Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sorry, but Laci is no longer taking new cases.

From the Washington Post:
A suspect in an interrogation told detectives to “just give me a lawyer dog,” the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the suspect was, in fact, asking for a “lawyer dog,” and not invoking his constitutional right to counsel. It’s not clear how many lawyer dogs there are in Louisiana, and whether any would have been available to represent the human suspect in this case, other than to give the standard admonition in such circumstances to simply stop talking.
While Laci strongly believes in the Constitutional Right to Counsel, she is no longer taking cases.  Even if she were willing to take this case on, she is not licensed to practise in Louisiana.

Too bad the PD was unaware of Laci, since he could have used her as a quite willing Canine counsel for his client in cases of judges with acute robeitis.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Shorter Refutation of Ta-Nehsi Coates

This relates to my previous post:
Clarence Thomas is a Supreme Court Justice.
That pretty much says that an incompetent black person can indeed get into high office in the US.

A Response to Ta-Nehsi Coates

According to Newsweek, Ta-Nehsi Coates  said this about Trump:
“Trump is professionally stupid,” Coates said during a lecture at the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
“You cannot convince me that somebody could be black, and be that politically unqualified, and even be a governor, forget president. If Donald Trump was black, he wouldn’t have made it off the block,”
Bonzo was first choice.
This is one of the most politically ignorant comments a person could make: especially after the last election.

Since Mr. Coates seemed to have missed it: two of the most unpopular candidates to ever run were chosen. Hillary Clinton was chosen to be the Democratic nominee long before anyone even voted in a primary.

Donald Trump was supposed to be a Candidate who Clinton could beat.  Note Ben Carson is also on the list.

Ben Carson has the charisma of a mannequin, but I am sure it would be President Carson if the powers that be wanted it. They would have built him up the same way they built up Trump.

We would have a trained chimp if the powers that be wanted it. The only reason the US didn't get Bonzo in 1980 was that he was long dead.  The powers that be went with his co-star, Ronald Reagan.

Hell, we had George W. Bush (another election thrown by the electoral college)--he is as close to a trained chimp as you can get

Seriously, were you asleep during the last election?  The most popular candidate ever, Bernie Sanders, "lost" to Hillary Clinton. But that was due to the powers that be moving heaven and earth to suppress the Bernie Phenomenon. Even with all the suppression, Bernie had the momentum and probably would have been president. 

Still, the Dems went with Bernie for Clinton. They preferred losing with Clinton than winning with Sanders.

The problem with that is that the same "populist" image Bernie projected was something the reality show star could also project: even though he has as much in common with the average US citizen as someone from Burkina Faso.  Although, US culture is asperational and a scam artist like Trump projects the "prosperity" US citizens believe can be theirs.

Sure it may come with all Trump's bankruptcies, but its the image Trump projects which was what made him dangerous.

Clinton won the popular vote, but lost in the electoral college.
On the other hand, if you are saying that Trump was not supposed to happen:  he was a choice that went horribly wrong for the powers that be since Clinton "should have won in a landslide".  I'm not sure I can agree there since the powers that be wouldn't have let him anywhere near the White House if he were totally out of control.

The real bottom line here is that neither Clinton nor Trump would have been candidates if it were solely based on popularity and a fair election process. Or even competence. They were chosen long before the election began (Clinton DEFINITELY was).

We would have had President Sanders if the system really held free and fair elections:among other things (such as a truly free press).

The real issue here is a fucked political system that ignores popular votes and is totally questionable anyway. See also,  Evaluating US electoral institutions.

Why didn't you mention that this election was held without the most of the protections of the voting rights act of 1964: that is far more germane than trying to make this an issue of race.  And given the origins of that act, I thought that would be your primary agenda.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

More of the Russiagate Scam

The Russian Mastermind behind Trump's "Win"
The Russians spent just 0.05 percent as much on Facebook ads as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns combined in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, yet still reached a massive audience.

The Russians got a good return on their money if they actually influenced the election.

https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/01/russian-facebook-ad-spend/ 

Personally, I think the Republicans should be pointing out what really led to Hillary Clinton "losing" the election: the electoral college and how screwed up the US system of elections happens to be.

The problem with that is that it also blows back on the Republicans.

Anyway, don't expect too much serious discussion of what happened in this last election since the duopoly is happy with their lock on the political process.

See also:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Do you believe life begins at conception?

We all know the US anti-abortion movement is full of shit when they call themselves "pro-life" otherwise Sandy Hook would have been the US's Port Arthur (if the gun control mess was even able to become as bad as it is).

That said, science fiction writer Patrick S. Tomlinson tweeted this scenario:
Whenever abortion comes up, I have a question I've been asking for ten years now of the "Life begins at Conception" crowd. In ten years, no one has EVER answered it honestly.

It's a simple scenario with two outcomes. No one ever wants to pick one, because the correct answer destroys their argument. And there IS a correct answer, which is why the pro-life crowd hates the question.

Here it is. You're in a fertility clinic. Why isn't important. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help.

He is in one corner of the room. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled "1000 Viable Human Embryos." The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one.

Do you A) save the child, or B) save the thousand embryos? There is no "C." "C" means you all die.

In a decade of arguing with anti-abortion people about the definition of human life, I have never gotten a single straight A or B answer to this question. And I never will.

They will never answer honestly, because we all instinctively understand the right answer is "A." A human child is worth more than a thousand embryos. Or ten thousand. Or a million. Because they are not the same, not morally, not ethically, not biologically.

They are lying to you to try and evoke an emotional response, a paternal response, using false-equivalency. No one believes life begins at conception. No one believes embryos are babies, or children. Those who cliam to are trying to manipulate you so they can control women
We can make this even more interesting by saying the embryos may not make it full term, whereas the child would grow up and make a significant contribution to society.

The reality is that we don't know if these viable embryos can actually make it to full term.  Doggone has said that god is the most prolific abortionist since quite a few pregnancies end in miscarriage (I'll leave it to her to explain all that).

All I know is that  foetus is not guaranteed to be born alive (or in perfect condition).  On the other hand, someone who is alive really has a right to life.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Where Focus is Needed...

Recently, I had a long conversation with people I care about deeply about the problem of rampant sexual harassment in US society.  I tried to convey that I am entirely sympathetic about the point, including agreeing it is FAR more often directed at women than men (and numerically at least, than trans-gender people).

I tried, ham-handedly, to express that restricting the discussion of who was impacted to women, would/could have the impact of having others say “Hey, why only women?  Why not men too?”  Why are you creating a double-standard of concern?  My reason for raising an objection to that approach is I recognize that other people are going to see that the narrow focus as unnecessary and hypocritical.  Those observers are the exact people you need to convince to win your point politically.  They will say, correctly, that you don’t gain anything by excluding one sort of victim vs. another (I’ll explain that thought in a moment), but BY excluding them, many people, not people who FAVOR harassment or abuse (who favors abuse?), but other people, will see the complaint as seeking to define the debate in a way that establishes one group as “more special” than any other.  It is that sort of message which will lose that audience right from the start (or enough of it to matter) because the audience will see you as purposefully focusing more narrow than you need and more narrow than is fair.  The other question is, after the "Me Too" campaign, what focus would you seek to change?  Would you seek to limit the funding for the abuse toward transgender?  I'll bet not, so then, what focus are we saving?  Sexual abuse and especially sexual harassment is an epidemic and has been in this country (and others) for decades/centuries, with the difference being we don't seem to be getting very much better, but no policy at any company or law within any government is made better by limiting the discussion to one set of victims, and so, neither is the discussion.

To illustrate the point, please consider your reaction to the following.  Men, overwhelmingly, serve in our armed forces (and those of other armies).  Men who serve in combat, especially those who serve in longer wars or repeated deployments where they see combat, nearly always suffer from some form of PTSD.  Whether it’s nightmares, the “1000 yard stare”, flashbacks, depression, the issues are there and they are VERY real points of pain for those men.  Were someone to say, “We need to stand up and help MEN who suffer from PTSD.  If you are a MAN who is hurting, please reply with ‘I’m Hurting’”, would you feel that was appropriate?  My question would be, why exclude women?  Even if less prevalent, is it less real?  Should we only provide funding for treating men, as a result? Yes, men are the by far and away more impacted group, but failing to include women in the conversation is a glaring hole, and does not help the cause at all.   There’s no reason to do so.  You don’t “lose focus”, nor is there a better time for talking about women’s cases, because it’s not the sex of the victim which is important, it’s the illness or in the case of Sexual Harassment (or abuse), it’s not the sex of the victim, it’s the act.  Seeking to limit the discussion to one sex marginalizes the impact to anyone else.  I’m fairly certain that transgender people suffer massive amounts of sexual identity discrimination and taunting, taunting which leaves them feeling cheapened and abused in the same way casual sexual harassment causes a sense of being cheapened and abused.  They are no less deserving of our sympathy and support and the issue is not any less “focused” by including them.   My son made a brilliant comment about this whole point, people seek empathy, not sympathy. Empathy is learned from many experiences and it is not necessary those experiences be the exact same for the other person to have empathy.
 
Also, while it might seem like it, I don't feel this is a debate of having too few resources to confront the issue.  Would anyone truly argue we should deny equal protection to men (or women) in court from abuse?  Would they argue that a perpetrator shouldn't have to pay if the victim were transgender?  We aren't "short on resources" here and even if we were, we'd never (should never) condone a dividing line based on sex, or religion, or race.  As an example, would anyone support a stance saying we should only focus on female drug addicts, because they very often have kids and we only have limited resources? 

The purpose of this post and point is this, Liberals, me and people like me, have long stood for inclusion.  We defend the rights of unpopular people, we consider everyone the EQUAL under the law and since law is the lowest rung of morality, to be moral, we have to consider their rights to be our moral responsibility to protect, not just our legal responsibility.  When we start creating special categories, we start to create the very divisions we strive to tear down.  When we do it needlessly (or if not needlessly, without good justification) we look hypocritical and we lose the audience we are trying to persuade.
 
The reality is we can come up with a million ways to define any difference, and use that as justification to make one group “more special”, it’s not hard, there’s always one way or another, and in so doing, marginalize others.   As long as you demand different treatment based on race, sex, religion .... you will have distinction and from distinction, bias.  That point, THAT concept that we must fight against policies which demand different bathrooms, different seats on the bus, EVEN IF EQUAL, has been a fundamental tenet of liberalism for more than 60 years.  We recognize that the perpetuation of that distinction is what drives bigotry, or at least, we used to.
 
This is not an easy subject, and I mean no disrespect to any woman (or man or transgender person).  The suffering you’ve experienced is real and wrong.  I have my opinion of course, but it’s only my opinion.  This issue I’m pointing to isn’t really about sexual harassment but is rather about how we address it.  My aim is to remind us Liberals that to be most effective, when we want focus, attention, and action on something, we have to live to our full values, especially the value of protecting the rights of everyone, even if their segment of the population is small or unpopular. 
 
Most important, we cannot succeed if our initial message includes an element of exclusion because the knee-jerk reaction will be that WE are biased, we will then be tuned out and they’ll never read or hear the deeper message.

It is one of the more important challenges of our time that we liberals do not follow in the paths of the conservatives and begin defining our concern for other people in smaller and smaller circles.  One of our greatest distinguishing features has been protecting ALL, even the unpopular, and caring for ALL, even the callous, and even if and especially when, we may be mad about something that group has done.   If we are to avoid war, our focus needs to be on showing love for hate and on showing empathy for our opponents, not contempt.