Following Up and Following Down: January 2019 Edition

WC should get a new photo for this recurring topic.

WC should get a new photo for this recurring topic.

It’s time for WC’s very-nearly-regular follow-up on stuff WC has written about earlier. As always, the Magpie Principle applies.

WC wrote back in 2016 about Exxon’s effort to conceal its knowledge about the role of greenhouse gas emissions in climate change. Exxon has fought furiously to avoid being compelled to disclose records sought by the Massachusetts Attorney General to cough up its records in that state’s civil litigation. Last week, the SCOTUS refused to hear Exxon’s appeal from the Massachusetts’ supreme court’s decision against Exxon. Don’t assume Exxon will now cooperate with the investigation; Exxon has a long history of stalling in litigation, trying to grind its opponents down. Expect more of the same.

Professional scumbag Alex Jones and his Infowars conspiracy-mongers were sued by the families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims. It’s taking longer than it should, but Jones is losing that lawsuit. Jones claims the protection of the First Amendment.

“Plaintiffs suffered a horrible tragedy,” his defense attorney, Jay M. Wolman, wrote in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. “Alex Jones and Infowars are not responsible for this tragedy. To punish them for First Amendment protected speech on this matter of public concern will not bring back the lives lost.”

Except it’s not speech protected by the First Amendment. Jones is on record in his child custody case (he lost) that he’s a con artist doing performance art. The First Amendment affords limited protection to defamatory speech, but less protection for commercial speech and no protection at all for speech motivated by actual malice. Jones’ screaming rants that the Sandy Hook mass shooting of children was faked might very well be “actual malice.” WC expects Jones to continue to lose the case.

If you needed more evidence that Trump is seriously confused, as well as a likely Russian asset, consider this tweet.:

Trump tweet of January 14, 2019 (since deleted)

Trump tweet of January 14, 2019 (since deleted)

New Orleans, Nashville; hey, they both start with “N,” are located on rivers and are well outside of New York. Trying to track Trump’s lies, misstatements and half-truths is like trying to sip water from a fire hydrant. WC will generally leave it to the professionals, like the good folks at the Washington Post.

Lost in all of the storm and fury over the partial government shutdown is the sad truth that Congress isn’t getting any other pressing issues resolved, either. Like health care. Fervent universal health care critic Senator Rand Paul (R, Ayn Rand) has taken matters into his own hands. He’s reportedly  headed to Canada to get some of that socialized medicine. Yes, Senator Paul is going to get hernia repair surgery in a country that he has said absolutely should not be a model for Americans who want to reform current America’s for-profit healthcare mess. In 2011, Senator Paul said, “With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care … It means you believe in slavery. You are going to enslave not only me but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants, the nurses. … You are basically saying you believe in slavery.” WC plans to look into this more; Rand appears to be a candidate for 2019’s Hypocrite of the Year.

WC will close on a more depressing note. WC was taught in junior high school by the fearsome Tulsa Ross that we chose the best and the brightest as our presidents. But consider this list:

Richard Nixon: “I am not a crook.” (He was.)

George H. W. Bush: “Read my lips: no new taxes.” (He raised taxes.)

Bill Clinton: “I did not have sex with that woman.” (Spoiler: he did.)

George W. Bush: “Make the pie higher.” (Yes, really.)[^1]

Donald Trump: “I never worked for Russia.” (Wanna bet?)

James Loewen was right. Most of what we are taught in American history is lies.

WC is going to go photograph some birds now, in an effort to cheer himself up.


^[1]: The entire poem, for those who may have missed it:

by George W. Bush

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It’s a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope, where our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!