SocraticGadfly: 6/30/19 - 7/7/19

July 05, 2019

Assange and the whataboutism credibility gap

Not that that many people are listening, as the twosiderism and whataboutism related to Julian Assange has ramped up since his new indictment.

But, I'm still typing.

Should Mueller be faulted if his Internet 12 indictments are based only, as far as computer evidence, on Crowdstrike mirrors of DNC servers? I'd argue yes.

Update, Nov. 22, 2019, related to that and Crowdstrike:

Back to the original.

But, that doesn't mean that the case is flimsy, let alone that by default, Seth Rich (or even a non-Seth Richer at DNC) stole the initial set of emails.

(Breaking update, July 9: A new Yahoo News bombshell says Russian intelligence, specifically its foreign intelligence agency, the SVR, was behind the Seth Rich conspiracy theories.

The piece is by Michael Isikoff, who's had a fairly deep dive into Russiagate stuff, I know. But, as I've seen elsewhere, the timelines align with Google Trends information on when Seth Rich information started trending.

But, twosiderism folks of the absolute DNC establishment hater wing, I can accept the likely reality of this while continuing to reject the idea that Vladimir Putin directly colluded with Donald Trump to elect Trump president. Ditto for wingnut twosiderism delvers. AND, ditto for Russiagate twosiders. This proves nothing about collusion.)

Update, July 15: The delusional wing "more credulous precincts" of the left is delusional indeed if they're citing Ty Clevenger, and saying that Isikoff was trying to get out in front of him. But they are:
To which, I quoted from the Tweeting of Jeff St. Clair I had done earlier in the day, starting with the background of and link to what St. Clair said:
Followed by this quote, which I later sent to the "more credulous precincts of the Left":
Followed by the other half of the quote:
There you go.

And, if just 1/10th of this CNN exclusive about Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy is true, even though it doesn't mention Seth Rich, the "more credulous precincts" will have to double or triple down on that.

In fact, this needs to be unpacked a BUNCH more.

Just because Mueller may only have looked at mirrors to talk to a grand jury does not mean that's all the evidence he had on the IRA 12. That is like claiming the Steele dossier was the only basis for other parts of his investigation.

Second, it's a moot point because anybody with brains knows the IRA 12 will never actually be tried. Were they to face a US court, a defense attorney with any skill would of course insist that mirrors aren't evidence, nor are they a constitutionally confrontable witness. Presumably Mueller would be ready at that point by looking at mirrors.

But, that's small beer.

The big guns are the twosiderism and whataboutism behind this. And, that starts with the Internet Research Agency.

Refuting both Trump Train smokescreen spreaders AND certain strains of left-liberals and leftists, with different types of "whataboutism" from both, Symantec reports that the Internet Research Agency's work was more painstaking and more hands-on (in terms of human intervention on many social media accounts that weren't totally "bots") than previously believed.

Let's say Mueller has nothing but Crowdstrike's mirrors of the DNC servers AND those mirrors are wrong, or even tampered with.

Does that mean that ergo and ipso facto, Seth Rich did it?

No, no, and NO.

That's a Logic 101 logical fallacy of a false dichotomy.

Other options are:
The IRA 12 did it, even though Mueller doesn't have all the goods.
Other Russkies did it
Non-Russkies not at the DNC did it
Dems not named Seth Rich did it.

It ignores the counterevidence that the RNC, as well as the DNC, said Russkies attempted a hack, to boot. Circumstantial evidence, yes, but evidence.

I've covered ALL of this in depth before. I'm sure Consortium News and others are still going to peddle the Patrick Lawrence BS, since Ray McGovern is a chief peddler. AND, the two-siders should stop trying to claim that a burden of proof exists with the VIPS minority plus Ritter et al. Beyond that, I specifically commented on this related to Assange's arrest six weeks ago.

AND, if you're going to criticize Mueller, you need to criticize this Forensicator in spades. Or, Adam Carter, I should say. If you want Mueller to interview someone, toady Craig Murray, it's "interesting" how you want him to interview Bill Binney from VIPS, but not Thomas Drake, the man who said Binney and McGovern found their own "Curveball." (And, I think that of plenty of other people who believe the DNC emails were leaked not hacked, whether or not they believe in Seth Rich conspiracy theories — they went looking for a "Curveball" and so they found one.)

Toady Craig Murray has said he's OK with that, in response to a Tweet by me. In my response to him, I said that, even if Mueller had incomplete evidence, or worse, re Crowdstrike and the IRA 12, that in no way meant "Seth Rich did it." And, I specifically mentioned about half of what I did above above false dichotomies.

Murray's response?

Crickets.

And, sorry ... going down conspiracy theory lane in general?

Some mutes or blocks might be coming up. It's who I am.

And, that's as I shake my head at a growing list of generally intelligent people known online, and in a few cases, IRL, who accept conspiracy theories without any real evidence, let alone good evidence.

As for why Crowdstrike resists people who might know what to look at getting to look at the actual DNC servers?

Follow the dollars, not the conspiracy theories.

Such peaks would show even more of its ineptitude and thus dry up its business.

Let's forget the issue goes beyond Crowdstrike. Remember the Bernie staffer who was able to get into the DNC donor files? Remember how everybody then pointed at the lax security of NGP-VAN, but how it continued in this role because of its DNC connections?

Follow the dollars, not the conspiracy theories.

Beyond the dollars?

The fact that the Russians attempted to hack, but with a few exceptions, failed to hack, GOP computers is good indirect support for the idea that the Democratic emails Assange had before the Russian spearphishing were hacked, not leaked. It's good evidence that wingnuts on the right and a motley crew of left-liberal and leftist wingnuts on the other side both don't like to talk about.

The paper Reality Winner leaked is good indirect evidence of Russia's overall plan for meddling. Unfortunately, as one of those #TheResistance types, Winner misread Russian general meddling into Putin-Trump collusion.

It's why I continue to call myself a skeptical leftist.

And, it's not the only reason.

Leftist and left-liberal attempted justification of anti-First Amendment violence is enough to make me think about adding "cynical" to "skeptical" in the header. I'll never weird out like Justin Raimondo's strange political shifts, but, per a piece the Morning Snooze had about 15 years ago, a "where are they now" on Dallas-local 1960s civil rights activists, there's always the possibility of dropping more and more out of organized politics in general.

July 04, 2019

Quick hot takes on Justin Amash

As trending on Twitter, a month after leaving the House Freedom Caucus, Michigan Congresscritter Justin Amash is leaving the GOP.

I didn't understand a month ago why he left the Freedom Fries world, since he helped found the caucus. If you're principled, fight for the principles and force them to vote you out.

I feel somewhat the same about this, as many people are connecting the move to him getting a primary opponent. The Trump butt-kissers are playing up Peter Meijer as an Iraq veteran; he was only there for a year or so, and he later went to A-stan for two years with an NGO. But Republicans generally hate NGOs, so can't talk about it. And, he may be, because of this, less wingnut than many Republicans like. He is connected to "Never Trumper" types like George Schultz

And, in case the name is very familiar, if you're a Michigander, or kind of familiar otherwise in other Great Lakes states? Yep, he's NOT a regular Joe; he's an heir of the Meijer store family, worth nearly $10 billion.

Anyway, back to Amash.

Will he still run for Congress? 50-50 odds right now, I say, if that. He stood no chance winning a GOP primary against Meijer, with his money, his veteran status and his family name recognition. For the unfamiliar, Amash's district is centered on Grand Rapids, which is where the Meijers are from.

If so, as an independent or a Libertarian? 50-50 on each way. I think Amash's powers of incumbency won't help him a lot in a Libertarian or indy general election run, though.

If he doesn't run for Congress? 75-25 against him running for the LP presidential nomination. He's a Ron Paul-tard type fake Libertarian (how Paul ever got the nomination, I don't know) who's anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage and anti gay-rights in general in many ways. Indeed, his Wiki bio notes his connection to Ron Paul's brother. I know that LPers, from what I've read on places like Independent Political Report, has a wing that's tired of ex-Republican candidates. I don't know if it has a wing that is tired of candidates who really should run as the Constitution Party's nominee, since the Constitution Party really is the Religious Right party for religious wingnuts who think the GOP doesn't cut the mustard. That said, the Constitution Party is in the middle of a big implosion right now.

Per people like the old Village Voice pro-lifer columnist Nat Hentoff, a halfway logically coherent libertarian pro-life argument can be made on liberty interests, but no such argument can be made, period, for being against the gay.

If he DOES run for prez as a Libertarian, seeking its nomination, per all of the above, I suspect arms will be less open for him than for Paul, Bob Barr, and Gary Johnson.

Speaking of all of the above, I don't know about Peter Meijer individually, but according to Wiki, the Meijer chain scores pretty well on LGBT rights with advocacy groups. More conservative GOPers, whether Trump Train riders or never Trumpers, may have some hard swallowing to do.

Finally? Amash and Trump are almost two peas in a pod on preening and bombastic. Take this announcement. Amash didn't have to announce this on the Fourth. If it's related to Meijer's announcement, he could have made his statement either earlier, on the 3rd, or else related.

But, no, I've no doubt he deliberately chose the Fourth cuz Merika and "freedom."

That said, he's more interesting than you think, per this New Republic longform.

If he moved his 20-week divider on abortion to 24 weeks, and allowed for a few exceptions after that, that's where I'm at. But, given that Amash considers himself "100 percent pro life," I'm sure that's not where he's at. Rather, it may be an attempt to say this is the best that government regulation can do, within a libertarian stance, on this issue. And, I'm not sure why the author didn't just call Amash 100 percent pro-life, just like one-time-Libertarian Republican Ron Paul and Fauxbertarian son Rand. It's almost as if ... per Carl Beier ... Steigerwald is a left-coopting libertarian.

Also contra Steigerwald, as Ron Paul illustrates, racism in the Libertarian Party ain't anything new. And, son Rand is illustrating it right now vis-a-vis Ilhan Omar. It's also interesting that Steigerwald talks about L/libertarian purity tests when she's written for Antiwar, founded by a purity tester; Reason, not a purity test place; American Conservative, not totally libertarian and definitely having problems with racists; and The Federalist, not libertarian at all, at bottom line.

She also writes for "Center for a Stateless Society," which bills itself as left-market anarchist. I've long rejected anarchism, and accept the label of "libertarian socialist" only when "libertarian" is used with its European-style meaning.

The more I think about it, the more I think that this piece, while interesting, is also a PR pitch, even if Amash right now is running for Congress only.

July 03, 2019

Top blogging in June

These are not necessarily blog posts written in June, but ones most popular with readers in the last month.

Topping my list was my call-out of pergressuves (you, Bernie) who want single-payer, but without reining in doctor and hospital prices. I stand by the idea that I don't want the government to go broke on health care costs any more than private individuals.

Second was my statement that I doubt Royce West will seek the Democratic nomination to run against John Cornyn. As of now, I stand by that.

Third was my D-Day post, focused on everything Nigel Hamilton got wrong as well as right in the last book of his trilogy about FDR as Commander in Chief.

Fourth was my reminder — forgotten by the MSM and the courts as well as many librulz at times — that the First Amendment has five freedoms it protects.

Fifth was celebrating the 75th anniversary of Big Bend as a national park.

Sixth was noting how the Lege screwed small school districts.

Seventh, surprisingly, was my writing about online dating pretentiousness from a Beto backer.

July 02, 2019

TX Progressives talk debates and more

This Green outpost of the Texas Progressives says RIP to Bruce Dixon, co-chairman of the Georgia Green Party and co-founder of the Black Agenda Report.

The Texas Progressives are sure that national pundits didn't win anything after the two Democratic Debate rounds — nor did several Democrats — as they bring you this week's roundup, and wish you a happy, safe, and patriotically rebellious against status quos Fourth of July. And, per John Adams, if you waited until the Fourth, you were two days too late anyway.


Dallas

SocraticGadfly, having read the story about Jerry Falwell Jr., wonders if Trump / Cohen have nekkid pix of Robert Jeffress.

The Metroplex entertainment industry took a hit with the canning of NRATV.

A bunch of Metromess comedians are quite unhappy the Addison Improv booked Louis CK.

No, Bob O'Rourke wasn't at the DMA mistaking it for a What? A Burger? parking lot, but the art museum has closed its sculpture garden after a boarder decided to hang ten on some of the artwork, while the museum no-commented if that's why it shut the sculpture garden.

Big D now has an official tree management plan.


Fort Worth

Gale McCray, aka "Old Man with a Sign," has signed off for now on his anti-Trump sign campaign.


Houston

Jeff Balke accepts the reality of I-45 expansion.


Lone Star Q reports on Harris County adding non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies for its LGBTQ employees.

Texas

Former Speaker Joe Straus has started a PAC. Supposedly, he might run for higher office in 2022. That would mean Greg Abbott, assuming Straus doesn't settle for a fight against Danny Goeb. I'll have a full blog post pullout about this shortly.

A century ago, actual socialism had a foothold in Texas, until a snitch helped undercut it. For those of us who know that the nation's largest Socialist newspaper was once in little rural Girard, Kansas, stories like this are not new. What they mean for today is that "flipping" a state like Texas doesn't mean stopping at neoliberal.

Bexar County Sheriff's Office continues to grow in dysfunctionality level.

Also in Bexar County, Wayne Christian (yes, there are TWO of him among elected officials in the state) is an off-the-rails judge.

The state now has a Quanah, aka Quanah Parker, Day. I'm sure it will be full of Anglo Texas mythmaking bullshit, especially since he only really used the surname "Parker" to try to fit into white society after the Indian Wars ended. That's why I normally refer to him as he was actually named as a Comanche.

Laurie Felker Jones documents her experiences founding a startup and seeking venture capital.

Joe Nick Patoski eulogizes Lonn Taylor.

The Texas Trib has a special page of agencies helping immigrants.


National — SCOTUS

SCOTUS told Wilbur the Talking Horse's Ass Ross to keep a citizenship question off the Census for now. (Prediction here? Despite claiming a June 30 deadline, Commerce plus Justice will try a late end run and seek to flip John Roberts.)

Off the Kuff has two updates on the Census citizenship question lawsuit.

The court was down with gerrymandering, though, and we know how that plays out in the Pointy Abandoned Object State™.

First, the ruling itself? I think it was in a gray zone between right and wrong constitutionally. Roberts is right that the founders probably expected some degree of politicization, while ignoring that those same founders believed America had, or would, transcend petty political parties. At the same time, he also ignores that many state legislatures have vested redistricting power in nonpartisan redistricting commissions, undermining his argument to some degree. At the third time (shades of Idries Shah!) he is right that, unlike, say, race, the courts have nothing close to an objective standard for determining what is too partisan.

So, overall, while not hugely right, it is right constitutionally as I see it.

That said, this blogger has long said the real answer is proportional representation off a national list (or state list for state elections), just like most of continental Europe. But, both halves of the duopoly would rather gerrymander than empower third parties like that.


National

Bob and Julián brought their Dem Debate pissing match back to Texas.

Brains offers a post-debate version of his semi-regular Democratic showdown update.

In your Gohmert Pyle-ism of the week, Louie Gohmert called Robert Mueller an "anal opening."

Nancy Pelosi surrendered again.

Paradise in Hell reinterprets Ozzie Osbourne's Crazy Train for Donald Trump.


World

Trump got his ass kicked royally by Xi Jinping at the G20 summit, over Huawei, and over tariff-related issues as well. Listen to how listlessly flat his voice sounds on the video at that first link. (Sorry, CNN wouldn't let me embed.)

Or try this:


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July 01, 2019

Once again, note to "antifa," violence is not the answer

Some of the folks with the pretentious name of "antifa" thought it WAS the answer over the weekend.

The basically rebranded old Black Bloc folks, in Portland (remember, the Pacific Northwest is the heart of the Black Bloc) attacked and assaulted Andy Ngo.

The fact that Andy Ngo is a wingnut makes it no better.

It's rare as hell for me to agree with someone like Hillbot Charlotte Clymer on a  matter of substantive politics, but I do here.

The likes of Andy Ngo thrive on producing a reaction just like this. It's fuel for furthering their narrative.

Much of the Black Bloc doesn't care about that anyway. For 20 years, many of them have shown — primarily in violence against property, but, with Trump unzipping his id letting them do the same, now in more violence against persons — that violence is their stock in trade. To be frank, as with the Seattle WTO meeting 20 years ago that kicked off their violence against property (not that I am fetishizing property), I think many of these people just look for excuses.

"Librulz," left-liberals and leftists who are edumacated SHOULD know this. Should have known this for years.

And yet, too much of my Twitter feed over the weekend had comments defending, even glorifying, these nutters.

Also, you may not like the media sources for which he reports, or his style, but he is a journalist.

So, "congrats." You assaulted not only a person, but two of the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Possibly three, as I think again.

I use filters much less on Twitter than on Facebook, via FB Purity. I debated, by Sunday, about doing it there. I didn't. Rather, it lets me keep my eyes open in case I need to do some muting, even blocking.

As with librulz like this:

I'm not a First Amendment absolutist, because I'm not a philosophical absolutist in general. So, I'm not Glenn Greenwald or Popehat, both of whom, IMO, are "First Amendment weaponizers."

But, short of that, I take those five freedoms very seriously.

Beth, and others, could stand to revisit Thomas More's famous lines from "A Man for All Seasons":
Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! 
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? 
Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! 
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
Or listen to other famous characters or real people.

As both Tevye and MLK knew, riffing on the bible, attitudes like this, riffing on "eye for eye and tooth for tooth," leave the whole world blind and toothless.

Beyond that, there's a boatload of #twosiderism already popping up on this issue.

Time for Idries Shah again:

"To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides." ~ Idries Shah

This one of his, in photo poster, is also good

June 30, 2019

Knicks and KD — brilliant or stupid?

The original word from Woj was that Kyrie Irving was going to the Nets.

The update is that he has a big fish playmate that will join him.

I wondered yesterday if that would get Kevin Durant thinking there, despite talk he and Kawhi Leonard have been discussing a joint move to the Clippers?

And Woj says yes. And that DeAndre Jordan will be the third fish in the net. Or the Nets.

He and Ramona Shelburne go on to say that the Knicks didn't want to give KD a max deal. And, of course, Stephen A. Smith is doing a meltdown over that and all things James Dolan.

The Knicks are instead paying Julius Randle 3/$63.

Are they idiots?

Sorry, Stephen A, but I don't think so. And here, Red Satan makes arguments both for and against signing Randle et al. And, the anti position is more a callout of their pre-free agency brash predictions than anything.

Kobe Bryant was far worse after his injury. DeMarcus Cousins doesn't inspire high confidence.

The NBA notes that of 18 players with such injuries in recent years, seven never even returned. Rudy Gay has looked good in his comeback, and Dominique Wilkins looked almost unfazed, but going through that list, they're the definite exception.

So, four years at $41 million a year? And, if he misses all of next year, and one half of 2020-21 and is at 80 percent for the rest of the time he plays? He's delivering half the actual value.

It's a gamble to offer him a max, and probably about the same amount of gamble to let him walk by not offering him one. I don't think it's stupid to draw a line like this, while I don't think it's brilliant, either. It's probably going to be a somewhat smart decision, made smarter by who the Knicks DO land and at what price. Randle's not a bad start.

That said, Kristaps Porzingis, who just accepted the Dallas max offer, is surely glad he's not in Gotham.

The only question now remaining is if the Warriors can get anything in the way of cap relief by making this into a sign-and-trade.