As Tulsi Gabbard's Silly Attention Seeking Lawsuit Against Google Falters, She Files Equally Silly Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton

from the a-slapp-asset dept

As you may recall, last year, Presidential candidate and current Congressional Rep. Tulsi Gabbard filed a laughably silly lawsuit against Google. We pointed out at the time that it had no chance at all, and echoed, quite directly, the debunked claims that some conservatives make about how Google censors them... even though Gabbard is not a conservative politician. It still threw the same kitchen sink of dumb legal arguments into the complaint, arguing that Google was a "state actor" (it's not), and that Google's moderation choices were a violation of California's civil rights law, the Unruh Act.

What got much less attention was that in September, Gabbard's lawyers filed an amended complaint that dropped all of the civil rights and Lanham Act claims and tried to press on solely with the 1st Amendment (and related 14th Amendment) claims. These will fail spectacularly. Google is not a state actor. There is no 1st Amendment claim here and any attempt to make one is a sign of pure silliness.

Of course, as that lawsuit is falling apart, it appears that Gabbard has decided to file a new vexatious lawsuit to get back in the headlines. This time she's sued Hillary Clinton for defamation. The actual complaint is really bad. It's laughable, and the lawyers who signed their names to it -- Brian Dunne, Dan Terzian, and David Hecht, from Pierce Bainbridge -- should be embarrassed. Of course, Dunne and Terzian also filed the silly case against Google, so I'm guessing they don't much care about their own reputation as lawyers.

At issue, Hillary Clinton made some -- admittedly stupid -- comments about Gabbard on a podcast last fall, saying that the Russians supported Gabbard and that she might run as a 3rd party candidate.

PLOUFFE: [Trump is] going to try to drive people not to vote for him, but to say you can’t vote for them either...

CLINTON: They’re also going to do third party again. And I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody [Gabbard] who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. And that’s assuming [Green Party 2016 candidate] Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset.

Again, these comments are silly, bordering on conspiracy theories in the same vein that our current President likes to buy into all too often. But it's not even remotely defamatory. At no point does she make any false statements of fact about Gabbard. First off, the 1st Amendment and the courts' interpretation of it gives great leeway to political speech, considering that's kind of the whole point behind the 1st Amendment. As such, the courts will almost certainly take this as standard overheated political rhetoric.

Second, breaking down what Clinton said, it makes no factual claims about Gabbard herself -- but rather about "the Russians." She may be wrong about what the Russians are doing, but that's not defamatory towards Gabbard. Whether or not the Russians do favor Gabbard, or whether or not the Russians would like her to run as a 3rd party candidate, or whether or not they have a bunch of sites and bots promoting her -- that's all about the Russians. Even the "Russian asset" comment (which Clinton never directly states about Gabbard, but implies by saying it is "also" true of 2016 third party candidate Jill Stein), is not defamatory. A Russian asset doesn't mean someone who is purposefully doing the bidding of the Russian government. That would be a Russian agent. Simply saying someone is an asset to the Russians, means that they're valuable in some way to the Russians, and not that the Russians' control them. And, as such, it's clearly a statement of opinion.

Clinton can argue that the Russians benefit from a Gabbard campaign -- and other people (including Gabbard, if she chose) could argue the other side. And that is the nature of political debate. But it is not defamatory to state your opinion, no matter how silly it might be.

But, of course, it appears that Gabbard and her lawyers at Pierce Bainbridge are not actually interested in righting any legal wrongs with these lawsuits. They just are ways to rile up a base and get her name back in the headlines. Even David Frum at the Atlantic has noted that these are lawsuits for attention from a Presidential candidate who is not going to win anything.

But then, much of Gabbard’s complaint reads less like a legal argument than a stump speech. It is not easy to imagine that any federal judge would look with much favor on the relentless boasting and self-promotion in a lawsuit that opens:

1. Tulsi Gabbard has lived her life with one guiding principle: putting the needs of others before her own. That’s why she joined the Army National Guard. That is why she campaigned for and was elected to the United States House of Representatives. And that is why she is running for President.

The 14-page brief crams in 13 references to Gabbard’s service in the Army National Guard.

Rather than being structured to convince a judge, the brief wishes to invite belief in an alternative universe where Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2020—and where Gabbard somehow presents an important obstacle to Clinton’s ambitions.

This is not unlike the lawsuit against Google, which excited a clueless base who insisted to us that Gabbard must have a strong case and Google would be taken down by it. Yet, of course, Gabbard's own amended complaint, in which she dropped all of the claims that people kept telling me were easy wins for her, made no news at all.

This seems to be an all too common path taken by some politicians these days. Rile up your base by filing frivolous lawsuits. This is why we actually need stronger anti-SLAPP laws in every state, plus a federal anti-SLAPP law. It is, of course, notable, that Gabbard's suit against Clinton was filed in the Southern District of New York, and NY's anti-SLAPP law is incredibly weak and is unlikely to apply in this instance (it only applies to statements made while petitioning the government).

Filed Under: 1st amendment, anti-slapp, defamation, free speech, hillary clinton, russian asset, slapp, tulsi gabbard
Companies: google


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  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 9:59am

    Who knew the Nunes Effect was a bipartisan effort?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:10am

    PR lawsuits should be banned

    I’m seriously getting annoyed with all these PR lawsuits: lawsuits that have no chance of succeeding and are solely there to inconvenience the defendant(s) and, primarily, draw attention to the plaintiff and/or their cause. It’s just dumb and a waste of everyone’s time.

    This one in particular seems like an especially egregious example; there was no need to mention her military service at all, and no plausible justification for including it more than once or twice. It’s also insane that she seems to think that she’s running against Hillary Clinton or something.

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    • icon
      Norahc (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:22am

      Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

      Considering most of these lawsuits include some type of claim the plaintiff has been censored in some way, do you REALLY want to give them any support to that claim?

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:35am

        If Tusli Gabbard wants to attack Hillary Clinton for what she said, Gabbard should issue press releases or go on podcasts or whatever. An obvious SLAPP action should never — and I do mean never — replace an actual public relations “offensive” as a way of putting a message into the public sphere.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 2:43pm

          Re:

          To be called a Russian asset by former Secretary of State when you are running for American Politics is absolutely defamation.

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          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 2:58pm

            Re: Re:

            Not if it’s a statement of opinion rather than of fact.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 6:42pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              No, if it has falsely claimed she is a RUSSIAN Asset, (God Forbid), the change to her public image could cause her much damage and injury. She should be able to sue. Its NOT Ridiculous as claimed.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If you were to read the article, you may actually get a clue.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  OGquaker, 29 Jan 2020 @ 1:31am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I own my assets, and i also pay property tax on them. How can an 'asset' be an advantage, like a zoning change or the death of the artist, rather than a possession?
                  If Mrs. Clinton had said "She is an asset to the Russians", i would not quibble, but SOS Clinton did not say that.

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:44am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    That is… interesting. So because she essentially used the words in a different order, it suddenly makes no sense that she could possibly referring to any definition of “asset” than “possession”? That’s not how it works.

                    People have used “asset” in similar syntax to mean “advantage” or “tool” or something along those lines. Let’s leave the quibbling to the lawyers.

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              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Whether a statement of opinion is damaging to one’s reputation is immaterial. Under US law, you cannot sue for defamation on the basis of a statement of opinion outside of certain exceptions not applicable here.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:05am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Well I say she has a case. Would you like to wager?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:54am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Oh sure she has a case in the sense that she can file one for publicity’s sake. Then that shits gonna get tossed faster than your AC ass is gonna disappear when you lose.

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:27am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    First, I don’t gamble, period. I wouldn’t place a wager on whether the Sun will rise in the East tomorrow (and not just because I’d feel guilty taking advantage of someone crazy or dumb enough to take that bet).

                    More importantly, you’re free to disagree, but would you mind explaining what fault you perceive in my reasoning?

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:24pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The fact you don't gamble (at all) tells me two things; One, your belt's on too tight. And two, you're boring me to death. As far as this lawsuit goes, of course Gabbard has a case, I just wonder if there is a Judge in this world who wants to piss off Hillary Clinton by letting the suit go forward.

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                      • icon
                        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:40pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Well, one reason I don’t gamble is because I have a relative who had a gambling addiction. Another is the fact that I’m a student who can’t afford to gamble.

                        As for whether Gabbard has a case, I don’t think she does. I also have no reason to believe that the court will rule in Hillary’s favor due to some sort of fear of pissing her off. At any rate, you didn’t answer my question, but fine, whatever.

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:02pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Ok about your reasoning? That is the question? And I was just kidding about you not gambling! I admire you actually. Well your reasoning is probably spot on on one hand. It will be considered by a jury if it gets that far. If Ms Gabbard doesn't have her day in court over this piercing, gutwrenching accusation by a firmer First Lady and Secretary of State, I will eat my hat and videotape it and upload it and link to it here at Techdirt. But, if this case is settled out of court, I keep my hat on my head.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Hillary Clinton was not stating a matter of opinion. She called Ms Gabbard a Russian asset Point blank.

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:36pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    And I assert that calling someone a Russian asset is no more a statement of fact than calling them a useful idiot, a patsy, or a pawn. We can do this all day, but I don’t think we’ll get anywhere.

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:11pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Ok, you're standing at the booth, the curtain's drawn. You don't know any of these candidates from Shinola. You haven't made up your mind. You are wondering, standing there, if your vote is even gonna count..

                      [] Gabbard
                      [] Joe Darden
                      [] Bonnie DoGood

                      And this thought comes that maybe Gabbard is a Russian asset.
                      You are instinctively NOT going to vote for her "just in case."

                      That is the damage to Ms Gabbard's carreer.

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                      • icon
                        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:25pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        This would be a decent response to a different post I made where I mentioned that Gabbard had no real chance of winning the primary to begin with, but in response to this comment, the (speculative) damage to Gabbard’s career makes no difference to the lawsuit if I’m right and the court rules that it’s a statement of opinion. It also won’t make a difference how damaging it is if Gabbard can’t prove that the statement is provably false and that it was made with knowledge that it was false or reckless disregard for the truth.

                        I think it’s also worth noting that pretty much everyone else running has a lot more name-recognition than Gabbard anyways, so, again, I don’t think she had much of a chance to begin with. But that’s a whole different story.

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:55pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          If Gabbard actually wins this lawsuit, I have no doubt she would win a landslide popular vote.

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                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:03pm

                            She barely polls in mid-single digits right now; winning a lawsuit wouldn’t change that. Even if she wins the suit — and she won’t — that won’t translate into her winning even a single primary caucus, never mind the 2020 election.

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                      • icon
                        Mike Masnick (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 11:36pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        By this logic, any candidate criticizing another candidate would be defamation. Donald Trump suggested Hillary Clinton should be locked up. Was that defamation? No. Bernie Sanders recently suggested Elizabeth Warren was a liar. Was that defamation? No. Yet, by your standard above, it would be.

                        Thank goodness that's now how the law or the 1st Amendment works.

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2020 @ 9:39am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Mike, I think you know how much I love your show here. It pretty easy to walk away from comments like the examples you give of Trump and Bernie, but to be called a Russian asset? Come on, you can't see a difference? Ms Gabbard will never be able to walk away from that comment. Not ever.

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                          • icon
                            Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 10:54pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Why not? How hard is it to say "that's ridiculous and of course I'm not" or just mock Clinton back for being a conspiracy theorist. Gabbard can walk away from that comment in the same way that Clinton was able to walk away from Trump calling her a criminal.

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                          • icon
                            bhull242 (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 5:05am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Think about how many times Trump was called a Russian asset. Did he ever sue someone for defamation because people called him a Russian asset?

                            And this is Donald Trump, they guy who loves to sue people. Even he has enough sense to know that this is dumb.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            bhull242 (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 5:30am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Oh yeah, and then there was the time that Trump said that Obama was literally “the founder of ISIS”. And he insisted that he meant that literally multiple times. As far as statements about public officials go (at least of the ones I’ve heard), that one probably had the best chance of being considered defamation. And that is also a pretty serious accusation. And yet Obama just walked away.

                            And speaking of Obama, remember the birther controversy where people kept insisting that he wasn’t a US citizen? He just released his birth certificate, even the long-form one, to try to shut that down, and when people kept saying it anyways, insisting that it was a forgery, he would poke fun at the idea, releasing a “video of his birth” that was really just a scene from the Lion King. And he’s been accused of much worse things than that during and before his presidency that were completely and objectively false.

                            And despite all of that, he has never so much as threatened a single person with a lawsuit for defamation or something similar. For all of his faults, he knew that suing people is not how you should handle criticism, no matter how damaging it may be. And he still won two consecutive presidential elections, despite all these damaging and false claims, many of which came from other public figures.

                            (Well, he didn’t handle leakers well, but leaking classified information is not the same as making false and damaging claims. I still think he should have handled it a lot better than he did, and I’m not defending him on that, but that is a very different scenario from just criticism or defamation.)

                            So please, explain again why suing someone for defamation is the only way for a public figure to handle damaging and false or misleading claims when you’re running for office. It sounds to me like the last two presidents, at least, have found other ways to handle criticism without suing for defamation. Admittedly, Trump’s way isn’t great, to say the least, but I’m still not seeing how a lawsuit is the best or only way to salvage one’s reputation from salacious claims. And if I can find a way in which Trump is handling criticism better, that’s saying a lot.

                            So yeah, I’m not buying this whole, “Ms Gabbard will never be able to walk away from that comment. Not ever,” thing. If you can’t handle that sort of criticism, public office may not be for you.

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                          • icon
                            bhull242 (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 5:54am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I should also mention that it doesn’t sound like too many people actually believe that Ms Gabbard is actually a Russian asset in any sense of the term, and as mentioned earlier, just going from basic math and logic, Ms Gabbard never really had a chance at the presidency to begin with—something that suing someone for defamation is unlikely to change.

                            As far as I can tell, for the most part, anyone who was supporting Gabbard before never changed their mind because of this claim, those who support other candidates didn’t and won’t change their minds because of either the claim or the lawsuit, and those who are unfamiliar with the candidates (and so wouldn’t have a strong stance on most of the candidates and where name recognition would be a strong factor) probably

                            1) will vote for one of the candidates whose names they recognize (like Biden, Warren, or Sanders) and not someone they’re unaware of or only recognize because of the lawsuit or both the claim and the lawsuit,

                            2) don’t follow politics close enough to have even been aware of the interview or the specific claim prior to the lawsuit being filed (honestly, I follow politics relatively closely, and even I hadn’t heard about Hillary’s interview or this claim prior to hearing about this lawsuit),

                            3) won’t vote in the primaries at all, and/or

                            4) are either a) even less likely to have heard of the lawsuit or b) are the type of people who are familiar with the law and take a dim view of those who sue over speech, particularly when it appears pretty unlikely to be successful.

                            Any other undecided voters who do follow politics probably fall under 1, 2, and/or 4 as well.

                            For those reasons, I’m unconvinced that she was actually harmed by the statement itself, and I’m even less convinced that filing a lawsuit is going to actually fix any harm done or truly help her win any voters she wouldn’t have had otherwise, and certainly not enough to win her any primaries.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 2:59pm

            Re: Re:

            The funny thing Ivan. Is that it doesn’t matter if you are running for a thing (that no Real American would capitalise) or not, in a defamation case. Secondly, I know that English is a second language for you IRA folks However, as a proper title, Russian Asset has both words capitalised. I know you guys are working huge chunks of mandatory overtime in the Foxnews Mines because of the impeachment, but get your shit together bro.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 5:25pm

              No one writes "American Politics"

              Says the guy who wrote "Real American"...

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:13am

                Re: No one writes "American Politics"

                Yup that’s how the idiots in the states that the other states don’t like to talk about in polite company spell it bro. You’d know if you were one.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:06am

                  Re: Re: No one writes "American Politics"

                  I doubt you change your underwear once a day.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:55am

                    Re: Re: Re: No one writes "American Politics"

                    Just stop bro. You’re embarrassing yourself. It’s so pathetic I can’t even make fun of you.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:41pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: No one writes "American Politics"

                      No bro thank wood you not me bro. Footsoldiering for Hillary Clinton? You should be ashamed.

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                      • icon
                        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:41pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No one writes "American Politics"

                        I think it has less to do with Hillary and more to do with your comebacks.

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:21pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No one writes "American Politics"

                          Let's suppose for a moment that someone here signed in to Techdirt gets a call or letter to be a juror for this case. The mere fact that there are opposing views being discussed here about this case may very well be the reason the lawyers can't disqualify you for being biased.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:27pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No one writes "American Politics"

                            That…didn’t really address what I said.

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                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:51pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No one writes "American Politics

                              Your previous comment has been duly noted.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • icon
                                bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:48pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No one writes "American Poli

                                For what it’s worth, the discussion hasn’t been too bad, even if it did get repetitive after a while.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:27pm

                            Knowing about opposing views to a given situation doesn’t mean one considers those views to be equally valid. I know about the QAnon believers who sincerely think drinking bleach will prevent them from contracting the coronavirus. That doesn’t mean I think their (ignorant, maybe intentionally suicidal) beliefs deserve the validity of serious consideration. I can know about opposing views and still be biased in favor of my own views because that’s how biases work.

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                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:59pm

                              Re:

                              We all know about your biases, Stone. I was only pointing out that the platform here where a prospective juror might be commenting was unbiased.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:01pm

                                This platform isn’t “unbiased”, either. Practically everyone here is writing off your bullshit on sight. You can post your “opposing ‘views’ ” (read: trolling bullshit) all you want, but that doesn’t make Techdirt a “neutral” platform, and no judge in the land would say it does.

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                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:52pm

                                  Re:

                                  You are king of bullshit Stone. You are part of the problem with America. You are so far left your address will soon be Bejing.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:45pm

                        Re: They took my jerb

                        See what I mean bro. You’re doing my job for me bro. Fucking Russians taking Real Americans jobs.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 6:31pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              Real Asset if they are in fact Russian Asset.. Russian asset for all the rest suffices!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 6:35pm

                NY Plastic Bag Ban (off topic) Public service

                Postpone New York Plastic Bag Ban.

                Those plastic bags from all the stores will be the best way to dispose of biohazard tissue, cleanX etc. In consideration of this Novel CoronaVirus.

                Someone start a PETITION Please!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 7:14pm

                  Re: NY Plastic Bag Ban (off topic) Public service

                  change.org

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:56pm

                  Re: NY Plastic Bag Ban (off topic) Public service

                  Cuomo another person who controls the masses. That kind of authority is not selfjustified.

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              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 6:53pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              You're an idiot.

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                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:15am

                Re: It’s positively snowing in St Petersburg right now

                I haven’t seen someone this triggered since the last time someone said something mean to Putins primary Russian Asset bro.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:45pm

                  Re: Re: It’s positively snowing in St Petersburg right now

                  Ok Lefty

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                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:47pm

                    Re: Re: Re: It’s positively snowing in St Petersburg right now

                    Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:54pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: It’s positively snowing in St Petersburg right

                      Oh like you don't have smegma on your upper lip. That's funny.

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                        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:57pm

                        Re:

                        The only thing I can think of bro is that you are a sub in an unfulfilling relationship with the amount of humiliation you invite upon yourself.

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            • icon
              Thad (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:55am

              Re: Re: Re:

              Secondly, I know that English is a second language for you IRA folks However, as a proper title, Russian Asset has both words capitalised.

              So where exactly are you from?

              Because Americans spell "capitalized" with a "z".

              (And they pronounce that letter "zee", just in case you were wondering.)

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                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                He's another nut from the American free education system that he dropped out of one week after he got his iphone for Xmas.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:53pm

                Re: Zeds for days and days

                Middle America, but I live in a former British colony now. So my Xmas iPhone lives in a permanent state of spelling schizophrenia.

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                • identicon
                  Talmyr, 5 Feb 2020 @ 5:47am

                  Re: Re: Zeds for days and days

                  I thought the US was a former British colony as well, but it doesn't stop it having weird spelling...

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:29am

              Re: Re: Re:

              “Russian asset” isn’t a proper title any more than “English professor”. You don’t capitalize both words.

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                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:52pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Well, not to keep disagreeing with you, but in America, we don't listen to people pushing such micromanagement on our speech.. verbal or written!

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I only bothered correcting them because they were trying to correct someone else. Write it as “Russian Asset” all you like. Just don’t tell other people that’s the correct way to capitalize it and expect no one to correct you.

                  (Basically, I was pointing out the hypocrisy and inaccuracy of someone else “pushing such micromanagement on our speech”.)

                  Also, I’m American, too. You might’ve figured that out from the fact that I spelled “capitalize” with a z, not an s.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:27pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Ah yes, I have been observing your spelling of capitaliZation. And duly noted you pointing that out, Comrade!

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:23pm

              “Russian” will always be capitalized because it’s a proper noun. “Asset” is neither an official title nor a proper noun; it should only be capitalized when it is part of a headline/title (e.g., “The Russian Asset Conspiracy”) or the first word in a sentence. Pick up an AP Stylebook, for Strunk and White’s sake.

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                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:03pm

                Re:

                I knew you got your English from the back room of an old used book store!

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:58pm

                  Better than getting it from third-hand translations of Russian propaganda, Pyotr.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:59pm

                    Re:

                    Oh you are going to try that on me now. Russian propaganda! 🤔 I wonder where he gets all his ideas from?

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 6:35am

              Re: Re: Re:

              The funny thing [… i]s that it doesn’t matter if you are running for a thing […] or not, in a defamation case.

              Well, it may matter, but not in the way the other guy might think.

              If the plaintiff was a private figure before running, and they were running for office at or before the time the allegedly defamatory statement was allegedly (or actually) made (regardless of whether or not they still are), then running for office will make the plaintiff a public figure, so the plaintiff must allege (then prove) that the statement was made with actual malice in order to state a claim for (and ultimately prevail in) a lawsuit for defamation, which is a higher standard to meet than you would need had the plaintiff not run for office and remained a private figure. In this scenario, running for office actually makes it harder for them to succeed in a defamation case, so in that sense, running for office does matter.

              Of course, in this case, Gabbard was already a public figure before running for President, so the fact she’s currently running for office makes no actual difference in the defamation case, at least not unless and until she prevails and they need to calculate damages. Still, neither the fact she is currently running for something nor the fact that she was running before and at the time the allegedly defamatory statement was made does not, cannot, and should not improve her chances of succeeding in a claim for defamation, whether at the dismissal, summary judgement, post-trial judgement, or appellate stages of a lawsuit.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 4:53pm

            Three things.

            1. Gabbard was called an “asset”, not an “agent”. Other comments on this article can walk you through the difference.

            2. Clinton offered an opinion about Russia and who that country considered to be an asset in the 2020 American presidential election season. Opinions, no matter how derogatory, are protected by the First Amendment.

            3. Nobody runs for “American Politics”; they run for office. Were you paid in rubles or vodka for posting here?

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              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 6:48pm

              Re:

              Ok Stone, lets just for fun's sake suppose you had enough savvy, education and money to run for Polital office even the Office of the Presidency. A former Secretary of State and former First Lady and former Presidential candidate called you a Russian Asset. I want to hear how you wouldn't want to sue the b'jesus out of that person seeing how it damaged your reputation before the American Voters!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 8:50pm

                Re: Re:

                Are you just going to keep repeating the same incorrect thought until it works?

                Good luck.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:08am

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  You miss the point of the malice in what was said?

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:24am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Aside from the fact that “actual malice” is harder to prove than you think it is, if the statement is an opinion or substantially true, then it’s not defamation regardless of the motive behind it. And even if it’s false and stated with malicious intent and capable of diminishing or damaging one’s reputation, since the plaintiff is clearly a public figure, she still has to prove the statement was made despite them knowing it was false at the time the statement was made or in reckless disregard for the truth (which is a higher bar than just “didn’t bother to research”).

                    Malicious intent itself doesn’t matter here.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:55pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      If I had my carreer just slashed by what Hillary Clinton said, I would absolutely sue her, but for a lot more money that Ms. Gabbard is suing her for.

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                      • icon
                        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:53pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Honestly, I don’t think Gabbard’s chances actually changed that much because of what Hillary said. She’s still not likely to lose her current position, and she still doesn’t have any real chance of winning the Democratic nomination for President.

                        Additionally, you could sue someone for calling you a meanie if you wanted. You won’t win, but you could do it.

                        And before you call me biased against Gabbard or biased in favor of Hillary, let me just say that Hillary was dumb for saying it, and Gabbard is right to be upset about it. I just think the lawsuit over it is stupid and that, based on current trends, Gabbard is incredibly unlikely to win in the primaries. I also think Gabbard is a bit too eager to sue over perceived slights and is overreacting a bit.

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                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:18pm

                          Gabbard doesn’t stand a chance in the primaries. She isn’t a nationally known entity like Biden, Warren, or Sanders; she isn't a unique outlier like Buttigieg; and she isn’t capable of running a media blitz like Bloomberg. Gabbard will lose, and after she drops out, I imagine she’ll eventually toss an endorsement towards one of the four frontrunners in the hopes that (should a Democrat win the White House) she’ll find a position in the White House.

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                            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:35pm

                            Re:

                            Well, thank God I don't live in a world according to Stone. If a person (and I am just supposing here) can't stand the first three on your list and an outlier named, Buttigieg just doesn't sound like your man, I say Gabbard might have that chance if now EVERYONE wasn't wondering if she was a Russian ASSET.

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                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:53pm

                              Tulsi Gabbard’s polling numbers have never once hit double digits. I doubt they ever will thanks to a thinning field and the frontrunners being all but locked in for the Iowa caucuses. The “Russian asset” controversy won’t affect her campaign’s ultimate fate in any meaningful way.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:59pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Consider the source of that malice.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:25am

                Re: Re:

                “Polital”
                “Office of the Presidency.”
                “former Presidential candidate”
                “American Voters!”

                Fucks sake Ivan, you are hopeless. Well you did get “Russian Asset” right this time so you’re not completely hopeless I suppose.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:09am

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  Yeah I know I cringed when I read Polital! Obviously my mind needs work!

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:56am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yes you need to go back to remedial English for Russian Trolls bro.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:56pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      How bout this asshole. Go fuck yourself in your mouth motherfucker.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:58pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Hey Ivan are you getting paid by the post? If so good job. If not, I hope the overtime’s worth it bro.

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                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:11pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I didn't right that. My cat did.

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                            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:12pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I mean write that., you know what I mean?!

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              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:16am

                Re: Re:

                I want to hear how you wouldn't want to sue the b'jesus out of that person seeing how it damaged your reputation before the American Voters!

                I'll bite. I wouldn't sue because politicians trash-talk each other all the time. "Russian Asset" is the new "Socialist." What I would do is push back, using her own words to paint her as a delusional, paranoid loon. The funnier or more apt you are on social media, the more popular you become. Why do you think Trump's infantile name-calling is so effective among his base? There's no need to sue.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:01pm

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  She wasn't talking to Ms Gabbard when she said it now, was she?

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:50pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Was Trump doing all the name-calling to their face? I don’t see a material distinction here.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:40pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      It is very material in that as it was an interview, she's saying this stuff so it would get out. So it was as hurtful to a campaigner as possible. And it did spread across the internet wuickly and the news outlets.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:43pm

                        Was Trump keeping his insults limited to a small, select group of people in the White House who were sworn to secrecy upon penalty of death? I don’t see a material distinction here.

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                      • icon
                        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:20pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Well, yeah, but the same happened with Trump. He said demeaning stuff in publicly viewed interviews without the subject being present, and that would spread across the internet quickly and the news outlets. So yeah, I’m not really seeing a difference here.

                        I’ve also noted that a number of the news outlets expressed some skepticism for Hillary’s assertions, so it seems like there was some mitigation without Gabbard having to respond at all.

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                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 7:16am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Okay, I was just reading a bit about libel law, and while there’s still no material difference between what Trump did and what Hillary did, it sorta matters that it was an interview, kinda (though Trump did many of his insults and false claims in interviews as well, so again, no material differences here).

                      See, one of the requisite elements of defamation (regardless of whether it’s per se or per quod, whether the plaintiff is a public figure or not, whether the statement was regarding a matter of public interest or not, and whether it’s libel, slander, or some other kind of defamation (if there are any)) is that the allegedly defamatory statement must be an unprivileged statement made to a third party.

                      In other words, even if person A makes a provably false statement of fact (one which was not intended or likely to be taken as hyperbolic rhetoric, satire, sarcasm, hypothetical, speculation, or a joke) about person B that would normally be defamation per se (as opposed to per quod) and person A knew the statement was false when they made it (so it would be made with actual malice), and even if others somehow learn about it (at least assuming person A does not later share a recording of the statement with some third party or something), if person A only makes that statement in a private conversation with person B and no one else or only states it to themselves when they reasonably believe that they would not be overheard (that is, none of their actions were intended to lead to them making the statement to a third party or making the statement known to a third party), then person B would not be able to prevail in a claim for defamation against person A because person A was not saying it to a third party.

                      Again, though, as applied to this situation, that’s not really an issue. No one is saying that this was not an unprivileged statement to a third party, Trump’s statements and insults were also made to a third party and were unprivileged, and the issues people have with this lawsuit (that the statement is, probably is, or might be a statement of opinion that does not imply undisclosed false facts; the statement was made regarding a public figure, and it is unlikely Gabbard would be able to prove actual malice; the statement was not technically saying anything about Gabbard; etc.) still fully apply and are unchanged by this element of defamation as Gabbard has to prove each of the elements of defamation, not just one.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:19am

                Re: Re:

                "savvy, education and money"

                I was unaware that an education was necessary to run for political office. Based upon observations over many years, I do not think it is.
                And .. a diploma does not prove you are educated.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:10am

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  Too many ACs in this thread.. go change your underwear.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:57am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    At this point Ivan I feel kind bad for you.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:34pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      You come hear to slurp slurp squish squish up to the collective techdirt opinions and parrot others' opinions. What makes you think there can't be a nonbiased discussion here without throwing down the gauntlet and unsheathing the T-word because someone differs in their point of view. You are worse than far leftism. That is exactly the mo of extreme left to kill free thinking and remove rights to free speech by continually discouraging and disrupting opinions that are way to the fuck to the right from yours.

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                      • icon
                        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:55pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Actually, I think they were just annoyed at the childish comebacks. “Go change your underwear”? Really?

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                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:38pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I'm running out of material on these TROLLS!

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:59pm

                            Re: Trolling the trolls

                            Yeah we know your script is only so deep and you used most of it up riling up the geriatrics at Wing Nut Daily.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:15pm

                              Re: Re: Trolling the trolls

                              Unmask yourself Troll. I will meet you at the square. You name the time and the Country.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:59pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Trolling the trolls

                                troll
                                country

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:45pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolling the trolls

                                  I can come to your country if you like. Troll country makes no difference Troll.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:16pm

                              Re: Re: Trolling the trolls

                              Besides bhull and I were having a nice conversation. Get lost.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:12pm

                        Demeaning, mocking, or otherwise shittalking bad opinions isn’t an attempt to “remove rights to free speech” — it’s telling you that your opinions are awful.

                        We’re not trying to censor you when we rip into your bullshit. We’re only showing you the door.

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                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:44pm

                          Re:

                          Aren't you a god here? Thank you. Thank you. Steve I have been coming to Techdirt longer than you. You just need to sit down and text that, sir.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:58pm

                            I am no more a god than Shiva Ayyadurai is the inventor of email. And unlike Shiva, I lack the hubris required to make such claims.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:06pm

                            Re: Re:

                            I don’t know what is the more pathetic option here bro. That you are as bad a liar as you seem. Or that your mental condition has deteriorated so badly that we can’t tell which of the brain dead lunatic regulars you are.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:20pm

                              Re: Re: Re:

                              Oh Ok.. coming from an ac, its plain to see someone invited you here. And its true I have lost a portion of my brain in service to my country, why should you mock me for that? I am three times the rocket scientist you'll ever be.

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                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:53pm

                                Three times zero is still zero, champ.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:02pm

                                  Re:

                                  Hows Rosy Palmer doing these days?

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • icon
                                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:12pm

                                    The term is “Rosy Palms”, Pyotr. Brush up on your English idioms.

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                                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:50pm

                                      Re:

                                      Oh wait, ok let me write that down! You are dating two of them now?

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                                      • icon
                                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:52pm

                                        You…you really don’t know what Rosy Palms means, Hamilton? Jesus, I knew you were a dumbass, but this takes the cake.

                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                        • icon
                                          bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:22pm

                                          Re:

                                          In his defense, I didn’t know either, but then I have autism, so I suppose that’s to be expected, huh?

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                                          • icon
                                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:42pm

                                            I wouldn’t say “expected” so much as “understandable”. But even if Hamilton sincerely never heard of the Rosy Palms metaphor before I used it against him several times, his continued refusal to use it correctly since then (always “Palmer” instead of “Palms”) marks him as a troll who is unknowingly ignorant at best and intentionally ignorant at worst.

                                            And yes, this is Hamilton we’re talking about. The “Palmer” usage, not to mention his general writing style, gave him away.

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                                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 11:26pm

                                              Re:

                                              That was mine I used on you about two years ago I think! Im no Hamlton. I just been getting a good chuckle!

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                                                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 11:28pm

                                                Re: Re:

                                                and a couple of other times also. Rosy Palmer!

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                                            • icon
                                              bhull242 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:32am

                                              Re:

                                              For the record, you probably should have warned me not to go and look it up. It’s far from being even remotely close to the dirtiest thing I’ve ever heard of, but a warning or hint would still have have been appreciated after I stated personal ignorance.

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                                          identicon
                                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 11:16pm

                                          Re:

                                          I've been fucking with you again, Stone! I don't know her personally, but I hear she is a hard girl to get rid of..

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                                          • icon
                                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 4:36am

                                            I've been fucking with you again, Stone!

                                            Ah, the “ha ha, I was only playing dumb all those times I seemed dumb” defense — the last gasp of the ignorant to excuse their ignorance in the face of people pointing out that ignorance. That’s no way to go through life, son.

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:18am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Pot, meet kettle.

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              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:50am

                Re: Re:

                First, people say mean things about each other all the time, especially regarding politicians and people running for office. If you feel the need to sue people over something like this, maybe you aren’t cut out for public service.

                Second, what I might want to do is immaterial. The only question is what the law says. And the law says that just because a statement is damaging to your reputation doesn’t necessarily make it defamation. Based on our understanding of the statement in question, it is a statement of opinion and one that doesn’t imply false, undisclosed facts, so it cannot be defamatory as a matter of law.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:05pm

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  Its hard to imagine saying something more demeaning that calling an American Politician a Russian Asset. Good Golly you people make me fucking ill. Who teaches you this shit?

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:10pm

                    Its hard to imagine saying something more demeaning that calling an American Politician a Russian Asset.

                    You haven’t listened to Donald Trump over the past four years, then.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:01pm

                      Re:

                      You know? I am glad you brought that up. For the past Six decades, the only politicians I could even stand listening to that didn't feel like a hot poker shoved in both ears was John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

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                      • icon
                        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:26pm

                        Re: Re:

                        That might explain why you think being a Russian asset is the most demeaning thing you can say about an American politician. I can’t say I entirely blame you, though.

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:53pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    1. How demeaning an insult is is immaterial to determining whether it is defamation, as a matter of law or of fact.

                    2. Sadly, I can think of a lot worse, many of which aren’t suited to polite company… or impolite company, really.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:40am

                Three things.

                1. Your capitalization of various words that are rarely capitalized in the middle of a sentence — e.g., “polit[ic]al”, “asset”, “voters” — marks you as someone who has only a working familiarity with the English language. You can imagine how that might make people think you’re a foreign agent. (Also: “bejesus”, not “b’jesus”.)

                2. My feelings on whether I want to sue that person have no bearing on whether I should — or if any such suit would even have enough merit to get past a dismissal motion.

                3. I’m not the kind of person who would file a defamation suit unless I felt as certain as any person can be that I could win that suit on the merits.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:38pm

                  Re:

                  Good ol Stone! If I wasn't getting butched out by you at some point in my day, I don't know what I would do.. maybe, be Happy?

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                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:44pm

                    Re: Re:

                    Oh Yes, I'm a foreign agent because I didn't have the same English TEACHER! That's rich even for you! Good one.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:40pm

                  Re:

                  Also blame all that working knowledge on my publisher.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 1:47pm

                  Re:

                  I don't believe, Stone, that you could ever be defamed!

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          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:10pm

          Re:

          Gabbard suing Clinton is an attack on Clinton? I believe she is defending herself from an attack by Clinton.

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          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:56pm

            Re: Re:

            Ever heard the saying, “The best defense is a good offense”? While I don’t believe that saying should apply when dealing with this sort of thing, the fact is that a defamation lawsuit is a form of defense through offense. (It also seems to be the case that a lot of plaintiffs seem to feel this way.) And an attack in self-defense is still an attack.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

        Considering most of these lawsuits include some type of claim the plaintiff has been censored in some way, do you REALLY want to give them any support to that claim?

        You've...got this exactly backwards.

        Anti-SLAPP laws aren't a form of government censorship. SLAPP suits are.

        Gabbard -- like Nunes, and Ayyadurai, and McInnes, and, sadly, Lessig -- is attempting to use the power of the state to silence her critics. That's censorship. Saying "No, you can't do that" is not censorship.

        Gabbard, Nunes, et al can make whatever claims they want about being censored; it may be a bunch of foolish nonsense, but they have every right to do so. What they don't have a right to do is to manipulate the machinery of the state to punish their critics, and we need stronger laws preventing them from doing so.

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        • icon
          Norahc (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 11:12am

          Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

          I understand that. My point was that if you banned these types of lawsuits, you're just adding fuel to their claims of being censored. Doesn't mean they're correct, it just means they have more to whine about. And considering her job is to pass legislation, if you take away the courts from them then they will just try and legislate their goals. It would almost surely spell the end of any hope for a national Anti-SLAPP law with any real force behind it.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 11:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

            By your reasoning anti-SLAPP laws are impossible because they would prevent politicians using the courts too avenge their hurt feelings, and anti-SLAPP is all about stopping people from using the courts to avenge their hurt feelings.

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          • icon
            Thad (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

            ...what?

            Did you just argue that we shouldn't pass anti-SLAPP laws, because that would prevent us from passing anti-SLAPP laws?

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            • icon
              Norahc (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

              No. We desperately need Anti-SLAPP laws, federal and state.

              Anti-SLAPP laws do not prevent people from filing a lawsuit and getting at least a chance to prove their case in a court. They just carry penalties if the lawsuit is deemed to be a SLAPP suit.

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              • icon
                Thad (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 7:45am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

                I mean, that's true of all laws. Laws against theft and murder don't physically prevent people from committing theft and murder; they sanction them after the fact.

                Banning SLAPP suits means passing anti-SLAPP laws. No, that won't prevent people from filing SLAPP laws, but it will punish people who do. Because that is how laws work.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 7:43am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

                  Well, I suppose that technically a ban would fall under at least one of the following:

                  1. It would be a crime to file a SLAPP suit, which is much harsher than what you’d get from an anti-SLAPP law.

                  2. It would remove the litigation privilege that legal filings and statements made in court generally get from at least the complaint, making the complaint itself open to being the basis of lawsuits about, for example, defamation, invasion of privacy, false light, etc. Again, this isn’t exactly what an anti-SLAPP law would do.

                  3. It would allow and encourage SLAPP suits to be dismissed sua sponte much like lawsuits filed in forma pauperis. This isn’t necessarily the case for anti-SLAPP laws, which generally require the defendant(s) to file a motion under the anti-SLAPP law.

                  So a ban could be more restrictive than what one would get from an anti-SLAPP law.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:51am

        Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

        Oh they could(and would I'm sure) whine up a storm about how they're being 'censored' and now even the courts are out to get them, but some actual penalties in place for abusing the court system for personal gain would be more than warranted I'd say, and being called on their actions in court for wasting everyone's time with a mix of a SLAPP suit and PR stunt would be trivial for opponents to run with, making it a much less tempting option.

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      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

        FTR, the subject line was meant to be hyperbolic. Obviously, the idea of banning lawsuits is ridiculous. (I don’t really think this would be a free speech issue, though, but I agree that that wouldn’t exactly stop these sorts of people from calling it censorship even though it really isn’t.)

        I do think something should be done, like fee-shifting, to discourage these sorts of lawsuits, which is why I support anti-SLAPP laws.

        Part of the issue here is that, although Hanlon’s Razor cautions otherwise, this really doesn’t feel like a case where the plaintiff believes they have any actual chance of winning, nor does this one seem to be complaining about censorship (unlike with her lawsuit against Google); it seems more like it’s just her trying to drum up support for her campaign rather than having any actual grievances for the court. I shouldn’t assume malice, but it’s hard not to considering how transparent this lawsuit is about bragging about Gabbard.

        Of course, there is still plenty to support the idea of incompetence. For example, there is the aforementioned issue that she’s acting as though Hillary Clinton is her opponent in the 2020 election. It’s also ridiculously weak with regards to defamation cases, as not only does it target what is clearly opinion about Russia’s goals rather than Gabbard, this is also about a public figure, which means that any provably false statement of fact would have to be made with actual malice, a very high bar that is rarely met. And in the Google lawsuit, in addition to dropping all her claims but the one with the greatest chance of failure (which, why?), she’s essentially arguing that Google should be forced to accept her money in order to broadcast her message the way she wants to, which is one of the weakest claims of censorship I have ever heard.

        It also takes balls to be whining about censorship in one lawsuit then try to censor someone else in another. Not that there’s anything new about that, but still…

        But yeah, in my opinion, these PR lawsuits are even worse than most frivolous lawsuits in that the plaintiff is using the courts as advertising while also wasting the time and money of everyone involved (including the court’s, which means wasting taxpayer money) over a claim(s) that has no chance of success whatsoever. They have all the same problems that most patently frivolous lawsuits regarding speech have combined with the improper purpose of being meant as a publicity stunt. I really think that, even without anti-SLAPP laws, defamation laws (and similar laws like false light) should have a fee-shifting provision for frivolous cases (similar to how even our copyright law and the Lanham Act do).

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:50am

          Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

          it seems more like it’s just her trying to drum up support for her campaign

          Which, in turn, is just publicity for her eventual book deal and job at Fox News.

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      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:34pm

      Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

      Who is paying you to disrupt and disinform on this lawsuit? Do you know how hard Tulsi Gabbard has worked for America and indeed to be a rock solid American? You just jump right in to accuse her of promoting a pr lawsuit for herself and campaign. Did you read the lawsuit in its entirety? This is a very sincere attempt to right the wrong HRC has done to her earnest reputation, not for PR.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:41pm

        Filing a lawsuit that clearly means to chill speech is not the best way — or the only way — to “restore [one’s] reputation”. Gabbard’s sincerety in her intent doesn’t matter here. Neither does “how hard [she] has worked for America”. Only the facts and the law matter, and from what I can tell, the law is not on her side here.

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          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:19pm

          Re:

          I get the first amendment and free speech, but if laws are going to come, and they will, that deafens this kind of smear and ill will against a person, I could easily see it starting with Presidential Candidates.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:45pm

            Two things:

            1. We already have laws against defamation, and they’ve been around for a lot longer than you or I.

            2. “Presidential candidates” isn’t a proper title and thus shouldn’t be capitalized. “President” is a title, but according to pretty much every stylebook I’ve read, it should only be capitalized when used as either part of an official title (e.g., “President of the United States”) or a preceding title for a specific person (e.g., “President Barack Obama”).

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          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:34pm

          Re:

          All laws are open to interpretation. If the judge does not interfere with justice in this case, I think you will see America interpret the law and the spirit of the law with compassion and diligence to obtain a just outcome.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:49pm

            Yes, laws are subject to interpretation. And the Supreme Court has interpreted defamation laws in a way where Gabbard’s case lacks a real chance of surviving a motion to dismiss. You’re free to say the Supreme Court is wrong, but I would think that questioning the wisdom and will of the Supreme Court in this instance goes against your ideas of American justice — and puts you squarely in the realm of advocating for revenge.

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          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 10:16am

            Re: Re:

            It’s the judge’s job to interpret the law, not the jury’s. Based on Supreme Court precedence, it’s pretty clear that the law says that this case doesn’t really stand a chance.

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      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:12pm

        Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

        Look, here’s my reasoning: setting aside the merits of the case itself (or lack thereof), too much of the lawsuit is devoted to promoting Gabbard’s brand. For example, there was no good reason for her to bring up her military service so many times in the complaint. It doesn’t help that it’s a pretty weak case argued poorly.

        To be honest, it being a PR lawsuit was me being somewhat charitable. I could have concluded that she has such an inflated sense of self-worth that she has a compulsion to constantly brag about her accomplishments regardless of context. Now, I don’t believe that, but my point is that I was trying to find a relatively decent reason for her to file this particular complaint.

        Maybe she had some legitimate reason for the defamation lawsuit itself (although I’m of the opinion that a lawsuit should be a last resort if at all), but the content of the complaint suggests to me that that wasn’t the primary motivation. But that’s just my opinion.

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          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

          I have an idea! All Political office seekers should have to endure at least two years of military training before they get to hold the reins or at least Congress, House of Reps and President, Vice President. That way they'll all know how hard people work in the military, how much of a commitment it is to go all in for your country that you would never think of saying something like what has been said here to another person seeking office.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:39pm

            I guess Donald Trump is disqualified from holding office, then, if a lack of military training and a history of public insults aimed at other politicians means someone can’t sit in the Oval Office.

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          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: PR lawsuits should be banned

            I’m opposed to a requirement for military service for any public office. Military service is not a prerequisite for patriotism or wisdom, nor for compassion and gratitude for those who serve. It should not be a prerequisite for public office, to serve our nation in other ways.

            Also, I still don’t believe that Hillary’s statement in any way impeaches Gabbard’s character or in any way diminishes or relates to the service she offered to our country, as a member of the military or her past service as a politician.

            Finally, and this doesn’t relate to my opinion of Gabbard at all, but military service, while it is certainly strong evidence of patriotism and loyalty, doesn’t necessarily mean that one is a patriot or more of a patriot than others, and their loyalty is not completely unimpeachable (though the burden of disproving it is much, much higher). Nor does it make them inherently more suitable for public office or prove that they have strong morals. Traitors, deserters, spies, double agents, and those who abuse their power do, sadly, exist. It also does not and should not make it so that they have a lower burden of proof for proving defamation (per se or per quod, libel or slander) in a court of law, particularly if they are public figures.

            Again, I want to stress that, as a general rule, military service is strong evidence of patriotism and loyalty to their country, and I do not intend to diminish their service, bravery, loyalty, patriotism, or importance to our nation and the world at large, nor those of Gabbard in particular. I merely meant to point out that the military is a large organization of humans, humans are fallible, and bad actors are essentially inevitable in any organization even a fraction of the size of our military, and it’s especially likely when the organization has such great power and authority—internally and externally—and as such, one shouldn’t overplay the “military service” card, particularly where it’s unnecessary or irrelevant. They work hard and make a strong commitment in enlisting, yes, and their service is very important; nothing I say can take that away. But that doesn’t and shouldn’t make them immune to or free from criticism, and they are not perfect. They are still imperfect humans like the rest of us, and they are and should be subject to the same rules of discussion, criticism, press coverage, and speculation that anyone else with the same level of publicity does.

            I should also point out that I believe that Hillary shouldn’t have said what she did; it was a stupid thing to say. However, as dumb as it was, I also believe that she has the First Amendment right to say it, whether in private, in public, or on a public broadcast, and whether it’s to Gabbard’s face, behind her back, or in an interview without her presence.

            Gabbard’s military service has nothing to do with analyzing whether or not Hillary’s statement was a defamatory statement, and therefore has nothing to do with whether or not Gabbard’s lawsuit will survive a motion to dismiss, survive a motion for summary judgment, or ultimately prevail.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:56am

    I wonder what, if anything, the author of this article considers to be a statement of fact. Saying that someone is a Russian asset certainly seems to be such a statement.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 11:27am

      Even if the statement is one of fact, saying “this person is a Russian asset” is not saying “this person works for the Russian government”. A person can be an asset to a country’s government without having to work directly (or even knowingly) for that government.

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      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 11:53am

        Re:

        In other words, the “statement of fact” would not be a defamatory statement of fact about Gabbard.

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          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:31pm

          Re: Re:

          Even if its not a statement of fact, it could be construed and one, thus defamatory.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:52pm

            The statement of fact would still refer to Russia, not Gabbard. She has no real standing to argue that the statement defamed her.

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              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:09pm

              Re:

              If Mrs Clinton had said it to her face in a conversation with her, you might be right. She has standing because it was said to a third person, not Ms. Gabbard.

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      A “Russian asset” is someone who the Russian government considers useful for them; it doesn’t mean that the person in question is willingly or knowingly assisting Russia in any capacity. It could simply mean that Russia thinks that the person could be useful to their goals at some point.

      Furthermore, given the full context, it seems pretty clear that this was a speculative statement of opinion that Goddard might become inadvertently useful to the Russian government in the upcoming election, and that Russia appears to be trying to make this so. It’s like when one of the birthers calls one of their critics a “useful idiot”; it’s an opinion that the person’s words or actions are or may help a certain agenda, whether or not that was the intent behind those words or actions.

      Calling them a Russian agent, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish altogether. That would mean that the person is knowingly assisting Russia in pushing their agenda, and that Russia is backing them. That would definitely be a statement of fact.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:14pm

        A “Russian asset” is someone who the Russian government considers useful for them; it doesn’t mean that the person in question is willingly or knowingly assisting Russia in any capacity. It could simply mean that Russia thinks that the person could be useful to their goals at some point.

        Exhibit A: Donald Trump.

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          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 8:28pm

          Re:

          Selling 20% of America's Uranium yellowcake by this accuser would not be considered an Asset to Russia? What short memories they think we have.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 8:51pm

            Re: Re:

            Oh look, you're a liar.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:13am

              Re: Re: Re:

              It absolutely happened. You were probably pooping your diaper at the time.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:57pm

                Plaintiff argues that Hillary Clinton personally sold (or personally approved the sale of) one-fifth of America's uranium to Russia. But Plaintiff offers no facts in their Complaint to support this proposition. Their Complaint is summarily dismissed.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:03pm

                  Re:

                  It was on world wide media for at least a week when or around the time of the sale. This was during the end of Obama's presidency if you could legally call it that. I can't understand what you people were doing to not know of it or you are playing it up as if I need to prove it as in a court of law. One, Go search for it yourselves. Two, I don't know if any records or media is still online about it. Three, I already know it to be a fact. I am not doing your homework for you. Four, be as ignorant as you want. Five, I could care least of all for if you were sleeping all week or went to Mars over your week off, that's your loss. You got to watch what's going on in the world. Not just hang out playing tetris and techdirt all the time!

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                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:07pm

                  Re:

                  Stone has this fantasy of being a judge. Newman on Seinfeld always wanted to be a banker. He could never be a banker. And long story short.. botched a fatal leap from top of building and ends up pleading out a traffic ticket before a judge depressed because he could never be a banker. Its going to be allright Stone.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:28am

            Re:

            I know you guys are way way overworked what with your primary Russian Asset getting impeached. But damn bro that little talking point is so old and busted Will Smith made fun of it in the last good movie he did.

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          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:52am

            Re: Re:

            Since nobody we’re talking about ever did that, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:17am

              Re: Re: Re:

              "Since nobody we’re talking about ever did that, I don’t know what you’re talking about."

              That's okay, neither does he

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:28am

              Re: Re: Re:

              Absolutely happened. Whether in your ignorance you deny itwon't ever change the fact.

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                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:32am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Obama put America in more debt than all presidents before him combined. Just another fact you'll all go ape shit dancing around in denial of also.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:00am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I think the really sad thing is that a section of Real Americans will actually slurp up the bortshit you’re selling Ivan.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:16pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Do you have an honorable discharge from US military service Bortshit?

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                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:18pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I didn't think so, but you sound like you might be getting close to that age. You should enlist.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 11:08am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Hate to add facts to this nonsense troll attempt, but sure, let's take a look:

                  https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

                  Your claim, that Obama put America in more debt than all presidents before him combined is not supported by the facts. And, for what it's worth, Trump's pace is above and beyond Obama's. But, hey, who needs facts?

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                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:22pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Obama did indeed put this country in more debt than ALL PRESIDENTS before him Combined! Fact.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:29pm

                      Not a “fact”, but a willful misreading of actual facts. Even if the national debt was higher at the end of Obama’s two terms than it was at any point before Obama took office, Obama alone didn’t generate the entirety of the national debt. I can make the same willful misreading by saying “Donald Trump put the United States in more debt than all presidents before him combined”. How do you plan to prove me wrong when — according to your own logic — I’m merely stating a fact?

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              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                [citation needed]

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 6:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Useful idiot, sure.. so many of those around for sure.. But let's be honest it was a smear to call Ms Gabbard a Russian asset. Words like that end carreers.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Was it a smear? Well, it’s at least plausible, though that depends on intent, which for this discussion I won’t speculate on. That doesn’t necessarily make it defamation, though.

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            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You absolutely have to be lying to yourself if you can't see the malice, the place (interview) and her intent to get this out across the airwaves (idiom) as quickly as possible.

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 1:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              To reiterate, I will not speculate on matters of intent like potential malice at this stage. It is completely and utterly irrelevant to whether or not this is defamation.

              It’s not about whether or not I could see malice; I just don’t care because Gabbard decided to sue over it, and Clinton no longer has any public office or other major occupation for me to really care about her at all. Essentially, I have no reason to bother looking for intent. Additionally, malicious characterizations of political candidates happen all the time. That’s the price we pay for free speech, and I’m okay with that.

              But since you brought it up, I’ll just say that people say not-so-nice things about political candidates and people in public office in interviews “over the airwaves” for non-malicious reasons all the time. And the “as quickly as possible” thing doesn’t appear to be evident, and again, there are perfectly plausible non-malicious reasons for that, too.

              And another reason I won’t speculate on intent is Hanlon’s Razor: never attribute to malice what can equally be attributed to incompetence. I see no reason why malice is any more likely than any other possible motive. And since it ultimately doesn’t change anything IMO, I feel no need to dig further.

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            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And they argued well into the night...

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:59am

    'Thanks for the campaign material.'

    'Tulsi Gabbard has, multiple times, abused the court system for personal gain' strikes me as a great way for any political opponents(well, almost any...) to use against her to show she is not fit for office, and certainly not fit for president.

    She may be playing up to gullible fools with these lawsuits but she's also providing plenty of ammo to be used against her in the process, along with providing perfect examples of why she should not be given the power of president.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:51am

      Re: 'Thanks for the campaign material.'

      'Tulsi Gabbard has, multiple times, abused the court system for personal gain' strikes me as a great way for any political opponents(well, almost any...) to use against her to show she is not fit for office, and certainly not fit for president.

      If you think any other presidential candidate would benefit from reminding people that Tulsi Gabbard exists, then you haven't been following the race. Her most favorable recent poll shows her at 3%. With a 3% margin of error.

      Tulsi Gabbard is not going to be the Democratic nominee. She's filed this lawsuit to get attention -- and it's worked insofar as people are talking about her again, but it's still not going to get her any delegates in Iowa.

      Attention is what she wants; there's absolutely no benefit for any other candidate in the race to give it to her -- except possibly other bottom-tier candidates like Delaney, Bennet, and Patrick, who might be able to get some headlines of their own by responding to this.

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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:31pm

        Re: Re: 'Thanks for the campaign material.'

        You probably never heard of Pat Paulsen. In the 1960s, 70s and I believe up into the 80s he used to run every four years. I think he was a comedian, I'm not sure. He never had a chance, but there he was every Presidential election. America loves an underdog. Don't try to fool them by telling them they don't.

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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:51pm

        Re: Re: 'Thanks for the campaign material.'

        Well, if her notariety doesn't increase now, it could very well be because the readership at techdirt is down!

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  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 11:12am

    Why Goddard?

    I have to ask, and maybe it’s obvious with full context, but why is it assumed that the “somebody” HC is referring to is Goddard? Is she the only female besides Warren who was running in the Democratic primary at the time of the podcast? (I’m pretty sure there were others last fall.) Is there something else that makes it clear that Goddard is the one being referred to? What am I missing?

    I mean, it ultimately doesn’t matter that much, since the lawsuit has so many other issues that it has no chance of succeeding anyways, but I still want to know.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:18pm

      Per the Vox article about Clinton’s comments:

      Gabbard is a combat veteran and US Army reservist who has made issues of war and peace the central plank of her campaign platform. She has sold herself as a non-interventionist, a critic of “regime change” and “endless war.” In practice, though, Gabbard’s record doesn’t fully bear this stance out. She has long spoken favorably about American use of force when it’s not directed at toppling dictators, arguing that the US needs to refocus on fighting Islamist terrorists.

      As far back as 2015, she has been advocating that the US work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — and his chief ally, Russia — in fighting ISIS and extremist factions among the Syrian rebels. This view has led her to take a remarkably pro-Russia stance on the Syria conflict, even when it clashes with the policies of her own party’s president and standard-bearer.

      In January 2017, she traveled to Syria and met with Assad personally, catching the Democratic leadership in Congress off-guard. After returning to the US, she went on CNN and parroted the regime’s line that there was “no difference” between the mainstream anti-Assad rebels and ISIS. At last week’s Democratic debate, she described the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, which is controlled by America’s Kurdish allies, as “yet another negative consequence of the regime change war we’ve been waging in Syria” — a false description of what happened that seemed to let Trump’s troop withdrawal off the hook.

      The Kremlin may be taking notice. One recent analysis from the Alliance for Securing Democracy (an electoral interference monitoring group) found that Russian state media has given Gabbard disproportionate coverage relative to her poll numbers. It also documented Twitter bots that appear to be of Russian origin being active on her behalf. That said, the extent to which Russian bots are working to promote Gabbard is contested, and it’s not clear that Clinton is justified in saying that Gabbard is Russia’s favorite.

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    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:28pm

      Re: Why Goddard?

      While I am unsure how Goddard is, Most people think Hilary was refering to Tulsi Gabbard. This is a contextual thing where Hilary didn't say who she was talking about, but context suggests an answer. Gabbard has the history that suggests she might make a third-party bid in a way Warren or Klobuchar would not. Gabbard has a few similar policy positions to Jill Stien that relate to Russia, and Russian influence efforts put a lot behind Stein in 2016 which seemed to affect swing states toward trump. 5 days before, the NYT did a whole bit on how Gabbard had a strange upswing in support for Gabbard in right-wing and russian media. And Clinton's spokesperson gave a 'If the shoe fits' answer when the question came up.

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  • identicon
    Dan, 27 Jan 2020 @ 12:04pm

    "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

    A Russian asset doesn't mean someone who is purposefully doing the bidding of the Russian government. That would be a Russian agent. Simply saying someone is an asset to the Russians, means that they're valuable in some way to the Russians, and not that the Russians' [sic] control them.

    Methinks Mike doth protest too much. An asset is something the asset-holder owns, or in which they have some posessory interest. As such, the statement (not explicitly made, but implied) "Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian asset" means, not only that she benefits Russia in some way, but also that Russia in some way, and to some degree, owns her. There's a lot wrong with this lawsuit, but this claim actually has some validity.

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:24pm

      Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

      Words can have multiple meanings. An asset could also mean something useful. In context, it’s merely suggesting that she may be considered useful to Russian interests. It’s more similar to calling them a pawn of Russia.

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      • identicon
        Dan, 27 Jan 2020 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

        Yes, words can have multiple meanings, though I still don't think Mike's (and your, and others') view of "asset" (to wit, something beneficial, even though the holder of that "asset" has no ownership, possession, or control of that "asset") is the most natural, or even a particularly reasonable, understanding of that term. But even if it is, it doesn't preclude the other. And if a reasonable listener could understand "asset" in the way I propose, that claim's going to survive a motion to dismiss (at least as far as that's the concern).

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 6:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

          Actually, you have it backwards. If a statement is capable of multiple meanings, at least one of which is non-defamatory, then the statement is not considered defamation. And this is true even in a motion to dismiss.

          I suppose we could disagree on how natural you think it is, but in context, that does appear to be how she meant the term.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 8:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

            In a natural common understanding as far as the regular Joe voter goes, someone called a Russian asset would be right to not expect much favor at the voting booth.

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

              Sure, but that doesn’t really change the fact that whether or not it is a statement of fact or opinion will likely be the determining factor over whether the claim of defamation will survive a motion to dismiss.

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                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:13pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

                I think actually, a public apology from Hillary Clinton would be worth somewhere around $50M.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:07pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

                  I’d give you about tre-fiddy.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:14pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

                  Y’know, generally replies address the previous comment or commenter somehow.

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                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 9:59pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fac

                    Ok, so you want to know other reasons her claim might withstand a dismissal? There have been some anomalous decisions coming from the courts lately, and I can say with some expectation of certainty that just the uncertainty is a factor.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:32pm

                      Courts don’t tend to make “anomalous” decisions vis-á-vis defamation. The law is generally clear and the facts of this case don’t swing in Gabbard’s favor. If her suit survives a motion to dismiss (and that assumes she doesn’t withdraw it first), I’ll be sincerely surprised.

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                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:28am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of

                      I mean, you’re not completely wrong, but anomalous decisions are very rare—especially more recently—when dealing with claims of defamation, even moreso when not dealing with §230 and the plaintiff is clearly a public figure. Also, that’s an extremely weak reason; you’re essentially saying that you’re at least partially banking on the (slim) possibility that the judge will rule incorrectly on a motion to dismiss in this case.

                      I know it’s probably not what you intended, but it sounds an awful lot like you’re admitting that Gabbard doesn’t actually have a case here.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:33pm

      No one has yet given me a reason to believe Russia somehow “owns” Gabbard. But Russia can still see her as an asset despite that lack of “ownership”. Gabbard’s statements about American needing to work with Assad (a Russian ally), along with her statements conflating anti-Assad rebels with ISIS, help Russian interests. Even if she doesn’t intend to help Russian interests, her doing so still makes her a Russian asset.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:53pm

      Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

      An asset can mean working at the IRA or being a useful idiot right bro?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 3:34pm

      Not necessarily

      Consider a political campaign.

      In one group you've got the official people running it, taking orders from those in charge and being paid by them.

      In another group you have people who support the candidate for their own reasons who are doing what they can to get them elected but aren't being paid or taking orders from the official campaign.

      Despite the fact that the second group isn't 'owned' by the official group, neither getting money or taking orders from them you could still argue that they are an 'asset' of the overall campaign as they are assisting it, helping it's goals.

      'Asset' can be used to mean a physical property where there is demonstrable ownership, but it can also be used to mean things that provide a benefit but that cannot really be 'owned', like trust, goodwill or reputation, something that I imagine many a business would agree with given how vital those can be.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:27am

      Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

      Methinks Mike doth protest too much.

      Aside from getting the Hamlet quote wrong ("methinks" goes at the end, not the beginning), I'm not sure you understand what it means.

      What do you believe "protest too much" means, and how do you believe Mike is doing it?

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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:41pm

        Re: Re: "asset" isn't a statement of fact?

        Shakespeare does not own "Methinks thou doth protest too much!"

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  • identicon
    anon, 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:48pm

    isn't or hasn't Google be operating ....

    Under constent-decrees or other rulings that required them to hire a person to perform a specific task related to the lawsuit, and required as part of the penalty? Couldn't that be construed to operating under colour of law?

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 2:33pm

      Re: isn't or hasn't Google be operating ....

      No. That’s not at all what that means. “Color of law” means that you have personal authority to enforce the law. Government agents, LEOs, and government inspectors would operate under “color of law”, but following a consent decree or court ruling is not.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2020 @ 3:37pm

      Re: isn't or hasn't Google be operating ....

      No. That isn't be what that means at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 1:54pm

    Maybe... maybe not

    Of course, Dunne and Terzian also filed the silly case against Google, so I'm guessing they don't much care about their own reputation as lawyers.

    Or maybe they like a reputation of being the ones to go to when you have more money than brains and want to file nuisance suits. They're crying all the way to the bank.

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  • icon
    mkmkmkmk (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 2:23pm

    Lawyers Not Caring About Reputations

    Maybe they will be crying to the bank, maybe somewhere else. ...

    There was an article on LawFuel.com, The Big Trouble at Rudy Giuliani's at the Law Firm Hired by Rudy Giuliani.....excerpts

    "The former partner’s view is that Pierce Bainbridge is the product of “smoke and mirrors” and a “financial house of cards.”

    "Team Pierce being beset by a cocktail of accusations of corruption, financial fraud, misogyny, discrimination, substance abuse, lies under oath and more, much of which is documented."

    It appears to be an interesting place.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:26pm

      Re: Lawyers Not Caring About Reputations

      The fact that they are taking on HRC makes them fucking heros in my book!

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    Zof (profile), 27 Jan 2020 @ 6:59pm

    Counterpoint: Google were huge pieces of shit

    I mean, come on. Statistical probability alone shows they are unethical liars here. Math does it.

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    joseph grimwold, 27 Jan 2020 @ 9:16pm

    Clinton had one goal and one goal only, to smear Tulsi Gabbard's name and to make people associate her with Russia, thus going a long way in destroying Gabbard's reputation and career.
    So you can argue about the details of what Clinton did or didn't say, but we all know what her goal was. Gabbard will now always be associated with Russia in the minds of a good portion of the American public.
    To say that this lawsuit is "silly" is absurd. My guess is you didn't like Gabbard's campaign in the first place.
    Hillary Clinton is a sick vengeful person, out to destroy Tulsi Gabbard for stepping down from Vice Chair of the DNC in order to back Sanders in the last primary season. Poor Hillary.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 12:30am

      Re:

      Hey Joe can you go shit up the faux news forums? We already have one Crazy Ivan here. We don’t need another one at the top half of the hour.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 5:05am

      Re:

      Again, none of that is relevant if the statements complained about aren’t defamation because they are, say, statements of opinion.

      Also, unless you have evidence of that, we have no reason to believe that.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 11:43am

      Gabbard will now always be associated with Russia in the minds of a good portion of the American public.

      Not nearly as big a portion as you think. Lots of people on both “sides” of the American political “aisle” — Republicans moreso than Democrats, granted — have long stopped treating Hillary Clinton as someone whose opinion is worth a damn. That attitude tends to spread further as time goes on, thanks in part to her 2016 campaign and statements such as the ones she made about Tulsi Gabbard. Only people who take what she says seriously will care about her calling someone a “Russian asset”. Everyone else will either ignore or mock those remarks.

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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:46pm

        Re:

        Well, they will definitely mock her statement if Gabbard wins her lawsuit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:46pm

          Bold of you to assume Gabbard’s lawsuit will make it past the initial motion to dismiss, but go off I guess.

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            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:27pm

            Re:

            Thanks Stone! That's all I want, just a chance. I'm looking for edible hats just in case, bhull!

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      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:07pm

      Re:

      I feel that exact notion. There are a lot of techdirters way left on this one. I think people are tired of the democratic party chasing itself around biting its own tails. I think the government knows there are a lot of retirements on the close horizon. I think its ready to get some new blood into circulation.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:07am

    Smears and law suits

    The statement by HRC is a political smear. Gabbard is a non-interventionist and wants to work with other nations via diplomacy rather than killing people with weaponry. Russia would like this, thus the coverage by their media. Gabbard is being smeared or ignored by much of the US establishment and its media wing because her policies would have a negative effect on the military industrial complex. However, much of the US population, across the political spectrum, are sick of war, and the insane military budget makes no sense. The US military budget is building schools and hospitals in Afghanistan whilst no one is fixing the plumbing in Flint.

    As for the defamation case, it is obviously a political act; advertising via a court case. I'm sure the lawyers know that the case is hopeless, but are happy to be paid for their advertising services.

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 2:00pm

      Re: Smears and law suits

      Thanks for showing that you don’t need to be pro-Hillary, anti-Gabbard, or supportive of the statement in question to think the lawsuit is not intended or is unlikely to be successful in court.

      Even if we might disagree on some things, it’s good to see some middle ground is still possible.

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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:31pm

        Re: Re: Smears and law suits

        Another AC wrote that bhull. But reasonably, I admit.

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      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:28pm

      Re: Smears and law suits

      RIGHT ON!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:23am

    Obvious publicity stunt is obvious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:02pm

    A "Silly Attention Seeking lawsuit" certainly got your attention. For something so insignificant as you try to make it out to be, you certainly spent a lot of time responding. She has an agenda, and so do you. If she was unimportant, you would just ignore her, but the effort you put into this says she is anything but unimportant.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:07pm

      Even if one concedes that Gabbard’s lawsuit is an obvious ploy for attention, giving the lawsuit attention to point out how she filed a bullshit SLAPP action is not the kind of attention I imagine Gabbard wanted.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 3:50pm

        Re:

        I for one do not concede her lawsuit is a ploy, but an absolute attempt to restore her name and hold HRC accountable for this smear.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:49pm

          I for one do not concede her lawsuit is a ploy

          Then explain how the complaint will survive beyond the first motion to dimiss when (as the article points out) First Amendment protections give great leeway to political speech and Clinton herself made statements of fact about Russia instead of Gabbard herself.

          The lawsuit is a desperate cry for attention from a candidate who will most likely drop out of the race after Super Tuesday, if not sooner. Anyone who believes otherwise is wrong on both the facts and the law. But hey, keep pounding the table and yelling if that makes you feel better.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 7:35pm

            Re:

            It is just more evidence of how the politics walking a fine line between tyranny and democracy will ultimately devour itself.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:12pm

      Re:

      Is that like some R-word version of a “No True Scotsman?”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 28 Jan 2020 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      Let’s say that, in a desperate bid to gain attention, Gabbard decided to parade around the White House (by which I mean around the outside) completely naked. That would gain attention, too, but I don’t think it’d actually help her in any way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2020 @ 10:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Well it really didn't hurt Shane McConkey when he skied naked down the slopes of Vail, Co in front of huge crowds, but it was funny. But Ms Gabbard transcends to a position of esteem and rightfully so. She has earned her way there and I believe with the right people around her, she could lead our country back into the world's good graces.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Now I’m curious. Is there anything, anything at all, that Gabbard could possibly do—even if it’s completely ridiculous and implausible—that would diminish your opinion of her?

          And for the record, my point was that suing someone for defamation is not a good way to gain good publicity, particularly among those who don’t already back her. Not all publicity is good publicity.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2020 @ 1:31pm

    Thanks tackdirt, your loyalty to your readers under fire is a pinnacle of your success.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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