Did Mark Towner Forge an E-mail From George Will?

As the magic 8-ball would say, "all signs point to yes".

An e-mail just showed up in my inbox (and probably in many of your inboxes) with a From address of georgewill@washpost.com. It contained a verbatim cut-and-paste of his recent column concerning school vouchers. Needless to say, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Will doesn't know me personally. I'm also pretty sure he didn't send that e-mail. The detective hat goes on.

First things first, I needed to figure out where the message came from. A few RDNS searches later, I find that the source is messagingengine.com, a webmail service in Australia. Here's where it gets interesting. Remember the old Voucher News e-mail that caused such a flap? It seems that messagingengine.com is owned by the same company as ssl-mail.com, the domain used to send that forged message. Mark also has a personal address at sent.com, another one of their domains. It doesn't take a lot of rocket science to figure out the answer to this riddle, folks.

Naturally, I've already sent a complaint to the e-mail provider. If you got the message as well, forward it to abuse@fastmail.fm to register your complaint as well. Spamming, phishing, forged identities… is there no low that the fake pirate captain can't hit?

UPDATE: And now Towner's alter ego, Jason Bourne, has gotten in on it. The from address? Why, it's unionexposed@123mail.org, another LastMail.FM domain.

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24 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    I’d be all smiles if you photoshopped your picture on Popeye’s head and Mark’s head on Bluto while Popeye is knocking his foe out.

    Course, I like the dramatic, here.

  2. Daniel says:

    That is some good detective work, but it is possible that these emails were sent with George Will’s permission. Have you emailed George Will and asked him if he emails were sent on his behalf?

  3. Jesse says:

    Jason: I have a much funnier Photoshop imagine in my mind, but I’ve been refraining thus far.

    Daniel: Not bloody likely. Newspapers are very picky about who can use their content and how. Remember how they went after Google for mere snippets? I also doubt that Mr. Will would approve of the spamvertising.

  4. jeremy says:

    Towner is an idiot. Nice work on this

  5. Homer says:

    thanks for checking up on this. I got this email also. I was sorry to see George Will get dragged into this Utah issue. I still don’t understand why conservatives would support such a blantant grab of public money in yet another entitlement program.

    I thought they were for small, tightly managed, competent government. Maybe it’s a new breed that hates government so much they want to undermine and dismantle everything so then it’s just a survival of the fittest world–which I suppose is alright if you are among the “fit”.

  6. When you get another e-mail from INeedHelp@Oddball.com, then you’ll know for sure.

  7. The Spyglass says:

    What an idiot you are Harris. Of course I sent the political emails dumcoff. Just like I do to thousands to other people in other states regarding their issues, candidates, or policy campaign. It’s what I do Jesse, it’s not against any law and protected speech under the 1st amendment of the constitution. Maybe you need to read up on what exactly is contained in the The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. 7701, et seq., Public Law No. 108-187, was S.877 of the 108th Congress), signed into law by President Bush on December 16, 2003, establishes the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions. The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill’s full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003. This is also a play on the usual term for unsolicited email of this type, spam. The bill was sponsored in Congress by Senators Conrad Burns and Ron Wyden.

    The law required the FTC to report back to congress within 24 months of the effectiveness of the act. No changes were recommended. It also requires the FTC to promulgate rules to shield consumers from unwanted mobile service commercial messages. On 20 December 2005 a detailed report to congress on the effectiveness of the act indicated that the volume of spam has begun to level off, and due to enhanced anti-spam technologies, less is reaching consumer inboxes. A significant decrease in sexually explicit e-mail was also reported.[1]

    The CAN-SPAM Act is commonly referred to as the YOU-CAN-SPAM Act because the bill was backed by lobbyists for spammers and preempts stronger state anti-spam measures.

    Additionally less than 1% of email is political, issue, or candidate related. Everyone has a delete button, just press it

  8. Jesse says:

    And yet, it *does* violate the ToS of pretty much every Internet provider.

  9. The Spyglass says:

    Jesse, as I said on my Blogsite. My Internet Service Provider is Comcast. Knock youself out bud!

  10. Sunny says:

    Dumcoff?!?! That’s awesome.

  11. “The Spyglass” says: “Everyone has a delete button, just press it”

    I cannot not find the Delete button next to the record that says “Political Spyglass”. There is only an “AAAAAAAAAARGGHHHH!” button. I keep pressing it, and I only get more and more frustrated.

  12. Jesse says:

    Frank, that was truly priceless.

  13. jasonthe says:

    CAN-SPAM doesn’t address (nor protect) the dubious act of cutting and pasting an entire copyrighted piece of work into an email or blogpost.

    And Mark, there is definitely an idiot afoot, and it is not Jesse. Your lack of integrity in everything from blogposting, to commenting, to spamming unwilling recipients, is a sheer testament to the subtle stupidity that taints Utah’s political landscape.

    If anyone took you seriously, your words would be upsetting. As it stands these days, I find myself embarrassed for you, and nothing more.

    Jesse, thanks for keeping us informed about things like this.

  14. Rob Miller says:

    The Captain isn’t Jason Bourne.

  15. The Spyglass says:

    Jasonthe (What exactly does this mean anyway)

    You still don’t get it do you? Rob Does, others do, are you that stupid?

    Do you really think for one second I care for a second what you or any other blogger thinks of me?

    This is a Blog dude….. There are maybe 10 people who actually reads this Bull. Son, I’ve been Trolling for idiots like you since the 80’s . Check on a Yahoo ID Wallstreetmustang some time, you want to see real fireworks.

    The point here is you cannot even come clean on your own identity, and yet you challenge me?

    Many of the Utah Blogosphere posts under many names, the funny thing is you can’t hide your IP address.

    Think about this for a second, every second you anti-voucher bloggers were pissed off at me and spending time tracing email address, and trying to connect the dots on who exactly was sending what, is time you didn’t spend on your issue.

    Rob understands exactly what I’m doing and why. Are you that dense?


  16. Jesse says:

    Oh yeah. I really got the impression that you didn’t care and thought me irrelevant when you threatened to sue me.

    And which Jason Bourne aren’t you, Mark? There’s at least 6 different Bourne accounts that are authorized posters on Voucher News. I also find it amusing that you’ll whine and complain about pseudonyms and yet tolerate, nay endorse the practice for people on “your side”. That’s a bit hypocritical.

  17. The Spyglass says:

    I think Jason’s idea was to lock up any blogger names that had Jason Bourne in it. You would have to ask Jason about that?

    I guess I need to draw you a picture. I have an extended family network of nearly 30 people, all over the world. We communicate via Blogs, Skype, and email. Most of my family are very political, having grown up in a very politically active home. The pseudonym Jason Bourne is an adult family member.

    As far as Jesse is concerned, you don’t have any money to sue for, so what’s the point. You are very irrelevant

  18. Shauna says:

    Well there used to only be 10 readers here, Mark, but now that you’re posting, we’re up to 11. Why don’t you do us all a favor and go away so you can make your statement true again? Quit spending so much time following the blog of such irrelevant people, eh?

  19. The Spyglass says:


    Good advice…..

    Check your six


  20. Vanessa says:

    what the heck does “Check your six” mean?

  21. Shauna says:

    Clearly, it’s some kind of code developed and only truly understood by the intellectually elevated such as Mr. Pirate Pants.

  22. “Check your six” is military term that means make sure you’re watching behind you. Normally it is a reminder that someone in a military patrol is always responsible to cover the area behind the patrol–from which the patrol has just come.

    But in this context, coming from a rank mental amateur such as Jason Bourne Political Spyglass Sponge Bob Pirate Pants, it is something of a veiled threat.

    If Spyglass’s real life is anything like his blogging life, I would (seriously) be slightly worried for my safety.

  23. Jesse says:

    Frank: You’d be even more so if you read the sock puppet show he put on the other day.

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