The Jury Talks Back


22 Paragraphs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Politico has a report about an Iraqi man who died shortly after being deported to Iraq by the Trump administration. It’s a troubling story. But also troubling is how the story is presented. Because behind the telling, lies advocacy.

The lede:

A 41-year-old Detroit man deported to Iraq in June died Tuesday, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and two people close to the man’s family.

The report proceeds to tell the story of Jimmy Aldaoud and how, after his death, the Trump administration was blamed:

Edward Bajoka, an immigration attorney who described himself as close to Aldaoud’s family, wrote on Facebook that the death appeared to be linked to the man’s inability to obtain insulin in Baghdad to treat his diabetes. Aldaoud was an Iraqi national, but he was born in Greece and came to the U.S. as a young child, his family friend said. He had never lived in Iraq and did not speak Arabic, according to Bajoka.

“Rest In Peace Jimmy,” Bajoka wrote. “Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also blamed the Trump administration for Jimmy’s death. This from attorney Miriam Aukerman:

“Jimmy’s death has devastated his family and us,” she said in a written statement. “We knew he would not survive if deported. What we don’t know is how many more people ICE will send to their deaths.”

Here is Jimmy Aldaoud’s Facebook post about his deportation:

Aldaoud spoke about his deportation in an undated video posted to Facebook this week. In the video, he appears to be sitting on a sidewalk stoop in Baghdad.

“Immigration agents pulled me over and said I’m going to Iraq,” he said. “I said, ‘I’ve never been there. I’ve been in this country my whole life, since pretty much birth.’ … They refused to listen to me.”

Aldaoud said in the video that he had been homeless, vomiting because of a lack of access to insulin and unable to speak the language in Iraq. He also said he had been kicked while sleeping in the street.

“I begged them,” he said of his conversations with ICE agents. “I said, ‘Please, I’ve never seen that country, I’ve never been there.’ However, they forced me.”

Background on the Chaldean Catholic deportations:

The Trump administration has sought to deport more than 1,000 Iraqis with final orders of removal, including Chaldean Catholics in the Detroit metro area, of which Aldaoud was one. Chaldeans are an eastern branch of the Roman Catholic church who trace their roots to ancient Mesopotamia in present-day Iraq, where they are at high risk of being tortured or killed by the the terror group ISIS, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a related legal case.


Advocates point out that many Chaldeans targeted for deportation have spent years or decades in the U.S.

Everything about the story is sad, don’t you think? As presented, an innocent man who suffered from several illnesses and lived most of his life in the U.S., suddenly found himself caught up in the administration’s immigration practices and was sent to Iraq, where he died alone, apparently with no loved ones at his side. Except that’s not the whole story: 22 paragraphs into the report, Jimmy Aldaoud’s criminal history is very briefly mentioned:

According to the ACLU and a POLITICO search of court records, Aldaoud had a criminal conviction for disorderly conduct and served 17 months for a home invasion.

Here’s what Politico didn’t include in the mention:

Immigration officials, though, paint Aldaoud as a repeat criminal who violated court orders. iCE officials in Detroit, in a statement to The Post, say had 20 criminal convictions between 1998-2017, including several violent charges, and that he cut off a GPS device he was supposed to wear while on release from immigration custody.

“(His) immigration case underwent an exhaustive judicial review before the courts affirmed he had no legal basis to remain in the U.S.,” ICE’s Detroit office said in a statement, adding that he was sent back to Iraq with a “full complement of medicine.”

Additionally, a critical point was not mentioned as well:

He wasn’t a U.S. citizen, so those criminal convictions made him eligible to be deported. For decades, Iraq had refused to accept deportations from the United States — but that all changed in June 2017. As part of a deal to escape President Trump’s travel ban against a host of majority-Muslim nations, Reuters reported, Iraq agreed to accept deportees. More than 100 Iraqis with criminal records were arrested that month by ICE, mostly in Detroit.

Aldaoud was among those picked up and eventually taken to a federal detention center in Youngstown, Ohio, according to federal court records.

None of this is to say that what happened to Jimmy Aldaoud isn’t tragic on a number of levels. It’s awful, and his life shouldn’t have ended the way it did. I wish he had gotten the help he needed, both with his health needs and with immigration issues. But I’m focusing on the media’s framing of the issue. Because when a media outlet buries a critical piece of information in the 22nd paragraph as a way to mislead readers and advocate more effectively ( making readers believe he was just some random, innocent guy swept up and deported by evil Trump regime), it does more harm than good to the cause for which they are advocating. And it certainly reinforces the belief that mainstream media outlets use their platforms to advocate rather than just report. Better to be straight up about it all, I think.

Case in point: this was how Dan Zak, a journalist at the Washington Post, framed the story when he tweeted about it:


Given that he really doesn’t know how Aldaoud died, this would be incorrect, as well as misleading. Zak was corrected by a former reporter, who noted the inaccuracy, and asked him to retract the “likely cause of death” portion of his tweet, and correctly pointed out that “the actual cause of death has not been corroborated per those cited in the article.”


While Zak still has not deleted the tweet, he acknowledged his error (after taking a shot at the former journalist):

This person — despite the Stalinist rhetoric on his page about the national press being the enemy of the people — is correct here. I should not have stated his cause of death as definitive. I hope he reads the rest of this thread, as I have read his.


52 Years After Saying Goodbye, A Son Brings His Father Back Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:20 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Jackson Proskow, who is Washington’s bureau chief for Global News, was at the airport in Dallas today, waiting to catch his flight back home to Washington D.C. from El Paso after reporting on the mass shooting, when this happened:

When we arrived at our gate at Dallas’ Love Field, I noticed a few camera crews waiting. I didn’t think much of it. Perhaps they were waiting for a politician or newsmaker.

A few minutes later a gate agent from Southwest Airlines appeared and started handing out American flags.

Then came the announcement over the P.A. system. A gate agent, his voice cracking, told us about the very special arrival we were about to witness.

Our inbound plane from Oakland was carrying the remains of an American airman, Col. Roy Knight Jr., who was shot down in combat during the Vietnam war in 1967.

The agent took a long pause, as he seemed to collect his words.

“Col. Knight ejected from his aircraft, but no parachute was seen deploying,” he explained. “A search was undertaken but could not find him.”

The agent again, took a long pause, before explaining that recently, his remains were discovered and identified and returned to the United States.

“Today, Col. Knight is coming home to Dallas,” said the agent, growing more emotional as continued explaining what we were about to witness.

And, as if your heart isn’t already breaking, there’s this:

At that point, we were told that before deploying, Col. Knight had said farewell to his family at this very airport. He waved goodbye to his five-year-old son. It would be the last time he would see any of them.

By this point in the story, the terminal had fallen silent.

T.S.A. agents stood solemnly in a line near the gate. The gate agent held the microphone in his hands, taking a long pause and a deep breath. He struggled to say what came next: “Today the pilot of the plane bringing Col. Knight home, is his son.”

Proskow said that when flag-draped casket was unloaded from the cargo hold, Dallas Love Field “fell absolutely silent.”

52 years after he said goodbye to his father, Bryan Knight brought him home.

You can read Col. Knight’s story here.

Every single moment we spend with our loved ones matters. Deeply.

P.S. Make sure you go the linked article or to Proskow’s Twitter feed to see video and photos from this incredible moment.


Lawyer Argues That Man Who Attacked Teen For Not Removing Hat Was Following Trump’s Lead

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:28 am

[guest post by Dana]

In a follow-up to the story about a man who fractured the skull of a teen when he slammed him to the ground for not removing his hat during the National Anthem, we are learning that the accused man’s lawyer is arguing that his client believed he was acting on Trump’s order:

The attorney for a 39-year-old man charged with assaulting a child who didn’t take his hat off for the national anthem says his client, compromised by a traumatic brain injury, believes he was acting on an order from President Donald Trump.

Superior resident Curt Brockway was charged Monday with felony assault on a minor. His defense attorney, Lance Jasper, told the Missoulian Wednesday the president’s “rhetoric” contributed to the U.S. Army veteran’s disposition when he choke-slammed a 13-year-old, fracturing his skull, at the Mineral County fairgrounds on Aug. 3.

“His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished,” Jasper said. “He certainly didn’t understand it was a crime.”

Jasper also contends that Brockway’s injury impedes his ability to think for himself:

Brockway sustained a traumatic brain injury in a vehicle crash in the winter of 2000, Jasper said. He was on active military duty at Fort Lewis, Washington, at the time, and was driving home to visit family for the holidays, Jasper said. He was honorably discharged from the military due to disability, according to Jasper.

He said Brockway’s military background has been central to his identity since suffering the injury to his frontal lobe, which controls cognitive functions like judgement and problem solving.

Couple that injury, Jasper argues, with the president’s calls to weed out those who have protested the national anthem or criticized the nation, and Brockway is no longer thinking for himself but responding to a presidential order.

“Obviously he (Brockway) owes a big portion of accountability for what took place, but it’s certain that there was other things at work here that definitely contributed,” he said.

Moreover, Jasper believes Brockway’s vulnerable state leaves him open to being “exploited” by Trump’s rhetoric:

“Trump never necessarily says go hurt somebody, but the message is absolutely clear,” Jasper said. “I am certain of the fact that (Brockway) was doing what he believed he was told to do, essentially, by the president.”

Jasper plans to deploy that argument. “There is the defense that his mental illness or brain injury that will be raised, along with permission given by the president,” Jasper said. “Whether that passes muster with the court as a viable defense is for a different day.”

Two things: As for the teen, his mother Megan Keeler said that he bled from his ears for six hours after being slammed down on the ground. He has since been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.

Also, in spite of the state’s request that Brockway’s bond be set to $100,000, Brockway was released on his own recognizance, per the judge’s order.


AOC and Daily Beast Attack McConnell for Quote They Made Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Here’s our lovable but daffy niece (h/t JVW) excoriating Team Mitch McConnell for saying “boys will be boys” in response to a story that young high-school aged campaign volunteers were “choking and groping” an AOC cardboard cutout:

But wait. What is that word “essentially” doing in the Daily Beast tweet? Let’s investigate further by (I know, I shouldn’t be doing this) clicking on the Daily Beast link.

After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) slammed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for a photo posted on Facebook of a group of young men wearing “Team Mitch” shirts shown choking and groping a cardboard cutout of the Democratic congresswoman, the Senate majority leader’s campaign manager initially responded by saying, in essence, boys will be boys. The campaign ultimately ended up condemning the image as “demeaning.”

In a statement, Kevin Golden said the media is using the image to “demonize, stereotype, and publicly castigate every young person who dares to get involved with Republican politics,” adding that “these young men are not campaign staff, they are high schoolers.” In another statement, Golden condemned the photo, saying: “Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life sized cardboard cut outs of any gender in a manner similar to what we saw from President Obama’s speechwriting staff several years ago.”

“We do not condone this aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act but wish to clarify that the people involved are not campaign staff” is not “boys will be boys” or even “essentially” or “in essence” “boys will be boys.” This is, essentially, in essence, a lie by the Daily Beast.

AOC is a demagogue using a false quote to smear McConnell.

By the way, these folks actually were campaign staff:

Hillary Cardboard Cutout

But that’s different!

Amnesty International Travel Warning: Use Extreme Caution When Visiting The U.S.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:52 am

[guest post by Dana]


Amnesty International today issued a travel warning calling for possible travelers and visitors to the United States to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence, which has become so prevalent in the United States that it amounts to a human rights crisis. It aims to hold up a mirror to the U.S. using the model of the United States Department of State’s travel advice for U.S. travelers to other countries.

“Travelers to the United States should remain cautious that the country does not adequately protect people’s right to be safe, regardless of who they might be. People in the United States cannot reasonably expect to be free from harm – a guarantee of not being shot is impossible,” said Ernest Coverson, campaign manager for the End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA. “Once again, it is chillingly clear that the U.S. government is unwilling to ensure protection against gun violence.”

The travel advisory addressed growing gun violence, mostly hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, highlighting that the traveler’s race, country of origin, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity may place them at higher risk after recent attacks linked to white supremacist ideology.

A “human rights crisis”?


Trump To Commute Rod Blagojevich’s Sentence?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:00 am

[guest post by Dana]

Per Maggie Haberman, that’s the word on AF1:

TRUMP confirms to pool on AF1 what two sources have said has been discussed for days – that he’s likely to commute Rod Blagojevich’s sentence.

“I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly; he was given close to 18 years in prison. And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things — and it was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleazebags that did it. And his name is Rod Blagojevich.”

Per administration officials, BLAGO – another person with an Apprentice connection – has been pushed for a pardon by Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner. Aides got Trump to agree to a commutation instead.

Blagojevich was impeached, convicted, and removed from office in 2009. Here is a quick refresher on Blago’s fall:

December 9, 2008 – Is taken into federal custody on corruption charges. He is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, are accused of “conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits” by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a US senator to replace US President-elect Barack Obama.

December 30, 2008 – Blagojevich appoints former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat vacated by Obama.

January 9, 2009 – Illinois House of Representatives votes to impeach Blagojevich. The vote is 114-1.

January 26, 2009 – Impeachment hearings begin in the Illinois Senate. Balgojevich does not attend, choosing instead to appear on “Larry King Live,” “The View,” and “Good Morning America.”

January 29, 2009 – The Illinois Senate votes unanimously to remove Blagojevich and to bar him from holding political office in Illinois again.

April 2, 2009 – He is indicted on 16 felony counts by a federal grand jury.

April 14, 2009 – Blagojevich pleads not guilty.

2010 – Appears as a contestant on four episodes of the “Celebrity Apprentice” reality TV show.

June 3, 2010 – Blagojevich’s trial on corruption charges begins.

August 17, 2010 – The jury in Blagojevich’s trial returns its verdict after deliberating for 14 days. He is found guilty of making false statements to federal investigators. The jury is unable to come to a decision on 23 other counts.

February 24, 2011 – A federal judge drops three of 23 corruption charges against Blagojevich.

May 2, 2011 – Blagojevich’s retrial begins.

June 27, 2011 – The jury comes back with 17 guilty verdicts, one not guilty and two counts deadlocked.

July 25, 2011 – Blagojevich files a 158-page motion requesting an acquittal or a new trial, citing fundamentally unfair proceedings.

December 7, 2011 – Sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.

And then there’s this surreal clip of Trump firing Blago from The Apprentice because he screwed up on a Harry Potter project:


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