SocraticGadfly: 8/5/18 - 8/12/18

August 11, 2018

ShirtLost DumbShit Zach Haller, Actual Flatticus,
Forensicator, VIPS, Seth Rich, Adam Carter, Assange,
Consortium News conspiracy theory mongering

Been a while.

This is one of those posts where I throw a string of names in the header and then tie them together.

Here goes! (Without a net, even.)

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (sic) claimed, almost exactly a year ago, that the DNC emails (the original theft, not the later spearphising) could not have been done by Russkies. They claimed the download speeds of the data were too high, etc.

They wrote it up in Consortium News, then got Patrick Lawrence to do a write-up in The Nation.

Wellllllll ....

Not everybody in VIPS agreed. And, they were, reading between the lines, kind of pissed that that report had ZERO caveats about that. Their research relied on a stealthy alleged genius called Forensicator, someone allegedly named Adam Carter, and the fake news folks at Disobedient Media. Speaking of, in a piece from late September, Petulant Media recycles an old interview with Assange to try to prove that Forensicator has it all nailed.

Well, said minority, along with other people with both intelligence brains and intelligence skepticism like Scott Ritter, talked to Nathaniel Freitas, who wrote up a folo for The Nation about all their concerns. Basic information is here on my piece, "DNC emails — what if Seth Rich didn't do it?"

Well, in the last week, some shit has hit the fan over this issue, and it's time to unclog some toilets.

(Breaking update, July 9, 2019: A new Yahoo News bombshell says Russian intelligence, specifically its foreign intelligence agency, the SVR, was behind the Seth Rich conspiracy theories. Update, Dec. 1, 2019: CN's Twitter Whisperer claims that their interviewing Isikoff on their podcast proves they don't back conspiracy theories. Actually, it proves no such thing. Run a piece of his, unedited; that might be proof.)

Forensicator, if Computer Weekly is right, seems to be a front man for a British self-described black hat hacker and pro-Trumpist Tim Leonard, playing a persona as Adam Carter. Hell, he could be Forensicator, for all I know. To riff on VIPS, time stamps can be forged!

At a minimum, Duncan Campbell says Carter / Leonard was part of "the team that created Forensicator."

Update, which I missed soon after publishing this. Sputnik News and Elizabeth Vos, who is probably a Russian disinformation agent, have confirmed that Leonard is Carter, as has Leonard himself. 

(Update, Dec. 1: Vos, leading contributor for Petulant Media, is now also a contributor to Consortium News, further proof IMO of how far it's fallen.)

And, Campbell says that Bill Binney, at least, within VIPS, flipped his stance on the "impossible to download internationally claims" after taking a second look at the files, with Campbell. But Binney claims that Campbell misinterprets him. But, Binney himself misinterprets the VIPS statement. Per the "minority report" linked above, it's clear that not all of VIPS accepted that this had to be a hack, not a download. Maybe that's because the VIPS majority report, specifically Ray McGovern, relied on Carter.

(Update, April 8, 2021: Until reading Glenn Greenwald's "No Place to Hide," I didn't know Campbell's background. Well, Duncan Campbell, as the man who first exposed the GCHQ by name and the "Five Eyes," knows his shit. As a man earlier targeted for prosecution under Britain's Official Secrets Act, he has no love lost for the national security state or its smears. So, his pronouncements re the Seth Rich case, and his skill in getting the information, should be taken with the utmost seriousness.)

Also interesting, relevant and related? Per this piece, VIPS has a "steering group" and Thomas Drake ain't on it. But George Jatras, who arguably is part of the problem, not part of the solution on foreign policy duopoly thought, IS part of the steering group.

Techdirt notes that it and other sites poked holes in the VIPS majority claims from the start.  It also reminds those who might still be credulous that Comey (yes, him) reported in the last days of the Obama Adminstration that the RNC was also hacked, albeit only on old domains.

And, at The Intercept, Robert Mackey further refutes the claims Guccifer 2.0 was a Romanian, as well as, re Russian language issues, that it was a leaker inside the US.

Update, Feb. 23, 2021: Somehow I missed this, but back at the time in 2018, Campbell had ANOTHER piece, with even more interesting news. Binney, when confronted with enough counterevidence, admitted that any evidence, or "evidence," he allegedly had of Rich or Rich-ian downloading, rather than hacking, wouldn't stand up. But, he refused to drop what had become his and McGovern's "party line." McGovern wouldn't even say yes or no on whether their "evidence" was a fail; that silence says enough.

And, as for Disobedient Media lamenting an alleged "smear" of Leonard/Carter? Good for the goose, good for the gander — Bill Binney apparently believes in microwave mind control weapons; click through to the video of the show where he discusses this, also here, for more. (To be fair, there is information that microwave weapons can mess up your brain's operation, but NOT that they can do mind CONTROL. And, the show goes far beyond that. That link is about what may have happened to US Embassy personnel in Cuba; the most recent study indicates it's almost certainly psychogenic and that mind control weapons are a figment of Binney's imagination.) And, the person whose show he is on, Robert Duncan thinks this is a plot to remove gun rights. Of course, Robert Duncan also believes that HAARP is "Real" in the sense it's about more than than high-atmosphere weather investigation. And has been on "Coast to Coast" before, is into neuro-linguistic programming, etc. And, he may have fabricated credentials.

Update, Feb. 23, 2021: In that link in the previous paragraph of this update, at the end, in a pull-out box, Campbell notes how directly Petulant Media is connected to Russian intelligence.

And, McGovern? I dropped Consortium News from my blogroll in fair part after I learned that McGovern is BOTH a 9/11 "truther" AND a JFK conspiracy theorist. That said, if Binney believes half of what his pals do, he's an even bigger nutter than McGovern.

Between him and Binney, maybe we need to get rid of the CIA, and the NSA, to get rid of fruitcakes in the intelligence establishment. It's "Derp State," not "Deep State"!

More seriously, it "goes to credibility" to point these things out, as any lawyer would know.

Speaking of credibility?

Brian Feldman also weighs in, noting that the Lawrence piece seems to indicate that Forensicator looked at his metadata alone.

Here's the key part from the original Lawrence piece:

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.
So, VIPS bought a pig in a poke from Skip Folden. But, Folden himself was buying a pig in the poke from Forensicator and/or Carter. Got it?

That said, so did the minority side of VIPS. In its dissent report, it doesn't question buying this pig in a poke.

The majority, in response, doubles down on teh stupidz:
We think back to the evidence-free “assessments” 15 years ago before the attack on Iraq.
Exactly. You dudes just bought your own Curveball. Campbell agrees:
OK, as for the ex-spook duo leading the pig-in-a-poke buying, one final question or three or five:
1. How were you this dumb? (Well, being conspiracy theorists probably helps explain)
2. What would you say if someone said you weren't dumb but instead, at a minimum, willingly co-opted?
3. Did either of the two of you think, even if you were willingly co-opted, that you weren't in charge of this train?
4. Ray, who else if anybody, besides you, on VIPS talked to Carter?
5. Bill, aren't you a hypocrite on this whole "Deep State" if, per your Wiki page, you're the co-owner of a private intelligence firm which sells findings to the gummint?

Carter, meanwhile, has told me on Twitter that he'll prove Campbell wrong. "You'll see." Well, if Campbell is correct, making threats to the media ain't how you do it. Nor is blocking someone like me after I pointed out Binney's misrepresentations in a response.

You also, Tom Leonard, don't prove Campbell wrong by Tweeting from your Carter account. You've already conceded part of the game by doing that.

That said, I also want to add this update, also posted on my Seth Rich emails link above.

Further undermining Seth Rich conspiracy theorists? A simple Google Trends search, which shows his name had about zero searching before his July 10, 2016 murder. In other words, after his death, conspiracy theorists latched on to his death as a way of postulating an insider theft. And, whether this was a coordinated idea or not from the start, it became so soon after.

But, I still reject two-siderism, whether practiced by Hillbots, Trump Train riders, or a fellow-traveler version of two-siderism that McGovern peddled (and that a few Greens are peddling, too; more on that below.)

I do believe, more and more, that Russian officials likely meddled in our election. They did so NOT to elect Hillary Clinton. Vladimir Putin kept full radio silence during the 2016 election, and some Kremlin apparatchiks said they preferred Clinton. And why not? Even if she was perceived to be more hardline against Russia (that might have played out different in reality), she had a stability that Russian leadership knew Trump lacked.

In short, as Ryan Cooper notes? The 2016 election issues were about AMERICAN corruption. And, no, TrumpTrain riders, other wingnuts, and fellow travelers, no Deep State involved.

Idries Shah
Once again, Idries Shah:
“To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.” 

Now, to some of the other players mentioned.

Patrick Lawrence? Contra smearers like Nancy LeTourneau from Washington Monthly, more sewer-like on some of this than Mother Jones, I don't see him as tilting pro-Russian. Hey may be a Bernie or Trump guy like H.A. Goodman. (Another Nation piece by him claimed that Trump would be successful in "accommodating" China. A massive trade war is a funny type of accommodation.) The Nation certainly isn't "pro-Russian," it's just not nutbar. Nancy LeTourneau strikes me as like Digby and other Hillbot bloggers, or Emptywheel, Bmaz, and the rest of the Kossack Dead End Kids.

The others?

Forensicator? A willing tool of deception. How much direct contact he had with people Leonard / Carter contacted, that is still unknown, but possible that direct contact was there. (If he's not Leonard / Carter himself)

Update, Feb. 23, 2021: Per the new-to-me Duncan Campbell piece, no, it's pretty clear that "Forensicator" IS Leonard.

I don't know what to think now of Shirtless Pundit ShirtLost DumbShit Zack Haller. He's too dumb to be of too much use to Carter. But, as the self-proclaimed chief carrier of the flame of old "friend" Actual Flatticus he could be more useful indeed.

Did Carter ever approach Flatty with any direct requests for help, fronting, etc.?

I doubt it. But, was Flatty his own sort of agent provocateur, not in the same way that Goodman might be (I think he was) but on his own?

His sister working at Patton Boggs, plus her leading the effort to launch the Church of St. Atticus of Flatulus, looks more suspicious now.

Per one Twitter friend:

Things that make you say Hummm?

For the wondering or unfamiliar, SCL Group is (and IS, not WAS) the British partner of Cambridge Analytica, per Wiki. The "IS not WAS" is per Wiki noting that a May promise to shut down, when the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica shit hit the fan, has yet to be honored.

I don't think even Flatty was that. But, who knows? Note dad's degree of connection to Trump, though his first choice for Prez in 2016 was Jeb! As for Leonard / Carter, THAT wouldn't surprise me at all. (And, that said, I don't know if Argh meant Flatty or Leonard / Carter.)

One or two more people to get in here.

Julian Assange, and Craig Murray.

Contra Elizabeth Lea Vos (or whatever her actual name may be) at Petulant Media, it was ONLY Craig Murray who explicitly denied that the Russians were Wikileaks' source. Assange, while hinting, etc. that Seth Rich was his source, never issued such explicit denials. And, when Murray DID, Assange essentially told him to shut up.

Craig Murray was at one time a legit critic of imperialist aspects of British foreign policy. Now, he's become little more than a toady and lap-dummy mouthpiece for Assange.

Assange? Not a Russian agent. No, Marcy Wheeler, he's not. Still bitter at Hillary Clinton for what he sees as her part in his Ecuadorean embassy exile. And willing to work with anybody. Had Assange wanted to know, he'd know all he could about Guccifer.

That said, this brings up the old issue of why Assange doesn't run leaks from people inside authoritarian countries. And, we're not just talking Russia. Where's the Chinese leaks? Pakistani ones? Saudi ones? Etc., etc.

As for me? I think the British government should drop all charges against Assange and pledge a safe conduct (if he trusts it) to wherever he wants to go, if a country will take him.

And, in case you don't know what I think about Ty Clevenger, lawyer for American Media Group and Ed Butowsky, click here. Ditto on DNC fraud lawyer Jared Beck, whose either a huge idiot or maybe got paid to throw the case, given how bad it is. He's not only a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist but a David  Hogg conspiracy theorist. Amazing how this has drawn conspiracy theorists like shit draws flies.

Update, Nov. 22, 2019, related to that and Crowdstrike:

Back to the original.

What's finally sad is that the number of conspiracy theorists plus general nutbars trying to deny Russians did anything are actually making Hillbots look sensible. Some of them are scared that maybe Trump was a pawn, even if that doesn't look true. Others surely know Trump is a plutocrat, and probably a money-laundering one at that, but are still invested in his "man of the people" populism. And others? Leonard / Carter? Petulant Media? Stand by.

Oh, and if not block, the mute button on Twitter will get used for alleged leftists uncritically retweeting people like that. I already have a couple in mind. And have now done so with one, a Green Party activist-level member of whom I already suspected such leanings.

Finally, after repeated attempts to comment on Patrick Lawrence's new piece, using multiple handles and multiple email accounts, I believe Consortium News is screening comments by email address.

I got two comments up, but ... both are NOT by my normal email account, edited with a "-noactualspace-" in the middle, used long ago to throw off spammers, or, after that, with the base version of the email.

Using a secondary email, I could post with both my actual name and the SocraticGadfly handle, though. Interesting.

(Update, Dec. 1, 2019: I mentioned that to Consortium News' Twitter Whisperer in light of my rhetorical question type comment about them no longer allowing links in comments. He said I was lying; I said it was a rhetorical question based in part on banning, while responding that he or she was lying about CN not running conspiracy theories.)


Update, Oct. 4: The DOJ, independently of Mueller, has indicted seven GRU agents on grounds of being connected with hacking the DNC and other sites. Four of the seven are also accused by the Dutch of trying to hack the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons. They were expelled from the country earlier this year. The US indictment also accuses the seven of targeting the US and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Also, Forensicator has broken blogging radio silence to respond to Campbell. I don't claim to be expert in all the technical details. But "Forensicator," whether a real person or not, hasn't addressed the non-technical issues, like glossing over Freitas' follow-up to Lawrence, ignoring Binney's flop, and ignoring Binney and McGovern being conspiracy theory nutbars. That response took a full month after Campbell's report. Forensicator also doesn't address the claim of Drake that Binney et al, as I translate him, found their own "Curveball." In fact, Drake's name is nowhere in the full piece.

With that, I don't need to try to wade through the technical issues.

Meanwhile, a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist faults Mueller for not interviewing Julian Assange, Craig Murray or Kimdotcom.

First, rightly or wrongly, I doubt Assange would tell the truth. And, on this issue, it would be wrongly. I meant the "rightly or wrongly" based on his fear of extradition, a fear which I support. Craig Murray was at one time an independent-minded person. He's become little more than an Assange flunky. Kim Dotcom faces extradition to the US on fraud charges and is on that grounds not a credible witness, plus would, like Assange, almost surely be uncooperative.

Said person, on Twitter, didn't deny he's a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist, so I blocked him.


Update, Dec. 21: Actually admitting he made an eight-timezone mistake on metadata, Forensicator tries to spin this into new proof Guccifer 2.0 was in the US not Russia. That's a follow-up on an earlier piece where he claimed that, because of his alleged earlier misreading of timestamps, which actually showed Guccifer in Russia, this was deliberately planted.

So, according to Forensicator, Guccifer is a genius a few months ago, but now an idiot. Forensicator doubled down on the genius claims shortly after his now-alleged misreading.

After that, but before his brand-new "I made a mistake" but "Now I'm going to judo-flip that with massive motivated reasoning" piece, Forensicator went on the attack against Campbell. Given that his alleged mistake is, from somebody with his alleged skill level on analyzing hacking, metadata, etc., why should we believe any part of his attack on Campbell?

I don't know whether Leonard/Carter created Forensicator, per Campbell's claim. But, it's certainly possible. And, given the bullshit of his newest post, the ideas spouted there would do nothing to disconfirm that.

Also since the last update here, I've apparently finally hit ShirtLost DumbShit over the head enough on Twitter that he blocked me.


Update, April 12, 2019: Wikipedia has a pretty decent Guccifer 2.0 roundup.

Further, indirect proof the original emails were hacked not leaked? Even before Assange started releasing the first set, Joseph Mifsud told the Trump campaign about Russians having email "dirt" on Clinton.


Update, June 21, 2019: The fact that the Russians attempted to hack, but with a few exceptions, failed to hack, GOP computers is good indirect support for the idea that the Democratic emails Assange had before the Russian spearphishing were hacked, not leaked. It's good evidence that wingnuts on the right and a motley crew of left-liberal and leftist wingnuts on the other side both don't like to talk about.

The paper Reality Winner leaked is good indirect evidence of Russia's overall plan for meddling. Unfortunately, as one of those #TheResistance types, Winner misread Russian general meddling into Putin-Trump collusion.


Updates, early 2020:

Decided to do some Googling, and using DuckDuckGo, got some interesting results.

Here's one from early September 2017 already calling bullshit. This person also offers a bit more background on Vos. Western Australia. How close of a circle to Caitlin Johnstone is it? She also notes how Vos, Forensicator and Carter managed to coordinate so well despite multiple time zones separating each of them. And yet more from Jane Doe here, with more on the coordination between the "trio," indicating more clearly yet there was no "trio."


Update, Dec. 9, 2020: The fact that RNC computers as well as DNC ones were hacked undercuts the Seth Rich leaker thing right there. Unfortunately, for a while, I listened too much to bullshit artists like Aaron Maté (you ARE, on this, Aaron, shut up!) who said "cloud computing" and "mirrors" etc. were no substitute for the real thing. Well, when you use cloud servers, Aaron, that IS the real thing. If you're that much of a gasligher, you too can go fuck yourself along with Clevenger. If you're that much of an idiot, again, shut up. Ditto for anybody else repeating that nonsense.

August 10, 2018

Where are all these Texas atheists?

Near the end of its latest poll on the Beto O'Rourke-Ted Cruz Senate Race, Lyceum reports on the background of respondents, as most in-depth polls do.

There's this, on page 11: NINE percent claim to be atheist or agnostic. That's more than twice as many as who reported as Muslim. Throw out the 13 percent who were either "didn't know" (really?) or "refused," and you're at a little over 10 percent.


That said, counting 22 percent as either unaligned or third party, Lyceum claimed respondents were otherwise split, 39 percent each on Doinks and Rethugs.


But, let's get back to those atheists and agnostics.

I'm quite familiar with people misusing these terms to really mean "spiritual but not religious," or "irreligious vis-a-vis organized religion."

Let's say half our 10 percent falls there.

That's still 5 percent atheist or agnostic.

Let's say that 8 percentage points of the 13 percent refusniks are "nones," as are all 9 percent, in the original number, of alleged atheists or agnostics. Then, one-sixth of Texans are "nones."

That leads me to a piece by Psy Post. Until Friday, it seemed to me to be a pretty good psychology popularization blog and website. John Horgan is among its Twitter followers.

But then it blared: You live longer if you're religious.

Without saying that all we have on that is statistical correlation, not causal correlation, and without, in the western tradition, comparing today's US to today's Europe on that. (Well, it did kind of say that, but after the "blaring.")

Given that the power of intercessory prayer has been disproven by double blinded studies, in fact, we can say that almost certainly, it is NOT a causal correlation.

Add to that the fact that, especially in small towns, "church" and non-church general religious affiliation adds a degree of "community" to life for many people, especially in a place like red-state Texas. Also note that, especially in smaller communities, for those in need, many food banks and other forms of charitable outreach are church-based, or if not so explicit, at least religiously themed.

The only way to do a halfway scientific version of such a survey would be to look at churched vs unchurched people who are both also members of other organizations, like Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. And, you'd have to use more than obits. You'd have to use longitudinal time management research to confirm how often said people actually attended both churches and their social clubs.

And, there's been plenty of empirical research on the reality of a god already.

Speaking of empirical matters, we do also know that, by percentage of respective ethnic groups, more of those atheists are white than black or hispanic, but we also know that young blacks are consciously starting to catch up on leaving church, in part because African-Americans are finding more "secular" leaders willing to speak on "spiritual" issues. Like LeBron. Or Kaepernick. This is even as Congressional Black Caucus leader Jim Clyburn will suck up to Trump as much as those black ministers, to avoid churches paying new taxes.


Update, with some related stats? In 2019, 23 percent of Americans went to church every week. Sounds fairly devoted, right, every week? But 29 percent never went once. Texas, Bible Belt stereotypes aside, is no exception. This site says that it was less than 20 percent, and they're a religious website.

August 09, 2018

Dallas County Schools' ticking time bomb keeps exploding

Earlier this week, Jim Schutze said that Dwaine Caraway’s bid for mayor is probably dead in the water if a corruption lawsuit has any meat. Given that it’s connected to Dallas County Schools, it probably has plenty of meat.

He was right —  Caraway and his future are both dead in the water; he has now
pled guilty to two federal charges and resigned, the Observer reports.) I have a bit of personal familiarity with Dallas County Schools from it having a bus barn in Lancaster. This is just the latest in the ticking time bomb of corruption even worse, speaking of Lancaster, than that seemingly exemplified by former Lancaster ISD superintendent Larry Lewis.

In what might have been the last collapse of Caraway's hopes of dodging a bullet, former DCS "superintendent" Rick Sorrells was sentenced earlier this week. At least Dallas City Council won't have to pay Caraway's legal fees now.

There's probably still more time bombs to explode as the Eff Bee Eye continues to look and now the SEC too.

Already a decade ago, the rationale for DCS looked thin. I never understood why three of the four Best Southwest school districts used them. Had all of Dallas County been under a desegregation order (we can only wish) it might have made sense. Why Lewis, who actually had some financial sense, didn't dump DCS and make that part of one of the district's bond packages, if needed, in hindsight, I don't understand, either.

About those Beto-Texas polls

In an update to my post last week about the proposed series of Beto O'Rourke-Ted Cruz debates, I noted some new polls that were in the hopper.

A new Lyceum poll shows a statistical dead heat, which is going to up the ante for these debates. Cruz staff is trashing it. That said, it seems in some ways to stand up to my eyeballs, with both voters and likely voters, and with Abbott leading Valdez by 20 percentage points. However, There are other areas where it's an eyebrow-raiser.

Nine percent of Texans are atheist or agnostic? Well, maybe not. And, Beto-Bob is within 2 percentage points on likely as well as regular voters? Plus, counting 22 percent as either unaligned or third party, Lyceum claimed respondents were otherwise split, 39 percent each on Doinks and Rethugs. That's an eyebrow raiser there. This is all why the likes of Kuff are wrong in relying on registered voter, not likely voter, feedback.

At the same time, even among college-educated whites, it shows that Beto's unknown factor is two-thirds that of Valdez. Interestingly, by percentage points, the gap is almost as big with Hispanics as with whites; it's closest with black voters, tho Lyceum has Beto-Bob within two points on BOTH. Anyway, the lack of identification issue also seems to run true.

That said, on things like atheism-agnosticism, politicos often rate their voters as more conservative than reality, and while not every atheist or agnostic bats left, nonetheless ....

Moving on, a Quinnipiac poll Aug. 2 shows Havana Ted with a 6-point advantage. PPP then splits the diff at 4 points. Public Policy Polling, which is Democratic-tied and has been wrong before due to that comes close to push polling. And it frames things Beto's way by talking about how he doesn't take PAC money while not noting the various asterisks that come with that, like that nobody running for Congress can take money from corporate or union PACs.

On the other hand, Havana Ted is now worried enough to ask Trump to campaign for him.

August 08, 2018

Facebook, Google, Apple and the
'censorship' of Alex Jones

Glenn Greenwald is leading the worry brigade among some libertarians and semi-libertarians about letting the trio above ban Alex Jones from their sites.

To which, although I've noted problems with the way Popehat swings his particular version of semi-absolutism on the First Amendment, there's his response:
Then there's my response:
And, with that, I'm targeting Glenn, who's worried about Citizens United but not nearly enough to call for its repeal, and doesn't even care about Buckley.

That's called petard-hoisting, Glenn. (Oh, Ken, I'll put that on you at some point. Unless you actually like people yelling fire in a crowded theater, you're not a 1A absolutist, either.)

Beyond THAT, Infowars is hoist by its own petard:
But, let's move onward.

I don't need Reason to tell me (thus, no link, Ken) that while the trio can ban Jones and Infowars, the grounds are wishy-washy.

But, neither you nor Reason will say, contra your tweet, that late-stage capitalism is involved.

These folks (supposedly, Apple hasn't banned Jones on all platforms yet, anyway), probably saw some small threat of "boycott" and figured that would lose more money than gaining any money from Alex and his neo-nutbar fellow travelers.

As "they" say, Effbook is a "mature platform" in the US. Ditto for YouTube and various Apple sites.

On the third hand, is this:
Facebook ultimately is a late-stage capitalist platform. But that's what drove Citizens United, too, Glenn. So, you're kind of petard-hoist.

To summarize, libertarian types risk hoisting on one of several petards.

One is when saying that Facebook (synecdoche for the group) is doing it wrong. You admit it has the power to do this. Thanks, that's all we need there.

Two is admitting Facebook has gotten too big to be allowed to do this on its own. You're admitting it's a public utility or similar, and that it needs government regulation or similar. Well, on the second half of that sentence, you lost your libertarian card if, like Ted Cruz seemingly, you think it needs to be regulated. If you reject that fork, but accept the first clause, then let's bounce hypotheticals off your head as to how close to First Amendment absolutism you want to go before you might step in. The Weekly Standard goes exactly there by asking if you want porn on social media.

Three is more muddled. It's having the feeling that Facebook's actions are problematic but not being sure what else to do next. If you're an allegedly rigorous-thinking libertarian, that's a problem there.

Beyond that, as Alex Madrigal notes (and others have observed on Twitter) the ban is about as leaky as most newspapers' online paywalls. (It's kind of sad that's my reference, but it's a perfect comparison.) That too is presumably deliberate, and late-stage capitalistic. A "ban" that's more of a shadow ban to appease some people. Hell, Facebook probably even ran an algorithm about just how much "banning" to do.

Google? It just lets Jones keep running on Google+, showing how little it now values that site. Plus, none of these people have banned Jones' British flunky, Paul Watson.

Final note? RationalWiki has a great point about Jones. If he really is blowing the cover of the New World Order time after time, why is he still alive? Why hasn't he been assassinated?

August 07, 2018

TX Progressives tackle various sellouts

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows that weekly blog roundups are not a crime. But, orphaning kids, or engaging in racial, classist, or environmentalist sellouts, and other things, certainly are. Dig in to this week’s roundup.

Texas Monthly discusses how federal judge Dana Sabraw said the Trump Administrastion may be creating permanent orphans from family-separated kids.

At the Dallas Observer, Jim Schutze says that Dwaine Caraway’s bid for mayor is probably dead in the water if a corruption lawsuit has any meat. Given that it’s connected to Dallas County Schools, it probably has plenty of meat. (Update, Aug. 9: It and Caraway are both dead in the water; he has now
pled guilty to two federal charges and resigned, the Observer reports.) I have a bit of personal familiarity with Dallas County Schools from it having a bus barn in Lancaster.

SocraticGadfly wonders why 25 House Dems and a Gang Greenish environmentalist group are recycling an old Ryan Zinke idea for new National Parks funding.

Brains and Eggs notes that just when you think national Democrats can’t do worse on 2020 prez candidates, up pops Eric Holder, even as alleged progressives of the Kossack tribe at Netroots Nation let their ballot boxes be stuffed for Terry McAwful, I mean, Terry McAuliffe.

Texas Standard wonders if Pope Francis’ now-total opposition to the death penalty will sway any Texas Catholics, like, you know, Gov. Greg Abbott. (Answer? No. It will just make Rethug Cafeteria Catholics a larger tribe than Doink ones.)

Texas Rural Voices talks about how arming Texas teachers will be dangerous.

Chris Ferguson wonders why some people are afraid to call themselves "feminists".

Very Smart Brothas calls out Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott for his sellout to Jethro Jerry Jones.

Related? Dallas Observer’s Stephen Young reviews Very Smart Brothas calls out Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott for his Dale Hansen’s interview with the WaPost over Jethro Jerry’s “no kneeling” stance.

Off the Kuff analyzed the latest polls in the Senate race.

Keep Austin Wonky looks at the end of CodeNext.

Therese Odell really doesn't like where Trump's war on the press is going.

The TSTA Blog ties everything back to the $5.4 billion cut to public education in 2011.

The Militant talks about the screening of “Santos Vive,” a documentary about how a Dallas cop  killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez by Russian roulette in 1973.

 Jade Esteban Estrada profiles State Rep. Ina Minjarez.

 Expat Texan Elise Hu bids farewell to Korea.

David Bruce Collins discusses a bit of mental health.

August 06, 2018

"Medicare PRICES for All" — latest neolib head fake

In a move of health care strategery that the likes of a Beto O'Rourke would surely love, two Obamacare flaks at neoliberal punditry mag Washington Monthly say "we" (who's that mouse in your collective pocket?) don't really need Medicare for All.

We need Medicare PRICES for all.

This is built on such a foundation of sinking bullshit, I don't know where to start.

First, if this does save my late-stage capitalist employer money on health care, he's not passing it on to me. But, you guys know that.

Second, my boss wants to keep me enserfed to health care benefits. "Bennies," so that I still don't want to change jobs. But, you guys know that, too.

And, talk about burying the lede? It's down in the last paragraph of the long piece:
So why not just keep it simple, at least to start? A “Medicare prices for all” plan doesn’t require tax increases or involve transfers paid for by the middle class. It doesn’t require Americans to give up their current health care plans. And it doesn’t repeal or replace the popular features of the Affordable Care Act. But it does directly attack the middle-class affordability crisis using a proven approach that the great majority of Americans might actually support.
In other words, you poor? Keep your state-largesse-dependent Medicaid. Working poor? Keep your CHIP for your kids. 

If you're "working poor" or lower-middle-class in a state that didn't do the Medicaid expansion with Obamacare, or did it, but with restrictions? Oh, so sorry. That "transfers paid for by the middle class" shows the gig is up right there. Because we can attack, or pretend to attack, an abstract health care industry, but we can't tax rich individuals more and more progressively as part of a national health care system.

They even outrightly admit that, two paragraphs up:
Even if the CAP plan was financed in good measure by new taxes on the super-rich, it would still involve large transfers from middle-income people, who will be at least partially financing their own benefits, to people with lower incomes, who would be paying nothing for the health care they receive.
This dreck may not be racist, but it certainly is classist. Beyond that, middle-class taxes already help pay for Medicaid and CHIP. And these neoliberal wingnuts know THAT, too. So, it's classist with a counterfactual pandering element.

And we sure as hell can't have a British-style NHS because that would be an even bigger giveaway to "them" than Medicare for All. (It would also address the increasing monopilization of hospitals that Medicare PRICES for All would not. What's to stop a hospital from going cash-only? Or a cartel of them, if the gummint doesn't investigate?)

Fuck you all. Fuck your Council for Affordable Health Coverage, since it's an insurance industry front group.