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DirkGently

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 04:59 PM
Number of posts: 12,151

Journal Archives

Greenwald can be right or wrong. The attacks, however, are largely dishonest.

Several right here in this thread.

- The intro from his book attacking Bush, admitting he once supported the war in Iraq attack.

If I've seen this one once, it's been 20 times. So tired. So disingenuous. So easily slapped to the floor with the simplest examination. It's a species of ideological purity test, which ironically is another claim of the dishonest GG smearing faction. Plenty of Dems went along with Iraq. Be fascinating to see how many Hillary supporters would like us all to DQ Greenwald over Iraq, but keep her safely out from under the bus on the exact same grounds.


- The "He spoke at Cato twice / therefore Libertarian / therefore Rand & Ron Paul / therefore racist" attack.

Speaking again of purity tests, eh? Tainted by the Libertarian odor? That's an argument, now? Please fire the marketeer who wrote this one as well.

No idea what ideology GG self-identifies with, although as I recall the administration's consistent view has been he is of the "professional left." But you know what? Libertarians are occasionally right about a couple of things. Anti-war, anti-drug war, for a start. Sorry about that, but it is the case.

Ron & Rand are another kettle of fish. Show us where GG has embraced the Paul family's loopy white supremacist leanings or stop thinking you're fooling anyone, please.

- "Alex Jones?"

Really? Another total canard. The difference between a conspiracy theorist and someone speaking the truth is ... the truth. No one being remotely serious contends GG is actively lying about the NSA scandal or anything else. The reporting IS being taken seriously. No one is laughing GG off the air as a crank. Cranky, maybe, but no cigar.

Is GG an abrasive anti-establishment type? Sure. Not the same as a screaming looney whose every claim is a fairy tale.

- "Ratfucking."

Gack. What is THIS one supposed to be about? By all means, anyone who can, please demonstrate the parallel between the release of genuine information regarding NSA surveillance or anything else from Greenwald, and lies and dirty tricks employed by the Nixon administration. Breaking into a psychiatrist's office. Planning firebombings and kidnappings.

The really goofy thing about this one is it IS an Alex-Jones flavored insinuation at its core. By all means, articulate the Nixonian dirty trickstering you mean, or admit you're just throwing ugly words around in hopes someone will think it sounds informed.

I would agree with anyone that Greenwald DOES have an "agenda" of sorts -- it's just not the dishonest kind. The guy is self-righteous and abrasive and relentless and utterly undiplomatic. It was apparently his lawyering style, and it's now his style of journalism and critique. He comes with a point of view -- but an intellectually honest one -- and anyone on the other side is getting a full-bore attack. But we need that in this time and this place.

We are beset by co-opted sources and anonymous propagandists, large and small. A strident, grating voice is sometimes all that's heard above the din. Greenwald and Alan Grayson are cut from the same cloth in that regard, pilloried by some as being too harsh or too brash, but mainly by those who really just resent the unabashed challenged to established power structures. They're not respecting the Chain of Command. They are not "entitled" to embarrass or criticize those who have worked so hard to not answer to the likes of journalists or Congressmen, or for that matter, Americans.

That's just too damn bad.

I'll take the harsh and the brash, and the "agenda" of being genuinely pissed off over the comfortable and the partisan any day. But nothing is so transparent or so lame as this same handful of irrelevant, specious attacks, tossed at the wall over and again, like stale Fail Spaghetti. No one's buying it, so it raises the question: Why bother? Why not try an honest argument, for a change?

"We see you."

Many people are comfortable "knowing" things their friends tell them.

If we could do anything to improve the state of our democracy, convincing people to think critically and make qualitative distinctions about things would be the place to start.

I have heard the following insane suggestions from people I know "in real life," whom I do not otherwise consider to be "crazy" or even rightwing recently:

- Obama has been "crafty" about his birth certificate.

Nice conflation of anti-Semitic code and racially tinged anti-Obama rhetoric, from someone who would swear to have no racist or anti-Semitic, or even rightwing leanings. And even after the endless debunkings and re-debunkings. "Ehh, I just think maybe ..."

- Global warming / climate change is nonsense, because scientists lack objectivity, because something about peer pressure.

Again, from a person not otherwise known to be irrational. A professional I have worked with. Impervious to suggestions the pushback emanates from sources who might stand to lose money if emissions are further regulated.

- Trayvon Martin was carrying Skittles and Tea because there is some way to make some kind of drug out of those ingredients.

Again, a person who would strenuously object to any suggestion of racism on their part. I did get them to give up and move on by just calling "internet bullshit," but ... wow?


My point is that while we dismiss all the "crazy talk on the Internets," and dismiss those saying ridiculous things as idiots or "knuckle-draggers" or rightwingers, many people who are not all out nutjobs or paid trolls simply do not distinguish between rational thought and things their friends have said to them, or that they have read randomly somewhere.

Several of the people above were older folks. Maybe that's part of it. They somehow don't expect motivated LYING and distortion to be presented to them by people they know, or from sources that look like "news" on the Internet or television.

Ask them where they got this thinking, and they sort of shake their heads, as if you asked them where the sky came from. "I heard it, so it could be true."

You can argue, and I do, sometimes, even with "real" people I actually know. But it's a dicey proposition. It's very insulting to suggest to someone you know they have been influenced by racist tripe or paid propaganda. They'd rather be angry with you than face that possibility. It is shocking to someone who is coming from a circle of friends who pass certain "items of information" around to be told they are trading in absolute falsehoods.

If you know the person, and still want to try to straighten them out a bit, there's always polite incredulity.

"Really, that sounds almost too strange to be true. What is the source of that? You know, people make up a lot of crazy things these days."

Good luck.

One Thing



One Thing to track them all, One Thing to find them,
One Thing to bring their data, and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Utah where the Shadows lie.

Conservatives require an underclass or three to abuse.

Every "issue" for them seems to be a fight to put some entire class of people down into a substrata where they can be mistreated. Classified as less than people. Jailed, stripped, PROBED.

We know there is an ugly tendency for some people to view their own happiness or success more in terms of being better off than someone else than in being okay themselves.

Undocumented immigrants are "illegals" -- like that's a kind of person, who have no civil rights and can be grossly underpaid / mistreated. Not really people, you know. Punish them. Break up their families. Ship them back.

They framed preventing gay people from marrying as "defending traditional marriage." What they meant was their marriages would mean less if they couldn't deny them to others. It makes them sad to see other people happy.

"Terrorists" and "traitors" are now anyone who rocks the boat. Again, no civil rights. That's VERY important. No jury trial. Imprison them forever. Strip them. Blow up their children from a distance.

And women. Women are apparently the last, most ancient, most cherished underclass. Their sex is a constant temptation and danger to us all. Their cries of rape are to be mistrusted. They are guilty of depriving men of their sons on a whim. They must be taught shame, over and over again.

Who's the next underclass? Who's going to be redefined as subhuman? Teachers, maybe? Certainly low-wage workers.

These are cowards who think so little of their own worth that the only way they can face life is if someone else is made to suffer more. For their skin color or their religion or orientation or gender or their ideas. There's always a justification for them -- some "those people" who don't count, who have no rights, who exist to be abused.

We should map the dissembling for posterity.

It's evolving minute-to-minute, as one false theme after the other collapses.

Off the top of my head.

STAGE I - Denial / general attempts to ridicule

- Didn't happen. Morales smiled in a picture.
- Didn't happen. Morales has a "hairpiece."
- Didn't happen. France says so.
- Didn't happen. Austrian officials are more credible than Bolivian officials.
- Didn't happen. It was a "fuel gauge problem."
- Didn't happen. Here's a Google Map of an airport.

STAGE II - Obfuscation

- We can't know if it happened, because there was that French denial before that French apology.
- We can't know if it happened, because there's a lot of information coming out.
- We can't know if it happened, because a lot of people argued before that it didn't happen, even though it now looks like it happened.

STAGE III - First admission of facts, coupled with denial / obfuscation of cause

- Well, something happened, sure, but we don't know why.
- Okay, well, yes, several countries were involved in stopping a diplomatic flight, probably for no reason. Those crazy foreigners!

STAGE IV - Further backpedaling of denial / first theories of non-culpability

- Okay, they were looking for Snowden and they stopped a diplomatic flight. Purely for their own reasons
- Well, yes, obviously they stopped a diplomatic flight, looking for Snowden, based on U.S. concerns, but on their recognizance
- Sure, they stopped a diplomatic flight, looking for Snowden, to appease the U.S., but it's not like we called them or something. Haha.
- Okay, we called them. Probably. But they won't confirm / deny so ... suck it?

STAGE V - Rationalization / Justification

- We did it. So what? Something something treaties, something "international fugitive."
- Everybody does it. Or would do it. Or should do it.

All within 12 hours or so.

Amazing.

Kind of. That's not how evidence works. This is not going well for the state.

Full disclaimer: Zimmerman is at fault. He appears to have needlessly initiated a fatal encounter based on idiotic racial profiling and an irresponsible belief he was entitled to "play cop" with a real gun. But for him being an asshole, an innocent young man would be alive. This post is not a covert argument for stupid cop wanna-bes carrying guns and leaping out of their cars to confront people they deem "suspicious," or that a young man deserved death for wearing a hoodie and being black in an idiot's neighborhood.

Zimmerman is stupid and an ass and at the very least racially biased, and he shot an innocent person, and this is not the way things are supposed to be.

Here are the problems with convicting him as I see it.

The "DON'Ts" you're talking about aren't required. Zimmerman doesn't need corroboration. The state has to OVERCOME what he is saying. Casting doubt won't do it. They need a narrative where Zimmerman killed deliberately AND not in self-defense. They don't seem to have one.

EVIDENCE:
The critical thing, at the end of the day, is what happened just before Martin was killed. The rest of it -- the profiling, the stalking, the likely harassment and confrontation, is despicable, idiotic, likely racist, but not illegal, and does not take away the legal theory of self-defense. Zimmerman, whether he testifies or not, will get his version of events in. Sure, the jury could decide it's all baloney, but they need some basis other than the appearance Zimmerman is a racially profiling idiot to do that.

You can't convict on the basis that something other than what Zimmerman says must have happened because he is a terrible person. This is what people did not understand about the Casey Anthony case. The fact that a defendant appears to be despicable, and / or liar, does not create a set of facts on which you can convict them of murder.

All of this about whether Martin circled or Zimmerman zigzagged doesn't come into play. Who chased who first does not matter. This case boils down to who was on top, doing what, to whom, at the very end. The rest is uncertain and largely irrelevant to the murder charge.

Martin's story will not be told. The phone call, the confused statements of a couple of barely-there witnesses, will not carry much weight, because they're not clear. There is no alternative narrative to Zimmerman's story in evidence at this point. At best, the state seems to be implying he unfairly thought of Martin as a "suspect." That's not enough.

Zimmerman's nose was broken. His head was bloody. Sure, a million things other than his story about being pinned and beaten and in fear could have happened. There is no proof of that, though, and the burden is not on Zimmerman to show he isn't lying.

So the jury's going to be left with a man saying he was fighting for this life and shot to save himself. Guessing that Zimmerman is lying because he started things rolling by being an asshole is not evidence that something other than what he says happened in those final crucial moments.


BURDEN OF PROOF:
The state has to show beyond a reasonable doubt, not ONLY that Zimmerman killed Martin, but that he did it with a "depraved mind regardless of human life," AND that he was not in fear of death or great bodily harm when he did it.

Zimmerman doesn't have to prove anything. If the state doesn't show beyond a reasonable doubt that he murdered Martin with a depraved mind, AND show his claims of self-defense are false, also beyond a reasonable doubt, he wins.

THE CHARGE
Manslaughter would be a lot easier here. That's culpable negligence -- carelessness. The state's not trying for this though. Everything I've seen indicates they've omitted this as a lesser included charge. I think that is a mistake.

It doesn't matter whether the jury thinks Zimmerman is a racist. It doesn't matter if they think his terrible judgment is the ultimate cause of Martin's death. It doesn't matter if they have a some doubt about his story or his wounds or whether he had some other option than lethal force. It matters whether the state can affirmatively show he killed Martin deliberately, and not when defending himself. *Beyond a reasonable doubt.* If the burden went the other way, the state would win, but that's not how the laws are written.

Not calling the case. He could be convicted. But this thing is not slam-dunking its way toward a murder conviction. It is not a "no brainer" for the state. The best evidence of what happened so far is what Zimmerman said to the cops. There is NO clear alternate narrative. Trayvon Martin is not here to tell another story. If he walks, blame the gun laws, blame the self-defense statutes, blame the way the state handled the charge. Bear in mind when you do that a lot of states have similar laws.

But don't pull your hair and claim it's impossible, or the jury were racists, or Florida law is insane. These facts, as egregious as they are, are not providing a great case for the prosecution of a murder charge, and I don't think it's going that well for the prosecution. Maybe they have some great forensic evidence, or a witness we haven't seen.

So far though, they're not making the case.



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