Monday, August 19, 2013

Why All of Our Eggs Shouldn't Be Placed in Glenn Greenwald's Basket

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden Supporters Are Being Discredited (by the) Left and Right Because Of Their Self-Appointed Mouthpiece.

I'll just say it... Glenn Greenwald is not a real journalist.  Not even close.  He's a fame-monger and he's very successful at that much. and The Guardian are both taking a lot of hits lately in the credibility department but they don't care because they are raking in the cash and page views.  This is the path that Greenwald has led them down.

Here are some problems with Greenwald and why the libertarian left needs a new hero:

1. He wants to be the "decider".
Greenwald encourages his readers to have blind trust in anyone who is willing to steal files and breach security.  He believes that individual citizens and employees acting on their own accord are better equipped to decide what information you are exposed to than the governments you have elected with your votes.  George W. Bush garnered a lot of well-deserved criticism for calling himself "the decider" and that seems to be how Greenwald views himself as well.  He will not tolerate oversight or checks and balances.  Most recently, that has taken the form of threatening the UK government with more leaks because airport security dared to detain his boyfriend.  It didn't take Joy Reid any more than 30 characters to sum up the problem with his logic:  "Welcome to 'Punishment Journalism'":

Regardless of where you stand on privacy and government surveillance, you should be skeptical of someone who wants to override your democratic vote and make their own rules.  You should ponder the difference between a "whistleblower" and someone who has broken the law out of vengeance or egotism.

One last word on George W. Bush, The Great Decider... Greenwald was a pretty big fan of his work back in the day.

2. The only thing bigger than the Government is Greenwald's ego.
Glenn Greenwald has a longstanding tendency to answer questions with insults and name-calling.  We'll elaborate on that point in a moment but it's also worth noting that he fails to recognize the credibility of anyone but himself. This is not something that makes for a good journalist.  Here is an example of Greenwald putting his foot in his mouth in a blatant show of unnecessary one-upmanship:  Greenwald to State Dept. Official and Princeton PhD: "Edward Snowden has done far more for the world in the last 2 months than you have in your life."

3. He will not be questioned by the likes of you.
Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski  once asked Glenn Greenwald if leaking government files was legal or illegal. Moreover, she wanted to know if metadata collection was really comparable to the kind of surveillance where someone is reading your personal emails or listening to your phone calls.  The response from Greenwald was an angry accusation that she was just blindly reading "White House talking points".  He managed to avoid the question entirely.

Accusing everyone of being a blind "Obama follower" is Greenwald's signature insult.  The accusation is his 'slim jim' that can be used to get him out of any jam.  By pitting himself against the President of the USA, anyone who questions his sources or accuracy can be instantly labeled and sent away as part of the vast conspiracy against him.

When I asked Greenwald to provide sources for his claim that thousands of Muslim children were being intentionally targeted by "Obama's drones", this was his response:

It's important to note here that Greenwald never did source or give proper citation to his rant about "Obama's drones killing Muslim children".  Most of the "sources" that I gleaned from his loyal fanbase were just random bits of supposed eyewitness testimony from Afghan and Pakistani tribesman sloppily pasted together with photos of children who we KNOW are not even dead and who were actually injured by Al Qaeda.
Furthermore, Greenwald often conflates the numbers of children killed by drones during the Bush Presidency with numbers from more recent years.  "Hundreds of Children Killed by Drones" made for quite a headline in 2012, but Greenwald neglected to mention that those numbers had been stacking up since 2004.

4. He's a cyberbully.
Michelle Malkin started a nasty little trend on the internet that is a unique blend of cyberbullying, tabloid journalism and "reality tweeting".  If you are not familiar with her website,, you can read all about that mess right here.  But Malkin is not the only one who uses her massive number of followers/fans to beat down any opposition and cyberbully regular joes on Twitter.  Greenwald does that too.  As can be seen in exchanges like the one with Daniel Serwer and a few with myself,  Greenwald's followers pay close attention to every tweet he sends out and when he argues with someone or calls attention to a twitter user, that person is subject to hundreds of angry threats and namecalling from Greenwald's mob.

It's becoming increasingly common for famous people to "retweet" a negative reaction to their followers so that the critic will be bombarded with attacks from the celebrity's fans.  This is unfair and unethical, in my opinion and people who are enjoying their moment at the top of the mountain should not be focused on causing avalanches for the villagers below.

5. He doesn't verify his talking points for factual accuracy.
Greenwald and his partner-in-crime David Sirota are infamous for their flagrant flame throwing and audacious omissions of substantive facts. This is well documented all over the internet, but if you insist that I give you some examples, you can read about that here, here, here and here.  Glenn Greenwald will simply move on to the next talking point if it becomes too obvious that the first one is a bust.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tea Party Circulating FAKE Images of Chris Stevens Being "Tortured" (GRAPHIC)

They Have No Shame!  

In their desperate fear of a Hillary 2016 run, the Tea Party is yet again attempting to politicize and propagandize the Benghazi Consulate Attack... This time, with photos that they claim to be Stevens being "tortured and crying for help" as Hillary and Obama ignore his pleas for "seven hours".

One such Graphic Meme comes from a website called "Uncle Sam's Misguided Children":

But, a reverse image search reveals that the photo we see could not have been Chris Stevens being tortured being tortured by Muslims because it was taken prior to the year 2009 and the Benghazi Consulate Attack that Stevens died in was a 2012 incident.  Stevens reportedly died of smoke inhalation.

Here is a webpage that features the same photo which hasn't been updated since 2009.

Nice try, Tea Party... But your lying attacks on this administration will only serve to discredit everything else you have to say!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nancy Grace Vindicated In On Air Argument by Mother Jones Article

Back when Frank Taaffe was curiously and suddenly the mainstream media's "go to" guy on all things relating to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, an interesting argument took place between HLN's Nancy Grace and Taaffe.   Nancy Grace asserted that Zimmerman used racial slurs in his calls to police and Taaffe denied this fact.

Taaffe tried to explain that Zimmerman used the word "cold" rather than the word "co0n".  Taaffe's argument was beyond absurd, of course, because the context that followed was "... They always get away."  ([These "colds" always get away]???  Sure. Whatever.)
Nonetheless, the media and the courts refused to believe their ears and the racial slur was dropped from being considered serious evidence in the case.

But as of today, Mother Jones Magazine has released a detailed expose which indicates that Frank Taaffe and Zimmerman were co-conspirators in the creation of his defense story and that Taaffe is a racist himself with a criminal history.

Read the Mother Jones story about Taaffe's racist history here. (click here)

Reasonably, Zimmerman's self-defense argument did not hold water.  But the jury was apparently dazzled by defense attorneys who somehow made them forget it's legally and ethically wrong to chase unarmed teenagers with loaded weapons in the dark. Racists will argue with any and all this reason on this point, though.

As Mother Jones points out:
Taaffe isn't the first member of Zimmerman's circle to be caught making racially charged statements. In March, Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr. (another outspoken defender), tweeted a photo of a black Georgia teenager who allegedly murdered a one-year-old boy with a gunshot to the face, alongside a picture of Trayvon Martin.

This brings us to another interesting point.  The story that Robert Zimmerman was tweeting about in connection to Trayvon Martin has now ALSO been exposed as a racist fraud.  The mother of the infant, Sherry West is now thought to have killed her own child and blamed it on two black teenagers...  as racist white people have been known to do in the past.

A great number of the crimes supposedly perpetrated by black people against white people are eventually exposed as fraudulent... A few examples are Sherry West, Susan Smith, Ashley Todd and Charles Stuart.
These horrific crimes are always touted, bandied about and shared on social networking sites by conservatives, the Tea Party and racist groups as "evidence" that black people are horrible criminals and not to be trusted... But in the end, as prosecutors like Nancy Grace know... "sometimes it just aint so."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fewer Jurors Means Less Justice

What do the trials of George Zimmerman, Casey Anthony and Troy Davis all have in common?  

The answer could be that their outrageous outcomes stem from the fewer number of jurors who decided their fate.

Of these three cases, two were tried in Florida and the latter was tried in Georgia.  Florida and Georgia are among five U.S. states that don't require 12 jurors to unanimously agree on a verdict.  The other three are Arizona, Oregon and Louisiana.

In Oregon and Louisiana, a twelve person jury may be used but they need not reach a unanimous verdict. It's more akin to a popularity contest than it is to a criminal trial.

Incidentally, these are also five states where prejudices such as racism and homophobia are known to be rampant - even recognized as such by the Federal Government in legislation such as the Voting Rights Act which aims to reduce voter disenfranchisement.

In Florida and Georgia, a person can be sentenced to death by just six people.  This is what happened to Troy Davis, whom a majority of the public now believes was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.   Alternately, it also means that murder and manslaughter charges can be acquitted by only six people - which is the case with both Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman in two other highly contested outcomes.

The thematic facts of these three cases bear very little resemblance to one another - but the verdicts seem to defy popular public opinion.   In contrast, one could present a case where they believe a 12-person jury delivered the wrong verdict, such as the O.J. Simpson trial.  But the O.J. Simpson case would be an anomaly in this discussion because most capital criminal cases are settled by a unanimous jury of twelve.

Furthermore, juries of twelve have been more likely over the years to deliver justice even when it rubs the general public the wrong way at first.  Then, when cooler heads have prevailed and hindsight returns to 20/20, we see that the jury was right after all.  Such is the case with the trial against the McMartin family whom twelve jurors finally absolved of any criminal conduct in a case that took two and a half years to complete.

The McMartins operated a preschool and were falsely accused of child molestation during a period of persecution in America known as "Satanic Panic".  Every news network in America was producing fantastic tales of devil worship, cannibalism and molestation intermingled with accusations of homosexuality and witchcraft.  Public consensus at the time would be that anyone who set foot in a courtroom was guilty until proven innocent.

Psychological Math

So what is it about twelve jurors that usually produces a more accurate or favorable outcome than six?  The answer to that question is one of psychology and sociology.

Smaller groups of quarantined or sequestered people are more susceptible to what's termed as "group think". A charismatic person can more easily influence five of his peers than he can eleven.  That is to say that a smaller jury can be more easily "bullied" into going against their better instincts.

When more people are introduced to a conversation, the likelihood of a contradicting opinion being presented is increased.  Therefore, there may now be two contradicting "bullies" in the jury and the democratic process takes hold.  Mild mannered fence sitters now have options and can decide that one of the bolder jurors is more correct in their opinions and assumptions.  It's like a trial within a trial.

The longer a jury spends deliberating, the more likely they are to reach a trustworthy conclusion.  Obviously, deliberations will last longer with bigger juries in most cases.  It only took a six person jury a total of 12 minutes to find Marissa Alexander guilty of a felony that put her behind bars for 20 years.  That Florida case is also widely regarded as an absolute miscarriage of justice.

By contrast the twelve member jury in the case against Scott Peterson deliberated for seven days and reached a verdict that most people were satisfied with.    Historically, the longest jury deliberations in criminal trials have come from the standard 12-person juries.  Additionally, the outcomes of those trials seem to have more "balance of opinion" in the actual verdicts and sentencing.  An example of this would be the Allen V. City Oakland case where a jury deliberated for four whopping months before rendering a partial verdict.