Tuesday Reads

Good Day, Sky Dancers!!

The big news this morning is that the Fox News/Dominion lawsuit is going forward! Numerous media sites, including NBC News, The Washington Post, and The New York Times are providing live updates, and reporters are live tweeting.

Here’s the latest on the Fox-Dominion trial.

AP News: Jury seated to hear case about Fox’s false election claims.

A jury was seated Tuesday to hear a voting machine company’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News in a trial that will test First Amendment protections and expose the network’s role in spreading the lie of a stolen 2020 presidential election.

Jury selection came a day after the judge granted a one-day delay that offered time to see if the two sides could work out a settlement.

Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems aims to hold Fox accountable for airing false allegations of election fraud that continue to roil U.S. politics.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis gave no explanation for the brief delay. But he suggested the companies try to mediate their dispute, according to a person close to Fox who was not authorized to speak publicly about the lawsuit’s status and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The case will put under scrutiny the libel standard that has guided U.S. media outlets for nearly six decades, reveal behind-the-scenes activity at Fox News in the weeks after the 2020 election and shed light on the flow of misinformation that turned into a tidal wave after the election, which then-President Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Fox News stars such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, as well as company founder Rupert Murdoch, are expected to testify during the six-week trial, but it’s unclear whether any witnesses would be called Tuesday.

Dominion claims New York-based Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corp., essentially bulldozed the voting company’s business and subjected employees to threats by falsely implicating it in a bogus conspiracy to rig the election against Trump.

n the weeks after Election Day, prominent Fox News hosts brought on Trump allies who falsely claimed that Dominion’s machines were programmed to snatch votes away from the Republican incumbent and pad the Democratic challenger’s total.

Many of Fox’s hosts and executives didn’t believe the claims but allowed them to be aired nevertheless.

The Wall Street Journal on the risks of going to trial rather than settling out of court: Fox News, Dominion Each Face Risks if Defamation Case Goes to Trial.

Both Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News face legal risks if their heavyweight defamation battle goes to trial beginning Tuesday, but any last-minute settlement talks would need to overcome two years of intense legal hostilities that so far have put an agreement out of reach.

Both sides gained an extra day Monday to consider their positions as Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis delayed the start of the trial until Tuesday….

University of Georgia law professor Sonja West said both sides will have to weigh how much of a risk they are willing to take in going to trial.

“Even when a party believes it has a persuasive case, juries can be unpredictable,” Ms. West said. “There’s always an element of rolling the dice. Both Fox and Dominion have a lot on the line.”

Fox and Dominion each face potential strengths and weaknesses in their cases.

Dominion comes to court armed with reams of internal Fox communications indicating that hosts, producers and executives were deeply skeptical—and in some cases disdainful—of the election-fraud claims, yet they continued to broadcast them. That could help Dominion establish its claims that Fox acted with actual malice, the legal standard for defamation. Under that standard, Dominion has to prove that Fox knowingly published false material or proceeded with reckless disregard for the truth.

The public release of Fox’s internal discussions has painted the network in an unflattering light, and the spotlight on its operations could grow brighter during live testimony. A trial could require high-profile Fox figures to take the witness stand, including Fox Corp FOX -0.32%decrease; red down pointing triangle. Chair Rupert Murdoch and Fox hosts Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson.

“The reputational damage has already been suffered,” said Jonathan Wald, a former senior executive at MSNBC and CNN. “Settling is a way to cut that off and move forward.”

Fox lawyers previously sought to keep Mr. Murdoch from having to appear in person, but Judge Davis has said he would require him to appear as a witness if Dominion formally requested his testimony at trial.

Complicating matters for Fox, buying litigation peace with Dominion wouldn’t end its legal exposure stemming from its postelection broadcasts. The network is separately facing another defamation lawsuit from a different voting-machine company, Smartmatic USA Corp., which is seeking $2.7 billion in damages.

Read more at the WSJ. I didn’t encounter a paywall when I clicked a link at Memeorandum.

Yesterday, Dakinikat wrote a great post on the decline and fall of the Republican Party in the post-Trump era. Today, the news is again full of Republican pratfalls that prove the party as we once knew it is dying. Bumbling Kevin McCarthy keeps trying to engage President Biden over the debt ceiling, but he can’t even get his own caucus to go along with his ideas.

David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo evaluates Kevin McCarthy’s hapless efforts to get Biden to negotiate with him over raising the debt ceiling: This Is The Dumbest Debt Ceiling Fight Ever. McCarthy Lacks A Plan And The Votes.

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has such a tenuous grip on his own conference that the debt-ceiling hostage-taking he is attempting to pull off has all the hallmarks of the bumbling kidnapping capers you see in the movies:

  • The House GOP can’t agree amongst themselves what to ask for as ransom.
  • They can’t get the White House to take them seriously enough as a ragtag band of kidnappers to engage in negotiations.
  • They keep threatening dire consequences for not taking them seriously but are repeatedly hobbled by their own lack of consensus.

At this point, McCarthy wants the House to vote by the end of the month on a package that combines the debt ceiling with draconian spending cuts, but he clearly doesn’t have (i) internal agreement on those cuts or on how much to raise the debt ceiling by; or (ii) the votes to push a package through as early as next week.

McCarthy is preparing to bypass the House committees altogether and cobble together a package on the floor himself, Punchbowl reports. If wishing and hoping were a plan …

One word of warning: Political reporters are doing McCarthy a favor by calling what he’s presenting publicly, including in his speech yesterday to the NYSE, a “plan.” It’s not a plan yet. It skews the coverage to pretend it is a plan. McCarthy is taking advantage of this journalistic failure to try to leverage pressure on the White House. The White House ain’t stupid and isn’t biting.

McCarthy doesn’t have a plan or the votes. Until that changes, that’s really all you need to know.

Andy Sullivan at Reuters on the McCarthy “plan”: Republican states could be hit hardest by McCarthy’s proposed spending cuts.

The spending-cut proposals unveiled by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday could fall hardest on people in Republican-leaning states, a Reuters analysis of federal spending data found.

McCarthy’s plan, which he presented as a condition for raising the United States’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, calls for cutting some agency budgets by 7% this year and capping their growth by 1% annually after that.

It also would impose stiffer work requirements on some benefit programs, which could reduce the number of people who receive them.

McCarthy only laid out broad contours on Monday, rather than unveiling finished legislation, which makes it difficult to determine the proposed cuts’ precise toll.

But a Reuters analysis of federal spending data indicates that his proposed domestic-spending caps could be felt most acutely in the states that backed Republican President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Those 25 states received roughly $172 billion in the last fiscal year for highway construction, housing, public health and other purposes, amounting to $1,196 per person.

The 25 states plus the District of Columbia that backed Democrat Joe Biden received $205 billion, or $1,079 per person.

More Republican high jinks:

From NBC News: Oklahoma county leaders caught on audio talking about killing reporters, complaining they can no longer lynch Black people.

The governor of Oklahoma has called for the resignations of the sheriff and other top officials in a rural county after they were recorded talking about “beating, killing and burying” a father/son team of local reporters — and lamenting that they could no longer hang Black people with a “damned rope.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt called for McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, county Commissioner Mark Jennings, sheriff’s investigator Alicia Manning, and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix to step down after the McCurtain County Gazette-News published an article over the weekend about what was captured on the recording.

“I am both appalled and disheartened to hear of the horrid comments made by officials in McCurtain County,” Stitt said in a statement released Sunday. “There is simply no place for such hateful rhetoric in the state of Oklahoma, especially by those that serve to represent the community through their respective office.”

Stitt, a Republican, said he has ordered the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to “initiate an investigation to determine whether any illegal conduct has occurred.”

Bruce Willingham, who works for his family-owned newspaper, has turned the full audio over to the FBI and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, his lawyers said.

Meanwhile, dozens of county residents angered by the officials’ comments picketed Monday outside the headquarters of the McCurtain County Commissioners in the town of Idabel, which is about 200 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, NBC affiliate KFOR of Oklahoma City reported.

You know how MAGA Republicans are always accusing Democrats of pedophilia? Check out this story about Ali Alexander, the guy who organized Trump’s Stop the Steal Rally on January 6, 2021 that led to the insurrection.

From The Daily Beast story:

A key figure in the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” campaign has apologized after being accused of asking teenage boys for sexual pictures.

Ali Alexander has become one of the most ubiquitous figures in the MAGA movement. Trump himself reportedly requested that Alexander speak at his rally before the riot, with his appearance only quashed by a last-minute intervention from Trump’s aides. But this week, Alexander stands at the center of a scandal that raises questions about how powerful men in the far-right treat their younger acolytes.

“This is too gay,” Alexander said in a statement issued Friday night that addressed the allegations in broad terms.

Alexander, who has described himself as bisexual in the past, added that he was “battling with same-sex attraction.”

The budding online scandal has also roiled the pro-Trump and white supremacist “America First” movement, just months after it reached new levels of notoriety after its leader, Nick Fuentes, dined with Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago. Now Fuentes is facing backlash from his own supporters over whether he ignored warnings that Alexander, his friend and ally, was allegedly soliciting nude pictures from young men within Fuentes’s movement.

On Friday night, Alexander—who was questioned by the House Jan. 6 Committee about his role organizing a canceled rally dubbed the “Wild Protest” outside the Capitol, which drew crowds to the building right before the riot began—issued a statement Friday offering a general apology.

“I apologize for any inappropriate messages sent over the years,” Alexander wrote, adding later, “When I’ve flirted or others have flirted with me, I’ve flexed my credentials or dropped corny pick up lines. Other times, I’ve been careless and should’ve qualified those coming up to me’s (sic) identities during flirtatious banter at the start.”

And then there is Ron De Santis, who is in a pitched battle with Disney over the company’s support for LGBT rights.

The New York Times: DeSantis, in Latest Volley Against Disney, Suggests Punitive Steps.

In what has taken on the trappings of a grudge match, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida punched Disney anew on Monday, announcing new legislation that would override the company’s recent effort to sidestep state oversight of its theme parks.

Mr. DeSantis also suggested a variety of potential punitive actions against Disney — the state’s largest private employer and corporate taxpayer — including reappraising the value of Walt Disney World for property tax levies and developing land near the entrances to the resort.

“Maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks — someone even said, like, maybe you need another state prison,” Mr. DeSantis said at a news conference near Disney World.

Two weeks ago, Mr. DeSantis — a leading Republican presidential contender although he has not officially declared that he is running — floated the idea of raising taxes on Disney hotels and imposing tolls on roads that lead to its theme parks. He has also requested an investigation by Florida’s chief inspector general into Disney’s efforts to circumvent his authority….

Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, previously characterized Mr. DeSantis as “anti-business” and “anti-Florida” for his actions. Mr. Iger has also signaled that future investment in Disney World could be at risk if the governor continued to use Disney as a political punching bag; the company has earmarked more than $17 billion in spending at the resort over the next decade, growth that would create an estimated 13,000 jobs at the company.

Disney has to be bringing in plenty of money for Florida by attracting visitors from around the world, but De Santis seems to be willing to drive them out of the state because they are friendly to LGBT people who have money to spend.

Finally, two horrific gun violence stories:

The New York Times: 84-Year-Old Is Charged in Shooting of Black Teenager Who Went to Wrong House.

Ralph [Yarl], a Black 16-year-old in Kansas City, Mo., had been sent to pick up his younger twin brothers at a friend’s house on Thursday evening, his family said. But he mixed up the address, finding himself in front of a house on Northeast 115 Street, instead of Northeast 115th Terrace.

The white man who answered the door there shot him in the head and again in the arm after he fell, according to prosecutors. Somehow, Ralph made his way, bleeding, to another nearby house. There, he was told to lie on the ground while someone called for help, his family said.

The homeowner who shot him, Andrew D. Lester, 84, was taken into custody by the police for 24 hours, then released without charges on Friday. Over the weekend, anger began to spread in the community. Protesters marched on Mr. Lester’s home on Sunday, while the Kansas City police chief, Stacey Graves, acknowledged the public frustration at a news conference. The teenager was released from the hospital on Sunday evening, his father said.

As pressure mounted on Monday afternoon, the Police Department said in a statement that it had submitted the case file to the Clay County prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecutor, Zachary Thompson, publicly identified Mr. Lester a few hours later and announced that he had been charged, saying what many already believed: “There was a racial component to the case.”

Mr. Thompson said Mr. Lester had been charged with assault in the first degree, a class-A felony, and could face life in prison if convicted. He also was charged with armed criminal action, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, Mr. Thompson said.

It was not clear if the teenager had knocked on Mr. Lester’s door or if he rang the doorbell, but he did not “cross the threshold” into the man’s home, Mr. Thompson said. The shots from a .32-caliber handgun were fired through a glass door, the prosecutor said, adding that there was no indication that “any words were exchanged.”

Fortunately, Yarl survived and has been released from the hospital, although he will have a long recovery. Twenty year-old Kaylin Gillis was not so fortunate.

CNN: A 20-year-old woman was shot and killed after her friend turned into the wrong.

A 20-year-old woman was shot and killed Saturday after she and three others accidentally turned into the wrong driveway while looking for a friend’s house in rural upstate New York, authorities said.

The woman, identified as Kaylin Gillis, was a passenger in a vehicle when a man fired two shots from his front porch, one of which hit the vehicle, Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said in a news conference Monday. Gillis was struck by the gunfire and later died, the sheriff said.

The man, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death, Murphy said Monday. It is unclear whether Monahan has retained an attorney yet.

“It’s a very rural area with dirt roads. It’s easy to get lost. They drove up this driveway for a very short time, realized their mistake and were leaving, when Mr. Monahan came out and fired two shots,” Murphy said, adding that the area has poor cell phone service….

After the shots were fired, Gillis and the rest of the group drove away from the house in the town of Hebron looking for cell phone service, and then called 911.

They were found around 5 miles away from the home in the nearby town of Salem. First responders began administering CPR but Gillis was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene, Murphy said.

Police officers later responded to the home from which shots were fired and found Monahan to be uncooperative, Murphy said, adding he “refused to exit his residence to speak with police.”

He was taken into custody hours later with help from the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team, according to a press release from the Washington County Sheriff’s office.

No one is believed to have exited the car and there was no interaction between Monahan and anyone in the vehicle before shots were fired, Murphy said.

I have to believe that Republican fear-mongering played a role in both of these tragic cases.

That’s it for me today. Have a great Tuesday!!

15 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Wow! What a lot of news showing how Republicans and their base are lawless. It costs lives in so many horrid ways! Is this the race war they always wanted now that they firmly have pushed the war against women and the GLBT community to the edge? How many people do they need to hate on to feel good about their wretched lives?

    Caveman Kevin is a hapless, drooling, knuckle-draggin’ fool. He has no idea what he’s doing.

    • dakinikat says:

      and his sidekick the High Priestess off QAnon

  2. bostonboomer says:

    The cops don’t know where Andrew Lester is. He’s the guy who shot Ralph Yarl through a glass door. He was in custody, but was released. Now he’s been charged but where is he?

    • bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    The US is being led – by any and all branches – by the dumbest people to ever hold office at any given time in history.

    Trump is the leader of the band but there are more as his enablers and apologists stand ready to defend and support some of the worst legislation and laws to be ever set against its citizens.

    Not a day goes by that something stupider than was proposed the day before makes it debut while the rest of us stand aside in amazement. There is nothing that prevents the GOP from ruining whatever remains is left of society just because they have the marginal number of votes to achieve their goal.

    Watch DeSantis go to war against Disney! Mass shootings have become an almost daily event where no one place is safe but this idiot is so focused on an amusement park, the gay community, education, book banning, inept healthcare, that he has chosen an enormous business complex to assault. Insanity!

    Kevin McCarthy and his idiotic firebrands in congress are holding useless investigations while large corporations are gouging the nation with unnecessary prices that put every household in financial danger.

    Women’s rights are being attacked in every red state even to the point of creating laws that punish the Uber driver who may have driven a patient across state lines to obtain an abortion!

    You cannot make this stuff up! The stupidity burns! And taxing the filthy rich to contribute a little more is considered a mortal sin by the GOP because it is more indebted to its donor class of 1percenters than to the entire nation as a whole.

    How do these fools sleep at night? How do they justify the misdeeds? And even more discouraging is that this present danger can last another 20 years if we keep going on like this. Backwards.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    A settlement has been reached in the Fox/Dominion case. No details yet.

  6. Beata says:

    Is anyone really surprised that Dominion reached a settlement with Fox?


  7. Beata says:

    I used to be good at this YouTube stuff.