bases where most black Democrats come from. He rightly, as Greens are generally more "frou-frou" religiously (setting aside the secularists) than Democrats, let alone black Americans of any party, notes that the black church is definitely NOT a place to look.

And, as proof of that? This Pew survey, looking at Democrats in general, then doing some breakouts.

Some 48 percent of all registered voters who identified as Democrat or Democrat-leaning said they were "liberal." Another 36 percent said "moderate."

First, although not all registered voters vote, you have to be registered in order to vote legally, of course, so this is an important subset within "all voting age adults."

Now, the ethnic breakout.

A full 30 percent of black voters called themselves "conservative," (versus 16 percent for the full party) 40 percent "moderate" and only 28 percent "liberal." Hispanics about split the difference, with 41L 36M 22C.

Now remember, that's versus the whole set of Democrats and Democrat-leaners. We haven't extracted out whites.

Pew goes on with that. Whites were 55L 35M 8C. See how HUGE that difference is?

The divergence in percentage of "liberals" started between whites and blacks in 2000, Pew shows, and about 2006 between whites and Hispanics.


The black church, per Dixon. Per myself and Brains, regionally as well as nationally.

We've seen, in cases such as Houston's HERO, black Democrats' generally tepid support for gay rights. Certainly transgender issues now only increase that.

And, African-Americans are the most religious American ethnic group. They're certainly, if one restricts to Western monotheisms, the most religious American ethnic group. Within the Democratic party, the division between blacks and whites is much greater than between black and white Republicans.

And, the black-white, and somewhat black-Hispanic, divisions may go beyond one or two hot-button social issues.

That said, younger voters of all ethnicities who lean Dem are more likely to identify as "liberal." And, they're more likely to be secular, too.

So, there you go, state and national Green leaders. Don't look to take blacks "captive," but do look to recruit. Focus on the under-40 crowd, though.

None of this is meant to say that the national party, and Texas and other state parties, shouldn't address racism where it exists within the party. It should be addressed, of course.

But, failure to get more black members as quickly as some people would hope shouldn't be considered as "proof" of party-wide systemic racism, either.

September 19, 2017

TX Progressives look at #Harvey cleanup, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance encourages you to keep supporting Harvey and Irma relief efforts as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff reminds us that we have elections this November and they still need our attention.

As part of job hunting, Socratic Gadfly pays careful attention to some of the fluffery and hyperbolic language in employment ads and job descriptions and translates some for you, likely as part of an ongoing series.

The question "what happened" was not answered by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, but rephrased as: 'WTF are Democrats going to do going forward?'  (Hopefully not more infighting.)  He also had a good word to say about Houston mayor Sylvester Turner's efforts in managing the city's responses to Hurricane Harvey.

Turning 50 this week, Neil at All People Have Value offered a list of his favorite politicians in life. It is not a long list. APHV is part of

Jobsanger says polls and research show America still has too many racists.

Houston Justice says there may be racism lurking in GOTV events.

Grits for Breakfast helped launch the new podcast by Just Liberty.

David Bruce Collins talks about the renewed "Medicare for All" push from a Green Party POV. More here from a national GP press release, including weaknesses in Bernie Sanders' current plan.

Dos Centavos wonders if there is a head fake in President Trump's alleged deal with Democrats on DACA and a border wall. Salon follows that with a question of who swallowed whose Kool-Aid.


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

 Daniel Williams highlights the continued need for local non-discrimination ordinances in Texas.

 Melissa Law denounces the idea that Harvey was anything but a catastrophe that is still ongoing.

 It's Not Hou It's Me shares her mucking experience.

 Juanita rounds up some of the lesser 9/11 memorials.

Therese Odell rounds up the late night reactions to the Ted Cruz Twitter porn-liking saga.

Michael Li explains what happens next in the redistricting case.

Mean Green Cougar Red examines Harvey-related survivor's guilt.

Dan Wallach goes into detail about the security properties that a voting system needs to have.

Space City Weather looks back at all of the Harvey-spawned tornadoes.

While Houstonians continue to recover from Harvey, former San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan helps Irma work in his hometown U.S. Virgin Islands (which may get hit again, by Maria)/


September 18, 2017

LeBron to LA? Which LA? Maybe not? And Westbrook?

LeBron James may go to L.A. next year, but if you're betting on the Lakers, maybe don't. He's got other options, of course, and he may decide to pursue one of them instead.

Why would he not go to the Lakers?

The word is "ball."

Or rather, "Ball."

As in Lonzo Ball and daddy LaVar.

LeBron isn't about to put up with daddy's bullshitting about his kid, or about daddy trying to put Lonzo as the No. 1 option on that team ahead of LeBron. Magic Johnson on the Lakers conglomeration may laugh about it, but that's different.

Besides, Lonzo, and Lakers head coach Luke Walton, might want to play a more up-tempo game than what best suits LeBron at this stage in his career.

So, what are other possibilities? And cast your vote in the poll at right.

Could the Clippers free the necessary cap room?


Would Blake Griffin accept being second banana to LeBron?


Will Clipps consultant Jerry West do his hardest sales job on LeBron?


Will the Logo do the same with Russell Westbrook, who might also be Lakers-averse due to Daddy Ball?

Of course.

DeAndre Jordan has a player option for 2018-19, but, West can probably finagle around that. Austin Rivers, the reason West has his current gig and Austin's daddy was sidelined, also has a player option for next year, but his is pretty small. They still owe Danilo Gallinari for a few years, bus his positional flexibility makes him worth keeping.

Either Russ or LeBron with Blake, a decent Gallinari and Patrick Beverley, who they'll certainly work to resign? That would be a pretty dynamic team. And, if West could get Jordan to take less on that player option in exchange for making it part of an extension, he could make this happen. Rivers money will come off the year after that and provide the room to resign Beverley.

The best sidebar of this? Daddy Ball and all his Big Baller Brand shite would get faced.

Outside of that?

Maybe LeBron convinces Westbrook and Paul George to stay in OKC while he comes there as the anti-Kevin Durant. Wouldn't THAT be the verschnizzle?

Maybe the Spurs pull something out of Gregg Popovich's and R.C. Buford's backside to bring him to San Antonio.

I've not done the cap numbers there, but ... maybe? I think they're pretty doable for OKC at least.

Or maybe Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert pulls something out of HIS ass and LeBron stays home.


Sidebar: From a couple of weeks ago, here's my thoughts on which team won the Kyrie Irving trade.