Tony Jones is tenacious, I’ll give him that. But tenacity is not always a good thing, especially if your end goal is as misguided as his. The ToJo Narcissist News of the Week this week the letter bearing the upside-down-Nike-swoosh-logo-letterhead of his lawyer, one M. Sue Wilson. I was made aware of this letter by Tony’s ex-wife, Julie McMahon, as were a number of other bloggers, one of whom has posted a copy in all its glory, with personal information redacted. The letter reminds Julie of a court order that instructs the parties, Tony Jones and Julie McMahon to cease posting about this matter and to remove their past postings, insofar as they are able to remove them. So far, so good. However.
Ms. Wilson then lists 56 individuals, most with contact information, and some 166 URLs where they would like posts removed or comments deleted, with proof of Julie’s requests provided to Ms. Wilson’s office by 5:00PM (CDT assumed) on 19 may 2015. This list includes several of my recent posts of course, and for the formal record, I have declined to remove or redact them. But let’s consider the egregious nature of this letter.
Firstly, the general consensus (after asking around) is that had Julie been represented (that’s legalspeak for “able to afford a lawyer”), this order wouldn’t have gotten past a judge, even one who is reportedly a former colleague of Ms. Wilson’s. (Of course whoever mentions that is obliged to add that this shouldn’t affect the judge’s impartiality, and I know that it won’t because I’ve seen several episodes of The Good Wife. Spoiler: the “good wife” is also just a legal wife, not a sacramental one.)
Secondly, um, hello? First Amendment, anyone?
Thirdly, the court has no jurisdiction over anyone who is not a party to the proceedings, and least of all does a district family court have jurisdiction over the entire internet.
Fourthly, I object to the manner in which the letter attempts to extend the requirements of the court’s order and render this extended compliance as fait accompli a mere week after being signed by the judge — before it can be overturned on appeal for reasons just cited.
Attention Bloggers & Other Listed Parties: I’m not a lawyer and am not here rendering legal advice, but my understanding is that this court has no jurisdiction over you or your posting, and the court order does not in any event establish a timeline for the removal of comments. I therefore encourage your noncompliance with these requests.
I’m of the “what I’ve written, I’ve written” school, and I don’t remove posts likely — not least because I don’t want to contribute to link rot if I can avoid it, nor because it must be acknowledged that things said online are bells that cannot be unrung. To remove a post and thinking it’s gone away completely is just to fool yourself. True, it may be harder to find, but it won’t be gone… and in ToJo’s case, it won’t be any less true. The attempts to silence are a renewed attempt to — let’s say it together, now — control the narrative. (I knew you all knew that, because you’ve been paying attention.)
Speaking of what’s true, I believe the fact of the matter here is that Tony wishes to silence. To silence a victim is to continue the abuse when in most cases, all the victim wants is to be heard. Once someone finds their voice, attempts to silence them can tend to have the opposite effect, and that’s what we’re seeing here. To those who would quash it, the truth is insidious. It just has a nasty habit of leaking out everywhere. Truth is also an outstanding defence against defamation suits, which we’ve yet to see here — likely because the process of legal discovery is generally just a really expensive way to expose things like that. And in this matter, I think the truth has already been exposed for those willing to see it.
I will admit to one bit of minor pleasure in this letter. I know that Tony’s lawyer certainly won’t have been the one scouring the internet for us baddies talking trash about ToJo. Which means that apparently Tony has nothing better to do than to go out and do it himself. As a narcissist, he’s got to enjoy reading about himself (is there really no such thing as bad press?) but I suspect he hasn’t enjoyed these mentions quite as much as he usually would, and to have to list them all so meticulously and follow all the comment threads for more mentions. So greetings, Tony — I hope you’re enjoying my post, even if you’re legally barred from commenting on it by your own action. I must pause and thank you for those 166 URLs that compose my new reading list. I was unaware of many of those posts, and find that I really must go and look them all up when I get the time.
In any event, this letter is just the latest volley in Tony’s lawfare campaign. It won’t likely be the last, simply because it is a campaign, and not a simple act. But for those who haven’t yet seen it (perhaps they’ve been unwilling), this is a good example of how it works. A month or so ago, back when Julie had a lawyer, a judge dismissed a similar request by Tony to have Julie go around scrubbing the internet for essentially the reasons given above. Now that she doesn’t have one, Tony’s legal pitbull ran to a different judge and got a quick ruling that she in fact should go and try to spit-shine the internet to rid it of all this unpleasantness. Once the ruling was signed, the lawyer added some chaff to see if the overinterpreted version could gain compliance along with the overreaching order, and get it all done before anyone noticed. To that, I say no. You can count me out.
(I posted this on Bill Kinnon’s blog and I also wanted to share it here.)
Given Tony Jones’ (and his attorney’s) latest attempts to silence his ex-wife Julie, her Free Speech Rights, and the Free Speech Rights of supporters in countries throughout the world who have blogged about this (Canada, the United States, and LivingLiminal in Australia), I have:
*contacted Free Speech civil rights’ groups in all of the U.S. states where bloggers live and the national organizations and written them about these attacks on Free Speech by Tony Jones and his attorney;
*I have previously contacted Canadian Free Speech groups about Tony Jones and his attorney trying to silence David Hayward at The Naked Pastor and Bill Kinnon; and
*I am filing a complaint with the Minnesota Supreme Court against Tony Jones and his attorney and I am asking The Court to mark Tony Jones as a vexatious litigant and to take actions against Tony Jones’ attorney’s law license and the judge who signed the Order.
*If you would like to write the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice please address your correspondence to her and The Court as follows:
link to mncourts.gov
Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea
Minnesota Supreme Court
Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN. 55155
Just a reminder that Julie McMahon still needs our help.
Dee at The Wartburg Watch in North Carolina have set up a fundraiser to help raise funds (family law attorneys’ fees, court costs, and living expenses) for Emergent leader Tony Jones’ ex-wife Julie M.
Folks, please donate any amount (large, medium, small) to help out Julie M; here:
link to gofundme.com
Tony Jones opposes Free Speech: the rights of bloggers in the United States (such as Dee and Deb at The Wartburg Watch in North Carolina; Brad Sargent/Futurist Guy in California; Julie Anne at the Spiritual Sounding Board in Washington state; other US bloggers); David Hayward/The Naked Pastor in Canada; Bill Kinnon in Canada; Living Liminal in Australia) and he and his attorney want their comments about this story to come down.
Tony Jones doesn’t appreciate the United States and its freedoms. So he can leave the U.S. Which country, one that has no Free Speech rights, do you suppose Tony will move to? Here’s the instructions from the US government’s website about how Tony Jones can renounce his citizenship.
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website:
“Renunciation of U.S. Nationality
A. THE IMMIGRATION & NATIONALITY ACT
Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(5)) is the section of law governing the right of a United States citizen to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship. That section of law provides for the loss of nationality by voluntarily
“(5) making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state , in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State”
B. ELEMENTS OF RENUNCIATION
A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:
1.appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
2.in a foreign country (normally at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate); and
3.sign an oath of renunciation
Renunciations that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. Because of the provisions of Section 349(a)(5), U.S. citizens cannot effectively renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while in the United States. In fact, U.S. courts have held certain attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as discussed below
C. REQUIREMENT – RENOUNCE ALL RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
A person seeking to renounce U.S. citizenship must renounce all the rights and privileges associated with such citizenships. In the case of Colon v. U.S. Department of State , 2 F.Supp.2d 43 (1998),the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected Colon’s petition for a writ of mandamus directing the Secretary of State to approve a Certificate of Loss of Nationality in the case because he wanted to retain the right to live in the United States while claiming he was not a U.S. citizen.