SocraticGadfly: 10/16/22 - 10/23/22

October 22, 2022

The "Gadfly slate" for Texas offices 2022

Unlike other current or former members of Texas Progressives, namely, Kuff, Stace and Brains, I haven't regularly done my set of endorsements. 

And, where I live at now, there's damned little to endorse below statewide races, anyway.

Democraps couldn't challenge Michael Burgess for the House, or Drew Springer for the state Senate, or David Spiller for the state House. Unsurprisingly in this part of the world, there's no Greens running for any of these slots. BUT? Texas Libertarians, who boasted a decade or so ago of having a candidate in every state Senate seat, are also AWOL on both the state races. (Sidebar: I'm wondering when there's going to be some Mises Caucus related showdown within the Texas LP, or TLP vs national.)

That said, here we go. For more info on state races, rather than the Tex-ass Secretary of State, I'll suggest you visit Ballotpedia.

On Congressional District 26? Libertarian Mark Kolls is pretty much in Dan "Taxation is Theft" Behrmann; wants to repeal all laws since 1911. Also claims that it was ONLY by marches, etc., and not marches that led to changes in law, that what we got in civil rights happened. A climate change denialist. In other words, a fucktard. And, a perma-candidate to boot. A clear undervote race.

Governor: Beto hasn't closed the gap enough to get my gun control vote, and his pandering on oil and stuff lost me anyway. (See the pinned post at top right for the Pander Bear stuff.) I'm undervoting the governor's race; see here for my initial mulling of that idea, months ago; Second Amendment absolutist Delilah Barrios, the Green candidate, lost my vote from the start with that. And, she is.

Lite guv? No Green running and Mike Collier is an even bigger pander bear than Beto-Bob. Pass.

Railroad commissioner? Not a fan of Green Hunter Crow even before this race. And, any Green saying gas should be $2 a gallon is a fucking idiot. BUT! That's just the starting point. He's ALSO a Texas secessionist! Luke Warford, the Dem, gets all the basic problems of the RRC correct, but doesn't go beyond that to "climate crisis" and should we even be drilling more at all? He does talk about Texas' "energy leadership," but wind, solar, geothermal and UGH hydrogen are mentioned in neoliberal market value terms.

Comptroller? I used to think Glenn Hegar was the one halfway sane Rethuglican in statewide office, but his antics of the last six months have thoroughly disabused me of that. Dem Janet Dudding may be worth a vote, if for no other reason than talking about how the Comptroller's office could intervene more in environmental issues. She also talks about the Comptroller's role in property taxes, especially vis-a-vis big biz. The Libertarian? Not worth discussion.

Ag Commish? Jeebus Shot Sid Miller did a GOP version of Pander Bear this summer when he suddenly talked about legalizing cannabis.  Susan Hays claims to be the real deal on that. She also talks TDA and rural health. But, for another reason, I won't vote for her. Contra her claim, cannabis IS addictive. That doesn't mean we shouldn't legalize it. It does mean, that for the minority of its users that become addicts, our health system, including our creaky Tex-ass rural health system, needs to be better prepared to help.

Land Commish? Vote Green, vote Alfred Molison to put the party above 2 percent on a statewide race and keep its semi-moribund dying carcass with ballot eligibility for 5 more election cycles, even if it's not deserving. (That said, I'm not going to die if he's below 2 percent.) Jay Kleburg is a ConservaDem former Republican. Sadly, Molison doesn't even have a Hunter Crow-level Google based website. Nor a Facebook. Oh, the independent, Carrie Menger, on gunz in schools and other things, is as much a wingnut as any Rethug. (I don't know if 2nd Amendment absolutist Delilah Barrios wants guns in schools or not.)

AG? Dem Rochelle Mercedes Garza deserves a vote just for not being Paxton. Plus, she favors legalized recreational cannabis. Libertarian Mark Ash is a shade-tree lawyer. Answered no candidate questionnaires. And, a perma-candidate.

Courts? I hate partisan elections for judges, but we have them.

No Greens running for the state Supreme Court. Since we have a bifurcated system here in Tex-ass and the state Supremes are about civil law only, not endorsing any Libertarians. But, if you do want to vote for a Democrat, or against a Rethug, per the Trib, Place 9 is your focus.)

No Libertarians are running for the Court of Criminal Appeals, so move along there, too. (If you do want to vote, one incumbent is unopposed, and one of the other two incumbents isn't necessarily a bad Republican. See here.)

At the same time, note that anything on a candidate info list from the Texas Civil Justice League should be taken with a grain of salt, as it also has a candidate-endorsing PAC, which has for years and years pushed "tort deform."

At the start of next week, I'll discuss those polls at right; feel free to hit them up now.

October 21, 2022

Nancy Pelosi, inflationary political idiot

New inflation concerns, thanks to the latest OPEC cuts, plus tight diesel stocks, which will likely minimize Warmonger Joe's latest effort to battle inflation, and which the Inflation Reduction Act does not do a lot of, have slackened the sails of earlier Democratic political tailwinds for the midterm election, as Jeet Heer notes at The Nation.

Of course, when you're in denialism, like Nancy Pelosi, and a reason I invented Passive Pelosi™:

Inflation’s an issue, but it’s global. It’s global. What’s (the Republicans’) plan? They ain’t got nothing. When you bring down unemployment, inflation goes up. So in any case, (President Joe Biden) brought unemployment (down), cut it in half. Inflation is there but it’s global and not as bad as it is in some countries. We’ll have to message it better in the next three weeks ahead.

How fucking stupid can you be, Pelosi? And, this statement of yours defines that yes, you need better messaging, because this messaging is crap.

I and other Americans are NOT voting globally on representatives to the UN General Assembly.

Jeet then nails Pelosi to the Hillary Clinton yardarm:

While Pelosi is at least urging fellow Democrats to take up inflation as an issue, the thrust of her comments suggests complacency: Other countries have it worse; unemployment is down; the GOP has no alternative; we’re doing great. It calls to mind the ill-fated “America is already great” message the Democrats ran on in 2016.


Bernie Sanders said that Dems need to focus on the economy more, and many Dem activists said "but abortion is economic justice." That it is. But, even if you're a minority woman, you're not having a new baby, and considering its cost, every week. You ARE, if you're at the grocery store.

Heer notes that national Dems could take a page from John Fetterman and attack corporate profiteering, and more than just oil companies, which are low-hanging fruit. Yeah, sure.

Heer then suggests calling out Republicans for wanting to privatize Social Security and Medicare. Really? With the last three Dem presidents' history on that?

And, beyond that, you have Liemonger Joe claiming to Peter Doocy that "It's not politically motivated at all," of his latest Strategic Petroleum Reserve release.  But, despite Biden's attempt to low-key this, voters have loudly said "It's the economy, stupid" to Inflationmonger Joe and Passive Pelosi.

Is Warmonger Joe a captive of the deep state on Ukraine?

Such is the thesis of this UnHerd piece, which makes me wonder yet more what I saw in the site when I signed up for updates. (An "updates" subscription, BTW, does NOT grant commenting privileges.)

And, it's another of wrong, or per the old physics mot juste, Not.Even.Wrong. pieces by Thomas Fazi. Fazi claims to be some sort of leftist, but has done nothing to show me that.

Anyway, his claim that Biden has been captured by the deep state, military-industrial complex, whatever, hinges on the recent explosion on the Kerch Strait bridge. Here's Fazi's nut graphs.

The fact that Biden hasn’t ruled out the possibility of meeting Putin at next month’s G20 meeting in Bali — an option he wasn’t willing to consider until recently — also indicates a potential change of strategy on the US administration’s behalf. 
But if this is the case, much will depend on Biden’s ability to stand up to the powerful forces of the US military-industrial complex pushing for the continuation and escalation of the war (as Kennedy had to do during the Cuban missile crisis). Some are even suggesting that the increasingly brazen attacks against Russia — the recent bombing of the bridge connecting mainland Russia to Crimea, likely at the hands of the Ukraine’s SBU security service, for example — might be attempts by America’s pro-war faction to escalate the conflict. 
After all, how realistic is it, as the former congressman Ron Paul asks, to assume that the Ukrainian government and intelligence services were able to conduct these operations behind America’s back? This leaves a couple of possibilities: either the Biden administration is fully on board with these actions, and supports the escalation; or there are elements actively working against the administration to derail any diplomatic solution — it certainly wouldn’t be the first time sections of the US intelligence had gone rogue. Of course, there is also the third possibility: the US has completely lost control of the Ukrainians, who are now engaging in terrorist activities behind the US’s back; it wouldn’t be the first time that had happened either, if we were to consider America’s role in the birth of al-Qaeda, for example.

Well, really?

First, going to the conspiratorial Ron Paul is a flag right there.

Second the bridge was not permanently disabled. The amount of damage that was inflicted signals a Ukraine-only operation, not involving US construction engineers, then sapper-type persons working off their knowledge. More here on the latest information about Russian claims of full repair timetable.

Third, Warmonger Joe himself said publicly, after the war started, that he hoped for Putin's being deposed as an end result. No deep state person had a gun at Biden's head, per White House staff scrambling to walk that back.

So, that leaves only the possibility that Zelenskyy is pushing away. But, that doesn't mean the US has lost control. Yeah, Biden has not fully indulged Zelenskyy's ask on specific weaponry, but Biden and Congress, including the Fraud Formerly Known as the Squad, have granted most of what he's wanted, and have so far refused to tighten the spigot.

Fourth, as for Biden talking to Putin in Bali? Five days ago — later than when Fazi wrote this — Putin said nyet.

October 20, 2022

Coronavirus week 124: Once more unto the vaccine-difference breech

Yes, I am aware of why the FDA et al put pause on the J and J vax. Were the very occasionally fatal clotting side effects that much more serious than the very occasional cardiomyopathy side effects from the mRNA vax?

I fault everybody from the CDC on down for not giving a straight layout of fatality rate per 1 million doses (doses, not people, since mRNA in non-booster form is a two-dose shot), of fatality rates of mRNA vaxxes versus others.

And, why aren't people like Walker Bragman and Your Local Epidemiologist raising this issue rather than, in a riff on #VoteBlueNoMatterWho, telling people to #GetBoosteredNoMatterWhat even though, per Paul Offit, the mRNA bivalent booster isn't a deal if you're under 50 and ergo, per risk of side effects, since cardiomyopathy often hits in the young, is therefore contraindicated?

Answer: Whether they admit it or not, or even recognize it or not, they're tribalists.

Inflationmonger Joe trying another dip into the SPR, but it probably won't work

Yes, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he would release more crude from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counter OPEC+ announcing cuts in production last week, and yes, oil markets and gas markets responded.

One big problem, though: diesel refineries are running out of stock. As this Bloomberg analysis piece notes, the diesel oil + fuel oil combined stock is at its lowest this time of year since a guy named Harry Truman was president. Oh, and we had half the population at the time, and much less semi traffic, and other things.

As Javier Blas noted, diesel has increased at the trucker's diesel pumps by 50 cents or more in the past two weeks. There's other things you need to read there, and that Team Blue would probably like to imagine away.

Let's start with this pull quote, then a few small specifics:

The American diesel market has been in crisis mode for most of 2022, and the warning lights have been flashing for months.


One of those is that a fair amount of diesel stock had come from Russian crude. Oops.

Second is that Biden can either do nothing, thus boosting inflation, or he can take steps to help the US, which will boost energy insecurity elsewhere, and among Latin American neighbors that are NOT part of the NATO fight against Russia. Given that he's already gone Trump one worse earlier this month by expanding use of Title 42 to deport Venezuelan Ill Eagles, and kind of pissing off Mexico, which is a definite importer of US diesel right now, that won't be good.

Third is that the EU still relies on Russian diesel imports, but plans to cut that off in February. We'll see how well that goes. Remember the last time somebody in Europe got into war with Russia with crude oil being a key factor, oh, about 80 years ago? At the same time, did we cut off Russian oil during Afghanistan invasion years.

Fourth is that, under US law, he has to keep it above 250 million barrels. Wiki links to other information that says 90 days of imports, which would be far less, but here's the actual US law, and it says 250 million barrels. DOE website confirms. Oilmonger Joe says that his plan is to refill it when oil is at or below a $67-$72/bbl range. Problem with that? Except for the COVID plunge, which actually started pre-COVID, oil prices haven't much been below that range for half a dozen years. And, that was with loss-inducing fracking in the Permian Basin keeping them that low. Beyond THAT? Oilmonger Joe said back in May that he had a plan to replenish the SPR.

That was surely as much of a lie as the one he told Peter Doocy Wednesday that, on the latest SPR release, "It's not politically motivated at all."

Meanwhile, despite Biden's attempt to low-key this, voters have loudly said "It's the economy, stupid" to Inflationmonger Joe and Passive Pelosi.

October 19, 2022

'But Republicans' on Medicare and Social Security is but bullshit by Team Blue thought leaders

Saw this piece tweeted by Molly Jong-Fast, talking about how a number of House Republicans have already indicated they plan to hold Neoliberal Joe hostage over the debt ceiling being hit again next year, assuming they regain the House, take top spots on major committees, etc. and their price is going to be hiking the age on both Social Security and Medicare, among other things.

First, as an aside yet not an aside, why didn't Dear Leader fix this whole debt ceiling bullshit in his first two years, along with getting the Reproductive Freedom of Choice Act passed, etc.?

Now, to our main story.

First, it's not like Neoliberal Joe hasn't talked about partial privatization before himself. Or cuts. Or other things. He's got a long history. (So did Dear Leader, his boss for eight years.) So, contra Jong-Fast clutching her pearls, and Fancy Nancy Pelosi palavering, this would actually be Jason Smith et al pushing against a semi-open door.

Second, it's not like Dear Leader didn't push Medicare Advantage expansion when he was prez, since he did.

Third, don't say the "first" and "second" are old news. As we speak, Biden is continuing a Trump Admin program that expands the privatization of Medicare. And nominated an American Enterprise Institute staffer who is pro-Social Security privatization to serve on SSA's Advisory Board.

As for Medicare? A good step one would be simplifying it. A better step two would be addressing the whole problem of fee-for-service medicine. That includes, from here, calling out Green Party thought leaders and MDs Jill Stein and Margaret Flowers.

I'll keep a Jong-Fast friended on whichever of my Twitter accounts it is, precisely because it's good to know what a Team Blue thought leader is claiming.

Nastiness over Luckenbach

I've been to Luckenbach once, a little over a decade ago, when I lived in Marble Falls, and spent a whole weekend touring the heart of the Hill Country. Even then, the surrounding area probably wasn't exactly what it was a decade before that, with San Antonio starting to creep out that way in northwestern development. (I'd been to Boerne half a decade earlier.)

Anyway, I had no idea that a whiskey company and other issues would flash fuel inflame a division within Hondo Crouch's descendants, a division that, even if he won't admit it, seems to be purely and ultimately about money on Kit Patterson's side, and one that stands on both legal and historic shaky ground, per the story, even as me makes himself into more and more of the bad guy. And, more and more of a hypocrite to boot.

Anyway, it's all about Texas legend, so ...

Take it with a grain of salt.

That said, I think some transplants drink Texana Kool-Aid more than natives, per the old "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could" bumper stickers, etc.

October 18, 2022

Texas Progressives talk elections, lunacy and more

Loonbat Laura Pressley lost another voting non-fraud suit. She's lost so many, with a perfect record, I wonder why a judge won't sanction one of her lawyers, or her personally even though not a lawyer, for barratry. Cut this stuff off at the pass.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar has certified that 49 Ill Eagles that Florida Man Gov. Ron DeSatan human trafficked to Martha's Vineyard are crime victims. But, he then pulled his punches, saying that only people in his personal jurisdiction at the time are suspects. He also said nothing about a possible referral to the feds for people outside his jurisdiction and our state of Tex-ass.

Could Asian Americans make up for Texas Democrats' relative fall among Hispanics? But, doesn't that assume that AAPI people, per the acronym, have unified political stances. That's almost certainly not true on national politics, specifically foreign policy, where Indian-Americans and Chinese-Americans will surely be at loggerheads at times.

Joaquin Castro says that Hispanics are a special target of false election info on social media.

Off the Kuff re-posts interviews with Janet Dudding, candidate for Comptroller, and Jay Kleberg, candidate for Land Commissioner. 

SocraticGadfly offers his thoughts on what's next for Tulsi Gabbard.

Of COURSE the state of Tex-ass and RRC head Wayne "Oil Wells Are" Christian is not going to pay to clean up abandoned dry holes or test wells. But, and even with straight ticket voting gone, how many old White West Texans will still pull the lever for Wayne-O?

Justin Miller has the latest on money in this year's political races here in the Big Bucks State.

Mental illness is another reason to get rid of the death penalty.

The ACLU, afraid of the Supreme Court overturning another precedent, even as the "tonks" at the Border Patrol are surely cooperating with DPS on Operation Loan Star.

Per the Monthly, Texas far-right Rethugs aren't really serious about secession, because many of them probably DO have an idea of the costs involved.

Does Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins have a blackface incident in his past? He says no, and by how specifically he describes things, and by his wingnut Rethug opponent, I agree with him.

Per Kevin Drum, fear of crime, despite Rethuglicans pushing it and Dems building the new Overton Window in response, is arguably down.

Texas Monthly interviews Secretary of State John Scott and tries to get him to understand why there are so many crazy people shouting about bogus election conspiracies.

Reform Austin reviews the 31 anti-Greg Abbott videos produced by Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater.

The Texas Signal takes issue with the Houston Chronicle's endorsement of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's opponent.

Grits for Breakfast presents the incredible history of the Texas prison system baseball league.

October 17, 2022

Is Beto-Bob going to catch up?

Beto-Bob has slightly more money than Strangeabbott. But, he's only very slightly narrowed the polls and remains well outside the margin of error.

Add in that his "let's go to Muleshoe" lunacy means that he's spent weeks, nay months, squandering time, energy, money and, above all, focus.


I doubt it. Strange is right that the polls have essentially flatlined. As prognosticators said months ago, abortion isn't a big needle-mover. And, while he's running for gov, not Congress, inflation is a negative needle-mover against Beto-Bob.

And, he didn't make even more hay on electric bills during summer power warnings by ERCOT. He should have been visiting the fast-growing exurbs of our major metros, not Muleshoe, in July and August.

Agree? Disagree? Hit the polls at right.