SocraticGadfly: 2/25/18 - 3/4/18

March 02, 2018

#GunControl, gay rights — the #ReligiousRight
shoots itself in the long-term foot

Last year, according to a Gallup Poll survey, theistic evolutionists, by self-report, hit the same number as creationists. AND, pure naturalists on life development were up to nearly 20 percent.

Other surveys show that liberal Christians may actually outnumber the Religious Right and that "Nones" (who are NOT all, or nearly all, atheists — down, Gnu Atheists) continue to grow. I talked about that in a bit more detail in this post last year.

So, in all the talk about who's politicizing gun violence, surely the Religious Right, to the degree it writes blank checks to gun nutz in general, and at top fiscal levels, stays in bed with the NRA. Even in small towns, it surely bleeds a small drip to liberal Christianity, and maybe even a small drip to Nones, as it does this.

I mean, you're saying, you believe in a god who is omnipotent but can't stop the gun violence. Why? Not even Pat Robertson et al have gone down the road of claiming that gun violence, like AIDS, is god's punishment for sinners in America. They know where that would land.

That said, from my POV, liberal Christians, when we get past politics, face their own theodicy problems on this issue. If they really want to go down the road of "god's inscrutability," they come off as no better than fundamentalists. And, god isn't chastising the NRA at this point.

Gun control was the most obvious one a week ago.

But, Mike Huckabee's resignation from the board of the Country Music Association Foundation after just one day illustrates that in the country music world that infiltrates red states, gay rights is a big deal there, too. Oh, sure, the Religious Right can turn to gospel or contemporary Christian, but the idea that country music, even excluding "outlaw" country, is a conservative monolith, appears to be shattering for public viewing.

March 01, 2018

Polls! Hope Hicks and gun nuts

Yes, I've got two, but on Twitter, though I may post one of them here later.

The first is: What's the over/under on how long it takes Mueller to indict Hicks now that she's leaving the White House? (She may not have a huge amount to spill, but she surely has something beyond "white lies." And, she can provide a non-paper trail of the routines of not just Donald Duck but the whole Trump family.
There's your voting options. Click the link to go vote.

The second is: With Trump (for now) calling for a 21 and over sales restriction on guns, even to the point of calling Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Regurgitated Santorum) afraid of the NRA, what happens "in the street"? Do the MAGA-heads go ape shit? Do they stay quiescent and/or explain it away by motivated reasoning? In either one of the options, does Steve Bannon see this as an opportunity to stir up some "Look at me" shit himself, or does he stay quiet?
There you go for the visual version. Again, click the link to go vote.

The gun nuts poll, and tweet, was inspired by a tweet back to me. A MAGA-head, now muted, accused me of being "nasty." I had tweeted that the shot(s) fired in a Dalton, Georgia, school by a teacher should — for logically-minded people — put the kibosh on arming teachers in schools.

Said MAGA-head responded by saying that school shootings were all the fault of gun-free zones, that said person probably wasn't gun-trained, and a third critique which was no big deal.

I of course called bullshit on the gun-free zones. People do mass shootings at schools because there's a lot of people there. If they're from the same school themselves, they do it out of crude revenge for bullying or something as part of it.

But, as Texans know, Charles Whitman lit up UT from the tower long before gun-free zones existed. The Las Vegas shooter targeted a concert, which surely didn't allow guns although not being an official school gun-free zone, because that's where the people were.

As for the idea that the teacher likely wasn't gun-trained, I responded that since we didn't even have a name yet, there was no way of knowing that. I offered the counterpoint that the teacher could be a military vet, among other things.

At most mass shootings, or similar things, like ongoing sniper attacks, no, the people firing the guns know just what they're doing. And how to handle the guns they're doing it with.

Oh, and said person, before I hit the mute button (thanks Brains) had earlier in their Tweetline, said something about "gun grabbing." I made sure to remind them, that bullshit and more aside, Obama never did that in eight years and to stop it.

See, THAT's the deal, as I also told said person. Wingers expect libruls to discuss and debate — as long as libruls unilaterally disarm first. Unfortunately, academic libruls like Arlie Russell Hochshield gave them that idea.

I said "Homey don't play that gane."

Oh, and given that a site like Red State, though not Erick Erickson himself (yet?) is calling out Trump, this over his treatment of Sessions, a MAGA-sized split could happen.

February 28, 2018

Various #TXPrimary thoughts

Focused on the two big-dog races — governor and US Senate, Democratic side.

First, on governor. Tom Wakely remains my preferred candidate. That said, despite having officially announced well before both Loopy Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, he's still lagging badly on both name recognition and money. And, while he most likely would not have gotten the Chron's editorial endorsement, AND, while such endorsements are often overrated, I'm not sure why he didn't show up. (It could be that, like me, he opposes an Ike Dike and figured that was a non-starter right there.)

Meanwhile, Loopy Lupe continues to show she's just not ready for prime time. (Click through on the sublinks on both.) Indeed, per the second link, Jonathan Tilove quoted the Chroni as saying she wasn't even option No. 2; it reportedly gave halfway serious thought to tagging Adrian Ocegueda, who, from what I can tell, comes off as a policy wonk and left-neoliberalism type.

Now, the Senate race.

Per a couple of prevoius blog posts and some back and forth with Brains, part of what concerned me with Sema Hernandez vs Beto O'Rourke was semantics on health care (from both candidates and others) and related issues, and part of what concerned me was a sense of fair play.

That latter definitely cuts both ways.

With the creation of a fake Sema Twitter account and, according to David Bruce Collins, the hacking of her website to replace the link to her real account with that one, we're definitely in the land of major non-fair play.

And, this incident has been mentioned on Twitter. Beto backers, at least, know about it.

At the same time, Sema wants a debate. All three declared Dem candidates welcome. Beto, despite earlier claims to want a primary debate, has actually been MIA.

That all said, polls indicate Beto will likely win his primary over Hernandez, and Wakely probably won't be one of two candidates in a likely runoff.

At some point down the road I, like Brains, will discuss the issue of undervoting. Obviously, if Greens get ballot access, Janis Richards is an alternative for governor. And an independent candidate could be an option, too. (The Socialist Party USA had its presidential candidate available by write-in for 2016.)

February 27, 2018

TX Progressives — get out and vote, and pay attention to other stuff

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges you to get out and vote in the Democratic primary as it brings you this week's roundup.

SocraticGadfly offers his take on the latest stupidity by former Morning News columnist Rod Dreher.

Stace says let the people vote! This, after DC insider outsiders creep into local races.

Neil at All People Have Value took note of a citizen-improved sign in a Houston neighborhood.

Brains and Eggs takes a look at the DCCC shenanigans that have hit the national fan in Houston’s Seventh Congressional District and offers his own high level of condemnation over the interference.

Lewisville Texan Journal takes on the back-and-forth over GOTV for teachers letters between Lewisville ISD and AG Ken Paxton.


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

Transgriot and Ashton Woods presents their lists of endorsed candidates.

Rice University Magazine honors the "crazy uncle" of the MOB, John "Grungy" Gladu.

Space City Weather explains why there are so many thunderstorms in the spring.

Tim McSweeny and Dan Brooks provide an update on the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony that was hit hard by Harvey.

The TSTA Blog calls out State Senators who underfund public education then deny having done so when it is pointed out.

Buzzfeed notes that poorer Texas students jailed for missing school often don’t come back.

The Dallas Observer notes that Texas Catholics are officially splitting, via pastoral letter, from several Protestant-driven Right to Light groups over the groups’ absolutism and attacks on Catholics for not supporting this.

Also at the Dallas Observer, Jim Schutze gives the latest evidence the Trinity Toll Road is officially dead — But could be replaced by something almost as dumb.

The Dallas Observer also notes how the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s ruling on bail issues in Houston will likely affect Dallas, in a similar situation right now.

R.G. Ratcliffe at Texas Monthly calls out the latest political stunt by Michael Q. Sullivan (Mucus) of Empower Texas as being below even his normal low standards.

And if Gov. Abbbott bigfooting against Sarah Davis in the HD-134 primary isn’t bad enough, The Guardian looks at antivaxxer Andrew Wakefield doing the same.

February 26, 2018

#DNCFraudLawsuit news with various updates:
I'm glad Jared Beck ain't my lawyer

Maybe, like Actual Flatulus, I mean Actual Flatticus Chris Chopin, he's OK with divorces and other family law.

But, in the case of federal civil law, he's ... well, he's a fucking idiot.

I'm referring to the DNC Fraud Lawsuit. I'm not a lawyer myself, so I couldn't tell you whether the DNC's actions during the 2016 presidential primaries are civilly actionable or not, let alone whether there's a reasonable chance of proving actual civil fraud.

Update, Oct. 29, 2019: This suit is dead, dead, dead on appeal at the 11th Circuit. I highly doubt it will be reheard en banc, and the Supremes will certainly not grant cert. The judges say, affirming district court, that the plaintiffs lack standing, primarily because they cannot trace any alleged financial injury to the defendants. Specifically, the court notes that while the donors list specific dollar amounts of donations, they don't list dates. Therefore, they can't prove that Debbie Wasserman Schultz et al injured them because donations and DWS statement dates can't be correlated.

The appellate court, like the district court, also says that plaintiffs do not state what particular statements defrauded or otherwise injured them, and how. Thus, between that and the DNC being a non-profit and the plaintiffs not being "consumers," they don't have a statutory cause, either, the court said.

And that, friends is Jared Beck in a nutshell IMO.

Oh, for additional fun, the appellate court told the district court to dismiss most claims with prejudice.

I DO know, though, reading the DNC's response to Beck's appeal of the federal district court's dismissal of the case, that, if the DNC is civilly actionable, it ain't gonna be by Jared Beck. (Sidebar: Any lawyer who puts "Esq" after his or her name, per his Twitter profile, strikes me as pretentious. And the older I get, the more I hate pretentiousness. Eddie Stephens, Twitter lawyer of April Deming, I'm looking at you too. And people more famous, with no connection to Flatty.)

Setting aside the fact that him spouting Seth Rich conspiracy theories undercuts his credibility (it does, and they ARE conspiracy theories and on March 14 his parents sued Fox and here is the official filing), he does appear to have failed to established "standing." And as the DNC notes, on both the issue of standing and First Amendment issues (freedom of association, mainly), the Supreme Court has set the bar pretty high. (And yes, I Googled a couple of the cases mentioned in the response.) This is an Olympic-level high jump bar, and Jared Beck is at the high school level if that.

Further undercutting the standing issue is that nobody sued the Iowa Democratic Party when it refused to do a recount. Caucuses involve not just voters, but more than primaries, people who hold actual Democratic Party positions.

Bernie the "Indy," good sheepdogger that he was, didn't sue Iowa Dems himself. (He did join, though not initially file, a lawsuit against the Arizona Secretary of State, and other legal actions. But that was against the SoS in Arizona, and likewise in other states; nothing against the Arizona Dem Party or any other.) Nor did anybody holding an office of say, president of the Polk County Democratic Party in Iowa.

The DNC's special agreement on hiring with the Clinton campaign, as documented by Donna Brazile,  and discussed in detail elsewhere, certainly would give Sanders standing, should he choose to sue. Don't hold your breath.

Update, Aug. 22: The Becks won't give up, trying to tie this suit to the DNC suit against Russia. Frankly, I think the DNC suit has little more legal validity, and even if you do win, how do you collect?

Update, Oct. 5: Looks like the Becks will get gifted a blind-hog acorn after all. The 11th Circuit will hear their appeal on Dec. 11.

Now, a sidebar issue or two.


First, smaller one.

If the Democratic Party, via its national organization the DNC and its affiliated (or franchised) state parties, were a dues-paying membership party, THEN, donors to Bernie Sanders who were also dues-paying members might be presented as having standing. (Sidebar: Even without the dues-paying, the fact that Bernie has that "I" after his last name as a senator further undercuts Beck's case, as I see it.)

This is an argument for the Green Party to go this way. It's also an argument for a related issue, to stop the overhyping of the "decentralization" plank of the Ten Key Values and to make the Green Party national a national party, not a 51st state party. Would indirectly help keep the Bob Fitrakises of the world from making the Ohio Green Party etc. into private domains.


Wholly separate What the Fuck sidebar: Beck is getting close to "drama actor" territory on the Parkland school shooting, specifically with David Hogg. See here and here.

And, I screenshotted that first link, just in case:

You had about zero credibility with the Seth Rich conspiracy theories. Now this. And, I'm sure DNC legal counsel is reading your Twitter feed, too. (You also didn't post an editing or apologizing Tweet, even though you later Tweeted that the school's surveillance was on a ... wait for it, wait for it ...

29-minute delay, which precisely undercuts you.

I said on Twitter last week that when Flatty groupie and self-anointed wingman ShirtLost DumbShit Zack Haller started promoting the "drama actor" angle, that Flatty surely wouldn't sink that low. Seeing Beck engage in this, too, I retract that; maybe Flatty would have gone down this road, too.

Beyond that, Beck also self-delusionally thinks the DNC or somebody might off him, too.

That said, and getting back to the pretentiousness, this is another argument for a Harvard degree (both he and Elizabeth are Harvard Law) being worth bullshit other than as a resume marketing tool. And, along with Preznit Kumbaya, he also proves that being editor of the Harvard Law Review doesn't necessarily mean everything.

(Sidebar within the sidebar: His isn't the only pretentiousness in all of this. The pushing of the suit by Gnu Media sites like "Disobedient Media" is another.)

Per Beck's currently pinned Tweet, I wonder if he filed the suit to gin up publicity for the Berniebro book that he's getting published.

Given that he's now lying about being "banned from Twitter," (as his spiritual quasi-mentor Alex Jones lied about being banned from YouTube) I wouldn't put anything past him. (He actually came back to Twitter on his own in late May, three months after I first wrote this.)

Further update on that? Beck said he was going to go to Gab, the Twitter alternative largely known for having a membership that largely starts with wingnuts and goes further right from there to the alt-right.

Yes, there may be some less winger people than that there, but they're a minority and that doesn't whitewash Gab's reputation. (When your icon looks like a Pepe the Fascist Frog knockoff, what else is there to say?)

And, he didn't have to go there. He could stay on Twitter (he may decide to keep a secondary presence) or he could go to another Twitter alternative besides Gab (and other alternatives do exist).

Oh, and that a winger like Hard Bastard is defending Beck on Twitter only confirms that Gab, and its general angle, is his true home. Surprised that ShirtLost DumbShit Haller hasn't headed there too. And, back to the dead and "sainted" mastermind behind these people? It again raises suspicion in my mind that Actual Flatticus, aka Chris Chopin, was a kind of double agent.

And, he's a 9/11 truther, too, it seems.

Shock me.

Back to the original thread.

If a Harvard Law SCL grad and Review editor can't write a complaint better than this, I agree with the DNC — he's forfeited the chance to amend.

Hell, a proto-conspiracy theory of mine, that he did this deliberately, makes more sense than his conspiracy theories.

That would be for two reasons.

One, perhaps due to some past legal expertise, he knew he couldn't win a suit like this, so he made sure to screw it up from the start.

Two, maybe someone paid him to tank.

Of course, some of this may parallel Ty Clevenger's legal actions vis-a-vis Seth Rich and Seth's family — stirring the legal shit pot just to gin up conspiracy theories (and fame and money). Speaking of, Beck appeared with Clevenger at some conference called MAGA Rising. Both were featured speakers.