I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

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I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by jason_recliner » October 13th 2022, 9:29pm

... your country has gone stark raving bat-shit crazy! Alex Jones ordered to pay - Dr Evil voice here - one BILLION dollars?!?!?!

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-14/ ... /101535502

I'm pissing my pants laughing over here!!! What the hell is going on?!?!?!

The whole article is 24k gold champagne comedy but even in this context my favourite bit is:

"Do these people actually think they're getting any of this money?"

1) does Alex Jones even have one BILLION dollars? and 2) yeah, I'd also tell them to get fucked!

This just made my Friday, just too rich!!!
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by conjurer » October 13th 2022, 11:03pm

I will respond here, but this thread should probably be moved to the political subforum.

On December 14, 2012, a profoundly mentally ill young man named Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut with a semi-automatic assault rifle. He had already murdered his mother. He went on to murder twenty little children, between six and seven years old. He also murdered six teachers and staff, before blowing he own head off.

As an American, I wept when I learned of this on the news. So did many others. Little children, shot to pieces by a lunatic.

As appalling as this was, Alex Jones, an alt-right scumbag, claimed that this never happened. He, in his livestream broadcasts, claimed that the parents, who had to bury their little children closed-casket because they were literally blown apart, were actors who wanted to deprive good citizens of their firearms. For a decade Jones claimed this. The parents had to deal with low-life scumbag followers calling them with death threats. They finally were able to sue Alex Jones, and so far juries have tallied up over a billion dollars against Jones.

I love America. I am a proud American. I hope that Alex Jones suffers a painful fucking death very soon. I also hope that this thread gets moved to the political subforum.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by bedlam » October 13th 2022, 11:47pm

Focusing on the amount of the damages awarded being excessive would be to miss the point.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by jason_recliner » October 14th 2022, 1:27am

3Flushes wrote:
October 14th 2022, 1:03am
bedlam wrote:
October 13th 2022, 11:47pm
Focusing on the amount of the damages awarded being excessive would be to miss the point.
Exactly this.
Hardly missing the point, since my point is that the damages are outrageous. I'm not supporting Jones, I'm no fan, but he's not the only person making a quid by saying hateful, outlandish things. I don't see any of the others being sued for $1,000,000,000. He says awful things and I can't imagine the loss of losing a child, but how does spewing lies on air about that horrific event equate to such damages? I think it's utterly ridiculous!

I don't see how this is a "political" topic but if it has to be moved so be it.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by 3Flushes » October 14th 2022, 3:06am

We'll have to wait and see what the judge does regards to a reduction as motions for the same are sure to follow as are appeals, expensive motions and appeals.

As things stand, the judgement amounts to about 100 million dollars per plaintiff tormented by Jones's bullshit for the better part of a decade. I 'spose outrageous is in the eye of the beholder — the point made by the beholders on the jury is pretty clear.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by bedlam » October 14th 2022, 3:53am

jason_recliner wrote:
October 14th 2022, 1:27am
3Flushes wrote:
October 14th 2022, 1:03am
bedlam wrote:
October 13th 2022, 11:47pm
Focusing on the amount of the damages awarded being excessive would be to miss the point.
Exactly this.

I think it's utterly ridiculous!
I can't think of a way to punish him that would hurt sufficiently. Perpetual bankruptcy would at least be a start.

The man is a professional cunt and deserves this judgement and much more. People who hurt others for profit are the lowest form of human.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by MAX » October 14th 2022, 3:56am

jason_recliner wrote:
October 13th 2022, 9:29pm
... your country has gone stark raving bat-shit crazy!
Absolutely agree.
NRPI here.

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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by DoctorIvey » October 14th 2022, 5:40am

I don’t know. I kind of miss when freedom of speech was a thing. A lot of “folks” don’t know that fasces is Latin for “bundle.” One of Mussolini’s campaign slogans was “Stronger together” and the symbol of the fascist party was the bundle of sticks. Unfortunately (IMO) this iconography persists after Il Duce and in this modern cancel culture I feel a bit like I’m living on Maggie’s Farm. Alex Jones wasn’t fined when he said shape shifting lizards ran the world. Nobody was fined for saying thousands perished in the twin towers because the US government blew them up. Many people contend that Stanley Kubrick fooled the world and man never landed on the moon. Nobody forces anyone to listen to Alex Jones.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by 3Flushes » October 15th 2022, 4:08am

I was reminded today that Remington firearms paid Sandy Hook families 70 + million dollar judgement and that a Texas jury awarded the parents of a 17 year old Sandy Hook victim 50 million dollars + legal fees in a case decided a month before the Connecticut trial began. In the Texas case, Jones admitted on the stand that he knew the Sandy Hook attack was "100% real".

Jones's incessant trumpeting of conspiracy theories and attacks against the families of victims not only defamed them, but also extended their suffering and grief. Jones's inflammatory attacks further induced a number of his followers to make death threats and to engage in other forms of criminal harassment against the plaintiffs — for ten years

Crazy not at all, Jones is a provocateur con man who uses his platform to line his pockets by exploiting misery and the wallets of the unthinking under the guise of protected speech. Losing the whole of what Jones built on such a foundation is a just, even if insufficient, penalty, and that's the point. Juries in two different trials in two highly divergent states have found the same, as will those in the trials yet to come.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by jason_recliner » October 15th 2022, 5:23am

3Flushes wrote:
October 15th 2022, 4:08am
Jones's incessant trumpeting of conspiracy theories and attacks against the families of victims not only defamed them, but also extended their suffering and grief. Jones's inflammatory attacks further induced a number of his followers to make death threats and to engage in other forms of criminal harassment against the plaintiffs — for ten years
Jones caused them immeasurable suffering and grief (turns out it was measured at one billion doillars), not sure I agree he defamed them. But it's not like I know the legal defintion of defamation.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Hawk » October 15th 2022, 9:22am

American children are taught that freedom of speech does not extend to shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. Apart from this trite, evergreen example anything goes.

The fact of the matter is that Alex Jones’ results are, if anything, worse than a theater stampede in that they play out over a decade of harassment, death threats and confrontations with batshit crazy conspiracy theorists.

The plaintiffs are unlikely to see a significant fraction of the award but it is of sufficient magnitude to suggest that you can’t ruin lives with impunity. At the least he’s going to get an education in our expensive appeals process. He may also learn that overt attempts to dodge any payments escalate the issue from civil to criminal liability.

The really big potential deal is that speech resulting in plausible death threats is looking like it might lower our historically high bar for defamation suits prevailing. It’s a precedent that perhaps has a bogan media mogul shitting gold plated bricks. The Dominion lawsuit has outlasted anything we had previously predicted. And the amount of the award, fantasmagorical as it is, actually makes Dominion’s 1.3 billion look far more realistic than anyone would have previously guessed. And I view that as a good thing. Especially given that Rupert and company could cover it out of petty cash.

I don’t even feel the slightest bit conflicted about my being a first amendment fundamentalist and being happy about the verdict and its possible precedent.

The false fire in the theater was always a reasonable exception because it caused injury over a lie. The lies involving Dominion already have a body count exceeding that for a stampede in a theater. I’d give examples but this thing hasn’t been banished to political Elba island yet and I wouldn’t wish to be personally responsible for it happening.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Hawk » October 15th 2022, 10:11am

jason_recliner wrote:
October 15th 2022, 5:23am
3Flushes wrote:
October 15th 2022, 4:08am
Jones's incessant trumpeting of conspiracy theories and attacks against the families of victims not only defamed them, but also extended their suffering and grief. Jones's inflammatory attacks further induced a number of his followers to make death threats and to engage in other forms of criminal harassment against the plaintiffs — for ten years
Jones caused them immeasurable suffering and grief (turns out it was measured at one billion doillars), not sure I agree he dafamed them. But it's not like I know the legal defintion of defamation.
Defamation varies internationally. In the US accuracy is an affirmative defense. If the Sandy Hook kids actually were crisis actors or Dominion was actually flipping votes there would be no case.

I believe in the UK that isn’t the case - defamation can be claimed in some cases where the accusations are true. I’m not sure so this is subject to correction by Brits, bogans or more knowledgeable Americans.

If no reasonable person would believe the claims or the claims are presented as opinion there is no case. AKA : the Tucker Carlson defense when he called someone bringing suit against Trump an extortionist. Tucker won.

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/29/91774712 ... ox-s-lawye

It’s being deployed by Sidney Powell presently with uncertain results. It also shanks Rittenhouse because there’s actual dead people in his wake - accuracy being an affirmative defense. Less clear would be accusations of premeditated murder but he’s making paid guest appearances as a sort of folk hero so he’s pretty much fucked in the “actual damage” department.

In the US just having your reputation besmirched gets you nowhere. You have to have been actually damaged, the charge against you has to be demonstrably false and the defendant has to have acted with actual malice - hence the need for Jones’ text messages showing he knew he was lying. Opinions are exempt (the Tucker defense) it has to be presented as fact. Of course this also means that *opinions* that Rittenhouse committed premeditated murder are also exempt. Mr. Sandman was accused on actual news outlets so that was different.

Confused yet? I certainly am.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by jason_recliner » October 15th 2022, 5:06pm

Hawk wrote:
October 15th 2022, 10:11am
jason_recliner wrote:
October 15th 2022, 5:23am
3Flushes wrote:
October 15th 2022, 4:08am
Jones's incessant trumpeting of conspiracy theories and attacks against the families of victims not only defamed them, but also extended their suffering and grief. Jones's inflammatory attacks further induced a number of his followers to make death threats and to engage in other forms of criminal harassment against the plaintiffs — for ten years
Jones caused them immeasurable suffering and grief (turns out it was measured at one billion doillars), not sure I agree he dafamed them. But it's not like I know the legal defintion of defamation.
Defamation varies internationally. In the US accuracy is an affirmative defense. If the Sandy Hook kids actually were crisis actors or Dominion was actually flipping votes there would be no case.

I believe in the UK that isn’t the case - defamation can be claimed in some cases where the accusations are true. I’m not sure so this is subject to correction by Brits, bogans or more knowledgeable Americans.

If no reasonable person would believe the claims or the claims are presented as opinion there is no case. AKA : the Tucker Carlson defense when he called someone bringing suit against Trump an extortionist. Tucker won.

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/29/91774712 ... ox-s-lawye

It’s being deployed by Sidney Powell presently with uncertain results. It also shanks Rittenhouse because there’s actual dead people in his wake - accuracy being an affirmative defense. Less clear would be accusations of premeditated murder but he’s making paid guest appearances as a sort of folk hero so he’s pretty much fucked in the “actual damage” department.

In the US just having your reputation besmirched gets you nowhere. You have to have been actually damaged, the charge against you has to be demonstrably false and the defendant has to have acted with actual malice - hence the need for Jones’ text messages showing he knew he was lying. Opinions are exempt (the Tucker defense) it has to be presented as fact. Of course this also means that *opinions* that Rittenhouse committed premeditated murder are also exempt. Mr. Sandman was accused on actual news outlets so that was different.

Confused yet? I certainly am.
I've always associated defamation, wrongly it seems, with reputational damage. I don't see how the victims' families had their reputations materially damaged. People following Jones may disagree with the families or think that they are lying - is our reputation damaged every time somebody disagrees with us or has a different opinion? If anybody could have their reputation damaged by people believing Jones, it would be the US Government, as they would be organisers of the incident and cover-up.

On the subject of opinion, it's extremely murky territory. That kid who yelled fire, is that his opinion? Jones is an extreme shock-jock media presenter. He's not renowned for his balanced, nuanced reporting of the day's affairs. How is anything he spews forth not opinion?

Too bad the families can't go after the PoS murderer for $1,000,000,000.

What were the actual costs of Jones' actions? I understand that families were threatened. Did they have to move ? Close businesses? What about material reputational damage? Did anybody lose their job or friends - "I thought that Dave was a cool dude but now I hear he's a crisis actor I don't want him working in Sales, and I certainly don't want him hanging around little Mike and Mindy at my BBQ this sunday"?. Or was it only extremist redneck types who changed their views of the families, and who have no bearing on the lives of the families? If the latter, what's the actual reputational damage? (the families are not public figures whose wellbeing and livelihood is in many cases directly dependent on what strangers think of them) And what about pain and suffering caused by Jones' actions (not those of others)? Harder to calculate, and were the families listening to his broadcasts? If not, what impact does his speech have? If they were listening - why? Why not change the channel or take a walk if something is upsetting you?

Based on the above, I reckon Jones probably is liable for some damages. But *Dr Evil voice gain* one BILLION dollars? Yeah, nah. I hope he appeals and I hope he is wildly successful - this is not a precedent that I want to be set!
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Hawk » October 15th 2022, 7:51pm

You’re not alone in thinking defamation is damage to one’s reputation - I believe that’s the actual dictionary definition.

But it’s not even much of a first step in the US needed to prevail in a defamation suit. There had to be actual damage including loss of employment, destruction of property, multiple relocations, vandalized grave sites, death threats and sometimes some real physical assaults etc. It was orders of magnitude beyond “inconvenience”.

If you’re curious there’s better options than my memory. Transcripts are available along with actual trial videos. I don’t know if they’re location restricted but here’s a good start.

https://youtu.be/vRlHnbGUggg

You’ll find (at the risk of terminal boredom and a lot of time) a pretty detailed breakdown of award amounts per plaintiff. 5 million here, 6.75 million there and it eventually adds up to real money.

You would be correct in assuming multiple types of awards - specifically “compensatory” and “punitive”. A lot of what exploded the numbers is “punitive” - amounts in excess of actual damages intended to convey a message: “Don’t fucking do that again”. The punitive portions are the more likely to be reduced on appeal and are probably most of what you perceive as grossly excessive. The compensatory damages are more solid and still pretty stout.

Wading through the court proceedings may not cause you to suddenly see sense in the amounts but it will provide an understanding not available from a 90 second news blurb or an internet post.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by 3Flushes » October 16th 2022, 3:33am

jason_recliner wrote:
October 15th 2022, 5:06pm
...On the subject of opinion, it's extremely murky territory...
As it turns out, at least in the Jones case, not at all.
jason_recliner wrote:
October 15th 2022, 5:06pm
...How is anything he spews forth not opinion?...
As it turns out, speech a defendant knows to be false cannot be defended as protected opinion. Mr. Jones admitted at trial in Texas he knew his statements were bullshit.

Parenthetically, In the Texas case, Jones attempted to defend his speech as protected opinions because he suffered from some sort of psychotic disorder that led him to believe his representations were factual over the course of the ten years they were made. Jones further claimed his psychosis was miraculously cured when prepping for trial and by speaking to some parents of victims. Absent an expert witness or any medical evidence whatsoever that Jones suffered from any such disorder, if IIRC, the judge rejected the ploy and barred the defense from presenting it to the jury.

@codguy

As for young Mr. Rittenhouse, he likely has a tough road to civil riches as he did shoot and kill two people and injured another. Rittenhouse was arrested, charged with murder and other crimes, and was tried, over the course of which much of the alleged defamation occurred.

Absent a verdict, reporting about the case and opinions as to Rittenhouse's behavior, guilt or innocence, etc. would be protected and wouldn't amount to defamation merely given a subsequent not guilty verdict. Americans are blessed with the freedom to criticize our government, including our courts, and by extension, juries and their verdicts.

For the purpose of the actions taken by folks on that fateful day in Wisconsin and the subsequent charges and trial, it's my guess that Mr. Rittenhouse is a limited public figure, particularly given he did, and continues to make public comments and public appearances about his case.

But what do I know? I have already lost a bet on Nick Sandman, the 'Covington Catholic kid's' ever winning a defamation case, and was wrong when opining young Mr. Rittenhouse would be convicted on one of the murder charges. Rittenhouse has apparently retained Sandman's former lawyer who has begun to pop off about 10 or 15 solid defamation cases to be filed beginning with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

So, I've been wrong before, might as well stick my neck out for the hat trick.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Hawk » October 16th 2022, 1:28pm

One piece of trivia that might lend some insight into the second trial award is related to the scale of the bullshit.

When pressed for a baseline proposal for damages plaintiff’s attorneys suggested a single US dollar for each view of Sandy Hook hoax claim by Jones. It just so happened that number was 550 million.

Nobody disputes that yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater should result in a penalty. In this case we had 1,000 theaters each with a capacity of 550 that endured 1,000 false fire alarms over the course of years. In each and every case the perpetrator falsely named the arsonists who had to endure the results of the lies.

I don’t know if that offers a short cut to understanding the motivations of the jurors but it for sure as fuck got my attention. It should also be noted that jurors are flesh and blood humans rather than computer AI and, having watched more of the proceedings than was likely healthy, Jones was a raging dick throughout. Almost makes the Texas trial’s 50 million look parsimonious.

I hope the Dominion lawyers were paying close attention.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Hawk » October 16th 2022, 1:41pm

3Flushes wrote:
October 16th 2022, 3:33am


So, I've been wrong before, might as well stick my neck out for the hat trick.
I’ll put my chips on your Rittenhouse roll - it looks like a sure thing to me.

Sandman was getting heat over a “smirk” whereas Rittenhouse shot people and has two deaths officially ruled as homicides. He was acquitted of murder but nothing makes the homicides go away.

And, as you note, he’s making bank from the incident. Claiming damage is a stretch when you’re deriving benefits from the notoriety. OJ Simpson has a better shot at claiming media defamation.

Incidentally I believe the psychosis defense made it into Sidney Powell’s filing though it may not have been her intent. If memory serves it was the usual “no reasonable person would take my Dominion claims as fact” followed many paragraphs later by “but I believed it, I really, really did”. The net result is legal needle threading that boils down to “I am not a reasonable person”. Welcome to defamation in the US.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Mark1 » October 16th 2022, 7:54pm

Hawk wrote:
October 15th 2022, 10:11am
Opinions are exempt (the Tucker defense) it has to be presented as fact. Of course this also means that *opinions* that Rittenhouse committed premeditated murder are also exempt. Mr. Sandman was accused on actual news outlets so that was different.

Confused yet? I certainly am.
This is twice now I've witnessed our resident legal beagle cite the Tucker defense-neither instance mentioned it being pioneered by Rachel Maddows lawyers against OAN.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by 3Flushes » October 17th 2022, 3:15am

Mark1 wrote:
October 16th 2022, 7:54pm
Hawk wrote:
October 15th 2022, 10:11am
Opinions are exempt (the Tucker defense) it has to be presented as fact. Of course this also means that *opinions* that Rittenhouse committed premeditated murder are also exempt. Mr. Sandman was accused on actual news outlets so that was different.

Confused yet? I certainly am.
This is twice now I've witnessed our resident legal beagle cite the Tucker defense-neither instance mentioned it being pioneered by Rachel Maddows lawyers against OAN.
Pioneer?

The only similarity in Maddow's and Carlson's defenses is that the cases against both were dismissed.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Hawk » October 17th 2022, 7:30am

@Mark1

That’s not the impression I get from the actual transcripts. The first rule is, or at least used to be, to not rely on someone reading the things for you but to check for yourself.

Similarities exist but there’s massive divergence perhaps best summed up at the bottom of page 11 and top of page 12. I will refrain from spoilers - check it out.

Moreover the claim that an OAN commentator was writing for Russian state media (Sputnik) was factual and survived fact check.
https://misbar.com/en/factcheck/2020/12 ... ed-sputnik

Maddow’s protected exaggeration started from a factual base whereas Tucker claimed and prevailed on the entire show being “non literal commentary”. Translated from legalise to English I believe that means “bullshit” but IANAL so a second opinion would be appropriate.


Maddow: https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads ... 7-2021.pdf

Tucker: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/di ... 527808/39/

And that is why it’s known as the Tucker Defense and not the Maddow Defense in legal watering holes. If this is disagreeable then the matter should be taken up with the Fox attorneys - they made the claim, I can’t take credit for it.
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Re: I love America, I love Americans, I really do, but...

Post by Hawk » October 17th 2022, 10:32am

3Flushes wrote:
October 17th 2022, 3:15am

Pioneer?

The only similarity in Maddow's and Carlson's defenses is that the cases against both were dismissed.
I would also question the use of the word “pioneer” given that the cases ended with Tucker’s chronologically before Maddow’s. That’s right in the transcript dates.

Apart from legal maneuvering the cited earliest complaint was against Tucker in 2018 vs Maddow’s segment in 2019.

Without dredging through possible overlaps that might show Maddow preceding Tucker in certain respects it would still be doing things to the dictionary definition of “pioneer” that I wouldn’t do to a rented mule.

Casting Maddow as the pioneer would require more than creative arguments. It would also benefit from a time machine.

Though I would preemptively concede that our legal system sometimes does horrible things to definitions - “defamation” being an example already discussed.
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