March 23, 2019

What's next for Trump after the Mueller Report

Attorney General Bill Barr released his Mueller Report letter Friday. While we have yet to see the full, or nearly full, report, the key takeaway is no more indictments by Mueller. And, via Splinter, here is the full Barr letter.

That is no shock to me, and expected a month ago.

I know Kossack Dead Enders like Marcy have halfway accepted reality while at the same time dangling a bone or two to their followers. On Twitter, she claimed that maybe there was a "conspiracy" (finally dropping the word "collusion," for which there is no federal statute) but that Mueller couldn't see it through to charges — whether because it didn't clear a high enough legal bar or forces were arrayed against him.

Marcy's now butt-hurt again and making up BS, this time about the Barr Letter. Section 1? No, Trump has never officially dangled a pardon for Manafort, Marcy. There may have been elliptical talk, but nope, nothing close to explicit.

Meanwhile, Marcy's fans asked her if she was ever going to reveal the alleged threat against her or whatever. That, of course, assumes there was a real, actual threat.

Per this tweet:
Marcy, per the end of the post linked above, doesn't appear ready to name a name.

Reality? Even if Congressional Dems force the full report into public eye, there's still no Donut Twitter collusion "there" there. (Ben Wittes at Lawfare, who should know federal law better than Marcy Wheeler, still uses "collusion" in his spin on the report release. He goes Marcy-like otherwise on citing "reasonable doubt," in his case, referring to obstruction of justice."

That said, Barr can be faulted on other things. Like rushing to put out his cover letter as a possible spinning. Popehat takes him to task. So does Neal Katyal, including the rush to judge that Trump did not obstruct justice in firing Comey. I don't think he did, esp. since Rosenstein was on board. Plus, Barr's legal POV is that such can never be, in and of itself, obstruction. I halfway, but not totally, disagree with Barr.

Outside of legal theories, though, Trump's repeated public dialog on Twitter, per the Washington Post, means that obstruction would be hard to prove for other reasons. I don't see "corrupt intent" in the Comey firing, again. And, since Mueller did not find "collusion" (in the generic sense) other obstruction charged folded like a cheap deck of cards. Marcy? Talk to the hand of Rosenstein. As I said, with no "collusion," everything else related to that falls apart.

Per Katyal, I fault Mueller most for never pushing for a direct interview with Trump. There was no "collusion," but ... as the investigation morphed, Mueller shouldn't have shut it without this. Popehat is right that Mueller is "legally conservative," but this was too far.

Rick Hasen also weighs in with other concerns at Slate. Did Don Jr. offer a thing of value in the Trump Tower meeting? Did he even solicit the Russian information? I disagree with Rick, respectfully. I do agree that campaign finance charges were a possibility but ... see below.

That said, I do think the House needs to haul Barr in front of it. And with a subpoena, not just an agreement to talk.

And, as others note, Trump isn't out of the woods.

It is true that federal district court in New York has cases still to investigate. And, with state courts there looking at other items, who knows what could still happen. Campaign finance charges could be part of this indeed, per Hasen. Remember, the Stone case is now in those hands. (Constitutional sidebar: Nothing's stopping a state court from indicting a sitting president, as I see it, any more than SCOTUS said that there was nothing stopping the Paula Jones lawsuit.) But, while those may be about things like money laundering and campaign finance violations, none of them involved the "collusion" claims of Donut Twitter, Hillary and the Hillbots or the Kossack Dead Enders.

As for the Steele Dossier that lurks behind the "collusion" claims? Who's not to say that Russian intelligence didn't play Christopher Steele like a landed fish from the moment he started looking for info?

Speaking of, Corey Lewandowski goes on the Dems-only attack at Faux even though he damn well knows that Never Trumper Republicans, starting with Jeb! asked for the work, not just the information, but Steele's actual work to get it, months before Fusion did for the Dems.

Otherwise, we did get to see Ken Starr make a bigger ass out of himself than normal.

Contra Marcy and others dangling bread crumps, top Dem prez candidates  pretty much gone radio silence about the letter and report. And, that's because they're not being asked that much about it. Single-payer is a big talking point, as are others.

Of course, Miss Nancy Pelosi already stupidly pulled impeachment off the table. NOT just for alleged collusion, but ... period, basically. That's even as Emoluments Clause lawsuits remain active in court and give the House a starting point on this issue, which is quite impeachment-worthy. Some Dem prez critters, like R.F. O'Rourke, have signed off on Miss Nancy, calling impeachment a "last resort," and taking the wrong lessons from Slick Willie vs Newt et al 1998.

(It's not the first time Congress has had legitimate reasons to impeach a president and used the wrong grounds. Instead of the flimsy Tenure of Office Act, radical Republicans should have impeached Andy Johnson for obstruction of justice, malfeasance of office and violation of his oath of office after he failed to enforce the 1866 Civil Rights Act passed over his veto.)

==

Per former presidential legal spox Ty Cobb, sure Trump was thin-skinned about the idea Putin put him on the throne. Add that to his general ego and thin-skinnedness. That said, Hillbots went down this road.

Should Obama be blamed for saying more than "knock it off" in late summer 2016? Well, yes, he should. He should have intervened when his AG, Loretta Lynch, met Slickster Clinton on the Phoenix tarmac.

==

Few more thoughts hither and yon. Glenn Greenwald was far from alone on this issue. Others, such as some of the folks at Consortium News, Aaron Mate, Ken Silverstein, Mark Ames, Matt Taibbi, Yasha Levine and others, were there. A lot of the stuff above is my own analysis without them. Don't mention Caitlin Johnstone. She's a nutter who probably read her own horoscope to decide where to jump in. Anybody who salutes her, a conspiracy theorist of a bit, and a red-brown alliance nutter, needs to rethink.

March 22, 2019

2020 Democratic prez race on social media:
Progressive jostling on candidate support, openness

Maybe I should have "progressives" in scare quotes, especially speaking from outside the duopoly.

Or use the good old Fauxgressives label.

There are few actual progressives, and not a tremendous amount of Fauxgressives, supporting Kamala Harris.

But, in other cases?

Tulsi Gabbard is still drawing support from people who should, IMO, know better. People who are accepting her past apology for homophobia and not digging deeper, to note her support for the RSS and her support for neocons on Israel? Maybe I should call them Failgressives instead of Fauxgressives. In either case, they exist, and in abundance. That said, she's been good on Venezuela and other things. It still leads me to a question of whether she's truly antiwar or more anti-Americans getting killed in war.

Marianne Williamson? Down with Tyranny loves them some Marianne. Shock me. People I thought knew better do as well, though.

Bernie Sanders? Yes, the best among Democrats. But, still with plenty of holes in his foreign policy world, and the Trump / bipartisan foreign policy establishment's push for a coup in Venezuela — followed by Bernie's response, or rather, largely his non-response on social media — has showed some of those holes are pretty big. Not that a lot of Berniebros will accept that.

Betomania? Some here in the Pointy Abandoned Object State still lust for him, including some I thought were more progressive than that. This is part of why I may do a Facebook cleanup soon.

At the same time? In Bernieville, David Sirota has IMO committed an ethical faux pas. And after me standing up for him on Twitter.

Turns out he WAS secretly advising Sanders before taking a spox position with him.

Now, as I said on Twitter:


But, the damage is done.

Now, plenty of MSM flaks have been flakking for Beto without sekrutly working for him, other than the MSM likes style points candidates of the neoliberal Democrats in general. But it does, yes, raise a small bit of Credibility Gap issues with Sirota.

Maybe not huge. What he said about Beto, Kamala and others is true. But, he was doing it while advising Bernie.

That also puts into light that Sirota only addressed campaign financing issues, and a little bit other domestic policy issues.

Hence this:
Regular readers know that I've blogged about Bernie and things like his F-35 bromance, his weak knees, or downright opposition to, BDS, his weak knees on "Putin Did It" collusion claims, and also, his recent weak knees on Venezuela.

Sirota's not that uninformed on foreign policy. 

Maybe he just didn't care to write about it, whether at Capital and Main or The Guardian. Maybe he made a deliberate choice, though.

==

Outside of the presidency? AOC is still a lightning rod. And she's still botched some things. But, just because she doesn't talk about every environmental issue in the world, and is focused on the Green New Deal, doesn't mean she's an anti-environmentalist. Nor do I think she was "forced down" any throats. A Google Trends shows a spike when she beat Crowley, and a bigger spike at the general election, then a drop again until the kerfuffle with the pre-swearing in workshops for freshman Dems followed by the Green New Deal. And, part of those spikes were wingnuts posting pictures of her dancing, then getting pwn'ed.

I'm going to call out what I see as wrong where I can. I will try not to slip up in how I do it. That's my bad.

March 21, 2019

TX Progressives assess Betomania 2.0, Senate 2020
Greg Abbott's latest hypocrisy, bathroom bill 2019, more


The Texas Progressive Alliance stands against the threat of white nationalist violence as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the anti-sick leave bill that may serve as a stealth "bathroom bill".

SocraticGadfly takes note of Beto O'Rourke entering the presidential race, notes that he still is not unequivocally for single-payer, and wonders when Sema Hernandez will apologize for endorsing him last fall and claiming he did support it. **

Stace at Dos Centavos wonders if people may be "Beto'd out".

John Coby lists some people he'd prefer not run for Senate in 2020.

Brains and Eggs also takes a whack at Beto, but gives Sema a pass on that Just.Another.Politician.™ endorsement of R.F. O'Rourke last year. **

And here are some posts of interest from other blogs and news sties about Texas.

Jim Schutze calls out Gov. Abbott’s self-righteous fake indignation over the college cheating scam with two words: “TCEQ Wallace Hall.”

Mile Coleman analyzes the 2018 Texas Senate race to see what it may mean for a Beto Presidential run in 2020.

Juanita cheers the news that Sandy Hook parents will be allowed to sue Remington in Connecticut state court over how it marketed its guns.

Sanford Nowlin is also on the sick leave/bathroom bill beat.

Vice, starting in Marble Falls, talks about underground marijuana doctors.

Michael Li previews the return of racial gerrymandering before SCOTUS.

Texas Observer has the latest on antivaxxers in the Lege. (Note: The anti-science from the wingnuts may be greater than climate change anti-science.)

The Texas Trib says Gov. Strangeabbbot apparently wants personal control of bail reform. (Your blogger knows bill author Kyle Kacal; Abbott is surely behind this.)


==

** Brains, in his version of the Wrangle, claims I don't have my targets correct. I think I do. Scap was the flack-runner for Sema, but Sema's the ultimate target and I've got her "endorsement letter" on my linked post. He can, instead, worry about posting a link to Seth Rich conspiracy theorist Ty Clevenger's SLAPP lawsuit against Seth's family as well as media people without identifying Clevenger as a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist or the lawsuit as a SLAPP lawsuit. (I suspect Ty listed Seth's parents beneath the media folks to try to gain more sympathy for his cause and to hide that this is a SLAPP suit; unfortunately, there is no anti-SLAPP law in federal jurisdiction, and may not be in the states in which Ty filed, as the feds will sometimes kind of align with state law.)

I've profiled Clevenger in depth here, where there's this comment:

Hey, I just link to his blog and put him in the Wrangle once in awhile. As with Ted and Kuffner.
Got it. Dunno about you, but I put Kuff in because he organizes the Roundup, no matter what you think of his neoliberalism or other things. (Where I may often agree.) You normally do the same. When you have put Ted in at any time from the 2016 Dem primaries on, it's usually been to laugh at a Hillbot.

I don't think you, this week, put Ty in for those reasons. Especially since, from commenting on my profile, you don't have an excuse for knowing Clevenger's background.

March 19, 2019

Your latest climate change hell news

First, if you think China is blazing great guns on fighting climate change in a way the US is not, you need to think again. China has increased GHG emissions 4.7 percent from 2017. India even more.

Land use reforms to fight climate change? A laugh. And, as long as neoliberal capitalism is the end game, who can blame Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia or Congo for paving over traditional forests with soybeans, palm oil trees or whatever.

That all said, we may be FAR more screwed than previously reported.

New computer simulations say that, in a century or so, if business as usual (which it seems to be) puts the world at 1200 ppm on carbon dioxide (at which point we will be at 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4C, of warming), we could SO destroy cloud cover, and the reflectivity that will help us, as to add an ADDITIONAL 15 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT on top of that 7F/4C!

Picture our planet, for Merika that still can't use metric measurements, TWENTY DEGREES HOTTER than it is today.

Red-state Texas? UNinhabitable. Period and end of story.

And, the authors of the simulations story are writing as if all of that additional 15/8 degrees will happen at the end. Isn't it just possible that bits of that cloud decimation happen on the way to 1200 ppm/7F? In other words, let's say that by 2060, we've added the second full degree C, to switch back to the scientific numbers. Isn't it possible that we've already affected clouds enough to add another 2/10ths C on top of the 2C by that point? That's not much, but ... it is an extra 1/3 degree F.

And, it also would cook a little more feedback into feedback loops.

Per the first link?

I'll offer 50-50 odds the world hits 1200 ppm within 100 years. Fortunately, I won't be alive then to see if I win the bet.

That's because, at least among Merikans viewed on social media, Pacific Standard reports on a sort of "weather becomes climate" version of Kahneman's fast thinking, or short-term emphasizing vs long-term discounting or similar. Wiki has the entry of "shifting baseline" with more details. Beyond such discounting, of course, humans just turn up the heat or AC, as well.

==

Some climatologists are suggesting that "geoengineering-lite" can deliver most of the expected benefits of full-on geoeingeering and few of the headaches. Color me skeptical.

==

Carl Beijer, whom I still find puzzling at times, claims that leftist types who worry that touting geoengineering will encourage the moral hazard of more carbon dioxide emissions, are simply wrong.

Instead, I think he's wrong, so wrong that I'll eat my fucking hat — and his — if he's ever proven right.

Most of Merika is morally lazy in general, first. Second, per the third tag here, most of Merika — including both right AND left neoliberals as well as various shades of rightists, with a few exceptions — believes in "salvific technologism," that is, the idea that the technology cavalry will always come running over the hill to save us.

The combination of both in a Venn diagram intersect on geoengineering is a big deal. Related to that, Beijer is putting the cart before the horse. He does offer the handwaving caveats of we don't know if some types of geoengineering might not be either safe or effective, although without noting that some might be positively unsafe in having backfire effects. BUT, he doesn't extrapolate from there to say that a good precautionary principle tied with moral hazard issues says that we shouldn't tout geoengineering until some version of it POSITIVELY PANS OUT.

The moral laziness will otherwise ride in the saddle.

March 18, 2019

News deserts



The Texas Observer has a good piece about news deserts — entire counties without a newspaper — and what happens with that.

What happens is that
1. Fewer people turn out to vote, especially in local elections, but a bit in state/national ones, too.
2. More gossip gets mongered on Facebook. Just as news aggregators became the enemy of daily papers cuz AP news was there, free and instantaneous, Facebook Groups are an enemy of local newspapers. But, the AP was news; it was just the issue of where you saw it. Facebook Groups generally aren't.  And, even on something like a local city, county or school district Facebook page, factually accurate items may lack context.
3. Clubs lose membership with lack of news about their meetings.
4. Advertising loses reach. (I say this not just to tout newspapers as a business, because, more and more, more and more newspapers blindly kiss advertisers' butts at the least bit of worry, as circulation continues to drop.

In counties that aren't too, too, small, a local radio station may still partially pick up the slack. But, what if there's not even a radio station?

The paper in the next county may help, but at times, they're stretched.

And, contra Duval County, no, having residents write your stories doesn't cut it. They don't know libel law, first, in all likelihood. Second, given national sites like Vox et al, they don't know, or have unlearned, the difference between news and editorial.

Third, what if George Parr or his equivalent were around today? You'd have Landslide Lyndons every election, and no newspaper to challenge that; George would be supplying all your volunteer writers.

March 15, 2019

Immigration: Liberals, left-liberals, leftists and Frum

It's easy to skewer David Frum, as I have done myself on foreign policy issues — a neocon deluxe who has but lightly modified that since becoming a Never Trumper as well, and thus ardently defending The Blob/Deep State.

Domestic policy? Well, even blind hogs find acorns, and while his new long read on immigration isn't all right, it's not all wrong, either.

White maladjustment to the changing face of America is not a good moral reason to reject "open borders" or anything close to it — though it may indeed be a good political reason.

Wage undercutting by illegal immigrants — who spread from replacing their legal Latinx brothers and sisters in farm work to moving into housekeeping, gardening and construction work (many Southwestern big cities, it's hard to get a new residential development built without them) IS arguably a good moral reason.

Before we go further? The Flaws of Frum, just a few.

Yes, more people ever are making $2 a day globally. But, making a 20-year-old comparison without adjusting for inflation is a huge fail. That's reason No. 1 life is NOT "all well" whether in Honduras or Haiti, Zambia or Zimbabwe, Ukraine or Uzbekistan.

Second, speaking of Honduras? And Latinx? Frum (of course) ignores how we have repeatedly destabilized most countries in Latin America. And yes, most countries. (The map is actually wrong in not coloring Honduras red as well.)

And thus, Hispanics who DON'T have a better life in front of them come north. If we were honest, Frum, we'd call these people refugees.

Third and related? Frum doesn't distinguish between legal and illegal immigration.

Fourth? Frum also ignores that many Hispanic illegal immigrants normally plan to move home eventually. But, Trump's wall makes that harder.

Fifth, Frum engages in stereotyping by pretending that the vast majority of illegal immigration is Latinx, and that they're new arrivals. Neither is true.

The shorter David Frum? Ignore American coups, less wall and more law enforcement bodies on the border, and ignore realities of immigration.

Now, per the above?

Liberals is really, anymore, just a term for left-neoliberals. They do exist, and per Michaels, one distinguishing mark is not wanting to call themselves neoliberal on the issues where they ... are neoliberal.

Left-liberals are those who admit there are at least some problems with market capitalism, especially in conjunction with a deregulatory state, but don't want to discuss just how bad the problem is, and also in the US don't want to walk outside the Democratic party.

Leftists are those who go beyond that. (And, I don't care if you claim to be a leftist; if you won't put even one toe outside the duopoly, you're a left-liberal.)

Back to immigration.

Liberals, if not favoring totally open borders, lean in general toward more open borders than the other two groups. Why? They're neoliberals at end. Open borders lets them boost both neoliberal market capitalism with cheap labor, and boost diversity by changing the demographic face a bit more. They may think this demographic change boosts Democratic electoral chances, a claim about which they should be much more circumspect. As for the jobs being an economic boost? Hell, many conservatives, while being careful with phrasing, will admit cheap labor does goose the economy, and it can be either legal or illegal. And, speaking of, liberals often are no better than Frum at distinguishing the two.

And, librul Deadspin shows this (love calling it out at times) by getting Frum's character right and his motivations at least semi-right but going semi-wrong on its call-out of his call-out of Joaquin Castro et al. Castro is not offering amnesty per se. BUT, if he were? An amnesty for all illegals IS the functional equivalent, at least, of abandoning border control, especially when the Reagan amnesty, we were told, was a once-off.

Left-liberals and leftists have less unity on the issue. (The Nation found this out a decade ago when it wrote a semi-open borders piece and got flamed by a number of readers in letters to the editor.)

Leftists will generally, as I did above, point out the US imperialism that has caused the immigration push. Left-liberals may not go that deep; leftists will also point out the capitalist tsunami behind all this more ardently. Both will also generally distinguish between legal and illegal immigration and will likely express different strategies for both. And, left-liberals and lefists, more than liberals, know that African-Americans are no more immigration friendly than whites, if that much.

For this leftist, addressing illegal immigration begins with addressing American right-wing coups.

Second, this skeptical leftist will agree with Frum on cutting, or even ending, the family reunification portion of today's immigration law and reframing the law on skills.

Related to this, leftists will reject that the US has some shortage of gray- or white-collar STEM or similar jobs that need filling via legal immigration. That's not true.

A skeptical leftist will also note that we can't solve the world's problems; we can do what we can to not make them worse. That means no more coups. And no more lying about coups.

If liberals are really left-neoliberals who don't like that name, then many neocons are, aside from Israel, a hybrid of paleocons and neoliberals in some way.

March 14, 2019

Beto2020 — the Kool-Aid is poured
and many are chugging it (newly updated)

The amount of Kool-Aid that's already being poured for a presidential run for ConservaDem Beto O'Rourke is mind-boggling. So is the amount of people — including Texans who I thought were either better thinkers than that or better informed than that — who are willfully drinking.

Update, March 14, as the idiocy level around Beto's loss to Ted Cruz as he runs for president has hit astronomical levels.

Hey, both non-Texans and Texans who should know better?

Beto spent $69 million to lose to Ted Cruz by THREE percentage points.

Know what?


Mike Collier spent about $68 million less to lose to Dan Patrick by just FIVE percentage points, in the lieutenant governor's race.


Kim Olson spent about $68.5 million less to lose to Sid Miller by just FIVE percentage points in the ag commissioner's race.


So, Robert Francis O'Rourke spent about $34 million a percentage point.


Now, Beto may have driven some of the turnout that helped them. But not all of it. Urban parts of Texas have been shifting for years. Dallas County went almost entirely blue in partisan county-level races way back in 2006. Harris County (Houston) had been shifting for sometime before officially tipping slightly blue last year. Bexar County (San Antonio) lags a little further behind, and Tarrant County (Fort Worth) is further back, but the GOP no longer has a full stranglehold in those places.

And, a friendly reminder that R.F. O'Rourke is STILL schwaffling on single payer. Despite Sema Hernandez and fanboys like Scap claiming otherwise. A quick transcript of a March 14 Iowa radio interview.


A few thoughts:

1. Were I voting in the 2020 primary (let's assume I am still in Tex-ass and that I figure Greens have no chance of a successful ballot access petition) while Bernie Sanders' age (if he runs again) would concern me, I would vote him over Beto in a heartbeat. Per what I have seen on Effbook, Beto as a younger, if not totally progressive, than allegedly not ConservaDem, option to Bernie, is nonsense.

2. Among the national neoliberal chattering class (Neera Tanden at Center for American Progress et al) Beto is clearly taking more shape as a stop-Bernie possibility.

2A. Both the 1 and 2 camps tout "winnability." In other words, "lesser evilism." Currently, that's more a lesser evilism from ignorance than willfulness in Camp 1, but it's willfulness more than ignorance in Camp 2.

3. It is true that, because of his near success against Havana Ted Cruz, that wingers and fellow travelers fear him. As I've noted, two such fellow travelers have lied in claiming that Beto is a single-payer guy as part of claiming he ran a bad campaign. The lie is obviously a placeholder to extend nationally Havana Ted's smear. The bad campaign claim is shown to be untrue by the fact that, while he lost, Beto finished closer to Havana Ted than the best poll predictions. (Per Real Clear Politics, only one outlying Emerson poll showed a race closer than 3 percentage points and none ever showed O'Rourke with a lead.)

4. In light of Point 2, while Beto will face a few "takedown" pieces if he leans more toward running, he'll also get plenty of national media puff pieces like he did this year. After all, John Nichols at The Nation showed his hackery by writing a puff piece on someone who not only is not a DSA rose, but actually was non-endorsed by some local chapters of Our Revolution. Anne Helen Peterson's gushing for BuzzFeed is a bit more forgivable on account of biased laziness; Nichols knows better, or at a minimum, he has a history and body of work that shows he should know better.

4A. For at least some of the people in Point 4 writing puff pieces, or attacking those like David Sirota, or little old me further down the list, as with people on Book of Face, the lesser evilism claim of "winnability" will get touted, and the fear of wingers I list in No. 3 will get cited as proof of that.

Meanwhile, Beto, obviously taking a page from Sanders getting a bad rap, has already met with both Dear Leader and Al Sharpton.

That said, there's other Kool-Aid already out there besides Beto.

Kamela Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand are both being image-buffed. Donut Twitter will probably throw both out as women along with complaints that Bernie is anti-woman. Women's issues will remain important, though the rough edges of MeToo will fade in a year.

Anyway, I vote based on foreign as well as domestic policy.

Who is, say, under 65, or better yet, under 60, three-quarters or more as progressive on domestic policy in Dem ranks as Bernie, and even close to him on foreign policy? No Democrat that I see. Elizabeth Warren is over 65, self-damaged goods in some ways, and already criticizing of BDS.

That said, no "name," presidential-aspirant Democrats are great on foreign policy. Bernie's the best of a bad lot. Beyond being iffy himself on BDS, he's dabbled in the collusion Kool-Aid, speaking of that beverage. And, an alleged Texas socialist at Splinter claims its best he should step aside and try to nudge Warren leftward. Jacobin just torpedoed that. And, don't claim Tulsi Gabbard, who remains an Islamophobe as well as a friend of India's semi-fascist BJP and more fully fascist RSS.

Riffing on David's comment:

Dan Derozier, Houston DSA elections committee chair, in a Chronicle-run retrospective, notes clearly that Beto stood for Beto and little else. So true. Even worse than Obama, he left little "apparatus" to build on. (Derozier dodges Beto's stance, or lack thereof, on specific positions, though. Beto is just criticized as a values-free campaigner without noting WHAT values he was free of. I.e., his dodges on single-payer aren't specifically mentioned. Per that, I wonder if he's trying to work intra-DSA factions on Betomania.)

==

This piece, like my original ConservaDem piece, will get updates as warranted.

Dec. 23, 2018: Jonathan Allen and Alex Seitz-Wald, the former long known as a semi-lazy "inside baseball" political writer and the second as simply a hack, have written an opinion piece masquerading as a news story attacking David Sirota above all as representative of a "Bernie-world" move against Beto. I set them straight, or offered to set themselves straight by noting my ConservaDem piece began nine months ago, long before David uttered a word about Beto, among other things, and that as a Green-leaner, I'm not part of any "Bernie-world."

Jan. 3, 2019: David Brock of Mindless Mullets for America is doing the same.

TX Progressives take on Dem side of of duopoly, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance supports — if not getting rid of DST then at least getting rid of the current version.

Off the Kuff is skeptical of early polls, but still notes that Donald Trump's as yet unknown opponent leads him in a very early poll of Texas.

SocraticGadfly has a twofer from the presidential campaign trail — women candidates who pander to gender stereotypes and Feel the Bern enthusiasts who engage in conspiracy thinking.

Brains drops his own latest from the Dem presidential campaign, focusing on the Sherrod Brown surprise.

Dem prez candidates galore showed up at SXSW. The Texas Trib talked with many. Meanwhile, at Politico, David Siders says at least one Dem insider wearies of Beto’s mock Hamlet.

We'll find something out before July 13-16, 2020, in Milwaukee.


And here are some additional posts of interest from other blogs and news sites.

Stephen Young reminds us that David Whitley is entirely within the mainstream of the Republican Party.

Texas Vox supports making Election Day a state holiday.

Quianta Moore and Sadie Funk call for greater investment in early childhood development.

Juanita finds her new least favorite Congressman.

Leif Reigstad criticizes the Court of Criminal Appeals' ruling against the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Jim Schutze and his editor tangle with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and indirectly with the Snooze.

Schutze then has a long, well-written screed about white people vs black people and bribery in the Metromess.

The Texas Observer wonders if Danny Goeb is behind a rewrite of a state Senate bill that originally targeted local employment ordinances but is now going after local LGBTQ laws too.

Grits for Breakfast has the latest on marijuana laws at the Lege.

While many Democrats laud HR1, non-duopolists know that it has many pernicious provisions, none more so than greatly raising the threshold for third-party and independent presidential candidates to get matching federal funds. GP presidential candidate Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry explains in detail what's wrong with that. To a lesser degree, it hurts third-party and independent Congressional candidates in the same way. Other aspects of the cleanup are good, but this one is definitely not, she notes. Texas Greens know these issues all too well.

Finally, the TPA bids a sad farewell to Swamplot, the best thing that ever happened to Houston real estate.

March 12, 2019

Who's a Jew vis-a-vis Zionist claims?
History, culture-ethnos vs religion definitions, more

This is a sticky wicket, but I like sticky wickets, and decided to pull out some information from my Ilhan vs AOC, Pelosi and wingnuts to boot piece.

First, what do you mean by "Jew"?

Whoopi Goldberg:
Jew or not a Jew?
Do you mean a practitioner of the religion of Judaism? Then Whoopi Goldberg is one.

Do you mean an ethnic descendant from the one-time majority Semitic population of a small Eastern Mediterranean nation-state of antiquity?

Then Whoopi Goldberg is not. Not unless we start hauling out Mel Brooks' "schwartzes" from Blazing Saddles.

This all may seem separate from the issue of anti-Zionism not being anti-Semitism. But it's really semi-separate and no more than that, and I'll hit on that at the bottom.

That said, how Jewish, ethnically are Jews? And, I'm going back far further than the Khazar hypothesis most notably promoted by Arthur Koestler and Raphael Patai, among others, which in any case only covered Ashkenazis.

I'm going back into the Torah to start. Even if half the nations listed in the Torah as living in Palestine promised to Abraham and Moses are fictitious, the other half aren't. Given the actualities of how Israel arose vs myth of the Torah and the Former Prophets in the Nivi'im, there is no pure Jewish bloodline. Because, of course, there was no "invasion" of some Semitic people who had been slaves in Egypt. Rather, Israel arose as an indigenous social-cultural development within Canaanite peoples. Probably a century or so after that, maybe two centuries, reading between the lines, there was an incursion of people from the land of Midian bringing the worship of their tribal god, Yahweh, with them.

Based on the trilateral consonantal root system of most Semitic languages, the name "Yahweh" derives MUCH more likely from the Old Midianite verb "to storm, blow or thunder," rather than the Hebrew verb "to be." In other words, Yahweh was an Old Midianite Zeus, ruling from a dormant but not dead volcano, Sinai; the Numbers version of the Exodus route puts Sinai in Midian (today's northwest Saudi Arabia) and NOT the Sinai Peninsula.

So, Israelites by alleged ethnicity or Israelites or Judahites by religion (religious scholarship doesn't use the word "Judaism" until the return from the Babylonian Exile and even then, many may speak of "proto-Judaism") weren't all "Israelite," in all likelihood. They intermarried with the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites and others that Yahweh allegedly told them to drive out of the country, more clearly explicated as "wipe out" later, in Joshua 9. (And, yes, that would be another call for a holocaust, just like the one against the Amalekites, though that one was more explicit, in 1 Samuel 15.)

I add in the number of post-Return Judahite males Ezra told to divorce. I presume that not all did and that many had kids.

Add in the Idumeans converted at Maccabean swordpoint. The house of Antipater and Herod weren't the only ethnic Idumeans intermarrying with ethnic Judahites. (Beyond that, the Maccabean wars were as much a civil war as a revolt against the Seleucids.)

Zionists claiming both an ethical high ground and a need to have a Zionist-based nation of Israel after the Holocaust thus — if they are religious Jews — are undercut by their own history. If they're non-religious, whether Israeli citizens or not, the idea that is is driven by the Holocaust is undercut by Chaim Weizmann talking about expropriating Palestinian land and more already in 1919. More here. The key quote: "Palestine is to become as Jewish as England is English." And, per the map at this Wiki page, Weizmann and fellow travelers wanted the alleged full promise of Biblical land by Yahweh. In other words, they wanted the arable portions of today's Jordan, too.

None of this is to say that ancient Israel as a socio-cultural / "ethnic" group is any worse than any other group in history, on average. Nor was every portion of Israelite history unenlightened by standards of either then or today. It is to suggest that, on average, it's not necessarily better, though.

In other words, there were no watery tarts with swords in the Jordan River:



That said, we're now at about Khazar times. We know the Khazar Khan converted, and presumably along with his leading nobles, for political reasons, to balance between the Christians of the Byzantine Empire and the Muslims of the Abbasid Caliphate. That said, the khanate lasted long enough that surely a fair number of the Turkic Khazars also converted. There surely were other religious Jews of ethnically "Jewish" (per above) background in that area, too. We know the Crimea, which eventually became part of the khanate, had a large Jewish population. After all, the Crimean Karaites still exist. The genetics, per this note from Wiki, seem to rule out that Ashkenazi Jews are all Turkic, but allow for many of them being partly Turkic.

That said, the issue here is "who's an Ashkenazi"? A Rhinelander German and a Ukrainian in Odessa? A century ago, at least, both may have spoken Yiddish as their first language (well, maybe 200 years ago for unemancipated Rhinelanders) but that's about all they had in common. So, Jews from Odessa, Minsk or Vilnius may have a fair amount of Khazar background, and those from Baden or Köln not so much!

As I noted above, the hypothesis applies only the Ashkenazis anyway. Time to move further west within Europe.

Besides the known-by-group-name Marranos of Spanish history, many a goy may not know their whole family history. Some goys (ahem) have at least guesses in that area. Also, especially from medieval Spain and conversions, that "sangre azul" cuts both ways. It does among Rhineland German Jews too. (If you're wondering, especially per the claim that Judaism is not an "evangelizing religion" [which also ignores the examples above]), in Spain, such conversions to Judaism from both Muslims and Christians are documented. They likely happened in the Rhineland. And in the Polish-Baltic pale of Askhenazim. And, in for a penny, in for a bigger pound? Instead of "sangre azul," I could have said "Reines Blut."

Time to move next to Ethiopia and Beta Israel. Many of these Ethiopian Jews faced skepticism, even cynicism, about whether they were religiously Jewish or not. They also clearly raised the issue about the difference between religiously Jewish and ethnically Israelite/Judahite.

What this really shows — especially the emergence of Israel in Canaan — just as much as does the "one drop of blood" nonsense about blacks in America, is that "races" don't exist. Certainly, in that sense, "ethnicities" as pure blood don't exist either.


Besides, from the Mishnah on, Rabbinic Judaism has changed its definition of Jewish heritage. In the Tanakh, it was patrilineal, not matrilineal. And some Jews are still open to that today. Read more about the issue here.

In other words, Israelis claiming an ethnic right to ancient Canaan have no biological or socio-cultural leg to stand on. Jews of Israeli sympathy making similar claims to that land have no religious standing other than the law of the sword. It's no different from Crusades Christianity or Hindutva.

Likewise, the concept of a "Chosen People," the pernicious background of all of this, is not unique to Judaism. It's behind American exceptionalism (Reagan's "city on a hill" from John Winthrop), the Anglo-Israelite movement, to tie threads together, and even in the mind of many members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Especially in that last outlet — and likely as well as among some Zionists — it tends to promote a sense of psychological martyrdom. Like in Jehovah's Witnesses.

And, of course, many non-Orthodox Jews accept a religious state that's not (totally) wedded to discriminating against other religions. Most of them still haven't wrestled with the issue of expropriation, though.

As for being anti-Jewish? Well, Zionists need look no further than their Christian Religious Right bromancers in the U.S. to see who's anti-Jewish. The Religious Right in some strains says that Jeebus will essentially force them over into good Christians. Other strains make it more voluntary, but still indicate that Jews will realize how mistaken they have been all along.


Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.

Patrick Moore, Greenpeace and climate change denialism
And ... the issues of nuclear energy, GMOs, etc.


In case you're not up to speed on Twitter hot takes, Donald Trump unshockingly had taken at face value Patrick Moore's climate change denialism, as well as the lies about Moore helping found Greenpeace.

Greenpeace has the truth on this. So does Wikipedia, there on Moore's page and again on Greenpeace's page.

For wingers trotting out a Wayback Machine version of Greenpeace's website? A self-owned fail, as that website lists Moore under "founders and early members." NOT "founders."

A list two paragraphs below that? "On board" is not "on THE board." Rather, it's on board the ship Phyllis Cormack when it went to Amchitka, Alaska in silent protest of a U.S. nuclear weapons test.

For wingers trotting out a Google search which allegedly shows Moore among Greenpeace's founders? Dudes, this is Twitter. And, that's not what MY Googling shows.

My first assumption is you, or another wingnut, is OK with Photoshopping 101.

So, put a sock in it.

===

Moore is generally a pretentious twat, such as bitching about enviros for saying "carbon" instead of "carbon dioxide."

Second, before he became a pro-nukes mouthpiece, he was a British Columbia timber industry mouthpiece, supporting forest clear-cutting, among other things. He ceased to be an environmentalist decades ago, as soon as he made that devil's bargain.

More on his background here.

===

That said, is nuclear power the devil?

Not in my book.

We need to approach it cautiously. We need to fix the long-term waste disposal before building any more nuclear plants. We need to correctly carbon-price nuclear power plants, including mining costs of carbon dioxide emissions.

AND, we need to do the same with wind and solar, including mining costs.

We also need HONEST answers on how much wind and solar we would need not just to replace the current electric grid but to allow us to go to a 100 percent electric car fleet.

And, so far, environmental groups have generally shied away from that.

IF we can do that (and reasonable estimates only, please) without nuclear power, fine. If we can't? Well, we need to start talking, then.

And, I'm far from the only environmental to feel that way.

I'm also not the only environmentalist who is OK with GMO crops. And, I've said that for years, too. Read Grist's "Panic Free GMOs." Let's talk reality, not bogeymen or Frankenfoods. Or "chemicals" in your food. (Which is also radioactive.) Let's also not ignore how "Big Organic" has a vested interest in running down GMOs.

And, for that matter, has Greenpeace ever apologized for its 2014 cultural desecration and cultural imperialism?

Overall, I see Greenpeace as about 50 percent Gang Green, 20 percent stuntmakers for stuntmaking's sake, and 30 percent trying to hold on to original roots. (Most Gang Green and non-Gang Green enviro groups alike are anti-GMO, with The Nature Conservancy being the one major exception. (OTOH, TNC takes donations from Monsanto; I agree with their stance but they leave themselves open to challenges there.) They're afraid of losing donors, and within non-profit groups, enviros in general and Gang Green in particular have a high "churn" rate on donors.)

That said, per one of the tags for this post, I reject the idea of "salvific technologism" — that is, I do not believe the tech world, whether in ag or elsewhere, is the cavalry always riding over the hill and guaranteed to save us. But, I'm not a Luddite, either. And, I think most non-Gang Green environmental orgs and activists are. I like a lot of Wrong Kind of Green, for being post-capitalist (that's me, but not anti-capitalist). But ... it too is on the Luddite wagon of most anti-GMOers. GMOs and Big Ag? I'm willing to talk, though I have in the past passed on that Montanto's market capitalization is smaller than that of Starbucks. But, pseudoscience, like WKOG swallowing whole cloth Arpad Pusztai? No.

Butt-hurt Buster and ESPN paywall dreck

Much of Buster Olney's baseball stuff this offseason has been behind the ESPN+ paywall.

Why?

If paywalling is supposed to indicate a value level, and not just Red Satan trying for more bucks, why?

What brought this to a head was a piece where he said MLB needs to encourage Bryce and the Phillies to be like the NBA on player recruitment.

I Tweeted:
And, that set him off.

He Tweeted back that I obviously didn't read the piece because he does acknowledge that.

I said, no, because the paywall, because IMO the paywall (for ESPN stuff) often isn't worth it, and because, if he did acknowledge the NBA's tampering fines, he buried the nut graf below where the paywall kicks in.

So, he said:
No problem, Buster.

As I told him back? No more and no less funny than what ESPN decides to put behind a paywall.

Basically, since Jim Caple stopped doing his baseball old box score trivia columns, I have found little of interest on ESPN on baseball. For more than five years, I've thought it was the weakest coverage area of ESPN's three major sports. Maybe that's in part the Benjamins, as it has much less invested than in football and probably less than in the NBA.

But, even as Yahoo's web layout quality continued to decline, among free sites, give me Jeff Passan and Tim Brown ahead of anybody at ESPN for any portion of that time period. (Of course, Red Satan has now stolen Passan.) I might halfway take Craig Calcaterra, even. And, of course, Ken Rosenthal is better, but I'm not paying The Athletic's paywall, either. I'm frugal and not that much of a sports nut. Buster's one compadre, who has gone to The Athletic himself, definitely not worth it. Dave Schoenfield? Meh. Much of Buster himself, meh.

Football has long been good because of ESPN's investment level. Hoops was good with some of Simmons' acolytes when Grantland existed. (Note how many of them did NOT follow him out the door.) Still is.

Hockey? Not a major sport.

Maybe this is kind of like Times Select, the first NY Times paywall, which "hid" only columnists.

March 11, 2019

Marianne Williamson for president?
No, no need of healing that hasn't come

Marianne Williamson, New Agey author, guru, and peddler of "A Course in Miracles" is certainly the most interesting announced Dem candidate overall. And, she does "walk the walk" on the woo. Her campaign contributions do NOT include the Green Party, but do include the Natural Law Party. Nuff ced. (Would be fun to see her and Tulsi Gabbard land in Fairfield, Iowa at the same time on the campaign trail. Tulsi's already been there on a recent trip.)

Sadly, and surprisingly, some Green-leaners seem to like her. Williamson does have some good principles on political issues. And, despite her campaign contributions to ConservaDems in the past, yeah, she would make a good Green Party candidate in many ways.

Or, she would make a "good" GP candidate in many ways, too. In the ways that lead me to continue to eye the SPUSA. Even more so since a new teh Google says, per Orac, that, to use something I've used as a term before, she's an antivaxxer-lite. Or, to rephrase, per an issue where Greens, and lowercase greens, say "Follow the science"? She's a vaccines "skeptic," which is parallel to being a climate change "skeptic," as I see it. That said, contra one Orac commenter, I can be skeptical about the pharmaceutical industry in some areas, yet, unlike Williamson, have no problem with accepting the current vaccine schedule.

Per another Orac, she's also apparently anti-GMOs. (That said, many libertarians are antivaxxer, too, and anti-GMOism also runs a spectrum, but Greens, as opposed to the duopoly, are officially anti-GMO.)

On the ground? She, like most Gang Green environmental orgs, has a record of not being friendly to unionization — in her case, at the Angel Food Project she founded in the late 1980s. She has also been very tight about her personal net wealth information. That said, I'd guesstimate she's on the high side of $10 million, if not $20 million.

On foreign policy, her woo extends to the Middle East, calling for "love" and the "heart" on Israel-Palestine and warning about karma in selling arms to the Saudis for Yemen's civil war.

People who read here regularly know I'm an anti-antivaxxer, and a skeptic in general.

That said, at one point in life, I actually owned a copy of "A Course in Miracles." I tried actually getting into it. But, I couldn't ... not in it in specific, and I eventually dropped both it and the attempt to be spiritual but not religious.

In specific, as I've said elsewhere, I find the concept of karma, whether in its New Agey sweetness and light lies (and yes, lies, compared to its origin in full fury) or its Hindu-Buddhist roots to be even more offensive than the traditional (post-Augustine Catholic and Protestant "traditional," that is — it ain't in the Bible) Christian doctrine of original sin.

Per the header? I'm still waiting for "Healing the Soul of America." Didn't the New Agey flow or whatever have enough power to already start making this happen?

My snark aside, it's too bad, because, when she doesn't go down the woo road, she talks a lot about problems with capitalism and income inequality. But ... why doesn't she, like many fellow woo masters, talk about how people need to "manifest" more? After all, that's a core principle of "A Course in Miracles."

And, while I'm being snarky, I'm also being serious. Just as serious as if a GOP presidential candidate belonged to a church that officially preached the "success gospel." Even more, if a GOP presidential candidate, for a more exact parallel, were a minister of such a church.

Let's not forget that, as part of this (and surely part of getting to be worth $10-$20 million) that she became one of Oprah's gurus, and that Oprah sucks shit on choosing New Age gurus to profile, like James Arthur Ray.

And, for an initial take on actual announced or possible Green Party candidates, go here.

March 09, 2019

Trump signs Bibles? So did Dear Leader, others
It's still grotesquely chasing Mammon as I see it

Everybody and their grandmother mentioned in the Biblical genealogy of Two Corinithians has by now heard of Trump autographing Bibles for Alabama tornado victims.

This:


is yet another reason this leftist, contra Arlie Russell Hochschild and fellow librulz, doesn't do "listening tours."

And actually, Trump autographing bibles (did he sign the first page of "Two Corinthians"? did he get his "cracker" [of the many crackers there]?) is only half as vulgar and one quarter as irreligious as the people who asked him for the autographs.

And, it's not just "the left" calling Trump out, contra fellow travelers at Red State:
That said, if Obama also did it, even for MLK's family, it's still theologically grotesque in my corner of the world.

But, that's Merikan Xianity, especially Southern style, in my corner of the world.

And, if the "Mammon" of which Jesus warned includes fame as well as money, this secularist, looking from the outside, says it is un-christian. It's also halfway to being a success gospel.

And, as for you Trump train riders?  Matthew 7:6 is right here:
"Give not that which is holy to dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine."
Aren't you glad secularists know the Bible better than you?

RIP Dan Jenkins

Was Dan Jenkins very good?

Yes.

Was he the GOAT of sportswriters, or even of Texas sportswriters?

No.

That was his mentor, Blackie Sherrod. And, there was no comparison on them in opining about news issues.

Jenkins, IMO, had a couple of minor and a couple of larger issues against him.

On the minor side, he was such a Ben Hogan fanatic that — contretemps with "the kid" Tiger Woods and his agent Mark Steinberg aside, he couldn't give Tiger a fair shake at times. (At other times, he was awed of Woods, though.)

I wrote about some of that here. Here's an outtake:
Dan's fetishizing of Ben Hogan to the point of trying to count things like the North/South as a major is ridiculous. 
Plus, Hogan, setting aside his car accident and miracle comeback, played in a relatively barren era for golf. Sam Snead had a long career, playing at a winning level throughout the 1950s, but Byron Nelson had retired, and until Arnie and Gary at the end of the decade, when Cary Middlecoff and a young Boros are your next in line, it's not good depth. Given that the PGA banned Bobby Locke, using a face-saving excuse to cover for jealousy, that only adds to the egg on the collective golf face of the 1950s in the US.
Indeed. Hogan won six of his nine majors after his car wreck. Other than his one Open, the 50s in Britian belonged almost totally to South Africans and New Zealanders. America had a bunch of one-major winners and a couple of two major winners at the other three Slam events in the 50s. Hogan simply had weak competition.

And, as for his love of all things Hogan, as reflected in his World Golf Hall of Fame induction as well? A lot of his fellow golfers didn't like Hogan as a person that much.

And, if you're going to count alleged one-time majors, Dan? The Haig would be ahead of Hogan anyway. If Jenkins would just have admitted this was biased fandom, not objective, and at the same time belittled Woods a touch less? Different. I got no problems with admitting you're a fanboy. Trying to used Twain's lies, damned lies and statistics for a pseudo-objective sheen? Different.

On the bigger side?

Unlike Blackie, he couldn't do news commentary and analysis as well as sports. And, even to the degree he could do that, he was ... "less reconstructed" than Blackie. In other words, he was conservative beyond political correctness. I'm far from alone in that take.

Contra Ray Ratto and others in the sports column world, I never tried to imitate Dan. That's because I never thought too much about it. Also, I never thought too much about whether or not Jenkins was that imitation-worthy.

I, and many others, though, did take Blackie's "scattershooting" idea, complete the lede graf in our own way, and run with it. I otherwise imitated Art Buchwald at times — someone of whom Blackie reminded me a bit.

Beyond that, if Jenkins' invented dialogue between golfers is a good sample, his writing there — never read by me — is probably a bit turgid. (Tiger was right, I think, that his fake Tiger interview didn't come off well as parody, and I think that is part of why.) I was NOT a big Landry Cowboys fan, and besides, "North Dallas Forty" was the best on that. And, Jenkins never covered baseball in detail, let alone the NBA. (Thank doorknobs for that one, too. His non-PC rips on the NBA would have been semi-Trumpian, probably.)

But, we're going to get some good RIP, too.

I do think he was the best golf writer we've seen in half a century, bar none. And the car wrecks we call the U.S. Open brought out some of his best. His observation of majors in general is also good. And SI wraps up his best in golf and football writing from his time there.

Let's honor him for that.

And, for leaving a posthumous gift at Golf Digest.

And, his best sports coverage wasn't golf.

It was, per his memoir, "His Ownself."

Let's be honest about that.

Of course, we're all our own best subjects as authors. The key is to disguise that and make it interesting.

March 08, 2019

RIP Ralph Hall, the original modern ConservaDem

Ralph Hall, who along with John Dingell, was one of the last two WWII veterans to serve in Congress, died Thursday.

For those who don't know more, Hall was the second successor to "Mr. Sam," Sam Rayburn, in Texas' 4th Congressional District.

Rayburn held the seat for a little over 48 years. Ray Roberts won a special election at Mr. Sam's death and held the spot for almost 20 years. Hall then held it 34 years before being primaried out of office by John Ratcliffe.

The first newspaper I was at was the now-defunct Bonham Daily Favorite. This was several years before Hall jumped parties but the speculation was out there in already in the middle and late 1990s. And, I asked him directly in his 1996 re-election cycle and he brushed it off.

After Newt and the Gang took over the House in 1995, that's when the speculation all heated up. I hit him in the first election year after that. But, Rethugs at that time wouldn't honor his overall seniority and committee seniority at 100 percent at that time, which is part of why he said no.

Eventually, Shrub Bush mixed carrots and sticks, and got Danny P.(edophile) Hastert to make it all good on seniority issues, and Hall jumped ship in 2004. Long before then, he was the most conservative Democrat in the House.

Political pundits and sociologists who decry the polarization of America get it wrong, especially if they point to Hall's past as an example of what was better.

Although Hall was not, as far as I know, an unregenerate segregationist, nonetheless, he points to a past when such men held swing power in the Senate as Southern Democrats. Polarization problems have little to do with American political parties continuing to engage in "sorting" that makes them more like parliamentary parties in Europe. Rather, this is something we should applaud.

Rather, polarization has primarily to do with large degrees of racism, anti-government conspiracy mongering and anti-science stances in today's GOP, combined with, to a definitely smaller but not nonexistent degree, SJW-type elements among Democratic backers today.

Unfortunately, Democratic leadership, especially in the House, worried about numbers or whatever, is still ready to accept too many "galvanized Blue Dogs" into membership.

2020 Democratic prez race on social media:
Some Berners go conspiracy theory route

Conspiracy thinking? The claims that Amy Klobuchar, Jay Inslee or other candidates, who might indeed be "favorite son/daughter" types and little more than that could well be true. The claims by any progressives that they're nothing other than puppets of the Democratic establishment, maybe Joe Biden, maybe even Hillary Clinton? Sounds kind of far-fetched.

No, actually, it sounds very far-fetched. It sounds like something as far-fetched as Jared Beck's poorly written brief for his DNC fraud lawsuit filing.

And, it WAS poorly written.

Seriously:
Lemme see.

As of the date that Tweet was posted? Bennet had not entered the race. Nor had Brown. Nor Beto. Brown and O'Rourke had been speculated about months ago. And, everybody who's anybody knows that Bennett is a lightweight.

If you want to be all in on the nuttery, mention Buttigieg, as he's from Indiana, Ojeda from West Virginia not getting the message to stay in the race, and others. And, Rob, you also omitted Tulsi Gabbard. I guess Hawaii isn't large enough in delegates to count? Or West Viriginia? But, Buttigieg's Indiana is as big as both combined, or roughly so.

And, it's not that these claimers in some cases aren't left of center — within the Democratic party. But, that's it. You know, a fair chunk of Berners earn a fair chunk of scorn, setting aside Donut Twitter fallacious claims.

I personally would love a Democratic candidate from every one of the 49 states not named Vermont. I'll settle for the 25 largest or so.

In my 2020 Dem presidential candidates roundup, I mentioned the possibility of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. But, also from Oregon? Gov. Kate Brown; checks identity boxes as bisexual. There's one. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona? Ditto on the identity stuff. We've already got John Delaney from Maryland. Bob Casey from Pennsylvania? Pro-life Dem to monkey-wrench. Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin? Either Tammy Duckworth (veterans vote, bit of establishment ties) or über-establishment Dick Durbin from Illinois? Debbie Stabenow from Michigan? Get the women candidates in there!

Sorry, no Dem senators from North Carolina, Georgia or Florida.

So, Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida to make Berners' heads explode, right? Or, Andrew Gillum as black, and someone who tried to have one foot in the Berner world, but not both.

Stacey Abrams, still fresh in the mind, in Georgia.

Roy Cooper as governor of North Carolina.

I did, though, mention Terry McAuliffe from Virginia, for another larger state.

And Rob forgot ConservaDem rep Tim Ryan from Ohio. Guess he HAS TO jump in since Sherrod Brown is officially out. Ditto for Kate Brown, with Jeff Merkley out. And, did Sherrod Brown and Merkley not get "The Message™" from the Hilldebergers or whomever is controlling this cabal?

There you go, conspiracy-minded subset of Berners.

THAT WAS FUN!

Let's top this off.

Dancing with the Schultz just sent me my check from the Democratic National Committee, co-paid by the Hillary 2020 campaign. But, since the DNC was hacked by Russia, AND, I'm a Green, representative of a party manipulated by Russia as "we all know," you know where that check really came from.