A huge, disconnected, contradictory web of false claims, misinformation, disinformation, and damnable lies.

Living in a world of lies is more like it.

A huge, disconnected, contradictory web of false claims, misinformation, disinformation, and damnable lies.

Once again yesterday, someone I know from elsewhere waded into a thread I was in, engaged me ‘innocently’ enough with a comment about media — but when I responded noting that there is wide divergence in reliability of different media, he launched into an attack on fact-checkers in general and Factcheck.org, Politifact, and Snopes specifically — and stated that ‘at least half’ of what was on Snopes was incorrect.

Since I’d been in discussions with this gentleman before, and knew his habits — I told him I certainly had not seen what he described, but that if he had, he ought to cite an article or two which had such errors and point us to credible evidence otherwise. After all, if HALF of what’s there is wrong… should be easy, right?

He went on and on — but I repeatedly suggested that he should back up his initial assertion about Snopes if he wanted to be considered as having any credibility.

He went on some more, all without citing any such ‘incorrect’ assertions on Snopes — and then, finally, he said he didn’t have any more time because company was coming over.

He’s not everyone. But I have come across a LOT of people claiming various mainstream, legit, nonpartisan fact-checking organizations put out incorrect information — and they are usually asserting that it’s part of intentional disinformation — yet NOT ONCE — not one single time — have I had any of these folks, when prodded, offer any credible, contrary evidence.

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Child prisoners raped by prisoners AND staff on an ongoing basis in Michigan, according to lawsuit.

Michigan prison officials actually claim they are not responsible for rape, murder, or violence against child prisoners mixed with the adult prisoner population. The courts don’t seem to see it their way, including a $100 million judgment against the state for allowing prison staff to sexually assault and harass hundreds of female prisoners…

Inmates under 18 were forced to engage in sex acts with adult prisoners and staff, according to the lawsuit, with some abuse “open and obvious.” The Corrections Department disputes the allegations, and state attorneys have argued that employees shouldn’t be held liable.

But after more than a year of litigation, the inmates have some important victories.

Associated Press via The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:  Michigan fighting claims of sexual abuse by teens in prison

 

Bigots complain of prejudice… the world weeps.

A coalition opposed to allowing non-heterosexuals to marry is protesting that they and their fellow bigots are feeling excluded from civil society for what others see as their hateful, narrow-minded views. But those others say it’s about time, that bigots should be shunned and their bigotry publicly shamed.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

As gay rights gain acceptance, conservatives say they face discrimination

 

Neo-prohibitionists lapping up media mis-reporting of latest pot study, according to MedPageToday

I’ve often railed against the utterly terrible science and medical reporting in the general media — and today’s ABSURD media coverage of a recently published, far-far-far-from conclusive study about marijuana and brain function is a perfect example.

I was waiting for the responsible, physician-facing MedPageToday to cover this ’emerging’ story — and I’m glad I did.

When’s the last time I suggested you share a story I’d posted? Pretty much never, right? You might want to re-post THIS story, because the mainstream media have really bollixed it.

MedPageToday deputy managing editor, John Gever writes:

Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?

But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media.

Blame doesn’t belong to the mainstream media alone, according to Gever:

Sad to say, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), which publishes the Journal of Neuroscience, may have driven these dramatic overinterpretations by promoting the study in a press release headlined “Brain changes are associated with casual marijuana use in young adults.”

Also note that the study did not identify any cognitive or behavioral abnormalities in the cannabis users versus controls — it was strictly an MRI study.

[emphasis added]

Striking a Nerve: Bungling the Cannabis Story

What if the new boss is worse than the old boss?

At this exciting and, in some ways, terrifying time of a convulsive, collective grasp for freedom from oppression and tyranny across much of the world, it’s important to remember that overthrowing a despot is only the beginning… what if the new boss is worse than the old? Zimbabwe’s failed revolution is a stark reminder:

From Wired, here are details on a Zimbabwean law professor and 44 of his pupils arrested for watching videos of the upheavals in North Africa:

Munyaradzi Gwisai, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s law school, was showing internet videos about the tumult sweeping across North Africa to students and activists last Saturday, when state security agents burst into his office.

The agents seized laptop computers, DVD discs and a video projector before arresting 45 people, including Gwisai, who runs the Labor Law Center at the University of Zimbabwe. All 45 have been charged with treason — which can carry a sentence of life imprisonment or death — for, in essence, watching viral videos.

Gwisai and five others were brutally tortured during the next 72 hours, he testified Thursday at an initial hearing.

There were “assaults all over the detainees’ bodies, under their feet and buttocks through the use of broomsticks, metal rods, pieces of timber, open palms and some blunt objects,” The Zimbabwean newspaper reports, in an account of the court proceedings.

Under dictator Robert Mugabe, watching internet videos in Zimbabwe can be a capital offense, it would seem. The videos included BBC World News and Al-Jazeera clips, which Gwisai had downloaded from Kubatana, a web-based activist group in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Prof Arrested, Tortured for Watching Viral Vids

One of the biggest problems facing a people suddenly thrust out of oppression is that they are often not prepared for sudden freedom — as we’ve so often seen over the centuries.

The American revolution probably avoided the bloody excesses of the French revolution because the English people had, for centuries, had some fundamental rights assured by the Magna Carta.

But even though some of the most developed thinkers of the enlightenment and the move to democracy were in France, the people had been wantonly oppressed by despotic kings who ruled capriciously, and treated their people like chattel.

The extremely oppressive, white supremacist regime left over from colonial days that ruled Zimbabwe when it was known as Rhodesia fought against any sort of improvement in the lot of the huge black majority, who were mired in poverty and had few rights in their own homeland. Rather than prepare the people for eventual democracy, the regime resisted educating or raising the level of social sophistication of the disenfranchised black majority in the vain hope they could remain in power — and wealth — forever.

So, when change finally came, the people were ill-prepared… the new bosses were black, led from the beginning in 1980, in large part by Robert Mugabe — who has maintained control of the nation through fear, cruelty, torture, murder, and turning various elements of Zimbabwean society against each other.

Looks like Anita Hill was telling the truth and Clarence Thomas was lying. Surprise!

It’s the central non-surprise in a surprising turn of events.

When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia, a leading figure in Tea Party circles, left an early morning voice mail message of Anita Hill asking her to consider apologizing for testimony Hill had given to Congress about two decades ago that damaged but did not stop the appointment of her former boss, Virginia’s husband, Clarence Thomas, to the highest court, that voicemail started a peculiar chain of events that has not yet played out.

The testimony was wide-ranging but largely focused on Thomas’ behavior toward female staff members and subordinates, which, according to Hill (and others who did not testify before Congress), ran long on sexual innuendo and inappropriate, sometimes aggressive comments of a sexual nature.

Now, the woman Thomas had been dating at the time (before his marriage to Virginia), Lillian McEwan, who Thomas referred to in his testimony, has stepped forward  with her first public comments on the matter.

In his own testimony, Thomas had suggested that Hill  was jealous of Thomas’ relationship with the light-skinned McEwan, seeming to suggest that the dark complected Hill was envious of Thomas’ frequent companion’s light complexion. (No, really.)

McEwan, now retired after her own long and prestigious law career, has written a memoir, and she has come forward to seemingly corroborate Hill’s characterizations of Thomas as conversationally obsessed with sex, large breasts, and suggesting that he was constantly sizing up young, black, female  subordinates as possible sexual conquests. Saying that it was the call to Hill  by Thomas’ wife Virginia asking Hill to consider apologizing for her long-ago testimony that provoked her to finally come forward, McEwan recently gave a 30 minute interview to the New York Times.

According to the Times:

For Ms. Thomas, [McEwan] said, the accusation of sexual harassment made by Ms. Hill “still has to be a mystery, that he is still angry about this and upset about it after all these years, and I can understand that she would want to know why, and solve a problem if she could — I mean, acting as a loyal wife.”

But Ms. McEwen said she knew a different Clarence Thomas, one whom she recognized in the 1991 testimony of Ms. Hill, who claimed that he had repeatedly made inappropriate sexual comments to her at work, including descriptions of pornographic films.

Ms. McEwen said that pornography for Justice Thomas was “just a part of his personality structure.” She said he kept a stack of pornographic magazines, “frequented a store on Dupont Circle that catered to his needs,” and allowed his interest in pornography to bleed into his professional relationships.

More:

Ms. McEwen, speaking with ABC News

And the original coverage  from the Washington Post, which broke the story.