Friday, June 29, 2012

Does Beth A. Becker Really Stand for Women's Rights?

Beth Becker, the Daily Kos blogger and co-founder of Progressive PST with Neal Rauhauser, has told Brooks Bayne that she isn't in contact with Neal at the present time.  This is relevant because Neal is on record as owing over $33,000 in child support at the present time.  The payments that he has made are laughable, given the totals:

4/10/2012 $50.00
3/13/2012 $20.00
                          2/28/2010 $60.00

In the past two years, Neal Rauhauser has paid exactly $130.00 in child support.  He's had the money to transport himself to and from Zuccotti Park for his protests with Occupy Wall Street, and he's had the time and resources to show up to Brett Kimberlin's court hearings.  He's a member of Infragard who brags about having the time and energy to show up to meetings with the FBI, and yet Neal could only muster $130.00 in child support over the past two years for his two children, Ari and Madeline.

Beth A. Becker, his friend and professional associate, the woman who started a company with Neal and who allegedly roomed with Neal, a person who would have firsthand knowledge of Neal's finances and whereabouts for the past two years as a result of her close association and working relationship with Neal, insists to everyone that she doesn't interact with Neal.  There's no evidence that I've been able to find in a year and a half of looking that Beth Becker ever picked up the phone and called the State of Nebraska over Neal's illegal failure to pay child support.  Instead, she went into business with a deadbeat dad.

But there's more: Screed of Momus has obtained protection orders barring Neal Rauhauser from contacting Nancy Nogg Rauhauser due to his conduct during and after their divorce proceedings.  On October 21, 2002, the District Court of Douglas County, NE, with Judge Peter C. Bataillon presiding, issued a Domestic Abuse Protection Order against Neal Rauhauser.  A second Domestic Abuse Protection Order against Neal Rauhauser was issued on February 3rd, 2004.

Neal was barred from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner, his ex-wife Nancy, except to discuss the state of his children or to arrange visitation.  Even with these exceptions, the manner in which Neal tried to discuss the state of his children or arrange visitation would result in three separate Uniform Crime Reports being filed within a month long period in 2003.

On February 13, 2003, Nancy reported Neal not only attempted to detain her from leaving the drop-off point with the children after his visitation had ended, he also made physical contact with her and followed in his car.  On February 25, 2003, Neal was again reported for violating his protection order due to the fact that he walked up to Nancy and her children in the parking lot of Ruby Tuesday, grabbed their son Ari and pulled him out of the vehicle, and used his physical detention of Ari to force Nancy to speak to him.  On March 3, 2003, Neal again had a meltdown in the parking lot of a Ruby Tuesday, and he began yelling and screaming because only one of the two children was present for his visitation.

We know from Neal's own admission that he employed martial arts on his wife to put her in an "uncomfortable posture," and we know from the divorce documents that Neal was an attendee at AA meetings.  We know that he's gone online and issued statements about his wife's alleged drug use without a shred of proof while failing to mention his own history with substance abuse, a history substantial enough to require regular AA meetings and a sponsor.

We know that Neal had enough money in 2009 to pay for Chet Uber's cell phone bill and his medication, and to pay $1,000 towards the incorporation of Project Vigilant's funding arm BBHC.  2009 was a fine year for Neal, despite his claimed battles with Lyme Disease, because by April 2009 he had already paid $2,350.  However, Neal could have paid an additional $1,000 or more instead of creating an insufficiency of funds by paying for Chet Uber's medication and cell phone bills.  Neal Rauhauser apparently prioritized his friend's cell phone bill and medication over reducing the $12,772.46 in past due child support and interest he faced as of April 20, 2009.

The question is why a woman who claims to be a progressive, to stand for women's rights and the rights of children, would associate with a man like Neal Rauhauser who brags online about using his skills in hapkido on his own wife, who violates an order of protection by grabbing his son out of a vehicle in order to force his ex-wife to talk to him, and who screams at his ex-wife in front of their child in a public parking lot.  Moreover, if Beth A. Becker does know where Neal is presently residing, and she is still doing business with him as a principal in Progressive PST or any other endeavor, she would have some indicator of his financial situation.  She would also have a moral obligation as a supporter of women's rights to turn over that information to the State of Nebraska in order to enable them to successfully hold Neal Rauhauser accountable for what is now over $33,000 in past due child support and interest.

Beth A. Becker's credibility as a progressive, a feminist, and a supporter of women's rights who opposes the kind of actions her business partner is on record as condoning and engaging in is on the line.

The question here is whether or not Beth A. Becker's loyalty to Neal as a friend trumps her commitment to the interests of two children who have been victimized by their father's financial irresponsibility.  If Beth A. Becker is in fact a feminist, if she stands with child victims, and against deadbeat dads, she'll do the right thing and contact the State of Nebraska with the relevant information about Neal's whereabouts and his financial status as her business partner over the past few years.

Beth, if you're really committed to the women's rights, and to protecting the interests of children, and to opposing deadbeat dads, the number to call is 1-877-631-9973.

And as for everyone who reads this post, I encourage you to cross post it on your blogs, to tweet about it, and to force Beth A. Becker of Progressive PST to publicly stand up for women's rights, children's rights, and against her deadbeat dad of a partner Neal Rauhauser.  Nancy Nogg has survived two bouts of cancer alone, and she's raising two children with $130 in support from Neal Rauhauser over the past two years.

It's time for Beth to make her position publicly known: is she for women's rights or in support of a deadbeat dad, and does her friendship with that deadbeat dad trump her commitment to women and children?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Open Letter to Those Working the Kimberlin/Rauhauser Story

             Many of us have been working the Rauhauser story for over two years now, and my own personal involvement began in February 2011.  The costs have been high for many of us, with me facing a law school dean who initially was annoyed to be bothered by Neal Rauhauser but who subsequently came to see that I wasn’t lying about his actions.  Neal called him, emailed another dean, and generally tried to stir up trouble.  I survived unscathed. 

            Others have not.  Greg W. Howard is among the most notable victims of Neal Rauhauser’s behavior, but Neal’s employment by Velvet Revolution and Brett Kimberlin have taken his antics to an entirely new level of vindictiveness.  Of the three individuals involved with Velvet Revolution, be it Brad Friedman, Brett Kimberlin, or Neal Rauhauser, only Neal possesses the skill set necessary to pull of a SWATting or train others in such techniques. 

            Plainly put, that makes Neal Rauhauser the story.  Yes, Brett Kimberlin may have put him up to the SWATtings, but the time has come to realize one thing: for all of the scandals over the past two years, one name has been constant: Neal Rauhauser.  The goal as I see it with these men and the organizations they run, and the supporters who hide behind anonymous donations through foundations, is to put Neal in jail and eventually get the others held to civil and criminal culpability for their role in employing him. 

            Plainly put, if I as a law student on a shoestring budget can find out about Neal’s past, the Democratic candidates he worked with in 2010 could have found out as well.  The same is true of Brett Kimberlin and Brad Friedman, and their donors.  I am absolutely convinced that these people not only knew what Neal was, but that they paid for him because of it.  No legitimate organization, and no law-abiding individual working in a professional manner, would retain the services of someone like Neal Rauhauser.  Only someone with bad intentions would hire him, because his past record speaks for itself. 

            I have the interrogatories and filings from his divorce, the protection orders, an email between psychologists over his mental condition, and a letter from an ex-girlfriend in Boston referring to Neal’s tendencies.  I’m getting more documents every day from people in Neal’s past that relate to his businesses, his employment, and his prior acts in three states. 

            Why?  Because the time has come to not merely write about Neal Rauhauser, but to construct a case against him that forces the authorities to apprehend him for his back child support and investigate him fully for his involvement in various activities over the past year.  The time has come to follow his funding and his connections wherever they may go, regardless of who might be embarrassed.  The time has come to put a stop to organizations like Velvet Revolution, to individuals like Brett Kimberlin and Neal Rauhauser, and to signal to those individuals and groups who use such organizations and individuals that it is no longer acceptable to sic the likes of Kimberlin and Rauhauser on people who are merely using Twitter to engage in free speech and political expression.  

            These are the enemies. The enemies are not the trolls who pop up in our feeds nightly, with their various sock accounts on Twitter, and they most certainly are not the guys we know and interact with from our side daily.  Those of you I am directing this letter to know who I am referring to as from our side, and who has colluded with Neal and Brett in the past to smear and defame others.  We’ve already had that discussion. The enemy is not some trust fund guy in Massachusetts who fancies himself a Perry Mason or an expert in sociology.   It is not a former Raw Story reporter who sits in his New York apartment attacking and defaming the character of individuals on Twitter with his insinuations.   It is not one Sheridan.

            These are all diversions.  Devoting our time and energy to those people on Twitter and elsewhere is a tactical error.  Our time and energy should be spent doing the following three things:

       1.     Getting information on Rauhauser and Kimberlin.
2.     Organizing and compiling that information into readable and factually verifiable stories. 
             3.     Promoting the hell out of what we write by saturating Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and   
                  other social sites. 

Why waste a tweet on the likes of Seth Allen or Ron Brynaert that could be used
connect one more tweeter with the stories being written?   Just block them. Deny them the exposure for the narrative they’re trying to promote, and use your followers and accounts to promote our own narrative. 

            And whatever you do, remember the axiomatic 11th Commandment of former President Reagan: Thou shalt not speak ill…of a guy working alongside you to bust Neal and Brett. 

            For those of us who have issues in our past, disclosure is the best policy. Get it out now, or abstain from putting yourself on the front lines. Don’t make us look like liars.  Don’t give the other side the ammunition it needs to change the subject. 

            This goes double for online conduct.  I’ve seen entirely too much in the way of insults, barbs, profanity, and vituperative venom over the past week.   What is worse is that I’ve seen it directed at our own kind.  I don’t care who the person is, if they are actively working to further the goal of getting Neal Rauhauser put in jail  and dismantling the Kimberlin and Velvet Revolution machine, let it be.  If they begin to troll you, block them.  Block their socks.  Do not respond with a message in kind, because those kinds of screen shots and that kind of documentation can be used later to paint us all in a bad light.  It can be used to discredit what we’re trying to do.  

            This is our job and our mission.  Be professional.  Understand that presentation is important. You put a porterhouse steak on a garbage can lid, it’s still a porterhouse steak, but if you try to serve it to somebody, it’s on a garbage can lid.  The only time we should be getting on Twitter is to promote this stuff. Yes, we can blow off steam with our friends and joke.  Getting into public spats with each other makes the cause look bad.  Our conduct can be used to negate any facts we report, no matter how good the documentation is.

            We have a national media that wants this story to go away.  It is our job to make this story so big that they can no longer ignore it.  That will take legwork.  It will take stepping our game up to another level.  Ordinary bloggers will have to get over their reticence to contact the subjects and interview them over the phone.  Real journalism on this story is going to be done by the people who blog.   That means interviewing, researching, documenting, and long hours of legwork.   It means being patient and waiting for breaks. 

            It means not getting sidetracked by distractions on Twitter like exchanges with Ron Brynaert, Seth Allen, or the numerous trolls and socks who appear like clockwork in their absence.  This is the discipline, and it requires that we realize daily that our purpose is higher than it has ever been: we’re going to take this network of people apart, bit by bit, by chronicling what they did, how they did it, why they did it, and who enlisted and supported them in doing it. 

            None of this is mandatory by any means. I can’t make you do anything. But if you really want Brett Kimberlin held to an account for his actions, and if you really want to see Neal Rauhauser face culpability for his conduct, then you will consider the merit in what I’ve written and think before you tweet. You’ll consider that every little spat we have amongst ourselves makes us look like kooks, which is exactly what Neal Rauhauser wants.  The time has come to finish this once and for all, and to do it in a disciplined, focused, and serious manner.  Our eyes should be on the prize.  We can settle whatever squabbles we have after we have Neal Rauhauser in jail and Brett Kimberlin stripped of the cover of 501(c)(3).  

           All of these fights over who had what information first, and dossiers, and this and that and the other, are irrelevant.  They distract energy and effort away from completing the task that matters: ending the careers of those who were responsible for the SWATtings, for the harassment of Tea Partiers on Twitter last year, and for the constant barrage of defamation.  Enough.  

For Those Who Don't Speak Lawyer: Analyzing Today's ACA Ruling

 Today, the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, and upheld the individual mandate. The way in which the Supreme Court upheld the mandate surprised many people, who expected either a Commerce Clause justification for the individual mandate or a Necessary and Proper Clause justification.  No one I had talked to since the oral arguments brought up a Tax Power argument to justify the mandate.  

Many of you who aren't lawyers or law students likely have two questions after watching today's news coverage. First, how did CNN and Fox get the decision so wrong initially, and how is the tax not a tax in one sense and a tax in another sense?  To the former question I would offer up a pithy putdown of CNN and Fox, but we all know how I feel about the mainstream media in general.  Let us move on without redundant rants.  

To the latter question, I want to draw your attention to two analyses that were done on the penalty for failing to purchase health insurance. The first analysis is statutory; that is, the analysis is done as it relates to the Anti-Injunction Act, which bars people from suing to stop a tax before it is collected.  A person can only sue over a tax after they've already paid it under the Anti-Injunction Act.  This is a nice congressional method used to dissuade people from challenging new taxes by removing the possibility of an injunction to stop the tax in question before it can begin.  

The second analysis is constitutional; that is, whether or not Congress has the power to levy a tax in a particular instance.  Does a penalty for failing to buy health insurance fall within the power of Congress as it relates to the Tax Power?  

As to the first analysis, that of the statute or law known as the Anti-Injunction Act, Congress generally signals how they want a particular part of the legislation they pass treated.  They do so by referring to the part in question as something other than a tax if they do not wish for the Anti-Injunction Act to apply.  A penalty, if you will, is a signal by Congress to the Courts that they do not wish for the penalty to be treated like a tax. People can sue to challenge it before it is enforced because the Anti-Injunction Act does not apply. In our system of laws, Congress has the ability to determine whether or not they want a statute like the AIA to apply to a later piece of legislation by the way in which they reference a means of generating money: penalty or tax.  

By classifying the shared responsibility payment as a penalty rather than a tax, Congress was quite clear in stating that they did not wish for the payment or penalty to be treated as a tax under the AIA by the courts. 

Now we move to the second analysis, the constitutional analysis.  The language is equally important at this stage, because a penalty is not justified under the Tax Power.  The Court's holding today reflected this when it referenced the Drexel Furniture case.  A penalty under Drexel was held to be a requirement that imposed three things: a heavy burden (in Drexel, the government imposed a fine of 10% of the company's net income), on those who knowingly employed children (this knowledge is scienter, or willful violation of a legal requirement or prohibition), and enforcement by an agency other than the IRS (in Drexel, the fines were levied by the Department of Labor as part of its enforcement of a labor law).  As such, the fines were a penalty rather than a tax.  

Contrast that with the shared responsibility payment, which clearly isn't a penalty by these standards: in most cases it will be less than the price of purchasing insurance, and the individual mandate does not condition the payment on willful violation or scienter, and it is collected by the IRS through the normal means of taxation with the exception that the IRS cannot use criminal prosecution.  Since the tax in Drexel was held to be a penalty under this logic, the Court found that the shared responsibility payment, though it was called a penalty in the ACA's language, is actually a tax because it does not rise to meet the standard of a penalty inDrexel.  

And that is how a tax can be a penalty where the AIA statutory analysis is concerned, only to transform from a penalty into a tax again when you use a constitutional analysis.  Yes, lawyers are slick bastards who finesse meanings to get the results they want even if it looks bad.  

As to why Chief Justice John Roberts fashioned this analysis to uphold the mandate, various theories are floating around.  For starters, Roberts likely realized that this Court is dangerously close to being viewed as Republican or Democrat.  For some time now, the Supreme Court has been as partisan as it could be to those people who don't realize what it really is: incredibly and dangerously deferential to Congress and the Presidency.  The Supreme Court has no business considering the political implications or its own legitimacy thereof.  

That's the plain truth.  The Court's only concern is with what the statute before it for review says and whether or not the statute can be reconciled to the Constitution.  That is it. You get an idea of how bad the deference has become when you read the last part of the syllabus: 

"When a court confronts an unconstitutional statute, its endeavor must be to conserve, not destroy, the legislation. See, e.g., Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New Eng., 546U. S. 320, 328–330."

This is plainly silly. An unconstitutional statute should be destroyed, because not destroying it would undermine the Constitution.  It would destroy our system of federalism and the limited government thereof, and enable legislative bodies and executive branches to erode individual liberties in the name of deference from one branch (the judicial) to the other two branches.  

This sort of deference, with its concern for surviving the assault of Presidents gone awry and Congresses stampeding over the fences that limit their reach, has its modern genesis in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration, when President Roosevelt proposed a stacking scheme to add justices to the Supreme Court when it refused to buy into his Commerce Clause rationale for his New Deal legislation.  After Roosevelt's proposal died, the threat remained: he was an overwhelmingly popular president, with great political sway, and the Supreme Court worried about surviving his invective rather than defending the Constitution from his assault.  They acquiesced then, and for eighty years since the Court has been acquiescing and even overreaching itself with its jurisprudence.  

It is no accident that the Obama Administration intimated a loss of legitimacy for the Supreme Court if it overturned the mandate or the ACA in its entirety.  The proposal may not have been concrete, but the threat remained: a potential second term president assailing the legimitacy and impartiality of the judiciary with the people, possibly for the purposes of reducing that judiciary's independence and autonomy in previously unimaginable ways.  It was despicable, and beneath a former constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago's School of Law.  It was as bad as anything Newt Gingrich said in regards to abolishing an entire federal circuit because it did not comport to his notion of appropriate jurisprudence.  

There will always be men like Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich who do not respect the checks and balances of power between the branches, who view the judiciary as a prize to be captured or extorted into concessions with the threat of political outrage rather than the independent and objective branch it is supposed to be.  There is a reason the Framers constructed the Supreme Court and its power such a manner.  The power to interpret the Constitution, to measure the laws of the land against the Constitution and find them lacking or sufficient, is an awesome power indeed.  Today, the Supreme Court sullied itself by acquiescing to yet another ordinary tyrant in the Executive Branch and his rabble in the Congress.  For those of you who object to the fact that the ordinary tyrant in the Executive Branch is Obama, I can point to a litany of decisions in which the Court acquiesced to the ordinary tyrant before him by the last name of Bush.  

God save this Honorable Court, from us and the men we elect who do not respect the Constitution it is entrusted with upholding or the independence that rest on its reputation, a reputation that should be shown deference by Congress and the President as opposed to the other way around.  I do think that this decision is among the worst and most convoluted I've ever read, but after a day of reading and re-reading it, I raise a glass in sadness to John Roberts, who did not possess the fortitude or the courage to rebuke those who assailed his Court with their insinuations.  He's just a man, and aren't we all? 

The Silly (and Dangerous) Reasoning of the Supreme Court

In reviewing the Supreme Court's nonsensical opinion in the case of Nat'l Federation of Ind. Bus. vs. Sibelius, I have been struck by the flagrantly specious reasoning employed by Chief Justice John Roberts. It is no surprise that the four justices who joined Roberts ruled for the Affordable Healthcare Act. It is a surprise that the Chief Justice did so, given the reasoning he employed in his opinion.

The Chief Justice offers up an interpretation of a mandate where said mandate is not a command, and therefore not a mandate at all, but rather a condition that if unmet will trigger a penalty.  That penalty, despite being paid to the government agency entrusted with the collection of taxes, is not a tax. It meets the definition of taxation in that the process by which you pay it, determined like other taxes in the size of your household, your income level, joint filing status, number of dependents, "yields the essential feature of any tax: it produces at least some revenue for the Government (Ibid. 33)."

What follows immediately afterwards is an analysis of whether or not Congress intended the penalty to be treated like a penalty or a tax, and this is significant because if the latter is true, then the Court could not hear a case in advance of payment to stop the mandate and its payment for failure to insure. This is because the Anti-Injunction Act bars such cases from pre-dating payment of a tax.  Even so, the fact that Congress calls a tax a penalty may not change the reality that it is a tax, but it does disqualify it from being treated as a tax under the Anti-Injunction Act according to Roberts's opinion.

What is so obviously silly about whether or not Congress intended to treat the "shared responsibility payment," as it is called, as a tax or a mere penalty is the fact that Congress didn't know the specifics of the legislation it was voting on by its own admission.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it best: "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy."

It strains credulity to argue that Congress intended the bill to mean one thing or another when the following facts are known: 

1. Congress did not write the bill. Lobbyists for the healthcare industry, the insurance industry, the prescription drug industry, and various other industries did write the bill
2.  Many Congressmen did not even read the bill before voting on it.  
3.  By the admission of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the contents of the bill were not known in their entirety before a vote was held.  

Exactly how is it that Chief Justice Roberts contends that Congress knew anything about whether the shared responsibility payment was a penalty or a tax, given the reality of how the Affordable Healthcare Act was voted into law?  

Nothing is said about the individual mandate constituting a tax apart from the shared responsibility payment. The perverse quality of the individual mandate is that it is a tax that is not pushed into the government's coffers, but instead into the coffers of private business who use the threat of IRS enforcement, collection, and penalties to coerce individuals into purchasing their product.  The Court correctly notes that taxes to influence behavior are not new, but the antiquity of conduct-influencing taxes does not equate to their constitutionality.  The question is whether or not the government should be taxing individuals and forcing them to pay that tax to private business for a product that they as individuals have determined they do not need or want.  

It is clear enough that Congress does not have the power to impose a mandate, but Chief Justice Roberts would have you believe that Congress has the power to impose a tax upon you for failing to comply with its unconstitutional mandate.  Moreover, Congress has the power to keep that tax from being treated like a tax under the Anti-Injunction Act by calling it a penalty, even as it uses the fact that it is a tax to have the constitutionality of its mandate upheld under the Taxing Power.  Words fail.  

Compounding the issue is that people of certain income levels, or people with certain factors paired to their income levels like the number of dependents and whether or not they jointly file, will be exempted from the penalty/tax while others will be subjected to the penalty/tax.  If the problem with our healthcare system was the voluntary abstention of certain individuals from purchasing healthcare insurance, and the shared responsibility payment is to be the means of compelling them to do so, how does it resolve anything if a quilt of other individuals eludes the compulsory tax by virtue of their income, the number  of dependents, and their filing status?  

Think of it: the highest Court in the land just offered up a rationalization to uphold an unconstitutional mandate to purchase private products and services on the grounds that it was paired with a constitutional tax.  Without the mandate, there would be no rationalization for a tax. But because the tax is constitutional, the mandate it is paired with becomes constitutional.  Congress has no power under the Commerce Clause to regulate commercial inactivity.  It has no power under any part of the Constitution to do so. 

But Chief Justice Roberts is at the ready, analogizing a mandate with tax incentives for purchasing homes and professional educations.  The problem with his analogy is that the government does not fine people for renting, or for ceasing their educational progress at a high school diploma or an associate's degree as opposed to a bachelor's.  Additionally, the people who purchase homes and professional educations do not do so because of the tax incentives, or if Roberts is to be believed, the penalties.  They do so because people aspire to home ownerships and higher levels of education as a means of pursuing their own rational self interest.  The fact that the government recognizes this rational self-interest and the aligning interests of state and local governments in the form of broader and better funded tax bases is what leads the federal government to offer up such incentives for behavior.  

What the government has proposed to do here is to force people to go against their own rational self interest, by forcing young and healthy individuals who do not require comprehensive coverage for their health needs to subsidize the cost for other individuals who do require comprehensive coverage.  It would be as if renters who chose to rent instead of buying a house were forced to pay a penalty tax to the IRS to offset the costs faced by homeowners who were underwater on their mortgages.  And what is more, under the reasoning employed by Chief Justice John Roberts, so long as the penalty tax involved is "not so punitive that the taxing power does not authorize it," the federal government is absolutely allowed to do so (43).  

The Court declines to "decide the precise point" at which the punitive tipping point would occur, but such sophistry serves as an open-ended invitation for a Congress already straining at the limits of its power to test those limits further, a fact which should send a chill down the backs of every American man, woman, and child.  

Amazingly, this Court gave us a tax power that is far more of a threat to individual choice and liberty than the past eighty years worth of precedents on the Commerce Clause have been.  The reasoning is so silly, so specious and asinine, as to to defy description or characterization. But it is also dangerous, in that it offers this Congress and every future Congress a template for vast and unwarranted expansions of federal power.  Simply by pairing a tax on non-compliance with a flagrantly unconstitutional requirement for individual conduct, so long as that tax is not overly punitive, is enough to legitimate such federal mandates on individual conduct by the reasoning of the Roberts court.  

If You're Wondering How Stupid the Supreme Court Is...

The Village (Useful) Idiot
If you're wondering how stupid the reasoning behind the Supreme Court's decision is, you don't have to read the entire opinion. You only have to read the syllabus, because the specious reasoning and utter inanity of this opinion is on full display up front and center:

"1. CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part II, concluding that the Anti-Injunction Act does notbar this suit.

The Anti-Injunction Act provides that “no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person,” 26 U. S. C. §7421(a), so that those subject to a tax must first pay it and then sue for a refund. The present challenge seeks to restrain the collection of the shared responsibility payment from those who do not comply with the individual mandate. But Congress did not intend the payment to be treated as a “tax” for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Affordable Care Act describes the payment as a “penalty,” not a “tax.” That label cannot control whether the payment is a tax for purposes of the Constitution, but it does determine the application of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-Injunction Act therefore does not bar this suit. Pp. 11–

Fast forward to Part III-C, where John Roberts delivers the opinion of the Court to uphold the individual mandate:

"4. CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part III–C, concluding that the individual mandate may beupheld as within Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Pp. 33– 44. 
(a) The Affordable Care Act describes the “[s]hared responsibilitypayment” as a “penalty,” not a “tax.” That label is fatal to the application of the Anti-Injunction Act. It does not, however, control whether an exaction is within Congress’s power to tax. In answering that constitutional question, this Court follows a functional approach,“[d]isregarding the designation of the exaction, and viewing its substance and application.” United States v. Constantine, 296 U. S. 287, 
294. Pp. 33–35." 

In other words, we disregard the plain meaning of the explicit language, we disregard the intention of the authors of that language, and we read something into the language in order to fashion a means of upholding the legislation itself.  Congress didn't want the mandate viewed as a tax, which it was.  Any fee emanating from a legislative body that requires one to pay money is a tax.  Of course, the Court purposefully confused the mandate with the penalty for the purposes of its specious arguments to uphold the mandate,  because that is what an intellectually bankrupt group of five justices afflicted with ideological senility would do.  We don't look at the penalty for driving without a license and the fee to get a license as being one and the same thing, do we?  

The fact that the tax in the instant case would be paid to private insurance companies for a private product does not make it any less of a tax.  You are compelled to give up your money to a private entity by your publicly elected representatives, who clearly do not have the power to do so under any historical view of the law.  It is not proper under the Commerce Clause, which regulates activity, to compel activity so that you might then regulate it or punish those who refuse.  It is not Necessary and Proper either under the logic of the former sentence.  

The mandate itself is the issue, and it is a tax. However, this Court wanted to be the Court to issue a decision on this legislation, in its entirety, and so it fashioned the utterly specious argument that the penalty for not complying with the mandate was not a tax when the mandate itself was the tax! How artful this Court was in its disingenuous reasoning!  No, no, no...the penalty is paid to the Internal Revenue Service, whereas any fees for the mandate go to private sector companies who received a boon from an act of legislation compelling citizens to buy their product!  

This reasoning is so utterly evil as to defy characterization. In the future, the Court will not examine the mandate to buy this or that as it emanates from Congress; rather, it will only examine the penalty for failing to comply with that mandate!  Oh, no, so long as the penalty is not so high as to remove the choice for compliance, and so long as it is not limited to mere willful failure to comply with a mandate, it shall pass constitutional muster! It can be intended to induce, so long as it does suffice as an absolute coercion.  The penalty is not a tax, but it is collected by our tax collecting bureaucracy the IRS!  

The mandate is the law, but failing to abide by it is not unlawful behavior, nor does the fact that the failure to abide by it exposes one to a penalty to be paid to the IRS indicate that one is being punished for their unlawful behavior.  Oh, the failures of reasoning and logic so rife throughout this opinion are multitudinous and varied, but so it is with a court that would have split 4-4 on this decision had the former Solicitor General Elena Kagan recused herself from the case as was entirely appropriate.  Never you mind that she did so where Arizona's S.B. 1070 was concerned, she did not do so in this case because she stated that she had not served as counsel on the legislation.  

That is poppycock.  Even if she had not served as counsel on the legislation, federal law requires any judge whose impartiality "might reasonably be questioned," or who "has expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy" to recuse himself or herself from hearing a case.  We know that emails exist in which Kagan supported the passage of the legislation, so her impartiality might reasonably be questioned, and she has expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the case in controversy.

It is worse than Antonin Scalia going duck hunting on a trip with Dick Cheney weeks before hearing a case involving Dick Cheney, and then arguing that his actions were not inappropriate because Cheney and he had not been in the same duck blind.  This court, in all of its idiocy, has at least four members who should have been removed for various improprieties over the past five years.  There is Clarence Thomas, who did not remember to disclose his wife's $700,000 in income between 2003 and 2007 from the Heritage Foundation, a fact which should have led to his recusal from Citizen's United.  Samuel Alito, who once sat over a case as a federal judge involving Vanguard, whose mutual funds held almost $400,000 of his own investment money, managed to get confirmed to the Supreme Court in spite of his actions.  Given that all federal judges are required by federal law to recuse themselves from a case if a party to the case is a company they have so much as one share of stock in, or if their close family member has a financial interest, it would be interesting indeed to see how many of the Supreme Court justices either bought stock in healthcare or prescription drug companies in the months leading up to this decision, or just how many of them already held such stock shares.  

Artfully written opinions designed to sidestep an honest reckoning of the issues with a piece of legislation are not the answer to the problems of this Republic.  When just 9% of Americans approve of Congress, and the President himself holds an approval rating in the mid-40s, and an overwhelming majority of Americans agree that the present system is corrupt, unresponsive to their concerns, and getting worse with time, having an impartial judiciary to honestly render objective judgments on legislation is an invaluable bulwark against civic entropy and implosion.  When that judiciary succumbs to sophistry in order to maintain legislation by characterizing as something entirely opposite of what it truly is, the civic ideal so necessary to maintaining our united identity as a republic is undermined. When that judicial body contains within its ranks one judge who should have never been confirmed because of his conduct as a lower federal appellate judge; another who cannot be bothered to understand or comply with federal disclosure laws for two decades as they relate to his own spouse's income; a third judge who  cannot decide to abstain from an annual duck hunting trip for one year because the party to a future case will be along that year; and a fourth judge whose emails plainly show her cheering legislation her employer supported cannot be bothered to recuse herself in a timely fashion; the civic ideal that binds as a nation of laws is utterly rotten to its core.  There is no branch of our present government worthy of our respect or esteem, and not merely because of one decision issued this morning or one law passed at the beginning of the present Administration.  It is the continuation of ideological idiocy and the sophistry used to justify each iteration of that idiocy which renders each of the federal branches beneath our contempt as a people.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Weird World of Project Vigilant Founder Chet Uber

Screed of Momus has focused for a week now on unraveling the involvement of Neal Rauhauser in various online trolling and cyber-bullying efforts, as well as examining his relationship to various individuals in the Omaha, NE metropolitan area and his associations with individuals throughout Iowa. Much of that work remains unpublished as I continue to source and verify the allegations made against Neal Rauhauser by many of the people from his past.

In the most recent article, Is Neal Rauhauser an Informant?, I examined Neal's association with a man named Chet Uber.  Today, I spent a great deal of time and effort running down Neal's past businesses and his dealings thereof for a future article.  However, the one name I continually came back to in talking to various individuals in the Omaha area via a disposable cell phone and other means was Chet Uber.

Chet Uber is a man out of Omaha who has built quite the mythologized background for himself. He's a self-proclaimed infosec expert, a man whose website The World of Chet lists fifty prior accomplishments, endeavors, and events of significance in his life.  However, when you look into Chet's background, what you find is a man whose prior dealings inspire one reaction alone: suspicion.

Take Chet's past in Omaha. Two separate sources referred to Chet with the following terms: con man and confidence man.  The latter source also referred to Chet as a known drug user who ran a cyber cafe.  When you look into Chet's past in Nebraska, specifically liens and judgments, what you come up with a list of 12 separate liens and/or judgments.

The IRS has a federal tax lien for $6,416 against Chet Uber filed on September 16, 2008.  The State of Nebraska has two separate state tax liens for $2,439 and $2,775, respectively, in 2007 and 2008.  But what's really interesting is Chet's history of civil judgments, specifically with relations to one Paul F. McGill. McGill has a civil judgment against Chet Uber and his company Security Posture, Inc. for $30,141 dated 11/2/2006.  What's even more interesting is the earlier filing against Uber by McGill on March 29, 2006 for forcible entry/detainer.  All told, McGill is on record with three separate filings: the first two are in March 2006, and the civil judgment occurs in November 2006.

Chet Uber also has another civil judgment against him at the same address as Security Posture Inc., only this one is for Accredited Collection Service, Inc., as well as a civil judgment in the amount of $620 for Account Recovery, Inc.  For that matter, Chet also has a civil judgment against him for $316 by Nebraska Furniture Mart, Inc. and an additional judgment in the amount of $5,182 from Omaha Graphics, Inc.  And that's just in Nebraska.  He also has another judgment in Iowa as well.

In short, given Uber's multiple tax liens and judgments, it strains credulity to believe that Chet Uber is the founder and head of a non-profit organization of over 500 volunteers.  His own financial past is so disorganized and littered with evidence of his tendency to stiff creditors that Uber simply isn't believable as the head of Project Vigilant or as a director of Vigilant's parent company and funding source BBHA. It's even harder to envision BBHC's alleged founder Steven E. Ruhe as the head of a funding source for Project Vigilant given his background as a drywall contractor in Lincoln, NE and Ruhe's own peculiar issues with liens and judgments.  There's a civil judgment and release for Citibank South Dakota in the amount of $3,356 on May 18, 2011, as well as civil judgments for Cach LLC and American Express Centurion Bank in the amounts of $3,379 and $1,659, respectively, from November 2010 and June 2010.  In other words, both Ruhe and Uber have a history of financial irresponsibility.

Since when do two individuals, one of whom is a drywall contractor and rumored Amway salesman with a peculiar interest in information security and the other of whom is a documented financial delinquent whose own bills had to be paid by Neal Rauhauser, pass as credible founders of a vast enterprise assembling hackers and IT experts to monitor 12 regional Internet Service Providers?  Both Uber and Ruhe's financial histories suggest two lives in disarray, with degrees of financial shortcomings throughout the Nineties and up to the present day for Uber.

Uber lives on disability checks totaling less than $800 a month, and yet he was able to show up to Defcon, seize his appearance to speak to the assembled attendees about his claimed role in the bust of Pfc. Bradley Manning, and outline the edges of a company he claims had existed for years.  What's absurd about that claim is that we know it didn't exist in a formal sense until April 2009, which is when BBHC registered its domain in the name of Steve Ruhe but with Chet Uber's .mac email address.  It's also well within the timeframe of Manning's hacking of diplomatic cables that would later be leaked to Wikileaks via a physical drop in the Boston, MA area.

And we know from Neal Rauhauser that he claimed to have paid $1000 to BBHA by having a client make out a check for his work to BBHC so that BBHC could then incorporate.  Simply put, the entire endeavor is asinine on its face, and utterly implausible.  Project Vigilant would be completely lacking in credibility save the involvement of one man: Mark Rasch, the former Department of Justice attorney whose investigation of Kevin Poulsen led to Poulsen's arrest, prosecution on seven federal felonies, and eventual incarceration.  Mark Rasch is the general counsel of Project Vigilant, and the attorney Mike Stack served summons on to haul Neal Rauhauser into court.

You've got two men, one of whom is a drywall contractor with no experience whatsoever in IT or information security, and the other of whom has various judgments and liens and collects disability, who apparently started two companies to enable private citizens in the hacking community and private sector to collect data on ISP customers and report that data to federal agencies.  And then you've got Neal Rauhauser, a man whose mental instability and capacity for outbursts is the stuff of legend in Omaha and Iowa among his former business partners and associates on various bulletin boards and groups, right there with Chet Uber.

It's simply too far-fetched to believe, but in the weird world of Project Vigilant's founder and overseer Chet Uber, it's absolutely the norm.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kick Neal Rauhauser Where It Hurts

He pays more to feed that dog than he does to
support his own children. Neal Rauhauser,
All right,'ve been reading the series of posts I've put up about Neal Rauhauser, examining his life from his days in Iowa until his recent activity as an Internet troll and all around failure as a human being, father, and ex-husband.  As I've interviewed people from his past lives in Omaha, Iowa, and Illinois, one thing has struck me more than any other: this is a guy who goes cross-country at will, has ample access to cash for laptops, lodging at Netroots conferences, and time and energy to expend in Zuccotti Park trying to entrap Occupy Wall Streeters and Anon folks.

Yet he doesn't have the time or energy to expend doing actual work that would reduce his child support. Many of you don't know the full extent of Neal's caustic effect on his family's life, and I've respected the privacy of his children by not writing about the specifics of their lives as it relates to the damage done by Neal. Needless to say, he has a son who is fatherless and a daughter who has to rely on a great uncle and Neal's dad for male role models. He owes $30,000 in back child support, and he dumped a great deal of debt on his ex-wife Nancy.

Moreover, Nancy has successfully beat two bouts of cancer, and Neal. Now, that's a survivor!  I mean, it's one thing to survive two bouts of cancer, but cancer and Neal is another level of accomplishment!  She's a single mom working at a non-profit music conservatory, doing the work of two parents because Neal isn't man enough to get his act together be present as an emotionally fit parent or a financially responsible father.

Needless to say, it hasn't been easy for Nancy, and as I heard more and more of her story, I was struck by how much she'd gone through.  She beat cancer twice while serving as a mother of two children and holding down a job.  She's one hell of a woman, but she's been tried like Job of late.

That's where we come in.  I know that thousands of you have read the prior posts on Neal, and I know that hundreds of you have been subjected to his negative and defamatory attacks, his online bullying, and his threats.  Now, many of you have doubtless fantasized about hitting Neal where it hurts, and doing all sorts of harm to him. Well, now you can hit Neal where it hurts: his pride.  You can all be the decent, empathetic, and caring individuals he isn't, and the way you can do that is simple: donate to the Omaha Conservatory of Music, where Neal's daughter Madeline Grace studies the cello and is learning various other instruments.

I offered to set up a private website for Nancy with her PayPal account as a button for people to help her out, but she declined. Instead, she would appreciate help with the conservatory.  You can contribute at and hit Neal where it hurts.  Even if you only contribute a dollar, that's a dollar more than he's been man enough send the past few years.  You can designate your contribute for Madeline Grace Rauhauser to offset the cost of lessons and instruments, or you can just contribute to the Conservatory itself.  The Omaha Conservatory of Music serves musically gifted children of all races, religions, backgrounds, and socio-economic statuses, and as a non-profit, they could use your contributions to give the gift of music to so many kids who have ability but need the guidance to realize the full extent of their gifts in music.

The Omaha Conservatory of Music also does work with arts organizations throughout the city of Omaha, providing enrichment to the wider community as well.  For all of the ugliness and hatred Neal Rauhauser has brought into our lives over the past two years, let's give him a nice middle finger in the form of a compassionate gesture towards the daughter he left behind and an organization that actually provides a positive impact throughout the Greater Omaha area.

And Neal, if you're out there...there's still more to come, buddy.  Every Tea Partier that has an actual job doing something that contributes to society has waited for a moment to make a gesture that will drive you insane.  I have it on good authority from Nancy that our contributions to the Omaha Conservatory of Music will irritate Neal to no end. Oh, and it's tax deductible, because the Conservatory is 501(c)(3).  Man, that must drive Neal up the wall knowing that anyone who contributes to this cause will get a tax deduction for kicking him where it hurts with a compassionate gesture instead of being reduced to his level.

The PayPal button is to the right sidebar on the website, so let's go do this!

Is Neal Rauhauser an Informant?

Neal Rauhauser
Neal Rauhauser, the Iowa native who came to prominence with his involvement in various online trolling efforts like the Beandog Milita, Twittergate, and Vile Tweets, has interesting associations.  Other sites, such as the Crying Wolfe Blog and Ron Brynaert's site, have publicized these associations in the past.  However, the media still has yet to take note.

As part of my continuing series on Neal Rauhauser and his involvement with various online hijinks, pranks, and slander campaigns, I've gone back into Neal's life as a Graettinger, IA native and former resident of Omaha, NE.  I've dug up two past marriages, and contacted various people in Neal's past for phone interviews.  And then there are the people whose lives have been affected by Neal over the past two years, people like blogger Mike Stack of New Jersey, who figured prominently in the revelation of Anthony Weiner's online tweets to porn stars and college aged coeds, including an infamous picture of his erection.

The story broke nationally through Andrew Breitbart, but Mike and his friend Dan Wolfe otherwise known as PatriotUSA76 broke the story with tweets. There is some dispute about how about they agreed to tweet, with Mike Stack saying that he was sent an email by PatriotUSA76 that clued him into a brewing sex scandal involving Congressman Weiner.  Mike Stack alleges that Dan Wolfe contacted him about Weiner after Stack left a comment about his Twitter avatar.  Wolfe pressed Stack to tweet the initial message related to Weiner's then rumored sex scandal, and said that he would re-tweet.  Stack did so.

What happened afterwards was simple enough: Mike Stack took the blame, and Dan Wolfe maintained his anonymity and disappeared.  And what a heavy blame it was: today, photos of Mike along with his arrest report from 2004 have been posted online, and he's been alleged to have framed Anthony Weiner by hacking his account.  Mike vehemently denies doing so.  However, his denials didn't register with the left wing tweeters who bombarded him with threatening tweets and emails.  They outed his address, photos of his home, and his work as a porn site moderator. Additionally, the 2004 case against Mike Stack was dropped.

But that's all been covered by other sites, and what's interesting to me is how Mike Stack managed to haul Neal into court by serving process on an attorney by the name of Mark Rasch.  Mark Rasch, for those of you who do not know, was the general counsel for the online vigilante effort that called itself Project Vigilant.  Project Vigilant was a loose conglomeration of hackers and infosec specialists that made waves when its founder, one Chet Uber, marched into Defcon to announce its existence and boast about the role Project Vigilant had in getting Pfc. Bradley Manning arrested.

Moreover, Mark Rasch is an attorney whose Washington, D.C. location just so happens to be in the same building with Baker & Hostetler, LLP, which happens to the same firm retained by Representative Weiner to investigate his possible hacked Twitter account.  Representative Weiner later admitted to his guilt, of course, but this did not stop some on the left from continuing to posit that he was set up.  It's hard to see how one can set a man up and make him tweet a photo of his erection to a woman on the other side of the country, but there are those who insist on believing in a grand conspiracy in the Weiner scandal that involved nefarious right wing bloggers.

Poulsen & Lamo
Rasch is also the former Department of Justice attorney who investigated Wired magazine's Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen for crime including mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. Facing seven counts, Poulsen received a mere 51 months in prison. And when he emerged from prison, where did he wind up shortly afterwards?  Security Focus, a publication that focused on security issues related to the Internet, a publication that just so happened to employ Mark Rasch.  What's stranger still is that Kevin Poulsen is now the Senior Editor at Wired, where he works with, you guessed it, Mark Rasch.

And what of Chet Uber, the Omaha resident who relocated to Florida and began accepting disability checks related to his diabetes and heart problems?  He founded Project Vigilant, a consortium of hackers and infosec experts that monitored 12 regional ISPs and turned over their findings to various government agencies.  Interestingly enough, while Project Vigilant's members insist they did not violate the law, one wonders why there is a need for Project Vigilant when the NSA has the capacity to monitor every bit of electronic communication throughout the world.

What's more, how does a man like Chet Uber get the money to found an organization like Project Vigilant, and how does he afford airfare to Defcon on disability checks that by his own account provide him less than $800 a month in income?  Here is Neal's explanation, from his post as Stranded Wind on Firedog Lake:

"I get periodic requests for help with network infrastructure problems, I had one come during the summer of 2009 that needed some special skills, and Chet answered some questions for me. It was a day’s work – $1,000 billed, and I had my customer make the check to BBHC Global so the company could afford to incorporate.

So that’s all there really is to it – a bunch of civic minded professionals who see each other at conferences, one of them on disability but wanting to volunteer so he could do something useful with his time, and one old friend repaying a debt to another by writing off a day’s consulting pay in hopes some good would come of it."

Chet Uber
According to Neal, he paid the incorporation costs for the company that financed Project Vigilant's emergence in the summer of 2009 by having his customer make out a $1000 check to BBHC Global.  Neal subsequently deleted his explanation of BBHC Global's genesis, but his fellow Firedoglake member shekissesfrogs had it saved in her cache and reposted it.  What's more interesting is how Neal had the time and energy to work a day and make $1000, but he didn't use that money to pay off his child support obligations.  At over $30,000 in the present day, Neal hasn't paid child support in a while.  At $675 a month, it's easy to compute his financial obligations to his children as stretching back to 2009.

His insistence that he didn't have the money because he could work is belied by his own version of events as to the rise of Project Vigilance and BBHC Global.  He paid the incorporation costs of BBHC Global with his work on a company's network infrastructure!  But it goes much further, as the following quote from Neal's Firedoglake post explaining how Project Vigilant came to be funded indicates:

"I hadn’t heard from Chet in quite a while. He’d had a massive heart attack in 2005, I got Lyme in 2007, and both of us were in pretty sad shape. I’d gone back to work at the beginning of the year and for a while my credit card was attached to his Walgreens account, covering meds he otherwise would not have been able to afford.

We started talking again, every week or so. A couple of times I logged in and paid his cell bill. He’d managed to hang on to a laptop through heart attack, losing a long term relationship, losing a business, and bouncing between friends and relatives. He finally qualified for disability and things started to get easier."

Neal had money to help pay for Chet's medications and even his cell phone bill, but he didn't pay the child support he owes for his children.  Despite insisting repeatedly to his ex-wife Nancy that he didn't have the money because of his Lyme Disease, by Neal's own account on Firedoglake he was working in the summer of 2009 and making enough money to pay for Chet Uber's medications and his cell phone bill!

Project Vigilant is a largely extraneous and even redundant group, given what we know about the NSA's capabilities, but the NSA, like other federal agencies, is occasionally constrained by obstacles like the law and procedural requirements.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where Project Vigilant becomes useful.  You have people like Neal Rauhauser, a man who allegedly hacked the computer of his ex-wife to be vindictive, working to penetrate 12 regional ISPs and monitor the information and behavior of their customers for the purposes of turning over that information to various federal agencies.  Neal has faced charges of criminal harassment from Mike Stack, the aforementioned New Jersey blogger who accused Neal of online harassment.

You have Neal's associates, like the various members of the Beandogs, represented by Neal to me in our communications last year as hackers. We know that one of those Beandogs, Sam Birbeck aka Methadonna, went on to infamy for his role in accusing HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide director Paul Russell of retaining him for the purposes of rigging an online poll.  Birbeck sent emails saying that he would triple the agreed upon fee for his services. Trouble was, Paul Russell never retained Sam Birbeck for any job at all.

Sam Birbeck/Methadonna
But the supporters of the euthanasia bill in South Australia seized on the emails as proof of Russell's gaming of the polls that showed citizens overwhelmingly opposing the euthanasia bill.  One of the bill's supporters, a transexual gynecologist named Dr. Rosemary Jones, forwarded an email from another euthanasia advocate named Mark Lawrence which stated the following:

"Friends, from what I hear, they (the Canadian based colation [sic], with teh [sic] NCC SA as its Ausralian [sic] base) are paying small amounts of PayPal money to US gamers to rig these polls all over the world, 24/7- how very principled. That's how they got a 75/25 result on Adelaide Now on Tuesday, and, given that it is so obvious, why Adelaide Now at one point on Tuesday evening actually reduced the number of aggregate votes recorded. Good old NCC. Mark."

Isn't that a nice accusation, and isn't it consistent with the loser's limp and whining of Neal Rauhauser and other supporters of disgraced Representative Anthony Weiner?  Neal and his allies insist that Weiner was hacked, and that he didn't tweet the photo of his genitalia, even though Anthony Weiner accepted full responsibility for all of the tweets during his final his press conference.

And what we know of Brett Warren, aka @solaar of Maitland, FL, is that he too was linked to a robocalling operation in Canada in which he posed as Conservative Party aide Michael Sona to confess to Sona's involvement in the robocalling effort which led Canadian voters to believe that their polling places had been moved!  What are the odds that two known online associates of Neal Rauhauser would be involved in such tricks as they related to the political processes of two countries?

Just look at what Neal posted in his recollection of Project Vigilant's beginnings:

"We’d been into infosec stuff ever since we’d met, him (Chet Uber) much more than me, but this was the first time I heard the name Project Vigilant applied to his broad collection of associates. He began organizing with a will, herding infosec rock stars into formation, then pulling in those who wanted to learn. The names of those willing to be seen in public were detailed in the second Albertson column."

Did any of those who wanted to learn happen to be Beandogs or any of the other assorted trolls Neal was consorting with on Twitter during 2010 and early 2011?  Did Project Vigilant serve not merely as a means to surreptitiously make an end-run around legal restrictions on government monitoring of ISPs, but also a means of training the Beandogs and other like-minded partisan individuals in the skill sets necessary to perform the dirty tricks directed at conservative bloggers and libertarian tweeters we've seen over the past two years?

Or was it something even more nefarious, such as a shell game to provide a convenient narrative to cover for how the government came to be aware of Pfc. Bradley Manning's leak of classified diplomatic cables to Wikileaks?  What we know of Pfc. Manning's actions is simple enough: he isn't charged with leaking the cables online to Wikileaks. The government contends that he made a physical drop of disks to Wikileaks allies in the Boston area.  Why, then, would he communicate with the likes of a convicted hacker like Adrian Lamo, who in turn notified none other than Project Vigilant founder Chet Uber, who then notified Washington, D.C. attorney Mark Rasch, the man whose criminal investigation of Kevin Poulsen led to his conviction on seven criminal counts for which Poulsen received a surprisingly light sentence.

When you consider that before Adrian Lamo was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital three weeks before he supposedly began communicating with Pfc. Manning, you begin to understand that something isn't quite right.  The government's chief witness against Bradley Manning is a man who has contradicted himself in numerous media interviews, and the main organization that helped bust Bradley Manning wasn't the NSA or any other U.S. intelligence agency, but was instead a group of infosec folks and hackers operating under the direction of a disabled man by the name of Chet Uber, who had to rely on Neal Rauhauser for his prescriptions, his cell phone bill, and the money to incorporate the company that served as the funding conduit for Project Vigilant.

And nowhere in BBHC Global's information is Neal Rauhauser listed as principal or even a member, even though he purportedly provided the startup money for BBHC Global. Instead, the owner of the BBHC Global domain name is one Steve Ruhe, who provides an interesting email: [email protected]  Steve Ruhe is a drywall contractor named R&R Drywall in Lincoln, NE.  Think of it: a drywall contractor who got into the information security business and registered BBHC Global's domain name under Chet Uber's account.  It strains credulity, especially when you consider that the domain name wasn't registered until April 2009.  The significance of this is tremendous, because we know from Wired Magazine's own reporting that Manning had been going through the classified information for months when he came across the infamous helicopter video in late 2009.

What if Project Vigilant and BBHC Global were merely shell organizations set up as part of a sophisticated operation to smoke out Bradley Manning?  And what if Bradley Manning's relationship with Adrian Lamo stemmed not from his leaking operation, but from his sexual orientation?  Adrian Lamo was a volunteer at PlanetOut during the mid-1990s.  PlanetOut is a gay and lesbian media firm. And given that Neal Rauhauser, the self-professed "old hacker" alleges that he fronted BBHC Global the money to incorporate with the proceeds from one of his jobs in the summer of 2009, what was his role in accumulating intelligence on the Manning leaks, if he had any role at all? And now that he is actively soliciting Anonymous and Lulzsec members and stirring up people at Occupy Wall Street, is he doing so in his capacity as a progressive activist or is he merely an informant passing on the information he accrues on social networks and IRCs to the federal government?  Surely the members of Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous would look at Neal's solicitous attitude quite differently if they were aware of his affiliation with Project Vigilance, its cooperation with the FBI and other various federal agencies, and the boast of its founder Chet Uber that his organization helped bust Bradley Manning.

What we know about Neal is that he is a self-professed Infragard member who has meetings with the FBI on occasion, and on May 30, 2011 Neal made the following claim on his blog:

"OK, kids, in addition to being a mouthy blogger I’m also an Infragard member and my day job gets me occasional meetings with the FBI. I just called the agent for my district who covers cybercrime and we need to get this muddle distilled down for him."

From what we know of the federal government and its history as it relates to movements like Occupy Wall Street, the anti-war movement during Vietnam, and the civil rights movement, planting people like Neal in those movements is not such a stretch.  COINTELPRO, anyone?  And given Neal's documented and notorious trolling of the Tea Party, and his repeated threats to refer various Tea Party supporters on Twitter to federal law enforcement, was his trolling an attempt at entrapment to provokeTea Party supporters on Twitter to engage in possibly illegal and threatening conduct with their reactions?

Considering that members of the Wrecking Crew like Jeannie McBride, who would later be outed as a registered Democrat, went on infamy for their cooperation with Neal Rauhauser, it would seem that Neal's operations were a good bit more than an effort to control the partisan narrative on social networks.   After all, how does the FBI allow a man with documented psychiatric issues like Neal Rauhauser to work even peripherally for a quasi-governmental initiative like Project Vigilance?  For that matter, given that their chief witness against Bradley Manning is Adrian Lamo, a man who was hospitalized for psychiatric issues three weeks before he came forward against Bradley Manning, things don't add up.

And considering that serving process for Neal in a criminal harassment case on Mark Rasch resulted in Neal showing up with Brett Kimberlin to Municipal Court, what is Velvet Revolution's role in Neal's possible activities as an infiltrator and informant?  We know that Velvet Revolution's financials are sparse, with little detail on how they've spent their substantial donations.  All we see of Velvet Revolution's expenditures are the various websites like Indict Breitbart and the alleged retaining of Neal Rauhauser to work on various tasks.  Is Velvet Revolution paying Neal Rauhauser, and if so, what services does Neal provide?  Are they appropriate for a registered non-profit with tax-exempt status?

And has the federal government paid Neal for services rendered in his capacities with Project Vigilant and Infragard, and if so, why hasn't Neal made an effort to address his financial obligations in Nebraska and Iowa?  Again, given the prior history of the federal government and the animus it has displayed toward alternative political movements like the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and hacking organizations like Anonymous, LulzSec, and Wikileaks, it makes perfect sense to set a man with Neal's psychological and character defects loose in Zuccotti Park and on Twitter, where he can entice and provoke individuals into incriminating behavior that would compromise and discredit them and the movements they affiliate with.

For all of the questions related to Neal's involvement with Project Vigilant, Infragard, and his interaction with the federal government and his association with a former Department of Justice attorney whose protege and client have central positions in the Manning leaks and prosecution, one thing is very clear: those who are a part of Occupy Wall Street, Anonymous, and LulzSec, along with anyone in the Tea Party, should be very careful about what they say or divulge to Neal Rauhauser.

Author's Note: The reporting of Ron Brynaert, Crying Wolf Blog, The Other McCain, Liberty Chick, and various other bloggers and websites deserves to be credited for the extensive documentation of Neal's back history over the past two years.  Also, thanks to Brooks Bayne and his site The Trenches for their continuing dedication to this story.  To all of you who have read this series, thanks to you. There is so much more to come in the days and weeks ahead.  To Mike Stack, I owe you a debt of gratitude for the emails you sent.  It was like God dropped confirmation in my lap as to one of my theories.