SocraticGadfly: 4/17/22 - 4/24/22

April 23, 2022

The hell with you, too, Sports Reference

Not quite two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the dangers of Russia-cancelling. I linked at the sports stats site Hockey Reference to Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitols, as a Russian athlete facing this danger as well as conductors, opera starts, etc. I also linked to Enes Freedom and his ongoing yuks. You'll see neither listed here. Stand by.

Well, if you're familiar with any of the Sports Reference sites, above all Baseball Reference, you know that it has a program for bloggers where if they link to players, and they're a signed-up blog, your blog post, after SR has scraped the web, will be listed below the first set of stats.

Well, mine wasn't. I had not originally signed up for Hockey Reference. Just BR, plus the pro basketball and pro football sites. 

But, about two years ago, I guess due to complaints from teh Google, they changed the program. No longer could you just link the HTML of a player's site. Instead, you had to create a reference link, using a Javascript tool, that had a "no follow" as part of the code.

I didn't know if I had to sign up for Hockey Reference or not. After a few days, I figured I did, and asked.

My bad.

Tuesday, a Sports Reference email said I was being delisted for violating terms of service.

One is profanity.

And, I guess my post from earlier this week, "Oh, hell no, the Cards just did it and signed Pujols," since it wasn't my first F- or H-bomb, was over the line.  Now, it wasn't my first, but it's not like I did it every week. Three times in the last six months, I think. (If memory serves me right, it was one F, one H and one S over about six months.)

And, when they delist you, they delist you. 

All former blog post links gone.

And, not even a warning. 

Just, "bye."

Well, I'll link to Fangraphs in the future. And, Fangraphs used to have a guest blogging feature on site that I used a couple of times. That said, Fangraphs is baseball only. But, I can write a guest blog there, then post it here later, in an expanded version and link back there, if I'm still in good standing.

Scratch that, no I won't. I posted a community blog there, like not one but two different ones I did eight years ago. Two weeks later, it has yet to be approved, so the hell with you, too, Fangraphs. And, if only paying contributors can blog there now, at least tell me. (I both emailed and Tweeted Fangraphs more than a week ago, and zip on the response.) That said, both those old blog posts have an "urgent" message at the top, asking for support so that Fangraphs can cover the 2021 season. Yes, you read that boldface right. Sounds like there's maybe a fair amount of "phoning it in" there? I would try to jingle them on Hucksterman, too, but they don't even have a Facebook page. (B-Ref does.)

Update, June 11: Clicking the "one" link and loading that blog post again? The "Community Research" on the right-hand rail shows NOTHING dated after the end of March, so I guess Fangraphs killed that. And, there's still the big picture asking for "2021 (and beyond)" help. When I log in and go to my profile page, neither of the old posts, nor that "pending" one from April, show up on my "dashboard." So, fuck it, too, I guess. Dinosaur land.

==

Sidebar 1: I have been dropping a few more four-letter words on Twitter recently. So, maybe something to watch. Or maybe not.

Sidebar 2: That said, Sports Reference XXX's out an f-bomb, or maybe even an h-bomb, in the header and any body text in the first 25 words or whatever their "capture" length is. So, it's not like family bloggers saw the actual word.

Sidebar 3: A warning would have been great. A deletion of the blog posts in violation of the policy, along with the warning, would have been fine. A deletion of the offending posts without a warning would have been acceptable. A full blog deletion — and without a response indicating this was why, and this was the only reason why? Not acceptable. And, maybe it wasn't the only reason why. Maybe they run Ukraine up the flagpole and salute it, and considered my Russian cancel culture post unpatriotic spamming.

Sidebar 3: I had done a lot of sports blogging recently. And, with getting older and no longer being a Green, either, had been thinking about doing more outside of political blogging. Maybe this is a push I needed.

April 22, 2022

A century-plus of both Ukrainian and Russian nationalism entangled

That's my take on Orlando Figes' "A People's Tragedy," about the Russian Revolutions, plus the run-up to them starting with the coronation of Nicholas II, and more importantly for this blog post, the follow-on to them, with the Russian Civil War and War Communism up to the death of Lenin. What follows is an edited and expanded version of my Goodreads review.

A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891 - 1924

A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891 - 1924 by Orlando Figes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply fantastic, and especially because it continues past 1918 through Lenin's death and the start of Stalinism. And, as of the time I write this review, the 1918-20 period of the civil war is quite valuable in re the current Russia-Ukraine conflict.

I’ll confess to not reading all of this book, and I’ll explain why. Knowing the end date, I wanted something that looked hefty enough to cover the ground of the two revolutions, including their playout in Ukraine, plus the Civil War, plus the NEP after War Communism. And Figes delivers in spades.

The chapter that starts with Brusilov and the Summer Offensive, then moves to the Kornilov-Kerensky showdown is just about exactly at the midpoint. Figes shows how a V.N. Lvov, no relation to the prince, expanded on Kerensky’s message to Kornilov and basically set him up. So, Kornilov said, “if you’re going to declare me a rebel, I’ll be one.”

This is the best portrait I’ve read of Kerensky, including showing his Napoleonic complex in all its shabby detail. It probably shows why he had no interest in the proposed Stockholm Peace Conference and was fine with the Allies blocking their social democrat parties from attending — if they even wanted to.

One point about Prince Lvov, before he stepped down from heading the Provisional Governemnt, I’d not read before. He urged the government to make terms with the other nationalities, speciflcally the emerging first Ukrainian Republic. And it did not.

Figes is arguably at his best in showing the playout of the civil war in Ukraine, with Russian Whites and Don Cossacks making an uneasy alliance. Nestor Makhno (had never heard of him before, like the “other” Lvov) and his Blacks were in almost as uneasy an alliance with the Reds. Meanwhile, Greens, peasants who attempted their own degree of political organization if and when savvy enough, were also in the mix.

[As I've noted elsewhere, starting with Alexander III, Tsarist Russia was expanding its campaign of Russiafiction to three areas, two of them nominally separate from Russia, but both under the control of the Tsars. The first? Ukraine. The others? The Grand Duchy of Finland and the Kingdom of Poland. The latter lost some of its autonomy after 1829-31 rebellions, and the rest of it after 1863.)

Figes also notes how, even before cancelling the Constituent Assembly because the Left Social Revolutionaries won a plurality, despised the Russian peasant for backwardness, superstition and alleged intractability. Early on, they were willing to crush them, as soon as they didn’t need them co-opted against the Whites. Class warfare was stoked to empower them, and to crush the rural gentry before the Bolsheviks crushed them.

Also, Figes reminds that the Soviets and the Bolsheviks were not the same. Essentially, Lenin decided he had to co-opt the Soviets and call the November revolution before the All-Russian Congress met. And, Lenin, and other Bolsheviks’ attitude toward factory workers wasn’t much better than toward peasants. By the end of 1918, already, they were replacing Soviet worker cooperative factory management with Bolshevik-imposed factory managers. In all of this, Stalin didn’t go that much beyond Lenin, Figues says.

Also, Lenin getting the Tenth Party Congress in 1921 to pass a ban on factions made the Central Committee the ruler of the party and thus of Russia. And, gave Stalin a tool.

Figes also takes the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to task. At times like the Kaplan assassination attempt on Lenin, they weren’t prepared to act, and weren’t ready to think outside the box of the Russian version of “rule of law,” and were in general idealists.

In his conclusion, Figes says that, given what Nicholas II did to pull the rug out from under the Duma in particular and democratic reform in general after the Revolution of 1905 had faded, the liberals of the first revolution in 1917 had no chance.

Figes does have a stumble or two, not huge, in the next to last chapter. Darwin, unlike Huxley, did not believe in “materialist determination” of human nature. It’s arguable that the eugenics half of Nazism DID have Enlightenment connections. After all, it DOES go back to Plato. And “Robot” entered English from Czech, not Russian. And, that one is well known.

(I intend to expand this review even further at my blog, along with some alternative history questions Figes provoked.)

View all my reviews

And, here are those alternative history questions.

What if Kerensky had told the Allies to go get stupid, and before wrangling within the Provisional Government, had sent a team to Stockholm? (He’d have had to follow it up with a Lenin-like “land, peace and bread,” or “peace” at a minimum with a promise to work on the “land.”)

What if Fanny Kaplan had succeeded in assassinating Lenin? Trotsky was the most dynamic Bolshevik, but his support within the party was thin. Stalin was still more of a backbencher. Who would have succeeded? Could the Bolsheviks stay on?

Per Figes, had Denikin marched earlier to Tsaritsyn in 1918, could he have united with Kolchak? I personally doubt it, because, the revolt in his rear of 1919 probably would have been greater.

What if Makhno had played coy on Trotsky’s request to attack Deniken’s left in 1919? Could we have had a true three-way civil war at some point? What if he had made more formal common cause with Green-type peasant groups, to the degree they were becoming militarily active in Ukraine, and to the degree we consider him, as largely a cavalry leader, separate from peasant rebellions?

Not exactly a counterfactual history, but why did February 1917 succeed and February 1921 not? Probably because the last remnants of Tsardom were fighting the Germans and Austrians, while the Bolsheviks had defeated the Whites and Poles and had no other exterior enemies.

April 21, 2022

Geoff Campbell, the old Miami Gator, is cheesed, but why?

A fauxgressive is exposed, mainly over Zionism, followed by his rebranding, and more recently, his calling the likes of Ryan Knight fauxgressives (in essence) themselves, all while backing various bipartisan foreign policy establishment hackery.

I seem to have cheesed off the old Miami Gator Campbell last night with this tweet.

To which he responded:
 To which I offered this:
Then this:
If I have more on the thread, just go there.

Let me add  more things to the original post of last year linked in the tweet two tweets above. Both are related to that Google search last year, in the blog post at my one tweet. First, the Gator isn't the only Geoff Campbell I get when I re-run that "Geoff Campbell" + "BDS" search. Second, even if he were the only one? I'd probably done 10x that many Tweets mentioning BDS counting backward from last August to the start of my Twitter presence on my first account. And, I've done at least 52 since then.

Second, Geoff, why DID you drop the "Zionist" and the "Ashkenazi" from your profile? (AFAIK, the Wayback Machine doesn't capture former versions of a Twitter profile, so I can't offer Stone Cold Steve Austin proof. But he did have that.) 

(UPDATE: My guess is that Geoff did this for branding purposes. He knew he wouldn't look pergressuve enough with it on his profile.)

But wait, it gets better. Geoff retweeted this:

Now, this isn't the only person I've seen make this claim. But, you know what? The likes of me as well as Mondoweiss rejects whataboutism on Palestine. And, I don't know what allegedly disgusting politics are being called out.

And, that's followed by Geoff himself doing a callout on someone else, which gives a bankshot of both minimizing Palestinian issues and running the bipartisan foreign policy establishment line on Ukraine.

Shock me. The fact is that Geoff's not given any real interest in Palestinians from anything I've ever seen.

Coronavirus week 106B: Yet more on what's wrong with Shanghai

In a long new piece, NY Mag gets a number of things right, including but by no means limited to rejecting China's official coronavirus death claims. Part of what it gets right is the correct backstory. Beyond Xi Jinping Thought's lying and stonewalling about death claims (which the story says might be tenfold more than the US, which even with 4X the population would mean a per capita death rate 2.5X higher) is a flawed larger strategy — still trying for "zero COVID." In turn, that's because of another thing that Xi Jinping Thought fellators from Walker Bragman to Margaret Flowers won't admit: Chinese vaccines suck compared to Western ones, so it's not a defense front line. Yes, people can still "shed," but they get milder infections, and if others are also vaccinated, they're almost certain, here, not to get a breakthrough infection off someone else's breakthrough. In China? Not so likely.

And, alert them, People's Republic of Humboldt Bay dude Rainier Shea and others to one other reality. Xi's got Shanghai SO cock-blocked it's worse than Greg Abbott with Mexican truckers. Per the image at left, from this Twitter account, it looks like 5,000 cargo ships are moored offshore. Meanwhile, Chinese officials say they're sticking by "zero COVID" policies.

Also, politics is at stake. Xi is seeking to shatter recent precedent with a third term, and that comes before the CCP 20th Congress this fall. A failure in Shanghai would put a crimp in that indeed.

The story authors then wonder at end: Will the degree of resilience shown by Shanghai residents be a long-term problem for the CCP?

April 20, 2022

Russia-Ukraine thoughts, week 6: Chomsky triggers nat-sec nutsacks, New Ukrainian war crimes and more

First? Fuck Google.

Googul and its Nazgul nowhere define what "exploits, dismisses or condones" means. Does that mean anything in the US that doesn't conform to the bipartisan foreign policy establishment?  Note the "includes, but is not limited to," in the last paragraph.

I await Twitter tagging me as Russian state media next.

==

If putting POWs faces on TV cameras is a Geneva Convention violation, then using IT/artificial intelligence for facial recognition, then showing dead soldiers so recognized to their families' social media accounts clearly violates the spirit of the Geneva Conventions. But? Ukraine is doing exactly that. And, the assist is from Clearview AI, which clearly is unsatified with just helping American governments violate citizens' civil rights. Here's the Twitter thread by the author, in case you hit the Bezos Post paywall.

That said, per Drew Harwell's full piece, this is more likely to backfire, and to increase resolution on the Russian home front, rather than increase dissent. Putin's just going to say now, in essence: "Didn't I tell you?"

But, this is the bottom line the US bipartisan foreign policy establishment will hold:

The West’s solidarity with Ukraine makes it tempting to support such a radical act designed to capitalize on family grief, said Stephanie Hare, a surveillance researcher in London. But contacting soldiers’ parents, she said, is “classic psychological warfare” and could set a dangerous new standard for future conflicts. 
“If it were Russian soldiers doing this with Ukrainian mothers, we might say, ‘Oh, my God, that’s barbaric,’ ” she said. “And is it actually working? Or is it making them say: ‘Look at these lawless, cruel Ukrainians, doing this to our boys?’ ”

Yessir.

==

Ten days after talking to the British newspaper The New Statesman, Noam Chomsky talked to Nathan Robinson at Current Affairs. Not much new here. Just more in-depth. But, it sure did trigger the nat-sec nutsacks. It also triggered others, who claim to be non-twosider themselves, like a Brit named Ali Samson on Twitter, who claimed Chomsky was patronizing and denying personal agency. In later convo on Twitter, the guy, who's anti-Tory and presumably Labour, wouldn't talk about what type of Labourite he is when I tried to engage him, via an old Tweet of his, on Starmer vs Corbyn. And, other claims of his aside, I think he is a twosider on the war. Given one older Tweet of his against British "Stop Oil" protestors, maybe he's LibDem, even. Or, at a max, a neo-Blairite. He's also a liar about thinking outside the Ukraine box.

==

GREAT take at Counterpunch on both Biden and Putin "playing the China card" on Ukraine. That's part of an larger take on looking beyond sanctions for some sort of negotiated end to the war. The rest of it, with a full read, is more OK than great. If we're talking about reparations, Mr. McCoy, to the degree that the US was behind the semi-coup at the Euromaidan, don't we owe reparations?

Coronavirus Week106A: Hack Trump judge, hack Nate Silver, hack CDC, hack BIden

The first and second are tied. A semi-incompetent US district judge in Florida, Kathryn Kimball Mazelle, on Tuesday presumed she knew more than SCOTUS and four appeals courts and said that Biden's mask mandate on public transportation didn't stand.

Then Nate Silver jumped in with thoughts that are stupid even for Nate Silver, which is saying a lot. He claimed, as in this piece and on Twitter, that masks on airplanes were of marginal effectiveness, totally got stats wrong on the amount of time per year actual flyers spend in airplanes and airports — and seemed to confuse or conflate median and mean in the process — then went really dumb and claimed that surely airlines on their own would split into mask and non-mask flights. His getting flight data wrong — in reality, of the 45 percent of Americans who do fly, per pre-COVID stats, they have five flights a year, and that involves about 5 hours one way between plane and terminal — masks can help stop superspreader events.

Meanwhile, airlines like Delta and JetBlue announced the mandate was over in the middle of flights. Fuck em. Especially Delta, for peddling "just the flu" misinformation.

And, meanwhile meanwhile, if the TSA isn't going to enforce it pending an appeal (and DOJ isn't asking for a temporary injunction pending an appeal) it's not going to be appealed, is it? More Biden COVID politics, eh, #BlueAnon?

And, with that, we tie this all together. 

If Biden's going to play politics, why should airlines let him rope them in? Per Delta, and per Dr. Eric, St. Anthony of Fauci has been claiming for two months that we're "headed toward" endemic. So, Delta was goosing things a bit, but it wasn't operating in a vacuum.

Meanwhile, Fauci's ultimate boss agency, the CDC, says it won't appeal until after its now-voided mask mandate extension was set to expire on its own on May 3. Yes, you read that right. (Update, April 21: In today's Snooze, print version, which I happened to glance at this morning, it appears that the appeal MAY come sooner. Who knows.)

But, the real issue is with the CDC's boss, Biden. Status Quo Joe listened to his pollsters' advice and decided to take a page from the Shrub Bush playbook and declare "Mission Accomplished." (Kuff, in normal #BlueAnon mode, ignores Biden's politicization in his not-fair-use quoting take on SQJ dropping enforcement.)

April 19, 2022

Texas Progressives talk border, smog and more

Ill Eagles are generally grateful for Strangeabbott's free bus ride to DC. And, it's based on lies (of course) about Biden being some sort of border sugar daddy. So, too, is Strange's border blockade. Speaking of ...

Abbott has officially caved on that shutdown. His deals with three of four Mexican border-state governors require nothing new of them. And, Nuevo Leon, which did agree to such, will likely quietly backtrack in the future. Strangeabbott has left himself the normal legalist opt-out of threatening to renew them if warranted. Look out this summer, after a lot of Mexican crop season is over and he figures that he can get away with blocking maquiladora manufacturing. I expect Mexican manufacturers are already preparing their Plan B of shipping more through Arizona and California, or maybe even by ship to New Orleans, should he try that. It's also disgusting that DPS chief Steve McCraw is becoming ever more of an Abbott flunky.

Here's how Strangeabbott's border shutdown is affecting the Valley and beyond. 

Meanwhile, even before the border blockage, inflation was challenging food banks.

The EPA is likely to designate Helltown and the Metromess as having "severe" smog problems, which would lead to it requiring additional pollution control requirements. TCEQ, goosed by Strangeabbott and Kenny Boy Paxton, would surely resist, but without any legal grounds.

Can a county DA undo a death penalty warrant signed by the county's district clerk? I think the Court of Criminal Appeals will almost certainly reject that. And, federal courts probably would refuse appeals out of the state system.

Congresscritter Chip Roy tried to have his cake and eat it too on #StartTheSteal.

At the Monthly, Mimi Swartz documents (long read) the political, and personal, history of Strangeabbott. (Per one picture, he may have run a lot in high school, but he didn't know how to properly take a relay baton.) One of the keys, of course, is Abbott's paralysis, how it happened, and the lawsuit. Swartz notes that, rather than leading to some degree of sympathy for him to people in need or trouble, it only increases his willingness to punch down. She also notes that he likely was NOT going to make partner at Binion, the Houston law firm, and that's why he entered politics by running for a judgeship. And, from there, started his nefariousness with mansplaining. And pettiness. And more.

The Observer notes there's still plenty of unanswered questions about Lizelle Herrera's arrest and murder charge.

SocraticGadfly offers some thoughts about the Texas Democratic Party leadership battle

Off the Kuff highlights another bad, bizarre ruling from an activist Trump judge, who threw out the 2001 Texas Dream Act that granted in-state tuition to some undocumented students.

Stace provides some insight after Beto O'Rourke calls out the Biden administration on the repeal of Title 42.

Texas 2036 presents some actual data about crime in Texas.