Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Did the Beandog Militia Interfere in a Canadian Election?

Brett Warren, the Florida felon who just can't help himself, otherwise known as @solaar on Twitter and also known as Samuel Therber on Facebook, posted another Youtube video back in March of this year in which he posed as Michael Sona, a Conservative Party aide in Canada who was then embroiled in a robo-calling scandal.

The robocalling campaign, in which a caller posed as an official of Elections Canada telling voters their polling places had been moved, benefitted the Conservative Party in the area riding, or election, in Guelph. In the aftermath, suspicion fell on Michael Sona, a Conservative staffer of MP Eve Adams who had served as communications director for candidate Marty Burke.

Sona vehemently denied involvement in the robocalling effort, even after he had resigned his position on the staff of Adams.  Enter Brett Warren, who posted a Youtube video in which he claimed to be Michael Sona and confessed involvement in the robo-calling scandal.  Warren's timing was impeccable, because Liberal Party members had claimed that the person who had posed as "Pierre Poutine" on the robo-calls would be coming forward the exact same day that Warren posted his Youtube video in which he posed as Michael Sona.  The references he made to the specifics of the scandal were spot-on, making his impersonation of Sona all the more credible.

Warren's registration page as a convicted felon with the State of Florida
The Liberal Party had claimed that Conservative Party electoral success was due in large part to such dirty tricks in various ridings throughout Canada, but the Conservative Party repeatedly denied involvement.  Canada's opposition parties accused the Conservative Party of involvement in 30 to 40 such robo-calling investigations throughout Canada, but they had little in the way of proof to substantiate their allegations.

In point of fact, the Conservatives were able to point to the involvement of Liberal Party research staffer Adam Carroll in a Twitter account by the name of @Vikileaks30 that attacked Public Safety minister Vic Toews. And here is where things overlap with the documented methods of Brett Warren and his associates in the Beandog Militia: the Twitter account posted personal information from court documents detailing Toews's messy divorce.  This would be consistent with what the Beandogs did to Twitter users like @GregWHoward and @SwiftRead, among others.

When it became apparent that Sona was not the man in the Youtube video confessing to guilt in the robo-calling effort, Canadians managed to use the image of the man posing as Sona to identify him as Brett Warren, who had personally been involved in the online effort against @GregWHoward.  What the Beandogs did to Greg W. Howard was similar to what Adam Carroll did to Vic Toews: they dug up court papers relating to Howard's bankruptcy, and publicized the details online, including how much back child support Howard owed.

It would strain credulity to believe Warren's explanation for his Youtube post, which is that a Canadian friend sent him the articles on the robo-calling scandal via email with a note on how similar he looked to Michael Sona.  Warren is a resident of Maitland, FL, hardly a hotbed of Canadian exiles who follow politics back home.  Considering the documented interactions between members of the Beandog Militia and Neal Rauhauser, who is himself associated with Velvet Revolution founder Brett Kimberlin, now infamous for his possible involvement in the SWATting of Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney Patrick Frey and blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson of Redstate,  robo-calling efforts would not be outside the realm of what we know to be the Beandog's documented history.

Instead, it would appear entirely plausible that Warren, his friends in the Beandog Militia like @leducviolet and @methadonna, along with Rauhauser and others, may have expanded their campaign of online and phone mischief into Canadian electoral politics.  Also, the likelihood of their involvement in the SWATting effort increases given their possible involvement or participation in the robo-calling effort in Guelph, or it could at the very least indicate their coordination with similarly-minded locals. Then again, it could simply be a case of Brett hijacking the misdeeds of another to increase his own already considerable notoriety.

Recent revelations by blogger Brooks Bayne on his site The Trenches include a letter from Neal Rauhauser to Mike Stack and Jay Liederman in which Neal points the finger at the Beandogs for the SWATting of Mike Stack, also known as @goatsred on Twitter, who broke the story of Anthony Weiner's impending lewd photo scandal.

Strange Life: Brett Warren's Florida Life

It is difficult to comprehend what drives Brett Warren, who first came to national prominence for his antics on Youtube as a Florida Gators fan.  Warren posted a video in which he gave out the details of his ticket to the Alabama-Florida game, replete with seat number and the gate at which he would meet any Alabama fan who wanted to fight him.  Warren claimed to know four different types of martial arts and warned that he would use them.   It was, for lack of any better description, epic douchebaggery.

At the time he posted the video, Warren was a convicted felon under community supervision in Florida. By all indications, he had a good job and a decent life.  His online page as a registered felon in the state of Florida gives his current address in Maitland, FL as a home with an estimated value on Zillow of $424,300 (however, the County Assessor's site values it at $252,840).  Why he would want to jeopardize his freedom by getting his parole revoked with a video in which he made violent threats to out of state Alabama fans over a football game is anyone's guess.

Warren went on to further infamy as a member of the Beandog Militia, a group of Twitter users united by their shared disdain for conservatives and Tea Party supporters.  With the user name @solaar, he trolled Twitter constantly looking for confrontations.  One of those confrontations took place in February of 2011 with Greg W. Howard and me.  I had never met Brett, had no idea who he was, and had no reason to go looking at him when he posted one message in my feed referring to me as a fag.

My curiosity was piqued, and when I pulled his profile up, I saw threats of physical harm to Greg W. Howard, along with tweets regarding drug consumption and photos of pills.  There were also pictures of Brett on a ski trip to Colorado, along with more pictures of his buddy in the back of an ambulance after a drug overdose.  Brett was obviously reckless, because he chronicled each and every illegal act he and his friends committed during that  trip via Tweets and posted photographs.

 Brett simply didn't seem capable of avoiding unwise disclosures about his life or his activities, and he used anonymity on Twitter to threaten a variety of other users with violent reprisals when they responded to his antics negatively.  With the information Brett posted online, I managed to identify him.  The threat of being outed, and of having his employer and the authorities in Florida find out about his online activities, seemed to discourage Brett from further bad behavior.  He apologized to Greg W. Howard at my request, but he did call me on two separate occasions to demonstrate that he had my phone number.

Unlike the rest of the people Brett bullied, I had no prior court records to exploit.  There were no bankruptcy filings, no criminal convictions, no anything.  At most, Brett and his online associates like Neal Rauhauser had one piece of information: I was in law school.  They also knew that my then-wife had epilepsy.  There were the requisite taunts about my wife's medical condition, along with a call from Neal to the law school.  Neal also emailed one of my Facebook profiles intimating legal action.  He gave a phone number for me to call him.

I did, and Neal insinuated that he would use his position and reputation to put me on a watch list with the Southern Poverty Law Center as a domestic terrorist and hate crimes supporter.  I told Neal I would sue him for defamation if he even so much as insinuated that I endorsed racism in any form, shape, or fashion whatsoever.  I also told him that I had already informed my deans of the possibility that he might be calling them.  He still did, but nothing came of it because I had not violated any laws or rules of conduct as a law student.  Truth is an absolute defense to defamation, and Neal had no grounds to make any threats towards me whatsoever.

After a time, things died down.  Greg Howard and I parted ways for the most part over his association with the Wrecking Crew and his continued antagonism of the Beandogs and Rauhauser.  I had a life, and I wanted to get on with it.  Spending endless amounts of time chasing Neal and his pals down the rabbit hole didn't strike me as productive.  My disagreement was with the Obama Administration and the federal government in general, and I preferred to focus my efforts on highlighting their shortcomings rather than chasing diversions.

And then the SWATting scandal broke, and I began to hear Neal's name yet again.  I started to revisit all the screenshots, emails, and communications and documentation I had of the Beandogs and Brett, and I started digging online to see what Brett was up to these days.  What I found was Brett's involvement in the robo-calling debacle in Guelph, as well as his apparent startup of a business out of his parent's home (the Maitland address on the assessor's website list Francis B and Mary B Warren as the owners).  The business, Advanced Engineering Inc., is profiled on Manta as a business with annual revenues of $150,000 and two employees.  Brett is listed as the principal.

It's a weird life, but it doesn't end there.  Brett's company doesn't show up on the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations under his name.  He's a convicted felon with online profiles for an engineering services business run out of the exact same address that he's registered as a convicted felon under community supervision, and he's running a corporation that isn't registered with the State of Florida.

Brett's life defies description.  According to his Facebook profile, he was a University of Florida and Harvard educated Ph.D candidate for a doctorate in mathematics.  On the profile, he went under the name Samuel Therber, which just so happens to be the same alias he used when he tried to explain away his Youtube video posing as Michael Sona.  His CV is available online, but it only has one t instead of two.  This isn't inconsistent with his known names as a registered felon with the State of Florida.  The question is whether or not a convicted felon in Florida really is an associate professor at the University of Florida with a fellowship at Harvard University, and if so, why the University of Florida or Harvard would hire or associate with him in the first place as a convicted felon with a penchant for online malfeasance and hijinks?

Of course, the simpler explanation could be that Brett Warren, convicted felon and infamous Youtube and Twitter troll, has impersonated Bret Warren the Associate Professor who taught Computational Linear Algebra at the University of Florida in Gainesville.  The truth is indeed stranger than fiction in certain instances, though it would be hard to see how the story of Brett Warren could get any stranger.  The most recent arrest of Brett that I could document was in Orange County on March 15, 2011, and this is his mugshot from that arrest.  And while Scott Tracey, the Guelph Mercury writer who reported on Brett's Youtube impersonation of Michael Sona, contacted Ann Howard of the Florida Department of Corrections, I found no evidence that Warren was arrested for his conduct in that instance.  Instead, Howard's reply was simple enough: “That sounds like a Canada issue, and we’re way down here in Florida.” Indeed.

Florida Gators vs Alabama 2010 Preview by lanekiffinshow

Joe Scarborough: He's the Future

Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, ran afoul of his audience with a rant directed at conservative bloggers in which he said they should "shut the hell up" with allegations that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is a RINO.  He went on to say that conservative bloggers were Cheetos eating residents of their mother's basement tapping away at dinty laptops, along with stating that Republicans like Jeb Bush and himself were the future of the GOP.

Republicans like Jeb Bush, Joe Scarborough, and Mitt Romney are the present of the GOP, which is why this country is in a lot of trouble.  It's why you have 23% real unemployment, and it's why you have almost $16 trillion in national debt and another $2.5 trillion in IOUs to Social Security.  It's why a good many individuals who might vote for Republicans aren't enthused about the prospects of electing a former governor who gave his state an individual mandate for health insurance that was heavily subsidized and had 43% cost overruns that broke the state budget once it took effect.

Insofar as bloggers may live in basements or tap away at dinty laptops, they do so because of the bipartisan legislation like Gramm-Leach-Bliley and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act that allowed derivates to continued unregulated with insufficient capital backing, and which also allowed investment banks to use federally insured customer bank accounts as their seed money to gamble on derivatives.  You see, they don't have jobs because the economy was and is ruined.  Job prospects, let alone prospects for good jobs, are minimal, and 40% of the net worth of average Americans is gone.  In less than a year's worth of financial conflagration, $10 trillion in market capitalization disappeared.

That's bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill for you.  It works really well for the kinds of people who can afford a $40,000 a plate dinner, but for the rest of us eating ramen noodles and microwaveable meals as we go back to graduate school or just sit around on our dinty laptops, it doesn't work at all.  And as our friends and relatives see their savings evaporate, or they watch as those savings are systematically eroded in value by inflation rates that far outpace the rate of interest they receive on their savings or certificates of deposit so that the Federal Reserve can print up or guarantee $28.7 trillion in loans, guarantees, and giveaways to financial institutions and their shareholders, we sit and fume. This isn't a free market, and the government is picking the winners out of the people who would justifiably be losers in a free market for their unwise and imprudent decision-making.

And yes, we resent it when Jeb Bush comes on television to pontificate about how things ought to be, because Jeb Bush has never held a job contingent on any qualification other than his last name.  Moreover, we see in Jeb Bush a man who defaulted on a $4.5 million loan he received from Broward Federal Savings and Loan through his associate, the real estate developer J. Edward Houston, with the only collateral being Houston's personal guarantee.  Not only did Bush work out repayment terms with Houston that only called for repayment if his partnership with Armondo Contina generated revenues from the office building to be purchased,  he also managed to retain ownership of the office building with only a $500,000 repayment to the FDIC via a settlement.

Now, Joe Scarborough and his fellow country club Republicans may chalk that up to being just business, and they may think that it's all well and good, but for those of who have watched our entire lives as men like Jeb Bush never pay for their mistakes in business through bankruptcy or the forfeiture of personal assets, all the while getting sweetheart deals because of who their father happened to be, it's a little hard to stomach Jeb Bush as the face of conservatism or any other ideology that espouses personal responsibility and free market economics.  We have a term for it amongst out dingy and unwashed hordes: bullshit.

The future of the Republican Party has yet to be decided, but one thing is clear: the patience of people who support low taxes, personal responsibility, and free markets is wearing thin with a party that continually betrays such principles with its support and stewardship of government programs like TARP and the auto bailout.

Joe Scarborough doesn't need to shut the hell up, he needs to speak the hell up and do his job as a member of a free and independent press to hold the feet of power to the fire of accountability.  If he can't do that, then he shouldn't say a damn thing to the conservative bloggers who do his job in his stead.  He may have all the perks of acceptance as a member of the so-called legitimate or mainstream media, but given MSNBC's ratings of late, his time might be drawing to end.  An echo in a chamber designed to reinforce and perpetuate the narrative of political power does not make a bona fide as a journalist or member of the media.  A lone voice speaking the truth does, and the stentorian chorus emerging out of the blogosphere has far more credibility at this point than anything offered up by Joe Scarborough.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Real Men of Genius: Mr. Father of the Year Who Killed His Daughter's Molester

Bud Light (and Screed of Momus) celebrates Real Men of Genius, and today we salute you, Mr. Father of the Year Who Killed His Daughter's Molester. You walked in on a horse groomer grooming your four year old daughter in the wrong way, and you beat him about the face and neck with your Fists of Fury until he was dead. Other men might have merely knocked him off of their daughters and dialed 911, but you're from Texas, and you don't just stand your ground, you beat the bastard who molested your daughter into the ground. So pop open an ice cold Bud Light, O Pugilistic Protector of Your Progeny, because you deserve a medal of honor for defending hearth, home, and hymen. Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Father of the Year Who Killed His Daughter's Molesterrrrrrrr!!!

From CNN

A Texas father caught a man sexually assaulting his 4-year-old daughter and punched him in the head repeatedly, killing him, authorities said. 

And in other news, the criminal justice system is full of fail: 

The Generosity of Our Beloved Leader Should Be Noted

And in other news you may have missed from last year, White House staffers received generous pay bumps from our Beloved and Dear Leader, President Barack Obama, who was generous in the extreme. The overall average pay bump for White House staffers, as reported by Gawker, was an astonishing 8% at a time when the U6 full unemployment metric was at around 17%.  And so it was that individuals who held such lofty titles as Director of African American Media could have their salaries bumped to $78,000 from $42,000 without, say, having to deal with the Caucasian or Asian-American media as well.

Beloved and Dear Leader President Barack Obama's Top 20 Raises are listed in the chart at the top of this article for your consideration.  Combined with the nearly $26 billion in renewable energy grants and loan guarantees that Beloved and Dear Leader plowed into alternative energy companies like Fisker Automotive and Solyndra, with 80% of the money going to his campaign bundlers and finance committee members, these raises represent an Administration totally in touch with the heartbeat of the American electorate.  It is a foregone conclusion that Beloved and Dear Leader President Barack Obama will be re-elected to a second term in office come November as the American people line the streets to commemorate the glorious and auspicious accomplishments of his first term in office, and why not?  Fully 23% of them have nowhere else to be as discouraged and underemployed or just plain unemployed workers!

Latest at Thanks, Obama!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Robbery in Vegas

Boxing has endured a spate of terrible decisions of late, with the Williams-Lara fight and last night’s Pacquiao-Bradley fight among the most notable.  Last night’s fight was perhaps the worst decision I’ve ever seen in two decades of watching boxing.  To give you an idea of how long I’ve been watching boxing, I remember Greg Haugen.  I remember when boxing came on Saturday on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I remember Nigel Benn.  Speaking of robberies, I remember getting Sugar Ray Leonard-Marvelous Marvin Hagler commemorative cups from the fried chicken fast food joint my family used to frequent. 

I grew up with boxing. Controversial decisions are part of the game, with the familiar refrain “Don’t let it go to the scorecards” ringing true fight after fight. A knockout isn’t just crowd-pleasing, it provides a measure of certainty that you don’t get when three guys sitting ringside score the fight.  Of course, that’s when you have a clear knockout rather than a referee stoppage, which Canelo Alvarez has benefitted from for his entire career.  Early stoppages have given Cinammon his unbeaten record thus far. 

What happened last night is different, because it wasn’t just a controversial decision. It was clearly wrong. I watched Manny Pacquiao blank Timothy Bradley for the first six rounds, and then take the first two minutes of the next three rounds off only to dominate in total punches landed and in terms of significant punches as well.  Indeed, CompuBox numbers had Pacquiao landing more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds, which is exactly how I scored the fight: 118-110, Pacquiao.  At most, I could’ve gone 117-111 Pacquiao. 

In every area, from total punches to power punches landed, and in terms of percentages, Manny Pacquiao thoroughly outclassed Tim Bradley.  His head movement and footwork were just better, as was his pinpoint precision with his left hand.  Pacquiao’s left hand pumped in Bradley’s face at will, and Bradley never once had an answer for it.  It was one-sided enough for anyone watching it to see that Pacquiao wasn’t motivated.  He toyed with Bradley, who’s a top ten fighter in terms of weight class and in terms of overall fighters.  It was, as Max Kellerman noted, the difference between a good fighter and a great fighter. 

            Bradley is a skilled defensive fighter and counterpuncher, and he’s mentally tough.  His fight against Devon Alexander showed the toughness, as he simply outwilled Alexander over the course of the fight. Bradley didn’t back down the entire fight against Pacquiao; rather, he got pushed back from Pacquiao’s power, which was the difference in the fight.  In terms of speed, Bradley could probably equal Pacquiao. What Bradley couldn’t do was answer the power, which altered the entire dynamic of the fight.  Pacquiao hit Bradley with power shots consistently over the course of the fight, and Bradley simply didn’t have the defense or the skill to evade the contact.

            At the end of the fight, Bradley knew he was beaten. His corner knew he was beaten. His manager knew he was beaten.  We know this because his promoter said as much.  Bob Arum noted that Bradley’s manager had the fight 8 rounds to 4 for Pacquiao.  He said that Bradley told him he’d done his best, but that he just couldn’t beat Pacquiao. 

            The fight was so definitively won by Pacquiao that even with a horrendous decision by the judges, we don’t need to see a rematch.  We don’t. The scorecards may always say that Timothy Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao by a split decision, but when the winner of a fight says he’ll have to go home and watch the fight to see if he won…you know everything you need to know about how the fight went.

            Boxing is dying a death of a thousand cuts, and decisions like this one are one of the many reasons.  The fact that the big fights can’t get made is another. Come November 10th, regardless of whether or not the decision in the Bradley-Pacquaio fight stands, the fight we should see is Pacquiao-Mayweather.  We don’t need a rematch. The fight was settled tonight, no matter what the scorecards say.  Manny Pacquiao was the better fighter tonight, and everyone who watched the fight knew it. 

            The difference in reactions from the fighters was telling.  Bradley said he’d have to go home and watch the fight. Pacquiao said he absolutely thought he’d won the fight, because he did win.  And the sport of boxing lost, because at a time when mixed martial arts and the UFC are giving us the fights that should be made when they should be made and results that are final and fair, boxing is still allowing three judges to get away with robbery in certain fights. When a fight is close in the UFC, it’s legitimately close.  In boxing, the close fights are there, but the decisions that provoke outrage rarely occur in close fights.  They occur in fights with a clear winner who loses on the scorecards. 

            The Nevada Boxing Commission needs to remedy this situation by indefinitely suspending the judges involved, even the judge who scored the fight 115-113 for Pacquiao, because the fight simply wasn’t close.  Any judge who watched that fight and came up with a mere two round victory for Manny Pacquiao has little credibility.  Any judge who watched that fight and came up with a two round victory for Timothy Bradley should have his finances audited and a brain scan.

            One thing is for certain, however: everyone connected to Floyd Mayweather, from the promoters to the venues to his entourage to his training camp to the exes, can all breathe a sigh of relief.  With one decision so awful it will be immortalized as such in the annals of boxing history, three judges protected Floyd Mayweather as an industry for Las Vegas. Floyd will have a reason to point to as he continues to duck the one fighter who could truly test him when he emerges from his Las Vegas jail cell. 

            And Las Vegas, a town founded by a mobster and his friends, will have their house fighter to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in pay per view revenue, gate revenue, hotel rooms, tax revenues, and the like for as long as Mayweather wants to fight.  It will not matter that he’s fighting fighters Pacquiao blew out of the ring, as was the case with Miguel Cotto. All that will matter is Floyd’s excuse, which he will most certainly make when he emerges from jail: that on two of three official scorecards, Tim Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao 115-113 for the split decision and the welterweight title on Saturday, June 9th, 2012.  Floyd can and will take sure things from here on out, fighters who might have the power to hurt him, but who lack the speed and boxing generalissimo to touch him. 

            To give you a comparison, CompuBox for the Williams-Lara fight, a fight which saw all three judges suspended by the New Jersey authorities afterwards, had Lara up 224-200 in total punches landed.  That would appear to be a close fight, but anyone who watched that fight knew it wasn't close at all because of the impact of Lara's punches.  Indeed, the fight probably could have and should have been stopped because of the damage Williams was taking as the fight wore on.  

            Pacquiao-Bradley's CompuBox numbers back up the theory of a highway robbery in Vegas, with Pacquiao outlanding Bradley 253-159 overall and 190-108 in power punches.  In 10 of 12 rounds, Pacquiao outlanded Bradley.  Many of those rounds were absolute whitewashes, with Pacquiao landing  twice and almost three times as many punches as Bradley in certain rounds.  In other words, if Williams-Lara led to suspensions for three judges in New Jersey, there is no way the three judges who scored the the Pacquiao-Bradley fight 115-113 should be allowed to judge again.  This fight wasn't even close.  

            On November 10th, Las Vegas will lose one fight, and that fight is the rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley, because promoter Bob Arum, who handles both fighters, said last night that the rematch would take place in a no-tax state like Texas.  Floyd Mayweather will labor on in Nevada, with a friendly commission and judges who are willing to overlook events in the ring to score the fight in whatever way is good for Las Vegas.  All is not lost: Vegas will still get most of the betting in the rematch.