The statue Laocoön and His Sons, of a Trojan priest being attacked by sea serpents, had an immense impact on the Renaissance after it was unearthed in Rome in the early sixteenth century. Wikipedia quotes an art historian as saying it is ”the prototypical icon of human agony” in Western art. It’s how we at VDARE.com feel, entrapped in Letitia James’ endless unprincipled, decidedly un-Western, Lawfare.
Very soon, perhaps by mid-December, VDARE.com may be pressured to turn over the names of its vendors and its pseudonymous writers (and in the current Reign Of Terror, virtually all of our writers are pseudonymous) to the notoriously leak-crazed office of out-of-control New York Attorney General Letitia James. Which means our current vendors, i.e., tech support, etc., may be forced to drop us, as so many have already done, e.g., Mailchimp, Constant Contact, PayPal, Amazon, Google Ads. And at least some of our pseudonymous writers will certainly be fired from their day jobs—with the result that in today’s Woke-whipped America they may well be unable to find employment at all.
And VDARE.com will effectively be destroyed.
How has this appalling situation arisen?
If we are found in contempt, we will face fines that could quickly amount to thousands of dollars.
The alleged cause of NYAG James’ investigation into VDARE.com: our purchase of the Berkeley Springs Castle WV as a conference and headquarters venue, which we did only after we had been repeatedly Cancelled out of hotel conference venues because of communist pressure. (See, e.g., here, here, here, and here.)
But this whole transaction—which is entirely normal in the 501(c)(3) world, e.g., the Southern Poverty Law Center communist enforcer group owns its notoriously lavish “Poverty Palace” headquarters in Montgomery AL— was expensively lawyered and is completely bullet-proof, not least because we always knew NYAG James was Out There.
And, tellingly, NYAG James has repeatedly refused to meet with our expensive lawyers to discuss the Castle purchase—obviously preferring to use this excuse to subpoena us to death on other matters.
And, crucially, she still has not yet brought any charges against us. Notoriously, the reality of modern politicized legal and regulatory tyranny is that ”the process is the punishment.”
In December 2022, NYAG James tricked our lawyers, who had filed in Federal Court for First Amendment relief after her subpoena demands became blatant political harassment, by asking for time to respond “because of the holidays [a.k.a Christmas] and a member of our team who has COVID…”
But she then used the time we granted to file against us in New York State Court, in itself an extremely aggressive move.
Of course, in a just world, even apart from NYAG Letitia James’ obvious malfeasance, the New York State Court should have stayed or even dismissed NYAG Letitia James’ petition to compel enforcement, pending resolution of our First Amendment case in Federal Court, which would normally have had priority.
But to our lawyers’ shock, and with unprecedented speed—as in the next business day after our last contact with her, a proposal that she review our vendors in camera, which she ignored—New York State Judge Sabrina Kraus, ruled against us, uncritically reproducing NYAG James’ lying and stupid assertions as to why she had cause to want disclosure.[Ruling, January 19, 2023, PDF]
Judge Sabrina Kraus
Normally, these rulings take months.
Kraus even required that we provide the names of pseudonymous writers.
This is particularly telling because NYAG James had ostentatiously eschewed asking for the real names of writers in her response to our Federal suit—presumably because of its obvious First Amendment implications.
It is this Judge Sabrina Kraus who will be hearing NYAG’s James contempt of court motion on December 8.
Amazingly, NYAG James’ new Memorandum of Law in support of her motion to compel not only ignores the ethical issues that our counsel raised, but doubles down and again brazenly repeats what we called out as her “lying and stupid assertions” noted above. It claims:
According to VDARE’s required IRS Form 990, at the time VDARE conveyed the castle to the Brimelows’ companies, it had no independent directors as that term is defined in the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law (“N-PCL”), Section 102(21).
Let’s go over this again, slowly: there are no “Brimelows’ companies,” in the lyingly insinuated sense that they are personally owned. The entities in question are entirely controlled by the VDARE Foundation, again a perfectly normal situation in the non-profit world.
(And, for that matter, the VDARE Foundation has always had “independent directors.”)
(And anyway 501(c)(3) charities are not obliged to have “independent directors.” They are regularly family-controlled.)
These are lies and (because easily refuted) stupid lies.
In this context, it’s vital to realize that NYAG James is not (at least in theory) a politician like Joe Biden, free to repeat flights of fantasy at will. She is what in the legal system is known as an “Officer of the Court.” She is simply not allowed to misrepresent the facts in legal pleadings before a judge.
But she has. Repeatedly. And, at least in the case of Judge Kraus, she has gotten away with it.
This means that NYAG James is committing repeated violations of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct—despite the fact that our lawyers have already formally called her out on them:
See the Letter of Complaint here.
But our immediate problem:
Judge Scullin’s final ruling was on September 13, 2023.[Ruling, PDF]
This was a devastating shock to us, and also to our counsel. We had presumed that making a good-faith effort to comply with NYAG James’ crushingly burdensome subpoenas, and only raising our First Amendment issues with the Federal court (where they should properly be heard) when it became clear that NYAG James herself was not acting in good faith, would create a record that the Federal court would respect.
But Judge Scullin ignored our good-faith efforts completely. Nor did he address NYAG James’ ethical transgressions a.k.a. her lying and stupid assertions to the court noted above. Nor did he address affidavits submitted by pseudonymous VDARE.com writers pointing out that revealing their names could cause them serious harm.
And he denied us any injunctive relief, thereby exposing us to New York State court compliance—precipitating the current crisis.
It’s hard to avoid the impression that Judge Scullin simply didn’t want to deal with the VDARE.com case at all—just as the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court Of Appeal, with the heroic exception of Judge Harris L. Hartz, dodged dealing with our slam-dunk Civil Rights case against the City of Colorado Springs’ refusal to protect our 2017 conference there.
VDARE.com is now in the Kafkaesque position of have having to defend the same issue, and also appeals relating to both of them, in both state and federal courts simultaneously—at absolutely appalling expense.
Our appeal against New York State Judge Kraus’ decision is here [PDF]. Its key point:
Almost every word Respondent has stated about the castle transactions is a false and misleading statement of fact and law to a tribunal. Yet the castle transactions were supposed to be the “critical facts that first triggered [Respondent’s] scrutiny.” Stripped of Respondent’s deliberate lies about the castle transactions, Respondent is left with picayune complaints about de minimis technicalities. Such inquiries do not justify the breadth of the three subpoenas, especially the attempt to deanonymize those with the right to speak and associate anonymously.
Furthermore, the 6,000 pages of documents already produced (R.6) are by now more than enough to answer and lay to rest these trivial inquiries. Demanding that VDARE continue on with the massive administrative burden of producing another 40 gigabytes of data—a truly monumental amount of data—chasing after these petty phantoms bespeaks nothing other a desire to punish VDARE for its speech.
Quite aside from Respondent’s admission, such a sweeping inquiry tethered to such de minimis concerns reveals Respondent’s conduct for what it is: an “unlimited and general inquisition” calling for “irrelevant and immaterial documents” meant to harass VDARE (an ideological adversary of James’s professed politics). Myerson v Lentini Bros Moving & Storage Co. It manifestly does not survive the strict or “careful” scrutiny required by the First Amendment or New York’s own constitution. Evergreen Ass’n, Inc v Schneiderman, 153 AD3d 87, 100 [2nd Dept, 2017]. Such being the case, Respondent should be told, in no uncertain terms, that this subpoena is invalid and should not be enforced. Grotallio v. Soft Drink Leasing Corp., 468 NYS2d 4, 5-6, [1st Dept, 1983].
In addition, we are appealing Judge Scullin’s dismissal to the Federal Second Circuit.
There was a time when Americans innocently assumed that anyone attacked by law enforcement authorities must be guilty of something.
Perhaps the first crack in this assumption for conservatives: former Reagan Administration official Paul Craig Roberts' demonstration, in his 2000 book The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice, that an epidemic of prosecutorial abuse had emerged as a result of the 1990s War on Drugs/Crime.
”Americans are no longer secure in law—the justice system no longer seeks truth and prosecutors are untroubled by wrongful convictions,” Roberts wrote.
”They can seize anyone, and any property, at any time,” he said of modern law enforcement agencies.
A key traditional right that Roberts argued had been eroded: “To have the confidential assistance of an attorney.”
Of course the further destruction of this right has been exemplified recently by Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis’ financial torturing into submission of President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers: here, here and here.
How can any lawyer, with a family to support, now dare represent Trump—or for that matter anyone on the Dissident Right?
The broader significance of this development: It means that the equivalent of what economists used to call the “money illusion”—consumers’ slowness to realize that the nominal value of money was being destroyed by inflation—is finally ending for America’s law enforcement system.
Significantly, a plurality (46%) of Americans now flat-out believe that the charges against Trump are political [Nearly two-thirds of Americans think Jan. 6 charges against Trump are serious: POLL, by Tal Axelrod, ABC, August 4, 2023]. They think the law enforcement system has been weaponized—as is clearly the case with NYAG Letitia James’ attack on us.
Simply put, Americans are ceasing to believe the law enforcement system is impartial.
Of course, the same thing has already happened to America’s increasingly partisan Regime Media
The 32% of Americans who say they trust the mass media “a great deal” or “a fair amount” to report the news in a full, fair and accurate way ties Gallup’s lowest historical reading, previously recorded in 2016 [Media Confidence in U.S. Matches 2016 Record Low by Megan Brenan, Gallup Polls, October 19, 2023].
With President Trump appearing certain to get the GOP nomination, and the Deep State appearing fanatically determined to stop him, the U.S. is unmistakably headed for a Constitutional crisis.
And what recourse do Americans have if they can’t trust the courts?
This is headed in a very bad direction.
And it is entirely the fault of fanatical Leftist lawfare activists like NYAG James—and, of course, compliant courts.
Thus a brilliant unsigned October 4, 2023 editorial in Revolver.news, The Definitive MAGA Legal Counter-Offensive: Striking Back Against the Regime’s Political Prosecution Spree, includes this bravura passage:
If you want a model for how a state law enforcement agency can seamlessly blend enforcing the law with political objectives, New York is the gold standard….
In the 1990s, Kamala Harris slept her way to the top of California politics. Thirty years later, a black woman can instead MeToo her way to the top. [Letitia] James planned to quickly level up to the governorship by sticking a MeToo knife into Andrew Cuomo. But James’s bid for New York’s top job in 2022 was a bust, so she’s instead still lurking in Albany, biding her time, and trying to take MAGA scalps in the meantime.
James and her predecessors have amassed a formidable set of wins against Donald Trump and right-of-center America generally, and crucially, they’ve done this damage without getting any electric headline-dominating convictions.
In 2018, under [NTYAG Eric] Schneiderman’s temporary replacement, Barbara Underwood, the New York A.G. office successfully dissolved the entire Trump Foundation after suing it for an alleged pattern of illegal behavior. In 2020, after years of preparatory maneuvers, the NYAG brought a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association and seize its assets. That bid failed, but at the same time, when was the last time you’ve heard about the NRA mattering in national politics? The group’s costly, years-long legal battles have sapped it of wealth and energy.
The NYAG’s most recent major action is a lawsuit against Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization, accusing it of systematically inflating Trump’s net worth to deceive investors. That case might get far less press attention than Trump’s four criminal indictments…
Subsequently, of course, press attention has surged with Trump’s recent New York court appearances.
Democrat judges in America have abandoned any semblance of professionalism and objectivity, and this imbecilic elected Democrat judge in New York is a contemptible example of it. https://t.co/Iz7LuldlhV— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) November 8, 2023
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York has described Letitia James’s claims against Trump as
A punishment so out of line with the behavior alleged in this case that it boggles the mind. It is made possible by two factors: a bad law and a hyperpoliticized attorney general.
A politicized, grossly unfair lawsuit against Trump, November 7, 2023
“Hyperpoliticized Attorney General.” Yeah.
VDARE.com is a tiny operation. And it has been crippled since the halcyon days of the free internet that was cut off after Trump’s election in 2016 by the Empire Striking Back—in the form of shadow-banning, deplatforming by, e.g., Facebook, YouTube, and demonetization by, e.g., Amazon.com.
Moreover, as noted above, we have always stood ready to prove that the Castle transaction, itself financially trivial—especially compared to James’ own just-revealed mysterious real estate deals [After you see Letitia James’ net worth, you’ll wonder why SHE isn’t the one being investigated…, Revolver.news, November 7, 2023]—was entirely legitimate. Any questions could have been settled with phone calls, possibly a couple of conferences, and the production of a handful of documents.
And anyway we are not even operating in New York State.
So why is NYAG James bringing this massive investigatory effort against us—her court documents are always signed by multiple lawyers, highly paid at taxpayer expense?
Does she have no criminals to prosecute?
The answer is obvious: This is a political mugging aimed at suppressing dissent—part of America’s ongoing communist coup.
I immigrated from Britain in 1970, not simply to America but to the American Conservative Movement. I would not claim to be particularly prominent in it, but I have gotten to know many of the key players personally.
And I have to say that, on a personal level, I am bitterly disappointed by how few of them have offered VDARE.com support since NYAG James’ mugging became public.
Of course, there’s a lot of other things going on right now—an ongoing communist coup, the Biden Rush at the southern (and now northern) border, the looming Constitutional crisis over the Deep State’s fanatical determination to block Trump, the very real imminent possibility of World War III, etc., etc.
But the key factor hurting VDARE.com: fear of the “racism” smear continues to be hegemonic. America Firsters who are household names (I won’t name them—yet) tell us they are afraid to help us.
Patriots will not get anywhere until this taboo is broken down.
And that may be too late for us.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white [is this Hate Speech?] legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Roll of Honor (and thanks also to our supports on Twitter/X/Gab):
And I’d also like to thank the redoubtable Revolver.news for linking to our stories..
But that’s all I can see right now.
Specifically, nothing from my former colleagues at the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s magazine, Fortune magazine, Forbes magazine, American Spectator, American Conservative, National Review, etc.).
Apologies to anyone I’ve missed—let me know.
With Federal Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin dodging his obligation to protect our First Amendment rights, VDARE.com is now in supreme peril—along with our writers.
I do often say that miracles happen quite often in politics.
BUT VDARE.COM NEEDS A MIRACLE RIGHT NOW.
NYAG Letitia James’ regulatory harassment has driven us to the wall.
We are again very close to the point where we cannot continue to pay our writers and our technical support staff—let alone defend their pseudonymity.
So, again, we must ask you to help us continue to fight for immigration patriotism—and for America.
We—and all of our posterity—will be profoundly grateful.
Donate to VDARE.com here.
For more details:
Peter Brimelow [Email him] is the editor of VDARE.com. His best-selling book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, is now available in Kindle format.