SocraticGadfly: 8/8/21 - 8/15/21

August 14, 2021

Tony Bellatier rightly hammers Movement for a People's Party

Tony Bellatier wasn't satisfied with one takedown of "Brawny" Nick Brana and the Movement for a People's Party, which he wrote for DC Babylon about a month ago and which I somehow missed. He added a second while I was on vacation.

A key issue in both? Just to become a member, you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. You know, like the non-disclosure and non-compete agreements that capitalist big businesses foist on employees, only even less legally enforceable. Indeed, MPP right there lives up to its claim at its inception to NOT be a party of the left.

Next, from the first piece, the lack of organization, despite Brawny Nick having held a position as Bernie Sanders' "National Political Outreach Coordinator" in 2016. (That's if he really was that; see the end of the first piece.) Despite having filed for party line ballot access in California, they're apparently clueless in general about state-by-state requirements for getting a third party on the ballot. Volunteers offered to help, but were largely shut out. (That's not counting the burn rate on volunteers seeing that NDA.)

And, after that, from the first piece? Jimmy Dore is a grifter as well as a nutbar. (Tony Bellatier doesn't mention that he's also a conspiracy theorist, which he is. But hold on to that thought.)

A year after MPP's founding convention, clockwise fr top left:
Cornel West still pretends he's not self-deceiving; Nina Turner
is an official loser; Marianne Williamson's still a nutter;
Jimmy Dore (OLD photo; vanity?) is a bigger nutter and
a conspiracy theorist; conspiracy theorist and liar Mike
Gravel is dead; Ryan Knight's still a flip-flopper, I think.
The second piece adds fuel to the fire in two ways.

First, it looks more at the autocratic control of MPP.

Second (remember that thought?) it notes many MPPers have a conspiracy-theory view of Geoff Campbell. That's laughable. 

Personally (as in, never met him, but from what I know online, and I do "follow" on Twitter), I've got other problems with Geoff. No. 1 is that he seems too much in bed with Zionism. He may not be explicitly anti-BDS, but I've never seen anything in the way of BDS supporting. (The Google search "Geoff Campbell" + "BDS" returns all of 52 results.) No. 2 is that ... while he's not a ConservaDem, he may not be at the leftmost edge of the Democratic Party and that, related to that, he's a full-stop Democrat. Even were they not mocking him as an agent of the DNC, or worse, Geoff would never join MPP.

For the claims in the caption? My semi-takedown obit on Gravel. A quick takedown of Dore the conspiracy theorist. One of several pieces and comments about West willingly kissing Obama's ass in 2008. My 2020 Dem primaries takedown of Williamson. Knight the flip-flopper? This piece from early this year about Knight distancing himself from the MPP problems mentioned in my original piece on the MPP plus stuff Bellatier covers.

Miami Geoff issues aside, this largely squares with my own observations about MPP.

In fact, I wrote in depth about it a full year ago, in reference to the organizing convention Tony mentions.

My first take was, we've got a party of the left, in the Greens. (In reality, I've learned that this isn't so true, about the Greens being left, but that's another story.) Second, re Tony's take, I noted the MPP offered no justification on its website about why it was needed. (Well, Nick Brana's grift is why!)

Third, speaking of Jimmy Dore as conspiracy theorist, I noted that speakers included conspiracy theorist Mike Gravel, New Age nutter Marianne Williamson, Ryan Knight who had swallowed the Tulsi Gabbard Kool-Aid (now at Rumble!), Dore, and math-addled Basic Income cultist Scott Santens, who's also surely grifting off his BI touts.

Fourth, I also noted that the DECIDEDLY illiberal in ways Jesse Ventura, who continues to shop "The Body" to whatever political party will give him a quick ticket to its prez nomination, was another speaker.

Fifth, I noted that Brana wasn't so librul in his past, having worked for people like Clinton acolyte Terry McAuliffe.

Points third and fourth corroborate Bellatier's point about celebrity name-dropping.

August 13, 2021

The IPCC's latest report, climate change, Dear Leader, Status Quo Joe, David Sirota

Trust me, once again, I'll tie all the threads together, and quickly this time.

I just returned from a vacation to the Pacific Northwest, where it was an out-of-whack 85F in the Hoh Rain Forest at Olympic National Park, to see the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change release its latest report; the actual full report, not filtered, is here.

Earlier in the trip, I was at Lassen Volcanic National Park five days before the Dixie Fire shut down the whole park; on July 31, I could see the fire making its big blowup to the southeast of the park while I was climbing Lassen Peak. That's it, below; I did only moderate contrast enhancement. I wanted people to be able to distinguish the smoke itself from the background haze, but still see the amount of haze from previous burning.
 

 
Because of all of this, I don't need the Daily Poster telling me about Dear Leader Obama's cave-ins (along with Xi Jingping of China, beloved by allegedly outside the box stenos) on climate change control in Paris. I've blogged in depth about the toothless Jell-O of the Paris Accords.

Ditto, I don't need the Poster to link to Status Quo Joe being exactly that on climate change.

Nor do I need to know that "pergressuve" Dem Congresscritters, even AOC and the rest of the Squad in the House, or climate change pseudo-stalwarts like Ed Markey in the Senate, will cave on the infrastructure bill, or other items that could be used to address climate change, when they don't.

But, if you do, click those links, as well as mine.

Click my link if you need to understand, in light of those links, why I'm not a Democrat, even as the Green Party further implodes, from more paper parties (former Georgia Green Party, et al) and paper caucuses (Lavender) battling each other, to Jesse Ventura-stanners actively opposing anything that approaches ecosocialism, to 2020 presidential nominee Howie Hawkins and his brains trust fellating that same Xi Jinping who teamed with Obama in Paris.

I moved past the Democrats looking for a party of the left, not Jesse-stanning libertarian greens or whatever. An ecosocialist approach to climate change notes that it's just part of a bigger late-stage hypercapitalism. Counterpunch talks about why the IPCC doesn't talk more about this.

Above all, click the actual report link. It notes that in the past few years, climate change is accelerating more than expected. Note that IPCC reports are always a bit behind the curve, and conservative to please government bodies of nation-states. So, behind its talk? It's bad.

Western Tanager, Lassen National Park.
At habitat danger of climate change.
(Photo by blogger.)
We'll almost surely break 2C by 2050. I wouldn't be totally surprised at 2C by 2040 and a full 3C by 2070, even earlier.

Also, remember that climate change is more than just global warming, and not a renaming of it to hide something not being real. Contra wingnuts, both global warming and larger climate change issues are real.

I edited the original header to throw Sirota's name in there. And, we'll wrap with that.

Sirota, a senior advisor to Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, is widely believed to have ... er, KYPED, a copy of Bernie's email contact list of donors and used that as part of launching Daily Poster. He's not Glenn Greenwald rich at Substack, but may be hauling in 500 large a year. Beyond that, Sirota is a wired-in Dem operative with a wife who is a Dem state rep in Colorado. In short, he's part of the left hand of the duopoly that his own piece affects to criticize.

It's just like the likes of Bill McKibben and other enviros, and Noam Chomsky and other alleged leftists until they head to the polls every other November.

Beyond that, Sirota knows that Dems like AOC ripped off their watered-down version of the Green New Deal (since further watered down) from the Green Party. 

Sirota also knows Bernie said basically nothing about climate change in his 2016 campaign and little enough in 2020.

In short? David Sirota is a fucking hypocrite. And a grifter at the same time, given his paid role with various Democratic candidates. And, given how he allegedly started the Daily Poster, that likely isn't going to end anytime soon.
 
==
 
The Verge interviews one of the report's authors, who talks about increased weather extremity and intensity.

August 12, 2021

Southworst, a reflection on the airline industry, with a Sprint/T-Mobile sidebar

If you fly in and out of Dallas, it's almost certainly going to be either Southwest Airlines at the old, but modernized, Love Field, or American Airlines at D/FW International. 

First, let us note Southwest has been around 50 years. It's a legacy airline by now, too. Its "bags fly free" and its one-plane model (except for some AirTran planes) haven't been fully adopted elsewhere, but other practices such as fuel hedging have. Also, it does run a modified sort of a hub-and-spoke system. There's a technical name for it I once saw, but can't remember now. But, it's not a true point-to-point.

Southwest has the alternate name of Southworst, sometimes well earned, and well documented on these pages. From the serious, to the passenger killed being sucked out a window, to the serious of being way too cozy with the Metroplex office of the Federal Aviation Administration, to the not-so-serious of having a reputation for passenger modesty, it does do this.

But, who else are you going to fly?

DFW is American's main hub, and since its merger with US Airways, it has a near stranglehold there.

Delta flies a couple of gates at Love, and Alaska one or two. Continental, with a hub in Houston, flies a few at DFW. Otherwise, the main competition there for America is Spirit, which has not (yet) gotten around to charging you for the air you breathe on a flight, but has about everything else taken care of.

The background to this? Vacation.

Left Dallas on Friday, July 30. Southworst had either a 7:55 nonstop to Oakland or an 8:10 one-stop that night. Figured I could get to the airport early enough for the nonstop, and did so.

Only to have notifications on the way that it was delayed, then delayed again.

Final takeoff was set for shortly after 9 p.m. The flight was coming from Little Rock, and there was no severe weather between there and the Metromess; I don't know if weather further east or north delayed it, or crew issues. (Hold on to that.)

Well, we didn't actually take off then. It took ANOTHER TWENTY MINUTES for Southworst's ground crew to get all the luggage loaded. This is AFTER everybody's boarded, flight attendants have done their checks, etc. In other words, we could have taken off then, but ... no luggage.

For the return trip? Options were a godawful early one-stop at 6:20, with no plane change, a semi-godawful early 7:20 nonstop, and what I picked, an 8:35 one-stop, no plane change. For an outbound plane at a "home" airport, the 7:20 would have been fine, but with the extra arrival time for an airport I've only flown out of once, maybe twice, before (I've done San Francisco and San Jose as well), I didn't want to get up that early.

Due to driving California's North Coast, I didn't check in Saturday night for my Sunday morning flight on Aug. 8.

So, I got to a Southwest kiosk and it said it couldn't run my reservation. I run to the counter after getting some help, and ... it appears my flight was cancelled. 

They eventually and quickly got me on that 7:20 nonstop, which was starting boarding at that time. Oy.

I had NO message on my phone from Southworst, but hold on to that thought as well.

Before we took off, the captain said that they were waiting for the first officer to come in from Seattle. Why would you announce that? Now I'm wondering how tired this guy is. That's why I said "hold on to that" above. 

Anyway, AFTER I get back to Dallas, while waiting for my bags (which did make it), I NOW have messages from Southworst, first saying they were scheduling me for that 6:20, then for the 7:20.

I have no idea why those weren't sent earlier.

Or were they?

Sprint, now part of T-Mobile after another merger, SUCKS in Oregon. I was, a couple of days earlier, planning on meeting an old acquaintance in Eugene, Oregon. 

I had ZERO phone or text service from Portland, where I first texted, assumed it went through, and didn't check, into and through Eugene. I had to borrow a landline phone at a gas station to call my friend. Thanks to the lady at Arco. Oh, my friend confirmed the suckitude.

At least T-Mobile appears to have contacted me, but only to say "verify my account," and apparently typing in a phone number isn't sufficient, and I am at work as I write this up Monday evening.

So, who knows? Maybe Sprint/T-Mobile sucked in Oakland, too, though I don't really seeing "no network available" on my phone in Oakland.

That said, Southworst, also contacted on both Twitter and FB, but on Sunday, have sent me nothing but Sunday "bot" messages that today is not a workday. As of Monday night, no message.

(I later read on Twitter that Southworst appears to be scrubbing flights where COVID cancellations mean they aren't packed like sardines. The one I got rebooked on was sardines in spades; I think I literally had the next-to-last seat on the plane.)

See, I can switch to ATT or Verizon, or even U.S. Cellular or somebody. It's harder with airport monopolies.

OTOH, T-Mobile on Twitter and Sprint on Fuckbook aren't helpful. T-Mobile person suggests "you could test it," ignoring that I said I was on vacation. I also noted that Eugene is 200K people, not a small hicksville. Sprint person asked for home address and nearest major cross street after being handed over from a T-Mobile on Fuckbook. (Sprint has zero presence on Twitter, basically.)

The bottom line is that, in both cases, they know they suck, and they know they can largely get away with sucking.

Update: Speaking of? T-Mobile just had a massive data breach. Thank doorknob I am:

  1. Not a prepaid customer;
  2. Refuse to let companies keep credit card info on file when I make online payments.

 

August 11, 2021

Texas Supremes make correct call on Abbott veto ruling

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Abbott's veto of the legislative budget is constitutional.

Of course it is.

I TOTALLY did not understand Texas Dems thinking otherwise. It's NOT some violation of separation of powers. After all, the Lege drafts the budget for executive and judicial branches. The same is true at the federal level. If Joe Biden wanted to veto a bill that included pay for Congressional staffers, it would be totally constitutional, and totally legal, assuming some federal law doesn't block that.

Kuff's sneers are also wrong. The opinion was unsigned just like a U.S. Supreme Court "per curiam" is unsigned, and for similar reasons. Cornell Law has a bit more on per curiams. If the likes of Kuff are the best that Texas-level #BlueAnon blogging can do on this issue, it's in trouble. It's in the same trouble that leads the Texas Democratic Party to keep Gilberto Hinojosa in power year after year.

The reality is that, with claims like Abbott was trying to "abolish the Legislature," the filing itself was the eyebrow-raiser and over the top from the start.
 
And, it was enough an eyebrow-raiser that the Texas Supremes only needed a per curiam. Both links note that such rulings (though sometimes abused) are normally for matters that are considered non-controversial and not needing a full review. The links also note that per curiams are used by en banc appellate courts at the federal level and fairly common in at least a few states.

Meanwhile, a state district court has ruled that Strangeabbott, at least before Aug. 20, cannot arrest Texas House Dems who skedaddled to block his first and second special sessions. The Supremes have now blocked that.

The future looks yet more interesting. First, per that last link, the Texas House was within 5 members of a quorum Tuesday. Resistance may or may not be futile (it currently is if you're depending on Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to end the filibuster to pass a federal voting rights bill), but it is indeed crumbling. And, a work-around has extended legislative staff funding through September.

This state Supremes ruling would also seem to be the right one, even if Texas Rethuglicans are draconian. State constitutions and/or legislative rules of organization in general allow compulsion of attendance. So does the US government, made most famous to us history buffs by Thomas "Czar" Reed as 1890s Speaker of the House.

Once again, Texas Dems, win some more elections. Fire Gilberto Hinojosa if you don't. Until then, deal with it.

Texas Progressives start of school roundup

As most Texas school districts start school this week (and why don't we have a 200-day school year like most advanced nations? It's reason No. 1 the education gap between our kids and theirs grows each grade of advancement), their teachers and superintendents are, by Gov. Strangebbott's petulance, unable to do anything about it.

(Unless they wanted to be like a few Florida school districts who have told Gov. Ron DeSatan and his state money to fuck off. Why hasn't a Texas school district done this?)

Anyway, here's the Roundup for the week reflecting that.

SocraticGadfly, with an official court forfeiture order last month, talks anew about his personal connection to Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible. 

Jessica Huseman analyzes a video by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo about the voter suppression bill. 

Steve Vladeck reviews the latest evidence of Trump's coup attempt following the 2020 election. 

Angela Kochergo looks back at the El Paso mass shooting and the broken promises made by state leaders about it. 

Nick Hudson shows how the new Senate rules completely impede public input on legislation.

August 10, 2021

Coronavirus Week 70: Dallas ISD, Dallas County tell Abbott to fuck off in Texas Progressives back-to-school Roundup

I had wondered, yesterday, on Twitter, commenting to the Texas Association of School Boards, this:
And, I was informed that Dallas ISD has done just that. And Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has backing:
In a statement, Ben Mackey, Dallas’ board president, said he was fully supportive of Hinojosa’s stance. 
“The superintendent is the educational leader and chief executive officer of our school district tasked with the day-to-day operations of the district, which includes implementing safety protocols,” Mackey said. “Requiring masks for staff and students while on district property is a reasonable and necessary safety protocol to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the new delta variant. 
“Towards the end of last school year, we saw very low transmissions rates on campuses, thanks in part to masks being worn consistently by educators and students.”
Bravo! Houston ISD is reportedly considering a follow-on. Per Hinojosa, it sounds like he thinks it will. And maybe others.

What will Strangeabbott do? Does his proclamation have "loopholes." Will he salute Hinojosa for thinking like Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff 14 months ago? Or will he be as Jesuitical, as casuistry-driven, as he was back then?

Update: Speaking of? Both Bexar County and the city of San Antonio have joined the sue-Abbott frenzy.

If not, can he actually do anything? That's a real question:
Abbott’s executive order, issued in May, bars public schools and the Texas Education Agency from issuing any requirements on mask usage. Those who defy Abbott’s order could be subject to a fine of up to $1,000. It’s unclear how such a penalty could be applied to school districts. 
Asked about a potential fine, Hinojosa responded: “Who knows?” 
“All this is going to play itself out, and we’re not going to be the only ones taking this action,” Hinojosa said.
Well, we'll find out soon enough!

And, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (also a lawyer, a better one than Abbott, and inheritor of the legal estate of "Strong Arm" Brian Loncar) has ALSO told Abbott to fuck off. That's after enforcing a mandate at Commissioners Court and booting GOP Commish J.J. Koch from the Aug. 3 meeting for not wearing one.
 
Update: Jenkins has now signed an executive order for a mask mandate in the county.

Austin ISD has joined Dallas ISD, too.

A thing or two to unpack.

Abbott's GA-38, following on GA-36, says "$1,000." It does NOT say "per day." It does NOT say that each new day is a new offense. This is why Abbott sucks as a lawyer and as AG and gov has lost two-thirds of Texas cases against the feds. In the cases above, the school boards or the commissioners court will vote to pay a $1,000 fine, if necessary, and challenge Abbott on what's a violation and the no "per day" and related issues.

As far as vaccines? It only covers no vax mandates under their current emergency use authorization. Should one or more of them get a permanent authorization, he's up shit creek on that one, too.

As for suspensions of local disaster declarations? He's now acting as high-handed as the wingnuts said he was 15 months ago.

And, I'd love to see Clay Jenkins take a shot at kicking his ass in court.

See updates to some of this at my "week 71A roundup."

These concerns are real. So says Trump FDA head Scott Gottlieb, among many.

And now, pulled from the regular Texas Progressives roundup for the week, a couple of other items.

First? The TSTA Blog decries Greg Abbott's order forbidding school districts from implementing mask mandates. Let's see what the TSTA Blog says in days ahead. Will it back Dallas ISD or leave it hanging out to dry?
 
Second and national? Rashida Tlaib IS open to charges of semi-hypocrisy, at least, given the apparent size of the wedding, it all being indoors, and no-commenting Fox, per the NY Post. Deal with it, #BlueAnon, and see Gavin Newsom, Steve Adler, Gretchen Whitmer in Tlaib's own Michigan, etc.

Mandy Giles bemoans Greg Abbott's return to bashing trans kids and endangering their health. 

Off the Kuff looks at Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's defiance of Greg Abbott's executive order forbidding local action on mask mandates. 

Dos Centavos is not happy about being back at RED and Stace tells us how he really feels.

August 09, 2021

'You Gentiles'

Shit, I hadn't even heard of the book with that name until this Mondoweiss piece.

And, no, unlike "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," it's not a Poe. It's by an early 1900s hardcore Zionist who makes boatloads of goy stereotype of Jews come to life. No, really; per Mondoweiss, it's so bad that antisemites in general and outright white nationalists have been among those republishing it.

Per the Zionism of founder Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia sanitizes the shit out of what the book is about. (I addressed that; we'll see if the changes stick.)

After a recent biography of him, pointing out a couple of his works I'd not read, I saw that Walter Kaufmann held some of these same stereotypes after affirming his ancestral Judaism. So, these waters (though I never read the word "Zionism" from Kaufmann's pen) weren't so unique.