Americans with no reputations get paid tens of millions for harm to those non-existent reputations

“Trump slammed with $83M verdict for repeatedly defaming advice columnist E. Jean Carroll” (New York Post):

The jury verdict was broken down into $65 million meant to punish Trump, $11 million to help Carroll rebuild her reputation and another $7.3 million to compensate her for her pain and suffering.

The plaintiff won $5 million in a previous lawsuit against the hated Trump. She’s 80 years old, 13 years beyond Social Security full retirement age. Has she lost out on job opportunities because Trump said that she was a liar? I hadn’t ever heard of her until she put herself into the public eye as a New York department store rape victim (the first jury actually did conclude that she was lying about having been raped).

A somewhat similar case… “Rudy Giuliani must pay $148 million to 2 Georgia election workers he defamed, jury decides” (CBS):

Two election workers had reputations worth more $33 million., apparently, because they could lose $33 million in actual damages to those reputations. And then they suffered more emotional distress than if they’d been run over by a car and paralyzed or if they’d actually been killed.

Americans who had no public reputation will now be some of the richest people on Planet Earth due to compensation for damage to those non-existent reputations. This is a shocking resource allocation result in what is a mostly planned economy!

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How’s Adolfo Martinez, imprisoned for burning a rainbow flag, doing?

It’s been four years since Adolfo Martinez was locked away for stealing a rainbow flag from a church and burning it in the street outside a strip club. “Iowa man sentenced to 16 years for setting LGBTQ flag on fire” (USA Today).

Here’s a photo of the church back then:

Here’s the church web site as of September 25, 2023:

Who can decode the symbols on the “Community Pride Worship” banner above?

I can’t find any post-imprisonment media stories about Adolfo Martinez. He has been erased, it seems. He was 30 years old when he was imprisoned and will be 46, almost ready to retire on SSDI, when he gets out.

More recently… “UPenn student who praised ‘glorious’ Hamas terror attack later arrested for stealing Israeli flag” (New York Post):

Tara Tarawneh — a 2020 graduate of King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan — was arrested Nov. 4 for allegedly stealing an Israeli flag from the front of a Campus Apartments house near the Ivy League campus, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported last week.

Tarawneh gave a hate-filled speech at a Philadelphia rally last month, with video of her addressing the pro-Palestinian crowd going viral, … “I remember feelings so empowered and happy, so confident that victory was near and so tangible,” she tells a crowd of the monstrous Oct. 7 attack. “I want all of you to hold that feeling in your hearts. Never let go of it. Channel it through every action you take. Bring it to the streets.”

Mx. Tarawneh could reasonably have expected an award for his/her/zir/their actions (the current gender ID of a college student today can never be assumed). A 2019 tale from NYU:

As soon as the [Israel Independence Day celebration] started, an anti-Zionist student rushed to the front of the protest line, held up the Israeli flag, lit it on fire, and threw it to the ground where it continued to burn. Adela [the Jewess] told her friends to ignore him, sing “Hatikvah” and move on.

Suddenly, a student protestor grabbed a microphone from a Jewish student, yelled “Free Palestine!” and waved his hands in the air. More protestors took the 10-foot Israeli flag, shredded it, and hung it from lamp posts and trees. Two protestors were arrested by NYPD and charged with assault, reckless endangerment, and property theft and damage.

Soon after, Adela, who was also a senator for the NYU student government, met with the administration to tell them that a line had been crossed and it was time to act.

What did NYU instead? They gave the anti-Israel hate group the President’s Service Award – the highest honor a student group can receive.


  • “Man gets 10 years for fatally stabbing Sioux City roommate” (Des Moines Register, also in the fall of 2019): 39-year-old Elmi Said was sentenced Friday. He’d been charged with second-degree murder for the Oct. 28, 2018, slaying of 40-year-old Guled Nur. … Said is also known as Abdiqadar Sharif.
  • “Iowa man in face-mask fight sentenced to 10 years in prison” (2021): Police and court records indicate Shane Michael, 42, went to the Vision 4 Less eyewear store on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines on Nov. 11 of last year. While there, Michael was wearing his face mask pulled down slightly, leaving his nose exposed.
  • “Chicago man gets 8 years in prison for robbing a bank in Sheldon, IA” (2023)
  • “Driver sentenced to 2 years probation in April crash that killed East High School student” (2022): The driver involved in a crash that killed a 14-year-old East High School student has been sentenced to two years probation. Des Moines police said Terra Flipping struck 14-year-old Ema Cardenas with her car on April 28, 2022. She drove away following the crash before and was arrested that same day.
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Why won’t the government abide by its own minimum wage law? (jury duty in Maskachusetts)

A friend in the Boston suburbs was recently sentenced to state court jury duty. He’s an immigrant, so he had some naïve questions, such as “What happens if you are stuck on in a long trial? Who pays your salary?” We had to explain to him that if you’re a government worker you get paid at 100 percent while you do no work, but if you’re a working-class day laborer you get nothing. The Maskachusetts law says that laptop class members will get money from their employers for at least the first three days of jury duty while the working class scrambles to find rent money.

Our self-employed friend would be getting $50 per day starting on Day 4 of his involuntary presence in the courthouse. Why is that interesting? Massachusetts minimum wage is $15 per hour (real money in pre-Biden terms!) and jury service may be 7 or more hours per day (i.e., minimum wage for this job would be over $100 per hour).

Why won’t the government abide by its own minimum wage law?

Separately, here are the livestream messages from our imprisoned friend:

  • the jury pool is 90% white; we watched a video where nearly everyone was a person of color and a woman; video mentioned diversity three times; the video told us how blacks and women couldn’t serve on juries
  • (responding to “what are prospective jurors talking about?”) just boring so far. we’re sitting quietly; everyone is on phones; or reading books if a geezer; i am the only one with a laptop

I asked about COVID-19 prevention. The virus was serious enough that some school systems in Maskachusetts were shut down for 18 months, 5-year-olds were ordered to get an experimental vaccine in order to be in public places, peasants were ordered to follow Fauci and wear their cloth masks, and it was illegal to work except in “essential” businesses such as marijuana stores. Our friend reported that the government crammed all of the potential jurors into a single room so that their respective respiratory viruses could be fully distributed. Only 2 out of about 60 jurors wore masks and nobody working for the court, including the judge, wore a mask.

After a 4-hour SARS-CoV-2 incubation session, which started at 8 am on a Wednesday, everyone was sent home. Not a single person out of the 60 present was needed. Cases were postponed or settled (#LoveWins?).

In one sense it isn’t surprisingly that an enterprise that pays nothing for labor would make no attempt to use labor efficiently. On the other hand, given that hardly any jury trial would get organized before 10:00 am (judges tend to hear motions at the beginning of the day), I’m surprised that the court makes people show up at 8:00 am. Why not at least let people sleep late and avoid rush hour? Or put people on a 1-hour standby list: potential jurors are not required to come in, but they must be available to show up within one hour of getting a call. I couldn’t find any court anywhere in the U.S. that does this, so presumably there is a flaw in the idea, but I can’t figure out what the flaw is.

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Would Supreme Court Justices retire younger if they couldn’t live like billionaires while in the job?

I always wondered why Supreme Court Justices didn’t quit their $400,000ish/year (total compensation) jobs and become law firm partners making $5 million/year arguing cases. Why live like civil servants when they could easily be living the multimillionaire lifestyle? And why not retire prior to becoming 98% dead? Recently we’ve learned the answer: they’re living like billionaires just as long as they keep sitting on the Court. Examples: “I shot myself a deer,” Elena Kagan said of a recent big game hunting trip with the conservative justice [Scalia] in Wyoming.” (Atlantic) and “Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court” (ProPublica).

If ethics rules were changed so that Supreme Court Justices couldn’t spend weekends and vacations on Gulfstream G700s, I wonder if they’d retire at a more typical age and/or leave government at 60-65 to earn some big $$ in the private sector before hanging up their pens.

Here’s one of our heroes on a July 2008 trip to a $1,000/day fishing lodge in Alaska:

(i.e., right before the world was about to melt down for the peasants)

From the ProPublica article:

“If you were good friends, what were you doing ruling on his case?” said Charles Geyh, an Indiana University law professor and leading expert on recusals. “And if you weren’t good friends, what were you doing accepting this?” referring to the flight on the private jet.

If nothing else, I guess we can be sure that our legal system will remain friendly to the interests of billionaires!

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Supreme Court saddens the guys working at our house today

The “abnormal” Republicans on the Supreme Court prevented the working class from paying for elite kids’ gender studies degrees. “Supreme Court blocks Biden’s student loan forgiveness program” (CNN):

In a stinging defeat for President Joe Biden, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s student loan forgiveness plan Friday, rejecting a program aimed at delivering up to $20,000 of relief to millions of borrowers struggling with outstanding debt.

The decision was 6-3 with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the conservative supermajority.

Roberts said the government needed direct authorization from Congress.

“The question here is not whether something should be done; it is who has the authority to do it.”

The liberal dissenters said the majority is basically making political decisions.

“The Court acts as though it is an arbiter of political and policy disputes, rather than of cases and controversies,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote.

The end of this glorious scheme comes just as there are three guys working at our house. One is a plumber rebuilding the Watts 007M3 backflow preventer, a 20-year-old device that protects the public water supply from contaminants (SARS-CoV-2?) that could be introduced from our house’s irrigation system, which is entirely separate and fed by “reclaimed water” (maybe we don’t want to know the details?). There are two guys installing a new garage door that meets the latest code for impact resistance (shooting 2x4s at the door with a cannon) as well as wind resistance. I actually went up to W8 wind resistance, which is required down in Miami, on the theory that the New York Times might be correct about the appropriate level of climate panic. (Hurricanes may actually be getting less common; see “Declining tropical cyclone frequency under global warming” (2022) from Nature Magazine)

(The new garage door should pay for itself within a few years because it is insulated, unlike the other one, and it will give us a discount on homeowners insurance, a rare Florida problem that the New York-based media does not exaggerate!)

I wonder if these hard-working guys are experiencing personal sadness that, while they can still pay for the elites’ new Teslas, they can no longer fund elite kids’ college tuition and, indirectly, enrich anthropology professors and administrators.

Separately, it’s interesting that what is constitutional is now entirely predictable based on the political party of the Supreme Court Justice. A layperson might be excused for thinking that these sacred legal principles are entirely arbitrary!

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Supreme Court Justices agree with Harvard that Asians have no personality

The nation’s most enthusiastic racialists have had their sails trimmed. “Supreme Court Strikes Down Race-Based Admissions at Harvard and U.N.C.” (New York Times):

Race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional… Former President Barack Obama, who broke the color barrier in the nation’s highest office with his election in 2008, denounced the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday to eliminate race-based affirmative action in college admissions.

For those of us with Asian friends, however, there is a silver lining. Wikipedia:

Dissent: Sotomayor, joined by Kagan, Jackson[a]
Dissent Jackson[a], joined by Sotomayor, Kagan

We can now tell Asians that at least two of the nation’s top judges have officially confirmed Harvard’s diagnosis of Asians as having no personality. (“Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than others on traits like “positive personality,” likability, courage, kindness and being “widely respected,” according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university.” (NYT 2018))

MIT is already set up to keep its victimhood apparatus going. The Infinite Corridor earlier this week was devoid of victimhood-by-skin-color signs. The new religion is discrimination by “class”:

How will the victimhood administrators determine the class membership of an applicant for a job or a degree? Maybe by skin color?


Here’s some interesting text:

As far as admissions goes, I have heard people say things like “I didn’t get in because I wasn’t enough of a special snowflake” or “They probably gave my spot to a minority.” I have also heard people (@me) say “I probably only got in because I’m a girl.” This is a toxic mindset that was discussed in the forum. Sure, no college admissions process is perfect. However, you don’t get accepted or rejected for your identity. If you got in, rest assured that you are qualified, you are capable, and you have potential. If you didn’t get in, you may also be all of these things and simply not an ideal fit for the school– but you didn’t get turned away for something as trivial as the concentration of melanin in your skin.

The Supreme Court majority found exactly the opposite: students did get accepted or rejected for their identity.

A great NYT photo:

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Should former au pairs come back to New York to sue their host families for sexual assault?

New York Democrats opened a one-year hunting season on Donald Trump by temporarily removing the statute of limitations on sexual assault. A jury has demonstrated that no physical evidence is required for a plaintiff to make bank. Suppose that former au pairs come over from Europe to file lawsuits against the families for whom they worked in the 1990s. The jury will see a photo of a beautiful slender 18-year-old and, at the defense table, a fat old letch who used to be the host dad (cue the Harvey Weinstein footage). It won’t take a lot of juror imagination to picture the fat old guy pawing at the beautiful young woman, trapped in the room above the garage. If E. Jean Carroll can get $2 million for the assault on her 53-year-old twice-divorced body (in 1996, plus or minus 5 years), imagine what a jury would award for an assault on an innocent 18-year-old virgin.

Although divorce is much less common in Europe, if a former au pair has ended up divorced or a spinster or can claim to have suffered in some other way there could be enhanced damages from the assault. (As E. Jean Carroll achieved by saying that she wasn’t able to find new romance after the two proven divorces and one alleged rape.) Here’s a current photo of a household containing an au pair, from a profit-seeking government-authorized agency (only a handful of agencies can supply au pairs, which makes the trade profitable):

What jury is going to have trouble believing that something happened between the two folks on the left side of the photo during a full year living in the same house?

(For roughly half of the defendants, the former au pair plaintiff will be able to mine a rich deposit of salacious allegations made in a divorce lawsuit perhaps 15 years ago. New York divorce law did not technically become “no fault” until 2010 (Wikipedia), thus encouraging family court plaintiffs to present lurid accusations of abuse, rape, etc. in order to secure a victory.)

  • From a legal point of view, this path to riches could also work for a “bro pair” (male au pair), but these were not common in the 1990s
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Should E. Jean Carroll have been able to sue Donald Trump? (statute of limitations)

New York Democrats opened a one-year window for 30-year-old sexual assault allegations recently so that E. Jean Carroll could sue Donald Trump for attacking her in a New York department store at some point in the mid-1990s (as Toucan Sam points out, the plaintiff’s inability to remember the date was helpful because it prevents the defendant from coming up with an alibi for that day, e.g., “flight records show that I was in Florida with my Boeing 727 and so does this photo from the Palm Beach Post.

States are sovereign and can usually do whatever they want, but Trump was no longer a New York resident at the time his plaintiff got funded by Reid Hoffman. Is a Florida resident vulnerable to attack in the New York courts today because he had the poor judgment to be present in New York State at some point in the 1990s?

I wonder what happens if other states copy New York. Suppose that Pennsylvanians, envious of the pharma wealth accumulated in New Jersey, say that they learned from Dr. Fauci about the critical importance of pharma and, therefore, there won’t be any statute of limitations for suing an out-of-state pharma company for pain and suffering that a plaintiff attributes to ingestion of a pill. Pennsylvanians have no paper records of what drugs were prescribed to whom back in the 1980s, but can come to court with dramatic testimony, corroborated by family and friends, about being harmed. Female plaintiffs can copy E. Jean Carroll and talk about how a pill taken in the 1990s caused their spinsterhoods. Why wouldn’t Pennsylvania juries want to #BelieveNeighbors and hit out-of-state pharma companies with massive judgments for actual and punitive damages? Pfizer’s market cap of $200+ billion could be siphoned away within a few years.

If all of the pharma companies have been mined out by Pennsylvanians, the Montana Legislature could decide that automobiles are critical to family life in Montana. Therefore, claims of premature component failures, injuries due to design or manufacturing defects, etc. shouldn’t be subject to any time limits. Montana residents then file suits against Ford, GM, Toyota, et al., saying that cars for which they paid $10,000 in 1985 ultimately proved to be unreliable. Plaintiffs have no paper records, but can offer dramatic testimony, corroborated by family and friends, about what terrible cars were delivered to them. Montana juries can award each plaintiff $28,755 in actual damages ($10,000 in 1985 money adjusted with CPI to today’s Bidies) plus punitive damages. Why not believe the car purchase survivor if the money is going to be paid by an out-of-state or out-of-country manufacturer to a local resident?

Volkswagen Group has a market cap of about $70 billion. Montanans should be able to take it all by saying that they suffered from problems with the Audi 5000, including unintended acceleration (proven beyond a doubt by CBS’s 60 Minutes show).

Readers with legal minds: Could what the New York Democrats did run afoul of the U.S. Constitution? The Fifth Amendment, originally binding only on the federal government, but eventually extended to the states:

No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

The Fourteenth Amendment:

…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

It isn’t obviously “due process” to go from a 5-year statute of limitations to a 20-year statute (2019 change by Florida Realtor of the Year 2020/2021) to no limit (the 2022 change) and then back to 20 years (scheduled for end of 2023).

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Test your powers of skepticism

Donald Trump recently lost $5 million to a plaintiff at a trial in which there was no physical evidence, but only some dramatic testimony from a plaintiff and her confederates (#BelieveWomen). Let’s see how good we are at detecting liars. First, an example from a patent trial where I recently testified. The plaintiff’s expert is trying to bolster the inventiveness of the invention, a patent on a way to deliver internet applications to phones other than the obvious HTML/CSS/JavaScript. The patent (U.S. 9,063,755) was filed in November 2008, 1.5 years after Apple released the iPhone and promised that HTML/CSS/JavaScript web sites designed for desktop computers would render just fine on Safari for the iPhone. The inventor will seem like more of a genius if the Internet is completely broken as of 2008, but can be saved by this invention.

Q. What was Internet technology like at that time [2008]?

A. It was pretty exciting. As that paper showed, it was really a time when new devices were coming into the Internet, and web pages were getting much more sophisticated in terms of the kinds of things that they could do. …

But as you get into kind of the time frame of the patents, you can now start to do — sell things, you could provide videos. Say, if you had a restaurant, you could have a map, so somebody could say, “Well, where’s your location?” If you had a mobile device, you could get directions, turn-by-turn directions with Google Maps, or at the time, it was MapQuest, right? So you could do turn-by-turn directions.

You could do add to cart, so now you could buy things directly online and have them shipped to you. We take that for granted today, but once upon a time, that was really very much a novel kind of feature or service.

Google Maps, of course, was more than 3 years old in November 2008 (an October 2005 NYT article on mash-ups with Google Maps and JavaScript on the browser). MapQuest was a 1996 sensation. Streaming video via Real Video was available in 1997. As for the inchoate nature of online shopping in 2008, Amazon was a public company and had $18 billion in revenue that year. But the other side’s expert sounded so credible, smart, and sure of himself that I believed him and I have no doubt that the jury did too! (the side that hired me eventually prevailed and did not have to pay the patent owner)

Here’s an exercise for readers: look at the video in “Mormon mom accused of poisoning husband with fentanyl-laced Moscow Mule is seen promoting her kids’ bereavement book a MONTH before she was arrested for his murder” (Daily Mail). The authoress, before being arrested for murder, talks about the “unexpected” death of the person whom, if the police are to be believed, she stuffed full of fentanyl (why did he die rather than simply moving to San Francisco?). Most people are, of course, somewhat nervous when being interviewed on television for the first time. Other than that baseline nervousness you’d expect, can you tell that the husband’s death was perhaps not unexpected for this author?

The book has been memory-holed by Amazon, but not yet by Google:

When we follow the link…


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The fight over changing the judicial system in Israel

Israelis have been fighting each other lately regarding changes to the judicial system. See, for example, “Demonstrations forced Israel’s prime minister to delay a judicial overhaul” (NYT):

Much of life in Israel came to a halt yesterday: Hospitals stopped providing nonemergency care, planes were grounded at the country’s main airport, and malls and banks closed. The disruptions were part of an escalation in protests against the government’s proposed judicial overhaul, which has plunged Israel into one of its gravest political crises ever.

The fight has been described in the same generally hysterical tones that are used for Democrat-Republican disputes in the U.S., i.e., democracy vs. dictatorship/tyranny. (This always prompts me to ask whether Israelis will flee the impending tyranny and seek asylum in Syria or if instead they will choose Lebanon.)

For folks who want to understand what the fight is about, an Israeli friend recommended “‘Why do we need judicial reform?’ An architect behind the proposal explains” (JNS). First, one background item: Israel has no constitution. Its courts, therefore, can’t invalidate a law as being “unconstitutional.” Here are some highlights from the article:

There have been instances where the attorney general has refused to represent the government in a case, while refusing to allow the government the right to hire private counsel, leaving the government without legal representation to defend itself in court. The reform will allow the government to hire its own counsel in such an event, Koppel said.

One addresses the judicial pretext of “reasonability,” whereby judges overturn laws and administrative decisions based on whether they consider them “reasonable” or not. The pretext is vague enough that opponents of reform (at least in its current form) agree that it shouldn’t be allowed.

The fifth and final part of reform addresses the issue of how the Supreme Court can strike down laws. The reform would regulate the court’s ability to do so, requiring for example that all 15 Supreme Court justices sit on a case and that legislation be struck down by a special majority. Before, as few as three justices, selected by the court president, could strike down a law, Koppel said.

Essentially, then, the laws of Israel have been decided on by a triumvirate, in the best classical Mediterranean style! (Three judges pick whichever laws they consider “reasonable” to validate.)

Separately, for Israelis who disagree with any changes to the political system and who don’t want to escape to Syria, the option of Masada is open. My photo from 2016:

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