SocraticGadfly: 5/29/22 - 6/5/22

June 04, 2022

Revisiting Ted Rall on abortion

As we await finding out whether the recently leaked draft Supreme Court ruling on the Mississippi abortion rights law portends a final ruling or not, I decided it was time to revisit one of Ted Rall's more famous, or infamous, statements, which I blogged about more than a decade ago.

Here you are:

Abortion is murder. In my view women have--and ought to continue to have--the right to murder their unborn babies. Each abortion is a tragedy, some necessary and others not, and all of them are murder.

At one time, I thought that was semi-profound and maybe at least approaching being fully so. That was before I realized that Ted Rall was a self-aggrandizing bullshit artist far more than a font of profundity.

The reality?

Ted Rall doesn't believe abortion is murder. If he thought it were, in either a legal or a sociological sense, he'd be a full-on pro-lifer, and he's not.

Don't step in Ted Rall's bullshit, people, and don't let others peddle his bullshit as pancakes.

June 03, 2022

Ukraine Week 11C: Russian backtalk, Warmonger-Lite Joe

Two regional Russian legislators, both Communist Party members, were sacked and called traitors after calling for an end to the war.


Warmonger Joe Biden is clearly not interested in listening to any of the Goldilocks Three Bears of Chomsky, Kissinger and the NYT if he's going to give Ukraine long-range missiles. Dear #BlueAnon: You know who to blame for Biden's rising gas prices. That said, if you're a good environmentalist? Just think of it as a carbon tax. Meanwhile, vote in the poll at right: How many House seats will Democraps lose? Update: At least Warmonger Joe has the brains not to sell Zelenskyy long-range rockets

Or, I think he does. Per the official White House statement that also ran as a NYT op-ed, it's not clear to me, since I'm not a deep in the woods military hardware geek, if Biden is selling long-range stuff after all or not.

That said? Supposedly, Warmonger Joe is considering joining BoJo the Brexiter and sending some sort of US special forces to guard the US Embassy in Kyiv. James Dorsey has thoughts on that and more.


He's also not interested in listening to Putin himself, I'm sure, who told France's Macron and Germany's Scholz that he's open to more peace talks. They contacted him contra objections by warmongers in the US who might think Vlad the Impaler is trying to fracture NATO. That said, no, Putin's not withdrawing before a deal, and if Macron and Scholz think he is, they're almost as stupid as Biden.


The complexities of the Russian-Ukraine borderland. An ethnic Ukrainian woman who carried a SOVIET flag out to Russian troops at the start of the invasion is being propagandized by Putin, demonized by some of her neighbors, misunderstood by many, and ultimately a symbol of exploitation by oligarchs in Ukraine, who are as thick there as in Russia.


A socialist online news site reports from the Donbas, with a backstory on Odessa 2014. Even if you discount its claims by 50 percent, it's clear that the bullshit that "Russia is targeting civilians" is just that — bullshit.

June 02, 2022

Russia-Ukraine, Week 11B: Don't cream your panties about Saudi oil, Blue Anon

Reuters, referencing a semi-breathless Financial Times piece (and FT itself if you subscribe) should be read carefully.

The Saudis will ONLY pump more oil, at least a significant greater amount, IF Russian production falls significantly. Unless Warmonger Joe sells Zelenskyy long-range bombers that can hit the Caspian, let alone West Siberian drilling, that output ain't falling significantly any time soon.

So, the EU can claim it wants to cut itself off from Russian oil by the end of the year, but SOMEBODY's going to have to buy this.

Now, by the time you read this, we'll be seeing more of just what actually has been promised in stone and what's in wiggle room. The only thing officially scheduled was a modest increase of 430K bbls/day, which as that piece notes, OPEC members will probably struggle to meet right there. I'll eat my hat if there's anything much more than that.

So, going by West Texas Intermediate, average prices may fall below $110. Not below $105. Period. IF OPEC can find bigger increases, it's not happening until the end of July at the earliest

I wrote the above last night. And, this morning, a new, not-paywalled FT piece confirms me. No big production hikes at all, and the July and August ones will only be moderate, 650K bbls/day instead of the planned 400-430. And, international oil prices, which had fallen on the original news, crept back up a bit.

(And, after I blogged this, US gas companies spit in our faces with another 20 cent hike as WTI approached $120/bbl. That said, that's below the $147/bbl of 2008, even without adjustment for inflation. Gas prices stayed lower, though, showing this was an oil speculation bubble that quickly burst.)

So, enjoy losing 50 or more House seats, BlueAnon. (See poll at right.)

And, remember that Biden not just talking about what should be in peace talks, but actually calling for them, like the Goldilocks Three Bears (plus Pope Francis) will lower oil prices.

Ukraine, week 11, more truths come out on Zelenskyy's corruption

The best truth? This is a great roundup of Zelenskyy's corruption, including in palm-line tax haven Caribbean islands. It's all in there — Zelenskyy's general corruption, his connection to Ukrainian oligarchs generally worse than Russian ones, the Pandora Papers part and more. The only thing it's missing — and no, that's not totally snark, Blue Anon — is Hunter Biden's laptop. (On that, Bill Barr made the better call, not to investigate that close to the election — than did James Comey on his muddling vis-a-vis Anthony Weiner's laptop, and everything Weiner. That said, Comey was clueless, per James Stewart's new book, but it still doesn't excuse all his bigfooting after AG Loretta Lynch met the Slickster on the Phoenix tarmac.)

And, at some point, are we going to get info that more directly pegs Hunter to Zelenskyy's grifters? And, will the Fraud, not the Squad, push for this?

But, back to that first link.

  1. Did you know the International Monetary Fund cut Zelenskyy off from a new round of lending in 2019 because of corruption? (Even the nationalistic Kyiv Post admits that, because it's the source linked for that in the main link!) That said, the IMF's answer was "tie yourself closer to the EU."
  2. That Washington turns a harsh, or a blind, eye on corruption depending on connections?
  3. That Zelenskyy's main oligarch, Ihor Kolomoisky of PrivatBank, started his own militia after the Maidan?
  4. That, sorry, there IS Hunter Biden, if not his nefarious laptop, in the story, cuz he's connected to Ihor Kolomoisky. 

Here's the bottom line:

The war has completely reinvented Zelensky, thus saving his scandal-plagued presidency marked by broken promises. As a Kyiv International Institute of Sociology poll showed, just 24 percent of voters supported him in late January.

Now, we know the IMF doesn't control Putin. So, why DID he invade? Couldn't he have waited to seeif Zelenskyy would implode instead?

If you don't trust the top link because it's not "mainstream media"? OK, The Guardian.  Start here, where, after the Guardian notes he ran for president on an anti-corruption platform, here was the reality:

The Pandora papers, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with the Guardian as part of a global investigation however, suggest Zelenskiy is rather similar to his predecessors. 
The leaked documents suggest he had – or has – a previously undisclosed stake in an offshore company, which he appears to have secretly transferred to a friend weeks before winning the presidential vote.

Simple enough. For details, here's yet more from the Pandora Papers.

Next, the Guardian notes that Zelenskyy, to look transparent, "declared" a number of previously private assets after being elected. But, he left many undeclared, until the Pandora Papers fixed that.

As for his bigger "clean-up" campaign pledge?

EU auditors warned last month that “grand corruption and state capture” remained widespread in Ukraine.

The Guardian then also notes other details of his ties to Kolomoisky.

Medium poster Scott Dunn, from whom the Guardian link, notes that two diametrically opposed political alignments, the UK's Socialist Workers Party and the Cato Institute here in the US, have both called out Zelenskyy on corruption. Both, and Cato especially, note general political corruption by Zelenskyy, not just financial corruption.

Meanwhile, as of late July, despite attempts to downplay it, and to downplay the concerns of Ukrainian-born Congresscritter Victoria Spartz, Warmonger Joe and the Nat-Sec Nutsacks™ are STILL concerned about Ukrainian corruption, AP reports.

June 01, 2022

Texas Progressives: Regular roundup

SocraticGadfly wonders if even any of the Goldilocks Three Bears of Kissinger, Chomsky or the NYT editorial board (plus Pope Francis being more honest about NATO than Biden), will persuade any Democrats to support negotiated peace talks in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Off the Kuff brings the news of the long-awaited professional misconduct lawsuit against Ken Paxton, filed last week by the State Bar of Texas.

Sadly, Elena Kagan, as well as three wingnuts, doesn't get the First Amendment. Fortunately, re the Texas social media bill that's arguably also a bill of attainder, Amy Barrett does get it, and it's back on hold.

Scott Braddock gives us a rare peek inside a Republican primary campaign, with evidence in support of something we already knew.

The Dallas Observer takes a look at what the post-Roe landscape will be in Texas. 

Joshua Benton explains the deeply segregated Highland Park school system.

The Houston Press brings back the Houston Bucket List.


May 31, 2022

Roundup of Uvalde thoughts — mine and Texas Progressives

The Uvalde cops themselves LIED. That's CLEAR by now. Why does Big Media continue to euphemize about "changing narratives"? I'm with Chris Hooks and others: they simply can't, or won't, wrap their heads around the idea of lying cops. And, did the people on the Wednesday evening presser with Abbott who called Beto a "sick son of a bitch" already have an idea about this?


"Hey Hey, NRA, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?"  It doesn't get more elemental.


State Sen. Larry Taylor is interested in looking at upping the age for an AR-15 to 21, but then says gun control laws in general aren't good because they can't be enforced. Just a TOUCH internally self-contradictory, Taylor? Plus, we hear that bullshit from gun nutz all the time. By that logic, we shouldn't have laws at all.


Green Party gubernatorial nominee Delilah Barrios, after attacking Beto O' Rourke in early February because she said he he was attacking Second Amendment rights, now, post-Uvalde (update in original post) claims she'll be better than Bob on a Knob on gunz. Bullshit. She claims that "defund the police," whatever the hell that increasingly nebulous phrase  actually means for her, is all we need. I guess when you're a Second Amendment absolutist with an anarcho-libertarian as your muse on this (no, really), well ...


Former Jeb! 2016 prez run communications director Tim Miller at the Bulwark gets all hypocritically righteous about DPS head Steve McCraw's fuck-ups WITHOUT telling us 

  1. Jeb Bush's 2016 position on gun control;
  2. Jeb's current position on gun control;
  3. His OWN current position on gun control.

He has been called out on Twitter and has not responded.


Dan Crenshaw is a self-refuting hypocritical sack of shit and John Cornyn is a lying, censorious sack of shit. I'm not even discussing Cruz, Abbott, Patrick, etc.


Betcha didn't know this: Uvalde ISD top cop Peter Arredondo, the guy who wouldn't let the parents inside Robb Elementary, got elected to the city council May 7. If he had an ounce of integrity, he'd resign.


REPUBLICAN Congresscriter Chris Jacobs of New York, an NRA endorsee in 2020, says that, post-Uvalde, he supports an assault weapons ban. Why won't Delilah Barrios?

Remember: As of 2019, after Rethugs in the Texas Lege shit-canned red flag laws to committee death, 53 percent of Republicans in the state supported such law. 


Did Heller vs DC leave states room to regulate guns in general, or handguns or "dangerous and unusual guns" in specific? So says a 2008 Scalia law clerk who quotes those words of his and others, writing in partnership with a 2008 Stevens clerk:

But Heller looms over most debates about gun regulation, and it often serves as a useful foil for those who would like to deflect responsibility — either for their policy choice to oppose a particular gun regulation proposal or for their failure to convince their fellow legislators and citizens that the proposal should be enacted.

Sad but true. Wingnuts want to hide behind Heller, as do some ConservaDems like Manchin; gun control advocates can't get ConservaDems to see the light, let alone preach the light, and here we are.


And, some Texas Progressives thoughts:

Stace offers up a post about his thoughts on and his personal connection to Uvalde

The Texas Signal covers Beto O'Rourke's confrontation with Greg Abbott at a press conference after the Uvalde murders.

Reform Austin shows Ted Cruz being Ted Cruz, in the most Ted Cruz way possible. 

Therese Odell vents her rage at our increasingly longer national nightmare.

Matthew Dowd singles out four myths about guns that stand in the way of reform.

Your Local Epidemiologist has the policy prescriptions for reducing gun violence.

Gus Bova correctly calls Greg Abbott "full of shit". 

May 30, 2022

Delilah Barrios still has gunz problems post-Uvalde

The last 24-48 hours have left me more convinced, barring definite changes on her part, that I won't be voting for Green Party candidate Delilah Barrios for gov, and  post-Uvalde, if he's got a puncher's chance, I'm more likely to vote Bob on a Knob O'Rourke than undervote. (There's also an independent in the campaign, but I haven't researched him yet. And, Libertarian Mark Tippetts is going to Libertarian on gunz, I know that without looking.)

I had already had concerns with Delilah Barrios, per her Texas GP bio linked there and related matters, nearly three months ago. I have little love lost myself for Robert Francis O'Rourke, but if part of why she doesn't like Beto is "Attacks on 2nd Amendment rights," then I want nothing to do with her. First, even though he said he's not repudiating his "we're going to take your AK-47," he surely doesn't mean that 100 percent literally. And, if he means that in terms of, say, a Texas-level version of Bill Clinton's assault weapons ban, I support him 110 percent and yes that would be literal.

Besides, I still believe in a "corporate" interpretation of the Second Amendment, with the "well regulated militia" clause governing. So did the Supreme Court, before Heller. And, an AK-47, at least on full auto, has zero non-military purpose. And, I don't give a fuck for what SCOTUS has said from Heller onward.

Sadly, shockingly and hypocritically, post-Uvalde, Barrios now is going with the angle that she'd be better than Beto on gun control. Well, you've pretty much guaranteed you've finished losing me. Just.Another.Politician.™

To add to the fun, one of Barrios' Twitter shills blocked me. Barrios had retweeted them, from a thread talking about the election, when this "Barcode" said, rhetorically, something about voting for either the blue NRA shill or the red NRA shill. Their account doesn't allow responses from the public, so I quote tweeted as saying that I knew Beto was a shill for Big Oil but not the NRA.

They then tweeted this in response:

Then blocked me. Fortunately, I got the screengrab off my Tweetdeck. I had quote-tweeted just before they blocked me, then, since I still had their tweet in Tweetdeck, tweeted to them directly, including calling them out for their failed attempt to be coy. Then, of course, I blocked them back. Actually, I did the Twitter double of both mute and block. And, like Barrios herself being hypocritical, just attempt at being coy is Just.Another.Politician.™ territory. With that, while reserving the right to undervote, I know I won't be voting for her and likely will for Bob on a Knob. I have no doubt that Libertarian nominee Dan Tippetts is going to be the typical Libertarian on gunz.

Barrios isn't getting paid (yet?) by the NRA, but one doesn't have to be paid to be a shill, even if she comes at NRA talking points from a different angle (tho the likes of Gordon Liddy had an anti-cops angle on NRA support in the past). So, we really should talk about the red NRA shill and the green NRA shill, Barcode.

And now, Barrios has finally responded to me on Twitter:

And, my reply:

That's the facts. 

She did respond back saying that she doesn't think gun control and "defund," whatever that increasingly vague idea means to her aren't mutually exclusive, but didn't back off her attack on Bob on a Knob:

I appreciate that she's going to "work on it," because, per this original post, and I'll probably put this stuff into a separate piece, her platform, as detailed, is a hot mess of inconsistencies, and that's not even counting her playing footsie with antivaxxers and wanting to let resident aliens vote. And, as for the "NRA donates to both parties"? Per Open Secrets, the gold standard on such, if less than 1 percent recently but technically more than zero is "donates to both parties," uh, WRONG. Again, per your shill, Bob on a Knob is a Big Oil shill. NOT an NRA shill. Even if we go back a few years, it's been under 5 percent on every post-2014 election cycle. What changed? Obama, the Tea Party and more open racism. That second link is also Open Secrets. 

(And, don't @ me on this issue either, saying "but Obama this," etc. I blogged about him letting gunz back into national parks in his first term. Besides, if you're Delilah Barrios, you ought to be fine with that anyway.)

And, that still doesn't address that you apparently won't back something like Bill Clinton's assault weapon ban being revived. Or even a red flag law. And, I'm taking your silence as opposition. 

Her own platform, linked again. She's a blank check 2nd Amendment-er. A "no exceptions" 2nd Amendment-er, like a no-exceptions pro-lifer. Yes, that analogy is deliberate. 

(She's also a hypocrite, retweeting someone who wants to limit the sale of ammunition. SECOND AMENDMENT INFRINGEMENT.)

But, that's far from her only platform problem. As I posted in early February, she's an antivaxxer or fellow traveler based on her own Tweeting about the Green Party's Steering Committee stance on vaccines.