I’ve been writing about Rebekah Jones for the past few days. I was aware of her because of the faux controversy she stirred up over her firing from the Florida Department of Health. IIRC, she was fired for insubordination because she refused to stop making statements outside of her area of expertise. Jones is a geographer, not a heath professional. That controversy is generally outside of this blog’s area of expertise, so I’d left that story to other venues.
Last week, Jones filed a Maryland peace order petition for the purpose of suppressing Christina Pushaw’s free speech and free press rights to write about Jones. Now, that’s something that is clearly within the historical purview of this blog. Over the next several days, and it will take quite a few, I will be laying out Jones’ history of civil litigation and criminal charges.
The earliest information I’ve found is from 2016 when Jones was fired from Louisiana State University. Records from East Baton Rouge Parish show a Case Number 08-16-0601. Jones had been banned from campus and wound up being charged with a misdemeanor offense of Entry/Remain After Forbidden. She was also charged with two counts of Battery of a Police Officer and one count of Resisting a Police Officer. The disposition of the case indicates that she agreed to a pre-trial intervention program.
In 2017, Jones moved to Florida and entered a PhD. program at Florida State University. We’ll examine her history of restraining orders, posting revenge porn, a failed pro se defamation suit, and more this week.
Rebekah Jones is the former Florida Department of Health employee who was fired for insubordination related to handling of COVID data. She has been charged in Florida with unauthorized access to a computer system, a felony. According to Leon County, Florida, court records, she is now on pre-trial release for that charge and a misdemeanor stalking charge as well. She has recently moved to Montgomery County, Maryland. Although she has never been convicted, she does have a bit of a rap sheet.
Christina Pushaw is a freelance journalist who has written about Jones, and Jones has filed a petition for a peace order against Ms. Pushaw, claiming that Ms. Pushaw has been harassing her. She has also filed an Application for Statement of Charges claiming that Ms. Pushaw has violated the interim peace order that was issued by a District Court Commission, and a summons has been issued for Ms. Pushaw. Jones has been publishing incorrect information about the status of both cases. Let me explain her inaccuracies based on my experience from having been both a petitioner and a respondent on Maryland peace orders.
First, she has characterized the interim peace order as an emergency order. That’s not accurate. The process of obtaining a peace order goes like this. The petitioner appears before a District Court Commissioner who isn’t a judge and rarely is even a lawyer. The Commission evaluates the petition, and if he thinks that the petitioner might be entitled to a peace order if what is being claimed is true, the petitioner next appears before a District Court judge in an ex parte hearing. If the the judge believes that the petitioner might be entitled to a peace order, the judge will issue a temporary peace order which will expire in one week, and a second hearting will be scheduled on the expiration date of the temporary order during which the respondent may offer a defense.
Because Jones appeared before the Commissioner in the middle of the night when no judge was available, the Commissioner issued an interim order which expired in two days, and the ex parte hearing before a judge was scheduled for yesterday. During that hearing, based solely on Jones’ testimony, the judge issued a temporary peace order.
Jones published this on her substack yesterday—
I was fortunate to be able to go early, and I provided a thorough history of this woman’s stalking, harassment, defamation campaign against me, gave the records to the judge (of which there were many), and he granted the order.
She didn’t even show up to the hearing to defend herself.
It was proper that Ms. Pushaw didn’t attend. She had not been served with the interim order, and even if she had been, the temporary hearing is ex parte, meaning that only one of the parties attends. Ms. Pushaw wasn’t supposed to be there. She isn’t required to attend any hearings until she has been served with the temporary order.
Second, Jones has mischaracterized the nature of the summons issued based on her criminal complaint. She wrote this on her substack—
There’s also an order out for her arrest for violating the emergency order issued against her earlier in the week by publicly threatening me online, continuing to stalk and harass me, harassing associates of mine (she told Chris Cuomo he “created a monster”), and attacking me for reporting her to the police for her multitude of crimes.
The summons was issued by a District Court Commissioner based on an assumption Jones’ sworn Application for Statement of Charges is true. It’s a summons. It isn’t an arrest warrant. If it is served on Ms. Pushaw, she will have to respond. Of course, since Ms. Pushaw has not been served with the interim order, she cannot be charged with violating it.
More and more, this is beginning to look like an attempt by someone with something to hide to use lawfare to silence a critic.
One of the tactics that Brett Kimberlin used against his wife when they were estranged and engaging in dueling peace orders was to file a psych evaluation petition against her so that she would be taken into custody when she appeared for a court hearing. It looks as if Rebekah Jones has taken from page out of Kimberlin’s playbook. Wednesday, she applied for a peace order against Christian Pushaw, and on Thursday, before Ms. Pushaw could have been served with the interim peace order, Jones filed an Application for Statement of Charges claiming that Ms. Pushaw had violated the order. This makes it possible that she would be arrested if she showed up in court to defend herself.
I knew this was had a familiar stench about it. This kind of lawfare to suppress free speech needs to be exposed. I’ll keep a close watch on this case.
UPDATE—While researching entries related to Jones in the Leon County, Florida, online court records, I found that she was also the pro se plaintiff in an unsuccessful defamation lawsuit.
This appeared in my Twitter timeline——and it set me off researching the case. The Gentle Reader who had followed Hogewash! for a while probably has a good idea of why this case looked familiar to me. (Hints: Brett Kimberlin, Deb Frisch)
Rebekah Jones was fired from the Florida Department of Health. On 16 January, 2021, an arrest warrant was issued for Jones by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement claiming she illegally breached state data systems. She is currently under pre-trial supervision for that charge. It appears that she may be also awaiting trial on a stalking charge as well.
Christina Pushaw is a freelance writer who has written about the Rebekah Jones case for Human Events. Her article appears to be accurate, but Jones, who has recently moved to Maryland, is seeking a peace order against Ms. Pushaw, attempting to use the Maryland peace order statue to suppress Ms. Pushaw’s First Amendment free speech and free press rights.
I spoke with Ms. Pushaw earlier today and have offered her whatever assistance I can provide. I’ll be covering this case as it progresses.
My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up about a federal lawsuit relating to free speech at the University of Virginia. A medical student’s questions about microagressions got him banned from campus.
Skepticism and disagreement are impermissible on the 21st-century university campus. Bhattacharya’s questions made him a Thought Criminal, and soon UVA faculty ordered him to undergo psychiatric evaluation.
The former student Kieran Ravi Bhattacharya has sued the university, and a federal judge has rejected the school’s motion to dismiss.
The school’s founder Thomas Jefferson was unavailable for comment.
Glenn Kirschner is a former federal prosecutor. He has launched a campaign to compel “every business in America” to take a pledge averring that “[t]he 2020 presidential election was free and fair, and produced accurate, reliable results.” Based on the currently available evidence, Hogewash! cannot in good conscience take such a pledge.
Even if the available evidence clearly supported the belief expressed in that pledge, Hogewash! would not take it under duress. Previous efforts by others to change or control the editorial policy of this blog through harassment and intimidation have failed. Mr. Kirschner should expect his to fail as well.
But all of this highlights the real crisis in journalism, the reason public faith and trust in media institutions is in free fall. With liberal media outlets deliberately embracing a profit model of speaking overwhelmingly to partisan Democrats who use them as their primary source of news, there is zero cost to publishing false claims about people and groups hated by that liberal audience.
That audience does not care if these media outlets publish false stories as long as it is done for the Greater Good of harming their political enemies, and this ethos has contaminated newsrooms as well. Given human fallibility, reporting errors are normal and inevitable, but when they are all geared toward advancing one political agenda or faction and undermining the other, they cease to be errors and become a deliberate strategy or, at best, systemic recklessness.
But whatever else is true, it is vital to understand what news outlets mean when they claim they have “independently verified” the uncorroborated reports of other similar outlets. It means nothing of consequence. In many if not most cases — enough to make this formulation totally unreliable — it signifies nothing more than their willingness to serve as stenographers for the same anonymous political operatives who fed their competitors similar propaganda.
Yes, the folks play-acting as journalists will keep working as propagandists for The Party until it becomes too costly for them.
Нет известия в «Правдa» и нет правда в «Известия». There is no news [izvestia] in Pravda and no truth [pravda] in Izvestia.
We’re already beginning to see some cracks in the foundation supporting of the current media structure, and two forces are acting to further destabilize the system. First, Orange Man Bad is gone from the news cycle, and the story lines built on railing against Trump no longer have traction. Viewers aren’t tuning in as the did, and the revenue that underpins many of the media operations is shrinking. Layoffs are occurring.
Second, after years in attack mode, they’ve been unable to find good news to report to sell the new Narrative. For example, years of ranting about kids in cages has made it hard to put a positive spin on a sudden surge in minor children being detained at the border. Masks still required after vaccination, no Fourth of July, and renewed bombing in the Middle East are not an easy sell as good news. Reality keeps interfering with The Narrative, and the public is beginning to suspect that the warm fluid on our legs isn’t rain.
Alternatives to the Main Stream Media and Main Stream Social Media are popping up and some are getting traction because the compete with The Narrative rather than colluding with it. There’s a market for news and truth, and I suspect that many of the legacy media companies will be replaced by new organizations.
You can see signs of panic in the calls for censorship that are beginning appear, some from media outlets beginning to sense they are at a disadvantage competing with truthful reporting. Given the level of control The Party has over the House, Senate, White House, and corporate media/social media, the next few years probably will be stressful for the First Amendment.
The woke crowd that is ruining everyone else’s good time are basically a bunch of bullies, and time and again, it’s been shown that best way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. Glenn Reynolds has a piece over at the NY Post about how to deal with the current crop of little monsters.
Does this mean we should be less tolerant of our own minoritarian tyrants? In a word, yes.
I don’t mean that they should be forced into camps, or even driven from their jobs and from polite society, as the woke are all too willing to do to their opponents. But they need to be deprived of the thing that is most important to their self-image: moral credibility.
Part of what is wrong with bullies is that they have an overabundance of self-esteem. They imagine their superiority, moral or otherwise, entitles them to enforce their desires on the rest of us.
The woke think of themselves — and want everyone else to think of them — as deeply moral. If they have a flaw, it’s that they just care too much. They’re too idealistic, too empathetic, too eager to make the world a better place.
That’s bulls–t (pardon my French, Pepé!). If you look at what they do, rather than what they say about themselves, it quickly becomes obvious that the woke are horrible, awful, people, and they should be treated as such and reminded of this whenever they raise their head.
Indeed. It’s all about power, the power the wokies want to have over our lives and culture, power they hope will fill in the empty spaces in their lives.
Team Kimberlin’s campaign attempting use lawfare in the form of defamation LOLsuits and bogus criminal charges as a means of silencing their critics blew up in their faces when almost all of the defendants vigorously stood up for our First Amendment free speech and free press rights. Eight years ago today, I wrote this post, Blog It Now, about why we bloggers were pushing back against being cancelled.
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In an earlier post today I alluded to Edward R. Murrow’s 1954 See It Now broadcast about Senator Joseph McCarthy. Whether or not one agrees with Murrow’s conclusions, that broadcast is an excellent example of using someone’s own words as criticism against him. Given the various lawfare tactics used by Team Kimberlin over the past couple of years, I’d like to offer this paraphrase of Murrow’s closing words from that broadcast:
We will not be driven by fear if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men—not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend their causes. This is no time for men who oppose Team Kimberlin’s methods to keep silent. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a free citizen to abdicate his responsibility. As bloggers we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves defenders of free speech wherever it exists, but we cannot defend freedom for ourselves by deserting it for others.
The actions of the Cabin Boy from Team Kimberlin have caused alarm and dismay to some amongst our ranks and have given considerable comfort to the enemies of free speech. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create a situation of fear; he has merely been used to exploit it. If we allow him to succeed, then Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
Good night and good luck. Stay tuned.
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I’m beginning to believe that Kimberlin’s lawfare was a dry run for a proposed larger use of defamation lawsuits by the Left for the purpose of shutting down effective voices on the Right. The initial proposal for the lawsuits came from a minor-league Democrat operative named Neal Rauhauser. Rauhuaser, who appears to have connections to Democrats such as Anthony Weiner, was working with Kimberlin during the period when the first cases were filed. He theorized that the targeted defendants would be intimidated by the suits and would settle out of court. However, it turned out that while we were deplorable, we weren’t a bunch of Neanderthals, and we weren’t frightened and confused by the modern legal system. We fought back and won.
Lawsuits have been a favorite tool for the Left, but I believe Kimberlin’s rather spectacular failures have caused the Left to look for different means of stifling the Right’s free speech, and I note, for example, Twitter began seriously purging accounts of folks on the Right within days of Kimberlin’s first RICO LOLsuit being dismissed.
We won the skirmish with Team Kimberlin because we had the facts and the law on our side and because we were in a venue where the facts and the law mattered.
The battle over cancellation is now in a venue where neither the facts nor the law will matter. If we can’t move the contest to a more favorable venue, we will need to master the rules of the new battleground.
One of the running gags used to poke fun at Team Kimberlin has been based on the idea that they’ve been getting their legal theories from the legal division of the same Acme provides all those wonderful products to a certain coyote. Seven years ago today, we took a look at Another Fine Acme Legal Theory that Bill Schmalfeldt was peddling.
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47 U.S.C § 230(c) says that the person providing content is responsible for what he provides. In the case of a comment posted here at Hogewash!, that’s the author of the comment. The law says that
[n]o 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.
Furthermore, 47 U.S.C § 230(e)(2) says in part that
No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.
Now, Acme will probably point to the recent Hare v. Richie case where discovery was allowed to continue in spite of a website’s contention that is was protected by § 230. There are three things to consider. First, discovery was allowed in that case to determine if the site operator was involved in producing any of the offending content. Second, the plaintiff wound up losing the case. It was dismissed.
Third, discovery in a similar lawsuit involving Hogewash! would lead to the same result.
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And Team Kimberlin did wind up going 0 for 8 in the LOLsuits they filed against me.
Al Franken has an oped over at The Daily News called Rush Limbaugh’s Real Legacy. It’s basically a complaint that Rush Limbaugh was successful in his career while Franken wasn’t.
I’m so old, I remember when the Left had a significant, often dominant, share of talk radio. That began to change during the Regan era, and Rush Limbaugh’s arrival in national syndication more or less coincident with the Clinton’s arrival in national politics was part of decisively tipping the balance on the AM band toward the Right. Rush was funny, and he was effective.
Part of the Left’s response to Rush was an outfit called Air America which included Al Franken, then a minor-league comedy writer and occasional SNL player, as one of its featured hosts. Air America failed, but Franken used his time in talk radio to increase his clout on the Left. He was able to get to the Senate through what many see as a rigged election, but he failed there too. Meanwhile, Rush consistently held on to tens of millions of listeners to the end of his career.
I’m seeing some folks wonder who can replace Rush. Beats me, but I’m reasonably certain that someone else will come along who is funny and effective and who the Left will love to hate.
The New York Times reports that experts recommend the Biden administration put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a “reality czar.”
Team Kimberlin is a worked example of the saying that first-rate people hire first-rate people, and second-rate people hire third-rate people. The Prevarication Du Jour from seven years ago today show the caliber of the PR flacks Brett Kimberlin hired.
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The Cabin Boy™ is hearing voices again.I did make a settlement offer to The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin in the early stages of the Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. nuisance suit. I was willing to settle for a payment from him to me of one million dollars. That offer came off the table as soon as the clock ran out and I had to file a motion to dismiss.
I am the only one of the five defendants in that suit who was willing to settle, and I no longer am willing to do so. I suspect that before the dust settles, Brett Kimberlin will wish he had.
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I suppose nonsense like that tweet was meant to create distrust and dissection among the codefendants in The Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin’s LOLsuits. It didn’t work. Nothing in his lawfare campaign did. It was all a failure. His reputation wasn’t vindicated. A court found that it was so bad that he is defamation-proof.
I wonder if he has figured out that suing me was the worst legal mistake he’s made since he was paroled the second time.
WaPo seems to imply that because the Democrats disagree with Trump’s assessment of the election’s integrity, his speech should not be protected under the First Amendment. You’d think that a media outlet such as WaPo would be an ardent defender of the First Amendment and the American principle that the cure for bad/stupid/wrong speech is more speech exposing errors rather than censorship.
OTOH, WaPo’s preferred politicians are running the show for the moment, so they feel safe—and the other side tends to play by our historic rules of press freedom, so WaPo has never been under any serious threat for the government.
One of the things that would have been more amusing if I hadn’t been a defendant in The Dread Deadbeat Pro Se Kimberlin’s LOLsuit were the crackpot legal theories advanced in support of his cases. The TKPOTD from seven years ago dealt with one of his wacko legal ideas.
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In their latest attempt to find a legal theory that might save The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin’s frivolous and vexatious lawsuits, Team Kimberlin has sent the Cabin Boy™ out to float the idea that res judicata applies as to whether or not TDPK is a public figure. Schmalfeldt has posted a clip (No, I won’t link to it.) from the docket of the Kimberlin v. Allen suit which shows that Judge Quirk ruled against Seth Allen’s motion to declare Kimberlin a public figure. Res judicata to the rescue!
Au contraire. Take a look at this more complete bit of the record.Docket Number 140 is the record of the judge’s ruling on Docket Number 119. Docket Number 119 was Seth Allen’s motion.
Here’s why that’s important: Res judicata applies when the same matter is brought up a second time in litigation between the same parties. Thus, Seth Allen is no longer allowed to argue in court that Brett Kimberlin was public figure before February, 2012. Anyone else can, and Mr. Allen can still argue that TDPK may have become one since then.
There’s a long string of case law supporting the principle that someone who is convicted of an infamous crime becomes a public figure. I argue that Brett Kimberlin, who is, after all, a convicted serial bomber with dozens of other felony convictions, is a public figure just like other convicted serial bombers—like Ted Kaczynski (“The Unibomber”), for instance.
They must be working overtime at Acme Law.
UPDATE—Res Judicata t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other goodies are available at The Hogewash Store.
Stop by today and spend some of your hard earned cash in support of Team Lickspittle.
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It turned out that res judicata did matter in most of TDPK’s LOLsuits. It wound up being one of the bases for dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted in most of them.
The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin has filed a combined response to the motions to dismiss from Aaron Walker and me in the Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. RICO Madness.As the Gentle Reader might suspect, that mischaracterizes our arguments. I’ve argued that Brett Kimberlin, a convicted serial bomber, has been convicted of multiple infamous crimes and is, therefore, a public figure in the same sense as other convicted bombers such as Ted Kaczynski or Timothy McVeigh. I believe his reputation (as a perjurer, drug smuggler/wholesaler/dealer, bomber, murder suspect, etc.) is so bad as to render him defamation proof.
Even Bill Schmalfeldt understood that TDPK has a lousy reputation.
Sat Jun 16 22:27:31 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 214122056504184832, @Prepostericity If your point is that Kimberlin is a scumbag, I’m way ahead of you on that. Said so in my blog weeks ago. I could do
Sat Jun 16 22:28:26 +0000 2012, liberalgrouch, 214122288910577664, @Prepostericity without the condescending bullshit from a fellow blogger, if you don’t mind. …
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Eventually, Judge Mason concurred with my argument that Kimberlin was defamation proof when he found that to be one of the reasons why The Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and dismissed the RICO Retread LOLsuit in state court.
If I hadn’t been a defendant in the Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. RICO Madness LOLsuit, I probably would have found some of its insane claims more humorous. Still, I did try to poke fun at some of the more outrageous lies. Seven years ago today, I posted BREAKING: RICO Enterprise Revealed.
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Or, at least, The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin’s imagined version:Dang! I thought I was more of a mover and shaker. Now I find out that I’m no more important to the operation than Glen Beck or Simon & Schuster.
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Alas, if we ever make a movie of The Saga Of The Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin, Robert Duval will be too old to play Patrick Frey.
We live in a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century. During the period we may be tempted to abandon some of the time-honored principles and commitments which have been proven during the difficult times of past generations. We must never yield to this temptation. Our American values are not luxuries, but necessities— not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself.
In any event, the proper question isn’t what a journalist thinks is relevant but what his or her audience thinks is relevant. Denying people information they would find useful because you think they shouldn’t find it useful is censorship, not journalism.