SocraticGadfly: 5/1/22 - 5/8/22

May 07, 2022

The hot mess of Cooke County GOP women

Notes from a primary runoff candidates forum held Thursday.

It’s “nice” that Cooke County Republican Women’s invocation person supports #StartTheSteal and at the same time violates Second Timothy (even while not saying which Timothy she was quoting before the meeting).

The “start the steal” was later reflected in one question to candidates about election integrity. All questions were determined in advance by the organization, so can’t blame the audience.

Next was her reading from 2 Timothy 2, namely verses 1-2, although not citing it as such:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.

Big old oops!

She ignored 2 Timothy’s comment by pseudo-Paul saying not only in that same book but later in that same chapter:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet.

By no means close to the first time I’ve seen the Religious Right have wimmin citing the bible before a mixed audience, while referencing directly or indirectly “old time religion,” and of course, “a Christian nation,” while ignoring that …

THEY’RE SINNING. At least, by pseudo-Paul's definition, they are.

She also, on “start the steal,” ignores Romans 8. “Submit unto governing authorities.”

Start the Steal was referenced again in the second question for county judge candidates. Fortunately, both candidates politely called bullshit on it, in essence.

And, of course, all of them there are ignorant of the history of the United States and John Adams’ famous 1798 quote to the Pasha of Tripoli.

And, on county tax rates, it’s “nice” that Republicans in general ignore capitalism whenever it hurts them, such as wanting a cap on valuation increases.

It was also “nice” to have the GOP women go nutbar in asking judge candidates, as in a small county, the judge is the emergency management coordinator, how they would handled COVID.

Next was “lobbying.” For the Texas GOP, lobbying is of course fine if you’re a biz, but saying that the Texas Association of Counties or Texas Municipal League are “lobbying” is the usual bullshit.

May 06, 2022

Russia-Ukraine week 8C: Nice story of brotherly love, but is the framing all true?

Yes, I wound up with a third different "main idea" on the war this week, so, three threads. Here's the third, with some ancillary thoughts as well.

Nice story at the Atlantic by Peter Pomerantsev about Ukrainian villagers being forced to share their basement with five Russian soldiers after the invasion. The captain, he claims, was spouting Putinesque propaganda about fighting the Americans and the villagers said "there are no Americans here." But, should we really trust that the captain meant he was literally going to be fighting Americans, versus the idea that he was fighting Ukrainians being egged on by the US and NATO who were willing to fight to the last Ukrainian? Given that Pomerantsev is a fellow at a nat-sec nutsack think tank at Johns Hopkins, part of a larger institute named for Aristotle Onassis' chief Greek shipping rival, and whose other fellows include Anne Applebaum and Yascha Mounk, we should probably be skeptical of the exactitude of correctness of his framing. That's especially since his book, "This is Not Propaganda," talks about all of the "theys" engaging in propaganda, or information warfare, but never the "us," er, the US. Add in that he partnered with Michael Weiss on one book and the picture is complete.


Via Independent Media Institute, I am reminded that Russia, as a BRICS member, is part of its own development bank. How much that would let it dodge asset freezes by the West, I don't know. The IMI note is part of a larger piece about the Global South and non-alignment issues. Tying this back to Pomerantsev? Let's remember that the West blocked Russia from most favored nation status long after granting it to China, and Pomerantsev is part of that international post-Cold War crowd.


Speaking of framing? Counterpunch has a piece on Mearsheimer (and Stephen Cohen) questioning the framing  of the dominant narrative, like Mearsheimer and Walt did, what, 20 years ago with the US' "dominant narrative" on Israel. Relevance to Pomerantsev? Obvious. It's so in-depth it notes that Cohen even said that, in the aftermath of the semi-coup or whatever at the Maidan, Putin felt he HAD to have Crimea back to prevent it from becoming a NATO "aircraft carrier."


James Dorsey discusses how Russia being bogged down in Ukraine, combined with Biden mishandling the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, has left Saudi Arabia looking for a security guarantor. There will likely be ongoing ripples from the war moving through the Middle East. Biden has an opening right now to call for a full cease-fire in Yemen, and condition a new security guarantee to that. (Let's not forget that getting heavily involved in Yemen was reportedly one of MBS' big ideas even before weaseling his way into Crown Princehood.)


Japan shows how one can condemn Putin without being a Russiophobic POS. Tie to Pomerantsev? Possible.


Counterpunch's Patrick Cockburn laughs at BoJo upping the heat on British warmongering.


Will Russia's demand to be paid in rubles for natural gas end dollar hegemony? And if so, will that actually be good for everyday Americans? Thoughts here.

May 05, 2022

Russia-Ukraine week 8B: The Squad's fraud, or let's just say the Fraud Squad?

Ilhan Omar, AOC, and the rest of the Squad are officially frauds. See this embedded Tweet on Omar's claims versus reality.

And, yes, the vote checks out. EVERY Democrat in the House voted for the euphemistic bill called the "Ukrainian Lend Lease Act."

Sadly, it's Xi Jinping Thought touter and Dictator Danny lover Max Blumenthal who did the gotcha at the tweet.

That said?

I'm not shocked that the Squad is the Fraud Squad and a bunch of nat-sec nutsack fellow travelers. To put it another way, like St. Bernard of Sanders, they're collectively Just.Another.Politician.™ in Just.Another.Political.Party™.

The real issue is that, for all their alleged revolutionary fervor, when the chips are down on bipartisan foreign policy establishment issues, none of them will buck party leadership. This may even include on foreign aid to Israel. Protestations of Palestinian support will be made, but direct votes against Israel are unlikely to happen.

On Twitter, I called out David Sirota and The Lever to talk about this. I also called them out to talk about how Nina Turner is actually anti-BDS, per Mondoweiss, and otherwise on Israel-Palestine issues, walks back half her allegedly pergressuve walk. Stand by for ... nothing, in all likelihood.

Again, though, it's not just the "Squad." NO House Democrat voted against it and NONE were absent. Even a Barbara Lee and a Sheila Jackson Lee voted in favor. (Saint Bernard voted for as well, as the Senate passed this as a voice vote amendment, per the full history.) Sadly, the 10 House Rethugs who opposed it are probably Tucker Carlson fellators rather than nuanced independent thinkers.

On the Democrat side, another way of putting it, per a blog post about week 7 of Russia-Ukraine war thoughts? NO Democrat will give peace talks a chance.

Of course, for all his callout of "Team Blue," Sirota IS Team Blue himself. He might puff Susan Sarandon on Twitter, but puff Jill Stein or Howie Hawkins? Not.A.Chance. And since, per that link, he thinks DSA Roseys are actual socialists, he'll never throw them under the bus. Also, Sirota doesn't talk a lot about foreign policy stuff (including BDS, I think, judging from Sirota likely being part of the effort to whitewash Bernie's record on BDS and Zionism), from what I see on Twitter, and when he does, he appears to keep one foot inside the bipartisan foreign policy establishment box. (Nor did he ever say much about Bernie not ever saying much about climate change.)


Besides wheat, the war is shorting sunflower oil globally, and badly. Late-stage capitalism is pushing a ramp-up in the highly problematic palm oil as a "solution." I've heard none of the Fraud Squad talk about this, or about how their voting for the arms bazaar, which Omar six weeks ago admitted it is, will only make this worse in all likelihood.


Both Nadal and Djokovic as individuals, as well as the WTA and ATP, have called out Wimbledon's Russia-cancelling. None of the Fraud Squad has condemned this.

Keep saying no to an Ike Dike

In his usual violation of at least spirit if not the letter of fair use regulations through his massive block-quoting, Kuff blogs about a new piece in the New Orleans Times-Picayune talking about the Ike Dike proposals for Houston. NOLA's lead-in is talking to the Army Corps of Engineers project manager who led the work on Crescent City's storm barrier system several years ago.

Kudos to the TP for saying the system would likely be woefully inadequate, just as the one in New Orleans is.

It has only 1 percent protection against 100-year storms, and that's using a definition of "100 year storm" that is itself getting outdated as we speak. This:

The Ike Dike is essentially a pre-disaster project done at a post-disaster scale.

Is the bottom line on that.

But, given that the Corps routinely underestimates costs for projects like this by massive amounts, a post-disaster project's costs? Maybe $100 billion?

At the same time, contra Jim Blackburn? The barrier islands alternative/complement isn't a solution, either. Those artificial barrier islands will be easily eroded. Who pays to maintain them? And, when the Thwaites Glacier disappears in Antarctica, they'll be underwater most of the time, too. Pre-disaster project.

I talked about all this and more five years ago, with an update four years ago, per links I dropped in Kuff's comments.

1. Environmental destruction would likely be worse than planned.
1A. The Corps is NOT an environment-friendly agency. A&M Galveston probably the same. This is an exercise in engineering wet dreaming for them, above all else.
1B. Given the Corps’ history, its construction cost estimates should be at least doubled if not more than that to be brought into the realm of reality.
2. An Ike Dike would do nothing to protect against surges on the inside side of Galveston Island, which is a lot of Helltown’s problems.
2A. An Ike Dike would certainly do nothing to protect against flooding from inland low pressure systems, definitely a lot of Helltown’s problems.
3. Options? Yes there are options. One of them is moving. If you really think you have to have it, a payment option for wingnuts and neolibs alike to back is a national carbon tax. (And, the pivot away from fossil fuels that would lead to would itself mean we'd have less need for petrochemical plant protection in Houston cuz they'd be doing less.)

May 04, 2022

Russia-Ukraine week 8A: A bridge too far by Chomsky?

In a snippet from a much longer interview posted by Glennwald, Noam Chomsky not only doubles down on a stance of his since the start of the war — a negotiated peace, with which I heartily agree — but laughably says that Donald Trump is the person to do that.

Chomsky's justification for invoking Trump is laughable and laughably misunderstanding of Trump. Trump wasn't looking for abandonment of NATO nearly as much as he transactionally wanted European members to pay more — and a goal that Putin's invasion is achieving.

Beyond that, as demonstrated this past week, Trump himself is a mountain of nationalistic and macho bluster, which he would unleash on Putin. And, he then pivoted back to #StartTheSteal. If Chomsky thinks this person should be the person who would lead to a negotiated peace, let alone be the person to guide it, he HAS lost it.

Full interview here if you have the time to watch it. I don't need to bother.


That said, I think I "get" where Chomsky is coming from, and in a sense it only makes it worse.

Like Adolph Reed, Doug Henwood and others, he's a leftist duopolist.

So, he's touting Trump to "own the Dems," or at least to "own the Dem establishment."

This is almost as stupid as the likes of Walker Bragman doing the same with touting Xi Jinping Thought. (There's even less excuse for Howie Hawkins, Margaret Flowers and People's Republic of Humboldt Bay Commissar Rainier Shea to do that, as the first two represent Green Party thought leaders, and I think Commissar of Northern California Nationalities Shea is also outside the duopoly.)

It's still stupid. No excuse for Chomsky to be Trump puffing.

And, as noted, I saw the clip via Greenwald. "Shock me" that he is playing this up for the same reason as Chomsky, only more malevolently in his intent.

Top blogging of April

These were the most read posts of last month by readers. As normal, not all of them are from last month. Older ones will be marked as such.

No. 1 was from last month, based on new information. "IPCC confirms we're facing climate change shit creek" is very true.

No. 2 was also from late last month. It was about who was the worst hack re Judge Mazelle's ruling ending federal mask mandates on public transportation — the judge herself, Nate Silver, Biden's CDC and ultimately itself, or the first airlines, who ghoulishly rushed to the head of the non-implementation line.

No. 3? My take on the sharp elbows in the Texas Democratic Party leadership battle.

No. 4? What new things I learned, or maybe, how little new she showed, when Texas Greens' gubernatorial candidate Delilah Barrios appeared on Proud Socialist Ryan Knight's podcast.

No. 5 was one of my weekly Russia-Ukraine roundups, and focused on Noam Chomsky triggering nat-sec nutsack snowflakes, and also touched on Google's vaguely worded demonetization aggressiveness.

No. 6 was one of the Texas Progressives weekly roundups. It probably trended high because I mentioned "back alleys" in the header and it included the arrest of Lizelle Herrera.

No. 7 was another of my weekly Russia-Ukraine roundups. It talked about other war crimes — ones allegedly committed by Ukrainians, including shooting Russian POWs — just before Bucha, and how little the West covered them, and also, how Counterpunch Radio's Eric Draitser comes off as being as much a nat-sec nutsack fellow traveler as he does an independent leftist voice.

No. 8? Technically old by links but also from last month. My top blogging of March was sports-heavy, but with Sports Reference ban-hammering me and FanGraphs sucking, that won't happen again! (sigh)

No. 9? My most recent Russia-Ukraine roundup, calling for both countries (and the US and NATO, ultimately) to give peace talks a chance.

No. 10? A callout of how the Texas State Teachers Association is using unfair economic comparisons to call for yet more juicing of teacher pay. And yes, here, the word "juicing" is deliberate, per that post.

And, interestingly, I think that's the first time in months that a monthly roundup of top blogging has had all its posts from the last month.

May 03, 2022

Texas Progressives talk Texas exceptionalism, elections, virtue signaling

Ross Ramsey tries to have his brisket and eat it too, fellating Texas exceptionalism while at the same time talking about all the things Texas needs to be fixed to be exceptional. I won't miss you from the Texas Trib any more than Evan.

Will Texas adopt a new teacher certification test? And, does this test have racial bias issues, as is the contention in some states?

SocraticGadfly said that the Green Party's call for a gas boycott from Earth Day to May Day ultimately came off as virtue signaling.  

NOT virtue signaling? Or maybe, in some twist, it is? Baylor is granting its first charter to an LGBTQ organization. (It still faces multiple Title IX-based lawsuits.)

Justin Miller calls out the billions and counting fiscal cost of Strangeabbott's border bullshit. With the primary over and this not likely being an appeal to "independents" in his November showdown with Beto, this too is virtue signaling.

Strangeabbott says that Texas Hispanics are about to break GOP. The Monthly says polls say otherwise

Stace tells us about Greg Abbott's sudden change of heart regarding who pays for his welcome wagon.

Off the Kuff wants to know where the coverage of mail ballot rejections in the May election is. 

Will investors seeking to recoup past fracking-based losses lose their block on new drilling in the Permian? Russell Gold notes that a biggie like Schlumberger is interested, but labor and supply chain issues have the next block on drilling. Halliburton says US-based fracking outfits are booked through the end of the year.

Is Texas facing a California-like wildfire future? The Observer says it sure looks that way.

Beyond native Texans, Californians who are Californicating Texas are driving highway-NIMBY suburbanification of the Metromess.

Slate says SB8 is affecting not only abortion availability, but women's thinking and decision-making process.

Jef Rouner shows how more and more of Texas' government is now under Greg Abbott's control.

Rick Casey looks at one San Antonio school district's response to a book-ban inquiry.

Laura Morales shows how Greg Abbott's anti-trans executive order also harms intersex people.

Michael Li breaks down the weirdness of New York's Congressional redistricting process. 

Paradise in Hell reacts to the Elon Musk Twitter news.

Few quick thoughts against both halves of the duopoly on the SCOTUS abortion leak

In case you haven't died or lost Internet access, it's this leak.

And, this is going to attack people in both duopoly parties, so let's start with Bernie Sanders

And, yes, I mean every word in my quote tweet. I blogged in 2007 calling for Dem Congresscritters to make a COLA as part of the minimum wage hike. Didn't happen; they wanted to keep it a political wedge issue IMO. At just 3 percent average inflation per year, compounded since 2010, we wouldn't be at $15/hour but we would be well over $10/hour right now.

As for codifying Roe? Ain't just me saying that. Plenty of leftists have called out Dems in the last year for not doing that when Dear Leader, aka Preznit Kumbaya, could have done with the Freedom of Choice Act, and then "deprioritized it." Bernie knows that and knows better. But, like the "Squad" (more coming soon), he's really a Fraud and  Just.Another.Politician.™ in ,Just.Another.Political.Party™. People who know better know that St. Bernard of Sanders ain't.

I mean, at the state level, Colorado is now the 15th state to do just that. But, even now, Congressional Democraps won't do it, instead bottling this up in a House committee and refusing to make Senate Rethuglicans engage in an actual filibuster.

Now to the wingnuts.

First, Yahweh himself is an abortionist, as I blogged about his own words in Numbers 5. Yep, he is. And, a woman in adultery? He doesn't care about her, contra modern "ministries" that say "keep the child, then have it adopted."

Second, per Francisco Ayala, if you believe in the "dual omni" (omnipotent and omnibenevolent) god of Christianity, then "God is the greatest abortionist." Stats don't lie, with at least one-quarter if not one-third of human conceptions spontaneously aborting. And don't say "original sin" or I'll kick you in the nads.

Back to #BlueAnon.

I vote, to the degree my presidential candidate would have anychance of election, in the hope of having Supreme Court candidates strong on the First, Fourth and Sixth Amendments. The reality? As exemplified by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG, tain't so. That's just one of several posts I've written about the reality of Dem-nominated Justices. The departing Breyer is the worst. Kagan is a close second. They jointly sucked donkey dongs on the Bladensburg Cross. Of course, Dear Leader himself played bipartisan with lower court nominees.

As for WHY Roe wasn't codified? Democrats' version of GOP "politics of outrage," IMO. Drive voters, and even more, drive fundraising. And, right on cue, Texas Dems prove me right.

May 02, 2022

The old Dallas County Community College District — imploding?

Dallas College, the old DCCCD, seems to be imploding, the Dallas Observer reports. (Long read) The DO says it's not all due to the consolidation, which was needed in some ways (I had no idea that in the old days, each of the seven campuses was independently accredited), but that the consolidation, COVID and other factors have triggered a clusterfuck. Insiders, both faculty and students, cite other incompetence they say COVID and digital learning accelerated, including "participation trophy" grading and instruction.

It's sad. With several years in Lancaster, I knew a few faculty and staff at Cedar Valley. To see this today? Especially when the participation trophy grading, if true, hurts minority students the most?