Free Speech v. Cancel Culture


I just read Willam Jacobson’s essay over at Real Clear Politics about his experience with cancel culture at Cornel University. Prof. Jacobson was condemned by colleagues at the Cornell Law School after he committed acts of wrongthink by publishing blog posts criticizing Black Lives Matter. Prof. Jacobson writes:

I offered to publicly debate a student representative and a faculty member of their choice, but that offer was rejected. They don’t want to criticize me. They want to silence criticism of BLM.

While I refuse to be silenced, others are not be able to risk such career pressure.

Although I am the target, students and free expression are the real victims. I have received many emails from students telling me that I have a lot of “quiet” support among students, but that they are afraid to speak up for fear of the professional or social consequences. Cancel culture has created this atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Read the whole thing.

Sigh. I’m so old that I remember when liberals were in favor of due process and free speech.

Video Credit: Murrow, Edward R., See It Now, CBS, 9 March, 1954.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


Today is the eighth anniversary of my first blog post about Brett Kimberlin. It was called No Thugs Zone.

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Fellow blogger and Maryland resident Stacy McCain has had to move his family out of the state because of threats related to blogging about Brett Kimberlin. He is not the only blogger suffering abuse from Kimberlin.

Mr. Kimberlin was unwise in choosing to pick a fight with the blogosphere. He is likely to find that, while we don’t always agree with one another, we have each other’s backs when the freedom of the Internet is threatened. Mr. Kimberlin and those who have supported him (I’m looking at you, Ms. Streisand) have bitten off more than they can chew. The pushback is just beginning.

UPDATE–The McCain family is having a ton of unforeseen expenses because of their sudden move. I just hit his tip jar. Why don’t you?

UPDATE 2–Expect more, a lot more, about this on Friday.

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I’m not done with him yet.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


This TKPOTD is from four years ago today. It provides a succinct summary of Brett Kimberlin’s lawfare campaign attempting to use the courts to suppress the First Amendment rights of his critics.

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One of the subjects of interest at this blog is the First Amendment. I got interested in Brett Kimberlin back in 2012 because of the unconstitutional gag order he was granted against Aaron Walker as part of a peace order. That struck me as an attack on Aaron’s First Amendment rights, and I wound up participating in the Everyone Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day blogburst. Because the hearings involved in the Kimberlin cases were within commuting distance of my home, I began attending them and writing about the various Kimberlin-related peace order petitions and lawsuits.

As a result, I became part of the story.

In late July, 2013, Brett Kimberlin filed a false criminal complaint against me accusing me of harassment. The charge was dropped by the Montgomery County State’s Attorney.

In late August, 2013, Brett Kimberlin sued Aaron Walker, Stacy McCain, Ali Akbar, Kimberlin Unmasked, and me in Montgomery County Circuit Court alleging a wide array of torts, including defamation and false light invasion of privacy. In July, 2014, most of that case was dismissed on summary judgment. The next month, Aaron, Stacy, Ali, and I received a directed verdict in our favor when Kimberlin was unable to put on enough evidence to allow the remaining case to go to the jury. Kimberlin appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, and a three-judge panel upheld the Circuit Court’s finding in January, 2016. Kimberlin has asked an rehearing en banc by the entire Court of Special Appeals.

In October, 2013, Brett Kimberlin sued over twenty defendants, including me, in federal court alleging a RICO conspiracy and civil rights claims as well as a laundry list of state law torts. On 17 March, 2015, the federal claims were throw out, except for one claim against Patrick Frey. Kimberlin tried to appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but he was turned away because the case was still ongoing in the lower court. The remnant portion of the case has been limping along, and discovery finally ended last Friday. Kimberlin has sought to subpoena information from me, but I was not properly served. However, I voluntarily let him have the responsive information that I had. Because he was disappointed with what he received, he filed a motion to have me sanctioned. That motion is still pending.

In March, 2015, Kimberlin filed a false peace order petition against me that alleged I had harassed Mrs. Kimberlin’s elder daughter. On 13 March, 2015, that petition was denied.

The following Monday, 16 March, 2015, Kimberlin filed his second RICO lawsuit, the so-called Team Themis suit, against almost twenty defendants. My name was tacked on the end. (This was great timing; the first RICO suit was dismissed the next day.) That lawsuit was dismissed last week.

On 15 April, 2015, Kimberlin filed another lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court which essentially was the state law claims from his first federal RICO suit alleged against most of the same defendants. Michelle Malkin, Twitchy, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, Mercury Radio Arts, and The Blaze were dismissed from the suit in September, 2015. Aaron Walker was dismissed in January, 2016. Dan Backer, DB Capitol Services, Lee Stranahan, and I were dismissed yesterday. Of the four remaining defendants, Patrick Frey, Ali Akbar, and National Bloggers Club remain unserved, and Mandy Nagy is incompetent to defend herself following a devastating stroke.

Kimberlin appealed the denial of his bogus peace order petition, and his appeal was denied after a hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court on 14 May, 2015.

A few days later, acting through his wife, Kimberlin filed a false criminal complaint based on the allegations in his peace order petition. In June, 2015, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney dropped the charge for lack of evidence.

So where are the cases now.

The peace orders and criminal charges are done.

The first state lawsuit has failed on appeal, and it’s unlikely that the Court of Special Appeals will bother with an en banc hearing and even more unlikely that the Court of Appeal (Maryland’s highest court) would grant a petition for certiorari and take the case.

The first RICO case isn’t over in the District Court and can’t be appealed until the claim against Patrick Frey is adjudicated there.

The second RICO is in now toast in the District Court. I expect that Kimberlin will file an appeal with the Fourth Circuit in a few days.

The second state lawsuit isn’t over yet either, and it can’t be appealed until the claims against the remaining four defendants are resolved.

So, for now, Patrick Ostronic, my pro bono attorney in the state cases, will be watching the Court of Special Appeals for a decision on an further hearing, and I’m lining up legal resources to deal with the expected appeal in RICO 2. And we shall see how Judge Hazel rules on that sanctions motion. Meanwhile, it’s become abundantly clear that the Rauhauser/Kimberlin strategy of on-the-cheap pro se litigation has backfired.

We’re dealing with people who have likely had no interaction with the court system beyond a traffic ticket; the potential for a pro se litigant to force them into expensive, long distance, lengthy, discovery laden litigation doesn’t seem to cross their minds.

—Neal Rauhauser, quoted by Stacy McCain.

Kimberlin now overlooks at his own risk the potential for a group of defendants, some with excellent legal resources, dedicated to the First Amendment to push back against his lawfare. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll begin to understand the potential costs of taking on dedicated pro se defendants with time and resources.

#Loser

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Loser indeed. Not only did The Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin wind up losing all those cases and their appeals, he wound up having appeals court costs taxed to himself and getting sanctioned for frivolously including me as an appellee in one of the appeals. Oh, and he lost his RICO 3 Lolsuit that he filed agains Breitbart Holdings, Steve Bannon, and a long list of other defendants when it was dismissed sua sponte by the District Court. His LOLsuit against Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley was also dismissed sua sponte, and he lost all the appeals related to those case.

Everything proceeded as I had foreseen.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


One of Brett Kimberlin’s recurring bug-a-boos was Team Themis, a commercial intelligence operation run by some companies also engaged in government work. Kimberlin alleged in his Kimberlin v. Hunton & Williams LLP, et al. RICO 2: Electric Boogaloo LOLsuit that Team Themis had be conducting a defamatory dirty operation against him on behalf of the Ul. S. Chamber of Commerce—and that my blogging here at Hogewash! was somehow connected with that operation.

Kimberlin has been griping about Team Themis for years. In fact, when I searched Breitbart Unmasked for references to Team Themis, I found one posted on 20 March, 2012, when the site was only one month old.

The former blogger, Seth L. Allen, then set out on an internet smear campaign to destroy both Brad Friedman and his business partner Brett Kimberlin. I won’t go into detail about either of them in this post, suffice it to say though that there was a larger campaign against both parties started by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce which had been under attack by organizations involved with Mr. Kimberlin, and which ended up in the folding of the HBGary Security firm over planned social media destruction campaigns against both Brad Friedman and his business partner: which HBGary had been competing for in the security sector with Palantir Security and a number of other firms that called themselves Team Themis.

One of the ways that I have thumbed my nose at Kimberlin through the years has been with occasional posts about a NASA mission called THEMIS. Such a post six years ago today resulted in some odd comments to which I responded this way—

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THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms)  is a mission to investigate what causes auroras in the Earth’s atmosphere. The program is run by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and not by the agency just up the road that forgot to buy both vowels.

I have never had any connection to the program.

UPDATE—I found this attempted comment while taking my morning coffee break.TK201404041329ZOf course, the IP address doesn’t belong to Amazon.IPlookup20140404Not only that, it’s not actively assigned.NoMatch

Hi, Neal!

UPDATE—Ooooo! Struck a nerve, have we? This comment just came in attributed to my late mother.TK2014041542ZCan you say “desperation”?

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BTW, There are indications that the partnership between Brad Friedman and Brett Kimberlin has been dissolved. They were the co-incorporators of Velvet Revolution US, but since the corporate name was change to Protect Our Elections/EMPR in 2017, Friedman hasn’t appeared to have any connection to the organization. The last IRS filing I’ve found listing Friedman as a Director was for 2015.

Hmmmmm.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


Bill Schmalfeldt got in over his head when he signed up to be one of Brett Kimberlin’s PR flacks. I’ve never figured out exactly why he followed in The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin’s lawfare footsteps and began filing LOLsuit, but he did. I was a defendant in four of them and the lead defendant in two, LOLsuits I and IV. During the course of LOLsuit IV, Schmalfeldt got upset with me because I was interested in his communications with my codefendants, especially the anonymous blogger known as Paul Krendler. The TKPOTD for five years ago today engaged in a bit of pointage, laughery, and mockification of the Cabin Boy™.

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The Cabin Boy™ routinely sticks his nose into other people’s business, and he acts as if he believes that everyone else does the same.BotM201503282229Z

popcorn4bkThe Dreadful Pro-Se Schmalfeldt may have forgotten who he’s suing, but “Paul Krendler” is among the et al. in his Schmalfeldt v. Hoge, et al. LOLsuit2 that he’s filed in Howard County Circuit Court. That being the case, I have a interest in his communications with my codefendants. It was TDPS who made his communications with “Krendler” my business.

Stupid is as stupid does.

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LOLsuit IV saw a Maryland state court suit. Because Schmalfeldt didn’t effect service of process on any of the out-of-state defendants, and because with me as the only remaining  defendant, proper venue for the case was in my home county Carroll County. However, he had filed in Howard County. With those facts before the court, the judge found that she lacked jurisdiction over the case and dismissed it without have to bother deciding if the Cabin Boy™ had actually stated a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Everything proceed as I had foreseen.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


An important reason for the failure of all of the legal actions filled by Team Kimberlin during their campaign of lawfare was their gross misunderstanding of the law—as this Prevarication Du Jour from four years ago today reveals.

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The Cabin Boy™ has tweeted this—Cheddar201602281636ZThe Gentle Reader who has been following Schmalfeldt’s career of cyberfoolishness will not be surprised to find that the Cabin Boy™ is wrong. Here’s the EFF’s take on the Communications Decency Act—

Section 230 says that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (47 U.S.C. § 230). In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. The protected intermediaries include not only regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but also a range of “interactive computer service providers,” including basically any online service that publishes third-party content.

CDA 230: The Most Important Law Protecting Internet Speech

Here’s what the General Counsel of Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.Com has to say about the value of 47 U.S.C. § 230’s protection afforded to publishers of third-party speech on the Internet—

I think to the extent that it protects speech, you can’t get much more expansive. I think the concept of no third-party liability is good.

You can find that and more concerning WordPress and the Communications Decency act here.

Here’s what the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals thinks—

What §230(c)(1) says is that an online information system must not “be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by” someone else.

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law v. Craigslist, 519 F.3d 666, 671 (7th Cir. 2008).

No, the EFF and WordPress.com agree with me. So do lots of federal courts, including the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Wisconsin is in the Seventh Circuit). Of course, the Cabin Boy’s™ misunderstanding of the Communications Decency Act has been pointed out to him before, but he continues to insist that his interpretation overrides the case law. It’s that sort of pigheadedness that will make his loss in LOLsuit VI: The Undiscovered Krendler so expensive.

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BTW, I originally considered titling that post as a Legal LULZ Du Jour, but on second thought it seemed that after so many losses that even Schmalfeldt would understand the protection § 230 offers and that he was now simply lying.

Copyright Trolling


The time I would have spent drafting a post for today was spent doing research to support a fellow blogger who is being threatened with a lawsuit by a copyright troll. Almost seven years ago, the blogger linked to a story at a major newspaper’s website, including a photo from the story. Years later, the photographer is trying to extort money out of the blogger for use of the image.

First of all, such a link is most likely an example of Fair Use.

Even if it weren’t, research indicates that the photographer may have failed to timely file for registration of the copyright on the image. IANAL, but it’s my understanding that such  a defective registration means that the copyright holder is only entitled to the actual damages he suffered. Statutory damages are off the table. Indeed, I believe that a reasonable argument can be made that the blogger’s linking to the newspaper’s article created additional traffic to the story and enhanced the value of the photo. Thus, the photographer received a benefit from the link rather than suffering any damage. His case is nonsense.

Copyright trolls need to be dealt with swiftly and firmly.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


Six years ago today, I ran this post, In Re Kimberlin v. Walker, et al.

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Convicted perjurer, drug smuggler, and bomber Brett Kimberlin has filed a Maryland lawsuit naming bloggers Aaron Walker, W. J. J. Hoge, and Robert Stacy McCain; National Bloggers Club President Ali A. Akbar; and the anonymous blogger Kimberlin Unmasked as defendants.

The defendants believe that the suit is without merit and is part of Kimberlin’s continued effort to use lawfare to silence journalists and bloggers who have written truthfully about Kimberlin’s criminal past and recent conduct. The defendants will not make any further comments until they have finished initial consultations their respective legal counsel.

UPDATE—Stacy McCain’s statement is here.

UPDATE 2—Kimberlin Unmasked’s statement is here. [Broken link]

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The Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin made countless errors during his ill-fated attempts at pro se litigation. His worst mistake was suing me.

Gilmore v. Jones, et al. News


It’s been about two years since Brennan Gilmore filed a defamation suit in the U. S. District Court in Charlottesville, Virginia, against Alex Jones and a non-related group of defendants. Earlier this year, the judge ruled against most of the defendants’ motions to dismiss (Allen West’s motion was granted), and all but one of the remaining defendants then filed motions for reconsideration or for an interlocutory appeal to a higher court to resolve disputed matters of law. Those motions were fully briefed, so the court scheduled a hearing to consider them on 5 September. However, the court gave notice last week that it would rule on the motions based on the written briefs and that the hearing was cancelled.

Since the briefs were filed, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that bears on when a district court must certify a question for an interlocutory appeal. The lawyer representing several of the defendants had planned to bring that ruling to the court’s attention during the hearing. Because he will no longer have that opportunity, he has filed a motion to be allowed to supplement his brief.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


The idea for Blogsmoke came out of a lame attempt by Matt Osborne at Breitbart Unmasked Bunny Billy Boy Unread to make fun of me as someone who imagined himself as the sheriff of the Internet. And so, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System was born. As the Twitter Town Sheriff’s department expanded, Blogsmoke begat BlognetThis episode first ran five years ago today.

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BlognetTitleCardMUSIC: Theme. Intro and fade under.

NARRATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

MUSIC: Up, then under …

NARRATOR: You’re a Detective Sergeant. You’re assigned to Internet Detail. A noted anti-First-Amendment activist has sued a group of bloggers trying to shut down their free speech and free press rights. Your job … get the facts.

MUSIC: Up then under …

ANNOUNCER: Blognet … the documented drama of an actual case. For the next few minutes, in cooperation with the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department, you will travel step by step on the side of the good guys through an actual case transcribed from official files. From beginning to end, from crime to punishment, Blognet is the story of the good guys in action.

MUSIC: Up and out. Continue reading

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


One of the more illusive members of the Dread Deadbeat Pirate Pro-Se Kimberlin’s crew is First Mate Neal Rauhauser. However, he did turn up as the subject of a post from a year ago today titled And In Other Good First Amendment News …

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The largest anti-SLAPP penalty ever awarded is now the largest anti-SLAPP penalty ever reversed and remanded. The 2nd State Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, Texas, found the 67th State District Court in Fort Worth had abused its discretion in awarding Neal Rauhauser more than $300,000 in attorney’s fees, $150,000 in sanctions (initial sanction award was $1,000,000), and additional non-monetary sanctions not authorized by the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (TCPA). The court further ordered Appellee Neal Rauhauser to pay all costs of the appeal to the prevailing parties, James McGibney and ViaView, Inc., the parent company of the BullyVille website.

James McGibney stated, “It’s not an everyday occurrence that you see a fugitive, with four outstanding warrants for their arrest, win and then, in dramatic fashion, lose one million dollars, without ever stepping foot in a courtroom. That’s exactly what happened to defendant Neal Rauhauser, and we are grateful that the SecondCourt of Appeals found in our favor.”

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

UPDATE—More here.

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AFAIK, Rauhauser hasn’t paid any of what he owes, but what would you expect from a Deadbeat Dad?