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Trump files garbage defamation lawsuit against New York Times opinion piece

 
Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

The Trump Campaign today sued the New York Times in New York state court for defamation over an opinion piece, which is kind of all you need to know if you already know that where the plaintiff is a political figure, defamation requires a showing of “actual malice” and factual falsity. Meaning that an opinion piece cannot, by definition, be defamatory, unless they contain factual assertions that otherwise meet all the other requisite criteria.

Continue reading Trump files garbage defamation lawsuit against New York Times opinion piece

Trump’s 2014 jabs at Obama over Ebola don’t play so well during the Coronavirus era

 
Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

I’ve avoided writing about the coronavirus epidemic because I don’t feel particularly qualified to say smart things about it, but given that ignorance didn’t stop Donald Trump from tweeting about the Ebola virus 49 times in Oct-Nov 2014, mostly about how Obama was dangerously mishandling it, I’m confident, given that low bar, I can at least say something smarter than anything Trump conveyed over that time.

Comparing the Ebola (aka EVD) response (both worldwide and in the US) to this response is helpful since it was only 5 plus years ago, and Ebola was responsible for 11,000 deaths, the vast majority in the Guinea-Liberia region of Africa. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is thus far responsible for approx 2,600 deaths, the vast majority in China’s Wuhan province.

There are key differences. Ebola was transmittable by blood and highly lethal — estimated at 90 percent. It appears that Coronavirus has a somewhat lower lethality rate (though this should be caveated, given how much remains unknown to health officials), but an astronomically higher transmittability rate, given that it can be transmitted by sneezing and surface contact, possibly by people who haven’t yet shown symptoms.

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Ebola was ultimately contained, in large part by development and administration of a vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, which administration had to fight through widespread vaccine misinformation campaigns. It also took awhile — months — before the spread became epidemic.

 

 
Immediately upon ascending to office the Trump administration slashed the Centers for Disease Control budget by 20 percent. By that December the White House had issued a guideline to the CDC prohibiting it from using certain terms, including “evidence-based” and “science-based,” which is like telling NASCAR officials they can no longer use the word “engine” or “Earnhardt.”

Given this administration’s attitude toward science and given how quickly mis- and disinformation speeds through social media, I’m not at all confident that the CDC can, without crippling political interference, address the issue in terms of conveying reliable information and responding to both here and for the world’s sake.

Wilbur Ross, the ghoul overseeing the Commerce Department, recently voiced optimism that the coronavirus would be good for US manufacturing.

Trump has thus lodged far fewer tweets about coronavirus than he did Ebola, here mostly thanking China’s President Xi for China’s response, about which the jury is still very out, given there are reasons to believe China hasn’t provided a fully accurate picture.

Given Trump’s prescriptive advice for handing Ebola in 2014 (e.g., halting all flights to and from the affected area — “airport testing is a joke!”) he’s already failed to live up to his own standards. So maybe he was being disingenuous back in 2014. Maybe for Trump Ebola was a black disease compounded by Obama presidenting while black. Coronavirus, on the other hand, is a Chinese disease, which China’s autocratic leader will surely stamp out, even as it’s already spread to other countries at alarming numbers.

Or maybe Trump is genuinely nervous and putting on a brave face for politics’ sake, pretending everything is fine while our public health officials do whatever is necessary to help solve the problem, even if it means compromising Trump’s re-election chances. Sure!

Further to my point about this administration being spectacularly unprepared deal with a true emergency like a pandemic, here’s the Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security openly wondering on Twitter where he can get reliable third-party information about this damned coronavirus thingy, evidently oblivious to the existence of a gov’t agency — one that shares overlap and concerns with the DHS, i.e., national security — that can answer his questions.

 

 
During the Ebola scare Obama had appointed an “Ebola response coordinator” (Ron Klain) whose job it was to coordinate all policy relating to Ebola. After the Ebola scare waned, Klain recommended that Obama appoint someone to create and lead a pandemic preparedness unit inside the National Security Council, which Obama did. The mission of that unit was to only track potential epidemics and pandemics and prepare and game out our response to them

I probably don’t need to tell you what happened to that unit under this administration.

What daredevil ‘Mad’ Mike’s fatal rocket launch had to do with promoting a flat Earth

 
“Mad” Mike Hughes, aged 64, died February 22 when his home-made steam-powered rocket crashed into the desert near Barstow, California. A video shot for an intended television show “Homemade Astronauts” to be aired on Discovery, Inc.’s Science Channel shows that the parachute which was supposed to brake the descent deployed prematurely and was torn off during the launch.

Continue reading What daredevil ‘Mad’ Mike’s fatal rocket launch had to do with promoting a flat Earth

Judge rejects Roger Stone’s motion to step down from case for praising juror ‘integrity’

[Judge Jackson and Roger Stone]

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

Roger Stone moved Judge Jackson to recuse herself from hearing his motion for a retrial (which motion is the reason he’s been remanded to prison). The basis for the recusal motion was nonsense — arguing that because the judge said at sentencing that the jurors served with “integrity,” she’s too biased to rule on Stone’s other motion arguing juror misconduct.

Continue reading Judge rejects Roger Stone’s motion to step down from case for praising juror ‘integrity’

Appeals court strikes down Florida law keeping ex-felons from voting because they’re poor

 
Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

Ignoring debate drama to impose vote-related courtroom drama instead.

The 11th Circuit yesterday unanimously shot down Florida’s poll tax targeting ex-prisoners (specifically ex-felons, excepting convictions for murder and sexual violence), whose voting rights Florida citizens restored via a 2018 ballot referendum (“Amendment 4”), which measure passed with 65 percent approval.

Continue reading Appeals court strikes down Florida law keeping ex-felons from voting because they’re poor

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Kansas justice, where an unpaid medical bill can get you thrown in debtor’s prison

[Judge David Casement]

Coffeyville, in the southeast corner of Kansas, is best known for a botched double bank robbery in 1892 which cost most of the Dalton Gang their lives.

Continue reading Kansas justice, where an unpaid medical bill can get you thrown in debtor’s prison

Protests in Iraq take a new turn, on gender issues

 
“Revolution is not nakedness!” is not the kind of slogan one would hear most places. But political protests in Iraq have taken an odd turn this week.

Continue reading Protests in Iraq take a new turn, on gender issues

New Mars rover delivered to NASA for July launch, 2021 arrival

Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California (the institution founded by L. Ron Hubbard’s onetime colleague in magick, Jack Parsons) completed assembly of the newest Mars rover, provisionally designated “Mars 2020,” on Wednesday.

Continue reading New Mars rover delivered to NASA for July launch, 2021 arrival

Those halcyon days when Roger Stone fronted for Donald Trump against Indian casinos

 
Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

It’s worth recalling just how far back Roger Stone goes with Donald Trump. Back in the early 1990s, just as Trump’s casinos were emerging from bankruptcy, Indian casinos were sprouting up as a result to a change in federal law. Trump viewed this development as a threat and spent more than $1 million on “lobbying efforts” against the Indian gaming industry.

Continue reading Those halcyon days when Roger Stone fronted for Donald Trump against Indian casinos

Why investigate? — Barr so corrupt, he didn’t need to be told to intervene for Stone

[Stone, Trump, Barr]

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

[Regarding this story: WH Denies That Trump Pressured Barr To Reduce Stone’s Prison Sentence]

The framing for most of the stories asks whether Trump pressured Barr to intervene on Roger Stone’s behalf, but that’s the wrong question because the answer is irrelevant.

Continue reading Why investigate? — Barr so corrupt, he didn’t need to be told to intervene for Stone