SocraticGadfly: 3/10/19 - 3/17/19

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!

Schlomo Sand, in "The Invention of the Jewish People" (even published in Israel first, anti-anti-Zionists who may still pull out the "self-hating Jew" meme) goes into a lot more depth on this "who's an Ashkeazi" and many related issues.

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.


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.


Meanwhile, I'll regularly update teh stupidz.

March 26, more Buster derp and duh: Bet you didn't know before Buster told us all that there will be a hot trade market this summer for Madison Bumgarner.

May 12, the claim that Jon Lester is in the conversation for Cooperstown. Age 35 and just over 45 WAR? Not in my conservation. Call me back in two years and we'll talk then.

March 11, 2019

Marianne Williamson for president?
No, no need of healing that hasn't come — nor in 2024

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.

(Update, June 20, 2024: I appear to have ensnared a true believer who says that Williamson doesn't believe in "manifesting." Sure she does, for both good and bad, as "A Return to Love," her Talmud of "A Course in Miracles," makes clear, per Wiki bullet points:

• "A friend of mine told me that we're not punished for our sins, but by our sins. Sickness is not a sign of God’s judgment on us, but of our judgment on ourselves. If we were to think that God created our sickness, how could we turn to Him for healing? As we’ve already established, God is all that is good. He creates only love, therefore he did not create sickness. Sickness is an illusion and does not actually exist. It is part of our worldly dream, our self-created nightmare. Our prayer to God is that He awaken us from the dream."
• “Healing results from transformed perception of our relationships to illness, one in which we respond to the problem with love instead of fear. When a child presents a cut finger to his or her mother, the woman doesn’t say, 'Bad cut.' Rather, she kisses the finger, showers it with love in an unconscious, instinctive activation of the healing process. Why should we think differently about critical illness? Cancer and AIDS and other serious illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream and their message is not 'hate me, but 'Love me.'"
In the traditional Western medical model, a healer’s job is to attack disease. But if the consciousness of attack is the ultimate problem, how could it be the ultimate answer? A miracle worker’s job is not to attack illness, but rather to stimulate the natural forces of healing. We turn our eyes away from sickness to the love that lies beyond it. No sickness can diminish our capacity to love. Does that mean that it is a mistake to take medicine? Absolutely not."
• "When the cure for AIDS is finally found, we will give prizes to a few scientists, but many of us will know that millions and millions of prayers helped it happen."

There you go. As I told said Twit, this is everything that Barbara Ehrenreich ever called out about "positivity" based psychic healing. And with that, I'm doing an updated and rearranged post for 2024.)

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.

Update, Dec. 19, 2020: After a brief Twitter spat, I'll note she remained antivaxxer, per Science Based Medicine, even after allegedly (with loopholes!) apologizing for old antivaxxer statements. (Sadly, but, not surprisingly, given its hit and miss record on current affairs, Wikipedia semi-whitewashes her.) Also per the big picture, she's never apologized for the New Ageism that's led her down these and other rabbit holes, in part.

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. (As for how beneficial it may have been to the homeless? What, you can't help the homeless and still be OK with a unionization effort? Whataboutism. As well as ignoring the whataboutism in the cult of Marianne that was happening at that time.)

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. Turns out I'm wrong there by a factor of 10.

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.