Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Healthcare and the Supreme Court

So I'm reading how today was a disastrous day for healthcare proponents before the Supreme Court. You know what? It shouldn't fucking matter!

Honestly, this case shouldn't have even made it to the Supreme Court. The mere fact that it did make it to the Supreme Court is ipso facto evidence that the conservative majority plans to overturn it. That's a fucking joke. I mean, an even worse joke than Citizens United and Bush v Gore. If the Supreme Court plans to overturn the individual mandate, you might as well throw out the entire Constitution. It is literally a meaningless document that has no standing whatsoever. There is no meaningful difference between the mandate and a tax. And if the federal government cannot tax its citizens, it literally has zero power to do anything, including raising money for, and providing for, a standing army. Might as well throw out the document and start over. It's more toothless than the Articles of Confederation. And we saw how that worked out.

It's horrifying that I have to pray for a Hail Mary from that fraud John Roberts to save this country from sliding into the abyss.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Don't leave us Newt!

As a Democrat, I of course am rooting for the optimum amount of chaos and confusion in the Republican primary nomination process. Many Democrats believe (rightly I suspect), that Rick Santorum is the more easily defeated candidate in the Republican field, and as such, are rooting for Newt Gingrich to drop out so it can be (essentially) a two-way race between the bat-shit crazy Rick Santorum and the gaffe-prone, flip-flopping plutocrat, Mitt Romney. They believe (somewhat rightly, somewhat wrongly), that Gingrich's removal would consolidate the conservative voting bloc into a Rick Santorum Voltron that could possibly dethrone the presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. The press has embraced this theory as well. As such, the conventional wisdom has emerged that Santorum needs Gingrich to drop out in order to win the nomination. This, in a word, is wrong.

Why is this so wrong? Well, when the media covers presidential races, they like to cover and create stories (narratives), not report mathematical realities. This is why the media pretended that Hillary Clinton could win the Democratic nomination in 2008 WELL WELL WELL after the race was mathematically conclusive. I mean, these people have newspapers to promote, or blogs to pimp, or commercials on shitty cable television shows to sell. Conflict sells. Inevitability does not.

What does the math tell us in this case? Well, Santorum can't win enough delegates to take the nomination outright. Period. Even if Gingrich dropped out, and Santorum gained every single Gingrich voter (a HIGHLY dubious assertion), Santorum could not win enough of the remaining delegates needed to win the nomination. As it stands, Santorum would have to win 69% of the remaining delegates to reach the magical 1,144 needed to secure the nomination. Romney needs to win 48%. Latest polls show that, at a minimum, roughly a quarter of Newt supporters would jump to Romney. Without full-fledged Gingrich supporter backing, there is no logistical way Santorum wins 69% of the remaining delegates.

No, the best route to the nomination for Santorum (his only route to the nomination), is to prevent Romney from receiving 48% of the remaining delegates and then taking it to a brokered convention, where conservatives can finally coalesce around their conservative lunatic of choice. And the best way to prevent Romney from winning 48% of the remaining delegates is to field as many viable candidates as possible - that includes Gingrich and the increasingly irrelevant (though in our scenario, relevant) Ron Paul. [Ironically, critics of Ron Paul have pointed out that Ron Paul appears to be acting in coordination with the Romney campaign, specifically citing Paul's track-record of attacking every single GOP candidate BUT Mitt Romney. In this case though, Paul's remaining in the race clearly hurts the Romney campaign].

Again, as somewhat who enjoys watching Republicans alienate as many voting groups as possible, I want the clown posse to keep the circus on tour. I mean, I know we say Republicans look out for rich, white men, but perhaps we can narrow that down even further. Maybe Santorum will call all rich West coast men dandies. Maybe Ron Paul will accuse all rich Northeastern men of being NAMBLA enablers. Maybe Newt will claim all white factory workers in unions in the Midwest are enthrall to a Jewish cabal. The sky is limit with these people! I say let's cut to the chase and winnow Republican voters down to its critical essence -  rich, white, racist Southerners!

So don't get anywhere Newt! Stick around Paul! The show's just getting started!

What was he thinking?

So it seems that Dharun Ravi, the kid who video-spied on Rutgers student Tyler Clement, has been convicted on all counts charged against him, including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest. Rhavi is here on a green card, so he might also be deported. To put it bluntly, this kid is fucked. Tyler Clement, you'll remember, was the Rutgers student who threw himself off of the George Washington Bridge after being publicly humiliated by Ravi.

The New Yorker has an incredible article on this case, which you should read instead of my shitty blog, but if you don't have the patience to read it, the important takeaway is that Ravi is not history's greatest monster. In fact, I can imagine a lot of people, past and current, who would react to this situation in the same, immature, juvenile and yet deeply offensive manner. That being said, the charges the prosecution DID pursue (which notably did NOT include hate crime charges), were actually pretty airtight from a criminal law standpoint. Unfortunately, Ravi seems to have learned no lessons from the experience and definitely seems to have worsened as a human being since charges were filed. The charges of witness tampering are pretty well-documented in email and text message trials and they demonstrate that he had a pretty tight grasp of the wrong he did and the criminal consequences of that wrong. But really all of the charges against Ravi had pretty clear evidentiary lineages. Despite the mountain of evidence, Ravi stubbornly did not take the prosecution's plea bargain, which, as it turns out, was criminally insane (pun intended). The original plea, as offered, would have avoided jail-time entirely, albeit with thousands of hours of community service.

Now I don't know about you, but with my Catholic conscious, thousands of hours of community service would have been a very small price to pay if I was personally responsible for the shaming and subsequent suicide of another living and breathing human being. In fact, even after the community service hours, I would probably tack on the crazed cat o'nine tails self-flagellation we saw John Savage demonstrate at the end of Brave New World. Maybe Ravi didn't think he was "criminally" responsible (a dubious proposition I'll grant you), but how can you have so little remorse that you wouldn't feel morally responsibly? This moral vacuum strips away what little remorse I had for Rhavi. Now he'll get five to twenty years in prison. Or deported to India. Or both. Good riddance.

Friday, March 2, 2012

UFC Live-blogging

How do Terrorists Think?

I left my psychological manual on the terrorist mind at-home so you people will have to remind me the correct response to this:

For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.
Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.
His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.
Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit that has wound its way through federal courts since 2002. An appellate court, reversing an earlier decision, said in November that foreign nations were not immune to lawsuits under certain terrorism claims, clearing the way for parts of the Saudi case to be reheard in United States District Court in Manhattan.

Okay, so as I understand it, this civil trial will be held ON American soil! In Manhattan! Are they nuts? Did they not learn their lesson when they tried to prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed? I mean, prosecuting the global war on terror domestically is invitation for more terrorist attacks at-home right? Or does that only apply to criminal, not civil cases? To individual, not state-based prosecutions? I'm confused. How come terrorists don't want to attack civil prosecutions?

I mean, it's simply not possible that the opponents of prosecuting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York City were just a bunch of fear-mongering jingoists right???

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bear with me please...

If I have loyal readers, please bear with me while I begin my new job. It is taking up A LOT of my time. When I get settled, I'll have the opportunity to rant and rave again. Maybe some UFC posting tomorrow night...