Weakened Open Thread: Trashed Troll Finally Breaks Law! Justice Will Ensue!

It’s not as if I hoped this day would come, but it did seem almost inevitable. One of our worst trolls, from IP address, has finally graduated from likely cyberharassment to identity theft! Now we can get serious about them!

Let’s introduce you to Mx. 4.142 with three comments that were allowed to be published and three from our trash. They will prove to be quite informative about the means and ends of our Roger-Stone-like trolls.

I apologize for including some hideous and bigoted language from this person’s comments, but … it’s pertinent.

Here are the three archived comments from this Charter Communications provider that we published:

A few notes from the oldest (at the bottom) to the newest (at the top):

Oldest comment: John Scott Horner III was a pseudonym that Chumley asserted was used by former Irvine political mate Michael Fox. I don’t know if that’s true, nor do I much care. It addressed the $18,000 that <i>someone</i> paid to Mark Newgent in a defamation case. This comment dressed up an attack on Chumley to appear to have come from Fox. For a few days, it just seemed sort of weird. But then

The middle comment showed up doing three things: first, offering a flat-out lie about Gina Clayton-Tarvin, of the sort she will have to endure from the likes of this operative in the upcoming Council election; second, purporting to “out” Michael Fox as the author of the attack on Chumley <i>that this comment’s author actually wrote</i>, and finally offering implying that we were inconsistent for tolerating what Fox allegedly did while attacking what Harry Sidhu definitely did: dressing up to give voters the impression that he was a U.S. veteran helicopter pilot for the 4th of July parade. Clearly, we’re dealing with someone well-practiced at the dirty tricks game!

The newest comment about Fitz is simply wrong. That’s not the sort of language that Fitz used. He did he did use versions of the words “whore” and “prostitute” a lot, both as nouns and verbs– but generally only at politicians who he thought were trading votes for personal financial (including electoral) benefit. Specifically, he did not disparage people based on race, as this disgusting character assassin would have you believe. He had disagreements with the LGBT+ community, but ones based on policy (rainbow flag over City Hall), taking over cultural symbols (such as the rainbow), and being too centered on supporting fellow members of the community in politics regardless of their principles (or the lack thereof.) And the snotty jab at his wife is just unforgiveable — but it’s the sort of thing we seem from our opponent. I will be taking down this comment (which frankly I thought I had already done) and posting in its place a a link to this post, so that at least the words within it won’t be searchable.

Now ono the three comments that I’ve trashed but not yet extirpated — two of them from today, which occasions this post.

Again w

Again working from oldest and the bottom to newest at the top:

Oldest: Speaking of homophobia, get a look at that fake email address! All of the characterizations of people include lies and distortions, so don’t take them seriously. Do note that Vern says that this troll always uses different IP addresses — not quite always! — so more might be added to this troll’s record. (Vern will indeed be singing a song soon — accompanied by Annamarie Randle-Trejo! — but not as a direct result of this comment.) As I noted at the time, this is someone with a good inside knowledge of Anaheim politics, because it mentions not only New Anaheim Democrats Vice-President Fred Sigala but his wife Yam, who is not a public figure. We’re not dealing with amateur trolls here, but with practiced character assassins of the “I know where you live” sort. The claque they support should denounce this — but won’t.

Middle: this is the first of two comments that showed up and were briefly published today. While half-concentrating on comment maintenance, I was fooled for a moment into thinking that this was actually from the woman who received some unwanted texts from Anna Drive. And then I did a search on the IP address and realized that it was a stolen identity. This is a mini-scandal that Chumley keeps trying to resurrect, but that neither rules him in nor rules him out as a suspect. His main point is that there were two different “voices” on the texts, which has been conceded pretty much from the start. Still, this gives you a sense of what people in that camp think.)

If you see Vern on some site saying something self-incriminating online … it may not really be Vern!

Top: this one was up for a while, because I was legitimately fooled into thinking that it was from Vern. That’s his name and the photo he uses, as well as a mail address he has — though no longer his primary one. It links to a YouTube by Jenna Back that I think she has now disavowed and tried to move on from — and frankly I think we’ve said publicly that we’re ready to move on from it as well. The problem with this one is that identity theft raises this to another level, which allows us to take legal actions that I haven’t wanted us to do before now. We warn the anonymous troll (in this case pseudonymous, but that still renders it anonymous because we don’t know their identity) that we have made clear our policy against anonymous attacks on others here in comments here unless Vern or I decide to “sponsor” them — so let’s say clearly: keep off of this forum. And don’t engage in any more identity theft. As Willy Wonka said to Violet Beauregard: “stop, don’t.”

What legal steps can we take against an anonymous commenter? You might be surprised! So might the troll itself.

As Judge John Bannister wrote, paraphrasing an early aphorism about “the gods,” “The millstones of Justice turn exceedingly slow, but grind exceedingly fine.” And exceedingly fine is exceedingly fine with us!

This is your extremely belatedly designated (and therefore “weakened”) Open Thread. Do your Open Thread stuff here.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)