Let’s make winning defamation cases a profit center for the left

First some happy good news. Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss won their defamation case against OAN!

OAN Settles One Election Defamation Suit, Only One Million To Go

After months of vicious harassment Freeman and Moss sued Giuliani and OAN, which “spent months airing grainy edited footage of the pair, and the network’s White House correspondent Chanel Rion for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Separately, the pair filed a similar suit against wingnut website Gateway Pundit in Missouri state court.”

Joy Reid’s story in the Reidout Blog reminds people of the threats the two received.

In this third piece on threats I wanted to give an example of what to DO when threatened by the right. (Part 1 , Part 2)

This Freeman defamation case is a prime example of a successful action given our current justice system, media and social media environment. I’ve been looking into civil actions because criminal cases take a long time and you have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases can be won with a preponderance of evidence.

The civil cases against Rudy Giuliani and the Gateway Pundit that involves doxxing are still open. I hope those will be successful too.

Every week I listen to Glenn Kurschner explain why prosecutors don’t want to take on cases that they think they can’t win, especially cases against TFG. In part one I wrote about all the excuses police, the media and politicians use to avoid dealing with cases involving threats & harassment.

Too often financial settlements can turn into, “Just the cost of doing business” especially for people who have the resources to pay the fines. A financial settlement also can be used to shut down criminal cases, as we have seen with sexual harassment cases. So to get justice for the victims we need to also use the criminal justice system. This is why we still need to find the people who made the death threats against Ruby and Shay and put them in jail.

Ask your lawyer if a defamation case is right for you!

I had a great conversation with Daniel Powell, the Managing Attorney at Minc Law, LLC. they handle defamation cases and his firm has a lot of excellent info on their website. One of the things he explained was the importance of figuring how what is and isn’t a good case and what can be done to help people. Sometimes it doesn’t involve filing a defamation case.

He explained the process of getting evidence, uncovering anonymous users, and how they work with social media companies. (I was so impressed by the depth & breath of the info I told him to pass on my praise to the research and writing staff. )

The right has increased the level of threats, harassment and defamation against the left in the last 5 years. We now have a model for a successful defamation case, let’s use it!

I’ve passed on the info about dealing with defamation to my friends in the media. I’m also going to pass it onto my friends in public health. Hundreds of individuals have chosen to leave the public health profession rather than deal with the harassment and attacks. The protections in most states are weak or non-existent. A few states finally passed some laws against harassing and doxxing public health officials. The folks at the Network for Public Health Law. ( NPHL) put together a 50 state guide of the legal protections for public health community for the National Association for Country and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

NACCHO does great work. I’ve talked to the CEO, Lori Tremmel Freeman many times, and learned what their members are facing with regard to threats on social media and other attacks. The lawyers at NPHL have been educating people on what laws apply to them in their states. But right now it’s not in either of their remits to help individual public health staff to find, and then sue, the people who have been harassing, threatening and defaming them.

I’m encouraging them and the folks within State Associations of County and City Health Officials (SACCHO) to help their members deal with the attacks. Based on the number of threats around the country, the odds are high that many of them have legitimate civil defamation cases.

For a current example look at this case St. Luke’s Health System filed against Ammon Bundy, Diego Rodriguez and their various political organizations for defamation and “sustained online attacks.” Bundy’s lawyers are incredibly smart and have evaded criminal charges for years, but assembling a preponderance of evidence against them is very doable. What most people don’t know is that Bundy’s group has backers with deep pockets.

St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise Idaho and Ammon Bundy (Thomas Boyd/Oregon Live Staff)

But if defamation becomes a profit center, won’t everyone do it?

When I say, “Turn defamation into a profit center!” I know there is are right-wing groups that will say, “We were defamed too! We’re going to file cases against the LEFT!” But here’s the deal, they aren’t looking for justice after being threatened and defamed. They’re filing lawsuits to scare people, shut them up and force them to use their resources to defend against frivolous cases.  As a demonstration of this, with an instant example, OAN filed a defamation suit against Rachel Maddow. THEY LOST. BIG TIME OAN Ordered to Pay MSNBC $250,000 After Losing Defamation Suit)

We all know that the right loves to be the victim, even when they aren’t. Besides whining about what they’ll call defamation, they’ll start reporting dubious cases against us on social media, start filing bogus police reports about being attacked by chalk and start frivolous lawsuits. They’ll use the new Texas social media law to tie up the courts.

When the media starts reporting on this I worry they’ll get bogged down into the technicalities and miss how the right has been using he law to muddy it’s legitimate use.

We need to point out the MASSIVE DIFFERENCE between the left trying to get justice and compensation for harm inflicted on them vs the right using the legal system to inflict new harm based on bogus claims.

We need to be clear about the serious harm that is being done by the right to the left with their threats, harassment and defamation. We need to build a record of multiple successful criminal and civil cases against the right. But it won’t be easy. As Atrios so succinctly put it:

“…the job of Dem lawyers is to tell you why you can’t do things, and the job of Republican lawyers is to tell you (them) why they can.
Also, too, Dems have a “if you can’t win, don’t try” approach, instead of “keep trying to show what you’re up against” attitude.”

@Atrios, Eschaton Blog May 5, 2022

I’m calling for the legitimate and totally appropriate use of the civil legal system. I’m also calling for clear messaging from the left on this like, “THIS IS A GOOD THING. DO MORE OF THIS.”

(MSNBC could, for example, compare Freeman’s successful case against OAN’s to OAN’s failed defamation case against Rachel Maddow. But they won’t. They hate being the subject of a story. )

The right will use the legal system to slow down, wear down and depress us. But they’ve been losing. Some are even getting disbarred in the process for their frivolous cases.

The court of public opinion matters too. We must cheer on the fact that Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss won a big defamation case. OAN lost. Our case was legitimate. Their case wasn’t.

We Fight. We Win. We Do It Again.

The Trump strategy of using threats, intimidation and defamation to get what he wants has been working for him for decades. He’s encouraged others to do the same. He’ll never change his behavior. But not everyone has his resources. He’s not the target for these cases.

Civil cases are just one way change the behavior of the people on the right. They know that what they are doing is wrong, but it doesn’t become real to them until they have to pay a price. They are paying now. Make more of them pay.

Cross posted to Hullabaloo

Accepting death threats IS NOT part of the job!

I was watching Judy Woodruff and Martin Baron, former editor of the Washington Post, in a talk when they were asked about criticism of their work. Woodruff gave what I recognize as the standard line that mainstream journalists give that they are doing a good job when they are getting “pushback from both ends of the political spectrum.” She said that criticism “comes with the turf.”The host then asked about her support of the International Women’s Media Foundation and how the focus is on protecting women journalists who are subject to threats and harassment. He asked both whether “this anger at the press is manifesting itself in a kind of behavior that’s not just an angry tweet or letter, but it’s something else.”

Judy Woodruff and Martin Baron with Geoffrey Cowan Apr 13, 2022 | America at a Crossroads

Baron talked about “the aggrieved individual’ that killed journalists at the Annapolis paper the Capital Gazette. (Link ) He mentioned incidents that were directed toward Washington Post staff that “indicated that people knew where we lived and that damage could be done and that physical harm could take place.” He explained that staff at the Washington Post were subject . . . → Read More: Accepting death threats IS NOT part of the job!

Facebook profits from threats, harassment & defamation, why can’t the victims? 

In part one I wrote about the ways that the right uses social media to threaten, harass and defame people. In part two I want to look at how to get accountability for those threatening and attacking people online. Historically, I have shown multiple groups how to organize negative financial consequences for those engaging in violent rhetoric in right wing media. (Reminder, *I* successfully beat Disney/ABC/KSFO in a copyright case.)One way I did that was look at who made a company money & what costs a company money then used that understanding to show companies that what they thought was an asset, can be a liability, unless they took action. I believe that there should be criminal and civil accountability for those threatening and attacking people online and punishment for the wealthy individuals and organizations behind it that are connected with and profit from specific threats, harassment and defamation campaigns. Let me show you one example of how it could be done. Right now my editor at Crooks and Liars, Karoli, is facing a suspension of her personal Facebook account. She was phished and hacked. The hacker inserted offensive words and images in her account. She reported it right . . . → Read More: Facebook profits from threats, harassment & defamation, why can’t the victims? 

Fortenberry, convicted liar and thin-skinned bully, resigns @spockosbrain

Nebraska Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is a convicted liar who has now resigned. Good. But he has never been held accountable for abusing the power of his office to hunt down and threaten the jobs of people who criticized him with a joke. You might remember his Chief of Staff made national news for threatening a state university professor for LIKING a Facebook post of a sign calling him Fartenberry.

But what most people don’t know is how Fortenberry abused the power of his office to hunt down the people who put googly eyes on that sign. Fortenberry’s office got two Lincoln detectives assigned to lift fingerprints, get DNA samples and comb through cell phone calls like it was a murder case. Keep in mind this happened in a community with 1,000s of untested rape kits.

Later, when people put googly eyes and post it notes on the door of his office and the office of Sen. Deb Fischer, he again overreacted.

Fortenberry got the TV show CRIMEBUSTERS to ask the public to identify his critics!

Instead of laughing it off, Fortenberry and Sen Deb Fischer pursued a criminal case for property damages of one dollar! Sen. Deb Fischer . . . → Read More: Fortenberry, convicted liar and thin-skinned bully, resigns @spockosbrain

Stop helping Republicans weasel out of targeting politicians for death

It’s time to bust these lying weasels for their treasonous acts & reckless endangerment of politicians’ lives.

https://twitter.com/RepDeanPhillips/status/1500131161770766336?s=20&t=l8KzoTX-bnH2qkNcWNP6QA Boebert’s tweet about Speaker Pelosi had the same energy Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted that Nancy Pelosi had left the House Chambers which let the insurrectionists know when she was there.

This weekend Senators Rubio, Daines and Grassley all tweeted out info about where a politician was at a specific time to people who wanted to kill them. It reminded me of Lauren Boebert’s tweet about Pelosi during the January 6th insurrection. Once again we see Republicans giving out location information of a politician to people who want to kill them.

This SHOULD be an opportunity for Democrats to nail these three senators and Rep. Boebert’s for their reckless endangerment and, in the case of Boebert, her treasonous behavior. When this first happened I tweeted about it, then predicted the GOP lies and how they would spin it to the MSM. (I could show you the timestamp to prove that I got it right but that’s not a big deal.) But what I want to do now is go further into what the 3 GOPs said & how the media could . . . → Read More: Stop helping Republicans weasel out of targeting politicians for death

Intimidation works. How the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers won.

In some timelines people welcome the vaccine!

Who will stop Missouri’s AG from spreading deadly misinfo on masks in schools?

Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt went on TV and said masks don’t work for kids. He’s spreading dangerous and deadly misinformation.

Why is @AGEricSchmitt pushing this misinformation? He’s running for Senator! (BTW, Schmitt replaced the previous AG from Missouri who ran for Senator. Josh Hawley.)

I don’t believe in the forced masking of 5-year olds. There’s no science behind it. There’s nothing to support it. Families are best to make these decisions, and that’s why we’re fighting so hard on this front. Where we’re at now, I mean the flu is much more dangerous for the 5-year old than COVID is. Those are just facts. The problem is it’s not based on facts and science. There’s just no, there’s no study that shows any measurable protection for kids wearing masks. In fact, the good news is, um, you know, uh COVID isn’t.. you know It’s hard for kids to contract, transmit, or get seriously ill from COVID. That’s the good thing. Not all viruses are the same.

Eric Schmitt, Attorney General of Missouri, December 12, 2021 AG Schmitt’s spread misinformation on masks Dec 12, 2021. He needs to be called out by medical professionals and told to stop . . . → Read More: Who will stop Missouri’s AG from spreading deadly misinfo on masks in schools?

What can we do about guns in stores? Sue the stores.

After dropping a gun at TJ Maxx, a customer shoots herself in the foot.#GunFail #ShootingWhileShopping

OPELIKA, Alabama. — A shopper at a TJ Maxx in east Alabama shot herself in the foot when her gun accidentally discharged, police said.

The gunfire happened when she dropped the gun Monday afternoon in the TJ Maxx at the Tiger Town shopping center in Opelika, The Opelika-Auburn News reported.

The 55-year-old woman was taken to a hospital. No other injuries were reported.

AP Via Fox 13, In Texas you need TWO signs. One to ban concealed guns one to ban open carry.

According to the story, only the woman was injured. If I was in the store when this happened, even if I wasn’t physically injured, I would sue. And I would win because TJ Maxx failed to take the simple step of putting up a sign saying no guns in the store. Here’s my logic:

The store has a duty of care to shoppers. By allowing people with guns to enter as customers, they are taking on a certain level of responsibility to protect them. If they fail, and someone is injured while in the store, the company can be held liable. How liable they . . . → Read More: What can we do about guns in stores? Sue the stores.

TJ Maxx customer shoots herself in the foot. Everyone in the store should sue her and TJ Maxx

If you sued you could get the max for the minimum!

OPELIKA, Alabama. — A shopper at a TJ Maxx in east Alabama shot herself in the foot when her gun accidentally discharged, police said.

The gunfire happened when she dropped the gun Monday afternoon in the TJ Maxx at the Tiger Town shopping center in Opelika, The Opelika-Auburn News reported.

The 55-year-old woman was taken to a hospital. No other injuries were reported.

AP Via Fox 13,

According to the story, only the woman was injured. If I was in the store when this happened, even if I wasn’t physically injured, I would sue. And I would win because TJ Maxx failed to take the simple step of putting up a sign saying no guns in the store. Here’s my logic:

The store has a duty of care to shoppers. By allowing people with guns to enter as customers, they are taking on a certain level of responsibility to protect them. If they fail, and someone is injured while in the store, the company can be held liable. How liable they are depends on the steps they did or, or didn’t take, to keep customers safe.

In Premise security . . . → Read More: TJ Maxx customer shoots herself in the foot. Everyone in the store should sue her and TJ Maxx

What are the Trump admin’s COVID crimes?

I’m a fan of the Sister’s in Law podcast, so I sent them a few questions via tweet. Some are based on the report of the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Since I’m a long-winded Vulcan I provided the background to my questions below.

Ordering COVID test results to be delayed &/or falsified is a crime, but the public can't see it.If the Trump admin used medical privacy laws to intentionally hide violations of public health laws, who prosecutes that? @JillWineBanks @COVIDOversighthttps://t.co/XM2nZxnAQm pic.twitter.com/OZl2QvlEuN

— Spocko (@spockosbrain) December 20, 2021

Meadows or others in the Trump campaign obstructed, delayed and possibly falsified COVID test reporting. They started at the Tulsa rally and did it later during Trump’s infection period. (Based on the reporting of Carol Leonnig’ & Jonathan Karl)1) Could you address how medical privacy laws have been used to hide the Trump admin’s violations of state & federal COVID test reporting laws?

Because of medical privacy laws, the media can’t see or prove how Trump, Meadows and/or campaign staff intimidated public health officials and what their response was.

Your show often drills down and focuses on specific laws broken and what cases a prosecutor will or . . . → Read More: What are the Trump admin’s COVID crimes?