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Lance Payette

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Everything posted by Lance Payette

  1. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    Of what possible significance is "the court of public opinion" to the truth of the JFK assassination? Does anyone think the truth is the objective in a real courtroom - is anyone that naïve? The closest we can get to the truth of the JFK assassination is through analysis of the best evidence and reasonable inferences and deductions from that. Public opinion is irrelevant. If Cliff's notion is that sufficient public outcry may force yet another investigation - well, don't hold your breath, but I would have no fear of one. Of course polls show that public opinion leans toward a conspiracy of some sort. You don't read 100 stories a year saying "Professor Jones would like to remind the public that Oswald acted alone!" As Walter Cronkite said, "We don't run stories about all the cats that don't get stuck in trees and don't have to be rescued by the Fire Department." The public is constantly bombarded from every angle by conspiracy theories of every possible stripe from crackpot to plausible (plausibility being a very low threshold precisely because so many powerful people and organizations despised JFK). It's scarcely surprising that Joe Average, who knows essentially nothing about the assassination and certainly nothing about Oswald, tells a pollster, "Well, yeah, I figure there was some sort of conspiracy." If I were trying to prevail in the court of public opinion, I wouldn't spend my time preaching to the conspiracy choir here. I'd be attempting to influence those who actually have the ability to influence the public. I've now taken my bunching experiment to a new and higher level: I'm the same height as JFK but ten pounds lighter. I donned the back brace that I wear when I lift weights, which is less elaborate than JFK's. I donned a 100% cotton dress shirt. I observed the movement of the shirt as I made various slight and unexaggerated movements of my shoulders and arms. The shirt bunched at the shoulders as easily as my suit coat had. I then donned my suit coat over this and went through the same exercises. I obviously couldn't observe the shirt beneath the coat, so I had my wife very carefully peel away the coat. The shirt appeared to be bunched to approximately the same degree as the coat. Both very easily rode up toward my neck. This proves nothing, of course, but it was interesting. I'll confess that I no longer have any idea why Cliff regards his solution as "irrefutable." We'll never know precisely how JFK's suit and coat were sitting at the nanosecond of impact, but my unscientific little experiment demonstrated to my satisfaction that a "bunching" or "rising" sufficient to make the SBT much less problematical is entirely plausible. (FYI, JFK wore Brooks Brothers shirts. BB shirts of that era are described as "notoriously voluminous." BB's ads emphasized their fullness. JFK's shirts were indeed tailored in terms of collar size and sleeve length, but no 1963 shirt was tailored in the way that we might call European fit today. BB did develop a trim-fit suit model that it thought would be more flattering to JFK.) As I've said to the Harvey and Lee folks in regard to a number of their items of "evidence" (Oswald's junior high school records being the most recent example that comes to mind): Come on, stop speculating. Find a back brace, shirt and coat that closely approximate those that JFK was wearing and have two or three independent forensic laboratories determine the extent to which they rise and bunch through a range of plausible motions in conditions approximating those in JFK's limousine. You may not reach 100% certainty, but you'll certainly have a pretty good idea as to whether significant bunching and rising is IMPOSSIBLE! or could make the SBT much less problematical. If the results favor your position, publish them in a reputable journal and send copies to 20 of the most liberal Senators and Congressmen. Although Cliff has been saying exactly the same thing for more than a decade as far as I can tell, my guess is that the silence will be as deafening as it has been with the Harvey and Lee folks.
  2. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    Yes, that is the salient point. When I say the SBT is "problematical" and neither side can be dogmatic, I'm mostly talking about "when we view the SBT in isolation." It's a theory that has some problematical aspects, from the location of the holes in the clothing to the condition of the bullet. BUT, as those charged with investigating the assassination have repeatedly concluded, the SBT is the "least problematical" of the alternatives. This is true when the SBT is viewed in isolation and certainly when it is viewed in the context of the assassination as a whole. In the latter context, we can speak with a level of confidence about the SBT while acknowledging (and dealing with) the discrepancies and problematical aspects. This is precisely why someone like Cliff wants to view the SBT only in isolation (and, indeed, to restrict the view to only the evidence he likes). With the theories that obviously are more problematical than the SBT, both in isolation and in the context of the assassination as a whole, the Conspiracy Game is to keep "solving" those problems with conspiracy speculation for which there is no factual basis and to keep moving the goalposts until the supposed conspiracy involves so many persons and so many facets and stages that it becomes comical. Notwithstanding that Cliff and Cory think they're scoring points with open-minded readers, I'm confident the reality is otherwise. Although Clint claims that responding to my posts is "fun," like shooting fish in a barrel, I'm confident the reality is otherwise. Ad hominem attacks are seldom the tactic of debaters who are confident they're scoring points. Sure, the conspiracy community is a brotherhood, and I don't expect to be any more popular than a psychiatrist at a Scientology convention, but I'm confident that those who have not yet drunk the conspiracy Kool Aid can see who is simply a one-dimensional conspiracy cultist. As previously stated, it isn't utterly inconceivable to me that Lee Harvey Oswald might have been involved in a "conspiracy" with another person or two - who were perhaps in Dealey Plaza or perhaps not. (I put "conspiracy" in quotation marks because this could mean almost anything.) I don't believe this fits the facts because I don't believe Oswald's actions in the 24 hours before and the 12 hours after the assassination match any sort of conspiracy scenario. But I'm not unalterably opposed to such a notion if facts come to light that can be reasonably explained in no other way. However, any such "conspiracy" would have to fit who Oswald actually was. It would, I believe, have to be a pro-Castro "conspiracy" with Oswald front and center. If I thought Cliff's "irrefutable evidence" were ANYWHERE NEAR as irrefutable as he claims, that's the direction I'd be looking. But I guarantee you that such a "conspiracy" would be opposed as vehemently as the Lone Nut explanation by MUCH of the JFK conspiracy community. They would hate it as much as they hate the Lone Nut explanation. Why? Because the issue for them really isn't "Who killed JFK?" This very large segment of JFK assassination research is essentially a religion driven by liberal ideology. The goal is to invest JFK's death with meaning equal to the greatness of his Presidency and the near-worship in which his memory is held. The goal is to read back into JFK's death all that we have learned since about corruption in government and business. The goal is to explain the current state of America by the fact that we lost JFK and the same dark forces are still at work today. I'm not saying these are conscious goals, or even that there is anything wrong with them, but I am convinced they're the psychological underpinnings of a great deal of what might otherwise seem to be inexplicable quasi-religious conspiracy thinking.
  3. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    The issue isn't really "riding" up. It's "bunching" up. I had to wear a similar brace in my teens. It would be unlikely to wear it over a dress shirt. Over a t-shirt and under a dress shirt, yes. In my Lone Nut fanaticism, I can see how a brace over the dress shirt might well make bunching more likely. But it's really a moot point - we will never know exactly what effect, if any, the brace had. It's just one of the many unknowns (except in the corner of Conspiracy Land occupied by Cliff and the trained parrot who often fills in for him, where anything that doesn't fit the Irrefutable Prima Facie Solution is IMPOSSIBLE!!! SQUAWK!!!).
  4. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    "Later" and "by persons unknown"? Wow, that sounds positively CONSPIRATORIAL! Humes testified at the Warren Commission: "We then ascertained, we chose the two bony points of reference-we chose to locate this wound, where the mastoid process, which is just behind the ear, the top of the mastoid process, and the acromion which is the tip of the shoulder joint. We ascertained physical measurement at the time of autopsy that this wound was 14 cm from the tip of the mastoid process and 14 cm from the acromion was its central point." Who is"we" - Humes and conspirators unknown or Humes, Boswell and Finck? The autopsy report signed by Humes, Boswell and Finck likewise states "Situated on the upper right posterior thorax just above the upper border of the scapula there is a 7 x 4 millimeter oval wound. This wound is measured to be 14 cm, from the tip of the right acromion process and 14 cm. below the tip of the right mastoid process." Do these statements really suggest to you that the measurements were added "later" and "by persons unknown"? Yes, yes, I know - Humes and the others can't be trusted. Perhaps I am wrong that Boswell specifically acknowledged that he had written the measurements. I read a newspaper article yesterday where, in the early 90's, he placed an X where the measurements would actually place the dot on the autopsy face sheet (higher, of course, than the original dot). I thought in that article he acknowledged that he had written the measurements, but perhaps I am wrong. Here it is - at least the first part with the X: I'm sure you have the source at your fingertips, but I was unable to find any autopsy protocol suggesting that notes in pen constituted a "violation." It certainly makes sense that notes would be made in pencil, so they could more easily be corrected, but noting the measurements in pen hardly strikes me as suspicious - or is this in the same vein as PERSONS UNKNOWN added the measurements LATER and IN VIOLATION OF AUTOPSY PROTOCOL!!! The measurements certainly appear to be in the same hand as the rest of the sheet. Are we even certain they are in pen? Cliff's statement literally makes no sense and I literally have no idea what cheerleader Cory is even saying, but again these discussions mostly serve to highlight the intense emotional attachment that people seem to have to their pet theories. I can say with 100% honesty that I have no attachment whatsoever to the Lone Nut explanation or the SBT (which I don't necessarily agree is essential to the Lone Nut explanation). I have no intense attachment, positive or negative, to the memory of JFK. I have no intense attachment, positive or negative, to LHO, the CIA, the FBI or any of the other Usual Suspects. I have no intense attachment to trying to explain the current state of the nation in terms of the assassination and the dark forces behind it. Except as an academic exercise, I truly don't care who killed JFK. I had a far greater attachment, such as it was, to conspiracy theories because they were fun!!! cool!!! weird!!! endlessly absorbing!!! Unfortunately, they just don't make sense and are inconsistent with who Lee Harvey Oswald actually was. I truly don't understand why foaming-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorists are troubled by someone like me or spend their time (seemingly HUGE amounts of time) saying the same things over and over and over on these forums. What is gained by ridiculing or attempting to shout down little old Lance? Why not take your irrefutable evidence to someone who is in a position to do something with it - or can't you convince anyone like that to take you seriously? (Oh, yeah, well what is little old Lance doing here, HUH? That is a fair question, but I have accumulated only 350 posts in 3+ years and must admit that my interest is fast waning now that the weather outside is finally clearing.)
  5. Those who have followed my modest contributions to this forum know that I previously raised issues concerning a couple of footnotes in Harvey and Lee that simply didn't check-out - i.e., the statement in the text wasn't supported by the document referenced in the footnote that ostensibly supported it. No big deal, except that the statements in the text had been picked by umpteen other conspiracy enthusiasts and appeared as conspiracy gospel in their works. Being trapped inside by the wettest October in Arizona history, I decided to engage in yet another exercise in fact-checking. What I have found is once again somewhat unnerving. Because I spent only 90 minutes on this project, someone might well step forward and prove me wrong. If so - please, be my guest. If not - well, at what point does this sort of thing start making even diehard conspiracy enthusiasts nervous about the factual bases of their conspiracy gospel? Some of you have followed the recent Umbrella Man thread, http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/25254-are-there-any-jfk-protests-similar-to-umbrella-mans-heckling/?page=3. According to the conventional wisdom, Umbrella Man was hapless Louie Steven Witt, a salesman for the Rio Grande National Life Insurance Company who had wandered down from his nearby office in the Rio Grande Building to heckle JFK with an umbrella that he had been told would irritate the President by bringing to mind his father's association with umbrella-toting Neville Chamberlain, who had urged that Hitler be appeased rather than opposed. In the course of that discussion, Brian Schmidt mentioned that Witt had "worked for the Rio Grande Insurance Company, which had connections to Carlos Marcello." I asked, "Where did this come from?" Brian explained, "Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance was under FBI investigation for allegedly lending money to mob figure Marcello (and Trafficante and Roselli). Their assets would be spun off to Rio Grande Insurance around the time of the assassination. There are declassified FBI documents about this." I invited Brian to document this startling fact (and perhaps he will). I noted, "I'm not going to pretend to know anything about this, but I could find nothing (including past posts on this forum) to suggest it is true. Perhaps it is. But I do know that in Conspiracy Land things like this take on a life of their own. The next phase will be that Witt was 'associated' with Marcello and 'may well have had Mafia connections.'" I conducted every permutation of Google search I could think of to link Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company with Rio Grande National Life Insurance Company, Witt's employer. I posted the history of Rio Grande from the authoritative site of the Texas Department of Insurance. As you can see, RIO GRANDE EXISTED FROM 1900 TO 1968, WHEN IT MERGED WITH KENTUCKY CENTRAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY. Date Event 01-11-1968 MERGED WITH KENTUCKY CENTRAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (45700) LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY CANCELLED 11-05-1967 MILITARY BUSINESS REINSURANCE BY BANKERS LIFE AND CASUALTY COMPANY (07900).  12-18-1928 INCORPORATED 01/01/1929 LICENSED 01-01-1900 RIO GRANDE NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, DALLAS, TEXAS OK, what about Guarantee Reserve? IT WAS STILL IN BUSINESS UNTIL 2004, LICENSED IN INDIANA AND DOMICILED IN ILLINOIS. ITS ASSETS WERE NOT "SPUN OFF" TO RIO GRANDE OR ANYWHERE ELSE. IN 2004, IT MERGED WITH REASSURE AMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY. Its history and ownership are well-known and well-documented: On October 13, 1933, Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company of Hammond, domiciled in Indianapolis, Indiana, was licensed as an Indiana mutual assessment company to issue life and accident and health contracts on the assessment plan. On December 8, 1952, the Company received its Certificate of Authority to write the business of life insurance in the State of Florida. In 1963, the corporate name was changed to "Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company." During its existence, the Company has acquired the business of the following companies: Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company, Hammond, Indiana (1949) Arcadia National Life Insurance Company, Chicago, Illinois (1949) Progressive Life Insurance Company, Indianapolis, Indiana (1951) National Protective Insurance Company, Kansas City, Missouri (1953) Safety Drivers Insurance Company, Kansas City, Missouri (1959) Life Insurance Company of America, Wilmington, Delaware (1962) Old Liberty Insurance Company, Chicago, Illinois (1962) Commerce Insurance Company, Chicago, Illinois (1962) Stockman's Reserve Life Insurance Company, Bismark, North Dakota (1963) National Protective Life Insurance Company, Hammond, Indiana (1964). The Company was purchased by Reassure America Life Insurance Company effective June 30, 2003, and subsequently merged into Reassure America Life Insurance Company effective December 31, 2003. Source: https://www.insurance.pa.gov/Regulations/Regulatory Actions/Documents/Archived Market Conduct Actions/D-F/Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company - 11-04.pdf (a 2004 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance). Conspicuously absent from the above listing of Guarantee Reserve's affiliations is any affiliation with Rio Grande or any other Texas insurer. For those with an insatiable curiosity about Guarantee Reserve, it was a family-owned company. The history and ownership through 1957 are set forth in excruciating and somewhat unflattering detail here, a decision in an income tax case: https://www.leagle.com/decision/1967113626hotcm11101914. Nevertheless, the principal of the company was honored by Purdue University with an honorary degree in 2002, https://www.purdue.edu/uns/html3month/02.Jaffe.PNC.bio.html ("After serving in World War II as part of the Merchant Marines, Mr. Jaffe, with financial help from his father, rescued a nearly bankrupt Indiana corporation, Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company in Hammond, Ind. By preserving this business through savvy mail-order marketing techniques, he created opportunities for thousands of northwest Indiana citizens to build their careers and be productive. Mr. Jaffe created a business environment that incorporated many firsts for employees, such as a 401(k) plan, flexible work time, open door policies and company celebrations. His firm received honors from the Indiana Department of Insurance as a 'best run' Indiana company.") IN A NUTSHELL, THE SUPPOSED CONNECTION BETWEEN GUARANTEE RESERVE AND RIO GRANDE APPEARS TO BE ENTIRELY BOGUS. But what about Carlos Marcello of Mafia fame? Google Guy was unable to document ANY connection between Marcello and Rio Grande except - wait for it - ON CONSPIRACY WEBSITES, INCLUDING THIS FORUM! For giggles, review this thread: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/6339-shearn-moody-jr/. The documented connection in the foregoing thread was that Ron Ecker had found a post somewhere from a woman who said "my mother just asked me to check into old life insurance policies she purchased and ‘paid up’ on me and my three siblings.... she first purchased them under a company called Guarantee Reserve that became Rio Grande National Life that became Kentucky Central....” By the bottom of the same page of the thread, Mark Stapleton had concluded "I think you've discovered a possible link there between the mob and Louie Witt." Bingo, we're down the rabbit hole! Henceforth, hapless Louie will be Mafia Guy, Carlos Marcello's stooge. (I should mention that there may well have been some contractual connections between Guarantee Reserve and Rio Grande. I didn't find any evidence of this, but all sorts of such connections exist within the insurance industry - umbrella coverage, reinsurance, coinsurance, assignment of policies. As you can see from the Texas information above, Rio Grande's military business was reinsured by Bankers Life in 1967. It may appear to an unsophisticated policyholder that the original issuer "became" a different company, but this generally isn't the case. It certainly wasn't the case with Guarantee Reserve and Rio Grande.) But let's be honest, Mr. Payette: There is some "connection" between Marcello and Guarantee Reserve. The legal decision that I cite above doesn't mention Marcello, but it does document Guarantee Reserve's history of unusually large and dubious loans for the development of Las Vegas casinos. I've seen no suggestion that Guarantee Reserve was in bed with the Mafia; rather, it appears that the company took some unusual risks and failed to properly document them in hopes of a big-time payoff. Marcello was apparently one of the favored borrowers. This is from an article entitled "The JFK Assassination & the NJ Connection" by Lee Forman, https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/12/russ-baker/jfk-umbrella-man-more-doubts/: Eleven years later, ex-Senator of Indiana, Raymond Maxwell Baker, brought the Cole investigation to the fore with the FBI, presenting it with a copy of a letter he had written to Phil White of the Department of Justice on October 17, 1974 [REF: HSCA, 180-10074-10400]. Baker had the unlucky pleasure of having worked for Guarantee Reserve Life insurance of Hammond, Indiana, before and during his tenure as a Senator. He had begun an ongoing investigation into large sums of money lent to individuals like Ben Jaffee, Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli and Carlos Marcello. The loans made were extensive, required little or no interest and, as per Baker, had the effect of impeding the company’s ability to pay insured claims while building out the large casinos and hotels that became Las Vegas. Baker had taken this investigation directly to the attention of the Attorney General at that time, Robert F. Kennedy. Robert had informed Baker of his intention to begin an investigation into these claims with the Justice Department. Following John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Baker suspected foul play and began his own investigation into the murder, convinced that organized crime [something that FBI Director Hoover continually denied even existed] had played a role. I was unable to pull up HSCA record number 180-10074-10400, but you may be able to do so. OK, let's say for the sake of argument that Guarantee Reserve's principals weren't entirely on the up-and-up and were in bed with Mafia devils like Marcello. (Considering that the insurance industry is one of the most heavily regulated and audited industries on the planet, it seems odd that Guarantee Reserve was apparently never sanctioned for such activities and was feted as one of the "best run" companies in Indiana.) WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH RIO GRANDE OR HAPLESS LOUIE STEVEN WITT? WHERE'S THE BEEF? Show me the beef and I'll say, "Oh, THERE it is!" Is this anything other than absolutely typical Conspiracy Thinking and blithe character assassination of someone who appears to be completely innocent of the dark speculation? Yes, this is a small issue and a small matter. But how come every time I spend an hour or two diving into these small matters they don't check out? To what extent is Conspiracy Thinking built upon a foundation of non-facts such as this and the dark but completely unwarranted speculation that flows from them? But let's be honest, Mr. Payette: According to Russ Baker, https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/12/russ-baker/jfk-umbrella-man-more-doubts/: Witt, the self-proclaimed "Umbrella Man," worked for Rio Grande National Life Insurance in the Rio Grande building. I mentioned that the same building housed the Immigration office frequented by Lee Harvey Oswald, and the local office of the highly negligent Secret Service. I mentioned that Rio Grande wrote a lot of insurance for the military. And, separately, I noted the strong military intelligence connections to key figures connected with 11/22/63. One thing I did not mention, but should have, was that Military Intelligence itself had offices in that Rio Grande building. So there ya go, we don't need no stinkin' Carlos Marcello: Witt was HAVING LUNCH, probably on a regular basis, with Lee Harvey Oswald, highly negligent Secret Service agents and Military Intelligence figures connected with the assassination! Frankly, I'm surprised Louie was allowed to live to the age of 90. FYI, here's the Rio Grande Building. It was demolished in 1971 because, the demolition foreman stated, "It's my understanding that it just holds too many clues to the JFK assassination conspiracy. I mean, did you know that LOUIE STEVEN WITT used to park his fanny here???"
  6. Lance Payette

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    Yes, but it would explain your understanding that Guarantee Reserve's assets had been "spun off" to Rio Grande - i.e., we would be talking only about a spin-off of its operations in Texas. The Las Vegas loans (Tropicana, Flamingo, etc.) are pretty well covered in the legal decision I cited in my original post, where members of the Jaffe family (the principals of Guarantee Reserve) were found to have under-reported rather large amounts of income.
  7. Lance Payette

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    Just to show I'm perfectly willing to be proved wrong: It occurred to me that perhaps Guarantee Reserve might have spun off just its Texas business to Rio Grande around the time of the assassination. Alas, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, Guarantee Reserve wasn't even licensed to do business in Texas until October 9, 1969 and had no relationship with Rio Grande: https://apps.tdi.state.tx.us/pcci/pcci_show_profile.jsp?tdiNum=37000. My guess is that, as Steve suggested, there is some confusion about the companies involved. But unless Rio Grande can specifically be brought into the mix, none of this has any bearing on Witt.
  8. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    Although Cliff will insist that it is IMPOSSIBLE! for the coat and shirt to have moved in unison, I don't think we can know the effect of JFK's elaborate back brace. No, it didn't simply sit at his waist. Probably like everyone here, I did my own quick bunching experiment and was surprised at how much bunching does occur with what seemed like very slight movement. But I don't hinge my thinking solely on the back brace because, as I stated, there are just too many unknowns/variables to be dogmatic on the subject one way or the other.
  9. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    You're bringing the conspiracist's zealotry to the discussion. I don't accept Boswell's measurement as gospel. I accept that it creates a discrepancy with other evidence and that it tends to support a back wound position that makes the SBT less problematical. This and nothing more. It is at least (1) a precise measurement by (2) a medical doctor for (3) the very purpose of determining the location of the back wound. I don't question Bennett's observation because it makes the SBT more problematical. I question it because it is in fact highly questionable eyewitness testimony for the reasons I've stated. This and nothing more.
  10. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    Seated in a moving auto behind JFK's moving limousine, in the instant of a completely unanticipated rifle shot, Bennett accurately determines that the bullet impacted 4" down from JFK's right shoulder on his dark suit coat? Does this seem plausible? Do you think that in these circumstances anyone could be relied upon to distinguish between 2", 4" and 6"? And precisely what is "about four inches down from the right shoulder" when the victim is wearing a suit coat? Looking at the photo of the actual hole in JFK's coat, would anyone describe this in relation to the "right shoulder" unless the coat were bunched or the arm were raised? Bennett's actual statement, which raises some timing issues as well, was: "At this point I heard what sounded like a fire-cracker. I immediately looked from the right/crowd/physical area/and looked towards the President who was seated in the right rear seat of his limousine open convertible. At the moment I looked at the back of the President I heard another fire-cracker noise and saw the shot hit the President about four inches down from the right shoulder." It just seems to me that an unwarranted level of precision is attached to this sort of evidence.
  11. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    Sure, that's true of basically every part of the body. But why must we assume that the dot on the autopsy face sheet is precise but Dr. Boswell didn't know how to determine the mastoid process on JFK and accurately measure 14 cm down from there? Possibly, because the back wound was of lesser importance than the head wound, Dr. Boswell was somewhat casual and a more precise measurement would have been 13 cm or 15 cm - but this is true of the dot and all the other observations of the back wound.
  12. Lance Payette

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    You stated that the assets of Guarantee Reserve were spun off to Rio Grande at about the time of the assassination. I found absolutely no evidence that this is true. What sense does it even make? Guarantee Reserve remained in business until 2004. How does an insurance company spin off its assets (a de facto merger) yet remain in business? I'm agnostic about almost everything. Come forward with EVIDENCE showing Marcello had a connection to Witt's employer Rio Grande, or Witt had a connection to Marcello or any other mob figure, and my interest will be piqued. I'm not picking on you - I believe you probably picked this stuff up in good faith from other conspiracy-oriented sources that picked it up from other conspiracy-oriented sources, and so on and so forth, which is typically what happens. If I'm wrong, I'll acknowledge it. Clearly, you made the assertion about Marcello and Rio Grande because you believed it should be relevant to our consideration of Witt. My point is simply that even I, whose involvement with the assassination community is minimal, have now checked out about five facts that are part of conspiracy gospel - and none of them checked out. Certainly, and I wasn't suggesting that my original post somehow supported the Lone Nut position. As Steve recognized, the point I am making applies to either side of the debate. If Witt's employer had connections to a company that had connections to Marcello, this would tell us precisely nothing about Witt - another logical trick (fallacy). I do think that conspiracy enthusiasts lean on this sort of thing more than do Lone Nutters: Witt's employer had unspecified "connections" to a company that had unspecified "connections" to Marcello [which isn't true as far as I can tell], AND THEREFORE Witt was probably not the innocent Umbrella Man he purported to be.
  13. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    On a given individual, the mastoid process is a fixed point. It doesn't float, which is why it is used as a reference point. When Boswell later placed a dot where the written measurements would indicate, it was much higher than the original dot on the autopsy face sheet. Certainly, the SBT is problematical. If I were hell-bent to prove a conspiracy, it's one of the key areas on which I'd focus. But is it less problematical than the alternatives? Two assassins' bullets, one from the front and one from the back, that didn't exit the body? Pure happenstance that those two shots lined up in a way that brought the SBT at least within the realm of possibility? All sorts of nefarious doings on the part of medical professionals, yet screaming discrepancies in the testimony and documents that were allowed to remain and fuel conspiracy thinking? A cover-up involving a bullet with so little damage that it practically invites conspiracy thinking? Isn't the reality that nothing can be established with absolute certainty? We don't know to the millimeter how Oswald was holding his rifle when the shot was fired. We don't know to the nanosecond when the shot impacted JFK. We don't know to the millimeter the orientation of JFK's body and arms. We don't know the precise location of the back wound. We don't even know the precise location of the throat wound. We don't know precisely what the bullet did as it transited JFK's body. We do know the location of the holes in his shirt and coat (although even there the measurements differed slightly), but we don't know precisely how they were arranged at the time of impact or the possible effect of his elaborate back brace. These are a lot of small unknowns that could cumulatively shift the SBT from problematical to not problematical at all. Yes, much evidence suggests (but certainly not conclusively) a location of the back wound that makes the SBT more problematical than if the wound were higher. But there are too many variables, as described above, to state dogmatically that the SBT is IMPOSSIBLE. The difference between a back wound location that makes the SBT "highly problematical" and one that makes it "not problematical at all" isn't large - certainly within the realm of faulty observation or sloppiness in a case where the real issue was that the victim's head had been blown open like a melon. This is why trials where the case hinges on forensic evidence typically have dueling experts who vehemently disagree with each other. Because Cliff doesn't understand what prima facie evidence or a prima facie case is, he keeps shrieking "IMPOSSIBLE!" or "FAKE DEBATE!" when all he has really shown is that there is indeed a body of evidence which, on its face, suggests that the SBT is unlikely. In the real world, unlikely and even seemingly IMPOSSIBLE! chains of physical events happen all the time. Lastly, as DVP correctly notes, the SBT is merely one area of evidence in a mountain pointing toward Oswald. That mountain is large enough that some of us are willing to accept a problematical SBT as the likely truth vs. alternatives that seem even more implausible. Those who are convinced there is a conspiracy will view the SBT through that lens. But there is no point in either side pretending that the evidence regarding the SBT is conclusive or that the other side's position is silly.
  14. Lance Payette

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    You both miss the point. The claim that Witt was affiliated with Marcello isn't, in and of itself, bizarre. The point of my thread wasn't to attack that claim per se or to suggest that anyone making that claim was dishonest or a "conspiracy loon." The claim would not be bizarre IF IN FACT THERE WERE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT. The point was that again and again (in my experience) "facts" asserted to bolster conspiracy claims turn out not to be facts at all - the assertion has NO FACTUAL BASIS. Secondarily, and this is perhaps more significant, these bogus "facts" end up being REPEATED AND EXPANDED UPON THROUGHOUT THE CONSPIRACY LITERATURE. They take on a life of their own. The Witt example is more significant than some because a deceased individual who almost surely had no connection to the JFK assassination beyond what he described is being slandered by false assertions that he was associated with Marcello. Noted UFO researcher Kevin Randle (he has both a military background and a doctorate) emphasizes the need for what he calls "footnote hunting." His points are exactly the ones I am making. No one ever goes back to the original sources to check whether they really substantiate what is being stated in a text and footnotes. Instead, they simply assume that what is stated in the text must be true if it is footnoted. Next thing you know, the statement in the text, which is in fact not true, is repeated and expanded upon throughout the literature as though it were gospel. See https://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2018/10/chasing-more-footnotes.html.
  15. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    Here he is in 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr66UmrYnuM He isn't a Lone Nutter by any means - I don't know of anyone who knew LHO in Minsk who believes he was a presidential-assassin-waiting-to-happen - but his book is full of good insights. It's only $6.99 in the Kindle version. He certainly has impeccable credentials: http://etitovets.com/Titovets_dream.html.
  16. Lance Payette

    I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

    To your list, I would add: OSWALD'S GAME - Jean Davison MARINA AND LEE - Priscilla Johnson McMillan OSWALD'S TALE - Norman Mailer OSWALD: RUSSIAN EPISODE - Ernst Titovets LEGEND - Edward Jay Epstein Yes, yes, I know, the first three at least are staples of the Lone Nut community. (Epstein's work, of course, is approximately 180 degrees removed from the currently prevailing Deep Politics theories, which is why he is dismissed as either a CIA dupe or disinformation agent.) I believe it is CRITICAL, before bogging down in minutiae and theories, to gain as much of an understanding as possible of WHO LEE HARVEY OSWALD REALLY WAS. I would've saved myself a lot of time and money if I had taken that approach.
  17. Lance Payette

    Umbrella Man pic?

    Everyone else may be aware of this (I wasn't), but this page has some plausible photo analysis of Witt in fact being Umbrella Man and the umbrella in fact not having been pumped up and down: https://sites.google.com/site/jfkforum/tum. At the bottom of the same page, the "Chamberlain" link has some examples of political cartoons prominently featuring Chamberlain and his black umbrella. I realize that Jim Fetzer is pretty much persona non grata with many folks, but he has kind of an interesting discussion from 2011 in which he notes that Witt testified to the limousine stopping: "At this time there was the car stopping, the screeching of tires, the jamming on of brakes, motorcycle patrolman right there beside one of the cars." Because this is consistent with what at least some other witnesses said and arguably supports the Z film having been altered, Fetzer seems willing to cut Witt some slack and concede that he probably was there. See http://whokilledjfk.net/tink_thompson.htm. (If Witt were a plant, why would he have said THAT?) If Witt was in fact the Umbrella Man, I think it becomes extremely difficult to make the case for anything sinister (for all the reasons I've previously stated, including the thread I started this morning). The fact that we don't have all sorts of clear photos and film of Umbrella Man and Walkie-Talkie Man (or DCM, if you prefer) is a matter of pure happenstance. I'm frankly surprised we don't, and perhaps they are out there somewhere. But the likelihood of such photos and films existing after the assassination makes it UNTHINKABLE to me that, with a supposed pro-Castro patsy sitting on the 6th floor, conspirators with any brains would have placed two anti-Castro zealots like Roy Hargraves and Felipe Vidal Santiago in these roles for any purpose. Unless we believe that every DPD officer and SS agent in the vicinity was in on the conspiracy, it also seems to me that there would have been a high likelihood of UM and DCM being tackled and exposed on the spot. (The fact that this didn't occur suggests to me that the actions of UM and DCM were probably not as suspicious as is hypothesized. Did any other witnesses take special note of UM and DCM?) To accept that UM and DCM were Roy Hargraves and Felipe Vidal Santiago and were acting as suspiciously as is hypothesized, I'd have to buy into Sandy's suggestion that "These conspirators didn't really care about ANYTHING." But, then, why was a patsy necessary at all?
  18. Lance Payette

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    Sure, that's entirely possible, and I wasn't aiming my post at Brian. Far more prominent researchers have done the same thing in published works. One researcher states as "fact" something that is either just flat wrong or is in reality rank speculation. Next thing you know, this "fact" pops up in 25 other places as gospel. To expose any one of these "facts" takes an ungodly amount of work, which most people aren't willing to undertake. Voila, the "fact" lives forever. Some poor cluck like Witt finds himself branded as having Mafia ties, which I suspect would be disturbing to him and his family. I don't doubt that some of this goes on in the Lone Nut community (IS THERE a Lone Nut community???), but the conspiracy community seems to me to be especially prone to it.
  19. Lance Payette

    Louie Steven Witt: Mafia Guy

    In the world of logic and common sense, you cannot avoid THIS issue by saying you get the same feeling every time you look at the WCR. That is a non-response. What about THIS issue? Spend a couple of hours and prove me wrong.
  20. FWIW, the above photo would presumably have been September 12, 1962, the day JFK gave a speech at Rice University. I couldn't find the actual temperature, but the day was described as "blazing hot." So this may just be a Houston Belle shielding her skin. I assume that not every black umbrella irritated JFK (not that Jackie didn't have plenty to protest about).
  21. I'm not going to pretend to know anything about this, but I could find nothing (including past posts on this forum) to suggest it is true. Perhaps it is. But I do know that in Conspiracy Land things like this take on a life of their own. The next phase will be that Witt was "associated" with Marcello and "may well have had Mafia connections." Please document what you are asserting if you can. I did find this gem of conspiracy thinking from one Russ Baker: "In the last article, I mentioned that Witt, the self-proclaimed 'Umbrella Man,' worked for Rio Grande National Life Insurance in the Rio Grande building. I mentioned that the same building housed the Immigration office frequented by Lee Harvey Oswald, and the local office of the highly negligent Secret Service. I mentioned that Rio Grande wrote a lot of insurance for the military. And, separately, I noted the strong military intelligence connections to key figures connected with 11/22/63. One thing I did not mention, but should have, was that Military Intelligence itself had offices in that Rio Grande building." Baker also quotes the illustrious John Simkin, whose confident pronouncements are dead wrong: "According to John Simkin, a retired British history teacher and textbook author who runs the historical website Spartacus Educational, the umbrella was never the symbol of Chamberlain that the 'umbrella man' claimed it was. 'In Britain, there was never any association with an umbrella at all,' Simkin told me. 'Everyone had umbrellas and bowlers in those days.' According to Simkin, the only proper symbol for Chamberlain and appeasement was a piece of paper." To refresh your memories (from my earlier post): Those who opposed Chamberlain’s work soon began to mock him using a signature accessory of his as their ammunition – his large black umbrella, ever present by his side. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the black umbrella had been used in satirical cartoons to poke fun at the Prime Minister, as well as in protest. and Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella was ubiquitous during the Munich Crisis and in its aftermath, as material object, as commodity, and as political emblem that came to represent the temperament and character of the ‘Man of Peace’ who had brought relief to the world by striking a ‘gentleman’s peace’ with Hitler on 30 September 1938. This culminated in the damning portrayal of the Prime Minister as the ‘Umbrella Man’ in ‘Cato’s’ Guilty Men (1940). Gottlieb, J.V. (2016) Neville Chamberlain’s Umbrella: ‘Object’ Lessons in the History of Appeasement. Twentieth Century British History, 27 (3). pp. 357-388. ISSN 1477-4674, http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/10136 Here is the history of the Rio Grande National Life Insurance Company from the Texas Department of Insurance, which presumably knows what it's talking about: Date Event 01-11-1968 MERGED WITH KENTUCKY CENTRAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (45700) LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY CANCELLED 11-05-1967 MILITARY BUSINESS REINSURANCE BY BANKERS LIFE AND CASUALTY COMPANY (07900). 12-18-1928 INCORPORATED 01/01/1929 LICENSED 01-01-1900 RIO GRANDE NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, DALLAS, TEXAS
  22. Lance Payette

    Umbrella Man pic?

    So Umbrella Man was indeed the Leonard Bernstein of the Assassination Orchestra? All these highly trained riflemen with assassination-quality scopes, not to mention spotters with assassination-quality binoculars, and they needed A HIGHLY CONSPICUOUS GUY ON THE CURB WITH AN UMBRELLA to signal when JFK was coming? So the riflemen were actually watching Umbrella Man for their cue even though the limousine was coming down Elm Street in full view? What was Walkie Talkie man doing - was he just back-up in case the umbrella malfunctioned? Maybe things are moving too fast for me, but I thought these two were anti-Castro zealots sending an obscure message about the lack of air coverage at the Bay of Pigs. Maybe Umbrella Man was doing BOTH - would that work for everyone? Oh, what was Oswald doing - watching Umbrella Man or shooting into the air, or what? I think I'm being driven in the direction of Sandy's theory - the conspirators were so arrogant they didn't care about ANYTHING, up to and including Oswald being on the TSBD steps.
  23. Lance Payette

    Umbrella Man pic?

    1. JFK's head was going to explode in 8 nanoseconds. 2. The umbrella was intended to bring to mind his failure to provide an umbrella of air coverage at the Bay of Pigs. 3. As his head was exploding, he would have 2 nanoseconds to realize "Ah, it's because I failed to provide umbrella coverage at the Bay of Pigs!" 4. And to make this obscure point, the conspirators were willing to take all the risks associated with having Umbrella Man and Walkie Talkie Man, two rabid anti-Castro zealots, in full view of any and all photo, film and TV cameras, not to mention hundreds of bystanders, thereby jeopardizing the entire conspiracy to pin the assassination on a pro-Castro commie punk. Ya think? I personally like it, but I've had three Guinness Stouts and fear that those who are thinking more clearly might view it as highly unlikely.
  24. Lance Payette

    Umbrella Man pic?

    ANTHONY EDEN??? I wouldn't care, but Sir Anthony Eden was a distant relative of mine. (This should solidify that I am a CIA disinformation plant.) "Achieving rapid promotion as a young Member of Parliament, he became Foreign Secretary aged 38, before resigning in protest at Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy towards Mussolini's Italy." You mean Neville Chamberlain.
  25. No, I don't think they can either. That was Tink Thompson's point. Umbrella Man practically SCREAMS "Something sinister!" Certainly, if they dismiss Umbrella Man OUTRIGHT. But who does? The dismissal is (1) after you hear Witt's explanation, which is just unlikely enough to be true - and too absurd to be a planned cover-up; and (2) after you think rationally about what sort of conspiracy, particularly one with Oswald as the designated patsy, would have Umbrella Man and Walkie Talkie Man standing in full view right in the kill zone? No one had any idea how many film, still and TV cameras were in the crowd that day. Umbrella Man and Walkie Talkie Man simply make no sense unless the assassination was someone's idea of a comedy skit. Where does this come from? All I could find was another post of yours quoting the highly fictionalized 2016 movie. What was Marcello's "connection"? What could it possibly have had to do with Witt or his role as Umbrella Man? I demonstrated that one of John Armstrong's footnotes in HARVEY AND LEE, which was entirely bogus and did not support the point being made in the text, now appears as gospel throughout the conspiracy literature. So I am a bit sensitive about this sort of thing. No, he didn't say he was a right-winger. He said he was "a conservative-type fellow."
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