SocraticGadfly: 4/24/22 - 5/1/22

April 30, 2022

Coronavirus week 107: Fool me once, fool me six times?

That, in the header, is Jessica Wildfire's take. She notes that vaccine protection is continuing to wane, that more and more people have long COVID, that children appear more vulnerable that first thought, and more. The header for this week comes from that.

Also posted in the regular Texas Progressives Roundup for this week, I looked at political COVID hacks connected to Judge Mazelle's mask mandate ruling.

Your Local Epidemiologist talks ventilation and filtration on airplanes.

Speaking of six, Stat has a great piece with six questions and issues about what's next with COVID. 

Xi Jinping Thought's zero-COVID lockdowns may have turned the tide in Shanghai, though more than 4 million there are still locked down, even as fears that Beijing will be next loom, and the lockdown has caused China's biggest productivity loss since the start of the pandemic. I'm not excusing Status Quo Joe Biden for the US economic contraction in the first quarter, but it clearly is at least in part not his fault. (Rising gas prices, in part over stepped-up poking of Russia with the NATO sharp stick, connected to Putin's invasion, ARE Biden's fault.) And, this is another callout to actual and alleged left-liberals and leftists, like Walker Bragman, Adam Tooze, Howie Hawkins and Margaret Flowers to stop being Xi Jinping Thought stanners. Neoliberals on the capitalist take like Max Blumenthal, and real tankies like Rainier Shea, are in another class altogether.

April 29, 2022

Russia-Ukraine Week 7B: Give peace talks a chance

Patrick Cockburn says neither side will "win," and that it looks more like Syria and that if we recognize that, the sooner we get to negotiations.

Ed Luttwak also weighs in on how to get to negotiated peace. 

And, without getting specific other than calls for "security guarantees" for both countries, Jeremy Corbyn also calls for a negotiated piece.

So, that's two leftists and an early-generation neocon all saying, like Chomsky last week, "let's be real about getting real."

Per the first two, I think that at a minimum, a plebiscite on the Donbas would need to be part of this. Probably, even though Ukrainians wouldn't like it, since it was part of the Russian SFSR until 1955, accepting the Crimea as being part of Russia would also need to be part of that. So would an official pledge by NATO to not offer membership to any additional former Warsaw Pact countries (ie, Serbia) or to any former SSRs, ie Georgia, or Armenia, as well as Ukraine. That fudges Sweden and Finland, of course.

Contra nutters at Counterpoint (SMH) last week, it does NOT mean reparations by Russia. Not unless the US wants to make good all the costs of sanctions against it in return, and you and I know that's not happening.


The Fellow Travelers blog, rather than focus on the efficacy of sanctions, has a piece looking at sanctions' "legitimacy" and "distinction," fitting both into norms of international law and the former into the UN Charter as well, and finds US-led sanctions against Russia failing on both, especially with contrasting them with a leading BDS group's push for sanctions on Israel.

April 28, 2022

Russia-Ukraine week 7A: Give gas a chance

So much Russia-Ukraine news, including one bigly item from last night, I split the update into two.

Let's jump in.


Guess we may have to talk about Polish and Bulgarian tankies as well as the ones I mention below. And, tankies in any MSM that claim Russia actually cut off gas supplies to those two countries. It did no such thing. It merely stood by its ruble-denominated payments demand and they won't pay. And, it's said that if Poland and Bulgaria try to "siphon" gas out of the pipelines, it will cut the pumping back to the rest of Europe. The EU and President von der Leyen is already throwing a hissy fit, calling it "blackmail." And, sanctions aren't? No, you brought this on yourselves. Good luck during the three years or whatever it will take to build new LNG terminals. Re-elected French President Macron is lucky this didn't happen a week earlier.

I don’t want EU citizens to suffer any more than average Ukrainian citizens to suffer from the invasion or average Russian citizens to suffer from punitive sanctions, but … if the shoe fits just well enough to pinch, to mix metaphors, pinch it shall. And pinch it needs to.


Ukrainian tankies (you are) hate Jacobin, interestingly. Here's why? Editor Branko Marcetic first wrote about how weapon sales to Ukraine are going into an untraceable maw. That came after he told the truth about the Euromaidan.

And, it's these tankies that kept Minsk Agreements (starting with autonomy for the Donbas) from ever being implemented within Ukraine. That's going to be a hurdle for peace talks. The tankies will blather about these parties only getting 2-3 percent of the vote. That's not so significant if you take into account how much they have influenced rightist but not ultra-rightist parties in Ukraine.

This indirectly connects with gas pipelines and Ukrainian development, too. 


Counterpunch is right on something else. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may be well over his head on international geopolitics, with his abandonment of all earlier statements about openness to Ukrainian neutrality, etc., being replaced by his willingness to fully line up with what the US puppetmaster says.

April 27, 2022

Learning more about Delilah Barrios

Texas' Green Party gubernatorial candidate was on Ryan Knight's podcast recently.

A few thoughts.

First, the Lege is who passes constitutional amendments to send to the public, and they need a 2/3 vote of both houses. You didn't mention that; if you think it would be hard as a GP candidate to get along with the Lege in general, on constitutional amendments, it would be climbing Mount Everest.

About two-thirds in, Barrios notes she reached out to Sema Hernandez, via friends, but never really heard back from her. She added that Hernandez is focused on helping "Democrats like her" or words to that effect.

Barrios sounded disappointed, but also mildly surprised.

Given the way Sema sucked up to Beto after losing the 2018 primary, to the point of claiming O'Rourke supported single-payer, or at least implying he did, when he did not, this surprises me not at all. It doesn't surprise me that Barrios was surprised, either, I think. But, it is something else to note. Namely, that she was kind of naive.

I mean, I noted almost three full years ago that Hernandez seemed well on her way to becoming Just.Another.Politician.™. And, I ventured into other territory, like the issue of being a Hispanic Dem and running for office in Texas. But I then ventured back to just how much she air-kissed Bob the Knob, either being clueless about just how much a ConservaDem he is, or else not caring. Also, between there and here, I noted that Sema didn't have much pull among 2020 Texas Dems in a much more crowded Senate race. So Barrios was barking up the wrong tree.

Related to that? Barrios "marveling" at the number of people of color who voted for Trump. On Blacks, it's surprising to me, too. On Hispanics, it's not at all surprising. If Barrios doesn't grasp that a lot of Hispanics want tighter border controls, it's another bit of cluelessness. That doesn't mean it's right (or that it's wrong) to have this desire, but the desire is real.

Interestingly, one thing she did NOT mention to Ryan Knight was how she dislikes Bob on a Knob's stance on gun control, which I blogged about not too long after she announced her candidacy. Maybe she figures that one doesn't poll well with Greenie types? And, if so, then she's potentially following Hernandez into non-New York JAP territory.

Also, from then versus now, her concern about COVID on that podcast, and her talk about being a "health care professional," was ... uh ... INNNteresting given that on that first blog of mine, I note that she is at minimum a fellow traveler of COVID antivaxxers and at max a full-on antivaxxer on all vaxxes herself. (That's not a total surprise; Greenies and Libertarians, and especially eco-libertarians, are high on antivaxxerism in general. Also, via Orac, a full 10 percent of medical doctors are antivax or the loverly "vax hesitant," so surely, among surgical nurses or whatever Barrios does [she said she works in surgery, but I'm guessing not a gas-passer], the percentage is much higher. Hospital nurses in general have shown this.) Anyway, she was asked nothing, and volunteered nothing, about her COVID stance. (At my previous blog post link, she not only stridently called out the Green Party for supporting vax mandates, but linked to a website that claimed COINTELPRO type infiltration of the GP's Steering Committee. And that favorably cites conspiracy theorist Jimmy Dore.)

Beyond that, she did little if anything on the podcast to convince me that she's resolved some hugely, BIGly self-inconsistent political positions.


Update, May 16: Big "marketing" fail by Barrios has now come to my attention. The Student Vote Empowerment Coalition of DFW is holding an event tomorrow at Dallas' Skyline High. Strangeabbott is skipping, shock me. But? Beto is going to be there, as is Libertarian nominee Mark Tippetts. Via an independent PR consultant, I saw about this event, organized by SMU law prof Eric Cerillo. 

Saw that Barrios wasn't listed. I asked him why.

Cedillo said "we" (he and others involved with the event, I guess) tried:

(W)e attempted to reach out to the Green candidate on a number of occasions to invite them to the forum but they were unresponsive.

There you go.

If she couldn't come due to work or something, I understand. But, not responding? Bad marketing for her AND bad marketing for the party.

April 26, 2022

Texas Progressives: Biden driving the car off a cliff?

To start this week's Roundup, I cannot recommend enough this piece by Jessica Wildfire. It's a bit hyperbolic on COVID, as no, not each new variant is worse than the previous. But, it's good enough there, and it's totally spot-on on environmental issues, the Russia-Ukraine war and more. But, her Substack offers more concrete thoughts on COVID. (Her Substack is generally good, though also a bit hyperbolic at times.)

As Texas home values skyrocket, and Rethuglican voters realize they don't REALLY like capitalism when it makes them pay a bunch more in property taxes, the Texas Lege feels the same way. #fify TexasTrib. (And, the Californios moving here? Will they be moderates? Moderate conservs? Or will they push the Lege to adopt a full-on equivalent of California's infamous Prop. 13?)

Off the Kuff isn't really interested in moving up the date on the Presidential primary in Texas.

SocraticGadfly looks at the several political COVID hacks connected to Judge Mazelle's mask mandate ruling.

Stace offers some thoughts (on Viernes) regarding Greg Abbott's political play-calling on the border and at the death chamber.

CultureMap has found your next dream job.

Your Local Epidemiologist talks ventilation and filtration on airplanes.

The Current brings us the Ray Perryman projection about how much Greg Abbott's border-truck-inspection stunt cost us.

April 25, 2022

Green Party's #GasolineBoycott is virtue signaling

I saw this call for a "gas boycott" from Earth Day to May Day in my email last Friday.

Here's what the call is for:

We must hit profiteers where they feel it. Let’s slow the cash flow through the economic pipeline that fuels the banks, oil barons & war makers from Earth Day to May Day – ten days to steer away from war and climate crisis!

  • Use public transportation, or bike or walk where feasible.
  • For those with no alternative to driving, consider carpooling and reducing non-essential driving.
  • Demand elected officials – from the local to national government – prioritize alternative transportation: sidewalks, bike paths & public transit. Run the war makers and oil-igarchies off the road.

Demand alternative transportation.

Pledge to Join the Gasoline Boycott Now.

Uhh, pass.

"Use public transportation" is the biggie. Those buses run on gasoline, or diesel. There are hybrid drive buses here and there, but they're few and far between. Ditto for LNG buses or propane ones, and both are still fossil fuels, anyway.

Ditto for putting "public transit" under alternative transportation. Plus, upper-middle-class white neoliberals think that "public transit" includes and starts with light rail, which doesn't help working-class people.

And, there's the time factor of virtue signaling.

Like by Cassiday Moriarty, a national GP muckety muck of some sort.

She talks of her personal involvement:

For the duration of our Earth Day to May Day boycott of gasoline, I’m taking a leap that feels a little risky.

I’m riding the bus to work.

Now, I know that to many, many people that does not seem like a big deal — and if you live in a place with great public transit, I'm happy for you!

But I live in Indianapolis, which only just recently began real, desperately-needed investment in our bus lines after many years of neglect. Taking the bus stretches my usual ~20 minute commute to at least 1.5 hours (a best case scenario that assumes no delays).

That's all nice, but ...

If you're working two jobs, that's simply not feasible.

Even more so if the jobs aren't that close to each other. Plus, beyond money, having time to burn is a luxury.

And, I doubt Moriarty is going to continue this after May Day. After all, she hasn't been doing it up to this time.

Let's also remember that gasoline, and fossil fuels, are only one tranche of the climate change battle.