rationalize | animal | Page 3

Racist justice system still racist.

Or: Atlantic misses the boat, again.

You know what word the Atlantic authors forgot to use in this article?

Why deny any inmate a DNA test that could definitively prove that he was innocent, especially in a country where DNA evidence has led to the post-conviction exoneration of 310 people? On average, those wrongfully incarcerated men served 13.6 years in prison.


I guess we’ll have to assume The Atlantic is still using Lynx web browsers for research.

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Libertarian shills and the conservatives they lust for.

I know it’s easy pickin’s, but I cannot ever seem to get over how dumb and hypocritical Libertarians are, compared to their (stated) goals of “freedom” or “liberty” or whatever they pretend they care about.

Comes now Mother Jones, once again reminding us that the single largest infringement of liberty ACTUALLY OCCURRING in the country right now is the war republicans are waging on women’s rights to control their bodies.

The fact that this is actually occurring, and not some mythical example of maybe getting some medicaid expansion if your state wanted it (or whatever else they pretend is an infringement on liberty), you’d think they’d be up in arms trying to elect every liberal in any election where the choice is between a liberal and a conservative (or a neoliberal), in order to put an end to the war on women’s rights, and the conservative desire to spy on every American to supposedly “protect us.”

These are policies that are, again, actually occurring right now.  But do libertarians seem to care?

No.  Which is why one can only conclude that their actual goal is the same as conservatives – to use their supposed “principles” to stick it to the poors.

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Our failed patent experiment.

More hand-wringing from those who purchase our politicians, about others who more effectively purchased out politicians:

“Litigation brought by patent assertion entities (PAEs), commonly called trolls, has exploded in size and scope, and now represents a majority of all patent litigation,” the companies write. They cite research by Boston University researchers that patent trolling costs the economy at least $29 billion per year.

The letter was organized by Google and other major technology companies, but it includes signatures from a large number of distinctly low-tech businesses. Retail outlets like J. Crew and Macy’s signed the letter. So did grocery stores like Safeway and Kroger. And home shopping networks Jewelry Television and QVC.

Google crying about patents?  Now that’s rich!

Time to end the whole system and start over from scratch.  This should be something every conservative could agree on, if they really cared about stuff like “free-markets,” instead of just paying it lip service while actually sticking it to the poors.

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Ted Cruz is right.

The only time I’ll ever say that?  Hopefully?

But he’s correct about one thing: we should encourage all of the republicans to refuse to fund the government in order to defund Obamacare.

And the reason is pretty simple: the damage republicans can do over the next two years is larger than the damage they can do shutting down the government this one time, and making it more likely democrats can retake all of congress and have the presidency.

There is a very low probability that democrats can take the house in the current environment – which means that unless something changes the game, it will be two more years of republicans trying to harm the country.  Literally speaking, democrats need to win the popular vote for the house by ~7% to even have an EVEN chance of taking back the house due to the horrific gerrymandering inflicted upon the country.  In their biggest wave election in recent history, they only won by ~8%.  Think about that for a minute, how horrific Bush was to cause that.

So we need to let them shoot themselves in the head – even if it causes temporary harm to the country.  We cannot let the terrorists continue to hold us hostage, shooting a few at a time, hoping that one day something (what exactly?) happens where democrats can take back over and get back to fighting between liberals and neoliberals.  We will save more people in the long run.

In either case, people are going to get hurt.  I’d rather save as many as possible.

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Conservatives and their libertarian football – Part #4,145

One of the more bizarre* aspects of the libertarian movement and their current war with the republican party is their desire to elect conservatives over liberals, whom would share are least a FEW areas of agreement.  (This assumes you think Libertarians exist at all, and are not just conservatives themselves.)  The common retort I hear is that liberals are just as bad as conservatives on the police state – for example, we would have invaded Iraq and written the Patriot Act all on our own.  This is beyond absurd.  Democrats may vote for these things when pushed into a corner because they are in general pussies and don’t want to be beaten over the head with these sticks come election time.  But to even suggest that they would come up with these hair-brain schemes on their own and then implement them, especially when they spend most of their time mired in an intra-party war between neoliberals and liberals, is pure lunacy.  And no one takes seriously the notion that conservatives want to shrink the government – see: history, all of recorded – unless the other party is in control of at least a branch of the government.

If Libertarians wanted to do more than pay lip service to liberty, they would stop electing those who do the most damage to it.  After all, they will never get rid of social security and medicare, so they might as well accomplish as much as they can with their limited following.

*Bizarre, if you take them at face value that their desire is to increase “freedom” or “liberty” in a principled way, and not just stick it to the poors.  And I’m not dumb enough to fall for it.

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Reason author refutes own argument.

Imagine that:

Today Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother,  said she believed Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law “assisted the person who killed my son to get away with murder.” She did not explain how, which is hardly surprising, since George Zimmerman’s defense was not based on the absence of a duty to retreat for people attacked in public places. Rather, it was a classic self-defense claim that could have been successful in any state…

And yes, it is still nonsense if you cite the jury instructions or the interview with Juror B37, neither of which shows that Zimmerman’s acquittal hinged on his utterly irrelevant right to stand his ground while he was pinned to it and pummeled.

If you’re going to premise your entire argument on a basic fact (in this case that stand your ground had nothing to do with the case), you should probably do a little better than attempting to pass an arbitrary assertion at the end of your diatribe as conclusive proof.  IE, your argument, in your own words, is a non sequitur.

What the author misses is that stand-your-ground laws allow people like Zimmerman to engage in behavior that is reckless; behavior that they would not normally engage in if they weren’t secure in the knowledge that if they provoked a fight, they could then stand their ground instead of being required to retreat.

And more amazing is the fact that we take the word of a proven liar over the dead victim or his black friend.

But I forgot – we live in a post-racial world and all that.

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Libertarian Unicorns.

Another principled stand by another principled libertarian:

“Mitch McConnell is a proven conservative who stands strong for Kentucky in the face of President Obama’s big government agenda in Washington,” [Sen Rand] Paul said in a statement. “He is a consistent voice against Obamacare and against this administration’s war on coal. He has stood up for Kentucky values.”

Will the shills ever learn?

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Completely obvious and expected results unexpectedly occur…again.

Via Mark Thoma I find Mark Kleinman reporting on today’s charter school failures:

What does a Republican charter-school enthusiast who believes in school-level accountability for educational results do when a charter school run by a big Republican donor gets a lousy evaluation score? Why, he cheats, of course.

Tony Bennett, former head education honcho in Indiana and current head education honcho in Florida, to his chief of staff:

“Anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work.”

Bennett to the official in charge of the grading system for schools:

“I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months.”

Somehow, magically, the score for Christel House went from 2.9 (C+) to 3.75 (a solid A)….

You’d have thought that charter schools, like private prisons, could hardly have done worse than their big, clumsy, bureaucratic, union-dominated public competition. But you would have been wrong, twice.

He forgot the third one: healthcare.

There is one overarching principle here that cannot be ignored: any time a public function is run by private companies, it will inevitably lead to worse outcomes.  Why?  Because intrinsic to the whole arrangement is the “profit motive.”  No private company is going to run a public good for free.  And at some point, the public good (education, rehabilitation, healthcare) is going to come into conflict with the desire to secure a profit.

Conservatives constantly remind us that if you want more of something, subsidize it.  They want to talk about “incentives.”  You want more for-profit-but-not-for-education schools?  Subsidize them by transferring tax money from public schools to them.  You want more prisoners?  Subsidize incarceration.  You want worse health outcomes?  Subsidize administrators and doctors and executives at hospitals, drug companies, medical device manufacturers, etc, with public money to provide services, not outcomes.

We get the obvious result – in fact, the ONLY result you could possibly get.

The goal of a company (and its principles, investors, employees, etc) is not to provide a public good.  The goal of a company is to make a profit.

The sooner everyone realizes this the sooner the madness will end.

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Tom Coburn calls increasing unemployment “great for the country”…

As quoted by Slate:

“The one thing that we have achieved is that we have actually cut discretionary spending through sequestration and the Budget Control Act,” Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn pointed out. “That’s one thing we’ve done great for the country, and you’re going to put that at risk trying to achieve something that is impossible for us to achieve.”

Remember, sequestration is a policy that by all credible estimates has increased unemployment by over 1.5 million people.  That is 1.5 million more lives and families ruined.

This is why conservatives cannot be bargained with – only defeated.

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The Atlantic misses the boat on food stamps…

A glaring mistake in an otherwise fair piece on food stamps:

Completely setting aside ideology or ethics, it makes sense for the GOP to oppose food stamp spending from the perspective of interest group politics. The program is essentially a financial transfer from their districts to Democratic-leaning areas.

They probably should have written “completely setting aside reality” – for it is a fact that wealth transfers occur in the other direction (on the federal level) – from rich people in liberal areas to poor people in conservative areas.  And the data probably holds intrastate too (you try to pave an entire state on just taxes from a few dispersed farms).  Although there may be a lot of poor people in cities (as is evidenced by the rates of SNAP utilization), it doesn’t seem hard to imagine there may be a few rich folk sprinkled in there too (think: NYC).

Ironically, the authors commit the same error in judgement that many racist southerners use as their rationalization for voting against their economic interest: “those people” in the cities get all the money from us hard workin’ salt-of-the-earth types.

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