The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Righties Don’t Know What they Want

Ron DeSantis continues his descent into pure fascism with a bill that would end the New York Times v. Sullivan protections of press freedom. He wants to make it easier for people to sue news outlets for libel. This is especially fascinating given that Fox News is currently arguing in court that news outlets ought to be able to lie with impunity under the banner of “free speech.”

More about the DeSantis bill:

Critics of the bill took issue with the section about attorneys fees, saying it could add a financial incentive to file defamation lawsuits and erode the laws preventing retaliatory lawsuits filed to silence criticism. Florida, like other states, has anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) laws designed to help stop frivolous lawsuits.

“One of my largest concerns with the bill is the rolling back of the anti-SLAPP protection for defamation defendants,” said Adam Schulman, a senior attorney with the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, which advocates for free markets, free speech and limited governments. ”That’s just moving in the wrong direction.”

He said beyond large media companies, some of which have legal teams, the changes could affect the “ordinary guy” who leaves an “unfavorable Yelp review.”

“At one time, it was not considered ‘conservative’ to advocate for turning on the spigot to all sorts of troll-like civil litigation that will line the pockets of bottom-feeding plaintiffs’ lawyers,” Schulman said.

Stern said the new bill would leave those protections “toothless.” Under most anti-SLAPP laws, individuals can recover attorneys’ fees if they can show they were sued in retaliation for criticizing the government.

“The new bill would change that so that plaintiffs whose lawsuits survive anti-SLAPP motions can recover their attorney’s fees,” he said. “That means the anti-SLAPP law would lose all of its value as a deterrent against powerful people filing abusive lawsuits to silence their critics.”

So, basically, DeSantis wants to be on the side of powerful people who want to keep news media off their backs.

DeSantis’s obvious animosity toward free speech is already on the record. As Bess Levin wrote in Vanity Fair,

One of Florida governor Ron DeSantis‘s favorite little mottos is “Florida is where woke goes to die.” In fact, a better, more accurate motto would be “Ron DeSantis’s Florida is where free speech goes to die, unless you’ve agreed to the governor’s list of preapproved talking points, like that LGBTQ+ people don’t exist, white people are and have always been awesome, and nonwhite people have nothing to complain about.” 

See also Ron DeSantis’s war on “wokeness” is a war against the First Amendment by Ian Millhiser at Vox.

As a constitutional matter, a governor is allowed to give speeches arguing that the United States is somehow miraculously immune from systemic injustice. He may sign legislation repealing programs intended to cure these injustices. He may appoint officials to public school boards that share his belief that the US is immune to these injustices. And he may even enact policies that help perpetuate these injustices, assuming that those policies violate neither the state nor federal constitution.

But DeSantis goes much further. He wields the government’s sovereign powers to sanction speech he does not like, and to punish institutions that criticize him. DeSantis, in other words, does not seem content to simply enact policies that hew to a right-wing economic or social vision. He wishes to use the sovereign powers of government to shape public discourse itself — punishing some ideas, rewarding others, and conscripting public schools and universities into his culture war.

Basically, what righties want is to be able to spew any ugliness they want to spew without proof, repercussions, or even being disagreed with, but at the same time they want to censor everybody else. They won’t be happy until that’s the America they get to live in. And apparently Ron DeSantis thinks he can become POTUS by promising to give them that America.

I argued yesterday that loosening the the Section 230 protections for social media companies, as righties want to do, will make it harder for them to upload anything they want to the Web, not less. Even some of the old establishment conservative media, like National Review, agree with this. But the MAGA right is convinced that if they could just do away with Section 230 they’ll be able to upload whatever they want to social media without the social media companies deleting it, which is kind of the opposite of the real consequences of ending Section 230.

Here’s something of a change of subject — behold this map —

The map, from WaPo, shows “FICO averages for individuals with credit cards by county as of 2019.” It’s a credit score map, in other words. The darker blue the county, the lower the credit scores. Counties with the highest credit scores are dark gold.

I admit this puzzled me a bit. Yes the South is poorer, but it’s also a lot cheaper to live there. Well, as long as you’re healthy. The people who put this data together found out that the biggest driver of really bad credit scores was medical debt. From the article:

Medical debt may not be the only force behind the South’s credit struggles, but it appears to be a key contributor. So where did it all come from? And why is it concentrated in the South? …

…But health alone does not solve the puzzle: Several Northeastern states struggle with chronic health conditions and have good credit.

A clue to the broader answer comes from a recent analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that medical debt “became more concentrated in lower-income communities in states that did not expand Medicaid” after key provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014.

One answer is that the South is simply less healthy than any other region. Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that among Medicare recipients, the population for which we have the best data, those in the South are substantially more likely to suffer from four or more chronic conditions. And poor health tends to go hand in hand with people having overdue medical debt and poor credit scores.

Obviously there are exceptions, like some dark blue spots in California. Nevada expanded Medicaid after this was compiled. You can read more about this without the paywall at Truthout.

7 thoughts on “Righties Don’t Know What they Want

  1. Defascist is a trip and every thing he does is blatantly unconstitutional and when will it ever be challenged? A federal judge already said he could not stop him. I never see the Aclu anywhere. The RW has cases pipelined to scotus with pro bono" billionaire paid lawyers".

    Scotus is too busy hearing hypothetical white grievance cases about websites that don't exist but pass touching the vigilante-ism law cases where filing suit to be rewarded is encased in RW law.

    Scotus is too stupid evidently to understand technology and how processes work to reasonably rule. They damn sure never studied history or biology or medicine. They need to resign due to incompetence. And that doesn't touch their politicization.

  2. The DeSantis plan is to outTrump Trump by enacting grievance into law, something Trump is too lazy to drive. Whether its "Comstitutional" or not is almost beside the point, if anything is struck down he can fulminate against deep state activist woke judges. Its all win/win from his perspective.

  3. FL's Gov. DeSadist is almost as fat a thin-skinned arsehole as presiDUNCE Stay Puft Harsh-shallow Man.

    tRUMP may be a stupid and ignorant nit/dim/half/fuck-wit, but what little wit he does have, can be quite cutting.

    He'll slice DeSadist like he's a stick of pepperoni in a pizzeria!

    And I hate to differ with you, maha, but Reichies DO know what they want:  All libtards either dead, or enslaved.

    But while they may kill us, they'll never get an atom of respect from us.

    And if they think they can enslave us, they will never be able to sleep, or turn their backs on us.  Because we'll slice their many-chinned throats the first chance we get.

    And they'll never have a chance, because we're so much smarter than they are.

    The dumbest liberal is Einstein compared to even the smartest Reichie!  If such a thing even exists.

  4. The GOP his its own 'herding cats' problem. Are they for or against Ukraine? How conspicuous can they be in supporting Putin? Are they for or against making FB and Twitter liable for defamatory content?  (When they expect and intend to do the bulk of defaming?) How can they conduct book-banning and argue that Conservatives are the victims of cancel culture? This is a nest of vipers tangled and eating their own tails.

    I think Robin Williams is a perfect metaphor as an improv actor. He's one of the first and best at going off-script. Back in the '60s there was a rigid script. We were all taught 'normal' and we all had to publicly portray normal. Not normal is automatically deviate and the implicit (and explicit) accusations of child molestation and bestiality automatically attached to anything "not normal." Society went off-script starting in the '60s but at an accelerated pace in the '70s. By the 80's and on into the '90's it got mainstreamed.

    We started to see gay characters in a positive light (The Birdcage) and bigotry (Archie Bunker's Place) in a negative light. Black characters got the spotlight (Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, and The Fresh Prince) We started seeing Asian characters occasionally as heroes and mentors (The Karate Kid.) The stereotypical John Wayne mold wasn't shattered but it was no longer the sole pattern that TV and the cinema had to adhere to. You might have to be my age to appreciate that "My Three Sons" and "Ozzie and Harriet" were the TV norm – Americana viewed through a rigid, straight, white prism. 

    I may be wrong, but Pandora's box is flung open. Alternate races and other-than-missionary straight sexuality is the norm for young people. DeSantis may be able to get state control of what's discussed in sex-ed classes but DeSantis can't keep kids from talking to kids. My daughter in her late teens is making her own rules about her sexuality and who she has relationships (plural) with. The cat is WAY out of the bag and DeSanos can no more roll back open sexual attitudes among the young than he can decree it will only rain at night in Florida. 

    Back when I was young, there was TV, radio, and movies to shape your attitudes about 'others'.  If you controlled Hollywood and forced commies and undesirables out of the industry, you could control the public perception of normal – straight and white. The Internet has busted things wide open. There are no gatekeepers (as there were in the '60s) and the gate itself is gone. Theoretically, you could apply technology to block almost all outside influences as China has but on a practical basis, the kind of techies that the MAGAs would need to bring it off are mostly on the other side. 

    What DeSantis is doing is inherently unstable. It may look like it's succeeding for a few years but the main structural flaw is demographic. The backbone of the movement is old white guys and my generation is dying off. Young people, especially young women are going to inherit the power. More young women than men are participating in voting. More young women than men are graduating from college. Young women have more latitude in relationships than ever before – they do not have to marry for financial security. Once upon a time, they did. Young conservatives may be creating an incel hell for themselves, locked into declining numbers if/when women refuse to engage with men of a MAGA mentality. 

    Perhaps I'm delusional, but over the long haul, MAGA is doomed. I'm hopeful that healthy conservatism will emerge from the wreckage but I'm confident that youth has and will ultimately exert their power so that government reflects a different and superior morality than crass greed and raw resentment. 

    • If you drive to the other side of the country down the 10 you get to the Golden State and Santa Monica Pier. LA is the gold mine of the Golden State and along with a FANTASTIC climate this combo drew the young, talented German film-makers and directors to Santa Monica who fled the biggest book-banner hero of the Trumpkins.

      I am no Californio, but sheesh, The sanctimonious southerners are looking for a Juan to match the Evita thing that that Florida Man's wife looks like she wants to pull off.  (Trump wants to be the Imelda and Bong Bong show with  his idiot offspring.)

      The kids are alright so screw 'em.

  5. Very interesting map.  Yes, the low scores across the South are an obvious interesting feature.  Sad – but not surprising – that All counties in MS & LA are below the "water line" (and it looks like NASA Hunstville is the only thing keeping AL out of that category).

    It looks like many of the blue splotches out West correlate with Reservations; again, sad, but not surprising.

    The blue swath through the CA Central Valley and other splotches out West likely match high concentrations of Latino farm workers (who have Credit Cards???).

    The biggest surprise I see is the dense gold counties – highest scores – across the upper Midwest & Plains States.  Those are largely agricultural areas, and thought Farmers were having trouble making ends meet.

    OTOH, Credit scores may not be the most reliable measure.  Credit Card Corps' favorite people are those who pay their minimum balance every month…

  6. Credit scores are the worst where the preachers want to heal you and the doctors want to preach to you.  Credit scores are better when those two professions don't meddle in each other's business.  Kansas is a wringer on the study's findings that the low credit scores are correlated or associated with Medicaid expansion approval, and Missouri's change has been so recent as to likely not to be a factor there.  The study did rule out race and education being primary factors, but may have missed likely factors such as accessibility to gambling and regional general disparities.

    As one of my (lately deceased) friends used to often say, everyone has a philosophy, though many don't have a clue what it is even called.  Certainly, those who go to holy sites and revivals for health services have a bit of a different philosophy than those who don't.  To some people only their God is responsible for doling out health conditions and removing them if he opts to.  This. of course, is the gateway philosophy toward the mental health epidemic problem of the anti-vax-a-phobic.  My guess is that a chart of areas where these philosophies are prevalent would look much like the one on credit ratings. 

    Why is that? Well loans and bills don't get paid by magical thinking do they.  

    Doctor of Medicine is not Doctor of Philosophy though many pretend it to be.  Correlation is not causation, though is might suggest the possibility.  Peer reviewed medical journals might just overlook research conclusions which are speculative but favor the profession.  

    It would be nice if Medicaid expansion would fix credit rating problems.  It would help providing social services that need health support services paid for by the commonwealth.  

    It will not fix the philosophical and psychological problems of an area or of a culture.  Step one for those areas is do not reach irrevocable conclusions before you compile facts and seek other evidence.  Put always the horse before the cart.  It is only horse sense which is generally superior to common sense IMO.  So too, do not borrow what you have no plan or way to repay or buy that which you cannot afford.  That will improve your credit rating.   



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