November 22, 2017

Impeach the president? Why not?

Earlier this week, Ross Douthat, in claiming to be nonpartisan, but actually being quite partisan and perhaps firing a shot across the bow at Al Franken, said that, in hindsight, impeaching Bill Clinton was justifiable.

Well, for sexual peccadillos or for other reasons, I can find a bunch of presidents of both major parties who should have been impeached.

In any case, as Bob Somersby takes Douthat down a notch, nobody accused Clinton of sexually harassing or assaulting either Gennifer Flowers or Monica Lewinsky.  On the other hand, while it was pre-presidential, Bob sullies his own narrative by not mentioning Juanita Broaddrick.

And, to frost old Ross and hoist him on his own petard, the first such president would have been a Republican in today's political economy — John Adams.

Portions of the Alien and Sedition Acts clearly violated the First Amendment. Adams had pushed for them and signed them into law. Impeach him!

Second? Thomas Jefferson. Slavery was legal, but the extortionate nature of his twilight-world relationship with Sally Hemings was arguably impeachable.

Andrew Jackson? Violated federal laws and the Supreme Court, complete with infamous retort to John Marshall, during Indian removal.

James K. Polk? First of several presidents to lie us into war. And per an Illinois Congressman who got the moniker of "Spotty" Lincoln, Mexico still didn't accept the Rio Grande as Texas' border. Yes, Santa Anna signed a treaty to that effect after San Jacinto, but, under international law, treaties signed under duress are never binding, and besides, the Mexican Legislature never approved it.

James Buchanan? Arguably, not just an aider and abetter of treason, but by not immediately firing, and trying in court, treasonous cabinet members like John Floyd, a committer of treason himself.

Andrew Johnson? The Tenure in Office Act was unconstitutional. He could have been impeached for something like deliberately undercutting the Freedmen's Bureau.

Ulysses S. Grant? Arguably for obstruction of justice in the Babcock investigation.

Teddy Roosevelt? Violation of the portion of his oath of office as commander in chief of the armed forces, over the Brownsville dishonorable discharges.

Woodrow Wilson didn't quite lie us into war, but he did certainly connive us into war. And, like Adams, a clear violator of the First Amendment.

Warren Harding? More idiotic than Grant, and no clear indication he came close to obstructing justice.

Franklin D. Roosevelt? Did not lie us into war. Race-based application of many New Deal programs, though, seem to be a clear violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Harry S. Truman? Probably not.

Ike? Covert war vis-a-vis both Mossadegh and Arbenz, and matters related.

JFK?

LBJ? Lied us into Vietnam. And plans to expand our presence there existed months before Tonkin Gulf.

Nixon? Besides Watergate, his Logan Act violations in the 1968 campaign, even if pre-election, were an arguable cause for impeachment. The Cambodia bombing certainly so.

Jerry Ford? The pardon for Nixon, if it was some sort of quid pro quo, certainly runs afoul of the Emoluments Clause.

Ronald Reagan? Iran-Contra.

George H.W. Bush? If any of his gropes and mistressing involved preferments? Impeachable. Lies about Kuwait for the Gulf War — both the PR-paid lies about Kuwaiti incubator babies, and whatever April Glaspie told Saddam Hussein — lied us into war.

Bill Clinton? Sure, Ross, you can have him.

George W. Bush? Lied us into war.

That's 18 presidents. Nine of them Republican or proto-Republican. Or, 19 and 10, assuming Trump's already racked up Emoluments Clause violations.

You playing, Rosty? What about you, Ken Starr?

See, Rusty, this is what happens when you combine being a political hack with being a dumb fuck.

In reality, this shows yet another failure of our Founding Fathers.

They assumed members of Congress would be disinterested civil servants, rather than politicians. They assumed that political parties similar to the type already existing in Britain, and to some degree the US (Tories and Patriots, or the Federalists and anti-Federalists even before the Constitution was approved didn't come from nowhere), wouldn't be part of the US body politic.

And, despite the evidence in front of their faces that they were wrong, they persisted.

And, a side note undercutting American exceptionalism? Nineteen of 45 presidents. More than 40 percent.

November 21, 2017

Joe Morgan has numbskulls' panties in a wad

Hall of Fame second baseman, and sometimes clueless TV baseball color guy, Joe Morgan, released a letter this morning urging voters not to elect roiders. Red Satan has more.

He got a lot of flack, most of it partially to totally undeserved. (Why B-Ref has him in an Astros hat, I don't know. B-Ref's normal policy has been to do cap photos by team WAR, not games played, and his numbers were a lot higher with the Reds.)

First was that he was clueless about roiding.

Second, that he might be speaking out of turn about teams pushing players in HOF votes. Don't know how much is team-related, but do writers push players? You bet your ass they do.

Third and related was that he is a hypocrite about greenies. Wrong. I've covered that one in depth, contra many people before this dust-up. People like Jeff Passan are wrong on that, wrong on the hypocrisy charge, and wrong on the story framing of smart young bucks like them having to clear up clueless stupidity of old coots.

Third was that there are roiders in the Hall already. Like Reggie Jackson, per my speculating on speculating? (If it wasn't Nolan Ryan.) Or racists like Cap Anson? And alleged but actually not racists like Ty Cobb? (People citing him in this conversation only show their cluelessness in the face of revelations that most the racism claims against Cobb were made up, primarily to sell books.)

So? Two wrongs don't make a right.

And, if you're willing to blink here, what cheating do you NOT find acceptable?

That said, if Morgan was implying there are no roiders in the Hall at this time, he is possibly wrong. So half wrong for easy tabulation.

Fourth was the insults claiming the fourth-greatest 2B ever, by JAWS, himself was unworthy of Cooperstown.

Next was his strong opposition to Ryan Sandburg in the Hall. Ryno wasn't bad, but as 2B JAWS shows, he wasn't a slam dunk. So, Joe was half-wrong.

Reality? Let Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens fess up. And Bud Selig as commish. And managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, as I have blogged before. Then, a truth and reconciliation committee. (Oh, and Mark McGwire still isn't a HOFer, and I say that as a Cards fan.)

So, of five issues, including, indirectly, the Ryno one, I'll give Joe two totally rights, two half rights, and three-quarters right on amphetamines in baseball. (Oh, and also contra Passan and other Gen X and younger kids? Diet-pill level amphetamines were legal even after steroids were banned.)

That's 3.75 points out of 5, or 75 percent. Re the Sandberg issue, I'll give Morgan a boost for, overall, being a "small hall" guy, also contra some of the oldsters at ESPN and many of the young bucks like Passan. So, bump him to 80 percent — a decent B grade.

And, I see that dumbshits at Deadspin have joined the greenies-related pile-on.

(I would like to have somebody directly ask Morgan the Byrnes-Boswell angle and see what he says about the possibility of a roider already being in Cooperstown.)

TX Progressives have a pre-Thanksgiving roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance sends its deepest condolences to the family of Steve Mostyn, who lost his short battle with an undisclosed mental health concern last week.

Off the Kuff explains what the special election schedule might look like in the event Sen. Sylvia Garcia wins the primary to succeed Rep. Gene Green in CD29.

Socratic Gadfly takes a look at the latest on the Julian Assange-Donald Trump Jr. entanglement, along with blank-check defenders of Assange.

Both Al Franken and Don Willett (the Texas Supreme Court Justice up for a seat on the Fifth Circuit) made jokes that weren't funny that recently came to light, as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs observed.

The Lewisville Texan Journal reports that Denton County Democrats have selected the leader of Indivisible Denton to run the county's coordinated campaign in 2018, but not without some internal bickering. (Your blogger has written some skeptical thoughts from a left-liberal, left-of-Democrats perspective about the national-level Indivisible Team.)

Jobsanger notes that fundraising for Doug Jones, the Alabama Democrat hoping to prevail over Roy Moore, has seen his fundraising surge to "Ossoff-level money" in the wake of Moore's sexual abuse scandal.  Is that a good thing, though, given Ossoff's fate? Are Dems setting themselves up for a letdown?

Grits for Breakfast noticed another shooting by police of an unarmed black man, this time in Mesquite.

Texas jobs simply don't pay well enough, especially when they're staffed by women, says the Better Texas blog.

And The Rag Blog has a hefty podcast from last week, including Jim Hightower, some Vietnam vets reflecting on the war, a climate change scholar, a founder of the Weather Underground, and legendary Austin musicians performing live.

In their Texas roundup from last Friday, Abby Johnston at the Daily Post has details of Harris County suing Arkema, the company owning the chemical facility near Baytown that suffered flooding and then releases of gases and explosions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. (Your friendly blogger has noted pseudoskeptics in Houston and beyond running flak for Arkema.)

In San Marcos, an undocumented immigrant left detention without being charged, but also without his DACA status, which was not due to expire until 2019, according to the San Antonio Current.

The Texas Observer has state Rep. Drew Springer in the crosshairs: he sits on the Ways and Means committee overseeing tax law while also serving as a director to one of the state's largest corporate tax (avoidance) law firms, a conflict of interest apparently invisible to him.

Did you vote against toll lanes in a recent election?  TXDOT is attempting a bait-and-switch, according to Somervell County Salon.

Zachery Taylor has a lengthy observation about how the Texas church shooting exposes the military's longstanding coverup of domestic abusers within -- and recently removed -- from its ranks.

Save Buffalo Bayou makes the case against building a third reservoir to accompany Addicks and Barker.


 The TSTA Blog argues that taking Confederate names off of schools is not denying history.

And Harry Hamid walked back home after crossing the street last week, detecting some astronauts underground in the process.

November 20, 2017

#HOF ballot — who will be, should be, going into Cooperstown?

This year's Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot just came out. Full list of eligible players here at B-Ref.

Let's look at the first-year players, first.

Chipper Jones should be in, and will be in, I think. He's a clear top-ten, and almost top-five, third baseman, and that's a spot underrepresented in the Hall.

Jim Thome should be in, and probably will be, but even at 600-plus homers, may not get in this year. He's never faced steroid whisperers, but being on a number of different teams, and spent half his career away from Cleveland, which means he could have less writers' loyalty than some.

Omar Vizquel should not be in, won't be in this year, but may have enough people fooled into thinking he's Ozzie Smith when he's actually more than 20 WAR below the Wizard, to eventually sneak in. There's a gap of 30 overall WAR and 15 dWAR. Vizquel is NOT a HOFer, but whether he fools too many people, or almost too many, is likely to become the new Jack Morris — who is now hoping he fools enough Veterans Committee voters.

ESPN HOF-fluffer/whisperer David Schoenfield is at work here, downplaying the gap between the two on offense, when it's not that close in terms of WAR.

Otherwise, yes, Vizquel has the record for most career games at SS. And? Ozzie could have played another two-three years, but was tired of getting rat-fucked by La Russa in St. Louis, wanted to retire a Cardinal, and didn't want to play two-three years of half-time work.

I mean, Rusty Staub is 13th, all positions, on career games played and nobody pretends he's a HOFer. (Vizquel is 12th, just a few games ahead.) Many on the longevity list are HOFers, but that's because they're good enough players to have been worth playing that long. Vizquel? Rounding off by half-WAR points, roughly, Omar was AAAA-replacement level, except his 200-appearance age-42 season, his last six years in baseball. His longevity testifies more to the suckitude of shortstops 10 years ago, his stubborn refusal to quit, and his being overvalued by managers and GMs, than it does anything else. OTOH, two of Ozzie's last three seasons, short only his injury-riddled 1997, were 1.5 WAR or higher.

Interesting case coming next.

Does Scott Rolen get so overshadowed by Chipper, even more than Alan Trammell was by Cal Ripken, to even miss the 5 percent cutoff? He shouldn't, but he may. Tramm stuck for the full 15, as of that time, years. Never broke 40 percent, though.

Schoenfield is at it again here, poo-pooing Rolen a bit on defense, and even more, the career of future HOF 3B Adrian Beltre. And, NOOOO, David, Chipper is NOT arguably the second-best 3B ever behind just Mike Schmidt.

Reality? 3B is considered to have moderate positional scarcity on runs; flip side of that is that it is considered to have a moderate defensive premium. In fact, that positional scarcity increased half a run from 2000 on. And, the flip side of that means, increased defensive importance. Makes sense with the new live ball (in general), the increased power emphasis, and more pitchers throwing cutters making for grounders down the line.

Another one?

Andruw Jones played some great defensive CF at his peak. But, is it enough? And, will voting on him stir up new discussion about both the value of, and the accuracy of, defensive sabermetrics? I think he had too short of a peak, lost his D after 30, and should indeed stir such discussion.

Returning candidates?

Trevor Hoffman, just one percentage point off last year, gets in. Nobody's ever backtracked from that. Besides, with Malcolm Young of AC/DC, and specifically of Hoffman's walk-on music Hell's Bells, recently dying, he has to get in, right. In getting in, though, I hope he ignites new discussion about the true value, or lack thereof, of the modern one-inning closer.

Vladimir Guerrero, even though I consider him a borderline candidate, or maybe even borderline of borderlines, will likely get in.

When he announced his retirement in 2013, he cited bad knees. The Jays gave him a semi-shot the year before, but he didn't make the big club before opting out. Yes, per the commenter below, he had an arm as well as a bat — and a stone glove, too. And, that SI link in this graf? Story's by sabermetric guru Jay Jaffe, who has the same take as me.

If Thome makes it along with Jones, that's four right there.

Sorry, Mike Mussina. Semi-sorry, Edgar Martinez, in next-to-last year of eligibility. Oh so sorry, Curt Schilling. You're probably running out of luck, Jeff Kemp.

Update: Joe Morgan, vice president of the HOF's board, has various numbnuts, most of them young punk sportswriters, combined with a few old guard of keyboard clatterers, shitting bricks over his "no roiders wanted letter.

Joe may not know, or get, sabermetrics, but he DOES know where to draw the line on HOF2018 entry — on roiders. And, he's right, despite the tired arguments of "that guy was innuendoed," or "but #greenies are as bad as #roiding," etc.

Who wants to live to be 110?

Not me, per the cautionary tale of Tithonus, and contra this New York Times piece which, shock me, focuses on a transhumanist.

Certainly, I don't want to live to be 110 in today's United States, with overpriced medical costs.

Per Tithonus, I don't want to live to be 110 and deaf, at least half blind, and having my replacement corneas now giving me a second set of cataracts.

The piece focuses on the subset of "supercentenarians" that are not totally debilitated. I have no way of knowing how much of a bullseye fallacy it commits, but have no doubt it commits at least a bit of it, from pictures and stories of supercentenarians I've actually seen and read.

It also is pretty unscientific. It does mention luck, but only in passing to move on to genes. To the degree it talks indirectly about nurture, outside of luck, rather than the genes of nature, it ignores that much of the long-living lore of said people is at least partially contradictory, and, in cases where smoking is mentioned, is contraindicated for the general population.

Beyond that, it has other problems.

First, we know ever more today that the "one gene = one phylogenetic manifestation" is simply not true. For many, many things, even simpler than the complex we call aging, they're controlled by dozens if not hundreds of genes.

On the flip side of that, a single gene, in multiple different combinations with different other genes, may control for a tendency for (can't forget that — genes generally do not control for "X" directly, with the rare exception of something like Huntington's) a dozen or more different physical expressions.

And, the story doesn't even discuss epigenetics.

That said, if there is "something" behind being super-elderly, Sardinia says it's at least in part diet. But, the typical drooler over extra-long life probably doesn't want to hear that.

Other than that, there's nothing wrong with the story scientifically, of course. Other than not mentioning that this is just as much "just around the corner" as strong AI or something like that.

Also not mentioned — as the homo sapiens population of planet Earth already passes 7.5 billion, can we afford a bunch of people living to be 110?

November 17, 2017

#SinglePayer, #Medicare4All, #NHS, and #ActualFlatticus

Flatty’s in the hashtag, especially for Twitterers, because as long as curator Twitter accounts don’t want to let him sleep, I won’t either.

At issue, per the other three hashtags, is something where he’s technically right on one part, technically wronger on another part, and straining at gnats all the way through — with the gnat-straining causing problems itself.

Technically right? Single-payer and Medicare for All are two different things. I’ll explain in a minute.

Technically wronger? A National Health System is not at all the same as single payer. I know the difference. And he should. That’s because I’ve blogged about wanting an NHS as part of whatever we get beyond Obamacare, and he saw it. And I’ll explain that in a minute too.

Technically, a “single-payer” system is one in which one entity pays EVERYTHING. As Medicare has deductibles, a Medicare for All bill like HR 676 is not single-payer.

But it IS still “national health care” in that it offers national or “universal” coverage, which Obamacare does not.

All other advanced democracies, like the major countries of old Europe, plus Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in Asia, and Australia and New Zealand down under, offer some version of national health care. Brazil is moving there, though I’m not sure that it’s fully there yet.

A few other countries out there do as well, but that’s enough for illustration.

In some cases, the government is the insurer. In other cases, like with Obamacare, but with universal coverage, private insurers are. In some cases, like Germany, it’s a mixed system.

In all cases, though, coverage is universal. All citizens — and in many cases, all residents, not just all citizens — are covered. Deductibles vary from country to country, but are usually fairly low. And, of course, no country has health system costs per person of much more than 50 percent of the US.

So, that’s where Flatty strained at gnats. Period. End of story. Whether it was simply to be technically correct, or another case where our champion academic debater, and whatever drove him on, semi-compelled him to "have to" win, I don't know.

Flatty and Shirtless Pundit Zach Haller strained at gnats together here. Countries with national health insurance, as in universal coverage, but still having co-pays, include France and Germany, per Wiki. Many countries with national health care use a two-tier system like that. Government insurance covers all basic medical and surgical needs. You buy private care for elective and experimental surgery and other things.

Medicare for all IS universal. And, for Americans worried that our hypercapitalist insurance system, unlike private insurers in Japan and Switzerland, would charge too much on such coverage, it’s also government-payer.

There’s nothing wrong with this.

And, contra Obamacare, since this would be a change in kind, not just degree, on insurance coverage, here, the good would not be the enemy of the better. Not at all.

So, Flatty’s straining at gnats won him cheap debate points.

BUT, it obfuscated the real issue, and made it look like Bernie, Nurses United and others were a bunch of grafters and grifters.

Fuck you and the pipe you smoked in on, Smithee.

Besides, you were wrong about the NHS. At least in the Tweet I saw.

The NHS, or National Health System, is government-OWNED health care services. That’s the actual name of Britain’s socialist medical care system, and NHS is usually used as shorthand for anything else.

My turn to be correct and strain not at gnats but at reality.

In Britain, the NHS is single-payer in that there’s no deductibles. No co-pays. Period.

However, a “generic” NHS elsewhere does not have to be single-payer.

The VA system here in the US, as well as the Indian Health Service, are both NHS systems. In both cases, the government owns the hospitals and clinics and the government employs the doctors, nurses and other staff.

Yes, we have quasi-socialist medicine in the US, and veterans are the primary beneficiaries. And, the VA, for its problems, is light years ahead of the IHS, with Indians getting screwed again.

But, both the VA and the IHS don’t cover every penny of everything medical. And, the VA, at least, has income eligibility limits for at least some services.

Other notes? Besides myths of long wait times, national health care systems elsewhere in the developed world can decide not to cover certain procedures or certain medications. National health care does not mean free Laetrile.

Anyway, the bottom line issue is that straining at gnats to win debating points can undercut real progress.

I've covered some of this ground before in my piece on getting a partial NHS here in America. A few thoughts from there.

A basic version would put a government medical clinic in every county in the United States. It would also let national standards trump state ones on what medical professionals could treat what; ie, a lot of it could be done by physician's assistants and nurse practitioners.

We could then combine that with some version of national health insurance. But, having national CARE for basic and preventative services would immediately start the ball rolling on de-capitalizing our current system.

And, THAT is how you do things bottom up. People get used to the government taking care of their kids' vaccines, their own routine physicals and other preventative care, and basic medicine, and they get OK with it. States realize that non-MDs are doing this just fine and accept because they have no other choice.

And thus, per a Vox piece, throwing aside the code phrase of "Medicare for all," I would be OK with a single-payer system with copays and deductibles IF we got the free clinics along with it. Beating for-profit medicine over the head will help make things less expensive than Vox frets.

November 15, 2017

Julian Assange, Donald Trump Jr., Caitlin Johnstone
and conspiracy theories, cluelessness and desperation

I hadn't decided to write much about The Atlantic story about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's contact with Donald Trump Jr. last summer, urging him to leak his dad's tax returns to turd-polish Wikileaks' image, and then to urge his dad to suggest that Australia name him ambassador to the US.

But, Caitlin Johnstone jumped in, and I decided not to resist, and both per her piece and a funny gaffe by Assange, I'm glad I didn't.

First, what Julia Ioffe left out from the one tweet, per Johnstone's piece.
There is a big difference between “because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source” and “because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source, which the Clinton campaign is constantly slandering us with.” Those are not the same sentence.
She probably should have included it for context. But, it's NOT "journalistic malpractice." The Guardian has more on the background.

And, it didn't change the meaning THAT much, and only about one part of the Tweet exchange. That's because Assange himself used the scare quotes as shown above. It's clear he's snarking, even if it's not clear who he's snarking against. (That said, if you don't know who he's snarking against, you're probably kind of clueless right there.) It changes not at all the portions of the story, and their fallout, that I'm going to get to.

Then and there, Johnstone again dives into an empty pool. After accusing the Atlantic of turd-polishing the "Putin Did It" line, the deep state, etc., she immediately moves into turd-polishing Assange.

Noting this exchange was around the time that Assange temporarily lost Internet access at the Ecuadorean embassy, she wonders if maybe his account were hacked.

And, conveniently ignores his new Tweet put up Nov. 14.
And, that's what I want to talk about, per the last part of my header.

First, the tweet was reportedly pulled down after it was put up. Just a "virtue signaling"? Who knows? (I can't remember seeing where it was reportedly pulled down, but it's still live as of the time of this blog post.)

A Twitter friend solves that clue, by referencing EmptyWheel. What I have is the new Tweet; Assange originally Tweeted to a knockoff account, this one. Then, when either he realized his mistake, or was informed of it, he pulled down the original after copying it or whatever, then retweeted it verbatim to the actual Donald Jr.

Anyway, that seems enough to refudiate Caity on the hacking. Especially the fact that he deleted the tweet after sending it to a knockoff, then retweeted to send it to the correct account.

Besides, Wikileaks is supposed to be so secure. And careful about security outside its own stream, like on Twitter.

So, that was actually Julian last year, as confirmed by his new Tweet.

Beyond that, "my Twitter was hacked" is one of the oldest dodges in the cyberbook.

(On the other hand, Assange himself, Mr. Hacker Master, has committed password stupidity before. And, has the choir try to sing it away.)

Now, the clueless etc.

Did he REALLY think Donald Trump Jr. would leak any of his dad's tax returns?

Did he REALLY, knowing the existence of the Five Eyes of intelligence, think Australia would make him its US ambassador?

Did he REALLY, with Trump's history of being a weathervane background by his decades of consistently using people then throwing them away, think that Trump would care about him after Nov. 8?

Did he REALLY think Don Jr. would or could be anything more than a yes-man to his dad?

Did Caitlin REALLY consider any of these issues before writing her piece? (She's now doubled down, claiming that Wikileaks is NOT a "completely neutral and agendaless 'radical transparency' outlet." Actually, in matters like people asking why Assange doesn't run more in the way of Russia inside-baseball leaks, that's been an attempted partial defense at times. On this, Assange seems to want to have his PR cake and eat it too.)

And, if Assange, per Johnstone, were really dedicated to bring down unelected, or semi-unelected, governments, he would actually be running more Putin leaks. So she's wrong there, too. Of course, a lot of commenters there, though not all (Son of Roy a good exception) are pretty tribalist.

The reality is that Assange posts primarily filched from US organizations for two reasons:
1. There's a lot more of it, and it's been more easily obtainable;
2. He might be afraid Putin would shoot him with a Polonium-210 pellet if he published a lot.

In reality, Assange isn't nonpartisan on any issue he tackles, and often has never claimed to be so. That said, his refusal to tackle authoritarian governments outside the West might best be taken as that he is OK with authoritarianism as long as it's not got a democratic veneer. His being in bed with Israel Shamir could be taken as proof of that. And, it could also be taken as an explainer for why Caitlin Johnstone is herself OK with being cozy with the alt-right, something that she's never adequately addressed to lefty Americans. (Per her Medium bio, anyone with "prepper" in their bio is a bit scary, too. Maybe it means something different Down Under, but it means pure nutbar here in America. That's even if modified by the word "utopia.")

Maybe it's something in the water in Australia? Note that its Liberal Party means "liberal" in the classic European sense. Speaking of, why can't she write anything about Australia? I mean, there's plenty of racism Down Under, among other things? Or why can't Assange get any Aussie leaks?

Related? (And an issue that applies to a few American groups and individuals, too.) There's such a thing as legitimately calling out American foreign policy mistakes, human rights violations and more, and doing so from a leftist perspective. There's another thing, like being reflexively anti-American or anti-Western.

On the rhetorical questions for Assange? He may indeed have thought this. Per Daniel Domscheit-Berg and others, he believes a lot of his own alt-media press clippings.

That said, per the Atlantic, referencing a later Tweet, he knew the ambassadorship had no chance, but thought the idea of it might still be a shot across somebody's bow:
WikiLeaks even imagined how Trump might put it: “‘That’s a real smart tough guy and the most famous australian [sic] you have!’ or something similar,” WikiLeaks wrote. “They won’t do it but it will send the right signals to Australia, UK + Sweden to start following the law and stop bending it to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons.”
Even that wouldn't have happened, and Assange still appears to be basing this on the idea of a leaked tax return.

It's true this may be more desperation than cluelessness on his part. That said, going back to Sweden, no, he's not been proven guilty of anything, and the alleged sexual assault may wind up being dropped again. But ...

The cluelessness level of not taking precautions, with sexual precautions punning for larger precautions, is pretty high. I've discussed this before.

It should also be noted that, while Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2016, she had not been president the past eight years. This guy named Obama had been. So, Assange's actions seem a bitter bit of revenge. It's bitter enough for him to repeat outright slanders.

==

Wikileaks still does good, such as this new piece on how the CIA can fake Kaspersky certificates in some Agency-based malware. That's part of Assange's Vault 8. It appears that this is relatively low-level, as far as CIA work goes, but further underscores the trust issues.

That said, it may also explain why the US government got into a sudden hate-spasm against Kaspersky about a month ago.

Again, though, I venture both Putin's Russia, and Xi Jinping's China, are doing similar. How about some information there?

Unfortunately, Wikileaks is still too wrapped up with Assange at times. If only DDB had gone through with his OpenLeaks. If only Snowden, a libertarian who originally worked as a private contractor for the government, were more trustable.

Update: We now appear at the point of pure meddling. Alt-right-ish blogger Charles Johnson reportedly had the original PutinTrump.org password info and passed it to Assange via Roger Stone. No, Assange still didn't get anything from Russia, but it increases the nefariousness of his own meddling, and his own stupidity.

And Barrett Brown, a leaker himself, including to Wikileaks, has now called out Assange for his hypocrisy of working with Trump. Others there are jumping off the bandwagon. The piece notes that Assange has also tweeted fake pics about Catalonia and other things, but goes wrong itself in claiming the DNC emails being stolen / leaked idea is itself a conspiracy theory.

==

This leads to subsection No. 2.

Basically, all Wikileaks is, like Gaul, divided into three parts.

First, there's the actual leaks Assange gets.

Second is his "framing" of them.

Third is independent material he rounds up.

The first still has high trustworthiness.

The second has fallen to medium trustworthiness.

That's because the third is at a low level. Posting photoshopped pics will do that to you. As will other things.

==

Subsection No. 2: Contra Tim Shorrock's chiding of Assange's leftist former friends (and I like a lot of what he writes), this leftist of sorts knew about Assange's misogyny, authoritarianism and much more long ago, re my review of DDB's book, linked above.

And, if he isn't blocked from credit card donations, and is accepting bitcoin, too, then the Freedom of the Press Foundation's move to cut off an alternative donation route makes sense.

And, although Caity and others won't admit it, per the bottom of this piece about someone quite similar, Jacob Applebaum, formerly of Tor, the cult of hero worship is a big deal.