Well, I had hoped to put the HillBuzz insanity behind me, even though many of the hits I'm getting nowadays all go to this article
. Basically, HillBuzz is a gay Republican blog masquerading as a PUMA blog -- a log cabin with a magenta paint job, as it were. They have been generating a whole lot of right-wing propaganda points -- and, it is said, donations -- by claiming to be the victims of a "co-ordinated attack" funded by George Soros.
This claim is bullshit, of course.
They also claim that Cannonfire is run by the fiercely anti-PUMA micro-bloggers. This is also bullshit. In fact, it's insane. Those anti-PUMA guys hate me -- always have, always will. I giveth not fuck one about them. I also giveth not fuck one for the HillBuzz hoaxters. A plague on both of their delusional houses.
I now know the identity of the person responsible for the article (and blog comments) that started this nonsense. Amusingly enough, almost no-one read those pieces until the Hillbuzzers decided to use them in their fundraising efforts.
The author is a guy who used to contribute to the comments here before I turned against Obama. The person in question is small potatoes -- as am I, in the great scheme of things. In his previous internet incarnations, he has always had a tendency to piss people off. Which is not always a bad thing, although sometimes it is.
The Evil Hand of Soros plays no role in any of this. But the HillBuzzers apparently find it pleasant (remunerative?) to pretend otherwise.
The name of the guy who started this brouhaha is John. I won't give John's last name, which I can't recall offhand anyways, but even if I could remember it I wouldn't reveal it. Basically, John looked up the WHOIS info on HillBuzz. It's public information. That allowed him to come up with a real-world name, which he published in one or two obscure places. John is the kind of guy who would enjoy doing something like that.
And that's it.
The HillBuzzers now claim that they underwent job discrimination and physical threats as a result of John's Big Reveal, even though very few people had read that Big Reveal. In fact, John seems to be the only one who ever cared.
I find these HillBuzz claims of persecution to be about as credible as L. Rob Hubbard's yarn about Xenu. Even so, those claims led to publicity by some big-name right-wingers, such as Michelle Malkin and Breitbart. (Is Breitbart a nasty piece of work or what
HillBuzz apparently thinks it/they/he (there seems to be one main guy behind that site) can mount a RICO suit
against the imaginary Dreaded Soros Conspiracy. He apparently also has tried to harass the wife (!!) of one of the anti-PUMA bloggers.
Maybe HillBuzz is a total loon. Maybe (as this guy
says) he is using his readership as a personal ATM.
This very silly incident has led to some fairly serious discussion of the ethics of outing. When, if ever, is it acceptable to reveal the real-world names of bloggers, most of whom operate under dumb pseudonyms? See Corrente here
and Atrios here
(I've actually been popping by Atrios' place recently, for the first time in ages. Even though he's still considered an A-list blogger, no-one ever seems to cite him or refer to him.)
The internet has changed the rules. In the old pre-net days, there was an understanding: Those doing research in various areas usually corresponded with others in those fields, even if the parties involved couldn't stand each other. Antagonists even traded newsclips and xeroxed articles, despite mutual antipathy. That's the way info-junkies had to operate in those primeval days.
As a result of all those mailings, every serious researcher knew the addresses and phone numbers of every other serious researcher, because the stationery letterhead had that info listed, and letters were always passed around sans permission (this was expected), and even if someone blacked out the address with a marker you could still hold it up to the light.
Ah, good times, good times. You wouldn't buh-LIEVE what was in my rolodex, back in the day.
But it was always understood that the personal info of your enemies must never be published, even in a small-circulation xeroxed newsletter with 73 subscribers, and even if the data was available in the phone book.
Then came the internet. As noted earlier, the rules changed. They changed because the internet revealed just how many crazy people are out there. I'm not talking cute
crazy; I'm talking really really really
For example: Some of you may recall that a waitress in Texas made headlines when she refused to serve drinks to Dubya's underaged daughters. The Freepers published the real name, phone number and address of the said waitress, with the express intention of mounting a terror campaign against her. She had, after all, dared to inconvenience the Holy House of Bush. That made her fair game.
That sort of thing used to happen a lot
, and the miscreants were almost always reactionary fanatics. As a result, most bloggers and blog commenters decided to adopt pseudonyms.
In my case, the name on the masthead also appears on my driver's license. However, I am fanatical about making sure that no-one receives any further information about me, although I've let slip that I am usually found skulking around southern California.
When this blog began, I would allow other people to have my phone number. Then some rather bizarre and disturbing calls started to come in. I changed the number (and carrier) and have stayed hidden ever since. This policy makes researching certain stories difficult, since interview subjects usually ask for a call-back number -- which a real
reporter will be quick to provide.
Back in 2006, Michelle Malkin published the private info of some anti-military protesters at UC Santa Cruz. She got that info from a letterhead, if I recall correctly. According to the old school rules (as noted above), it was understood that you never, ever
publish information gleaned from a letterhead, even if you had obtained a piece of mail sent by an enemy. Malkin published anyways, obviously with the intention of fomenting harassment or worse against the protesters.
I retaliated by publishing Malkin's exact street address
and phone number. She took her kid out of school and moved. I have never apologized and never will. Those who live by the sword, etc.
Not long before the Malkin episode, Ann Coulter had also published the personal information of actress/blogger Lydia Cornell. As a result of this despicable act, Lydia and her family underwent some very frightening harassment. I decided not to retaliate by publishing Coulter's phone number -- but I did publish this post
, which clearly indicated that I had the information.
(That post contains this description of Coulter: "She dresses like someone who desperately longs for bombshell status, as though wrapping that hideous skeletal frame in black leather micro-minis will somehow make those prominent bones as jumpable as they are countable." One of the best damned sentences I ever dun writ. Incidentally, my ladyfriend kept Coulter's number on her cell phone as a gag. We never dialed it and never shared it.)
Ever since Malkin and Coulter received their public spankings, the right got the message. They stopped publishing personal info.
came the Obots.
Having received the beatific vision, the disciples of the Lightbringer decided that normal rules did not apply to them. That's why they published the real-world address of Joe the Plumber
. (Remember Joe?)
In what way did this atrocious Obot behavior differ from Malkin's atrocious behavior? Ya got me
I asked Lydia Cornell to protest in public the publication of Joe the Plumber's address. She did not.
Moral of the story: We all seem to have differing ideas as to when "outing" is justified. In Malkin's case, I decided to do it as a retaliatory measure. A lot of people disagreed with that decision, on the theory that two wrongs never make a right. But no-one can deny that, as a result, the right-wingers stopped doing that shit real