Trump disses a poll that doesn’t exist

❝ On the grand scale of Things President Trump Says That Are Inaccurate or Misleading, a tweet Monday morning about a poll from CNN rates fairly low. It’s hardly at the level of Trump’s false assertion that millions of votes were cast illegally, for example, or his untrue claim that his predecessor tapped the phones at Trump Tower. But it is notably Trumpian for a few simple reasons.

1. It was disparaging a poll that he once cited as accurate.

2. It was apparently a response to something he saw on TV.

3. It was about TV ratings.

4. It was wrong.

❝ Trump’s tweet:

❝ This appears to have come in response to discussion on CNN’s “New Day” program about 10 minutes before Trump’s commentary. Anchor Poppy Harlow mentioned a daily tracking poll of Trump’s approval, which on Saturday hit a new low of 37 percent. She pointed out, accurately, that Trump still has strong support from his base, and the conversation quickly moved on.

That tracking poll, though, isn’t from CNN. It was from Gallup. CNN was simply reporting on it, as Harlow noted after Trump’s tweet…

❝ The last part of Trump’s tweet on Monday, though, isn’t about polls, it’s about Nielsen ratings…

It’s a very social-media thing to do, to misinterpret something someone says and then try to insult them as deeply as you can. Perhaps it’s not terribly presidential — but it is very Trump.

Though many reasonable folks have pointed out that Trump has the semantical sense of a sixth-grader – we need a few news anchors noting that he has the emotional maturity to match.

Smear campaign hits reporters who exposed Pentagon outsourcing agitprop in Afghanistan and Iraq

Two USA Today journalists investigating private security companies engaging in foreign propaganda wars on behalf of the Pentagon appear to have been subjected themselves to a dirty tricks campaign, the newspaper has revealed.

Reporter Tom Vanden Brook and editor Ray Locker became the subject of a sustained internet campaign to discredit their work just days after they began publishing the results of their investigation into a multi-million dollar Pentagon-funded propaganda mission in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the course of the smear campaign, fake websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook accounts were set up under the journalists’ names in which they were accused of being backed by the Taliban.

The source of the smear campaign has not been identified, and the Pentagon…told USA Today that it was unaware of any such activities, which it stressed it would find unacceptable. But the timing of the shady attempts to drag their names into the journalistic mud is certainly suggestive…

Both fake websites and the fake Twitter and Facebook feed have now been taken down. So too has a Wikipedia entry for Vanden Brook dated February 8 from a previously unknown Wikipedia user…

Locker also told the Washington Post that the smear campaign had been a “little bit of a distraction. But I think it’s good that we called attention to it.”

Both USA Today journalists said that if the intention was to intimidate them into silence, the mission had failed.

As it should. I have no idea who would think such craptastic attempts to intimidate reporters – here in the US or abroad – would have any effect other than pissing off the reporters and their publishers. Someone with a juvenile mentality. Someone who thinks deliberate lies and dirty tricks are appropriate tools to try to hide political reality.

Hmmm. Who thinks like that – who loves the Pentagon, lies, war, reactionary politics?

When children murder – what sentence may the courts impose?


Who speaks for Cole Cannon?

Nearly 10 years ago, in Lawrence County, Ala., a 14-year-old boy holding a baseball bat stood over a man he had robbed and repeatedly beaten, telling him, “I am God. I’ve come to take your life.”

After hitting the man in the head a final time with the bat, the 14-year-old and a friend set the man’s trailer on fire. Despite the beating, Cole Cannon was still alive and conscious. He managed to ask, “Why are y’all doing this to me?” Then he was burned alive.

The boy, Evan Miller, was sentenced to life in prison without parole, even though he was just 14 when he committed the crime. His friend, 16 at the time of the crime, was allowed to plead guilty to felony murder in exchange for testimony, and sentenced to life with a chance of parole.

Miller’s case, along with the Arkansas case of a defendant who also was sentenced to life without parole for a homicide committed at age 14, is set for argument in the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday.

At issue is whether the Constitution bans a sentence of life without parole for those who committed murder while under age 18, or whether some crimes are so repellent they demand the harshest punishment short of the death penalty, no matter what the age of the defendant

The odds are pretty good the U.S. Supreme Court, or at least a narrow majority of the nine justices, will find the Miller sentence and others like it constitutionally excessive…

“This case presents important constitutional questions regarding the propriety of imposing a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole on a 14-year-old child … ,” his petition to the Supreme Court said. “Evan Miller is one of only 73 [U.S.] children who have been condemned to be imprisoned until death for an offense committed when they were 14 years of age or younger. Evan, like nearly all of these young adolescents, was sentenced under a statute that made a life-without-parole sentence mandatory, precluding any consideration of his age or other mitigating circumstances which would call for a sentence of less than lifelong incarceration. …

More and more often I reject the concept of mandatory sentences. First, because anyone called by appointment or election to be a judge should be capable of making such decisions. If not, it is the responsibility of those who put him or her in office to rectify the mistake. Second, circumstances can vary widely enough to allow for a complete human and humane range of responses to crime.

In general – for example – I do not support the death penalty. Do I think it should be removed as a choice? No. Once again, I support a solution placing responsibility for final judgement under the guidance of a judge – not what may be a slogan for re-election.

I will never forget what we’re judging is a sentence for someone found guilty of a terrible crime. Who speaks for the victim?

Teen conviction rules A-grade student out of medical school

An A-grade student from one of the poorest areas in the country has had an offer of a place on a prestigious medical course withdrawn after admissions officers ruled that a spent criminal conviction meant he could not be trusted to become a doctor.

Majid Ahmed, 18, from Little Horton in Bradford, lost an appeal against the decision by Imperial College London to bar him from its medicine degree, a move that youth justice charities labelled discriminatory and MPs called unfair.

Ahmed was convicted of burglary in 2005 and ordered to serve a four-month referral order for community service. His conviction is spent and he has moved schools, volunteered with disability charities and won four A grades at A-level.

Imperial offered him a place for study this academic year, an offer which was withdrawn after he wrote to tell the college of his conviction. The university said the decision had been made to uphold trust in the medical profession.

I hope you didn’t expect school administrators in Britain to be in touch with reality? The function has devolved into a beancounter specialty, grounded in devotion to bureacracy.