Bill Schmalfeldt aka @LiberalGrouch was served with legal documents last Saturday morning. His wife was at the store, so Bill was alone with his Parkinsons disease when the officers knocked on his door. He had to answer in his pajamas and explain to yet another policeman that he was not wobbly from drink, but because of the terminal illness that affects his nervous system. It was the latest humiliation dealt to Bill by Breitbart.com blogger Lee Stranahan, who seems determined to make the disabled 58 year old Navy veteran suffer as much as possible for the crime of blogging about him. It follows a series of false police reports he has made against Schmalfeldt, all with the aim of supporting his bid for a BlogBash award at the CPAC convention in mid-March.
And it is a historic irony in the history of blogging.
When he died one year ago, Lee Stranahan’s boss Andrew Breitbart was in the middle of a long-running “blogwar” against Brett Kimberlin. Upon Breitbart’s sudden extinction, Lee Stranahan completed a funerary conversion to conservatism and vowed to continue his master’s #WAR. In fact, #WAR would be Andrew’s memorial Twitter hashtag, and Stranahan would make a bid for leadership in the conflict when he penned “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.”
The theme was harassment — both imaginary harassment and false-flag harassment — supposedly aimed at right wing bloggers who dared to write about Brett Kimberlin. Now, less than a year later, Stranahan wants to take Bill Schmalfeldt before a court of law for daring to blog about him. See how that works?
Of course, it makes all the difference that Stranahan has rich Republican friends. There are also plenty of BlogBash bloggers invested in this kooky story who want to see Stranahan recognized for his “courage” because it validates their paranoid persecution story. He’s displaying his heroism for them all by harassing Schmalfeldt, and expects to reap rewards.
To be sure, Bill is relentless. He does not shy away from investigating Stranahan’s career in pornography, or his career as wife-pimper, or the strange fact that no birth records exist for any of his home-birthed, “unschooled” children. He even blogged about Lee being disowned by his family. No wonder Stranahan wants to put Schmalfeldt in jail; he’s tried being shameless, tried ignoring his requests for comment on stories about him, and tried calling the police from halfway across the country, but none of it shut Bill up.
So now he’s filed criminal charges in person — because he’s John Galt, and he can do it all by himself. Also, because Maryland law has an odd quirk that lets civilians file criminal charges. Indeed, Stranahan is deliberately repeating the behavior of Brett Kimberlin, Maryland resident, whose organization tried to charge James O’Keefe with wiretapping.
But there are two basic problems with Stranahan’s charges. First, he keeps pretending that Bill has threatened him in some way, but lacks a shred of evidence that won’t be laughed out of a courtroom. The other problem is that Bill is a veteran. Like me, he has been yelled at by professionals who trained him to work under incredible stresses. Sailors and soldiers endure the supervision of people with presidential commissions, parts made by the lowest bidder, things blowing up and going to hell in a handbasket, you name it. And did I mention the man has a degenerative disease that’s eating him alive?
Compared to that, what can Stranahan ever do to Bill? Take away Christmas?
Stranahan meant to climb upwards by beating down Brett Kimberlin. Instead, he’s just beating up Bill, who has no connection to Kimberlin. Incredibly, Stranahan has managed to stoop lower than Kimberlin by becoming Kimberlin — and he has simultaneously elevated Bill from obscurity by treating him like James O’Keefe. If that’s judged an award-winning performance next month at CPAC, then it says everything we need to know about the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of conservatism in the blogosphere.