Category Archives: Phonies and Assclowns

Bradley Manning is Appealing

Bradley Manning Support NetworkNo, not as a guy dressed in drag. (The mistaken pronouns in the excerpt from Politico hack Tal Kopan below have been corrected; as long as he’s got a Y Chromosome, let along male reproductive tackle, he’s a guy, and Leavenworth isn’t going to schedule his whackadickoffomy any time soon). He’s appealing his conviction, because he’s all confused and suchlike.

Other than that, he’s enjoying life in prison. Some places, a guy who wants to be a girl is guaranteed a certain popularity.

The inept Kopan, who seems not to have registered the outcome of the trial and the terms of Manning’s sentence, also refers to the prisoner as PFC Manning, although he, she or it (Kopan, whose sex we don’t know) gets his, her or its (Manning’s, whose sex we know but Manning doesn’t) abbreviation as well as rank wrong. For you see, Manning is not a PFC, having been reduced to the lowest enlisted grade as a result of his court-martial conviction and sentence. This is an important distinction, for a Private First Class (Lance Corporal to you Marines) is a private who has served sufficiently honorably to be advanced a couple of times. Still a pawn, perhaps, but a pawn at K4 now. And that is not Manning, who once made the exalted grade of Specialist 4th Class (Sp/4; the grade is an artifact of the 1960s and there is no other class of specialist) before persistent and durative misconduct plucked his small achievements away and landed him where he belongs, in prison, penniless except for the donations of useful idiots.

"Position of humility, march!"

“Position of humility, march!”

Writing a message to supporters from prison, Pfc. [sic] Bradley Manning announced a new team of lawyers for his appeals process, saying they are prepared to take his case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The email, dated March 17 and distributed by the Pvt. Manning Support Network, includes a number of fundraising appeals alongside the personal message signed by Bradley Manning.

Manning said he has hired Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward of the law firm Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward of Albuquerque, N.M., in preparation for an appeals process, with help from the Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network.

“I’ve spoken a few times with both Ms. Hollander and Mr. Ward over the phone and I met them in person last month. I feel they are a perfect fit for doing this case, and we’re all excited about working together,” Manning wrote. “Both Ms. Hollander and Mr. Ward have achieved successes in complex, high profile, civil and criminal cases in the past, fighting to protect the U.S. Constitution, civil liberties, and social justice through work on Guantanamo, the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, and more. They are eager to represent me before the military court, federal court, and perhaps even the Supreme Court.”

Sure, because freedom for traitors is an important part of social justice. And lawyers are just selfless, noble social justicitians, not parasitical termites gnawing at the very joists and uprights of society, right?

Is there anybody who does not hear “social justice” and reach for a revolver? Well, us, but that’s just because we have an AR-10 handy.

Manning also thanked supporters for their attention and fundraising efforts, updating them on his life behind bars. The Army private, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a military judge last summer for leaking thousands of pages of government documents to WikiLeaks, said the he is spending most of his time exercising and doing legal research.

via Under the Radar Blog: Josh Gerstein on the Courts, Transparency, & More – POLITICO.com.

So in 34 years or so we can expect a bulked-up and haggard middle-aged Manning to emerge from the pokey, in pink makeup, a little black dress, and stiletto heels. Still with outie rather than innie genitals and that intractable Y Chromosome, although, who knows what’ll be medically possible by 2048? And his prison pen pals will be waiting for him, probably in an old Chrysler.

And in the meantime, hippies, dopers, no-hopers and the sexually confounded can sink their disposable funds into his legal assistance fund, thereby squandering money they might actually have done some ill with. So there’s a silver lining in the cloud, just not for Bradley.

Sorry about that.

LAPD should have fired these guys for marksmanship alone

LAPD Firearms Instructors on the Job

LAPD Firearms Instructors on the Job. 103 shots, 2 hits, on a person that was not a legitimate target. FAIL.

Remember the Chris Dorner case, where one cop going rogue drove just about every other cop in Southern California rogue? Remember the two incidents of terrified cops blazing away at “suspects” who in no wise resembled Dorner, in vehicles that differed from Dorner’s in make, model, body style, and color, as well as plate number? Remember the multiple magdumps (103 rounds total) by LAPD into the Tacoma with two Filipinas (one middle-aged, one older) delivering newspapers?

Yeah, well, while LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said some bad things about those cops, he didn’t think they were bad enough to actually discipline. The 8 cops that burned that truck down in a textbook case of contagious fire are still on the streets, still armed, and still a menace. Website The Wire notes different treatment for these attempted-murderers and an LAPD cop who merely emailed pictures of some celebrity we never heard of. Guess who got fired, the ones who shot the citizen with their duty guns, or the one who shot a celebrity with her camera phone?

The decision to fire Reyes was made by a disciplinary panel and police chief Charlie Beck in 2012 after a three year investigation into the leak. Enough evidence was found to fire Reyes, but not bring criminal charges against her. Reyes maintained that she did not sell the photo to TMZ, though admitted that it was one of the photos she took that made it to the site.

Meanwhile, the eight LAPD officers who shot 103 bullets into a pick-up truck they believed was being driven by a suspected cop killer were disciplined with additional training. They could have been suspended or even fired, but police chief Charlie Beck — the same man who decided Reyes should be fired — decided that their actions did not warrant such harsh punishment.

Wait, additional training is discipline? That’s the tailpipe emission of a male bovine, LAPD.

Just to be clear: those actions were shooting a truck that was a different make, model and color than the one they were looking for and was driven by two Hispanic women delivering newspapers rather than the one black man with a vendetta against cops. And shooting it 103 times, hitting one of the women twice. The city gave the women $4.2 million and new truck.

It was not just a different make, model and color (and, don’t forget, plate, every cop had Dorner’s plate), it wasn’t even close. The other guy, the surfer whose truck was also destroyed by another SoCal department’s blind and rapid fire, was in an even more radically different vehicle. (He was also rammed by those bozos).

“I sympathize with the officers, but I have a very high standard for the application of deadly force, and the shooting did not meet that standard,” Beck said at the time.

It didn’t meet the standard, Charlie says, but it didn’t fall far enough below that standard to warrant disciplining the cops involved. WTFO? What would it take for a cop to get fired, go full Dorner? Massacre Beck’s family? Oh wait, we do know the answer to that: leak images of a minor celebrity.

So: leaking photos of a famous person who was the victim of a horrific assault is conduct that “places people at risk of injury and the government at risk of incurring liability” and merits dismissal. Shooting two unarmed but not famous women and exposing the city to a $4 million settlement won’t even get you suspended.

What Reyes did was very wrong. Instead of serving and protecting the public, Reyes exposed an abused woman’s injuries to the entire world. She should have been fired for it. But I don’t see how it was worse than what those eight officers did.

via LAPD: Shooting Photos of Rihanna Is Worse Than Shooting Innocent People – The Wire.

This is one truck the LAPD turned into a truck-shaped colander. Two innocents inside were wounded by the grossly negligent officers.

This is the truck the LAPD turned into a truck-shaped colander. Two innocents inside were wounded by the grossly negligent officers.

We’re with the writer of The Wire (whoever that is) on this. But… “one more thing,” to quote that great native Californian, Steve Jobs. Where do these bozos learn to shoot like this? Look at the picture with this post, that’s the victims’ vehicle. And note:

  • The 8 cops who engaged this truck never had a clear target due to the tinted backlight. That didn’t deter them.
  • Despite that, if you’re shooting at people in a truck, you know pretty much where they are. Most of the hits seem to be concentrated at the center mass of the tailgate, and so would have missed the occupants. (As it turns out, this is a good thing, but those eight cops swore that each made an individual, personal decision to fire in response to a clear threat. Obviously, that was “testilying,” something else LAPD apparently encourages. But most of the shots are not within two feet of where the occupants were).
  • And most of the 103 shots fired at the two little ladies in the truck did not even hit the truck. Think about that for a minute. These guys’ shooting sucks so bad they can’t hit a target that’s 6 feet 3 inches wide by 5 feet 6 inches high, from less than 100 feet away, with half their shots. Some of them were firing from less than 20 feet away at the doors of the cruiser, and then closed in on the vehicle to functional contact range, and still missed. The truck.

After a year, Beck admitted that the spray-and-pray cops never had eyes on  target, but one started shooting at a sound; and that the other 7 of them irresponsibly collapsed into contagious fire after a single shot;  and concluded (as has everyone who’s reviewed this abominable performance) that they were in the wrong:

The women inside were delivering newspapers and when one threw a newspaper that hit the ground at a house, an officer thought that sound was a gunshot and opened fire, with seven other officers at the scene joining in, Beck said.

“This incident has been found to be out of policy for all officers involved,” Beck said.

But he elected not to discipline them. That really says it all.

Their biggest failing, of course, was the lack of judgment and discipline that produced the gunfire in the first place. (Judgment will get you in a lot more trouble than marksmanship will, unless you have The Badge of Impunity like these clowns). But consider that their marksmanship — 2 wounds out of 103 rounds fired, neither in the target’s x-ring (thank God), about 1.94% accuracy.

Whoever signed these guys off as safe to go armed is guilty of instructional malpractice.

Another reporter concern-trolling the Ukrainian protesters’ arms

One of the "armed" protestors we saw had what looked like this Russian Baikal air gun.

One of the “armed” protestors we saw had what looked like this Russian Baikal air gun. To gun-blind Fisher, this is the face of escalation.

This time, it’s the Washington Post’s lightweight “expert” on UW, Max Fisher.  Fisher’s relevant experience? Nil. But hey, he has “a master’s degree in security studies from Johns Hopkins University.” Oooooh… can we touch him?

Fisher’s point, which is hilariously mooted by events now, is that Yanukovych must win because the protesters didn’t stick to his (Fisher’s, the armchair expert’s) beau ideal of Ghandian non-violence. No doubt Yanukovych is running around Kharkov showing everybody this in the Post.

You could hardly blame the besieged protesters if they wanted to fight firepower with firepower. Still, if this were to become a trend and protesters were to increasingly bear and use arms to defend against security forces, that could actually spell doom for their movement. It could be the best thing to happen to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych since clashes reignited earlier this week.

via If Ukraine protesters are shooting back, that’s great news for the government.

Fisher’s justification for his ahistorical, now proven-incorrect, and just generally dumb-ass post? Research that he claims to have done for that master’s degree, but that is tragically unpublished.

Sometimes “master” is only half a word.

So what was his methodology, to the extent that he describes it?

When civil resistance movements popular uprisings adopt small arms use, they become much more likely to fail and the government becomes more likely to survive intact. That was a conclusion I reached, anyway, as part of my graduate research on government crackdowns against popular democratic movements. I surveyed 20 attempted uprisings over the past century and found overwhelming evidence that when protesters take up arms in large numbers they make their movement far likelier to fail. Within those cases, the chance that a popular uprising would “outlast” the government and ultimately secure its goals was cut almost in half if the protesters took up arms.

AK-47Let us get this straight. He cherry-picked 20 insurgencies or uprisings from the literally thousands worldwide over a century, and proved what he wanted to prove.

Revolutions never win, it’s science, or at least whatever kind of cod science they teach in the Hopkins security studies program. (We can see it now… acres of journalists crafting narratives around anecdotes, while barnacled professors nod paternally).

Revolutions never win if they take up arms. And now back to you, at the Congress of the Republic of Vietnam.

But before we do that, let’s mine Fisher’s folly for some more examples of his, er, mastery. This is more mastery than what lots of people write:

It’s really, really difficult to overstate the importance of the military in moments of mass popular protest or uprising: ultimately, they have the monopoly on force, and they can decide the outcome if they want to.

Got that? If the rebels take up arms, the military has a monopoly of force.

See, that’s why the Iraqi Sunni minority took their licking in 2004 and we never heard another peep out of them. More mastery?

[T]he protesters are legitimizing the use of deadly force, and eroding the taboo against open shooting…

Max Fisher, Master in Security Studies from the Bitch Had It Coming School of Interpersonal Relations. See, what Max understands from his classroom mastership, that you probably didn’t pick up out at the war he’s spent the last bakers-dozen years not participating in, is that the nobility and purity of the martyrdom of the protesters is only noble and pure if they just lie there to get martyred. Well, maybe they can hide a little. But fighting back is right out.

Needless to say, the 1st Armored Division will never be commanded by a man with a Master in Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University. And that’s a good thing.

Now, Max is not very bright, and he’s not very honest, but he’s not a complete imbecile, and he does find a truffle in his continual rooting:

[P]opular uprisings ultimately succeed because the military sides with them, explicitly or implicitly. We saw this in Romania in 1989, for example, when the military largely refused orders to put down protests, helping to doom leader Nicolae Ceaușescu. And we saw it in Egypt in 2011, when the military parked tanks around protesters to protect them from security forces, and shortly after forced out President Hosni Mubarak.

He has a point there, and what cemented the victory — so far — of the Ukrainian protesters was the volte-face of the actual units that initiated the shooting, or at least, the command echelons high above them. The Ukrainian Army stayed in its barracks, but the Interior Ministry, police, and other security services put their guns at the disposal of the revolution. After it was clear the revolution shot back.

But that becomes much less likely if protesters start using small arms. Militaries are just much less comfortable aiding a protest movement that shoots back

This is, of course, nonsense. The protest movement is only shooting “back” if the military (or militarized police) are shooting at them.

[W]hen protesters and police are shooting one another in the streets, the military becomes more likely to step in.

But the military can pick either side, or neither. In 1956, most of the Hungarian military picked the rebel side. (They got their clock cleaned). In 1953, the nascent Nationale Volksarmee and the Volkspolizei picked the government side. In 1981, the Polish Army stepped in between protesters and their own Soviet overlords. In 1968, the Czechoslovak Army sat it out. And that’s just Europe.

Starting as early as 1973, Afghan citizens began resisting their nation’s “government monopoly of force.” How’d that turn out? (Well, the repercussions are not done repercussing, yet, but the civilians won by 1978, and again by 1989, and again by 1992. And then blew it all infighting).

So no, Max Fisher’s tiny, cherry-picked, molested little data set doesn’t prove a damn thing. And he needs to get out more — and not to the hotel bars where the Post reporters usually write their stuff based on what their local stringers bring them.

We wonder if he makes them say, “yes, Master.”

Update, and a thought

Compare the frightful performance of the US media with the performance of the state-controlled Ukrainian media and it;s not too different; here’s a recounting of a couple of young Ukrainian activists’ encounter with their own Piers-Morgan-like shill newsreader.

A thought: however the young rebels feel about the events of the last weeks, tomorrow will dawn on a Ukraine still surrounded by Russian power, and still divided ethnically, politically and now, in loyalties. There are several paths forward from here, but they’re all difficult.

Update II

Part of the backlash is a call for a gun rights constitutional amendment in Ukraine. Sounds like an idea whose time has come. Peace, out, as the hippies say.

Failure of Selection and Assessment

Probably the most critical task in any organization is personnel selection and assessment. High-functioning organizations have formal selection gates that select personnel who will be able to perform at the desired level, and ongoing assessment procedures that will, among other things, identify nonperformers and separate them.

Of course, we’re thinking of special operations units, but selection and assessment have been employed before by civilian organizations with resounding success. We’ll have an example after the video. For now, have a look at a failure of personnel selection and assessment. Yeah, it’s another quivering-coward-shoots-a-dog video:

This officer, Tarek Hassani, is clearly badly suited for his job, due to cowardice. Cowards abound, they’re a fact of human life, because courage is a trait like many others that’s distributed on a curve. Guys like Bud Day are on one tail of the bell curve; guys like Tarek Hassani are on the other; most of us cluster in the middle somewhere. Somewhere out on that left tail of the bell curve, long before we get to Hassani, is a cut-off (“we know it when we see it” but probably about 2 standard deviations below the mean) beyond which the absence of courage, or presence of cowardice, is no longer a trait within a normal range, but is pathological and defining: the man is a coward.

Cowards can’t be cured, but they still can do many productive jobs in society. But cowards like Hassani are a bad fit in armed positions. Whether they will fire or not fire under stress cannot be consistently predicted, only that they’ll do it without exercising judgment. They can’t, because they’re too scared (as Hassani admitted when he emitted the Mantra after this incident). Notice how Hassani’s voice gets extremely high-pitched? That’s panic, fear taken to the point of near paralysis. It’s an involuntary response to fear that has been studied extensively.

For all his fear, the dogs do not attack him. They bark and growl at him. He goes aggressive and kicks the dog (and he kicks, no surprise, like a girl). When he shoots the dog, it’s standing several feet away, barking at him. (And even having made the decision to fire, he fires poorly, delivering  a cruel, painful wound instead of a kill shot from approximately four feet away. Want him shooting past your head in a hostage situation?)

He got out of all trouble with the Coward’s All-Purpose Mantra: “I was in fear of my life,” and his effeminate vocal pitch in and around the incident suggests that he really was in mortal fear over a couple of barking dogs. Contrary to Hassani’s evident belief, he was never in mortal danger. The dogs are not rabid, and as we’ve researched before, no policeman has ever died from the bite of a non-rabid dog. A lot of dogs have died from the shots of yellow policemen, though.

Christ, what would he do if he were ever really in danger?

(That last is a trick question. No one knows the answer because he was hired, armed and deployed with no selection and assessment for performance under stress. However, the best guide to future behavior is past behavior, and he’s already choked once).

After he kills the dog, Hassani briefly gets control of his fear, only to lose it again when the citizen is difficult with him. We don’t think that obstreperous citizen had any idea how close he was to being shot himself. After all, the same cop he was baiting was the same gutless yellow coward who just let panic and terror drive him into shooting the dog.

Certainly, the citizen or citizens who let his, or their, unruly dogs run wild, is not blameless. If you live among other people, you have a duty to control your animals. And Hassani is not blameless — while the chief is backing his decision, it’s not only a bad decision, it has revealed a lot about his personality and character deficiencies to anybody who wants to know. (Defense lawyers, wouldn’t you like to know a particular officer has fear-management and self-control issues when he’s planning to testify?)

But what’s really at fault is the deficient or absent selection and assessment process that turns loose a guy who is just a bundle of terrified, jangling nerve endings, armed with a gun and shielded by a badge, on a largely defenseless public.

Ask yourself, having seen the man driven to terror by a barking dog: if he were engaged by an armed criminal, could brother officers count on him? Or would he be a wild-firing friendly-fire threat? He couldn’t restrain himself in this case, not from shooting the dog nor from threatening the citizen with screams and obscenities. How much worse would his behavior get if the threat that terrified him were real? 

Tarek Hassani may be a fine fellow in nine different ways, but he lacks the physical courage and self-control to be a policeman. And his chief lacks the moral courage and integrity to cut him loose. The department needs a new chief (just roll the dice, you can’t do any worse) and Hassani needs a new career, selling shoes or something where his lack of courage and self-control can’t hurt anyone. If he stays on the police, he’ll be in the news again.

We mentioned that selection and assessment as derived for special operations units is much more widely applicable. For example, an aviation college experimented with an ab initio flight training program for carefully selected (that word!) college graduates. The criteria it used were ingeniously selected: airline managers subjectively selected a group of pilots who were their idea of “model employees,” and assessed the set of best employees with psychometric and personality assessment batteries. The students selected for the ab initio experiment were the nearest analogues to the employees the airlines already preferred. The result? Very low training attrition, very high student performance, more model employees at the airlines.

If you select the right people, training to even a high standard is a pleasure. If you select the wrong people, or don’t even make efforts to select anyone in particular, you can never train them to a high standard and might, as you see here, have employees who fall far short of an adequate standard.

Hat tip: guns.com.

He’s so smart he’s in prison

From one uniform to another, that's Hoffman's story.

From one uniform to another, that’s Hoffman’s story.

Robert Patrick Hoffman II was a career Navy CTT, an enlisted rating involved in the collection and processing of electronic intelligence. He was a submariner (CTs are often assigned to subs). Both the intelligence and submarine fields let a sailor develop a lot of knowledge, knowledge that hostile intelligence services want, and that a sailor — active or retired — is sworn to protect.

But when he retired, Hoffman decided to try to sell his knowledge to a foreign intelligence service. His motivation seems to have been money, and ego: he was too clever by far to be caught by what he saw as the dull and plodding FBI. He also fancied himself a ladies’ man, like James Bond, without the patriotism and loyalty. Except, he was going to betray the Russians too, for the sheer hell of it, to show he was smarter than them, too, well, and also for money. Once he got things going with the Russians, he was going to go the FBI, he wrote in a sort of diary he kept, which he titled with notable grandiosity, Operations Log.

He thought he was James Bond, in a Man Without a Country way.

He thought he was James Bond, in a Man Without a Country way.

Imagine his surprise when he went to the FBI and found out, ultimately, that the “Russians” he was dealing with were, wait for it, FBI agents all along. Even the “Russian chicks” who interest se seemed to be part of his FSB compensation package.  Not until the FBI set the hook in him a little deeper, did they finally reel him in.

He had written in his “diary,” which was full of contempt for the FBI and CIA and his outrage at the Russians’ bad tradecraft, that he was finally going to go to the Bureau.

When I go to the feds I don’t want them to think I am there for the money. Technical advice and assistance, sure, but a handout, not my style. There is also the possibility that they arrest me. That would be funny honestly. Not funny for Colette, but here I am struggling to eat on a daily basis, and they send me to the one place I’d be most comfortable, prison. At a minimum I expect to by locked in an interrogation room for the rest of the day so I better go now so I can get some studying in for tomorrow’s final if/when they release me.

The traitor didn’t make his final. (Repeat after me: Awwwwwww). On the plus side, we’re told that  educational opportunities abound for inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. And, as the excerpt from his “Operations Log” notes, he faced the possibility of imprisonment with notable sang-froid – at least, as long as it was a theoretical possibility.

According to BOP.gov, they don’t have a number for him yet, probably because he was just sentenced days ago. He got 30 years for trying to sell his real secrets to what turned out to be real spies. He’ll be knocking on the door of 70 when he’s released.  Here are some more stories about him in the Virginian-Pilot, and again.

Here are excerpts from his Ops Log that were entered into evidence in his trial: robert-hoffman-docs.pdf

Here is a motions judgment from the case which includes a recap of the facts of the case: robert-hoffman_instructions_motion.pdf  (Funny fact. The judge goes to great pains not to name the country where Hoffman made an approach to foreign intelligence officers, but the name of the capital city is in the Ops Log excerpts. D’oh!)

Both courtesy cryptome.org. (There is a stash of documents at the Virginian-Pilot also).

Exit question: wonder if Hoffman still thinks that FBI agents are stupid?

Assclown of the Ides: Gregory C. Banks

For Banks (l.) every day is Halloween.

For Banks (l.) every day is Halloween.

Were we chumps to go to SFQC, or what? Because this assclown not only awarded himself SFQC qualification, he promoted himself to major while he was at it.

And Gregory C. Banks managed all this without the keepers of the records ever having any indication he was in the army. Ever. Either he’s so superstealthy that the air itself doesn’t dare to flow back in to the places he’s just left, or he’s full of shit.

You know what the right answer is. If he were any more full of effluent, the septic system truck would be backing up to him right now. WFSB-TV interviews a man who fingered him as a phony:

“He said he was a special forces major and was stopping through. He was back from deployment for a couple weeks, problem solving overseas,” said a man, who asked Eyewitness News to conceal his identity because the accusations he’s making are explosive, and he worries for his safety.

According to this man, another man, by the name of Greg Banks, was coming to the Mason’s Hall in Danbury every few weeks. Banks would eventually show up one day in his dress blues with some awfully impressive medals.

“He walks in bronze star, purple heart, dress blues,” the man told Eyewitness News.

The man added that he thought “something was not right.”

“He gets all these awards all the sudden, he has a purple heart after being away for a couple weeks,” the man said. “What happened?”

The tipster told Eyewitness News that he started checking into Banks. He looked at official records, searched online, and talked to friends who actually are special forces. There was no record of the man, who identified himself to the Mason’s as Brother Greg Banks.

gregory_c._banks_phony_2Hey, a Mason wouldn’t lie to a brother, would he? Maybe he’s a phony on that score, too.

There were other red flags, according to Eyewitness News’ source.

“He was wearing the wrong color beret. He was wearing it incorrectly,” the man said. “He had awards on his chest that didn’t make any sense.”

Convinced Banks wasn’t in the military at all, he reached out through an associate to the I-Team and the station started digging. Eyewitness News’ request to The Pentagon for any military records for Gregory C. Banks came up empty. There’s no record of a soldier by that name.

via Gregory C. Banks Clinical Psychologist and Special Forces Fraud – Professional Soldiers ®.

A number of things are jacked up about Banks’s uniform, including both things that are out of place, and things that a Special Forces officer would not be wearing at all.

gregory_c._banks_phony_letterBoth the tipster and the TV station independently sought out Banks’s military records. To which the Army replied: “What records? We never heard of the guy” (left).

The tipster noted to the channel 3 I-Team that Banks’s impersonation is a slap in the face to every legitimately wounded service member. Yeah, and we in SF are not too thrilled about it, either.

But you want to know who’s a bigger scumbag than Greg Banks? William Gerrish. He heads the Connecticut office that licensed Banks to, among other things, counsel veterans for PTSD. Gerrish says he doesn’t see where Banks has done anything wrong worth investigating.

And that’s the government that knows better than you whether you need a gun. Lord love a duck.

Some more details about Banks’s imposture and how he was exposed at the Danbury (CT) News-Times. Best bit: the young man who fingered Banks as a phony isn’t a vet, but he had been in Junior ROTC and has friends who went on to serve; he could tell Banks was off-base on his uniform. Well done, kid. If you wonder how vets feel about this, check out This Ain’t Hellwhere a retired Navy Master Chief helped expose Banks, too. Bravo Zulu.

And if you want to know how SF guys think about guys like Banks, here’s a thread at ps.com. BLUF: we don’t like ‘em.

If you read nothing else on PTSD…

A "PTSD counselor." He turned out to be a phony, imagine that.

A “PTSD counselor.” He turned out to be a phony, imagine that. Hey, Chris, he’s from Houston; is he out of prison yet?

…read Chris Hernandez’s post at BreachBangClear, PTSD and Fakers and Frauds and WTAF? Not just because he quotes WeaponsMan.com. The initial story he tells (of seeing a PTSD story on the tube, rolling his eyes like most of us combat vets do, and then being shocked when the subject of the story was a personal friend of his who he knew had seen a ton of The Elephant) is one he’d told us before, and many of you will sympathize.

Actually, we’d recommend one more read to you, and that’s the chapter on PTSD, its origins and its wide application to fakers, in Stolen Valor buy B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley. (Chris, you should read this just because they’re fellow Texans). Stolen Valor tells the story of how the national reputation of Vietnam veterans was ruined by a media fixated on outrageous stories — stories that came from fakers and people replaying movie scenes for various advantages.

The fakers are nothing new, although the real vets of Vietnam were especially ill served by them (and by the media who lionized them. The Boston Globe actually got a murderer, Joe Yandle, out of jail with a phony Vietnam trauma tale, and the jitbag — never in combat — killed again). Burkett and Whitley recount how the “last living veteran” of the Civil War turned out to be a phony… as did the second and third to last “veterans.” Here in New England, colonial and state legislatures were plagued with phony veterans claiming pensions or back pay from the Revolution, the French and Indian, and even King Philip’s War.

Napoleon’s Invalides had to deal with fake old grognards, and today’s VA is no different. But the well-meaning civilians that run VA are rubber-stamping claims from people who are using long-discredited wannabe tropes like “my records burned in the fire!” and “there were no records because I was classified Top Secret Imaginary!”

Shakespeare’s rousing speech in Henry V speaks to some of the reasons that “soldiers” emerge in the decades after the war. “Men in England now abed… will hold their manhoods cheap” when they meet a veteran who was with the young King on St. Crispin’s Day. In some subset of human beings, envy, an ugly enough emotion on its own, twists itself into impersonation. Many mean nothing by it; they just want a better answer for “what did you do in the war, Daddy?” than the answer they went with during wartime.

Yet, we couldn’t do our jobs out in our various positions along the spear, if we didn’t have a strong economy, brilliant scientists, focused engineers, and all the other specialists that make a modern society work. So there’s no reason for anyone that does a job in the productive economy — a job someone is willing to pay him or her to do — to feel bad about not joining the Army. Maybe we could have used that person, but what he or she did was worthwhile by definition (i.e., somebody paid for it). Why not be proud of what you actually did?

And then there are the ones who claim some benefit for personal advantage. The PTSD phonies are in that class. Many “professional veterans” turn out to be in that class. Stolen Valor recounts the story of an SF guy and a SEAL who started a Vietnam War museum. They had a nice little museum going, even though each was a phony (and here’s the laugh: while their stories were as transparent as air itself, each thought the other was real and was worried about his buddy finding out his own imposture). And phony trauma claims are so widespread that we confess we once erred the other way, as Chris caught himself doing: we assumed all PTSD stories were bullshit, because so many are.

The phenomenon of soldiers having psychological difficulties, alienation, repression, soldiers’ heart, shell shock, call it what you will, is as old as warfare. The Vikings probably got grimmed out by their battles, and probably self-medicated with mead and wenching; and that works as well for most guys as anything in the limited aid bag of today’s psychiatry. Chris nails it, in our view, here:

Right or wrong, combat vets like me who know guys with legitimate PTSD problems feel nothing but disgust at those who whine, exaggerate or flat-out lie about their experiences. And maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but it seems that the fakers outnumber the real victims by about 5 to 1.

Well, there’s at least two of us.

It was some real frankness from some real combat vets — one a humble recipient of the DSC who survived more wounds to his person than some entire units — that caused us to readjust our attitude towards PTSD, and admit it might actually exist. (Seriously, a good look at how the diagnosis was created, by whom, and why — it was a Vietnam War protest by an activist doctor — will shake your faith in it as a medical dx, too).

Soldiers, and veterans, are individuals, something that’s lost when we think of them as the collective “troops.” A million Afghan and Iraq vets have a million discrete experience sets, and will react differently. In our community (SF), actual PTSD is pretty low because we have a very high level of stress inoculation and a dissociation response that would probably constitute illness in the general population — it’s an excellent adaptation to stressful environments, not so much for taking Kid to the school dance or running out to Five Guys for a burger. Survivor’s guilt? That, we’ve got, but for most of us it’s our own goddamn business, thank you for your concern.

But I know SF guys who are sure they have experienced PTSD, including guys who can’t be milking the VA system for a disability because they’re 100% for real, physical, sometimes debilitating, injuries. To those guys, I listen. To the scamming Air Force chick who had a story in some chick magazine about how she’s a mental basket case because of the hardships of FOB life, like, what was it, “soggy vegetables?” Not so much. (That she’s a basket case, we will accept. That the bad menu on base did it, nopers). Most Americans have no idea that the 80% of the military that never leaves a large base has regular “steak and crab leg” or “steak and lobster” days. It’s traumatic that surf-n-turf can’t be the fare every day for Air Force newsletter writers like that Unique And Special Snowflake™. And she’s got a disability for it. War is hell.

For the real trauma victims, whom you might not know when you see ‘em. listening and taling seems to help. At least, when the conversational partners are other vets. This is the germ of truth behind the rap sessions and the well-meaning, but clueless, “facilitators.” (Once such a program gets infected by wannabes, it probably can’t be saved at all. In a sort of veterans’ Gresham’s Law the phony vets drive the authentic ones out).

Economists know that if you tax something, you get less. (That’s the whole reson for Pigovian taxes, like cigarette taxes, and was the original concept of the NFA transfer tax). If you subsidize it, you get more. We’re now subsidizing a Bonus Army of people who are not disabled, but have been convinced that they are. No good comes of that, and probably the worst of it is the diminution in those people’s capacities and potential.

Over at Breach Bang Clear, some commenters are tearing Chris a new one because he called out the epidemic of phonies. One questions his own service, which he’s documented online pretty extensively (and honestly). Someone blames him for military suicides.

Yeah, that new phenomenon. Prediction: if someone does a study of the thousands who are on disability thanks to PTSD, without a matching Purple Heart or equivalent noncombat trauma, you’ll find that now that they’re getting the eagle’s kiss in the mail, their suicide rate is below average. Bet?

TSA grabs for more power

tsa checkpointThe TSA, America’s least competent government agency, continues to seek new fields for its trademark alternative to competence, rather than address its existing problems. The corrupt agency’s latest power grab, last week, bestowed on its low-integrity and even-lower-intellect staff the “right” to conduct warrantless, no-notice raids on repair shops where airplanes and their components are fixed.

Having alienated the traveling public, they’re now moving on to deal with the menace of terrorists from stealing airplanes off the aviation equivalent of the Jiffy Lube lot. The last time this happened… well, it actually hasn’t happened yet, so the payroll patriots of the TSA are stepping in to screw up the in-maintenance aircraft the terrorists have so resolutely resisted screwing up. (Terrorists, after all, are sly and cunning and bear considerable watching).

In the decade since the creation of the TSA, its agents have never caught a terrorist or prevented an attack. Instead, they’ve stolen millions from passenger luggage — usually with complete impunity — and groped, ogled and humiliated millions of passengers on their way to complete mission ineffectiveness. Most seriously, they have caused thousands of deaths — more dead Americans than Osama bin Laden — by making flying so unpleasant that long-distance travelers revery to the less-safe mode of travel, driving.

The Transportation Security Administration on Friday unveiled long awaited regulations designed to protect against terrorist strikes involving aircraft repair stations near airports.

Part of the government’s response to the 9/11 attacks of 2001, the regulations extend TSA’s security enforcement authority over the Federal Aviation Administration-certified stations, where commercial planes undergo maintenance.

The regulations, which take effect next month, reflect the government’s view that the stations “continue to be a prime target of terrorist threats,” according to a notice to be published in Monday’s Federal Register.

Yeah, definitely. Remember all those terrorist attacks against airplane repair stations? What, you don’t? Think really hard. An outfit with the integrity of the TSA couldn’t just be making it up.

Oh, wait.

Noone good, decent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever. In the main, they’re the sweepings of halfway houses, doss huts, and rehab clinics.

In particular, the rule aims to keep terrorists from commandeering unattended aircraft that are capable of flight and crashing them into populated areas.

“Enhancement of security at repair stations that have access to runways will mitigate the potential threat that a large aircraft could be used as a weapon,” the agency contends.

The regulations allow unannounced inspections at the facilities. Based on inspections, the TSA will have authority to order the repair stations to take corrective action.

The new rule comes on top of regulations already put in place by the FAA, which has sought to fill safety gaps in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks.

via TSA expands reach with new anti-terror regs | TheHill.

It gets better. A number of trade unions, like the AFL-CIO, are complaining that the new TSA raid mandate doesn’t punish the innocent (and just coincidentally, we’re sure, non-union) repair stations enough. 

Screenshot 2014-01-17 16.08.13Because nothing says, “The union is out for the working man,” quite like sending mouth-breathing, armed, grade-school dropouts of the (just coincidentally, we’re sure, unionized) moral-turpitude-saturated TSA to raid your competitors.

Even the typically lowball estimate that’s part of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) and the Final Rule admits that complying with the new rules will cost repair stations millions a year — and that’s before they get raided.

Fortunately there’s a way to save yourself if the TSA raids you. Just throw them a preteen child.

Assclown of the Ides 2014 01: Mark Kirk

Mark Kirk, Playing dress-up in front of an A-6.

Mark Kirk, Playing dress-up. Source: Kirk campaign (he was not an A-6 crewdog).

Mark Kirk is a Republican Senator from Illinois. He’s also a serial military Stolen Valor candidate, whose no-heavy-bending career as a mostly-nonflying desk jockey intelligence officer has been the basis of repeated and persistent claims of combat service and awards that have turned out to be, there’s no other word, phony. We’ve beaten up phony Democrats before (Dick Blumenthal, come on down!), so doing the same for Republicans is fair play. 

So Kirk makes phony service claims. Well, what can one reasonably expect from someone who’s both a lawyer and a politician?

Kirk keeps his uniform among other things in his capacious closet. Oh, wait….

Kirk keeps his uniform, among other things. in his capacious closet. Oh, wait….

Did we mention, from Chicago? 

While serving the only God he has ever served — himself — as a staffer and lawyer-lobbyist in Washington, the Navy gave him a reserve officer’s commission in 1989, as they often do for politically connected DC maklers. 

This not only gets the Navy an insider for their lobbyists to speed-dial, it gets the insider a second fat pension for little to no effort.

Kirk served in several brief “war tourism” junior intelligence officer deployments, but he hasn’t been able to keep himself from running off at the mouth with tall tales about his service:

  • He claimed to have been named “Intelligence Officer of the Year.” In actuality, he was a very junior officer at squadron level in a Wing that got an “Intelligence Unit of the Year” award. Somehow this unit award, mostly for others’ work if he contributed to it at all, became an individual award when filtered through Kirk’s Washington value system and retold by Kirk. Further, the award was not a military award at all, but one made by a trade association. ‘
  • Like his fellow Senator Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), who also served in a special assignment for political wheels and never saw action, Kirk (R-IL) has told tall tales of combat survival. “The last time I was in Iraq,” Kirk boasted, “I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet, and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us.” Called on it, Kirk at first tried to brazen the story out, but when it was clear that records showed he was never under fire, he mumbled that his memory had failed him. (There is a word for people that remember combat they were never in… we mean, besides “Senator”).

Here’s Kirk making the bogus boast:

Kirk has also spent a year on, essentially, fully paid leave while recovering from a stroke. Despite the fact he was racked out with the stroke, he kept voting (or someone voted for him), especially when his vote was needed — or, presumably, paid for.

Yeah, don't you always remember stirring tales of the combat you were never in? What… no?!?

Yeah, don’t you always remember stirring tales of the combat you were never in? What… no?!?

After kicking his wife of eight years to the curb in 2009, Kirk has emerged as an outspoken supporter of gay rights. Not that there’s anything wrong with that™. (He could form a closet Stolen Valor Republican Caucus with Lindsey Graham).

It’s obvious that Kirk is a man of deeply deficient integrity. He will say anything, do anything, and claim anything to aggrandize himself. To Mark Kirk, the guys who do the actual fighting are chumps to be used — in his world, their laurels exist for him to steal.

Since he’s so proud of his own “combat” service, want to guess whether he thinks the actual combat vets should be allowed to own guns? Or “ordinary” citizens, for that matter? Yep, he’s a vote and sponsor for every gun ban that bubbles up out of the tar pits of Congress.

Unfortunately, he’s not up for reelection this year.

Maybe in Prison he can Pass as a Cop

Jonathan Stevens in a familiar pose -- facing a mugshot camera

Jonathan Stevens in a familiar pose — facing a mugshot camera

Look at Florida, where the bad cops ain’t necessarily cops:

Police say 24-year-old Jonathan Stevens was arrested in Tampa over the weekend after flagging down a police officer. He had flashing red and blue lights on his SUV, and had a gun and a badge around his neck.

“The officer was suspicious. It just didn’t seem right to her,” said TPD spokesperson Andrea Davis.

Stevens’ car was not from a government agency, and he was not a government employee. Police say he admitted to making the whole thing up, and it’s not the first time.

In September, the Manatee Sheriff’s Office says he pulled over a driver in the parking lot of the Ellenton Outlets. He also faces charges related to that incident.

via Police: Fake cop pulled over real cop – FOX 35 News Orlando.

Wonder what Stevens's fellow defendants think about his cop act?

Wonder what Stevens’s fellow defendants think about his cop act?

OK, so that’s two times. You have to wonder how many times this assclown has done this and gotten away with it. But he ought to have tightened up his mental shot group by now, right? Errrrr… not right.

So what does this knucklehead do? Jan. 2 and he’s back at it:

His latest brush with the law happened this week when he grabbed a bite at Acropolis in Ybor City.

He made quite an impression.

“Acting like he was someone of authority all the time, in an off way,” said waitress Charley Pairas.

Pairas say he’s a regular customer, sometimes showing up two times a day. She thought he was an officer.

He even played the part.

“Every time I see him come in, he had a police vest on and a little badge that would hang down,” she said, adding that he would ask for a law enforcement discount.

Not just a three-time poseur but a cheap poseur.

Restaurant manager Jennifer Slater had her suspicions.

“He doesn’t act like our cops. I’ve never see him protecting our streets in Ybor,” Slater said.

He was arrested that day for impersonating a police officer, but it’s not the first time. A couple of days before, Stevens pulled over a real Tampa police officer in her patrol car.

So what story does his attorney tell?

His attorney Charley Demosthenous explained to the judge his client is an Army veteran who suffers mental issues, including extreme post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He was injured when his Humvee rolled over, and then he was beaten severely shortly afterwards, and almost died. He’s on medication as a result of that,” Demosthenous said.

Boy, that smells like bullshit to us. Not a lawyer’s bullshit, but a lawyer who’s been successfully bullshat himself. A severe beating seems more like what Stevens needs, than what he’s already had; and we’re suspicious of “vet” and “PTSD” claims of a guy busted three times as a phony cop. What are the odds he’s just as phony on that? Just about unity, we’re thinking.

Jeez, it’s not like Gulf Coast Florida cops need him. They’ve got enough bad publicity already (cowardly cop shot dog while raiding wrong house), imagine if this nutter was a real cop.

If you want to be a cop, the safe approach is to apply and then attend the academy. Just sayin’. Otherwise, the first guys who actually believe you are a cop might be your cellmates.