My “mental health” problems, revealed!
Note: Inside baseball. Read at your own peril.
Some folks on Twitter yesterday expressed concern/confusion/dismay over my repeated and pointed attempts to contact both Michelle Malkin and Allah Pundit — with limited success. Actually, it went further that just my Twitter entreaties, which I was using as a performative to make the point crystal clear: I have been marginalized and blacklisted in some sort of way, and I want to know why that is. Their silence on the subject — save for Michelle’s one Tweet, expressing (unconvincing) confusion — served to make my point, at least to those with some history of the matter.
In addition to the Tweets — including one where I publicly posted my phone number — I sent an email to Michelle yesterday, as she’d counseled me to do when we last saw each other at BlogCon in Denver, which also incidentally was the first time (yesterday being the second) that I’d try to privately speak to her about what I find a very disturbing blogospheric trend: namely, the attempts that have been made to freeze me (and others) out of the mainstream online conservative opinion matrix.
I received no answer to the email. Nor did I expect one.
To those who know nothing about the history leading up to yesterday’s online exhibition, I was deemed a stalker, a beta male, or mentally unhealthy. Which opinion is precisely what remaining silent was supposed to engender in you — particularly those of you whose rise as bloggers and online activists is, from my perspective at least, relatively recent.
So now I’m going to reveal the larger story behind all this, which I realize is lost on this newer generation of bloggers and blog readers “born” after the Obama ascendancy in 2008. You are all free to ignore any and all of what follows. But it is what it is.
Prior to 2008-9, and in fact going back to 2002 / 2004, protein wisdom was one of the most respected and popular “right wing” sites in the nascent blogosphere. I have always called myself a classical liberal, and I still do, but I was early on lumped with “conservatives” or “libertarians,” though my self-description was party neutral and redounded to a profound respect for the founding ideals of this country.
Among others, Michelle Malkin, who began her own site sometime around mid-2004, credited me (along with people like Allah and Bill Ardolino, now of Long Wars Journal and Threat Matrix), for promoting her site early on in its infancy. Though we weren’t as powerful as, say, Instapundit, our links at the time nevertheless carried a lot of weight, and brought new eyeballs to a ton of new “conservative” sites.
Malkin’s site quickly became a success — due to Michelle’s excellent, unafraid, and dogged work, of course (many of us had been linking her columns regularly, long before she began blogging) — and Michelle was, if I remember correctly, the very first guest to appear on my Right Talk Radio show, “The Citizen Journalist Report,” which I co-hosted with Ardolino, then of INDC Journal (noted both for its Moonbat series, and for doing much of the forensic investigative work during Rathergate, for which Charles Johnson received much of the credit).
Back in the earlier days of the blogosphere, when John Hawkins (now of Townhall) was taking polls and giving out blog awards, protein wisdom routinely finished in the top one or two in best original content — mostly because I mixed the politics with political satire and other surreal bits, from doggerel poetry to on-running narratives about my driveway neighbor, an ornery armadillo, Islamists in bunkers or a CIA-affiliated dolphin. The Martha Stewart Chronicles were particularly well received; and along with my “interviews” (most famously I suppose with Ted Kennedy), my convention coverage (which fooled some smarmy writer at Salon into sneering at the level of “right wing amateur journalism”), and short fictions, my site took on the reputation of a kind of strange, cultish entity, one where readers could find dissertations on the nature of language, hermeneutics, interpretation theory, and the post-structural attempt to decouple meaning from originary agency — which I would illustrate leads without fail to the institution of cultural assertions and kernel rhetorical and linguistic assumptions that promote, and then finally entrench, tyranny — coupled with “commentary” from washed-up celebrities, discussions with Kleagle hoods, and things like, eg., “the pinball post.”
It was on the strength of this reputation that I did a few popular “Vents” for Malkin’s soon to explode-in-popularity Hot Air site (one of the first to use original video), and was welcomed as a charter member of PJM, penning one of the first ever posts to appear at that new enterprise — a fictional meeting between myself, Tim Blair, Roger Simon, and Ed Driscoll at an airport bar, a bit that seemed to infuriate Ann Althouse, who didn’t recognize it as a satire, and used it (and the live coverage of Thanksgiving Day parade I participated in) to sneer at the upstart organization.
All of which I note just to provide some context to my now three-years long dismay at what I’ve come to see as a kind of coordinated attempt to keep me marginalized among right wing opinion leaders. My marginalization, the point being, has nothing to do I don’t think with my output or the quality of my writing or thought. Instead, something else has led to it. And that something else is what has me so upset, and so willing today to write this post — knowing full well the response it’s likely to receive from many who even bother to read it.
Still, it’s an unburdening, and it’s mine, and this is my site, so you can skip it, de-friend me, de-link me, taunt me on Twitter, burn me in effigy (it’s okay, I’m not a Muslim, so you should be good), ignore me altogether, or write me off as a pseudo-intellectual psychosexual predator whose one goal in life is to destroy the reputation of Honorable and Righeous fighters for what is good and right and moral. It is this latter, in fact, that is a kind of sub rosa meme, and it’s origins are, to those in the know, entirely traceable.
Which brings me to the meat of the post.
Yes, I can be a dogged asshole who will fight for a position I believe to be the correct one long after any opponent wishes I’d just go away. And yes, I am willing (some would say too much so) to point out the problems I see with the thinking and strategies on my “own side” — often in bitingly sardonic ways. These things, I submit, I do because, ever since political blogging was in its infancy, I’ve always considered what we do a form of public intellectualism; and with my background as an academic, I truly believed, for the longest time, that we were having constructive discussions on issues, regardless of our party affiliation. Sure, egos would get involved. But in the end, it was about propagating the right ideas — the kinds of things that would wake up a country heading toward Idiocracy (by design).
– Which is why, for instance, I used to invite bloggers of all political stripes to guest post here — From Scott Erik Kaufman, now at Lawyers, Guns and Money (and a complete leftwing hack who likely sees teabagger racism in the color of John Elway’s ties), to Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft, to more mainstream libertarians like Steve Green — and why I held open debates between my site and left-feminist sites, or atheist sites, or sites that promoted intelligent design, and debated people like Steve Sailer and Aaron Hawkins on race, racism, and racialism. Early regular readers and commenters included, for instance, Matthew Yglesias, then a student at Harvard, later a writer and editor for the Atlantic, Slate, Think Progress, and other progressive propaganda outlets; and Andrew Northrup, who founded the influential Poorman site, which set the stage for sites like Sadly, No! and TBogg and other sites dedicated to personally attacking right-leaning figures.
The blogosphere was different place back then.
And I was a different kind of writer. I wanted readers to see the back and forth of intellectual rigor; to consider the arguments themselves, learn the finer points, understand the central assertions that were being contested, and watch how they were argued by people forced to confront one another rather than merely snipe from separate sets of ones and zeroes. I was never a Party guy. Hugh Hewitt isn’t the boss of me. And that’s the way I like it.
This dynamic was always the aim of my site. I never wanted it to be an “easy” site to read or, for that matter, immediately understand. In fact, so arrogant was I that I expected people to learn the site’s grammar by immersing themselves in it over a series of days or weeks, getting to know the inside jokes, getting a feel for the play between whimsical posts and the more serious academic discussions, etc. Those who caught on generally became long-time readers; those who didn’t were looking for something else, and more power to ‘em. I’m not a journalist, as my series of posts titled “I AM NOT A JOURNALIST” tried to make clear in its own understated way. My tagline? Ironic.
And that brings the story — and this post — nearly full circle. Beginning with the election of Barack Obama, the tone of my site began to change. I had watched as people on the “right” joined the leftwing culture-shapers in denigrating Sarah Palin, mercilessly at times, while often themselves elevating in stature a lightweight, largely unknown Marxist based almost entirely on certain cultivated identity markers: African American (but one of them clean and articulate ones, as Reid and Biden reminded us), whose political ascension could absolve “us” of “our” racial sins; a Columbia and Harvard education; a familiarity with faculty lounge jargon and academic cant, which gulled many RINO “thinkers” into believing he was a nuanced, “brilliant” pragmatist, open to the politics of big and important ideas and chin-scratching late night policy debates over a fine scotch: no more freedom fries and flag-waving rednecks, no sir! Obama would usher in the era of the polished academic politician who was a contemporary to many in the media who fawned over him (and, in a sense, lived vicariously through his meteoric rise), a man who saw problems three-dimensionally, not as simple aggressive maneuvers on a RISK board. He was the anti-Bush — and John McCain was, well, next in line. Though at least he didn’t shoot wolves from a helicopter.
This attitude toward Obama — whom the media failed to vet — was, we now know, completely misguided. Obama was who he had always been, a Marxist ideologue raised by a Communist, schooled in Marxism and leftwing activism (including revolution, by erstwhile revolutionaries), who made his bones first as a racially-demagoguing rabble rouser, then as part of the Chicago thug machine politics.
Large sections of Obama’s life were missing from his autobiographical accounts. Questions persisted about his early family life, his missing records, his seeming invisibility at universities he attended, even his very name.
– And yet, through all this, once he won the Presidency, many on the right declared the era of Reagan over (as if McCain represented the Reagan legacy in any way whatever), and told us we needed to embrace the new President, lest the GOP be reduced to a Southern regional party. Obama voters had bought in to hope and change. So now we had to pretend to, as well.
And many did — and began casting those who saw in Obama a looming ideological danger as “Visigoths” or “purists” or “true believers,” unhelpful to the goals of liberty, which, to these types, means electing Republicans, even if those Republicans aren’t particularly keen on protecting liberties.
It was at around the time of Obama’s election that someone pointed me to a particular instance of this kind of argument, a rather (I thought) maudlin bit using children as a rhetorical prop, which made the case that, while we don’t have to agree with Obama’s policies going forward, and while we must and should fight them when they clash with our own policy prescriptions for fixing problems, we still must nevertheless acknowledge that Obama is a good man and a patriot who wants what’s best for this country.
I vehemently disagreed, and I said so — and from that point on entered into a year’s long war of sorts with the article’s author, who believed I was attacking him personally — attacking his “honor,” as he kept referring to it — rather than doing what I always did, which was pointing out the dangers of blinding ourselves to certain truths, all for the sake of decorum. As Mark Levin is given to saying now, there is no nobility in pretending virtue exists where it does not. And if we can’t correctly identify who it is we are battling, we have put ourselves at an immediate disadvantage. Language matters.
That is to say, since the inception of protein wisdom in Dec of 2001, I have been arguing — against those on both the left and right, against both academics and lawyers, layman and professionals — that the way they’ve been taught to think about language and how it functions is itself the mechanism by which the country will necessarily continue to move leftward.
Today, nearly eleven-years on, I still believe that, and I’ve continued to write about it, though against what it now seems is a rather pointed resistance, largely from leading bloggers on the right, many of whom work in the field of law and rely on a particular set of ideas about language to justify certain conventionally professional practices. The influence of my arguments, diminished by some, adopted through mere repetition by others over the years, can be heard in the occasional feint toward intent or intentionalism — less a linguistic theory than a simple fact of communicative discourse, as I’ve described it. Intentionalism, I remind people always, just is.
This displeases those who wish to take control of signification and manipulate it for their own ends. But it is what it is, and as I’ve always often pointed out, how we get there matters. In the realm of interpretation, nobody accepts that we are “allowed” to begin with a conclusion and then reason our way backwards to justify the conclusion we’d already decided upon. At least, nobody accepts that who would call it “interpretation” with a straight face.
Along these same lines, then, when Rush Limbaugh uttered the now infamous line, “I hope he fails,” many on the right developed a case of the vapors. How dare he! How unhelpful! Obama is hugely popular; how will such a controversial utterance affect the mid-term elections? Do we want to remain forever in the political wilderness?
The reaction to Limbaugh was swift and often very nasty. Democrats tried to paint him as the de facto leader of the Republican Party. And for their part, the actual leaders of the Republican Party ran as fast as they could to distance themselves from Limbaugh.
One of those who discussed at length why he thought the Limbaugh soundbite was so very troublesome was that same writer with whom I’d battled over the characterization of a rank, race-baiting Marxist out to “fundamentally transform” the US (recall, Obama had told us he was about wealth redistribution, and saw all sort of problems with the Constitution; and he was known for his dirty politicking, as anyone from the Chicago Ryan campaign or the 2008 Hillary campaign would attest) as a “good man.”
And his position, which was a direct rebuke of the intentionalism argument I’d been offering for years, was elevated from his site to a guest post on Hot Air, where it was sure to gain a lot of attention.
So I contacted Michelle Malkin, who at time still ran the site, and asked if I could write and post a rebuttal. She was thrilled to have it, she told me, and that post appeared a day or two later. It was very well-received, and parts of it read on Mark Levin’s radio show that evening.
Point/counterpoint. A battle of competing ideas, one based in certain assertions deriving from the legal field, the other based in a foundation in semiotics, interpretation theory, and a cohesive idea of sign function in a communication chain — along with why it matters, and how it can be manipulated.
Public intellectualism. At least, that’s what I thought it was.
After that, which took place in 2009, I received one other mention from Hot Air — that concerning a perceived flaw in my “theory,” an attempted gotcha piece that I responded to on my own site. There has been nothing since.
Of course, there were extenuating circumstances, and that brings me to the point of this long recounting. The writer of both articles with which I took public exception seemed very bothered by both pieces. I became his enemy, a man he believed was out to destroy his reputation and destroy his honor. In point of fact, I didn’t give him much thought.
Until, that is, he wrote another piece — again brought to my attention by a reader — in which he joined Charles Johnson and others, including a (now) federal prisoner named Barrett Brown, in a consideration, I guess is a kind way to put it, of Stacy McCain’s potentially racist statements. Now, [the prosecutor] didn’t call McCain a racist — he made clear he would never do such a thing without knowing for sure McCain was, in fact, a racist; but he did wish his readers to examine certain statements, pulled from their complete context, to determine whether or not those statements were, in fact, racist. Discussion ensued. Polls were taken. But of course, no one was calling Stacy McCain a racist. They were merely looking at his speech to see if it, unattached to him somehow, was in fact racist. As if it spawned itself and made it’s way into the world, dishonorably and unfortunately attaching itself to Stacy’s name, though he himself need take no responsibility for being a racist merely because we could determine, by way of polling data, that his speech was in fact very very racist.
The assumptions that animate an argument such as the one being made concerning racist speech as uttered by a non-racist was, I proceeded to point out, based on faulty linguistic assumptions. At base, the battle was over competing ideas about how language functions: textualism, which allows a text autonomy outside of its original production and the agency (person or persons) who either produced or (in other instances, endorsed or ratified) it; and intentionalism, which would point out that you can’t have racist speech without at least some agency claiming to find racism in it, at which point, we need determine who or what is responsible for said racism. Either it was intended — in which case, it makes no sense to refuse to call, in the instance under consideration, Stacy McCain a racist, or at least, a racist at the time he wrote what he wrote; or else the “racism” wasn’t intended by the author, but was rather identified by the person or persons who received the message, agency now operative on the receiving end, that was being granted license to characterize what wasn’t intended as racism “racist” speech.
My goal was to work through this particular problem, and in so doing, work through what I believe are the dangerous errors in textualism, an interpretive stance adopted by many in the legal community including many conservative justices. By breaking down how textualism works — in short, it doesn’t function as it believes it does, but is rather a form of intentionalism that empowers readers and robs the individual who created the message / text of ownership, with respect to meaning, and once politicized, becomes nothing more than a kind of mob-rule, a motivated, consensus-driven replacement of truth with the kinds of “truths” asserted by anti-foundationalists — I’d hoped to point out its kinship to other populist interpretive movements (like, for instance, the long-discarded New Critic school), parallels I believed would serve my case for the dangers of “democratizing” interpretation, which sounds in keeping with American “values” but is in fact anathema to them, robbing the individual of a will to mean beyond that of what a majority declares he meant.
Because this way of thinking, inasmuch as it leads to the institutionalization of collectivist thought by way of our very epistemological assumptions (along with the ever-widening scope of “plausible” or “legitimate” palimpsests of interpretations by courts that are themselves merely newly expanded layers placed atop older, “plausible” or “legitimate” interpretations, many of which turn on incoherent hermeneutics), is, I’ve been arguing for over a decade here now, the foundation for the destabilization of our form of governance. That is, it is, philosophically and linguistically speaking, at odds with the Enlightenment ideas upon which this country and its Constitution were based, and it is intended to deconstruct, weaken, invert, neuter, weaken, and eventually overthrow the central tenets of that Constitution: individual autonomy, natural rights, limited government, checks and balances, separation of powers, and attempts by any government to assume it can grant you your natural rights rather than merely serve, through the consent of the governed, to secure them. A government who can’t grant those pre-existing rights cannot legitimately take them way. That way lies tyranny. And it is tyranny that lies at the end of an epistemology that is infected with the linguistic assumptions and assertions of Gramsci, the response theorists, the deconstructionists, the post colonialists, and every other branch of literary / social theory developed and promoted to problematize the basic “truths” of the Enlightenment.
And before anyone (still reading) objects to the notion of some sort of immutable universal truth proceeding from Enlightenment ideas, let me just add that the truth of the proposition is not what matters. What matters is that, as part of our social contract, which then leads to the formation of a government based around a set of agreed upon ideas, we agree to accept the proposition as if it were true. One not need believe in God to accept and abide by the concept of natural rights. One need merely do so. That agreement, that man cannot take away certain of our rights that pre-exists his authority, and that are part of birth right, are what is exceptional in American exceptionalism. Sure, Greeks probably believe in Greek exceptionalism. But that’s a slippery semantic dodge offered up by a leftwing ideologue who doesn’t understand or appreciate our country’s true originary genius, a man who is bathed in class warfare, identity politics, and the authoritarianism / “liberal fascism” that always seems to be the resting place after long bumpy marches toward progressive Utopianism.
So, you see, an argument that racist speech need not be attached to any particular agency — an argument of a type, incidentally, that is not at all uncommon, given that the predominant teaching of language function and interpretation today comes from the very leftist assertions that are designed to become entrenched in our thinking, and keep us losing even when we appear to “win” — is precisely the kind of argument that my site has always taken on, long before my encounters with the author of this particular misguided piece.
– Which is why the immediate blowback from my having done so — characterized by the writer of the piece discussing the potentiality of someone’s racism, publicly, as again trying to personalize an issue while being largely unconcerned with the content of the argument — was absurd and, given my site’s history, almost surreal.
I’d argued these points with people before, both on the left and the right. My archives are practically littered with such occasional pieces, generally brought on by some argument that uses faulty and, to my mind, dangerous linguistic assumptions of the kind that will, if not corrected, lead to a surrender of our liberties. Before we even saw it coming. (As a current case in point, look at what a hanging folding chair “means,” and listen to when and when not our free speech is to be used. When progressives are asking, do we put too much stock in free speech?, it’s time to perk up your ears, people.)
The point being, this was nothing new for me. But it was treated as some sort of assault on the character, integrity, and honor of a man who fights to put away criminals — while I, a pseudo-intellectual and stay-at-home Dad, can spend all my time plotting ways to destroy this man.
You want crazed paranoia? There it is. And it played out here and elsewhere on the web. In fact, so often did this person take to writing headlines with titles like “Jeff Goldstein plays the race card” or “Jeff Goldstein xxx” (you can look them up, there were a dozen or so, including 10 in a single week), I thought for sure I had so gotten under his skin — simply by making linguistic arguments and answering every single one of his assertions, publicly, in the form of a point/counterpoint — that he was losing his mind.
Eventually, to make my point as dramatically as possible that it is dangerous, dishonest, and disingenuous to write a number of public posts “questioning” someone’s racism without having the sack (and relying on legal training to avoid potential libel pitfalls) to take a position on the matter — that is, to indict through inference while pretending to keep your own hands clean — that I wrote a couple clearly satirical posts that mirrored nearly precisely the arguments and rhetorical methods used by this examiner of racism in order to illustrate, pointedly, just how easy and dangerous it is and can be to adopt the set the linguistic assumptions he’d adopted and continued to promulgate.
And even then, I did so only after his series of posts that would be titled using my name followed by some assertion of my evil, deceit, low breeding, etc. That these posts were known to be Swiftian in intent and content (read dicentra’s send up of the way the prosecutor was “arguing” here) didn’t seem to matter to him. Because plucked from that context, and relieved of their stated intent, they could be used to suggest to those who hadn’t been following all that closely that I was out to ruin him! He could show you the words: I’d accused him of being an anti-semite! Why, it was right there for any reasonable person to interpret as an attempt to ruin him! And the OUTRAGE would then flow like John Boehner’s little orange tears.
Which, guess he made my larger point for me, come to think on it.
My feeling was that he’d attempted to have his posts, with my name always in the title, appear under any Google search of my name. But whatever. Later, he would show up clearly inebriated in the comments section of my blog and the blogs of others and attack me personally, at one point posting over and over and over and over (more than thirty times in a single night, I believe) a pre-written piece of my supposed violent transgressions, complete with links, and crafted as an indictment, that included, among other dishonest tactics, errors of omission, decontextualization, etc. It was quite a sad sight to behold.
But then, a funny thing happened on the way to today (or yesterday rather, if you’re following all this). After this very public spat eventually began to settle down, I noticed that people who had often linked me or supported me over the years were now simply ignoring me. Among the most prominent were Michelle Malkin and Allah at Hot Air. Others followed suit. And pretty soon, it was quite obvious, particularly to long-time readers of my site, that something fishy was going on.
Was this sudden marginalization because I was rough on the GOP establishment and was often disgusted with Party-first types? Was it my support for certain TEA Party-supported candidates? Was it my honest and open distrust of Romney’s supposed conservatism? Was it the way I noted PJM’s tactless sudden dismissal of most of its affiliated bloggers? Perhaps. That, and my sometimes rather biting manner can be offputting, though for years when it was aimed elsewhere, it was roundly applauded by the people now avoiding me.
No. Something else was going on. Behind the scenes.
And I got a sneak peak of it from a set of emails sent me by a person who’d been in touch with the honorable man I was bent on destroying, which honorable man in the emails made the case that he was an honorable man I was out to destroy, and that I was crazy, a liar, potentially violent, decidedly unstable, and I needed to be stopped stopped stopped. For freedom. To be run off the internet, I believe the phrase was, though I’m paraphrasing from memory. [update: since writing this post, I've heard from others the prosecutor contacted through email to plead his case against my craven evilness, while selling himself as a man of goodness and righteousness - ed.]
In fact, here’s a direct quote from one of the prosecutor’s private missives regarding his plans for me:
But hey, if it will toss his ass off the Internet, maybe I’ll do it.
But why do it all in one post?
Nobody will read all that. Except him.
Maybe I’ll dribble it out over a couple of weeks.
One damning point every day.
Nothing but links and facts.
Now go run and tell your hero. This is going to last a WHILE.
Oh — and I know a few people too. I’ll be telling them what a fucking psycho he is. He was going to write a book? Good luck.
[note: earlier here I attributed to the prosecutor my paraphrase (at the time) of his email. I did so because while I was rereading an old comment thread yesterday -- the prosecutorial meltdown thread under a dicentra post, it was referenced in a comment aimed at the prosecutor and blockquoted, so I assumed it belonged to him. I regret the error. Still, the paraphrase captures the gist of the actual note, now posted above]
So I began to wonder: if this one person who posted the email chain (and was accused of violating a sacred trust for doing so) fishing for support and working on running me down had been in behind-the-scenes talks with a guy who wanted to run me off the internet, how many others had the prosecutor been talking to, pleading with, etc., that I didn’t know about. How many other such “conversations” had he privately initiated?
Now, keep in mind that the person in question — this honorable man whom I was unfairly and in a crazed rage out to destroy — is a skilled prosecutor for a large city. He is given, as others besides me have shown, to obsession, and as a prosecutor he is accustomed to presenting “evidence” in a way that is most damning to the person he is looking to prosecute. What is put in, what is left out, time lines, etc., — all can be manipulated for maximum effect, as even a hausfrau fiction writer and former academic like me knows.
And I suspect that the most effective deployment of these tactics would happen in a scenario where the person being prosecuted is unaware of the prosecution, and is never given a chance to respond to the charges, or to do his own wounded, concerned, charming offline special pleading.
This, I suspect, is exactly what happened. I was found guilty of attempting to harm the honor of a good man, and I was found guilty in absentia. And the word got around. It only took a few major players to buy in. Because that’s the way traffic works on the networked opinion matrix: cliques are formed, and narratives are driven and then reinforced through a kind of incestuous interlinking.
In addition to what I believe was a behind the scenes whisper campaign against me, this honorable man made, later on, an unsubstantiated claim, publicly, that I’d been sent some sort of legal document for the email harassment of some unnamed party. I immediately called on him to release the letter, release copies of the emails, or any proof that any such incident ever happened, such a letter was ever drafted or sent, or that I’d ever received it. He didn’t. The truth is, I never received any such letter because none was ever sent. There were no harrassing emails. And there was no real complainant. But, as an honorable man, the prosecutor couldn’t release the name of the supposed aggrieved, who told the prosecutor, the prosecutor then told us, s/he didn’t wish to be named. Though presumably s/he didn’t have that same concern when s/he sent me the letter, more than likely for legal reasons (as well as common sense reasons) containing the name that it was now important to keep concealed. Which s/he didn’t. Because this person never existed.
Or if s/he did, they weren’t particularly trustworthy. And may in fact have been playing the prosecutor, taking advantage of his zeal to run me down. The date of these claims was March of 2011. Please keep that in mind as I’ll return to it.
Anyway, it was a carefully delivered bit of public innuendo meant to reinforce a picture of me that had been crafted and perpetuated by this prosecutor over time, and once again, with his legal training, he was able to claim he was merely repeating something he’d been told, not making the charge himself.
Being publicly accused of a crime by a state prosecutor seems to me a serious deal. So I contacted the prosecutor’s office and demanded they look into it. The fact of that call was then used, I’d bet, to further build the narrative that I was so crazed and vindictive — and so bent on destroying an honorable man who just wanted to be left alone to prosecute gangbangers and cop killers — that I’d tried to cost him his job!
A wild thing, I was. The Devil himself! To be shunned by serious political commentators as a potential threat and a very real danger to society (though when Aaron Walker and this prosecutor were “SWATted,” I came to their defense publicly).
All carefully constructed. All privately and secretly sold. And all disgustingly false.
How shunned have I been as a result? Well, a reader did a bit of research, and found the following stats:
I used the terms that I’d found to be the ones used at the sites [ Pingback: (site name) >> ] used at Protein Wisdom and so on.
Pingbacks from Michelle Malkin at Protein Wisdom had 23 results total, 2007 had 7, 2008 had 14, 2009-10 had 0. 2011 had 2. Link.
Pingbacks from Hot Air at Protein Wisdom had 71 results total, 2005 had 1, 2006 had 1, 2007 had 5, 2008 had 62, 2009 had 2. Link.
Pingbacks from [prosecutor's site] at Protein Wisdom had 42 results total, 2006 had 2, 2007 had 1, 2008 had 17, 2009 had 9, 2010 had 13. Link.
Pingbacks/Trackbacks from Protein Wisdom at [prosecutor's site] had 42 results total, 6 in 2004, 24 in 2005, 9 in 2006, 2 in 2007, 1 in 2009.
[The prosecutor] changed from calling them trackbacks to pings some time in the 2007-2009 time frame. The absence in 2008 could mean he used a third way (though I don’t think he did) of referring to them for a time. If so I haven’t found it yet. He gets very few blog trackbacks so what he uses is hard to find.
So. It’s not an exact set of figures, I’m sure — for one thing, bloggers often link by keywords or author names, not site names, and trackbacks aren’t always generated — but the trend is clearly evident: No Malkin links in 2009-10. 2 in 2011, and none this year. With Hot Air, the big year was 2008. 2009 had 2 (I posted my Hot Air piece in 2009). With none since.
On the other hand, the prosecutor’s site saw links to protein wisdom spike in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Since then, nothing.
Meantime, while I was supposedly attacking this prosecutor’s honor, the big years for links to him from me were 2004-2006. Not during the time of our disputes.
Which brings me to the final revelation. Earlier in this post I mentioned a man by the name of Barrett Brown, a strange character, something an anarchist information revolutionary, who is now being held in prison in Texas for making threats against an FBI agent, among other things. Brown has gained a degree of fame / infamy as an unofficial spokesman (and let me stipulate, he doesn’t call himself this, the press and others have) for the notorious hacker group Anonymous.
Earlier this month, in retaliation for some other transgression Brown believe was being committed by conservative bloggers, Brown released a series of 2011 chat transcripts. In them, one of the things that is discussed is using Anonymous — the notorious hacker group — to manipulate my Google numbers and other such things that lawless hackers do to their perceived enemies. I was a “thorn” in the shoe that needed to be dealt with.
Now, to make this as pointed as possible: a state prosecutor, in an online chat with a rather dubious character, broached the idea of using the hacker group Anonymous to harm me, my site, and so my livelihood — and left it up to Barrett and those he said he’d contact in Anonymous to decide on the actual mischief to be done, because, as the prosecutor notes in the chat, he doesn’t want to hear in advance about anything illegal.
Legal training. Bases covered. Plausible deniability.
Whether this whole chat set-up was some sort of sting being run by the prosecutor, etc., — that’s of no real concern to me for purposes of this post. What IS a concern is that, in his otherwise laudable efforts to work on a separate dispute, he took time out to trash me yet again and, with someone he believed to be associated with a dangerous anarchist hacker group, discussed ways to make my “lies” about him disappear. At one point, Brown mentions that he could release to [the prosecutor] certain emails that he claims to have of mine. I wonder: do those supposed emails contain claims that I harassed someone? Were they emails supposedly written by me showing said harassment? Is Barrett Brown, under federal indictment, the source of a public charge leveled against me by a state prosecutor?
All to protect his honor? Which is granted, apparently, by Google? I leave that to you to decide. I just find the timing interesting.
Now. I realize there are very few people in the world who care about this. I also realize there are very few people who read through to the end — and that some of those who did are probably angry at me for having written this.
Well, let me just point out that I didn’t force you to read it. And that I really don’t care one way or the other what you think about it. It’s now out there. And I feel better that it is.
I wanted my concerns and suspicions aired publicly and on the record. So here they are, in one place, for all who wish to to read or not, believe or dismiss, and so on. Can I prove, beyond the limited instances for which I have actual physical proof detailing that there has been an orchestrated, behind-the-scenes effort to create a “Jeff Goldstein” who is far more crazed, evil, and malevolent than the one who spent the first 9 years of the blogosphere as one of the biggest banes to liberal intellectuals and leftist propagandists? No. But I can certainly let whomever wishes to do so decide for themselves. I’d also like to point out in passing that the forms my detractors on the right have taken to attack me very closely imitate those from the left. There’s another lesson about linguistic assumptions and inexorability in that observation, but I’m too tired to draw it out for you just now.
Here’s the thing, and I’ll wrap up now: I once ate dinner at Michelle Malkin’s house. Her family was over at my house for my son’s birthday 3 or 4 years back, and I drove my son the hour and half down to take him to her son’s birthday party when her family first moved to the state.
I worked with Michelle on a popular Hot Air Vent, gushed over by, among others, Allah.
And now, I can’t even get the courtesy of a return email, or a return Tweet, or a phone call.
Something happened to cause that. Yesterday, I finally decided to go public and ask why. I was greeted with a pointed and public silence.
When you blog, and you write what it is you truly believe, and do battle with what it is you truly believe is wrong or even dangerous, you’re bound to step on some people’s toes from time to time. That’s natural. But it needn’t, after the heat of the moment, stay personal.
Someone or set of someones has made all this very personal, and they have affected my friendships and my livelihood. But most sad, from my perspective, is that so many people who knew me either personally or from my writings over the years never bothered to give me the benefit of the doubt, or even inquire about my side of the story. Jeff let one his co-bloggers go! He refused to protect another one from a mean commentary by banning said commenter! Such treachery. And yet never mentioned? Is that I gave at the time unknown writers with no audience and no online name to speak of access to my rather large readership. Because I’m an evil ornery cad.
But. Such is the game and such is the “business,” I guess. And I’ll live with it. This post isn’t meant as a long whine, or a complaint, or even really an explanation. As I wrote earlier, it is more of an unburdening, and the making public of things that I’ve come to learn over the last few years. It is not meant to open up old wounds. Finding out that I a public official was open to having Anonymous come after me was all that was needed for that to happen, but I held my tongue, because I knew the release of that tidbit was timed to problematize [the prosecutor's] work combating the lawfare campaign against Aaron Walker and others.
Still, yesterday’s very ostentatious display of the extent of my shunning compelled me to write this post. It’s long past time I let it be known to a new generation of blogger taught to dismiss me exactly why it is they’ve gotten that message, whether directly or indirectly.
Also, the post itself serves as a direct rebuke to a certain set of “facts” supposedly surrounding me: I’m no stalker, for instance, no crazed psychosexual deviant, no felon, no harasser, and I don’t have mental health issues other than the anxiety and sometime depression brought on by watching our country taken away from us, knowing we are mostly powerless to prevent our children from being sucked into subjecthood and the slavery of soft tyranny.
But yes. I can probably kick your ass.
Happy day of atonement, everyone. And outlaw.
Tags: DDA, Hot Air, Malkin