CASSIDY: Does Plunderbund believe in free speech?

By   /   October 2, 2012  /   18 Comments

Jon Cassidy

By Jon Cassidy | Ohio Watchdog

I knew it.

MUFFLED: Does Plunderbund believe in free speech?

The left likes to pretend that voter fraud is a complete non-story, that nobody would ever try to steal an election. After all, you could go to jail, which is why crime doesn’t happen.

But go and publish one little voter fraud kit and they freak out and call for your criminal prosecution.

Writers at two popular lefty blogs have called for criminal investigations of yours truly and Ohio Watchdog for publishing a database of 306,152 “phantom” voters. These are people who have been registered since 2006 but haven’t voted in the 12 years the state has been keeping records.

The two publications are Daily Kos and Plunderbund, the top lefty blog in Ohio.

It’s always sad to see a journalist betray the First Amendment, but it’s doubly sad to see it on the left. It was The Progressive magazine, after all, that tested the modern boundaries of free speech in 1979, when it published a “how to” guide to building a nuclear bomb that the federal government tried to prevent (Correction: This case did not reach the Supreme Court).

It’s sevenfold depressing that both Daily Kos and Plunderbund swear voter fraud is at once a non-problem and such a severe problem that journalists should be jailed for fomenting it.

Neither publication is very serious. Daily Kos is known for a roster of contributors who publish under bizarre usernames, which lend the enterprise all the gravitas of Xbox Live.

Plunderbund is famous for its logo of a fist balled up into the universal symbol of someone who wants you to guess which hand is holding the jelly bean.

Plunderbund tweeted that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted “might want to cross ref this 306k voter list with election results and have @OhioAG give Jon Cassidy a call,” which is not just ominous, but strange.

Isn’t Plunderbund confirming our point? If those names, which should have been purged from voter rolls per federal guidelines, are used for voting, then Plunderbund agrees it’s evidence of fraud.

The Plunderbundies took a couple more shots. On Twitter: “Not content to offer solutions in search of a problem @OHWatchdog offers a ‘voter fraud kit’ to CREATE the problem.” On Facebook: “But hey friends, what’s a little federal crime voter fraud to prove a non-existent point? Harmless, right?”

Over at Daily Kos, a visionary atheist skeptic maven of a writer/raconteur (who also likes watching television) named Doug Berger blasted away:

“It’s ironic (sic) then that a right-wing conservative (sic) front group would actually give instructions on how to commit voting fraud. They want people to commit a federal crime in order to make a point….

“Not only does the author Jon Cassidy provide a step-by-step instruction (sic) on how to commit voting fraud but the site also provides the (sic) list of ‘phantom’ voters ‘sorted by county and precinct, and includes addresses…’

“The Franklin Center has ties to right wing conservative groups and funders like (sic) the Koch brothers and is staffed by right-wing activists. Watchdog.org (sic) claim of independence is a farce at best – a lie at worst….

“I think what Jon Cassidy wrote in that post and offering the list of ‘phantom’ voters is technically illegal and if not, is definitely unethical. I would hope either the state or federal law enforcement (sic) take a look at the post and Mr. Cassidy….

“Right-wingers like to talk tough but they are cowards when it comes to committing a crime to make a point. They are use (sic) to committing crimes under the cover of darkness like through lax banking regulations.”

He’s right, aside from the grammar and the points he was making. As much as I use to commit crimes under the cover of darkness like through lax banking regulations, I wouldn’t dream of committing a crime to make a point. Plus, what I already did is definitely technically illegal unless it’s not. Then it’s another word for bad.

Seriously, though, what is the crime these frivolous traitors of the Bill of Rights identify?

Do they think it’s illegal to point out that you can find anything on Google, even tools for fraud? Is saying that photocopiers work good these days a crime against the state? Or should it be illegal to sort public records certain ways?

One doesn’t have to think too deeply to realize they’re not either.

Here’s Berger, just two weeks ago, pledging allegiance to free speech:

“Well Republicans only defend the free speech they agree with and free speech isn’t a party issue it is an American value and I don’t support any attempt by any party to subvert it.”

So that’s just everyday hypocrisy, but what’s Plunderbund’s deal? If they care at all about free speech, it’s not obvious. A search of the site comes up empty. Do they believe in free speech? Or are their politics much farther to the left than most folks realize, more totalitarian leftist than modern Democrat?

I checked their profile page, and was drawn immediately to this description of blogger Brian Guilfoos: “A strong believer in ‘positive liberty’ and egalitarianism, if you had to apply a political label to his belief set, ‘libertarian socialism’ might be the most accurate … . But as long as we live in a world with strong property rights and corporate personhood, he thinks we should have a government strong enough to counter those kinds of powerful interests and look after the commons for The People.”

I’m not sure what’s more impressive, the preciousness of Guilfoos’ narcissism or his willingness to fess up to being a commie. Actually, it’s the combination – here’s somebody who thinks the problem with Marxism is that it doesn’t have enough variants to contain his belief set.

The most overworked intellectual terrain outside of perhaps the Talmud is somehow virgin territory for him. It’s touching and breathtaking, but it’s time somebody tells him how his project of nationalized industries and government by workers’ council ends up: with 20 million dead.

On the upside, nobody got away with publishing voter lists in the Soviet Union.

Contact Jon Cassidy at jon@ohiowatchdog.org

Click here to LEARN HOW TO STEAL OUR STUFF!

Jon Cassidy is the Texas bureau chief for Watchdog.org. He also writes a weekly column on politics for The American Spectator. He was formerly a reporter and editor for The Orange County Register in California and a reporter at The Hill in Washington, D.C. His work has been published by Fox News, Reason, The Federalist, Human Events, and other publications. He is a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and a graduate of the University of Southern California. He and his wife Michelle live just outside Houston with their two children.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    Usually giving instructions on how to commit a crime and giving someone the tools to do it makes you an accessory if a crime occurs and is not covered under the 1st Amendment. Same as if you gave someone a ride to a bank and a gun – if they commit the crime you are an accessory.

    Oh thanks for all the (sic)’s in the quote from my post. I guess it is your attempt to distract from the facts you don’t want to acknowledge. If you were for free speech why would you worry about grammar?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=64200427 Rob Roth

    A ride and a gun is far different than pointing out (in a closer metaphor) that the bank has unarmed guards and that there’s alot of money to be taken from a bank.
    His point was NOT to the criminals but to the bank. “Hey, you can be robbed, and since I have invested in this institution I would like it to be more secure” and “maybe you shouldn’t really leave all of that money lying around”

  • Eohwae

    As an Ohio citizen, there’s a reason our state is a microcosm of the nation: we take all kinds. While most are reasonable, there are a few that make the most noise. You can guess where Doug falls in.

    Never have I met a “libertarian socialist” that wasn’t an admirer of Mao’s mountains of corpses, while also a believer in the propaganda: it was just an accident. When I hear that phrase I know its time to back away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.cassidy2 Jonathan Cassidy

    Because I like free speech, not free verse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/forrest.osborn Forrest Osborn

    I THINK WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A BUNCH OF B.S.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.holtzman.9 Joe Holtzman

    Plunderbund only believes in their free speech……not anyone else’s . Keep exposing tyrants.

  • Modern Esquire

    First, genius, The Progressive case was never heard by the United States Supreme Court. Second, the court specifically found that the article was not a “how to” build the bomb. Third, the issue was national security, not criminal conspiracy. Fourth, The Progressive didn’t make a “kit” for its readers to build bombs.
    The First Amendment is not a hall pass to commit felony criminal conspiracies. You didn’t take this information to the authorities, you told people to take the resources you create to commit voter fraud… to prove voter fraud actually exists.
    You told people to rob the bank to show how easy it is.
    You say you can’t find any evidence that PB supports free speech? It just reported how Mandel physically assaulted a tracker who was filming him in a public building. It reported on how citizens were locked out of the General Assembly, while it was in session, to keep out opponents of SB 5. Your research on PB is as flawed as your legal research.
    Regardless, this post of yours should be used by rhetoric professors everywhere as a final exam to see how many logical fallacies their students can spot beyond just the factual errors.

  • Modern Esquire

    I’ll tell my criminal defense attorney friends to try that defense next time. It was just a kit to show law enforcement how easy it was to cook meth, not to actually do it. I’ll let you know how that plays out if you can’t figure it out already.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.cassidy2 Jonathan Cassidy

    I stand corrected. U.S. v. Progressive didn’t reach the Supreme Court. That’s what I get for going off memory.

    The court that heard the case said the article was “probably not” a “do-it-yourself” guide, in the sense that nobody can build an H-bomb by himself. You’d need “a large, sophisticated industrial capability” to pull it off, not just a magazine article. In the same way, you’d need a large, sophisticated conspiracy to pull off elections fraud, not just an article.

    You can see why I mentioned the case, even if it’s otherwise dissimilar. I’d seek a more exact precedent, but there isn’t one, for the simple reason that in this country, we don’t criminalize journalism.
    The rest of this lawyer’s argument is absurd. There is no physical “kit.” We published a database assembled from public records. Is that the part he thinks should be illegal?

    It’s simply false to say I encouraged anyone to misuse this information. We used a facetious headline – “Get your voter fraud kit here” – to make the article’s point. If a dumb reporter can assemble this information, the election pros can, too. They just won’t tell you if they’re up to no good.

    And Modern proves my point – his idea of free speech is a tracker hassling Josh Mandel. And there was one day a year and a half ago when the Statehouse locked its doors to thousands of pro-union protestors. Sort of like the U.S. Capitol does every day.

    I’m honored that he thinks my scribblings could be used for a final exam (can we make it grad school?), but it doesn’t take training in rhetoric to notice that the article is one long ad hominem. I didn’t even rebut one of Berger’s points; I just repeated his words in a funny tone of voice. So disrespectful.

    And then I take a throwaway line from one of your comrades, and employ guilt-by-association to hit you all as a bunch of fellow travelers. Fallacious!

    But it’s only a fallacy if I were trying to prove something, if there had been some question about whether you guys had betrayed the First Amendment. There wasn’t. You did. That sucks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.cassidy2 Jonathan Cassidy

    Which is why Breaking Bad isn’t on TV any… nevermind.

  • Modern Esquire

    Another error in your post: The Court never ruled in favor of The Progressive. So, not only did you get the Court wrong, the facts wrong, you got the law wrong, too. The Court granted a temporary injunction BARRING publication of the story. In other words, you apparently have NEVER read a single decision in that case.
    James O’Keefe tried to use the “we don’t criminalize journalism” to justify his unethical tactics. He lost, and now has a federal criminal record.
    You provided the identies of those prime to be used for voter impersonation, said here’s how you can circumvent I.D. requirements… it’s more than your dumb title.
    There’s no evidence that the tracker was hassling Mandel except for filming him… in public as a public official. Yeah, that’s free speech. And no, the U.S. Capitol does not lock people out from attending legislative sessions simply because there’s protest occuring on the grounds over what the legislature is considering. That. does. not. happen. period. Let alone daily.
    “The election pros” are the figments of your imagination of people conspiring to commit the election fraud you now advocate they commit with your information… to prove that fraud exists.
    The First Amendment is not a shield against criminal acts. It never has been. Your entire argument is based that these folks criticized you on something the Supreme Court said is protected by the First Amendment… but it hasn’t. In fact, neither did the federal district in Wisconsin that actually heard the case you were referencing. You are just wrong.
    Advocating a criminal act on the Internet doesn’t invoke First Amendment protections that bar your prosecution, so people pointing out that anyone advocating voter fraud through identity theft aren’t “enemies of free speech.” They’re enemies of felony crimes.

  • Modern Esquire

    Breaking Bad is fiction, and AMC doesn’t sell a “Breaking Bad” Make-Meth-At-Home kit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.cassidy2 Jonathan Cassidy

    You see how you screwed up, right? I mentioned The Progressive case as a reason why I thought it was doubly sad that the left would oppose free speech, not as any kind of legal argument. The left has a long and proud record of defending the First Amendment and proving its boundaries. That strengthens the Constitutional protections the rest of us enjoy.
    You’re a lawyer, so surely you know the actual standard in free speech cases is “imminent lawless action,” as established in Brandenburg v. Ohio.
    The SC wrote: “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
    Your problem isn’t just that we didn’t advocate anything. If you argue that my article was intended to produce imminent lawless and that it’s likely to produce such action, you are saying that voter fraud is both imminent and likely, and all it took was one little spreadsheet. That really destroys the argument that voter fraud is a non-issue and that the polls need no additional security.
    And you clearly haven’t spent any time on the Hill. Protestors aren’t allowed to march through the Capitol. They demonstrate outside.

  • Modern Esquire

    You’ve edited your post since this morning. Your initial point was that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the 1st Amendment permitted the media to do what The Progressive sought to do. You WERE making a legal argument.
    Then I called you out on the fact that no such case went to the Supreme Court and you revised your post to this new post hoc rationalization.
    I’ve spent time on the Hill. The people were seeking to attend the legislative session, not protest. And not even the Kasich Adminstration cited the fact that some had been protesting as the reason they were kept out.. Again, you lack any credibility.
    Brandenburg was a case about inflammatory speech designed to get people to commit acts of violence, not engage a conspiracy of identify theft and election fraud. Brandenburg would not apply to your case. Regardless, since you wrote this when early voting is starting, yes, you’d be screwed even if it DID apply.
    The left has defending the boundaries of free speech, but it also recognizes there are boundaries and you crossed it.
    But you seem to be missing something critical in your defense: You’re actually saying there’s nothing wrong with what you said because nobody is actually going to commit voter fraud using your election fraud kit. You’re trying to have it both ways.

  • http://www.plunderbund.com Eric

    I seriously hope this watchdog ohio thing is not funded.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimmiestime Kim K Susko

    You’ve got to be kidding. You want to talk voter fraud? Let’s talk about G.W. and Florida… voter fraud by the right in government. Let’s talk about all the voter fraud that is taking place right now under our noses by, yet again, the right in government. However, most of this fraud is taking place using non-existent voter fraud as the excuse the right is using to suppress votes that are not in their favor. Just because you perpetuate the lies about what the left wing and right wing are about does not make it true. Stop the lies.
    You are the one who has been exposed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.foster.752 Andy Foster

    You clowns have been chasing your tail on that for this long?! It was a nonstarter then and it is now. On the other hand’ the left has counted on the “dead” vote since before Kennedy and at least to Tweed. The New Black Panthers Intimidating in Philly. I don’t have a doubt that both side have done that but you nor anyone has a clue about the Fla. vote and came up with conspiracy theories from the giggling academy. Try this -win an election based on ideas! Not by tricks and law suits (Al Franken)

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.foster.752 Andy Foster

    Is there any limit to how low the left will slither? Just 1 election try and win on ideas – not sleazy legal issues and tricks. To anyone but a total idiot it was obvious that Mr. Cassidy was not teaching or luring anyone to commit voter fraud – you guys do that on your own

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