Matchstick Man Endorses McCain’s Conspiracy Theory

paullemmenAccording to his WikiPedia entry, Paul H. Lemmen (pictured) “is a military impostor and convicted criminal, specializing in fraud.” Lemmen was arrested at a military funeral in 2006 wearing general’s stars and an Air Force uniform. In fact, he was just a civilian with a penchant for self-inflation, fraud, bad checks, and embezzlement. Now blogging openly as a supposedly-repentant con artist, last year Lemmen became a source of drama in the Brett Kimberlin wars, alleging victimization by all sides in turn, always with exactly the same credibility level one expects in a pathological liar and drama queen. Yesterday, the inveterate matchstick man endorsed a new permutation of the Kimberlin Konspiracy by alleging that I participated in seducing and then betraying him:

Their compliment laden missives and chats, the manipulation and bad faith are clearly seen in hindsight but were blinding bright then. These people are evil with evil intent and evil motives. I reject them and apologize for any posts, articles and/or comments I have made on their blogs, web sites or other media. These people, through false and misleading information supplied to me (some, I have learned were outright lies), manipulated and guided my writing to produce their desired output. I in effect became their virtual sock-puppet, producing harmful posts that they used to attack and smear people whom I respect.

Just to be sure, I have searched my email records and confirmed that I have never corresponded with Mr. Lemmen. Since I only IM chat with a select group of very close friends, I am quite sure I have never corresponded with him that way, either. I think he may have sent me a tweet once, but it was long ago. Surely Mr. Lemmen the convicted fraud and con artist has some, y’know, proof of my “evil” communications with him? Like an email address, maybe? Nope:

I have searched my computer for those articles, emails and chat transcripts to no avail. I had deleted then earlier this year in disgust at what I had done.

This transparent lie is ambitious. For example, Lemmen claims that the Crooks and Liars website was involved in this “social engineering” — a direct reference to this post about the National Bloggers Club (NBC) published at Crooks and Liars on September 12th, 2012 that indirectly cited his claims among dozens of sources. At the time, Lemmen was calling foul on the opaque fundraising habits and membership standards of the NBC after its President, Ali Akbar, was revealed to be a convicted debit card fraud. At the time, Lemmen claimed that blogger Lee Stranahan had acted as the NBC’s “enforcer,” leaning on him to retract his statements. Now he repudiates all that by claiming that “Crooks and Liars” has communicated with him in bad faith.

But as the executive author of the post, I know better. No one at Crooks and Liars communicated with anyone but me while the story was being compiled. My two co-authors on the article, Alex Brant-Zawadzki and Bill Schmalfeldt, were never in contact with website staff, as I am the only one of us with front page privileges at Crooks and Liars. Moreover, how did an entire website email and IM chat with him? If Lemmen had been in communication with a person at the site — an editor, for example — wouldn’t he post their name instead of the site name?

Maybe when he says “communications with Crooks and Liars,” Lemmen is actually thinking of this comment he left under the NBC post:


For reporting on this. I have forwarded this to Jeff Rossen and Sandra Thomas of NBC’s“The Today Show”. Hopefully they will sit up and take notice. Good work, fellows, you deserve kudos for the work. I also appreciate your kind and understanding treatment of myself and my struggle to get this story noticed and overcome the “Right Wing Thug Squad”. Thank you all …

If you are wondering why Lemmen would suddenly reverse himself more than a year later, the answer probably has to do with Brett Kimberlin’s defamation lawsuit against Ali Akbar and four other people, including Robert Stacy McCain. McCain, who is also an employee of Akbar’s Viral Read website, linked to Lemmen’s accusation before the electronic ink was dry. It just happens to fit within the framework of a conspiracy theory that McCain seems to think will exonerate him in court. Lemmen has been subject to a lot of pressure from his own side to fall in line and take part in the echo chamber again, while Kimberlin’s suit has made McCain and Akbar desperate. This is a recipe for fabrication.

Also tied up in his bizarre narrative: Melissa Brewer, who was credited as a research assistant on the NBC post at Crooks and Liars. McCain has spent the last week or so insisting that Brewer is somehow involved in a criminal conspiracy against him through the Breitbart Unmasked website. For example, he cites these tweets:


Friends celebrating a new blog launch, or sinister cabal of paid Kimberlin stooges plotting to smear R.S. McCain and his employer Ali Akbar? McCain will not only report, he will decide for you: we’re a bunch of evil, lying liberals who labor ceaselessly to defame and harass them. It’s all we do, day in and day out. If convicted con artist Paul Lemmen says so, it must be true! But you will just have to trust him on this one, because he was so outraged by our actions that he deleted all of his proof. See how that works?

If you wondered why McCain is being sued, it is because he treats people like Lemmen as reliable, primary sources.

Posted in East Blogistan | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

They Are The Disaster They Would Prevent

New Symbol of the Republican Party

In the 20th Century, our American nation realized that broad and destructive calamities required federal power to manage the business of disaster relief. Beginning even before the Great Depression, this collective response to natural and economic disasters characterized our liberal American state. In the 21st Century, a major political party uses its last grip on federal power to create a new disaster, one that fulfills their base need to reject the America we have become and replace it with the unmitigated emergency of their fantasies. A tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico now churns toward America’s shores while federal weather reporting and disaster response agencies remain shut down, hostage to the disastrous politics of people who actually cheer when eight hundred thousand federal workers are sent home. Indeed, the party of the right would rather see a full million federal employees get furloughed, and a thousand storms ravage our coasts, than accept an America with a black president and cheaper health insurance.

A nation so equal, so hardened against personal and public disasters, is their hell.

Disaster is not merely a means to an end for the modern conservative project; often enough, intentional disaster is an end in itself. It was not enough that this philosophy managed to win over so many Democrats that our laws allowed the economic disasters of recent years. They needed more than two parties could give, so the reactionary elements of our society have invested entirely in just one party. With the line long since erased between the lunatic fringe and the base, a few dozen gerrymandered Republicans now hold everyone else hostage in a stubborn act of nullification. This “suicide caucus” of the House Republican Party forms an echo chamber with its members’ most reactionary town hall participants and talk radio/FOX News voices.

These are people who actually believe their own propaganda, who actually do hoard guns and gold in full expectation of the American apocalypse, and who fantasize about tearing America down to replace it with an image of America’s past as they imagine it was. Do not underestimate the sway their dreams have over their waking minds. Even if they don’t know exactly what they want, they are sure they will get it by watching the world burn — and drown, and crumble, and come to pieces — because they think they can win a monopoly of power in the resulting chaos. In their rhetoric, right wing politicians constantly replace empowerment with firepower. After all, once everything goes to hell, he who has the guns and gold gets to make the rules, right?

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Posted in Austerity, Authoritarianism, Disaster Capitalism, Republican Party | Tagged | 1 Comment

Talking To The FBI

One week ago today, someone made a false report to the FBI concerning an apparent threat to their Buffalo, NY office. At about four o’clock in the afternoon, I was notified that a Special Agent from the Birmingham office was looking for me at my mail drop address accompanied by a local police officer. I arrived shortly thereafter to meet them. They were confused by the situation, which I unraveled as much as possible in about twenty minutes. I will not discuss specific details of the incident at this time except to say that it began with an odd Twitter account that retweeted me once in the wee hours of Friday morning. Right away, I saw that the account was associated with others that are part of the narrative threads of this blog over the last sixteen months.

Upon arriving home, I learned that R.J. Sterling of Erie, Pennsylvania received a similar visit a little earlier that afternoon. His first reaction was to say they needed to talk to me. Since then, the same Twitter accounts that constantly exhort people to contact R.J.’s workplace have crowed about the “achievement” of getting the FBI to visit him at home. This delusional behavior has a long history. Last year, R.J. was one of the first people that Jason Wade Taylor tried to recruit; some months later, Taylor phoned the Erie police department to report a bomb at R.J.’s place of employment.

The FBI does not consider either of us suspects, and both of us are cooperating. I have already been on a call with the Buffalo office and provided a great deal of information to them by email. One source within the Bureau says that an arrest has already been made, but the Buffalo office will neither confirm or deny that report. I will update as soon as further information becomes available.

Posted in crime | 3 Comments

Survivor! A Fundraiser For @EileenLeft

Lots of liberal and progressive Tweeps know that @EileenLeft, the creator of #ConnectTheLeft, had to walk away from her activism because her son needed treatment for a brain tumor. Her boy went to the hospital again recently: blood clots in his brain had to be treated with medication and drainage stents. A widow, she and her son finally returned home again yesterday after more than a week in the hospital. This emergency also took her away from work once more, and she had only just gotten back to earning a paycheck. On top of all that, her landlord now seems to think he can evict her from a house that he has refused to maintain.

Despite all these troubles, Eileen is proud, and doesn’t want to accept help. She also fears that using her email address to open a PayPal account will invite further attacks from certain parties on Twitter, a fear that I find legitimate. So instead, I’m throwing out my own PayPal button again; it’s coded to submit donations to Eileen’s Survivor Fund. I will forward whatever lands in my account with that earmark to Eileen — whether she wants it or not — because it’s okay to need help sometimes.

UPDATE 12 PM 17 SEP: I have just transferred $720 to Eileen’s PayPal account. Thanks to everyone who donated, and a special thanks to everyone who helped get the word out. It means almost as much to me as I’m sure it means to her.

Posted in Fundraisers | 5 Comments

Burned By Bush, Media Enables Syria Conspiracy Nuts With Concern Quotes

Nausea, twitching, and convulsions. Severely dilated pupils. Red, tearing eyes. Uncontrollable drooling and runny nose. These are the symptoms of a GB nerve agent attack that I learned at Army Basic Training. I used to have nightmares about the stuff, and they were triggered by every NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) exercise in protective gear. Via CNN, I now get to see my nightmares about contamination and decontamination come to brutal life in Syria. Watching the video above, I can no longer tolerate concern quotes in headlines about this event. What you are seeing here is the aftermath of a regime attack, and anyone who questions that fact is selling you a bridge.

It is not a secret that Syria has had a WMD program for decades and holds large stockpiles of chemical agents. Nor was this attack exactly a surprise, as the timeline of chemical warfare in Syria goes all the way back to July of last year, fifteen months into the conflict. American intelligence agencies first warned that Syria was loading chemical weapons into bombs in early December. Despite denials by the regime that these weapons would be used, by the end of that month the first YouTube videos were posted showing Syrian patients suffering what appear to be the effects of sarin gas (extremely disturbing example here). That same month, the head of Assad’s military police defected to Turkey, where he charged the regime with using sarin gas in Homs. By April, European, American, and Israeli intelligence agencies were reporting the regime had used chemical weapons more than once since December.

Assad’s apologists ask what possible motive Assad could have to use these weapons when he is apparently winning. But he is winning precisely because he has been using chemical weapons. They ask what his motive could be, and the answer is that Bashar al-Assad used sarin on a resisting neighborhood because he thought he could get away with it. Judging by opinion polls, he appears to be correct.  Continue reading

Posted in Genocide, Syria | 4 Comments

It’s Politics In Summer, Yayyyyy

Can any of us "know" how many "votes" were "counted?"

Thank God the state of the United States free press is strong, and no such falsehood would ever stand.

Posted in Kulturkampf, Mitt Romney, press failures, Webcomix | 1 Comment

Wounded Warrior “Walkers” Hitch Rides In Arkansas (UPDATE)

Update 1

Chris Senopole (L) and Adam Shatarsky (R) set out June 15 to walk across the country and raise $100,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. But they hitched rides in Arkansas, and now people are wondering whether they ever actually kept the pace they boasted as they crossed the country.

Chris Senopole and Adam Shatarsky are former Marines walking across America to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. This worthy endeavor drew enough attention that a crowd greeted them outside of Clarksville, Arkansas with a brass band on August 8th and accompanied them from the city limits to the courthouse for a ceremony that touched everyone present. But the next day, Senopole and Shatarsky were seen accepting a ride to Morrilton, 52 miles away, where sources say they accepted another ride to Little Rock. That’s 105 miles by car, not on foot. Worse, they had walked into Clarksville after being driven most of the way from Ozark to Coal Hill. In fact, it is not clear whether Senopole and Shatarsky walked enough of Arkansas to count the state as part of their walk.

Senopole and Shatarsky claim to have been marching since their start on the West Coast at a pace of 26 miles a day — not an impossible feat for two former Marines, but not an easy one either. Some of my contacts say they do not appear physically fit enough for that kind of sustained pace. Have they in fact walked the entire distance only to find the humidity too high in Arkansas, or have they actually been cheating all along?

The question would be less unsettling if not for the fact that both men have been observed accepting wads of cash from people — amounting to at least $1,500 in Arkansas alone — but none of those cash donations appear on their GoFundMe page. They have been staying in comped rooms and been treated to both restaurant and home-cooked meals along their route. Are Senopole and Shatarsky overwhelmed by success, or are they playing fast and loose with easy money? Are they in fact walking at a three-mile an hour ruck march pace for nine to twelve hours a day under a baking desert sun to fulfill their pledge of support, or are they thumbing rides and enjoying themselves with the girls they meet?

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Posted in Burn Notices, veterans | 5 Comments

Oregon GOP Picks Crackpot Denier Chairman

UPDATE: Rachel Maddow took note of Art Robinson’s elevation last night. I have a feeling that these events will not slip through the media cracks between now and the midterm election:

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ORIGINAL POST: Art Robinson was elected Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party on Saturday. As Rachel Maddow reported almost three years ago, Robinson denies that the HIV virus is responsible for AIDS. Amazingly, Robinson actually agreed to appear on her show and discuss his views on science and policy. But things degenerated somewhat as soon as he started talking:

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Oregon political observers say that Robinson has a long-running, well-known penchant for denialism and paranoid, tinfoil hat conspiracy theories. In 2011, Robinson went public with a bizarre charge that Oregon State University professors were conspiring against his children:

“Since Mr. Robinson began making these claims last fall, university leadership has had ample opportunity to look into them through the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School and the Office of the Dean of the College of Engineering, and can say, categorically, that the allegations and attacks are unfounded and without merit,” said OSU communication officials in the statement.

Robinson also maintained “Access To Energy,” a long-running crackpot newsletter, for many years. According to longtime observers, Robinson has apparently deleted the most embarrassing articles there, but remaining content includes this icky glorification of nuclear energy:

In the Chernobyl accident, too, we pointed out that in its short life of 25 months, Chernobyl Unit 4 saved more lives from coal-fired pollution than it took, or will ever take, by radiation. And we gave the reasons why the Soviets did not even bother to dilute contaminated wheat with grain from elsewhere. “A little cesium and strontium gave the Russians a more varied diet; for unlike Markey, Solarz, Schroeder and the other antinuclear breast beaters in Congress, the Soviets care only about visible deaths.”

A new poll has found that senior citizens, ordinarily the most reliable demographic for Republicans, are suddenly abandoning the party to its extremists and malcontents. As we get closer to the midterm election, expect more state and local GOP organizations to be chaired by people like Robinson. His many years of regurgitating corporate propaganda and arguing with rational people make him the perfect “grassroots” lunatic to lead a movement that seems determined to march towards the fringe.

The front page of Art Robinson's crackpot  denial website

The front page of Art Robinson’s crackpot denial website

Posted in Kulturkampf, Rachel Maddow, Republican tinfoil hattery | 1 Comment

A Twitter Thread With Dana Rohrabacher

I actually want to thank Mr. Rohrabacher for being a good sport. Twitter can be cruel and he doesn’t actually have to answer me. In fact, I applaud his engagement, if not his politics. Good on him.


Posted in Dana Rohrbacher Stupid Statistic™, Twitter | Leave a comment

Robert Stacy McCain Says That Liberals Are Terrible People

R.S. McCain with right wing heroes Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe III

R.S. McCain with right wing heroes Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe III

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.

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Posted in Breitbart, East Blogistan, Kulturkampf, paranoid universe, Republican tinfoil hattery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Robert Stacy McCain Versus Rock And Roll


Robert Stacy McCain (pictured) began blogging about Brett Kimberlin in 2012 at the instigation of Ali Akbar of National Bloggers Club “fame.” At Akbar’s ViralRead website, McCain uses a 1996 quote of Brett Kimberlin in the Washington City Paper to accuse him of pedophilia:

Not all the songs on his album … have political overtones … others, like “Waiting to Meet” and “Teen Dream” (both about having sex with teenage girls) are lacking in subtlety and tend to make one squirm. But this is exactly what Kimberlin wants.

“I say things a lot of people are afraid to say. Yeah, ‘Teen Dream’ is about f–king a teenage girl. Every guy who’s seen a good-looking teenage girl has thought about it. I’m talking about that lecherous quality that every man, though he won’t act on it, has.”

I don’t think the essential problem with McCain’s reportage could be distilled any better than his unspoken assumption that the theme of attraction to, and even bad intentions toward, younger members of the opposite sex is unique to Brett Kimberlin’s rock lyrics. Not only is this wrong, the category isn’t even limited to male artists. Examples include NRA cheerleader and birther Ted Nugent, who appears in the following video slideshow. You will note a spectrum of styles and sounds. I have more to say below the fold:

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Posted in Kulturkampf, music, Piltdown politics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments