Pointless speculation on ACA and the US Supreme Court

Will John Roberts Crush Obamacare The Second Time Around? – http://huff.to/1rzrTuv

The whole point of a Supreme Court is to settle national controversies.

In the past few years Roberts and Scalia and Kennedy have variously come through with victories for gay rights and upheld Obama’s environmental legislation, and his ACA, from which some shrill commentators have concluded…that they are only there to further a right wing agenda.

Sometimes their leanings affect their objectivity, but that is true of the other side as well.

The effects of Citizen’s United are troubling but the Supreme Court is not there to right all the wrongs of society, it’s there to implement the law as it is.

Especially those concerned with the conservative bent of the court should actually prefer it that way.

The last thing we need is the court becoming nine robed, unelected emperors for life that could ignore the law and do whatever they see fit.

So criticisms that laws they uphold have undesirable effects, are off point.

Sometimes they will make mistakes too.  Kennedy is the best judge on the court but the route he chose to support gay rights in that decision was dangerous because the same reasoning could be used to shut down any law that the court considered generically unjust. 

You can’t just look at the immediate effect of a decision to decide if it is a good decision, that’s often irrelevant.

On the decision to take on the latest ACA challenge, it’s the right wing that should be panicking. 

Why take on an obviously frivolous appeal? 

To send a message.  The decisions they have made do not mean they are on somebody’s “side”. 

People pursuing ridiculous litigation on the basis that they expect to be bailed out at the Supreme Court level aren’t giving the conservative judges a complement, they are smearing their integrity.

Courts hate frivolous litigation.  So if the Supreme Court takes on a frivolous case it probably means somebody is getting taken out back to the wood shed for a whooping, it’s not to encourage it.


Ferguson Grand Jury Testimony Full Of Inconsistencies

Ferguson Grand Jury Testimony Full Of Inconsistencies – http://huff.to/1ryQJdR

The truth is it was a good shoot and people with other racially driven motives had to make something up because any white cop may be seen as guilty in that situation.

For a bunch of people to make something up consistent with each other and keep their story straight with the forensic evidence, which they hadn’t seen, is difficult.

The actions of the police after the shooting and the association of some of them with supremicist organization are a different issue and are reprehensible.

We cannot however convict Mr. Wilson because his colleagues for instance arrested reporters that were in a building and not rioting or doing anything wrong.

The policemen that abducted the reporters should be charged with abduction, with an aggravating factor of doing so while possessing firearms, a maximum sentence should be sought and they should serve their term in the general prison population.

There is no inconsistency in the evidence on that and no defence.  So charge it.

Wilson is another matter. 

There is an irony that those trying to destroy Wilson actually made effective prosecution of him impossible, even if he had been guilty.

One good witness can be far better than fifty bad ones.  To convict you need to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.  The defense is going to be happy with a big mess that is hard to sort out.  The jury will probably decide they don’t believe anybody and just throw their hands in the air and give up.

I’m mystified why it would be this case that would get people going.

The deceased was a violent thug.

How about the case in New York where plainclothes officers fired on a car with a groom in it that was leaving from a club, for no reason, firing dozens of shots and killing the man, without even a credible reason for drawing weapons.

Or the case in California where a transit officer accosted a black man for no reason, arrested him for no reason, then shot him in the back while he was down, on video. He claimed he was reaching for a taser and grabbed the gun by accident and got manslaughter.  That was cut and dried murder, how can you get better than video.  That had some protests but this reaction should have been to that case.

There was another case where after a car chase and a suspect was cornered between police cars with no possibility of escape, an officer jumped on the hood of the vehicle and executed the unarmed suspect by firing a number of shots through the windshield.

There have been a few other cases where police officers have shot suspects with an apparent motive of preventing the suspect from going into custody, which makes one wonder why a police officer would think it safer to risk a murder charge than to allow a suspect to be interrogated.

Lots of cases smell to high heaven, why chose this one.

Ex-NBC Employee Says Bill Cosby Paid Off Women

Ex-NBC Employee Says Bill Cosby Paid Off Women – http://huff.to/1rfiKXA

This actually tends to pull in the other direction from the other recent allegations.

One of the problems with sequential public disclosures is it violates the principle of separating witnesses.  When each person knows what everybody else has said before going on record it’s too easy.  They don’t even require actual collusion, all they need to do is read articles.

So we don’t know if the stories are the same because he had the same MO or because the witnesses were all contaminated.

To make it more confusing, witness contamination can be unconscious as well.  One of the reasons police separate witnesses is if they hear what others say it can alter their actual memories. 

I had a civil case once where witnesses that were trying to be honest, but witnesses that try to collaborate can come up with a synthesized narrative that doesn’t match the original observations of any of them, and it may fall apart under scrutiny.  So in that case they all seemed sincerely convinced of some (fortunately collateral) point that couldn’t possibly be true.

So that’s a warning- the more people come out with more facts after hearing what others say first, the greater the risk that somebody, possibly in good faith, is going to say something demonstrably false.

When that happens everybody that has come forward is going to take a hit.

Considering how much documentation is still out there about his schedule even decades ago there’s lots of room for mistakes.  Pick a date in a stretch where he was definitely across the country for 16 hour a day filming sessions, or worse when he was on stage or on camera, and the witness is done.  It’s really easy to get something like that wrong.

What’s going on here is really double edged, if he’s innocent, the chance to duplicate stories is a problem, if he’s guilty of most of it, the chance for everything to be derailed by one blunder is a problem.

The old friend’s friendship needs to be taken in the context that he was hoarding information to use against his friend, almost certainly with a financial motive, long before their friendship was over. 

So why aren’t the kept women that he put on radar raising the same allegations? If people resented him for being sleazy it raises another motive.  If there are hundreds out there I have to wonder, what percentage would make something up. 

This cluster of women he actually paid off, I’d have expected it to be worse, so the article is leaving me less sure about the other allegations.  

You Probably Don’t Know If You’re Allergic To This — And It Could Kill You

You Probably Don’t Know If You’re Allergic To This — And It Could Kill You – http://huff.to/1r4V8oJ

I had an anaphylactic reaction a year and a half ago, never did figure out what it was that caused it.   I knew the symptoms though. 

Cosby Controversy

Cosby Controversy: “6 Signs Of Rape Culture” – http://huff.to/1r1RSdx

“Innocent until proven guilty” is a part of “rape culture”?

Actually, it’s a principle that protects everybody from another type of predatory behavior.

We have multiple cultural problems, including bigot culture and witch hunt culture.
Rape culture is only one of these problems, we’ve got lots of baggage to sort out.

Lack of a nuanced approach is one of the things that makes it more difficult to sort out.

For instance, the race issue.  There’s no need to deny that’s there.  Roman Polanski gets more deferrence here than Cosby.  Think about that for a second.

That doesn’t have anything to do with the truth or falsity of the allegations though.  There’s no need to deny it affects the coverage but on the core issue it’s irrelevant.

We also need to be cautious where public figures or a potentially large payoff are involved.  Remember the Duke Lacrosse case and the case with the former IMF head and the hotel maid where false accusations were made with a financial motive, and with the IMF guy, taken out at a critical time in negotiations on EU solvency, probably somebody put the maid up to it.

Another layer of nuance is that some of the allegations may be true and others fabricated.  These are different people, they may have diverse motives.

Another layer of nuance is that some questionable motives actually don’t determine the issue of truth. 

A person who has been damaged may well feel entitled to something and conversely a person with no financial motive is not necessarily telling the truth.

What should concern us most is the witch hunt aspect.   Do we want to be in a culture where anybody can be taken down at any time by untested allegations.  That is not just a rape issue, it’s a “swiftboat” issue.

One of the worst cases, the US soldier that was released this year.  After the right wing had been on Obama to secure the release of the soldier for years, when he did it, they immediately set out to destroy the soldier’s reputation, paying off other soldiers from his unit to make claims that were demonstrably false.  So instead of the heroes welcome they were implying before his release, he and his family were receiving death threats.  And he wasn’t even the real target, it was about undermining everything that Obama does.  Republican senators have admitted that opposing everything that a black man does plays well with their base. That’s the reality we live in. 

Ultimately, this isn’t even about credibility. There are multiple processes for dealing with such complaints, including criminal and civil litigation.  The women in question chose for their own reasons not to follow those processes.

So the correct response is, we have a process and you’ve chosen not to follow that process, so what would you have us do. 

The most pernicious aspect of rape culture is women telling other women not to come forward.  They’ll say, nobody will believe you, there are rarely convictions etc. 

That creates self fulfilling prophesies.

In any emergency, to have the best chance of success, you need to know what to do in advance so you can automatically make the right move without hesitation.  Preparing women to fail in the event they are raped is as bad as preparing them to fail in the event of a fire or medical emergency.

At the critical moments when they need to be strong and decisive they can’t have self-defeating thoughts going around their heads.  They need to act automatically, without self doubt, as we would want in any other emergency situation.

There might be an acquittal.  So what.  There will be an arrest record.  Fingerprints and DNA may connect other crimes.  He’ll have to hire a lawyer and sweat for a year.  There may be a bail supervisor and bail conditions The course of an accused to an acquittal is a brutal grind.  An accused that gets acquitted is not getting off free.

We hear that these trials are often brutal on the complainants, and they are. 

But that is missing something, how hard it is on you to do nothing.  What those purveyors of bad advice won’t tell you is how it is going to feel to do nothing, how it is going to eat away at you every day, every year, for decades, and how powerless you’ll feel, if you do nothing.

The slogan needs to be, “every case goes forward”.  No quarter. 

You can shut these guys down with convictions, you can also shut them down with acquittals. 

Most importantly, the message that few allegations are made and few cases go forward is one that you are sending to rapists too.

You’re giving them license.  Take it away.  The perpatrators usually know the victim, so identity isn’t in issue.  Send them the message instead that if they do this thing, whatever the verdict at the end, they’re in for a year of hell and they can be certain of that.  That is an enormous deterrant.

Friends don’t fill friends with self doubt when they should be supportive.

CPR on somebody that has a heart attack away from a hospital has about a 5% chance of success.

Should we be telling people, you’ll probably fail, so you should just give up?

Which is going to make you feel better in the long run, doing something or doing nothing?

For women that may have waited to long, such as in the Cosby case, there’s nothing we can do but say, we have a process and you made your decision, we’re sorry.

If the allegations are true there is probably somebody for whom limitations haven’t expired, and that is another story. 

Myths About Transition Regrets

Myths About Transition Regrets – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/myths-about-transition-regrets_b_6160626.html

There’s a conflation here.  No doubt the trans people are sincere in their feelings but what they believe is as a matter of science literally false.  Even after an operation every cell of their body will have their original sex chromosomes.

The flip side is those that oppose them are going down their own rabbit hole. 

People that imagine they are the other sex are wrong, but their is a biological basis for those feelings which is too complicated to get into here.  But that biological basis doesn’t make a Y chromosome appear or disappear in a puff of smoke.

If people have the means to indulge their fantasy it’s none of our business, but we shouldn’t have to contribute to that any more than we should have to indulge the peculiar fantasies of the religious right.

It’s a free world, do whatever you want, respect the right of the rest of us to not participate.

For India to Agree to a Climate Deal Like China Would Be Disastrous

For India to Agree to a Climate Deal Like China Would Be Disastrous – http://huff.to/1uAdDGy

One of the many reasons why getting cost effective alternative energy is critical, having the rich tell the poor they need to “take one for the team” isn’t going to play well anywhere, and it will be seen as hypocritical, which it is.