SocraticGadfly: 9/26/21 - 10/3/21

October 01, 2021

The National Park Service REALLY can't be trusted

The history of Olympic National Park and the National Park Service not wanting to run that park (and instead the Forest Service keeping it, as it already ran Olympic National Monument, the precursor), then not wanting a "big Olympic," then letting logging continue in the park for more than a decade after being forced to accept a big Olympic, all documented by Carsten Lien, per my extended review of "Olympic Battleground," has shown that, in the past, the National Park Service can't really be trusted to be an environmental-minded agency, and only looks well within the federal government when compared to the Forest Service, BLM, and Fish and Wildlife.

Well, past is prologue.

And, as shown at Point Reyes, with the Park Service breaking the original agreement, and extending the leases to cow-shitting, cow-farting, climate change inducing, tule elk harassing (and possibly killing) and indirectly, plover-killing ranches inside the national seashore, shows that with the NPS, the past is prologue to a possibly even more corrupt present.

And, since the NPS has no director at this time, though Sleepy Joe Biden had nominated an acting director before this deal with the devil was made, this means that NPS career staff (and by silence, at a minimum, Point Reyes staff) made this deal, not some political flunky.

Speaking of political flunkies? Pseudo-environmental Congresscritter Jared Huffman has his fingerprints all over this, even to the point of bamboozling Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, possibly, unless she was a willing self-gaslighter.

It's people like him, and the lauding he gets from mainstream environmental groups, that disgust me about today's Democratic Party and its mainstream environmentalist apparatchiks. The California and Bay Area Sierra Clubs, for example, say NOTHING about getting people to comment on Interior's comment process, which ended Sept. 13, per that link above. They say NOTHING bad about Huffman.

And, I have personal experience, at least possibly, with this issue.

I may have almost hit a tule (if it wasn't a blacktail) two months ago on vacation, in that very area. It was dark, the last full day of vacation, and I was cutting over from Point Reyes back to the 101 at Olema ... just west of Fairfax, either a tule or a blacktail jumped out and crossed the road. It was really too dark for me to tell for sure, moonless night, and the relative closeness of it, plus me in a rental after driving the Surfside Highway a full day, had my nerves a bit jangled. 

If it WAS a tule, I blame the Park Service and or the ranchers for hazing it as part of why it jumped in front of me.

I also, per point 7 of the leases link, saw the beaches closed or restricted in access to protect snowy plover habitat; as Counterpunch notes, the cows attract ravens, which feed on plover eggs when not feeding on anything cow-associated.

So, fuck Jared Huffman in his hypocritical ass and the same for the Sierra Club.

September 30, 2021

COVID Week 77B: Various new nuttery

How bad is COVID in Texas schools? The Trib says that cases for the new school year have already topped all of last year. More ammo for superintendents in their battles against Strangeabbott.

A Canadian study that prompted claims that vaxxes would greatly increase heart inflammation odds was wrong and has been retracted.

Shock me that Kyrie Irving is at the heart of NBA players and COVID denialism/minimalism, and even worse, a COVID conspiracy theorist.

Eoin Higgins writes about lefty types who have jumped down the the COVID denial rabbit hole.

Scott Lincicome and other CATO nutters claim Biden's vax mandate is unconstitutional. Lincicome, who works for CATO, also lies about herd immunity studies. I Tweeted him what I blogged last week.

His ilk, libertarians, mixed with Trumpists who are an ideological mess in some ways, not the left, are the biggest problem, and they're NOT "vax hesitant." They're vax resistant, or even vax refusing. Here's Eric Boehlert. Here's the NYT on "red COVID."

Top that with NBC reporting that denialists are telling each other to take loved ones out of hospitals and not go there themselves. Part of the conspiracy theory is that they'll die of "something" in there and thus the hospitals will get more money. Part of it is so that they can "treat" these people at home with ivermectin, iodine, and now, new to me, nebulized hydrogen peroxide.

(Dr. Wes) Ely said this patient was not alone, and that some of those who refuse the vaccine “just keep denying until they’re dying.” 
“And let me say, this is not rare. You asked me what I’m hearing, and this is happening. Real time. Right now.”

NBC also notes that this has led to assaults against hospital personnel.

A Gallup poll reinforces this. The extended poll shows not huge gaps between R's and D's, among people identifying with the two major parties, on vaccination rates.

Once again, neoliberal Dum Fuqs like Yasmin Tayag writing stories on the basis of dealing with rational actors are half as bad as the actual denialist Dum Fuqs.

COVID Week 77: More on gain of function and Fire Fauci!

As the Atlantic reports, a set of leaked PDFs adds fuel to the fire that what WIV was doing was gain of function research. The unholy trinity of names — Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli — are front and center on them. Flip side is that the work described by the leaked documents, if it happened (DARPA rejected a grant request) would have been done in the US. As for the claim that it would have been unethical to "steal" such research, ask the French who helped build the WIV site about ethics and related issues. They warned the US.

The other big issue is that these leaked papers have further undermined the credibility of Daszak in general.

This is all on top of a piece by the Intercept early this month with more on gain of function research. 

In turn, that further undermines the credibility of St. Anthony of Fauci and Francis Collins.

I have tackled this more than once before, myself, specifically about St. Anthony. Collins of course gets to stay in the background, but it's like St. Anthony knows he's got the #BlueAnon cult on his side, and that people who actually say not only "science," but also "political science," etc., who know that what the NIH et al funded WAS gain of function research, or who know that WIV showed it couldn't be trusted from the time the lab opened, as the French told us? I guess he figures this is tribalism / twosiderism. And, we haven't even touched the lab's lies about keeping live bats — bats that may well have been kept there as part of ... wait for it, wait for it ... gain of function research. And, the deletion of COVID DNA sequences from the web doesn't help your cause, either, WIV.

Were I president, even though he has civil service protections, I'd fire Fauci anyway if he kept making this claims, and challenge him to fight me in court.

September 29, 2021

ANOTHER woke piece on American Indians from High Country News

HCN must also think that Hispanic Heritage Month is American Indian Month, as for the second time in less than a week, it's been woken about American Indian or Indigenous people.

Last Friday, as I just blogged, it was "woken" about American Indian land issues for National Public Lands Day, and it was wrongly woken on its framing, wrongly woken to some degree on recent facts of which American Indians were the main ones at a site, and wrongly woken on assuming the American Indians of today held the same lands 500 or 1,500 or 5,000 years ago.

Tuesday? It got "woken" about the White Sands fossilized footprints discovery. (Note, per the original paper at Science, and per some caveating researchers, it is possible that the seeds squished beneath the footprints and used to date them could have fallen into the ground millennia earlier; one researcher called the land involved "a dynamic landscape."

And, Nick Martin was as wrong as HCN staffers before. The footprints prove pre-Clovis is right. (That said, this is just the latest of several nails in the Clovis coffin.) It does NOT NOT NOT prove that American Indians have been here "from time immemorial," whether Martin claims that, or Vine Deloria with his university PhD. 

A good piece from the Smithsonian, from early 2020, notes specific archaeological exploration of pre-Clovis sites in British Columbia. It doesn't go back 25,000 BP, but it does go back more than 15,000 BP. It also notes that evolutionary population geneticists have provided research evidence that indicated the ancestors of (the first wave of?) American Indians had separated from Paleosiberians by around ... wait for it, wait for it .... 23,000 BP.

Martin's also wrong in a framing issue. Especially as time frames for the "entrada" have been pushed back, he assumes that "we" is who it once was. This opens the door to additional waves of migration. As part of that, it opens the door for a higher likelihood of migrations from the east, across the Atlantic, as well as Beringeria.

That Smithsonian piece discusses this at the end.

As scientists debate the peopling of the Americas, it’s worth noting there could be more than one right answer. “I think current evidence indicates multiple migrations, multiple routes, multiple time periods,” says Torben Rick, an anthropologist at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Very interesting. If archaeologists have been willing to entertain multiple migrations pre-Clovis but without the ancient footprints, I think this opens that up even more. (That said, besides the 

That, in turn, means that "we" is not always "we." Outside of it being all folks here before 1000 CE and the Norse contact, the "we" is not.

Finally, Martin himself approaches racism when he assumes that White anthropologists who have attacked pre-Clovis claims made in the past by American Indian archaeologists have done so because of racism.

Anybody who knows much of anything about New World archaeology and anthropology knows that Whites have battled each other for decades over the Clovis/pre-Clovis issue.

Then, there's this, at the conclusion:

Scientists and reporters could save themselves a lot of time by simply listening to Indigenous experts next time.

As in, assuming American Indians are always right?


HCN really, REALLY does not want me to renew my increasingly-lapsed subscription.

And, per my comments above? Yes, people of any "race" can be racist. (I've seen anti-Black American Indian racism, too.)

These aren't the only pieces of wokeness HCN has done that invoke alleged American Indian wisdom. Some 18 months ago, in relationship to COVID shattering the globalized neoliberal economy, HCN claimed that the wisdom of American Indians who stayed in place could provide special insight. That claim, that they stay in one place, was of course wrong.

Meanwhile, while being "woke" on identity politics, HCN is quite capitalistic after all, or at least refuses to challenge it, on things like its annual photo contest.

And, it's perfectly willing to support a mix of wokeness and capitalism, even when that mix clearly involved many lies and half-truths. I even invented the tag "wrongful wokeness" for all of this. (Being alert to systemic racism, if one wants to use the term "woke," is not itself bad, and certainly, acting well on this knowledge is good. It's when one either tries to exploit this via capitalism combined with bashing as "unwoke" anybody who gets in your way, like Melanin Base Camp and its lies and griftings printed by HCN, or when one gets into reverse racism, which is itself racist, that we have the "wrongful" portion.

That's why, when in the middle of the first wave of COVID last summer, when it offered a one-year digital subscription for just $12, I passed. I've seen plenty since then to convince me this was the right decision.

That's because HCN refuses to admit that these repeated bad editorial decisions on its part are actually bad editorial decisions.

Sex is not gender; the National Institutes of Health says so

It's not just gender-critical radical feminists saying that.

It's not just them plus me saying that.

(When I do say it, I use an analogy that leftists should understand and good ones should accept:

"Sex is not gender, like anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.")

Rather, that's the official statement of the National Institutes of Health. (I found that via this piece about sex (NOT gender) differences in COVID morbidity and severity.)

And, the full thing deserves quoting, and shall get it.
"Sex" refers to biological differences between females and males, including chromosomes, sex organs, and endogenous hormonal profiles. "Gender" refers to socially constructed and enacted roles and behaviors which occur in a historical and cultural context and vary across societies and over time. All individuals act in many ways that fulfill the gender expectations of their society. With continuous interaction between sex and gender, health is determined by both biology and the expression of gender.
That's all that needs to be said. That's all that CAN be said.

Anything further would gainsay that.

Well, no, nothing further about that definition could add to it.

But how it plays out? There's more to be said.

The bottom line of that "more" is simple.

"STFU, so-called trans activists." By this, I'm not referring to parents of children who may have sexual dysphoria. However, I do hope those parents know guidelines for when to use, or NOT use, puberty blockers, the risks that come with them and more.

I stand with the Mayo Clinic, which notes that puberty blocking medications should only be used for children who:
  • Show a long-lasting and intense pattern of gender nonconformity or gender dysphoria.
  • Have gender dysphoria that began or worsened at the start of puberty.
Note that the first stipulation has an AND, not an OR. The dysphoria must be BOTH long-lasting and intense. Note also the second stipulation. Gender dysphoria that starts after puberty should NOT be treated with these medications. And these bullet points, plus two others, including one that says a child who is a candidate for such medications should at the same time be addressing any "psychological, medical or social problems" that could interfere with such treatment.

I also stand with the Mayo Clinic in that these medications, from what we already now, likely DO have some long-term effects. PBS's Frontline has more about possible long-term effects. Any major multiyear hormonal changes on a pre-adult, a child, are almost guaranteed to have some brain effects. Frontline also notes (as of the time of the piece) that use of puberty blockers for gender-dysphoric children is an off-label use.

More here.
“The bottom line is we don’t really know how sex hormones impact any adolescent’s brain development,” Dr. Lisa Simons, a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s, told FRONTLINE. “We know that there’s a lot of brain development between childhood and adulthood, but it’s not clear what’s behind that.” What’s lacking, she said, are specific studies that look at the neurocognitive effects of puberty blockers. The story also notes that there’s health risks behind transitioning hormones, and that these risks may vary based on the age at which they’re started.
Here's another piece about long-term effects for women who received Lupron for other reasons. (Leupron is the main trade name for leuproleptin, the only puberty blocker on the market.) Besides thinning bones, similar problems such as thinning tooth enamel and joint issues are listed.

Dealing with the needs of actual transsexuals has become difficult for people who accept their needs and don't reject them, because of the blatant selfishness of transgender people who think wearing a dress while you have male genitalia and have no plans for sexual transitioning, nor any desire for it, entitle you to special treatment.

Oh, and because sex is not gender, I do distinguish between "transsexual" and "transgender." I'm not a gender-critical radical feminist, but there are others like me, on the left hand of the political spectrum, who make the same distinction even though we're not GCRFs.

It IS called "science."
Oh, there's also quite likely multiple "varieties" of transsexualism.

September 28, 2021

Texas progressives look at Paxton's fraudit and more

So, Kenny Boy Paxton is just "happening" to do election audits on some of Texas' biggest and bluest counties? But, why not Tarrant? Maybe the GOP thinks that would be too obvious of a #fraudit or else that it can't be redeemed? 

In other news about him, Kenny Boy is claiming he's not a public employee and therefore immune from state whistleblower law. It's a novel defense, even coming from him; state appellate judges do not appear to be laughing. 

Meanwhile, the Observer interviews former Ranger Chris Callaway, who describes how the state's public integrity law hamstrings investigations in various ways, not to mention how few the number of Rangers are who do this on a full-time basis.

R.F. O'Rourke, still not a declared gubernatorial candidate despite new monging of rumors earlier this month, nonetheless is acting like one in one way, namely, shivving the potential opposition. He says of the also undeclared Matty McConaughey that "I don't know how he feels about any of these issues." Translation: Beto-Bob thinks Matty is uninformed on some, and even more a ConservaDem than him on others, and he's going to start smoking him out.

At the Monthly, after starting with a head fake describing the run-up to the 2014 campaign of Wendy Davis vs. Abbott, without naming the year or the person, C.D. Hooks says R.F. is the least bad candidate  Dems and perpetual loser Gilberto Hinojosa could field. He then notes Abbott will be a tougher foe than Havana Ted Cruz was in 2018, should R.F. indeed enter the race.  

SocraticGadfly, with some help from an Arkansas hospital chain CEO punks the fetal stem cell crowd, going beyond religious exemptions for COVID vaccines and to elements of the "pro-life" movement in general.

Rep. Lyle Larson is trying to prove, or pretend, he's not quite a total wingnut on abortion. He'll fail. He already is. He already has.

Off the Kuff crunches some more 2020 Congressional data to see how much things have changed since 2012.

Stace reminds us of what is really happening on the border: A human rights crisis.

Sanford Nowlin observed how quiet many businesses have been since the "heartbeat" law was passed.

Space City Weather suggests that hurricane season is likely over for Texas.

Michelle Davis outlines her claims on how she thinks Beto can beat Greg Abbott.

The Great God Pan Is Dead has more fall art to look forward to.

Houstonia welcomes Top Chef to Houston.

Bitcoin mining in Big Spring is just another example of what's wrong with Texas today.

West Coast port congestion and its supply chain problems will probably last a while as, unlike in Europe, different parties can't get on the same page re 24 hour operations and similar issues. Ahh, late stage American capitalism, hoist by its own petard.

Amazon is officially lobbying for federal legalization of marijuana.

For various reasons, car crash fatalities have INCREASED during COVID.

September 27, 2021

AOC a fraud again: Alexandra Ocasio Cortez officially Just.Another.Politician.™

Unless you're entrenched in BlueMAGA / Blue Anon, you already know this from the left-liberal left side of the street.

She ran for Congress on a fraudulent family narrative.

This time?

A fraud on Israel and Palestine.

Last week, the House voted on whether or not to give Israel $1 million in supplemental funding for its Iron Dome defense system.

AOC "managed" to not vote to oppose this. She ALSO managed to not vote for it.

Nope. She voted "present."

She can't be so dumb as to think that the types of people mentioned in the first paragraph don't see through this.

So, I guess she figures the cult of personality behind her doesn't care, or doesn't look that closely.
And, on "cult of personality," she's right. I present Socialist Boomer on Twitter last Friday:
And, he's right! I unfollowed as soon as I saw that.
And, as AOC gets her butt kicked more and more on Twitter, here's a good AOC dress for Boomer.
And another.
That said, this one isn't new. After her initial election, but before even being sworn in, she retreated from earlier support for BDS. And, after that, halfway threw Ilhan Omar under the bus on this issue. She hinted at one time at supposably having Jewish ancestry; I colored myself skeptical.

Also, asking for a pay raise after you've been on the job just six months is more of Just.Another.Politician.™ territory.
Update: At Mondoweiss, Steven Salaita has more on her AND Bernie. 

Update two: After she originally had seemed ready to vote "no," was her "present" vote, especially if the tears were crocodile tears, part of bigger political plans? At least one Zionist group says yes, speculating about a 2022 Senate run. I doubt it; I really can't see her primarying Chuck Schumer. Now, a gov run, if Gov. Kathy Hochul stumbles? I doubt that, too; NY AG Letitia James is a possibility and others are likelies as far as primarying her. Primarying Kirsten Gillibrand in 2024? Nother story.

Update three: Per the voting? Jayapal and Bowman are more sellouts than frauds or hypocrites.

September 26, 2021

CIA wanted to kidnap or assassinate Assange

Michael Isikoff and two co-authors have some breaking news at Yahoo News.

Under Mike Pompeo's reign, the Trump-era CIA was so infuriated at the Vault 7 leaks by Wikileaks (remember, they didn't directly steal this one, nor was it Russkies) that they talked about either kidnapping Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy in London or else assassinating him.

Meanwhile, they gave high credibility to claims that Ecuador's then-president was looking at giving Assange official diplomatic status and sending him to its ambassadorial mission in Moscow. (That presumes that Assange was willing, or at a minimum would accept this if given a TINA by Ecuador, though a former Ecuadorean first minister in London says that when he learned about it, he refused to accept it.)

So, the CIA discussed either getting in a gun battle with Russian operatives on London streets trying to get to the airport, or else shooting the tires out of any Russian plane believed to be carrying him. At least with the latter, the British agreed to assist. But, they also said "No" on any kidnapping attempt.

Post-Edward Snowden leaks, the CIA pushed Dear Leader Obama to not only officially designate that Assange was not a journalist but rather an "information broker," but to do the same for the likes of Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. The Obama Admin said no, thank doorknob.

I totally agree re actual journalists. However, Snowden has himself said he's not a journalist, and I certainly don't think Assange is. My most recent in-depth thoughts on that here.

And, Assange probably had some degree of sympathy within the Obama Admin until he started publishing the Russia-filched emails of the DNC in 2016. I know he started losing sympathy from me when he became the first real pusher of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. My thoughts on that here. My thoughts on some alleged leftist media outlets gaslighting readers over that is here with Consortium News (one of several), and here with "Cozy Bear" gaslighting by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, and here, my big picture piece refuting the Forensicator bullshit first peddled by Patrick Lawence at The Nation. (The Nation eventually had Nathanial Freitas write a new piece to clean up for Lawrence's BS, but has never, AFAIK, ever officially apologized for running it in the first place. Anyway, today's story shows that Consortium, especially, and others who also attacked Isikoff's reporting over Seth Rich and over the fact that Russia's Internet Research Agency stole those DNC emails, owe us all an apology. But, based on past history, they won't. It's part of bigger lying not just by CN, but bigger stooges like Ty Clevenger.)

DOJ rightly thought Pompeo was an unhinged nutter on this and wanted something better.

This led to the sealed charges against Assange, which became unsealed after the change in Ecuadorean governments led to the removal of his asylum, followed by his British arrest. My thoughts on that here.

Anyway, there's lots more. Isikoff talks more about the CIA's self-perceived, self-defined powers under "CIA common law" and other things. Go read it.