An Alabama blogger from Shelby County, who spent five months in jail before agreeing to remove stories from his website about the son of a former governor, has now been ordered to pay $3.5 million in a defamation lawsuit filed by a former campaign manager for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
The Alabama blogger had written about an alleged affair between Strange and the campaign manager.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Donald Blankenship on Monday entered a default judgment against Roger Shuler and his website Legal Schnauzer for $1.5 million in compensatory and $2 million in punitive damages. The judge wrote that all the elements for the judgment were present, including that a false and defamatory statement was made.
Jessica Medeiros Garrison, a Birmingham lawyer, filed the defamation lawsuit in 2013 against Shuler. She had managed Strange’s 2010 campaign for Alabama Attorney General and served as Chief Counsel and Deputy Attorney General in 2011.
“The facts are clear and the judgment speaks for itself,” Garrison stated in an email Tuesday to AL.com. “The absolute and blatant disregard for the truth has to come with consequences. I am very happy to finally be in a position to set the record straight,” she wrote.
Bill Baxley, one of Garrison’s attorneys, also said the ruling “speaks for itself.” He said he doubts his client will be able to collect any money from Shuler, who had his house foreclosed upon a year or so ago.
Joel Dillard, another attorney for Garrison, said they are grateful that the judget returned a verdict that adequately compensates Garrison. “She is the righteous, kind, gracious working mother of a young son she adores, and this fact magnified this outrageous wrong. Shuler’s statements about her were not just libelous, they were plucked from thin air, and were cyber-bullying of the worst order,” Dillard stated.
Strange also issued a statement today.
“I am pleased the court has confirmed there was no truth to these lies and that some measure of justice has been done,” Strange stated.
Shuler failed or refused to sit for a scheduled deposition. He was sanctioned by Judge Blankenship, who then set a March hearing for sanctions and default judgment.
At the March 9 hearing the judge heard testimony from Garrison and Strange. Both testified the allegations Shuler had written that the two had an extramarital affair and had a son together were false, according to the judge’s order.
Shuler, or any lawyer representing him, did not attend the hearing.
Garrison testified that Shuler had written false comments in his Legal Schnauzer blog concerning her and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, the judge’s order states.
“The (Legal Schnauzer) comments suggested that the plaintiff (Garrison) received preferential treatment from the Attorney General because the two were engaged in an ongoing extramarital affair; and that the Attorney General was the father of the Plaintiff’s minor son,” the judge’s order stated.
Garrison testified that the comments were false and “were embarrassing, hurtful and degrading.”
“She testified further that the comments made it difficult to perform her job. She works with a national organization, The Republican Attorneys General Association,” according to the judge’s order.
Garrison also stated that since the comments have now become widely known, she constantly suffers from embarrassment and anxiety, according to the judge’s orders. “She testified that she worries about how the comments could later affect her minor son.”
Strange also testified that the comments concerning his relationship with Garrison and a photo on the website that was cropped to make it appear Strange and Garrison were alone, were false.
“The Court finds the comments defamatory,” Judge Blankenship stated in his order.
Efforts to reach Shuler for comment were unsuccessful prior to publication of this story.
On Thursday, a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit by three women against Bill Cosby issued his first decision in the case.
Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz are suing Bill Cosby for defamation on the grounds that the comedian and his reps branded them liars in response to sexual abuse charges. In response, Cosby has asserted rights to make “privileged utterances of self-defense.”
Today’s ruling from U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni only addresses whether the three women should be allowed to amend their lawsuit — and his opinion is a careful one that’s not intended to address the merits of the claims. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the new language in the amended lawsuit shows just how problematic the statute of limitations has become for the women targeting Cosby.
After all, the statute of limitations is one of the core reasons why the women aren’t going after Cosby for sexual abuse directly. Green, for instance, claims that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby in the 1970s. That’s too old a charge to survive in court. So she’s targeting statements by Cosby’s reps in reaction to articles about her allegations. In particular, there’s one comment by Cosby lawyer Walter Phillips Jr. to a 2014 story in The Washington Post. He stated, “Mr. Cosby does not know the name Tamara Green or Tamara Lucier [her maiden name], and the incident she describes did not happen.”
But… it turns out that Phillips didn’t make that statement in 2014. The newspaper later published a correction indicating that the response was made in 2005. And so, even the defamation claim based upon this statement might not survive the statute of limitations.
Joseph Cammarata, attorney for the plaintiffs, appears to have a new theory on why a decade-old statement is still punishable. The amendment to the lawsuit includes language that Cosby, through Phillips, gave the statement in 2005, “with the expectation and intent that the statement would be republished by news outlets in the event that Plaintiff Green should repeat her accusations.”
In response, Cosby’s attorneys demanded the judge stop the lawsuit from being amended because it would be “futile,” that it still wouldn’t beat the statute of limitations.
Holding people liable for comments made long ago for their future expectations on republishing opens a can of worms. However, Mastroianni isn’t going to tackle plaintiff’s theory just yet. In a ruling that should probably only interest hard-core geeks of civil procedure, he notes the plaintiffs aren’t adding new claims, just amending relevant facts and corresponding arguments to existing ones. Thus, he allows the lawsuit to include this new language about a 2005 statement being given with the expectation that it would get re-published a decade later.
Eventually, the judge will address the merits of the defamation claims, and until then, there could be a battle over discovery.
The three accusers are aiming to inspect documents about Cosby’s prior legal battle over sexual misconduct. That case took place in Pennsylvania, was settled in 2006, and many of the documents remain sealed. The plaintiffs in the defamation case are seeking to subpoena third parties, requesting those old documents, and tell the judge, “The documents at issue may include discovery responses and/or deposition testimony by Defendant Cosby admitting to sexual misconduct against one or more of the Plaintiffs, contrary to Defendant’s representation to this Court in his Motion to Dismiss.”
Over in the Pennsylvania case, the judge sent out a notice of the potential unsealing of certain discovery motions, which led one of Cosby’s lawyers to object and request a hearing. Cosby attorney George Gownwrote, “This is a complex matter, involving important and legitimate privacy issues.”
(New York) – Thai authorities should drop criminal proceedings against two journalists for reporting on trafficking of ethnic Rohingya “boat people,” Human Rights Watch said today.
Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, the editor and correspondent of the news website Phuketwan, were charged one year ago, on April 17, 2014, with criminal defamation and the Computer Crimes Act based on a complaint filed by the Thai navy.
If convicted on the criminal defamation charges, Morison and Sidasathian could be imprisoned for up to two years. Under the Computer Crime Act, they face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 baht (US$3,125). They are scheduled to go to trial on July 14-16.
“The Thai authorities should direct the navy to unconditionally drop its baseless charges against the two journalists,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “This effort to silence media criticism has backfired against the navy, which should act swiftly to cut its losses.”
The charges centered on a paragraph in the Phuketwan online newspaper on July 17, 2013, that cited a Reuters investigative report alleging that some navy officials “work systematically with smugglers to profit from the surge in fleeing Rohingya,” and that they earn about 2,000 baht (US$63) per Rohingya “for spotting a boat or turning a blind eye.” The report was part of a Reuters investigative series on the plight of the Rohingya, an oppressed Muslim minority in Burma, that won a Pulitzer Prize.
Human Rights Watch believes that criminal defamation laws should be abolished, as criminal penalties are always disproportionate punishments for reputational harm and infringe on free expression. Criminal defamation laws are open to easy abuse, resulting in very harsh consequences, including imprisonment. As repeal of criminal defamation laws in an increasing number of countries shows, such laws are not necessary for the purpose of protecting reputations
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Thailand has ratified, guarantees the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to impart information. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors state compliance with the covenant, has expressed its concern at the misuse of defamation laws to criminalize freedom of expression and has said that such laws should never be used when expression is without malice and in the public interest.
“The Phuketwan journalists are among the few who are still regularly reporting on the pervasive human trafficking of Rohingya in Thailand,” Adams said. “Thailand’s efforts to show progress in tackling human trafficking are seriously damaged by this shoot-the-messenger action against journalists exposing abuses.”
Racism in Australia. How real is it? Whites reclaim whiteness in different ways. In an effort to assert her whiteness, Jacobsen unleashes a racist tirade against her black neighbours.
A 51-year-old white Australian woman, Michelle Veronica Jacobsen, who subjected a black African family to a nasty racist attack and threatened them with a crowbar, has been charged with assault, going armed in public as to cause fear, disorderly conduct and conduct likely to racially harass. Video footage of the woman hurling racist abuse to the black family is available online. Jacobsen, who appeared in the Perth Magistrate’s Court this week, had her case adjourned to next month.
In the video, Jacobsen can be heard saying, “I don’t deal with monkeys, go on now you … [expletive]… monkeys. Look at these … [expletive]… pigs, jungle … [expletive]… you are”.
Unlike South Africa’s RW Johnson who wielded a pen to spew his racist tirade likening Africans to baboons and Rottweilers in a 2010 article published by the London of Review of Books (LRB), Jacobsen wields a crowbar to enforce her racist outburst. Seventy-three prominent scholars objected to Johnson’s racism in a letter to the LRB.
When asked to explain her actions, Jacobsen argued, “I’m tired of feeling like I’m a ‘minority’ in my own country”.
Her reasoning is rooted in a notion of the Australian national identity that historically has been considered to be of white-Anglo heritage. For the greater part of the 20th century, that heritage was maintained via the Australian Immigration Restriction Act 1901, informally known as the “White Australia” policy. The White Australia policy was designed to keep out Chinese and other immigrants of colour.
The multicultural policies that replaced the White Australia policy in the 1970s have cultivated feelings of resentment amongst some white Australians.
In the last decade, Australians of black African descent have been the targets of white resentment. For instance, when a 19-year-old black teenager, Liep Gony, was beaten to death in Melbourne in 2007, the Australian media explained Gony’s murder as the consequence of a feud between rival black gangs. It was later revealed, however, that Gony’s attackers were young white Australian men who had gone out that night with the intent of taking their “anger out on some niggers”. Ajang Gor is another young black man who was assaulted by racist whites in Australia. Gor’s attackers called him a “black dog” while they beat him up.
Scholars call the racist vocabulary that whites share “racetalk”. One of the defining features of racetalk is the belief that blacks do not belong in white spaces. Hence, Jacobsen is of the view that her black neighbours should not be in Australia and that they should go back to wherever they came from. Similarly, in 2007, the then immigration minister Kevin Andrews, used racetalk to argue that black Africans had failed to integrate into Australia, and thus the Australian government had to make significant cuts to Australia’s intake of African refugees.
According to Anikó Hatoss, an Australian academic, “whiteness is still a strong factor in ascribing an Australian identity to newcomers, while blackness is associated with a refugee status and being an outsider”. Through racetalk, the label refugee is used to talk about black Africans as backward and pathological people at worst, or as “dysfunctional ‘others’ who are redeemable as long as they consent to assimilation and obedience to their white benefactors” at best. Jacobsen who subjected the black family to the racist attack in Perth obviously subscribes to the former discourse.
The Perth racist attack is also a reminder to blacks that moving into predominantly white neighbourhoods sometimes means that one has to be prepared to put up with varying white neighbours’ responses such as racist attacks, social exclusion, and grudging accommodation. In this case, the white neighbour’s response was racist filled violence. The attack happened in the suburb of Cloverdale, a predominantly white neighbourhood.
Obviously, the solution does not lie in creating black ghettos or reducing Australia’s intake of black African refugees as suggested by Andrews. The solution includes challenging racism. One of the biggest psychological obstacles in successfully challenging racism is that whiteness invariably positions itself as a victim of anti-racist efforts.
For instance, the assumption underlying the logic of the white woman who attacked the black family in Perth is that she is being overburdened by the government’s expectations that she has to live peacefully with black neighbours. Within a multicultural Australia, some whites resent the feeling that they can no longer express their racist sentiments about people of colour. For example, former One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, recently told a crowd at a “Reclaim Australia” rally, “Criticism is not racism”.
I should note that the brand of racism that the “Reclaim Australia” campaign subscribes to is Islamophobia. It is reported that “Reclaim Australia” events were staged in 16 cities and regional locations throughout Australia over the weekend. The name of the campaign “Reclaim Australia” interestingly reveals white angst over ineffectual and inadequate efforts by the state to disclaim whiteness as the defining feature of Australian society.
Whites reclaim whiteness in different ways. In an effort to assert her whiteness, Jacobsen unleashed a racist tirade against her black neighbours. Serious anti-racist efforts have to talk back and resist “reclaim whiteness projects” of any kind. In my on-going PhD research, I have found that racism has partly contributed to the disadvantaged social position that black African refugees occupy in Australian society. To change the status quo and to prevent future racist attacks on black families, racism has to be challenged in all its social practices.
Written by Mandisi Majavu. Majavu is the book reviews editor of Interface: A Journal For and About Social Movements. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
It’s easy to see how American workers became so much more productive in the last few decades: computers have shrunk tasks that once took hours — or even days to complete — into a matter of seconds. And workers are far more educated than they used to be: As of 1960, less than 10 percent of American adults 25 and over had bachelor’s degrees. Today, it’s more than 30 percent.
But that’s not the full story. Researchers from the University of Chicago and Stanford’s business schools have found that up to one-fifth of the labor force’s productivity growth between 1960 and 2008 came from simply making it easier for women and minorities to get better jobs.
Workers output: what the researchers studied
Chicago’s Chang-Tai Hsieh and Erik Hurst, and Stanford’s Charles Jones and Peter Klenow discovered a massive “convergence” in many highly skilled occupations after 1960 — that is, those occupations grew less dominated by white men as women and minorities moved into them.
The researchers started from the assumption that different people’s unique, innate abilities shouldn’t differ by demographic group. So when women and minorities were dissuaded from taking high-skill jobs in the 1960s, that meant the economy wasn’t growing as fast as it could because its workers weren’t fulfilling their full potential (the researchers point to Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, as one example — even after graduating third in her Stanford law school class, she could only find work as a legal secretary at first).
So the researchers assumed that removing occupational barriers like discrimination naturally makes the workforce more productive, by putting people into occupations for which they are better suited — if Sandra Day O’Connor has a comparative advantage at being a lawyer, then it makes sense for her to pursue that. Whether it’s through active discrimination or indirect routes, like fewer educational opportunities — it affects more than just one person. And if there are enough of these barriers, it can keep the entire economy from its highest potential growth.
The researchers used data on the changing numbers of white women, black men, and black women in different occupations, plus changing wages, as a way to approximate the size of occupational barriers and the economic benefits to removing those barriers. To measure this, they treated discrimination and other barriers to employment as a sort of “tax.” Those “taxes” are measures of inefficiency in the labor market — they represent workers or firms paying unnecessarily for inequality.
What they found
On the whole, productivity rarely declines for long, and it was particularly fast-growing during the booming 1990s and early 2000s. American workers on the whole have over time gotten more and more efficient at contributing to economic growth. The researchers concluded that 15 to 20 percent of the productivity growth per worker in the US economy since 1960 has been due to the decline of barriers to employment like discrimination and systemic inequality. That’s up to 40 percent bigger than simple calculations based on wage gaps would imply.
Most of that growth in productivity is due to women entering high-skilled occupations, the researchers write. In addition, black men and both black and white women experienced massive wage gains.
“We infer that changes in occupational barriers may have raised real wages by roughly 40% for white women, 60% for black women, and 45% for black men,” they write. In addition, white men’s wages declined as a result, by 5 percent.
Of course, women and minorities still face some of the same hurdles that they did back in 1960 — women famously face a “motherhood penalty” right now, for example, that prevents them from advancing in their careers once they’ve had children. And nearly everyone hassubconscious racial or ethnic biases — one illustrative example is a study in which lawyers rated otherwise equal legal memos more poorly when the author was nonwhite. If those remaining barriers were removed, output would grow even more, by 10 to 14 percent, the researchers estimate.
Read more to understand what these findings mean.
A father is asking that his 14-year-old son’s teacher be fired after she called him a “rag-head Taliban.”
In a school board meeting for the Broward County Public Schools on Tuesday, Youssef Wardani requested that Maria Valdes, who he says used the derogatory term in French class on February 2, be fired or suspended for one year without pay.
The school, however, is recommending a five-day suspension without pay and diversity training, Tracy Clark, Public Information Office for the school district, tells Yahoo Parenting.
Early last month, Wardani says he heard his son, Deyab-Houssein Wardani, ask his mother what the word Taliban mean. “I said, ‘why are you asking that?’ He said, ‘I need to know what it means because I looked it up online and that’s not me. My teacher called me the Taliban,’” Wardani tells Yahoo Parenting.
That week, Deyab-Houssein, who is in ninth grade and goes by DH, walked into French class wearing a hooded sweatshirt, according to Wardani. Valdes saw him and said “Uh oh, here comes the rag-head Taliban.” That week, Wardani says Valdes started calling DH by the new nickname, “Taliban.”
When Wardani met with school officials, including Valdes, about the incident, he claims she didn’t deny she used that language. “She told me, ‘it was a joke, an innocent mistake. I have remorse,’” Wardani says. “It felt like she was reading from a teleprompter.”
Wardani says he expected more from the school. “The irony of the thing is that she is in the World Department,” he says. “She’s supposed to have some global knowledge, one would assume.”
In a statement provided to Yahoo Parenting, Clark said: “Broward County Public Schools respects and values the diversity of our students, families and communities. This situation is being taken seriously; the District launched an immediate investigation into the matter and will be bringing forward, to the next School Board Meeting in March, a recommendation for disciplinary action regarding this situation.”
At the time of his meeting with Valdes, Wardani says he only wanted a sincere public apology. But he never got it, and in the month since he’s posted a Facebook page entitled “Our son is NOT a ‘Rag Head Taliban’” to raise awareness about the issue.
“I’ve been in this country since 1988,” Wardani says. “The way it works is that I’m supposed to sacrifice so that my son doesn’t have to sacrifice the same way, and his son doesn’t sacrifice the same way. I moved here from Beirut, Lebanon, and I came to this country and got an education and a job and a beautiful wife and a beautiful life. It’s been the typical American dream. We made it, we’re in Florida. And then this comes and blindsides us and it feels like we’re in the Middle East again.”
At Tuesday’s board meeting, Wardani says the Superintendent was more interested in looking out for the teachers rather than the students. “The superintendent said he has obligations to protect his teacher, and I think he has an obligation to protect my son,” he says.
Wardani has teamed up with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida and is considering further legal action. In the meantime, DH is still in French class with Valdes everyday. “They gave me the offer to take him out of the class or have him learn online but I said no,” Wardani says. “He loves French so I said ‘no, you don’t punish him.’ I’m not going to take that away from him just because they don’t want to change her.”
Anti-Racism Causes Racism
It can be argued that zealous and fanatical anti-racism is doing more than almost anything else to contribute to racism in the United Kingdom and United States. To put that in very basic terms, one of the biggest contributors to racism today may very well be anti-racism policies and statements.
Almost every single day someone or other is put before an anti-racist inquisition or a new — even stricter — law is decreed to fight racism.
Anti-racism has now become another revolution that’s eating its own children.
What we have with much of today’s anti-racism is the same kind of absurdity and extremity which often happened during various historical inquisitions. More specifically, anti-racism is just like the many other political movements that, in time, became corrupted.
Many anti-racists also feel the need to justify their existence and legitimacy by becoming more and more pure (i.e. extreme). And, as a consequence, they will also need to find new targets — more evil racists — to reprimand or even punish.
What partly contributes to all this is that a minority of Leftist activists (though often highly-influential people in the law, councils, academia, etc.) are attempting to create a “revolutionary situation” by deliberately making anti-racism policies and actions more extreme. Thus, in the process, these Leftists — along with their words and actions — are alienating people who aren’t otherwise racist. Such Leftists think that the violence, turmoil or even civil conflict that their words and policies create may be utilized to benefit their own primary cause: revolutionary socialism or the “progressive future”. Thus they see what they’re doing as tapping into anti-racism’s revolutionary/radical potential. (These very same Leftists also — to use their own words — “tap into the
Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/01/antiracism_causes_racism.html#ixzz3WSsIIe5Z
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