SocraticGadfly: 5/28/23 - 6/4/23

June 02, 2023

No, Paxton didn't make Beto lose, as #BlueAnon Texas Dems start their own Russiagate

With Texas AG Ken Paxton's impeachment last week Tex-ass Blue Anon mouth breathers have been claiming that he caused massive vote suppression causing R(ump) F(uck)? "Beto" O'Rourke to lose his race for governor to Strangeabbott, aka Greg Abbott.


First, Kenny Boy did no such massive vote suppression. The state did, in the case of Harris County and some other urban counties, get some restrictions on early voting remote ballot drop-offs. In other cases, most notably Harris, the county itself had shut some polling places before the general.

Related? Kenny Boy is too incompetent to pull off real vote supression.

As for the reality?

Beto beat Beto.

First, his 2020 prez run statements, especially on gunz, then on the environment (even as he continued taking slick oil money before his quick dropout) came back to haunt him, as anybody with a brain knew it would.

Second, his lunacy of going out to Muleshoe instead of concentrating on suburbs and exurbs not only cost himself votes, but probably cost Dems a chance of winning the Tarrant County Judge race.

Third, those non-voters aren't sekret Dems, and, even if they were, county chairs  in counties much larger than Muleshoe's Bailey County — think places like Bonham's Fannin County or Gainesville's Cooke County — have ZERO get out the vote effort or organization. Beto may not admit it, but half the reason statewide Dems like him go to those places is to "stroke" these useless as tits on a boar hog county chairs and keep them involved with the state party. I mean, even the executive officer for "Skipper" Gilberto Hinojosa of the SS Minnow admitted last November that their GOTV vote sucked.

Speaking of, Texas Dems, lemme know when you fire the Skipper. And,try getting a better alternative than Kim Olson; 2022 didn't work, maybe in part because too many Texas Dems are still too invested in Hinojosa. For whatever reason. Any easy facilitation of denialism, maybe?

June 01, 2023

Why did the Texas GOP finally go after Ken Paxton?

The best explainer I've seen so far is by Chris Hooks at the Monthly.

Hooks first describes Paxton's near-decade long alleged legal malfeasance that's been on the state docket, and successfully dodged so far, for the unfamiliar. He also adds in a brief backgrounder of the previous decade of alleged criminality before THAT.

Next is noting the omerta that Texas elected officials practice toward each other, with this as the kicker: 

Nihilism is the WD-40 of Texas politics: everything goes down easier if you accept that nothing really changes and nothing really matters. Until, suddenly, it does.

He then notes that Warren Paxton asking the Lege to approve the state paying off his lawsuit settlement was a bridge too far for a variety of reasons. (Sidebar: The House Investigations Committee began looking at Paxton then, long before Bryan Slaton; his impeachment wasn't out of the blue.)

He says other Rethugs balked at eating Kenny Boy's turd sandwich because it would appear to reflect on him.

Paxton easily won his last primary, and there's no indication anything would be different in 2026 unless the feds had a conviction by then. And, contra the Tex-ass level Blue Anons, there's nothing to indicate the 2026 general would be different than 2022. So, with an opportunity to impeach, they did. And, before this, Hooks notes they really didn't have a case for impeachment.

And, this, again, is why I scoffed at Tex-ass Blue Anons when they said Dan Patrick would never have a Senate trial. Most of them are tired of him. That includes Strangeabbott; naming John Scott as temporary AG rather than the permanent No. 2, Brett Webster, running the shop, probably should be seen as an Abbott endorsement of kicking Kenny Boy to the curb.

Hooks then notes the knots his 21 House defenders tied themselves into.

Hooks does have a stumble or two. He takes Harold Dutton's "due process" comment at face value without noting his Blue Anon tweet that he wanted Kenny Boy to have to be on the next ballot.

May 31, 2023

Texas Progressives say "So long, Kenny Boy" (sort of)

Note: Per various sources, the Texas Senate will meet June 20 to discuss rules of Ken Paxton's trial. Lite Guv Dan Patrick has already named a committee of senators who will report to the full Senate then. Quorum Report says the trial will be held no later than Aug. 28.

With that all said, I want to laugh at members of the Texas division of #BlueAnon who claimed a week ago on Twitter that Patrick would have no such trial. I knew then that Goeb has no trouble throwing away former allies or political friends of convenience once their usefulness to him has expired. 

Off the Kuff was all over the impeachment proceedings against Ken Paxton. (With large chunks of quote-texting MSM sources.) In a further update after sending out the Roundup, he speculates about why it happened now as well as how he hopes the Senate trial plays out, and how this ties to Dems' 2024 state race chances.

Also on the Kenny Boy impeachment, Harold Dutton showed that at least one Democrap in the Lege can be just as cynical as any Rethuglican, and in addition, be as naive about Dems' statewide chances as Gilberto Hinojosa, Democrats' captain of the SS Minnow. Harold, meet Kuff. Kuff, meet Harold.

And, with that, on to the rest of the Roundup.


SocraticGadfly explained what the new short-term tweak to the Colorado River Compact does and does not mean.

Multiple sites and people paid tribute to the great Houston-based writer and Texas original John Nova Lomax, who died this past week at the age of 53. A sampling, from the people who knew him and the places where his writing flourished: Houston Chronicle Houston Public Media Texas Highways Texas Monthly CultureMap Houston Houston Press The Press also dug up JML's classic series of stories called "Sole of Houston" in which he'd walk the entire length of an iconic Houston thoroughfare, sometimes over more than one day, and documented the experience in word and photo.

The Observer attended a memorial service for Uvalde victims on the one year anniversary of that massacre, which the Republicans in the Lege completely ignored.

Steve Vladeck wrote about being singled out for criticism by Justice Sam Alito for daring to mention the "shadow docket".

Mean Green Cougar Red offers a bit of perspective on the potential for a relocated NHL team in Houston.

"Congrats" to Boris Kagarlitsky for implying only Russia, not Ukraine, has draconian thought censorship, and "congrats" to Counterpunch for finding a Russian Eric Draitser.

Zionists trying to call Roger Waters a Nazi can fuck off. Sincerely, Mondoweiss.

May 30, 2023

African-Americans invented Memorial Day? Not so fast, and definitely not on Southerners

It's a stretch, at least, and perhaps wrongful wokeness at worst, to claim a May 1, 1865 memorial to fallen black Union troopers by black Charleston, South Carolina, residents the first Memorial Day. And, yes, David Blight offers good scholarship in resurrecting this event, but not so good in his extrapolation.

First, looking forward past that date? Blight does note that John A. Logan's call in 1868, which included the specific date of May 30 for commemoration, is what stuck.

Second, looking at the event? White missionaries were involved, too. Per the story, it's not clear whether they or the black residents first came up with the idea, or whether it was jointly evolved. It's also not clear if they had some specific inspiration or not.

Southern Whites may have had some role, but this piece overstates that, IMO, and doesn't look at the question of whether or not Southern Whites decorated Black Union soldiers' graves, and I think you know the answer to that. Richard Gardiner and Daniel Bellware have co-authored a full book about that, and appear to have ignored the March 1, 1865 event entirely, even though it's in Wikipedia's article on Memorial Day. I call shenanigans. That said, contra Blight, Logan never cited the Charleston event, from what I can see, so maybe it's not shenanigans; it just didn't "take."

But, the pair ignore pre-1866 Northern events.

And so, versus Gardiner and Bellware perhaps having a small bit of Lost Cause, or a bigger bit of Steven Spielberg gauze in them, the larger ideas in Blight's book Race and Reunion should take precedence. I have not read this book, but I have read his fantastic Frederick Douglass bio, so I think he knows in general what he's talking about.

Third and looking further back? There was this special battlefield dedication on Nov. 19, 1863, where a guy named A. Lincoln spoke a few words that time has certainly NOT forgotten.

Fourth? Looking further back, I do NOT think Logan was influenced by pre-Civil War Appalachian Decoration Days.

Summary? I hadn't heard of this event before, unless Eric Foner mentioned it and I forgot. It's good to recall it. But, it shouldn't be put on this level of pedestal, either.

Bigger summary? Blight is definitely more right on Gardiner and Bellware on the issue of gauzy heroic memories, especially if they have a hat tip toward the incipient Lost Cause, vs. African-Americans being quickly shoved aside from the remembrance of events. (Blacks fought at Gettysburg, but by the time of the 50th anniversary event in 1913, this was totally, and deliberately ignored.) What the Columbus State duo also ignore is that Logan spoke about "traitors" and other such in his call for Memorial Day, per the Veterans Administration. I quote:

General Logan was aware of these memorial efforts and their origin. In a speech given at an 1866 Independence Day celebration in Salem, IL, he spoke of the practice of floral tributes in the context of post-war Black civil rights, and compares "traitors in the south [that] have their gatherings day after day to strew garlands of flowers upon the graves of the Rebel soldiers" to a Black man "who has gained his liberty by the march and prowess of American arms, [who] shall come along with a basket of flowers to strew upon the grave of some poor loyal soldier that he shall have the right to do it."

So, while he may have been influenced by Southern practice, he was NOT influenced by any ideas behind said practice. So, IMO, it's a stretch to claim Columbus, Georgia, "conveniently" the home of Columbus State University, as the originator of Memorial Day. The "convenience" may also be an attempt to drum up tourism, as are other such claims.

And, if we're to honor Logan's spirit, even if he didn't know about it, we will give a hat tip to Charleston. Sadly, and why it's not on my blogroll anymore, Snopes is semi-dismissive of Blight's framing, and buys the Gardiner-Bellware claims whole and unskeptically. (Yet another reason Snopes shall remain deblogrolled.)

And thus, since Charleston, per Blight, did have the spirit of Logan, I stand by my piece on Memorial Day itself, wishing Happy Memorial Day to the traitors.

Final summary? Gardiner's piece has appeared in numerous places like the "Nebraska Examiner," rated by Media Bias Fact Check as "liberal." (Having looked at the Kansas version, I totally concur.) That was a surprise to me, as I expected wingnut sites to be his biggest touters.

May 29, 2023

Happy Memorial Day, traitor supporters

PRO Gainesville, the group that has protested Cooke County, Texas', refusal to remove its Civil War monument (the city of Gainesville did remove its), had some pertinent thoughts related to the city of Gainesville billing itself as the Medal of Honor City.

It noted that award was started during the Civil War. And, it commemorated people fighting against treason.

So, yeah, if "support our troops" extends back to those in gray, think again.

That said, PRO misfired by not mentioning that Gainesville is also the Great Hanging site. Just as much as in the North, if not more so, many Southerners didn't want to fight. And, in Gainesville, as in the German lower Hill Country, some got lynched for their pains.

Years ago, the city and county were approached about giving more publicity to the Great Hanging site, and possibly tying it in with Medal of Honor week, and both governments said no.