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Lance Payette

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Everything posted by Lance Payette

  1. Lance Payette

    One Question re: Two Oswalds

    Sandy, for God's sake, give it a rest. You are so far off topic for this thread that my head is spinning. Food stamp coupons and assorted other items are likewise cash items that are processed through the Federal Reserve - do you think they require bank endorsements? The portion of the circular you have quoted is simply over-inclusive, which is not uncommon. In practice, everyone would know that items which by their nature obviously do not require bank endorsements need not be endorsed. As I pointed out to you previously, by regulation a postal money order can have only one endorsement; what we are really talking about are bank stamps, which are not deemed endorsements and which I do not believe are required when a Federal Reserve member bank simply pays a money order and forwards it through the Federal Reserve system for reimbursement. You are making a common layman's mistake of thinking you understand how to read statutes and regulations and coming up with an interpretation whereby 2 + 2 = 14. I cannot tell you how many times (quite a few) that I, AS A HIGHLY EXPERIENCED LAWYER, have very carefully analyzed a set of statutes and regulations and determined what I was CERTAIN needed to be done - only to have those at the agency smile and say, "Yeah, we know that's what it says, but that's not the way it works in practice. Here's what you actually have to do." End of discussion - I am not going to continue to humor you. When I say "I believe" I mean "I believe as an experienced (now retired) lawyer who knows how to read statutes and regulations, understands the basics of commercial paper, has represented and sued banks, and has spent an inordinate amount of time researching this specific issue." This does not mean I am infallible - as stated above, real-world practices often turn out to be quite different from my best legal conclusions - but it likewise does not mean my belief is on a par with that of a layman named Sandy Larsen who is determined for some reason to go down with the Good Ship Harvey and Lee. As every lawyer (and judge) knows, the Case From Hell is one where your opponent is a pro se character who thinks he's smarter than the lawyers and knows how to read and apply cases, statutes and regulations. By the way, whatever happened to Lee and Marguerite II? Is that relevant to this thread anymore?
  2. Lance Payette

    Plot or Blot?

    Powell Calls His U.N. Speech a Lasting Blot on His Record https://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/09/politics/powell-calls-his-un-speech-a-lasting-blot-on-his-record.html Very common terminology. No mystery at all, even if you happen to think "plot" would be equally appropriate.
  3. Sandy, I don't know if you are just having a bad day or what, but is the above what you are calling (on another thread) my "concession" that your position is correct? HUH??? I am equally puzzled by your reference to my "changing story" - what is that even supposed to mean? I researched the bank endorsement issue along with everyone else beginning at square one. At the outset, I was entirely open to the position that bank endorsements were in fact required. As I educated myself via some pretty intensive research, I realized that (1) they are not and (2) your efforts are a layman's efforts to prop up a dead theory. If you think I should somehow be embarrassed by the post you have quoted - well, be my guest, but I stand by it in its entirety. (I am somewhat embarrassed by the tone, which is not consistent with the standards of the Kinder and Gentler Forum to which everyone is at least pretending to ascribe.) Please, enlighten me as to what you think you have accomplished by reviving this tedious thread. EDIT: Oh, I see, my "changing story" is that I previously said I "believe" and I today said I had "demonstrated." Is that it? Goodness, you are having a bad day. What you are highlighting is what is known as a distinction without a difference. My new position, as of 6:35 p.m. MST is that "I believe I have demonstrated" - will that work for you? Because of my confidence in my position, I communicated with the postal museum at the Smithsonian Institution and a couple of philatelic societies that I thought might have expertise in postal money orders. Alas, no one will touch the JFK cesspool with a ten-foot pole. And, as with the educational records issue, you were so "confident" (uh huh) of the self-evident correctness of your position that you did ... NOTHING.
  4. Lance Payette

    One Question re: Two Oswalds

    I turned up gems such as this (from the Deep Politics forum): Donald O. Norton of Stowe, Ohio was born in 1949 -- which makes him10 years younger than Lee Oswald. And, it would have made him 14in 1963. That would seem to rule out Norton being the birth Oswald,right?Hmmmmmm, well no, not exactly. Suppose for a moment that aDonald O. Norton was born in 1949 in Stowe, Ohio in a dysfunctionalfamily. He went to school there, and he had a real birth certificate anda real Social Security #. Then something happened -- perhaps hewas killed or MIA in Viet Nam.If after Lee Oswald killed Tippit, he was to be given a new identity(name, birth certificate, SS#, etc) rather than given him a bogus,made up identity what if they gave him Donald O. Norton's ID? All"they" would need to do was obscure the details of Norton's death.Few researchers, it seems, are able to grasp this possibility. "Suppose" and "perhaps" and "possibilities that few researchers are able to grasp" are the lifeblood of fringe conspiracy theories. I will acknowledge that Armstrong did do some investigation into the possibility that Norton was "Lee" (or "Lee" was Norton or however it was supposed to have worked). However, this was not the response I received when I originally posed the same question Mark has posed.
  5. Lance Payette

    One Question re: Two Oswalds

    But no cleaning up beforehand, thereby leaving the 8,000 "clues" on which Armstrong bases his theory? Odd, huh? Those wacky conspirators - geniuses on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Three Stooges on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. No, I came up with a plethora of federal regulations, Federal Reserve bulletins and case law by which I, as a practicing lawyer for 35 years, demonstrated that endorsements would not appear on a 1963 money order deposited in a bank that was a member of the Federal Reserve system. You, as a pretend lawyer and H&L apologist, came up with a convoluted interpretation that you insist is preferable to mine. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of my concession have been greatly exaggerated. Where in the world did you get that idea? I left you and anyone who agrees with you with a challenge to contact state and local educational officials in NY and LA and see if they agree those records show simultaneous attendance at those two schools. Those "incapable of reading charts" include Greg Parker, Little Old Lance and a veritable army of folks. Before declaring victory, contact those state and local educational officials - I triple dog dare you.
  6. Lance Payette

    One Question re: Two Oswalds

    Really? Remind me again: You did WHAT to determine whether the Mystery Money Order really should have had bank endorsements? I at least contacted the postal museum at the Smithsonian Institution, and you did WHAT? And WHO discovered the File Locator Number that pretty well ended the Money Order Mystery? WHO discovered that Armstrong's citations to Wilmouth's supposed testimony concerning the necessity for bank endorsements were completely bogus, provoking nothing but silence from Armstrong and his minions? Remind me again: You did WHAT to determine whether the P.S. 44 / Beauregard Junior High Educational Records Mystery really exists or is easily explained by state and local educational officials in NY and LA? And WHO established (with Tracy) that the Oswald Birth Certificate Mystery was no mystery at all? WHO quickly established that the Mystery of the 5'7" Oswald Photo was no mystery at all because the measuring stick was a surveyor's rod? Lest anyone think I am tooting my own horn, precisely the opposite is true: Every time I bother to look into one of Armstrong's claims, which is seldom, it just doesn't hold up. Far from requiring expertise, this is child's play. If one took the same microscope to Armstrong's claims that the H&L supporters take to the "evidence," I have a pretty good idea of what the result would be. Remind me again: WHAT was "mystery" we supposedly debated that I supposedly "conceded"? I will certainly acknowledge error when I commit one, but I am not recalling whatever you're talking about. I did not dive into the Oswald's Teeth debate because, inasmuch as medical experts confirmed the identify of the corpse after the exhumation, I really don't care if one of his teeth had a half-carat diamond implant it was not "supposed" to have.
  7. Lance Payette

    Titovets vs Armstrong

    As someone with a Russian wife who has floundered around in the Russian language for a decade, I will say again (based largely on personal experience): The minimal level of Russian it takes to impress one's fellow Americans that you "really know Russian," which I personally acquired in about six months of self-study, is ... ABOUT THE SAME as the minimal level of Russian it takes to impress Russians that you "really know Russian" (at least in comparison to 99% of the Americans they meet) if you are careful to stick to what you do know and just nod and smile the rest of the time, which in turn is ... ABOUT THE SAME as the minimal level of Russian it takes to convince a Russian that you "have no understanding of Russian at all" if you are forced to engage in a rapid-fire conversation on a substantive topic. The level of Russian it takes to impress an American who himself has a deep knowledge of the language that you know Russian "well enough to function as an interpreter" is quite different but not surprising after you have been completely immersed in the language and culture for 2+ years. On the flip side of this, my wife literally didn't know ten words of English when she arrived in 2008 at the age of 54 - but now, with no formal language training whatsoever, she is a 75% fluent U.S. citizen. I take Gregory's endorsement of LHO as an interpreter with a grain of salt, but I see NOTHING in the widely varying reports of LHO's Russian proficiency to raise any huge red flags. The author of this excellent site, http://www.russianbooks.org/oswald-in-russia.htm, told me in an email that he went to Minsk convinced he would document a connection between LHO and American intelligence. Like everyone I know who has gone to Minsk under the same illusion, he came away convinced the Warren Commission basically got things right. As someone who has been to Minsk several times, I can tell you the notion that LHO was a CIA operative as opposed to merely a mixed-up goofball will be greeted with horse laughs by anyone who had any knowledge of him during that era. But, please, dream on ...
  8. Lance Payette

    One Question re: Two Oswalds

    There seems to be an assumption that I am uninformed about the "two Oswalds" theory (or theories). I have dutifully read and purchased Harvey & Lee, exposed a number of outright errors in it (without having any sort of mission or agenda to do so), spent a lot more time than most people looking at the John Armstrong Collection at Baylor University, and explored in depth some of the more puzzling incidents (such as the Bolton Ford incident). Even when wearing my Lone Nut beanie, I acknowledge the existence of a number of oddities. But as I said on another thread, this would be true if my own educational, medical and employment records were examined with the same microscope we apply to LHO's - due in no small part to confusion and dissembling on my own part, since my own childhood was at least as chaotic as LHO's. I have seen nothing, however, that would even vaguely lead me in the direction of Harvey & Lee, or really even to a firm conclusion that some individual or individuals were posing as LHO. Everything is either an invented "mystery" of the sort in which Sandy deals or an unwarranted inference and huge leap of logic based on some dubious "fact." If one attempts to debate with a Flat Earther, as I actually have, one finds that there are some facts that mesh as well with a flat earth as with a spherical one; I can acknowledge this, but the Flat Earthers cannot acknowledge the overwhelming evidence the earth is spherical. I think the original post asked a relevant question, but the predictable response is to sidetrack the discussion with "Forget about that - look at this other stuff that shows H&L isn't as silly as you'd like to think!" Armstrong believes "Lee" and "fake Marguerite" survived the assassination, but has NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in attempting to determine what became of them? Really, after delving into the minutiae of their pre-assassination lives to the extent reflected in Harvey & Lee? At least on the surface, that suggests to me: You have no interest in what became of them because you know damn well they never existed. Concerning tax returns, the ARRB stated: To shed light on questions regarding Lee Harvey Oswald's employment history and sources of income, the Review Board sought to inspect and publicly release Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records on Oswald. Although the Review Board staff did review IRS and SSA records, Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits the disclosure of tax return information, and section 11(a) of the JFK Act explicitly preserves the confidentiality of tax return information. Thus, the Review Board unfortunately could not open Lee Harvey Oswald's tax returns. The next chapter of this report explains, in the IRS compliance section, the mechanics of the Review Board's and the IRS's efforts to release this information. In a letter to Lee Rankin dated 1-6-1964 and found in Box 8, Notebook 1C of the Armstrong Collection, the author stated: Also enclosed are Photostats of income tax returns filed by Marguerite C. Oswald for the years 1956 through 1962 and Photostats of tax returns filed by Robert L. Oswald for the same period together with Photostats of pertinent communications and attachments to the returns. If the returns are not yet publicly available to the extent conspiracy theorists might like, is there any reason at all to suspect the explanation is anything deep, dark and nefarious? More to the point, what efforts have been undertaken to obtain access to the returns? It seems that every time Armstrong and the H&L enthusiasts posit some deep, dark mystery (e.g. the "missing endorsements" on the money order for the rifle, the educational records "proving" LHO was in two junior high schools at the same time), they are puzzlingly unwilling to undertake the sort of rudimentary efforts that might expose the "mystery" as not being so deep and dark after all. Gee, I wonder why that might be? There is a "Gee, whiz, LOOK AT THIS!!!" aspect to the H&L "research" that one simply does not find in serious research.
  9. Lance Payette

    Gaddafi says Israel involved in JFK assassination

    Obviously, he had never read Harvey & Lee.
  10. Lance Payette

    One Question re: Two Oswalds

    I asked that question a long time ago, because I was disappointed at the way Harvey & Lee simply ended as though it had hit a brick wall, with seemingly no interest on the part of Armstrong as to what had happened to Lee or his fake mother. Having traced the entire pre-assassination history of "Lee" and fake mama, would it not be the most compelling proof of Armstrong's theory if "Lee" could be identified post-assassination? The "answer," as I recall, was that Armstrong had no interest in anything post-assassination. The actual answer, of course, is that there is no "Lee" and never was, something that I believe all but the most certifiably wacked-out of the H&L cult know. It's a game - let's pretend we believe the earth is flat and have some fun with it.
  11. Lance Payette

    Harvey Lee Oswald

    FWIW, I found this in an introduction to one of Solzhenitsyn’s books: “Basically, the word ‘comrade’ was used very much like an English speaker would use ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’ in everyday speech. It can also be used in conjunction with a person’s rank or position. Hence, a Russian might hail a doctor as ‘Comrade Doctor.” The word ‘citizen’ was used less than ‘comrade’ as a form of address, but it was always used in certain formal situations, such as in the courtroom. People who found themselves in the dock were not accorded the honour of being called ‘comrade.’" My wife confirmed that the word for citizen - "grazh-DA-neen" - is a more formal and less "friendly" term than the word translated as comrade. She pointed out that it is used indiscriminately. If American Lance were walking down the street and a police officer wanted to stop him, the officer would shout "Stop, citizen!" She also pointed out that in the Soviet system there was no word used in the way that we use Mr., Mrs., sir or madam. She said this led to very awkward situations in addressing someone you didn't know - a clerk in a store, for example. To just say "Hey, you!" was considered rude, so "citizen" served in this context as well. Further support that the references to “citizen Oswald” were simply bureaucratese. I seriously doubt the author was thinking in terms of “Is this unsatisfactory factory worker we are describing a bona fide citizen of the USSR?” As usual, Much Ado About Nothing.
  12. Lance Payette

    Harvey Lee Oswald

    I agree. For one thing, "Lee" "Harvey" and "Oswald" are all potential first names - quite easy to transpose, even for an American bureaucrat. For another, you'd have to be familiar with Russian culture to realize how puzzling non-Russian names can be to them. Many American/English names do have Russian counterparts, but neither Lee, Harvey nor Oswald do. I recall reading that LHO was originally dubbed Alik by Rima because Lee sounded Chinese and was likely to confuse the Russians. Lastly, we have LHO's propensity to play games with his name even when this was completely unnecessary (e.g., "O. H. Lee" at the Dallas rooming house). As Marina said, he simply enjoyed lying and game-playing even when it served no purpose. I think it is highly likely that the answer to the Harvey Lee Oswald "mystery" is to be found in some combination of these factors. As for the "citizen" reference, this strikes me as a perfect example of Conspiracy Logic. In any other context, we would assume that a reference to "citizen Oswald" was simply the formalistic bureaucratic equivalent of "Comrade Oswald" or "Mr. Oswald" or "Minsk resident Oswald" - i.e., that it was simply bureaucratic jargon and had no legal significance whatsoever. (FYI, it is somewhat humorous that the State Department translation uses the term comrade. When my wife first arrived, I would jokingly use the term and get blank stares from her. She assures me no Russian would react to the term comrade unless he had been watching a lot of American movies, The actual term - roughly "tah-VAR-ish" - is more like "friend," but with a connotation suggesting "fellow revolutionary.") But Conspiracy Logic demands that there can never be a simple human error or mere sloppiness where the JFK assassination is concerned. What would be insignificant in any other context must have massive significance and deepen the Mystery that we prefer. Ergo, this single reference to "citizen" means that whoever wrote it Knew Something and calls into doubt the otherwise irrefutable reality that LHO did not become a citizen of the USSR. If someone went through the educational records, medical records, resumes and job histories of Little Old Lance with the same electron microscope that Conspiracy Theorists apply to LHO, I guarantee you Little Old Lance would appear to be an exceedingly mysterious individual - and a lot of the "mystery" would be due to my own sloppiness, forgetfulness, dissembling and butt-covering.
  13. Lance Payette

    The Two Oswald Phenomena Explained

    There is always projection in two directions as well: The actual hard evidence is always projected into not being what it pretty clearly is. The gossip, innuendos, clerical mistakes, human errors and gaps in the evidence, on the other hand, are always projected into gospel truth that -voila! - supports Our Pet Theory. You can't trust the actual evidence, but you can trust the way we fill in the gaps. On the Bolton Ford incident, I would simply note: At least according to the FBI memorandum dated 11-25-63 (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=47745#relPageId=56), Bolton Ford salesman Oscar Deslatte was in contact with the FBI by that date, a mere THREE DAYS after the assassination. The assassination was nearly THREE YEARS after the alleged incident. No trucks were sold. Do car salesmen typically remember non-sales THREE YEARS after the fact? Do car dealerships typically keep carbon copies of price quotes that do not result in sales for THREE YEARS? Does the price quotation reproduced by Jim look like a 1961-era, 3-year-old carbon copy? I don't remember carbon copies having that level of clarity. Deslatte could not remember anything about either "Joseph Moore" or "Oswald." He could not identify a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald as anyone he had ever seen. Deslatte recalled only the name "Oswald" - "no first name given." How many Oswalds lived in Louisiana at that time? Was any Oswald associated with the Friends of Democratic Cuba? Is it plausible that Deslatte immediately made a connection between the assassination of JFK and a three-year-old non-sale and felt compelled to immediately call the FBI? Isn't that more than a bit odd? The MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more detailed information and identification of "Oswald" by Bolton Ford manager Fred Sewell comes out of the 1967 Garrison investigation. 'Nuff said? Where was Sewell when Deslatte was contacting the FBI? Why didn't he refresh Deslatte's memory at the time with all of his 1967 revelations? If the name "Lee Oswald" was given, as Sewell said, why did Deslatte write only "Oswald" on the price quotation when he had written "Joseph Moore's" full name? Given how auto sales transactions work, wouldn't one expect salesman Deslatte's recollections three years after the fact to be more vivid and detailed than manager Sewell's six years after the fact? I assume the Harvey and Lee theorists posit that the FBI memorandum is a fabrication, part of the conspiracy? If so, what purpose would it have served? If the conspiracy were intended to create the appearance of one Oswald when there were in fact two, what purpose would it have served to highlight one "Oswald" as being associated with an anti-Castro organization at Bolton Ford when the whole world knew the other "Oswald" was in Minsk as a communist sympathizer at the very same time? Instead of being clever conspiratorial thinking, doesn't this seem ... rather stupid and clumsy? Is it possible the FBI, the Warren Commission and the HSCA gave short shrift to the Bolton Ford incident because they readily concluded it was a dead end for some or all of the above reasons? It seems to me this is merely yet another example of Fundamentalist Zealot Conspiracy Thinking (a phrase I use, of course, with the deepest respect). What is essentially nothing becomes - voila! - the smoking gun. As Bugliosi (boo! hiss!) pointed out, and as I have experienced myself during my legal career, the wildest assortment of characters with the wildest assortment of tales come out of the woodwork following a high-profile incident. It's human nature. Without a much more solid understanding than we will ever have now, incidents like Bolton Ford are little more than curiosities.
  14. Lance Payette

    Moderators - please teach how to ignore

    On other forums I've found that "Ignore" works better in theory than in reality. You end up seeing the Ignored poster's posts when someone you don't Ignore quotes them, and if you have more than one person on Ignore the threads often become almost unintelligible because of all the gaps. I gave up on Ignore for those reasons, but maybe you'll have better luck here.
  15. Lance Payette

    The Future of the Education Forum

    The problem with that is, the utter disdain has already been well-established. The discussion as to whether "language matters" would be more relevant if one were starting from scratch. When one Senator whom everyone knows despises another Senator rises and says "If I may interrupt my esteemed colleague ..." it's exactly like "With all due respect ..." Everyone knows he means "I can't take another second of this fool I completely despise ..." The real problem is not the language but the disdain. The disdain exists primarily, I believe, because the various JFK assassination theories, including the Lone Nut theory, have become fundamentalist religions, pure and simple. You are asking an assembly of fanatical Roman Catholics, Mormons, Southern Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Russian Orthodox to "play nice." Take my word for it, they don't and they never will. They might maintain a facade for some short period, but the differences and disdain are too deep to keep a lid on for long. When you then factor in that the "assembly" we're talking about is an internet forum, I do not believe any solution will be anything more than a very short-term one. I pointed out to James that I participate on a Christian site where the membership is quite small, everyone theoretically is a Christian and 97% of them are very conservative Protestants, and the discussions are very closely moderated - yet it is the inevitable bloodbath of feuds, insults, warnings, closed threads, banned members and all the rest. So good luck here.
  16. Lance Payette

    The Future of the Education Forum

    I'm 101% sure the moderators do NOT want this to become yet another Harvey and Lee thread. I used Harvey and Lee because I was addressing you and know you are a proponent of that theory, and because you characterized those who ridicule the theory as "fools." You now characterize my views as based "on a 5% exposure and a closed mind." Do you not see that you are doing PRECISELY what you accuse others of doing? Do you not see that you are making my VERY point, that there is no solution to this situation? You do not see this because Harvey and Lee is your religion, and I do not share your view the Pope is infallible. True Believers can never understand why others do not share their views. The only possibility can be that the others are uninformed and close-minded. As I've pointed out repeatedly, I've been buying and reading JFK assassination books like popcorn since at least the publication of Lifton's and Groden's first books. I must have bought and read at least 200 books on the assassination. I've read Walt Brown's ENTIRE, million-word Chronology - how many on here can say THAT? I duly plunked down my $80 for Harvey and Lee and read it with great enthusiasm. I bought and read the massive book on the General Walker theory that Paul Trejo endorses. If this constitutes "5% exposure" in your mind, so be it. At one time, having been steeped in conspiracy literature, I was a confirmed conspiracy theorist. I actually thought David Lifton made sense, so you know I was off the deep end. I thought the Lone Nut theory was too silly to bother with, so I didn't bother with it. When I did finally decide that I owed it to myself to bother with, after some 30 years of exposure to nothing but The Latest Conspiracy Theory, I dived into the Lone Nut literature and discovered that it not only made sense but was compelling. If this is your notion of a "closed mind," so be it. The current state of my closed mind is that the Lone Nut theory is BY FAR the most compelling and best supported by the evidence. The solution to all of the supposed mysteries, such as LHO's motive, are to be found in the history and psychology of LHO. But I remain open to the possibility of a small conspiracy in which LHO was either the organizer or a participant. If this is your notion of a "closed mind," so be it. The Mormon missionaries who visit my house every month think I am uninformed and have a closed mind too, even though Christian theology has been my main focus for almost 50 years.
  17. Lance Payette

    The Future of the Education Forum

    Yes, "With all due respect" inevitably means "No respect is due, you're an idiot." But again, this is all a matter of perspective. I do not happen to believe - others do, I realize - that a theory like Harvey and Lee has any "intellectual honesty" associated with it in the first place. To politely discuss it as though it did is to give it a dignity that it, in my opinion, does not deserve. When it is addressed substantively, for example by pointing out clear errors in Armstrong's work, the proponents just churn out more of what I at least believe to be blatant nonsense. In my opinion it deserves to be ridiculed; ridicule is often an effective strategy, even in my legal briefs. There is really no solution to this conundrum - the proponents of something like Harvey and Lee believe the theory has merit and should be discussed seriously and with respect, while others like me regard it as essentially the equivalent of the Flat Earth theory and believe it deserves to be laughed at. How much intellectual honesty and respect do the Lone Nutters get on this site? Yet the Lone Nut theory has far more plausibility, is far better supported by the evidence and has survived much closer scrutiny than Harvey and Lee. It all depends on whose ox is being gored and who is doing the goring. There is, of course, a difference between ridiculing a theory and ridiculing the believers in that theory. I am fascinated by the psychology of belief in general and constantly agog at some of the things people at least claim to believe, but it would be beyond the pale for me to characterize those who believe in Harvey and Lee as mentally ill, stupid, etc. In the main, people who promote what I consider lunatic fringe theories are anything but lunatics, tending to be very intelligent and dedicated - which is part of the fascination. It appears to me that all of these theories, even the more mainstream ones (even the Lone Nut one), become more like "religions" than "assassination theories." This is why I thought it might work to give something like Harvey and Lee its own sub-forum, where believers could congregate and the discussions could be more closely monitored. Someone who just wants to mindlessly ridicule either the theory or the believers could be banned from that sub-forum but not necessarily the site as a whole.
  18. Lance Payette

    The Future of the Education Forum

    I'm not sure what you mean. At least at the Christian site where I participate, when you open the main forum page (here, "JFK Assassination Debate"), you see a variety of sub-forums and the latest posts in each (for example, "Harvey and Lee," "Lone Nut," etc.). There is also a master list of the 100 newest posts. I post in almost all the sub-forums, and I've never had any problem with my posts not being seen or read. Another (massive) Christian site is divided into so many sub-forums and sub-sub-forums that it's almost comical and counterproductive ("Southern Baptists Who Reject the Virgin Birth"). But I realize that each forum is limited to the platform on which it is based, and I have no idea how this one works. Even I were a more regular and interested participant, however, I would find the way this one is organized to be pretty frustrating. I do think this is part of the problem - it encourages participants to view the first page or two of threads and weigh in with snarky comments on topics on which they have no real interest. Edit: One advantage of the sub-forum approach is that posts can be much more easily moderated. You appoint moderators who are at least familiar with the topic of that sub-forum, and they are responsible only for that sub-forum (and perhaps one other), so the task is not so overwhelming.
  19. Lance Payette

    The Future of the Education Forum

    I visit here about once a month to see if there are any threads of particular interest, so I have no great vested interest in the future of this forum. I do, however, have a great deal of experience as a participant on forums of all types, dating back to the early days of the internet. The first one I participated on, that of the International Association for Near Death Studies, followed a trajectory very similar to this one before IANDS finally decided the solution was to pull the plug. I really do not believe there is a "solution." To keep an internet forum consistently on point and respectful, the moderators would have to rule with such an iron hand that it would be more than a full-time job. You'd have to pre-approve every post, the way some bloggers moderate comments. Every forum of every type develops a culture and, over time, a group of "old-timers" comes to dominate. I've never see any forum that wasn't dominated by a comparative handful of characters, each with 100,000 posts. Until you prove that you share the culture and respect the old-timers, you will remain an outsider. Challenge the culture or show insufficient respect for the old-timers, and you are a xxxxx [oops, the forbidden "t" word]. One man's xxxxx is another man's fresh perspective. I've certainly seen intelligent and substantive posts from Tommy, and I thought Michael was one of the more reasonable folks on here (admittedly, I've seen comparatively few of his posts). As I've pointed out previously, I - a garden-variety, elderly lawyer whose credentials you can easily check - have been accused of being not a lawyer at all, some sort of shill for the Dulles family (because my grandmother distantly knew them on a social basis!), a rabid Lone Nutter, a disinformation agent and other species of insanity. Beloved Paul himself questioned why I was here at all, since I did not seem to be sufficiently liberal in my politics or worshipful of the memory of JFK. I, like Paul, more or less gave up and departed - which was, of course, the desired result on the part of the clique. Some JFK conspiracy theories strike me as the product of a species of mental illness. Why they are tolerated and allowed to detract from intelligent discussion to the extent they are, I have no idea. It's as though all theories are equal on a site such as this. I would do what some Christian forums do in an attempt to limit the fighting - let each theory have it's own little sub-forum, where at least those who think Theory X is nonsense can avoid discussion of it, while those who are fascinated by it can talk of nothing else. Some of the high-profile participants strike me as driven by things other than a sincere interest in how JFK was killed - typically, the egomania and self-promotion that characterize many internet forums. Some strike me as "not quite all there," to put it politely. The vast majority of the discussion falls into the category "My pet theory is correct and your pet theory is nonsense" rather than "Where does the evidence really lead?" Yet how does one police this? How do you achieve an internet forum where the participants are at least reasonably sane, reasonably respectful toward one another, and capable of staying reasonably on point? I don't think you do. For one thing, this just isn't human nature. For another, it's not the nature of internet forums. They inevitably bring out the worst in everyone, including me, even when, as here, they are not anonymous. For another, it's not the nature of the JFK research community, which is more fragmented and confrontational, with a far larger and more high-profile lunatic fringe, than any similar community I've ever been associated with. If I were running this forum, I'd probably divide it into more focused sub-forums, appoint one or two moderators for each sub-forum, and adopt a fairly intolerant policy toward personal insults, disrespect and staying on point. I participate on one Christian site that does precisely this, and still about 1/3 of the threads end up being closed down or deleted. Right now, my overall view of this forum is that it is a hopeless mishmash of threads, competing theories and vociferous proponents of those theories, together with excessive tolerance of lunatic fringe thinking and lunatic fringe thinkers.
  20. I've read only the first third of Sandy's original post, so I'm not fully up to speed on this latest "Harvey & Lee of the Gaps" theory, but a more rational approach to all of these "mysteries" is to be found in the places no one ever wants to look: The psychology of conspiracy thinking. The psychology and group dynamics of conspiracy communities. The effect of the Internet and specifically forums such as this on numbers 1 and 2 above. Within this framework, there are two outliers: Disinformation agents. They may appear when a conspiracy community gets too close to a truth the keepers of that truth would prefer not to have revealed. That truth may be the very heart of a conspiracy theory or some seemingly minor, tangential aspect. Those who seek to achieve a curious form of celebrity and perhaps monetary gain by pandering to the conspiracy community. The two outliers are responsible for much of the dissension and absurdity within a conspiracy community. When any conspiracy community is viewed through these lenses, it all starts to make sense in a way that it otherwise does not. It is useful for those of us who are prone to conspiracy thinking to step back and self-examine whether we are being sucked into the black hole of the forces described above. It is simply hopeless - a waste of time - to attempt to debate the merits of something like Harvey & Lee with those who have been sucked in because, of course, they have no awareness of the forces described above and do not realize they have been sucked in.
  21. As of January 1, I am a "retired" attorney. Before that, my private practice was as a civil litigator. I didn't think the mission of the JFK research community was merely to see if sufficient reasonable doubt could be raised to acquit LHO. As we have seen in any number of high-profile cases, juries can be convinced that reasonable doubt exists with respect to clearly guilty defendants. A trial is, unfortunately, closer to a game show or drama than to a quest for truth. As I said long before the OJ trial, I would cheerfully flip the switch on the electric chair. He's a sociopathic killer - but voila, he's "not guilty." A good attorney starts with a plausible theory of the case that he hopes to sell to the judge or jury. He then amasses the evidence that, to one degree or another, supports that theory. If the theory is cockamamie, as the great majority of JFK conspiracy theories are, or is flatly contradicted by the best evidence, as the great majority of JFK conspiracy theories are, the attorney's case is going nowhere. Harvey & Lee, alteration of the body between Parkland and Bethesda, etc.? Going nowhere, except perhaps in the same sense that Scientology has gone somewhere, in the form of attracting a small cadre of faithful loonies. You have probably heard the old saying, "When the facts are against you, argue the law. When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts and law are against you, scream and pound the table." This is essentially what a criminal defense attorney with a hopeless case does. It is what OJ's Dream Team did. It is what the proponents of the loony conspiracy theories do. Another favorite tactic is to parse the evidence into ever-finer parts. This is likewise what OJ's Dream Team did. One of my few criminal experiences was a DUI case where the defense attorney asked the jury, "How many of you have driven your car over the curb? How many of you have spilled the contents of your purse, stumbled while getting out of your car, wobbled while trying to walk a straight line?" and so on and so forth through all the things the woman had been observed doing. The easy answer to that was, "How many of you have done ALL of those things on the same evening when you weren't drunk?" Something like Harvey & Lee, which I know you do not support, starts with a cockamamie theory, ignores the mountains of contradictory evidence, and then plays an endless game of "Well, what about this ... what about this ... what about this?" OK, in a perfect world we believe that Dallas post office clerks should have been so on top of things that they would have reported to the FBI a package from Klein's Sporting Goods addressed to A. Hidell at a box owned by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former defector to the USSR who was receiving Communist literature at that box. OK, in a perfect world we believe that Holmes would have produced the post office record stub that led to the discovery of the postal money order. But the point is, the folks in 1963 had the Klein's order coupon in LHO's handwriting, the original postal money order in LHO's handwriting, the post office box application in LHO's handwriting, and solid evidence that LHO had been seen with, practiced with and otherwise handled the rifle that was found at the scene of the crime and determined to have fired the bullets responsible for the wounds. The Dallas post office clerks did not report the delivery of the rifle - sorry, too bad, but it's irrelevant. Holmes did not bring the record stub with him when he testified - sorry, too bad, but it's irrelevant. There is nothing "suspicious" about either of these non-events. Perhaps that wasn't Holmes at all. Perhaps he was too inept to be trusted, so everything associated with Holmes was actually an FBI imposter. Did we ever see an ID? Did we, huh, huh? Why was every clerk who had worked at the Dallas post office in 1963 not interviewed by the Warren Commission? Why not, huh, huh? Why did they just take Holmes' word for anything? It's an ENDLESS and endlessly SILLY game. Sure, the bare facts of the assassination - a widely detested President; an assassin who had worked at a U-2 base, defected to the USSR, and was enamored of Cuba; some pretty nifty shooting with a $21 rifle; the murder of the assassin himself while in police custody - scream for a close look. But when you get into the level of work that the FBI and Warren Commission did (some of which is truly mind-boggling), and then the review by the HSCA, you realize that the assassination DID receive a close look. It may be the accepted conspiracy gospel that the Warren Report was a slipshod effort, but that is simply not true, I have no problem if someone wants to keep looking, so long as it remains within the bounds of sanity. As I've said, I am not utterly opposed to the notion that LHO himself may have been the instigator of a small pro-Castro conspiracy that would have provided him with an escape route out of Dallas, or that LHO may have been a participant in a small-scale pro-Castro conspiracy. Those are within the bounds of sanity. When your conspiracy theory is more elaborate, convoluted and multi-faceted than any conspiracy in the history of the world - and yet weirdly inept at crucial points - you have exceeded the bounds of sanity. When your conspiracy theory hinges on LHO being someone other than we know him to have been, and than everyone who knew him knew he was, you have exceeded the bounds of sanity. Enough from me, these discussions inevitably go nowhere. One either has the conspiracy mindset, or one does not - that's my bottom-line conclusion on all the Weirdness forums on which I participate.
  22. I assume that this is because it's a mock-up of what we "should have" but don't. The stub on the right (Post Office Record) is what the post office would have retained. The employee who issued the money order would have machined-stamped the amount on the money order, receipt stub, and record stub at the same time. The was spelled out in the federal regulations, 39 CFR 171.1(c), at the time. The mock-up must just be a sloppy job. This is a good example of the point Bugliosi makes repeatedly: Once you have a sufficient body of evidence-based facts, secondary facts and the evidence supporting them become irrelevant. The FBI had the original postal money order within 48 hours after the assassination. They had all the documentation from Klein's. The record stub would have added nothing - and certainly not by the time Holmes testified. Bugliosi also effectively makes the point that this is the modus operandi of conspiracy theorists: Ignore the conclusive facts establishing that LHO ordered, received and handled the rifle and focus instead on Holmes' supposed "failure" to produce the record stub as "suspicious." It would not have been suspicious in the context of the investigation at the time; it only becomes suspicious 54 years later, when the objective is not to determine "Who killed JFK?" (as it was in 1963) but rather to "See what we can find to be suspicious about."
  23. But as always, this is imposing 54 years of post-assassination hindsight on what conspiracy theorists think "should have occurred" in a perfect world. To the extent LHO was being monitored at the time the rifle was delivered, it would have been because he had been a defector to the USSR and had now returned with a Russian wife. It would not have been because anyone suspected he was violent or a potential assassin. So a Klein's Sporting Goods box addressed to "A. Hidell" arrives in a very busy post office, some clerk follows the procedure described by Holmes and puts a card in box 2915, and another clerk hands the box to "Hidell." Your #'s 1 and 2 strike me as "highly likely." In regard to #1, even if there were active interest, there would not necessarily have been such interest in a box from Klein's Sporting Goods addressed to A. Hidell. In regard to #2, I would amend "screwed up" to "followed the standard procedure described by Holmes." Again, with 54 years of post-assassination hindsight, it is easy to think everything associated with LHO should have set off alarms and that there must be a sinister explanation if a 60" box from Klein's Sporting Goods did not, but in reality at the time the rifle was delivered LHO was viewed as just a 23-year-old goofball who had quixotically defected to the USSR and come crawling back. The level of official interest that you are imputing to the Post Office and FBI with the benefit of post-assassination hindsight simply didn't exist.
  24. In regard to the rifle, Holmes testified that if a package arrived addressed to a post office box, a card was placed in the box regardless of whether the package was addressed to an individual who had been listed on the application as authorized to receive mail in the box. The card did not have a box number or name on it - it was blank. The person who opened the box would take the card to the location where the packages were kept, which was "all the way around the corner" and separate from the area where the boxes were located. The person would say "I had this notice in my box." The clerk would ask what box number, find the package and hand it over, typically without requesting identification. The Klein's package, of course, was addressed to A. Hidell, who had not been listed on the box application, and moreover Oswald would have had Hidell identification if it had been requested. Waldman of Klein's testified that the rifle would have been shipped in a 60" corrugated cardboard box made for Klein's by Rudd Container Corporation, a sample of which was provided to the FBI. Klein's handled a full line of sporting goods, so I don't know how obvious it would have been that the box contained a rifle. In these circumstances, it is difficult for me to see as suspicious the fact that some informant in the Dallas post office didn't immediately scream "Lee Harvey Oswald just received a rifle!" If you were examining the record with a microscope with a specific goal of "finding things to be suspicious about," then perhaps. If you assume Holmes was an integral part of a massive conspiracy and lying through his teeth to further the conspiracy, then of course the question originally posed by David answers itself. Mr. LIEBELER. Now supposing that Oswald had not in fact authorized A. J. Hidell to receive mail here in the Dallas box and that a package came addressed to the name of Hidell, which, in fact, one did at Post Office Box 2915, what procedure would be followed when that package came in?Mr. HOLMES. They would put the notice in the box.Mr. LIEBELER. Regardless of whose name was associated with the box?Mr. HOLMES. That is the general practice. The theory being, I have a box. I have a brother come to visit me. My brother would have my same name---well, a cousin. You can get mail in there. They are not too strict. You don't have to file that third portion to get service for other people there. I imagine they might have questioned him a little bit when they handed it out to him, but I don't know. It depends on how good he is at answering questions, and everything would be all right.Mr. LIEBELER. So that the package would have come in addressed to Hidell at Post Office Box 2915, and a notice would have been put in the post office box without regard to who was authorized to receive mail from it?Mr. HOLMES. Actually, the window where you get the box is all the way around the corner and a different place from the box, and the people that box the mail, and in theory---I am surmising now, because nobody knows. I have questioned everybody, and they have no recollection. The man would take this card out. There is nothing on this card. There is no name on it, not even a box number on it. He comes around and says, "I got this out of my box." And he says, "What box?" "Box number so and so." They look in a bin where they have this by box numbers, and whatever the name on it, whatever they gave him, he just hands him the package, and that is all there is to it.Mr. LIEBELER. Ordinarily, they won't even request any identification because they would assume if he got the notice out of the box, he was entitled to it?Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir. Mr. BELIN. Do you know whether or not the rifle would have been broken down in shipment or whether or not it would have been shipped fully assembled? Mr. WALDMAN. It was customary for us to ship all of these rifles and scopes fully assembled, and I would have no reason to believe that this particular one would have been shipped otherwise. Mr. BELIN. And do you know in what kind of a container it would have been shipped? Mr. WALDMAN. It was customary for us to ship these rifles with scopes attached in a corrugated cardboard carton made for us by the Rudd Container Corporation of Chicago. Mr. BELIN. About how long would that carton be in size, if you know? Mr. WALDMAN. Approximately 60 inches. Mr. BELIN. Did you ever furnish any samples of this carton or any wrapping paper or tape to the FBI? Mr. WALDMAN. Yes; we did furnish a sample of the carton together with the type of sealing tape that was generally used and such craft paper that may have been used for inner cushioning packing.
  25. I'll have to admit, Mae Brussell has never even been on my radar screen. There is a "conspiracy mindset" that I simply don't share. Not that conspiracies don't exist in the real world, but they all bear certain hallmarks that are nothing like the conspiracies that those with the conspiracy mindset see all around them. I was simply agog to read Mae Brussell's theory of the assassination of John Lennon. I have worked for the federal government, a state government, two county governments, and one municipal government, as well as a Fortune 100 (at the time) corporation. In my experience, government at all levels is almost comically disorganized, inefficient, stupider than would seem possible, and riddled with all the flaws of human nature. The notion that any government, or any substantial bureaucracy of any sort, would be capable of pulling off and concealing an elaborate conspiracy strikes me as inherently unbelievable. This is true regardless of whether the supposed conspiracy is the assassination of JFK, the truth about UFOs, or any of the other conspiracies that those with the conspiracy mindset see all around them. Especially before I became a lawyer, I used to share the conspiracy mindset in regard to the JFK assassination, UFOs, and other matters. I lapped it all up. As the decades passed and my critical-thinking skills and overall level of sophistication increased, I increasingly realized that the appropriate response to someone with the conspiracy mindset is not "Wow, tell me more!" but "I believe you are either delusional or a huckster or both and will continue to believe so until you prove by hard, solid evidence that you are not." Having studied the assassination of JFK reasonably thoroughly, no one with the conspiracy mindset would ever convince me that, for example, JFK was assassinated by a cabal of ex-Nazis and Nazi sympathizers or that Lee Harvey Oswald was actually two separate individuals groomed since childhood to fulfill their destinies as Harvey and Lee. These things are simply insane, and I'm not going to pretend they aren't or humor those with the conspiracy mindset who actually hold these delusions or self-servingly promote them. Their "evidence" is never even really evidence at all, and they blithely ignore the mountains of real evidence. Because JFK was either despised by so many different agencies, organizations and individuals, or so many agencies, organizations and individuals would clearly have benefitted from his death, hypothesizing conspiracies is absurdly easy. Many of these agencies, organizations and individuals unquestionably were Not Nice People, which makes hypothesizing their involvement that much easier. Overlaid on this is the reality that JFK was a highly charismatic leader, the world probably would be a better place today if he had lived, and the notion that he was assassinated by a disturbed nobody with a $20 rifle is psychologically unsatisfying. Ergo, those with the conspiracy mindset hypothesize 40 completely different conspiracies, each with a superficial plausibility, and fail to see how silly this has become. Those favoring the Deep Politics theory, which now predominates, have as much disdain for the other theories as they do for the Lone Nut explanation. It is all, as one very experienced researcher who does not participate here said to me, a "parlor game" among those with the conspiracy mindset. I don't think it really has as much to do with "solving the JFK assassination" as with "proving my conspiracy is more clever than yours and I can sell more books and accumulate more True Believers than you can." The Lone Nutters are not debunkers. A debunker is someone who says, notwithstanding a really huge body of hard evidence and anecdotal evidence, "The UFO phenomenon doesn't exist. It's all hoaxes and delusions." A Lone Nutter says "I am satisfied the Warren Commission and HSCA looked into this matter thoroughly and in good faith and reached a sound conclusion (notwithstanding the HSCA's dictabelt tangent); I am satisfied authors and researchers like Jean Davison, Gerald Posner, Norman Mailer, Vincent Bugliosi and others looked into this matter in good faith and reached sound conclusions; I have reviewed the evidence as thoroughly and in good faith as I can and have reached similar conclusions; and nothing in the conspiracy theories or 'evidence' on which they are based has, as yet, convinced me otherwise." A Lone Nutter is essentially someone who says "You may be sincere, but I'm sorry: The earth is simply not flat, and I no longer care what 'evidence' you have to 'prove' it is." To a debunker, I am a UFO True Believer merely because I have had an intense interest in the subject and saw a very classic UFO. But all I really say is, "Whatever UFOs are, that's what I saw." An ET craft, an interdimensional visitor, a time traveler, an ultra-terrestrial, a hologram, advanced military technology, a CIA mind-control experiment, a mysterious product of my and Dave's own minds, something even weirder than any of these? I really have no idea. Because I lack the conspiracy mindset, I do not take the evidence and run with it, convincing myself that reptilian aliens control the world governments, there are ET bases on the dark side of the moon, JFK was killed because he got too inquisitive, or any of the other examples of Obvious Lunacy. I have likewise seen nothing to convince me that some massively secret agency deep within the bowels of the disorganized, inefficient, stupid, flawed bureaucracy of the federal government knows The Truth and has been successfully covering it up for the entire 70 years since the "Roswell crash." Just my $0.02 worth, of course. But I really think the basic problem is that there is a conspiracy mindset that simply sees a different reality than those with the non-conspiracy mindset see, and never the twain shall meet.
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