January 16, 2006

Fear and Loathing in blogdom

The recent freak-out by the "HeadUsher" clan occasioned by the online poll in which Sen. Jacobs' opponent Paul Rumler attracted over 80% of the vote, and a comment I've received prompted me to set out a few things regarding the protection of people's anonymity here.

A few people (as in maybe two) are very freaked out by the fact that a lot of people were able to come to the rather inescapable opinion that many bizarre and ugly comments here and elsewhere (posted as "HeadUsher" "CountyDemo" "VoterGuide" and others, hereinafter referred to as "commenter X") were left by Sen. Mike Jacobs and that the suspicion has been stated.

Why they're getting upset now when this contention has been stated for months is anyone's guess. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the press has asked Sen. Jacobs if he's posted as "HeadUsher"?

I hasten to point out that no one has ever revealed or stated that they had absolute proof of this. I'll repeat that for the benefit of people who seem to want to ignore it. No one has ever revealed or stated that they had absolute proof of this. And this includes myself, and to my knowledge, John Beydler as well.

The fact of the matter is this. If you:

A. Constantly make comments which have nothing to do with the topic or issue addressed in the post for which you're commenting, essentially hi-jacking the post. (blog no-no #1)
A. Make comments which serve no purpose whatsoever other than attacking others or which are basically overblown campaign ads.
B. Actually think you can "own" someone else's blog and think you have a "right" to fill it with all manner of disgusting, vile, mean-spirited attacks and lies.
C. Engage in nearly exclusive use of personal smears, attacks, and threats.
D. Despite numerous polite suggestions, patient explanations, pleadings, and warnings, show zero sign of "getting it", cleaning up your act or being able to follow the few basic rules of blog etiquette.
E. Despite the repeated chances above, not only don't ratchet things back a few notches, but actually intensify your onslaught and increase the childish attacks and lies and false assertions about individuals.
F. Literally cover the blog with posts glorifying the supposed accomplishments and near mythic greatness of Mike Jacobs while engaging in the lowest, most dishonest, mean spirited, and juvenile attempts to spread false rumors, smear, threaten, harass, insult, or attack anyone perceived as a Jacobs' competitor. opponent, or anyone who says anything less than glowing about Mike Jacobs.
G. Do all of the above over a thousand times over the period of nearly a year, sometimes at a rate of one a minute.
E. Give your identity away in dozens of ways suggesting that you are Mike Jacobs himself or both he and someone extremely close to him.
F. Generally act like an idiot.

...then yes, I'm going to say who I have reason to believe you are. End of story.

Anyone reading even a fraction of the hundreds of manic comments by "HeadUsher" et. al. posted here and to a lesser degree at John Beydler's "The Passing Parade" would come to the conclusion that this commenter is either the senator himself or someone so close to him as to almost be his clone. Either way, it's embarrassing.

People like him are known on blogs as a "troll". Someone who contributes nothing and only serves to agitate and disrupt a place and in doing so, ruin things for all the others who want a rational place to argue or discuss issues. In other words, they're the loud, crude, obnoxious guest who crashes an otherwise decent party and won't leave anyone alone.

No one else has any cause to worry that I'd have more than a passing interest in who they are, much less speculate about it here. And the fact remains that I have no means to associate a comment or e-mail with a person's name, period.

This doesn't mean that I'm an absolute dunce and that after reading dozens of comments from someone, some idea of who it might be doesn't enter my mind. But I sure don't sit here wracking my brains trying to figure out who said what. Frankly, I don't care who they are (no offense) and trying to find out is not only a waste of my time, but impossible. I only enjoy their thoughts, insights, views, humor, and personalities. That's plenty enough, without wasting my time playing detective.

A commenter wrote recently and wanted me to make some sort of "pledge" that I'd never reveal any commenter's identity or even speculate on it.

Long time readers will note that with the exception of "Headusher" and his pseudonyms, I've never speculated on any commenter's identity, nor do I ever intend to. Because if there's a God, there's only one "Headusher", and I won't have the need or the desire to.

What does it say though, that "HeadUsher" is now enraged, saying it's wrong that Sen. Jacobs has been revealed as the author of so many disturbing comments? Well to me, it's almost a confirmation.

HeadUsher is not angry that something THEY supposedly wrote is being falsely attributed to Jacobs, no mention of that at all. Only that it's somehow wrong to "out" someone. Interesting.

Now suddenly Sen. Jacobs and "HeadUsher" et. al (whom we'll refer to as "commenter X") are huge supporters of the right to anonymity online. How refreshing, in light of the fact that he was railing like a madman for months that my identity should be revealed, and has in fact attempted to "name" me in many comments in which he named names of people which he (wrongly) felt ran this blog in attempts to smear them or cast aspersions. (which of course, I did not post) What a remarkable change of heart. Maybe they are educable after all?

Frankly, one reason I've allowed the suspicion of Jacobs to be said is in the strong hope (in vain) that perhaps this person would realize how their comments are revealing a very ugly and disturbing aspect to them and their way of thinking. Jacobs has stated in newspaper stories that he reads blogs "occasionally" (snort!) I don't think anyone believes he hasn't read this one regularly, so he surely is aware of the many people who assume he's "HeadUsher and the others. In the past, "HeadUsher" has stated that he speaks to Sen. Jacobs often. (guffaw)

Since Jacobs has been suspected of being the source of these deplorable comments for about a year now, wouldn't you think that if it was indeed Jacobs, he'd get a clue and stop? And if it wasn't Jacobs, wouldn't he take immediate action to stop whoever was posting them? And even if he couldn't nail down who it was (yeah, right) wouldn't he immediately post a comment here disavowing all the vile and disgusting comments left in his behalf and apologizing to their targets?

The rational answer to the above is clearly yes, he would. But the fact is that Jacobs has apparently done nothing to stop or chastise the person posting such disgusting things (even if it's him, I might add.) as they continue to pour in.

And Jacobs has not said a word to disavow or disassociate himself from them in any manner, shape, or form. Not a peep. The silence is deafening. And telling.

But I'm here to tell anyone who cares that commenting here or contacting me by e-mail has been, is still, and will remain, completely anonymous.

And unless you think you can match "HeadUsher"s output for both volume and obnoxiousness, there's no need to worry about your identity being speculated about.

OK? Have we got this straight? Good.

I'm sorry to have had to go into this, but there are a few, and very few, people who are jittery that their anonymity is not secure. This is for them, not the rest of you who know better and are not concerned.

If anyone wants to discuss this further, contact me by e-mail, but I'm not going to spend any more time on it in comments.


At 1/16/2006 5:28 PM, Anonymous M. said...

I think it's obvious who it is ... especially since he doesn't disavow it now that it's hit the newspaper. Probably because most of these posts can be traced back to certain IP addresses.

But I will say this: I think Headusher and his minions are, like Rosa Parks, not going to sit in the back of the bus when their state senator's reputation is at stake. They are every bit as brave as Martin Luther King, every bit as dedicated to the cause of blogging freedom as Abraham Lincoln, in standing up for his reputation. You can criticism him and them here, but you will never Malcolm X their right to speak up for our duly appointed by his daddy to the legisature representative.

At 1/16/2006 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of Mike Jacobs! Hallejujah!

At 1/16/2006 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The below post was accidently dumped. It appears below exactly as it was posted...

Anonymous at 9:26 1-16-06 wrote:

I don't think many people realize that Denny jacobs Retired. Then several weeks later, The county board chairmen the of the 36th district voted for the person that they thought would make the best choice for the Senate. They could choose anyone that they wanted to choose. Mike Boland sought this position also. His father had no reign of power at this time. Pat Vershoore was chosen in the same manner for the Rep position when Brunsvoldtook his DNR position. I am wondering if it is the process that "m.said" is upset with or that the County chairmen of the 36th district chose Mike Jacobs as your Senator. You can blame him for the hog plant or his handeling of the WIU project, but it is not right to hate him for the way the process works.

I envoke you to change this process if that is your concern

At 1/16/2006 11:51 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You're not telling the whole story there I'm afraid.

Yes, the Dem county chairs of the counties within the 36th district voted on who they wanted to replace Denny.

But why not tell the truth? The county chair voting system is set up as a "weighted" vote system. I believe it's based on how many votes were cast in that particular county, if I'm not mistaken.

At any rate, John Gianullis' vote counts as about 3/4 of the total!

There would simply be no use for any of the chairs to oppose whoever John G. picked, as it wouldn't make any difference anyway.

John G. was the only person who picked Mike. Did Denny have anything to do with it? I'll let the readers be the judge. I don't know. But the fix was in from the start.

Don't try to tell us that Mike somehow "won" this election. (or any election for that matter)

To even suggest that is dishonest and preposterous.

This is my point in all of this and my primary problem with the comments of the Jacobs supporters.

Support your guy, fine. But don't lie, distort, or try to spin and twist things so badly.

Sure, spin a little...that's natural but don't go absolutely nuts like you always seem to. Just play it straight and no one can fault you.

At 1/17/2006 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope you are correct. The vote is weighted thus John G the Chair of the largest County and holding the most votes or "weight" is made the "Godfather" of all appointments to political office in multi-county areas due to his County's big population. The only County that does not do this is Cook County, where they hold a true Democratic vote with each and every elected precint captain having a real vote and choosing the person who gets an appointment. That's the way the Illinois constitution is currently set. Last time it was changed was in the 70s. Maybe it's time for another re-write?

There. Just facts that is all.

At 1/17/2006 9:43 AM, Anonymous ElectionOfficial said...

According to the Illinois State Boiard of Electins, state Senator Mike Jacobs tallied 43,239 votes to win the seat vacated by his father.

If you posses information to the contrary please provide it! If not, I think you need to move on.

That's a straight as it gets Dope!

At 1/17/2006 12:19 PM, Anonymous M. said...

The practice of retiring, or, even worse, getting another job on the state teat, in the middle of the term so the party can appoint your replacement, who, more times than not, will keep the job as long as they like it due to the wonder of Rock Island's mostly one-party status, is deplorable.

The fact that you can get away with something like this doesn't mean that it isn't sleezy.

Dennis could have served out his term and let Mike win the job honestly, but he didn't. Can you guess why?

Joel's another case in point. Teacher's pension, legislator's pension, DNR pension...

Great work if you can get it. Maybe I'll go in to politics, since I'm getting too old to be a male hooker.

It's nice to think that I can chage the way Illinois politics work. In theory, it's correct, and maybe someday enough people will get irritated that the system will be fixed. But since that's not going to happen in my lifetime, I did what a lot of other people who have brains do: I moved to Iowa.

If sonny boy is such a good state senator, he might want to look at the disparity between development and population trends between Scott and Rock Island counties, figure out what's happening, and do something to fix it. And before he retires in mid-term and arranges for the party to turn the gig over to his son or politicaly croney.

At 1/17/2006 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is, not one of the county Chairs voted against Mike Jacobs. Maybe because they are afraid of John, but I have more respect for these people to insinuate that. And John does have the most power because he represents the most people. I am not sure if it is John G. or the process that you are against on this issue. I am not sure where the not telling the whole truth comes in to play with anon 23.45


At 1/17/2006 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make it out that Denny Jacobs is the most powerful man on the planet. He was retired at the time and had no power. John did have the power and if my memory isn't playing tricks Denny and John have not always been on the same side of the fence. Why is it that you think John and the other chairmen that voted for Mike would do this if they didn't think it to be the best for their district. One reason might just be that they new him and felt that he was the best man for the job. Or they didn't like the alternatives. If you have an other suggestion which makes sence then let us know.

At 1/17/2006 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Electionofficial is not very official. The way that was done was with ONE vote - John G - not the thousands he lists. That is quite misleading because of the weighted vote issue.

John G can be tricked, coerced or any number of things for those in power to get him to do what they want and that's likely what happened here.

At 1/18/2006 4:00 PM, Anonymous newhere said...

Democrat Chairman John Gianulis is a respected leader in Illinois. It's unfair to suggest that he doesn't know what he's doing.

Are you saying that he's to old to do his job? I can assure you that your assement is off base. Everyone in downstate Illinois understands that John G. is a great Democrat. For you to attack him in this way is unjust.

Whoever you are, you are wrong! Democrat Chairman Gianuils is respected for his ability to pick winners. Ask the GOV!

At 1/20/2006 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 13.27 - wake up - retired or no - Denny is the power broker here in this game. Hands down....

You must be clueless to the inside scoop so to speak.

At 1/21/2006 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure, no Rumler has ever lifted a finger to help the Democrat Party do anything!


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