SocraticGadfly: 10/29/23 - 11/5/23

November 04, 2023

Top 10 blogging for October

As is normal, these may not all be FROM October, and I'll note those that are not.

As usual, reverse order from 10 to 1 with the appropriate drumroll at the end.

No 10 was a Texas Progressives roundup of white greed, white stupidity and more.

No. 9, slipping in stealthily, was a roundup of Texas Greens' infighting. As is the case from 2020 on, its over issues of transsexualism and transgenderism, and once again, a reminder that sex is not gender, and also a reminder that I reject both of the "twosiderism" two sides within state and national GPs (or former state GPs as in Georgia) on this issue.

At No. 8, I discuss the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine going to mRNA work.

At No. 7, I excoriated Warmonger Joe's linkage of Ukraine and Israel for a $100 billion bribe. (It looks, more and more, like Ukraine is on the back burner and may even be taken off the range. Will other NATO countries follow suit?)

In sixth place, another Texas Progressives roundup, which I edited into an explicit third-party and independent focus. (Why Brains never did this before he took his ball and went home, I don't know.)

No. 5? Wayne Christian following in the footsteps of Susan Combs in hating on the dunes sagebrush lizard.

OK, from here on out, the rest of the list will pick up on No. 6.

No. 4 is my discussion and analysis of RFK Jr.'s announcement of his independent political campaign for 2024.

No. 3? I wondered if Cornel West, Peter Daou or both were daft in Cornel West abandoning the Green Party to run as an independent. (From Bob Jr's POV in No. 4, I support him being an independent and not joining the Libertarian Party.)

No. 2? The Socialist Party USA just nominated Bill Stodden. For a number of reasons, I said I wouldn't be voting him in, if available here in Tex-ass by write-in. Note: All three of Nos. 4-2 are fairly, but not incredibly, long.

No. 1? Could it be bots? From two years ago, a Texas Progressives roundup that looked at the start of the 2022 election cycle and Southwest Airlines problems, a full year before the Christmastime 2022 meltdown.

November 03, 2023

Cornel West trying to make organizational shit into shinola

Since the relatively abrupt resignation of Peter Daou as his campaign manager a week ago, Cornel West needed to do something about that.

And, he has, albeit more with smoke, mirrors and marketing than reality. Via Independent Political Report, from an extended Tweet by West, he's trying to have a four-headed hydra oversee things.

As I said at IPR?

Uh, yeah!

West needs to hope that one of these four actually has some political organizational skills — and hopefully at least as good as somebody's PR skills in slinging this — as community organizing isn't the same as political campaign management.

Otherwise, this smacks of the start of Carter's and Clinton's presidencies, when they decided they didn't need a traditional chief of staff and found out just how wrong they were.

In this case, West is trying to make a virtue of necessity, but still.

At least he didn't do a Bob Jr., and hire an in-law to run the campaign. But, the day is still young, so to speak.

And, per that tweet? I responded in this vein:

Speaking of truth, justice and love, and mainly the latter two, is there anything new on the back child support? I'll cut him and his CPA a bit of slack on back taxes IF they're addressing it, but this is different. 

And, per Daou's long tweet in the top link, and respondents to West's new tweet about "jazz management" say this means "making it up on the fly," I'm sure this will end up being a big old clusterfuck.

November 02, 2023

Texas Progressives talk voting run-up, Musk gets a cheer, more

Learn about Speaker Mike Johnson, Christian nationalist.

Off the Kuff expresses his Mayoral thoughts about John Whitmire and Sheila Jackson Lee

Stace makes his unpaid for, no membership required recommendations for the 2023 election, AKA the Stace Slate.

Neil at the Houston Democracy Project says State Rep. Armando Walle's support of John Whitmire for Mayor brings Greg Abbott's DPS deportation troops that much closer to Houston communities.

State judge in Travis has blocked TEA from releasing the updated version of its A-F rating system in the face of a lawsuit over it, until a Feb. 12, 2024 trial date.

Once again, the Tex-ass Lege has passed something unconstitutional and again, as oft is the case, it's about immigration. Making matters worse, David Spiller (who is my House Legiscritter) is an actual lawyer, as known by all with him being one of the Ken Paxton impeachment managers.

Speaking of unconstitutional? A Waco JP, wrist-slapped on this same issue by the state judicial conduct board in 2019, is again refusing to perform gay marriages. The state Supremes are supposed to rule ... sometime. What's the wait? Dianne Hensley took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The deal is that, over the Colorado cakemaker ruling by the US Supremes, more nutters like Hensley are determined to go down this road again.

"Silence gives assent," says the old proverb, so I presume Matt Rinaldi still supports the the racism of Nick Fuentes.

Culdesac, no hyphens, is what the future of American residential communities SHOULD look like — car-free and walkable, and designed that way. WILL it?

(Note: I moved the Musk gets a cheer to a larger post about Israel-Gaza updates.)

SocraticGadfly spins from politics to talk about how veggie burgers aren't really healthy and may not be THAT environmentally friendly.

The Eyewall tries to make sense of how Hurricane Otis went from a small storm to a Category 5 in less than a day. 

The Texas Living Waters Project wants more of a focus on resilience and equity in the next round of "revolving" funds for water development. 

The Dallas Observer reports on a lawsuit that claims Dallas cops violated the civil rights of protesters in 2020. 

The San Antonio Report tells the story of how Toyota came to San Antonio.

November 01, 2023

RFK Jr. bringing new donor bucks into race

A month ago, I wrote about the planned leak of RFK Jr.'s big announcement for Oct. 9, which is, of course, today, and the leak indicating that he will indeed run as an independent. And, now, we're seeing more and more TWO campaign finance phenomena.

One is that Bob Jr. is drawing more from Republican than Democrat money on donors with a political history.

Two, and bigger, is that he's drawing new blood.

Politico looks at the money Kennedy's own campaign, not Super PAC, raised up to Sept. 30. It frames this as "Republican lean," but really, what it is, is massive political newbie lean. More than three-quarters of the large-dollar donors gave no federal funds in general in either 2016 or 2020.

Beyond that first graph, of those who have donated elsewhere this cycle, he's primarily getting money from Trump donors but also Vivek Ramaswamy contributors.

Beyond that graph, see this lie:

“Some members of our party like his positions on vaccines, but other than that he’s a liberal,” said Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.). “That’s not going to work.”

Wrong! Bob Jr. is a wingnut on pro-life, wingnut enough to tout one place that talks about the "abortion as Black genocide" canard.

Donalds isn't alone, though, as there appears to be a "Florida Man" gangup. Pedo pusher Matt Gaetz:

“Oftentimes people can donate to someone that they’re not even voting for just to see their argument platforms,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). “We’ve seen those calls among the sort of junior varsity slate of Republicans seeking the nomination, so I’m not as concerned about [donors].”

And Lil Marco:

“Really what you’re talking about is what impact could he have in five or six states that are going to be competitive, [if he’s] on those ballots,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has not yet endorsed in the 2024 race. “Frankly, I don’t know how many voters out there are willing to spend their vote on a candidate they think has no chance to win,” he said.

They are scared. At that first link, I noted states that come more into play, or states like Arizona and Georgia that Biden narrowly won in 2020 that are a bit more likely to stay in his column with Bob Jr. in the race.

Back to the previously apolitical donors? Sadly, because this is based on data-mining from FEC reports, Politico has nothing on WHY these donors are giving away money now. From it's own POV, that ties in part to its bad framing at the start of the piece. 

Part of why is clearly dissatisfaction with duopoly choices. That's possibly tied to GOP donors' hedge-donating. It may also be libertarian types, even Libertarian types, who see someone who largely fits their interests, but not entirely, and a more appealing candidate than Trump or the non-eyegrabbing 2024 Libertarian candidates.

Of interest, and related to Byron Donalds' lie, and possibly of interest to these recently apolitical big donors?

On Oct. 13, just days after his announcement, Bob Jr. booted Dennis the Menace Kucinich to the curb as his campaign manager, and replaced him with his daughter-in-law, who looks about as wacky as Bob himself. Besides the nepotism issue in general, a campaign that had looked fairly well-oiled up to this point will probably face extra scrutiny on those grounds.

I wonder if Dennis the Menace, wacky enough himself at times, had been some sort of restraining factor on Bob Jr., like on the pro-life stuff, where since then, has touted Auntie Angie's House, which, reading between the lines of this:

Our mission is to eradicate the Black Maternal Health Crisis through research, advocacy, support, education, and awareness.

Presumably believes in the "abortion is Black genocide" trope.

Given that he's grifted on the actual wrongs of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment to target American Samoa, Somali immigrants in Minneapolis and other people of color with his antivaxxerism, Bob Jr. may actually be a self-gaslighter on the "abortion is Black genocide" issue. As a 2-star overall book I just read notes, in 2021, Bob Jr.'s Children's  Health Defense released the film "Medical Racism: The New Apartheid." Add in that Bob Jr. has buddied up with Tony Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, and there you are. (How he squares this with blank checks for Israel, I don't know.


Update, Nov. 6: Perhaps reflecting some of the above, as well as Democrat butt-hurt-ness, a new Quinnipiac Poll shows Bob Jr. underwater on favorable/unfavorable. It also shows Rethugs more excited about the race than Dems.

Above all? It shows Bob Jr. tilting the race toward Biden. So, why the fuck isn't Genocide Joe giving him Secret Service? 

Especially since Quinnipiac legendarily tilts Republican.

A few brief new Gaza-Israel notes

Credit where credit is due to Elon Musk IF he follows through on his promise. Last Saturday, Musk said he would extend Starlink connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza. To #BlueAnon who say "But what about Crimea?" I pre-emptively say FUCK OFF.  That said, the "internationally recognized" gives Elmo all sorts of outs.

Turkish President Reçip Erdogan threatened on Sunday to send Turkish troops to Gaza to fight Israel. A mix of thoughts here, with this overall appearing to be good, bad and ugly. The good? This is in theory a "tripwire" on Israel that the US won't establish while it continues to largely write blank checks to the Israeli government. The bad? What I just said, in reality rather than theory. The ugly? If Israel doesn't respect the tripwire, Erdogan is out on some sort of limb domestically, and will do something, in all likelihood, even if not sending a bunch of ground troops. And, if any "advisors" get killed, the heat in Ankara increases. We could have a mix of a giant game of "chicken" with other games.

Reminder: Any claims you hear about Khaled Mashal or other Hamas founders being billionaires is nothing other than Israeli hasbara, which has been amplified by the "telephone" game or similar since first being pronounced.

The "global South" thinks Warmonger Joe is an even bigger hypocrite by far on this issue than on Russia-Ukraine. And, contra Mr. Dorsey, I don't think Mike Johnson as Speaker constrains Biden's options that much more than would be the case if Kevin McCarthy were still in charge.

#GenocideBibi claims that calls for a cease-fire are really calls for Israel to surrender.

Reality or wishful thinking? I'll take the under, so to speak on David Rothkopf's claim that Biden and Netanyahu are near a "breakup" on how genocidal Israel gets in Gaza. Rather than wishful thinking, let's call this what it is: #BlueAnon hopium. That said, Mondoweiss wonders somewhat the same.

"A Textbook Case of Genocide" at Jewish Currents, by Jewish academic Holocaust scholar Raz Segal, is BIGLY stirring the shit within the Jewish world. And, uh, no, it's not referring to Hamas as that textbook case.

Nathan J. Robinson has a good backgrounder on what led to this point. But, as I, Sabby Sabs and others know, unless his feet are held to the first nine months from now, he may still go off Democratic sheepdogging.

And, speaking of sheepdogging, gotta "love" how many Berners like "Beth: An Alien" are only just now freaked out by St. Bernard of Sanders' visceral hatred of Gaza, despite him having people arrested 30 years ago for protesting the bombing of Serbia, having hated on Gaza before, and having a long history of lusting for F-35s.

October 31, 2023

Science news roundup: cancer, microbes and contagion

Have microbes been found inside of cancerous tumors? Maybe, maybe not. We know that cancer is a constellation of diseases, and at least some, per the HPV vaccine, are caused by infectious agents. What percentage of cancers, and of which types, are or are not generated by microbes is a big deal for future study. (Beyond the flaws in studies claiming microbes have been found inside cancerous tumors, even if true, we don't know if there's any causation behind the correlation, of course. And, even considering that possibility, without further evidentiary guidance beyond correlation, we would have no idea in which direction the causation proceeds.)

Meanwhile, we're learning more about contagious cancers. Yes, as in cancers that, whatever the cause in an individual animal, can be transmitted from one to another.

This is why scientists and science journalists talk about the provisional nature of science.

Plus, this all has public policy effects. Where do we spend government cancer research dollars, for example?

October 30, 2023

Libertarian Party stupidity and chicken-shittery on abortion

The Libertarian platform talks about people owning their own bodies, it does NOT explicitly tie that to "reproductive choice" or "abortion." Neither is mentioned in the platform.  And, per this "Libertarians on abortion" piece, that platform schwaffling (despite its PR bullshit) is deliberate. Per that link, why not explicitly say in the platform what the piece says? "Libertarians recognize that abortion is a controversial issue, therefore bodily self-ownership should not be taken as an endorsement of abortion." The reality is that Libertarians, IMO, think that most lowercase libertarians believe the party is pro-choice and won't disabuse them. It's bullshit.That's why this piece, discussing the 2018 platform, and that the government should "stay out" of this issue, is also laughable. Since abortion became medically safe, not doing anything is "taking a side." 

That's whether the government says all abortions up to the moment of childbirth are OK, none at all are, none after 6 weeks, none after 12 weeks, or whatever.

It's whether the government says that, or "says" that by silence, or whatever.

Since some people, including, stupidly, Ted Rall, believe abortion is murder, substitute "murder" for "abortion" in any of the above. You'll get laughed at. Since others believe that abortion falls under bodily autonomy, do what the LP should, but won't, and say "you own your own body unless there's a local consensus that you don't own your own body reproductively, and then you don't," and you'll get laughed at.

And, if government is supposed to stay out, then where do you go for a societal majority? Your voting precinct? Your quarter-section? Your city limits? 

Anyway, it's this, and RFK Jr's conservative cafeteria Catholic stance on abortion (and it's a nutty one) that's why he's an independent and will stay one.


I now await some Libertarian commenting that the party is "neither left nor right," which I have long said is itself bullshit.