As the Breitbart.com blogger responsible for “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day,” Lee Stranahan has been a central figure in one of the weirdest nontroversies ever concocted by East Blogistan. If you haven’t heard this one, it supposes that an obscure liberal activist is somehow responsible for everything everyone has ever said on the internet about right wing bloggers. Before I get into the weirdness that is Stranahan’s world, I’ll let Alex Pareene of Salon.com explain the Kimberlin-mania:
Basically you have a large group of people who receive a great deal of joy from pretending to be the victims of unprovoked and terrible persecution, and they are united against an incredibly litigious narcissist — possibly because he is attempting to block them from exposing his past through intimidation, or possibly because they’re attempting to block him from exposing malfeasance by the activist right. Or maybe a little of both.
From my point of view, Kimberlin’s story is actually quite simple: having served his time in prison, he became an activist. Perhaps he is a narcissist, but Stranahan is incredibly narcissistic himself — so self-centered, in fact, that hackers took down his website all weekend in retaliation for his lunatic conspiracy rants and obsessive posting of private information about random Twitter users and innocent bystanders. Remember, not too long ago Stranahan was part of Citizens United’s very bad movie about Occupy and Anonymous. As far as the hackers are concerned, Stranahan is overdue for corrective action.
But Stranahan is not a nut to be easily cracked. He started publishing “in exile” at WordPress.com — and quickly began drawing new battle lines on his imaginary blogwar map. Team Kimberlin is defined thusly:
- They defend serial bomber Brett Kimberlin in a dishonest way, using arguments that Kimberlin himself has used.
- They are in the orbit of Kimberlin‘s associate and dirty tricks operative Neal Rauhauser.
- They have a common set of enemies that they attack on social media or blog posts. These enemies include Patrick Frey, Liberty Chick / Mandy Nagy, Aaron Walker, R.S. McCain, Ali Akbar, Brandon Darby, James O’Keefe, Seth Allen, Heather Chase, Imani Gandi, the late Andrew Breitbart and me. Note that the list of enemies includes people on the left and right, plus family members including wives, husbands, and children.
- They communicate with each other frequently and share information, both publicly and privately.
- They engage in consistent dishonest attacks against their enemies that use tactics like disinformation, concern trolling and accuse the accuser.
Stranahan follows this nonsense with a list of people on Team Kimberlin, and yes, I’m on it. Of course! Because out of the more than four thousand blog posts at Osborne Ink prior to today, a grand total of THREE mention Brett Kimberlin at all, and only in passing. The earliest is dated July 11, 2012, about four weeks after the first time Lee Stranahan tried to insinuate that I was on “Team Kimberlin.”
You see, this was always the direction Stranahan was going.
The “common set of enemies” bullet point above is the most revealing section. The three names I have boldfaced are a sign of things to come: Heather Chase and Imani Gandy are feminist activists at the heart of the late unpleasantness in the #p2 hashtag. Stranahan has been their attack dog since early June, and now claims them as co-belligerents against an imaginary army.
(For her part, Gandy denied being part of “Team Stranahan” Sunday night. Given how strenuously she has tried to avoid being named in any “conspiracy theories,” it must be a special hell for her to get dragged into this one.)
Interestingly, Stranahan includes Chase and Gandy with Seth Allen, a mentally-ill chemtrails fanatic and cyberstalker. In 2007, Allen became obsessed with the notion that Kimberlin owned the liberal blogosphere because sane liberal bloggers weren’t giving him the time of day. Having failed to impress anyone on the left, Allen pimped his ravings about Kimberlin to Andrew Breitbart and Patrick Frey in 2011. Already aware of Kimberlin and eager to create a bogeyman, they removed the most lunatic parts of Allen’s thesis, added their own flourishes, and endorsed it for the right wing blogosphere.
Just before his death, Breitbart was working with a right wing obsessive known as @ZAPEM to implicate as many liberal outlets as possible in the new iteration of Allen’s obsession. (Click here to see the .PDF of Breitbart’s final correspondence with @ZAPEM, or click here for a relevant post about it.) The name Neal Rauhauser figured large in that narrative, as it does in this one.
Rauhauser recently trolled @ZAPEM off of Twitter altogether; they are longtime foes. Incredibly, Stranahan now lists @ZAPEM as a member of Team Kimberlin, and presumably therefore an ally of Rauhauser — along with every conservative blogger who just happens to be at odds with Lee Stranahan.
“Team Kimberlin,” then, is actually a list of Stranahan’s enemies.
For example, the list now also includes Jason Wade Taylor aka “Randy Hahn,” con artist and linchpin of the late unpleasantness, who recently turned on Heather Chase after one too many manipulations. In Stranahan’s crazy-mind, all those death threats Taylor made to me and other people on Stranahan’s “Team Kimberlin” list were just cover for his real agenda. Or something.
Conflation is a deliberate enlargement of an inflated false narrative. Convolution is a deliberate muddying of waters to prevent exposure. The reason for this latest conflation and convolution from Stranahan is not hard to discern. Look at “Team Stranahan” again:
These enemies include Patrick Frey, Liberty Chick / Mandy Nagy, Aaron Walker, R.S. McCain, Ali Akbar, Brandon Darby, James O’Keefe, Seth Allen, Heather Chase, Imani Gandi, the late Andrew Breitbart and me.
Today reportedly promises to bring an end to the main “lawfare” suit against Kimberlin, as a judge will likely determine the claims against him are frivolous. Meanwhile, Stranahan, R.S. McCain, and Aaron Walker have spent most of the year fundraising on stories of woe and persecution at the hands of the dastardly Brett Kimberlin. Ali Akbar’s National Bloggers Club, for which Stranahan has repeatedly played fixer, was largely created to “fight back” against Kimberlin — and has raised gobs of money in the name of waging that blogwar. So what will they do to scare up cash when a federal judge dismisses their nonsense with prejudice?
The answer is that they are already creating a brand-new iteration of the same old nontroversy. Stranahan wants to incorporate Gandy and Chase into this persecution narrative beside Aaron Walker, an Islamophobic hate blogger who became the original right wing litigant against Kimberlin. “Team Stranahan” is now bipartisan, and just in time for Stranahan to scream bloody murder:
I’ve been given information from my web hosting company that makes it 100$ clear that the ‘brute force’ attack on my website was done by people connected to “Team Kimberlin”. Regardless of the motivation, it’s against the law. However, since it’s a clear attack on my First Amendment rights, you’re darn right that I’ll be pushing for a prosecution in the case.
Stranahan’s site appears to be suffering a sustained and brutal attack. As a fellow blogger, I sympathize with his plight; he has lost his press, and I would caution the hackers not to make a martyr of Stranahan by trying to make an example of him. But I think it’s telling that he substitutes a dollar sign for the percentage symbol in the above ‘graf. This is about fundraising.
Will Stranahan pass the hat again now as the champion of Chase, Gandy, and Robert Stacy McCain? Yes, leave it to Lee Stranahan to put a liberal African-American woman in the same sentence with a friend of the neoconfederate League of the South. Remember McCain’s “race science” articles in the Washington Times? Let’s take a trip back to 2007:
FishbowlDC, an Internet Web site of MediaBistro, reported on August 22, 2007, a huge blow-up in the newsroom at The Washington Times involving bad-tempered white supremacist assistant national editor Robert Stacy McCain and fellow editor Victor Morton, an orthodox Catholic – with McCain angrily resigning and slamming his way out of the building through side-doors where he always went every 20 minutes to smoke a cigarette.
[...] Fran Coombs and Stacy McCain for many years have ridden roughshod over newsroom colleagues of all ethnic and other backgrounds at The Washington Times with their explosive and vitrioloic racist white-supremacist tirades on a frequent basis.
Long before McCain rehabilitated his image by taking up with Ali Akbar and Michelle Malkin, he was best known for friendly coverage of white supremacists and slavery apologists. More recently, he was pushing conservative self-delusions about presidential polling. McCain has also been paying attention to the late unpleasantness, though I have largely ignored him because he already seems afraid of me:
That’s an anonymized link, and McCain is tweeting it to subtly suggest there’s something wrong or dangerous about my website. This is presumably because of my “ties” to Brett Kimberlin, a person I wasn’t aware existed until May of 2012, when Stranahan convinced everyone in East Blogistan to write about him. Go figure.
Shortly after that, Stranahan was trying to fit StopRush volunteers into his Kimberlin narrative. Go figure.
As I pursued Jason Wade Taylor into the bizarro-world of hackers and nuts from whence he apparently came, Stranahan and McCain and Brandon Darby all showed up looking to tag me with this idiotic rumor. Because I have posting privileges at Crooks & Liars, they decided I was a paid shill for the Great Satan himself. It’s not a bit true, of course — Kimberlin has no connection to C&L, and I was never paid to post there — but these people are making their own reality. Stranahan again:
There is extremely simple explanation about why Matt Osborne aka @OsborneInk and Matt Edelstein aka @Shoq are not good men.
Matt and Matt took personal, private information that women gave them and then these two men took that information and made it public as an act of vengeance.
That’s utter horseshit — note the complete absence of any specific information or context of who we supposedly did this to — and it’s coming from a man whose website is under attack because of his own relentless cyberstalking and doxing. Stranahan also has a history of “erotic photography” with models who appear to be underage, and he has apparently pimped his own wife to strangers. Yes, this is the man who says he will now protect womankind from us.
And speaking of women: Team Stranahan includes Patrick Frey, who published Nadia Naffe’s personal information at his blog in order to silence her charges of attempted rape by Frey’s buddy, James O’Keefe. Stranahan is such a defender of women that he tried to deflect that story yesterday afternoon, almost in the same hour that he projected his and Frey’s behavior on me.
Stranahan protects rapists and feminists. Bipartisan!
This war — East Blogistan versus Kimberlinia — is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. A blogging hierarchy is only possible on the basis of paucity and ignorance. This new version is the past, and no different past can ever have existed. In principle, the blogwar effort is always planned to keep bloggers on the brink of martyrdom. The blogwar is waged by the ruling right wing bloggers against their own readers, and its object is not a victory over either Kimberlin or liberals, but to keep the very structure of the conservative blogosphere intact.