Only Guilty Man in Shawshank

I made a mistake

And I love those moments of reflection that demand something more of myself. To put aside my frustration and fatigue with the endless folly I’ve faced — and remember that there’s an individual on the other end.

I owe them the benefit of the doubt.

So many people and things can get you down
But it only takes one man to turn it around . . .

It’s an up and down world and you can’t change it
Might get a chance to rearrange it
If you hold on partner good things are coming to you

Even if 99 times out of a 100, you’re met with people with treat the truth with contempt — ya gotta keep the door open for the one who won’t.

That’s central to this site and all my efforts, so I damn well better deliver.

And if I fall short — it’s time to suck it up and say so.

I did

Had he replied, “Too late, you had your chance” — I was prepared with this in response:

Apology stands, no worries.

Making amends should be about doing what’s right — for no benefit or expectations in return. I felt much better after sending that Tweet — that’s plenty reward all by itself.

And it’s something of a reset — a reminder to do better next time.

What’s even worse about how I handled it, is that I had written about this exact same scenario before. Why didn’t I see this reply in the same spirit of what I advocate below?


Allowing prior experiences to cloud what we see instead of looking at things on a case-by-base basis.

From Unbroken

It’s ironic that my best friend brought up a mutual friend from high school today — because that person came to mind earlier when thinking about how to conclude this story.

I recalled the time I shared one of my sites a few years ago on Messenger — and his instant reaction of screaming . . .


I wasn’t offended — I felt sorry for him.

Imagine the difference between the barking above and the more malleable version below:

Hmm, what is this?

In the time it takes to say, “Hmm” — you could be on a trip to someplace you’ve never been. And when you’ve got the guts to take that journey — there’s no telling how far you’ll go in the world that awaits you

You don’t have to go off and build something or write up a website to be inspired — even the tiniest change in attitude can alter your course.

Small moves, Ellie, small moves

Imagine my surprise

That this guy would turn around and follow me never crossed my mind as a possibility.

It’s times like these when I’m actually glad I made the mistake. That a simple exchange gone wrong could become a memorable experience is a beautiful thing.

I keep trying to find new ways to get the word out about what I have to say — and how fitting that he captured a key element of it all.

I was in the middle of writing this when I went to check out his bio. My day already made — and this was the icing on the cake:

Look through each other’s eyes for an instant

In Cruel To Be Kind, I float an idea to solve the homeless problem. It would work — but you know why we’ll never do it?

Because it’s ugly

Whether or not it would work should be of paramount concern — not how uncomfortable it is. And with my idea, they’d be a helluva lot better off.

“Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind” . . .

In their summary of the opinion, the judges wrote, “As long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.”

That last line is what this fundamental divide is all about.

Criminalizing the homeless solves nothing, but the notion that they don’t have a choice is preposterous. When you provide avenues of hopelessness, you have taken away that fundamental responsibility that we all have in making hard choices.

That “false premise” philosophy is miserably failing.

But rather than take hard look at the situation in a serious-minded manner, the same people who helped create the problem, would rather be delicate and perpetuate it.

“I’m not going to let somebody run me out of somewhere where I’ve made my home,” said a camper in San Francisco. I feel for anyone in her shoes, but there’s a line between empathy and enabling.

During the Great Depression, people went to wherever the work was.

The modern-day down-and-out of are incapable of doing what others did 90 years ago?

“We . . . want it now, and if it makes money now, it’s a good idea. But . . . if the things we’re doing are going to mess up the future, it wasn’t a good idea. Don’t deal on the moment. Take the long-term look at things.”

The Dust Bowl

I fail to understand why it’s the responsibility of the state to accommodate people who can’t afford to live there.

To whatever degree I’ve simplified the issues to capture the fundamentals — it’s nowhere near what America does to overcomplicate them.

Problem solving and ascertaining the truth takes work.

This is not problem solving — it’s noise

The louder it gets and the more following you amass — the more you perceive impact that isn’t there.

And you get so wrapped up in belief — that you fail to recognize the counterproductive nature of what you’re doing.

And on 1619

Even if you could miraculously get what you want (and you have a better chance of walking on water):

What’s it gonna take for you to see the unintended consequences that come with it?

This consortium of causes has no chance of achieving anything remotely in the realm of your aim — and you’re doing catastrophic damage to the very thing you’re trying to remedy.

Efficacy is at the core of my concerns

7 years ago I wrote and produced a documentary to illustrate how people behave when their interests are at stake.

You can’t do somethin’ like that and play favorites — your scrutiny can spare no one.

I wanted a way to frame that I’m fair-minded, because we don’t live in the world that we were taught to.

At the time of the foundation for all that followed — the movie poster below was on a wall in high school. I’d walk by it every day on my quest that consumed me . . .

The school didn’t make a habit out of promoting the latest movies — there was a reason why this particular poster was showcased.

Above all else, I believe that reason is right here in the ending (particularly the line below).

You see us as you want to see us — in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions

And yet — our country has become increasingly crippled over the years because of seeing people in the “simplest terms” and “most convenient definitions”

“What’s this?” is a perfectly fair question.

After all, I just pasted the link to a bunch of strangers who were posting quotes about the person in question.

After years of being met with the Mentality of a Mob on the most demonstrably provable evidence you can get — it wears on ya.

What on Earth is this guy up to?

That’s what I was aiming for in the set below.

The opening line in my documentary is “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.” The rest of Orwell’s quote goes as follows:

When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

America has gone totally off the rails in its worship of the wildly undeserving.

I wrote those words in 2014 — in my doc that was prompted by the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict. I had just returned from interviewing a world-renowned nuclear scientist as research for my book — when I saw this scene below.

Hannity perfectly framed his “profile” inquiry.

It was so good that it gave me the idea for how I was gonna nail him to the wall with it — applying that profile principle to Dr. Houston Wood (the gold-standard scientist I just mentioned).

Tamara Holder contaminated the discussion by refusing to separate her support for even a second — to simply answer a question with integrity . . .

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity

Speaking of which — the other topic in my documentary deals with subject matter where 10 pages of reading trumps 10,000 hours of TV.

“How could you possibly know that?”

Good question!

And with that alone — we’d plant the seeds for this thing called conversation. Then the ball’s in my court to come through on my claim.

On all-things Iraq, conservatives were in lockstep — just like liberals for Trayvon Martin. By intersecting these topics, I show no favoritism in illustrating how emotion runs roughshod over reason.

That was the whole idea

And since nobody gave a damn about WMD — The Trayvon Travesty: A Saga of Self-deception was the best I could come up with at the time.

If I had it to do over again — I would have gone with what came to mind later for the promo clips: The WMD Delusion: Timeless Deceit by Democrats & Republicans Alike.

Trayvon would still be the hook into the whole thing — I just wouldn’t have used his name in the title if I had a better idea.

The North Star

This nation has lost its spirit, desire, and courage to take a journey to understand something that doesn’t immediately register.

The demands of discipline and discernment in that journey are essential to shaping how your mind works.

Flipping to the last page in a book defeats the purpose, don’t ya think?

Not knowing the end is key to curiosity and imagination — and having to work some of it out on your own. There should be joy in that journey.

Serious-minded scrutiny in weighing matters of the world may be a far cry from fun — but that burden bears fields of fruit.

I met someone who’s a big fan of the book below. I hadn’t read it yet, but in his reaction to my documentary — he was in gross breach of every principle in Habit of Thought..

And I knew that before I even opened it.

Where did he go wrong?

He had befriended the author and seemed excessively proud of that association. A lot of that goin’ these days.

This guy was under no obligation to look at my doc, but as a favor for our mutual friend, he did.

Whatever he thinks of it — his response should square with the standards he swears by. In other words, it damn well better by high on hierarchy below.

He hovered at the bottom

How many articles, books, and movies have you seen that start out with something seemingly unrelated?

We all know there’s a design behind that — that all will be revealed in time.

So it’s absurd to complain about being “confused” within moments — when you damn well know how this works.

The behavior he displayed below is not the mark of an adult — let alone a disciple of an author promoting Socratic principles.

You don’t have to look at anything you don’t want to, but once you decide to weigh in — I’m of the Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon school of thought:

If you’re gonna do a thing, you might as well do it right

— Daryl Dixon

My brother has no such notion

So I’m on the phone with him several years ago — and when he found out about my documentary, on the fly he takes a look-see.

60 seconds into the Prologue, my first mock interview comes across with some unintended emotion.

In a 7-part series totaling 2 hours and 40 minutes, he seized on 10 seconds (one minute after it started) — so he could lecture me about “emotion.”

Those mock interviews were filmed after a long day of shooting.

It’s a massive undertaking to pull this off in one day (especially for amateurs). My actors were worn out and not expecting it to go that long. I was on the verge of losing a couple of ’em (some were friends and others I hired).

My friend playing the Tamara Holder character — saved me . . .


She ordered up some food from the hotel and we all took a break (and I paid extra to those who wanted to go) — and things settled down enough to finish it off.

So the “emotion” you see at the start, was filmed at the end . . .

With the night wearing on and me under enormous stress in the midst of averted mutiny.

You can’t imagine how laughable it is to me — that I do a doc that illustrates how emotion runs roughshod over reason, and somebody’s gonna try to lecture me 60 seconds into it.

All the more absurd — is that the character I was playing in that scene, sells emotion for a living.

They all do

America is sinking in an ocean of baggage

And admitting you’re wrong is about as rare as unobtainium on Pandora.

The contempt for correction I have come across is unlike anything I could have imagined in my youth.

“The cat . . . TOTALLY OUT OF THE BAG!”

Does it really matter what the doc is called? What mattes more — compelling argument or who I voted for?

I voted for Obama in 2008 and Romney in 2012. I gave the guy a shot and he didn’t deliver — that’s it.

If you’re not reasonably honest (in as much as I can hope for in a politician) — and you don’t do a good job, there’s no way in hell you’re getting my vote twice.

And I thought Romney would do a good job.

But the rotor speed required to separate uranium isotopes doesn’t care who’s president.

So if you’re debating in good faith on that matter of world-altering consequence, “everybody believed Iraq had WMD” is not a valid counter on the material properties of centrifuge rotors.

And that — is the issue

By the way — “armed only with Skittles” is just as absurd. Slogans to serve a narrative do not qualify as argument.

Even the quantity calls the whole charade into question.

Half of America ignores the word of world-renowned nuclear scientists — in favor of professional know-it-alls who won’t go anywhere near this topic and never have.

If you can’t see why that’s problematic — I don’t know what to tell ya.

Hmm, so the dimensions exactly match the tubes used in Iraq’s history of manufacturing the Nasser-81mm artillery rocket (a reverse-engineered version of the Italian Medusa).

Be quite a coincidence if they weren’t . . .

Ya know, connected

Anyone entering this discussion with sincerity — would come away realizing that there is no debate, and there was never was.

They just made it up.

Making It Up As You Go

Trillion Dollar Tube

In The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, he shares an encounter that gave him pause for reflection:

Then one day at the end of my thirty-seventh year, while taking a spring Sunday walk, I happened upon a neighbor in the process of repairing a lawn mower. After greeting him I remarked, “Boy, I sure admire you. I’ve never been able to fix those kind of things or do anything like that.”

My neighbor, without a moment’s hesitation, shot back, “That’s because you don’t take the time.” I resumed my walk, somehow disquieted by the gurulike simplicity, spontaneity and definitiveness of his response.

“You don’t suppose he could be right, do you?” I asked myself.

Peck didn’t just ask himself “Could he be right?” — he acted on it (and the result is proof positive of how the even the smallest consideration can change the dynamic of your thinking).

Somehow it registered, and the next time the opportunity presented itself to make a minor repair I was able to remind myself to take my time. The parking brake was stuck on a patient’s car, and she knew that there was something one could do under the dashboard to release it, but she didn’t know what. I lay down on the floor below the front seat of her car.

Then I took the time to make myself comfortable. Once I was comfortable, I then took the time to look at the situation. . . .

At first all I saw was a confusing jumble of wires and tubes and rods, whose meaning I did not know.

But gradually, in no hurry, I was able to focus my sight . . .  I slowly studied this latch until it became clear to me . . . One single motion, one ounce of pressure from a fingertip, and the problem was solved.

Clearing the clutter can be quite revealing

And lo and behold — that’s exactly what I set out to do from the get-go in Part 1:

While writing my 13-part series Two Sides of the Same Counterfeit Coin, I came up with an idea that could turn the tide.

And this exact same principle applies — as accountability is key, which means it’s gonna get ugly before it’s get pretty.

The people defending the key player I need in this plan — are protecting an image.

He may live up to that image most of the time — I’m not qualified to make that determination.

But I am on this

DOE’s standard is to spin a tube at 20% above 90,000 RPM before failure — so 48,000 short is a pretty loose definition of “rough indication.” And since the entire point of testing should be to replicate the conditions of centrifuges, one would think that the full-blown testing would be performed before the NIE was completed.

— Richard W. Memmer (Act II)

Out of 31 tubes in subsequent testing, only one was successfully spun to 90,000 RPM for 65 minutes — which the CIA seized on as evidence  in their favor.

One DOE analyst offered a superb analogy of that contorted conclusion:  “Running your car up to 6,500 RPM briefly does not prove that you can run your car at 6,500 RPM cross country. It just doesn’t. Your car’s not going to make it.”

Does that strike you as the language of a “Bush hater”?

And even if I were: No amount of Bush hating or Bush loving is gonna change whether not the tubes can maintain 90,000 RPM.

For nearly 20 years, I have been treated like shit for simply telling the truth.

And of all those in that crowd that I’ve challenged on WMD — their knowledge combined could fit into a thimble with space to spare.

Taking cue from his kin on Rolodex of Ridicule“Expert” By Association is emblematic of the asinine behavior I’m used to:

  • “You use words like honor, courage and commitment as punch lines at liberal cocktail parties” — ripping off A Few Good Men and thinking I wouldn’t notice
  • The “therapist” routine
  • “Academia”
  • “I’ve stood on the wall — have you?” — Jesus, why not toss in “You weep for Santiago” while you’re at it?

What does any of THAT have to do with the price of tea in China — or THIS?

Thomas Sowell never budged one bit in the direction in those facts — and nobody refuses to do that without ulterior motives.

And those motives could not be more obvious.

If it was just an honest mistake (and there’s no way in hell you could make a sound argument that it was):

Where’s his admission of error?

Ya know, since he preaches responsibility, accountability and all.

This — is not the mark of the man they see, and there’s no two ways about it.

myth over merit

These guys don’t deviate from their lane, but they heap praise upon Sowell for stepping outside of his.

Lending credence to Sowell’s credibility on things he knows nothing about.

And Sowell’s army of disciples follow suit.

So it becomes an endless parade of promoting principles — following facts as long as they go in any direction but theirs.

That — is not principled

Not only is that wrong, dangerous, and destructive — it’s colossally counterproductive to their own interests.

And everyone else’s

What we’re seeing today was partly built on a foundation of manufactured outrage (which applies to most controversial issues in America over the last 30 years).

Decades of dishonesty in the Gutter Games of Government is not a nation on a path to greatness.

that — takes time to explain

Nobody wants to take the time unless there’s something in it for them — so I wrote a piece that came right out and said it straightaway.

You should wanna do the right thing whether it’s in your interests or not.

But if that’s what it takes to prompt your interest, so be it.

We can talk about race and responsibility till the end of time — but heaven forbid we have a single conversation about war and responsibility.

Not only did he flagrantly fail to follow the facts on the biggest and most costly lie in modern history . . .

He brazenly ignored the debauchery in his own camp to politely pounce on the other.

Sowell acts like Mentality of a Mob is from my imagination — and that I just wrote the poem below out of thin air 17 years ago.

It’s not anti-war — It’s pro-thinking

It’s not his area of expertise, so unsurprisingly, I’ve never heard him comment about ; war, Iraq, WMDs, or anything of that sort until I read your post.

I imagine it’s just not a line of questioning an interviewer with limited time would typically think to ask Sowell.

The notion that simply because no interviewer asked him about WMD — that this magically absolves him of owning up to his massive mistakes . . .

Is preposterous

And he conveniently ignores that someone writing a biography — would have plenty of time to ask him about it.

Riley had motive not to:

As the brilliant and prescient maverick who preaches responsibility and such — the Godfather of Follow the Facts and all-things virtuous . . .

Was nothing but a partisan hack on the biggest deception and debacle of our time.

Doesn’t quite fit the premise of the book, does it!

Mr. Riley — it’s just precious that you peddle his prescience — while conveniently ignoring his role in creating chaos that feeds the very polarization he predicted.

Quite the self-fulfilling prophecy, don’t ya think?

Sleight of hand

I’m often amazed for someone who writes about so many controversial issues — not just race — how little real criticism I get.

That’s convenient — most people don’t know who this guy is (I didn’t until over the last year or so).

So the notion that nobody challenged him on WMD is ludicrous — since few would have known about him or even bothered to if they did.

And it’s not like he didn’t know there was massive disagreement on the matter — where he could have “engaged” to welcome a challenge to his claims.

Why bother — when you can chalk it up to “Weapons of Crass Obstruction,” not follow a single fact of substance — and still be seen as Sherlock Holmes . . .

While his quote below is talking about people who make the decisions, it also applies to people of influence — especially since they can shape those decisions.

He paid no price for being wrong — and his followers don’t care. Is your purpose to go around praising him or apply the principles he espouses?

I’ve seen a shit load of the former and rarely an atom of effort in the latter.

Applying principles against the opposition doesn’t count . . .

Anybody can do that

The man is brilliant and has predicted much of what has transpired over the past 30 years well in advance of anyone else, with incredible detail and accuracy. 

Just how brilliant could he be and blow it on something this big and glaringly obvious?

This isn’t about intelligence, it’s about ulterior motives.

But if he really were brilliant, shouldn’t he have the foresight to recognize the inherent holes in his motives? That however well-intended they might be, catastrophic consequences tend to come with endless lying and ineptitude.

Not to mention the poison of partisanship to absolve it all — running the nation into the ground while you’re at it.

At what point does it dawn on your beloved genius — that blind loyalty to that cause will be massively counterproductive to his own?

Look around

I’m not brilliant — and I figured that out all by myself.

Somebody brilliant — would damn well know that America’s March of Folly into the Middle East comes with consequences.

Hard to Imagine

What does this mean?

I explain all that in detail in Part 12-A and 12-B in the Two Sides of the Same Counterfeit Coin series.

His loyalists see Sowell as a “great man”

We have very different standards for defining greatness.

Still — he can be

People love to plug the “nobody’s perfect” line, and yet so many of ’em proudly refuse to be corrected on anything.

The incorrigible in that camp act like they’re never wrong, never rude, never foolish, never over-the-top, never unreasonable, and never insulting.

In the spirit of the “only guilty man in Shawshank” — I’ve been all of those things at one time or another.

If you wanna gauge someone’s commitment to doing right by their fellow man — ask ’em how many times they didn’t.

Towering waves
Will crash across your southern capes
Massive storms
Will reach your eastern shores
Fields of green
Will tumble through your summer days
By design
In your time

Feel the wind
And set yourself the bolder course
Keep your heart
As open as a shrine
You’ll sail the perfect line

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