Patterico's Pontifications


Kobe Bryant, 1978 – 2020

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:03 am

[guest post by JVW]

Kobe Bean Bryant’s life, which ended far too soon, was a testament to hard work, tenacity, self-confidence, and second chances. The son of an NBA player and a basketball prodigy from an early age, he dominated competition in his high school years to such a degree that he became the first wing player to forego an obligatory year or two of seasoning in a college program and was drafted straight into the NBA at age 17. When he debuted for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996-97 season shortly after his eighteenth birthday, he was at the time the youngest player to ever play in an NBA game. He had come to the attention of Lakers general manager Jerry West, a legendary player in his own right, during a pre-draft workout in which one of the greatest talent evaluators of his era correctly determined that the kid from suburban Philadelphia was worth trading away an established veteran who would later be inducted into the hall of fame in order to get the promising kid.

While his athletic ability and work effort were immediately visible, it took the young man some time to get his proper footing in a league dominated by superstar players at his position like Michael Jordan and Penny Hardaway. Kobe’s first season ended in a playoff series defeat to the Utah Jazz, with the final game featuring the brash rookie shooting four airballs in the game’s final five minutes. The next two Laker season would also see early playoff exits, and while Bryant’s rapid development as a player was obvious, it was also apparent that he was often a selfish player, so sure of his own talent that he would at times hog the ball and freeze out his teammates, including Shaquille O’Neal who at the time was the league’s most difficult player to guard. Add to that the gross over-marketing of the kid in the post-Jordan era when the NBA was desperate for a new superstar in the under-seven-foot category and Kobe’s lamentable foray into music, and it was understandable that the flip side of the basketball promise of Kobe Bryant was the potential for him to become completely insufferable.

The glory years for Kobe, Shaq, and the Lakers commenced in the 1999-2000 season as the team gelled, in large measure thanks to their new coach Phil Jackson who forced his two superstars to hold their massive egos in check for the greater good. That season the team won the first of three consecutive NBA titles. Though O’Neal continued during this period to be the NBA’s most dominant player and was the MVP of all three NBA championships, Bryant’s intensity and clutch play were key to the Lakers’ success, and Kobe quickly became a fan favorite.

The absolute bottom of Kobe’s career came after the 2003 season, in which the Lakers were denied a chance at a fourth straight title with a conference semi-final loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Bryant, who continued to be impetuous and unpredictable at age 24, traveled to Aspen to undergo knee surgery without bothering to inform his employer. While there, he had a sexual encounter with a 19-year-old hotel clerk, which she soon characterized as non-consensual over his strenuous denials. Two years earlier Kobe had impulsively married Vanessa Laine only one year after she had graduated from high school, a move which alienated Bryant from his family. The combination of obvious adultery and potential rape immediately ended many of his endorsement deals, though some major deep-pocked corporations managed to keep him on retainer even if they stopped using him in promotions while the criminal trial played out. A panicking Bryant told the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office during his interview that he wished he had just paid the woman money to keep quiet, “like Shaq does,” which caused O’Neal trouble with his own wife and led to a further deterioration of the Shaq-Kobe relationship.

As the 2003-04 season began, basketball fans were treated to the spectacle of defendant Kobe Bryant regularly taking a private airplane to Colorado to appear during pre-trial hearings at the Eagle County Courthouse, then flying back to Los Angeles or other NBA cities to play in games that evening. As befits their client’s personality his legal team played for keeps, leaking salacious details about the accuser’s sexual history and finding former friends and classmates of hers to impugn her credibility. In the end, the accuser unsurprisingly determined that she did not want to testify in court and the prosecution’s case collapsed, though Bryant did apologize, acknowledging that the woman “did not and does not view this incident the same way that I did.” He also paid her an undisclosed sum of money to settle a civil suit she filed against him. Years later, in the ear of MeToo and as Bryant attempted to launch a career in the film industry, this controversy would continue to bedevil him.

It was at this low point that Kobe began to rebuild his career and reputation. The Lakers had reached the NBA Finals that spring, but lost to a Detroit Pistons squad that played with infinitely more team chemistry and camaraderie. With the Shaq-Kobe partnership obviously ruptured, O’Neal was traded to Miami and the Lakers began the process of rebuilding, missing the playoffs in 2005 and then bowing out in the first round the next two seasons. Meanwhile a humbled Kobe was working his way back into the public’s good graces by playing hard and lying low. He won his first NBA Most Valuable Player award in 2007, by which point his sponsors had taken cautious steps towards once again using him in promotional campaigns. With the arrival of All-Star teammate Pau Gasol, the Lakers appeared in three consecutive NBA Finals from 2008-10, winning the title the latter two seasons with Bryant being named the Finals MVP both years. His last years in the NBA were riddled with injury as his aging body began to suffer from the reckless abandon with which he played, but in his farewell game he gave Lakers fans one final indelible moment, scoring 60 points and leading the team to a comeback victory in a year where the team once again missed the playoffs.

He also put on the uniform of his country, playing for Team USA in the Olympic qualifying tournament in 2007, then for the gold-medal winning teams at the 2008 and 2012 games. At both the Beijing and London games, Kobe was known as an ardent fan of his fellow USA olympians, making appearances at the swimming, gymnastics, and track and field competitions. He enthusiastically supported Los Angeles’s winning bid to host the 2028 games. He charmed foreign journalists with his fluency in Italian (from a boyhood spent in Italy while his dad played professionally in the Italian League) and Spanish (which he apparently later picked up). The reverence with which he was held by his fellow athletes and other celebrities was evident yesterday throughout social media and through various interviews on television and statements released online.

Though his infidelity and other family stresses caused a fissure in his marriage which nearly led to divorce, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant remained married until his death and had four daughters, whom by all accounts he adored as evidenced by their presence on his Instagram account. Gianna, 13, his second child, was apparently the one who had shown the greatest interest in her father’s sport, and it was traveling to one of her games that the two were killed (along with seven others, including John Altobelli, a successful baseball coach, and his wife and daughter). Sadly, the Bryants’ youngest daughter was only born this past June, and at seven months will have no memories of her father.

Kobe Bryant was a brash young man to whom too much came too soon, not an uncommon story in today’s celebrity culture. He reached the pinnacle of his profession early, then saw his whole carefully constructed edifice come crashing down through a series of ill-advised and selfish decisions. But where that story signals the end of other callow celebrities, Kobe Bryant confidently and painstakingly rebuilt his life and his reputation through hard work, sublimating his ego for the good of the team, and, it would seem, devoting himself to his family. It should have been a happily ever after ending for him, but was stolen away on a hillside in Calabasas one cold and foggy Sunday morning. It would have been rewarding to see him become a respected elder statesman for basketball like a Bill Russell or a Julius Erving, and it certainly looked like he was well on his way. He will be missed.



Breaking from NYT: Bolton’s Book Says Trump Explicitly Tied Ukraine Aid to Biden Investigation Announcement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:40 pm

Here’s your guy with firsthand knowledge:

President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

It’s not just Trump’s head on the chopping block either:

For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.

Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.

I believe Bolton over Barr.

I told you: this stuff is all coming out eventually, whether Republicans try to prevent it from during the impeachment trial or not. If they vote against hearing witnesses and then those witnesses add significantly to the already high mountain of evidence of Trump’s guilt, it’s not a good look for Senate Republicans.

Knock It Off: Media Still Carrying Water For Bill Clinton

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:34 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I realize that there are far more important matters to focus on, but my dander is up… Everone knows that Bill and Hillary Clinton are physically and mentally incapable of staying out of the public eye. They are hardwired to be front and center to promote themselves as they try to fill their seemingly insatiable need for publicity. With that, Hulu will be airing a new four hour documentary series called Hillary on March 6. (Apparently, there is an unbelievable four hours worth of stuff we don’t know about her…) In the documentary, the couple discuss their marriage, including those turbulent times that resulted from Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s affair. In a brief report about the series, this headlne from the Daily Beast caught my eye:

Bill Clinton (Sort of) Apologizes to Monica Lewinsky: ‘I Feel Terrible’ That It ‘Defined’ Her

Here is what the DB determines to be a “sort of” apology (which it isn’t) from Bill Clinton:

As he reiterates his remorse and regret again, he surprisingly includes Monica Lewinsky in the list of people to whom he owes amends.

“I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky’s life was defined by it, unfairly I think,” he says. “Over the years I watched her trying to get a normal life back again. But you gotta decide how to define normal.”

Oh, boo-hoo, Bill feels terrible. Here’s the thing: If an adult is truly remorseful about having harmed another individual and they really want to take responsibility for their actions, they don’t just stop at feeling terrible. That adult owns it, then apologizes to those who were directly impacted by their actions. (This, of course, does not negate the other party’s responsbility in said matter.) An apology begins with: I apologize or I’m sorry for (fill in the blank) while directly addressing the other party. It does not begin with whining about how terrible one feels. Apologizing is a decision to pro-actively right things as best as they can be righted. It evidences a recognition and ownership of one’s responsibility. It is the natural follow-up to genuinely feeling terrible about what one has done. It can bring both closure and relief to the troubled soul of the offender. And it can bring the same to the receiver of the apology. But to stop at feeling terrible is just another way to continue to indulge prideful arrogance. It is also a way to keep one safely out of arm’s reach from experiencing a transformative humility. Bill Clinton’s comments were absolutely not an apology. They were just more poor-me indulgences and excuses. It annoys me greatly to see the media still carry water for him.

A few years ago Clinton was asked about apologizing directly to Lewinsky:

Clinton was asked by NBC’s Craig Melvin in June if, in light of the “Me Too” movement, the former president felt like he owed Lewinsky an apology.

“No, I do not,” he responded.

“I have never talked to her,” Clinton said. “But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.

About whether Clinton should apologize to her, Lewinsky said:

what feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize. I’m less disappointed by him, and more disappointed for him. He would be a better man for it . . . and we, in turn, a better society.


BREAKING: Kobe Bryant Killed in Helicopter Crash

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:59 pm

[guest post JVW]

UPDATE: I alluded to it in the original post, but we apparently now have heartbreaking confirmation from ESPN that Kobe’s thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash. They were traveling to one of her youth league basketball games.

—— Original Post ——

Just a sad, sad story. Details here.

Some unconfirmed information is trickling out, but I don’t want to report it here until we have it confirmed by the proper authorities.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Authorities are now reporting that nine people died in all.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 111

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:41 am

It is the third Sunday after the Epiphany. Today’s Bach cantata is “Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 4:12-23:

Jesus Begins to Preach

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Heals the Sick

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

What my God wills always occurs,
His will is the best,
He is ready to help those
who believe firmly in Him.
He gives aid in need, this righteous God,
and punishes with measure.
Who trusts in God, builds upon Him firmly,
God will never abandon.

. . . .

Thus I walk with encouraged steps,
even when God leads me to my grave.
God has circumscribed my days,
thus, when His hand touches me,
He will drive away the bitterness of death.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, tech industry developers, and entrepeneurs would like to have a word:

Second news item: President Trump needs to keep his mouth shut about that which he doesn’ know:

A prominent veterans advocacy group is asking President Trump for an apology over his remarks on injuries suffered by U.S. troops stationed at a military base in Iraq that was hit by Iranian airstrikes earlier this month.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) said Trump “minimized” the injuries the troops suffered after the Pentagon announced that dozens of U.S. troops suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Trump had referred to the injuries as “headaches” and “not very serious” earlier in the week.

“In light of today’s announcement from the defense department that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran’s retaliatory strike and President Trump’s remarks which minimized these troops’ injuries, the Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter,” VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz said in a statement. The Pentagon said Friday that 34 service members stationed in Iraq suffered the TBIs after a retaliatory missile strike from Iran in response to the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Tehran’s top general.

What Trump said at the time:

Trump had initially said no service members had been injured. He later said that he “heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say and I can report that it’s not very serious”

“I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” he added.

Third news item: President Trump at the March for Life. Good for him:

“Today as president of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you,” Trump said, while also touting the “tremendous turnout” of the crowd.

Trump ticked off a laundry list of actions he’s taken to support abortion opponents since taking office, including restrictions to eligibility for the family planning funding program known as Title X and funding restrictions on nonprofits that support abortion abroad, known as the Mexico City policy.

He also called on Congress to take action to limit abortion late in pregnancy and referenced legislation that Republicans say would protect infants born after attempted abortions.

“The unborn have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” he said. “Young people are the heart of the March for Life and it’s your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation.”

Fourth news item: A little gift to that special baby who survives an abortion, via Planned Parenthood:


Fifth news item: Oh, that’s right, the Senate’s impeachment trial continues this morning:

Have a great weekend.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Crazy Cute Hippy Crystals Chick Comes to the Aid of Geeky Asian Kid

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:32 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Meanwhile, back in the Democrat primary, everybody’s favorite spiritual guru turned progressive influencer Marianne Williamson, whose own campaign has been “suspended” (a modern euphemism for “we’re spending down the rest of our money before formally closing up shop”), is lending her unique credibility to a fellow outsider candidate. Times being as they are, the announcement was made via Instagram, and Marianne being Marianne, the announcement was made in three long posts. Here’s the third part where she discusses her newfound buddy Andrew Yang (parts one and two, if you are interested):

With a week-and-a-half to go until the Iowa caucuses, former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson says she’s supporting tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang in the contest that kicks off the presidential nominating calendar.

“I’m lending my support to Andrew in Iowa, hopefully to help him get past the early primaries & remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. We need that this year. We need to lighten up on a personal level, because the moment is so serious on a political level,” Williamson announced in a series of Instagram posts.

Ms. Williamson is quick to note that this is not actually an endorsement and that she continues to admire both of the tiresome lefty New England Senators running for President, but at this point she wants to ensure that Andrew Yang stays in the Democrat primary long enough to impact the rest of the race.

I salute Marianne Williamson for coming to the aid of another non-establishment candidate. Sure, I wish she had chosen My Little Aloha Sweetie as the beneficiary of her largesse, but it would seem that she has somewhat of a gender and generational affinity for Hillary Rodham Clinton and she probably didn’t want to get in the middle of any ugly feuds. It also the same rationale, found in the second of her series of posts on Instagram, that leads one to believe that at the end of the day she prefers Elizabeth Warren to Bernard Sanders among the remaining major delusional leftists.

I too am warming to Andrew Yang for many of the same reasons that I am fond of My Little Aloha Sweetie. No, it’s nothing to do with the magic of Island music or inspiring workout videos: I appreciate Mr. Yang because like Rep. Gabbard, and Ms. Williamson for that matter, he doesn’t seem to want to herd his political opponents into reeducation camps, nor does he think that the object of the game is to drive them from polite society and force them to knuckle-under to more enlightened progressive beliefs. Though I find Mr. Yang’s universal basic income proposal to be impractical, and though I lament his nod to the world of trendy social justice engineering, allowing those who disagree with you to remain part of the debate tends to go a long way with me in these thuggish days.

In any case, I hope that Ms. Williamson’s intercession on behalf of Mr. Yang is fruitful, but only to the degree that he begins to draw votes from the current top four candidates. And I hope this isn’t the last we hear from America’s favorite Crazy Cute Hippy Crystals Chick this election season.


Public Service Announcement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

I was going to leave this as a comment, but it deserves a post.

This morning I read a comment from someone who says that he “used to respect” me for my work as a DA and my behavior through the Kimberlin saga, but now he apparently does not respect me because I believe Donald Trump is corrupt and should be removed from office. I think he believed the expression of that opinion hurt me. It did not. Comments like that used to bother me, but not any longer. Today, I see many comments like that a lot, on my blog or on Twitter. I block the people, or ban them, dust off my hands, and go on with my day.

If you claim to have respected me in the past, for my media criticism, for my work as a prosecutor, for my willingness to take on Brett Kimberlin and refusal to settle with him, or whatever — and now you say you don’t respect me because I don’t like Trump — you never respected me. You respected an image of me that wasn’t me. You respected an image of someone who you believed was a partisan warrior who would always be on your “side” regardless of what your side did. You didn’t know me, you didn’t respect me, and I’m glad to be rid of you.

I wrote a fairly impassioned post last night praising the closing argument of Adam Schiff and bemoaning the fact that Mike Lee and Ben Sasse, two men *I* used to respect, are going to back Trump to the hilt. The thing is, I respected the image of those guys, that they projected through their books and public speeches. But as it turns out, my image was different from the actual men — who, as it turns out, are flawed (as all men are), and weak, and who could not muster the necessary courage in the end (which is not true of all men). Like my commenter, I respected my vision of a person, but I didn’t know the person — and in the end, the person is not the image. I’m not the unwavering partisan warrior that my commenter thought he respected, and Mike Lee and Ben Sasse are not (as far as I can tell, though I’d love to be surprised!) the stand-up guys I thought they were.

So be it.

In comments to that post, at least a couple of my longtime friends have expressed opinions about this whole saga — opinions that I disagree with strongly. One believes Trump to have been railroaded. One believes Trump to be a fool but says he is not the danger; his puppeteers are. I disagree with them, but they are friends — as dear friends as someone whom I have never met can be — and I am not going to simply cast them aside because they have a different opinion about some political matter than I do. (If they had spent their lives portraying themselves as heroes of the Constitution, and had any actual say over this matter and caved, things might be different!)

Someone who casts me aside over Donald Farking Trump? Feh. Be on your way.

Thus ends the announcement.


You Don’t Have to Agree with Everything Adam Schiff Has Ever Said…

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:34 pm

…to see that he is dead right here.

I thihnk it is an absolutely fantastic and moving summation. It crushes me to think of people I used to respect, like Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ben Sasse, sitting there listening to Schiff, knowing that every word he says is true, and knowing that they’re going to vote as if it’s all false.

I thought long and hard tonight about whether I still think of men like Mike Lee and Ben Sasse as good men. I have read more than one book by each man. As long as I have heard of them, I have thought of them as good men — among the few good men in Washington. Yet I believe with every fiber of my being that — unlike many of the duller and more partisan swamp creatures in Washington — the two of them know better. They know perfectly well who Donald Trump is. They know what he did was not just wrong but part of a pattern in which he elevates his own personal interests above those of the country. And yet they will support him. They are the best hope for people who still believe there are people capable of standing up for what’s right. And yet, they are going to let those hopeful people down. They are going to cravenly support a man they know does not belong in the Oval Office. A man they know has committed impeachable offenses who should be removed. And they’ll do it to save their political hides. They’ll do it out of fear, of some tweets.

I have tried to be less judgmental of my fellow man. I have. If men this good — or who at least seemed to be this good — act this way, maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe it’s the system. Maybe it’s wrong to judge them.

I can’t see it. I can’t help myself. I can’t approve of it. I can’t.

There comes a time for a man to stand up. If they don’t stand up, all their past words are just that: words. What good are they?

Garry Kasparov explains the stakes:

This is how a system dies. Truly listen to what Schiff says here. If right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn’t matter how smart the Founders were. It doesn’t matter how good the past words of Mike Lee or Ben Sasse were.

They had their chance to stand up when it mattered, and unless I am misreading the situation badly, they are not going to do so. They are culpable. The part of me that says not to judge them … I can’t listen to it. It may be a lack of maturity on my part, but that’s who I am, at least at this point in my life. I can’t forgive them.

It’s very, very sad to me.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton For Defamation (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:29 am

[guest post by Dana and JVW]

Note from JVW – Dana began drafting this post yesterday but then transferred it over to the Little Aloha Sweetie desk at Patterico’s Pontifications for me to complete.

But of course:

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sued former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for allegedly defaming her by suggesting the Hawaii congresswoman is a “Russian asset.”

“Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s campaign,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The suit claims that Gabbard has suffered “actual damages” of ”$50 million — and counting” from Clinton’s comments.

During the interview to which Gabbard’s suit refers, Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed that Clinton was specifically referring to Tulsi Gabbard:

Hillary Clinton says she believes that the Republicans have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”

In a recent interview, Clinton didn’t mention Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii by name, but said she believes one candidate is “the favorite of the Russians.” Asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said, “If the nesting doll fits…” He later tweeted that Clinton was referring to the GOP grooming Gabbard, not Russians.

Public figures don’t enjoy the same degree of legal protection against libel and slander that us ordinary private figures do. This creates a pretty high hurdle for a Congresswoman and Presidential candidate who wants to perhaps settle a political score with an opponent. And indeed, Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit sounds more like an earnest op-ed piece than a legitimate tort action [bold emphasis added]:

Plaintiffs Tulsi Gabbard and Tulsi Now, Inc (collectively, “Tulsi”) bring this lawsuit against Defendant Hillary Rodham Clinton (“Clinton”) for defamation. Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain. In October 2019—whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated —Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent. Tulsi has been harmed by Clinton’s lies—and American democracy has suffered as well. With this action, Tulsi seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.

In the Nature of the Case section of the suit, the Gabbard team cites her endorsement of Bernard Sanders four years ago as creating enmity between herself and the First Lady-turned-Senator-turned-Secretary, then accurately characterizes Mrs. Clinton as “a cutthroat politician by any account” (no, no, get it straight: Jeffery Epstein was hanged in his cell). They argue that Mrs. Clinton purposefully and maliciously defamed Rep. Gabbard in order to harm the Hawaiian Congresswoman’s reputation during her Presidential run as payback for four years ago when Rep. Gabbard’s resigned from her DNC post in protest of the advantages being given to the Clinton campaign during the primary at the expense of the Sanders campaign. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages along with costs and an injunction prohibiting further publication or republication of Mrs. Clinton’s statements.

Again, the lawsuit would seem like something of a long-shot, but Little Aloha Sweetie does have her allies. While conceding that her demand for relief “is not likely to succeed,” NRO’s Jim Geraghty points to a section of the suit which argues that Mrs. Clinton’s words carry an implied credibility far beyond that of the average journalist or blogger. He explains:

But Hillary Clinton isn’t just anybody. She was Secretary of State for four years, had the highest security clearance, and had access to all kinds of extremely secret classified information. (And if the 2016 cycle taught us anything, it’s that Clinton is always careful with classified information!) When Hillary Clinton accuses someone of being a Russian agent, it comes with the implication that this isn’t run-of-the-mill fuming or paranoia but a suspicion or accusation based upon something Clinton saw or learned from the U.S. intelligence community.

It is worth considering whether those in high places such as Mrs. Clinton have an extra-special obligation not to make wild accusations about the rest of us. (And yes, Mr. Geraghty does mention those ex-CIA folks who accuse President Trump of treason.) Hillary Clinton is an awful person, and her petty vindictiveness and disregard for any and all norms of propriety will be a major part of her ugly legacy. I (JVW) think that Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit against Google is far more meritorious than this lawsuit, though both of them deal with the same idea of a fetid and corrupt Democrat establishment (including friendly business allies) tipping the scales for the candidates they favor and decidedly against those whom they oppose. The message here should be that if you want to play in the Democrat pigsty, you had better expect to get covered in excrement.


Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.

– Dana and JVW

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