SocraticGadfly: 6/28/20 - 7/5/20

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.

Houston

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.

Texana

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.

National

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.

Global

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"
(and is now pulling Jesse Ventura chickenshit)

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.

Update, July 11: Fuck you MUCH FUCKING MORE, Dario.  Dario has announced he is running as an "independent Green." Which, per Andrea Merida Cuellar, of course means "independent." (Given his refusal to work to meet some specific state GP requirements, she doesn't think it will go anywhere. She also confirms the rumor that Jesse-stanners were behind many of the delegate credentials challenges.)

And, let's Twitter-link (can't embed) the video of the new announcement. And comment on a few of the larger stupidities?

Howie's "CIA talking points"? Dario was well coached by either Jesse-stanners or stanners of Jesse-stanners. Attacking Howie for lack of charisma as he seems to woodenly read a list of bullet points? Laughable.

Speaking of? Dario admits being in collusion with Jesse, the Jesse who had already said he would write in his own name:
Fuck him again. And his Veep, Darlene Elias, is a Berniecrat by self-admission with no special loyalty to the GP. All of this, in turn, officially gives his lie to his statement earlier this year to support whoever the Green Party's nominee was. 

He's also an opportunist, who, per his Wiki page, only joined the Green Party in 2018, likely only for the purpose of a presidential campaign. (Sounds like good company to Jesse Ventura there, too.)

And with that, back to the original thread as Dario isn't worth me wasting more time on his self-centered, solipsistic ass.

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.)

Update: The Georgia GP wasn't expelled this year. Who knows in the future? Howie says he doesn't favor expulsion, but plays Just.Another.Politician.™ by not calling it expulsion, and has been a sucker for one-siderism on this issue.

Update 2: Dario wasn't the only assclown among this year's candidates.

Update 3: Michael Trudeau has more of the goods on Dario's bullshit, focusing on his hasbara history.

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. Update 3, early July 10: Judge did review the challenge, and has now rejected it. Sale is back on.

Update, July 12: Chatham won the auction and is buying the whole schmeer. It could still part it out, of course.

Update, July 17: This all said, Chatham's post-2016 actions as owner of Postmedia make it look potentially like little more than lesser evilism vs Alden.

"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.