Interesting Items 02/12

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue –

1.  Steyn
2.  Telegraph
3.  Dementia
4.  Parents
5.  Statue
6.  Truckers
7.  Porn

1.  Steyn.  The defamation trial of climatista Michael Mann v Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg ended last week with the jury finding both writers had defamed Mann and awarded him $1 apiece.  Sadly, they bought into Mann’s attorney painting both writers as tools of the political right, with the fully politicized DC jury awarding Mann $1,000 from Simberg and a whopping $1 million from Steyn in punitive damages.  Mann is a famously prickly character, using lawfare against critics for over a decade.  This lawsuit was allowed to drag out for 12 years, with the apparent goal of destroying his targets under the weight of endless legal bills.  He lost a similar case in Canada when a judge got tired of the delay game.  He won this one in a federal court in DC and will likely demand immediate payment of the punitive damages.  As Mann is a sue-you kind of guy, I will have to be a bit more careful with how I set this one up.

  • Mann has been aggressive in defending his work and reputation of climatologists from criticism.  In doing so, he casts the slander / libel net widely, attempting to include as much criticism as humanly possible under the legal definitions.  We all know and have experienced in the online / social media world name calling, as it is a full body contact business.  Sadly, the legal definitions of libel and defamation allow these sorts of defamation trials, two of which he has been a party to proceed.  They work particularly well when you as the aggressor have access to unlimited legal funds to shut your critics up.  This case was triggered by a Simberg post in a Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) blog in 2012, calling Mann’s work fraudulent (the infamous hockey stick), and attacked Penn State University (PSU), whom Mann worked for as a Prof for a while, for covering for him in their investigation of allegations against his work, invoking the memory of their coverup of former PSU football coach Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse.  Interestingly, during the trial it came out that the PSU investigators recommended against Mann but were overruled by the PSU president.  Steyn writing in National Review Online (NRO) picked that up on the Simberg post and amplified it a bit.  It took a solid seven years for attempts to throw this out on anti-SLAPP grounds failed.  While CEI and NRO were both the real targets, they took down the posts and apologized, leaving Simberg and Steyn twisting slowly, slowly in the wind to defend themselves.  The case finally went to trial in Jan.
  • Manns’ first libel suit was aimed at Canadian Geography Prof Tim Ball following an interview with the Canadian Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP).  Ball used the recently released (at the time) East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) accused Mann of fraud (criminal and otherwise).  The leaked CRU e-mails referred to his work as “Mike’s nature trick.”  If it is good work, why do you need a trick unless that trick is backed up with data and complete transparency over sources and data?  Mann has a reputation in the skeptic community for not wanting to show his work.  The Ball suit was filed in 2011.  During the suit, Mann famously refused to provide requested data and documents.  He gave the excuse he was occupied with other matters, simply too busy.  The court cited two periods of delay totaling 35 months when dismissing the case.  The court ordered Mann to pay defendant’s court costs, which to the best of my knowledge, has never been paid.  Given that it is a Canadian court order and Mann is an American, I don’t expect this obligation to be met.  Additionally, Ball passed away in 2022 and is no longer able to pursue payment, providing Mann and his backers the ultimate get out of jail free card. 
  • Mann has a history of being able to dish out the name calling and criticism while being singularly unable to take return fire.  He is thoroughly comfortable with the use of the term climate denier, something used by climatistas to slander, libel and smear anyone who comes to different conclusions.  He called then tenured Georgia Tech Prof Judith Curry a climate denier and science misinformer, allegations which quickly destroyed her academic career and reputation.  Not having access to whatever big money Mann has to fund his serial lawsuits, Curry has not yet brought any action aimed at Mann.
  • Generally, federal courts tie actual damages and punitive damages in a lawsuit together.  Punitive damages greater than 10x compensation are unconstitutional per SCOTUS precedent.  This slops around a bit when there is near zero compensation, meaning that the $1 million award ordered by Steyn will likely to be appealed.  Steyn has awful health these days, having suffered three heart attacks during the decade this has been going on.  Mann has been very lucky selecting his targets.
  • While the case was formally about defamation, in reality it was about politics and free speech, climate deniers v climate scientists.  Simberg and Steyn won the factual basis of the trial.  Unfortunately, they badly lost the punitive portion, as Mann and his legal team managed to turn the defamation lawsuit into a vehicle they wanted to send a message to climate deniers and Trump supporters.  This approach reminds me of Otter’s defense in Animal House where he equates criticism of the fraternity to criticism of the United States of America, finishing by announcing he refused to slander the US of A, and then walks out with everyone on his side of the room, humming the Star-Spangled Banner.  The jurors were aiming at Trump and got Steyn.  Mann got his win and did his Snoopy dance afterwards.  Up to us to make it a Pyrrhic one.  Hopefully Mark Steyn will live long enough to do so.

2.  Telegraph.  Question:  When is a military attack not an actual military attack, but a simple message to the Other Side?  Answer:  When you telegraph your punches, give the Other Side sufficient warning of incoming so that they can clear out personnel, equipment and important war material from the target list.  This how the Dementia Hitler regime conducts one of his multiple wars, similar to the way both Clinton and O’Bama did.  The airstrikes at Iranian assets in Syria, Iraq and Yemen were so transparent, so obvious, and so worthless in actual military value that ancient Clintonoid Wesley Clark, who participated in no small number of these under Clinton leveled the criticism last week.  Did we do anything to solve the shipping attack problem from Yemen?  Hardly.  What should we do?  I’d make it personal.  I’d show the Iranian leadership photos of their homes, their work locations, their schedules, their vehicles, their travel routes, and promise that after the next attack, we will kill this guy, after the next one, we will kill those guys, and after the third one, kill an entire arm of the government leadership or disappear their oil infrastructure on Kharg Island, removing its ability to pump and sell oil.  Make it personal.  Make it deadly.  Make them an offer they can’t refuse and don’t dare ignore.

3.  Dementia.  Special Counsel Robert Hur dropped his report on Dementia Hitler’s classified retention Super Bowl weekend when hopefully nobody was looking.  Well, a bunch of us were looking.  So was the WH, and things look really bad for at least a little while.  The report found that he willfully retained and disclosed classified materials from his time as VP, though the report does not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (the Comey Hilly classified e-mail standard).  Worst, Hur noted that Biden’s significantly limited memory played a part in his decision not to prosecute.  “We have considered that, at trial, Mr Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory…”  In essence, Hur wrote new law, giving Dementia Hitler an excuse to break federal law.  He is too far gone with senility to be responsible for breaking the law in regard to illegal retention of classified, yet the same man is fully capable of being president.  Yeah.  Right.  The report prompted a bizarre Biden presser late in the evening.  He gave a statement and then hung around to take questions for a while.  We saw why he was not allowed to do the Super Bowl interview this year (though he didn’t do one last year either).  The presser was pure angry old man, get off my lawn stuff.  What is going on?  Several things.  First, it appears that Hur was told or knew the expected conclusions, so he wrote the report with those in mind.  He carefully noted that Trump’s problem with classified was much worse than Biden’s so as to protect fellow Special Prosecutor Jack Smith from expected Trump charge of dual standards of law.  Second, it appears that Biden was so spun up with anger that his staff was unable to keep him off the stage Thursday night.  Note that for conspiracy theorists, there is the very real possibility that Bidan may not be nearly as impaired as he pretends to be, a technique used by more than a few mob bosses over the last half century.  I tend to think this is a rather low probability, though that possibility exists.  Third, this all means that the democrat Powers That Be have themselves a real problem – how and when to replace Biden.  Worse, they have to do it without elevating Kamala.  And that replacement needs to happen before the drop-dead date for getting names on state ballots which is looming.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of conniving vermin (apologies for insulting conniving vermin).

4.  Parents.  Three parent stories this week.  In the first, the mother of a Michigan school shooter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter after her now jailed 17-year-old killed 4 in a HS school shooting in 2021.  The father has not yet been tried.  She was found negligent in allowing her son access to a gun and in ignoring warning signs.  Second story has a pair of Christian parents in Montana who lost custody of their 14-year-old daughter after refusing to allow her to transition to a boy.  Looks like this transitioning is being led by “medical professionals” and the public health / Child and Family Services apparat.  The parents are under threat of jail for going public with their story.  What is the common story here?  It is that the state thinks they know more about raising your kids than you do.  Problem is that as this gets more common, and the parents / family believes they cannot argue, criticize, complain, win, or even get a fair hearing, they will resort to more extreme techniques to protect their families.  Good luck getting a conviction after a few of those take place.

5.  Statue.  We all know that in the world of statue removal, some statues, like some protests, are more equal than others.  Last week’s example was a Christian USN vet being charged with a hate crime for beheading an satanic temple statue on display at the Iowa State Capitol in December.  The act was initially charged as a misdemeanor but upgraded as the wokesters in the Polk County Attorney’s Office decided to make a political name for themselves.  The charges were upgraded to third degree criminal mischief in violation of individual rights, a Class D felony.  No word on precisely who’s individual rights were violated, though I do expect Satan is smiling over the festivities and corruption of the legal system in his name. 

6.  Truckers.  The so-called Take Our Border Back rally of the freedom truckers took place some 20 miles north of Eagle Pass, TX last week.  The crowd of over 500 gathered on a private ranch to listen to speeches and Christian music.  The event plans peaceful demonstrations in support of border security.  While on one hand, I like this a lot and pray for more of this sort of stuff, I am beyond worried that this will quickly be penetrated by feds who have other things on their minds like they did in Charlottesville, Jan 6 and other organized protests they managed to turn into anti-Trump photo ops for democrat candidates.  If it isn’t an actual op already, it is only a matter of time before it is.  Be careful guys.  Be very, very careful.  Note that every single one of multiple white supremacist protests over the last four years have all appeared to be feds. 

7.  Porn.  Finally, we learned last week that making a gay porno on a desk in a senate committee room is legal, as the Capitol Police announced Thursday that they found no evidence that a crime was committed and will not bring charges against both men.  Apparently, the Capitol Police believe that if congress is doing it to us for decades without charges being brought, it is all right for congressional employees to do it to one another.  Nice that we have that finally straightened out.  Well, at least they weren’t walking around taking selfies like the Jan 6 people were (/sarc). 

More later –

  • AG

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