I almost titled this post I’m Not Making This Up, You Know—The Washington Post has published an opinion piece which advocates the effective repeal of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Ben Bradley and Herblock were unavailable for comment.
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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Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin made countless errors during his ill-fated attempts at pro se litigation. His worst mistake was suing me.
… the New York Times is to quote the New York Times.
The NYT has a story up about a “loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House” that has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at prominent news organizations. The Times complains that
… using journalistic techniques to target journalists and news organizations as retribution for — or as a warning not to pursue — coverage critical of the president is fundamentally different from the well-established role of the news media in scrutinizing people in positions of power.
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.
OK, it’s the Babylon Bee, but they’re becoming our national paper of record.
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 Blognet. This episode first ran five years ago today.
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MUSIC: 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
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.
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AFAIK, Rauhauser hasn’t paid any of what he owes, but what would you expect from a Deadbeat Dad?
Politico reports that a U. S. District Court in Texas has ruled that a defamation suit filed against a group of defendants including National Public Radio can proceed to discovery. Judge Amos Mazzant found the $57 million suit filed by Ed Butowsky makes plausible claims that the network may be liable for defamation for a series of online stories about Butowsky’s role in publicizing assertions that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered as part of a broader political plot.
NPR argued that the reports by media correspondent David Folkenflik accurately described a prior lawsuit filed against Fox News and Butowsky for defamation, accusing Fox of fabricating quotations in a story about Rich’s murder. The judge did not agree.
“The statements made by Folkenflik were made as verifiable statements of fact,” the judge wrote. “The statements at issue were not merely expressing a subjective view. Looking at the context of the verifiable facts, nothing shows the statements expressed Folkenflik’s opinion or merely offer Folkenflik’s personal perspective on disputed facts.”
Butowsky has several other defamation suits pending against other news outfits, including CNN, Vox, and The New York Times.
This episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign first ran five years ago today.
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ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—
SOUND: Skype rings once.
JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.
RULE 5 GIRL: (Telephone Filter) Hi, Johnny.
RULE 5 GIRL: (Telephone Filter) Johnny, have you checked GoodGuysUnmasked today?
JOHNNY: Not yet. What will I find?
RULE 5 GIRL: (Telephone Filter) The Bunny has published photos The Bomber says he took of some green cards before he mailed them.
RULE 5 GIRL: He’s saying the photos are proof you got things wrong about whether the cards he submitted to the court are genuine.
MUSIC: Theme up and under.
ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …
JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
MUSIC: Theme up to music out. Continue reading
The @AaronWorthing Twitter account has been sentenced to a week in the Twitter gulag. During an exchange with someone using bigoted language, Aaron criticized him for his bigotry. One of Aaron’s tweets contained a hypothetical insult as an example. Twitter is punishing Aaron for opposing hateful speech. (Let me interrupt here to make a distinction between hateful speech, speech which intentionally expresses hatred, and hate speech, speech which doesn’t fit The Narrative.)
Aaron appealed, and Twitter denied his appeal. Twitter has also declined to reveal what it is about Aaron’s tweet that violates their Rules. Logically, it can’t be the use of the word “fag,” because that appears in multiple tweets every day. OTOH, the connection between Twitter’s enforcement of its Rules and logic sometimes seems rather tenuous. BTW, I strongly suggest that the Gentle Reader avoid doing a word search for “fag” on Twitter. The results for such a search are downright appalling.
I had a similar experience when I was permanently banned. Twitter was unresponsive to all appeals and requests for information. In my case, it took a series of wins in court against the third party who had initiated the false claim against me to get Twitter to do the right thing and restore my account.
Aaron is now prohibited from posting tweets. This means that he can no longer tweet to @RealDonaldTrump; he’s effectively blocked. Given the recent ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals concerning blocking access to politician’s accounts, is Twitter’s action legal? Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps someone should bring the question before a court.
Several conservative commentators have taken the position that Donald Trump’s tweets about The Squad last weekend were a PR blunder. One pundit described it as an “own goal.” I disagree. While I might not have phrased those tweets exactly as the President did, I believe that his main point—Why don’t you go straighten out one of those troubled foreign countries you admire (eg., Somalia, “Palestine”) to provide a worked example of how you think we should change America?—is a valid put-up-or-shut-up challenge to those congressional novices.
I also think that he’s been smart in refusing to back down, and there’s a post over at Bookworm Room that provides a partial explanation of my view. Over the past decade, the Left has successfully narrowed the range of “respectable” public opinion (called the Overton Window). Trump is forcing the allowable range of our public conversation back to realm of opinions held by most sentient adult Americans, including many, if not most, Leftists.
Think of ideas that were normal just a decade ago: using pronouns consistent with biological sex, worrying about Muslim-inspired terrorism, admiring the Founding Fathers, believing that a traditional male-female marriage is optimal for raising children, mentioning the Judeo-Christian God in public, questioning anthropogenic climate change, or being anything but mindlessly positive about a member of a “Progressive protected victim class.” Nowadays, thanks to relentless media, entertainment, political, and educational pressure, voicing those ideas creates the risk that the speaker will be shouted down, humiliated, fired, or even physically attacked.
Read the whole thing.
Donald Trump is sometimes inarticulate or coarse. But just as the economy has improved by the changes the President has championed to the New Normal economy, our public discourse will likely benefit in the long run as we allow the values that made America great to compete with the New Normal in the marketplace of ideas.
Several years ago, a Baltimore resident called 911 to report a burglary and wound being beaten, tased, and arrested by the police officers who responded to the call. Her claim against the Baltimore Police Department spent several years in the courts and was finally settled. Baltimore includes a “non-disparagement” clause in such settlement agreements, so when the women spoke to the press about her experience, the city reduced her settlement payment in accordance with the non-disparagement clause.
She sued in U.S. District Court, claiming that the clause violated her First Amendment right to speak freely about the government. She was joined in the suit by the Baltimore Brew. The Brew claimed that the city’s use of such agreements violated its free press right to investigate and report on matters of public interest such as police misconduct. That suit was thrown out by the District Court on summary judgment.
The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has reversed the District Court’s granting summary judgment in Baltimore’s favor and sent the case back to the lower court.
The City has not identified a comparably compelling public good or other legitimate governmental aim that was, or could be, furthered by enforcement of the non- disparagement clause (other than a general interest in using settlements to resolve lawsuits). Consequently, the City is not entitled to summary judgment on Overbey’s First Amendment claim.
we conclude that the Brew has sufficiently pleaded an ongoing or imminent injury in fact that is both traceable to the City’s challenged conduct and redressable by the court. As discussed above, neither the parties’ arguments below nor the district court’s disposition went meaningfully beyond the pleadings in evaluating the Brew’s standing. We therefore decline to do so ourselves— even though the order under review is nominally a grant of summary judgment to the City. Instead, we remand to give the parties and the district court an opportunity to develop the evidentiary record relevant to the Brew’s claims.
It will be interesting to see how the case unfolds.
Axios reports that She Guevara (aka ¡Ocasio-Cortez!) is being sued by Twitter users for blocking their accounts based on their political beliefs. The suits were filed after the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Donald Trump may not block Twitter users for their political beliefs, even on his personal account.
Laura Loomer is suing CAIR and Twitter. She alleges that Twitter improperly deplatformed her at the behest of CAIR. Here’s her complaint.
One of the lawyers representing Ms. Loomer is Ron Coleman. He recently successfully represented The Slants in their First Amendment case (Matal v. Tam) before the Supreme Court. He also was one of the lawyers who successfully represented Patrick Frey in the Kimberlin v. Frey RICO Retread LOLsuit.
IANAL, but the breach of contract claims being made against Twitter based on its unbalanced use of its Terms of Service to silence certain kinds of speech would have been the approach I would have taken against them if my account had not been restored after I had been permanently banned.
House Democrats introduced their so-called Equality Act in March. If it became law, it would strike down religious freedom protections for private citizens if they ran their own businesses on the basis of their beliefs. In post titled Mayor Pete Will Make You Bake the Cake over at The Washington Free Beacon, Bill Morris discusses Pete Buttigieg’s support for the proposed legislation.
Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg’s public calls for pluralism do not apply to religious small business owners.
South Bend Mayor Buttigieg has made his Episcopalian faith and tolerance a centerpiece of his campaign, but the policies he champions would force religious small business owners to participate in ceremonies they find objectionable under penalty of law. Buttigieg, who is married to a man, will keynote the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner. The nation’s largest LGBT lobbying group credited his support for the Equality Act for the invitation.
So let me get this straight (pun intended). Because this guy has been petitioning for redress of what he sees as grievance based on his personal religious beliefs, he’s been invited to peaceably assemble with likeminded individuals. Uh, huh. I suppose that’s fine to a certain extent, but would he do if the law he advocates passes—and a Muslim demanded he bake (or pay for) a cake advocating the firm application of Sharia to homosexuals?
I’ll bet he’d expect that his beliefs should prevail and be protected by the First Amendment because protected class.