Misinformation Campaign Alleged in ABA Journal Competition

Well, our friend Lottakatz has certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest. Various posters on the blog have contacted me about the sudden surge of over 100 votes on Legal Satyricon to take it from just 15 votes to the lead in the ABA competition. There was a surge of over 100 votes in less than an hour. I have discouraged (and even deleted) a few postings on the issue to keep the matter civil. After all, this is just a fun distraction for bloggers and we tend to have more fun than most. However, with some sleuthing, Lottakatz appears to have found a campaign of misinformation on pro-gun sites where an alleged regular on LS claims that I am a leading anti-gun advocate. The false representation promptly made opposition to our blog as cause celebre for gun rights advocates. Given the emails from our regulars, I wanted to address the controversy.

As the poster must have been aware, I am not an opponent to constitutional gun rights. Indeed, regardless of my personal views on forms of gun control, I agreed with the historical and textual analysis in decisions like McDonald. While I felt this was a close interpretive issue and that the dissenting justices made a compelling case, I felt that the plain meaning of the amendment favored individual gun rights. For prior columns, click here and here. I am a gun owner (a shotgun I have used for skeet shooting for twenty years). I feel like I am competing against Bristol Palin and no one is looking at our actual dancing.

The misinformation was clearly an effort to generate votes and cites the need to support the more conservative editors at LS and Volokh Conspiracy. I certainly do not mind regulars on other blogs flogging for votes. I do not even mind the ideological arguments for support. We are obviously more liberal than VC which is probably the leading conservative site in the country. I do not know a lot about LS. After posting on this blog, I have very little time to surf other blogs. This is the description from the ABA:

The Legal Satyricon, aka Marc Randazza, seems to have handed over more of his blogging duties to the “Satriyconistas” of late. But the content still consistently alternates between refreshingly blunt posts on First Amendment issues and frat-boy humor.

I really do not know the politics or ideological character of the blog. Moreover, flogging one’s blog is a natural and commendable action by loyal regulars. However, a campaign of misinformation is beyond the pale of any competition.

Having said that, I appreciate everyone keeping this civil. I think that ABA does a great service in highlighting top legal blogs and nothing can protect a competition from such shenanigans. We have a great blog that combines thoughtful discussions of legal and political issues with a commitment to civility. That makes us something of a standout among the blogs. It could be worse. I could have been denounced as a war criminal or White Sox fan. Besides, my Bears ARE THE DIVISION CHAMPS. The world cannot be hopelessly dark and evil when God reaches down and leads the Bears to the triumph over the Vikings yesterday. He even arranged for the a total lunar eclipse to fall on the winter solstice (the first time in 372 years) to signal his choice for the Superbowl.

We are on our way to Chicago today in a van with four kids and a large dog. Our guest bloggers will be contributing over the holiday, which I hope is safe and relaxing for everyone — gun right advocates and gun opponents alike.

Jonathan Turley

55 thoughts on “Misinformation Campaign Alleged in ABA Journal Competition

  1. Wow! Votergate! The ABA should launch an immediate investigation and the Feds should name a special prosecutor to look into these serious allegations!!
    On a lighter note, Go Bears!

  2. I would hope the ABA does the right thing an removes TLS from the competition for their material misrepresentations.

  3. Mike Appleton
    1, December 21, 2010 at 10:20 am

    You can bet that when the posters at LS and Volokh Conspiracy were kids, they cheated at marbles.

    =======================

    A safe bet…

  4. Maybe J. Malcolm can get a job with FOX News as a contributor on legal issues now. It appears he has all the qualifications one needs to work for the Murdoch Misinformation Machine.

  5. All the things going on in the world and a yearly friendly competition takes a strange turn,I guess its only the sign of the times.

  6. Some have speculated that narcissism has become so prevalent that its being removed from the DSM in an effort by insurance companies to avoid paying for its treatment.

  7. C.Everett Kook
    1, December 21, 2010 at 10:25 am
    Mike Appleton

    probably leaves the toilet seat up…or down whichever is the bad one

    =============================================================

    Outhouses seldom have toilet seats … said with all due respect to civility … ;)

  8. How very appropriate, Blouise.

    And an honor well earned.

    LK truly deserves recognition for being of service to the greater good.

  9. Blouise,

    Yes I am. And yes I am too. Like I’ve said in earlier conversations with Brian, some speculate that autism is a beneficial mutation for the very reason autistics find lying practically impossible. I would be one of these speculators. I enjoy his directness even if I sometimes think his truthfulness about himself does not translate to the the majority of humankind’s interactions and can put him in danger from the all too prevalent liars in society. Because he’s right about one thing: in a world full of totally honest people, there would be little need for the rule of law.

  10. “Because he’s (J. Brian Harris) right about one thing: in a world full of totally honest people, there would be little need for the rule of law.” (Buddha)

    To which this particular thread points most poignantly.

  11. Just throwing the thought out there:

    Maybe the misinformation is anti-JT rather than pro other sites.
    I’m sure everyone can guess which particular disgruntled member of our community I’m thinking of. Begins: with W ends with Ayne.

    Just saying.

  12. There is a tragic irony and an ironic tragedy about humanity which keeps whispering for a bit of my attention. It is about the nature of honesty as a neurological activity.

    Alas, I have long recognized the wonderful admonition sent my way, that the rule of law is not based on biology. And that whispers to me of the tragic irony of ironic tragedy and that whisper is getting louder. Ear-shattering whispers are interesting experiences.

    Both of my parents treated me as though I was always exactly as I best needed to be. Sometimes, early on, my dad thought I exactly needed a spanking. Razor strop. So wide and used so gently that I had to pretend that it hurt, and I was not that good at so pretending.

    When my dad was in his late 20s, well before he married, his dad, in response to a letter from my dad I do not have, wrote, “I know now that what I did was wrong, and I am sorry. But it was all I knew then; it was how I was raised.”

    Until he was about 16, my dad was routinely beaten for disobedience. By age 16, my dad had become rather skilled at boxing, so skilled as to tell his dad that the beatings were over, and my grandfather knew that my dad could easily “lick” him in a boxing match, so the beatings stopped without a fight. My dad never retaliated for most of 16 years of regular, severe beatings, none of which, per community standards, were legally abusive or improper.

    Along with the rare use of the razor strop came many words, my dad saying that he loved me and he did not know what else to do, and he was sorry, and he asked me for help, and I gave him such help as I could.

    Came my wife’s and my daughter’s birth, and I decided that our daughter would never be capable of being defiant at home, and she never was defiant in any way. There is a saying, not in any “Holy Bible” I have, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” In deciding to make our home and home life such as to make our daughter incapable of being defiant (which defiance would have required her being punished) I made, “spare the rod and spoil the child” the basis principle of my, and my wife’s method.

    Taking that saying as a shepherd analogy, what worthy shepherd clobbers the sheep? A decent shepherd uses his rod to extend his reach, the better to provide safe boundaries for the sheep.

    Everything which our daughter might, in not having learned more than she had yet learned, damage or mis-use anything in our house was put where she could not get to it. Locked cabinets. Locked doors to the attic and basement. Cheap dime-store toys that were sure to break.

    A broken toy, our daughter coming to me, sometimes with tears. Words like, “My toy broke.” “Yes, I see that. Would you like to see if we can fix it?” “Okay.” “This was a nice looking toy, but it was not very well made, or it would not have broken.”

    In high school, our daughter’s teachers often commented in ways such as, “If every student were like [daughter’s name], teaching would be the most wonderful job in the whole world.”

    If I remember right (memory is reconstructive?), our daughter was in second grade when she came home after school with a new idea. Some of the other children had told her how to “fix parents.”

    She started out with the parent-fixing recipe. In less than a minute, I asked her, “Did you learn this on the playground?” “Yes.” “Let’s go to the living room, I want to show you something.”

    We had a pillow in the living room, with a green plastic cover. Where my wife got it, I cannot imagine.

    “Let’s pretend that I am one of those other parents, and you are this pillow, and I think you did something wrong.” Pillow acoss my knees, a string of nonsenses I have heard other parents tell their children, pillow being “spanked,” and our daughter rolling on the floor, laughing out loud. (Can’t use “roflol” because it would be an anachronism…) Damage from other children on playground repaired…

    So, if you have not lost patience with my words, what about that ironically tragically tragic irony?

    I find that I am neither more nor less truthful than is anyone else. Having lived a life unlike the life of anyone else (an inescapably universal property of all individual human lives), I tell such truth as it is given to me to tell. We all do this, nothing else is possible, so I understand of human brain neurological function.

    A person who has been abused and who has internalized the abuse will truthfully act out the abuse, in words or deeds.

    It is somewhat more than a year since I first read Robert Feldman’s “The Liar in Your Life,” and finally snatched a tiny window into what life may have been like for my second grade teacher and principal at Marshall School, in Eureka, California.

    My teacher, Miss Josephine Hanson (public employee, public domain data) would criticize me for something I had done or had not done. I would ask what I had done wrong, so as to change what I had been doing. I was told, in one way or another, and often the exact words, “You know perfectly well what you did wrong, I saw you do it.” I now guess that she was not going to surrender her classroom authority by allowing that I did not know and understand exactly what I had done that pleased her and exactly what displeased her.

    Yes, knew perfectly well what I had done, but had no clue as to what aspects of what I had done were deemed wrong and what were deemed not wrong. So, I tried changing my behavior and conduct in every decent way I could dream up.

    Perhaps six months after first reading Feldman (op. cit.), it came to my mind that I was supposed to admit to having done wrong, without knowing what it was, because what I was doing wrong was being truthful instead of telling lies effectively.

    The ironically tragic tragically irony is that people who have learned the ways of telling lies effectively are truthful about having so learned, and tell this truth through their effective lying.

    And the whole lying thing is purely situational, without even one wisp of a trace of a hint of a smidgen of a dimensionless iota of actually-within-one’s-actual-locus-of-control causation.

    Methinks the reason “the terrible twos” are terrible is because being taught the ways of effective lying (the essential lesson of the terrible twos episode for those who have such an episode in their lives?) may be a terrible experience for the one being so taught.

    Does the way I live, being vulnerable to people who act destructively put me in danger? Yes. Does it put me in more or less danger than if I did otherwise? That is impossible to test.

    So:

    Mohandas Ghandi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

  13. “I feel like I am competing against Bristol Palin and no one is looking at our actual dancing.” -LOL!

    “We have a great blog that combines thoughtful discussions of legal and political issues with a commitment to civility. That makes us something of a standout among the blogs.” AGREED! I really appreciate the moments I spend here reading the posts and comments. Thank you!

  14. WoW! Thank you! Dang, BIL has copy-right to “One lives to be of service”. Thank you a bunch.

    Blouise, Thank you for lovely the card. I confess I am a long time Holmes fan. I’d have killed to have Jeremy Brett’s ‘Sherlock’ on my case, as it were, and the current BBC production of “Sherlock” is excellent. Between those versions of SH and a couple of the Dr. Who’s I’m a happy camper. [The primary writers for “Sherlock” also wrote for Dr. Who.]

    I too am wishing the Professor and his family a happy and safe trip for the holidays.

  15. LK,

    Oh, you’ve earned the right to use the phrase in question. Yes indeed. Besides, trademark phrase or not, I’m just paraphrasing Jefferson. :) He would have found hogging the phrase for personal use under such circumstances to be most definitely not of service.

    In fact:

    For services rendered to the community above and beyond the call of duty, I confer upon Lottakztz the first annual “One Who Lives To Be Of Service” Award in recognition of her fine work in uncovering the skulduggery of the Legal Satyricon Clan. May her commitment to truth serve as inspiration for us all!

    Three cheers for Lottakatz!

  16. BIL, thank you for the award, I’m flattered. I was thinking about the Professors posting above and must say that IMO one van, Maryland to Chicago, four children and one large dog deserves some kind of major award. Major. :-)

  17. Elaine, That’s a great clip, they pack a lot of mayhem and sarcasm into a 50 seconds. It certainly illustrates a truism well known to all hard-boiled PI’s, never bring a knife to a gunfight.

  18. A suspicious nature, a proclivity for rational thought, a logical mind, and the willingness to work hard (at research) … all coming together at the perfect time … a legend in the blogosphere is born.

    Now, the other guy will show us exactly what kind of character he possesses.

  19. Blouise,

    I hope you like the answer “none at all”, because based on past actions, that’s the one you’re going to get.

  20. Buddha Is Laughing
    1, December 21, 2010 at 9:47 pm
    Blouise,

    I hope you like the answer “none at all”, because based on past actions, that’s the one you’re going to get.

    ====================================================

    Ah, another Cheney wannabe?

  21. Great work there, LK.

    That said, I have always thought the value of anything lies not in the mindless complements or insults of those who know nothing about it, but the genuine affection and regard those most knowlegeable have for it. Will a casual compliment about your child make you love him/her any more, or a biting insult from another parent cause you to love him/her any less? Of course not. We value what we know, and the blathering critics with a malcious agenda be damned.

    Win, lose, or draw, this blog remains an island of reason and reasoned debate in the debris-filled ocean of the blog-o-sphere. While some one-issue folks might like to paint us one way or the other, I take great pride in knowing who we really are. We certainly don’t need a phony beauty contest sponsored by the ABA for validation. We can rest assured our value is to be measured precisely by the effort those who disagree with us expend to discredit us. Judging by that, we have already won!!

  22. My last (borrowed) word on this false accusation of mindless gun control advocacy, which to my knowledge has not been seen here except by eyes clouded with an obsessive need to protect the right to the farthest extreme possible, is simply this:

    As fire when thrown into water is cooled down and put out, so also a false accusation when brought against a man of the purest and holiest character, boils over and is at once dissipated, and vanishes and threats of heaven and sea, himself standing unmoved.

    ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

    We may not be the “purest and holiest” around but we compare favorably to our critics.

  23. Blouise:

    “FFLEO,

    eniobob is a master of disguises … he is, after-all, from New Jersey”

    Now my secret is out LOL!!

  24. Eniobob and Blouise,

    That was, as it appears to be, a 1950s video. How glad I am that such things have changed from the time I was a little kid asking my Mother why there were separate water fountains and restrooms and why some other kids were restricted to sit up in the balcony during 1950s Texas Saturday matinees portraying white cowboys and ‘red’ injuns…

    Thanks for getting/catching my drift.

  25. regarding net neutrality

    I was quite literally floored at the absence of self awareness

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1012/21/ltm.01.html

    Hello CNN

    Yesterday morning i had the opportunity to hear your morning entertainers discussing something called Net Neutrality. The following are from CNN transcripts.

    John Roberts: Net neutrality, sounds sexy, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not. But it may just be the most important free speech issue that America has faced in decades. Coming up next: why everyone who uses the Internet should care about a big vote today by the FCC.

    POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: It’s a huge issue, we should all care about it. Think of this as sort of the government’s biggest step yet, guys, into regulating the Internet — something we use all day every day for more than six years now. The FCC has been working to dramatically reshape the future of what the Internet looks like.

    Today, that issue takes center stage and it may sound like just policy and politics out of Washington. But this could mean major, major changes for all of us. Take a look.

    Wow
    maybe the most important free speech issue in decades!!
    something we should all care about!!
    something that could affect 250 million Americans!!!
    major, major changes for all of us!!!
    and we’ve probably never even heard of it!!
    for 6 years!!!

    I started thinking, it’s too bad that there isn’t a person or perhaps a group of people that could aid in keeping a watchful eye on our Government and provide necessary and critical information to the public at large in order that they, the public, could be informed about the decisions the Government makes that will affect them, perhaps using television as a means of disseminating this information.

    It’s also unfortunate that the Founding Fathers didn’t have the foresight to realize that this person or group of people could be instrumental in keeping our Government in check and aid in protecting our Republic from tyranny, despotism and maybe even groups of people with large sums of money and devise some sort of mechanism in the Constitution that would provide protections for a person or persons, working alone or as a group, in order that these people could provide critical information to the public regarding the daily workings of our Government.

    PS many thanks for the bit about Ginger’s faux leather handbag and Shaquille O’Neal, a person problably wouldn’t be able to sleep without that bit of enlightenment. Also your entertainers are pretty attractive, that’s good because I surely don’t want ugly people telling me about cell phone distractions.

    R. Allen

  26. I don’t think anyone is questioning Randazza’s skills.

    His “personality” on the other hand?

    Could be.

  27. Professor, congrats on the shout out from Mr. Carlson!

    I admit I am a bad ambassador for your BLAWG. I do though hope Mr. Carlton doesn’t hold you responsible for my interjecting a bit of discord into his comment thread.

  28. Well, I wanted to see if TLS held true to form this year by dissing the ABA award so I visited their site. Mr. DeVoy has not disappointed. His posting on the ABA blog award competition is just what you would expect and more. I wrote him a snarky comment but know it won’t se the light of day there. They are such children, did they not have any home-training?

    site posting link:

    http://randazza.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/aba-100-recommendations/

    My comment:

    I find your posting disingenuous Mr. DeVoy. It was after all you that went to a ‘shooter’ site and painted one of your competitors, Professor Turley, as anti-gun as well as elitist. You then exhorted them to deny his blog any kind of victory suggesting instead TLS and Volokh (no problem with Volokh) should they choose to help you out. They did, to the tune of a hundred or more votes in a matter of hours for TLS, bringing you from 3rd or 4th place to first.

    Now, after trolling for votes among notoriously reactionary special interest blawgers in order to win, TKS has again chosen to mock the very award it seeks to win. No doubt some obtuse political rationale will later be generated as was done last year.

    If Mr. Randazza had the strength of conviction espoused by your posting or last years sour-grapes over winning, he would instruct the ABA to remove his blawg from consideration.

    Yes, I’m a Turlyblawg fan and knowing your editorial policy, I have no illusions that you will actually allow my reply to be published. You folks take the prize alright, you do indeed.

    Link to letter to, and responses at, the ‘shooter’ site. Red meat to the pitbulls:

    http://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=47797

  29. Lottakatz,

    First Amendment rights appear to apply only to them. Last year they posted my comments, which contained no foul words; then, Mr. Randazza deleted my posts along with some others here who posted there. Your post is currently posted at TLS.

    I often agree with Mr. Randazza’s opinions regarding the First Amendment, although I rarely access his site as much as I would like because the language there is consistently very crude. Of course, I have seen some of those words scribbled on filthy bathroom walls. Furthermore, I heard all those words from my experiences in high school/college sports locker rooms, military shower/bathrooms, and especially during my LEO training where role-play actors forced you to listen to foul language during arrest training because they knew you would be subjected to offensive name-calling during your LE career and that you must accept such vulgar language.

    However, since I am virtually an absolutist regarding the First Amendment, websites like The Legal Satyricon and the vile websites to which he and his collaborators often link must be allowed and remain uncensored. No person forces us to visit such sites; then again, I would always caution visitors to TLS to be very careful when clicking on an imbedded link therein.

    LK, we all thank you for exposing the hypocrisy that is rampant at TLS regarding the Blawg 100 vote. CEJ and others exposed last year’s hypocritical ranting during the Blawg vote and you might have contributed then, as well.

  30. I need to bake something chocolate, I’m bored today.

    Their lack of sportsmanship offends me. I decided I’d make that point when I saw their posting. We’re just poking at each other with sticks but they are calling names so I guess I hit a sore spot, LOL. It’s like arguing with frat-boys. In any event I made my point, a couple of times and they are welcome to making their political point regarding the corruption of the ABA by winning an award and publicly disrespecting it and the group bestowing it.

    I recall that they purged some of your comments. That’s how you know you ‘won’. :-)

    I don’t mind the cussing, I worked with military personnel, active, retired and ex, and ended up quickly being able to give as good as I got. It does make you mentally lazy though and I curb those impulses now.

    I am a great fan of The Rude Pundit who generally says, in the most ugly and scatological manner possible, those things regarding current events, the people and movements driving them, that I say to myself mentally. It is a therapy session of the bizarre kind.

  31. LK wrote:

    “It does make you mentally lazy though…”

    ________

    That is the salient point, after all, isn’t it. When debating with others, those that have lost the argument often stop using cogency and degenerate to ad hominem attacks laced with vulgarities. I certainly do not care when people blow off steam with some ‘blue’ words; however, TLS is overwhelmingly vulgar—for a law blawg—to the point that it is hard to enjoy the good aspects of First Amendment arguments that occur there.

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