SocraticGadfly: 2024

July 24, 2024

Science news: Brain plumbing, nekkid Lucy the Australopithecus, more

I've read recently that the amyloid plaque idea of Alzheimer's is not on the most solid ground, but it's verboten to question it, let alone offer alternatives, in serious research journals.

Well, what if it's partially right but not fully so?

This idea, that the brain's glymphatic system flushes brain waste during non-REM sleep, including but not limited to, amyloid plaque, would be one idea. In this case, then, two people with similar daytime levels might differ on Alzheimer's symptom degrees, or even whether they have it or not period, depending on whether their brain plumbing is working well or not.

==

An interesting piece here, ostensibly about Lucy the Australopithecus afarensis, but in reality about body-draped reconstructions off fossil bones of ancient hominins in general. Per the story, to use the old Texas word deliberately, Lucy, and her ilk, actually might have been more nekkid than they've been portrayed. Linked in the piece, the author, a philosopher, notes that the coevolutionary history of humanoids and humanoid-targeting body lice says that not only was Lucy nearly nekkid, her ancestors may have been nearly hairless as much as 1 million years earlier.

Stacy Keltner speculates that shame over nudity arose to reinforce pair-bonding by trying to shame actual or would-be cheaters. The idea sounds interesting, but it also sounds like it involves some backward-reading Ev Psych. Indeed, Keltner cites an evolutionary anthropologist. Nudity and nakedness, if you will, are indeed not the same. But, the speculation as to why nakedness became, essentially, shamed into nudity still seems like awfully thin ice. To put it another way, it looks like a somewhat self-referential take, unable to escape our 20,000? 50,000? years of post-nudity framing.

==

Related somewhat to Lucy, though not on the development of nudity and shame?

Carl Zimmer has reporting on human fossils in Tibet confirmed to be Denisovan. The age range is the biggie. It's from 160,000 years before present, confirming how early Denisovans split off the Homo family tree, to just over 30,000 years bp, including evidence of their interaction with Homo sapiens.

==

Another Zimmer story notes that new research indicates language evolved primarily for communication, and NOT for thinking. Fun sidebar? This is another overturning of Chomsky's claims about language. (I can't say "research," since Chomsky did basically none.)

==

It sure would be nice if NASA could work with the Chinese Space Agency and see some of those far side of the moon rocks that the Chang'e 6 spacecraft brought back to earth. But, because of US Congressional tribalism on China that predates COVID by nearly a decade, US law says it can't.

Meanwhile, bringing back 2 kilos of rocks by unmanned voyage? The American Cold War-based rationale for manned lunar missions (and a manned Martian mission beyond that) continues to lose more and more steam.

July 23, 2024

I didn't know Orwell was this bad

This is an extended review of an overall bad Orwell biography, focusing mainly on one issue. It's an issue that I didn't know about before, until a Goodreads friend asked me if I had read another book about Orwell.

I had long known that many leftists had some degree of discomfort with Orwell. I had bits, but not that much, and didn't know why these others had that high degree of discomfort. Well, the editorial blurb for that other book, "George Orwell and Russia," mentions "Orwell's List." And, I quickly found out why, indeed, and joined their ranks.

Orwell: The New LifeOrwell: The New Life by D.J. Taylor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Probably 3.5 if I'm generous, but I just can't do that.

UPDATE: Dropped to two stars; see below.

First, riffing on another reviewer, this is less a new bio than a revision of the author's previous. I'll take that person's word for it.

Now, my thought.

A prediliction for physiognomy present in older English (sic, not “British”) historians still seems to abound with Taylor. What ARE stereotypically Gallic features? Fortunately, unlike them, the author doesn’t seem to venture into physiognomic essentialism.

But, he does flirt with presentism. He notes that Orwell called Spender a “pansy,” and then says, OK, that’s bookmarked, move on. Ditto on talking about a feminist author in modern times attack Orwell for misogyny and compare it to shooting an elephant with a pea-shooter. Seeing all this predisposed me to be less than enthusiastic.

That said, he insinuates that the “How I Shot an Elephant,” as well as “A Hanging in Burma,” may not be factual. Says the latter has clear ties to a similar Thackaray piece. But, while insinuating, takes no stand.

As for big issues? Taylor doesn't fully tackle the issue, beyond the above, as to how good of a non-communist leftist Orwell was, or was not.

The bio itself is in a vignette style. It’s interesting, but doesn’t always flow well.

Also, misses chances at psychological takes. Was the adoption of Orwell as literary pseudonym also that of a literary persona? Why the one foot back in Edwardian times? What was up with the one foot in the Church of England from the early 1930s to the end of his life? Per one bit of cynicism, did he have jealousy as well that he had not gone from Eton to Oxford himself? Regret?

Add in that I hit my library's timewall, and that I've long thought Brave New World was more prescient than 1984 (and a better read, as is Darkness at Noon) and, the book just petered out on me.

Orwell's List a VERY controversial, it seems, and totally new to me, compilation of names of writers and other creatives for the British government's Foreign Office by Orwell (see a quote from the Wiki page below), basically a list of people who in the US in the McCarthyist 1950s would have been called "Comms and Comm symps," is "addressed" in less than two full pages by Taylor.

Nut graf:
"(W)hat came to be known as 'Orwell's List' has occasionally been used as a stick with which to beat his supposed [emphasis added by me] intolerance.
From Wiki:
Typical comments were: Stephen Spender – "Sentimental sympathiser... Tendency towards homosexuality"; Richard Crossman – "Too dishonest to be outright F. T."; Kingsley Martin –"Decayed liberal. Very dishonest";[9] and Paul Robeson – "very anti-white. [Henry] Wallace supporter"
From Wiki, comment by Alex Cockburn:
Cockburn attacked Orwell's description of Paul Robeson as "anti-white", pointing out Robeson had campaigned to help Welsh coal miners. Cockburn also said the list revealed Orwell as a bigot: "There seems to be general agreement by Orwell's fans, left and right, to skate gently over Orwell's suspicions of Jews, homosexuals and blacks".

Taylor doesn't even mention Robeson being on the list, let alone why.

Folks, this confirms my sneaking suspicion that this book was hagiography.

And, I disagree with people at that Wiki link claiming that this was not McCarthyist. He gave it to the Information Research Department at the Foreign Office, at least his "finalized" list. And, had he lived longer, he might have submitted more names from his personal list. (Robeson was on there; so were George Bernard Shaw, Katharine Hepburn, Orson Welles, and John Steinbeck, among others; aside from Orwell being an informant, this leads to questions of his general judgment.) I also disagree that he would have broken with the IRD had he realized, with living longer, what it was up to. Claims that he would have are an argument from silence.)

In that case, these defenders are saying that, either due to late-life health problems, or general causes, Orwell had a high naivete level. You want to stand on that ground? Even a writer for Socialist Review makes that claim. Note: Now that I know why Orwell "wrote up" some of these people, Alan Turing was lucky not to be "outed" until 3 years later, I guess. And, the idea that tuberculosis can make you "ga-ga" in late stages is painting with a humongously broad brush. 

And, resorting to such a brush is a clear sign of being a member of a cult of Orwell.

And, that is also "Orwellian."

View all my reviews

July 22, 2024

Top posts, second quarter of 2024

I forgot to do a top posts for the month of June, so, this instead.

As usual, these may not have been posted within the past three months. Posts outside that time frame, but with renewed popularity, will be noted.

No. 10 is old baseball, and Part 2 of my series about the Black Sox at 100. I posted it to Reddit's r/MLB sub, hence the new readership.

No. 9 is my take on a Moab developer trying to pay cheesy but heartfelt homage to Cactus Ed Abbey and being cut off at the pass by his legacy-guarding widow, Clarke, and some backstory hypocrisy.

No. 8? My detailed, skeptical leftist take on the release of Julian Assange.

No. 7? Tied to No. 9. RIP Jim Stiles.

No. 6? A state-of-the-campaign roundup of where third party and independent U.S. presidential candidates stood.

No. 5? My take on ProPublica exposing school lies of Farris Wilks and Tim Dunn, although neither of them are personally mentioned by name.

No. 4? Related to No. 3, and originally started late last year and based on 2016 issues. It's a detailed look, complete with federal filings, at Green Party presidential nominee to be Jill Stein, investments hypocrite.

No. 3? The tribalism and more behind the rush to write encomiums to Noam Chomsky, who turned out to not be dead.

No. 2? Just inside the quarterly cutoff, an early April Texas Progressives roundup that featured thoughts on Gaza. New thought? ConservaDem Charles Kuffner of Off the Kuff continues to dodge both this, ie, Genocide Joe, and Dementia Joe.

No. 1? Also from the start of the quarter, thoughts about why dental care isn't considered health care and why that needs to change.

July 19, 2024

"Biden withdrawing or not" becoming like "Chomsky dead or not", Round 2

Just like a little over two weeks ago, as I discussed then, we're getting dueling headlines and dueling stories, all fueled by dueling leaks, of course, because that's how the MSM in DC (sounds like Madcow Maddow's network, almost, doesn't it?) rolls.

Axios

And the AP:

Versus the NYT

And Politico:

Per various of the stories, public House Dem opposition is 30 or more. I think there's three Dem Senators who have said, per Pride's Purge, "For the love of God, leave."

On the other hand, the Congressional Black Caucus and Black Democrats in general are bigly in his corner. And the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's PAC has now endorsed him.

The virtual roll call plan remains in place. Originally, it was to stop pro-Palestinian protestors from making Chicago 2024 into Chicago 1968. Now? It also lets Biden, with his hands on the machinery of the Democratic National Committee, block in-person attempts to stampede the convention. So, unless he drops out before Aug. 7, that remains in place and will not change. Bet on it.

Congresscritters, especially on the House side, have gotten more numerous and frenetic in their "leave" calls. Senators are starting to.

But, governors, who often supply presidential candidates? Silencio. That's because many of them — Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer, California's Gavin Newsom and even Pennsylvania's Josh Shapiro, are getting mentioned as top possibilities to sidestep Vice President Kamala Harris.

My bet? Still 75 percent odds Biden stays in. After this weekend, and beyond.

Finally, if he stays, could Biden get a bounce-back or sympathy vote from oldsters who feel this is all unfair?

PRO Gainesville going to jail!

As someone who saw the whole original 20-minute video? Per the details of their emergency appeal to the Supreme Court, via Courthouse News

It's not just the ACLU and ACLU of Texas that appear to be lying, and lying to the three defendants, as I said a few weeks ago.

The trio themselves — Amara Ridge, Torrey Henderson and Justin Thompson — also appear to be lying.

I saw the whole 20-minute video when it was posted immediately after that march, and wrote about it.

Therefore this statement:

“No evidence showed that applicants themselves intentionally or knowingly blocked any traffic or rendered any street impassable or unreasonably inconvenient or hazardous,” the protesters wrote in their emergency application. “The court below nonetheless upheld applicants’ convictions based on the actions of unidentified others in the march — an unnamed bicyclist and ‘the crowd’ generally.”

Just don't ring true.

Up until seeing that, as I had not read every bit of trial transcript or appeals filing, I thought it was ACLU and ACLUTx leading the trio by the nose. But, at some point, since, contra nutter original attorney Alison Grinter, they're not "kids," contra her claims at that last link, the issue of responsibility for signing off on such an appeal arises. That includes them having plenty of opportunities to have read the ACLU pamphlet about rights for protests — including protest restrictions when you don't have a permit.

As for the claim, in essence that ...

We could serve our entire sentence before the Supreme Court hears our appeal!

There's no guarantee and VERY little likelihood the Supreme Court is granting cert, you Dum Fuqs. (And, yes, we're at that point. Both the trio, and state and national ACLUs.) Get a clue and get a grip. Or don't, and get called out more. As noted in my previous update, SCOTUS didn't give Steve Bannon a stay.

I still support the idea of either moving the Cooke County Confederate statue, maybe to the Great Hanging site, or else putting a motion-activated audio player at the statue's current location.

But, the methodology of PRO Gainesville's leaders has left me colder yet.

Third party and indy candidate update; sheepdogging bonus

Independent Political Report updates the Colorado state LP vs LP National clusterfuck. Indeed, what DOES happen if both orgs complete all paperwork by the state's Sept. 6 deadline? The state doesn't know. That said, per the state LP wanting to nominate RFK Jr? Brainworm Bobby claims to have ballot access in Colorado already, but this is not confirmed. Bobby has made other state ballot access statements that haven't panned out. 

==

The Democratic Socialists of America, the pretend/fake third party wannabe DSA Roseys, have gotten a small amount of spine and unendorsed AOC.

==

Brainworm Bobby could be facing more sexual harassment or even abuse allegations, aka a Bill Clinton "bimbo eruption." But, when asked about it, in light of the Vanity Fair piece a week ago, indicated he wasn't sure what still lurked out there — and didn't seem to really care.

I emailed both Richard Winger at Ballot Access News and Jordan Willow Evans at Independent Political Report, but neither had run anything at the time of this posting.

==

Bernie Sanders hits a new low in sheepdogging by continuing to back Biden but refusing to say he can serve out a second term, all in the same interview. And, he's full of shit:

This past weekend, in an opinion essay in the Times, Sanders wrote, “Despite my disagreements with [Biden] on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Mr. Trump.”

But, to someone who never was a Berner, him being full of such shit is no surprise.


July 18, 2024

Texas cities being cheap with swimming pools

More and more cities are closing city pools to save money, the Tribune notes. Example No. 1? Lubbock now has ZERO public swimming pools open. Splash pads are being promoted as a cheaper option. But, they're not as effective for full-body cooling. The story also notes that not everybody likes them, and "differently abled" people may find them less accessible.

That said, splash pads don't require lifeguards and can use recirculated water.

But, the story goes on to note that small towns near Lubbock, like Littlefield, have pools they keep open. 

I know a town of less than 2,000 that has a public pool.

To me, with Lubbock, and probably to a lesser extent with Longview, down to just one pool, I think the bottom line is poor city government out of the city manager's office. Older pools should have been mentioned for replacement some time ago. Newer pools should have had a regular annual maintenance schedule.

July 17, 2024

Texas Progressives talk Christian nationalism, more

Christian nationalist big biz engaged in vote suppression? Say it ain't so, but ProPublica says it is, with a dissection of the previously unknown to me Ziklag Foundation. Two of the big players I knew: The Greens of Hobby Lobby and the Uihleins of Uline, the office supply company with the tree-killing order magazines.

One I did NOT. That's the Waller family, owner of the Jockey underwear company. So, as tagged on Twitter? They'll be boycotted from here on out. (I buy "off brands" first, then on sale name brands second, on underwear and under-T shirts.)

==

Via the Trib, Texas Monthly has a longform on new allegations of sexual harassment allegations against state Sens. Charles Schwertner and Borris Miles. Nice for it to be bipartisan. And, no, Danny Goeb as Light Guv and leader of the Tex-ass Senate, you've been "accurately characterized," not "falsely maligned." Per the Monthly, though, it looks at a staffer for one other state senator, not just the currently serving pair, and beyond that, looks at the state Senate's failure to enforce its sexual harassment policy, which is why Danny Boy got himself into such high dudgeon.

It's also got House Speaker Dade Phelan rowing his oar a bit, which also pissed off Danny Boy. 

That said, take note that the Monthly is now paywalling, and dropping this paywall without any advance announcement too (shitheads) you'll not be seeing it in the roundup. No way am I paying, even if it has a loss-leader price of $2 for a basic sub.

==

SocraticGadfly talked about various problems of overuse of AC, and looks straight here at Texans, whether natives, Californicators or other non-natives.

Texas does NOT require nursing homes to have backup generators in the case of power outages. Maybe, per Dan Patrick, the residents have a duty to die.

Colin Allred pulls a Kuffner and refuses to comment one way or the other about whether or not Dementia Joe should step down.

The Observer has a story on that 15th Court of Appeals, that under-lawsuit statewide appeals court basically created to bypass any metropolitan area appeals court, with the Observer story focusing on environmental issues and suits against TCEQ.

The Fort Worth Report covered the Christian nationalist event at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Nutters in attendance included Kyle Rittenhouse. The story notes that the city of Fort Worth owns the property and reinstated the event after original cancellation.

Frank Bowman at Slate calls out AOC's SCOTUS impeachment nuttery as, well, TL/DR, as performance art.

#WarmongerJoe, #GenocideJoe, #DementiaJoe and Irish Alzheimer's Joe? Shake your hands with Pander Bear Joe; that's what the rent hike caps is. And, I still say that's why he cut the deal he did with Julian Assange. Beyond that, per the not-so-fine print, this requires Congressional approval anyway.

The Arizona Lege's hard-on for vouchers is melting its budget, even forcing cuts in water infrastructure funding. In Aridzona.

Mondoweiss looks at Cori Bush facing a fake pergressuve in her House Dem primary.

Texas Progressives talk Beryl

Off the Kuff wrote lots of things about Beryl

Neil at the Houston Democracy Project said hurricanes are political.

Space City Weather argues that Houston deserves a much better electricity distribution system.  

CultureMap showed how to help wildlife post-Beryl.

The Press gave its props to the Whataburger outage map.

Strangeabbott got back from his Korean junket and did some faux outrage about CenterPoint. Whatever investigation he wants will be a sham. Ditto in spades for Lite Guv Danny Goeb. We remember Uri.

In his latest Chron column, friend Chris Tomlinson did some real outrage, with a callout of Goeb, and of Kenny Boy Paxton for play-acting at AG, but even more, looks at CenterPoint as a big lying capitalist deregulated utility.

And legal shark Tony Buzbee has filed a class-action lawsuit against CenterPoint.

Tex-ass could have been on the national power grid in the 1970s. If only ...

Vox talks more on how this happened, and how this likely isn't the last time. (I personally continue to troll former Helltown mayor Annise Parker on Twitter about her mayoral-years statement about wanting Houston to get bigger than Chicago.)

July 16, 2024

Does Green Party two-time retread Jill Stein still have a hypocrisy problem? Survey says yes! So do the feds, Stein and GP cultists

Two weeks ago (as of the original November 2023 writing of this), I blogged about Stein, the Green Party's 2012 and 2016 candidate, jumping back in the race this year after Cornel West did his Lucy van Pelt and pulled away his football. I did, per a commenter elsewhere, note the angle that not only would this help the Green Party — more than half of whose other filed presidential candidates did not meet GP filing requirements — but it would also help her pay off 2016 campaign debt the Federal Elections Committee said she owed and that courts have agreed. (Option B is that she's using her campaign fundraising to also get money for a Supreme Court appeal on this issue, which looks as stupid as her 2016 recount. And as hypocritical.)

I forgot the biggie, although I did tweet about it after my initial post.

That is, that in 2016, Jill Stein had a hypocrisy problem like Ralph Nader in 2000, and that is, via mutual funds, having investments in oil, tobacco and defense contractor stocks. The last is the biggest this time, given her rightful but presumably hypocritical attacks on Genocide Joe over Israel and Gaza, and her stance on Russia-Ukraine before that.

Eight years ago, Stein did, partially, address Yashar Ali. But, she kind of petard-hoists. (And, it's linked in his piece.)

  • The biggie is, why didn't she divest earlier, before Ali's story, already divest?
  • Second and related? You're a medical doctor, not a public-school teacher whose investments are made by a state pension fund, not themselves. These are YOUR investments.
  • Third? If there are "green" mutual funds that invest in fracking, they're not so "green," right, but why is that an excuse to stop looking further?
  • Fourth, and relevant to today? You don't mention the defense stocks.
  • Fifth, and even more relevant since Oct. 7, 2023, how many stocks in your mutual funds still trade with Israel?

For updates about Stein’s non-responsiveness and related issues, go here. (NOTE: If you want to skip directly to the ethical investments issues of 2024, which don’t appear to have changed tremendously from 2016, go here.) 

Update, July 16, 2024: For the name, rank and serial number of a lying millennial Redditor who claims this is poorly written, doesn't want to look beyond the Green Party, but does want to proselytize for it, go here.  In addition, he's now apparently blocked me, assuming Reddit has a new way of showing when someone's blocked you, or else he's one of these post-and-delete shitters, or some combination thereof. Well, bye back.

TL/DR at that link? "Survey says 'yes,' at least indirectly" to the admittedly semi-rhetorical question in the header.

Oh, for Naderites? All of this applies to St. Ralph, too. He's had a hypocrisy issue since 2000, per the 2016 story.

Per the original 2016 story, it next notes that, contra the "gotcha," even if Clinton's campaign gave this a push, that duopoly candidates have also been questioned for their financial holdings, and links to one about GOP candidates.

There are a few Stein-specific things, though. She mentions she inherited half a million. Good. The story already mentions that itself.

Re the no "gotcha," it turns out that the bankster-investments include ones with Goddam Sachs, for which she criticized Clinton, and also for which, in the link immediately above, GOP candidates were criticized.

Yes, I know Hillary's oppo research dumped that in Ali's lap, or at least nudged him that way. Ditto with the Gore campaign and Nader in 2000. Doesn't make it any less true, especially with this:

Admittedly I have not spent a lot of time researching elusive ethical investments. I prefer using my time fighting for social, economic and ecological transformation, and recycling capitalist money into the fight to do so.

Gee, you'd run for president in 2012, and I guess were lucky enough not to fall under Dear Leader's re-election spotlight. You therefore were able to waste four more years not researching "elusive" ethical investments, which were advertised in The Nation at the time of Nader's run already.

Anyway, Ali addresses that, too.

While it’s true that Stein would not have control over the investments of the funds she invested in, she did have a choice of whether to invest in these funds to begin with. In the past, political candidates, in an effort to avoid a conflict of interest or have their judgment called into question, have invested their entire portfolios in U.S. Treasuries, cash/cash equivalents, in socially responsible index funds, or clean-energy funds.

Again, hard to argue.

Disclosure: All my money is in either one "National" bank which is, I'll admit, one of lesser ethics, especially post-Great Recession, or a "state" bank which doesn't have problems that I'm aware of.

Until I see an official statement from Stein, pre-empting FEC information, with an independently audited review of her personal investments, I'll assume she has not divested. And, I use the word "divested" deliberately, as I know Stein also supports Boycott, Divest, Sanctions.

And, until I see that, it's a guarantor she's not getting my vote. And, it's an indication that the question in my header is rhetorical and the answer is obvious.

And contra this:

Yes, I think it's an issue. And for details on why? See above. The bits of 401k I have from previous jobs, I have no idea either. BUT? Again, I don't have any control over that, either, other than cashing it out. An individual with an individual mutual fund has the choice of how to invest in the first place.

ALSO? This isn't all 401k. See below. That's a fail there.

Also, again? If you don't see the issue, are you a leftist (Ken said a while back he was a Nader Raider of long ago) who doesn't support BDS? Because, those defense contractors are also arming Israel, let us not forget.

Finally, if these all are protest votes, I can also protest against the protest votes being offered me. No problem doing that.

And, as you see, I've listed as least three different hypocrisy problems, not just one. Well, two of them are tied together. But, if you want a fourth? Per that second link? Why does a medical doctor own tobacco stocks?

And, this all applies in spades to our lying Redditor.

Oh, again, and as I told Brains back then, so-called "ethical" mutual funds exist. They did back when St. Ralph of Nader ran in 2000. Yes, they may have a slightly to modestly lower rate of return, but when you're running a third-party presidential campaign, this is not at all an unreasonable purity test. Actually, they may NOT have a lower rate of return; per Nerd Wallet, they may do just fine. And, calling more bullshit on Stein's claim, that piece also notes that things like "robo-advisors" offer at least some degree of simplification on the task, if you're not seeing a financial advisor who touts and advertises responsible investing advice. As for the history? The modern history, per this piece, goes back somewhat to Vietnam, and even more to the first push for divestment, vis-a-vis South Africa. And, per this piece at Mondoweiss, a site called Resource Generation offers assistance in divestment in general.

Besides, both Stein and Nader are multimillionaires. It's not like they can't or couldn't afford to meet this purity test, if it even is an affordability issue.

And, specific to Stein is her owning Big Pharma stocks even while not only criticizing the pharmaceutical industry in general, but being an antivaxxer.

And, having done John Anthony Castrol's filing with the Office of Government Ethics, at some suitable date in the future, I'll do Stein's, then Google for more info on whatever mutual funds she has.

Update: I'm sure I'll wind up doing this myself. If Yashar Ali is interested, he won't do it until the general election, for Democrat-aiding oppo research reasons. 

Update 1A, July 16: Ali's got his hands full enough trying to figure out what the party line is, or Party line is, and follow it, on whether to run Biden up the flagpole and salute him or instead to join Congresscritters and celebs still trying to shiv Dementia Joe.

Update 2, Feb 23: She / her handlers refuse to respond to my webmail, or my responses to campaign mass blast emails. 

Well, I did get a non-response "response" from a Bill Carini:

Hi Steve, I have relayed your concern to the campaign team. Feel free to check back with me in the future for updates.

There we go. That was Feb. 21. I'll check back in another week. Perhaps. Meanwhile, per the old proverb? "Silence gives assent."

Update 2A, July 15: I did, in my most recent response to one of her fundraising emails, ask the scrubbeenies (and I called them that) who actually post and receive said emails to actually take a look.

Here you go, and the same applies to said millennial Redditor:

If genocide is political violence, why do you have bombed-up stocks in your mutual fund portfolio (along with the oily eXXXon)?
And, to the scrubbeenies who actually answer these emails, have you thought about voting PSL or something?

Boom.

So, I have emailed the public records email at the FEC with the appropriate 201 form. And, I noted that I couldn't find Stein. If that gets her in FEC trouble? GOOD.

Meanwhile, per the original posting, the likes of Pat the Berner on Twitter (you can delete your old account, but many of us still remember) was attacking Party of Socialism and Liberation presidential candidate Claudia de la Cruz on Twitter for her COVID comments. I thought Pat's interpretation of de la Cruz was overblown, first (but he's a COVID Doomer) and, speaking of hypocrisy, hypocritical second, given Stein was playing footsie with antivaxxers in 2016 — even while having pharma stocks in her mutual funds.

UPDATE, March 1, 2024: GOT her FEC filing. Since Google Photos doesn't support PDFs, I'll convert it to a JPG, or a set of JPGs.

1. The overview.

2 and 3: Some breakouts:


OK, the Part 2 filing? CREF Stock 2 401(k) QCSTPX is currently, per Financial Times, 6.25 percent "consumer defensive" and 4.72 percent "energy." Percentages are slightly different at MutualFunds.com but the basic picture is the same. Consumer defense / defensive, per this and many other sites, can include tobacco, government contractors (which would include defense contractors, of course, with Lockheed Martin mentioned by name in the examples) and more.

Now, that's a 401(k), so we could cut her some slack.

But, the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBTLX) is an IRA. Now, it's all bonds, but half are non-governmental, per MutualFunds.com. That includes things like mortgage-backed securities. And, we all remember the housing bubble and the Great Recession, don't we, kiddos?

Then, there's individual stocks, non IRA mutual funds,  etc. (I won't get into her husband's holdings, but ...)

Merck. 3M. Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund, VXUS, which includes Shell. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Fund, which includes 3 percent Exxon and 15 percent "consumer defense." Vanguard 500 Index Fund, which includes 6.9 percent consumer defense and 4.8 percent energy. eXXXon again mentioned by name. (This is the same Exxon that sues its own shareholders to stop shareholder activism, then continues the suit even after they pull in their horns.)

So, she clearly hasn't divested oil stocks, and presumably hasn't divested tobacco and defense stocks either. In addition, FXI is a Chinese large-cap index type fund. Given that she, Margaret Flowers, Howie Hawkins, et al, continue to spout hasbara about Beijing and the Uyghurs, stuff like this is at least also flirting with no bueno.

UPDATE, June 25, 2024: I did a new Office of Government Ethics ask, and nothing major has changed on her investments.

Per Ken above, and Brains years ago? I'll give her a pass on the 401(k). Little pass if any on the IRA; that's a personal investment, even if done by a financial advisor. She still could have asked. The non-IRA investments? Zero slack there.

And in fact, to punk all three of Ken, Brains and Jill Stein? Vanguard itself touts its "ethical" products. Well, at least in Australia, per that link. That said, here's an investor website piece about ESG funds and investments in general, then review of several Vanguard funds. THAT said, the Aussie equivalent of the SEC accused Vanguard of greenwashing 9 months ago. And, in 2021, Vox had a deep-dive piece on the whole issue in general.

Bottom line? Per the old cliche, Stein doesn't have to be purer than Caesar's wife. But, "as pure as" would be nice. That's because, post Oct. 7, 2023, she keeps calling for more pressure on Israel, but she's not walking the walk!

Second bottom line: Unlike Yashar Ali's possible angle in 2016, this is not oppo research for the left hand of the duopoly, which I think was at least part of his bottom line. So, it's out there early. People can make their judgments now. (Mine is to vote Claudia de la Cruz if she is available by write-in.)

Third bottom line? I hope Brains has gotten more skeptical about Stein — more cynical, like me, would be OK, too — compared to where he was in 2016, specifically, more skeptical or cynical than he was then about her investments. (Brains works for a financial advisor/planner, and knows that "ethical mutual funds" exist, and that they did way back in the time of 2000 hypocrite Ralph Nader.) Ditto for other Greens besides Brains.

I'm calling people who sound like Russian bots, Russian bots

Earlier this month, I've had multiple run-ins with people like this on Twitter.

I don't give a fuck if you're not a Russian bot, because you come off like one.

Regular readers of this outpost know that I am a Twitter follower, and reader of, Ivan Katchanovski, and blogger about him on things like the Maidan. They know that I've written about Ukraine as well as Russia committing human rights and war crimes violations since the start of the war, per a piece like this.

But, lying about the Russian missile that hit a Kyiv hospital? Lying about the 1991 Ukrainian independence referendum?

You deserve to be called Russian bots because you are, functionally.

And, you spoil the field of discussion for people like me.

July 15, 2024

Ryan Grim does some #BlueAnon mendacious fluffery on AOC and The Squad

The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution

The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution by Ryan Grim
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is mendacious by silence in some big ways, one above all.

In other words, beyond the scattershot writing and relative lack of actual political biography mentioned by other low raters?

If you want a #BlueAnon PR piece, read away.

Speaking as a non-duopoly leftist, if you want an honest political bio of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, let alone the rest of the "squad," this ain't it.

The biggie?

The so-called Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal was actually crafted by the Green Party, then latched on to and watered down by the Sunrise Movement, which in reality is the youth wing of Gang Green environmental org Sierra Club, along with the Democratic Socialists of America (which are NOT a third party, their pretenses aside) then further latched on to by AOC, with more watering down.

Despite, per his index, the GND getting approximately 30 pages of discussion, Grim tells you none of this. In fact, "Green Party" ain't in the index.

But I am. I wrote several times about it; this is the biggest. Of course, Grim also lied by omission at The Intercept, Sadly, alleged leftist Adam Tooze lies about that too; that's even though neoliberal mags have told the truth. Wikipedia also has the truth, about its GP start in 2012, under its Green New Deal page.

So, the rhetorical question is: Is DC insider Grim, reporter for Politico, contributor to MSNBC, then DC bureau chief for Puff Hoes before the Intercept, that idiotic, or mendacious? I think you know the answer.

Next? Israel-Palestine.

Oh Grim has lots of coverage, but most of it is national-level Democrat and Democrat funder inside baseball focused on New Jersey Congresscritter Josh Gottheimer.

Grim gets lucky to write his book before Oct. 7, 2023, when AOC and the rest of The Squad gets put to the test. And, found wanting, when put to the test more by Dementia Joe's "I'm still running" line, with even Ilhan Omar kissing the ring. Or that AOC has now been unendorsed by the national DSA.

There's plenty of other dross below the electroplated gold of AOC. I've got that too, since Grim doesn't.

And, since I was at light grokking, no, looking at the index and moving toward DNF at this point?

I've called Grim out before for turd-polishing the whole Squad, and beyond that, the whole Congressional Progressive Caucus, or Pergressuve Cucks, as I call them.

Related to that link? Almost all coverage about Russia is about 2016 election meddling, and Ukraine isn't even in the index, so Grim can hide where the Squad and the Cucks stand on the lead-up to a proxy war and the war itself.

I reserve the right to move this down to 1 star. The only reasons it isn't, right now, is that I hit the 2-star starring, and also because of the book's illumination of Grim. We have clear evidence he's a Blue Anon and willing to go to all ends for that, and related, that, political inside baseball/chess game floats his boat as much as or more than big ideas.

Beyond the review, knowing Grim well enough here, this doesn't surprise me.

I recently signed up for the Substack he and Jeremy Scahill created upon leaving The Intercept, but if it gets to be too much Blue MAGA, I'll unsub.

View all my reviews

July 14, 2024

Trump shooting brief thoughts, ending with the NYT

First, we now know the suspect is Thomas Michael Crooks. He was 20 years old. His dad reportedly bought the weapon, about six months ago. The son appears to have been a gun and explosives semi-nut, if the T-shirt he was wearing is any indication. Also, per the AP, bomb-making materials were found inside his car. Also per that first link, he was a registered Republican, but also reportedly donated to the Progressive Turnout Project PAC. Even that donation isn't what it seems, per Ryan Grim. He notes it's a more spammy org than something like Politicus, and also that, by the date of the donation, Crooks would have been 17 at the time and it was thus illegal.

As of the time of this posting, no motive has been identified. He apparently left no social media hints or anything like that.

That story has a good aerial photo of the layout of the site. And, yes, it's pretty unbelievable that the Secret Service did not have the building where Butler was at secured. No, it doesn't look good that the shooter got with 150 meters. And, unlike Lee Harvey Oswald, this wasn't a weekday and I'll presume he didn't work there. (Oswald was at roughly the same distance from JFK.) Per another Beeb piece, a witness said he could see Crooks "bear crawl" onto the roof, and even see that he had a gun.

The Beeb now has a video reconstruction.

The Independent has more, as British newspapers appear to be having fun generally running circles around American ones:

A local police officer encountered Crooks before he fired towards Mr Trump, AP sources say. Not long before shots rang out, rally goers noticed a man climbing to the top of a roof of a nearby building and warned local law enforcement, according to two law enforcement officials.
One officer climbed to the roof and encountered Crooks, who pointed his rifle at the officer. The officer retreated down the ladder and Crooks quickly took a shot toward former President Trump, and that’s when the US Secret Service counter snipers shot him, said the officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Oy.

Longer-term issue: How well or or how poorly do presidential detail Secret Service coordinate with local law enforcement and what can be done to improve that?

The Independent also got his uncle to speak.

Reached by phone, Crooks’s uncle, Mark Crooks, told The Independent that he had “no idea” what might have spurred his nephew to take aim at the former president.
“I don’t know what to say,” he conceded.
The uncle said he hadn’t had any contact with Crooks “in years”, despite living just 20 miles away.
“I haven’t seen the kid since he was little,” Mark Crooks said. “He never wanted to bother [maintaining a relationship with me and my wife], so we don’t see him.”

More oy, and the kid now officially seems a bit thrown off.

==

More sidebar to the story:

First, yes, NRA wingnuts, this does raise again the issue of gun control and peripherals, just weeks after SCOTUS said bump stocks were constitutional.

Second, per the general tenor of tweets that I was calling out, duopoly-style tribalism got played up on Musk's cesspool.

Third? No, Speaker Mike Johnson, there's no need for the House to conduct a full investigation. That's what law enforcement agencies do. And, now that we know he was a registered Republican and his dad bought the gun, that's going to be a big fail, but you'll make it an ugly one, I'm sure.

==

Now, to the backstory:

I had LESS THAN ZERO desire to post something here last night, though I did do some callouts of the nuttery on Twitter.

This is the first:

Of a four-part chain, followed by:

And part 3:

Then part 4:

With a special sidebar for Jim Stewartson, 

who's already a conspiracy theorist and I think mentally ill, and I have no idea why people whom I follow or vice versa follow him.

That said, my ideas on "following" on Twitter may be different from others. If I want to see the latest stupidity from an egregious idiot, I can just search for them without following.

Per this Beeb piece, not all the Twitter nuttery was (apparently) from the US, but a great majority of the social media nuttery was from Twitter, as Elmo's clown car was exactly that yesterday. 

And, "oh, goody," a political advisor to LinkedIn owner and BlueAnon mega-donor Reid Hoffman tried to push the "staged" idea onto journos. Dmitri Mehlhorn appears to have been smoking Russiagate-style crack. Meanwhile, Hoffman's own comment from recently about wishing he had made Trump "an actual martyr," looks incredibly stupid.

==

Meanwhile, I must ask WHAT ROCK the NYT editorial board has been sleeping under with a rushed-out Saturday house editorial with the title: "The Attack on Donald Trump is Antithetical to America."

Another tweet of mine has the reality, instead, or at least a nickel version of it:

OK, let us break that out more.

Jackson's attempted assassin was just nuts. (Interestingly, he went to St. Elizabeths, eventual home 150 or so years later, for John Hinckley.)

But, most other actual or would-be assassins, as I noted in a newspaper column on the 60th anniversary of the JFK assassination?

None of them were criminally insane by the definition of either their times or ours, but all of them had some degree of mental unsteadiness.

And, they were all politically motivated.

John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln after recognizing the Civil War was almost over and kidnapping him wouldn't work.

Charles Guiteau? A semi-insane office seeker upset that James Garfield wouldn't give him a major position.

Leon Czolgosz? An "anarchist of the deed," as they were known back them.

Oswald? Off his rocker, but believing that Cuba was indeed the worker's paradise, and that it did deserve "fair play."

Squeaky Fromme? To the degree that "Charlie's Girls" and the whole Manson cult was politicized, this was political. And, to the degree that being a Charlie's Girl was nuts ...

Sara Jane Moore? Many years later, she cited her radical political views related to the Symbionese Liberation Army. But, she had other issues that indicated she wasn't fully together.

So, only Hinckley and Richard Lawrence, Jackson's would be assassin, were apolitical.

But, the NYT editorial is worse beyond that.

America's "culture of the gun" also means this is not antithetical to America. Rather, it's right up the American exceptionalism alley.

And, the NYT is in a city in a state which DRASTICALLY changed its ballot access laws for third-party and independent candidates at the presidential level in 2021, and as far as I know, the NYT said boo about that on its editorial page. For its editorial board to try to lecture intelligent non-duopoly voters in America about democracy is both laughable and disgusting.

Oh, my callout of this American exceptionalist pontificating extends to any Congresscritters and other politicos, as well as other members of the media, who talk similar stupidity.

And, above all, to

 

John Nichols actually gets it right, and draws parallels to the attempted assassination of Teddy Roosevelt in Milwaukee.

==

Finally, while I have no political use for Brainworm Bobby, I don't give a rat's ass that the Secret Service says you need to poll at 20 percent to warrant protection. Biden can override that anyway, or Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas can if Biden's not blocking that. Update: That FINALLY is going to happen.

July 12, 2024

A head-fake debate pushed by Jill Stein

Let's look at this "Free and Equal" debate set for tonight, as puffed by Stein in a Thursday email.

TL/DR? Jill Stein loves it because there's nobody to her left that got invited.

People involved?

Christina Tobin is the debate organizer and/or moderator and creator of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. Not a candidate.

Thomas Massie? Tea Party wingnut congresscritter; not running for prez. Second debate moderator.

Randall Terry? Arguably an anti-abortion terrorist. Past his shelf life. Constitution Party candidate.

Chase Oliver? Nominal Libertarian Party nominee, seeing the sand being washed out from under his feet by various state LPs.

Jill Stein? Investments hypocrite, as regular readers know.

So, why didn't Tobin invite a Claudia de la Cruz of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, even if not at 270 EVs at this time? Many states, like here in Tex-ass, have not yet opened the doors for candidates to get on the ballot as write-in choices. Or, where's the practically invisible Bill Stodden of the Socialist Party USA? And god, is he practically invisible.

Alt-history: Kinky Friedman as Texas Gov


 

Kinky Friedman, who (in)famously, and hilariously, ran for Texas governor in 2006, and who passed away a couple of weeks ago, probably could have had the job if he had serious-ed up at some point.  That said, per that link, years of hindsight later made me realize that, at some point, he thought he might just win, that scared the hell out of him, and refusing to serious up was the antidote.

Texas Monthly offers its thought on what would have happened had he won. It first notes that he shot himself in the foot on at least one occasion when he DID get serious, per his "crackheads and thugs" comment. 

Personally, I thought he had no idea what his constituency was. If he really believed it was the Venn diagram overlap of people who wanted both legal marijuana and organized prayer in public school, it was pretty small.

And, it was pretty weird for a Jew who traded on his Jewishness to want prayer in public schools, but I digress. Back to the Monthly.

Good alt-history only changes one big thing. This changes one moderate serious one, by having state officials rule against Strayhorn Rylander on having "Grandma" as part of her ballot listing. It then moves from alt-history to alt-degeneracy with having Friedman challenge Democrat Chris Bell to a drinking contest to combine their campaigns.

After that, it gets seriously non-serious. And, so, we'll ignore analyzing that laugh track piece and look at reality.

Other than taking up the idea of Rylander not being "Grandma" (and using that to camouflage multiple marriages, too), here's the serious skinny.

It involves Kinky getting serious. Versus the other three, as I noted at the time, he had openings. Beyond that, his schtick wore thin with repetition anyway.

Other than the laugh track, per link No. 3, the first part of getting serious was, per link No. 3, figuring out your constituency. Since Kinky ran later, twice, and as a Democrat both times, that's easy. So, going more serious than the Monthly, we get Kinky to realize that Democrats don't back school prayer. But, would he have? After all, in 2006, some people were pushing him as being to the right of Tricky Ricky.

That said, alt-history also has to have some chance at really happening. Given that Kinky was still supporting prayer and the 10 Commandments in school as late as 2013, and went beyond that on religious intolerance by saying "love Jesus or go to hell," this had about as much chance as Kinky kicking away a rescue dog in Utopia. That second link in the paragraph is an adapted version of a newspaper column I wrote about his campaign. Sadly, per that first link, he almost won the Dem primary for ag secretary in 2010. (Contra Gilberto Hinojosa, skipper of the SS Texas Democratic Minnow, that's another sign of the ongoing weakness of the party statewide.)

Beyond that, the Monthly is laughable in another way. IF Kinky got just serious enough to be elected, by inciting non-Grandma and Tricky Ricky to attack each other even more, by knowing his constituency, and by belittling Bell, there would have been no second term.

First, he had no coattails, so no help in the Lege.

Because of that, the Lege would have dramatically tightened ballot petition signature rules for independent candidates. Kinky as incumbent would have gotten on the ballot again. Nobody else.

Second, the wingers would have co-opted his "five Mexican generals" on the border, or more serious versions of that.

So, the only real alt-history questions are:

1. How little would Kinky have gotten done in his solo term?

2. How badly would he have gotten crushed in 2010?

3. Who would the GOP crusher be?

That last one's the curious one.

In reality, Kay Bailey Cheerleader Hutchison challenged Tricky Ricky in the 2010 primary. Would Perry have been hors de combat after the 2006 loss, or stubborn enough to try again and possibly lose anyway? Would some other non-Bushie GOPer make the run? (In reality, Perry took 51 percent in a three-way primary. Debra Medina, No. 3, was a Tea Party nutbag.) As in, would Strangeabbott have thrust himself forward four years early? Can't see who else it would have been; John Cornyn wasn't leaving the Senate.

In this, we'll say that relative unknown Abbott has to go to a runoff against Hutchison, where he wins. Little else changes in Texas politics.

And, with all of that said, also consider this more of a takedown obit than my original.

July 11, 2024

Yes, AC is making most of you Tex-ass Texans wimps


I say YOU and not ME because, per this Texas Monthly story on the issue, I rarely use it, and basically never have it running during the daytime when I am home and yes, you read that right. And, yes, with strategic shutting of vents and use of box and ceiling fans, it IS possible to sleep at, or at least near, that 82°F overnight temperature the EPA suggests; Vox discusses that and daytime temps as well.

At home, I benefit from an apartment complex swimming pool, I should add.

And, since I run a small biz where I'm the only full-time on-site employee, it runs somewhere between 78 and 80 there. 

I HATE places that run it anywhere below 74. Yes, 72, not just 70, is loathsome, ridiculous and ...

Climate killing. So, librulz who claim to care about the environment? Look in the mirror.

The reality is that if you get outside and exercise in the outdoors enough, you'll grow at least somewhat heat-tolerant. 

Even if my daytime numbers are too high for you, by not running it at all? The EPA still says 78 for daytime; I'd set it at 80, even. And, if 82 is too hot at night? You should be able to do 80, or 78 to start, with enough fans. (I have two box, a smaller oscillator, and a ceiling fan in my bedroom.)

The story is interesting in noting Japan ranks right up alongside the US in degree of AC "penetration." Lots of Japan can be pretty humid, but, lots of it can also be not that hot.

July 10, 2024

Abortion, Amarillo and avarice

I had a group of related items that, once the last one came up on my radar screen, I pulled from this week's Texas Progressives Roundup to run separately.

Amarillo nutters, after the city council rejected it, have Mark Lee Dickson's abortion travel ban on the November ballot as a referendum. I've written about Dickson's lies before.

Off the Kuff also looked to Amarillo and its forthcoming vote on an abortion "travel ban".

Do Texas crisis pregnancy centers help anybody? ProPublica asks

This:

But an investigation by ProPublica and CBS News found that the system that funnels a growing pot of state money to anti-abortion nonprofits has few safeguards and is riddled with waste.

Is the nut graf.

And here:

In some cases, taxpayers are paying these groups to distribute goods they obtained for free, allowing anti-abortion centers — which are often called “crisis pregnancy centers” and may be set up to look like clinics that perform abortions — to bill $14 to hand out a couple of donated diapers.
Distributing a single pamphlet can net the same $14 fee. The state has paid the charities millions to distribute such “educational materials” about topics including parenting and adoption; it can’t say exactly how many millions because it doesn’t collect data on the goods it’s paying for. State officials declined to provide examples of the materials by publication time, and reporters who visited pregnancy centers were turned away.

Are some of the details.

That last part is important. These people, both the state officials and center officials are like rats or moles that don't want to see the light of day.

Texas progressives: Kuffner kall-out and more!

Even after MSM DC insiders last week did a mix of a mea culpa, or rather, more, a tua culpa of finding other members of their tribe at fault for not reporting more in Dementia Joe's health, Philly broadcast media reporters admitted asking Joe Biden questions that his own staff submitted to them. And, then said they weren't pressured. In other words, they're willing flak.

Beyond the duopoly framing, Radley Balko has a scathing takedown of the Trump immunity ruling.

UT offers pro-Palestinian protestors probation instead of suspension. Well, that's something, something akin to shutting the barn door after the DPS thugs left it open, but not blaming the students for that. Will THIS finally lead Kuff to write ANYthing about Palestine? Nahh.

Congresscritter Lloyd Doggett calls on Biden to withdraw. Will THIS finally lead Kuff to write ANYthing about Biden's debate clusterfuck? Nahh. Kuff DID, in his weekend link dump, cite noted Blue Anon fellator, and also noted Zionist, Josh Marshall, in a paywall piece that fuck no, I don't pay to read Blue Anon Zionism.

Looking at that burning national political issue, SocraticGadfly first notes that the Philadelphia Inquirer blew it with its one-party presidential withdrawal editorial, then turned a gimlet eye on DC media insiders pointing fingers at each other over not reporting more, earlier, about Biden's health, then finished by noting that dueling insider leaks of "he's stepping down / no he's not"were reminiscent of Noam Chomsky being dead/not, two weeks earlier, as new manifestations of Schrödinger's Cat. Kuff, harder for you to hide!

On the issue of dropping out, timely nice national Democratic commissars are worried about Chicago 2024 being a repeat of Chicago 1968, Chris Hooks compares Biden to LBJ.

State judge Francisco Dominguez told Ken Paxton to go fuck himself over his harassment of Annunciation House.

Can Strangeabbott and his wheelchair (and underground border mineshafts?) hold out 30 more years? That's how long it will take to build his version of the border wall at current rates.

Texas drivers do suck.

The Observer talks about how Texans for Lawsuit Reform, which helped the state GOP pivot hard right, is now in the crosshairs of the harder right. That's even as wingnut trial lawyers have stretched civil litigation into strange new forms. Part of the problem? TLR supported Kenny Boy's primary challenger in 2022.

Blue Heron Farm will no longer be shopping at Tractor Supply. 

 Steve Vladeck notes that Chief Justice John Roberts has taken a sharp turn to the right. 

 Frank Strong recaps a month of not-bad school board activity.  

Reform Austin inquires about shark attacks. 

Finally, the TPA mourns the death of former Texas blogger Jack Cluth, who got his start down in Seabrook and remained true to his voice to the end

July 09, 2024

Libertarian Party shitshow only increases; Alaska fake Green Party horns in

I said this spring that I looked forward to the Green Party further withering on the vine with three-time retread and BDS hypocrite Jill Stein at the top of the ticket, and the Libertarian Party imploding with all of the Mises Mice related fuck-ups before, during and after its national convention.

Well, in Colorado, the Mice have officially nominated Brainworm Bobby, aka RFK Jr., instead of the official nominee Chase Oliver. We know the national committee, led by Angela McAwful, will do nothing legally, unless I'm about to be incredibly surprised. That's in contrast to the national Green Party, which expelled Alaska's GP after the 2020 election for not nominating Howie Hawkins. And, assuming the LP executive committee does nothing? Money aside, I don't think Oliver has the cojones to sue state LPs.

Beyond that, also at Independent Political Report, a leaked document says several LP thought leaders (Mises Mice, I presume) claim extensive election irregularities and are hinting at legal action.

Shock me!

Half of my comment there, after saying something to Libertarian election theft truther Nuña:

(O)n the big picture, I've long envisioned that Libertarianism in general believes lawsuits replace government regulation, so why should individual Libertarians bemoan lawsuits within the party?

Well, it's true!

Beyond Libertarian self-sorting stereotyping, isn't this further reflection on the mismanagement by McAwful? Shouldn't Mice and non-Mice in the LP figure out a compromise candidate and a way to get this person to replace McAwful?

==

Speaking of disorganized and Alaska? Also at IPR, the decertified Alaska GP has nominated vanity candidate Jasmine Sherman. This is for no other reason to poke the national GP. At the same time, yes, the national GP hasn't gotten anybody to create a nationally-certified state chapter.

That also said, that's not an actual political party AT ALL, contra its original claims. Apparently they got busted, whether by a commenter at IPR besides me, or something else, because they deleted their original Facebook page. The new one? I shit you not: "The Sherman/Blu Bear's Green Party of Alaska Group." With all of TWELVE members! Per Helen Reddy: "I am Blu Bear! Hear me roar!" And yes, I recognize that's the last name of the Alaska Native "Veep" candidate. You're not really, any more than Sherman is the Prez candidate, because you're not a party and you won't get 3,614 petition signatures.

As for Blubear's background? Teh google sez the only Pomo Nation is in California. She could have moved, of course. 

Or, like Sherman, she's a member of another Pomo nation, if you catch my drift.

July 08, 2024

Vive le France! Actual leftists winning

This isn't like three days ago, with Der Starmer and New New Labour winning in the UK, in a low-turnout vote that saw LibDems (no better) as the second-biggest beneficiary.

Instead, actual leftists of the New Popular Front appear poised to take the lead, under the leader of former French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who arguably is poised to be the leader in the next French presidential election, looking way ahead to 2027, in part for his quick work in assembling this coalition for the first round of voting, and steering it to victory after Marine Le Pen's National Rally. (At a minimum, young as he is, I think if Macron was eyeing a third term, that's off the table now. I don't know if he's term-limited or not.)

One thing to note, and hinted at in that first piece. Within France's population, size, and position on the world stage, when the French president's party also controls the National Assembly and Senate in the French parliament, a French president is stronger than their American counterpart. When that's NOT the case, they're often weaker. It's called, in an oh-so-French way, "cohabitation." In the past, an opposition Parliament has usually ceded foreign and defense policy to the president, but, after the first round of voting, both the left and right indicated that probably wouldn't be the case this time.

More here.  Mélenchon clearly and smartly does not want the premiership himself.

Update, July 8: Macron has rejected the resignation of his premier, Gabriel Attai (who said at the time it was announced, indirectly, that the snap election was stupid).

What that means, among other things? A re-evaluation of France's stance in the Russia-Ukraine War may be possible, though pre-election pledges say the left won't withdraw support. We'll see, given how fractious that coalition is. Proxy war supporters Sunday were otherwise spinning, spinning, spinning, glad that Le Pen lost but in shock that Macron did as well.

And, if Macron resists? His stupidity in calling this snap election will probably further hoist him by his own petard.

Finally, wait for the smear jobs. Some have already happened since Oct. 7, namely, that Mélenchon, like Corbyn, has been accused of being antisemitic for his anti-Zionism. That said, per the last link above, the New Popular Front closed ranks on Israel-Gaza in a way that, on paper, while not blank checks for Israel, might be a little bit loose, depending on whether the "all hostages released" is the horse before the cart, or the "real ceasefire" is.. But, we'll see just how that one, also, actually plays out. A follow-up story on the election indicated the NPF will have a tougher line against Israel than Macron.

Per Wiki pages? Mélenchon's own party, La France Insoumise, at one time supported withdrawing from NATO, among other things. He himself supports Ukraine, and hedges on whether or not this is a proxy war. He looks askance at Israel, and at Zionist lobbying and influence outside of Israel. French Communists? One need not talk about the factionalized and fractionalized French Left; the French CP is plenty of example. Socialists? Also factionalized, and imploded in the 2022 presidential election. The Ecologists (French Greens coalition) have as many Assembly seats as the Socialists; both have more than the Communists. Mélenchon's party, in fact, has half the coalition's total. (All numbers from the 2022 election, of course.)

That said, the leftist coalition is already being a bit fractious. But, a "technocratic government," like Politico Europe postulates? Not happening.

And, the idea that Le Pen lost? Bullshit from European neoliberals. The Rally picked up as many new seats as the leftist alliance, and more than them by proportion of previously held seats.

Both winners and losers? The French citizenry. Until both center and left shake out more, instability is at risk and the Fifth Republic, even with a strong presidency, could become like the Fourth. That's this Yank's final thought from across the pond. Note that Macron had to put his self-launched party into a broader coalition, and that Mélanchon had to join a broader coalition as well. Yes, he has a tough line, but, with post-election finger-pointing, Macron as a "busted flush" may be worse off.