SocraticGadfly: 3/4/18 - 3/11/18

March 10, 2018

Some #TXPrimary Democratic post-election notes

Being in a small hinterland, though Democrats do have a candidate for my state rep's spot, I'm going to look at two statewide races.

First, it's arguably, quite arguably a moral victory for Sema Hernandez to have taken more than 20 percent of the vote in the Senate primary, with entering the race later than Beto O'Rourke, who massively outspent her, had Betocrats create a fake Twitter account then hack her website and post the link to that fake account.

On that issue, at a minimum, though we can't apologize for other people, Beto himself could condemn what happened — and Sema could ask him to do it.

Meanwhile, that Democratic enthusiasm in early voting still faced reality March 7. Despite nothingburger-level opposition, at least going by their vote percentages, Havana Ted Cruz got almost half again as many votes himself as O'Rourke, Hernandez and Kimbrough combined did. And, again, the numbers of his multiple primary opponents added up to nothingburger, so, on his side of the street, Cruz is sitting pretty.

Beto still has miles to go before he sleeps. And while he's walking, or sleepwalking, here's a funny take on the pending general election.

OK ....

I said a few weeks ago I would talk about the "u-word," as in "undervoting," after primary day was done.

Well, we're here.

One factor? There's a grand strategery issue. That changed nationally when Doug Jones beat Roy Moore. Doug has gone so ConservaDem since his election, despite having three-plus years left to serve, that he could be a Republican senator in half the states in the nation. But, he does have the D after his name. Add in that Dean Heller in Nevada could well lose his seat, and the idea that Beto could give Senate Dems 51 can't be idly dismissed.

BUT, Beto can't take people like me, let alone Brains, for granted. While it's good to tour red-county areas of Texas, and I applaud him for doing so, and the energy he has in doing so, he can't be the newest incarnation of Wendy Davis. If he keeps shouting the word "bipartisan" too much, I reserve the right to either undervote or to look for independent write-in candidates in the general.

O'Rourke is not as in-the-tank ConservaDem as Doug Jones. But, given how Jones moved even further rightward after getting into the Senate, again, Beto has to assuage people like me more — as in more than he did in the primary. People like me know how to decode phrases of his like "health care availability / access."

The grand strategery issue will also interact with Senate races in other states besides Heller's.


Second, and sadly, it was NOT even a moral victory night for Tom Wakely. He had been one of the first people to announce his candidacy in the governor's race. In addition, he should have had residual name recognition in San Antonio and parts of the Hill Country from his Congressional run two years ago.

And yet, he finished two full percentage points behind perennial candidate Grady Yarbrough and one each behind total political process newcomer Jeffrey Payne, aka Mr. Leather, and electoral newcomer Adrian Ocegueda. And, he took less than half the vote of third-place finisher Cedric Davis Jr., mayor of Balch Springs and 2012 candidate for state House District 110.

I think he had the most comprehensive as well as most progressive program. But, given that Sema Hernandez got nearly 25 percent of the vote in the Senate primary, contra Wakely's claim, I don't think it was totally people rejecting his message. I mean, Lite Guv candidate Michael Cooper, with whom he informally paired, took more than 45 percent of the vote in that race.

For whatever reason — in part the crowded field, I'm sure, but in part other things — Wakely as bearer of that message simply didn't take off. Maybe it's partially Wakely in person. Maybe Texas Dems aren't ready to discuss full legalization of pot, and only, and then only possibly, medical marijuana only. Maybe Texas Dems still have too entrenched of beliefs in the Texas equivalent of American exceptionalism. Brains may have further thoughts.

Loopy Lupe Valdez and "I personally" Andrew White, or Incompetent and Insufferable, as I call them, advanced to a runoff election in May.

I cannot remember the rules on third-party petition signing, but I assume they apply, which means I likely won't vote in this runoff. If I were to do so, I'd take Valdez, while hoping she:
1. Addresses the incompetent issue by getting a professional campaign team going;
2. Gets prepared to address the incompetent issue in her past better than she has, as White will raise it more, and if she gets the nomination, Gov. Strangeabbott will raise it every day.

As Brains has noted, to paraphrase, Wendy Davis had a "story," too. And got her butt kicked. Big deal if Valdez has an even more compelling "story" but gets her butt kicked just as badly.

As for the u-word? I really don't see Valdez becoming competent, and I really don't see Andrew White truly personally disagreeing with the tenets of ConservaDemity. So, I'm already pretty sure this will be an undervote in the general.

I'll vote for Janis Richards if Greens get ballot access, even if she is — per Brains vs. David Bruce Collins — on the wrong side of the Harris County GP. If not, I'll check out my write-in options.

That said, it's Janis. Per a DBC editorial note, I'm not calling her Jan, and if she's trying to pull a Grady Yarbrough by riffing on the name of a person who was elected 28 years ago, she shouldn't be running.


Briefly, in the Lite Guv's race, incumbent Danny Goeb's primary opponent has endorsed Dem nominee Mike Collier. Collier is a ConservaDem, but still ... this is interesting. Scott Milder even said  of Goeb that "I know (him) to be a liar."

If, per Brains, it looks like Joe Straus decides to spend down his pile of past campaign moolah on this race, I might actually start touting it.

March 09, 2018

Jane Mayer hits a foul ball on Steele and Russophobia

I'm surprised, given how much good stuff she's done, but ... it's true. Her piece on Christopher Steele could have been written by one of the "insider" foreign policy staff at the New York Times.

First, she talked to nobody from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, nor Robert Parry at Consortium News. They could tell her that evidence to date has her proven wrong on the spring 2016 DNC emails, that international download speeds are too slow to be a Russian hack.

Second, she ignores, or is ignorant of, and I'll be less charitable and say the first, that her claims about Dutch intelligence telling US intelligence about 2014 Russian hackery has been thoroughly refudiated.

Third, she uncritically repeats claims about Russian meddling on social media without talking about the drop-in-the-bucket dollar value, and also appears to swallow wholly Mueller's indictment of the Internet Research Agency, which I've already discussed.

There's other stuff, as noted in this long Twitter thread of mine, where Mayer comes close to looking like she's throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks.

I mean, from someone who wrote "The Dark Side" and "Strange Justice," this is B-grade material. Given that both of these books questioned official or quasi-official narratives, both of which had at least partially bipartisan support, that's the strangest part of this. What she's writing now is stuff the likes of which she criticized in the past.

March 07, 2018

More #ActualFlatticus flatuence esp on #ConfederateStatues

Lee Statue
The Lee statue in Dallas, a week or so before it was removed

Brains, as far as I can say short of a promise, this is the last. Smokey, sorry, but groupies are gonna group, even if I write more than this, having deified Actual Flatticus, IRL Chris Chopin.

But, we're close to the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville and at the one-year anniversary of the push to haul down statues of Civil War traitors.

I don’t want to become a total anti-groupie, but, I’ve kept an occasional eyeball on a couple of Twitter accounts that are curating the best, or maybe the worst, of Flatty’s tweets for occasional blogging.

And, among them (scroll down) are more than one where Flatty was anti-anti-statues to the point of seeming to give a tip of the hat to the Lost Cause.

Meanwhile, let's just dig in.

We have this, in which he least leaves himself open to the charge of “moral equivalence” in war, including at least related to the Civil War.

That's followed by this, in which he definitely leaves himself open to that charge, “Lost Cause” charges and similar on the Civil War

Beyond that, he trades on false dilemma about closing prisons vs. taking down statues. For example, I support ending much of the War on Drugs, and reducing other parts of it to skirmishes and containment. That of course would be accompanied by a lot of decarceration, and by getting rid of private prisons. I also support removing many Confederate statues, including all of Confederate general rank, from most public spaces.

It's the type of anti-Idries Shah two-siderism:
“To ‘see both sides’ of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.”
That is transparent as hell to anybody truly insightful. It's a fake dichotomy. It's the type of fake, head-faking, fake dichotomy that a "champion debater" would think of in place of substantive argument.

Then, this one: No, Flatty was not a hippy/freak. Other than his criminal record, he was a straight arrow whose dad was not only in the 1 percent, but in the 0.1 percent, probably. Flatty himself wasn't getting rich off family law, but he sure wasn't hurting.

Next, was Flatty hoping nobody would actually take his advice and research his own PAC contributions in Bernie amounts after he called Bernie a centrist? And related to that, was he also hoping that nobody like me would call out the debate champion for being uninformed, an idiot or both about Sanders when he did that? Was he hoping that nobody like me would say he’s “forever tainted,” just like he claimed Nina Turner is forever tainted for once working with David Brock?

Ahh, Flatty calling out the DSA for endorsing Dems when he refused to vote outside the duopoly box and hated Greens. High hypocrisy.

Smithee pretending to be Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” all while hating on the Green Party is likewise laughable and risible and hypocritical.

Flatty the hypocrite on SuperPACs, unless we say Act Blue is “just a PAC, not a Super PAC.” 

Flatty claiming to be a leftist. More hypocrisy. You're not a leftist if you bully women and minorities and support the Lost Cause.

And, beyond moral equivalence, Flatty does moral judo and claims Hillary was MORE corrupt than the Donald.

Not a chance, dude. We know the New York Mafia helped him get a start in early days of real estate empire expansion. We still don’t know the level of that grifting. We know about the HUD racism in housing suit. We know now about the Panama Papers.

Maybe Flatty should have asked his dad. Or, given that he didn’t pay attention, I guess, to local politics in Palm and West Palm, he should have looked at the palm-greasing for Mar-A-Lago.

We know further, from shit like this, where some of Flatty's groupies, like ShirtLost DumbShit Zack Haller, got his own ideas in this vein from, obviously.

Time to again question Flatty’s judgment. He thinks Neera Tanden acted in good faith in 2016 elections (and I presume before and after) but is dumb. No, I think she’s quite smart, but didn’t act in good faith at all. How somebody as smart as Flatty could be so naive, even gullible, I have no idea. But he was. Dem's dah facts, groupies. Flatty also comes close to sounding sexist.

A scholar lawyer should know constitutional law on corporate personhood enough to know that for progressive-to-leftist regulatory issues, having some type of corporate personhood has advantages as well as disadvantages, and arguably the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. But Flatty didn't. This comes just a week or two after (in terms of this blog post) me Tweeting how German civil law sucks for precisely this reason; Volkswagen as a corporation can't be sued for most of its diesel-related cheating in Europe.

This is NOT parody, but Smithee’s own admission about hating to lose arguments, even more than the average person:

Meanwhile, some of his groupies are even further from leftism than Flatty himself was. The #RIPMrSmithee2 account is doing its own Tweeting now, and playing with Pepelovers (the original Tweeter is on Gab, a clear ‘tell”) and said person is also a conspiracy theorist.

Speaking of nutters, if Smithee was that high on CaitlinJohnstone, it’s more evidence that his own critical thinking wasn’t so hot.

Also related? Flatty liked to challenge people on gun knowledge, and the use of terminology like "assault rifles." Whether he would have gone as far as Haller and Jared Beck and called the Parkland students "drama actors" or not, I don't know. But it is possible.

Anyway, there you go, folks. Zack with his own set of groupies, largely sub-groupies of Smithee, and the family and legacy accounts will do as they will. Unless the undead is resurrected this fall for elections, I move on.

March 06, 2018

Texas progressives wonder who, if anybody, will win
the Dem #TXPrimary for governor

The Texas Progressive Alliance is as clueless as 2/3 of potential Democratic voters three weeks ago as to who wins, or advances to a runoff, in the Democratic gubernatorial race as it brings you this week's roundup. (Your blogger offers 50-50 odds it goes to a runoff but won't guess who makes the cut.)

Brains and Eggs offers a thorough roundup of his last pre-primary thoughts, including pondering that very question above.

Off the Kuff wrapped up his looked at Beto O'Rourke's visit-everywhere campaign strategy with hope and a sense that it's worth doing this way regardless of the outcome.

SocraticGadfly takes note of the DNC fraud lawsuit appeal, and while he still thinks something is there, is glad Jared Beck ain't his lawyer.

Neil at All People Have Value made note of the weekly John Cornyn Houston Office Protest.

The Lewisville Texan Journal notes that Empower Texas is sneezing its Michael Q. Sullivan Mucus all over local races.


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

Scott Braddock documents Greg Abbott's contempt for Republican legislators.

David Bruce Collins has some thoughts on the implosion of the Harris County Green Party as an organized entity, with which Brains has some degree of disagreement.

Scott Braddock documents Greg Abbott's contempt for Republican legislators.

Stephen Young at The Dallas Observer says it’s impossible to tell Loopy Lupe Valdez’s chance of winning the Dem governor’s primary.

In a twofer, Young may also be finding his inner Jim Schutze in the well-deserved bitch-slapping the Snooze on shitty clickbait website stories.

And, speaking of, Schutze talks about how Secretary in the HUD (think about it) Pyramid (Scheme?) Ben Carson has brought Trump-Team grifting his personalized brand, to Big D.

The BIG takeaway? As of the time of that piece, almost 2/3 of potential Dem voters said they were still undecided.

Mark Bennett shows what disrespect for the justice system really looks like.

Even if Texas Dems don’t win a single statewide office in the general, Bonded likes what he sees out of the class of voters in the primary.

The Lunch Tray highlights some bad food research.

Better Texas Blog explains why Medicaid work requirements are a lousy idea.

Finally, congratulations to Murray Newman for ten years of blogging.

March 05, 2018

Berniecrats and foreign policy

On Assad, a good reminder that in the past, Bernie has been
part of the duopoly on most foreign policy ideas.
As we're now about to enter primary season in Texas, and soon in other states, just a note here, expanding on a couple of Tweets from last week.

I support Berniecrats calling out ConservaDems on weaknesses on domestic policy, such as health care and single payer, ignoring Dreamers, etc.

At the same time, said Berniecrats tend to ignore foreign policy issues. That starts with ignoring Bernie's own manifest weaknesses, such as his lust for F-35s, his support for much foreign policy adventurism outside of the Iraq War, his refusal to call out the Hillary Clinton-backed coup in Honduras, or the semi-coup at the Maidan in Ukraine sponsored by Barack Obama and Clinton-devotee hangers-on in the State Department and more.

I noted that and more just a month ago in reaction to the hint that Bernie might run for prez again in 2020. Hint back: I'm not enthused.

Now, state government candidates, the foreign policy is not a big deal. I'm not quite as worried as a David Bruce Collins here in Texas about Tom Wakely's foreign policy stances.

But, candidates for federal office? It's a totally legit issue. In the U.S. Senate race, Sema Hernandez sounds progressive enough on foreign policy issues.

But, there's also 36 U.S. House spots up for re-election. I'm sure that there's many alleged ProgressoDems who are candidates for these seats who are actually progressive on domestic policy but not foreign policy. Some may even be "Putin Did It" Russophobes.

They can be voted for in the primary but then pressured to become progressive on foreign policy issues.

Or, just like Beto O'Rourke if he gets the Senate nomination, or anybody besides Wakely getting the governor's nod, they, too can be undervoted in the general election.

Same applies outside Texas.


Some Berniecrats are now spinning from this, the fact that Bernie is part of the duopoly on foreign policy, to conspiracy theories. Namely, the claim is that the "Bernie Sanders" Twitter account, started for his presidential campaign, and separate from the "Sen. Sanders" account he already had in place before his presidential announcement, has been taken over by David Brock.

No, really! I saw it on Twitter, and responded with a quote Tweet (sorry, not showing the original):
Now, WHAT staff run it now, long after the presidential election, I don't know. Sanders Institute would be my first guess.

But, no, let's stop the conspiracy theories.

And, Berniecrats, let's try, per the photo at top, to learn about most of Bernie Sanders' actual foreign policy positions.

Knowing his position on BDS would be a good starting point.