Friday, November 11, 2016

A Heartfelt Message About Moving On From This Election

My girl lost and your guy won. 

I accept that Donald J. Trump will be the next President of the United States. I don't like it, as I don't think he was the lesser of two evils, I think he was the evil of two lessers. 

Hillary wasn't the best candidate, but she was the inevitable candidate for the Democrats, and her election at least wouldn't have school children wondering out loud in class if they were going to be deported, or homosexuals wondering if they were going to have to go back in the closet, or the unwashed public facing certain disappointment when they realize Trump won't get them a job.

And this call to come together? That's not happening. Too many feelings on our side that you hate Jews, and blacks, and gays, and immigrants. No, I know, it's not all of you, and many of you are just working class people fed up with the elites. I get it, but many of us don't care. Many of us think this election was about hate, and hate won. Argue that's not true, but don't expect any concessions.

There is but one point I really have to make right now and that is in response to this call for us to "move on," to "stop crying," and to "stop whining." 

I don't begrudge your gloating, your happiness, your joy that your guy won. You deserve to enjoy the results of this election, to celebrate victory, to dance, cheer, whatever you want. 

You won, but now a man who attracted supporters due to his attack on Muslims, who disparaged members of our military (including Senator John McCain), who said things about women that go well beyond locker room talk, and who showed no respect to our current President until yesterday's dog and pony show, is going to run this country for at least the next four years, and half the country is pissed off about that. Seems understandable to me that someone would shed a tear.

Because in that win, there was of course loss. When one team wins the Super Bowl, it requires the other team to lose. When the cameras pan the losing team's sideline, it shows grown men crying. So if a few little girls, women, moms, and a also dads, cry in public, express their disappointment, or want to engage in a meaningless protest - deal with it. We didn't want your guy to win, and he won. This was not an inconsequential victory.

In sum, to those that believe "we" owe "you" a "moving on" from this election, go fuck yourself.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

You Can't - Always Get - What You Want

I never understood why Donald Trump ended his rallies with that song, until last night.

Last night it made sense. It wasn’t a song for his supporters. It was a song for everyone else.

This morning my 17 year old daughter was crying.

As I drove her to school and asked “so what do you think,” (not specifically mentioning the election) my 14 year old daughter suggested that if Hillary won Florida she would have won. I told her, “no, she wouldn’t have.” Texts came in from friends telling me their children too were upset. Anger on the internet has reached a point where people are wishing death on their fellow Americans.

In half the country, there is joy. A new term has spread across the airwaves – “the forgotten man.” Apparently “the forgotten man” won last night. This is the man who has spent the last 8 years angry at the government. This is the man who has been convinced that immigrants are the reason they are unemployed or underemployed. This is the man who doesn’t care that black people are killed by the police for being black people, and is tired of hearing about it. This is the man who has no Muslim friends and doesn’t believe that any Muslim is peaceful. This is the man who, based on the numbers, is a white recent college graduate, has no retirement account that plummeted last night, is deeply in debt and believes that Donald Trump will resolve that issue, and at 21 or 24 or whatever has had it with the federal government. This is the man who believes we will build a wall, kill NAFTA, have a better health insurance system, and that their life would be better if we “lock her up.”

I predict Hillary hearings will begin in January to the joy of “the forgotten man.” Millions of dollars will be spent, and the “forgotten man” won’t care. Conservatives are for smaller government, spending less of their tax dollars, unless they can be entertained. Last night, as Trump prepared to take the stage and talk about unity, his supporters were joyfully chanting “lock her up.”

I said months ago, as I listened to Donald Trump spew red meat at his supporters, that they would be the most disappointed if he was elected. He has many ideas, and no plan. Not a single plan for a single idea, and it doesn’t matter. Politicians have had plans, and no success. That’s what his supporters knew – it doesn’t matter what he says because they are all liars and he is our liar.

The theme of his campaign amongst his supposed Constitution loving supporters, besides “lock her up,” (for whatever she was never convicted of nor charged with), was “we don’t care.” Nothing he said mattered. Hillary had an email problem and that was enough.

So now you have your man, you “forgotten man.” This country is more divided than anyone imagined. Yes, this is a victory for white America – the white America that wants America to be whiter. The white America that wants more people in prison, the white America that believes a Black president is to blame for their lot in life.

I see people wishing Donald Trump “success.” I do not wish him success in the way the “forgotten man” wants him to have success. Donald Trump has given a voice to those that hate what America is today, and they hate their fellow Americans. The retort is always that “Donald Trump does not hate,” but it doesn’t matter. He has given a voice to people who hate those that are not white like them, and that support has made him President.

I didn’t support Donald Trump because I don’t hate what America is today. 

Whenever you have 300 million people living within borders, you will have problems. But the problems defined by “the forgotten man” are their problems with people who aren’t like them and can only be “fixed” by returning us to a time to which I don’t want America to return.

This election was the end of the mainstream media’s credibility. By allowing paid “surrogates” from each campaign to sully the airwaves with whatever lie would help their candidate, they lost any objectivity.  They should be ashamed of becoming nothing more than modified reality shows for the purpose of ratings. The new media is social media, and Donald Trump proved that over and over again.

Make no mistake, you may be happy this morning that the corrupt email bitch didn’t become President –and let’s be clear-she was a weak, flawed candidate for the Democrats - but we have sent a man in to the White House that has promised to make America white again, and in doing that, we have to go back to the politics of the 1950’s.

When I saw my 17 year old daughter this morning, she was crying. I gave her a hug and said “I’m sorry.”

Because I am.  

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of The Practice.Share/Save/Bookmark

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The One Reason Donald Trump Should Never Be President

This has been the worst Presidential campaign in my lifetime and likely in America’s history.

Let’s assume - for the purpose of preventing heads from exploding – that Hillary Clinton is a criminal, a liar, is responsible for the killing of people including a U.S. Ambassador, and is married to a former (impeached) (womanizing) President. For any of those reasons alone, I understand you may not want her to be President and you will not vote for her. OK? We good there?

The reason I wrote the above (other than it is reasonable) is because the “BUT WHAT ABOUT KILLARY, SHE LIED AND PEOPLE DIED AND EMAIL AND EMAIL” is not an appropriate response here.

Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States.

And I know, he’s 35, he was born here and so yes “he’s qualified.”

Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.

I know, you don’t care. Plenty of “qualified” people have become President and disappointed you, so why not vote in this guy? Why not use the power of the internet to convince people to blow up the system? We have the power to do that. 

We can control who buys what from where, who gets fired, and who gets elected. Let’s put this guy in office.

There are many reasons why you should care. Donald Trump knows little about the responsibility he wishes to undertake, and what he does know is not going to help you.

So stop telling me that he’s going to let you keep your gun(s) and that he’s the best President for Israel. Donald Trump is going to do nothing but disappoint you, especially when you are still wondering why that wall that will help you get a job hasn’t been built.

And yes, I said there was “a” reason Donald Trump should never be President.

The reason is that he is running as a Republican, the party that claims to have the franchise on respect for our military.

Donald Trump should never be President because when the Muslim father (who has always voted Republican, until now) of a dead Muslim soldier (both Americans) stood at the podium at the Democratic National Convention, questioning whether Donald Trump had read the United States Constitution, and claiming Donald Trump had not sacrificed, Donald Trump responded that he has indeed sacrificed by having “worked hard” and questioning why the dead soldier’s mother stood quietly by her husband’s side (intimating that as a Muslim she is forbidden from speaking.)

Note: Ms. Kahn has responded to Donald Trump.

Of course Donald Trump wants his supporters to think that never in the history of men speaking in public - with their wives standing by – has the wife remained silent. No, this is an appeal to the other Muslim haters out there besides Donald Trump who are willing to believe that Captain Kahn’s grieving mother silently stood by her husband’s side while he, a lawyer, addressed the millions of people listening, because she was forbidden from speaking, because in Donald Trump’s world, Muslims are bad people and this was another bad Muslim moment.

To my Jewish brethren claiming Trump is Israel’s best friend in this election, or unemployed Americans believing that a wall is going to get them a job, or anyone watching the news convinced that Donald Trump is going to keep them safe, you are ignoring who this man really is.

You cannot respect our military while disrespecting the families they left behind. 

You cannot claim to be a member of the party that believes it is the only party that supports the military, and elect a man who just did to Captain Kahn’s family what Donald Trump did. You can claim that you don’t care what he says, but what he says is what he thinks, and what he hopes you think, and unfortunately, what some of you actually do think.

Yes, Donald Trump could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose voters, he can say anything he wants and any attack on his statements will be seen by his supporters as trying to take away the power of the people to vote for him.

Donald Trump is not about the end of political correctness. The enemy of political correctness is not attacking the family of a dead soldier. There is nothing political or correct about accusing a grieving mother of a dead soldier of standing silently by her husband because she is Muslim. That, is not only incorrect, it is despicable.

The reason Donald Trump should never be President is because what he did to the Kahn family shows that he doesn’t respect what America stands for, and this is true no matter how much you hate Hillary Clinton.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of The Practice.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

On Fatherhood

Yesterday I dropped my oldest daughter off for a month away on a college campus. It’s a summer program. She’ll be back in 30 29 days. Back in the house, back for me to see every day, back to tell me where she’s going and when she’ll be home. Back to breeze by me on her way in from one thing to change her clothes and head off to another.

In this era where every moment of our lives is plastered on social media (as are my thoughts now), we are used to seeing kids at the airport going off to college or camp, or venturing away to a foreign country for an extended period of time. 

These are pictures. They never portray the feelings behind the camera. For years I’ve heard “it goes by quickly.” I always heard that as a message that I would feel sad when my kids were no longer living at home.

But yesterday I didn’t experience the feelings of separation, or wondering how much I would miss my daughter. I had one prevailing feeling.

Was I a good father?

This thought, feeling, came to me because a phase of fatherhood ended yesterday. My first-born is grown up. She’s not 10 years old and going to summer camp, she’s not going away for a week with friends. She’s in a program with other girls from all over the world. None of her friends are there. We are 1,500 miles away.

I am not sad because I miss her already, although I do. I am sad because I question whether I have been a good father to her. I’ve never thought about this until yesterday.

I know I have been. I know. I’ve provided for her, went to her dance recitals, her school events, allowed her to stay out late, explained politics and law to her. I know. I’ve been lucky to be self-employed and be with her when I chose.

But this trip is different. I now realize that her next long trip will be the beginning of college. I know that then she’ll be away for months at a time, and then, after graduation, she may wind up living far away, and seeing me a few times a year. I know that this is something parents live with and it’s part of life. 

Parents raise children. Children are supposed to grow and flourish and run off to make their goals and dreams come true. I’ve never wanted my kids to stay home, or close to home, and in theory I am excited for them to move on.

Yesterday, though, I realized that she no longer needs me to walk her across the street, or carry her, or be with her daily. She has grown up, and while I know she’ll need her “Daddy” in her life, as I will need my first born, it is not for the same reasons as before. It is those thoughts that cause me to hope that I have done everything I was supposed to do.

I am not unhappy that my oldest no longer needs me in the same way she once did, I am sad. There is a difference. I cannot escape the fear that I have not taught her everything I was supposed to teach her, or that I missed an opportunity to be with her and it may now matter.

I know that she will meet incredible people at this program, and that everything she learned so far will benefit her over the next 29 days. She will talk politics and law, and learn about life in foreign countries. She will come home with new friends and thoughts and ideas and likely be much different than when she said “goodbye” yesterday. I just wonder if anything I’ve done – good or bad – will be a motivator for her in her thoughts or actions.

I told her that I am proud of her, my voice crackling so much that I don’t know that she heard me.

That’s all.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of The Practice.Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Professor Jeff Jarvis, The Joke

"Jeff Jarvis, a national leader in the development of online news, blogging, the investigation of new business models for news, and the teaching of entrepreneurial journalism, writes an influential blog, He is author of the books What Would Google Do? and Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live as well as the e-book Gutenberg the Geek."

And like those who have tied themselves to the internet for their career, I've never heard of him outside the internet. I never heard of him before I had a twitter account.

I do know the fake Professor Jeff Jarvis. He's someone who has a twitter account and tweets out the most ridiculous, funny exaggerations about the role of the internet in our lives. Stuff like this:

and this:

and this:

He takes the stupid phrases of the internet-centric and shows us the sillyness of it all.

This is Professor Jeff Jarvis.

This is the fake Professor Jeff Jarvis.

Prof. Jeff Jarvis

Can you tell the difference?

Well yesterday Esquire did a satire piece (now removed as you'll read below) on the good Professor.

The Real Professor Jeff Jarvis got mad. He had enough. He had enough, again, according to his whiny pathetic piece that contains this aw poor baby passage:

It was personally upsetting. My anxiety was pushing my heart back into afib for the first time in a few years. Oh, joy, this bozo is going to send me to the hospital. Enough.

No, really. that's in the piece, read it. He's had it. There will be no SNL skit on Professor Jeff Jarvis, mainly because no one knows who he is, and if they did, SNL wouldn't want the headache of this crybaby who claims to be teaching, of all things, journalism.

Thankfully no journalists will ever have to deal with satire. I mean, could you imagine if there were satire videos of someone like, let's say CNN's Wolf Blitzer all over the internet?

There is no bigger honor than making good fun of someone. It's called parody. It's called satire. Every politician, movie star, musician, and famous person prays that they will appear ridiculous and made fun of on Saturday Night Live or elsewhere. When I say "good fun," I mean harmless jokes.

When you read Professor Jeff Jarvis' whiny retort to the satire on Esquire, you will shake your head. If you don't, well, hello Professor Jeff Jarvis.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of The Practice: Brutal Truths About Lawyers And Lawyering Share/Save/Bookmark

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Florida Court: False Online Review Of Lawyer = Libel

A Florida lawyer got some big damages in a libel case, and yesterday the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld them, with a great opinion.

The case is Copia Blake and Peter Birzon v.Ann-Marie Giustibelli, P.A., and Ann-Marie Giustibelli,individually.

The lawyer sued for damages due to false online reviews. After briefs were filed, one of the appellants filed a notice withdrawing the appeal. The other did not. The court began their opinion by stating that "even if she had, we would not have dismissed the appeal."

Usually not a good sign for the appellant.

The court noted that "one issue Blake and Birzon raised involves the application of free speech protections to reviews of professional services posted on the internet."

We lawyers call those "Yelp" or "Avvo" reviews.

The court understands this is an issue in the legal profession:

"We affirm in all respects, but this issue merits discussion as it presents a scenario that will likely recur, and the public will benefit from an opinion on the matter."

The facts?

Giustibelli represented Blake in a divorce case against Birzon. Things deteriorated between Giustibelli and Blake, so Blake (and as the court noted "oddly, Birzon as well,") posted defamatory reviews of Giustibelli.

Giustibelli sued for libel, as well as breach of contract.

Some of the offending statements:

"She misrepresented her fees with regards to the contract I initially signed. The contract she submitted to the courts for her fees were 4 times her original quote and pages of the original had been exchanged to support her claims..."

"No integrity. Will say one thing and do another. Her fees outweigh the truth."

"Altered her charges to 4 times the original quote with no explanation."

The client and her husband admitted they posted the reviews and "both admitted at trial that Giustibelli had not charged Blake four times more than what was quoted in the agreement.

Result: Giustibelli won, and got $350,000 in punitive damages.

Blake and Birzon claim "that their internet reviews constituted statements of opinion and thus were protected by the First Amendment and not actionable as defamation."

The court held that:

"...all the reviews contained allegations that Giustibelli lied to Blake regarding the attorney’s fee. Two of the reviews contained the allegation that Giustibelli falsified a contract. These are factual allegations, and the evidence showed they were false."

The court also noted that the argument "that libel per se no longer exists" due to the Gertz case in the United States Supreme Court, doesn't apply as after Gertz, "the Florida Supreme Court recognized that, with respect to a libel action against the media, it is no longer accurate to say that ‘“[w]ords amounting to a libel per se necessarily import damage and malice in legal contemplation, so these elements need not be pleaded or proved, as they are conclusively presumed as a matter of law.’”

What the court noted about this argument was that the lawyer here, is not a media defendant, so libel per se still applies.

Obviously this case applies to Florida Lawyers (and any other state that has the same laws on libel). There were reviews that were verified, and verified to be false. Most of the time you have anonymous reviews that are nothing more than protected opinion and all you can do is cry about it.

Congratulations to Giustibelli. Those were some expensive false online reviews.

 Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of The Practice.