There’s been plenty of… uh… interesting news of late.
In the Ukraine, the war between Russia (or should I say Putin?) and that country rages on and… what a fucking mess.
There are rumors going around that Putin is ill/has cancer and one wonders if this is indeed true and that perhaps he’s got a terminal illness, if that may have been part of the idiotic impetus of his to launch this ill conceived attack.
Either way, the news coming out of the Ukraine is maddening. Cities essentially left in rubble, people dying for essentially nothing but a madman’s whim, and unimaginable tragedy.
Ukraine has held off Russia incredibly well but as time goes on, one wonders if they can sustain their defense of the country. Russia, similarly, seems to be low on soldiers as reports have surfaced that they’ve allowed people over 40 to enlist.
More worrisome are the threats Russia keeps making. Many of them, I suspect, are hollow and laughable. But Russia has nuclear arms and one has to nonetheless deal with this bully in as strong a way as possible.
Ah the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp defamation trial.
It ended last week and, frankly, I was shocked by the verdict. The jury essentially found Heard had ”defamed” Johnny Depp and… I just can’t see it, frankly.
Johnny Depp’s career was already swirling the proverbial toilet well before her supposed ”defamation” of his character in the article she wrote about being an abuse victim.
Bear this in mind, folks: That’s what this entire trial was about, despite the fact that it got so out of hand with so many other things. Johnny Depp was suing Heard because he felt the editorial she wrote defamed him.
That’s it. That’s all.
This despite the fact that well before the article was written his career was essentially in the toilet and he had starred in one flop movie after the other. This despite the fact that there was ample evidence he was an in an incredible spiral involving drugs and alcohol and had become unreliable as an actor. That he wrote some truly horrendous text messages about Heard to friends. Messages that were as dark and bleak as can be. That he admitted to hitting her but now claimed he had ”blacked out” due to said drug use.
Was Amber Heard “abusive” to him? Quite possibly. They clearly had a very corrosive relationship but there was evidence she was trying to get him sober and, finally, simply gave up.
But, again, did she defame him with that article?
Now, her career and reputation is in the toilet, and all because -I strongly suspect- Depp and his people decided to go nuclear against her online. For a while there I couldn’t help but stumble into commentaries that were incredibly nasty and incendiary against her. I’m not the first person to wonder how many bots were hired/used to insult and, yes, defame Amber Heard through the course of this trail.
And isn’t it curious most have essentially disappeared following the verdict?
I also blame the judge for this. She allowed this trial to be televised which, given we are talking about abuse, and would involve deeply personal and embarrassing things related to not only Heard but also Depp, it shouldn’t have been presented to the public. In the end, televising the trail proved another way for those who had skin in the game to parse and rip apart any action Amber Heard took during the trail, up to and including her testimony.
Again, I don’t doubt this was a toxic relationship, but I find it incredibly difficult to accept that Amber Heard, and ONLY Amber Heard, was in the wrong here, especially given all the evidence presented against Johnny Depp in this trail. And especially given a similar trial was held in England against a newspaper and where it was found they had not defamed him when they said he was an abuser
Oh, Elon Musk.
I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again: I have a Tesla Model 3. I recently purchased, for my wife, a Tesla Model Y.
I love both cars to death and feel they are a quantum step up from gas powered vehicles. Further, despite the many other EV models that have appeared of late, I believe at this moment in time and given their price and the wonderful Supercharger network, the Model 3 and Y are probably the best choices for EVs.
I really wish Mr. Musk would focus on the competition and try to make sure Tesla remains at the forefront of the EV revolution but it seems like he’s decided to be as out there as possible in the past few weeks.
First was his newfound ”conservative” political ideation.
Look, its fine to feel comfortable politically in one place or another. But Musk made most of his gains, and managed to get his company going, thanks to the very liberal state of California and the very liberal aid of the Obama/Biden administration. He received plenty of tax breaks and incentives to get his company moving and boy oh boy oh boy does it feel like he’s decided ”well, I got mine, screw everyone else”.
Suddenly he’s attacking ”liberal” ideology. For Mr. Musk, the timing couldn’t be worse given we’ve had the Roe v. Wade leak from the Supreme Court (I will get into that in a moment) and all the mass shootings which have resulted in the conservative ideologues doing their best to blame everything but the gun for these massacres.
It’s… all too typical, sadly.
Then there’s the whole Twitter silliness. With a great flourish Elon Musk announced he would purchase Twitter at a certain price and now he seems to be doing his best to backtrack and/or cancel those plans.
Again: You are a very busy man, Mr. Musk. You have a successful car company that has arguably shaken the entire auto industry from its internal combustion engine status quo. You have a space company that seems to be cutting edge. You even have satellites in outer space providing internet connectivity to Ukraine…
…why did you get into this Twitter mess?
I genuinely don’t understand the motivation or the end game here. Is Twitter really that important? I know many people have used it quite successfully (Donald Trump may not have become president without his ability to ”tweet”… which IMHO shows just how toxic it can be!) and Musk is among those who have used it to their advantage.
But his latest craziness is neither endearing or particularly helpful to his career and his companies.
A few weeks back a shocking leak of Justice Alito’s opinion against Roe v. Wade, the decision which legalized abortion, was released. To this date, no one know who exactly leaked Alito’s first draft opinion and, tellingly, while we suspect the court will ultimately strike this very popular civil right (don’t believe me, just google it!), it doesn’t appear they have come close to figuring out who did this.
Currently, the Supreme Court’s popularity is at a low and part of the problem lies not only in this potential new ruling but because people increasingly view the Supreme Court as just another political apparatus versus the supposed ”fair umpire” that Chief Justice Roberts has tried to portray them as.
There is precedence regarding Roe v Wade, fifty years of it, and those much smarter than me who have read the Alito draft have noted some of the more specious arguments he makes to reject it.
But perhaps the very worst aspect of all this is the cool calculation made by Republicans, especially Mitch McConnell, to not allow Barack Obama his choice to bring Merrick Garland into the Supreme Court and, subsequently, the speed and hypocritical efficiency these same politicians had in bringing 3 new Justices to the court under the presidency of Donald Trump.
This ensured a very right tilting court and, frankly, it seems to me we’re going to soon see a ”what goes around comes around” type of situation. If the conservative justices are so quick to strike down precedence, they need to beware that this could be a two way street.
It may take a while but once the dam is broken, the waters unleashed could wash away just about anything in its path.
If precedence no longer matters in law, then where will this lead?