Sunday, November 30, 2014

God's Property Radio And Kent Hovind - Not A Great Source For The Whole Truth

This is another follow-up to Monday's post about the challenge I received to interact with Kent Hovind.  For some background on Doctor Dino and his tax woes, you can check out this coverage recap.  You may also want to check out the coverage at quatloosBob Baty's facebook pageKent Hovind's 2 Peter 3 and the Kent Hovind wikipedia entry which is quite thorough and well sourced, even though I get dissed on the talk page.

Update: Since I posted this Sam and Dan have issued a very nice apology and good wishes, which I find very touching.  Here it is if you would like to listen.

In a Thanksgiving interview with Kent Hovind, Sam from God's Property Radio mentioned me again.  His mention was not all that critical, because he was contrasting me with Robert Baty, who was his main target. For myself I was annoyed that he indicated that I had backed down from having a discussion with Kent.  That is not what happened.

Sam and Dan challenged me to have a call with Kent that they would record on their nickel (More like a fifty dollar bill I guess). I contacted them and had a discussion with Dan to get the wheels in motion, I told him that I would be assisted by Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media.  Interlock Media does documentaries on environmental and human rights issues.  Among them are two powerful prison pieces.  Turned Out which covers sexual assault in prison

and Faith In The Big House which is about prison ministry

Then Dan contacted me with the following message

Peter thank you for being willing to do the phone call with Kent we will not be able to meet Saturday or Monday. We have received advice from several good friends that for us to facilitate this discussion may not be wise. We are not withdrawing the challenge at this time but we are delaying it until further notice. We will be in touch to let you know if and when we are going to move forward on this.

Please have a wonderful thanksgiving and thank you for your time.

In Christ

Then I heard from Ernie Land, who is managing Kent's legal fund and we started over. So I haven't backed out at least not yet.

About Robert Baty

As I wrote, I was only briefly mentioned and the focus was on Bob Baty.  The discussion starts around the 25:00 minute mark on the podcast.  Here is a piece of it

Sam Swanson (Interviewer)

- Did you ever heard of a guy named Robert Baty?

Kent Hovind

- I have.
- He's written on Forbes.
- Apparently he's a blogger.
- I don't know how much qualification
- it takes to be a blogger.
- I suppose a finger and a keyboard.
- And you are qualified to be a blogger, right!

Sam Swanson

- Yeah!

Kent Hovind

- He seems to be an IRS blogger, OK!

Sam Swanson

- He, he has really got it out for ya.
- I mean, if anybody is targeting you
- and your family it is him.
- Peter Reilly I feel is like very light
- on you compared to Robert Baty.

Kent Hovind

- Sure.
- Well, they say you can judge a man by
- his enemies so I guess I look pretty good.
- ...I think he is embarrassed because I did
- answer him one time.
- Robert Baty wrote something and they sent
- it to me...50 some people had read his blog...
- He's an IRS blogger...Exactly what is an IRS
- blogger, what...certificate...what allows me
- to be an IRS blogger...and if only 50 people
- are following it anyway, it's probably not
- worth it to answer him, but I gave an answer
- to his questions and I think he felt kind of
- embarassed and stupid and he should have
- because his comments were embarrassing
- and stupid, but if he has something intelligent
- to say then I'll be glad to answer it.

Sam Swanson

- Yeah, he

Kent Hovind

- Answer a fool according to his folly.

Sam Swanson

- Sure, he, with this whole Peter Reilly debate
- thing or, or, talk that we were going to issue
- for you and him Peter has backed off, but it
- sounds like he has got somebody, in quotations,
- a friend to talk to you instead of himself.
- So he can't step up.
- But I'm pretty sure that is going to be Robert Baty,

As noted, I haven't backed out, but here's the thing.   Kent seems to have me and Robert Baty a bit confused.  Bob is not really what you would call a blogger.  He runs a couple of facebook sites and had a yahoo discussion group.  He also has done a couple of guest posts both on this blog and on  Also he comments on my forbes blog - a lot.  I have dubbed him a couple of things one being my most constant commenter.  We both communicated a bit with Kent sometime ago, Bob more than I and were cut off by him.  Kent mocked me for having so few followers.  I'm still in recovery over that.  Regardless I thought it would be good to let Sam and Dan and whoever else is interested know what our qualifications are and how we ended up interacting so much.

Peter J Reilly - The Tax Blogger

I have a bachelors degree in history, a bachelors degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting and a masters in applied mathematics with a concentration in computer science from the College of the Holy Cross, Clark University and Worcester State College (now Worcester University) respectively.  I am a CPA with licenses in Massachusetts and Florida. I started working in public accounting in 1979 and went from staff in a large local firm to partner in a large regional - all without changing jobs. As the years went by I focused more and more exclusively on tax. I finished my full time career as a managing director in a national firm.  Now I work part time exclusively in tax in a boutique practice.

That is kind of the baseline, but my real qualification to be a tax blogger is that I read a lot of original source tax material - decisions of the United States Tax Court, tax decisions of other US Courts and decisions of state courts.  Then there are the IRS pronouncements and scholarly articles on SSRN.  I find in all this material things that I find interesting.  My criteria are practical utility, humor and "matter for reflection". With respect to the third category it indicates that tax cases often raise other issues - such as church and state.  That's what I write about.  If nobody else is writing about it so much the better. Sometimes the story behind the tax case is more interesting that the tax issues and I will try to contact the parties involved or do other research.

Kent is right that all you need is a computer and an internet connection to start a site like this one (Although, I would recommend that you pick up Blogging For Dummies).  To get on a prestigious platform like, you have to approach an editor and have them like your stuff enough to let you be a contributor.

If I write about something and it generates a lot of comments, I'll tend to look further into it.  That's what happened with Kent Hovind.  If I end up being the only tax blogger following the issue, I feel a certain obligation to stick with it.  That seems to be the case with Kent Hovind.

In their challenge to me, Sam and Dan indicated that I write about Kent Hovind daily.  Dan acknowledged verbally that that was an error and indicated they would correct that. I guess they will get around to that.  My first post about the issue concerned the Tax Court decision on his wife's case. That was in October 2012 Since then he has been mentioned in 24 posts.  That is quite a bit of attention, but hardly daily.  Monthly is a closer approximation, although, the posts are not evenly spaced in time.

It happens that at that point in time I had known Bob Baty for about nine months.  He had been trying to get me interested in Young Earth Creationism, but I was not biting.  The Tax Court case got me started though and I have stuck with it since.

So how do I know Bob Baty?  He comments on my posts more than anybody else.  He started in February 2012 when I wrote about Phil Driscoll's parsonage exclusion for his second home.  Meaning no disrespect but Bob is kind of obsessed with the parsonage exclusion.  Particularly a peculiar ruling from the seventies that allows faculty and administration at Church of Christ colleges to get the favorable treatment of "ministers of the gospel" regardless of their role, as long as they are church members. So my other sobriquet for Bob is "bane of the basketball ministers".

Being a valued commenter on my blog is even easier than starting a blog.  Just log on and make reasonably coherent comments.  You can insult me but try to be kind to the other commenters. To make your way up to Bob's exalted status will take you a while though.

I no longer can do guest posts on, but I do take them on this blog and my other tax blog.  I once had the ambition to be the Tom Sawyer of blogging, maybe I can revive it.

About Bob Baty Who Is Not Really A Tax Blogger

I asked Bob for a brief outline of his qualifications.  Here is what I got.

Graduated College Bachelor Degree Business Administration - 1972
Began IRS work as auditor - 1973
Began IRS work as appeals officer - 1983
Retired - 2005

As to how he got interested in Kent Hovind, he wrote.

Here goes, briefly.

I've had an interest in things Hovind for a long, long time.  He caught my attention while I was still working for the IRS.

I remember having a very brief exchange with him during that time when I asked him something or 'nother about his tax position (that's my recollection).  Maybe it was related to his young-earth creationism.

In any case, at that time he was a free-wheeling big time preacher and one of his common retorts was that he didn't engage in written debates, and that was the end of that.

I retired in 2005.

I did try to get you interested after we ran across each other over the IRC 107 issue, but it wasn't until Jo's case came out that you determined that it qualified for some coverage.

And the rest, they say, is history.

Bob administers a facebook site about the Hovind case.

Since I first contacted him Bob has sent me a few more items about his activity, but I think I'm going to make him do a guest post, if he wants to get the rest of them in.

What This Says About Kent Hovind And His Supporters

Ironically I have been accused of being a Hovind supporter myself.  I've decided to call those critics the militantly rational.  I agree with them on the probable  age of the earth and the reality of evolution and things like that, but I just don't get as upset at the likes of Kent Hovind who has never met a conspiracy theory that he didn't like.  It is understandable that someone who thinks Kent is a whackadoodle might be pleased that his whackadoodle tax theories have put him in prison and the longer the better, but that is not my view.  Very few tax crimes are prosecuted and I think further prosecution of Hovind is a bad idea.  The current case against him seems a little weak, so he might get acquitted which would appear to be a vindication.  On the other hand if he is convicted he appears to be a martyr.  Neither outcome is good for promoting tax compliance

Sam and Dan's casual inaccuracy about their interaction with me is sympotmatic or their resistance to doing any fact checking on what Kent Hovind tells them.  I mean Sam said I was backing out after Dan sent me an e-mail indicating that they were deferring indefinitely.  Hovind goes on and on about how wrong his conviction for structuring was, but none of his interviewers seem to be capable of getting out the indictment and mentioning that there were thirteen counts other than structuring.  He also is pretty vague about the amounts and the purpose.  The withdrawals were all for either $9,500 or $9,600 and sometimes were within three days of one another.  According to my discussion with Ernie Land one of the reasons was so that the "missionaries" could be paid in cash.  Since they were required to punch a time clock, there was no justification for not considering them employees, subject to withholding.  It will be interesting to see how that discussion goes, if I get the chance.

Everybody who gets prosecuted for federal tax crimes can ask the "Why me?" question since so few are prosecuted.  You don't have to go very far in the case of Kent Hovind to make a reasonable assumption.  His codefendant John Paul Hansen who is the trustee of Christian Science Evangelism states on his blog

I file no Federal Income Taxes (1040 Form) since the year 2000. (No filings in any form.)(Always demand a 6203 Assessment when confronted.)  I do not pay STATE income tax, or sales tax on major purchases. I pay no COUNTY property taxes though I owned over 28 properties (28 buildings). ( I believe I have discovered a “filing for record” process that takes my Land off the tax roles. ) I do not vote for UNITED STATE, or NEBRASKA STATE, County, or City governing officers. I am a sovereign American by birth right. (Not a US citizen.) I believe in full support of the “perpetual Union” as found in the second of four constitutions, “Articles of Confederation”.  I have discovered that a “free American” has the lawful standing to choose to live independent of the corporate US governments, and its legislative statutory courts in the vast majority of his daily life, and to be forced to do otherwise is slavery.
That is more than your garden variety non-filer.  It would be great to learn how Hansen became trustee for CSE.

Well, that's it for now.  I've got quite a few other things to deal with so things may be quiet on the Hovind front for a while.

Friday, November 28, 2014

How I Accidentally Impersonated A Veteran

Samuel Johnson once remarked that "Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea."  I'm sure that, in reality, it is not a universal male sentiment, but it certainly resonates with me.  For the two generations prior to mine, the Greatest Generation and for lack of a better term the Beat Generation or perhaps the Silent Generation, military service was pretty commonplace.  Enough so, that it was a virtual requirement for national political office.  The Greatest Generation had World War II and their successors were children of the Depression birth dearth, yet still called on to staff a large Cold War military.  Even though my generation had a pretty hot war going on as it came of age, our huge numbers lowered the percentage of us that had to don uniforms.

These demographic oddities have meant that through most of my life the majority of men more than a few years older than me have been veterans, but those within a decade or so of my age generally have not been.  The number in my age group that were in combat is much smaller with many of the veterans I knew having military jobs that were actually rather enviable like the office manager who had an intelligence rating in the Navy, but whose real job was to play football on Guam.

About Veterans

There was one work group very early in my career, though, that was veteran dominated. The peculiarities of the jobs we did allowed us to spend fairly extended periods in a darkened coffee shop having long conversations. We all looked up to one man of the older generation (He was in his fifties) who was the ultimate authority on all matters military.  He was also a natural leader and for lack of a better term an all round good guy.  It turned out as I was to learn that he was actually famous.  There are at least two books that center on him, although they were written long after the time we were working together. As is my perhaps unfortunate habit, I'm burying the lead and not explaining his fame until later.  Also, this piece is more about me than anybody else.  Most of all it is about how living among veterans affects those of us who are not veterans.

There is a concept you will sometimes see mentioned on veterans and military sites called "stolen valor".  It refers to people who entirely fabricate or greatly exaggerate their military achievement.  Some veterans get quite incensed about it. Jeremy Boorda had a distinguished naval career, the first person to go from enlisted man to chief of naval operations.  Nonetheless, it is speculated that he committed suicide because he was accused of inappropriately adding a "V" device to two of the decorations that he had earned.

I'd like to think that most people will have compassion for people who pretend to be things that they are not. I feel particularly sorry for homeless guys who pretend to be veterans.  Years ago, I would even coach them a bit and explain to them that somebody who was more than a couple of years younger than me could not possibly be a Vietnam veteran.  Of course nowadays we have several wars that you can pretend to have fought in.

I am not a veteran myself and would never pretend to be one, although, I think I once did, kind of by accident, possibly a lie of omission.  I think I want to tell the story because it reflects the way the veteran experience permeated our culture.

Night Auditor

In 1976, at the age of 24, I got my first all most grown up job.  I became a hotel night auditor.  I say almost grown up, because every once in a while a guest would tell me that he had done the job while he was working his way through college.  Darn, I was a college graduate.  I was working the job and paying rent on my apartment and the insurance on my car.  Hell, I even got married while I still had the job.  Still, it was transitional.  I was going to night school to get a second bachelors in accounting.  It took two and a half years, before I got a real accounting job as a controller, in effect, if not title, for a small travel agency.  I needed some extra money so I came back as the weekend night auditor until I started in public accounting in late 1979.

The actual job of night auditor is kind of fascinating, if you have a certain type of mind, but you probably don't. I explain it a bit in the appendix. It was a moderate sized hotel 140 rooms.   At that size the night auditor also runs the front desk and answers the phone 11 to 7, just like those lesser intellects, the mere desk clerks, whose errors the night auditor has to unsnarl.  Probably the most stressful part of the job was "walking" people who had confirmed reservations, because of the hotel's chronic overbooking.

Who's Awake And Working At 2:00 AM?

The really interesting part was the other people whose work schedule I overlapped or shared.  I had the greatest interaction with the security guard, who would cover the desk when I was taking a break.  There were several, but the most memorable was probably Don.  Then there was the night manager, Mr. French. It was never entirely clear to me what his schedule was, but he talked to me a lot and taught me quite a bit about customer service.  Mr. French was a graduate of the prestigious hotel and restaurant program at Cornell University.

The restaurant was open to 11:00 and the lounge till 1:00, so I had some interaction with that crew, although they tended not to hang out.  An accounting clerk stayed on till about 1:00 or so to cash out the restaurant and lounge and she would hang around a bit.  After 1:15 or so the coffee shop was transformed into a break room with a floating crew.  Also working for the hotel were a couple of janitors, including Bernie Dolan, an Irish immigrant in his fifties who owned the building I lived in, but not a car, so I drove him to work.  He used to give me a bottle of Guiness when I brought him the rent check.  There was a banquet set-up crew and a kitchen clean up crew.

Those were not the only people you would find in the darkened coffee shop at 2:00 AM.  People who used to work there would sometimes stop in or people who were off from work, but where else can you go to talk to people you know at 2:00 AM when you have a night off but don't adjust your schedule?  So sometimes Lorraine the weekend night auditor would come in.  When I told my roommate about her he dubbed her "fast Lorraine".  She had a thing for state troopers and met them by speeding.

Of course the middle of the night, free coffee and sometimes free food.  That means cops.  It probably just started out with the route man,. but it expanded from there.  And not just city cops.  State troopers started coming in.  I remember when President Carter came to preside over a town meeting in the Town of Clinton. Carter stayed at a private residence, but we were inundated with secret service agents.  Whatever else secret service agents might be, they are cops, and have the cops unerring instinct for free coffee.  The coffee shop was fuller than it usually was during the day for a couple of nights with the third shift hotel employees outnumbered by federal, state and local law enforcement.


The crowd in the coffee shop at night was pretty much exclusively white and overwhelmingly male.  I've been in lots of environments like that over the years.  What was distinctive though was that the group also was at least majority veteran.  Frequently I would be the only American born male who was not a veteran. I remember thinking that the conversations in the coffee shop and the one on one with Mr. French and Don were something of a seminar on arete, which I thought of as manly virtue,  There were a lot of cop stories.  Their work was of course inherently more interesting than anything the hotel employees did.  The heavy veteran element made for quite a bit of military reminiscing.  That's where I learned that there are veterans and there are veterans.

 I should note here that I am conflating one on one conversations primarily with Don and Mr. French and group discussions in the coffee shop.

The Pecking Order

If you really think about it the only thing that all veterans have in common is that at some point in their life they were subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (or its predecessor).  This is no small thing.  When you are in the military, you have in effect signed a blank check on your life.  When you get talking about actual experience though, there is a rather wide variation. I knew one guy who had some sort of intelligence job in the Navy, but that was just cover for his real job which was to play football in Guam.  Another guy was in the Navy Supply Corps supporting submarine operations, so his job ended up including scuba diving in the Caribbean.  Then there are the guys who experienced ground combat in Vietnam.

In this particular status game being a veteran was just table stakes.  Although, veterans were listened to respectfully as they related their experiences, there might be a harsh evaluation when they were not present.

The group evaluation of Mr. French, as a veteran, was extremely harsh, and to my mind unfair, but it is useful because it illustrates the principles at work.

The General's Aide

  Mr. French had not been in the Marine Corps.  He had been in the Army.  He had not been in combat.  He was in the artillery not the infantry.  The greatest enormity of all, a lapse committed by no other member of the Sheraton Lincoln Veteran Brigade was that he had been an officer.  They ranted on about that implying that perhaps it would not have been so bad if he had been West Point rather than OCS, but I suspect if he had been a West Point graduate they would have inverted that.  Chris, one of the cops, had this story that indicated that basic training for soldiers heading for OCS was much milder.  Matty, on whom there will be more, whose authority on these issues was supreme, also made much of the fact that Lieutenant French had been a general's aide at one point.

Of course, if you took the two organizations that were represented in the coffee shop each with their own hierarchy, there was this odd thing about Mr. French.  The cops of course were in a sense AWOL and their superiors were never present, although one time a sergeant did drop in.  It was a little different for the hotel people.  The hotel was a goodly size organization with two restaurants, a lounge, banquet facilities and about 140 rooms.

There were around 200 hotel employees.  There might be 20 or 30 or so working at 1:00 AM quickly dropping to maybe 10 by 1:30 when coffee shop breaks would be commencing and cruisers started parking out front.  We reported to different departments.  Our respective  department heads told us each that  we were in charge.  (With Mr. French gone, as far as the public was concerned, I was in charge, but I certainly had no authority over anybody else). The kitchen clean up crew reported to the executive chef, the janitors to the maintenance head and the banquet set up kids to the banquet manager. As night auditor, I reported to both the controller and the front desk manager.  I'm not sure who the security guard reported to.

So in the whole crew Mr. French was actually the only member of management.  If the hotel were a military organization, he was the only officer, which was ironic since in the military, he was the only one who had been an officer. And although Mr. French might have been OCS in the Army, my understanding is that the Cornell program he graduated from is the hotel/restaurant West Point equivalent.

I learned a lot from Mr. French and I think he absorbed something of what an officer is supposed to be in the American military - putting the mission and the welfare of his men (We're in a bit of a time warp here) ahead of his own interests.  He was also passionate about quality.  Of course, being, in the moment, beloved by your enlisted men is not the test of whether someone is a good officer.

The Ultimate Veteran

Don, the security guard, was rather fascinating. He aspired to a career in law enforcement.  He carried a pistol, something which hotel management was less than enthusiastic about.  He and I kept in touch with a walkie talkie (The base station was next to the phone console). It was the nature of things that we would not both be hanging with the cops at the same time, since he covered the desk and answered the phone when I was on break.

Don had all the cop attitudes including the pervasive racism, which they all viewed as just being practical.  If I checked in a walk-in who was a member of a minority group, he gave me a hard time and would call in to check for warrants. We actually had someone dragged from his room because of that diligence on his part once.

Don had strong veterans credentials.  Marine Corps infantry combat in Vietnam.  He had this tendency to mock my "college kid" attitudes, which was ironic since he was also a college graduate.  He once explained to me how he had never seen anybody set up an ambush in the appropriate way.  You are supposed to have your guys concealed along a path that the enemy will be traversing.  The person who commences firing is the one that enemy soldiers first start passing.  That person counts the enemy soldiers letting them pass if they outnumber the ambush team.  He said it never worked the way it was supposed to.

Don was not the top veteran.  That honor undisputedly went to Matty who bossed the kitchen cleanup crew.  Matty was an older guy - in his fifties (It's all relative I guess). Matty had numerous kids to support and worked three jobs.  By day he worked for the state of Massachusetts as an inspector of weights and measures.  Evenings and weekends he did private bartending and nights he bossed a couple of guys who cleaned the kitchen.  He also presided over the breaks in the coffee shop sometimes even cooking.  Although it was always eggs which I abhor.  Odd thing about third shift was that everybody always thought you should be having breakfast.

There was something that impressed me about Matty that might have been lost on the others.  Most of us have this dividing line in  our mind between history and current events. For me the Korean War was more or less the end of history.  So all those guys a few years older than me, some of whom had gone to Vietnam were current events.

Matty who had been at Chosin with the First Marine Division, who could tell you what Chesty Puller was like in combat (Hint.  Becoming one of Chesty's couriers was not a good move for longevity) came striding from the pages of history.  Matty was also a WWII veteran, but he had been in the Navy then, so that did not merit much discussion.

Matty had gotten in trouble in the Marine Corps and I gradually learned that the incident was pretty well known, but I did not fully appreciate its magnitude until many years later.  The consensus among the Sheraton Lincoln Veterans Brigade was that Matty most likely had been covering for somebody else who was really to blame.  That was the type of guy he was.  Matty did not drink and was deeply religious - Catholic - although in a very manly manner.  He chided the other men for their poor attitude toward sexual morality. "When you love a woman, it's not about what you are doing with her in the rack"

Late Night Conversations

The topic of conversations varied quite a bit depending on who was present.  When no women were present, the topic would sometimes turn to sex - well often.  There were the escapades of the prostitutes that the cops would deal with and then there was Diane.

Diane was a very attractive patrol officer.  The other cops lusted after her desperately and longed for the moment that she would become an adulteress.  The consensus among them was that her favors would be granted to someone of high rank who could help her career.  One of them in seeming bewilderment one time mentioned that her husband was an accountant.  I somehow found a certain secret satisfaction that this woman who was inflaming the imaginations of these macho cops was right then possibly in the arms of an accountant.

Chivalry Not Entirely Dead

Matty, of course, had an entirely different attitude toward Diane.  Any woman under the age of thirty-five or so who was present had in Matty a surrogate uncle, if not father.  "Now Diane" he would say. "When you get a call and are going up there to some house, where who knows what is going on.  I don't care what they tell you.  I want you to have that thirty eight drawn.  You understand?"

One time we narrowly averted a gang rape happening in one of the rooms.  The guys were thrown out and it was Matty who ended up talking to the girl as if she were his daughter.

Matty's attitude to women closer in age to himself, particularly those who had not chosen to live a chaste life was a little different.  He flirted a bit with fast Lorraine, who admired him and might well have considered him an honorary state trooper, had he not been so committed to his marriage. One time the subject of a lady in the personnel department came up.  She dropped in occasionally.  She had recently gotten married.  She was just a little spacey. Matty's evaluation of her was "That woman is over fucked".

Police Work Is Not Infantry Combat

Matty's advice to the cops in general was probably not all that practical.  He thought that when they approached a house it should be done stealthily with guns drawn.  I think we learned from Kent State that infantry training is not optimal for police work, but the lesson passed Matty by. The mission of a Marine Corps rifle squad is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and/or repel enemy assault by fire and close combat.  That is rather different than the mission of the Worcester Police Department which is to promote the highest level of public safety and quality of life through exceptional police services to city residents, businesses and visitors.

He told us how "Your China man" was very good with a mortar.  He also explained that when you are going to attack at night you should take the most difficult path in, so that when you are returning you will have it easy.  The allusion to night combat was related to the incident, but I think I only realized that later.

Mr. French treated Matty the way a young officer is encouraged to treat a senior NCO.  I think he treated me as an even younger officer who needs to be mentored.  My peculiar position was a little ambiguous. When Mr. French was not around, at least as far as the public was concerned, I really was in charge.  I wrote things in a log book, pretty rarely actually, that the general manager read.  The results of my job - the hotel's daily revenue -  were of more interest to management than anybody else's.

There Are At Least Two Kinds Of Education

My accidental impersonation of a veteran was the result of my peculiar high school education.  I had no real military experience, but I did have significant military exposure.  Xavier High School in Manhattan had mandatory Junior ROTC and all students were members of the regiment.  We also had classes in Military Science taught by retired and active duty sergeants and an active duty officer - Major Smullen - the Senior Army Instructor.  We commuted to school in one of three uniforms depending on time of year and day of week.  I have a lot of stories about Xavier, but I'll stick to what is relevant.

The Regiment consisted of three battalions.  The First and Second were lettered companies and their military role was completed by weekly drill at a nearby armory and marching in reviews and parades.  The Third Battalion was "special units".  The Band, the X-Squad (precision drill team), Drum and Bugle Corps  and Color Guard.  Then there was my unit - The Regimental Supply Corps, the only unit that didn't have to march.

Among other things we had charge of the Arms Room.  The Arms Room could have outfitted the heavy weapons platoon of a World War II rifle company, with some weapons to spare.  We had a mortar, a bazooka, quite a few 45 cal pistols, some BARs, and lots of M-1s. Major Smullen told us that the firing pins were in his safe, but still if anything ever went missing guys in trench coats from Army CID would be grilling us.  So when I was a junior, one day a week I would be NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge.  Sophomore and Juniors at Xavier who had good grades and did not not get in trouble would be promoted at regular intervals.  I started Junior years as a corporal and finished as sergeant first class)of the arms room.  My duty was to have the drill team sign out and sign back in M-1s and dutifully do an inventory of everything including the stuff that rarely, if ever left the arms room.  (The mortar was hard to miss, but the .45s were in a cabinet).  I had a Sophomore under my command.

The Greatest Battle Implement Ever Designed

Military Science was not one course taught by the same instructor for the whole year, but rather a series of "blocks of instruction".  Marksmanship was taught by Sgt. Daley, but we did not get to use the M-1s. There were .22s for that purpose in the basement rifle range, where we fired from the prone position at paper targets with Sgt Daley looking through a scope and correcting our aim.  We learned that "cunt hair" was a unit of measure.  The sergeants were pretty much the most colorful member of the faculty.

We learned about M-1s in the block of instruction called Weapons.  We even learned how to disassemble and assemble them.  I am really not good at explaining mechanical things, but I will do my best here.  The eight round clip for the M-1 actually goes into a chamber on the rifle.  With a lever you pull back a bolt of a sort to open the chamber.  The bolt locks when it is all the way back.  As the clip is inserted it lowers another lever which will unlock the bolt chambering the first round.  Excess gas from firing sends the bolt back after each round.  If the clip is still in the next round is quickly chambered.  After the last round is fired the clip pops out and the bolt locks ready for another clip.

Now we never actually had M-1 ammunition.  When you are drilling with the weapon or practicing assembly and disassmbly, you use your thumb to depress the lever that allows the bolt to unlock. It is a pretty strong spring and your thumb is pretty far into the bowels of the rifle when it releases.  You have to be deft to avoid an injury commonly known as M-1 thumb.

George Patton called the M-1 the greatest battle implement ever designed.  Some of the older sergeants kind of missed the 1903 Springfield, but that is another story.  Nonetheless, the M-1 was gradually phased out of service beginning in 1957 and more or less completely by 1965.  So in  1977, relatively recent veterans would not have been exposed to it.

One Night In The Coffee Shop

In the various military discussions, I remained, I believe, suitably humble.  I did, however, chime in when matters historical were under discussion.  I did have a bachelors degree in history and had dropped out of a prestigious graduate program and read voraciously. The subject of the Civil War had come up and Patrolman Chris talked about how he did not understand why everybody was not issued Spencers during the the Civil War, perhaps expanding that to why automatic weapons were not more generally used.

I chimed in that there was the matter of logistics.  From the master then came the cherished words "That's right, Peter."  He continued  "The Army always talks about volume of fire, but in the Marine Corps we place more emphasis on fire discipline." The cops might mock Matty's views on how to approach houses, but a pronouncement like that, was him speaking ex cathedra.  No one would contradict it.

I don't know whether it was the same conversation or a subsequent one in which the subject of the M-1 came up.  It may actually have been Don who said something about how the M-1 worked.  Thoughtless of my lowly status, I corrected him possibly explaining it in some detail.  He was non-plussed, but then heard the words of the master "That's right, Peter."  In that whole multifarious crew, there were only two people who had taken an M-1 apart and put it back together, Matty, the Marine's Marine, who could do it blindfolded in his sleep while under fire from those well trained Chinamen with their mortars and me, who undoubtedly would not have gone far at Parris Island.

That was not the occasion for my impersonation, it came a short time afterward.  It is rather odd because I remember Don and I sitting together with some of the cops.  Can't figure out who was watching the front desk.  Or maybe it was that one of us was not actually working.  It was not unusual for regulars to drop into the coffee shops on nights off.  There really were not too many other places you go in Worcester at that hour.The subject of the M-1 came up again.  Don said "Peter knows all about the M-1.  He carried one."

It would be more accurate to say that I actually carried scores of M-1s, back and forth in the arms room to issue to the members of the X-Squad, who were the most zealously military students in the school, while I had sought out membership in the small group that was not required to march.  Of course  Don, the Marine infantryman,  meant something entirely different by "carried one".  He was talking about an intimate relationship with an article on which his life depended.

I guess I could have said something to correct the impression made that I had been an actual infantryman, rather than a high school lad improbably assigned as custodian of an array of obsolete weapons, but I let it pass.  Perhaps at that moment my fascination with the storied rifle was forever confirmed.  I did not actually fire one until I was over sixty, but that is another story entirely, but there is more to tell about Matty and the effect that he had on me.

What Is A Leader?

In the late seventies, the Sheraton Lincoln Inn was the best hotel in the city of Worcester, so I met quite a few interesting people, because it is where most celebrities would stay.  I even met the Clancy Brothers, if you really want to be impressed.  None of the celebrities impressed me more than Matty, which is why one of his off-cuff the remarks had such an effect on me.

The crew around the table was grousing about something Mr. French had done to aggravate them, which brought up the fact that he had been a general's aide, which just had Matty shaking his head and reminiscing about Chesty Puller and the Marines at Chosin.  He remembered a particularly squared away company commander - "You could tell he was an officer in the shower, just by the way he carried himself." And then came the odd off the cuff remarking - "Peter would have made a good officer".  I was non-plussed although the rest of the crowd nodded their heads, although likely because this was one of Matty's ex cathedra statements rather than being in real agreement.  Several of them probably thought "good officer" was an oxymoron.

Moving On

Lorraine, the weekend night auditor had recommended me to a travel agency, where I was hired as a staff accountant, but in fact ended up acting as controller and not to be grandiose but arguably CFO.  I had been married for four months and the third shift job was less than optimal.  We only had one car so I had to cadge a ride home from the security guard (Don had moved on and his successor, who was named Wilbur Spratt, but of course was called Jack was even more colorful.  He was Matty's age, but had not given up drinking and he and I got together for beers a few time.  I remember Jack saying that he wished he had known Matty when he was still drinking.)

We wanted to buy a house, so I went back to the hotel when the weekend night auditor job became available.  I had it for nearly a year until I finally finished my second bachelor's degree and got a job at a large local CPA firm - Joseph B Cohan and Associates.  That ended up being my career.  I was the last person to become a partner in JBC just over ten years later.  JBC merged with another large local in 1997 which gobbled up smaller firms, making me one of the founding partners of a large regional firm, which was finally acquired by Grant Thornton, which made me a Managing Director rather than a partner because of my advanced age. In the large entities I was never in the inner circle of leadership, but there was a period of over a decade where I had significant responsibility for a team.

An office manager, the naval intelligence football player, mockingly referred to us as the "A-Team".  We embraced the nickname.  It had a certain plausibility since we were doing audits and tax work for affordable housing projects.

When we merged we ended up with a managing partner from the other half of the merger with whom I had a somewhat difficult relationship.  I was finding taking care of my A Team rather challenging in the new environment.  I felt I had a responsibility for their careers and my ability to provide the type of client service that we had done was impaired.

The new MP was actually puzzled by the whole thing.  My team worked very long hours during part of tax season due to some special industry deadlines, but he noted that they had very high morale.  He asked Dave, the senior member of the team, how it was that I managed it.  Dave said "Well I think it is that Pete actually cares about them." - The mission and the men (although of course there were women too).  So I may have lived up just a bit to Matty's evaluation of me.

My A Team was so good that the managing partner decided it would be better for the firm if they were deployed on more profitable activities and we got out of affordable housing.  Most of them quit before too long.  We still have reunions after nearly 20 years.

I became something of a general resource to the firm and a general pain in the ass to the managing partner although I stayed off his radar for the most part. There was guy working as something of a courier who had taken the position as a retirement job.  He had been a captain in a special police force for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.  We used to talk a bit about what a relief it was to not have people reporting to you.

We Meet Again

Sometime in 1990, I was hanging out in the JBC coffee room.  Usually we just had the Worcester Telegram, but for some reason the Boston Globe was laying around.  One of the inner sections had as its lead story an interview with Matty.  It was the first time in a long time that, he had opened up about the incident.  Eventually, there would be a couple of books about it, one of which was based on extensive interviews with him.

In one of those odd synchronicities, I ran into Matty no more than a couple of weeks later.  Our firm had just opened new offices and we were having a reception.  I had been a partner for less than a year at that point.  Matty was tending the bar. I probably spent a good portion of the evening talking to him rather than the people my professional obligations indicated I should be sucking up to.  (The primary overriding duty of a partner in a regional accounting firm is to ingratiate yourself with people who might be clients or refer them to you.)  At some point, I said to him "Matty, did you really say that you thought I would have made a good officer?"  He answered "That's right Peter.  You would have made a good officer."

Just for context there is one other memory that I have from the Sheraton Lincoln Inn that is almost as memorable a Matty's comment on me.  There was an extremely attractive cocktail waitress that I used to chat with as she was leaving working (The bar closed at 1:00 AM).  On her last night, she told me that she did not understand why I never asked her out - "You could have had me, Peter".  I'm still not sure whether that conversation is reality or fantasy, but the "good officer" comment was confirmed.

The Incident 

I have referred to Matty's life altering event as "the incident", because that is how it is referred to in Marine Corps history - specifically The Ribbon Creek Incident.  If you want to read about it in depth you can get Court-Martial at Parris Island: The Ribbon Creek Incident which is based among other things on extensive interviews with Matty.  The significance of the incident to the Marine Corps is explained in The US Marine Corps in Crisis: Ribbon Creek and Recruit Training

On the night of April 8, 1956 Staff Sgt Matthew McKeon, a junior drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC marched his platoon into Ribbon Creek, a swampy tidal creek.  Six of his men drowned.

Chosin was not the only trial Matty shared with Chesty Puller. General Puller testified at Matty's court marital.

 Although having some very harsh private words for McKeon, Puller called the incident in Ribbon Creek "a deplorable accident", but one that did not warrant court martial. He said that discipline was the most important factor in military training. He quoted Napoleon in saying that an army becomes a "mob" without it. He mentioned his experiences in the Korean War and one of the reasons troops failed was because of lack of night training. 

Earlier this year I corresponded with Lt. Col. Brian Ross, whose litigation with the state of Alaska I wrote about.  Lt. Col. Ross has an MA in US History and taught naval and marine corps history at Annapolis.  Earlier in his career he had been Assistant Director or the Drill Instructor School.  I mentioned Matty to him and he wrote to me:
 There is so much of that incident that is unique and not generally known by most Marines.  Like the fact that Chesty Puller testified on McKeon's behalf.  And that the Corps actively supported the production of "The D.I." with Jack Webb in 1957 in order to showcase and highlight its strict, yet humanitarian, recruit training methods in the face of a skeptical public.  

  We've always been good at telling the Corps' story, thus the reason for Truman saying the Marines have a propaganda organ similar to Stalin.
I had actually heard a garbled version of the Ribbon Creek Incident before I met Matty - more or less a drunken DI ordering his men into the water and it was utterly inconsistent with the guy I came to know a bit who was more or less universally admired.  When I read about the incident the thing that struck me that was consistent with his character was that on that tragic night, he was both the first man to go into the water and the last to leave after rescue attempts proved fruitless.

The story strikes me as something that could happen to any of us.  A serious error in judgement or even a lapse of attention can lead to tragic consequences.  The responsible person takes responsibility and goes on to lead an exemplary life inspiring the circle of people around him.

As I started working on this piece I of course looked up Matty.  Sadly I found that he died in 2003 at the age of 79 - on Veterans Day.

Appendix - More Than You Probably Want To Know About The Night Audit

The Night Audit

The accounting part of the job was pretty interesting.  For some part of my shift, the amount of time varying based on occupancy and how many screw ups the front desk clerks had made during the day, I would wrestle with an electro-mechanical monster designed by NCR  to be used in banks, but modfied for hotel use.  The end result of my effort was a "bucket" full of folios that had the details of each guests charges and their correct balance and a report called the D-Sheet which showed the revenue for the day.  During the day desk clerks would post lounge and restaurant charges and long distance phone calls as time permitted, but it was the night auditor that posted room and tax and reconciled the opening receivable total to the ending receivable total.  You could actually do the job without understanding the overall accounting concepts, but knowing them made it a little more interesting, at least to me.  There were also some other reports to prepare to determine availablity of rooms and housekeeping requirements.

Dealing With The Public

One of the things I learned on the job is that it is sometimes pointless to explain things people.  When European guests would tell me that they were checking out the next day and wanted their bill made up, I did not tell them that in this hotel, and I believe most American hotels, everybody's bill is ready by 2:00 AM or so.  I also never bothered to explain to people that I could not call 30 people at exactly 6:30.  The 6:30 wake-up calls would run from 6:25 to 6:35 (Hopefully).  The reason I did not explain this was because if I did, that guy would tell me that he wanted to be the one to be called at exactly 6:30.  If the wake-up calls went much outside the five minute window I would start saying "Good morning your wake-up call, instead of Good morning its 6:30 or whatever".

The form that would end up being "the folio" had little slips of paper that copied the guests names and room number that could be inserted in a metal rack next to the phone.  I may not understand this totally but I believe that in Japan your surname comes before your given name.  Some Japanese when in the United States will reverse their names to correspond with our systems.  Others don't.  So where do you put the slip of paper in the phone rack?  As it happened there were two slips of paper, so I would put it in under both letters.

The other trick I figured out was that when I got a busy signal or not answer on a wake-up call, I would put the call on hold and dial the same room again to make sure I had not dialed the wrong room the first time, since the second attempt was sure to create a busy signal.  One time a guest accused me of missing his wake-up call and I knew my system made that very unlikely.  I asked him to check to see if the ringer had been turned off on his phone.  It had been.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ernie Land Challenges Common Law Theorists And Others To Make Kent Hovind A Test Case

I only just met Ernie Land, but I found that we had quite a bit in common.  We are roughly the same age and when we discussed the best way to run a religious based not-for-profit, we agreed that it should be in compliance with all applicable tax laws as they are commonly understood.  Ernie didn't always think that way, but among other things, he has seen the damage that any other course can do to a person or a family as he has witnessed the fate of his friend Kent Hovind who has spent many years in federal prison and who is facing a new charge.

If you spend some time on the internet you will find that there are many theories as to why the common belief that most people in this country who work and earn beyond an insubstantial amount of income are required to file income tax returns are mistaken.  Irwin Schiff has a fairly elaborate explanation that shows how most of us are deceived into filing tax returns that are not really required.  Like Kent Hovind, Irwin Schiff is in federal prison.

Here is where Ernie and I differ,  Ernie believes that at least some of those people are right, that there are ways in which our government is fundamentally invalid.  He urges compliance merely as a practical matter.  I have yet to find an argument of the Schiff variety at all persuasive and it is not for lack of understanding or study.

Kent Hovind has been talking to a lot of people lately and has been making the argument that the crime of structuring that he was convicted of (systematically dealing in amounts of cash less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements) were really motivated to silence him in his quest to show that evolution is bad science.  My inference is that the reason Kent got in so much trouble on the structuring was related to the other counts of his indictment that involved paying the employees at a Dinosaur theme park in cash and referring to them as "missionaries" rather than withholding taxes and filing the appropriate forms.  Ernie agrees that it was a bad idea for Kent to do that, but still believes that the federals government's prosecution of Kent has a religious basis.

Ernie runs Kent's legal defense fund.  He is also trying to mobilize support for Kent.  He is putting out a challenge to people who have alternative views about the legitimacy of the government to use Kent Hovind's case as a showcase for their theories.  Here is what he wrote me that I am reprinting with his permission.

I want to begin by making a statement about any of the subjects of the entrapment of the Church with Corporations, the enslavement of free men with, strawman, 14th amendment citizens, birth certificate/dealer origin title, free State citizen vs. U.S. citizen, admiralty law vs common Constitutional law, the gold fringe flag ,the know your customer banking regulation, the health care chip, evolution vs creation, the government brain washing in school systems, or most of the other conspiracies of government which are all tied into the wealthy, such as the Kennedy assassination
and the immediate dissolution of taking our US Treasury back, the secret societies such as Knights cavalier even dating back to Nimrod, which all tie in to Satan’s dominion and his well planned work. These subjects however are so well planned and thought out that the sheep in the world will not put the time and effort into learning the truth, so 99% of the public blindly go about disputing the mountain of facts and circumstantial evidence, so they do not have to dig in and learn the facts for themselves. So yes, I believe these conspiracies have so much fact and circumstantial evidence proving them for someone with education or knowledge to sincerely believe them.

Now for the patriots, for the freemen, for the Liberty Alliances out there, Kent Hovind’s case is a perfect opportunity for any of them to prove their theories in Court will be practical and actually work. With Kent’s worldwide notoriety here lies great opportunity to prove common law, Bill of Rights, and the U.S Constitution is still the highest law of this land. Provide me some documents with proper arguments to file in Federal Court that will prove the facts. Kent stood before a Magistrate at the U.S. Federal Court on  7/13/2006 where a sealed (unconstitutional secret grand jury) indictment was issued against, KENT HOVIND, they claim aka Kent Hovind, in case number 3:06-CR-00083-MCR-CMT and asked to enter a plea in which Kent enter the plea, “”Subordination of False Muster”, the Magistrate, acting in my opinion under color of law, responded, “I will not take that plea and will enter a plea of not guilty.” Kent responded, “I object.” The Magistrate responded, “Overruled, I am entering a plea of not guilty.” Kent said, “I take exception.” The Magistrate responded, “Overruled.” And then moved to enter a not guilty plea on record.

So here is the chance for someone out there to prove their common law theories by providing proper documents to set this case straight and have the magistrates, judges and agents removed.

I take no copyright on this message and anyone can post this challenge where ever they wish.

Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving,
Ernie Land

So if you have an alternative theory that you have been longing to test, you may want to consider taking up Ernie's challenge.  Myself I would rather see Kent Hovind admit that it was a really bad idea to not be scrupulous in his tax compliance, but that's just me.

Here is a contact form if you want to contact Ernie.


For some background on Kent Hovind and his tax woes, you can check out this coverage recap.  You may also want to check out the coverage at quatloosBob Baty's facebook pageKent Hovind's 2 Peter 3 and the Kent Hovind wikipedia entry which is quite thorough and well sourced, even though I get dissed on the talk page.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Still May Be Doing A Kent Hovind Interview

This is a follow-up to Monday's post about the challenge I received to interact with Kent Hovind.  For some background on Doctor Dino and his tax woes, you can check out this coverage recap.  You may also want to check out the coverage at quatloos, Bob Baty's facebook page, Kent Hovind's 2 Peter 3 and the Kent Hovind wikipedia entry which is quite thorough and well sourced, even though I get dissed on the talk page.

My interview with Doctor Dino, Kent Hovind, may be back on track.  I heard today from Ernie Land.  Ernie was a trustee of Christian Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventureland in the nineties.  He had to step down because he moved.  That is when Glenn Stoll came into the picture and transformed the organization from "pure trust" to "corporation sole.  Stoll may have had something to do with pulling Paul John Hansen, Kent's codefendant in the mail fraud charges into the mix.  It seems like nobody else involved in the whole thing, including Kent, has met Hansen.

Ernie is back to helping Kent and is managing his legal defense fund.

Ernie and I do not have similar world views so we had to agree to disagree on quite a few things.  He summed it up in an e-mail to me:

I could debate the subject of persecution of Kent, but then I would have to raise all the same issues of the Knights cavalier, the illuminati, the holy grail, the ark of the covenant, etc. because all of those relate back to the fallen angel, Satan and his dominion of earth and it’s Governments, so only well studied real Bible believing Christians would buy into my debate, so I’m best not debating Kent’s persecution over creation views and it’s foundation in Genesis, although I feel strongly those are the reasons.
The Illuminati! God Bless you Ernie.  Makes me feel like I'm in a Dan Brown movie.   Or maybe Chevy Chase.  If an albino shows up, I don't know what I will do.

We did agree on one thing though.  Kent is not being entirely frank with the people he is stirring up to defend him. When Ernie was involved with CSE and DAL is the nineties, Kent was not charging admission to DAL.  He was accepting donations, which could be substantial.  He was paying all his help - mainly college and high school kids - in cash, but he was pretty loosey goosey about supervising.  Maybe there was a case, an exceedingly weak case, that everything was covered by Code Section 102 (Income tax exclusion for gifts).  Regardless, after Ernie left, Kent started having the help punching a clock, which removed the last vestige of an argument that they were not employees.

In talking to his followers Kent has been harping on the injustice of his conviction for "structuring", that is doing cash receipts and withdrawals in amounts less the $10,000 to avoid currency reporting requirements.  Well the first twelve counts of the indictment were not about structuring.

a resident of Pensacola, Florida, who owned and operated CSE in Pensacola, Florida and as such, was the person responsible for collecting and paying over federal income tax and FICA tax for CSE, and who, during the quarters of the tax years specified below, did willfully fail to deduct, collect, truthfully account for and pay over to the IRS federal income tax and FICA tax from the total taxable wages of CSE employees which were due and owing to the United States of America, in the approximate amounts enumerated below, by failing to file the appropriate IRS Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return for CSE and on the due dates, and failing to withhold and pay federal income tax and FICA tax to the IRS
.And of course, the 45 withdrawals of $9,500 or $9,600 were necessary in order to pay the "missionaries" in cash.
Ernie believes that Kent's behavior may have been legally sound under his interpretation of the Constitution, but he also recognizes that the courts have uniformly ruled against such theories.  He reminds me of Irwin Schiff's sons.  They think their father is right, but do not encourage people to follow in his footsteps.  Ernie is pleased that Eric has chosen to run a conventional 501(c)(3) and thinks it would be best if Kent just worked inside that ministry.  He also said that there may be substantial backers for another theme park, but that they would expect conventional tax compliance.
Kent apparently is still not listening and believes that he will be vindicated, get a huge judgement from the government making him able to pay for a park himself.  
 I've contacted the team at Interlock Media  that filmed my Jill Stein interview.  Gods Property Radio seems to have dropped out of the picture.  We'll see how this develops - or evolves.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Between The Scylla Of Creation Science And The Charybdis Of Militant Rationalism I Steer A Perilous Course

All my Kent Hovind posts  up till now have been on, but I decided that this one needs to be here.  Kent Hovind is one of the leading lights in the arguably oxymoronic field of "creation science".  His wikipedia entry  is quite extensive and well sourced.  There is something a little painful about it, but we will get to that.  I began covering him in October 2012 in the wake of a Tax Court decision concerning his wife.

Creation Science Is Funny

In that initial post I adopted a stance that has continued.  Essentially, I find Young Earth Creationism amusing or more like hilarious.  I am not alone in this

In - Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free Charles Pierce relates his visit to The Creation Museum which he sees as a "richly appointed monument to complete barking idiocy".  In Charles Pierce's view "admitting that you don't believe in evolution is pretty much tantamount to admitting that you plan to eradicate the national debt by spinning straw into gold".  Among the museum displays he noted a smaller dinosaur "which was wearing a saddle. It was an English saddle, hornless and battered." He goes on to observe:

"Any dinosaur accustomed to the rigors of ranch work and herding other dinosaurs along the dusty trail almost certainly would have worn a sturdy western saddle. This, obviously, was very much a show dinosaur."

I included in my post a Fred Flinstone and Dino video clip to demonstrate we all knew that dinosaurs and humans coexisted and a rendition of the Dubliners "Unicorn" speculating that perhaps the dinosaurs were also off playing silly games at ark boarding time.

I think the humor may be part of what has gotten me in trouble in certain circles, but that is probably not the worst of it.

Kent's Followers Think I Am Hard On Him

It is understandable that people who are committed to Kent Hovind's cause are somewhat upset at my coverage.  I have recently received a challenge from the podcasters at God's Property Radio to have a recorded discussion with Kent
 God’s Property Radio is also issuing a counter-challenge to Peter J. Reilly of Forbes to talk to Hovind himself and give Kent a chance to talk to him man to man. GPR will either come record the conversation or have someone else come meet Mr. Reilly with recording gear to record the discussion and then upload it on the spot un-edited to be fair. In fact we will even put money in an account so Peter J. Reilly does not have to pay for the Call and will attache his phone number to the account so that he does not have any excuses not to talk to Hovind himself. Surely someone who has the guts to slam someone in Articles Daily has the guts to let Kent explain himself to him in a even more respectful manner
Preparations are in the work, I'll keep you informed.

Kent's Critics Think I Love Him

People who support Hovind are not the only ones that have a low opinion of me as it turns out.  It reminds me a bit of period when I was on the governing board of a small Unitarian Universalist Congregation.  Somehow or other the Congregation had become a hotbed of what I considered content free conflict.  People would always be talking about a "them" and it was never entirely clear who "they" were.  I inserted myself into a couple of these conflicts trying to bring peace.  I remember the music director who was something of a lightning rod.  She once told me that my problem was that I was an Aquarian and wanted everybody to get along.  I have this talent, it seems, for getting people of incredibly divergent views to agree on one thing.  Namely that I am a jerk.

So if you go to the talk section of the Kent Hovind Wikipedia entry you will find:
I see that a blog post from Peter Reilly has been added. I think it should be removed because it is not a WP:RS and hurts the quality of the wiki article.
1) Peter Reilly is a Forbes blog "contributor," not to be confused with staff. That is, he is part of the Forbes blogging network, which is not the same as being published in theForbes magazine. Thus, it is not a WP:RS.
2) The blog is an op-ed, sympathetic to Hovind. Reilly even manages to connect Wesley Snipes' case to Hovind. Reilly wants Hovind released and was "saddened" to hear that the government is "piling on" with new charges.
3) The blog's actual text is merely recycled block quotes from wikisource, facebook and court rulings that are openly available with a google search anyway. To put it another way, the facts aren't original and were reported elsewhere
4) His "tax" blog also promotes creationism. Rarely would a RS or newspaper article about criminal charges have a section titled "Some Thoughts On Young Earth Creationism," where tells us about "taking my sister home from Christmas Midnight Mass."
(Here is the post that was being referred to.)

There is more like that some of which I highlighted in this post.

Mainly It Comes From Being A Tax Geek

Here is the thing.  Kent Hovind has probably not ever met a whacky conspiracy theory that he has not fallen in love with.  His main focus is "creation science", but he also embraced whacky tax theories, which is pretty clearly why he is in prison, not because the government is persecuting him for his creation science views.  He has been in for nearly a decade, but has been recently indicted for mail fraud because of filings he made to frustrate the government's effort to sell property that was seized from him.

Many years ago I started trolling through original source material looking for items of interest to my firm's client base.  I would alert my partners and others and sometimes do summaries.  That was really the basis for my tax blog.  What happened though is I started reading more and more things that would never have any practical implications for anybody that could ever conceivably become one of my clients. I just found it interesting.

Ultimately I ended up saying that my criteria for writing about tax material are practical utility, humor and matter for reflection.  The third indicates that tax issues will often shed light on larger issues, such as the First Amendment.  The other thing I noted is that a very large amount of tax litigation has nothing to do with determining the correct tax.  It is about collecting it from people who don't want to pay, even though there is no longer any question as to the correct amount of tax.  A smaller body of material is people appealing their convictions and sentences for tax crimes.

One of the things that I noted is that the behavior of people in the collections cases is often very similar to the behavior of people in the criminal cases.  I became puzzled as to what makes some cases go criminal and others not.  I began following Jack Townsend's Federal Tax Crimes.  Finally I dug into his textbook and got an answer of sorts

Given the limited resources through the criminal tax enforcement system, CES must coordinate and prioritize. CES does that by prosecuting relatively few cases each year (in recent years from 1100 to 1800 per year), but focusing on the strongest cases where conviction is virtually assured and by picking targets with a sufficiently high profile (for whatever reason) that the conviction might be publicized and encourage compliance by persons who become aware of the convictions.
We don't want people getting away with murder.  Thus you can find an article like this one that discusses clearance rates for homicide which apparently run around 80%.  Tax crimes are different.  Only a tiny number of those that are known about are even considered for prosecution.  The point of the whole criminal tax enterprise is to encourage compliance, not punish every instance of willful noncompliance.  So my inference is that if you defy the tax law and brag about it you are more likely to be prosecuted than if you just engage in low grade non-compliance - like skimming cash receipts.  I may well be that the defiant attitude is what got Kent into the CID cross hairs.  Regardless that is water well under the bridge.

Kent Hovind's sentence is almost up, but he is being prosecuted again, this time for mail fraud.  It comes of his filing a lien to interfere with the sale of property that was seized from him.  Essentially, I think it is a mistake on the part of the government to prosecute him.  The reason is that I don't think the prosecution will encourage compliance.  Instead it gives Kent a persecution narrative to stir up people who would content themselves with crackpot scientific theories and move them into crackpot tax theories, which I think are more harmful.

The Militantly Rational

My expression of these views has upset a group of people that I would call the militantly rational.  The militantly rational are probably very disturbed that despite the views of what some would call the reality based community, over 40% of Americans believe that God created human beings pretty much as they are now less than 10,000 years ago.  My own view is that we should look for what is behind that rather common belief.  I've noted that believers in scriptual inerrancy are not the only ones who think "something went wrong" five to ten thousand years ago.  That's when radical feminists date patriarchy.  The people at Deep Green Resistance think that heading down the path of civilization was a big mistake as we are heading to killing ourselves as we kill the planet. By the way the point of the discussion with my sister was to drive home the point that Catholics don't have a problem with evolution.  The recent remarks by Pope Francis on the subject are nothing new.

I Didn't Learn My Lesson The First Time

At any rate I've had it worse.  Whenever I google myself, which is way way too often, high on the list is this gem which you can read or not.  Anyway it was the result of my getting involved in what is probably the most vitriolic dispute on the internet.  There is a fairly small group of radical feminists who are incensed about male to female transgendered persons going into woman only spaces.  Many of the latter are incensed about their exclusion.  It is close to impossible to write about the dispute in a neutral manner, which is what I am attempting to do at the moment.  I started following this dispute a few years ago and never thought I would have a reason to write about it.

Then I got the opportunity to interview Presidential candidate Jill Stein. Of course I mainly discussed tax issues, but I reviewed the Green Party platform and noticed a couple of other things I found interesting like a plank on displaying the Confederate Flag.  Poor Jill Stein, she kept saying that the campaign was only focused on a few issues, but she did her best anyway.

I noted that the Green Party showed some definite radical feminist influence.  It also took a strong stand on transgender rights.  There was no mention of any tension between the two issues. So I asked Dr. Stein about it.  She pretty well came down on the transgender side of the question, so I decided that I should try to get a comment from someone with a different viewpoint. So, frankly with some trepidation, I contacted Cathy Brennan who is kind of the lightning rod for transgender activist concern with what they refer to as TERFs (Trans exclusionary radical feminists).  I've gotten a few good comments from her since on tax cases which touched on issues that radical feminists tend to take stands on.

Well.  In some circles being willing to consider the possibility that Cathy Brennan is anything other than the spawn of Satan is a journalistic sin of the first magnitude.  About half a year later I interviewed her about the difficulties that radical feminists were having with a venue for their conference.  You can go look at the comments section of the post.  I find it still too painful.  Among the reactions was that annoying open letter that still haunts my search results.  It is from a "mens rights acvitist".  At least in reaction to the London conference MRAs seemed to have been lining up with transgender activists, possibly on the enemy of my enemy is my friend principle.  I actually think that the rest of us have something to learn from all three groups, but that's a piece for another day.

Sometime after that forbes contributors were instructed to "swim in our own lanes", so I have not had any call to get into that conflict since.  If I could only figure out how to get that damn MRA letter to page 2 of my search results, I could probably put it behind me.

So I am prepared to step into a crossfire again.  I'm looking forward to my talk with Kent Hovind and am ready for the brickbrats from both sides of the aisle.

Why Can't We All Get Along

Whenever I think about disputes that are really passionate, there is one thing that I never forget.  If something really awful were to happen in my community there would be an outpouring of support from people across the country.  Many of them would have views that I consider preposterous and dangerous.  Regardless, we are still in it together.

That title really should have an irony alert.  It is way too grandiose, but when it occurred to me I could not resist it.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Creepy Message From The Federal Government

I'm trying to decide whether this is ominous or not.  I did a post on a case nearly two weeks ago in which I noted that the Tax Court in seeking a definition referred to Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1984).  I wrote at the end:

The reference to the Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary made me wonder if that is somehow the official Tax Court dictionary. I found that it has been cited by the Tax Court 20 times which is twice as often as the Oxford English Dictionary.  The higher courts seem to favor OED.  Still you can get a copy from Amazon for one cent.  Well, it’s four bucks when you throw in the shipping.  Still, I decided to order myself a copy.

So I was delighted Friday when there was a fat package in the mail.  I like to savor the anticipation so I let it sit on the counter for a while, much to the chagrin of my covivant.  At any rate, when I opened the red covered book with a gold stamped title I was surprised to find stamped in bold gold letters.


So I guess there is something semi-official about this dictionary.

Here is the ominous part.  There was a green sticky on one of the pages.  When I turned to that page I found that a word was highlighted in yellow. The word was unfortunately.

Why I Skipped The 1864 Sesquicenntential

In the summer of 2012, I had this odd notion that I just had to get to the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.  While I was there I discovered that there is a pretty small group of people with a similar yen.  One of them said they referred to themselves as "real timers".  I was, at least conceptually, hooked.  Real life had all sorts of constraints, so I missed Fredericksburg.  I don't know how I could have done the Mud March even if I had wanted to.

I did however make Chancellorsville along with my covivant. Our biggest experience a National Park Service hike that reproduced Jackson's flank attack was 20 hours off from real time but still quite good.  I had to consult with a ranger to find out where my great-grandfather Private Patrick Lyons, Fifer, Company K, 22nd New Jersey would have been camping.  CV and I managed to get as near as possible to the spot.  The more I think about it the surer I become that I probably heard some fifing in the distance.

Gettysburg we did big.  We were there for almost a week and had several real time experiences including the first shot and ending with Pickett's charge.

The discussion afterwards reminded me a bit of a World War II trope as the German officer says to the downed aviator "For you, the war is over".

We still did the Gettysburg address.

So what happened this year?

The only event that called to me was the Battle of the Crater and not really enough.  In 1864 the war became something of a grind.  So I have pretty much stuck with books.  I've read Sherman, Sheridan and Longstreet biographies and have been checking a day by day book I have each day.

I made a preparatory trip to Appomatox and am planning a week their in April.  CV is passing on that and grumbling a bit about tax season, but so it goes.