A FAQ about HillBuzz vs. Rumproast (and Me)

Starting this weekend the proprietor(s?) of HillBuzz.org launched an attack against Rumproast and, more specifically, my wife (who has absolutely nothing to do with this blog) and me. You can head over there to read what’s been going on. The first related post (“Thank You For Your Support”) was published on January 23rd. There has been a steady stream of posts about the “attack” on the main HillBuzz blogger (whom I will refer to as “Mr. HillBuzz”) since then that contain several false accusations about Rumproast, me, Betty Cracker and Mrs. Polly’s long dormant Snarkopolitan blog. What follows is a quick, FAQ-style rundown of facts related to this debacle.

Q: Was Mr. HillBuzz “attacked”?
A: A UK blogger named TheBigotBasher, who has no affiliation with Rumproast aside from occasionally commenting here, used Mr. HillBuzz’s real name on the internet and referred to him as a “racist.” From what I gather, TheBigotBasher posted this info in the form of blog entries, diaries and/or comments at his own WordPress blog, StupidPumas.com (currently offline—don’t know why, don’t care), Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. I won’t link to specific citations because the ones that remain contain Mr. HillBuzz’s real identity. Mr. HillBuzz is also claiming he was subjected to various forms of offline intimidation (calls to his employers, physical threats, etc.), but since I’ve concluded that he’s an unrepentant liar I don’t believe any of it without proof, which he hasn’t provided.

Q: Did TheBigotBasher attempt to reveal Mr. HillBuzz’s identity elsewhere?
A: Funny you should ask that. Yes, TheBigotBasher attempted to leave a comment with that info here (including the identity of HillBuzz.org’s domain name admin, who appears to have nothing to do with HillBuzz’s blogging activities) a week or so back, but I deleted the comment the minute I saw it and basically told TheBigotBasher to bugger off. I do not support, nor have I ever supported, the outing of people who blog or comment under aliases, regardless of what I personally think about them. This occurred before I was aware that TheBigotBasher was posting this info elsewhere and before Mr. HillBuzz went public about his “attack.” Mr. HillBuzz was informed that I deleted the comment in my very first email to him (more on that below) but he continues to write that Rumproast actively promoted TheBigotBasher’s accusations.  That’s simply a bold-faced lie.  I also banned TheBigotBasher from commenting here based on that comment as well as past issues I’ve had with him.

Q: But didn’t Mr. HillBuzz originally think you were TheBigotBasher?
A: Yes, he did. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion (nor can I figure out most of the conspiratorial nonsense he’s currently confabulating over at his blog), but early in the morning on Sunday January 24th he published a post at HillBuzz containing my full name in the title and several times in the body of the post, pictures of me, and my entire work history that he culled from my LinkedIn profile (which he also linked to). He also wrote about my wife, asking where she works and if “her employer know [sic] what her husband is doing,” even though, as I stated earlier, she has absolutely nothing to do with this blog or the blogosphere in general. Because he’s classy that way.

Q: What did you do?
A: I immediately sent an email via the HillBuzz email account demanding that he take the post down and threatening him with legal action if he didn’t do so.

Q: Did he take it down?
A: Not until I sent a second email to his personal email address. The post came down at approximately 4:15 AM after being online for at least three hours. Yes, I had to stay up all night and I was really sick.

Q: Was he apologetic?
A: Not at all. He just made more wild accusations.

Q: Do you have screenshots of the posts?
A: Hell yeah, I was taking screenshots and saving HTML the entire time the post was live.  His readers, at his direction, were scouring the internet looking for info about me, including analyzing and writing about the LinkedIn profile of one of my former bosses and debating whether going after my wife was fair game.

Q: Have you heard from him since then?
A: Yes, he sent me a threatening email at 4:23 AM on Wednesday 1/27 that mentioned my wife several times and someone he thinks is my current employer twice. It included the lines “I look forward to meeting you both in person soon.” and “Please give my best to [my wife’s name].” Imagine the hysteria that would have resulted if I’d sent him an email with similar lines. I would instantly and loudly be branded a thug and/or a murderer.

Q: What does he want from you?
A: I’m really not sure. He seems to have come to the conclusion that I’m a master puppeteer orchestrating a mass attack on him that’s ultimately being masterminded by the DNC, OFA, the White House, the Chicago political machine and George Soros (bases=covered). Or something like that. He would like me to stop all of it (I’m just that powerful, apparently). But there’s nothing for me to stop as I’ve never accused him of racism using his real identity nor have I encouraged (or, I don’t know, ordered) others to do so. And, I mean, really, do you think David Axelrod, Tim Kaine or Soros would be dumb enough to associate with a blog called Rumproast? Hell, I’m embarrassed to be associated with a blog called Rumproast.

Q: Are you shitting me? He really thinks entities like the DNC and the White House are conspiring to “attack” him?
A: Yes, go read his blog. I’m not joking. Seriously. He thinks he may have enough evidence for a RICO case. He really, really does.

Q: Does anyone else believe him?
A: Unbelievably, yes. Several big rightwing bloggers like Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin and Robert Stacy McCain have been driving a lot of traffic his way. He’s also been getting a steady stream of traffic from several other conservative blogs including HotAir and RedState. Here, check out the Google blog search.

Q: Why is he doing this?
A: Who in the hell knows? Maybe that very prominent PayPal button and donation plea that are permanently lodged at the top of his blog has something to do with it. I’m guessing playing the victim really pulls in the sawbucks. It’s certainly garnered him a lot of traffic.

Q: He seems to think you run several different blogs. Do you?
A: Good Christ, one is enough and anyone around here can tell you I’m always complaining about just managing that. I have had zero involvement in the first incarnation of Stupid PUMAs at WordPress or the 2.0 version at StupidPUMAs.com. I haven’t so much as commented at either place and I removed Stupid PUMAs from my blog roll in the spring of ‘09 because I thought that blog had gone off the rails. Mr. HillBuzz also seems to think I could be the long-retired Wonk Hussein who quit blogging on Election Day of ‘08. Once again, that’s not me nor do I even get what Wonk, who stopped blogging nearly a year and half ago, has to do with anything related to what’s happening to Mr. HillBuzz in 2010. I’m also not Betty Cracker or Mrs. Polly. They are both wonderful women and co-bloggers here. Real live individual human beings who have also been subject to Mr. HillBuzz’s wild accusations. But I may be Ellie Light. The jury’s still out on that one.*

Q: Are you getting pissed off about this?
A: Yes. Very. Especially since this lowlife is making veiled threats against my wife. I HAVE DONE NOTHING TO HIM and she most certainly hasn’t. My wife is, obviously, pretty stressed out about all of this. I haven’t published Mr. HillBuzz’s name or a list of his employers. I wouldn’t go after his partner if he has one. I haven’t asked my readers to plow through his internet history and determine his home address.

Q: Are you seeking legal counsel?
A. Yes. Mr. HillBuzz was warned I would do so on Sunday if he continued to harass me. The email on Wednesday was the last straw. I’m currently reviewing this issue with a lawyer. And, no, that’s not a bluff.

Q: Anything else?
A: I think some prominent rightwing bloggers should read this and possibly contact me for more info about HillBuzz before they continue to promote that blog and Mr. HillBuzz’s reckless behavior. HillBuzz is pulling a scam on their readers and treating them like personal ATMs. There isn’t some grand, orchestrated conspiracy to take out Mr. HillBuzz or his blog. That just plain isn’t true. It’s just one out-of-control blogger from the UK, who I have no association with or control over, cross-posting crap about Mr. HillBuzz at a handful of sites. That’s it. End of story. And, unfortunately and inexplicably, I’m getting harassed and blamed for it—and, as a result, Mr. HillBuzz did something just as bad to me (and my wife), if not worse, than what TheBigotBasher has done to him. I’m grateful that some prominent conservative bloggers like Warner Todd Huston (“Publius” at the bottom of this comment thread) are seeing through HillBuzz’s dangerous cash-generating charade. I wish more of them would because Mr. HillBuzz is playing them all for chumps.

PLEASE NOTE: I am keeping the comments closed on this post because tempers are running pretty high over this mess and I don’t want it spiraling out of control more than it already has. I’ve already wasted a tremendous amount of time on this and I don’t want to babysit a potentially volatile comment thread. I may update this post with more info, but for now I’ve said all that needs to be said about this and all I can currently say about it. Comments open for as long as I can stand it. (1/30 9:30AM)

* Note to dull-witted online investigative goofballs: The Ellie Light thing is a joke. Settle down.

UPDATE: Betty Cracker and Mrs. Polly have their say. *thwack*!

MORE (1/31): For the past week, encouraged by posts published by Mr. HillBuzz, his readers have continued to post (in the comments) information about private citizens, many of whom are being targeted due to truly sloppy and erroneous “investigative” work, including posting names, places of employment, home addresses and phone numbers. The Hillbuzzers have already terrorized a woman WHO HAS DONE NOTHING TO HILLBUZZ so much that she took down her long-dormant blog and is consulting a lawyer.  Yesterday they tried to out my co-blogger Mrs. Polly WHO HAS DONE NOTHING TO HILLBUZZ by trolling her long-dormant blog Snarkopolitan looking for clues about her real identity and place of residence. Here is just one comment related to the “sleuthing”:

image

UPDATE: A sincere thanks to Thers at Eschaton (here, too), John Cole (and DougJ) at Balloon Juice, and Lambert from Correntewire for their support.  We’ve banged heads with Corrente on a number of occasions, so their support is genuinely appreciated.

MORE: Let’s bake a crackpot casserole!

MORE (1/31 10:45PM): Just received confirmation that a police report was filed against Mr. HillBuzz earlier today. At the request of the person who filed the report, this is all the info I can provide you with at this time.

UPDATE (2/2 4PM): The ghouls/stalkers at HillBuzz are still “sleuthing” to try to find out Mrs. Polly’s real identity and exact address even though SHE HAS DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO MR. HILLBUZZ. Take a look at how low they’ll go:

image

They did something very similar while “sleuthing” Wonk Hussein. Ghouls.

MORE: Many thanks to Mike from Crooks & Liars and our grand taskmaster Kos for linking to this post.  Sunlight=disinfectant.

Posted by Kevin K. on 01/28/10 at 05:15 PM • Permalink

Categories: Rumproast Related

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Thinking of you.  Best of luck with everything.

I thought Betty Cracker and Mrs. Polly were both the same guy. In fact, I thought they were me.

Beaver: This online “web of intrigue” stuff is pretty creepy, huh, Wally?

Wally: Sure is, Beav. I wish Dad would just yell at us and get it over with. 

If they weren’t going after you guys with this “sleuthing” crap, I could almost applaud these crazy shysters for so successfully scamming wingnuttia from Insty on down.

Of course Insty-on-down have always been delighted to be so suckered, but still.

Shit, sorry to see this happening to you.  I even hate seeing outing used against the wingnuts for the simple(-minded) practice of wingnuttery.

Came here via Thers’ post at Eschaton.  Thers and his family had their own problems with this a few years back from a rightie blogger, whose name/nym escapes me just now (the dude had some obsession with ‘cock slapping’ or somesuch, is all I can recall at the moment).

Good luck getting this resolved.  I cannot speak for any of your other commenters/fans, but don’t be shy about putting up a link for contributions to pay for legal services, if the need arises.  I’ll throw a few bucks into the bucket for such a worthy* cause.

*no sarcasm there - this kind of shit is bad-bad-bad, and needs to be shut down pronto

don’t be shy about putting up a link for contributions to pay for legal services, if the need arises.  I’ll throw a few bucks into the bucket for such a worthy* cause.

+1

There’s some scary crazy people out there.

Thanks all for stopping by!  We appreciate the support and realize that it could happen to anyone who falls into radar of some psychopath with a domain name.

I’m sure Kevin K will put the word out if and when he needs some cash.

Am I the only one reminded of Bush style war-mongering with this?  He was all about shock ‘n awe, and using overwhelming force to scare the enemy into submission.  I can still remember Friedman (inspirer of the famous “friedman unit”) on TV saying that the entire point of the illegal invasion of Iraq was kicking down doors and telling them to “Suck.  On.  This.”

And, of course, they got caught completely flat-footed when all they accomplished was getting people angry enough to fight back.

Being an insane asshole on the Internet has never been an especially productive career path, or a rewarding tack for bootstrapping political street-cred out of thin air.

I just wish an unknown blogger in England would call me a “racist,” so I could put on a whiplash collar and sue Monsanto for selling GM wheat to Britain, which no doubt nourished my attacker.

Folks, sorry, but I had to remove content referring to another reckless rightwing blogger.  I’ve got more than enough crazy in my life at the moment. Thanks.

My dears - There are more nutters than we ever imagined.  Keep yourselves safe.

Kevin, I came over here from the Atrios link. I’m sorry I missed this before. This is just terrible. My heart goes out to you and everyone at the site and in your family who is being attacked. This is just beyond creepy and I know how scary it must feel.  I’m so sorry you are going through this. I hope this hillbuzz guy and his minions take a deep breath and pull back. This is terrible stuff.

hugs
aimai

Listen, it could be a lot worse.  The guy could show up on your doorstep in a pimp costume.

A sincere thanks to Thers at Eschaton, John Cole (and DougJ) at Balloon Juice, and Lambert (and vastleft) from Correntewire for their support.  We’ve banged heads with Corrente on a number of occasions, so their support is genuinely appreciated.

+1

Agree or disagree, love or hate, right is right.

It isn’t fair.  It isn’t right.  And, Karma ought to be a bitch for this bozo.  Hang in.  And, best of luck.  Hope your attorney finds a means to burn his ass… even if you never use it, it’d be a lovely thing to know you could.

Sorry for your troubles, Kevin. But I can’t thank you enough for pointing me to one of the goddamned funniest sites on the planet.

After I read this post, I switched over to hillbuzz and practically fell on the floor, I could not stop laughing. In the middle of hysterically parsing out readers’s comments, because they are actually David Axelrod’s, they get off stuff like this:

LINE ONE: HB, may I ask you why you like Hillary so much, and also Sarah.

That sure sounds like the DNC is concerned about Clinton’s recent remarks to Travis Smiley . . .

They’re not just mean and shameless, they’re funny! You’ve unwittingly alerted us to yet another site, in addition to the Townhalls and WorldNetDailys of the world, to cruise for future material to hammer.

Best of everything to you, thanks for all the hard work . .

Thanks for that treatment, toma!  Almost too hard to believe…there’s plenty there to keep you busy for months.

Ditto on the thanks for all the kind words and solidarity.

It’s a bit disconcerting to discover that you’ve been sucked into the paisley wallpaper of someone else’s demented acid trip. Then again, it’s not every day you realize you have something in common with Jodie Foster, which is kind of cool.

Actually, we have two things in common with Jodie Foster, if you count John Hinckley, Jr. and Hannibal Lecter separately.

If you’re the master puppeteer pulling the strings of the DNC, OFA, White House, Chicago political machine and/or George Soros only two hings are possible: either you’re the Grand Master of the Bavarian Illuminati or the Antichrist. Or both. In any case, you’re no one to be trifled with and I want to enlist as one of your minions. Besides, Malkinesque outing and attacks on family and peers is the lowest of low behavior. If half of what you say is true, this creep needs to be stopped and, preferably, legally punished.

@John McKay—I’ll ask the High Epopt if we can take you on as a Probationer. Your scientific knowledge could be useful in development of the Plasma Snark Cannon!

PS: The Bavarian Illuminati are clueless rubes. Rumproast is tapped into the Main Feed.

Man, I just saw this stuff and I am pissed off in the extreme! Kevin K. is obviously one of the last people I would ever expect to be accused of such monumental assholery. I’ve never seen anything on Rumproast I would regard as being even remotely unethical.

There are some admirable writers here, people I genuinely respect. Rumproast is a fine and challenging public forum, and Kevin is at the heart of it all.

Sorry about all this, Kevin. You’ve always been incredibly cordial and even-handed with me.

“Inspired” by this attempted scam of HillBuzz readers by the blog owners, the proprietor of the Cannonfire blog takes a trip down memory lane on the topic of outing.

Comment by meepmeep09 on 02/01/10 at 11:46 AM

@meepmeep09—Cannon’s been one of the sane voices on this whole kerfuffle, so I can’t fault him for making the general observation that neither side of the political spectrum holds an exclusive patent on Batshit Crazy. It would have been nice if he’d stopped there, but a casual slam on liberal bias is pretty much an obligatory sign-off—sort of like “May God Go With You.”

Personally, I’ll pass on weighing the relative moral rectitude of first strikes vs, retaliatory strikes, or debating the hypothetical red-line of acceptable behavior beyond which someone becomes “fair game.” As far as I’m concerned, the threat of outing identities is the Mutually Assured Destruction framework that (mostly) prevents the Internet from turning into a non-stop orgy of ratfucking that bleeds into Real Life, with Real Life consequences. It is a road best not taken.

And, frankly, I don’t know anyone on the Web whose impact or influence matters for shit—and certainly no one who presents such a threat to my way of life that I would waste my time shaking down public data bases for evidence of outstanding parking tickets and serial under-tipping. It’s easier—and more effective—just to make fun of what other people do at their keyboards in plain view.

@ Kevin:

Sorry, man.  FWIW, you have friends here.  You’re a good guy, and you don’t need this crap.  I wouldn’t even wish this on my parents.

@ Strange:

I just wish an unknown blogger in England would call me a “racist,” so I could put on a whiplash collar and sue Monsanto for selling GM wheat to Britain, which no doubt nourished my attacker.
Comment by StrangeAppar8us on 01/31/10 at 11:42 AM

In the spirit of friendship, you’re a racist gobshite.

And fuck you, also.

Did that help? Can I get in on the settlement?

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