The Randy Taylor-Hahn Burn Notice

(Begun 11 June) UPDATE 1UPDATE 2UPDATE 3UPDATE 4UPDATE 5UPDATE 6UPDATE 7UPDATE 8UPDATE 9

A few weeks ago, someone approached prominent #stoprush volunteers with offers to employ them full-time in a project called #StopRushTexas. Randy Taylor-Hahn, AKA R. J. Taylor-Hahn, discussed projects with these recruits, made assurances of his bona fides, and bragged about his family connections — claiming, among other things, to be a personal friend of the late Molly Ivins. Also, that he was fabulously rich and employed plenty of worker bees. That’s him on the right, supposedly.

It was all too good to be true, so of course it wasn’t. Within days, his promises proved empty and his C.V. fake. The moment we placed our relationship with him under a stress test, he began ducking Skype calls and ignoring us on social media. As we froze him out of #stoprush decisions, volunteers noticed a series of bizarre, somewhat frightening Twitter profiles that were retweeting him.

Confronted, he admitted to us that they were his accounts, scary clown pictures and all – though he attempted to deny culpability by blaming his staff. He always blames his mythical staffers. I am convinced they don’t exist. No one has ever actually spoken to any of them, though Randy has sent emails in their names from his own accounts.

The scary Twitter bot accounts disappeared after #stoprush demanded they cease and desist. Today, Mr. Taylor-Hahn still tweets as @farleftofright — and has been adding thousands of followers a day recently, which is only possible if you purchase batch follows. Those months of ingratiating himself with progressives on Twitter simply didn’t work fast enough, one supposes.

Most of his tweets are unoriginal aphorisms, and indeed originality is not his strong suit. “Randy” often tweets links to his blog (named “Somewhere In The Middle”) that consist of material plagiarized from all over the internet. There is zero original material at Randy’s blog. This is a major tell that he may not actually be anything he claims to be, as original phrasing is a hallmark of liberalism.

This…isn’t even trying. It’s below the level of a professional moron. Naked, unwashed plagiarism like this would get you kicked out of a podunk community college.

For instance, “his” latest post on the death penalty (image, in case it disappears) is a copy & paste from the New York Times. “His” previous post about the presidential election (image) was cribbed from Reuters and The Week. Before that was a post about Wal-Mart (image) that he took from Business Insider. Part of “his” post on gun control (image) came from the Christian Science Monitor, another part from the Associated Press. Even “his” post about Molly Ivins (image), which he personally recommends and tweets a lot, is a composite of an indie blog post and an article at Indyweek. Google any random ‘graff in his blog, and you’ll quickly find he didn’t actually write it.

Furthermore, none of his stated educational or well-to-do family connections are real. His claim to have a seat on the board of Planned Parenthood and an anti-death penalty activist group in the Houston area? Also false, like his association with a New York literary agency. Everything he has ever said to us about himself is a lie.

He has told multiple #stoprush volunteers by voice and email that he shares ownership of the 1018 Preston building in Houston, Texas, where he supposedly runs a company called The Press LLC on the sixth floor with the Easterling law firm. “The Press LLC” appears at the top of his plagiarized blog posts. But I have confirmed today that no one named R. J. or Randy Taylor-Hahn has an office on any floor of the 1018 Preston Building. No one there has heard of him or his company.

He has also claimed a close working relationship with the ladies behind ElevenSixTwelve, a “fashionable” Obama reelection site. In fact, all he appears to have done is ingratiate himself to them by supporting their cause on Twitter and in “his” blog; they have never actually met him. In fact, I haven’t met one person who can say they have met Randy in the flesh.

“Randy,” alias R. J. Taylor-Hahn, seems to have been born to social media in October of 2011 and built up credibility among progressives by participating in popular hashtags. He regularly tweets his generic, plagiarized blog posts and amplifies them with sockpuppet accounts. Many well-meaning progressives retweet him voluntarily, too. That has to stop.

At best, this is about a liar who tried to be bigger than he is. At worst, this story may actually have a sinister side. “Randy” made several contractual arrangements over the phone and by email without fulfilling them. While he collected personal information and requested photographs, Randy never sent anyone, say, a W-9 form. One #stoprush volunteer has still not been paid for work actually performed before they were “fired” in a testy email exchange with “Randy.” The possible civil and criminal charges just keep piling up.

That last point has stirred conjecture among #stoprush volunteers. Is “Randy” another idiotic black bag op by the National Blogger’s Club, that Texas-based association of Breitbart zombies? They aren’t actually very smart; many have managed to assemble impressive criminal records. During my own talks with Randy, he seemed unaware of how progressive political groups work.

Though I cannot prove or disprove that theory today, I still advise Twitter users to unfollow, block, and avoid him. Nothing about Randy is real, especially his promises, and that is reason enough for everyone to cancel his credibility.

UPDATE: looks like Randy has managed to piss off Anonymous. Good luck with that! “Randy” is also Seth Plate on Facebook (image), where he again claims to be a Columbia graduate (not true). But he also claims to be a Northwestern alumni elsewhere (not true). The same source who located that information points out this OpEdNews profile linked to a Bush-era blog and merch outlet where the politics are a little more FireDogLakeish than “Randy” ever was. If he is nothing but a con-man, his politics are determined by his marks and not his conscience.

Also, “Randy” has a predilection for sockpuppet accounts with “Opus Dei” in them. (In our interviews, he spoke to me of his “progressive” Catholicism.) One of them — a right wing account! — has just become active in my stream, speaking up while @farleftofright continues to ignore tweets from people asking him whether he is real. (Image of the new account)

UPDATE 2: There were two reasons I left the latest “Randy Taylor-Hahn” plagiarism (image, for when it disappears) out of my evidentiary paragraph yesterday. One, I wanted to let readers try his newest post for themselves as soon as they visited the site so they could catch his act on their own. That even happened in the comments last night, which was fantastic.

But the second reason was that I had noticed a change: “Randy” is now posting with “Blue Dog Chronicles” under his name instead of The Press, LLC. I wanted to investigate this further, but had no luck until someone tipped me to “Jason Taylor” who has recently bought the domain bluedogchronicles.com (image). A quick check found this Twitter account (image) with exactly two tweets, the first on the day after the domain was purchased. In typical “Randy” fashion, the avatar image is a snarling dog with eyes manipulated for scare factor.

ADDING: I have been advised that some people might actually be very grateful for this post, and that I should put out the PayPal button. On the off-chance that was good advice, here goes…





UPDATE 3: So I was looking into property records on the address uncovered in the previous update, and found a Beverly Taylor listed living there. His phone is in the name of a Beverly Taylor as well, so we have what a COMINT specialist would call a “fix on the emitter.” But the plot sickens, because Texas homestead laws let homeowners use their deed to bail someone out of jail. Is someone being naughty again?

One observation both eerie and possibly relevant if I update again: when I look at the house on Google Street View, is that his smoker’s chair and ashtray bucket where he sat and lied like his life depended on it? H/t to @Karoli, who is a real person, for the tip in comments.

UPDATE 4: if you check the @leftofright Twitter stream, its appears he may be singing a swan song. I was tweeting several music links at him last night, so apparently he has decided to go out in his best imitation of a peace-loving hippie by tweeting music links of his own. Why? Because after explosive growth, he’s losing followers faster than he can buy them. So I don’t buy his protestations of hurt and his two-finger sign; and he can keep enjoying the songs that play in my head when I write about him. Here’s the dominant one:

Imma take a nap now and leave him to the tender mercies of the internet.

Update 5: There was a lot of hooey on Twitter yesterday over a recording of “Randy” and whether it’s illegal. So here’s a legal note: when you leave a voicemail, you have consented to the recording — no matter what state you’re in, or what state you’re calling.

Update 6: Jason Wade Taylor has a criminal record. A public records search turns up a 2008 arrest (image) in Houston for stealing a tank of gas, his third conviction for theft. As a three-time loser, Jason was charged with a felony under Texas law and served time in lockup. His second conviction (also for a gas drive-off – image) was listed to a different address five houses down the street. He tried to skip bail on his first felony conviction in 1997 (image), when he was charged with stealing over $1500 and sentenced to eight months in prison.

But you know what? It still doesn’t add up. Take the following two pictures on “Randy’s” @farleftofright account. I think this may be a photoshop job, by the way. You can click to embiggen and judge for yourself. The earrings don’t look real to me, and he was sure to mention that he had them. Is that another fugazi?

The second picture makes a startling suggestion: that Randy actually does have a budget. Models cost money. So does a large-sheet printout. And just who is paying for all his custom graphics on the sign, and on all these sockpuppet Twitter accounts? (Edit: the image is actually a stock photo into which anyone can put their own picture, but this deception caused Randy to slip and warn me I was “running with the big boys.”) Many of the Twitter accounts have inflated follower counts — who is buying the batch follows? Because there is no way this loser can afford to do all of it on his own. Anonymous doesn’t seem to think so, either.

UPDATE 7: And it all comes together, courtesy of Colonel Mustard, who is just too busy to figure all of this out:

Twitter account @FarLeftOfRight was one of the most active accounts sending out anti-Limbaugh tweets to advertisers, apparently controlling several accounts to send out identical tweets simultaneously…

In doing all my homework for me, the Colonel (AKA legal insurrection, AKA Rush Limbaugh’s favorite Ivy League lawyer) tries to spin this story as disaffection between people on the left. That is clearly not what this is.

Rather, the picture emerging (I mean that literally) is #stoprush volunteers victimized by a scam intended to bring disrepute to an online movement that uses the same tactics right-wingers have used against Howard Stern for twenty years. They are victims of a crime targeted for acts of free speech. Where is our outrage on Capitol Hill? Will the MSM give this blogger one half the credibility it grants Breitbart goons — and give his poor little story at least ten times the fact checking of SWAT-gate, please?

But what I find most odd is his spin. It’s desperate, the best possible spin to put on a blown op. The Colonel’s a lawyer — surely he knows all about fraud? — and this is about fraud. As I keep saying, the Colonel’s basic dissonance is that he tries to both dismiss #stoprush and hype the threat. He cannot have it both ways, and this episode — like his need to comment! — is telling.

On a personal note, Colonel Mustard calls me a “key player” in the #stoprush movement. Ask and ye shall receive! I’m going to wear that at next week’s seekrit meeting of teh sinister conspiraciez™ like a fuckin’ badge of honor, Colonel. Because we have actually closed ranks, the @leftofright account is dropping followers by the hour, and we are angry. Kinda like after the Fluke business.

Like Anonymous says: We do not forget, We do not forgive, Expect us.

Update 8: As you can see below, our scammer/probable Breitbart goon is still active, though he has changed again to what looks like stock imagery. At the very least, this should end the pretense that @farleftofright represents any kind of “progressive” voice. Here, he refers to the actual grandfather of Jason Taylor and a former interim dean of the Teacher’s College at Columbia. She hasn’t been dean since 2001, and she denies knowing this person.

What “big surprise” could Randy have? Ironically enough, it might be embarrassing audio — of me, of other people — edited in typical wingnut fashion. But here’s the fun part: whatever they publish is actually proof of criminal enterprise.

UPDATE THE FINAL: I have been advised that the goon squad will make too much of the #1stAL “kill list” tweets I’ve been putting out whenever I identify yet another account sockpuppeting “Randy,” so I’ve stopped doing that. It was clever when I started doing it — I was simultaneously dealing with drone hysteria, as I recall — but now the Breitbarterians are looking for any excuse to declare me mentally unstable or whatever. I’ll think up a suitable alternative when I have time, because it’s important to close ranks.

In the meantime, the @farleftofright account has changed again, and I can already see where this frame job is heading. Everyone just keep in mind that “Randy” has a blog that’s entirely plagiarized. His credibility is zero.

About Matt Osborne

Veteran blogging the culture wars from Alabama. Video journalist, mash-up artist, aspiring novelist, and metalhead. Expect bunnies, geekery, dark humor, and snarky empirical analysis to annoy idealists of all stripes. You can follow me on Twitter, but be ready 'cause it might get loud.
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