H/T Jack Craver for finding out ...what is that smell! It turns out it is just a rotten racist homphobic hate filled apple and it has a name - Ben Riche!
One anti-mine activist asserted in an email that the group creator was a conservative activist in Waukesha named Benjamin Riche. As evidence, the activist provided a screen shot of Riche's page from Feb. 18, in which he urged friends to 'like' the "Ban Assault Electricity" page, which he referred to as his own.
A glance at Riche's personal page certainly established him as a plausible suspect -- his page is filled with inflammatory, racially-charged posts on a variety of topics.
For instance, in a recent post that he removed shortly after talking with me, he shared a link to a story of a 911 operator in Dallas who was fired for making racist posts on Facebook. If she lived in Wisconsin, he commented, he would definitely hire her.
"I believe she has a right to free speech," he said when I asked him to elaborate.
But would he really want an employee who will freely engage in racism, I ask.
"Yes, I have had many black employees work for me and they call me whitey, honkey, cracka," he said. "We laugh. It's all good."
Although he recently urged his friends to 'like' the "Wisconsinites for Safe Mining" group, calling it "hilarious," he denied that he is currently involved with the group. He had been added as an administrator, he insisted, when the group focused on gun control, but was no longer involved.
So who were the other people running the site? Other like-minded conservatives?
"I don't know," he said. "Mostly fake troll accounts."
Riche's account is definitely not fake. From the looks of it, he is in fact a tax preparer in the Milwaukee area.
But does he consider himself a "troll"?
"I just like to post a lot of controversial things to bring debate," he said. "I've been attacked by both sides."
Indeed, Riche's brand of commentary is what moderators on news sites spend much of their time trying to chase away, often in vain. As a result, comments from people with sincere opinions are often overshadowed by incendiary rants — some from real people, such as Riche — but more often from people who hide behind anonymous profiles.
In light of what Riche told me about "Wisconsinites for Safe Mining," it is clear the group was not created by liberals to try to make mine supporters look bad, as some have suggested.
Most likely, the group was created as a forum for conservatives to taunt protesters.