Thursday, November 16, 2017

"For the want of cheap aluminum foil, your burrito was not lost exactly, but made more expensive for no good goddamn reason."


"Other than political pull and the economically illiterate policy decisions of President Donald Trump." -- Reason's Nick Gillespie on the latest tariff idiocy

The Only Place Where You're Entitled to a "Presumption of Innocence" is in Court


I've been seeing a lot of the following lately, and I know MamaLiberty won't take it personally that I'm using her version of it. I'm singling her out solely because it's an opportunity to send people to her excellent blog, The Price of Liberty. At which she says, in the customary "Mama's Note" on a post by Nathan Barton about "dealing with predators":

Innocent until proven guilty, by a jury of one's peers. Too much of this sexual "scandal" is built on unproven accusations, especially those being made after decades.

People accused of crimes are entitled to a presumption of innocence 1) in court, 2) by the judge for procedural purposes, and 3) by the jury until they've heard the evidence.

Nobody else is entitled to a presumption of innocence anywhere else or by anyone else.

Nobody else is entitled to "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" to shatter any such presumption anywhere else or by anyone else, either.

Most people, I suspect, make snap judgments about the guilt or innocence, the rectitude or reprobateness, the purity or evil of other people all the time, all day long. Those snap judgments may or may not be correct. They may or may not be well-informed. But they, and the other judgments we make as we learn more following our first reactions, are natural and necessary.

If I'm told that someone I know or know of is a thief, I may want to know more before fully believing or fully dismissing the accusation, but deep down I'll almost certainly do one or the other, at least provisionally, based on my experiences with and observations of that person, based on my perception of the accuser's credibility, etc. It's good to be as certain as possible, but I don't owe the accused any presumptions unless I'm wearing a black robe or a a juror's badge.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Am I The Only One Seeing This?


The Atlantic's Julia Ioffe broke the story of Twitter messages that WikiLeaks sent to Donald Trump, Jr.

This set everyone all a-twitter (yes, it's a bad pun, but I like bad puns).

At Reason, Brian Doherty looks at the matter from the perspective of the question "Did The Atlantic Prove WikiLeaks Considered Itself 'Pro-Trump, Pro-Russia?'" He notices two things:

1) "[Y]ou could easily read what WikiLeaks is doing as a rather transparent attempt to trick someone they think is sort of dumb (Donald Trump Jr.) into leaking things to them;" and

2) That read in context, the messages are evidence that WikiLeaks is appalled at being considered "pro-Trump" and "pro-Russia," referring to those claims as "slander."

My question beyond those two things is: "Am I the only person who recognizes continuous trolling when I see it?"

The first message mentioned in Ioffe's piece: "A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is 'putintrump.'"

Some others:

"Hey Don. We have an unusual idea. Leak us one or more of your father's tax returns. ... If we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality. ... The same for any other negative stuff (documents, recordings) that you think has a decent chance of coming out."

"Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well! In relation to Mr. Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia (his home country) to illicitly go after Mr. Assange. It would be real easy and helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to [Washington,] DC."

"Hi Don. Sorry to hear about your problems. We have an idea that may help a little. We are VERY interested in confidentially obtaining and publishing a copy of the email(s) cited in the New York Times today."

WikiLeaks yanked this guy's chain over and over for months. It's telling that the people who want to see admissions of "collusion with the Russians" by WikiLeaks and/or the Trump campaign are seeing that instead of the epic trolling campaign that actually happened.

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