Saturday, March 12, 2005

Weekend Edition: Three Shots in Dallas

Almost nobody thinks we really know who killed JFK.

Indeed, the JFK Conspiracy debate covers everything—how many shots were fired, by whom, from what part of Dealey Plaza, with what type of gun...and that’s just the few seconds of the entire tragedy. I’m not even going near the grassy knoll or the manhole cover or anything else the Conspiracy whacks get into.

So let’s just look at the most basic issue of all: how many shots were fired? It’s a very specific question, and it should be among the least debatable, considering the number of witnesses and the brief time span of shots. The Warren Commission said three. Oliver Stone says six. Somebody’s got to be right about this.

Now, the purpose of this blog is not to debunk JFK Conspiracy Theorists. We’re trying to bring accountability and insight to Wall Street.

But it’s the weekend, and weekends mean a feature unrelated to stocks.

Steady readers will know how I feel about Conspiracy Theorists in the stock market (see “When CEOs Obsess” and “These Are The Patsies”). They’re certifiable.

And if the JFK assassination-obsessives share the shallow, paranoid thought processes that Wall Street Naked Short-Selling Conspiracy Theorists bring to the stock market—well, maybe it’s better to let them obsess about grassy knolls and manhole covers. Better than having them loose on the sidewalks of Dealey Plaza, trying to make eye-contact with tourists.

Still, I could not resist breaking the news here that the question of how many shots were fired at JFK has been answered, soundly and soberly by multiple eye- witnesses, who were riding in the cars right behind the President: there were three shots fired at JFK. And only three.

The proof is in a remarkable book nobody seems to be reading.

It's called "President Kennedy Has Been Shot," by a news media organization called "The Newseum." It describes the assassination of JFK “through the eyes of more than sixty print and broadcast journalists” covering the motorcade and the other campaign events that day—in Dallas, Washington, and on Air Force One. The book combines the reporters’ and photographers’ statements with transcripts of the Dallas Police Department radio transmissions and communications between the White House and a plane carrying Cabinet officials to Japan, to create a compelling minute-by-minute account.

It is a very easy read, but packed with such detail that it is not a quick read. For purposes of this essay, I pick up where the first shots are heard by reporters riding in the Presidential motorcade.

Tom Dillard, Dallas Morning News photographer: “…when the first shot was fired, I said ‘They’ve thrown a torpedo.’ At the second shot, ‘No, it’s heavy rifle fire,’ and at the third shot I said, ‘They’ve killed him.”

Bob Jackson, another photographer riding with Dillard, had just unloaded his camera and passed the film from the first part of the ride to a reporter on the ground. “And that’s when we heard the first shot, and then two more shots closer together.” He says he looked at Dillard: “We knew it was a gunshot, no doubt about it. On the fifth floor I saw two men leaning out and looking up. And my eyes went up to the next window and I could see the rifle on the ledge and I could see it being drawn in.” Jackson had not yet reloaded his camera with film.

Merriman Smith, the legendary UPI White House correspondent, was riding in the front seat of the White House press-pool car, four cars behind the President’s limousine. Smith said: “Suddenly we heard three loud, almost painfully loud cracks. The first sounded as if it might have been a large firecracker. But the second and third blasts were unmistakable. Gunfire.”

Robert MacNeil, NBC News correspondent, recalls: “I said, ‘Was that a shot?’… Then there were two more explosions, very distinct to me.”

Bob Clark of ABC News: “When [Merriman Smith] said those were gunshots, I think we all in the car just accepted they were gunshots. They were loud and clear and more significant—for the historical record—they were equally loud and equally clear and were clearly fired from almost over our head…”


Anybody else see the pattern?

Not one person—not one—in the press covering the motorcade that day in Dealey Plaza claimed anything other than three shots. Distinct, clear, loud, and overhead. By a gun being withdrawn from the window of the Texas Book Depository.

The oddest aspect of the book, in my opinion, is that it makes no point about this fact, or any other facts debunking the Conspiracy myth. It merely continues via eyewitness snippets of the rush to Parkland Hospital, Officer Tippit’s shooting, Oswald’s arrest, LBJ’s swearing-in, flying the body to Washington, Ruby killing Oswald, and finally the funeral in Washington.

It never stops to consider the significance of the simple words of those men about what they heard and saw: one rifle, three shots, history changed.

Jeff Matthews
I’m Not Making This Up


bob obrien said...


Man has an infinite capacity for self deception. Or in Jeff's case, for thinly veneering an agenda and framing those with whom he cannot argue his point convincingly as the equivalent of JFK loons.

Jeff studiously ignores all those silly "facts" and "data" in favor of making a classic, if not particularly well written, fallacy of equivocation. Those that are agitated about the obvious problem with the markets memorialized by the Reg SHO Threshold list are crazy. Why? Well....because Jeff says so!

That's it.

The whole logic. He ignores the list, ignores the data (like the General Counsel for Bear Stearns admitting that he's been hearing from concerned regulators for years about the fail to deliver problem, and that it is as a result of the brokers and the clearing houses and the regulators collectively not doing their jobs), ignores any information that doesn't conform to his agenda.

Jeff may not be making this up, but Jeff has a problem - when the Senate Banking Committee is saying to Donaldson that the naked shorting problem is out of hand and that the system is broken, Jeff's agenda on his blog is worse than wrong - it's irrelevant.

Jeff Matthews' attempt to make the growing realization of a systemic problem by a better informed market into a whacky conspiracy theory is, well, for lack of a better term, trivial.

Nobody's buying it, Jeff. Nice try though. Maybe the lapdog will give you another honorable mention in his column. And then you can both avoid any mention of the Reg SHO Threshold list, the companies that have been on it for months, the lawsuits being pursued against the DTCC for creating and facilitating the fraud, etc.

And you can continue to be the equivalent of a holocaust denial nut or a flat earth society member, or a proponent on homeopathy, or majik, or any other fanciful notions that ignore data in order to advance their flawed theories.

Who knows, maybe there's an appearance on Oprah in the cards...

Its_strange said...

Is naked shorting new ? Why did it take a man who refuses to identify himself to bring the problem forward for all to see ? Is he the first to be hurt by this practice ? None of the Wallstreet mutual funds or hedge funds have been hurt by naked shorting ? Why have they been silent ? Where were they when the stock market tanked a few years back ? Had to be alot of shorting taking place than. ....And can you imagine the threats Oliver Stone had recieved when he suggested LBJ was behind the JFK murder ? I wonder why he didn't go by the name Bob O'Brien or something like that..

Its_strange said...

Is naked shorting new ? Why did it take a man who refuses to identify himself to bring the problem forward for all to see ? Is he the first to be hurt by this practice ? None of the Wallstreet mutual funds or hedge funds have been hurt by naked shorting ? Why have they been silent ? Where were they when the stock market tanked a few years back ? Had to be alot of shorting taking place than. ....And can you imagine the threats Oliver Stone had recieved when he suggested LBJ was behind the JFK murder ? I wonder why he didn't go by the name Bob O'Brien or something like that..

Its_strange said...

When you consider what Oliver Stone was suggesting i'm surprised he didn't use a alias..Maybe something like Bob O'Brien

Something seems wrong or not working correctly here...Some times my post are posted, some times not.

bob obrien said...

It's Strange:

Up unitl a few months ago, naked shorting was denied to be a problem. Now there's the Reg SHO list, so the denial rings hollow. So the faction that benefits from the practice has switched to attempting to discredit the messenger, as they can't deny the list nor the companies memorialized there.

Thus, the push to demonize the messengers with ad hominem attacks and fallacies of equivocation.

I would suggest that your agenda to attack me personally is obviously an attempt to color the facts in a negative light - who wants to discuss facts when they run counter to your agenda?

Instead of wasting bandwidth on your dross, why don't you educate yourself? Dr. Byrne of just did a rather brilliant summary of the issues at OSTK's message board - even you should be able to follow along.

Do try to keep up, and leave the ad hominems at the door.

Its_strange said...

I'm waiting to learn who is shorting naked and i am waiting to learn if Rocker is a market maker for the German exchanges as you have suggested.

Its_strange said...

Hey Bob...Why didn't Bryne answer Rocker's questions ? They were fair and Rocker was respectful . ...And it certainly looks like Bryne read your yahoo post about hedge funds acting as market makers for the German exchanges so they might naked short. He just used your theory in his message board post. ...

Jeff Matthews said...

Hey, The Conspiracy Theorist Who Uses The Alias "Bob O'Brien" is back and posting here, after a sudden absence.

And not a single new fact!

I was hoping "X-Files" O'Brien was going to enlighten our readers as to actual interesting facts--such as the mysterious $7 million "steal of a lifetime" the boastful Doctor Byrne reported scoring in the diamond market on the last conference call.

But no--"X-Files" merely rehashes his obsession with the SHO Threshold list.

"X-Files": either get with the program, and stick to the facts, or save your posts for the Overstock message boards. Unlike Doctor Byrne, I will not let certifiables hijack my forum. If you have to make it up, leave it behind.

Jeff Matthews
I'm Not Making This Up

bob obrien said...

Jeff continues to make things up.

1) Find anywhere on the Overstock boards where I have hijacked or taken over the boards. You won't - you are making that up. I don't think I've ever even posted there. Here's the address to make it easier on you:

2) The SHO list is the only factual in the entire discussion - I can see why you wouldn't be interested in having that sort of thing on your blog. Your ad hominem attacks and crankish comparisons to conspiracy theorists notwithstanding, there isn't a sintle statement regarding naked shorting in your little novella that even enters the neighborhood of fact, much less buys a house there.

3) There is no way of knowing whether Rocker or one of his alter ego funds is a market maker for OSTK or NFI or any of the other shorts on the SHO list - that information isn't published. Nor are his short positions. Nor is the size of the fails on the SHO companies. In point of fact there is virtually no information about the hedge funds and their suspected violations of the rules.

Wouldn't it make the whole thing much simpler if the SEC published the size of the fails every day, and required reporting of short positions just as it requires reporting of long positions? If not, why not?

Let me guess - we wouldn't want our short friends to have to actually have a light focused on them. Why...that just wouldn't be have to play by the same kinds of rules as all the longs...