SocraticGadfly: 3/3/19 - 3/10/19

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.


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?


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


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.

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.


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.


Update, Aug. 27: OTOH, the idea that the MSM may be conspiring against Sanders in some way, fueled by "insider" #Hillbot Tweeters such as Horse Pee-er, I mean Hoarse Whisperer, seems very true.

March 07, 2019

More stench in Marlin, Texas

Shock me that Falls County Sheriff Ricky Scaman, canned by the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission after extensive investigation for being in a topless bar while in duty and having his arm around a topless waitress (and being involved in legal action over that), is now facing a federal sexual assault lawsuit from a former Falls County jail staffer.

Update, Sept. 27, 2020: He's now also facing a sexual assault criminal charge.

It's also funny that when I did a DuckDuckGo image search for "Ricky Scaman" plus "Texas Alcoholic BeverageS Commission" plus "topless," a lot of softcore gay stuff came up.

That would be on top of the sexual harassment suit filed by his former chief deputy.

And, the jailer, Shirley Boger, had previously filed a complaint with the Workforce Commission.


But that's just the first half of a doubleheader.

Former Marlin PD Captain Hector Gonzalez will get NO jail time after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

His lawyer, Matthew Wright, won an American Bar Association award for non-profit legal work in 2011. He also lost the GOP primary to be 82nd District Judge a year ago. I wonder if a non-cop pled guilty to sexual assault, if Judge Wright would think deferred adjudication was "appropriate."

I tweeted this to Wright bud Ty Clevenger, since he pretends to always like to harsh the mallow of bad cops, and thought I would get snarky about a bad cop represented by a lawyer friend.

Well, Clevenger tried to get snarky back. Asking if I didn't know Wright was the defense attorney and not the judge. I replied:
Since Brains and I are estranged, I'll double down on saying I don't get what he sees in Clevenger. His newest lawsuit, non-Seth Rich division, did turn up John Whitmire's name, but on the third amended filing of a suit that's what, three years old, and the Whitmire part is salaciousness, but nothing more.

As I've said before in calling Clevenger Joey Dauben with a law degree, he's right about half of what he has blogged about in central Texas. But, half of that, like the Whitmire stuff, is blind hogs and acorns. And the higher the stage, the fewer the acorns he finds.

Per others, it's a "travesty" indeed. And shock me that Falls County DA Jody Gilliam and the word "travesty" would be in the same story.

I remember when I first heard about his arrest that I didn't originally believe it. Gonzalez was quiet, straightforward, older and seemingly upright. Guess we were fooled, at least in part.

That said, to the degree those elements of his personality are true, they don't justify the sentence. Gonzalez abused official authority (and apparently wasn't even charged for that). He did so with a vulnerable alleged illegal immigrant, a person who is also a fellow Hispanic.

And, while we're here, the stench that envelops Scaman officially belongs to the Falls County Republican Party, too. His TABC firing meant he was ethically challenged when he pulled out of the sheriff's race in 2012 and the party knew that in 2016.

BUT! Because a bunch of wingnut Republicans think every small county political office has to be politicized, and because it apparently couldn't get a better challenger to Ben Kirk (who needed to go, anyway, Falls County Democrats), it ran this craptacular hack. This is why the Texas Legislature, in one of its small bits of enlightenment, got rid of straight-ticket voting.

He probably doesn't want to admit the past connection while he aims at higher-level state politicos and, even more, spends time being a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist nutbar.

But, that makes this an additional hypocrisy factor, as Clevenger puts himself out as someone hunting out bad cops and bad lawyers.

Otherwise, I in some ways I'm glad I'm not running the newspaper there. I'd run an editorial column even more blistering, a bunch of butt-hurt local Republicans would probably threaten to cancel subscriptions and Jim Moser would be pissed off.

Otherwise, Marlin and Falls County? You're stuck with Scaman. He's an elected officially independent of the commissioners' court. And, Texas doesn't have recall for state-established partisan elected offices.


I'm sorry, the above are just the first two-thirds of a tripleheader.

Former Rosebud police chief Quincy Lee officially arrested and charged on a child sexual assault allegation. That's out of McLennan County and tops his old Falls County issues.

TX Progressives talk Lege, Prez, Senate and more

The Texas Progressive Alliance has been thinking thoughts of spring training, and what’s likely not inside that Mueller Report, as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff considers a possible Joaquin Castro candidacy for Senate.

Socratic Gadfly looks at bright line-drawing in the sand by backers of one presidential candidates, and reminds people of the historic value of third parties.

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

Brains and Eggs offers his weekly presidential candidates roundup.

Jim Schutze calls out the Morning Snooze editorial page for “lying serially” about Dallas mayoral candidate Scott Griggs.

Equality Texas warns of bad "religious exemption" bills moving in the Senate.

Better Texas Blog calls one of those very bills a "step backwards" for hard working Texans.

Related, the Texas Observer reports on bills that would prevent tracking such vaccine-exempted people.

Juan Juarez argues that Texas needs nondiscrimination laws for LGBT teachers.

 Texas Vox throws its support behind a bill that would establish a disaster identification system for a declared state of disaster.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that powerful interests don't want to see teachers get a pay raise.

Therese Odell celebrated Michael Cohen Testimony Day.

March 06, 2019

Pandering pink prez candidates

I said, in my original post with my first evaluations of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and their chances, that at some point, I was going to start evaluating campaign websites. Consider this a first installment on that, about one specific issue.

Per the header, it's a subtake.

It's checking declared women candidates to see how much pandering they do with the use of pink as a color. Links below are to campaign websites.

Kirsten Gillibrand of #MeToo fame in the Senate was bad when she launched and remains bad today. Given her pivot against Al Franken is part of what propelled her into the race, the hypocrisy level is high. But, from Gillibrand, not shocking. Give her an F here. The pandering is simply blatant, when large chunks of the website are black-and-white, except for the pink. That said, Gillibrand comes near to, if not into, SJW territory on this; I believe she supports "Mattress Girl" Emma Sulkowicz uncritically.

New Age guru Marianne Williamson appears to be a fairly close second. If not for that, her website would get some kudos for a sketch drawing of her, not a photo, up front, and some creative font usage. But, no ... as is, still too pandering. C-minus.

Kamala Harris is running third; she was a bit worse, but it looks like she's toned some things down. C for now; would have been D-plus a few weeks back.

Given her beer on Instagram video, I'm surprised in a sense but not in others. Elizabeth Warren appears largely pander-free. B-plus.

And, I initially forgot Amy Klobuchar. While she sux in other ways, she appears to be pander-free on this issue on her website. The blazer she wears in one picture is salmon, not pink, and I'm pretty sure the young girl in the pink dress is dressed that way by her choice. So, a straight A on this particular subissue.

And, I realized I also forgot Tulsi Gabbard! (Derp.) She too gets an A for no pandering. And, among these candidates, at least, she's definitely the most visuals-heavy. I might rank hers as the best overall website by design standards in this group.

And, Klobuchar and Gabbard may not have stuck out for me precisely because of the lack of pandering.

(This is another reason to be glad Hillary Clinton decided not to run; she's probably use pink as the backdrop for her whole damned website.)

March 05, 2019

AIPAC (and AOC, Pelosi et al) vs. Ilhan Omar (updated)

In early February, I was kind of saddened that Rep. Omar backed down on her "Benjamins" comment about AIPAC. It was NOT anti-Semitic. (David Bruce Collins notes that "Benjamins" COULD be understood that way. I suppose; my thought was rather that it was a question of whether Omar was talking about $100 bills or Netanyahu. Either would be correct, and neither would be anti-Semitic. Some people could still chose to infer that; I didn't and I don't.)

And, so, we must first STIPULATE what is clearly true — anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.
Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.
Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.
Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.

This — the using of anti-Semitism claims to smear anti-Zionists — is of course, nothing new from AIPAC supporters. As Jacobin details, the attempts to smear Walt and Mearsheimer are more than a decade old. And, as Mondoweiss notes, at bottom line, these actions are gaslighting.

But, when even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez throws you under one side of the bus:
What choice do you have, I guess? Especially when a number of alleged "progressives" who aren't full-blown Donut Twitter rush to AOC's defense.

Besides, this isn't anything new from AOC anyway:
I remembered that as soon as I heard about her driving the Omar bus.


Update, March 5 — AOC is still doing it, hence the "updated" in the header:
Still pretending to side with Omar while actually throwing her halfway under the bus.

Given that it's part of a thread that also includes this:
This is not hard to interpret.

And, it's a bad analogy. Essentially, AOC is letting herself be read between the lines as saying she believes Omar engaged in anti-Semitic talk.

Correct analogy, as I told AOC on Twitter? It would be if Omar called out the right-wing goverment of Honduras while noting that many Latinx citizens of Honduras agreed with her.

Or, from another blog post, here's a better analogy from Euro-American history vis a vis American Indians to explain what's happening in Israel and Palestine.

And, on this round as on the initial Tweets, as I told someone on Twitter March 4, I'm far from alone in interpreting AOC this way. (Whether that person will rethink or not, I don't know. I do care, to the degree that, if they don't, they're still buying into the legend of AOC, as well as possibly engaging in the same game on anti-Zionism being anti-Semitism lite as AOC is.

To be fair, AOC has now called out the anti-First Amendment idiocy of Rep. Juan Vargas:
OTOH, how much choice did she have? After being called out herself for eating burgers and with her chief of staff  under FEC investigation, image kicks in at some point.

Updating this March 5 update, Ocasio-Cortez has seemed to find a little more spine on Twitter since then. Bernie Sanders found even more. And, AOC is off the hook for now with the House dropping its plans for a statement against anti-Semitism when the Black Caucus and the alleged Progressive Caucus woke up. See, AOC? First, you use your House website to issue an actual press release or statement longer than Twitter's 280 characters. You give it a minute to craft it out.

And, having little spine but plenty of pander, prez candidate Kirsten Gillibrand threw Omar all the way under the bus, accusing her of anti-Semitism.


Here's another hot take on AOC:
Is AOC at Just.Another.Politician.™ stage yet? She's moving there. Like Dear Leader eight years ago. Remember this?
Yep, yep, yep. AOC herself hasn't yet pushed back against criticism from the left. But, let's wait and see. What will the DSA roses as an official organization say?

Anyway, here's my hot take back:
Meanwhile, the House is debating a new anti-Semitism resolution, analyzed in detail at The Baffler. Omar is being scapegoated without being mentioned by name, all while Miss Nancy Pelosi tiptoes through tulips and landmines, probably unsuccessfully.

Should this come to a vote, I'd like to see a roll call rather than a consensus vote. Put AOC on the record.


All things Batya Ungar-Sargon

And, at The Forward, Batya Ungar-Sargon is simply shit-stirring now, if one wants a phrase, not an analogy.
Here's more shit-stirring:
This is simply not an anti-Semitic ad. It nowhere mentions that any of the three (Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg) are Jewish. So, no, YOU are the flat-out liar.

In case the art of the parent tweet doesn't load, and besides, we need to see it again:

Again, not anti-Semtic. And, despite BUS's self-labeling, it's not "progressive" to claim that it is.

And, I think I feel a separate blog post, something like "Batya Ungar-Sargon, shit-stirrer," coming up.

What else is there to say?

Well, I can say that BUS isn't a unified op-ed voice at her own magazine. Peter Beinart, in a piece last month, refutes her conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.


But, let's move beyond AOC.

We need hot takes on AIPAC!

The just convicted El Chapo?
In response to someone fauxgressive on being anti-Zionist
In response to neoliberal insurers' whore Howard Dean:
Since yesterday was Lincoln's Birthday
Quote-tweeting about Robert Francis O'Rourke:
One of several shout-outs to/against Nancy Pelosi and the even more odious Chelsea Clinton:
And a deserved second one to Chelsea:
And a shout of support to Rep. Omar plus another callout to Pelosi, along with Pelosi, and with all the Russia collusion nutters.

Finally, per Mondoweiss, librulz need to stop lying when they blame the Religious Right, well, the Xn Religious Right, for the rise of AIPAC. Per Mondoweiss, Democrats have been focused on the Jewish domestic vote since FDR. Truman mentioned that as part of his recognition of Israel. Israel as a nation-state became part of the Cold War's legacy, speaking of.


Tropes and tropesplaing

Speaking of Mondoweiss ... and that piece is from publisher Philip Weiss himself ...

Per someone on Book of Face, with whom I did a modest status adjustment, I'm a "leftist goysplainer."

First, I thought this person was a leftist, not a librul. Second, I didn't think he had dived in any way into the SJW shallow pool. I have been wrong before on judging others, in person as well as in cyberspace, and guess I'm wrong again.

That said, non-goys (and non-leftists) Glenn Greenwald (mentioned by said person) and Peter Beinart and Weiss (not mentioned by said person) also basically said that Omar shouldn't have apologized.

Oh, and in the same general vein, let's add Ken Silverstein, who posted at Washington Babylon a free online copy of "The Occupation of the American Mind."

Norman Solomon. Norman Finkelstein. And others. (Several of them on that documentary.)

Maybe they are all ... to use a phrase ... "self-hating Jews."

Phyllis Benis, who actually overheard Omar, must be another self-hating Jew.

As might be David Samel, who points out this is not the first time Batya Ungar-Sargon has made facile anti-Semite claims. Or Mondoweiss editors, who note the Tweet chain of a Ha'aretz reporter about Bibi working to get the remnants of Meir Kahane's Kach party — outright racists and once considered terrorists by the US Government, and by that of Israel, too — into the Knesset.

Or else, like this German Jewish group supporting Palestinians, they're "the wrong kind of Jews."

And, I'm sure Roger Waters is a goysplainer. (Page-Lieberman, in one last post of his I saw before blocking him, called Greenwald the "David Clarke of Jews." So, even if he didn't like me using that phrase, he indulges the idea himself.)

Let me also add that, 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.

THAT in turn leads to the issue of religious Judaism vs ethnic Jewishness. Whoopi Goldberg is the former, but, as far as I know, not the latter.

As for non-leftist Zionism-defending Jews who choose to conflate or confuse (yes, it's a choice) anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism? I have no problem pointing to the Tanakh, specifically, the Nivi'im, and reminding you of Yahweh ordering the Holocaust of the Amalekites.

Those last two paragraphs together get back to Biblical times. 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.

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.

And, on the leftist vs liberal angle? I again reference Doug Henwood, saying that being a leftist means avoiding unwarranted white liberal guilt.

And, after further back and forth with Mr. MJ (he posts to "public" on Facebook, so not breaking confidences, but I shouldn't have posted back for that reason) ... I've blocked him, after his added response to me of saying I'm 14 and a 4Chaner. Screw you. And your SJWism. Yet another bit of insight as to why I continue to call myself a skeptical leftist, not just a leftist.

As for the issue at hand?

The bottom line is this, per DBC:
  1. Not all Jews are Zionists.
  2. Not all Zionists are Jews.
  3. Not all Jews live in Israel; not even all of them want to.
  4. Not all inhabitants of Israel are Jews.
  5. Not all inhabitants of Israel — Jewish, Muslim, or other [many Palestinians are Christian, my note] —support the current Israeli government or its actions.
  6. Criticizing Israel's government is not the same criticizing Jews.
  7. Even criticizing Jews, whether as individuals or as groups, is not the same as hating them, let alone wanting to see them dead.
  8. Criticizing an organization that represents the Israeli government is not anti-Semitism.
  9. Criticizing a legislator who takes campaign contributions from such an organization is not anti-Semitism.
  10. Criticizing wealthy Jewish donors to these organizations is not anti-Semitism.
  11. Refusing to bow to pressure to pledge loyalty to Israel is not anti-Semitism.
  12. Supporting a group that opposes the Israeli government and its actions is not anti-Semitism.
  13. Muslims (e.g., Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Keith Ellison) are not anti-Semitic just by virtue of practicing Islam.
Per Point 5? Many Palestinians that the Religious Right likes to throw under the bus are Christian. Like Yasir Arafat's wife.

Otherwise? Even many commenters on a page for a site as left-liberalish as Jezebel don't get it. Or don't want to get it. Omar has consistently said "Israel," not "the Jews" throughout. And, contra liberal concern trollers, has condemned Saudi Arabia and other places, too.

Maybe those commenters don't know better. None of this is new, San Husseini notes.

Nor are anti-Palestinian tropes. More on Twitter.

Also not new is confusion and fusion of Judaism as religious practice and Jewishness as ethnicity. I take a deep dive here, primarily on the latter and how "Jewishness" claims have no more standing than any other ethnicity claim that stretches back 2,000 or more years.


And, actual anti-Semitism? It's more common among Tories than Labour, more common among Republicans than Democrats. You know, like Mel Gibson and his porn-violence fetish movie.

MMT is Maoism, or New Ageism

Given the ferocious feedback last week to Doug Henwood on his Jacobin piece, that header is the bottom line.

And, Michael Hudson, Yves Smith and others? File 13 your love for Modern Monetary Theory.

First, the Maoism part.

Doug's piece is actually very interesting. I didn't know that Hudson is NOT the No. 1 touter of MMT at Missouri-Kansas City, which Henwood calls the Vatican of MMT. I also didn't know that Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism is a fangirl.

In usual Henwood style, Doug can be scathing. (He can be when he's wrong, as well.):
MMTers extend this hubris about the precision and power of policymaking to the realm of interest rates, which they think the central bank is completely in control of and should be kept as close to zero as possible.
That right there is silly. I don't need Doug to tell me that:
Without higher interest rates to compensate for greater default risk or longer maturities, there will simply be no one willing to buy the bonds or issue the loans.
And, one Twitterer, after first mentioning bonds, then switched to securities. That's a bait-and-switch, as securities can include stocks and other private-sector offerings.

The MMTers answer is for the Fed to be the purchaser of last resort.

Gee, isn't that something quite similar to Quantitative Easing? And we've seen the bitching that's caused with even a partial and time-limited enactment of it.

Otherwise, Doug's even better further in, when he criticizes the MMTers for being lackadaisical about inflation.

Then, tying this back to Hudson's thoughts on reserve currencies, Henwood notes other nations don't have the same degree of currency-printing freedom as does the US. There, he's spot on. If, say, South Korea or Thailand tried to actually enact MMT, George Soros would squish them like a bug, just like in 1998.

Henwood then notes that a jobs guarantee program is in no way dependent on MMT. Nor is the somewhat related basic income. In fact, I have yet to see a top basic income touter link it to MMT, though I could be wrong. Indeed, Scott Santens says that a universal jobs guarantee as framed by most MMTers is antithetical to BI.

One last thought, per Henwood: If Stephanie Kelton truly believes that just following MMT will solve climate change, she's either a tremendous idiot or an incredible liar.

See more MMT refudiation here.

And, stuff like this on Twitter is laughable.
Geez. Back at you.
And, that's that.

And now, the New Ageism part.

MMT is basically like the New Age idea of "manifesting," as best as I can tell it. Maybe, it's actually negative manifestation in this case. MMTers seem to believe you can make inflation disappear simply by strong enough mental focus.

This is a hugely dangerous idea, of course. Beyond the dangers within MMT, such ideation is part and parcel of American history.

American exceptionalism? We believe it and proclaim it enough. We're manifesting it and therefore it must be so.

We're not an empire? We believe it, proclaim it and redefine "empire." We're manifesting it and therefore it must be so.

Etc., etc.

Because of that, that's probably EXACTLY why MMT has such an appeal at times.

And, appeal it does. Hudson was recently preaching the New Age Success Gospel of MMT to Jimmy Dore and listeners. Or read Howie at Down with Tyranny drink Kelton's Kool-Aid.

March 04, 2019

Green Party 2020 presidential candidates: An initial take

Between Wikipedia and Ballotpedia, I have listed

Dario Hunter
Ian Schlackman
Ivan-jan Cruz Desuasido
Joe Edward Collins III
Gary Swing
Kerry Kizer
James Ogle III
Curt Nichols
Eugene Patillo
Eduardo Manuel Torres Jr
Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry (supposedly)
Kent Mesplay (likely)
Howie Hawkins (very possible, and would be my No. 1 choice with a bullet.)

Update, April 6: Hawkins has formed an exploratory committee and is soliciting comments. I told him to run, and to NOT be an AccommoGreen if nominated.

Update, May 22: OTOH, seven weeks later, Howie is still at exploratory committee stage, but soliciting money, not just comments, and part of it is for Green Part GOTV and ballot access efforts. That's stuff state or national parties should be doing, not an individual not yet a declared candidate, IMO.

Update, May 27: He's in, and I've modified my thoughts of the above paragraph.

(David Bruce Collins said he wants to make sure the national party doesn't put a thumb on the scale of the race. This piece explains that it maybe did put a small one on there already at the time of Hawkins' announcement.)

Update, Aug. 26: This is the list of party-certified candidates. No, it's not rocket science, and even within the confines of a relatively small third party, it's not serious hoops-jumping.

Jesse the Body Ventura???

See more from IPR. Or the Federal Election Commission list of filings. Note: Obviously fake candidates off the FEC filing list are not listed here.

I have plenty of knowledge of Hawkins.

And, he's too popular within the party to face potential gatekeeper issues like those that led Ralph Nader to opt to run as an independent in 2004. These same issues were related to the rise of David Cobb as AccommoGreen, an earlier split between Greens and GPUSA that is covered here by me (and that I've heard some Greens claim is "healed" when I don't really accept that), and that also lies behind the complaints already by 2004 Nader Veep candidate Peter Carmejo about "paper parties" in many states — itself still a problem. (Carmejo ran as a Green for prez himself in 2004; he was widely regarded as a Naderite, and considered by some to be a stalking horse for Nader. More on 2004 vote totals and their being undercut here.)

I have at least a bit of familiarity with Hunter and Schlackman. Think either would be OK to better. Hunter has the advantage of holding elective office already. OTOH, after converting from Islam to Judaism via a Reform process, per Wiki, he then underwent an Orthodox conversion. Curious what's up with that, and want to make sure it would not affect his views on Palestine. His rabbinic ordination was non-Orthodox, so he should be OK. Schlackman, I know, is a socialist-leaning Green.

I am also familiar with James Ogle III. Perpetual candidate. Inter/intra-party candidate. General nutter from what I've seen of him on third-party news websites. A real nutter.

Gary Swing ran for Congress in Arizona. And many other positions as a perpetual candidate.

Collins appears to be running first and foremost on his military service. I understand the military as a job opportunity if you grew up in South Central LA, but, you're apparently not familiar with the Green Party.

Moyowasifza-Curry went too far down the SJW road for me in 2016. And, she technically didn't officially file with the FEC.

Others are probably even less serious. Torres had a Twitter then deleted it, for example.

Ventura is too libertarian for me.

From comments below? Elijah, you're not constitutionally eligible. I don't care if you claimed on Independent Political Report in 2016 that you were.

Big questions otherwise?

Are any of these folks antivaxxer? Anti-GMOs?

Bill Kreml seemed the most sensible Green in 2016. Hawkins strikes me as similar, but of course with much more party experience. Hunter and Schlackman both also seem serious and sane. I mention Hawkins first due to having the most political experience while not being a perennial candidate.

Sidebar: On Book of Face, somebody claimed recently that the Greens and GPUSA had largely healed their split. Have they? I've not seen clear indication of that. See some of those links above, again.

Sidebar 2: As many Greens and Green-leaners here in Texas know, Robert Francis O'Rourke's GOTV effort in his run against Ted Cruz last year has greatly upped the signature numbers that will be needed for party line ballot access. Therefore, it's much more likely that whoever gets the nomination will be available only as a write-in here.

Sidebar 3: As American Greens tussle over eco-socialism and related issues and how much to be a left party in general, not just an environmental party, Jacobin notes that German Greens are more and more becoming less and less "left" and more and more "liberal" in the American sense of the word. This has been in the works for a few years.

Sidebar 4: Greens must fight against Democrat attempts in HR1 to cut federal campaign finance access to third party and independent candidates.