SocraticGadfly: Roses, sunflowers and red flags on Twitter

November 09, 2018

Roses, sunflowers and red flags on Twitter

A number of months ago, afraid that some people who are not Trump Train riders might mistake me for him on Twitter, I added a sunflower emoji to my profile. (It is fun to see the mistake happening, though!)

To the degree that icons in a person's Twitter handle mean anything, that's why I have a sunflower, not a red rose, symbol of the Democratic Socialist of America wing within the Democratic party. And, if the Green Party cracks up enough for me to drop that sunflower, I'd be more likely to add a red flag than that red rose, if you catch my drift.

And I decided to split the difference on that. My profile now sports a triangular red pennant rather than a full red flag. That's to indicate I'm more socialist than the mislabeled DSAers are.

The second is that DSA Dems are still Dems at bottom line. If they're activist DSAs, they're presumably activist Dems at bottom line, refusing to take the ultimate pressure step of publicly calling for a candidate undervote to pressure that person.

This also illustrates the tyranny the duopoly — and duopoly-based thinking — continue to have.

Thus, just as a Beto, like a Dear Leader, needs to be pushed from the left, DSAers like Sema Hernandez also need to be pushed from the left. We've seen this in one other case already. DSA Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat a hasty retreat from staking out even a mild pro-BDS stance. If you DSA folks are going to fold on major issues, at bottom, aren't you just another subgroup of current Democrats?

(I must caveat that the Saturday before early voting started in Texas, Sema plunged deep enough in the Just.Another.Politician world to remove the DSA rose from her name line. See more below.**)

However, per Black Agenda Report, 21 of 31 Dems running for House seats and getting the backing of either Our Revolution, Justice Democrats or Brand New Congress (they may not all be DSAers, but they all claim to be the increasingly vacuous "progressive") say basically nothing about foreign policy, or at best give it lip service.
This would make the supposed progressive new wave of Democrats about as effective at opposing the empire as the old Democrats already in office. As we pointed out a month or two ago, a solid majority of House Democrats didn’t just vote for Trump’s record military budget. They raised it tens of billions above Trump’s initial proposal to show military contractors, who gave more to Hillary than they did to Trump that they, not Republicans were better friends than Trump’s party. Even a majority of the House Progressive Caucus voted for it.
As I've said before, I'm a Green-leaner because I vote on foreign policy, not just domestic policy.

(And, as I have noted before, besides the Greens, the Socialist Party USA exists as an actual political party of the Left.)

See Brains' own good piece from last week, and our conversation, for largely similar, but not exactly the same, thoughts. Per that conversation, I can't think of any reason why, other than running against Cornyn and wanting a Gilberto Hinojosa head-pat, that Hernandez is staking out this position.

This is also not to say that all DSAers — including past, present and possible future candidates — will "cave" to the traditional Democratic hierarchy. Nor is it to say that those who give a bit here are there are "caving." But ... when you give more than a bit, and on a blank check, you could at least be charged with a cave.

Speaking of that? Some Hillbot types aren't all wrong in talking about usage. The DSAers actually are NOT "democratic socialists." If you go to a place like Wikipedia, you'll see that, as one moves gradually left politically, you have "social democrats," then "democratic socialists."

Hernandez, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al are all "social democrats." They're not "democratic socialists." None of them advocated for government ownership of any means of production. The same is true of Bernie Sanders.

Note: None of this is meant to crush DSAers, especially young ones running for office. You're better than non-DSAers — including better than the ones you endorse to suck up to the DSA establishment. But, you're not really democratic socialists.

I am. And, I do, in at least some cases, support the government ownership of a few "means of production."

support a National Health System like Great Britain's. I don't think single-payer will be enough by itself to get capitalism out of our health care.

support converting the U.S. Postal Service back to the pre-1971 directly government owned U.S. Post Office.

I support having that Post Office be allowed to do postal banking, but we don't need to restrict that to a quasi-private Postal Service.

I support 49 other states following North Dakota and creating something similar to the Bank of North Dakota, only with that bank's original powers, not with later trimming.

And, I would support Carl Beijer's idea of a more socialist Green New Deal than the Roses (or the US Green Party, I think he's right) have offered.

I'm a democratic socialist.

You all are social democrats.

I'm a leftist, at least for America. But, yet, a skeptical leftist.

That's why I don't have a full-blown four-sided red flag. And I don't have a hammer and sickle. And I don't have a black flag of anarchism.

The first? Who knows about the future. The second and third? Not a chance.

Marxism is pseudoscience and it was the day The Communist Manifesto left Marx's hand. Dialectical materialism is pseudoscience. Hegelian dialectic may (nor may not) make for interesting philosophy, but it absolutely makes for totally pseudo pseudoscience, even within the only vaguely scientific world of economics.

Anarchism? Nope. That's Hobbes' "war of all against all," ultimately. Leftists, or alleged leftists, who support it, need to examine their heads. Randian extreme libertarianism is a form of anarchism with a carve-out for private property. Leftist-alleged versions of anarchism merely junk the carve-out for private property and support violence by other means, perhaps other social means, perhaps physical.

And, I can't support anarchism-lite, either. Some leftists support open borders. I don't. I believe we need to more honestly address current immigration policies (while also noting that new versions of robotic farming are going to bring other issues to the fore), but that doesn't mean open borders.


** I think Sema is misreading the 2018 primary, as far as her becoming Just.Another.Politician as a prep for seeking the Democratic Senate nomination in 2020 to run against John Cornyn.

The reality is that most Texas Dem governor and senator races this century have not had a consensus candidate before primary day approached. That was true this year, too.

Beto was only in his third term in the House. Before that, just El Paso city council, not Texas state House or state Senate. Many Texans forget that El Paso, arguably the most liberal city in Texas (sit DOWN Austin, I did not say neoliberal, which the New Austin is), is even IN Texas. (I think a fair chunk of El Pasoans may still wish they were in New Mexico instead — as they should be.)

At the same time, Beto was more of a "name" than anybody in a Democratic Senate primary since Ron Kirk in 2002. Bill White and Wendy Davis were kind-of names in the two previous gubernatorial contests. And thus, broke 60 percent.

Otherwise, Sema won the Valley areas that go most strongly Democratic, probably because of being a Hispanic. That excepts El Paso and nearby counties, which of course went for Beto.

Anyway, let's look to 2020. Let's say someone a bit more liberal than Beto, like, oh, let's say Lloyd Doggett gets tired of being redistricted every 10 years and wants to build on his years of House service, his name recognition, and his not-always-deserved liberal bona fides (not that much more liberal in the House than Beto, in reality) and runs.

Even if Sema is his only opposition, and builds on her own 2018 run, I'd expect Doggett to break 70 percent.

Meanwhile, doorknob forbid that a DSA rosey like Sema be criticized on Twitter for making a calculated political decision. Scap's called me a liar. I had less than high regard for him, and have yet less now. I've written more about her belief in Beto Claus here

From my original piece about Beto being a ConservaDem?

There's this, along related lines:

Sorry, Scap,  but as you'll see in me tweeting the link to this blog post back to you, that's not true. I note above, of course, that O'Rourke doesn't support Bernie's bill, and even if he did, it's quite arguably a lot weaker than HR676. If Scap were a Green, he knows that S. 1804 differs more than slightly, as Margaret Flowers has pointed out.

That said, Beto attacked S 1804 as well as HR 676. I know Sema knows this, and Scap should.

As for the details of that Twitter dust-up? Give me a link, from some time after Sema wrote her letter, where Beto clearly says "I think single-payer is the only way." I'd prefer one that has him explicitly mentioning, and favorably explicitly mentioning, S. 1804.

Finally, again, per that ConservaDem piece? Beto is in the most conservative one-third of House Democrats, and slightly in the more conservative one-half of Texas House Dems. He's almost exactly Joaquin Castro, overall. Sema? Scap? You want to endorse Joaquin Castro for anything?

Then, there's this, Dec. 11:

Sorry, Sema, and I'm not alone on this, but ... I never saw a public, unequivocal support of single payer, rather than universal health care, by Beto after you endorsed him.

The top line of the tweet is the most important, though: "I voted for him after all he was the nominee." Folks, I can't find better proof of how DSA roses will remain Democrats at bottom line.

And, this is all coming further to roost in the Twittersphere as Donut Twitter touts Beto 2020 more and more, and Sema and Scap are silently having to eat some words.

Update, Dec. 17: Scap now claims to have refuted me. My quote tweet back:
In my first quote-tweet back, I noted that Beto's first words in that video use his old trick of conflating "single payer" and "universal health care."

Plus? Claiming to like Sanders' bill, while attacking a key portion of it — no co-pays — is not "liking it." That said, every non-single payer Texas House Dem in that piece offered up some version of lies or bullshit.

On Beto's stance on Bernie's bill? Let's use an analogy.

It's like saying, "I like your jelly donuts, except for them having too much jelly." Does that person really like them?

If that's Scap's proof, well, then, it's only because he drank, not so much Beto's Kool-Aid, but Sema's Kool-Aid. And, Sema brewed up her own batch of Beto Kool-Aid with a shot of her own sidebar flavor because she wants to be a player in the 2020 Democratic Senate primary.

Also "shock me" that as of March 14, 2019, Beto is STILL SCHWAFFLING on supporting single payer, per a transcript of a radio interview in Iowa.

That's her biz. Doesn't make her claim, or Scap's, about Beto any more true.

It's no wonder that Actual Flatticus rightly laughed at many roses. I am not sure he singled Scap out by name like he did Esha, but he may have.

David Sirota now notes how often Beto voted against the majority of House Democrats in his Congressional career.

And, from before the election, Electronic Intifada reminds us that Beto is anti-BDS.

Related: As Beto continues to get hammered by David Sirota and others (with me adding my own tidbits) over his Congressional voting record, taking money from the oil and gas industry for that, taking money from the FIRE sector for that, and more, the following questions arise:
1. Did Sema know all that? (She should have; she saw my ConservaDem piece as it was updated at that time, without the oil and gas info, before her endorsement.)
2. Why did she make that endorsement, other than moving into Just.Another.Politician.™ territory?
3. Will she own up to being, in any way, Just.Another.Politician.™?
4. Will she, if worried about fellow Roses or about the Our Revolution folks in Houston and elsewhere who refused to endorse Beto, try to rescind her endorsement?

1. Yes, as noted.
2. For that reason, as noted.
3. No, because that would undercut 1 and 2, IMO.
4. Call me back in about 12 months.

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