Karoli is away from her blogging for jury duty at the moment, but her name has seen quite a bit of exposure at the blog of one Robert Stacy McCain in the last few days. I called her over the weekend and learned that McCain’s blog links are among the most commonly-shared items in the email trail of Groundswell, a conservative organization whose electronic footprint — like McCain’s website — is made possible by Ali Akbar. Karoli happens to be reporting on the story.
McCain is something of a professional hate artist. His years as a neoconfederate and racism apologist are the reason he’s listed as a hate speech advocate on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. But ask him about hate speech, and McCain will tell you the SPLC are simply terrible people, and liars, and should be hated for it. See how that works?
It is not enough to dismiss McCain as a racist, or homophobe, or misogonyst, all of which apply to him. His hate-writing is all-inclusive: McCain simply hates everyone, but especially liberals. He has developed relationships with Ali Akbar and Michelle Malkin to create a tableau of electronic diversity, but McCain remains as much of a professional hatemonger as he ever was. The execution is simply more personal than political.
Anyone who runs afoul of McCain’s right wing conspiracy theories becomes a terrible person. He has demonstrated this with Karoli more than once in the last several days, and then he did it to me, Karoli, and Mother Jones writer David Corn in a single blog post. How did I wind up in this illustrious company? McCain says we are terrible people, that the Groundswell story is no big deal, and that we should be hated for saying anything about it. So that’s how that works.
Although I have tweeted about it, I have not yet blogged about the Groundswell story, which McCain calls a “left wing conspiracy theory.” This theory, I am now learning, is based on lots and lots of emails, a very long recording, and a whole presentation by Groundswell describing a bizarre right wing persecution narrative. “HYDRA: How The Left Plans To Destroy American Elections” (see below) is a view into the closed epistemology of people who call immigrants “an invasion.”
Karoli posted part one of that recording at Crooks and Liars, while Corn has read volumes of email and published about them at the MoJo website. And I have tweeted about it all because I think it’s an interesting story, but of course that just proves…um…something about Neal Rauhauser, and some right-wing conspiracy theories that McCain has been peddling for over a year now.
Groundswell appears to be an organization dedicated to opposing progressive nonprofits in court and Congress. HYDRA manages to sweep every voting integrity organization, union, and civil society advocacy group into one conspiratorial mess, but Groundswell has the power to make House leadership attend late-night conference calls and adopt these idiotic conspiracy theories as legislative action. Whatever your progressive mission — voting rights, economic rights, civil rights, whatever — they will replace your issue in Congress with an imaginary one of their own.
Mainstream media has tried to examine itself over the Benghazi story as well as the IRS story, and at best they have managed to out a CIA station that was apparently shuffling arms from Libyan rebels to Syrian rebels. Yet Darrell Issa carries on unashamed with his Tom Clancy novel investigation and a contrivance about persecuted nonprofits while the media wonders: why? The answer is Groundswell, and that’s not a conspiracy theory. It is the grassroots tea party and its favorite blogs telling the House of Representatives what to talk about, with those same outlets advising how the story should be told. It is the scandal that Andrew Breitbart’s Journolist story pretended to be.
But never mind, says R.S. McCain, because Karoli is a horrible person and we should all talk about that instead.
My friend Karoli went through tough times last year. A piece of internet scum named Jason Wade Taylor felt compelled to dox her family, and he was so incomprehensible that we couldn’t actually understand why he was calling for people to hurt her, or why he kept telling absurd lies about her. Then Karoli learned about some emails Andrew Breitbart had received on the night he died, from which I now quote:
a. Crooks and Liars.com is the only website advertised on this smear site (evidence & particulars have been documented already)
b. Neal Rauhauser is one of the only ones who have posted there
c. John Amato is the owner of crooksandliars.com (we have all the players involved, including Karol Kuns (@karoli) and Diane Sweet)
d. Anonymous has been advised that this site also obtained two internet names attached to the crooksandliars domain, that being…
occupyamericapac.org – Created 10/6/2011
occupyamericapac.com – Created 10/5/2011
We believe these are the hidden, dormant accounts waiting to take over once Anonymous is fully co-opted
It is hard to overstate how wrong this stuff is. Rauhauser has never blogged at Breitbart Unmasked, as any reader can tell just by comparing styles. Occupy America is a sister site of Crooks and Liars that is neither dormant nor hiding. All of this bad information was nested in a bizarre social engineering scheme to subvert Anonymous and blame “the left.” This was more than a conspiracy theory: it was an action plan by a conspiracy of lunatics, and they had Karoli in mind. So she wrote about what it was like to be swept up in bizarre right wing conspiracy theories starring Neal Rauhauser and Brett Kimberlin, subject to the hateful eliminationism of incoherent obsessives. And that, McCain posits, makes Karoli a terrible person.
Andrew Breitbart had a special hate for Karoli. Breitbart hated many people, including me, but he sicced trolls on her more than once, and she was hardly his only target to notice that he seemed to especially relish confronting women. The moment his heart burst from too much social media hate, dozens of Twitter accounts suddenly stopped tweeting at Nadia Naffe. Nobody knew how to hate better than Saint Andrew — except perhaps for McCain, who is a hate artist. He thinks Andrew’s hate for Karoli is reason enough to dismiss her, and calls her “stupid.” After all, only a stupid person would see the person who wrote those emails to Breitbart tweeting with Jason Wade Taylor and conclude that they are, y’know, talking to each other.
Speaking of those who talk to one another: Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News Network, apparently took part in Groundswell meetings where it was decided to push the Benghazi story. At MoJo, Corn remembered how the living Breitbart pushed the Journolist story as “the epitome of progressive and liberal collusion that conservatives, Tea Partiers, moderates and many independents have long suspected and feared exists at the heart of contemporary American political journalism.” Invert left and right in that statement and you have something like the Groundswell story, complete with the wife of a Supreme Court Justice. Can you say “conflicts of interest“?
But how dare Karoli receive an anonymous recording of all this and publish it. She should be ashamed of herself! Because yada yada yada, she’s stupid and we hate her.
To me, the most interesting fact about Groundswell is the presence of Ali Akbar. Groundswell has also successfully pushed House leadership very hard on a fake IRS scandal, and Akbar’s National Bloggers Club is exactly the kind of fake nonprofit organization that the IRS ought to investigate. After I posted a group article about the National Bloggers Club at Crooks and Liars last year, McCain described it as a non-story, telling readers that we authors were liars to be hated and ignored. Because we can’t have a fake right wing nonprofit organization spoiling the narrative, can we? As Karoli wrote in her timeline of the Groundswell effort:
On May 21, 2013, True the Vote, represented by ActRight Legal Foundation, sues the IRS for not granting their tax-exempt status and targeting them for their beliefs. ActRight Legal Foundation uses Cleta Mitchell as one of their consulting attorneys. Mitchell is a well-known and very high profile litigator on behalf of conservative causes. There are very few conservative nonprofits that don’t have Mitchell’s fingerprints all over them.
True the Vote goes all over conservative media with their tale of woe. Their message: The IRS was used as a tool by the liberal president to target conservatives and suppress their free speech rights. Until True the Vote was a victim of the terrible IRS, they were under Congressional investigation for voter suppression, by the way.
In fact, the IRS had ample reason to believe they were a partisan, political group who was not simply acting on behalf of voters everywhere. But that did not stop Engelbrecht from pushing forward with her anti-voter initiatives while simultaneously leading the charge against the IRS.
And if you wonder whether Akbar pushed anyone on the false narrative of tea party organizations getting special scrutiny to perhaps prevent the IRS from prosecuting his own fake nonprofit tea party organizations — well, I wonder about that myself. It’s a good question, one that “real journalists” should ask. Ones that have legal departments in the building, because blogging about this stuff has proven scary at times.
Three of the authors on the National Bloggers Club post — myself, Melissa Brewer and Bill Schmalfeldt — have also been subject to doxing, harassment, death threats, and various acts of intimidation in the year since the article ran. Jason Wade Taylor played an outsize role in this activity. McCain addressed us by name in his response to the National Bloggers Club post, assuring his readers that it is okay to hate and ignore us. Now he says Groundswell is not a story because of some trolling on Twitter in 2010, and Neal Rauhauser, and Anthony Wiener’s penis. No, really, that’s it.
We liberals are just terrible people. Jason Wade Taylor knows, and he has R.S. McCain to remind him every day.