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.