Category Archives: Phonies and Assclowns

An Anti-Gun Gun Store

They’re out there, of course; and the media loves them. For years, one of the most relentlessly self-promoting ones was Mike Weisser of Massachusetts, who billed himself in media as “Mike the Gun Guy” and never met a ban he didn’t like, even though he was an FFL. (Apparently he wasn’t a very honest gun guy, which will surprise no one who ever argued with the slippery Weisser. He is reported to have surrendered his FFL, and his records, deficiencies and all, to the ATF rather than face charges some time ago).

Now, Mark Patinkin of the Providence, Rhode Island, Journal, has found another anti-gun gun shop.

anti-gun-gun-store-midtate-coventry-riThe owner and employees of Midstate Gun Shop in Coventry, Rhode Island, hit the media hextifecta:

  1. They hate the NRA; if you’re an NRA member, you’re not only not “intelligent”  but also an “extremist.”
  2. They don’t care for hunting, mostly;
  3. They wish they could vote for Obama for a third term;
  4. They believe all guns should be locked up unloaded at all times, and no one should want or use one for self or home defense;
  5. They support a one-week waiting period for gun sales;
  6. If you disagree with that, you’re “crazy” and an “extremist.”

Patinkin thought he had died and gone to heaven: proof positive that gun people all agreed exactly with him!

I told myself it had to be a fluke. Aren’t gun people all mean survivalists with an anti-government chip on their shoulder?
I sat down with the owner, Kyle McCarthy, 44, and admitted to having that stereotype. It got a smile.
“People consider this to be a back-alley secret society of dangerous and evil people,” he said.
I asked where that comes from.
Mostly the media, he said: “They like to equate the criminal element of society with sportsmen.”
I asked if any media outlets are more fair — like Fox News?
McCarthy shook his head. “No, I don’t agree with Fox News. Fox likes to quote sensationalist NRA extremists.”
Wait a minute — I thought a gun shop owner would love NRA extremists.
“Intelligent people don’t like extremists on either side of the fence,” he said.
Then McCarthy told me he wasn’t even an NRA member.
He said the NRA is as guilty of sensationalizing as the extreme anti-gun side.
“It seems they’re against any law that could be productive in keeping guns out of the wrong hands,” he said.
Such as?
“A proper storage law.” He said owners should be responsible for keeping their guns locked up and secure.
McCarthy also welcomes Rhode Island’s law requiring a week-long gun-purchase waiting period while both the FBI and local police departments do background checks.
One of his employees, Dave Champagne, joined us. Champagne used to be in restaurant management, including at the Cowesett Inn, until the recession.

We’re still trying to figure out how locking guns up keeps them out of the hands of criminals. The best safe we ever had — it was approved to keep Top Secret stuff in, materials which could do exceptionally grave damage to national security if they were lost — guaranteed to delay an attacker for half an hour. The gun safe you buy at Walmart or Dicks (or, if you’re exceptionally self-loathing as a gun owner, from the anti-gun Midstate Gun Company in Coventry, RI) will delay a dumber than usual burglar three to five minutes, max. Storage has to be part of a layered physical security plan, or it just keeps honest people out.

Back to Patinkin’s delight at finding kindred souls in an anti-gun gun shop….

via Mark Patinkin: In gun shop, stereotype gets shot full of holes – News – – Providence, RI.

I asked Dave Champagne if he was an NRA member.
“Hell no,” he said.
Then he ruined my stereotype even more.
“I’m a liberal who works in a gun store,” Champagne told me. “I voted for Barack Obama twice, and I’d vote for him a third time if I could.”
And get this — Champagne doesn’t even own a gun.
“I don’t hunt,” he said. “My recreation is here at work, and I don’t fear someone kicking in my door and stealing things they wouldn’t want anyway.”
Of course, plenty of the employees have gun collections, including store manager Claude Lefebvre, 50, a Coast Guard vet and La Salle Academy grad.
He got his love of the sport from his dad, Donald, 79, who happened to be in the store. Donald Lefebvre has been hunting since he was 15, mostly deer and ducks.
“I don’t shoot anything I’m not going to eat,” the elder Lefebvre said, adding that shooting relieves stress for him.
Another employee, Eric Lunardelli, 42, told me much the same thing. He went to Toll Gate, has been a competitive trap shooter, and he doesn’t like the NRA, either.
I chatted with them for an hour as customers came in and out and, finally, I had to go.
I thanked McCarthy, and told him I was disappointed — I’d come down looking for gun nuts.
He said he was sorry. “We don’t cater to crazy,” he explained. “Or extremists.”

We thought this might be one of those cases where a reporter wanted that to be true bad enough that he just made the story up. Reporters do that all the time; that’s what Gersh Kuntzman of the NY Post did in the story where he claimed he gave himself PTSD and a bruised shoulder by firing an AR-15. (He later stealth-edited the PTSD claim, lie upon lie: again, that’s what reporters do). But while Patinkin found a store that matched his prefab narrative, a careful perusal of the Midstate website indicates that they really, really, are anti-gun.

From their lame instruction/test booklet (.pdf), there’s a bunch of real fright about using a gun for protection:

anti-gun-gun-store-01 anti-gun-gun-store-02

While asking a lawyer who practices in this field might be a good idea, asking a cop isn’t. Most cops have too many laws to keep track of. You might get a guy who knows the statutes and case law, or a guy who’s pulling it out of his nether regions.

There’s also this:



Hey, how did that sear get into a 1928 Thompson?

If you don’t know what you’re writing about, guy, stop writing. (This may have come from the State of Rhode Island, an operating subsidiary of La Cosa Nostra, because the test is for a Rhode Island “blue card” required to buy pistols).

In any event, there you have it. Mr McCarthy does not want any crazy extremists, any NRA members, anyone that wants a gun for defense, or any one that is against a third term for President Obama to buy from him.

Make it so.

Assclown of the Ides: Rudi (Hans Rudolph) Gresham


Gresham in a photo that used to be on his own website — wearing someone else’s junk. The beret, captain’s rank, CIB and Master Parachutist badge, to name a few, are all phony.

This poser was so incredibly slick that even experienced Special Forces commanders were fooled by him. We’ve been watching this case develop for over two years. Until we first heard about it, we had taken Gresham — who was everywhere, man, like the guy in the old country truck-drivin’ school — as a blowhard and a self-serving crapweasel, but even we’d accepted his SF bona fides.

It didn’t occur to us to FOIA his amazing record, but it did occur to several SF online veterans’ groups, like Guardian of Valor and SF Brothers, that have a public-facing side and a private side, as well as others that have no visible overt presence at all. And they began seeking his records.

As the waves from the active reconnaissance reached Gresham, he began to delete incriminating claims and documents to cover his tracks. But he was too late. Guardian of Valor has the story, although it’s far from completely posted yet.

Hans Rudy Gresham, who, up until about a year ago, was also with Burch in this charity, has also claimed for years to have been Special Forces, and a number of times claimed to have been retired at several ranks.  During the investigation, which was conducted in conjunction with our counterparts at Green Beret Posers Exposed,  and SF Brothers, we found that he claimed to have retired as a Lt, all the way up to a Col.

Well when he was supposedly still serving in the Green Berets, he was also selling ads on the radio as seen in this photo we grabbed for WTMA’s memories from 1971.  WTMA is a radio station out of Charleston, South Carolina where Rudi is from, the caption from the photo reads, “WTMA salesman Rudi Gresham poses in the WTMA control room (1971).”


It looks like even there and then he’s posing: as DJ Johnny Fever. Back to GOV’s tale.

Rudy has spent years spinning webs of lies, telling people he served with General Yarborough in Vietnam, he has been able to get people to believe his lies to the point that he has gotten thousands and thousands of dollars from high profile people.  He even had the Green Beret community fooled for many years believing he was a retired Green Beret officer, some had their suspicions but couldn’t prove it.

Up until about a year ago Rudi was also a board member of that National Vietnam Veterans Foundation, he was listed on their website as Director of Charity. Now we find out that he was also not what he claims to have been all of these years, telling people he was a Green Beret that served in Vietnam when his official records paint a totally different story.

via Hans Rudolph Gresham, Former Senior Advisor To The VA Secretary, Posed As Special Forces Alongside Thomas Burch – Guardian Of Valor.

So what did his records say? Go to Guardian of Valor and check ’em out. He seems to have made PFC more than once (suggesting that for him, rank was a 2-way road). And that’s it. No Vietnam time, we’re sorry to say. Is something missing? The Archives insist that there are no further records.

Go to Guardian of Valor and Read The Whole Thing™.

We’ll leave you with one exit thought:

Here’s the man, the myth, the legend in his own mind, Rudi Gresham, recently:

Gresham in a photo that used to be on his own website -- wearing someone else's junk.

and here’s some other dude. Now compare the two pictures!


Separated at birth?

But it’s not really fair to compare Gresham and former President Carter. Carter really was an officer in the Navy; he didn’t get out as a Seaman Second Class and then spend he rest of his life conning people that he was a  Lieutenant Commander or Captain. Carter really was President; the country elected him, which in retrospect isn’t the dumbest thing the electorate has ever done, or will do, even though we thought it was for a while. But he was and is almost painfully honest.

On the other hand, Gresham has pretended to be a retired Captain (see the image above), a Lieutenant Colonel, Major, Colonel, you name it, anything but a PFC. He’s awarded himself SF qualification, and a Master Parachutist badge. (Your humble blog host doesn’t have the Master Blaster wings, unlike many of his peers, and yet it never occurred to him to do a Gresham and just pin the ever-lovin’ thing on). If Rudi Gresham ever told the truth about anything, it’s probably because he got confused about which lie he’d told to which person or media outlet.

But Gresham was good at two things — impersonation and self-promotion. He weaseled his way into the Special Forces Association and Special Operations Association; he conned people including SF legends and general officers that he had served with them (!) and convinced them that they must just have forgotten him and his unctuous ways.

(Continued overleaf, or it’s Great Wall O Text here. We just don’t feel like putting more pictures of this phony bag of fail on our page).

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G4S Security Theater Strikes Again

G4S logoFor those of us who lived through it, we’ll never forget the curious spectacle of a post-9/11 Congressional lynch mob demanding that lousy security theater firms like Argenbright give up their responsibilities to a new Federal entity, the polyincompetent TSA — which then gave all the duds and losers from Argenbright preference in hiring.

Argenbright’s spirit lives on today in G4S, formerly Group 4 Securicor, which bought it out, and seems determined to be the private-sector TSA. As is well known, no one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at TSA in any capacity whatsoever. The same seems to be true of their private opposite number, G4S.

We’ve mentioned G4S here before a time or two. Let’s run them down first before we get to what’s new:

  1. One of the soldiers who had to cover G4S's unperformed Olympic contract.

    One of the soldiers who had to cover G4S’s unperformed Olympic contract.

    19 July 12: We take note of G4S botching a half-billion-dollar security contract for the London Olympics so badly that Britain had to fill the gap with 20% of the British Army, large hunks of other counties’ cops, and — all the way to the bottom of the barrel — TSA gropers imported from the USA. Yes, they were so screwed up that the TSA was a step up.

  2. 16 March 13: We beat up on Richard Branson and his pretentious Virgin Airlines for their mistreatment of a British soldier, and for blaming it all on G4S — while pointing out that G4S isn’t a particularly competent outfit.

Indeed, our explanation of G4S’s history and proven performance from that one deserves to be quoted, just so we don’t have to explain the Great Wall of Fail that is G4S, completely de novo.

G4S is a massive global conglomerate, which digested Wackenhut and Chubb among others. It is optimized to win governmental, lowest-bidder contracts. As a result it provides, almost exclusively, low-paid, low-skilled, questionably-credentialed bozos as security guards; you might remember G4S getting caught napping (literally) at Oak Ridge last year, following up within months by getting caught napping (figuratively), which led to a re-examination upon which they got caught cheating (literally).

The "S" in G4S is for sleeping on the job.

The “S” in G4S is for sleeping on the job.

They’ve also been caught napping (literally) in Britain (Image). G4S was also in the news in 2012 for completely botching Olympic security, requiring a bailout from the same British soldiers they’re insulting now. It’s impossible to find a single link that covers the entire shambolic disaster that was G4S’s Olympic non-performance; just brew up a bag of popcorn and Google or Bing up “G4S Olympics,” and settle in for an hours-long Lord Love a Duck session.

…G4S is descended in part from Argenbright Security (through Securicor and Group 4 Falck), a similar bottom-feeder security firm whose serial lapses enabled 9/11 and inspired the creation of the federalized United States alternative, the Transportation Security Administration (which recruits from the same pool of minimum-wage substance abusers and roughly matches G4S’s bottom-feeder performance).

OK, that was then, so why are we bringing all this up now? Because the latest G4S Security Theater fail involves the one identified Orlando massacre shooter.

He worked for G4S. So did a guy named Dan Gilroy, an ex-cop.

Daniel Gilroy said he worked the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift with G4S Security at the south gate at PGA Village for several months in 2014-15. Mateen took over from him for a 3 to 11 p.m. shift.

Gilroy, a former Fort Pierce police officer, said Mateen frequently made homophobic and racial comments. Gilroy said he complained to his employer several times but it did nothing because he was Muslim. Gilroy quit after he said Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages — 20 or 30 a day. He also sent Gilroy 13 to 15 phone messages a day, he said.

Hey, but just because he was a extremist Muslim, didn’t mean he wanted to kill people, did he?

“I quit because everything he said was toxic,” Gilroy said Sunday, “and the company wouldn’t do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.”

Gilroy said this shooting didn’t come as a surprise to him.

The company didn’t want to lose a preferred employee like Mateen, who received his five-year-employee shout out in 2012 already. They can always get hold of former cops who don’t want to kill anybody, but a loyal mohammedan with murder on his mind is a rare find indeed.

As it turns out, this case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome was years in the making. It involves a jihad preacher and enabler whom a soft judge sprung from prison extra early, (and the FBI just declined to arrest again, because Moslem).

Finally, G4S is also in the news because it’s got a very, very rich contract (almost a quarter of a billion, or half what it got for not supporting the London Olympics) to run a bus line transporting criminal aliens away from border arrests, shifting the resulting crime wave into interior cities and spreading it around.

Naturally, another imam warned that the most horrible outcome was if people stopped trusting mohammedans:

Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, urged restraint in the hours and days following the attack in Orlando.

“I want to also caution many of the media from rushing to judgment,” he said. “We are mourning. We are sad. We are heartbroken, and it’s not really time to…rush to judgment.”

Musri, who is also president of American Islam, said he does no know what could be done for what seems like one mass shooting after another.

Meanwhile, Chicago has to take second place in the killing stakes for one week, although there were more shootings in Chicago last week — 150! — the Chi-town ERs have a lot more gunshot trauma experience than Orlando, and it shows.

Chicago doesn’t seem to have a big problem with Mexican cartels or Mohammedan masscres. But it still has a big problem, period. Maybe that proves that we ought not to be importing more waves of criminals and terrorists?

Nah, that’s crazy talk. G4S will keep us feeling safe, and it’s all about the feelz.





Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Winter Soldier

winter_soldier_dot_com2In early 1971, a series of strange gatherings were held by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and allied and fellow-traveler groups. In case you were curious about the orientation of these groups, they tended to include such broad-based elements as the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and were sponsored by such broad-based entities as a radical Unitarian church in LA.

OK, so maybe not so broad-based.

Although they did try to bring out active duty GIs by promising free beer and loose women, on the theory that having real draftees among them boosted their authenticity.

Their gatherings included mock “attacks” and good old Marxist/Leninist “street theater,” but the flagship enterprise of the VVAW was the Winter Soldier Investigation, an imitation court-martial in which ragged, scruffy, long-haired veterans vied with one another to tell the most over-the-top tales of atrocities and misconduct in Vietnam.

In 2004, interest in the VVAW (which still existed, in true Communist fashion, as two bitterly feuding factions, which we recall as the VVAW-Marxist/Leninist and the VVAW-Anti-Imperialist, but we might have the lefty cant wrong) rose again because of the Presidential candidacy of former VVAW figurehead John Kerry. Kerry had used the VVAW to launch himself on the trajectory that would bring him into the Senate in the Watergate Class of 1974.


At the time, Vietnam veterans and historians went looking for the original Winter Soldier documents, only to find there were very few to be found — Kerry’s minions had been buying 30-year-old copies of the Daily World and Daily Worker, and a book that was published with photographs of the young soi-disant Heroes who Spake Truth to Power.

In 2004, Scott Swett and a small team assembled all obtainable VVAW documents and records into a website, and Scott was instrumental in inspiring the formation of the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth (later, the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for the Truth). Mostly, this is all a footnote to history now, but the archive that Scott so painstakingly gathered over 10 years ago remains on line at

It is full of fascinating findings. The Army commissioned an actual investigation of the atrocity claims from Winter Soldier and was able to establish only one. 

More of the claims smelled bad, then and now. One SF weasel, a guy named Don Pugsley who had never deployed to combat because he was seriously injured in a helicopter crash during in-country reconnaissance training, told a story of a helicopter machine-gunning water buffalo. Placed under oath, his story withered away like the state was supposed to do under Marxism: no, he’d heard a guy talking about some U/I LTC ordering a chopper crew to shoot waterboos, which the crew then did not do. That wasn’t the way he’d told the story in Detroit, but, he wasn’t under a real oath in Detroit.

(Pugsley, the anti-military protester, would reinvent himself later as a gung-ho SF guy and join 19th Group in California, where he rose to be a company sergeant major, and, we are not making this up, a guy who consulted for Hollywood on combat. But he was still a weasel).

Another SF-claiming guy, Paul Withers, threw his medals down and said he had won:

…the Silver Star, the Distinguished [Service] Cross, nine (!) Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal for heroism, the Air Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Search of an admittedly incomplete Vietnam SF database comes up blank on Withers. Search of a complete VIetnam Army DSC database at includes no recipient named Withers.

The year after Winter Soldier Withers appeared in a Communist newspaper, making outlandish claims about his Vietnam service, he was featured in a booklet called Trail of the Poppy claiming that he’d been a drug buyer for the CIA in Laos in 1966. (The booklet was published by another Communist group; that the US was, as a matter of official policy, involved in drug trade in Vietnam was a major propaganda theme of the Soviet KGB in the 1970s).

We’re willing to take one of Withers’s statements at face value: he probably really was a drug buyer.

The exaggerated claims of evil Vietnam vets that were to become a journalism, media and entertainment staple, drew extensively on the nonsense purveyed at Winter Soldier. And Swett and others have done historians a great boon by collecting the available records, publishing them online, and leaving them up for posterity.

Cautious Optimism on the Ikesore

This is a classy memorial to Ike. Naturally, it wasn't what Gehry had in mind. (It's in a traffic circle in Bayeux).

This is a classy memorial to Ike. Naturally, it wasn’t what Gehry had in mind. (It’s in a traffic circle in Bayeux).

You remember the Ikesore? The tacky post-modern monument, allegedly to Eisenhower, that we have mentioned before? The gaudy Ikesore, the Eisenhorror, perpetrated by society architect Frank Gehry and the society swells who chose him blindly (almost literally “blindly,” judging from their aesthetic sense?)

Yep, we have written about it before. For example:

As we noted in 2013:

The Post, which is very fond of Gehry because (as the Post forms all its editorial policies) all the Right People are, is being a little bit dishonest here [in praising the Ikesore]. Gehry’s design would have shown only the 8-year-old farm boy; the “metal tapestries” originally resembled chain-link fence deployed to control the escape of balls from a driving range. Parts of the design seem to be recycled from a previous Gehry “masterpiece,” a now-torn-down parking garage. The design was a calculated insult to Eisenhower’s memory and to his family, who have expressed revulsion.

Well, there is a tide in the affairs of men, and sometime after we wrote those words (we have never been more desirous of indulging the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy) Congress pulled the plug on the memorial. Barbara Hollingsworth writes at CNS News:

[Justin] Shubow, [president of the D.C.-based non-profit National Civic Art Society], also said that it is increasingly unlikely that the controversial Frank Gehry-designed memorial to honor former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which his group and some members of the Eisenhower family oppose, will be built in the District despite getting final approval from the National Capital Planning Commission last year.

“In its budget for the 2016 fiscal year, Congress for the third year in a row zeroed all construction funds for the memorial. In other words, they are completely halting the design yet again, and they are keeping the Eisenhower Memorial Commission on life support,” he said, adding that the commission has been unsuccessful in raising private donations.

“It’s a battle of attrition, and every day it appears that Gehry’s design is likely to finally be killed,” he said.

 92-year-old Senator Bob Dole is trying to assemble a team of DC lobbyists and insiders to build the Gehry Eisenhorror. One of them is another one of those guys who parlays a stint in the Senate into untold millions of wealth: Christopher “Corrupt Chris” Dodd.

We were going to ask if anybody knew who was paying Dodd for this, but then we remembered the famous old saying about taxpayer poker: “If you’re at the table with the crooks and you don’t know who the mark is — it’s you.”

My Life on the Terrorist Watch List

tsa-bozoThis will be a rare post written in the first person, because it is personal. It’s the story of my stint on the Terrorist Watch List, one of several secret lists kept by government agencies, including the TSA. As is well known, no one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at TSA in any capacity whatsoever. But they have the power to add you to this list, which is not entirely life-altering, but is an embuggerance of the next order below that.

I’m not alone in being on one of these lists for bogus reasons. Senator Ted Kennedy, whose name was Edward M. Kennedy, was put on the list because an IRA terrorist had used the name Theodore Kennedy as an alias once. (The terrorist in question was ultimately pardoned in a peace deal, and the actual terrorist used to fly with no problems). Kennedy was able to resolve his problem, but only because he was a powerful, senior Senator. Dr. Patrick S. Hackett, a Knoxville veterinarian, has been on the no-fly list for over ten years, not because of his Taliban beard, but because he also shares the name of some IRA crumb.

Hackett found out he was on the no-fly list in 2004 when he accompanied his son, who was attending the Air Force Academy, to McGhee Tyson Airport. He asked for a pass to allow him to accompany his son to the gate.

“They said I couldn’t go to the gate because I was on their list. They gave me a number to call,” he said.

Hackett said he filled out, signed and mailed forms to the TSA to try to straighten the situation out. About a year and a half later, he received a letter from the TSA offering him a “letter of duress” that he could present whenever he was questioned.

When Hackett subsequently used the letter to travel, gate attendants would mark his boarding pass. He would then be subjected to thorough and sometimes invasive searches before being allowed to board.

TSA officials won’t discuss Hackett’s travel status.

“It’s a secret list,” said a TSA customer services representative, who wouldn’t give his name.

via Right name, wrong man: Knoxville veterinarian can’t get off no-fly list.

Liberty TSA scanConcept fail: “TSA customer services representative.” They’re kidding, right? You can almost hear the sneer in that TSA bum’s voice, can’t you? Remember, no one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at TSA in any capacity whatsoever. And having met every level of that organization from Director down to gloved groin-grabbing groper, I can say that with authority.

It gets better for Hackett: his terrorist namesake is out of prison after having done his time forty years ago, but is trivially easy to distinguish from the Tennessee dog doctor:

The difference should be easy to spot. The terrorist is missing an arm and a leg — blown off when a bomb exploded prematurely — while the Knoxville veterinarian has all his limbs intact.

That’s “easy to spot” for you and me. Not for the TSA, who have a median IQ so low they couldn’t be executed for murder in this country, which nobly refrains from putting down the retarded. Hey, maybe Ernst Stavro Blofeld — he’s on the list, with me an’ Ted and Dr Hackett, even though Blofeld’s a fictional character and Ted’s dead — could magically regrow naughty-Hackett’s limbs like a lizard’s, for some nefarious purpose.

If, you know, Blofeld wasn’t a fictional character.

We know how Hackett, Ted, and Blofeld got on the list: the TSA is staffed entirely by drooling imbeciles. So, how did Hognose get on the list?

Turns out, they’re drooling, vindictive imbeciles.

It began with a day job writing aviation news for a trade-press web publication. That put me in a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association somewhere. (Tampa? Anaheim? Dunno. It was a plane and a hotel and a convention center…). The press conference was a rare attempt to put then-TSA head, Admiral Stone, in front of the press.

TSA PervMost of the press (remember, this would have been mostly aviation trade press) were fairly deferential. I wasn’t, although I referred to him (as he made clear was his preference) as “Admiral Stone” and “sir”.

I asked Stone a couple of hard questions. I can’t remember the questions now, but I seem to recall one was about the low quality of his staff, and the other was about whether or not the whole agency was “eyewash” — or what Bruce Schneier was starting to call “security theater,” given that by midday on 11 September 2001, passengers would never again would allow a hijacking.  I do remember his reaction to the questions:

  • He praised the excellence of his people, so he was either lying or out of touch (although you can’t rule out some combination of the two, can you?).
  • He was offended by the suggestion that his security theater was security theater.

It was only after the convention that I realized just how offended he was. That is, when I went to get back on the mailing tube to go home.

tsa checkpointYou would have thought that Osama His Ownself had schlepped his carry-ons into the security line. I was pulled aside; subjected to a pat-down that approached “rub-down,” they should have billed me for a genital massage; had my two carry-ons dumped out and spread out, as one TSA “officer” after another pawed through my stuff. They wrote down and took pictures of the books I was reading; they counted my socks. They started up my computer and did some searches for porn, and seemed disappointed when they didn’t find any. And then they sat me on a chair and told me to wait.

About a half-hour after that, exactly 10 minutes before my plane’s departure time, they told my I could go. I swept the piles of all my stuff off the table into my two carry-on bags, and ran like OJ (in the famous Hertz ad, not from the po-po) through the terminal. They were actually closing the door when I arrived, and they swung it open.

“What held you up?” a stew asked.

“TSA proctoscoping.”

“Yeah, they do that to us sometimes, too.”

Later, I discovered it wasn’t a one-off. Admiral Stone’s vengeance lasted for two or three years. I was able to determine that I had been placed, not on the no-fly list (or I couldn’t have flown at all), but on the Terrorist Watch List, a secret list of, apparently, journalists who pissed off Admiral Stone. When you are on the TWL, or whatever its real name is — the name, too is a secret, unlike, say, NSA code-word programs, or the personally identifiable information of cleared personnel — they do let you fly, but they do what they can to hassle you out of doing it, and subject you to heightened scrutiny. Your moves are also reported, inter alia, to the FBI and to regional interagency Counter Terrorist Task Forces.

The hilarious side of it was that during all of this, I worked, both in my Guard SF gig and in my contract jobs, on anti- and counter-terrorist stuff all the time. I maintained a security clearance, access to Government systems, and an active pilot’s license.

I think the only flights I took during this period that I didn’t fly myself were courtesy of the USAF, Army helicopters, and some guys who had some Mil Mi-8s and didn’t feel like answering questions.  Fortunately, when it was time for my medevac, the California Army National Guard HH-60 crew didn’t check the Watch List, or I might still be out there in the Hindu Kush.

Back in the states, various friends of mine worked in CT task forces here and there, and I’d get calls:

“Nose, I see you’re in town!”

“Yeah, I’m here for Heli-Expo. How’s it going? And how’d you know I was coming?”

“Hey, it’s all great. We got an alert on you at the Task Force. Are you playing for the other team, bro? What’s up with that?”

I’d tell my Admiral Stone story. The cop or agent would laugh. He would explain that they, too, had no idea how someone gets on the Watch List, but most of their “hits” were false positives. Like me and Ted Kennedy, and I’m not too sure about Kennedy. If we both had time, I’d meet my friend and his buddies from the TF in a cop bar somewhere, and over beers we’d share dumb-ass TSA stories. (And the task force officers and agents also had stories that made it clear that, however wrong the TSA is as a response to terrorism, the terrorism itself was real).

And then, next trip, the whole rigamarole would happen again.

For something like two or three years I drove ridiculous distances, took Amtrak, or flew a rented Piper, rumbling through the lower altitudes at 110 knots; I dreaded the transcontinental or international trips that required the human mailing tube, and the extra dose of moronic hassle that came my way from the TSA. Every time.

And then, some time long after Stone left, I showed up at an airport expecting “the usual,” and this happened: nothing. I was off the list, as secretly as I’d gone on; or at least, I was off the part of it that gets one extra scrutiny from the gropers in nitrile gloves.

But we’re sure you felt 100% safer, during the period when I was on the Terrorist Watch List. Because Security Theater isn’t about the security, it’s about the feels. And vis-a-vis the TSA, the public has a bad case of Battered Wife Syndrome.

Can’t They Both Lose?

mad-magazine-trading-private-bergdahlIn the most absurd matchup in an absurd presidential primary season, we have Republican frontrunner Donald Trump going head-to-head with traitorous defector Bowe Bergdahl and his posturing mouthpieces.

Trump has called for Bergdahl to be shot, which we’d be all for, if it were legally possible. (It isn’t. We’re not lawyers, even of the guardhouse variety, but we know that much without even calling our retired-JAG-colonel buddy). Trump may know this and just be playing to the cheap seats (if so, it’s working), or he may not know it. Bergdahl’s lawyers, meanwhile, continue to gild the reputation of their profession as even more abased than that of their thoroughly defamation-proof client, by saying Trump’s mean, contumacious words have ruined their client’s chance of a fair trial — so the military court ought to just let him go.

Nice try, guys, but anyone who still fogs a mirror understands that if you’re Bowe Bergdahl’s consigliere, the last thing on Earth you want for your client is a fair trial. He’d be toast!

In the NY Post, columnist Bob McManus gets it:

Trump says Taliban turncoat Bergdahl, now awaiting a general court-martial after walking away from an Afghanistan outpost in 2009, should face a firing squad of his own. The lawyers say Trump’s polluting the jury pool for Bergdahl’s court-martial, and they want to talk to the GOP presidential front-runner about it.

Both are blowing hard.

Trump, for votes: Surely he knows the Army doesn’t execute military deserters — Slovik being the sole exception in the past century.

The lawyers, for tactical reasons: They know Bergdahl’s jurors will be serving officers in an Army that has so far proceeded with honor in this dismal affair — defying Obama administration ideologues along the way — and are thus unlikely to be influenced by anything The Donald has to say.

For the Army, it’s all about honor — which, along with tradition, dedication to duty and courage, is what separates professional soldiery from an armed mob.

via Bowe Bergdahl’s lame Trump gambit prompts more profound questions | New York Post.

Do Read The Whole Thing™, because McManus makes many more points. About the Army, about Mr Trump, and about PFC Bergdahl (now SGT Bergdahl, the Administration having declared him a hero, and the men he betrayed, by inference, the traitors; McManus has a Susan Rice quote about the traitorous crapweasel’s awesomeness).

Oh, what traitorous crapweasel? We’ll be specific: Bergdahl. That traitorous crapweasel.

It’s Never Just Being a Military Phony

Joe Weeks -- Nobody's idea of an elite trooper.

Joe Weeks — Nobody’s idea of an elite trooper. Dressed in his own proper uniform, this time.

Consider Joe Weeks, phony PJ, Embezzler, and Suspected Murderer.

The same thing that drove Joe Weeks to pretend to be an Air Force PJ (pararescueman, one of the most selective and challenging specialties in the USAF), fake being a Silver Star recipient, and steal from his employer, apparently drove him to embezzle from a charity, and he also is suspected of whacking, of all people, his mother.

Joe was an EMT and he used to brag to his wife that he knew how to mix a toxic cocktail that wouldn’t be suspected in his intended victims and apparently, the sheriff thinks there’s enough evidence to suspect him of his mother’s death.

via Joe Weeks’ mother’s body exhumed : This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here.

The sheriff’s department in Kalamazoo, Michigan, thinks they’ve got a solid case against Weeks, including a near-confession made to his then-wife, and, well, the whole totality of his character, which is pretty lousy:

“According to Chelsea Weeks, Joseph Weeks had told her in December of 2012 that he had killed in the past and gotten away with it,” sheriff’s detectives said in a court petition. “During the course of their marriage, Joseph Weeks had told his wife Chelsea Weeks, on more than one occasion that he knew how to cook up his EMT meds and give them to someone by putting them in a person’s tea, coffee, or food and that the medication would put the person to sleep permanently.”

Sheriff’s investigators reported that Weeks admitted stealing drugs from his former employer where he worked as an EMT, but, they say, he denied giving them to his mother.

Weeks says that the embezzling and phony business is a fair cop, but he dindu nuffin to his mom:

Weeks said he believes that situation [stealing money from his charity, pretending to be something that he’s not] is part of why he’s under investigation now — in combination with a nasty divorce and being estranged from his brother.

“I made some enemies,” Weeks said.

He also denies stealing the drugs in the first place.

Dude, your problem is not your “enemies.” Look in the mirror… your first problem is that you can do that without shame.

This is what we say when someone asks why we are so furious about military impersonators. So this guy faked being an Air Force elite trooper — why should we care? Not our circus, not our monkey, right? Wrong. Military impersonation is a marker of deep-seated and threatening personality disorder that almost always manifests itself in multiple kinds of antisocial and criminal behavior.

Of course, the Supreme Court, nine superannuated Yarvard snobs who never had a minute for the military or anyone in it, don’t see that. As far as they’re concerned, losers like Weeks are just exercising their First Amendment rights.

Killing your mom, though, is not a form of expression those otherwise out-of-touch elders are willing to sanction.


To date, Joe hasn’t been charged with that, although he has been charged with embezzlement — because, he admits, he did;

Joseph Weeks pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement, felony embezzlement from a charity and felon in possession of a firearm.

Having been duly found guilty, he’ll be sentenced next month, and the killing Mom thing is still hanging over him. These are state charges so he isn’t facing the decade plus that Federal felon-in-possession charges would bring him. Our experience is that ATF and AUSAs are reluctant to bring those charges against real, actual, felons, preferring “test cases” with paperwork violators.

Of course, because the Supreme Court ruled that pretending to be a trooper — even if you’re Joe Weeks, doing it to scam people — is merely a First Amendment right, Joe Weeks will never face charges for being a military phony.

But in our experience, the guy is never just a military phony. Case in point.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Lousy Bodyguards

Mark Zuckerberg, a harmless and very fortunate geek who apparently is loathed by enough unstable people to need protection, has done what most celebrities do: he went and hired goons. 

This’ll end well.

Sources told us that Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg has 16 bodyguards now working at his home.

“He has guards over at his place,” said a Palo Alto, Calif., insider, adding that tech moguls around town are all quietly upping security.

We hear that Zuckerberg’s 16-person detail are not all on the scene at the same time, but work in shifts.

Of course they do. Do the math on what 16 guys buys you (with 8 hour shifts, weekends, vacations and sick/personal time) and you’ll see how deep the security really is. As a further exercise, how many warm bodies would you need to staff a 16-man guardmount 24/7?

Our source also pointed out that Facebook’s become a reported leading reason for romantic breakups and divorces, which can cultivate angry users who would unfairly blame the site.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has said, “Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence.”

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg’s security detail has annoyed locals at his $10 million San Francisco “pied-à-terre.”

Neighbors last month accused his detail of “permanently . . . illegally” taking up two prime parking spots in the area.

A letter posted by residents said, “We’ve spoken to the security guards, and they were cordial but ultimately have been instructed by their supervisors to not move the cars under any circumstances.”

via Mark Zuckerberg hired 16 bodyguards to protect him at home | Page Six.

People who want to throw their weight around have to have several things these days — a sprawling estate, access to private jets (although the in-thing is a “jet card” you put hours on, not a jet of your own), and… so-called “bodyguards,” like these assclowns.

Some years ago, Sir Paul McCartney, who is not exactly a stranger to crazy exes, crazier fans, and risk in general (remember, his most famous writing partner was murdered) had just one guy. One very discreet, very professional high-level guy (he came out of an American LE and CI agency) who had a rolodex of discreet, professional guys worldwide he called on when he needed a plus-up. Unless you, too, were a pro (or intended harm to a member of the family), you never saw this guy or his helpers. In fact, if you intended harm to the artist or his blood, you didn’t see them either, until they had you under their control… maybe until you woke up in the hands of the Metropolitan Police, wondering how you got there. That’s what professional security can do for a high-profile celebrity.

But Hollywood and Silicon Valley nouveaux riches hire Hollywood-style “bodyguards” — goons who are large, spend a lot of time in weight rooms, and whose lips move when they’re reading anything. Goons are adequate for deterring autograph seekers and beating up paparazzi (not that beating up paparazzi isn’t a worthwhile contribution to society in itself), but even when their seen-too-many-Van-Damme-movies behavior doesn’t bring their principals negative publicity, they can’t protect against a serious threat if there were one.

But hey, California already has Der Bloomführer’s complete gun-control wish list, so there can’t be any serious threat there, can there, Golden Staters?

Military Phonies as Instructors

Typical phony SEAL. This clown was busted long ago, but his brethren walk the earth....

Typical phony SEAL. This clown was busted long ago, but his brethren walk the earth….

We don’t know who Dave Spaulding is, which is probably our loss. This epic jeremiad about the Tactical Tommy mindset infecting current firearms training for police and civilians hit like a mighty Mjölnir of Truth. A much abbreviated excerpt, focused on a personal pet peeve, emphasis ours:

Before 9-11, there were just a few training institutions and about 10-12 traveling instructors…I got to them all and had a good handle on what was being taught. Then our country was attacked, two wars began and a large number of folks came out of the military and changed the training industry, I believe forever. Focus shifted from the concealed handgun to the M-4 carbine and if you were not former Special Ops you didn’t know shit. If you weren’t former Special Ops and wanted to instruct, no problem! You just act like you were/are.

Defending the home or what to do in a parking lot attack moved to battlefield tactics. Never mind much of the battlefield stuff was/is inappropriate for law enforcement or the legally armed citizen…it was/is really cool to do! Gear became the primary concern and many felt as long as they looked good, it did not matter if they could shoot good. Many potential students are real gullible, was the thought. They were right…just watch You Tube. What garners the attention of the current shooting community is truly amazing! I recently noted Col. Jeff Cooper’s video on The Combat Mindset had around 27,000 views. However, a young girl in short shorts shooting a rifle had over 3 million! What the hell??

A trend began to start shooting people to the ground with full magazines of ammo instead of shooting for a visual response and then evaluating. Force was no longer judicious, it was terminal! While effective is it wise? Consider the video of the officer shooting the teenage suspect to the ground in Chicago .…

Have you taken the time to look into the backgrounds of some of the “movers and shakers” that “rock” (not my term) the training industry? .…

I never paid attention to what many of the instructors claim, but some of my friends who are now retired from the military and intelligence communities do as it matters to them when someone says they are something they are not! They have the contacts to look into the claims these instructors make about their backgrounds and I admit to being greatly saddened as it hurts an industry I dearly love. Interestingly, the people who are the rudest, boisterous and in your face are the ones with the least background. They are like bullies, the more obnoxious they act, the more people stay clear of them and let them have their way. Expect an “offensive” by these retired professionals sometime in the future as they are getting disgusted.

via Handgun Combatives: What the hell?! My thoughts on current combative firearms training.

Yesterday something remarkable for its rarity happened here. We were sent a typically one-sided news story (where in J-School do they teach that every story has a hero and a villain, and that it is the journalist’s responsibility to assign the white and black hats) that made some accusations against a former SF and SOF soldier, including an insinuation that he was a phony because he was reticent about his background with the reporter. We didn’t know this man personally. With one email we had three replies by guys who knew him in SF or in JSOC, and another buddy wanted to talk on the phone.

That phone call established that, while my friend didn’t know the right or the wrong of the specific situation, he did know the man in question and his background with one or more special mission units, he knew how the man was regarded there, and he confirmed my suspicion that the reticent man in question was acting as a Quiet Professional determined to minimize his contact with a hostile press.

What’s rare about this is that the guy checked out. Most of the guys who came out of SMUs and are training these days say specific factual things that they are allowed to say about where they were and what they did, and demur politely but finally when asked about things they can’t talk about. (You get a thorough debriefing when you out-process, and can always get advice from the staff judge advocate, even after you’re signed out). Most of the guys who are making vague implications, trying to lead you to conclusions about their service, are not. They’re trying to mislead you. On the other hand, watch what, say, Larry Vickers says. Vickers may not be to your taste but notice that, while he is extremely proud of his service (as he should be), and tells everyone the basic facts, he doesn’t tell self-aggrandizing war stories and doesn’t make vague insinuations.

As a Frog friend is wont to say, “There are secret missions, and sometimes there might be secret units, but there are no secret SEALs.” Same is true in the SF/SOF world.

And you don’t need your instructor to be SF/SEAL/Doorkicker Team Agent Orange to learn from him. Little known “secret” that’s never been kept secret: US special operations forces have often turned to civilians for special skills instruction, from mountaineering and muleskinning, to RF wave propagation, to computer analysis and sensitive site exploitation. And, yes, including shooting. When the Army set up what was then our premier door-kicking hostage rescue unit, they sent guys to learn from the then-unique Los Angeles Police Department and Sheriff’s Office SWAT units, and then adapt their TTPs to military HR operations, which have some differences from police operations. Why learn from “mere” cops? To prevent going down blind alleys they’d already learned not to go down, and to see further by standing on the shoulders of their experience.

They day no one can teach you anything, you’re dead.

And when a phony is the one teaching you? You guessed it: you’re dead, again.