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Thursday, April 12, 2007

J. L. Kirk Associates: Not a Better Business

Katherine Coble is, by all accounts, amazing. She's a liberterian fan of Kurt Vonnegut and a LOST aficionado. She's also being bulled by J. L. Kirk Associates for, among other things, say:

That the amount [she was] asked to pay “neatly” coincided with [her] tax refund “which is a matter of public record.”

(Apparently, "neatly" will join "paddy o'doggun" as a word one just cannot say anymore.)

JL Kirk Associates

The threatened lawsuit (warning: pdf) has attracted widespread attention, including thoughts by Curtis Gale Weeks. The kirking also ties into an article written by Dr. Glenn Reynolds of the University of Tennessee College of Law. And the Jim River Report has featured the story on its front page (all day!).

More substantively, J.L. Kirk & Associates' actions, as documented by the Better Business Bureau, have been brought to light:

This company has a pattern [more than 2 complaints involving the same allegations usually within 12 months that are significant in relation to the company's size and volume of business] of complaint. Complaints allege the company offers career advancement services including marketing/resume writing, training for improved interview & negotiation skills, job leads/interviews and on-going support once a career has been obtained. Consumers state once they complete the marketing/resume writing and training for improved interview and negotiation skills, the company fails to follow up and provide assistance with job leads, interviews are not scheduled and careers are not obtained. All complainants request a refund to resolve the issues.

Is there a moral here? Yes. Don't kirk yourself. Don't SLAPP.

16:20 Posted in Blogosphere, SLAPP | Permalink | Comments (9) | Tags: jl kirk, kirk

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

JL Kirk & Associates SLAPPs Katherline Coble

Coble, K. 2007. This entry for a limited time only. Just Another Pretty Face. April 11, 2007. Available online: http://mycropht.wordpress.com/2007/04/11/this-entry-for-a-limited-time-only/.

Instapundit, Pink Kitty, Moncks Corner Moments, thinktrain, Say Uncle, and The Vol Abroad link to disturbing news:

The doorbell rang 5 minutes ago.

It was delivery of a certified letter.

I am being ordered to take down all of my blog entries pertaining to JL Kirk & Associates. If I don’t, they will so me for tortuous interference and other damages.

In a subsequent conversation with the attorney, Alan Kopady of King & Ballow Law Offices, if I do not take down the blog entries they will contact my Internet Service Provider, Comcast, to have my internet access shut down.

I have until April 13th to comply with the demands of the letter.

An excellent summary of the controversy so far is available from Nashville is Talking. This appears to be a SLAPP -- a strategic lawsuit against public participation

Some of the communication between the blogger and the SLAPP is below the fold:

Read more ...

18:17 Posted in SLAPP | Permalink | Comments (34) | Tags: king ballow, jl kirk, kirk, coble

Thursday, April 05, 2007

SCO SLAPPs Groklaw

Jones, P. 2007. My very own motion, tra la. Groklaw. April 4, 2007. Available online: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070403233141649(from Slashdot)

SCO. 2007. Case 2:03-cv-00294-DAK-BCW Document 1018. April 2, 2007. Available online: http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/IBM-1018.pdf.

Groklaw's Pam Jones

Well, obviously, I can't say much about this new SCO filing [PDF] at this time. It's all about moi. A bit more here and here.

I can say this: SCO in its wisdom has just guaranteed that the judges in SCO v. IBM and SCO v. Novell will have to read Groklaw. So, welcome Judge Kimball. Welcome, Judge Wells. We've enjoyed very much learning about the law by watching you at work. SCO told you something that isn't true. No one tried to serve me that I knew about. No one informed me of any deposition date. That is true. It doesn't feel so nice to be smeared like this, I can tell you that, and to have to pay a lawyer to deal with this harassment. I view it as such, as a kind of SLAPP suit, a vendetta to pay me back for blowing the whistle, and to shut Groklaw up. SCO wants to put a pin on a map and point to it and say, "Here's PJ." Then someone drops by and shoots me, I suppose. I certainly have nothing to tell them that is relevant to this litigation.

Forsooth, methinks SCOfolk need to get better aligned with truth, justice, and the American way, as the saying goes. But that's the judges' job, so I'll end my comments about this here.

There are 20 some exhibits, some sealed, most not, and as you will see, stories got planted in the media and then presented in court as "proof" once again. I'll tell you more later, when I can.

And so the stupidest lawsuit in the history of the world just got stupider. And a whole lot meaner.

And what is she talking about?

This filing (pdf):

In the SCO v. Novell litigation, by agreement of the parties, SCO has until May 31, 2007, in which to serve a subpoena on and take the deposition of non-party witness Pamela Jones. The prospective deposition of Ms. Jones bears on this litigation as well. Accordingly, SCO asks the Court to deem Ms. Jones' deposition to be on taken in this case, providing notice of the deposition to IBM and an opportunity to participate if the company so choses.

Ms. Jones is the self-proclaimed operator of an internet website known as "Groklaw" (www.groklaw.net). Ms Jones claims to have copyrighted and to maintain Groklawpersonally... Through the website, Ms. Jones has reported extensively on and repeatedly disseminated Novell's claims of ownership of the UNIX copyrights, as well as generally addressed SCO's disputes with Novell and IBM since the inception of those lawsuits. The content and commentary of the website (and other evidence) shows that Ms. Jones is not an objective commentator, but rather a vehicle through which opponents of SCO have conducted their case against SCO in the court of public opinion, where no gate-keeper monitors the reliability of content.

SCO has sought to depose Ms. Jones to address, among other things, her participation in Novell's and IBM's conduct toward SCO and the content of her website relating to SCO. The notice given to IBM of the prospective deposition by virtue of SCO's instant Motion is more than sufficient, because SCO has not yet served Ms. Jones with a subpoena for her deposition. Obviously aware of SCO's designs to depose her, Ms. Jones has neither accepted service of the subpoena nor agreed to appear for deposition, but rather appears to have fled and evaded service of the subpoena. Ms Jones's reluctance to appear for deposition in this matter is better understood in the context of certain relevant evidence. Indeed, SCO has obtained evidence through discovery of Ms. Jones' allegiance and financial connection to Novell and IBM, which underscores her motivation to avoid having to testify in this matter.

I've been bullied by corporate sheisters before, so SCO's strategic lawsuit against public participation on the part of Groklaw and Pam Jones isn't surprising. Only saddening.

12:22 Posted in SLAPP, Software | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: groklaw, pj, sco

Sunday, November 27, 2005

South Dakota Democrat ex-Senator Jim Abourezk SLAPPs Critical Web Site

"Libel suit over someone calling a former Senator a 'traitor'," by Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, 3 August 2003, http://volokh.com/2003_08_03_volokh_archive.html#106029603806074744 (from Classical Values).

"Settlement reached in Abourezk's "traitor list" lawsuit," by Dennis Gale, Associated Press, 26 November 2005, http://www.aberdeennews.com/mld/aberdeennews/news/13264283.htm.

"Traitor List," ProBush.com, accessed 27 November 2005, http://www.probush.com/traitor.htm.

Treason: Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

Traitor: If you do not support our President's decisions you are a traitor.

Get to know your traitor!

*Parody. Not to be taken seriously. These "traitors" are not legal "traitors" of the United States.


James Abourezk

Note that I have nothing much against former Senator , except for the fact that his wife Sanaa's recipes, published regularly in the Argus Leader, are awful.

Likewise, I'm not sure of the use nor lexicographical integrity of defining "traitor" as "if you do not support our President's decisions you are a traitor."

However, I am sure that this is a perfect example of a :

A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit that former U.S. Sen. James Abourezk filed against an Internet site that labeled him a traitor, lawyers for both sides said Saturday.

Abourezk, who's of Arab descent, was a Democratic U.S. senator from 1973 to 1979 and now practices law in Sioux Falls. He accused ProBush.com of libel for putting him on a "traitor's list" for criticizing President Bush.

Also named as defendants were Michael Marino, the site's editor and publisher, and Ben Marino, co-owner. ProBush.com is headquartered in West Point, Penn., according to court documents.

More than two years ago The Volokh Conspiracy looked at this case

The rules under libel law are generally the same as the rules the Court discussed above; and under those rules, probush.com and other similar speakers should win. The site makes clear that by "traitor" it means those people who "do not support our President's decisions." Readers would understand that -- as is often the case -- the site is expressing a moral opinion about those who don't support the President's decisions, rather than making a factual claim about criminal actions that they have allegedly committed. I don't approve of the site's rhetoric; but its operators have a constitutional right to engage in it.

This stupid case, which has dragged on for years until ProBush got tired of defending its honor and agreed to pay a nominal fine of $1, while insisting that it was right, is an great case of why laws are so important. Ever since threatened to sue me I've been paying more attention of legal harassment of whistleblowers, from Canada to Illinois.

Anti-SLAPP laws, which make it clear that critical speech is not "defamation" and that legalistic harassers should pay for lawyer fees, are an important tool in curbing these attacks on the .

It is particularly sad that this latest outrage comes from my home state of South Dakota. That Senator Abourezk has followed in the long-line of former South Dakotan politicians whose families have grown mysteriously wealth does not bother me -- that is life in our simple state, and is habit among both Republicans and Democrats.

But I expected better of Jim than suing a critic into silence.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Is Emmanuel 'Chris' Welch the NationMaster of Illinois?

"Are politicians too SLAPP happy?," by Dave Goetz, Forest Park Review, 18 October 2005, http://forestparkreview.com/main.asp?SectionID=3&SubSectionID=3&ArticleID=695&TM=79561.24 (from Google News via Junk Politics).

A while ago threatened to sue me for a negative review. They gave up. Sadly, not everyone is so lucky.

A bit ago I wrote about how Activa Holdings is exploiting Canadian law to sue a blogger. Now a politician from an Illinois public school district is at it:

There have been some epic battles in our times. SC vs. Notre Dame, Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Godzilla vs. King Kong. The most recent addition to this list is Welch vs. Nyberg. Welch vs. Nyberg?

In September, Emmanuel ‘Chris‘ Welch, Proviso District 209 School Board President, sued local resident, Review columnist, blog owner, and political gadfly Carl Nyberg for defamation. The lawsuit refers to specific postings on Carl’s political blog Proviso Probe, www.provisoprobe.blogspot.com.

After reading the headline my first reaction was that this is a SLAPP suit. SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Characteristically these lawsuits are filed by developers, large business interests, and elected officials against their vocal opponents. The lawsuits are filed quickly, without much legal research, because the goal is not necessarily to win the suit, but to intimidate the under funded, legally ignorant, naysayers. By the time the case is dismissed, and the vast majority of the SLAPP suits are, the zoning changes have been passed, the needed land has been condemned, the plaintiff has achieved its’ objective.

The political purpose of SLAPP suits by politicians is to stop what they perceive as withering and stifling criticism from the portion of the public that isn’t buying what they are saying. The suit or even the threat of a lawsuit is used to keep people from writing letters to the editors, jumping on web sites or blogs, or other forms of free speech. It generally happens locally where the media exposure is limited. I’m sure President Bush would have loved to move Cindy Sheehan away from his ranch during his vacation but any type of legal action on his behalf would have created a firestorm of bad publicity. Too many TV cameras. The same is not true on the local level.

While I happily admit to know nothing about Illinois politics, that SLAPP-style lawsuits may have come to bloggers who criticize politicians is worrying.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Is Activa Holdings the NationMaster of Canada?

"Ontario mom faces $2M libel suit for website about problems in neighbourhood," by Mike Oliveira, CP, 13 November 2005, http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2005/11/13/1305275-cp.html (from Slashdot).

I recently had a run-in with the unethical company known as NationMaster, so I was interested in this case:

Louisette Lanteigne of Waterloo, Ont., said she grew sick of what she saw during construction in her new subdivision and what appeared to be questionable building practices and labour-code violations.

She said she was constantly keeping her kids and their friends out of trouble, as they would keep running into hazards around their neighbourhood. She petitioned city council and got help but new problems would appear as quickly as the old ones got fixed, she said.


She launched her website in April to document her complaints and as a means for the province's Environment and Labour ministries to view the evidence she collected. She made about a dozen postings with photos and stories of sightings around her area.

Her efforts led to letters and kudos from various government officials for reporting alleged violations. Then-environment minister Leona Dombrowsky wrote her to say, "Your advocacy on behalf of your neighbourhood is commendable and I encourage you to contact the ministry . . .to report any further incidents."

Environment Ministry spokesman John Steele said work by people like Lanteigne is of great value because there aren't enough ministry workers available to spot every infraction.

"Obviously we can't have staff everywhere all the time, so we depend on the public out there as surrogate eyes and ears for the ministry," Steele said. "They're an important part of the ministry's work."

But not everyone was happy with her reports.

On Sept. 16, Lanteigne received news that she was being sued for libel by developer Activa Holdings Inc., one of the largest developers in the region.

The statement of claim said "the malicious, high-handed and arrogant conduct of the Defendant warrants an award of punitive or exemplary damages to ensure that the Defendant is appropriately punished for her conduct and deterred from such conduct in the future."

The company sought $2 million and an order to have the allegedly libellous material taken offline.

Remind you of anyone? , perhaps?

It definitely sounds like Activa Holdings is the NationMaster of Canada!

If there's anything good about the news, it will popularize

The legislation is typically called anti-SLAPP, an acronym for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

The laws reduce the risk of fighting lawsuits because if the plaintiff loses, they are responsible for all the legal fees. In Lanteigne's case, she will have to pay her lawyer regardless of the outcome.

"Typically with David-Goliath-type situations where a citizen is faced with large legal costs and aggressive litigious companies, it takes a lot of courage to persevere," said Rick Smith, executive director for advocacy organization Environmental Defence Canada.

Because this seems to be so widespread, I am modifying NationMaster Watch to include more anti-SLAPP resources.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NatonMaster Folds (Kind of....)

has refunded most of my money.

The legal beagles at get it next:


They even sent me a nice confirmation email

Hi friend of digital freedom [tdaxp comment: :-) ],

Your thoughtful gift today of $65.00 means a world of difference to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and our ability to defend digital freedom.

On behalf of our Board, staff and volunteers, thank you for your contribution and for helping to protect digital freedom.


PS: I will send you an acknowledgment letter to the mailing address listed below. Your gift is tax deductible as allowed by law. Our tax ID number is 04-3091431. EFF respects the confidentiality of its supporters and we do not lend, rent or sell our lists of donors at any time. No goods or services were provided in consideration of this contribution.

What I like best about EFF emails is that they do not accuse me of defamation!

(Well, that and I can a tax-deductible t-shirt!)

Sadly, the most recent email from NationMaster isn't so kind. Our friend Mr. Steinmetz sent me another email, to which I replied. Two big things stand out

  1. He asked me to post his email. I was kind enough to do so, and I posted my reply. But I have never disabled comments for any post, and whenever there has been a problem commenting I have helped someone to do so. As I've yet to take down death threats, I assure Mr. Steinmetz that his participation in the online community would be appreciated
  2. His email's full of untruths. I won't call them lies, because a malicious lazy incompetence seems more likely. To pick out just one

    We find it disappointing but also telling that you never raised an issue with the PayPal resolution centre, which is the normal route PayPal users take when they have a dispute with a seller.

Now, that's odd. Oh, wait:

The Buyer Complaint Policy only applies to payments for tangible, physical goods which can be shipped, and excludes all other payments, including but not limited to payments for intangibles, for services or for licenses and other access to digital content.

I could belabor my conversation with PayPal, my conversation with my credit card company, but if Mr. Steinmetz's can't keep his online business straight, I don't see the point. I'm not going to raise his other points. If you are curious about them, you can email me. His contentions don't deserve the blog-space.

Or he can leave a comment.

Nor will I humorously mention that the payment processor protection NationMaster ignored/didn't know about/lied about/whatever was designed to protect certain soft-core pornography distributors: for example, this girl (a market under constant attack from See Lai and occasionally other, more prestigious blogs ;) ).

Nor will I join NationMaster Scam in its libel:

NationMaster refunded TDAXP, but refuse to apologize for anti-Semitic remarks they may have made to him. They have not removed WikiPedia's content, however.

Nor write something actually scandalous, such as

NationMaster traffics in white slavery

Because that'd just be untrue. Much like 's letter.

NationMaster Enslaves College Girls To Perform on Adult Web Sites: NOT TRUE

Note that I am unable to repudiate made-up allegations that NationMaster regularly enslaves mongoloids, negroids, and the mixed. But I fear the worst

Does NationMaster Enslave Japanese Girls And Bind Them To Trees

More importantly, the latest email from did not promise to call off the lawyers, did not apologize for calling a negative refer of defamation, or even fully refund my money (but why quibble)?

Which brings me back to the . It made the need for legal protection for free speech personal to me. Which is why I gave the money over to the EFF:

Blogging: For Freedom's Sake

Because they stand-up to legal persecution of free speech. And international sex traffickers like NationMaster.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NationMaster and the Art of Zen Punditry

"tdaxp and His Battle with the NationMaster: A Lesson in Networks," by Mark Safranski, Zen Pundit, 7 November 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/11/tdaxp-and-his-battle-with-nationmaster.html".

Mark of ZenPundit was kind enough to look at 's recent extortion attempt from the perspective of networks:

Dan of tdaxp, long a blogfriend of Zenpundit is locked in a consumer complaint battle with an internet information company known as NationMaster. In the day of the dead tree media, there was a saying about the power of big city newspapers " Don't get in a pissing contest with somebody who buys ink by the barrel". Today, an updated version might go like this " Don't get in a pissing contest with somebody who is part of a scale free network"

In addition to Dan's most recent post he has previously posted here ( where you can read Nationmaster's bullying, pseudo-legal email correspondence) and here ( the original post that ticked off Nationmaster's executives, including one " John Steinmetz").

Though Mark comes perilously close to unmasking my true identity...

It is theoretically possible that Dan is a clever but psychotic con man posing as a grad student simply to bilk helpless corporations out of fairly earned dollars - but I kind of doubt it. It seems more likely that some arrogant a-hole in a corner office at NationMaster reacted dismissively when Dan asked for his money back and then decided that Dan " could be rolled" by pressuring him with a frivolous lawsuit.

... one of his points is on the importance of "hubs" that "that [connect] otherwise unrelated bloggers." That made me realize that I had no central, up-to-date list of blogs that mention Nation Master's attempted extortion. So now at the first part of the left-hand column of NationMaster Watch will be that list. As if now, it contains

Mark's analysis is highly recommended. Please read it -- and read his symposium on war and globalization while you're at it.

22:55 Posted in NationMaster, SLAPP | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 07, 2005

NationMaster v. Consumer Protection

"NationMaster v. TDAXP," by Curzon, Coming Anarchy, 7 Novembe, 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/11/07/nationmaster-v-tdaxp/.

Adam from The Metropolis Times, Bill from Dawn's Early Light, Brendan from I Hate Linux, Curzon from Coming Anarchy, Ryne from Ryne McClaren: A Weblog, and others, were kind enough to blog on my recent troubles with

As Curzon said:

I say some controversial stuff on this site but I’ve never been threatened (and the comments here are generally awesome, save for the occasional lunatic). Poor Dan of TDAXP has been threatened by jihadists, blocked in China, and now threatened with a libel suit by NationMaster.com. You can read the correspondence that led to this event at the prior link or at the new blog NationMasterWatch.

Was Grendel right that tyranny is just at the doorstep for Americans? No. A negative review of prior services, even if the faulty services have been solved, does not constitute defamation or libel. And if recent suits of a similar nature are any hints, those who file libel suits generally embaress themselves and give the defendant heaps of publicity..

And not only that, Curzon used his artistic wizardry to create a graphic representation of 's recent aggression


I want to thank everyone for seeing NationMaster's assault and giving advise. Particularly, I was relieved to be assured by the very knowledgeable Curzon that what I wrote was not defamation. With that in mind, here is an excerpt from the original negative review:

Nation Master will bill you even after you cancel.

Confused? Let's try again

nationmaster.com will bill you even after you cancel

I first joined this site when I needed raw data for my graduate thesis. In the end it was useless for me, but the site is a good waste of 15 minutes.

nationmaster.com is not worth the three quarterly payments I made, the two after I stopped using or, or the one after I first demanded a refund.

The bill implies someone named Luke Metcalfe is involved in this scam. Well Lucas, if you're reading, stop it.

Any everyone else: avoid Nation Master.

The transcript of NationMaster's shakedown is at the new blog, NationMaster Watch.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Censored by NationMaster in Retaliation for a Negative Review

What do radical Islamists, Communist China, and NationMaster have in common?

All three want tdaxp to shut up

For now, I don't know what to do. The negative review Mr. Steinmetz complained about -- that he falsely accused of defaming his company -- is down. He never mentiond anything wrong with the second and third posts, and he even said that the person I criticized in them (Viswa Priya) no longe works for the company.

Suggestions? Help? Ideas.

For now I have started to allow me to keep track of all this without clogging up the tdaxp main page, but I am searching for something better than caving into the hostile "content managers" and staff at NatMast.

has a record of such thuggishness, and I do not feel comforatble with censoring this blog after the vaguest threat of "lawyers." , , and are too important for that... I hope.

11:15 Posted in NationMaster, SLAPP | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tags: nationmaster