Chofesh H’Betui – The Right to Convey Free Thinking – at Stake PART II

The Word “Philanthropist” and the Services Money Can Buy –

Taking Aim at Free Speech

We have stated many times that we really do not like the word “Philanthropist.” Those self-proclaimed philanthropists, in our view, who riddle these pages have not given freely. They have not given anonymously to a beneficiary and taken no credit for the gifts, one of the highest forms of giving in the Jewish faith. Instead they have boasted philanthropy as a badge of alleged honor. Philanthropy, as such, is not a gift but a justification or a remediation of whatever sins have been committed.

And at this the holiest season on the Jewish calendar, we are taught that giving money to repent for our sins is simply not enough.

We are not philanthropists. We are supporters of a cause-accountability. We take on issues involving children, education, the treatment  of our elderly, honest business practices, human decency, mutual respect for our neighbors, integrity and most importantly, the right to free speech.

Nearly each page we have published contains the name of someone, whose ‘Wikipedia” page would call a philanthropist, as self-described. These alleged “Philanthropists” have learned to game a system, whether by greasing the palms of politicians, sending police officers to Israel, making friends with the appropriate corrupt officials in the Congo, purchasing a nursing home by manipulating zoning laws and then treating the patients reprehensibly or altering the zoning laws to suit their fancy. And, all of this under the guise of “Philanthropy.”

To our valued readers, these same self-proclaimed “Philanthropists” filed a lawsuit against a blogger, served on a Saturday which will require a response of one form or another in the middle of the holiday season. It will require funding and time. And in the greatest of ironies, the Plaintiffs refer to themselves as “Philanthropists.”

This lawsuit is an effort to silence the blogger and presumably silence this blog. The stakes are high. We have a readership of well over 1.5M views in the last few years and if we are forced to shut the doors to this site, it will send a message to each of our readers that it is too risky to speak up, something which runs counter to our very system of beliefs. A victory by these Plaintiffs would be the destruction of society’s ability to hold bad actors accountable for their actions, a horrifying result.

The law firm handling the suit is well connected in Kings County and is well known for its political connections and for its support of so many of the members of the community that grace our pages. The law firm has as great an interest in this case as its clients.

We will be asking for your support in the coming weeks. We have never asked for financial assistance to keep these pages running but a crowdfunding site is being established by friends of this page.

In the meantime, the address is up and running after some maneuvering. We are happy to answer questions and we could use any help you may have.

Finally, insofar as WordPress has a set of standards they follow, we encourage posting and participation. We remain faithful to the trust placed in us by you, our readers.

With many thanks. With kindness and immeasurable gratitude.

L’Shana Tova – LM and all of those who make this endeavor possible.




The Use of Litigation to Chill Speech – LostMessiah, Fensterman and the SandosaCare Example – PART I

936754_10200089158137358_142753902_nDear Reader:

Last week one anonymous blogger, allegedly associated with the LostMessiah site, was served with a defamation suit for two articles written in 2016. It appears that to obtain a blogger’s information, WordPress was handed a Court Order to uncover the identity of LostMessiah’s associated individuals, the basis of that Order remains open to numerous questions.

The relief being sought is the removal of the articles, which had already been facilitated, a blanket ban on the appearance of any story written on LostMessiah (or anywhere else by this blogger), as such story might relate to Plaintiff family and its related companies. This last relief is known in the legal world as a prior restraint. The suit also requests damages and punitive damages.  

The objective of the complaint can be nothing other than to chill speech, something we find unpalatable, at best, reprehensible at worst.

It is most certainly inconsistent with this country’s notion of Freedom of Speech. If every activist, speaker, author, writer, painter, blogger and celebrity who tries to speak out against the wrongs in our society gets slapped with a lawsuit, free speech gets trampled and wrongful actors get to act with impunity. In this particular case, the implications, are broad ranging since so many subjects of our articles have endless sums of money, as does the Plaintiff family. This is from our perspective, totally unacceptable.

To you our readers, you should be incensed. 

Without going into all of the specifics, the articles had been published on LostMessiah in 2016 and remained continuously on the site until the anonymous blogger was contacted to remove them, the removal of which said blogger facilitated in an act of good faith.  

Consistent with our mission of integrity and substantiated reporting, we had sources to back up our stories. Ironically, in what appears to be a concerted effort at scrubbing the internet, the backup stories were cleansed as well, including the stories’ underlying lawsuit which had been available on the University of Virginia site. That underlying lawsuit and its information, largely substantiating the facts and circumstances of the articles in question, are still publicly available, but far harder to find.

Since getting served on a Saturday afternoon, an irony not lost on us (the blogger did not ask the process server if he was Jewish), a group of people has been researching every inch of the web, submitting Freedom of Information Act requests and searching publicly available information to determine exactly why this issue is of such great importance to this family. The stories had been on the internet for well over 2 years.

As to the law firm representing the plaintiff, we can only say that they are no strangers to using the court system as a tool for quelling free speech.

The Sentosa Care Story is one example. It should be noted that the Courts dismissed that case against the ProPublica freelancers as a “fair and true report”.

 See here.  

See: TheDailyBeast:

The Brooklyn Machine vs. the First Amendment

A nursing home operator who says he was defamed in ProPublica is ignoring the publisher with deep pockets and instead taking aim at two freelance investigative reporters.

Continue reading