SocraticGadfly: 2020

July 09, 2020

Texas Progressives talk primary runoffs, other things

Lots of stuff to dig into this week, as we await the results of primary runoffs and continue to watch the surge in Texas coronavirus cases, with more details on that, statewide, nationally, and globally, in the split-off portion of this week's Roundup.

That said, politicization claims aside, COVID and GOP politics do intersect. Let's dig in.

Both Strangeabbott and Danny Goeb have officially confirmed they have no balls, as the Texas GOP has said its state convention remains on to meet in person, but all bigwigs will speak virtually. Abbott has none over facing wingnut-plusers calling him out for "Masks On," and Patrick has none on matching words to mouth on dissing COVID, or on being 70-plus and not considering himself personally dispensable. Surprised? Sadly, since that initial story, Helltown Mayor Sly Turner removed their balllessness excuse by canceling the in-person convention.

That privately built border fence in the lower Valley? A stupidity that's going to fall into the Rio Grande sooner rather than later.

Meet the Texas GOP wingnut political candidates touting Q, whether as true believers or as political grifters. (Also note how many of them refused to talk to Texas Monthly.)

The challenges of being young, liberal (and, overlooked by Texas Monthly) wedded to the Democratic Party in Austin and having to deal with old, white liberals, especially when they demonstrate that they're far from free from implicit bias.

Trump and Cruz have dueling endorsements in the runoff in CD24 to see who will try to replace Will Hurd. Ronny Jackson, Trump's choice in CD13, will almost certainly get smoked. Trump's choice in Colorado CD5 got smoked by someone even more nutbar. Especially for endorsements to the "less nutbar" side of the GOP than Trump's, if they win nominations, whether or not general elections, how many of these will it take for the GOP to distance from Trump? And, if Trump loses re-election, how involved will he personally be in 2022?

SocraticGadfly had two third-party items of note. First, he said RIP to Mimi Soltysik, 2016 SPUSA presidential nominee. Second, he called out losing Green Party presidential candidate Dario Hunter for "going there" with identity politics and various other matters.

Related? The Supreme Court unanimously ruled states can punish so-called "faithless electors" in the electoral college. This is of a piece with state and federal courts boosting the duopoly parties and supporting third-party voter suppression, although mainstream media, and even a Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog fail to recognize this.

Off the Kuff has two more polls to analyze.

DosCentavos' early voting experience was quick, yet harrowing. The moral of the story ... don't leave until you click "CAST BALLOT."

Long read, but Scott Ritter has the nuanced truth about alleged Russian bounties on US troops. Have the MSM been hyping this to try to keep us in the hellhole of Afghanistan?

Federal judge rules the Dakota pipeline must be shut by early August, and stay shut for the duration of a review that's expected to last a full year.

Grits for Breakfast presents a primer for new, local police-reform advocates in Texas.

Dwight Silverman updates the "how to cut the cord" manual.

Christoph Spieler discusses why race is always there when we talk about transit.

Pedro Noguera wants a focus on equity when we reopen the schools.

Gadfly also offered a media analysis of the Democratic Senate runoff between MJ Hegar and Royce West.

July 07, 2020

Confederate statues and Holocaust buildings

While I don't think that any U.S. military bases should be named after men who were traitors (even if Grant's surrender terms offered to Lee at Appomattox arguably let at least the Army of Northern Virginia's officers off the hook, they still were, as were officials of the CSA government), I'm more agnostic on statues.

That's especially true if a statue is not to Lee or Stonewall Jackson, but to the "Confederate war heroes."

I know the history of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erecting these statues, basically in the 1910-20 period. I know the turd-polished history they were presenting. I also know, per such things as the 1913 "great reunion" at Gettysburg, rather than the Lost Cause using a bulldozer to rewrite history, many northern Whites were at least halfway willing, and halfway actively willing, to go along.

Santayana famously said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. Maybe keeping the statues visible — albeit with modern explanatory plaques — would help.

Something on Twitter Monday night, or maybe it was Facebook, is part of this thought.

And that's that Germany did not tear down all the concentration camps inside the country. Nor did Poland tear down the true death camps. One can still go to Auschwitz today, of course.

Arguably, this alone hasn't stopped anti-Semitism, or even Holocaust denial, in Germany. It may have helped somewhat. But, Germany also has severe laws against Holocaust denial language, laws that would never fly in the U.S.


Chancellor Angela Merkel's admission of Syrian refugees became the match to light the Alternative für Deutschland gasoline.

Another analogy, per this New Yorker piece, is with 1989 and the fall of Communism. Some eastern European states destroyed anything that even smacked of Leninism. Others took a more hands-off approach. So far, it's hard to argue one has done better than the other, at least where a larger educational effort wasn't applied. In much of Eastern Europe, Communism has been replaced by authoritarianism of some sort, such as in Belarus, or a drift away from democracy has started (Poland, Hungary) or gained steam (Ukraine, and of course, Russia itself). And I haven't even talked about the former Soviet Central Asia.

The museuming isn't a bad idea. That said, in many cities, racists might make a shrine, or try to, out of the now-barren spot on a courthouse lawn. Or they might demand city and county governments spend more money on the museum, put up a pro-Lost Cause sign on those lawns, etc., etc.

One might say: "But there's no statues at any of those places."

And I might respond: "The infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' inscription on the gates at Auschwitz is still there." Or, "Lenin's mausoleum, complete with theoretically preserved body, is still on Red Square." (That's not the best example, that one, I know, because Russia had but a limited window of semi-openness and it was largely wrecked by American capitalist grifters conspiring with Russian capitalist plunderers.)

I don't claim easy answers.

So, I refer again to old philosophy friend Idries Shah:

Some people may think him hackneyed. I don't, other than I am even more skeptical of human social psychology than him, and reject the idea of "complete solutions."

Other than the passage of time moving people beyond the desire for "complete solutions" do we get even close to that.

What is the best way, out of more than two sides, with truly moving more of America beyond this past, with making more Americans realize how deeply embedded "Lost Cause" ideas in general, and still-systemic racism in particular, are in America.

That said? More than two sides? I'm not of the position of some leftists who think issues of race almost always ultimately reduce to class, but I at least 50 percent agree with the general idea, if not more. 

As far as possible ideas other than the two sides? One would be plaques on these statues that
A. Describe the UDC's history;
B. In any former CSA state, like Texas, where slavery was explicitly cited as part of the reason for secession, quoting line and verse from the secession ordinance.

Or a motion-sensor triggered audio recording that played the same. The advantage of this is, if you just place it very close to the statue or its pedestal, but don't actually attach it, you don't need Texas Historical Commission approval.

Texas progressives talk coronavirus, week 15,
as we learn more about its lethality

A separate pullout for coronavirus issues in this corner of the weekly roundup is in place for another week. It will probably be in place for a couple more weeks, as in Texas, we await seeing what "Masks On," on top of the previous rollback of reopening Texas, does — or does not — do.

With that, let's dig in to the latest state, national and global news about the coronavirus. There's plenty of it to look at as new medical news and new nuttery both pop up.

First, how deadly is it?

Newest work on the fatality rate and the spread rate of COVID-19? It's 100 times as deadly as "just the flu." And, James Scott of U Texas, one of the researchers in that story, was expecting just what Texas is currently getting. The New York Times weighs in with its own piece, which among other things, notes that coronaviruses can have a better transmission rate than the flu. It's not clear from reading the two in parallel, but both are referencing the same WHO meta-analysis out of Australia as a centerpiece of their work.

Breaking addition

State Fair of Texas is officially cancelled. How long before wingnuts call the fair's board snowflakes or similar?


Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott said "masks on"? But will it hold? 

Abbott's already getting pushback from some wingnut counties, not all of them small. Ellis, Johnson and Upshur counties are among those where county judges said they won't enforce the mask order. A county with less than 20 active cases, Cass County, doesn't have to enforce the order IF it opts out. But, Judge Becky Wilbanks claiming Abbott's orders have been ambiguous? Not this one. His previous "blood on his hands"? Yes. Ellis and Johnson counties are both problematic. Both are over 150K and both are part of the Metromess. (Dunno about Johnson, or cities like Cleburne, but Ennis in Ellis County used to be a hotspot of racism to boot.) Smith County? That's Tyler. Over 200K people in the county, and also, a longtime wingnut hotbed of racism.

Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree, who looks like some home fries, says he won't enforce Abbott's order, either, and now there's a petition calling for his removal by trial for official misconduct. Petition is here.

Following up on the Bar Lives Matter stupidity from two weeks ago, over Abbott's orders to shutter bars, bar owners are suing the state. Dear bar owners, and a substantial minority of patrons. If bar lives really mattered, many of you bar patrons would get your ass to a sobriety meeting and many of you bar owners would tell those who needed to go that they indeed ... needed to go. Beyond that, as bobbies know, drunks can't socially distance.

Part of the problem of "superspreader churches"? It's superspreader church choirs. And, while I don't think bar owners have a legal leg to stand on, Abbott continuing to exempt churches is hypocritical.
Learn more about the false mask sales world.

The Texas Medical Association has reversed court on an in-person GOP convention (of which it was one of the sponsors) and said do it virtually.

If Abbott isn't primaried, Libertarian wingnut of wingnuts Dan Behrman, without mentioning names, called out Abbott, and has announced he's running for gov.

National and Global

Trump believes the coronavirus will disappear. Just like Hitler believed Gen. Felix Steiner was going to rescue him in late April 1945. As it turns out, a couple of days later, the White House word was that Trump was disappearing himself as the daily coronavirus voice.

Experts say, per my wonderings about summer AC, that indoor airborne transmission is looking like it's more and more part of the issue. Scientists saying this note that WHO is conservative and risk-averse on its medical angles and not willing to adequately consider aerosol transmission, as well as having its funding further tightened by Trump cutting off US funding. (That said, the "conservative and risk averse" is of little doubt to me; sounds just like the UNPCC on climate change.) On the other hand, for less developed countries, WHO saying, in essence, "Masks On," may require a significant financial diversion in controlling COVID. The group of scientists calling out WHO on aerosol transmission is releasing a public letter.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' famous, or infamous, or just plain wrong, five stages of death and dying is being used as a cheap counseling tool in the time of COVID. (IMO, her stages appealed to Americans from the start, as our cultural DNA is a country that believes it can always be in control, likes things in black and white, likes quick ways to allegedly get in control, like lists and action plans, etc.)

Tony Fauci's boss, NIH head Francis Collins, talks COVID issues. That said, given that this is the man who saw proof of the Trinity in a waterfall, it should surprise nobody that, from the likelihood of when we get a vaccine to how well Americans are addressing the pandemic, Collins has been smoking some Pandora-level crack.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn disagrees with Collins' (and Trump's) rosy scenario on a vaccine. While not a pessimist entirely, he says "year's end or early next year," which I think is still too optimistic.

Hahn also disagrees with Trump on something else. He said it's "still too soon" to say that an in-person RNC can safely be held in Jacksonville. What if people a month from now say it can't? How many people still march into J-ville if Il Duce says march?

Ex-FDA Commish Scott Gottlieb, a voice indirectly critical of Trump while in office, also weighs in, saying that overuse of remdesivir could deplete all the stock the US bought from from Gilead last week.

July 06, 2020

#BlackLivesMatter in Gainesville, Texas;
so does Young Republicans PR

Just a typical Friday night last week in Gainesville, with the delayed kickoff of the Summer Sounds music series, and a few people at the corner of the courthouse square greeting attendees, amirite?

What's that at the left hand edge, behind the "White Silence is Compliance" person?

Why, I think that's the base of one of those 100-year old United Daughters of the Confederacy statues.

And it says?

Note: Bobby Lee didn't write that, contra what some may say or have heard. It was actually written by an Oxford don, who'd just done a new translation of the Iliad. In the preface, he included a poem of his which likened the Confederacy to a new Troy. That's the lines you see there. That said, in 1868, he gave a copy of his Iliad, complete with poem, to Slave Marse Robert. (Picture that being said by Shelby Foote on Ken Burns semi-racist by silence Civil War series.)

That said, the lead speaker among young adults at a recent commissioners court meeting only referenced the issue of treason, indirectly, and not race. Also, Tucker Craft said he's a registered Republican and made sure to make that the very first thing he said. And, he pulled out the old BS about the "Democrat party being the party of Jim Crow." As salutatorian of Gainesville High and someone who interned at the county attorney's office, he knows that "DemocratIC" is the preferred usage. And, that most the Jim Crow Democrats went on to become Jim Crow Republicans before they died.

So, sorry I missed the first minute of the speechifying, Tucker, but having heard the whole thing now? Sounds like Cooke County Young Republicans PR first, and anything and everything else second.

Here's the county's video of the meeting. Listen for yourself. His comments start at about the 3:30 mark.

I don't know if the other two speakers were associated with him or the "Progressive Rights Organization" he claims to represent but that doesn't even have a Facebook page. Nor do I know if everybody in the pictures above is affiliated with him. Nor do I know — whether or not they are affiliated with him — they've heard things like what he told the commissioners court and, if they have, if they've parsed his words carefully.

Finally, Mr. Craft was not at the music event last Friday. The people he claims to represent may or may not be these people.

The Gainesville Register had a story about some of the protestors. In it, the group was now called "PRO Gainesville." They have a website and a Facebook group, of which Mr. Craft is NOT one of the admins. The group talks about systemic racism, something Mr. Craft didn't mention. They have a Facebook page, as well as a group. The page is public.

And, I waded through about two dozen posts and more than 200 comments and subcomments. Saw Tucker Craft's name there not once. I went back more than a week before he spoke to the commissioners court. Went back to the June 14 start date of the page. Didn't see a single comment by him. Didn't see a single photo of him, either.

Further update, July 8: I stopped by the courthouse square on the way to Tom Thumb, during this night's vigil. People on "both sides" videotaping each other and more. About 10 Gainesville cops, couple of sheriff's deputies and a couple of state troopers. About 20-30 activists. Half a dozen I'd identify as clearly anti-activist. Three-four pickups with (likely made in China) American flags in their beds. About 20-30 observers of the activists, perhaps half "antis" and half curious.

Anyway, Tucker? I walked around the whole square. I don't personally know you, and the time you spoke in court was the first time I'd seen you. Nonetheless, with your hair wave up front, I'm fairly sure I'd recognize you even with a mask on. Especially if you had a PRO Gainesville shirt like others. I didn't see you.

So, Tucker Craft? You're either a huge slacktivist, a grifter for a bit of  local personal fame, or you're trying to derail or co-opt a movement you don't actually represent, and lying to do that, as far as I can tell with this level of searching. And, if you want to really care about justice, you can start at the local level, go to County Attorney Ed Zielinski under whom you interned, and tell him to stop prosecuting low-level pot cases.

I know that I've now hit the borderline between skepticism and cynicism. If I see any new information to modify that impression, I will. But, I'm not going out of my way for it. Using old Republican PR lines is clear evidence of where you come from. As for the PRO Facebook page, per the scientific bon mot, absence of evidence  isn't necessarily the same as evidence of absence. BUT ... under Bayesian-like probability adjustments, enough compilation of absence of evidence points more and more toward evidence of absence.

I mean, you stated in your speech to commissioners that this was their chance to be better than Democrats. You politicized this from the start.

July 05, 2020

Top June 2020 blogging

No. 1 was an old piece, years old, that, perhaps in the light of coronavirus and some states putting restrictions on church attendance as part of social distancing rules, has perhaps become popular with Googling wingnuts. It's about whether or not a college can discriminate, or "discriminate," against a religious organization.

No. 2, timely for the Green Party's national convention this week, and one update on the one person, was my look at convention speakers, with the main focus on Minneapolis City Councilman Cam Gordon and his being a squish in some ways.

No. 9, getting out of order, is also related to the GP convention, and wondering if the party is going to crack up over trans activism issues.

No. 3 is related to the party in the fall, with my kicking the butt of Jesse Ventura for saying he would write in his own name in November.

No. 7, to jump back out of order a bit, is related to the Green Party and my vote in the fall, the second in my pieces (so far) about Green Party censorship on its official Facebook group.

No. 4? I took Matt Taibbi to task for a screed claiming to defend Lee Fang against charges of anti-Black racism without looking at the amount of smoke that indicated at least a small fire might be present, and then going beyond that to agree with Tom Cotton and other things that smacked of his being one of the allegedly outside-the-box media stenos of the left-liberal world suddenly having a partial merger with conservativism.

No. 5? It's fun to kick Ted Rall, especially when he presents a narcissistically easy target.

No. 6, and with his belated "Masks On" order, this may gather steam in days and weeks ahead — does Greg Abbott have coronavirus blood on his hands? In case you can't guess, that's a rhetorical question and you should know the answer but here's the details.

No. 8 is my quick take on Barton Gellman's new book about Edward Snowden and whether or not Gellman can shed some light on some of the massive holes Snowden had in said book.

No. 10? The latest installment in my love-frustration relationship with High Country News.

July 02, 2020

Texas Progressives and the usual stuff

The political hot stove league is heating up for the duopoly and third parties as well, just in time for summer weather.

The Texas Progressives have got you covered on all of it, so dig in.

Texas politics

Off the Kuff analyzes the latest polls of Texas.

Texas Democrats resoundingly lost their lawsuit trying to restore straight ticket voting. Kuff admits he expected the loss in question, but still appears to favor straight ticket voting in his last line.

The Supremes rejected Texas Dems' request to force vote-by-mail-for-all (NOT related to Medicare for All) for the July 14 primary runoffs. The big picture, for the general election, remains open.

Dikeman vs Hughs, the suit over whether third-party nominees should have to pay duopoly party filing fees in Texas, related to HB 2504, went before a Texas appeals court. Here's video of the hearing. Here's the big ticket background.

G. Elliott Morris throws a little bit of cold water on the positive polls for Joe Biden in Texas.

Noah Horwitz shares a term paper he once wrote about Greg Abbott.


In Houston, DosCentavos is not a fan of the latest attempt at police reform by committee.

Transform Houston outlines their objections to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's task force on police reform.

San Antonio

Mario Bravo calls on elected officials to lead on police reform.


Doug Swanson's "Cult of Glory," in part because D Magazine ran an excerpt, got the statue of Texas Ranger Jay Banks removed from in front of Love Field. Here's my reviews (five-star!) on Goodreads and Amazon.

In the wake of Tiger King, the Observer looks at the burgeoning world of exotic animal parks in Texas.


SocraticGadfly looks at Howie Hawkins clinching the Green Party nomination and the various haters who still don't like it or him.

Election law guru Rick Hasen wants a 28th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. As one wag on Ballot Access News asked rhetorically, "Doesn't the 15th Amendment do that?" As I told him on Twitter, ignoring duopoly-party efforts to suppress third-party ballot access makes his column unacceptable.

Shit. Hickenlooper vs Gardiner. The Colorado Green Party has to be bigger than the Texas one, and you all can't get anybody to run for the Senate? (Pictured at left: The North LoDo-distanced "protest area" at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, when John Hickenlooper was mayor. Part of his hatred of the freedom of assembly clause of the First Amendment, matched only by his love of fracking when Colorado gov. I was there on my last day of a vacation the Sunday before the start of DNC week.)

Egberto Willies thinks pergressuves should line up to vote for Status Quo Joe Biden, then demand single-payer. And, people like him as pundits are why Dems laugh out the Overton Window. It's also why he's back off my blogroll.

Goodbye and farewell to Zionist Eliot Engel.

G. Elliott Morris throws a little bit of cold water on the positive polls for Joe Biden in Texas. I threw more cold water on that nationally last week.

 Josh Berthume worries that the seven hours following the end of voting on the East Coast will be the biggest danger to democracy America has seen.

Paradise in Hell has had it with Mike Pence.

Meet the Black officer who was part of the George Floyd arrest (and is charged) and the adoptive White mom of him and two other Black children.

In what sounds like a sick joke, the Navajo Nation is reportedly buying Remington.

The rich get richer, indeed, in part because the IRS audits them less and less.


Meet DDoS, the group replacing Wikileaks, and between reporting leaks from Russia, refusing to fuel the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, and deliberately avoiding the Cult of Julian, seeming to do a better job than Assange.

Feel different? NAFTA was replaced by NAFTA 2.0, called YMCA or the USMCA or something by Trump, yesterday. DeSmog Blog reports on the oil and gas angle. Remember how Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, was going to be a breath of fresh air as Mexico's new leftist-leaning president? Per DSB, he ain't.

Dario Hunter "went there"

Per a link at Independent Political Report, he's ... I"m going to be blunt, Dario ... he's "played the race card."

Here's the video from Dario. You want to listen about 30 seconds in, about the "I got into this race to break down the walls of exclusion ... especially against people who look like me."

Fuck you, Dario.

The Green Party nominated Cynthia McKinney in 2008. Yes, many people know that the party could do more to attract minorities, but?

Reverse racism is racism.

Especially when Howie's campaign manager, Andrea Merida Cuellar, is a minority herself.

Doubly so when Howie's own Veep nominee, Angeal Walker, is, like Cynthia McKinney, Black.

The Dario-stanners are ignorant of his putting his thumbs on the scale with Ian Schlakman. It wouldn't surprise me if he was one of the organizers of the whispering campaign claims that Howie seeking to run fusion with SPUSA violated Green Party rules. They're also ignorant of him having a hasbara past (and maybe present) and not apologizing for that, either.

Dario has also tried to play both sides of the fence on the trans activists issue. As for fairness otherwise, both Dario and Howie spoke at the 2019 Texas state convention.

And, read the comments at the video link. From here in Texas, Kat Gruene calls his ass out all OVER the place. Once is in response to Dario, who was responding to someone else calling him out for "going there." Said person noted what I did above, plus that Ajamu Baraka was Jill Stein's Veep in 2016 and other things.

Let's start with Dario's response to that:
This video doesn’t actually address racism in the Green Party. (?) It does reference the general political disenfranchisement of people who look like me, something every candidate should have in mind and take into account. But if you’d like me to do a video about racism in Green Party leadership, I certainly could. I’d have plenty of material. 
I responded that he was trying to have his cake and eat it too.

Kat just lit into him over that.
Dario Hunter and i could do one on the use of identity politics and how incapable people get elected to leadership in the gp alllll the time because of their non cis white male identity - electing tech incompetent older women for national committee for example - an almost 98% tech required position - in TX back in the day if you were not white or a woman you could get elected just because of that even if you were at your first green meeting - it became a running joke 
BOOM! And true, as I noted, in response to her.
Baraka noted this problem with GP identity politics "slots" and incapable people. The late Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report noted this in spades, time and time and time again.
Here's my blogging about Dixon's take on the "90 day wonders" in 2018. Here's more, from a longer, more convoluted hot take on the GP annual meeting in 2017.

Dario is just a poster child for that, now.

Finally, Dario's lies about state Green Party exclusion and more are all exposed here.

Oh, on my calling Dario out? Per Doug Henwood, being a leftist means not having white liberal guilt, so anybody trying to call ME out? Fail.

This is all just a ramping up of the Howie hatred, but now it's gotten ugly. David Bruce Collins tries to find a more nuanced take, but still doesn't like it. And, I'm inclined to be disinclined to his nuance, as we disagree somewhat on Howie and Russia, and that same "more" link above, disagree STRONGLY about Caitlin Johnstone (and, I suspect, other conspiracy theorizing between points Russia and Caity, though DBC is nowhere near Brains on this, or many other Greens).

I'm still not sure about voting Green in 2020. Howie could screw the pooch on one item at the convention, among other things. And, if he's personally involved, I won't vote for him on the SPUSA ballot line either. (His campaign treasurer, Travis Christal, had one comment on the video; I left him a comment in return, more explicit about that issue.)

July 01, 2020

RIP Mimi Soltysik

RIP 2016 SPUSA presidential candidate Mimi Soltysik. I had known he was sick, badly, and that it was a struggle, but didn't know it was liver cancer. Note: His Veep pick, Angela Walker, is Howie Hawkins Veep pick this year. Read this interview for more on his background. He's right about the sectarianism on the left. I've seen enough of that within the Green Party, and plenty of people who I wouldn't even consider leftist or that close to it. That's YOU, Jesse-stanners.

I have no idea why the Party for Socialism and Liberation separately exists, other than the sectarianism that led it to fracture off another communist party which was itself part of a fracture. Socialist Alternative? It's just a somewhat more left version of the Democratic Socialists of America, sometimes working inside the Dem party. I do know why it exists separately and I just told you. I've written about it before, and the hypocrisy of Kshama Sawant, specifically about its and her attempt to work inside the Dem Party as Berners. (Per Wiki, it claims to be Trots, but "Trots for Bernie"? Really?)

Yes, I'm armchair-quarterbacking, but I would never vote for an alleged or actual Marxist party. Non-Marxist socialists? Yes. I almost voted Soltysik instead of Jill Stein in 2016.

On Mimi's personal background, reading between the lines and knowing he had liver cancer? It sounds like he became an IV drug addict, but eventually got clean. It could have been dirty tattoo needles, too, I suppose, but the story sounds more than that. Or, for that matter, it could have been "good old" booze.

What's going to happen to McClatchy?

McClatchy is about the largest newspaper chain in America not either in the hands of vulture capitalists nor race-to-the-bottom grifters like Craphouse. (That's my name for Gatehouse, which is the tail that wags the dog in its merger with Gannett in what is publicly called the "new Gannett.")

That said, it had to file Chapter 11 earlier this year, and as part of that, today is the deadline for bids on what is currently much more than a "carcass."

Yesterday, Ken Doctor offered his take on what might happen. He listed four categories of potential buyers, either for the entire body or for individual newspapers. 
Let’s categorize the likeliest bidders:
  • The Insider 
  • The Savior 
  • The Financial Engineer 
  • The Roller-Upper
He then takes a look at each.

"Insider" is Chatham Asset Management, the vulture capitalist who owns a slice, but no more than a slice. (Alden, owner of Dead Fucking Media/Media Snooze, would be another.)

Update, July 6: Those are two of the three bidders, Doctor reports, and also says the third is a non-starter. So, vulture capitalists 1, knights in shining armor 0.

Update 2, July 9: More ugh. McClatchy reports Alden is very interested — interested enough to challenge Chatham's bid and get the auction delayed.

"Savior" would be primarily nonprofit ownership. Ken says he's heard rumors that interested buyers would be interested in applying the nonprofit model to the entire beast. I'm skeptical, and will get to that more in a minute.

"Financial Engineer" is a vulture capitalist, but Ken says it's likely NOT one of the companies already bigfooting the newspaper landscape.

"Roller-Upper"? Either CrapHouse or vulture capitalist Alden and head boy Heath Freeman.

Here's a string of Tweets I had on all of this.
That's the lead-in to all of this, of course. And it WOULD be nice. McC has had solid reporting, has a good DC bureau, and there, it often thinks slightly outside the bipartisan foreign policy establishment box.

OK, next?
And related:
That's why, contra Ken's sources, (Jon Allsop of CJR also discusses the issue) I really don't see a single buyer for the whole company as a nonprofit organization shop. (I'm not sure I see a single buyer for the whole schmeer, or at least a single non-flipping buyer, but that's another story.)

What I do see as a possible, part 1:
And part 2:
So, there you go.

On the whole group of Cal papers, it's possible that maybe a nonprofit reaches a deal with Alden, as it via Dead Fucking Media is now the owner of Monterey and San Jose. It could be another current newspaper group which could then try making the Cal papers a nonprofit org as a subsidiary of some sort.

We shall see. And, we have now seen.

If Ken's sources are right about Chatham's relative reservoir of goodwill, it's possible they try some sort of spinoff of at least part of the properties. Maybe what I said about the California group going together as a nonprofit org happens. Per the Knight Foundation seriously considering, then deciding not to be, the white knight, and being in Miami, maybe it bites on just taking the Herald.

That said, per Ken, the old Knight-Ridder execs' pension lawsuit could slow everything down a bit. Update: Federal judge has delayed ruling on whether their suit can proceed until he sees the bids. That story, reflecting typically good and honest internal self-reporting, notes that a winner is supposed to be unveiled July 15, IF the company crossed a July 14 threshold allowing a "distressed termination" of its pension plans, not just limited to the old KR execs' pensions.

June 30, 2020

Robert Mueller had no balls, Jeff Toobin confirms

Jeff Toobin partially confirms this in an excerpt from his new book.

He claims it's more an issue of Rosenstein taking them away, although he acknowledges that Mueller was comfortable with Rosenstein putting narrow reins on the investigation.

I beg to differ, not so much with this as being wrong as being incomplete.

As I tweeted to Toobin, I think Mueller was pretty willing to swallow his own balls. I don't care if neither I nor a Bill Weld knew about the conversation between the two men, Weld was and is still right in that Mueller should not have felt constrained by the old internal DOJ memo claiming presidents can't be indicted. They can. Weld called Mueller out and rightfully so.

I elsewhere said, and legal scholars agree, that such an idea is constitutionally nugatory.

So, no, Jeff, unless you have "Mueller swallowed his own balls" more explicitly listed, you do NOT have the top two failures.

Update: I'm now three-quarters through the long piece, and Toobin says that Mueller aide Aaron Zebley told Giuiliani that "Battlin Bob" (NOT La Follette, an actual battler) confirmed that Mueller was going to swallow his nuts on this.

And no, Jeff, I don't believe this was all because of Rosenstein.

Ever since Senate Democrats decided not to impeach Reagan over Iran-Contra, both duopoly parties, in incarnations of both elected officials and appointed alleged solons, have pulled their punches over the renewed imperial presidency.

As for Mueller himself? Negotiating with John Dowd and Jay Sekulow? The "hard charging Marine" was anything but.

That said, there's other laughs in the piece. Like calling Sekulow a "constitutional law scholar" without the word "alleged" somewhere in the sentence. Lemme help you out.

The one other exculpatory issue I might accept is hinted at by Toobin: Mueller's age. He was 74 by the time new AG Bill Barr met with him upon taking office. And apparently worn out.

Finally, although I've distanced myself from the alleged outside-the-box stenos, I still cannot accept one statement by Toobin:
Barr neglected to mention, in these fawning remarks, that the Mueller investigation had taken place because the Russian government had engaged in a systematic attempt to help Trump win the election—an attempt that the candidate and his staff encouraged. 
Flat wrong.

As shown in things such as the indictment of the IRA 12, Russia engaged in a systematic meddling in the U.S. election. Trump wanted systematic help. I still see nothing that shows such systematic help was given. I have covered this issue, in specific relation to the then-called Internet Research Agency, here and here.

The reason I started this out so harsh? Not just in recent talks to Congress, but in other books, Toobin is an intellectual who can be a wavering compass and not just on narrow political grounds. For example, see my review of his Patty Hearst book.

Texas progressives bring back coronavirus news, Week 14

Another fun week in the world of politics, Texana, rising Texas coronavirus cases and more.

Ahh, yes ... coronavirus.

With that, after thinking I was over with a separate Texas Progressives pullout for coronavirus, it turns out that Greg Abbott's refusal to listen to precautionary, prudent medical advice, plus his "legal loopholes overriding of local governments' mask rules authority, has led us to a point of a COVID surge, which is largely demonstrated in other "red" states as well.

Coronavirus Texas

#Schadenfreude is a #coronavirus bitch. Two months ago, Texas and other states were quarantining travelers from the greater New York City area. Now, the three states of the Tri-State are alarmed enough to quarantine Texans (and denizens of several other, generally "red," states.)

On top of that? The EU is likely to ban travel from the US, period.

Meanwhile, as Texas coronavirus cases swell and Abbott has blood on his hands, Trump has pushed through with cutting federal money and aid for testing nationwide, including several sites in Texas. Strangebbott, despite bipartisan pleading with Trump across the state, said Texas would be OK.

And as of last Friday, Strangeabbott has officially backtracked on Reopen Texas. Bars closed, restaurants back to 50 percent capacity. And banned outdoor gatherings of more than 100 unless explicitly approved by government officials.

Hindsight, like schadenfreude, is a bitch. And, given that many medical experts and local government leaders were shouting in Abbott's ears a month ago, his "hindsight" is what I'd call "poor me."

Schadenfreude is a bitch indeed even within the Texas GOP. The Monthly notes the death from COVID of Kaufman County GOP official Peter Baker throws into stark relief the GOP's still-insistent plans on having an in-person state convention in Houston. (As of last Saturday, that is still on!) Adding to the schadenfreude angle? Baker was a COVID wingnut, pooh-poohing its severity — like many other Texas Republicans.

In light of all of this, Trump's HHS caved and will keep open five of the seven federal-funded test sights it had planned to close.

Shock me that Gohmert Pyle continues to be an idiot on this issue.

Coronavirus national

Could we, instead of having a check-mark, but not V, recovery, have an inverse check mark further downturn? Annie Lowery at the Atlantic says we might not have an inverse check mark, but that a regular checkmark might be so slow in growing we have something halfway like a second Great Depression. The Congressional Budget Office says that we could have a full lost decade ahead. Wunderbar. Neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden has anything to offer to deal with this. Libertarianism doesn't. And, the Green Party still has a lot of people inside the party hating its nominee. Beyond the conspiracy theory hatred, a lot of Greens hate anything that comes close to ecosocialism even as it's clear capitalism won't save us. One of the links within the piece explains how this is increasing income inequality, which is then in turn contributing to the problem. Again, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and a sizeable chunk within the GP have nothing to deal with this.

Toady Fauci was a little less toadyish when speaking to the House last week, partially blowing the whistle on what lead to details on why Trump killed a coronavirus research grant.

Team Trump is getting more panicky. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said "the window is closing" on the attempt to control COVID.At the same time, he pushed back on the idea that too many states had reopened too quickly, despite good medical evidence he's wrong.

"Reopen" protestor schadenfreude continues to happen. And the schad-infected, at least in this case, continue to be selfish dicks.

As tens of thousands of people in the country continue to struggle with this respiratory virus, the Fed is "doing its part," buying up stock of Big Tobacco and Big Oil as part of its "stimulus" or whatever.

In Week 11 of the coronavirus roundup, I noted churches as a high-risk area. Politico reports now on the issue of "super-spreader churches." Trump nationally, and Abbott in Tex-ass, continue to pander to the Religious Right on this issue.

Earlier this week, I noted that summer weather doesn't have appeared to tamped down COVID, and wondered if it was lurking in air conditioning.

Coronavirus global

South Korea was one of the best countries in the world at controlling COVID infections. But local and national leaders admit that, sociologically, the new normal cannot be the old normal.

June 29, 2020

So much for summer tamping down coronavirus, eh?

The hopes of some, including people like me, that COVID-19 would be like the common cold coronavirus, or the flu, in warm weather, have been dashed, as the hottest of hotspots are Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida, and southern California.

That said, there may be an inverse to the old cold-and-flu season. Friends literally "chilling out" together in air conditioned environments may be a problem. I'm old enough to remember the big Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Philly. Air conditioning cooling tower contamination the culprit. Skeptics pointing to places like Houston claim people are out and about more now than two months ago. But, when they come back in? It's to almost always on AC. Or they're in AC at restaurants running at 75 percent capacity. (Or that WERE at 75 percent.) Put all those bodies in Helltown or Metromess restaurants in summer, and the AC is running all the time. And somebody who is asymptomatically positive is spreading it. And it at least as the possibility of getting into AC units.

And, that would explain why it's hitting younger people. (Texas is not alone on this.) Arizona, nearly 60 percent of cases are under 45 years old. In California, 60 percent under age 50. Median age of 34 in Florida in the last five weeks.

In the last week, 36 states showed COVID case increases. Florida approached New York's worst rates from the spring. Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to be a Trump Toady, mouthing his lies that it was all because "more testing = more cases."  The CDC expects things to get worse before they get better, and says that actual case numbers may be even higher.

MJ vs Royce: A media analysis view

MJ would be ConservaDem, former Libertarian voting gun nut M.J. Hegar.

Royce would be Legiscritter, or rather, Legisgrifter Royce West, friend (at arm's length at many times) of Our Man Downtown etc.

And the "vs" would be the runoff for the right to face John Cornyn, who once seemed halfway like a Texas version of a Bob Dole conservative, but is now clearly Havana Ted Cruz's running buddy. Maybe he was always somewhat that way and the mask is slipping.

Anywho, in one sense, the runoff doesn't matter to me. I've voting Green David Bruce Collins. But, he chose not to pay the post-HB 2504 filing fee, and the third-parties federal lawsuit over this and other issues isn't set for trial until next year ...

But in that case? I'll write somebody else in, or not vote.

But, the Dems' runoff is worth analysis.

Here's my two cents, round one.

If statewide media engagement is a key, and if said engagement reflects candidate degree of enthusiasm for the race, and candidate perceived degree of backer enthusiasm, Hegar is going to kick West's butt.

I've gotten a dozen or more blast emails in the last week about Hegar doing this, that or the other. Zip, zilch, nada from West.

I've seen this once or twice before. Can't remember if it accurately reflected final results, but I thought it worth noting.

The other differences are that Hegar has more moolah and West more (natch, establishmentarian) endorsements.

What's also funny and/or interesting is that all of Hegar's email blasts are about Cornyn. Nothing about West.

BUT ... in the post-George Floyd world? West is black and Hegar is not. West has background on racial issues, like the annual traffic stops report cop shops have to make, and the Sandra Bland Act. Hegar has none of this. So, she has to act like her lead is insurmountable. And, that's probably part of what's behind this mass email blast. I saw nothing more from her than from West until within the last few weeks. And now, the shift could be a game-winner for West. And Cornyn's "Radical Royce" is a laughter. He's a ConservaDem, or more a GrifterDem who's less conservative than Hegar, nothing more.

But, neither is David Bruce Collins.

June 26, 2020

Sleepy Joe vs Trumpty Dumpty in Texass, Floriduh
and Black Detroit (and likely other Black areas)

Large chunks of Black America, especially younger voters, have ZERO enthusiasm for Status Quo / Sleepy Joe. Can you blame them? As a White third-party voter, I can't. (As a for-now Green, I'd like to see them consider their options more, but right now, I'm not sure what options to offer them, per my "for-now.")

But, the largely White protestors at the Capitol Hill Organized Protest overseeing the Seattle Autonomous Zone do. After four shootings in the allegedly self-policed neighborhood, they were told by organizers to go home and continue the revolution by voting Biden. (That said, the organizer delivering the message is Black.)

That said, even Faux shows Sleepy within a point of Trumpty Dumpty here in Texass. Trump's margin is bigger, though, when adjusted for the expected lack of Hispanic voter turnout. Will Bob on a Knob O'Rourke help that? See above about Detroit. Every four years, of course, we hear "this is the year." And it isn't.

Besides, more and more Hispanics are becoming evangelical Protestant (like Rafael Edward Cruz's daddy) and thus less and less of a guarantee for Democrats. Pew Research looked at this as late as early last year. And I had a bigger picture piece on Texas Democrats and Hispanic presumptions a few years ago.

Other big takeaway? Faux elsewhere says Trump is down 9 in Florida. That's a biggie.

Five Thirty Eight says things could shift, but notes Status Quo for Sleeping has the biggest prez polling lead at this point since the Slickster in 1996. But Big Bill wasn't content and still signed off on "welfare reform" two months later.

June 25, 2020

Texas Progressives talk police and race, again

This week, and probably for the last week (I hope, for now), the Texas Progressives weekly roundup is again being split into two parts in this corner.

This is the racial matters, police brutality, Lost Cause and more half.

Let's start with a long read about Martin Luther King "vs" Malcolm X — and James Baldwin. Baldwin saw more militant younger blacks deserting King for not doing more, and even halfway liberal whites saying we've done enough, as early as 1961. Three months after King was killed, Baldwin's words to a white Esquire interview about rioting, that
"It is not for us to cool it."
Still ring true.

It's also possible, per the piece, that King was put off by Baldwin's being gay. Within black evangelical churches today, there's still a lot of repressing on this issue.  Anyway, the excerpt is from a new book about Baldwin, coming out this month.

The desire by some liberals, white or otherwise, and some leftists, also white or otherwise, to perform "cancel culture" on identity politics — liberals normally because "we're moving beyond that," or "we're post-racial," or "we don't want to lose too much of white America," and leftists normally because "all issues of race (gender / sexual orientation etc.) ultimately reduce to class" — is just wrong. America has always had identity politics. It's just an issue of who's identifying themselves and how, who is wanting to move on, who actually has moved on and pulled the ladders up (Irish-Americans vs blacks, anybody?) and who's in full-on active opposition.

With those longer introductions, let's jump in.

BIG stuff from the media punditry world. Long-time conservative columnist Mona Charen says that George Floyd's killing has convinced her that that Black Lives Matter complaints are highly justified. (Now, if only long-term Zionist Charen would say the same about Palestinian lives.)

Juneteenth, Mexican village style.

Protests in support of George Floyd, against Confederate monuments and more, are hitting more small towns. So are counterprotestors, with two arrested in Pilot Point (site of a 1922 lynching), or threats, in Lockhart (spurred by a rant by a deputy constable from a neighboring county).

The Texas Rangers baseball team is being urged to rename itself. Why? The racism and general brutality of the Texas Rangers police force in much to most of its history. Here's my review of "Cult of Glory," the great new book about that history.

More and more UT students want the university to dump "The Eyes of Texas" as the school song. Here's why. And, ol ball coach Tom Herman is down with Longhorn football players being part of the protest.

Reminding readers that American Indians have an even higher per-capita death by cop rate than blacks, some librulz (and of course all the wingnuts) wonder why statues of President Grant have gotten toppled. American Indians know why.

At the Observer, DaLyah Jones talks about Black Lives Matter and protests in Deep East Texas. (I personally define Tyler as the "gateway" to the region, near the northwest corner. It runs basically from near Tyler to the Louisiana line, with Shreveport kind of an extension. I-20 is pretty much the northern edge; places like Jefferson might be in East Texas, but not Deep East Texas. U.S. 59 is the heartland of the region, followed by U.S. 96.)

Grits for Breakfast imagines a "George Floyd Act" for Texas.

Within all of this, just as violence and destructiveness at protests do no good, neither do Social Justice Warriors wanting to claim that every suicide by a black man "must be" a lynching. Occam's Razor plus national suicide statistics refute such claims.

Algorithms are often loaded with bias. Here's a curated reading list.

The Texas Signal enjoys the spectacle of Ted Cruz whining about Sesame Street.

June 24, 2020

Green Party: Howie Hawkins clinches and the haters are hating

Just after Jesse Ventura crapped on the Green Party — and surely timed for that effect — Howie Hawkins clinched the Green Party presidential nomination.

And the hating, lying and conspiracy thinking erupted.

If not Jesse-stanners, it was Dario Hunter-stanners, claiming Howie has run a corrupt campaign.

Er, no! If anybody's run a corrupt campaign, it was Dario, for his part in tweaking the certified candidates issue, then lying to Ian Schlakman about it.

Then there are the people who drink the Kool-Aid of Aaron Maté, Matt Taibbi, Max Blumenthal and others on Russia issues, and call Howie a Russiagater. In reality, I don't entirely agree with him, but I think he's fairly nuanced. And, per that link and many others, the conspiracy theorists ignore that RNC as well as DNC computers were hacked.

I'm not linking to any of the official Green Party Facebook threads. I don't want to give these people more airplay, nor do I want to indulge conspiracy thinking in general. (Many of the Howie-haters, besides disliking his stance on Russia, are conspiracy theorists in general, especially horseshoe theory coronavirus conspiracy theorists. I've also run into, and blocked, more than one chemtrails person.) Besides, I'm tired of the censorship levels there.

Then there were the lies, claiming Howie hadn't clinched. In reality? He had, per the official GP list of accredited delegate numbers. With nuttery like this, many Greens ARE like Libertarians. Disorganized as hell. The actual accredited number was 350 as of last week and he had more than half of that. Period and end of story.

On the third hand? Issues of favoritism DID pop up last year. Is that "corruption"? I think not. But ... it was bad optics.

On the fourth hand, for various reasons, I may not vote Green this year. (Down, Democrats. Not you either.) I think the crack-up Mark Lause wrote about, and I blogged about off his post, four years ago, is near.

Speaking of? Even though he has lost, and even though the Lavender Caucus, along with Michigan, put Howie over the top, a group of Dario-stanners is continuing to meddle. And tell lies about the Georgia Green Party on trans rights, claiming that an olive branch was extended to Georgia Greens and they wouldn't dialogue. Given that Dario was at the Georgia GP convention, and saw its woman sex-workers' rights plank passed, and raised no objection at the time, this is the rankest of hypocrisy.

June 23, 2020

Texas progressives round up various coronavirus and other issues

I am continuing to keep remnant coronavirus news within the main umbrella of the Texas Progressives roundup while, at least for now, splitting out police and race news.

That doesn't mean that there isn't coronavirus news of some sort to talk about, of course, so as with last week's roundup, there will be subsections.

Texas schools

As a member of the media myself, I know that there's lots of uncertainty and fair chunks of fear about coronavirus and the start of the 2020-21 school year at many metro urban and suburban school districts. Even out in the hinterlands, there's worry. At the same time, there's worry about state financing for schools, especially in light of the second year of effect of last year's House Bill 3, combined with COVID hits on the state budget. And, since much state funding is based on average daily student attendance, these two issues connect. The Trib has more.

Texas coronavirus

SocraticGadfly says that (complete with quote-Photoshopping) Gov. Strangeabbott has coronavirus blood on his hands.

Off the Kuff enjoys a bit of schadenfreude at the expense of the terrible people at Empower Texans.

Jeff Balke fears a sports pandemic within the current pandemic.

Robert Rivard salutes Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff for successfully calling Greg Abbott's bluff on face masks.


The Observer has a roundup of news of the weird.


DosCentavos puts the SCOTUS DACA decision into perspective.

The Dallas Observer reports on the celebrations by immigration activists over the SCOTUS ruling on DACA.

Dreamers may have been temporarily let off the hook by the Supreme Court last week, but a lawsuit by Kenny Boy Paxton working its way through the federal courts could make that temporary indeed.


Howie Hawkins clinched the Green Party nomination, as made clear by actual accredited delegate count. Unfortunately, the official Facebook group posted, and has kept up, a fake news post by someone who's either a general Howie hater or a Dario stanner. And, as for the fake news poster, even if there are going to wind up being a few more accredited delegates, there's no way there's 402 at end. There's also no way Howie doesn't win.

Jesse Ventura, abetted by Gnu Media conspiracy theorist Primo Nutbar, publicly crapped on the Green Party. Primo did this, I have no doubt, in part because he's a Howie hater. Speaking of the GP official Facebook group? It's moderated, and the first time I posted, they just trashed it rather than post it. I reposted, and have tagged a (former?) admin and all listed moderators (Sunday night) when I reposted it in comments. I'm tired of the censorship, and per other comments by Starlene Rankin, the (former?) admin, a certain amount of anti-Howie may be an issue there too.

Boston Review offers a left-liberal perspective on how Gorsuch's opinion in the LGBT discrimination case was quasi-radical in some ways.

Stat News, the go-to site for details on coronavirus (and many other medical issues) says Trump's delays cost "70-99 percent of its Covid-19 deaths."

Juanita basks in Trump's latest egotistical tirade.

June 22, 2020

I couldn't do it, High Country News

Your refusal to apologize for the absolute dreck guest piece from Melanin Base Camp, combined with you disallowing letters to the editor because it was an online-only piece, still sticks in my craw too much.

So, a year of digital-only access for $12? Yes, cheap. But ... can't do it.

That's not the only unapologized error. Getting cap-and-trade on climate change confused with a carbon tax is sad. It was one of several errors at around the same time late last year that went both unacknowledged and uncorrected. That was followed this year by a puff piece about incremental steps being taken on climate change (even if unmeasured and unmeasurable) can win the battle.

More recently than that? Willful hypocrisy about throwing black Cherokees under the bus of non-acknowledgement.

All of this comes from guest pieces. Put a bookmark there. That second link also has what I see as multiple ethical problems with winners from last year's photo contest.

Hey, on a piece by a freelancer recently, I did get acknowledgement they'd look at a possible error on what I KNOW FROM MY OWN MEDIA EXPERIENCE is an error.

Maybe, if you offer this special again in the fall, and you've fessed up to something, I'll sign up again.

Until then, no.

And, I know I don't like admitting all of my newspaper mistakes. (And some smaller ones, I don't do so in print, maybe.) That said, issues like climate change? Western economics? These aren't small ones.

Maybe we should get High Country News to have Melanin Base Camp write about the black Cherokees!

As I said at the one link, I recognize it's not love-hate, but it IS a love-frustration relationship with HCN. Until that changes ....

June 20, 2020

Does Greg Abbott have coronavirus blood on his hands?

I say yes.

Six weeks or more after telling cities and counties they couldn't order individuals to wear masks, he said that his policy DID allow local officials to require businesses to have a masks policy.

So, rather than telling Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff "Heh, heh, I'm glad you found the loophole," why didn't he announce that straight up?

Because as many people in Texas know, from wingnuts within the wingnuts at Empower Texas to mainstream media and beyond and as clearly demonstrated here, Abbott hates public accountability.

Elected wingnuts like Bob Hall, a wingnut within the wingnuts of today's Texas GOP, and even wingnuts-lite, are attacking Abbott for being too draconian.

The reality is reflected in the rise in COVID cases and the re-closure, in major metro areas, of restaurants that had tried to reopen themselves at 75 percent. (Yours truly has hopped inside a fast-food restaurant twice in small town north Texas to avoid drive-through lines; I haven't been inside a sit-down restaurant, even in a small town, since the coronavirus hit the fan and have no plans to change that for months.)

At the same time, Abbott ain't up for re-election until 2022, and non-wingnut suburban-district House legiscritters are halfway willing to go along with this, and with police reform, because of this paired set of numbers: 83-67.

But, Strangeabbott's attempt to dodge responsibility has failed. Medical science knew that, those six weeks ago. "Personal responsibility" when three-quarters of Texas GOP backers is libertarian yahoos, whether having the additional encumbrance of being Religious Right or not, is a recipe for disaster.

Those five black male youth? Almost certainly suicides,
says this Occam's Razor wielding skeptical leftist

Any youth of either sex and any so-called race dying is tragic, whether it would be suicide, lynching or even natural causes.

But, in the post-George Floyd world, it's easy to think that nine young African-American men hanging from various objects in various parts of the U.S. are actually lynch victims. I saw this first from an African-American woman on Twitter a couple of days ago, then from alleged outside-the-box steno (and regular readers know what I think of them) Jordan Chariton.
The reality is that this is totally ordinary.

Yes, you heard me right.

Per the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a simple and straightforward walk through suicide statistics (don't quote Mark Twain's "lies, damn lies and statistics" to me, per my own "simple and straightforward" comment) will refute the claim I first saw on Twitter (back one week, and no better a hellhole than before, mainly from the MAGAs, but an occasional SJWer and other things).

Per what I posted on social media, and expanding it, here's the reality.

Until investigative facts say otherwise, this leftist, who is a skeptic and some degree of a capital-S philosophical Skeptic, not (just a) Movement Skeptic, says there is NOT a rash of black young men being lynched rather than actually committing suicide.

Nationally, there's not quite 50,000 suicides a year. We'll do easy math, round that up to 52,000, which gives us 1,000 suicides per week.

Blacks are about 13 percent of population, but half the suicide rate of whites. So, that gives us about 65 black suicides a week.

About 15 percent of those are likely to be "youth," defining as 15-24 per some national stats.
So, that's 9-10 black youth suicide a week in an average week. Of those, 6-7 would be male.

Guns are the most common version, tis true. But, hangings and suffocation are the second most common version.

And, contra the implications of the Revolt Gnu Media piece that Chariton referenced, in the Spring, Texas, case? Sheriff's deputies talked to neighbors, looked at surveillance video they could find and more, the Chron reports. Indeed, his own family said he was suicidal. In addition, he was Hispanic, not black. The Chron also notes that the Puff Hoes reporter who first identified the person as black had the ethics to delete the original Tweet, and then to retweet Sheriff Art Acevado's official information.

Malcolm Harsch? Hearing that he'd been found near a homeless encampment (and was indeed homeless himself) made me think it was likely suicide, too. And, yesterday evening, authorities announced that video confirmed this, and his family accepted this.

Update, July 9: Robert Fuller's death also ruled a suicide. Investigation led in part by the state attorney general documented multiple previous suicide attempts. Look, as with the other cases, I can see the family thinking there was a possibility of lynching, given Palmdale's history as documented in the story. At the same time, they knew his mental illness history, and if they didn't immediately disclose that (which, duh, they didn't when they said they didn't trust the initial finding of suicide), they're part of the problem, not the solution.

Occam's razor, first, folks, before claiming there's an epidemic of lynching. And, if you're an SJW of any race, Occam's razor first, second and third.

I have directly tweeted Chariton asking him to update his Twitter feed, but I ain't holding my breath.