If Roberta Kaplan’s lawsuit succeeds, the instigators of the Charlottesville rally that injured 30 people and killed Heather Heyer will be held legally accountable. More broadly, the alt-right’s funding streams and structures will be exposed.
The nine named plaintiffs, all of whom were injured during the rally, allege the defendants, 15 individuals who organized or participated in the rally, conspired to incite racial hatred and violence. If anyone can win the suit, it’s Kaplan, an all-star litigator on the left. She’s the attorney who argued the case that toppled the Defense of Marriage Act, United States v. Windsor.
This legal challenge to the alt-right is based on a prior successful suit in which proponents of civil rights took on anti-abortion activists imperiling abortion providers.
After the Charlottesville rally exploded into chaos, Ms. Kaplan started thinking of a lawsuit modeled on the one brought 20 years ago against the Nuremberg Files, a website where anti-abortion activists posted the names and addresses of doctors who performed abortions. That suit used civil conspiracy law to prove that the website had led to the murder of doctors, and resulted in a judgment of more than $100 million. Though the damages were eventually reduced, the site was taken down.
Worse than the aforementioned trolls are the media. Fully captured by corporations and the corporate states, the media continue to dance around the issue of climate change. Occasionally a forthright piece is published, but it generally points in the wrong direction, such as suggesting climate scientists and activists be killed (e.g., James Delingpole’s 7 April 2013 hate-filled article in the Telegraph~). Leading mainstream outlets routinely mislead the public.
Mainstream scientists minimize the message at every turn, with expected results. As we’ve known for years, scientists almost invariably underplay climate impacts (James Hansen referred to the phenomenon as “scientific reticence” in his 24 May 2007 paper about sea-level rise in Environmental Research Letters). A paper in 27 June 2016 online issue of Nature Climate Change reinforces the idea of scientific conservatism, pointing out that dependence upon historical records leads to missing about one-fifth of global warming since the 1860s.
In some cases, scientists are aggressively muzzled by their governments. Britain’s Royal Society began actively ignoring observational science about Arctic methane in 2014. Canada no longer allows some climate-change information into the public realm (and see this report from 20 August 2015. Even museums are not safe from misinformation about climate science to appease fossil-fuel philanthropists, as reported in the 17 June 2014 issue of AlterNet. I’m not implying conspiracy among scientists. Science selects for conservatism. Academia selects for extreme conservatism. These folks are loathe to risk drawing undue attention to themselves by pointing out there might be a threat to civilization. Never mind the near-term threat to our entire species (most couldn’t care less about other species). If the truth is dire, they can find another, not-so-dire version. The concept is supported by an article in the February 2013 issue of Global Environmental Change pointing out that climate-change scientists routinely underestimate impacts “by erring on the side of least drama” (also see overviews of this phenomenon from 21 May 2014 and from 15 July 2014, the latter from the U.S. National Research Council as reported by Truth-out). Even the climatic response to greenhouse gases has been too conservative, as reported in the 14 December 2015 online issue of Nature Climate Change. And even the often-conservative Robert Scribbler points out in his 18 July 2014 essay: “NASA’s CARVE study has been silent for a year, the University of Maryland has stopped putting out publicly available AIRS methane data measures, the NOAA ESRL methane flask measures, possibly due to lack of funding, haven’t updated since mid-May, and even Gavin Schmidt over at NASA GISS appears to have become somewhat mum on a subject that, of late, has generated so much uncomfortable controversy.” (Apocalypse 4 Real blog responded to Scribbler on 24 July 2014, and the response is linked here.) Schmidt increased his efforts to discredit the work of other scientists in early October 2014 with unfounded, unprofessional behavior. His insanity was made apparent in an interview for the August 2015 issue of Esquire with a single sentence: “There’s no actual evidence that anything dramatically different is going on in the Arctic, other than the fact that it’s melting pretty much everywhere.”
After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, the NRA has been the focus of renewed national attention, as the group continues to successfully block any legislation to curb gun violence on the national level. Dallas’ mayor told the NRA Monday that the group will be “met with opposition” if it holds its scheduled May conference in his city. And over the weekend, hundreds of people gathered outside the group’s Virginia headquarters to hold a vigil and protest.
ThinkProgress asked 22 corporations that the NRA says offer incentives to NRA members whether they plan to continue their relationships with the gun lobby
Medical boards have gained tremendous power over doctors’ ability to practice medicine, and while standards are needed to protect patients, medical boards frequently misuse that power
License revocation and other career-ending punishments are being used to stifle free speech, free thinking and the open-minded investigation that should be a cornerstone of science itself
Dr. Mark Geier, a medical doctor with a Ph.D. in genetics, lost his medical license in 2011 for using a controversial chelation therapy to treat autistic children
After the Maryland Board of Physicians published a list of medicines prescribed to Geier, his wife and son on its website, Geier sued the board for harassment, and won
Montgomery County Circuit Court awarded Geier $2.5 million in damages, calling it a significant breach of medical privacy; half of the damages must be paid out of pocket by the board’s appointees
via Dr Mercola Medical Board Ordered to Pay Millions for Harassment