SocraticGadfly: 8/26/18 - 9/2/18

September 01, 2018

John McCain, de-hagiographied on Twitter

Now that the embalmed carcass of John McCain, the Schmuck Talk Express, is most of the way through a posthumous Roman triumph that would have made Marius, Julius Caesar and Pompey blush, with #TheResistance participating fiercely in what one non-member Twitterer called nothing more than a subtweet to Trump, let us indeed turn to Twitter to remember our Wrecker of Airplanes, Monger of Wars, Bomber of Civilians, Hater of Gays in Wedlock (despite his own lack of marital sanctity), Racist toward Middle Easterners and various other things.

First, though, let me remind that #TheResistance team of one thing — that John McCain earned indeed every one of those titles. And yet, in my friends of friends circles and observations, has been Twitter-deified more than anybody since ActualFlatticus.

And with that, off to Twitter! In no particular order, but mainly focused on the DC divinizing demagoguery, here we go, while noting I have a related poll, in case it doesn't embed:

Second, and having Tweeted along these lines more than once, the inside-the-Beltway stenos are responsible for much of this:
Speaking of, this is probably being eyed as a gravy train by said stenos, #TheResistance, or both:
And, let's throw a particular member of said group under the bus. I've seen her retweeted a lot. Especially after actually looking through her feed, gad she's overrated:
It's disgusting enough #TheResistance is turd-polishing John Sidney McCain III. Even worse is the butt-kissing of George Shrub Bush. The necromancing of the Prince of the Living Undead, though, by #TheResistance is simply beyond the pale:
Of course, some members of that team have been long-time professional Democrats:
That said, shouldn't John Sidney prove, at least to his heiress widow Cindy, that he is in fact now divine, ruling with the other Caesars?
Don't forget that the DC hagiography had a warm-up act back in Phoenix.

I didn't forget on Twitter, after all, using the chance to throw others under the bus. Like JoePa Biden:
And Westboro Baptist Church:
And, yes, that is throwing them under the bus, for apparently being too chicken to extend their level of tasteless out here. After all, Sidney did eventually mellow enough on his anti-gay marriage stance that he should have been a target.

Even before the funeral, of course, the Schmuck Talk Express was lauded as a human rights advocate. Setting aside all the ways I listed up top that he was not a human rights advocate within the US of A, let's look elsewhere.

Like India:
Famous literati needed to be reminded of this, of course:
And lover of the human rights of Ukrainian neo-Nazis he was pictured with:
And remembering further his valiant support for domestic human rights:
In which Dear Leader, #TheResistance popular vote president emeritus, ultimately joined:
And with that, let's just tack back to throwing #TheResistance further underneath the wheels of the Schmuck Talk Express:
And here, via retweet, as I had nothing to add:
And back to the Beltway stenos for good measure:
Had enough? Well, you should be sick of #TheResistance and #TheBeltwayStenos, not me. Besides, I didn't even mention Meghan McCain or Sarah Palin, among others.

If you haven't had enough, follow my blog, follow me on Twitter, or both.

August 30, 2018

Beto's ongoing campaign gambles

While Anne Helen Peterson's Buzzfeed News puff piece about O'Rourke — critiqued by me here — had some definite problems, it had some definite insights as well.

One important one is that Beto has, to this point, dodged doing traditional wholesale politics with the Hispanic patróns, the politiqueras, of the Valley. There's more confirmation, per C.D. Hooks, of that. That could be problematic. Given what every Texan with political brains already knows about how Hispanics in the Pointy Abandoned Object State™, Hispanics are the capper on Texas being a "non-voting state." So, either Beto is saying he doesn't expect the Valley's barons can or will deliver, or he's thinking that they think his message won't resonate with voters there, despite his Spanish-language skills, or he's making a point of not playing politics as usual. I personally think it's a mix of points two and three, mainly, although both of those points are surely evident enough that the patróns indeed probably also see them, thus bringing the first point into play.

Justin Miller of the Texas Observer has a new follow-up that says Beto is still swimming upstream in the Valley.

Peterson also noted to a lesser extent that he's not totally reaching out to urban black power brokers. In Houston, that would be Sylvester Turner, above all, tho he's enough of a ConservaDem he's probably sympatico with Beto. In Dallas, it would be Royce West and Our Man Downtown, John Wiley Price, tho I don't think ANY recent Dem governor's candidate has made an effort to, or wanted to make an effort to, court him.

If people look at campaign-stop pictures, in more urban and more blueish areas, Robert Francis Kennedy O'Rourke is targeting the youth vote, no matter its ethnicity. However, not just in Texas, but nationally, we all know the youth vote turns out lower than oldsters.

A lot of polls, even those that should know better, overrate Hispanic turnout early in a race. The ones that put Beto in a statistical dead head with Cruz are probably doing that, as well as overestimating youth turnout.

That said, the enthusiasm is there.

Living in a medium-small town that's definitely "red," I have seen more Beto signs than for all other statewide-race Democrats combined. In fact, I think I've seen more O'Rourke signs than Cruz ones. So, the enthusiasm is there. On the center to right of the party, and with at least some independents.

But, if traditional core minority Democrats don't turn out in any better than normal midterm numbers, if that, will it be enough? That's even more an open question if leftist independents like me, Brains, and David Bruce Collins, with no Green candidate, undervote.


For a roundup of polling in all major statewide races, go here.

August 28, 2018

TX Progressives talk Beto, Harvey

The Texas Progressive Alliance says sayonara to John McCain and also wishes retirement Happy Trails to Manu Ginobili as it brings you this week's roundup.

SocraticGadfly reads the new BuzzFeed longform about Beto O'Rourke and does some deconstruction of its several errors.

Brains and Eggs weighs in about the cult of personality Beto seems to be developing more and more.

Gadfly also had a poll about Beto and debates. Seventy percent of respondents, in his opinion, had the wrong answer:

One year after Harvey, Big Oil wants a federal construction bailout for climate-change related flooding potential problems.

Also one year after Harvey, Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston City Council ignore new floodplain-sited residential construction.

Neil at You Must Act Right now was a witness to an act of civil disobedience at the proposed location of the baby jail/family detention jail in Houston.

Raj Mankad explains the Harris County flood bond referendum and the need for a comprehensive vision.

Lara Purser visits Kashmere Gardens a year after Harvey.

David Bruce Collins writes about fauxgressives and fauxcialists.

Therese Odell reacts to the Asia Argento news.

In Dallas, the Observer notes that former Sheriff Lupe Valdez’s former department delayed work by volunteers trying to bail people out of Lew Sterrett.

Grits for Breakfast defends DPS in the matter of their proposed office closings.

Juanita laughs at some unintended comedy from the Fort Bend County Sheriff's office.

Sarah Martinez laughs at an attempt to crown Dallas as "Taco City".

Off the Kuff looks at the latest Senate race poll and compares how Beto O'Rourke is doing to how Lupe Valdez is doing.

August 27, 2018

Manu gone — end of a Spurs era

With the retirement of Manu Ginobili, only Patty Mills, a reserve guard back then, and the returning vagabond Marco Belinelli, remain from the San Antonio Spurs last title team in 2013-14.

Danny Green was traded to Toronto along with Kawhi Leonard. Tony Parker refused to accept the same reality that Manu did and so went to Charlotte as a free agent. Tim Duncan retired a couple of years back. And, the others are even longer gone, role players moving to other roles with other teams for more money, or else retired. Even Boris Diaw and his slow motion dekes are officially gone from the league. (He has now made his retirement official, and Manu said goodbye back, complete with revealing a nickname.)

So, it is the end of an era, as shown by this classic picture of the Big Three.

Would Manu have hung one more year if Kawhi and his Uncle Dennis hadn't forced their way out of town? Possibly.

But now, with DeMar DeRozan for two years, and the touted Jakob Poeltl as well in that trade back from Toronto, Coach Popovich faces some type of quasi-rebuild, whatever he calls it.

Per an ESPN question, he's a HOFer on NBA career alone; more than 100 Win Shares primarily coming off the bench says that. With his international work, he is a slam dunk.

Let's remember him with some career highlights.

Of course, there's only one person suitable, besides Pops, to be the emcee for Manu's official retirement event.

Sir Charles, what's your calendar look like this fall?

"Socialism" doesn't reductionistically equate to "freedom"

Corey Robin, in a new op-ed for the NYTimes Sunday opinion section, says that today's socialism ultimately reduces to the word "freedom."

As I said in a set of semi sub-Tweets in a thread there, then a retweet of somebody who dug it, and was retweeted herself by Robin, I'm not sold. In fact, I think the piece has problems.

I'm going to post each Tweet in my thread individually for commentary. Let's start.
I don't know if Robin was deliberate or not. Whether he was, and was trying to scene-steal, or something else, I simply disagree. And I didn't have room in that Tweet to quote Janis Joplin. But, there are various ways to achieve "losing the last thing," to riff on "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

But let's let somebody else sing it:

So, no, socialism isn't uniquely reducible to freedom.

Next I said:
Again, I am by no means alone in still being skeptical — not cynical, but skeptical — about Democratic Socialist of America Democrats. That's why I don't put the rose icon in my Twitter handle. Only the sunflower. (If the Socialist Party USA had an icon it uses, I'd put that one in, too.) That's coupled with an eyebrow on duopoly issues I still have toward Robin himself. On this issue, he's only talking the talk, from most of what I've seen on his social media. He does occasionally give a nod to Greens or others, but that's it.
Yep, goes back to Bernie.

And, while we're at this point, it also covers foreign policy. See, while I'm more of an actual socialist than any of the above (none of them has touted an American version of a British National Health System, like I have; hell, Corey may not have), I'm more than "just" a socialist of some sort.

I'm also a left-liberal to leftist on foreign policy. (Socialists can be various types of hard-nosed, just like conservative atheists exist.) I know Bernie opposes BDS, and I know Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has dodged it like a speeding bullet. Carter, being at state government level, gets to dodge it more easily. Dunno about Salazar and others. They're generally not trumpeting it.

So, other than just coloring me skeptical, color me as saying this is glass half full, or two-thirds if we weight domestic policy that much more.

OK, the last tweet in the thread.
Here's the why on that tweet, especially the stuff in parentheses.

Robin said:
Socialism is not journalists, intellectuals or politicians armed with a policy agenda.
If he had had the word "just" after "not," I'd agree. But he didn't.

Look at the original Occupy in Zucotti Park. It was a semi-disorganized semi-rabble — on the surface; below that surface it had a leadership indeed, with an agenda we don't know to this day. (We do know that some claiming to represent that original movement turned out to be capitalist grifters, and per the previous link, that may well have been the intent of Occupy leader Malcolm Harris.) Again, it's not just me alone thinking that. It's the likes of Doug Henwood. That said, those "socialists" weren't even workers, certainly not of the proletariat. Per their own self-identification, most were the kids of 10 percenters and many the kids of 1 percenters; a strong minority had graduate degrees as well.

Anyway, journalists are "workers," too, Corey. Don't sit in your academic ivory tower and think that journalists are all part of the 10 percent. Not even close.

And, maybe not in the US, but in Britain, Jeremy Corbin is a worker — and a socialist.

OK, finally, the quote-tweeted retweet.
I mean what I said. Capitalism is not so "gendered" as he claims, or is presented as claiming, since Robin liked the Tweet.

Yes, women have been in a power imbalance in capitalism. But, that's not necessarily an issue of the structure of capitalism. I don't think it is at all. As I've argued with Doug Henwood, and through him to Adolph Reed, and also with Jacobin, that not all race issues reduce to class issues, neither do all gender issues so reduce.

Let's remember that France and Italy, while both allegedly being to the left of the US on a democratic socialism scale, and both having paid family leave time, have both otherwise long been regarded as having more sexism than the U.S.