SocraticGadfly: 3/31/19 - 4/7/19

April 05, 2019

Green New Deal vs Green New Deal part 3:
Sunrise Movement and tax vs cap and trade

As Democratic Congresscritter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has some magic powers, or the help of plagiarization of ideas, aided and abetted by the Sunrise Movement, to launch a Green New Deal without discussing the Green Party, I did an initial piece on it. I then did a follow-up, and became more curious about the Sunrise Movement as I did so. That leads to the first part of the second line of the header.


The biggest of "allies," or actually a progenitor, is the Sunrise Movement. Its homepage looks even whiter than the Green Party, despite its acknowledgement that much of climate change will hit poor of all ethnicities and especially minorities. The ambitious goals it lists, per the New Yorker, seem unobtainable without major funding for it. Major funding. And a carbon tax would help until much of this was in place. But ... like AOC, so far,  heavy on aspiration, light on perspiration.

I am also distrustful of any organization which won't list its leadership on its website. Some of the founders claim inspiration from the Occupy movement, or Black Lives Matters. In both cases, we see what has happened with actual or alleged lack of leadership. The original Occupy at Zucotti Park had leadership, despite denials; I've written about that before. Black Lives Matter truly appears to be more leaderless, and by 2020, will probably have dissipated much of its original energy. (In fact, co-founder Evan Weber was part of Occupy. At least he admits it had leadership problems. The real truth is Occupy had leaders who tried to get others to believe the leaderlessness myth. It eventually sold out to Wall Street; remember that, when you see $20 T-shirts; a Sunrise Occupy-style debit card could be next. Occupy also had a 1 percenter problem.

Also, none of the Sunrise Movement have acknowledged ripping off the Green Party, or even really acknowledged its existence. Related big question: If there's a ConservaDem in a general election, after a failed primarying attempt, will it endorse Greens when they're running? SPUSAers or whomever, if Greens aren't available in a particular district?

I sent a second direct question to Sunrise after first indirectly tagging after starting work on this piece. We'll see what, if any, response I get. Don't believe me? Twitter link and screengrab. Account started in 2013. Wikipedia information? Organization started in 2017.

Reality, per Wikipedia? It's a youth front of Sierra Club that sat around and did nothing, it seems, for four years. And, people who have been long-term readers know what I think of Sierra in particular and Gang Green environmental groups in general. And, that explains why it hasn't credited the Green Party. And, explains why it won't identify its leadership more.

And more research. Stephen O'Hanlon's Downingtown is semi-ritzy. The man I presume is his dad would appear to have a ritzy yet small-scale law practice. In other words, the place where white upper-middle-class environmentalists live, a complaint that has been leveled for decades, and not just at environmentalists, but Green movements, including the Green Party in its German homeland.

And, at least one claim, per Sunrise's Twitter feed? To eliminate all greenhouse gases by 2030? Since cow farts are greenhouse gases, unless Sunrise makes the entire country vegetarian, that simply ain't happening. (This gets back to AOC's cow-fart comments, then getting busted eating a hamburger with her chief of staff. The chief of staff who has his pay set low enough to dodge financial disclosure rulings.)

But, per the tweet embedded below, that is exactly the claim.
So, Sunrise IS hypocritical. And AOC is fence-straddling if she believes you just need to cut back on meat eating, not eliminate it. Or, if she believes what Sunrise does, she's a fellow hypocrite.

And, the intellectual equivalent of hypocrisy is Millennial types not doing their own research on this background. Or believing that only two political parties exist, especially on issues like this.

Related? This long read that claims the whole GND is a "financialization of nature." Here's an about on who's behind that. They're leftists, not liberals. Leftist enough to mock Democracy Now. And, this group may be right. Several of the board of "We Don't Have Time" have backgrounds in Sweden's FIRE, entrepreneur or tech worlds. So, in case you thought it was a "big deal," actually, it's a social media focused climate-change call-out co-op. That's not bad, but it's not necessarily all that. And, it's in part slacktivism.

In turn, this leads to the kids who confronted Sen. Feinstein about six weeks ago. Maybe they WERE manipulated to some degree. By tech-neoliberals who believe salvific technologism — the idea that the tech world cavalry will always ride over the hill to rescue us — is going to stop global warming.


And, the "versus" needs to be there, contra a High Country News story recently with a relatively shoddy section near the end.

I jointly Tweeted HCN, Nives Dolšak — one half of a husband-and-wife set of environmental professors, and story author Kate Schimel in a thread of three tweets about this:
“The word ‘tax’ is probably the most reviled word,” said Hal Harvey, CEO of the firm Energy Innovation, which helps design renewable energy policies around the globe. …
 Dolšak tends to agree: She hypothesized that even cap-and-trade, which often amounts to the same thing as a carbon tax, might have passed in the state, given that it sidesteps the word tax and directly limits emissions.
That second graf, with the first graf as introduction, is "problematic" to say the least.

 The first and main Tweet:
I followed that with one about counter-evidence:
I could have added that, in 2009, the House approved a cap-and-trade bill, but never even considered a carbon tax based bill.

I could ALSO have added that a carbon tax allows a carbon tariff to be levied on imports.

That said, to the third tweet:
And I believe that as well.

Neither the mag, nor Dolšak, nor Schimel, has responded. Again, things like this are why my level of love for HCN has declined semi-steadily over the years.

That said, There is good comment here from Dolšak’s husband and fellow environmental studies professor, Aseem Prakash.
“The mainstream environmental groups are less willing to hear from the periphery,” he said. They focus on consolidating a liberal base, he said, to their detriment. Many groups, including the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy, did not back an earlier carbon tax that was designed to appeal to more conservative voters. That, Prakash said, “was myopic.” 
And, it ties this directly back to the first half of the piece.

Oh, expect more of stuff like this from me. I already feel a Part 4 coming on.

And, I don't like that none of the three principals here have responded, any more than not liking Sunrise not responding.

Update, Jan. 23, 2020: HCN is at it again, now offering a he-said, she-said piece claiming carbon offsets work, but wondering if they might be an excuse for big companies.

No, they're more than that. They're like a modern version of indulgences for environmentalists.

April 04, 2019

TX Progressives say there will be no Beto for oil
but plenty of Angelinos for Dallas
while analyzing AOC "gotchas" vs reality and more

The Texas Progressive Alliance presents to you its complete, unredacted, and unsummarized roundup for the week.

Off the Kuff analyzed the State House districts in 2018 to find a way towards a Dem majority in 2020.

Socratic Gadfly looks at criticism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from both her right and her left and analyzes what's legitimate and what's not.

In his weekly Prez 2020 roundup, Brains looks at plans for  the first Democratic debate .

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

NOT an April Fool: Texas Observer reported Monday on how many small towns, small cities and metro areas alike live near dams with ever-growing susceptibility to failure.

Daniel Cohen calls for full engagement in the Pearland ISD elections this May.

Grits looks at where you can get thrown in jail for a traffic ticket.

Moshe Vardi argues that information technology should be regulated for safety.

Urban Edge finds Houston's most pedestrian-friendly places.

STAAR test lies: Texas Monthly reports reading tests are actually ABOVE grade level — with one exception. Is this all deliberate? Certainly even more reason to stop "teaching to the test" and also to stop measuring teachers by that metric.

Stephen Young reports the Dallas half of the Metroplex continues to be overrun by Angelinos, with likely ongoing political consequences. (Many moves away are to somewhat more conservative Houston, San Antonio or Oklahoma City.)

Better Texas Blog wants to end surprise medical bills.

Young does a bit of Schutze with the best and worst of the Snooze voting guide.

Did Beto break his “no oil money” pledge? The Trib’s Jay Root says it’s clear he did.

David Bruce Collins grok-reviews "A People's History of the American Revolution."

Texas Monthly takes note of Spurs culture on the retirement of the jersey of ... Mannnuuuuuu! Ginobiliiiii!

April 03, 2019

Dems 2020: Pete Buttigieg; what should we call him? —
Beto Lite? Pale Rider Obama? Neoliberal wet dream?
McKinsey-churian Candidate?

I hadn't planned on doing a profile of the South Bend mayor, Pete Buttigieg, either before he announced or afterward. He seemed like way too much of a vanity candidate.

Then, with a $7 million early fundraising haul, I realized that ... people with dinero were taking him at least halfway seriously. And, so too, it seems, are other Very Serious People, like a few Beltway stenos seeing his tech-neoliberal "disrupting," a few people at national neoliberal Democrat-affiliated think tanks, etc. Shit, David Brooks wants to make him an honorary Bobo, it seems.

He's got domestic neoliberalism smeared all over him from his years at McKinsey, the government consulting firm that tells governments to privatize everything while paying consultancies like McKinsey big bucks, and that they'll become leaner, meaner, more efficient, and other bullshits. That's called "disrupting" by the cool kids at Politico and Silicon Valley. And, for the war hawks in the Democrat party, he's got patriotism stamped on his forehead by not just serving in the military but also serving in military intelligence. That's about as bad a strike as working for McKinsey.

(As someone who has done actual journalism work, not a Beltway steno, I know the kind of work McKinsey does for cities and other local governments. And, I know what they charge for that.)

But, but, he has a splendiferous time as South Bend mayor, doesn't he?

Well, if you're white and interested in gentrification, yes. If you're black, while he's not all wrong, he's not all right while remaining all white. (Yes, more puns may come in this piece.)

There's a BIG black-white gap in income, assets, etc., in South Bend, with its small but growing Hispanic community almost entirely mirroring the black side of that gap. Lots of details here. And, that Wikipedia link (not that Wikipedia is perfect; it still refuses to create a page about Poppy Bush's mistress), comments a little about some of this.

And, let's not forget him firing South Bend's black police chief, Darryl Boykins, shortly after he became mayor, over allegations he'd been taping officers who'd been making racist comments about him. "Mayor Pete" claims that the US District Attorney's office said he had to, or Buttigieg would come up on charges for violating federal wiretap laws. As the NYT now reports, Boykins later said that's untrue, and that he talked to someone he knew in the US DA's office to confirm that it doesn't operate that way.

There's also dispute as to whether the white officers actually made racist comments or not. In lawsuit settlements by them with the city, they claim they did not. A communications commander, fired shortly after Boykins, said they did.

Now, this gap existed before "Mayor Pete." Question is, how much has he done to ameliorate it?

From what I've seen and read, not a lot.

But, since he's officially come out of the president-declaring woodwork, it's gotten worse.

I have "Beto Lite" in line two of the header because that's pretty much like it seems. He's even lighter on substance than Robert Francis Beto O'Rourke, but, as I've found on Twitter, he's got his own set of Beto-like groupies. (The first I hit also likes Pretty Boy Trudeau north of the border, who actually might be a damned good comp to Buttigieg. And, contra said Twitterer, that's not a compliment to either.)

And shit, he even tries to sound like Dear Leader:
Don't believe me that he's spread thinner than a bedsheet hung out to dry in a Panhandle norther?

Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs has 10,000 words or so about that and more.

Let's start with more snark. Robinson notes that Mayor Pete's "Shortest Way Home" has been called the best political bio since Obama's by some of those Very Serious People. Being compared to Dear Leader, like to Pretty Boy Trudeau, is also not a compliment in my book.

Let's get to a mix of snark and serious from Robinson:
I don’t trust former McKinsey consultants. I don’t trust military intelligence officers. And I don’t trust the type of people likely to appear on “40 under 40” lists, the valedictorian-to-Harvard-to-Rhodes-Scholarship types who populate the American elite. I don’t trust people who get flattering reams of newspaper profiles and are pitched as the Next Big Thing That You Must Pay Attention To, and I don’t trust wunderkinds who become successful too early. Why? Because I am somewhat cynical about the United States meritocracy. Few people amass these kind of  résumés if they are the type to openly challenge authority. Noam Chomsky says that the factors predicting success in our “meritocracy” are a “combination of greed, cynicism, obsequiousness and subordination, lack of curiosity and independence of mind, [and] self-serving disregard for others.” So when journalists see “Harvard” and think “impressive,” I see it and think “uh-oh.”
I think I'd very much agree with all of that.

Meanwhile, Pretty Boy Pete's Twitter suck-up? Said it was BAD to quote Chomsky like that. No, really. He's blocked me 12 hours later, so I can't embed his tweet, just my response.

Well, no, TweetDeck is letting me quote him as parent response:
What a goof.

Throw in Jacobin, talking about Dems "meritocratic cult of smartness" being objectified by Very Serious People in the person of Buttigieg.

And, of course, it's not so meritocratic. Both his parents were profs at Notre Dame.

And, at Jacobin, Liza Featherstone notes that backers of minority and women candidates have objected to the "smartest in the class" claims, and rightly so.

And, there, we have the question of: Is Mayor Pete enabled by white privilege?

He's been asked that already, and gone for straight for his own identity politics answer: Try being gay.

Yep, he pretty much went straight there.

Gack and gag.

And, per Jacobin, he's not afraid to let you know that he's smarter than the average neoliberal bear:
Yeah, as Mike Gravel said in his retweet, an ego, even for a politician.
Under the precautionary principle, I've given him a tag, just in case he becomes a breakout darling.

As far as his explicit identity politics appeal? He's as bland as white bread, and he's generally as conservative outside politics (Episcopalian who hates contemporary worship styles) as he is a ConservaDem inside.

Or as a NON-neoliberal fellow white gay man said, Mayor Pete might just be "the devil." The part that sounds VERY insightful but that I'll have to take on trust is that Buttigieg being a closeted gay as a teen inside a white-bread family meant he has a very delayed adolescence, noting that "Mary Pete was never a teenager." (I also learned from Dale Peck that "Mary Pete" is the gay word for a gay "Uncle Tom.")

I would disagree with Peck that all of Buttigieg's naivete is real. Peck notes that a lot of it from Obama was a pose; I don't think that's as much the case with Buttigieg but I do think it's partially so.)

Let's put it another way, if Mayor Pete wants to play the SJW card. If he weren't gay, he probably wouldn't be running and nobody would give a fuck about him in such case even if he did run.

And, speaking of ConservaDem, he's also a Zionist apologist Israeli suck-up, per Mondoweiss. Per comments there, he's also gone after Ilhan Omar. Kick his ass to the curb!

April 02, 2019

Albert Pujols 2019 milestones season preview part 1

The Angels' aging designated hitter / first baseman / immovable object Albert Pujols has three years left on his contract, counting this one, and movement up the ranks in several major career statistical areas in front of him, with several possible all-time top five finishes and one or two top threes or better.

Let's focus on 2019 and see what might be possible by the end of this year, given his current stats and reasonable projections. In this part, I'm going to look at power-related states.

I'll start with home runs.

Albert currently has 633, in sixth place. If he hits a halfway reasonable 28 more, that puts him past Willie Mays into fifth.

Doubles? Pujols is currently 10th with 639. Depending on what we think is reasonable, he could move three or more slots up. Just 19 vaults him into seventh place, past Nap Lajoie, Carl Yastrzemski and Honus Wagner. If he hits 27, that moves him into sixth, past George Brett. And 30 would put him ahead of Craig Biggio into fifth.

RBIs is next, and Albert will move up two places for sure and very possibly three, from his current seventh place and 1,982. Just 15 puts him past Lou Gehrig and Barry Bonds into fifth, and three more gets him to the magic 2,000. A total of 94 ribbies gives him fourth, passing dead-baller Cap Anson.

So, in three big, big career statistical categories, Phat Albert could end this year in the top five.

One other stat is primarily power-based but also connected to total hitting, and that is total bases.

Pujols is currently ninth place with 5,652. A late-career challenging but not totally unreasonable 203 total bases puts him in fifth place there, too, passing from bottom to top Pete Rose, Babe RuthAlex Rodriguez and Ty Cobb.

April 01, 2019

Time for a Facebook tidy-up

I'm not thinking as in "full cleanup," with dozens of friends dropped.

But, with a new move, and Twitter banning my old account (no, dipshit Jack, it's not "suspended") and a heated 2020 Dem presidential nomination coming up, and that already being revelatory on Book of Face ... time to tidy up.

A number of my current FB friends (no, I don't link my FB account to Twitter or this blog, as my version of good social media hygiene) were made via the late Leo Lincourt. For whatever reason, one of them has moved on, on her side, since he died, and changed her Book of Face connection to me.

Many of Leo's friends who were in part for political reasons aren't leftist, or even that strongly left-liberal. When Beto is promoted for his "electability," .... time to loosen the connection if there's no other real strength of connectedness.

So, I've already started slotting some friends as just "acquaintances." Others will happen soon. I just snoozed one on March 15 who drinks the Beto Kool-Aid. I snoozed another who thinks Glenn Greenwald is the greatest thing since sliced bread. When I posted Ken Silverstein's latest piece about GG back, he got indignant. He then mentioned Aaron Mate (good, and I already know Aaron), Caity Johnstone (a nutter) and ignored my suggestion to learn more about Ken, even after I mentioned his original Washington Babylon at Harper's, his founding of Counterpunch and his Mossack Fonseca work. Don't tell me that I'm not well enough read politically if you diss Ken without even following up on my suggestions.

Ditto on some whom I have connected with via Green Party-affiliated Facebook groups. For those who have individually friended me and vice versa, if, as we move toward 2020, I see that you come off as more and more stereotypical Greens on woo, antivaxxerism, etc., I'll loosen those connections, too.

Riffing back to Leo? Finding that sweet spot between non-Gnu Atheism, non-Democratic (or partially so) left-liberals and beyond, and people with a non-American exceptionalism outlook on foreign affairs, among other things, isn't easy. That said, per this ... I am at least going to move political friends who can't put at least part of one foot outside the Democratic party to "acquaintances" unless they have other reasons for me to be FB friends.

More broadly, I may cut my Facebook posting more and focus on building the new Twitter account. Oh, fuck you again, Jack.