October 13, 2017

Who is Alan Smithee, aka Actual Flatticus? (Various minor updates)

NOTE: Blog post has been reworked to reflect the death of Flatticus, IRL known as Christopher Chopin (newspaper version of obit here), and to reflect some past history of his that is FAR more disturbing than his Twitter history, but certainly lies behind it. Post has been further updated with additional discoveries about his family and to improve its flow. The original post was written four months ago, when he blocked me on Twitter, after I actually followed his "investigate what I say" schtick and showed him wrong.

There are many Alan Smithee characters on Twitter, all riffing on the origin of the name, but only one who is Actual Flatticus by sign-in.

He WAS — which became a not-IS a few months before he died — a Twitter friend of mine. Very thought provoking and usually very, very sharp on issues of campaign finance, both soft money and dark money. However, outside of that and single-payer national health care, he wasn't necessarily that deep on other major liberal issues, let alone left-liberal and beyond. (And, I had months of observation of him interacting with other Twitter friends before I followed him myself for several months.)

NOTE TWO: I wrote almost all of this blog post (including the paragraph immediately above) except for the part about his aggravated assault arrest MONTHS before he died. Other than the arrest itself, other Googling of his real name did little but trim up some hunches and guesstimates. (Well, the stuff from "NOTE FOUR" to "BACKGROUND" about the family is now all new.)

NOTE THREE: Had I known about his aggravated assault with a firearm arrest four months ago, of course I would have written about it then. That said, as with Christopher Hitchens becoming a neocon, has a person's death magically changed anything about the last months before they died — or the last years, if it had carry-over effects to the last months?

NOTE FOUR: Flatticus' daddy was rich enough and connected enough to be personal friends of Henry Ford II. (The L. Frank Chopin is his dad, per obit.) That puts his felonious road rage (below) into further perspective. Chopin had a sense of entitlement a mile wide, I bet.

Note that this feud over the Deuce's trust was when our man Flatticus was just 12 years old. Daddy's relationship with Hank the Deuce seems to have been pretty well established. The trust was drawn up some time before Hank died in 1987, so Daddy Chopin knew him well when Chris was just in single digits.

In other words, per where L. Frank lives today, and possibly then, Allen J. Flatticus was born with a fair-sized silver spoon in his mouth. With his dad as a tax attorney to the rich and famous, he surely was and has been raking, and also knew how to hide much of the rake on his own 1040s.

And this subplot gets more fun in and of itself.

Apparently daddy Chopin, acting on behalf of Kathleen Ford several years later, after she'd been robbed of jewels, tried to stiff informants when they wanted reward money. And that wasn't a first, either, apparently. Daddy Chopin, per the link above this, apparently tried to stiff Hank the Deuce's kids out of some of their inheritance, serving as mouthpiece for Kathleen, the Deuce's third wife.

Per the Daily Mail, THAT stiffing the kids, or stepkids, was still in the news just a year ago. (And, you can find other links if you don't like the tabloid Daily Mail.) In fact, L. Frank formed a corporation with Kathleen. You can't make this stuff up!

L. Frank Chopin with The Donald and Melania
Oh, and here's his dad's rich oceanside neighborhood. Which apparently is NOT far from Mar-A-Lago of Donald Trump fame, given this article where Daddy Chopin ran flak against Trump. That said, six months earlier than that, Daddy Chopin, as legal voice for the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation, was leading the tussle with Trump.

But, that flak didn't last forever. After lawsuit threats and check-cutting, Daddy Chopin, per a comment last year, found out that Chopin was just all right with Trump.

Per somebody responding to Zach Haller, aka Shirtless Pundit on Twitter, I don't know if they had dinner together. But, it wouldn't surprise me. And now, with the addition of the picture, I'm officially un-surprised.

And, it was Republicans in general with the dad. In 2015, on Jeb Bush's Palm Beach County campaign team.

Dad's speciality is tax law. He is still active, it seems, and has a business address, but no website.

AND, AND, AND!!!

Daddy Chopin was giving money to PACs! As did, apparently, Chris' grandma (Kathleen)? Aunt (per obit)? Cousin?

Per Funky Chicken on Twitter, I would think THAT would be more a heartbreaker than the Trump love. After all, the money to Jeb's PAC was in 2015, before Daddy Chopin decided to become another truckler to Trump. Chicken, as of mid-afternoon Saturday, Oct. 14, has yet to answer how heartbreaking it was for Flatty to see his sister as a lobbyist, and a media spin doctor before that.

AND,AND!!!

Per his obit, turns out the Republicans still liked Flatty. One memorial at the online obit:
We already miss your wit and patriotic dedication
Randi, and the rest of the West Palm Beach Republican Executive Committee
Just in case you don't believe me, this Tweet preserves that.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but, a piece like that? Make it look like he was a Cold War era double agent.

Besides, Flatty said:

All posts are satirical and/or in the nature of parody. Nothing posted should ever be believed by anyone, ever, at any time, for any reason.
And, riffing on that, that may have applied to his own comments about the system. How do you know he wasn't taking a bunch of people for a ride as much as being a true believer? I doubt it, but ... his first sentence? He put it there and he left it there.

That would include him saying that both he and his dad wrote in Donald Duck, for president, I guess.

I have to say, vis-a-vis his followers, even those less than full-on groupies, this is getting to be kind of fun, too.

And, nobody is explaining why, if single-payer was so important, Flatty didn't show Bernie Sanders some dinero love. I mean, I'm half as cynical and twice as skeptical about politics as him, but I've given then Green Party money in multiple previous election cycles. Because ... the FEC shows bupkis in Chris(topher) Chopin donations.

Damn, what we have, I think, otherwise, is an acorn that didn't fall far from the tree. Including that road rage violence below, at the "AN ANGRY MAN."

DIDN'T HE HAVE TO LAY LOW?

Now, some of the groupies will insist this is why Smithee had to stay anonymous. (This is in reference to Roger Riga, aka "Lawyer Killer" right now, on Twitter, having talked about doxxing a few days before Chopin's death. A couple of other people in his circle also appear to have mentioned doxxing.

Besides that, as @SocialistTaco mentions in this so-so to OK Medium piece about Smithee's death? He doxxed himself. He had originally been on Twitter by name, apparently (he started in 2008) and didn't object when, with his pipe and other stuff, he was occasionally referenced on Twitter by name.

What? The braggart bully was afraid of his rich parents and their rich friends? Afraid they'd cut off his inheritance like his daddy did to Hank the Deuce's kids?

So, the "yah but" "yah but" "yah but" chatter? Can it.

You make me laugh if you think Smithee the cyberbully was in reality Chris Chopin the titty baby.

Chris Chopin could have further developed his own law firm if the parental gravy train was cut off. (Correction here; I thought he was at his mom's firm, when it was actually his brother. More interestingly, the brother is older, not younger.) He was still a lawyer with many clients, and quite possibly a very good lawyer overall.

In other words, if he really wanted to move himself away from the family tree, he could have done a lot more than he actually did, and with his actual name. Besides, per his snooty appreciation for certain pipes in certain Manhattan restaurants, even family law pays big bucks when the divorcees are Fords or Pulitzers or other gold-plated people of the Gold Coast.

I mean, I wrote a newspaper column about being an atheist, after graduating from my dad's divinity school AND having the honesty and integrity not to become a minister myself. (And, yes, there are atheists in pulpits as well as in foxholes.)

And, looking at his own website, I say "snooty" deliberately. How many lawyers (and a great many would qualify) put "Mensa member" on their websites?

Besides, Mensa membership — and Mensa as a group — is vastly overrated. If having an IQ of 130 can't prevent you from believing in astrology — and yes, Mensa has astrology groups within its many subgroups — it's really not a whole lot of fucking good, is it? Second, there are higher-IQ societies than Mensa. (Mensa's cutoff is the 98th percentile of IQ scores. In plainer English, that means if everybody wanted to join Mensa, 2 percent of America is eligible. In other words, it's not THAT big of a deal.

I guess "privilege" was just too tempting, mainly financially, but also in other ways. (I don't write blank checks to the social justice movement, but I most certainly don't reject it out of hand.)

BACKGROUND

Flatticus/Smithee on Twitter liked to tell people never to believe what he said, but check it out for themselves.

Unfortunately, that was a schtick with him, not reality, as noted above. Albeit a schtick that, even after his death, is being repeated as gospel by his groupies. And, yes, that's what you are, if you're accepting his claim uncritically and/or if you accepted everything he said uncritically.

Smithee, that is, Chris Chopin, and I got in a long argument over Jane Sanders' ongoing federal investigation, and he blocked me. I told that to Kevin Sarpei in a comment on his Medium piece, too. (As part of not thinking past "liberal," I could tell that his mind simply refused to move beyond the Democratic half of the duopoly box. More on that below.)

That was after a shorter argument about whether or not the Emoluments Clause applies to presidents. It does, contra his claims, as I document in detail. And, he got kind of ANGRY (all caps necessary) over that. Per his obit, him being a lawyer may be part of why he got fairly angry in debate over it, along with being a champion debater. It was angry enough that I didn't knock that link into a final blog post until I was thinking about unfriending him, before he blocked me.

And, it goes along with me not calling him out for a link that he used to demean Democracy Now's Amy Goodman as a money-grubber who allegedly made $1 million a year when her show was spun off from Pacifica. It may or may not be correct; in any case, per The Nation, her pay and sidebar moneys were mutually negotiated. Also, the source is biased, having previously sued WBAI.

(My closest friend on Facebook, whom I'd trust far more than Flatty on a broader variety of issues, pointed out on FB that Flatty was wrong on this issue when he cited Educate-Yourself as his source. And that also shows that Chopin, while very well informed on the narrow areas of dark and soft money, and pretty darned well informed on broader campaign finance issues, could be and was in error on broader issues of political influence.)

And, the source has HUGE other problems. As in, it's from a website anti-semitic enough to believe The Protocols of The Elders of Zion are "real," and conspiracy-thinking enough to believe in chemtrails, the New World Order, the Illuminati and all sorts of other shit.

He couldn’t stand Jill Stein, for whatever reason. Rather than pick something truly nutty, like her sexist Mother’s Day comment, rather, in my time w/him on Twitter, he picked on her idealism, saying she “declared war” on Saudi Arabia as his reference to her quite reasonable call for an embargo on arms sales to KSA. (This is one reason why I said above that he didn't seem to think that deeply outside dark money and national health care; certainly, I didn't hear deep thought from him on foreign policy issues, beyond the true enough "Hillary is a warmonger." He may have expressed it elsewhere, but not to me.)

Per comments below, sure, he would have been a nice "get" for supporting Greens. Even as a tactical vote option if he wouldn't fully support the party. But sorry, LeBeau, that wasn't going to happen in 2016, and likely wouldn't have happened in 2020. Even though he could have made a splash as a big fish in a small pond.

EARLIER DOT CONNECTING

Who is Smithee, in more detail?

I didn't think he was a troll per se at the time I originally wrote this post. That said, for him, every problem appeared to be not a nail, but a rock needing to be crushed by a sledgehammer. Given his "champion debater" background, this gained a LOT more clarity.

And ultimately, he leaves the feeling of a dull, throbbing toothache. I think he does know better, but this has been his modus operandi so long he doesn’t care. 

That said, again, he didn't like to be proven wrong, when he could be proven wrong, despite his calls for people to check out everything he says. Another way of putting this is “he’s got a mind like a steel trap” … and … no, it’s not rusted shut, per an old MASH joke. Rather, it’s a double spring-loaded, or pre-programmed, trap, or something like that. 

Turns out my guess that he was of retirement age was wrong. Per his obit, in comments below? Champion debater and lawyer don't surprise me at all. 

And surely it was the mix of being a lawyer and a champion debater, specifically noted in his obit that led to that intense animosity (no other word for it as I see it) about not wanting to lose. In other words, Twitter just increased his "I won't lose this debate" mindset, put it on steroids.

I mean, I can Tweet a fair amount, but Chris Chopin, in a typical day, would post 3x-4x the number of Tweets I did. And a lawyer, if he or she is driving a spiffy Mercedes, ain't working 40-hour weeks, either, but far more. (That's why I originally thought he was a retiree.)

Anyway, having a real life name let me do teh Google.

AN ANGRY MAN

The rage he showed on Twitter? At least at one time — I don't know about recently — was worse in real life.


Making the front page of the local section of the Palm Beach Post, a fair-sized seven-day daily newspaper, for a road rage incident? Having to post $100,000 bond to get out of the slammer?

The OCR recognition on Newspapers.com isn't perfect, but, lest I be accused of tampering, I'll note any edits.
A 27-year-old lawyer was arrested after a midmorning road-rage incident in which he allegedly threatened the occupants of a pickup with a loaded handgun. Christopher Chopin, who practices family law with his mother, was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. He was released Sunday after posting $ 100,000 bond. The episode occurred at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Okeechobee Boulevard and South Dixie t Highway, according to police reports. Chopin, driving a 1996 Mercedes SL320, beeped his horn and shouted angrily at Francisco Rodriguez, who was driving a pickup when he stopped for a red light. Chopin pulled beside the pickup and seemed to be picking a fight, said Fernando Alvarez, a passenger in Rodriguez's truck. "He said, 'Get out of the car you old man!' " Alvarez said in an intyview. Sleuths go to great wavelengths to catch rogue radio stations his car. "I can't understand why he would have done something like this," Alvarez said Sunday. "Pulling a gun is uncalled for. He made the wrone choice."
I did a strikethrough of the one sentence because that's associated with another story. That's all I touched.

And, I hadn't originally seen it, but here's the jump page, it seems, on that story. Turns out Chopin pulled his gun on the wrong man!
Chopin pulled beside the pickup and seemed to be picking a fight, said Fernando Alvarez, a passenger in Rodriguez's truck. "He said, 'Get out of the car you old man!' " Alvarez said in an interview. Alvarez said Chopin then pulled a .45 caliber pistol and loaded a bullet in the chamber before pointing it at the truck. "Ill shoot your (expletive)," he allegedly told them before he sped off. Unknown to Chopin, Alvarez is a sheriffs deputy with 33 years of experience. Alvarez immediately called West Palm Beach police with a full description of Chopin and his car.
Oops!

Just wow.  He surely pled guilty to something, but also surely to a lesser charge. I say pled to "something" because the Florida Bar disciplined him a year later.

In turn, now that I know, per my latest updates, how high-profile of a legal beagle his dad was already then, the fact that Chris Chopin got his hands slapped AT ALL means that this road rage with a pistol was surely at least as bad as the story portrays.

And OH SHIT! I not only found out what it was pled down to, but — years later — re the anger and the misogyny? Folks, it's out there. Domestic battery. Looks like it's just one case, with a re-entry of it and a typo. But, there it is.

I'm sorry to the sister who may still be monitoring his Twitter page, but per my original blog post that I thought people needed to know more about him? I did the "dot" tag in front of the "@" so it would get tracked. I wasn't attacking her. (That said, I'd never blocked him, even though he had blocked me.) And also, since I now know about Daddy Chopin, while I still feel sorry for their loss ... no, I don't feel quite as sorry as I did 24 hours ago.

I don't know if he showed that level of anger outside the Twitter world today as he did inside it. (He doesn't seem to have a Facebook page.) But, it wouldn't surprise me, even if any such anger level today in meatspace was still a couple of degrees below threatening a viejo with a pistol.

In short, for when I face the inevitable criticism, just as I did with more famous people like Chris Hitchens, I'll say "no, not too soon."

A lot of his followers were groupies, pure and simple. Go ahead and flame me, if you're going to claim this IS too soon.

And, since the groupies are now claiming "his empathy for the less fortunate" or whatever, the parenthetical subhead within the header is going to stay there for a while.

A NOTE FOR GROUPIES


I note that one groupie, in comments, while calling everything else vague, can only call the road rage a "mistake." Er, no. If even 25 percent of that level of anger was behind his Twitter anger, it was a psychological problem still ongoing, not a "mistake." My only "regret" is not knowing about this before he died, and calling him out on it, while being immediately prepared to block him if he entered into any sort of raging.

Also, per Mr. Joshua? My life's not perfect. That said, I never threatened an old man with a pistol. And, I've pretty well apologized for my top indiscretions — and changed the behavior behind them. Puts me one up on Smithee right there.

So, groupies?

Did you also agree with his bullying women? (From my perception, he liked to do browbeat/beatdown level arguments with women more than men on Twitter.) Or were so intense on him you didn't even notice it? To a woman on Twitter who talked about how much he helped women — I guess this only included the ones he didn't bully.

Ditto, groupies, on his schtick of "investigate everything" yet getting angry — still close to road rage angry, perhaps? — when people like me actually did that? To be honest, I felt enough of his anger oozing through the interwebz on Twitter once or twice myself it scared me. In real life, had he gotten argumentative enough, it probably would have scared the shit out of me.

Re commenter Joshua, the only self-serving part may be me not making an apology to any of the women I saw get bullied at the time he was doing it. And, Mr. Joshua has shown, IMO, that he follows people first, and ideas second, including putting the idea of truth after the person of Chopin.

Also, a shallow attempt to prod me into anger to stop moderating your posts obviously didn't work. Other groupies, save yourselves the time. And, on the subject of shallow? Mr. Joshua, claiming I was "giggling" over Smithee's death, or writing about his criminal history? THAT's shallow.

Actually, though, I am beyond giggling though, and laughing outright while shaking my head — at the likes of you.

Frankly, even with the marriage and daughter, he might have been sexist IRL, too. A stereotypical Type A male, to some degree. Driving that pricey of a Mercedes, and not too old of one, when he was 27, and other things? While he hated money in politics, and supported single-payer a lot, things like income inequality or addressing it through something like basic income, I doubt floated his boat. During the months we were Twitter friends, I never really saw stuff like that from him. Besides the wheels, he liked other fancier things in life, and having plenty of money to blow on them. Add in the part about his mom also being a lawyer and I know money oozed.

I also love any groupies complaining about trolling when THEY, in their groupiness, created an #ActualFlatticus hashtag on Twitter that's still trending a full week after his death.

And Flatty is the gift that keeps on giving, as the hashtag gets me new Twitter followers.

One of them had this as his/her précis on his/her home:
"The inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic rulers is one of our gravest faults." Chris Hedges "I'm left of you, idiot." Smithee
That, again, is Smithee in one Tweet exchange. Pompous, presumptuous, high Dunning-Kruger level, and, wrong!

A SISTERLY TWIST!

I noted above that his sis became at least short-term manager of his Twitter.

Did she know before he died about this part of him? Did the other lawyers in the family? And did his wife?

Speaking more of the sis, I found her, on LinkedIn and company website, based on facial features and her getting her undergrad and law degrees both at Chris's undergrad alma mater, Emory.

And the irony, or "something," gets even BIGGER.

She's a lawyer for Squire Patton Boggs. A PARTNER, no less! Yes, THAT Patton Boggs. White shoe law firm to the DC insider grifters. Per Wiki, it's the third-largest lobbying firm in the US! And, it says she has past experience with political campaign media, too.

Age is right. She'd be three years older than Chris. And Intelius confirms! (And another Tweety bird says the name is actually "Alexandra Chopin Wise," tho not listed that way professionally.

Oh, and "representation of targets and witnesses before committees of the US Congress," per the Patton Boggs page? She's a lobbyist, even if no longer at the DC office.

And as a "former journalist and political campaign media specialist," she's — a former spin doctor as well.

In other words? If Flatty really stood behind his Tweets, he hated what his sis did (if not necessarily her personally) just as much as what his dad did.

At the same time, on the silver spoon angle? LinkedIn says she went to Philips Exeter for high school.

TRUTH vs WINNING

Either those actually curious about Chris Chopin, aka Flatticus, aka Smithee, or groupies or semi-groupies who actually do want to pursue truth (vs winning, per the subhead) or even haters who want another arrow in the quiver? Let's look at Smithee's schtick, as I called it, vs. reality, in another way.

Anybody who knows anything about competitive high school and college debate knows, just as well as did "champion debater" Chris Chopin, that competitive debate is about winning, not "the truth."

A nickel tour of elements of basic informal logic will explain.

Basic informal logic in a logical argument, not a debater's argument, or a lawyer's argument, has two elements.

One is the logical organization and structure of the argument.

In other words, ignoring any truth values, does Point B logically follow from Point A? Does Point C logically follow from Points A and B together? The classical syllogism illustrates this.

All males are really females
Socrates was male
Ergo, Socrates is really female.

All correctly argued.

As noted, though, LOGICAL argumentation, vs a debate, has two elements.

The other is the truth value of any empirical items in any points.

My syllogism above is hugely fallacious because, of course, "All males are really females" is false.

Smithee/Flatticus was a great debate-type arguer. I have no doubt Chris Chopin was the same in the courtroom.

That said, as a newspaper editor, I know well that the old bon mot about lawyers (on both sides) not caring for the truth indeed has its degree of truth. Lawyers, like other debater types, are worried about winning before they're worried about the truth.

Oh, they both worry about the truth as an element of their argumentation, sure. They're not going to utter a silly syllogism like mine. But, that's, in most cases, because it would wreck their chances of winning, not because the major premise is false per se.

I suspect many groupies and semi-groupies were gulled by not making this distinction.

Well, that's the way logic actually works.

And, to riff on that distinction, groupies?

This is one last ex post facto debate. And, I win. Not him, and not you.

Oh, speaking of? Even though blogs are generally considered opinion, printing matters of fact, contra April Deming, is usually the first line of defense against defamation.

In the case of Flatty, deceased people can't be defamed. Ironic that a groupie of a lawyer wouldn't think that far.

Beyond that, per the normal understanding of defamation and libel, I could argue that Chopin, via Twitter, is a "famous person" and malice aforethought would have to be proven.

MORE:

Some further background, from his Twitter days.

He hated journalists in general, or so it seemed to me. At least, he hated the big ones. (And, yes, he knew my background.) Black-and-white thinker on this, as on several other things. That said, he knew I didn't think a lot of the worth of a lot of the big MSM myself. (And, I'm now wondering if, after he went deep undercover, or became a double agent, or whatever, there was a "why" to this hatred.) But claiming you know more on something than David Sirota? (That said, Sirota lost a step in my world when he went to work for David Brock.)

On broader politics, he didn't hate, or dislike, just Jill Stein. He didn't like the Green Party in general for whatever reason, as noted above. He didn't hate it, but from what he's discussed of his past voting record, he refused third-party voting.

Based on his citing Educate-Yourself (the link above), and other people referring to Amy Goodman’s alleged $1 million pay as a reason she’s a co-conspirator on suppressing so-called 9/11 “truth,” I wonder if he was a conspiracy theorist. The reality on Goodman is that the parting from Pacifica was mutual, mutually agreed and mutually acceptable, per The Nation. The Educate Yourself piece Flatticus used is also a flat-out lie to claim that her salary is tax-free. NOBODY’s salary is tax free. They may take all sorts of deductions, but it’s NOT “tax free.” 

He could have Googled for that Nation link. A lawyer knows that income is not "tax free" in general. Yes, one can get tax exemptions as well as deductions, but even for ministers, income does not start out with a "presumption" of being tax free.

Do I hate him? No, not at all. Not now and not then.

I found it kind of sad that he couldn't or wouldn't practice what he preaches on the verification issue. Per Educate-Yourself, I don't think he was anti-Semitic, either, but it was also sad to see that he'd cite a website like that, especially when I scrolled through it more. It was even sadder to see an even more obvious conspiracy theory site be used as a reference. That said, given other things I've learned about him IRL, I wouldn't be 100 percent sure he was NOT, in fact, anti-Semitic in some way.

I am sad that he had too many groupies who considered him a guru and did not actually check out everything he claimed. Maybe some will flame me, even with comments moderated. That's why I used a secondary Twitter account to post my original update of this piece.

TWITTER FEEDBACK and FALLOUT

No, contra one other respondent, I don't think Smithee was racist. And, beyond him linking to a blatantly anti-Semitic website, I have no information otherwise on whether or not he was anti-Semitic.

I do, per the one brief note above, express my condolences to his family. That said, I never met them online even. But I have met online many of Flatticus' followers, some of whom indeed stand out as groupies.

That said, I'm not harshing Smithee groupies' mellow as much as in this post as Roger Riga is on Twitter. That said, Riga, on Medium, even if his Twitter feed is "interesting, was a Jill Stein supporter. Puts him ahead of Smithee right there.

Meanwhile, as of the evening of Oct. 15, Riga, aka Lawyer Killer, had locked down his account and since I hadn't "followed" him before then, I can't see his Tweets. I've requested a friending; let's see if he grants it. Interesting, or something, he's also removed the "Murderer of @ActualFlatticus" from his Twitter precis. Probably was getting Twitter-flamed far more than me.

Moving to something first posted above, I disagree with the Medium piece's author, Kevin Sarpei, about how much he alluded to Flatty having "one or two character flaws" (only allusion) or directly referred to his anger management and criminal histories (not at all) in discussing Flatty, including linking here. 

And, this same Sarpei, in Twitter conversation about Tulsi Gabbard, said that mentioning her RSS / BJP connection would be digging up "every bit of dirt" about her. 

Makes me wonder yet other things about Flatty. And, yes, I Googled "Actual Flatticus" plus "Islamophobia." Found nothing one way or the other.

Other than that per mentioning Haller, I've got my eye on a couple of other semi-famous political minded people on Twitter. We'll see if they change their worshipfulness or not. Doug Henwood, last I checked, had not followed up his initial mournful Tweet. (And yes, he's got the link to this post.)

(Now that I'm seeing that Haller retweets wingnuts like Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft, that's yet more reason to be skeptical at least of him.)

And, so, I think others on Twitter still need to be warned about him. He's dead. He can't Tweet anymore. His sister has locked his account. But don't let a false legacy live on. And, be Twitter-forewarned. Don't buy schtick. And, per the Palm Beach GOP and his own "parody" in the bio, don't buy anything Flatty without critical thinking.

A FEW MORE TIDBITS

Update note, Oct. 23: The #ActualFlatticus hashtag has now "faded" on Twitter. It won't autopopulate. I am probably going to do a separate "wrap" of sorts post Thursday or Friday, and that's it. Sorry, but that's enough here. I have fulfilled most my interest in the man. Those who want to remain "groupies" will; most others, like me, will move on. The "groupies" types probably won't move on beyond the Democratic Party and do a #DemExit, though, so I'll run into them in other ways. 

As for some of his more extreme groupies, they don't worry me. I've probably already blocked them on Twitter, or vice versa, and really don't have a lot of desire to investigate them further either.

As a final bit of refutation to both them and less extreme groupies? I made 50 or more Twitter friends after this post went viral. I don't have to prove to myself that I wasn't alone on some of my take on Flatty. I can't prove it to you out there. All I can do is present the evidence.

Other than that, I don't see any conspiracies behind his death. With that said, it doesn't otherwise matter how he died unless it provides warning to others who may need it.

Bottom line? To riff on an old saying I've heard elsewhere, what was true from him was not necessarily new, and what was new from him was not necessarily true.

So, his sister was the one who grabbed and managed his Twitter account. Why her and not his wife? And, announcement made four days after his death.

Did Alexandra know he was doing this before he died? Did any other family members? I have to think his sister did, which is why she took control of his account.

Other tidbits? First, see his comment at the bottom of this lawyers' related blog, the fall after his road rage. I'll say no more.

And, speaking of blogs, he had his own law-related blog. I found that via a comment on a post at Balkinization where Smithee was his usual argumentative self.

And, on another Balkinization post, he was a defender of Nino Scalia's alleged "textualism." Either he was still sucking at the family money-and-politics teat too much then, or maybe he never totally got beyond it. (Post is from 2004.) Anyway, Mr. Mensa Member defending Nino for something Scalia didn't actually do underscores my previous comment about Mensa. That said, per other comments there, he wasn't a blanket defender of Nino, and he sure didn't like a lot of Shrub Bush.

On the other hand, his comment here misrepresents the piece AND shows some of the Smithee misogyny.

As far as political background? He was indeed a registered Democrat last year. That said, per the FEC campaign contributions link for his dad, I saw nothing in federal campaign contributions by him. Dunno if he did anything at the Florida state level or not.

Sidebar? Damn, housing in Florida is expensive.

And, per condolences to the family, they did pick a very good charity in lieu of flowers. Besides general condolences for a family member's death, in general, in some ways, I feel actually sorry for them. And the sister is having to deal with a barnyard, too — even if it's a barnyard she probably already knew something about.

And may be wanting to enshrine. Per complaints from the groupies, I found out only confirmed followers get to see his Tweets now. I wouldn't do that hassle even with a new fake account.

I was just curious if he was this monomaniacal nearly 10 years ago, and the answer is probably yes. He was probably also a sucker for Obama. But, I don't need to waste that much time.

I'm curious if she's doing this for any reason other than to prevent tweet-mining. That alone would kind of enshrine it, but is she going to run updates through it?

On the other hand, some people have speculated that maybe Alexandra wants to actually do something with it. I've even seem wondering if she not only knew of his account before he died but was tag-teaming with him on Tweeting. I at least think she knew of it; why did she, not his wife, take it over? And, with that, the idea that she was tag-teaming is at least possible, is it not?

I've seen other wonderment if Flatty was connected to GOP monkey-wrencher Roger Stone, since Palm and West Palm is his current landing zone and has been for years.

Sorry, but teh Google shows zero hits when it's "Christopher Chopin" + "Roger Stone." Only a couple when Frank's name is plugged in, instead, and those that did hit did not have Frank's name in the actual story. That then said, both Frank and Roger had high enough dollars that they surely met at some GOP functions.

Finally, I have thought about possible causes of his death, yes. And commented elsewhere, in response to someone else, once.

I don't think it's really necessary, though, other than to say I certainly don't think there was anything conspiratorial behind it, and that I hope any Flatty Followers who DO think that stop it.

TWITTER and other online TIDBITS

Apparently Smithee thought the Russian sanctions had some real bite. In actuality, Russia has become a net exporter of most foodstuffs for the first time since before the Revolution.

A "non-partisan truth teller"? Not really, per Stein and GP stuff.

The irony or hypocrisy of him calling out others for Twitter abusiveness.

Would he have remained a Democrat in 2020? Per this Tweet, not likely. But, would he have done the duopoly exit? Also not likely.

==

Elizabeth Lee Beck, one half of the Beck lawyers' team running the DNC fraud lawsuit work, has one foot firmly in the conspiracy theory world. She's not the only Flatty fan who has at least a toe in conspiracy waters, and not just about his death.  Shirtless Pundit has at least a toe, I think. Retweeting anybody claiming the Vegas shooting was a false flag? That's it. Retweeting Prison Planet, too.

Another person thinks that ability to speak multiple languages makes a person a genius. Nope. Hundreds of millions of people around the world, from genius, through smart, through average, to below average, have that ability. Believing otherwise, believing that it IS genius, is American insularity at work.

And, OK, so it's a problem in America. We'll file Flatty the non-monolingual as "genius, American exceptionalist division."

Other Greens, besides Beau in comments, seem to think highly, or too highly, of Flatty, especially via Caitlin Johnstone. (sigh)

To riff on an old saying I've heard elsewhere, what was true from him was not necessarily new, and what was new from him was not necessarily true.

Zack Heller claims on FB, in somebody's thread, that Man from Atlan (who I do give a kudo to alerting me to Chopin's death) has "refuted" me in a Twitter thread. I doubt it.

And, yeah, I'm going to post more like this not just in days, but weeks, ahead. 

Random detritus that I find related to Flatty.

24 comments:

PDiddie said...

I couldn't get on board with that guy/gal right from the get-go.

Also souring on Cait Johnstone, between her call to reach out to the far right last week and her "Good" post about John McCain this week.

(Maybe Aussie Greens really are this nasty, but American Greens are not, in my first-hand experience. She's not showing up as especially helpful of late IMHO.)

As I wrote on FB there:

With no respect intended for John McCain, two things come to mind.

1) For the second time, a prominent senator's glioblastoma alters the trajectory of the nation's healthcare insurance legislation.

2) It seems more than a little incongruous to call for outreach to the conservative far right one week, and celebrate the pending demise of one of their "heroes" (sic) the next. But perhaps this is just my personal cognitive dissonance, as some shade-tree psychologist posting above has advised, sans fee.

Gadfly said...

Agreed that Caitlin is largely lacking in logical coherence.

==

I had debated friending Smithee or not for some time.

He IS spot-on, on campaign finance issues. But, it's a one-stop thing with him. Like a Scott Santens on basic income.

And, beyond that, his "research what I say" is a schtick, nothing more.

Anomie Toponymie said...

He died Sunday, October 9th, 2017.

Man From Atlan said...

Obituary notice http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Christopher-Chopin&lc=2290&pid=186931167&mid=7595756

Gadfly said...

Atlantan, thanks.

Debate champion, and lawyer? No surprise. Fit totally with the personality I'd observed. (And I had halfway assumed that "Actual Flatticus" was a mash-up on Atticus Finch. The law degree, as well as coming from Atlanta, before Florida, would seem to confirm.)

The age? That's a shock. From the amount of Tweeting alone, I'd thought he was retired.

Gadfly said...

Unfortunately, perhaps, for some of his fans, with a name to associate with him, I've discovered that our man Christopher Chopin's Twitter anger was worse in real life. Note story, bottom right of page: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/133561710/

Gadfly said...

Finally, I moderate comments (normally few and far between) on this blog in general. If I get flamed by groupies from Twitter, don't be surprised if not every comment gets posted.

Joshua Black said...

I wish hadn't written this. I think someday you will too. Its very self serving and vague.

Gadfly said...

Well, I wasn't flamed, so I had no problem publishing that, Joshua.

But WHY don't you wish it had been published? Other than the road rage, I wrote the rest of it at the time Smithee blocked me, MONTHS before he died.

And, it's all true, and all based on the investigation work he told people to do.

Does it shatter icons? Or illusions?

That's your problem, and the problem of people like you, not me.

Vague?

That's laughable and I think you know it. Half a dozen or more links, in depth commentary, etc., are NOT vague. The wish that it were vague? That too is your problem, not mine.

Self-serving?

Not at all. I told you and others, at the end, why I wrote it. That too was part of the original post.

Joshua Black said...

"He hated journalists in general, or so it seemed to me. (And, yes, he knew my background.) Black-and-white thinker on this, as on several other things."
-- Speculation with no evidence provided.

"Frankly, even with the marriage and daughter, he might have been sexist IRL, too. A stereotypical Type A male, to some degree."
--Speculation

"Did you also agree with his bullying women? (From my perception, he liked to do browbeat/beatdown level arguments with women more than men on Twitter.) "
-- Again, speculation with no evidence provided

These are all examples of you being both vague and self-serving. This is all opinion fluff with no hard facts attached. You're just reinforcing your own belief that Smitty was a bad dude and grasping at anything at all that might help your case.

Honestly, I did not realize that this post was largely written months ago, as I just saw it last night. That being said, you still decided to update it, on the day his death was announced, with an article (an much associated commentary) detailing an assault he committed some 14 years ago. That's self serving. You're taking the time to point out to everyone "See! I was right! He's a a jerk!" Honestly, how excited were you to post this update? How much did you giggle when you read the article detailing his assault? Did you feel good about yourself?

People make mistakes throughout life, this is an unfortunate fact. To me, Smitty was a Twitter representation of truth, a virtue I value deeply. Updating your post with that article excerpt is merely stroking your own ego while attempting to smear someone based on an action (which I'm willing to bet they regretted and paid a price for) that the guy made a decade and a half ago. I'm not defending what he did, because it was wrong. But the way in which you brought light to it is distasteful at best.

What dirty skeletons are you hiding in your own closet buddy? Should you be publicly smeared for mistakes you've made in the past?

Gadfly said...

Joshua, I published your first comment, but not your second, of today. And, no, it won't get published.

Several reasons for that, with two primary interconnected ones.

Your replies seem self-serving precisely because you seem to be a Smithee groupie perhaps upset his ox is now being gored.

As for your assumption that I "giggled," talk about not only self-serving, but also shallow? Look in the mirror.

As noted, the only possibly self-serving part is not explicitly apologizing to any people he bullied on Twitter.

As it's my blog, and I will have the last word there, I'm not going to waste further comment space on a back-and-forth. Don't like it? Start your own blog.

==

As for the comment I did publish?

The observations from his Twitter feed are actual observations. No, I didn't do embeds of every relevant Twitter post of his at the time. I have more, different and better things to do with my life. The facts in support are there on his Twitter feed.

Your Smithee as representation of truth? The links show how he, on multiple occasions, clearly represented falsehood, not truth. And, I'm pretty sure such misrepresentations were deliberate and conscious. At a minimum, they were avoidable.

It's true I didn't make clear that this was an update of a four-month old people when I first updated, but my first "NOTE" in the first update yesterday evening — I believe posted before your first comment — at least hinted at that.

Oh, and assuming at least 25 percent of his felony-level road rage was still driving his anger today, that's NOT a "mistake."

Final note?

This is why I follow, and support, ideas first, people second.

Maybe, if you are actually committed to truth, you'll do so yourself someday.

And, given my comment above about your unpublished comment, this is probably good-bye.

Gadfly said...

Nice try with attempt to get in another one, Joshua.

No, not wasting more time on you marks me as pragmatic, not cowardly.

Rather than just delete, I'm deciding to mark that as spam.

Gadfly said...

Well, Joshua, your precious Smithee being arrested for domestic battery ... how's THAT for specificity? Or is that just another "mistake"?

God what a turd.

Gray said...

I saw enough of Smithee's tweets, RTed by others and when I followed him, to confirm the point about black vs white reasoning. And the news about Chopin having been a debate champion & a lawyer explains why he never (afaik) conceded a point, changed his mind in light of better evidence or at least acknoledged that a different point of view had merrit. Twitter apparently was simply a continuation of his successful debate competition carreer for him. Who knows, maybe his job as a lawyer wasn't that fulfilling or going that well (prolly less well than his father's practice or the partnership of his sister), so he needed to have his own field of expertise, for his ego. That would explain a lot. If that's true, that's tragic. He died too young, before being able to leave the golden cage of his family (and maybe a domestic competition he couldn't win) behind and find his own way. He blocked me after a minor disagreement, too, and I saw him as a misguided divider of the left wing resistance recently, but I didn't wish him to die. 41 is way too young, he should have had many more years, giving him the chance to overcome his problems.

As for him hating journalists, I once weighed in when Smithee unfairly & rather unconvincingly criticized David Sirota. Was it because of real enmity towards journos or jealousy towards a progressive heavyweight of the twittersphere (who, btw, has more followers than vitriolic and unsolidaric Flatticus)? I guess we'll never know, especially since all the tweets have been virtually sealed and can't be examined anymore.

About possible misogynism, I can't say anything, I didn't pay much attention to the gender of folks who got attacked by Smithee. I wouldn't rule it out, but I suspect that his major goal was to “win“ arguments in any way he could, without much regard if his temporary adversary was male or female, left or right, friend or foe. He was an interesting character, virtually, and maybe also irl, but there are nicer guys & better liberals. He left an impact (as our writing about a somewhat popular tweep with about 10k followers shows (there's even average folks who have more)), but the memories aren't all positive, sadly. Anyway, farewell, Flatticus, and whereever you are now, I hope there's interesting discussions!

Gadfly said...

Gray, well put on all counts.

I too figured Twitter was a giant debate field, even before I saw the real person's background. And, you could be quite right about him seeing marriage as well as family of origin as a competition.

PDiddie said...

You got a minor cite in this.

Candidly, Flatticus/Smithee made little impression on me, and more negative than positive. Never engaged with him nor followed him and saw too many of his Tweets reTweeted. Seemed like he had a lot of anger, as you have noted, and an "unexpected" death at 41 suggests heart attack or stroke, which wouldn't surprise me at all. Probably faceplanted his keyboard or holding his phone. (I realize this is speculation without supporting evidence.)

Gadfly said...

PD, that was one of three possibilities I thought of — coronary from anger.

Riffing back here to Texas, esp North Texas, he strikes me in hindsight as a younger Brian Loncar. And, we know what took him out; said substance can itself cause coronaries, of course.

LeBeau said...

I am/was a full-on groupie. My favorite Twitter feed, hands down. I can't argue with most of your points, I don't have the research skills or the Tweets to refer to. The charge of sexism is disturbing to me, and I wish I could go back and check. I often defended him on charges of sexism, but those were usually based on his contempt for HRC.
I can add texture to 1 point based on my memory of direct Twitter interactions with him.
I was downright giddy when he followed me. I was pretty active in his feed and had maybe gotten 2 likes and a retweet. I thought I was so witty! In retrospect, tho, I must wonder if it wasn't because I was at the time co-Chair of his county's Green Party after it had been defunct for 8 years (like, maybe he was surprised to discover in my profile that his county suddenly had a Green Party. I also on the state party council and maybe (or maybe not yet) on the national council.
The second texturing of his feelings for the Greens and Jill Stein in particular involves one of the few (2?) times I respectfully. I had long lived in fear of the Smithee block. He could be a dick, but he was almost always on my side and he had the rhetorical goods. Had to have it. Then, after he followed me, I feared losing the follow, the oride point of my little Twitter profile. But one day he said something critical of the GPUS. He was dogging out some Dem, maybe Warren, and I suggested he go Green, because what a get, you know?
He replied with something like "Of you guys want to be taken seriously you have to pick a better candidate" or something like that. I had to say something. I am a member of the national council! So I asked him, politely, what his problem with Stein was, and waited for the 142 character "fuck you",but it didn't happen. Instead, he said he felt that her job was to parrot the party platform, and he felt she often went off the reservation. I counted myself lucky, agreed to disagree and said that I would check it out. My point is, he was claiming to have read the platform for some reason.

Gadfly said...

Tres interessant, LeBeau.

On Jill, I think she followed the party line pretty closely. And, as I said, his KSA comment was laughable.

On Stein, if you'll read through my blog, MY objections are that she's too much an AccommoGreen — the Green equivalent of ConservaDems.

LeBeau said...

That is... reasonable. I would love if she had said "I will nationalize the banks in my first hundred days." But it would have hurt the party, and I don't think any prez could pull that off. She is (in my estimation) a bit to the right of the center of the real members. But unlike conserva-dems, I think most of us agree her agenda would move the country in the right direction in almost every category, and wouldn't make things worse in the remaining. I think most real dems agree conserva-dems would make the country even worse in significant ways. I suspect very few Greens, even if they voted HRC, did so because they were voting AGAINST Stein.
But, to my point... Perhaps our subject identified (to some degree) as Green, or subscribed to the Key Values, but never donated because, well, if you could find it....
I can't help but still identify with Smithee, even in light of much of what you revealed. Before 2016,I was a casual Dem voter. I was a well known political junkie. In a cerebral sense. I loved the horserace and the theory. I was coasting through life, solid middle class, having done nothing to deserve it but being born in the top 10%. Then Sanders comes along and shows me that everything is all fucked up for almost everyone except for me. I suddenly decided to use my voice in a way that would not immediately, directly affect my comfort level (I don't preach to my employer's rich customers, eg). I don't advertise what a comfortable chump I was for so long.
I never had any question that Smithee was a neo-lib at least in 2015. I never thought that he was making a major lifestyle change just so he could walk-the-walk. In the same fashion, my job comes before party business. I live exactly as I did before, I just have more stuff to do and less personal time. I know full well that if I were to lose my job, even be banned from my industry, true hardship and poverty, likely, would not come for me. While I never knew the Smithee was as rich as the people I serve from the island (hell, I most likely have waited on him on many occasions in the last decade), but I was/am a groupie of his writing and research. Again, I am not qualified to dispute your claims of debate tactics, and I can't go back and look. But, man, he fucked up neocons and neolibs like nobody's business, and those bastards fight dirty, too. That is the Smithee that I followed. Large parts of your well-researched profile seem to me to be the lingering remnants of someone he used to be. We don't 180 overnight.

Gadfly said...

Good points overall, again, LeBeau.

Had Smithee lived longer, it's possible that he would have evolved further.

And, I understand the horserace in one sense.

In another, I KNOW I'm more radical than Smithee, and quite possibly than you, too.

The body of our Constitution sucks and I wish we had parliamentary government. Here's a great book about that, which I've re-read more than once. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/437559920

==

On my voting background? I"ve voted Green for every president this century. Almost wrote in SPUSA's Soltysik last year. So, beyond "horserace," I take this seriously. Have also voted Green in general, in non-presidential races when I've had the chance.

==

On the "not 180 overnight" otherwise? That certainly may be true for the political junkie.

However, the anger that is reflected in his arrest record still came through pretty heavy on Twitter. I do not joke and I do not hyperbolize when I say I felt a touch afraid, just through the Interwebz, at times.

I also do not joke when I say it looked like his bullying was directed more at women. And, since his death, my updating of this piece, and more, I've had several women on Twitter offer yet more confirmation.

People who are doubled-down on a "cult" won't address this.

The Joshua, from G+, hasn't come back to comment after I updated about the domestic arrest.

I'm sorry.

But, even if not so knowledgeable, whether fixated or not, there's plenty of other people on Twitter, or beyond, who could, can, did and do shine a pretty reasonable light, if not quite so detailed, on dark money, etc.. and who are saner and safer as far as personalities.

Mark Eyre said...

Nothing I saw "Dobbs" say or do on Twitter remotely compares with this sanctimonious drivel you've no doubt wasted hours crafting here. Get over yourself and I will try to get over the loss of a friend and ally who chose not to adhere to any party's line. @youwildman

Gadfly said...

Ahh, another groupie drops by!

"Sanctimonious"? Must have learned that from Chopin's own tweets.

"Drivel"? You haven't said anything is inaccurate, or irrelevant.

And, no, Chopin, after (presumably) moving beyond Republicans, did adhere to the Bernie version of the party line, pre-sheepdogging, I believe. Who knows where he would have been in 2020; I do know, as shown, that he refused to do a #duopolyexit.

Gadfly said...

And, Mark, now that I think I know who you're referencing with Dobbs? You're totally wrong. She seems to be a nutbar cyberstalker.