Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Maybe They Should Get Better Lawyers?

One of the inviolable rules of conspiracy theories is that anything which contradicts it, is only proof of the depth of the coverup. Greg Szymanski has another Wanta update, in which he complains about the fact that Wanta has not come up with his mythical $4.5 trillion has he has long promised he would. This is of course, not an indication of Wanta's dishonesty, but proof that the Illuminati are sneaky little bastards who will do anything to avoid paying up. It is quite convenient logic, you can't lose. Quite hilarious to read too.

The holidays have come on gone and the American people never received their $4.5 trillion Christmas present, as promised by former Treasury agent Leo Wanta.

"There is a lot more going on behind the scenes of this story than meets the eye," said one avid Arctic Beacon reader who has closely followed the story. "You must ask: Who really is controlling the trillions of dollars, will the money ever be released fore the betterment of the economy and, of course, what are the real intentions of all the parties involved?"

The reader is referring to the complex financial scenario surrounding the Wanta trillions and the hold-up of the $4.5 trillion settlement agreed upon in May between Wanta and certain high-level U.S. officials regarding off-shore and off-the-books money amassed at the end of the Cold War.

This story, which they constantly complain has been ignored by the military, has still managed to create ripples throughout the financial community, despite being completely ignored by everyone. Whoever knew that the Arctic Beacon was so heavily trafficked by the Wall Street set.

For the last several months Wanta has remained out of the public eye as he works behind the scenes trying to gain release of the money.

"He'd like to talk but he just can't at this time," said Cottrell who also promised to keep the American people abreast of the status and whereabouts of the $4.5 trillion."

For the last six months, the Wanta story has generated tremendous interest around the world in terms of human interest and, more importantly, creating shockwaves in international financial circles as the U.S. has been accused of not being able to honor its commitments.

For example, one reader interested in the story said: "I was thinking perhaps you should add something like "trillions??" since so many people still don't know who Leo Wanta is, even though this is the most important story of the decade."

Interestingly enough, this is all being controlled by the Vatican.

And for those who back Wanta, they call him the "ultimate patriot" trying to "buck the system" while stopping the global elite and Vatican-led Illuminati, trying to destroy America on all fronts.

But for those more skeptical readers, they claim Wanta is not telling the whole story, adding the powers that be never will release such a large sum of money or do anything to benefit the economy. They further claim Wanta could be used as a smokescreen to cover the real thievery of trillions going on behind the scenes, including involvement by high level Vatican officials and their minions working in the U.S. government.

I just have one question. Do the Jews know about this? Get me Mr. Rothchilds on the phone...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Leo Wanta Update: Who is Christopher Story?

As I mentioned before, there are 3 people involved in the Leo Wanta story, Wanta himself, Michael C. Cottrell, and Christopher Story, an editor for a journal titled the International Currency Review. While I am pretty convinced this whole thing is a hoax, I am still not sure what the objective is, so I have been trying to figure out who these people are. I even e-mailed Cottrell, asking how I could get a copy of his thesis, but received no response.

Story, much like Cottrell, has been on Greg Szymanski's radio program several times, making the some ridiculous claims and accusing the same international powers of involvement in this conspiracy. One of his biggest themes is that the mainstream media refuses to pick up the story. He is correct in this, I can still find no references to either Story or the Wanta story, by any mainstream souce. The fact that there is no substantiation for this tale, however, appears the mostly likely explanation.

The International Currency Review, oddly enough, doesn't have its own website, but shares one called World Reports with other periodicals run by Story such as Soviet Analyst and Economic Intelligence Review. This publication is presented as a serious financial journal, with a rather steep pricetag of $525 a year, but it has been rather difficult to find out much about it.

I am a graduate business student, so I looked it up at our library, the University of Washington library has one of the largest collections in the world, and was actually able to find the ICR in the stacks. They only carry it from the early 70s to 1995 unfortunately. Looking through the articles, it appeared to start out as a legitimate financial journal, with mundane articles on currency exchange and monetary policy, but starting in the early 90s began focusing on paranoid Cold War/Illuminati/Vatican conspiracy theories, many of which are reflected on Story's website.

Soviet Analyst remains the only reliable intelligence publication in the world that is devoted exclusively to the Soviet Leninist dimension of the continuing dialectical World Revolution (the Thesis) and to the systematic exposure of the continuum of Soviet strategic deception and revolutionary antagonism towards the international community. The Antithesis to this state of affairs is the proactive World Revolution stance of the United States — a revolutionary power by definition — the agenda of which is inscribed upon the Great Seal of the United States, a fact of which almost everyone is ignorant. The year 1776, inscribed upon the bottom of the incomplete geomasonic pyramid on the Great Seal, which is replicated on the familiar $1.0 note, is the date not of the foundation of the United States, but of the publication by the lapsed Catholic priest-promoter of the Illuminati, Professor Weishaupt of Ingolstadt University, of a dark treatise on the ‘New World Order’. Soviet Analyst positions the essentially self-standing Soviet ingredient of today’s World Revolution within the context of this evil revolutionary dialectic. Successive issues of Soviet Analyst have exposed dimensions of continuing covert Soviet strategic deception operations — which the United States is at last having to face, having woken up, for instance, to the fact that the insurgency in Iraq is being directed by Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU). We have exposed the true identity of Mikhail Gorbachëv, too.

This probably explains why the library stopped carrying the journal. Why waste $525 a year of the taxpayer's money?

A check of all the databases, academic, news, and financial comes up with a complete blank. Google Scholar show similar results, a few citations in the early 1970s, dwindling down to nothing.

So who exactly is Christopher Story? Well unfortunately I could not find out more, but he doesn't appear to have any more credibility than the other characters.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shouldn't This Be in the Clearance Section?

I was perusing my local Barnes & Noble today and I came across this book titled, The Coming Economic Collapse of 2006. Heh. Somehow it doesn't seem like they are moving very many copies.

Don't these people know the first rule of predictions is never to fence yourself in?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Leo Wanta Update: Who is Michael C. Cottrell, MS?

In my last post on the strange story of Leo Wanta, I mentioned one of his co-conspirators, a man named Michael C. Cottrell, who is represented as some sort of financial expert, who is treasurer of Wanta's corporation AmeriTrade Group. Apparently, in search of a $4.5 trillion fortune, Wanta decided to gather the best finance minds in the world to aid him, but rather than obtaining investment bankers from New York, London, or San Francisco, he went to the fianance Mecca of Erie, Pennsylvania, where Cottrell runs a small investment firm named Pennsylvania Investments. His resume is available online here. I looked it up on Hoover's, and apparently it is a real firm, run out of his house, with a total of 3 employees and $300,000 a year in sales. Which would make him a rather low paid investment banker.

After listening to an interview with Cottrell on Greg Szymanski's radio show I finally figured the connection out. Cottrell claims that he found out about Wanta's money while writing his master's thesis in Administration of Justice at Mercyhurst College, a small university in Erie. Cottrell is quite proud of his thesis, titled "Elite Power & Capital Markets", and mentions it often. The letters "MS" also follow his name on just about every mention on-line, like some type of professional designation. One of the conspiracy websites even gives this hilarious endorsement:

That Bush Sr. was 'out of the loop' in respect of Wanta's operations has been specifically reconfirmed by Michael C. Cottrell, M.S., the Executive Vice President and Treasurer of AmeriTrust Groupe, Inc. on page 74 of his classic study 'Elite Power and Capital Markets',13th February 2002, Administration of Justice Department, Mercyhurst College, citing Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, 'The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History', The New Press, New York, 1993, page 410.

I am not sure how a master's thesis written four years ago at an obscure university quite counts as "classic"...

Anyway, now Cottrell is the treasurer of AmeriTrade Group, which according to the Virginia State Corporation Commission was actually incorporated for a filing fee of $50 on May 20th, 2004 with 5,000 shares. Their office is given as that of Stephen D. Goodwin, also listed as a Vice President, who is a lawyer in Richmond. I think they need to do a better job of maintaining the corporation, as they owe $110 in fees and penalties, which as far as I can tell was for being 3 months late filing their annual report.

In the Szymanski interview Cottrell seems to be rather taken by Wanta, and honestly believes he has all this money. He is rather on the paranoid side though. He believes the NSA is intercepting his e-mails and used that to steal a $300 billion deal he had going with DeutscheBank. How a $300,000 a year firm gets that kind of deal, is beyond me.

A similiar story popped up on-line.

US intelligence operatives admitted on 6th December that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been systematically attacking and shutting down the computers
of Ambassador Leo Wanta and Michael C. Cottrell, M.S.. In fact the Editor is aware that the NSA has been attacking Mr Cottrell’s computers non-stop since April, this year, if not much earlier. The way this is done, and the use of NSA computer-targeting ops to steal business, are described in the recently published double issue of International Currency Review, which has exposed a great deal of the illegal activity which is now on its last legs. It’s too bad these criminals didn’t clean up their act sooner.

Cottrell, although he does actually appear to have an investment background of some type, still seems to have little idea of what he is talking about. When asked by Szymanski how Wanta's money was able to go from a few billion to $70 trillion in a little over a decade, Cottrell replied that "Interest rates were high in the late 70s and 80s, as much as 14%." Interest rates were in fact, not that high anytime after the mid-80s, and even if he had managed to get this rate, anyone with the most basic understanding of finance would realize it does not compound this quickly. For instance if he started in 1991, even at the extremely high compounding rate of 14%, in order to have $70 trillion in 2006 he still would have had to start with the ridiculous sum of $9.8 trillion, which in 1991 was far more than the US GDP.

I still am not sure what type of scam they are up to, but I will keep my eyes open.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Wild and Wacky World of Wanta

The more I read about this guy, the more bizarre it gets. Greg Szymanski, a radio host on RBN, a fringe radio network popular with paranoid suvivalist nuts and 9/11 conspiracy theorists, has run numerous shows on the subject, including interviewing Wanta himself. I have not had a chance, or the desire, to listen to every one of them, but I listened to an interview with Wanta, with Christopher Story, a writer for the International Currency Review, and one with Michael C. Cottrell, who supposedly is the treasurer for Wanta's corporation AmeriTrust Groupe.

In his July 21st interview, Wanta explains how he made these trillions of dollars, and now after listening to it carefully, it makes even less sense than it did before. As best as I can tell he claims that he was assigned by President Reagan to destabilize the Soviet ruble, which he did by forming a corporation and buying up rubles at a discount rate. For those of you who are not familiar with Soviet economics, the ruble was not a freely convertible currency. The only way to exchange rubles for hard currency, was to go through the Soviet government, and pay the rate that they set. Through much of the 1980s it was around $1.20. This did not represent its real value though, as its black market value was only a fraction of that, but other than small back alley deals, that is what you were stuck with.

Anyway, Wanta claims his firm went around Europe and bought up all the rubles at discount rates, 20 cents on the dollar. He then bizarrely claims that because of this the Soviets ran out of rubles, and were then forced to turn around, and pay over a dollar a ruble for his stash. This unfortunately makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The Soviet government controlled the value of the ruble, they could print as many as they wanted. Hard currency on the other hand, was very precious to them, the only way they could get that was to sell their natural resources, such as oil and gold to the west. The idea that Wanta would profit by forcing them to trade something precious, for something that they could just create at no cost, is just silly. Wanta then goes on to explain some other nonsensical plot where he managed to wipe out the Soviet gold reserves and pay back third world debt. I still don't get that part.

Wanta spends much of his time talking about the benefit to the US economy when he returns his mythical $4.5 trillion. Personally, I see no benefit other than massive inflation, but I will humor him. He doesn't bother to do his math though. He claims he will bring back the money, pay a federal 35% tax rate or $1.575 trillion on the money, plus corporate tax to the state of Virigina. On the remaining funds he then claims he will make $96 billion a day after taxes, with an equivilent amount paid in taxes. I thought that perhaps he mispoke, but he said it more than once, and one of the websites supporting him repeats the claim:

By specifically impeding the payment of tax by Ambassador Leo Wanta (an initial $1.6 trillion to the Treasury, followed by amounts estimated at $96 billion per banking day thereafter, and an estimated $270 billion to the State of Virginia), the President of the United States and the Treasury Secretary have signalled to taxpayers throughout the United States that the US tax system is grossly unfair.

Let's do the math though, $4,500 billion - $1,575 - $270 billion = $2,655 billion

And on that capital he claims to be able to make a pre-tax profit of $192 billion a day. There are 254 trading days a year, so 254 x $192 billion a day = $48,768 billion a year! Wow, that is return on investment! An astronomical 1,567% a year. And I thought I cleaned up making a 40% return on oil stocks last year. Never mind that the GDP for the entire United States last year was a piddly $11, 750 billion.

Yeah, this guy is credible.

Oddly enough, Wanta stutters badly through most of the interview. I only bring this up, because of the Insight Magazine article I posted earlier.

New Republic's letterhead features a fashionable address in Vienna, but Wanta's phone rings in Appleton, Wis. In a two-hour conversation, he attributes his start in politics and finance to the kindness of the late Sen. Alexander Wiley, a Wisconsin Republican, who sent him to Dale Carnegie to cure a stuttering problem. He mentions various careers as a high-tech defense engineer, deputy in the Waukesha County sheriff's office, a Milwaukee policeman, stints in the Nixon and Reagan campaigns, adviser to the Drug Enforcement Administration and as a perennial candidate for various Cabinet and sub-Cabinet posts.

More on the other two characters later.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Strange Saga of Leo Wanta

I belong to a mailing list for 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Needless to say I am not very popular there, I am surprised they haven't banned me yet. In any case, they brought this story to my attention, if only because it was so bizarre. Looking into it, not coincidently, came up with the same list of conspiracy theorist paranoid anti-globalists familiar to followers of 9/11 conspiracies, Rense, RBN, the American Free Press, and Karl Schwarz. So I decided to do a piece on it.



The following is summary of receipts identified in handwritten analytical notes performed by the distinguished US Secret Service Treasury agent, Leo Wanta, on some of the transactions involved in the giga-financing operation involving a colossal loan to the Illuminati from 200+ international banks worth $27.5 trillion, to finance the 'Global Security Environment', a.k.a. the New Underworld Order, which is to be enforced by the United States as the enforcement arm for the project. Sufficient funds were raised to bribe every policymaker, intelligence officer, ruler, Prime Minister, President and senior official for the whole of the 21st century. This fund is now worth $60-$70 trillion at a minimum – and with collateral leverage, probably far more. [List extracted from International Currency Review, Volume 30, Numbers 2/3, January 2005]:

This article is a rather long and incoherently rambling, it evens repeats the same items over and over again, as if they were never mentioned previously, but I will try and summarize it. Supposedly Leo Wanta claims that acting as a Secret Service/Treasury agent he made $27.5 trillion trying to crash the Soviet ruble under Reagan, but that this money (now grown to $60-70$ trillion) was stolen by the Illuminati. He was thrown in to a "Swiss dungeon" then extradicted back to Wisconsin, where he was put under house arrest, and jailed under trumped up tax evasion charges. I think that is what he is saying, it is rather hard to follow.

Anyway, Wanta, or Ambassador Wanta, he is now claiming to be an ambassador from the non-existent government of Somalia to both Canada and Switzerland, now says that he is trying to return this money, or at least $4.7 trillion of it, to its rightful owners, the US taxpayers. The global elite are of course trying to prevent this, because well... they are really mean. Needless to say this is attracting attention among the paranoid conspiracy theorists and the economic illiterate.

Even without doing any research, these claims are pretty silly. For starters, the Soviet Ruble, was a nonconvertible currency, with a limited market. Trying to profit off of manipulating it would be a futile exercise. Even George Soros only made $2 billion of off his famous attempt to crash the Bank of England. A considerable amount of money no doubt, but less than 1/100 of 1% of what Wanta is claiming. For comparison, this would also be more than 10 times the entire Soviet GDP at the time.

So what is the history of this man, how did he come up with this? I was curious, so I looked up some articles in Factiva. A Google search, unfortunately will only come up with the same self-referential conspiracy sites. It turns out, that in fact he does have a history.

The AP printed an article on April 8, 1998, indicating he was trying to sell pistols to Manuel Noriega:

(AP) _ A secret memo outlining a plan by Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega to acquire thousands of semi-automatic pistols has been leaked to an opposition leader by a rebel member of Panama's military.

The proposed acquisition of the Browning 9mm pistols is part of a sizable weapons buildup by Panama's Defense Forces that got under way shortly after Panama's crisis began six weeks ago with Noriega's ouster of President Eric Arturo Delvalle.

The memo was sent to Noriega on April 1 by Leo Wanta, president of AmeriChina Global Management Group Inc., an arms exporting firm based in Appleton, Wis.

Covert operative, or enterprising businessman? You decide.

It does not stop here though, apparently he was involved in manipulating the Ruble. Well at least trying to scam people. From Insight Magazine 17 June 1991:

Enter Leo Wanta: One of the names most frequently cited by those who got caught up in ruble mania is that of Leo Emil Wanta, director general of the New Republic/USA Financial Group. Though few claim to have met him face-to-face, a lot of people heard his story over the telephone. What he told them, they say, is that his business was acquiring rubles on behalf of the U.S. government in order to provide an infusion of hard currency to the Soviet economy.

It might be too much to say that Wanta single-handedly created the myth that rubles were in demand, but he did more than his share. He has floated dozens of pieces of paper relating the sale or purchase of rubles in amounts of up to 105 billion rubles (worth roughly $6 billion at the black market rate). There is no evidence that any of these deals ever closed, but he has shown a rare gift for getting other folks to trot hither and yon.

Almost every banker contacted for this story recalls at least one telephone conversation with him. It was on his behalf that officials at Natwest and Volksbank went fishing for a high-profit deal on their own banks' stationery.

A Midwestern banker encountered Wanta last summer and tells a story that stands for many. "No sooner had we begun talking about the possibility of opening an account than I began to get inquiries from traders here and abroad and in tiny Pacific islands asking whether his company was good for a $10 million spot transaction. I said, `I'm sorry, but we're still checking it out ourselves,' and they'd say, `That's all I wanted to know, click.' "

New Republic's letterhead features a fashionable address in Vienna, but Wanta's phone rings in Appleton, Wis. In a two-hour conversation, he attributes his start in politics and finance to the kindness of the late Sen. Alexander Wiley, a Wisconsin Republican, who sent him to Dale Carnegie to cure a stuttering problem. He mentions various careers as a high-tech defense engineer, a deputy in the Waukesha County sheriff's office, a Milwaukee policeman, stints in the Nixon and Reagan campaigns, adviser to the Drug Enforcement Administration and as a perennial candidate for various Cabinet and sub-Cabinet posts.

"My background is in intelligence," Wanta says, while denying that he has posed as an agent of the U.S. government in ruble deals. Instead, he calls himself a "task force member," adding cryptically: "Do your homework. You'll find out we are who we are. We're the good guys."

The public record is somewhat less than definitive. It shows that Wanta is the owner of a failed vending machine company in Menomonee Falls, Wis., against which a number of legal judgments remain outstanding.

Marquette University, which he offers as one of his educational credentials, says he once registered for a continuing education course in 1963, only to cancel two days later.

A letter that appeared to have been signed by an employee of the First Wisconsin Bank of Appleton , dated last summer and addressed to a Swiss bank, attests that Wanta is a corporate client in good standing and has been since the 1960s. The employee, Jill Campbell , denies ever signing such a document. Wanta claims to have recently had $1.4 billion on deposit at National Westminster, but a bank spokesman says no account was ever opened. And so on.

As for rubles, Wanta claims to have signed trade agreements worth $50 billion with Moscow, covering everything from exporting oil and vodka to rebuilding gas pipelines, to the importation and distribution of food. He was floating offers to buy rubles in order to fulfill these contracts. Profit, or even completing the deal, was not
the primary objective, however: "All we say is that we are Big Brother monitoring what the hell is going on out there."

Most bankers have another explanation: "The whole thing stinks from A to Zed," says Frederick Gevers of PaineWebber Inc.'s office in Geneva, Switzerland.

The story is backed up by other accounts. From the Capital Times on 21 November 1995, in an article titled, rather tellingly, "DELUSIONAL' CON MAN GETS EIGHT-YEAR TERM":

Leo Wanta, the Appleton man who claimed to be an international businessman with connections to government agencies but was portrayed by prosecutors as an international con artist, will be spending the next few years in Wisconsin prisons.

Wanta, 55, who was convicted in May of tax evasion, was given an eight-year prison term Monday by Dane County Circuit Judge Michael Torphy, who also ordered a six-year probation to follow.

For his part, Wanta -- described as delusional by his own attorney -- continued his scam to the end, claiming the court had no jurisdiction over him, that he was a victim of a vicious Department of Revenue and state Justice Department.

"I know there is a conspiracy and subterfuge here," Wanta said when given a chance to speak.

At various times he has claimed to be a CIA agent, an ambassador from Somalia, a close friend of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and an international businessman.

It continues later with:

"Mr. Wanta is in fact a con man, nothing more and nothing less," he said. "He is a con man who cons con men."

Haag said Wanta was arrested in Switzerland in 1993 for attempting an $81 million bank fraud. Wanta claimed diplomatic immunity in that case, contending he was the Somalian ambassador to Canada. The Swiss deported him to the United States, where he was arrested in New York on the Wisconsin tax fraud charge.

Wanta is also described in the book, "A Thieve's World," as being involved in an attempted scam involving Russian rubles.

"He is a world class con man," said Haag. "A snake oil salesman. But he was unable to sell that snake oil to the jury."

Haag asked for a sentence of 13 years in prison and another 12 on probation.

Epstein, on the other hand, said Wanta clearly is delusional. He called Haag's allegations "a lot of shadows and smoke and allegations of wrong doing around the world," but pointed out Wanta has never before been convicted of a crime.

"The portrait that has been painted by Doug Haag is not the real Leo Wanta," said Epstein. "He exists in a different world," Epstein said of his client. "The fact of the
matter is he is in a different orbit," Epstein said, adding that Wanta actually believes the stories he tells.

So once again, the paranoids turn a fake into a conspiracy. A delusional vending machine salesman becomes an international banker for the covert elite.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Chief on the Radio

I don't get around to posting here (for my few loyal readers) as I have been busy on Screw Loose Change, but I am also on the radio, discussing conspiracy theories for SETI Radio.


After the recent death of Milton Friedman, I read his Capitalism and Freedom, an excellent book. I found this letter to the editor of the WSJ humorous and approriate:

In regard to the several stories written in the Journal about Milton Friedman, including "Capitalism and Friedman," Review & Outlook, Nov. 17:

Nearly 30 years ago, my husband and I were guests at a dinner party in the elegant Palo Alto home of Stanford professor Ezra Solomon, who had been my colleague on President Richard Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers. Among the other guests were Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose. Milton was having a fine time baiting the wife of the dean of the Business School, a feminist whose conviction was unleavened by any sense of humor, by proclaiming the foolishness of affirmative action.

"If businesses are forced to hire and train young women, many of whom will leave for marriage and family," he proclaimed, "they should at least be allowed to discriminate in favor of homely women, whose opportunities for marriage are below average." As the dean's wife reddened with fury, I leaned over and said softly, 'Thank you, Milton. I've always wondered what accounted for my professional success. Now I know." Milton, always the courtly gentleman where women were concerned, was speechless.

Marina v.N. Whitman

Professor of Business Administration and Public PolicyUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor, Mich.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

No Wonder They Hate the Jews

This says much more about the Arab world than the Nobel Prize.

Samir 'Ubeid: I don’t call it the Nobel prize – I call it the "Hubal" [idol] prize.

Interviewer: Hubal?

Samir 'Ubeid: Yes, because it often encourages heresy. It encourages attacks against the heritage, and encourages those who scorn their people and their culture. The proof is that it was awarded recently to Pamuk, who had encouraged civil strife, which might preoccupy Turkey and the Muslims in general. He held Turkey responsible for what the Ottoman state did, when he referred to the massacre of the Armenians.


Interviewer: In other words, if you are a traitor to your country, you deserve this prize.

Samir 'Ubeid: If you are a traitor to your country, and a heretic, who curses his Prophet, you deserve a Nobel Prize.
Why has the prize been awarded to 167 Jews, and to only four Arabs out of 380 million Arabs – and all four are considered traitors? For example, Al-Sadat got the prize during the normalization process, and as a price for Camp David, together with Begin, who carried out the Deir Yassin massacre, and who was in the "Hagana" gangs. Later, the prize was awarded to [Ahmad] Al-Zewail, in order to buy his invention, and Al-Zewail has disappeared since.

Interviewer: You mean the Egyptian Ahmad Al-Zewail?

Samir 'Ubeid: Yes, the Egyptian chemist. The prize was also awarded to Mohamed ElBaradei, and in this case, it is soaked in the blood of the Iraqi children and people.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman 1912-2006

He was the greatest 20th Century economist and philosopher. What more can be said?

SAN FRANCISCO — Milton Friedman was the rare public intellectual whose ideas extended from the ivory tower to seats of power around the world.

So when the economist, a tireless proponent of free enterprise, died Thursday at 94, it was fitting that he was lauded by former heads of state as well as his academic peers. President Bush said that "America has lost one of its greatest citizens."

"Milton Friedman was a revolutionary thinker and extraordinary economist whose work helped advance human dignity and human freedom," Bush said of the 1976 Nobel Prize winner.

Mr. Friedman, a longtime professor at the University of Chicago, died in San Francisco, said Robert Fanger, a spokesman for the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in Indianapolis. His cause of death wasn't released.

Tributes quickly followed from universities, boardrooms and politicians.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The story now on the infamous Kerry quote, is not so much what he said, it is possible, although a bit of a stretch that this was just a lame attempt at a joke about Bush, but the arrogance he has shown in his response. When I first read his response on his website, I thought it was a parody on Scrappleface, or an invective from the Daily Kos:

Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

So, Kerry may not have intended to say what he did. I seriously doubt he decided to insult US troops as a campaign strategy, but the fact is, he did. I also doubt that Trent Lott intended to endorse 50' segregationist policy during his tribute to Strom Thurmond, but that was how it was interpreted, so he apologized and moved on. Kerry can't do that, he is too arrogant and cannot understand how anyone could criticize him.

A little humility will go a long ways.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hey John, "Bite Me"

I think this idiot's time has passed.

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Friday, October 27, 2006

FOB Falcon

A couple of weeks ago a lucky mortar round hit an ammo depot at Forward Operating Base Falcon in Iraq (covered at the time on Hot Air). It caused a dramatic explosion, but no casualties were reported. Now though, this incident has caused some conspiracy theories, promulgated by many of the same people we cover over at Screw Loose Change, that over 300 soldiers died, including a detailed list, supposedly of the casualties.

Official Casualty List from U.S. military hospital at al-Habbaniyah located some 70km west of Baghdad. U.S. medical personnel at al-Habbaniyah initially stated that the US military hospital at the massive American-occupied air base there had begun to receive dead and wounded personnel. The military hospital in al-Habbaniyah, the largest in occupied Iraq, was opened on 12 May this year in response to sharply rising (and redacted) US casualties.

A quick check of the list though, shows it is laughable. For starters this was a FOB, a smaller operational base, yet this list shows casualties from just about every unit in the military, including the Marine Corp, and an Army hospital. What they are doing hanging out in an ammo dump is beyond me. It even lists several casualties from the CIA, based on the number, what must be their entire Iraqi office. Including this entry:

Pfc Darrell Morgan, Central Intelligence Agency

I didn't know the CIA had privates...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I heard about this on the radio this morning. I don't get it. How is it racism to invite a respected author, who is a minority, to talk about international issues. Especially considering he didn't even end up speaking!

Among the plaintiffs' complaints was Lakeside's invitation to conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza to speak as part of a distinguished lecture series.

After Sims and other faculty members and parents complained, the school in January rescinded the invitation to D'Souza, who has argued that the underachievement of African Americans has more to do with cultural attitudes and behaviors than with white racism.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Discover Islam

Now I am all for educating yourself on different religions, I have lived in Islamic countries, and always make it a point to find out about different cultures, religions, and languages. But in this day when Christmas trees are being banned from public places because it is supposedly a violation of church and state, does anyone think that the King County library would hold a seminar titled "Discover Christianity". Heck in Federal Way last year the school district spent nearly $500 reprinting the lunch menus because they contained the offensive words, "Merry Christmas" on them. Do you think they would invite in a priest to educate people on Catholicism?

Am I the only one who senses a double standard?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Creations of an Economic Hit Man

I have been curious about a book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, for some time. It has been on the best seller lists for quite some time, and after reading this post by my blogging pal Brainster, I was a bit suspicious of the claims made by the author.

To sum up the book, which at just over 200 pages and very little actual content, is amazingly easy to do, John Perkins tells his life story. After graduating from Boston University in the late 60s, he interviews with the NSA. Despite never actually working for them, he uses this fact throughout the rest of the book to imply that his later economic work had some connection with the NSA, which conducts signal intelligence and not economic espionage, but anyway... After not being hired by the NSA he decides to join the Peace Corps, by his own admission mostly to avoid the draft. After 3 years helping poor people in South America, he is approached by a consulting company, called MAIN, and goes to work for them trying to sell large World Bank funded projects in the third world.

Perkins then explains how he becomes an "Economic Hit Man", which he often abbreviates E. H. M. I guess because it makes it sound more official. He travels around the world trying to get poor countries to take out really large loans to fund projects such as dams and powerplants, which are intended solely to help the rich, exploit the poor, and make the country forever indebted to the United States. It is the policy of the "corporatocracy" he argues, to get countries to take on more debt then they can handle, so that the will go into default and can be controlled by the US. There is also the added benefit in that corporations then can exploit the impoverished labor force at low wages. Despite the fact that he repeats this argument several times, I still don't get it. What exactly is the purpose of loaning people our money with the intent that they don't ever pay us back? Wouldn't a stable and economically powerful ally be much more valuable than a poor impoverished one? Compare the value of being allied with Japan, with that of, say, Bangladesh or Uganda.

In every country Perkins travels to he ends up meeting some wise noble native, who lectures him on the evils of globalization and American empire. In his world, there is no such thing as communists or terrorists, they are all just noble revolutionaries looking out for their people against the exploitive corporatocracy. Perkins wrings his hands with guilt, praises the poor noble local, and then continues with his nefarious, although mostly unspecified, deeds.

I would believe his argument much more, if he actually had some proof. Amazingly, even though he claims to have worked as an "E. H. M." for over 20 years, he has very little tales to tell, much of what he does tell is third hand information. His sole proof of being an E. H. M is based of a mysterious woman named Claudine that he met when he first started working. Other than that, he can't quote a single board meeting or memo that backs up his claims of an evil world system. He does list a couple of examples where he was pressed to exaggerate economic growth to justify large projects, but he never does explain why this is not just a result of, for example, the fact that it is much more profitable to sell a large project than a small one.

Because this book is so vague then, it is really hard to tell if any of it is true or not. The few facts and events he does recall though, appear quite suspicious, and tell us more about the author's personal angst over globalization than anything else. One example is when he travels to Saudi Arabia in 1974. Not only does this undermine his whole "impoverishing poor third worlders" argument, the Saudis hardly being impoverished, he then uses this throughout the rest of the book as an example of how he and the US helped support "Osama bin Laden's war against the Soviets". Nevermind that Osama was just a teenager in 1974, and would not become involved in the war in Afghanistan (which didn't start until 1979) for another decade. Even after he became a mujahaden in Afghanistan, he was a minor figure. It could hardly be characterized as his war, as opposed to Masood's or Hekmatyar's war.

Another example is when he tries to (vaguely) tie then son of the Vice President George W. Bush with the "fastest growing organization in the business" Enron, which he described as being the frequent subject of chatter. This seems a bit of a stretch though. Enron was not even formed until 1985, when two natural gas pipeline companies merged, and they didn't really begin to take off until the early 90s, when they expanded into other arenas such as energy trading.

All in all, there is no there there. This book is full of much handwringing and guilt, it brings up the fact that Americans are much richer than the rest of the world more times than I can count, but it lends absolutely nothing to the argument. Perkins never even suggests a solution to any of the problems he discusses, nothing more than the fact that we are evil and exploitive. A anti-globalists dream, but otherwise not one worthy of reading.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

This Is Why People Hate Lawyers

This is just ridiculous.

A King County Superior Court judge set a hearing for Monday on a motion to dismiss arson and four aggravated-murder charges against Conner Schierman.

Schierman appeared in court Thursday on the motion filed by his defense attorney, James Conroy, but Judge Gregory Canova postponed any decision until after another hearing Monday.

Conroy has argued that a fair trial would be impossible because Kirkland police inadvertently released investigation notes to Seattle's KING-TV. He also asked the court to seal the documents, but Canova refused to do that until the Monday hearing.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

An Interview With Milton and Rose Friedman

My blogging pal Brainster is discussing the most influential people of the last millenium. Well, I am not sure who to put for that, but the WSJ has an interesting interview with one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century.

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- One doesn't interview a man like Milton Friedman -- the Nobel laureate in economics in 1976 and among the five or six most consequential thinkers of the 20th century -- without doing some assiduous homework.

So I gathered his books -- reading some, re-reading others -- and made pages and pages of notes. I also emailed several intellectual heavyweights, asking them what they might enquire of Mr. Friedman -- now 94 years of age -- if they had him cornered at a cocktail party. Replies flooded back. "Inflation targeting," wrote a (marginally) younger Nobel economist. "Education," said another Nobel laureate. "Does the recent record of spending with a Republican president and Congress make him reconsider his support for the party?" wrote a man who, until a while ago, worked on economic policy in the White House. "Is there something distinctly difficult for capitalism in the Islamic world?" wondered a Middle East scholar. "What music does he listen to?" a Democratic political economist mused, unpredictably. More predictably, a big-cheese blogger was "dying" to know whether "Milton reads blogs -- and will he ever write one?"

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Tragedy Has Hit

I have debating how to post on this for a couple of days. But now Michelle Malkin has posted on it, and I feel compelled to say something. Some scumbag (the nicest thing I can think of to call him) has committed the most heinous attack against the family of one of my fellow Guardsmen:

The remains of 28-year-old Olga Milkin and her sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, were found in an upstairs bedroom of the heavily damaged home. The fire, which was reported just before 11:30 a.m. Monday, was considered suspicious from the outset. There was no 911 call from the home and no evidence that the victims had tried to escape the flames.

Autopsies showed both women suffered multiple stab wounds to "the upper body, neck and head," according to court documents. The remains of the two children, Justin Milkin, 5, and his 3-year-old brother, Andrew, were found in an adjacent hallway.

Justin's wounds were similar to those suffered by his mother, according to the documents. Andrew Milkin's throat was cut.

So far, detectives have no motive for the crime and have uncovered nothing to link the suspect to the victims.

"It is going to be extremely difficult to determine motive," said O'Toole, the prosecutor. "The damage to the victims is pretty horrendous and pretty complete."

Olga Milkin's husband, Sgt. Leonid Milkin of the Army National Guard, returned from duty in Iraq to his burned-out home Thursday. Wearing Army fatigues, Milkin was brought in a black SUV to the home, where detectives gave him a brief tour. He spent a few moments at the makeshift memorial near the house where visitors had placed flowers and the family had posted photos of the victims.

I know SGT Milkin. He is a good man and a good soldier, and my heart and prayers goes out to him and his family. The Guard has been in contact with us, and I know people are working to help him as much as possible, but he will still need financial help to get him through this tragedy. A fund has been set up for those who wish to help.

A memorial fund has been set by the family at US Bank under the name "Kirkland House Fire Victims." Also, the Washington National Guard set up a financial assistance fund in Leonid Milkin's name at the American Lake Credit Union in Camp Murray. The account number is 13743:

Camp Murray Branch
Camp Murray, Bldg. 16
Tacoma, WA 98430
Voice: 253-582-3831
Voice: 800-228-2377
Fax: 253-582-1320

The Right Angle also reports that there are people making fun of his tragedy for their political cause. All I can say, is there is no place in hell hot enough for people like that.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Jamba Juice

Michelle Malkin has a hilarious take on Hot Air on the Cindy Sheehan diet plan that I have been talking about. Yumm, I feel like a smoothie...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


While I find World Cup Soccer interesting, almost from a geopolitical view, I also find it a rather strange sport. This letter to the editor of the WSJ, sums it up perfectly:

Soccer: Diving, Swooning and Writhing on the
Quentin Letts's July 6 editorial-page commentary "Losers Weepers" singles out only one aspect of the theater of the absurd that professional soccer has become. The agonized writhing that accompanies even the mildest adversarial contact has become an art form matched only by the diving and swooning engaged in by many of these athletes when there is often no contact at all. One wonders how much actual training time is allotted to the rehearsal of these tactics and whether teams hire theatrical assistants to coach players in the use of facial expressions and body language to impress the referee.

The referees themselves are clearly impressionable, often calling fouls and distributing cards of various hues based on the appeals of players with the best acting skills. They are often seen grinning and schmoozing with old friends, while at other times scolding and appearing to be personally offended by a poorly executed tackle. They are an integral part of the company of players and seem to enjoy the attention of the audience every bit as much as the competitors.

In soccer, stoicism is out. If they can't win, the fans expect a display of abject humility, especially after shelling out as much as they do to support the Beckham lifestyle, and Mr. Beckham is happy to oblige.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Interesting Diet

As I said earlier, Cindy Sheehan is a regular Andrei Sakharov. If she sacrifices any more, she might have to cut down to fat free yogurt in her smoothie.

I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it. Traveling for 22 hours is very taxing under normal circumstances--but then again, when have we had normal circumstances since the 2000 and 2004 successful coup attempts that have brought BushCo into power?

I traveled from Venice to the frontier of Italy to the province of Udine which is right at the foot of the pre-Alps. I am here for a huge youth festival which includes many elements of social justice and peace work. It is beautiful and the air feels different from other places that I have travelled. It is strangely soft and gentle as is the natural light. However, there is not a Jamba Juice on every corner, so blended juice drinks with protein powder are impossible to find.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More On WalMart

I noticed this excellent exchange between "progressive" economist Jason Fuhrman and far-left whiny anti-capitalist writer Barbara Ehrenreich on Slate. It isn't a fair fight.

Well, She Could Stand To Lose a Little Weight

A regular Andrei Sakharov she is.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 150 protesters sat in front of the White House on Monday to savor their last meal before starting a hunger strike that some said will continue until American troops return from Iraq.

The demonstration marking the Independence Day holiday was organized by CodePink, a women's anti-war group that called on volunteers to abstain from eating for 24 hours from midnight on Monday.

Some protesters said their fast would continue beyond July 4th.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, said she would drink only water throughout the summer, which she said she would spend outside President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Can We Question Your Patriotism Yet?

Geez, I have met Serbian war criminals who were more pro-American than this guy.

American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said yesterday to a crowd of more than 200 in North Miami.

Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out

Goodbye cigar store Indian.

I have carefully reviewed the Report of the Investigative Committee, Professor Churchill’s responses to the Committee, and the Recommendations of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct. I have met with and obtained the separate input of Provost Susan Avery and Todd Gleeson, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. I met with Professor Churchill and his attorney, David Lane. After conducting the due diligence I felt was necessary, I have come to a decision regarding the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct pertaining to Professor Ward Churchill. Today, I issued to Professor Churchill a notice of intent to dismiss him from his faculty position at the University of Colorado, Boulder. My issuance of this notice now triggers a process that is governed by Regents Law, Article 5.C.1 and 2 and Regents Policy 5-I.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The NY Times' War Against America

This is really starting to piss me off. I guess every time we want to run some covert program to catch terrorists, we have to get the permission of the NY Times first. The National Review has a good roundup:

For the second time in seven months, the Times has exposed classified information about a program aimed at protecting the American people against a repeat of the September 11 attacks. On this occasion, it has company in the effort: The Los Angeles Times runs a similar, sensational story. Together, the newspapers disclose the fact that the United States has covertly developed a capability to monitor the nerve center of the international financial network in order to track the movement of
funds between terrorists and their facilitators.

LTC Bob Bowman "Scholar"

I have been covering the "Scholars" for 9/11 Truth, both here and on Screw Loose Change. One of the individuals I profiled was LTC Robert Bowman USAF (ret). He flew over 100 combat missions in Vietnam, and has a PhD from CalTech, so on the surface he appears quite an accomplished individual. I discovered, however, that he has some rather nutty historical beliefs.

Evidently he is running for Congress, so when I listened to this speech, given at a recent 9/11 conference, it sounded more like a stump speech for a political campaign, than one given by your typical conspiracy theorist. He started getting into economics, and I was struck by this rather bizarre claim, among others:

Real hourly wages, are now about a third of what they were during the 1950s.

This claim is reflected in some of the material on his website. I have no idea where he is getting this data. It is not only not true, it isn't even close. The readily available BLS data for inflation adjusted wages only goes back to 1964, but barring some unnoticed economic collapse in the late 1950s, I think we can say this makes the point.

If anything this understates current wages, with much of the evidence pointing to overstating of inflation. The Dallas Fed also has an interesting report detailing how long you have to work in order to purchase various consumer goods over the last century. One could argue over the details, but clearly this is an absurd assertion for him to make. What makes otherwise intelligent people become unhinged like this?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Violent Peaceniks

As Glenn Reynolds would say, "heh".

CLARK — The Rainbow Family peace gathering turned hostile Tuesday when a group of attendees began hurling rocks and sticks at law enforcement officers, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

The incident forced the officers to abandon a checkpoint they had established near the entrance to the Rainbow gathering campsite in North Routt County, Forest Service spokeswoman Diann Ritschard said. Officers had not returned to the checkpoint as of Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Those Wacky "Scholars"

I am getting more and more annoyed at these academic frauds, called the "Scholars" for 9/11 Truth". Fortunately, their peers and the media seem to be picking them up and debunking them. Here is an article in Mcleans on them. And another that I posted over at Screw Loose Change.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oh Those Lieutenants

I have been following this story on the LT from Ft. Lewis who has decided he doesn't want to play anymore. He is refusing to deploy with his unit to Iraq, because he feels the war is "illegal", despite the fact that he joined the Army, and went to OCS after it was apparent we were going to war in Iraq. OK, unlike fellow anti-war left hero Jesse MacBeth, he at least appears to actually be in the Army, but like Ranger Jesse's beret, he gets things backwards.

Update: The Seattle Times was nice enough to block the photo so you can't tell. Something tells me if it were a Republican in the photo, it would have come out differently.

Idiot O' the Day

OK, I understood you lost your son and this must be hard to deal with and all, but you sir, are a freaking moron.

Michael Berg, a pacifist who is running for Delaware's lone House seat on the Green Party ticket, said al-Zarqawi's death is likely to foster anti-American resentment among al-Qaida members who feel they have nothing left to lose.

Berg said the blame for most deaths in Iraq should be placed on President Bush, who he said is "more of a terrorist than Zarqawi."

"Zarqawi felt my son's breath on his hand as held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes when he did it," Berg added, pausing to collect himself. "George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist."

Gee, I would hate for Al Qaeda to not like us.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


This is pretty cool.

Lookie Who Is On Top

Seattle most liberal congressman himself, Baghdad Jim McDermott.

WASHINGTON — Over the past five years, Seattle Rep. Jim McDermott has traveled to about a dozen countries and all over the United States, with private interests including think tanks, political-advocacy groups, universities and foreign-trade associations picking up the nearly $150,000 tab.

The total cost of McDermott's trips puts him in the top 20 Capitol Hill travelers, according to an analysis of privately sponsored trips taken by members of Congress and their staffs from Jan. 1, 2000, through June 30, 2005, compiled by Medill News Service, the Center for Public Integrity and American Public Media.

When McDermott staffers' trips are included, the totals rise to nearly 100 trips worth at least $280,000. That ranks his office No. 1 in privately funded travel among Washington's congressional delegation.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I am in the middle of finals and looking for a summer internship, so as you can tell I haven't been posting much. What little posting time I have had has been over at Screw Loose Change.

I have drill this weekend. We spent all day today in the field at the firing range, and one of our lieutenants is leaving because her husband is transfering, so my CO decided we should go out to dinner at the Olive Garden to wish her well.

After a couple of hours of pasta and drinks the waitress brings us each our bill, so I get out my credit card. A few minutes later another waitress comes by and asks for our bill. I hand her the bill and my card and she hands back my card and tells me, "No, I just want your bill."

I didn't understand, so with a dumb look on my face, I held the card out towards her and explained that I didn't have any cash, this was the only way I could pay.

"You don't understand" the waitress continued. "You aren't paying. Someone else is paying. He said he wanted to pay for everyone here in uniform."

We asked repeatedly who it was, but the waitress kept his anonymity. Some unidentified man, we couldn't tell who in a crowded restaurant, just spent nearly $200 buying dinner for a group of tired and dirty National Guardsman.

We don't know who you are, and the odds of you reading this are slim to none, but thanks. Your gesture was very appreciated.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Honoring Soldiers, Not Pitying Them

After reading about this ridiculous Jesse MacBeth thing, it was refreshing to read this intelligent editoral in the Wall Street Journal.

Here's a Memorial Day quiz:
1. Who is Jessica Lynch?
Correct. She's the Army private captured, and later rescued, in the early days of the war.
2. Who is Leigh Ann Hester?
Come on. The Kentucky National Guard vehicle commander was awarded a Silver Star last year for fighting off an insurgent attack on a convoy in Iraq. The first woman to receive a Silver Star since World War II, and the first woman ever to receive one for close combat.

If you don't recognize Sergeant Hester's name, that's not surprising. While Private Lynch's ordeal appears in some 12,992 newspaper and broadcast reports on the Factiva news service, Sergeant Hester and her decoration for extraordinary valor
show up in only 162.

One difference: Sergeant Hester is a victor, while Private Lynch can be seen as a victim. And when it comes to media reports about the military these days, victimology is all the rage. For every story about someone who served out of conviction and resolutely went on with his civilian life, there are many more articles about a soldier's failure or a veteran's floundering.

Jesse Ignores the First Rule of Holes

When in a hole, stop digging. Not only did this clown impersonate a Ranger in a video, claiming to have commited atrocities in Iraq, now he is attempting to defend himself by posting an altered DD-214 on the Internet. He didn't alter it enough though, anyone skilled in reading a DD-214 (I have 4 myself) can figure out that he did not attend Ranger school, or any other school for that matter, and was in fact discharged after 5 weeks of basic training at Ft. Benning Georgia. This reminds me of something I forgot to mention earlier. In the video he kept on using the term "battle buddy", this is a basic training term. Nobody uses it in the regular Army, much less the Rangers.

It gets even more ridiculous, apparently he is also claiming to be a SEAL on-line. See Hot Air for the scoop. You can even read the DD-214 if you need a laugh.

Incidently the Scholars for 9/11 Truth still have MacBeth's fake story up on their site. I even e-mailed one of their members explaining it was fake, but I guess they aren't that interested in the truth.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

9/11 Scholars for the Truth and Jesse

I was browsing the site of the aforementioned 9/11 Scholars for the Truth, when I noticed the lead article was on none other than the faux Ranger, Jesse MacBeth.

Testimony from a former U.S. Army Ranger
"We Are the Terrorists, folks!"

These supposed "scholars" accept this fake story without question, even adding their own commentary:

9/11 Truth is one of the big factors in putting a stop to this. I hope everyone will do something to get this message out to 1 new person - perhaps we could save some lives. This video is about 20 minutes long

Actually Hotair was one of the big factors in putting a stop to this.

Even more ridiculous it contains a link to the Google video, with this hilariously ironic commentary (emphasis mine):

Testimony from a former U.S. Army Ranger Jessie Macbeth,

a Former Army Ranger and Iraq War Veteran Tells All

This 20 minute interview will change how you view the U.S. occupation of Iraq forever. I cannot possibly recommend this more highly. An Iraq war veteran tells of atrocities he and other fellow-soldiers committed reguarly[sic] while in Iraq. I have never seen this level of honesty from a U.S. soldier who directly participated in the slaughtering of Iraqis.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New Iraqi Atrocities Unveiled

In a breaking news report, the Chief Brief News Network reports new allegations of atrocities by US forces in Iraq. A former member of the Special Forces Ranger Seal Team, Shawn Hamlet, had the following to say:

Army Ranger Special Forces Seal Shaun Hamlet

"I got to Iraq in the Spring of 2004 with my my unit, SEAL Team 7. We were immediately placed behind enemy lines, where we operated for 37 straight months, with only a 2 week break for R & R in Da Nang. It was horrible, Colonel Kurtz kept on ordering us to slaughter the Hajis. They would come up to us peacefully bearing gifts of frankincense and Myrrh, and we would just open fire. I once killed 72 innocent civilians with a single burst from my M-16."

"Then when I got back in the summer of 2005, I couldn't even get my job at the Jack in the Box back. I had to go down the street to Wendies. It was horrible, they don't even have curly fries. The Army &#*ed me. I have attended every anti-war rally I can find. These are the only people who feel my pain. Every night I have nightmares about the smell of napalm in the morning. The VA won't even treat me, they keep on demanding some form called a DD-214, which I don't have because the Illuminati, working for the Bush administration snuck into my seabag and stole it out of my 670-1 thingy."

Several anti-war organizations were reached for comment, but replied simply, "How can you question the truth of this man? It is obvious he is hurting. The details of whether he was in the Special Forces Army Rangers are not important. We applaud his courage. He speaks truth to power!"

Monday, May 22, 2006

Compare and Contrast

Real Ranger

Fake Ranger

Notice the difference?

Update: Michelle Malkin imitates me.

Stolen Valor the Iraqi Years: Part III

I have posted on fakers claiming to be in the military before, here and here. This guy takes the cake. He claims to have served with the Rangers in Iraq, and to have committed attrocities, but he doesn't even make an effort to look remotely like a real soldier.

He claims to have served with the 3-75th Ranger Regiment, but is wearing a combat patch for the Special Forces.

Here is what I guess is supposed to be an official photo. But there are several things wrong with it. He is wearing a Ranger beret, sloppily, but that flash does not belong to a Ranger unit, that is the flash for the 1st Special Forces Group. The moustache is not regulation, that is the wrong color t-shirt. And those sleeves, he is not a jarhead! Brainster has the video, and links to more.

Update: This loon is from Tacoma, which explains the 1st Group flash. 1st Group is located at Ft. Lewis, so he probably just picked it up at a local surplus store and foolishly sewed it on a Ranger beret.

Update 2: Doh! And the most obvious thing I missed, unless they reversed the negative. His beret is backwards, it should be pulled to the right! And where is his nametag?

Like I Need a Survey To Tell Me This

LONDON (AFP) - The French have been voted the world's most unfriendly nation by a landslide in a new British poll published. They were also voted the most boring and most ungenerous.

A decisive 46 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed by travellers' website Where Are You Now (WAYN) said the French were the most unfriendly nation people on the planet, British newspapers reported.

The Germans have no to reason to celebrate the damning verdict. They came second on all three counts.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tax Cuts For the Rich

Yes, the rich get the most benefits of tax cuts, but they are also paying most of the taxes! From the WSJ:

Screw Loose Change Podcast Interview

I had the honor of doing an interview earlier in the week with an Australian journalist for his podcast titled "Shire Network News." It was a lot of fun and the podcast (not just my part) is well worth a listen. It is not every day that you get to do a cross Pacific conference call, with an Aussie conservative named Tom Paine, and a fellow blogger in Phoenix with whom you have never conversed.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I was actually thinking of going to see the movie. I enjoyed the book, I read it in one day while waiting for a C-130 to fly me to Bosnia. I am amused by the people who seem to think it is real though. Although I suppose compared to Fahrenheit 9/11 or Loose Change, they might have a case. Unfortunately, the reviews thus far have been pretty bad. Here is my favorite from Rotten Tomatoes:

You know a movie's a dud when even its self-flagellating albino killer monk isn't any fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Truth On 9/11 Rumors

The Seattle-PI published my letter on the previous editorial on 9/11 conspiracies. I realize now though I should have added the word "alleged" in the last sentence, since people would not claim they were actual hijackers. That's it, I am firing my editor!

Group relies on rumors distorted over the years

I have been following the 9/11 conspiracy theorists lately, but I was still surprised to see one of the theories being published in the Seattle P-I. What's next, editorials denying the Holocaust or the moon landings? The organization Scholars for 9/11 Truth, like most of the conspiracy theorists, is interested in neither scholarship nor truth. Like all conspiracy theorists, they rely not on the scientific method but by focusing on third-generation rumors distorted from the original, and then the complete avoidance of any information that might contradict their theory.

In his Tuesday guest column, "9/11 Commission report is a lie," for example, the two reasons Richard Curtis gives that the hijackers did not exist are easily explained by this "unscientific method." The first, the claim that they were not on the passenger list is derived from the fact that a few days after 9/11, CNN published a list of "victims" on the four airplanes. After conspiracy theorists repeated this claim enough times, that morphed into a list of all the "passengers," which to no surprise did not list the hijackers.

The second claim, that some of the hijackers are still alive, is because in the days after 9/11, the FBI released names of the hijackers, without many details. Of course every Arab man who had the same name started protesting his innocence. It should come as no surprise that since the FBI published the photographs of the hijackers a few weeks later, not a single person has come forward claiming that they were a hijacker.

James Bennett

Update: A reader helped make my point for me by telling me to read an article by David Ray Griffin, a popular conspiracy theorist. It contains the following statement:

Another problem in the official account is that, although we are told that four or five of the alleged hijackers were on each of the four flights, no proof of this claim has been provided. The story, of course, is that they did not force their way onto the planes but were regular, ticketed passengers. If so, their names should be on the flight manifests. But the flight manifests that have been released contain neither the names of the alleged hijackers nor any other Arab names.29

With the following footnote: (emphasis mine)

29. The flight manifest for AA 11 that was published by CNN can be seen at The manifests for the other flights can be located by simply changing that part of the URL. The manifest for UA 93, for example, is at

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The End of Academic Standards

The report on faux Indian (and faux professor) Ward Churchill has come out, it is pretty critical, but fails to hold him accountable for anything. The most ridiculous section:

Two members of the Committee conclude and recommend that Professor Churchill should not be dismissed. They reach this conclusion because they do not think his conduct so serious as to satisfy the criteria for revocation of tenure and dismissal set forth in section 5.C.1 of the Law of the Regents, because they are troubled by the circumstances under which these allegations have been made, and because they believe that his dismissal would have an adverse effect on other scholars’ ability to conduct their research with due freedom.

Is this really that big of a problem? Should we really be concerned that we are cutting into the academic freedom of academics who plagiarize and produce fraudulent work?

The Hit On Karl Rove

Well, if you can't beat your political enemies, just spread false rumors about him on the net.

On Friday, Truthout posted another story by the same correspondent, Jason Leopold, reporting that Mr. Rove had told President Bush and White House Chief
of Staff Joshua Bolten that he would be indicted imminently.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Mr. Rove, said the Bush official had no such conversation with the president or Mr. Bolten. Mr. Luskin disputed Mr. Leopold's Saturday story, which cited "high level sources with direct knowledge" that he had a 15-hour meeting with Mr. Fitzgerald at Mr. Luskin's office at the Washington law firm Patton Boggs. The Rove attorney says he spent part of that day at the vet with his cat and that Mr. Fitzgerald was in Chicago. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald declined to comment.

Well, I am Glad I Don't Go To Seattle U

I have been covering the 9/11 conspiracy theory moonbats a lot lately. In fact my other blog is getting about 100 times the readership of this humble blog, but I was still surprised to see this idiocy is spreading to the Seattle PI, from a Seattle University adjunct professor of philosophy, which is barely a professor even by philosophy standards.

First, who were the hijackers? We do not know. None of those named appear on any of the passenger lists released by the airlines. Most important, six of the men named by the government are still alive and have never even been to the United States. We know that because European media (as reported by The Associated Press, the London Telegraph and the BBC) have interviewed them. It is not a matter of mistaken identity not being noticed or someone using a false passport. The commission insists that the people they named were the hijackers but that claim is demonstrably false.

The first claim is idiotic. It was started when CNN published a list of "victims". After several generations of Internet legend, that suddenly became the definitive list of "passengers". As for the claim that these hijackers are still alive, shortly after 9/11, when the FBI released the list of hijackers, every Arab man in the Middle East claimed he had been wronged. Big surprise, since they published the photos of the hijackers, not a single person has come forward claiming to be one of the hijackers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Things Getting Busy

I have been spending most of my blogging time working on Screw Loose Change, which has drawn quite a bit of interest. Today we have been mentioned on The Jawa Report, Little Green Footballs, and Hotair. Also the moonbats have come out of the woodwork and started posting World Trade Center theories every 5 minutes. Don't worry, I will post here when I have something important to say.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Myth of Service Jobs

I hear all the time how we are becoming a nation of burger flippers. Cafe Hayek has the ultimate rebutal:

But because "domestic service" jobs sound so lamentable, Roberts -- who for several years now has predicted that free trade is impoverishing America -- wants to report that a large percentage of newly created jobs are in "domestic services." To achieve this gloomy-sounding result, Roberts classifies jobs in education and health-care as domestic-service jobs – so careers such as teaching computer science at MIT and working as an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic are in “domestic service.”

I’m sure he’d defend his use of the term “domestic service” by saying that he means jobs in which services are provided domestically – face-to-face, mostly. And to this defense, I’d respond “So what?” So what if most jobs created are in services?

Service-sector jobs are the most desirable. Until his retirement, my dad had a manufacturing job: he worked as a welder in a shipyard. Like most parents, his dream was for his children to become doctors or lawyers and the like -- that is, he longed for his children to work in the service sector. Ever hear a parent say “I want my boy to grow up to be a pipe-fitter!” or “My dream is for little Suzy one day to operate her very own sewing machine in a clothing factory!”?

Chief Brief 20K

I had my 20,000 logged visitor today, since I put on a counter last May. OK, so that is probably a slow Sunday afternoon for Glenn Reynolds, but I consider it a bit of a milestone. I would like to thank my wife, my parents, my third grade teacher...

Those Krazy Kennedys

OK, I know I am a few days late on this, but I have been busy. Let me get this straight, Patrick Kennedy says he was driving while disoriented because of a reaction he had from taking a sleeping pill and stomach medicine, it wasn't because of drinking or drug abuse. Then he announces he is checking into the Mayo Clinic for treatment. Uhh... treatment for what, abuse of stomach medicine?

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Good Gas Idea

With all the economic idiocy going around regarding gas prices, it is nice to see a bit of sanity. From the WSJ editorial page:

The idea here is to offset some of the gas price hikes that Congress has caused via the ethanol mandate it passed last year. That requirement -- that drivers use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2012 -- is currently helping to increase the cost of gas, since ethanol is in short supply. Gas refiners and transporters are struggling to move ethanol from its Midwest production base to places like the East and Gulf Coasts, contributing to the shortages.

One quick solution to this supply crunch would be for coastal states to at least temporarily open their ports to more imported ethanol. The problem is that the U.S. currently levies a tariff of 2.5%, as well as a second duty of 54-cents-a-gallon, on all ethanol. That equals a giant tax that must be factored into already sky-high gas prices, and helps explain why the import market remains tiny.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Long Weekend

I won't be posting for a couple of days, I am going to be in the field making the world safe for democracy and all. While I am gone check out Screw Loose Change, we are having a lot of fun over there.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ward Churchill and Exxon

Ann Coulter may be caustic and over the top sometimes, but she gets right to the point.

Maybe with a little less subsidized tuition, colleges couldn't afford luxuries like non-Indian of Indian studies professor Ward Churchill. He makes $120,000 a year as a department head at the University of Colorado, in addition to many speaking fees paid to him by other institutions of higher learning — all heavily subsidized by taxpayers.

In addition to providing a vital product, former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Churchill doesn't have a Ph.D., not even one of those phony ones you have to buy on the Internet before you can host your own show on Air America Radio.

He does not produce a product that allows New Yorkers to eat without turning 90 percent of the city into an agricultural processing plant.

His list of academic achievements consists of his majoring in communications and graphic arts. That's the only part of his resume that has not already been proved false, probably because no one would make that up.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

MBA Finance Geek Humor

For all you Police and Fed fans out there. Turn up the speakers and rock out.

Creative Excuse O' the Day

150,000 detonators captured in a teen's house in Qalansawe

Three teenagers from the Arab town of Qalansawe were arrested after 150,000 detonators were found in the house of one of them. The teenagers, age 15 and 16 were taken to a police station for questioning where they claimed that the detonators meant for their personal use.

My New New Blog

I posted a couple of days ago that I had started a blog regarding the conspiracy nut movie "Loose Change". Well, now I am working on another site, teaming up with Pat from Brainster (he came up with a better title).

So now we present to you Screw Loose Change We are looking forward to making it the center of all thinks debunking these moonbat theories, so add it your bookmarks or blogroll and feel free to let us know what you think, help from sane logical people is accepted.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Paul Samuelson: Back in the USSR

I received my BA in Russian and East European studies specializing in Soviet era history, politics and economics, so I found this story on Cafe Hayek bringing back old memories. H/T Don Luskin

That is, Samuelson predicted in 1961 that if the Soviets achieved their maximum possible economic growth over the next four decades, they would have to wait no more than 36 years for their output to surpass that of America's.

In the 1970 edition of the textbook a similar graph is displayed, this time showing projected rates of growth for the two countries from 1970 to 2010. As with the graph in the 1961 edition, projected Soviet economic growth is substantially higher than projected U.S. growth. And as with the 1961 graph, U.S. real GNP starts off as twice that of the Soviet Union - but this time, remember, the starting year is 1970, rather than 1960.

The 1970 graph shows that if the Soviets achieved their maximum possible economic growth over the next four decades, they would have to wait no more than 35 years to 2005 for their output to surpass that of America's.

In short: Samuelson's readers were told in 1961 (and shown in a graph) that the economy of the Soviet Union was growing, and would continue to grow, significantly faster than the American economy. Nine years later, readers were told the very same thing – even though, according to Samuelson's own 1970 graph, the ratio of Soviet GNP to U.S. GNP in 1970 was the same as it was in 1961.

A Soviet miracle: its real GNP grew faster than America's real GNP without ever getting closer to America's real GNP.

In short, economics as practiced in the Soviet Union, was completely worthless. It was not based on any type of scientific observation or prediction, but purely on Marxist philosophy. OK, some have argued the same about some economists in the US, but this is on a completely different scale.

So as a result any economic numbers that came out of the Soviet Union were completely bogus. Sure, there were your Walter Duranty types who would just repeat it as gospel, but no self respecting economist should have taken it seriously. In fact there was an ongoing argument at the CIA for decades over how to value the GDP of the Soviet Union, with multiple factions each coming up with their own elaborate formulas of estimating production. In turns out even the pessimists were being optimistic.

Sure, massive human suffering aside, Stalin's industrialization led to some spurts in production, but this was never based on increasing worker productivity, but rather on Stakhanovism, which is basically the principle of working yourself until you drop for the good of the motherland. This of course is not sustainable, you can't keep this up very long, thus left wing predictions, like our Professor Samuelson, ended up being wildly optimistic. Now we find out they were dishonest as well. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, "You can force someone to work, but you can't force him to think". Increasing productivity long term is the result of coming up efficiencies and technologies, not just forcing more slaves to work harder.

Iraq Docs Blog

I heard this guy on the radio last week. He is a Lebanese-American who speaks fluent Arabic. The military, which doesn't have enough people to go through every Iraqi document in detail, has released a bunch of them on the web, and he is going through them, translating some and blogging about it. Well worth a read.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Self Censorship on Illegal Immigration

It is obvious that the press does now want to address the issue of illegal immigration in an evenhanded manner. Take this AP article on the labor boycott scheduled for tomorrow.

Scope of immigrant work boycott unclear


NEW YORK -- Now that immigrants have grabbed the nation's attention, what next?
Monday has been set aside for immigrants to boycott work, school and shopping to show how much they matter to their communities. But with some growing tired of street protests, and others afraid they'll be deported or fired for walking out, people are planning to support the effort in myriad ways.

The article refers to immigrants or immigration 18 times, but only once uses the adjective that states what the issue is really about, "illegal" immigrants, and that is only in referring to the "Opponents of illegal immigration", the Minutemen. The press will claim that they are just trying to be neutral and sensitive, but in this Orwellian newspeak which avoids calling something what it is, they are in fact taking a side.

Loose Change Loose Screw

I have covered 9/11 conspiracy theorists in the past, and with the release of the movie United 93, they are starting to come out of the woodwork even more. So I have decided to start a new blog exposing the dishonesty of the these people, particularly the Internet movie Loose Change, in which honor I have named the new site, Loose Change Loose Screw. The title is a bit long and awkward, so bookmark it, or add it your blogroll. Also contributions welcome, there are literally hundreds of lies out there that conspiracy theorists are spreading about this trafic event, and there is no way any one person could document them all.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

University of Washington Medal of Honor Memorial

As pointed out by a commenter, I missed the story earlier in the month where the ASUW approved a memorial, in the wake of the "Pappy" Boyington comments controversy, to honor 5 University of Washington Medal of Honor recipients. It is gratifying to see them do the right thing and treat this issue with honor and respect. I look forward to seeing it put up.