Did a Liberal Jihadist Fabricate Paladino’s Emails?

carlrally

With respect to the headline, Betteridge’s Law applies.

The tea party held its “yay Carl” “rally” on the steps of City Hall Wednesday, and here is the transcript of Jul Thompson’s remarks. Allow me to highlight this section:

The legend goes, that among his many other colorblind activities like employing scores of African-Americans, Carl Paladino is the primary financial support to an inner-city black church that ministers to the homeless. I wanted his campaign for governor to share this information after a liberal jihadist fabricated some emails and charged Carl with racism. But I can’t provide details, because as a humble man, Carl didn’t really want this information public.

I am that “liberal jihadist”. This is the second recent occasion on which Ms. Thompson has directly accused me of “fabricating” the Paladino email cache that my colleagues from WNYMedia.net and I released in 2010. Since she has repeatedly made that false accusation, it is incumbent on me to rebut it.

First of all, let’s re-examine Paladino’s own words. He never denied sending and forwarding the emails.

I re-sent emails that were sent to me by others… that’s all

The day the emails were released, Paladino’s own campaign released this statement:

Carl Paladino has forwarded close friends hundreds of email messages he received. Many of these emails he received were off color, some were politically incorrect, few represented his own opinion, and almost none of them were worth remembering.

We’re not surprised the political establishment feels threatened by Carl’s drive the take Albany back for taxpayers. Our campaign won’t be wading through the details of what is just another liberal Democrat blog smear.

No one said the emails weren’t his. No one said he didn’t send them. No one accused anyone of “fabricating” them.

Finally, if Paladino didn’t send these – if I ‘fabricated” them, why did he apologize for it in 2010?

REPORTER: Do you think it was appropriate to send out some of these emails

THOMPSON: I just said that, didn’t I? No it wasn’t. Was it appropriate for him to forward these things on? No.

Paladino said he did not create the emails, but merely forwarded them to friends before he became a candidate.

Paladino tried to explain himself during a brief appearance on the Fred Dicker Show on 1300 AM in Albany Tuesday Morning.

DICKER: Why did you pass this stuff along. Why didn’t you send it back and say, ‘return to sender? It’s too ugly.’ We only have about 40 seconds.

PALADINO: Well, you know, over the years, when your friends are sending you emails, ok, that are funny at the time, okay, that are not intended to be anything other than a humor amongst friends, that you re-send stuff. And I did that.

DICKER: You find…

PALADINO: … And I acknowledge that.

DICKER: … use of the word n****r humorous? I mean, that’s a pretty horrifying word these days. And understandably so, you know.

PALADINO: Well, they… well…. at the time and moment, okay when you see Ronald Reagan dressed in drag or you see a, uh (RADIO BREAK MUSIC PLAYS), uh, Obama, okay, picture…

DICKER: Yeah, the, uh, pimp’s outfit.

PALADINO: Whatever. That kind of stuff is going to happen, but that has nothing to do with the campaign.

and

“I regret having been somewhat careless in the way I re-sent e-mails that I received. I didn’t originate any of these e-mails. Whenever I received an e-mail that was political, off color, politically incorrect , whatever, …I sent it to a very specific bunch of friends who somewhat enjoy that sort of humor. “

Certainly someone innocent – someone who is a victim of a vicious fabrication – would never, ever apologize for something he never did and by which he was being victimized. Jul Thompson is, simply put, a liar.

Finally, if you doubt their authenticity, here is one of the emails that Paladino forwarded, and it specifically sent this video around: purporting to be footage of the “Rehearsal for the Obama Inauguration”, it depicts African tribesmen dancing in the jungle. To call this racist and vile would be an understatement.

Here is how that email was forwarded to Paladino (click to enlarge images):

Here is Paladino forwarding it out to his friends and colleagues:

Here is the reply from one of the recipients:

And Paladino’s defense:

Want to verify the authenticity of these emails? Why not contact one of the people who received it. In 2010, I redacted that information.  Now that an ally of Paladino’s has twice accused me of fabricating them, I must defend against such falsehoods.

Here’s another. It’s making fun of motivational posters, and I omitted the pornographic ones, but kept in the ones that use the word “fag”, denigrate black people, and mock those “damn Asians”.

When these were first released, part of the Paladino campaign’s strategy was to attack us, the people who published these emails for being liberal bloggers. It was true, after all – we were liberal bloggers. However, we never would have deliberately manufactured something out of whole cloth just to attack Carl Paladino. We have strong opinions, sometimes aggressively expressed, but would never fabricate some grand, international fraud.

Why would some tea party activist from some far-flung exurb be so invested in the travails of the Buffalo school district, with which she has no true interest and in which she has no genuine stake? On the one hand, this is sheer cultism at its core, protecting her Carl against the mean people; as if Carl couldn’t do it himself and needs her help. On the other hand, she agrees with the underlying goal, which is creating havoc in the public school to bring about political control and/or privatization. The target is the public school system in America, writ large.

New York City’s Fallen

Via Facebook

The assassination of two New York City Police officers Saturday is abhorrent and shocking.

The fact that the murderer used the death of Eric Garner as an idiotic excuse to is appalling and sick. He committed suicide. will likely be tried and convicted of 1st degree murder.

That George Pataki, likewise, is a sick asshole.

Here’s what De Blasio had to say:

Here’s what Eric Holder had to say:

“I condemn this afternoon’s senseless shooting of two New York City police officers in the strongest possible terms. This was an unspeakable act of barbarism, and I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of these two brave officers in the line of duty.

“On behalf of all those who serve in the United States Department of Justice, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the officers’ loved ones and colleagues. I will make available all of the resources of the Department to aid the NYPD in investigating this tragedy.

“This cowardly attack underscores the dangers that are routinely faced by those who protect and serve their fellow citizens.  As a nation we must not forget this as we discuss the events of the recent past. These courageous men and women routinely incur tremendous personal risks, and place their lives on the line each and every day, in order to preserve public safety.  We are forever in their debt.

“Our nation must always honor the valor — and the sacrifices — of all law enforcement officers with a steadfast commitment to keeping them safe.  This means forging closer bonds between officers and the communities they serve, so that public safety is not a cause that is served by a courageous few, but a promise that’s fulfilled by police officials and citizens working side by side.”

And President Obama:

I unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City. Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification. The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day – and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day. Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal – prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.

And the head of one of New York City’s police unions:

There’s blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence on this street under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did everyday. We tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.

So, some people see this as the despicable criminal act that it is, and others are making political hay from it.  It’s not so much a tragedy for them as it is an opportunity.

The idea that people protesting excessive police force have “blood on their hands” would be laughable if it wasn’t so emetically disgusting.

We should be respectful of the police, who put themselves in harm’s way day after day.  We depend on them to keep order, to protect us, to protect our things, and to catch criminals. Our laws and society convey upon police special privileges that you and I don’t share. By the same token, the police must not abuse those privileges. Saying these things doesn’t mean you condone violence against them.

Here’s the bottom line: you can simultaneously believe that cops shouldn’t be choking people to death for selling loosies on a sidewalk, and that people shouldn’t assassinate cops. Violence is wrong, period. Justifying either type one is absolutely sick.

Mike Madigan’s Defamation Per Se

An open letter to Mike Madigan, tea party activist and former candidate for Congress.

Dear Mr. Madigan:

On November 26th, you published two items to your Twitter account, reproduced and linked-to below:

Please be advised that these Tweets are patently false, misleading, and defamatory.

Specifically:

1. I am not “obsesed w” [sic] or “stalking” Kathy Weppner or any member of her family. “Stalking” is a crime in New York, and in accusing me of committing this crime, your defamation is actionable per se.

2. I did not take “her name”; i.e., I am not the person behind the @kathyweppner4ny Twitter account, nor have I started or maintained any Twitter account to parody or otherwise comment on Kathy Weppner or her campaign. More to the point, there is not a single syllable that I wrote or spoke about Kathy Weppner that was not done under my own name.

3. “Bullying”: Weppner was a candidate in an adversarial election, and under no circumstances did I “bully” her. Unless you believe that using Weppner’s own words and beliefs against her within an electoral context is “bullying”, in which case we might have a fun time examining your past pronouncements.

Furthermore, like stalking, harassment is a crime in the State of New York, and accusing me of same is also libel per se. I have not gone after Weppner’s family in any meaningful way, and I was not the person who captured images from her childrens’ apparently open Facebook accounts in order to criticize them.

I am not @kathyweppner4NY, and I have committed no crime. Although I am arguably a public person, you accused me of “taking” Weppner’s “name” via that Twitter account with no proof whatsoever of that fact.  You didn’t even bother to ask. Under the law, you made your false statement of fact on that point with actual malice; i.e., with reckless disregard to its truth or falsity.

I tried to respond on Twitter, first with anger, then with humor, but you have chosen repeatedly to ignore me, so I find myself forced to make this demand.

As such, demand is hereby made that you immediately delete the aforementioned Tweets, and issue a retraction to your followers. If not removed before December 16th, I reserve the right to take any further action I deem necessary, including, but not limited to, seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly.

(The foregoing was sent to Mr. Madigan yesterday by email and via Facebook message. I have not heard back, but he promptly blocked me on Facebook, indicating receipt.)

Michael Brown Didn’t Deserve to Be Shot 6 Times

The grand jury in Ferguson did not indict Darren Wilson for any crime in connection with the homicide of Michael Brown.

Darren Wilson wasn’t on trial; the grand jury was not charged to find him guilty or not guilty.

Their only authority was to determine whether probable cause exists to hold him over for trial on any of a number of crimes. For the life of me I can’t fathom why the altercation with Michael Brown – as described – necessitated emptying a clip into him, and asking a law enforcement officer to answer for that to a jury seems to me to be a reasonable thing.

A kid who stole some cigars doesn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street. A kid who was rude to a cop, or walking in the middle of the street doesn’t deserve to be shot to death. The list of non-lethal ways to deal with any of those situations boggles the mind. Perhaps Officer Wilson could have just waited for backup before confronting two suspects by himself. If we take Wilson’s account at face value – right down to the description of Michael Brown’s face as “demonic” – Brown deserved to be arrested and prosecuted; not shot and killed.  Unfortunately, Brown’s side of the story will never be told. From the New York Times,

Some witnesses said Mr. Brown never moved toward Officer Wilson when he was shot and killed. Most of the witnesses said the shots were fired as he moved toward Officer Wilson. The St. Louis County prosecutor said the most credible witnesses reported that Mr. Brown charged toward the officer.

Some witnesses said that Mr. Brown had his hands in the air. Several others said that he did not raise his hands at all or that he raised them briefly, then dropped them and turned toward the officer. Others described the position of his arms as out to the side, in front of him, by his shoulders or in a running position.

Those differences in witness testimony is why you have a trial. Jaywalking and petty larceny don’t justify 12 – TWELVE – bullets being fired at an unarmed man. Read this summary of the account of Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time.

The prosecutors control the grand jury process and the old adage that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich is not unearned. Indeed, it is exceedingly rare for a grand jury to not indict someone. Although this grand jury had more leeway to conduct its own investigation, because it’s a law enforcement production, there will forever be a taint on a process where all of a sudden a cop is not indicted for what many perceive to have been an unreasonably excessive use of force under the circumstances.

It would have been nice for the family and the community for that question to be tried to a jury, rather than aborted at the indictment stage.

Finally, although I don’t see any reason to believe that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown because he was black, I see a lot of palpable racism being directed at Brown and his family online. Any way you slice this, the homicide of Michael Brown was an unnecessary tragedy.

The Ferguson police department and the actions of Officer Wilson are under federal investigation, and Brown’s family will have recourse through the civil legal process.

Hamburg and the Constitution

The right to blog anonymously is a right. The Hamburg School District is trampling all over that right, and sends a poor message to the students it purports to represent

I have never read the “Hamburg Educational Ethics” blog, which is written by the “Concerned Hamburger” anonym, but whoever writes it is a WNY blogger and, as far as I’m concerned, a colleague. 

I don’t know the first thing about what goes on in the Hamburg schools, but I know that the district doesn’t have to like what the author of that blog writes – in fact, they can hate it. But that doesn’t give them the right to serve a subpoena to “out” its author. 

Criticism of a school district is, after all, political speech – in 1st Amendment jurisprudence, political speech is afforded the very highest protection from government intervention or harassment. It is unconscionable that the district – which is a government entity – is so blatantly violating the 1st Amendment in an attempt to silence a critic. This is the stuff dictatorships do. It is absolutely unacceptable in this country. 

One of the blog’s anonymous commenters, who is also subject to the district’s subpoena, wrote this

Dear Readers….

Recently Concerned Hamburger received an email notification from Google indicating that the Hamburg School District, through their attorney Dick Sullivan of Harris Beach~ a commercial real estate attorney moonlighting in education and constitutional law~issued a subpoena to Google demanding the identities of Concerned Hamburger, Super and Klozman.  Immediately, Concerned, Super and Klozman, remaining anonymous,  hired a constitutional attorney to quash the subpoena.  You see readers~ we have the right in this country to voice our opinions and state the facts as we see them.  For almost three years and approximately 300K page hits, Concerned Hamburger has been operating as a citizen journalist reporting on the antics of the public faces of the Hamburg School District. Concerned is dedicated to reporting, and will continue to write on the school district despite their efforts to silence me and others.  It has been reported to Concerned Hamburger by many sources, that Dr. Joan Calkins has a vindictive and demonic alter ego.  Joan’s “other self ” has reported thoughout the Hamburg Community that she will unmask Concerned Hamburger, and she will cause financial harm to the victims of frivolous and baseless lawsuits she and Steve concocted.  Fortunately, turn around is fair play, and it seems that the plans of the District, the Bored of Education, Mr. Abramovitch and others will have unintended consequence never deemed fathomable on the onset of their witch hunt.  

Frankly, if the behavior of the the Bored of Education and Mr. Achramovitch was not so egregiously corrupt, there would be no material to report.  Instead, you the reader~of which there are many~ have been give factual, and sometimes humorous, accounts of the insidious behavior. 

Concerned Hamburger has already spent thousands of dollars attempting to protect their rights, and it is likely the the district has spent tens of thousands on this witch hunt.   This latest stunt by Steve and Joan et. al. should shock the conscience of any reader.  Taxpayer dollars intended to go to children to support a fair and balanced education in accordance with NYS Constitutional Law instead is being used to strip  Federal and State Constitutional rights from private citizens- who are taxpayers. Steven Achramovitch ought to be fired immediately, and charges should be filed against each and every board member individually and collectively. A groundswell of anti-Joan and Steve support it growing across this community, and it appears this is only the beginning. 

Sincerely,

Concerned Hamburger 

That’s the nice thing about the 1st Amendment’s protection of political speech – if you don’t blatantly libel someone (that is, knowingly or negligently publishing a false statement of fact, depending on whether the subject is a public figure or not), you can write whatever you want. For instance, the author above refers to people as  “corrupt”, “frivolous”, “vindictive” and “demonic”. Those are statements of opinion, not fact, and opinion cannot be false or true – it is protected speech. 

A quick scan of the front page of the blog reveals recitations of facts dealing with school policy and budgeting, and opinion about those facts. Nothing appears to be defamatory or otherwise actionable. The fact that the district took action against the bloggers and not individual members who feel insulted helps enhance the Constitutional issue.

Bloggers have rights with their foundation in the 1st Amendment.  Anonymity is sometimes used by bloggers to shield them from repercussions at work. In 1995, the Supreme Court held that anonymous speech is protected speech

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

The Federalist Papers were written by anonyms. The Hamburg school blog may be no Federalist Papers, but it is still important to protect anonymous political speech, and the district’s efforts to use the courts to chill speech critical of it is reprehensible. 

While a minority of western New Yorkers expresses weeks’ worth of righteous Constitutional outrage over a gun law that only slightly tightens what were already the most restrictive gun laws in the country, this – this infringement on protected political speech deserves at least the same reaction.  

Perhaps the district’s social studies teachers can add this to their curriculum.